Sharing our experience with Virtual Sacrament Meeting Broadcasts

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

Post by russellhltn »

mrbitsch wrote:With the updates to the church handbook section 27.9 we had asked the FM group if it was possible to install ethenet and audio connections at the back of the chapel so the camera wasn't right in front of the pulpit, and they said "no, we've been instructed this is only temporary and we should not install any new drops that aren't absolutely necessary", their claim was that 27.9 was only talking about stake conferences.
Clearly, they haven't read it.

Yes, before the edit, the only cameras in the chapel was for stake conference. But 29.7 is clearly about all of the ward meeting, especially sacrament meeting.

But until CHQ sanctions a particular setup, FM may not be that cooperative.
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mrbitsch
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Re: Sharing our experience with Virtual Sacrament Meeting Broadcasts

Post by mrbitsch »

russellhltn wrote:Clearly, they haven't read it.
Yes, before the edit, the only cameras in the chapel was for stake conference. But 29.7 is clearly about all of the ward meeting, especially sacrament meeting.
Yup, clearly, as anybody who has read it would have noticed the clearly defined sections specifically talking about ward meetings, and then stake conference as its own section.
russellhltn wrote:But until CHQ sanctions a particular setup, FM may not be that cooperative.
I'll just second that and leave it, because I could go on and on. :D

I am curious, and looking forward to further guidance from CHQ about what those broadcasts should/can actually look like post-covid. I know of a couple of members of our ward who have been home-bound for years because of medical issues, and these covid era broadcasts have been a real blessing in their lives. I hope that the update to the handbook means we'll be able to continue to allow these broadcasts for those ward members, and not have to at some point tell them "sorry, most everybody can make it to church in-person now, so we're going to take this away."
russellhltn
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Re: Sharing our experience with Virtual Sacrament Meeting Broadcasts

Post by russellhltn »

mrbitsch wrote:I know of a couple of members of our ward who have been home-bound for years because of medical issues, and these covid era broadcasts have been a real blessing in their lives. I hope that the update to the handbook means we'll be able to continue to allow these broadcasts for those ward members, and not have to at some point tell them "sorry, most everybody can make it to church in-person now, so we're going to take this away."
That's one of the reasons why I expected that some form of webcasting would become permanent. It would be too cruel to shut that door. Unless I'm missing something that seems to be exactly what section 29.7 addresses.

What's going to be fun is haring the stories about different bishops picking different dividing lines as to who qualifies for remote viewing.

There's also a possibility that the mission could be involved as well. It seems my local mission was trying to get investigators to visit some of these broadcasts. But 29.7 doesn't have anything about webcasting for investigators.
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Mikerowaved
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Re: Sharing our experience with Virtual Sacrament Meeting Broadcasts

Post by Mikerowaved »

mrbitsch wrote:I am curious, and looking forward to further guidance from CHQ about what those broadcasts should/can actually look like post-covid. I know of a couple of members of our ward who have been home-bound for years because of medical issues, and these covid era broadcasts have been a real blessing in their lives. I hope that the update to the handbook means we'll be able to continue to allow these broadcasts for those ward members, and not have to at some point tell them "sorry, most everybody can make it to church in-person now, so we're going to take this away."
We are using YT Live almost exclusively, due to the far superior audio and video available. (Last Sunday I streamed in 1080p/60 at 8Mbps.) I asked my stake president if it was drawing near the time to make the YT links "Unlisted" and let the bishops give them only to those in need. He said it wasn't yet time, but at some point, he would like to proceed with that plan. This would encourage those who are able to attend to do so and receive the blessings of the sacrament.
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mrbitsch
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Re: Sharing our experience with Virtual Sacrament Meeting Broadcasts

Post by mrbitsch »

Mikerowaved wrote:We are using YT Live almost exclusively, due to the far superior audio and video available. (Last Sunday I streamed in 1080p/60 at 8Mbps.) I asked my stake president if it was drawing near the time to make the YT links "Unlisted" and let the bishops give them only to those in need. He said it wasn't yet time, but at some point, he would like to proceed with that plan. This would encourage those who are able to attend to do so and receive the blessings of the sacrament.
Our Stake Presidency is planning on us basically doing the same, based on the handbook updates, unless we receive direction to the contrary. We would like to move the camera setup to the back of the chapel, that would be a lot easier if we can get the FM group to support us in adding audio and ethernet connections back there. Which likely means we'll need to see an update on expectations from CHQ to the FM group.

We're actually already using unlisted links, the scripts I have running update a static link on our stake webpage each week. Likely the change over will be that the link will either be emailed out to the bishops each week to give to those who need to watch from home, or we'll create updated static links for the bishops to distribute.
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Re: Sharing our experience with Virtual Sacrament Meeting Broadcasts

Post by russellhltn »

mrbitsch wrote:We're actually already using unlisted links, the scripts I have running update a static link on our stake webpage each week. Likely the change over will be that the link will either be emailed out to the bishops each week to give to those who need to watch from home, or we'll create updated static links for the bishops to distribute.
I'm thinking you may want links that change periodically, perhaps every few months. Otherwise, it gets hard to cut someone off who no longer qualifies or to prevent word from getting around.
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mrbitsch
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Re: Sharing our experience with Virtual Sacrament Meeting Broadcasts

Post by mrbitsch »

russellhltn wrote:I'm thinking you may want links that change periodically, perhaps every few months. Otherwise, it gets hard to cut someone off who no longer qualifies or to prevent word from getting around.
That was kind of the line I was thinking down, the system we're using right now automates that either way.
Wattsuk
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Re: Sharing our experience with Virtual Sacrament Meeting Broadcasts

Post by Wattsuk »

It is interesting to see the different approaches that the different FM groups are taking.

