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The Internet

Intercontinental Real-Time Surround-Sound Full-Scr... 84

phrawzty writes "According to CBC, "Researchers, musicians and engineers at McGill University in Montreal, have made I nternet history. They set up the first intercontinental netcast of a live concert in surround sound and full-screen video, Wednesday night." " Thats a whole lotta buzzwords to basically say that we're one step closer to having actual good video over the internet. The freaky part is the long term goal: mimicing environments down to floorboard vibrations to allow musicians to perform together from around the world.
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Intercontinental Real-Time Surround-Sound Full-Screen Netcast

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  • Its amazing how much bandwidth is being thrown around like nothing these days.
  • I doubt very much that if anyone ever compiles a book on "internet history" such a small landmark would be included.

    First spam, first porn site, that's the stuff people are interested it... by the way , does anyone know these things?

  • even with speed-o-light satellite links a musician in one continent will be out of time with the others....
  • Musicians performing together from around the world? How, pray tell, are they going to be synchronized?

    You might be able to let people watch a performance where all the musicians are sync'd by the "performance coordinator," but if you're piping the sound of a drummer in Montreal to a bass player in LA and a guitarist in Geneva, the noises those two make will NOT be in sync with each other, let alone the keyboardist in Hong Kong. As a collaborative tool for live performances, this ain't gonna work - for studio work, it sounds great, though. One question - is a week of this kind of bandwidth and technology any cheaper than just putting the performers on a 747 and flying them to Mussel Shoals?

  • Maybe it wont be long before a concert consists of a net broadcast to multiple locations with huge LCD panels spanning the walls, along with a decent surround sound speaker setup.

    I could see this working for a symphony type setting, but I dunno about Pantera or anything ;>

    Just think, you wouldn't have to worry about booking artists at multiple locations... They could just watch people on the huge 100' x 60' TFT screen as they broadcast from one location =)
  • Yeah. But just wait until we start getting spam advertising full screen, surround-sound streaming pr0n that includes vibrating floor-boards and "synchronized" anything! That WILL be Internet History.
  • During the opening ceremonies of the Olympics in Nagano, Japan, musicians from all over the world performed Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" in sync. Granted, they had to use broadcast delays to compensate for the large distances that signals had to travel, but it worked.
  • That's a good point. You may have enough bandwidth to carry information about floor vibrations, but the latency would make simultaneous performance impossible - or so far off so as to defeat the purpose entirely.

    --

  • I think they could deal with lag at the mixer.

    F'rinstance
    Instrument on channel is in Australia. 2.5 seconds of lag, delay all other channels for 2.5 seconds.

    This could also work on the monitoring system, delay the musicians' mixes by different amounts, based on where they're from.

    I'm SURE it could work, given the right ammount of bandwidth, and latency (or lack thereof).

    Big stadium, and outdoor shows often already use a delay in their separate house mixes when running more than one set of speakers, so that the people at the back (in front of, say, 2 SETS of speakers) don't hear an echo.
  • I wonder if we're ever going to reach a point where artists just record a concert once and have it broadcast to venues all over the world, instead of actually travelling.

    It might be neat to know that you're partying the same time as everyone else, just like that Molson Canadian contest advertises.

    Also, it's not like being at a big concert is all that different from watching on a big screen - you don't exactly touch the artist.
  • What's this being transferred as? It's gotta be compressed somehow-is the sound just MP3 quality? And the "full-screen" video-what is the actual size? I'm sure it's just a 320x200 or something that can be expanded. Is this MPEG-2, or ASF, or what? A lot of questions left unanswered...

    Colin Winters
  • did this require? I mean this sounds great and all, but if you have to have a household OC3 to use it, than there isn't a whole lot of practical use for it.

  • I _knew_ that my battle.net was really slow the other day....Damn bandwidth whores.

    -Superb0wl
  • by Golias ( 176380 ) on Thursday July 20, 2000 @10:34AM (#917513)
    You could sync them up by having them hear a "click track" (i.e. a bunch of electronic metronomes that were synchronized in the same room and then shipped out to them) and not hearing each other. Then you would have all of the sound sources sent to a mixer that has delays built in to each track so they can sync up the incoming tracks according to the distance from the broadcast studio where each player is performing.

