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SnapStream Blog

The results are in! SnapStream is the father... of Maury's fan engagement.

November 10 2016 by Sara Howard

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If you're not following The Maury Show on Twitter, you're missing out on some quality entertainment. The show has been around since 1991, and just aired it's 3,000th episode. The success of The Maury Show isn't waning anytime soon as they continue to make strides via social media and fan engagement. 

Paul Faulhaber is the executive producer of The Maury Show and realizes the importance of social media in the daytime television landscape.  He decided to bring in Snapstream as a tool for the digital producers, Eric Hanson and Kristin Scheele, to grow the social media presence of The Maury Show.

Kristin and Eric spoke with us about how The Maury Show is harnessing the passion of their fans to deliver real-time engagement

Q: Can you tell me a little about your role at NBCUniversal?

Kristin: I am a field producer and one of the digital producers. Eric is the head person and I help him create original content for our different social platforms. I do a lot of behind the scenes shooting during tape days and create original content with that. I also helping with the daily social posts, whether it's grabbing funny moments off of SnapStream and posting them or creating GIFs, memes, things like that.

Eric: My role is to take the content from the show and bring it to the second and third screen. Taking what the viewers experience in live TV and putting it on social. Allowing the viewers another way to experience the show.



"My role is to take the content from the show and bring it to the second and third screen... 
Allowing the viewers another way to experience the show." 

- Eric, Producer, The Maury Show


Q: How did SnapStream get implemented at The Maury Show?

Eric: Paul Faulhaber, the Executive Producer of Maury, was instrumental in incorporating SnapStream into the show.  Paul gets social media and the value it adds to our show.  When he first introduced us to SnapStream we were sold.

Kristin: Paul was so excited about Snapstream, it was contagious.  We were fired up and couldn’t wait to incorporate it into our workflow.

Q:
What does your social workflow look like?

Eric: We're kind of like a big "think tank". We throw out ideas, between the whole staff. We actively encourage everyone from the producers to the interns and the office managers to help us come up with ideas on what to post. But ultimately, I decide with our Executive Producer, Paul Faulhaber, how and when we'll encorporate that into our platform.

Q: How does SnapStream fit into this workflow?

Kristin: Over the summer, every day we would do a live chat on Twitter which we used SnapStream for. We would pull stills from the show, creating GIFs, using the live Twitter feed. 

SnapStream is a valuable tool for us. We have three other shows in Stamford (where we're located) and they can't wait to start using it as well. We (The Maury Show) has been used a guinea pig, but it's gone so well.

Q: What other aspects/features of SnapStream do you find the most useful for Maury?

Kristin: One of the other major things that we do is put clips directly onto our Facebook page from SnapStream. It's great that SnapStream includes the closed captioning, native in the video. 

We also have an agreement with Amazon Fire, so we upload clips from SnapStream into YouTube, and that aggregates directly to our Amazon Fire account.

Eric: SnapStream has been really wonderful because we incorporate anything we want to use in our social workflow. It also allows us to stay really engaged with our fans. Content is king, and our viewers want new content, fresh content. We may be airing back episodes, but we can still create fresh social content with those episodes. 

Kristin: The search function has really been helpful. We're starting "Out of Control Teen Tuesday" this week. Now that we have a backlog of Maury shows built up in the SnapStream library, we can go in there and do a search for "out of control teens". We can see every show that we've done that includes that search term and post it directly to our social media platforms. 

We have a lot of moving parts here, and everyone is so busy. So instead of having to ask other producers or managers to go search for a clip, we can just do a quick search in SnapStream, grab it and share it. 

Eric: Another thing that we do with SnapStream is grab stills from the platform and use them in our weekly "caption this" contest. 

Q: What was the workflow like before you had SnapStream?

Eric: It was very cumbersome. We'd have to have someone go to the editing bay, mark clips, have them pulled. Then we wait 24-48 hours to have someone pull them, mark them and send them to us. 

Now, as I watch the show, I'm pulling and archiving clips, deciding when and where I can use them. A lot of people are incredibly thankful for SnapStream, because it makes our jobs so much easier.



"We were able to go into SnapStream to find all the clips of Searcy and pull those. We can continue the conversation, adding more content to fuel the fire."

- Eric, Producer, The Maury Show


 

Q: Can you think of any particular posting or episode where SnapStream was instrumental?

Eric: We just celebrated our 3,000th episode, so we played a lot of Maury's favorite episodes and guests through the years. We would pull those directly from SnapStream and share via social. 

A lot of times when something goes viral, it's not always because of us. For instance, a reddit user said one of our guests looked like Ted Cruz. So, we were able to go into SnapStream to find all the clips of Searcy and pull those. We can continue the conversation, adding more content to fuel the fire. 

Kristin: We love seeing how creative people can be with our clips.

