2019 Panopto User Conference Report

2019 WAS A FIRST for Panopto, Duke’s lecture capture provider, in that they held their User Conference near company headquarters in downtown Seattle. As this was only their third North American user conference (the previous two were held in downtown Chicago), Panopto has been slow to venture into event hosting. We don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing as it gave the impression Panopto had been focused more on evolving their product platform when that was most needed instead of on PR. However, now that they are one of the clear leaders in the lecture capture space, it makes sense for them to begin to invest in building community through events like these. (It should be mentioned that they’ve had 5 conferences in the EU, so are a bit farther ahead there.)

Panopto 2019 User Conference Signage

This year’s conference suggests they are clearly hitting their stride. The event was well organized and well-attended, and offered a chance to meet and talk with peers from institutions all over the world as well as many of the folks on their Dev, Support, and Product teams we’ve worked with remotely but hadn’t met in person yet. The conference was hosted in an inviting venue called Block 41 that functioned as an ice house in an earlier era. The food was great, and there were nice touches that made guests feel welcome. Panopto staff seemed to always be around and available to assist or just to chat. Hats off to Panopto for putting on a great show.

Duke spoke on our use of automated recording, something we’ve been focused on from our earliest days with Panopto. Other peer sessions focused on technical elements such as integrations with LMS’s and room control systems, and there were a number of informative sessions from Panopto’s Dev team and executive leadership on product direction. One significant change CEO Eric Burns announced was a new in-browser recording tool that looks like it may be powerful and simple enough to replace certain use cases for recording via the downloadable client software. VP of Engineering Tim Sullivan gave a helpful talk on the product roadmap. Neither of those talks are publicly available, but I’m guessing Panopto will be making more public announcements about what’s ahead for them soon. We have a link to the talks that were recorded and will share that with any interested peer institutions (email oit-mt-info@duke.edu).

Panopto Conference Audience

The vendor selection was small but tightly focused group on core Panopto functions, such as appliances and captioning. Epiphan demoed it’s cool Pearl Mini, which offers webcasting to social media platforms in addition to simple lecture capture. It’s a higher end device with more manual controls than we need at Duke for automated recording, but impressive nonetheless. Shuttle was featuring its Panopto-certified device running Windows IoT (i.e., Windows 10 LTSB), and Matrox was showcasing its new Maevex 6020, the first true Linux appliance purpose-built for Panopto. We’ve been building and managing our own Windows appliances to work with Panopto at Duke since we started using Panopto in 2010. While we’ve worked out a lot of the kinks in the process over the years, the overhead in working with even the LTSB version of Windows is high, so the prospect of a Linux appliance is an interesting one to us.

Another nice part of the event for Duke was being able to participate on the new Internet2 NET+ Advisory Board for Panopto, which met the day before the conference in Panopto’s offices in historic Smith Tower. The Board consists of a number of schools who have been working with Panopto for some time, and is working now on developing some suggestions for Panopto as they consider their short and long-term product roadmap. Panopto’s investment in this group demonstrates their commitment to listening to customer feedback in an effort to make their product better. This type of responsiveness is something we’ve seen consistently from Panopto since we started using them in 2010, and is one of the reasons we remain satisfied with the product and services they offer.

Panasonic Fall Tech Tour – 10/27/15 9am-3pm

The Panasonic Fall Tech Tour is underway and will be in Raleigh next Tuesday 10/27 and Atlanta on Wednesday 11/4.  This will be a great opportunity to see some of our newest technology – including laser projectors, video walls, interactive displays and large screen 4K displays.  Please be sure to register by clicking on the link below.  Also – please invite others who you think would like to attend.  The event will run from 9 AM – 3 PM – breakfast and lunch will be provided.  For locations and more details, please click on the Register Now button below.  Hope to see you there!
Register Now
Steve Schwarz
Area Sales Manager-Higher Education
Panasonic System Communications Company of North America
C: 201-423-3778

InfoComm 2014 Review Web Chat

Last month Paul Zylowski, Mweshi “Moon” Ngandwe, and I did a live web chat discussing some of the various AV gear and technologies we saw on our recent trip to InfoComm 2014 this past June.  Below is a recording of the web chat.  The audio starts out a little muffled, but we changed mics around the 4:50 mark.

