Approved HD hardware & software?

Conversations around originating a webcast for conference, including cameras and mixers.
eanderson
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Approved HD hardware & software?

Postby eanderson » Sun Jun 02, 2013 9:46 am

I was recently called as the STS for our stake. I have so far ran one stake conference that turned out well except for some audio problems.

I have been tasked with improving the overall experience of both stake conference and general broadcasts from church HQ. While I know that someone these questions fall in the realm of of the FM group, I think working with them rather than expecting them to accomplish an upgrade alone is better.

Looking through the documented resources there doesn't seem to be a lot of support for HD broadcasts or satellite recievers. Although I have seen some posts of others acomplishing the same. I am very technical and feel I can get HD broadcasts going, however I don't want to purchase equipment or find solutions if there are other approved ways of acomplishing the same thing. Can anyone point me in the right direction?
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Re: Approved HD hardware & software?

Postby Mikerowaved » Sun Jun 02, 2013 12:53 pm

Greetings Eric,

I recently ran a successful HD webcast for our stake conference with some (rather pricey) borrowed equipment. I guess the question is, what do you have now and what do you hope to accomplish? Are you looking to have more than 1 camera? Can the camera(s) be operated manually, or do you need PTZ capability? What kind of bandwidth does your ISP provide?

For the most part, your FM group will probably not be very helpful, unless what you are seeking is considered "standard" building equipment, such as projectors, screens, etc. Unfortunately, much of the webcasting gear often has to come out of stake funds.
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Re: Approved HD hardware & software?

Postby russellhltn » Sun Jun 02, 2013 1:04 pm

As noted, the satellite broadcasts are not HD. As such, I don't think there is much support for HD in the meetinghouse from the chuch. Possibly due to the significantly higher cost.
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Re: Approved HD hardware & software?

Postby michaelfish » Sun Jun 02, 2013 2:25 pm

I recently invested quite a bit of time and effort to attempt a broadcast in HD, but was never able to obtain a stable stream (even though we had greater than 50 Mbps throughput over our private network).

If you wish to upgrade to HD, remember every component in the chain must be HD capable (cameras, switcher, capture device, Internet throughput, projectors, cabling and distribution).

However, when standard definition is done correctly, it can be very, very good (any many will not even notice HD).

The viewing experience can be greatly improved by simple things such as making sure lighting and blinds are adjusted, projectors and TV sets adjusted for the best picture, identifying problems in your transmission and working to fix those problems (TV reception, bad cables, etc.), and creating a fail-over system for when you have a major problem.

There are many things which can be done to make the viewing experience better. Are you requesting help on HD or making conference viewing a better experience? What equipment do you have to work with? What would you like to accomplish? What is your budget?

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Re: Approved HD hardware & software?

Postby eanderson » Sun Jun 02, 2013 3:56 pm

The only thing we have that is HD capable is single projector (we would purchase more of these). It has both component and HDMI input.

Budget and feasibility is still in the research phase. We were hoping to have two cameras, with one being more than likely fixed in zoom.

Our stake building has 8mb up. One of our buildings has Comcast 20mb down. Others are around 7mb down.

With the black magic capture cards in the $200 range we were really hoping be able to come up with a solution. With HD it is not only the definition of the picture but the resolution and how much content you can place in the screen.

We currently have a single SD sony camera with wired control. Instead of buying another and also buying a SD video mixer device to start putting labels on the screen, we wanted to research the future proof of these purchases. I was hoping the video mixing / label could be done with software along with a good capture device. Even we we initially used residential HD cameras. Thoughts?

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Re: Approved HD hardware & software?

Postby russellhltn » Sun Jun 02, 2013 4:27 pm

eanderson wrote:With HD it is not only the definition of the picture but the resolution and how much content you can place in the screen.


Technically true, but I'm not sure it makes much practical difference. I think the practical limit on how much you can put on the screen is limited by the screen size, the audience size and the eyesight of the average member. Unless you can get a much larger screen, I don't think there's much difference between HD and crisp SD when it comes to legibility. Not when you're more then halfway back in the chapel.

Projectors have had resolutions higher then HD for some time. But the practical limit on how much you can put on a PowerPoint slide is limited by screen size, not screen resolution.

