Sal E

Getting To Know The Room

The room has two video cameras, two large screens (the one closest to the exit is called centre and the one closer to the the desk is smart) and a tv-set (called teacher). One camera is pointed at the boards, one pointed at the audience. There are one laptop that controls recording and can show slides. Another cable (VGA) can be used to attach an external computer.

For audio pickup you have two portable microphones. They are called yellow and black because of the coloring of the plastic shell around the front buttons/LCD of the battert pack. The yellow has a "sock" on the microphone head. The black one has a bare head.

The room is mainly controlled using two units, the AMX (a touch sensitive screen), and a remote control/handset during the class. You also have the laptop that controls recording, SharingSlides and saving sketches from the smart board. It has to be on to be able to record.

On the AMX you can:

  • set up the data sources for the screens/TV-set
  • control the volume of the microphones
  • set the level of the lights
  • turn on and off the recording sessions/streaming video

Note that in the evening the room requires a pin-code to unlock the AMX. This to prevent from unauthorized use of the room. In the past there was problem with people using the room as a film theater, increasing wear on equipment and not cleaning up after themselves. Talk to Leffe at Förvaltningen to get the code.

On the handset you:

  • place calls
  • choose cameras
  • pan and zoom the rear camera

Although the system can both be used as a recording system AND a video conferencing system it is not well suited for both at the same time. It does not record two videostreams so you have to switch manually or let the system decide what source should be recorded based on audio input.

Also, to make GOOD recordings that are useful as recorded video lectures together with slides you should probably stand by the the front desk and not move around. The panning capabilities are not smooth and if you move around it will be hard focusing on you while still having closeups. That means that if you move around the only good solution not to have jerking and choppy camera movements is to zoom far out resulting in a cluttered view. Also standing in front of the screens result in poor video quality due to high contrast differences.

The smart boart/screen can be used to draw and write on. If the control application is started on the laptop you can use the smart board as a standard whiteboard but where you can switch between boards and save the annotations.

Starting Up The Room

  1. Press Video conference on the AMX.
  2. Turn on the laptop.
  3. Log into the laptop. If you intend to record your class you must log on as Administrator, otherwise you can log in as teacher. The password is the same for both accounts. You can get the password from the technical staff at "Förvaltningen" or ask at the department. Passwords will NOT be posted in this Wiki!
  4. Open a web browser to log on to the network (get an IP-address).
  5. Press the button Koppla in the StreamSync Encoder window.
  6. Turn on the TV in the back of the classroom and the VU-meter.
  7. Check that all microphones works. You can see the level on the VU-meter over the TV-set.

    • The two microphones for the teachers should be checked too. The levels on them should be the same, check the INPUT setting on the side.
    • The student microphone has a quite low setting. Increase the volume on this using the AMX.

      1. Press Audio
      2. Press STUDENT MIC's in the IN frame
      3. Increase the volume to maximum and decrease it by three "clicks"

Sharing Slides

When sharing for example slides with Netmeeting the trouble is that you cannot share an application before you have connected to the other side. That is, the sequence to share slides is as follows:

  • Start Netmeeting
  • Start the video conference and connect to the other side
  • Share the application, for example Powerpoint, using Netmeeting

Now the other side should be able to see the slides.

Placing A Call

To call someone you need the handset/remote control. Press the green button (marked "Call/Hang-up") to view the menu.

Dialling a number directly

  1. Choose Video call
  2. Enter the IP-address of the callee

Calling a contact

  • Open up the address book. On the first screen you have the Speed dial that shows the last six numbers called.
  • Choose Address book to view the entire book.

Finding Out Your Address

Press green button ("Call/Hang-up"). At the bottom screen you have "My IP".

Currently it is 130.237.214.224

Using The Smart Board

The smart board is a "virtual" whiteboard where you can draw on the board using the special markers and erase using the round eraser. If you start the control application (found in the system tray of the control laptop chained to the desk) you can save the writing/drawings and create new blank boards and go forth and back through the boards.

Click on the smart board control icon in the tray on the laptop and select Notebook...

When you are done you can save your board(s) to recall at a later time.

Helpful Hints

Here you can find collected knowledge and hints on using the system.

