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Old June 1st, 2016, 02:08 PM   #1
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Live Production/Streaming Challenge

I've been asked to help put together an AV setup for a memorial service on June 18th. The top requirement is to have a camera in the main sanctuary upstairs and project it in the cafeteria area downstairs. Ideally, we'd have a second camera and switcher so we can cut between wide and tight shots. No slideshow necessary, through an image before and after the event would be better than running a live, open feed or showing a black screen.

Regarding audio, we have a sound system and mixer upstairs and a good reinforcement speakers downstairs. The main challenge is to get a long enough cable (mono) and somebody to manage the downstairs levels.

Live streaming and a recording of the event might be desirable, but I'm not sure. I would imagine that not everybody in the extended family is local.

Looking at equipment rentals, I'm thinking that we need to shop out the whole job. Yeah, I can rent cameras, switcher, an extender, cables, and a downstairs projector, and I can find some people to do the jobs. But the real issue is that we'd have little time to make sure that it all works. One missing or broken cable ruins the whole thing. An event company would know their equipment, know what works together, and would have backup cables and all the little pieces that are needed to make it all work.

But then there's budget... Maybe this ends up being an HDMI camcorder, an extender, some long cables, and a projector without any switching or photos. The expectations aren't high. The main concern is that more people will show up than can fit in the sanctuary.

Any recommendations are welcome.

FWIW, I've shot live events before, but I've always edited and distributed them in post. Live stuff with remote displays and sound and frame syncs and switching are much more complicated than shooting "flicks".
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Old June 1st, 2016, 03:34 PM   #2
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Re: Live Production/Streaming Challenge

If you knew the layout of the building and how long a cable was required, you could test out the
hdmi cable with extender connection ahead of time and keep the whole thing simple.
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Old June 1st, 2016, 05:25 PM   #3
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Re: Live Production/Streaming Challenge

Thanks Stephen,

Yeah, the layout is known. It will probably be about a 300 ft run. I can measure it. And I'll need lots of tape to keep it safe going down the stairwell.

BTW, I spoke with a local rental/service company. They have the Convergent Design Odyssey with Apollo Option, so a two camera shoot might be feasible. IMO, this is they key to a pleasing, professional presentation. With one camera you have two options: static or disorienting. If you leave it static, you don't get to see either the whole context or the personal inflections. If you zoom and pan, then every time you need to get from here to there quickly, it's disorienting.

Switching rocks as you can go tight when the subject says, "I feel..." and you can go wide when they say "we all..." You can also go wide, then pan the tight camera to the next subject and then cut back in order to hide the pan. Makes it look like three cameras. :)

Oh, and the Apollo is SDI. That should cover the run downstairs. I just need an SDI to HDMI converter for the projector.
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Old June 1st, 2016, 07:41 PM   #4
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Re: Live Production/Streaming Challenge

Thanks to blackmagic, HDMI <-> SDI converters are cheap. Anywhere that would rent you an Odyssey would surely have converters on hand.

I don't know what your budget is. My budget would be camera (that I already own), SDI out, then 300' of SDI, then an SDI -> HDMI converter. So essentially $50 worth of BNC and rent or buy the converter. I would have the camera on a lockdown tight of the podium/pulpit and that's what the overflow crowd would see. I might man the camera and do some gentle pulls if there is more than one person, or a gentle push if I need to go tight, but it's not a dance performance, it's pretty much just people talking at a podium.

I don't know what the scope or expectations are, but my sentiment (from having done a lot of family video favors) is that you could spend $1k on a switcher and a framestore and three cameras, or you could connect a home video camera to an HDMI -> CAT5 balun, run 500' of CAT5, and leave the thing on a lockdown tight shot, and no one will know the difference. I'd save the cash.
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Old June 2nd, 2016, 01:32 PM   #5
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Re: Live Production/Streaming Challenge

Thanks Mike,

Do you have a source for a HDMI->CAT5 balun (and its inverse)? Will that work over 300 feet?
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Old June 2nd, 2016, 04:34 PM   #6
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Re: Live Production/Streaming Challenge

Shenzhen Pinwei Technology Co., Ltd. - HDMI extender,HDMI fiber optic
2weeks
clench time John :)
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Old June 2nd, 2016, 10:21 PM   #7
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Re: Live Production/Streaming Challenge

I use monoprice because I live in SoCal and they ship overnight for something ridiculous like $5:

HDMI® Extender Using Cat5e or CAT6 Cable - Extend Upto 328ft - Monoprice.com

Incidentally Jon, not sure who the decedent is to you, but my condolences.

edit:
Amazon has one for $90 and ships Prime same-day:
http://smile.amazon.com/Cable-Matter...dp/B00OZV04BK/
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Old June 3rd, 2016, 02:13 PM   #8
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Re: Live Production/Streaming Challenge

Thanks Mike and Bruce,

The Amazon deal looks great. I'm going to recommend that plus a 300m cat 6 cable. We'll also get 4x100 ft of microphone cables to get the audio downstairs.

For a projector, Optima has a 3000 lumen HDMI projector for $550 and 4700 lumens for $1199. Their screen is something like 12 or 16 feet wide. They do a Movies in the Park event four times each summer and had been borrowing a projector, so this has been in the works anyway.

For a $200 rental, we can get the Odyssey switcher. That would give us a second camera, title card, ability to record the service, and would let us route the audio over HDMI. We could run the audio direct as well for redundancy. As we well know, audio is more than 50% of the video experience! We might lose video but MUST have audio.

