remote participation

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remote participation refers to good practices for enabling people to take part in IndieWebCamp events at a different location and collaboration across locations.

Equipment

Summary

For remote participation at events, the built-in camera and microphone on laptops or mobile devices is usually not sufficient. To get a better quality link between locations, a separate camera with a microphone designed to pick up sound in larger spaces is needed.

For individuals

Minimum recommended hardware for an individual joining a remote event

  • laptop with a camera
    • built-in microphones are best optimized to pick up a single person sitting directly in front of the laptop, and won't work well for groups

Helpful for an individual

  • Headphones/headset with microphone (helps reduce/eliminate echoes/feedback)

For a room

Helpful for a site/room with multiple people:

logitech-hd-pro-webcam-c920.png

To get better sound from the remote participants, either hook up the computer to a TV and use the built-in speakers, or get some nice external speakers such as the Bose Soundlink Bluetooth speaker.

bose-soundlink-bluetooth-speaker.png

Alternately a good external speaker/mic for conference will work, such as the Jabra Speak 510.

jabra-speak-510.png

Past Experience

Please collect notes and experiences from remote participation at past IndieWebCamp events. Both organizers as well as participants are encouraged to document what they used and how well it worked.

IndieWebCamp Portland 2012

IndieWebCamp SF 2014

We used the Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 at IndieWebCamp SF 2014 with several remote participants, all of who said they had no trouble seeing and hearing what was happening in the room.

IndieWebCamp NYC 2018

Main Room

In the main room, we used an iPhone with the Jabra Speak to livestream the intros and demos. This was a one-way stream. This worked best when the iPhone was about 8 feet from the presenter and TV. When the iPhone was in the back of the room the slides on the TV were barely visible.

Small Breakout Room

The small breakout room had a laptop running Google Hangouts On Air (a Hangouts chat that also publishes to YouTube), with a wide-angle USB webcam and a USB microphone run to the table. The audio and video of the room came out well, but the computer was pretty far away from the table and also didn't have good speakers so we weren't really able to interact with the remote people.

Large Breakout Room

The large breakout room used the venue's Bluejeans account for remote participants to join. This provided a good quality audio and video experience remotely, but we were not set up to be able to record those meetings. Instead, we recorded the room using the iPhone/Jabra pair used in the main room. The speakers in the room were good enough that the remote participants audio comes through okay in the recording from the room.

IndieWebCamp Utrecht 2019

Utrecht was the second IWC to use Zoom.

Main Room

For the welcome, Keynote and intros we used an iPad to host the session connected to a Jabra 510 for audio, and put everything else through one laptop which had a 1080p external webcam (Aukey) connected to it for better video of the speaker who shared the screen through Zoom which meant their video should also have been displayed.

For the final demos we connected one laptop to the projector and everyone else shared their screen via Zoom to this laptop which was ideal for the remote participants (better than the one demo which used the iPad to record the projector screen).

Feedback

Used two Zoom accounts hosting sessions from iPads with Bluetooth table microphones

  • joining sessions remotely was very easy since the Zoom links were all on the schedule grid, so it was easy to pop in to each session
  • the two main spaces were adjacent to each other with no sound barrier, so it was really difficult to hear people over the background chatter of the other room
  • the video quality on day 1 was really bad, assuming because of bandwidth limitations at the venue? (Need to confirm)
  • one iPad kept disconnecting and when it reconnected it would join muted. The settings indicated this should not happen. The recordings from this room were not archived by Zoom.
  • the demos were enjoyable to watch, and went very smoothly with people sharing their screens into the Zoom meeting

Instructions

Zoom

Hangouts Live and YouTube

Note: Hangouts Live will be going away in the near future so this is no longer a good option.

Instructions for setting up Hangouts Live to also publish to YouTube using a Chromebook.

Being a Chromebook, user logins on the device are tied to a Google account. The logged in user's Google account must be able to act as the IndieWebCamp YouTube User in order to create Hangouts on Air events that stream to YouTube and then to join the Hangouts room to begin streaming.

  • TODO: document how to give a YouTube account permission to act as IndieWebCamp. Marty McGuire: I remember it taking several tries.
  • TODO: document with screenshots how to create the live event, fill out details, and begin streaming via Hangouts.
    • Note: joining the Hangout via the Chrome browser with the Hangouts plugin works, but using the Hangouts app does not.

Once an event is up and streaming has begun, there are two URLs to make available:

  • YouTube live URL - for one-way streaming and for watching after the event
  • Hangouts URL - for two-way participants

Requirements

There are two different environments we need remote participation and streaming in. Intros/keynotes/demos, and remote participation in sessions. Typically we only broadcast the intros/keynotes/demos, whereas with sessions it's more helpful if remote people can participate in the discussions. These settings are quite different from each other so it's useful to consider them separately.

Broadcast Sessions

Requirements:

  • high quality audio of the presenter
  • grab the presenter's screen to show on the recording (example)
    • switching between presenters needs to be able to happen very quickly
  • video camera of the presenter
    • the microphone needs to be fixed position, not a headset or lavaliere, since there are a lot of people who demo in a row very quickly
  • stream to YouTube, which enables YouTube to save the recording (this means no post-production work is required later)
  • bonus feature: record locally as a backup in case the internet connection goes down

Remote Participation

  • todo

Archiving

Videos from sessions should be saved to archive.org and linked to from session pages.

iwc-archive-org-video.png

Upload settings:

  • Name should match the format: "(Session Name) - IndieWebCamp (City) (Year)"
    • e.g. "Travel Data & Posts - IndieWebCamp Düsseldorf 2019"
  • The default URL generated from the name is fine
  • add a tag "indiewebcamp"
  • License: Creative Commons, Allow Remixing, Prohibit Commercial Use, Share Alike

See Also