And it is really fun.
In online media, a great user experience wins out over cliche broadcast formulas from legacy media.
Invite great guests
I would say that The Wall Street Journal was truly lucky to get Rush on air for one of their first attempts at this. Canadians are polite and patient to a fault. Other famous people might not be so willing to be your test subjects while you learn the ropes of producing a multi-camera live audience interactive event.
Like learning to play a Rush song, there is a bit of a learning curve to meet in order to to produce this kind of show with grace and ease.
Spreecast is really smart about letting users edit and share clips after the event.
Put the end-user in charge
The service easily allows me, the end-user, to trim and share my minute of fame.
The clip above is trimmed to show just my Q&A time with Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson.
That's a great feature and works like a charm. Be careful with your text used for the description of the clip. You cannot go back in and correct typos.
Once you get your account you assume the role of the broadcaster .
You will be hosting a live chat between your guest and the audience. You can take text questions and video questions and do some filtering and queuing of questions ahead of time. Rush promoted the event on the Facebook page a few hours before the event. That's how I found out about it.
The fans show up ahead of time and you gather questions. One you go live, everyone participating is huddled around their own laptop, so there is no need to be in the same space with your guest.
The Wall Street Journal had a producer assisting the host, Conor Dougherty, who screened my video question ahead of time. Then she brought Jördis and I on-air with a few moments warning before taking our camera feed live. Just like Radio and TV does in the live broadcast world.
I made no special arrangements with these journalists ahead of time. I did not drop names or mention at any time that I was a journalist. I had the same chance as anyone else online at the time. I felt lucky to be picked.
The back channel chatter can be overwhelming
There were over 1,000 fans online for the event and the back channel chatter was really streaming fast.
Rush fans are passionate about the band. The cool thing is that the live chat is also preserved and on playback of the video after the event, all that live chat shows up just as it appeared during the event. That's great. but maybe not everyone who was chatting was aware that those comments would be saved. Cringe-worthy comments are there for all to see and linked to your social media profile.
For political guest interviews, I would anticipate this back chat could quickly become a sewer of distraction. It will be interesting to see if Spreecast allows broadcasters to control what elements are active and if they can be moderated by a producer.
But it is fun and provides an intimate real-time immersive experience.
Marissa Nelson of CBC in Canada commented via Facebook that they have been experimenting with Spreecast for a series of shows. I found this one with Lauren O'Neil - one of the breakout stars from the Camp VJ Toronto journalsim training we produced with The Toronto Star.