Over 1 year into the Unslaved Podcast!! To be completely honest, it feels like a few weeks since we started and I know it may sound like a cliche, but it’s true. My name is Ryan and I am the guy behind the scenes with the Unslaved Podcast. I get to do the “fun” stuff, try to make things work and try to make it all look good. We’ve had our ups and downs and a bunch of challenges along the way, but it’s been a blast. I wanted a way to contribute to the Unslaved Project, but I could’t think of a way to provide anything other than the technical stuff. Then I thought “why not share how we got to where we are from a technical standpoint”. So over the next few weeks I will share how we got here and the challenges along the way. I know there are some techy listeners out there so I hope some of you can appreciate this.

Background

10866213_10152807676255141_7144585226725356684_o-1024x1024A little backstory on how I even got to be part of the team… My son is a student of David Whitehead (Sensei). After one of his classes, David and I started talking and he mentioned he needed some technical help. Being from the small community we are from, there isn’t much of a scene for Web / Audio / Video / developers and me being the type of person who loves to help offered my technical “expertise”. My day job is a Systems Administrator so I have a very strong technical background, but the Audio / Video was relatively new to me. I wanted to help in any way I could so I was up for the challenge! That night after David and I chatted I went home and started this journey. Then I thought to myself “Oh Shit, David is a black belt in Japanese Jujitsu and if I screw this up he will…” and I stopped that thought as I didn’t want to find out! Nothing has happened to me yet so I think I have done OK. 🙂 David Whitehead, thanks for putting your trust in me and convincing Michael that I was an alright guy!

Skype, Really!

We got the website done in a couple of weeks and launched with our fingers crossed… It went as expected for the most part. We had some hiccups with the membership software, which we were able to fix quickly, and things were humming along nicely on the website side of things (see my next post for our journey with our website). IMG_20170305_113152For the podcast portion of the Unslaved project we were using Skype so we could get Michael’s video, we were using sketchy software to capture the audio and video, and we were using sub-par hardware to do the podcast post editing. In our minds we figured this was all we needed and we mistakenly thought Skype would be great as we always see Skype interviews on CNN, BBC and other “credible” media sites. It looks okay most of the time, but we didn’t experience anything good about it, other than it being free. The biggest issue we had was Skype itself! Sure Skype is great if you want to talk to people with some video, but if you want something that is reliable for the length of time we do a podcast, Skype is not the answer. It was just too flaky and there was way too much post editing we had to do to make it look decent. So we fought through that for the first few episodes, but then we thought there had to be a better way. I did my research and since both David and I were using MacBook Pros we had to find software that was compatible with Mac… and we had to find a way to NOT use Skype. With Michael being remote in Seattle we also had to find a good way for him to get online. This is where the fun really starts!

Getting Closer

We started using Wirecast and it seemed really good, but the problem was we were still having to use Skype! Let’s try Google Hangouts… Well, it was a bit better than Skype, but not that reliable. Back to the drawing board. Next software we tried was MimoLive by Boinx and it was really good! The reason we chose that one was because it had a “Call in Feature” and Michael could use that to connect to the calls and not use Skype. Guess What? It worked! I thought we had this nailed and now I can sit back and relax and enjoy pressing buttons. WRONG. Remember how I said David and I were both using Macs? Well, we both have MacBook Pros but they are older and we were now having issues recording the podcast when it went longer than 2 hours! Remember that 4 hour podcast on the Eastern Illuminati? That’s when we found out we had hardware issues. The CPU would just be pinned at almost 100% the whole time and I think we were having some overheating issues. Our Macs didn’t have USB3 so I think there may have been a bottleneck with webcams, mic and storage. NOW WHAT?! I thought about David’s Black Belt again!!

Thank-You vMix

25348332_2041978236074020_9084274233680562613_nBack to the drawing board… I knew it was hardware and I knew I had ways I could get around this, but I needed to think long term. So I went shopping! My first stop was the Apple Store to get a brand new MacBook Pro. When I looked at how much they cost I had to slam on the brakes. (This is the one I wanted MacBook Pro ) First, my wife would have killed me if I bought something for that price (so now I have to think about my safety here… with David’s black belt and my wife’s kickboxing I had to be careful). So I started doing research and started looking at PCs, but MimoLive doesn’t work with PCs! CRAP! Then I found the answer… I found a piece of software called vMix that worked on PCs, but not Macs. I new I could buy a killer laptop (PC) for half the price of a Macbook Pro so I started shopping for a PC Laptop. I found a great laptop (Gaming Laptop) that was great for the Video Editing, Recording and playing the odd game on my downtime. (This is the one I got The Workhorse) Things were falling into place now! I got the laptop and convinced Michael and David that we needed vMix (now i had to figure out how to use vMix).

