Who are these guys?
The StreamGeeks are a group of video production experts dedicated to helping businesses discover the power of live streaming. The StreamGeeks have an impressive following and a tight-knit online community which they serve through consultations and live shows that continue to inspire, motivate, and inform business owners who refuse to settle for mediocrity.
“I’d like to dedicate the opening of our new studio to the innovators.
The early tech adopters willing to get their hands dirty. To the tech geeks who understand how technology can transform the world we live in long before the public at large.
From the vloggers on YouTube to the big city broadcasters like QVC on cable television. I’m so happy to be in the middle of this industry at a time when social media and video communications are converging to create opportunities for businesses small and large.
And I’d be remiss not to mention you—our live viewer community on YouTube and Facebook! It’s your engagement with our video content that drives the conversation forward for live streamers around the world.
Let’s open StreamGeeks everybody!”
After about a year of live streaming, making every mistake in the book, I realized that creating live video was starting to become easy for me. The rubber was really starting to hit the road for me creatively. Facebook live had just come out and instead of resisting the latest trending technology, I started simulcasting our show. Simulcasting was a new term in the industry which described streaming media that was sent to multiple destinations at the same time. For the first time, I was able to live stream our show on both YouTube and Facebook. The seas were starting to open and our live show was on a roll.
So a couple times each week, I would live stream to our businesses social media accounts. I made a deal with our boss at the time that these live streams would only take up 10% of my work week. The promise to work half a day per week quickly spiraled into something much more. But this is where the story begins. I quickly realized that my job would become learning about something useful and sharing that knowledge with our audience. The more useful the knowledge I shared, the better it would perform. The more compelling my story and inbound marketing strategy was the more leads I was able to create for our company.
At one point, I was making one video per day because there was so much content that needed to be cataloged and made into video. We decided to divide the week up into a “daily vlog schedule” which was something like: Mondays with Paul, Tech Support Tuesday, Back to Basics, Something New Thursday and the regular Friday Show. I have to say that daily video creation did a lot for our YouTube channel. As long as we had a topic to talk about, we were able to sit down and record a presentation with prepared media. We could have it uploaded to Facebook and/or YouTube as soon as we were finished recording. Since we recorded the whole video live, the real art was managing the video production software controls and talking about the given topic at the same time.
So here I am, sitting at the head of our company’s conference room table, looking into a camera and a projector screen. The projection screen was just above the camera, so I was able to operate the video switcher and deliver my message to the camera at the same time. One video production hack I learned quickly was the power of B-Roll. I would play a pre-recorded video and read from a script that I had printed out in front of me. This was a way of making video creation almost too easy, because all I had to do was prepare some b-roll and read from a script. I would play an intro clip, introduce the topic on camera, roll the b-roll and read my notes. I must have produced 150 videos in this manner and it really jump-started our digital footprint. To this day, I use b-roll video every chance I get.
That conference room and the pull down green screen we had installed are now ancient history. The videos we made generated well over 2 million views and who knows how many leads for our company. But even more importantly, something amazing came from the hustle. I was starting to understand how valuable video could be for our business.
When you start to see the true value of something, you don’t want the process to be too easy. It’s supposed to be hard work and I wanted to challenge myself to do better. To top it off, I was starting to get bogged down with the social media responsibilities. Real people from all around the world were messaging us at a rate that I couldn’t handle by myself. It was becoming a full time job just responding to the YouTube comments and Facebook messages pouring in.
So out of this success came an even greater step forward when we hired Tess Protesto, our Social Media Manager. Tess eventually helped me start StreamGeeks and currently works as my amazing co-host. Tess was a West Chester University graduate, who already knew how to work with Facebook and manage social media. She has a bachelor’s degree in communications and was happy to see our social media accounts with so much activity. Tess was also very interested in our live streaming show and joined the show to host a small segment on our social media each week.
Together we built our first “real studio” in the nook of our office conference room. Her husband who works in the sign business was able to print out a blue brick vinyl sticker for the background.
We spent roughly $1,000 on the set which included shelving, bar stools and a cool white bar height service desk for us to stand behind. We actually still have a video tutorial course that we made throughout the process. This course is available on Udemy.com if you would like to learn more. So we made a plan and documented the studio build process.
We started our studio design ideas on Pinterest. Tess would “pin” design ideas on her “live show” board and we would go back and forth imagining what the set should look like. This real-world experience helped us picture the possibilities of live streaming for business. We learned that positioning camera angles on a set should influence where you hang items like shelves. We also learned that less is more and the focus should be on our presentation. While handpicked items chosen to support your brand are nice, the focus should always be on your content.
At this time, I was still used to sitting in front of my green screen during the live broadcasts. So we continued to use a virtual set and we added a second camera for Tess in front of the new set we built. The virtual set was really professional looking and it actually fooled many of our viewers into thinking we had a city skyline view outside our production studio. I guess it did look as though we were somehow bringing in Tess for our “Social Media Update” from a remote location in downtown New York. Let’s not forget that this was the very first year that Facebook Live streaming was available. Most people on the platform had no idea what type of content would be available. Our video quality was so much better than the average cell phone streamer, I guess there was just magic in the air.
Looking back at all our broadcasts, I have to say that the quality still surprises me. We were able to bring in live callers from around the world and we took our show seriously. At this time many people said you only needed to live stream in 1280x720p resolution. I didn’t listen and I always used Full HD 1080p quality. Looking back I’m so glad our archives video is in Full HD quality.
We would stick to a very professional agenda providing our guests a ten-minute time slot to answer questions with a sixty second countdown timer for each question. I was trying very hard to respect the time of our viewers and keep us on tight schedule. I designed the visual agenda display based off of a popular ESPN show. We would prepare 8 custom PNG files for each show that would play with a “ding” every time we moved on to the next subject. I know our audience respected the television style feel we were going for.
Chapter 2: A Co-Host Joins the Team
Keep reading here.