Like it or loathe it, live performance capture is fast becoming an increasingly crucial skill for both arts venues and creative companies alike. As such, the idea of adopting this relatively new tool can often strike fear into the hearts (and marketing departments) of both parties. With this in mind, Push 2019 – our annual celebration of North West talent – gathered a rosta of industry experts including Future Everything’s Jason Crouch, Forced Entertainment’s Julia White, 1927 Productions’ Jo Crowley and Unlimited Theatre’s Jon Spooner to share their first-hand experience of the various challenges and opportunities presented by live streaming. Here’s what we gleaned from their insightful panel discussion…
Know Why You’re Doing It
First and foremost it’s important for companies and organisations to understand why they’re adopting this new technique and just how it can help the legacy of their content. To illustrate this point, Unlimited Theatre’s Jon Spooner presented a very valid thought: material created by theatre companies typically has a finite life-span and, ultimately, disappears into the ether. By facilitating a carefully crafted capture of your live performances, companies can archive their work and create a showcase of their content. For arts venues the same is true – and for both, the ability to reach new, diverse audiences comes hand-in-hand with live streaming and making your work work for you.
Experimentation is Key
While the pressure may be on to get started with this new medium, it can be easy to forget that this area of work is still in its early stages, meaning it’s ripe for experimentation. In the words of Future Everything’s Jason Crouch, ‘rarely does a live stream go so wrong the audience doesn’t get anything out of it’. His advice? Get stuck in and learn from your mistakes. Live streaming your theatre productions encourages more people to see your work and there’s no right or wrong way to get it to them either. Whether it’s via inexpensive kit (Crouch suggests the likes of Black Magic’s Intensity Shuttle or software AirBeam and EpocCam) or Facebook’s in-built – and completely free – streaming service. Get started, experiment and learn on the job.
Know Your Audience
That said, there are a few things worth considering before you get going – like knowing who you’re delivering your content too and ensuring it’s tailored to their needs. Force Entertainment’s Julia White presented a trio of questions worth mulling over before any marketing department picks up a camera and hits ‘record’. Questions like: Who are your audience? Why would they want to watch what you’re presenting and how can you reach and engage them? After all, there’s no point going live if no one’s there to watch. White’s hot tips? Use empathy maps and Twitter Reach Reports to really focus in on what you want to achieve with your live stream. Identify your key messages, set yourself benchmarks and let them guide the content you create.
Plan And Grow
Make no mistake, capturing a live performance to a high and presentable standard takes planning and work – as 1927 Productions’ Jo Crowley can attest to. The mammoth task of filming and archiving their hugely successful touring show Golem undertaken by Jo and her team was stressful to say the least however the end results undoubtedly made the whole painful process worth while. A slot on BBC iPlayer, a healthy profile boost and increased digital audience were the rewards for 1927’s hard work but so were the skills they learned along the way. Talk to other companies or those in the industry and gather all the advice you can, suggests Jo. Clearing rights can be a minefield for live streaming but with a bit of pre-planning and communication with your peers, the whole process can be made a lot smoother.
Words by HOME Digital Content Officer Simon Bland
Push Festival 2019 continues until Sat 26 January. Learn more and see what’s on here.