I’m starting to get back into the stream of things after a month of seemingly non-stop blogging. This week I returned to both Reclaim Karaoke and playing a docent on the internet. Doing karaoke on the internet is something I’ve been returning to on-and-off for over a decade now. When I
find make some time to do it, it’s really a joy. Luckily Chahira Nouira shares that passion, and we also share a time zone, so she’s been a go-to for karaoke. What’s more, we have finally decided to try and make these sessions a bit more regularly on Wednesday night’s at 9:00 PM CET.
We had our first test of things earlier this week, and as usual with me it was a bit of a mess. But hope springs eternal, and I believe we’re zeroing in on a workable solution. The issue this go around was that we did not have a paid Zoom account, so just as we started getting going around 30 minutes in we had to change gears. The upside of Zoom for Karaoke is they have audio options to turn-off any sound cancellation or automatic adjustments, which is a requirement for doing karaoke online. Once we got kicked out of Zoom for over-extending our 40 minute welcome, we tested karaoke in Whereby—which we do have subscription for. Unfortunately Whereby seems to automatically adjust for competing noises (the karaoke video shared from from YouTube and the singer’s voice), which makes for a less than ideal experience. Given I am doing the streaming I can bypass that compression through the video conferencing app, but anyone who joins to sing will not have that luxury.
So, what did I figure out? That Zoom is still the best bet and I may have to bite the bullet there, but before I do I want to re-visit trying Karaoke in both Streamyard and Jitsi one more time. We have a Streamyard subscription that we use extensively for Reclaim EdTech, and I love how that app manages pre-defined templates; offers a muted waiting area; integrates YouTube live streams; and provides behind-the-scenes chat. It really would be ideal if it could manage sound for musicians like Zoom. And after testing while mid blog post I can confirm it does work quite well! The YouTube videos come in strong, so you have to manage the audio there, but other than that there’s no automatic level adjustments!
Now the other test will be Jitsi, which I can spin up on Reclaim Cloud to test the latest version. When Jitsi works, it works well, but we’ve seen issues with it being a bit demanding for folks with under-powered computers, given it can be a resource hog—we’ll see.
The other piece worth noting in the Karaoke saga is that streaming on PeerTube has been working seamlessly. I like this because I’m worried YouTube will ding us for streaming copyrighted music, even if the karaoke videos we use is from YouTube—they all always are. So knowing we have a more than viable alternative for streaming with PeerTube that offers a constant live URL, integrated chat, an instant archive, etc. is pretty exciting.
I’m currently working out how to setup the Reclaim Karaoke PeerTube instance in relationship to the main domain. Leaning towards making the reclaimkaraoke.com a clone of the Reclaim EdTech watch site, which is itself a reprisal of the OERxDomains21 Discord/YouTube integration. I just need to see how/if we can embed a PeerTube live stream instead of YouTube live streams just as easily.
The other piece will be creating a Reclaim Karaoke channel in Reclaim Hosting’s Discord server where live chat for these sessions can happen. While I like that PeerTube and YouTube have chat built-in, a pre-vetted chat for a streaming karaoke session seems more sensible. What’s more, we can share the video conferencing link in that channel for folks to jump in and sing without the same concern of sharing it on other networks.
ds106radio stream of Reclaim Karaoke testing
Oh yeah, and by the way the entire Reclaim Karaoke testing session was also x-cast to ds106radio, and there were no interruptions by pesky apps that cut you off after 40 minutes. So the whole session was both streamed and archive in its entirety there.