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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old March 7th, 2013, 08:36 AM   #1
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Any luck selling/shooting live events?

After a successful live broadcast of a local high school hockey game, I wonder if anyone has experiences to share about "selling" and earning while shooting live events. My thoughts after streaming through Ustream, would be to hopefully market weekday events, possibly sports, seminars, etc that would only require one stationary camera, unlike a wedding that requires so much mobility. On one hand, my pitch would be increasing their audience, while the other hand may think it could dampen attendance to the event. Any encouraging stories or advice?
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Old March 9th, 2013, 05:21 PM   #2
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Re: Any luck selling/shooting live events?

You'd be trying to sell to folk who also watch multicamera million dollar events.

Unfortunately one stationary camera is not going to cut it.

Cheers.
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Old April 4th, 2013, 07:00 PM   #3
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Re: Any luck selling/shooting live events?

None yet, but I'm working on something that could/maybe/hopefully work as a PPV event and make more than my expenses. (Though we all have similar hopes with new ventures, don't we)?
At this early stage, though, I'm not sure I can - or know how to - do what I want.

I'm still unsure of the basics for streaming a 1 camera event, and I can't find a decent resource to learn from. Before I go out and buy any equipment, I want something that shows not only the equipment I need, but the specific connections, as if I were the proverbial 5th grader.
Nothing I've found yet gets to the level of detail I feel I need before I buy additional equipment.

Right now, this is my understanding of a 1-camera remote setup over ustream:
Hardware:
- a camera (in my case, a Panny HMC-150) with HDMI out, so I'm presuming audio will go along with the video,
- a laptop w/wi-fi capability (so it can connect to a hot-spot created via a cell-phone), and an HDMI card to receive HDMI from the camera (the same Panny HMC-150 mentioned above). (I'm hoping one of these MOTU HD Express Video Interface w/ PCI Express Card 4200 B&H will work. (I suspect I may just need the HDMI PC ExpressCard and not the MOTU HD Express, but I'm thinking that if I have the MOTU do the encoding, then the laptop can better handle sending the signal to the internet),and
- a connection to the internet, preferably hard-wired, but a wi-fi hot-spot created via a cell phone & carrier (e.g. AT&T, Verizon, etc) may be enough.

Software:
- ustream Producer (which, from playing with it, seems to serve as both a simple - though slightly cumbersome-to-use - video switcher and an encoder). I'm still searching to find out if using the MOTU HD Express would put less stress on the laptop resources.

I'd also have to change my cell phone data plan to allow for "tethering", which I don't have at the moment.

I'm also concerned that the venue I have in mind is so remote, I may not be able to get the bandwidth I need. I'm particularly concerned about that, because the event would have lots of fast motion.

Is that the minimum I'd need to test a live stream broadcast?
I've seen ads for the "VidiU", but I don't quite understand where that would fit in the flow. Still searching to learn more about that, too.

If I get that working, I'd be willing to try a much larger event, and publicize the heck out of it, which would require the extra equipment.

If anyone can confirm that I have this right, or any errors/ommissions I've made, I'd welcome the input/feedback.

Thanks.
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Old April 4th, 2013, 09:43 PM   #4
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Re: Any luck selling/shooting live events?

I will report in couple weeks Denis, I am doing my first experiment on Sunday the 21'st and will try to remember to post the link if anyone wishes to try it and comment. The event will be a live video feed of a friend's weekly radio show and my setup will be this:

Single camera, connected to laptop1 via firewire.
Laptop2 to monitor the live feed.
(this part tested for 4 hours pointed at my fish tank)

Venue is providing me with 2 key ingredients,
1) Ethernet cable to my switcher, my switcher then connected to both laptops.
2) Their soundboard will output via XLR cable to my camera.
Streamed via Ustream
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Old April 4th, 2013, 10:59 PM   #5
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Re: Any luck selling/shooting live events?

Ustream looks like pretty good software. I have been playing with this sort of stuff too but haven't tried it yet. I think you're going to need plenty of bandwidth to stream decent quality. Have you considered shooting with a couple of camera's? Ustream can allow you to cut between them and even if they are fixed it will still give you a variety in the show.
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Old April 5th, 2013, 12:43 AM   #6
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Re: Any luck selling/shooting live events?

Darryn,
Thanks for your reply.
Please do post the link. I'll be far from home on the 21st, (all the way out to the west coast), but may be able to sneak a peek if I have the link.

I'm studying your description and trying to picture it. It just sparked an off-the-wall question in my mind:
- In a single cam set-up do you know if a wireless mic (mic & TX in an announcer's booth, RX to the camera's XLR) will work? I can't imagine why it wouldn't, but your mention of using a house feed sparked the question.

The more I think about your set-up, the more questions come to mind:
- will you be using ustream Producer as your broadcast software? I would expect that to be running on laptop1.
When you say "Ethernet cable to my switcher, my switcher then connected to both laptops." do you mean a network switch that is downstream from the house router so each laptop will have a unique IP address? Or do you mean a video switcher/mixer? If it's a single cam shoot, I can't think of a reason to use a video switcher/mixer.

