Nude Photo Shoot Broadcast Review
This post is not meant to be a promotion but rather a peak behind the curtains regarding the “LIVE” event itself and its creation (the recording can’t be purchased after a show is aired. It’s exclusively for participants only).
The whole idea and process was actually way too crazy, which in turn made it worthy to be reported about here 🙂
LIVE I: The Crazy Spark
It’s not like I ever dreamed about doing a live stream event (photo shoot). Not at all. I know the format, the fascination, brands and creators like CreativeLive. And I know that producing convincing, valuable shows like this is more than complex and intense to do.
But one day, without any particular reason, out of the blue and without any concept at all, I was struck by extreme enthusiasm (in combination with not using my brain) and pioneer spirit (for B+) which lead to the decision of setting up an event exactly like that (project/situation).
This was in early summer of this year…
Concept & Pre-Setup
Because of the bad timing – long summer break ahead on this side of the planet – there was little time to start the pre-sales process and getting this show being recognized as a valuable new format.
Yes, I actually first and foremost thought about the sales cycle at that time – because the schedule was clear (and tight): June is Early Bird Pricing & limited VIP-Access launch; September 12th the live event will happen.
This feels like a lot of time (which it actually is) but not in a sales cycle with about 6 weeks of hard core summer break, people being away from their desktops and not thinking about purchasing tickets. Anyhow…
- Day 1: Project schedule incl. decision about LIVE I broadcasting date
- Day 2-5: Full bulletproof concept planning, details, bookings etc (= Melisa Mendini. Simple. Beauty. Spicy. Lighting.)
- Day 6-8: Sales & marketing collateral production
- Day 9: Launching the early bird pricing period, sales campaign, and online booking.
By the way, this is the former sales page: http://photoblog.studioprague.com/melisa-mendini-live-photo-shoot-global-live-video-stream/
- Day 10: Woke up and had no clue whatsoever about the technical solution & implementation (video tech)
July, the ticket sale (limited to 500 seats) was going more than great – we filled 90% of the (virtual) seats within 8 days. What a success!
The concept seemed to be of value, the (low) pricing attractive, the format convincing.
Yet… – behind the scenes I still had no clue and plan on how exactly I wanted to implement the technical aspect of the broadcast. The bumpy ride had begun…
Googling Tech-Porn Together (Assembling Stage)
The show’s parameters, requirements, and viewer experience to-be-delivered were clear from Day 1 on:
- 3 different camera viewing angles
- Imposing graphics, lower thirds etc.
- Wireless mics, ambi mics, hand mics, mic mics…
- Adaptive multi-stream for covering different devices and connection speeds
- 1080p FullHD max transmission resolution + internal recording
- Live, interactive chat component (interaction from the viewers to us in the studio; Q&As and more)
- Easy to use web interface (video, chat, FAQs etc.)
Based on this benchmark, my job was then to pull together the technical prerequisites and to find the technique “to-be-used-in-studio”. Since we didn’t have dozens of thousands of dollars available for investments, I had to stretch but quickly found a software-based broadcasting/editing solution that fits my technical needs. The only problem was the hardware challenge of smoothly pushing through 1080p : All would be based on Thunderbolt connections, a Mac-based stable setting.
As a non-Mac user I then first ordered a very potent, refurbished iMac. Renting one (= cost saving) was no option as I needed a long time for testing things. After the machine was ordered, a lot of other things had to be obtained (paid): Converting devices by BMD (HDMI/SDI > Thunderbolt), countless different types of cables and a million other things.
Early August – after permanently visiting Amazon and befriending the UPS delivery guy – the complete tech-park (transmission core) was in place, the process of testing tech, settings, principles and finalizing them was initiated. This took me another 3 weeks.
The BIG Gamble: Risks and Potential Traps
Meanwhile, the risk I had taken slowly began to dawn on me!
Let me list a quick run-down of the potential risks:
- The full show- and marketing concept was built around Melisa Mendini (model = brand).
What happens if she does not show up due to any undesired events not accounted for?!
- The crux of streaming live – a lot of things can go wrong, for example: The usually stable internet upstream glitches. The cable provider’s system is suddenly jerky. The video streaming service platform in the UK strikes. The website (server company) involved goes down (hack, DDOS, maintenance, whatever).
This might sound paranoid but I hate it when there’s no plan B. And certain things are just impossible to have backup plans/processes for…
But the tickets were (totally successful) sold. And I’ve already invested a ton of money in new tech while having to pay another big portion to the talents & crew on the show day itself.
What happens if anything goes wrong?!? In one swoop, I would have twice the expected sales volume in form of debts!
It made me sick to the stomach but there was no way back… – Full speed ahead!
LIVE: Preparation. Show. Bravo!
September 12th has arrived, all talents and full team were in Prague – nothing went wrong so far.
- 9 a.m. – Core crew entered the studio
- 10 – 12 a.m. – Setting up the broadcast tech
- 2 – 4 p.m. – Setting up the photo shoot tech & sets
- 4 p.m. – Melisa Mendini & MUHA Aneta arrive
- 6 p.m. – Rehearsals
- 8.30 p.m. – Ready to launch
- 9 p.m. CEST – LIVE broadcast starts (150 minutes)
- 1 a.m. – Finishing and wrapping up
Setting up the broadcast tech was still full of surprises (as expected) and a darn pain – but we got it done. Setting up the photo shoot sets and tech was smooth (as expected). Just the tethered shooting solution was totally unstable and freaked me out! We changed cables, adapters, switched ports and parts – no plan, no logic… In the end it worked fine and was 100% up and running during the show. I just hated those cables!
The live shoot went perfectly great. We created expressive imagery in different lighting situations, had long, attractive parts explaining stuff in a comprehensive manner, the live interaction via chat with the viewers was most worthwhile, motivational, and the Q&A segments were truly of value for both sides: the viewers and myself.
Melisa performed a fantastic job and we had a very inspiring time and a great run. We survived, delivered – and succeeded!
The Merits: Viewers Feedback
“The preparation process felt a bit like flying to the Mars on a tricycle with just a little bit of oxygen on board – but it worked out sharp to the point”.
This was the laconic, happy comment from my friend Jan, chat manager that day and professional photographer himself 🙂
I was asking the viewers to provide me with their honest opinions, feedbacks, improvement suggestions and more. I got over 100 personal emails with tons of valuable input and – foremost and overall – congratulations about the value, the insights, the conveyed knowledge, the tech quality etc. pp.
Everybody was asking for more!
I’m totally humbled and honestly darn proud that we pulled off this new format in such a great manner!
On a technical level, I am now fully prepared for the next ride: LIVE II.