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Wine Wednesday Face Masks

face masks featured image

What would make a weekly live stream focused on interesting and important saltwater topics, that includes interviews with industry leaders,  and takes place while drinking wine even more fun?  FACE MASKS!  A new automated reality feature that enables 3D overlays within a live stream.  (If you would prefer to watch the video form of this article, click HERE).

image of face masks during live stream

How do the FaceMasks work?

Streamlabs explained, “Viewers can donate money to their favorite streamer from the tip page. During checkout, viewers will have the option to pick a facemask from a selection of randomly generated free masks. The mask will then appear as a filter over the webcam in Streamlabs OBS. Just like with donation alerts, the content creator keeps 100 percent of all Facemask donations.”

In other words, this is a fun new way that you can support the Seahorse Whisperer Society and the Wine Wednesday with the Whisperer live stream, and have some fun at the same time.  The filters work a lot like Snapchat, detecting any faces within the “streamer’s” webcam.  When you choose a mask and donate, the mask will instantly appear on my face, and a notification of the donation will be displayed at the bottom of the video.  This could be seriously funny if used at just the right moment.  

face mask image

The filter lasts for approximately 2 minutes, and the feature does not extended to guests that are not within the main webcam yet.  However, streamlabs obs comes up with some very cool features, so I would be surprised if other options are not available soon.  

How can specific facemasks be used?

When you visit the SWS STREAM DONATION PAGE, the options to make a simple donation, facemask donationmedia upload donation or visit the Seahorse Whisperer merchandise store will all be available.  Every time you make a donation on the SWS STREAM DONATION PAGE, you earn a “crate”.  These crates contain different face masks to choose from.  If the specific face mask you wanted (for instance the “throwing snowballs at my face filter”) does not happen to be in the crates earned for previous donations, you can buy the specific filter as a donation in itself. 


What is the Media Sharing Option?

How funny would it be to “photo bomb” a live stream with a funny 2 minute video of you dancing?  Or maybe seahorses making funny faces?  Or even better, an advertisement for your latest product?  By making a small donation to the channel, you can share your clip during the stream.  Of course you can merely join the hangout to show video or images of seahorses with problems, or share your latest reef tank updates, without having to donate.  There is ABSOLUTELY NO CHARGE for joining the stream or asking for help.  The media share option is merely a way for supporters to sneak in a comical clip or company advertisement.

To use the media share option, you merely need to copy the URL of the 2 minute clip you’d like to share, paste it into the “media share” box on the donation page and write any message that you want to show during the display of your clip.  

Picture of donation page

What is the Wine Glass about?

The Wine Glass in the middle of every live stream is there to recognize any subscribers, sponsors, regular donations, and or super chats.  Any time a person supports the channel in one of these ways, a notification will run across the top of the screen announcing the act, before dropping the person’s favicon or company’s logo into the wine glass.  The favicon will show in the “wine glass of support” until it fills completely and has to be emptied by splashing over the rim.  

Favicon in Wine Glass image
Notification image

 If the person includes a “personalized message” to be displayed with the notification, it will appear at the bottom of the screen in the “alert box”.  

What is Wine Wednesday with the Whisperer?

Imagine a weekly live stream that brings together top breeders, vendors, organizations, scientists, experts, and new hobbyists, to discuss the latest news in ocean conservation, aquaculture, reef keeping, seahorse keeping, upcoming conventions and sometimes even the weather…… all in one show, with wine!   If the image is a bit unclear, you can watch some of the older episodes HERE.  If you are interested in Syngnathids, saltwater tanks or even coral conservation, Wine Wednesday covers it all!  Typically, a guest will share his or her experiences and knowledge via an interview for the first portion of the show.  Questions that I have prepared and questions from the audience are covered before people are allowed to join the stream for further discussion.   But, anyone can join at the end to share, ask more questions in person, or even ask for help with a completely unrelated question. 

Graham Short interview image
Ichthyologist at the California Academy of Sciences, Graham Short discussed Hippocampus Japapigu in a Wine Wednesday interview

Other times, we will have an “open chat”, in which anyone can join from the very beginning, and the discussion is determined by the joiners and viewers.  Whether a newcomer has seahorse questions, or a reef-keeper wants to share their latest experience with his or her tank, we always learn from each other……and always seem to find time to discuss wine :).

Wine Wednesday image of Dave

How can I JOIN the stream each week? 

