Your smartphone can be an outside broadcast truck thanks to live streaming. Facebook Live and Twitter's Periscope now go head-to-head. So how do you use them and what are the benefits?
by Dan Slee
It was probably when French Police fired CS gas at Stan Collymore that livestreaming started to make sense.
After England had drawn with Russia pitched battles broke out in the streets around the Marseille stadium where the game had taken place.
Talk Sport broadcaster Collymore used his mobile phone to give a running commentary on what was happening.
“It’s kicking off and the police are firing CS gas. There’s CS gas everywhere,” he said.
This wasn’t Kate Adie filing a carefully crafted BBC news package with cut aways and well judged images.
This was raw footage whose benefit is a realtime view point on what was happening right now.
Same day Gemma Pettman posted a Periscope broadcast the River Thames. She was stood on a barge taking part in a procession to mark the Queen’s 90th birthday.
This was unplanned and spur of the moment, she later said, and she had drawn on her earlier career as a broadcast journalist.
When to broadcast live
For 12-months we’ve been running workshops with comms2point0 to deliver with Stephen Davies and Sophie Edwards how to plan, shoot, edit and post short video. That’s still relevant for creating content.
When to livestream? When to be in that spot at that moment in time has value that’s when to use it. This could be an incident, an accident, a press conference or a behind-the-scenes sneak peak. Marrying realtime with the immediacy of video is a powerful tool.
The ability to broadcast live using a smartphone or tablet has been available for some time. The bambuser app did a good job. So did Google hangouts. You’ve been able to do it with YouTube for some time.
But the battle between Facebook Live and Twitter app Periscope has energised things and as smartphones have improved so has the picture quality. If not the subject matter. Using one of those two also make finding an audience much simpler. You can plug straight into a pre-existing community.
Benefits of Facebook Live
You reach a Facebook audience. With Facebook Live you can broadcast as a page, an individual profile or via the mobile app as a group. They’ve produced some handy tips here where they suggest you tell people a day in advance and respond to people by name. They also suggest a lengthy broadcast just so you catch more people. Once you are done you can keep it.
Right now, Facebook is trying to encourage you to use Facebook Live so your content will be shown to more people than a standard text or text and pic post.
Here Michael Vaughan gives a behind-the-scenes tour of the Lord's media centre during a rain break. Around 1,000 watched live and 24-hours later 13,000 people had watched it.
Benefits of Periscope
You reach a Twitter audience through the app here. One downside is that your broadcast only lasts for 24-hours before being deleted from the Periscope servers although you can save it to your phone’s camera roll – if your memory can take it. You can then export it to somewhere like YouTube so you have a permanent record. They’re also testing saving footage if you add #save to the hashtag, apparently.
Both platforms warn you not to point your broadcast at a screen. Sporting rights holders, for example, have taken a dim view of people live streaming a football match that sits behind a paywall, for example.
There's also the live telly risk of someone either saying something stupid on the screen or posting a comment to you that's abusive. That's a risk. As a viewer, there's always the risk of coming across inappropriate content as this post on a Periscope from the scene of a bomb in Thailand shows.
Eleven live broadcasts you could do and I'd like to see
1. A behind-the-scenes tour of a museum after hours.
2. An-up-to-the-minute update from a senior firefighter during a serious incident.
3. Explaining what is happening during an exercise by firefighters.
4. A Q&A with a police officer over crime in an area.
5. A resident showing you just how bad the traffic is at rush hour.
6. Emergency planners checking for live broadcasts during an incident for extra insight.
7. A press conference in realtime.
8. A protest outside a Town Hall.
9. A judging panel giving the verdicts of their deliberation.
10. An interactive vlog on a topic.
11. From a scenic beauty spot with a guide telling you about how marvellous
Dan Slee is co-founder of comms2point0.