Class of 3.x Course Materials

Currently setting up course content.
The fun begins the week of July 14, 2008 
Session 3.1.1a - July 18 00:15 GMT (global times)
Session 3.1.1b - July 20 1600GMT (global times)

Welcome

  Welcome to The Webcast Academy, Class of 3.1.

 

 Participation Policies

  • The Webcast Academy does not charge any fees, but we do ask that interns 'pay it forward' in some way by helping future Academy participatnts and sharing what you learn here with others.  If we receive more applications than we can accept for  any session, 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.
     
  • As part of Worldbridges, we hope to build a diverse, inclusive community. The Webcast Academy does not discourage participation on the basis of age, race, gender, political views, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, or nationality.  We try to facilitate the participation of people with disabilities as much as possible and aspire to provide a multi-lingual learning environment.
     
  •  Those whose webcasting interests involve commercial, religious, or political activities are welcome to participate as long as these interests are made transparent and do. Spam-like activities will not be tolerated.
     
  • Academy participants agree not to defame, harass, abuse, threaten or defraud other members of the community. Any personal conflicts that arise out of Academy participation should be dealt with outside of the community. 
     
  • In situations where profanity, sexual content, or descriptions of graphic violence are used, those uses should be clearly noted at the beginning of the archived media, and parents should be advised to use discretion when exposing minors to such content. In cases where such content is used on a particular show, the show's introduction should note this fact.
     
  • Content on the community network shall not promote any illegal activity, including but not limited to the violation of copyright law.
     
  • By participating in the community, Webcast Academy members acknowledge that their contributions may be recorded and distributed by the community. This includes the member's text contributions to chats and forums, voice converstations or other audio, video, shared images or screen captures, and content in any other media supplied by the participant. No remuneration for these contributions shall be provided by The Webcast Academy or Worldbridges.  All materials produced at the Academy are released with at Creative Commons Attribution, Sharealike, Non-commercial (or less restrictive) license.
     
  • Webcast Academy participants are responsible for the content of their own contributions to the community and its shows. Any expressed opinions, viewpoints, endorsements, or recommendations are solely those of the contributor. Webcast Academy does not assume any liability for content produced by its members
     

Badges & Certification

Upon successful completion of the basic program requirements, interns will recieve a 'Webcaster Badge' and an Academy Certiciate of Proficiency. They can then apply for a Worldbridges Webcasting License and become eligible to become a 'producer'  at any of Worldbridges' webcasting communities.

  Academy graduates (webcasters) are asked (not required) to serve as guides 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).

 

Webcasting Overview

Webcasting has come to mean any way of streaming a live conversation so that others can listen in and/or participate. There are an ever increasing number of ways to webcast and methods can vary significantly based on operating system (Window, Mac, or Linux)

Webcasting Overview (Mac)

 Hopefully a 'one page webcasting guide' for Mac will be producing soon.  In the meantime, the resources below should provide some guidance.

Webcasting Overview (Windows)

How to stream a Live Interactive Webcast from a Windows PC's
(Mac users, check out Alec's Guide and Mac Screencasts here)



 

What you'll need

Internet Connection
In order to webcast, you need a stable internet connection that provides at least 100kbs upload bandwidth (which means dial-up connections will not work). If you plan to have more than one or two people in a skype call, you will probably need a bit more than that. You can test your bandwidth at  AuditMyPC.com ,or speakeasy.net . You can install NetMeter on your computer to measure and collect real time data on your upload and download speeds.

Hardware

  • Soundcard - you will need a soundcard that has 'stereo mix', 'What U Hear', or 'Wave out mix' as a recording option.
    Many recent Dell computers do not come with this option, but you can find information about a work around here.
  • Microphone - It is necessary to use either a desktop USB mic like this or USB Headsets like these which have two separate inputs for  the mic and ear piece. Models that have been confirmed to work include: You can also use a USB audio adaptor like this.
    Non-usb headsets or USB headsets that do NOT have the two separate inputs for mic and ear piece will not work (without a separate USB adaptor) and may cause severe anxiety for webcasters attempting to use them! Actually, with some soundcards it may be possible (as shown in this screencast), but echo issues have always prevented this from being a viable option. If you can demonstrate otherwise, please let us know.
  • Computer Specs - There are no other fixed minimum hardware requirements, but webcasting with anything less than 512kb RAM or the equivalent of a Pentium 4 would probably be pretty difficult.

