This document assumes the reader understands the current BigBlueButton architecture.

    Overview

    BigBlueButton records all the events and media data generated during a BigBlueButton session for later playback.

    If you want to see the Record and Playback feature in action there is a demo, you can use it to record a BigBlueButton session and play it after it is listed under “Recorded Sessions” on the same page, you should wait a few minutes after your session ends while the media is processed and published for playback. This demo is also available on your server if you have installed it.

    Like BigBlueButton sessions, management of recordings should be handled by third party software. Third party software consumes the BigBlueButton API to accomplish that. As user you may want to use third party software which sets the right value to the parameter “record”. As developer you may want to use a (not official) library which implements the api calls in your preferred language, or implement it by yourself.

    From a technical point of view, in the BigBlueButton API, when you pass the parameter ‘record=true’ with create, BigBlueButton will create a session that has recording enabled. In this case, it will add a new button to the toolbar at the top of the window with a circle icon which a moderator in the session can use to indicate sections of the meeting to be recorded.

    In a session with recording enabled, BigBlueButton will save the slides, chat, audio, desktop, whiteboard events and webcam for later processing. This is the unique way to record a meeting, because it provides the ability for different workflows to create recordings with different properties, combining the media in unique ways.

    After the session finishes, the BigBlueButton server will run an archive script that copies all of the related files to a single directory. It then checks to see if the moderator has clicked the “Record” button during the session to indicate a section of the meeting that should be turned into a recording. If the recording button was not clicked during the session, the files are queued to be deleted after a period of time. (You can override this and force a recording to be processed; see the bbb-record –rebuild command below.)

    After the recording is archived, BigBlueButton will run one (or more) ingest and processing scripts, named workflows, that will process and publish the captured data into a format for playback.

    Record and Playback Phases

    BigBlueButton processes the recordings in the following :

    1. Capture
    2. Archive
    3. Sanity
    4. Process
    5. Publish
    6. Playback

    Capture

    The Capture phase involves enabling the BigBlueButton modules (chat, presentation, video, voice, etc.) to emit events over an event bus for capture on the BigBlueButton server. Components that generate media (webcam, voice, desktop sharing) must also store their data streams on the server as well.

    Whiteboard, cursor, chat and other events are stored on Redis. Webcam videos (.flv) and desktop sharing videos (.flv) are recorded by Red5. The audio conference file (.wav) is recorded by FreeSWITCH.

    Archive

    The Archive phase involves taking the captured media and events into a raw directory. That directory contains ALL the necessary media and files to work with.

    Sanity

    The Sanity phase involves checking that all the archived files are valid for processing. For example that media files have not zero length and events were archived.

    Process

    The Process phase involves processing the archived valid files of the recording according to the workflow (e.g. presentation). Usually it involves parsing the archived events, converting media files to other formats or concatenating them, etc.

    Post Scripts

    Post scripts allow you to perform site-specific actions after each of the Archive, Process, and Publish steps of the Recording processing.

    Some examples of things you might use the post scripts to do:

    • Send you an email after a recording is published.
    • Backup a recording to another server after your recording is archived or published.
    • Send a text message after a recording is published.
    • Compress media files and make them public available for download after it is published.
    • Delete raw media files after the recording processing complete.

    Publish

    The Publish phase involves generating metadata and taking many or all the processed files and placing them in a directory exposed publicly for later playback.

    Playback

    The Playback phase involves taking the published files (audio, webcam, deskshare, chat, events, metadata) and playing them in the browser.

    Using the workflow presentation, playback is handled by HTML, CSS and Javascript libraries; it is fully available in Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome(also in Android devices); in Internet Explorer if you have installed Google Chrome Frame. In other browsers like Opera or Safari the playback will work without all its functionality , e.g, thumbnails won’t be shown. There is not a unique video file for playback, there is not an available button or link to download the recording. We have opened an issue for this enhancement

    Media storage

    Some Record and Playback phases store the media they handle in different directories

    Captured files

    • AUDIO: /var/freeswitch/meetings
    • WEBCAM: /usr/share/red5/webapps/video/streams
    • DESKTOP SHARING: /var/bigbluebutton/deskshare
    • SLIDES: /var/bigbluebutton
    • EVENTS: Redis

