~$ Heading out to DTX360 and BeerCon4!
As October rolls around, one of my favourite events was slated to take place again, namely BeerCon4, the 4th iteration of the conference organized by The Beer Farmers that I first spoke at as a Rookie ( link), and where I volunteered the next year ( link).
BeerCon was that kind of event which was very community focused, and this time it was slated to take place in the middle of DTX360, a trade exposition in London.
Since I had signed on for volunteering, I hopped on a flight from Geneva to London, where I arrived the day before the conference. Navigating London was a bit of an experience for the first time, but I quickly made it to my hotel, which was a 20-minute walk from the Expo hall.
Since I was not planning on doing much that afternoon, I headed out to the event premises to meet up with Ian and see how it was being set up.
That may have been a very lucky idea, as it allowed me to scope out and resolve the issues we were going to run into, such as:
- Defining the actual needs in terms of A/V
- Audio routing
- Video streaming to Twitch and relevant assets
- Placeholder assets
- A/V routing panels
The A/V setup itself contained an impressive amount of kit, as it needed to field audio from the various headsets and microphones, handle the video feeds from the camera and the slides, as well as handle the on-premises output (which did not require streaming assets) and the Twitch output (which did).
The A/V setup
From the picture above, you can see my laptop to the right (which I was using to make the slides of my talk), the Zoom laptop in the middle (as we were patching in Mike and the remote speakers) and the "emergency" laptop on the left (for speakers that only brought a USB stick).
The Audio board
The audio mixing was the most precarious aspect of the whole event, as we had to patch sound into the local speakers, to Twitch and to Zoom, without causing feedback loops (which BeerCon3 initially suffered from). To that effect, we were equipped with the above audio switch, which handle inputs from the 5 headsets, the handheld microphone, the Zoom output, the broadcast computer and the presenter's lectern.
The Video switch
The various condensed outputs were then cast into two video switches. The upper one handled which feeds were being provided to OBS for streaming, and the lower one handled which feeds were sent to the TV behind the presenter.
The fully operational A/V setup (ft. my friend Will)
At the end of the first day, we all hung out at the CyberHouseParty (a not-so-after party), where many neon sticks were abused.
On the second day, a lot was the same, with the exception that we had switched some talks around to accommodate Ken Munro, who preferred to give the talk in person on the first day.
This ended with me taking the final "keynote"-ish slot, where I sorted out my own A/V and gave a talk about organizing and running conferences, which was somewhat meta, given the givens.
On the next day I just hung out a bit and had a stroll around London, where I visited St. James' Park...
A friendly squirrel
... saw Buckingham Palace, ...
... and Big Ben.