02 Feb 2017

Some handy tips for your first live TV show

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Not quite the 1080p we were aiming for Not quite the 1080p we were aiming for RedShark News


Last Friday, we staged our first live show. We wanted to tell you what we learned from it. Brief summary: a lot. There are reasons why so many jobs in broadcasting are highly skilled and considered mission critical.

It’s very clear to us here at RedShark that video content is increasingly important. That’s why we’re building up our resources to be able to make video quickly, routinely and — our favourite word right now — frictionlessly.

We have various options. We can always go to a professional studio, but that isn’t what we want to do, for several reasons. Mostly, we wanted to do it ourselves because we love the technology. But even more than this, we wanted to do it because it’s possible.

Think about it: with a few cameras, some lights, microphones, a computer and an internet connection, and if you have a subscription to a streaming service, you can mount a global broadcast. What could possibly go wrong?

Of course there’s no point in having a show if there’s nothing to talk about, and for our first one we had a really great subject - it was the first GH5 camera in the UK with expert Richard Payne. We also had Jason Diamond from New York talking about his amazing 8K VR rig. We only had confirmation that these guests were available between 24 hours and 48 hours in advance.

We only had the studio space (in reality it was a corner of our office) available for one day, so we had to start setting up in the morning and be finished by 4:00pm UK time, which we figured was a good slot: most of Europe was just finishing work and it would be around lunchtime in most of the US. There’s no perfect time for the rest of the world but it was always going to be available on-demand for those who couldn’t see it live.

We have done a few other live shows, but hosted by other people. For me, as the Editor-in-Chief of RedShark, it was important to know that we could do it ourselves, even if it was going to be a bit “experimental” for the first show.

You might wonder why we chose a live broadcast. There are in my view good reasons for this.

1) Authenticity. You can’t make things up on a live show. Not that we’d be inclined to do that anyway, but for people tuning in that don’t know us, it makes for a much more sincere connection with what we’re doing.

2) Interaction. A major part of our live shows will be having the audience send us questions and feedback while we’re on air.

3) When it’s done, it’s done. With videos we’ve made before, there’s been a lot of post production. That’s fine, but it’s always taken far too long. The reason it’s taken so long is because we want to make it as good as possible. But we’re not making feature films here, nor are we making documentaries for Discovery or National Geographic. These are topical shows that you watch and move on. With live production, when it’s done, the show’s finished, and you can start planning the next one, or more likely, go to the pub.

We want to quickly get to a position where we have everything set up so that we can stage a show at very short notice, and without having to figure everything out each time. The more we can do that, the easier it is to make the decision to do the show. In a sense, once the running order has been sorted, we want it to be almost as simple as turning on the lights.

So how did it turn out with our first live show?

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David Shapton

David is the Editor In Chief of RedShark Publications. He's been a professional columnist and author since 1998, when he started writing for the European Music Technology magazine Sound on Sound. David has worked with professional digital audio and video for the last 25 years.

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