2013 American Alliance of Museums - Why & How of Webcasting


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Presented at the 2013 American Alliance of Museums in a session on Webcasting with Mark Christal of The National Museum of the American Indian and Erin Blasco of The National Museum of American History, moderated by Darrin Milligan of the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access. We presented three facets of webcasting; the Why and How, Designing a Portable High-End System and Crafting and Evaluating a Webcasting Program.

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2013 American Alliance of Museums - Why & How of Webcasting

  1. 1. THE WHY AND HOW OFWEBCASTING (101)Reasons and tools for sharing your events with the world.Marc Bretzfelder - Streaming Media ProducerSmithsonian Institution - Bretzfelderm@si.edu
  2. 2. Why We Webcast Present CulturallySignificant People &Events Worldwide Preserve Content toMaximizing InstitutionalValue Disseminate toMaximizing SupporterValuePresent, Preserve, Disseminate40,380 Archived Views (5 years)
  3. 3. Present, Preserve, Disseminate: Narration• Narration: Why do we webcast? Well,for me, webcasting is motivated by thesame spirit as the Institution’s otherendeavors; to Present, Preserve andDisseminate.• In a given season, we may present talksby the surviving Greensboro Four,architect Maya Lin, actor and musicianRuben Blades, and a group of ShuttleAstronauts. They may share their lifestories with an audience of anywherefrom 100 to 200 lucky individuals, andthen they’re gone. One day, like all ofus, they’ll truly be gone. And theirpersonality as tellers of their own lifestories will be lost forever.• But webcasting these talks allows us toshare them live with a worldwideaudience, to preserve a record of thatexperience in our collection, and later, toshare it with people anytime/anywherevia a web archive.• The event I’m highlighting here, tookplace at the National Air and Spacemuseum in 2008. It is still available in itsentirety on YouTube. So far it has beenfound over 40,000 times. So, presentingit live to the public, and via an archive,has been a success.• Additionally, we now have a Digital AssetManagement System set up to store andretrieve high quality copies of theseevents. I need to find the 5 year oldtape, digitize it, and load it into theDAMS before the high quality versiondisappears forever.
  4. 4. Present, Preserve, Disseminate: Tips• Tips: Plan for the future of your digitalrecords. Gather up pdfs, calendarentries, and any other electronicmaterial related to the event that youcan. Store them in the same directory asyour digital copy of the event. You aregoing to want those documents toprovide metadata for your files whenyou upload them for public or scholarlyaccess to services like YouTube or yourown digital asset management system(DAMS). If your Institution doesn’t haveone now, it will. It’s no fun to try to findthat information retroactively, and it willnever be more accessible than just priorto the event. No one else but you willcare about that info after the event, soyou have to find and save it.• The Smithsonian has over 60 YouTubeChannels, managed by individualmuseums, research centers and units.• The “SmithsonianVideos” channel ishere,http://www.youtube.com/user/SmithsonianVideos and many of the otherchannels are linked from this page.• On this channel, most lives events areadded to a Lectures & Webcasts Playlist:• http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBB06E1D66953603B• If you have a day-long event, do yourviewers a favor and cut it up intoindividual presenters, then tie them alltogether in a playlist.
  5. 5. Why We Webcast Maximizes Exposure for Our Topics Our Experts Our InstitutionPresent Culturally Significant People & Events Worldwide335 live – 1,024 Archived (2 months)
  6. 6. Presenting Culturally Significant People & Events Worldwide:Narration and Tips• Narration: One big motivation forwebcasting is that it helps us tomaximize the exposure of topics ourstaff deem culturally important, as wellas the experts who present thosetopics, and the Institution as a whole.Everybody involved gains somethingfrom the increased exposure.• This event, a ballet choreographed andperformed by Osage students, waswebcast in April by Mark Christal, atthe National Museum of the AmericanIndian. There were perhaps 200people physically in the theater for theshow, but an additional 335 peopletuned in online live, and the YouTubearchive had picked up 1,024 views intwo months.• TIp: It’s important to let theartist/performer/expert(s) know thereis going to be a webcast and where itcan be seen. They will have friends,relatives, followers who will be anxiousto watch the event and that will drivean audience which you wouldotherwise be unable to access. Thepeople connected to the presenter aresome of the most motivated viewers ofthe event, and perhaps the mostimportant to the presenter. Everyone ishappier when family, friends, andcolleagues can attend from afar.
