Tag Archives: stream

Five Things to Avoid When Producing Web Video

There are a million guides out there that will tell you what frame rate, bit rate, codec, and editing software to use. These tips are excellent and should be followed to create as professional a broadcast or podcast as possible. Unfortunately, there are some common traits among amateur web video that find their way in to otherwise perfect productions. Here are five things to avoid when producing web video:

Clutter
If you’ve got a camera on you, it’s also on everything behind you. As a rule of thumb, everything the camera is or might be pointed at should be treated like a movie or television set. If you film out of your bedroom, take five minutes prior to hitting the record button to make the bed and arrange things around the room to look as open and uncluttered as possible. What may be a typical room to you will look like a terrible mess on camera. Viewers have a tendency to imagine the whole room based on the little section they see. If that little piece isn’t right, the whole space may as well be a cluttered mess.

Constant Movement
Video made for the web is compressed and compression does funny things to video. If you have a habit of holding the video camera with your hand and pointing it at yourself or your subject, break it. Invest in a tripod or mount that keeps the background as still as possible. This will not only improve the way your video looks after compression, but it will also improve your subject’s appearance. Each frame is given a certain allotment in terms of bits to generate the image. If little has changed from the frame before it, those bits can be used to make what is moving in the shot look smoother.

Bad Lighting
Lighting is essential to good web video. If you use a low-watt table lamp that looks alright in person, you can bet the video will prove otherwise. It’s better to have lighting that is a bit too bright than a bit too dark. Artifacts, which appear as colored specks or scattered snow, show up much more in a dark shooting environment. Give your subject some light, and if you want to make things look dark and dreary, you can do it in post using a video editing program.

Low or Inconsistent Audio
Most decent video editing programs out there will include audio controls. If you can’t actually affix a virtual audio processor and/or compressor to the audio track, take the time to normalize the audio to a reasonable volume. Audio normalization is one of the fastest and most effective ways to turn mediocre video in to something more professional. If you have the means, work out a system to mic your subject to get the best audio possible. Built-in microphones on smartphones and camcorders can work, but you are far more likely to get good results with an external mic. Because many viewers actually listen more than watch web programs, poor audio may be one of the most important things to avoid when producing web video.

Bad Camera Placement
The subject you are filming should be front and center on screen. If your web video has someone’s head at the bottom of the frame with a large space between the top of their head and the ceiling of the video, you should consider repositioning either the subject or the camera. As a rule of thumb, allow no more than 10% of the total height of the video to show space over the head of your host. If you film at a wide angle from across the room, make sure that it’s clear the person doing the majority of the speaking is the focus of the shot. No mater how cool your set is, your production will suffer if it doesn’t revolve around the subject.

Is This how you Set up Your Webcam?

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Yes, I’m sitting in the dark. I don’t understand why so many people record without turning on regular lights… expecting the glow from their monitors to outline them. I’ve got a top five list on how to set up your webcam for maximum recording power. This was sent in by Flyaxe.

  • Location Make sure that you set up your webcam on a horizontal surface like a bookshelf. Set it up so it points straight at your face, or at the location/desk you are at. If you are using it outside, you have to keep it in a dry spot and prevent direct sunlight from hitting it.
  • Lightning For most webcams, you will need a lot of light. Because I don’t know what webcam you are using, you have to experiment a bit on yourself. Don’t use to little or too much light! If you have too little light in the room, the video quality will be decreased and make you look like dark red or dark yellow. Remember not to use too much light, because then you will be all discolored looking, and you will be all light yellow.
  • Distance Keep a good enough distance from your face/desk or whatever, so the viewer gets a good view. If you are too close, you will lose light and quality on the video/stream. If you are too far away, the viewer will see your unclean room and that is not good is it?
  • Treatment Don’t put your webcam on a dirty spot or a bookshelf with a lot of dust. Keep it dry, prevent too much heat and direct sunlight (which can effect the lens). I also heard that old televisions can affect the webcam. I don’t know if this is true, but keep it in mind.
  • Software If your webcam doesn’t come with very good software, I suggest getting some! Webcam software can be a great help, and can also be a lot of fun. Programs like Webcam max (for Windows) and Cam Twist (for the Mac) are great programs. With these programs, you can use effects like dancing aliens and chat windows.

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Video Stream

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BrandonN is one of the regular visitors to the chat room at live.pirillo.com. He sent me his top five tips for having a successful live video stream. Thanks, Brandon… I’ll keep these in mind.

I’ve seen good and bad streams. Many times people like to just buy a web camera and think it’s great even though they spent 20$ on it! Even sometimes the Microphone is cheap.

  • Tip #1 – Make sure when you buy a web camera make sure you see that it does 30FPS (They all should by now). The logitech quickcam 9000 is a great camera. Yes it does cost a bit but the quality is great. If you own the latest gen of the iMac or Mac Books it may already have a web camera! They are great to use for streaming on the go and just in your home.
  • Tip #2 – Put a decent length between you and your camera! Putting it right up in your face isn’t good. It’s called Cam Whoring and it gets boring when you can’t see anything but your face. If anything try to use the entire cable to show your entire desk and if you can’t buy a extender, may seem a waste of money for the extra extender cable but it’s all worth it in the end.
  • Tip #3 – The site you use to stream! There is of course Ustream, StickAM, Justin.Tv and other small ones. Ustream is great for 24/7 streams as they have great servers to handle the load and they pump out great quality. StickAM is mostly for group chats. Yes people do stream 24/7 but the quality on StickAM lacks a bit. Justin.Tv has a wide community and is fully based off it. It produces great quality like Ustream.
  • Tip #4 – Talk to your users! When someone is watching you they expect for you to talk back. If you ignore them you get them bored and they leave. You don’t need to talk them while your on but answering questions from them or just a plain chat can boost your viewer count when it comes to people recommending.
  • Tip #5 – Good internet, If you have anything under a good broadband/cable connection forget it. Streaming live does take up bandwidth. Chris streams 24/7 and it sucks so much bandwidth he needed a second internet connection just for the stream!

~ BrandonN in your chat

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How to Stream Video Online for Free

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Many services charge money to help or allow you to stream content live over the Internet. Why pay for them, when you can use what I do. Ustream.tv is absolutely free!

Broadcasting live yourself is easy. Here’s all you need to do:

  • Go to Ustream.tv and sign up for a free account.
  • Once you’re signed up, click on the My Shows tab.
  • Click Start a New Show.
  • Click on Broadcast.

As long as you have a webcam and a microphone… you’re now broadcasting live… on the Internet… for FREE! It really is that easy.

If you have something interesting to say, or even new and different… why are you not already streaming? You should be.

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