I think in practical terms, all HD buys you in a conference setting is a clear view of wrinkles and skin blemishes. Sure, it would be nice for those wide shots of the whole choir, or the outside scenery, but I'm not so sure about the normal "head and shoulder" shot.

I'd suggest you concentrate on clear SD and following michaelfish's suggestions on making it more "professional" then simply high-res.
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Re: Approved HD hardware & software?

Postby aeroengineer1 » Wed Jun 05, 2013 1:10 pm

While I understand well that there are ways to make 480 line resolution video look better, I would completely disagree with the statement that 1080p will not add noticeable improvements to the broadcast. On a 120" wide screen (actual width, not diagonal) a 480 line projector will have a pixel width of .25". If my 480 line camera is capturing a view of about the same width, then there is almost a 1 to 1 match for size of objects imaged to size of objects presented on the projector. This means that each finger of the hand will be only 1 to 2 pixels wide and 6-15 long for the average person. They eye will only be 4-6 pixels wide and 2-3 tall. This is a physical limitation. There is nothing that you can do to improve this with a 480 line camera. You can increase both the bit depth of the sound and color, but this will not cause the picture to present better dimensionally. The only thing that you might be able to do is have a camera running at 60 frames per second oversampling, and try to remap it to a higher resolution at ~30 frames per second (a relatively high end technique).

With the same examples at 1080p, the pixel size will be .11" wide. This equates to the following number of pixels; the fingers will be 2-5 pixels wide and 14-34 long. The eye will be 9-14 long and 5-7 tall.

Translating this into the ability of the human eye. A person that has 20/20 vision has the ability to distinguish (higher ability than detection) from 20' lines spaced .069" apart. Translating this back into our resolution issue, this means that a person that is 73' away from the projector screen will see a 480 line resolution display at about the same level as the 1080p display. In other words, all of the people that are sitting in front of the stage, but not on the stage will be able to distinguish between a 480 line resolution camera broadcast and a 1080p broadcast. This would be more than 90% of the people viewing the projector.

As it stands right now, with a 480 line camera display, when our speakers get up, the center of their eyes rarely have color, but are usually black or dark spots.

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Re: Approved HD hardware & software?

Postby russellhltn » Wed Jun 05, 2013 1:55 pm

aeroengineer1 wrote:While I understand well that there are ways to make 480 line resolution video look better, I would completely disagree with the statement that 1080p will not add noticeable improvements to the broadcast.

I didn't say "noticeable" I said "practical". The post I was answering said "how much content you can place in the screen". Eanderson may have to explain what he meant by that, but it sounded to me like "how much text".


aeroengineer1 wrote:On a 120" wide screen (actual width, not diagonal) a 480 line projector will have a pixel width of .25".

Note that "480 lines" is vertical, not horizontal. So to keep the math the same, let's say the screen is 10' by 13.3' screen (3:4)


aeroengineer1 wrote:If my 480 line camera is capturing a view of about the same width, then there is almost a 1 to 1 match for size of objects imaged to size of objects presented on the projector. This means that each finger of the hand will be only 1 to 2 pixels wide and 6-15 long for the average person. They eye will only be 4-6 pixels wide and 2-3 tall.

At 1:1 this is a choir shot about 6.5 people wide. It would be nice to have the extra resolution in that case, but that's not the bulk of the broadcast. I don't know about you, but I can't pick out eye color at the midpoint of the chapel in real life either.


Maybe it's just me, but it's more about the quality of production. In my book, a well-produced SD trumps an amateur HD production in invoking the spirit. So as a cost to benefit, HD costs the most while giving some of the smallest return. I'd go HD only if I could have all of the other things mentioned as well as being assured of the bandwidth at each destination to receive it. (Under the current technology the church uses, the broadcast must be at the bandwidth of the most restricted receiving site. The servers won't "downsize" the content. Smooth streaming is critical.) Thus, you may find yourself having to use SD just because of one chapel.
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aeroengineer1
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Re: Approved HD hardware & software?

Postby aeroengineer1 » Thu Jun 06, 2013 5:36 am

Sorry, you may be correct, but the Sony camera in its specs describes itself as a 470 line vertical camera. There is no mention of horizontal resolution. Though most old CRT's did a horizontal scan, so I am not sure why they would list vertical lines. In light of that, I should have been saying camera which broadcasts in 640 x 480 which is typically what the output gets mapped to on the recommended Sony camera.

