As many of you know, I’m an event planner and leader for several local meetup groups.
Since the mid 2000’s, I estimate I’ve organized 350+ monthly meetup events, workshops, in-person conferences, and group viewing events for online conferences.
And there’s one question I get asked every month from a member who’s not able to attend an event in person.
It’s the question my friend Shawn asked this morning when he said he wasn’t able to attend tonight’s Refresh Detroit Lightning Talks event:
No 🙁 Is there any talk of live-streaming these events in the future?
— ssieg (@ssieg) October 24, 2018
When I started getting questions about livestreaming, I replied with a detailed explanation.
Eventually I learned to respond with a short reply.
Read on to learn how I reply now as well as more thoughts on livestreaming.
Can You Livestream the Event?
It seems like asking about an event livestream is a straightforward ask.
But there’s more to livestreaming than flipping a switch.
Personally, I’d love to livestream all the events I organize.
Here’s why it doesn’t happen.
A volunteer is needed to manage the livestream recording.
As an event organizer, I’ve never had a dedicated volunteer offer to do livestreaming.
What Does a Livestream Volunteer Do?
You might comment, hey, Deborah, that doesn’t seem like a big task for a volunteer.
Here are a few of the things involved with livestreaming:
- Arrive early to the meetup to set up the livesteam
- Have a device to record the livestream
- Ensure speaker(s) have a microphone
- Run a test with speaker to confirm lighting, recording, and audio
- Monitor livestream during event to make sure it’s recording and capturing video/audio correctly
- Resolve recording issues during the livestream
- Respond to people watching the livestream who may be having issues
- After event, review recording and edit as needed
- Add captions to video and upload the video
That’s a lot of dedication and time for a volunteer to offer.
My friend Dennis Deacon, lead organizer for the Chicago Accessibility and Inclusive Design meetup group, probably has a dozen more tasks to add to my list.
Make Recording Available to Everyone
As a meetup group leader, I advocate and give presentations about making content accessible to everyone.
One of the first things I remember about web design, when I started over 20 years ago, is this quote:
The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.—Tim Berners-Lee
And that’s why I insist every meetup event video is captioned.
Adding captions to videos takes time and money.
If you have a volunteer willing to manually add captions, which takes anywhere from three to five times as long as the video itself, that’s great.
My preference is a sponsor that provides funding for captioning.
Cost for a third-party captioning service is about $1.00 (US dollar) a minute, with captions provided within 24 hours of submitting them.
Here’s the captioned video.
Unfortunately, none of the meetup groups I lead have captioning sponsorships for monthly meetup events.
If you or your organization are interested in sponsoring video captions for meetup events, reach out to me!
Livestreaming widens the audience for your event and provides an interactive experience for meetup members who aren’t able to attend in person.
However, livestreaming requires a dedicated person to set up, check, and manage the event livestream.
If you’re interested in volunteering, or know someone interested in managing the livestream and captioning for any of the meetup events I organize, get in touch!