Running a Hybrid Keynote - How We Did It
Last weekend, my new livestreaming case had it’s first real world outing, as I went to the Student Christian Movement's National Gathering to stream a couple of the keynotes.
One of these was a bit of a challenge. The keynote had been prerecorded, but the speaker was joining remotely for a Q&A. All of this had to be played into the venue and also out of the livestream. So how did it make it happen?
So there are three parts to this problem: playing the pre-record, bringing the speaker in remotely, and combining it all for the livestream. So lets take these in turn.
Playing the Prerecord
This was the easy bit. The presenter had recorded his keynote (on Zoom by the looks of it). So the file went onto my Raspberry Pi running a great piece of software called Playoutbee. A great feature I discovered by accident in Playoutbee is that you can view the video from any web browser on the same network. So with the Pi playing the video, a laptop plugged into the projector in the room could show the video.
This bit was also easier than I expected… The presenter joined us on Zoom, and the laptop connected to the projector was used as the point for attendees to ask questions. The presenter could see whoever was at the laptop, but not the whole room. The presenter was being projected using Zoom’s Dual Screen function, allowing you to send a chosen Zoom window fullscreen to a second display. I was worried how the audio would work, with the laptop playing the sound over speakers in the room. But it turns out that Zoom’s audio processing work well in taking out any echo, so the Presenter could hear clearly what was being asked, and we could clearly hear his replies.
During the prerecord, the video playing on the Pi was going straight into the Atem Mini Pro livestreaming switcher, sending that straight to YouTube.
During the Q&A, a second laptop was also running Zoom and had the Presenter on dual screen into the Atem. This meant that the Livestream could see exactly the same view of Zoom as those in the room when the presenter was speaking.
I then had two cameras in the room, one wide shot and one tight on the lectern, so the livestream could see the whole room, or the person asking the question. So with two cameras, the Zoom Laptop and Raspberry Pi, all 4 of the Atem’s HDMI in channels were being used.
For audio during the Q&A, there was a slight delay between the mic in the room and the Zoom call, so it was easiest to just take all the audio from the Zoom laptop, only switching to the in-room mic for the intro and outro (and that one time I pressed the wrong button, but we won’t mention that…)
Overall I was surprised at how well this setup worked. I had also been a little nervous as it all had to be done over wifi as I always prefer to wire in where possible (the venue didn’t have an ethernet port close enough to where we were), but the wifi managed fine. If I were to do it again, I would try and give a better view of the room to the remote presenter, but for a first time it was better than I thought it might be.
One of the things I like about livestreaming and online events is the problem solving element, having it dropped on you that what you thought would be a simple livestream would become more complex, and working how it was going to work. But with some googling, watching some YouTube videos and a bit of practice in the living room in the days before the event, I came to a solution that worked pretty well.
If you want to see the final product, you can watch the keynote over on SCM’s YouTube channel. And if you have a conference or meetup which would you would like to livestream, or have a hybrid element, get in touch and I’ll see what I can do!