Over the past number of years, many organisations have been forced to rethink their video marketing strategies. The pandemic rendered standard / traditional production methods impractical due to health and practical restrictions like social distancing. Live-streams quickly emerged as a viable alternative, and a solution that allowed for some semblance of normality.

This level of viability quickly gained traction for certain types of event; panel discussions, live music and hybrid, reduced-audience events amongst them. But for other types of event, live-streaming poses significant risks. Even where technical hitches like broadband outages are surmounted, sometimes John from HR needs a second crack at delivering his lines – something that a live-stream won’t afford you.

Therefore, in terms of corporate communications, a new format arose quite quickly: The pre-recorded live-stream. It sounds oxymoronic, but these events closely resemble a traditional TV studio broadcast, uploaded later to various online platforms. The production is treated like a live-stream, but by controlling the energy and delivery in the room, the lively and engaging feel of a live event can be re-produced. Thus, the viewer still gets to experience something “as-live”, but the content can be pulled around and re-assembled in an editing room before it ever gets to them.

Both methodologies have pros and cons, so let’s dive a little deeper and investigate them further.

So is Live-Streaming for me?

Live-Streams, such as fireside chats with subject-matter experts, are an amazing way to engage audiences, and encourage active dialogue.

What is Live-Streaming?

At its simplest, live-streaming is sending a video signal to your platform of choice from any camera, often a mobile phone. Once it hits there, it’s broadcast live to your followers, allowing you to interact with them in real time. Done well, it can generate a massive amount of exposure for your offering, and get people talking.

At StreamFox we offer full live-streaming services to any number of platforms (YouTube, Facebook, Twitch, LinkedIn, Twitter, HopIn to name a few), using multiple cameras, professional audio solutions, and monitoring of audience interaction to drive the narrative direction of the stream as necessary.

Pros with Live-Streaming

Live-streaming unquestionably engages your audience better. The feeling of interactivity they can generate excites viewers, and genuine dialogue can be achieved – offering your audience real “buy-in” with your message. You talk, they answer, the direction we’re going in changes.

Live-streams are also often a time-saver. No editing, no multiple takes. What you see is what you get. Even if there’s a mistake, scratch it, there’s nothing can be done, move on.

In the case of Facebook, we suspect the algorithm rewards live-streams more than pre-recorded video, precisely because it engages viewers. The stream will show up in front of more audience members than a video, and they will stay viewing for a longer time.

Even with other platforms, whether algorithm-driven or not, the buzz they generate leads to richer interactions, which can be of serious value to savvy marketeers. At StreamFox we can also help you stream to multiple platforms simultaneously, meaning you can reach distinct and separate audiences as you go.

Cons with Live-Streaming

Live-streaming is not without its downsides, however. It’s not foolproof. There is a lot of uncertainty that can go with turning a camera on, and clicking broadcast – on-screen talent freezing, the wrong thing being said, even the network connection you’re using dropping.

At StreamFox we have a lot of hard-earned experience in mitigating a lot of these risks, but there are no guarantees. Sometimes it won’t be alright on the night, and a random interruption, that couldn’t be planned for gets into the mix. Some audience members will be forgiving, others won’t. We can talk you through how best to avoid a lot of these issues, and make sure that any risks that can’t be eliminated, are at least mitigated by best professional practice.

Accessibility can be tricky too. What about viewers who might depend on captions to interact with what you’re saying / doing? What if they’re in different time-zones, meaning you have to figure out when is best to send your stream live? We work with you at all times to try and answer some of these questions and more to make sure that your live-stream delivers tangible value to your brand before you ever start.

How about ‘as-live’ streaming?

By pre-recording certain content, it can be launched ‘as-live’, but with significantly higher production value like backdrop, lighting, stage management, and clean, edited if necessary, delivery.

What is ‘as-live’ streaming?

As-Live streaming is for those for whom the risks and drawbacks to live-streams are unacceptably high. Think of as-live streams like pre-recorded and edited packages that you’re sending live, safe in the knowledge that you know every frame and every syllable of what’s about to hit the screen intimately.

Pros of ‘as-live’ streaming

If you’re genuinely worried about somebody saying the wrong thing on a live-stream and reflecting poorly on your brand, when you’re presenting as-live, you can reshoot content, edit content, and really get it to look and sound its best. You don’t have to leave the recording studio until you’re sure everything is perfect, and you get to manipulate it further in the edit suite.

This level of control is important to a lot of our clients, as it eliminates technical glitches as well as fluffs with dialogue. You might know your cameras are excellent, and your upload speed blazing fast, but live compression on a server, as well as slow download speed on a viewer’s side are beyond your control. With as-live presentation, you get better control over compression rates on your host platform, as you can optimise the file you upload before sending it.

Cons of ‘as-live’ streaming

One of the main cons of as-live streaming is that you lose a lot of immediate audience interaction. Yes, you can organise a premiere on your platform of choice, flag it in advance with interested parties, and monitor chat windows for how they’re reacting, but they can’t influence the direction the broadcast will take next – there is no true dialogue.

It can also cost more than a live-stream because you have to invest time and effort in post-production before sending anything live. At StreamFox we often to find these extra costs add up to something similar to the level of extra pre-planning necessary for a properly-mitigated live-streams, but as-live streams are not without pre-production either. We will always work with you and the budgets you have available for any project, but as-live carries different weightings to different parts of the production life-cycle.

In terms of time taken, you should also remember that as-live streams take longer to reach your audience. If you’re reacting to something immediate with a pre-record, you can pressurise your edit for time as much as you’d like, it’s still going to take time to prep the footage for upload. If that’s not time you necessarily have, then live-streaming potentially offers a better solution.

So What Does It All Mean?

At StreamFox we have built up years of expertise in guiding clients to the best solution for what they’re trying to achieve. We’re also largely driven by coffee, and love chats. So if any of the above doesn’t make sense, or you need any further help deciding what’s right for your next big event, why not contact us, and we can arrange to have a chat?

You can even use our fancy new brief-builder, located here.

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