    Archived files

    The archived file are located in /var/bigbluebutton/recording/raw/<internal-meeting-id>/

    Sanity checked files

    The sanity files are store in the same place as the archived files

    Processed files

    The processed files can be found in /var/bigbluebutton/recording/process/presentation/<internal-meeting-id>/

    Published files

    The published files are in /var/bigbluebutton/recording/publish/presentation/<internal-meeting-id>/

    Playback files

    The playback files are found in /var/bigbluebutton/published/presentation/<internal-meeting-id>/

    Manage recordings

    BigBlueButton does not have an administrator web interface to control the sessions or recordings as in both cases they are handled by 3rd party software, but it has a useful tool to monitor the state and control your recordings through the phases described above.

    In the terminal of your server you can execute bbb-record, which will show you each option with its description

    
    BigBlueButton Recording Diagnostic Utility (BigBlueButton Version 1.0.N) 
    
       bbb-record [options]
    
    Reporting:
       --list                          	List all recordings
    
    Monitoring:
       --watch                          	Watch processing of recordings
       --watch --withDesc               	Watch processing of recordings and show their description
    
    Administration:
       --rebuild <internal meetingID>       rebuild the output for the given internal meetingID
       --rebuildall			        rebuild every recording
       --delete <internal meetingID>	delete one meeting and recording
       --deleteall                      	delete all meetings and recordings
       --debug                          	check for recording errors
       --check                          	check for configuration errors
       --enable <workflow>              	enable a recording workflow
       --disable <workflow>             	disable a recording workflow
       --tointernal <external meetingId>	get the internal meeting ids for the given external meetingId
       --toexternal <internal meetingId>	get the external meeting id for the given internal meetingId
       --republish <internal meetingID>	  republish the recording for meetingID.
    
    

    Useful terms

    • workflow - is the way a recording is processed, published and played . In BigBlueButton 0.81 the unique workflow out of the box is the “presentation”.
    • internal meetingId - is an alphanumeric string that internally identifies your recorded meeting. It is created internally by BigBlueButton. For example “183f0bf3a0982a127bdb8161e0c44eb696b3e75c-1379693236230”.
    • external meetingID - is the id you set to the meeting, like “English 201” or “My Awesome class”, “Chemistry 2”. It is passed through the create API call.
    • recording - is recorded meeting in BigBlueButton.

    In BigBlueButton you can use the same external meeting ID (for example “English 101”) in many recordings but each recording will have a different internal meeting id. One external meeting id is associated with one or many internal meeting ids.

    List recordings

    bbb-record --list
    

    will list all your recordings.

    Watch recordings

    bbb-record --watch
    

    will list your latest 20 recordings, refreshing its output every 2 seconds. Its output is similar to this:

    Every 2.0s: bbb-record --list20
    
    Internal MeetingID                                               Time                APVD APVDE RAS Slides Processed            Published           External MeetingID
    ------------------------------------------------------  ---------------------------- ---- ----- --- ------ -------------------- ------------------  -------------------
    6e35e3b2778883f5db637d7a5dba0a427f692e91-1379965122603  Mon Sep 23 19:38:42 UTC 2013  X    X  X XXX      1 presentation         presentation        English 101
    183f0bf3a0982a127bdb8161e0c44eb696b3e75c-1379965005759  Mon Sep 23 19:36:45 UTC 2013  X                  1
    183f0bf3a0982a127bdb8161e0c44eb696b3e75c-1379693236230  Fri Sep 20 16:07:16 UTC 2013  XX                 1
    183f0bf3a0982a127bdb8161e0c44eb696b3e75c-1379675205776  Fri Sep 20 11:06:45 UTC 2013  XX                 1
    183f0bf3a0982a127bdb8161e0c44eb696b3e75c-1379541285165  Wed Sep 18 21:54:45 UTC 2013  X                  1
    183f0bf3a0982a127bdb8161e0c44eb696b3e75c-1379523831933  Wed Sep 18 17:03:51 UTC 2013  XX                 1
    183f0bf3a0982a127bdb8161e0c44eb696b3e75c-1379450735750  Tue Sep 17 20:45:35 UTC 2013  XX                 1
    183f0bf3a0982a127bdb8161e0c44eb696b3e75c-1379450634935  Tue Sep 17 20:43:54 UTC 2013  X                  1
    
    --
    --
    Last meeting processed (bbb-web.log): 6e35e3b2778883f5db637d7a5dba0a427f692e91-1379965122603
    
    

    BigBlueButton 1.1 When using BigBlueButton 1.1, you’ll see recording process running as BigBlueButton processes the recording.

