Category Archives: Ustream

Live Streaming Cameras: Select the Best for You

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So you have decided to create a live stream broadcast and I am sure you are very excited to get started. The biggest step now is to select the live streaming camera that is best for you. We understand that choosing a camera for live streaming can be overwhelming, and it’s hard to tell which live streaming video cameras are the perfect fit for your needs. It feels like there are a million different makes & models to choose from and the prices range from $100 into the thousands. Not to mention all of the cards, cables and technical terms that go along with it. Megapixels? Optical Zoom? ISOs & F-Stops? Walking into an electronics shop and asking a salesperson can be intimidating, but tackling the decision solo can also be a lot of work. Before you start your journey, we have some tips that will help you get started, and technical lingo that will make you sound like a professional videographer.

Before you make live stream camera commitment, keep a couple of things in mind:
  • What is your current computer workflow?
  • Do you only want to stream live?
  • Would you like the flexibility to shoot on the go?
  • What is your budget?

Just like introducing a new member to the family, your video camera for live streaming most importantly has to get along with your current hardware set-up. The key thing to pay attention to are the existing camera connections available on computer you are using whether that be on a laptop, desktop or even a tricaster. Regardless of your technology preferences, it’s a whole lot easier to pick a camera for live streaming that is compatible with your hardware than having to re-adjust your hardware gear based on the hottest video camera on the market. 

Live Steaming Cameras USBLive Steaming Cameras USB cable

USB Camera
This is the best live streaming camera option for entry level broadcasters because basically all computers, whether they be mac or windows, has this connection already built in. If you are just starting out with live streaming, this is an hassle free first camera choice. With so many USB cameras on the market, it’s not hard to find one that will fit your budget and your needs. If you use our Pro Broadcaster or Ustream Producer, both of these encoding programs should automagically recognize your USB camera. You just “Plug & Play” so they say.

Camera: Logitech Webcam Series
  • Pros
    • Low cost
    • Easy or no setup involved
    • Can connect directly to most computers, no capture cards or boxes required
    • Usually no batteries or AC power required, can be powered directly from computer
  • Cons
    • Typically lack zoom, manual focus, iris, white balance and gain controls required for more precise shots
    • No ability to upgrade lenses
    • No ability to record locally
    • No ability to input professional audio and pass through to encoder

Live Steaming Cameras analogLive Steaming Cameras Analog cable

Analog (Component/Composite)
Nothing like the classic. If you have ever looked at the back of a newer model TV, you may have seen the red/green/blue cable ports. Most video camera for live streaming have some option for analog output, however most laptops do not have these inputs built in, meaning you would need a switcher or capture card to accept the analog connection.  

Camera: Panasonic P2 HD Series
  • Pros
    • Very common connection type, available on almost any camera, new or old
    • Lowest cost, particularly with all the older used video cameras available
    • Easy to source and replace cables and cameras
    • Relatively easy to find capture cards, switchers and encoders that support this connection type
  • Cons
    • Many analog connections only support SD resolution. Only newer cameras support HD over analog component connections
    • Not recommended for long cable runs. Analog cables can be prone to interference and signal degradation.
    • Most camera brands have proprietary connectors on the camera, these cables are not as easy to replace and typically you need to connect an additional cable to reach your switcher or encoder

Live Steaming Cameras HDMILive Steaming Cameras HDMI cable

HDMI
This interface was designed for home theater systems, but has become super popular in the live stream camera world due to the fact that they are a bit less expensive than the SDI cameras but still have a lot of bang for your buck. Video cameras with HDMI outputs are a great choice because there are many inexpensive models available that shoot and record in HD and output over HDMI. Not to mention the price point makes them great for multi camera live streaming. Instead of buying one $1,000 camera, you can purchase five $200 cameras!

