Livestreaming is a very high pressure environment to work in, especially with ‘live events’. We’ve done quite a few of them recently. These include live webinars for Limagrain UK or conference type events at the Nexus building at Leeds University- our most recent for NHSA.
Livestreaming and Live Sound – The Challenges
What we’ve found, in the years we’ve been doing this, is that the most difficult aspect of doing a Livestream is audio. Where a live sound engineer like Adam Nabarro Steel is available and budgeted for. We would ALWAYS recommend using one – particularly Adam as he’s great. However, lots of clients don’t have the budget for this. This creates an expectation gap; basically because it’s hard to explain how hard it is to capture sound effectively. How hard can it be right?
One reason it is hard, is that when we’ve got lots of different people to mix, the microphones need to be in the right place to capture the sounds of everybody. If you want to geek out about this have a look at this blog post. If the mics aren’t pointing in the right place, it’s as if the person isn’t speaking at all. So if there are multiple people speaking on a stage, you need multiple mics. You need to also consider where those people are going to stand or move too.
Livestreaming with Sony Cameras – a baffling audio experience!
We use Sony Cameras too; Sony FX9, Sony A7S iii, and the Sony A7 iii /RIII, which we mix on a Black Magic Atem Mini. The Atem Mini takes audio from the cameras through the HDMI input. Basically, we simply plug in the cameras to the unit and it acts like a webcam, making switching the vision really easy. However, Sony cameras have the most opaque sub menu system around. Put simply they are a total pain in the backside! When monitoring the sound through the principal camera (The A Cam as we call it), things get very weird too. The audio that you hear through it, isn’t usually the audio it is sending along the HDMI to the Atem Mini.
This can make mixing audio, with no live sound engineer, a baffling and stressful experience! Add in to this, that on the livestream, there’s usually a delay in the audio transmission. Waiting 20 seconds to receive audio, in a live environment, is time that you don’t have.
The solution – separate a separate mixer – the Tascam DR40
We decided to try something different and got a Tascam DR40 recorder which was then rigged to two Rode NTG2’s on C stands. The two NTG2s then flanked either side of the live panel. By using directional mics, like the NTG2, it allowed the field to be covered fully by directing the microphones towards the area where the sound originated. The microphones then feed, in a stereo image and via XLR with phantom power into the DR40. By then running a line out of the Tascam into the atom mini, the sound is rendered completely independent.
And there ladies and gentlemen the headache ended! The main things you’ll need then are good quality XLR leads and to make sure you have plenty of spare batteries to hand.
Please do get in touch with us if you’ve got any more questions or you need an event streaming! We are always happy to help, and work regularly in the Leeds area too