Skip to main content

PyCon 2011: Interview with Carl Karsten

Another Chicagoan making the drive to Atlanta is the man behind the PyCon videos, Carl Karsten of Next Day Video. After a discovery in 2008 at a Debian conference, he found a more productive video process that he took to every Chicago-area user group that would let him try it out, which got him to where he is with today’s PyCon video team.

The Chicago Python Users Group is one of those groups that Carl gets his experience with every month, along with local Java, Hadoop, Erlang, and Android groups. While local meetings like these are dwarfed by the three day conference that is PyCon, it’s a good proving ground. After a half-hour setup, all of the talks, then a half-hour teardown, it’s an encoding and checking party after that.

He’ll spend 30 minutes to encode one video to one format, multiplied by however many is necessary. “I am currently encoding to flv (because as flash is still king of Internet video), ogv (because html5 is the future king), m4v for iPhones and maybe other mobile devices, and mp3 for those that like to learn Python while they work out,” says Carl. On the difficulty, he quips, “it's quick ‘n easy, except when it isn't.”

As for a conference like PyCon, he’s looking at getting around 1.2 TB of footage to bring home. His record is to have a video online three hours after the talk was given, but it doesn’t look like that’ll be the case with 5 tracks and three days worth of footage.

While I knew Carl was a big proponent of open source, it was great news to me that he does 100% of his work with open technologies. DVSwitch from Debian developer Ben Hutchings handles much of the recording and produces the hundreds of raw files they take to post-production. That work is then passed onto Carl’s Veyepar library, which handles the various video metadata and uploading capabilities.

Use of a frame grabber allows Carl and the team to get a stream of the speaker’s screen, not just their presentation slides. Any code, examples, pictures, or video gets taken and mixed with a camera view of the speaker on stage. Since the grabber works off of the video feed, there’s no need for the speaker to submit talk slides in any specific format -- it’s all just video coming out of their own computer.

The whole post-production system is wrapped up with a Django app. From there he makes any of the necessary corrections like missing titles, incorrect scheduling, or any of the hundreds of little things that can go wrong in the process. “Most are recoverable, it just takes time,” he says of any hiccups.

For samples of what to expect for the PyCon 2011 videos, take a look at what the crew came up with in 2009 and 2010 at pycon.blip.tv, or take a look at any of his user group talks on carlfk.blip.tv. If you can’t make PyCon, hopefully the videos keep you in the loop!

Comments

Chris Church said…
Hats off to Carl for his dedication. It's great to see how this process has grown since I'd been briefly involved in trying to capture video a few years back in Chicago.

Popular posts from this blog

PyCon 2018 Call for Proposals is Open!

It’s here! PyCon 2018’s Call for Proposals has officially opened for talks, tutorials, posters, and education summit presentations. PyCon is made by you, so we need you to share what you’re working on, how you’re working on it, what you’ve learned, what you’re learning, and so much more.

Before we dive in, the deadlines:
Tutorial proposals are due November 24, 2017.Talk, Poster, and Education Summit proposals are due January 3, 2018.Who should write a proposal? Everyone!

If you’re reading this post, you should write a proposal. PyCon is about uniting and building the Python community, and we won’t advance as an open community if we’re not open with each other about what we’ve learned throughout our time in it. It isn’t about being the smartest one in the room, so we don’t just pick all of the expert talks. It’s about helping everyone move together. “A rising tide lifts all boats,” if you will.

We need beginner, intermediate, and advanced proposals on all sorts of topics. We also need b…

PyCon 2018 Launches New Site, Sponsorship Search

After two great years in Portland, PyCon is shipping off to Cleveland for the 2018 and 2019 renditions of the Python community's largest gathering. PyCon 2018 will take place May 9 through 17 with two days of tutorials, three days of talks, and four days of development sprints.

For more information, check out our newly refreshed website at https://us.pycon.org/2018/ and follow us here on the blog and at @pycon on Twitter.

New Website

The new site features a design centered on the historic landmark Terminal Tower, a 52 story skyscraper that overlooks downtown Cleveland. When it opened in 1930, the tower was the fourth tallest building in the world and the tallest building outside of New York City. Though its height no longer tops the charts, the tower and surrounding Tower City area remain highly important to the city. What once was a beacon to guide ship captains to Cleveland's port and airplane pilots to its airport, the tower now includes 508 LEDs that light up for the holida…

How to get ready for the PyCon development sprints

[A guest post by Kushal Das, one of the 2016 Sprint Coordinators]So — you have already decided to join in the PyCon development sprints! The sprints run for four days, from Thursday to Sunday after the conference. You do not have to be registered for the conference to attend the sprints! Some teams plan to write code over all four days, while some projects plan a shorter sprint if the organizers cannot stay for all four days.Can you start getting prepared for the sprint ahead of time? Yes!There are several things you can do ahead of time, that can save effort once you arrive at the sprints — and some preparations can even be made at home, before you arrive at PyCon:Have your operating system updated and patched — whether Mac, Windows, or Linux. This eliminates one possible source of problems with getting software up and running.Go ahead and install the version control system that will be used by the projects you are interested in. If you install both git and Mercurial on your computer…