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how does hak5 live work?


hakgipc
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video ]>-----> mixer -> computer -> encoder -> pipes -> viewers

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bits in the middle missing :P

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video ]>-----> mixer -> computer -> encoder -> pipes -> server -> more pipes -> viewers

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I'll answer your question in detail. Not just because some are curious, but because this will be REALLY fun to come back and look at a year from now. Did I mention Hak5 evolves?

setup.jpg

So, as of the beta pilot here's how it goes down:

We produce a few segments for the show.

We prep the set (props, lights, cameras)

We review the list of potential callers (remember to pre-register at hak5.org/live) and choose a few for the show

We get the callers on skype an hour before the show and talk to them. This gives us an opportunity to check video/audio, get an idea of their question, maybe some googling, and give them some instructions on how its going to work)

A post is made to the front page saying something like "On Air"

VTR-72 will connect to the stream and broadcast color bars. One of us will connect to the stream and verify that it's working.

We'll login to IRC, announce the coming show, and do a mic check

Once everything looks good we'll start the show with a cold open, then Paul will que the opening title on VTR-71. Then we'll come back for a little welcome and introduce the first caller. Paul will have the caller que'd and ready to go with video. Hopefully soon we'll get a lower third with the callers name and location as well (we need more Pauls). We'll chat, answer some questions, then maybe go to a segment or commercial, etc, etc...

When it's all said and done we'll crack open a brew and login to the game server for some frags.

If you're looking for a technical explination, this is how it works right now:

The main conponents are:

VTR-72: The machine that takes the program output and shoots it off to the icecast stream (Loaded AMD 64 box. Cost: $600)

VTR-71: The machine that handles callers, graphics and lower-thirds, and pre-recorded video like the open and closing titles, bumpers, breaks, rejoiners, etc. (Dell Laptop. Cost: $800)

VTR-73: This piece of equipment was formerly known as Camera 3, but it died and was replaced. Now it takes the roll of accepting output from the mixer and putting it to DV tape. Later we'll dump the footage from that tape, encode it, and upload it for those that missed it live. (Sony DCR-HC85. Cost: $600)

Video Mixer: This is the main video mixer. It accepts four inputs and does all of the mixing (fades, wipes, pip, and keying). (Edirol-V1. Cost: $850)

Audio Mixer: This takes input from VTR-71 (skype callers), Paul, Wess, and Darren. (Audio-Technica AM200. Cost: $50 (donated))

Preview & Program Monitors: These are the televisions that are stacked up on the desk. Each of the four show a preview of what's on those inputs. This lets Paul see what he switches to before he does it. The screen on the right displays the program, or what is being fed to VTR-72. Currently they are used for Camera1, Camera2, VTR-71, and Darren's Laptop. They are not studio underscan monitors as those are really expensive, so unfortunately they only display the overscan image. (Durabrand DWT1304. Cost: $60 each / $300)

Camera 1: This is the camera on channel one that is pointed at the main set (Wess & Darren). It's a 3CCD DV cam that handles like a dream. (Panasonic AG-DVC30. Cost: $1800)

Camera 2: This is one of the trio of Sony single CCD cameras that have been in use since Hak5 started in '05. On channel two, this camera is pointed at Paul and the broadcast console for him to give us caller throws. (Sony DCR-HC85: Cost $600)

Camera 3: This will be used soon for stingers. We'll double it up on channel 3 with an AB switch and set it to black and white. Stingers with music are may replace rejoiners. (Sony DCR-HC85: Cost $600)

Shotgun Mic: This mic is mounted on Camera 1 and is used to feed audio to the skype callers. Skype callers get audio from this mic rather than our lavs since routing the mixer output would cause a feedback loop. We also ask callers to mute VLC/MPlayer/Winamp while on the air as not to create echo. (Audio-Technica ATR-55. $50)

