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SME '19: Liz Hart Talks Large-Scale Live Streaming

Read the complete transcript of this interview:

Tim Siglin: Welcome to Streaming Media East 2019. This is a very first interview for the show and I'm Tim Siglin, Contributing Editor with Streaming Media Magazine and the Executive Director of the not-for-profit Help Me! Stream. Today, I've got with me, Liz Hart. So Liz, you told me before we went on air that essentially what you do is you work with livestream teams and plug yourself into that. Tell me a little bit about what that means.

Liz Hart: Yes, I work primarily in the world of live events. And as you go further and further into the scale of large live events, you also want to bring that experience home to people, so we do quite a bit of livestreaming components for these major large-scale events. It's things like the Democratic National Convention, things like the Met Gala Red Carpet. I work with teams that do events for world summits. We did the Climate Action Summit last year, which brought a whole lot of world influencers together in San Francisco. And we go behind the scenes and cover tops and tails of plenary sessions or what might be happening behind the scenes with what's that entire experience looking like. And I work with companies like LiveX, which specializes in live events. I work with a company called Castle Point Technologies that also does quite a bit of live streaming and also really any live event component that really any live event that has a broadcast component to it, I pair with those folks as my partners and help fill various roles.

Tim Siglin: So is your background traditional broadcast, live trucks, that kind of thing, or was it more streaming and you weld into liaising the broadcast?

Liz Hart: It was live events first and then at the advent, maybe 10 years ago, give or take, of the live streaming platforms when we started putting cameras up and trying-- wait, I remember when it used to be just a one single shot, put a camera up and let's put it online. It began with that and then it evolved into these highly produced, beautiful pieces of content and an experience in live streaming broadcast trucks and all of the different roles that came with that, I trained in each of the different seats. And now I'm kind of of a swing flyer. If you need an AD, I will be there for you for that, I've been the AD or producer in the broadcast truck for the New Year's Eve Ball Drop in Times Square for that official live stream.

Tim Siglin: Again, no pressure, low-profile event.

Liz Hart: No, high stakes and high pressure.

Tim Siglin: See I used to do live events, but I'm only 22 and I look like I'm 50, so I decided that the stress was a little, little too much

Liz Hart: It's a youthful glow that is working in live.

Tim Siglin: Those are, you know, you have to do it right the first time, obviously and the pressure of the broadcasters is the same as the pressure of the live stream because essentially, it's the same aggregate audience watching in one model versus the other.

Liz Hart: Absolutely.

Tim Siglin: Do you find because you've worked in traditional broadcast and you're working in live streaming, that there's a barrier between the broadcast people and the streaming people and if so are you like an interpreter between those two groups?

Liz Hart: That's real interesting you say that. I do find that, especially in the world of live events, there are many ways to do a live event or in the many perspectives to do it from. I found a niche and I really enjoy it in this interpretation. There is television broadcast jargon. Live streaming is pretty similar but there are a couple differences. Maybe some different priorities or ways that it fits into the larger puzzle of this live event. Live event language, in and of itself, is its own fluency, if you will, and especially if you really dive in. If you're working in entertainment or politics, also two different languages that being fluent in all of them have made it easier, especially in a role like being an AD where you need all of the people in your ear that you're talking to to hear what they need to hear, to be able to do their best work, which will affect the show and its efficiency, so.

Tim Siglin: Well, that's really interesting. And you're right that is a niche. You've found a place that you're able to actually converse with both sides and maybe even smooth things over if there's any inconsistencies in the language

Liz Hart: I agree, I agree. And it's something that I found out kind of by necessity, where in maybe a day before we're going live we hear someone calling or a director calling for a certain thing. Even as you work with individual directors, you start to understand their nuances in the way that they work and then all of the operators in the truck also might have certain ways that they just respond faster, so being adaptable in that role is one the biggest challenges, but also, for me, one of the most fun things to figure out and piece together to make sure that everybody is moving--

Tim Siglin: And when it all goes right, that euphoria of having gotten it right as well.

Liz Hart: My favorite thing after an event is to sit back and say what, it's kind of like reminiscing about old good times, which were really an hour ago. And saying can you believe we've pivoted and bought time or maneuvered some pieces in a rundown to make something amazing, we all just got through that together.

Tim Siglin: Nice, nice, nice, nice. It's a band of brothers, so to speak.

Liz Hart: In the trenches and a broadcast truck is absolutely in the trenches.

Tim Siglin: Yeah, absolutely. All right, one last question. What do you expect to find out of the show for the next two days? 'Cause obviously this is the very beginning of the show.

Liz Hart: Well, I'm on a panel momentarily about all of the different roles in a broadcast truck and I'm super interested in discussing how all of those roles affect everyone who are here. I know we've got people from suppliers, people who are here to learn more, people who understand their very specialized part of the entire live streaming world extremely well. So I really love the ability for people like me to come learn about what their priorities are and how they fit into the truck that I spend six hours in for an event, for example. And there's this overall interest I can feel of people wanting to learn everybody else's part of how they fit into our industry.

Tim Siglin: And it does seem that we've moved to the point where broadcasters are, at least, open to learning some of those things. You know, I think they prefer that everybody who works on broadcast is a class one engineer and understands the nuances of broadcasting, but ultimately, it seems like there's a relative acceptance, especially now that live OTT is begun to actually, for sports and breaking events, has begun to be a norm that people are willing to learn that. So I think you're at the right point at the right time of the industry as well.

Liz Hart: Live streaming is a cross-section of a lot of people who have different specialties and that's very interesting. A director has this creative eye, we have technicians who make sure that we can do the work that we need to do when we're calling different cameras, setting up talents, setting up people. And that is just, it really does I'm awe-inspired often when I talk to people who are on the same show as me who have a such a nuanced job in and of themselves but we are talking about the same show, the same content, the same rundown and when you look at that, we see two totally different lines of work and deliverables that we need. But we need each other. It's very symbiotic and it's nice to be in one place with all those folks here today.

Tim Siglin: Awesome, well, thank you very much for your time. Again, this has been Liz Hart and we will be right back.

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