  7. 7. Why We Webcast Traditionally events are“One and Done”. Preserving Content Maximizes Sweat Equity Maximizes Return onInvestment Archives content for futuregenerationsPreserve Content to Maximize Institutional Value of Events177 live – 2,609 Archived (5 months)
  8. 8. Preserving Content to Maximize the Institutional Value of Events: Narration 1• Narration: A traditional event is Oneand Done. It’s presented to theaudience in the room, and when theapplause dies down, the event and itsimpact immediately dissipate. With awebcast however, we can maximizethe institutional value of our events bypreserving the content for future use.• We all know how much time, effort,and money goes into producing anypublic event. Your team has to identifythe topic, book the talent, makelogistical arrangements, promote theevent, invite people, prep the facilityand run the venue. By the time you’redone, dozens of people may have beeninvolved in pulling off a successfulevent; and anywhere from a fewhundred to perhaps tens of thousandsof dollars may have been invested. (Wedo host a lot of major events, andoften that’s donor money we’re talkingabout.) Depending on how it is done,layering on the webcast can meansimply adding one additional trainedstaff person to an event to set up gear,produce the online show, and createthe archive. That archived videobecomes a permanent record of ourcultural heritage that we then canmake available to our contemporariesas well as future generations.
  9. 9. Preserve Content to Maximize the Institutional Value of Events: Narration 2• Narration Continued: In this image,you see some folks floating around inmicrogravity. This was a live event forstudents with astronauts on theInternational Space Station who werewithin telecommunication range forabout a 20 minute window. The eventwas viewed on 177 computers, manyof these projected in classrooms, andthe archive has been clicked on 1,385times on Ustream and 1,224 times onYouTube. Now, I say clicked on ratherthan viewed, because saying viewedmay lead you to believe peoplewatched the entire thing, while clickedon conveys the more accurate ideathat someone made a consciousdecision to watch at least some part ofthe event. After the live webcast, ittook about 20 minute to prepare theUstream archive, and about two hoursof direct staff time to get it preparedand up on YouTube. With compressingand uploading, the file was probablyavailable on YouTube a day or twoafter the event.• Those numbers represent value to ourorganization, and help to justify theenergy expended pulling the eventtogether, because, believe me, workingwith NASA to make this window ofopportunity available to the public wasno small feat for the staff at Air andSpace.
  10. 10. Preserve Content to Maximize the Institutional Value of Events: Tips• Tip: Though it’s possible to get anevent back online as an archive quickly,sometimes almost immediately,properly managing original files post-event is a time consuming process. Asmentioned previously, you need togather the documents that describethe who, what, when, where, why, andhow of the event. Even moving thesefiles from one computer to anothercan be a hardship. Shuttling 45 or 150gigabyte files to external drives cantake hours. Compressing for differentpurposes takes a lot of time; not timesitting in front of the computerwaiting, but time setting it up, comingback and checking on it, moving theresulting files where they belong, etc.,all chip away at your day. Streamlininga file by cutting out long transitionsbetween speakers as PowerPoints areswitched, sets changed, or forbathroom breaks, all require editing;so if you commit to such streamlining(which I usually don’t) expect to beinvolved with a file for quite some timeafter an event. And let people knowthere is no magic here, you are makinga significant time commitment thatgoes beyond the end of the event. Ifediting is involved, you can easilyspend five times the length of theoriginal event manipulating the files.
  11. 11. Why We Webcast Dissemination ViaWebcast and Archive Increases Participation Increases Perceived Value Increases Relevance Creates a worldwide andtime-independentaudience for your eventsDisseminate to Maximize Supporter Value198,943 Archived Views (2 years)
  12. 12. Disseminate to Maximize Supporter Value: Narration• Narration: So we can see thatwebcasting provides value for us, but italso provides value to our constituents.• There are too few ways for those whopay our bills to reap the benefits oftheir investments. They can visitoccasionally, we can send them emailand magazines, we can answer theirquestions on Facebook. Whether weare talking about taxpayers, donors, orthose who have provided funding byeating or shopping at our Institution,it’s important to our continued fundingthat our constituents feel they arederiving value from our Institution.• Live webcasting events is yet anothersmall way to serve our supporters onan ongoing basis. Allowing them toattend an event virtually, essentiallysitting in the audience with a similarexperience to being there, is a greatperk.• And of course, the same gear thatproduces the webcast can also createthe archival recording as you can seehere. Maria Abramovid shared anevening of multimedia presentationsof decades of her performance art. Intwo years, the archive of this event hasbeen found by almost 200,000 peopleand has sparked 142 polarizedcomments on YouTube.
