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Organizing the video team

[Cc'ing Martin just in case he's not subscribed, and the team list in
case someone else is not subscribed :) ]

Hi guys!

This will be a somewhat boring mail compared to the earlier interesting
stuff about ffmpeg, dvgrab and kino. But nevertheless, I'd like to start
thinking about how we are going to work during debconf.

As you might imagine, the whole video stuff will look pretty different
depending on what your part is. So I think we need to get at least some
kind of "big picture" so people know where they are in relation to
everybody else. That will ensure they know who to talk to when they need

This is especially important for the camera crew. They need to focus on
what is in the viewfinder rather than solving problems with cabling,
video formats, streaming, etc. In the meantime, the people doing the
technical stuff shouldn't need to concern themselves with whether the
lighting is good enough or if you can actually see the speaker in the

I'd like to propose that we have three rough areas of work:

     1. The "backstage crew" -- people handling the streaming and all
        the software aspects of the servers and recording stations.
     2. The "on-stage crew" -- people handling the power, video and
        audio cabling and ensure the computers in the recording stations
        are working. If a recording station breaks down, it's their job
        to fix it.
     3. The "camera and editing crew" -- camera and audio operators,
        people operating mixing and editing gear, and possibly a
        director; these people listen to and look at the *content* and
        handle the artistic details to make sure everything looks and
        sounds good.

Basically, what I'm trying to do is to gather the camera crew and make
sure they have what they need to do their part. Also I'm trying to help
in planning the setup so we have a system that works for real and can be
used for real needs.

In an ideal world, the camera crew would point the cameras in the right
direction and monitor the sound level so it's acceptable. This would
then be fed into the recording stations. The people handling them would
make sure they have power, and move them around or fix them if
neccessary. The backstage crew would sit back, watch the harddrives fill
with data, and monitor the streams as they whizz past.

In reality, things won't work like that. We'll have to make compromises.
But let's try to achieve as much as we can of this. I see no reason yet
to give up on any of these things. We still have time left.

Since the backstage crew is the core of everything, here are some
thoughts to push forward in that area:

      * We need to get the system description in place. We need to
        decide what we are going to do. The Wiki
        (http://wiki.debian.net/?DebConf5TodoVideoStreaming) has a lot
        of nice but partially conflicting ideas right now. Some
              * Will we record? Yes.
              * Will we stream audio+video? Maybe.
              * Will we stream audio only, separately? Maybe.
              * Will we record directly from projectors? Maybe.
              * Will we record projected image by camera? Maybe.
              * Will we produce an edited version? Maybe.
      * We need to know what works and what doesn't. Herman, Holger and
        John have been testing stuff -- excellent. It would be
        invaluable if you could document it. Doesn't need to be fancy, a
        text file or a scanned sketch is enough. Then we can see how the
        pieces fit together and fix things if they don't work.
              * How will recording be implemented? On tape, on harddrive
                of recording station/laptop, or streamed to storage
              * How will we stream audio+video? Exact software details.
              * How will we stream audio only? Exact software details.
              * Exact details on how to provide projector stream:
                separately or picture-in-picture. Perhaps only for
                edited version since it is CPU-intensive

I hope this gets us started. My apologies if it sounds like I'm trying
to push too hard or take someone else's place. That's not what I'm
trying to do. The goal is simply to provide the best video coverage a
debconf has ever seen to date. ;-)

Fabian Fagerholm <fabbe@paniq.net>

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