Live Streaming of HMC Commencement 2011

On May 15th of 2011, Harvey Mudd College streamed its commencement ceremonies for the first time. With the successful collaboration of multiple teams, it went very well from the start of the preparations to the end of the event. We thank all those who worked tirelessly to make this first step as smoothly as possible.

Judy Augsburger, Senior Director of Advancement Communications, wrote about her impressions that:

I was delighted with our first livestream of commencement. The three camera shoot was well directed and the footage looked lovely. We had a total of 278 views during the ceremony, which was more than I thought we would get given that our main promotional efforts were geared towards the families of graduates, of which we had just 178.

It was rewarding for me to get a phone call at the start of the ceremony from a grandparent who was trying to access the livestream to see his grandson graduate. I talked him through some rudimentary browser features (now I know I’m not cut out for computer support services!) until he could see the ceremony. He was quite happy for the opportunity to watch his grandson get a diploma live.

A real advantage for our office of livestreaming commencement is that the video is recorded and saved in the livestream archive, and available to upload immediately. We posted it quickly to our YouTube channel and within four days it already had 481 views. We couldn’t have posted it so quickly if we had needed to go through all the footage and edit it; editing takes quite a bit of time. So we are pleased that we could provide the video quite quickly to those who couldn’t watch it live, but wanted to watch it soon after and experience some of the excitement and joy of the moment.

And about the technical aspects of the commencement live streaming prep and production, our Media Services Technician, James Sadler, reported that:

Streaming was done using and was done in standard definition. University of La Verne’s LV3TV camera and production crew were brought in to handle the three camera production and mixing. Audio was handled, as usual, by Nelson Sound and they gave the LV3TV crew a drop from their mixer board. This allowed Michael Meyka to watch over the whole production and James Sadler to make sure the streaming end of everything was up and running consistently.

The LV3TV team received a network drop coming out of the McAllister building next to the commencement site. The network connection was thoroughly tested by CIS staff members on Friday the 13th to make sure it was strong and didn’t hit any firewall issues. On the following Saturday, an actual stream was tested to verify again that everything would work properly. After trying a few different options, they decided that using a PC laptop with Wirecast 4.1 installed to send the video to was the best solution.

During the commencement, the stream went extremely smoothly with no hiccups or issues. Here are a few stats from the live stream: peak number of viewers: 77, total number of live views: 278, number of countries viewed in: 10, and replays to date (05/18/2011): ~200.

The commencement video is available on HMC’s YouTube channel.

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