Live streaming is here to stay. Most US consumers subscribe to a streaming service, so we’re used to consuming content online. As a result, more and more performing arts theaters across the country are opting into live streaming their events.
Just take The Metropolitan Opera’s wildly popular live stream series, for example, with over 21.2 million streams over the pandemic.
Why Should Performing Arts Theaters Live Stream Their Programming?
Live streaming programming, whether it’s theater, opera, a play, or a ballet, is a great way to build a wider community for your theater.
Build Your Audience
Introduce your programming to new audiences through quality online content, both live and on demand.
Increase revenue with ticketed hybrid events, exclusive live stream behind-the-scenes content, and draw at-home viewers to your theater for future events in person!
Access and Inclusion
Make your programming more accessible to people who may otherwise not be able to enjoy your programing. Bring them an immersive experience!
Inspire the Next Generation
Bring the arts to schools and homes with young children, who may find it challenging to sit quietly in a theater.
Build a Content Archive
Quality video content can serve as supporting evidence of the quality of programming your theater presents. High-quality, dynamic footage can be used for advertising, social media, and more.
Making the Most of your Performing Arts Live Stream
The best live streams offer your viewers an unique experience. Live streaming opens up a world of exclusive experiences that you can offer viewers, including:
- Behind-the-scenes footage
- Performer or director Q&A
- Close-up shots
- Multiple camera angles
In a live, in-person theater experience, audience members get to enjoy the electricity of being there in the room. But at the same time, they’re confined to their assigned seat, which may not have the ideal view and angle.
In order to make the experience more immersive for remote viewers, many theaters choose to offer bonus material that is exclusive to remote viewers. Take the Met Opera, for example, which airs interviews with performers, producers, directors, and designers during intermission, showing behind-the-scenes and close-up shots of scenery and costumes.
It’s a unique way to help remote viewers feel the excitement of live performance – from home!
The Benefits of a Multi-Cam Setup
The most powerful way to bring an immersive, engaging experience to your viewers is the use of multiple camera angles. A multi-cam setup can include a full-stage view, center stage mid shot, and ensemble close-ups.
A multi-camera setup also allows your video producer to function as another member of the stage crew. Just as the stage director and lighting designer set the scene, your live stream producer can hone in on the most important moments, keeping your at-home audience enthralled.
The Art of Video Production
Live video production can be tricky. You’re working with one, long take. When it comes to producing a live stream from a performing arts theater, your biggest asset will be an experienced professional videographer.
No Tech Headaches
A professional videographer manages the monitoring and maintenance of your video equipment, from cameras and microphones to switchers and encoders. If you use a service like LiveControl, that videographer can work remotely, meaning that your in-house crew will be free to focus on what they do best.
Your videographer is the person who will switch between camera angles – showing the full stage for a dance number, stage right for a side scene, and close-ups for soloists. When live streaming from a performing arts theater, we love PTZ cameras, robotic cameras that can be remotely operated. They’re ideal for theater settings because of their wide range of motion. That means even if blocking or staging changes last-minute, your videographer will still be able to capture the stars on the stage, no matter where they are.
The Human Touch
The performing arts bring us so many connective experiences. But a stationary back-of-house wide shot is about as far from a connective experience as you can get. Having a skilled, artistic camera operator is a must when it comes to producing a live stream from a performing arts theater. Whether you hire a service such as LiveControl or produce your videos with a member of your in-house staff, having a human at the end to switch between cameras, adjust camera angles, and keep the equipment running is essential.
The Biggest Mistakes We See
There are a couple of things we see frequently in the field that bring down the quality of a live stream, or threaten it entirely.
Pulling Double Duty
Often performing arts theaters put live stream duties on someone who is already part of the technical crew. That means you have a lighting or sound engineer pulling double duty. Unfortunately, that only leads to mistakes on both sides. Hiring a separate camera operator or a remote production service can alleviate that issue.
One and Done
Many theaters offer only one static camera angle to their remote viewers, and it’s usually a full-stage wide shot. But when everyone on stage looks tiny, viewers are likely to click away from the live stream and choose something more engaging.
Know Your Rights
The biggest mistake we see performing arts theaters make when they live stream their events is not knowing their rights regarding copyrighted material. When performing copyrighted material (musical theater, pop songs, plays, and more), it’s important to make sure you have the rights to live stream it. More often than not, Facebook and YouTube will immediately shut down live streams that they suspect to be using copyrighted content.
For a theater presenting a ticketed or donation-based event, an immediate shutdown can be a disaster! We recommend live streaming from a branded web page instead, to avoid shutdown issues.
- Live streaming is an amazing asset for performing arts theaters.
- Audiences can have a unique remote viewing experience.
- Live streams can be immersive and engaging when done professionally.
- Live streaming your program is a move towards accessibility and community growth.