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!

69 Replies to “TWiT Live Update”

  1. Just watched the SCTV Jerry Todd clip – and Holy Crap, Leo! You ARE Jerry Todd! Now all you need is the Van Dyke beard…. 😉

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  2. I totally believe in appropriate compensation for employees (and TWiT contributors). They get paid before I do. I pay for the ISDN, T1, and Cable Modem. DSL is provided by a radio sponsor, DSL Extreme. Bandwidth for the TWiT audio shows is donated by AOL and Cachefly. Bandwidth for the streaming video is donated by Stickam. If I had to pay for bandwidth, there would be no TWiT. It would be over $30,000 per month.

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  3. The Twits also seemed positive that Leo would at some point drop his trousers.Will that be for everyone or just for donators? ;-)Maybe a TWITinTheNude episode for naturist tech lovers?Bobby

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  4. Looks like things are coming together quite nicely. Good job Leo- I always felt that you got the short end of the stick when Comcast changed to G4 (a channel I stopped watching completely btw) You were always meant to be on the internet.

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  5. Hi Leo, Gareth here from Glasgow in Scotland, have been listening to MacBreak Weekly for a long time and got to say it's my fav podcast. What happened to the macbreak video's you used to do with Merlin? really enjoyed those. anyway can't wait to watch macbreak on your stream. I've got all your shows in ical so will try and tune in when i can.ps. looking forward to the new iphone!!

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  6. I'm loving how the studio is coming together and as a podcaster it's the little technical details that I find invaluable. I'd never seen the Jerry Todd show before but after that clip I have to find more.

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  7. IMHO, if Apple created a way to add this as a sort of thing as a type of “Channel” on my Apple TV, then the concept would be complete.

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  8. This has been mentioned a few times in the IRC Channel lately, but how about another tour of the studio? You may have done it when I wasn't watching, of course, but one posted to the blog/hosted elsewhere would be great! I want to see how it's coming from the other side of the camera.I think the community you have there at the Cottage, the atmosphere, is just as important as what your streaming. I believe that everyone listens a little more closely on live stream to hear Dane talk, and actually care about whatever Colleen's doing at the time.

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  9. Leo-TWiT Live is proof that the best stuff on TV isnt on TV. Now if Stickam could somehow integrate with Quicktime Broadcaster or otherwise stream on the iPhone, I could watch even more often. Congratulations on your new (ad)venture and thanks for continuing to produce the best tech content on the net.

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