Broadcasting Screens

During the setup of my broadcasting studio, I found the need to hide the backgrounds behind the two people on the show.  I wanted to provide a way to have multiple screens of different colors, including chroma-key Green.  Then mount those screens so they are kept stretched and smooth for the broadcast.  What I came up with was a four point mounting and an innovative Indie screen system.

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Using cheap hardware from Lowe’s, building these screens was a breeze!

Required Parts (for 4-point mounting):

  (4) Eye hooks
  (1) Drill with properly sized bit
  (1) Stud finder

First locate where you plan to mount your screens, and use the stud finder to help you find the perfect spot.  Drill your holes and screw in the Eye hooks.

Required Parts (for one screen):

  (4) bungee cords of appropriate length which depends on where your wall mounting points are.
  (4) Eye hooks
  (1) Bed Sheet, Twin bed size was perfect for my needs
  (2) 2”x1”x96” boards
  (6) Carpet tack strips (for mounting the bed sheet)

Spread the sheet out and position the 2” boards on either side.  Roll the sheet around the 2” boards for one or two turns and use the carpet tacks to hold everything in place.  Lastly, drill pilot holes into both ends of both 2” boards and screw in the eye hooks.

Roll the rest of the sheet around one of the 2” boards and wrap with Velcro straps for storage. 

Mounting this is very easy and done within minutes by one person.

IMG_0861Clip one of the 2” boards across the top to the bungees attached to the upper two mounting points.

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Then unwrap the Velcro and unfurl the screen slowly… don’t let it drop since you may damage the carpet tacks.

Lastly attach the lower bungees so the screen is nice and stretched.

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Once your all stretched it should look like the image at the top of this article.

I built multiple screens of various colors.  They store very easily in my closet and I pull out the appropriate one depending on topics of our show.

TIP:  Spray Downy wrinkle eliminator onto the screens when they are stretched before your show.  It puts a pleasant smell in the air and smooth’s your screen out very nicely.

If you have any questions or suggestions on other broadcasting equipment, please comment below.

And to see all of my Screen pictures, visit http://www.flickr.com/photos/danielheth/sets/72157629653027764/

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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!

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.