Our Preferred Workflow for Solo Live-Streaming
The last two versions of our Virtual Command Center were built primarily for Multi-ZOOM events. While this has been a popular event type for our clients, we often need to go live for a basic livestream or virtual broadcast.
Command Center 4.0 has many of the same components, however they’ve been optimized for solo-switching. This means that the presenter (typically Jeff) manages their own video, audio, screen-sharing, etc. in real-time. Since the presenter is “flying solo”, we worked on ways to add production value, without complexity.
As in Command Center 2 and version 3, we’re using the SONY AX53 as our main camera and the AX33 for our second (side angle) camera. These cameras are a perfect run and gun option, that work out of the box. Best of all, you don’t need to purchase additional lenses or have a PhD in photography. Simply point and shoot.
When filming a livestream, it’s important to break up the shot using different angles and movement. How do you add movement without a camera operator? We use the ROV motorized camera slider. This portable slider is mounted to the desk with a c-clamp and adjustable tripod mount extension. A tripod screw and adapter connects everything easily.
Speed and positioning for the slider is controlled via a smartphone app. Choose from a pro mount (for your DSLR or mirrorless camera) or a mobile mount (for your smart phone). We love how compact and easy it is to setup and use.
The ATEM Mini Pro continues to be our video switcher of choice. Most of the time, we record the program feed in the cloud or on our local computer. If you’re looking for ways to record each individual source, choose the ATEM Mini Pro ISO.
Having a reference monitor (or confidence monitor) is important, especially if you’re live-switching yourself. This simple 4K 7″ field monitor is mounted just below our second camera. This allows the talent to see a multi-view, program out, or switch to one of the other sources, using the ATEM Mini Pro. Typically, we set it to multi-view for our Tech Check and switch to Program Out once the stream begins.
Our favorite features of this 7″ field monitor are the headphone jack and looped HDMI out. We can connect this this to a larger TV monitor, in our green room or control room.
Slides & Video Clips
Just above camera 2 is a computer monitor that displays the presenter’s slides, video clips, and even a countdown timer. This is controlled by the MacBook Pro on our desktop, which runs our show control software, QLab. Everything is pre-programmed, before the event, so that it works seamlessly with the single press of a button (or remote control).
The placement of this monitor is important. It allows for the presenter to have a reference of their slides, at all times, and makes it easy to read them, while looking at the secondary camera.
Our mixer of choice for solo-setups is the RodeCaster Pro. With built-in effects and programmable hot keys, for triggering music and sound effects, you can’t really ask for more. It’s easy to use and sounds like a million bucks.
If the presenter will be in a fixed position for the broadcast, the BETA58A continues to be our preference. This dynamic mic reduces background noice and focuses on amplifying the talent.
For broadcasts with a presenter that needs to move freely, we use the Wireless GO. This is our go-to (no pun intended) option for speakers that may forget to stay close to the microphone or aren’t as well versed on mic etiquette.
While you may be tempted to “skip the headphones”, it’s incredibly important that you monitor your stream. Since the presenter is also running the tech, in this scenario, we use these in-ear monitors, with a 25 ft. extension cable. They sound great and are barely visible, on camera.
A power outage can kill your livestream and hurt your reputation. To protect ourselves from power surges and blackouts, we use two main pieces of equipment.
All equipment that use is connected to a surge protector. While a power strip may look the same, it will not protect you in the event of a power surge. This surge protector from Home Depot comes with a $50,000 connected equipment warranty and an 8-foot cord. In most cases, this saves us from having to use an additional extension cord.
Uninterruptible Power Source & Battery Backup
Facing a power outage while broadcasting is only a matter of time. If you’re serious about putting on a great virtual live event, it’s wise to invest in a backup power option. While we have access to a generator and other power backup options, we have two in-house systems that keep us up and online, in the event of an outage.
This Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) powers our Command Center and studio lights. If a brownout or blackout occurs, the battery backup automatically engages. This means roughly 60 minutes of battery power, with zero interruptions. If an outage lasts longer, we can easily switch to a more sustainable power source.
An additional UPS (with battery backup) is connected to our internet router. In the event of a power outage, the battery will automatically kick-in and sound an alarm, to notify our team.
If you get serious about video and audio, it’s likely that you have a mess of cables and wires on hand. Organizing these can be a difficult task. Our rule is that all cables must be easily identified, organized, accessible, and able to be repositioned in seconds. Following these rules makes it possible for us to diagnose issues and make changes to our setup, quickly and easily.
We’re upgraded our zip ties and velcro cord wraps to BongoTies. This product is well-known and respected in the industry, due to it’s versatility, durability, and ability to be re-used. Buy several bags. They’ll change how you organize everything!
Zippered Cable Sleeves
Most cable management sleeves are hard to remove or adjust. If we have four or more cables running to the same location (like our ATEM Mini), you can find one of these zippered cable management sleeves. Need to remove a cable? Don’t worry about uncoiling or cutting. Simply unzip, adjust, and move on.
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