Well, our videoconference/webcast yesterday with Pearl Harbor World War II survivors and others involved with the new USS Oklahoma Memorial was a great success. There were some hiccups (like a webcast feed which didn’t work for the first 22 minutes) but the actual videoconference with students was WONDERFUL. It was moving, Powerful. A big success by many measures.

Today’s webcast of the live USS Oklahoma Memorial dedication ceremony was a different story. Because of the location we had to change several variables, and we ran into some big problems. But, when things go wrong, we learn and go on… and that was certainly the case today.

The good news is that we had a backup plan and we are using it. Actually we had two backup plans. Our professional videographer videotaped the ceremony (which ran over two hours long) and we are going to import his 50K Sony camera footage onto my computer into iMovie, export it out, and share that back with the OETA television station as well as NewsOK.com. Their editors will chunk the 2+ hours into segments and post the videos as flash-based files.

To help with the local newscast tonight at 8 pm, I shot (with my Sony DV camera under the direction of Dick Pryor) a series of “B roll” shots of the audience during the Memorial dedication, of the Memorial itself, and some “A roll” footage of some of the speakers. That file ended up just over six minutes long. Hopefully that will be useable for tonight’s news. It was quite exciting to be shooting “real” footage for potential use on television.

Right now we are exporting out seventeen minutes of video with footage of interviews both before and after the ceremony. Many of those interviewed are USS Oklahoma survivors, but others were interviewed as well (not by me, but by Dick Pryor and videographer Boots Kennedye) including our Oklahoma governor, Brad Henry. I inserted stripe subtitles for each of the people interviewed, and it was VERY cool to actually insert a video clip sub-title for our governor. I feel like a real videographer– or at least more of a videographer-pretender than I’ve been before!

As far as our webcast today goes– the big keys were the location of electricity and the judgement of “acceptable” video quality. We did not have AC power on the other side of the road from where the firehouse is and we did our videoconference on Thursday. It was also determined (by Lance Ford and I, basically) that the quality of the iChat video was NOT good enough for a prime-time, live broadcast. It was basically 24 frames per second video– compared to he 512 kbps video coming from the Tandberg Edge videoconference unit we were using, it was night and day. So…. We opted to stay on the firehouse side of the street, at the limit of our 250 foot ethernet cable, and shoot the videoconference zoomed in at a side angle to the speaker’s podium to the left of the USS Oklahoma Memorial.

Unfortunately, the PA speaker system was not loud enough, and the video angle was poor because there were people standing in the way most of the time. So, we live and learn…..

Good news is, OETA videographer Boots Kennedye shot outstanding video of the entire videoconference on his camera, so we’ll be uploading that 2 hour set of videos for anyone who wants to see them later…..

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