How to stream and record video chat interview

When I saw this recorded video of 2 people on webcams in 2 separate locations talking with each other, be it discussion or debate or interview, I started on a rampant search for how to produce that kind of a video. (And, yes, I have contacted bloggingheads.tv to ask how they do it. Reply was “The video is produced with a mix of open source technologies”.) [update 10/07/12 – found this tech note from someone who participated on bloggingheads.tv — “I would record myself on a phone call with a scientist or a writer, and then we’d both upload our Quicktime files to an editor who would sync the whole thing together.“]

After months of searching, I have not yet found a working solution that fits the bill. I know bloggingheads.tv can produce it. I just can’t find a web app accessible to the masses, yet. The closest web app I’ve found is woome.com, but that’s for video dating, and I’m wanting a web app for general usage, be it personal or professional, free or paid. Here’s what I’m looking for:

  • easy to use – so a non-techie can use it
  • no software download or install (cross-platform, browser independent)
  • supports video chat for 2 users (from multiple locations)
  • records the video chat to be played on-demand and/or embed-able
  • bonus: live-streams the video chat + records it + supports a chat room for 100+ viewers
  • bonus: supports 4 simultaneous webcams for panel-discussion video chat + records it + audience


twit-live-thumbNow, there are some creative solutions that people have pieced together with a mix of hardware and/or software. TWiT Live uses something called the “Skypesaurus” to live-stream the host Leo Laporte with (up to) 4 simultaneous video chatters:

… Colleen has combined four independent Windows PCs to run four instances of Skype into one monster beast: The Skypesaurus. Rawr! We had to do this because Skype only allows one video-caller at a time and some of our shows have as many as four online panelists. We tried software solutions like Oovoo and iChat but they didn’t give us good enough audio and video – Skype really is the king for that.

There are some web apps that are almost there:

  • Tokbox is my favorite multi-user video chat. Currently doesn’t record, and currently no moderation so everyone in the audience can participate in video chat.
  • TinyChat is a very good multi-user video chat, but its paid version currently records each webcam video to separate .FLV files.
  • Stickam Debate Room can show 2 main webcam speakers, and 4 other video spectators, and an audience, but currently doesn’t record.

I have heard these softwares mentioned for use with recording a video chat (some can even live-stream, too):

Windows only

VidBlaster – state-of-the-art video production tool
Pamela for Skype – call management tool; can record video chats & more [ed.note: allegedly can record video, I can only get it to record audio or only record my portion of video — I’d prefer it record both sides’ videos + audios]
WebcamMax – video effects for webcam
ManyCam – video effects for webcam for use with multiple apps (free)
Split Camera – virtual video clone and split video capture driver (free)
CamStudio – free screen recording software
VodBurner
CallBurner
Supertintin
Evaer
Replay Telecorder

Mac & Windows
IMcapture

Mac only

CallRecorder – record your Mac Skype calls
BoinxTV – robust live video production app
CamTwist – video effects for webcam
ManyCam – video effects for webcam for use with multiple apps (free)

To say it another way, I want to record a split-screen video chat, first and foremost. If I can also live-stream it to an audience, that’d be an added bonus.

How do you stream and record video chat interviews? [reply to @djchuang on twitter]

[update September 2012: finally, there are (at least) 3 web-based free solutions that make it much easier to record a video chat interview – Google+ Hangout on Air, Spreecast, and Vokle]

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25 Responses

  1. Steve K. says:

    DJ,

    FYI — Tripp Fuller uses CallRecorder to produce split-screen video interviews like this one, with Tony Jones:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkLIMiHNx_I

  2. Mike says:

    Assume you've already seen the top most video on this page? http://vidblaster.com/?page_id=16

  3. Hi DJ,

    While we don't have recording on Tokbox just yet, some folks have been apparently using Jing to do so. More info on Jing: http://www.jingproject.com/

    Moderation is most certainly being worked on:)

  4. djchuang says:

    @Steve, @Mike, @Damon: yes, yes, and yes. There are several software ways to get a video chat recorded, but again, that requires software download & installation on the producers part. So thanks for pointing

    I'm really looking for the web app that will take care of the whole deal seamlessly!