Camera: Canon VIXIA series
  • Pros
    • Wide range of options, from affordable entry-level camcorders to professional, full-featured cameras
    • Widely available and easy to buy
    • Easy to convert to SDI for more capture / encoder options
  • Cons
    • Might require conversion to SDI for compatibility with some switchers and encoders
    • Cannot do cable runs as long as SDI
    • Cables do not lock, can get disconnected if you are not careful
    • Some consumer-level HDMI connections have built in copy protection which will prevent signal transfer

Live Steaming Cameras SDILive Steaming Cameras SDI cable

SDI
These are the Cadillac of live streaming cameras and in our opinion the best. SDI output cameras are the most professional live streaming camera option, and of course typically the most expensive. Since SDI cables lock into place they provide a stable & reliable connection and are the best for long cable runs. Because cameras with direct SDI output can be expensive, many people choose to use HDMI output cameras and then use an HDMI to SDI converter. But if you have the means, we highly recommend the SDI route.

Camera: Canon C100 Series
  • Pros
    • Most professional and robust connection type
    • Can do the longest cable runs
    • Locking connectors
    • Most common connection type for capture cards and encoders
  • Cons
    • Cost

“But wait, can’t I just use my current DSLR for live video streaming?” 

Great question! The answer is both yes and no.

DSLR cameras are considered in the same category as HDMI cameras in regards to using them for live video streaming. They need to have a HDMI output from the camera, as well as a capture device or capture card between the camera and your computer. But be aware that there are limitations to using DSLR cameras:

  • They do not provide a clean output over their HDMI port
    • Many DSLR cameras are not great for streaming because some models use a mirror of what is in the viewfinder, which means your broadcast may include an overlay that reveals settings like battery life, etc. Some DSLR models provide an option to turn off the overlay and provide a true “clean” output over HDMI, but not all, so make sure you should check your specific make and model.
  • They offer less audio capabilities than a true live streaming video camera
    • Since the built in mic on DSLR cameras are usually low quality, you will want to make sure that the camera you are using can input live audio from an external microphone or audio source and output that audio over the HDMI port.
  • Not all DSLR cameras are designed for extended live use
    • Some camera models have the tendency to overheat and will automatically shut down if shooting video for extended periods of time, which will be unsuitable for applications where you plan to stream for longer than 2-3 hours.

Now that the hard part is taken care of, all you need to do is sign up for Ustream Pro Broadcasting and start streaming! Please do not hesitate to drop us a line if you have any questions, or need assistance setting things up. We are more than happy to help get you started. 

Cali Christmas & Hot for the Holidays Concerts

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With temperatures dropping across the nation, Power 106 FM & Hot 97 are keeping us warm this week by bringing together hip hop’s hottest artists from coast to coast. Tickets to the shows are still available, but if you cannot make it in person you can still watch the live broadcast brought to you exclusively on Ustream so that you will not miss a moment of the action.

Power 106 FM: Cali Christmas
The event you have been waiting for is here! Power 106’s Cali Christmas is popping off this Friday December 4th @ 6:30pm (PST) from The Forum in Inglewood California and bringing together hip hop’s hottest stars live on one stage. Catch performances by Wiz Khalifa, Chris Brown, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Travis Scott, Dej Loaf, Ty Dolla $ign, Logic, Skeme, Post Malone with a special guest performance from Pharrell Williams.

Hot for the Holidays

HOT 97: Hot for the Holidays
Busta Rhymes teamed up with Hot 97 to host one of the most highly anticipated events of the season. The concert features performances from Puff Daddy, Mary J. Blige, Lil Wayne, Sean Paul, French Montana, Fetty Wap, as well as Mariah Carey and Rick Ross who were both recently added to the lineup. It all goes down at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ on December 5th @ 8:00pm (EST)

Do you have an upcoming event that you would like to broadcast and share with the world? Ustream makes it easy to get started! Take a test drive and gain access to advanced features & audience insights that you cannot find anywhere else and see why major media companies look to Ustream as the leader in live streaming.

