Monday, 4 August 2014

Assembly Summer 2014: Sunday

It's last day of Assembly Summer 2014. Every time this last day is little bit sad for me. I have built for 2-3 days, there have been 3 magnificent event days. I have been living with these people for almost a week. Our organizers are like big family. I have had so many hugs and so much love. This is one thing why I like to arrange Assembly. And that is the thing why I am feeling little bit down. We have to dismantle the event and then everybody goes home. I can see many of our organizers during the year, but it is not the same. I think this group of people are something exceptional. Usually Finnish people are little bit shy and they don't like if others come too close. But this group is different. I think this is more like ice hockey team. You can see them hugging and cheering after they have scored. We have around 250 volunteers and this group feels like big family. Even outside the venue I have had so much help from this team. I just can't explain more. But this is why I am feeling little bit down. But luckily Assembly comes again!

Studio is no more

So back to the main thing. We had only one hour of stream to supervise: prize ceremony 2 and right after closing ceremony. When I woke up I started to pack unused stuff. It wasn't big thing since we had only 4 computers and we will need only 2 of them anymore. Then we just watched the ceremonies and right after I packed rest of the computers with help of Ilkka and Samuli. 

People dismantling FOH
When we were ready I headed to the main hall. There was lots of stuff to do. First I collected AV cables and rolled them in certain way. It depends of the owners how they want to have those cables packed and sometimes it's hard to know which cable was from whom and how they would like to have stuff packed. But after couple of years I have learned a lot and dismantling is more easier every time. 

After this cable circus we started to take down main stage. At this point the main hall felt very warm since air conditioning is off again. When we were ready with main stage we head to the rave stage and dismantled it also. Main big things left were some tables and big screen etc.So I decided that now it's good time to be away for a while to drive my nephew to train station and find some food to him before train leaves. When I came back there was only Netcrew packing their last stuff. So it was time for me to head to home. 
Nice and tidy hall after LAN party.. or not @Game Heaven

Thank you all for this event! We need visitors to make this event possible you are the main reason why we are doing this! We need also our sponsors to make this all possible. And to all of our organizers: Love you! 

Main hall from outside @ 11.30pm
And last words. If you were our visitor, please fill out our survey.

You can also watch all AssemblyTV programs from archive or youtube. And if you are missing us you can check out our photographers fantastic pictures from gallery.

See you next year!
Last picture

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Assembly Summer 2014: Saturday

I woke up from Netcrew's couch (it was nice place to sleep btw.) around 9, made couple of sandwiches and opened seminar stream. Everybody else was still sleeping and it was nice and quiet.  

Nothing mayor happened during the day. Streams went out nicely, we were almost in time and so on. Only problem was with demo compos: when recording entries there was some problems with device doing recording and it caused annoying "skriik!" sound to demos and when it was noticed it was too late to do recording again so it could be shown in big screen on time. But it wasn't that big of a problem.

Saturday evening is my favorite time since demos are coming, so I didn't mind to be on call :)

Watching demos from my on call place
We share room with web crew

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Assembly Summer 2014: Friday

Playlist of different streams
After not so good night sleep I was almost ready to work again. My first shift started at 10. We didn't have any programs going to streams so I had time to write blog post. First 5 hours were very quiet. Only seminar stream going out and everything worked nicely. Officially my shifts are 10-14 and 18-22, but it seems that I like to sit in broadcastHQ anyway. If I am not supervising streams I am writing blog or answering questions coming from social media. By the way, it's nice feeling when I know that I helped someone.

Friday's theme was different links to our streams. We have at least 3 kind of links depending on where people are watching (in the party network or outside) and what operating systems they have and what player they have. Problem was that this time we tried to put only links to our web front page and those led only to embedded player. But it seems that it's not enough for our customers. So we have to think where we put these  links next year so people can find that info easily. Thanks for everybody who have given us constructive feedback! We are listening :)

We also have some other work to do. One of our stuff asked people around to come to the stage just before 11 pm. We went there and heard that on of our visitors has birthday and we are going to sing to her :) So we went to the stage and because birthday hero wasn't at place yet we tarted to play some sing&play song. One version can be found here. If some of our guests was first time at Assembly it can be little surprise to have this kind of kids song coming from speakers and adults singing and playing along. But it's fun! 

After this gymnastic exercise I went to sauna. After warm bath I noticed how tired and hungry I was. So I grab food from Hesburger and went to bed and fell asleep almost immediately. 

Corner of game heaven and sponsors
Main screen
Nice lights in main hall
Candy in the ceiling
Main hall from different angle
One side screen in the main hall
More candy

Friday, 1 August 2014

Assembly Summer 2014: Thursday

Thursday was more or less same as Wednesday. Setting up machines, blogging, tweeting, facebooking, fixing playlists etc.

