Monday, March 17, 2008

The live video worked!

We successfully had live video on our site today!

We are very fortunate that the university president meets with all of the campus media once a month for us to ask whatever we want. Over the past year, we have tried to think of ways to make these meetings more accessible to the general student body. With over 30,000 students on campus, most people never have the chance to meet the president, let alone ask him questions every month, so as the school newspaper, it is our responsibility to hold the administration accountable.

With this in mind, last month we decided to video tape the entire conference and post it to our Web site. It is not perfect video and it is kind of long and boring if you are not on top of news events on campus, but it gives students a chance to hear directly from their president.

So this month, we asked if we could stream the video live online. After getting the OK from President Kassing and his advisers, we were all set to go.

I had seen ustream used before, but had never played with it myself. But I went ahead and signed up for the service and did a test run in our newsroom last week. It is very simple to use and the wifi on campus is good enough that we can pretty much do it from anywhere.

We put a big teaser on the front page of the paper today so students would know about it and then I put a brief notice in as a multimedia article on our site, so it was included in our RSS feed and e-mail edition. When it was time for the video to begin, I put the ustream embed code in the story and made it a breaking news story so a link to it showed up on every page on the site. I also recorded it, both in ustream and on a tape in the camera. After the meeting was over, people can watch the ustream recording, and I am uploading the higher quality version into our regular video player.

There were a few minor technical mistakes I made, so the ustream video is not fantastic. It is also hard to hear the reporters' questions since only Kassing is miced. I knew this would be a problem but did not have the equipment to mix sound. I did also had a reporter do an audio recording where you can hear the reporters better, which we uploaded to our podcast, so if people just want to listen, they can.

Overall, the experience was great, and we are excited to do it again next month.


Brad Hunstable, Founder said...

Let me know how we can help!

JP said...

That's pretty cool. I wasn't able to watch the live feed, but that is just awesome that you were able to offer something like that.