[A thought-piece by our own Adventure Seeker Sarah].
As a newer paranormal investigator, everything is still novel and exciting for me. I’ve only been on a few investigations, but it’s proving to be a fantastic experience and I am always excited for the next time out. Of course, I want to share this new hobby of mine with the world.
That’s where livestreaming comes in. What better way to share what you do with the world than to bring the audience right into the fun!
I love sharing. I love bringing the world right into my life, so livestreaming investigations seemed to be an obvious win to me. But then, recently, it came to my attention that some people believe live streaming your paranormal investigations to be an unprofessional practice! I couldn’t quite understand why anyone would object to the practice, so I did a bit more digging.
In addition to the “unprofessional” association, the two primary reasons to reconsider live streaming investigations were sound contamination and fame-seeking behaviors.
So let’s break it down.
Sound contamination is exactly what it sounds like – outside sounds getting into your investigation recordings. Now, our team reduces this problem by coordinating our efforts and excessively tagging, but I can certainly imagine it would be quite irritating if you were trying to do an EVP session and someone in the next room was nattering on to “connect with the audience”. We have learned that live streaming all the time is not practical.
And then there is fame-seeking behavior. Of course, this could happen whether live streaming or not, but once a camera is on, people often feel like they have something to prove. Having the camera on the investigation could make investigators more prone to over-exaggerating results or overreacting to events (we’re looking at you, TV Ghost shows), in order to keep the numbers up and the audience engaged/entertained.
At the end of the day, in our opinion, the benefits to livestreaming investigations outweigh the dangers – when done right.
How We Do It Right
There’s a time and a place for streaming without putting evidence in jeopardy. Giving a tour of the location and making team introductions when we arrive is much more practical than streaming and talking to our live audience while someone in the next room is recording an EVP session or doing a controlled experiment. We try to stream during setup, take down, and breaks, so we can talk openly without contaminating any serious investigation or introducing bias, while still showing you all around and explaining context/history for our night.
This opens us up to useful scientific feedback and suggestions, catches of anomalies we may normally miss (many heads/eyes are better than one), and connection to people with this same interest all over the world. It’s actually an invaluable tool.
We also live stream by leaving the stream running without us, silently, aimed at our DVR monitors. This causes no harm to the investigation and it invites multiple perspectives into our scientific method. Not only does live streaming give us a chance to connect with our audience, educate/usher new people into the hobby, but we also gain an entire live-review team who may catch things we may not see otherwise, in real time.
We often have folks popping in and tagging moments, as well as mediums in the chat telling us what they see. It’s both a beautiful way to connect with the audience and different perspectives, but it also helps our review process by pointing to key moments we need to check out.
As a team who wants to grow and travel, connecting with our audience is an important task. Engaging with the people already following, bringing in new folks, and encouraging people to come out to events are all excellent benefits of hosting investigations live.
One of my favourite side benefits to doing investigations this way is the chance to really educate the public on some of these cool locations. On our last investigation, for example, with the help of Elliot from Phantoms of Yore, we were able to give a tour and a comprehensive history presentation of the L’Orignal Jail. For me, those moments are worth it.
So, we believe that as long as you have an investigation team that has stellar communication and judgement skills, gets an A+ in teamwork, and is not prone to showboating, the drawbacks of livestreaming are far outweighed by the rewards.