    Every 2.0s: bbb-record --list20                                                                                                                                                                          Fri Dec 16 19:48:10 2016
    
    Internal MeetingID                                               Time                APVD APVDE RAS Slides Processed            Published           External MeetingID
    ------------------------------------------------------  ---------------------------- ---- ----- --- ------ -------------------- ------------------  -------------------
    238ff79fd66331a59274a8f3f05f1c0cd3e278b4-1481917394340  Fri Dec 16 19:43:14 UTC 2016 XX         X       17
    b88482332e176943b72de73ec63b69f01f113c85-1481917347334  Fri Dec 16 19:42:27 UTC 2016  X                  6
    6e35e3b2778883f5db637d7a5dba0a427f692e91-1481916917964  Fri Dec 16 19:35:17 UTC 2016 XX   XX  X         18                                          English 101 English 101
    183f0bf3a0982a127bdb8161e0c44eb696b3e75c-1481916628809  Fri Dec 16 19:30:28 UTC 2016  X                  5
    183f0bf3a0982a127bdb8161e0c44eb696b3e75c-1481915915825  Fri Dec 16 19:18:35 UTC 2016  X                  5
    183f0bf3a0982a127bdb8161e0c44eb696b3e75c-1481915383857  Fri Dec 16 19:09:43 UTC 2016  X                  5
    183f0bf3a0982a127bdb8161e0c44eb696b3e75c-1481915110521  Fri Dec 16 19:05:10 UTC 2016  X                  5
    
    --
    NEXT                         LEFT          LAST                         PASSED UNIT                  ACTIVATES
    Fri 2016-12-16 19:53:06 UTC  4min 56s left Fri 2016-12-16 19:48:06 UTC  4s ago bbb-record-core.timer bbb-record-core.service
    
    1 timers listed.
    --
    ● bbb-record-core.service - BigBlueButton recording & playback processing
       Loaded: loaded (/usr/lib/systemd/system/bbb-record-core.service; static; vendor preset: enabled)
       Active: inactive (dead) since Fri 2016-12-16 19:48:06 UTC; 3s ago
      Process: 26774 ExecStart=/usr/local/bigbluebutton/core/scripts/rap-worker.rb (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
     Main PID: 26774 (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
    
    Dec 16 19:48:06 XXX-8gb-nyc3-01 systemd[1]: Started BigBlueButton recording & playback processing.
    --
    

    Rebuild a recording

    It will go through the Process and Publish phases again.

    If you run bbb-record –rebuild on a recording where the process and publish script were not run because the moderator of the session did not click the record button, this will force the meeting to be processed. In this case, the entire length of the meeting will be included in the recording.

    sudo bbb-record --rebuild 6e35e3b2778883f5db637d7a5dba0a427f692e91-1379965122603
    

    Rebuild every recording

    It will go through the Process and Publish phases again for every recording in your server. This action will take a long time since it processes every recording.

    sudo bbb-record --rebuildall
    

    Delete a recording

    sudo bbb-record --delete 6e35e3b2778883f5db637d7a5dba0a427f692e91-1379965122603
    

    Delete all recordings

    sudo bbb-record --deleteall
    

    Debug recordings

    Check recording log files, looking for errors since the Archive phase.

    sudo bbb-record --debug
    

    Enable a workflow

    sudo bbb-record --enable presentation
    

    Disable a workflow

    sudo bbb-record --disable presentation
    

    Get internal meeting ids

    sudo bbb-record --tointernal "English 101" 
    

    will show

    
    Internal meeting ids related to the given external meeting id:
    -------------------------------------------------------------
    6e35e3b2778883f5db637d7a5dba0a427f692e91-1379965122603
    

    Use double quotes for the external meeting id.

