UStream is one of the web’s most popular tools for broadcasting live video directly to the web. You can use your computer’s webcam or hook up a digital video camera to your computer for more professional quality video. UStream also includes a live chat feature so viewers can discuss the broadcast as it as happens.
California Watch recently used the tool to conduct a live chat with director Robert Rosenthal, the results of which are embedded below (unintentionally hilarious hijinks precede the actual chat).
Qik makes it pretty easy to broadcast live from internet-enabled phone. A quick sign-up process gives you your own unique web address where viewers can watch your streaming video. The previously mentioned UStream also has mobile applications for the iPhone and Android for broadcasting live from your handheld device.
If you just want to set up something quickly and less formal between a few people, check out Tinychat, a tool for creating simple video chat rooms. The tool can access your computer’s webcam and can also create a chat synced with your Twitter account.
CoverItLive is the tool of choice for many news media and livebloggers who want to share updates in Can also post images, audio, and video to the chat. One of CoverItLive’s most significant features is the ability of the moderator to regulate which comments from participants appear in the live chat or to allow all comments to appear as they are posted. The free tool has a bunch of features that you can read about here.
Are you constantly told you have a great radio voice? Are you the next great NPR host but can’t get your foot in the door? Blog Talk Radio may be the site for you. The free online tool allows anyone to set up their own call-in radio show that is broadcast live on the web and can be archived like a podcast. BTR is used by both upstart radio hosts and mainstream media.
Now that you know about the tools, why should you invest time in live broadcasts? For one online broadcasts allow the web audience into an event or proceeding that may not otherwise be able to see in person. Instead of having a journalist or blogger recount the detail of the event after it has happened, the audience can experience it for themselves.
The aforementioned tools also allow content producers to have a conversation around the broadcast. The various chat tools bundled with the broadcasting tools allow observers to discuss the events as they are happening and possibly provide feedback to the subjects of the broadcasts.
There are many different reasons to conduct a live online broadcast, so use your imagination to formulate a way to incorporate them into your work. For more on liveblogging or how to post text updates during a live event, check out Hongkiat.com’s “Complete Guide to Liveblogging.”