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In 2020, when COVID hit our shores, many businesses were forced to move their conferences and forums online. Yes, there really was no choice: no one could leave home, guests were stuck overseas or interstate, and attendees couldn’t sit together in the same room. Quite some dilemma!

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority – AFCA – was no different. Vital to their operations assisting individuals and businesses reach agreements about financial complaints were twice-yearly Member Forums, used to update AFCA members on policy changes and what was happening inside the organisation.

The Jasper Picture Company first teamed up with the Authority around the start of COVID and, initially, we had to move the forums completely online. From a 2023 perspective, it now looks just a little basic: one host in the studio, one camera operator, and only one person in the control room. There were around eight sessions across two days, with up to four guests dialing in from home. Everyone has learned a lot since then and the live streams have evolved from entirely online to hybrid events where more people could join on location until, ultimately, this time (March 2023), we were able to have everyone on set, live in our soundproof studio.

Planning for events such as these always takes months, and the heavy lifting for organising the schedule and the guests was done by the incredible membership team at AFCA. As with all live streaming events, we like to be involved early to know what to expect, and we were always able to get at least a rough schedule months out. 

An exciting challenge: the March 2023 AFCA Member Forum live stream 

The broad-brush outline for this year’s event encompassed one host and up to four guests in each of the six sessions across two days, and we saw this as a perfect opportunity to use our new control room, which was finished just one week prior to the event. This set-up gave us space for four crew positions: a director/switcher, a director’s assistant and an audio director. We also had one of the clients in that space to facilitate the slides used throughout the sessions.

The new control room allowed us to have crew including a director/switcher, a director's assistant, an audio director and the client.
Our newest feature: The Jasper Picture Company Control Room

On the studio floor, we decided to use four cameras. On our set, we had one host in the middle, flanked on either side by up to two guests per session. One camera gave a tight shot of the host, another was wide – the whole set – and cameras three and four were cross-shooting, picking up tight shots of whichever guest was speaking at the time.

Having a robust and reliable internet stream is, obviously, absolutely crucial for successful live streaming, and being in our studio allowed us to tap into our high-speed fibre connection. We coupled this with two 4G dongles as well as WiFi from a 5G modem to provide a consistent connection. We also ran a second internet connection and a second stream as a fail-safe should the first connection fall over. 

This internet framework is one we’ve put together through trial and error over the last three years, constantly pushing the boundaries to make the connection more stable and, ultimately, more reliable. We’re now in the position of being able to take our internet connection on the road with us, and not have to worry about using a client’s internet connection, giving us greater flexibility and much greater consistency of service.

Looking from the Control Room into the Live Stream
Looking from the Control Room into the Live Stream

More details … for the live streaming technically inclined

People right across Australia were ultimately watching the AFCA livestream through the app ‘Slido’; this app makes much greater audience participation possible than some of the other streaming platforms. Slido allows a live stream to be embedded on the event page and viewers can then ask questions and respond to polls. In this case, it was used mainly for Q&As, and the questions with the most likes, or the ones that were most similar in nature, were more likely to be asked during the stream.

For graphics, we used the NewBlue Titler 5 Broadcast for the first time, as this application had recently moved to a subscription model. This is the best app for this purpose, and many video production companies use it for sporting events, news and live streams. It has great integration with apps such as Google sheets which allows for any titles required during the show to, first, be dropped into a Google sheet from anywhere in the world, then used immediately in the live stream.

Lower Thirds were created using NewBlue Titler 5 Broadcast which allowed for easy and visually appealing graphics.
Lower Thirds were created using NewBlue Titler 5 Broadcast which allowed for easy and visually appealing graphics.

For this live stream we used a shared Google sheet for all of the lower thirds required during the show and we could also overlay any questions that came in via Slido with a question moderator dropping them into a Google sheet.

Audio came in the form of five cabled lapel mics on the floor. The host also had the director in his ear so that he knew when he was ‘on’; this in-ear feed could also alert him if there was a problem. Our Melbourne studio is soundproof so we didn’t have to worry about the sound of trucks, rain, or planes.

Day 1 Session 1 ready to go live!
Day 1 Session 1 ready to go live!

And how did it all work ?

The whole two days of streaming went off without a hitch. No internet dropouts and lots of great audience participation through Slido. The live stream was watched by around 2,000 people over the two days with some watching the whole nine hours. A huge success!

Every time we do a live stream we want to do better, to be more creative. We want the audience to always be engaged and to make the show look as far from a Zoom call as possible. The closer we can make an engaging TV-style show, the better it is for the client and the viewers.

We also want to make sure that the client gets across exactly what they want to get across and in this case everyone was super happy.

Live streaming is much more than just a good internet connection and a few cameras. At The Jasper Picture Company we spend a lot of time learning what the client wants. We also spend a lot of time taking the hard work out of live streaming for our clients.

The technical side of live streams can be daunting and we want our clients to feel comfortable that we have all of that in hand. We want clients to concentrate on putting together the best forum or conference they can and to leave the live stream to us. View more of our work here!

We look forward to having the AFCA team back in our Melbourne studio later this year. 

At The Jasper Picture Company, we believe in bringing clients visions to life. Whether that be through a live stream or other. If you think that we can help you, please let us know. You can either call 1800 JASPER (527 737) or email info@jasperpictures.com.au 

At The Jasper Picture Company, we tell stories. 

We can tell your story, and we would love to work with you.