24 March 2023

What do Jonathan Majors and Paul Rudd have to do with this business in the basement of Wagga's Australian Arcade Building?

| Dione David
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two men at computer

The Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania global press conference from Wagga’s Australian Arcade Building. Photos: The Streaming Guys.

In a basement headquarters in Wagga’s Australian Arcade Building, lightning-fast fibre internet speeds, state-of-the-art equipment and next-level technological troubleshooting are cornerstones of a prolific local business many don’t realise exists.

Live streaming has come a long way since Wagga man Grant Harper first tried his hand as a way to share sporting events he cared about with the wider community.

It was not a mainstream knack back then, and no pathway or guidance was mapped out.

“You couldn’t just Google what camera or equipment you needed, so it had to be trial by error to find the right components,” Grant explains.

“Once I started getting some positive results, people started asking me what they needed to do it for themselves, for their own companies and businesses.

“After a time, I thought it would be easier to make a website that listed all the products I used, and then I thought I might as well sell them.”

The Streaming Guys was born, first as a carefully curated selection of all the products needed for live video streaming.

Video camera aimed at a conference room

The Streaming Guys’ live video-streaming capabilities are used for anything from small conferences, weddings and funerals to huge virtual events with two million viewers.

Today it’s a one-stop shop for buying and hiring equipment, but also the full spectrum of support services.

The productions coming out of the business today are a far cry from those community sports games.

“We transmitted in 360p low definition, at a very low data rate. Now we transmit up to 4K at full broadcast TV quality, without problems, from anywhere in Australia and more than 100 miles out to sea,” Grant says.

“And we have a 100 per cent success rate, with over 10,000 productions to date.”

Though Grant is now retired and has handed the reins to his son, Josh, he stayed long enough to watch the company go from strength to strength.

Most people would not believe the profile of productions that are streamed out of the company’s Wagga’s headquarters, where The Streaming Guys have a full fibre internet and security set-up.

These include royal commissions, Australian wage announcements, cinema releases such as Thor: Love and Thunder and Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves and, more recently, the Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania global press conference, which was filmed against the backdrop of the Sydney Opera House but produced and transmitted from Wagga.

“It was pretty exciting to work with (actors) Jonathan Majors and Paul Rudd and (head of the Marvel cinematic universe) Kevin Feige,” Josh says.

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In the sometimes high-stakes world of live streaming, in the absence of perfection there must be skill, knowledge, contingency and speed.

Josh says this is the basis of The Streaming Guys’ success.

“Because we’re a one-stop-shop, we always have the newest gear. The technology evolves at such a fast pace that it’s superseded always annually. And you never want to fall behind on that,” he says.

“We’re also doing about 1000 events a year, so we know what can go wrong and how to fix it if it does. We have redundancy upon redundancy because we have to.

“We’ve had productions with two million simultaneous viewers.”

Grant says apart from reliability, convenience and high quality, another major drawcard for the option is its relative affordability.

“Originally to do a multi-camera live video stream event would require an OB (outside broadcast) truck worth anywhere up to $1 million, a satellite uplink truck worth upwards of $1 million and about 20 staff to run everything,” he says.

“The technology evolved and we saw the miniaturisation of all the components, and with that has come affordability.

“Now you have live video streaming at TV quality with reliability at a very small comparable cost and footprint.

“It has changed everything.”

One of The Streaming Guys’ clients in the early days was a major bank with about 40,000 employees worldwide, which had an annual conference in Sydney.

“If it wasn’t for live streaming, as you can imagine, the cost and the disruption to business would be astronomical,” Grant says.

“At each conference, they would deliver the information, and it would have to be delivered again and again until everyone across the organisation was brought up to speed.”

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But live streaming is not only for high-profile broadcasts with massive reach. The convenience, reliability and affordability make it accessible to all, to broadcast any meaningful events to loved ones.

“I think funerals and weddings should always be live-streamed where possible, but particularly funerals,” Grant says.

“It is an abrupt occurrence and even without lockdown, people often can’t attend quickly.

“At the same time, it’s an important event people don’t want to miss.”

For more information, visit The Streaming Guys.


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