Monday, March 30, 2015

Entertainment Insider Access Live: Meerkat

John Biggs writes about Meerkat in a TechCrunch article titled, Schrödinger’s Meerkat, to make the reader feel stupid, even before s/he reads the article.

I disagree with every single thing John writes here.

Let's look at two things he says:

None of us, not even Jim Gaffigan with his million or so followers, can gather enough people with live video to make it meaningful.

Jim just live streamed with Meerkat on location while shooting a scene for his new TV show. This was one of the most creative uses of Meerkat I've seen yet.

This, along with Jimmy Fallon's live streaming of the monologue rehearsal for the Tonight Show, show how live streamed video can be meaningful.

Live video is a very specific medium and requires a great deal of planning to pull off well. While we can complain of the dumbing-down of global media, unfettered live streaming is dumber still.

Live video doesn't have to planned for.

Questlove has been engaging his followers with un-planned live streams all around New York City, letting us in on rehearsal sessions, pre-parties, man on the street interviews, and more. When I get a notification that Questlove is streaming, I'm watching.

Al Roker is great to. A natural storyteller.

Follow me on Meerkat.

Q: After a meerkat or periscope goes off air is the old stream archived for later viewing?

Meerkat does not archive video for later viewing.

If you share or comment on a live stream with '#katch' a 3rd party will save an archive of your stream to their YouTube account, after confirming with you on twitter that you want to do this.

You can also save a Meerkat stream to your camera roll, if it doesn't crash on you.

Periscope saves online for 24 hours.

I like how I can still watch an ended broadcast 24 hours after you broadcast, if you choose to make it public.

Image: Periscope. Recent archived online streams.

Note: With Periscope you must watch on an iPhone.

Periscope does save to camera roll, if you choose to.

Image: Periscope. Saved to camera roll

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Video in Facebook Comments

Are Meerkat and Periscope Ready to Live Stream Events?

Meerkat and Periscope are not ready for live streaming events, reliably.


Jimmy Fallon has used both to live stream his monologue rehearsals with mixed results. Both are great when they work, but leave the audience frustrated when they hang, stall, or just crash.

SNL tried to use Meerkat to live stream from backstage. It didn't work out so well.

Neither are reliable either for capturing an archive of an event. Meerkat has a third party that captures streams if you use the hashtag #Katch But that only works if Meerkat works.

You could use either of these apps, as long as the audience knows not to rely on them, and to actually go to the event if they want to be assured of seeing it.

The beauty of Meerkat and Periscope is that anyone can live stream, and connect with viewers, in real time. It's great fun to be able to see people and events from around the world. I loved watching concerts from SXSW, from Boston, and connecting with the live streamers, but, if you want to be ensured of a reliable broadcast, you've got to use a reliable platform.

Note to Jimmy Fallon: Keep experimenting with Periscope and Meerkat. ;-)

I've done a lot of live streaming and there are many variables to consider.

- Experience with live streaming. When you go live, the person doing the live streaming has to have experience so that they can handle anything that comes up.

- Bandwidth at the Venue. Relying on WiFi is not a good idea. When the venue fills up with people, they get on the same WiFi and can cause problems for the live stream. A hardwired connection is best.

- Sound quality. Sound is more important than video. Make sure you have a solution for wiring the speakers so that the live stream audience can hear them. Shotgun mic, lav mis for each speaker with a switcher. These are things to think about.

- Video quality. Can the camera zoom in on speakers? Is it on a tripod?

If you do use live streaming with Google Hangouts to YouTube, here are YouTube's guidelines.

It means work.

If you want to capture each event for later, I suggest using a video camera at each venue to capture to SD card and upload to YouTube to Facebook later. That ensures a record of the event.

If you choose to do this, then it makes sense to have that camera hooked up to a laptop that is hardwired to the internet, has connections for capturing good audio at the event, and live streaming via that laptop with Wirecast for YouTube.

Robin Maxfield has figured out how to do this for her Story Slam events at Doyle's Cafe. Maybe she can give you some advice based on her experience.

Wirecast for YouTube:

Finally, if you don't want to get involved in figuring all this out and making sure it works, hire a company that is experienced with live streaming to do it for you.