Webcasting from the Museum of London

The Museum of London asked for our help to live stream educational content to over 600 students in 25 schools.  We used YouTube as a platform, given that this was a public event and we needed it to be openly accessible to as many people as possible.

We provided cameras, audio, encoders and crew and the whole thing went off without a hitch.

YouTube is a great platform for this kind of educational event.  It allows a mass audience to watch high quality video in real time.  It lacks some functionality that other corporate platforms might be able to offer but of course, it is free.

We look forward to working again with the Museum of London in the future and in particular we look forward to rolling out more events like this one.

Live Interpretation for Webcasting

The World is getting smaller, we are at the forefront of bringing people together using online technologies such as webcasting and video conferencing.  Technology is available for us to make events accessible to people wherever they might be at that specific time.  ‘Delegates’ (in the new sense of the word) are able to interact with each other on mobile devices or at their desks, even from an aeroplane (yes, we have done this).

There are a few obvious challenges to overcome.  The two big ones, time zones and languages.

The first is difficult to change, we can’t change time zones but we can be as flexible as possible with our event and we find ourselves now working on events at more peculiar times of the day.  If live interaction is not required, we can stagger the streaming in different countries.  Or perhaps two or three live events can be staggered throughout the day for the convenience of various audiences.

‘Languages’ are easier.  The stream, already going over the web can be interpreted live with questions and online interaction translated in real time.  This is becoming a relatively common way to stream and something that works really well for multi-lingual audiences.

In this photograph you see a remote location with real time video sent from the event location to an off-site venue which housed our interpreters who were them streamed live in the web.  It’s a big world, but it’s getting smaller.

 

 

Roland V-800HD in rental stock for hire in London

 

 

Here at Present Communications ltd, we’ve been using this amazing vision mixer/switcher/scaler/magic box for a while now and we thought it was about time to tell you about it.  The reason we say it’s a magic box is because it has a scaler on every input meaning you don’t have to match inputs.  Each input can be individually scaled, stretched, cropped and zoomed as required to fit any available output resolution.

 

Stellar Image Quality at 1080p (3G-SDI)
Supports 1080p video signals at bit rates as high as 3 Gbps – twice the rate of conventional HD. Asserts all the vividness of high-realism, high-detail camera and computer sources.
True Multi-format Performance
There’s no need to convert the input source to match the video output format. The built-in scalers up-convert and down-convert any video source to the optimal resolution.
Full Range of Connectivity
The V-800HD supports a large number of input formats, from analog to digital, with all the necessary connectors. The SDI connectors accommodate 3G, HD, and SD. The DVI-I connectors pull full duty for DVI-D, DVI-A and even HDMI using a simple HDMI/DVI adapter. The Mini D-Sub 15 pin type connector accommodates SD/HD component as well as computer input via RGB.
4:4:4/10-bit Internal Processing
The V-800HD uses 4:4:4/10-bit internal signal processing. This lets you achieve compositing and output with no reduction in high-detail RGB signals driven from a computer. The result is a sharp, unblurred display of video and text, even on large screens and LED displays. The V-800HD delivers high image quality for all uses, from live broadcasts to event displays.
Newly Developed Key-compositing Engine
Along with the upgraded internal signal processing, a newly developed keyer is included. Chroma Key lets you adjust phase range, amount of chroma, and other parameters based on HSV colour space that is closely related to human chromatic sensation. This allows you to achieve high quality and tight chroma key compositing even when using 1080p video sources. What’s more, the V-800HD can accept an External Key. This attractively composites colourful CG titles and gradation/transparency clips, enabling you to achieve visual effects that are even more impressive.
Multiviewer Output for Source Monitoring
The multiviewer output allows you to monitor the status of all input sources plus the Program and Preview outputs. The convenient HDMI connector enables the use of a readily available and affordable monitor.
Built-in HDCP Mode
When playing back a Blu-ray disc that contains commercial content or digital broadcast programming, the digital output is encoded using HDCP (Highbandwidth Digital Content Protection), which is one means of copyright protection. This means that switchers that are not HDCP-compatible will not display or pass-through such video content, even in cases where permission for use in a live event was obtained from the copyright holder. To resolve this problem, the V-800HD features a dedicated mode that officially supports HDCP. A panel indicator lets you check the operating state when the unit is in the HDCP mode.
Scalers You Can Use Any Way You Like
The V-800HD features scalers that let you make settings independently for every input source. With these, you can take input sources of different resolutions and adjust to any sizing and resolution including odd-sized LED walls. You can freely scale digital, analog RGB, and component sources.
A Full Range of Keyers
In addition to the newly designed Picture-in-Picture (PinP), Luminance Key, Chroma Key, and DSK for 4:4:4/10-bit input, you can also use an External Key.
Multi-Zoom
Using the shared input function, you can assign the video on channel 1 to channels 2 through 4 and the video on channel 5 to channels 6 through 8. The scaler for each input can zoom into any position in the video image enabling a virtual multi-camera environment. This gives the appearance that you have additional cameras connected.

