A S t r e a m i n g M e d i a P r i m e r :
H O W D O I M A K E ( G O O D ) S T R E A M I N G M E D I A ?
IF IT ABSOLUTELY,
One of the fi rst misconceptions about streaming video is that it is just an
POSITIVELY HAS TO BE
add on. By that, I mean that many people think that you can take any
video short and just `add on' streaming at the end of the process The
If it's really got to be live live, you'll
reality with streaming video is the reality you would fi nd when producing
be capturing video as it's shot, mixing
audio, switching input signals from mul
content for any medium. You get out of it what you put into it. Good
tiple devices, adding titles, pre processing
video doesn't just happen. Good video is designed. The choices you make
and encoding, and sending your produc
when planning, shooting, and editing your production will have a profound
tion out to the host for streaming over a
network or the Internet all on the fl y.
impact on what happens when you try to make it stream.
As you might imagine, this can complicate
matters somewhat You will probably
Streaming Media World
want to invest in a specialized system or
turn to an expert outsource equipped to
handle the rigors of live Webcasting.
Systems range from the multi million
dollar, state of the art setup CNN uses
Don't skip the planning
all the way on down to the turnkey home
Production is the actual shooting of video and all the related activities, such as light
webcasting system for $99 (add your own
computer) described by John Townley for
ing, blocking, and sound recording. It follows, then, that pre production is everything
Streaming Media World it's a solution,
that should be done before you begin to shoot. In the typical digital video workfl ow, pre
says Townley, that can give you anything
production includes such activities as generating the concept and, often, selling it;
from a lot of fun for yourself, family, and
developing an outline and/or a script; budgeting; and planning the shoot. Even if you
friends to the beginning of a career as a
are shooting a very short bit of video such as a brief message intended for streaming
content provider and broadcaster you'll
it is important to plan. Plan schedules, transportation, personnel, equipment rentals,
have it up and rolling in no time a
etc. Scout locations. Make sure you have a background that will work well for Web
hands on intro to the ins and outs of what
compression. Make sure there is enough power to handle your cameras and lights.
video streaming is all about. 24 Such
turnkey home webcasting systems, often
Make sure everyone knows what to do, and when to do it. Make sure your actors or
touted as Webcams, are the perfect solu
subjects are fully briefed, know what to wear, and understand how to behave, based
tion for cat lovers seeking a remote moni
on the limitations of the medium.
toring system for the litterbox (check out
Plan to keep it short
and maybe even for streaming your kid's
Your audience is likely to have a short attention span for media in the limited size and
birthday party live to the grandparents
compromised quality you'll be delivering. Unless you are developing streaming media for
if you can keep the little tyke close
a controlled environment, such as an intranet, or you know that all of your viewers
enough to the camera and in the frame for
will have a high speed connection, we would recommend that you limit your streaming
long enough to be recognized.
presentations to no more than 3 4 minutes, or even less.
In between the multi million dollar solu
tion and the family fun pack are enter
Should it stream live or as VOD?
prise class solutions, for tens of thousands
Does it have to be live? Why do you think it has to be live? According to an interview
of dollars, that can capture source media
in DV Web Video Magazine, these are the fi rst questions Pat Paulson, one of the indus
in real time; handle pre processing, from
try's foremost Webcast experts, asks his clients. Paulson spent years covering live events
real time color correction to digital water
marking; and perform single pass encod
for television and fi lm, before venturing into Webcasting in 1998. Since then, he has
ing into multiple formats and bit rates.
overseen the Webcasting for the American Express concert series and for artists such as
Or, if you want to go on location and
Melissa Etheridge, Sheryl Crow, and Ozzy Osborne. Phil Fracassi, interviewed by DV
stream a live show, you'll fi nd there's even
Web Video for the same article, is senior vice president of digital programming and
an all inclusive system in a suitcase that
operations for House of Blues Digital, a business unit of the burgeoning media empire
integrates an entire TV production studio
founded in 1992 by comedian Dan Akroyd and his cronies. House of Blues expects
namic Medianamic Media
into a rugged, portable package for under
to Webcast between 800 and 1000 concerts in 2001. These guys know what they're
Outsourcing with an experienced
Most of the events we do are to tape, and then we schedule like any network would.
Webcasting fi rm is generally a safe choice.
There are a lot of reasons for that, says Fracassi. for a lot of the festivals we'll have
Choose one with the equipment and the
obe Dobe D
now how to make sure your live Webcast
a mixture of realtime live and tape delay we prefer just to tape it all, get it back to
event all goes as planned.
the offi ce and encode it
23 Streaming Basics: Shooting Video for Streaming, by Tim Kennedy, Streaming Media World, January 12, 2001, http://smw.internet.com/video/tutor/streambasics1
24 Turnkey Home Webcasting, by John Townley, Streaming Media World, January 22, 2001, http://smw.internet.com/video/reviews/spotlife/index.html