Home > Video > Lessons learned livestreaming video from adoption ceremony

Lessons learned livestreaming video from adoption ceremony

 One week ago today, I was sitting in front of our home PC with this laptop — livestreaming video of myself from laptop to PC screen on www.ustream.tv.

I had spent three hours on a Saturday morning reacquainting myself with Ustream. I felt a great sense of accomplishment at having figured out how to stream, and a bit of amusement at what a computer nerd I’d become.

That afternoon, I quizzed several friends at New Media Cincinnati about their use of Ustream.

I did all of this in preparation of livestreaming the annual “mass adoption day” from Hamilton County Probate Court. The day is held each year during National Adoption Month to build awareness about the need for adoptive parents. This year, three families adopted a total of seven kids.

I’m happy to report that the livestream went well. You can take a look here. Start at the 28-minute mark, unless  you want to watch us setting up and local TV crews getting ready to record the event.

Here are some lessons learned in this livestream adventure:

* Test, test, test. Jim Prues, a videographer under contract with Hamilton County Department of Job and Family Services, and I did three test broadcasts to work out technical issues and get comfortable with the technology.

* Use the location’s Internet connection, if possible, and not the wifi. Probate Court graciously allowed us to plug into its Internet port. This ensures a more robust broadcast and helps avoid fluctuating connection of wifi. But it also leads to…

* Enlist the help of the location’s Information Systems experts to help you set up your laptop so you aren’t blocked by a firewall. That was major headache — getting the laptop configured so we could connect to the Internet.

* Guide people to your Ustream account’s show page. You can e-mail a link to the show page, tell people to go to Ustream and search for the title of your show page, or embed code on a HTML page on your website. I did all three, just to be sure.

* Have a team of three to do the broadcast — the videographer, the laptop/Ustream person, and an on-camera announcer to introduce the livestream.

* Treat your livestream more like CSPAN than CNN. We started streaming 15 minutes before the event just to make sure everything worked. Last year, we made the mistake of treating it like a TV news update — and turned off the stream when nothing was happening. This gave viewers a blank screen.

* Use a professional-quality camera if possible. Jim was able to zoom in on some great moments, thanks to his expertise and a good camera.

* Promote the stream using traditional and new methods. We did a press release and e-mailed info to our newsletter subscriber list. I did updates on Facebook and Twitter. It was really cool to see more viewers join the stream when people retweeted the tweets sent from my Droid.

* Have fun. Look at this as an adventure, not something to stress about. As we like to say in our house, “it’s not cancer.”

Have you had any experience with Ustream or other livestreaming tools. I’d love to hear them in the comments section.

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