Brovold room presents challenges for streaming video and audio: Port Moody staff

It’s back to the soundboard for Port Moody staff after they were directed by council’s committee of the whole to explore locations other than the Brovold room where audio and video equipment could be installed to stream and record meetings.

The new tack came after council rejected a recommendation to install a table top microphone system, three static video cameras as well as acoustic panels in the Brovold room. Such a system would cost more than $25,000, said Port Moody’s manager of cultural services, Devin Jain, in a report.

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That’s considerably more than the $6,500 originally estimated by staff last February for the installation of a single static video camera and omni-directional microphone.

Jain said a number of factors made the lower-cost system impractical, including the very basic nature of the coverage it would provide, which he likened “would have the same visual feel as watching a security camera.”

Jain said three cameras would allow viewers to see everyone’s faces, and the table top microphones would be better for isolating voices from ambient sounds like pages turning, coughing and whispering.

But, Jain added, the circular nature of the Brovold room still presents acoustical challenges that would need to be addressed to improve the sound quality on live streams and recordings. Though the installation of acoustic panels to deaden reflected sound could make it more difficult for people actually in the room to hear each other.

The acoustic challenges of the Brovold room is just one of the reasons some councillors questioned the wisdom of moving some committee meetings from the Inlet Theatre in the first place. The initiative was championed by Mayor Rob Vagramov last January until council decided a month later to move meetings of the city’s finance committee, community planning advisory committee and committee of the whole back to Inlet Theatre until a way could be found to stream and record those meetings as is currently the practice.

Acting Mayor Meghan Lahti called the Brovold room an inappropriate space for those types of meetings, adding “I’m wondering if maybe we’re going down this road for the wrong reason.”

Coun. Diana Dilworth said she’s comfortable maintaining the status quo.

But other councillors suggested the city should have a second meeting space equipped for audio and video streaming and recording.

“Recording our meetings in whatever room we’re in should be a top priority,” said Coun. Steve Milani.

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