Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

2016 WSFS Business Meeting: HQ Video Posted

Higher-resolution video recordings of the 2016 WSFS Business Meeting are now online at the Worldcon Events Channel:

Software to generate the higher-resolution video was provided by Wizards Tower Press.

The initial video uploads of the 2016 WSFS Business Meeting were in a relatively low-resolution video format and in roughly ten minute segments for technical reasons I will explain below. The ability to get the low-res-but-fast video is thanks to a grant from Detcon 1 to pay for the "proxy card" for the camera and for a grant from SFSFC to pay for the necessary bandwidth on the Kansas City Convention Center's wi-fi network.

The Panasonic pro-grade video camera does not natively produce MP4 files. It generates video and audio in MXF format: one video and four audio files per recording. MXF converters you will find free online do not recombine these files. The only software I've found that directly ingests the five files and will generate output in MP4 is Adobe Premiere, which is expensive. Other packages will do it, but it requires a significant amount of fiddling around with the files, converting them from MXF and combining them manually.

In addition to the software issues, generating the MP4 files takes a long time. In general, it takes as long to generate the output as it took to record it in the first place. This is not consistent with getting the recordings online quickly. I've been generating files during our hotel stops, leaving the computer to grind through conversions overnight over the first few nights after we left Kansas City.

The resulting MP4 files are quite large. They take many hours to upload. I've been uploading files one or two at a time during our hotel stops. Inasmuch as none of the hotels in which we've stayed since we left KC have had the vast bandwidth of the Holiday Inn Rock Springs, I've been limited to one or two segments per overnight stop.

In order to generate MP4 files, you need a "proxy card," which is an expansion card for the camera that generates relatively low-resolution MP4 files with lower-quality video and same-quality sound. The purpose of the proxy files is to give you "thumbnail" files that are small enough to upload in a reasonable amount of time. In this case, that results in files than are generally just short of ten minutes long. There are apparently people who were griping online about there being lots of short segments. The alternative was to wait a week for the files, I am not all that sympathetic to those people.

(Of course, some of the complainers may want to step forward and volunteer to invest thousands of dollars of their own money and six to eight hours of each day at Worldcon to produce things the "right" way. Is that the sound of crickets chirping that I hear?)

The higher-quality video files are in 3 to 4 segments per day. Each segment runs "gavel to gavel," that is, from call to order to first recess, then from reconvening to next recess, and so forth until the adjournment of that day's meeting. The breaks are thus "natural" rather than the abrupt cuts in the lower-quality "proxy" files.

I swear that it's only a coincidence that the thumbnail image is of me speaking.
Tags: business meeting, worldcon, wsfs

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