November 23, 2020

Grand Forks TV

video for Grand Forks BC

GFSS GRAD 2020

Grand Forks Secondary School found themselves having to work out how to have a Graduation while living within the restrictions imposed because of COVID-19.

Their solution was to have the ceremony outside after a parade with the Grads. The parade route is at the bottom the poster on the side. Thankfully the weather cooperated.

I traveled that route beforehand and recorded it with one of my 360 degree cameras so people could survey places to watch from along the route. You can view that at the bottom of this post.

The Parade
The video below has 5 versions one after the other – different ways to show two cameras’ views.

The Ceremony

The Parade Route (in 360 video)

To the Grads of 2020 – there’s a Life ahead and no one knows exactly what lays along your path but it’s Yours to find out. Best of Luck.


Notes on the whole thing

The Parade
I was asked to record the parade.
The ask was for both sides since some grads on one side of the float might not be visible from the other side of the street. I had the cameras but only myself as a camera operator . . . and a time constraint from when the parade began to when the ceremony began.

So I put a camera across the street from where I was and recorded with both simultaneously. (that also means I can synchronize them later on in the editing system)
Then I had another problem: How to display them? You be the judge – the video has 5 versions one after the other.

The Ceremony
They wanted the ceremony live streamed.
This was because they did not want a large group of people to show up at the school – that would possibly put the whole thing in violation of group size restrictions and possibly cause the event to become cancelled. So it was stressed do not come down to the school – watch it live on the web.
I was prepared.
I’d decided on a workflow (OBS to YouTube to Everywhere Else via a link) and even tested connecting with the YouTube server and echoing that to Facebook – and that all worked . . . but unfortunately my streaming software couldn’t connect to the YouTube server once I was on-site at the high school. (likely port filtering but I don’t know for sure)

So I was forced to resort to plan B and streamed direct from my cell phone to Facebook. (I should have tested that with YouTube first and reconnected with my original planned work-flow path but I hadn’t anticipated a problem like this at this stage – failure that I was)\

And that worked . . . kind of, . . for the most part.

There was a small problem with Facebook’s Instant Messenger pausing the live stream because someone had responded to a message I’d sent earlier in the day and Facebook’s Messenger software decided that the message was more important than Facebook’s Live Stream (of course it was not) and Paused the stream while it waited for me to deal with the effing message – big Fail that and not mine but now that I know it can and will do that to its sibling software I’ll have to learn to kill FB’s IM app when live streaming in the future.

The other problem with Plan B was it was one camera from one position for the whole stream with no overlays.

I had planned to use the Red Wolf GRAD 2020 graphic as a logo bug in the corner. There was an intro graphic to begin the whole event video with.

I had 3 cameras to move between during the production.

But even though all that wasn’t going to make it into the live production (cell phone, remember?) I kept the cameras going because I wanted to make a better piece and I always try to have redundant recording going on because you never know what could go wrong:
A cable could break.
A battery can run out (that happened as well)
A single Cell connection can vary in quality within the same call affecting the audio and video.
Or Some App could decide it’s urgency supersedes the live streaming you are doing.

Anyway – I had all that recording so later on I could produce another, hopefully better, version of the event. Which is what you see above.

It was fun – downright exhilarating when it doesn’t work and everyone is waiting on you. For that I apologize to the Grads, Staff, Parents and Relatives (especially those who wanted to watch live and didn’t connect with the Plan B stream – I am sorry). But such is the vagaries of Live production mixed with ‘free’ technology. I do hope the final product suffices to partly make up for missing out on connecting with a once in a lifetime event.