Live Streaming: CBP’s 5 Lessons Learned

Hey GovLoop,

On Tuesday, September 7, we, CBP Public Affairs (where I’m a contractor), produced our first successful USTREAM live stream of Commissioner Alan Bersin’s speech from the Global Supply Chain Security Summit at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

We broadcasted this live stream on You can watch and archive of his speech here.

That week our live stream went smoothly, but it’s because we’ve incorporated what we have learned from past mistakes into our current process.

Today I’m sharing our process with you so you don’t have to make the same mistakes.

Please note: While we use high end digital cameras, you can also create a live stream, as I have, with the isight camera and built-in microphone on your Macbook pro, laptop, and even your mobile phone.

BTW, the version of USTREAM we use is free. Sweet.

Highlights of lessons we’ve learned:

  1. Document everything and collect information beforehand and brief your entire team.
  2. Fully vet the internet connectivity yourself and do so onsite by measuring the up and down speeds – You’ll need at least 600K for your stream.
  3. Speak to the IT staff before hand. Ask them about their network bandwidth and if they monitor network connectivity. Get a cell phone number to call if you need help.
  4. When possible use an ethernet cable or secured wireless network so your bandwidth does not get eaten up and degrade your signal.
  5. Do a test run at the location with the equipement and internet connection you are going to use. Record the test and see how it looks. Surprises are bad.

The following is our broadcast process:

Night before:
  1. Pack everything and have it ready to go
  2. Double check for power cords, batteries, and connection cables
  3. Bring extensions cords and back up connection cables if you have them
  4. Bring this sheet!
Day of set up:
  1. Set up and connect camera and laptop:
  2. Launch: USTREAM Producer
  3. Log in:
  4. Under Settings Choose:
  5. Under Live Input Select: Camera Name (if you have a built in camera, click on the the camera you’re plugged into).
  6. Under Live Input Select and then Camera Aspect Ratio Choose:
Start broadcast:
  1. Broadcast Title: Enter title
  2. Hit Broadcast to start live stream (at set time)
  3. Hit Record to start recording (at set time)
  4. Monitor the entire broadcast on USTREAM PRODUCER at the bottom right next to “Channel”
  5. If you get disconnected you MUST choose broadcast and record again, each time your are disconnected
Stop broadcast:
  1. Hit Record to stop recording
  2. Hit Broadcast to stop live stream
  3. Hi-five your team members for a job well done!

Here is the information we collect prior to the live stream to ensure we have everything we need:


  • Event Name:


  • Event Date:
  • Setup Time:
  • Program Begin:
  • Speaking Begin:
  • Speaking End:
  • Program End:


  • Organization:
  • Full Address:
  • Room Name:
  • Entrance Address:
  • Security Clearance Needed:


  • Logistical Contact Name:
  • Logistical Contact Email:
  • Logistical Contact Cell:
  • Technical Contact Name:
  • Technical Contact Contact Email:
  • Technical Contact Contact Cell:

  • Camera Setup Location:
  • Raiser:
  • Multibox:
  • Internet Connection Type:
  • Camera Type:
  • Video test date:
  • Audio test date:
  • Speedtest: MB up and down
Test Account (we use test):


Live Account:


Software Settings: USTREAM Producer

  • Settings: Best Quality 16:9
  • Live Input: Select Camera Name
  • Live Input -> Camera Aspect Ratio: Choose 4:3

I hope you find this information helpful. If you got other tips or had other experiences please share them as a comment. Also feel free to ask questions.


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