First stream to start was Hearthstone tournament at 16:00. We didn't have any big problems with that one. Next one starting was opening ceremony at 18:00. With that stream we had two problems. The bigger one was that our hardware wasn't working as it should so the HD stream didn't go out at all. And the other problem was with audio. We didn't have it at all with the SD stream. So the opening ceremony wasn't a very nice live experience for our remote participants. Luckily The ceremony video is now on Youtube in case you suffered from these problems or missed it altogether:

After we had that problem fixed we didn't see any big problems anymore. More or less some little stuff like audio levels was wrong. So we really need to have retrospective how we will avoid this kind of problems next time and we have to do risk analysis before hand. And now my inner scrum mistress is speaking ;) 

Any case I have learned a lot! I have been in front of the camera. I didn't have to know anything about technical stuff. Now I am supervising outgoing streams so I can see if we have problems and we have to deal with them or find someone else who can fix problems we are facing.  It is interesting, sometimes frustrating but at least I am learning every day something new.

And then some pictures from yesterday:
Main hall AV control

First stream started (Broadcast HQ)
Picture from one side of the main hall after the doors have been opened

And just because I can: A picture of my cat.
"If I fits I sits!"

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Assembly Summer 2014 Building: Wednesday

Morning started again around 9 am. I can't even remember what I did. I just started doing. At least I was tweeting pictures and helping others with their duties. Oh yes! I also helped with assembling couple of computers on their places. Then we had some HR related stuff to do (distributing lunch coupons, t-shirts and bracelets etc.). And because my brains are now empty I hope these pictures tell more than 1000 words...

Camera @ studio
From these workstations we can supervise streams
Main hall around 3 pm
All organizers meetu
Studio setup
Studio equipment
Studio "by night"


Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Assembly Summer 2014 Building: Tuesday

Hot hot hot!

I came to Messukeskus around 9. The hall was quite empty at that time. That white thing on the floor is our main screen. Air conditioning is off in the hall and air was little bit humid. Very nice working environment.

Main hall & screen
I also went to one conference room which is reserved for our organizers. In this room our Livecrew and Webcrew and some of Gamecrew members will be working. Including me. Room was almost empty at first but very quickly people got their stuff in.

Conference room where we will work
I made a quick walk around main hall and saw that the studio was forming. Sofas, cameras and some lights were in place. Also our A-sign is here! I think it looks good by the way.

Sofa and armchair under testing
Studio light
After walk I went to my own place and started to put our TV programs to our own database. Meaning that we are using selfmade piece of software called Elaine. It is used in many steps when producing TV broadcast. First step is to put entry for every program there. In the entry we imply for example how long is that program, is it movable (insert etc.) or live show, in which stream we are going to show it etc. This job takes a while and is little bit boring, but it's work what has to be done. I was doing entries for all known AssemblyTV stream and Seminar stream programs.

When we have all programs in the database we can start to create something called playlist. I think this term is familiar to almost everybody. It is just list of our programs. For example I tell to the software that we are going to play program called "Opening Ceremony" 31th of July at 18.00. Software already knows that program will last for 1 hour and it reserves that time slot for this program. After I have done this to every program, we can see complete schedule of our stream. Software will also highlight if we have gaps between programs or if some programs are going to overlap. So it's nice to see our schedule visualized. Other organizers are using this database also for their own use in many different ways. This was just my part for today.

After I was done with Elaine I head to my home. But just before leaving Messukeskus I took some pictures.

Screen isn't on the floor anymore!

At least some part of studio equipment in place

Thursday, 24 July 2014

1 girl, 2 guys and GoPro

Good day ladies and gentlemen!

I tried to think what should I write next. Last year was easier since I was doing something "real". Now I am documenting our team ways of working and what kind of positions we have etc. So nothing so exciting.. at least not yet. But while I was doing that, I thought that maybe I can learn new skill. So I borrowed GoPro and asked couple of other organizers to join me doing one video. I have never done any filming or video editing. My experience is more or less just being front of the camera while other people are doing the work. This time I want to try myself with help of others.

