Live Streaming

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

Video Marketing / Live Streaming Update / Google Hangouts

A lot can happen in a week!  Since my last update BLAB has decided to close down operations and will no longer offer a live streaming service.

Other news this week is from Google, which is moving Google Hangouts from Google Plus to YouTube on September 12th.

So where does this leave live video streaming and where is the best place to host your broadcasts?

Google Hangouts / YouTube

Although removing Hangouts from Google Plus they are not going away.  Hangouts will be made part of YouTube and will make it very easy to start or schedule a live broadcast either from YouTube or via your website.

Other advantages to this route are:

  • SEO – broadcasts can be discovered more easily on YouTube (YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine next to Google)
  • Broadcasts are in HD video and audio and are in widescreen
  • You can have up to 10 people in a guest panel
  • You can schedule events and invite people
  • Events can be public or private
  • You can download the video for editing or other marketing
  • Ideal for panels / training / interviews / events
  • You can add links, call to actions and subtitles

Usage – Hangouts were always complicated but with them moving to YouTube they will become far easier to use.  The quality can be like a TV broadcast and you have the options to share screens and bring in other materials.  So for overall promotion of your brand and building up your YouTube channel this is the best platform.

However, if you just want to show people the sunset or your latest attraction Facebook Live and Periscope are the easiest options.

Facebook Live

Better for in the moment broadcasts but the quality can be low.  The image is always square regardless of shooting in landscape.  Not everyone likes these, in the USA they are being used for broadcasting news events, which is not what Facebook really wants.


  • It is Facebook so your audience could be large but the video does remain within Facebook.
  • You can interact with your audience
  • It’s very easy and fast

You could use this for announcing a promotion or competition or highlighting a new service.  You can also use it to tell people to tune in on a specific date for news.

Periscope (Twitter)

Very easy to start from the Twitter App and still a great way of sharing your experience with your audience


  • The live stream starts in the Twitter feed
  • You can download the video after the event to save it
  • You can shoot in Landscape
  • Great way to engage your Twitter audience

You cannot have guests but you can interact with your viewers.

Ideal usage is for showing people around a location or sharing an event. 

For more details on how to set up a live broadcast from YouTube follow the link below

My Prediction

All this news gives Facebook the chance to dominate the live streaming arena.  Once they roll out a split screen (allowing guests) – website embeds etc. then they will be a very strong position with 1.7 billion users to be the main player.

YouTube will still be the place for your video library and high end productions.  Advertising on YouTube is also a lot cheaper than Facebook and AdWords.


Phil Aston

Genius Loci Media

01736 719342 |

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

Hands Across The Ocean Show : Video Marketing

The Video Marketing Edition September 3rd 2015

With the arrival of Blab everyone is going Blab crazy! But what about the other newbie, Periscope, and of course Hangouts On Air, and more importantly what about your fans and followers?


by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

Video Marketing with Blab, Periscope and Hangouts On Air


No one can dispute that video marketing is going to more important than ever as searches on mobile devices overtake those made on a desktop.  What would you rather do, click play or read?

Producing video for your brand is getting easier now with the number of free live streaming Apps now available.

These are the Apps we are using for Genius Loci and our clients. We have deliberately left out Meerkat as it is a platform we do not personally use.

Google Hangouts On Air

Hangouts are still the best for music streaming and YouTube but are desktop based. More complex to set up but they are very powerful and you can achieve full HD video and audio. Branding is also easier with lower thirds and links to your website.  The level of interaction is also very high with the ability to use a comment tracker.

Hangouts also have a pre-broadcast area where you get guests settled before going public or live.

Hangouts do not work well over wifi or mobile.

After the broadcast the broadcast is available from YouTube.

It is a brilliant platform for reaching your Google Plus and YouTube audience.


  • Broadcast in HD Video and Audio
  • Studio Codec for live music
  • Up to 15 live guests
  • Unlimited viewers
  • Can be set up in advance
  • Green Room facility to brief guests before going live and after finishing the broadcast
  • Additional Apps for adding a lower third, adding links, Camera filters, Comments
  • Live streaming on YouTube
  • Can be embedded on your website
  • On YouTube just a few minutes after the broadcast finishes
  • Very polished and professional
  • Trailers  and branding can be added
  • Integrated into Google Plus


  • Can be prone to technical gremlins
  • You need to allow time (at least 30mins) before going live to set everything up
  • Does not work well on Wifi
  • Needs at least 3mbps upload (I think you need 10mbps)
  • Very difficult to get people outside of Google Plus to join the audience
  • Ideally you need to buy a separate Microphone, WebCam and lighting to get the best out of the system
  • Ethernet cable required
  • Fairly steep learning curve that does not stop


Periscope works on mobile only and is great for taking people on a journey. Brilliant for any business in tourism. Excellent for reaching your Twitter audience. Broadcast cannot be scheduled, they really are in the moment.

I do like this platform a lot.  I can take people down a little known path on a secluded beach and with the camera in front of me they are seeing what I am seeing without leaving their home in real time. I can give background info and as it is live they are part of the experience. The fact that it only lasts for a short time adds to that experience.

You can download the video after the event otherwise it is available for 24hours via Periscope.  Quality is variable depending on your connection and you can attract spam comments.


  • Mobile friendly
  • Works on low bandwith
  • Integrates with Twitter
  • Ideal for news updates and especially tourism,  live reviews, training
  • Integrates with the maps on IOS
  • Easy to start
  • Video can be downloaded and saved


  • Portrait only
  • Mobile only
  • Cannot be set up in advance
  • There are a lot of low grade quality broadcasts
  • Potential for spam
  • Video only available on replay for 24hours
  • No facility for guests, interaction is one way


Blab works well on desktop and mobile. Very easy to use, targets your Twitter audience, comment tracker is built in, Blabs can be scheduled and recorded.
I also like the fact that after the event you are sent two files – one for video and one for audio. So you can upload to YouTube and use the audio for a Podcast.

Hangouts win on picture and sound quality but lose on ease of use. Blab wins on ease of use and being able to set up / join from anywhere. Less bandwidth is required although ear buds are required as without them an echo loop can occur. There is no privacy on Blab so even if you are not recording you are live the instant you start.

I have noticed people setting up HOA events but actually broadcasting on Blab, so you can also target your Google Plus audience.

Blab works very well on desktop also, but picture quality is not as good as Google Hangouts, but guests joining and following comments is a breeze.  The platform is very new and the developers are adding new features almost every day.


  • Works well on Desktop and mobile
  • Very easy to set up and start
  • Can be scheduled
  • Built in comment tracker
  • Easily shared on Twitter
  • Up to 4 guests
  • Works on low bandwidth
  • Can be recorded or just be live when broadcasting
  • Recorded files sent as video and audio only – so ideal for YouTube and Podcasts
  • Lots of new subject headings being added to help with indexing


  • No camera control
  • No branding opportunities
  • No studio codec for music
  • Video quality not brilliant
  • Headphones are required to prevent echo
  • Camera setting is portrait so if you like having two people in view, it’s cosy!
  • If you are using a mobile, it will get very hot and drain the battery very quickly

Obviously this is a fast moving area and with Facebook trialling their own live streaming App called ‘live’ – we are in for some interesting times.

Phil Aston

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

South West Tourism – June Hangout On Air

New Virtual Networking for South West Community Members on Google Plus


Date Tuesday June 9th at 1.30pm UK time

Hosted by +Phil Aston &  +Sue Aston this is a chance to meet up and share ideas, tell people about your business or your latest offers and all without leaving your office!

Hangouts are a great way to promote your Tourism business and interact with your customers and guests.  We will also be giving digital marketing tips and how to get the most out of Google Plus, social media and the community.

How to watch:
You can watch live from this page or on YouTube
To connect via Google Plus here is a link to the South West Tourism HOA event page
We are looking for 5 guests to be on the panel.  Full instructions will be given before the event.
by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

Hands Across The Ocean – Episode 6

The Genius Loci Business & Media Show are proud to present ‘The Hands across the Ocean Edition’.

Wednesday August 20th 5pm – 5.45pm (UK) 12noon EST – USA

It’s back, the Hangout On Air described by David Amerland as being powered by cakes!  We have another fab panel of guests from around the world…

Christine DeGraff, Scott Scowcroft, Chef Dennis Littley, Mia Voss (USA) Nazim Beltran (Italy) Krishna De (Ireland) Kath Dawson (UK) Sheila Strover (Cornwall)

Helping me host the show and keep the #cakecam under control is Sue Aston

This month’s topics

1.Showcase or No Case – The Showcase App has been out for a few weeks now, we look at the pros and cons for HOAs and how it can affect interaction.

2. How are HOAs developing? For hosts what things have you changed since you started? For viewers what do you now look out for before clicking ‘yes’?

3. Google Plus is Google – are you sure? – With Hangouts now available for users of Google Apps are we seeing a realignment of Google Plus? Should our focus be on YouTube more than the event page?

4. What is the emotional connection that makes us trust small brands Vs large brands? – Social media (and more recently HOAs) have changed how we engage and build trust.
When choosing a smaller business the signals we look for can be very different, from seeing them on a video, their blog posts and even what music they like.
Trust is built on our perception and empathy of the individual. For larger brands we are more likely to see an individual as a spokesperson for the brand and so testimonials and a more factual line of communication will work better.


Google Plus Event Page  |  YouTube Page

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

Google Plus – Hangouts On Air

Hangouts On Air – Promoting your business – just be yourself

This is a show we produced and hosted for the ‘Google Plus for Cornwall Business Community’

It is a good example of how to promote a British brand via a Hangout On Air. This was unscripted and things did go wrong (like the comment tracker) but I felt it was worth sharing with you all.

