Webcasting and Video for Museum Programs


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The Postal Museum wanted to bring our on-site public programs (particularly lectures and talks) to audiences beyod ou

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  • This talk and roundtable discussion may be most helpful if you’re considering creating videos of your museum’s educational offerings. If you’re already doing this, your expertise will be a really valuable addition to the discussion. If you’ve never considered doing this, my session might inspire you to think about it or to create your own model of connecting on-site programs and content with online visitors, and I hope you’ll share what your organization does do or why you have chosen not to go this direction. My presentation is on videotaping and webcasting museum public programs (particularly lectures and workshops) to increase access to people who live far away (or have other barriers to on-site participation), engage off-site visitors in on-site programming*, and to recycle and archive program content. While many museums use video for PR and other purposes, my project was to use video as a tool in extending the reach of educational programming. My point of view is that I work at a medium-sized museum that couldn’t afford a CNN-style studio but wanted to make videos well above the quality of a webcam. We designed a flexible, in-between sized video solution to meet our goals.Participants will come away with thoughts about how video might extend their public programs beyond the walls of their building, a few helpful guideposts to aide their decisions about how to use video, pitfalls to avoid, and some inspirational ideas about how program videos are a great way to do museum education. My session begins with an informal poll followed by a presentation. The second half is a roundtable discussion in which participants will share models in use at their museums, discuss successes/failures, and swap ideas for putting video to work for public programs and other museum uses.
  • Raise your hand if your museum does this or something kind of similar. Can you tell us a little about what you do. I’m in no way claiming I invented this or that this is especially unique. We don’t do this better than other museums. But I’ve been doing this for about two years and wanted to share what I learned. When I first decided that NPM should and had to try this, I could NOT get Google to reveal to me how to do it or how to make decisions about the equipment to buy or the way to plan this out. Define webcasting vs. youtube
  • It’s easy to find information about how webinars, webcasting, and video fit into marketing, PR, and corporate models but not so easy on museum education. I can barely set up my DVD playerI’m mostly confident with computers and tech as a userI do technical work as part of my job, not just as a user I know computer languages
  • Here’s what spurred the talk. When I started taking on some social media responsibilities, I saw it as a great way to promote on-site programming. But far-off fans and people with busy schedules would ask for access. Or ask us to send the curator to their town. Or ask for a transcript. Busy people would say, “That’s interesting and I live nearby so I’d be able to attend but Saturdays don’t work for me.” This hint of interest from around the country came at a time when I was already frustrated with on-site programming in some ways: My lecture hall was never packed yet I knew people in the world were interested in the topic Content disappeared after programs. Genius authors would present their topics, curators would showcase their research, and afterwards it just disappeared. It wasn’t re-usable or easy to archive. This was annoying to me but also to the audience. Once in a while I’d see a student furiously scribbling notes because the talk related to a paper they had to write—a video of the program would have allowed them to refer to the lecture once at their desks and even link to it in their paper. On-site interactions were great but didn’t continue online before/after on-site programs. Online conversations were also great but didn’t include or have access to on-site programs. I thought, hey maybe video can solve some of these issues. If I videotaped programs, I could maybe get the far-off people to have some access while also maybe reusing the content. And the on-site folks might benefit from being able to access the online content in addition to the on-site stuff. If you arrived 10 minutes late because the metro was delayed, you could re-watch the first ten minutes online to see what you missed! Even if my lecture hall had been packed, I think I would have considered program videos a way to perhaps alleviate space concerns or take obviously popular topics to new audiences. So I looked for examples online.
  • Even if you do have all of the information you need at your fingertips, you can still make the wrong decision, buy the wrong equipment, or go the wrong direction if you don’t have your goals articulated. Yes, you could buy a camera and use it for whatever purpose presents itself. But what about the microphone? The laptop? The lighting? If you INSTALL A STUDIO and then realize you need to take your stuff on the road like MOHAI minute, you’ll kick yourself for not establishing a few goals first and weighing these factors. What might your goals be?
  • I don’t know very well if I’m doing a great job recycling content but I know I have a strong archive to pull from. I also think I need to work harder to make these programs social for online viewers and connect on-site viewers to online resources before and after programs. But at least I do know that people have this access and I can build on that. So how did I do this? I want to give you two tools in case you decide to try this because I guarantee it’s not something you can find in a Google search because that’s where I was at.
