While live video streaming has actually been around for a while (justin.tv, a video streaming service, launched in 2007), there has been new life breathed into the idea with the recent release of two competing apps with a similar idea: instantly stream video from your phone to your followers. One of those two apps is Periscope, the new live video streaming app brought to you by Twitter.
Periscope is awesome for getting a glimpse into the lives and happenings of people you follow. But don’t just watch, get in on the action and live stream your own video to an engaged audience. Here’s how:
First you’ll need the app. Right now you can only stream from the iPhone app, but Twitter says the Android app is coming soon. Go ahead and download Periscope from the App Store right now:
When you open the app, you’ll get an introduction to what Periscope is and how it works. You’ll then get a list of live streams from people you follow on Twitter. You can tap on any of these to watch their stream and comment. Comments will be sent out as tweets from your Twitter account and show up in real time at the bottom of the video stream where everyone watching can read. You can also tap the screen to “heart” the stream, and these hearts build up for each broadcaster over time to show an overall score.
Let’s get to the fun part though: making our own stream. You might be tempted to hit that “stream” button right now, but you should probably do some preparation first. Ask yourself a couple questions first:
1. Do I have something people want to watch?
Right now, you’ll find lots of people live streaming their walk to work or school. I’m willing to bet not many of your followers want to watch your face bounce up and down their screen as you’re taking a walk.
The most interesting streams –and the ones that will get the most watchers– will be where you are doing something interesting. Skydiving? Zip lining? Painting? Creating? Go for it. Writing a paper for for your Econ 208 class? Probably not.
2. Am I prepared to not use my phone for as long as I stream?
Streaming on Periscope will be the full-time job of your phone as you stream. You might be able to close the app during your stream, but your viewers will get a lovely blurred screen and nothing to watch.
3. Do I want random people around the world watching what I’m doing?
Periscope is live video from your iPhone’s camera, so whatever your phone can see, anyone in the world can see too. You need to be prepared to forsake your privacy for as long as you stream. This means cleaning up anything you don’t want people to see, and not saying anything you don’t want heard. It’s also a good idea to let the people around you know what you’re doing, and make sure that taking broadcasting is allowed at your location. Using Periscope while you’re cooking a fancy dinner at home is ok, but you could run into problems if you try to stream at a major league game or a museum.
If all three questions are met with a yes, tap stream and broadcast to the world. The app will ask permission to use your camera and your microphone, and you’ll be streaming almost immediately. The interface is similar to watching a Periscope stream, but with a few more options. You can change which camera to use (front or back), a button to turn on the rear camera flash to light your scene, and a stop button, in addition to the comment button.
Once you end your stream, Periscope will ask if you want to keep the stream. Tapping yes will enable anyone with the link to the stream to watch as a video after you’re off the air.
And that’s it. Periscope could potentially create a huge impact on how we view events and get a glimpse into the lives of others from around the world. What and when you stream is entirely up to you, and as of this moment, Periscope is skyrocketing into relevance as a media tool and we’ve only just scratch at the surface of the possibilities of the platform.