Livecasting

My excellent friend ActionGirl hung out with me today. We did a dual-channel livecast using ustream.tv.

Livecasting, if you’re not familiar, is one of the newest internet fads, but it’s also NOT new. Technology has advanced to the point that the average joe has the ability to broadcast his or her life effortlessly and without cost (except for the obvious costs of computer, webcam, broadband connection, etc).

Similar to quasi-scripted MSM shows like MTV’s “The Real World”, people now have the ability to leave a camera running and pointed at them as they go about their daily business. Some people livecast from work. Some people livecast from home. Some people livecast on the move with EV-DO modem cards and laptops, like Sarah and Lisa do on justin.tv.

I became intersted in livecasting after watching Drew Olanoff‘s feed from PodCamp Philly. It was fun watching Drew roam the hallways and run into conference attendees and presenters. There was something cool about interacting with this live show that was going on, NOW. πŸ™‚ It was different because you could actually affect the course of the show, assuming the host was monitoring the text chat room. It was different because you could call your friends that you saw in the background and have them come over and talk to you on camera. It was cool because you were receiving information RIGHT NOW, just like everyone that was actually in Philadelphia for the conference.

So I wanted to check it out, and ActionGirl was down to experiment with me….. um…. was down to join me in my livecasting experiment. πŸ™‚

We started out outdoors, utilizing free WiFi in the area. We were streaming about one frame per five seconds. Our video was choppy and our audio wasn’t much better. Some glitch occurred where ActionGirl had bars of wireless signal, yet was unable to connect to the internet at all. Strange. Next, I tried receiving signal via my EV-DO modem card and sharing my internet connection with ActionGirl via airport. That was really slow, but I’ve never tried that before, and I think it was due to my card not connecting properly. I didn’t have this diagnostics entry in my taskbar that I should have had, so I don’t figure the card was functioning optimally at that point.

We retired indoors and used WiFi connections to stream from each of our macbooks. Connection was quick, and I was able to embed both of our streams plus a text chat on one page and run that from my site. I later added our friend Chris’ stream, so we had three simultaneous live streams on the page.

Livecasting is tough to do properly, IMO, without monitoring your chat room(s). I suppose there IS no ‘proper’ way to livecast, since it’s really “anything goes”, but in order to interact with your audience, you have to read what they’re typing to you. If you’re not planning to interact with them, clearly, you don’t have to bother with that. I found myself responding late to comments because while we were saying something, the text chat was scrolling up and I’d have to read up to notice what people said minutes before.

I think the audience is as important as the host… Meaning that if you have the right audience, even if that’s ‘only’ one or two people who actually know you or are genuinely interested in what you do, livecasting can be a fun and rewarding experience. The best times today were when our friends were on, even just for a few minutes, and we got to interact with them and answer their questions. OTOH, when the audience isn’t prime, it’s tough, if not impossible to get revved up to deliver your best ‘performance’.

For me, *teamwork* is key. I’m not interested in doing my own solo livecast. If I know I’m going to be around interesting people or at an event that would be of interest to people I know, then I’m glad to broadcast it. It also helps if you actually like and enjoy the person you’re livecasting with so you know that even if NOBODY shows up, you’re going to have a good time that day. πŸ™‚

Eventually, we called it a night. I felt pretty exhausted by then, actually. When we shut our feeds down, it actually felt strange to me to NOT be on camera. Once we came inside, we were on from around 6pm to 9pm, and even that felt like an eternity. I’m not sure how (or why) people do that during their every waking hour. I guess you have to be the type of person that enjoys random people interacting with you. I suppose some people do it for the fame or notoriety.

