This section provides a tour of the production interface that you will work with when producing Live Events. It is critical to understand the interface to create a successful production.
There are five main areas of the Production Interface:
1. Video Sources
2. Overlay Preview
3. Program Output
4. Overlay Selection
5. Overlay Workspace
To add a video, click the blue Add button. This will open the video folder inside the media folder that is linked to with the media button. Storing videos here will help keep everything organized, but you can navigate to other folders as well. To delete a video, click on the video and it will highlight in a darker gray and press the delete key on the keyboard.
If you have a set of videos that you want to save in order, you can save a playlist of the videos by clicking save. Likewise, if you have already saved a playlist, click open and it will load the videos. Make sure not to delete or rename any videos when you save a playlist. It will break the link to the videos and will not play in the correct order.
To play a video, click on the video and it will highlight in a darker gray. Click the green Play button. This will replace both the audio and the video of the program output. The duration of the video will show with the green bar below the play button.
To loop a video, click the Loop check box. This will loop everything selected. If you want multiple videos to loop in order, press control (Ctrl) and click on all the videos you want to loop through. Then click loop and click play.
To stop a video, click Stop. This will immediately stop the audio and video of the video and jump back to the audio and video input of your video capture device.
In this box you can preview any overlay changes that appear before pushing them live. Changes you make to the overlay in the Overlay Workspace will show up here but not on the program output until you press Submit (more on that later). This is your final check before you put text on air for spelling, correct logos, scores, etc.
Any video, audio, overlays, video, or anything at all that appears in the Program Output area is what is being broadcasted on the network.
Just above the viewer are some remarks for On Demand and Recording notations. When you start your stream, these should both turn to green check marks. When it is recording, you are storing a local copy of your program output to your computer. If this doesn’t change to a green check mark, you will need to reinstall the Producer software or check your computer hard drive's available capacity (try clearing out some data). When it is streaming, you are broadcasting your program output to your NFHS Network event on the NFHS Network site. If this doesn’t change to a green check mark, check your internet connection.
For the purposes of this screenshot, both On Demand and Recording are red due to the fact that it is not broadcasting.
Producer provides both video and audio monitoring. On the left side of the program output, there is a VU meter for visual monitoring of both the left and right audio channels. When your levels are in the orange or red, try turning your input volume down just a touch. If you audio is reaching hitting the top of the bar (also known as peaking), this means your audio is too loud. Turn down your audio levels so it's a lower into the top of the green. When your audio is peaking, that means it might sound distorted on the viewer's end and probably means they can't understand what's happening.
The speaker toggle below the right side of the Output Window allows you to toggle between hearing the Program Output and muting the Program Output audio.
Audio Monitoring is off
Audio Monitoring is on
It is best to use actual headphones to monitor audio from the computer. Headphones help ensure you can hear Program Output in loud venues and eliminate the chance of creating a feedback loop with nearby microphones. Keep in mind that you don't need to turn on the audio monitoring for the audio to be sent to your broadcast. As long as the VU meters are moving, your audience can hear your broadcast.
The two most important buttons on the whole interface are the green Start Stream and grayed-out Go On Air buttons. These buttons control when the event goes on and off air for your viewers. Follow this order when going on air:
- Click Start Stream. The button will change to a grayed-out button that says Stop Stream. This will play a pre-roll title card that says "Your event will begin shortly" in the viewer above. Your viewers will also see this looped video.
- After 10 seconds or so, click Go On Air button to the right of the button that just changed to Stop Stream. Any audio or video that is transmitted through your video capture device will be shown on the preview window above the buttons and will be sent to your viewers on the NFHS Network site. The button will change to a red button reading Go Off Air.
To stop the production, follow the instructions in reverse order:
- Click the red Go Off Air button. You will see the "Your event has ended" title card in the preview window and your viewers will see the same.
- Wait a few seconds, and then press Stop Stream. It will ask you if you are sure to stop streaming and recording and, if you are, click Yes.
