If you're going to be a guest on Kink On Tap, here's how to make sure your experience is fun and high-quality. This page is designed to ensure that everything goes smoothly on your end.
By the by, you're also welcome to nominate other people to be guests, but please have a look at our Kink On Tap Guests spreadsheet to see if they've already been suggested.
Important notes Edit
- Most conversations are recorded using Skype and then streamed to a live webcast audience at live.kinkontap.com.
- Your entire conversation will be broadcast live to the audience, from the time you say hello until you say goodbye.
- Typically, a show lasts for about an hour. It's a good idea to devote at least 1 and a half hours for the show so that you can set yourself up properly and stay to chat with viewers for a few minutes after you say goodbye.
- We do very little editing, so almost everything you say will go into the "final" version of the show, edited in post production and released a day or two later.
- We're not governed by any broadcasting organization, and we're not going to bleep out foul language, but please remain civil and respectable while you're on air.
- You will be tempted to watch our live stream while you are on the show. This is a mistake you will likely regret, because it will harm the quality of your audio and video.
- You will enjoy participating in our chat during the show. Find it at chat.kinkontap.com.
- We love your ideas! We invited you to be a guest so that we can listen to you speak. :) Please feel free to interject with ideas you come up with. You're not winging it more than we are, even if you haven't read the topics at all, and if you have anything to say about what comes up in the conversation, we want to hear it.
In order to be a guest on the show:
- Maymay invites you to be on the show. Alternatively, you can reach out to Maymay and request to appear as a guest. The best way to do so is to write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- You get scheduled to appear on the show at a specific time. (See the Schedule for details.)
- You connect with maymay over Skype for a 10 minute audio check.
- You go on as scheduled. Have fun!
Equipment you will need Edit
- A Skype and/or a UStream.tv account (both options are free).
- A headset for teleconferencing. Inexpensive ones can be acquired from your local department store. Use your built-in computer microphone only as a last resort. See the #Tips section, below, for additional recommendations.
- Although ultimately optional, a video camera is also useful. Your computer's built-in camera (if it has one), will almost certainly suffice. Since all shows are broadcast live, if we can get video from you all's the better.
Kink On Tap is a way to find and spread news and other interesting things about sexuality and its intersection with all other aspects of life. Curating topics ahead of time gives us a rich pool of content from which we can draw. But don't think of these as an agenda or a script. Instead, think of them as conversation fodder. We're not a cable news network, after all. We have way more fun than that!
- Topics are posted in advance either on the show notes pages for the upcoming episode on this wiki or on Delicious.com. If there's nothing on this wiki, the topics can be found at http://delicious.com/kinkontap/### (with ### being a number such as 81, so it would look like this: http://delicious.com/kinkontap/81). To find out the episode number, visit the Kink On Tap episodes listing and add 1 to the previous week's episode number.
- Maymay usually updates the final version of these topics a few minutes before the show.
- Some Delicious tags are used for specific purposes, to help us organize the pool of topics further. (You don't have to know or care about this unless you want to.)
- You can suggest your own topics on Delicious by tagging a bookmark as "KinkOnTap". Doing so adds your suggested topic to our Community links feed.
- Feel free to change topics or run with whatever springs into your mind during the show. We like banter.
During a netcast, there's at least one chat room conversation happening. Feel free to join in and participate with live viewers. This is what makes Kink On Tap so much fun to be a part of! That said, try not to get too sucked into the chat room, because everyone would strongly prefer to hear you speak than listen to you type. ;)
- Kink On Tap Chat - The chat room interface for guest panelists.
- On the top, you'll be able to monitor the UStream chat room (which we don't often pay attention to). You'll need to sign up for a (free) account if you haven't yet done so to use this one.
- On the bottom, you'll be able to participate in the Speeqe chat room. To give yourself a name other than your randomly assigned one, type
/nick YourName, where YourName is the nickname you'd like to be known as in the chat room.
