Saturday, May 21, 2011

Echo Cancellation Update

My original post on echo cancellation:  Echo Cancellation Issue

We've been waiting for Adobe to add echo cancellation to Flash.  It finally arrives in Flash 10.3, for the desktop PC only (no mobile devices).  It's not in AIR yet.

I've done some testing on Windows (Firefox), and it seems to work okay.  But sometimes there are still echoes, and I have to manually adjust the microphone gain to find the sweet spot (between 6 and 8 on my system).  To adjust your microphone gain setting, make sure your webcam is in the Main window, then use buttons 3 and 4.  You should see "Microphone Gain" value displayed next to the buttons when they are pressed.  It's not perfect, but we're getting there.

So if you are interested in testing it out, just download and install Flash 10.3 for your web browser, and when you turn on the microphone (button 9), you should see "Enhanced Microphone 1" displayed next to the button.  If you see just "Microphone 1", then echo cancellation is not supported for some reason (drop me a note).  Note:  According to the Adobe forums, Flash 10.3 may introduce some graphics problems, so I suggest install it on a test system if possible.

Mobile devices must wait for an AIR update that support this feature.  Or go the hardware route, use a bluetooth headset, or speakerphone:

Samsung HF1000 Speakerphone $10 after rebate (04/01/2011 -  09/30/2011)

(I have no affiliation with the above site, just found a good deal on it)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Not Getting Video?

Below is a problem a user encountered:

I tried reelportal on WiFi with no problems. But connecting on 3G I had no success. I could see my friend was in the room by clicking on a face, and seeing the info, but neither of us could see any video from the other. Any thoughts? I am using a Playbook paired with a Torch. My friend was on a computer.

I think it's another firewall issue that's blocking P2P (UDP packets) connection. Try turn off P2P (button 7) in ReelPortal, tell your friend as well. P2P is faster/better, but the client/server mode is the backup in cases like this. You will have more lag though, because the streams are going thru the server.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Switching Cameras and Microphones

Pressing buttons 9 cycles through all detectable microphones on the system.  Similarly, button 10 cycles through the cameras.  For example, if you have 2 cameras, pressing button 10 results in this order:  Camera 1->Camera 2->Disable Camera.  Then repeat.

Note:  Android devices can't switch to front camera, if there's a back camera on the device.  Adobe AIR needs to be updated to support it.

Video Quality Adjustments

There are 2 ways to adjust the video settings:

1.  The sender can change the resolution and frame rate of his/her webcam.  If the default of 320x240/6fps is too low for you, set it to 640x480/10fps, and you'd see a big difference.  It will take more network bandwidth though.

2.  Both the sender and the receiver can adjust the video compression quality via buttons 5 & 6.  These buttons adjust whichever video currently in the main (large) window (object-oriented concept):
  a)  When your webcam is in the main window, the adjustments allow you to adjust the video quality of your webcam which is sent to other people.  You cannot see this reflected on the window, because you are seeing the unencoded video from the webcam, but the receiver will notice the difference.
  b)  When someone else's video is in your main window, the adjustments allow you to change their video quality.  That is, your app is sending a request to their app to change their webcam quality.  Why do this? Because the higher quality, the higher bandwidth usage.  If you have 4 video streams coming in, you may want only the main window to have high quality, and the others in lower quality.  You can swap any video to the main window when desired, and readjust its quality.