‘London is an international city’ – we get it. Arms of London businesses spread right around the world, with clients and colleagues in different cities and different countries, all coordinating to drive their business forward. However, there are always significant language barriers and travel times to overcome, so this coordination can seem a pretty frustrating task. Particularly so at the moment, speaking from the midst of the Coronavirus panic! The face-to-face element of large meetings, especially international conferences seem to be off the cards, so what is the best way to hold events like these, and to keep everybody involved?

We have a webinar solution that can link you with your colleagues, stakeholders, and participants all over the world. This is essentially a bespoke microsite custom-made for your event, that the participants can log in, to watch the live broadcast and interact with the event. Some people call it a hub or a platform or even a portal – but we don’t like labels! Recently, an enquiry from one of our international clients highlighted the need for a multi-language broadcast of their upcoming live webinar. In response, we set up some clever audio technology, so that along with the native English spoken webinar audio, we could translate the live broadcast into four other languages in real-time. This meant that the live webinar was available in five languages simultaneously! The clever audio technology can’t take all the credit, there were some clever translators – real humans – involved too!

An added bonus is the interactive nature of this kind of live online event. When audiences register to the platform they can submit questions in advance, however, further questions can be submitted throughout. Viewer questions can be moderated (and translated if needed) by the client, or by our studio team, then they’re pushed to the platform and seen by the on-screen presenter and audience all at once. Like this, the audience engage from wherever they are in the world, with no language barriers. For example, your client in China can submit a question, your English presenter can ask the on-screen panel, and your colleague in Italy can come through with the answer, while thousands of other viewers watch and listen from all over the world!

Is this the future of business communication? With the global panic about Coronavirus growing, travel is an increasingly unattractive prospect. In our fully equipped studio with views of the City of London, Trickbox are hoping that businesses will recognise the service we’re offering as a low cost, far-reaching alternative to real-world events. Well connected and adaptable, we welcome requests from all new clients and will create a bespoke package to suit any enquiry!

Having worked on a number of high-profile live streaming projects, we thought we’d put together a blog on points to consider when professional live streaming.

The first point is to treat the stream as a broadcast. One of the mistakes that people often make is thinking that live streaming is a quick and easy recording that you can do using a smartphone but this approach loses far too much production quality. From the very start, the project should be treated with the same respect as any live TV show, and to achieve that planning is key. We plan a live stream project exactly the same way as we plan a traditional OB broadcast project. We spec the kit in the same way, the lighting, how we’ll work at the venue site and that enables us to deliver a quality live stream.

To maximise the planning process, production teams should be involved and budgets agreed. Some low budget jobs have one engineer vision mixing, streaming and delivering the content, which, if you want a quality project, is too much for one person to do in a very short space of time. The minute you start adding people to the production process you see an instant improvement in the live stream.

You can use the same technologies to deliver a stream to Facebook or an uplink to a Network television master control room. This means you can deploy solutions faster with greater reliability. From our perspective the concept of streaming and broadcast delivery have become synonymous and go hand-in-hand.

For big broadcasters like ITV – as well as offering traditional broadcast connectivity on some projects – we’re seeing an increase in IP delivery, with solutions from manufacturers like LiveU, TVU Networks and AVIWEST.

A classic example of this is last year’s This Morning Live Wedding project, which we broadcast live from the Royal Albert Hall. We supplied ITV with a multi-camera fly-away solution that included six HD fibre camera channels, and a fly-away control area with positions for the ITV Production team and Trickbox engineers. We also managed all the connectivity for the live broadcast, which included three independent circuits to ITV (a main and two backups).

We’ve noticed that the lines between broadcast and live streaming have blurred. We live streamed the Rated Awards 2018, hosted by Mo Gilligan and Julie Adenuga at the Eventim Apollo in London, to YouTube Live. The edit was recut and aired on Channel 4 a few days later. The audience for this event is Generation-Z who don’t watch much TV and event organisers like this are ensuring that they provide the budget to meet the needs of this demographic.

It will be interesting to see how live streaming continues to develop over the next couple of years. As social media departments increase their video budgets, productions will continue to improve and the volume of content will grow, which is exciting for us.

The summer’s nearly over here in the UK but the Trickbox team has some great memories to look back on from some of the UK’s top music events. This year, we provided outside broadcast (OB) services for Toward Infinity, a specialist in multi-camera concert films and music documentaries for world-class bands at concerts across the UK in venues including: The O2 (Status Quo), the Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff (Thunder), O2 Academy Brixton Academy (Bullet for my Valentine) and in October, Royal Albert Hall (Marillion). As well as this, we provided OB services to Eden Sessions, one of the most spectacular outdoor live music events based at the famous Eden Project site in Cornwall for renowned artists including: Bastille, Madness and Van Morrison for a series of one-day concerts held annually during June and July.