    Get external meeting ids

    sudo bbb-record --toexternal "English 101" 
    

    Use double quotes for the external meeting id.

    Republish recordings

    Republish recordings.

    sudo bbb-record --republish 6e35e3b2778883f5db637d7a5dba0a427f692e91-1379965122603
    

    For Developers

    Here you will find more details about the Record and Playback.

    The way to start a recorded session in BigBlueButton is setting the “record” parameter value to “true” in the create API call, which usually is handled by third party software.

    Capture phase

    The Capture phase is handled by many components.

    To understand how it works, you should have basic, intermediate or advanced understanding about tools like FreeSWITCH, Flex, Red5 , Redis, dig into the BigBlueButton source code. Search for information in the BigBlueButton mailing list for developers if you have more questions.

    Archive, Sanity, Process and Publish

    These phases are handled by Ruby scripts. The directory for those files is /usr/local/bigbluebutton/core/

    /usr/local/bigbluebutton/core/
    +-- Gemfile                                       
    +-- Gemfile.lock
    +-- lib
    ¦   +-- recordandplayback                         
    ¦   ¦   +-- audio_archiver.rb
    ¦   ¦   +-- deskshare_archiver.rb
    ¦   ¦   +-- edl
    ¦   ¦   ¦   +-- audio.rb
    ¦   ¦   ¦   +-- video.rb
    ¦   ¦   +-- edl.rb
    ¦   ¦   +-- events_archiver.rb
    ¦   ¦   +-- generators  
    ¦   ¦   ¦   +-- audio_processor.rb
    ¦   ¦   ¦   +-- audio.rb
    ¦   ¦   ¦   +-- events.rb
    ¦   ¦   ¦   +-- matterhorn_processor.rb
    ¦   ¦   ¦   +-- presentation.rb
    ¦   ¦   ¦   +-- video.rb
    ¦   ¦   +-- presentation_archiver.rb
    ¦   ¦   +-- video_archiver.rb
    ¦   +-- recordandplayback.rb
    +-- scripts
        +-- archive
        ¦   +-- archive.rb                               
        +-- bbb-rap.sh
        +-- bigbluebutton.yml
        +-- cleanup.rb
        +-- presentation.yml
        +-- process
        ¦   +-- presentation.rb
        ¦   +-- README
        +-- publish
        ¦   +-- presentation.rb
        ¦   +-- README
        +-- rap-worker.rb
        +-- sanity
            +-- sanity.rb
    
    

    The main file is rap-worker.rb, it executes all the Record and Playback phases

    1. Detects when new captured media from a session is available.
    2. Go through the Archive phase (/usr/local/bigbluebutton/core/scripts/archive/archive.rb)
    3. Go through the Sanity phase executing (/usr/local/bigbluebutton/core/scripts/sanity/sanity.rb)
    4. Go through the Process phase executing all the scripts under /usr/local/bigbluebutton/core/scripts/process/
    5. Go through the Publish phase executing all the scripts under /usr/local/bigbluebutton/core/scripts/publish/
    • Files ending with “archiver.rb” contain scripts with logic to archive media.

    • Files under /usr/local/bigbluebutton/core/lib/generators/ contains scripts with logic, classes and methods used by other scripts which archive or process media.

    • Yml files contain information used by process and publish scripts.

    Writing Post Scripts

    In your server, there are separate “drop-in” directories under /usr/local/bigbluebutton/core/scripts for each of the post_archive, post_process, and post_publish steps. Each of these directories can contain ruby scripts (.rb extension required), which will be run in alphabetical order after the corresponding recording step.

    The scripts take the argument -m, which takes the meeting id as a parameter.

    A set of example scripts is provided to give you a framework to build your custom scripts from.

    
    |-- post_archive
    |   `-- post_archive.rb.example
    |-- post_process
    |   `-- post_process.rb.example
    `-- post_publish
        `-- post_publish.rb.example
    

    The example files give the file paths where the files from the corresponding step are located, and include code for accessing the metadata variables from the meeting. For example, if you passed a variable named

    meta_postpublishemail=user@example.com
    

    when creating the meeting, you can access it by doing

    email = meeting_metadata['postpublishemail']
    

    in the script.

