Product How To's

Elevate your Video Web Meetings - produce remote workspace online content like a Pro!

Here is Videocraft’s take on how to elevate your video web meetings, when working remotely whether you are using Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams or Adobe Connect, read through the ways you can elevate your online presentations and meetings.

First, let’s tackle the visuals.For most people who now find themselves having to communicate with their colleagues remotely, they rely on the built-in webcam on their device (if it has one). However, depending on the device, the angle you can be left with can often end up being the most unflattering perspective possible.Perhaps the simplest way to avoid visuals of extra chins and nostril shots is to get an external webcam that you can position independently of the screen you might be using. A suggested solution would be coupling a webcam like theLogitech Brio webcam or using a DSLR style of camera with a HDMI output like the Sony ZV1 and pair it up with an adjustable desk stand like theJoby Telepod.Moving to a more traditional camera or camcorder can certainly elevate the visuals further and well, webcams can only get you so far. They generally have tiny sensors which certainly limit how pretty an image they can produce. For an idea about what we would recommend for a complete next step up, see here:Home Streaming Budget Kit which includes the Sony ZV1 to give you really great quality online visuals.               How about lighting?Depending on your workspace, some additional lighting equipment may get you further than a camera upgrade. If your workspace isn’t blessed with consistent, pleasant or generally flattering lighting, try adding something like theNanlite Pavotube 6C; It’s got an in-built battery and can be USB powered, so you’ve got a heap of flexibility with where you can place it. Add aJoby Telepod to mount it on your desk and you’ll go a long way to being able to light yourself in a way that will make you look better than the rest of your ‘whatever lights the room has’ colleagues. As a cool bonus, it’s a full RGBWW light which is perfect for a splash of colour or some creative mood lighting for your home/workspace when it’s not on duty to light a face.Now, what about audio?Sound is usually more important than the pictures, so it’s definitely worth putting some extra effort into showing some love to your audience’s ears. With the explosion of audio content like Podcasts, there is now a heap of great and affordable audio gear that would really elevate the work-from-home experience.Built-in webcams tend to have built-in microphones that perform okay when you are in the sweet spot for where they pick up audio. However, with an external USB microphone like theRode NT-USB Mini, to use on your desktop, it's worth considering a Rode PSA1 boom arm for when you're at your desk and want full control over your microphone placement. 'Treat audio the way a radio station would, and your audience will thank you for it.' Maybe a more mobile option is more suitable, we would suggest you try the Rode WIGO Wireless Mic which you can plug into your camera or camcorder for real high-quality audio capture. This way you can move it to suit you the mic to suit your preferred position, rather than the other way around. Keep the mic close to your mouth, and your voice will always be heard. Once you divorce your microphone from your camera, you grant yourself a heap more creative freedom to be able to frame your visuals how you wish, without compromising on how you sound. Give it a try! Check out this short video tip on how this style of setup works.

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Streaming with Cellular Bonding | How we use Teradek products at Videocraft

Streaming video from point A to point B has become more commonplace for all kinds of online content creators and also never been easier to set up by just about anyone. Using just an Internet connection, a PC, smartphones, and some simple cameras we can go live with just a few clicks. And since most forms of live streaming are done on smartphone handsets with a single LTE connection or at home with an internet connection, live streaming is commonly accepted in the video consumer market with audiences tuning in on streaming platforms every day.When Videocraft is asked to set up streaming systems for major event broadcasting or live media productions especially in remote-location publishing, a single Internet connection often won't cut it. Instead, we use an innovative piece of technology called cellular network bonding. Why Videocraft chooses to use Teradek products like the Bond, Bolt and Cube:The Teradek cellular bonding products like the Bond or Bolt are incredibly portable with a very small form factor, and when compared to traditional live video production equipment, small units offer way more versatility in the field for broadcasting major events. For example, we used this solution for the Red Bull Wings for Life Global Race held in Melbourne. It’s not just about saving physical space on the camera setups or in the rack though, it provides us with the flexibility to integrate with other suppliers workflows and achieve really quick setups on live event productions where being on time is paramount. It would also be ideal for run-and-gun scenarios like live news crosses saving time and money on uplink costs. [caption id="attachment_2744" align="alignnone" width="520"]

Participants seen during the Wings for Life World Run in Melbourne, Australia on May 8, 2016. // Mark Dadswell for Wings for Life World Run // P-20160508-02570 // Usage for editorial use only // Please go to for further information. //[/caption] The most important reason content creators we work with rely on products like the Teradek Bond is for its core purpose: network bonding. Teradek’s Bond system combines several 3G/4G/LTE modems into a single Internet connection for deploying live video. The Bond, for example, is designed to aggregate Ethernet, WiFi and up to 5 USB cell modems to create a really robust pipeline for delivering video from point to point. The combination of several network connections allows Videocraft to reinforce the quality of moving video signals between two points by sending traffic over multiple routes, repackaging it at the destination with automatic failover ensuring that the live stream runs continuously and smoothly throughout the broadcast.But the Teradek product range isn’t limited to large event broadcasting. For smaller workflows, the Teradek Bond allows content producers and ENG operators in the field to publish reliable H.265/H.264 video straight to live platforms such as YouTube or Facebook Live or studio decoder destinations. So even if you need to send the video to a studio hundreds of kilometres away using the Teradek Bond it can upload to Teradek’s cloud system where the video can be redistributed to wherever you choose, even multiple destinations. As long as your mobile cell signal is viable, you can stream.Traditionally when broadcasting live on location, costs for bandwidth on venue internet connections or satellite trucks can be costly, making live streaming high-quality video a bit of a challenge, that’s why it is worth incorporate cellular bonding into the workflow. Several bonded 4G/LTE connections could potentially save thousands of dollars. In addition, a mix of cellular carriers means that even if one carrier encounters connectivity issues, the failover to other carriers would fill in to maintain the stability of the stream. Plus the use of the latest H.265 codec means that while 1080p video costs an average of 5 Mbps to deliver consistently using H.264, H.265 can achieve the same results at potentially 3 Mbps improving your data consumption efficiency. When it comes to broadcasting from the field, traditional video transport equipment like satellites and ENG trucks cost an arm and a leg to employ, not to mention you need to find personnel and time to get that equipment out to the location. The cellular bonding streaming kits available to hire from Videocraft offer a low-cost alternative to these situations. Starting from under $500 per day, the Teradek range can deliver fast and broadcast-quality video for your streaming project.

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Setup live streaming direct to YouTube with the Sony PXW-Z90 Camera

How to setup live streaming direct to YouTube with the Sony PXW-Z90 Camera. Here is a step by step basic guide on how to setup live streaming using RTMP protocol direct to YouTube there are similar steps for other online apps such as Facebook and Vimeo. Firstly, check the firmware you have installed on your PXW-Z90 camera, to do this you need to follow these menu stepsMENU > OTHERS > VERSION DISPLAY

. For RTMP/RTMPS streaming functionality on the PXW-Z90 camera you need to have downloaded the V2.00 Firmware which is available for FREE from the Sony Website - When doing this we found the process to be much more stable on a PC rather than a MAC computer.   Ok now to set up your live streamingYou need to start with setting up YouTube Go to your YouTube Studio account, now if you have never streamed live from your YouTube account before you will not be able to stream for the first 24 hours of requesting to do so - so head into the “Go LIVE” setup the day before you need to stream anything.   CREATE > GO LIVE > NEW STREAMThe only details that are mandatory that you need to enter in here is the title and category of your content and whether the content is made for kids Click CREATE STREAMWhen the Manage Stream screen comes up you need to take note of both STREAM KEY and the STREAM URL as these are details you will need to enter into the camera so it can connect with YouTube. The STREAM KEY is hidden so it’s a good idea to copy this and the URL into Notepad or Word Doc on your computer for easy and quick reference. Now to connect up your PXW-Z90First, you need to connect the camera to a WIFI network - you do this by heading to the NETWORK SET section on the MENU MENU > NETWORK SET > Wi-Fi SET > ACCESS POINT SET               Wifi networks that are discoverable will show in the list, if your network doesn’t show in the list or is not discoverable you will need to select MANUAL SETTING and know whether you are using a WEP or WPA network when entering the name and password for the WiFi network.             Once the camera is connected to a WiFi network a tick is visible on the menu to show which network you are connected to and indicators show the strength of the signal the camera is picking up. So you’re on WiFi - what's next?You need to connect the camera to YouTube via RTMP. You can also connect to Facebook and other streaming software and you can use each of the presets to save different settings for each type of app you would want to connect to. So, go to the NETWORK SET section of the menu to do this MENU > NETWORK SET > RTMP/RTMPSIf this is the first time you have tried RTMP streaming from your PXWZ90 this then you need to put the YouTube settings into one of the Presets - there are three available so you may want to set one up for YouTube at 720p or another at 360p which are the two resolutions you can use to stream on the PXW-Z90 or maybe a different streaming channel like Vimeo or Facebook.So lets setup YouTube at 720p on PRESET 1, to do this simply scroll down to PRESET 1 and select DISPLAY NAME Here you can set a display name for your Preset. You may want to change to YouTube 720p for easy reference at another time. SIZE This gives you the option to select between 720p and 360p streaming resolution . DESTINATION SET This is where we need to enter the information of the STREAM KEY and the STREAM URL that we were given on the YouTube Stream Settings earlier. . So first enter the URL you enter the rtmp:// address, this is quite laborious using the typing function of the Sony camera - but note you can either use the joystick toggle to enter or the touchscreen which you may find easier. Use the bar at the top to select between alpha, numeric and special characters screens for entering the URL address. Once entered click the large OK button in the bottom left. Next, the Stream Name is where you enter the STREAM KEY from YouTube, this displays as an asterisk shortly after you enter a letter, this makes it hard to know where you are up to. Unless you are really speedy at this you can push the DISPLAY button on the side of the camera and it will keep the STREAM KEY viewable whilst you enter it and once you finished and pressed OK it will change back to the asterisk view. Once you enter these details press OK and return to the RTMP/RTMPS menu, scroll up to PRESET SELECT and choose PRESET 1 where you have just configured the previous steps. If this is all done correctly you are pretty close to streaming now, but before we get to that if you find that your EXECUTE menu selection is greyed out or faded and unselectable and nothing is happen - you will need to change the REC SET in your MENU. Make sure that your FILE FORMAT is HD or lower to be able to EXECUTE the RTMP streaming function of the PXW-Z90.   Changing your FILE FORMAT for Streaming on the PXWZ90To change your FILE FORMAT to a format that will allow you to stream follow these steps in the MENUMENU > REC/OUT SET > REC SETGo to FILE FORMAT and select either XAVC HD or AVCHD in the menu options.This will update the REC FORMAT and when you return to the RTMP/RTMPS streaming menu EXECUTE will now be highlighted white ready to go ahead for streaming.   So you have the camera, connected to the WiFi network, you have entered the YouTube details into the Destination set - you are ready to EXECUTE!Starting the Stream to YouTubeOnce you have pressed EXECUTE it will ask you which network you are streaming from, in this setup we have followed you would select Wi-FiYou then are ready to connect your camera stream to your YouTube preview screen. To stop and start the connection between the camera and YouTube you simply press the THUMBNAIL button on the camera.You should now see a preview of your camera in your Stream Management of YouTube.To start streaming your content hit the GO LIVE button at the top right corner of the screen!And you are now live streaming to YouTube with the Sony PXWZ90 Camera!   Other tips and tricksFor Ethernet connection or Wired LAN you will require separate accessories from Sony (VMC-UAM2, CBK-NA1) to connect the USB port from the camera to an ethernet cable. RTMP/RTMPS providers: Both YouTube and Facebook have checkboxes for reusing the "Stream Name". Unless you really enjoy entering the "Stream Name" every time you want to stream, you will want these to be checked.Note that using this method you can only go to one site at a time. If you want to be tricky, you can create an RTMP stream to go to apps such as, and then you can go to multiple apps at once!  

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Using your smartphone to create video and streaming content

In this odd time when we are all looking to work differently, people are looking to use their smartphones to create video and streaming content. It may be that you don't have access to your normal equipment or that everybody else has beaten you to the 'hot product' and you are having to think laterally. .

It is worth noting that the cameras on modern smartphones are quite good if you make sure there is enough light and you are within the correct focal length of the lens. It would be no good trying to film a football match with a phone but an interview or talking head will work well. I don't imagine you will be wanting to film a football match at the moment anyway.
Where smartphones do fail is on audio, there are several manufactures catering for smartphone audio and arguably the best is our own, homegrown, Rode. They offer options for Apple devices (Lightning connector) or Android (3.5mm jack TRRS). There are Lapel microphones like the Smartlav+ or Wireless Go which can be attached to an individual person or Directional microphones which can stay attached to the phone and work well over 2 or 3 meters. The Rode SC6 and SC6L allow you to connect two TRRS mics like the Smartlav+ simultaneously.
[caption id="attachment_4789" align="alignnone" width="380"] Rode SmartLav+[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_4790" align="alignnone" width="380"] Rode Wireless Go[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_4791" align="alignnone" width="380"] Rode SC6-L[/caption]
Another main consideration is mounting your camera/phone effectively so the picture is stable and your arm doesn't fall off halfway through the interview. Manfrotto makes a simple inexpensive clamp for your phone which allows it to be connected to a tripod or mount either in portrait or landscape or should I say Insta and everything else! It's called the PixiClamp. They also make a small desk-mounted tripod called the Pixi Mini Tabletop tripod. The nice thing about the clamp is that it has standard 1/4" threads allowing you to connect it to most tripods and lighting stands.
[caption id="attachment_4795" align="alignnone" width="380"] Manfrotto Pixi Clamp[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_4794" align="alignnone" width="380"] Manfrotto Pixi Tabletop Tripod[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_4803" align="alignnone" width="507"] Or available for purchase as a combo![/caption]
Lighting is the last hurdle. If the available light isn't giving you the production values you are used to seeing. The good news is that there are lots of powerful, battery-operated colour correctable lights available at very reasonable prices. You can consider the small Aputure Amaran AL-MX rechargeable light or a twin kit with stands like the Ledgo Luxpad E268C which offers unbeatable value.
[caption id="attachment_4797" align="alignnone" width="380"] Aputure Amaran AL-MX LED Light[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_4798" align="alignnone" width="380"] LEDGO Luxpad E268C Lighting Kit[/caption]
.. For a full range of products suited to use with your smartphone click here
Anyway enjoy setting up your home studios and we can't wait to see what you create!
Blog Post by Simon Anderson

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