Spectacular Secrets from Story Crossroads Spectacular – Part 5 of 5

This is the fifth of five parts on tech skills needed to transform the live 5th Annual Story Crossroads Festival into a virtual one called Story Crossroads Spectacular.

Secrets Revealed:

  • Part 1 – OBS…Software Worth the Struggle – REVEALED
  • Part 2 – Sound and Lighting – REVEALED
  • Part 3 – Trial & Error – Test Runs – REVEALED
  • Part 4 – Involving More Than One Language – REVEALED
  • Part 5 – Multi-Streaming and “Scenes” – TODAY

Cords, cords, cords! And fun boxes and such to stick those cords into…thus the reason that multi-streaming with two or more cameras (in our case, three) that you hire amazing people to work this out.

Multi-streaming by itself is easy for me to do alone—only using my laptop with the built-in camera. “Easy” is relative but I purposely stream every Monday night from 9:00pm-9:45pm MDT on Twitch to practice AND share behind-the-scenes of running Story Crossroads. Even if no one tunes in, this keeps a nice record of takeaways or learning moments. If people do tune in, then there can be more of a conversation.

Anyway, I would go bonkers if I was multi-streaming AND running multiple cameras. Yet, I have seen it possible with the amazing in-home studio of Baba the Storyteller. Can I say–WOW! Check out his specific virtual storytelling page for an idea.

Though, the longer I see the streaming equipment, the more comfortable I become. Not to be head honcho over it…but more comfortable. Think of what it took for you to get used to a microphone as a performing artist. You were not a natural right away unless you constantly held toilet paper tubes to your mouth to practice.

You must have the right equipment. In part one, you learned that we had an intensity shuttle and splitter but did not accomplish all that we needed it to do with the number of camera feeds. In the collage picture above, you see an ATEM Pro that was lent to us by Joshua Halverston of Experience Event Center, Provo, UT. Joshua knew we wanted to get one for our inventory at some point (costs $1,000+ so looking for grant), and he recommended an ATEM Pro Mini instead of ATEM Pro. It’s more portable. Plus, even as technology changes, this would still be a great investment that would last 10 years+ if not longer.

To multi-stream for live-stream, you will want to open OBS or any other broadcasting software. OBS is free to download and runs beautifully. You will note above that the black screen with “Coming Saturday…” is the regular OBS part while the far left is my “Multistreaming” Dock. You must know that word: dock. I think of it as a fancy way to say “little box thingys” much like how you can have a chat box, control box, etc. But in the streaming world, think “dock.”

You have other “docks” if you go on the far top left of the OBS screen and click “View” then “Docks” then “Restream Channels.”

When new, start clicking around and find out what happens. Not every button. But I feel “safe” clicking things under “Docks.” If they are checkmarked, then they are already showing on your screen. You can click them off and on. I don’t like having all the docks on the screen. It gets crowded. Though, DON’T click “reset UI” or “lock UI” or “Custom Browser Docks…”. Be comfortable before you even delve there, if you would need it.

You will need a multi-stream service, and that will range in price depending on how many places you want to multi-stream. We chose to stream to: Twitch, Facebook, and YouTube. You could stream to 30+ platforms, but many are video game related and won’t make sense for storytelling. I LOVE how all the comments from these three places feeds into one chat box. There are even icons of those platforms so you can address that viewer in-the-moment or study further.

We narrowed down our multi-stream services to two companies: Restream and Streamyard. Either way, you are looking at about $40/month. If you search, you can usually find 20-30% off discount codes through Facebook or other ways for Restream. I consulted with our head videographer, Sterling Elliott, and both of us agreed that Restream was more “friendly” in our needs. Though, I know that Streamyard has been used by storyteller Simon Brooks. Go with your gut. Restream has a happy squid and Streamyard has a crazy duck…no, that was not what it came down to though–seriously, the squid is cuter. We loved that Restream had a specific listing of Zoom. Not that Streamyard cannot do Zoom multi-streaming, but Restream had a relationship with Zoom first.

When multi-streaming in Zoom, you need to be sure your settings are what they need to be. Jim Brule’ has a wonderful video on checking on your settings for Zoom. Of course, things are always changing, but this will give a wonderful visual checklist. Enabling to stream/multi-stream from Zoom is there. We commissioned him to do a 1-hour training with our Story Crossroads Board on Zoom as well as a 5-minute Zoom Basics video with our branding. So…highly recommend his expertise. Our attendees need as much training as the producers/hosts.

Now returning to OBS and live-streaming–let’s talk “scenes.” You will notice that the lower left side has possible places to upload scenes, which can be a picture or video that you click on either before, during, or at the end of a stream. There is also “sources,” which are possible images, text, your logos, music–many options–that feed into and/paint each scene. The “Coming Saturday…” is a text source in connection with my “Behind-the-Scenes Monday Night Streaming.” I can change and update that text and be as simple or as decadent as I wish.

We did not use any scenes in the middle because that was reserved for the main event–the performance! We did use a scene at the beginning to say the name of the session and who was performing. We used several scenes at the end to thank funders, thank American Sign Language interpreters, thank our videographers, etc. It is also smart to have a scene saying when you will stream next.

This was a SUPER IMPORTANT scene at the end of each stream–thanking our funders:

Note that this is a picture that fits the size of the streaming screen. You don’t have to keep to that size. You may want to have a small box to the side while streaming. For ideas on playing with scenes, check out this video by Tech Guides.

We “shut off” after a stream to give an actual break rather than leaving the cameras on with a sign saying “Break.” Certain platforms–like YouTube, Facebook, etc.–only allow a certain length of streaming. They vary from two hours to eight hours, but why not give everyone a break including the videographers? Be smart and courteous!

So, this is the “end scene” of this 5-part Blog Series, though more posts will be made in the future of tips as well as celebrating people who use storytelling. Until we tell again!

Want to discover more secrets beyond this 5-part Blog Series? Rachel Hedman will represent Story Crossroads at the National Storytelling Network’s CONNECTED Virtual Storytelling Conference & Festival on Saturday, June 6, 2020 from 3:00pm-4:30pm CDT (2:00pm-3:30pm MDT). You can register for this session only or a conference package. There will be pay-per-view options of the recording afterwards.

Check out the the next adventure on Saturday, June 20, 2020 from 9:00am-10:30am MDT from your computer- The Big Why Panel: Historical Storytelling meets Humanities.

See our 5-video playlist from the Story Crossroads Spectacular by clicking here.

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