As for the zoom level, our stake president likes a view that is about 10' wide. He does not want us to be zoomed in. Part of this is because there is a height difference of about 1' between all the members of the stake presidency. Our choir shots are much wider than you suggested, but then people do not expect to see that resolution on such a wide shot. They do expect it on a much narrower shot. They can perceive it physically, and when people are tested to what gives a better perception, resolution over color correction almost always wins as the projectors are not going to give a nice color representation anyway, at least not with a $500-1,200 projector that is trying to push an image 20'-30'. They just do not output sufficient lumens.

Please understand that I am not suggesting not trying to clean up the signal, but once again, an analog camera that has a feed line that is usually in the 100'-200' range can only be expected to do so much in trying to reduce noise. A newer digital camera going over DVI-D, HDMI, or ethernet can have much better success over longer distances. (Yes, I know that this will depend on the range extender for the DVI-D and the HDMI, but the ethernet connected one should be able to make these distances with simple CAT6 cable). So then if you can only get so far with color depth and correction, due to the limitation of the projector, and visual noise can only really be reduced to good digital levels, then the things that are left are sound and ensuring that the lighting is as good as it can be (this usually involves getting some lighting changed, at least spots repositioned and sometimes shutting off the cheaper CFL bulbs). So even getting better lighting is limited. After all of this, the only thing that can be relatively easy to purchase and implement is the HD projector.

To give a summary of my efforts on this; I too have been looking into this at the request of the stake president. I have run an HD webcam, and I get a much higher resolution output than the Sony camera currently installed in the building. I am using the software based solution over the harware based broadcaster. The box that I am running the software on was an AMD A8-3850 with no discrete graphics card. The video capture device for the Sony camera was a simple USB dongle based device (I do not remember the name off the top of my head). Audio was a line in to the motherboard sound (remember to use a line level port not a mic port). The software detected both the USB camera as well as the USB dongle video capture. I had the software set for somewhere in the 5M upload region.

I did call SLC on this to find out if IP cameras were currently supported in the software solution. Unfortunately that question was never answered, though, I think that I have found a work around. I was told at the time that HD was not allowed to currently pass through its servers, but upon further questioning, I do not think that I was speaking to a person that was in the know (please, no offense is intended, I just find that I will frequently get a different answer on tech questions each time I call). He stated that all the output levels in the software based solution were active, and that I should notice a difference in quality, but then he said that I was limited to 640 by 480. Unless I am running 24bit color depth, and 192k audio, then a typical setup for 640 by 480 should need an upload speed somewhere between 300-600k, not the 5+M options that are listed. When I continued to question, he then said that uploads were limited to 600k which does not make sense as I was able to push a 1080p webcam through with little reduction in the resolution. This should have required 2-4M upload speeds. I have to admit that I am confused on this, because my experience says that it can be done, but I am being told otherwise, and the software also seems to indicate that higher upload speeds are possible. If these were not possible, why would they be included as an option that can be actively checked as a preference? If it was intended as a future upgrade, then this should be enabled with a connection to the server speed check, and only the options that are actually available should be selectable.

On a brighter note, it seems that the initial process to upgrade the webcast software is underway. From the initial emails, it seems that there is a desire to move at great speed on getting an upgrade out there. I am hopeful that we will get a more functional program with options for IP cams as well as clearer documentation for Tech Specialists to do troubleshooting.

Adam

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Re: Approved HD hardware & software?

Postby aeroengineer1 » Thu Jun 06, 2013 6:25 am

Sorry, now that I am more awake, I do realize that I was correct to call it a 480 line camera. The 480 lines refers to the fact that there are 480 lines that run horizontally. Each of these lines is 640 pixels long. Hence the 480 vertical lines refers to the fact that the vertical axis is 480 lines tall. Similarly for 1080p, the vertical axis is 1080 lines tall and 1920 wide. The total resolution is 1920 by 1080. A 1080p camera could be called a 1080 line camera. Most likely the reason that it is not called a 1080 line camera and is referred to as a 1080p camera is that there existed 1080i resolution. This was an interlaced standard that was oversampled from a camera that was either lower resolution, or a camera that was full resolution, but could not sample and process fast enough.

Adam


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