Click here for a more detailed guide on how to start stop your stream.
Here is where you select which overlay you would like to edit. Selecting an overlay here doesn’t make the overlay immediately appear on stream. However, it does change the overlay preview and the overlay workspace so that you can make some changes before it goes on air.
When changing overlays from one type to another (say, from the title card to the scoreboard layout), any information entered will not go away, but rather, information will transfer to fields with the same inputs. So if you enter a team name in the title card, that same name will also appear in other graphics that require team names. The only graphic text will not carry over to is the Score Bug as the area provided for text is smaller and team abbreviations will most likely be needed.
In this area, you can edit the text, logos and images that will appear on the graphic. Depending on the sport type that is selected on the event in Console, different graphics will appear in the bin (i.e. basketball graphics are different than what appear for baseball, etc.).
Text you fill or any changes you make to the graphic in will automatically appear in the Overlay Preview screen so that you can make sure what you want to appear on stream will be correct.
All drop down menus are by default tied to the folder that it corresponds to in the media folder. This is where storing all media in the correct folders pays off. However, if you stored your media in different locations, you can change the file location by clicking the file icon beside the drop down menu. Then the drop down menu will reflect the file contents of the folder you chose.
To push the graphic to the program output, click the blue Submit button in the top right of the Workspace. This will fade the graphic into the live production. If you would like the graphic to disappear, click the hide button. Keyboard shortcuts are available for both of these buttons:
|Submit Graphic||Control + Enter|
|Hide Graphic||Control + Shift + Enter|
You can see these shortcuts by clicking the Hints button in the top left of the workspace.
Team logos and some sample graphics are provided to you on the Support site. However, if you chose to create your own graphics, here are the best quality graphic sizes. They are all pixels in height by width at 72 pixels per inch:
|Billboard Logo||260 x 104|
|Title Logo||260 x 104|
|Team Logo(s)||64 x 40|
|Score Bug||80 x 35|
|Sponsor Logo||80 x 80|
|Promo Graphics||300 x 270|
For more on overlays see the Graphics section. Click here to view a guide on how to add logos to the Graphics folder (as well as videos to the Media folder) and click here for a guide on using the overlay workspace.
Exiting the Production
After you have stopped the stream and are ready to be done with the production, simply click the X in the top right corner of the window.
When closing Producer, you will be prompted with a dialog box asking if you want to upload the production now. Producer has a built-in backup feature that, in the event you lose internet or its speed degrades drastically, the final video can be uploaded to Console after the fact so viewers can watch the whole video. If you would like to make sure it is uploaded, you can click the green “Yes” button to upload the production and Producer will do it for you.
If you would like to upload your VOD manually after the fact, go to the section on Uploading Your Video for further instructions.
Your Production Team
The most important piece of your broadcast is always your production team. No amount of technology can match what enthusiastic, trained individuals can do while running your production. That is why it is extremely important that you and your production team educate yourselves on the best practices of running a broadcast.
In addition, a simple and easy way to learn more about broadcasting a sporting event is to watch a broadcast on television. Note the different camera shots they use (while realizing that you will have far fewer camera angles than they have). For individuals trying to learn how to do play-by-play announcing, listen to the commentators, and note how much or how little they comment on particular aspects of what is occurring on the field. By practicing and learning from the professionals, you can take your broadcast to a whole new level.
At a minimum, we recommend a crew of two people. One person will man the laptop with Producer on it and enter scores and other titles, apply graphics, and control videos. The other person controls the camera to keep the action in frame.
You can grow your production team as you add more cameras, announcers, sideline reporters, etc. With a large, experienced, and well-trained crew, your broadcasts can rival those of ESPN.
If you have the opportunity, stage a “practice” event before you film your first real event. Offer to film the varsity football or baseball practice, and have your entire crew present. Treat the broadcast like a real event, but only produce the event as On Demand so that no consumers can actually view it. This is a fantastic way get some experience before you produce your first viewer event.
