Here comes wedding Webcast

Here comes wedding Webcast

By Jim Coates, Chicago Tribune

Question:
My nephew is getting married in a few months, and his grandparents will not be able to attend because of illness. They have a computer and have seen one grandchild graduate from college by watching the ceremonies on the Web. I have been asked to try to set up a Webcast so the groom’s grandparents can see the wedding. There may also be others watching who cannot attend — not sure how many that will be. The location of the wedding is a high school and does have high-speed Internet access. What equipment will I need to make this happen?

Rich Ostry

 

A In theory all you need is a low-cost PC video camera and an account with one of the various instant messaging services that include video calls. Microsoft’s offering is at http://messenger.msn.com and AOL offers video messages at AIM.com, while other versions are expected soon from Yahoo and Google. They all work by having both the sender and the receiving parties acquire accounts, and they’re pretty good if you can accept the slightly jerky and smallish pictures.

Recently I reviewed a new service from Sony and GlowPoint, a video messaging company, called IVE, that is well worth checking out for this unusual project. This service worked well in my tests, and I was particularly impressed when displayed as full-screen video on my monitor. For your nephew’s wedding, this would be particularly welcome.

Downloads are free for a basic and trial version of the software; a $10-a-month add-on expands the service to include unlimited Internet phone calling to any number in the world, and calls can include video messaging if desired. The free version, which works only among people with the same service, is all you need to connect a group of watchers, including gramps and gran, with the bride and groom’s hitching ceremony.

IVE users are given video phone numbers rather than confusing IP addresses, and the service has an online “live video operator” who can assist in getting the link established well before the rice flies.

Details and downloads are at www.myive.com.

But be advised that these kinds of video calls are designed for close-ups of a caller’s face rather than whole-room shots, so you are going to need to get very close to the action in order to deliver passable results no matter which service you choose.

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