Multi-campus university produces and streams lectures to all platforms without a hitch using the NDI protocol and TriCaster TC 1.
The University of Agder in the south of Norway is not known to lag behind when it comes to adapting new technology. To make sure as many students as possible could benefit from all teaching, they started recording and distributing lectures around a decade ago.
“In the past, we’d take a camera to the lectures, film the session, edit the start and end, upload and distribute this to the students,” explains Rolf Sigurd Løvland, IT project leader at the University of Agder.
Today that process seems somewhat old-fashioned and cumbersome, and the university has come a long way since then.
How the NDI protocol changed the game
“We now apply 17 remote control Panasonic AW-HE130KE cameras across two campuses in Grimstad and Kristiansand. These are controll
ed by two TriCaster TC 1 video editing suits from NewTek, allowing for a professional production of some 150 hours a week of live streaming,” says Løvland.
What has really made life easier for his team, however, is NewTek’s Network Device Interface (NDI) protocol. This allows multiple video systems to identify and communicate over IP.
It can encode, transmit and receive many streams of high-quality, low-latency video and audio in real time, and is fast becoming a standard in the broadcasting industry.
But as Rolf Sigurd Løvland explains, it is also ideal for live streaming university lectures to students who cannot be physically present.
Plug and play
“When we at first started live streaming lectures, there was always a lot ofconfiguration to go through – finding the right IP address, which port and which protocol to use.
“Now, with TriCaster and NDI, any box connected in any auditorium will automatically appear on the TriCaster – it is simply plug and play, and we save a lot of time,” says Løvland.
“NDI allows any device to see any other NDI-enabled devices over a standard Ethernet network,” explains Torgrim Bødalen, Sales Advisor at Mediability which has been delivering equipment to the University of Agder for many years.
“This means a TriCaster can choose sources both from physically linked cameras and from other sources linked via an IP network.”
Rolf Sigurd Løvland, Martine Alice Forsmo and the rest of the IT team produce some 150 hours of live streaming a week
From simple streams to more advanced productions
The university’s IT team is responsible for filming and streaming some 35 different courses live, which adds up to some 150 hours of live productions a week.
“Some lectures are simply streamed using remote control cameras trailed on the lecturer. But the TriCaster edit suite also allows us to make more advanced productions, cutting to PowerPoint presentations or other additional material,” says Rolf Sigurd Løvland.
His team has also successfully broadcast lectures that are heavily dependent on blackboard work, like mathematics.
“In addition to auditorium productions, we also have designated studios where lecturers can make their own recordings and immediately distribute it to their students.”
Total cross-platform availability
All the live streams are also available for viewing later via the university’s Canvas learning management system, on any platform students might choose.
The combination of remote control cameras, the TriCaster production suite and NDI means the entire output can be produced by just a handful of people.