  • I just couldn’t find the Goldilocks “just right” sized program.I did enough research and relied on a Smithsonian expert to help me make this decision. Afterwards, I created a menu to share with people that explains the different models for programming video. I wish I’d had this when I got started! I didn’t realize the number of trade offs that were required in this decision-making process. Quality levels, audience engagement, target audience, price, etc—each of these factors was closely tied to others and each decision meant I was trading something off.
  • I won’t walk through this since it’s a handout. This chart just shows four different options for program videos. There’s a basic description of each one. I explain how engaging the model can be then point out some good things and less good things about each model.
  • And obviously budget! In the next slide: WHYYYY?
  • Art Babble! They created a platform for art videos as opposed to YouTube. I loved this model (curator in front of an object) but I am responsible for 40 on-site programs/year and don’t have time between festivals and workshops to do interview-style spotlighting videos. These are great and popular but I also need to provide on-site opportunities. I need to use one program for two purposes, two audiences. I later found out—that aint easy. I knew I didn’t want to create my own platform—I probably needed to rely on pre-existing homes for video—but I was inspired that conversation was so highly placed in the Art Babble goals. I thought it was great that high quality is part of their mission, too. With art, you need to see the brush strokes! But really there isn’t that much conversation! Videos don’t float to the top if they’re highly discussed. Art Babble is re-doing the sight and considering including a babble-o-meter.
  • These videos are high enough quality to be engaging and passable but they aren’t so slick that you think, “I could never make that.” Semi-homemade quality is great. It’s very Seattle. Some of the videos even include rock music! The homemade kind of vibe didn’t decrease the visuals—you could still see the park, water tower, or giant clock they were talking about. With these big, site-specific objects, the format was great. Again, I couldn’t opt for this model without decreasing my on-site programs. But I loved the feel of it. And it made me think I could grab a camera and go—just like the upbeat hosts of the MOHAI minute. I liked how they addressed the viewer directly and were like personal tour guides. I knew my lectures wouldn’t be this exciting but the MOHAI folks inspired me to think about short-ness. Maybe I could make little clips of the best fun facts and add some jazzy graphics!
  • Wow, there are people in the audience watching on-site and people online watching live—they’re using one program for two purposes and people are loving it. This model really appealed to me. I knew the slick vibe of this set wouldn’t be within my budget but I wanted to try a medium-sized version of this in my swing space. (Later I realized that the reason 866 people watched this live is that these are ASTRONAUTS, celebrities, big names. If I didn’t have that type of speaker, I might not be able to get live views.) These Models Were Great, but… I couldn’t find out HOW to do them and they didn’t quite fit with what I wanted to do. But when I went searching for how to accomplish this, I couldn’t figure out how to replicate and adapt this model. Google failed me!
  • In the future, I’d like to offer something exclusive to online viewers, such as a post-program Q&A with the author where the author sits in front of the camera and the live audience is gone. Maybe the speaker saves a special anecdote or artifact for them. The on-site viewers could watch it later but for the online folks this would be a great gesture. Really simple stuff… open the online viewing space well before the lecture starts so they don’t see a blank box. Encourage them to engage with each other!
  • My first webcast was in January of 2010 so I’ve been doing this for a year and ten months. I’ve learned a lot but barely had time to implement the changes I need to make. This all sounds rather sad and negative but the good news is that now that I’ve capture the video footage and completed the program, the video can be edited into highlight clips and made somewhat evergreen. A video on the 40th anniversary of the postal strike, for example, will be useful when we celebrate the 45th anniversary and some people who spoke at the program are too elderly to travel to be at the 45th anniversary.
