ENhance your broadcasts
Graphic Overlays allows you to add production value and enhance the viewer experience of your broadcast. Add a logo or watermark to the corner of your broadcast or put up the name of a speaker with a lower thirds graphic. Upload any PNG image to the overlays editor on BoxCast’s Dashboard then push it to the live broadcast. Overlays can be a great way to recognize sponsors, promote upcoming activities, or feature basic advertisements. BoxCast’s Graphic Overlays feature allows you to add up to five graphics to the broadcast at once.
In the past few years, the ease of producing high definition video has increased dramatically. Standard definition video is no longer the 'standard.' Due to the massive increase in HD video, viewers quality expectations have changed as well.
Nobody has ever liked watching bad quality video. But, thanks to major television networks and online platforms like Netflix, we’ve all come to deem anything less than crisp video unacceptable.
If your stream is in standard definition, you are losing viewers and presenting your municipality in a poor light. People will watch a high definition stream much longer than a standard definition stream because it is simply nicer to watch and more engaging. You feel like you are actually there. You can see the people who are speaking.
Additionally, if you have a standard definition stream these days, you’re not giving off the best perception of your city to your residents. It’s important that your city looks like it was built for the twenty-first century. If I’m a potential resident looking on your city’s website and see a standard definition stream, I would likely internalize the idea that your city is behind the times. Learn more about what civic engagement looks like in the digital age.
If you’ve decided that it’s important for your public meeting live stream to be on your website, your next step is to understand what you might be looking for in a video player.
(Thinking you should just stream on Facebook Live? Here’s what you should be considering)
Not all embedded video players are made the same. This article addresses a few of the features you should be looking for in a player.
If you have public meetings often, you don’t want to have to embed each stream individually. Make sure that you pick a solution that allows for a one-time embed.
Automatic Archiving for Video-on-Demand
It can be a pain to download and then re-upload videos after the stream is complete. You need a player that will automatically archive precious streams and keep them embedded under your current broadcast for your viewers to watch on demand.
If your city has decided to start live streaming it's council meetings, there are several decisions you need to make about your set up. One of those decisions is whether to use a hardware or a software encoder.
When making this choice, the most important thing to keep in mind is how the solution will be used by your clerk, finance officer, or other administrator running the meetings.
If you are like many cities, your staff resources are limited at the time of the meeting. It's important to find the most automated process for the meeting administrator. That person already has a thousand other things to worry about as the meeting gets started. If you choose the wrong type of streaming setup, you will make their lives much more painful on a regular basis.
With this in mind, we recommend choosing a hardware encoder. The benefit of hardware encoders is that, unlike software solutions, they were explicitly built to stream and do nothing else. They are reliable, simple, and take out the additional risk and time of software solutions.
Additionally, hardware encoders free up existing equipment (you don’t have to dedicate a laptop to this process) and are typically less expensive than their software counterparts.
At BoxCast, we know how important your live stream is. We are successful when you are successful.
BoxCast’s approach to customer support is a little bit different than your average customer support experience because we are proactive, not reactive.
If you have a broadcast scheduled, but no video input connected, the BoxCast team will reach out to make sure everything is okay and that you are aware that your video camera is not turned on.
In my day-to-day conversations, I chat with communications directors, public information officers, municipal clerks, IT directors, and city managers about how to use live streaming to increase citizen engagement and transparency in public meetings.
Here at BoxCast we believe that every event that is watched live should be streamed live. Unfortunately, not every event takes place in your usual venue where you there is a reliable internet connection. Whether you are streaming an away football game or a charity concert at a remote venue, we have often suggested the use of a simple mobile hotspot from your phone because of the low cost and simplicity.
Sometimes that one little phone just doesn’t get it done and you end up with a pixelated, low quality stream. Here are a few alternatives for getting an internet connection that meets the necessary speeds for a reliable broadcast.
Streaming council meetings on your website is a great start to public meeting transparency. However, as more and more platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter announce the ability to stream live video, you may be wondering how to take advantage. The good news is you don’t have to create separate streams for those locations. Instead, you can use an easy technique called simulcasting.
For any organization looking to grow and expand its reach through live streaming, increasing viewership is paramount. Some people may expect viewers to flock to them just by streaming their content and walking away, but unfortunately there’s no overnight success to virality. You have to make people aware of your live streams, and you have to let them know where to access it.