 

 

 

– 8 Input (4 SDI/Composite + 4 DVI-I/HDMI/RGB/Component)
– 6 Output (2 SDI + 2 DVI-D/HDMI + RGB/Component + Composite)
– 4:4:4/10-bit Internal Processing
– 1 M/E (Key, PinP) + DSK
– Built-in frame synchronizers and scalers on all inputs
– SDI support: 3G, HD, and SD
– DVI-D / RGB / HDMI support
– Input status LEDs
– HDCP support
– Live access to two still-image sources
– 10 assignable cross-points
– Multiviewer monitor output

 

roland_v800hd_1roland-v800hd-rear

Shortlisted for the Event Technology Awards 2015

Present Communications are delighted to announce that we have been shortlisted for an award for “Best Hybrid Event or Live Streaming Solution” at the Event Technology Awards.

PUNCH!Our solution allows us to completely bypass network firewalls and system intricacies safely and securely and to set up video conferencing or webcasting solutions (or any other type of internet connection that may be required) very quickly and easily and with little or no configuration at all. Given its ability to break through most complexities, we have named it PUNCH!

This solution is revolutionising the events industry by facilitating video conferencing and webcasting in places where previously it would not have been possible without expensive and time consuming access to an on-site IT teams and venue networking hardware.

It is worth noting that this product can be used to access internet in many circumstances but the reason why we see it is so fundamental for video conferencing is because it allows video conference unit to receive incoming calls even when behind a firewall. The only thing that is required from the venue is access to the World Wide Web i.e. if you can see google, PUNCH! will work.

“We are very excited about being nominated for this award.  This is a product that we use day in day out and it’s great for the team to get recognition for the way in which they are facilitating business communication and allowing these businesses to connect to their international audiences easily and more cost effectively than ever before” – Kieron Garlic, Managing Director.

We wish all the teams shortlisted for the various awards the best of luck and look forward to being there on the night.

 

Mobile & portable internet for outdoor festivals

Present Communications ltd are pleased to announce another remarkable product to the hire stock, the Newsspotter service flyaway kit.  This satellite system allows us to connect to the internet from any remote location in the UK, Europe, Middle East and North Africa.  This is perfect where the airways might be congested such as large public events, festivals, regattas where mobile 3G and 4G reception can become poor and also in remote, outdoor spaces with no mobile signal at all.  This Tooway satellite systems works anywhere with a line of sight to the Europasat satellite.

More and more, customers need their content streamed live to the web and broadcast around the world and limitations such as poor internet connectivity and unreliable mobile phone signals are no longer acceptable excuses.  Using a large range of other products in our portfolio such as the PUNCH! and PresentAnywhere systems, Present Communications can truly present from anywhere; not only broadcasting to the web but also providing live, two way communications in the most remote of locations.

Of course, this isn’t just useful for providing internet at festivals, the Newsspotter uncontended satellite connection provides the ideal backup (or main connection) for those important links that just can’t go wrong.  Used in conjunction with our Teradeck Bond II, the bandwidth provided by the satellite can be load balanced with other connection such as wifi, 3G, 4G, ethernet and more.  Of course, internet connectivity is not just for streaming video (a particular favourite of ours).  Event staff as well as paying customers require internet to do their jobs.  They need it for PDQ machines, cloud based software and general communications.

And satellite is not as expensive as you might think.  Typical bandwidth costs for a satellite are about a quarter of that charged by the mobile phone operators, making satellite connectivity a truly accessible technology.  Good internet is not only a requirement in this connected age but also provides the potential for fantastic social media exposure.

Sound, Light and Video – the importance of thinking it through…

We’ve all been there.  It mostly works but it just isn’t good enough.  We’re watching TV or playing a computer game.

So imagine you’re sitting on an aeroplane, you’re watching an in-flight movie.  The quality is really bad.  It gets worse, it becomes so annoying that you have to turn it off.

Now think about that.  What was so annoying about it?

Imagine the video is all wavy and you struggle to make out the picture but the audio is fine.  Now imagine the audio is so bad you can’t hear anything but the picture is fine.  Which one are you more likely to be able to take.

