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Has the Age of the Solo Live Producer Arrived?

Have the need to distance and the widespread availability of versatile, small-footprint, low-cost, multicam streaming-ready tools brought single-producer live production to the mainstream? Ben Ratner and Alex Lindsay discuss at Streaming Media East Connect 2020.

Watch the complete panel from Streaming Media East Connect on the Streaming Media YouTube channel.

Learn more about live streaming production at Streaming Media West 2020.

Read the complete transcript of this clip:

Ben Ratner: I come from the prosumer world where, for four or five years now, I've been the only person on a production many times. I think that that kind of work--not for every occasion, but for many occasions--is going to come in use now. Someone who is not only able to do the basic tech--audio, video, have a camera, know the basics of using bonded cellular or getting connected to the internet--but also is able to do all-in-one production with something like TriCaster, OBS, Wirecast, or any of the prosumer, mid-level ways to do live multicamera production.

That's a good kind of person to know, or to be able to hire, because if you're not allowed to have 50 people in a room and you can only have, let's say 25 people, you're not going to waste 10 of those people on a live streaming crew. Clients are going to want one person in there that could just do everything, or someone that can handle it with different elements and send all your signals to somewhere else.

I think if it's possible to find all-in-one tech producers--or all-in-one producers in general--that's a useful thing until we know more about what's going on. Obviously, if you have the opportunity to hire and bring in bigger teams, it will be better. It will be nicer. But sometimes you have to deal with the reality of amount of people you can fit in the room.

Alex Lindsay: I think that the reason that things are going to change so dramatically is because the technology was here to do it. Zoom was here to do it. Right now we can throw an ATEM Mini with three 6K cameras and a little mixer into a 1510 and a backpack, send a person out, and they can cut a three-camera. We all are playing with them. And so you can cut a very basic show with that.

Is that going to replace all the stuff that we have? No, but you can do a relatively good show, especially as a contribution into a larger show. That's one of the reasons I started doing this morning thing called Office Hours that has 300 people showing up from around the world every day--and all we're doing is talking about production--is because I need to make sure that I have exactly what you're looking for, Ben. I need to make sure that I know who those people are anywhere in the world, because we're going to need them as this continues to move forward.

And so how do we educate them? How do we help them educate each other? It's really more peer-to-peer than it is a class. But a lot of that is paying attention to--you're absolutely right--this all-in-one approach. And the hardest thing by the way, is audio. Video is relatively straightforward. People who understand audio and coms are gold. That's been our experience. Audio is much harder to teach than video from a live perspective because you can't see it, you know, but audio is probably more important than video because you can't listen to bad audio for very long. You can watch bad video for quite some time.

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