[plug] Paying forward the technical debt on Video Mixer

Lawrence Lau drlawrencelau at gmail.com
Tue Jul 30 09:40:16 AWST 2019

[RfC] Request for Comments

PLUG's Audio Visual

Nik demo's the setup last talk and identified some of the short-comings,
namely that the equipment is suffering technical debt and is sorely in need
of refresh. I saw an opportunity to approach the City of Perth for a
"business" grant (conditioned on PLUG demonstrating commercial lease ...
even at zero net ... within the city which a formal invoice from SpaceCube
IMHO would do). I wish to make a proposal to PLUG committe and the
CityPerth so I'm putting forward the following for criticism (CONSTRUCTIVE
please) and feedback

5 Step Working Bee (Linux/Opensource Visual ARchive) bunched up into 5
working bees

Concept ... learn by doing, how to generate a working video guide to the
stations and how to setup for newbies

Step #1: E-waste to repurposing ... 2nd Hand equipment drive
a) Reach out to members for 2nd hand equipment such as [TBD]
  - (audio) helm-mikes, enclosed earphones, wired & wireless microphones
  - (video) - more DV camps, especially any HDMI output capabale
  - (peripherals) selfie sticks on tripods, rollup power cables (in reel),
b) approach businesses which have similar aging equipment and ask for
e-Waste offering them in return rental of our resulting setup ... there
must be hotels or event places which are upgrading and not using older but
usable gear
c) leaflet drive in selected suburbs garage sale explaining the non-profit
activities PLUG undertakes
   old laptops and especially any FPGA related toolsets welcome (having
hard time getting mine working)

Note that people are free to LEND gear (eg that nifty game capture) until
can purchase from Step #4

Step #2: Triage #1 and existing gear
a) separate what is to be junked/recycled, what to keep and the middle what
can be fixed like that laptop battery
b) try to settle on a station list manifest with Must, Should, Could items
c) identify the key missing components and necessary spares

Step #3: Commercial Readiness
On the assumption that we may not get Council grant, vote on how the funds
to be spent on existing
a) absolute requirements like electrical safety testing, people may
nominate sponsors to help out
b) what carrying cases and setup ... Nic reckons a laptop bag and tripod is
sufficient but I think we
   need to be prepared for rugged conditions so decent cases and a hand
trolley would be nice (my age showing)
c debate the configuration necessary for competing with NextDayVideo but
concentrating on non-profits and Un(conventions) foocamp etc

Step #4 Application to City of Perth Council for NEW equipment
>From #2 and keeping in mind #3, help draft a proposal ... the max is $5k
and we need to focus on social capital in the actual CBD (so can't mention
uni etc which have their own setup)
a) the icestorm service which reokays events ... target are FIFO with
outsync sleep patterns
b) meetups (anything in Riff/CORE, coworking spaces, that want to broadcast
to members unable to attend
c) non-profit community activities ... I can touch base with someone I met
last weekend)

Step #5 Launch new service ... perhaps with demo day
Eat own lunch time ... I would like to see whether the new setup can be
used at WOW (Sep?) but timing might be tight
Try to stick to a small set of standards DV/USB3 with HDMI as necessary
(expensive) cable
Longer term think about how to separate the data and control plane

===== Tentative Business Model - services/training around donated gear
DIY - $250 but you have to be trained by PLUG b4 renting the gear (one-off
donation to PLUG)
D3V = $1.000 for 4 hours already working studio hire (in-house ??
StateLibrary???) along with $250 as above leaving $750 for plug volunteer
D4u = $2,000 = $1250 for volunteer and $750 to cover equipment
Nick pointed out NextDayVideo charges $4k for something similar to 2015
setup but PLUG targetting non-profits to make it affordable ... basically
$250 to be a 24hour broadcast studio which works out to be $10/hr ... not
unaffordable. This is good-faith effort ... if they want service guarantees
then have to charge more for reasonable commercial effort (backups, extra
volunteers etc)

The issue of ABN , tenders and taxes came up ... having done business
consulting overseas my suggestion is
a) bounty system with payment of $750-$1250 for SUCCESSFUL test (see #5 on
eat your own lunch)
b) bounty only available to paid-up members so ZERO employees
c) reduced? bounty open to ANY Australian F/LOSS group or individual (ABN
needed) to help bring code up to spec
   manuals, doco, videoblog guides, etc

Key decisions
- project plan timing, accountability for tasks if bounty
- desired hardsoft-ware station configuration and time to setup/teardown
- how to promote video jockeying (real-time mixing) as a valid skillset

The benefits of trying to go for an operations model is that it writes off
technical debt and creates kitty for ongoing sustainable development,
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