Looking for a multi-user video screening platform online.
April 2, 2009 7:01 PM   Subscribe

I need to show a 45 minute film to a bunch of people spread all over the country. I want them to log into a space and all screen it at the same time – perhaps even while they are connected to me by conference call or webinar. It has to be a password protected space, and the film would have to taken down immediately after the participant completed the viewing.

Any ideas about a service I can use?
posted by anonymous to Technology (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
GoToMeeting or WebEx seems to fit the bill
posted by KokuRyu at 7:11 PM on April 2, 2009

Yeah, WebEx + conference call can do this. Your attendees log into WebEx with a specific meeting password you provide, then see a pop-up giving the phone number and meeting code of your conference bridge line. The audio comes through the phone, and you run the film off whatever machine you're using to host the meeting (or shift screen control to someone else).

The main problem I see is that the sound quality won't be very good unless you get a phone or conference call speaker right up on the computer speakers.
posted by catlet at 7:20 PM on April 2, 2009

3rding webex.
posted by Kololo at 7:27 PM on April 2, 2009

Webex sounds good, although by what catlet says, it seems that it can't handle audio?

1) If there's a lot of people, then you might want to look into webcam servers or software. After all, simultaneous multi-user viewing of a single video is exactly what webcam viewing is designed for.

Set up a simple web page password, protected via .htaccess. WebcamXP will apparently set up a webcam streaming server, and so you can then embed the webcam with some snippet of code onto the website. The program also supports using local video files as a webcam, so you could ask everyone to log in at a certain point, and then start playing the files within the program.

2) Skype conference call. There are certain webcam programs that will allow you to play video as if it were a webcam stream; you can introduce the video in person on Skype, then set Skype to use the emulated camera (which is broadcasting video from a local video file).
posted by suedehead at 7:39 PM on April 2, 2009

the film would have to taken down immediately after the participant completed the viewing.

Just a note about privacy/security. If they can view it, whether on a TV or computer, there is always a way for the recipient to save a copy of the media. Obviously, it's easier for most people to pop a tape in a VCR than it is to record a streaming webcast, and some formats are easy to rip than others. If you really need it to stay private, you'll need to consider your distribution method carefully.
posted by chrisamiller at 8:25 PM on April 2, 2009

VNC over SSH, with password access enabled. You will control the display while they view it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:36 PM on April 2, 2009

Follow-up to say that WebEx may be able to push audio to participants' machines, but I haven't seen it done (I average 3 WebEx meetings a week). The times I've seen video, it's played on my screen through the screen-share from the host computer, and the audio has come over the conference call line. I scanned the WebEx site and didn't see anything specific to streaming audio/video, though it may be one of those "call our sales team and we'll hook you up" things.

So, caveat presenter, but I'd investigate BP's suggestion of VNC if you have the capability. It's probably a cheaper option than WebEx (33 cents a minute plus an additional 15 cents a minute if you want tollfree conference call access, or a flat fee of $69 for a month of use plus the same tollfree surcharge).
posted by catlet at 3:35 AM on April 3, 2009

anything played on the recipient's computer screen can be recorded and saved
posted by schindyguy at 11:49 PM on April 6, 2009

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