How to add remote guests to your live stream

After 10 months of COVID-19, it might be hard to remember that there was a time when live events like trade shows, conferences and large social gatherings were commonplace and that AV presentations often played a big part in making them memorable.
Remote guests using TVU Partyline for a live production
Using TVU technology it’s possible to add remote guests to your live stream

However, that certainly was the case and may be again sooner than expected with the release of vaccines that promise to change the equation, potentially leading to an end to lockdowns and social distancing mandates.

Even so, when things begin to return to normal, it’s likely these sorts of activities will ramp up gradually, meaning that organizers will need a way to include keynoters, panel members and honorees who aren’t attending the function in person.

Fortunately, several technologies from TVU Networks can make it easy to add speakers from home to deliver their remarks with no noticeable latency and in high resolution. They include TVU Partyline, TVU Transceiver and TVU Anywhere.

While each event is different, the basic setup to bring in a remote panelist, keynote speaker or honoree via live streaming video is straightforward.

The goal here is twofold: first, to enable natural conversation with no delay between the remote party and those on stage, and second to integrate the incoming video stream of the remote participant into the existing AV setup. Here are the basic steps.

 

How to add remote guests using TVU technology

Step One: Set up the remote participant with TVU Anywhere on his or her smartphone. Route the participant’s TVU Anywhere stream via TVU Partyline with a TVU Transceiver.

Man live streaming with his phone using tvu anywhere app
TVU Anywhere is a mobile app which allows guests to live stream from their home

Be sure to instruct the participant before the event to use a tripod or steady the phone in some other fashion so that when video is streamed to the event it is rock solid.

Step Two: Set up TVU Partyline for those on stage. One convenient approach is to have an Apple iPad running TVU Anywhere for each participant on stage. This will allow them to look forward towards the audience and not over their shoulders at the projected image.

Step Three: Connect the TVU Transceiver to the production switcher to be used for the event.

The SDI output of the TVU Transceiver should feed a production switcher input, and an SDI auxiliary output from the production switcher should feed the TVU Transceiver. The former will allow integration of the remote guest into the stage presentation via a video projector, and the latter will enable the remote guest to see other panelists in the program feed as the SDI switcher output is encapsulated and streamed back to the guest. 

TV screen and laptop showing use of TVU solutions
TVU Partyline line can bring together multiple guests into one overall production

Use the “Common Party” mode of TVU Partyline for the remote guest and the speakers on stage. Access and control the cloud-based solution from a local computer to manage the remote guest and those on stage.

Step Four: Ten to 15 minutes prior to going live with the stream, ask the participant to sit down, turn on the phone, launch TVU Anywhere and confirm the remote stream is being received by the TVU Transceiver via TVU Partyline.

Instruct the remote guest to click on the VFB (Video Feedback) icon on the TVU Anywhere screen to confirm the program feed of the ongoing event is visible to the guest.

Step Five: Set up mix-minus audio to remove the guest’s audio from the mix that will be integrated with the SDI video signal that’s encapsulated and returned to the remote guest.

Step Six: Cue the remote guest that the event is about to go live and cut away from a session title slide or whatever is on the program channel feeding the projector to the remote guest’s live video stream from the switcher.

 

Solutions made for live events

The combination of TVU Anywhere, TVU Transceiver and TVU Partyline is powerful and perfect for this application.

Large virtual fan wall live on TV
TVU solutions have been used for a range of events, including virtual cooking shows (pictured)

TVU Partyline, in particular, is great because it low-latency roundtrip transport between the venue and the remote guest. With latency similar to what people experience with other consumer IP conferencing applications like Zoom, TVU Partyline makes it possible for the remote guest and those on stage to see and hear each other in what amounts to real time so that their interactions are natural and conversational.

TVU Partyline also ensures high-quality, high-definition video is streamed to and from the event—something that’s especially important when the live stream of the remote guest is projected on a big screen.

TVU Anywhere is great because it is easy to use, runs on Android and iPhone smartphones and leverages the high-quality cameras built into today’s smartphones to their full effect.

Finally, TVU Transceiver is a rock-solid technology with a proven track record that supports the low-latency performance required for these sorts of setups.

This setup isn’t restricted to one remote personality. There is a 2-by-2 (two-input-and-two-output) model of the TVU Transceiver to handle two remote guests. It is even possible to use more than one transceiver in the same setup to accommodate more than two remote live streams.

With time, as the pandemic subsides and things return to a more normal state, it’s less likely that multiple remote participants in a live event will need to be accommodated.

However, even after the COVID-19 pandemic is history, there will continue to be the occasional guest, panelist or keynote speaker who for one reason or another is unable to attend in person. Fortunately, this combination of solutions from TVU Networks will continue to solve this problem for event organizers.

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