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Saturday, September 23 2017 @ 02:28 AM CDT

In The Beginning - Live Wildlife Streaming to the Masses

First in the Live Streaming Wildlife Video Handbook - Next, Preface

An introduction to Live Streaming Wildlife to the world, from which cameras to how to deal with creating power and connecting to the internet from long distances.
25 articles on how to do amateur live wildlife video streaming.

In late 2005, David Hancock, a noted biologist and conservationist in the Vancouver area, phoned me from Hornby Island, B.C. He had just seen some video captured from a camera situated right beside an eagle nest, 100 feet in the air – and wanted to know if there was any chance we could hook this camera up to the internet.

The original Hornby Island Live Streaming Eagle Nest CameraHornby Island is not the remotest place in B.C. by any means – but it is 2 ferry rides from Vancouver Island (3 rides from Vancouver, where I live) and about as out of the way as you can get and still get there by car. The first question I had was “is there internet on the island?” and as it turns out, there is. The B.C. Government paid the local phone company (Telus) copious dollars to ensure that each school in the province was hooked up to the internet, and at the same time, Telus took the opportunity to put in a facility in some of the communities to hook up homes within the local area to the net as well, including those around the school on Hornby Island. It turned out the nest was within the maximum 3.5 Km distance (by phone lines) from the telephone equipment, and soon we had the nest camera streaming live to some selected friends.

Shortly after that, the friends told some of their friends, who told some of their friends, and soon the world was watching this pair of eagles sitting on their eggs, waiting for them to hatch. This was the beginning of what has turned out to be a new industry, that of providing live, real-time and long-term streaming video from all manner of subjects. From pet dogs to spiders to fish and of course many different birds and other wild beasts, the world has been watching from their desktop into the bedrooms and maternity wards of Mother Nature.

Along the way I’ve had to deal with several aspects of video streaming that at first seemed pretty common-place but which have ended up being anything but. These range from weatherproofing cameras and microphones to running power and internet into some pretty strange places, and then dealing with having to pay for the network bandwidth and costs associated with having attracted literally millions of people to watch our streams.

This series of articles gives you the benefit of my and my associates’ trial and error learning about these technologies and should give you a pretty good leg-up on getting your live streams working in the best way possible. Who knows – maybe your site will be the next hot wildlife-video site.


Note: dealing with wild animals can be both personally dangerous and can run afoul of government regulations that are different in each jurisdiction. Nothing in this e-book is meant to make light of these facts and you should always check with competent authorities before you go putting cameras around public lands or parks or anywhere around protected species. There are privacy considerations for both video and audio. You may even run a risk if you put out bird food or other attractants in some places. Wires and power can be hazardous, both to the critters and to you and others who might trip over them or otherwise hurt themselves. Radio links can interfere with others and may be regulated differently from place to place. Think, and ask.

Tag: wildlife streaming streaming animals regulations cameras power

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