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 possible, shoot exclusively for streaming
Video in essence is about light,
In many situations, video will be shot for a wide variety of uses, and intended for output
and no matter what quality level
to several different mediums. But the keep it simple rule that works so well for a short
streaming media project, might yield footage that would translate into a very boring
you're shooting for, you need
production for a longer, larger format production. Conversely, if streaming media is not
to consider how you light your
the primary objective of the shoot, you might not end up with any footage at all that
subject. If you're shooting beaches
will stream well.
in the Greek islands under the
So, if you are shooting an event or other production with the intention of creating
world's most stunning natural
multiple versions for a variety of uses, and if you have enough budget and peoplepower
light, you have few worries a
to do it, you should consider shooting concurrently with multiple cameras and/or crews.
Have one camera or crew shoot for the best streaming media footage possible, while the
little sunscreen won't cure. But
other camera or crew shoots the wider angles, pans and zooms, and gets more of the
if you shoot a talking head in
action you'll want for the videotape or DVD version.
a fl ourescent lit offi ce, or a band
This is not such an unrealistic notion when you consider that adequate quality DV
on a stage rigged with a panoply
camcorders are so well suited to capturing footage for streaming, and that they are so
of different colors and levels of
reasonably priced for either purchase or rental.
lamps, you're going to spend
Keep the lighting as even as possible
thought and effort getting
While lighting effects such as complex shadows or lens fl are may add interest to the
composition of many of the movies you admire, streaming is not the place to experi
ment with your tricky lighting repertoire. Those complex shadows, hotspots, and other
forms of contrast just make the footage more diffi cult to compress, leaving unwanted
artifacts rather than added interest. The more even the light is, the better it will com
press. Use bounce cards to minimize hard shadows outdoors; indoors, keep your lighting
soft. Avoid camera mounted lights they generate hotspots unless heavily diffused.
remember that the detri
A standard 3 point lighting kit that can be rigged with umbrellas, bounce cards,
mental effects of strong colors
and/or diffusion is a worthwhile investment that will handle most any situation
and complex patterns will be
you'll encounter when shooting tight subjects for streaming media.
even more severe than those same
Action! (just don't move around very much)
effects on tape.
The whole point of putting video on the Web, rather than just still images, is the added
Logan Kelsey and Jim Feeley
dimension that action brings to the experience. But, when compressed, more action in
DV Web Video Magazine
your video whether that action is due to subject movement, camera movement, or to
complex transitions equates to a higher data rate in the fi le you want to stream. So,
in order to successfully stream action packed video, you would need an audience you're
sure will be connected at a high bandwidth, and/or you would need to make the size of
you'll always get the best
your image frame smaller. Unfortunately, the current limitations of the Internet mean
results if you start with a clear,
that streaming a video of an athlete's talking head to endorse your footwear product
will work much better than streaming a video of the team in action on the playing fi eld.
clean audio recording, preferably
Video with relatively stationary subjects will produce better streaming media than video
using a separate microphone that
with lots of motion or rapid scene changes.
isn't mounted on the camera.
Consider using bluescreen
Keep the audio level as loud
If you have the equipment and the expertise, bluescreen can be an excellent technique
as possible without driving the
for achieving quality streaming video. According to Kelsey and Feeley, By shooting on
meter into the red this is
bluescreen [or greenscreen] dropping the background and compositing your subject
especially critical in DV, where
on top of a digital still image you'll have a background that will be noise free and rock
namic Medianamic Mediay
A background that does not change from frame to frame is easier to compress,
too much level can result in some
and leaves more bits available for what does change your subject. But Kelsey and Feeley
particularly nasty distortion.
also warn that lighting and shooting good bluescreen takes lots of experience, and the
post work required can be time consuming and/or costly. (Although we'd like to note
obe Dobe D
that Adobe Premiere and Adobe After Effects software provide the tools you need to do
it yourself with relative ease).
30 Shooting Video for the Web: Equipment, by Tim Tully, Streaming Media.com, http://www.streamingmedia.com/tutorials/view.asp?tutorial_id=35
31 Shooting Video for the Web, by Logan Kelsey and Jim Feeley, DV Web Video Magazine, May 2000
32 Creating Audio for the Web, by Steve Cunningham, Streaming Media.com, http://www.streamingmedia.com/tutorials/view.asp?tutorial_id=38