Thursday, December 20, 2007

GII Christmas 2007 - Breakthrough

Another Christmas celebration just passed. I am experimenting with new field of ministry again this time :) I am responsible for handling multimedia related to task during the show, not making the slideshow or taking photos like I normally did before.

What I meant by multimedia related is task like playing music/sound effect as well as changing projector background and subtitle for Indonesian to English translation. The task itself is pretty straight forward, however, I took another step forward by developing my own application for helping me to execute this task. I have a team that supported me: Ko Handjar and Daniel helped me in controlling the volume and gain of the audio, Lukas is helping to operate the subtitle.

The interesting part of this task is that it is my first experiment working with AIR using AS 3.0. It is very cool, it's a lot of changes from AS 2.0, but it surely worth to learn. I created a client server multimedia presenter.

Following are some reasons why I initiate this project:
  1. We are running two projectors, one for Subtitle and one for showing background. We then will have two computer sitting at the front for handling this task. Instead of having two persons sitting at the front and running two different PowerPoint Slides, I thought why didn't we create a presenter that will allow its user to control it remotely, xml-driven, and without need of running PowerPoint.
  2. I am planning to replace the use of PowerPoint at Church with something that is more easy to obtain and free (not literally free because one needs to buy the software for development). I choose Flash on AIR, because of its built-in multimedia capability, displaying video background is just so easy and you can do it on the fly :) Moreover, it is easier to integrate it with our "Warta Generator" system, because they speak the same languange: XML
  3. I guess the other reason is because I am a geek.
Ok, here is how it works:
  • Presenter Client, it's the application that run on computer that is connected directly to LCD projector. It has 3 features: displaying background (both video and image) and subtitle as well as playing music/sound effect. In current case, we have two Presenter Client running: one with subtitle and sound option turned off and another one with only sound option turned off.
  • Presenter Manager, it's application running on operator's computer. It gave operator option to control background, audio, and subtitle shown/played in Presenter Client. I am running Manager to control both audio and background, while Lukas is running Manager to control the subtitle.
  • On start, Client and Manager will establish connection to server I called Mediator. As it name implies, it just passing data received from Manager to all connected Client.
One main obstacle we encountered during the event is that something wrong with our WAMP server: some image/audio files were not streamed properly. Initially, it seems that the files are corrupted; however, they are fine when run locally, not through HTTP.

Several possible features that I will consider adding:
  1. Manager can communicate with the other Manager to tell about its current task
  2. Manager can choose Client that it want to broadcast to, instead of broadcasting to all Client.
Anyway, I have been talking too much on the technical side of my task. The event went pretty good except where I lost the cue from Irwan to play some sound effect because I tried to find out why the audio streaming suddenly failed in the middle of the event. It's totally my mistakes :(. All in all, the choir was good and the drama was good.

Celebrate Medley, last song by Senior, Adult and Youth Groups

The Christmas 2007 Team

Merry Christmas all! Thanks for the good work!

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