Tag Archives: streaming-media

How to Start a Successful Live Internet Video Show

Geek!This is Matt Smith’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

Geeks are present on many different social networks: YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Friendfeed, and the like. While all of these networks serve slightly different purposes, their main goal lies in helping individuals with overlapping interests make personal connections. For anyone looking to take the interaction to a higher level, starting a live stream may help one to accomplish that desired level of interaction. I’ve compiled a “Top Five” guide in order to assist anyone interested in running a live stream.

1. Get the right equipment.

I can’t stress enough the importance of high-quality equipment. If you’re going to do something, do it right, and don’t cheap out on your gear. The only place where “Cheap” comes before “Geek” is in the dictionary.

  1. Camera. Obviously, some type of camera will be required before further infrastructure is put into place. Depending on the amount of time you plan to spend streaming, you will need to purchase an appropriate camera. For casual streamers, a higher quality webcam, such as the Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000, will do. However, if you plan on streaming on a regular basis, you might want to consider some type of DV camera. This will offer a higher video quality and provide you with much more flexibility and expandability, such as higher video quality and a zoom remote.
  2. Microphone. Although many webcams and almost all DV cameras have a built-in mic, having a separate condenser mic can make all the difference. Instead of broadcasting strained, tinny, hard to hear audio, you’ll be broadcasting sound that is sharp, crisp, and clear. This will make your stream much more attractive to prospective viewers and followers. I have used a CAD u32 in the past, and it worked great for my needs. While Samson and other pro audio companies do make higher-end microphones that are more expensive, I have not had any problems so far with the u32.
  3. Stream Machine. I would highly recommend a dedicated computer to run a live stream, as streaming can be quite intensive on all aspects of your system. More specifically, I would recommend a Mac. From what I’ve heard, and from my own personal experience, the abundance of well-written streaming software for Windows is virtually nonexistent. I’m not saying you have to get a Mac Pro just to run a stream – just make sure it has enough CPU and GPU power.
  4. Lights. Regardless of how much lighting you already have in the area you wish to stream, it always helps to have some type of light for the stream. Track lighting works well, although something even as simple as a lamp pointed in the vicinity of your “set” will greatly improve the video quality.

2. Pick a good location to stream.

Most geeks will understandably want to stream from their computer. I do realize that no one’s living conditions are perfect, but try to make the area look presentable. Neatness does count; I don’t believe in the the “clean desk, cluttered mind” theory. Although the shot does not need to be filled with clutter, there do need to be elements to make the video look interesting (e.g. Chris Pirillo’s TIX Clocks, Bwana’s Gators poster).

3. Use software to enhance the video.

Once everything is connected to the stream machine, it’s helpful to use software to improve the appearance of the video. For the purposes of this article, I will discuss CamTwist for Mac OS X, although many other programs function in a manner somewhat similar to CamTwist. The “Brightness” effect allows for granular control over brightness, contrast, and saturation – something that viewers will subconsciously respond to. Adding dynamic elements such as a topic, the time, a site address, and chat, will also add color to the video. This can be achieved by means of the “Text”, “Solid Color”, “PIP”, “Clock”, and “RSS Ticker” effects. Some of the effects included in CamTwist are not necessarily useful in the context of a live stream, however, it’s still bar-none one of the best programs on the market for live video production.

4. Attract viewers.

Even if you have a wonderfully designed stream, everything is rendered null and void without viewers. It helps to become established on other networks before you jump headfirst into the world of live streaming. That way, there are already plenty of people following you, and you will have a prospective audience simply waiting for you. If you just open a Ustream.tv account and do nothing else, you’re more likely to get nothing but spammers and trolls.

5. Keep a handle on chat.

An IRC chat room is a common side dish to a live stream, but, more times than not, I’ve seen way too many dramatic, out of control issues occurring in chat. If someone is spamming, trolling, and has been sufficiently warned, don’t be afraid to be the “bad guy” and do a kick and ban. Even though I tend to be a lighter moderator and give people the benefit of the doubt, there is a line, and you have to be able to judge when that line has been crossed. Write out definite rules of the channel, and make sure that everyone chatting is aware of what these rules stipulate.

Running a live stream can be a very rewarding experience, but, like anything worth having, requires a substantial amount of effort. Lastly, always remember to project a positive image of yourself – people ARE watching!