Eric: Since we've introduced SnapStream into our platforms, it's really revitalized our social presence. It really makes us stand out in comparison to other shows. We have this immediacy that sometimes other shows lack.

It's nice to have a library, or an archive of our shows. Sometimes something will go viral that we didn't even think about. A lot of times,  you just don't know what is going to hit. Now we can go back in and add that extra content to the conversation, engaging with our followers and our fans. 



"Since we've introduced SnapStream into our platforms, it's really revitalized our social presence. It really makes us stand out in comparison to other shows."


 

New SnapStream 8.0: Native HTML5 player means no more browser plug-ins (and more)

November 02 2016 by Sara Howard

A few of the highlights:

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Native HTML5 Player (H.264 TP & MP4)

Enjoy seamless playback with no browser plug-in needed for all your H.264 transport stream (TP) and MP4 recordings. "It just works" for anyone in your organization, and across all browsers and devices including:

  • Windows
  • Macs
  • iPads & iPhones
  • Google Chromebooks and
  • Android phones and tablets

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Using SnapStream without a browser plug-in is easy... you just need your recordings in H.264, which you get automatically with the SnapStream Encoder. If you are recording to MPEG-2 or MPEG-2 TP, learn how you can start recording in H.264.

Automatic MP4 Conversion

Access your transcode settings in the admin panel to toggle this feature. Once toggled on, all of your H.264 clips will automatically be converted to MP4.

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MP4 file format offers maximum compatibility with video editors (like Avid and Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere), social websites (such as Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, etc) & mobile devices. Export MP4s directly into your video editing software, or clip directly to MP4 for easy integration with iOS and Android.

Frame-accurate Clipping (H.264 MP4 Recordings)

We’re always working to improve our clipping performance, and we’re happy to announce frame-accurate clippings for MP4 recordings.

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Lineup Based Permissions

Want to allow certain users a more extensive library? Or are you concerned with restricting channel access (does everyone need to be watching ESPN...)? With SnapStream 8.0, you can ensure your users are only accessing the channels they need.

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Additional New Features:

  • Password reset functionality
  • Composite/S-video input support on the SnapStream Encoder
  • True full-screen experience
  • Playlist sorting
  • SnapStream Set-Top Box support.

Read the full release notes.



Schedule Upgrade to  8.0

(Usually 1 hour)

SnapStream's support team will perform the upgrade via a remote session.

 Book a Time Now

For most users, you won’t need to uninstall and reinstall a new version of the SnapStream Web Player. Once your system admin upgrades your SnapStream to 8.0, your users will be ready to go.


 

Webinar: SnapStream 8.0

Wednesday, Nov 16th at 1pm

 

 Sign Up for 8.0 Webinar

SnapStream Advanced: Uploading Media

October 19 2016 by Eric Cohn

In our next post outlining advanced features of the SnapStream software, we'll take a look at uploading video and audio into your media library. Like playlists and merging, SnapStream's uploading feature is a great advanced tool for SnapStream power-users.

Using SnapStream's upload functionality, you can add compatible video and audio content directly into your SnapStream library. Once it has been uploaded, you can use the full suite of SnapStream's features to create social media posts, clip, share and transcode the clips. Follow along below to learn how you can use this great feature.


Uploading Media 

1. Select the upload button from the SnapStream Library. (Note: You will need the "Upload Media Items" permission enabled for this button to be in the library)

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2. Select the file to be uploaded. If you have an .SRT subtitle file, you can include the SRT file alongside the video upload to provide captions for your video.

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3. Once the file is uploaded, the software will prompt you to edit any file information for the recording. Click "Save" to add the recording to your library. 

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Making TV clips (& pop culture headlines) at E! News.

October 10 2016 by Sara Howard

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Stefan_Lysenko.pngNBCUniversal is one of the longest running users of SnapStream. From “The Soup” to E! News, they’ve got every SnapStream use case covered. The man behind it all, the pulse of SnapStream at NBCUniversal is Stefan Lysenko. His role was created to manage SnapStream, so he knows the platform in and out, backward and forward. He spoke with us and shared some of his workflows and tips for managing the platform and how SnapStream, and his role, have changed over the years.

 

Stefan is a unique customer for SnapStream. He manages requests from ALL shows or departments at NBCUniversal (E! News, Bravo, Access Hollywood, E! Online, E! News Now) and uses SnapStream to record, clip and share. NBCUniversal has one of the largest SnapStream setups with 50 channels being recorded simultaneously, 12 shows/teams using the platform and 9TB of storage per tuner card. It's a monster setup.

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Q: Tell me about your role at NBC Universal?

