Hassle-free live streaming – how to get going with your first live webcast

Setting up your first live stream can seem very daunting but it doesn’t have to be a headache. For sure, there are significant technical requirements that need to be considered, but if you have the right ‘stream control team’ working with you, the whole process can run extremely smoothly.

One of the most important “tech” elements of a live stream is the question of encoding. Whatever platform you’re broadcasting on, you need to ensure the best live streaming experience for your viewers and your choice of encoder – whether that’s on-site hardware live encoding, software encoding or encoding in the cloud – can make or break your live stream experience.

On-site encoding – sometimes known as on-premise encoding – is a robust solution. At Volcano City, we design and supply live streaming infrastructure and hardware installation with customised servers, multi language-encoders and commentary audio consoles that we have developed especially for our clients.

Whether you have a single HD feed or 20 SDI feeds, it’s critical that the encoding hardware you use is able to deliver the power and performance your production requires. Elements that need to be considered include the quality of your end product – that is how the video will look at different bit rates and sizes, along with latency, i.e. the time it takes for an encoder to complete the encoding process from input to output.

If you don’t feel confident about managing the whole process, your best bet is to buddy up with an experienced Stream Control Team who can manage the whole process for you. This is especially important if you don’t think your Broadcast IT department has the requisite skills, experience or equipment needed to ensure safe and secure delivery of your content to your chosen platforms.
An on-site professional Live Stream Engineer will help ease the pain and ensure that all the logistics required are taken care of. You need to know that you have access to 24/7 real time live support as well as all the quality elements you’d expect – low latency streaming, multi-device delivery, remote audio acquisition and the ability to create instant, multi-clip highlight packages for your video on demand (VOD) viewers.

Volcano City has ten years’ experience in delivering localised live stream content in multiple languages to a host of different platforms simultaneously. Company founder Hassan Peymani said: “There are numerous off-the-shelf solutions out there but, in our experience, it’s just not worth taking the risk and ‘going it alone’ until you’re really ready. What we have focused on – and what is really working for our clients – is providing them with reliable, managed services. We’re on call when we need to be but we’re also very flexible which means our clients can avoid costly capital expense or staff training and know they have a trusted partner who is overseeing the process throughout.”

In the last few years, social media platforms have enjoyed phenomenal growth and now boast audiences running into billions. Broadcasters of all kinds have been quick to take advantage of these free-to-use distribution platforms. Facebook already has 1.4 billion daily active users while YouTube, the birthplace of video, has some 1.3 billion users. The growing popularity of these platforms for live content – particularly YouTube, Facebook Live, Twitter and Twitch – has given organisations the opportunity to expand their reach and attract new audiences at very little cost. The fact that distribution to these platforms is free tempts many organisations into thinking they can do everything themselves. However, whatever the platform, it’s vital to ensure that quality isn’t compromised; content delivery needs to be seamless and simultaneous, whatever the platforms or device it’s destined for.

Peymani added: “We provide our clients with a complete end-to-end solution leaving them free to focus on what they do best. Our video production specialists are experts in broadcasting, live streaming and encoding hardware manufacturer so we know we’re a trusted partner. But we also provide a free consultancy service to advise clients on the best means to achieve effective distribution and also how they can enhance their existing processes. This is very useful for companies who are keen to dip their toe in the water but want to understand all the options available to them before making any decisions.”

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