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

#111

Post by russellhltn »

byrnesasylum wrote: Sat Sep 11, 2021 10:23 pm 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
The church system is running in Microsoft Azure. I don't know what the billing structure looks like, but many cloud-based systems have a charge based on bandwidth used. The re-encoding to a lower bit rate may be a cost savings measure.

You may want to consider another service like YouTube or the church-provided Zoom Webinar.
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Re: Sharing our experience with Virtual Sacrament Meeting Broadcasts

#112

Post by byrnesasylum »

Thanks for replies. Yes, learned early on that audio is critical. First attempts to capture chapel PA sound via webcam mic was abysmal, and unable to find any easily accessible line out from PA amp, I ended up abandoning the PA and investing in a good off camera RODE mic mounted as close to pulpit as possible.
As to using commercial platforms like YouTube, this just seems like it shouldn't be necessary when the church has invested in its own closed platform. It just needs to up the performance to cope with the increasing demand that this 'new normal' COVID life has generated. Surely it's preferable to keep things like sacrament meeting webcasts 'in-house', no?
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Re: Sharing our experience with Virtual Sacrament Meeting Broadcasts

#113

Post by byrnesasylum »

PS to last post...
So when post viewing, the browser player offers max quality setting of 1366x768 at 1471Kbps or 2406Kbps. This is so close to my upload spec of 1280x720 at 2800Kbps that I have to wonder why they'd do that given how much their transcoding is degrading the quality of my original?!
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Re: Sharing our experience with Virtual Sacrament Meeting Broadcasts

#114

Post by lajackson »

byrnesasylum wrote:I ended up abandoning the PA and investing in a good off camera RODE mic mounted as close to pulpit as possible.
I recently visited a ward where the camera was located at the side rear of the chapel directly underneath one of the side ceiling speakers. The audio was captured from the speaker. The microphone was close enough that the speaker prevailed and hardly any ambient noise entered the webcast.
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Re: Sharing our experience with Virtual Sacrament Meeting Broadcasts

#115

Post by bradpeterson@gmail.com »

byrnesasylum wrote: Sun Sep 12, 2021 5:57 pm As to using commercial platforms like YouTube, this just seems like it shouldn't be necessary when the church has invested in its own closed platform. It just needs to up the performance to cope with the increasing demand that this 'new normal' COVID life has generated. Surely it's preferable to keep things like sacrament meeting webcasts 'in-house', no?
I can't recall where I heard it in this forum, but the chatter is that the church is slightly leaning to making Zoom the default standard, and the church's webcast is expensive and is better left for things like stake conferences. However, I haven't yet heard a single official directive from the church supporting or restricting any one such delivery medium.

We decided among Zoom, YouTube, and Webcast. Here is my subjective rating system (1 bad --- 5 great):

Webcast
Reliability - 4. We experienced BIG problems early on. Since it's been better.
Tech ease - 4. It's just an RTMP stream.
Viewer ease - 4. The URL to get to the broadcast is long and cumbersome and isn't easily memorized. Broadcast URL changes every week.
Stopping/starting - 2. That 15 minute delay can cause big problems if something dies (I spoke with a stake conference broadcaster today whose broadcast stopped 15 minutes mid meeting due to it)
Audio/video mixing - N/A. It's up to your and your tool (Teredek, OBS, phone...)
Quality/latency - 3. Noticeable artifacts. 30 second delay is longer.

Zoom Webinar
Reliability - 4. We experienced BIG problems early on. Since it's been better.
Tech ease - 5. As easy as can be.
Viewer ease - 3. Most configure for Zoom on client end, so client must install an app first. (Many members and investigators don't know how to do that.) URL may stay the same if scheduled correctly.
Stopping/starting - 5. Does fine.
Audio/video mixing - 2. Very limited mixing. Harder to support other tools.
Quality/latency - 4. Quality is great, paid plans from the church can support HD mode. Latency is great.

YouTube
Reliability - 5. Extremely reliable.
Tech ease - 4. Just needs an RTMP
Viewer ease - 4. Short URLs, but need some way to send out the URLs each week.
Stopping/starting - 5. Easy to restart, forgiving on disconnects.
Audio/video mixing - N/A. It's up to your and your tool (Teredek, OBS, phone...)
Quality/latency - 5. Quality seamlessly matches your bitrate. Three latency options.

