How to Stream Video from a Live Event

October 25, 2010, By Christian Cawley

Conventions, exhibitions and talks are all difficult to organise – and tricky for some people to attend, particularly of they have disabilities or are situated on the wrong side of the globe.

With the explosion of media streaming across the web, it has become possible to stream live video from such events, and reach out to interested parties who would otherwise only be able to read about the event later on.

However be warned; simply plugging in a camera and expecting everything to just work isn’t the best way of planning a project like streaming a talk across the web. The more high profile and organized the event, the more considerable preparation is required.

Preparation is Paramount

To stream live video from a convention, exhibition or similar event, you will need a suitable web cam, a laptop (you will find the processing power this option gives over a netbook is vital) a reliable wireless internet connection or Ethernet connection and a reliable power supply.

You will also need to visit the venue beforehand, either the same day before the event starts or on an earlier occasion in order to scope out your position, available power supplies, network connection, etc.

From personal experience, I would avoid wireless connections. These should really be used only as a backup to cabling failures with Ethernet. Interference from mobile phones and other wireless at the event or nearby will degrade the quality of your reception. At the end of the day, you are aiming to stream the event across the web – the potential viewers will be relying on you, so you really need to get it right.

Preparing to Stream Live Video

With your equipment set up and your internet connection checked, you will be ready to stream live video.

Streaming online can be done via a number of different services. The first you should check out is, although, and are all good alternatives. All of these services will need signing up to.

Meanwhile if you’re short of a video camera, laptop and fancy your chances with wireless internet, allow you to stream video directly from your mobile phone with a free app. This is available for Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and iPhone.

Testing and Advertising the Video Feed

A test run should probably be attempted – simply stream a few minutes of a pre-event activity. With a colleague or friend at the end of a phone and logged on to the website, you will be able to see just how good the stream looks, address any sound quality issues and make any required adjustments to the camera zoom and angle.

Once this is all correctly setup, it is time to inform people that the event is ready to start.

Each of the services listed above will give you a dedicated URL for streaming; some of them will also include a comments facility for viewers to interact with each other and the event itself.

Similarly, it is a good idea to use Twitter to update interested parties with snippets of information, what topic is being discussed, etc.

These are both great ways to invite feedback from your worldwide audience, something that can even be shared with the event itself!

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