Just as it did in Egypt and Ukraine, the stream of updates from Ferguson — both from amateur or non-journalists, eyewitnesses and professional reporters for various outlets — turned into a feed of breaking news unlike anything that non-Twitter users were getting from the major news networks and cable channels. Most of the latter continued with their regular programming, just as media outlets in Turkey and Ukraine avoided mentioning the growing demonstrations in their cities. In a very real sense, citizen-powered journalism filled the gap left by traditional media, which were either incapable or unwilling to cover the news.
From past experience, Murphy’s Law dominates the production of these type of things. If the Webcast is supposed to start at 9am, everything will work until 8:58 and then all hell breaks loose.
To prepare we take things apart, put them back together again, start streams, stop streams, figure out how and why things break, and figure out how to put everything back together again.
The gear we use runs as follows:
TriCaster: This is the boxy thing in the photo. It’s essentially a Windows box with NewTek’s TriCaster video mixing software in it. Our audio and video feeds go into this, and from there we push the feed out to Livestream.
Livestream: Livestream is a live event platform that’s been used by the New York Times, ABC and CBS News, the Associated Press among others. If you can get your video to it (say, with a TriCaster), Livestream can push it out to desktop, mobile and tablet clients.
Sony EX1: We’ve been using these cameras for a while now and they’re work horses. So, a couple EX1’s with 100 foot SDI cables connecting back to the TriCaster will let us position our cameras around the Times Center.
Mackie Board: While the TriCaster has an audio mixer built into its software, over time we’ve felt that having a separate, analog mixer makes things easier and gives us better overall sound. Also, when there are odd and peculiar audio irregularities (remember Murphy’s Law from above), there’s something reassuring about reaching out and working with real life knobs and sliders rather than pointing and clicking through a software interface. It’s much faster too. So, the house audio will be fed into the Mackie and from there it will go into the TriCaster before being pushed to Livestream.
I’ll post next Tuesday where people can watch the event. The lineup looks great and includes WordPress founder Matt Mullenwag, Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Russo, Condé Nast president Bob Sauerberg and News Corporation CEO Jon Miller among others.
The agenda: explore “business models and debate the best ways to keep content meaningful and profitable in an ever-changing digital environment.”