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Community TV Introduces RSVP™ — “Really Simple Video Place”

By Keith Gudger
CTV Volunteer
Special for Santa Cruz Tech Beat

April 30, 2019 — Santa Cruz, CA

RSVP is a simple DIY video studio meant to be used by one person without any crew. Just walk in and launch the program.

While we all enjoy good video, producing video can be intimidating. You might even say the term “simple video” is an oxymoron. While using your phone to capture video might seem easy, it can lead to a shaky picture, noisy audio and terrible lighting. If you want to edit in slides or include web based content you’ll need to hire a video editor. With this is mind CTV created the RSVP – the “Really Simple VIdeo Place.”

Becca Reed, CTV Executive Director says: “64% of web site visitors are more likely to purchase a product or service after viewing a video. Video on your website can be a powerful tool. People learn more about you, and by sharing your expertise you become the expert. People buy from people they know, like and trust.”

The RSVP™ studio runs on a 2 monitor system. There’s a 4K compatible video camera and acoustic dampening. Contributed.

Here at CTV we have the studio and equipment to create great video, but we know that not everyone wants to learn how to use state of the art equipment or has the time. Our new RSVP is a simple DIY video studio meant to be used by one person without any crew. Just walk in and launch the program – all camera, audio and lighting equipment start up instantly and you’re ready to record video to your flash drive. If you have a PowerPoint presentation or want to demonstrate content in a browser, it’s easy to switch between the camera view and your presentation. There are 5 different backgrounds available including a green screen. If you’re not happy with your first attempt, just record another! It’s easy and inexpensive to reserve time in the RSVP.

There are lots of reasons why people need video — “how to” and marketing videos for websites, new product introductions, video resumes, and PowerPoint presentations are just some examples. We realized that people can be intimidated by video equipment and don’t know where to start. We see lots of really bad video shot with smart phones and figured there had to be a better way.

A one-person studio

We started with the idea of a one person studio. One great example is the “One Button Studio” at Penn State University. Unfortunately the software involved is not open source and is outdated. We found that we could build on another open source project, a video capture program called “Open Broadcast Software” — which is available for most any operating system. We chose a powerful Windows 10 computer with two widescreen monitors and the Adobe Suite. Using OBS’s programmable options made it easy to control video recording with simple mouse button clicks. We added control of the video lighting with wi-fi connected electrical sockets through a Python script. A USB pre-amp with compression converts the output of the Audio Technica shotgun microphone. A 4K compatible Logitech camera captures the video. The Python script has a simple GUI front end to select between using the PowerPoint viewer or a browser. All of the software is open source and available on Github.

We next installed standard photography backdrops at the rear of the studio. They’re raised and lowered by motors – making it easy to quickly switch the background. We covered the wall with a simple green screen, which is the default with all backdrops rolled up. If you’re interested in the software or hardware equipment list, contact Keith at kgudger@communitytv.org

You can contact us at 831-531-2300 or email at rsvp@communitytv.org for more information. It’s really simple!

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