Livestream Video: 5 Tips to Consider Before Hitting Record

Livestream video - 5 tipsIn 2016 we’re all potential TV stars thanks to the accessibility of livestream video. Now we have our very own channels – on Periscope, YouTube and Facebook Live – where we can find people waxing on about pretty much anything. 

Of course only .33 percent of videos ever go viral and get over a million views. And fewer than half of YouTube videos ever reach 500. But there’s always an outlier, like a hysterically excited Candace Payne unboxing a Chewbacca Mask on Facebook Live, that breaks the rules and earns 160 million views. 

What does that mean? Well, we’ve always been drawn to crazy stunts and train wrecks – everything from PT Barnum and Jumbo the Elephant to the Donald to Will it Blend.

Livestream video just puts those curiosities in the hands of the masses. And as with social media, democratization exponentially increases the amount of digital crap. So while we’ll find a few gems, you can bet people will start complaining about the pollution and harken back to the halcyon days of YouTube stars.

Testing, Testing – Is This Thing On?

Or, you could treat this discovery phase as an ideal time to put on your studio lab coats, hone your talents and test things out.

Here are a five things to consider before you hit record:

  1. The pen is still mightier than the sword. Start with an idea, a story, a script. You don’t have to write everything down, but unless you’ve done this 1,000 or more times on network television, it’s probably better not to wing it.
  2. Look both ways before crossing the street. The frame is more than your grinning mug. Look at the peripheries to make sure your shot is well composed and the background isn’t too cluttered. This goes for cinema style and vertical video.
  3. Steady as she goes. Good hand-held camera work means a steadiness that’s hard to master in the excitement of a video selfie. Use a tripod or place your camera in a steady spot so people watching don’t get seasick.
  4. I can’t hear you. Sure we’ve got a hi-res camera in the palm of our hands, but the mic is cassette recorder quality at best. Sound counts.
  5. Practice makes palatable. There’s a good reason why film, TV and theatre folks spend hours rehearsing. Learn from them.

The reality is most of us will never be TV star material – even on community cable. And good quality video – whether film or TV – takes training, talent and a lot of hard work.

Have you tried livestreaming? What’s your take?

A version of this post was originally published in Marketing Magazine.

Martin Waxman conducts social media and online crisis training workshops, is a digital and communications strategist and speaks at events across North America. He’s the co-founder of three PR agencies, president of a consultancy and has worked in the industry for 25 years. He also teaches digital strategy and is chair of PRSA Counselors Academy.

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