Highlights from Streaming Media West 2015

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We had a blast in sunny Huntington Beach, California for the 2015 Streaming Media West conference! Between the line up of amazing speakers and meeting with all of you at the Beer Garden & Networking event, it’s difficult to pick our favorite moment of the trip. That was until we heard that Ustream took home 3 Reader Choice Awards, which definitely takes the cake as the best part of the show.

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Live Video Platform
Winner: Ustream
After taking home this award for 3 years running, it’s a no brainer that Ustream is the best in the business for live video streaming. Simple enough for beginners, yet powerful enough for professionals, Ustream is the destination for anyone looking to livestream video on the web. Sign up for a free trial and see for yourself!

Advertising Solution
Winner: Ustream LiveAd
The readers have spoken and for the 2nd year in a row Ustream LiveAd technology retains the crown as the leading Advertising solution for live & pre-recorded video. Leverage the power of our massive global syndication network and learn more about your audience with richer analytics than you will find anywhere else. But don’t take our word for it, reach out to one of our account representatives and find our why clients such as HBO and Cisco come to Ustream for their online video advertising needs.

Enterprise Video Platform
Winner: Ustream Align
Our Ustream Align platform made its debut early this year and is already starting to make waves, winning the award for the best Enterprise Video Platform. Inform, educate, and inspire your workforce with easy to use tools that keeps everyone on the same page. Ustream Align is optimized for internal communications, keeping your video secure, minimizing the impact on your network, and reducing the need for IT support making it the perfect internal communication solution for your business. Ready to get connected? What are you waiting for!

We hope to see everyone again next year!

Ustream Wins Streaming Media Readers’ Choice Awards

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The Streaming Media West Readers choice awards the only awards ceremony in the online video industry where the customers have their say in what online video products and services they could not live without.

This year’s awards brought in 250 nominations and opened the voting to StreamingMedia.com readers to select their favorites. Over 3,500 readers voted and casted in a total of nearly 36,000 votes across 29 categories, ranging from Streaming Media to Streaming Media Producers. Finalists were announced in mid-October, the winners were announced at the Streaming Media West show in Huntington Beach, California

Ustream is the winner of 3 Streaming Media Readers’ Choice Awards!

  • Streaming Platform (3rd year in a row!)
  • Advertising Solution (2nd year in a row!) – Ustream LiveAd
  • Enterprise Video Platform – Ustream Align

To try out our award-winning solutions, visit Ustream.tv

Video is the Leader of Content Marketing

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When content marketing first came on the scene, text-based content was the norm: white papers, email promotions, and e-newsletters were crammed with words, words, and more words.

Today, with terabytes of text being published online every minute, consumers have had their fill. They’re craving a more interactive experience. And now that video technology is more accessible than ever, marketers have no excuse not to give it to them.

Still think video content is just a “nice-to-have?” Check out the latest statistics from HubSpot:

  •       55 percent of people watch videos online every day.
  •       Video takes up 57 percent of consumer Internet traffic.
  •       Online video now accounts for 50 percent of all mobile traffic.
  •       Using the word “video” in email subject lines boosts clickthrough rates by 65 percent.
  •       52 percent of marketing professionals point to video as the content type with the best ROI.

“Too expensive?” Not anymore.

Not so long ago, only corporations could afford to create and publish professional-looking videos. Fortunately for small businesses, video content marketing no longer requires a five-figure budget. Today, even the smallest businesses can record videos (of good quality) with a low cost HD camera, edit them with cost-effective apps, upload them to a video streaming platform, and easily embed them on a blog, website, or a social media account.

Streaming’s gone mainstream

When we look back on 2015 in the future, many of us will remember it as “the year streaming went mainstream.”

With the growing popularity of video streaming mobile apps (including Ustream), more businesses than ever are using live video. Why? It helps generate a buzz among current and potential customers through:

  •       Live product launches
  •       Virtual conferences
  •       Brand exposure
  •       And more!

