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How to Increase the Production Value of Your Live Remote

May 27, 2020

If there’s one thing the COVID-19 pandemic has proven, it’s the innovation and resilience of the production industry.

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If there’s one thing the COVID-19 pandemic has proven, it’s the innovation and resilience of the production industry.

During the early days of the pandemic, many organizations were scrambling to figure out how to keep their programming on-air, while adapting to a ‘work from home’ environment.

As a result, programming during the early stages of the pandemic was fairly basic. The emphasis was on establishing a reliable technical solution, which limited much of the creative aspects of live programming.

Now, 2-months into the pandemic (ugh), companies are starting to push the envelope. They’re looking for innovative ways to increase the production value of live programming in our current – temporary – environment.

This can found in programs like the Disney Family Singalong and the Graduate Together commencement celebration.

While not everyone has a President-Obama-Commencement-Speech budget, there are still ways to increase the production value of your at-home productions.

It’s time to look beyond Zoom. Here are some tips and tricks for increasing the production value of your live remote.

Add production value with a graphics package.

Never underestimate the value of a polished graphics package.

One of the easiest ways to dress up a live production is by creating a clean, sharp graphics package. Something as standard as a lower third or animated transitions can add value to your content.

Many interview segments that utilize an at-home production workflow are simply split screens of a host and guest. But why not overlay that on top of a cleanly designed mortise?

Adding graphics integration requires some back-end infrastructure, plus an experienced graphic designer, but this can be a relatively low-cost option for adding production value to your live remote.

Turn to social media.

Engagement is key to a successful production.

With an influx of people being restricted to their homes, content viewership has soared. So, too, has internet traffic.

A quick, low-cost solution for injecting some life into your program is to utilize social media.

This can be done by deploying something as basic as a Twitter or Facebook poll. Or by pulling in content from Instagram or Tik-Tok using a pre-determined hashtag.

Your viewers are at-home and online. Why not integrate their thoughts and opinions into your program?

Add value with an upgraded at-home production kit.

production value

One of the most common issues with at-home production stems from the end-user. Bad lighting and improper framing can significantly impact the quality of your output.

The good news is that these issues can be fixed with a little coaching.

Another way to bump up production value is to upgrade your talent’s hardware. Adding a proper lighting package, backdrop, and adding a higher quality camera can pay dividends.

At Broadcast Management Group, we offer two at-home solutions for clients: a basic package and a pro package. Both kits come with lighting, cameras, audio, and comms, which help enhance the talent’s feed.

As more and more companies step up their production game, consumers will grow weary of low-quality webcam feeds.

Studios and virtual sets.

production valueUtilizing a physical studio is still an option, depending on the comfort level of your talent.

This was something that we saw utilized during the Graduate Together program. Host Lebron James moderated the event from a heavily sanitized studio space. Extra precautions were taken to limit exposure and keep crew members apart from each other. Aside from having to work through some unique challenges, the program’s technical team proved it can be done.

Rather than opting for a hard set, which would have required additional bodies, the program producers utilized virtual set technology. This was deployed during the host segments as well as during some surprise musical performances.

Virtual sets are a great way to add production value to your program.

Utilizing a virtual set requires specific hardware and a designer who knows how to design sets. But if done right, virtual sets can tie into your overall graphics treatment to give a cohesive look to your program.

If you don’t have access to studio space or have the budget, virtual sets can still be implemented using a green screen backdrop.

Bring in live viewers.

John Krasinski’s “Some Good News” web series has exploded in popularity since it first launched. So much so, that it was recently picked up by Viacom.

Recorded with a pair of cell phones in his home office, using a network logo that his daughters drew, Krasinski’s low-tech program is still able to attract millions of viewers.

Despite a simple technical approach, Krasinski is still able to keep his program entertaining and engaging.

One of the ways he’s able to do so is by regularly bringing in at-home viewers into his program. It’s a simple, zero-cost approach that keeps people engaged and adds to the authenticity of his program.

Increasing the production value of your at-home production takes some thought, and potentially a little bit of money. But the longer that content producers utilize at-home production setups, the higher the expectation will be for polished and creative content. Now that viewers have an appetite for what’s possible, the bar has been raised. Don’t fall behind!

If you’re looking to up your production value, our live production team can help. Contact us at any time to discuss.

No Comments
  • Andrew Ryback Reply
    2018-03-07 21:55:41

    We're glad you found this to be useful, Margaux. Let us know if there's anything we can help with.

  • Margaux Ford Reply
    2018-03-07 05:57:06

    I appreciate the tips on hiring a production staffing company to have more time to focus on the creative aspects of the project. Hiring a production crew is a tedious task, and can take up much of your time. We're currently working on a huge production, and I'll share this article with my boss so he'll consider on delegating the recruitment to a staffing company. I like that you mentioned that staffing company can ensure to have the right team onboard for the project. Thanks!

  • Robert McWilliams Reply
    2017-10-31 19:05:18

    Todd:I have an ad agency in addition to our production company. We put one of our clients on OTT two months ago up in Nevada. Seems to be working!Thanks again for the work earlier this month.Rob

  • Nicole Rohde Reply
    2017-05-27 22:28:45

    Hey Andrew, Any word as to whether or not the Jokers will be back for Comic Con this year? Please let me know. Thanks!!!

  • Aaron Estabrook Reply
    2017-02-23 16:26:57

    I'll be tuning in for sure!

  • David Patton Reply
    2015-01-16 13:16:02

    Interesting blog post Andrew. For those who are nearly ready to cut the cord, but still want access to key channels such as ESPN, I'd recommend checking out Dish Network's new service, Sling TV. It provides access to a handful of channels for $20/month.https://gigaom.com/2015/01/15/sling-tv-details-price-devices-networks-resolution-bandwidth/

  • Andrew Ryback Reply
    2015-01-13 14:44:19

    Go for it! I'll admit that I was a little apprehensive about pulling the plug at first, but honestly, the transition away from DirecTV has been seamless. The only missing link is live sports, but there are a few work arounds depending on what sports you watch. Good luck!

  • Gregory Hart Reply
    2015-01-13 06:35:00

    While I am part of the 55 year old demographic that still has TV boxes and does TV viewing, I do my viewing using DVRs and networked PCs playing video files from an in-home server. I too have noticed that I view a handful of shows on a regular basis and have found various other sources for these shows. And now it has gotten to the point to where I am seriously considering ending my very long relationship with DirecTV and going streaming. Working in the TV industry also helped to open eyes to this as well. This transition from "old" TV is coming and the networks (Les Moonves, I am looking at you!) had better plan for it.

  • Gary Reply
    2013-08-08 09:44:39

    You've left out a HUGE part of this story by not mentioning Howard Stern's effect on the Sharknado buzz! #siris-ly

  • Marybeth Harrison Reply
    2013-08-07 14:46:29

    I can almost hear the theme song from Jaws as I read your post!