Watching bands like these play live at amazing venues is the ultimate experience but to ensure a successful event, organisers must plan meticulously, making sure they have the best OB service and ultimately the highest quality material. Our partnership with Toward Infinity, run by Producer, Director and Editor Tim Sidwell and Producer and DP Jeremy Mason, started around 18 months ago when they began to take on multi-camera projects and needed an OB provider that could supply a fly-away, multi-camera solution that suits the budgets and scope of its clients.

The workflow between us is seamless. Before an event, Toward Infinity supplies us with the camera plan and production design and we manage the whole installation, providing the technical equipment to record the show as well as the crew to rig and de-rig it and Vision Engineers and Unit Managers, as required. We can rig a multi-camera shoot in the morning, get it ready for the show and then break it down and get it out of the venue by the end of the night. All the camera feeds, which are HD, are recorded to separate solid hard disk drives and are given to Toward Infinity so it can transfer the footage before sending the drives back to us.

For the Eden Sessions project, we also provided a multi camera set-up, including live vision mixing with talkback, tally lights and a 32-foot track, which ran across the front of the stage. Our kit was installed onsite and remained at the location for the four-week duration of live shows.

If you’ve got a live music event coming up and you need an experienced OB services provider give us a shout.

This article first appeared in the KitPlus magazine.

We’ve just celebrated 80 years of television. And it’s been quite a journey from the birth of television to where we are now.

Only a small percentage of UK households had television sets when the BBC began broadcasting in 1936, and of course the Second World War temporarily suspended any television viewing shortly after that for the duration of the war. By 1947, there were still only 54,000 licensed television receivers. It wasn’t until the late 1960s and early 1970s that television had come into widespread use. Excluding the period of the Second World War, it took almost 30 years for ‘television’ to become part of our lives. When you consider that almost everyone has their own personal ‘television’ (and the means to make their own television) constantly in their pocket, that’s quite a leap forward.

Two key factors have driven the rapid rise of live streaming. The first would be technology; both the method to produce live streams and the method to receive and view live streams. But ultimately, it is our hunger for ‘content’ that has driven a surge in live streaming.

That, combined with the collective acceptance of ‘social’ and ‘mobile’ as concepts, has made platforms like Facebook Live and YouTube Live extremely popular.

User-generated content (UGC) has become the lifeblood of the social media organism, and the logical development of social media – from posting text, then images, followed by video – is now live video. And it’s not just a vehicle for teenagers either; businesses are getting in on the action too. Over the last couple of years – and particularly over the last year – we’ve provided live streaming facilities to lots of companies, all wanting to use platforms like YouTube Live, Facebook Live and Periscope to reach their audiences. Unlike traditional broadcast television, live streaming, particularly ‘social’ live streaming, offers a clearer ROI and of course can come at a lower cost. If you live stream to Facebook Live, for example, you have immediate metrics. For example, the viewer numbers are there for you see and happening in real-time. Plus, there is the ability to have a direct conversation with the user, so there can be real dialogue between the business and the community. If you compare this form of video marketing to traditional print marketing, for example, the differences and benefits are clear.

Several years ago, there were relatively few private, commercial channels owned by brands on over-the-air (OTA) and cable services like FreeView, Sky and Virgin. Those numbers have obviously increased over the last few years. But now, you don’t need your own channel. Live streaming gives you the power of having your own TV channel.

Of course, there can be downsides for the viewer. With the ability to produce so much content, production quality is sometimes compromised (depending on the company and/or producer). As viewers, we’ve become conditioned to ‘understand’ the format of television – whether we realise it or not. And we’re accustomed to certain levels of production quality. You don’t have to work in telly to spot the low budget shows versus the high budget ones. Whether it’s a live stream or a television broadcast, viewers want high quality, well produced content. And then there is the constant news stories of some individuals using live streaming for illegal and immoral uses. Remember as Uncle Ben says in Spider-Man (2002), “with great power, comes great responsibility!”. After a quick Google search, it turns out that several other people, including Churchill and Roosevelt also used that line – or variations of it – so credit to them too!

So – live streaming. It’s your opportunity to have your own TV channel. Just remember to use your power for good, not for bad!

If you need any help with your next streaming project, get in touch to see how Trickbox TV can help.