Use PVC for Stake conference

Discussions about the desktop video conferencing solution provided by the Church

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harddrive
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Use PVC for Stake conference

Postby harddrive » Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:52 am

My stake president sent me the letter about the PVC software and from what I see and read, I like it.

His vision in 5 years is to be able to have speakers at other buildings in the stake and be able to hear them in the rest of the stake. So for instance a member of the stake presidency can be at the stake center and then one of his councilors at his home unit. He wants to be able to have his counselor speak from his home unit and every building in the stake to hear his message.

We are looking into to doing this, but one of the issues that we run into is the time delay on the webcasting software. I have found a 90 second delay at the buildings. Now having other members from another building speak, that would just increase the delay, which could lose the spirit of the meeting.

So he asked me about using this software and I can see this product being able to help out very much. I could mute the microphones in the building and only have the one open that is currently speaking.

Now the main question that I have is this, will this software work with TV Capture Cards, such as Happauge or even the Ospry 260e? If so that would keep the investment that we have done to get the Sony EVI-D70 camera and the TV Capture card to run it.

I will be trying this in the coming weeks, but this could really solve my issue with speakers in multiple buildings.

Terry

lionelwalters
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Postby lionelwalters » Thu Sep 22, 2011 1:37 pm

Yes! Absolutely yes, all possible now. In terms of hardware, you've got no problem with what you've listed. I've done some very basic tests in our meetinghouse using the chapel sound system for both input and output, and with the inbuild echo cancellation, etc., it works surprisingly well (although using mute, as you say, would work even better). Video quality is comparable to webcast (and at times better) and audio lag is minimal so it shouldn't be a problem. The current version of Vidyo allows for recording and webcast as well, so when the Church upgrades there's that to look forward to.

Sorry to sound overly enthusiastic, but I've been waiting for the official release of this solution for just this purpose, and it's better than I expected! :)

harddrive
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Postby harddrive » Thu Sep 22, 2011 6:47 pm

lionelwalters wrote:Yes! Absolutely yes, all possible now. In terms of hardware, you've got no problem with what you've listed. I've done some very basic tests in our meetinghouse using the chapel sound system for both input and output, and with the inbuild echo cancellation, etc., it works surprisingly well (although using mute, as you say, would work even better). Video quality is comparable to webcast (and at times better) and audio lag is minimal so it shouldn't be a problem. The current version of Vidyo allows for recording and webcast as well, so when the Church upgrades there's that to look forward to.

Sorry to sound overly enthusiastic, but I've been waiting for the official release of this solution for just this purpose, and it's better than I expected! :)


This is great news and I will begin the process of testing it. I didn't get an answer about it being able to use a TV capture card or audio/video capture card. That is the real question.

I really look forward to being able to get this accomplished.

lionelwalters
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Postby lionelwalters » Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:55 pm

harddrive wrote:This is great news and I will begin the process of testing it. I didn't get an answer about it being able to use a TV capture card or audio/video capture card. That is the real question.


I said the hardware you mentioned should work fine. :) I've tried a generic video capture card and it had no problems. Best of luck with it!

harddrive
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Postby harddrive » Fri Sep 23, 2011 5:38 am

Thank Lionelwalters, I will give it a try and go from there.

I will let you know how things go.

ksolsen
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Postby ksolsen » Fri Sep 23, 2011 8:10 am

Hi brethren - I am the product manager for PVC at Church HQ. Vidyo does officially support the Osprey 230 and Blackmagic Design Intensity Pro. Other capture devices may work, but those two are the ones they have officially stated support for.

One important note: Vidyo currently only supports the Blackmagic Design card with their 2.3 version of software/drivers, which is fairly old. So if you install the latest version (8.2.x), it won't work. So you'll need to go to the Blackmagic website and find that older driver. This card is a good choice if you want to use an HD PTZ camera (such as the Sony EVI-HD3V), because it offers HDMI input. I have asked Vidyo to support the current drivers, and they have responded to my request and are working on updating that support now.

The Osprey 230 is a great card and should work with current drivers. It offers inputs for composite and S-video, so it should work with a lot of different models of cameras, including the Sony EVI-D70.

As Lionel points out, a significant challenge to be aware of with any two-way audio communications (amplified when you get into big spaces like chapels) is echo cancellation. The PVC software does offer echo cancellation (Configuration / Devices). However, you will get better performance with hardware echo cancellation (and muting and unmuting remote participants is generally a good idea anyway to eliminate distracting noises).

