To those of us who live on the internet live streaming video is nothing new. Yet for the majority of society — certainly for traditional institutions like churches, schools and businesses — live video hasn’t been a communication tool they’ve had to rely on. The COVID-19 pandemic changed that.
Since the pandemic began, organizations across the globe have been forced to embrace live video or face certain doom. Educational institutions have been forced by the public to continue educating a student body forced to stay at home. Meanwhile, churches, who rely on the tithes of their parishioners, have been using live video in place of in-person weekly services.
When the pandemic subsides and things begin to go back to normal, the culture of live video will be here to stay.
The most obvious argument for strengthening society’s live video capabilities is this: A citizenry that can continue to communicate effectively during a pandemic is more resilient than one that goes dark. Organizations are learning that effective use of live video is enough to keep them afloat if they’re unable to see people face to face.
It’s possible that as students go back to school, workers go back to the office and houses of worship open their doors, some will stop streaming. However, once these muscles are developed, there is little downside to exercising them frequently. Even without a pandemic, live video can add value to many organizations. For example, small churches are learning that they can reach far more people with live video than they can in person. Why would they choose to dial back the reach of their services as well as the tithes that go with it?
Without students, universities can’t collect tuition. Without parishioners, churches can’t collect tithes. In both cases, a remote experience may not be the best experience. But for the most part, live video functions well enough in a pinch. For some students and worshipers, remote attendance is the only option, even when society is open.
As the barrier to entry lowers, live video will only continue to invade our lives. Churches and schools without live video capabilities will struggle to compete. Live video is already becoming a ubiquitous tool, and this trend will only continue, bringing more professionals and amateurs alike to Twitch, YouTube and other live streaming platforms.
People who would never have been on Twitch may take the plunge after they learn how to livestream video to their customers for their day jobs.
Conducting an effective livestream has been dead simple for a few years, but now even conducting a sophisticated stream is attainable for any organization willing to put in the effort. Just as online video began growing slowly in the late nineties, then took off as consumers obtained inexpensive video cameras, desktop computers and fast internet connections, live video is democratizing at a similar rate.
Currently, the major technical hurdle for live streamers is the ability to switch between multiple video sources in real-time. While doing so is far easier and cheaper than it was 10 years ago, the process is still relatively complex. But that’s changing rapidly. Within a few years, the grandmas and crazy uncles of Facebook will be able to set up a couple of smartphones and conduct a multi-camera livestream relatively easily.
Just as recorded video became a ubiquitous communications medium after the turn of the century, so will live video after the pandemic.