Here at TechEd, we're running 12 simulcasts of TechEd sessions as webcasts, so that folks who couldn't make it to TechEd can still get a taste of the great content here that's available. Here's the TechEd webcast series webpage if you want to check them out, either live or on-demand. There's alot of work that goes on behind the scenes to pull these off, and I thought you might find a few of the details and photos interesting. Keith Mazzuco, our webcast content manager, has been managing the simulcasts here, and he's been a busy man running from room to room for both nightly dry runs, and attending the actual simulcasts, making sure everything's running correctly. Keith and the presenters have to make sure all the settings are correct on the machine for both display in the room for the in-person audience, and the Live Meeting internet audience. Here's Aaron Margosis on Tuesday night getting ready for his Wednesday morning simulcast.
Then comes the testing of the audio. Every rehearsal, we had to dial into a phone bridge with one of our webcast producers on the other end, testing to make sure the audio was clear for the webcast audience. Keith and team had a heck of a time determining the best audio signal between the Gentners and wireless mics the presenters would wear with audio through the phone line. I had the pleasure of being the guinea pig stand-in for 15 min. a few times spewing mindless verbiage while the audio engineers and producers tweaked with the audio settings to get it just right. Janet Nickels, Marcy Stringfellow and Eric Ostrowski are three of our producers that have been working this show, hanging in there to get it right.
TechEd is such a huge undertaking from a setup perspective. As we were waiting for a presenter to show up, Camilia, manager of one of the rooms, was sharing with me the setup time for the convention center. They start setting up almost a full week before the show begins. Just think of the amount of equipment and gear. You could produce a documentary for T.V. behind the scenes at one of these conferences. I'd watch.
So then it's showtime. 1,750 people packed this room, standing room only, on Tuesday to hear Mark Russinovich talk about "Understanding and Fighting Malware: Viruses, Spyware and Rootkits". Check out the on-demand version at the above series page. These rooms are huge! Here's Carol, audio engineer, at the board making sure it all sounds great. Meanwhile, Keith is sitting in the front row making sure the Live Meeting simulcast is looking great, and is on instant messenger with the producer back in Redmond if there are any issues.
I'm happy to hear from some of you that the simulcasts have been valuable. Ben VanDortrecht wrote to me in my blog yesterday, stating: "Thanks for the webcasts. I have attended 6 so far and everyone has been flawless, and execellent. Wish I could be there in person but, the webcasts make that possible. Nice thing to, I can drink a beer and watch at the same time. THanks for a great service to us stuck peoples."
This Bud's for you Ben. Keep watching.
Then after a long day, and evening of preparing for the next day's simulcasts, the Podcast Crew (I'll write about them tomorrow) let Keith and I cruise around on their Segweys. How much fun is that! Here's Keith blowing off some steam after a long day at the Orlando Convention Center.