Saturday, June 20, 2009

More about AETV: the Guerilla Edition

We've now gotten literally dozens of emails saying, in effect, the same thing about the first of the summer shows recorded* at Matt's:

  1. Loved the show (and everyone's taken to using the "guerilla TV" appellation);
  2. the sound was better;
  3. the Skype calls sounded a million times better than the studio calls;
  4. keep using Skype forever!

We couldn't agree more on the audio quality. In fact, that is one of the things that floored me especially about last Sunday's show. However, please note that the reason Matt and I sounded as good as we did was that we were using the Non-Prophets mikes, and holding them right to our chins. That invariably leads to very good voice pickup, but constantly holding your mike isn't the easiest way to do a 90-minute TV show, and besides, I felt like any moment we'd be expected to burst into freestyle rap, and neither of us had ballcaps to wear backwards.

Regarding Skype: indeed, the sound quality there was marvelous, but there are advantages and disadvantages there as well. For one thing, there's no way (at least, not one we were able to employ last Sunday) to screen and queue multiple calls at once, like we do in the studio. This was what necessitated the procedure of requiring viewers to IM us first, so we could call them back instead. Again, worked okay for one show, but I'm not sure it'd be the sort of setup we'd like to have each week.

Remember that the Access studios are undergoing a million dollars worth of renovation all summer. Hopefully, one of the things that gets a massive tech upgrade will be the phone system, allowing greater clarity in the studio. In other words, we need to do a wait-and-see before committing one way or the other to the permanent use of Skype.

Now, let's see how well things go with the show tomorrow, and what other areas of techie improvement we can undertake. I really think it's incredible we can do a global, live television show right from a residence! (I still cannot, even at my most whimsical, bring myself to call Matt's bachelor pad "Dillahunty International Studios," though I guess that's what it's becoming, and to be fair, I've worked in messier studios.) This would have been inconceivable even five years ago, and it really goes to show how the Internets have democratized the media.

* I had to stop myself because I began to type "taped" where I wrote "recorded." Nobody "tapes" anything any more. The times, change they do. My bones, they creak so.


  1. Looking forward for tomorrow's show.

    As for the issue with the mics, you could always try finding a headset with a mic on it (WalMart sells Cyber Acoustics headsets for $20, they're really good quality), or you could get a couple mic stands and sit at a table.

    At any rate, I hope the show goes well for the rest of the summer.

  2. I think the goal is to buy clip-ons.

  3. That works too.

  4. I have to agree, the sound was easily of a much better quality.

    The quality of callers was higher than usual too. ;-)

    And I still use the word "tape" when I mean record on DVD from the tv, which confused folk in the pub yesterday.

  5. I really don't think a new studio will help that much with the phone quality. Even when you watch the big networks like CNN and MSNBC you can definitely tell when someone is on the phone. It's a limitation of the old phone network.

  6. I think you can solve your screening problems with a second skype account and multiple computers. People can screen on one computer and the main account, and then you can transfer the call to the account that the hosts talk to. This allows people to call you again (since they can't call directly to the on-air account) and it allows to screen and route calls more traditionally. If you want multiple screeners, you can use multiple computers all logged into one skype account.

    I think so anyway....I'm not a Skype expert by any stretch of the imagination. :)

  7. While the audio quality was better, it was quiet. Maybe you could turn up they Skype audio levels a bit?

  8. Am I the only one that thinks it's awesome that you guys are recording in Dis, the City of the Dead from the Divine Comedy? (

  9. **About the "tape" thing, I don't think it's that big of a deal. A lot of people who do digital video still say "film." It's kind of awkward to say "record" and people know what you mean anyway.

  10. As a suggestion, you could try hosting a conference call and adding new participants to the call as they call in. The host of the conference call can mute participants from the right click context menu.

    So, if you mute all the participants then to take a call on air you can unmute the specific caller you want to speak to. That way you can get up to 25 callers on line at once.

    I have no idea how this will work out bandwidth and management wise, but it might be worth an experiment.

  11. The sound was great! For once I could actually hear the callers on my crappy desktop work PC (the one I watch the show on when I'm supposed to be working) with crappy built-in speakers.

    And there's nothing wrong with "Dillahunty International Studios". Just say it once... become one of us!

  12. Last weeks show was great, and I'm looking forward to tuning in today as well.

    Oh, and don't worry Martin, they call flashlights "torches" in Great Britian, and torture "enhanced interrogation" on Faux News.

  13. There is a call-center software application based on skype called PrettyMay. It would let you queue up incoming callers. It's not for free though...

    I wonder if somebody made a freeware extension for skype for queuing up users - might be worth looking into.

  14. Hey, Matt.

    I'm curious if you can now right off your rent as some kind of business expense, or charitable donation? (don't try it)

  15. the Guerilla TV is working for me. DI Studios rocks.

  16. I often listen to podcasts while riding my motorcycle to work at 75 mph. It drives me nuts when a caller comes on and I can't hear a word of it because the high frequencies are filtered by phone lines, and the volume is way out of whack with the hosts'. For that matter, it's almost as bad in the car. Please, make it a priority to keep the audio quality high. I don't care if you have to bungee the mic's to your foreheads and run a dozen pc's to queue the Skype calls. Do it!

    I mean, please and thank you. :-)


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