My long-range goal is to be able to live-stream an event that can last 3-4 hours (or maybe slightly more), with a few breaks/lags in the action, hopefully with:
- 3 cams
- 1 wireless mic
- 1 wired mic
- a video switcher/mixer
- someone to serve as "host"/MC/interviewer for the live-streaming audience.
If I can pull that off, even in SD, I'd even consider trying to sell ads to run during breaks in the action.
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Old April 5th, 2013, 09:21 AM   #7
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Re: Any luck selling/shooting live events?

Yes Damian, if the experiment goes well and I can think of a way for this type of project to pay, I would absolutely love to do multi cameras, hopefully I am successful at experiment #1 !!

Denis, originally I was going with a wireless lav until my friend mentioned they could "plug-me-in" which should be perfect. Actually, think of my switcher as a Y-adapter, they have their own computer in the studio with a wired ethernet connection, I will be unplugging this and plugging into my "switch" input, then send 3 outputs, 1 to theirs and 2 to mine.

My whole idea started with high school hockey playoffs. Have a table with 2 students as the commentators while I shoot the game. This would require of course 2 cameras and live switching, but I don't have enough hands :)
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Old April 6th, 2013, 02:44 AM   #8
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Re: Any luck selling/shooting live events?

I've done this a fair bit. I usually use a couple old DV cameras (one reason I keep a couple old PD150s around). There are a couple reasons for this. First HD streaming is high bandwidth and remember you
need high UPLOAD speed not download speed to stream HD video. Second, I had to deal with many
'Tech support' calls to my cell phone asking why the 'video was stuttery on my computer'. Not what
you want to deal with, when you are trying to pull off a live multi-camera webcast by yourself....especially when the answer was always 'because your Internet speed is too slow!'

Secondly, with DV cameras, a laptop and wirecast, I can do a 3 camera shoot and stream right to Ustream, JustinTV, Livestream, or a variety of other places. For audio I set up mics run them to a mixer, and then mixer out to my (A) cam which is one of my PD150s which has XLR in, so it carries the 'master' audio
track and I set the video switcher in wirecast to just switch video when I cut to the other cameras and leave the 'master' audio track in all the time. I don't have a ton of business doing it, but I have done it for several different types of events and know how to do it well enough to get a 7 month contract from the governors
office to webcast some events live.
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Old April 6th, 2013, 04:02 AM   #9
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Re: Any luck selling/shooting live events?

A 7 month contract with the State? Way to go, Gabe.

Have you used the PPV feature that ustream provides? (I'm guessing that the State contract doesn't allow for use of that, but what about other events you've done)?

Also, can you provide a link to learn about - or advice on accurately calculating - how much data I'll be uploading? My first broadcast will be using my cell phone to connect to the internet. (This location is far too remote for a wired connection). My carrier is AT&T, and their data plan covers 5 GB for a set price, then a set amount for each additional GB. I'd like to be able to closely estimate how many GB I'll be uploading in order to budget for this.

My plan at the moment is to start by live streaming coverage of a horse-riding event in Pennsylvania over Mother's Day weekend. For that I will almost certainly use a single cam and a free/basic ustream account. I still have some investigating to do regarding my signal strength for that. Also, that event will not have a dedicated MC/host, but I hope to be able to use a wireless mic in the announcer's booth. He usually does an excellent job announcing for the participants, and I hope to use his announcing for the audio portion, maybe with some additional audio stored on my laptop. I just hope I'm not biting off more than I can chew, as I'll be shooting the event along with managing what gets broadcast via producer during breaks.

I visited the venue today and spoke with the owner, and he's all for it. If I can manage to get everything working well and I get decent speed for the upload/uplink, he's already talking about having me stream other events at his venue. So, I may be looking at upgrading to ustream's Producer Pro and a Pro account. Some of these events have some potential to make some money if I can get them advertised well-enough in advance, but I've got to get a smooth process, first.

Thanks for taking part, for your response, and any additional info you're willing to provide.
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Old April 6th, 2013, 05:56 AM   #10
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Re: Any luck selling/shooting live events?

Great tips Gabe, in fact I have a pair of VX2100's sitting around !!
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Old April 6th, 2013, 09:41 PM   #11
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Re: Any luck selling/shooting live events?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Denis Danatzko View Post
A 7 month contract with the State? Way to go, Gabe.

Have you used the PPV feature that ustream provides? (I'm guessing that the State contract doesn't allow for use of that, but what about other events you've done)?

Also, can you provide a link to learn about - or advice on accurately calculating - how much data I'll be uploading? My first broadcast will be using my cell phone to connect to the internet. (This location is far too remote for a wired connection). My carrier is AT&T, and their data plan covers 5 GB for a set price, then a set amount for each additional GB. I'd like to be able to closely estimate how many GB I'll be uploading in order to budget for this.