What are your thoughts? Do you have any tips or tricks for live streaming?

The Future of Streaming Media

http://live.pirillo.com/ – What is the future of live streaming? If Chris has anything to say about it in this Question & Answer session with Ustream.tv’s CTO Tim Villanueva, then Ustream.tv will be at the cutting edge.

What is Ustream?

Ustream is a platform that provides live interactive video for everyone. Anyone with a camera and an Internet connection can use Ustream to broadcast to a global audience.

In this session Chris and Tim discussed the future of live streaming, and how Ustream.tv may help push the technology forward. Of course, the chat room had a lot of questions and suggestions on what the future might hold for streaming media.

  • Live feed switching between multiple feeds
  • Having blogs and video feeds totally interconnected
  • Generating revenue from streaming media
  • Being able to perform live video effects without using software tied to one platform

Those are only some suggestions on what the future might hold. What do you think the future of streaming media will be?

Want to embed Interview With Tim From USTream.tv! video in your blog? Use this code:


Network Media Player: Orb vs. Tversity

http://live.pirillo.com/ – Streaming media across a network is hard enough, but how do you get your media to other devices, like your cell phone? Warthog wants to know which piece of software is better: Orb or TVersity?

Both Orb and TVersity share a similar function: to stream your media from a computer to any device that you have, including your cell phone, Xbox 360, Playstation 3, etc …

Orb allows users to "MyCast" their media:

Orb has developed an award winning service that combines the use of an internet media portal and a proprietary software application. Orb leverages the best in already available technology (hi-speed broadband, Wi-Fi, wireless internet access and sophisticated portable devices) to provide a brand new way for people to connect with their digital media in the manner "how, when and where" they most desire.

In short, Orb provides the ability to MyCast.

TVersity has a simple mission statement:

Our mission is to empower individuals to organize and personalize their home and Internet multimedia collection (audio, video and images) and have universal access to it anywhere (at the home or on the go) anytime and from any device.

Which one is better? Chris says TVersity for two reasons:

  • It has been free the entire time of its development.
  • TVersity supports the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and the Wii.

What do you recommend for streaming media across multiple platforms?

Check out the Networking Media video on YouTube and subscribe to our channel!

Live Behind the Scenes video in Leo Laporte's TV Lab

Digg This

It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for (well, maybe not ALL of you, but most certainly a few dozen of you). Ponzi and I are returning to Vancouver tomorrow morning to tape a couple more episodes with Leo on his hit television program, the Lab with Leo Laporte. The shows will be recorded live-to-tape somewhere between 8am and 2pm (Pacific) tomorrow – Tuesday.

Now, I’ll be taking a MacBook (!) with me, attempting to stream our journey north, south, and just about everywhere in between. The fun begins at 4AM (Pacific) and likely lasts throughout the day. So, spread the word, my TechTV faithful – I’m going to take you on a behind-the-scenes tour of what’s happening with Leo (of course, he’ll likely be busy throughout the day, but at least we’ll be able to meet the folks who make all that television magic possible).

My suggestion: watch what’s happening on our own live community page. Now, if you’d rather load my live video stream in a separate browser window altogether – that can be arranged (here). Some people have gone as far as to create widgets for some gadget platforms! If you’d like to join us in chat without loading the Java IRC applet, we’re on irc.wyldryde.org in #Chris (all the time, not just for the next day).

Join me (through my Sprint UpStage EVDO connection – or through the studio’s WiFi). We gotta get the word out about this sooner rather than later – so Digg this link so that people know what’s happening. It’s my true goal that when we demonstrate ustream live on Leo’s TV show, we’ll have hundreds of viewers participating in the chat room and watching the video stream live!

Before too long, I’m hoping to do Q&As throughout my regular days, record those video answers, then immediately upload them to my various accounts (UndoTV, blip.TV, YouTube, etc.). Tried to start that this weekend, but the live upload feature of YouTube doesn’t work very well – and video re-encoding issues are keeping us from moving too far with the idea.

