Northwestern University Dance Marathon Recap


One of several slides throughout the live stream thanking Northwestern Information Technology for the live streaming support.

This past weekend, we provided high definition live video streaming services to one of the largest student-run philanthropies in the nation, Northwestern University Dance Marathon, now in its 42nd year. Over 1000 dancers and committee members turned out for 30 hours to #FeedDreams for Blessings in a Backpack, raising over $1.2 Million this year alone. Over the course of the 30-hour HD live-stream, 2,100 unique viewers tuned in from 21 countries, including a peak of 242 for Block 9.

This year in addition to providing live streaming services, we also supplied Dance Marathon with a HD live switcher, a NewTek TriCaster 460. We trained the 20 or more students on how to operate it, including loading graphics from an external source, switching between cameras, and turning on and off a live keyer for their overlay graphics.

The students on the production committee did a great job of switching during the live stream, and the HD video quality both in the online stream and in the tent was much appreciated by all involved.


Backstage, students live switch using the TriCaster and load graphics with their iMac. The big screen is a rear projection.


Students dance and smile under the lights in the tent.


Backstage, the HD projector displays the NUDM logo into the haze and onto the screen.


The live stream is an important component of the success of the event.  It provides the ability for those who cannot dance for 30 hours straight (which is most of us) to watch comfortably from our homes, and more importantly to provide a view for those who are donating gifts to contribute to the fund-raising goals using the website.