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.

See Barnaby Walters's blog post on Pros, Cons and a formula for Remote Participation at events.

For IndieWebCamps:

  • Setup a talky.io channel for the camp, e.g. talky.io/indiewebcampnyc or Google Hangouts

For Homebrew Website Club:

  • Setup and share a Vidyo URL

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 individual

Minimum for an individual joining a remote event

  • laptop with a camera
    • typically built-in cameras are not very wide angle so it will be hard to fit everyone in the frame
    • 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 a room

Helpful for a site/room with multiple people:

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.

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

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.

Set Up

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

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.

See Also