10 reasons your webcast clients aren’t giving you repeat business
There are a million ways a webcast can go wrong. There are some things you can’t work out during a live event because there isn’t time and the show must go on. However, if you find yourself falling into the trap of making excuses I suggest that you identify the problems and start creating solutions. In my experience clients aren’t concerned with the reasons for the problem (excuses), they are interested in the result. In this case perfect might just be enough.
So what are the most common problems you can have with a webcast? Here’s a list of 10 that I guarantee are driving your clients crazy, even if they aren’t able to identify exactly what isn’t working.
10. Steady your shot
It looks like the presenter is jumping on a water bed. Settle your shot – If you are using a telephoto lens make sure you have a sturdy tripod and you are set up on a solid surface * bonus points if you have balanced out your camera on the tripod head.
9. Set your white balance
The people in your shot look like there are either oompa loopas (orange) or dead (blue). Turn off Auto White Balance and set your white balance at the beginning of your shoot. If you can dial in the setting for your white balance typically you will be right around 3200k. * bonus points for those who bring some extra lights and or gels to correct the color temperature.
8. Track your subject
The speaker keeps wandering in and out of frame. Quit texting your girlfriend, put down your phone, and follow the presenter. This is a live performance and while it may or may not be content you are interested in, there is someone out there watching this video and if you aren’t tracking with your subject you are making someone miserable.
7. Compose your shot
I’m looking right up someone’s nose. It doesn’t matter if there are no bears in the cave this perspective is rarely a flattering angle for your subject and it’s distracting to the audience. OR Everything is right smack dab in the middle of the screen or the very bottom of the screen or right at the very top. What I’m saying here is your composition sucks. Consider the rule of thirds it applies to everything so even if you aren’t shooting a Live Movie this will work and it creates an experience that the viewer will enjoy even if they aren’t aware you are doing it. * Not everyone shooting live is paying attention to composition so if you do I guarantee you will be that much more valuable when it comes to hire for the next project.
6. Set Exposure
It’s dark in here…. I realize many events aren’t lit well. Sometimes they aren’t lit at all. With some planning it should be possible to work with the venue or the client to figure out a way to get some light on the presenter or at least keep them from turning all of the lights off.
5. Get above the audience
I’m staring at the back of someone’s head. It’s not always possible but getting a vantage point that is above the level that the audience is seated at will make a huge difference. There’s nothing worse than watching people wander in and out of the frame when you are trying to concentrate.
“The client doesn’t care whose fault it is that the audio sucks. They care that the audio sucks.”
4. Get clean audio
There is a hum, hiss, grumble, or the noise floor is so high that you can barely hear the presenter. Have your own audio gear for those cases where you aren’t able to work with the AV vendor at your venue. The client doesn’t care whose fault it is that the audio sucks. They care that the audio sucks. Don’t have sucky audio or your entire webcast will suck.
3. Know your gear
Your audio is clipping or popping or fading in and out. There are a million things that can go wrong with a webcast but if audio fails the whole production will be a failure. Put new batteries in your audio equipment every job, change them throughout the day, and get familiar with your gear so you can fix issues quickly. Setup your audio at the transmitting end as close to the source as you can get so that by the time it comes out of the viewer’s speakers at home it is crystal clear. Levels in the camera can be right on and your audio will be clipping if you have the gain too high on your wireless mic. Start at your source, work your way back to your encoder and monitor your audio for the entire program.
2. Set your levels
I can’t hear or there is no audio. Set your volume. Set it hot at your encoder so that if someone is watching on their phone they can hear what is being said. This is a fine balance because too much volume will hurt you as bad as too low of volume. If you can have someone from your office help monitor the audio and have them contact you if something isn’t right. Again it’s about being familiar with all of your equipment. I know cameras are the fun part but audio is about 60% of what you are being paid to produce. Do it well or your webcast will suck.
1. Get connected
The video keeps buffering. Do a speed test before any webcast and choose setting that will be sustainable on the network you are using. Whenever possible get a hardwired Ethernet connection to the venue’s internet and make sure you have at least 5-10mbps dedicated bandwidth. When this isn’t possible make sure you work to have as many contingencies in place to keep your webcast on the air. It’s also important to work with the client in these cases and set realistic expectations and hopefully work together to get that hard-wired connection to the internet.
By identifying what can be done better you will set yourself up for success every time. Video is a cut-throat business and while there are some who compete on price those who will succeed are those who find their shortcomings and correct them.