Triratna Resources

How Sheffield and Brixton Centres are doing hybrid classes

On Wed, 16 September, 2020 - 12:47
aparajita's picture

Most of this is on the more complex end of what’s possible but hopefully it will interest some situations.

The video is a little over 18 minutes long and has:

Aryadasa and Vicki from Sheffield talking about the why and how they went about it

7:00 - Vicki shows us the actual equipment they use and how it’s set up

14:35 - Aryadasa describes a simpler, cheaper option

16:45 - a few shots of it in action at their Sangha night

17:50 - a sense of how they set things up in Brixton

Equipment used in Sheffield:

  • Computer 1 (a desktop computer running Zoom)
  • Connect to BOSE loudspeaker speaker which amplifies Zoom audio for everyone
  • Webcam – Great Hall Presenter 
  • Zoom Mic – Great Hall Presenter
  • Computer 2 (a laptop computer running Zoom)
  • Digital projector which projects Zoom in ‘gallery view’ onto the wall (ensure audio disabled ie no microphone, in order to prevent feedback)
  • Webcam - Great Hall audience
  • Sound system microphones (through mixing deck and BOSE speaker)
  • Lapel mic for Great Hall presenter (this is not connected to Zoom but one of our normal lapel microphones to amplify the presenter for the people in the room)

Technical details

Checklists for the team setting up, facilitating and after the event

Set up

Check there are enough masks and hand sanitiser at the Great Hall entrance door and hand sanitiser (extra supplies are kept in the shrine cupboard)

Sanitise hands and set places up before the event.

There are three labelled piles of mats, cushions, blankets and chairs which make clear which are OK to use (ie haven’t been used recently or without sanitising).

Take equipment from the appropriate pile (this is same pile the equipment needs to be returned to at the end of the event). There are three piles to ensure that once used, equipment has at least 24 hours ‘quarantine’ period: 1) Monday + Thursday 2) Tuesday, Friday, Sunday 3) Wednesday + Saturday.

The Great hall floor is marked with tape to guide setting out places

2m spacing for each place on the row / 1.5m spacing between rows 

If shrine offerings are required prepare spaced candles and incense in front of the shrine

Prop open all doors leading to the toilets to improve ventilation and to minimise number of people touching door handles

Face shields are available for presenters

Zoom Host - sets up computers and manages the Zoom meeting

Mute and unmute the audience, spotlight and record the speaker, allocate and open breakout rooms.

Case 1: talk/ meditation is given in the Great Hall.

Camera 1 captures the speaker / meditation leader for Zoom through Computer 1. 

Computer 2 projects Zoom onto wall. Camera 2 captures audience in Great Hall for connection with everyone else on Zoom. Great Hall audience can interact with Zoom audience during breaks but Computer 2 will be muted during the talk to prevent audio feedback.

Case 2: talk is given over Zoom from another location.

Computer 2 projects Zoom onto screen and plays audio through speakers. Camera 2 captures audience in Great Hall for connection with everyone else on Zoom.

In-person jobs

In-person host welcoming, signing people in, ticking off from bookings list (from our website) and giving them instructions for hygiene guidelines, meditation equipment and toilets.

Group leaders

Someone to bring up cups of water from the kitchen during the break

At the start of the event

One person / household enters via Great hall external door at a time

A team member:

  • Signs the person in
  • Requests they sanitise their hands and wear face covering
  • Asks for shoes and belongings to be placed on the shelves.
  • Points out a seat they can use
  • Ideally external and internal Great Hall doors remain open during the event for ventilation

During the event

Toilets can be used, disinfectant spray provided (instructions for use in toilets)

After the event

  • At the end of the event ask people to maintain distancing by leaving row by row
  • Using the one-way system ask people to exit through the Great Hall external door
  • The team put away all equipment then sanitise their hands
  • Clean surfaces touched with disinfectant spray 
  • Take a photo of the sign-in sheet and email to Centre office
  • Clean and sanitize all door handles in the area used by the event
  • In the toilets, clean and sanitize sinks, taps, surfaces loo seats and other areas that may have been touched
  • Clean and sanitize any other areas contact points used during the event


  • There is a one-way system outside the toilets
  • Only the Disabled and Men’s toilets are open


  • Ideally tea breaks will take place outside. We currently have two outside coverings either side of the building for shelter
  • People will be encouraged to bring their own drinks
  • The tearoom only to be used by one team member. Sanitise hands and take out drinks 

Breakout Groups

Wherever possible group discussions to be held outside. If the course leader decides to have the groups inside the Great Hall then people must be 1.5 m away from each other.  

Make clear that it is fine not to take part in a group discussion and that they can sit out.

Other considerations in the Great Hall    

  • No collective chanting. Quiet collective salutation of the Three Jewels only.
  • Use the snuffer to extinguish candles. Do not blow out candles or incense.
  • Only one person to make offerings at the shrine at any one time
  • Using the card machine – use screen protector to take payment and sanitise after use.

Put thorough covid-related information on website (eg: so people know what to expect and what is expected of them


Some top tips from Brixton

We use logitech webcams - I’d recommend the C922 or the StreamCam. However they are hard to find at the moment, and overpriced on places like ebay…  

Rode microphones are good - I’d recommend:  

(Note - you need a ‘TRRS’ microphone to use it with a laptop/phone, not a ‘TRS’ type which is more common for audio mixers and so on. It’s well worth investing more money in a good microphone over a good webcam, most webcams now will do a decent job whereas for sound the difference between cheap and expensive microphones is huge.)

Most laptops will do, and streaming isn’t all that intensive (we use an old HP elitebook I got for £200), however most laptops don’t handle sound all that well as they only have basic sound cards and the tightly packed electronics in them causes interference. You therefore might want to consider pairing a cheap hand-me-down laptop with an external USB soundcard/audio interface for cleaner sound with less background noise. 

If you are only planning to use zoom, trying to get better sound isn’t worth the effort as zoom compresses the sound terribly anyway, but for other applications like YouTube or Facebook, this will make a difference.

Lights and stands are cheap and easy - pretty much any kit off ebay or amazon will do - but it is really worth having them. I’d recommend going for LED though. It doesn’t even matter if they have dimmers or not, we just hang pillow cases or stick paper over them to get the right intensity of light we need depending on the situation.

Wifi is a weakness as it can drop out, so we hardwire our laptop into the router with a long ethernet cable when we are streaming just to be on the safe side. A 50 metre one of these will only cost you about £20, and you never have to worry about signal strength. 

(please note that Brixton also use OBS software ( for livestreaming to YouTube. This allows the operator (sat next to leader in Brixton video) to switch nicely between the speaker and the wider shot of the room.)

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Dhammavijaya's picture

How is this affected by the ‘rule of 6’?

aparajita's picture

Places of worship are exempt assuming that they are following the general Covid best practice…