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Producing a Quiz Show from Multiple Locations? 173

Bloke in a box asks: "One of the pubs I help manage is putting on a quiz show. The landlady's two sisters also run pubs, so we have decided to do this quiz for charity (for the Tsunami disaster). At the moment I have: three pubs, three webcams, two laptops, a desktop, three microphones, three sets of 512kb broadband, three big screens, three projectors and one willing quizmaster. I'm aware of various remote admin software which will aid with this, but I'm wondering if there is conferencing software that might be a better fit for this, since I'd need the ability to control the communications between the pubs (like when questions need to be repeated, and so forth)." What other pieces of software would you recommend for such a production?
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Producing a Quiz Show from Multiple Locations?

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  • 512kbit? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lordkuri ( 514498 ) on Wednesday January 05, 2005 @02:20PM (#11266543)
    You're going to attempt to stream 3 separate video and audio streams over a 512kbit link?

    I think you need to look into more bandwidth, that's quite a low amount and I think you're going to see some issues from it.
    • You certainly should not have to stream 3 raw video streams for the task. Just a fairly up to task program should manage a quiz type application using 56k if you wanted.
    • Re:512kbit? (Score:3, Informative)

      by bwcarty ( 660606 )
      I regularly conduct video conferences between New York, LA, and Atlanta. Standard video conferencing equipment works quite well over 384k ISDN connections via a bridge, and even 128k isn't bad.

      I'm guessing that the three pubs aren't that far apart, so 512k should be plenty even with the IP overhead.

      I don't know much about running video conferencing over IP, but check into the H.323 standard. I've seen a bit about it on http://www.openh323.org/ [openh323.org].
      • "I'm guessing that the three pubs aren't that far apart, so 512k should be plenty even with the IP overhead."

        What does geographic distance have to do with it? Bytes is bytes, no matter how far (or not) they travel.
        • Becuase geographical distance often translates to number of hops. While that doesn't affect the bandwith it does hurt latency, which is just as important for things like videoconfrencing.
        • how meny hops betseen New York and Los Angales? now how many hops between New York and New York? exactly.
          • I'm not sure if this was a reply to my message or the parent, but the answer to both is 'it depends' New York to LA might be more hops, or it might not. Geography just isn't a good indicator of number of hops, so I stand by my original statement that geography isn't related to throughput and/or latentcy.
    • Re:512kbit? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by technogogo ( 708973 )
      remember that the uplink speed with ADSL will be less than the downlink speed. For the UK 256kbit/s upload is common.
  • Better idea (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 05, 2005 @02:23PM (#11266581)
    Make a video with your landlady and her sisters, you'd make more money.
  • Well... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by grub ( 11606 ) <slashdot@grub.net> on Wednesday January 05, 2005 @02:23PM (#11266585) Homepage Journal

    It sounds like you've got a blank slate and aren't sure where to start doodling plans. Make sure you test the system thoroughly and keep cell phones for when the system bombs.
    • Recommendation (Score:3, Insightful)

      by avronius ( 689343 ) *
      I recommend a slight change in overall scope:

      Each location has it's own 'contest', with the computer providing a results display of each of the 3 seperate matches. Some form of bar chart could be kept 'live' showing the results for each pub.

      You could 'film' 30-second interviews of the contestants, between questions, and play them back during "intermission" periods.

      This way each of the pubs is competeing for an ultimate score, highest scoring pub/player = 1st place, etc.

      This eliminates the majority of th
  • You can probably set up a NetMeeting conference, but you'll need Windows, so that's no an option. How about some sort of a very simple client-server setup, with you sending information to the clients. Or hell, how about a simple Instant Messenger program?

    • Why not? It might be the best/easiest option available. Why must you automatically dismiss all things Microsoft?

      This sounds like just another case of self-defeating zealotry.

      My advice? Pick whatever works best meets your needs.
      • Actually, that was meant more as a joke. I have nothing against Microsoft and often defend their position in Slashdot discussions. I suppose I could have used a smiley or something to better convey my intent.

    • Windows not an option?

      What's more likely?
      A. The three computers he has available run windows.
      B. They don't.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Your done...