  5. Kenny says:

    DJ, you're asking for a lot…for free.

    But this also sounds like the classic start-up business seed of thought.

    I'm personally looking for a solution so that I can teach a multi-user class (say 20-30 people online for http://www.liquidchurch.com

    The requirements would be to be able to stream a video from a DVD or my PC and then be able to moderate a multi-user video conf like tokbox.com

    Anyone have suggestions?

    DJ – if bloggingheads.tv can do it with open source solutions out there, I'm sure you would be able to create your own custom solution too. It might be interesting just to test the waters and post a gig on http://www.rentacoder.com or http://www.elance.com and see where the bids come in at.

  6. djchuang says:

    @Kenny, thanks for the reply! I did say “free or paid”! 🙂 *ahem*

    The business model of “freemium” has a lot of advantages over a custom solution, because a custom solution is developed to very particular specifications and then fades into obsolescence, so I'm less inclined to that approach.

    My persuasion is that a (good) web app will have an on-going subscriptions that provide enough revenue to keep it sustainable with a sizeable user base to provide feedback to keep improving the app.

    As for teaching an online class, there are some good things we can learn from distance education on how to do that. It may be sufficient to teach a multi-user class via an off-the-shelf webinar service, and then use the chat room for discussion and Q&A.

  7. webXL says:

    I really like Jing and almost upgraded to Pro for the compression, but I discovered a 5-minute recording limitation. Looks like it's CallRecorder for now.

    I'm curious if it can handle an hour long conference, though. At what point do my HD space and memory completely fill up?

  8. Justin says:

    Closest I can think of it tokbox.com plus screentoaster.com; nothing to download, but not in one package.

  9. I just built the same skype-a-saurus that Leo Leporte did. I just exchanged the fans on the four computers to reduce noise. It works great! I use Wirecast to stream + record everything live to ustream.tv. What I am working on now is a way to stream the finished wirecast product back to the skype callers. Right now they cannot see the finished product except for on ustream.tv during live stream, which is not sufficient due to the 5-15 second delay for the live feed depending where in the world the skype caller is.

  10. Just posting an update here. My problem was easily solved by using a set of s-video input cards and an s-video splitter that takes the wirecast output to my four skype computers. Broadcasting re-runs is a whole other matter that is difficult though without a tricaster, which Leo uses on TWiT.

  11. Gib Wallis says:

    I think Oovoo might do this for you.

    They charge for more than two people on a video call, like you mention with Skypasaurus, but it's part of the system.

    According to their site, all two people calls are free.

    I think it allows you to record. I haven't tried it because I signed up a few months ago and then I wasn't able to find anyone to test it with me.

  12. Roxy says:

    You might try Vokle (www.vokle.com) – no internal recording yet but I use Screenflow on my mac to record

  13. Thank for the information. In my view Streaming Video Recorder is a powerful video stream recorder tool to help you record online streaming video and record streaming movies to your local disk, and save as video files in any popular format like AVI, MPEG-4, WMV, WMA, 3GP, MOV, M4V, AC3,MP3, ACC, etc.

  14. @bibledude says:

    I know that this is a little after the fact, and I know that these do not fulfill all of your requirements, BUT…

    I like wetoku.com for the one-on-one interview. But it is a beta and was unable to sign into it tonight (which is why I was searching and stumbled across this post.

    I ended up recording my interview using VOD Burner for Skype. But it requires installation and has a subscription fee after 30 days to get rid of a watermark.

    I also love Tokbox, but just wish that it would record sessions…

  1. September 2, 2009

    […] kind of web app is something I’ve been searching for for months. So glad someone was able to put it all together! Thank you […]

  2. December 17, 2009

    […] This post was Twitted by andriezzo […]

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