3.191 model, event, dinner

Saturday 06/11/2022

Went out for coffee in the morning. Then put in a couple of hours on the 56 t-bird. It is getting close to done. Here is a dry fit of the main parts together.

I am very pleased with the quality of the decals they included in this kit. The dashboard detail is very good.

About 2:30 it was time to go and set up for an event, specifically a lecture by Steve Liston. He’s the son of two residents, and a former employee of the State Department, now working for an NGO. He had just attended the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles and told us all about US policy (or lack of) toward South American states, and how vigorously the Chinese are cultivating commercial and diplomatic ties with those states.

My job was to run a zoom simulcast. This is really complicated and I almost screwed it up but did not, and it all came off very well in the end. Here’s the boring description.

I sit at the A/V desk to the right of the stage (technically it’s stage left but whatever). I have set up the room audio, I have put a lapel mic on the speaker and have two hand-held mics going, one for David G. to take around the room during question time, and one for me. The room audio also comes out of a monitor jack to a USB adapter.

I set up my older MacBook on the desk. It is the Zoom host machine. I connect its HDMI output to a jack for the big projector in the ceiling. So whatever is on the screen of the laptop is mirrored on the big projection screen at the back of the stage. What that will be is, the Zoom meeting window. Thus the local audience is basically looking at the zoom window, and also at the speaker who is standing at the podium stage right.

The output of the camera in the ceiling is brought to a USB adapter and plugs in to the laptop. In Zoom, I select this as my video. Thus the host’s thumbnail in Zoom is what the camera sees, and I operate the pan and zoom controls so it nicely frames the speaker’s podium. So zoom attendees can see the speaker. I change the name of this zoom user to “Speaker Cam” and I spotlight this user so that image is always at the top left for everybody.

I set the MacBook audio to output through the HDMI port, which means any audio out of the host machine will be heard in the room audio. I connect the room audio stream from the USB adapter to the MacBook, and in Zoom, select that as my mic input. Thus anything on room audio goes to Zoom as the “voice” of the host, AKA Speaker Cam. That will of course usually be the voice of our speaker over his lapel mic.

I put my iPhone in a holder on a tripod stage left, turned so its camera looks at the audience. I log in to Zoom from the phone and join the meeting, and change that user’s name to “Audience Cam”. Back at the zoom host machine, I spotlight that image, a wide-angle view of the audience, so it is always up next to the speaker’s image, for zoom users.

On a second MacBook I open the speaker’s slide deck. He’s given us a PDF, fine, open it with the Preview app. On this laptop I log in to zoom and join the meeting, under my own name. I insert into this laptop the USB dongle for the slide clicker, and put the clicker on the podium for the speaker to use. All this setup takes 45 minutes so now I have another hour to kill.

My neighbor Stew is in charge of this speaker series but he is visiting family in Ohio today, so he logs in to the meeting. I spotlight him so his image is next to the speaker’s. At 4:30 he introduces the speaker. By the magic of my setup, his voice in Zoom also comes out of the ceiling speakers in the auditorium. The local audience can see him and hear him. When he’s finished, and Steve is starting to speak, I remove the spotlight from Stew. On the second MacBook I “share my screen” with zoom, selecting the window with the speaker’s slides. The first slide now fills most of the screen for zoom users, and also fills most of the screen on stage.

The speaker talks. He’s a very practiced public speaker, smooth and informative. He uses the clicker to advance the slides, and by the magic of whatever, bluetooth?, the clicks go to the dongle on my 2nd laptop making it advance slides, for zoom and for the local audience.

About 15 minutes into the talk, a little message pops up in the corner of the host computer’s screen, a familiar sight to mac users: “Battery is low. Your Mac will sleep soon unless you attach the power adapter.” Oh. My. God. Mind you I had charged this mac to 100% at 2pm, and it’s a new battery. I assumed it was good for at least 8 hours and didn’t bring the adapter with me! Apparently connecting to all this crap uses battery really fast? No matter, in just minutes, the whole zoom meeting is going to be brutally terminated.

I exit the auditorium at a fast walk, to the elevator, to the 6th floor, jog down the hall to my room, grab the adapter out of the wall socket, jog back to the elevator, race-walk through the lobby to the auditorium, and unobtrusively (I hope) go behind the A/V desk and plug in the adapter. The zoom meeting is still running. The little warning disappears from the screen. Disaster averted!

At 5:10 Steve’s ready for questions so I un-share the slides. Most of the screen is now filled with the speaker cam and audience cam images. David G. carries the mic around the room for questions locally. A few people in the zoom audience (of about 45 people) “raise” their electronic hands, and I unmute each one in turn so they can ask their questions. At 5:35 Stew comes back on to thank the speaker and wrap up. Event over!

It takes ten minutes to tidy everything up and shut down. After I put my gear back in my room, I go down and join the Liston family for dinner.

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