A Multi-Track Holiday Greeting from Panopto

This year, the Panopto team decided to create a holiday card using our own video capture technology. If you haven’t seen the card yet, it can be found here:

Holiday Card 2012 still - Panopto Video PlatformClick the above image to view the video, or visit http://panop.to/happy-holidays-2012-card


The holiday card takes advantage of some unique Panopto functionality – specifically, the ability to record multiple tracks of HD video across a distributed network of computers and mobile devices. This multi-camera recording capability, combined with a playback feature called Tile View, allowed us to create an e-card comprised of nine separate video tracks with almost no post-production:

Here’s how we created the card:

    1. I started a new recording – From our Seattle office on my Windows laptop, I started a new Panopto recording called Holiday Card 2012 (I’m the guy with the grisly mustache in the top left tile). I instructed Panopto to record webcam video and system audio. As you’ll hear, my system audio was playing Andy William’s classic, It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.
    2. Other people joined the recording – Three thousand miles away in our Pittsburgh office, seven members of our team each fired up Panopto on their respective laptops. One-by-one, they started recording using their webcams. Because we were all logged into the same Panopto server, they could see that my recording was in progress, and they simply instructed their instances of Panopto to join my session.
    3. The video tracks were automatically uploaded to our VCMS – After a minute or so, each person stopped recording on their laptop, and their video track was uploaded to the Panopto video content management system. There, Panopto time-synchronized the eight video tracks and combined them into the matrix of tiles you see above. This “tile view” is one of the default playback options that ships with Panopto. It automatically lays out multiple video tracks in a matrix – so a four-track recording gives you a 2×2 matrix, and in our case, a nine-track recording produces a 3×3 matrix.
    4. I made minor tweaks in our web-based video editor – The last step was to open our web-based editor and make three minor changes. First, I uploaded the 9th video track – the bumper video that you see in the center tile. Second, I changed the start times of each video track to match the opening beats of the music. Finally, I trimmed the end of each video so that all nine tracks would end simultaneously.

Of course, distributed multi-camera recording has very practical uses in business and education. For example, it allows you to record or live stream a professional looking presentation or event without any specialized AV equipment. In this case, though, it simply made for a convenient way to create a nice holiday greeting.

We wish all of you a happy holiday season and all the best for 2013.

-Ari Bixhorn

Published: December 21, 2012