Having completed a draft of my Pecha Kucha presentation I arranged with Philip Singleton to get familiar with the new online platform proposed for the talks. Crowdcast.io is a platform for broadcasting a video stream. It is multi-platform working on both desktop and mobile devices. The has the ability to share powerpoint and keynote presentations which is important for the Pecha Kucha presentations where the auto advance of slides after 20seconds is a key element to the presentation format.
I signed up for a free account on the platform which was easily done, having created my room the next step was to install the relevant add-ins to my chrome browser to to allow the Powerpoint presentation to be streamed. My home broadband is an ADSL setup which is great for consuming data but with a slower upload speed I suspected that broadcasting my 4K display might prove challenging so I decided to reduce the screen resolution to close to 1920×1080 to reduce the network demand.
Next step was to invite Philip to the room and start a test run and then we were ready to run. Once I started to broadcast because I had my camera streaming the part of the screen showing the video created an infinite feedback loop similar to the early video effects used in music videos from the late 1970’s and early 1980’s made famous in the Queen video for ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. Once I started to present the Powerpoint presentation that disappeared however during our test run it was evident that there was a significant delay between me speaking and the video arriving at the viewers end which we identified because we had BigBlueButton running as back channel for communication as we tested the platform.
What I realised when trying to test run the presentation is that that noticeable delay was very disconcerting and disrupted my delivery of the talk. It was equally difficult for the recipient of the broadcast. This meant that we did not get to complete the dry runs we had intended though it did provide a chance to iron out the setup issues.
I can only assume the transmission delays are due to the software compressing and buffering the video to provide a smooth stream to the end consumer.
In summary the platform was easy to setup and as long as you are not running Crowdcast in parallel another communication channel the transmission delays will not be evident and is an interesting addition to the BigBlueButton which only allows pdf presentations to be shared.