Home > 5: Share > How to stream video from a computer

How to stream video from a computer

Activists and groups have used streaming video from phones and even their computers’ web cams to show supporters their actions in real-time.  This was a smart tactic to invite supporters to visit their website at a certain time to see what they and their supporters were doing to pressure their targets – often with an air of mystery by using email alerts and messaging that alluded to what was going to happen but just enough to ensure their supporters would come.  In addition to reengaging their supporters and keeping them updated and inspired with the campaign, they were great tools to help build their email lists and add to their press strategy to garner more attention.

Streaming video from a built-in or attached camera on your computer is fairly easy to set-up and can be a very affordable (free with a good internet connection) option to document an event live – and enable real-time conversations on the web.   Because each service ranges from the set-up to the cost (free and up), we’ll just share a few of the services we’ve seen in-use and invite you to check them out and do some research to see what might be best for your budget and needs.

Requirements for all systems

  • Download and install the applicable player and software
  • Video camera (or built-in camera, though poorer quality)
  • Camera connector to your server system (often a USB connection)
  • High-as-you-can-get-speed internet connection (higher the better)

Some services worth exploring:  Mogulus, Ustream, Giss, Hobnox and this text-guide to installing and using the VLC, open-source player.

Spotlight:  Streaming video to get news out from censored areas

Students for a Free Tibet (SFT) continues to be one of the most innovative, grassroots organizations that successfully integrates online tools and video to raise awareness and pressure key decision makers.  During the 2008 Olympics in China, SFT worked to bypass the censorship and barriers to getting news coverage and focus on actions within China to spotlight the campaigns to Free Tibet.  Their innovative and multi-tool approach showed the potential of integrating new and old online and mobile tools – including a 24-hour live streaming video from six different cities around the world to cover their actions in Beijing – while keeping the focus on their campaign and supporters engaged.  Additionally, they would stream video from their phones while actions took place to ensure the visuals got out and the story was heard.  See some of the great content SFT activists streamed furing the 2008 Olympics.


Procaster – explanatory video:

Manycam – explanatory video:

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