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Streaming a Graduation Ceremony with WpStream

December 3, 2019

For most of us, graduation is a time to reflect and cherish the end of a long journey filled with goals, ambitions and plenty of effort to boot. Your graduation ceremony is not just a simple event, it’s in fact a turning point in life, a rite of passage and the very first step in your career.

For students and their families, the graduation ceremony signifies change for the better and transition to adulthood. Probably the most important aspect of this ceremony is acknowledging the effort of students and praising them for their conduct. 

Friends and family members are often present at these events, making them even better. But as with many life-changing events such as weddings, some loved ones may not be able to attend due to various reasons – physical distance, physical disability or financial issues.

This is where WpStream steps in – you can live stream your graduation ceremony so your nearest and dearest don’t miss out! This guide will focus on the basics of streaming a graduation ceremony, as well as the different technical requirements of a successful live stream. We will outline some advantages WpStream has over free streaming platforms such as Facebook or YouTube.

Streaming a Graduation Ceremony: Lights, Camera, Action!

With a camera and the right streaming platform, you don’t need to worry about the technical aspects too much. Streaming live videos over the internet is well past its infancy, meaning that it’s more affordable and approachable than ever. High definition cameras became a lot cheaper, and so did the internet. Faster internet means better video quality for your viewers and cheaper cameras means that you can build your streaming setup within a reasonable budget.

These are a few of the reasons why more and more students started streaming their graduation ceremonies – it’s accessible, affordable and really easy to do.

That being said, there are a few differences between streaming a graduation ceremony and a regular gameplay stream, for example. Since most ceremonies are big events with a large audience, it can be tricky to get the right shots for your stream. Getting high quality shots of the action is certainly doable, if different factors are taken into consideration beforehand.

Camera Placement

Camera placement is probably the most important aspect when streaming a graduation ceremony. You will need to consider your cameras’ line of sight. You may want to place your camera directly in front of the stage and use a tripod to swing the shot around to the audience as well. If you have a second camera, it can make things a lot easier – check our article on multi camera streaming for an in depth guide.

Ideally, even when using a single camera setup you will want to cover the audience and the students walking up on stage and receiving their diplomas. You can also use a live mixer to quickly edit your video before it reaches the viewers – you can capture applause, speeches, audience reactions and close ups of the graduates themselves, making up for a more engaging live broadcast.

It’s highly recommended to see the event venue in person a few days before it’s set to take place. This way, you will be able to spot the best positions for your camera or cameras, and get your equipment in order. Preparation is key to any successful live broadcast; for example, you may notice that you are missing a certain piece of equipment or need another tripod.

Once you have your setup in order, it’s a good idea to do a couple of “dry runs” – start your stream with an empty venue and see if any problems arise. Another thing you need to take into consideration is the fact that right now you’re in an empty venue – but not for long. Your cameras may offer an excellent shot now, but will it be the same when the place is packed? That is why you might want to set up your cameras a little higher than the average person – you will shoot above them so there’s minimal risk of anyone blocking your cameras view.

Recording Audio

Recording high quality audio is one of the biggest challenges when it comes to broadcasting large scale events. When you’re broadcasting from a small room, you can simply go with using the built in microphone on your camera, and you’ll still get great results – but that’s not the case for larger events.

When streaming from a large venue, you should connect your sound input to the PA system. The master of ceremonies and the students will speak through the PA system, so getting high quality sound this way is half the job. In this case, you may want to use XLR cables, which are a standard for professional quality audio.

Now that the PA system is covered, you might want to consider crowd noise as well. You have the option of keeping it to a minimum or even absent. In case you want to add some flavour to your stream, you can include crowd noise as well by using a different microphone. In either case, crowd noise levels should be well below the speakers.

Other Equipment

With the cameras and microphones out of the way, let’s talk about the other equipment you’ll be needing for a successful graduation ceremony live stream. You will also need a computer or an encoding device, storage cases, cables and other things along the way. It can be difficult to keep track of all these bits and pieces so it’s a good idea to ask the event organizers for a small bit of space to store all of it safely.

Live Streaming Your Graduation Ceremony: Software and Internet

As with any live broadcast, the most important aspect you need to keep in mind is bandwidth. Standard quality live streams require an internet connection that can sustain between 2 and 5 Mbps. As a rule of thumb, you should check your internet upload speed and divide it by half to get your optimal bitrate for your stream. Since you will be streaming in a venue where you don’t have complete control, as opposed to a studio, you will also have to consider network congestion. For example, let’s assume that you will use the venue’s public internet network to broadcast your live stream. But so will other people – everyone around will start to use the same network to connect to their Instagram and Facebook accounts, leaving you a slower internet connection.

