The event industry changed due to a global pandemic. This isn’t news, I know.
What might be news for you, is that pandemics shape how consumers behave in a permanent way. If you don’t want your business to be left behind, this guide should help.
We’re going to help you increase your profits like Ben, a wedding photographer whose weddings got canceled and managed to book 14 events in 3 months offering live streaming services.
If more money is not what you’re looking for, then you’ll also learn how to improve your customer experience and provide a service you can be proud of.
I’ll guide you through the gear you need, how to solve common audio problems, the best solutions, and how to include live streaming services in your packages.
The first and most important reason is well-known. They’re asking for it.
The second one? Most of your competitors are already doing it… and if they aren’t, they won’t be competitors for much longer.
Now… let’s focus on what’s important: your clients.
Offering live streaming services sends all the right signals to your leads. They’re looking for coverage for their event, and even if they aren’t asking specific questions about live streaming, they’re already familiar with it.
And you know what?
You don’t have to explain a service they already know… they’ve been using Zoom for work meetings and birthdays for a long time now, and they’re sick of it. Aren’t you?
Nobody wants their wedding day to feel like another zoom meeting for your guests.
That’s why you have to show them that this is different. One-way live streaming means that grandma’s TV won’t be distracting everybody, or that “muting yourself upon entry” is not mandatory anymore.
But... let’s be honest.
Live streaming has always been pricey and complicated. That’s why most of us stayed away from it for so long.
That changed when YouTube allowed you to stream for free to unlisted pages (and then blocked your videos because you’re playing music…), and before then when Facebook offered to go to Live without even thinking about the fact that you don’t want strangers to watch or comment on your video. That was easily solved by creating a private group... Until people started deleting their Facebook accounts and couldn’t join the live stream anymore.
These days live streaming platforms are not only affordable, but they’re also a great business opportunity for anyone looking to adapt to the market needs.
TLDR: So.. the “why” should be clear by now, but let’s recap:
- Your clients are looking for live streaming vendors
- Your competitors are offering this, or they will be very soon.
- Your clients are familiar with the service, but they cringe every time they receive another Zoom invite.
- You don’t need to manage guests! Nor does your client.
- Social media platforms offer this service for free, with a few very important caveats.
- Live streaming platforms are not only affordable but also a great business opportunity.
I’m assuming you have a business… and a camera, right?
Depending on who you serve, the easiest way to start is to add live streaming services to your packages.
Why? I’m glad you asked.
With services such as EventLive, the cost involved in adding the service can be as low as $35 USD per event. I’m sure you’re making profits over that number, or you wouldn’t have a business.
So.. 35 bucks. What does that get you?
A complete live streaming platform that includes white labeling (add your logo and branding!), a service that simply works, unlimited free testing on location so you can verify how your setup works, and the same customer service as if you were paying 10x the real price.
How should you add this?
Ideally, it will be a part of the bundle and not a separate add-on. Let me show you why:
Here are the benefits of adding live streaming to your packages:
- Word of mouth is the biggest driver of work for service-based businesses.
But… how? When dozens or even hundreds of people join the live stream, they’ll see your logo on top. You can even add a link to your homepage. They can click on it and ta-da! you just earned a lot of new leads from your live stream. It’s like giving every single guest a business card, without the awkwardness.
- When your clients are comparing your services to the next vendor, it’s very likely that they’ll be selling live streaming services as an add-on, because they’re using very expensive platforms such as Vimeo. They have to pay a 900 USD subscription fee to get into the live streaming game. Do you want another automatic subscription added to your bills? I have enough of those already.
What if your competitors aren’t offering live streaming at all? It's simple: Your packages will stand out even more.
- You can up-sell later on and make extra money. If you include Live Streaming in your packages with the basic gear, you can then offer them a multi-angle live stream to improve the viewing experience for their family members back home. Does adding more cameras to your setup make you anxious? There’s another alternative: You can up-sell based on coverage. Most live streaming vendors offer services for a limited amount of time.
