Sharing out experience with Virtual Sacrament Meeting Broadcasts

Using the Church Webcasting System, YouTube, etc. Including cameras and mixers.
lajackson
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Re: Sharing out experience with Virtual Sacrament Meeting Broadcasts

Postby lajackson » Sat Sep 12, 2020 11:56 am

russellhltn wrote:My plan is Larix Broadcaster and the Church Webcast system.
As a practical matter, and I have not experimented with this, am I able to set up 13 Church webcasts on the same day with five of them having overlapping times?

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Mikerowaved
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Re: Sharing out experience with Virtual Sacrament Meeting Broadcasts

Postby Mikerowaved » Sat Sep 12, 2020 12:36 pm

lajackson wrote:...am I able to set up 13 Church webcasts on the same day with five of them having overlapping times?
Yes. The church meetinghouse webcast system has no problem with scheduling multiple webcasts on the same day/same facility/same or overlapping times.
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Re: Sharing out experience with Virtual Sacrament Meeting Broadcasts

Postby mrbitsch » Sat Sep 12, 2020 6:20 pm

michaelbuhrley wrote:Are you using a different youtube channel for each building (each pi)?
We actually have a youtube channel setup for each ward, it would certainly be possible to just do it for each building. That was probably the hardest part of this setup is getting 9 youtube channels setup, with live broadcasting. Youtube requires a non-Voip phone number for every 2 accounts, so I ended up having to borrow cell numbers from several members of the stake to get everything setup.

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Re: Sharing out experience with Virtual Sacrament Meeting Broadcasts

Postby mrbitsch » Sat Sep 12, 2020 6:22 pm

cbkummer wrote:So with the new guidelines, I've been asked by our stake president to look into livestreaming our sacrament meetings, and I was curious, do you have a separate YouTube account for each ward, and do you have a way to mute the sacrament prayer? I'm considering just starting after the sacrament is passed, but I feel like that might detract from the feeling of being there that we're going for with these streams.
I've been working on a system for pausing the broadcast during the sacrament, and had a system that I thought was going to work for that. However... the First Presidency just sent out a letter about sacrament meeting broadcasts, and in that letter they mentioned not wanting to interrupt the broadcast, so they're asking wards to either have the sacrament before the broadcast, or after it.

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Re: Sharing out experience with Virtual Sacrament Meeting Broadcasts

Postby mrbitsch » Sat Sep 12, 2020 6:25 pm

lajackson wrote:... am I able to set up 13 Church webcasts on the same day with five of them having overlapping times?
I've done this in testing (well 4 at a time) the issue I have with using the church system is that I have to go in and schedule every single broadcast that I want to run. The nice thing about using youtube is the system is always ready to accept the broadcast, I just have to start it.

Practically speaking we have 9 broadcasts happening each Sunday, and for 5 weeks now I've only had to manually start 5 of the broadcasts, the automated system works quite well and limits the amount of time I have to worry about getting the broadcasts running.

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Re: Sharing out experience with Virtual Sacrament Meeting Broadcasts

Postby drepouille » Sat Sep 12, 2020 6:42 pm

Should we be using YouTube for Sacrament Meeting?
Depending on local conditions, and with the oversight of the bishop, weekly sacrament meetings can be held virtually, safely in person or by hybrid in-person and virtual broadcasts. Broadcasts should not be recorded.
Dana Repouille, Plattsmouth, Nebraska

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Re: Sharing out experience with Virtual Sacrament Meeting Broadcasts

Postby dbharding » Sat Sep 12, 2020 8:06 pm

I like the position of your camera. What is the height of your tripod? How far away from the podium is it? Do you recommend a particular tripod?

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Re: Sharing out experience with Virtual Sacrament Meeting Broadcasts

Postby russellhltn » Sat Sep 12, 2020 8:18 pm

mrbitsch wrote:the issue I have with using the church system is that I have to go in and schedule every single broadcast that I want to run.
Based on the pop-up message in the portal, it seems Assistant STS(s) can now do scheduling. So that task can be farmed out.

mrbitsch wrote:Practically speaking we have 9 broadcasts happening each Sunday, and for 5 weeks now I've only had to manually start 5 of the broadcasts, the automated system works quite well and limits the amount of time I have to worry about getting the broadcasts running.
Manually start? Assuming it's scheduled, I think you only have to start the stream. What am I missing? Are you using Teridecks for all the chapels?
Have you searched the Help Center? Try doing a Google search and adding "site:churchofjesuschrist.org/help" to the search criteria.

So we can better help you, please edit your Profile to include your general location.