One evening we met at Eläintarhan Neste with Wolde and sntr. We started to shoot. We had many problems in the way, so here is list of my mistakes:

1. GoPro didn't have screen piece with it and we didn't know wifi password. Lesson 1: Test camera always before shooting!
2. It's ok to use this plastic shield on gopro if it's raining and you don't need to capture voices. Lesson 2: Take shield of when shooting inside and you need audio.
3. Lesson 3: You need quite much empty space from your computer to edit 3,5 minute video. Be prepared better than I was..
4. Lesson 4: Let experts to do filming and video editing ;)

This was my first time, so I please that you don't shoot me when you see it. It was nice to try though. And I think I learned many little things about what our team members are doing and why they are working like they do. Film itself is in Finnish but captions are available :)

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Livecrew is reforming

Dear readers,

I mentioned in my last post that Livecrew is going through some changes so here’s a little more on that. As our guest you will see that the party has moved from Hartwall Arena to Helsingin Messukeskus. But what you can't see is that our own Livecrew is reforming a little bit as well. At this point we have around 70 crew members in 8 different teams. And I will now tell you what different teams are doing.

Main hall stream team

This team is working in our main hall. It consists of a team lead, cameramen, two directors, a sound technic, a stream supervisor, an editor, a graphic operator, a producer and a TV host. They are responsible for all main hall broadcasts like ceremonies and compostudios.
Building on going @ Assembly Summer 2013

Video team
This team creates short video clips like guest and sponsor interviews. It has a team lead, couple of reporters and two cameramen-editors.

Photography team
We have amazing pictures in our gallery! 5 photographers working at Assembly Organizing ensure that the greatest moments will get captured.

Gaming stream team
At this point I am not sure how many members this team will have. At least they will have a team lead, couple of operators checking streams and taking care that microphones are on and working, a sound guy etc.

Main hall AV team
If you see the lights on our main stage or hear "Elefanttimarssi", this team is to blame! ;) They consist of a team lead, directors, stage managers, graphic operators, sound operators, light operator, couple of people taking care of slideshows and one developer.


This team consists of roudies. They plan and setup (with help of buildcrew) our stage including lights, sound systems, big screen etc.

Building on going @ Assembly Summer 2013

Seminar team
If you can’t make it to the party place, you can still follow our seminars online because of our great seminar team. This team has a director, a stage manager, cameramen, post production person and a sound guy.

Stream supervisors and other crew members
This is my team. We are doing something we couldn't categorize in any other teams. So we have our team lead, couple of technics responsible for streams, post-production and developing new stuff, our function head (responsible of whole Livecrew) and then there is me. Writing blogs, facebooking, tweeting and creating documentation.

Like I said, we have big crew. We are doing this stuff only once or twice per year and some of our crew members will change every year. During the party we are doing this almost around the clock so in many places we need couple people doing the same job so others can sleep and eat at some point (people get cranky without sleep and food, trust us). This is fun, but sometimes everything doesn't go as smooth as we would like. Also we don't have the same devices every year. We just try to get everything from wherever. So every year we have new problems. Totally not boring! And I think if one can survive in our conditions they can survive in any day to day job no matter what!

Do you have questions? Please feel free to ask and I’ll try to answer :)

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Assembly Summer 2014 is coming

Hi readers!

Past 10 months have been quite thrilling for all of you, and also for us organizers. First of all, Assembly Winter was held in Messukeskus. It was big change for us as everything was new and exciting. We had to re-plan almost everything, which took a lot of time and effort.

Still I think this change is a good thing. We had to start re-thinking our ways of working. Last couple of years we have been more or less copy-pasting the old thing. It has been fun, but like Abyss said in Assembly 20 years video, we are missing something as organizers. That special feeling when we don't know everything. The little adrenaline rush. And the relief when we still manage to get everything done just in time.

Markings in my calendar. Yes I am oldschool.
I think it was big surprise that we also changed Assembly Summer to be held in Messukeskus. We didn't mention this possibility to our visitors at all, we couldn't release even Assembly dates. So the rumors started...

Someone was asking if we got kicked out from Hartwall Arena. We weren’t. Instead we were  waiting for Assembly organizing and Messukeskus to finalize the dates. In the meantime, even we organizers weren’t certain where and when Assembly is held this year. It affected our preparation as well.

Almost all of our organizers are volunteer workers. We don't get paid to do this. We know you as our guests were eager to know dates, and so were we. We have to negotiate our summer holidays for the right time. It is quite ok to say that "I need this one week" to my boss, but two weeks can be harder to get for some of us. So it was relief to know where and when Assembly is held.

But now it's time to start working. One rainy evening some LiveCrew and GameCrew members met at Hima & Sali to discuss gaming streams. I was curious, so I went to see what’s going on and to show you that something is really happening. Our work is still in progress, but at least we have ideas on what to do and how. It is really nice to see people discussing and having ideas and also having good time doing this.

Livecrew meets Gamecrew
So we are working on it. Assembly is coming. Three and a half months to go! Clock is ticking.. tick.. tock.. tick... tock...

Best Regards,