EXAMPLE #1: Convergences Theatre Collective hosted a free LiveStream event in conjunction with our residency at Salem State University: Resurrecting the Ghosts. This artistic process was a first for the university, so CTC hosted a discussion about the creation of Ghosts of Troy, a new original physical theater performance exploring the cost of war. The LiveStream was a broadcast of the Scheduled Event that was held for the University community. By offering this conversation on LiveStream, the students were able to have their friends and family participate in the event from their home or office.
I was really surprised at the interest and attendance of the LiveStream event! We had over 80 on-line viewers as well as 30 people in the room with us. The LiveStream option let us more than double our attendance and brought a lot of attention to the production, the university, and CTC as a leader in innovative programming. This was a very positive experience and we are looking forward to exploring more programming options, including workshops and open rehearsals, in the near future.
Tips & Things We Learned:
- Have someone sitting at the computer! Due to the university firewalls we lost the Internet connection twice during the broadcast. I was watching the laptop from the stage and had to leave to restart the broadcast. The online viewers were really understanding and stayed with the event. But it was not the most smooth move for me to leave facilitating the conversation - having to walk to the laptop.
- Test your camera shot/angle in advance. We set up the stage with chairs and then realized that some of them were out of the shot. So as people were arrive for the event we had to make some quick changes. Not a problem, but could have been solved by a 5 min check before the house opened.
- Try the recording feature before your event! I thought I had it figured out, but in the rush of the moment I forgot to enable the record features. This would have happened if I had tested the feature before the event.
EXAMPLE #2: Kinesis Project hosted a LiveStream broadcast in conjunction with our studio event Phase 1: Mapping Home InStudio. The LiveStream was offered to a limited number of viewers. The primary reason for LiveStreaming this event was for a mother of one of the dancers to watch her daughter perform as she was unable to come to NYC for the event. It was also a test to use the LiveStream technology with an invited audience to learn how best to utilize LiveStream as a tool and hear viewer’s experience to improve how the tool is used to each audiences over the internet.
LiveStreaming events can be very valuable to the artistic process and to our fans. I loved knowing that people who support our dances were getting to have an insider experience, in their own homes, hundreds of miles away. Also, I had a dancer with possibly a once-in-a-lifetime experience of dancing 6-months pregnant. That evening I came home to Facebook notes from the dancer's Mom; thrilled that she had gotten to see her daughter & future grandchild performing in NYC. The value was intrinsic in the viewers enjoyment of the experience. Family was able to share the dancer's joy of performing and actually take part in something that otherwise they would have only seen third hand via pictures on Facebook or in KP newsletters. This event as a testing ground was very particular as to the reasons I used LiveStream - but I think that there is power to having a real reason to do it - and that the purpose builds value. For instance, we have fans who are interested, or have been involved in the development of our new project, “Mapping Home” but live out of town. LiveStream provided the tool for them to join us, in the studio and in the process.
Tips & Things We Learned:
- Test it out on an event that perhaps is not so important first, so that your important experience can go well. I learned a lot from our first event and was happy that I only offered it to a limited number of online viewers. This kind of testing is important to understanding how the technology can really support your work.
- Let people know in advance - they WILL sign on to see it!
- You'll need a person dedicated to being sure the stream is up and running, and making sure it is still going over time.
- Press "record!". This was a feature I didn’t know about before our event and it would have been very helpful for me to watch from the online viewer’s perspective to make changes for the next LiveStream event I host.
- Camera angles are important. I used my laptop’s iSight webcam as the video camera. We set it up to the side of the studio, and therefore presented more of a "backstage" experience vs. an "audience" experience - I found it difficult to turn away from the live audience to address the computer audience.... so, it didn't happen very often. Next time I’m going to place the camera to have the same view as the live audience so the online viewers will have a similar visual experience and I will be able to relate to them more often, and more directly.
Additional resources to learn about LiveStream Events:
- Misnomer Dance Theatre broadcast a performance of their 2008 NYC season. After the broadcast they wrote two articles about the experience. You can read them here: