I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Livestream
Two of the most significant changes at Paradise Valley Estates during our shelter-in-place have been the absence of our ice cream and the arrival of live streaming as our primary means of communication. Literally overnight, Joe Morris’s job changed from handling basic setups for events, to becoming a full-fledged video recorder, editor and uploader for events. Even with the support of the full Communications Department, Joe still found himself in a full time “on-the-job” training program.
Although a rudimentary livestream system was in place, no playbook existed for a more complex production “studio” and working it through our equipment and software, and everyone simply had to learn from their mistakes. Residents were more than willing to provide feedback on what was not working, and the team took pride in making sure the same mistake never happened twice. In the end, the key game changer turned out to be an uplink to YouTube, which not only provided residents with higher quality video but allowed families to connect to the livestream as well.
Those of you who are technologically curious might be asking, “How does this all work?” So, here is my best low-tech answer. There is no actual set. A table or podium is placed on the stage and a large green cloth hangs from the ceiling behind it. Joe, Dave Nadeau, and Josh Freytag sit at a table facing the stage with two separate cameras. Dave handles lighting and sound while Joe manages the video. Speakers sit just out of the field of view so they can move quickly in and out of the picture. The video process uses Open Broadcaster Software which is then placed onto YouTube as a studio platform. Through this technology, Joe can filter out the green backdrop and layer on various images such as a library wall or an ocean beach. Joe can also shrink and move the speaker’s image to any location within the field of view. The script comes from a second camera and is written by Jeff Rausis.
So, what happens once this pandemic has played out and life begins to go back to normal? No one knows for sure, but the odds are good that livestreaming may be here to stay. Besides providing our families with a link to what is happening in the community, it also provides residents with a means of accessing information provided at events which they might have missed or simply want to review a second time. And new ideas for content are surfacing every day, such as the Paradise Players upcoming livestream of their Radio Dramas.
If we look ahead a few years, who knows what imaginative ways residents might find to utilize this new medium. But for now, let’s use our PVE Pulse and learn to maximize the programming that is already available and, technologically speaking, do a bit of our own “on the job training.”
And as for Joe, congratulations are in order. A team member for seven years, including five years in Dining Services, he was recently named Audio/Visual Coordinator at Paradise Valley Estates in the Convention Services department. Congratulations, Joe!