Second Stake Conference Webcast – Lessons Learned

Conversations around originating a webcast for conference, including cameras and mixers.
swidmann1
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Second Stake Conference Webcast – Lessons Learned

Postby swidmann1 » Mon Oct 15, 2012 8:47 am

We just completed our second Stake Webcast. As you may remember, funds are still hard to come by during this downward economy so we made do with what we had from last year (and a little more). (For those who don't remember, we borrowed a laptop and used a USB webcam and Mic). Here's what I learned this year.


  1. The LDS Webcast software works with Windows 8 (at least the pre-release version). I'm told that SLC will be officially testing it down the road.
  2. We were able to get cable internet at the Stake Center this year. Unfortunately, the highest bandwidth available in that area is “up to 1MB Upstream”. We were able to use the 'high bandwidth' settings in the software which made a MAJOR difference in the picture quality at the receive site. Unfortunately we had some buffering issues and the webcast dropped out a few times, but always came back.
  3. We borrowed a PC again. The hardware was on the edge of the recommended minimum requirements. It did work just fine as long as no other services are running in the background.
  4. We used the same Logitech 910 webcam (USB) and it still amazes me of the picture quality.
  5. We used a different USB microphone. Last year we used the ClearOne Chat 50 USB. Nice little mic with an omni pickup pattern. We found it was a little too omni for our taste and had a lot of background noise being picked up (babies crying). This year we changed to a different USB mic, the Samson Go Mic. Very compact and great quality sound. It evens gives you an option of cardioid or omni pickup pattern. Using the cardioid pattern was perfect.
  6. We decided to place our 'control room' to the side of the chapel where the clerk sits instead of the front row of the chapel. To do this we required extensions for the USB camera and mic. USB extensions, especially for webcams can be hit or miss. After a lot of research we used: 32ft 10M USB 2.0 A Male to A Female Active Extension / Repeater Cable (Kinect & PS3 Move Compatible Extension). No problems at all, plus it was the least expensive of all extensions.
  7. Backup audio. Thought we would have it this year, but the plan fell apart as the EJ-8 and EJ-10 is not built to 'tranmit' but only receive a feed. (I read in the Wiki that it would work.) A last minute frantic call to the manufacturer Emtech Electronics is where I received the bad news that I needed the EJ-R to transmit over POTS. Since we were in the bottom of the ninth, with two outs, we decided to use our cell phones as backup audio. Not the best quality, but at least it would work. Fortunately, we never had to go down that trail.
  8. Speaking of backup audio and phones, did you know that you must have an old style desk phone (dial NOT in the receiver) to transmit or receive (using the TTAIB to receive and EJ-R to transmit)? I did purchase those types of phones in advance from Coretelco.
It was a long week. I slept well last night. Please feel free to comment or clarify any of the comments above.


As far as next year...Our first Stake Conference in 2013 will be a broadcast from SLC, so we have another 12 months to get ready. We are also getting a new Stake Center and I'm told that we will be getting the recommended video and audio equipment to do our stake conference webcasts.

Here are some links to the equipment I purchased. I used Amazon quite a bit since they had the best prices.


Backup telephones
Cortelco Kellogg 2500 Desk Mount Phone With Telephony Cords Rd with Vol Cntrl


http://www.amazon.com/Cortelco-Kellogg-Mount-Phone-Telephony/dp/B0000510IW/ref=sr_1_5?s=office-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1350312899&sr=1-5


Go Mic from Samson
http://www.samsontech.com/samson/products/microphones/usb-microphones/gomic/


USB Extensions
32ft 10M USB 2.0 A Male to A Female Active Extension / Repeater Cable (Kinect & PS3 Move Compatible Extension)
http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=103&cp_id=10303&cs_id=1030312&p_id=6149&seq=1&format=2


Yours in webcasts,


Steve Widmann
STS Waco Texas Stake

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:32 am

swidmann1 wrote:Thought we would have it this year, but the plan fell apart as the EJ-8 and EJ-10 is not built to 'tranmit' but only receive a feed.