In this blog post, I share five tips that can help you combat low viewership. Keep in mind that it's a process, and it does take some time to see results. However, I promise that if you put all five to use, you’ll see your numbers increase.
Live sports aren't nearly the same without announcers. We're used to hearing the greats like Al Michaels and Bob Costas call the games while we enjoy the action on the field. If you're a football fan, you have to love listening to Jon Gruden's expert insight and analysis during Monday Night Football games, right?
If you're live streaming your games, you'll want to add announcer audio because it enhances the viewers' experience.
So, how do you easily add announcer audio to your live streams? This post, drawing from insights shared in How to Add Announcer Audio to Your Live Stream, provides you with a short list of equipment we recommend you buy if you want to add announcer audio to your sports streams.
If you are a communications director, clerk, elected official, or IT director for a local government, the world of public meeting live streaming can seem daunting.
If you’ve asked around to see how your neighbors are bringing their meetings into the online world, you may have received a wide variety of answers. One town next to you may have a $100,000 AV system while another may be streaming to Facebook Live off of a council member's phone.
If you have been tasked with figuring out the right live streaming solution for your municipality, the variation of options may be making it difficult to start on the process of finding the right solution. In this post, we breakdown both ends of the spectrum and explain an alternative that is a better fit.
Before you start producing incredible live broadcasts, I want to make sure you create an easy-to-follow, repeatable process you can execute before every stream.
In this post, I quickly take you through the five steps you should take before streaming live. If you prefer to learn via video, I've included the Tech Tips episode toward the bottom of the post where I break these five suggestions down for you in more depth.
“We need to discover our voice as a church.”
I’ve heard many pastors say some variation of the sentence above, and I am always happy when they reach this conclusion.
When it comes to churches — or any organization for that matter — it is hard to read our own label when we are inside of our own bottles. That’s why it is fundamental to uncover your voice.
Whether you're a council member, public information officer, or engaged citizen, you may have noticed a decline in the number of seats filled at your weekly public meetings.
Your local government isn’t alone in this struggle – low attendance is a regular concern of municipalities across the country.
As a part of my job, I’ve attended council meetings in various cities and have witnessed the problem firsthand. I’ve even shown up only to realize that I was the only non-government employee in attendance.
However, I’ve also had the opportunity to talk to residents. Time and time again, they’ve made it clear that they care about what’s going on in the community, but just can’t make it to council meetings in person.
This is what they’ve had to say about why that is....
As every broadcaster knows, the most important piece of equipment in your production arsenal is your camera. (The second most important piece is your encoder). Viewers won’t watch something that’s poorly captured, so as you develop your live streaming strategy, be sure to dedicate proper resources to finding the right camera.
We've done the legwork to make your search easier. Below you’ll find a list of our favorite cameras for live streaming at the consumer, prosumer, and professional levels.
We’ve all been there. We’ve been watching an online video, movie, or a sporting event when the screen suddenly freezes up, or the quality is not what it previously was. No matter what you’re watching, this abrupt loss of quality is incredibly frustrating.
It wasn’t long ago that the discussion of 4K capture and delivery seemed like an elusive hypothetical. Debates abounded regarding the need for 4K versus its high cost and potentially slow rate of consumer adoption.
Five years ago, you’d have to take out a second mortgage to get your hands on a 4K camera. Today, your iPhone is a 4K camera. The change has been dramatic. 4K is no longer a topic of debate; the industry has clearly arrived.
When it comes to keeping archives of public meetings, different local governments operate on a variety of rules, regulations, and practices. Some governments prioritize the meeting's transparency whereas others think record-keeping is most important.
Since there’s not just one right way to go about this, it’s important for you to understand what you’re looking for in a video archiving and storage solution. The following questions will help clarify that for you:
When it comes to live streaming, one of the most common questions we hear is “what upload speed do I need to stream?” There are various factors at play that will affect the answer to this question. We explore them below.
We’ve all heard it before: “Look at the big picture.” It didn’t occur to me until recently that the key word here is “picture.”
Focusing on the big picture, or taking a step back, is not a problem. The problem is knowing what the picture is. What are we even looking at in the first place?
Anyone who’s dipped their toes into the waters of live audio production knows that various small things have a huge impact on sound quality. For example, did you know that every cable you use in your production setup has the potential to add noise to your audio feed? It’s important to understand audio cables – and how they’re made – to properly assess which one is right for the job.