Let’s say you’re being hired to live stream a wedding. You could shoot the ceremony, pause for a break, and resume live streaming to the same link for the reception. And the best part? You can automatically notify all the virtual guests if you use EventLive.
“It all sounds great but I don’t do packages. I charge by the hour”, you might say.
Well, let’s help you.
Live streaming as a standalone service sells for a minimum of $275 USD, but most people charge anywhere between 350 to 750 USD, for the basic setup.
What would that setup look like?
A phone, a mic, and a $99 gimbal. Any phone. Android or iPhone, it doesn’t matter: The better the phone, the better the quality you’ll get.
If you have professional gear, you can charge a lot more than that. Think about 800 to 1600 USD per service. We’ll discuss gear in a few minutes. Promise.
Here are a few examples of how videographers are offering Live Streaming services, so you can implement them in your own business:
Choosing a live streaming platform is not an easy task, but it can be simplified quite a bit if you look at the most important aspects for all of them:
- It should provide solutions, even when the internet connection doesn’t work properly.
- It should stream video with great quality.
- It should allow guests to join without downloading apps or logging in.
- The number of attendees shouldn’t be limited. Can you imagine being locked out of your granddaughter’s wedding?
- It should offer human support for when things go wrong… because if you’re new to this, a helping hand can be a big difference.
- It should allow you to connect different devices: You wouldn’t be the first videographer to run out of battery or space on their phone.
- It should allow you to live stream private events with… privacy. No public links, no strangers commenting on your client’s funeral (Facebook has left the chat).
So… which alternatives do you have? Well, a lot of them to be honest. The problem is that many of them are so complicated that they are not even worth mentioning here.
Let’s start with the ones you know.
Youtube is great. We love it, and we use it every single day of our lives, both for work and for our personal projects. Here’s the deal: If you need assistance, you won’t find it. They have a knowledge base, but… is that what you need when you’re at an event and you don’t have audio? That’s the biggest reason most of our clients are switching from YouTube (well… that and the fact that they need 1.000+ subscribers to be eligible to live stream from the App). They will mute your video as soon as you start playing copyrighted music. Even if it’s in the background. Even if you’re not the one playing it. If you’re not that lucky, they won’t mute your video. They’ll simply take it down while your guests are watching at home.
Oh, and did I mention that they will display ads on your videos?
But wait, there are other alternatives out there. The next one that comes to mind is Facebook Live. If you didn’t delete your account when they leaked data of 533 million users, you might give this one a shot. They are not as fast as YouTube when taking down your live show, but they’ll make it public so anyone can join and watch that gender reveal, the one your clients expected to be private. If you manage to delete stranger’s comments in a timely manner, all you have to do is beg that the Live recommendations don’t include porn or gambling right next to your live stream.
I might sound a little negative with these comments, but we’ve heard all sorts of horror stories from our clients when we asked why they chose to work with us.
I’ll skip Instagram altogether because it’s not even worth mentioning, but here’s one that is: The old, trusty, pandemic-reminder, Zoom.
Zoom is a great alternative for live streaming events. Their codecs are fantastic, it works with smaller bandwidth than YouTube or Facebook, it’s not that expensive (even though it’s a subscription model), and despite the fact that they had people bombing strangers meetings for several months, they apparently solved that.
Is Zoom the perfect alternative? Well, for some people it might be. If you can designate a person to manage the live stream, mute guests as soon as they join, pay a monthly subscription for the extra seats in case more than 100 people join, and ask every one of your guests to download the app and open a Zoom account, then yes. Is it an easy solution? No way.
For us, at EventLive, Zoom feels like another work meeting. We tried it, and people just hated having to download an app and create an account to join someone’s event. And you know what happened? The young ones joined, but the elderly never saw it.
And what’s the point of live streaming an event if friends and family can’t see it?
That’s one of the reasons why we started EventLive: To bring people together in the most important moments of their lives, through a simple yet effective live streaming platform.