Preparations

  • Get spare batteries for the portable microphones
  • Wipe the whiteboard
  • Close the blue curtains behind the teachers desk unless that whiteboard is needed. Picture quality is much better against the blue curtain than the whiteboard.
  • Put the microphone on the left side of the speakers jacket/sweater and make sure it is not covered by scarves etc.
  • Make sure the white retractable projector screen is fully up (the one in front of center and smart) or it will block view from the front camera.

Slides

  • White background is bad to film against and shows poorly on the video.
  • Use LARGE letters. Small text is impossible to read on the recorded streams.

Information to the class/teacher

  • Inform the students that they have to press the button when they wish to talk and that they must keep it depressed while talking. It is not a button to get attention, it is to enable the microphones and let the front camera focus on the speaker. Also they should not be too eager to speak, but rather wait until they see that the red light over the screens light up (indicating that the microphone is on). Also, if the center screen is set to show the videoconference they can also see when the camera has focused upon them.
  • When speaking to the other side at video conferences, the teacher should speak into the TV at the back of the classroom NOT into the large screen that the classroom sees. It is the rear camera that is active and if they speak into the large screen the audience will only see the back of the speaker! While it is possible to try to use the front camera in this case, it is not recommended. Then you "loose" one camera and have to manually "reset" it to show the teacher after each time the audience wish to ask a question. Also the camera angle is not optimal and cannot cover all areas in front of the whiteboards. Thus this is not recommended!
  • Remind the teacher to think about how he/she moves around and behaves:

    1. They should not be standing in front of the projectors, the video quality is poor at best.
    2. What is the recording intended for? Is it for future use? Then the best quality would be if the camera shows a closeup of the lecturer standing still behind the desk with the blue curtains closed and using slides instead of writing on the whiteboard. Although the lecture might be "stiff" and boring from the attending audiences point of view it is much better when viewing the recorded video. On the other hand, a lecture where the teacher moves around a lot will force the camera to be zoomed far out which will make him/her a tiny figure that is hard to see. To pan the camera is not really possible since there is a lag in the controls.
    3. When posing a question they should be posed so that both sides have the opportunity to answer. The problem is that the remote side are slower to react. Perhaps the teacher should pose questions directly at the other side from time to time.
  • When a group of speakers share microphone by passing it around and hold it in the hand rather than pinning it to the sweater/jacket they must not hold it directly in front of the mouth or breating will be heard.

Controls

  • Using the Advanced control under Video conference you can turn on and off Picture in Picture. This might be desireable if you wish to show video and not have the other side visible on screen.
  • When a student releases the button which activates the six roof mounted microphones, they all mute. You must enable them using the AMX if you wish them to be on.
  • Press Zoom to escape from the menus when using the handset.
  • The system do not remember which camera was active. After a student releases the talk button the system resets to showing the back camera even if the front was active. You can switch back by pressing the NEAR button on the remote to activate the on screen menu and then the number corresponding to the cam you want. Usually it is 4 or 1.

Finding Your Recordings

The recorded sessions can be found at http://streamweb.it.kth.se/auto

Unlocking Doors

It is possible to open the doors if you have visitors that do not have access to the classroom using their cards. In order to do this you need to have your pass card to be configured to be able to unlock doors, not just open them. You must check with the technical staff to see if your card has this.

You should NOT unlock the door in the corridor. To that door there is a PIN code that you can give the students so they can enter. You can get that code from Leif at Förvaltningen (floor 7 at Forum). Unlocking the door should only be an option when you can be close to that door so you can keep track of who enters. Unlocking the door in the corridor would let anyone through without you knowing.

To open the door

  1. Press A
  2. Swipe the card
  3. Press the number of hours the door should be unlocked, for example 3 if you want it to be unlocked for three hours.
  4. Press A

To lock the door before the time is up

  1. Press B
  2. Swipe the card
  3. Press B

Leaving The Room

  • Turn off the TV-set
  • Turn off the VU-meter
  • Turn off the microphones (portable)
  • Turn off the computer
  • Power down the equipment using the AMX
  • Turn off the lights (using the AMX or the button on the wall)
  • Lock the door if it has been unlocked and the time is not up yet

Debugging And Testing Remote Sessions

Hopefully there will be hints on how to test and debug remote video conferencing sessions here soon.