Live Streaming Graduation Check List
Many schools are now streaming their graduations live on the Internet to family and friends across the globe. To make the broadcast successful, it takes the proper equipment and streaming service. This article covers the equipment, services, and best practices to ensure your successful broadcast of your live stream graduation.
The Live Streaming Process
Live streaming a graduation is relatively simple. Just put an iPhone on a tripod next to the lectern and start a Facebook Live, right?
Well… you COULD do it that way. However, privacy and security issues aside, you may want just a bit more control over the streaming quality, viewer experience, and archival.
Here’s an ideal scenario to live stream graduation:
- HD cameras and high quality microphones managed through a sound system capture the event.
- The AV equipment then connects to an HD video encoder for delivery to a streaming service.
- Viewers go to a web page to see the graduation live on their computers and mobile devices.
- The stream can simultaneously go to social channels like Facebook and YouTube.
- The streaming server records the event for on-demand playback at the same web address.
- Live tech support is with you for the webcast to make sure your event goes off without a hitch.
Equipment You’ll Need to Live Stream Graduation
You can capture with mobile phone, but a modern camera with an HDMI output is ideal. If you use two cameras, your second video input could also be the VGA output of a computer, allowing you to switch to show a web page, image, PowerPoint presentation, video, or anything else on that computer’s screen.
Putting your camera(s) on a tripod ensures that there is as little motion as possible in your feed. Any tripod will do the trick, but a tripod with a swivel head will allow for the smoothest capture.
It’s best practice to connect the graduation PA system to the audio input on the video camera. When you record the audio directly into the camera the audio you get the best quality audio that is automatically in sync with the picture as it goes to the video encoder. If the PA audio is not available, the next best thing is pointing an external boom microphone at the nearest audio speaker. A last resort is to use the internal mic on the camera. However, this method will capture lots of ambient noise and deliver an unpleasant viewer experience.
Encoding is the process of compressing and changing the format of raw video content from the camera to a digital file. It also compresses the content to take up less space, which is important for sending data across the Internet as quickly as possible.
There are many manufacturers of software and hardware video encoders. A free software option is OBS (Open Broadcaster Software).
We happen to be a manufacturer of video encoders, so here’s a shameless plug for our products to help you stream your graduation:
An app for smartphones, tablets, PCs, and Macs that provides a software solution for recording and streaming live. Can be used with web cams or external cameras with our Captiva adapters.
A lightweight mobile streaming system that incorporates the Streamsie Pro encoder onto a powerful laptop computer with an HDMI adapter for capturing and streaming video and VGA.
Video production in a box, this self-contained universal HD encoder and video switcher appliance is perfect for live HD streaming from multiple cameras or other video sources.
This portable video encoder gives you multiple channel options to capture a continuous stream and/or record with ease. Available with one, four or eight channels.
Connecting to The Internet
Back to the scenario with the iPhone at the podium…
Besides the quality being questionable, you may not have the kind of connectivity to Facebook that will keep your broadcast from freezing or skipping over the one moment grandma was waiting for.
The success of your graduation stream depends on a good network connection to your streaming service/server. You’ll need at least 5 Mbps (megabits/second) of guaranteed upload bandwidth to deliver the graduation in full motion and high resolution (check with our bandwidth calculator).
Cellular is Good
Any smartphone can transform into a hot spot for transmission. However, cellular is generally a last resort for a live stream because of the uncertainty of the upload bandwidth. The biggest risk to your broadcast is the local cell tower being overwhelmed if audience members start capturing their own video with their cell phones. If you have to use a cellular, we recommend the Rover encoder be used in tandem with a cellular modem or a hot spot device.
WiFi is Better
Connecting to a WiFi network can be as good as an Ethernet, provided you still have at an upload bandwidth of at least 5 Mbps. Make sure your WiFi network is password protected and limits the users. The downside of WiFi networks is the possibility of the graduation attendees (students with a password) also jumping on and sucking up your bandwidth. The DiscoverVideo Rover encoder is a good choice since it includes both Ethernet and WiFi connectivity.
Ethernet is Best
The best way to get your stream to the Internet is to connect your encoder to your school’s local area network or Ethernet.
A Streaming Platform for Remote & Overflow
Quite often there is limited seating at the graduation venue. By using a streaming platform you can easily deliver the live video to large TV monitors within the school/campus. Send the live stream to decoding receiving devices on each monitor. Everyone can have front row seat whether they are in the graduation auditorium, or in an overflow room.
The streaming platform is also what facilitates the broadcast to a public or private URL and social channels.
Public & Private Streaming Platforms
Facebook / YouTube
Facebook, YouTube, and Zoom are popular public services that can deliver your live stream to viewers worldwide. These services are free, however, there is no technical support, and there maybe limitations on the number of viewers, ads popping up around your video, limited statistics on your viewers, and archival storage restrictions.
You might consider the added value of having personalized support from a streaming expert with a private service.
Arcus is DiscoverVideo’s simple and inexpensive cloud streaming service that can get your live video to thousands of viewers worldwide. The Arcus CDN provides the ability to customize the viewing webpage and review the statistics/reports. It also allows people to add comments and questions. Arcus does not include any ads or related content to distract viewers. You can also record and place the VOD on Arcus for post graduation viewing.
DEVOS Enterprise Video System
DEVOS is a complete video distribution system which includes unlimited live streams, video on demand, digital signage, presentation systems, and many more features. This investment in DEVOS allows your schools to stream the live graduation and use the same system for streaming video across your school district every day: hybrid classrooms, professional development, sports events, theatrical performances, special events, lecture capture, campus video messaging, IPTV, and more. DEVOS can also reach thousands of viewers with sophisticated features such as multiview – watch multiple streams of the graduation on a single viewing device.
Graduation Streaming Checklist
It’s really important to the students and their families that the event that caps 12 years of hard work be well-captured and easily shared.
Ensure the best quality live graduation stream and broadcasting success with this quick checklist:
- Quality cameras on tripods
- Microphones connected to the sound system
- HD Video encoder
- Reliable dedicated connection to the Internet with a minimum upload speed of 5 mbps.
- Private streaming platform with personalized support.
When you are looking for a way to guarantee the quality of your graduation stream to local and Internet viewing, contact DiscoverVideo. We look forward to showing you how DiscoverVideo’s flexible and affordable graduation streaming solution will make your job easier.