What does it take to podcast The Crazy Canucks?

A first, sneak peak at how The Crazy Canucks is made

I’ve been thinking of doing a more, detailed post about how a typical episode of The Crazy Canucks comes together, but I’m going to make a simple list of all the gear we use to make it work.

  • Skype – Without this, we have no podcast. With Alanah doing her thing on the island, Dave on the north shore, and the rest of us in Vancouver, this is the crucial piece of software that ties us together. This also allows us to bring on any other guests that also use Skype on their PC.
  • Ubercaster – This is the recording software that I prefer to use. I’ve watched Ubercaster go through the ropes of development and been impressed with every step of the way. It also has a built-in function to record Skype conversations, making it even easier to record our conference call. It is worth the time to setup templates for your podcast because it makes it very easy to fire up the program, open a template, conference call on Skype, and you’re rolling.
  • Levelator – Due to the various setups that everyone has and the fact that Skype is really difficult to control audio input levels on, I always export the vocals first to run them through Levelator. You might not get the best audio quality from our “Voice Over IP Hot Stove”, but at least you’ll be able to hear all of us.
  • Apple iMac – This is the work horse that ties together our recording hardware and software. Speaking of…
  • Behringer Eurorack UB1204FX-PRO 8-channel Mixer – With anything you do in the world of recording and/or broadcasting, you can never have enough inputs. Most podcasters don’t need this much, but I’m a geek. You never know what you’ll wanna try to do, and this mixer has a slew of other nice features as well.
  • Shure SM7 and Behringer XM2000S microphones – I have one of each of these, and perhaps a bit more of overkill for the average podcaster. However, I’ve been doing the radio thing for ten years now. I have accumulated a collection of toys.
  • iPod nano (2nd gen) + Belkin TuneTalk Stereo – This is what I’m using to do mobile recordings these days. The quality is really surprising, and for podcasting, you can’t ask for more than something that sounds good as well as being small and very portable. Records stereo WAV’s at 44.1Khz as well as mono. I also put a standard microphone wind screen over the Belkin add. Additionally, I taped down the small switch on it because it had enough movement on it that it caused a slight rattle in the recordings.
  • FeedBurner – We push our RSS feed through their service simply because they are really good at what they do.
  • WordPress + PodPress – This is the CMS/blogging platform that we use to publish TCC episodes. PodPress is a plugin for WP that we use on the site that allows people to listen to our podcasts from the website as well as download them or make them available in our RSS feed.

Making it all come together has taken me about a year and a half to get efficient at. Every episode has something different to it, and I’m very much a fly by the seat of your pants editor. As the recording is happening, I can envision how I’ll go back and edit something, make a mental note as to where it was in terms of time of the epsiode, and get the podcast encoded and uploaded in about 20-30 minutes after we are finished recording. After that, it’s just a matter of making the blog post and publishing it to the world.

The Crazy Canucks #13 – Holiday hangover hoe down

Living and learning with what Ubercaster can do, but I set the mic levels way too high for the recording. The program had some nice tricks to make it sound decent through editing. Check out episode #13 of The Crazy Canucks. This one was certainly a little nutty.

Dave is a healthy scratch for this episode, but there has been so much that has happened since the last episode that it was hard to keep tabs on how long this episode turned out. There were some issues during the recording, but the audio was salvageable. That’s not to say that it might sound strange, but we will keep this in mind for the next episode to take changes into consideration.

Record as of this episode: 19-18-1
Northwest Division: 1st
Western Conference: 3rd

Four games to talk about, three teams played since the last episode: Boston, Columbus, and Calgary. The first two games were painful for Canucks fans, but the home and home series against the Flames was nothing short of pure delight. J.J gives us the inside scoop of his involvement with the CBC story on the whole Vote for Rory campaign, and Alanah seems to be getting a tattoo after losing a bet on Luongo’s save stats in the first half of the season.

This is the last episode of 2006, so have a safe and happy new year! We’ll see you next year, and expect more to come from The Crazy Canucks.

The Crazy Canucks

The Skype free ride is about to end

SkypeI have been greatly enjoying the free, unlimited calls to regular phones on Skype for nearly the past year. It’s been a wonderful way to call up friends and family back in the states. The quality is pretty good, but on heavy traffic days on the internet, not so much. How are you to argue with it being free?

Enjoy it while it lasts. The free, trial period is coming to a close at the end of this month. I had hoped that Skype would just eat the bandwidth and keep it free, but that stands to not be the case.

Internet phone service provider Skype plans to start charging U.S. and Canadian users US$29.95 per year for unlimited calls to regular phones in both countries, as the end of a free trial offer looms.

