Behind the Scenes at a Webcast Production Set

I think it's pretty obvious by now that I'm hopeless at live blogging. I went to BlogHer with high hopes of live blogging some of the sessions there, or at least updating this blog daily with fun photos and lively tales of my misadventures at BlogHer. But it has been two weeks, and I have yet to finish up all my BlogHer posts. I even have another post about last week's Intel Classmate PC event at the California Academy of Sciences that I've been meaning to put up, so I'm way overdue.

But tonight I find myself in my hotel room in Naperville, IL, with a 2-hour jetlag and a camera full of images from today's OfficeMax webcast rehearsal, and I figured, this is as live-bloggy as I'm ever gonna get. It's like that 30-second rule with food; if I post about an event within 3 hours of it happening, that's live-blogging. So I decided to "live blog" this behind-the-scenes look at the OfficeMax webcast.

Whoa, whoa, whoa... rewind! To make a long story short, I was invited to be a panelist on a Back-to-School webcast, starring organization guy Peter Walsh (who appears on Oprah and TLC's Clean Sweep) and sponsored by Office Max. I'm joining Peter, Heather (a schoolteacher), and Keaton and Megan (two school-aged children) in talking about challenges and tips for back to school organization.

The webcast lasts just 30 minutes, but you wouldn't believe the amount of preparation that goes into this thing. We've got a team of scriptwriters and production crew and set designers and props people and location liasons and PR folk, all working to get the webcast together!

Here's Tom, the director, peering into a bunch of display-thingies (note my precise technical terminology).

Here's Peter Walsh (center, in dark jeans and a long sleeved shirt) on set. Peter's a great guy who's really easy to work with and wonderful at bringing out the best in his inexperienced co-stars. I took this from far away so he wouldn't think I was stalking him like a deranged fan. But I'm totally planning to ask him to autograph my Office Max Peter Walsh rolling case file, and I don't care how cheesy that seems.

Here I am on set #2, reliving my grade school days. The girl in the background wearing denim shorts is Megan, our 7th-grader panelist. She's almost 6 feet tall -- I bring that up because everyone who works for Office Max seems to be tall and gorgeous. Seriously! I'm 5'8" and one of the shortest people there. It's like they have one of those height boards that kids have to clear before getting onto a roller coaster ride.

It has been a pretty exhausting afternoon, but they rewarded us with a bunch of Office Max rubber band balls. And who can resist rubber band balls? Doesn't just looking at them make you want to bounce them and/or roll them around and/or take them apart?

I hope everyone enjoyed my groundbreaking live blogging session, but now I've got to get my beauty sleep before tomorrow's webcast. If I don't, I'll need Peter Walsh's advice on how to organize the zits on my face. The webcast is going to be fun; maybe I'll "live blog" that, too.


elmpr said...

Hey! Great images from the webcast rehearsal today. You were a natural on-camera. (-:

Tech Savvy Mama said...

Looking forward to tomorrow's webcast! And I'd totally ask Peter Walsh to autograph my rolling file too! :)

JoeyfromSC said...

you're doing a great job! Watching it live now:)

I want a rubber band ball too lol

Irene said...

I just knew you'd be a star someday and make the Soundproof Box members proud! Haha! ;p

andy said...

Web casting, or broadcasting over the internet, is a media file (audio-video mostly) distributed over the internet using streaming media technology. Streaming implies media played as a continuous stream and received real time by the browser (end user). Streaming technology enables a single content source to be distributed to many simultaneous viewers. Streaming video bandwidth is typically calculated in gigabytes of data transferred. It is important to estimate how many viewers you can reach, for example in a live webcast, given your bandwidth constraints or conversely, if you are expecting a certain audience size, what bandwidth resources you need to deploy.

To estimate how many viewers you can reach during a webcast, consider some parlance:
One viewer: 1 click of a video player button at one location logged on
One viewer hour: 1 viewer connected for 1 hour
100 viewer hours: 100 viewers connected for 1 hour…

Typically webcasts will be offered at different bit rates or quality levels corresponding to different user’s internet connection speeds. Bit rate implies the rate at which bits (basic data units) are transferred. It denotes how much data is transmitted in a given amount of time. (bps / Kbps / Mbps…). Quality improves as more bits are used for each second of the playback. Video of 3000 Kbps will look better than one of say 1000Kbps. This is just like quality of a image is represented in resolution, for video (or audio) it is measured by the bit rate.