Live video is amazing. At a push of the button, you can broadcast to your friends, family, followers, and constituents. At a live auction for your non-profit, use Facebook Live to send an immediate update to your donors. At Comic-Con, use Periscope to do a live broadcast walking down the aisles and interviewing artists for your followers. The applications for live video are only limited by your creativity and your connection speed.

Facebook Live

Facebook Live is available on phones or tablets running iOS or Android. It is not available on your laptop or desktop computers. You can’t upload or broadcast a pre-recorded video. What this does is place an importance on your location. Where are you at and what are you doing? Apart from location, having Facebook Live only available on your phone or tablet means that you need to think about stabilization. By purchasing a tripod, selfie stick, or a stabilization rig, your live broadcast will be smooth because there is nothing worse than shaky video.

According to the Facebook Live website, live broadcasts are up to 90 minutes in length and will save to your page or profile until you no longer want it. As the broadcast airs, people have the ability to post comments and like the different sections. These comments stay with the replay video.

How has Facebook Live been used? During the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, Stephen Colbert had a live broadcast of the condiment station. I have seen book authors give lectures and artists provide a glimpse into their art. In a more tragic application, a woman used Facebook Live to broadcast the death of her husband shot by the police.

In its infancy, Facebook Live is changing the way people approach video, both in production and consumption.


Similar to Facebook Live is Periscope, a live broadcasting service owned by Twitter. Many of the features available in Facebook Live are also available in Periscope. One difference is that the replay video is only available for 24 hours after the broadcast ends. According to a blog post, Periscope is adding a save feature.

One massive departure from Facebook Live is that Periscope gives you the ability to broadcast video from a GoPro camera, which connects to your phone via a wi-fi connection. In a future release, there will be the ability to switch your cameras during the broadcast. You can choose between your phone’s camera, a GoPro camera, and a line of drones. Read more about this switching capability on Periscope’s blog: Coming Soon: Broadcast Search, Drones and Save Beyond 24 HoursThis feature excites me and I can actually see this improving the quality and production value of live broadcasts.

What Do We Do With This?

Live video technology will only improve over time. It is important to jump in and give it a shot. Both sites share tips and tricks for improving your live broadcasts. The cost to entry is low and in most cases, is a lot of fun. However, I encourage you to question how you will go beyond the impulse of simply broadcasting and say, “oh wow, look at this, look at that.”

The more you can craft a story and do some pre-production work ahead of your broadcast, the better off you will be. Invest in a microphone that will give you better audio than the onboard microphone. Take time to include live video as a part of your overall content strategy.

How will you be using live video? Let me know, I’d love to know.