Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Choosing a Live Streaming Camera

What’s the best camera to use for live streaming?

Not exactly an easy question to answer. Live streaming cameras vary in quality, price, functionality and how they connect into your particular system.  It really depends on exactly what you want to do.  Some are more flexible, some are more user-friendly and some provide a higher quality image than others. First, determine what it is you want to accomplish, know your budget and then do some research.
There are several different kinds of camera for live streaming.  We’ll start with talking about the most basic and inexpensive and go from there.

Webcams



Webcams are cameras that are connected to a computer then sent from the computer to the Internet. Webcams, nowadays, are built right into most computers or they may be separate units that connect to the computer via USB. A webcam doesn’t have its own Internet connection or IP address, so a computer is required to connect to a network and then process the image into a format that can be streamed.
The advantages of webcams are simplicity and price. You can find a decent-quality webcam for around $50 - $100.
Webcams are easy to use. The controls are simple, it connects directly to the computer which means you don’t have to worry about external power sources, and you do not need a capture card. Using a webcam for live streaming is the most basic way to stream your program over the internet. Assuming you have the software to create the finished video content, you’re able to embed it to a website or upload it to a streaming platform, there are no additional tools necessary.
One downside is webcams do not generally deliver as high image quality as other options. They have no storage capabilities so it’s not possible to use them other than with a computer. Most come with built-in microphones, but the sound quality is not high. We recommend using a separate mic and sound channel if you want professional, quality audio. Most webcams are very basic, with not much control. They usually lack zoom capability, variable focus, and any ability to customize the image. What you see is what you get
If you just need to embed video of a conference or lecture to provide information to viewers then using webcams might provide all you need. For more professional quality video you should consider other options.

IP Cameras


An IP camera has an IP address and the ability to connect to the Internet separately from a computer. IP cameras are a little more complicated than using webcams, but much more versatile. Their connection is wireless, they can be positioned pretty much anywhere you need them. Because many IP cameras include power over ethernet (POE), you can run them 24/7. This combination makes them ideal for video streaming nature, a concert or other performance where you need multiple perspectives, and similar functions.
As I mentioned, using IP cameras with streaming video is a little more complicated than using webcams. It does require a video encoder.  This is because the protocol most IP cameras use isn’t suitable for live streaming. You’re also looking at a more expensive camera. A good IP camera is likely to run at least $600-$800 and could be higher, depending on the features you need.
An IP camera is a good choice if you need a lot of flexibility.  If the camera has access to the Internet over a wireless network, it can be placed anywhere.

Professional Cameras



The most expensive option is to use a professional-quality HDMI or SDI output camera . We here at Chisel Multimedia use Sony XDCAM cameras but we understand cameras are subjective to the user.  In addition to the camera itself being more expensive than most IP cameras, this option requires a capture card to facilitate using the camera for live streaming. A capture card is a separate device connected to a computer that converts the video signal into a form that can be used for live streaming. Capture cards can be either internal or external devices. Internal versions generally are a bit cheaper and sometimes offering more advanced functions. External capture cards are normally plug-and-play and don’t require a lot of technical knowledge. They are also much easier to use with a laptop computer.

It’s important to make sure that your capture card will work with your camera’s input. Some work only with analog and don’t accommodate digital signals. Check the particulars of the card and software before making a purchase.
Professional cameras offer more flexibility and power than any of the cheaper options. You can change and upgrade lenses and do all of the things expected from a professional camera. Professional video cameras today are quite compact compared to older versions. While not as portable as a webcam or IP camera, they’re fairly easy to transport and use on site. For the more polished production, a high-quality camera is necessary to achieve real professional quality video.  Professional video cameras aren’t as simple to use as a webcam. A good quality HDMI camera will start at minimum $600 – $700, while the price for a top of the line HD-SDI camera runs into the thousands. If you don’t already have experience with them, you may look into taking some video production courses.
Figure out what it is you intend to do then do your homework. Research what’s out there and choose what you think will best fit your needs.
Happy Streaming!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Copyright: Music in your Streaming Video

Using music adds a lot of impact, emotion, and professionalism to a video and you want to include it whenever appropriate. But it’s important to make certain that you have the right to use it. Copyright infringement is not something you want to be a part of and can result in a very expensive lawsuit.
Here are a few guidelines in regard to copyright for music. Please DO NOT  take this for legal advice. We here at Chisel Multimedia are not lawyers, and you should always consult with an attorney with your legal questions. This article may help you understand the general idea of copyright and what options you have available.

