How to Deal with a Slow Internet Connection During a Remote Shoot
One of our favorite features of OpenReel Capture’s powerful remote technology? A participant’s internet connection will never impact the quality of the footage you record during a shoot. Even if your Subject loses internet mid-interview, the final footage will show no connectivity problems, still be high-resolution, and boast clear, synched audio.
However, we always recommend a minimum of 3Mb/s. That’s because subpar internet speeds can impact other aspects of your shoot, especially if you plan to take advantage of the professional in-platform tools that replicate the in-person production experience, including the teleprompter, chat, or quick uploads. To ensure not only your footage, but your entire shooting experience is high-quality, we’ve compiled our Customer Success team’s top tips for mitigating potential internet problems in the shoot and avoiding them altogether.
Before your OpenReel shoot…
Set everyone’s expectations ahead of time
It’s important that all participants — Directors, Collaborators, Watchers, and Subjects — go into a remote video shoot with appropriate expectations of what the experience will be like. Remote video productions do put everyone at the mercy of their internet connection, so be prepared to occasionally troubleshoot the situation. With the help of this article’s many suggestions, connectivity issues during the shoot should be avoided.
Conduct a pre-production call before the shoot
As with a traditional video shoot, a pre-production meeting will be massively beneficial to your remote video shoot. Also like a traditional video shoot, the pre-pro time should be used to discuss day-of logistics, individual roles, and the shots that will be needed from the shoot.
Because this shoot relies on even more technical aspects, though, you should also consider this a tech check. Spend 20-30 minutes on the following:
- Test the Subject’s or Subjects’ filming equipment
- Discuss framing for the shoot
- Test lighting options in the filming location
- Test audio and any external mic options
- Assess the internet connection
- And, finally, conduct some test recordings
These technical details are important to the remote shoot and it’s best to check them in advance, rather than squeezing them in during the actual shoot time. To ensure you and your Subject have time to make any necessary adjustments, schedule this meeting at least two days before the actual shoot.
Do not use a VPN
VPNs mask internet traffic, making it difficult for participants, who are connected to a VPN, to maintain a solid, stable connection to OpenReel’s servers. All participants should disable their VPN before attempting to connect to an OpenReel Session.
Turn on airplane mode, if using a mobile device
If you’ve ever switched from one internet network to another mid-text or even mid-video call, then you have experienced that few second delay in your connection. Unfortunately, mobile devices often make that network change on their own, switching between Wi-Fi and data to search for the best internet connection. While that’s fine if you’re simply scrolling your social feed, when you’re in a Session, switching between networks can disrupt the device’s connection. Putting the phone in airplane mode disconnects it from the data (LTE) connection and forces the phone to only use Wi-Fi.
If there’s a bad connection during the shoot…
Reset the network connection
The classic joke “have you tried turning it off and turning it back on?” is unfortunately true when it comes to the internet router. If anyone on your shoot is experiencing a suboptimal Wi-Fi connection, they should first reboot their router. Turn the computer or mobile device’s Wi-Fi off. Then unplug the router from its power source. After waiting 60 seconds, the power can be plugged back in and the device’s Wi-Fi can be turned back on. Finally relaunch the browser window or app.
Try a different network
If resetting the router did not help, the Subject should check for alternate internet connections. If the connectivity issue is discovered during the pre-production meeting, then work with the Subject to consider alternate shoot locations where the internet may be more reliable. In situations where the Wi-Fi is untenable, they can connect via data (LTE).
Consider filming at a lower resolution
If you have a shoot where the Subject cannot maintain internet speeds above 3 Mb/s, you might want to avoid filming in 4K. The higher the resolution of your footage, the larger the files; 4K video yields massive files that could take hours to upload at a subpar connection. Filming in 1080p or even 720p will create smaller files that will upload more quickly than 4K.
Keep your recordings short
Long recordings produce, as you would expect, larger files than shorter recordings. Just as those large resolution files take longer to upload, so will long recordings. To avoid this, keep recordings short if a Subject has very slow upload speeds. For example, if you’re filming a 10 question interview, consider breaking it up into smaller chunks with 1 or 2 questions per take.
Upload all files after the shoot is over
We typically recommend uploading shoots throughout a take so that your post-production crew can immediately have access. However, this takes bandwidth and, if the Subject has a low or unstable connection, wait to upload your recordings until after the shoot is over. This will ensure all of the mobile device’s or computer’s bandwidth can be utilized for receiving commands from the OpenReel platform. And do not worry: the video stream will still show up in the preview window, so you can review your shoot even without initiating the upload!
If you’re having any trouble during an OpenReel shoot, our team of experts is on-hand to help. Just send us a chat, shoot us an email, or give us a call at 1.888.239.5202. We can troubleshoot in real time or even join your shoot.