    You just have to wait a few months until Mac OS X 10.4 is released. Or have a hot copy, just watch out for lawyers. :)

    http://www.apple.com/macosx/tiger/
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 05, 2005 @02:27PM (#11266646)
    At the moment I have: three pubs, three webcams, two laptops, a desktop, three microphones, three sets of 512kb broadband, three big screens, three projectors and one willing quizmaster.

    you got the makings of a small time porno production unit.
  • by digitalamish ( 449285 ) on Wednesday January 05, 2005 @02:27PM (#11266660)
    Maybe think a little smaller. Instead of full video conferencing, perhaps use text and audio, sort of like the old "You don't know Jack" site. Use an IM client as the method of 'buzzing in', post the questions on the screens as you read it, then allow the user to speak a reply. As a fallback, make sure people at each location have the questions and answers in case there's tech problems, and to verify the answers in case 'shenanagans' are called. If you have the spare bandwidth, then maybe you can snap a picture every 5 seconds and post it. Best not to overthink it, save those braincells for the questions, and the beer!
    • IM!? To borrow a phrase from Halo PC, "lagggggg."

      For validity of who buzzed/answered first, you'd have to a) have a system to offset for the latency between the locations or b) conduct the timing and answering separately, and mayhaps do a bonus or whatnot for whoever answered first.
  • by theNote ( 319197 ) on Wednesday January 05, 2005 @02:29PM (#11266692)
    Check out Windows Media Encoder [microsoft.com].

    You can attach to your input streams and send them to a central location with more bandwidth.
    • Windows Media has too much delay. I'm sure the participants aren't willing to wait 30 secs to know if their answer was right or not..
      • A certain broadcasting company that I previously worked for consolidated their operations (6 stations in all) to a central location and monitors each feed with Windows Media. This was over private 256kb connections to each station. No delay, totally real-time, excellent quality.
        • I'm sure this company used much time much money and many engineers to achieve this. We're not in this case...
        • No Delay?
          Totally real-time???
          Ok, you can ARGUE excellent quality, so I won't touch that. As for real-time:
          1. Cable/wire adds a delay.
          2. They can't even make another computer based switcher that runs in TRUE realtime, all of them add delays (I say another because the Video Toaster on the Amiga did a nice job without delay)
          3. Windows Media is trying to become a standard for professional video (they had a setup at NAB 2004, trying to show video compression, but with horrible displays, no good data to corroborat
  • "What other pieces of software would you recommend for such a production?"

    Ken Jennings? Well, his brain is kinda like software.
    • Ken Jennings? Well, his brain is kinda like software.

      I'm not so sure. His brain appears to have the ability to recall information in a time better than O(1), although it does goof on occasion and return the incorrect response.
  • List (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tonsofpcs ( 687961 ) <(slashback) (at) (tonsofpcs.com)> on Wednesday January 05, 2005 @02:30PM (#11266710) Homepage Journal
    1. Production staff at each location
    2. bidirectional communications to 'control' areas at each location (so they aren't seen/heard on camera)
    3. Ear piece for 1-directional communication from 'control' to the host, may also be just a feed from the control communications feed.
    4. The talent should only do what they are told to do. The production teams should worry about getting it right.
    5. Maybe output all 3 feeds to analog video lines at the main production area, switch them live, run them back into a webserver.
    • Addendum: List (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tonsofpcs ( 687961 )
      Also, If possible, run a timecode run from the host location somehow, that way all the timecodes match up with the video from the host location. Add delay lines on the returns AND on the main/host line so that they all match up back at the host/main, then judge timing based upon that.
  • buzz in (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Icyfire0573 ( 719207 ) on Wednesday January 05, 2005 @02:31PM (#11266712)
    if you have buzzers that lock out other people when you buzz in your gonna have to deal with the latency times for it to lock the others out
  • by lax-goalie ( 730970 ) on Wednesday January 05, 2005 @02:32PM (#11266723)

    This could be built fairly easily using the Flash Communication Server for data comm and video streaming, and building the quiz show client in either Flash or Director. (Despite its name, FlashComm works with Director just fine.) Keep the quiz logic in the client, and use a bit of server-side Actionscript to do the scorekeeping/results arbitration.

    I hate MACR's pre-built components, but given that real-time video streaming is pretty much drag'n'drop with them, you could have a prototype up in a couple of hours.

  • Lag anyone? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by shidarin'ou ( 762483 ) on Wednesday January 05, 2005 @02:32PM (#11266742) Homepage
    I think this would make a quiz show, running on a 512k line, almost impossible. You'd never be able to tell who really buzzed in first- worse, every location would have a different "first" buzzer and there'd be no way to tell who was ACTUALLY first.. unless you did somethin wild like sync timecodes at the source and after every buzz use instant sync tape relay to figure out who REALLY buzzed in first...
    • Can't each location simply transmit the amount of time since the person buzzed? If you've got only reasonable lag (your location's buzz was the first.

