Thursday, May 17, 2007

Podcasting with Ustream

I've heard a few podcasts recently where the podcaster recorded their show live in front of a Ustream audience. Ustream is basically a site which streams live webcam video and audio and provides a chat window for interaction.

On May 3rd, CC Chapman of Accident Hash broadcasted and recorded this show live with the talented Matthew Ebel in nearby "Metrowest Boston". I remember seeing the twitters about it at work, but of course Ustream is blocked from my work. I listened to the show later and it was really cool.

On May 8th, my favorite podcaster, Father Roderick, broadcasted the 300th episode of the Daily Breakfast live on Ustream. Thankfully, he also recorded it with his other video camera and posted the video which I watched later. During the live broadcast, UStream featured his stream on the front page and he had over a hundred viewers. Watching the video, you can really observe his craft: multi-tasking by fluently speaking a 2nd language, seamlessly clicking his bumpers in CastBlaster, adjusting sound levels, reading the chat window in Ustream, pulling up websites while playing listener feedback (they were talking about creating social sites using, all the while maintaining his cool and charisma.
I finally got to experience a Ustream podcast recording first hand when the Rosary Army recorded this show. In the chat window, people were complaining about the lighting and Greg would respond by moving lamps or switching the overhead light on an off. I made a comment about the camera automatically dimming after the light turned on, so Greg reached over and flipped the light switch a few more times. Near the end of the show, Greg pulled out a Fun Dip stick and showed all the Ustream viewers what it looked like (I had never seen one). After the recording of the show, the podcasters were finally able to turn their full attention to the Ustream viewers. Jennifer asked what image they should use for the show and I immediately typed "FUN DIP!". Lots of people agreed, and even though Greg and Jennifer seemed a bit reluctant since it was only a small side joke during the show, it did become the image. It was really cool to watch and be part of the whole process through Ustream.

Ustream definitely adds a whole new dimension to podcasting. There is direct interaction with the audience instead of feedback a few hours to a few days later. And as Fr. Roderick notes, even large audiences can be managed. With TalkShoe, you can have live audio chats, but it is really hard to weed out non-relevant and off topic comments. Dan Klass used TalkShoe for his 2nd anniversary of The Bitterest Pill, but the energy was a bit off and hard to control. With the Ustream chat window, you can ignore the fringe, pick which questions and comments to address and therefore provide direction for the show. Plus, if Fr. Roderick used Ustream everytime he podcasted, he would never be at a loss for an English word, although I find that very charming. I hope all podcasters will try out this new medium as it definitely adds value. Now, if only I can get the block from work lifted...

1 comment :

Bigqueue said...

It is funny how things have been "lining up for me" lately.....I just read your BLOG post here this afternoon and on the way to work I had just cued up DB 300. (but not yet listened to more than about 1 minute at the start)

That was the show he did on I have to go and peek at his video of the show on the SQPN website!

BTW: This is an excellent BLOG post....not that your regular posts are anything but great, I liked this one expecially.