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Behind-the-scenes at the movers & MAKERS Internet Broadcast

Recently we produced an Internet Broadcast, movers and MAKERS, which was a streaming video event planned to run concurrently with the Make San Leandro Maker Faire.

Our task was to provide on-site video production at the event. By interacting with the Make San Leandro thought leaders on camera, the viewing audience learned about the Maker movement and its association with San Leandro.

Barbara Lee and Rena Nicole
L to R: Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Rena Nicole await start of Internet broadcast

We thought it would be fun to break the show into two types of video interviews  – “on-the-street” and  in the studio.  The person-on-the-street interviews would occur at individual booths at the Maker Faire itself. The “studio” interviews would actually be set up in a school building adjacent to the Maker Faire. The studio location would be a completely virtual set, requiring only two chairs and a green screen.The rest would be keyed in.

Our first task was to do a scout of the event location and determine where we would set up our master control area and where we would put our green screen set.  During the scout we confirmed that we had Internet connectivity with a minimum sustained upload speed of 10 Mbps (megabits per second) and located electrical outlets for our lighting and computer needs.

L to R: Rosanna Muscetti is interviewed by Deborah Acosta on the green screen set
Espen Sivertsen and Derrick Lee in the virtual set

The studio required a footprint of approx. 20’ x 20’.  The width included the green screen and lights with the depth consisting of the talent, more lights, screen left close-up camera, screen right close-up camera and a wide (two-shot) camera.  We placed this makeshift studio in a corridor between two hallways.

Master control required approx 15’x 15’ of space for computer and audio stations and our magic box.  Well our magic box was really a TriCaster 460 mobile video production system which composited the talent into the virtual set, performed live switches and encoded RTSP video on the fly for our live videocast.  We established the master control area in a classroom between the “studio” and a window where we could see what was going on outside at the Maker Faire.

L to R: Eric Sahlin, camera tech, and Bill Peachee, technical director

An important process to clarify was how we would communicate between the master control team, the roving person-on-the-street team and the studio team. We secured a wireless intercom package.  Intercom Communications would flow from the Technical Director to the camera crew.

The on-the-street team was accustomed to shooting interviews and B-roll for a post-production edit session to make the deliverable.  What was exciting for all involved though was that in this instance it was a live event—no take twos.  In addition to the talent and crew being in live mode, we needed to make sure the non-tethered video and audio being captured remotely would make it back to Master Control and be encoded into the live feed.  We used a Teradek Cube to relay the video via a 5 GHz wireless feed directly into the TriCaster.  We found instead of compositing the audio into the remote video stream we got better audio quality from the remote team by sending the audio signal from the hand-held mic via a Seinheiser wireless transmitter directly to the audio mixer.  To compensate for audio latency between the remote video and audio streams, we used the TriCaster to delay the audio by several frames per second.

We built out a micro site to house the movers and MAKERS program, prepared a motion graphics title sequence and prepared lower-thirds titles ahead of time so that they could be switched in during the live video broadcast over the Internet.

On the event day we had a production assistant that helped us secure release forms and escort talent from the Make San Leandro Faire to the studio. Every 15 minutes we switched from the person-on-the-street interview to the studio interview which allowed the talent and crew to get set up for the next session.

We offer this peek behind-the-scenes of a memorable day as we lived it. We look forward to the opportunity to do it again for the thought leaders and organizers out there.

You can see archived sessions from the video event here:

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Direct Images Interactive is a video marketing agency specializing in high-impact video production and online graphic design. We are centrally located between Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose.

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