Sunday, 29 August 2010

Them missing seminars

Last year we managed to get all but two seminars uploaded quickly after the event. This year we are not as good as last time.

We now have 11 seminars uploaded to our Assembly Summer 2010 ARTtech seminars channel on Vimeo. This leaves 8 seminars to go. The following six still need editing, but exist on hard disk and will be uploaded in the near future as time allows:
  • Electronic Frontier Foundation, The Pirate Bay, Magnatune, Flattr
  • Year of Demos - a look back at the best demos since ASSEMBLY Summer 2009
  • Creative on my platform
  • Webcam stories
  • Using and abusing Renoise as a demosequencer
  • Demoscene documentary - never forget
For the first two seminars missing from this list, "Storytelling with minimal hardware" and "Demo programming for beginners", we are very sorry to say that they will not be published due to a technical error when recording them. The recordings have no audio and thus can't be used. We do record both to HDD and to tape, but in this case both recordings have the same failure. This is unfortunately the kind of thing that can happen when setting up our systems and wasn't noticed in time.

Fortunately the "Demo programming for beginners" session was also held in 2008 and 2009 and we have the 2009 recording available. The session probably wasn't exactly the same each year, but the key content should be similar. As to visy's session we can only apologise again.

Finally some people may actually also be interested in our programs and especially the compo studios. Most of these are just fine and actually encoded. I have simply been too busy/lazy to upload them to Vimeo, so here is a link for the meantime. The link leads to our holding directory, which isn't too pretty and some of the videos there may not even work, so use it at your own peril. Additionally the executable music, graphics, 4k intro and 64k intro studios were not correctly recorded to tape and need to be pieced together from our backup stream reference file. This should be doable, but we haven't quite worked out the details yet.

Finally I would like to remind everyone that our Vimeo and Youtube accounts are set up to tweet all new videos via the AsssemblyTV Twitter account. This or subscribing to us directly on Vimeo or Youtube is a good way to receive immediate notifications of new uploads. We generally upload compos to Youtube and other stuff to Vimeo due to Youtube's length restrictions and Vimeo's weekly upload limits.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Arkistojen aarteita suomeksi

AssemblyTV:n arkistosta löytyy runsaasti materiaalia myös suomeksi. Toimitettuja ohjelmia on jopa enemmän suomeksi kuin englanniksi. Kaappaus- ja lajittelutyö on vielä pahasti kesken, mutta seuraavassa muutama näyte.
Mika Salo on AssemblyTV:n tunnetuimpia toimittajia kautta aikain. Ensimmäisessä videossa tämä supliikin mestari esittelee ircin vaaroja. Jälkimmäisessä videossa on vuorossa fish & chipsin laittaminen Good Morning Assemblyssä vuonna 2001. Fish & chipsissä on mukana myös mainio Annina Lyly. Video päättyy valitettavasti hiukan kesken tallennusvaiheessa tehdyn virheen takia.


Vuonna 1999 lähetys kulki vielä nimellä AsmTV ja toimi varsin vapaamuotoisesti. Tässä yhteydessä tehtiin onnistuneen oloinen reportaasi myös epävirallisesta Boozembly-varjotoiminnasta Messukeskuksen kulmilla Käpylän urheilupuistossa. Tapahtumahan järjestettiin jo tässä vaiheessa varsin kaukana Hartwall Areenalla.

The AssemblyTV tape archives

For many years AssemblyTV was mostly made using MiniDV equipment. Programs were shot, edited and mastered onto tapes. Reference recordings of whole broadcasts were made in parallel on VHS and MiniDV. All this adds up to a lot of tapes. The photo below should give you an idea.
On the left are three years of VHS reference tapes (2000, 2008 and 2009). They used to be a cheap way to get a full copy of the broadcast in a format suitable for home viewing. Keeping a copy for three months is a legal requirement for broadcasts in Finland. Quality is awful of course and the tapes take a lot of space, so we probably won't keep these for much longer. We also won't make any more VHS reference recordings because people don't have recorders at home any more.

The two piles in the middle are MiniDV from 1999 to summer 2009 with a few copies of old S-VHS tapes from 1994 thrown in for good measure. The second photo shows the top level of the 2003 box with master tapes for edited programs. The lower level contains the reference copies of the whole broadcast except for some bits when the person changing tapes wasn't paying attention (ahem).
The final pile has compo tapes at the bottom, seminar tapes in the blue boxes and junk in the yellow boxes. This junk includes some old S-VHS tapes from 1994 an 1999. We think we have MiniDV copies of these, but need to check before we get rid of them.

We are generating less tapes now as edited programs and compos are handled purely on solid state and hard disks. The seminars and live material are still recorded onto disk and tape in parallel which has saved us from a few catastrophies. The reference recording is also still on MiniDV because long disk recordings tend to have the video and audio out of sync and files with acceptable quality are rather big. We also have a lot of MiniDV tapes which have only been used once. We hope that disk storage will be reliable by the time we run out of these.

What's in this for you then? After sorting the tapes, Aketzu has been capturing material in bulk. It will take us time to get it all sorted and identify useful programs, but I have uploaded a couple of old clips start. During the event or soon after we hope to get an almost complete listing of viewable compo entries from the last ten years and more online.

The first video is a relatively rarely seen demo from Moppi Productions. Jalousie only finished 12th in the Assembly 2004 demo compo and it seems obviously incomplete. A final version was never published. I'm publishing Jalousie here, because it offers just a little bit more of the weird Moppi aesthetic familiar from demos like gerbera, which I really like. Think of it as a rare B-side.

The second video is an episode of the Finnish for Foreigners series made for Assembly 2001. It was taken from the Good Morning Assembly show and thus has a short introduction in Finnish, but the actual program is in English. The program features AssemblyTV's probably greatest comedian Mika Salo (not the ex F1 driver). His best material is in Finnish and I will post some of that later in a Finnish post.

I hope you enjoy these. We've got some hacking and maybe a post in Finnish planned for today. Tomorrow we'll move to the arena and should start posting some progress reports and photos of the construction.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Here we go again

Assembly Summer 2010 is a approaching fast and so is AssemblyTV. It is time to break the silence.

As always we have been too busy to update our website much, but preparations have been underway for quite some time. Meetings have been held, plans have been drawn and saunas have been heated. A week from now on Monday our technical crew will have finished a long day of packing and on the next day we will move into the venue and start construction. I've been doing this for over ten years, but I'm starting to feel a bit excited.

The broadcast starts on Thursday the 5th of August at 12.00 Finnish time (EEST, UTC+3). Once again AssemblyTV will feature extensive live coverage of the event as well as a host of our own TV programs both on the Internet and on the Welho cable network. We will keep our most popular programs and also introduce some interesting new ideas. Our content team should fill you in on their plans in this space before the broadcast starts.

In addition to the main channel we will provide separate streams for the seminars and gaming competitions. All of our web streams can be viewed directly in your web browser as Flash Video or in a standalone RTSP compatible player such as VLC. We will provide several bitrates and resolutions to suit different connection speeds and will also provide 3GPP compatible mobile streams. We cannot promise iPhone HTTP versions yet, but we are working on them.

More precise viewing instructions and an outline schedule based on the party schedule will be added next week. We will also be posting more updates and a few surprises during the coming days. As a first teaser, here is a little clip which we used to promote Assembly 2k ten years ago. Brings back a few memories.