Software


Capturing both ends of a call

Overview
The major challenge of producing a live interactive webcast is capturing both ends of a telephony call in a way that it can be streamed. If all you want to do is record both ends of a call without streaming it, there a number of programs that can be used (see this page for more info). To do so in a way that allows the audio to be streamed live, it is necessary to use an audio bridging tool like Virtual Audio Cables along with the hardware described above. There are other ways to do this, additional hardware and/or software is usually required.
ScreenastScreencast

 

Setting up your microphone and headset
  • If using a USB Desktop mic, plug it in to any USB port. Plug any headset into your standard speaker jack.
  • If using a USB headset (with separate jacks for mic and earpiece), plug it into any USB port, remove the earphone jack and plug it into the standard speaker jack as shown below.


Configuring your computer so you can capture both ends of a telephony call.
Parts of this will vary from computer to computer and it is possible that webcasters will need to go through some trial and error to get this working. The most common places to alter settings are your Windows Volume Control, Sound & Audio Device Settings, & your Telephony audio settings.
  • By default, most computers are set up to record from your microphone. This needs to be changed. Using Windows Volume Mixer, set the Recording Control Properties of your soundcard to 'stereo mix' , 'What U Hear', or 'Wave Out Mix'. With some sounds cards you will select his item, with others you will make sure it's unmuted'.
  • In Sound & Audio Device settings, select your sound card as the recording device in the 'Audio' and 'Voice' tabs.
  • Open Audacity. In Edit/Preferences/Audio I/O , select your sound card as your recording device.
  • Open the Audio settings of your telephony program. In Skype, it's under Tools/Options/Audio Settings. For microphone, select your USB microphone.
  • Install Virtual Audio Cables (the trial version will work for experimentation purposes, but to produce actual webcasts, you will need to purchase the full version (US$30). Go to Virtual Audio Cable in your start menu and click 'Audio Repeater'. In the 'wave in' section, select your USB mic. In 'wave out', select your sound card. For total buffer, select 100. You can experiment with the other settings, but it shouldn't be necessary to change any of them. Press 'Start'. Open the Audio settings of your telephony program. In Skype, it's under Tools/Options/Audio Settings. For microphone, select your USB microphone.
  • If all is working properly, after you press start, you should hear an echo when speaking. You are now capturing all audio on your machine - your voice, voices of others in the telephony call, audio played from media players, program noises, etc. (Note: you might want to disable notification noises in Skype and other IM programs)
  • Call someone (you can call skype lady at 'echo123'). Press record in Audacity, and you should see that you are recording audio when you speak and when the other person speaks. If so, you're ready to move on to streaming. If not, let the troubleshooting begin.

Live Interactive Streaming

Once you've succeeded in capturing all audio on your computer, there are several ways to stream this audio so others can hear.
  • Commercial Streaming Services - sites like live365.com and Streamguys.com allow users to stream from their servers for a monthly fee (US$10+/month)
  • Free streaming Services - an ever-increasing number of sites like Ustream.tv, Mogulus, Yahoo Live, BlogTV, Justin.tv, Livevideo.com, and Kyte.tv allow users to stream for free. Most of these are video based, but can be used to stream audio only.
  • Worldbridges Shoutcast & Icecast Streams - after participating in the Webcast Academy, 'interns' can apply for webcasting permission from any streaming community that is part of the network. In order to stream to a shoutcast or icecast server, you need to install a streaming program on your local computer. Examples include Simplecast , SamBroadcaster, Oddcast, & Winamp.
  • It is worth noting that online presentation tools like WizIQ and DimDim (free) and Adobe Acrobat Connect and Elluminate (very not free) can also be used to facilitate online conversation and do not required the audio setup described above.
Streaming with Ustream
Screencast
Whichever method you use to stream, you'll need to set 'microphone' or 'audio in' to your soundcard. Most of these tools provide a way to automatically record or 'archive' what is being streamed. Webcasters may want to use Audacity to record as well because it provides a higher quality source recording and also provides a more accurate way to measure audio levels during a webcast. Below are step-by-step instructions for using Simplecast and Ustream.tv to stream

Simplecast
Simplecast is a commerical program available from SpacialAudio.com. that can be used to stream to a shoutcast or icecast server. There is a free trial version that does not expire.

  • Open Simplecast. Click 'Start'. Then, click 'Config' and on the 'General Options' page, select your sound card under 'Capture Sound from Device'. Click OK.

    .
  • You should now see volume meter movement on the right side of the main Simplecast Window.

    .
  • Click 'Encoders'. Click the '+' sign to add an encoder and choose either 'mp3 and mp3Pro' or 'Legacy mp3'.