I don’t know that there’s going to be a way to monetize lifecasting. I experimented with product placement, including beverages and t-shirts. It’s tough to do well, live, trying to get products in front of a tiny webcam lens in the optimal size, focus and location. Still… A lot of people like to broadcast their lives, and a lot of people like to watch those broadcasts, so we’ll see where this fad takes us next. πŸ™‚

Bill Cammack Ò€’ New York City Ò€’ Freelance Video Editor Ò€’ alum.mit.edu/www/billcammack

ReelSolid.TV 1-Year Anniversary

(Lafayette Hotel)
Neo: Whoa, deja vu.
Trinity: What did you just say?
Neo: Nothing, I just had a little deja vu.
Trinity: What did you see?
Cypher: What happened?
Neo: A black cat went past us, and then another that looked just like it.
Trinity: How much like it, was it the same cat?
Neo: Might have been, I’m not sure.
Morpheus: Switch, Apoc.
Neo: What is it?
Trinity: Deja vu is usually a glitch in the Matrix. It happens when they change something….

On May 27th last year (2006), I made the first post announcing Reel Solid TV. My first videoblog post was one year ago, today. [ReelSolid.TV Episode 01]

It’s been a very interesting year… kind of like a wild ride with endless twists and turns. Blogging, Videoblogging, Compression, Editing, Production, Pre-Production, Hosting, Conferences, Socializing IRL, Social Internet Networks, Festivals, New gadgets coming out every day to make it easier to connect with each other……

In the end, I look back across the last 365 days and I see 157 episodes and I don’t even feel like trying to count how many hours of content. :/ When I make a “ReelSolid.TV Season 01” DVD, I’ll let you know how long it takes to sit down and watch everything I posted in my first year of videoblogging:

MasamiBillShow – 5 Episodes (April 13, 2007 – April 24, 2007)
The Lab – 6 Episodes (March 16,2007 – April 20, 2007)
ReelSolid.TV – 49 Episodes (May 28, 2006 – May 11, 2007)
Eight Million Stories – 97 Episodes (November 20, 2006 – April 05, 2007)

I ended up with several shows because they’re all different topics, styles and lengths, and I didn’t want to dilute one show with another one. I thought that would be beneficial to me so that I could point people to one specific style of video that they might be interested in. At this point, I’m a fan of consolidation. Put the video where people expect to see it. Myriad shows under one brand… one focus… one RSS feed.

Steve Garfield said he subscribes to people. I’ve found out that I do the exact same thing. I don’t so much watch JetSetShow or Galacticast or SomethingToBeDesired as I tune in to see what Steve & Zadi did this week or what Rudy & Casey did or what Justin did. I would watch if it were the same thing every week or if it were different every week. I would watch whether the shows were produced daily or arrived sporadically in their RSS feeds. Similarly, I’m going to consolidate MY shows into MY RSS feed, and people can watch it if they feel like it.

A very special “thank you” shout-out goes out to my Season 01 subscribers! πŸ˜€ It means a lot to post a video and get a certain number of downloads right off the bat. It also means a lot for y’all to post *FEEDBACK* when you watch a video that you like or even one that you don’t like. I’ve had several conversations over the last two months where I started to describe one of my episodes to someone, like my Vlog Deathmatch Music Video Promo, and the person I’m telling goes “Yeah, I saw that… That was great! πŸ˜€ I especially liked the part where…….” and I’m standing there like ??? because I had received ZERO FEEDBACK from that person that they even SAW that video. To date, I have 929 views on my VDM Official Entry (Starring ActionGirl) and I have 27 comments on the page. :/ FOUR of the comments were BY ME, so either those 24 people watched that video 38.708333 times each or the amount of WATCHING far outweighs the amount of COMMENTING! πŸ˜€

Recently, much has happened to change the game, and BillCammack.com / ReelSolid.TV is going to flow with that. Stay tuned for live events, interviews, contests, forum discussions, collaborations… even AUDIO PODCASTS!!! :O Now that Season 01 of ReelSolid.TV has been spent learning the technology, the ‘business’ of videoblogging and the philosophies behind all of that, Season 02 is going to be WAY LESS about organization, structure and paperwork and WAY MORE about content creation and self-expression through video & audio… which is why I do what I do in the first place.

Thanks again, all… especially those that dove into videoblogging as soon as they realized what they could do and have made their knowledge available to other people, like on the yahoo videoblogging list and freevlog.org.

Deja vu is usually a glitch in the Matrix. It happens when they change something….
ReelSolid.TV Season 02 kicks off NOW!!! πŸ˜€

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