[LGM] Some thoughts on if people aren't permitted to travel

Eylul eylul at azbulutlu.org
Tue Mar 17 17:59:18 UTC 2020


First time lurker posting so I hope this is ok to do so.

OBS is something I am still figuring out. (I have done a few streams in
past, and am currently finishing preparations to start a weekly one).

Trying to think about the challenges of recording with non-professional
gear, (as someone who is a beginner in these things and had some
experience having to make do with limited budget and... lets just say
creative use of everyday objects and tools) I feel like there are 3
categories of issues in terms of recording.

1) software. (obs is a good one for lecture format, and it is very VERY
easy to do a basic setup (fullscreen views a window of your choice (e.g.
libreoffice), and a small webcam view of the presenter. (the stream part
might be a bit trickier but that really depends on what platform is
used, and instructions needs to be specific to that) For workshops etc,
that are not meant to be recorded and publicly view, something like
discord might work better (discord is temporarily allowing livestreaming
to a group of people up to 15 people I believe. Normally the number is
10). If we can sort out the video streaming site issue separately and
want to stay with FOSS software, mumble is still alive and working, and
has a decent sound quality for communication purposes (I wouldn't
recommend the sound quality of mumble OR discord for putting videos for
permanent viewing/archiving, but it can be done).  At least last time I
installed it -which was a couple of years ago- it was quite easy to
install and setup. (we could have a mumble install for the whole
conference and virtual conference rooms regardless of what we are using
to help creating a space of community, this would also take the weight
of one setup from attendees and presenters, as they will simply need to
install the client and receive a username/password). I can imagine that
any physical venues can also be integrated by placing some
microphones/speakers within the presentation/workshop spaces within the
venue, and we can create multiple "rooms". In terms of workshops it
might also be worth looking into something like moodle although it might
be overly complex tool for it. I don't personally use it, but we have a
lot of educators so hopefully one of them might have thoughts on it.

2) hardware/setup.  It would also be helpful to assume that what any
average person has access to at most is a single screen + computer (1
laptop or 1 desktop) and a smartphone. Some people will have access to
more (they might have a graphic tablet, they'll have an extra screen,
they might have a good mic, they might have decent video lighting or an
external webcam, or a combination of any of these), but especially for
people who are not from NA/EU specialized items are a lot less
accessible - especially in a short turnaround- and can be quite
expensive so it would be best to assume that any extra hardware or
specialized gear is not feasible to acquire for one event. That still
doesn't mean we shouldn't do virtual events, but only that we should
probably manage expectations. I think everyone will be alright with
small hiccups as this was not a situation that was planned :) There are
some tricks that can be done to help somewhat with the video quality,
like helping the presenters be aware of what is in their background,
some lighting and audio tips using everyday objects. E.g. using woolen
blankets to help with reducing the echo in the space, or lifting a small
laptop/phone to eye level with a stack of books or a box, etc. It might
be also best to put some buffer for tech issues - even if presenters
test their setup ahead of time, as unexpected problems even shows up in
physical venues, and remote presenters will have less access to support :)

3) server side/central system. This will depend on exactly what is
happening. However, if the whole conference (or a good portion of it) is
online the central "venue" will need to become virtual. That venue might
be the self hosted streams, chatrooms etc. It might be a single
software, or a central place that links to all of the relevant streams,
videos, chatrooms and instructions that are spread to a variety of self
hosted and commercial solutions. If most of the conference is still
expected to happen in place, and it is just a few presenters missing,
this will become a different question to deal with how the virtual
systems integrate with the venue.  I have a lot less ideas about this
latter option as I have never done such an integration myself but in
that case, depending on number of presenters affected, it might even be
more time-cost effective to work one-on-one with the said presenters
rather than setting up a big system that work with everyone.

I can help out with writing instructions for the end users and being
testing dummy/experimentation person for any setup involving linux, as I
am probably going to be one of the people stuck home anyways either as a
workshop/lightning talk presenter or attendee. :)  I hope this is of help



On 17.03.2020 20:16, Alexandre Prokoudine wrote:
> On Tue, Mar 17, 2020 at 6:41 PM Julien Deswaef wrote:
>> Now, he uses some proprietary hardware and software in this
>> presentation, so a word of caution for those who would not like to see
>> that,
> Do people really get triggered by other people using proprietary
> software that easily? :)
>> but the video raises quite a few valid questions to make
>> remote-whatever (workshops, lightning talks, quizz, etc.) more engaging.
>> (To be clear, I do not necessarily agree with the solutions he is
>> proposing.)
>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNzU-TPdxR4
>> I'm sure we could do similar things with OBS (every Twitch user does
>> amazing things with OBS) and other FOSS tools if we put our brains up to it.
> OBS supports quite a few streaming services other than Twitch and
> YouTube, and you can plug your own server.
> Alex
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