  13. 13. Disseminate to Maximize Supporter Value: Tips• Tip: Providing access is why we hostedthe event to begin with. Traditionallywe considered it a success to simplyprovide access to the few hundredpeople who could fit in ourauditoriums during the brief minutesof the event. That number dwindles tomeaninglessness when compared tothe access enabled by posting theseevents online. By digitally archivingyour events and making them availableonline, you are making them availableto almost anyone; perhaps for the restof history. If there was value in hostingthe event, there is infinitely more inpreserving and sharing it. I don’t thinkit will be long before these archiveswill be seen as more important thatwhatever justification there was forhosting the event to begin with.
  14. 14. Distributing Your Webcast Live Via Ustream If Ustream promotes, we often get largeaudiences (100s to 1000s) Incorporates Social Media and Chat If only we promote, audience can be small(10-30) Make it up in the archive Archived Via Ustream Events autoarchived here Archived Via YouTube Upload HD content Embed these copies on our sites Archived on iTunes Create Podcast, Register with iTunes Gets as many views as on YouTubeLive and Archived Distribution – Our Approach919 Archived Views (6 months)
  15. 15. Live and Archived Distribution – Our Approach: Tips• Tip: We typically webcast live on Ustream,which also creates an almost immediatearchive. (There is both autorecording andmanual. Manual means no trimming afterthe event.)• We next upload the HD quality file werecorded locally to YouTube (often a fewdays later as we need to compress toabout 15GB first). We embed the YouTubelink on our websites as it is the highestquality stream. (Ustream archives the livestream, whereas YouTube is fed an HD fileand can takes its time doing a high qualityencode.)• Finally, don’t forget options like podcasting(vodcasting). Create an RSS file linking toyour archived events.• Hint: You can use http://keepvid.com todownload great looking encoded versionsKeepvid gives you access to each of thosefiles to download to your server. Point tothese files on your server in the .rss whenyou create your podcasts. Create an HDpodcast and an SD podcast for mobileusing these files.• Register your podcasts with iTunes. iTunesstores nothing, but reads your RSS dailyand presents your podcast to peoplesearching iTunes.• On a sample set of 6 webcasts, in one yearwe had as many downloads via thepodcast link on iTunes as we had views onYouTube. About 12K in each instance. Anddownloading is a bigger commitment.
  16. 16. Producing Your Webcast Solar Observatory Preexisting USB camrunning to a monitor foron-site visitors Added Ustream Account Stream for a few hours perweek 9000 Views in 12 monthsGetting Started: Webcam Streaming Case Study9000 Live – 850 Archived (1 year)
  17. 17. Getting Started: Webcam Streaming Case Study: Narration 1• Narration: And there are evenopportunities to go beyond one-offevents.• If you already have a webcam, you cannow make it interactive viawebcasting. In this example, TheSmithsonian Public Observatory hasbeen streaming live images of the sunfor a few hours a week over the pastyear. They already had a special USBcamera installed on the eyepiece ofthe solar telescope and were running itto a PC to display the image on amonitor where they would discussobservations with visitors. One day Istopped in to see what they weredoing, sat down for an hour to sort outsome software questions, and thenstarted streaming from an existingUstream account. They liked it, wetalked it over, and soon we had theirown show set up on Ustream.• The educators are at the observatorytalking to the public for about 3 hours,3 days a week, if the sun is visiblethrough the clouds. When they openthe observatory, they start streamingand Ustream automatically sends out atweet on the Observatory Twitteraccount. The facilitators spend theirtime interacting with visitors, andoccasionally glance over at theUstream page looking for questions.
