Videoteam/roles for volunteers

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These are some tips gathered after watching many videos generated during DebConfs.


[edit] General

Make sure you have the "cheatsheet" for the hardware or software you are using. This provides brief information on how to use it and how to correct problems that may occur.

The team within each room needs to be able to communicate without disturbing the talk. Ideally we will have a headset communication system for this. Until then, we use some combination of IRC (#debconf-video), whispering and hand signals.

[edit] Moderators

When you introduce the speaker, give a little background information about them. Then say something along the lines: "If you want to ask a question, please wait for the microphone, state your name, and look at one of the cameras".

Avoid people speaking without microphones. It may be OK for the audience in the room, but is is not good for the streaming nor the recording.

Avoid putting yourself between the cameras and their target.

[edit] Camera operators

Make sure that you arrive early enough to play with the camera before the talk starts.

Even if we designate the "speaker camera" and the "audience camera", it doesn't mean that they need to be always pointed to the speaker or audience. During the talk, for example, the audience camera can be used as a second shot of the speaker. And the speaker camera can also be used pointed to the audience, mainly if there is a discussion with many people distributed around the room.

Try to move slowly and smoothly when your camera is selected (tally light is on). Some tripods are not very good, you may need to move the camera with one hand hold the tripod with the other to assure that.

Try to avoid showing people that are obviously asleep in the audience, instead, do panning shots of people who are paying attention.

When the speaker is pointing something at the screen, it's usually a good idea to show where their hand is pointing, otherwise, those watching at home have no idea in which direction they should look.

Communicate with the director as you can, he has the whole picture of the room. Look at him once in a while so he can ask you to do a specific shot or panning.

[edit] Audio mixer

It is really important that you know how to operate the audio devices and mixer if you are assigned to this role. This is critical not only for the video streaming and recording but also for the talk itself, since the mixer controls all the audio input/output of the room.

The channels on the mixer are labelled, indicating to what device each one corresponds. The common audio inputs are the wireless and headset mics, the speaker computer and the audience mic (to get the ambient sound).

As outputs, we have the streaming/recording and the speakers, which are controlled by sliders on the right side of the mixer. The "mute" button for each channel is related to the speakers level, it does not interfere with the streaming/recording.

If you get any red lights on the level meters, it means that you have a distortion and you should lower the volume for that channel.

The wireless microphones use rechargeable batteries, so keep them plugged on the power cable any time they are not in use. Recharge extra batteries if possible. The headset microphones use 9v batteries, so make sure that you don't run out of batteries.

Pay attention on how the speaker positions the headset mic and give him instructions if needed. It should be placed on the same level of his mouth, not to far away that it gets the speakers output and not so close that it gets the speaker breath.

[edit] Directors

As soon as you assume this role, change your nick on IRC to dvswitch_${room}_${nick}, so that people can reach you.

At the beginning of the day, press the "record" button on DVswitch and make sure that it is always recording. In between the talks, use the "cut" button to break the recording file. Any time "cut" is pressed, DVswitch will create another file and record on it from that point on. For the videos post-processing, it is better to have reasonable file sizes.

Picture-in-Picture is awesome but don't use it too much. Do use it to show the speaker while showing the slides, however, if the image prevents the content being shown on screen it bothers more than what it helps. So only do it when the content is not blocked by the speaker.

It makes little sense to use picture in picture with the speaker in the big image and slides in the smaller image, the text on the slide is probably not going to be readable, unless the font is really big.

Don't do long shots of the speaker only. When you are not showing the slides for quite a while, allow an audience shot here and there, it makes the whole watching experience much more like being there. If possible, coordinate with camera operators so that they can do some panning shots of the audience paying attention.

When the speaker asks "How many people ... ?", please show the audience cam to see the hands being raised.

When a question is being asked, if possible, use Picture-In-Picture to have the person that is speaking in the big image and the person that's listening in the smaller image. This means switching between speaker and audience for question and reply.

When the audience claps at the end of the talk, please do show the audience.

Outside of a talk, allow the audience cam to keep streaming, with the sponsor logos in pic-in-pic. This won't be published once the talks are released, but it allows people watching the streams to get a feeling of what's going on in between talks.

[edit] Coordinators

tl;dr: check that everything is working and that everybody is setup and know how to do their role. Secondary job: replace any role that is missing or that doesn't arrive in time

At the beginning of the day, the camera's computers should be turned on first, followed by the cameras and then the director's computer.

Make sure that all cameras are sending video output properly for the DVswitch. If any of them don't show up on DVswitch, try to restart the graphical interface. A script should be set to restart everything properly.

Make sure that the audio is set for the right input on DVswitch.

The main camera should have always a new tape by the beginning of each talk, and make sure that the camera operator remembers to press the record button. The tapes should be labelled with the event's ID from Pentabarf.

Make sure that all volunteers show up at least 15 minutes before the talk. If any of them do not show up by that time, someone from the audience with proper abilities (preferably from the video team) should replace the absent person, which is put in our grey list and will be punished with high severity if goes to black list.

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