Searching for the Right Webcasting Solution Can Make End Users Feel Like Goldilocks

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By: Steve Vonder Haar

Goldilocks must have grown up to be a video engineer.

At least that’s all one can surmise in scanning the set of video capture devices and software available to organizations looking to produce and distribute more business-oriented rich media content via streaming platforms.

Just as Goldilocks discovered in her encounters with The Three Bears, you may have to do some experimenting  before settling on a solution that is “just right.”

Certainly, most people who have worked on creating video content can attest that there are platforms being sold in today’s market that are simply “too hard” to be useful. While it’s great to have devices that can capture video in any resolution, store it in any size and then automatically transcode it into a viable format for streaming, it can be overwhelming for an average user to leverage some advanced capture solutions because of the sheer complexity of setting them up.

At the other end of the spectrum, the risk also exists that vendors can serve up solutions that are “too simple” to meet the needs of business video production. In an effort to bury confusing elements of a video capture interface, some software developers can go overboard and sacrifice useful features on the altar of a “simplified user interface.” This can limit the functionality available to those sitting at the video production control panel.

The challenge for technology developers is that the definition of what is “just right” is not the same for everybody. Just as Mama Bear and Papa Bear had their own preferences, the level of complexity suitable for end users can vary based on a wide variety of factors.

With this in mind, here are a couple of capabilities that should be evaluated as one seeks to balance the demands of advanced video users while remaining accessible enough not to scare away video production newbies:

  • Organize Inputs: Webcasts can blend feeds from a range of sources, including video cameras and PCs displaying PowerPoint slides or other onscreen content. Rich media capture solutions need the flexibility to ingest this wide range of inputs while also making it easy for video producers to select the inputs that are displayed onscreen at any one point in time.
  • Recognize Demands of Mobile Environment: Some rich media capture devices are designed specially to work as appliances that can be used outside of a traditional broadcast studio or conference room. Look for appliances that offer touch-screen interfaces, which can simplify the process of provisioning and managing a video webcast without the computer mouse equipment and keyboards that may or may not be suitable for use in every video remote environment.
  • Package Output Options in Pre-set Configurations: Selecting the right format to use in a streaming environment is a daunting task for new users. While it’s fine for platforms to provide multiple options, take notice of how video capture solutions package and identify these output alternatives in a way that makes it easier for inexperienced users to make the right choice.

While your list for what makes a video capture solution “just right” may be different from mine, take a lesson from Goldilocks when you’re hunting for these rich media production tools and keep looking until you find an offering with the right mix of functionality and simplicity that best suits your needs. But, whatever you do, don’t let the bears – or your boss – catch you napping.

Steve Vonder Haar is a Senior Analyst with Wainhouse Research and can be reached at


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