Help with webcast issues

Conversations around originating a webcast for conference, including cameras and mixers.
bregar
New Member
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2012 8:25 am
Location: USA Rockford, IL

Help with webcast issues

Postby bregar » Tue Jun 19, 2012 12:51 pm

Hello

I have been the stake tech clerk for the past year. When I was called my major responsibility was to implement webcasting to our outlining units. With the help of a great FM director we were able to secure the equipment needed to do a webcast.

My personal experience is with the Cisco CCNA program that I taught at the high school level. I have also taught net + and A+ to high school students. I also have 15 years of teaching electronics. this is my way of saying that I have a fair competency level with technology.

Let me tell you about our setup.

In our stake center we have a business class cable connection speeds are tested at 13mbps down and 13 Mbps up. We are using the stake clerks computer with the webcast software. The video capture card is completely compatible with the system. The clerks PC is hard wired to the buildings network. The clerks pc is a newer dell optiplex with 4 gigs of ram running windows XP. We still have a legacy Cisco firewall.

My outlining units each have cable ISP connections that far exceed the churches recommended bandwidth requirements. Each unit has power line networking in place to provide the data signal to the members laptop. We are looking to hardware these connections in the next year.

Now my issues...

We did our first webcast with an early morning stake priesthood meeting. This was last August. It worked fine with some issues having to do with over modulated audio. The signal was strong we thought we were in a good place.

Fast forward to stake conference last November... It was a total disaster. The signals were poor audio hard to understand. After this I went to work upgrading two of my three units with cable modems from DSL connections My third unit was already equipped with cable. I also upgraded the stake center to a business class cable connection. I didn't shut down the limited wifi network we had in the stake center. So after reading the tech forums I thought the problem was wifi competing for the limited bandwidth.

Fast forward again to last Sundays stake conference. I tested the new improvements with all of the units a week ahead of time and everything checked out fine. I cut off the wifi in all of the buildings With all of the upgrades I was sure that we would have a successful rerun at it. The conections started out fine but there were some major audio issues. The audio was way over-modulated. I did adjust the gain control in the webcast software to its lowest setting. The speakers were hard to understand. We also lost the signal to each unit including a laptop that I was using to monitor things once the connection was reestablished things were better. I had one unit that gave the members the choice of going home.

I'm at a loss...I feel so bad about promising things and not being able to deliver. I feel that I have let my stake presidency down twice. I realize all things have a learning curve
But I will not subject the members of my stake to another fiasco.

Any comments would be apprciated

russellhltn
Community Administrator
Posts: 20750
Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2007 2:53 pm
Location: U.S.

Postby russellhltn » Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:16 pm

Can you give more details on how you're connecting the audio? What output on the sound system to what input on the computer?
Have you searched the Wiki?
Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

michaelfish
Member
Posts: 414
Joined: Sun May 10, 2009 3:44 pm
Location: Gilbert, AZ USA

Postby michaelfish » Tue Jun 19, 2012 4:52 pm

Yes, the more details you can provide, the more we can help!

Although the following story has nothing to do with your problem, there is a testing suggestion at the end of this post that saved me.

Details:

I had a similar experience two conferences ago with terrible problems of buzzing of the audio at one of the remote buildings that started just 15 minutes before conference started. It was so bad, some people left. In hindsight, my mistake was testing using a test video (to test bandwidth, audio, picture quality, etc.) instead of actual picture and audio from the pulpit.

So several weeks prior to our last conference I set everything up again and was able to reproduce the humming problem. I discovered that it started before the feed was sent out to the other buildings when the ground of the audio mixer touched any metal of the church audio/video/satellite rack. I had a ground loop problem (yuck!). I was really confused because only one of the remote buildings had reported the hum/buzz problem. No complaints were received from the second remote building. However, when I re-checked reception at the remote building (the one which had no complaints), I found the hum/buzz was there in my headphones. The reason the congregation didn't notice it was because the audio quality in that building was so poor (I never attended any meetings there), low frequencies and hum were not being reproduced through the speakers (typical for public address - not sound reinforcement). When I mentioned this to my stake clerk (who attends that building) he confirmed the building had terrible sound quality but everyone assumed nothing could be done about it.

I called the FM group and requested the contractor re-equalize the sound - which they did, and did an excellent job. They also increased the overall gain of the system and even installed a second mixer in the rack which allows control of the telephone audio back-up and broadcast audio gain. I then worked for days trying to fix the ground loop problem at the stake center (replacing unbalanced lines with balanced, isolating and lifting grounds, etc.) to clean it up. I assumed the problem had been worked out.

