Drupal Camp AV Kits: REBOOT!

froboy's picture

kthull and I are starting to work with the Drupal Association to rethink and rebuild the media kit(s) that they share with local camps to record sessions. We have a basic requirements doc started and are looking to get feedback and collaborators to further flesh out our ideas. If you'd like to contribute, please read through the doc and leave any comments below. If you're an organizer but haven't worked directly on AV/recording stuff, please help us get the word out.

Thanks, and with your help, we're looking forward to making session recording easier and more productive for the whole community.


Good move

bsnodgrass's picture

I'm glad you folks got to huddle in Austin, looks like a great start on the requirements doc.

Bob Snodgrass

You hit this one on the head. . . .

jpw1116's picture

Er, yeah--there needs to be a video record of events. Recording section meetups and smaller events like mini-camps are on my radar too and I'd be glad to join the conversation.

The document as-is seems to be a good start. Hearing a little bit more about the record kits and what's considered 'aging' would help.

Also, it seems to concentrate on recording solely the principal presenter and slide deck, right?

Re that, I have an idea: "crowdsource" the audience's laptops.

If there were a Google Hangout going on in sync with the main recording, then laptop cameras and mics could capture additional angles, Q&A participation, or even audience reactions. To be edited in later, where appropriate.

I'm not sure of the logistics and bandwidth requirements, but again, the idea is to lever the horsepower of all those other laptops in the room being used for notetaking (or whatever else!). Down the line, a custom app could even allow a person playing the role of director to switch angles and mics live, into the main feed.

You can veto this if it's out of the scope here. I'm just thinking about the future and how we may look back, wondering why we almost always captured no more than a single angle despite all of the other tech at our disposal.


The reality I've experienced

kthull's picture

The reality I've experienced is that there are diminishing returns when trying to incorporate live video of the presenter. Quality tends to be poor unless lighting, sound and videographer skills are all up to par. Bandwidth generally gets flooded even without streaming video. And the amount of post-production that would be introduced is a large ask, especially if there are 20-30 videos to produce from a one-day camp, much less something larger.

I organize camps!
DrupalCamp Fox Valley: http://drupalcampfv.org
MidCamp: http://midcamp.org

jpw1116's picture

Then let's step back. Are there any recordings from the past that stand out to you, to serve as inspiration? Even if modest and single-angle?

It would be useful to have a common baseline to start from, at least. A session recording we could watch and say is a good ROI given the gear used.

As the person who spends days

kthull's picture

As the person who spends days in post-production for two camps already, I really can't support adding more work to either the front or back end of the process.

And many people we spoke to face pushback from people on their teams, wondering it it's even worth the cost or effort. I'm a big supporter of video, even though I see the low view numbers. But the current process is a pain and hopefully fixable without adding complexity.

Some of the issues with live video are lighting, camera angle, following a moving presenter, multiple presenters, sound, operator skill level, lack of operators, ability to see slide content, ability to see live demo or code, etc.

So for me, good sound with sharp slides and live demos wins over a talking head.

I organize camps!
DrupalCamp Fox Valley: http://drupalcampfv.org
MidCamp: http://midcamp.org

As a Viewer

stpaultim's picture

My experience in watching Drupal Camp videos are that the ones that focus on showing the screen and providing the audio are the easiest to watch. Sessions that have tried to capture the speaker and/or audience often end up with poorer quality.

The worst is a video that shows the speaker talking about something on the screen, but the screen is not visible or legible. This is completely useless.

It is possible to get good recordings that include both the speaker and the screen, but it seems to me that this is too much work for too little return. I've watch two DrupalCon sessions today and was completely satisfied with the screen/audio combination.

ALSO - I think that many Drupal Camp speakers are very happy that they do not appear on the recordings. :-)

Tim Erickson

Okay. . . .

jpw1116's picture

I get the impression you're more after fidelity than quality.

I'd say a 'quality' recording counts on not stifling the appearance of humans from what, intrinsically, is a community-sourced project. . . .

Again, that's is fine if you really do favor recording just the slide deck with mic audio. After all, your doc is called "basic requirements."

DrupalCorn did TechSmith

jrearick's picture

DrupalCorn did TechSmith Relay in 2012 and 2013 with wireless Rivo Labs mics. It went pretty well for 2012. However, we ran into some serious wireless interference and lost most of the videos in 2013 using the same setup. The big advantage to this setup was really good quality when it worked. Processing was done almost automatically and very little editing was required. The downside was getting the presenters set up with the software beforehand. Most didn't read their email about installing it (really easy), or didn't stop for help until a room attendant stepped in right before the presentation. It's not compatible with linux, and can be a pain for laptops that are locked down by corporate. https://www.youtube.com/user/drupalcorn

This year we are trying something new. We are have gotten an in-kind sponsorship for video capture of the VGA to a laptop with a more professional lapel mic. It seems similar to what the Drupal Association provides. We'll see how it goes.


stevepurkiss's picture

BADCamp seemed to have things pretty sorted - they recorded the slides and audio so might be worth finding out how they set things up.

Half-decent mics can be pretty cheap and make a huge difference.

Back with one (sincere) concern. . . .

jpw1116's picture

What about recording panel discussions?

It's hard to tell if basic requirements call for live-action video for those, or any other sessions without slide decks--for example, plenaries.

immediate recording

Gábor Hojtsy's picture

I've been part of teams working on camps and a DrupalCon and the single most important advice I can give is work on a solution that does immediate recording. As soon as you need to do post-production on anything, the chances of the video being ever published dramatically decreases.

For example NYCamp set up a common google account with hangouts going in the different rooms and so the videos were immediately published, the screen was recorded as well as possible. This requires a reliable internet solution (chx's recording did not make it due to issues with that) and good enough speaker laptops (which you may or may not be able to ensure). However if those conditions can be met, then a solution like that sounds best where there is no hardware even to ship around the globe. We already have so much power on our hands with our computers :)

Beta test kit success!

kthull's picture

At DrupalCamp Fox Valley this last weekend, I tested the PVR test kit linked in the Google doc at the start of this discussion. There's some wrinkles to iron out, but overall, this looks like a very promising solution.

Now I just need to find a good place to post my summary of the whole idea.

I organize camps!
DrupalCamp Fox Valley: http://drupalcampfv.org
MidCamp: http://midcamp.org

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