Telepresence For the 1%

Telepresence is something beyond any kind of desktop video calling/conferencing. I get that. A recent update to a post at Telepresence Options details Polycom’s band new Immersive Studio. Reading through the post I must say that I am intrigued and even impressed. However, the $426K starting price suggests that I never actually see one of these installations in person. These sorts of environments are clearly for the 1%.

That said, there are some notable things about the Immersive Studio, things that may be transferable to the rest of us. For example, they use 84” 4K LCD displays. They don’t intend to pass 4K video between sites, at least not yet. They still have 1080p cameras, up-scaling the video for display.

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Revolve Robotics Kubi: Telepresence Robot or PTZ mount?

kubi-telepresence-robot-holding-surface-proTablets are everywhere these days. In the early I’m morning often seen sitting on our front porch reading news on my Nexus 7.

I occasionally used both the Nexus 7 and an iPad to make video calls using Polycom RealPresence Mobile. I’ve even joined a Google Hangout from a tablet.

Tablets are not exactly video end-points. Holding them up in front of one’s self is tedious, especially for calls of any duration. Propping them up against things is unreliable and leads to unflattering camera angles.

Revolve Robotics hopes to improve this situation. They are about to ship their KUBI device, which is essentially a robotic PTZ mount for common tablets.

Perhaps “PTZ” is not quite appropriate since it normally means pan, tilt and zoom. Tablets don’t have zoom lenses, but KUBI does support rotation, making it perhaps a PTR mount?

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Sightdeck: High-End Compositing & Virtual Sets Meet Telepresence

SightDeck_AdMore and more it seems that things from long in my past are recurring in the present day. To give you some context, you should know that in the early ‘90s when I was working as an editor in video post-production I became very familiar with blue/green screen techniques.

At one point I was editing commercials for a large Canadian supermarket chain where the President was blue screen composited against close-up shots of the products. We made tremendous use of Ultimatte gear as well as Ampex’s Spectrakey.

Jump twenty years into the future when this I see that Telepresence Options is highlighting Sightdeck, a live presentation facility for telepresence applications. Sightdeck is from iMatte, a company created by the founders of Ultimatte. Warning, iMatte’s web site is a study in lame.

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Video Calling, Video Conferencing & Telepresence

Blackberry-Playbook-7-Inch-Tablet-Front-300px The  May 25th VUC call with the teams from RIM and Truphone was interesting. It’s great to hear that RIM is taking audio quality seriously as they go forward. I certainly hope that they get some traction with that strategy. As someone who has trumpeted the merits of HDVoice for a few years, any help to raise awareness of the benefits of improved audio quality is truly appreciated.

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A Ramble In Search Of A Topic: Podcasts, NAB, Convergence of Broadcast & IP Comms

three-podcastsAt this very moment I face a bit of a problem. What to write about? I have a lengthy list of ideas, notes and incomplete drafts. Oddly enough, none have any appeal at this very moment. Yet here I sit, on board a Jet Blue flight from Houston to New York…which is typically prime time for wordsmithing without distraction.

When I travel I tend to listen to podcasts. Often I’ll catch up on VUC calls that I’ve missed. Today I have a couple of episodes of Escape Pod and CBC Radio’s Spark on my phone. All three are favorites and well worth your time to give them a listen.

Like it not, my work is somewhat seasonal. This time of year we are consumed by the reality of the National Association of Broadcasters Annual Convention & Exposition, aka NAB 2011. NAB opens a week from today. Much of the coming weekend I will spend helping to get our booth ready for the show.

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Experiments With Vidyo

In recent weeks and months I’ve been giving some thought to making greater use of video within the scope of my work life. In part this is what what motivated my ill-fated attempt to get LifeSize to appear on a VUC call. It happens that others VUC contributors are considering such things as well.

Last week Paul Warmbowski was completing a trial of the Vidyo personal telepresence server. He offered several VUC regulars a chance to connect for a test call. The experience was both welcome and very interesting.

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