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Re: Sacrament Meeting

Posted: Fri Jul 31, 2020 7:14 am
by drepouille
drepouille wrote:This will work nicely. A TRRS Y Splitter Cable Adapter.

Oddly enough, I bought a new home TV yesterday, and inside the box was a 3.5 mm (TRRS) to Triple RCA Audio/Video AV Female Composite Stereo Splitter Cable Adapter. Could prove useful.

Re: Sacrament Meeting

Posted: Tue Aug 04, 2020 7:23 pm
by BrianEdwards
So in our Area, we have received authorization from the Area Presidency to broadcast our in-person sacrament meetings if we desire. Since there is a 25-person max-per-meeting and many people are remaining home at this time, I believe all the units in our Stake are broadcasting. As all units in our Stake were previously having "virtual worship services" at least a couple of Sundays each month, I believe that most are re-using whatever tech they're already familiar with. For us it's Zoom. Our Stake hasn't tried to implement any standard solution, and also really didn't try to direct us towards any solution (unsure if this was by design, or just how it happened to work out).

We have a simple solution. We have a selfie-stick (kinda a tripod actually), and use a cell phone with the tripod placed on the podium, with the camera focused on the microphone area. This cell phone is the Zoom host, and when the Zoom meeting starts we mute everyone, and select to not allow participants to un-mute themselves (we have a paid account, the free account may not allow for this). With only 25 people in the chapel, the ambient noise is not very noticeable, and members are aware we are broadcasting so I think they're a bit quieter than usual. We can have the organ sound level loud enough that the cell phone picks it up, but it doesn't overwhelm those in the chapel (we play hymns, but no congregational singing, just congregational listening). During the ordinance of the sacrament, the person conducting disables sound and audio so those viewing do not see or hear. Although we could leave things blank for viewers during the sacrament ordinance, we actually have tried out having another Zoom administrator located elsewhere, displaying something uplifting for those viewing at home.

Again, simple but sufficient. Plugging into the sound system might be a next step, but our at-home members have been really happy with what's provided, and the low-tech-solution so far hasn't impacted their ability to be uplifted. Although I must say, this was not anything I ever expected to be doing for sacrament meetings!

Re: Sacrament Meeting

Posted: Wed Aug 05, 2020 5:07 am
by drepouille
Our stake offered to let us use the stake's paid Zoom account, but I saw too many problems with that. First, we would have had to deconflict with other units. The stake said they could not have multiple units running simultaneous Zoom meetings. Second, we have heard that Zoom would no longer allow call-in participants. These things are not problems with the G Suite account.

I run Google Meet from my laptop, and I have to constantly monitor the meeting, as half of the participants must be admitted manually, probably because they don't have a Google account. I also manually mute participants, and mute my broadcast during the Sacrament ordinance. I present a Notepad window reminding everyone why I muted myself. Last Sunday, the bishop asked me to bear my testimony. While I was speaking from the pulpit, another member tried to join, and my assistant clerk jumped in to manually admit him.

In my G Suite account, I am building a list of Contacts, each tagged for Sacrament meeting, Ward Council meeting, etc. Although I use recurring events for these meetings, a tagged Contact list allows me to create ad hoc events for each group.

I told the bishop that we really need opening and closing hymns. I think I will connect either my cell phone or a small laptop to the "crab" box, so I can play hymns with voices as needed. I think that will enhance our Sacrament meetings.

Re: Sacrament Meeting

Posted: Wed Aug 05, 2020 10:48 am
by russellhltn
Something you might want to consider is Larix Broadcaster. It's an app that runs on a cell phone (iOS or Android), and can feed the church's webcast system directly. No need to admit anyone, not any risk of disruption. The stake would have to set up the broadcast. Others have reported that the system will allow one stake to have simultaneous broadcasts.

As for the sacrament prayer, there's a mute button right on the home screen.

Re: Sacrament Meeting

Posted: Thu Aug 06, 2020 11:31 am
by Mikerowaved
drepouille wrote:Our stake offered to let us use the stake's paid Zoom account...

I run Google Meet from my laptop...

