Upgrade Boston Second Life

On Thursday, December 14, 2006 we successfully broadcast The Upgrade! Boston into Second Life. This marks the first broadcast of an Upgrade! event in Second Life. Audience members in both spaces conversed with Brooke A. Knight, Mobius Artists Group (Larry Johnson, David Miller, Margaret Bellafiora, Tom Plsek and Lewis Gesner), and John Snavely about each of their works currently being presented by Turbulence.org at Art Interactive. Their respective projects, Cell Tagging, Variations VII: FirshNet and WhoWhatWhenAir were commissioned as the result of Turbulence's New England Inititiave II.

We projected the Second life broadcast off to the side of the live presentations so that the RL audience could see what was happening there. I used a simple iSite web cam which worked but I am recommending a better video camera with an adequate zoom and preferably a lavaliere mic. Absent a localized mic, the audio was the most difficult part. Eric and I kept the SL audience up with the discussion by transcribing in SLs Chat window. This worked surprisingly well. The SL audience participated by asking questions which eric and I read aloud.

Screen Captures from Upgrade Boston SL, December 14, 2006.

What follows is a discussion of what it took to broadcast The Upgrade! Boston into SL.

It is necessary to own land in Second Life, or work with someone who does, in order to stream media. A movie can be assigned to a parcel of property by using the following steps.

1) Upload the movie to a server.

2) Create a screen. I use a simple Prim Box measuring 8.000 X, 0.0100 Y, 6.000 Z.

3) Assign it a unique texture in the 'Texture Tab'. Be sure not to use this texture anywhere else in the scene.

4) Right clicking the land and choose 'About Land > Media Tab'.

5) Click 'Replace this texture:' and choose the texture that you assigned to the screen.

6) Type the absolute URL in the 'with content from this URL' field.

I used a streaming QuickTime format for non-live movie streams. In order to broadcast a live web cam stream you will need to set your server up as reflector. This means the the broadcast will be sent to the server and individuals will view the broadcast from the reflector. This is different than the peer to peer model used in typical web conferencing technology such as Skype or iChat AV and allows many simultaneous viewers. I used QuickTime Broadcaster to support the broadcast. This approach is robust and versatile. Although the stream reflector was setup at Emerson College. I was able to Broadcast and view the broadcast in Second Life using Art Interactive's wireless network on my G4 laptop. It is easy, stable and mobile.

After some serious network difficulty, we were able to broadcast from last nights Upgrade Upgrade. UPGRADE! BOSTON: ShiftSpace and OPENSTUDIO :: A panel discussion with Mushon Zer-Aviv + Dan Phiffer (ShiftSpace) and Kyle Buza + Brent Fitzgerald + Amber Frid-Jimenez + Takashi Okamoto (OPENSTUDIO); moderated by kanarinka.

We were Joined by Patrick Lichty aka Man Michinaga, Upgrade Chicago and Jeremy Turner aka Wirxli Flimflam, Upgrade Vancouver.

Audio is still an issue but I will hopefully have that resolved by next time. Although the DSL wireless connection worked fine last month, it was totally unreliable last night and we will user an ethernet connection next time if possible. There was much discussion yesterday afternoon prior to the event about language issues. I was speaking to Karolwojtyla Sobocinski of Upgrade Paris, who I met by chance in-word, about overcoming language barriers. We are imagining creating language groups so that we can use dedicated Instant Messaging windows for participants to translate in real time.

This discussion is part of a pilot project to work out the logistics of using Second Life to catalyze the International Upgrade P2P Collaboration Initiative through broadcasting local node meetings.

Imaging Place Second Life.