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Panopto 4.2 Online Video Platform – What’s New

Yesterday was an exciting day at Panopto. We just launched the 4.2 release of our online video platform and wanted to give you a first look at some of the new features.

This release comes five months after we launched Panopto 4.1, which brought a number of important capabilities to the platform, including mobile access through the Panopto iPhone app, student recording functionality, and additional learning management system (LMS) integrations.

Panopto 4.2 builds on the updates we introduced in 4.1 and continues to advance our goal of making it easier for organizations to capture, publish, and view video in every release.

Here’s a snapshot of the latest enhancements in Panopto 4.2:

  1. Capturing video – We introduced HDV camcorder support and a number of enhancements to the remote recorder.
  2. Publishing video – The 4.2 release includes a new feature called Instant Publish, and we introduced support for importing videos created with Camtasia.
  3. Consuming video – You’ll find a new video podcast view called Tile View, we made improvements to our in-video search capabilities, and we improved single sign-on support in both our mobile and desktop clients.

As with all releases, there are a range of additional features based on feedback from our customers and partners. In 4.2, these include:

  • A new transcription API for programmatically adding captions to pancasts
  • Hotkey improvements for our Windows and Mac recorders
  • The ability to change video podcast quality
  • Enhanced playback speed for video podcasts
  • Simplified user creation for administrators
  • Additional access control settings

Here are some more details on the new functionality in this release.

Capturing Video

HDV camcorder support – For any of you who have HDV camcorders, you can now plug them into your Panopto laptop and start recording or webcasting without any manual configuration. This extends our existing plug-and-play support for webcams, DV and analog camcorders, HDMI capture cards, and VGA devices. It’s part of our goal of giving you a hassle-free video recording experience that works with your existing infrastructure.

Remote recorder control panel – System Administrators will love Panopto 4.2’s new control panel for Remote Recorders. It allows you to use any web browser to manage your recording infrastructure. For example, an admin at a university could use the control panel to select the video and audio sources for their remote recordings in each classroom around campus, and get live previews of the video – all from within their web browser.

We’ve also added scheduling conflict detection and resolution functionality in this release, so if you accidentally schedule two recordings that overlap, we’ll alert you to the issue and help you resolve it.

Panopto Remote Recorder control panel
The Remote Recorder control panel allows administrators to test, schedule, and operate all of their organization’s remote recording equipment from a single location.

Publishing video

Instant Publish – One of the traditional challenges in working with video is file size. You record an hour-long presentation or lecture, and then you wait as the massive file is uploaded to the server. In Panopto 4.2, we upload your video in the background during recording and webcasting. This means that your recordings are available on the server seconds after your session completes regardless of whether it’s a three-minute or three-hour recording. This is particularly useful in dedicated recording rooms at events or in lecture halls where multiple speakers give back-to-back presentations. With Panopto, each session is finished uploading before the next speaker arrives at the podium.

Drag-and-drop Camtasia importing – A critical component to any online video platform is the ability to import videos that have been recorded in a variety of formats. In our 4.2 release, we’ve added Camtasia video to our growing list of importable file formats. This means that Panopto hosted customers can drag-and-drop Camtasia video files into our web interface, where they’ll be uploaded into our video content management system (VCMS) and encoded for viewing on any device.

Consuming video

Tile view – One of the unique features of Panopto is the ability to record and webcast multiple video streams simultaneously. In Panopto 4.2, these recordings that consist of multiple video streams can now be viewed in a tiled layout with all streams visible at the same time, side-by-side, on any device. This view is particularly useful for recorded meetings with multiple participants, or recordings that involve multiple resources that need to be viewed frequently over the course of the session.

In-video search enhancements – Businesses and universities are generating and storing more video than ever. In fact, recent Gartner research found that enterprises expect to stream 16 hours of video per employee per month by 2016 (Reference: Predicts 2012: Plan for Cloud, Mobility and ‘Big Content’ in Your ECM Strategy’, November 16, 2011). This explosion in video content means that organizations will need video search engines that can find videos within massive video libraries, and that can find specific content within those videos. Panopto’s video search engine is a cornerstone of our online video platform – it provides both video library search and in-video search. In Panopto 4.2, we’ve improved our search indexing and introduced a new relevance algorithm to make our video search engine faster and more accurate.

In-video search results in the Panopto library
Panopto’s search engine can scan PowerPoint slides, captions, transcripts, and user notes across an entire video library to deliver frame-level results – to the second.

Single sign-on support – Ensuring that Panopto integrates with your existing infrastructure – specifically your identity and learning management systems – is a continuing goal with each release. To that end, we became SCORM conformant in 2011, we implemented Basic LTI interoperability standards earlier this year, and also support several custom LMS integrations.

In this release, we’re delivering on two big customer requests in this area. Panopto Mobile now supports single sign-on with Blackboard, Angel, Moodle, WebCT, and Sakai learning management systems, and the Panopto Focus recorders (both Windows and Mac) now support single sign-on with Instructure, Sakai, Desire2Learn and other BLTI-compliant learning management systems.

Additional Enhancements

As with every release, we’ve made a number of other updates across the platform to improve usability and performance:

  • Transcription API – Machine- or human-created transcriptions can now be imported into Panopto using an easy API. The API supports import of individual captions as well as entire transcripts.
  • Hotkey enhancements – The Mac recorder now supports hotkeys, and Windows recorder hotkeys can now be disabled if other applications use the same hotkeys.
  • Faster podcast playback with more options – Video podcasts will load and playback faster and can be rendered at three different quality levels (Low = 720×480/15fps/250kbps, Medium = 720×480/30fps/500kbps, High = 720×480/30fps/750kbps).
  • Simplified user creation – Administrators can now create user folders as part of the new user creation process.
  • Access control – Administrators can also restrict content sharing outside of their organization by disabling the ability of users to send session and folder invitations.

If you’re an existing Panopto customer, thank you as always for helping to shape our product with your feedback – we look forward to hearing your thoughts on the 4.2 release. If you’re not a Panopto customer, but are interested in learning more about our online video platform, request a free trial today.