      I assume spoofing is not a concern here (but use SSH if it is).
      • thats not gonna work any better. Lets say the Quizmaster is at location A. There is a 2 second lag between Location A and B. Time is done locally at location A Quizmaster finishes reading at 0 seconds (quizmasters question is finished reading with a 2 second lag at location B) Contestant A answers at location A at 30 seconds Contestant B's answers gets to location A at 34 seconds. At 36 seconds local time, contestant A will have a "6 seconds since buzz" timer Contestant B will be sporting a "2 seconds sin
        • First, a 2-second lag is not workable by my system. I'm expecting only a lag enough to affect buzzing, but not necessarily answering. In the time it takes for a human operator to call your name (around 500-800 ms), all the network operations should be complete and the computer should light up a second light to recognize you globally. If you've got a two-second lag, switch to a private modem connection (dial to each other, not to an ISP). Phone lines don't lag noticeably.

          Second, let me repeat that timing is
  • by superpixel2000 ( 777844 ) on Wednesday January 05, 2005 @02:33PM (#11266764) Homepage Journal
    Due to technology concerns (stated by others) I would suggest you take the time factor out of the equation. Then you can do round-robin questioning... Using a point system, you can tally scores in a fair manner. It's all about the game's design, and working around the limitations.

    Once you've done that, just use iChat, MSN Messenger, or something similar.

  • NTN? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ewanrg ( 446949 ) * <ewan@grantham.gmail@com> on Wednesday January 05, 2005 @02:38PM (#11266834) Homepage
    Considering you're looking at doing this for charity, have you considered contacting the folks at NTN [ntn.com] who do this all the time and see if they'd be willing to set you up for a special occasion?


    Just a thought...

    • Now THAT'S a good idea!

      A corporation like NTN would be all over something like this... simply put, they can always use the free marketing, and they do a great job with these games at many pubs/bars across Canada and abroad.
  • by coordinatezero ( 846694 ) on Wednesday January 05, 2005 @02:38PM (#11266837) Homepage
    You haven't explained the quiz-show setup. Where is the quizmaster? How are you asking questions and how are contestants answering? In a pinch: Use Yahoo Messenger for the video links and then create a Yahoo chatroom and turn on the voice-chat. Use VNC to control the remote machines; if you have three pubs, I would suggest getting another machine to handle the VNC'ing, and just leave all the others hooked up. Pub1 views Pub2 and Pub3, Pub2 views Pub1 and Pub3, Pub3 views Pub1 and Pub2 --- and they're all in the same voice-chat. Is it oh-so-hacker cool? No. Is it free and will it work? Yes.
    • Mod this parent up... WAAAAY up...

      As a Broadcast Engineer who has actually DONE something like this before, over a satellite link, let me give you some pointers...

      The lag in your answer time is going to KILL you over the internet. I would HIGHLY suggest having someone at your "host" location on the phone to each of the other pubs, and keeping an ear on the host pub, and let them be the "final judge" on who rings in first. That way there is no question as to someone being "locked out" due to lag.

      The on

  • To be honest (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GrAfFiT ( 802657 ) on Wednesday January 05, 2005 @02:39PM (#11266846) Homepage
    Considering you're running this as amateur, you better do it plain and safe. You're going to waste much more time/money into this than you can gather.
    Maybe you should organize something more conventionnal, with the help of your municipality maybe ?

    I'm not pessimistic, I'm realistic, it's about dying people, don't forget that point. Do it the efficient way.
  • You could get one of those NTN Bar Trivia [ntn.com] setups going, but I don't know how much those would be. I bet you would sell a lot of drinks (people like to sit around and play), and they are fun. You could run your contest over that system, and keep it around when you are done.
    • Having first-hand knowledge of this system (my father ran a bowling center attached to a bar who had this trivia system), it is an extremely expensive system to have, and ended up losing money. I think they only kept it because the waitresses and bartenders played it after their shift.
  • Use the phones on a conference call: the contestatnts hear the question at the same time, and the first one to speak the correct answer wins the point. The webcams are just window-dressing to add to the excitement factor. Audio from the phones and the webcams can be hear/shown at each location, too.
    If you were to take the conference call and drop it online, folks from everywhere could tune in.
    Sounds like fun!
    • Best advice I ever heard for videoconferencing via internet was to set up the audio by conference call. Better quality and frees bandwith for video.

