You may have noticed that we started to upload the session recordings from PowerShell Conference EU 2016. They are all freely available here to watch.
In this post, we’d like to share how we created these videos. So if you run your own PowerShell user group, or do other events that you’d like to share, to create cost-effective high-quality recordings, here are some useful pieces of information from the field for you.
To record sessions, we decided to use an external hardware. We did not want to use a software-based solution because we did not want to have to install anything on the presenters machines. We used AverMedia Live Gamer Portable, a small USB-powered box that records to SD memory cards. The device is fairly cheap and records in up to FullHD resolution.
The device has a PC-less mode where it operates completely stand-alone. Simply press the big button on top of the device to start or stop a recording.
You may want to hook up the device once to a PC to sync its internal clock. This way, your recordings have a correct timestamp.
The recording device has a slot for SD memory cards. Just make sure you use high-speed SD cards (Class 10). We used 128GB cards but it turned out to be unnecessary. A typical recording was between 1 and 2,5 GB per hour, depending on the resolution.
The device has a HDMI input and output, so we connected the presenter laptop via HDMI to the device, then connected the beamer to the HDMI output of the device.
The device records any audio that comes via HDMI. However, the device also has a 3,5mm audio jack input which – if connected – overrides the HDMI audio. Since all presenters used headsets and an audio PA, we simply connected the audio monitor from that PA to the device 3,5mm audio input.
If you do not use headsets, you might want to set up a microphone with a small amplifier, then connect this to the 3,5mm audio input.
The device produces video files in TS format (mpegts). Fortunately, when you upload files to youtube, youtube accepts this raw format so unless you want to cut videos, there is no need for you to re-encode or post-process. You can upload the files as-is to youtube. Just make sure you verify your youtube account with youtube to be able to host large video files.
The device accepts FullHD resolution at most. If the input signal uses a higher resolution, the device shows an error signal and won’t record. There is no message or detailed information. So if the device does not record, check the resolution.
We had immense problems with Apple computers as apparently it is not trivial to set them up for a specific output resolution. But also windows PCs these days often exceed FullHD output resolution. They must be configured to a suitable resolution, or else recording fails.
It is a pain to post-process video files so we strongly recommend that you strive to produce perfect videos right away. Always make sure the presenter uses a slide deck that shows an initial slide with title and other information you might want to display. Also make sure you start the recording when the presentation starts, and not minutes before.
That said, once you uploaded a video to youtube, you do have the option to post-process the video online. You can for example cut the video online which is much more convenient than having to do this with your own local hard- and software.
We hope this information can help you set up your own session video recording setup. Overall hardware cost should be well below EUR 200,-.
Even if you do not regularly have user group meetings or similar events that you want to publish, the setup described here can be used to hassle-free create your own demo videos and other material you may want to use during your own presentations or trainings to demo things that won’t work live, or work reliably, for example due to lacking Internet connectivity. Since it is a hardware based external solution, you can record even reboots, blue screens and all the other wonderful things that may be part of a demo.
Of course, there is no better way than actually being part of it, so even though we make the session recordings freely available to everyone, we are looking forward to seeing you all again at next years’ PowerShell Conference EU!