Epson Demonstrates Pro L1300U

This past week, Epson provided an overview of their Pro L1300U projector at the Technology Engagement Center. The projector is an impressive 8,000-lumen beast, specifically designed for medium to large environments where image and color accuracy matters.

The laser light engine is designed to provide 20,000 hours of near maintenance-free service. If you’ve ever seen an AV technician’s eyes light up when they talk about laser projectors… it’s due to the reality that they wouldn’t need to service the projector for nearly 10+ years under normal usage scenarios. For example, if a projector is used six hours a day, five days a week, for 50 weeks a year, that’s about 1500 hours a year. Divide 1500 by the expected 20,000 life of the laser engine, and we’re looking at about 13 and a half years! Now if we could only get the faculty, staff, and students to turn off the projectors (half kidding).

Key Features:
Image Quality: While the projector has a native WUXGA resolution of 1920×1200, it also has a “4K enhancement feature.” Wait… don’t close your browser just yet. I’m generally suspicious of such “marketing-ese,” but it actually seemed to work as advertised. The image seemed to be somewhere between 1920×1200 and a 4K image in terms of quality, so chalk me up to impressed.

Service: Epson offers a good service plan for high use cases. If something should fail with the projector while it’s under warranty, you can get a replacement drop-shipped overnight. That’s music to my AV technician’s ears and sets Epson apart from some of the low-end projector manufacturers.

Lens Options: Simply put, Epson has an impressive array of unique lens options for their projectors. Access the right lens can make or break an AV install in a unique space.

Chameleon Mode: Wouldn’t it be nice if you could swap out your non-Epson projector with a new Epson, and not need to reprogram the AV system? Yes, this is a feature of Epson’s current generation of projectors. You can set the projector to respond to commands from a number of other projector manufacturers. Considering the cost of having an AV system reprogrammed, this could be a great cost-saving measure if you aren’t happy with your current projector or want to test an Epson in your space before purchasing.

As the price of laser projectors fall, Epson continues to lead the pack in many ways and their “sneak peek” roadmap seemed to reinforce that opinion. We look forward to seeing their new offerings soon.

Warpwire Workflows and Guides

Many of you by now are familiar with Warpwire’s support website since we feature their collection of video tutorials, called Guides, in the Help section of our service landing page.  Warpwire recently added a new section to their support site, called Workflows. These Workflows show how to use Warpwire from the standpoint of particular use cases, such as when an instructor wants to provide feedback to students via video, or when an instructor in a language course would like to review video or audio clips of her students practicing speaking skills.

Below are some of the new Warpwire Workflows we think you might find helpful. If there are other use cases you would like for Warpwire to consider adding, please feel free to reach out to oit-mt-info@duke.edu and let us know your ideas so that we can share them with the company. And as always, if there are particular features you would like to see in Warpwire that don’t currently exist, we want to hear about those too:

For those of you who aren’t yet familiar with Warpwire’s video Guides, below is a selection of some of the tutorials we think users at Duke might find most useful, especially when they are starting out:

 

Warpwire 2.2.3 Now Offers Downloading

One of the oft-cited feature requests we’ve received for Warpwire since we began running it at Duke in 2014 is the ability for asset owners to download their media files from the system. With Warpwire 2.2.3, which we launched on January 3rd, we now have that ability. Since Warpwire’s main purpose is to function as a secure streaming platform, this feature is only available to Media Library Administrators, asset owners, or Warpwire System Administrators. Any users with these permissions will see the download option by default for the assets to which they have rights, as shown in the image below:
Warpwire download link
You can also add the ability to download files manually for any particular users you assign access to your recordings via the Share menu in Warpwire as shown in the image below:
It should be mentioned that Warpwire doesn’t save your original files, so what you’ll be presented with when you select the download option is a list of the three different encoded formats Warpwire created from your original files, as shown in the image below. If you need a file sharing service for keeping your originals, we recommend duke.box.com.
 Warpwire download options

New Features at Rev.com

Rev.com, currently the most widely utilized caption service provider at Duke, just announced some new features we wanted to let you know about. All are included at no extra charge in their standard $1.00 per minute service. For more information about getting started with Rev or another caption provider, you can visit https://oit.duke.edu/what-we-do/services/captioning. You may also be interested in attending A Hands-on Guide to Captioning at Duke, a Learn IT@Lunch session scheduled for Wednesday, January 31, 2018 in which OIT’s Joel Crawford Smith and Todd Stabley will discuss video captioning at Duke and help you set up an account with Rev and get started captioning your videos.