      It can also solve the lag problem people are concerned with. Since the phone lag should be negligible (no guarantees), each contestent can be equiped with a different noise maker. You could even make them funny sounds. Whichever is heard first wins the buzzer. Could be automated, but making it fun could keep people more involved.
  • I see this all over Colorado already. But I haven't "peeked under the covers" to see how they were doing it.
  • There is no video tie in with this but I use TeamSpeak all the time to keeping in touch with my gaming pals. It does not use up so much bandwidth that it will crush you, but the performance is pretty good. Best part is there is a Linux server version. http://www.teamspeak.org/ [teamspeak.org]
  • by Night Goat ( 18437 ) on Wednesday January 05, 2005 @02:46PM (#11266951) Homepage Journal
    From the summary, it looks like this is going to be a one-time thing, a charity event with the proceeds going to tsunami relief. Rather than spend all this time and money trying to set up a technological way to do this, why not just get three quizmasters with three PA systems? You'd have less expenses, so more money would go to charity. I'm assuming you are getting volunteers to run the quizzes, so I didn't figure in costs for paying the extra people.
    Another thing I worry about is, if you're only doing it once, you can count on stuff going wrong. Things always do with something this complicated. I could see if you were going to do it week after week, because after a few weeks you'd get the hang of it and you could streamline the process. But if you're just planning on doing a one-shot event, stick to the tried and true. You could rent three PA rigs for the evening and be good to go. Hope this helps.
  • The hardware is available (iSight) and so's the software (iChat AV)
  • I could say more things informative or praiseworthy, but best to clarify is that: yes you can use it to do what you need.
  • get an channel on irc and have it be like one of those irc quiz bots, that is leet

  • Consider Macromedia Flash and perhaps FlashCom server, especially if you're looking to do something relatively bandwidth-light yet attractive.

    Flash has come a long way in the last few years: Flash 7 supports video and has XML parsing and even Xpath functionality baked into the player. Actionscript 2 supports class-based and OOP development. The XMLSocket class might be useful if you're looking to maintain persistant communications.

    The nice thing about Flash is that you could develop a engaging experien

  • Besides all of the technical mumbo jump - dont forget to have plenty of Guinness on Tap!
  • BAC (Score:3, Funny)

    by Lord_Dweomer ( 648696 ) on Wednesday January 05, 2005 @02:56PM (#11267070) Homepage
    Get one of those handheld BAC detectors. Have contestants be tested at the end of each round and the first one to reach .2 while still being able to answer questions wins! (And gets free medical care!)

    • A Darwin Award is devoted to something similar. An Australian hotel (for some reason) had a contest to see who could drink the most - I don't think the "winner" survived.

      While the concept of drinking for charity sounds fun, it would be a really unfortunate way to die (indirectly) from the tsunami. T
  • I have conducted chats between a coffeehouse in the US and the Baghdad Internet Cafe [iraqbaghdad.net] using Yahoo! Messenger. The video is webcam-like, and the audio is actually quite good. Plus you can always type if you get into a connectivity jam.
  • So, you have all the hardware you already need? What's wrong with the following?

    Find a volunteer location that is near the network center of the three locations. Do the webcast from here, which simply includes your host's webcam image overlayed with the text questions as s/he speaks. This is to avoid any one pub having an unfair advantage.

    Assuming quality webcams, at each pub you should display on the overhead a split-screen -- maybe the announcer on the top 1/2 and each of the other pubs left-to-righ
  • Use WebEx [webex.com]. They make online meeting software that works pretty seamlessly. Get a "pay as you go" account. The pricing is pretty reasonable. At $.33/user/minute, you're looking at $.99/minute with 3 pubs. An hour long show would cost 60 bucks - not bad. Check them out and give them a call.
  • by hal-j ( 8004 )
    The landlady's two sisters also run pubs, so we have decided to do this quiz for charity


    While I have no answer to your question, I urge you to reach for your nearest dictionary and look up "non sequitur".


    Thank you.

