Live streaming brings drama to audiences in real time

Cebuanos in and outside the Philippines erupted in cheers when they first saw the Sinulog, Cebu’s grandest festival, being aired live over the Internet in 2008.

Sun.Star, the media company to pioneer live streaming among community newspapers nationwide, has received overwhelming support and requests for more real-time coverage since. And this experience highlighted how effective and important live reporting is in getting the message across borders.

The Sun.Star live streaming is aired over its website at www.sunstar.com.ph. Each streaming, or reporting live over the Internet, is accompanied by live blogging that allows viewers to interact with reporters and fellow viewers in real time by typing their comments on a blog or message board.

But live streaming is not as easy as taking a video of an event. There are certain requirements to make the effort successful.

A video camera, a computer, a website offering an online streaming service, and fast and stable Internet connection are the foremost requirements. The absence of appropriate equipment and connection can result in a disappointing viewing experience. Video without audio and video buffering or images stopping every few seconds are among the common complaints of viewers.

For those doing the streaming, some skills in handling the camera and effective ways to take video are needed. Print journalists will have to learn the basics of broadcasting.

It takes months of preparation for the Sun.Star Network Exchange, the online and new media office of the Sun.Star Publishing Inc., to set up several live streaming events on the Sinulog. But after having done streaming in many other instances, the staff can now quickly set it up to stream breaking news.

A fire incident, the handing down of a court decision, press conferences and speeches of government officials are among those events that can be streamed, aside from the huge production of covering a festival. Sun.Star has done live streaming of events in Cebu, Manila and Davao.

Mobile devices and readers may now be used for streaming events as they happen.

No video editing is required as live streaming is about ensuring you’re there when the drama unfolds.

(Laureen R. Mondoñedo is content editor of Sun.Star Network Exchange or Sunnex.)