The lesson we learned during the pandemic is that fans are hungry and fans are everywhere, but we couldn’t hear them. More importantly, we wanted to hear them. Even when they couldn’t make it to the show they were hungry for live content. But live isn’t the same without feedback from the audience. So we found a solution that made sense. We wanted to keep in simple after trying dozens of other methods for our live version of CoolToys.TV
Fan2Stage brings real feedback from real fans to any size studio or live show. Have 50 fans in the audience and want to hear from 1000 more? Fan2Stage can make that happen. Fans can be anywhere they have internet access as long as you have a truly livestream show. We did find a few of the streams are monitored or delayed like Facebook live so while Garth and Trisha did a great job with their live shows there, we don’t recommend it for Fan2Stage.
We can bring the audience to you in realtime, you will need a live stream that brings you to the audience in real time. We are currently working with vendors to cut the latency delay of their livestreams. Some are recording them, others are monitoring them so there is a built in delay that can be up to 3 minutes. We don’t recommend Facebook live or YouTube Live unless you have the pro version on YouTube and even then performance at the time of writing is not as good as most performers would like. For now the best is a simple webcam. If you want to learn about different ways to set up your studio, check out this article.
Fan2Stage brings real fans to your shows virtually. There is nothing like the live feedback from live fans when you are on stage. We know because the founders of Fan2Stage have all worked in front of live audiences, on stage and in studio. There is no greater thrill than hearing back from your fans. Get Fan2Stage today.
If you are looking for new fans, remember, fans are everywhere ® and when they get the Fan2Stage app they can find new artists and shows like yours to follow and join the audience. Fan2Stage is about keeping us connected no matter where we are in the world. Doesn’t it make sense to connect to fans everywhere from anywhere? Don’t forget your swag too. There are versions of Fan2Stage for venues and performers of all kinds of show sizes.
If you are ready to hear from more of your fans, then it is time to start using Fan2Stage.
One of the challenges to any live stream show is the live stream service. The next biggest challenge is the studio setup. Currently we have reached out to all of the major live stream platforms and are working with a major production studio for live streaming.
After a full season of CoolToys.TV live, we learned a lot about how to use Fan2Stage, how to set up a studio and which live stream services were live and which ones where delayed by up to three minutes. We also found that conference systems were distracting and didn’t allow enough fans in.
First Your Studio
Before we talk about live stream services, let’s talk about your studio, home, or even a closet in your apartment that will become your stage. While we are a 100% Apple based company almost all of the gear works the same with a PC, so go with whichever you are more familiar with. You will need a Mac Mini or a PC with a good processor and graphics card to make this work. We recommend at least the minimum to run OBS.
Next you need a camera. Here at our studios, we use Canon XF series ENG cameras. They are simple to use, have an HDMI output and an XF-100 series can be purchased used at a very reasonable price. One thing to keep in mind is that 4K live streaming can slow down the process. We use 1080p currently in our studios.
You can also use a very high quality webcam, or stream from a sports action camera. Those too have live outputs.
While many DSLR cameras shoot great video, they tend to over heat in 30-60 minutes. We fried a couple of good ones before switching to the XF series. If you have the money for something like the Canon R5C which has a built in fan, then go for it.
For starting out a webcam might work just fine but… Webcams are for video chatting mostly. The fisheye lines take a very wide shot so you may have to be uncomfortably close to get the screen you want. There are a few more expensive Pan Tilt Zoom or PTZ cameras with USB ports but we don’t recommend it.
Networking Note: if at all possible, we recommend a wired Cat5e or better connection to your cable modem or router. WiFi works but has had issues with some of our test studios.
The Basic Setups
Phone + Tablet Only: With the Phone + Tablet only setup, you literally set your phone in front of you and live stream from your phone. The Tablet runs the OnStage app so you can get audience feedback. If you don’t want to use speakers, you can use ear buds to hear the audience, but they won’t hear themselves. You show stays clean this way, and isn’t as much fun for the audience. Add some computer speakers with the headset jack on the tablet and viola, live sound for you and the audience.
Tech Notes: There are very cool auto face tracking mounts for phones if you are able to keep it this simple.
The most basic setup is a single camera with a USB connection to your Mac or PC. While this works well and has about the lowest delay, it is very limiting.
Web Cam PC or Mac with OBS loaded High Speed 40MbS or better internet access Good Speakers or headphones to hear the audience.
Just like the Phone + Tablet setup, if you use headphones, the audience won’t hear themselves cheering.
