Using Opencast Matterhorn for streaming live lectures

Just a few days ago at LCF we had a huge breakthrough….using a capture device we managed to stream content live from a lecture theatre. The capture device is not designed for live streaming, and so is not a real replacement for a streaming server, but should we want to record an imbedded presentation with video and audio, then this can be considered a massive breakthrough.

It was one of those fantastic days where you know you are making a big leap forward; we tested equipment already existing in a classroom to do a live stream, by adding a small box: an epiphan matterhorn capture device (http://www.epiphan.com/products/other-applications/matterhorn/). The price of these has recently shot up from being £680, to now £ 2,285! Luckily we brought 2 of these before the price hike in order to proceed with our pilot of the open source lecture capture software Opencast Matterhorn.

http://opencast.org/matterhorn/home

Using the skills of Kirk Rutter to operate and configure the epiphan device & use generally use Opencast Matterhorn properly, Phil Petrides to adapt the IP PTZ camera and the existing Extron control system (clever lectern control system), and get audio & video into the epiphan capture device, and finally with Prakadessh Sivanandan (from central IT / networks – this guy is amazing & we are very lucky to have him), we successfully tested a live stream of a lecture which imbeds the audio and video with the screen shot of the lectern computer. This stream has been tested and viewed from inside the UAL and outside the UAL. I’m overjoyed at finding a solution that has really been an extensive research and collaboration with many other universities and bodies that help make use of open source software like Opencast Matterhorn.

This will be fully tested next week 25th- 29th June for an RNUAL event in the ground floor lecture theatre G05 at High Holborn (http://www.arts.ac.uk/research/researchenvironment/researchnetworkualrnual/). This will be a test of how the stream copes, and hopefully it will assist us in recording a series of lectures, which would otherwise have to be edited with PowerPoint slides  later

3 thoughts on “Using Opencast Matterhorn for streaming live lectures

  1. Quick update, we are still having problems with the quality of the audio from outside the UAL network. Sound is interrupted and cracking quite a lot. So for the RNUAL event we will not be doing a live stream but recording internally the sessions on a computer at High Holborn then making these recordings available to the RNUAL team….:(

    • The camera is an in built panasonic PTZ camera, sending its video signal via CAT5 cabling to the lectern (this kit was already in place) it was possible to get a different output from the lectern in to the epiphan which takes an svideo signal. I will find out what the spec of the camera is used in this lecture theatre ASAP.

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