The primary method of communicating on Kink On Tap is through Skype. Skype is available on Windows, Mac OS X and *NIX, although the Windows version tends to be the most up to date. Don't install the Skype browser add-ons, as they are annoying (but harmless) to your browsing experience.
Make sure to have a good Internet connection and test Skype quality prior to your appearance. If you are able to, you may improve Skype call quality by setting a fixed port and enabling port forwarding on your router. (If not, don't fret. It'll be just fine.)
If you are appearing one-on-one, it's nice to send video in addition to audio to improve the experience for Kink On Tap Live viewers but, as you are recording an audio podcast, remember not to rely on video to get your point across. Position your camera so that you'll be looking into it most of the time when you're speaking. Speak clearly and with ample volume, as though you were speaking to a friend across a dinner table. Ideally, situate yourself in a room without much echo and few background noises.
If possible, use headphones to listen to the received audio as it will improve the recording quality and cut down on the possibility of echoes. Again, a headset makes this simple. Make sure that you are using the best microphone you have access to and that the outbound microphone volume level is set appropriately both in your computer OS and within Skype. Skype also has its own internal setting for audio input. If you're unsure what microphone is selected, check the "Sound In" device in Options→"Sound Devices" or call the Skype echo testing service (Skype username echo123) and tap the microphone.
Here are some tips to make sure that the audio and video quality you send will be the highest quality you can get.
It is extremely important that you use a wired ethernet cable to connect to the Internet if at all possible. Although you may not notice any interruption in your Internet experience when you're connected wirelessly via Wi-Fi, we promise you, you are likely to drop out at least once during the show if you do not plug into your router or cable modem directly using a cable.
If you do drop out, don't call us back, we'll call you. Just stay on Skype and wait for Maymay to re-add you to the conference call. Sometimes, after a disconnection, Skype will refuse to allow you to rejoin the conference call, and you may need to quit and re-open the application in order for it to work again.
Again, this can mostly be avoided simply by using a wired ethernet cable to connect your computer to the network. :)
Setup tips Edit
For the best audio setup:
- Make sure you have the latest version of Skype. For Macs, it's Skype → Check for Update.
- You do not need a professional audio/video setup to be on Kink On Tap. (Of course if you do, congratulations—it should work even better.)
- USB headset: Most any one will do, but a popular choice is the Plantronics DSP400 Foldable Multimedia Headset. It's portable and reliable. Another great option is Plantronics .Audio 655 USB Multimedia Headset. We've also found that USB headsets without foam covering on their microphones often don't sound as good as the ones that do. (USB headset does not mean a headset with two connectors that look the same as those for iPod headphones. It means that it is plugged into your computer via the USB port.)
- Again, please do not use the built-in laptop microphone if at all possible. This is only for use if we have exhausted all other options. If the laptop mic must be used, then find some iPhone/iPod headphones and plug them in so you hear the audio through the headphones. This will prevent echo coming back into the Kink On Tap studio mix.
- The newest Mac laptops do support the microphone from the new iPhone headphones, but it's not much better than a laptop mic.
For the best video setup, your options are:
- Built-in camera: If you have a new computer, chances are it has a built-in webcam. That should be sufficient.
- External webcam: This is okay, too.
- Firewire-connected DV camera (or even HD). If you have it, go for it.
Since Kink On Tap is an Internet broadcast, anything you can do to increase your available bandwidth will help us get a better quality recording.
- Plug your computer directly into a wired Ethernet connection rather than use Wi-Fi, please. You will have a much greater likelihood of looking and sounding good if you do this. Also, if you have to reconnect to the wireless network multiple times it will disrupt the live show and increase the amount of editing needed.
- Are you using your home network? If so, ask others on your network not to watch you on live.KinkOnTap.com as it can kill your bandwidth. Also ask them not to watch YouTube or download stuff from BitTorrent or iTunes. No, really—it makes a difference!
