26 Apr Are you on Periscope?

In my online community of actors and filmmakers, a brand new app has recently blown up. It’s called Periscope, and it was acquired by Twitter (so the two are linked). It basically allows anyone with an iPhone (sorry, it isn’t available on other operating systems yet- but I’ve heard it is coming soon!) to use their camera to LIVE broadcast whatever they are doing and wherever they are! I love their tagline- Explore the World Through Someone Else’s Eyes.

I have heard it be called micro vlogging (or video blogging), and it has been a lot of fun to explore the last couple of days.

I got to watch a live broadcast from the board room of the Ellen show, I’ve seen people walking down streets in Pairs, driving through Florence, walking along the Hollywood Boulevard walk of fame… There is something so much more interesting because it is LIVE. Of course I could always look on YouTube and find videos of people in France- but to see someone walking down the Champs-Elysees RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND… that is cool!

Here’s how it works. Download the app onto your iPhone and create an account (I found it easiest to log in with my Twitter account- again, they’re owned by Twitter.)

When you’re setting up your account, it conveniently lets you know whom of your twitter followers are on Periscope, which makes it easy to start following folks. At the bottom of the app are 4 buttons- a TV, a Globe, a Lens, and a Group of People. When you’re on the TV part, you can see whom you are following that is currently LIVE streaming (sometimes nobody is.) You can also see any backlogged videos from the last 24 hours from people you’re following. If the little icon is grayed out, that means that they ONLY broadcast it live and you cannot replay it. However, if there is a play arrow over the icon, that means you can replay it!

The other way to watch videos is if you see a Tweet that someone is live broadcasting on Periscope- you can watch online ☺

If you’re watching a live video with the app, you can interact with the person broadcasting by tapping the screen to give them Hearts (these are cute hearts that float up from the bottom of the screen). Hearts are a way to let them know you like what you see, and as far as I can tell there is no limit to the number of hearts you can give someone during a broadcast. You can also give hearts if you’re watching a replay.

Another way to interact is to type comments to the person. If there are a TON of comments, the person broadcasting might not have a chance to see & respond to yours, but it is a great feature if you want to do a Q&A, and it’s a great way to engage.

If you’re watching a broadcast that you are enjoying, you can swipe right to see the person’s profile. You can then click to follow them, or you can “share broadcast,” which will cause their broadcast to show up in the “live” stream of all of YOUR followers. Pretty cool 🙂

When you’re watching a replay, there is a thin white line (REALLY thin) on bottom of your screen shows progress through the video, in case you’re wondering how long it goes.

When you click on the Globe icon, it shows you various live broadcasts that are going on all over the world, but aren’t among the folks that you follow.

Click on the Lens icon if you’re ready to do a broadcast of your own. A few things to know: First, where it says “What are you seeing now?” you should type a compelling phrase that lets folks know what your broadcast is about. It could be as simple as “Ask Me Anything” or as specific as “At the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood” – just make sure it lets your audience know what they’re about to see.

You can also specify whether to reveal your general location (you can set this before each broadcast), whether it is a private broadcast that will go out to only the followers YOU specify, whether anyone can comment or only your followers can comment, and whether you want to send a tweet out to let your Twitter followers know you’re doing a live broadcast (so potentially they can watch online!)

Once you’re broadcasting live you can tap the screen twice if you want to flip the camera around, see when people give you hearts or make comments, and swipe down if you’re ready to end the broadcast. Then, be sure to let your broadcast save if you want it to be available to view for the next 24 hours. You can also rewatch your own broadcast (I find this interesting to see any comments that flew by while I was gabbing!) and see how many people joined you live and how many people rewatch it, and if you are so inclined, you can SAVE the entire video to your phone.

The way to search for people or find other folks to follow is by clicking on the Group of People icon. While you’re there, you can also click on the icon in the upper right corner to see your own profile- how many cumulative hearts you’ve been given, how many followers you have, who you’re following, and who you’ve blocked (if they’ve made inappropriate comments, etc).

So far, I love Periscope because it’s so AUTHENTIC. These broadcasts are not polished, you’re live and you can truly engage with your audience. As someone in the entertainment industry, I can see how this would have amazing implications for behind the scenes of red carpet events, Q&A sessions, teaching classes, and even mini performances. I’m excited to see where this platform goes!

If you’re interested in seeing a great walk through where you can actually SEE what I’m talking about, here’s a great tutorial from Casting Director Bonnie Gillespie:

If you decide to join Periscope, you can follow me at @sarahjeagen, which is the same as my Twitter handle. This morning (Sunday April 26th) I did a Periscope about making jam! Check it out before it disappears ☺ And let me know if you join this fun new app!


Edit 4/5/15: Bonnie Gillespie has since added a video specifically about how we in the entertainment industry can use Periscope to our advantage! Check it out if you’re interested.

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