RJI's Futures Lab 'Innovation in Focus'

Each month, the Reynolds Journalism Institute's Futures Lab launches a series of video segments as part of "Innovation in Focus" to show journalists how to tell stories using emerging technology. Here are March's three segments on live video.

Segment 1:

Live video: Tips and tools
In segment one of Innovation in Focus, the RJI Futures Lab spoke with Terez Paylor, Chiefs beat writer at The Kansas City Star, who goes live with readers every week. This month, Innovation in Focus explores live video by testing various tools and methods in the field. In this segment, the Futures Lab used multiple iPhones to broadcast live from the Columbia Missouri Farmers Market.

Segment 2:
Live video: Sound is key
In this segment of Innovation in Focus, the RJI Futures Lab discussed live video with Kansas City Star Visuals Editor Chris Ochsner, who, with his staff, runs polished live sessions utilizing multiple cameras and professional sound tools.
Segment 3:
Live video: Tips and tools
Live video needs proper preparation and planning to ensure your broadcast is successful. Here are some elements to consider before you go live:
1. Data or Wi-Fi?
If you're using a mobile app, such as Cinamaker or Switcher Studio, to create a multi-angle broadcast, then you'll most likely need a strong Wi-Fi connection to link your phones. Every app we tried required Wi-Fi to sync multiple devices; none worked on data. Bring a portable hotspot just in case. If you're using professional cameras, then use hardwired Ethernet to guarantee an uninterrupted broadcast. 

2. Audio
Make sure your viewers can hear the audio. If the audio is lacking or weak, then viewers will tune out. A strong Wi-Fi connection and external mics are often needed for good audio.

3. Scout your location
As our friends at The Kansas City Star noted, familiarize yourself with all lighting, internet, audio and power sources the day before you plan to go live. Visit the location as well. Then, on shoot day, you'll arrive ready to succeed. 

4. Make it worth your time -- monetize it 
Many newsroom leaders hesitate to invest the resources and time needed to produce quality live video because they lack experience in monetizing it. The key is sponsorship. Develop strict guidelines that outline roles, responsibilities and benefits, including logo usage, for both sponsors and reporters. The Kansas City Star secures sponsorships for its live broadcasts, which generate income for the paper. The Star then reinvests that money in much-needed gear. With a little time and effort, going live can be a revenue source for your newsroom.