On the sixth episode of (Out of) Office Hours, Chris invites Wistia’s resident webinar experts, Kristen Bryant and Jonah Silberg, on the show! As many of you have probably noticed, tons and tons of folks are hosting live streams right now. In an effort to be as helpful as possible, Chris wanted to dedicate this episode to sharing tips for live streaming success. Not everyone is working with a setup as overly complex as Chris’s, so he checks in on Kristen and Jonah’s experiences conducting webinars while they’re remote with the simple gear they’re using. Here’s a recap of what went down and some helpful links for you to dig deeper!
To help get your creative juices flowing, this week’s featured video is from Keith Schofield, a music video and commercial director, who made a TV pilot with The Lonely Island a few years back. Recently, the people who worked on it dug it up from their archives to share on Twitter. Chris got a good chuckle out of the old video and saw it as an example of how people are releasing older content to drum up interest and keep you entertained during these times.
See the Tweet and video below:
Kristen and Jonah break down their simple setups and talk about their tips, tools, and techniques for setting yourself up for live streaming success.
What location throughout their homes did our guests choose to put their setups? Well, Kristen is going live from her living room, and Jonah is set up in his own personal tiki-bar-room, which subtly showcases one of his favorite hobbies. Both Kristen and Jonah are relying on Logitech webcams they bought in 2017 (a complete coincidence!) and are working with au naturel light. Kristen is also using a standup light she got from Target just to elevate her lighting setup a bit. In terms of audio, they’re using their computer’s internal microphones. And to add more zen to his cramped space, Jonah purchased a $20 monitor arm to remove the complication of having a big bulky monitor stand in front of him.
Next, they explained why Crowdcast is Wistia’s go-to live streaming platform. These days, Kristen and Jonah are hosting weekly webinars, but for about two years we’ve been using Crowdcast for Wistia’s small live stream events and our biggest event Change the Channel. As Kristen puts it, “We’re just really comfortable with it.”
From a product standpoint, it offers what Kristen and Jonah need for audience engagement and interaction as well as how they like to broadcast. To maximize their efforts when it comes to doing live stream events, they’ve utilized Crowdcast’s features like the ability to invite people and bring them on-screen, the chat functionality that feels conversational, and leveraging the attendee list and shooting it right over into HubSpot.
While many people out there are possibly feeling a Zoom teleconferencing overload during the day, Jonah also likes how streaming a webinar on Crowdcast offers something that feels visually different for folks, which can help keep people’s attention throughout.
Moving onto techniques for presenting, Kristen had some hot tips for running through a smooth presentation. When you don’t have multiple computers like Chris’s more complex setup to display your presentation deck, Kristen had a couple of workarounds. She’s found exporting her Keynote or Powerpoint deck to HTML super helpful. This allows her to open the deck in another browser window on her monitor where she’s trying to look into her camera. While presenting, she’ll have the Crowdcast window open to see what people are saying in the chat, another tab for her presenter notes, and then her product queued up (which in her case is Soapbox) so she can go straight into the product walkthrough.
During webinars, Jonah has experienced challenges with audio while sharing video clips with his audience. Exporting his Keynote to HTML like Kristen, sometimes he includes videos he wants to share. He’s found that the MP4s play just fine, but he was concerned about the audio coming through. His hacky solution for clear audio was to play the videos out of his speakers at full blast for the audio to go back into his computer’s internal microphone. This “bare bones” solution has worked the best.
He also tried using an app called Loopback, which brings your mic and additional audio sources you specify into a single channel, but it made his mic sound like Darth Vader during a test run. As a result, Jonah settled with the hacky solution to keep his stream simple and bulletproof. Oftentimes, the simple approach is the best approach.
One of the most important parts of pulling off a successful livestream is to practice your setup. Figure out whatever challenges you might encounter. Kristen figured out her HTML fix for presenting after doing a dry run where she couldn’t see everything she needed to see. As a huge endorser of the run-through, she suggests doing a run through with the tech you’ll have and the people you’ll have on your livestream because it’ll make you feel so much more confident when it’s go-time.
Jonah advised if you can bear it, record yourself and listen to part of it. You’ll learn what you want to change after hearing yourself. For him, his verbal crutch is to say “uh” or “like.” Playing back your tape might feel funky hearing your voice, but it helps out tremendously for improving your presentation.
Lastly, when your livestream is over, Kristen says to make sure you download your stream so you can distribute it however you want. At Wistia, what we typically do is download our replay from Crowdcast, upload it to Wistia, trim the beginning and end, and put it on our blog. This gives us longer-term replay ability, control over those URLs, and insight into the video’s stats.
Before signing off, Chris compares his setup by showing a video he just shot that runs through the whole darn thing. Watch him break down his command center in all its glory!
That about wraps up this episode recap! Enjoying the topics we’re covering? We want to know how we can be genuinely helpful moving forward. Let us know what challenges you’re struggling with when it comes to video lately by hitting up Chris on Twitter @crlvideo or emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also reach out to Wistia directly on Twitter @wistia. We hope to hear from you soon! See you next time.