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Technometria Podcast: An Inside Look …

The current episode of the Technometria Podcast hosted Phil Windley, Executive Producer of IT Conversations, features Jeff Barr, Senior Manager of the Technology Arm of Amazon Web Services. Also, Doug Kaye, CTO of GigaVox Media. Along with co-hosts Scott C. Lemon and Matt Asay, Phil and his guests discuss the Amazon Web Services platform that is designed to provide developers robust, server side support for web based content and system management. In fact, this is the system that powers GigaVox Audio Lite.

Technometria

This is podcasting at it’s best in my opinion. In fact, I thought I’d offer an inside look into how a show of this nature, destined for publication on IT Conversations comes together. This particular program is a collaborative effort that includes participation by seven individuals. I am lucky enough to be one of the participants.

Let me explain:

In case you are not aware, Phil Windley is a professor of Computer Science at the BYU. Last week Jeff Barr was visiting the University. Needless to say the timing was right to set up an in person interview. Phil’s gear includes a Motu multi-channel audio interface, two microphones, and a Telos One Digital Telephone Hybrid.

Phil and Jeff recorded their conversation on location, and communicated with Doug, Scott and Matt via live telephone feed handled by the Telos One. In fact, Doug just happened to be out of state, sipping Mai-Tai’s somewhere in the middle of the Pacific.

The telephone feed was simply a conference call session that was patched into the live program feed while recording the interview. Upon completion, Phil uploaded 3 tracks of audio [himself, Jeff and the telco feed] in the MP2 file format to the network production server. MP2 is our intermediate file format. Next stop for the audio? … NYC.

I downloaded the individual interview tracks and created a multitrack project using Apple’s Soundtrack Pro. My next step was to play the entire segment and conceal as much of the unwanted individual track noise that is typically present during interviews that consist of multiple participants. This can be done manually, or by using a noise-gate plugin.

During the process of audio post production, Joel Tscherne, the ITC website editor for Technometria was hard a work preparing the specific site content that will accompany the program audio once it has been published. Our webiste editors have access to the original source files. This provides dynamic access to the media in order to aid their research and authoring prior to completion of the audio post.

It’s important to remember that in this particular situation, we have high quality ‘studio tracks’ combined with limited quality telco audio. My job as the post engineer is to produce a file that if possible, is free of any problematic issues, is edited in terms of content, and provides a uniform balance in levels.

Enter The Levelator™ …

Using the Levelator, optimum results are achieved with experimentation in my opinion. In this particular situation, I had two options:

• Levelate individual tracks prior to mix-down
• Levelate the output file universally prior to submission

Phil did a great job with keeping levels close and manageable. I simply Levelated the edited output file [mix-down] and prepared for the final stage of production: process and upload.

My software editor of choice is Bias Peak Pro 5 XT. As soon as I am comfortable with the produced source file, I incorporate the uncompressed master into our ‘Uploader’ application. This tool normalizes the audio to the network RMS reference level, converts the file to MP2 [our intermediate file format], and uploads the file to our internal Component Show Assembly and Content Management System.

The final steps prior to publication include: automated encode to MP3, show assembly, and a few remaining clicks of the mouse by Phil that in the end, generate the live show on IT Conversations.


5 Responses to “Technometria Podcast: An Inside Look …”


  1. Gravatar Icon 1 Craig Feb 15th, 2007 at 5:10 am

    Blimey. Is that “all” it takes to produce quality content. :)

  2. Gravatar Icon 2 Jeff Barr Feb 16th, 2007 at 1:43 am

    > Phil did a great job with keeping levels close and manageable.

    Like any real geek, Phil had a good selection of tools in his office. He used a jeweler’s screwdriver to adjust the gain on the Telos box in mid-interview without missing a beat!

    Nice explanation, thanks.

  3. Gravatar Icon 3 ptfigg Feb 16th, 2007 at 3:55 am

    Thanks for stopping by Jeff …

    -ptfigg.

  4. Gravatar Icon 4 Duffy Feb 16th, 2007 at 6:50 am

    Wow…nice workflow. ;-)

  5. Gravatar Icon 5 Henry Howard Feb 16th, 2007 at 3:44 pm

    It’s a shame that Doug, Scott and Matt didn’t have recorders handy.
    You could have had a complete “studio” sound show.

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