Tuvalu Feature

Web TV from Dot TV ...continued

The Actual Web Cam Broadcast

At 2.00pm, Funafuti time, the journalism lecture was getting underway at the University of Queensland, with over 350 first year students settling down in the large lecture theatre.

Steve Danieletto was seated at the front, underneath the large screen, while Prof Bromley began proceedings.

Dr Hayes, now dressed in his UQ 'Thinking Journalism' T-shirt, wearing two Tuvaluan shell necklaces bought that morning from a stall at the airport, and holding a husked coconut - called 'props' in television - kept an anxious eye on the laptop screen to get Steve's text cue, and was acutely alert to any hiccups in the Windows Media Encoder software, now encoding the vision and sound from the camera pointed at him and sending the raw data stream back to Brisbane.

Behind him, Bennet Simeone worked away, having already set up the 'Dump Every Other User' codes into his server computer ready to execute on Mark's call.

Opet also went about his business, an ear on proceedings outside his office.

Skype seemed to be behaving itself now.

Assuming a 12.30pm Brisbane, 2.30pm Funafuti precise start for the broadcast, Mark called folks at the Real .TV together to gather around behind him and around Ben, standing close together to be seen by the camera's lens and on the LCD monitor.

Staff at the Real .TV with Dr Mark Hayes as the Web Cam Broadcast was underway. 12.35pm Brisbane time, 2.35pm Tuvalu time, Monday, February 27, 2006. He later had the coconut for his late lunch.

"And with his T-shirt on thered And he sent us this from Tuvalu" - Prof Bromley starts showing the Google Earth sequence - "We are there, in that horrible building. And Steven's going to hold my hand." - The screen shows the zoom up and out - "And he's out in the Pacific, a couple of thousand kilometres away, out here on Funafuti Atoll."

"And he's there because there is a big high tide tomorrow, at about three o'clock tomorrow our time, which is gonna cover most of the island. So the one thousand something people who live there are either going to get very wetd."

Mark was also floor managing at .TV.

"Heads Up, Folks!" Mark said loudly to quiet the office.

"Stand by! We're almost On from Brisbane!"

Here is the transcript of the actual Skype text chat between Steve Danieletto and Mark Hayes as Steve counted Mark down:

[27/02/2006 12:29:43 PM] Steven R.J. Dani... says: READY TO GO??

[27/02/2006 12:29:58 PM] Steven R.J. Dani... says: NOT YET

[27/02/2006 12:30:00 PM] Steven R.J. Dani... says: READY!

[27/02/2006 12:30:33 PM] Steven R.J. Dani... says: talk to me

[27/02/2006 12:31:35 PM] Steven R.J. Dani... says: talk

[27/02/2006 12:31:56 PM] Steven R.J. Dani... says: 20 seconds

[27/02/2006 12:32:28 PM] Steven R.J. Dani... says: 30 seconds

[27/02/2006 12:32:41 PM] Steven R.J. Dani... says: CAN YOU SEE ME>?

[27/02/2006 12:32:45 PM] Steven R.J. Dani... says: HELLO?

[27/02/2006 12:32:48 PM] Steven R.J. Dani... says: READY

[27/02/2006 12:32:52 PM] Dr Mark Hayes says: Yes

[27/02/2006 12:32:56 PM] Steven R.J. Dani... says: great

[27/02/2006 12:32:58 PM] Steven R.J. Dani... says: almost

[27/02/2006 12:33:02 PM] Steven R.J. Dani... says: lost you for a sec

[27/02/2006 12:33:16 PM] Steven R.J. Dani... says: Sit back and I'll count you in
"We were hoping to actually get through to him

[Prof Bromley hits the wrong control on his computer]

"With a bit of luck we'll actually be able to speak to Mark in Tuvalu if we can get this working."

[27/02/2006 12:33:28 PM] Steven R.J. Dani... says: 20

[27/02/2006 12:34:01 PM] Steven R.J. Dani... says: gp

"Hit it, Ben!"

Every other user was dumped off the Tuvalu InterNet Link and a prepared screen message was put up on their screens.

While the Web Cam Broadcast was underway, all other users of the tiny Tuvalu InterNet Link were dropped off the Link and they saw this message about Urgent System Maintence being necessary.

[27/02/2006 12:34:02 PM] Steven R.J. Dani... says: go

[27/02/2006 12:34:02 PM] Steven R.J. Dani... says: go

[27/02/2006 12:34:03 PM] Steven R.J. Dani... says: go

With a 15 second delay between Mark speaking to the camera in Tuvalu and the vision and sound being displayed on the huge screen and heard in the lecture theatre at the University of Queensland, Prof Bromley continued talking, noting a wave from Steve indicating Mark was starting to speak so far away.

In technical terms, Prof Bromley was padding like hell, fillingin time until an expected broadcasting event occurred.

"The reason why we're hooking up with him is to demonstrate that there are people on the staff of the School who still practice, journalism, do it at that kind of international level, and are doing it noticably. So he's actually out there practicing what we're going to get you to practice."

"Steven's going to tell me how to do this. Just click the mouse?"

"Gone back to [the Google Earth sequence showing where Dr Hayes actually is.]"

Laughter from the students.

"Now this might work. And you've got to deal with the technology. So sometimes it doesn't work. A very good friend of mine works for the BBC covered North Africa for many years, in the Balkans, South..."

VIDEO OF THE BROADCAST [Large file: 8mb]

Professor Michael Bromley addressing first year journalism and communications students at the University of Queensland, St Lucia campus, 12.30pm, Monday, February 27, 2006
Zooming into the campus using Google Earth to show where the lecture is taking place.
"The third member of the teaching team is Mark Hayes, who isn't here today because the lucky devil's actually in Tuvalu."
"Click here to Go Live to Funafuti Atoll, Tuvalu"

Dr Hayes suddenly appears on the huge screen.