    You are free to do anything you like inside the post scripts, including modifying recording files from a previous step before the next step occurs.

    Playback phase

    Playback works with the javascript library Popcorn.js which shows the slides, chat and webcam according to the current time played in the audio file. Playback files are located in /var/bigbluebutton/playback/presentation/ and used to play any published recording.

    Troubleshooting

    Apart from the command

    sudo bbb-record --debug
    

    You can use the output from

    sudo bbb-record --watch 
    

    to detect problems with your recordings.

    To investigate the processing of a particular recording, you can look at the following log files:

    The bbb-rap-worker log is a general log file that can be used to find which section of the recording processing is failing. It also logs a message if a recording process is skipped because the moderator did not push the record button.

    /var/log/bigbluebutton/bbb-rap-worker.log
    

    To investigate an error for a particular recording, check the following log files:

    /var/log/bigbluebutton/archive-<recordingid>.log
    /var/log/bigbluebutton/<workflow>/process-<recordingid>.log
    /var/log/bigbluebutton/<workflow>/publish-<recordingid>.log
    

    Understanding output from bbb-record-watch

    watch

    This section is intended to help you to find and in some cases to solve problems in the Record and Playback component of BigBlueButton, watching the output of the command

    bbb-record --watch
    

    RAS ( RECORDED - ARCHIVED - SANITY CHECKED )

    Below RAS you won’t see any X until the meeting has finished.

    Once the meeting has finished, an X under R appears, if it does not appear:

    • Be sure all users left the meeting.

    • Check out that the parameter defaultMeetingExpireDuration in /var/lib/tomcat6/webapps/bigbluebutton/WEB-INF/classes/bigbluebutton.properties does not have a big value (default to 1).

    • Be sure the parameter record=true was passed in the create api call. If not, you didn’t record the meeting.

    Once the recording is archived, an X under A appears, if it does not appear:

    • Verify this this file exists

    /var/bigbluebutton/recording/status/recorded/<internal meeting id>.done

    that means that the meeting was recorded.

    Once the recording passed the sanity check , an X appears under S, if it does not appear:

    • A media file was not properly archived, find the cause of the problem in the sanity log
    grep <internal meeting id> /var/log/bigbluebutton/sanity.log
    

    APVD (Audio, Presentation, Video, Deskshare)

    This section is related to recorded media. By default Audio and Presentation are recorded, if you don’t see any X under V or D, then you haven’t shared your webcam or desktop, or you haven’t enabled webcam or deskshare to be recorded.

    APVDE (Audio, Presentation, Video, Deskshare, Events)

    This section is related to archived media. If you don’t see an X under a media you are sure that was recorded, check out the sanity log. Execute this command to find the problem:

    grep <internal meeting id> /var/log/bigbluebutton/sanity.log
    

    Processed

    If a script was applied to process your recording, its name should be listed under the column ‘Processed’, by default you should see “presentation”, if you don’t see one of them, find the problem in the log file of the processed recording:

    grep -B 3 "status: 1" /var/log/bigbluebutton/presentation/process-<internal meeting id>.log | grep ERROR
    

    If there is some output, it should show the problem. If there is no output then tail the file to see which is the latest executed task. Make sure that is the one that failed and an error message with the problem is described few lines after.

    Published

    If a script is applied to publish your recording, its name should be listed under the column ‘Published’.

    grep -B 3 "status: 1" /var/log/bigbluebutton/presentation/publish-<internal meeting id>.log | grep ERROR
    

    If there is some output then you found the problem, if there is not any output then tail the file to see which is the last executed task, sure that is the one that failed and an error message with the problem is described few lines after.

    FAQS

    Is the recording activated automatically?

    No, when creating the meeting the parameters must include record=true to enable recording. In BigBlueButton 0.9.1, to have a recorded session create a playback file, a moderator must click the Start/Stop Record button during the session. Otherwise, BigBlueButton will not create a playback file and delete the recorded session.

    How to delete recordings before storage device is full?

    /etc/cron.daily/bigbluebutton deletes the archived media. Edit the file and add more rules if you need to delete others like raw files or processed files.