January 11, 2012

How to get started with live streaming technology

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Advice on the approaches to live streaming for your nonprofit and the most popular tools to use

Target audience: Nonprofits, NGOs, businesses, brands, cause organizations, event planners, technology managers, individuals.

Guest post by Christina Johns
Director of New Media, International Fellowship of Christians and Jews

Live streaming is an area of new media getting a lot of attention lately. Live streaming can have a positive impact on your community when done right and integrated with existing social media communities or websites, but there are some important questions to ask before diving in.

Is it the right kind of event for live streaming?

There are several different ways to use streaming technology. You can decide to stream an event live as it happens, or have a scheduled airing of a prerecorded event. If you are just getting into live streaming, I would suggest starting small with a prerecorded airing of an event, speech or conference session. Once you have the basics down you will feel more comfortable moving on to the more “live” live-streaming events. You can also get started with streaming prerecorded copyright free video as well.

Do I need someone with expertise in video production?

Nope! Live streaming is designed for all. How complicated and fancy you want to get is all up to you. You can also easily host your live streaming event on a blog, website or any HTML editor with very little effort or know-how.

What streaming platform should I use?

There are several providers that you can use to stream your content. The two major players in this area are Livestream.com and Ustream.tv. Both of these platforms have paid and free options. Both platforms also offer mobile integrations and social API options. I prefer using Livestream for its in-event chat functionality, and I also find it more intuitive than some of the other streaming platforms out there.

How much bandwidth do I need for live streaming?

Well, that depends on the quality of the video, length and several other factors. To help you test if you have enough Bandwidth to produce quality video, you can check out Speedtest.net to make sure you are good to go before you go live.

What should I use to record the event?

You can use a webcam and an internal or external microphone for events like webinars or interviews. If you are going to be filming something like a concert or speaking event, you’ll want to use an external DV camera with external microphone options for a high-quality video. You can even record live from your mobile phone using the live streaming applications.

If you would like additional options for live streaming, check out this great comparison chart from Streaming Media Magazine. Hope this helps to get you started using live streaming!

Has your organization incorporated live streaming as part of your social media strategy? If so, please share tips and best practices in the comments.

Christina Johns is the director of new media at the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, an organization started to promote understanding between Jews and Christians and build broad support for Israel and other shared concerns. Follow IFCJ on Twitter at @TheFellowship.
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3 thoughts on “How to get started with live streaming technology

  1. I am one of the creator’s and Mods of a great platform called filmys.com . We specialize in video streaming of all sorts group, face to face , and single broadcasts. We can also set up static rooms for people. We also Have a good collection of videos. All we ask is for you to please come by and check us out.
    PS. It is all free.