So if you’ve been holding back from adding video to your content marketing mix, there’s never been a better time to jump in. Your audience is demanding it. Video content has never been easier to create and publish. Streaming video lets you capture the excitement of live events.

Not convinced?

Check out how SONY gained millions of viewers for their PS4 launch by streaming live online.

Come meet the Ustream team at Streaming Media West!

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Will you be attending Streaming Media West? If so, we’d love to meet you.

If you’re not familiar with Streaming Media West, it’s a 2 day conference where you can learn everything you would want to know about streaming video and have a chance to network with industry professionals. If you are at the conference, come meet the Ustream team at the Beer Garden and Networking Event we are sponsoring on Tuesday Nov 17 at 6pm.

You can see the full program for the conference here.

The Secret to a Positive Company Culture

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Company culture has become an emerging incentive to join a new organization. However, employee empowerment is the true secret factor in creating a positive company culture. Without employees feeling appreciated for their dedication to their role, a healthy company culture cannot be cultivated.

Here are 3 ways employee empowerment results in a positive company culture:

1. Consistent communication is practiced.

70% of US employees are not engaged or are actively disengaged, according to a Gallup study. Communication plays a major role in inspiring your team towards achieving common goals. You can communicate using multiple mediums, such as: email, slack, phone conferencing, meetings, video, and more.

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Just this month in our office, we used our Ustream Align platform to broadcast our townhall for our employees located in Hungary. We have a townhall every Thursday to clarify company objectives, reveal achievements, and introduce our new employees.

2. Managers trust their employees expertise.

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 11.41.30 AM(Cameron Robert, The Chronicle)

The perk of hiring qualified employees is trusting them to fulfill their tasks without hindering their decision making. Some managers are known to micro-manage their team, rather than encouraging them to utilize their skillset that initially granted them their employment. Modifications can always be applied but it is critical to enable your workforce to produce their assigned projects freely. Employees that perform to the best of their abilities are the ones that feel valued and respected.

3. Project progress and deadlines are reviewed.

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 11.31.57 AM(Asana)

In order to maintain company productivity, management must keep track of the progress of their workforce and deadlines. In our office, we use Asana for our weekly Marketing meetings to go over upcoming tasks and check-off finished projects. It is also a great method of aligning our workforce to be aware of how a particular task is essential for the completion of another. By reviewing responsibilities, employees are motivated to finish assignments on-time and deliver exceptional work.

Conclusion.

All employees want to be appreciated for their efforts. Frequent communication plays an important factor in motivating your workforce. Management should enforce structure while providing employees the freedom of accomplishing their tasks as they deem necessary. In order to have a positive company culture, employees need to be appreciated.

Ustream Announces SDK for Apple tvOS

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The walled industry that is TV is about to be disrupted in a serious way.

On September 9, 2015, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the dawn of a new era in television when he launched the latest version of Apple TV, stating that: “the future of television is apps.” With the new version of Apple TV, you’ll be able to customize your Apple TV homescreen with the apps that you use most, adding new ones from an Apple TV app store will offer thousands of apps. Reviews from around the world, including Bloomberg Business, are already calling Apple TV a “game-changer,” saying it will change the way people discover and consume entertainment.

Available now:  the Ustream Software Development Kit (SDK) for tvOS

With the new Ustream SDK for Apple tvOS, Ustream customers can develop apps for Apple TV that can play live and on-demand video content inside the beautiful Apple TV interface. Now, any content can be available on the TV inside people’s living rooms.

Business Blueprint focuses on Apple TV

Business Blueprint is Australia’s leading business education company. In early August of 2015, they launched “The World’s First 24 Hour Small Business Channel”, using Ustream’s player to expand beyond Australia and reach a global audience with their educational programs. Dale Beaumont, CEO of Business Blueprint, describes their results: “Currently we have been broadcasting 24 hours a day for 6 weeks. We’ve learned a lot about how to run a 24/7 channel and we are pleased with the results. We now have clicked over 18,000 subscribers.”

Available via their web app, businessblueprint.com, Business Blueprint’s content can be accessed on any smartphone, tablet, or computer. Beaumont and his team recognized the enormous opportunity presented by Apple TV and began working with Ustream to make their service available on the new platform.  “Ustream was the obvious choice for us. We knew that they would be the first to respond to the new opportunities offered by the Apple TV.” said Beaumont. “Our development team has worked really hard to reformat our web app so that it works on tvOS. Thanks to the support of Ustream, we are now ready to begin our submission to the new App store.”

Business Blueprint - Apple TV - 3

“We are extremely pleased with the result. It looks beautiful and most importantly it works! Our hope is that thousands of new people will get to see and experience our Business Blueprint channel and we can continue help more entrepreneurs around the world.”

Want to learn more about the Ustream SDK for Apple tvOS? Contact Ustream or call +1 (800) 778-3090

Are You Ready for the Future of Video Marketing?

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We’ve all seen the statistics about video’s value for marketers: how response rates and engagement rise when video is employed and how website conversions increase when video is used on a site to provide information about products or explain how they work. But we’ve just scratched the surface of how marketers can use video to grab an audience’s attention, capture leads, and drive sales.

Let’s look at 5 ways video marketing will evolve in future and how it will affect our marketing strategies and tactics.

1) The Death of Death-by-PowerPoint

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We’ll break away from boring slide presentations with a disembodied voice droning on, minimal audience interaction, and audience limits in the hundreds, replacing them with high-definition video events that can scale to reach massive audiences. We’ll use seamless transitions from full-screen, high resolution views of the presenters to slide content to recorded video clips to keep viewers engage, combining all three elements with green-screen effects that are commonplace on television news and entertainment shows. And we’ll have robust integrated tools that will enable each attendee to pose questions, offer comments, and take polls and tests as if they were in the room with the presenter.

Check out CreativeLive’s live online workshops for creative professionals or Brandlive’s use of live video, social interaction, and conversion mechanisms to create immersive product experiences for brands and retailers.  Another great example is Salesforce’s use of video for their Dreamforce keynotes.

2) Video-on-Demand Gets Interactive

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The vast majority of marketing video-on-demand (VOD) assets are linear and static, but a new class of interactive video tools allow marketers to add interactive elements to videos, offering viewers the ability to engage directly with the content and even follow different paths. Marketers can define branches and embed links, hotspots, and overlays into videos that can display contextual information about products, places, or people when the user clicks or mouses over them, and add quizzes and calls to action to collect information. Interactions like these are proven to boost engagement and increase conversions and they enhance the value and impact of long-form video by making it a more versatile storytelling mechanism.

YouTube Annotations provides some basic interactions, while more sophisticated solutions like Hapyak, Raptmedia, and Interlude offer a wider variety of interactions and more control over the viewing experience. HapYak’s SaaS platform works with a wide variety of video platforms, including Ustream. Raptmedia, like Hapyak, offers a straightforward environment for adding interactions that is easily adopted by novices, while Interlude’s powerful Treehouse application is probably better suited to users with more experience in video production techniques. All of these tools collect detailed data on their interactions so marketers can analyze viewer engagement and the asset’s performance. Take a moment to look at these examples from Hapyak, Interlude, and Raptmedia to see how to take your marketing videos to the next level.

3) Social Trumps Email

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Forget about those tired email campaigns. The future of video marketing depends upon integrating your video platform with your social network account to reach your audience in a matter of seconds with short, impactful videos that outperform print content in open rates, engagement, and click through. But beware… social video requires a different design-mindset than video we’ve used in more traditional channels.

In a CEABlog post titled “5 Digital Innovations Changing Advertising and Marketing in 2015”, Matt Rednor, CEO of Decode Advertising, points out that “As brands shift their spend to online video this year, they’re going to see that just running TV commercials online won’t work as well and will start designing for the flick, creating short-form video ads that people consume in their feeds without sound.” This is particularly true if you use autoplay video on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social channels as these videos are typically muted when they launch.