Ours made it very clear that they had been working on a ward broadcast system for some time before COVID came along. Our area presidency had already given the necessary permission for this to take place as needed. Obviously COVID has expedited some things.

FM here have told us that they are taking direction from ICS to ensure a consistent standard across the church and that solutions can be supported going forward by GSC.

Right at the start they told us that the currently approved broadcast system would consist of a memo start using either the church webcast or YouTube. It seems the substantial increase in server costs for the church’s own webcast has prompted a change of tact to focus more towards zoom.

Some of the documents outlining solutions do seem to be interim at best. The one attached a few posts up is similar in sentiment to one we received many months ago but the actual document is completely different.

Whatever your local situation may be, working with FM rather than against will usually yield a good outcome.
If you need Ethernet or audio routed somewhere else, make a solid case for it, escalate with your Priesthood leader, clearly explaining how this affects the quality of worship and then recognise that your request may need to be pushed down the line due to already budgeted projects.
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Re: Sharing our experience with Virtual Sacrament Meeting Broadcasts

Post by byrnesasylum »

Seems its just not possible to email anyone on the tech side of the church webcast platform directly to answer my questions, and trying led me here, so following is my experience (and frustration)...

I've been running our Sacrament Meeting webcasts for several weeks now while we're in Delta lockdown. We're still able to have a small number attend our chapel to run the stream (usually just couple from Bishopric, couple of speakers, and myself), so we haven't had to resort to multi-location platforms like zoom with all the uncontrollable variables they entail!
The church webcast platform was the obvious choice for us, and having some knowledge of digital photography/videography, I've been tweaking settings from week to week to try and get the best possible stream quality for our members at home. My setup consists of the following...
- My own camera, a Panasonic G85 M43 ILC with good glass and clean HDMI out, on tripod in front of pulpit (straddling front two pews for height).
- My own RODE directional mic on mic stand close to pulpit, cabled directly into camera mic input (outputs with video over HDMI, which minimises sync issues).
- Cheapish no-name HDMI to USB3 capture device, plugged into my i7 laptop running Windows7 and OBS Studio.
- WiFi connection to chapel router and broadband connection with stable 4Mbps upload speed.
(WiFi bandwidth isn’t unduly stressed with only me on it, but streaming meetings with 100s of members attending might be a problem!)

1080p camera feed into the laptop is used as a source in two separate OBS scenes that I can switch smoothly between during the stream - one downscaled to my 720p streaming resolution for a wide shot, and one cropped into 720p pixel for pixel close-up with no loss of quality. BTW, OBS is definitely the way to go – it gives so much more real time control over content mixing than expensive hardware solutions like the Teradek.
OBS is configured to output at 720p 29.97fps* at 2800Kbps (comfortably under our 4Mbps bandwidth for stability). I’m using the laptop’s Intel QSV hardware encoding at 'quality' and 'high' setting. When I record to the laptop’s SSD using above streaming settings the video quality is as good as I could hope from 720p at 2800Kbps. In fact, it looks pretty decent even up-scaled on my 55” 4K TV.
However, when I post-view the event via http://mywebcast.churchofjesuschrist.org the video quality is quite a bit worse, with compression artifacts everywhere and serious motion stutter (despite OBS not logging ANY dropped frames for the entire stream). The browser player also only offers the following quality options...
- 640x280 at 118Kbps or 344Kbps
- 960x540 at 646Kbps
- 1366x768 at 1471Kbps or 2406Kbps (happens to be the screen resolution of the laptop I use to stream but I assume this is just coincidence?)

So what’s going on here? I assume the stream is being re-encoded at the server end to accommodate low bandwidth viewers, but why would my original unadulterated 720p upload quality NOT be one of the options offered (ie: not degraded by yet more decompressing and recompressing at a different resolution and bitrate).
(BTW*, whilst I live in a 25fps PAL region, I capture and stream at US standard 29.97fps, because I use YouTube clips of the Tab Choir for our opening and closing hymns, which are all 29.97fps, and re-encoding them to 25fps introduced stutter, so it was just easier to keep everything at 29.97fps).
bradpeterson@gmail.com
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Re: Sharing our experience with Virtual Sacrament Meeting Broadcasts

Post by bradpeterson@gmail.com »

It's almost certainly being re-encoded in the webcast process.

We simultaneously broadcasted the same stream through the church's webcast system and YouTube. YouTube looked much better and avoided artifacts. But the church's system isn't that bad, you really only need about 480p, what's been most important for us is good audio.
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