Tips for minimizing noise Edit
Even a little bit of noise or audio feedback can make it difficult to listen to you when you're on air, so please do whatever it takes to minimize the possibility of creating noise. Here's a couple things you can try to do that:
- Headset feedback: It's possible that there could be feedback from your headset cable. You will not hear this, but Maymay and the other panelists will. Try calling echo123 on Skype and testing your audio for a few minutes. If you hear the feedback (sounds sort of like a tapping pencil), then you will need to sit on any slack in the headset's cord to prevent it from making the noise.
- Which USB port? We've found that when using a laptop, it's best to use the USB port nearest you (furthest from the screen), as it usually has the least power/interference issues.
- Multiple USB ports: You will want to make sure the webcam and USB headset are plugged directly into the USB ports, not through a hub.
- Will your office-mate or family member be shouting nearby? Close the door and put a sign on it that says: "Shhhh! Business phone call in progress. Please don't come in before X o'clock."
Skype tips Edit
We use the free version of Skype for the show, and so can you.
- Always make sure you have the latest version of Skype.
- Skype audio:
- Skype overwrites your computer system's audio and video settings. And these settings usually need to be re-set each time you plug in your headset. On a Mac, go to Skype → Preferences → Audio and select your USB headset for "Audio output" and "Audio input." Leave the "Ringing" setting to your built-in speakers (so you can hear it ringing if you've stepped away from your computer). In Windows, go to Tools → Options → Audio Settings. There you will be able to select your USB headset for Microphone and Speakers, but leave "Ringing" set to "Windows default device."
- When restarting Skype, call the Skype sound check service by calling "echo123" and testing your audio with "the Skype lady." Tap your headset's microphone to make sure the audio is coming from that source. If your audio sounds hollow or has an echo, then your audio is coming from the laptop microphone.
- Unplug any headsets or earphones plugged into the computer that you're not using. They may conflict with one another. And you only need one set, anyway.
- Skype video:
- The Skype video settings usually need to be re-set each time you plug in your headset, just like the audio settings.
- On a Mac, go to Skype → Preferences → Video and select your "Built-in iSight." Check "Enable Skype Video" and "Automatically receive video from: People in my Contact List." When connected with maymay, click the teeny-tiny button that looks like the profile of a video camera to begin sending video over the Skype call.
- In Windows, go to Tools → Options → Video Settings. Select your webcam. Check "Enable Skype Video" and "Automatically receive video from: People in my Contact List." When connected with maymay, click the teeny-tiny button that looks like the profile of a video camera to begin sending video over the Skype call.
- If you get disconnected from the Skype conference call during the show, send a text chat to the conference call host (typically Maymay). Do not try calling back—you will be unable to reconnect to the conference. Instead, wait to be re-added by the host.
General video tips Edit
- Feel free to point your friends to live.KinkOnTap.com, but don't watch it while you're on as the delay will confuse you and the bandwidth you're using looking at yourself can harm the quality of the audio and video you're sending us.
- Check to see how you look by using Skype Video settings; there's a preview window right in the Skype preferences window.
- Consider your camera. Most built-in webcams are plenty good for our purposes, but if you are purchasing an external camera, you might try something like the Logitech Webcam Pro 9000. Make sure the camera is compatible with your system as some are OS-specific. For a little more money, an external DV camera with Firewire connection is also a good choice. Even with these external cameras, you'll still want to use the headset microphone.
- Consider your lighting. Please have a stronger light in your face than you do at your back, so you won't be backlit. If you have a pretty view behind you you'd like to show off in the shot, make sure you have at least two strong lights pointing right at your face. Yes, it's bright, but it can only make you look even more beautiful in the shot. :)
- Frame the image well. Usually the best way is to have your head almost touching the top of the frame, and your head be in the top three-fifths of the frame and your chest the bottom two-fifths (enough to put your name in the "lower third" of the screen). And please, put the webcam just at the top of the monitor you are going to be using, so you're pointing right at it as you're on your computer. No sideways views, please.
- Enable video automatically. Don't wait to be asked to send video. The conversation will begin right away—make sure you're sending video.
Source references and credits Edit
This guide was originally pulled from How To Be a Guest on TWiT.tv and modified to apply to Kink On Tap's setup.