  18. 18. Getting Started: Webcam Streaming Case Study: Narration 2 and Tips• Narration Continued: They fieldoccasional questions via the built-inUstream Social Stream (which utilizesTwitter) and they get retweets everytime they go live. There are about 40viewers during an average 3 hourstretch. When they were last featuredon the Ustream homepage, theypicked up 1000 viewers in an hour. TheObservatory account has 500 followerson Ustream, which means 500 peoplehave elected to receive an emailwhenever the video stream goes live.• Tip: Ustream also integrates withFacebook. You can create a tab on yourFacebook Fan Page that hosts thewebcast and provides an opportunityfor people to Post about, Comment on,and Like the webcast.• http://www.ustream.tv/channel/smithsonian-public-observatory-project
  19. 19. Producing Your WebcastGetting Started: The Basic Gearhttp://www.ustream.tv/producer
  20. 20. Getting Started: The Basic Gear: Narration• Narration: So, what do you need toproduce a webcast? There are manyanswers, but the basic components area camera, a video capture device, anencoding computer and a streamingservice or server to replicate thestream out to your audience.
  21. 21. Producing Your Webcast Starter Laptop System Use Built-in webcam and mic Sign up for Ustream Account Download Ustream Producer Load a PowerPoint Stream Your Presentation You’ll have Twitter and Chatat your fingertipsGetting Started: You May Have A Webcasting System On Your Lap Right Nowhttp://www.ustream.tv/producer
  22. 22. You May Have A Webcasting System On Your Lap Right Now: Narration 1• Narration: I would venture to bet thatmany of you have a Webcasting StarterSystem on your lap right now. If youhave a laptop with a built-in camera,you can sign up for an account atUstream and experiment withwebcasting this afternoon. This setupis suitable for webcasting an eventwith one presenter whose sole desireis to present to an online audience. It’snot gonna work for webcasting froman auditorium full of people PLUS aweb audience. With this web-onlyaudience, you are free to give yourcomplete attention the camera andcomputer screen that you are sharingwith them.• To get started, we are going to useUstream.TV, as we have a lot ofexperience with them. First you wantto sign up for a free, ad-supportedaccount. Then, download the UstreamProducer from http://ustream.tv/producer. When you open Producer itwill find your built-in camera and mic,and when you log into the Ustream, itwill know everything it needs to knowto stream to your Show. Ustreamsbusiness model is your content, theirads.
  23. 23. 1 – Ustream Producer2 – Streaming Output3 – Shot List (4,5,6)4 – Built-In Cam Shot5 – PowerPoint Shot6 – Cam + PowerPointShot (Picture-In-Picture)7 – PIP Source Selector8 – Shot Audio Selector9 – PIP Layout10 -Twitter/FacebookEntry Box11 – Broadcast &Record Buttons12 – Desktop Presenter13 – PowerPoint SlideStreaming A PowerPoint and Lecturer
  24. 24. You May Have A Webcasting System On Your Lap Right Now: Narration 2 & Tips• Narration Continued: The layout I havehere includes the Lecturer on the built-in cam and mic, along with aPowerPoint, all being streamed to aremote audience.• You can see the social media featuresat 10, and the various shots you canchoose from at 3-6. These include afull screen shot of the camera, one ofthe PowerPoint (or anything else onyour screen you want to share), and aPicture-In-Picture shot that has thePowerPoint and the Lecturer side-by-side. This windows (2) shows what isbeing streamed.• Tips: Ustream Sign-Uphttp://ustream.tv• Producer Downloadhttp://www.ustream.tv/producer• Using Ustream Producer withPowerPointhttps://ustream.zendesk.com/entries/22991058-Broadcasting-a-PowerPoint-presentation-using-Ustream-Producer
  25. 25. Producing Your Webcast A First Auditorium System Pan/Zoom Camera toPodium or Stage Pull in Remote PowerPoint Capture Quality AudioGetting Started: Adding an External Camera and Audio$900 Cam & Accessories + $1269 Tripod + Laptop
  26. 26. Adding an External Camera and Audio: Narration 1• Narration: When you are ready to takethe next step, and invite people atremote locations to join an audience atthe museum for an event, you’ll needto step up your game. You’ll want toget an external camera and highquality audio. While these days we gopretty high end at many locations atthe Smithsonian, you can still achieve alot with a Mac laptop, and someoutboard gear. With an investment ofabout $900 for an okay camera, audioconverter, a capture device, as well asan additional $1300 for a good tripod,(and a hopefully preexisting laptop),you’re ready to give it a shot. With oneexternal camera you can movebetween a wide shot of your stage anda tight shot of your podium. But here’swhy you need to invest in a goodtripod. If you zoom the camera, anddon’t have a second camera or aPowerPoint slide to cut to, people aregoing to see you jerking the cameraaround. A good tripod, and practice,can make watching your movesbearable. A cheap tripod can makeyour entire event look amateurish.
