Live streaming has been picking up steam in conference and event AV over the years, but as more events pivot to a virtual format it’s become a necessity. AVActive, a South African live event and conference services provider, understands this shift well, and has evolved its business model to adapt. As the industry has increasingly moved online, it’s built out its live stream workflow to support a range of productions, from facilitating remote streams for graduation ceremonies to international virtual events. AVActive carefully guides each project from concept to completion, banking on AJA HELO devices to make H.264 live streaming and recording as simple as possible.
“In the last few months, we’ve learned that the conference and event AV space is incredibly resilient,” Andre Malan, IT Specialist, Video Conferencing and Virtual Events, AVActive. “Even though large in-person gatherings are temporarily on hold, we’ve been able to continue celebrating successes, mourning losses, learning and having conversations that drive change via virtual events with a live stream component. AJA HELO makes it easy for us to provide that service to clients.”
AVActive’s projects vary in scope, size and complexity. To facilitate a graduation ceremony with a large number of participants, AVActive implemented a full studio setup, complete with three high-end cameras and a laptop, which were plugged into a switcher. Using a monitor attached to the switcher, the team integrated captions and graphics to produce the main feed, which was then fed through HELO via HDMI and streamed in full HD. Streaming a local artist’s funeral, on the other hand, involved a simpler setup comprising an internet connection, prosumer camera, SDI cable and HELO. Prior to each project, AVActive pulls down the presets it’s established in HELO’s web GUI, and makes any changes using a drop down menu, but is also able to adjust settings on the fly during the event as needed. Depending upon the client’s preference, AVActive uses HELO to record an H.264 file of the live stream simultaneously to a USB drive as a backup copy.
“From the moment you unbox HELO, it’s evident that the design was well thought out. It’s a convenient little device – flexible and easy to use, even if you know absolutely nothing about live streaming, yet it boasts a lot more functionality than some of the more expensive alternatives on the market,” Malan explained. “HELO has also made us realize how important it is to work with a device that allows you to customize the bit rates. At the end of the day, it’s all about delivering a great viewer experience, which can be challenging when Ethernet is not widely available on-site or bandwidth is tight. Regardless, HELO allows us to quickly and easily adjust bit rates to ensure professional looking streams that don’t lag.”
In the future, AVActive is looking at how it might support live stream productions with more complex graphics and multi-camera switching, for which it’s considering AJA KONA and I/O capture/playback solutions with dedicated streaming software like Wirecast and vMix.