So here's my situation. First and foremost we are on a budget so our guest list is limited. I am a techno geek, so most of my friends live inside my computer and are pretty far away. Even though several are going to be able to make it to my wedding, there are even more that won't be able to make it. Not to mention family and friends who won't be able to make an international trip, or who are in poor health and aren't supposed to travel. Originally I was planning on sending them all photo CDs, and doing a slideshow on our wedsite, but then I started thinking with my geek gland.
Back in March, one of my fabulous internet groups had several members who attended an expo in Chicago. ALL the members of the site had helped to fund raise, and everyone was excited about it. I decided try and stream it live, so all our online friends who couldn't be there could be participants. It was a resounding success, and everyone loved it. Why couldn't I use this self same technology for my wedding?
I'm using http://www.ustream.tv/ for several reasons.
- It's FREE.
- It's easy to use.
- It's got great image quality (especially considering that it's FREE).
- It has Chat and Twitter capabilities so people can talk about what they're watching.
- It's customizable (Look, it's my wedding colors and logo!
I have a Toshiba laptop that runs Vista. Ustream can run either Vista or XP on a Mac or PC. (There is a special plug in to use to get extra quality but we'll go over that later. Basically you can use any computer with internet access. I'll also be using my FH's Lenovo ideabook.
While it is completely possible to use the built in webcams, they typically aren't that flattering, the picture quality sucks, and they're almost impossible to adjust. I went out and bought a "Streaming" camera with light correction off Ebay for $65. The camera I got is the Logitech QuickCam Ultra Vision SE Webcam.
You don't have to spend that much money if you don't want to — you can get decent web cams from Wal-Mart for like $20 if you or one of your friends don't already have one already. There is also a way that you can hook your video camera up to the computer and get all kinds of fancy, but we're just going to focus on the basic USB camera. I'll be using the FH's laptop's built in camera too.
This is going to be an ongoing saga as I figure out how I'm going to do it for our particular venue and handle the cameras, angles and all that. But I wanted to start with the basics.
Stay tuned next week when we bring you the step-by-step set-up tutorial in Part Two.