Class of 1.1 Graduation Requirements

Hello Fellow Interns,

  This is still a first draft and none of this is etched in concrete.  Thought I'd go ahead and publish it though to start getting everyone's feedback. 
Thoughts? Questions? Suggestions?

Thanks,
Jeff

Class of 1.1 'Graduation' Requirements.

In order to complete the 'Basic Program' at The Webcast Academy, interns will need to

  • produce 3 live interactive webcasts and publish them to their Webcast Academy blog
  • successfully participate in a Finals Week Webcast Relay
  • complete a 'Webcaster's Report' detailing the methods used, obstacles faced, and solutions found.



Webcast Production
includes

a) successfully streaming the audio (without any coaching or assistance),
b) hosting or co-hosting at least a 30 minute show, and
c) recording all of the show's audio and editing it to a 'listenable' quality

Publication includes

a) posting show notes that include links to sites mentioned, an overview of topics discussed, and chat logs (graphics are not required, but encouraged in moderation)
b) including a download link and flash player listening option for the audio

The Finals Week Relays take place during the final week of the academy term (July 24~31).  At least 3 interns must participate and take turns 'grabbing the stream' at least 3 times from each other.  This is intended to measure the interns ability to handle high pressure, last minute, and/or unexpected webcasting situations.

The 'Webcaster's Report' is designed to help the the Academy build a database of information about the hardware, software, and troubleshooting involved in webcasting. Each intern will provide detailed information of their 'rig', methods, and obstacles encountered.



The deadline for all requirements is July 31, 2006.   Upon review and approval by the 'Mentor Council', interns will receive a Webcast Academy Certificate of Webcasting Proficiency. As long their webcasting focus and approach are compatible with Worldbridges Values & Goals and they have completed a Worldbridges Webcasting Application, graduating interns will also receive a 'Worldbridges Webcasting License'.  This license is a pre-requisite for becoming a webcast producer on any of Worldbridges channels or sites.

 Upon completion of the Basic Program, interns are asked to server on the 'Council of Mentors' for at least one future Academy session (not necessarily the one immediately following theirs). They are also eligible to receive advanced certification from The Webcast Academy (details of which will be ironed out during future Academy meetings).

Applications for The Webcast Academy Class of 1.2 are due by July 16, 2006.  The Opening Ceremony will be held July 23, 2006 in conjunction with The Class of 1.1.'s Finals Week Assembly.

About The Webcast Academy

Welcome to The Webcast Academy. The Academy is a hands on, collaborative training center for people interested in learning how to produce and host live, interactive webcasts. 

Overview
The goals of the Webcast Academy include

  • increasing the number of people who are capable of producing live, interactive webcasts
  • applying the open source community approach to skill development
  • creating a place that formally recognizes proficiency,  excellence, and innovation  in these new media skills

It is our hope that those who complete an apprenticeship here, will put their skills to use on the Worldbriges Webcasting Network and elsewhere, but there is no charge for participation and no formal commitment required following the completion of the internship.

To keep things manageable in terms session administration, server resources, and security, we can only accept 15 interns for each session.   Upon successful completion of their 3 interncasts and a 'commencement webcast',  interns will receive a Worldbridges Webcaster Proficiency Certificate and become a Worldbridges Webcasting Licensee. 

Interns will need to spend at least 3~5 hours a week working on developing the necessary skills, working with other members of their 'channel', and banging their heads against their monitors.  Eventually, intern station managers will be broken into 5 groups (or channels). One of the stations managers in each group will serve as Channel Director.  The Channel Director will be responsible for scheduling and posting information about group webcasts on the calendar.

 Interns will be the only ones with direct access to the Worldbridges webcasting streams, but everyone is welcome to participate in other ways - posting in the discussion forums, commenting on posts, contributing to the Book of Webcasting, and learning along with the apprentices. 

