Last week I had the opportunity to produce our first Grow Smart Business webcast hosted by our CEO, Roy Dunbar. It included a stellar panel of small business owners and experts to discuss a range of topics covering current small business trends, the challenges and success stories of these entrepreneurs and some sage advice for those currently in business or thinking of starting one.
But before all of this crescendoed into a great event, there was lots of behind the scenes preparation primarily surrounding selection of a webinar partner. Our primary requirement was live high-quality video and no other visual aids. Now, before I dive into things it is important to point out that this vendor fit our needs and there are many great providers out there. You just need to find the one that fits your requirements.
Two major types of vendors
As I dove into the selection process I went to the name brands of webinar providers and quickly discovered that there are two types of vendors – presentation-focused and video-focused.
These are the vendors that usually come up in a discussion of making a webcast. Names like WebEx, GoToMeeting, Adobe Connect are fantastic for delivering webcasts where the focus is on the presentation or document content while the video goes along with the presentation. Since we were basically doing live television without any type of presentation documents, these weren’t the best for this situation.
Since we are focused on doing a webinar that is similar to a live news broadcast with a panel and uses mulitple cameras, the choices were pretty narrow.
Narrowing the Field and Testing the Finalists
Since we are focused on doing a webinar that is similar to a live news broadcast with a panel and uses mulitple cameras, the choices were pretty narrow. We narrowed the choices down to uStream.TV and Mogulus. uStream.TV is a leader in the live video space especially in the area of “lifecasting” where people are live on video engaging an audience while they go about their daily lives. Both had a free and professional version, the free version which was ad supported wouldn’t be appropriate so we focused on the pro packages. They both supported chat, embedding, live broadcast and on-demand replay plus their pricing model is usually a flat fee in addition to a combination of user views and bandwidth.
Selecting Mogulus and Going into Production
After testing both, what it came down to was the ability to use multiple cameras and the graphics options that the Mogulus studio platform provided. uStream.TV is an excellent platform and has some excellent shows and companies utilizing the platform but we had a two camera setup (one wide shot and one focused) that Mogulus was able to handle. I would offer that if you have other technology on the front end like a Tricaster, you can accomplish the same thing but we did not, so Mogulus was the winner.
The Results Were Fantastic with a few hiccups
I have to commend Max Haot, CEO of Mogulus and his team for their help in the preparation, testing and monitoring during our live show. It went off without any major issues and the announcement on their web site in addition stellar promotion job done by Network Solutions and CRT/Tanaka, we had 700 viewers over the course of the hour and the chat room along with Twitter and our #growbiz tag was buzzing. The only thing we ran into was when switching back and forth between cameras too fast, the sync up seemed to cause a hiccup and pause in the audio but that only happened once or twice. This platform and its development has come a long way over two years and this year looks to bring two major requests – live HD (you can only broadcast HD if it is pre-recorded) and all cameras on one machine (only one camera per machine) – to its fall release. It is truly amazing that in the last few years companies have developed the equivalent of a multi-million dollar production studio for your browser.
Truly amazing and the result of everyone’s hard work was what you see below:Google+