  27. 27. Adding an External Camera and Audio: Narration 2• Narration Continued: Just as with ourearlier laptop-only example, you canpull in the presenter’s PowerPoint withDesktop Presenter, only this time youwill load the Desktop Presentersoftware on the presenter’s computerand pull the image across the networkfrom their screen as they present.• If you have a Mac laptop, the gearcomes to about $900 plus another$1269 for a decent tripod, thatimportantly can shoot over people’sheads as they arrive late to your event.Beware of leveling-bowl tripods thatdon’t have a cranking neck. If you can’traise the tripod above 6 ft, late arrivingpeople will walk in front of your shot.Remember that you’ll still be using thesame tripod in a decade, after you’vegone through a number of cameras,but there is no cheap route to a goodtripod.
  28. 28. Adding an External Camera and Audio: Tips• Tips: DON’T BUY ANYTHING UNTIL YOUTALK TO YOUR AV or IT STAFF. Unless youare AV-savvy, you are going to want theirhelp. Don’t antagonize them. Let themgive you some advice/feedback. It willmake them feel good. And if it turns outthere is anything wrong with the gear, itmakes them partially responsible andmorally require them to help you sort itout. There may be a reason they wantyou to buy a slightly more expensivecamera with a feature that is importantto them. THEY MAY HAVE SOME MONEYAND WANT YOU TO PURCHASESOMETHING THAT HAS A DUAL USE.There are many reasons to get theminvolved/entangled in this, so unless theyare malicious or a roadblock, includethem. They know some things.• Also, I don’t buy inexpensive solutionsanymore. I have Big Boy Toys. So I ammaking suggestions here of gear I haven’tused myself, which is always a risk. Itdoes come recommended by forum usersat the Telestream website. (Telestreamproduces Ustream Producer for Ustream,and YouTube Producer for YouTube, aswell as their professional product,Wirecast, from which these two strippeddown versions derive. Check that out too.The Telestream forum is a good place forresearch and war stories:http://forum.telestream.net/forum/
  29. 29. Adding an External Camera and Audio: Gear 1• Camera Canon Vixia with HDMI output$500http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/838772-REG/Canon_M500_VIXIA_HF_M500_Full.html HDMI Video Out to MiniRecorder• Mini Recorder $137.75 – ConvertsHDMI output of camera toThunderbolt input of Machttp://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/892453-REG/Blackmagic_Design_bdlkulsdzminrec_Ultrastudio_Mini_Recorder.html• Thunderbolt Cable $64.25 – Takesaudio and video from Mini Recorderinto Thunderbolt port on Machttp://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/898255-REG/Startech_tboltmm3m_Thunderbolt_Cable_Black.html• BeachTek DXA-2T Dual XLR CamcorderAdapter $179Adjusts professional XLR feed of PublicAddress System to minijack audioinput on camerahttp://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=dxa-2t&N=0&InitialSearch=yes&sts=ma&Top+Nav-Search=Stereo Mini Cable
  30. 30. Adding an External Camera and Audio: Gear 2• Stereo Mini Cable $2.50 (Get shorter) -takes audio form Beachteck intoCamerahttp://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/133830-REG/Comprehensive_MPS_MPS_6ST_MPS_MPS_6ST_Stereo_Mini_Male.html• Tripod $1269http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/683639-REG/Manfrotto_504HD_504HD_Head_w_536_3_Stage.html• You’ll need an XLR Feed fromauditorium sound system• Cameras at the next tierhttp://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?atclk=Sensor+Size_1%2f3%22&Ns=p_PRICE_2%7c1&ci=1881&N=4256818814+4293918132+4249888297+4289251023+4289251031+4289251032+4289251033
  31. 31. Producing Your WebcastGetting Started: Going Ad-Free on Ustream
  32. 32. Going Ad-Free on Ustream: Narration and Tips• Narration: Remember, Ustream isgoing to be placing ads on yourstreams. We are ad-free, but we wereearly adopters and have a goodrelationship with Ustream. You can goad-free on Ustream too, but it will costyou. For example, for $99 a month,you can have 100 viewers for a live 1hour event, or 50 viewers each for twoone hour events, etc. For $500 permonth, you can have 400 viewers of 10one hour events, or 200 viewers for 20hour long events, etc. If you need ad-free, and money is an object, there’sstill hope (on the next slide).• Tip: We utilized Ustream and YouTubefor years with ads. It was a great wayto test the concept and prove its valuewhile keeping costs down. Ustreamhas offered some discounts forMuseums and Non-profits, so talk tothem about that if you chose to go ad-free.
