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Technical problems in last night’s live streamed seminar

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Last night was the IHR’s eighth live streamed event, the fourth for our Digital History seminar, and the second since the launch of History SPOT.  Unfortunately on this occasion things did not go as planned. 

This blog post is, therefore, part apology to all of you who tried to tune in last night, part explanation, and part a look towards the future of this service.  First of all then – an apology. 

Last night the stream failed to connect for the first 10 minutes of the presentation and when we were eventually able to stream live the quality of the audio was particularly bad. 

On behalf of the IHR I apologise to all of you who tried to tune in and found your time wasted on this occasion. 

It is difficult to pinpoint exactly what went wrong.  After the workshop that we live streamed a few weeks ago we were trying the downloaded application from livestream (rather than the web based interface) to stream our seminar.  The hope was that this would improve video and audio quality as we were not happy with the resolution from the workshop.  In theory that is still the case but it seems we still need to fine tune and test the new interface.

The second reason for the failure appears to have been an untimely update from Adobe to the flash application.  Although declined the update appears to have caused the streaming application to crash early on in the seminar.  The laptop that we were using had been updated earlier in the day so I can only presume that this update only came through around 5pm.       

I have hinted many times on this blog that we have plans to improve the service.  We have looked into alternative streaming applications as a way to primarily avoid the advert at the beginning of the stream.  Although there are a few other possibilities we have not yet pinned down a viable alternative.  However, this is still a work in progress.  In the meantime we wish to experiment with a higher resolution camcorder.  Although the nature of live streaming would mean that the camcorder was reduced in quality anyway it would hopefully be clearer and more manoeuvrable than the current webcam that we are using. 

Our next live stream will be the second Digital History seminar in two weeks’ time (Tuesday 15 November).  We will do all we can to make sure that this stream goes well and I very much hope you will give us a second try. 

For those of you still interested in Matt Thompson’s paper from yesterday we hope to be able to provide you with audio and video coverage sometime in the next week or two.      

Matt Phillpott
History SPOT Project Officer