The Webcasting module in the probono.net advocate site template allows administrators to capture live and recorded video for use on their website. The webcasting module is based on the ubiquitous Flash browser plug-in, ensuring that nearly any visitor to the website will be able to view the webcasts. Admins can stream live webcasts via the Calendar tool or capture recorded webcasts as an archived resource with the Library tool.
This chapter will cover:
- Required and recommended equipment
- Adding a webcast to the calendar (live streaming)
- Adding a webcast to the library (creating an archived webcast)
- Using the Webcast Producer to record, edit and publish a webcast
- Webcast archive tool
- Troubleshooting and tips
To record an event for use as a webcast or as archived video footage, you'll need specific equipment.
- Webcam or digital camcorder with a built-in microphone
- Laptop computer
- Broadband internet connection with Ethernet cable (wireless internet is NOT recommended, as it is subject to interference with other electronic devices which can cause choppy video)
- Good external microphone
- 50 ft. Ethernet network cable
- Extension Cord
- Power bar/surge protector with plenty of outlets (particularly if using a camcorder)
To stream a live webcast of a Calendar event, it must first be added as an event via the Calendar tool--just as you would add any event. Select add event from any Calendar page and fill in the required fields, making sure to choose the Webcast option under Attachment Type. Then set the status to Approved and press Submit at the bottom of the form.
The new calendar event will have a video icon next to its name, indicating that the event is a webcast.
- NOTE: If a user views the event before its scheduled start time, it will display a message that the webcast hasn't started.
To start transmitting the live video, press the Edit buttonnext to the webcast event's name. Its content form will load, with the WebCast Producer available in the Attachments section.
When you are ready to start the webcast, click 1. Record to open the Webcast Producer application and, press the gray Record button. See below for more details on working with the Webcast Producer application.
- NOTE: After recording a live webcast, it will not be available to view as an archived webcast until you chapter and publish the webcast. (See below for instructions on how to chapter and publish a webcast).
Video can also be archived to the library as a prerecorded resource type. Video added to the library is not broadcast live, but rather is streamed from a webcam or digital camcorder directly into the Webcast Producer.
Add an archived webcast to the Library as you would any other resource by first selecting add a resource from any Library page. After filling in the required fields, choose the Webcast option under Attachment Type, and then set the status to Awaiting Approval or Approved (depending on whether or not you'd like the resource available in your library right away) .
After pressing Submit at the end of the form, you will be taken back to the public library view. The new library resource will have a video icon next to its name, indicating that this is a Webcast resource.
To capture your video in the Webcast Producer, press the Edit buttonnext to the event's name. Its content form will come up, with a WebCast Producer section on it. When you are ready to start recording, click 1. Record to open the Webcast Producer application. You can then press the gray Record button to begin recording the webcast. You should see the live video in the preview window.
The WebCast Producer is has three components, as seen in the screenshot above:
Stream live video or upload recorded video
Chapter and save webcast to the Webcast Archive
Review your finished webcast
After clicking Record, the PBN website will ask to access your camera and microphone. Verify that your camera is attached to your computer and click Allow.
The video Recorder component consists of a live video preview (with ability to toggle the window to a larger size), a chat box and a Record/Stop control button. See screenshot below:
The live video preview window is divided into quadrants by a light overlay. This is to aid you in composing the video while recording and will not be visible to the webcast viewers.
In this preview window, there also is a timer and a flashing Rec overlay signal that starts when you press the gray Record button.
To start transmitting a live webcast or to capture a prerecorded video, press Record. When you have finished capturing the video, press Stop. Note: you can press Stop and Record during a live webcast. The webcast will start again for your viewers.
If you are broadcasting a live webcast, viewers can ask questions through the chat box. Questions will appear in the Question List window. If the viewer is a logged in member of your site, his or her name will appear by the question. If the viewer is not logged in, the chat will just say Viewer. To respond only to the viewer, you must press Private after typing your answer. To send a message to everyone viewing the webcast, press Public.
Click Edit to start chaptering the webcast.
The following fields are required in order to chapter a video after it has been captured:
Enter the name of the webcast here (you can use the same name that you used in the resource title).
Select Raw Stream
Choose the video stream you just recorded from the dropdown list (it will be called either webcast).
Every webcast will have one chapter called "Entire Webcast;" however, in order for the webcast to play for users, at least one chapter must be created and saved to the module. If you do not want to create chapters, select "Entire Webcast" and then Save Module. You must save to capture the webcast stream.
Click New, which opens the chaptering tool.
