Category Archives: Help

Biz 101 – Tackle Broadcasting Like a Pro

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Last week, the Seattle Seahawks raised the 12th man flag atop the Space Needle; creating a powerful visual for an entire city to rally behind their winning team. Thanks to their Ustream broadcast, this special moment was not only shared by onlookers and the city of Seattle, but Seahawks fans around the world. By harnessing the power of live, the Seahawks have initiated a hub for fans to connect and engage with their favorite team.

We can’t guarantee a Super Bowl ring, but these helpful tips inspired by the Seahawks and other NFL teams will definitely help you win big in your broadcasts (insert end-zone dance here).

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Best in Show: Put Your Best Paw Forward with These Live Tips

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This past weekend, Ustream celebrated an epic overload of cuteness thanks to the AKC Eukanuba Dog Show. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights of their prestigious event, and shed some insight on how to make your animal cam (or any broadcast for that matter) go from AWW to Awesome.

Get ready to put your best paw forward with these great tips inspired by the AKC/Eukanuba National Championships!

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The 10 Commandments For a Successful Live Stream Event

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Houses of worship are embracing the use of streaming video, as ministries are successfully increasing their community’s outreach to a worldwide audience. In case you missed today’s LIVE webinar, here is a recap of best tips and practices from our very Alden Fertig, and special guest Dan Houze, Media Ministry Coordinator at St. Monica’s Church.

By following these commandments faithfully, any broadcaster can stream an event of Biblical proportions! Here are some helpful tips and tricks to get you on track to a righteous stream.

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Lights, Camera, USTREAM! Your Gif Guide to Looking Your Best Live

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Lights, camera, USTREAM! As the term ‘social video’ permeates the technology trending space, consumers and brands alike are looking for innovative ways to benefit from live broadcasting. And when it comes to being in front of a camera, you must always have your best foot forward. So my ‘gif’ to you this holiday season, dear Ustreamers, is a blog stuffed with amusing animations on how to look lovely while live streaming. 

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Dead Air – The Live Stream Killer

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akaufman1.jpgBack in the 1950’s and 60’s, much (if not most) early broadcast radio and television programming was produced and broadcasted live.

The skills of producing a live broadcast were refined and improved through the years. Early radio broadcasters like Alan Freed and Dick Clark, TV soap operas like As The World Turns and The Edge Of Night, most US News coverage, sporting events like the Superbowl and of course shows such as Saturday Night Live all have also used live television as a device to gain viewers by making their programs more (or atleast appear) exciting.

But the skills these producers used, whether for the 1969 Landing on the Moon, the ’96 Dallas Cowboys Superbowl victory or the live episode of ER in ’97, are no different than for a live Ustream show or event. Since we launched the company in March, the most successful broadcasts on Ustream utilize these somewhat forgotten techniques of broadcasting.

So what in the world am I getting at? There are basic production skills Ustreamers can follow to make their live shows and events more appealing and ultimately more successful.

1. Dead Air is a live stream killer. A live broadcast needs to keep flowing, stay interesting, and keep moving. Failure to do so will cause people to stop watching. We are all busier than ever in our lives and don’t have time for dead air.

2. Start The Broadcast Before The Show Starts. Some call it pre-show, others loop music, but letting people know a show will start soon increases the number of people who wait around for it to start. If you are streaming a conference, turn the camera on and stream the audience, even if it hasn’t started yet. If you do a talk show, use Camtwist to loop some music and put text on the feed that says “Starting at 9pm”. If you are streaming your local high school football game, stream the athletes warming up. In my experience, allowing people to start “gathering” to watch the live event dramatically increases your viewership.

3. Take advantage of the chat. We have found that people tend to stick around for a live show about 5 times longer if you have the chat. The reason is simple: engagement. Engagement is both attention AND interaction. Giving people the ability to interact with others during your broadcast will keep them there longer.

4. When Possible, Stream At Sametime Every Week. Obviously this is not possible if you are streaming a one time event, but for episodic content, begin at the same time each week. The predictability of a show helps people plan and makes it easier for them to remember you are on.

This isn’t the full list of techniques, however, they are a few basic things broadcasters can do to increase their viewership. Feel free to post any other ideas to help improve shows.

For a broader and more detailed list, see my blog post on 10 Tips For Microbroadcasting.

Be Cool Like Bwana and Pirillo – Get Your Chat In Your Webcast

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pirillo1.jpgWe get asked alot how Chris Pirillo does his chat on the screen. I must admit I basically knew how he and streamers like Bwana were doing this, but I did not understand the details.

Well, thanks to the now infamous Bwana (from, please check him out if you haven’t. I love this guy, hilarious.), we have a EXCELLENT tutorial that is detailed and easy to follow.

To see the blog post please visit:

10 Tips For Better Microbroadcasting!

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tradeshow.jpgI get asked all the time for tips and tricks on how to produce a better Ustream show. I don’t claim to have all the answers, but certainly there are some basic essentials you should follow.

The best shows are the ones that utilize good video/audio technical skills, basic production rules of thumb, and smart show promotion.

Below are my 10 important factors for producing a great Ustream show. Post you own advice in the comments section!

