I 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.