In this post, we’ll discuss the types of signals that different cables carry. As you’ll soon learn, they can either be balanced or unbalanced. This post dives deeper into what balanced and unbalanced audio means.
I’ve heard it time and time again: administrators and elected officials of small towns think that their municipality is too small to use live streaming as a viable mode of transparency.
After all, “If residents were interested in the council meetings, wouldn’t they show up in person?”
This logic is faulty.
In early 2016, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg made international headlines with a bold claim: “a few years from now [...] the vast majority of the content that people consume online will be video.” His logic was easy to follow, as “most of the content 10 years ago was text, and then photos, and now it’s quickly becoming videos.”
Live video was of particular interest, as Zuckerberg proclaimed that it offers an unfiltered medium by which to share moments. His declaration brought the world’s biggest social media platform into the streaming arena and drastically increased awareness of live streaming’s power as a tool.
We recently incorporated the Roland V-1HD Video Switcher into our production studio and love what it’s allowed us to do with our broadcasts. We’re convinced that this easy-to-use switcher is the perfect solution for any broadcaster, especially those who are new to the video production game, work on a small team, or even run a one-person show.
Every so often, customers approach us asking why their live streams have black bars on either side of their videos.
This common problem has to do with what’s called aspect ratio, or the proportional relationship between the width and height of an image.
You’ve heard it since you were a kid: “You get what you pay for.” Still, there’s a certain temptation to the idea that when you use something for free, you beat the system. Companies prey on that instinct when they tout that their products are “free."
I fell for that trap. This post describes my experience with a free product and what it reminded me about the true value of things.
If you’re in the videography space, you know that producing sports video is unlike anything else. There’s more movement and intense action, meaning that there’s more to miss if you’re not shooting the games correctly.
This post dives into two important factors to keep in mind when filming sports games: frame rate and shutter speed.
You pour your heart into your ministry every day. In an era in which people are often overcommitted and pulled in too many directions, how can you ensure that it reaches the most amount of people?
This post outlines five ways that may help attract new members and grow your church.
If your organization is thinking about live streaming its events, one of the first questions that will undoubtedly come up is “So, how much does it cost?”
Let's break it down. This post will outline three main factors to consider when determining your budget.
Since their conception, cable access channels have worked to provide a level of transparency between a city government and its residents. However, as the City of Avon Lake’s Barb Cagley notes in the video below, these channels are only beneficial to the people who know to look for them.
The world of television programming is rapidly changing. Just a few years ago, all video content – both live and recorded – was shown on TV, brought to viewers by a combination of local broadcast networks and cable companies. Now, everything is going digital.
When you're involved in streaming video production, there are a lot of nerves at play right before a broadcast goes live. For some reason, the stakes of any event always feel higher when it’s being shared with an unlimited online audience.
That's often because you not only have to make sure that the in-person event goes well, but also that your viewers enjoy a great experience online.
That can feel like a lot of responsibility to bear. And at BoxCast, we don’t think you should have to do it alone. Since our onset, we’ve approached customer support as one of the key pillars of our company. After all, without happy customers, we wouldn’t be in business!
This post outlines the various ways we strive to set our customers up for success throughout their entire streaming process.
Have you noticed that people often don’t remember what you review during your weekly church announcements? Though you might be speaking to a room full of people who hear you, it’s quite possible that not many are listening.
That’s because, as we discussed in this post, people come to church to worship and be among their fellow churchgoers, not to listen to a monologue of church announcements.
City councils around the country have started to live stream their council meetings online. Not only is streaming a great way to be transparent with residents, but it’s also proven to be an incredible way to increase civic engagement.
Still, determining how to start live streaming can seem daunting. After all, incorporating new technologies in the municipal space is often coupled with extended research and frustratingly long implementation timelines.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
This post lists three easy steps you can take to be ready to stream your public meetings.
Videos are compelling communication tools that harness the power of imagery. And as the saying goes, a picture tells a thousand words.
But when it comes to video, we often can’t only rely on visuals to tell the entire story. Words are powerful, too. In many cases, a script is the backbone of a video, providing it with structure and direction.
This is the final post in a series about video storytelling for your church. The first post discussed why video is so important. Next, we offered specific tactics to build a storyline and identify sources. This post explores a few things you’ll want to keep in mind when crafting your script.
If you’re new to live video streaming, you might feel intimidated by the prospect of determining what equipment you need, especially with all the options you have for cameras, cables, switchers, etc. Finding what’s right for you can seem overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be.
The five guidelines we’ve listed below will help you break down your decision process and properly evaluate what’s best for you.
In April of 2016, Facebook entered the live streaming world and brought new levels of attention to the online engagement platform that had been growing for years. Within a matter of months, they quickly discovered that users spend 3x more time watching live video than any other form of content. Live streaming is powerful.
Organizations around the world, including schools, churches, city councils, and sports leagues, have discovered that no matter how hard they try, not everyone in their networks can attend every event.
That’s when live streaming comes in. Live video streaming has proven itself as a formidable way to engage an audience when people can’t attend an event in-person. But streaming doesn’t only benefit online viewers; it can actually be a wonderful way for organizations to generate additional revenue.
How can you make money from your live streams? With BoxCast, it’s easy.
Sports streaming is taking the world by storm. Think of any pro sports game you’ve wanted to watch. If you can’t get tickets to the game, you watch it live. If it’s not on TV, chances are that you can find the game streaming online. Live streaming makes every game that much more accessible to fans, wherever they are.
There's no doubt about it: live video streaming has taken off.
Over the past couple years, video streaming has proven itself as a meaningful way for organizations to connect with audiences and retain their attention. We believe that 2017 is the year that live video streaming will cement itself as a mainstream digital medium. In fact, by 2020, video streaming will account for 82% of all internet traffic, according to a recent Cisco report.
As streaming inevitably becomes even more popular, video equipment will become increasingly accessible and affordable. Below are other video trends you can expect in 2017.
Video is an immensely powerful communication tool.
In fact, that’s why we do what we do at BoxCast. We want to put the power of live video in everyone’s hands so that every event that is watched live can be streamed live.
And the most popular way for people to consume video content is on YouTube. In fact, YouTube is the world’s second biggest search engine, right after Google. It generates billions of views every single day.
For centuries, civic engagement and a collective interest in communal affairs is what gave life to the American democracy. Residents would crowd into town halls to gain insight and contribute to what was happening in the community. Journalists and other members of the press would turn out to get the hot story for the day.
When we started working with ECAC Hockey in 2015, they were looking for a way to monetize their tournaments outside of traditional ticket sales.
With the help of BoxCast's complete live video streaming platform, ECAC Hockey created a new revenue source that is helping their organization thrive. They monetized their video content and brought some of the best collegiate hockey action in the country to thousands of people who can't be in the stands.
Here's how it works....
It’s undisputed that there’s immense power in video.
Many of us don’t even realize how pervasive of a communications tool it has become. But think of how much video content we process daily, whether it be from news, commercials, movies, or YouTube. Video's ability to simultaneously appeal to both sight and sound has captivated audiences for decades. We’re hooked!
The previous post in this series discussed why video is so important and listed several ways you could incorporate video storytelling at your church. This post offers specific tactics to build a storyline and identify your sources.
Since the beginning of time, humans have been captivated by storytelling. In fact, research from Emory University shows that the way our brains process stories is different from the way they process anything else.
It’s why sometimes we remember vivid details from a story even days after we’ve heard it. Stories stay with us in a way that other information simply cannot.
In that vein, is it time for your church to begin telling more stories? Using video to do so offers the chance to reach audiences in new ways and present richer, more engaging content. This post explains why video is so important and lists several ways to incorporate video storytelling at your church.
There’s a lot on the line when it comes to live video streaming. First, you have to do all the work required to make sure that your in-person event goes off without a hitch. Then, you must ensure that everyone tuning in online also has a good experience.
A lot of one-to-many streaming solutions have an inherent latency that exists between when something happens in real life and when it is shown in the broadcast.
Did you know that more than 50% of Americans still attend a religious service at least once a month? In addition to helping people connect with God, church provides a wonderful way to engage with other members of the community and meet new friends.
If you often spend your time counseling people and offering advice, you might have a wonderful pulse on what certain members of your congregation are thinking.
But chances are, you’re hearing from only the most vocal and engaged minority who may not be representative of the entire membership. And relying upon a few to gauge what your entire membership is thinking can lead to mistaken conclusions.
With the growing popularity of Facebook Live and YouTube Live, we’ve been getting a lot of questions about the difference between those services and BoxCast’s live video streaming solution.
