Welcome!

Video Authors: Elizabeth White, Yakov Fain, Liz McMillan, Dan Ristic, Jnan Dash

Related Topics: Video, Agile Computing, Wearables, CRM

Video: Blog Feed Post

Turn Your Podcast Into an Interactive Live Streaming Experience

Hopefully this helps some of you out there with some ideas

The folks here on the DevCentral team have been producing a weekly podcast for a while now.  Trying to keep our budget low, we opted to copy what some other podcasters were doing by making use of Skype for our audio communication and found a great little Skype add-on called Pamela which creates high-quality WAV files from Skype conversations.

We created a dedicated Skype account on an old machine here in the office that will auto-record whenever that account is added to a conversation. We would occasionally have differences in audio levels between the callers so we incorporated the awesome The Levelator (from the Conversations Network) into the post production and we were set.

A few weeks ago we broke through our one hundredth podcast and along with that milestone we decided to expand things a bit by making the podcast more interactive.  I spent a few weeks investigating how to best accomplish this and I ultimately decided on a setup.  I figured that I'd go ahead and share it with you all so you can see how we do it on our end.  Here's the high-level diagram:

podcast-architecture

I experimented with a mixing board but ended up with a software only solution that anyone can implement.  Everything besides the top left three items in the image were added to enable us to record our Skype podcast as well as stream it to UStream and allow callers with TalkShoe.

The Components

Here's a list of the following components and how we used them.

Skype - http://www.skype.com - $0

Skype, for those that don't know, is a software program that allows you to make video and voice calls across the internet.  Calls are free to other skype users and you can purchase the ability to call out to land line numbers or to get your own number so you can accept phone calls.

We have a dedicated server with Skype and Pamela running to do the recording and each person on the podcast is connected through the main Skype instance on our publishing system.

Pamela Skype Recorder - http://www.pamela.biz/en/ - $24

Pamela is an add-on program for Skype that will allow you to record your Skype conversations.  It features Skype call, video, and chat recording, answering machine, video mail, and skype based publishing.  We use it primarily for the ability to automatically record skype calls to either our skype account or our Skype dial-in number.  .WAV files are created and we are emailed when a recording is completed.

Windows Media Player - $0

Windows Media Player is the default music/video player on the Windows platforms.  We use it to play background music into our skype and UStream sessions.  You could just as easily use another audio player as long as it supports the ability to customize which output audio device it uses.

Virtual Audio Cable - http://software.muzychenko.net/eng/vac.html - $30

This little gem really saved the day with our setup.  There are various Mac programs that allow you to map audio streams from one program to another one but this is the best one I could find for Windows.  Virtual Audio Cable allows you to transfer audio (wave) streams between applications and/or devices.  In our setup, it allows us to map windows media player back into Skype and our multiple audio streams back into our live video processing through VidBlaster.

VidBlaster - http://vidblaster.com/ - $0

VidBlaster is a powerful, economic way to record, stream, and produce high quality videos.  VidBlaster comes in three versions: Home, Pro, and Studio with the only difference being the number of "modules" you can use at one time.  What's best about this product is that you can use it for free if you can live with a "VidBlaster" add in the top right corner of your video stream.  We'll likely put the couple hundred bucks down for the Pro version but as of now it hasn't costed us a cent.

Adobe Flash Media Encoder - http://www.adobe.com/products/flashmediaserver/flashmediaencoder/ - $0

The Adobe Flash Media Encoder allows you to capture live audio and video while streaming it in real time to a flash media server.  While we could stream directly from VidBlaster to UStream, the quality is not as good as moving some of the processing down to the client.

UStream - http://www.ustream.tv - $0

UStream is the live interactive video broadcast platform that enables anyone with a camera (or VidBlaster!) and an internet connection to quickly and easily broadcast to a global audience of unlimited size.  Best of all, it's free!

TalkShoe - http://www.talkshoe.com - $0

We struggled for a while trying to figure out the best way to include a "live" audience in our recording.  TalkShoe is a service that enables anyone to easily create, join, or listen to live interactive discussions, conversations, podcasts, and audioblogs.  It fit the bill of just what we needed and since we already had our Skype conversation going, bolting on TalkShoe was as simple as adding the conference number to our group Skype conversation.  TalkShoe also has some pretty nifty user controls allowing the moderator to control muting of each of the participants.  Another great free service!

Production Setup Walkthrough

Here's the steps I go through in preparation for our weekly podcast.

  1. Create 3 Virtual Audio Cables with the Virtual Audio Cable Control Panel (VAC #1, VAC #2, VAC #3)
  2. Start up 2 instances of the Virtual Audio Cable Audio Repeater.  Set the first one (R1) from VAC #3 to VAC #1 and the second from VAC #3 to VAC #2.
  3. Start and login to Skype.  Go into the Audio settings and change the audio input to VAC #1 and the output to VAC #2.
  4. Start Windows Media Player and change the speaker device settings to output to VAC #3.
  5. Start VidBlaster and setup various screen captures, set the video resolution to 640x480 and the frame rate to 15fps (much higher than that drives the CPU way up).  Finally click "Start" on the Streamer module.
  6. Start the Adobe Flash Media Encoder.  Load the stream configuration that you can download from your UStream show's advanced settings and then Select VidBlaster for the Video Device and "Line 2 (Virtual Audio Cable)" (ie. VAC #2) for the Audio device.  Click "Start" to begin streaming.
  7. Login to our UStream.tv account and click "Broadcast Now" for your show.  Another browser window will come up detecting the media stream.  Click "Start Broadcast" to start the stream and click "Start Record" to being recording your stream on the server.
  8. Bring up the Skype window and create a conference with the podcast members including our account that auto-records the conversations.  Then finally, call the TalkShoe conference bridge and initiate the meeting on their side.
  9. Login to the TalkShoe account on their website and click the option to join the meeting.  When the admin console is loaded, you can optionally select "Record" from the top left to have TalkShoe make an alternate recording.