Use of graphics during an event is important! Effective use of graphics is what makes an Event broadcast look special, and improves the viewing experience. We recommend using a large number of graphics during your event and, more importantly, testing them prior to the actual broadcast. Using the included graphics is a great start, but adding your own logos on top of them enhances your stream even further and makes it more unique.
Your job as a broadcaster is to tell the story of the event. This centers around the action but extends to the fans, venue, weather, and any other elements that could affect the action.
Things that distract from the story:
- Obstructed camera vision: make sure you have a clear line of sight to the action. Try to avoid filming through windows and set your camera high enough to avoid fans.
- The camera’s menu display seen live: this will vary from camera to camera, so refer to the camera’s instruction guide on how to disable it through an output.
- Missing the action: don’t try to do too much with your broadcast to the point you miss the action. First, do simple well, then build from there.
- Silent video: try to get ambient noise, announcers, or preferably both to audibly tell the story of the action. See the Audio Operation for more information.
- Shaky video: zooming and panning should be smooth and gradual. A little camera practice prior to the start of the event will help you get used to the feel of the camera controls. A great tripod with a fluid head will help with smooth movement.
- Bad framing: center your action in your frame and keep in mind what graphics are being shown as you don’t want to chop off part of your focal point. Most importantly leave enough head room for the action.
Telling a better story:
- Open your Event with a cover shot of some type: a wide shot of the field or venue is recommended.
- Add cameras: use one as a wide and the rest as a tight shot. The wide camera should show all the action vital to the story. The tight cameras should add color or personality to the broadcast. Zoon into individual participants, fans or aspects of the event that increase interest to the broadcast.
- Try and capture the emotion of the event: celebrations after plays, close-ups, and fan shots are fantastic ways to share the excitement of the crowd to viewers.
- Follow the action on the ground: on long plays where the ball is in the air (i.e. kickoffs, long throw, fly balls), pan to where the ball is going. Do not attempt to follow the ball in the air.
- Create a narrative that matches what viewers hear: match what you are showing with what the announcers are talking about. Create a story with audio and video support working in conjunction with each other.
- Communication is key: use a communication system to relay information between cameras and the director to piece together a cohesive story.
Natural Sound: Best Practices
Natural sound during an event must be managed carefully. The position of cameras (all cameras have microphones that will pick up sound) and any external microphones must be planned carefully to make sure that only desired sound is picked up.
- Use shotgun microphones to pick up crowd or ambient noise and direct the microphone to the audio you want to pick up. If a microphone is “live,” noise from anyone around the microphone will most likely be picked up in the broadcast. Microphones near fans can be dangerous, due to inappropriate remarks that are often made during a sporting event.
- Keep microphones at a suitable distance away from the stands to make sure that only “white noise” from the crowd is heard. Think of what you hear during a professional sporting event at a stadium through your TV.
- Don’t place microphones in the immediate vicinity of the venue’s loudspeakers. It might sound extemely loud and can clip, causing distortion.
Announcers: Best Practices
- If you are not using commentators, try and take an audio feed from the PA announcer. During most events, the PA will provide enough commentary on the action and will announce player names and scoring.
- Prepare for the event: gather lineups, statistics, stories about the players, and other information that could be useful to telling a great story about the event
- Speak on what the audience is seeing or is about to see. “See dog, say dog.” Matching what the audience is seeing and what you talk about elevates the quality of your broadcast.
Perhaps the most important piece of broadcasting equipment, outside of your laptop, is the capture device that turns your component video and audio feeds into data that the computer and, more importantly, Producer can understand.
It is extremely important that you take excellent care of the capture device making sure to keep the it in a safe place where it will not be dropped, hit, or exposed to extreme temperatures and/or sunlight. The capture device is a relatively delicate piece of technology.
We suggest that you keep the capture device in a laptop bag with your laptop and the laptop’s charger.
There are two supported types of capture devices that you might use with Producer. These devices are listed below: