Viral Performance

Teaser image for Dare You WatchOver the last few months, I’ve been part of a hush-hush art project to promote the variously named or “Dare You Watch” live performance by Nocturn Dance. Combining a 4 hour live stream with a ticketed performance as the culmination, the means of promotion were equally part of the project for me.

We created several presences on Twitter, plus enigmatic email and web marketing to try to interest and audience who may not have responded had the event been tagged with the convenient label “Dance”.

As well as undertaking webmaster duties and operating some of our Twitter “puppets” I produced the live video stream of the event. With streaming being a topic that seems something of a trend at the moment, my approach has always been that we need to explore this format practically in order to gain a greater understanding of what works and how our viewers might Like to engage with it. This doesn’t need particularly expensive equipment to make a start and the learning that emerges is just as valid.

For Nocturn’s “Dare You Watch” project, we treated the single camera as the viewer and the performance itself was geared around this. Dispensing with the notion of camera=cinema, choreographer, John Darvell and the company created a performative relationship with the lense, acknowledging its presence and using it to frame the bounds of the stage.

This mixture of an intelligent approach from the performers and a cheeky approach to manipulating the dynamics of social media and emarketing produced some really useful data and experiences.

Mac screen with Ustream Producer showing two live video windows and prepared clipsThe underground venue for the live stream itself took itself quite literally, and we staged our webcast from a cellar. No available wired network in the building led me to try a MiFi portable wireless point from the Three mobile network. The device did amazingly well and the Three mobile network gave us stable 3G connectivity throughout the event. I wanted to produce the stream slightly and be able to inject some premade video interludes and text overlays, so we bought the Producer Pro software from our live stream provider, UStream and used the basic free account to deliver our video feed.

After an initial glitch early on the stream ran smoothly for three hours, uploading the performance to our site. Aside from the Ustream player being throughly monetised from every angle, that’s a great service for no cost.

The archive of the stream can still be found on the DareYouWatch UStream Channel.

The teaser videos that were distributed in advance of the event via Twitter and email can be found on the DareYouWatchUs YouTube Channel




Leave a Reply