The Mini Studio
This is how the CoolToys TV studio is set up. We have three Canon XF series cameras that connect to a Black Magic ATEM Mini. This set up requires an on site “producer”. Someone has to choose which camera to play. We also have high quality wireless microphones. This setup also has an HDMI out from the ATEM mini so we can see what the audience sees. It also can be remotely controlled by a laptop or if you have enough power the PC or Mac running the show.
Mac Mini M1 (Or PC meets OBS with a High speed USB port and network port available.) 1 to 4 Canon XF or similar video cameras with HDMI out Black Magic ATEM mini Wireless microphones as needed for performers and instruments.
Tech Notes: The black magic software can control black magic cameras remotely. We chose Canon for budget and face tracking focus. If you have a band in the studio we recommend an audio panel with output to the Black Magic ATEM so that you can control the input levels of each performer and instrument.
The Sports Field
Essentially this is a hybrid system that can be set up very easily. One livestream camera, a tablet and a PA system is all that is needed. We had one team that used a very inexpensive security camera for a while. The problem is they couldn’t allow enough fans to see the stream at the same time.
Live stream cameras have almost zero delay making this one of the best systems to use for outdoor events.
Live Camera Tablet with Audio Connection to PA System On Field PA system or portable speaker.
Tech Notes: The Live Camera can be a sports webcam or an ENG Camera like the XF-100 connected to a PC running OBS. Multi cam setups with OBS or The Black Magic ATEM series work great too.
The tablet runs the OnStage (Soon the OnField) app with the feedback audio going out to the PA system.
Live Stream Services:
Live Webcams – With most providers there is a .02-.2 second delay, almost un noticeable. Vimeo Live – Requires Pro Account .5 – 1.0 second delay YouTube Live – 2.0-12 second delay YouTube Live Pro with reduced delay set – 1.0-4.0 second delay Facebook Live – 30-90 second delay Samsung Studio – 90-300 second delay
Fan2Stage helps little league parents and family members cheer on the kids even when they are watching from home on a webcam!
HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA, USA, April 23, 2021 /EINPresswire.com/ — Fan2Stage apps aren’t just for musicians and stage performers. “Shakespeare said “All the World is a Stage”, and that includes my kids little league games.” said Tom Hannigan. Mr. Hannigan recently decided to sign up his kids team as an “host” with the Fan2Stage Cloud system. With the Live On Stage app, Mr. Hannigan and other family members can be at home or anywhere they want watching the games live on a webcam. The webcam is positioned just over home plate and so the families can watch the game remotely. With Fan2Stage they can still cheer on their favorite players.
Using the Live Fan App by Fan2Stage, the family members can clap, cheer and even boo the umpires using an iOS or Android mobile device. The Patent Pending technology used by the Fan2Stage Virtual Audience System or VAS combines all of the fans inputs. Using that information, the system then generates a real live audience sound for the players. It works the same way that it does for musicians on stage. The PA system at the little league field can be used to play the audio so the players can hear it. When they hear the cheers, they know their family is watching and cheering them on. The family members can do this even if they can’t be in the stadium watching live.
Beyond Social Distancing
Even after social distancing rules are eased, the VAS systems and apps will still allow out of town family to be part of the crowd. Live audience feedback and virtual audience feedback combine to create an even bigger experience for the kids and the fans at the same time. The fans in the stands can hear the virtual fans as well adding to their experience at the game. No engineers hitting “cheer” while everyone quietly watches. This is a real and virtual fan experience at the same time.
The original idea for the Fan2Stage VAS was developed for college sports when the University of North Dakota was planning to host the National Collegiate Hockey Championships. Jed Shivers, the CFO of the school was concerned that without fans cheering the competition wouldn’t be at it’s best. Founder Scott Bourquin realized he was having the same problem with the live versions of CoolToys TV. Without an audience the energy wasn’t the same. He developed Fan2Stage to solve his problem and the athletes problem. The UND event was cancelled, and the VAS development continued opening up virtual audiences to any type of event that is live and online.
As we close out version one and improve speed and response rate to engage fans for live streamed events we need some performers to test out our new version. If you live stream or would like to live stream, email us and let us know you are interested.
We have two full seasons of live-streaming under our belts and a couple of remote live stream events. If you want a professional live stream and aren’t sure how to set it up, we can help you with the tools to get that done too. We have no secrets in our studios. We use Black Magic ATEM’s which are available from a number of sellers and we use canon cameras because we like the face tracking auto-focus. We’d love to be able to control them from the ATEM like Black Magic BMCC Cameras but we can’t, and the BMCC doesn’t have an auto focus feature so Canon takes the win.
Has live-streaming left you feeling lonely? Are you hungry to hear from the audience? Did you try a conference system and end up just getting distracted by chat boxes and little faces on the screen? Fan2Stage might just be what you are looking for.