    .
  • In the 'Converter' tab, select a format. Higher bitrates (kb/s) will result in higher quality audio with less stream delay, but may cause problems for those with relatively slow internet connections.

    .
    .
  • In the 'Server Details' tab, choose the appropriate server type, and enter the access information for the server you're using.

    .
    .
  • In the 'Stream Archive' tab, check 'save stream to file' and browse to find the directory in which you'd like to save the recording.
    .
    .
    .
  • When you're ready to stream, RIGHT click the encoder and click 'start'. You should now be streaming. To check the stream, go to the 'listening' page for that stream (i.e. WebcastAcademy.net/live ) and click one of the media player icons. You should be able to hear what is being streamed (with a 20~60 second delay).

Ustream
  • First you will need to register at Ustream.tv
  • Then click 'Broadcast Now' or if you've created a show, click 'My Shows' and then 'Broadcast Now'.
  • Either way, the Broadcaster window should pop up. Click 'allow' when the Adobe Flash Settings window appears.
  • Uncheck 'video broadcast' unless you plan to stream video. Select your soundcard where it says 'Audio Source'. Maximize audio quality unless you notice bandwidth problems. Check your Ustream Volume setting to make sure it isn't peaking too much (volume meter will show red if so). There are additional settings and tools you can use toward the bottom of the window (Advanced settings, create poll, cohost, etc.).
  • When you're ready to start streaming, click 'Start Broadcast'. If you'd like to create a Ustream recording as well, click 'Start Recording'
  • To check your stream, go to your Ustream listen page (i.e. Ustream.tv/webcastacademy) or anywhere you've embeded the Ustream player and click the play button. You'll get some echo when listening, but should be able to hear what is being stream with very little delay.

Tools and methods used to webcast are constantly evolving, so the information above will likely be out of date soon. For updated information or to ask questions about webcasting, please visit

WebcastAcademy.net

.

 

 

Categories:

Step#1 - Academy Policies, Site Orientation & Audio Basics

First Steps  (stay tuned for screencasts and guides)

  • Check out the Academy Welcome and Take the Site Tour
     
  • Register and post a short text, audio , and/or video introduction in the 3.1 Intro Forum
     
  • Skype in to a live Webcast Academy session - if you aren't able to join in live, skype 'webcastacademy' and leave a voicemail
     
  • Read about Collaboration Tools and Post a quick 'hello' in the group skype chat once you've been brought in
     
  • Record a 1-2 minute audio introduction using audio specifications  (Filename: your-name-Introduction-2007-10-xx.mp3) and publish it (create/audio) on this site.  Help Screencast here
     
  • Blog  a 'first steps' reflections (optional)
 


Additional Screencasts & Resources

Collaboration Tools

Collaboration Tools

  • Skype Group Chats
    .  The 'Class of 3.1 group chat' is for all members of the Class of 3.1 and several experienced webcasters who will be providing assistance. The 'Webcast Academy Megachat' is a larger chat open to anyone who has participated in the Academy.   The purpose of both of these chats is to make last minute announcement of webcasts and get real time assistance with assorted webcasting challenge.  While friendly banter is part of the fun of skype group chatting, too much of it will cause some people to tune out.  After a few lines of non-webcasting related chat, please start another group chat with just those involved.  Similarly, please do NOT use the skype chats for posting links unless they are part of a larger conversation.  Use the Diigo (described below) to post links. To be added to a group chat, request so during an academy webcast or skype 'webcastacademy' and leave a voice message requesting to be added to one or both chats.
    Once you're in the chat, make sure to bookmark the chat in your skype program and do not 'leave'.  If you do so, you will need ot be re-added. 
    Please also watch this screencast to learn the basic of skype group chatting.
     
  •  Diigo Webcast Academy Group
       Diigo is a social bookmarking site that we use to collect bookmarks.  Support material here.  Any time you come across a webcasting related website that you think would be of interest to the community, please post it here. Please do not use this for posting links to blogs, personal sites,  search pages, or other Diigo groups.

Step#2 Recording both ends of a telephony call

Skills:   Recording both ends of a telephony call (in a way that will allow you to stream that audio). 
               Audio editing basics.