The learning curve on the new vMix software wasn’t as steep as I thought and I had things setup in a week. Now we had an easy way for both Michael and the guests to call in to the show. In fact, all of our guests appreciated how easy it was to get on the show. No more SKYPE!! Once again I thought I had this nailed..

Live Streaming…

So next I thought why not try live streaming? In theory it seemed so simple, but unfortunately it wasn’t. I would be at our studio hours before we’d go live streaming and hoping things would go smoothly. We tried streaming to Facebook and Youtube and for the most part it worked, but there would be issues with Youtube and it would cause the whole stream to crash. I had to manage that and at the same time make sure the podcast was running smoothly. It got to be a bit much and it was effecting the show so we stopped that venture. However, I think we will revisit the live streaming soon as I now have a better understanding how it all works. STAY TUNED…

Along the way we also had MIC issues. Not so much the quality of the mic, but the noise they would pick up. We found out that Michael’s mic had the gain turned all the way up and it was picking up all the thumping from his desk so we fixed that by turning his gain all the way down and getting a mic stand for his mic. Same issue with David’s mic, but for some reason David’s mic was still picking up the the thumping from his desk. As you probably noticed, he now has a fancy retractable mic stand which solved the problem. I personally think it looks more professional as well.

See below for all the software / hardware we have used, or are using, to produce the podcast. If time permits, I might do reviews of the software as they all have their pros and cons and I hope that this will benefit someone like me down the road.

Also, please let me know your thoughts in the comments below on what you, the listener / viewer would like to see or hear.

Hardware:

Software:

24 COMMENTS

  1. Very interesting! Thank you for sharing!
    And thanks for the tip regarding the gaming computer. I will recommend it to my son who has been researching different computers in order to choose one that will meet his needs and one that we can afford! I am not tech savvy, so this may impress him! 😉

    • I hope your son is able to find a good computer. I am impressed with my MSI gaming laptop and it can handle anything I throw at it without breaking a sweat.

  2. That was fascinating! I was always wondering what it took to get all three people together, from different parts of the planet, on the same screen, and so cleanly and professionally. Ha! I thought “wow, we sure have something good going here.” I’m interested in these kind of things, so thank you for leaving the links to how you did it. Appreciated!

    • Glad you appreciate it! It’s still an evolving process and we are always learning and trying new things. I will keep writing on the new things we are trying out.
      Cheers,
      Ryan

  3. I enjoyed that. As an IT engineer and Computer Science teacher, I can appreciate everything you said especially the learning curve. Perserverance is a wonderful thing.

  4. It’s so nice to finally know who that unseen person is handling all that technical stuff making all these amazing podcast happen!!!! I actually just assumed it was Michael & David handling it all.Thank you for sharing your story, your adventure & journey! Thank You for your contribution to this brilliant team, this amazing group of Men who share their knowledge & wisdom….True warriors you all are! Many Blessing to You, Michael, David, Unslaved Podcast & your families & loved ones!!!!

  5. thank you for your story,I was wondering if you were into this awesome info before you joined up and if not, how did it effect you as you absorbed new mad magic stuff? Helen

    • Thanks Mayanair! Great question.. I wasn’t really into this info before but I have always been open minded. I have to admit that Michael has opened my eyes to a lot and it as positively effected me and I am so greatful to have both Michael and David in my life now.

  6. I’ve been doing many Skype conferences lately (not recording) and I can’t get over how bad it is, after being the leader by about twenty years!

    Your shows come off incredibly seamless and professional, thanks for the tips Ryan.

    As for live, I’m looking forward to it. Many are streaming directly right into YouTube or Facebook these days – YouTube seems really friendly for a live comment-stream, which really builds the community. Miles Johnston at Bases Project, and Owen Benjamin of the ‘Unbearables’ are two that seem to do it seamlessly.

    Keep it up guys, amazing content and output!!

    Neil.

    • Thanks for the comment Neilpmcd! YouTube is real easy to use and I do love the live comment-stream. The last 2 shows we went live and it’s was pretty seamless and I think we will continue to do so.

  7. Thank you for sharing this story Ryan! This story really inspired me to start my own podcast. Thanks for the links to the gear and good luck with the live stream!

    Brody

  8. Nice to meet you Ryan and thank you for sharing what really goes on in the background!! Truly fascinating!! You´re doing a great job for sure and I´m glad you´re still in one piece!! These podcasts are of a superb standard!! Keep up the excellent work!! You are all true warriors… now all we need is a photo of you… 😀 … just so we can keep up the tradition of Unslaved by making the unseen… seen… 😀

  9. Thank you for sharing this insight! I am not very technologically literate but it is great to hear about the inner workings of Unslaved & feel it adds another deeper level of authenticity to the show. I look forward to reading Part 2 🙂

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