Saturday, August 28, 2010

uStream if you want to...

The UK CardCast exploration of uStream continues - last night, just before recording an interview for Episode 30 of the podcast, I started up my Mac, connected the iSight webcam and had a play with uStream - eventually sending out a test broadcast to 5 viewers!  It wasn't recorded (there is an option to do that but I didn't select it yesterday!) and it was not on any particular subject; I just wittered on and responded to messages submitted on the associated chat page by the viewers.

It was a worthwhile experiment, and one that I fully intend to follow up on a regular basis - I'm looking into seeing if I can have more than one person appear on screen, as that would enable me to do a video podcast!

A lot of artists have regular uStream shows, and the advantage thay have is that they can point their camera at a blank page and draw, whereas all I can do is talk and wave a card from my collection in front of the camera, and I don't think that would be all that interesting.  That said, if I can come up with a 'theme' for a broadcast, with relevant items to show, then perhaps viewers could come in on the chat and ask questions, or discuss relevant items from THEIR collections?

What do YOU think?  Worth doing or just an ego trip for yours truly?  If I go ahead, I will post here AND on Twitter (oh, and if you fancy following me on Twitter, you'll find me here: @ukcardcast

Saturday, August 21, 2010

"A Knight in San Diego"

Episode 29 is working it's way online now - if you can see it in the RSS feed on the right, then you should be able to get it from iTunes and other Podcast directory services, or you could download it or stream it diretly from the website!

Entitled "A Knight in San Diego", Episode 29 is the annual SDCC show report, this time presented by Bob Hulsart (aka 'Batman' on Non-Sport Update magazine's Card Talk message board!) Plus there is a very special announcement by Billy Shipley of Versicolor Productions about a new set...
I am already working on the next episode, #30, which will be the annual Artist Special - I have four artists lined up to appear and I'm just working out some recording dates before getting started!  And after that, I have another guest lined up for an exclusive interview in (probably) Episode 31, and I'm lining people up for episode #32 AND for the End of Year episode... (I'm getting a bit too organised - something is going to go badly wrong very soon!)

Monday, August 16, 2010


I'm in the process of editing the new episode (#29, if you must know!) (it seems like I'm ALWAYS editing a new episode!) - I don't do this all in one go, but tend to edit 10 minutes at a time.  I was doing so last night and was progressing rather well, when the diverting diversion itch flared up (as it has done now - I'm editing on one PC and writing this blog post on the other)
Artist CK Russell (Twitter: @virtualcara) tweeted that she would be on Ustream to do some live card drawing, with cards at a very reasonable price to anyone interested.  Despite discussing the Ustream idea with Kris Kersey of, I have never been online at the right time to catch one of these streaming broadcasts, so I thought I'd give this one a go.
I'm glad I did!  Not only did Cara do a card for me (of Irina Spalko - another for the increasing collection!  I'll post a scan when I have it in my hot little hands!) but I had great fun chatting with her and some of her followers. I was made very welcome and I'd like to thank Cara and her followers for a great first Ustream experience!
Not familiar with the idea?  It's really quite simple: someone hooks up a video camera/webcam/similar video device to a computer, signs up to a Ustream account and, having announced a date and time, broadcasts whatever they feel like to the wide virtual world. (That is a drastically simplified version of the process!)  There is a text chat box, in which viewers can send messages to the broadcaster, or to other viewers, and the broadcaster (if they have a microphone hooked up as well) can answer questions or respond to comments via the audio.
It's great for artists because they can showcase their work AND show work in progress as it actually, erm, progresses!
Cara is not the only artist to do this sort of thing - in fact, if you pop along to Kris' website (link above!) you'll find a list of a number of artist Ustreams, and you'll find more if you look on the Scoundrel art board.

Technology still has the power to amaze me - Ustream is a case in point.  Once upon a time, if you wanted to commission an artist to do a piece for you, either you'd have to go through the email/post process and wait ages to see if what the artist was doing was what you actually wanted, or you'd have to hope that you'd see an artist you'd like at a show or convention.
Now, you can watch the artist at work onscreen and, if you like what you see, a quick PayPal and onscreen text message gets you almost instant 'as it happens' access, with direct input into what is being drawn.

I'm inspired!  In fact, if I can work something out, I may well do a Ustream of my own some time - possibly if I can get the iSight hooked up to the Mac at some point, and I can lay my hands on a sealed box of cards, I might do something for the NSU Open That Box Day next year!  (unless I can come up with a better idea beforehand!)