Join us throughout the day – and stick around for a while. 😉

Live Video Production Workflow

Here’s the workflow, rough though it may be:

  • Segment gets recorded live-to-tape
  • Segment gets encoded by the live video service
  • Download link is provided (immediately, as in the case of ustream)
  • If the recording is in FLV, it must be converted before redistribution (iPod and PSP compatible MP4)
  • Video is uploaded, tagged on YouTube and Blip.tv – possible MP3 audio created
  • Show notes, if any, are recorded – either in paragraph or bulletpoint form
  • Full text is posted to my Media page, with a likely cross-tease in my personal blog

Mind you, that’s about as “simple” as it gets right now – I haven’t even begun talking about how I want to format high definition video recordings yet. That’s what I’m hoping to do sooner rather than later.

Ultimately, I’d want my live video service to automatically reencode and upload the video to my YouTube and Blip.TV accounts. From Blip.TV, a post is automatically made to my Media blog and MySpace account (with text added manually in short time). If the service provider would play ball, it would eliminate a lot of our current headaches – as we’re already a few videos behind. 🙁 Worse yet, ustream doesn’t offer a feed for video subscription – nor does it host MP4 archives so that I could likely bypass Blip.TV altogether.

I must reopen the dialogue with Podtrac this week – they’re another cog in the machine.

Gaboogie Teleconference 1/2

It’s day 3 of the launch of Gaboogie, a free teleconferencing system, and Chris Pirillo talks with members of the Live community and the founds of Gaboogie – Erik Lagerway and Daniel Gibbons.

Gaboogie is a different kind of teleconference service, combining the latest IP communications technology with lightweight AJAX code to help manage your conference.

Gaboogie combines the latest IP communications technology and a lightweight AJAX-web interface for booking, scheduling and managing your call. You can start every conference on time, because Gaboogie calls everyone automatically, there’s no waiting for late attendees to show up.You can schedule your call when you sign on and even do it on demand instead of waiting if the need is there.

The great thing about Gaboogie is that the community can join in and take pride in the work being done because that is something that everyone is involved in. It can be a spontaneous event all the time or a planned event. If they need an answer to a question then it can be the job of the person who

Part 1/2

Check it out:

Other Meida Formats: FLV

New Live Video Stream Interface

Currently, bear’s IRC bot (wicket) responds to ‘what is cam’ with the following information: “For the most part, Chris usually relies on a Canon GL2 DV camera connected via FireWire for video and a Samson C01U USB Studio Condenser mic for audio. However, there are times when he relies on a Logitech QuickCam Ultra Vision and/or Apple’s iSight for A/V.”

Since receiving the 16′ FireWire cable, I’ve set up the GL2 DV camera to run through my Mac Mini for the home office live stream (using Cam Twist to display the URL and live time in the footer of my video feed). Still trying to figure out how to rotate sponsor logos in there, though. No matter, this new setup certainly beats the old one – largely because I don’t use the Mac Mini for much else. On the road, I’m likely to rely on the iSight built into the Macbook.

I was getting ready to head to bed tonight (honestly), when I decided to refresh my streaming window. Lo and behold, I discovered that ustream JUST upgraded their video streaming interface to provide much more information and control:

ustream interface

You now have two video preview windows: one for what you see, and one for what the server sees (so that you might detect when the stream has stopped working). Note that you can now turn both of these previews off to save bandwidth! Nothing else notable about this upgrade, to my knowledge – although the font is damn near illegible at this point size.

Watch This

I should compose all of my blog entries full screen like this, eh? Then you can see how fast I type and how many typos I make in real-time. If I stop winging it? Move to the left?

Maybe if I sit back a bit, it’ll work better. Wow. This isn’t perfect, but I can definitely see how I could get used to typing up simple stuff so that everyone can see what I’m doing – if I want them to see what I’m doing.

Now, if I bother to post this text as a blog entry itself, nobody will have any idea what I’m talking about (without context). We’re working on ways to archive the live video stream and chat, actually.

I’m using something one of our community members recommended – an anonymous community member, at that! It’s a free program for Windows called “Dark Room” which enables you to enter text full-screen. Normally, I wouldn’t think of using it – but I’m actually typing up this particular post inside the application so that my live followers can see what I’m doing. I even rested the webcam atop my head for easier “remote viewing.” The font is set to Arial Black 96pt. You have to see it to appreciate it, so… in true live fashion, I’m going to ask someone to take a screen shot of their screen and post it to a Web photo (Flickr?) account so I can link to it directly before this post is completed. 😉


Heh… and who was it that said live Internet video was a waste of time and resources? I think we’re proving them wrong every single day.

The perfect title of this post would be: “Watch This.” Wouldn’t you agree?