Friday, November 23, 2007

Webcams and the Internet


I left the classroom 10 years ago to become the district technology director. I left behind several activities that have not been resumed until now. We have recently discovered that we can use the latest webcam software and Internet services to broadcast video to the community. We can basically do this with equipment we already have.


We will be using WebCamMax to create a news style show, complete with picture in picture. You can switch between several cameras, computer video, still pictures, and effects. This software is simply amazing for what it costs.


We can then broadcast live on ustream.tv and embed it in our school website. We also have the local public access TV station and can set our computer to the ustream channel and broadcast out over our local public TV channel, STV.


This is exciting and our students are very excited to be creating news and broadcasting events. We will be sharing the url once we get going. So stay tuned to STV on the net.


Another discovery for me recently was Wirecast. Wirecast creates a streaming media server out of your computer. This allows up to 50 connections to your computer on your network using Windows Media Player or Quick Time. We are going to use this for school announcements. We have tested it and it works great.


Video is back on the move in our district and who knows what future TV personalities we'll pump out.

3 comments:

Small Group said...

Mike,

I have a question for you. Is there a way to push a live webcam session out via a media server? I've heard of IP based cameras and thought maybe you had already investigated this option?

Thanks,

Gary Butler
Network Administrator
Genoa Christian Academy

Mike Dionne said...

We have checked out Wirecast http://www.varasoftware.com/products/wirecast/
with a mini dv camcorder via firewire and it worked great. Wirecast does cost about $300 but it allows up to 50 connections or it runs on a media server.

We have also used webcams and ustream.tv.

I'm not sure what your objectives are but I just found a new service for free that allows up to 16 connections on a video conference. The service allows you to create your own conference room that you give out to only people you want in the conference. The problem with the site is it has available other random rooms where anything goes. Not suitable for students.

Hope this helps.

Laura R said...

so glad I found this post! I'm planning to webcast a performance by my students and have been looking for info from others who have done similar things. PS I swear I didn't intentionally rip off your blog name! ;-)

rock on!