 Admission Policies
The Webcast Academy does not charge any fees, but we do ask that interns continue contributing to this collaborative learning community following the completion of the Basic Program.  We plan to limit the 'class of 1.5' to 20 'interns'.  Interns are the only ones given access to the Academy streams on the Worldbridges servers.  If we receive more than 20 applications, we will select participants based on the quality of their application materials,  compatibility of their goals with Worldbridges values and goals, and the unique contribution they would make to the world of webcasting.  Those who are not accepted as interns for this session are welcome to participate as non-interns and to reapply for the next session.

Certification
Upon review and approval by the 'Webcaster Council', interns will receive a Webcast Academy Certificate of Webcasting Proficiency. As long their webcasting focus and approach are compatible with Worldbridges Values & Goals, graduating interns will also receive a 'Worldbridges Webcasting License'.  This license is a pre-requisite for becoming a webcast producer on any of Worldbridges channels or sites.

 Upon completion of the Basic Program, interns are asked to serve on the 'Council of Webcasters' for at least one future Academy session (not necessarily the one immediately following theirs). They are also eligible to receive advanced certification from The Webcast Academy (details of which will be ironed out during future Academy meetings).


 Thanks again for your interest in the Webcast Academy.  If you have additional questions, please post them in the 'About Webcast Academy' section of the Discussion Forums.

 

 

Audio Editing in Audacity - Basic

Audacity is compatable with Windows 98, ME, 2000, & XP, Mac OS9 and X, Linux, and Unix. To download the program go to the Audacity website.

  1. Before you start, go to your computer's sound control panel and make sure your input device (or your microphone) is selected as the audio input source. Then boot Audacity and go to preferences. Set the device(s) you are recording from and playing to in the audio I/O tab. If you are editing a pre-recorded file from your webcast for example, open Audacity then use the Import tool to open the pre-recorded file.The Quality tab sets the sample rate and bit depth. Jeff Towne from the Transcom Tools Content site says "Audacity can handle different sample rates and bit depths within a project, but these will be converted in real-time to the default session settings when needed. Although normally 16-bit is a sufficient bit-depth for webcasts, and you will save a good deal of disc space and processing power if you use that depth, Audacity sometimes creates grungy-sounding sound files when recording at 16 bit. I'd start with 16 bit, but if you have that problem, setting up your session to record at 32-bit float might solve it. Set that in the file format tab as the default export format." You can change the sample rate from the lower left corner also.

  2. Hit the red record circle in the transport panel to record. You can adjust the record level with the slider next to the microphone icon in the top right corner. You should leave it all the way up and change levels from your sound card or control panel. Make sure your input level does not go into the "red" (or hit the ceiling) on your meter as that will cause clipping. You can import audio into your Audacity project if you wish to combine more than one recording or add music etc. They will show up as new tracks.

  3. Editing tools -
    • the control toolbar is like any audio player transport buttons. Pressing the spacebar will start and stop play, and shift-spacebar will loop-play a selected section (called a region).

      Editing Tools
    • To select a section, click on the selector tool and drag over the part of the audio you want to change. Move the cursor over the edges of the highlighted section to grap and extend the length. Press Z to move the selection edges to zero-crossings eliminating clicks from edits.
    • For gain changes (also known as trim..it refers to the intensity of an audio signal), highlight a region (section) and use the "amplify" or "normalize" commands from the effect menu, or move the volume slider at the left of the track display. That slider sets the level for the track.
    • Use the draw tool like a pencil to re-draw waveforms to eliminate eliminate clicks or other distortions.
    • Click and drag over part of a track to zoom in. The magnifying-glass icons on the right hand side of the top of the track window can be used to zoom in or out in steps, to zoom to the selection, or to zoom out to see the entire project at once. A scroll wheel works as well.
    • Cut, Copy and Paste work as expected. Highlight audio you don't want and press delete. Audacity will close the gap. Audacity Editing tools
    • Use the silence selection tool (mute) if you'd like to remove audio without making changes to the timeline.Select audio you want to keep and click trim to selection to delete everything except the selected region. The silence selection icon mutes selected audio, but without moving any other audio regions, leaving a silent space, like hitting "mute" for that time range. Any other edits will close up that gap.
    • You can grab the vertical edges of a track and drag up or down to make it wider and easier to see for editing. The track can be reduced in size to see more tracks after you are finished editing
    • You can always undo edits, but not after you save. Audacity saves small ".aud" files that has all the editing data, so you can do multiple save-as steps to store different versions of the project, to retain flexibility without duplicating all the large sound files. Selecting view>history will show you a list of your actions, and by clicking on the various entries, the edits will revert to that stage of the edit, you can then discard all moves after that point by clicking the discard button. The history list is cleared whenever you save and you cannot undo after a save. Audacity has been known to crash, so save often.
    • You can use the Audacity plug-ins like the compressor, EQ, filters and normalizing. The Audacity "Noise Removal" effect is not the best and I don't recommend it. Audacity's effects need to be applied one at a time. To remove an effect, you have to step backward with "undo."

