Video Essentials

Tips for Pulling Off a Live Streaming Production

“This is gonna be a fun one,” Rob Roskin, senior manager for video operations and emerging technologies at MTV Networks said at the start of his recent Streaming Media West presentation. And he was right. Roskin is a familiar face at Streaming Media events thanks to his sense of humor and real-world experience.

In his hour-long talk, Roskin offered specific, practical advice for streaming live events. He included tips for cameras, encoding, bandwidth, CDNs, and social elements. The real topic was “mostly how not to screw it up,” he said.

“Make sure that the camera does not face a light source,” Roskin offered, illustrating his point with a story about shooting Fergie’s entrance at the Kid’s Choice Awards. A last-minute lighting change ruined his teams perfect shot and left them scrambling for a fix.

When streaming live, having enough bandwidth is crucial. Roskin told the audience how to spot poor connections.

“Watch ping times, which is known as latency, just as much as speed,” Roskin said. “You could have a 100-meg pipe that I just need to use this much of, but I can’t because it’s too slow. When you’re sending stuff from an encoder to — let’s hope — a CDN, that latency can be a real problem. If it takes more than a tenth of a second to get your video to the encoder, you’re probably not going to have a good show.”

Roskin finished by underlining the importance of testing the entire workflow thoroughly the day ahead of time.

“Do a dry run the day before. A lot of times, people are in a rush — ‘Oh it’s the day before a show, we just changed this thing, I gotta run to this meeting, blah, blah.’ Do a dry run the day before, because if you don’t your show is going to suck and you’re not going to know why. You’re going to think ‘What did I plan wrong?’ You didn’t test. That’s all it is,” Roskin said.

Scroll down to view the full presentation and download the presentation that goes with it:

How-To: Technical Set-Up of Live Streaming Production

This session provides tips and tricks, best practices, and lessons learned regarding the technical set-up of live streaming production from MTV Networks. Learn how to stream multiple formats from a single encoder, use social networking overlays, leverage adaptive bitrate streaming, and transition between live streams from multiple camera angles using multi-encoder synchronization. Come learn how to deliver interactive, high-quality experiences for your next live event.

Speaker: Rob Roskin, Senior Manager, Video Operations and Emerging Technologies, MTV Networks


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  1. Horrible speaker. Assumes that his audience has a clue as to what he is speaking about and is able to pick up on the topics and tech.
    I’ve been streaming and producing video for sometime and I even had a hard time following him.

    Posted by james | February 1, 2012, 12:16 am
  2. Thanks for sharing the useful tips. Very helpful for live streaming production.

    Posted by icecube media | February 9, 2012, 1:10 am
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