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Web TV…Supremely Difficult

Well, as I’ve mentioned, Dead Reckoning is turning into/launching as a Web TV show this fall. We have several specials throughout the summer we’re using as dry-run set up and tech on as we continue with the podcast, websites get created and motion graphics are constructed. Oh my, the tech is a challenge of finding a balance between quality, work, workflow and guest ease.

We have three components: Skype Video guest interviews, filming Brian and I, and filming from our sets. Each one of these by themselves is no-brainer easy. Putting them together on the other hand is a bit more difficult. Let’s take the whole Skype thing for instance. I can record a call by either screen capture or a built-in app (neither of which is fully tested although I’m leaning towards screen capture). I can film Brian and I on our set with 2 cams no issue. For the web show though, I want to make sure our guest can see us without additional lighting screwing up their view of us, we can see our guest in the plasma on the set, audio is sent appropriately to the cameras as well as our guest and the guest can still hear us decently, and I have a recorded screen or video call of just our guest.

Sounds easy in theory but here are a few of the challenges I’m thinking through:

  1. I’m running all of this mostly remotely from the set via Team Viewer to my MacPro

  2. Record second screen of MacPro as standalone Skype call via Screenflow. Problem, I can’t remotely control that screen (for whatever odd reason from TeamViewer), audio recorded through my super-nice Universal Audio Apollo Duo.

  3. Record Skype video call via a Skype recording app like Call Recorder. Problem, it’s SD only and well, it’s app. I’d trust Screenflow way more than a third-party Skype app and it won’t *theoretically* interfere with the operation of Skype decreasing factors of error.

  4. Record Skype from completely separate computer via Screenflow. Problem, can’t send nice audio feed from our mics to the guest. I could run a separate mic feed from my mixer to the secondary camera?

  5. Recording audio directly to cameras prevents me from being able to use my Apollo (and it’s WAY nicer preamps) and I have to find some other feed to Skype

  6. Recording audio directly to Nuendo presents a few workflow challenges in post since audio is in Nuendo and editing is done in Premiere. How do I want to go about posting the show?

  7. Skype still won’t take channel one and channel two of my Apollo, only channel one so I swap a lot of cables…a lot. This may not be an issue though if I record directly to each camera.

  8. How much value do I place on the audio quality of my Apollo vs. a directly-to-camera record? Do I want to deal with the hassle of post moving the files from Nuendo to Premiere and back again?

  9. My plasma doubles as my grading monitor and my Skype  guest monitor so I have to de-hang it and remove the stand each time I do an interview and deal with the resulting cable madness. (It’s far too large just to put on my desk).

  10. Each week, we’ll move lights and cameras for three different sets.

  11. It’s only me doing everything. I’m sure Brian will get some production legs underneath him as he jumps in and helps out.

So, if you have any thoughts, holler. There’s a lot of tech to think through to find a balance of minimizing work, maximizing quality and facilitating smooth interviews and production workflow. I’ll let you know what I work out the next few months before the final decisions are made. We have some test stuff coming with not great camera angles, lighting changes and other things.

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©2019 by Jay Friesen.

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