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…

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.

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.

The best internet experience is not just about speed…

Don’t get me wrong, internet speed is important, it’s very important.  Some users of hotels and conference centres genuinely require very fast internet and there are a few venues in London and around the country who can provide this (call us to find out which ones).

But much of the time, we actually don’t require super speeds.  We need internet that’s going to work, that’s low latency and well structured.  Once again, when it comes to internet, quality wins over quantity.

As I write this, I’m actually sitting in a conference room in Nigeria. We’ve paid for really fast internet and, as promised, that is what we have.  The streaming video has actually been remarkably stable despite the regular power cuts.  But we’re struggling to manage and preview the streams because the ‘quality’ of the network isn’t up to it.

The problem is, it’s very difficult to measure quality of internet and network.  You’re going to find out how good it is when your guests all try to log on at the same time.  Or you can just call us and we’ll tell you where has the best networks.

Making Your Webcast Accessible

Webcasts make your events available to a wider audience. People from anywhere in the world, on any device, can watch your event live. Your webcast, by its very nature is accessible. But our job isn’t done there.

Driven by our work with the public and third sectors, particularly the NHS, we have developed a unique method to integrate live captioning (subtitles) into your stream so those with hearing difficulties can benefit from your event.

As a standard, we can integrate Q&A features into webcasting platforms so those watching your live stream can actually communicate with those in the room in real time. In addition, we are now able to ‘invite’ other users to the webcast by sending a link. The guest, from their home or office, can use their webcam to take part live in the event.  For us, accessibility really is, and always has been key.

A combination of these technologies, from live captioning to 2 way video make your live stream as accessible as possible.

Hybrid Events must be interactive and engaging…

Live streaming, video conferencing, webinars, hybrid events…

These terms all mean something a little different, and we’ve covered the differences in the past. Is largely semantics really, the most important thing is the way in which we decide on our platform of choice.

There are a number of elements to a live video / hybrid events. First, there is the on-site element. This includes the PA system and screens like normal but also now we introduce the video cameras etc.

Secondly, we need to take the video, slides, and audio from the room and send it to the internet. Potentially, we also need to take video, slides, audio and more from the internet and present it back to our audience in the room. That’s the key to being interactive and engaging our audiences, both in the room and online.

Thirdly, the content that we’ve sent to the internet needs to actually make it into the offices and homes of our online participants and vice versa and for this we need a platform. Some live streaming platforms might include Facebook Live, YouTube, ON24, Talk Point, Inxpo etc. Video conferencing platforms might include a Cisco MCU like our in house system or something cloud based like Zoom. And webinar platforms include things like Webex, Adobe Connect, GoToMeeting. That’s a lot of options. And to make it more complicated, a hybrid event is essentially a mix of any of these with a live event.

Bringing people ‘into’ your event from online, whether they be at home, in their office or on the train gives the event owner huge potential to widen the audience to increase the reach of the event. It also places a responsibility on the event owner to ensure that the online participants are just that, participants. Engagement should be considered just as important for those people online. In fact, it should be considered more important because those participants don’t have the advantage of actually being in the room with the other delegates.

Now for the techie bit… In order to ensure the delegates online and in the room are fully engaged, video and audio needs to be high quality and real time. Content needs to be available to all users too. Currently, there is a technological gap between what’s needed and what’s available. I could blame it all on Apple but that’s a conversation for another day. All I’ll say is WATCH THIS SPACE…

World First @ Rio 2016 – Live Interactive VR Interview

We love what we do but sometimes, something really special comes along.  A world first.  Something to talk about.  Something we’re truly proud of and something we tell our parents about (who usually have no idea what we’re talking about). This year, we travelled to Rio for the Olympics in order to bring the athletes home… virtually.

Samsung asked M&C Saatchi to organise a live interview of athletes who were taking part or who had taken part in the Olympics but oh, by the way, the athletes will be in Rio, the journalists at the M&C Saatchi office in London and it has to be fully immersive using the Samsung Gear.  As part of a team of wonderful technical experts made up of Present Communications, Streaming Tank and Atticus Digital, we made that happen.

VR is not new, neither is streaming.  In fact, more people now stream in 360 and this will become even more popular since the launch of Facebook’s live 360 streaming platform.  But a live 2 way conversation like this had never been attempted before due to the large delay between camera (in Rio) and goggles (in London).  The guys at Atticus reduced the delay, Present Communications got the video from Rio to London and back in record time and Streaming Tank made the two work together.

It was a great effort from the team and a real world first.  Thanks team!

 

New Hire / Rental Stock – Nexo PA system

It’s always nice to get something nice and shiny in the warehouse and even better when we can get it out to clients and help make your events even better.

We’ve recently introduced a new speaker into the hire stock, it’s the Nexo PS8.  Nexo speakers are known within the industry for superb quality, they’re small, light weight and ‘punchy’.

We can’t wait for you to hear them!

Live Interpretation for Webcasting

The World is getting smaller, we are at the forefront of bringing people together using online technologies such as webcasting and video conferencing.  Technology is available for us to make events accessible to people wherever they might be at that specific time.  ‘Delegates’ (in the new sense of the word) are able to interact with each other on mobile devices or at their desks, even from an aeroplane (yes, we have done this).

There are a few obvious challenges to overcome.  The two big ones, time zones and languages.

The first is difficult to change, we can’t change time zones but we can be as flexible as possible with our event and we find ourselves now working on events at more peculiar times of the day.  If live interaction is not required, we can stagger the streaming in different countries.  Or perhaps two or three live events can be staggered throughout the day for the convenience of various audiences.

‘Languages’ are easier.  The stream, already going over the web can be interpreted live with questions and online interaction translated in real time.  This is becoming a relatively common way to stream and something that works really well for multi-lingual audiences.

In this photograph you see a remote location with real time video sent from the event location to an off-site venue which housed our interpreters who were them streamed live in the web.  It’s a big world, but it’s getting smaller.