Ever since I first clicked on a link to a live-streamed show, I’ve been bullish on live. This was back in April of 2007 just a few weeks after the first live-streaming platforms launched. As an actor turned producer I had awakened to the realization that in the 21st century artists no longer had to wait for other people to make their dreams come true – finally we had the tools to green light our own work, so by 2007 I was already deeply enmeshed in the online video world and active in social media, shooting podcasts, writing blog posts, Facebooking and Twittering away. And then came that live-streamed show. Just 15 minutes into it my heart began to beat a little faster, I began to envision all the possibilities…it was crystal clear to me that live streaming video has as much potential as podcasting, blogging, Facebooking and Twittering combined.
People come to a live-streamed show from all over the world, not just to see the show, but to see the other people in the chat rooms. Then they come back, episode after episode, partly to see all their chat room friends. So while appointment viewing may seem counterintuitive in a YouTube world, passionate members of your live-streamed show’s community will make a point of putting your show on their calendar. Your live-streamed show? It has now been transformed into an event, and the more your show embraces that community, the more passionate and devoted that community becomes – it’s like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube rolled up into one.
Nervous about live-streaming?
Don’t be! There are so many options and so many of them require nothing more than a computer and an internet connection,and a free account on Ustream or Livestream or SpreeCast or Justin.tv. The platform and methods you use depend on what you are trying to achieve…
- Are you a social media blogger, a political blogger, an inspirational blogger? Is your main goal to develop deeper ties with a community you have carefully cultivated? You can probably keep it pretty simple – just a webcam, a live-streaming site, and off you go.
- Are you a craft blogger or a food blogger and you want to invite your community to create along with you? Spreecast is a simple way to invite up to three viewers right into the video with you – you can all create together and chat with the rest of the audience as you go.
A few pointers as you begin to experiment with live streaming
- Embed, embed, embed! Not all platforms facilitate embeds, but if yours does place your video on your site, on your blog, on Facebook – let your readers embed it on their blogs. The further your show travels the larger your reach.
- Create a strong connection! You can’t control your audience’s bandwidth size, but you can control the quality of the file you upload. Turn off the wi-fi and use an ethernet connection to ensure you are sending the highest quality video possible to your live-streaming platform.
- Make it social. Always utilize the Facebook and Twitter options in the chat rooms to further spread the word and grow your community.
- Shoot with the end goal in mind. If you want your show to be as effective on-demand as it is live, then create it as if you were shooting a regular video. Search for similar shows on YouTube and play close attention to their camera angles, their editing, their graphics and their speed.
- And lastly, Embrace your community. Chat with them, call out their names, invite them onto the show with you.