Want some great examples of short-form video?

  • GE’s Instagram videos make mundane industrial products cool
  • HP launched its Pavillion X360 laptop with a series of 5 six-second Vines
  • Lowes uses stop-motion Vines to educate its customers and promote its brand.  

4) Finding the Unusual Suspects

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We’re pretty good at reaching the people in our databases, but what about all those people we haven’t yet reached? New tools like Ustream LiveAd make it possible to place video ad units on the websites that your target audiences frequent and pull live viewers directly into your live video events, scaling far beyond our normal audiences.

Watch your audience grow exponentially as viewers see your live feed positioned prominently on their homepage or on a blog that they regularly read and then click through to join your live event. Sony Entertainment used this tactic to drive massive audiences for its live broadcast of the PS4 launch (link to PS4 video) and Salesforce used it to boost views of its keynote sessions for its annual Dreamforce conference, reaching 8.9 million viewers in 2014.

5) Viewing the World from Different Perspectives

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Drones are capturing live video feeds from new perspectives during sporting events, concerts, and rallies while wearable cameras are flipping the camera to share what players/participants in sporting events and performers in concerts see and experience. Savvy marketers like Red Bull are branding these broadcasts to drive visibility and create an “edgy” market persona.

While commercial drone use is still in its infancy, realtors across the U.S. are using drones to market high-end properties. And agencies are embracing drones to create interesting, offbeat videos like Cup Noodles Brasil’s combination of drone, wearable, and traditional video footage to present a unique approach to food delivery. By the way, where can I get a chicken head for my drone?

Wearables cameras like GoPro are helping marketers engage viewers with powerful, immersive experiences. For example, the National Hockey League partnered with GoPro to show the speed and artistry of hockey through the eyes of the players. Red Bull’s video of Felix Baumgartner’s record-breaking free-fall jump gave viewers an astounding first-hand perspective of the feat. The low cost and high video quality of these devices enables thousands of people to record and post amazing videos from their wearables every day, showing the power of user-generated content and the ingenuity (and weirdness) of people who have a story to tell and a vision to share. And isn’t that the essence of marketing?

Conclusion

Innovative marketers are already stretching the boundaries of what is possible and vendors of video platforms and tools, social applications, mobile networks and the other technologies mentioned here are watching and listening to consumers and business users to spot trends and tackle problems yet unsolved. We’re willing to bet that you’ll employ some of these tools and techniques in the near future. And we hope that you’ll share what you learn with other video marketers.

“Supermoon Eclipse”: Watch it Live via NASA’s Ustream Channel

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Space lovers, mark your calendars for Sunday, September 27.

On that night, skywatchers in most areas of the world will enjoy a special treat: the first “supermoon” eclipse since 1982 — and the last we’ll see until 2033.

NASA will bring you live coverage of the event through its Ustream channel beginning at 8 pm EDT.

What makes this eclipse “super” is that it’s occurring at the stage in the moon’s orbit where it’s closest to Earth, called the perigee. If you’ve ever looked into the night sky and noticed the moon appearing much larger and brighter than usual, you were probably seeing the moon at perigee, also called a “supermoon.”

In a lunar eclipse, the sun, the moon, and the Earth align so that the moon passes into the earth’s shadow. While these eclipses aren’t particularly uncommon, it’s quite rare for a total lunar eclipse to coincide with a supermoon — only five have occurred since 1900.

The eclipse will be visible in North and South America, Europe, Africa, Western Asia, the Eastern Pacific Ocean region and here on the Ustream channel. The moon will begin dimming slightly at 8:11 pm; the total eclipse will start at 10:11 pm and will peak at around 10:47 pm (all times EDT).

Remember, you can catch all the action live on nasa.gov or on NASA’s channel on Ustream.tv.