Just prior to the conference, I met with the stake presidency to go over the general session's needs and extra microphones would be needed for a 31-member special musical number (floor mics) in addition to the choir (choir mics) and flutist (solo mic).

I was determined to make sure everything was right, so during the adult session on Saturday night, I went to each building and watched the session to make sure the sound and picture was perfect. This was very beneficial because I was able to work out every detail during an actual broadcast. I thought everything was good and all testing seemed productive so I felt ready for the next morning.

I'm grateful I heeded inspiration and taped a wireless lapel microphone to the pulpit microphone boom because Sunday morning one hour before conference started, the hum came back (no need for a barber - if you know what I mean). I suppose every light and motor turned on in the building was too much for my attempts to correct the problem.

To make a long story short, the congregation's viewing experience at all buildings was PERFECT! Since the hum only came from the connection made with the building's sound system audio feed (mostly for the pulpit), I was able to use the wireless lapel microphone taped to the pulpit mic instead. All other microphones and organ feed were clean. Comments after the conference were very positive and some members at the building that had the sound re-equalized said it was the best they've ever heard in that building.

Bottom line:
Don't test using a test video - test the real thing. I really benefited from extensive testing and final adjustments during an actual broadcast (Saturday evening adult session) and acting on inspiration to have a back-up podium microphone set up.

bregar
New Member
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2012 8:25 am
Location: USA Rockford, IL

Postby bregar » Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:30 pm

RussellHltn wrote:Can you give more details on how you're connecting the audio? What output on the sound system to what input on the computer?


Thank you for your reply. We pick up the audio feed off of the buildings sound system at the satellite rack in the materials center. There is a switch that allows me to select a camera feed, satellite feed and a VCR feed. I have considered adding a gain control where the audio signal enters the computer. I need to add that we are having issues with the buildings sound system loosing the sound in the chapel. I don't believe this should effect the webcast because, i think, we pull the audio feed off of the system before it goes through the amps. Also the audio signal to the rest of the building is properly modulated.

In your experience is it common for a remote site to have to restart the windows media center software?

bregar
New Member
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2012 8:25 am
Location: USA Rockford, IL

Postby bregar » Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:42 pm

michaelfish wrote:Yes, the more details you can provide, the more we can help!

Although the following story has nothing to do with your problem, there is a testing suggestion at the end of this post that saved me.

Details:

I had a similar experience two conferences ago with terrible problems of buzzing of the audio at one of the remote buildings that started just 15 minutes before conference started. It was so bad, some people left. In hindsight, my mistake was testing using a test video (to test bandwidth, audio, picture quality, etc.) instead of actual picture and audio from the pulpit.

So several weeks prior to our last conference I set everything up again and was able to reproduce the humming problem. I discovered that it started before the feed was sent out to the other buildings when the ground of the audio mixer touched any metal of the church audio/video/satellite rack. I had a ground loop problem (yuck!). I was really confused because only one of the remote buildings had reported the hum/buzz problem. No complaints were received from the second remote building. However, when I re-checked reception at the remote building (the one which had no complaints), I found the hum/buzz was there in my headphones. The reason the congregation didn't notice it was because the audio quality in that building was so poor (I never attended any meetings there), low frequencies and hum were not being reproduced through the speakers (typical for public address - not sound reinforcement). When I mentioned this to my stake clerk (who attends that building) he confirmed the building had terrible sound quality but everyone assumed nothing could be done about it.

I called the FM group and requested the contractor re-equalize the sound - which they did, and did an excellent job. They also increased the overall gain of the system and even installed a second mixer in the rack which allows control of the telephone audio back-up and broadcast audio gain. I then worked for days trying to fix the ground loop problem at the stake center (replacing unbalanced lines with balanced, isolating and lifting grounds, etc.) to clean it up. I assumed the problem had been worked out.

Just prior to the conference, I met with the stake presidency to go over the general session's needs and extra microphones would be needed for a 31-member special musical number (floor mics) in addition to the choir (choir mics) and flutist (solo mic).

I was determined to make sure everything was right, so during the adult session on Saturday night, I went to each building and watched the session to make sure the sound and picture was perfect. This was very beneficial because I was able to work out every detail during an actual broadcast. I thought everything was good and all testing seemed productive so I felt ready for the next morning.