Both are fine programs for 2-way conferencing, meaning the viewers can also be contributors if they're not muted properly. Many hosts resort to manually admitting viewers so they don't get unwanted malicious disruptors. This is great for ward council meetings, bishopric meetings, etc., but (as you discovered) not the best solution for sacrament meetings.

You should seriously consider a 1-way only webcast solution for sacrament meeting. The advantages far outweigh the slightly more involved setup. The church's Meetinghouse Webcast (MWC) is a 1-way only program, as are YouTube Live, Facebook Live, and a host of other free and pay live-streaming services. Generally, any number of viewers can join, as they cannot disrupt the video or audio of the webcast, just view and/or listen; however, some apps allow you to restrict webcasts that are not intended for a general audience.

For live-streaming to MWC, you will need someone, such as the stake technology specialist, to setup a webcast for you and give you the RTMP URL, Stream Name (or key), and the Event Code for the event. This is a simple procedure that takes only a few seconds of their time. In fact, they can setup events for future dates, so you could request a month's worth of events at the same time. Each will have their own RTMP URL and Stream Name, so you'll need to keep them safe until it's time to use them. The viewers use the Event Code to watch either live, or delayed up to 24 hours following the event.

The only thing left is to find an app that can accept the RTMP URL and Stream Name to direct its A/V stream to that server. russellhltn suggested the free Larix Broadcaster app, which I've also used and highly recommend.

Re: Sacrament Meeting

Posted: Thu Aug 06, 2020 12:24 pm
by russellhltn
Another advantage of using the Church's MWC is that if it's set to "private", then a login with a Church Account is required. That might help the members feeling apprehensive about having their talk "broadcast" to who knows who.

Re: Sacrament Meeting

Posted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 8:55 am
by drepouille
Our weekly Sacrament broadcasts using a G Suite account and Google Meet have been going well. I sometimes have to mute participants who forget to mute themselves, and yesterday, I had to ask two people to turn off their camera feeds. Last week, I had selected the wrong microphone, and switched to the webcam microphone about 15 minutes into the meeting. No problem.

Since our stake president does not want anyone to sing, with or without masks, I started yesterday playing the opening and closing hymns with vocals from my old Android phone through the crab box into the podium. It was loud and clear, and I think people enjoyed it. We are still using the organ or piano for the Sacrament hymn, because that has more flexible timing.

I have also used Google Meet and our webcam for ward council and youth council meetings. I connect my laptop HDMI to a TV, so everyone in the room can see the online participants, and the webcam allows the reverse view. It works out very well.

We split Sacrament meetings into A-L one week, and M-Z on alternating weeks. However, since our attendance is less than 50 per week, we are considering inviting everyone to attend every week, since we assume at least 50 will stay home for the broadcast regardless of what we do.

Re: Sacrament Meeting

Posted: Wed Sep 02, 2020 1:57 pm
by mrbitsch
Sounds like lots of good ideas here, I'll go ahead and post a link to what our stake is doing ... 46&t=37353 for another idea. We're using YouTube, we did look at Zoom, and other options including the Church's broadcast system. I'd love to be able to use the church system, but in my experiences with it over the years, and including recently testing it again, it's a lot more finicky about the bit-rate and format of the video you're uploading (I can take the exact same stream and send it to both the Church system and YouTube, and the YouTube video always looks better on the receiving end). The other issues with the Church system, I have all 9 wards in our stake setup to run the broadcasts automatically, so the presiding member of the bishopric only needs to turn the sound system in the chapel on, and everything else happens automatically. With the church system somebody still has to setup each and every broadcast (unless there's an even more recent change that I've missed). I'm sure the Church system is setup the way it is to preserve and limit the amount of server resources they have active at any given time, but I really like the ability to YouTube to start a broadcast at anytime by simply starting a stream targeted at my YouTube Live key.

Re: Sacrament Meeting

Posted: Thu Sep 17, 2020 6:05 pm
by nathansharp
drepouille wrote:I run Google Meet from my laptop, and I have to constantly monitor the meeting, as half of the participants must be admitted manually, probably because they don't have a Google account..

I created a GSuite church account and created a test meeting. But I'm not able to join from another computer without a google account. Can you confirm if you have this behavior or if non-google account users are in fact able to join for you?

Thanks in advance.