Today we finished the IP camera set-up. For a couple of years, I’ve thought that it would be good to have a live image on our website to bring La Faula to the net in real time. Until recently there were two problems with this idea. One is that we don’t have an ADSL connection and until last August were wholly reliant on a dial-up line. The other was, somewhat surprisingly, that until recently, all IP cameras were designed for surveillance and security whereas I was looking for a wide-angle fixed-lens camera capable of delivering a close to HD colour image. Two things changed all this - one was the siting of an hsdpa mobile broadband antenna by H3G in povoletto so that for the first time we had some kind of always-on moderately broadband connection. The other was that Mobotix introduced the M22 camera which is what is producing the images on our website.
It all works better than I had dared to hope. Our internet connection won’t support video streaming so we must content ourselves with a regularly up-dated image. Not so much exciting happens in the field and hill in front of the house that streaming is required and 1-3 minute updates seem more than adequate. Now we have the system set-up so that when something is worth recording and saving - a beautiful sunset, La Faula under the snow, a shocking tempest - we will record it and produce a time-lapse video of the event.
It all seems so obvious really, but the development of the web and what you can do with a website is so speedy it is easy not to notice the significance of the changes as they happen. Last year in November I loaded the first videos to YouTube. HD wasn’t yet available. Now videos on our site seem normal and the minimum is HD. When I first started loading the daily photos in 2005 it was a really big development to be loading content as a user. Up until then websites were made by people with technical knowhow and were static and unchanging. Now we are all up-loading stuff everywhere. In 1997 there was only one Agriturismo in Italy with a website.
Now it seems obvious that people should be able to see what La Faula is REALLY like. Photos are selective and can be improved with Photoshop whereas a n IP camera is live and shows what it shows as it is.
It’s hard to know what will come next but my guess is that more and more of La Faula - the place and its owners and workers - will be projected out onto the web creating a kind of a window on the place and our life here without guests. It seems clear that potential guests will need to imagine themselves at La Faula and decide if it is what they would like for a holiday. Friends, on the other hand, will want to keep up with the place even when absent.
Every time Luca glances at the Home Page of our website and sees that there are still more wedding photos, he makes a cutting sign with his fingers and says ’time to move on’. But, I want to load the whole sequence of the wedding photos from the breakfast in the morning until the dancing in the evening because we will probably never again have a wedding at La Faula. During the last 12 years we have given-over La Faula for four weddings. Each time we resisted but on each occasion at the end it was a favour that morally we just couldn’t resist.
But having a wedding at La Faula is tempting fate. I guess that there must be small weddings but everyone we know has large one’s. Maybe it’s an Italian thing. And, of course, who wouldn’t want but to have their wedding under the wonderful La Faula pergola where there is easily room for hundreds? The problem is that if it rains there is no room for anyone. The catering occupies the kitchen and uses the dining room as a logistics base. Not to mention that the maximum number of people who can be seated in an ’empty dining room is only thirty!
So every time we say yes to a wedding, disclaiming all responsibility if the weather should turn and the whole thing should be a washout, we nonetheless sweat right-up until the day after, fearful that the couples best day might turn-out to be one of their worst!
This wedding for which I am loading the photos was of the daughter of our neighbour. Our neighbour - Angelo and his wife Marisa - have been so warm and friendly and, well, neighbourly, since we came here in 1995, that they really had the right to La Faula as if it was a part of the local common heritage. It was from the start to the finish a wonderful wedding but we won’t do another one. For that reason, I am loading so many photos of the special day!