You rarely hear the word boring in relation to live streaming.
Most live streamers could probably throw together a blooper reel in the space of a few minutes, made up solely of production blunders and unexpected incidents from past live events. And it’s not just the homegrown productions that face the perils of a live broadcast. Remember Joe Namath’s irrepressible urge for a kiss during an ESPN interview? Or how about the time the Super Bowl feed was disrupted by a power outage? And don’t forget about this infamous live BBC interview.
Whether it’s a local or a national production, life goes on, strange things happen, and live video captures it all. The key is learning from these mistakes. Below are a few common live streaming mishaps we’ve seen over the years that we think can be avoided, so listen up to ensure they don’t happen to you.
Live Streaming Mistakes (And Tips For Avoiding Them)
Balls Going Rogue
Picture this: You’re watching a live-streamed soccer game at home and it’s a critical moment in the game; the striker is lining up to attempt what could be a game-changing free-kick. He approaches the ball, swings, and kicks, and… your screen goes dark. In this true story, the live stream came to an abrupt end when the ball hit the camera squarely and destroyed it. We’ve seen the same thing happen with a foul ball during a softball game (see the video clip below—thanks St. Scholastica Saints!). If the live stream setup was dependent on a single camera to capture the action, you and a whole lot of other fans are left hanging. And for those on the production end, well, it’s time for a new camera.
TIP: Think through your camera placement before the game starts. A camera placed too close to the action or in the direct path of gameplay is at risk of getting hit by the ball, or even by players. Also, if you’re doing a single-camera production, it’s a good idea to have a backup camera nearby just in case. Nobody ever thinks it’s going to happen to them—until it does.
Weather Wreaking Havoc
The weather is great fodder for small talk, but it’s not always given enough attention when planning for a live stream. Weather conditions can have a swift and negative impact on the success of your broadcast. We’ve called clients in the past wondering why their live feed stopped only to discover that their equipment was damaged in the rain. We’ve also seen sudden storms cause panic on camera, with everyone rushing to get the cameras under cover. And we can’t forget about gusts of wind knocking over cameras. One second your fans are watching the game and the next they’re getting a good view of the bleachers or clouds in the sky. Bad weather can easily take down your live stream if you’re going in unprepared.
TIP: Listen to weather reports on the day of the event and plan accordingly. If it’s a windy day, make sure your tripod is sturdy and well-rooted to the ground. If there’s any chance of rain, arrange your live stream setup under a pop-up tent, or even indoors if possible. Have whatever equipment you need at the ready, so you’re prepared rain or shine.
We’ve occasionally gotten emails from fans who’ve heard more on a live stream than they bargained for, thanks to conversations taking place too close to hot mics. Foul language, personal rants, and even pleasant banter between friends have all been caught on tape and streamed out to fans inadvertently. Your viewers just want to watch the game—and while some may be amused, some will most certainly not.
TIP: Advise your camera operators to be mindful of nearby sound anytime mics are on. Operators should also pay attention to loud noises and/or conversations that could be caught on mic due to its positioning. If you’d rather be safe than sorry, most camera mics can also be completely disabled. While a total lack of ambient sound on your broadcast is a less desirable experience for your audience, sometimes this is the best course of action.
Troubleshooting technological issues can be an irritant and a time suck. Every second counts in a live streaming situation, and the last thing you want to be doing is spending precious minutes (sometimes even hours) working out a technical snafu. We’ve seen operators frantically checking camera manuals, consulting internet forums, asking anyone and everyone for advice, and basically running around in circles, when the solution was simple: the camera was unplugged.
TIP: When troubleshooting tech problems, check the obvious first. Taking a second to do this simple step could save you loads of time. It’s not uncommon for cords placed in high-foot-traffic areas to come unplugged. Make the outlet your first stop should a problem arise and go from there.
Want more live streaming advice?
I’ll be the first to admit that you can’t avoid every mishap with any sort of live event—nor do I think you’d want to. Chances are with the number of cameras out there today, somebody is going capture almost everything. But planning for the steps to take if things go sideways (Joe, I’m looking at you), can ensure that you deliver an entertaining live stream where no one gets hurts, including reporters, cameras, or the reputation of legendary quarterbacks.
But for the most part, we know you want to have an issue-free live stream—and that’s where we come in. We can’t promise that every broadcast will go off without a hitch if you work with us here at PrestoSports, but I can promise that we’ll do everything we can to make all your live event streaming as pain-free and simple as possible. We’ll do for you what we do for all our clients—offer guidance and advice on everything from what kind of equipment to buy to improve your production workflow to creating a top-notch experience for your viewers. If you want to hear more about what it’s like to partner with us, let’s chat.