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Embrace Live Video
My passion is helping the world understand how audio and video is now being transmitted into people’s pockets. The result that I feel people should take away from this podcast is that getting content to your community and your audience has never been easier or faster. There’s also never been a bigger reach than there is today.
You have to understand that when I got my start, there was no Internet to turn to. We are living in a very exciting time when it comes to communicating with audiences, especially since the principles of television haven’t changed and the production standards haven’t changed. The pipeline has changed. Forty years ago, even if you had millions or billions of dollars that it took to pay for the technology and the team you needed to get your message heard around the world, most people wouldn’t even have had the opportunity. Nowadays, for less than the cost of a few bottles of wine or a trip to a fine restaurant, you could broadcast your content, in high definition, to the world.
Your message can simply fall into the pockets of individuals who can follow you, like you, trust you, and ultimately, become paying customers of yours. That’s why it’s an exciting time, and it’s not about just live video either. It’s just that the makers of this technology, such as Facebook, Periscope, and so forth, all see that this pipeline is the way that human beings should receive the content. The Principle of Television says that once you have built an audience, then you have the ability to advertise, which in turn results in profits, connections, and business. You should embrace live video. It’s a powerful opportunity that is staring people in the face, and yet, most people don’t even realize that it’s there for the taking.
First and foremost, you need to understand that live video is based around mobile technology (i.e. Smartphones & tablets). We’ve had online video for over 15 years now, but that required a desktop computer or a laptop. Today, we have what’s called Smartphones, but let’s call it what it is. It’s really a computer, but in fact, the Smartphones of today are 10 times more powerful than the computer that got people on the moon. So, you’re carrying around an extremely potent device in your pocket.
Step 1 – Download Free Apps
The very first step that you need to take is to download the free apps that will allow you start practicing. If you’ve never gone live before, this is a big road block. You have to get over the fact that you’re looking into a camera and talking to people. You’ll need:
- Facebook app
- Facebook Pages Manager app
- Periscope app
- Blab app
- YouTube Connect app
There are a lot of players in this pipeline, but the principles of television are the same across the board. In other words, they are the same ones that were started back in the 1940’s, when television became the new pipeline for media and advertising. The great thing about this is that you no longer have to go out and buy millions of dollars worth of equipment. You already own it.
Not only do you have the world’s most incredible camera in your pocket, you’ve got the software given to you by companies like Facebook, YouTube, Google, etc. So, get started by practicing and getting comfortable about being an expert and an authority in your market so that you can talk into the lens of a camera. That’s Step #1, and you can start that right now at no cost. If you are an entrepreneur and you’re not doing this, you’re missing the opportunity of a lifetime.
Step 2 – Learn the Elements of Television
Step number two is to learn the elements of television. Anybody in the world could take a smartphone out of their pocket and start creating a selfie video. However, to come across as a professional, you do need to know the elements of television, which are actually very basic. You need to do a little bit of show-prep beforehand, and really think about the content that you’re going to create. What problem are you going to talk about, and what solution are you going to share with your audience? Every successful radio and television show since this industry began has had a staff of writers and production people. They also always had a system in place to ensure that they made the best show possible every time they did one. On top of that, they constantly strived to improve what they were doing and up their game.
Yes, it is possible for you to turn on your camera and just start talking, but you’re probably not going to build a very big audience this way. In real television and radio, if your ratings are horrible, your show is going to get cancelled. This is why it’s important to begin with some show-prep. You need to think about specifics and make decisions accordingly. For instance, you may decide that every morning you are going to do a live show at 9 am EST every Monday morning for 30 minutes, and each week you are going to have incredible content that completely blows people away, answers people’s questions, and provides them with great solutions. The minute you finish one show, you’ll need to start prepping for the next one, and the next one, and so on.
I like to study late night television. They are constantly trying to have the best guests and the most awesome routines. Further, they create elements that become familiar and are liked by their audience. If you want to know how to do this in the best possible way, you’ll want to study highly rated television shows, and talk shows in particular. Take a close look at what they are doing because it’s all based on principles that have been proven over the span of decades. Johnny Carson created the same late-night television format that has worked for 50 years, and the reason it does work so well is because people like it.
I was fortunate enough, in 1980, to produce a record for Ted Turner called “He Was Cable When Cable Wasn’t Cool.” Ted Turner… They used to call him ‘The Mouth of the South’ because he was here from Atlanta. A guy named Bob Neal and Ted Turner hired me to produce this record. You can watch the video below. There’s about a 3-second clip of me when I was 25 years old.
It was the 1980’s… a long, long time ago, but I was amidst hearing Ted Turner say something that we all need to pay attention to. He walked into the session that night and he said,”‘You know what I’m going to do? I’m going to build a 24-hour a day news channel and put it up on satellite.” And, I sat there as a 25-year-old and said, ‘”Who’s going to watch the news 24 hours a day?”
