Streaming Water Polo Matches — How To!

For the past few weeks I have been streaming live video from my son’s high school water polo matches and tournaments.  When I first proposed the idea, the coach loved it but was told that it would take a while to get things set up–and check back in a few weeks.  Turns out, it’s really not that hard.  Here’s what we did:

We started simple.  We had a camcorder [1.  I used the Sony HDR-HC1, HD Camcorder, but for streaming have the camcorder sending a lower resolution DV stream rather than the HDV stream] on a tripod, and a notebook computer with wifi.[2. One other technical point:  We were able to stream live using a cell-phone modem from an away meet (similar to the MiFi you can get through Verizon or Sprint.)]  The camcorder had a Firewire out,  and the computer had a Firewire port as well, so we were able to simply feed the video out to the computer.

I created a UStream account and was ready to go.

I turned on the camcorder, and then logged in to the UStream account.  From that point forward it was quite simple:  point the camera at the action! [3.  It’s important to note that you don’t even have to be recording the video in the camera, the camera just has to be on.]

For later sessions, we added an audio mixer and microphones so that we could have commentators “calling” the match.  The kids loved that, and who knows, maybe we have encouraged some to pursue careers in media.

Families locked on to this quite quickly.  Family members from around the country, and around the world (to include Scotland and Iraq), were soon logging on to watch the live polo matches.  In addition, we picked up a few fans who are fans of water polo (and hopefully now fans of our high school team as well!)  It was quite gratifying to receive comments from the parents that their families were loving the video, and that the quality was outstanding.  The quality was so good that my brother was able to recognize my son, and comment on the plays he (and others) were making.

Of course, UStream provides the option to record the video and make it available for later viewing as well–and many of the families have taken advantage of that option as well.  You can too.  Go watch the videos!

This was a simple solution that I think serves to show how we can take events and provide coverage nationwide of what are traditionally under-covered sports.  Local HS football teams get coverage (every place I have lived has had “Football Friday” HS News coverage) but one rarely, if ever, sees TV coverage (live or recorded) of sports in the pool.

Try it yourself–and stop back here to share the link!

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