The ultimate guide to webcasting

13 March 2020 | Technology Tips


We’ve been getting a lot of enquiries about webcasting, but also a lot of questions.

How does it work? What does it cost? Is it the same as ‘live streaming’ or ‘video conferencing’?

So let’s take a few minutes to look into this medium and explain some of the mystery, the terminology and the black magic around it.

For starters, it’s not black magic. It’s basically like TV, through the internet. It’s usually streamed live, but sessions are recorded and can therefore be viewed later on across different time zones or at a time that suits the viewer.

Secondly, with regards to the terminology, the terms ‘video conference’, ‘webcast’ (web-based broadcast), ‘webinar’ (web seminar) and ‘live stream’ are all the same thing. They just belong in different eras or across different industry sectors.

Basic webcasting options

Here are a few simple, cheap and user-friendly webcasting options available to individuals or businesses. 

FaceTime

You FaceTime on your phone right? That’s a very easy way to stream video over the web, albeit two-way video – between you and the other caller. 

Price guide: Free, or whatever phone plan you’re on!

Audio and Powerpoint Webinar

This style of webinar allows a presenter to broadcast a Powerpoint or Keynote presentation, with a voiceover. The viewer sees only the presentation slides along with the presenter’s voice. 

The viewer can comment or ask questions back to the presenter. This type of streaming can be undertaken on platforms like Webex, Skype for Business and Zoom.

Price range: Subscription model

Sophisticated webcasting options

If you’re looking to replicate a conference or substitute for a cancelled meeting or event, read on and let’s look at some more sophisticated solutions.

Conference-style webcast solution      

This style of webcast allows your presenters to present as they would in a live auditorium. 

Whether it’s a short sharp message or a full-day program of speakers (including motivational speakers) your event can broadcast out across the world with unlimited viewers*.

Viewers will see a combination of presentations and a mix of live cameras – all combined to a professional broadcast standard. 

They can participate using the typed Q&A feature in the webcasting system, or through an event app (such as the Sprintr app). 

Questions are reviewed and moderated at the presentation end of the broadcast and answered accordingly. 

The great thing is you can embellish the ‘stage’ area with content, backdrops, branding and lighting, or even an LED wall. 

Price range: $11,000 to $16,000 + GST

Closed Studio webcast solution         

Whilst similar in set up to the above webcast solution, you have the added advantage of being in a very controlled environment. 

With the current COVID-19 pandemic, the advantage of this solution is that you can have your presenter arrive safely and securely at a venue and be directed to the presentation space with limited contact. 

The minimal number of staff in the studio are under strict guidance with regards to hygiene protocol. Whilst all equipment used in the event is sanitised after each session to minimise risk of contamination. 

The sessions are usually booked in three-hour slots to allow time for rehearsals but can be extended out to all-day sessions if required. 

Price range: From $9,900 to $14,500 + GST

What you’ll need:

  • A fast and dedicated cabled internet connection**
  • Laptops for presentations and video playback
  • A camera or multiple cameras with operator/s
  • A vision switcher to mix the cameras and playback devices
  • Reference monitors to see a preview of the presentations and the program (what the viewer sees) and questions being asked by the audience
  • A recording device to record the program for editing and distribution post-event
  • An appropriate number of microphones for your presenters
  • Engagement tools such as an app to encourage viewer participation
  • A live branded LED, printed or standard coloured backdrop
  • Professional operators to set up and operate the event for you

Some extras you should consider:

Session Recording

Recording of the session. The whole session can be recorded in real-time or edited post-event so that those viewers who missed your webcast can be sent the file for viewing at another time or for posterity. 

Editing post-event allows the insertion of graphics or titles to give a finished product look. You can view and approve your drafts online, without having to spend time in the studio and then distribute to those who might, for instance, reside in another time zone. 

Price range: From $900 + GST

Viewing on Demand

You can keep your session online securely for a period of time to allow your viewers to watch at their leisure or re-watch when they need to.

Price range: Varies dependent on numbers

Captioning System

Live captioning your event in real-time allows your viewer to watch the visual content with the aid of captions overlaid on the program content. This system can then transcribe the content and deliver it to you in word format for quick referencing. 

Price range: From $1,200 + GST

Design and Content

With many events moving to streaming, how will yours stand out? Try using interesting and engaging content such as custom motion graphics, messaging loops, videos and virtual waiting rooms. What’s more, you can engage your sponsors by featuring their content and messaging too. For virtual conferencing – content is paramount.

Price range: From $1,500 + GST

AV1 offers all of the above webcasting services and can ensure your streamed content is of the highest professional standards, aesthetically beautiful and delivered with world-class workplace health and safety standards.

*prices are subject to the number of viewers.

**Fast internet means a wired connection that has at least 50mbps upload and 50mbps download speeds and dedicated means dedicated to your event (not sharing with the accommodation rooms in your favoured hotel or venue).


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