Not all of NASA‘s missions are beyond Earth’s atmosphere. Like any large organization, it needs to stream video to employees in multiple locations. As Bryan Walls, NASA’s web video working chair explained at the recent Streaming Media West conference in Los Angeles, this is one mission NASA surmounts even with a shrinking budget.
For in-house video, NASA relies on its Digital TV Program, a platform that has grown and changed over time.
“The Digital TV program was originally instituted to do our analog television infrastructure, transitioned to digital, and then on to HD. Last year its scope was expanded to include web video all across the agency,” said Walls.
NASA’s videos need to reach 11 field centers, all of which work independently. Currently, Walls and others at NASA are working on standardizing the tools used across the agency, in order to promote sharing and reduce costs.
To show how NASA would tackle an internal video challenge, the session moderator asked Walls what he would do if he received an internal request to live stream a town hall meeting.
“I’d start out with three basic questions: One is where is the event going to be held, two is who is your target audience, and three is how does your funding look?” Walls said.
“For the first one, where the event is held, we basically have three different possibilities there: NASA has a rich video background in traditional video, so almost every center either has or has access to professional videographers. We have an infrastructure there — usually there’s a studio, there’s somewhere you can go to do a press event, usually there’s a big auditorium. If you’re in one of those locations, you can tie directly into our studio — normally, it’s HD going straight to a switcher — and we can do the encode from the studio. So, if you’re in that case, that’s the easiest for us,” Walls explained.
Walls went on to say how NASA would stream an event from within its internal network and how it would handle remote events. Streaming video all over the world is actually easier for NASA than streaming to all of its 11 centers, he said. For more from Walls, including how funding is NASA is now tighter than he’s ever seen it, watch the full video below.