    Of course, that would not at all be the same as "playing together", but it would be almost as good as a typical commercial multi-tracked recording, which would be good enough to produce plenty of hype.

  • That's cause bandwidth is nothing these days. It's cheap, and getting cheaper.
  • Does this mean that "You've got mail" will become part of live concerts? Can I use my cell phone when I'm "at" the concert? How can I tell if people are actually playing? For all I know it could be a recording. Also, my speakers are not the best for concert quality sound.
  • and how soon does the floorboard become flexible and wearable?
  • Do you think Metallica would be open to someone setting the equipment up on stage at their next concert?
  • For recording I agree that this could be a great thing. Many different artists could get together without having to sync their schedules to be in the same place to record. However, I always thought half of the point of a live concert was to be there. To see the sweat on the singers brow, to be with the other screaming fans. When that person is half way around the world it isn't the same. I suppose there will be a solution for that someday too. VR concerts, where you don't even know your not there. Until then I'd much prefer to see everyone together at the same place.
    Kate

  • ...that considers Hi-fi internet broadcasts to be a worthwhile research project.

    And since it's in Canada, tax payer money funded it... :)
  • They've been around since Mozilla was a baby. Sending out spam to innocent victims.

    If anyone knows how to kill these people, please let me know.
  • The facility hop between musicians is enough that musicians won't be able to respond to each other (e.g. jam together) in any meaningful way. 2.5sec is 1-2 measures, depending on the tempo. So it will be very, very "cold" and rehearsed - you might as well just mix 'em together in a studio off DATs Fedexed in.

    sulli

  • Once this technology matures and becomes available to the masses, i dont think the latency
    will be the biggest problem. We will just have greater access to musicians who suck!

  • As a Ex-concert violinist and a great music lover of all types, all I can say is it isn't the real thing. Perhaps in the not-so-distant future, when PCs can handle the 100 terabyte/sec downloads something close to the real thing can be apreciated. but there is so much more to alive performance then just audio and sound. I mean CDs have very shitty sound even on very expensive high fidelity equipment compared with going to a live performance, and they want us to be happy with mp3s? I think this will be to agonizing to hear. until you can record a audiovisual concert and play it back locally after touchup and make it seem like you are actually there why try and make it seem that you are actually there 1000 miles away? this is just way to fire ahead of the times
  • The website was pretty vague about what exactly they did to get the music matched up.
    Think of this as a problem similar to the one DJ's face when mixing songs. When you beat match between two records, there has to be a person (DJ) who serves as the conductor between the two. Without the conductor, the music can get out of synch and end up sounding horrible.
    Musicians at the various locations will have to play along to a prerecorded version of the music or with a metronome. (Playing along to headphones is common for drummers in the recording studio.) The video could then be synched up at a seperate location by matching the time stamps and then broadcast from there.
    While this seems like cheating, synching up the music instantly with no delay and beat-matching will be nearly impossible.

  • The musicians aren't in different continents. The viewers and the concert are in different continents. All this is is a high-bandwidth pipe from North America to Japan, carrying a high-quality equivalent of a streamed RealVideo concert.

    There is no international or inter-continental collaboration going on here.
  • I think they could deal with lag at the mixer.

    Sure, but this doesn't help for a live performance where the musicians have to interact with each other. For example, if a violin and clarinet are being played at the same time, they couldn't hear each other in real time. If you've never played in a band or orchestra, you may not appreciate how much of a problem this would be.

    --

  • A good musician shouldn't have too much trouble with this

    There are plenty of organists playing in large churches and cathedrals who don't get to hear what they're playing until they're several seconds further into the piece

    With a conductor it would be perfectly practical, though probably not as good as a conventional performance.

  • well, there may not be a whole lot of pratical use for it *yet*, but how long will it be until Joe Public is dumping his old, slow OC3 links for something 10 times the speed?
  • by gwernol ( 167574 ) on Thursday July 20, 2000 @10:42AM (#917529)

    I wonder if we're ever going to reach a point where artists just record a concert once and have it broadcast to venues all over the world, instead of actually travelling.

