RemoteDisplay

I’ve written another application to assist us with the development of our weekly webcast Week in Review.  This time I’ve constructed a very special server->multiple clients application for displaying text to our hosts.11-28-2011 12-39-39 PM

The application basically works like a remote display allowing the operator of the server or any of the operators of the clients to edit text as well as scroll the content displayed on the screen.

The primary purpose of this application is to allow David and I the ability to enter in our show’s flow chart.  Then as each event occurs, we “scroll” down the list and it automatically marks out as well as highlights the next item. 

ss1My friend is loosing his eyesight so in an attempt to make it extremely easy to determine which item we’re on, I’ve created a very special “ScrollText” .NET control.  This allows the “selected line” to be much larger and a different color than the rest of the content, thus making it extremely easy to see.

ss2

This is another free application I’m publishing for anybody to use and enjoy.  If you have any comments, concerns, or questions… please leave your comments below.

Get it from CNET Download.com!

Advertisements

CountDown Timer

SNAGHTMLd734465During our last Week in Review broadcast, I realized we needed a timer which would provide us a visual queue for the start and stop of the broadcast.  Since our show is centered around the start of the hour and lasts for an hour, the programming was rather easy to accomplish.

I built an application which would count down to the hour and flash at the 2min warning and on the hour.  Since I have all these spare monitors on the wall, what better place to put it than up there.

Get it from CNET Download.com!

How to Produce a Webcast… part 3

Microphones

We move from video devices in part 2 to audio devices in part 3.  Audio is a very important piece to the webcasting puzzle.  Without the proper equipment, your webcasts will have no sync, poor quality sound, or worse.  Just look at our first Episode of Week in Review.  We had two microphones, one was 7 years old and no longer provided the quality our show demanded.  In Episode 2 we used one microphone for David and I used the older microphone due to the limited amount of talking I would be doing; we had a guest linked in via Skype.  I’ll show you more about that in part 4 when I discuss the audio mixer.

imageLike with our other equipment, we are on a very limited budget.  So I dropped by my local RadioShack for a low cost microphone.  I found the Wireless Lapel Microphone System at the wonderfully low price of $49.99 each.  I quickly purchased one to add to the one I already had.  The quality is perfect and being wireless, I could position the host anywhere in my home office studio:  main desk, couch, walking into the room, etc… This ability was important to me for this project and others.

After our first show I quickly learned that the older Wireless Lapel Microphone I already had degraded far enough that it was unusable.  So I dropped back by my local RadioShack for a second Wireless Lapel Microphone System.  One caution to remember is that wireless microphones transmit on frequencies.  It was important to get the second mic that transmits on a different frequency.

These wireless microphones are perfect for different scenarios.  However I’m looking for high quality or the HD audio version of microphones.  Once our show takes off, we’ll be looking at upgrading these wireless microphones to something else.

imageWhile researching I came across the microphones I’d like to use with our show.  The Heil PR-30 has a wonderful reputation for high quality audio with a dynamic range.  David and I can use all the help we can get when it comes to audio quality.  I found this microphone over at Amazon for only $249.  That’s not bad for the quality I’m looking for.

Along with the microphone, I’m looking to utilize a Heil Sound PL-2T Microphone Boom for $120, a Shockmount for $99 to reduce table vibrations and lastly an XLR male to XLR femail microphone cable for $8.85.

The current microphones work very well and we’re likely to continue using them for a while… unless anybody wants to donate the upgrade costs?

Cost Sheet

image

In the next part of my How to Produce a Webcast series, we’ll talk about how to mix audio from multiple sources:  2x Lapel microphones, Skype, Computer, and an MP3 player.

How to Produce a Webcast… part 1

imageI’ve gotten back into the video game.  Years ago I had a web show called RootSync which I produced on a shoestring budget.  It worked well and had nearly 24 episodes (full season in TV terms).  Since then several things happened, I got a “real job”, divorced my Ex, closed my business, found a wonderful new wife, upgraded my job, upgraded my house, now I’m upgrading my broadcasting capabilities.Avatar

My latest venture into webcasting is a News Review called Week In Review.  I’ve worked hard on this show technically and have added so many new technically interesting features to make it happen.  Below is a short list of technical things that need to be learned and sorted out:

  1. Our Host and general theme of the show.
  2. Microsoft Cinema HD USB cameras for capturing high quality video.
  3. Wireless Label Microphones from RadioShack for capturing our hosts audio.
  4. Using a Xenyx1002B audio mixer to bring together both label microphones, Skype audio, and my computer’s audio then feeding them into VidBlaster for broadcasting.
  5. Utilizing VidBlaster for mixing multiple video sources together, broadcasting it over to uStream, and recording it for later post-production.
  6. uStream for the LIVE aspect of our show.  Broadcasting occurs every Friday at 7pm CST and uStream helps us broadcast LIVE.
  7. YouTube for the hosting of our episodes that have been post-produced.
  8. Using Windows Live Movie Maker for Post Production.
  9. iStockPhoto for royalty free videos, pictures and images.
  10. WordPress for hosting the main website which ties it all together.
  11. Publicizing our show by utilizing social networking like Twitter, Facebook, IMAutomator, etc…

I will be going into depth on each of the above technical aspects of the show and hopefully by the end of my Webcasting series you’ll have the knowledge needed to produce your own Webcast.

Our Host

A very important part of any new Webcast web show is your host.  The host must be interesting, insightful, and knowledgeable on the topics to be covered.  It helps if your host has the time to research and find the stories or topics that they would like to talk about in a way that would interest an audience.

David Smith3For my latest Webcast, my friend David will be hosting the show while I get to focus on the technical stuff.  David is a long time friend and has tons to talk about.  He has an actual PHD, he has lived and worked in L.A. during the riots, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Rome, and has ended up in Northwest Arkansas.  His extensive knowledge about a wide array of subjects makes him a very interesting listen and I believe the world would be better with his views shared.

David and I have been meeting every Friday for dinner ever since I can remember.  During our Friday dinners we’d talk about how our weeks have gone and what has happened in the world during the week as well as how those events would effect our lives here in Northwest Arkansas.  A few months ago we decided to record our discussions and share them with everyone and a new show was born.

Now that we have our host and the general theme of the show, it’s time to focus in on the technical aspects.  In part 2, I’ll discuss the video hardware used during our show.