This afternoon I interviewed +Sarah Hill to talk about her amazing coverage of Montreal student demonstration captured and broadcasted LIVE last night (Friday Apr 27) with video from +Jean Francois Desmarais‘s camera on the ground, and Sarah broadcasting LIVE from her kitchen in Columbia, MO in the US using Google Plus On Air Hangout technology!
The following is a partial list of questions I asked Sarah Hill in the interview talking about the LIVE broadcast last night from her perspective.
How did the LIVE broadcast come about? How did Sarah know Jean Francois (i.e. the vetting)? What other uses of the G+ Hangout On Air technology can already be used for today? Was there any Hangout On Air technical problems during the broadcast?
I was also able to talk to Jean Francois via G+ message and he was kind to share the setup he used last night and some technical issues he had. Here is my summary of his main setup.
- An old dual core portable computer with 4GB of RAM and a 1394 Firewire port (Firewire 400)
- a Sony HVR camera that was hooked up to the computer with a 1394 wire
- 4G key USB stick for video/data transmission
- Note: Here is a picture of Jean Francois’ gear for Sat night (Apr 28).
According to Jean Francois, the above setup worked well until he had to run after the demonstration. He ended up walking 3-5 km in total and ran into some technical issues. I’ve listed the issues here in Jean Francois’ words. My hope is by sharing the issues, others can have a better LIVE reporting experiences.
“1- [As there wasn’t time to organize and tape everything together] The wires kept unhooking themselves
2- The portable kept shutting down as soon as I closed the lid – even if we went in the control panel and set the parameters so it doesn’t turn off.
3- When there is a large crowd sometimes getting the connection is very difficult. I lost a good 45 min trying to [regain connection].
4- The battery of the portable was a major issue. We could have had a power pack but we needed to convert the current, so we needed a “transfo”- It was already too heavy so that option was out of the question.
5- If I had more time I would have loved to be able to have somebody with a hand-held mic but we had an issue bringing the sound from the cam and into the mic headset. I need to do more R&D on this.
6- Also, as I learned from past experience, good streaming means a lot of light. So the more light you have the better the quality of the image will be. [Kempton: I suggest a battery powered LED light panel]
7- And there is a need for a feature to know if you are still on air. I kept asking Sarah if I was still on air because I was not able to see the computer.”
By the way, Sarah plans to do a LIVE hangout tonight (Sat Apr 28) at 10pm EST to talk about the issues re the student demonstrations. If you live in Montreal or in Quebec, watch out for Sarah’s Hangout or invite.
Note: Apologies for the audio echo in my questions. Fortunately, the echo doesn’t affect Sarah’s answers.
Sat Apr 28, 2012 10:12 MST Update: Montreal Demonstrations on the night of Apr 28, 2012