    Also, it's not like being at a big concert is all that different from watching on a big screen - you don't exactly touch the artist.

    I've got to disagree. There are a number of things that being at a live concert/gig/performance has over a recorded event. There's the reaction of the rest of the crowd. This is hugely important - experiencing the crowd dynamic, jumping into the mosh pit, digging the froody groove with the rest of the acid-washed hipsters. Being there in the company of like-minded fans. Absolutely essential.

    Then there is knowing that what you are experiencing is a one-off performance. This band aren't ever going to sound quite the same as tonight. The vocals will be particularly raw because they're on zero hours sleep and pumped full of vodka. That happy-poppy solo is going to be particularly sweet because the keyboardist just got laid. That sort of thing. This is the essence of human contact between you and the performers.

    You are never going to successfully reproduce this remotely, because the core of the experience is that you are right there at that particular time with that particular bunch of people listening to that particular group play that particular song. This is why listening to a live concert recording is almost exactly the opposite experience to being at the same concert.

  • Researchers say their ultimate goal is to create an environment, complete with sound vibrations in the floorboards, which would allow musicians at venues around the world to perform together.

    I'd never collaborate with anyone who didn't vibrate my floorboards. Sadly, that was the most interesting bit of the whole thing. They said nothing about how it was achieved or even had any reaction from those present. Yay crap journalism!

    *gel

  • by dsplat ( 73054 ) on Thursday July 20, 2000 @10:43AM (#917531)
    You could sync them up by having them hear a "click track" (i.e. a bunch of electronic metronomes that were synchronized in the same room and then shipped out to them) and not hearing each other. Then you would have all of the sound sources sent to a mixer that has delays built in to each track so they can sync up the incoming tracks according to the distance from the broadcast studio where each player is performing.


    In fact, the "click track" could contain timestamps. Those timestamps would be transferred to the data within the packets containing the music (as opposed to being the timestamps on the packets themselves). Then the mixer doesn't have to have the delays preconfigured. It can mix the packets based on the "click track" timestamps that arrived with the music.

    The ultimate test will be an astronaut on the moon singing along with ground control on Earth. All of them will be in sync and none of them in key.
  • The depth and clarity they are seeking will eventually be attainable. Software and hardware will eventually reach the level of perfection demanded to have quality that truly rocks. The question is, what will it be used for?

    Personally, I can't wait for the day where I am totally emmersed in the internet, with the same feeling as at a big screen movie theatre. It isn't that far away.

    --
  • I seem to remember a story right here on /. just a couple of weeks ago laughing at people who fell for a major scam supposedly involving concerts over the net in full-screen video.

    Is this another case of technology proving people wrong as soon as their words have been spoken?

  • I think they could deal with lag at the mixer.

    F'rinstance Instrument on channel is in Australia. 2.5 seconds of lag, delay all other channels for 2.5 seconds.

    This won't work, because musicians need to hear themselves as well as everyone else in the session in context. With your system, you would end up hearing your own playing 2.5 seconds after you played it!

  • Mix this technology with the recently discovered fact that the speed of light can be broken [cnn.com], and you've got the makings for an experience that, while using the net, doesn't focus around it. That's pretty cool.

    Of course, all the typical disclaimers about how the development will take forever should be included here...

  • 1: A little more information (not much) [132.216.78.100]

    2: See the post 17 above [slashdot.org]

    3: So, in effect, you've got presynchronization for the musicians' benefit, then synchronization of those returning streams for the audience.

    4: The real issue is being able to actively predict or control the amount of latency - compensation would have to be very, very fast and cleverly done with wildly variable latencies. Maybe parallel machines to handle route analysis would feed prediction information to the streaming sync machine? Does that make sense?

    5: Something I don't know terribly much about, but it sounds like the bandwidth they're referring to is probably Internet2... and if it's being done well, maybe the latency is predictable. Dunno.

  • Right - you could do "studio-type" work, but not "performance." Problems in the sync are worked out by the producer in post-processing, but for live performance... the Olympic example the other guy gave is good, they were synced (I believe to atomic clocks (GPR receivers)) and the TV producers mucked about with the lags and delays to get the "simultaneous performance" effect, but I've performed with large choirs and orchestras - the feedback from the people around you matters, a lot. The lag from folks singing the same thing from around the world (maybe a quarter second, if you're lucky, varying a lot from site to site) could REALLY screw up that feeling of unity and coherence that makes a live performance great (for the performers as well as the audiences).

    The example in the story is good - Master's classes where they can "teleperform" to Big Names, and listen to the Big Names perform back, and get feedback - valuable stuff. Would I want to be trying to accompany Yo-Yo Ma in London from the opera house in Sydney? Ummm.... no.

    I just thought of another use for this - imagine the Who's studio sessions getting piped out over the Internet, so anyone who wanted could jam "with them." Be hard to get the feedback to them and have it mean anything, but all of us wannabes could really ruin our guitars that way :-D.

    Of course, Lars would hate it.

  • I wonder if we're ever going to reach a point where artists just record a concert once and have it broadcast to venues all over the world, instead of actually travelling.

    You might as well just buy the CD. Live performances are already broadcast around the world, but listening to a reproduction of the performance (live or recorded) in your living room doesn't compare to actually being there.

    --

  • I think that even though there are important pluses, at least for people right up near the stage, artists might still take the path of a digital concert.

    For example, if you live in eastern provinces of Canada, it's not too often that big concerts will find their way to your city. If concerts are digitally performed, there'd be many more venues able to have as-close-to-possible of an experience with the pseudo-concert.

    And ticket prices would likely be lower...
  • I could see this working for a symphony type setting, but I dunno about Pantera or anything

    If it wouldn't work for Pantera, what makes you think it would work for a symphony?

    --

  • this would be interesting if it was a well known band (like a super-U2-zoo tv thing). Or better yet, screw music. worldwide victoria's secret show anyone?
  • During the opening ceremonies of the Olympics in Nagano, Japan, musicians from all over the world performed Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" in sync. Granted, they had to use broadcast delays to compensate for the large distances that signals had to travel, but it worked.

    I'm certain that was done via satellite. On the net those delays are subject to change dynamically. They may be able to start together, but without dedicated end-to-end bandwidth I don't see them (or should I say 'hear them') ending together. 'Course, you could always call it Jazz.

  • It's an international netcast of a concert. As far as I can tell from the article, the players will all be together, but the show will go through the internet to Japan. Big deal.

    Yes, this time, but read the last paragraph again:
    Researchers say their ultimate goal is to create an environment, complete with sound vibrations in the floorboards, which would allow musicians at venues around the world to perform together.
    That's where lag becomes a problem. This broadcast is nothing terribly special - just a higher quality than previous broadcasts.

    --

  • by Golias ( 176380 ) on Thursday July 20, 2000 @10:53AM (#917544)
    Shortly before writing the story and lyrics for The Wall, Roger Waters of Pink Floyd made the observation that most stadium rock concerts had more in common with a Nuremberg rally than an orchestra performance. It's not really about the music, so much as it is about seeing your "teen idols" on the stage, shouting out the words of the songs along with them, and standing among 50,000-or-so people all expressing the same emotion.

    Artists have already taken to projecting themselves on massive screens, a logical extention of the huge wall shadows and Big Suit used by the Talking Heads in the Johnathan Demme concert movie "Stop Making Sense", or the massive portraits of Stalin and Chairman Mao that were once hung on buildings during political appearances.

    It would be interesting to see if the crowd would react as strongly to a projected image knowing that the artist is not actually on stage at all. (Bono of U2 sang a couple of songs from the backstage dressing room during the ZOO-TV tour, and the crowd seemed to go along with it).

    I'm betting that somebody from the Disney corral of kiddie-stars (Brittany Spears, N'Sync, etc.) will be the first to try it. Their performances are pretty much phoned in anyway.

  • If this was to occur, the whole vibe would suffer. There's no human interaction there, just two (or more) going at it solo.

    I mean, hypothetically, technology could progress to the point where we could do any number of things remotely... Screwing, having dinner, going to the movies (our boy Gates already does this), etc. I think the group in Japan got the shaft-- they got to look at a damn monitor. If even that.

    I suppose it has applications where a true collaboration is impossible, but a concert? I wouldn't be impressed.

    *gel

  • Moderators dilemma: there is no 'Spammer (-5)' choice for the above post!
  • I don't believe anyone is surprised by this.

    When it comes to live broadcasting the quality is as high the connection speed allows.

    Unless we are talking about a new technology that makes this possible over old modems or something it's just a sign that the connections get faster in general.

    In other words: Not "Internet history".

    (IMHO)
  • So what we have is a souped-up streamed live concert broadcast now, with a roomful of professors who think it'd be really cool to collaborate across the globe, despite the havoc played by any possible lag.

    Streaming video has been done before.
    Internet-based collaborative concerts have been done before, but haven't succeeded in any significant way.

    My point is that this story consists of a boring implementation of streaming Audio/Video, along with the half-baked musings of some professors about an inherently flawed "international internet concert" theory that has already been tried, but has failed.

    There are many people who have ideas about what they'd like the internet to do, but I don't really think most of them are newsworthy until they come up with something concrete. And more impressive than streaming a concert (even with great sound and video) to Japan.
  • A good organist knows what their performance will sound like, so not being able to hear themselves is an obstacle they can deal with.

    It's different for an ensemble, because in order to create a musical expression, you need to be able to hear each other. Otherwise it would be like Fred and Ginger filming their dance moves in two different studios and having a digital effects guy patch them together.

  • Organists are solo performers - organists accompanying choirs pay CLOSE attention to the conductor to keep in sync.

    You're still missing the electricity of having the others around you performing, the eye contact from the conductor as he cues your section, the buzz of the audience... *sigh*. Ahh, to be young and in the college chorale again.

  • The smarty man behind the project is apparently Jeremy Cooperstock [mcgill.ca] who has a small page [mcgill.ca] about the project. He also seems to be working on a number of other projects [mcgill.ca] of a similar nature.

    Also, a person by the name of Wieslaw Woszczyk seems to be involved in the project, and has done a lot of research [mcgill.ca] on various aspects of sound recording, sound mixing, especially involving the Internet 2.

    Couldn't find any specifics on the technology other than it uses Dolby 5.1 digital sound, and a couple places elude to the fact that it's the same system used in digital movie (as in the big white screen) playback.

  • The project in question is the AES [mcgill.ca] project, not the SRE project which I originally linked to.
  • by istartedi ( 132515 ) on Thursday July 20, 2000 @11:08AM (#917553) Journal

    In 1992, I was on USENET (no web) and somebody posted an animated picture of a woman doing something with a Coke bottle, if you catch my drift.

    The poster was soundly thrashed by the entire newsgroup. People lamented that "if this kind of thing is allowed, the Internet might be shut down". The poster was rumored to have lost net priveleges after that.

    This was certainly not the first porn on the Internet, but it was my first experience of USENET porn. It's interesting how attitudes have shifted.

    BTW, the only way we could view pictures was to uudecode (by hand) cat the (usually several) files, and then utter curses if we didn't have the proper viewer installed. I never went through the trouble to decode the picture, I just saw respondants objecting to it.

  • Well, if the experiments at Department of Physics, University of Geneva, Switzerland [unige.ch] work out, there won't have to be any delay, and everyone can be in sync. It turns out that pairs of entangled photons interact with each other at speeds greater than 10^7 times C, at a distance.

    All you need is a lot of clear fiber, and a bit of vaporware hardware, and you're set.

    --Mike--

  • Plotting the downfall of civilization. First artistes get ripped of with bootleg copies of MP3. Next movies and films get ripped by DeCSS. When will it all stop?

    They tell us to go make money by concerts, but no!! Even concerts can be pirated, down to the last squeaky floorboard. What's next? Smelly unshaved armpits of screaming fans? What cannot be digitized? How shall we artistes of the world make our dough now?

    :-)

  • by TheTomcat ( 53158 ) on Thursday July 20, 2000 @11:09AM (#917556) Homepage
    Ok, I've gone through this whole thing in my head again, and I'm pretty much wrong. Silly me.

    Here's what WOULD work:
    A guitarist is playing his guitar in Japan. As far as he knows, nobody else is playing with him. He is the leader. He can't hear the other musicians.

    It's possible for other musicians to join in. That is, I can play with any musicians who are within the lag period of the guitar.

    Example: guitarist plays in Africa. 5 seconds of lag between him, and me, in Canada. Some dude in South america joins in on drums. He's only 3 seconds lag from me, and 2 seconds lag from the guitarist, so he can hear himself, and the guitarist (albeit, 2 seconds AFTER the guitarist plays). He can't hear me. I, though, can hear both of them, 3 seconds after the drummer plays, and 5 seconds after the guitarist, so I can play my bass along with them. Neither of them can hear me.

    I know that this really isn't an ensemble, or a 'band', but it would work, so long as you don't try to pump bass back to the guitarist, which would be 10 seconds too late.

    Sorry for being dumb earlier (-: I wish it was Friday.
  • well What I am thinking of is true immersion where you don't see or hear anything else other then this concert... perhaps a sensory depervation tank with awesome Hifi equipment but you are right the Vibe is what is really missing.
  • I run the soundboard at our church. One day I
    mic'ed the drumset so we could record to tape.
    The sound was run through the house mains. The
    drummer immediately started to complain that the sound was "mushy", particularly on the cymbals. The delay was basically through a 50ft mic cable, a 16 channel mixer, builtin amp, 50ft speaker cables, speakers and about 5ft of air. Yet that was enough for him to complain about.

    I can't see how anyone will be able to get latency out of a set-up that is two-way. While you can buffer and smooth out the recording from site A at over at site B, you could not also record at site B and play it in synch with what is occurring at A.

    You could possibly cause both playbacks to occur simultaneously (as measured by some "global" clock), but then *both* playbacks would not be in synch with what the musicians are doing.

    You can ask how much latency is "important". My emperical sample suggests that a couple hundred feet at electrical speeds is too much.

    Darrin
  • 5: Something I don't know terribly much about, but it sounds like the bandwidth they're referring to is probably Internet2...

    I'm wondering why no one else has pointed this out. I also got the impression that they were using Internet2.
    'Because McGill has access to a high-speed research Internet available to relatively few organizations, the University's researchers can experiment with the possibilities available with "a huge, wide pipe." '

    What they don't seem to be taking into account is that as soon as I2 goes public, it will be saturated with a billion people with broadband access downloading pr0n and the latest decrypted DVD release. At that point their 'huge wide pipe' will be little better off than todays internet.

    Other than that, it's pretty cool. I don't think it will work to have musicians at different parts of the world [due to lag, can't interact with the others] but for broadcast of 'localized' events it will be good.

    Ender

  • Roston says information transmitted over the Internet currently goes through a relatively "narrow pipe." Because McGill has access to a high-speed research Internet available to relatively few organizations, the University's researchers can experiment with the possibilities available with "a huge, wide pipe."

    So, are you saying that they "made history" because they could transmit video/audio in real time because they have a huge, wide pipe?

  • ...Because fans will always want to go to the live show - the place where 90% of musicians actually make their money! Give the songs away as mp3 - offer for sale albums to the hardcore fans, sell merchandise and go on tour. Cut out the wasteful and sanitizing Record Companies for good.
  • Why are all the high-rated posts about lag? I would have expected more people to comment that the entire concept is absolutely ridiculous.

    Concerts are a great experience; much more than just viewing the performers and listening to the music. Imagine your favorite group, with each member in a different corner of the world. Imagine watching it on your home theatre system. Once you got past the novelty of the whole thing, do you really think it would be nearly as enjoyable as a live show?

    All it seems like we're talking about here is a sort of HD-MTV. Who cares? Give me a real concert, with real performers interacting with the crowd. Give me a show at a site packed with a crowd who is as into the music as I am. Give me the onstage interplay between the musicians, for god's sake.

    The discussion here should be about the amount of bandwidth and audio/video compression. That's the interesting and impressive thing. It'd be more interesting than discussing that a researcher's pipe dream is a pipe dream. (Or maybe it's just me. :-)

  • The freaky part is the long term goal: mimicing environments down to floorboard vibrations to allow musicians to perform together from around the world.

    The concept is very damn cool.

    I'm the band Defenestration of Vish*, and we just lost Nathan, a great guitarist who is passionate about music and is an all-around cool guy. He is now in China (the Communist part) and the band is struggling on without him. It has been a traumatic experience for all.

    Hopefully, in the future, technology can prevent people from going through such a separation.

    *You haven't heard of us [yet :]

  • You can also do a virtual click track w/o shipping anything anywhere. They could measure network latency between each musician and a central point, and then send out a latency-corrected clicktrack to everyone.
  • It wouln't be that bad. Sure, it would be noticable, but you've got to remeber that there's lag from the musicians to the audience as well, so you just adjust when you play each performer's stream so that they come out together. However, I don't think that's the goal here. I think the goal is to allow musicians to play with each other, not so much for a performance, but for the sake of playing together. In that case, the lag is a little more troublesome, but it wouldn't be any worse than the time it takes sound to go across a football field.
  • It doesn't actually matter - either way it needs to be calculated and compensated for. The relatively constant :) speed of light for transmission would just require a slightly simpler system.
  • In that case, it was claims of insanely high compression, allowing full-screen video with no loss of quality over your average home connection (even attached to e-mails!). The morons who fell for that deserve what they got for not having a slightly better grasp on the limits of compressibility. There's just too much unique information in video.
  • Another way to to this (which might be a bit weird to adhere to, musically speaking), is to sync the broadcasts of the other musicians to a local click track, thus keeping the beats in sync but having everyone be off by a few measures, basically waiting until the first downbeat of each measure to play the measures which have been received from the other musicians.

    I guess it would be sort of like a round, but even more disturbing. Musician 1 would play a measure. Musician 2 would play along with Musician 1 one measure behind. Musician 1 would then hear what Musician 2 was playing along with his first measure, except a few measures afterward.

    It would be even more interesting when you add more musicians. Call and response, terribly overlapped. 'Twould make for some interesting textural jams.
  • Well, judging by this page [mcgill.ca] pointed out in another thread, they're probably just streaming (Dolby) AC-3. No details about the network part, but the compression spec is here [atsc.org] or here [dolby.com].

    Same stuff that's on a lot of DVDs.

    Just as a head's up, there's a plan [xiph.org] to add a more flexible surround encoding to the Ogg Vorbis [vorbis.com] audio format.

  • That's cause bandwidth is nothing these days. It's cheap, and getting cheaper.

    Bandwidth is everything to those of us that live in rural areas, and dont have access to DSL or cable internet access.
  • Electrical waves travel with a speed comparable to the speed of light. There is no way your drummer could have been complaining about the timing.

    Probably, the cabling and amplifiers weren't good enough, causing distortion.

    On the other hand, if a signal is wrapped in packets, and bounced around between various computers, the delay easily adds up to be noticeable.
  • Given that even light takes a while to get across an ocean, not to mention the time it takes to process and pass on data at routers, there likely won't be any *serious* Internet-based collaborative compositions anytime soon.
  • The musicians are all in one spot. Broadcast to a location elsewhere in the world. Cripes.
  • by StevenMaurer ( 115071 ) on Thursday July 20, 2000 @01:06PM (#917574) Homepage

    Since Babelfish doesn't yet have a Hype-eeze to English converter up and running yet, I will translate it directly:

    According to CBC, Researchers, musicians and engineers at McGill University in Montreal, have made Internet history.

    Translation: We've done something not very remarkable on the Internet. Any company that tries to use this as a business model will be history.

    They set up the first intercontinental netcast of a live concert in surround sound and full-screen video, Wednesday night. Thats a whole lotta buzzwords to basically say that we're one step closer to having actual good video over the internet.

