Yesterday, between experimenting (read: playing) with video, chat and screencasts, I periodically distracted myself with the livestream from the final Get Amb:IT:ion event, “Art of Digital London.”
I only caught about an hour an a half of the event – so instead of discussion the content, I’m going to discuss the format (even though what I did catch was really interesting!)
Annoyingly, this is the first time I’ve actually had time to spare to watch an event like this online. Partly, when I was working at a desk at the University, it wouldn’t have been appropriate to watch a livestream of anything (not even sure if my computer set up would have been able to handle it!)- and more recently, I’ve had to work quite hard on a (now completed!) research project (involving social media outputs from an event) so was desperately trying not to confuse things by observing anything other than twitter, blogging, images and audio (enough data for one small research project, I’m sure!)
The livestream from Amb:IT:ion captured my imagination in two areas: Firstly, it became obvious through the livestream.com chatroom that this was a homemade job (and a bloody good one at that) CJ mentioned that they were going to hire a team to web stream and it could have been around £2,000 for the two days (although there were around 30 people watching online, it still would have been difficult to justify it). Instead, this is just one camera, complimented with Qik videos from the audience. The audio was clear and crisp (could follow every word) and the visuals was just enough to make the event easy to follow and understand as an online participant. A nice touch was to also include a “Comment is Free” session at the end where audience members could say whatever they wanted about the event by accessing an IP address and adding things to a in-house website. Unfortunately, online participants were left out a bit (couldn’t access IP address) but they could get on the main stream and voice their opinion by tweeting the #getambition tag. Essentially, with the online media element, it’s acceptable for the feedback system to be asynchoronus (take this blog entry, for example)
The second area which interested me related to my experiments yesterday – and a previous discussion about virtual panels over phonecast. Having now seen how stable livestream.com is, I’m prepared to start looking at ways in which you could hold purely virtual (public) events online. The format would roughly be 3-4 people on webcams, discussing pre-arranged topics with a chatroom facility at the side. It also can allow for screencasts (or movies, images – like CamTwist does) can be pulled into the discussion – and we can do that stuff that we normally rely on meetings for. Importantly, I want to be able to record and replay the discussions – so that it can be kept open and commented by others at a later time.
A related point would be to overcome two issues – access to the technology, and inclusion to the discussion (whether you are online, offline or both) – with all these tools at our fingertips (to explore and play with), good luck to those who are trying to ban simple text blogging at events!