Best Practices for Live Digital Presentations
Greetings! We’re excited that you’ll be part of Create@Brandeis Living Room Fest! Here are our recommendations for how to give the best possible presentation and engage successfully with folks tuning in at home.
We require that any participants livestreaming as part of the Fest participate in a rehearsal with program staff. This will be an opportunity for you to practice your project during a real (semi-private) livestream, as well as work out how to start and stop the stream, where to place the camera, test sound quality, and review the structure of the program.
If any sound (speech, music, etc.) is part of your presentation, we want to make sure that people viewing can hear it. Here are some tips for getting the best possible sound quality.
- Limit background noise.
- Silence your phone. If you’re prerecording, set your phone to airplane mode.
- If there are other people in the house, tell them in advance when you will be live streaming.
- If you have more than one room, test which room has the least echo, and use that for your presentation. Usually a room with furniture and other soft things (blankets, pillows, etc) has less echo.
Using a microphone is a great way to pick up the right sounds. You don’t need a fancy mic! Many Bluetooth headphones or earbuds have built-in microphones that are great for live streaming. If you don’t have an external microphone, the mic on your phone, computer, or tablet will be fine.
On-Site Production Coordinator
If you are self-isolating with anyone else, consider deputizing them to be your On-Site Production Coordinator (OSPC)! OSPCs are helpers that do things like hold the phone or camera for you, make sure that what you want people to see is in the shot, monitor the chat (if your stream has chat enabled) and relay questions and requests to you, serve as a point of contact for festival staff during the stream, if necessary, keep an eye on the time, and provide moral support and cheering-on during the performance.
If possible, we’d like your OSPC to attend your rehearsal session as well.
Here are some tips to make sure the camera captures your stream in its best light!
- Figure out your camera (phone, computer, etc.) angle ahead of time. If you need to use multiple angles during your presentation, minimize the number of changes so you don’t spend too much time fussing with the camera. If you need to figure out the best angle, do a test recording with a few possible angles and see which position works best.
- Be yourself! We want you to feel comfortable, so wear whatever makes you feel best. Warm colors look great on-screen. Wearing all white, all black, or intense patterns may distract from your presentation or make you disappear into the background. If you want to wear Brandeis or Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts gear, that would be great! Friday, May 1, is the last “We Wear Blue” of the semester, if you want to join in.
- Think about the background. The room should be bright enough that the camera can see you. Similarly, you want to minimize glare, so try not to position yourself in front of any highly reflective surfaces like windows, etc.
Intros and Outros
- “Welcome to Create@Brandeis Living Room Fest at Brandeis University!” Please give a warm welcome to those watching, and introduce yourself. Include your class year or Brandeis affiliation.
- If live chat is an option, be clear about when you’ll be able to respond to comments, particularly if children may be in the audience. You can say “I love seeing your comments and I’ll respond to them between songs,” or “I will respond at the end of the talk,” etc.
When it’s time to wrap up, you can mention other projects or performances you’re involved in, share information about recordings or podcasts, etc. You can also give a shout to people who have helped you, or to another artist in the fest that you’re looking forward to seeing.
- If there are spots in your home that have better or worse wifi connectivity, take that into consideration.
- Close any applications that might leech from your wifi bandwidth, and talk with anyone you live with to see if they can limit their internet usage during your presentation.
- We will set up your live stream on a Brandeis Zoom or Facebook account. If your presentation is on Facebook Live or Premiere, we will add you as a user to the Arts Brandeis page. If you don’t have a Facebook account, we’ll add you to a one-time fest account.
- While we might be used to experiencing the creative arts in pristine spaces like the white cube of the gallery or an acoustically perfect concert hall, the Living Room Fest is a rare opportunity to make and share creativity in intimate, everyday spaces. Think of your Festproject as a brave experiment, and a chance to share the less-seen components of creative practice, like who you are, where you come from, and the simple details of your everyday life. (So it’s okay if you sneeze, or if your little sibling runs in, or if something unplanned happens — this is live, baby!)