What equipment do you use for webcasting?

Conversations around originating a webcast for conference, including cameras and mixers.
jay.burgon
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Re: What equipment do you use for webcasting?

Postby jay.burgon » Mon May 01, 2017 8:37 am

aaronrsmith wrote:The PTZ optics cameras can be IP controlled, and the changes show up on all video outputs. I have seen it IP controlled while using the SDI video output and work great.


Great, thank you! Hopefully I can get a hold of one of these.

aaronrsmith
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Re: What equipment do you use for webcasting?

Postby aaronrsmith » Mon May 01, 2017 10:44 am

Clint, the STS in the San Tan Valley North Stake, has more experience with these cameras. Look him up in CDOL.

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Mikerowaved
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Re: What equipment do you use for webcasting?

Postby Mikerowaved » Thu May 04, 2017 3:24 am

We just had our best webcast to date using Wirecast and YouTube Live. The name & calling of each speaker faded in and out near the beginning and end of each talk; the chorister had a webcam dedicated for her with the words to the hymns showing on the lower third of the screen; the Single Adult choir had both a wide angle shot and a bit of close-up panning; all done as discretely as we could with consumer video cameras mounted on tripods.

To keep in the spirit of the thread's subject, I've attached a PDF of our setup. The PDF has 2 pages, the first would be a typical setup if we were to use the VidiU encoder, and the second page is what we used for this past conference with Wirecast. The VCR is used as a crutch until we can get the A/V feeds from the satellite cabinet working properly. The "HDMI to SD box" converts the 1080i from the main video camera to 480i anamorphic (squished), then injected into the stake center's video distribution system via the RCA jack in the back of the chapel. The cultural hall projector and cry-room TV (not shown) are adjusted so the image is shown in the (un-squished) 16:9 format. It obviously doesn't have 1080i quality, but it's really not too bad.

Unfortunately, none of our cabling is hard-wired into the building, so they all had to be laid out in advance and taped down. This requires a bit of work and our stake president asked if we could permanently install some (or all) of it.

This brings me to my question. If we got permission from our FM group to run some cables through the walls and overhead (yes, they would be plenum rated and installed according to local building codes), it would make sense to make them as obsolete-proof as possible, without breaking the bank. For video, SDI is a proven way to have long A/V cable runs without any degradation, but the cost of the converters to & from SDI are quite pricey.

Has anyone looked into the HDBaseT standard for our buildings? It uses CAT6a cables to transmit uncompressed ultra-HD 4K video up to 100M (328'). 1080p can be delivered using CAT5e cables. At the same time, it can also deliver 100Mb Ethernet functionality, Power over HDBaseT (PoH) up to 100W, and control signals emulating RS232/USB, and IR. Sets of HDBaseT Tx/Rx boxes for 1080p are selling on Amazon in the sub $50 range.

I wish I knew what standard the church is using for new stake centers. I would much rather follow their lead rather than come up with a totally different solution.
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Webcasting Block Diagrams.pdf
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aaronrsmith
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Re: What equipment do you use for webcasting?

Postby aaronrsmith » Thu May 04, 2017 6:47 am

We have not yet looked at HDBaseT. SDI to HDMI adapters can be found for about $30. Does your building have any network cabling? If so, you may be able to pull new cables for video through the existing conduit for the network cables.

jay.burgon
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Re: What equipment do you use for webcasting?

Postby jay.burgon » Thu May 04, 2017 8:36 pm

@Mikerowaved thanks for the drawings

Noob question: Is there no official policy for what we're supposed to be using for webcasting? Using YouTube Live and being able to use a Roku or something on the receiving end sounds neat. How does the Church's webcast system compare in quality, experience, and ease of use to something like YouTube Live?

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Mikerowaved
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Re: What equipment do you use for webcasting?

Postby Mikerowaved » Fri May 05, 2017 10:55 pm

I'll try to answer your questions.

jay.burgon wrote:Noob question: Is there no official policy for what we're supposed to be using for webcasting?

The suggested policy is to use the VidiU encoder, but since that only has one video input, we are stuck using one camera, unless some sort of video switching goes on upstream of the VidiU box. This is where we are left to be creative on our own.

jay.burgon wrote:Using YouTube Live and being able to use a Roku or something on the receiving end sounds neat.

I started using YouTube Live years ago when the church's servers could only stream to those viewing the exact bitrate of what I was uploading. The YouTube servers take the bitrate of your upload and automatically make lower bitrate streams available to those with slower Internet access. (The servers the church is using now can also do this.) The YouTube servers are completely free to use and don't tack on any ads or even hints that we're using their service. Their server farm is MASSIVE. (I have a son currently working on the YouTube side of Google and he told me I couldn't imagine the number of servers they have just for live streaming.) The one BIG gotcha, is you must bypass the church's firewall for both the UL and DL buildings. I've never downloaded using a Roku, so I can't offer an opinion on it, or even if it's feasible.

jay.burgon wrote:How does the Church's webcast system compare in quality, experience, and ease of use to something like YouTube Live?

The church's webcast system works quite well most of the time. It requires making reservations in advance and testing is limited to (I think) 1 hour per test. They also block the higher bitrates from being used. The church has the ability to see detailed logs of both successful and unsuccessful webcasts.

In contrast, YouTube Live does not need any advanced notice, nor does it have a time limit for testing (that I know of). I've let a test run almost 24 hours once while tracking down an overheating problem. There is no bitrate limit. If you can manage to stream 4K video, it will happily take it. The YouTube servers also provide a logistics page where you can see the quality and numbers of connected viewers in real-time, but it's probably not as extensive as the logs the church gets.

I highly recommend starting off using the church's system, but maybe have some experience with the YouTube servers where you can fallback to them if needed.
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jay.burgon
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Re: What equipment do you use for webcasting?

Postby jay.burgon » Fri May 05, 2017 11:25 pm

Thanks. That's great information!

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Re: What equipment do you use for webcasting?

Postby russellhltn » Sat May 06, 2017 1:59 am

Since you asked what is suggested, "Units that use webcast technology are encouraged to keep their webcast setup as simple as possible. Overly complicated systems can be difficult to run, and represent an unnecessary expense to the Church. Advanced features such as speaker titles, hymn text, and multiple cameras are optional, not required, for a successful webcast."

That and more can be found under Webcast in the Help Center.

It is fair to say that most stakes will only use it twice a year and any extra equipment comes out of the stake's budget. The same budget that's used for church activities.
Have you searched the Help Center? Try doing a Google search and adding "site:churchofjesuschrist.org/help" to the search criteria.

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