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Unread 02-10-2004, 10:04 AM
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Help needed Webcasting Regional Competitions.

For the last couple of years, some of the Regional Competitions have been on NASA TV, and others, while not on NTV, have been webcast directly. Well the bad news is no one can afford the 20k cost of a satellite uplink truck for the regionals this year.

Volunteers from various NASA centers will be webcasting. So far, SVR and Sacremento will be handled by NASA ARC, but nothing else is definite. In the past JPL has done the SoCal, JSC has done Lone Star, KSC has done Florida, Langley has done Va and Philly, and Glenn has done the Midwest. Even at best this is only 8 out of the 26 some odd regional competitions.

Other teams have done webcasting/media archiving in the past, especially SOAP. We need volunteers to step up to the plate if other regionals are going to get webcast. All you need is a decent PC, an encoding card and decent network connectivity. All of which need to be arranged for well in advance in most locations. It helps to have a hardwired ethernet line somewhere near the video production trailer/master control.


If webcasting is impossible, it still would be great to encode statically and put at least the elimination rounds up for the various events. NASA has adequate server capacity, both Real and Windows media. If you think you can help webcast a regional, please email or private message me.
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Unread 02-10-2004, 06:32 PM
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Re: Help needed Webcasting Regional Competitions.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I've been told that there isn't going to be a webcast of the Lone Star Regional....
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Unread 02-10-2004, 06:53 PM
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Re: Help needed Webcasting Regional Competitions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Sevcik
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I've been told that there isn't going to be a webcast of the Lone Star Regional....
ahhhhhhhhhhh......clear lake is so close to houston. who would ya have to talk to at JSC to change someones mind?
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Unread 02-10-2004, 07:26 PM
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Re: Help needed Webcasting Regional Competitions.

I've no idea. I suppose I'll see what can be done. I think most of the issue is getting a reliable internet connection into the arena. I ran the webcast in years past, and the best we could get was a 128k ISDN that somehow had an incredibly glitchy connection to the NASA servers.
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Unread 02-10-2004, 07:37 PM
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Re: Help needed Webcasting Regional Competitions.

Thanks. I know it takes lots of work to webcast an event. I just think it is nice for people like me...a college student who can't attend but still would like to watch his team. I had a choice between going to Houston and Atlanta...Atlanta won. Hopefully it will end up getting webcast...I'm working a booth @ K-State Open House about FIRST and it would be nice to have the LSR webcast....if not there are a couple others that would work just as good.
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Unread 02-11-2004, 06:53 AM
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Re: Help needed Webcasting Regional Competitions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ngreen
Thanks. I know it takes lots of work to webcast an event. I just think it is nice for people like me...a college student who can't attend but still would like to watch his team. I had a choice between going to Houston and Atlanta...Atlanta won. Hopefully it will end up getting webcast...I'm working a booth @ K-State Open House about FIRST and it would be nice to have the LSR webcast....if not there are a couple others that would work just as good.

The Nationals will be webcast and also should by on NTV, In the past all four fileds of play were simultaneously webcast, which of course is impossible to do on NTV. Because of the ongoing Mars missions, it is not certain that we can get all of Friday onto NTV - Saturday is usually a safe bet.

Guys I am not asking for a lot - just some leg work - If you could just find out if it is feasible to do a webcast it would be a big help. We have some leverage - we might even get some help from Real, Apple, Microsoft, etc.

The show stopper here is the network connectivity - typically FIRST isn't too concerned about WAN at a site - sometimes there is just dial-up. If there isn't ethernet at the venue, it is possible to get ISDN service - and thist typically costs a couple of 100 bucks for an event - and requires special equipment (ISDN Modems, etc.) We will work with you if you want to take on
this "homework" assignment.

Thanks.

Thanks.
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Unread 02-11-2004, 07:23 AM
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Re: Help needed Webcasting Regional Competitions.

Yeah, connectivity IS the biggest issue. Sadly, this makes it are for one person to do a webcast at a regional without FIRST being intimately involved, since they've forbidden teams from trying to get an internet connection. Here's a list of what I think you'd need to do, and do in a hurry.

1. Get in touch with the regional supervisor in your area. This is bound to be tricky, as there's not a contact list for them that I can see. It's necessary though to get connectivity and FIRST's blessing. Also that way you can arrange to tap into FIRST's cameras to make things easier on yourself. I'd guess you'd need to go to the FIRST Conact List and email around to see what you get.