  33. 33. Producing Your Webcast Go Ad-Free for Free onYouTube Apply for the YouTubeNonprofit ProgramGetting Started: Ad-Free via YouTube Nonprofit Programhttp://www.youtube.com/nonprofits
  34. 34. YouTube Nonprofit Program: Narration and Tips• Narration: YouTube has an Ad-Freestreaming offering for nonprofits. Setup a YouTube account, then visithttp://youtube.com/nonprofits toenroll. YouTube also offers Ad-freewebcasting for Federal Agencies undera specific agreement with the GSA.• Tip: We can stream live either onUstream or YouTube. To date, Ustreamhas provided larger audiences becausethey are in the business of promotinglive events, while it is a sideline rightnow for YouTube. We usually streamlive via Ustream, which also producesan archive there. We then take ourhigh quality original files, recordedlocally, and upload those to YouTubefor archiving. We embed the YouTubeversions on our web pages because thevideo is of higher quality due to thehigh quality files we upload. We seemto get more live viewers via Ustream,and more archived views via YouTube;which would make sense based ontheir respective models and theexpectations of their respectiveviewers. People go to Ustream lookingfor live, and YouTube looking to searchfor archived material (even if peopledon’t think of it as an archive).
  35. 35. YouTube Nonprofit Program: Tips 2• Tips From Govloop Forum:http://www.govloop.com/forum/topics/utilizing-youtube-as-a• ‘Thanks for your interest in starting aYouTube channel for your government,government department, or governmentagency. If you like, you can start aYouTube channel right away by creatingan account and posting videos. One timeat the end of every month, YouTube willtransfer any new government channels to"branded" - thus allowing you to upload abranded banner to the top of yourchannel, and giving you the ability toupload longer videos to the site.We do not have the capacity to do this morethan one time per month, so please bepatient if you dont hear back right away -account.To enter your application for abranded channel, please send an email togovernment [at] youtube.com with thefollowing 5 pieces of information: The nameof your government, governmentdepartment, or agency. ● Your .gov websiteURL. ● The account name youve registeredon YouTube (i.e., your YouTube username). ●The email address you are using to managethe account. ● Any other information youwant to tell us about your plans to launch thechannel, and what types of content you planto post.
  36. 36. Producing Your Webcast Google Grants: Free AdWords advertising topromote your website on Google throughkeyword targeting. YouTube for Nonprofits: Premium brandingcapabilities on YouTube channels, increaseduploading capacity, the ability to selectcustom thumbnail images, and Call-to-actionoverlay on your videos. Google Earth Outreach Grants: Freelicensing for Google Earth Pro and Maps APIfor Business. Google Apps for Nonprofit: Free version ofGoogle Apps for NonprofitsGetting Started: Ad-Free via Google For Nonprofits Programhttp://www.google.com/nonprofits
  37. 37. Google For Nonprofits Program: Narration• Narration: Also check out Google forNonprofits. This program includes ad-free YouTube streaming, but also rollsin a lot of other tools. My wife’snonprofit, for example, gets $10,000 inGoogle adwords advertising freeeveryone month. The program alsogets you other Google tools, as youcan see here. Check outgoogle.com/nonprofits.