Keep your eyes on StudioCam
By Dave Schwartz firstname.lastname@example.org
"What in the hell are you watching? Millions of web pages on the net and you end up here?" Let me just say HELL YEAH! The Internet has grown in leaps and bounds since I first logged on back in 1994. The world's creativity and imagination has come to cyberspace in ways that were never anticipated. The world has plugged in and no longer are you channel surfing with "100 channels and nothing on TV." Now it's 100 million web pages and endless content! With that given, this month we present to you StudioCam.
Typically we have featured non-performance interviews with local bands and entertainers in this column, so this is a bit of a departure for us.
Those of you aware of StudioCam and the work that they have been doing recognize that this is a deserved departure. Over the past year, Daniel Williams, Tamitha Story and a raft of DJs have put together Internet programming better than the characteristic nonsense so often found knocking on your monitor screen.
First some background for the uninitiated. StudioCam.org is an Internet-based business that specializes in live performance on the web. They feature bands and DJs in a variety of music genres. Programming includes live feed, as well as archived performances and is often scheduled months in advance. There are two studios are available, a large performance area used by bands and a smaller DJ booth with a blue screen.
StudioCam.org is the result of an unlikely pair. One toured for years as guitar tech for bands like Motorhead and Megadeth, the other is working on completing a Ph.D. in physics. Sometimes it just happens. You're doing something and then, suddenly, you're doing something else. It's a natural progression that leads you down this path, and because of that, you put your heart and soul into your work. Daniel and Tamitha know this first hand. They are the nucleus of StudioCam and, what started out as a simple Web cam intended to broadcast the occasional band rehearsal, has morphed into an on-line business servicing the Los Angeles area and broadcasting to the world. An accidental accomplishment or an intervention by the gods (at least the ones that surf the Web)? Let's find out.
From a Web cam to this, how the hell did that happen?
"We came up with the idea of putting up a Web cam and broadcasting our rehearsals. It was just something to do. Some friends were checking out the feed on the Internet and thought it was real cool," Tamitha replied.
"They came over one day and asked if we could put their band on the Web too. Suddenly, we were getting phone calls from other bands that had heard about what we started. It just grew from there."
And grow it did! It turns out that there is a real competition to be a part of StudioCam. What does this all mean to you? How about dancing pygmies on the blue screen and the DJ's waif girlfriend shaking her ass for the camera. How about some of the hottest area DJs mixing everything from trance to dance to house? How about Rebel Rebel in the big studio accidentally starting the carpet on fire and nearly burning the house down? Anything can happen and I guarantee that, given time, it will. Are there any limits to what can be found on Studio Cam?
"Yes, of course there are. We have already banned people from performing on our site." Tamitha related a story about one performance that became more than a little dangerous, "I really don't want to get into who they were or what they did, but the performance got way out of hand and because of that we decided not to allow that band back."
So really you have limited yourself to the bounds of good taste and safety. "Yes, exactly," replied Daniel. Several of the local bands feature performers in various states of undress. Do you allow nudity?
"Sex no. Nudity, well it would depend. We have not yet had anyone ask about getting naked. If it was within context of the performance and we knew in advance so we could post warnings, then I don't think we would have a problem."
I took a tour of their facility and was impressed with the amount of time and effort that Daniel and Tamitha have put into StudioCam. They continue to purchase top of the line equipment and build on what is already an impressive foundation. I asked Daniel, does StudioCam have any competition?
"There are several local companies hosting live feeds onto the Internet, the difference is we are free." Maybe you should read that sentence again- yes, free! Daniel and Tamitha are currently offering the service without charge. I guess that partly explains the two-month waiting list. If you check into the services offered by other companies, you would find fees that can range into hundreds of dollars.
I know that Guilt By Association was here a few weeks back and I heard that they had nearly 1,000 hits on their initial broadcast, what's the best response that you have had on any given show? Daniel and Tamitha discussed the numbers and finally concluded "a little better than 1,000 unique viewings I think".
What's in the future? There were a dozen answers. "How about a cyber version of the Gong Show? We could bring in people to audition and video them for a later broadcast. We just have to find people willing to do completely outrageous things." What? I ask. People doing outrageous things... On the Internet? Seems like a natural fit to me.
You can reach Daniel and Tamitha at http://www.studiocam.org or by calling (818) 343-9941 or (818) 881-8766