The EJ-8 will not, but the EJ-10 should be able to. However, to transmit, you'd have to hit it with a strong signal. Like a strong headphone output or a 1W audio amp to the right connector. I don't think a standard "line out" will do it. At least not "full strength".
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ksolsen
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Postby ksolsen » Tue Oct 16, 2012 9:47 am

Thanks, Steve - great summary, and glad to hear your conference went well.
Kurt Olsen - Product Manager at Church HQ for Digital Presentation (Personal Video Conferencing, Meetinghouse Webcast, Conference Rooms, Video Conference Endpoints, Meetinghouse Digital Content)

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Postby lajackson » Tue Oct 16, 2012 1:00 pm

ksolsen wrote:Thanks, Steve - great summary, and glad to hear your conference went well.


Thanks to Steve's wonderful work, the broadcast did go very well. In fact, getting the broadcast to a city 40 miles away went smoother than getting the sound to the back of the cultural hall in the stake center where the broadcast originated.

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Postby johnshaw » Wed Oct 17, 2012 4:29 am

lajackson wrote:Thanks to Steve's wonderful work, the broadcast did go very well. In fact, getting the broadcast to a city 40 miles away went smoother than getting the sound to the back of the cultural hall in the stake center where the broadcast originated.


Do I remember that this is one of those newer buildings that you now have? We experienced a very similar problem, there is no real sound cancellation in this new cultural hall and the combination of the dull roar and the soft-spoken, stand back from the microphone general authority speaking made this nearly impossible to hear in our cultural hall, but our broadcast sites all had perfect sound.
“A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom.”
― Thomas Paine, Common Sense

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Postby lajackson » Wed Oct 17, 2012 2:09 pm

JohnShaw wrote:Do I remember that this is one of those newer buildings that you now have?


Close. The newer building is under construction. This is an older building where the cultural hall sound goes out every few months. It was working fine for a ward social on Friday, and did not work at all for conference on Saturday or Sunday.

Even when it was working, we have consistently asked that the volume in the back section of the cultural hall be turned up. It seems they set it at a level that only works while the air conditioning is off and no one is walking on the carpet. And the new building will have a hardwood floor, which will change the sound dynamics a little, I suppose. [grin]

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Postby russellhltn » Wed Oct 17, 2012 3:00 pm

lajackson wrote:Close. The newer building is under construction. This is an older building where the cultural hall sound goes out every few months. It was working fine for a ward social on Friday, and did not work at all for conference on Saturday or Sunday.


Hmmm. Sounds like the switch for going from "local" to "chapel" for the cultural hall system isn't working right. Or someone forgot to flip it. <g>

On some of our rooms it's a manual switch. But in the last renovation, the cultural hall is switched by the position of the sliding doors. I think the switch for turning on the speakers on the stage is almost always manual.
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Postby lajackson » Wed Oct 17, 2012 3:10 pm

RussellHltn wrote:Hmmm.


Excellent suggestions, all. Actually, I believe it was the lightning strike a few months ago that left a puddle of black goo at the bottom of the equipment rack. I think with this latest failure, they may actually get in there and either trace the wires or repair and replace them, along with the amplifier for the cultural hall that keeps shorting out.

One other clue is that when the switch on the box was moved from chapel to local and back by someone trying to help on Sunday morning, the entire building sound system turned off and we had to restart it.

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Postby russellhltn » Wed Oct 17, 2012 4:20 pm

I've seen some interesting things happens when the roofers "re-wired" our sound system. Turning on the sound for the cultural hall in "local" resulted in all the amps going to full power output. Apparently an ultrasonic oscillation because I couldn't hear a thing. It was a combination of wrong speakers to the right amp and getting the ground wire mixed up for the mic lines.

One of the casualties of that was the power strip. It couldn't handle all the amps at continuous full-power. I'm amazed the speakers didn't smoke.
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