2nd October 2020
By John Edney
When I think of live streaming I think back to the year 1999, believe it or not back then my auntie, uncle and cousins were living in Canada and even with the use of dial up internet we were able to communicate (albeit primitively) with the use of Microsoft Netmeeting and a webcam that had similar components to a loaf of bread!
Fortunately, we have advanced quite a bit since that time, however its crazy to think that this was possible 21 years ago.
The modern capability of teleconferencing and live streaming is extraordinary in comparison and in many ways has changed the face of weddings over the past six months.
Additionally, covid-19 along with both state and federal restrictions have prevented weddings from resembling what they did at the very beginning of the year.
I will for a moment rewind to July 2019 where I caught up with my mate Tim Raines of Raines Internet Solutions, where as we often do, share our ideas and spitball solutions to everyday problems over a few glasses (or bottles) of wine.
Tim and I discussed the logistics involved in family and friends from different parts of the world having to save up, take time off work and travel to the other side of the world to essentially be present at a wedding for somewhere between two and seven hours.
Whilst this is an amazing commitment that family and friends make and is often a great opportunity to catch up with people that they haven’t seen in a long time, it is, at times an exercise that people cannot afford but they often have to find a way to make it work so as not to disappoint the marrying couple and/or other guests.
In the days following this chat I did some further thinking about the break down of cost associated with people travelling to a destination or overseas wedding.
They were as follows (assuming a one week stay):
Flights $1,500 - $4,000
Car hire $400
Meals and entertainment $400 - $700
Wedding gift $100 - $500
This very quickly adds up to between $3,400 and $6,600 and that is assuming that just one person is making the journey from their home to the wedding, often a family of four or five will make the trek which pushes these numbers up a lot higher very, very quickly.
Now, following on from this, I also did some research around the live streaming of weddings and at the time there were very few players in the wedding live streaming space and the bulk of live streamed events were funerals.
A few months went by and I would focus some attention onto the idea every so often but not give it a whole lot of thought.
The next time that Tim and I caught up we spoke about how we can get things moving, in the meantime Tim had been streaming events in the education space as part of his role as IT manager at a public secondary school.
The plan was simple, as a celebrant, I already place a big emphasis on audibility and the need for the couple and I to be heard whether it be in a live setting, for the purpose of a wedding video or for live streaming.
As it stands, I already control my own audio levels via a Soundcraft UI16 tablet controlled mixer as I conduct a wedding ceremony, this also allows me to play ceremony music and fade said music in and out without having to rely on a wedding guest to take on the role of handling the music.
This pre-existing functionality allows me to output the audio directly to the live streaming setup being operated by Tim ensuring that as part of the vision being streamed around the world that the audio is clean, crisp and compliments the broadcast quality vision that it is attached to.
To this point, we were ready to go and were in the early stages of planning how to market our service.
Fast forward to March 2020, things started happening. . .
I remember it well, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Chief medical officer Brendan Murphy were on the TV telling us that things were going to be different for a while, at least for a few weeks as many of us thought at the time.
At first, we were told that group gatherings could be no greater than 100 people indoors and 500 people outdoors, a concept that us Victorians could only dream of right now.
Throughout the next two weeks this quickly dwindled.
I conducted a wedding ceremony on Saturday, 21st March at which time the advice was one person per four square metres.
By the following Thursday this was drastically different to the point where only five people were to be a part of a wedding ceremony, the couple, two witnesses and the celebrant.
On Thursday, 26th March I received a call in the evening from fellow celebrant, Prue Takle who said “Drop everything, we need to live stream a wedding this Saturday”, the kick in the you know what I needed to launch this venture, so in response I sad “no worries”.
With less than 48 hours notice, on the 28th of March, Tim and I prepared everything, packed our cars and headed over to Brighton to stream Sally and James’ wedding to some 190 of their nearest and dearest in various parts of the world.
The wedding went great, Prue did an amazing job and Sally & James had the time of their lives.
That night Sally sent me a link to photos from their virtual guests who dressed up and had their own parties at home.
It wasn’t until I flicked through the photos that I thought to myself “shit, we created something really special today”.
Sally and James gave the middle finger to the coronavirus and got married perhaps not as they envisioned it but in a truly unforgettable way.
In the days following, I received a link from Sally and James which was to a recording of a ‘Zoom party’ that some of their friends were involved in.
Sally and James asked if I would be able to edit this footage into their wedding video (as you’ll see above), something I was only too happy to do which has ultimately created one of the most unique wedding videos I’ve ever seen.
To finish up I will quickly return to the point of the cost associated with someone traveling from overseas to attend a wedding, whilst right now and simply by default the core business in live streaming is to combat the pandemic, I really see a future in live streaming for the overall reduction of cost of a wedding, where ordinarily five to 10 people may travel from overseas to be a part of your big day, for a fraction of the cost they can be and feel a part of it from the comfort of their own house.
Speaking with Tim recently, he had reflected on the growth in digital technology usage since the pandemic began.
We have all turned to technology for our personal needs and business processes in ways that were only predicted to occur “in the future” and instead being brought forward and implemented to meet today's challenges.
Live streaming is just one such example. The I.T industry as a whole is now seeing digital transformation accelerate in most organisations from original forecasts of 5-10 years in just 12 months.
Services such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, House party, Facebook, Skype, Webex etc have all had to significantly re-visit their roadmaps to ensure they were delivering the platform expectations for today’s challenges and has resulted in advancements in these technologies that we can now benefit from post the pandemic.
This makes the future of technology in this area exciting and has made my mind constantly tick over with more and more possibilities moving forward in this area which I will go into in the near future 😊
Thanks for reading and enjoy your weekend.