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Re: Sharing out experience with Virtual Sacrament Meeting Broadcasts

Postby mrbitsch » Sat Sep 12, 2020 9:26 pm

drepouille wrote:Should we be using YouTube for Sacrament Meeting?
We're broadcasting using an unlisted video, so you have to have the link to the video to watch. The script I'm using automatically deletes the video from YouTube 10 min. after the broadcast is finished. (I have the delay so people who start late have a little time to finish watching) So I believe we're fulfilling the requirements from SLC regarding streaming services.
dbharding wrote:I like the position of your camera. What is the height of your tripod? How far away from the podium is it? Do you recommend a particular tripod?
The tripod (camera) is sitting at about 70", the tripod we're using is only 58" tall so I've got it sitting on top of a table from one of the classrooms. The camera is back from the pulpit about 3.5' I think. (I'll have to measure next time I'm in the building, but basically the table is up against the first pew and then the tripod is on the table, I didn't measure anything when I set it up). I would not recommend the tripod that we picked out, it's not bad, but it's not great either. What it WAS however was in-stock, which is why we got that one. My preference would have been the Amazon Basics Tripod, which is a pretty solid tripod for under $30, but it was back-ordered a couple of months. As we're starting to look toward having ward members present for the virtual meetings next month, I've started looking at changing the tripod for basically a selfie stick attached to the front of the podium, but I haven't found a setup for that yet.
russellhltn wrote:Based on the pop-up message in the portal, it seems Assistant STS(s) can now do scheduling. So that task can be farmed out.
True, it's still easier to not have the additional task of setting up each schedule. I realize that the system was created for Stake Conference so it's not a big deal, but it sure would be helpful if they could update the system and allow you to mark schedules are reoccurring as that would solve the issue altogether.
russellhltn wrote:Manually start? Assuming it's scheduled, I think you only have to start the stream. What am I missing? Are you using Teridecks for all the chapels?
I looked into using the Teridek, but the costs involved got pretty high when we started looking at 4 buildings (not to mention the Terideks were out of stock everywhere I looked) We're using USB web cameras and Raspberry Pi 4B's in all the buildings as our broadcast equipment. Total cost per building including the tripods, SD card, cables, etc. is just under $200 per building. Each Raspberry Pi has a systemd timer service setup to start the broadcast at the designated time for each ward, I've had a couple of instances where the timer didn't fire for some reason, so I had to logon to the unit and manually start the broadcast. At some point I'm hoping to get a web-page driven system setup on each Raspberry Pi that the member of the bishopric and login to and have some control over the system, but for the time being it's very hands off for the bishopric, other than turning the sound system in the chapel on.

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Re: Sharing out experience with Virtual Sacrament Meeting Broadcasts

Postby dbaresrc » Sun Sep 13, 2020 11:08 am

If I can throw my perspective and experience in. We've been webcasting Sacrament meetings since the start of Covid in late February / early March. Initially, it was just the stake center but now we are webcasting out of all three buildings and all ward sacrament meetings. With the request to NOT broadcast the sacrament ordnance we had to make a minor change to the set up but otherwise it's been very easy and seamless. BTW, if you have any questions, please contact me directly, I'd be glad to help you.

Each of our three buildings has a Church broadcast event that runs all day. All members know the general stake webcast URL and any member can join any building's webcast depending on their needs. In the morning before the first meeting, the STS for the building goes in and makes sure the equipment is set up and functioning. They turn on the webcast event for the day then turn it over to the wards.

For two of the buildings, we use a Zoom meeting (one for each building) linked into the Church webcast system via the High Bandwidth Encode option. This way, there is only one input and we don't have to worry about others turning on their cameras, audio etc. If you are not familiar with the HBE option, let me know. We have a laptop in each building with a basic web cam attached to it. For one building we are using an external mic to get the audio. At the other building, we can get a feed directly out of the audio cabinet into the latop (via a USB sound card). Each ward has several people trained to "run" their ward's sacrament meeting. I created a graphic that says the sacrament ordnance is occurring and it is loaded on the laptop. At the end of the sacrament hymn, the person mutes the Zoom meeting audio and selects the "file share" option to broadcast the sacrament graphic rather than the camera. The ordnance is effectively muted. When the ordnance is over, the person unmutes the meeting audio and re-engages the web cam and members see the rest of the meeting. At the end of the day, the last ward is trained to put away all the equipment.

The Stake Center is a little more complicated in terms of set up but the general process is the same. With the Vidiu encoder, we can link the encoder directly into the webcast event. We have two cameras in the building so from our mixer board, we have the two cameras and a laptop with the sacrament graphic. There is a feed from the chapel audio into the mixer. During the sacrament, the person switches from the camera to the graphic and mutes the chapel audio input. When the ordnance is over, it's all turned back on. For a little while we had a secondary audio input which played MoTab hymns on a loop. Between meetings and during the sacrament, we unmuted that input so there wasn't just the graphic and dead air. We've stopped that in case a ward forgets to handle the audio properly. Again the last ward knows how to turn off all the equipment. Since it's in the library and no one is in the building, we leave it set up from week to week.

As I said, I'd be glad to help if you have any questions. I have this process fully documented with all sorts of screens shots if you want some "light" reading. Let me know if you want a copy. I'll send you the URL to the Box folder with all our documentation and training materials. Some of it is changing with the new switch roll out but it will give you an idea of how we're managing things.


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