I am currently experimenting with using skype video calls for a new show called People2People, “the show where citizen journalists talk to other citizen journalists around the world”. It gives a really exciting opportunity for eye-witness reportage by a method which is technically fairly straightforward.
We are aiming to upload these shows directly, without editing, because skype is low quality to begin with, and another compression should therefore be avoided.
We’re using Supertintin Recorder, which allows you to record skype in avi format. So far I have recorded 640 x 480 pixels, which produces a reasonable quality image (23mb for 5 mins – would be better if it was twice that – but it says it’s recording a video bitrate of 2300 kbps, which is lots – next I will try the higher pixels setting to see what effect that has on picture quality).
I like the fact that Supertintin has a 5 minute limit in the free version, because that’s plenty long enough for a watchable skype show. Really it is! Almost all talk shows on the internet are far too long….
The software also allows you to set both the position and the size of the interviewer’s picture-in-picture.
For cutting from interview to video or stills, we are using skype’s sharing option. The main problem with this is the slowness of the changeover of picture, with some freezing of the talking heads occurring and so forth. We may be able to get quciker at this, or do it more smoothly, with more practice. The important thing is to keep talking, and have no gaps while you wait for pictures!