We’ll do it live!

Live streaming rig and the crowd in the Pahoa High School Cafeteria for the community lava flow update meeting held by Hawaii County and the U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.
Live streaming rig and the crowd in the Pahoa High School Cafeteria for the community lava flow update meeting held by Hawaii County and the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

I’ve broadcast most of these community lava meetings live from Pahoa via Ustream and our website at www.hawaii247.com/li…

It’s a juggling act of equipment and resources to do this live broadcast. The main problem is getting an Internet connection to send out a live video stream. The school’s network is no-good as it’s firewalled preventing video from going out. Cellphone signals in the cafeteria are terrible. AT&T barely works, Verizon can be spotty and T-Mobile is impossible to send data out.

If you zoom in to 100 percent on the photo and look to the left of the presentation screen you’ll see my Hotspot hanging on the window. It has a medium strength signal and I can’t roam far from it or the WiFi signal will be too weak. Anyway, that’s the Internet connection.

As for the camera rig, an iPhone or iPodTouch in a BeastGrip mount, Rode VideoMic with TRS to TRRS for audio, a battery pack to give the device full power and a video tripod for smooth pans/tilts.

Again, it’s a mess of gear but it’s the simplest I could make things to assure success for the broadcast. I have to laugh at folks who claim they can do better as they have no idea what it takes and what parameters I have to work in. Yeah, you can do live broadcasts from there like how the Oahu TV stations do it. Just buy a videocamera with SDI out, a $60K LiveView backpack and server and enough cable to leave the backpack outside to gather the cell signals while being indoors shooting. Then feed the server’s video to your streaming server.

Not the highest quality video but good enough, especially when nobody else is doing it. You can view the meeting here: www.hawaii247.com/?p…

Bringing the best out of the iPhone with the Beastgrip

An iPhone 4 in a Beastgrip tripod mount, audio from the board coming in on the left, external power supply coming in on the right, video streaming live on Ustream. This was at the Senate candidates debate in Hilo, Hawaii. Photo by Baron Sekiya
An iPhone 4 in a Beastgrip tripod mount, audio from the board coming in on the left, external power supply coming in on the right, video streaming live on Ustream. This was at the Senate candidates debate in Hilo, Hawaii. Photo by Baron Sekiya

Got a new iPhone tripod mount and I have to say it’s the best out of the four I’ve used. It’s called the Beastgrip and can accomodate just about any smartphone, not just iPhones, so you won’t have to worry about obsolesence with the design. Most of the parts are made on a 3D printer in Chicago as they’re in the start-up stage of the company and don’t have full manufacturing yet.

One of the great things about the Beastgrip is that it has a 37mm thread in front of the camera lens so you can screw-on wide or telephoto adapters. Here’s a video below of my iPhone 5S with a telephoto adapter, no adapter and a wide angle adapter attached. The telephoto vignettes so you have to zoom in slightly. Watch the video for a sample view.

The Beastgrip feels great in the hands as it’s easy to hold the iPhone steady, has plenty of 1/4″-20 sockets and a cold-shoe mount on top, I just wish it had more than one cold-shoe but I could just mount another in one of the sockets I guess.

iFix iBook, iGive-up?

Thought I had fixed this iBook to take on my vacation as my MacBook Pro is broken. Looks like the iBook graphics chip is still messed up.

Here’s the iBook in the process of being repaired. That square thing is the GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) and the source of the problems. It overheats, comes loose, messes up the video. The jury-rig fix is to put a spacer to press it against the logic board so it doesn’t come loose.

Looks like the GPU is still coming loose under thermal stress. Damn these machines.

I posted this via my iPhone which may be my main computer on this trip.