    • for those who dont have a dictionary arround :

      non sequitur

      n 1: a reply that has no relevance to what preceded it 2: (logic) a conclusion that does not follow from the premises
  • I'd like to see software to enable, in increasing order of complexity (and I think not *all* that complex, though I'm certainly not a programmer, so I'm just naming the ideas :))

    - For games with loose / free-form answers, paddles like on Jeopardy (or any game show with "buzzing in"), where tapping a sensor is associated with a physical device or a contestant, and it can be displayed on a screen, etc. A Griffen PowerMate would be good for this, and would look cool, too. Every contestant gets a powermate att
  • try a google search for palantir, it can handle multiple audio/video streams and display them all on one screen, there are clients for most platforms I think (but only servers for Linux), and you can show the Local stream on the screen as well. Its not too resource hungry (in my experience).

    It doesn't offer any of the conferencing facilities you want, but you there's nothing to prevent you using it for video only, and something else for audio (which may have more control)

    You may just want to have 3 differ
  • You might have a look at Macromedia Breeze [macromedia.com]; I don't have that much experience with it (other than watching a sales presentation put on by Macromedia), but it has all of the typical meeting capabilities such as audio/video, shared screens, remote control, whiteboard, chatting, etc., in a very customizable environment. As with anything, I would test the bejeezus out of it before putting on something like this -- it's a newish product and Macromedia's pushing it pretty hard. Good luck.
  • Have reps from all three pubs in one location. No need for video feed.

    In fact, if you really want to go whole hog have a three round tournament, one round in each pub. Triple your opportunity to solicit donations.
  • First, kudos for the idea. Every bit will help the victims of the tsunami.

    I've done a bit of pub quiz myself and I'd suggest a "keep it simple" approach. Get two more buddies (or have the pub owners get someone) to quizmaster at the other pubs and just go simultaneous. If you want something to tie the pubs together have "championship" plaque going to the pub with the high point total, donations, whatever you want. Not sure why this has to be all that complicated. Any technical issues that arise will most

  • Apple's iChat does 4-way video conferencing. Maybe that's all you need?
  • by RobTerrell ( 139316 ) on Wednesday January 05, 2005 @04:36PM (#11268765) Homepage
    Sweet jesus. The flip side of "every ask slashdot is stupid" is "every decent ask slashdot gets stupid answers." The only valid responses above (Webex and Flash Comm Sevrer) were modded to 1, while all the useless chatter about Tiger and iSights and not enough bandwidth are modded up. Crazy.

    Anyway, this is exactly what our company's software [avacast.com] does, so pardon the self promotion.

    Let me answer some of the points above:

    - Not enough bandwidth: You can easily do this on a 512k link, although you're not going to fall in love with the video quality. With three locations, Flash Communication Server would do fine. In fact, I think the developer edition supports a max of three users an 1Mbit of bandwidth, so you'd be able to use it on the cheap.

    Even if you didn't use FCS, you could roll your own using Windows Media Encoders at each location pushing streams to a windows media server. You can make a page that hosts all three videos in it, with an area below for the quiz. Don't like WME? You can use Real's Helix, although it's a little harder to set up the first time. Both WME video and Helix introduce significant buffering delay, so you'll have to configure all components (encoder, server, and client-side playback control) to use the minimum buffering allowed. You'll still end up with at least 5 seconds of buffering.

    - Lag: I doubt you'd have enough lag to make a big difference in determining whose answers are correct. Regardless, in our system, every message up & downstream is timestamped (down to thousandths of a second), and the client and server clocks are synchronized together, so you'll have a very decent idea who answered first. Not that it really matters, since it's for charity, who cares if it's slightly off, right?

    - Webex is a fine choice if you DON'T care about video. Their video is very lousy, hugely bandwith intensive, and doesn't support n-way video conferences. The price mentioned above does not include video, I don't think. A better pay-per-minute options would be Breeze Live. They also have a 15-day free trial, which is nice.

    Also, you should consider something like a Polycom, Tandberg, or other traditional video conferencing product. For one, lots of companies have them, so you can probably get loaner units easily.

    Or (ahem) maybe give us a call. Our software does polls, quizzes, slides, chat, moderated Q&A, all synchronized to the video and and internal clock. Up to 5-way video conferences are supported using the Flash Communication Server, and we have bandwidth partners in the UK if you need them.
    • Tandbergs rock! Expensive, though.
    • The only valid responses above (Webex and Flash Comm Sevrer) were modded to 1

      I don't know about Flash Comm Server, but Webex has serious issues. I'm just speaking from recent experience (as late as yesterday), but I have yet to have a Webex conference go smoothly.