The setup can become quite complex, but the simplest solution I've found is a ClearOne Chat 50 (an excellent USB speakerphone with echo and noise cancellation) connected to a PC, placed on the podium. You then plug the 3.5mm cable from the EJ-8 or EJ-10 crab box (should be available in all U.S. meetinghouses) into the back of the Chat 50 (not the headphone jack of your PC), and then plug the XLR mic cable into a nearby mic jack on the rostrum. With this setup, the person at the podium can speak into the gooseneck mic on the podium and be heard in the local chapel; his/her voice is also picked up by the microphone of the Chat 50 and sent to remote participants, and when remote participants speak, their voice comes through the Chat 50, to the crab box, and into the PA system. Honestly, it's asking quite a bit of the Chat 50 to do echo cancellation in that large of a hall, but it does a relatively decent job. You do have to enable External Speaker mode in the Chat software under Advanced (download the Chat software from the ClearOne website). I'm planning to post some more training on how to do this on the PVC wiki soon (https://tech.lds.org/wiki/index.php/Personal_Video_Conferencing).

Lionel is also correct in saying the current version of the Vidyo software allows for recording and streaming, a product called VidyoReplay. We have purchased the VidyoReplay hardware, and are planning to upgrade our production system to the new version of software very soon. However, VidyoReplay capabilities will not be made available to the general public right away, simply because of capacity. It is currently designed so that only one unit can be attached to a Vidyo system, and is only capable of 4-6 simultaneous recording sessions, a number we would quickly eclipse with our new influx of priesthood leader users. Vidyo is working on making VidyoReplay boxes so that they can be stacked and used as a single unit. At that time, we will most likely turn on that capability for ecclesiastical users.

We appreciate your enthusiasm for the product! We have been working very hard for literally the past two years to come to a point where we can offer this to ecclesiastical leaders worldwide, and hope it will provide benefit to your work.

harddrive
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Postby harddrive » Fri Sep 23, 2011 9:41 am

KSolsen, thank you for the update and this is terrific news. I do have a TV Capture card in the system that I use for webcasting and I will try it out and let everyone here know what I discover.

Now, I hear you about doing two-way audio communications with the chapel. I can see how that will work, but I'm wondering if there is a better way to do this. Let me explain. Also, I don't know the software as well as you because I just got into this week.

When we did our first webcast in June, we took the audio directly off the amplifier of the chapel. We had our audio tech run a new cable to the satellite cabinet to be plugged into the CCTV system and we just picked up the signal from there and plugged it into our computer. I would see this as the microphone/input for the PVC software. Then I would use the sound card on the computer as my receiver from the remote host. I would take that and perhaps use the same connection that the satellite system would be connected with, or something similar that would go through the normal chapel speaker system. This way, I think it would eliminate the noise problem and I can control microphones and other stuff from the back.

It is something that I will need to do a lot of testing with to get the setup right. I will keep you all informed as we progress forward with it in my stake.

Terry

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Postby lionelwalters » Fri Sep 23, 2011 1:31 pm

My very limited experience with the software suggests that this would work just fine. Although are you sending both local audio and remote audio to the microphone port of your PC, generally speaking the quality of the sound from chapel microphones is very good and without background noise, so the software is able to do the echo cancellation quite effectively. I haven't tried it with congregational singing in both locations yet but I suspect you may run into problems with that. As more people have more experience with the software I'd be interested to read about your experiences.

harddrive
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Postby harddrive » Fri Sep 23, 2011 6:36 pm

lionelwalters wrote:My very limited experience with the software suggests that this would work just fine. Although are you sending both local audio and remote audio to the microphone port of your PC, generally speaking the quality of the sound from chapel microphones is very good and without background noise, so the software is able to do the echo cancellation quite effectively. I haven't tried it with congregational singing in both locations yet but I suspect you may run into problems with that. As more people have more experience with the software I'd be interested to read about your experiences.


Right now, I am just getting started with this and haven't even done my first test. I needed to know about the capture card first and now that I think it will work and then I need to start testing.

I will be testing it with different meetings and hopefully be in a great position to do it for our stake conference in June 2012. I will let everyone know so that you can see my issues and what I think about it.

harddrive
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Postby harddrive » Fri Sep 23, 2011 6:37 pm

I may be purchasing a the Osprey so that I can keep the sync issue down to a minimum.


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