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How We Produce Live Online Home Television Shopping Shows

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This is a photo of me today on the set of INDIE Shopping TV for INDIEgu. We’re conducting final tests to make sure, to the extent we can, that our shows go off without a hitch. I thought you might like to know a bit about the technical equipment we’ll use to bring you the show.

My business partner husband is the expert on this stuff, so I’m just giving a high level overview of what I’ve learned from him. You can connect with him on Twitter if you want to talk to a real expert. Here’s what little I know:

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  1. Video camera. We use a Sony HDV video camera, but you can use any video camera that can connect via firewire to your laptop.

  2. Monitor. The monitor shows me how you see me live on the show. In this photo, it’s facing me, so you cannot see it, but if you look on the laptop facing you in the photo, or in the LCD screen attached to the video camera, you can see what is showing in the monitor — whatever the camera is pointing at. (In this case, me.) The monitor is great because it allows me to see what you see when you watch the show. For example, if the camera man is zooming in on a product, I can see how to place the product so it looks its best for viewers. I can see when the camera is not focused on me, so I can fix my hair or touch up my makeup without you knowing it.

  3. Audio pack. This is a big, heavy piece of equipment thing that monitors the audio levels of everyone participating on the live show, including me and the INDIEgu Maker. We conduct an audio check before we go live, and audio levels are monitored and adjusted, if necessary, throughout a live show.

  4. Ear piece. Have you seen how many people wear head phones when they do live online TV shows? Well, this ear piece, which is connected to the audio feed for the INDIEgu Maker, allows me to hear what the Maker is saying and I don’t have to wear head phones (and mess up my hair).

  5. MacBook Pro #1, with lots of software and downloads. We use commercial-free LiveStream to bring you the show. LiveStream is connected to a program called WireCast, which allows us to show you split screen — me in the studio on one side of the screen and the Maker, wherever he or she is, on the other. We can even have two Makers in two different places on screen with me at once. (Very CNN-like.) Our software also allows us to add lower thirds, to dissolve between video sources, to adjust audio levels, and some other stuff I don’t understand. In a nutshell, it turns a Mac Book Pro into a full-fledged video production studio.

  6. Mac Book Pro #2. I’m not sure how much I’ll use it live on the show, but it’s useful to watch test shows and see what you’ll see live when you view the show. During the live show, I will probably keep it somewhat out of the way to make room for the gorgeous products I want to show you! It will always be close by, however, because someone will be monitoring it as a viewer so we can see exactly what you are seeing as a viewer, and make adjustments as needed.

  7. Wireless microphone. This clips to my waist, with a wire running up through my shirt to the place where the wireless microphone clips on. (I had removed it by the time this picture was taken, so it’s on the counter.)

  8. Key light. This light “keys” in on me. It fills in shadows and separates me from the background so I kind of “pop” from the screen. It’s quite bright so it’s covered with a diffuser so I don’t pass out.

  9. Volt meter. All of this equipment burns through batteries very quickly, so the volt meter lets us know when we’re getting low on juice so we can replace a low battery.

It takes Darryl at least an hour to set everything up before a show. By the time I come onto the set, everything’s ready to go. Darryl helps me with my microphone and ear piece, then we do a sound check and make sure everything’s properly connected. Sometimes he makes me change my shirt if it rubs the microphone (interfering with the audio) or looks weird on camera. You should see him when my makeup is not what it should be. Like when I have lip stick on my teeth or I missed a spot with my powder. It’s funny to hear him “suggest” I fix this or that, in a way that does not get him in to any trouble. (LOL!)

Live television is very unpredictable as you know, so as much work as we do to make it perfect, something unplanned is bound to happen. I’m pretty good at rolling with these kinds of punches though, so whatever happens, we’ll be ready. I’ll just take this opportunity to thank you in advance for your patience!

So, that’s pretty much it. What do you think? This is just an overview, and I’m going kind of fast so if you have any questions, just leave them in the comments. If I can’t answer, my business partner husband technical genius audioman cameraman co-producer will reply.

Thanks for your time!

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