    Translation: We've managed to broadcast a concert in a screen that doesn't look crappy in a tiny 1 1/2" by 2 1/2" box on your PC; it looks crappy (with tons of compression artifacts) on screen the size of your TV!

    The freaky part is the long term goal: mimicing environments down to floorboard vibrations to allow musicians to perform together from around the world.

    Translation: The freaky part is that they are so clueless that they can't think of any application of Video over IP except for a physically impossible, economically impractible, and totally useless excercise of trying to get musicians on different contenents to overcome variable lag to play together.... badly.

    I work in the real TV/video industry. Video Over Ip is a technology looking for a way to bilk investors and then die.

  • "BTW, the only way we could view pictures was to uudecode (by hand) cat the (usually several) files, and then utter curses if we didn't have the proper viewer installed. I never went through the trouble to decode the picture, I just saw respondants objecting to it."

    Shhhhhyyaaa, right!

    Problem was, you didn't have that one-handed UUDecoding skill down pat...

    --
  • As with any new technology, the obvious uses are, well ... obvious. :-)

    I'm sure that most guys would agree that having virtual strippers in-house, on-demand would be, well, quite something. Eh? ;)
  • Video Over Ip is a technology looking for a way to bilk investors and then die.

    Just wondering: did they ever say that about Voice over IP? Or no?

  • Eh?

    How was this moderated +3 ?

    As a musician (drummer) having worked in a studio several times, this sounds really weird.

    What about interplay? If there's no interplay between the performers, what is the benefit of playing together at the same time? You could as well lay down a bass/drum track and the let the others make overdubs! If the bass-player and drummer has, what, 0.1 seconds delay, it's almost impossible to play together. And if you're not able to have eye-contact, you're doomed =).

    The only way to pull through what you're suggesting is to have a stingent click-track, and beginning the "latency-chain" with the drummer. Now, it _REALLY_ sucks to play to a click track. Believe me. You could as well have a drum machine. Plus, it's hard to play drums to a song if the drummer is all alone.

    I once did a studio job (in my teens) where the bass player and I were separated by a glass wall (insulated). We had eye-contact, and I heard every note. Even _THEN_ it was hard(er) to keep in sync. Don't ask me why, it's the drum/bass magic I guess. They have to be in the same room at the same time if you ask me.

  • As an amateur musician (25 years) I can tell you that live music will always be live music and everything else will be a compromise. Everyone who has been to a concert knows that there is a feeling live music has and it can't be duplicated. The sheer distance between musicians dicatates a delay that can't be overcome. Even if you could, it would be much more expensive than airplane tickets and hotel rooms, so what is the point? Here's where this thing really pays off. If you want to play with a famous musician, the delay might be tolerable in a lesson-format. (I play, then you play) This would give musicians the ability to learn from other musicians all over the world. In my mind this piece of "Internet History" is technology mis-applied. How about guitar lessons with Al DiMeola or drum lessons from a percussionist in Soweto? True interaction in something-less-than-real-time would be very valuable here.
  • He was refering to Hitler's rallies, not modern Nuremberg.
  • Ahhh, memories. I first got on the internet when I was 12, for the very purpose of finding porn. I had a unix shell account, a DOS comm program and absolutely no knowledge of unix, not to mention a 2400 baud modem. I had powerful motivation, I learned. ;-) --Joshua
  • Ya foroget your sarcasm tag, eh?
  • Actually, no.

    It all comes down to what people will pay for.

    What IP gives you over traditional media is interactivity. People will pay for interctive audio: that what phones are. They will pay for interactive "reading": web use (it's an amazing improvement over libraries). But there's precious few who will pay 10 times as much for interactive video as interactive audio. All the use cases are already covered by technologies that are as good or better than what can be done using TCP/IP networks.

    The only thing unique about this concert, for instance, is that it is being done over TCP/IP. "International concerts" are done via TV every day, and nobody goes wow!. Broadcast TV also does it faster and cheaper than TCP/IP as well.

    Some technical advances will change the industry, but IP Video is not going to replace TV - ever.

"An ounce of prevention is worth a ton of code." -- an anonymous programmer

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