  4. Export selected parts of a project by highlighting them and choosing export selected from the file menu.

  5. Final MP3 - (for uploading into your blog) When you are done with the mixing and editing, (make sure your audio levels are high but not clipping) export your project by clicking File>Export As>an MP3. You may also Export as a WAV file or an Ogg Vorbis, another kind of compressed file. Just saving it will not make it a final mix. Be sure to us this Export tool so your final product can be uploaded to Webcast Academy, burned to CD or FTP'd.

  6. Learn Keyboard shortcuts for Audacity to speed up your editing time.

References

  • Information for this article is from The Transom Tools Content article by Jeff Towne
  • Level Headed ~ Jeff Towne
  • Processing Basics ~ Jeff Towne
  • Digital Editing Basics ~ Barrett Golding
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    Image icon audtool.gif2.51 KB
    Image icon audedit.gif4.04 KB

    Class of 1.2 Orientation / Basic Audio Posting

    How to create audio download link and flash player

    More resources

    SAMBroadcaster - Windows

    SAMBroadcaster is a fairly sophisticated piece of streaming software designed for online DJ's. In our experience, it has proven to be the most reliable way for Windows based webcasters to succeed.

    This software has a lot of different options that may be too complicated for the beginners. Secondly, the main idea behind SAMBroadcaster is to not only stream voice but also to play music. So if you don't plan to play music during your show, I believe that using other software (like Oddcast or Simplecast) should be enough. However, there are many exceptions in the field of live webcasting and this is one of them. You should try streaming with few programs and see which one is the best for you and which one gives you the best voice quality. Remember that hardware of you PC/laptop and peripherials can influence the live stream in many ways: starting with the voice quality and ending with keeping constant and good internet connection or stream. Thus, live webcasting is like an ongoing experiment; but it's fun!

    Screencast Video#1
    Screencast Video#2

    Conrad's Screenshot Video of how to use Sam to webcast without Virtual Audio Cables

    Oddcast - Windows

    OddCast Homepage - http://www.oddsock.org/tools/oddcastv3/

    A free streaming utility.  Works fairly well, but we have often experienced a 'tinny' sound when using it.  Not quite ready for a a production environment, but worth keeping an eye on. 

    Nicecast - A Summary of Tips and Tricks

    When streaming on a Macintosh computer, you are going to encounter your own special challenges. I will include here the links to some of our discoveries here at the Webcast Academy. Please contact me if you have any questions or wish to Skype someone when in dire straights. You can contact me at any time for any reason but I am always messing around with Mac stuff so I enjoy problem solving. Happy Streaming!

    1. Nicecast Video Tutorial
    2. Blog Post -- Select Your Audio Device Every Time You Open Nicecast
    3. MacBreak Video on Nicecast 
    4. A Must See Blog on Advanced Settings for Nicecast Applications Mixer
    5. Query results for Nicecast on Webcast Academy 
    6. Turn iTunes into an Internet Radio Station - Methodshop.com