Stevens The Cornish Slate Company sell traditional crafted Slate products all around the world and have embraced social media and HOAs to get their message across.
The show was kept to it’s 30min time slot and both myself and Sue Aston did our Breakfast TV approach when interviewing Pat Scully This made the whole show relaxed and more natural.

Thanks, Phil

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

How To Set Up a Hangout On Air Concert

Hangouts On Air are one of the best features on the Google Plus platform.  The holy grail for musicians is the option to broadcast their own concerts.

The Sue Aston Show, was the first real Hangout Concert broadcast from the UK at this level of quality. We had a lot of comments from around the world about how we set this up.  The Violin is a very unforgiving instrument if not set up correctly.  For standard Hangouts On Air you can get away with a external webcam and mic but for music you do need an external mixer for the additional control.

This first show was broadcast on March 2nd and was watched in the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, Italy, Mexico, Africa.

Since then we have produced many successful online shows
Up until January 2015 this was our set up.

Equipment – Settings

(Based on 17mbs upload speed)

The Aston Family Show – Music Hangout On in HD

This HOA has caused quite a stir in the world of Hangouts and for a music / talk show HOA it is the most complex but successful one I have produced.
We had over 230 people in the live feed and also had guests on the panel. The show was broadcast live in the USA and viewed in Japan, Canada, Mexico, USA, Brazil, Italy, Switzerland, Ireland, Africa and the UK.

It was the first one where we decided to broadcast in HD Video.
We decided to start simple with one instrument and then slowly added more as the show progressed. Towards the end where all four of us are playing I had to leave the production element to it’s own devices.

The set up

  • Violin – Beyer 360 ribbon mic (direct to behringer mixer)
  • Acoustic Guitar – Marshall amp – Shure SM57 –
  • Classical Guitar – Marshall amp (input 2) Shure SM57
  • Electric Guitar – Vox Amp – Shure SM57
  • Vocals / Harmonica / Introductions (direct to mixer) – Shure SM58

All the above inputs were EQ’d at the mixer stage.
Settings were changed from voice to studio throughout.

The live HOA mix was monitored via Pro Logic X which gave me a good idea of what people were hearing. The sound was tested on earbuds and large Tannoy floor standing speakers before we went live.
The live mix from Pro Logic was also fed into the headphone streams so we could all hear each other!

On this HOA we needed at least two more inputs so we upgraded our mixing interface for the next event.

The show was broadcast from our living room so microphone bleed across channels was a huge issue. To combat this we placed each of the amps in different parts of the house. This gave me more control over the mix.
A lot of the mix was live so different settings were needed for harmonica and spoken voice as was reverbs effects etc.

The show was hosted by My Music Hangout in the USA and broadcast from Cornwall. We had a great panel of guests and the comment tracker was doing over time. At one point I had to remind myself we were broadcasting live around the world from our house!


This is great! The sound rocks, the video quality is good for the medium, oh yea. and the music is beautiful.. Had to stop for a sec and realize I’m listening to a mom and her son, playing local tunes from their house 1/2 way around the world. Wow. 🙂 John Ellis (USA)

Another History-Making event here on YouTube as Sue Aston and her talented son Dan present a live concert performance over Hangouts-On-Air. This is testing the waters with the new “Studio mode” audio codec recently offered up to us by Google. While typically too shrill sounding for instruments such as cymbals and violins, it was masterfully controlled in this recording with EQ. Three MARVELOUS songs with very good production values are the result. Enjoy! Terry Leigh Britton (USA)

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

The Breakfast TV Approach to Hangouts On Air

How to do a Hangout On Air with Two people in the same frame

There will be times for some people and organisations where your HOA guest is in the same building. What people tend to do is set up another laptop in another room, so that each person can have their lower third and be the main focus when they talk. The background to this was we wanted to gain some experience of doing HOAs but also have something we could use afterwards.  The issue was being in the same building we would have to have separate laptops, microphones etc to get the HOA affect of a lower third and separate camera shots (depending on who was talking).

We decided to design a special lower 3rd for both of us and use one screen. This is the outcome. We kept it low key but I am pleased with how it turned out. This has given us ideas of doing this double act HOA again either as hosts or guests!

Tech details

  • Webcam – Logitech c920 – (setting smooth)
  • Mic – Blue Snowball Ice
  • Internet – upload 10 mbs

Phil and Sue Aston

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

Hangouts On Air

We hosted our first Hangout On Air in January for ‘The West Cornwall Business Club* It was a lot of fun, and things did go wrong. I think there is a perception that you have to get everything right before doing this. However, it is not until you try that you see what other things you can do to improve and the other opportunities HOAs can bring to your business.

This is going to be a regular monthly event now, plus we are putting together ideas for our own Business and Media Show.

As someone said do not let perfection get in the way of progress!