Users who sign up before Jan. 31, 2007, will receive a special rate of $14.95 a year and 100 free minutes of international calling, Skype said on Wednesday. Any user wishing to continue using Skype to make calls to regular phones or mobile handsets after the free trial expires Dec. 31, but does not want a yearly plan, can pay for SkypeOut at a rate of 2.1 cents per minute for calls within the U.S. and Canada.

Computer-to-computer calls using Skype software will remain free. [macworld]

Still, that’s not a bad deal to pay that much per year for free calls between the U.S. and Canada. Naturally, there will be some people who will think that this is a load of crap. In my hometown, we used to run a free, local BBS[wiki] (yeah, remember those things from 1995?) and users flipped when they had to pay $25 a year to dial in over their modems. Sometimes you just need a little help with bills, and I could really see paying to use Skype’s service. However, I am a total sucker for free stuff.

Skype 2.0 goes gold for the Mac

Video panel in the preferences of Skype 2.0Skype is the staple of The Crazy Canucks podcast. I got it downloaded and tinkered with it just a little bit(the image posted here is a quick screenshot of the video panel in the preferences, which has similarity to iChat). We’re actually looking to record another episode this evening, but I doubt this will really effect anything involving VoIP. The major addition to this version is video support being added for Mac users, making video chatting available between PC users of Skype.

Posted on their blog yesterday:

Skype for Mac 2.0 goes gold today, which means that we’ve tested it, you’ve tested it and we all agree that it does a pretty good job. Download it now and video call your friends, family, colleagues or anyone else you’d like to see face to face. Remember not only does it work with other Mac users but it also works with Windows users too. That means even more people for you to video call with.

We’ve improved the video quality and made changes so that video calling can now work on older systems allowing more of our Mac community can use it.

Thanks for all your feedback and help to improve the quality of video throughout the beta. A lot of you have sent in your stories on how you’re using Mac 2.0 to get face to face with far flung friends and relatives and we’re delighted we can help to bring you all closer together. Many of you also told us that you’re using video calls with business colleagues across the globe or to see your family back home when you’re away with work. If you have any more stories you’d like to share with us please email them to stories@skype.net. [skype]

The question will be about quality when you make your video calls across platform. The quality of your video card combined with the quality of your webcam will offer mixed results, more so when it comes to the world of PCs. Regardless, you’ll still be able to see grandma wave to you over the internet, no matter how blurry or pixelated she might look. You’ll just never know if she’s giving you the finger or not.

Announcing a new podcast: The Crazy Canucks

A few months ago, Rebecca[miss604] and I brainstormed an idea for a podcast that seemed too good to pass up. With the friends that we have been making in the world of blogging and podcasting, The Crazy Canucks was born.

We’ve brought together Vancouver Canucks Op Ed, the Canucks Hockey Blog, the Canucks Outsider, Miss604, and my adventures with RadioZoom into a podcast that is probably unlike anything you’ve heard before, and nothing like anything I’ve ever been apart of. And you don’t need an iPod to listen!

The Crazy Canucks

[krey-zee, kuh-nuhks]

Local Canuck Bloggers to Host a Weekly Roundtable Podcast this 06/07 NHL Season

Current album art: The Crazy Canucks podcastVANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA (October 2, 2006) – Coming this October is a podcast the likes of which Vancouver has never seen. It will be a collaboration of hockey bloggers and the brainchild of a podcaster who all have one thing in common: The Vancouver Canucks.

The Crazy Canucks will be a weekly podcast about the team, the players, the organization and the league. Our goal is to have a fan’s point of view, since we’re not cable TV and we’re not local sports radio. Agree or disagree, leave us a written or audio comment and tell us how you really feel.

Listen and subscribe to the podcast, which will be available weekly on TheCrazyCanucks.com.

For more information contact: feedback [at] thecrazycanucks.com

Look for the premiere episode to debut this week as the Canucks kick off the regular season on Thursday. Subscribe or listen directly on the website. It doesn’t matter how you hear it as much as it matters that you come be apart of the podcast. Afterall, we’re fans just like you.

Skype releases 2.0 Beta for Mac; Video for everyone

I use iChat to video chat with my family back home all the time. That’s a strict, Mac-to-Mac application. Skype 2.0 Beta for the Mac[download] bridges video chatting with PC users of the VoIP/IM client.

System requirements

  • Mac computer with G4 800 Mhz processor or faster
  • Mac OS X v10.3.9 Panther or newer
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 40 MB free disk space on your hard drive
  • Microphone
  • Webcam: Suggested webcams include Apple iSight, Philips SPC900NC, or Logitech QuickCam Pro 400. Drivers for the Philips and Logitech webcams can be downloaded from http://webcam-osx.sourceforge.net/.
  • Internet connection (broadband is best, GPRS is not supported for voice calls, and results may vary on a satellite connection).

I have yet to put it through the ranks, but if you wanna talk and see your buddies over long distances, this is worth checking out.