If you’re live streaming an event, our solution takes the hassle out of managing invitees. Simply send them a link and rest assured they will join on time. In any browser, with no downloads or accounts required.
Wait, is this a sales pitch? It’s really not. We’re not the only solution out there, but we’re confident that we’re the best in many ways. We won’t track you down to see if you’re playing music at an event (we truly hope you are). We’re not making your event public, and we’re not asking your client’s guests to take a mini-course in order to be able to watch their wedding.
Let’s assume you have a technical problem at one of your events (because trust me, if you stay in this long enough, you will have a few). We’re here to help.
Live chat? Yes. Email? Yes. Urgent phone call? We even had a bride calling us while wearing her wedding dress 3 minutes before the ceremony because she forgot her password.
We saved that day and many others.
What happens if you run out of space on your phone? EventLive will keep streaming.
What if you do have enough space? We’ll also save a copy of your live stream so you can use it later in case you need it.
What if you don’t have an internet because the piano concert takes place in the backyard? Remember that local copy I just told you about? When you get access to an internet connection and upload it, your guests will be notified and they can watch the event right away.
I could go on for days talking about how we made the platform so easy to use, anyone can do it. Wait, anyone? At different levels, yes. If you’re a Pro, we have RTMP and solutions for your professional gear. But let’s say you’re new to live streaming and you don’t want to deal with switchers, software encoders, and all that techie stuff… we’ll recommend you the simplest set up in order to offer a service your clients will love.
Since we’re talking about your options, let’s talk about gear.
We have clients that work with a very minimalist setup, and other ones who create a whole cinematic experience on the go.
This section is about explaining the basics you need, and then I’ll show you a few alternatives so you can choose which setup fits your events and budget.
Let’s start with video. In order to have a clean video signal, you can go live from either one of these options:
- Any modern smartphone: Great examples of this are iPhone 11, 12, Samsung Galaxy S20, S21, Google Pixel 4, 5, and so on. You don’t need the latest and best phone, but in this particular case, the more you spend the better the camera.
- Mevo, GoPro, and other cameras that support live streaming natively
- Hardware Encoder such as ATEM mini or YoloBox with Cameras connected
- Camera and a Laptop: A lot of modern cameras allow you to connect using a USB cable directly to a laptop. If your camera doesn’t allow you to do this, you need a camera with an HDMI output (Lumix GH5, GH6, Sony Alpha a6xxx lineup, Canon EOS R lineup, Sony a7 lineup, Nikon Z lineup, and many others) and a Capture Card.
Since you might be starting, the best way to try this is using your Android or iOS phone. Once you get the hang of how everything works, you can try more advanced setups.
Many of our clients run a full-time live streaming business with nothing but their smartphone, a mic, and a gimbal or tripod.
You will be surprised by how easy this setup is and how good the results are.
If you’re working with a stable internet connection and recording using a modern phone, the results are so good that it’s hard to differentiate them from the more expensive gear out there.
Let’s focus on two different options: a budget one, and one that requires a little bit of an investment.
Budget-friendly setup to Live Stream with your Phone
Which smartphone do you need to live stream events?
The one you already have. Don’t go out there and spend money on something you might not need.
Why? Because that money is better spent on things that are more likely to improve your viewers’ experience, like a microphone.
As you’re a videographer, I’m sure you already own one or two microphones, but just in case I’ll recommend a few that work particularly well for this setup:
- Rode VideoMicro Ultracompact: It’s the most popular one and for a good reason. It works flawlessly.
- Saramonic SmartMic Di Mini: It is an okay mic to start live streaming events on a budget.
- Synco WAir-G1-A1: This wireless mic will help you get much better audio quality with fewer cables. It allows you to place a microphone on a wedding officiant or a conference speaker with an affordable price tag.
In case that you already have a mic, you might need a TRS to TRRS adapter in order to make it work with your smartphone.