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Programming Notes

Programming Note:

We will no longer be bringing Conundrums to you live, at least not any time soon. The issue was quality. Without paying for extra bandwidth to bring you the show live and at a quality that meets our standards we have discontinued the LIVE broadcasts. Perhaps in the future we can find a system that is affordable and looks good. As for now we are no longer broadcasting live programs.

On a positive note, Conundrums can now be seen on YouTube! Visit our YouTube channel and subscribe, favorite and friend it! Here is the link:

Thank you for continuing to support Conundrums and welcome to Season Three!

Conundrums has always been a recorded show, there are technical reasons for this and only recently have we begun to explore the option of "going live". 
However,  I have been looking into equipment and technology that will allow us to broadcast live. This is not easy nor cheap. 
Sure I could just pop up a web cam and talk to it, maybe even get some software to have a Skype feed and have a guest on, but that isn't the way we do things here. I've seen several web cam type shows and frankly I wasn't impressed. My thoughts have always been that if I can't do it right, then I wouldn't do it at all. 
It would mean having a video mixer (hardware) and the means to get the feed from my studio - in high quality- to you over the web. (more hardware)

It also means a streaming outlet (software & source) and a few other technical hurdles to get over. And it all has to be done by myself, because I have no one else here to help during a show. 

Plus a live show means anything goes, we may have technical issues to iron out along the way. It just might flop! LOL

But, I'm going to give it a try. There are several good reasons to have the show "go live", and a few problems we may have to contend with. Many of these issues will have to be resolved long before you see a live feed. So bare with us and hopefully if the stars all align correctly we will have a live version of the show on the air. As they say in the business... Stay Tuned...

Please be sure to share Conundrums with your friends! Join us on Facebook too and keep up with all the latest news from our show. 
We appreciate your viewership!
~ J. Michael

You may notice CONUNDRUMS got a Face-Lift! We were using a template that needed to go, so Conundrums has been redesigned. Take a moment to explore and look around. The darker background should make the episodes easier to view and of course you can always expand them to full screen with the button under the players. We hope you like this darker look and find the page arranged better. Enjoy Conundrums and please share it with your friends!


BLOG from the host:

Creating a video program each week is not an easy task! Scheduling a guest is one of the most important things to get a show on the air, we often email guests to ask if they want to be on Conundrums as well as receive emails from potential guests. Scheduling the time to record usually has to fit the schedule of the guest, which we are happy to do. But occasionally we skip a week in order to line up guest appearances. 

Technically, our show is one of the more difficult programs to edit and put together. In this blog I thought I would walk you the viewer through the process, in the event you are interested. 

After a guest is scheduled we meet up on Skype and check the sound and video. After that the show begins and is recorded in real time. Some have asked why we do not do the show live, and the answer is simple. We don't have the equipment to bring the show to you live and have the look & feel of Conundrums. 
All of the graphics are edited in later after we record the guest. Sure, we could put up a web cam and just stream us talking to a guest but the show would not have the high quality look we are able to present doing it our way. From the beginning we designed the way we record the show around the tools we have and getting the most out of them. So, LIVE is not an option for us at this time.

While recording the show I am a busy man! LOL. You may notice I appear to be looking around, that is because I'm watching various monitors and constantly checking the video feed, my video of me, the sound, and a host of other issues. Plus, I'm concentrating on the guest and asking questions. 
Conundrums requires a great deal of multi-tasking! We have an HD camera on me, we are recording the Skype feed, running the audio through a mixer and monitoring all the equipment. 

By "We" I mean, me. This is a "one man show" and I wear many hats. Producer, host, technical guy, etc. I am the only one in the studio when the show is recording. It's just me and the guest and all my video equipment running. After my "hosting" duties are over I am the one that edits and compiles the show. My wife helps with the set and wardrobe. She picks out what I wear. But for the most part, this show is my little sideline project. :-D

After the show is recorded I take the feed from my camera, the one that shows me, the recording of the Skype guest and edit or "mix" them together with the cuts back and forth between the two of us. It takes about 4 hours to mix the show, add the graphics, add the intro, credits and commercials, and add the little bars at the bottom showing the guests name and mine. This is the post-production part of the show. 

Once the show is mixed and all of the post production is done I render a file of the show in MP4 format at 720P resolution. That takes about two hours. After that I render a lower resolution version for the web, add another half hour. And I write the description of the episode. 

All total it takes about 6 hours to create one episode. 

All of the associated files are then uploaded to where they distribute to the multitude of platforms the show can be watched from, such as Vodpod, AOL Video,  Google video, Itunes, SUNIMI, ROKU, Apple Tv, Boxee, various HD television sets by Sony & Samsung, and other streaming devices. It can take a couple of hours to get the episode RSS feed up to all of the platforms and show up on those sites and devices. We do not stream to YouTube because of their 15 minute limit, our show is almost an hour long.

When the show is online we concentrate on next weeks episode and begin scheduling a guest, if I do not already have one. We have little web cameras we can send to a guest if they need it, and I determine if they have internet better than dial up. A guest with only a dial-up 56k connection cannot be on the show because the video would be too small and low resolution to mix into a TV program like Conundrums. 

Unfortunately this has caused us to not be able to bring certain guests to the show because they didn't have a fast enough internet connection to send us a video stream. 

Many guests are used to radio shows whereby all they need is a phone connection. Conundrums is on the cutting edge and requires the guest to have a good internet speed. However, in today's world most of our guests either have fast internet or have access to it. This has not been a major problem, and internet connects are becoming cheaper and faster as time goes by.
If a guest has basic DSL, we can take a video feed from them.

So, that is how Conundrums is put together. It may not be perfect, I am dependent on the internet and new technology to even begin to create a show like this. But when it all comes together, it's amazing!

With new set top boxes like Roku, Apple TV, Boxee and others you can stream the show in HD directly to your television set. Or watch the lower resolution version on the web. 
This is a whole new broadcasting paradigm and I'm happy we/I can bring you a show like Conundrums with all of this new technology!

I hope you enjoy the show, we put a ton of work into each episode. So far I have received many favorable comments from viewers and the number of views just keeps growing. 
I would like to ask you the viewers to please share the show with your friends. Send them a link or post an episode. The more viewers we can get, the better chance this show will last!