By Melanie Lekocevic
Capital Region Independent Media
COEYMANS — With ongoing technical difficulties in broadcasting town board meetings, officials have made the switch to Vimeo.
Vimeo is a video sharing platform that enables the user — in this case the town — to air lengthy videos, such as town board and planning board/zoning board of appeals meetings.
For months, there have been technical glitches with the airing of meetings, both on cable television and on Facebook Live, so town officials met with video experts to find out the best way to address the problem.
Town Councilman Stephen Schmitt led the effort to find a solution. Schmitt met with town employees and elected officials to identify the best method for airing meetings.
“The basis for the meeting was to figure out why we are still having issues with the system,” Schmitt said. “We came to the conclusion… that one, Facebook isn’t really a valid platform for us to be utilizing. It’s great if you want to video your son or daughter at a concert for a few minutes, but to actually stream a one- to two-hour meeting, it’s really not meant for that.”
“The other issue is that we have a streaming encoder, and a streaming encoder is what produces the signal to do Facebook or whatever other streaming platform we use,” Schmitt continued. “That box is giving us problems.”
The town’s audio/visual expert, Riley Irving from AVI, recommended the town switch platforms.
“To get away from Facebook, we decided to utilize a platform called Vimeo,” Schmitt said. “According to George Palmer and Riley Irving, it’s very well-known in that realm and it came very highly recommended, so we are using Vimeo right now. We do put the link up on Facebook for everybody on our Town of Coeymans Facebook page, for people to utilize. You click on the link and it immediately takes you to Vimeo — you do not need a log in or anything.”
The issue with broadcasting town meetings on cable television is still being worked on, he said.
“The other part is the Mid-Hudson channel 901 issue,” Schmitt said. “I haven’t had the opportunity to talk to Mid-Hudson yet, but I intend to reach out and talk more to him. There’s an issue with the line that comes into town hall, so once I have more information on that I will get it to you.”
The town is also looking at replacing the streaming encoder. The Jan. 12 meeting was the first to be aired on Vimeo and both the video and audio were clear.
Village board meetings are aired on YouTube. Town Supervisor George McHugh said the town considered that option as well.
“We looked at YouTube, too,” McHugh said. “According to the AV specialists, Vimeo would be a better fit for the technology that we purchased, which is higher-end technology.”
“There is a cost to Vimeo,” the supervisor added. “It is $65 a month to have Vimeo, but I think that is a small price to pay to get quality video of all of our meetings, and they also store it for us, so now those things will be stored by Vimeo so we can access them whenever we need them.”
While town board and planning board meetings will no longer be broadcast on Facebook Live, the town will continue to post the link to Vimeo on the town’s Facebook page, Schmitt said.
“It’s a more secure, more compatible platform,” he concluded.