Is Zoom the best they could come up with?

Discussions around receiving, originating, and holding Church broadcasts and conferences in meetinghouses including schedules, setup, equipment, and support.
splayer7
New Member
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2020 9:09 am

Is Zoom the best they could come up with?

#1

Post by splayer7 »

With the discontinuation of the Church's webcasting servers, we have been directed to use Zoom. I am sorry, but as someone that prides myself on my broadcast quality, albeit just Sacrament meeting, and our bi-annual Stake Conference, I can't possibly think that Zoom is the best option. I am not, nor will I ever use Zoom as my encoder and I will not send out my broadcasts over a Zoom webinar. My case in point. This weekend, I was fortunate enough to be able to participate in a Temple Dedication. They used Zoom Webinar as the delivery method. I could tell that whoever was producing the broadcast had a few tools at their disposal, the Church has plenty of money to produce professional style broadcasts, but they were using Zoom as their encoding. The audio was all over the place. The noise cancellation was going crazy and the music sound was subpar. Zoom is good for speaking style meetings. Not so good for music. Even the video they played for prelude had glitchy sound and the video stream was jumpy. Every time during the meeting that they panned the camera, the video stuttered. It wasn't just my connection either. I ran a speed test prior, during, and post meeting and my speed was well over 150mbps download. I had all WIFI shut off to the building as well to prevent any bandwidth issues. I am having a hard time believing that Zoom is going to be the church standard from now going forward. Really looking forward to joining a Zoom Webinar for General Conference only to have the magnificent sound of the Tabernacle Choir sound like a sixth grade choir. As well as have the noise cancellation popping on and off in the middle of a speaker. Any one else seeing this as a problem or am I overthinking what is happening.
Wattsuk
Member
Posts: 80
Joined: Sun Apr 04, 2021 3:53 am

Re: Is Zoom the best they could come up with?

#2

Post by Wattsuk »

I agree with some of your points, although with more experience you can optimise the zoom experience a fair bit. Audio is greatly enhanced by checking the box to "enable original audio" in the settings, you can also enable HD video if not already done.

When I questioned this move further up the chain, the general answer is that it is less about the absolute quality of the broadcast and more about consolidation.

One platform for Sacrament meeting and other one way broadcasts, but also for leadership meetings like ward council and for interactive classes like Sunday School and others. Zoom can do it all, whereas other platforms can't. There's also the financial cost of all of this as well.

There is also no compulsion to move to zoom if you feel strongly against it. For most of us, it's much easier to move to YouTube and the quality is of course excellent there.
The choice is yours, as long as your local leaders don't mandate a solution that must be followed.
splayer7
New Member
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2020 9:09 am

Re: Is Zoom the best they could come up with?

#3

Post by splayer7 »

I agree that there are optimizations in place in Zoom. I have been using the enable original audio every time I have been forced to use Zoom and have directed the Ward Specialists in my stake to do the same. It seemed like they kept turning it on and off during the Temple dedication, which, probably to an untrained ear didn't distract. For me, it was mind numbing. I figured that the end game was a result of not spending money to reinvent the wheel where the Church had already made it's partnership with Zoom. I just hope that the more professional broadcasts from the conference center and church wide events, we aren't relegated to being forced to have subpar audio and video quality. They were paying Zoom for use of their servers, why pay to maintain security and upkeep on in house servers as well. I fully understand it. Luckily in my situation, I am the local leader that is setting the standard. :) My Stake President has given me carte blanche to create policy. As I am no dictator, I have presented options of using Zoom and YouTube as viable options, depending on the ability and skill of the individual Ward people and trained them accordingly. I was just really surprised that something as important as a Temple dedication was left to the folks at Zoom to run.
russellhltn
Community Administrator
Posts: 31313
Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2007 2:53 pm
Location: U.S.

Re: Is Zoom the best they could come up with?

#4

Post by russellhltn »

I'm surprised that they'd use Zoom for a temple dedication, unless they needed remote speakers. Usually such high profile events gets the pros at Church Headquarters involved.

The results suggest that something else was going on (perhaps limited bandwidth from the event site), or some poor STS got handed the task without a lot of support.
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.
Wattsuk
Member
Posts: 80
Joined: Sun Apr 04, 2021 3:53 am

Re: Is Zoom the best they could come up with?

#5

Post by Wattsuk »

I'd agree with that.
As we all seem to be concluding, Zoom gets used when people don't know better or have limited experience with other things so have more confidence in a product that they have personally tried and tested.
For many, Zoom is their comfort zone and gets the job done in accordance with church policy and guiding principles.

Just over a week ago there was a UK wide conference which originated from London with 3 Apostles and their wives speaking. It was broadcast on YouTube. The sound quality was excellent but the video was low resolution. At least it was consistent and reliable I guess.

I think there's no chance that you'll see general conference broadcast using zoom.
There's a big difference between 500-1000 people and then 10's of millions.
User avatar
sbradshaw
Community Moderators
Posts: 5484
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2011 9:42 pm
Location: Utah
Contact:

Re: Is Zoom the best they could come up with?

