Broadband Studio project: Audio-only webcast configuration

David Gewirtz continues his ongoing Broadband Studio series with a tour of the new studio setup for webcast and podcast production.
Written by David Gewirtz, Senior Contributing Editor

Welcome back to the Broadband Studio project here at ZDNet. In this installment, I'm going to take you through a short tour of the audio-only webcast configuration.

The process of revamping the Broadband Studio is time-consuming, so I'm getting each element set up over the course of weeks. It's taking a lot of thought about how to best optimize the small space, what gear is most appropriate, and how it all goes together.

I've identified eight separate configurations that the studio needs to be able to handle. They are webcast audio, network TV interview, basic one-on-one interview, PowerPoint with video, standing demo with backdrop, four person discussion format, three person discussion format, and in-studio interview.

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As of the time this is being published, I've successfully set up and operated the webcast audio. I just received some of the gear I need to configure a few of the more basic video setups.

I started with the webcast interview configuration for two reasons: it's the simplest, and it's also how I make a good part of my living. As such, it was a priority. A big part of making the audio system work was reconfiguring a master audio console to work in the small space. That involved some construction and printing of custom 3D brackets.

I invite you to read and watch the videos in my article 3D printing hands on: Customizing an audio console for the Broadband Studio for a detailed description of what went into that part of the project.

Once the console was designed and built, I tore out the old wiring and some of the older gear. I then created my first modular setup, which you can see in the video tour at the beginning of this article. I was fortunate, because the actual audio hardware didn't need to be changed.

Since I'd documented that in-depth in Optimize your audio gear for pro-quality Google Hangouts, I had a pretty good idea of how to reassemble the audio components. Thankfully, I included a wiring diagram in that article because, while I labeled most of the cables, I somehow missed two. The diagram saved me.

I had a couple of webcasts coming up, so I did some testing with CBS Interactive's producers (the folks at ZDNet's parent organization who I work with on webcasts). When sound quality and system stability passed, I conducted two webcasts. Everything ran perfectly.

Since then, I've been exploring the video software, and the studio configuration for video. I discovered that the way I set up the microphone stand for the webcasts interferes with the video, particularly the light for the green screen. So I've ordered a few new items (an XLR-powered lavaliere mic and some more cables), which I'll use for the video configurations.

That means I need to find a place for the mic stand to be when doing webcasts, but still be able to get it out of the way for video productions. This is why this whole thing is being built for modularity and reconfigurability.

That's where our project stands now. I hope to get the video system up in the next two weeks. Ideally, right after that, I can record a few more long overdue Better Know a Blogger episodes.

Stay tuned for future updates.

You can follow my day-to-day project updates on social media. Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @DavidGewirtz, on Facebook at Facebook.com/DavidGewirtz, on Instagram at Instagram.com/DavidGewirtz, and on YouTube at YouTube.com/DavidGewirtzTV.

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