Imagine not being able to go to your best friends wedding but having the great fortune to watch it live over the Internet. Technology is moving on apace these days – it’s quite frightening what you can do today that was impossible a few years ago.
When I was a kid in the late sixties, the articles on the 6 O’clock news may have been days old – it took that long for film footage to get from the far flung corners of the globe to the BBC News studio. Now, I can be filming the news and transmitting it around the world with just a three second delay (providing I can get a phone signal, or course).
Qik is an online communications device that takes live feeds from mobile phones and makes them visible to the world. The application downloaded to my Nokia E71 phone in minutes, installed in a snap and was ready for streaming in no time – the most drawn out part of the process was waiting for the validation email.
Video quality can vary between low, medium and high (varying the images size between 128×96, 176×144 and 320×240 pixels respectively). The video can also be optimised for minimum dealy in the streaming and maximum quality, but this latter setting can result in viewers having the video pause every minute, or so, as the stream is buffered.
The E71 hasn’t got the greatest camera on a phone, quite poor to be honest, but I have to say that I was quite impressed with the result. I’ve only messed around with it at the moment, but I will be doing some more meaningful tests with it over the coming weeks.
The videos that are producted can be named, described and saved for viewers to watch ‘after the event’. This is great as it enables you to build up your own personal video archive. I’m not sure how much space you’re allocated for you archive storage, but will no doubt discover this soon. There’s also a facility to advertise forthcoming events that you plan to stream and to transmit your location with the stream so viewers can see where you are. If that’s not enough, you can post your streaming to your friends live using Twitter, facebook and a host of other social applications.
This is an application I can make use of and hope to do so during the summer. In the mean time, you can view my videos at http://ww.qik.com/g7lfc.