TWiT Live Update

LeoLaporte-20080514-_MG_9169-1.jpgWe're inching along with TWiT Live, my attempt to turn the humble Tech Guy Labs into an Internet TV station. If you saw the earlier pictures or video tour you wouldn't recognize the place. It's turned into a bustling hub of activity and an actual workplace. To start with we have an office manager and bookeeper, Frédérique (now I'm not the only person with acute accents around here).

Frédérique is an old family friend who comes in every morning to make sure things are running smoothly.

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Colleen is our new studio manager and resident geek. She is helping me build the studio and has been invaluable in getting the wires connected.

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Her latest feat is putting in this guerilla lighting rig. It's handy having a welder on staff.

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It's very weird having employees. The guy from ADP came in today and we set up payroll, taxes, worker's comp, benefits, and so on. I incorporated TWiT as an LLC some time ago - now the chickens have come home to roost. I'm really am the Chief TWiT now (although I still can't bring myself to put that on official papers).

I've promoted Dane to President and Biz Dev guy. He's been my invaluable right arm for more than a year now, and without him TWiT would never have grown past a handful of poorly edited shows. He's still doing all the editing and posting but I'm looking to hire an in-house part-time editor to free Dane up to do more high-level planning. Which frees me up to do 20 hours of streaming video a week.

We even have a water cooler around which we can gather and gossip.

Mr. Water Cooler

As far as the studio goes, we're almost done. We've got the lights in, thanks to Pat Grosswendt and litepanels.com. They have already made a huge difference.

We are installing our new Tricaster Studio on Friday so I'll finally have more than one camera online. The Tricaster will let me switch between up to six cameras (we have four Canon XL-2s and will probably buy another) and several computer screens (so you can finally see our Skype callers, hosts, and guests). When the Tricaster comes online the fun really begins. It'll be just like the Gerry Todd show...

I'm pleased to announce that our streaming host for all this will be Stickam.com. They've really stepped up to help us make this work. Today they put us on a dedicated server cluster which should help us scale to more viewers without slowdowns. We'll be using the Flash Media Encoder on our end (once we get the new Tricaster 2.0 software) to improve quality, and we hope to start sending the show in widescreen 16:9 soon.

We'll be using the integrated Stickam chat to get viewers on the air so sign up for a free Stickam account now and request friendship with Leo Laporte so we can put you on. Stickam is helping us design a better page at TWiTLive.tv, too.

I turn on the cameras every day except Monday and Friday from 11a-4p Pacific (2-7p Eastern, 6-11p UTC). You can subscribe to our production calendar using RSS, ICS, or HTML:

If you subscribe using Google calendar, Outlook, or iCal the calendar should get updated automatically (shows are often being moved or added). Turn on time zone support in your calendaring program to convert the times to your local time. I also post changes and updates to the TWiT Live account on Twitter, and Stickam can send you SMS, Email, or IM notifications when we turn on the cameras.

As for content, it might not be as jazzy as the Gerry Todd Show, but I do hope to keep the pipeline filled with interesting information. To start with you'll be able to see all the TWiT show being produced. They're all audio shows (and don't worry, they're going to stay that way) but we'll add video elements to most of them. At the very least you'll be able to see Dvorak's, Steve's, Amber's, Megan's, Cammy's, Paul's, Dick's, Andy's, Alex's, Scott's, and Merlin's shining faces via Skype video.

Whenever possible we'll get our contributers into the studio for the shows, too. I think we'll be able to do live in-studio versions of TWiT and MacBreak Weekly at least once a month.

People tell me that some of the most interesting stuff happens in-between shows. I hope you caught Scott Bourne's fascinating impromptu tour of his bird photos after MacBreak Weekly last week. That's the kind of thing we're going to do a lot more of. When something extra interesting happens I'll capture it and put it out as downloadable high-quality video. We'll be creating a new netcast of these Best of TWiT Live pieces later this month. It will be available on iTunes, Apple TV, Miro, and Stickam.

Meanwhile, I better go pay some bills, as Gerry Todd says. Thanks for your support, and a special thanks to the numerous TWiT donors who are making this possible. We couldn't do it without you!