Saturday, March 14, 2009

Bruce Wagner and Ed Live from NYC

"Broadcasting Live from New York". People like me (of a certain age) remember that cry as one of the most exciting things a person can hear - the show's about to begin. This is a discussion about Bruce and Ed setting up a broadcasting channel - vlogwrap. I've got one of their first shows here:

Bruce and Ed - Live from New York!

Who are they?

Bruce Wagner's Photo of US Air

I've been following Bruce Wagner for a while on Twitter now. He is a genuine, authentic person living in New York City that I encountered entirely by accident on Twitter. The odd thing about these silly little Twitter posts is that they build up into a picture of a person, and you get a sense of camaraderie (or not). I've met several people on Twitter that are progressing from acquaintance to friend. I've just got to show you this view from his window:

The view from Bruce's window - Liner arriving at NYC.

Bruce and his partner, Ed, are now regularly live video casting from their apartment. During the set-up and planning phase we discussed some of the options. One inspirational example was the first live road trip broadcast by @stilgherrian. This just used basic gear and 3G network sponsored by a telco (Telstra) to prove that Telstra really did have remote coverage.

An interesting segment from the @stilgherrian Live Roadtrip video Stream

What Gear do you Need to do this?

What I find interesting about this is the way @stilgherrian uses more than one camera on some of his shows (stilgherrian Live). He uses the standard Ustream tools, yet this creates more than enough capability.

We discussed Leo Laporte and his Live Twit show. One of the things we like about Leo is that he shares info on how he does things and the equipment he uses. Twit is based in the Stickam service. Like Ustream, users can logon (ustream allows guests) and participate in the parallel discussion board used to provide questions (and other input) to the main actors.

Some of Leo's comments look important to add.

I'm shooting for a sound that's pretty close to having all of us in the same room. For five or fewer participants with sufficient upstream bandwidth on the host side (the Leoville Labs have a 5mbps down/768kbps up DSL line) Skype actually offers pretty darn good results - very little latency and surprisingly high vocal quality. Per Steve Gibson's suggestion I use a dedicated port for Skype (any port above 1024 will do), and open that port for UDP connections on my router. This eliminates the need for Skype Supernode support and seems to reduce latency.........

I also use the fantastic Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone
for all my podcasts and the radio show. This pro mic requires good technique, but it offers excellent sound at a very reasonable price.....

.... Our live setup for TWiT varies depending on the venue. Most of the time we use a Korg D3200 Digital Multitrack Recorder . The channels are recorded to the Korg's built-in hard drive then output to a Macintosh for mixing with Soundtrack Pro....

Now lets go back to Bruce and Ed. The first smart thing they did was start to draw out the way the system would work. The setup they have now looks like a lot of fun. It's not necessary to start this seriously, but there are some really good aspects of the setup. Note the large monitor on the bench behind them - this is picture-in-picture done physically - and why not? Nothing tricky, and it works well.

Looking at this setup, only one thing might be considered. It's obviously a nice home, but in the video the background (and participants) can look a little grey. The solution is why TV announcers don't wear pants if they can avoid it - heat from the lighting. On background light to light the wall behind them and one to light Bruce and Ed.


It's pretty easy for most people to do. Why not consider setting up a basic video broadcasting setup?

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