DebConf Video Team status update

DebConf Video Team


What's the DebConf Video Team?

The annoying people that tell you to stand up and wait for the microphone

Our goals

  • Recording Debian-related conference presentations. All of them.
  • Allowing remote participation to Debian events through live streaming.
  • Having fun working towards a fully Free Software and Hardware conference video stack

Some side-effects

Having tooons of fun watching old DebConf presentations with automatic closed-captioning, while looking for passionate audiences.


Who is the DebConf Video Team?

In alphabetical order…

  • Andy Simpkins (RattusRattus)
  • Elena Grandi (valhalla)
  • Ivo De Decker (ivodd)
  • Judit Foglszinger (urbec)
  • Kyle Robbertze (paddatrapper)
  • Louis-Philippe VĂ©ronneau (pollo)
  • Nicolas Dandrimont (olasd)
  • Phil Hands (fil)
  • Stefano Rivera (stefanor/tumbleweed)
  • Wouter Verhelst (wouter)
  • Dozens of volunteers at conferences!

Many thanks to our sponsors

The DebConf and Debian sponsors at large make our work possible. Thanks!

System overview

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Video recording equipment


  • Shiny new camcorders: Sony PXW-X70
    • x6: 3 rooms x 2 cameras), 4k with SDI output and SD card recording
  • a pair of tripods: E-image AT-7402B
  • "serial" tally lights with SUB-D 9 <-> RJ45 adapters
  • when needed, other tripods are hired

Audio recording equipment


  • has slowly degraded and never got replaced over the last ten years
  • one 12-channel mixer that has the bare minimum features we need, one 8-channel mixer we don't use any longer
  • two headset microphones, one stick microphone (in use right now!)
  • yes, we are looking into replacing it

Presenter laptop capture


  • Using the Numato Opsis board in HDMI2USB configuration
  • fully open hardware and free firmware… with some bits using a non-free toolchain :(
  • currently plugged into one of our old laptops
  • toying around with a MinnowBoard Turbot
    • tiny, can be integrated in a 1U case
    • everything racked together with the audio hardware

Live mixing


Live mixing hardware

  • big CPU (i7) with hardware encoding acceleration
  • enough RAM to run the mixing environment (which keeps playing raw streams for previews)
  • also used as a NAT gateway for the internal video network
  • two capture cards are BlackMagic DeckLink Micro Recorders: PCI-E cards with SDI and HDMI inputs.

Live mixing software


Live streaming

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  • main feed pushed using RTMP to a streaming backend
    • can be on-site (DebConf) or off-site (MiniDebConfs)
  • streaming backend
    • uses nginx-rtmp-module (also used by FOSDEM and CCC)
    • downscales internally, using ffmpeg, for lower quality streams
    • converts RTMP streams to HLS with adaptive quality
  • streaming frontends are plain HTTPS caching proxies, geographically distributed
  • all configured in the DNS zone with a small TTL
  • javascript player

Review system


  • SReview written by our very own Wouter
  • fully automatic pipeline for
    • preview generation
    • review of start and end cut times
    • final cut generation
    • video transcoding
    • archive publication
  • also used by FOSDEM

Meetings archive

Ye olde ftp archive

  • A big bunch of files on a FTP server (actually a git-annex repo)
  • Pretty random mix and match of files: videos, subtitles, slides, …
  • New repository with metadata:
  • Please surrender your high-quality videos to us if you have them laying around on a dusty server!

Uploads to YouTube

Machine setup and configuration management


Sprint report

Overview of the sprint

Read Pollo's blog!

Our PR specialist has done a lot of reporting


Rent a big AirBNB on Queen Edith Way… with a cat (who bites)


Lots of space to setup hardware


Plenty of happy faces



Physically present Video Team members:

  • Andy Simpkins (RattusRattus)
  • Ivo De Decker (ivodd)
  • Louis-Philippe VĂ©ronneau (pollo)
  • Nicolas Dandrimont (olasd)
  • Stefano Rivera (stefanor/tumbleweed)

Extras at the AirBNB:

  • Nattie Mayer-Hutchings (nattie), DebConf history expert
  • Julien Cristau (jcristau), DSA victim helper of-the-day
  • Cyril Brulebois (kibi), friendly ansible specialist
  • Ben Hutchings (benh), DebConf VideoTeam emeritus

Remote participants

  • Kyle Robbertze (paddatrapper), Capetonian audio expert
  • Wouter Verhelst (wouter), SReview-er extraordinaire

Work done during the sprint

  • Documentation, documentation, documentation
    • docs infrastructure
    • documentation of the current setup
    • checklists for events
    • documentation of SReview
  • Archive metadata
  • YouTube uploads
  • Better PXE configuration and automated installation
  • Ansible refactoring
  • Automation of streaming setup
  • Hardware specs for shippable kit
  • Preparation of the MiniDebConf recording/streaming
  • … tons of cooking and baking, and also some drinking



  • we always need better documentation
  • finish the migration to the Debian Wiki
  • move static documentation to sphinx


  • better collaboration with the subtitles team
  • having an actual frontend for watching videos


  • even more computer setup automation
  • better monitoring
    • for mixing
    • for streams
    • for recordings


  • new, flightcased audio kit for one full room, to be used at Mini DebConfs around the world
  • shippable hardware for MiniConfs
  • more reliable slide capture

Help is always welcome

Please come talk to us!

  • Subscribe to
  • Volunteer at events so we can get a little rest
  • Help the subtitles team make our talks even more accessible