Online only Sonic Pi Workshop - any experiences?

Hey there :slight_smile: I am planning to give an online only Sonic Pi Workshop next month. And I am wondering if any of you have experience with that?
What tools did you use? How many students are manageable?
Would be great to learn from your experience! Thanks and greetings from Germany!

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Hi Esther,
Depends what tool for online meetings you want to use. I did not get Sonic Pi audio working with Google Meet. As I understand the supercollider is giving problems (?). More info here:
[Streaming to Google Meet/Hangouts on macOS?

regards,
Krijn

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Hi @Esther,

I regularly conduct a Sonic Pi seminar at the Leuphana university. This term I had a very reduced number of students (actually just one student so it was kind of a private seminar) and I could give all sessions online (basically due to Covid). It was a mixed experience. I used Zoom. You can transmit the original (not or not heavily compressed) audio but this is also dependent on the OS you are using. Usually I am working with Linux but I did not manage to configure my system to transmit uncompressed audio so I used my quite old iMac. It was ok but not really ideal. I am also conducting online trainings job-wise quite regularly - though this has nothing to do with Sonic Pi. So here are a few points of advice I can give:

  • Check the audio, test with a real case scenario and make sure you can play examples with more or less lossless audio. As I said Zoom can do that; I have recently attended an online course with audio in decent quality (see here). Sam has done some live streamings, maybe he can give advice how to best handle audio. It might be an option to use OBS if you have several audio/video sources.
  • If you use Zoom you can (and should) use breakout rooms to engage the participants and give them space to try things out. Check out online resources and get acquainted with using this feature if you want to use it. It is quite important to engage the participants after a while (30 minutes) listening to your presentation.
  • it is not really easy to determine the right number of participants. As I said I quite regularly conduct software online trainings for beginners. If there is a lot to explain 6 to 8 participants might be enough. On the other hand if you don’t have to make sure that everyone is on the same page you can have more in your course. As I say, very hard to tell especially if you don’t know on what level of knowledge the individual participants are.
  • have a solid agenda and set clear learning objectives but be prepared to go astray

I am sure you know most of this but maybe one or the other thought will help. Hope it is not to late and … I wish you luck.

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Thanks a lot for sharing your experiences and giving advice! I will use webex or bigbluebutton, I hope it will be possible to share audio with that tools without too much loss. I will try it out before, of course. Martin, I wasn’t sure how many participants are okay for that scenario, so I only admitted 6. So I am glad to hear it was the right decision to start with a small number… The workshop will be held in April so there is still time left. I will let you know how it turned out :wink: Thanks again!

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Hi Esther,

if you’re using a Mac, then Loopback is an excellent and highly reliable way of manipulating your audio although it’s unfortunately not cheap - Rogue Amoeba | Loopback: Cable-Free Audio Routing

When I do my streams I typically use two computers - one to run Sonic Pi and the other to do the AV capture and streaming. This avoids all the issues of having to juggle everything on one machine but is much more cumbersome and expensive.

Also, I haven’t really done much online workshop stuff yet, so haven’t got any real experience to draw from.

Still, I think that typically enthusiasm is pretty much the most important thing and you have that in abundance!

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Hi @Esther,

mmh. We host and offer BigblueButton services in our company. I am not sure how it behaves, when trying to transmit audio losslessly; even more important: I don’t think that you can share your computer audio (i. e. that of SP) at all, at least I have not needed yet seen such an option. But I will check this out… interesting question. You can share a video though if it is hosted on Youtube. Also the breakout room feature is quite good.

I have also used WebEx but also here I don’t know of an appropriate audio option.

So be sure to check this out … and I’d very much appreciated if you shared your experiences here!

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hi @Esther

maybe have a look at this software to share audio from differences source. The output of the software will be the “microphone” input of your webex, discord, bluebutton, Jitsi etc. software

https://vb-audio.com/Voicemeeter/potato.htm

Hope it helps
good luck

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If this is in fact the case, then my approach of using two computers may be the best option here. One of the reasons I do it is that I can use a sound card to capture the source computer’s audio and then feed it to the streaming computer’s microphone input - so the sound comes in just like a regular mic input.

You can use free NDI tools to share the video (and possibly the audio too although i haven’t tried that) from one computer to another with high quality and low latency (provided you use an ethernet cable to network them together) so you don’t need an expensive HDMI capture card or equivalent. You can use OBS to convert an external NDI stream to a webcam image for your software. I believe there’s also an NDI tool that does this too.

I guess it depends on how many of these you plan on doing to see whether it’s worth setting all this stuff up or not!

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Yes, that seems to be possible using BBB but obviously not without some extra effort:

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I’ve spent a couple of days looking more seriously at OBS on my Mac. I’ve been playing with NDI stuff which is very cool, and have obs on one machine, with window inputs from a second mac, laptop camera input, and also iPhone roving camera input.
This is all driven by wanting to be able to video such things as the Sonic Pi Orchestra more easily. It can be frustrating to start with, but slowly getting there. Found details of a hack to allow multiple NDI scan converters running at once on the same machine, allowing me to independently bring in differnt windows.

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Thanks a lot Sam for your kind words! We have two Macs here so I could try it with two computers. I will check out the setup soon and will come back to you, if I have any further questions, thanks a lot again! :slight_smile:

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Thanks Martin for being so kind to look into that stuff. Of course I will share my experiences! :slight_smile: