Live-event Streaming Apps

By Will Sullivan on November 18, 2010 1 Comment Ideas

Mobile Journalism Reporting Tools Guide

The Basics        
  Qik Video Camera Pro UStream Recorder and Live Broadcaster CoverItLive iPhone 5-0 Police Scanner
Cost $2.99 Free Free $1.99
Size 3.9 MB for iPhone 5.6 MB and 11.1 MB 0.7 MB 6.3 MB
Live chat No Yes Yes  
Recommended Recommended Highly Recommended Not Recommended Recommended
Where To Buy iTunes App StoreAndroid Market iTunes App StoreAndroid Market iTunes App Store Seller: Dr. James Leung
Manufacturer Qik, Inc. UStream, Inc. Altcaster Inc.  

Qik Video Camera Pro

Review by: Amanda Heisey

Qik Video Pro's User Interface
Qik Video Pro's User Interface

Qik is one of the most popular, and easy to use applications for mobile devices. The app has numerous uses from a journalistic standpoint as well as in your everyday life. For example, if you are hanging out at a local venue and you run across an interesting performer of some sort you can take a video and upload it to Qik right then and there. It's the same for performers that have family and friends that can't see their show. Just tell people when and where to go to see it broadcast. In terms of journalistic value, this application can be used for breaking news. Not by newsrooms, but a free lance journalist could be the first to get footage of a breaking news story in the field. That footage could then be picked up by stations in order to tell the public what's going on.

It is incredibly useful for vloggers. While you are filming video for a blog a person watching can send you comments that appear in your screen, which you can then respond to right then in the video. It's just an interesting concept and allows for a more open discussion with your followers. It opens up so many more doors than simply having a comments box under a blog post or video.

Qik even has the ability to save your videos if, for some reason, you lose your signal. As soon as you regain Internet access the videos are uploaded without anything getting lost. The application offers many effects like frosted glass and black and white. It's one of the fastest ways to upload to Facebook and YouTube, as well as many popular blog hosts and Twitter. The render time isn't long so you have a little less frustration.

Right now there's no way to edit your videos, so what you record is what you get. That means be careful. Don't say anything you would need to edit out then.


UStream Recorder and Live Broadcaster

Review by: Amanda Heisey and Jennifer Elston

UStream Gallery
UStream Gallery

There are two different UStream applications. One is UStream Recorder and the other is UStream Broadcaster. Both have their own uses that would benefit you in different situations. The UStream Recorder is a good tool; it's easy to upload videos that are in your camera roll. You can also record a video in the application but you have to be careful. If you don't hold it the correct way the video may end up side ways or upside down when you upload it. This can happen with the camera roll videos as well. Overall, it doesn't take long to upload to UStream and it has similar qualities to Qik. I happen to like Qik a little more. UStream is a bit laggy sometimes and the videos come out dark if you don't have excellent lighting.

Now, UStream Broadcaster allows you to see people tweeting at you while you're actually broadcasting live. Some people find that distracting, but it's an interesting concept. Say you're filming a vlog or a show; you can answer those tweets as they come up on your screen. It would be incredibly useful to cover a concert or performance. If you alert people before the actual event they can tune in and watch as you stream it. This can be a little laggy as well. As technology improves I'm sure this will stop being such a problem.

You can't edit these videos either. So again, be careful with what you say when you're streaming live, or if you want to upload the videos. Technically you could just edit the video in a different application, save it to your camera roll and upload it from there. That's always an option.

UStream also has its fair share of glitches, but it was definitely more successful than CoverItLive. I (Jennifer) set up both the Droid and the iPhone on the mobile tripod throughout election night to compare the two video qualities and ease of use. The Droid video quality was a lot poorer than the iPhone, but the Droid allowed you to film horizontally, which my tripod was made for. The iPhone forces you to shoot vertically. Since I put the phone in the tripod, all of my video from the iPhone is sideways. The iPhone has much clearer images, but it was really dark at The Blue Note so it kept trying to refocus and adjust on lighter flashes and images, so the video is a little weird.

I really like the concept of UStream. You have the option of recording to your phone, or going live. You can include a hashtag to appear with the chat for your channel online. This allows for conversation in multiple ways. The only real problem with using UStream on a mobile device is the sound quality. For Mizzou's Homecoming skits, the audio techs connected UStream to the main audio. You could hear the techs talking over their radios, but the sound quality was perfect and there weren't any audience mumbles. The only problem is I'm not sure you can connect a mobile device to the stereo equipment like you can a laptop. To view Jennifer's UStream account and see the videos from election night, go to http://www.ustream.tv/channel/elstonjen


CoverItLive iPhone

Review by: Amanda Heisey and Jennifer Elston

Cover It Live app
Our attempt to cover the midterm election with CoverItLive.

This would be a great idea if all the features worked how they are supposed to.

You are able to broadcast your written messages and photos easily. Essentially what you're doing is live blogging an event of some sort. It is very simple and has great potential. You can use video captured on your phone or you can capture video through the application. It works the same with photos. Audio is captured through the app.

Right now it needs an upgrade though. It keeps saying something is wrong when I tried to upload audio or video. It didn't matter if I used the video already stored in the camera roll, it still didn't work. I tried making the video shorter, that didn't help at all. Same with audio. I can try to capture audio through the application and it still says I'm doing something wrong. The audio can only be 30 seconds long anyway, so shortening that didn't do anything. It is glitchy and gets frustrating if you're trying to cover an important event. I think that if they fix the kinks, it will be a really good tool to use. They just need to tweek a few aspects. Multiple aspects actually.

I couldn't find CoverItLive in the Droid Market, so I had to use it on the iPhone. Since we were stationed at a table for a night, I set up the Apple Wireless Keyboard to my iPhone 4 and the application wouldn't register the keyboard, but every other single application I have tried it on has worked. After I turned off my Bluetooth, I finally got the application to work, but it had all kinds of quirks (which we have heard from another capstone group). It wouldn't let me post videos or even photos sometimes because it said there wasn't enough space, but it would post audio clips, which were just as large. I could post text, but it was too glitchy to be successful. It was a good idea, but it just didn't work.

To see our election coverage, check out our blog post about using live-streaming applications.

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CoveritLive App Updated

For those interested...

The CoveritLive iPhone App has been updated and includes several new features in V1.7. http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/coveritlive-iphone/id353226021?mt=8#

CoveritLive also now as an Android App available: https://market.android.com/details?id=com.coveritlive.android&feature=se...

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