Live streaming at Microsoft Business Applications Summit Atlanta 2019. I was chatting with my buddy Steve Mordue months leading up to the Microsoft Business Applications Summit, just throwing some ideas around.
One of the ideas was to combine what we had learned carrying out interviews on our respective podcasts (you can check out Steve’s Podcast here and mine here) and add a new medium of video. Could we live stream from Summit, interviewing guests live from the event, giving people who couldn’t attend the event themselves the chance to rub [virtual] shoulders with some of the attendees and speakers?
We contacted the event organizers at Microsoft to see if this idea would be something they would be open to. With the help of Ama Kusi and Charles Sterling, we were able to get approval to live stream from a spot in the Power Platform Community area on the Expo floor.
Steve and I decided that we would take turns interviewing guests for the live stream.
Choosing a Platform
As I had never done a live stream before I did some research on my platform options. The main two that made my short list were Twitch and YouTube.
The Sunday before Microsoft Business Applications Summit, I was involved in Hack4Good and live streamed #TeamBlue (my team) on Twitch as we worked through the day building our app on the Power Platform.
I had only recently set myself up on Twitch as I was educating myself on the platform, and when Those Dynamics Guys TDG asked me to use Twitch for Hack4Good, I was all ready to go.
For the event though, I decide to use YouTube as my live stream platform, as I felt it is more business focused than Twitch. The choice to go with YouTube was influenced by my recent increase in posting videos to YouTube and creating engagement with the community using this platform.
YouTube Live Stream has an “event” feature that allows you to schedule a time in the future as your live stream date. I used this as it allows you to choose your settings and then reuse them for each new live stream you create. So if you have multiple time slots at the event, you can reuse the settings for each time slot you broadcast on.
My Rig for the Live Stream
The following is the list of equipment broken into the key categories I considered when putting together my rig.
The style I was going for was similar to what I have seen in interviews conducted on TED talks. Two comfortable armchairs, with a backdrop behind to avoid the distraction of people moving around on the expo floor. Very simple, and good because it didn’t need to occupy much floor area. We had a table set up in front of the chairs for the computer and audio equipment.
The area needs to be cordoned off as you will be surprised how many people tried to walk through the set while recording.
For audio, I decided to use lap mics as I did not have an extra set of hands to run a boom mic. The audio equipment was made up of the following:
- Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (2nd Gen) USB Audio Interface with Pro Tools | First
- Comica XLR Microphone CVM-V02O 2 Pack 14.76 fts Phantom Power Omni-Directional Lavalier Lapel Microphone for Canon Sony Panasonic Camcorders Zoom H4n H5 H6 Tascam DR-40 DR-60D DR-70D DR-100 Recorders
- JSAUX Printer Cable, 10ft USB 2.0 Type A Male to B Male Printer Scanner Cord High Speed
- K701 Open%2DBack Reference Class Stereo Headphones with Varimotion and Flat%2DWire Voice Coil Technology
- LyxPro Balanced XLR Cable 15 ft Premium Series Professional Microphone Cable, Powered Speakers and Other Pro Devices Cable, Red
- LyxPro Balanced XLR Cable 15 ft Premium Series Professional Microphone Cable, Powered Speakers and Other Pro Devices Cable, Purple
For recording training videos for Microsoft, I use what is called LED 3-point lighting and have added lights to illuminate my background. For this project, I wanted to take only a minimum and used the following:
- Neewer 2 Pieces Bi-color 660 LED Video Light and Stand Kit Includes:(2)3200-5600K CRI 96+ Dimmable Light with U Bracket and Barndoor and (2)75 inches Light Stand for Studio Photography, Video Shooting
For the video, I used my Sony cameras as follows:
- Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-RX100 V 20.1 MP Digital Still Camera with 3″ OLED, Flip Screen, WiFi, and 1” Sensor DSCRX100M5/B
- Sony a7R III Mirrorless Camera: 42.4MP Full Frame High-Resolution Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera with Front End LSI Image Processor, 4K HDR Video and 3″ LCD Screen – ILCE7RM3/B Body
- Sony – FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS Standard Zoom Lens (SEL24105G)
- ProMaster Professional XC525C Carbon Fiber Tripod, Black
- Manfrotto Compact Action Aluminum 5-Section Tripod Kit with Hybrid Head, Red (MKCOMPACTACN-RD)
I used my laptop as a streaming server. I configured it so that nothing was operating apart from the streaming software. The software I used for streaming is Open Broadcast Software (OBS)
A few other general items I used included:
- Anker 10ft / 3m Nylon Braided Tangle-Free Micro USB Cable with Gold-Plated Connectors for Android, Samsung, LG, HTC, Nexus, Sony and More (Red)
- Samsung T5 Portable SSD – 1TB – USB 3.1 External SSD (MU-PA1T0B/AM)
- Anker USB Wall Charger, 60W 6 Port USB Charging Station, PowerPort 6 Multi USB Charger for iPhone XS/Max/XR/X/8/7/Plus, iPad Pro/Air 2/Mini/iPod, Galaxy S9/S8/S7/Edge/Plus, Note, LG, HTC, and More
- Anker 10 Port 60W Data Hub with 7 USB 3.0 Ports and 3 PowerIQ Charging Ports for MacBook, Mac Pro/Mini, iMac, XPS, Surface Pro, iPhone 7, 6s Plus, iPad Air 2, Galaxy Series, Mobile HDD, and More
- XFasten Gaffer Tape Pro, Black, 2-Inches X 30 Yards- Premium Grade Matte Black Gaff Main Stage Tape for Photographers, Interior Designers and Professionals
- Elgato Cam Link 4K — Broadcast Live, Record via DSLR, Camcorder, or Action cam, 1080p60 or 4K at 30 fps, Compact HDMI Capture Device, USB 3.0 (two of these, one for each camera)
- Elgato Stream Deck – Live Content Creation Controller with 15 customizable LCD keys, adjustable stand, for Windows 10 and macOS 10.11 or later
We had one massive fail on the first day, and that was that we tried to stream over Wi-Fi. As soon as people started arriving the conference Wi-Fi died, which unfortunately meant the day one video was not of the best quality and we suffered for it. To solve this for day 2, we had a wired RJ45 internet connection installed overnight thanks to Ama and from then on everything worked perfectly. We tried running from a mobile hotspot as well, but it was no better than the Wi-Fi.
For my next event, I am going to use different lights and cameras and plan to add a total of four cameras for better live streaming. I will also set up the way people can live chat from the stream on YouTube better. Next time all guests will be scheduled in advance to maximize the time.
In my experience, when you are trying something for the first time you are never going to be that great, as there are so many lessons to be learned. If I listen to my first podcast, you can tell it is my first as I was learning, after 100 podcasts I am a little better. This is only the start of live streaming for me. Steve and I plan to carry on learning about live streaming by letting you in on our weekly catch up call where we discuss all things Microsoft Business Applications. If you want to watch, please check out the nz365guy YouTube channel and let’s see where we end up at episode 100. 😊
- Know your equipment and all the connection cables needed
- You need everything operating on USB 3.0, and make sure your USB hubs have an external power supply
- Separate USB hubs to power your cameras than the USB hub used for HDMI
- Must have wired internet connection to do this justice
If you missed the live stream you can watch the edited postproduction videos from Day 2 of the conference on YouTube.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them in the comments below.