Wine Wednesday is live streamed to Facebook, YouTube, Periscope, Twitch, Google +, the SWS website, and a few other platforms.  Anyone subscribed to the Seahorse Whisperer (or Seahorse Whisperer Society) in any of these places will get a notification when the stream goes live.  Comments are pulled from each platform into the stream, so you can easily watch and ask questions in the comments as long as you are a subscriber.  After a guest interview, or from the beginning of an “open chat” stream, I provide a JOIN LINK to let others join in the fun. By “join”, I am referring to a person actually entering the hangout and appearing via webcam in the video.  However the “join link” that I post in the comments on YouTube often do not work, especially if you are watching from another platform. Even on YouTube, the link in comments sometimes has glitches.

You can now have the proper JOIN LINK emailed to you directly each week, to be certain that joining will not be difficult.   By entering your email, a link will automatically be sent every time we go live. The sign up is specific to Wine Wednesday, so if you have already joined the SWS website or signed up for the newsletter, you will still need to sign up here for the JOIN LINK.  If you are not already subscribed, rest assured that you will not get any spam or other emails from this sign up. Just the links! If you do not want to join each week, just ignore the email!  When we’re discussing a topic that you care about, the link will be there waiting, ready to ensure that you can jump right in!  If you are unable to use the embedded sign up form, please visit the SIGN UP PAGE.

What applications are needed to join?

After trying many other programs (like Skype), Google Hangouts has worked the best for the live streams. The hangout is provided directly through YouTube, but joiners must have Google Hangouts downloaded on their device to join. If you sign up for the JOIN LINK weekly email, you would merely click the link within the email to join.  You will be see a message notifying you that you are about to enter an “ON AIR” hangout, that is publicly viewed.  Simply clicking “join” will put you immediately into the live stream. 

Before clicking that final “join” confirmation, you can adjust your camera and microphone settings in the hangout.  Placing your cursor or arrow and the top of the hangout will make settings appear.  Clicking on the settings gear opens a box containing the current default camera, microphone and audio settings.  Each has a drop down box that allows you to choose a different device.  Once you are happy with your video and audio, click save and then join. 

Google hangouts settings image

If you do not have Google Hangouts on the device, you will see a message asking you to download it.  After the download is complete, you would need to go back to the JOIN LINK email and click on the link again to join.   Google Hangouts  seems to work best when Chrome is used as the internet provider.  So, having Google Hangouts and Chrome on your device are the only programs needed to join.

The Merchandise Store

Another way to support the Seahorse Whisperer Society (SWS) and Wine Wednesday live stream is to visit the shop to purchase and wear “SWS GEAR”.  Currently, the shop contains shirts in both men’s and women’s sizes, mugs, pillows, and other SWS products.  We have almost completed all of the licensing needed to sell actual live (captive-bred) seahorses and  macroalgae, along with any equipment or anything else you might need to set up a seahorse tank.  The end result will be a one-stop-seahorse shop, that will provide everything needed all in one place.  In addition to the convenience of not having to buy from multiple vendors, product review videos and articles will help you determine which products are actually needed for your own individual set up and goals. 

In the meantime, any purchases of SWS gear supports the channel.  The website shop has already extended to include a smaller store on Etsy and another version on the Streamlabs/seahorse whisperer/merch.  The following video explains everything in this article, showing examples of the masks and a walk-through of the shops can be seen at time stamp 11:56.  

Which method of support helps the most?

Supporting the SWS with one of the donation opportunities will help us with equipment, streaming options, bringing in more guests, and expansion in general. However, merely subscribing to the Website and YouTube channel, or “liking” the SWS on Facebook, and especially sharing articles and videos as they are released are great ways to show support! 

ways to support video
Wine Wednesday Support options


A company can provide tremendous support by sponsoring the site or events, and sharing their products, information and services as a guest interview on Wine Wednesday.  In fact, just coming to the live streams and participating in the discussions shows support that is greatly appreciated!   (HUGE SHOUT OUT TO LUCIE AND SALTY REEF FOR MODERATING THE LIVE STREAM AND LUCIE FOR BEING MY WEBSITE PARTNER IN CRIME)!  

We will do a practice stream Monday, to test some of these features and determine by the amount of people who attend whether a second stream is warranted.  The new coral conservation series will be released soon, followed by a seahorse series detailing the changes in care and success over the past 20 years.  If you have any suggestions or comments, please leave them below.  We hope to see you Monday and Wednesday, and THANK YOU AGAIN FOR ANY AND ALL SUPPORT!