On our last #OccupySupply Skill Share: The Revolution Will Be Televised we where joined by Occupy Streamer Nathan Grant also know as @OccupyEye. Nathan has been a streamer since the early days in Zucotti Park. Nathan went through step by step ideas, advice and tips for sharing the Revolution via Livestream and Ustream. Nathan has been all over the country covering events in the Occupy Movement and has built a good following of viewers. He began our presentation by explaining what livestream is and how it pertains to occupy
“Livestream,” in essence, is a medium that allows a cameraman or citizen journalist to send live video and audio to the internet for computer, mobile phone, or tablet users to watch live wherever they may be.”
There are two main platforms for streaming Livestream and Ustream. Livestream provides better quality but requires more equipment. Ustream has an Android and Iphone app that allows for the mobility of streaming from a handheld device. To stream events effectively you must have either and Android or Iphone a mobile hot spot, and external battery life. Streaming takes more battery power and data usage than regular phone use so you will need to equip yourself before going out to an event.
Once you are ready to stream it is important to take into account that all of your actions and those around you are being broadcast. Focusing your attention on the action and keeping the camera directed at whats going on will make for a more quality visual experience for your viewers.
The first, and most broken rule I see amongst other streamers, is you must remember that you are HOLDING A CAMERA that is ALWAYS RECORDING. When you are done streaming, the video you shot is saved in an archive. It is not like a camcorder where you take shots here and there during an event. People are watching your stream live, and if you take your focus off the picture at any time, your stream will suffer for it, and you will lose viewers. I see too many streamers who just hold their phone at chest level and walk around, rather than focusing on shot composition at least 90%
Being aware of what you are shooting involves more than just the shot composition, the footage you are taking can be used by lawyers defending Occupiers or by police implicating Occupiers. Nathan described his policy of protecting his sources by focusing the camera in a way that doesn’t implicate protesters. On the otherside of the coin he advocated for filming police activity to aid the defense of people arrested and added that his footage had been used to keep Occupiers out of jail and big fines.
I hear somewhat often that livestream is “unbiased journalism.” I used to believe that myself for a time, but it is not true. It does not take away from the value of your stream, but being honest with yourself will help you grow as a journalist in the streets, and this is the first hurdle.
Streaming involves a unique skill set streamers must be able to keep focused on the action while talking to the audience to keep them informed about what they are not seeing to put it in perspective. The greatest resource for streamers is their following by adhering to the principals Nathan outline in this presentation you can build a viewership. Spreading the word via twitter is a great way to let people know you are live and get other people watching. Networking can bring in new viewers and also give you information about what people want to see and where the action is going on. Equipment, travel and time are not free so people interested in Livestreaming full time need to set up We Pay accounts to receive donations for phones, batteries, internet bills and maybe even bail money. Nathan suggested stepping back from the action when police are aggressive to get footage of what happens but their is always the chance you will get arrested so be alert and aware and most of all have fun.
Our presentation concluded with several questions from the audience that covered how to find out where the action is and more advice for how to stream. I want to thank Nathan and everyone who participated please watch his stream at ustream.tv/OccupyEye and you can read his thoughts on livestreaming in this article http://my.firedoglake.com/johnwob/2012/08/08/so-you-wanna-livestream-by-occupyeye/