August, 2007

Nigel Parker's Outside Line

Juxtaposing the web, media and mobile for New Zealand developers.
  • Nigel Parker's Outside Line

    As the Dust Settles



    Saturday, August 25, 2007 8:24 PM by Mike Fitzmaurice wrote on my blog...

    What a terrible experience!

    To watch a keynote online because I was unable to go sounded like a great way to see his talk. How disappointed I was to see this guy speak to a bunch of slides and photos but not be able to see those slide and photos. This despite the entire point of the talk being about the customer experience.

    While the videos were shown they were too dark!

    Here is my response...
    Hey Mike,

    I agree with you and therefore have hopefully gone someway to sorting it out.

    Here are the two main issues IMO and what I have done to address them.

    1) The capture that we received from the production company for the two feeds are crappy quality and used old quicktime codec's as they say you are only as good as your master.

    2) I didn't test the Picture in Picture player that I posted properly so if one of the streams was to buffer the other one would get out of sync which is why I put this single stream version up as an interim solution.

    What I have done.

    Create one video that combines the powerpoint and the camera together in a single video (I'm still locked to the crappy original video quality but by using Adobe Premier at least we can combine the feeds), interlay the video that was played during the keynote full frame at a higher quality than the event capture, wrap the whole thing up with silverlight streaming so you can jump forward using chapters to the part of the stream that you wish to watch to save downloading the whole file. Then make the videos downloadable from the techedlive site for people that don't have (want) to install the silverlight player.

    How we will stop this happening in the future. Choose a different company to capture the video during presentations, and test extensively beforehand to make sure they can capture what we want at a quality that is acceptable for online publication, you have probably noticed that the end of Lou's speech is captured from a secondary video camera pointing at the projector screen inside the venue... NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Test our delivery vehicle for buffering and slower connections. Sorry again! But please take a look at hopefully things have been improved somewhat!

    As the Dust Settles on Tech.Ed I find myself frantically preparing sessions for Web On The Piste.

    It was great catching up with Natasha (of Trade Me and Webstock fame) at Tech.Ed last week but like Natasha after doing this for a few years now I'm starting to realise that when it is event season your job is never done!

    I had a few questions about the Silverlight video we pushed onto the site during the conference. Yes all the videos are hosted on Silverlight Streaming using the free account so yes you can do the same thing on your sites!

    This year I had been given the job as official video guy and after the hours spent capturing, editing and uploading to silverlight streaming I'm never going to put my hand up to do that job again. It took me out of the conference for much more time than I was happy with. The most frustrating part of all of this was dealing with the Mac centric firm that had been sub contracted to capture the keynote video. They came back to us no less that 5 times during the two days after the keynote with completely unusable formats (I can work with MOV, MPEG, AVI etc but not with what they produced!). In the end they came into Tech.Ed with a version of the latest quicktime installer from apple to prove that their MOV file did play on Windows. When it failed to work they tried to blame Vista only to find that it also didn't work on Windows XP. Note to others wanting to do business with Microsoft in the future BUY A PC and test it or at least run boot camp on your Mac!

    On the plus side although I didn't present myself at Tech.Ed on Thursday I presented 3 sessions at Tech.Ed Student day in sky city theatre to 600+ students. I loved the sessions and presenting along side the famous Steve Riley I think they were well received.

    I have received a few questions about how we created the keynote Picture in Picture player that streams the two keynote feeds simultaneously. I realised after watching the video on this player that there are a few sync issues if the streams need to buffer so it appears that there is still a bit of work required to address the sync'ing issues.

    I grabbed the base code for this from Michael Scherotter opened it in the August preview of Blend 2 and pimped it a little for the event (my source code here).

    The interesting thing about this piece is that it combines two Windows Media Streams that are hosted on the Microsoft site.


    Because these streams are external resources you can "repackage" them using other player designs. Here is another Silverlight player skin that I uploaded to Silverlight Streaming that points to the keynote_speaker.wmv stream and contains chapters to different parts of the keynote presentation.

    To embed this video I have put the following HTML below

    <iFrame src="" mce_src="" frameborder="0" width="432" height="324" scrolling="no"></iFrame>

    Click here to view!

    Note to self... I should have really hooked it up with the awesome MIX video skin and hosted it for free using Astoria! Check out the screencast here... or it running live here.

    The one surprise for me over the event was the quality of the Canon HV20 consumer camcorder, check out this video from TechFest that I shot and uploaded to Silverlight Streaming, the codex going from true HD to streaming produced a video that is smaller than 10MB and the quality IMO is still fantastic!

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