Livestreaming a crowdfunded project
It's me, Kara, again! I host the once-a-month crowdfunded One Card Draw in my journal. This past month, I added livestreaming, so that everyone could watch me pick their cards, ask questions in comments and hear them answered live, and generally see the process as it happens.
Setting up the stream was easy. There are excellent programs online that will help you, and websites that will host the stream for you. The hard part is the preparation!
First off, you need a camera. There are a ton of webcams available, so finding one isn't hard-- but finding the right camera for your setup may be. For example, I run a mac desktop, and so many cameras aren't compatible with macs! If you run a windows based machine, you'll have it easier, but buyer beware! A camera that's $15 is likely not going to offer you the clarity that you want. And it probably doesn't have a microphone. If you want "all-in-one" for your camera setup, you're going to need to spend some money.
Remember that it's an investment, and see how long it will take for your particular camera to be paid off with your crowdfunded projects. (Or, if you lack the money up front, remember that there's always Kickstarter!)
Once you have the camera, set it up and run a test to see if everything is working ok. And remember that even if it seems fine during the test, it may not translate to the actual broadcast!
That's what happened to me. During my test run, everything sounded great. But during the actual draw, I had people complaining they couldn't hear me. We are hoping to fix that by adding a microphone, but we haven't run an actual test on the mic we got yet. (wish me luck!)
One thing I learned during my test run, it's much better to have a chat system so that people can talk to you real-time. I didn't have that for the first run-through, and I definitely want it for my second. Several of the programs online that will host your livestream offer them. My web-guru imbedded my video into my website, which is why I didn't have the chat option. We're working on a way to imbed chat into the website, and hopefully will have it for the next one. (*fingers crossed!*)
Overall, I found the livestream to be an awesome addition to my crowdfunded project! I got great feedback on it, too, and am looking forward to implementing it as a regular feature!