How COVID-19 Has Changed Streaming Workflows
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Liz Hart: It's obviously an incredibly difficult time right now, but live streamers being the innovators and the problem solvers that we are, if there was ever an industry to solve it, I think it is this one. It's an interesting time for us because we've gone from being a secondary thought to a primary thought for clients who wouldn't necessarily have viewed us in this way. It's reaching out and consulting with livestream teams and partners earlier than we've ever been before, to ask, "What are the tools that can drive this programming?" As opposed to, "Can we turn what might have been a live event in and of its own standing into something that's additionally live streamed." So being able to have that seat at the table is changing the workflow in that we're starting conversations earlier. We're also raising different formats and also different ways to use tools earlier and thus ways to budget differently.
There's also an education component that we're seeing falling to livestream teams. Clients are asking us to distill what the options are now, and because it's so much more than wanting just another Zoom, we're being tasked with explaining different formats. We've maybe seen anywhere between 10 and 20 different types of shows that can happen, whether it's hub-and-spoke or a more editorial type of conglomeration of packages. All of these different options are now falling to our sales teams and our business development teams to help clients understand this as well, and then logistically plan for those things.
So I'm personally seeing it in planning in advance, and then also in a more granular way, I'm working with talent and at-home, remote contributors who then we are looking to us to walk them through specifically what it's going to take for them to provide a good feed, to set up a good shot, and planning for the time that that takes as well, in addition to translating for new audiences and how they can participate is changing all of our scheduling and all of our staffing and resources and all of our budgets.
Alex Lindsay: In the last decade, we've prepped, probably 4,000-5,000 people for remote events. We kind of break people into four groups, as far as remote participants. We have a team. A really high-profile event means we drop a team on the ground to manage every location that is not practical at the moment. That is one. Then we have remote broadcast, which is a broadcast-level camera, completely IP-controlled, so that we're able to literally shade the camera remotely, handle the mics, everything else. We drop the kit, it builds up, and we control it from master control. And then we have a web kit--usually about a $500-$700 kit--which is a good webcam, lights, mic, earpiece, to tighten everybody up.
And then we do "best effort." Best effort is just, "What can we do with what they have there?" And I think that we're dealing with right now, all of those things, where best effort has become really popular because you can't buy the webcams that we would typically use. All the Logitech stuff is sold out. So the webcams and the microphones that we learned to lean on heavily for these remote events are not available. So we're getting pretty scrappy about how we put those together.
But as Liz alluded to, a lot of us are getting brought in a lot earlier. The most important things for a lot of these events, because there's so many multiple points is being able to have enough lead time to--you don't want to call everybody and prep them the day before the event, because we need to know what kind of internet they have, where they're going to sit, how they're going to do those things. So we're trying to get hold of them 10 days, 15 days ahead of time, so that if there's something that needs to be done, we have time to actually execute that.
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