2. Get internet connectivity. This might be impossible for some sites. It will defintely take doing for most, but the regional supervisor should be able to handle the paperwork. They might not have the budget left to pay for it, though, so your team might have to put up money. And you might need an ISDN modem. This could come from the connectivity provider, or possibly NASA, since that's who got us ours at LSR.

3. Get someone to host the webcast. I'm thinking NASA might be the only option here as most hosting services would be brought to their knees by the giant sucking sound of a horde of FIRST teams gobbling up bandwidth. I'm hoping Dr. Bot knows people at NASA that can make this happen.

4. Get a computer with a cheap, yes cheap, video capture card. The key here is that it should not do any MPEG encoding in hardware. It should capture AVI files by default. Hauppage is a good brand. It doesn't take much computing power to pull this off, really.

5. Get the encoding software. Again, I'm thinking this might need to be a NASA thing unless you have a copy of RealStudio laying about.

6. Go to the regional, webcast, and see some of the stuff that happens behind the scenes. You'll need to show up Wednesday some time to set things up and get it all working. It's not terribly complicated for anyone that's computer savvy.

So that's it. I can't think of anything else you'd need to do, but that's a bit of a list. 1,2 and 3 all need to happen pretty much simealtaneously as they're the important bits you don't have much control over. And again, I'm really hoping Dr. Bot has contacts in NASA to ease some of this along. Now, if any team out there feels up to it, I suggest you get cracking.
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Unread 02-11-2004, 09:05 AM
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Re: Help needed Webcasting Regional Competitions.

We may be able to webcast the Great Lakes Regional here at EMU. Can someone point me to the people organizing the event? I'll need to get schedule details and permission.

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Unread 02-11-2004, 11:23 AM
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Re: Help needed Webcasting Regional Competitions.

Typically, each regional competiton has a director, and you should contact him/her, If your at a university venue, you should start talking to their networking infrastructure group ASAP.
It *might* be possible to webcast over WiFi to a ethernet backbone, but this needs to be tested before the big day. As far as equipment, Kevin was right on. An old pentium III with an Haupauge WinTV Card and Real Producer (8 or 9 - free version) will work just fine.

The other caveat is to make sure you can handle the audio feed as well. The audio is more important than the video. You don't need a deck, but you may need some weird adapter jacks to get wired up correctly. Usually the AV crew recording the competition is highly professional and will be delighted to help you - often they get a kick out of webcasting their work and call all their buddies to watch what they're doing that day!
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Unread 02-11-2004, 12:46 PM
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Re: Help needed Webcasting Regional Competitions.

The infrastructure won't be a problem, as I'm part of the group that sets that up. I also have a Department Head, and a Professor with a Web Media course that is enthusiastic about the possibility of doing the event. So now I need to get in touch with the people organizing the event. Problem is that since I'm new to this (my son just joined the team this fall) I don't know where to go to get the contact info.
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Unread 02-28-2004, 05:14 PM
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Re: Help needed Webcasting Regional Competitions.

So whats going on with webcasting? What regionals have we found out we can or cannot webcast from?
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Unread 02-28-2004, 05:27 PM
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Re: Help needed Webcasting Regional Competitions.

The Manager for the Great Lakes Regional is Carol O'Shields. Sorry, I don't have any contact info for her, but you might try Mike - he's the volunteer coordinator for Ypsi.

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Unread 02-29-2004, 10:39 AM
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Re: Help needed Webcasting Regional Competitions.

As far as static recording of the matches, either a VCR can record simply at the event, and slowly be converted to a digital format or you can take your computer with you and record as they go directly onto your computer.

That would at least preserve some matches for latter viewing and sharing.
Then the only trick is finding a somewhat large amount of bandwith.

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Unread 02-29-2004, 10:47 AM
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Re: Help needed Webcasting Regional Competitions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Rudolph
So whats going on with webcasting? What regionals have we found out we can or cannot webcast from?
Yeah, I would also like to know which webcast is available for watching. Can't wait to see the competition this year at other regionals.
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Unread 02-29-2004, 01:25 PM
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Re: Help needed Webcasting Regional Competitions.

Who knows if we can webcast from UCF? My computer has a TV tuner card that lets me capture video. And its here already on campus. And i know that we have 100mbit t1 all over campus. I could find out whats available to us to use, but i dont know what we need. Like a server or somthing.
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