Stefan: I manage SnapStream at NBC Universal as I am the main contact overseeing the platform. Everyone will tap me first to find a solution to address the current challenge, issue or question for TV recordings. As far as maintenance, I handle all the conflicts. We can record 50 things simultaneously, so I manage the priority list to make sure everyone gets their needs met.

We also have a backup TV tuner, to ensure we don’t miss any recordings. I’ve developed a “hunch” recording. Because we have the ability to record so many things, sometimes I can take a look and think, “someone is going to want that”. I get plenty of requests from people that may have missed a recording and they’re double checking with me to see if I happened to grab it. When things go wrong, if there’s a bad tuner, etc. I’m the first one to address the issue, and get one of our engineering team members to address the issue. At the same time, I’m trying to find a way to get our production team the show they need. So, that’s when I may tap into the backup server.

Q: Do all of the shows under NBCUniversal that use SnapStream go through you?

Stefan: Exactly, my role was has been created around this. We’ve been a SnapStream customer since it’s infancy, and you’ve all done so much to expand and evolve the platform.  Our SnapStream use has really broadened over the years.

 

 

Some of the NBC groups using SnapStream have very unique tastes and needs. For instance, “The Soup” focused on clipping really odd moments in television and pop culture with commentary by a comedian (Joel McHale). They had PA (production assistant) scouring all these odd cable shows, finding these wacky things, using that to build the show. Whereas, E! News is very traditional.

Our entire SnapStream user base is very diverse, there are so many different uses. We have some groups that are recording things just to see the commercials.

 


We’ve been a SnapStream customer since it’s infancy, and you’ve all done so much to expand and evolve the platform.  Our SnapStream use has really broadened over the years."


 

Q: Can you walk me through your SnapStream workflow?

Stefan: And now to our workflow..!  We've been able to manage our SnapStream workflow with only one full-time employee (myself).

When new users are added, they are logged into the SnapStream system and  given a small welcome packet outlining the SnapStream tools and details along with the SnapStream login link used for access.  

TV show searching and clipping details are outlined for our new users and the new social media tools are highlighted since they are powerful, seldom used tools that SnapStream has recently added to their software. New users are given a SnapStream TV show recording request link/template, so that they can request recordings directly through our team.  

Last but not least, new users are added to our SnapStream group email list so that all users can be notified and updated with one single email contact, while they're also given a SnapStream Operational group email address that accesses our core team directly (including SnapStream engineering) in times of important needs.



“SnapStream is doing amazing things. They’re always meeting our needs regarding our truly unique workflows.”


 

Q: How has SnapStream impacted the workflow at NBC Universal? Did it replace another system, or did SnapStream open up an entirely new department?

Stefan: We’ve used SnapStream from the beginning. When SnapStream came out with the most current version, our department leaders asked me to research similar companies to find a comparable solution before our upgrade. I tried, but I came back and said “I suggest we stick with SnapStream”. 

SnapStream is doing amazing things, and they’re always meeting our needs regarding our truly unique workflows.

Q: Which shows are using SnapStream the most, which ones are seeing the most success with the platform?

Stefan: When it was on-air, The Soup was a huge user of SnapStream. 

Currently, our biggest user is E! NewsOn a consistent daily basis, E! News is clipping off segments or scenes from such shows as Live with Kelly, The Voice, The Today Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Good Morning America and Dancing with the Stars to name a few.  Those clips are then inserted into packages and edits that run on-air.  For example, Jimmy Kimmel’s Mean Tweets segment would be clipped off in order to air on E! News.  Or when Kelly Ripa returned to work from being away after Michael Strahan’s announcement – her first day back & monologue was clipped off and edited into a package that aired on E! News. 

On the Digital side we’re doing a lot of the same work.  On Tuesday night for example when the two Dancing with the Stars “Pros” got engaged, E! Online editors clipped that segment and posted it on our site along with a write up of what happened on set.

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As a social posting, we'll pull Live from the Red Carpet or during an actual award show.  Social would grab the moment off the Oscar’s telecast where Jennifer Lawrence fell going up the stairs to accept her award and would create a GIF on our pages at that moment after it happened.


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is a big user for monitoring their own shows. They aren’t Bravo_TV.svg.pngbuilding a show with it, but they’re using it in their broadcasts.

Q: Is there one aspect of SnapStream you see as particularly beneficial to your organization? One feature you couldn’t live without?

Stefan: We’re in a phase with our user groups being so traditional. They really been sticking with the key features of SnapStream, recording and clipping. One thing I believe to be underused is the social media aspect. Sharing clips to Twitter and Facebook. There’s so much that can be done there, you could really have just one person dedicated to the social media aspect of SnapStream.

The team at SnapStream has been incredibly helpful and supportive of us, they have our back. And I enjoy pleasing our users. When you get that appreciation from your users and the support from the SnapStream team, it’s just icing on the cake.

