Chambers keynote Podcast: How I did it

Chambers keynote Podcast: How I did it

Summary: If you happened to catch my coverage of Cisco CEO John Chambers' keynote address at Interop, then you probably saw that I attempted to make the coverage into a multimedia extravanganza.  You've got the blog which gives a basic summary, photographs of Chambers in action and some networking gear (ooooh!

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TOPICS: Hardware
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If you happened to catch my coverage of Cisco CEO John Chambers' keynote address at Interop, then you probably saw that I attempted to make the coverage into a multimedia extravanganza.  You've got the blog which gives a basic summary, photographs of Chambers in action and some networking gear (ooooh!  ahhh!) and a recording of the entire keynote.   Here's the play-by-play:

After arriving in the ballroom, I found a front-row seat in a section that was reserved for the media and set up base camp.   Base camp consisted of an IBM Thinkpad T42 notebook computer, a Nikon D70 digital SLR camera, and an iRiver H320 Digital Jukebox (see my review of the H320 as a podcast recording device).   With the T42 opened and Microsoft Word ready to take notes (I stick with Word because of its recovery features), I primed the H320 to record through the external lavalier microphone that iRiver supplies with the device.  I figured that the audio coming from the speakers would be loud enough for the microphone to pick up what Chambers was saying.  Since the iRiver doesn't show any recording levels (visually), I put some headphones on to monitor the recording in hopes that I might be able to detect up any distortion (if there was any).  If there was, I could just turn down the record level using the iRiver's record-configuration interface.  To make sure I didn't overshoot on the compression front which in turn could compromise quality, I set the H320 to record at a 128 kbps data rate and a sampling rate of 44.1 KHz.   To make sure the microphone didn't get moved around too much, I clipped it to my lapel.

It wasn't long before I realized you could hear everything I was doing.  Flash photography was allowed in the first few minutes of the keynote and if you listen to the beginning of the recording,  you can hear my camera clicking away.  You can also hear me tapping away on the keyboard as I began to craft the blog entry that would later be uploaded from Interop's press room.   So, I moved the H320 and the mic to a location that was a little closer to a speaker and directionally pointed away from me and the audience (I clipped the lavalier mic to the strap on my shoulder bag.   Fortunately, Chambers, who walks around a lot while he's talking, saw the bag and didn't trip over it (it was right in his path). 

After the keynote was over, I went to the press room where I uploaded the images from the camera and the audio from the H320 to the T42 and edited both.  The images were cropped and sharpened with Photoshop and the audio was trimmed and normalized for consistent sound levels with Audacity.  Using Audacity to trim the audio back to a mono recording at rates of 64 kbps and 22.050 Khz also cut the total MP3 file size down from 57.5 MB to 26.5 MB and that was after I added a little intro!  I recorded the intro simply by plugging the iRiver lavalier microphone into the mic-in jack on the T42 and recording my voice into Audacity (which I already had opened in order to edit the keynote audio).  As you can hear, the voice is a bit tinny.  It's terrible when compared to using my Sure SM58 microphone with a mixer where I can adjust gain and apply a bit of equalization.  I exported my complete "mix" to MP3 from Audacity and uploaded it to our servers.  After cropping, sharpening, and downsizing my photos (I took them at the D70's best resolution to maximize croppability without loss of detail and downsized them for online publishing using Photoshop's resizing wizard), I uploaded the images to our blog server (images go in a separate place than the audio files).   The, I cut an pasted the text from Word to the blog authoring tool in Wordpress (our blogging system), added the images and links to the audio and published the blog.  Barring having video, I hope it was the next best thing to being there.

Topic: Hardware

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