How to make an internet TV show?
I am in the process of working on an internet tv show in a similar style to Around the Horn on ESPN. I was curious if anyone has any advice. We want to look into getting some sort of software to allow us to do a live broadcast with webcams from multiple places and a switcher to switch between shots. I have only ever done live tv broadcasts at my schools tv station, nothing like this. So I am not sure where to even begin. I have access to a studio with lights, microphones, camera's, final cut pro, trinity air command, etc, just not sure what I would need to use in order to do a live feed to the web and also to get the video signal of another web cam in another state. If anyone has any advice or suggestions I would really appreciate it.
In simple terms, what's missing from the list is not gear, but hosting. You need to get a service to host your video so you can play more than a few streams at a time as people click in to watch. A Tricaster can host a stream with it's built-in internet ability but by itself can only serve a handful of viewers at a time. Typically, for a larger audience, the Tricaster's feed would get sent to a mirror site where more copies of it could be shared simultaneously.
You need to buy services from a host. Especially if you want to do live programs on a repeating schedule. If you're going to produce a show and record it, then make that available for download, that's a different proposition, and perhaps an easier one to start with. That could be as easy as setting up a director's account on youtube or posting thru itunes podcasts, or something more grand, but in any case, you need somebody with the bandwidth to serve up your stream to the world audience.
I'm not well versed in these things, but the last time I looked at it, there were a couple dozen companeis that handle the provisioning of the feeds, the one that's easy for me to remember is called Akamai, they are a biggie and will charge a lot.
Some pricing plans ask you to predict your audience, then the company sets aside enough resources to be able to feed that many viwers at once. If you under-estimate, they come back to you afterwards with an extra bill for the extra pipes and mirrors, etc. they needed to deploy to serve your live audience. If you over-estimate the audience, you're just throwing money away.
If the program doesn't need to be live, but can be served up same day as live, I think you save a lot of headaches doing it that way instead, as a simple download, and not a live stream.
But again, I'm far from an expert on this topic; I generally am only concerned with getting my video to the IT people's input spigot, and the rest is all incantations and animal sacrifices behind closed doors, of which I have no role or participation in. :-)
Additional thoughts on how to get your correspondent's in to your control room from various locations.
One way that's simple but low-rez is to do it via ichat or other webcam chat software., and record that at your location with a screen recorder or a tape capturing off of a scan converter hooked to your VGA out. That's going to look pretty gritty if you have more than two people on cam at a time, unless you have very high bandwidth.
There are ways to cheat around this, but they all cost time or money. Here's one way, not the only way, but one way I would look at producing such a show:
I would hook up all the participants by iChat or at least on audio via regular conference call or Skype. I would have each location roll an honest to goodness camcorder to do a capture of each person speaking in highest local quality possible. Conduct your multi-person conversation any way you like, while all cameras are rolling at all correspondent's locations. Record the conference call locally.
After the conferencing is done, have the remote folks burn their tape to DVD or compress it in high quality and FTP it to your home base, unedited. If they lack that ability, or you have more time, they can all just mail you their DV tapes.
You then set up a multitracked, multicam synched edit at home base and re-create the visuals in high quality, using the master recording of the live low-rez conversation as the template.
This is time-intensive but otherwise inexpensive. You also could not do the show live this way for your audience.
I got this idea from a technique they use in public radio when they want a high-quality remote radio interview, but don't have an ISDN line to the location.
They have someone roll a quality mic and tape or CD locally, while the interview is conducted by regular old nasty-sounding phone. The high-quality audio recording is then mailed or FTP'd to the NPR studio and someone re-edits it along with the reporter or host that was on the initial other end of the call. (Obviously, they already have a recording of that side from the actual event.)
Line up the two tracks in synch, then you can cut it any way you need while retaining a quality level comparable to the two people being in the same booth the whole time.
My version just adds video to that same technique. It is the cheapest way I can think of to do the job while retaining high quality. That old Iron Tringle: you can have it fast, good, cheap, pick any two but ONLY two. Where your personal time/labor is not a huge factor, the extra editing work saves money but keeps quality high.
Depends on what you want to achieve, but this sounds similar to what we did at GameSpot.com with on the spot.
http://www.gamespot.com/onthespot - they are changing the format this year, check the archive.
The studio is set up like multicamera broadcast studio, with the HD feed going into an encoder. The encoder then sends to the distribution point, which is the web page. The player then streams to the recipient. The distribution point is the website, as before explained, on a content distribution network.
If you search for adobe media encoder, you'll find more info. They even have a hosting service you can rent.
Feel free to ask me questions. I produced this show for about a year.
Of course you could always use Livestream or USstream I prefer Livestream myself, just because thats what I have always used...