Do we want to use Ustream for streaming video and taking questions?
August 26, 2011 10:19 AM   Subscribe

I am working with a non-profit organization who wants to stream video of talks with the ability to take questions live, via chat or some equivalent. Do we want to use something like Ustream? What else do we need to know? I am not sure on numbers, but there would potentially be at least a few hundred viewers.

I have never used Ustream or anything like it, but after reading some previous question, this option seems preferable to commercial webinar-type software. Does that seem correct? Would we need something more than a basic, free account? Are there any gotchas or potential difficulties or limitations we should know about?
posted by callmejay to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I think you will be fine with Ustream.

Your viewers can both write comments and send video comments in real-time using ustream's built-in chat. With a couple of hundred users, the chat log can become noisy so you might want to have a system for filtering questions from audience talk. You might even want to encourage your viewers to submit questions in advance so make sure you get high quality questions.

If you have slides the audience will most likely want a copy.

To easily add graphics to your show, use something like CamTwist or WebcamMax.

I would recommend that you create a test broadcast and invite some friends to watch it so you get a feel for how live broadcasts are. Make sure your audience knows that they need a ustream account to be able to participate in the q&a.

More tips.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 10:43 AM on August 26, 2011

My old organization used a combination of
+ CoverItLive, which is a terrific moderating chat software. I'm not a huge of the built-in chats for Livestream or Ustream - they don't offer much in customization or moderation. We put the Livestream video + CoverItLive code on one page, side-by-side. Worked great.
posted by Laura Macbeth at 11:05 AM on August 26, 2011

Here, where I work, we have used UStream, Livestream, and our own in-house servers. Questions have been taken with Twitter, email, text message, UStream's own widget, and CoverItLive.

My experience has been that LiveStream seemed a bit more robust and reliable. For whatever reason, UStream's website and admin tools have always seemed a bit slow and flaky on our network, which can be nerve-wracking when you're working on a live broadcast. UStream's paid service is a bit better, and has the obvious benefit of no ads.

Most of the streaming services support streaming directly using Adobe Flash Media Live Encoder (FMLE), which I strongly recommend using. It's a lot more robust and reliable than the proprietary web-based interfaces offered by the various vendors, and is a free download. It takes some digging, but UStream and Livestream both let you download a pre-configured XML configuration file that FMLE can open directly.
posted by schmod at 11:38 AM on August 26, 2011

Thanks, all!
posted by callmejay at 8:41 AM on August 27, 2011

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