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Production Solutions for Live Streaming, Part 1: Cameras and Audio

In this 2-part series, we'll focus on some of the tools that are available to you as content creators when you're delivering content for the web, beginning in this first installment with cameras and pro audio gear.

Pan-Tilt-Zoom Cameras

A lot of people don't take advantage of the pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras (Figure 5, below) and what they can help you do in the live production market. These are actually very powerful cameras, especially if you're a one-person operation, versus having cameras on tripods and needing to have someone manning each camera. With PTZ cameras, you can capture a significant number of angles in a live production with a smaller crew.

Figure 5. Sony PTZ cameras

We’ll get into this more in Part 2 of this series when we discuss the Anycast Touch, but with PTZ cameras you’ll need to look for devices that can do camera control. Even if you're sitting behind your switcher for your live stream, or if you're recording it for on-demand delivery later, you’ll need to have a joystick attached to a PTZ camera. If you ever find yourself in a situation where your cameraperson turns calls in sick, or they don't show up, you need to be able to control that camera position on your own.

PTZ cameras range from conference room cameras, all the way up to broadcast cameras that are used on shows like Big Brother, and were used on Lost, or on a number of reality shows where you wonder, "How in the world are they getting that angle?" There's not a person running the camera; it's actually a pan tilt zoom cameras mounted in the corner of the room, and completely covered down in gaffers tape so no one knows that it's actually there (or at least they forget that it's there).

You can get a significant amount of quality from any of these pan-tilt-zoom cameras, and for a one-person operation, you can operate it yourself. These cameras sit on a table top very easily, and Sony is introducing a new PTZ model, the SRG-300SE, that will output 1080/60p via 3G SDI. All of these camera range from about $2,000 up to about $9,000 (MSRP).


My colleagues in the audio group at Sony would say, "What's video without audio? The answer is security cam footage, and nobody wants to watch security cam footage.”

Pro audio is an all-important part of the process. You can't go off of the microphone that's attached to your camera. You really need good audio to complement your video because having an annoying buzz or dropouts in your audio recording can really affect the quality of the content that you deliver to your end users.

Sony offer a full complement of wireless audio and wired audio products for live production and streaming, including microphones, transmitters, and receivers that attach to our cameras, slide into the back of our cameras, or connect through the new MI Shoe (Figure 6, below). Whatever the connection, these devices will interface directly with the cameras, and provide information to you on the LCD screen of the camera so that you have meters and other relevant information with regards to how your audio is performing as you're doing your live production.

Figure 6. Sony audio gear

For wireless audio, Sony offers the UWP and DWZ series. The DWZ series operates more on a 2.4GHz spectrum. The UWP series operates on the traditional RF spectrum. There are some tradeoffs between the two, UWP being the better of the two. DWZ is more affordable, and you can implement it a lot easier, but it can find itself in some areas of distortion depending on the number of units that you have deployed.

There's a number of benefits to implementing any one of those wireless audio solutions, and based on your application, you should put some research, and pay some attention to what professional audio you're implementing for your live production and your streaming (Figure 7, below).

Figure 7. Pro audio features

Then you have to ask, "What ties it all together?" In Part 2, we’ll explore Sony's Anycast Touch, a newly updated solution that does just that.


Related Articles
In Part 1 of this series on production solutions for live streaming, we looked at two key pieces of the live production puzzle: cameras and audio. Here we'll look at a product that ties it all together for live producers: the Sony Anycast Touch.