There are many jobs that didn’t exist a decade ago. Chief listening officer, social media manager and app developer were all unknown titles until recently. Streaming video jobs are another set to add to that list.
As the use of streaming video grows, more brands need a dedicated full-time employee to oversee its production. At the time of composing this article, job search sites Indeed, PBS Digital Studios and Allstate were all looking for video streaming specialists.
So what’s contributing to the position’s rise? As Business Insider noted, “While the concept of live streaming has been around for years, mobile-first video platforms with user-generated content have just recently begun to make serious waves thanks to improved video quality, faster broadband speeds, and enhanced mobile technology.” This increase in live streaming also has a trickle down effect for video on-demand as well. In fact, 19% of organizations are adding 25 hours of video content or more to their corporate libraries each month. This is in 2013, according to a joint IBM and Wainhouse Research report.
As the need for this role grows, workers who are adept at video production and can keep a cool head when the inevitable disruptions occur during live events will find a new outlet for their talents. Video integration into social and business platforms continue to fuel the growth of this industry, meaning the long-term outlook for such streaming video jobs is solid.
The Job Description
Keith Garcia handles live video streaming for The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. He says he spends about half his time on streaming video projects, during which he’s either shooting live events or shooting webinars. The other half is spent leading studio and on-location shoots that aren’t live.
“Since I work in the educational realm, we have a lot of special events here at the university,” Garcia says. “We’ll do a video recording and we’ll just beam out the live stream to whoever the audience is, whether it’s alumni or students or people who would want to see the event.” Garcia also streams webinars, which offer some interactive features, like polling.
Years ago, Garcia might shoot such events to be shown later. However, Garcia says experience shows viewers are drawn to live streams. Even though viewers can watch broadcasts after the fact, most tune in live to watch the events.
Garcia got his first job filming events for Wharton in 1999. A film student and fan of art house directors like Jim Jarmusch, John Casavettes and Werner Herzog, Garcia was thrilled to be paid to make films. At the time, Garcia was working on classroom technology. Eventually, he started doing more high-end video shoots. Over time, the technology kept evolving. At first, Garcia used VHS tapes. Around 2004, he started using MiniDVD. A few years after that, he dropped the MiniDVD as well and uploaded video directly to the Internet.
About eight years ago, the department heads started asking for live streaming. “We already had a live-streaming platform in each of the classrooms,” he says. “But then we evolved to do it more studio-based and have more of a professional look and that’s when we started using Ustream.”
A Day in the Life
Garcia starts a typical workday by checking his emails, calendar and customer support software. Usually, Garcia gets direct correspondence from professors and other employees at Wharton asking for guidance on editing projects or video ideas that would help their departments. Once he has a better idea of what they’re trying to do, he’ll direct them to fill out an official request via the school’s online help desk/ticketing system. This keeps their request on the books and in a centralized scheduling platform.
From there, Garcia gathers more details and fine tunes the planning based on whether it’s a studio shoot, an on-location shoot or a webinar. Garcia says he usually tries not to book more than two shoots per day and each shoot usually takes two to three hours. In between shoots, there’s a lot of planning, interaction between his team and post-production needs and testing for new technologies.
“For video shoots, pre-planning is the key, making sure we have every last detail covered so the shoot goes smoothly,” Garcia says. A typical setup includes a technical director for live switching and time management, an audio engineer, a camera operator and a downstream monitor operator. He says finding a time to connect this group, the academic department and the actual talent that needs to be filmed can be difficult.
Garcia says he loves his job, but admits that the worst part is always a half hour or so before the shoot.
“It gets a little tense,” he says.
In the future, Garcia says he’d like to do more on-location live streaming. “Right now, it’s mostly studio-based but we’d like to do more of these live events on the fly and in unexpected, less-traditional locations outside the studio, all the while maintaining the high-production-level standards of a controlled environment,” he says.
As video streaming, both live and on-demand, continue to gain steam, so does the demand for professionals who can manage this. Live streaming is not a new technology, but more organizations are adopting it today. As the technology improves, with 4k video streaming and other developments that organizations are looking to take advantage of, so does the desire to bring in professionals to run it. This is across a wide variety of organizations as well. From schools to even B2B (business to business) organization, more is being done with video.
Curious on everything streaming video has to offer an organization? Check out our Definitive Guide to Enterprise Video.
Also, learn more about Wharton’s use of streaming technology from this video case study here.