How To Look Awesome

We want you to look your best.
With remote production relying on you for several things,
here are some tips to help Stream4us make sure you look Awesome.


Do you look Awesome?

Your visual appearance is important.

Dress well- as if you were going on stage in front of people, because you are. Wear makeup (if you do). Avoid a lot of jewelry. Look in a mirror. 

Ready for CameraIf you will share presentation slides and other material, make sure the slides will be readable on small screens. Don’t use a “wall of text.” Rehearse and test it, well before the event.

We primarily use widescreen video (16:9). Set your smartphone horizontally to match everyone else, slides, and video playback. If you have a good external webcam, use it. Often the webcams in laptops are pretty bad. Sometimes the webcams in tablets, like an iPad or Galaxy Tab or Microsoft Surface is better. 

We have a tech-rehearsal just to test these things. 

Elevate your camera to eye level. We want to look at you as if we are standing in front of you. Put your laptop or tablet on books or a couple shipping boxes to elevate it.

Keep your eyes about one third below the top of your screen, and don’t be too close. Remember, the producer will likely crop the sides in order to combine your camera with a those from other participants. We want you all to look the same amount of Awesome!

Smart Men

 

Is your location Awesome?

Check that you are well lit. Not the wall behind you. YOU.  The light on your face needs to be brighter than the background. Have light in front of you- a window, table lamps, etc. 

Multi box imageDon’t put windows behind you. Don’t be in a common area in your home or office where we see others walking behind you. That distracts us from watching you. 

Choose a neutral, clean background. Not filled with personal items you might not want the world to see. Declutter. Hide. 

Similarly, if you want to highlight certain things, make sure they are visible when you are on camera, not hidden behind you. This can take some time to set up when you get started. Allow for that. Pay attention to what’s behind people on TV news and talk shows for ideas. 

 

Do you sound Awesome?

You might not realize it, but audio is actually more important than the video. Viewers have come to accept grainy video that may stutter a little (thank endless Zoom conferences for that) but if the audio is bad — noisy, or the person can’t be heard well, or there’s a lot of extraneous noise — viewers often  just stop watching.

Wearing headphones
You can’t really see the speaker’s black earbuds at all.

You help ensure we get the best audio when you use a headset. This is because these systems are designed to automatically cancel out the main program audio from your microphone. The problem is, when you talk, some of your own audio gets cancelled out with it. This makes you sound garbled and nobody can understand you.  When you wear headphones, the only thing the microphone hears is your beautiful voice. 🙂

In-ear headphones, like those for mobile phones, are typically very good if you stay away from the cheapest ones. Black cables are more discrete than white ones. If you have enough cable, or use an extender, you can run the headphones behind your back. (But if you do that, make sure you’re using the webcam, or another microphone in front of you.)

A wireless headset or earbuds are another option, just make sure you have enough battery left for the whole meeting. AirPods and earbuds reeeally need a quiet room, as they are more sensitive to background noise. So a room with carpet, drapes, fabric furniture, some pillows, close the door, and keep the room as quiet as possible allows YOU to be heard. 

Is your internet Awesome?

Upload Speed
Upload speed is critical.

A decent video link typically requires a bandwidth of at least 5 Mbits/s, both up and down. More is sometimes necessary. We recommend testing your internet speed with Speedof.me. If you can, please manually select a server that is close to where the live stream is produced. For example, Stream4.us is in Dallas.

Some common corporate connection issues include port blocking, bandwidth restrictions, and app installation limitations. The simplest way to work around all these hurdles is to Bring Your Own Device —  e.g. your private laptop, smartphone, or tablet — and connect directly to the public internet. Test before the event with your normal equipment and connection.
If that works, then you’re good to go.
If not, discuss with your IT department and the live stream producer. (See IT notes at the bottom)

Know your settings.

We’re not able to give courses in how to use all the different browsers. Some browser-based remote connections, can sometimes be touchy when it comes to selecting the browser, camera, and microphone. Here are some setup help links for:

    Chrome — FirefoxMicrosoft EdgeApple Safari (MacOS & iOS)
    Internet Explorer, don’t use

Note! After making these changes you may need to dis/re-connect by reloading the web page.

