Streaming Media

Streaming Media on Facebook Streaming Media on Twitter Streaming Media on LinkedIn

Executive Decisions: Gearing Up for Corporate Streaming

The availability of simple and affordable, quality, professional equipment can enhance your corporate messaging. Let's take a look at some of what's available and see how it can be used to revolutionize your messaging inside the office

Check out Streaming Media's Field Guide to Corporate A/Vsponsored by Broadfield Distributing.

Video is already ubiquitous in today’s world. Over the years, it’s moved beyond the TV and onto the computer screen. From there, it moved onto our handheld devices. Now that almost anything with an internet connection can play or livestream video, the uses of video are growing exponentially. YouTube and Pinterest are already prime destinations for “how-to” instructions.

A huge percentage of viewers’ home entertainment comes via an OTT streaming service rather than cable or OTA antennas. And many would-be celebrities record or livestream the most banal aspects of their daily lives. It’s inescapable, and it’s only going to keep growing for the foreseeable future.

Corporations have used video for decades. Before digital and tape mediums, they even shot important communiqués on film. Sometimes the content has been the most cringeworthy safety videos full of wholly unbelievable gruesome accidents showing what can happen if you don’t heed warnings and signs. Other times, lengthy internal training has been distributed to new employees. But the ease of utilizing these new technologies has expanded the cases in which video can be implemented to great effect.

There are so many ways in which business can use video. Sales training, internal communications, all-hands meetings, investor and annual reports, and quarterly reviews are all repetitive communications that can be shot once and shared with an unlimited audience around the globe. For some small companies, just recording a meeting with someone’s phone is good enough. But the availability of simple and affordable, quality, professional equipment can enhance your corporate messaging. Let’s take a look at some of what’s available and see how it can be used to revolutionize your messaging inside the office.

Pro Streaming Solutions

If your business is beyond the smartphone-camera solution, then you’re probably in the market for a multicamera professional system. No multi-camera system is complete or even usable without a complementary system to control and switch the cameras. Fortunately, today’s technology doesn’t require a permanent studio and six-person crew to make a production.

Even professional solutions like the NewTek TriCaster 410 Plus are approachable and easily learned by amateurs. NewTek’s TriCaster series of switchers has long been a respected leader in the live video production space. The 410 Plus (Figure 1, below) packs in generous features that will allow your video productions to evolve and grow for years ahead.

Figure 1. NewTek TriCaster 410 Plus

The 410 Plus supports up to eight camera sources over SDI connections and eight more cameras over NDI, NewTek’s open-source Network Device Interface protocol. Dozens of companies are implementing NDI technology into their hardware and software allowing incredible flexibility in making connections among devices in a live video setup. With software alone, you can connect to and completely control pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras for productions with fewer crew members. The 410 also offers native Skype TX support, allowing producers to pull in a Skype call as a video source. And with 4K recording, 3TB of storage, and simultaneous recording and streaming, you can reach all of your audience no matter where they are or how they want to watch. While the TriCaster can be used without a hardware switcher, NewTek offers several models of control surfaces for those that want to enhance their production capabilities.

If a hardware solution is more than you need and you already have a powerful PC available for your production hub, you can purchase Wirecast Pro from Telestream (Figure 2, below). This software gives you the flexibility and power of a professional production switcher without the need for dedicated hardware. With this software, you have the flexibility to use the video and audio capture cards or devices of your choice from respected brands like Blackmagic Design, Matrox, Teradek and more. If you don’t need hardware inputs, Wirecast Pro lets you connect multiple IP sources, screen captures and WiFi or LTE sources. When you’re ready to step up, Telestream offers the Gear line of hardware switchers. These pro switchers offer multiple camera inputs, PTZ control, simultaneous streaming and recording, and animated 3D graphics and titles.

Figure 2. Telestream Wirecast Pro

For a more portable solution to multi-camera productions, take a look at the SlingStudio system (Figure 3, below). This innovative, modular solution requires just a few components: SlingStudio Hub, CameraLinks, and a Mac or iPad. The Hub and app are the core of this system, allowing you to switch cameras, record, and livestream with a compact, easy-to-use interface. The Hub can handle up to ten camera sources including Apple or Android smartphones.

Figure 3. Sling Media SlingStudio

CameraLinks take any HDMI camera source and transmit the 1080p60 signal wirelessly to the Hub up to 300 feet away. For productions outdoors or in large auditoriums, leaving the wires in the office is a huge bonus.

If an even simpler switcher is needed, check out the Roland VR-1HD switcher (Figure 4, below). This compact, pro switcher offers up three “worry-free” HDMI inputs that accept a variety of HD and computer-based video resolutions. The biggest advantage of these ports is that you can connect just about any camera and device to the switcher without worrying about differing resolutions or refresh rates. You can also set up specific presets for switching that can combine a variety of layers, graphics, and inset windows. To call one up during a shoot, just press the button that corresponds to the scene you want to show. This allows a more experienced video producer to setup presets that an amateur can utilize without knowing all of the ins and outs the hardware. And if you just don’t have the personnel to operate the switcher at all, the VR-1HD even offers auto switching. You can set it up to switch among sources and predetermined or random intervals.

Figure 4. Roland VR-1HD AV Streaming Mixer

Related Articles
There are dozens of platforms offering live streaming for affordable rates, and churches can stream directly to their core audience in tailored, personalized ways that weren't possible a decade or two ago. Here we'll emphasize gear that will work best for houses of worship in today's high-tech streaming landscape.