by Dylan Staley
Let’s face it: videos are in. With the advent of social video sites such as YouTube, Vimeo, and Blip.tv, video has become a first class citizen on the web. But one of the major drawbacks to video is the time it takes form when the camera stops rolling to when the video is available online for millions to see.
When live television first came on the scene, it introduced a radical idea: the idea that you can watch news as it is happening, live right from your television. You can watch the Presidential Inauguration, the Macey’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, or the Time’s Square New Year’s Celebration live, right from the comfort of your home.
With internet media, you can now view these events hours after they have happened, and enjoy the moments over and over again. But, sometimes, you wish you could have seen it live.
Qik and USTREAM, both live video blogging sites, allow users to connect their internet-enabled devices (be it computers or camera-enabled cellphones) to their servers and upload a live video feed, directly to the website. No longer do you need to wait until the event is over, on until your upload finishes, or until the website host finishes encoding your video. Viewers can watch what is happening right now, right now.
The ability to broadcast live without expensive equipment is incredibly useful to those working in the preservation field. In my last post, I described how preservationists can use the microblogging site Twitter to send out text updates in almost real time to their followers, but nothing beats the feel of actually watching the action unfold. Here are some ideas:
- Museum fans can watch live as conservators work on priceless artifacts, perhaps drawing in new visitors to an exhibit.
- Broadcasting from an archaeological dig as a major discovery is unearthed.
- Livestreaming from your community preservation event (such as a cemetery cleaning day) to ignite interest and get more volunteers involved.
- Raise awareness about the state of cultural resources affected by disaster (see video below)
The only thing you need is an internet-enabled device such as a cellphone, and an internet connection. You will of course need to be aware of the sensitivity and security of these sites when you are broadcasting. You wouldn’t want to attract looters to an archaeological site, for example.
With the websites Qik and USTREAM, users sign up for an account and then follow different instructions on how to set up their various devices to communicate with the internet servers. Users can then subscribe to the live video feed and watch whenever, and wherever, you are broadcasting as if they were right there beside you.