Fair Use

Copyright law permits use of copyrighted material without permission under some circumstances. These circumstances are described as “fair use.” Fair use is governed by these four factors:
1.       The purpose and character of the use. Some uses are classically considered fair, including criticism, parody, and music news reporting. If your use of the music is noncommercial and educational, it’s more likely (although not certain) that you meet the fair use requirements. If you’re charging for the video or using it to promote a product, the standards are much tighter.
2.       The nature of the copyrighted work itself. Highly creative work is more tightly protected than things like scientific data or historical quotes.  Assume music falls into the “highly creative” category and will be well protected.
3.       How much of the copyrighted work you’re using.  All or most of a song works against against fair use, compared to using only a portion or segment of it.
4.       What effect does using the music have on the expected market value?  If the music is playing on streaming platforms is likely to cost the copyright owner substantial sales, that reduces the chance that a court would consider it fair use.
Ultimately, the jig on fair use is, don’t take chances.  Unless it’s obvious and well established that what you’re doing with the music constitutes fair use, don’t count on it. If you’re writing an article about the band itself, that’s probably all right. Otherwise, be very careful.

Public Domain


Copyright doesn’t last forever. When a song is old enough, it enters the public domain. You can use any public domain song in any way without fear of legal repercussions and copyright restrictions do not apply.
How old is old enough? That varies from country to country and also  by the date of original creation. Current U.S. copyright law protects a song until 70 years after the death of the composer.  
It’s also important to remember that copyright protects the recordings, performances as well as composition. The variation by individual song is so wide that it’s best to check that a song or performance is in the public domain and not just assume it is because it’s old.


Another circumstance in which a song might be available for use in a video is under a Creative Commons license. Creative Commons is a choice by the creators of music and other forms of art to publish their work under these rules. It’s a nonprofit organization for  which musicians and other artists belong to. A Creative Commons license varies in the details, but might allow people to incorporate their song into videos or other compositions for free. The license does require acknowledgement of the copyright holder, and some other restrictions may apply.
 It’s a good idea to explore the specifics of the license and not just assume that a work published under Creative Commons is free to do whatever you want with it.  There may be some provision to the license allowing it to be played but not synced to any sort of video images. Free Music Archive is one website among many that offer CC licensed music. Check them out but again, be diligent in understanding the specifics of use.


Request Permission

If a song is neither in the public domain or published under a Creative Commons license, the only way you can legally use it in a video is with the permission from the copyright holder. You can usually find the copyright owner with the information which will accompany the recordings or on download sites.
In most cases with commercial music, the copyright holder for a performance is the record company. For independent artists music, it may be the artist, or record company established by the artist for legal purposes. Whomever it may be, that’s the person or company that has to give you permission.  Of course, they will probably want money for the privilege. We all gots to get paid, right!

If in the end you’re successful in your negotiation, you’ll be issued a license for the use you have requested.  This license will be specific and will probably not give you license to use the song in any other way. Be sure you understand these terms clearly. This is without doubt the most expensive way to obtain music for a video. If you have to have a particular piece of music, this may be your only option.



