Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Stream Come True - Anatomy of the Live-Streaming Launch

A number of folks have asked the technology behind my live-streaming of The 14 Fibs of Gregory K. launch party and, being a geek and all, I'm glad to talk about it. And I have to tell you - it was as easy as pie!

To stream online, the most important thing is an internet connection. The folks at the Flintridge Bookstore graciously let me on their network, so that was solved. I broadcast using Google Hangouts on Air - a feature of the Google+ social network - and the even was "shot" via my laptop's camera. I added a microphone to the laptop to help with sound.

Basically, a HOA, as the Hangouts on Air are called, enables you to start a broadcast and stream it so that anyone can watch it on the "live" section of your own YouTube channel or wherever you embed the video. A HOA can actually have many people presenting, not just a camera on one, so I could have arranged to have, say, editors and designers and others be able to speak to the online audience.

The big challenge with that, however, was that I had a live audience, too, and they wouldn't see any interactions that were happening online. So, I chose to just stream me this time, but I see the potential for a lot of great guest/co-host action in the future.

I already had a Google+ account and a YouTube account, both of which are needed to do a HOA, so the only pre-work I had to do was make sure the accounts were linked together and "verified." It took me longer to read about what I needed to do than to actually do it!

By all reports, the video and audio quality of the stream were fine and dandy. I know there was a lot of downtime when the stream was boring, though during the part I spoke, it was just like being there! I'd work more next time on involving the in-person audience more and having better camera/mic placement. Oh, and sending out virtual pie.

photo by Sara Wilson Etienne
Still, when I saw this photo by Sara Wilson Etienne... I felt like watching at home musta been okay (though NEVER did I think I'd be on a big screen!)

Here are some nitty-gritty numbers for you. The maximum measured number of locations accessing the stream concurrently was 19. Over 80% of them were NOT named "Pincus"! I know people watched/listened at different times, too, so I'm gonna peg the number of different locations at between 25-35 based on anecdote. In many cases, multiple people watched at one location. Geographically, folks were all over the US and a couple in Canada, too.

The Flintridge Bookstore had enabled people to buy The 14 Fibs from their website and leave instructions for me who to personalize it to (still going on, by the way), and I signed six books at the launch. Without the party and them creating a buy now button... those sales would've gone elsewhere.

photo by Evan Pincus
Considering I announced this one week in advance, and it was the launch party for a debut novel... I'm pretty pleased. And as far as a proof of concept for me... absolute success. Plus, best of all - it was FUN.

Thanks to all of you who joined in, asked questions, shared the news, and have been part of the fun all these years here. And if you have questions, ask away!

1 comment:

WriterSideUp said...

Well, Greg, I haven't been here for years, but a week or two for all the fun :) And glad I am!

Thanks for explaining all that! If I ever have need to do it, I'll know where to get the low-down :)

And did I understand that the bookstore is still accepting requests for signed "Fibs"?

Personally, I really enjoyed the whole thing, but of course, especially when you were talking to your audience/s :) Congrats, Greg!