      Webex uses a browser plug-in. It claims to work with Netscape and IE, but I've only managed to get it to work with IE. There doesn't seem to be support for Firefox, Mozilla, etc.

      Conferences are assigned a number. This meeting number, in the
    • I played a lot of scholastic bowl in high school, and I'm gonna have to call shenanigans on your claim that l;ag won't be an issue. A tenth of a second can be a motherfucker. That said, it's soluble. In this context, it doesn't matter who rings first. It matters who rings with th least delay after seeing the question. So, my suggestion would be to have a small program that displays the question to the players, and starts a local timer as soon as the question is displayed. As soon as somebody rings in,
  • Record all the "Quizmaster questions" in advance as separate video clips (possibly even refer to the video clips locally as "file:///cdrom/r1q1.mpg"). Wire up some HTML and javascript to let people answer / buzz in. Keep a running frame on the left-hand side to show the scores at the different pubs, etc, with the computer-jockeys at each location trying to keep the rounds / questions reasonably in-sync.

    Have a running frame on the right-hand side showing 30s webcam shots of each of the pubs. Center frame
  • Well, it could be done but the quality and lag would be terrible. :)

    Have you considered asking your local amateur radio clubs for help?

    Better still, rent the town hall :-)
  • This is another one of those occasions where technology is being used for the sake of it, not because it will enhance the quiz for participants.

    The joy in pub trivia is that it is simple, no computers, no technology, no hassles. You show up, get your piece of paper, and scribble away. Why unnecessarily complicate things?
  • I think I understand what your resources are, and I think I can see what you should do.

    Firstly, I think you are short 1 camera, 1 Mic and one computer. You might be able to do without the extra computer.

    If you can get the extra computer and mic, set the emcee up in one pub with the camera and mic. Set up one further mic and camera in that pub, and a mic and camera in each of the other two pubs.

    Use a piece of video conferencing software that can 1> Tile multiple connections and 2> show that view, or
  • http://yadvr.com/ I have seen their stuff compress and send DVD quality video and 2-way audio over a 128K connection with very little loss. Might be worth checking out.
  • by YuppieScum ( 1096 ) on Wednesday January 05, 2005 @06:12PM (#11270058) Journal
    Most of the posts I've seen to far have presumed that this is going to be a 3-site TV gameshow style event, with 2-way video streams and buzzer-sync issues. This is almost certainly not the case, and the below is based on the usual style of UK pub quiz... which means each team writing answers on a piece of paper, and marking each others answers when read out at the end. So...

    Also, I'm not going to mention specific software, rather the infrastructure approach to doing this successfully...

    First, each site has a technician. At the remote sites, they're responsible for feeding the video and audio to the projector, and for using some sort of low-bandwidth instant messenger or dedicated IRC to chat with the host site technician for things like question repeat requests and so forth. At the host end, the tech feeds messages to the quizmaster and runs the outbound video/audio feed.

    Second, remember that the 512kb link is downstream only - the upstream is going to be half that for basic UK ADSL, which means much less bandwidth for the video/audio as most ISPs don't support multicast. It'd probably be worth contacting the ISP - if all three venues us the same one - to try and get some dedicated/increased bandwidth for the event, or at least some "preferred" routing for the video.

    Next, the host site server needs to be the most powerful you have, in order to compress the video as much as possible in as close to real-time as possible. Hardware encoding is a big plus at this point. Also, forget about webcams for the video source - beg/borrow/whatever a decent video camera, capture card and lighting.

    Also, have a backup plan. For example, feed the ear-piece output of a cellphone to the remote site PA, and have the host-site microphone also feed the mic input of two cellphones as an alternate feed. Return feeds would come from/go to the techs.

    Finally, test everything off-site well before the event to make sure it all works, then test it all extensively on the day. It might sound obvious, but you'd be surprised how often it doesn't happen.

    Oh, and if you're running this somewhere in the south-east of England, drop me a line if you want a tech for one of the sites...

  • There's a lot been done on multicasting stuff without the actual existence of IP Multicast (as is the case in much of the public Internet). It's funny this came up, seeing as my project at uni this year will turn out an implementation of an overlay multicast protocol on which I'll be able to run conferencing tools.

    In the absence of my wonderful software, I'd suggest taking a quick look at Yoid [isi.edu], which should theoretically use your bandwidth intelligently. The applications which run on yoid without modificat

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