I'm grateful I heeded inspiration and taped a wireless lapel microphone to the pulpit microphone boom because Sunday morning one hour before conference started, the hum came back (no need for a barber - if you know what I mean). I suppose every light and motor turned on in the building was too much for my attempts to correct the problem.

To make a long story short, the congregation's viewing experience at all buildings was PERFECT! Since the hum only came from the connection made with the building's sound system audio feed (mostly for the pulpit), I was able to use the wireless lapel microphone taped to the pulpit mic instead. All other microphones and organ feed were clean. Comments after the conference were very positive and some members at the building that had the sound re-equalized said it was the best they've ever heard in that building.

Bottom line:
Don't test using a test video - test the real thing. I really benefited from extensive testing and final adjustments during an actual broadcast (Saturday evening adult session) and acting on inspiration to have a back-up podium microphone set up.


This is a good point about the testing. I did the test running the satellite feed from BYU tv. As for a live feed I'm going to be hard pressed to try a live test of an actual meeting. I will have to test with me reading at the pulpit. Thank you for your reply!

russellhltn
Community Administrator
Posts: 20750
Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2007 2:53 pm
Location: U.S.

Postby russellhltn » Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:42 pm

bregar wrote:We pick up the audio feed off of the buildings sound system at the satellite rack in the materials center.


The typical chapel sound system is built with professional audio. The line levels can be too hot for consumer line level which is what most computer line-inputs are built for. (I hope you're not using a mic in.) So you may want to add an attenuator to drop the level a bit before feeding it into the computer.

bregar wrote:I need to add that we are having issues with the buildings sound system loosing the sound in the chapel. I don't believe this should effect the webcast because, i think, we pull the audio feed off of the system before it goes through the amps.


That depends on what is going wrong to lose the audio.
Have you searched the Wiki?

Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

User avatar
johnshaw
Senior Member
Posts: 1834
Joined: Fri Jan 19, 2007 1:55 pm
Location: Syracuse, UT

Postby johnshaw » Wed Jun 20, 2012 5:05 am

Just a quick note, I bought a $30 line-level at Radio Shack, it was fairly easy to implement, you might want to pick up a ground-loop isolater from there as well, I found that my real issue that I purchased the line-level for was a ground-loop problem.

Don't forget about using the Chapel assisted-hearing remote devices, they saved my bacon when the sound at the Satellite system decided to drop 1/2 hour before our stake conference. It is a headphone level out and does nicely with the webcaster unit, I haven't used it with the Software version.

michaelfish
Member
Posts: 414
Joined: Sun May 10, 2009 3:44 pm
Location: Gilbert, AZ USA

Using a KBYU feed for Webcast testing is UNAUTHORIZED

Postby michaelfish » Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:18 am


test running the satellite feed from BYU tv
BTW - when testing, I found that KBYU should not be (re)broadcast over the Internet.

I made that mistake once with the Webcast Communicator software and CHQ shut me down (UNAUTHORIZED message on the screen).

Since then I've always used a talk or church music plugged in and played through the Stake center's audio system. Then set it to repeat so I can drive to the other buildings and test their locations.

bregar
New Member
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2012 8:25 am
Location: USA Rockford, IL

Postby bregar » Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:36 am

RussellHltn wrote:The typical chapel sound system is built with professional audio. The line levels can be too hot for consumer line level which is what most computer line-inputs are built for. (I hope you're not using a mic in.) So you may want to add an attenuator to drop the level a bit before feeding it into the computer.



That depends on what is going wrong to lose the audio.


The building sound system is in the hands of our FM group. That type of stuff is beyond my pay grade.

michaelfish
Member
Posts: 414
Joined: Sun May 10, 2009 3:44 pm
Location: Gilbert, AZ USA

Postby michaelfish » Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:38 am


but there were some major audio issues. The audio was way over-modulated
When this happens, I'd start at the source and check to see at which point the audio starts to distort. Play test material through the system at the loudest volume you would think the congregation would hear. Make sure the sound is not distorting through the speakers. Then test the audio at the satellite rack. I use headphones with an adaptor or some really nice Bose computer speakers. Then connect your next device (such as an audio mixer) and test the sound coming out of that device. Continue connecting components until you find at what point the distortion starts.

By using source material played at the loudest volume you think the congregation would hear, you'll be able to test a worst case scenario. Once you've identified which device is causing the distortion, work backwards on a solution. If you need help, let us assist getting it solved.


Return to “Webcasting”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest