Organisations that want to broadcast webinars from their own location can do this professionally by setting up their own webinar studio. In doing so, a space must be carefully selected and furnished, as well as the audiovisual (AV) equipment. The guidelines that need to be taken into account are discussed below:
- General tips for the webinar studio
- Type and number of cameras
- Illumination of the speakers
- Sound: the space and the choice of microphone
- Costs of your own webinar studio
Setting up a webinar studio is a serious matter. Calling in a professional is therefore no luxury. A professional can give advice regarding the choice of space, cameras, light and sound. Because there is a very varied supply in the field of AV and there are also large price differences, advice can quickly save a lot of money and avoid mistakes.
A webinar studio can be set up in a fixed space or in a flexible setup that can be set up and dismantled over and over again. The advantage of a fixed space is that the setup is permanent. This saves a lot of set up time and is less error prone than a flexible setup. The advantage of a flexible set-up, on the other hand, is that it can be set up in virtually any space. Flight cases are often used for this: all requisites for light, sound or camera work are stored in one case. Flight cases offer an orderly and user-friendly way to work, also manageable for non-technicians.
In both fixed and flexible setups, there are a number of requirements that the space must meet. Firstly, the size of the room, which determines how many speakers the room is suitable for:
- 1 speaker: minimum 3 x 4 metres (w x d);
- Multiple speakers: 5 x 5 metres (w x d) (excluding ± 2 x 3 metres (w x d) for the direction).
Furthermore, a good power supply is an absolute necessity when setting up the equipment. Choose a free group to which no other equipment is connected and ensure that there is sufficient power available (at least 16 amps). It is also important to know what power all the lights, cameras and other components need in order to prevent fuses from blowing.
Finally, an internet connection with a minimum upload speed of 1 Mb/s is required to be able to record or broadcast the broadcast. It must also be ‘clean’, which means that no other devices may be connected to it at the same time.
The use of a professional camera is important to achieve a sharp, good-quality picture. Settings such as white balance, iris and zoom can be set in the camera. When using HD cameras, an even better and sharper image quality is realised. Especially when screen sharing is used or videos are started during the webinar, the higher quality is clearly visible. Broadcasting in HD quality does require different and additional equipment. It is therefore wise to decide on this before setting up the webinar studio.
In addition to the type of camera, the number of cameras is important for the image quality. With one speaker, one camera is sufficient, but when several speakers present during the webinar, it is better to opt for a multi-camera setup. The possibility of switching between cameras instead of moving a single camera manually ensures professional image quality. All speakers can thus be properly portrayed, alone or as partial or total shots.
Good lighting is a basic principle for good image quality. The use of normal lamps already present in the room or natural light is never sufficient to illuminate speakers. In a webinar studio, therefore, use is made of studio lamps that are mounted on the ceiling or on a tripod. These are often relatively small LED lamps, also called LED fixtures. These types of studio lights provide good lighting in the relatively small webinar studio setting without producing much heat. The guideline is that a minimum of 3 studio lamps are needed to illuminate 1 speaker. For every additional speaker, 2 more studio lamps are needed. Only when speakers sit or stand very close to each other, it is possible to deviate from this rule. Finally, ideally, an angle of 45⁰ is always maintained from the lamp to the person, so that the distribution of light is optimal. However, exposure adjustment always remains situation-dependent.
In terms of controlling light, there are two scenarios. The simplest setting is the studio where the lighting is 100% controllable. This is possible when the room is darkened, resulting in consistent quality. In this setting, studio lamps are used as the only light source, allowing the situation to be optimally lit.
Natural light from outside can also be used. The problem with this is that it varies according to the time of day and weather conditions. For example, a bright sun may suddenly shine inside, creating too much contrast with the speaker on screen, or it may suddenly become dark outside. Therefore, this situation also requires additional studio lights to achieve a good result. Although this setting is more difficult than the darkened studio, it can be experienced as beautiful or inspiring. The director must be able to deal with this and adjust the lighting according to the circumstances.
Good sound has to do with two factors: the room and the microphone. When choosing a room, account must be taken of any noise nuisance, such as from equipment, colleagues or air-conditioning systems. The acoustics of the room also play a role. First of all, choose a room that does not reverberate. If it does reverberate, this can be remedied by using cloth or carpet, for example, but this is quite difficult. It is better to consult an advisor before choosing a room.
Good sound is a prerequisite for a successful webinar. Every microphone has its own characteristics and in a webinar it is particularly important that it works easily and without problems. In principle, everyone can connect and use the microphone. The best solution is to give each speaker a (tie-pin) microphone which they attach to their outer clothing. This gives a good sound and there is little nuisance from background noise. Don’t forget to replace the batteries of wireless microphones before each broadcast in order to prevent sound failure.
A professional webinar studio is always made to measure. Here it is important to find out what the wishes are.
For example, is it about a flexible or fixed setup, are there one or more speakers and what kind of decor will be used?
The price indication for a basic studio, suitable for 1 speaker is around € 7000. If a more camera-based set-up is chosen, a video switcher must also be present. A studio with a video switcher and 3 cameras costs around € 15,000. If a ‘green screen’ is also chosen for this setup, the costs will be at least € 25.000,-.
Lynx hosts unlimited webinars in their own webinar studio