I'm always amazed at what SnapStream is doing, my excitement remains unwavering."

 


I'm always amazed at what SnapStream is doing, my excitement remains unwavering.




SnapStream Advanced: Playlists and Merging

September 30 2016 by Eric Cohn

In my last post we took a look at some of our most popular resources for using SnapStream. SnapStream cheat sheets, how-to pages, and help file are great resources to get comfortable using the software.

In this series of posts we'll take a look at some of the more advanced features that can be added to your SnapStream workflow to take full advantage of the software's power. In our first post, we'll take a look at playlists and merging, an incredibly helpful tool for presenting the TV clips and recordings you've created with SnapStream.


Playlists and Merging

Now that you've mastered the art of clipping, often the next step will be reviewing the clips. SnapStream's playlist feature allows consecutive playback of two or more clips or recordings.

This is great for meetings, lectures and presentations where you need to review or discuss multiple recordings. SnapStream even gives you the option to merge all of your recordings into a single clip comprised of all of the recordings in your playlist. Follow the steps below to create a playlist and a merged video.

1. Simply select the media you would like to add to the playlist, choose "More Actions" and select "Add to Playlist." You will be prompted to select a name for the playlist or choose a pre-existing playlist. 

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2. Selecting "Playlists" in the Library will show you all of the different playlists that have been created. To review the recordings, push the Capture.png button on the playlist. Playback of the first recording will begin in the webplayer. To select between playlist items, use the back.png and forward.png buttons.

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3. To merge all recordings in a playlist, click threebuttons.png  and select the "Merge" button. You can choose the file format, target quality, tags and title of the merged file before you begin the merging process. 

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4. Once the merge has been completed, the finished merged file will be in your clips folder.

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Government agencies & PIOs that are winning on Twitter & Facebook

September 21 2016 by Sara Howard

Government agencies have a unique challenge managing their presence on social media. It's not easy to balance a trustworthy and informative presence with a human voice - and maybe some occasional fun. Check out how these government agencies are keeping their audiences informed and engaged with the power of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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Twitter

NASA (@NASA)

It's one of the most followed government accounts with over 8 million followers. NASA does a great job of interacting with fans, and are a continuous example of how a government social media account should be handled. NASA has helped a new era of citizens stay engaged and interested in space exploration via social media.

PIO Mike Jachles (@BSO_Mike)

Mike Jachles serves as the primary PIO for the Department of Fire Rescue and Emergency Services within the Broward County Sheriff’s Office in Florida. Citizens should keep a close eye on his twitter feed for updates to breaking news stories and heartwarming animal rescues.

City of Las Vegas (@CityOfLasVegas)

They're continuously sharing up-to-date information on city events, hosting Twitter chats, and live-tweeting major events. They stay engaged with the residents by encouraging feedback and responding to comments. They're keeping their audience informed and simultaneously telling an amazing story about their city. (We also think their GIF game is super strong! 💪) 



Instagram

U.S. Department of the Interior (@usinterior)

No one shows off the beauty and diversity of America quite like the Department of the Interior. And there's no better place to do it than on Instagram. Don't let the name fool you, prepare youself for truly beautiful landscapes and the thing the internet loves the most... adorable baby animals. 

 

 

NASA (@NASA)

Yes, we've included NASA twice. They do such an amazing job that when recounting the best government agencies on social media, it's hard not keep coming back to NASA. Instagram is the perfect way for the agency to share the beauty of space with an entirely new generation of Americans.

 

A photo posted by NASA (@nasa) on

 

TSA (@TSA)

Before you go rolling your eyes as you remember your last encounter with TSA... get a new look at this government organization through the lense of Instagram. Both entertaining and informative, they regularly post tips and tricks (#TSATravelTips), as well as bizzare and interesting finds (#TSAGoodCatch).

 

A photo posted by TSA (@tsa) on


 
Facebook

FEMA (@FEMA)

FEMA has a great Facebook page, with plenty of preparedness planning checklists. They also do a great job with updates and combining of text and graphics to keep their fans engaged.

 

City of New York (@nycmayorsoffice)

The City of New York's Facebook page is focused on celebrating stories of hope and inspiration, as well as keeping the citizens informed on the latest across the city.

Meet Team SnapStream - Marlon in Quality Assurance

September 15 2016 by Sara Howard

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Welcome to the second edition of Meet Team SnapStream, where we introduce you to the people behind the scenes. Today we're talking to Marlon Dait, QA Tester, who has been at SnapStream for just over 2 years.

What is a QA Tester?

Marlon: First of all, QA is not question and answer, it's Quality Assurance. Which means making sure that our product can be used by a wide margin of people. People using different operating systems, different browsers, etc. Making sure our product works in any environment.

We have to do a lot of back and forth with the developers, testing out their code. If it isn't working the way it should, we have to work with them to remedy that, and if it works we pass it off as fixed.

