• Written by Simon Worlding
  • Tagged as COVID-19

How to live stream classes, workshops and events

A live stream is a live video transmission which can be set up to broadcast to many people. At the time of writing increasing numbers of the world’s population are self-isolating to counter the spread of Covid 19. In this context, live streaming is an attractive option for many of those who hope to keep their events going even though face to face contact is not possible.

There are many simple tools that can be used to handle streaming and Bookwhen has an increasing range of features to easily guide attendees through bookings into online event attendance. This post will run through everything you need to know to get started.

Why live stream?

Live streaming allows your attendees to participate in your events from their own home, or conceivably any location where they have access to an internet enabled device.

At this stage nobody knows for how long Covid 19 will impact people’s lives, but live streaming events will allow you to maintain the community you have built around your classes and stay in people’s thoughts when any restrictions are lifted. It can also be an effective way to maintain a level of income through a difficult period.

Live streaming enables you to create a genuine live event experience and most tools offer the functionality to receive live feedback from your attendees so that you can interact with them as the class is taking place. With editing and filming to consider, pre-records can take time, but live streaming is relatively agile and it should be possible for you to maintain something close to your normal schedule if the demand exists.

With increasing numbers of people forgoing commutes and working from home, travel is less of a factor. It may even be possible to squeeze in some extra events in the mornings, evenings, or at lunchtimes when workers have extra spare time! Switching from in person delivery will also increase your potential market dramatically. Rather than an audience of just those within reach of your geographic location, you have the potential to reach the entire globe!

What can I use to live stream?

Different providers offer different restrictions on numbers of participants, duration of calls and ways to access.

Both paid and free options exist and the offerings summarised below vary between genuine ‘streaming’ services which provide a broadcast feed with some audience interaction (usually text based), to video conferencing services which are designed to allow two-way conversations (but can be used to broadcast events to smaller groups).

How to live stream

There are a number of things to consider before you live stream:

  • The equipment you will use to record
  • The location in which you film
  • The format of your online events
  • How you interact with the camera

You can read more about the above in our blog post about delivering events online. and plan your event with our live streaming checklist.

The URL for the live stream or video call is the ‘location’ that your attendees will need to virtually attend and just as with a real life location, your attendees need to know how to find it. With Bookwhen’s online booking solution you can set a Jitsi call as the location (Zoom to follow very soon), and include a link for your attendees to follow that generates a unique call for each event. Post booking information fields and secure event pages can be used to make joining information available for other services.

If you’re new to the concept and the technology around live streaming try a dry run first. It really will make a huge difference when it’s time for the event, helping you to anticipate potential problems and confidently work the software so that you can devote more attention to your attendees.

How can I promote my live stream?

Potential participants need somewhere to sign up to your live stream, this is where something like a Bookwhen public booking page can be crucial in converting curiosity into a booked ticket. Online payments will mean you can collect revenue prior to your event.

Share your ‘landing page’ on social media channels and, providing you have prior marketing consent, with email lists of former attendees.

Contacting your attendees on the day to remind them of your event is possibly even more important for online events, where participants have made no commitment to travel and so may find the event more likely to slip their mind. Automated reminder emails are a great way to do this, you may also find that a well designed reminder graphic on all of your social media channels just before the event will be effective in both ensuring ticket holders remember to join in, and in encouraging last minute FOMO sign ups!

Appreciating the value of your content

If you are collecting ticket revenue for your live streamed event you need to ensure it is protected by restricting access to ticket holders only. The streaming options outlined above offer different levels of protection in this regard.

Bookwhen’s secure event pages allow you to share event information with only those who have booked a ticket, but there is also a risk of your attendees sharing the call information with others - this is where you need to monitor your call for any interlopers. An up to date list of authorised attendees can be used to monitor participants and an attendance logging feature is useful to keep track of who is present and who is not yet accounted for.

If you think that others may find watching a recording of your event valuable you should consider a streaming service with the functionality to record. Again, Bookwhen can help you to upload and sell this easily via your public booking page If your attendees will participate in any of the sections of your event that will be recorded and published it is prudent to get their consent before doing so.

Live streaming is an attractive option for delivering online events, particularly if you view yourself as a class teacher, event leader or workshop instructor rather than a ‘content producer’. The technology exists to create an online event which offers many of the selling points of your face to face events, and you could even expand your audience significantly if you are able to produce a positive experience which appeals to many.

The technological and knowledge requirements for delivering an event in this manner are within the reach of most people, regardless of how technically inept they may, or may not consider themselves to be! There is a wealth of information available online for those who decide to take this route, and Bookwhen’s support team is also on hand to integrate online events seamlessly with our online booking system. Get in touch if you want to discuss achieving this today.