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 ?
As Kelsey and Feeley warn, artsy Blair Witch, MTV, and even VH1 `looks' are out.
You've got to avoid the stumbling blocks that might lead to poor quality, but you don't
Here's the scenario: The opening
want to make everything so static that you bore your audience with dull content.
scene of a nature documentary
A bit of out of the box thinking can go a long way. For example, Kelsey and Feeley
shows helicopter shots of antelope
suggest using a short depth of fi eld and a lot of distance between the subject(s) and
running across the African land
the background. While the subject stays crisp, the background elements are thrown into
scape. The sun is beginning to rise
soft focus. The result is recognizable faces or objects, an interesting composition, and
video that's not diffi cult to compress.
and the camera swoops over the
savanna as clouds of dust trail the
Streaming media can be forgiving
stampeding herd. If the production
Here's a piece of good news: You're not shooting for a 20 foot high screen fi lled with
company is preparing to stream this
a gargantuan close up of your CEO's face, so the fl aws about which he or she might
be self conscious are likely to be miniaturized and compressed right out of existence.
nature video across a 28.8kbps or
What this really means is that you can produce video of high enough quality to make
56kbps modem, the most important
good streaming media without extremely high end equipment; without an army of
feature to convey to the viewer is:
makeup artists, hairdressers, and other behind the scenes support crew; and without
a Hollywood size budget. While the old, familiar video production maxim, Garbage
A: The feel of the African savanna
in Garbage out is still valid, streaming media can be much more forgiving than fi lm
or video destined for larger formats, higher resolutions, and faster frame rates.
B: The pounding antelope hooves
If possible, keep it digital
contrasting the serenity of
If you are shooting original footage for your streaming media project, you can use either
a rising sun
a DV (digital video) camcorder or, literally, any video camera you can lay your hands on.
Today, you can get a good DV camcorder for under $1,500, and these reasonably priced
C: You are looking at antelope
devices shoot and record video as digital information on DV casettes offering the
If you chose C, you are correct.
advantage of the IEEE 1394 connection. IEEE 1394 (aka FireWire or iLink) lets you
transfer DV directly onto the hard drive of your computer for editing and encoding,
Cinematographers and Directors
without risking any of the compression related generation loss or artifacts you might
have a selection of zooms, fades,
encounter when capturing analog video. You'll fi nd IEEE 1394 built into many newer
and fancy camera tricks to choose
model computers, or you can connect using an inexpensive IEEE 1394 capture card.
from streaming media producers
If you do shoot with a traditional analog video camera, or you want to incorporate
do not (especially at low band
analog video from tapes into your streaming media project, you'll need to capture
it translate it from analog to digital form as you transfer it to your computer using
widths). The best streaming media is
an analog to digital capture card. These cards are a bit more costly than IEEE 1394
produced from very simple shots.
cards, and the conversion process can degrade the quality of the video somewhat, but
due to the nature of the streaming process, the differences between analog and DV
Attempt to correct problems
source material can be minimal.
while shooting video, rather than
Will a better camera make a difference?
attempting a resurrection during
Maybe. Some people say it's a waste to shoot for streaming on a high quality video
the edit or encode. Remember,
format. According to experts Logan Kelsey and Jim Feeley, Those people are wrong.
streaming video production should
Kelsey and Feeley suggest that you do not shoot Hi8, S VHS, 3/4 inch, or VHS. At
a minimum, shoot in DV. Consider shooting in DVCAM, DVCPRO, Digital S, or
not be approached the same as
Betacam SP. The advantage of these last formats is that you get access to really good
television or fi lm production.
cameras The DSP and other advanced features in these cameras help compensate
The technology requires producers
for poor lighting conditions. Cameras with skin tone fi lters and the resultant smooth
namic Medianamic Media
facial detail produce especially easy to compress images professional cameras get
to meet these challenges with
you access to better lenses. Industrial and broadcast lenses use better glass and give you
more control over focus, iris, and zoom But Kelsey and Feeley go on to say, If you
work mostly with small camcorders, don't despair defi nitely shoot in DV, DVCPRO,
or DVCAM. And pay extra special attention to lighting and framing. Modern DV
obe Dobe D
camcorders are quite nice, and you can always rent a better camera for key shoots.
28 How to Shoot Audio and Video for Streaming Over the Internet, by Michael Long, Overdrive Media, Inc., Streaming Media.com, http://www.streamingmedia.com/tutorials/prod_shooting.asp
29 Shooting Video for the Web, by Logan Kelsey and Jim Feeley, DV Web Video Magazine, May 2000