April 23, 2020
The Cost Of Live Streaming An Event : An Event Planners Guide To Understanding Live Streaming
Live streaming events are not a new concept but it is new to a lot of event planners. There are tons of factors that go…
What factors determine the cost of a live stream?Live streams can be everything from a single session or broadcast from one location to a multi-tier broadcast with breakout rooms and virtual one on one meetings. Figuring out what your event purpose is probably the most important factor in determining the cost of your virtual event. All the other factors are based on this one question so it is important to sit down and discuss why it is your hosting this virtual or hybrid event. After you determine that then here are a few other factors that determine the cost of the virtual platform.Basic Cost Factors:
- Number Of Attendees.
- Cost of registration.
- How many days is your event?
- How many hours each day are you going to be streaming?
Live Streaming Terms Every Event Planner Should Know.Encoder - An Encoder handles the compression of the video signal. It can be a hardware encoder or software encoder and either will work in real-time to encode the video and send it to the web.Codec - This is basically the format of the video much like you would find with Microsoft word. A Codec is an equivalent of pdf or word. The most widely accepted codec is h264 and is used by most platforms to stream video like on Facebook live.RTMP - This is the address of where your video is going to be sent to. Some services will require an address, key, and a username and password to send a signal to their servers. This RTMP URL usually requires whats called a "port" to be open on your locations firewall. This port is basically a lane of access not unlike driving into a gated neighborhood. You have to have the right key or right number punched into the gate for it to open.Upload Speed and Bandwidth - This is perhaps the number one thing that can make a good stream turn bad quickly. When you are planning a live stream it is important to look at what your network limitations areas this determines the quality of your stream. When talking about your bandwidth or upload speed you may hear people talking about Megabits.Megabits is the measurement of how much data can be transmitted and received every second. Consumer internet packages usually give you a download and upload speed. When we are talking about live streaming the upload speed is the most important. You can test your internet speed at a website like Okla Speed Test.Bitrate - Bitrate determines the quality or how clear your stream is. Have you ever tried to take a picture of a kid playing soccer with your cell phone? What about a high-speed camera? The bitrate of your stream is the difference between a cell phone or a super high-end camera. The higher the bitrate of the stream the more clear it will be when someone moves.Framerate - Think of framerate as the number of pictures or "frames" there are in a second. Now imagine capturing a moving car. If you take one picture of a moving car every second you might not capture it traveling past you. Now imagine taking 60 frames per second. You would use a higher framerate in situations where you have a lot of movement. If it is just someone speaking you don't need 60 frames per second.
Resolution - is in regards to how many pixels your stream takes up, usually given in height and width. In most cases you'll want to stream in a 16:9 aspect ration, as this is the most commonly used display ration, this will ensure your viewers don't see any black bars, and it will take up their entire screen. Here are the most common resolutions (given in width by height):
- Standard Definition (SD): 560x480 - 480p
- High Definition (HD): 1280x720 - 720p
- Full High Definition (Full HD): 1920x1080 - 1080p
What type of equipment do I need to live stream?The gear you need again is dependent upon what type of experience you are looking for. Remember however that for most devices they will only be seeing the stream at 720p and 30 frames per second.The first type of gear you need is a camera!Cameras are important not necessarily for the resolution of the camera but for what type of light it needs for a clean image. If you buy a super cheap camera or your production company uses a cheap camera and there isn't enough light your image could be too dark or blurry.You also need a camera that can output to your encoder. Consider if it has an HDMI, SDI, or USB output. Does this camera also allow audio to be inputted to it or will you need a separate device?Getting Quality Sound Into Your Live Stream. You guessed it you need some type of audio equipment to capture the audio for your stream. For basic streams with only one person, usually, a built-in mic would suffice. However, if you have to capture multiple people speaking then you might need to consider using a professional audio board with a lav ( or lapel) microphone. You can also look at using what is called a "shotgun" microphone which is highly directional.Get your video and audio synced up and to the cloud! Next, you will need an encoder as we talked about above. This can be a software or hardware solution. It can even be a phone or a tablet.Don't forget the camera guy! While you can make use of things like a tripod stand having a camera person to operate the cameras is super important. From troubleshooting any issues to moving the camera to the right angle a camera person can really make your live stream stand out.You will also need a broadcast technician or someone to mix your stream. If you are having multiple locations and campuses and need to take multiple streams and make them into one then you will need a broadcast technician to mix your stream and manage the flow of the cast.What is the estimated cost of live streaming an event? With so many different factors it is hard to give you any particular range. For a simple live stream that is 4 hours per day for 3 days with 1000 viewers, you can expect to pay about 12-15k dollars. If you want to add things like branded sites, automated email reminders, ticket registration you could be looking between 25k and 100k for 1000 viewers.