Recording and webcasting corporate events, town hall meetings, and instructor-led training sessions typically involves a lot of AV hardware. To capture video of the presenter and the output of their computer screen, most organizations hardwire these video sources to a centralized mixer. The mixer composites the video sources into a single picture-in-picture format that can then be viewed on demand or streamed live. There are several shortcomings to this traditional approach:
- Hardware-based video mixers are expensive and require AV expertise to operate
- Additional AV hardware may be required to convert incoming VGA or HDMI video signals to a format compatible with the mixer
- The cables needed to connect the video camera and presentation computer to the mixer are costly and can complicate logistical setup
- Composited picture-in-picture isn’t an ideal format for watching multi-track video
Panopto takes a different approach using a feature called distributed recording. With distributed recording, there’s no need for the mixer, the video signal converters, or hundreds of feet of cable. Just install Panopto on the presenter’s computer and on a computer connected to the video camera. Each computer then streams its respective video feed to Panopto’s server where they’re synchronized and streamed out to the viewer. Distributed recording can be used for live or on demand events and doesn’t even require that the video sources be located on the same network.
For more information on distributed recording and webcasting, I sat down with Eric Burns, Panopto’s co-founder and chief product officer. Check out the interview below and at http://panop.to/distributed-recording.