  • Webcasting and Video for Museum Programs

    1. 1. Videotaping & Webcasting Public Programs: Access, Learning Experiences, and Recycling Erin Blasco, programs coordinator, Smithsonian National Postal Museum @erinblasco  blascoe@si.edu
    2. 2. Me & the Postal Museum• Smithsonian museum but on the small side (40 staff members) for SI• 35-40 on-site programs each year• 8-10 programs videotaped & stream live online• “Online programs” such as a #postalquiz on Twitter and a historic dog’s Facebook page
    3. 3. Public Program Videos Go Online Smart person gives a lecture, talk, or workshop On-site audience enjoys the program. Before and after, they can engage with program content online Flexible set of camera, mics, and laptops video tape the talk and broadcast it it live online Online, viewers can watch live, participate in conversation via socialLater, video can be edited into short clips, media, or watch later at theirshared, archived, podcast-ed, and more convenience
    4. 4. How This Presentation Might Be Helpful to You• Maximize resources by re-using and re- purposing programs using video• Reach out to audiences, have a competitive edge• Give your audiences access to programming during a snowstorm, across the miles, at 2:00 in the morning, or in their pajamas• Even if you can’t do this immediately, the tips and tools here might be useful in the next few years
    5. 5. Advanced Organizer• Informal poll: – What brings you here?• Blah, blah, blah: – How we do this and great examples from others – Lessons learned – Best practices – How this fits into the museum education landscape• Roundtable discussion – Jump in anytime! On-site and online programs reflected on the programs page
    6. 6. Why I Started Thinking about Programming and Video• Social media sparked a demand for access to programs from around the country and for flexible timing.• At the same time, I was frustrated: – Almost empty lecture hall – Content vanished – On-site interactions dead-ended there – Online interactions missed out on programming Sparsely attended Interest from Facebook lecture fans
    7. 7. Why YOU Might Think about Video• Barriers to on-site attendance• Bring museum programs and content to schools, senior groups, partner organizations• Fit into busy schedules• Docent on demand• Save and re-use• What else?
    8. 8. My Goals• Provide access to programming to folks beyond my lecture hall• Archive and recycle program content• Bring the social element of on-site programs online, asynchronous and live. Give on-site visitors ability to engage online, too.
    9. 9. Achieving the Goal of Providing Access• For 16 programs that had on-site and online components…• 19,848 online views (live and canned) Way – 7605 live more than my – 12,243 canned (archived on YouTube or UStream) lecture• 495 on-site audience members hall Program Views holds! Live Online Views Canned Online Views On-site Audience
    10. 10. When Googling Museum Program Video Models…• I could only find tiny and huge options: Low I couldn’t find a Huge budget film narrated budget, grain medium-sized by Morgan Freeman y webcam model type stuff• Little did I know, size is only ONE of the things that mattered!
    11. 11. Menu of Options Engagement Model The 101 Audience Pluses Minuses Level Face-to-face The museum and the interaction Highest level of Viewers need equipment. viewers have video through a engagement; video Video Classroom, club, The recorded version of the conferencing equipment. private video quality is great soConferencing You see them, they see you, stream. Very special group your museum objects video is less engaging to watch. all in real time. engaging for that are crystal clear group. Broadcast live video via Viewers of the Recording a copy of the video Anyone with Best way to get live free sites like UStream. webcast interact while broadcasting live internet can watch interaction with lots Anyone with internet can with each other stream, can sacrifice some the live video at the of people. RecordedWebcasting tune in. Viewers interact and the museum appointed time or video available online quality. Picture quality isn’t live via social media. When via Twitter, chat, great. People may not tune in the archived video promptly after event is over, video or other social to the webcast unless it’s a later. program. remains for future viewing. media. big event. The museum makes a Edited video can be video of a program. Video Anyone who can There will be a delay Viewers and the more pleasing to editing software is then watch a cute cat between the live program Tape, used to trim the video to museum can post comments video on YouTube watch than raw video. Editing can create and the video being madeedit, post ideal length and delete bloopers. The video is on the video at can access and comment on the multiple versions of available online. Editing is a specialized skill that takes any time. the video for different posted online for viewing video. time to learn and do. uses, audiences. and commenting. Posting the video Raw video may not be asTape and The museum makes a video of a program and Same as above. Same as above. provides access to the program, plain and pleasing to watch online. post posts the video online. simple. Workload is There may be a delay in posting the video. low.
    12. 12. Other Decision-Making Factors• Who – Intended audience(s): online and in person – What expertise will you rely on? Who will operate, edit, post?• What – Primary and secondary types of content – Organization’s quality standards• When – How frequently will you do this? Just contract out a single project? – Live streaming or canned video? Will people tune in live? How quickly do you want your video to appear online during/after?• How – Budget? Maybe share equipment with a nearby site?• Where – Flexibility, transportability, fixed studio, storage, lighting, acoustics Curator by an object is different from curator at a podium
    13. 13. Inspirational Examples• Art Babble – “free flowing conversation, about art, for anyone.” – Created by a folks at the Indianapolis Museum of Art to showcase video art content in high quality format from a variety of sources and perspectives.
