Producing Live Events: Master Tip Countdown-Number 10:Planning and Review

Total Webcasting is a webcasting service provider out of New York that produces dozens of events a month, and thousands since its inception in 2007. Total Webcasting is unique in that it produces virtually all events for its customers, while owning the streaming server and content management system used for live and on-demand delivery, providing the complete “glass-to-glass” experience. Through their experience, the company has mastered the art of the problem-free webcast. I’ve been after company president Robert Feldman to share his tips with my readers for years; he’s agreed to share his top ten in Letterman order, starting with number ten, which is below. 

image1.pngEveryone can have a ‘bad day,’ especially when your job is to deliver a trouble-free, high-quality webcast with all the bells and whistles expected today. Considering all of the outside influences that can have a negative impact on the viewer’s experience, it is vital to the webcaster that all of these factors be considered when planning an event. In 2014, Total Webcasting produced more than 600 live Webcasts in all sorts of environments from outdoor events to programs held in random hotels and conference centers. I hope I can share our experiences and in particular the challenges and how we overcome them.

Number 10: Planning and review is the foundation for a successful webcast. It can be a challenge to get everyone together for a meeting but insist that you do. It can be the start of the ‘bad day’ if it turns out the wrong people were setting the production details and then you get to the venue and a different set of people are telling you how they really want things done.

The best way to get things started for any live Webcast is to establish the list of people involved and define their rolls. In our experience, this typically involves the following functions:

  • The leader – the person in charge of coordinating and managing all the other discrete functions
  • Content development – the person/team creating the presentation and staffing the event
  • Presentation – the person/team who will actually be presented
  • IT – the person/team who will make sure that sufficient bandwidth exists for the event and generally ensure quality of service.
  • A/V  – the person/team manning the camera and the audio (a function we perform in all of our webcasts)
  • Facilities – the person/team who chooses and sets up the event location
  • Marketing — the person/team in charge of getting attendees and follow up

Once you decide to hold an event, the leader should identify who’s in charge of each function and create a list with contact information for each person. If you’re using an outside vendor (like us), you should include the name and contact information for the point person in the vendor.

Then, schedule a conference call (or series of calls) as early as possible to kick off the process (we like to do a video chat as it helps establish an advanced techno feel and puts a face to the team). At that point, you should have a checklist that everyone sees well ahead of time. Speaking for us as the webcaster, if you know who the go-to person is for a particular issue then you will save time and mistakes by getting good direction. 

That’s it for number 10. Check back in a week for number 9.

About Jan Ozer

I help companies train new technical hires in streaming media-related positions; I also help companies optimize their codec selections and encoding stacks, and evaluate new encoders and codecs.

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