Eight Best Practices for Video Streaming Your Local Government Meetings
In the wake of COVID-19, local governments are working to enable citizen engagement and rapid information sharing. Fortunately, local governments can leverage live and recorded video streaming solutions to allow citizens and board members to participate in council meetings and town halls to ensure that COVID-19 social distancing protocols do not detrimentally widen gaps between decision-makers and their citizens. If your administration is new to hosting virtual meetings, follow these eight production tips.
1. Enable the Highest Quality Output
Live and recorded video must be of a high quality for citizens to watch comfortably in its entirety. In all videos, viewers should be able to see speakers, any visual graphics, and other meeting participants in the room. A high-quality camera will help the viewer feel that they were part of the live moment.
2. Work with Your IT Department to Ensure Ample Broadcast Bandwidth
Even if you shoot high definition video, without the bandwidth needed to broadcast it, viewers will suffer through choppy, fuzzy, or repeatedly stalling video, making them more likely to turn off the broadcast.
3. Consider All Production Factors
You may not have control over the room in which your public meeting takes place, but do your best to ensure ample lighting, that the speaker is not backlit, that presenters are close to microphones, and that the camera is on a stable surface and not being held by someone who will inevitably suffer wrist fatigue. Also, ensure your audio feeds directly into your camera for the highest possible sound quality.
4. Keep Viewers Informed of Delays and Recesses
There may be times when elected officials or leaders need to step aside for private discussion or a temporary recess. Do not forget your live viewers during these moments. Post a message to let them know that the session is temporarily paused and will resume shortly. Otherwise, viewers may misinterpret the inaction and believe their device is malfunctioning, the broadcast inadvertently froze, or the meeting ended, in which case remote engagement levels will plummet.
5. Ensure Video is Optimized for Viewing on Any Device
Today’s citizens are engaging digital content on the widest variety of devices, form factors, platforms, and screen sizes we have ever known. Make sure you choose a media solution that is not just mobile-optimized but one that allow citizens to watch anytime from any Apple® or Android™ device.
6. Include Closed Captioning Services
Local governments have a responsibility to make all their digital content accessible to all citizens, including those with auditory, vision, and physical disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) identifies closed captioning of video content as a best practice for ensuring equitable content. Make sure you choose a media solution that enables closed captioning services of recorded video to make it easier for individuals with hearing impairments to comprehend important discussions.
7. Choose a Software with Built-in Bookmarking Capabilities
Allow citizens to watch just the recorded discussion segment that addresses the topics that interest them most. Choose a media solution that allows you to bookmark specific meeting segments—without the need for technical video editing or post-production after effects knowledge.
8. Share Live and Recorded Videos Via Multiple Channels
Share all videos via your local government website. Then amplify your reach and optimize civic participation by leveraging all possible digital channels, especially your local social media accounts. To make it easy, choose a media service that easily integrates with social platforms.