At this point we are recording our Skype session in audio, UStream is recording the video stream and TalkShoe is recording a secondary audio recording.  At this point, I cue up the intro music in Windows Media Player and start into the podcast.

When we are finished, I reverse the process above by stopping and saving the various recordings.  I take our Pamela based recording, run it through The Levelator, convert it to a mp3 with Audacity, edit the ID3 tags, and publish it to our media server.  At this point, the blog post is created and we are done for the week.

Reflections

There are a few things that are still causing some issues.  The main issue is that of horsepower on my media system.  The desktop I'm using for all of this was not meant to run these types of CPU intensive applications.  While it works, my dual-core CPU system is hovering at 99-100% CPU usage during the podcast which is a bit worrisome.  Depending on the success of the podcast, we may invest in a new desktop to run this on.  But, seeing how we've spent well under $100 for the entire software suite, I don't think we'll have much trouble justifying it!

Hopefully this helps some of you out there with some ideas and I'd love to hear feedback on how I could do things better!

-Joe

Read the original blog entry...

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
"MobiDev is a Ukraine-based software development company. We do mobile development, and we're specialists in that. But we do full stack software development for entrepreneurs, for emerging companies, and for enterprise ventures," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Conference Guru has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. A valuable conference experience generates new contacts, sales leads, potential strategic partners and potential investors; helps gather competitive intelligence and even provides inspiration for new products and services. Conference Guru works with conference organi...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
IoT solutions exploit operational data generated by Internet-connected smart “things” for the purpose of gaining operational insight and producing “better outcomes” (for example, create new business models, eliminate unscheduled maintenance, etc.). The explosive proliferation of IoT solutions will result in an exponential growth in the volume of IoT data, precipitating significant Information Governance issues: who owns the IoT data, what are the rights/duties of IoT solutions adopters towards t...
With the introduction of IoT and Smart Living in every aspect of our lives, one question has become relevant: What are the security implications? To answer this, first we have to look and explore the security models of the technologies that IoT is founded upon. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nevi Kaja, a Research Engineer at Ford Motor Company, discussed some of the security challenges of the IoT infrastructure and related how these aspects impact Smart Living. The material was delivered interac...
No hype cycles or predictions of zillions of things here. IoT is big. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, Associate Partner at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data analytics considerations, edge-to-cloud tec...
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists examined how DevOps helps to meet the de...
When growing capacity and power in the data center, the architectural trade-offs between server scale-up vs. scale-out continue to be debated. Both approaches are valid: scale-out adds multiple, smaller servers running in a distributed computing model, while scale-up adds fewer, more powerful servers that are capable of running larger workloads. It’s worth noting that there are additional, unique advantages that scale-up architectures offer. One big advantage is large memory and compute capacity...
"When we talk about cloud without compromise what we're talking about is that when people think about 'I need the flexibility of the cloud' - it's the ability to create applications and run them in a cloud environment that's far more flexible,” explained Matthew Finnie, CTO of Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datanami has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datanami is a communication channel dedicated to providing insight, analysis and up-to-the-minute information about emerging trends and solutions in Big Data. The publication sheds light on all cutting-edge technologies including networking, storage and applications, and thei...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Silicon India has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Published in Silicon Valley, Silicon India magazine is the premiere platform for CIOs to discuss their innovative enterprise solutions and allows IT vendors to learn about new solutions that can help grow their business.
The Internet giants are fully embracing AI. All the services they offer to their customers are aimed at drawing a map of the world with the data they get. The AIs from these companies are used to build disruptive approaches that cannot be used by established enterprises, which are threatened by these disruptions. However, most leaders underestimate the effect this will have on their businesses. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rene Buest, Director Market Research & Technology Evangelism at Ara...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Lachapelle, CEO of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), provided an overview of various initiatives to certify the security of connected devices and future trends in ensuring public trust of IoT. Eric Lachapelle is the Chief Executive Officer of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), an international certification body. His role is to help companies and individuals to achieve professional, accredited and worldwide re...
SYS-CON Events announced today that TechTarget has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TechTarget storage websites are the best online information resource for news, tips and expert advice for the storage, backup and disaster recovery markets.
The current age of digital transformation means that IT organizations must adapt their toolset to cover all digital experiences, beyond just the end users’. Today’s businesses can no longer focus solely on the digital interactions they manage with employees or customers; they must now contend with non-traditional factors. Whether it's the power of brand to make or break a company, the need to monitor across all locations 24/7, or the ability to proactively resolve issues, companies must adapt to...
SYS-CON Events announced today that EnterpriseTech has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. EnterpriseTech is a professional resource for news and intelligence covering the migration of high-end technologies into the enterprise and business-IT industry, with a special focus on high-tech solutions in new product development, workload management, increased effi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a client-oriented software development company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex software systems for startups and enterprises. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business...
SYS-CON Events announced today that GrapeUp, the leading provider of rapid product development at the speed of business, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market acr...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ayehu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara California. Ayehu provides IT Process Automation & Orchestration solutions for IT and Security professionals to identify and resolve critical incidents and enable rapid containment, eradication, and recovery from cyber security breaches. Ayehu provides customers greater control over IT infras...
Artificial intelligence, machine learning, neural networks. We’re in the midst of a wave of excitement around AI such as hasn’t been seen for a few decades. But those previous periods of inflated expectations led to troughs of disappointment. Will this time be different? Most likely. Applications of AI such as predictive analytics are already decreasing costs and improving reliability of industrial machinery. Furthermore, the funding and research going into AI now comes from a wide range of com...