Technical preparations and ‘LIVE’ stream hiccups!

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We are really busy now testing our tech and packing the bags ready for departure next week to the Amazon rainforest.

Whilst we are preparing we are running a few tests on the video feeds and the satellite equipment that will help us to keep in contact. This means there are occasional hiccups with alerts (which seemed to happen early this morning) when our systems sent a few alerts out that we were live. We think we have now killed that bug, but will be testing again later. Sorry for the inconvenience if you have received alerts in error – we will get this settled very soon.

We have been asked what ‘LIVE’ means with regards to video. We are all used to 4G and broadband speeds at home for watching video and surfing the web. When using a satellite it is a bit like stepping back to 1984 with one system and 1990 with the other in terms of speed. Our Iridium system runs at 2.5k (our broadband in the gallery runs to 300,000k) and it allows us to post text updates to the blog with compressed images, send and receive emails, make calls and SMS messages and post text updates to twitter which is great – but not video. The second system we have runs a little faster at 300k and will allow us to upload video which will be edited highlights of the day which will then be streamed ‘LIVE’ at 9.05am UK time each morning from June 6th if all is going to plan. Before June 5th we may be able to send a few ad-hoc video messages out during our travels.

The streams will appear to be live on YouTube and Facebook and will actually be live as far as those platforms are concerned, but will contain edited footage and will be 99% compressed video and sound. It does work but the quality is a bit lumpy so please see that as a way of getting into the remoteness of our location.

On our return to the UK will be able to publish and release high-resolution images and footage, but the compressed ‘LIVE’ streams should create a real sense of being part of our adventure and we hope to answer questions in those videos too so if your school wants a shout out in the videos do let us know and do ask questions via our online form.

That’s it for now but I’ll be back soon,

John.