And thanks for the condolences, Mike. It's a friend of the family who passed away. My wife is their pastor so I get the AV Specialist job title by default. Good people. Glad to help them out.
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Old June 3rd, 2016, 09:05 PM   #9
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Re: Live Production/Streaming Challenge

Jon, do you have a wireless mic? What about feeding the audio downstairs wirelessly? 300' of XLR is a long way. At the very least, make sure it's line level. I'm not sure if you can push audio 300' without some amplification.
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Old June 6th, 2016, 04:10 PM   #10
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Re: Live Production/Streaming Challenge

Gentlemen,

I have worked in AV technical direction and video production for over twenty years. To be blunt I don't like this scenario at all. That three hundred feet of cable runs bothers me. You are just out of my comfort zone. When we have to run cat 5 we use high end components from Extron or Inline and I have even seen those fail. I would never trust that cheap converter from Amazon for a sensitive project like this.

This sounds like a perfect scenario for a webcast. You can forget about the cable runs and as you mentioned give the link to family members not in attendance. For small one off webcasts like this I use audiovideoweb.com for the CDN (content delivery network). They are perfect for this job because they are low cost, no contract, and pay only for the bandwidth you use.

If the facility has a good internet access you will be fine. And since your main receiver is in the same building you will be able to pretest and set your encoding lap top for the best possible resolution. All you will need is two computers. One to ingest the video and encode it out to the CDN and one to view the stream in the projector room. Their service has always worked perfectly for me. It is worth taking a look at Jon. They are very inexpensive compared to the big CDN guys.

Good luck. Let me know if you have any questions. With audiovideoweb.com you can get a live tech support person on the phone 24 hours a day with no hassle or waiting.

Kind Regards,

Steve
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Old June 7th, 2016, 08:07 AM   #11
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Re: Live Production/Streaming Challenge

Streaming might be a better solution. You could also look at what LiveStream has to offer or another product is Wirecast. Gives you a software based switcher and then you can stream to UStream, YouTube or another CDN. You would then have a product for future events The thing to do if you stream is test, test, test.
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Old June 7th, 2016, 02:11 PM   #12
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Re: Live Production/Streaming Challenge

I will receive the cables (audio and video) and the converters tomorrow and will be able to test them. Hopefully, they will work fine. If not, I'll look into webcasting as a backup plan.

Frankly, I'm at least as worried about the streaming solution. I've used Wi-Fi in the building, but I don't have a sense of how robust the service might be. I don't even know the location of the router or who maintains it.

Also, what front end Video-to-IP compression equipment do you recommend? Can it be done with a laptop?

Regarding the audio connection, I would be going from one mixer to another, line level. With long, analog video runs, one needs EQ to restore the high frequencies. But that's at 6MHz. For 20kHz, over a balanced, XLR run, I'm not concerned. I can always turn up the high EQ if needed.

Back on the streaming side, if anybody can point me to the nuts and bolts of it, I'd really appreciate it. I have to admit it, after experiencing years of poor video conferences, I've been actively avoiding it. I don't even use FaceTime or Skype video. But apparently, things are better now(?)
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Old June 7th, 2016, 02:45 PM   #13
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Re: Live Production/Streaming Challenge

audiovideoweb.com looks attractive. Two computers are doable. So... what software do I need on the computers? I didn't see any guidance or FAQ from audiovideoweb.com. I've got to admit, I'm a bit concerned about having computers powerful enough to do good real-time encoding and also concerned about using Wi-Fi. My guess is that I'll need a 300 ft cable to get from the computer to the router. But at least it would just be sending compressed video, rather than the whole shebang.

Regarding bandwidth, at 5mbps I would use 2.25 GB of transfer. That fits within the 5GB basic plan of $39.95. Not bad. Let's say I crank it up and we get some subscribers. 25 GB would cost about $150.

Anyway, what hardware and software do I need to make this happen?
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Old June 7th, 2016, 06:51 PM   #14
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Re: Live Production/Streaming Challenge

Hi Jon,

The reason I recommended audiovideoweb.com is they are a little bit different compared to the current big CDNs.

First you pick your video sources and what ever you want to put in front of your encoding computer ie: single camera, multiple cameras etc....those go before the device you pick to feed a single video stream to the encoding lap top. It used to be super easy in the SD firewire days. Now there are multiple devises out there to get video into the computer. A lap top with USB 3.0 or thunderbolt will work the best if you are coming HDMI or SDI from the camera or switcher.

Then you run software encoding like Microsoft Expression or Adobe's free flash encoder to send your stream to your CDN, like audiovideoweb.com. You dial in the encoder to send what your network connection can handle. I have never used wifi, I avoid it like crazy for this. If you must use it make sure it is a secured network so the attendees do not show up and log on.

On the computer down stairs that receives the signal you must take your audio feed from there to feed the room. There is latency involved in this.

This is a very simplified explanation of how it works. It is not as scary as it sounds though. I would not hesitate call AV webs tech support to find out which encoder they currently recommend. I have not used them for a few years.

You can read more about Microsoft Expression here:

Review: Microsoft Expression Encoder 4 - Streaming Media Magazine

Kind Regards,

Steve
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Old June 8th, 2016, 12:05 AM   #15
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Re: Live Production/Streaming Challenge

I would be pretty careful learning to stream the first time at a funeral with people in the basement counting on the feed. I'd kinda lean toward the video cable idea, but I understand there are a lot of pieces here, and you may have to go the other way. Test and re-test. Best of luck.
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