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 
STREAMED LIVE
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 
 Tim Kennedy
matters somewhat  You will probably 
Streaming Media World
23
want to invest in a specialized system or 
turn to an expert outsource equipped to 
handle the rigors of live Webcasting. 
PRE PRODUCTION
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 
http://cats.about.com/pets/cats/cs/catcams) 
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 
yy
$25,000.  
talking about!
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 
dd
event all goes as planned.
the offi ce and encode it  
AA
21
21
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
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