Browser-based Captions Editor: It makes minor fixes, converting formats and frame rates. You can access it on any Order Detail page by clicking “edit”. Or give it a test run here: https://www.rev.com/captions-editor/sandbox

Rev's new browser-based caption editor

Rev’s new browser-based caption editor

Browser-based Transcript Editor: Allows changes like formatting, speaker labels, etc. If you order timestamps, Rev gives you a transcript with word by word timestamps that play along with your file. You can test it out here: https://www.rev.com/transcript-editor/sandbox

Turnaround: Rev reduced transcription turnaround by 25% and caption turnaround by 50% over the last 12 months.

Revver network: Rev crossed 14,000 monthly active Revvers (freelancers who transcribe and caption). 90% are based in US/Canada. This allows us to turn around large volumes with high quality. Rumor has it a Duke staffer who thought they were quite qualified to be a Rev captions editor and was rejected. Say it isn’t so!

Support coverage: Rev expanded their 24/7 support to the weekends as well.

Additional improvements: custom timestamp offset for transcripts, PDF and TXT transcript outputs, and improved Rev API support.

If any of our peer Universities are interested in speaking with Rev, feel free to reach out to us and we’ll connect you.

Wolfvision Cynap


First announced at InfoComm 2015, the Wolfvision Cynap continues to add and enhance core features to the device to adapt to the changing wireless connectivity landscape. To categorize the Cynap as a wireless presentation and collaboration device is a disservice to the robust capabilities of what Wolfvision has created. The Cynap can also acts as a media player, provide web conferencing for Skype for Business, provides app-free, dongle-free mirroring, it can also stream mixed content to services like YouTube and Facebook, and offers robust recording capabilities. Also, it has basic whiteboard and annotation functionality. Finally, the Cynap can receive content from two HDMI inputs or you can stream content to the device as additional inputs (think digital signage), and that’s just the tip of the iceberg… literally.

It would take five DDMC posts to cover the core features of the Cynap. Unfortunately, that brings me to the core “gotcha” of the system. With such an advanced piece of hardware, comes complexity (aka feature fatigue) and cost. The device is outside the budget of a small/medium sized huddle room upgrade. Also, the device would need to exist in an environment where the user base is willing to self-train on the functionality of the Cynap, or offer an on-site trainer to train and evangelize the product. That said, if you found the right group of users that could take advantage of the vast capabilities of the Cynap, it could be an incredibly powerful tool.

 

New Interactive Walking & Bike Tours App

This past year interest in a pilot service called MyTours has been growing as users across campus discover it and learn about its many benefits. Through MyTours, you can easily create walking or bicycle tours by uploading images, videos, audio, and text through a web browser, and geo-locate each stop on a map so users can navigate from point to point. When finished, these tours can be published in the iTunes and Google Play Stores for easy access by anyone around the globe through two apps called Duke Explore (for public content) and Duke Location Learning (for course-based content or content with a narrower audience).

A few examples of how this tour is currently being used include:

  • A tour for new employees in the Duke University Health System
  • A sculpture tour of the Duke Campus
  • A bilingual walking tour of Montreal created by students in the Duke in Montreal French immersion program
  • A tour mapping out “Hidden Durham,” showcasing landmarks and special places of historical significance in Durham

We are opening up the use of MyTours more widely throughout the Duke Community and would love to help you brainstorm ideas for tours that would help enhance the work you and your customers do. If you are interested in learning more about this service, contact oit-mt-info@duke.edu and someone will contact you to set up a time to discuss your project and show you how to use the tool.

Those of you who are already using MyTours should note that with a recent upgrade we added the ability to embed the following elements into your tours:

  • 360-degree photos
  • 3D models
  • Panorama photos

An important future direction we are exploring is the ability to leverage cutting edge indoor positioning technology. MyTours already lets you upload custom maps for indoor tours, but down the road we want to create more nuanced location-based awareness for indoor applications.

 

Panopto Rated a Leader in Gartner Magic Quadrant

Congratulations are in order for Panopto, the classroom and mobile recording system that has been the flagship for DukeCapture since 2010. Gartner, one of the most respected American research firms that provides market analysis in the IT space, has just selected Panopto as a “Leader” in the Enterprise Video Content Management Space, the highest of four categories in its Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Video Content Management. Its interesting to see Panopto distinguish itself from Mediasite (Sonic Foundry) here, since Mediasite has long been regarded as the top player in the lecture capture space that gave rise initially to both of these tools. Enterprise video content management is a product category occupied historically by players such as Kaltura and Brightcove, and Warpwire is a newcomer into this space. Historically, content management systems have been thought of as different from lecture capture tools, but both Panopto and Mediasite have taken steps to blur those boundaries, as this Gartner report shows. It will be interesting to see how the two product spaces interact in the coming months, and how players such as Warpwire and Panopto fare. You can be sure we will be monitoring these trends closely and continuing to engage our campus video community to see how these evolving trends could create new opportunities for Duke.

screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-9-29-51-am

High Quality Video and Photos from iOS to YouTube and Facebook

Camera technology for mobile devices has made big strides in recent times, and it’s possible to shoot great quality photos and videos from your phone or tablet. (And we’re poised for another even bigger leap as 4k makes its way to the mobile world.) Unfortunately sometimes preserving all that quality at your publishing points can be tricky because most apps dumb down resolution and compression by default in order to scale to their massive audiences. Most leave the door open to your being able to get better results, however. Here are a couple tips:

Facebook Mobile Default Quality vs. Original

Facebook Mobile Default Quality vs. Original

Uploading the full quality 1080p video you shot on your iPhone to YouTube

To get full 1080p videos from your iPhone into YouTube, you’ll need to avoid uploading directly from Camera Roll, as the integration with YouTube there only supports a 720p HD setting at the top end. To get full 1080p, you can upload directly from YouTube’s mobile app, or from the separate app YouTube offers for editing called Capture. Check the settings in both of these apps to make sure 1080p is set as the default.

Avoiding noticeable image degradation when uploading photos to Facebook 

I’m a stickler for photo quality, so I noticed it recently when photos I uploaded via Facebook mobile looked poor compared to the originals. Experimenting with different ways of getting photos into Facebook, I found the following. I have an 8-megapixel iphone 6, (3264 x 2448):

  • Uploading via Facebook Desktop resulted in 2048 x 1536 files
  • Uploading directly via the iOS Facebook app defaulted in 960 x 720
  • When I chose the Upload HD option in the iOS Facebook app (see instructions below), the resulting images were 1280 x 960

One option you have if you need to use your phone and want the highest possible quality is to open a browser and log in to your account at m.facebook.com. Uploading my photos this way produced 2048 x 1536 files.

If you don’t care about that full quality but still want your photos to look better than the default 960 x 720, follow these steps to enable the Upload HD setting for FB Mobile:

  1. Open the Facebook app on your phone
  2. Press the More button at the bottom of the screen
  3. Settings
  4. Account Settings
  5. Videos and Photos
  6. Photo Settings
  7. Turn on Upload HD

With 4k on its way to Mobile devices, we’ll likely need to revisit all this down the road…

Warpwire Summer Upgrade: New Features

The Warpwire team has been working hard all summer on v. 1.8, which contains a wide range of new features we’re very excited to be able to share with the Duke community as of this morning when we went live with our upgrade. Here are the highlights:
  • A completely new Video Player with improved streaming performance, multispeed playback (.25x, .5x, 1.0x, 1.25x, 1.5x, 2x), and inline sharing
  • User Hotspot Analytics–Media Library admins and asset owners can view which users have watched a video, with custom date ranges and can view which segments a user has watched
  • Custom Video Thumbnail – Choose from up to 10 possible frames from the video as the video thumbnail
  • New admin tools including the ability for admins to “Become a user” for support and troubleshooting
You can select a thumbnail for your videos in Warpwire 1.8!

You can select a thumbnail for your videos in Warpwire 1.8!

This list represents just a small portion of the new features and bug fixes this release provides. Full details can be found at the link below. If you have questions about any of these features, as always, feel free to reach out to us via the OIT Service Desk at oit.duke.edu/help.

http://www.warpwire.com/release-notes/

Raving about the Epiphan AV.io & the Pearl (and Possible Demo for Duke)

Epiphan Pearl

EPIPHAN is a name many of you will recognize, as they’ve been creating hardware devices for bringing external signals into applications for capture or real time communication for about 13 years. The VGA2USB and DVI2USB are framegrabbers that have enjoyed great popularity over the years. But two relatively new products are shaking things up a bit, and we wanted to make sure they were on your radar and let you know Epiphan is interested in doing a demo for us.

First, the AV.io HD is poised to succeed the DVI2USB by innovating in two key areas–usability and cost. It’s about $350.00 vs $700.00 for the DVI2USB. The AV.io HD lacks the customizability of the DVI2USB (i.e., the ability to set things like frame rate, color palette and cropping), but those features are likely to involve specialized use cases. The other key innovation offered by the AV.io is that is uses OS-level drivers, so it’s pretty much plug and play, as we’ve come to expect with peripheral devices such as USB cameras. The AV.io HD did a great job meeting a need recently to record footage at Duke from an electron microscope as part of one of our Coursera courses.

AV.io HD

Last October, we wrote about the Epiphan Pearl, an appliance that represents a big jump for Epiphan from simple capture to a full broadcasting, switching and recording platform. Since then, the Pearl has continued to wow users with its user-friendliness and powerful combination of features. This four minute video does a good job of showing what the Pearl can do:

[youtube width=”640″ height=”360″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=icx4IJvspo4[/youtube]

If you are interested in participating in a demo of these and other Epiphan products, please email oit-mt-info@duke.edu to let us know.

Thanks!

-Todd