Friday, June 17, 2016

5 things To Avoid While Live Streaming

1. Not Testing Your Equipment

One of the golden rules of live streaming, or any live production, always  make sure and test your equipment.  Not just once or twice but over and over again.  Different tests will be important as well like testing individual equipment.  Most importantly, running an end-to-end test at the location of the event!   This is important because it doesn’t matter how many times you test everything beforehand. It could all change once you get on location.
Use testmyspeed.com to test your upload speed on-site. Then run multiple tests on the locations internet source and make sure you will have the bandwidth you need.
Test your stream on all the devices your users would be using like a desktop computer, iPad, iPhone and Android device. Make sure to monitoring the equipment throughout the event. Any issues need to be caught quickly to avoid any major disruptions of your stream.

2. Terrible Audio

When live streaming, we always focus so much on capturing perfect video, the audio can be easily overlooked. This mistake can be very costly for you.
If you’ve done a live stream from your computer like a presentation webcast for example, you know the importance of having good audio. You also know that using headphones is important because your computer speakers will pick up the audio from your presentation. This causes awful feedback and nasty distracting noise for your participating viewers. So it’s key to remember headphones and other sound audio practices.
Having a live stream that has top notch video but is not audible, does no good! If at all possible, use external microphones instead of your camera to capture better audio or get a direct feed from the audio soundboard.

3. No Audience Interaction

Nothing better than a nice afternoon nap instead of listening to the lecture that seems to go on and on forever. That’s what happens when there is no interaction between you as the presenter, and your viewers.
Here are a few ways to increase audience engagement during your live stream. Try using strategies such as a Q & A segment, polling questions, or even surveys can be a great way to keep your audiences’ attention.  The Q & A segments, best if done towards the end of your event, will act as a conversation between you and your viewers. Your viewers can ask questions regarding the live stream. It’s a good idea to take notes. You could benefit by using these ideas in your future events.
Use polls and surveys to find out important statistics and demographics about your viewers.  Things like location, age and what their interests are.
Of course social networks like Facebook and Twitter allows you to embed your videos right into their platforms. It’s a great way to communicate in real time by having them comment, like and share your event. Increasing your viewers is always an added benefit.

4. Inconsistent Streaming Schedule

If you’re trying to build a loyal following of your program, choosing to stream on different days or switching your time standard time slot will be a guaranteed way to lose viewers.   Be consistent with what time you choose to stream. Commit to one time so your viewers know when to tune in.
You’d hate for them to tune in to your regular 4pm show to find out they have missed it being aired at 3pm. Once you’ve lost a viewer due to their schedule, it’s going to be really hard to get them back. Pick a time, be consistent and stick to it!

5. Not Enjoying Yourself

You can’t expect your viewers to enjoy themselves if you aren’t. And as previously mentioned, you don’t want them napping during your presentation.  A survey from Slideshare shows  32% of participants say that an energetic speaker was the most engaging feature. One thing we like to do here at Chisel Multimedia is have fun! So, go out, be sure and have fun, smile a lot and you will see more engagement from your viewers. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Tips On Promoting Your Video



You have just created a cool, informative and persuasive video and have it embeded onto your website.  How do you get people to discover this?
You want to drive traffic to your site hoping for leads that will convert into customers, right? Whether you want them to buy your products, hire your services or maybe just to become a subscriber to the page. Maybe your objective is to promote brand awareness and increase your name recognition.  Each of these goals would require a different marketing strategy.
Here is a few tips on how to promote your video so you can maximize your objective.
A lot of this is SEO related, the goal being a front-page search-engine appearance and rich content. Promoting your videos on social media and how to give your video the best chance of going viral to maximize brand awareness are 2 other subjects we'll touch on later.
Presenting the Video 
A lot depends on how the video is presented on your web page.
Most importantly, use Google-friendly code to embed your video. The best codes for the purpose from streaming platforms are HTML5 with JavaScript or Flash Player. Unfortunately, iframes is something to stay away from at the moment. That may change in the future, as we all know, Google is always updating.
Second, make a decision about your goals.  Whether you're looking to maximize ranking for your page itself or to generate the largest views. If you're looking to maximize ranking, don't enable embedding elsewhere. If your goal is to increase views, allow others to embed the content. If you can, try to utilize both solutions.  If you are hosting the video yourself then enable embedding but require that iframe be used. This creates a link to your site, but isn't likely to have their site displace yours in searches. Self-hosting your video content is not suggested. Services like YouTube or Chisel Multimedia are better choices for stability and performance.
Next, make sure the video is prominently displayed in a good size frame, about 640 x 360 px or so. You do not want people scroll past it because it's not eye-catching on the page.
It's also important for SEO purposes to have a variety of content on the page where the video is embedded like text, photos and links. One thing you want to stay away from in most cases is having more than one video on the page. You want searches for videos about a specific subject to show your page prominently in the results. That's most likely to happen if your video on that subject is the only one on the page.
Be sure and test with searches duplicate those your desired traffic will likely use. If the search gives you a result where your video shows up as a snippet on the first page, you've set it up right.
Promote Video on Social Media
All the usual rules of social media promotion apply to promoting videos.  It's a discussion, not advertising, so to avoid any spam. Try to engage in conversations with your target audience. Let yourself become known as someone interesting who has something to contribute to ongoing discussion. Occasionally present links to your web site when it's appropriate. Most of your social media participation shouldn't be self-promotion of any kind.
Should you embed the video itself on the platform? That depends on what you're trying to do and also on the nature of the video itself. Do you want people to come to your site to see the video? In that case, you do want to embed it. Do you want people to see the video, and be interested enough by it to come to your web site for other offerings? In that case, embedding it would not be wise.
If the video is long enough to justify this, one approach might be to create a teaser trailer. This trailer can then be hosted on a video portal along with a link that takes the viewer to the whole video on your site.
Promoting  Video for Brand Awareness
If you are just trying to create brand awareness then the guidelines above do not apply at all. For that purpose, the only things that matter are the content of the video itself. The video should identify your brand clearly and enable viewers to find your web site easily. Your goal then is to maximize the number of people viewing it.
If you're using your video to bump your web site in the search engines and drive traffic, one site you want to stay away from is YouTube and any other video sites. YouTube is excellent for reaching  a lot of people with your video, but it won't give them links back to your web site. Searches for a video on the specific subject will likely display your video on YouTube before the version on your own site. That defeats the purpose.
If you're going to use the video for brand promotion then that calculation isn't that important. You'll drive traffic to your site not directly but by increasing brand recognition. Meaning, people that are interested in what you have to offer will search specifically for you later. In that case, YouTube is exactly where you do want to share it, because of the size of the potential audience. Just be sure that keywords, such as the name of your business and the title of your site are prominent parts of the video content.

In summary, there is more than one right way to promote your video. Whichever approach you decide on, it should have a clear overall marketing strategy.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

5 Great Advantages of Live Streaming

  1. Live streaming events are growing rapidly... Rightfully so!!
  2. Here are a few things you can benefit from with live streaming.


  3. 1. Live Streaming Expands Reach
  4.     Streaming a live event provides an oportunity to connect in new ways. You can reach people who could not otherwise attend your event in person, which then typically translated to positive membership or new customers.

  5. 2. Live Streaming Boosts Engagement
  6.     Live events are compelling for users. The average live stream is viewed as much as 10 times longer than on-demand.

  7. 3. The Live Experience Has Drastically Changed
  8.      Live streaming now provides a better user experience than ever. Over the last 15 years, we've gone from low-resolution, stuttering viewing experiences on desktop computer monitors to HD streaming on computers screens, mobile devices and connected TV's.
  9.     
  10. 4. Huge Cost Savings For Attendees
  11.     Now individuals outside the city or state of the event are more likely to attend because of reduced cost of travel and lodging. This in turn expands your audience and customer base as well as increasing your revenue stream.

  12. 5. Hassle Free
  13.     Allowing a company such as Chisel Multimedia  to run your live streaming event lifts all of the burden and pressure off of you and your company.  You can concentrate on presenting your proprietary content. We handle all of the technical aspects to ensure a smooth flawless event.