Technology, Here We Come!

By Bill Riccobono – March 2018

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From living room talks in founding teacher Barbara Brodsky’s home, to group talks in various sangha settings, now via Zoom in the sanctuary at Interfaith Center for Spiritual Growth, the dharma is being spread around the globe. It has been quite a journey … and a steep learning curve at that. But with the help of friends to guide our acquisition of the proper camera and video equipment at a reasonable cost, and the help of Zoom, an online technology that allows us to bring together up to 99 people from around the world, the Deep Spring Center dharma is being spread like never-before imagined!

Approximately 18 months ago, we began with an office manager with some techie skills and a photographer wannabe. Our decision to stream content live on the Internet meant that we needed the equipment to do so and the training to know how to use the equipment! Slowly, we gathered the materials and outlined our production plan and needs. We spent much of the summer of 2015 figuring out how to work with the new equipment.

Learning how to use the camera was the easiest. But even so, with its remote controls, different optical options, and lack of clarity surrounding Bluetooth vs. wireless … we had our hands full. Learning about Zoom was another matter. We were optimistic. Why couldn’t we use three microphones and expect that each would operate predictably and also be properly connected to the laptop/Zoom? (We now use one!) And then we needed to make sure that the various pieces of equipment (approximately 7 or 8) were wired together properly.

We scheduled a dress rehearsal for early September. There were some glitches with wiring, of course, and problems getting the camera to behave as it should, but we did manage a 30-minute taping. With the live Evenings with Aaron night just one week away, anxiety was mounting. We arrived 2.5 hours early to get set up. We started ten minutes late and then encountered a few stumbles along the way—but no matter: we were up, live, sending out the dharma.

At the end of the session, the 12-15 people in Ann Arbor joined Barbara up front so that the 10 online were able to see who had been attending in-person. The hearts and voices from everyone there celebrated our first live presentation as we all waved good-bye to one another. And thus was the first video for the archives produced. It was an incredible, wonderful feeling (and relief). And, you know, maybe something we could consider doing on a regular basis.

Bill Riccobono
Video Production Team Leader
Deep Spring Center Board