You can do it on Facebook… You can do it on your phone… You can do it with your grandmother…
You even do it on your phone. Live streaming has taken the world by storm.
Skype, Meerkat, Periscope, and FaceTime are all popular ways to live stream anything and everything from big events to simple, day-to-day conversations.. Even if you haven’t taken advantage of these technologies yourself, you’ve probably heard about that a few months ago, Meerkat, the live streaming app, raised $14 million in funding; and Twitter bought the streaming app, Periscope, for more than $86 million at the end of March.
There are many means to stream, but not all are created equal. Consumer-based streaming products have raised awareness of live-streaming. When siblings are miles apart, they skype. Showing off a new skill? The world is your stage on Periscope. Audio visual professionals can easily offer high end live streaming as a part of their core services.
KWIPPED sat down with Joel Rienstra, founder and owner of My Streaming Wedding and StreamByte TV, to discuss the live streaming business. Discussion topics included live streaming opportunities, challenges and equipment.
Q: What are the top benefits of streaming?
A: The first is that live streaming is great for friends and family who cannot be at an event in person due to long distance, inability to travel, or sickness. It’s a great option for being able to offer an alternative for your guests. Other reasons people provide live streaming of their events include: short notice of an event with little lead time, the decision to elope, the choice to have a destination wedding, or simply the desire for a small ceremony.
Q: How did you get into live streaming?
A: I started as a videographer offering standard services—commercials for businesses, etc. I worked mostly in the corporate world. I began working for a company in 2012, LiveU, which developed cutting-edge technology mostly used by news companies. The general premise was that videographers could carry cellular devices in on their backs as backpacks to secure a continuous video transmission. It allowed mobility for journalist and videographers, which ultimately changed the way live news is broadcasted.
In 2013 I wanted to create my own business. I knew that live streaming was the way things were heading—it was a solution to many problems. Mobility in live streaming has always been an issue, but with LiveU backpacks I saw an opportunity to change how live events were streamed. I wanted to educate people on live streaming but also introduce them to a better way of doing things. Ultimately, I knew that in order for my business to be profitable, I would have to educate and get people thinking “outside of the box.” It was a leap of faith at first, but we have seen tremendous interest in live streaming.
Q: What type of events do you stream?
A: Weddings are very popular. Weddings are huge in this country, but there are plenty of other cultures whose weddings are a community-wide event. It’s those communities that really embrace live streaming. Sporting events, especially racing, college football, are also popular. We also stream a lot of corporate events, meetings with keynote speakers, presentations. We offer graphic services, in addition to overlaying powerpoint presentations on the live stream. The possibilities are endless.
Some other events that are a bit niche include academic competitions—for example, we recently live streamed an architectural engineering national design competition for university students. Brand-themed events are also popular for businesses looking to brand themselves. Outside of the business world, individuals live stream a variety of events.
Q: What equipment do you use for live streaming?
LiveU – for wireless Internet services
I think they’re the best ones out there. We can use them everywhere. They stream to our headquarters, where it is processed, and then encoded to the web in a streamable format.
– Standard videography equipment
This includes HD cameras, wireless lapel microphones (used for those with speaking roles), secondary mics for people or music in the background.
– Memory cards, tripods
– Our control room has our receiving servers that capture the video, which are sent to a video encoding computer. They are then processed to our CDN (Content Delivery Network). We use multi-bitrate encodings including HD (720p), 360p and a mobile-grade quality in case someone is watching on a slower connection. We have tech support available to assist with any issues during the live stream.
If you were renting a streaming kit, you would use your lap top that’s connected to wifi or ethernet. We include a capture device, which allows you to bridge the camera to your laptop. We ship the laptop, camera, capture device, HD camera, wireless lapel mic, and a tripod, all packaged in a case. We ship it a few days before your event, then test the day prior or before. We observe your live stream test and assist in any way possible. We provide the hosting and CDN as well.
Q: What is the difference between a DIY streaming job, and a professional job?
A: DIY has the potential to be too complex for the average person. Live streaming has its origins in the broadcast industry, where dozens of people were required to be live at once. Doing it yourself can be a tremendous task!
The biggest difference is quality. You need fast Internet connection for proper live streaming. In general, it is challenging to get a HD quality signal to your laptop from where your event is being held. Not only do you need fast downloads, but you need fast uploads. Your typical consumer or business-grade Internet may not have the upload speeds required for uninterrupted streaming. We’ve seen this to be true in many event spaces, where high speed Internet is not a top priority.
As far as free services, they are typically an ad-based model that requires users to share the stream with everyone. Other services, such as Skype or Go to Meeting, limit the number of participants. YouTube live has become extremely popular, but we have heard of copyright issues. Say, you’re playing music during your wedding that is copyrighted. YouTube has the right to pull the audio immediately off air.
Ultimately, you have to accept that the DIY method might fail and will almost surely lack in quality.
Q: What is the cost difference between DIY and professional?
A: Every event is different regarding time, travel, and just logistics. We cater our price to fit these needs. Our professional on-site jobs usually end up being about $2-3,000. We work alongside your traditional videographer or photographer to provide the best high quality live stream.
At My Streaming Weddings, we offer rental kits, that are pretty straight forward. It’s typically around $650 to rent these kits, and includes 2 hours of live streaming, return labels for shipped equipment, testing, tech support, etc. There is no other service that offers what we do.
Q: Do you see a day when every wedding will be live streamed?
A: It’s moving in that direction. I want to expand the live streaming universe. It’s becoming more and more of a reality that everything is moving to streaming. It should be interesting to see how the paradigm shifts, and companies that are offering excellent live streaming services will have the leg up.
A special thanks to Joel Rienstra, founder and owner of My Streaming Wedding and StreamByte TV, for taking the time to give insight into the live streaming business.
About My Streaming Wedding
My Streaming Wedding offer premium streaming services that is both high quality and reliable. Their team is made up of professional videographers with years of experience. My Streaming Weddings use state of the art HD broadcasting technology that allows streaming from almost anywhere. They offer professional on-site services in addition to rental and DIY packages. Their sister company, StreamByte TV, a live event broadcasting company, creates feature-rich live video experience for nearly every event.