Classroom capture or lecture capture is very much in demand by students and school administrators.
Those schools’ IT departments, however, might have a different perspective since traditional lecture capture solutions can be difficult to set up, necessitate a lot of management and require handholding for those actually operating in the field.
Matrox designed its Monarch LCS to ease IT directors’ concerns. They can define profiles for live streamed and recorded lectures by mixing camera and presentation material from SDI and HDMI sources, according to the company, adding that the H.264 encoding appliance can be operated easily at the push of a button.
Meanwhile, Monarch LCS boasts a unique dual-isolated mode that sends the inputs to separate encoders so the video of the professors presenting and the presentation material can be encoded independently.
Then the built-in frame synchronizers are designed to correct and re-align the two signals and lock in the audio in sync with both files. Next the files are decoded by a multi-stream player that allows students to interact with them by selecting the layout they want to view.
Matrox (which presents a webcast on “What to Look for in a Lecture Capture Appliance”) lays out Monarch LCS’ key features:
Variety of Operating Modes:
Complex recording equipment is no longer required to effectively capture presentations in lecture halls. A typical setup would consist of video and audio of the presenter and a computer source with supporting material which can be mixed into a single webcast. The operator can select a number of operating modes that include layouts such as Picture-in-picture and Side-by-side. If the operator prefers to dynamically change the inputs throughout the lecture, the Monarch LCS also offers Switcher mode. With very little set up time, the Monarch LCS can be configured to capture and deliver content such as presentations and seminars in many appealing layouts.
Viewer Defined Layouts:
Keep your audience fully engaged by putting the control in their hands. In Isolated mode, the appliance provides two independent video files or streams. This feature, when used with a compatible 3rd party player, enables the viewer to select their preferred layout. The synchronized streaming or recording of Monarch LCS’ dual inputs are invaluable when such players are used. By aligning video inputs, the viewer can seamlessly switch to their preferred layout while maintaining perfectly synced audio and video.
Easy to Operate:
Matrox Monarch LCS can be controlled and configured via the Monarch LCS Command Center using any device on the network that supports a standard web browsing application such as a tablet. The interface is designed for operator ease-of-use and features one-click operation to start encoding from anywhere within the user interface. A number of typical streaming and recording presets are provided that define all of the encoding parameters, including resolution and bitrate. Encoding parameters can be customized and combined with destination and operating mode settings and saved as a unique profile. If the device must be accessed by different users, profiles can be instantly recalled without having to re-enter data.
Simple to Integrate:
Designed to work in network environments, Monarch LCS is a network appliance that facilitates a seamless integration into existing infrastructures managed by third party asset management solutions, such as OpenCast VMS and Moodle LMS software. In addition, the scheduler feature* supports open source iCal software such as Google calendar which allows you to create a schedule, export to an .ics file format, and easily import to the device. Schedules can be imported at any time and Monarch LCS can be configured to periodically retrieve schedules on your network.
Offering unprecedented quality, Monarch LCS can share up to 20 Mb/s of encoding capacity across its two H.264 encoding channels. Each independent channel has individual bitrate/quality settings and benefits from powerful scaling, deinterlacing, and noise reduction engines that ensure only pristine images are sent to the encoders. When the highest quality is required, each encoder can be set to encode at 1080p30 resolutions.
Set Your Destinations:
This dual encoder offers multiple destination options when streaming or recording. When set to recording, an encoding channel captures content in MOV or MP4 files to ensure that video files can be played on virtually any player. Recordings can be stored on local USB drives, SD cards, or network-mapped drives and made available immediately to an LMS or VMS for distance learning. For streaming purposes, the encoders use either RTMP or RTSP protocol to deliver live streams to local media servers or cloudbased CDNs.
Monarch LCS can support productions with two HDMI video sources or one SDI and one HDMI video source. Embedded or analog audio can be selected as the audio source. By supporting video camera signals that are either SDI or HDMI, this lecture recorder gives operators the flexibility to select what is best for that installation. SDI signals can travel more than 300 feet (100 meters) over coaxial cable, which is ideal if the camera is mounted a long distance from the encoder. When cable lengths are not an issue, HDMI cameras may prove the most affordable option, particularly in larger installations.
Frame Synchronization Between Inputs:
The ultimate lecture viewing experience can only be guaranteed when computer, video and audio content is synchronized before encoding. However, computer and video feeds rarely share the same resolutions and frame rates. The Monarch LCS accepts these different feeds and synchronizes them before encoding, delivering perfectly timed video and audio, regardless of the operating mode. Built-in frame syncs also correct any signal discontinuity at either input, ensuring uninterrupted streaming and recording operations.
Live Production Preview Output:
Both SDI and HDMI outputs are active and can be mapped to either inputs, a useful feature for driving in-house projections. The HDMI output also gives the operator the option of selecting the production output at the frame size of the encoding parameters, enabling them to preview content that will be sent to the remote viewer.
Remotely Manage Your Device:
The Matrox Utils application allows operators to remotely scan and find all Monarch LCS devices present on their network. The Utils application will also scan the attached Monarch LCS and notify the operator if the unit is up to date with its installed firmware version and will also update the device automatically to ensure that it has the latest software release. The Matrox Utils Application can also be used to reboot Monarch LCS devices present on the network.
Versatile API for Your Environment:
Contractors or in-house IT specialists can take advantage of Monarch LCS Dev Tools, which includes automatic configuration tools and the Monarch LCS Control API, to provide operators with a unified, consistent and branded experience. Individuals do not need to interact with the Monarch LCS Command Center web UI, simplifying enterprise-level and centrally administered deployments.
Control with Crestron:
The Monarch LCS Control API is an ideal way to integrate Monarch LCS functionality into an existing classroom, boardroom or other space equipped with a Crestron control system. Monarch LCS registered users are invited to download a sample SIMPL module written to run on Crestron 2-Series® and 3-Series® Room Media Controllers.
Robust and Practical Design:
Powerful and robust, Monarch LCS storage ports are located on the front of the device along with three simple one-touch buttons that offer an alternative to the Web based UI control. All connectors are located at the back, including the locking power connector, which ensures that Monarch LCS can just as easily be located on a desktop as in a rack. A 1RU tray can fit up to two units.
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