Saturday, July 30, 2016

Facebook Live and other video options now available - July 29, 2016

Facebook has made it easy to watch a church service, wedding, graduation, baptism or other family event with their Facebook Live feature.

If you can use Facebook, you can both create the video feed and watch it. Since many seniors rely on Facebook to stay in contact with family and friends they should be able to find the video feed.

Note: This column began in early July after a friend asked about live streaming her wedding later in the month. Just a week later, Facebook Live proved itself not only as a way to share family moments, but as a force of society when Diamond Reynolds streamed from the car moments after her boyfriend Philando Castile was shot.

Starting a Facebook Live broadcast is easy. Just aim the camera of your phone at the scene and touch the new post area, the one that says “What’s on your mind?”

Right below your name is the options to send the video to your friends or to the public. For a church service or a wedding, send it to public.

Below a series of options appears. One will be “Go Live.” Touch that and it starts sending video out.

Your friends should see a notification of the video and may begin watching it if they want.

Do a test at the actual venue before the date to make sure there is sufficient coverage.

Amazon has inexpensive mounts that will let you mount your phone to a camera tripod. Tripod’s themselves are fairly inexpensive if you do not have one. You do not want to hold the camera for the entire event.

You may want to promote the upcoming live feed ahead of time, with posts on Facebook to your friends and maybe even a notice in the wedding invitation, church bulletin, etc. Announce the time and tell them how to find the feed on the given day.

If you make the feed available to the public, tell people who are not Facebook friends to instead follow you on Facebook. That lets them see only your posts marked public.

When the event finishes, and you touch the finish button, the video is saved. People can view it after the event is over.

For a wedding, people may want to see more than the ceremony. Setup the camera/tripod rig at the reception so people can watch the first dance, the cake cutting etc. Assign someone to move the camera around.

Viewers can leave comments on Facebook the wedding party can later enjoy. You can even set the rig up somewhere where participants can go the camera and make toasts to the wedding couple for viewers to enjoy now and the bride and groom to watch later.

Ahead of time, make a sign on posterboard and place near the camera explaining what is going on, and inviting people to say a few words.

At the recent VidCon convention, Facebook announced enhancements were coming. The most useful is a lobby feature. It lets you create the post before the video begins, so viewers can be ready to watch when the event begins, and can even comment ahead of time.

And they added a programming interface, so we should see more apps to create video streams. There are several high priced ones now that let the output from professional grade TV broadcasts live stream.

And soon the Mevo device begins shipping, and it will stream video via Facebook. The Mevo is a small camera you set on a desk or on a tripod. It shoots 150 degree video. What makes it interesting is its iPad app. It shows the complete video and records it. A user taps on a face in the video and the image will become a close-up of that person. The Mevo shoots 4K high resolution video so even though a small portion of the image is enlarged to make the close-up, the image is still sharp.

This basically gives you multi-camera video switching relatively inexpensively. It might cost more than you’d want for a wedding, but would be a suitable investment for a church wanting to livestream services on a regular basis.

You can see a map of ongoing public live feeds and watch them. When I looked at the map on the Fourth of July, I found many parades being streamed.

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