We’re big fans of those platforms; like BoxCast, they allow people to broadcast important content to a larger audience. In fact, we’ve even built integrations that allow you to simultaneously stream BoxCast broadcasts to Facebook Live and YouTube Live.
There’s also no denying the mass distribution opportunities that Facebook and YouTube offer organizations. With a combined user base of over 2 billion people, Facebook and YouTube allow you to share your events with a global audience.
Still, streaming exclusively on Facebook Live or YouTube Live has its downsides and limitations. This post explains why BoxCast remains the perfect streaming solution for organizations.
We’ve all heard it before: “There’s an app for that.”
The Broadcaster app is a streaming app that broadcasts live audio and video of your events right from your phone. All you need is an iOS device and a data connection. Broadcaster is simply the next step BoxCast has taken to make your live video streaming experience as easy as possible.
If you’re new to the app, this post explains four ways to use it.
Facebook is an incredible tool that helps us connect with family and friends around the globe. Though it’s often home to memes and political discussions, the platform provides users with so much more.
Facebook has wonderful communities of people who share the joys and struggles of ministry and are eager to help one another with common issues and questions. This article presents five Facebook groups that will help you develop your own ministry. Whether you’re the senior pastor, an A/V professional, worship leader, or just a visionary in your church community, there’s something here for you.
Live video streaming is often best accomplished by way of a hardware encoder (see our post about why that is). The encoder is a physical device that connects to a video source and converts the audio and video signals into something that can be streamed to a media server. While many hardware encoders share similar features, chipsets, and form-factors, they're not all made the same and can produce different results given otherwise similar conditions.
Church choirs are on the decline, according to the most recent study on the matter.
\A 2014 National Congregations Study found that fewer white Protestant churches of all denominations have choirs, though they continued to be prevalent in black Protestant congregations and Catholic churches.
Only 40% of conservative white evangelicals said there is a choir at service, down from 63% 14 years ago. For moderate or liberal Protestant congregations, the decline was from 78% in 1998 to 50% in 2012.
The members of a church are what make a church so powerful. Without the people who make up the body, a church would simply be a building or gathering place.
Too often, however, we only hear a few select voices in a church’s communications.
Any sort of exclusion is not usually deliberate; to remain consistent and efficient, many churches rely on the same staff and volunteers to put together newsletters, bulletins, and social media posts. While it’s important to keep control of church communications to avoid confusion and ensure the right messages are delivered, there should be room for a variety of voices and opinions.
We know it’s true - there’s immense power in word-of-mouth recommendations.
Our team at BoxCast works hard to provide our customers with an amazing streaming experience. It’s our hope that if you know of an organization that needs to stream and can benefit from our complete streaming platform, you’ll consider sending them our way.
To reward you for your thoughtfulness, we’re happy to announce the launch of the BoxCast Referral Program. Here’s how it works:
This post is based on The Buyer's Guide to Live Video Streaming. If you'd like to learn about additional key factors and features to consider when evaluating live streaming solutions, download the free guide.
The secret’s out: There’s immense power in live video streaming.
When organizations like schools, sports leagues, churches, or municipalities, decide to stream, they no longer confine their events to the spaces in which they're held; instead, streaming allows people to watch from wherever they are.
There are several different streaming providers to choose from. Evaluating each one and navigating the differences between them can be overwhelming. This post outlines six key features to consider when evaluating different streaming solutions.
The job of a tech director or creative pastor is not easy. You work endlessly but are rarely recognized for all that you do to prepare for each church service. In fact, it may feel like you only get attention when something goes wrong.
Many people with this role have found solace in conferences designed specifically to meet their needs and cover topics of interest. Below, we’ve listed three well-regarded conferences that are bound to leave you feeling refreshed and empowered in your important role:
If you ever feel like your church struggles to attract and keep young adults as they transition into adulthood, you’re not alone. Churches around the world struggle with this same thing.
Many young people are less likely than older generations to be religiously affiliated or believers. Some can be resistant to outreach and others are even downright hostile to organized religion. Yet, their participation in the ministry is essential to the future of churches.
So what can you do?
Do you know what people are saying about your church?
Not what they’re saying in person or during the meetings of various church bodies, but online?
Just as the internet and social media help your church share its message with more people than ever before, these mediums allow anyone to publicly leave both positive and negative comments about your church.