This situation can be devastating for your broadcast, since if your connection is not reliable, the live stream will have to buffer constantly. You’ll get an overall lower video quality, making for a less pleasurable experience for your viewers.

Internet Connection

Potential internet issues can be mitigated through a number of ways, with a bit of time and planning. Here are a few ideas you can apply for your graduation ceremony broadcast.

Firstly, you should talk to the organizers and figure out a way to use your own internet connection instead of relying on public Wi-Fi or mobile internet networks. One of the best things you can do is have your own Ethernet cable run directly into your computer from a dedicated network access point. This solution provides the highest possible speed and low latency for your live stream – but only if the network itself can handle the traffic.

Secondly, you can opt for a cellular bonding device. This solution is the norm for many television stations which are broadcasting from outdoors. If you opt for this solution, you will have to use a data plan from one of the many mobile internet providers. The main advantage of using a cellular bonding device is the fact that they can aggregate different network connections such as Ethernet connections and Wi-Fi to provide for a faster and more reliable internet connection.

Thirdly, you can simply use a mobile data connection, but only if it’s capable of supporting you live stream. If you don’t know what bitrate to use or what settings to make, simply check out on article on choosing the best bitrate, FPS and resolution.

 The most important thing is to test your connection thoroughly before the event is set to take place. You can use a combination of these solutions – having a backup connection is always a great idea.

Streaming Platform

The last thing you’ll need for your broadcast is a live streaming platform. There are plenty of different platforms available out there, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. You might want to go for a free platform such as YouTube or Facebook, but these platforms do not offer enough in terms of features, flexibility and monetization. Here are the main drawbacks of free stream platforms:

  • Monetization is tricky or totally absent – with free platforms you don’t really have the chance to monetize your content, meaning that you will be streaming for free.
  • Less control over your videos – you don’t control where and how your video files are stored. With some platforms, you won’t even be able to download a copy of the ceremony.
  • You cannot create products from your live stream – since you’re not able to download a copy of your live stream, you won’t be able to use it for different websites for example.
  • Lack of privacy – you don’t get much in terms of privacy when using these platforms. Anyone with a link can view your content and comment on it, which can lead to embarrassing situations.
  • No control over ads – Facebook or YouTube may choose to display ads that are related but inappropriate during your live stream, like an ad for a competing educational institution.

WpStream

WpStream is a versatile streaming platform which caters to the needs and wants of different types of content creators. You can stream live gameplay videos, podcasts, live shows, yoga classes, live weddings and of course, graduation ceremonies. With WpStream and WordPress you can build your own secure streaming website in just a few minutes. You can record, save and download copies of your streams for later use. With the WooCommerce plugin, you’re able to monetize your broadcasts with different monetization models, including pay per view and subscription.

If you want to give your website a bit more personality, you can use the ever-popular WpBakery page builder to create stunning pages for your videos. All these features come in a neat bundle: The WpStream Theme and WpStream Plugin. Both are really easy to use, even without prior technical experience, and if you ever get stuck, you can always refer to our YouTube guides.

WpStream Features Include:

  • Free WordPress Streaming Theme – You don’t need to buy a premium theme when using WpStream, it’s on us! The theme is easy to install and easy to use.
  • Demos available – Get the most out of WpStream by importing one of our two demos: GoLive & Hollywood.
  • WpStream Plugin – The WpStream Plugin can be used to implement streaming functionality on any WordPress website in mere minutes.
  • Works seamlessly with professional streaming software like OBS Studio – You can customize your live broadcast by adding your school or class logo, as well as other graphics.
  • Better privacy for your video content – All streams are encrypted when using WpStream.
  • Save, record and download your live streams for later use.
  • Monetization – You have the option to monetize your live broadcasts with popular payment plugins such as WooCommerce.
  • More control over your video content.
  • Easy to implement & easy to use.
  • Free Trial Available – With the free trial you can get a closer look at WpStream – No credit card required.

Conclusion

Most of us still have fond memories of our graduation ceremonies and our time in college. This article should serve as a rough guide on how to broadcast your own ceremony, so don’t take it too literally. Mix it up and find a solution that works for you and for your content. In the end, the main idea is to enjoy yourself while doing it – this, more often than not, leads to the best results. Even if you just want to do a one-time live stream or you want to turn it into a full time business, WpStream will be with you along every step of the way.

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