Suggestions for backup plan for building to building broadcast?

Conversations around originating a webcast for conference, including cameras and mixers.
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Suggestions for backup plan for building to building broadcast?

Postby nathangg » Mon Sep 17, 2012 9:03 am

We are having a really hard time getting the building to building broadcast working with the Meetinghouse Webcast Software OR the Meetinghouse Webcast communicator box. Either the cables are bad, or connections are bad, or something isn't working right (we had audio, but no video, then vice-versa, then someone tapped the communicator box and it worked for a minute then stopped... none of us have a video capture card that works (I have two, but I can't get either of them to work with Windows 7 since they are kind of old and USB based).

Anyhow, what is a good backup plan for this? I was thinking about using the PVC capabilities. Would that be really awkward though? To have a computer with a webcam set up on the first pew? I suppose we could use a laptop and have that sit down on the pew and put the webcam (with an integrated mic) on a tripod.

We could also look into setting it up farther back... I just worry that since most every webcam I find has no zoom capabilities that putting it too far back would make the person speaking too small when it is broadcast to the other buildings in the stake.

I don't want it to be distracting, but right now we're running out of ideas.

Question: if we do end up using PVC - does it have a "broadcast" mode instead of the default "online meeting" mode? (Since we'd be using it for a broadcast, I don't want the other buildings' computers' webcams to take up any screen space... I just want to have it locked, full screen on the stake center's view of the pulpit)


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Postby harddrive » Tue Sep 18, 2012 6:12 am

nathangg, I would suggest that you invest in a good camera and a good video card. My stake is using a Dell XPS computer and an Osprey 260e video card. Everything works like a champ. I'm able to use either the webcast software or PVC. I have chosen to use PVC from now on because it give me the ability to do multi-building broadcast and there is very little to no delay.

By using a good camera with zoom, you can set that in back of the chapel and zoom in. Also, I would highly recommend that you have your FM group have a wire pulled from the chapel amplifier to where the computer will be set up. This way you will get the sound directly off the amplifier instead of having to hook up another microphone or pick up a speaker phone based sound.

Invest the money and do this right to make it best for your stake.

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Postby sammythesm » Tue Sep 18, 2012 6:49 am

You can use PVC, but I wouldn't recommend running it on a computer with a built-in webcam (or even an external USB webcam). That will just look awkward no matter how you try to set it up (with PC on podium or in first row). You can run PVC just as you would Meetinghouse Webcast, with an analog video capture card. This allows you to set up the computer further away from the camera and/or get a camera with better optics and zoom capability.

For capture cards, I recommend the Blackmagic Design Intensity Pro capture card. It's less expensive than the Osprey, a little easier to come by (I was able to pick one up locally), and is just as solid in terms of quality. Whether you buy an Osprey or Intensity, you will need to make sure you have a computer that supports a PCI-E card. Not all desktops do. You'll also want one with as much CPU horsepower as you can get.

The other critical piece is a small mixer which will help you control the audio levels.

As for your original question of "backup" - I have two backup solutions for every webcast: if Internet is working but Webcast isn't (for whatever reason) - I can fire up a WebEx audio conference. If the Internet is down, I use the analog phone lines to create an audio-only bridge. The remote building dials in with a smartphone and connects it to the crab box.

Sorry I can't offer any ideas as to why the Communicator box is giving you problems. We chose to use the software only and not purchase the hardware solution.

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