Webcasting at Russell Investments: Producing Multi-Camera Shoots with One Person

by Nicole Wise on August 16, 2012

When you think about what kinds of media people watch, webcasts probably won’t be your first answer. 

But as people watch more and more content on their laptops and mobile devices, the lines between broadcast and webcast are blurring. So in order to keep your viewers engaged and watching, webcasts have to measure up to broadcast quality, according to Scott MacGougan. 

Scott is one of the longest users of the Mediasite webcasting platform. He oversees digital media production at Russell Investments, a global firm in Seattle, Wash., and is responsible for recording, editing and producing audio-video webcasts for both internal and external audiences. 

Scott recently visited Sonic Foundry headquarters in Madison, Wis. via a videoconference from Seattle, and hundreds of viewers watched as he gave a behind the scenes tour at the webcasting  studio at Russell Investments, or what he calls the Russell Investments “bat cave.” 

Scott says there’s nothing wrong with the one-camera shoot for a streaming video webcast – he uses it every now and then, too – but sometimes the high-profile nature of your speakers or viewers just calls for something more polished to keep them engaged. Sure, that requires a full production crew with camera people, a producer, director, switcher, lighting and the list goes on and on. But Scott figured out how to do it with just one person. 

Yes, you read that correctly. Just one person. 

I highly recommend you register (it’s always free!) and watch Scott’s webinar, “How to Produce Big Webcasts with Small Crews” on-demand here to see his secrets in action. And here’s a quick look at his key takeaways.

Why bother using more than one camera? 

“The basic reason is all about the viewer and their experience. You want to provide as engaging an experience as you can. As a result of using multiple cameras and keeping the thing more engaging, then the real hope is that the people will continue to pay attention. It’s just visual stimulation. We’re used to things changing as we watch TV, as we watch movies, or even as we surf the web.”

Is there a way to do a multi-camera shoot with one person? 

“Of course there is. The shopping list for that project is: First we’re going to need some remotely controllable cameras, something to control them with, a way to switch between them and an additional monitor so you can see all of the shots to choose which one you want. And then, of course, you need the Mediasite webcasting platform, because it really is good stuff. It just rocks.” 

What about multi-camera shoots in an auditorium setting for big events?

“We also use a three-camera shoot in those kinds of situations. It’s just a little bit different. We have two cameras at the back, both focused on the stage, one giving a tight shot and one giving a wide shot. And then the third camera is kind of the reverse angle for a crowd shot, Q&A, maybe even a side shot of the stage. If you have a multiple camera situation, then you can get in nice and tight with the tight shot.”

See how to produce your own big webcasts with small crews here.  



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