Don’t Be a Victim of Murphy’s Law

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By Steve Vonder Haar

When it comes to capturing live events for online distribution, Murphy’s Law reigns supreme.

Something absolutely, positively will go wrong when you’re trying to capture a live event and distribute it online. Perhaps your on-site camera won’t have the right connections to plug into the video encoder. Maybe the feed from the room’s audio system is not right for your system. In some cases, connections to the Internet may simply be faulty, blocking your ability to ship content to attendees on the Web.

No matter the level of preparation, it’s wise for event producers to expect the unexpected. And, to whatever extent is possible – that means investing in technology that allows for maximum flexibility when capturing events from remote locations.

The good news is that more vendors than ever before are producing versions of their event capture devices that are designed specifically to address the rigors of webcasting events held in unfamiliar settings. Sturdy designs make these systems more resilient than ever before and advanced software solutions help organizations produce high-quality content.

That said, “agility” is perhaps the most important attribute of any event capture system that is used as organizations begin to take their show on the road. Devices that can ingest video from a range of different video sources and then pump out content encoded in multiple formats through varied output connections are invaluable tools in mobile event production.

Such technical flexibility is not a primary need for capture devices designed to stay put in a single place, such as systems that capture and convert content in an organization’s conference room or auditorium. With stationary equipment, it is easier to match the types of cameras that will work with specific encoding and content capture systems. Once the initial set-up is complete, few changes or tweaks are needed to make sure that audio and video content makes it to the Web.

Mobile environments are less forgiving, though. Webcasting teams may work hand-in-hand with outsourced camera crews that bring their own gear that may or may not hook into the capture gear used to ready an event for online distribution. Essentially, a little bit of added investment up-front can translate into greater flexibility when it comes to dealing with the curveballs associated with producing remote events for online audiences. It’s the equivalent of buying insurance for mobile event production.

Steve Vonder Haar is Senior Analyst, Enterprise Webcasting and Streaming, for Wainhouse Research. He can be reached at

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