Category Archives: video streaming

Good Look at our iGFU Mobile Portal

Our student News team wanted to do a story on our iGFU Mobile Portal. They tried to video record a demo off of an iPAD which was not going to work so iGFU author, Brian McLaughlin, made them a simple tutorial that we now use on our website. Checkout the tutorial if you have any interest in what a university mobile portal needs to be. Remember, our mobile portal is basically a skunk works project that leverages the flexibility and performance of HTML5 using Java and PHP to access useful data from general data feeds, Moodle and our PeopleSoft ERP.

The tutorial also highlights a couple of other useful tools. Brian made the video by using an App called AirServer that allows him to mirror an IOS device to his MacBook. He then records it with Quicktime and with a little editing on iMovie you get a very real view of a mobile app. Then we upload the video to our new ShareStream video distribution system which gives us total flexiblity to manage and distribute video (especially if we want to manage copyright). We are investigating if AirServer might offer a better path for iPad mirroring to projector in the classroom.

Time to Invest in Video Distribution

Video distribution is high on my priority list. We have made the most of iTunesU, our own Darwin streaming server, You-Tube, Vimeo and even Moodle. But the effort does not justify the means any more. Dealing with copyright issues is becoming more strategic and of course the overall amount of media objects being distributed has been exploding for a number of years now. We tried to conquer the OpenCast Matterhorn project, but it is not hard to figure out that open source projects either have momentum or they fade away. Plus most of the solutions that have been pitched have more of a focus on the ingestion of video for processing help. Distribution is a by-product that is typically not fully developed.

Lecture capture has been the commercial money maker with value coming from the ease of capture and production. But why would we want to capture lectures when the reason for all of this extra video is to supplement the trend toward blended learning. We have a fair investment in Camtasia so we are interested in video distribution of these Camtasia video vignettes  so maybe Camtasia Relay makes sense. But I think we are really looking at a solution like Kaltura, ShareStream, MediaCast or Ensemble. And I lean toward a hosted solution since my network is not optimized for streaming nor should it be. The solution must focus on the flexibility of access control so that we can comply with copyright. A little help with video ingestion formatting would be nice but our media students are very good with that support. Option to integrate with our Moodle LMS is important. And it does not hurt for the solution to help manage other content streams like podcasts or other commercial video repositories. I will let you know what we select.

Results are in – we will be going with a ShareStream hosted solution. Our media team is very excited about moving content over to a distribution system that provides access control. The Moodle interface is good but they probably need to focus more on the major LMS in the world.

Streaming Your Athletic Events is a Win

I happen to be a CIO who is also a sports fan and supporting my university’s athletic programs is a benefit of the job. IT’s involvement with Athletics in recent years has been based on the technology needed for broadcasting our sporting events. A good partnership as IT needed to perfect video streaming techniques and Athletics was looking for any exposure they could get. Early on we had excess bandwidth to offer up for video streaming of events. Last year we learned a lot about streaming and video production, etc. Some success and failures, but it was a lot of fun and with parents of the athletes the primary benefactors.

Well we got some exposure mostly with having a NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship, so there was increased demand for improved digital presence for Athletics. We solved a big need by outsourcing our Athletics website, but improving the video streaming was the big problem. The issue for streaming had to due with my lack of excess bandwidth (read my last blog post). We outsourced our athletics website to Presto so I inquired about their involvement with video streaming. They pointed me to Stretch Internet, which has provided us with a very acceptable and improved solution. Now we are having more fun improving our video production quality. We’re granting internships to students in our Cinema and Media Communications program, selling sponsorships to pay for the broadcasts and seeing early viewer numbers that are telling us this is good for exposure. Something tells me we have again set the bar up a notch and I think this will provide positive support for our university.

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