 

Background:

Marlon: This is my first dive into the QA field. Before SnapStream, I worked in a general IT position. I fixed issues on computers or wrote simple macros scripts in Visual Basic. When I first got here, my manager gave me a few books on how to QA and how to QA better.

I realized that a lot of the QA work flow is something I identify with, so it was a natural progression to go from IT to QA. A lot of the skills transferred over with ease. 

Marlon's QA reading recommendation:

How to Break Software: A Practical Guide to Testing by James A. Whittaker

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The best thing about being a QA Tester:

Marlon: Being a QA tester in itself is great, but being a QA tester at SnapStream is amazing. The atmosphere is incredibly relaxed. It's great to have a team around you that knows how to do things and has arcane knowledge of our product's past.

The environment is also great because it's a nerd accepting culture.  I don't have to hide that I like to go to Renaissance Festival!  It's an accepting culture for anything that you want to nerd-out on, from Pokemon to Football. 

Favorite SnapStream Feature:

Marlon: So, I actually use our product quite a bit... I think the term is called "eating your own dog food". It's where you use your own product yourself. We test on a lot of the clips we record, so clipping out sections of recordings is something I do a lot. I'll notice a particularly interesting or funny clip, and I like to share it with my friends.

For instance, I was testing out MP4 playback to make sure there were no artifacts in the recording, no out of sync issues or skipping. I have to watch the file through to it's entirety, making sure it works, time shifting around, etc. I came across a teaser for a news segment talking about the dangers of flip-flops (there's a lot of flip-flop wearing here at SnapStream).

I just had to clip this out and share it with my friends.

Clip and share is my favorite SnapStream feature because you grab things instantly, right in the moment and share them immediately. 

SnapStream hosts monthly, company-sponsored outings. What's your favorite non-work, work function?

Marlon: There are so many great things we do. The most recent company outing we had was Painting with a Twist, which was really cool. They gave us wine and food and they had great music! We also had a Top Golf outing, which was fun even though I don't play golf. I just channeled my inner Happy Gilmore. 

Dog tax:

Ein

Ein isn't just Marlon's stuffed Corgi... she's a real, live Corgi!

Framing the Story with Video: How the Washington Examiner Increases Social Engagement.

September 09 2016 by Sara Howard

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Sean_Langille.pngStarted in 2005 as a print publicationThe Washington Examiner is today one of our most active social customers. They're dedicated to engaging readers by bringing them the latest in breaking news and politics.  

One of the driving forces behind this engagement is Sean Langille (fun fact about Sean, he started writing for his city newspaper when he was in 2nd grade). He was nice enough to chat with us about best practices for social engagement and what life was like before SnapStream.

Q: Can you tell me a little bit about your role at the Washington Examiner?

Sean: I have the title of Digital Engagement Editor, so I work a lot with social media and different ways to digitally market our product. But I also work with vendors to find ways that we can enhance our product. Part of my job is helping to drive digital strategy in Facebook and Twitter and our multi-media content, working with interns to help curate that content.

Q: What is your thought-process behind portraying a visual strategy?

Sean: When we tell a story we try to move beyond just using the text. It’s about using infographics, photos and videos. For instance, just now I was using SnapStream to clip the president saying that Donald Trump was “unfit and woefully unprepared”. We understand that people are going to read text, but we have to offer our audience infographics, imagery and video elements. If they can click through and watch a video of Obama saying the quote, then it provides a much stronger presentation.



"When we tell a story we try to move beyond just using the text. It’s about using infographics, photos and videos".



Q: 
Can you tell me how you and your team are using SnapStream? How do you find that it is most effective?

Sean: The way it usually works is that we have interns help us use SnapStream. Usually myself and the other digital editor will  watch videos and speeches and we’ll call out to the interns and say “hey, Obama said this…”. When we’re at the conventions and there are speakers, we’ll all be monitoring it. We actually have a dedicated "Slack" channel that is actually called “SnapStream”, and we can post in there “hey, so-and-so said this, who can grab it?”. The interns cut that up, and then I go through that in the library and further fine-tune it. From there, we put it out to Twitter or Facebook, using "ShowSqueeze" to put it out to Facebook.

washington_examiner_tweet1.pngWe use a social distribution platform called “SocialFlow”, so sometimes we’ll do a combination of directly publishing from SnapStream or sometimes we’ll put it directly into SocialFlow to best optimize when that video should go out. We’d love to see an option to recycle from within SnapStream (UPDATE! This functionality is now available in SnapStream 7.2). For instance, we had one yesterday… Pat Smith was on CNN and we tweeted it out and got 300+ retweets with just that video. We know that kind of content is popular with our audience so it would be great if we had a way to re-package that.

 



"Now that we have SnapStream, within minutes or seconds of someone saying something newsworthy, we can get that out and be ahead of our competition".


 

Sean: Prior to SnapStream, during a debate or big event night, trey_gowdy.pngwe would know when these videos happen so we’d be clipping off of some live stream, literally screen grabbing and then getting it to our video team and then have to wait for editing to push that out.


Now that we have SnapStream, within minutes or seconds of someone saying something newsworthy, we can get that out and be ahead of our competition. If we’re the first one to it, then it takes off. It’s something as simple as Trey Gowdy on "Meet the Press" saying “I endorse Donald Trump”, we take that phrase, put it out there and we’re one of the first. With the amount of social engagement it can drive… I don’t think we could live without it.

Q: Can you tell me about the team workflow?

Sean: Myself and my digital editor will tell the interns about someone being on tv, or a speech, or event. We’ll have interns monitoring these events, and we’ll notice certain soundbites, telling them to pay attention to when a particular person speaks, or to look out for certain terms. What we usually have them do is pay attention to the newsmakers or the broader bites. But with their own initiative, they’re able to look at more content and ask us what we think of additional items. 

Sometimes it’s not about what is being said, but physical reactions. People make weird faces, or we’ll catch interesting things like when CSPAN flashed WikiLeaks during Hillary Clinton’s speech. So we’re able to go back into these clips and create GIFs to capture these interesting little moments… like when we captured Hillary Clinton’s weird reaction to fireworks. 

 

Q: How do you manage the timing of social posts? Social happens in an instant, how do you make sure that you’re heard?

Sean: It’s about staying in time, but sometimes offering a little bit different. Can we capture the side that no one else is looking at, getting the contrarian viewpoint. Showing the different sides of the story and not just the one that is popular.

Q: How are you using this for conventions?

Sean: We have setup VPNs, so that people can log into SnapStream wherever they are. This is what we did at the conventions. Overall, things were functioning well and we were able to log in and clip things, as well as coordinate with the interns back in DC.

Q: So, you being away from the office isn’t constricting your ability to post videos and GIFs on Twitter and Facebook?

Sean: No, not at all.



"We’re using SnapStream to transform the way we do social".



Q: How are you framing the conversation, how are you getting the best reactions?

Sean: It’s about keeping track of what everyone else is doing. We use a lot of listening tools to see what the competition is doing. But we’re trying to advance the story. There is the story of Trump fighting with the Kahn family, as compared to the woman who lost her son in Benghazi speaking at the Republican download.pngNational Convention. We wanted to see what the reaction was to the media coverage of both, and we were one of the few that was using SnapStream to put those videos out there. It’s about being aware of the storyline that everyone else is doing, but what are the other emerging storylines coming out of this.

Sometimes it’s about going beyond the other clips that everyone else is putting out. We want to be thought of as a place where you know you can go to get a good snapshot of what was said at the conventions. Essentially, you have a highlight reel of what everyone said. If you look through our Twitter stream and what we did on Facebook during the convention, we put out 100’s of SnapStream videos, using it as a tool for engagement. 

 

Q: Why is this something that you are passionate about, where did this need to “show both sides” come from?

Sean: I have always been of the mindset that everyone else is covering it the same way, let’s advance the story and see what the other voices are. There are so many voices saying the same thing that in order to differentiate yourself, you have to find ways and find the content that will balance that out. But also, there are stories that will get buried because people are so wrapped up talking about one thing. 

What I’m most passionate about is telling the story well. You have to have all the elements to do that, whether it’s infographics, video… because news now isn’t just text. When you click on a news story, what’s going to keep you on the page the longest? We want to establish ourselves as an authority for a certain kind of content. So that if you want this kind of content, we are where you go. 

Q: Thank you so much for speaking with me Sean, is there anything else you wanted to add or talk about before we wrap up?

Sean: We’re using SnapStream to transform the way we do social. We’re trying to reach a society that’s a little bit ADD, and entice them to actually read a news story. I think the larger story is how news outlets are using every tool at their disposal, especially SnapStream, to make sure that news as a written medium doesn’t die.

 


 

About Sean Langille

Sean Langille is Digital Engagement Editor for the Washington Examiner. He also serves as an associate producer for Fox News Channel, where he aided in the launch of the Fox News First daily political email newsletter. Sean also has an extensive radio background having produced "The Laura Ingraham Show" and working as an on-air host in Virginia and Massachusetts.

 

Interview: Jeff Ritter on being a K-12 CIO

August 23 2016 by Sara Howard

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Interview: Jeff Ritter on being a K-12 CIO

Jeff Ritter was kind enough to speak to us about his role as Director of Technology at St. John’s School here in Houston. St. John's School is one of the most respected private schools in the country, currently #22 in the US and #1 in Houston . We're pleased to say they've been a long time customer and supporter of SnapStream.

