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National Head Start Association Supplements Annual Conference With Live Video Webcasts

Efficient web presentations

Screenshot of live video webcast showing Beth Rawls of Teachstone presenting during the NHSA 2014 Annual Virtual Conference.

The National Head Start Association (NHSA) had a problem. It needed to expand the reach of its annual conference to remote participants across the country. It determined the best way to do that would be to conduct a live video webcast of their conference sessions by utilizing the outsourced expertise of BizVision to provide the videographers, cameras, audio, webcast platform, bandwidth requirements and production services to pull off the live webcast in a matter of days.

“It was a last minute decision for us,” said Edward Condon, senior director for business development with NHSA. “But we were able to pull it off with a very professional and high quality live video webcast that went out to many of our participants who were in remote locations across the country.”

The first thing NHSA had to do was find some expertise in putting together a live video webcast. The cost to obtain the equipment needed and professional expertise was much too high for the organization to invest in. As a result, it relied on the services and expertise of BizVision. BizVision’s national videographer network was able to immediately provide local video operators and video equipment necessary for the webcast.

Sessions in two separate rooms were streamed simultaneously with a dedicated high-definition camera used for each room. This implementation allowed online participants to have seamless access to presentations in both locations, eliminating downtime involved in moving a camera from room to room. NHSA made sure that sufficient resources were devoted to making this a professionally captured webcast.

The location for NHSA’s conference was well equipped for conferences like this, so they were able to easily tap into the center’s built-in audio system, integrating it directly with the video feed for optimal audio. Doing so allowed NHSA to focus on the presentation and not worry whether a wireless microphone would run out of batteries in the middle of a presentation. This system made it so audio and video were synced properly to help avoid the confusion people sometimes experience with lower-quality webcasts.

A local professional videographer, part of the BizVision national videographer network, provided video equipment and expertise in conducting the live video webcast for the NHSA’s 2014 Annual Virtual Conference.

The platform provided by BizVision allowed NHSA to immerse their audience into the presentation more than a typical webcast allows. A typical low-cost webcast is merely the presenter on stage, and the video reflects that. Not satisfied with that approach, NHSA made sure that any webcast viewer had the presentation slides displayed side by side with the video of each presenter. The presentation slides need to be provided by each presenter beforehand, ensuring the slides were integrated into the platform so they remained consistent with the content and timing of the presentation.

Internet bandwidth was a negligible concern for NHSA. The venue provided a solid, high-bandwidth connection for the multiple cameras and sessions being broadcast at the same time, which ensured the webcast had a constant, reliable connection for the benefit of the viewers.

NHSA wanted to ensure that webcast viewers always knew who was speaking, so it developed an on-screen graphic that identified the presenter. This graphic could also be used for various messages, such as credentials for the speaker. Further customization with the NHSA logo helped maintain the brand and professional image of NHSA throughout the conference.

Overall, the BizVision solution helped NHSA avoid many potential headaches, and helped NHSA avoid investing large sums of money on equipment cost and hiring videographers. In addition, the entire production was affordable. The cost for the production was based on a percentage of the fee for each viewer along with a nominal fee for the videographer services and equipment.

“We’re in the process of selling the sessions on-demand,” says Condon. “Thus far we’ve recouped the cost of the streaming services through the on demand recordings.”

A survey showed that 87 percent of participants ranked the webcast as “Good to Excellent.” With this initial experience completed, discussions are already taking place on how methods can be improved, how revenue can be increased, and how NHSA can reach an even larger portion of its audience in future conference webcasts.