SlingStudio In The Ring: Pro Talk With Jorge Zayas
From the kitchens of Dads that Cook to jam sessions with guitar pros, SlingStudio’s been everywhere. For this special edition of Pro Talk, we jump into the boxing ring literally at world famous Madison Square Garden to connect with one of our favorite pros, Jorge Zayas of Pug Life Sports. You’re in for a special treat as we talk gear, video production, being a business owner and more!
SlingStudio: What’s your experience with video production before SlingStudio?
Jorge: I had no formal video production experience prior to using SlingStudio, which I discovered just a couple years ago.
SlingStudio: Are you a one-person production crew? Is this just a part-time gig?
Jorge: I have a team of people that I pay to help me with production. My plans are to go into full-time livestreaming with a corporation that I created because of SlingStudio.
SlingStudio: How do you get your gigs? What type of jobs do you take (sports or boxing events only, weddings, press conferences, maybe something for NYPD)?
Jorge: I’m an active duty officer with the New York Police Department, and I got my first gig from being associated with the NYPD boxing team. As a result of my work there, the USA Boxing Metro team reached out to me and my broadcast partner to cover their Ring Masters Tournament.
I’ve also had the opportunity to cover the NYPD vs FDNY (Fire Department of New York) baseball and football games at MCU Park in Coney Island.
Since then, I’ve even been involved with platinum award-winning DJ Frankie Cutlass, streaming his Wednesday morning music and celebrity music show.
My goals are to cover any and everything that involves livestreaming!
SlingStudio: Other than packing up gear, how do you prepare for an event?
Jorge: My preparation is very minimal. If my clients have sponsors, I just ask them to send me the graphics as soon as possible, so I can load them to the SD card and save them to the SlingStudio hard drive.
SlingStudio: What equipment do you have in your full production “kit”?
Jorge: My equipment consists of:
- 1x SlingStudio Hub
- 4x SlingStudio CameraLinks
- 1x SlingStudio Backpack
- 1x LiveU Solo bonded cellular encoder
- 3x Sony PXW-X70 camcorder
- 1x Yamaha MG10 audio mixer
- 4x Audio-Technica headsets
- 1x Apple Macbook Pro
- 1x Apple 12 inch iPad Pro
- 1x Apple 9.7 inch iPad Air
- 3x Apple iPod 6th Gen
- 3x Phone mini tripods
- 3x Anguo A17 power banks (10400 mAh)
- 4x Miscellaneous camera clamps
- 1x GoPro 6
- 3x Manfrotto tripods
- 3x Power extension cords (100ft, 50ft, 25ft)
- 5x Surge protector power strips
- 1x LED light box
- 1x Wireless microphone Samson Concert 88 Camera-Mount Wireless Combo Microphone System
- Multiple backup cables
SlingStudio: How many camera angles do you typically use in your productions?
Jorge: For boxing, I typically have three camera angles. One wide angle of the entire boxing ring, one angle from the neutral corner of the ring (as to not interfere with the boxers between rounds) and one angle on the commentators.
For football, I have four angles. Two views of the end zones, one elevated view from the 50-yard line, and one of the commentators.
Finally, for baseball, I also use four angles. I have cameras on both dugouts (just like in the major leagues), one elevated camera behind home plate and one on the commentators. Based on how I’ve seen the minor-league Brooklyn Cyclones use SlingStudio at their ballpark, I’m going to add a fifth angle from behind the centerfield wall (focused on the pitcher facing the batter). My goal is to offer the viewers the best possible experience, trying to match a professional broadcast production as much as possible.
SlingStudio: What has been the feedback from your viewers and partners?
Jorge: The feedback has been nothing but praise for the quality of the production and professionalism that we’re providing for a very modest fee from our production partners. As far as viewers are concerned, we get compliments on the quality and they’re just grateful that we’re bringing them the livestreams when they’re not able to physically attend the events. We have viewers from across the country and around the world!
SlingStudio: Can you describe any pain points of video production BEFORE you discovered SlingStudio?