[youtube width=”640″ height=”360″]http://youtu.be/FIw6Rq-S2mc[/youtube]

Below is a list of vendors and products we spoke about with time markers for each vendor.  I’ve provided links to all the vendors and and many of the products we discuss in the recording.

Biamp –  00:45 – TesiraFORTÉ

Audix – 04:50 –  M3 Tri-Element Ceiling Microphone

Crestron – 06:00 – new DMPS (DMPS3-150-C), 4K products, new wireless panel (TST-902), Fusion RV, new fliptop boxes (FT-TSC600), 4K Ultra HD 7.1 Surround Sound AV Receiver (HD-XSPA)

Cisco – 21:15 – SX10, new Android touch panels, SpeakerTrack 60, DX70 and DX80

Vaddio – 26:45 – new RoboSHOT PTZ cameras, AV Bridge Matrix Pro, AV Bridge Conference, ConferencePOD

Da-Lite – 32:15 – IDEA Screen

Dimenco (misspelled in the video slide) – 36:35 –  Glasses Free 3D Display

Brother – 37:30 – PT-E550W Industrial Handheld Labeling Tool

LG – 39:55 – 105UC9 105-inch Curved Ultra HD TV

Liberty Cable – 40:42 – Universal HDMI Adapter Rings

Monoprice – 42:25 – AV cables, adapters, and various equipment

Panasonic – 44:15 – Professional 84″ and 98″ 4K Large Displays

Sony – 49:15 – 8K Projection

Cybertouch – 50:30 – Interactive monitors/tables

Hitachi – 51:15 – Ultra Short Throw Projector

Epson – 52:40 – PowerLite Pro G6750WUNL WUXGA 3LCD Projector

D-Tools – 54:25 – AV project management software

Crestron Winter 2013 Road Show

Crestron Winter 2013 Integrated by Design Road Show will be held on December 18th, 2013. They will be offering two  sessions, one targeted towards the Product and Applications, and the other for Programming and Commissioning Tools.


Morning Session
(9am – 11:30am)

Product and Applications Preview
Designed for audiovisual designers, engineers, and sales professionals, as well as clients that want to stay up-to-date on technology,  this session will include a product overview focusing on system application examples.

  • DigitalMedia™ Technology and Applications update
  • Crestron RL System
  • Crestron A/V Streaming and Solutions
  • New Control Solutions (more features with less wire)
  • New User Interface Product and Applications update
      Afternoon Session
(1pm – 3:30pm)

Updated Programming and
Commissioning Tools Training

Designed for programmers, installers, field engineers and DMC-Es, this presentation will provide an in-depth look at the software and programming to make it all work seamlessly.

  • DigitalMedia: Updated tools training
  • Understanding the Technical Side of Crestron RL
  • Technical Considerations for Streaming Applications
  • Programming Design for the best user experience
  • Upcoming programming and commissioning tools road map


Register now:

December 18, 2013
Marriott at Research Triangle Park
4700 Guardian Drive
Durham, North Carolina 27703

Click session name to register:
Product and Applications Preview
Updated Programming and Commissioning Tools Training

Whitlock Convergence 2013: Sony 3LCD Laser Projector

The OIT Interactive Technology Services team attended the Whitlock Convergence Collaborative Technology Summit on October 1, 2013 where many AV/IT technology leaders were represented, including Sony. One area they were covering is in the realm of laser projectors. Their 3LCD Laser Projector, VPL-FHZ55, includes many great features which include the following:

  • 4000 lumens at 1920×1200 resolution
  • 20000h maintenance free light source
  • 360 degree tilt
  • Picture by Picture (2 inputs for side by side content)
  • Edge Blending / Color Matching (multiple projectors to create one large seamless image)



