Streaming Sacrament Meeting

Conversations around originating a webcast for conference, including cameras and mixers.
jeremywillden
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Re: Streaming Sacrament Meeting

Postby jeremywillden » Sun Feb 11, 2018 6:30 pm

I recommend audio-only as well, not only for policy reasons, but for bandwidth, ease of setup, and minimizing the intrusion upon the spirit of the meeting. For a few weeks I've been testing audio-only recording and streaming with a Raspberry Pi, USB audio adapter, and Darkice streaming to Icecast in MP3 format. The entire setup is tucked away under the Sacrament table, tied to the record output with an attenuator, connected via Wifi. With a mono feed, 8 kB/s (about 64 kbps) data rate, the audio quality is really very good, the latency is on the order of 15-30 seconds, and I'm getting surprisingly little loss/drop even with the Pi connected through the building WiFi (even with 100+ mobile devices on the WiFi in the building!). A few cron jobs to start and stop the processes and I no longer have to record meetings on my phone for some of the shut-ins in our Stake (with the corresponding very poor audio quality).

I could post instructions if anyone is interested in trying a similar setup. In case you want to try it out yourself in the mean time, I suggest running Icecast locally on the Pi, and connect to a separate off-site server to mirror the stream(s) on its own Icecast process via OpenVPN to provide the stream to those at home.

russellhltn
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Re: Streaming Sacrament Meeting

Postby russellhltn » Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:00 pm

Please note that Handbook 2: 21.2.10
"Taking photographs or making video recordings in chapels is not permitted. Meetings and other events that are held in the chapel may not be broadcast over the Internet or by any other means (see 18.3.1 for an exception)."

I read that to say that webcasting of even audio-only is prohibited. 18.3.1 refers to Stake Conference.
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rmrichesjr
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Re: Streaming Sacrament Meeting

Postby rmrichesjr » Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:21 pm

Not to sow seeds of debate, but there would seem to be a little wiggle room for local bishop interpretation. Considering that the first quoted sentence is clearly strictly about the visual aspects of events in the chapel, it would seem possible that a reasonable bishop or member of a stake presidency could consider the second sentence to also refer to the visual aspects. Being as distribution of audio recordings is reportedly specifically allowed (subject to presiding officer permission), it could be viewed that merely speeding up that process (with a 15-30 second latency) is not too drastically different from distributing a physical recording after the meeting.

russellhltn
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Re: Streaming Sacrament Meeting

Postby russellhltn » Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:37 pm

Maybe. But I'm sure one of the concerns that prompted that policy was to make sure that talks stay within the boundaries of the unit and does not go "world wide". As I recall, the design of the church-supplied webcast portal reflects that.

I'd also be careful about what is broadcast. I can't find it now, but I seem to remember verbiage that prohibited broadcasting any ordinance, including the sacrament.
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rmrichesjr
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Re: Streaming Sacrament Meeting

Postby rmrichesjr » Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:47 pm

Agreed, especially about the sacrament ordinance. I recall a briefing in 2004 from the PA system consultant sent by Church headquarters that recommended having the priests manually start the cassette recorder at the time they were dismissed to sit with their families. To confine the boundaries and prevent world-wide broadcast, I would think a per-week passcode sent to the ward's shutins would be reasonable protection.

jeremywillden
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Re: Streaming Sacrament Meeting

Postby jeremywillden » Sun Feb 18, 2018 12:51 pm

Most, if not all, chapels broadcast already via radio. Based on that interpretation we need to remove the assistive listening system from our building. If not for the high cost of the receivers and the poor audio quality, we would be using them instead.

russellhltn
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Re: Streaming Sacrament Meeting

Postby russellhltn » Sun Feb 18, 2018 1:26 pm

jeremywillden wrote:Most, if not all, chapels broadcast already via radio.

Is a radio transmission that barely gets to the edge of the property (if it gets there at all) a "broadcast"?

The sound system is equipped by the church - it is not set up by the wards. What we're discussing in this thread is units doing something on their own.
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jeremywillden
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Re: Streaming Sacrament Meeting

Postby jeremywillden » Sun Feb 18, 2018 3:29 pm

With all due respect, russellhltn, By the FCC definition, yes, it is. The transmission goes a lot further than that, it's just the poor antennas and low-sensitivity receive circuitry in the assistive listening receivers that reduce the range. The signal is not encrypted and can be received by anyone with a radio scanner or other receiver. A radio transmission of a few milliwatts can travel long distances, depending on frequency, antenna height, terrain, and other factors.

This is the reason that the translation systems in some church facilities use Infrared transmissions -- they are strictly line-of-sight (other than any possible signal leakage from the building wiring).

As the links to both the live stream and archived files are only accessible to people to whom I have sent the link, and that I have explicit approval from my local priesthood leadership, I'm not concerned, and only offered my expertise as a service to others. I haven't had any takers thus far, for what that's worth. I just personally felt it was well aligned with the Savior's instruction to "feed my sheep." We have a lot of people in our Stake that miss out on the fellowship and instruction of the meetings each week, and distributing a single audio cassette (by hand) every week is quite impractical.

If anyone is interested in the methods I'm using, feel free to send me a private message and I'll try to help you out -- it's been a real blessing to the members in my Ward and Stake.

My experiments so far to mute the stream when the sacrament mic is active haven't worked out yet (turns out the Ivie microphone consumes current from the mixer's phantom power all the time -- I was going to use that current to trigger an optoisolator to mute the audio or pause the stream), so that process has been manual so far. I'll post an update once I've solved that issue, either in software or hardware.

Of course, there isn't a mute on these links, which contain essentially the same audio: =-)
https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/mor ... tickyAudio
https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/mor ... tickyAudio

rmrichesjr
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Re: Streaming Sacrament Meeting

Postby rmrichesjr » Sun Feb 18, 2018 4:29 pm

Jeremywillden, I think you have some good points there.

As the links to both the live stream and archived files are only accessible to people to whom I have sent the link, ...


One concern/suggestion I would offer is to make sure the links are complex enough to offer at least a reasonable approximation to cryptographic security to reduce the likelihood that a random web crawler would stumble on the link. Just my opinion, but I think password authentication would be a further improvement.

russellhltn
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Re: Streaming Sacrament Meeting

Postby russellhltn » Sun Feb 18, 2018 5:46 pm

jeremywillden wrote:As the links to both the live stream and archived files are only accessible to people to whom I have sent the link, and that I have explicit approval from my local priesthood leadership,


As long as it doesn't become a problem to the point that a higher authority gets wind of it, you may be OK.

I would be mindful of the unit boundaries and avoid supplying the stream to someone who is not a member if your ward. This is in line with the geographical limits of Priesthood Keys. (Handbook 2: 2.1.1)
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