LIVE and Kicking!

LIVE and Kicking!

The live feature on social media and content sharing platforms is all the rage. Here's a dummy's guide to go LIVE.

Illustration: Ajay Thakuri Illustration: Ajay Thakuri

Candace Payne, a mother of two from the US, became a sensation on Facebook after she posted a live video donning a Chewbacca (a character from the Star Wars franchise) mask to share her joy with friends on the "internet webs". The video, uploaded in May 2016, which shows her wearing the mask with childlike enthusiasm and laughing hysterically, has garnered over 165 million views on Facebook - the most watched live video on the social networking site.

Live videos have taken the social media and video sharing platforms by storm. Whether at a party or a protest march, people are sharing the moment through live videos. The popularity of live videos can be attributed to their ease of use. It negates the need for a video camera set-up or technical know-how. A smartphone, or any device with a camera, and internet connection are all you need to become a live star. Bloggers and celebrities are recognising the 'live' feature as a powerful tool to connect with their fans and followers, and garner more following.

Although there are a host of apps that support live videos, here are the most popular ones to get you going:

Facebook Live

Contrary to popular perception, Facebook was not the first to launch live videos. It was Periscope, now acquired by Twitter, which made live videos popular on Twitter. But Facebook made a big splash with its own version, Facebook Live. It is really simple to use: to go live, you need to tap the top of your News Feed or Page. The Live Video option appears even under the status update bar. Add a description about the video, if you wish. When connected to the server, the Go Live option appears at the bottom. You can select who can view the live session - friends, public, friends, or even restrict views. As soon as the live video option has been selected, the timer starts. Tapping on the Finish icon ends the live video. Facebook now offers options by which one can add masks, doodles and filters to the live videos.

YouTube Live

The most popular video streaming channel, YouTube, also offers a live streaming option. But this one takes more than a few taps. One has to follow a few steps to get going: first sign into your YouTube account, click on your YouTube channel's profile picture at the top right, and then on the Creator Studio button. Enable live streaming from here after confirming that your channel is verified, and that you have no live stream restrictions in the last 90 days. Once the channel is enabled, going live is relatively simple. You can either use Stream Now or Events (to create an event). Stream Now, in beta stage, is a quick and easy way to go live - start sending content, and it will automatically start and stop the stream for you at the right time. Events offers greater control of the live stream. You can go live instantly using Events as well as either Hangouts on Air or select Custom to use encoding options. Under the advanced settings, you can select Live Chat, enable slow mode, automatically block spam messages, select category, optimise for less buffering, and more. Events can be scheduled for later as well. Using Google Hangouts, one can broadcast for up to eight hours. YouTube also offers analytics for videos.

Twitter Live

Earlier, users would broadcast live on Twitter by installing the Periscope app. With Twitter Live, users don't need to install a separate app, and can go live straight from the Twitter app. Powered by Periscope, live video on Twitter allows people to share videos with an audience through a tweet. The live option is available to iOS and Android users through an app update. While creating a new tweet, a 'Live' icon appears next to photo and video icons. Tapping on it will direct you to a new page (Periscope) where you enter the same account details as Twitter. Give a title to the video, tap on the 'go live' icon and start broadcasting. Once the broadcast is on, users can access options such as 'Ask to Follow', 'Ask for Share', 'Share Broadcast', 'Start Sketching', 'Hide Chat', and 'Flip Camera'. Tap on 'End Broadcast' to stop the video broadcast. The live videos will be automatically posted as a tweet. One can also save the live video on the phone. Those watching the live video on Twitter can interact with the broadcaster by commenting and sending hearts to show their support.

Instagram Live

Image sharing platform Instagram, too, has introduced the Live Video feature that can be used to connect with followers in real time. But once the video ends, it will no longer be visible on Instagram. Tap on the camera icon on the top left of the screen or swipe right from anywhere in the feed to the launch camera, a live option appears at the bottom which can be tapped to start the live video. As soon as you go live, all your followers will be notified; the number of viewers appears on the top right of the screen, and comments appear at the bottom. There is also an option of turning off comments. To stop the live video, use the 'End' icon on the top right and confirm. Although this feature was officially launched in November last year, it is now being rolled out to users globally, and will be launched in India soon. ~