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AV and Multimedia Related Thread, Streaming video from main hall to secondary hall in Technical; Good afternoon, our school is getting too small for the amount of kids on role, which means that assemblies have ...
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    nielpeel's Avatar
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    Streaming video from main hall to secondary hall

    Good afternoon, our school is getting too small for the amount of kids on role, which means that assemblies have become a very tight squeeze in the main hall.

    To that end, an extension is being built to house two new classrooms (upstairs) and a reasonably sized assembly hall downstairs.

    The new hall will house the overflow from the main hall during assemblies, and we're thinking of a solution that could stream live video and audio from the main hall, to the new hall.

    So far we have decided on two cameras, at different angles, in the main hall, with some sort of audio capture - the resulting output would be projected onto a big screen in the new hall - we would like to switch between the two camera views on the fly, like a TV show producer might!

    Just wondered if anybody is doing this already, or had any suggestions on how it could be done, and a suitable company that could do the work?

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    SteveBentley's Avatar
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    If you can get a couple of hard wired cables (audio plus composite video) installed between the two locations that would be the best way to do it - ideally four cables so that you can have return audio and video from the second hall if required so that the speaker in the main hall can see a show of hands from the second location (on a strategically placed screen) via a cheapy cctv type camera perhaps, or if you're being more ambitious and can set up a radio mic or something, take questions from there. The return feed isn't so critical but if you're putting cable in it's easier to put four in now rather than add an extra couple later.

    The cables would either be screened video/audio cable or Cat5, which you could use video over Cat5 adapters on (and only need one cable each way.)

    The advantage of using a direct video connection is that you get decent uncompressed quality, and no latency so having limited interaction with the second room becomes more feasible. You can also look into sharing presentations between the two rooms - an extra Cat5 connection between the two with a VGA over Cat5 solution would be a good way to do it - assuming you can run to two projectors in there.

    At the business end, what you really need is a vision mixer to switch between your cameras - you can get simple cut boxes like this but the results won't really be satisfactory, because the cuts you get will be non-sync[*] and there will be a couple of seconds' picture disturbance each time you switch.

    You used to be able to pick up a mixer without needing to take out a second mortgage in the days when enthusiast/high end amateur/semi-pro video makers were still working on tape, but now all the editing is done on PC the only real market for mixers is live broadcast stuff which has a price tag to match, so you might need to keep an eye on eBay for something affordable. You'll also probably need a sound mixer to deal with the mics, computer/DVD audio etc to send on to the other room.

    Edit: something like [ame="http://www.amazon.co.uk/DATAVIDEO-SE500-VISION-MIXER/dp/B0018D5BFC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1259337308&sr =1-1"]this [/ame]might suffice, but it's still not cheap. It does however have a basic sound mixer built in.

    [*] A TV picture is made up of 625 lines (we're talking analogue here), transmitted in sequence. To cleanly cut between two sources they both have to be on the same line otherwise it confuses the telly and it takes a few seconds to get back to normal. Synchronisers, built into mixers, are used to delay one source by the amount it's out relative to the other source so you can get a clean cut.
    Last edited by SteveBentley; 27th November 2009 at 03:58 PM.

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    nielpeel (27th November 2009)

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    nielpeel's Avatar
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    Thanks very much for all of that info!

    We had considered that Cat5 would be the way to go in terms of carrying the data, I hadn't actually considered the idea of a reverse feed, however, so I'll go back on Monday and ask a few more questions about exactly what is required.

    Thanks again.

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    binky's Avatar
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    We have used a CAT5 video link self run (removable ceiling tiles) between the two locations. I would make sure you use screened cable or you will get interference. We had two ambient microphones (set to low volume) and a microphone at the front (you could always use a lapel mic if you want them to move around), this was connected to a mixer and sent to the other room.

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    limbo's Avatar
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    We do exactly this on an annual basis for our open evening - too many prospective parents for one hall.

    The complication we have is that our second hall is in a separate building so a direct cable link would be complicated - especially as it is just for one night a year (although we would probably use it more if it was there)

    We solve this using Microsoft Media Encoder to produce a video stream. This runs on a PC that has a decent video capture card in it (Osprey) that takes the video feed from a camcorder and the audio feed from our PA.

    No reason this could not handle two video feeds (as long as you had two physical inputs for them) and the software lets you switch between the two inputs as well as video and stills files.

    The file is saved to the local hard drive as a wmv file, A pc in the remote hall just connects to this through the network and plays it through media player like any other video file.

    We usually run it with a ten minute delay to allow late comers to not miss out - but no reason it could not be live (or near enough to not matter).

    The software is free so it is just a question of getting the right hardware and playing with the capture settings to get the best results.

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    dirtydog's Avatar
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    we do this quite a lot on a smaller scale but to 4 or 5 locations via a Panasonic network video camera. Its not perfectly smooth but it does audio and video and is viewed in the web interface. The camera can be controlled remotely too. Probably not exactly what you're after but network cameras might be worth a look.

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