How long have you been running this site Lenny?
For 4 Years since April of 2008.
How did you get started streaming pool matches?
Efren Reyes and Scott Frost were scheduled to play an exhibition match for $5000 at the pool room I play out of, Kolby’s Corner Pocket in Tempe Arizona. I decided as a pool fan that others might enjoy watching it so a couple days before Earl Strickland was there for a trick shot show so I did a test stream and it worked well.
What type of equipment are you using?
I use a very simple set up actually, takes me less than 30 minutes to set up but works very well for what I am doing. I have a Canon HD camera and heavy duty Ravelli tripod, USB mixer and 2 XLR mics, and a Dell Studio laptop.
Streaming pool matches have really taken off in the last few years since TV has not been covering many matches in the USA. Where do you see yourself going with this?
For me it is just a hobby and an interest as I love pool but it really has grown into something more than I expected with a good solid following with thousands of viewers who tune in to watch.
For me your site offers so much more than TV ever can, for instance TV wont show money games, what other advantages do you feel you have over National Television?
I like that we can show raw pool, amateurs and guys who play short stop speed who you might not ever see, some with talent and others who are just average players. We have no censors either so we can talk just like guys hanging out in the pool hall, although I do try and keep the chat and audio clean for people out there who might have young kids watching too.
What has been the best match that you feel you have had on your site?
I would have to say Scott and Efren was the best but at the time my stream quality was nowhere near what it is now and wish I could do it again one day. I have streamed other good matches like Hillbilly Charlie Bryant vs Earl and doing the California Billiard Club tournament which had many pro players there. CBC was my favorite stream to do, Scott and Efren were my favorite single match though.
How do the players feel about playing for the OTR audience?
Most really enjoy it and want to see themselves later on the recorded video as it is a tool to help improve their games and see what others are seeing, it can be enlightening to see what you do wrong and right. I have had one or two players who did not want to play on the stream or thought it was hurting their action but sneaking up on people and hustling is pretty dead really with the internet in place. If you make one good score or beat one good player its very possible everyone will know about it including people in other countries.
Some of our readers might not know how to access and view your streamed matches, could you explain the process to them?
You can go to www.ontherailtv.comto view the live stream. I recommend signing up for the OTR newsletter on my site so when there is a stream we will send you an email. I stream roughly 2-3 times a month, mainly one pocket but do other games as well.
How are you able to provide this service free of charge to the public?
Mainly with support from the fans I have been able to do equipment upgrades and bring live pool to the masses. The biggest cost is my time, I have two young kids so I have to give up some family and personal time to do the streams. People assume when you have all the equipment that your good to go but the site itself cost around $500 a year to run and also equipment needs to be replaced or upgraded like my laptop which is over 2 years old now. So since my stream is always free I have to count on people to help out which many do or buy products I have for purchase on the site. The sponsors I do have are listed on my site and at the moment I am looking for a cue maker and case builder to sponsor OTR along with a billiard supplier.
What advice would you have for someone that wants to start streaming matches in their area?
I highly recommend they do it, I have met many good people all over the place because of it. Contact someone like myself who will give you advice on the equipment needed to get a nice stream going at low cost. I have helped probably a dozen streamers with information to help them get going, some are still doing it today and others got burnt out or realized its not Hollywood.