So after digging in on the streaming for Reclaim Karaoke Tuesday night, I turned to preparing a discussion about Mario Bava’s seminal giallo film The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1963). That discussion happened last night, and it was streamed all the way from a basement in Trento, Italy to a classroom in San Juan, Puerto Rico—the internet still amazes me! Paul Bond and I have collaborated on a couple of sessions for Antonio Vantaggiato‘s Italian Cinema and Culture class back in May of 2020 and 2021. In May of 2020 the Pandemic was still relatively young, and I had just started experimenting with streaming in earnest, so doing that session with Paul for Antonio’s class was a bit of a trainwreck.
Discussion of Bava’s Evil Eye with Paul Bond back in May of 2020
Despite quite a few issues, I think we got our point across. In that session we discussed the U.S. cut of Mario Bava’s The Girl Who Knew Too Much titled Evil Eye, and you can read all about that session in both mine and Paul’s follow-up posts.
In 2021 we changed it up for the course visit and discussed Mario Bava’s adaptation of the comic Diabolik in his 1968 film Danger: Diabolik. Again, there’s a blog re-cap of that session, but the real break-through for me with that session was upping my streaming game from the previous year’s disaster.
In fact, that’s a good segue into last night’s session because there were a few things different from 2021, most noticeably Paul Bond’s absence. That was entirely on me given I didn’t allow enough time to prepare given relatively short notice, but I’ll fix that next time as he was sorely missed. Another new element is that I used PeerTube to provide a livestream of the introduction, that immediately after the class ended became an instant archive for the talk. I was able to stream both my introduction as well as the entire film for the class in Puerto Rico from my Italian basement, it’s like they were really watching an Italian film from Italy 🙂 probably the best news was that the stream proved quite solid throughout, there was a glitch on the Puerto Rico side a few minutes before the end of the film, but they were able to wait until the stream ended and then published to go back and finish it, which is pretty awesome.
And finally, I think my ability to produce the stream on-the-fly was lightyears beyond my attempt in 2020. And while the 2021 iteration went pretty well overall—especially the addition of OBS Ninja to bring Paul in—I had yet to really play with OBS Studio’s features, which allows for previewing scenes before switching them, which made a huge difference. I really just have to dial-in my green screen and get the Streamdeck programmed in time and I’ll be off to the races given I could have removed myself from the video clips sooner than I did with my current setup, but again it all worked remarkably well considering who was running it!
It still blows my mind that I was simultaneously producing and live streaming an hour-long intro to Mario Bava’s The Girl Who Knew Too Much to a classroom halfway around the world, and then was able to stream the entire film for them seconds later. It was almost quicker than inserting a DVD. All of this made possible by a personal video platform, bava.tv (powered by PeerTube running on Reclaim Cloud). It’s pretty amazing how far all this tech has come, and I really love playing with it for something like this, so thank you Antonio for letting me experiment so wildly and being so cool year after year. You rule!
And while we did use Zoom to connect, in the end it was somewhat unnecessary given there was no camera on the students and there was no easy way to read the room or interact. The other part of this experience that would make it even better would ensuring the room had a camera on the audience with its own IP address that I could feed into something like OBS Ninja or an ATEM Mini or VLC in order to provide a real sense of interaction. In fact, from my point-of-view having people remotely join Zoom in previous years’ sessions was better than me talking to a room full of people I couldn’t see. That’s the real trick of doing a hybrid presentations/events like this, having a visual of the room and the attendees for remote presenters so there’s a mutual feeling of connection.
Some other streaming notes, I used VLC to create a playlist of clips to talk about during the introduction. I had to remember to pull the audio feed from VLC into OBS through Loopback. Once I resolved that it all worked a treat. I also had Zoom as a source in Loopback to pick up Antonio and the class for the stream. Having separate video and audio for Antonio and the students would have been the cherry on top.
I did finally get Handbrake to make the english subtitles available on the ripped DVD, but it was unnecessarily frustrating. So to avoid future struggles, I’m going to record my solution. I found that selecting a .mkv formatted video with the subtitles track having only “Default” selected was the only combination that worked.
All in all I’m happy with how the production came together technically. There is still more to do, but this signaled progress for me. As for my introduction to the film, well that might be worth another blog post, but suffice to say I’m pretty good at getting excited about Mario Bava then parroting what others smarter than me have said to back some of those emotions up adequately 🙂 I mean this is a “b” blog after all.