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 and System
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.
To play a video, click on the video and it will highlight in a darker gray and 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. So 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.
The system tab gives data about your broadcast. You will only need to know where this is if you are having problems with your broadcast and our technical support team asks for some of the information to help with a specific problem.
Here you can preview the overlay that show up live if you submit the overlay. Changes you make to the overlay will show up here but not on the program output. This is your final check before you put text on air for spelling, correct logos, scores, etc.
Audio and video that appear in the program output is what your viewers are seeing.
At the top is the event ID that is specific to your event. Remember where this is just in case you have technical difficulties and need to call support.
Next to those are two red “X”: one for recording and one for streaming. 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. When it is streaming, you are broadcasting your program output to your NFHS Network site. If this doesn’t change to a green check mark, check your internet connection.
Next to the recording and streaming identifiers, there’s a drop down menu. Selecting this will give you two options: Program Output and Live Stream. The program output is what you are sending out to be seen by your audience, and the live stream is what your audience is seeing. Periodically check this to make sure your audience isn’t experiencing excessive buffering or low quality production.
Producer provides both visual and audible audio monitoring. On the left side of the program output, there is a VU meter located to the left of the program output for visual monitoring of both the left and right audio channels.
The headphones icon below the right side of the Output Window allows you to toggle between hearing the Program Output and muting the Program Output audio.
It is best to use actual headphones to audibly monitor audio. Headphones help ensure you can hear Program Output in loud venues and eliminate the chance of creating a feedback loop with nearby microphones
The two most important buttons on the whole interface are the green Start Stream and grayed-out Go On Air buttons. This is how you start your production. Going in order, click Start Stream. The button will also change to a grayed-out button reading Stop Stream. This will play a pre-roll video as the production starts to record and stream. Your viewers will see this looped video. Then when you’re ready to start showing your video, click Go On Air, any audio or video that is transmitted through your video capture device will be shown on air. 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 and the gray Stop Stream button. It will ask you if you are sure to stop streaming and recording. If you are, click yes.
Here is where you select which overlay you would like to edit. Selecting an overlay here doesn’t make the overlay live to show up in the program output. It does change the overlay preview and the overlay workspace to the overlay you select
When changing overlays, information entered will not go away, 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. Text you fill or any changes you make to the graphic in will automatically appear in the Overlay Preview screen to check the appearance of the graphic.
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. 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 buttons: Submit – Ctrl + Enter, Hide – Shift + Enter.
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.
For more on overlays see the Graphics section.
Exiting the Production
After you have stopped the stream and are ready to be done with the production, simply x-out of the window. You will then be prompted with a dialog box asking if you want to upload the production now. Our service offers an auto upload feature so if your internet is slow or you have lost internet, don’t worry, our servers will automatically upload the production given it’s a live production. However, if you would like to make sure it is uploaded, you can click the green “Yes” button to upload the production. Jump to the section on Uploading Your Video for further instruction.
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.
A crew consists of a minimum of two people. One person to run the laptop. He/she will enter in scores, apply graphics, and control videos. The other person operates a camera.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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; like celebrations after plays, close-ups, and fan shots.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Don’t place microphones in the immediate vicinity of the venue’s loudspeakers.
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: