Essential Requirements for Live Streams, Webinars, and Webcasts

Whether it’s your first time running a livestream or if you’re an experienced professional it’s worth taking a little time to check you’ve got everything in place for a successful broadcast. Here is Kinura’s quick guide to the basics. 

Connectivity

Out of all the requirements for live streams, connectivity is the most important. Is the line you’ll be using dedicated to streaming? How fast is it? How reliable is it? Are ports 80, 443 & 1935 open inbound and outbound? Are there proxies & firewalls that might interfere with the stream? Also, make sure you’re not being dumped on the delegate Wi-Fi. This is a classic – it’ll work fine until the room is filled with 200 folks on their phones.

Connection testing in advance of a webcast should be one of the non-negotiable requirements for live streams. If you can’t test then you can’t guarantee anything will work. We always take our LTE/4G bonded backup connections to every single job because there’s still the risk of that something unexpected happening on the clients network and one connection is a single point of failure.

Back-ups

Run two of everything. We do as it makes us sleep better. The industry standard for stream redundancy is dual encoders running to primary and secondary publishing points. The secondary encoder uses our own LTE bonding internet connection. Kinura also uses an extra layer of redundancy as we run both of the independent streams to a Virtual Master Control Room (VMCR). So even if there is a simultaneous failure on both the primary and backup streams the stream won’t drop and you can communicate this to your audience while you fix the problem.

Sound

Of all the requirements for live streams, sound gets overlooked the most. Bad audio makes great content unwatchable. Make sure your sound techs understand that the event is going out online and not just in the room. Room sound and stream sound aren’t the same thing – room sound usually isn’t loud enough for the steam so check levels properly.

Make sure soundchecks are build into the event schedule and soundcheck with stand-ins before guests arrive. Agree the method of communication between the video team and the sound tech so levels can be tweaked during the event if necessary.

Promotion

You can get your technical requirements for live streams perfect but if you don’t tell anyone you’re streaming, you’ll have no audience. This might sound obvious, but so many clients forget to plug their webcast with a pre-planned, measurable strategy. You should be telling your audience at least one month, one week, one day and then one hour before you go live. Then, you should follow up immediately with the on-demand. It’s not hard, required little planning and give you significant ROI. Also, get your presenters to promote the event through their own channels whether that’s on social or internally.

Branding

Even if this is an internal comms stream to staff, if you don’t brand your live stream you miss a big opportunity, both to make it look professional and communicate with your audience throughout your webcast or webinar.

All you need to do is create some simple images to top and tail each session. Use these to tell people what time you’ll be live, how to interact, to say ‘thank you for watching’ and so on. This makes a big difference to the audience’s experience.
Beyond that, you should add ‘lower third’ name straps showing speakers’ names and job titles. It’s likely someone who’s watching doesn’t know what your speaker/CEO/whatever is called. That’s why they do this on every factual program you watch. Also, mixing graphics live saves a lot of time on post-production. If you can just top&tail your live stream broadcast you can have the on-demand ready to go in minutes.

Engagement

Although this isn’t one of the technical requirements for live streams it’ll have a big effect on your ROI. Give your audience a way to interact with the live stream or they’ll tune out. At a minimum, you should make sure your hosts/presenters welcome the online audience and continue to engage with them throughout.

GET IN TOUCH

Need some help? Or just some advice? 

If you’re planning a webcast or webinar and need a quote quickly we’ll need some information from you. Fill out the form and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. We usually respond within 1 hour during UK office hours (9am to 6pm GMT).

Or you can call us on +44 (0)203 151 5870

* Where is the event taking place?
We work in all regions in the UK and continental Europe or you can book one of our studios.

* When is the broadcast?
Usually, we’d need at least one week’s notice so we can adequately prepare for a live stream. However, certain times of the year are busier than others so don’t leave it too late!

* Do you have an AV company looking after in-room AV/sound?
If you’re planning on using a hired venue for a webcast or live stream then sound (microphones & in-room PA) will be provided. However, if you’re planning using one of your own locations we’ll need to allow for sound technicians.

* What platform would you like broadcast on (via social media or private/securely)?
We can distribute your stream to multiple social media platforms and your website simultaneously. Or, if you’re planning an internal comms broadcast or any other live stream that contains sensitive information, we can make it secure for you.

If you have a contract with a webinar provider we’re happy to plug our production in your account.