Q: Tell me about your role as Director of Technology at St. John's School.

Jeff:
I function like a corporate CIO. I manage the team that installs, supports, and builds out any technology used by the faculty, students, and staff on campus. We have a Network Administrator that manages the infrastructure, support personnel that support the students and faculty, and a few database people that manage the data. Anything that works on the network and has 1’s and 0’s is usually our baby to take care of.


Q: How does a Director of Technology for a school differ from a corporate CTO?

Jeff: 
The CTO is very much a true director of technology. The piece that makes this more of a CIO role is that I also manage the curriculum people that manage interfacing with faculty on how to better use the tools available at our disposal, SnapStream being one of those. Once you add in that curricular piece, it becomes more of a job where you’re managing not only technology but also managing information.



“when I bring a tool to the classroom...I try to see the value in it through the faculty lens.”



Q: Does being more of a CIO role change what you look for in a new technology?

Jeff: 
That’s a good question. A lot of Directors of Technology that have come out of industry don’t have classroom experience so they don’t have a foot to stand on when they try to bring a new technology to the faculty.

I actually came at this from the teaching side and taught for years before I became an administrator. I continue to teach now and when I bring a tool to the classroom or a teacher, usually either I’ve used it in the classroom, or I’ve asked a teacher to use it in their classroom. I try to see the value in it through the faculty lens. Being able to say, “I’ve used this in my classroom, I love it”, “this is what my kids take away from it”, “this is what it has allowed me to do differently”...that really helps.

The people on my staff that work in the curricular side have all been classroom teachers, so that helps us be able to discuss tools with faculty from a point of strength.

Q: Does the training level of the teacher need to be considered when taking on new technologies?

orig_photo61093_2389694.jpgJeff: 
It’s one of the first hurdles that we go through, looking at a new technology or tool. As all schools do, we’ve got a wide representation of skill sets in our faculty. You may look at a tool that’s fairly complicated but think, “I’ve got 5 teachers that could handle this and it would immediately help them”.

But if you’re looking for something to roll out across the board, ease of use is one of the first hurdles you look at. You can’t bring something over-complicated nowadays, unless it does something really specific and really awesome.

Q: If ease-of-use is one of the multiple hurdles, what are some of the others?

Jeff:  
Price. It’s always something that a school is considering. Is it a one-time fee?  An on-going cost? Is there a discount for multiple years?

Breadth of use. Is it something specific for physics teachers in 11th grade? Or is it a tool that is going to be used in grade 6th-12th in all disciplines? The wider the breadth the better the tool is. It may be a struggle for those that aren’t classroom teachers, but you have to ask if it’s going to do something that really furthers teaching and learning and removes rote memorization.

Is it something you’re subscribing to outside your district or is it something within the school. If it’s in the school, will it need a dedicated server? How much bandwidth is going to take up?



"The wider the breadth the better the tool is."


 

Q: How is St. John’s using SnapStream?

Jeff:
A lot of the teachers who use it are using it to record certain TV programs that they then want to go back and figure out if there are sections they can use in their classroom to either demonstrate a real world application or use as an authentic voice in a language class.

Are there things that can be grabbed out of a video that can show a student how a topic that you’re going over applies in the real world? Or, is there something historical happening that we’re recording so that we can have record of that and have a debate about it or a discussion?

But the idea is that with SnapStream, you can find clips that are appropriate for your classroom and your kids can watch it before they come to class. Then in class you can then discuss it and have real, meaningful, thought-provoking ways to then discuss that material in class. It goes beyond just what the student may have read for homework.

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We’ve had coaches use it, where they record the NCAA soccer championships and have the team watch it. Then they pick it apart to look at formations and when to attack and when not to attack. Video now is all just so easy to get points across, and kids are so visually stimulated that it makes it so easy to use the SnapStream tool to find what you’re looking for and then use it in the classroom, or for homework or whatever.



“...with SnapStream, you have real, meaningful, thought-provoking ways to discuss that material in class. It goes beyond just what the student may have read for homework.”



Q:
Do you have any interesting examples of how St. John’s is using SnapStream?


Jeff: 
Our French teacher tapes the nightly French news because she wants her class to hear authentic voices. So, part of the homework for listening comprehension is to listen to this news program and write about what you got out of it. So, the students are working on not only the listening ear, but the comprehension, and being able to translate that into “this is what I learned”. She has the ability to record these shows and grab the snips that she wants to share, giving the students the chance to hear true, authentic voices.

Our previous American History teachers during the last few elections grabbed the debates and events going on in the news involving the political environment. You can pick your topic and grab news stories as they come up. So that if you wanted to do immigration, abortion or fiscal responsibility, you can grab those clips and then have the students have a debate to discuss what they saw and the factors that go into who our next president may be.