WOW Vision Collab8

Screen Shot 2013-10-04 at 10.39.16 AM

The hot AV product this year for education seems to be wireless presentation gateways.  At this week’s Whitlock Convergence show in Durham we got to take a look at several of these devices including WOW Vision’s Collab8 collaboration device.   At first glance the Collab8 looked similar to the wireless presentation products Crestron and Teq AVIT are offering, but it offers a lot more than just wireless content presentation.  The Collab8 is a collaboration device.  It supports connections from wired and wireless participants with the option of inputing a document camera, video conferencing codec or any other HDMI outputting device.  The Collab8 also supports interactive touch displays, and has built-in cloud storage, whiteboard software, and support for 3rd party apps like WebEx, Skype, and the Microsoft Office suite.

I was impressed with all the thought that went into designing this device.  It is great to see devices like this and the Christie Brio which are taking wireless presentation gateways one step further.  Overall, the functionality may be a bit more than you may need if you are just simply looking for wireless presentation gateway.  However, if you are looking for a collaboration device this could be a good fit for your space.

Convergence Technology Summit: Sony BRC Series Updates

BRC Family

Several Duke OIT Staff members were on site today at the 2013 Convergence Technology Summit.  In addition to several seminars, numerous venders were on site to showcase their wares.  I thought I would focus on one of particular interest, the Sony BRC series cameras.

For several years I have been using the BRC series with much success.  The products have a near broadcast level of quality at a reasonable price point.  Indeed, several network television productions such as Hell’s Kitchen have employed them with a good deal of success but a true broadcast grade camera it is not.  The BRC-H700 will always have a special place in my heart but I was happy when Sony announced a still higher quality version in the BRC-H900.  They also began the sunset process of the H700 by upgrading it with the Z700.  I was also excited to take note of price reductions that make them more competitive to lower end PTZ cameras that are deeply penetrating the market place.

I was able to get hands on with the H900 and Z700’s today as well as their little cousin, the BRC-Z330.  Let me run down a list of features and thoughts.  First the Z900.

Comparing the H900 to the H700, you will notice the units kept the same basic chassis and previous R2D2 form factor.  The big difference comes in the sensors and lens.  You can easily see the lens is considerably larger than the H700.  Instead of the 1/3″ 3-chip CCD design the 900 uses a 1/2″ 3-chip CMOS array.  On top of that, you could see the lens glass itself was improved, there is a considerably larger surface area on which to collect and focus light.  The lens structure also has a threaded assembly to accept lens adapters for a greater range of wide or telephoto shots.  The chassis itself accepts a large range of cards that make it an integrators dream.  There is literally not situation in which this could not be installed due to a lack of connections.  Other features are very welcome for pro video users including tally lights and various mounting systems.  While the PTZ movement is not surgical like high end products from Eagle or Vinten/Radamec it is still better than lower end PTZ’s and good enough to be considered broadcast grade in wide shot situations.  The addition of network control, that allow 112 units to be manipulated from a single control surface located anywhere is sure to leave behind the dated RS-232 standards that PTZ’s have long relied upon.  I was very impressed with this camera, the light gathering capacity of the relatively large chips and the color fidelity was very impressive.  I hope to see one in our facilities at some point.

The Z700 replaces the venerable H700.  Though it’s important to note that the H700 is not discontinued it’s obvious it’s in its twilight.  The Z700 has a very nice Zeiss lens but transitions to 1/4″ 3-chip CMOS sensors away from the 1/3″ 3-chip CCD used in the H model.  Frankly, this was disappointing and I felt a bit cheated.  The CCD vs CMOS debate is ever present.  While in general both chip designs have their pro’s and con’s, no one will ever argue that smaller sensors are better in anyway…unless you’re building a spy cam.  One could argue the 3-chip design does increase the light gathering area when multiplied out but that division happens across a spectrum.  The commitment to keeping a 3 sensor design ultimately did impress me in terms of color but I still have reservations regarding sensor size.  Other cheaper PTZ cameras on the market make use of the larger 1/3″ chips, though in a single chip design.  From what I saw I was very happy with the color the camera produced but the lack of light gathering capacity in the dark show room was an obvious weak spot that would keep this camera out of low light spaces like theaters or dim classrooms.

