The DebConf video team has been sprinting in preparation for DebConf 23 which will happen in Kochi, India, in September of this year.

Video team sprint

Present were Nicolas "olasd" Dandrimont, Stefano "tumbleweed" Rivera, and yours truly. Additionally, Louis-Philippe "pollo" Véronneau and Carl "CarlFK" Karsten joined the sprint remotely from across the pond.

Thank you to the DPL for agreeing to fund flights, food, and accomodation for the team members. We would also like to extend a special thanks to the Association April for hosting our sprint at their offices.

We made a lot of progress:

  • Now that Debian Bookworm has been released, we updated our ansible repository to work with Debian Bookworm. This encountered some issues, but nothing earth-shattering, and almost all of them are handled. The one thing that is still outstanding is that jibri requires OpenJDK 11, which is no longer in bookworm; a solution for that will need to be found in the longer term, but as jibri is only needed for online conferences, it is not quite as urgent (Stefano, Louis-Philippe).
  • In past years, we used open "opsis" hardware to do screen grabbing. While these work, upstream development has stalled, and their intended functionality is also somewhat more limited than we would like. As such, we experimented with a USB-based HDMI capture device, and after playing with it for some time, decided that it is a good option and that we would like to switch to it. Support for the specific capture device that we played with has now also been added to all the relevant places. (Stefano, Carl)
  • Another open tool that we have been using is voctomix, a software video mixer. Its upstream development has also stalled somewhat . While we managed to make it work correctly on Bookworm, we decided that to ensure long-term viability for the team, it would be preferable if we had an alternative. As such, we quickly investigated Nageru, Sesse's software video mixer, and decided that it can everything we need (and, probably, more). As such, we worked on implementing a user interface theme that would work with our specific requirements. Work on this is still ongoing, and we may decide that we are not ready yet for the switch by the time DebConf23 comes along, but we do believe that the switch is at least feasible. While working on the theme, we found a bug which Sesse quickly fixed for us after a short amount of remote debugging, so, thanks for that! (Stefano, Nicolas, Sesse)
  • Our current streaming architecture uses HLS, which requires MPEG-4-based codecs. While fully functional, MPEG-4 is not the most modern of codecs anymore, not to mention the fact that it is somewhat patent-encumbered (even though some of these patents are expired by now). As such, we investigated switching to the AV1 codec for live streaming. Our ansible repository has been updated to support live streaming using that codec; the post-event transcoding part will follow soon enough. Special thanks, again, to Sesse, for pointing out a few months ago on Planet Debian that this is, in fact, possible to do. (Wouter)
  • Apart from these big-ticket items, we also worked on various small maintenance things: upgrading, fixing, and reinstalling hosts and services, filing budget requests, and requesting role emails. (all of the team, really).

It is now Sunday the 23rd at 14:15, and while the sprint is coming to an end, we haven't quite finished yet, so some more progress can still be made. Let's see what happens by tonight.

All in all, though, we believe that the progress we made will make the DebConf Videoteam's work a bit easier in some areas, and will make things work better in the future.

See you in Kochi!