SURVEYOR'S NOTEBOOK

A Method for Providing Audience Reaction in Zoom Style Meetings and Remote Broadcasts

By Rik van Hemmen

 

During the pandemic Martin & Ottaway has been conducting a lot of its business in Zoom style meetings. In some ways these meetings are quite effective in resolving technical issues. However, when the meeting revolves around a presentation, the presentation can become quite dry since funny asides, quips or jokes become total fails because there is no audience feedback.

In a small meeting one could keep the mikes open and laughter by the audience will at least show up as a break in the audio, but open mikes for large audiences are simply not practical and therefore audience laughter or other response cannot be provided.

However, technically, a pretty decent facsimile of audience reactions could be developed in a Zoom style structure.

In such a structure the Zoom host is given an additional microphone setting called “Audience Reaction”.

This setting leaves the audience mikes open, but does not record or transmit voice. Instead, it records sound level at the audience computer and sends a few bits to the Zoom server from each audience member.

The bits transmit sound level and with relatively simple audio analysis could also transmit sound type; laughter, applause, or even booing.

These bits get collected at the server and superimposed on the presenter audio as laughter, applause or booing with the sound level set as per audience percentage, straight sound or any other algorithm as desired. I know it would be canned laughter, clapping or booing, but that is nothing new in TV production and at least this canned response sound is based on real audience input.

In addition to sound, there could also be a graphic on everybody’s display that tracks audience response visually.

The host also remains control of individual “Audience Reaction” microphones in case somebody decides to continually interrupt, or if a viewer’s husband decides to run the vacuum cleaner (even though filtering out those sounds may not be too difficult). That would be called the “Virtual Bouncer” function, and would show a bouncer graphic to the audience member that is disruptive.

I am not an up to date programmer on Zoom style products, but I think it can work with the only caveat that there may be transmit speed delays. If direct laughter does not work due to transmit speed, at least it could be used to applaud at the end of a presentation to acknowledge the presenter.

In a somewhat tighter network, the system could be used for introducing audience reaction to late night shows such as Saturday Night Live, Trevor Noah, or Steven Colbert. They need a little audience feedback to really get going.

 

Claim

A group interactive remote presentation system that provides audience sentiment feedback to the presenter

And determination of a likely human sentiment emotion by sending means combined with processing means which inputs at least one of a camera, a video, or a sound, or click pressure or frequency on a keyboard

And where the likely emotion code is mapped into a sound, icon or color or visual indication which is make available to a presenter’s screen or audio in association with the name or image of the participant(s) expressing the human emotion.