1. Great Audio! Audio is always the most important aspect of a video feed. Use a microphone or take the audio from a sound board (or malt box). You can easily pull sound from a sound board with $10 worth of cables from Radio Shack.

2. Good Lighting. This is a simple concept, but powerful. Good lighting produces crisper video. Adobe Flash does not handle low lighting situations very well. Don’t forget the video production basics!

3. Use A Good Camera. Although Ustream works with webcams, a decent video camera will give you much better video feed quality. You should use at a minimum a Sony Handicam or similar camera.

4. Use Camtwist (for Mac) or Webcammax (for PC) to add graphics, text, PIP, and many other cool features to your video feed.

5. Embed your stream in blogs, forums, bulletin boards, social networks (ie Myspace), and your own webpages. Remember the internet is a very complicated network. The more you disperse your live video feed out there, the more likely people will stumbleupon it to watch. You probably want to do this about 15 minutes before you start the broadcast.

6. Make use of Twitter, Pownce, and Jaiku. Services like these allow you to quickly notify your friends/viewers that you are live. Remember to add the show link to your entries so people can navigate to the show with one click.

7. Use the Ustream Chatroom. We have found when people can interact either amongst the viewers or with the broadcaster, they tend to stay and watch the stream 5x longer than without. This is incredible data and shows our long held belief that live video keeps people more engaged than simple pre-recorded video like Youtube.

8. Start your live feed 15 minutes before the event. You can put up a “starting soon” banner, images, countdown timers, live shots of the audience, or any other way to get people interested so they stick around for the start. This will encourage people to start gathering before the beginning. (Chatroom helps for this as well)

9. Don’t Publicize Too Early. Since this is live video, people definitely need to know the event is occurring in advance. But if you publicize your event 2 weeks out, it will lose effect. We have found the optimal time frame is 2-3 days in advance. I also believe if you can do shows on a regular basis, you can better build up a loyal following. For instance, do your shows every Tues at 7pm (or whatever time). The key is to be consistent and predictable.

10. Get Ustream To Help Promote! Email Ustream at if you have upcoming events! We can help with media, PR, homepage time, banners, etc. We are here for you after all.

I hope this helps some of you and feel free to email us anytime with your comments, questions, or concerns.


Anatomy of a Successful Ustream Event

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Ustreamer Ian Lurie takes us behind the scenes of his wildly successful Ustream broadcast of “Conversations With The Candidates,” a live broadcast of the leading Democratic presidential candidates.

Ian talks about how he prepared for the show, including his use of the free CamTwist software to add his client’s logo, CNN-style, to the broadcast, as well as how he used the advanced settings within Ustream’s broadcaster console to manage bandwidth usage during his broadcast.

Ian’s step-by-step directions show you exactly what he did. Even better, he shows how adding the Ustream feed to their Web site helped his client double the number of inbound links. Clear instructions and concrete results make both Ian’s event and his case study a real winner.

To see Ian’s advice please visit:

How To Stream A Conference In 2 Minutes- Easy!

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Senator Hillary Clinton LIVE on Ustream We get asked often what is the best way to stream conferences, conventions, tradeshows and events. So we thought we would throw some ideas out to the community for discussion (hopefully some smarter people than me add their 2 cents as well!). With a few key purchases you can be up and running in about 2 minutes.

There are several ways to do this effectively, including using just a regular video camera (DV to firewire or USB). However, many conferences already have professional videographers present at the event who handle camera switching, powerpoint feeds, and videos.

So why not just use their video and audio feeds?

My personal preference is to use a Mac to accomplish this as Firewire tends to handle video better than USB resulting in a smoother stream.

I recommend using the Datavideo DAC-100 DV Converter.20691011.JPG This great piece of hardware runs about $99 (in fact I know of places where you can rent it for around $20/day). The DAC-100 is a Firewire device thats able to take full frame PAL or NTSC analog video and convert it into digital video at 25Mbps (DV25), and back again, all in real time, complete with 12 or 16bit audio. Bottomline: it allows you to pull the video feed from the professional videographers on site. Adobe Flash and the Ustream Broadcast Panel is then able to detect the device as DV Video (Located under the advance settings tab). Most videographers should be able to easily give you a RCA video out that plugs into the DAC-100. For PC’s, I know many people are also using TV cards to convert the analog signal to digital using USB Video drivers that are detectable by Flash (many people use the Osprey Video capture card). So certainly it is possible as well with a PC.

Video setup time equals about 1 min.

arx-mini350.jpgThere are several ways you can get a quality audio feed directly from a sound board or malt box (ie for press, etc) at the conference. Depending on the sound board and a simple trip to Radio Shack, you can convert the feeds down to a 1/8″ stereo input. This feed then goes directly into the line in on the Mac or PC. You can adjust the feed volume from both the sound board or the Ustream Broadcast Panel.

Audio setup time equals about 1 min.

Total setup time equals 2 minutes!

There are a million ways to skin a cat, but this solution takes me about 2 minutes to setup (although I strongly recommend you give yourself more time than that!).

Also, for any help I encourage you to ask our Ustream community from our message board located here USTREAM MESSAGE BOARD! >>

I know the Ustream community has some serious video experts out there, so please feel free to add your thoughts!

Under the Radar Conference