Q: Can you tell me what the process was like for obtaining TV shows or clips before SnapStream?

Jeff: 
Before, teachers just didn’t really do it. If you knew of the TV clip, you might be able to google it or find it on YouTube. But even then, you’re at the mercy of “did you see it?” and go from there. Before that, some teachers might have been recording on VHS. You also had teachers buying video sets, especially from PBS, where you knew of a show like Cosmos where 3 episodes of season 6 had content you wanted. But you were at the disposal of what you knew of and what you could get your hands on.

With SnapStream, you can record the nightly news and if you know something happened you can then go search for it. If you’re not sure something’s going on, you can pick out words and it’s going to let you know where those words appear in a show and you can go and grab it. It’s made it a lot easier because you have this search capability with TV that you’ve never had before.



"SnapStream has made it a lot easier because you have this search capability with TV that you’ve never had before."




Q: Within the edtech space, are there any trends that you see?

orig_photo36383_2382510.jpgJeff: 
The collaborative space is big for us right now, and that’s not fancy, but it’s just where we are. Our kids and teachers are wanting to work on things not individually but as groups and even as a teacher/student team. Video is a huge part of that collaboration. Tools like WeVideo, Animoto, and Pixie allow kids to work together on larger projects.  There are so many possibilities of how you can cut, slice and dice video to determine what content you want to get out of it.

Q: You obviously have a different point of view, having come from the classroom. When looking for new technologies, what advice would you give another Director of Technology that didn’t come out of the classroom?

Jeff: 
1. Listen to your faculty. Have a few faculty members from different departments and grade levels that will share what they are seeing. The thing is, our faculty are going out to conferences all over the place and they’re being inundated with tools, so sometimes they come back with great ideas but once we start to scratch the surface we realize we already have something like this.

2. Teacher "brain trust". For someone that isn’t in the classroom, it’s important to have a group of teachers that they can bounce ideas off of, that they can have test a tool. If something like SnapStream comes across your desk, you think “wow, we’re trying to do more video, this might be a great tool”. Having a group of teachers that you can go to who they trust you and you trust them and say, “hey, let's do a webinar on this and test this out, is this something our faculty might like?”.

3. Undersatnd the specific need. As you’re going out to look for tools, try to get a clear idea of what the teacher is trying to accomplish with their classroom and this particular tool. Work with this teacher to investigate the possibilities, because partnering with teachers is going to help you. The Directors of Technology I see that fail are the ones who don’t try to partner with teachers and try to thrust it down someone’s throat or they don’t listen. Having teachers that you can say , “hey, what do you think about this (technology)”, or “what tools are you using now?” “are there things that I can recommend to other teachers?”.

4. Try building a rapport. A reputation as someone that is listening and learning and trying to figure out what teachers need will go a long way.


Want to learn more about how SnapStream can bring TV to the classroom with ease? Contact usto learn more.

How-To Use The SnapStream Multi-viewer

August 19 2016 by Eric Cohn

The SnapStream multi-viewer is one of the most powerful tools in the SnapStream software, allowing you to play back up to four in-progress or finished recordings simultaneously.

It's the perfect tool to compare different takes on a single topic or see how different networks cover the same breaking news items.

 

All of the clipping, scrubbing and social functionality that you love in the SnapStream webplayer is also available in the multi-viewer. 

Take a look below at how easy it is to use:


Step 1: Choose Recordings for multi-viewer

From the library, you can select up to four in-progress or finished recordings to be added to the multi-viewer. To add a recording, click thebutton.pngbutton next to the in-progress or finished recording.

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Step 2: Playback Multiple Recordings

As you select recordings, they will be added to the multi-viewer slots at the top of the library. Mouseover each box to see the name of the recording that has been added. Once you've added up to four recordings, select the playbutton.png button.

 

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Step 3: Multi-viewer Audio Selection

Audio will only be heard for the "active" recording. To change the active recording, click a different video window or click the title of a recording on the right side of the page. A light blue frame will surround the active recording.

 

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Step 4: Sync Playback

To sync the other playback windows to the clock time of the "active" recording, click the synctoclock.png. Click the synctotime.png to sync all playback windows to the current time.

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Step 5: Clipping from the Multi-view Screen

Clipping and scrubbing controls for each playback window are below the video. The Jump, Share to Facebook and Share to Twitter buttons are also available for the "active" recording. 

 

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Whether you are comparing broadcast coverage or simply love to be able to watch four shows at a time (football anyone?!), the SnapStream multi-viewer is a powerful tool to help you monitor television recordngs.


Questions about the SnapSteam multi-viewer or other features of the SnapStream software? Reach out to our training team at [email protected] or 713-554-4591 with your questions or issues.

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