I was young and dumb. Ted Turner had had a vision for CNN way back then, and I just downplayed it. You know, TBS was Ted’s. He bought the local TV station, Channel 17, which later became the Super-station, TBS. And he said, “You know? We’ve got over 7 million subscribers to WTBS. That’s more than any local station in the United States.’” I remember going, “Wow! Seven million people can watch our local TV station.” That didn’t mean they were watching… that means the reach through cable, satellite networks and cable TV subscribers were only 7 million people. With podcasts, with live Facebook, with Periscope, you have a reach right now, every one of you, of 7 billion, plus, and growing.
It took years of marketing and consistency to get people to start tuning into CNN. It also took a lot of money, technology, and teams to make this happen. The different elements of television were all implemented in order to make CNN the brand that it is today. It’s imperative that you have a vision and that you plan out how to make that vision a reality if you want to create anything lasting out of all of this. Back in 1980, Ted Turner had the resources, the money, and the team to reach the world via satellite. That’s why it was called “Cable News Network”. That was the pipeline that only wealthy people, like Ted Turner, could reach. You can do it with a $50 microphone and a computer today.
Great Content Is the Key
It’s wonderful that this pipeline is now available to everyone. However, you have to remember that it was the content that made the networks become hits. It was the writing, the prep work, and the forethought. They thoroughly thought about what their audience would embrace. That’s what you need to take away from this. The pipeline has been given to you for free, and the stars have come about using YouTube, podcasts, and so on. The new horizon is going live.
There are two big benefits to going live. The minute you’re done, your content is done, and you can build an audience. Eight o’clock on Sunday nights, America used to tune into The Ed Sullivan Show. People flocked by the millions to view this show because they knew that the show would have amazing content, as it did each and every week. That’s just one of many examples that could be provided, but it does illustrate how a TV show can capture people’s attention so well and make completely devoted fans of them.
You should strive to provide content that people can depend on and enjoy with each show you produce. That means you’ll need to prep for your shows and you need to consistently deliver quality content. If you’re not willing to commit to that, then the product that you produce won’t last. It’s all well and good to play around and publicize silly, slightly entertaining content, like that which one sees on social media all of the time nowadays. If you want business, however, you’re going to need to utilize some of the systems that TV has been following for years.
How to Prep for Shows and Provide Consistency
You’ve got to know your audience. In television and radio, they use focus groups. Basically, this is just a way to go about interviewing the audience you are targeting and asking them what it is that they want. You can easily do this kind of thing online now. You can email people and survey them to find out what they would like. That’s show prep. When you know what your audience wants, you can deliver those things with your content. You might think that you already know what they want, but you may be wrong. That’s why you need to survey them and ask them questions.
The entertainment industry is a slightly different animal. They use focus groups to try out different angles, and when they find a winner, everyone copycats it. The information you are being provided today focuses on how business owners can use live streaming and other forms of video content to share their expertise and better reach their audience of potential clients and customers. There was a “blab” that interested me. An attorney was speaking with a social media personality. The social media person was asking the attorney if it was legal to play music in his live streams. This was a very good show, because it answered questions that people had about the legal aspects of copyrights.
The makers of this show surely crafted the content around questions that people were asking, and addressing those needs was what made the show a hit with me and most likely the rest of the viewers that day. In fact, the podcast episode that this very text is based upon addresses the questions surrounding why live video was so important in this day and age. You can do the same with just about any topic. Find out what people want to know, and then get an expert to answer those questions on your video, podcast, live streaming, etc.
Live video is the fastest and easiest way to create content. When you get good at going live, your content will be done in the speediest way possible. As I mentioned earlier, I am big fan of late night television. You can learn a lot by watching these pros. I went to watch David Letterman about six times while they were shooting it. The main purpose I had for attending was to watch how these shows are made. It took a team of 50 people, and these guys had the process down. The best part about it was that if the show started at 4:30 pm, it was done by 5:30. Since they pre-taped these shows, if something major got screwed up, they could stop and edit it out. Still, 99 times out of 100, what happened within that 60-minute time frame was what aired that night in the show’s time slot.
The magic of live television is that it’s fast and the content requires no editing. The minute you’re done, you’re done. Shows like this aren’t expected to be perfect, and late night television is never scripted. Part of what’s so entertaining about it is that no one knows what’s going to happen. The host has a series of questions, and if the people are good guests, the content will be good. I recommend that you watch what people do on these successful TV shows and emulate that to the best of your ability. It’s also very important that you prep well for your shows. Just these two little tips will allow you to surpass a large majority of your competition.
It’s also quite imperative that you stay consistent with your show, especially when it comes to how you schedule your episodes. Of course, when and for how long you host your shows is totally up to you. However, I recommend having a show that’s no less than 15 minutes long, held once a week. Remember, one of the reasons why The Ed Sullivan Show was so successful was because people knew it was going to come on at the same time each week, and people made sure that they were there to view it. A big difference between one of these types of shows and one of your own is that you can monetize your own show better than CBS could back in the day because there’s much less overhead involved for you nowadays.
