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README.md

README.md

Enlightened-Perl-Organisation Conference Video

A repository to document, track, and share details of the EPO Conference Video initiative - offering high quality video recording and streaming equipment for use at Perl (and potentially other) workshops throughout Europe.

You can find details of the equipment and setup, OBS software resources, and tips within this repository. The issue tracker should be used for wishlist items as well as tracking problems with any of the equipment.

History

Making high quality recordings of conference presentations can be expensive and time consuming - large conferences will usually have a budget for this, which can be in the region of several thousand Euros or significantly more. The recording service is usually outsourced, but there is a good guarantee that the resultant recordings will be of high quality.

For smaller workshops it has usually been the case of finding a cheap video recording device to capture the speaker and slides and then placing it such that the recording is "good enough". There are often problems with this - it is difficult to capture speaker and slides in a single frame, sound quality can be very bad if the room is big, it's difficult to fix/edit the recordings after capture depending on the device, for portable devices the recording time/space is restricted and/or limited, and so on.

London Perl Workshop 2017

At LPW 2017 the organisers decided to spend a large part of the budget on purchasing new video equipment to record the talks. As LPW is usually a multi-track event there was a requirement to purchase three sets of each. It was felt that this was a good investment as the equipment would allow higher quality recordings of talks and could be used at future LPW and London Perl Mongers events.

The equipment included high quality consumer grade cameras with microphone input ports, wireless microphones, various adapters, cables, and accessories. The only thing we did not purchase were screen capture devices due to budget constraints, but a set of these was sourced for the workshop. The resultant recordings were much improved over previous years, although did require some post processing/editing.

LPW 2017

LPW 2017 videos can be viewed here

Editing Time Sink

A conservative estimate for this type of content is that for every hour of video you record it will require two hours of editing time. That is if there are no problems with the recording that require fixing: importing the files, watching through the video, exporting the video (rendering). Should there be problems with video/sound then the amount of editing time can increase significantly.

At LPW the three talk tracks resulted in approx 18 hours of recordings (3 x 6 hours). This would required approximately 36 hours of editing time, however the nature of the capture meant that pieces had to be put together and that increased the editing time significantly. There was also a problem with the wireless microphones meaning the sound had to be fixed.

While we were happy with the final videos, we realised that the investment in time to edit the recordings was still a significant cost in both time and funding.

The Perl Conference in Glasgow 2018

For The Perl Conference in Glasgow the EPO, who were involved in the organisation, asked if they could take the kits from LPW and expand them. The LPW organisers were happy for this to happen, and felt that this could result in much better kits that would further improve the recording quality as well as reduce the time required for editing the recordings prior to upload.

The organisers of TPC expanded the kits to include better wireless microphones, more adapters, more cables, a multi input/output switch board, and a desktop PC. The desktop PC included OBS software that would allow combining multiple input sources and the use of overlays - this would effectively remove any need for post processing / editing, assuming no significant technical problems, and also allow live streaming of the recordings.

All 3 rooms were live streamed to YouTube, and a Raspberry Pi was used as a control console so that the stream could pause between talks and have something displayed. ACT (via an API) was used to grab talk titles and details to do the now and next live text for each room.

TPCiG 2018

TPCiG videos can be viewed here

The Conference Video Initiative

Rather than having the video equipment sit idle for 360 days a year it was felt that they it should be put to use by other organisers who want to use it. This will allow high quality recording, streaming, and promotion of the Perl events.

Recording Priorities

Given the list of priorities the kits allow us to meet all of them. The following are in (probable) order of what is necessary to achieve a high quality recording of a workshop presentation:

  • Be able to hear the speaker
  • Be able to see/read the slides
  • Promote sponsors
  • Be able to see the speaker
  • Overlays for information
  • Live streaming

And there are two more, although are dependent on final editing and rendering ability (and time):

  • Editing to add intro / outro
  • High resolution (1080p+)

Using and Expanding the Kits

The kits are available to use, with the understanding that they should be kept in the condition they are received in, and returned to the EPO or sent to workshop organisers who wish to use them next. There is some organisation required due to the size and weight of each kit:

one kit

Organisation

The EPO should be contacted as early as possible as there is a chance that one of the persons involved with the recording kits may be attending a future workshop and can assist in bringing one or more recording kits. Alternatively delivery can be arranged. Delivery should be a last resort given the size, weight, and value of the kits.

More information on the EPO can be found on the EPO site. You can also contact the LPW organisers, who are also involved with the video kits

Expanding the Kits, Donating, and Wishlist

At present the kits are complete and cover the aforementioned recording priorities. That said, some equipment could be upgraded to improve quality and also increase portability of the kits. This includes, but is not limited to, the following items:

  • Better wireless microphones
  • More microphones for Q&A sessions after talks
  • Replacing desktop PCs with laptops
  • Ongoing maintenance and repair of items

To expand/improve the kits a donation to the EPO is more than welcome by anyone who wants to see high quality recordings of Perl workshops, sponsors of those workshops, and so on. Donations to the EPO will also help the EPO attend future Perl workshops/conferences to setup and operate the equipment.

Workshops That Have Used the Kits

Details of the kit usage so far, with links to the resulting videos along with observations having used the kits

Swiss Perl Workshop 2018

At SPW 2018 there were problems with the sound due to interference from the room's PA system, this was exacerbated by the auto gain built into the wireless microphones. More testing needs to be done with the wireless microphones to figure out the exact cause. Some of this was fixed using the OBS software sound filters, and some videos are better than others.

Videos are available here

London Perl Workshop 2018

At LPW 2018 the sound was much improved, although there is still evidence of some minor interference and or auto gain not quite working. The consensus is that the wireless microphones may need to be upgraded/replaced unless we can figure out exactly what the issues are. One thought is that having line of sight between the transmitter and receiver improves the signal.

There was some work required to post process the videos as the equipment was received last minute and the operators were not familiar with the equipment or software. Consequently the overlays were not quite correct so needed to be redone and the videos rendered again. We will add info about how this was done should it need to be done again.

Videos are available here

German Perl Workshop 2019

Recording seemed to go smoothly over the full three days of the GPW 2019. There was one point when the OBS software crashed so the video from the talk it occurred in will have to be manually edited together.

Videos and observations will be available soon.

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