Pittsburgh JUST broke into the streaming world, mainly because I got a really good deal on a HD webcam at Staples and figured I could find all manner of other uses for it. So far, we've only used it once for streaming our finals, so we're learning as we go.
-How often do you live stream at your slam?
Streamed finals as our debut, plan to stream monthly
-If you do, to what purpose? Publicity? Fundraising? Document-archive?
Publicity mostly; to give our poets some exposure, as well as give our slam itself more exposure. Two years ago, the most frequent reaction at Nationals was "Wait....Pittsburgh has poets?" I'd like to change that, both for the slam's sake AND for the sake of our poets.
-If you charge to view, what do you charge?
Free, probably going to incorporate some form of donation system soon.
-What system do you use? Ustream or some other?
-What camera or equipment do you use? (I-phone, the mic and camera on a laptop, etc)
Microsoft LifeCam 1080p HD webcam mounted on a tripod
-Does your equipment come from your slam's budget or is the use of it donated?
Technically donated...I bought it myself, mainly for our slam use, but also for my own
-How much money do you budget to do this or is it donated?
Again, technically it's donated.
-Are your quality expectations low or high (HD, someone's laptop, doesn't matter, it's the content that counts)?
It's supposed to be a fancy-pants techno-gadget camera, with the HD and the 1080p and whatnot, so my expectations are sort of high; on the other hand, it's also going to be streaming and then later posted to YouTube, both of which are free services, so...you get what you pay for.
-What challenges, problems, solutions did you find in doing this; your trials, errors, and fixes?
So far, the main error has been audio quality, and that was my fault. I didn't adjust the mic volume for the room, and some of our louder poets (myself included) suffered from blown-out and fuzzy sounding audio. Haven't streamed a second event yet, so I'll have to get back to you on what fixes worked. It's also all trial and error as far as camera placement goes - using a tripod gives me a BIT more flexibility, but I'm still at the mercy of the USB cord length.
Our debut stream had all of 9 viewers. I also didn't have a link to promote until 2 hours before the slam. Now that we have the Ustream account set up, it'll be interesting to see if the viewership grows, or if nobody really seems to care.