Hearts of Darkness: A EventCamp Stream Apocalypse
or 7 Tips for Live Streaming your Event or Meeting
I am not sure if you have seen the documentary movie that chronicles how Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now” was plagued by extraordinary script, shooting, budget, and casting problems–nearly destroying the life and career of the celebrated director. I had one of those moments as 3:30 am rolled around the night before EventCamp New York City last weekend for Event Camp the first meeting for the Eventprofs twitter group. The internet kept dropping out and the streaming camera cable was wrong. So we were out trying to find a electronics store which was open and had the correct cable. In my fireman days I would have rated this situation pucker factor 6 or 7 because I didn’t want to let the eventcamp team down for anything. To put it in perspective, crawling into a burning building gets a rating of 5 from me. But eventcamp was a great learning experience and I am glad to have gone through it. I already have another streaming scheduled next month for a client so like it or not this was a great situation to learn.
Here are some tips and tricks of what I learned live streaming EventCamp last weekend:
Having no budget sucks and is not conducive to providing an excellent virtual experience for a live stream of your event especially for a group of meeting professionals. They see details.
Careful about Union Hotels. Better okay it with the union or they may shut down your whole show or event. It has happened.
Technical Site Survey: I tell my corporate clients that this quick site trip can save them hundreds if not thousands of dollars to find little nuances that dont show up on a website of from a hotel event manager. It should have been a huge red-flag to me when the Roger Smith Hotel did not return phone calls when I asked about technical questions. Or when they had no room drawings. I should have hopped on a plane and did a quick technical site survey. (again no budget sucks) So make sure the venue is a good fit for your event and of course a live stream. Where the Roger Smith Hotel is the adopted Social Media Hotel, our audience are meeting professionals and as I said they see details. I do have to say the staff at the Roger Smith is very friendly and I would stay there again on business or for a vacation and they did donate the rooms for our event so I cant be too picky.
Rehearse: Rehearse with the stream at the venue if possible before the event. This just takes a camera, a laptop, the venues internet and someone away from the venue on a cell phone watching the stream. Double check internet speeds.
Power: Just because there are plugs in the wall does not mean they work. Be careful the plugs may all be on the same circuit so you might not be able to use all of them at once. Think sound, lighting and video… lots of plugs. For event camp we made the case for perfect sound for our virtual attendees. The rooms were so small we really could not bring in lighting trees. Plus our power issue made it challenging. I know from a many years of video podcasting if you cant hear the content you wont watch the picture.
Internet: Make sure you know the know Internet speeds in the venue and have a dedicated internet hard line to the virtual streams computer. Not a shared line with the rest of the attendees. Actually, you should have third line for the presenters in case they are pulling from the web for part of their presentation. This weekends stream we were using a combo wireless/sprint card/ shared hardline to run the stream, twitter plasmas and for the wifi for the attendees. it actualy worked pretty good except when it dropped out and we had to restart everything.
Have a good strategy and goals in place for the virtual audience. I am thinking having a show flow and cue sheet that cues what is happening live and for the virtual audience. Make them feel special. We attempted to do some interviews with presenters after they spoke. Also in conjunction with twitter you can receive questions and try and fix issues with the stream – which we tried to do.
I will try to never do a live stream again without the right venue, equipment and service from the companies providing the equipment. I came away fired up about how great the Eventcamp team was our great #eventprofs community but frustrated that it could have been so much better for the virtual audience. Yet thats why I love this business. The next one is right around the corner.
So just as Francis Ford Coppola’s made some pretty good movies after Apocalypse Now I think our eventcamps will just get better and better. I think this is a great option for events to engage a virtual audience along with the face to face audience.
Did you see the EventCamp stream? Love to get any feedback on how we can make it better.