My plan at the moment is to start by live streaming coverage of a horse-riding event in Pennsylvania over Mother's Day weekend. For that I will almost certainly use a single cam and a free/basic ustream account. I still have some investigating to do regarding my signal strength for that. Also, that event will not have a dedicated MC/host, but I hope to be able to use a wireless mic in the announcer's booth. He usually does an excellent job announcing for the participants, and I hope to use his announcing for the audio portion, maybe with some additional audio stored on my laptop. I just hope I'm not biting off more than I can chew, as I'll be shooting the event along with managing what gets broadcast via producer during breaks.

I visited the venue today and spoke with the owner, and he's all for it. If I can manage to get everything working well and I get decent speed for the upload/uplink, he's already talking about having me stream other events at his venue. So, I may be looking at upgrading to ustream's Producer Pro and a Pro account. Some of these events have some potential to make some money if I can get them advertised well-enough in advance, but I've got to get a smooth process, first.

Thanks for taking part, for your response, and any additional info you're willing to provide.
You know, I have not ever used PPV features or ad supported or anything like that. They are all interesting, and I've looked into live streaming high school sports, because in my area, all the high schools have to fly to competitions (we have no roads) and I KNOW many parents that live only 50-60 miles away, cannot afford to fly over and would LOVE to be able to watch the games. The problem, is always in making it pay for itself. I can't see how I could make enough money doing it to do more than offset the costs if that. A well done multi camera webcast cost money, I do them with the local PBS and their Sony Anycast system and I know what it takes. I do a budget version with a locked down wide shot,
and a couple camera right next to me, one on a MCU and another on a CU....but with something fast moving like sports, you'd need to hire cam ops to follow action. In my area, we just don't have the population to make ad supported or pay per view pan out.

I do them a different way, I am contracted and paid up front by a client that wants something live streamed. That's the only way it works for me. If you are more of a hobbyist and don't do it for your
only source of income, and just want to explore new possible income streams, I'd say go for it!
I wish I could do that, but for me, it's not worth the amount of time and effort that goes into producing
one of these, unless I know I am going to be paid....they are actually a good amount of work to do
one and have it rival a TV broadcast....but it can be done, I've done quite a few, by myself even.
It helps that I used to work at a small TV station where I was the director for live newscasts.
And some days, I was TD (switcher) as well. And other days, I had to run down from the directing
booth and switch camera shots during commercial breaks or when we cut to the news packages
on tape. So my first job out of video production school gave me a lot of 'experience' in doing
EVERYTHING yourself, just trying keep the live newscast going out on the air.

If you are trying to make it pay off, I'd say you are taking a pretty sizable risk doing ad supported or
pay per view. Especially if you have to buy any gear to do it. Just paying for the Ustream or
Livestream 'pro' accounts (the ones where they don't insert any ads themselves) is a monthly
fixed fee that is not unsubstantial. For my state contract, I use Akamai (actually a small subsidiary
as Akamai only deals with really big webcasts) but I have access to the Akamai infastructure
and don't have to worry about servers going down and so on. Now I am going from memory when
I set up the account but I think it was about $300 a month...and it goes up depending on if you
go over your 'bandwidth allowance'. It's kind of hard as you have to pick a specified number of
Gigs/transfer you want and you don't really know how many viewers you will have, and then you
get charged overages if you go over, and the overages are higher than if you had bought it outright
the first time. But you also don't want to overpay if you don't have a lot of viewers, so its a bit
of a 'black art' deciding what to go with. My plan allowed me to change month to month so
that's what I did. I do one meeting a month, and usually have 200-500 viewers so I usually
get by with the $300 plan, I think I had to go up to $500 one month.

I have used Ustream's Pro account once to stream a memorial service online as a bunch of
the family was on the East coast and could not attend. It worked fine as well, I just paid
for the month of service and then cancelled. That is the thing with all this streaming
video, if you don't have steady work doing it that will pay for it, you can quickly end up
paying more in than you get out. At least in my case, as it is not a big part of my work.
Just like the rest of the video industry, people can now use iPhones to broadcast live from,
so I only do multicamera to try to bring some value to it so that a client might be willing to
at least think of paying me to do it.

Any other questions, just let me know.
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Old April 6th, 2013, 09:46 PM   #12
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Re: Any luck selling/shooting live events?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darryn Carroll View Post
Great tips Gabe, in fact I have a pair of VX2100's sitting around !!
Ha, I got one more tip for you, as I have used a VX2100 in my livecasts many times. Here it is.
Put a tape in it and hit record at the start of the webcast. If the tape runs out, eject it, put another
tape in and hit record again! See the PD150's were considered at least nominally part of the
'pro' division. They will stay on as long as they have power. The VX2100's on the other hand....
they will shut off after a period of time without recording. So you can have a camera suddenly
go black on you in the middle of your live webcast! Other consumer cameras will start playing
through their 'digital effects'. So 5 minutes into your webcast, the picture will suddenly go
sepia tone, warp into a wormhole or one of a hundred other useless and distracting visual
'effects' that they used to put on the cheap DV cameras. So if you have anything less
than a PD 150, bring tapes and record. As long as the cameras are recording, they will
stay powered on and sending a good signal to your webcast.
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