Once We’re Connected…

Follow the URL or link provided. Once you are in connected, you’ll see a small window in the top corner with your own image- just like most any video chat app. me and meWe recommend you close this once you’re comfortable with your setup.

We control what you see in the main window. Often it will be the program that’s being live streamed. Alternatively, it may be a multi-image screen of the people you’re talking to. When you see the program, you’ll see picture-in-picture, titles, even your own video, exactly what the streaming audience sees. This is what we are creating in the Stream4us control room.

We give priority to streaming the main live program,
so we send a lower bitrate version of the live program back to you.
because the return video to each remote guest uses some upload bandwidth.
Do not worry if the quality you see looks low resolution, it is. (sorry!)
The main program livestream is getting all the data.

The Interface Icons:

Touch or mouse over your screen and to see icons along the bottom of the screen
The Red Phone hangs up / disconnects.
The Green Camera turns your camera on and off (green is on)
The Green Microphone turns your mic on and off (green is on)
The little Green Box turns off your little Selfie Window (green is on)
The Diagonal Arrows makes the video full screen (Escape turns it off)
The Chat Bubble turns the chat sidebar on and off.
I recommend hiding the chat unless you need to communicate something to me without saying it out loud in the show.
icons
Once the show begins we manage everyone’s microphone.
The chat window is a way to communicate something that you don’t want in the show.

When finished, click the Red Phone Handset icon to disconnect.

 

Remember to have FUN!

As always, have fun when you’re on camera.

Don’t worry about always being perfect– because no one is perfect. The internet will have glitches, expect it,  just let them go by – and keep moving forward. Having a conversation with even the tiniest bit of internet delay can be tricky. “Jumping in” during a conversation over the internet is definitely harder than it is in person. Be patient, let people finish, or give them a simple “but..” and let them give you space to continue. 

Remote conferences are here to stay. Getting comfortable with the “new normal” will take time, but by focusing on the content, presenting the best you we can, we’ll make you look Awesome!

 

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Finer details for geeks (or if you run into trouble).

magnifying glassThere are many video meeting/conference services available on the internet. These include Skype, Teams, Zoom, WebEx, Adobe Connect, Facetime, WhatsApp, and various WebRTC solutions. For a live streamed event, which one is used will be determined by the producer.

For security reasons, corporate networks (ranging from private enterprises to government agencies) use firewalls to block unwanted internet traffic. These firewalls control which ports may be used.

For security, employees working from outside the corporate office are often required to use a VPN (a secure tunnel into their corporate office). This can cause problems when you want to have video meetings outside the organization. Like a remote connection to Stream4us. 

Different video services need different ports to be open in the firewall. Typically a corporation decides which video conferencing service the organization will use (like, Zoom). Then only the necessary ports are opened in the firewall for that service. All this is managed by the IT department. Employees also may not be able to install or use other services (Skype, etc).

Our video tools using WebRTC are designed to connect automatically through most firewalls, however in some cases your network administrator may need to allow access for the best results. They use the open ports described below to communicate with this service and to stream the video and audio (bidirectionally) that is used by these systems.

Firewall Requirements
TURN/STUN: Port 10349 UDP/TCP (outbound)

Video/Audio Streams: Dynamic Port Allocation UDP – 49152-65535 (inbound)
The initial peer-to-peer connection will be initiated over HTTPS, linking it to the remote guest system outside of the firewall. Once that connection is established, the two systems will communicate over multiple simultaneous connections that can be initiated by either side.

WebRTC cannot navigate across routes that require double NAT translations.

Minimum Requirements
Stream4us can establish a connection with only TCP access to remote port 10349 (outbound)

However, audio and video will need to be routed via one of our remote servers, so call quality may be reduced as a result.

IP Addresses
NOTE: we do not provide or list IP addresses of servers as these can change at any time due to redundancy and security requirements.

Therefore if is not possible to open the ports above in general on a restrictive firewall, our web-based remote connection may not be able to be used.

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