Feb 06 2012

How to go LIVE

One of the major breakthroughs in the way GRN has been operating over the last two years has been the introduction of ‘online invisions’, namely, correspondents performing live on-camera broadcasts on webcam via Skype, Google Chat or other live-chat programmes. The financial advantage to our clients was evident immediately: it enables them to have a correspondent live on-camera, while saving the very high costs of renting a feedpoint. For the correspondent the advantage is not having to go to the feedpoint and doing the live report where he or she is (whether home or out on site), while getting paid the same fees. Keeping the rates high is enabled by the saving on the feedpoint for the client.

A few broadcasters were ahead in realising the potential of the online live invision two-ways. They realised that whatever they might miss in picture quality (which depends on location but is generally improving everywhere), they gain in the “real” feel that viewers have become used to in the age of the internet. Other clients were more reluctant, but they are gradually catching up.

Many of our correspondents are internet savvy and are doing online invisions regularly, enjoying the more-than-double fees (compared to phoners), and the larger exposure. We would very much like to encourage all of our correspondents to do the same. Doing online invisions is quite simple, please take note of the basic ground rules, and let’s give it a go!


Equipment: You’ll need a computer, Tablet or Smartphone with a web camera and microphone (most devices have them built in).


Performance: Look presentable. Comb your hair if you have any, and wear a buttoned up shirt or a nice top. There’s no justification for looking as if you’ve just crawled out of a ditch unless you are in an actual war zone. If you are out and about on site and you have long hair, tie it back. Do not fidget, unless dodging a bullet, and do not wave your hands in front of your face. Look at the camera and speak clearly and slowly. And remember (it is strangely easy to forget): you have a camera, you can turn it to interesting things that are happening on site instead of just describing them, but make sure you tell your interviewer first that you are about to do so.


Backdrop: Television is a visual medium. Broadcasters like to be able to show that the correspondent on-air is present where the story is taking place. If you are on site, try to stand where unfolding events (demonstration, iconic site of the city you are in etc) is at your back. That said, try to avoid noisy spots where the background noise would make you inaudible. Obviously, if’s it dangerous, go somewhere safe. Safety first above everything else.

If you are at home (or hotel, flat where you are staying and so on), try not to set up against a blank wall. If you have some nice view from your window, the terrace or the roof, try to set up there. It does not necessarily need to be a tourists-postcard type of view, but it is likely to give a bit of the flavour of where you are. Even if it is night time, city lights are a better background than a wall.

We pay an additional fee to correspondents who can provide such “location” background.


Reporting: Speak slowly and clearly. Be attentive to the questions and to signs that you need to cut short. And as in any kind of reporting, the better researched you are, the better your hit will be. That said, take notice of things happening around you when on air and refer to them. Remember: the facts can be delivered to the audience in many different forms, but you are the only one who is there to connect them to the feel of the scene as it unfolds.


Let us know: If you are new to doing online invisions let us know once you are good-to-go. We can not let clients know that you are available for it unless we know that you are!


Need more help? Nobody knows technophobia better than yours truly. We are lucky enough to have in our headquarters a few people who can hold your hand through the process of setting up without taking the mickey out of you more than absolutely necessary (I did put it to the test!). Contact Matt Cooksey, our tech-wiz, on mc@grnlive.net, and he’ll arrange a live tutorial with you over the phone or on Skype. He can also provide some advice regarding equipment, software and so on, and he is also a really nice bloke.


Let’s get sampling: Over the last week, we started doing a daily online short interview with one or two of our correspondents every day. The piece goes onto our YouTube channel and our website and is sent to clients with the daily alert. This is a great marketing tool both for us and for the correspondents. The last weeks have shown a significant increase in bookings for the correspondents who featured on those sample online invisions. They are also a great way to try it out without the pressure of being live on-air. If you are covering one of the main stories of the day and want to give it a go, let us know and we’ll get you on the daily alert too!


Looking forward to seeing y’all on air!

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