#6

Post by sbradshaw »

russellhltn wrote: Mon Nov 08, 2021 1:59 pm I'm surprised that they'd use Zoom for a temple dedication, unless they needed remote speakers. Usually such high profile events gets the pros at Church Headquarters involved.

The results suggest that something else was going on (perhaps limited bandwidth from the event site), or some poor STS got handed the task without a lot of support.
I think most of the broadcasts for temple dedications are now being done over Zoom. With more and more temples being dedicated, it would be a major expense to have the broadcast team from Church Headquarters travel everywhere with all of their equipment.
Samuel Bradshaw • If you desire to serve God, you are called to the work.
russellhltn
Community Administrator
Posts: 31313
Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2007 2:53 pm
Location: U.S.

Re: Is Zoom the best they could come up with?

#7

Post by russellhltn »

sbradshaw wrote: Tue Nov 09, 2021 10:45 am I think most of the broadcasts for temple dedications are now being done over Zoom. With more and more temples being dedicated, it would be a major expense to have the broadcast team from Church Headquarters travel everywhere with all of their equipment.
There's quite a range of options in between.

Not too far into the pandemic, we had our stake conference. We couldn't meet in person, and we were to have a "visiting" authority. We ended up using Zoom from the chapel (just the participants in attendance) and the GA from the church office building. In this case, Zoom was used to produce the produce, but it was distributed via the Church's own system (Brightcove?)

While it did fall to this STS to pull this off, I did have help from the church team, including a dry run prior to this. While the results were OK, I did notice that the stream from the chapel were noticeably less sharp than the results from the church office building. I'm not sure why, if it was the camera, the HDMI to USB converter, or some Zoom setting.

For something like a temple dedication, I'd expect at least the same level of support. In fact, (at least in the US) I'd be surprised if they didn't send at least one team member with some equipment as part of the entourage and he/she would round out the local team and equipment with local resources.
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.
Compass88
New Member
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Nov 01, 2020 6:56 pm

Re: Is Zoom the best they could come up with?

#8

Post by Compass88 »

I am not a fan of Zoom. I intend to throw all of my broadcast support duties to the other tech in our stake, who considers himself to be a Zoom expert, on the day that Zoom is enforced as THE way forward.
If the church does not want to allow us to continue using the Azure streaming servers that we have been using for the last several years, then I will build my own streaming broadcast server rather than use Zoom.
OBS (Open Broadcast Server) is open source and free to use. It is also easy to install and set up on a PC. Alternatively, a Teradek unit can be used as we have done for years.
The stake clerk and ward clerks count on remote connection information provided by the current Azure church broadcast system that we have been using to augment in-person attendance information with remote attendance information for taking roll.
I keep getting questions regarding this change to Zoom. This issue has caused confusion among the Bishops in our stake, who are unsure whether we are to stop broadcasting altogether, move to Zoom immediately, or continue to use the Azure streaming server.
I would add that if this is about the church saving money by paying nothing or substantially less for the use of Zoom servers, "If you are not paying for the product, then YOU ARE THE PRODUCT."
User avatar
Mikerowaved
Community Moderators
Posts: 4400
Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2007 12:56 am
Location: Layton, UT

Re: Is Zoom the best they could come up with?

#9

Post by Mikerowaved »

Compass88 wrote: Sat Nov 13, 2021 7:31 pmI intend to throw all of my broadcast support duties to the other tech in our stake...on the day that Zoom is enforced as THE way forward.
No one is forcing any unit to use Zoom. It's merely suggested as an alternative for when they retire Meetinghouse Webcast next year. Our stake is happily using YouTube Live and I know other stakes that have chosen even a different webcast platform. Work and pray with your stake presidency and come up with a good plan that works for you.
So we can better help you, please edit your Profile to include your general location.
russellhltn
Community Administrator
Posts: 31313
Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2007 2:53 pm
Location: U.S.

Re: Is Zoom the best they could come up with?

#10

Post by russellhltn »

Compass88 wrote: Sat Nov 13, 2021 7:31 pm I keep getting questions regarding this change to Zoom. This issue has caused confusion among the Bishops in our stake, who are unsure whether we are to stop broadcasting altogether, move to Zoom immediately, or continue to use the Azure streaming server.
Instructions regarding webcasting during the pandemic will come from the area authorities to the stake president. Once the pandemic is sufficiently over, then Handbook 29.7 will determine if any kind of webcasts for shut-ins continue.

Compass88 wrote: Sat Nov 13, 2021 7:31 pmI would add that if this is about the church saving money by paying nothing or substantially less for the use of Zoom servers, "If you are not paying for the product, then YOU ARE THE PRODUCT."
Unless the ward is not using the zoom account for any other meeting (Sunday School, RS, PH, leadership), then the Zoom webcast isn't any additional cost. The Azure servers encounter a charge for each use.
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.
Post Reply

Return to “Broadcasts and Conferences”