How hard is it to set up a single-camera videoconference, anyway?
Allow me, as the voice of experience, to tell you just how easy it is and just how hapless Team Biden is.
Four years ago, Bill Whittle, Scott Ott and I started a crash program to bring our Trifecta show from PJTV over to BillWhittle.com, since PJTV was going dark. The PJTV setup had been quite nice, effortless on our part, and very, very pricy. Even though we were spread across three states in different parts o the country, a great team of studio pros in Los Angeles took care of the tough stuff. All the three of us had to do was switch on a couple of lights, clip on a lapel mic, then sit down in our home studios in front of a very fancy Sony conference camera. The audio guy would check our audio levels, the director controlled the cameras remotely, and basically there was a whole team in LA making everything work smoothly.
So when I say that it was effortless, I mean that only because we had a team of hardworking pros making it look that way. But that’s all so 2009, when PJTV launched. When PJTV folded, we learned it doesn’t have to be that way. This stuff is so simple now that even I can do it.
When we got the news that PJTV was going dark, we three Trifecta amigos had about four days to figure out how to do all of this ourselves with whatever equipment we could scrounge up and zero budget. First though, we had to figure out how to do it: How to record three people remotely and then combine three separate streams into the three-panel show that we’d been doing together since 2009. The system we came up with in 2016 is the same system we’re using today, even though none of us had any experience with any of this.
Four days, three amateurs in three times zones, one long-running commentary program.
What I’m trying to say is, putting together a triple-stream videoconference for an audience of 153,000 is pretty dang easy — even when you have no money and barely a clue about what you’re doing or how to do it.
If you wanted to, for example, make a professional-looking livestream of a person speaking from behind a podium, I could get you up and running in minutes with about $300 worth of equipment purchases — or less if you live in a nice house and don’t need a green screen to create a digital backdrop of a nice house. Also, you have to bring your own podium because I don’t have one of those.
Just a dual lighting kit (with tripods!) for $160, a $40 tripod for the camera, a $25 lapel mic, and the 4K video camera built into my iPhone, a few minutes of setup time, and we’re good to go.
What’s that? You say your candidate is kind of an idiot and needs a teleprompter? No biggie. I’ve got an iPad and a $5 app for that. Have one of your campaign volunteers hold it up, and the app will auto-scroll the text by using the microphone to listen to your idiot candidate say the words.
An untrained monkey — that would be me — who just blew most of his paycheck stocking up at the grocery store after breakfast could get your guy up on Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube before lunch.
Just don’t tell any of this to Team Biden, or you might make them cry.
Biden tells reporters it took four days for his team to set up his live-stream capabilities in his Wilmington home's recreation room.
— brittany shepherd (@brittanys) March 25, 2020
Four days? What were they doing? Sanitizing each individual LED in the lighting kit with Q-Tips and a rare bottle of scotch?
Shepherd’s follow-up tweet notes that “Biden adds that he’s ‘finding out […] that the new technologies are quite effective.'”
Biden is finding out that it’s “quite effective” to have his people spend four days doing something not much more complicated than setting up a Tinder introduction video.
And did I forget to mention the part when Biden’s four-days-in-the-making videoconference went off without a hitch? Because it didn’t.
Did you see this yet? It’s 37 seconds worth of unexpurgated brain-freeze on the part of a candidate who had four days to prepare for a short address.
President @realDonaldTrump has unleashed an unprecedented response to combat the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, Joe Biden had a major brain freeze while speaking about the pandemic.@ericbeachgop, how can Biden be president if he can’t even give a speech without a teleprompter? pic.twitter.com/G9cFR4yzMA
— Ed Rollins (@EdRollins) March 24, 2020
It seemed unlikely on Monday when I first wrote about the nascent Draft Cuomo movement to put the New York governor at the top of the Dem ticket. But given Biden’s painfully obvious cognitive decline and now the equally obvious incompetence of his campaign staff, just four days later it doesn’t seem so outlandish, does it?