In last month’s article I looked at how easy it is to do video streaming, and several readers have asked me about what kind of things I’d recommend they try streaming first, and why.
Therefore, in this month’s article I’m going to look at some of the most popular things you can stream, and also some tips on how to make it easy!
The world our students are growing up in is one which is radically different to the one all of us middle-aged folk grew up in, which in real terms isn’t that long ago – or at least it doesn’t seem that way!
Students today live in a world which is not just increasingly more connected than ever before, it’s also becoming increasingly inter-connected where video content is usually available in real-time.
This content covers the entire spectrum, and what today’s student considers to be ‘normal,’ would have been literally mind-blowing when we were students.
Today, even the classic ‘time zone shuffle’ as I used to call it when I worked with BBC TV news, is completely irrelevant. This is because students can view breaking news, pop concerts and sports events – all streamed to them live, as they happen.
Video, and in particular video streaming, is making the world an increasingly smaller place to live in. However, what surprises me the most is that schools are often the slowest to catch-on to all of this, and the majority of teachers fail to embrace the power of video streaming, and how much it can ease their workload.
I’d strongly suggest that, as education technology evangelists, try dipping your ‘techie-toe’ in the river of streaming by beginning your streaming experience by broadcasting the successes of your school and your students. Therefore, why not try streaming a sports event first?
To me, video streaming school sports is an obvious choice, and where you’re located in the country will determine what the most popular sports will be. For example, in Minnesota hockey will always be right up at the top of the list, perhaps on the east coast it will either be American Football or Basketball.
In addition to these, there are some other events, such as dance tournaments, volleyball or wrestling, which will always be a popular choice with your viewing audience no matter where you’re located geographically.
Almost every school can video stream right now. It’s just a state of mind, or rather changing the state of mind that’s the usual differentiator between schools who do, and schools who don’t.
If you have at least one video camera (yes, you can stream video with just a single video camera), some computer hardware (newer PC or Mac), an internet connection, and an Eduvision video distribution portal (free trials with support are available to all schools), then you have everything you will need. In fact you you’ll actually have at your fingertips your very own basic TV global studio.
That’s right, if you have the few items of video equipment mentioned above, then you also have the ability to produce, distribute, stream, do ‘pay per view,’ timed/date restricted ability viewing, syndication or sharing of content, the inclusion of interactive quizzes in video programs, and much, much more.
Therefore, the mind-set change you really have to come to terms with is from you perceiving yourself to be solely a teacher of whatever subject it is that you teach, to that of a TV producer.
If you want to do more than just single camera video streaming, and if you want to build your own school studio and TV crew, then this is equally easy to achieve because you already have all the additional resources you need.
As a TV producer in a school, the students you teach are also all of the people you need to make up a complete TV studio production team! You can even assign each student specific titles, and job descriptions, just like you’d do in a commercial studio environment.
As the teacher in charge, you’re the Executive Producer, and you can then award job titles to students based on their responsibility, and their abilities.
These can include: producer, assistant producer, director, assistant director, camera operator, sound engineer, video editors, broadcast coordinators, gaffer, and various grip roles etc.
This sort of structure goes a long way towards giving students the ‘immersion experience’ of a commercial environment, and in doing so, it also goes a long way to helping them become career-ready.
You now realize that you have the equipment, and you have a production team. The only thing you have to decide on is what to stream. To solve this problem do what they’d do in a commercial TV studio environment, call a production meeting! Bring all the student ‘heads of department’ together and go through the list of all your TV streaming options.
As well as sporting events, these could also include special events that could be : school meetings, special charity concerts, school board meetings, school news broadcasts, head teacher and superintendent announcements, dances, home coming, back to school, spring balls etc. The list of potential events to stream is almost as endless as your imagination.
Once you and your production team have decided what subject you should broadcast first, then plan it and make it happen.
I keep using use the term ‘broadcast,’ because that is effectively what video streaming is. You will be broadcasting a TV program in a similar way to what any commercial broadcast network does daily, and you’ll be doing exactly what companies like Netflix does and in almost the same way!
Once you realize this, and when you begin to more fully comprehend the power that you have at your fingertips thanks to a few common pieces of video equipment, an internet connection, an Eduvision portal, a computer, and your new TV crew, then it’s truly amazing!
Whatever you decide your first broadcast should be, the most important thing to remember is to keep it simple, and don’t make it any harder on yourself than you need to.
Let’s imagine that you’ve decided to stream a live volleyball match. The first thing to do is call a production meeting, and in that meeting I’d strongly recommend that you take a look at some other schools who have done this already, and who do it very well.
For this month’s example, I’m going to recommend that you look at Eagan High School in Minnesota (https://eaganhighschool1.eduvision.tv/default.aspx). Under the leadership of Paul Saxton, they have built a video production facility to seriously rival many commercial broadcasters.
More importantly, they started small, probably with a similar array of equipment to the majority of people reading this article. Remember it’s not always what you have, it’s want you do with what you have that really counts.
Don’t forget that Michelangelo had nothing more than a simple set of paints and brushes, he could have just as easily painted a wall a single color. However, he didn’t, and he painted the Sistine Chapel with breath-taking images. The differentiator was his vision, will and determination, not the tools he had to use.
Now that you’ve looked at examples of what other schools have done, and the pep-talk is over, you need to get out there and stream your first event.
Organize your production team into the departments you’ll need for a live broadcast, and these will be:
• Graphics and Streaming/broadcast
• Post-production and video distribution/management
With these basic departments in place, and with the various crew roles assigned, before you go live, it’s a good idea to rehearse a complete broadcast scenario.
The fact is that you’re now basically ready to start your first broadcast. Don’t expect it to be perfect, a more polished broadcast will come with a little practice, and you’ll also learn a lot from every mistake that was made.
More importantly, have fun and enjoy your first commercial TV broadcast!
Brian Sterling-Vete spent over a decade with BBC TV news, he’s a British author, Guinness World Record Holder, and film maker. He has worked extensively on both sides of camera, and even worked as a stunt performer for several years.
In addition, Brian also uses the skills he learned while he was with BBC TV News, to coach leadership and celebrities how to stay safe if they’re faced with a crisis, and a subsequent media attack.