PMR symposium – how can we broad/multi/share/cast it?

We’re planning the infrastructure for “Visions of a Semantic (Molecular) Future” in Cambridge on Jan 17th

http://blogs.ch.cam.ac.uk/pmr/2010/12/23/pmr-events-at-unilever-centre-january-1516-and-17/

and want to make this available live to as many people as possible. (We know that there are many people who have clashes – e.g. http://scienceonline2011.com/ ). So we want to stream the sessions to the world and this post is to ask for suggestions as to what the best way(s) are. It’s possible that we may have more than one option or solution.

I’ve been involved with interactive events over the years – the first were text-based realities based on chats and MOOs (such as BioMOO derived from the great LambdaMOO). In 1998 Henry Rzepa and I, with the help of Wendy Warr and sponsored by the (now defunct) ChemWeb had a virtual launch of Chemical Markup Language. I think there were about registrants. More recently JISC streamed my and other presentations at The Library of the Future event last year http://www.jisc.ac.uk/events/2009/04/lotf.aspx . That was impressive – a speakers screen, another with second life and a third with twitterfall. It went well – we got questions from the world – and I assumed that the technology was fairly standard. That’s not the case, so I owe JISC an extra bit of praise for making it work.

The other was a fairly impromptu – quasi-hand-held – streaming of my session on the Green Chain Reaction at Science Online 2010 London (http://scienceonlinelondon.wikidot.com/topics:green-chain-reaction ) and I forget all the details – I was far too rushed on the software.

So what options are available for streaming the speakers’ presentations? Videos of talking heads aren’t usually very compelling so it’s the audio that is essential. And screen shots of projected slides are usually rather fuzzy. On the assumption that speakers can and will provide slides in advance (I usually don’t!) then how can we broadcast the slides in higher digital quality. I’ve seen presentations where the slides are preloaded and advanced by the presentation.

We can’t ask all speakers to do anything special though I hope we can ask for slides in advance – if not it will have to be something that works in real-time – at least a video camera on the screen.

I’ll really welcome suggestions, especially if you have used the approaches yourself.

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2 Responses to PMR symposium – how can we broad/multi/share/cast it?

  1. Peter, the software for streaming that I use sometimes, livestream provides a facility for streaming both an external camera and the actual screen of the computer so if we can get onto one laptop its relatively easy to do a reasonable job of streaming the actual slides if they are being used plus some video of the speaker, which in my experience really helps to give a better feel of being there.
    Audio is a little harder but if someone has a decent USB or bluetooth radio mike on the same computer it should work. Then we can could have backups to other people on other laptops. Let’s make a time on Skype next week and I’ll show you how it works.

  2. Peter, I’d suggest you have a chat with the people from bioinformatics.org
    They have used livestream in combination with other software to stream conferences live on the web. You can find their stream at http://www.livestream.com/bifx

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