Making it through Boot Camp at the Webcast Academy

by Private First-in-the-Class Vance Stevens

Thanks to Drill Sergeant Jeff Lebow


Presentation prepared as part of the1 hour - 45 min. Colloquium entitled: "CALL IS Electronic Village Online Communities" to be held on March 21, 2007 at the international TESOL Convention in Seattle, Washington State Conv Center/Room304 Hall C. The event will occur from 8:30am ~ 10:15am PST (15:30 - 17:15 GMT). It is planned to : Skypecast it here, and you can get further information at http://www.webheadsinaction.org/, where you can listen to the stream (without joining the Skypecast) and / or join the text chat.

During the Webcast, Jeff will handle the stream from Worldbridges World Headquarters in Bow, New Hampshire, easier at his end than at my end where I might be constrained by jetlag, a small laptop, and/or unknown connectivity issues. He will likely be recording using his encoder or perhaps Audacity. I will use the technique explained below to record my version of onsite and online interactivity thoughout the colloquium in Audacity. The final result will be podcast at http://www.webheadsinaction.org/.

If the opportunity presents itself, I might generate additional streams at other times from the EVO Room during the days while I am at the conference. I would need to be able to patch in to the Internet there (Internet may be otherwise hard to come by at the conference, but I can inve$tigate when I get there). Announcements of any additional Webcasts, or their recordings, would appear at http://www.webheadsinaction.org/.

What is the Webcast Academy?


It's a part of the Worldbridges Network, at
http://www.webcastacademy.net

No one said it was gonna be easy ...

Here was the curriculum, in a nutshell:
Topic#1 - Recording telephony calls and basic audio editing
Topic#2 - Basic Streaming
Topic#3 - Hosting, interviewing, & show management skills
Topic#4 - Post-production and advanced audio editing
Topic#5 - Different webcast environments and telephony programs (i.e. Second Life, Paltalk, Gizmo)

Indispensible on this venture would be the Book of Webcasting: http://www.webcastacademy.net/Book_of_Webcasting

The first task was easy, post a recorded intro to the http://www.webcastacademy.net/ website.
Lee Baber left us some instructions at http://www.newmediaguides.com/files/AudioIntro.mov
The bar was high on this one. Lots of people got under.

Then came Topic #1, Recording VOIP Conversations


The bar was lowered a bit. The next task was to record both sides of a Skype conversation.

This is the technique that I intend to use to record the Skypcast of the EVO Colloquium at

This is tricky.You need a USB mic and some software. In particular ...

  • Audacity to record from the sound mixer
  • Virtual Audio Cable to channel the sounds from the USB mic and the sound card into a mix that Audacity can record

There are some minor configuration considerations

You have to be sure that you correctly set Control Panel / Sounds and audio devices so that Windows pics up your USB mic

wca-ctrlpanel_soundsaudio.jpg

And you need to configure Skype so it will take audio from the USB mic as well

wca2-skypeconfig.jpg

Then you need to create a mix using Virtual Audio Cables, also accepting input from the USB mic, like so ...

wca-audrepeater.JPG

Now, Audacity has to be configured to be recording a stereo mix. Note that the recording input here is from the sound card, which is carrying the mix via the Virtual Audio Cable from the Skype conversation:

wca-audacity_config.jpg

And you set that stereo mix and regulate its volume using the Sound Recorder, configured thusly
(SigmaTelAudio is my sound card, yours would be unique to your machine)

wca-soundrecorder.JPG

All together it looks something like this ...

audaconfigeater.JPG

Vance achieves success!!

http://www.webcastacademy.net/node/830


Topic #3 - Basic Streaming


After that it's a simple hop skip and a jump to setting up Simplecast (hey they don't call it Simplecast for nothing ...)

Jeff explains the procedure here:

http://webcastacademy.net/screencasts/simplestreaming1/index.html

And that's all there is to it ...
  • configuration here, configuration there
  • adjust a few volume levels
  • don't forget to start both the audio repeater AND the Simplecast encoder!!
throw in a pinch of salt, and ...

I did manage to stream a couple of times.
And apart from the moderating, that's as far as I got!
But I'll be pursuing the rest of the topics on the syllabus in due course.
I'm over the hurdle ;-)

Did I mention that this is totally free, colleagues sharing training and expertise from the goodness of their hearts??

Stay tuned for my regular Webcast program on the Worldbridges network, everyone's favorite EdTech webcast and podcast network http://www.worldbridges.net/

(What's the holdup? I'm just seeking a compliant partner to do most of the work ;-))

Meanwhile, to hear what it might sound like, you can listen to GeekSpeak at http://vance_stevens.podomatic.com/