There’s a revolution happening before our eyes and it involves live internet video. The best part? You now have another free tool to use for providing public information. Even more important, emergency public information when a crisis strikes.
When I awoke Saturday morning to the news that Chile was hit by a massive magnitude 8.8 earthquake I turned on the TV and saw a great looking live interview from Santiago, Chile on MSNBC. It wasn’t via satellite – but Skype – a free software program that enables anyone to make free video and voice calls, send instant messages and share files with other Skype users.
Yes, you’ve probably seen Oprah using Skype to do live interviews on her show. She started doing it back in May 2009 to much fanfare. I’ve thought there had to be some sort of special technical relationship between Oprah and Skype and they’ve probably made absolutely sure the feed works and the video doesn’t stutter. There must be some special version of the Skype software or a super-duper internet connection at the remote location. Surely it can’t be that good for those of us common folk who just download the program and play with the free video conference feature.
Well I was proven wrong. It does work. Proof – the above video.
Just a Simple Laptop and an Internet Connection
I tracked down the freelance reporter in Chile interviewed on MSNBC, Cecilia Lagos. Ironically, I chatted with her on (yep, you guessed it) Skype. I wanted to know if she was using some special encoding software companion to the Skype software or if she had a special internet connection. I just couldn’t believe it could look so sharp and, well, live. To my amazement, she was simply using a MacBook (one of those “old” white ones) with the built-in webcam and a WiFi connection to her apartment’s internet. She said she started doing interviews with CNN, CBS and then MSNBC talking about how powerful the earthquake was and how the city was reacting. Once MSNBC saw the video quality, they asked for her exclusively. She’s been doing live interviews almost every hour during daytime programming.
Think about how you could use this. I did. I’ve already setup a free Skype account for our state emergency operations center here in Sacramento and will test it for doing exactly what Cecilia did – communicating live with the media. I checked with a few of our local stations and they say they can already pull in a live Skype video feed and broadcast it on their air. Imagine how much time you can save getting your message out. No need to wait for satellite trucks or reporters. Just get a webcam, or use a Mac with a built in one, and download the software. Within minutes, you or your agency’s subject matter expert could be ready to go “live” with your message. It’s a revolution happening before our eyes.
Thanks Cecilia for giving me a little insight and sparking a great idea.
Link to find out more about Skype – Click here
I want to know what you think: How could you possibly use this? Are you going to try it too? Comment below.