    14. 14. Inspirational Examples• MOHAI Minute – Museum of History and Industry (Seattle, WA) – A series of quickies that take you on a time-traveling journey to some of Seattles most fascinating historic spots. – Silly, fun, and a great way to sample MOHAI themes and topics
    15. 15. Inspirational Examples• National Air and Space Museum live webcasts and archive• 866 people watched this live online• Over 3,000 people watched later
    16. 16. Best Practices in Providing Access to Programs through Video• On-site and online are two different programs! Each audience has needs to meet• “Providing access” is more than hitting “record.” Be as good a host for online folks: – Provide handout – Comfortable setting – Online exhibit tour – Solicit feedback – Say thank you – Offer something special – Unique PRFront door for plans online viewers
    17. 17. Providing Access Continued: PowerPoint Slides• Share presenters’ PowerPoint slides using SlideShare• Or pull slides directly into the video feed and toggle between the speakers’ face and slides – WireCast software makes this quite easy (plus lots of other features). You can install a free screen sharing “Picture program on the laptop that is in projecting the speakers’ slides and picture” have that beam directly to your shot streaming video laptop.
    18. 18. Best Practices: Archiving & Recycling Program Content• Create short highlights clips• Embed video into blog posts, website, and Facebook pages, not just YouTube channel• Many ways to re-use and repurpose: podcasts, in exhibits, QR codes, etc Scan the QR code to watch a clip of the curator• Offer content in non-video discussing this artwork formats: tweet/Facebook fun facts, for example
    19. 19. Does anyone have a question for the curator?• Integrate social media for questions and comments before, during, after• Use a hashtag so viewers can chat• Bring on-site visitors into the online conversation: tell them where to re- connect with content, share with friends• Share related content
    20. 20. Welcomingwebcasting page
    21. 21. Try to Limit the “House Keeping” Introduction because it Irritates Online Viewers• Silence cell phones• No flash photography• Complete the survey; onsite folks win a prize if they complete the survey• Upcoming programs• Exhibit openings• Introducing the speaker• Let’s get to the show!
    22. 22. Faceplants: Stuff I Wish I’d Known• Live vs. canned – “Live” is nice when it’s an astronaut but not always key – Museum-quality objects but they’re just fuzzy pixels• Realism about engagement – Most people watch/spectate, not engage – Coming up with a way to evaluate these programs is tough.• Not everything is recyclable – A 45-minute video is really, really long; editing is hard• Tips – Prepare the speaker – Be prepared for reticent speakers, fear of the
    23. 23. Program Videos & the Museum Education Landscape• “Open Education” & personal education plans• Beyond lectures – teaching skills, action• How can online participants really shape online programming and have it respond to their interests? Can they re-mix it?
    24. 24. Roundtable• What do you wish you could do with video?• What barriers are there? What models does your organization use?• What other ways can programming have a lasting impact and not disappear after the program?
    25. 25. How To Webcast• Create a free account on Ustream.tv or other free live stream website. This is your “channel” where fans call follow and view your videos. You can embed the live channel onto your museum website if you want.• Use a video camera that is compatible with webcasting (has a FireWire port). Use a computer or laptop that also has this port.• Plug camera into the computer via FireWire port.• Use built-in microphones on camera or purchase external mic.• Hit “record” on your camera to record the video to the camera’s tape or drive. This is a great backup/archival copy.• Hit “begin broadcast” on your Ustream page. Hit “begin record” to save the video to your channel.• Program begins. Use Ustream’s chat box to interact with viewers or another social media outlet.• When the lecture is over, hit “end broadcast.” You will be prompted to save the video. After some processing time, the video will be viewable on Ustream and able to be posted on YouTube, your site, etc.• End the recording on your camera. Retain the tape as an archival
    26. 26. Possible Shopping List• Canon XHA1 video camera: $2,900 – I opted for High Def but you can get a camera in the $300-800 range that will be awesome• External XLR mics: $350• Batteries for mics: $15 Cheaper• Tripod: (found one for free) than paying• Lighting kit: $199 (optional) contractor• Editing software: $99 (optional) s• WireCast software $470 (optional)• Filmmaking 101 class: $700 (optional)
    27. 27. I’d love to hear from you! Erin Blasco, programscoordinator, Smithsonian National Postal Museum @erinblasco  blascoe@si.edu