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How the pandemic has made live streaming popular for family and business events

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Before the pandemic, live streaming was a pretty niche thing. We all knew it existed but most of us will have never attended a streamed event. This changed very quickly at the start of the first lockdown.

In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of live streaming, its technical aspects, and its costs.

Wedding Live Streaming

About twenty years ago, wedding photography became a must-have for every couple. If you got married, you had to have a photographer. Since the early 2010s, wedding videography has become the next must-have. Couples want their big day captured in both photography and videography. 

When the first weddings were celebrated during the first lockdown, many wedding photographers and videographers quickly started offering wedding live streaming as well. Often there were many more people watching the wedding online than there were people in the church. As every live stream is also recorded, the couple got a high-quality wedding video at the same time.

Nowadays, wedding live streaming is still going strong, however, the audience has changed. Instead of ten people in the church and a hundred online, it’s the other way around now: a hundred people celebrate in the church with just ten or so joining online. Most often couples book wedding live streaming for friends and family members who are less mobile or live far away and would otherwise not be able to witness the happy occasion.

Funeral Live Streaming

Saying goodbye to a loved one for the very last time is an important and deeply emotional tradition. During the pandemic, there was a massive demand for funeral live-streaming services anywhere in the world. Most of the funerals were streamed live, as only a tiny number of mourners were allowed in church. Unlike weddings, funerals cannot be postponed, which made funeral live streaming ever more in demand.

Like wedding live streaming, many suppliers offer different single and multi-camera solutions. Such multi-cam solutions often involve four or more cameras, professional video switchers, and sophisticated audio production. The rise of funeral live streaming also meant an increase in funeral photography and videography bookings, as people find it more and more normal to have cameras at a funeral.

Corporate Event Live Streaming

Corporate live streaming has been around since the early 2010s, but similarly to wedding and funeral live streaming, it experienced massive growth at the start of the pandemic. Annual general meetings, product presentations, podium discussions, and many other formats were not allowed to take place with large audiences anymore. Very quickly, companies started using professional event live-streaming services to broadcast their events live to their audiences. 

As many companies already had their social media channels in place, it was easy and convenient to utilize these for their live broadcasts. Whether it was on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube, companies used every channel at their disposal to bring their event in front of their audience.

Nowadays in a post-pandemic world, corporate event live streaming still has its place in the market. Most companies sell tickets to attend in person or to join online. In most cases, a majority of visitors will attend in person, with a minority (mostly from overseas) joining online.

Technical Aspects

Most professional live streamers will bring an entire mobile production studio to your event. This includes professional broadcast-quality cameras and microphones as well as professional vision and audio mixers. 

It’s common practice to transmit the stream via a ‘bonded’ internet connection, which means several internet connections are bundled together for ultimate speed and redundancy. Even if one or more connections break, the stream will continue to upload without any loss of data.

Most live streamers will send their stream to a service such as Vimeo Premium or ReStream. From there they can forward the stream to any number of destinations (usually the client’s social media channels). If the client doesn’t want to use their own social media channels, the live streaming company will create a private ‘viewing page’. All the client has to do, is share this link with their online guests.

Costs

Depending on the production quality, you will find quite a wide range of event live-streaming prices. Small-scale single-cam productions (for example for a funeral) can start from about $400-800. Private multi-cam productions (for example a big wedding service) costs around $800-1600. Corporate live streams with multiple cameras and crew typically costs $1500-5000 depending on production complexity.

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