Friday, October 7, 2011

More Tech of TWiST

So we have now done three shows in the new "forum" format, and this has brought to light some interesting challenges.

As we keep working with the format, we discover new details and methods that can be used to help keep the sound as clean as possible. Since this is still an all volunteer deal, we are not currently investing in dedicated voice lines. Skype is still the tool we use, but the more people we have on the call, the greater the odds of breakup in the call.

When in doubt, it's a good idea to see what the "pros" are doing. My pro in this instance is Dan Benjamin, who runs the exceptional podcasting empire over at 5by5.tv. One of the things I like about Dan is the fact that he openly discusses the challenges he faces in producing the shows, and he runs them free and loose a lot of the time, leaving the big edits for bleeps or long delays that need to be tightened up. In any event, during "The Talk Show" with Jon Gruber a couple of weeks ago, he talked about how to get the best consistent vocal quality, even if you are using Skype. The secret? There's two of them. The first is to have everyone actively using their mute buttons on the call when they are not talking. This keeps the cross-talk way down, and also frees up the pipe. Giving each speaker about five to ten seconds to transition also helps keep the cross talk and additional traffic way down. Even more than that, though, is to encourage everyone to not use their wireless connections, and instead to plug their Ethernet cable in. This helps eliminate a lot of problems with connectivity and really helps keep the voice drop outs to a minimum. We realize not everyone can do this, but if possible, please plug in :).

So this week, we continue our discussion with Scott Barber, Dave Limbaugh, and Adam Yuret, with me making some comments as well. While last week was more about discussing the Open Jam sessions being held during STP-CON, this week's episode is more about how to leverage what you learn at a conference and how to come back and be productive immediately. Another challenge is that, even when we get back from a conference with a bunch of fresh ideas, we may find resistance from those who are back home, and a less than enthusiastic response to your renewed vigor and desire for change, so in many ways we have to find things that we can do immediately, and better yet, do things we don't have to necessarily ask permission to put into place. All of the contributors this week offer suggestions in that regard (me, too :) ).

So if I've piqued your interest, please have a listen to Episode #65 of TWiST right here :).
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