Another advantage that we have today is that live streaming allows for more interaction. You can’t really interact with most television shows, but with live streaming, you are able to submit questions, make comments, and even shape what goes on in the show to a certain degree. You can even challenge what’s being said. This helps to make these types of shows even more entertaining and informative.
Types of Microphones
A different type of advantage that we have today is that you can purchase studio-quality equipment very inexpensively. A good place to find great microphones, in particular, is Sweetwater.com. If you don’t have much of a budget, that’s okay. You can still call a rep and let them know what your budget is. There are so many different microphones out there, and you can find them available at all types of different price ranges. Many of the inexpensive ones are still high-quality and can do just about as good of a job as the more expensive ones.
Now, you don’t want to use a poor-quality microphone for your videos, live streaming, etc. One of my favorite types of microphones is the Apogee iPad/iPhone mic. It is built and designed to plug directly into your Apple mobile devices. This microphone costs around $200, but it’s as good as any studio microphone I’ve ever used. No matter what you decide to use, don’t skimp on buying a good-quality mic. Again, there are some cheaper versions that work just as well as the more expensive ones, but you should really take some time to shop around and make sure that you are getting something that will give you the best quality sound.
The iRig HD is also a quality mic that you can use. You can plug it into your computer’s USB port or even into your iPad or iPhone. One of the things that makes this particular mic so great is that it’s very forgiving, meaning that it really only picks up your voice, even if there’s a lot of background noise going on. You know, you’re never going to eliminate that completely, but for the most part, your voice comes through clearly and a lot of the background noise is eliminated.
How to Get Started
Keep in mind that you don’t have to use a great microphone to practice. The built in microphones on most smart devices are very good. One thing that you might try is practicing on Facebook Live because you can do this by yourself and not have to go public until you get comfortable. You can start right now by using your smartphone and Facebook Live to practice. Also, if you don’t have a business page on Facebook, you should build one today. It’s okay to use your regular profile to be social, but you’ll need a business page if you want to be professional. Then, you can start streaming live to that page or to a closed business group for practice.
Practice privately and look at your results. You can also practice in front of an open group or send your streaming video to an event page, if you like. All of these things are free to use on Facebook, and if you send your streaming to a closed group or a business page with no one on it yet, you can practice privately. This is a great way to start. For your first step, you’ll want to get the Facebook Pages Manager app so that you can set up a business page and practice live streaming to it.
The Facebook app is a wonderful app to use for this because it allows you to switch between the cameras in your phone. A mistake that people make a lot in their live streaming is that they are constantly on camera. That’s not quality filming. If you’ve ever paid attention to the camera work as you watch TV, then you know that the visual is constantly changing, even on talk shows and the news. The cameras never stay on the same image for more than 10 seconds. Our eyes get tired of seeing the same image for any longer than that, so you should always switch between images and angles every 7-10 seconds, at the most. That’s a television principle that you need to follow.
When you are filming with a mobile device, you should never hold it in your hand as you do so. Keep that in mind as well. Use some sort of selfie stick, tripod, or mount. It’s okay to take a selfie photo, but selfie videos look unprofessional. When you try to hold a camera as you’re filming, it shakes too much. This is true for even the steadiest-handed people. You don’t want to make your audience members nauseous, so get some sort of mount for your camera. These are dirt-cheap and can help you to make much better-looking videos. One tool that you might try is the iPad Tablet Mount. You can attach any tablet to this tripod, regardless of the size.
Part of your prep-work is going to be setting up a nice background for your shoot. You can shoot your video or live stream recording in an office setting or something like that, but it needs to be clean and well-lit. You should have lighting on your face, and there shouldn’t be too many shadows lurking in the background. Again, you should also be free of the camera you are using, not trying to hold it yourself. You really can just use your cell phone to do this sort of thing, if you’ll just invest in a couple of little tools to make your video quality a bit better.
Again, all of this advice is based upon television principles that have been around since the 40’s. There are five elements of television that I like to teach people. If you’re not using these, then your videos will be lower quality than most television programs. The elements you need to apply are:
- Changing Scenes – Never focus on a single image for any length of time. Watch 60 Minutes. When someone talks, the camera switches to the next guy, and then it goes back to the interviewer. After that, the camera may move to a cutaway shot. The view is constantly changing.
- Good, Close-Mic Audio – Many people make the mistake of being too far from the microphone, and this makes the audio sound poor and echoic.
- Lower Third Text – This just means that any text you use should be located within the lower-third portion of the screen.
- Music – You should include theme songs, musical transitions, and the like in your videos and streams. The only trick to this is that you have to use royalty-free music or music you have a license to.
- Sound Effects – People forget how powerful sound effects can be. Things like the chirping of crickets at night are little things that no one pays attention to, but subliminally at least, they make a difference. Movie and television producers painstakingly take the time to create that illusion of reality with sound.
There are ways that you can include all five of these in your live streams in order to make the best-quality content possible. If you weren’t aware of these things, now you are. You can’t say that you didn’t know about them.
To learn more check out Live Video Secrets!