Webcasting Your Concert With Live Audio And Video Streaming
By: Jerry A. Greene
Question: My band wants to stream live video and audio from one of our concerts in October. Is there an inexpensive way to do a webcast?
Answer: Although technology is getting better, live streaming (audio and video) of live concerts is still not an easy task to undertake, but it can be done!
It's Not The Bandwith
There are many services out there that now provide live streaming services for a very low cost, or even free. There are many resources on the internet that offer hosting of "webinars" and these same services can be used to stream a live concert. The cost for bandwith is going down, so that's not normally where bands that want to stream a concert, live over the internet, run into issues. It's the equipment needed to put it all together.
Webcam, Or Professional Sound and Video Equipment
Technically, you can do the whole thing with a small webcam. This makes it extremely affoardable! Unfortunately, most webcams don't provide exceptional resolution, in either the video, or the sound. There are some decent digital video cameras that can do the job for under $500. The sound (your music!) is where you'll really want to focus. Just because you are taking the video from one source (the digital video camera) doesn't mean that you need to stream the audio coming from it. You'll want to set up good microphones that can pick up the sound from many points in the room. Using a mixing console, you'll bring the mix together and send the stereo out to the audio portion of the live stream. Forget about streaming your concert in Dolby surround sound, which can be extremely expensive due to the encoders needed to put it all together in real-time.
Purchasing The Equipment, Or Renting It
You'll definitely want to consider how often you're going to be doing these live streaming webcasts of your concerts. You definitely don't need to purchase all of the equipment yourself, especially if you're only webcasting every-so-often. There are may audio/video production equipment rental services all over the place. Some even offer the ability to set up your live stream directly to the internet.
Remember Your Internet Connection, Or There Will Be No Webcast!
Some people forget, after figuring out just what equipment they'll need to put a professional production together, that they need a fast internet connection to do the webcast right. Without a sufficient amount of bandwith, to send live audio and video upstream to a server, your concert will not get to the people watching it correctly. The problems can range from a stuttering of the audio and/or video, to a webcast that's just too overloaded to even work in the first place. Make sure you work these things out ahead of time. You want the experience for your fans to be a positive one, so look out for any potential problems that may occur.
If You Can't Stream It, Podcast It
If you are having a hard time getting the stream to work, you can always record it and send it out as a podcast right after the show. This is often the preferrable route anyway, since your fans don't have to worry about missing the show! They can watch it on-demand, any time they want.
There are also plenty of ways of putting the show up on your site, for little, or no cost to you in bandwith and storage, such as embedding a YouTube video right on your website. (the YouTube servers host the files and transmit them for free).