Live Streaming

while I’m no computer wizard, I’m more than comfortable with them.  Like many musicians, I’ve been excited about the idea of live streaming a concert from a home, a venue or wherever I happen to be.

Unfortunately, when testing out various services, I’ve never been happy with the results.  Partially, it has been a limitation of my own computers power, and partly a limit of the technology being in its infancy. 

Finally, I’ve found a service that looks promising.  A fellow-musician tipped me off to Concert Window.  At first I figured it would have much the same results, but I found myself with some time, and read up on their service.  There was indeed a difference.

If you aren’t familiar with online concert streaming, the essential points are that a band, musician or comedian uses technology to broadcast from where they are to their fans via the Internet.  Payment options vary, as do the complexity and quality, but it’s all a me to you and you to me offering.  Fans can chat together and message the performers on most platforms, making it a community.

So, what’s different about Concert Window?  The hardware requirements.   The broadcaster has a lot of options.  A simple laptop webcam and mic, a usb webcam/mic, a computer interface for multiple audio sources, or even a simple iPhone or iPad (with 4G or Wifi).

In my case, I can run a simple broadcast from a park, my deck, or while on the road, or make it more complicated, with a full band, guest performers, etc from my basement.

I’m still testing, but so far, it looks very promising.  I’ve used a usb camera with my FireWire audio interface.  I’ve tested up to 7 of 16 channels, and it worked smoothly.  I’ll be testing via phone and tablet later.

For full disclosure, it did take a fair bit of work to get my camera, interface and laptop to play well together, but that was before I tried to use their service.  Once all the technical fiddling had been mostly worked out, it came down to tweaking.  

My only real problem so far is the volume levels being too low.  By rights, I should be red-lining the input and clipping everything.  It’s not, but it still seems a bit low on the receiving end.

Now that I know it is probably going to work, I’m going to need a usb extension cable, so I can get more in the video.  We’re finally getting there.  Here’s to hoping I can boost the volume, and that a full concert goes as smoothly.

 If you’re interested in giving it a try for yourself, here’s the free signup.
If you’d like to follow my concert window page, and be notified when I schedule a show, or broadcast on the fly, you can find me here.

Until next time.

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