Lav mics: These are the standard clip-on lapel mics we wear on the show. We used to use a pair of wireless units but they received too much interference. These wired mics are powered by watch batteries and have 20 foot 1/8" stereo cables. (Audio-Technica ATR-35S. Cost: $40 each / $160)

Audio Monitor: This is the set of speakers that we hear the callers over. It's just a basic set of PC speakers that get output from VTR-71. After the beta pilot we have strated thinking about using ear bud monitors instead since this adds a slight echo when callers speak, though it is very minor. (Generic. Cost: $10)

Cables & Adapters: All of this equipment is tied together with various cables and adapters, including Composite, High-Performance S-Video, Stereo, A/V Splitters, A/V adapters. (Various. Cost: $150)

Total Cost: $6,570.

If you figure in the set and future upgrades we're around $15,000

Future Upgrades: Dual digital timers (for keeping us on target), On-Air light, Additional 4-Channel video mixer. A Panasonic AG-DVC30, and a Panasonic DVX100B. ($5000).

Oh, and a new studio/house.... ($189,900)

Time invested: 3800 hours.

Money invested: Way too much

Money earned: Not enough.

Hope that clears things up. And a special Hello to Darren when he reads this next year.

PS: We'll do a segment on this soon.

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That's allot of equipment, I feel sorry for Paul having to star at those 5 TVs and 3 LCD monitors lol. Perhaps you should find some one to help coordinate what he has to do.

Just working the equipment by it's self is fun, but then you have to concentrate one what to do next and what's after that. Having to think about what to do next can really hurt when you have to work some thing as complex as that, kind of like driving a car while looking at Google maps the find your way lol :P

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Incase of problems we can probably cut to color bars, or at very least black screen. There arent any backup machines due to cost, but so far nothing has crashed and we've put these machines to the test over the last few months with 0 crashes. Now that I've said that the next ep will be a disaster. Thanks.

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VTR-72 will connect to the stream and broadcast color bars. One of us will connect to the stream and verify that it's working.

i saw many other things too ... filling beer cans with rum *cough*

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This may seem like a stupid question, but why VTR-XX?

VTR means Video Tape Recorder, or as google says "Electronic recording device that records video and audio signals on videotape for playback or editing."

The number scheme is a homage to Call for Help. Without the experience of doing CFH episodes and hanging out on set and in the control room, becoming friends with the production crew, getting questions answered by directors, producers, camera operators, sound engineers, lighting engineers, etc none of this would be possible.

CFH uses 3 VTR decks for the show. One is to record to, one is for playback of CG elements such as opening title, and the third is used when they have pre-recorded footage such as an interview to play during the show. They are named VTR-71, 72, and 73.

So when it came time for us to build the machines for broadcast, capture, and playback it was an obvious choice.

You can hear in out-takes of previous episodes Wess or I say "Que 72" jokingly because that's a frequent command that Matt Harris, Associate Producer of Call for Help says in the control room when coming back from break. That and we wish to one day be half as leet as Matt Harris.

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VTR means Video Tape Recorder, or as google says "Electronic recording device that records video and audio signals on videotape for playback or editing."

The number scheme is a homage to Call for Help. Without the experience of doing CFH episodes and hanging out on set and in the control room, becoming friends with the production crew, getting questions answered by directors, producers, camera operators, sound engineers, lighting engineers, etc none of this would be possible.

CFH uses 3 VTR decks for the show. One is to record to, one is for playback of CG elements such as opening title, and the third is used when they have pre-recorded footage such as an interview to play during the show. They are named VTR-71, 72, and 73.

So when it came time for us to build the machines for broadcast, capture, and playback it was an obvious choice.

You can hear in out-takes of previous episodes Wess or I say "Que 72" jokingly because that's a frequent command that Matt Harris, Associate Producer of Call for Help says in the control room when coming back from break. That and we wish to one day be half as leet as Matt Harris.

Cool, thanks for the details. I need to find a place to get ahold of old CFH episodes... especially when you and Wess have been on there.

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