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How to Make Your Remote Live Talent Look and Sound Awesome

Stream4us' Anthony Burokas offers best practices for making remote guests in multi-source live productions look and sound their best in this clip from Streaming Media West Connect.

Learn more about remote live production at Streaming Media East.

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Read the complete transcript of this video:

Anthony Burokas: One of the key things I find useful in terms of making remotes work well is making sure that the guests that you are going to be bringing into the remote know what they need to do. On my website, I have a page called "How to look awesome." And on the right, I talk about different things that you need to do. Like, "Is your location awesome?" Make sure that you don't have a window behind you. "Do you sound awesome?" I talk about using headphones, and if somebody has a good microphone, they can use that as well. Or if they have a USB headset with a microphone, that's even better, because then the microphone is right there, no matter how they turn. And then, "Is your internet awesome?" Check your upload speed, check your download speed, because that's my speed to them for the return feed.

"Know your settings." Working through people, learning how to set their camera inputs, because sometimes we'll send them a webcam for their laptop because built in the webcams don't look super awesome. We'll send them a Logitech, or whatever. And when they plug it in, it's still gonna use the default built-in webcam, which is not going to look super awesome. As an example of that, this is my Logitech on top of my laptop, and this is a high-end gaming laptop and the webcam that's in it. And I'm just going to show you a still image from a remote call that I was using it on. This is the webcam that's built in, and this is the Logitech. And hopefully, that comes through on Zoom. The difference between blah, and the difference between looking good.

So, on my website, I say I make you look awesome and sound awesome, and that having an external camera makes a big difference, and getting the remote guests, working them through how to select the remote camera, how to select their earbuds, or if they have an inline microphone, I have ones that don't specifically, so that using this microphone, but working with them so that they can look and sound their best is what I do.

This page on the website is the first thing that I send them so that they can walk through and know what to expect, know that they're going to need headphones. Know that they have to not set up in the middle of the living room where kids are going to be running around and the big bay windows are behind them. We have to select a quiet location that doesn't sound like a box, and be in a space where they can control the sound. So that we have the best sound, I explain to them the interface that they're gonna click into. And again, if you're going to use a Wirecast or a vimoLive or something like that, your instructions would be different here. So this is configured for the tool that I choose to use. And it shows the interface buttons right here that they'll look at.

Down the bottom, I have some technical information in case they have an IT department, they can copy and paste this and give it to them. And that is something that I send to each remote guest for my shows so they have a heads up. I want them to look good. It's not always as easy as I would like it to, but "help you help me to help you" is in essence what I'm trying to do. I'm trying to give them the information so that they can make choices before we've even connected to a place that's going to sound good, a place that's isolated, a place that has good light. Put a table lamp in front of you like I have a lamp in front of me. If I turn that off, or turn it down, I don't look as good as if I have this turned this up. So having good lighting, all of that helps make remote guests--and obviously any guests in front of cameras--look better.

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