Welcome back to our Whiteboard Session on creating the perfect webcast!
In part one of this two-part Whiteboard Session, we offer up our take on the best equipment to use for a webcast experience different from the rest. In part two I'll teach you how the equipment works together, and how you can leverage GoToWebinar's best features. Watch the video below for all the details, or read on for a quick summary.
Before You Go Live
Once you have everything hooked up, start a practice session in GoToWebinar. Check your framing on each cameras through GoToWebinar.
Tip: shoot wider to compensate for GoToWebinar's standard video crop.
You'll want to check your audio and listen through the computer you're using for live monitoring. Check all the levels on the mic and then check the audio coming out of the video packages from your PowerPoint slides.
If audio is sounding robotic, more often than not, it's a connection issue with the Capture Card. My advice is to unplug and replug the card back in. In my experience with 13 live webcast sessions, this has been the go-to fix for nearly all audio issues.
Starting Your Production
After everything looks and sounds great, go ahead and start the broadcast. We like to start our broadcast 15 minutes early so the attendees already in the event can have a better experience than being on hold.
Make sure the Switcher is on Cam 3 and the "We'll Begin Shortly" slide is presented before you start, and make sure you have the presenter's mic muted.
5 Features That Elevate Your Live Webcast
Utilizing video in your webcast is a great way to break up the presentation. Your viewers will enjoy it. Videos aren't played often in webinars, so it's a noticeable way to differentiate yourself from all the other boring webinars where presenters just flip through a PowerPoint deck.
In GotoWebinar, there's an option to upload your own videos and share them on the webinar. Our experience has not been the best with that, only because the load time of the video was inconsistent and I couldn't control playback. We did do it this way for 10 webcasts before switching over to PowerPoint slides as the host platform for in-webinar videos.
Use a Camera, not a Webcam
If your budget permits it, I recommend investing in a camera that has a clean HDMI output and a video capture card. You don't need a grand set up like mine to create an awesome, high-quality webcast.
You only need a camera, HDMI cord, and a video capture card. Set up your camera and plug it into your computer, change your webcam setting to your camera, and watch as your image quality immediately improves.
Bring in Lights
Nothing is worse than watching a webcast presenter who has dark shadows on their face.
If you don't have lights, find a big, bright window you can face for natural daylight that will light your face perfectly. If the day is gloomy and gray, putting some daylight bulbs into a lamp and placing them at eye level behind the camera will do the job. If you have the budget, I definitely recommend getting bi-color LED lights.
This tip is for the video producers and marketing teams with a budget for their webinar setup: Invest in a video switcher. After we brought that into our setup, it took our production to a whole new level. With our video switcher, we're able to use up to four cameras, bring in graphics, and use Picture-in-Picture effects. Our webcast guests are tuning into a webcast with TV production quality.
During the live broadcast, as the director, I'm worried about a lot of moving pieces: changing the camera angle, bringing in video packages, and making sure the audio levels are good. So, adding the task of sifting through questions from the audience is way too stressful.
My advice is to designate a coworker as the question moderator. This person will sift through all the live questions coming in, organize them by topic on a Word document, and screen cast them to a TV or computer monitor so your presenter can answer thoughtful audience questions. It's also a nice touch to say the question asker's name when responding to the question. It'll make the audience member feel heard.