Resources:  Audacity:  We recommend the Beta Version.  1.3.4
                        Virtual Audio Cables (Windows) and Audio Hijack Pro (Mac)

  Windows
Recording both ends of a telephony cal­l in Windows

Configuring Audio Specifications in Audacity

Setting Preferences in Audacity - Windows

  Mac
      Recording both ends of a telephony call in Mac

Meeting Agenda  Below

 

  • Review of Week One
    • Text and Audio Introductions
    • Uploading Audio to Webcast Academy
    • Specs..... Specs...... Specs.......
    • Feedback left to interns
    • Intern Workshop Session
  • Recording Two-Way Audio
    • Setting up your system. 
    • Virtual Audio Cables For Windows and Audio Hijack for Mac
    • Using Audacity to record
    • Calling the Skype Lady to test or other interns
    • Check the Skype Chat for willing partners
    • Checking Audio Levels in Skype call
  • Audio Editing Basics
    • Using Audacity tools and Effects

Assignments:  

    Record and publish a 3-5 minute telephony call with at least one other person.  Please DO NOT use one of the 3rd party applications that will not support streaming during the next step (i.e PowerGramo, HotRecorder, etc.). Windows users, you will need to get acquainted with Virtual Audio Cables.  Mac users, audio hijack or soundflower.

Step#3 - Live Interactive Streaming

Live Interactive Streaming

Once you've succeeded in capturing all audio on your computer, there are several ways to stream this audio so others can hear.
  • Commercial Streaming Services - sites like live365.com and Streamguys.com allow users to stream from their servers for a monthly fee (US$10+/month)
  • Free streaming Services - an ever-increasing number of sites like Ustream.tv, Mogulus, Yahoo Live, BlogTV, Justin.tv, Livevideo.com, and Kyte.tv allow users to stream for free. Most of these are video based, but can be used to stream audio only.
  • Worldbridges Shoutcast & Icecast Streams - after participating in the Webcast Academy, 'interns' can apply for webcasting permission from any streaming community that is part of the network. In order to stream to a shoutcast or icecast server, you need to install a streaming program on your local computer. Examples include Simplecast , SamBroadcaster, Oddcast, & Winamp.
  • It is worth noting that online presentation tools like WizIQ and DimDim (free) and Adobe Acrobat Connect and Elluminate (very not free) can also be used to facilitate online conversation and do not required the audio setup described above.

Streaming with Ustream
Screencast

Windows
Whichever method you use to stream, you'll need to set 'microphone' or 'audio in' to your soundcard. Most of these tools provide a way to automatically record or 'archive' what is being streamed. Webcasters may want to use Audacity to record as well because it provides a higher quality source recording and also provides a more accurate way to measure audio levels during a webcast. Below are step-by-step instructions for using Simplecast and Ustream.tv to stream

Simplecast
Simplecast is a commerical program available from SpacialAudio.com. that can be used to stream to a shoutcast or icecast server. There is a free trial version that does not expire.

  • Open Simplecast. Click 'Start'. Then, click 'Config' and on the 'General Options' page, select your sound card under 'Capture Sound from Device'. Click OK.

    .
  • You should now see volume meter movement on the right side of the main Simplecast Window.

    .
  • Click 'Encoders'. Click the '+' sign to add an encoder and choose either 'mp3 and mp3Pro' or 'Legacy mp3'.

    .
  • In the 'Converter' tab, select a format. Higher bitrates (kb/s) will result in higher quality audio with less stream delay, but may cause problems for those with relatively slow internet connections.

    .
     
    .
  • In the 'Server Details' tab, choose the appropriate server type, and enter the access information for the server you're using.

    .
     
    .
  • In the 'Stream Archive' tab, check 'save stream to file' and browse to find the directory in which you'd like to save the recording.
    .
    .
     
    .
  • When you're ready to stream, RIGHT click the encoder and click 'start'. You should now be streaming. To check the stream, go to the 'listening' page for that stream (i.e. WebcastAcademy.net/live ) and click one of the media player icons. You should be able to hear what is being streamed (with a 20~60 second delay).

Ustream
  • First you will need to register at Ustream.tv
  • Then click 'Broadcast Now' or if you've created a show, click 'My Shows' and then 'Broadcast Now'.
  • Either way, the Broadcaster window should pop up. Click 'allow' when the Adobe Flash Settings window appears.
  • Uncheck 'video broadcast' unless you plan to stream video. Select your soundcard where it says 'Audio Source'. Maximize audio quality unless you notice bandwidth problems. Check your Ustream Volume setting to make sure it isn't peaking too much (volume meter will show red if so). There are additional settings and tools you can use toward the bottom of the window (Advanced settings, create poll, cohost, etc.).
  • When you're ready to start streaming, click 'Start Broadcast'. If you'd like to create a Ustream recording as well, click 'Start Recording'
  • To check your stream, go to your Ustream listen page (i.e. Ustream.tv/webcastacademy) or anywhere you've embeded the Ustream player and click the play button. You'll get some echo when listening, but should be able to hear what is being stream with very little delay.