Jorge: Prior to using SlingStudio we were limited to using a cellphone camera with one angle and it was a dull production and unprofessional in every way possible.
I wanted to step up our production quality, so I went on a quest to find a device which could add and switch cameras. To my surprise, the minute I walked into B&H Photo Video in New York City I saw a display for the just released SlingStudio and I knew I found exactly what I was looking for.
SlingStudio: Do you have any tips or best practices for other entrepreneurs new to video production?
- Definitely play with the SlingStudio often. Immerse yourself and get familiar with it. Stream as much as possible so you can figure what limits you’re facing and what you can improve on.
- Join the SlingStudio User Group on Facebook and don’t ever feel intimidated asking a question. Chances are that some newbie like yourself has the same question and there are lots of very helpful professionals on that page.
- Write a setup checklist and check it carefully before every production. This will help you avoid wasting time on troubleshooting.
- Look at how professionals shoot their shows and events and try to emulate them. Act as if you’re already a professional so when you reach that level it will be a natural transition.
- If you have a camera crew, teach them what camera angles you expect.
- If you’re able to… pay your crew, even if they’re friends doing you a favor!!! Otherwise, you’ll go through crews very quickly if they don’t see an incentive to help you build your streaming business.
- Start small and build up to bigger events, but always treat the small events as if you’re at a big event.
- When asking for money, be flexible enough that clients would hire you. Always under promise and over deliver.
- Start with affordable or used good gear so that you’re able to put together a worthwhile production, and wait to upgrade until your productions can finance new gear. Bonus tip: Try to buy the same brand and model cameras so when switching angles, the look and continuity are more likely to stay consistent without having to change settings. It also makes it easier to use the same batteries, chargers, etc. across cameras.
- Incorporate! Incorporate! Incorporate! If you’re serious about doing this for a living then you need to create a business and treat it as such. Get a business bank account, create business invoices to give an itemized list of what they’re getting for the money, etc.
- Create a website. Make it easy for new clients to find you.
- Suggest sponsors if your client can’t afford your services. When a client has a limited budget I usually suggest that they get sponsors to pay for a commercial on the live stream to make up the difference from what I charge and what they can afford. This method has worked for me on several occasions and the business paying for the commercials are usually very happy with both the price and the exposure they get. I also mention how the commercials never get deleted from the archived YouTube/Facebook streams and that they’ll always be included in replayed broadcasts.
- Get hands-free communication devices for your crew. I rent Motorola hands-free walkie talkies and I find that having your crew interacting with the program director works best when the communications between them is established. The director is able to get the right camera angles and the perfect shots all the time when there’s effective communication.
- Stay positive even when things don’t go right. Keep chipping away at your passion and grow from event to event whether that’s in knowledge, equipment, crew, money, or just in positivity. A good attitude will always determine your altitude!
SlingStudio: Why would you recommend SlingStudio to others?
Jorge: I would definitely recommend SlingStudio to all live streaming creators due to the affordability of the product and the portability of the platform. The beauty of SlingStudio is the professional feature set wrapped in a small hub of goodness!
SlingStudio: Do you livestream only or record and do post-production?
I mostly do live streaming with a recording as a backup and for post-production. The best part of post-production is the time saved when importing using SlingStudio’s post-production plugins. I currently stream to Facebook and YouTube, but we’re currently exploring other platforms with pay-per-view options.
SlingStudio: What kind of upgrades to your entire kit are you looking forward to? More cameras? Nicer cameras? More creative mounting options? Etc.
I’m looking to get a fourth Sony PXW-X70 camera to complete my setup, a crane to capture the overhead shots of boxing events, a DJI drone, and portable hands-free walkie talkies for my director and camera crew.
SlingStudio: Where do you see your video production business in a couple years?
Jorge: I see my business really taking off and becoming a reputable, portable and professional live streaming company with multiple events throughout the country at once.
Want to check out more content from Jorge? see below:
Worth a look: See Jorge’s production of the 2019 Ringmasters Championship shot live at Madison Square Garden