The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about a massive cancellation of face-to-face activities, from academic meetings and congresses to high-school workshops and street science fairs. After a short period of hesitation, many of these activities have turned their attention to online tools that may mimic them best. However, this transition has led to the discovery of great advantages of online tools: time being better spent, increase of oral, online communication possibilities, and most important: ability to attend meetings, seminars and lectures that were otherwise reserved to people who attended them presentially.
As of submission of this communication proposal, there is no standard procedure to stream and record interviews, round tables, or small meetings. Our group has realized that a good alternative is using a simple tool to stream and gather a small number of people at the same time, while being able to live switching between remote presenters, wholly controlling what is streamed and recorded, and build a proper appearance with titles, live comments (e.g., from Youtube), and brand logos. A nice, simple, low-cost tool for such a purpose is StreamYard, which needs just the Chrome or equivalent Internet browser.
In this way a magazine-like streaming sessions, similar to talk shows in commercial TV channels, may be easily produced. StreamYard has a backstage that only people which a special link may access. On the contrary, everyone may watch it in Youtube (or it can be switched to private access too). Comments in Youtube appear in the backstage production set, and opposite.
Our group has organized the European Researchers’ Night since 2009 in our University. After instructions by Health authorities, we saw the opportunity to innovate in the actual format of such event – and we had to move online. This magazine format received good ratings. Likewise, a Meeting in Science, Magic and Education could not be held offline. Thus, we switched to a magazine-like public streaming and it resulted in far more attendants, viewers and participants.
Of course, when there are a lot of people who must meet altogether simultaneously and at the same level of participation, tools like Zoom and similar apps, may be a better alternative. However, it is usually very difficult to select what viewers see in their screen, so the actual output of the meeting depends on the views choices. Further, branding, commenting, taggins and titling are usually more complicated. Connection with streaming services like Yotube is more complex, too.
All in all, we have found that using a tool like StreamYard to livestream a magazine-style program is very efficient and attractive, while having the important quality of being low-cost, good enough in terms of energy, time, money and attention.
This magazine-like production procedure can be extended to teaching environments. For instance, it has been successfully applied to a formerly face-to-face oral science communication class, which nowadays is conducted online.
Finally, we must stress that even though the pandemics will be over soon, this format is deemed to stay and coexist with face-to-face events.