Since I’ve started broadcasting on Ustream, I’ve received quite a few questions regarding software, hardware, and how-to of a Ustream show. If you are an artist and are curious about joining the live stream scene, here’s a quick overview of my own setup and techniques.
I hope this helps! I would love to see lots more of you start your own shows. Paste a link in the comments if you do. And let me know if you have additional questions.
What is Ustream?
Ustream is a web service that allows you to easily stream live video over the internet. The site has been used to stream a variety of content such as news broadcasts, concerts, podcasts, or sporting events. In my case, I draw and paint.
How do you set up a Ustream account? Does it cost anything?
Go to Ustream.tv and click “Sign Up” at the top of the page. Fill in the info, and you’re done! All you need is an email address. It’s all free. You will need to create an account in order to create a show or chat in the chat rooms.
How do you start a Ustream show?
Once you have a Ustream account, click on the “Create a Show” link in your dashboard. Come up with a cool name, and you’re set to broadcast.
Why do you Ustream?
I stream mostly for the company (all of you!) and to help me stay on task every day (it really helps to know you are being watched while you work!).
Originally, the Ustream channel was more of an extension of my video podcast. Over time, I found the live format to be quite different and enjoyable. While most episodes are recorded, I highly encourage you to come and watch the show live when you can. The experience is different than the podcasts – much slower-paced and improvisational – plus the interactive quality is pretty cool. I love chatting with you all.
Where do you set your camera?
My webcam sits right in front of me on the desk while I work. If the painting I am working on is bigger in size, I have to prop the camera up higher on a pile of books or something, and set it off to the side, in order to fit the whole piece of art in view. But I like the up-close-and-personal look, so I try to keep my sketches pretty small so you can see them.
What kind of webcam do you use?
A Logitech QuickCam E 3500. Found it at Wal-Mart for $30 or so.
What kind of headset do you have?
A Logitech ClearChat Comfort USB. If you’re on a Mac, you have to get a USB mic of some kind.
How do you broadcast your computer screen?
You have to use a piece of software called CamTwist. Open the program and select Desktop under your Video Sources. When you open Ustream to broadcast, you would then select CamTwist as your video source. More about CamTwist.
Technically, you don’t need CamTwist if you are not broadcasting your desktop and are just working with a webcam. However, CamTwist can also be used to put various effects onto your webcam video. For example, I also use it to put the image overlay of my web address onto my stream.
How do you broadcast?
First, plug in your camera and headset (and open CamTwist if you are broadcasting your desktop). Then go to Ustream, log in, and click the Broadcast Now button. Select your video and audio sources, then hit the Start Broadcast button.
For further technical questions, I highly recommend reading through Ustream’s help center. They cover a lot of common issues.
Does Ustream slow down Photoshop/Illustrator when you are broadcasting?
Yes, a little bit. My computer can handle it well enough though. If you experience troubles, you may have to lower your video/audio quality settings in the Ustream broadcast window.
What are your favorite Ustream shows?
Here are a few:
Otis Frampton Live – A comics guy. Works both digitally and traditionally with marker and the occasional watercolor.
Chris Oatley – A highly motivated and inspirational guy who works in comics and animation development. He doesn’t broadcast too often, but when he does it’s swell. And you must subscribe to his podcast.
Melissa Findley – A fantasy artist who works mostly in Painter. She is very good at discussing her work and taking questions as she is painting.
Stephen Silver – Relatively new to Ustream, but I’m excited to see where his show goes. He is a highly motivational artist and character design pro.
Bobby Chiu – Also pretty new to Ustream, but I’ve been following his work for a while. This guy’s a digital painting genius and dispenses great advice left and right. Keep a look out for his broadcasts.
You can also go to my profile on Ustream at ustream.tv/danidraws, and click on “Following” to see more folks I am bookmarking on Ustream.
What is that brush/pen/paper you use on your broadcasts?
I have a full blog post on the subject. Links and pictures galore here!
Where can I view your previously recorded broadcasts?
You have to go to the Ustream site. Go to my profile page at ustream.tv/danidraws and click on “Archived Videos”.
Are there other live streaming sites besides Ustream?
Any tips for artists who want to start their own live stream?
Have a regular schedule. It makes it easier for the audience to find you and get established. At the very least, have a Twitter account or something that helps keep people up to date about your broadcasts.
Use sound. Some artists like to broadcast without talking. I have found it a lot easier, and better for the audience, if you do. It’s scary at first, but I encourage you to try it.
Watch other Ustreaming artists. See what you like or don’t like. Interact with other artists and publicize your own show if appropriate.