We made a mistake…

Cisco Meraki

Since the lockdowns began around March 2020, our businesses have changed. Live events has been mostly non-existent. In order for businesses in our industry to survive, we’ve had to adapt, try new things and learn new skills. Not only that, but budgets are different (smaller).

I’m very pleased with the way that we’ve adapted in the last year. We’ve been able to offer our clients excellent quality live streaming and virtual events at the right price. I’m also happy to say we’re dong it the right way, with highly skilled staff, on some of the best and most reliable equipment currently in the industry.

But it’s been a journey to get here. A few months ago, we were asked to do something new. We were asked to record 20 people in HD from a Zoom meeting. We thought we could do it. In the ‘old world’ it would have been easy. We would have been on site, brought in 20 video feeds from anywhere around the world and rented in a rack of video recorders. The quality would have been excellent and the budget doubled. This time around, we wanted to do it from our studio and we wanted to keep it cheap and keep the client. We did some testing, all appeared to work. We looked over our test recordings, they seemed ok. We confirmed with the client and won the job to work on one of their most high profile projects that year.

We started the job, pressed all the buttons, everything looked good and the ‘event’ took place. After the event, we confirmed we had files, nothing had crashed and we would send everything to the client. Everyone left (virtually) feeling happy.

It was only went we went back over the recordings that we found the quality was poor, to say the least. Very poor. They were certainly not something I was happy delivering to the client. We worked through the night to fix the issues in post (video joke) and by the morning, we were able to deliver something. I say ‘something’ because it still wasn’t good enough, but it was something.

Now there were only a few things left for us to do.

  1. Apologise to the client profusely. Obviously we didn’t send a bill despite the fact we know the end client did pay for the eventual product. From my point of view though, as a business owner, I was not happy AT ALL with the work we had done and was not prepared to let the client pay for that quality of work.
  2. Research, read and learn everything we can about how we had made a mistake.

Now we’re in a unique position that we’ve made the mistake and we’ve learnt from it. And so what’s the outcome / silver lining? We know how technically challenging it is to deliver something like this. We made the mistake and we’ve learnt a lot. As a result, we rebuilt our entire network (more money than we’ve ever spent before one a single item) and changed our workflow for this kind of project. Now we know exactly how to deliver this project, should we ever get asked again! And next time, we’ll get it perfect. Even better than that, as a result of the new things we’ve learned and the improved infrastructure, our workflows for all kinds of projects have changed and improved. Everything we do is now to a far higher standard.

Bringing in multiple presenters from home…

With the current lockdown situation, everyone is working from home. This has presented the events world with a new challenge (and we love challenges); How can we broadcast an interactive conversation online in a professional way with high production values.

We were approached by Streaming Tank and High Snobiety to live stream a DJ set. So far, so good. With 12 DJs…. From around the world. And they have to be able to chat and drink and party together.

The technology that we put together allows presenters to interact but the audience to see a slick broadcast. This can be used in a plethora of scenarios whether it’s a AGM (we have used this tech for End of Year Reporting) or a product launch.

Check out this video…

How can Video Conferencing and Webcasting help with your event?

Present Communications have specialised in Video Conferencing and Webcasting for almost 10 years.

Now is a great time to learn more about the benefits of these technologies for your business, especially when it comes to your live events.

If an important presenter can’t make it, we can video link them in to the room for fully interactive 2 way conversations.

If multiple delegates can’t make it to your conference, we are able to live stream to anywhere in the world, to up to 10,000 people.

We’re able to integrate with your own video conferencing systems, whether they’re H.323, SIP, or something like Teams, Webex, GotoMeeting or Zoom. We can also stream to other platforms like Elite and Talkpoint.

Makes it even easier by using a venue with everything already built in such as #15Hatfields.

VC and webcasting at 15 Hatfields from Present Communications on Vimeo.

Announcing Regular Technical Training…

We are really dedicated to providing the best support to our clients as is possible.  We believe that the key to this is consistency in everything we do.  In fact, that’s why our first company value is Consistent Excellence


We are offering training on the last Friday of every month to all of our technical staff, full time and freelance.  The schedule will be decided as we go along so we’re asking you, ‘what do you think would be most useful?’.

These will initially be in Wimbledon at our warehouse but we’re hoping to host more in conference venues so that our techs can become more familiar with those spaces, staff and processes. Anyone who works with us or wants to work with us is welcome to join…

Multi-site, global, extending your reach…

Hybrid events, online seminars, live webcasts, video conferences, video streams, webinars… We are spoilt for choice when it comes to options to interact with our peers, customers, employees or the public more broadly.

