Dabbling with YouTube live streamingI have seen a lot of YouTubers doing live Q&A sessions, Google hangouts and even live builds on YouTube. For example, here's a few Live Q&A's on YouTube:
And some have also done some live builds. Here are a few:
I had been thinking about doing one of these myself for some time, and this past weekend finally experimented with how to set one up. I used YouTube live streaming, because it's a platform that I'm already familiar with and already have a following on. This way, I don't have to deal with another social media platform. The whole thing is still in "beta" as of now (August 2016). I found it quite confusing to set up a live stream. I guess this is where a dedicated platform such as twitch.com would probably be more intuitive. I ended up streaming using Open Broadcast Software (OBS) on my PC, partly because I already used that program for the occasional computer screen recording, such as for my SketchUp tutorials and the occasional video segment showing me using my Gear generator program or BigPrint program.
Pantorouter assembly live streamI set up my laptop computer in my workshop, with a webcam on a tripod, another webcam overhead, and the laptop's built in webcam pointing at me. I would have set up a third external webcam, but I only have three USB ports on the laptop, no spare hub, and I needed one port for the external keyboard to allow me to switch views easily. I suppose I could have put the laptop computer more within reach, but then the laptop's camera wouldn't have been in an unusable spot.
I managed to get the pantorouter assembled in about an hour and a half, despite some confusion about how a few parts went together. But, focusing on assembling the machine left almost no time for interacting with the viewers. I had been thinking about doing more of a Q&A after assembling it, but our baby Harriet was going nuts and Rachel was trying to get stuff done in the kitchen, so my help was needed upstairs. We don't have any childcare on weekends.
In retrospect, the live Q&A after assembly would not have worked well. Half an hour after I "finished" the broadcast, I checked the video to see how it was doing, and saw that it was still "live". I had set the bit rate too high in OBS, and after 1.5 hours, the live feed buffered by half an hour on the computer because my internet uplink speed is too slow.. So the "live" feed was actually not live at all. But because I had no time to interact with viewers except for briefly at the start, I was unaware of this. Fortunately, after signing off, I left the computer on, so it was able to upload all of it eventually.
Fortunately, the buffering only happened for live viewers. If you view the video now, it plays
smoothly and at the same rate I recorded it at.
Since then, I have been thinking about the idea of live builds and whether I should do more of these in the future. Here's my thoughts:
Arguments for doing live buildsIt's exciting and makes me feel important
It really does, and it was interesting to experience that. But I'm really not into getting myself pumped up and excited over things. It's one of the reasons I have no desire to go to things like VidCon. Ultimately, making good videos is about thinking about things carefully and planning. Feeling important doesn't help that. I should not let my ego get in the way of getting things done. (This is also why I have no desire to write books or print magazine articles)
It's an efficient way to make content
It's a way to interact with the audience
It's a good way to show the whole process, including all screw ups
Arguments against doing live buildsI like to be able to skip the boring bits
So this was an exciting experiment, but I don't think I will be doing it again in the future. Most builds have a few interesting bits, with lots of boring parts in between. I usually watch Bob Clagett's live builds on twitch, but one time I clicked on it while it was actually live. I thought "cool, I'm actually watching this live". But there are a lot of pauses and such, so as I usually do, I wanted to fast forward, but could not, because it was live. So I stopped watching and came back a few hours later when I could watch it at my own pace, skipping over the boring bits.
In fact, I find myself skipping over boring bits in a lot of people's videos. In my own videos, I try to cut out the boring bits so my viewers don't have to skip them. I figure it makes more sense for me to spend a few extra hours than to have a hundred thousand people have to drag the slider to skip the boring parts.
I don't like being bound by a schedule
I prefer sharper video
It's not relaxing to film live
Most parts of most builds are very boring
Overall, I think a live Q&A makes sense to do live, and I figure I will do one of those again in a few months time. But at this time, I don't see enough reason to do a live build in the future. I don't enjoy making them, and I actually prefer to watch live builds after they are done so I can skip the boring bits.
Other vlog / livestream related content:
Bob Clagett (2015)
Shooting the TV show (2011)
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