As part of my digital experiment I have programmed some live streaming events to help promote the Camberley International Festival – and some of the artists performing at it – under the #CIFLive banner. These live streams had been due to take place in the small studio at Camberley Theatre. I arranged for pictures advertising the performances to be made by our in-house design team and along with pushing the event ourselves encouraged the artists to share these across their own social media. Of the three I had booked in, two cancelled on me at very short notice.
The one we managed to do, with the wonderful Welsh musician, The Gentle Good, (Gareth Bonello) was a success. We reached 1,588 people, had 420 views, 27 likes and 11 people messaged in during the performance with questions to ask Gareth. We streamed live using both Facebook and Periscope / Twitter, and the Facebook streaming was far better in terms of views and interaction. I had previewed the streaming a few times over the days before with short live streams of myself in the theatre’s studio talking about the artist and giving out the timings for his #CIFLive performance.
However, since two of the three performers cancelled on me I have decided to have a rethink. Maybe the offer of coming to the theatre in Camberley to broadcast live to a relatively small amount of people is not enough to entice artists? With the ever increasing easy access for simple live streaming I have realised the need to improve what Camberley Theatre has on offer so that we stand out.
For the one broadcast we did do, we used an iPad for Facebook and an iPhone for Twitter. We invested in a Rode microphone, which we used on the iPad. The quality was ok, but with one static frame and small microphone, clearly there was room for improvement.
We have just invested in a Mevo Camera (£400) and, working with the tech team at the theatre, we will also use a small mixing desk to boost the input and, therefore, sound quality. The Mevo camera will hugely improve the viewing, with close-ups and different angles now being possible. It will also be a great learning curve for myself and the marketing team, to increase our broadcasting knowledge and techniques.
Now, instead of just having the artists perform to no one except myself and my assistant filming in the studio, I have decided to up the ante and organise free to attend parties in the café area of Camberley Theatre. The artists will be invited to perform in front of a live audience. This will also be live streamed using the high quality camera and improved audio devices. I’m hoping that by making more of the live streams, the artists will feel more inclined to be involved, the audiences will increase and the anticipation for the Camberley International Festival next year will be heightened.
My plan is not to just have music at the #CIFLive events but also parties featuring Punjabi cookery lessons in the cafe and contemporary dance in the main auditorium. As we improve our filming skills we will be more capable of organising increasingly complex events. The live streams are scheduled to last an hour and we will have Q&A sessions half way through and encourage interaction with the viewers sending in questions live.
Upwards and onwards!