For one particular client a few weeks ago, they had a number of offices around the world and they wanted full interactivity, control and HD quality and so they came to us.

We were able to link their offices together and show any site or any combination of sites on any screen connected to our network around the world.

Hybrid events like this, utilising existing video conferencing technology don’t have to be expensive. Many offices have Cisco or Polycom equipment and/or infrastructures. Products newer to the market like Zoom and Starleaf and making interoperability much easier and the technology more prevalent.

If you need a solution for hybrid events but you’re not really sure what you need or how you can make it work, call us.

Cisco SX80 for hire

We’ve been leading the way in Video Conference solutions for live events for a while now using our Cisco C90 units for HD video links around the world. Whilst the units are still great, clients are becoming more familiar with the Cisco SX80 and the rest of the SX range and we’ve had a number of requests for them this year.

Well, who are we to argue. We have now invested in a number of units, complete with cameras, microphones and touch panels to add to our rental stock.

  • Standards-compliant 1080p solution, compatible with standards-based video without losing features
  • 1080/60p @ 10mbps
  • H.264 / H.265 3 Screen output
  • Offers four simultaneous video inputs
  • Comes with four Cisco table microphones & camera

Get in touch to find out more about these awesome systems.

Lilliput BM280-4K – 28″ 4K monitor

The latest addition to our rental stock for 2019 is the Lilliput 4K monitor for situations that require the greatest quality for on-site video production and editing.

7 inch high definition screen
4K Ultra-HD resolution

The BM280-4K monitor features the latest 4K imaging technology. Connected through by HDMI 2.0, 4K screens are Ultra HD – containing 8.3 million pixels making the resolution four times more powerful than full HD making them the ultimate in cinematic displays.

8 inch high definition screen
28” monitor with widescreen

The monitor’s 28″ 16:9 LED display gives a wide viewing angle and consistently great images from any perspective. It’s large enough to gather a crowd and gives a great picture from any angle

10 inch high definition widescreen
Precision colours with 1000:1 contrast ratio

The BM280-4K has a 1000:1 contrast ratio and 300cd/m brightness ratio, giving you sharper pictures and rich colours. Enjoy more detailed images than ever before.

5 inch high definition widescreen
Carry-on suitcase for superior protection

The monitor comes with a specially designed flight case for greater robustness and portability. The design also allows for greater heat radiation and ensures greater reliability over longer shoots

8 inch high definition screen
Connectivity for all video standards

The monitor comes with all of the major video standards used in commercial and the video industry. The BM280K connects using HDMI for 4K resolutions, and can connect using either HDMI or SDI for standard 1080p and below resolutions. This gives the ability to meet the needs of any professional display solution

9 inch high definition screen
Metal outer housing

An aluminium outer body provides excellent protection to extend the lifetime of your monitor.

We’re hiring

2018 has been a fantastic year.  We’ve beaten all our records again and delivered more successful events to our clients than ever before.

We fully intend to grow even more next year and we’re recruiting more technicians in order to assist us in making sure our clients get the best possible service.

We offer opportunities to train and grow in-house and encourage new starters to take on as much responsibility as they want.  We lead the market in video conferencing and live webcasting and train staff in this area to a particularly high standard.  We also offer CTS training and accreditation.

We’re looking for keen, enthusiastic and driven people to join our team and really make a mark.  We don’t want people looking for a 9-5.  This is live events, after all.

 

Click here to find out about the roles…

 

Great webcasts need great cameras…

Online video is becoming more and more popular every day with users now watching more than 1 billion hours of video on YouTube every day.  Many of our engineers and camera people will often hark back to the days of  the BBC engineer, quality, quality, quality.  BBC used to train their engineers over a period of decades and to very high standards.

But this isn’t about the BBC, it’s about a wider change in expectation across the board.  Over the years, young people in particular have become less focused on quality and instead want to consume content now, as soon as possible.  We see it on the news all the time; we don’t mind that the quality is poor or even that the link to a warzone drops, we’d rather see something than nothing at all.

But now we see the pendulum swinging back the other way.  It’s become much easier and more commonplace to stream on facebook or youtube from mobile devices so the differentiator now is quality.  Brands and Corporates want their online content, live or not, to represent their values of quality and care.

Despite the fact that video is often consumed on mobile devices, tablets etc,  the quality of the video going in to ‘the system’ directly correlates to the quality of the video out.  A great piece of cinema still looks great, even on a mobile and that’s why we have partnered with Starlight Productions to make sure our customers get the very best quality in live video production.