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Practice in front of a Virtual Audience

Mon, August 02, 2010 9:08 AM | Ranelle Maltas (Administrator)
Need some practice speaking, but don't want the embarrassment of messing up in front of a live audience? Try the Virtual Audience! The Virtual Audience program allows you to practice in a virtual reality performing in front of a living, breathing virtual audience.

The software runs on the free Adobe AIR runtime environment, so you will need to download that first if you don't already have it installed. You can get it at http://get.adobe.com/air/. Next, download and install and the Virtual Audience for free. You must have a web cam and microphone to use.

Initially, a member of the music faculty asked to have a DVD with looped video of an audience to give music students a chance to practice in front of an audience that did the distracting things that audiences do, cough, sneeze, whisper, etc. In theory, this would allow the student to be desensitized to audience distractions. This prompted the program's creator, Britt Carr, to make a more interactive version using Flash’s ability to sense user’s movement and sound using a web camera’s lens (as the audience’s eyes) and mic (as their ears).

It is a pretty cool little program. If you would like to more about the program and how it works, you can read Britt's blog post at http://learningactivities.wordpress.com/2009/03/31/virtual-audience-using-adobe-air/. You can also find the download for the program there as well.

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