Review the video to locate suitable moments for chapter divisions. Navigate using the Back, Play, and Forward arrow buttons. The Back and Forward arrows rewind and advance the video one second at a time. Use the horizontal scroll bar, with the oval double-arrowed button, to move more quickly through the video.
- TIP: When capturing a video, try to note the video recording times that you would want to chapters to start/end. This will make it easier to create the chapters when you are editing the video.
Enter the name for the first chapter in the Chapter Title box. Find your start point for the chapter and set it by selecting Set Start. The timestamp for the start point will automatically be filled in the Start Time box. Next, choose the end point for the chapter and select Set End. The timestamp for the end point will automatically be filled in the End Time box. If you already know the times you want to set as start and end, you may enter them into their respective boxes. Note: no footage is lost when creating chapters.
You can add a transcription of the webcast into the Chapter Transcription box. This will play alongside the video. The box could also be used to highlight the presenters, a brief outline, a description of the presentation, or collateral training materials.
Press Save to save the chapter and return to the main Edit screen. The chapter you just created will be added to the Existing Chapters box.
To add more chapters, press New and repeat the steps above. Each new chapter will automatically have the same start time as the last chapter's end time, but you can edit that.
- TIP: You can not re-order chapters after they've been created. This means that you need to create chapters in the same order that you want them to appear, even if they are not in that order in the raw footage. Review the video as much as possible to get a sense of what segments you'll want where.
After you have finished creating your chapters, press Save Module. You can now review your webcast in the Review component of Webcast Producer.
- In order to view chapters in the Review component, chapters must be saved, as well as the module as a whole. If you go to the Review tab without saving the module, any changes you've made since last saving the module will be lost.
The Review tab allows you to preview what your webcast will look like to users. You may add, edit, or delete chapters by going back to the Edit tab.
If the resource is already Approved the completed, chaptered webcast will now be available in your library resource or calendar event, as well as archived on the Webcast/Video tool page.
The Webcast Archive tool is added to a Geo or Practice area when webcasting is enabled. It can be placed in the Admin section of the left navigation or across the top of your site as part of the public navigation. The Webcast Archive displays a list of all webcasts recorded through the Calendar and Library tools, and can be filtered by topic and organization. See screenshot below:
What if there is no video?
- Make sure your camera is securely plugged into a USB port on your computer.
- Make sure your camera is selected in the Webcast Producer's Flash settings. To adjust these settings, follow the steps below to check the settings:
- Right click on the video preview window and choose Settings from the menu
- Click on the webcam icon in the bottom navigation tabs
- Be sure your camera is selected from the Camera drop-down list
- Click Close
- Shut down your computer and confirm that the camera is securely plugged into a USB port. Restart your computer.
- Uninstall and reinstall the software drivers that were included with your camera. Consult the documentation included with your camera for instructions specific to your model.
What if there is no audio?
If there is no recorded audio or the audio stutters, right mouse-click on player window of the Webcast Producer Application and select Settings. This will bring up the Macromedia Flash Player Settings window. Click the tab with the microphone icon to go to the audio settings.
If you still experience audio problems, uninstall and reinstall the drivers per the instructions that came with your model of webcam or MiniDV camcorder.
What if the webcast is not recording?
If the webcast audio and video appears to work, but no video stream is available when you start to chapter your webcast, the application is likely blocked by a firewall.
When the application above says "Done running port tests," copy and paste the results and send them to you network administrator, who should be able to enable access to the required port.
Tips for Webcasting
- If you are capturing a live webcast in a new location, try to do a dry run 24 hours in advance at the new location. Ideally have someone watching the test webcast to confirm that sound and video are working.
- Test the internet connection to make sure you can connect to the webcasting server.
- Make sure the space allows for convenient positioning of the camera and/or laptop (if possible, the camera should be directly in front of the presenter and no more than 15 feet away).
- Make sure there is enough light to see the presenter if the presentation contains a slide or video projector. Focus on the presenter rather than the PowerPoint slides as text is difficult to read in the webcast module display. etc. Add links to the materials in the webcast description.
- If folks watching the webcast are having trouble hearing, tell them to try headphones to cut down on background noise.
- Sometimes firewalls at law firms block live webcasts. Please tell folks to contact their IT department to troubleshoot that. Tell them that the webcast is running onAdobe Flash Communications Server.
- Verify that your power and Ethernet cables are long enough.
- Reminder speakers to speak up and directly into the microphones.
- Ask the presenter to sign a Presenter's Agreement for the webcast. A sample is available from Pro Bono Net--contact your Circuit Rider or email email@example.com.
- Create some canned chat sentences ahead of a live webcast for your audience. These could include a welcome message, reminder to ask questions via chat, any audio tips like using headphones, and using the video enlarge button on the webcast.