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Written by Richard Belcher

Richard is Technical Director at First Sight Media and is particularly interested in the development of interactivity and web based video. His expertise in webcasting, video production and interactive media along with his interpersonal skills make him ideal for this position; working closely with clients looking to produce their first webcasts or directing large events and conferences for live broadcast via the web.

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Webcasting your Live Event

Online video viewing has increased rapidly in the 2009. With over 100 million videos viewed on YouTube each day and interfaces such as the BBC’s ‘iPlayer’, 77% of internet users have watched a video online; 19% of whom do so on a daily basis. It is therefore little wonder that it is not just large broadcasters that are webcasting. Conferences, lectures, meetings and events are increasingly being broadcast across the web by businesses, societies and corporations alike. It is not only a new and exciting way for delegates to view or review the event, but a cost effective way of delivering your event to a large; or even GLOBAL audience.

Whatever the event or message you are trying to put across, an effective webcast will live on long after the session is over. It also allows you to deliver the event to audiences that could not attend, operate on a different time zone and can cut travel and accommodation expenses. With interactive possibilities, your event webcast can offer viewers a new type of advanced experience; helping to deliver your message or information.

If you want to get your event or message heard, a well marketed webcast is the way to do it. There is however a few things you should consider when considering webcasting your event:


Ninety percent or more of the work for a live event webcast should be done in the planning stages. If you try to foresee potential problems before the event starts, you can drastically reduce your stress levels on the day.

Particularly if you are producing a LIVE webcast session of your event, there are many things that can go wrong so ensure you produce a number of test sessions before the main event. The goal of any webcast should be a seamless, buffer-free video at a sustained quality irrespective of number of users. Ensure that the venue’s internet connection is up to the job and your server is capable of handling more than the expected viewers.

The most important thing is marketing the event and inviting users. If you are webcasting LIVE at a specific time and date, you need to ensure that potential viewers are aware of its existence and how to access the session remotely. This can be a heavily published advertising campaign or a simple email notification. 


Depending on the type of session you are producing, you may chose to use single camera coverage of your event or a multiple camera, fully vision mixed set-up. It is very important to bare-in-mind that viewers attention span online is very different to that in front of a TV. Multi-camera coverage will add interest to the session by varying the shot and providing the viewer with a more complete production.

Any event webcast should have exceptional production values. A badly lit venue or poor audio will quickly degrade the quality of the event and viewers will lose interest. Live event video production is a tricky business and to get the best value for money, you need to commission someone who specialises in Live Event coverage. This will not only increase the production values of your video but you will be able to draw upon their experience in ensuring your webcasts goes without a hitch.

If you event features presenters with a slideshow, it is important to transfer this information to the webcast. There are a number of options of how to do this but by far the most effective is to use an interface such as First Sight Media’s iPresenter which allows for the slides and video to be viewed in separate windows on screen; providing the viewer with option to watch the video and view the slide at his or her discretion. 


It is important to give the viewer a suitable way of watching the webcast. This can be simply a link that opens the stream directly or a webpage with the video embedded inside. This allows you to keep your company branding and other suitable information around the video.

There are many options for the player that delivers your content. It is important to consider your audience when making your decision; if for example the majority of your audience will be watching on a Mac, you may wish to use QuickTime. Adobe Flash Player on the other hand is a diverse player installed on an estimated 98% of internet enabled machines. This means that users watching in large corporations will not need to contact their IT departments to help them watch the session and firewalls are unlikely to interfere.

If you are going to use something like the our iPresenter, you need to ensure that it is easy to use by even the least technical of users. Consider a ‘user-guide’ or even a technical support number. 

We hope you have found this article useful! For more information or a quotation, please call 0800 072 8753 and speak to Paul or Rich


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