Adobe Systems, Streamlining Large Web Events with XtremeRGB Capture Card

Description

Ryan Monger, Adobe Systems

January 2009

Expertise Level: Advanced

One of the key features in Connect Pro is that you can share anything on your computer screen with attendees simply by using the screen share feature with the add-in installed. However, there are some situations when you can't screen share a demo from a computer, or you want to share graphics from a unsupported device.

For many of the live events we at Adobe webcast, these situations occur frequently and grow with each event we produce. In the past, we would work with the content producers to upload any slides or videos into share pods. For software demos, we were at the mercy of the presenters and their computers to share their desktop when it was time to demo. This was often a complicated process which required intricate timing to have each presenter share their desktop in a separate layout while in preparing mode .

We would have to coordinate with the show agenda and switch to each presenter's layout as the presenter is ready to demo. The drawbacks to this method are:

  • Losing the presenters screen share if there are any lost network connections.

  • Many presenters do not want to share their screen with Connect Pro in fear that the add-in will take away needed CPU resources, particularly for beta software.

  • Switching layouts- Once a layout has been switched, the computer sharing the screen in the previous layout will need to be re-shared manually.

  • Audio Working with demos and audio is a complex process because the demo machines audio needs to have the Connect Pro audio muted (through the voice and camera pod) otherwise the sessions audio will echo when the production crew uses that computers audio.

  • Bandwidth - Each demo computer needs to be logged into the Connect Pro meeting. If there are many demos and backup computers, this takes a toll on the bandwidth of the shows dedicated network connection. These network connections are often limited by cost and scope.

  • Unsupported devices - As technology on mobile platforms and other devices becomes more widespread, our live events are often featuring demos of our technology running on these devices. Because the Connect Pro add-in only supports Windows and Mac platforms, screen sharing is not an option when demonstrating these devices.

We were able to get around these drawbacks by using a RGB capture card to capture all of the graphics, slides, videos, demos and other content during a live event webcast. Below are some observations about our experiences using a RGB capture card.

After researching capture cards, we decided to try the XtremeRGB-Ex1 DVI/VGA Capture Card from EMS Imaging. We decided to use this capture card because it was able to capture a maximum analog RGB resolution of 2048 x 1536 anda maximum DVI resolution of 1920 x 1080 while streaming the capture up to 60 fps. To broadcast the captured content, we used the included XtremeRGB-Ex1 application and screenshared only that window through the share pod. This application can be configured to optimize the window size, input aspect ratio, input resolution, and screen position.

 

capture-window.jpg

This is a screenshot of the Capture Card User Interface.

In order to capture all the relevant content, we worked with the production crew backstage to have them send us a DVI feed. This DVI feed came from a master switcher controlled by the production crews graphic controller.

In this experience, we received a 720p input at a 16:9 resolution. The XtremeRGB-Ex1s application window was re-sized to effectively use the output of the capture card. The card and software are easily configurable to receive any size or aspect of input.

Everything that was captured was shared in Connect Pro with its original size and pixels. There was no pixel loss or downsizing of content. The visual clarity of our capture was equal to the source computer and exceptionally better than having to capture an input with an video capture card from a scan-converted feed.

In addition to slides (animated Keynote slides that couldnt be captured properly in Connect Pro) and every computer demonstration, we also captured demonstrations from handheld devices that were shared through a digital visual presenter or document camera. Anything that can output a VGA or DVI signal can be shown through this capture card. 
With an event of this large scale, the flexibility of this card was excellent. We only needed to share our backstage computers screen, instead of switching between multiple presenters and layouts. 

Here is an example of the experience using the capture card: 
http://my.adobe.acrobat.com/p18609225?archiveOffset=4873000

We are excited to use this technology for future events, and explore more ways of leveraging this RGB capture card. The addition of this hardware completely changes the way we can produce these large events through Connect Pro. It reduces setup time, creates a more flexible and dynamic way to share any type of content, and makes our webcast completely transparent to presenters on stage who might worry about running Connect Pro during their demonstrations.

In addition to improving large event webcasts, this technology can be used with Connect Pro for other applications in which you could not traditionally share images, such as medical imaging, mobile device demonstrations, digital whiteboards, or anything else you need to share that can output a RGB/DVI signal.

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