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

Registration is Now Open!

The PyCon 2014 organizers are thrilled to announce the opening of registration for the April 9-17 conference, taking place at the Palais des congrès de Montréal in Montréal, Quebec, Canada. This event represents the first of two annual PyCons to take place in Montréal, following a hugely successful two-year run in Santa Clara, California.

As with years past, ticket prices remain unchanged, and value is ever increasing. At the close of talk and tutorial proposals last week, a record 565 talks were submitted -- over 100 more than for PyCon 2013. Reviewers have been hard at work to begin shaping the 2014 schedule, which is expected in December.

Quantity-based early bird rates are back for 2014, with the cap set at the first 800 tickets receiving the discounted rates. Total sales are initially being kept to 2,000 tickets. For an individual buyer, the regular $350 USD rate is cut 15% for during the early bird period to $300 USD. The $600 USD corporate rate is dropped to $450 USD during early…

Young Coder Tutorial Helps Daughter, Father Get Into Python

PyCon 2013’s “Change the Future” theme was a nod to Python’s growing use in education, and to devices like the Raspberry Pi and their targeted child audience. Before 2,500 attendees descended upon the Friday through Sunday conference, which gave each of them a Raspberry Pi, kids filled a lab for two days of free tutorials on the tiny computer that taught them the basics of Python. They, too, took home a Raspberry Pi.

Not only did the “Young Coder: Let’s Learn Python” tutorials lay the foundation for many children to go on and learn to program, they sent at least one father down that same path.

9-year-old Havana Wilson of Denver, Colo., made the trip to PyCon with her father, Bruce. After she showed interest in building video games, dad looked around the web for how to get her involved. “It was my job to turn her desire into action, so I did research on the most intuitive programming language that has the ability to produce games but also could be a wonderful gateway into programming,” h…

PyCon 2018 Registration is Now Open!

We’re thrilled to announce the opening of registration for PyCon 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio! The prior six PyCons have sold out, so prepare for another one and get your tickets early. The first 800 tickets sold are priced at an early bird discount, saving over 20% on corporate tickets and over 12% on individual tickets. Students save $25 if they purchase early!

To get started, create an account and head to https://us.pycon.org/2018/registration/ to get your tickets!

You get a package that is hard to beat when you register for PyCon. The conference itself is three days worth of our community’s 95 best talks, amazing keynote speakers each morning, and our famed lightning talks to close out each day, but it’s much more than that. It’s having over 3,000 people in one place to learn from and share with. It’s joining a conversation in the hallway with the creators of open source projects. It’s taking yourself from beginner to intermediate, or intermediate to advanced. For some, it’s getting st…