Printed Instructions

MarvinD's picture

Once you get your system up and running, the last and ongoing step is creating a set of printed instructions. I would recommend creating these instructions as a simple web page or a document stored on the server so that they can be found and reproduced at a moment's notice. 

The following link is to the printable instructions for a weekly webcast at the First Presbyterian Church of Pampa Texas.

If you use Windows, the 'preparation phase' of these instructions can get pretty complex. The reason for this added complexity is that unlike Linux, Windows is vulnerable to viruses and other forms of attack. To prevent these attacks, Windows and its associated programs must go through a never ending series of updates. If one of these updates begins to automatically download itself during your webcast, it will eat up CPU cycles and download bandwidth, causing a failure.1 So, you have the following options: 

  1. Turn off all updates and hope not to get attacked.
  2. Tediously run all the updates and hope a new update doesn't come in during a webcast.
  3. Never shut off the computer and hope a new update doesn't come in during a webcast. 

This church is currently running all the updates before each webcast because their Windows computer has proven itself not to be reliable enough to run unattended for a week. They should be switching to Linux as soon as I figure out the details of the software.

Verify Stream...
This is just a quick check to make sure everything is running correctly. Once the bugs are worked out of the system, this step becomes a mere formality.

As you can see, once past the preparation phase and into the actual running phase, all that is required is to start the VCRs, start archiving the service, and then the mundane tasks of switching cameras, running the pan/tilt, and occasionally switching on and off microphones. New operators will generally have a couple of mess ups, but not bad enough to frustrate them. The major problem with this phase is that young experienced operators suffer from boredom.

When the Service is Finished...
After the service, things get more complex again. This is good in that an operator familiar with the system can set it up, then hand it over to a lesser experienced operator. After the service, the more experienced operator can then take over once again.

Note: At the bottom of the instructions are a couple of 'cut outs' to be taped next to the appropriate monitors.

1. This is when you are using a media server, because the encoder itself will not fail due to reduced bandwidth or a slowing CPU. It is the connection between the encoder and the media server that fails.