The Audience Makes It Better
The reality is simple. Live shows are better than recorded. TV studios figured that out forty years ago and build bleacher seats for sitcoms and talk shows. When the pandemic hit and the audience was sent home, the shows changed. As an actor that has been in the audience and on stage, I can tell you that having a live audience changes everything. Some of the best actors build their chops on stage in live theater. Building emotional skills means getting feedback from other people.
My first experience with a live audience was working a specialized background job on a nickelodeon set. The rehearsals all went well and one would expect. We had a lot of fun with the gag and the actors were ready. When we came back after dinner to find the room filled with almost a hundred people everything changed. All of the actors including me changed the game. One of the biggest changes was an actor playing the owner of a shoe store. You might recognize him as a teacher from Young Sheldon.
Staying Connected Live-Streaming
When the pandemic first hit people tried anything to Live-Stream and stay connected. The reality is that no good tools existed. The NFL fined teams for piping in audience roars. Even the NFL realized they needed an audience to get the players to get to another level. The fact of life is that as humans, we love attention. Without that cheering from the audience we have no attention.
Using the tools most of the Live-Streaming platforms simply become a distraction. Those little chat boxes give you something to look at and think about right in the middle of a show. While you are reading the chat box, you are losing the rest of the audience. When you see the little faces or the chat box texts flying by, you are just distracted.
Going to The Next Level Live-Streaming
As Fan2Stage evolves and gets faster we are looking for more artists to test out the system. We are rebuilding the system from the ground up after the feedback we received from the first versions. The original is alive and well here at Fan2Stage.com and you can get it free too. We’d love to hear how Fan2Stage elevates your game, grab the app and cheer me on next time we have a CoolToys live too!
Recently I ran into a fan of CoolToys TV in the DFW airport. Admittedly our show isn’t that popular so I was a little off guard when they stopped and said hello. Since I always have a free Fan2Stage decal or CoolToys pen with me, I gave him a pen. Then he said “So how come the show isn’t on the clap app any more?”.
Walking through the airport I have a lot of things on my mind. The last thing I was thinking about was our upcoming live show schedule. Those are the kinds of things we decide in the office when I have at least our producer in the room. Because I was just thinking about getting something to eat, I didn’t quite get what he was saying. I asked what he meant and then he showed me the Fan2Stage app on his phone.
Under CoolToys TV there weren’t any scheduled shows. He said he liked that the “clap app” gave him a notice when we had a new show coming up. I looked at my phone and sure enough we had subscribers on Fan2Stage.com. That was pretty cool. I left promising to get another CoolToys® TV episode online and live soon.
So is there a difference between the “Clap App” and the “Cheer App”? Well, there are three apps in the works. The first of course is Fan2Stage which you can download and use now. The OnStage app is the version for the people hosting the shows like CoolToys TV or maybe someday Garth and Trisha from their home studio. The second app is Fan2Field and I guess you could call it the “Cheer App”. We created it specifically for youth sports and it may expand into college and pro sports soon.
Until then get Fan2Stage, the original clap app and join shows live. You press the button, we hear you, because you are wherever you are, not in our studio.
Fan2Stage gets ready for Broadcast as Apple and Microsoft play nice?
Early in the testing of Fan2Stage, a major studio thought it could work for one of their talk shows. Using conferencing platforms like Zoom, just didn’t cut it. While the system was good at preventing audio loops, it had other issues. Fan2Stage was build to solve many of those issues.
During the early testing it was discovered that there was nearly two minutes of delay from the time the shows host made a comment until the fans saw it. No one ever checked it because no one ever cared. There was still a live audience in the studio for the host to work off of. Performers and entertainers of all kinds need an audience. The audience gives them the energy to go on. As an actor I will tell you that I am not a live theater actor but my favorite jobs were shows shot in front of a live studio audience.
Latency is the Delay
That 90 to 120 second delay we experienced testing with the show was due to the way streaming is handled. The technical term for it is latency delay. The delay is caused by the fact that every viewing device doesn’t decode the signal the same. When an Apple iPad logs in to see the live stream, it sends a code to the shows systems saying it is an Apple Device using x.decoder. When an Android tablet check it, it sent that it used G.decoder. The same was true for Microsoft PC’s.
Because each operating system used a different viewer for live events and live stream video, latency delay was inevitable and low latency streaming nearly impossible. The server at the host had to generate 3 or more different streams, and that accounted for the biggest chunk of the delay. Even if the server converted it to Mp4 so everyone could see it, that would take time too.
Lets Get Chunky
In the July 2022 issue of TVTech.com‘s magazine, they announced a new technology. The new tech is called Chunked CMAF. Chunked CMAF is a low latency streaming protocol. In 2016 Apple and Microsoft realized that streaming latency was a problem, and started working with the Moving Pictures Expert Group, the MPEG in Mpeg video files, to create a single standard.
