Dancing Ducklings have been entertaining children for eight years with fun and educational children's dance routines. Caroline White, the founder of the club, has always encouraged participation from her clients, whether they are four years old or forty (the parents or nannies in the latter case). She has usually run her clubs in community centres and church halls in Lewisham.

When Covid-19 brought in the lockdown of community spaces, Caroline initially thought it was game over for Dancing Ducklings for the time being. However, she heard that some other clubs were streaming their clubs from their kitchens and living rooms to families. Although she had no idea how to do this herself, she thought she would give it a go.

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Dancing Ducklings with Caroline

The first question was how to enable her customers to view her dance sessions online. Clearly online booking was the only way to sell tickets from now on. Caroline already used two websites to sell tickets for her club: Hoop and Happity. They were both already recommending Zoom as the online platform to enable her to stream her classes. So she decided to use Zoom.

The second question was what hardware to use for streaming the classes. Many people were, and still are using their mobile phones for streaming. The other option that people sometimes try is using a laptop with a webcam. The advantage of a laptop is that it can be connected to home broadband by an ethernet cable, which creates a faster connection speed than a phone data connection. However, the disadvantage is that laptop webcams are actually poorer quality than the cameras in modern smartphones. 

Caroline used the smartphone for a few sessions. The picture was not great, but it was ok. One of the problems, however, is that smartphone cameras have quite a narrow angle. It was hard to get Caroline's head and feet into the picture, which is not great when you are an energetic, dance-oriented performer. 

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Here is a film we made comparing webcams so you can see the difference they make

With Catbytes' help, Caroline was able to set up her laptop with different external webcams, to find out which worked best for her. After a bit of experimentation, the Logitech 922 appeared to work best, in terms of overall picture quality. Caroline is now streaming three mornings a week, and has got the hang of setting up the laptop in the morning, opening Zoom, and letting in customers when the class starts.