"Talofa from Funafuti Atoll in Tuvalu," his voice interrupts, at almost broadcast radio quality, and image, certainly recognisable, with folks, obviously not Europeans, standing behind him, shell necklaces, and coconut in hand clearly visible.

"I'm about three and a half thousand kilometers to the north east of you folks and I'm here in the offices of the Real .TV here on Funafuti. So, from all my friends here at .TV, 'Talofa'!"

The 'Real .TV rent-a-crowd' all say "Talofa!" and wave.

Staff at the Real .TV say a friendly 'Talofa' to the students.

"It looks like they're having a good time here. But I'm over here for a very serious purpose. I'm reporting on the effects of global warming and sea level rise on this very tiny, very remote, tropical island country.

"We're in the middle of an extreme high tide season here.

"Yesterday, about 4.30 in the afternoon our time, sea water was seeping up at various places around the atoll, and we expect the same thing to happen later today.

"The highest high tides to hit this atoll country, are going to hit Tuvalu about 5.30 in the afternoon tomorrow our time, which is 3.30 in the afternoon your time..."

And so the broadcast proceeded, watched by over 350 very silent and very awed first year communications and journalism students.

"I'll see some of you in class towards the end of next week. So from all of us here on Funafuti Atoll in Tuvalu, 'Tofa'".

[27/02/2006 12:36:19 PM] Steven R.J. Dani... says: Thanks that was gear

[27/02/2006 12:36:23 PM] Steven R.J. Dani... says: GREAT!!

[27/02/2006 12:36:25 PM] Steven R.J. Dani... says: and over

[27/02/2006 12:36:26 PM] Steven R.J. Dani... says: off the air

[27/02/2006 12:36:39 PM] Steven R.J. Dani... says: Wow! it worked

[27/02/2006 12:36:40 PM] Dr Mark Hayes says: What';s the reaction down there?

[27/02/2006 12:36:55 PM] Steven R.J. Dani... says: from me. a sigh! from everyone else. chatter

[27/02/2006 12:37:03 PM] Dr Mark Hayes says: Blew them away?

[27/02/2006 12:37:15 PM] Steven R.J. Dani... says: Pretty spun out!

[27/02/2006 12:37:34 PM] Dr Mark Hayes says: I hope they realised how far away this place is

[27/02/2006 12:37:57 PM] Steven R.J. Dani... says: the live factor could have been more hyped but it went great. Perfectly timed intro!

[27/02/2006 12:38:45 PM] Steven R.J. Dani... says: Wel down and Thanks Opet! Big thanks Opet!!

[27/02/2006 12:38:53 PM] Steven R.J. Dani... says: and everyone else who helped

[27/02/2006 12:38:58 PM] Steven R.J. Dani... says: Thanks Rent-a-crowd

[27/02/2006 12:39:08 PM] Dr Mark Hayes says: Fakafeti lasi lasi to you too...Bloody Well Done!

[27/02/2006 12:39:14 PM] Steven R.J. Dani... says: I'm signing off

[27/02/2006 12:40:15 PM] Dr Mark Hayes says: 'Tofa from Funafuti Atoll

"That was fun," Bennet Simeona said after the broadcast. "I'd like to see the Brisbane end of it sometime."

"It was great working with Steve on this," Opet added. "We'd thought of trying something like it, but when Meleko suggested it, and we worked on it, we learned a lot from it."

"This taught us in the technical side of the School how we can do this kind of thing in the future," a relieved Steve Danieletto later said. "It'll be a lot simpler next time."

"For the academic staff, they know something like this is now possible, and another technological feat is within our easy grasp.

"The students got a first hand look at journalism and basically shows them how it can be done.

"There was quite a bit of luck in there, but we were also on top of it, got everything right, so it worked. The only thing that could have stopped us was the network going down in Funafuti or something.

"We could do it again flawlessly," Steve said.

"I kind of expected [Dr Hayes] to appear on the screen," Prof Bromley said.

"I thought it looked good. I thought it looked exactly like that kind of communication should look like.

"It wasn't overly polished, it wasn't carefully manicured. But it wasn't terrible and you didn't have to squint to see it. A good, edgy balance of the Real and the There and Now," he said.

Dr Harrison witnessed the Web Cam Broadcast in the lecture theatre at the University of Queensland.

"It was quite stunning," he said. "A tremendous example of how practice, technology, and scholarship can be brought to bear in a teaching situation to make all the dry theory come fully alive, in Real Time, demonstrating how this kind of thing actually occurs.

"It was even better that the broadcast came from one of the School's tutors, literally Out There, doing journalism, reporting from the front lines of a major world story, the effects of global warming, in Australia's Pacific back yard," Dr Harrison said.

"The folks at the Real .TV were just great to work with on this," Dr Hayes said. "It was Total Cooperation from beginning to end. I tried hard not to foul up any of their normal operations, and work this experiment into their systems with no grief to anybody.

"You don't want to do this kind of thing everyday, though some really big universities do it a lot with their external students. But Tuvalu and the Real .TV are extremely small, and, compared to most other places, they have very little technology.

"But it shows what you can do with committment, good technical knowledge and back-up, and a lot of ingenuity to wring every bit of value out of what gear you've got," he said.

"We all got a great buzz out of doing it, and I hope we didn't over-awe the students because this is the kind of thing they'll have to be able to do, almost routinely, when they become communications workers or journalists," he said.

After the broadcast, Dr Hayes did eventually drink the milk and eat the meat from coconut he was holding as a belated lunch.

And then he had to get back to being a journalist and report on the extreme high tide which hit Funafuti Atoll later that Monday afternoon, February 27, 2006.


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