When we watch a video, it’s the audio we need as much as, maybe even more than the video.  We can live with a pixelated image although we might rather it was perfect.  But bad audio will give headaches and cause us to be constantly struggling to hear.

So make sure you use a supplier who understands not just the IT aspects but also the video and audio aspects of the project.  Make sure you use Present Communications ltd.

Firewall problems are a thing of the past – introducing PUNCH!

Firewalls, NAT, port forwarding, words that strike fear into the heart of even the most veteran video conferencing engineer.

There are many ways to set up a codec on a network.  You can allow the codec access to a public IP, NAT to the codec or use simple port forwarding if you think you’re brave enough.

Punch through the firewall

Any of these options require assistance from the in-house IT expert.  Of course that IT person should also be handy with video conferencing and understand the specific port requirements and also how H.323 work.  When you find that person, send him to me, I have a job going.

There are lots of ways that a firewall can be bypassed.  Some are much more complicated than others but mostly they require a lot of configuration.  What is really required by the industry is a way to just PUNCH! through any firewall and present the Video Codec to the outside world on a public IP address outside (and not related) to the network it’s on.
Well, we have this product and if you haven’t guessed already, it’s called PUNCH!  Each device is plugged into any network via the PUNCH! and that device is automatically configured with a public IP address on our network which will work with your Video Codec or any other device.

Don’t believe us, give us a try!

Webcast, videoconference, telepresence, teleconference or virtual event???

We have experience in many kinds of web, video and telephone conferencing. Some methods are much easier, cheaper and more reliable than others and some are obviously less so. Most people don’t really know the difference between these methods. In fact, there isn’t really a standard definition for each as everything is still developing so quickly at the moment. The current ‘trend’ is for collaboration and inter-operability between these different systems and this can work with varying degrees of success. The Internet has made these types of communication more accessible but the Internet is not always appropriate.

Some of the terms we are most familiar with include skype, gotomeeting and webex. So what are these and why are  they important? This type of communication isn’t new. MSN messenger has been offering ‘video chat’ for over 10 years and ‘voice-over-IP’ for 15 years. It is typically used for point-to-point communications on a personal computer. Webex and gotomeeting have gone one step further and allow for document sharing, instant messenging and video chat for multiple users. These work over a normal IP connection to the internet. This type of communication hasn’t really been given a name yet so most people refer to the software they’re using although it is sometimes called telecollaboration. These systems are often used for document sharing and run along side a teleconference.

Many of us are familiar with conference phones, often used in boardrooms. These are essentially speakerphones. Boardrooms are often linked together for meetings using a bridge or virtual meeting room. This is a teleconference. But we can also connect another person or a teleconference to an entire conference room. A presentation could be given over the phone or a number of people who are unable to attend could listen using their phone.

A videoconference is really an extension of the teleconference but with added video. It might be for a small meeting or it might be for a larger conference. It allows people to interact both ways and presentations can be lead from the near or far end. Content sharing is also possible using an additional screen although the same level of interactivity is not possible as the content is streamed and not shared. Videoconferencing has traditionally been done over ISDN which provides a guaranteed point to point connection but now more videoconferencing uses the internet, eliminating call charges. A bridge can also be used to link multiple sites and/or users with interaction often managed by the bridge.

One of the problems with videoconferencing is that some people believe it doesn’t make the user feel truly immersed and comfortable and so a face to face meeting is always more productive. Videoconference system designers have taken this criticism on board and now design conference rooms with telepresence built it, making it feel like your colleagues are in the room. This is achieved through intelligent camera, speaker and screen placement so that colleagues appear life size and sound ‘appears’ to be coming directly from them.

These systems are all interactive to some extent but the number of users is limited. Webcasting allows an event, seminar or presentation to be broadcast to a (potentially) unlimited number of people. Webcasts are accessed using Internet enabled computers or many Internet enabled device (ipad, iphone, blackberry etc). It is possible to stream video, audio, content (slides or otherwise) or any combination. It is often possible to customize the interface and therefore integrate some type of feedback and/or interactivity such as chat, twitter or simply email.

Virtual Events haven’t really become popular yet but some big players in the webcasting world are focusing a lot of effort on this new concept. It’s like webcasting meets second life. Whilst attending a virtual event, it is possible to walk around and network with other attendees as if in a computer game using typical Internet communication methods like chat and voip. Other attendees might host meetings or webcasts, which are accessible via the virtual event. U2 famously held the first online concert inside second life.

So, I hope that provides a quick overview to all the different technologies and I wish you luck with each of them in the future.