In 2017 demonstrations showed the delay to be as little as 5 seconds, but that still wasn’t the same as a straight webcam which could be sub 1 second. They kept working. Everyone realizes that OTT (Internet live streaming) latency delays are a problem. In the stock market companies pay millions for faster networks, closer to the trading floor to execute trades just milliseconds ahead of the other guy.
Live sports isn’t much different. If you can bet on the outcome of a field goal, and have a 90 second head start on the outcome, that is a major advantage. Interestingly live sports is one of the first areas that Chunked CMAF is expected to be used. Because of that we are working on Fan2Field as well.
Its About a Laugh
The NFL fined teams for adding fake applause as live audiences returned. What if they could add live applause from real people? We thought it would be the right thing. Laughing at a joke 90 seconds after the talk show host delivers it, doesn’t enhance the show. Cheering for the field goal 90 seconds later doesn’t cut it either. Live streaming is about to really be “live”. Don’t be left out, download the live fan app now.
Fan2Stage joined the local community and sponsors for the Make a Wish pickle ball tournament at Newport Beach Country Club.
The OCIE chapter of the Make A Wish Foundation held a fundraiser at the Newport Beach Country Club. Fan2Stage joined the Cain Group and other sponsors as part of the nearly $70,000 raised to make wishes come true.
“Obviously with our Fan2Field app in development it makes sense to sponsors sports related events. Maybe next year the event can be live on Fan2Field to raise more money.” said Fan2Stage CMO Kelly Bourquin who also played in the tournament. Pickle Ball is a cross between tennis and ping pong according to some, but many of the players found it to be a bit more challenging.
The next event for make a wish is the Galaxy of Wishes on December 7th, 2021
About Make a Wish
The Make a Wish Foundation mission is based on the idea that “A wish experience can be a game-changer for a child with a critical illness.”
This one belief guides us in everything we do at Make-A-Wish. It inspires us to grant life-changing wishes for children going through so much. It compels us to be creative in exceeding the expectations of every wish kid. It drives us to make our donated resources go as far as possible. Most of all, it’s the founding principle of our vision to grant the wish of every eligible child.
For more information about the OCIE Chapter of Make a Wish and other events, you can visit their website.
Fan2Stage Ltd has announced the development of Fan2Field, a version of their patent pending virtual audience system specifically for youth sports.
Social distancing isn’t the only reason you might not make your kids or grand kids games. Sometimes jobs take families to far away places. Sometimes it’s health or mobility issues. Sometimes as a parent you need to be a two places at once. With Fan2Field you can still cheer on the kids no matter where they are.
A virtual audience system is very easy to add to any sports field that has a webcam and internet access. The Fan2Field system will run on just about any iOS (Apple) or Android (Google) mobile device. With a tablet that costs less than $200, and an audio cable, the Fan2Field Game Connect Application can bring the sounds of real fans to the field virtually.
Youth Sized – Affordably Priced
The Fan2Field system is based on the original Virtual Audience Servers designed for college and pro sports. All of the same benefits with a much lower cost to implement and manage. Fan2Field brings in a Virtual Audience for Youth sports. It doesn’t matter what game your kids play as long as there is a webcam, internet access and a speaker. Fan2Field works the same for Baseball, La Crosse, Soccer, Football and Tennis. One parent recently used an iPhone and a blue tooth speaker during a test to let grandparents cheer on the kids from another state.
Let your kids know that you are watching even if you can’t be there. Be part of the live virtual audience with Fan2Field!
If you want to grow your audience, start with Fan2Stage Virtual Audience System.
The key to success as a performer is to grow your audience. Actors, musicians, comedians, ministers and athletes all need an audience. Growing an audience is tough work. There is marketing, search engine optimization, live shows, live streaming and selling seats to make money. Today there is a better way.
Performers at all levels are always looking for a better way to find people that might be interested in their work. Getting lost in the hundreds of Live Streaming apps, is easy. With Fan2Stage Virtual Audience Systems, your show can stand out because the fan know that you want a live audience. When you are connected with a live audience instead of just looking into the camera hoping they are watching is very different. With the Fan2Stage Live Fan Audience app in their hands, fans stay engaged with your show.
Created by performers like you for performers like you, the Fan2Stage virtual audience system is designed to help you grow your audience. The CoolToys TV host needed to find a better way. After trying dozens of systems, CoolToys TV host tried to find a better way. Working with the top performance Psychologists, he found the top interactions between audience and the hosts on stage. Now you can have a live stream show with the real live connection with the audience that you have been missing.