The last camera in this line is the BRC-Z330.  This is the value champion of the group.  It actually steps back up to a 1/3″ sensor but on a single chip design.  So the good news is you get your light gathering surface area back but reduce the color fidelity you see from the 3-chip CMOS’s in the Z330’s big brothers.  That said, the camera is at a price and feature point below many of the low cost competitors that have under cut this line for years.  This did well in the show room’s low light and had a precision of movement that while far from watch like, was acceptable for wide shot on-air movements.



Whitlock Convergence 2013: Christie Brio

Several members of OIT ITS attended the Whitlock Convergence Collaborative Technology Summit on October 1st. It turned out to be a useful event with many major players in the classroom technology space represented and showing off their newest products. Many area educational and classroom technology specialists were in attendance, and it was a good opportunity to connect with them and catch up.

Among some of the interesting new technologies we saw were several products for wireless presentation.  One speaker at the conference said that in his opinion the A/V industry has failed users in this area, and he may have a valid point. Users have a hard time understanding how in 2013 it’s still not usually possible to walk into an A/V-equipped room and with a few clicks get the contents of their computer, tablet, or even phone, to display on the room’s projector without reading through manuals and calling support staff.

One product attempting to solve this problem and that we saw at the show was the Christie Brio, which has been generating a bit of interest on campus recently.


The Christie Brio combines up to five simultaneous video and audio presentations on up to two meeting room displays. It supports up to 2560 x 1600 pixels (both input and output) and includes two dual-link DVI-D inputs, which it combines with wireless inputs to make up the 5 presentations. The DVI inputs support up to 60fps and are intended for displaying HD video sources at their native resolutions. The wireless inputs support 30fps. The Brio streams audio wirelessly or via standard jacks to feed output to the meeting room sound system, and the system contains real time whiteboard capability. There is a web administration interface for configuring source layouts and accessing meeting management information.

Christie calls the device a “node,” and multiple nodes can be combined to create a single presentation. The form factor allows the unit to be racked, but is low profile enough to be installed in a boardroom credenza.

Unfortunately the application is Windows only at this time, although the sales rep we spoke with said Mac support is actively being worked on. For the time being, an Apple TV can be integrated with the device to create Mac support, but to our thinking that didn’t seem like an optimal solution, because if you go to the trouble to set up an Apple TV, you might be able to get away without the Brio.

I saw Sharon Kaiser and Tyler Eckard of Duke University School of Medicine at the show, and they mentioned they may be demoing the Christie Brio soon, so if you’re interested, you may want to touch base with them once they’ve had a chance to take it for a spin.

More information about the Christie Brio can be found here: http://www.christiedigital.com/en-us/business/products/christie-brio-presentation-and-collaboration-systems/pages/default.aspx

Clark Powell Fusion 2011 – AV Integration Show

Clark Powell, an AV integration company utilized by Duke for several projects, is sponsoring a show called Fusion 2011 at the Blake Hotel in Charlotte on Thursday, October 20th from 9 to 4. The 2010 Fusion Conference was held in Cary and they had about 400 attendees and 40 manufactures represented. Anyone in the Duke A/V, Broadcast, or Media community is welcome, it is a free, hands-on seminar.


2011 Fusion seminars will cover best practices and ideas for effective videoconferencing and video streaming, editing and production workflows, facility planning and maintenance, and deploying digital signage networks for better communication.
Attendees will see production workflow solutions, streaming tools, digital signage, cameras, turnkey editing systems, media storage systems, DVD duplication and replication tools, lighting equipment, audio equipment, presentation solutions, monitors and displays, touch panel control and automation systems.