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Behind the Scenes: How to Produce a Live-Switched Webcast

Go behind the scenes at Streaming Media East 2013's 4-track, 3-day, live-switched conference and 1-day webcast with producer and crew chief Shawn Lam and see the process and the gear and how it all fits together in live-switched webcast production.

Archive Recorder: The Atomos Samurai

The Marshall field monitor I used on this shoot acted as my HDMI-to-HD-SDI converter, thanks to the HDMI input and the two optional outputs on the back of the monitor. One of those outputs went to the Atomos Samurai (Figure 5, below), the archive recorder. The Samurai recorded the program feed, so as I changed the program on the video switcher it went to the Samurai and we recorded that feed.

Atomos Samurai

Figure 5. The Atomos Samurai field recorder, used for archiving the live-switched feed.

The output went into the Teradek Cube, and then to Ustream at the end.

Monitoring Audio

One of the really important aspects of producing a live video switch is audio. Video is always important, and we always talk about that, but the audio often gets overlooked. For this live-switched shoot we used a Mackie 802-VL23 mixer (Figure 6, below) that has a full-size VU meter on here. And this is really important, because if we just take a feed off the soundboard, we don't have the ability to visually see the audio levels.

Mackie 802-VL23

Figure 6. Mackie 802-VL23 mixer.

The Samurai has a very small VU meter. My Marshall monitor does have a full-size VU meter as well. It's a very rare feature in a monitor, but that's nice to have. Most of the time you don't. This meter lines up very nicely with the one on the soundboard (see Figure 6, above), and this is a submix, so we take the mix off the soundboard that's for the room and I submix it for my feed. This gives me control, which is one of the keys to a successful webcast.

Choosing Cameras for the Live Switch

You don't need the latest and greatest video cameras for live video webcasting, but what you do need is an uncompressed HDMI or HD-SDI out. In the keynote room at Streaming Media East we used two venerable Sony Z7Us, which are almost obsolete for many applications because of their internal HDV codec. But because they have HDMI output, the internal codec doesn’t matter--we can still output 4:2:2 video for the webcast. So if you already have these types of camcorders you're well set to start Web streaming using the HDMI output.


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