How Live Streaming Can Help Your Event: An Interview with Colin Christianson

by on November 30, 2011

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Photo: Colin Christianson live streaming - Confluence Digital blog

I recently interviewed Colin Christianson, live streaming expert and founder of Tenacious Ventures.

In this interview, we talked about Colin’s favorite live video streaming services, best practices, preferred tools and equipment and where this technology is headed in 2012.

I used Quora to crowd-source my questions on live streaming to make sure I made the best use of Colin’s time by having him address the most in-demand questions on the topic.

Alonso:  For the readers that are not familiar with this technology, can you explain what is live interactive broadcasting?

Colin: Live interactive broadcasting is when you have a live video feed coming from a physical world event and you are able to use social media like Twitter or Facebook to enable people tuning in to interact with each other and with the live stream moderator at the event by submitting questions and comments.  This allows for more community and more interaction to happen around the whole event.

Alonso: Now live streaming seems like a good opportunity for events, what are some of your favorite live streaming services out there and in your view which one has the best video live streaming technology?

Colin: As far as online hosting services go livestream.com is awesome, ustream.tv is great too. I use them really frequently as well.  Livestream.com is usually doing high end, high quality with professional teams coming in the picture while ustream.tv is more people doing basic event streaming.

Some of the others out there include justin.tv, which is really good for the video game industry since they attract the gamer crowd, and a another oone called bambuser.com that is out of Sweden and is really popular over in Europe.

Another option to mention is Adobe Flash. It lets you set up your own streaming server on your own servers and platforms, or your own hosting site, and you can bypass all those third party services altogether and set up your own private streaming service.   So those are the most popular out there to use right now. I personally prefer to use livestream.com and ustream.tv the most.

Alonso: What are some of your favorite tools and equipment for online broadcasting ?

Colin: As far a equipment goes for broadcasting, cameras, laptops; using a portable system is my preference.

There are a lot of high-end systems like the Tri-Caster, one of the most elite broadcasting solutions out there right now, but its price point starts around $12,000 to $15,000 for the base model and the ideal model that you want is around is $24,000 t0 $25,000.  It is quite expensive if you’re going for that technology.

Then there is the lower-end technology that is more portable and I believe the next level down, it’s using high-end laptops with great video cards, and using telestream software which is wirecast. In my opinion that is the best software solution.

I am kind of going back and forth on using HDMI signals coming in and out, as opposed to firewire as I was using before on cameras.  I am starting to move to a combination of the two, just because then you get a higher quality video.

Black magic is also another hardware manufacturer that does an amazing job and they’ve been coming out with some great new live video broadcasting hardware devices to offload the processing from your laptop into a device that can handle 1080p high quality video to then just use the laptop for the cutting, mixing, and broadcasting.

Alonso: Live streaming opens the door, as you said, for more community and interaction to happen – so why won’t major TV networks live stream all their programming?

Colin: As far as broadcast networks putting their live video on the Internet (it’s) just an early phase of the game and they need to build (it) in to their operations’ workflows to have a moderator, which is the person there that is actually looking at the feeds coming in and allowing for interaction to take place, that’s still one of the bottlenecks. Also, this (Web broadcasting) industry is still just starting to develop itself and integrate itself into existing events and broadcasts so its slowly getting there.

With Google TV and Apple TV we are starting to see how broadcast networks can be more interactive.  It’s a matter of adoption and the broadcast networks are a lot more slow-moving than the smaller, more entrepreneurial organizations.

Alonso: What are your predictions for Live Interactive Broadcasting in 2012?

Colin: Your TV is gonna become smarter.  Google TV is starting to install Android on the back end of a lot of Sony TV sets that come equipped with it.  We are going to start seeing applications actually on our television sets that are also the applications that we could be using on our phones, so as those solutions proliferate and the market expands and manifests itself, we are going to see more interaction happening with your home television sets.

We are also going to see more live streaming interaction in mid-range events.   High end events will start doing online broadcasts thus not depending on networks to publicize their show. What may happen then is broadcast networks will still send out a camera operator to get sound bites from the shows then syndicate content from the recorded online broadcast of the show.

 

Connect with Colin on Twitter @ColinAC and check out his company Tenacious Ventures on Facebook.

 

Watch the video below to see the part of our interview where Colin shares more about how he became a live streaming expert.

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