We have a 10 letter stake domain webpage everyone has memorized, we load URLs into that each week. We do our own mixing with OBS. We also track viewers by name and total number via a Cognito Forms page. So YouTube is wins for us all around.
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Re: Sharing our experience with Virtual Sacrament Meeting Broadcasts

#116

Post by byrnesasylum »

lajackson wrote: I recently visited a ward where the camera was located at the side rear of the chapel directly underneath one of the side ceiling speakers. The audio was captured from the speaker. The microphone was close enough that the speaker prevailed and hardly any ambient noise entered the webcast.
Under our current delta lockdown restrictions we can't hold regular meetings, so its just 5 or 6 of us in the chapel with camera close to pulpit. When restrictions ease we may go back to 50/50 meetings (1/2 ward each week to maintain social distancing like we had mid last year), so had in mind to move camera to lounge area (I have telephoto lenses that will give me enough reach) and mount mic on stand pointing straight up at lounge PA speaker, so glad to hear that works OK. Thanks.
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Re: Sharing our experience with Virtual Sacrament Meeting Broadcasts

#117

Post by russellhltn »

bradpeterson@gmail.com wrote: Sun Sep 12, 2021 8:43 pm I can't recall where I heard it in this forum, but the chatter is that the church is slightly leaning to making Zoom the default standard, and the church's webcast is expensive and is better left for things like stake conferences.
You can find a gentle push in the attachment to this post.

I believe the church webcast costs the church on a 'per use' basis, while the Zoom account for the unit is a fixed cost.
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Mikerowaved
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Re: Sharing our experience with Virtual Sacrament Meeting Broadcasts

#118

Post by Mikerowaved »

bradpeterson@gmail.com wrote: Sun Sep 12, 2021 8:43 pmWe have a 10 letter stake domain webpage everyone has memorized, we load URLs into that each week. We do our own mixing with OBS. We also track viewers by name and total number via a Cognito Forms page. So YouTube is wins for us all around.
We opted to setup a stake YouTube channel, that has all the wards listed there as upcoming live events. Even though the viewing URL's change weekly, the stake channel is always there and has the same graphical link displayed for each ward's upcoming meeting(s). Viewers can't be identified by name, but the number of concurrent viewers can be displayed graphically for each meeting.

Another nice thing is the RTMP settings can remain static from week-to-week making streaming simple from OBS, Larix Broadcaster, Teradek VidiU, or whatever encoding method you wish to use.

russellhltn wrote:I believe the church webcast costs the church on a 'per use' basis, while the Zoom account for the unit is a fixed cost.
I believe you're right. I think they got a wakeup call when the Azure Cloud bills started rolling it. Suddenly stakes that streamed 3-6 times a year (stake conferences + testing), were now streaming 7-12 sessions per week! That's like 100x the number of yearly streams, multiplied by who knows how many stakes. This likely blew up someone's budget big time. It's no wonder they opted to push Zoom and other lower cost alternatives.

BTW, YouTube Live is 100% free to use. 8-)
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Re: Sharing our experience with Virtual Sacrament Meeting Broadcasts

#119

Post by drepouille »

That's funny, since YouTube Live TV costs me $75 per month.

Assuming you turn off the mic and camera for the Sacrament ordinance, do you do the same for baby blessings during Sacrament meeting? Our recent Sacrament meeting Zoom attendance doubled for the first ten minutes so relatives could watch a baby blessing. Then they left the Zoom meeting.

Although Zoom meetings are the modern equivalent of closed-circuit TV, posting recordings of priesthood ordinances on YouTube or Facebook appears to be discouraged by recent guidance.
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Re: Sharing our experience with Virtual Sacrament Meeting Broadcasts

#120

Post by Mikerowaved »

drepouille wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 5:57 amThat's funny, since YouTube Live TV costs me $75 per month.
YouTube Live is a whole different animal than YouTube TV. In the latter, you are paying to receive additional YT "channels", much like cable or satellite TV.

drepouille wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 5:57 amAssuming you turn off the mic and camera for the Sacrament ordinance, do you do the same for baby blessings during Sacrament meeting? Our recent Sacrament meeting Zoom attendance doubled for the first ten minutes so relatives could watch a baby blessing. Then they left the Zoom meeting.

Although Zoom meetings are the modern equivalent of closed-circuit TV, posting recordings of priesthood ordinances on YouTube or Facebook appears to be discouraged by recent guidance.
Priesthood ordinances are not streamed or recorded. In the topic, Pausing a Larix webcast for the sacrament, I explain one way this is done.

BTW, while Zoom Webinars can be like "closed-circuit TV", as soon as the links & login credentials are shared on a public website (which I see all the time), they are equivalent to public streaming services like Facebook, YouTube, and the like, that anyone in the world can view.

We're not there yet, but my stake president has made it clear that sometime in the future, he would like all sacrament meeting webcasts to only be available to those who really need it. This means the bishops will be in charge of emailing the links to those in need each week. This is easily done in YT Live with an "unlisted" live event, putting it on par with an unpublished Zoom Webinar.
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