De Anza College Equips Classrooms with Lecture Capture
- By Dian Schaffhauser
De Anza College, a two-year school in Cupertino, CA, has found success with a TrackView system from Vaddio for recording lectures with video, audio, and graphics. The new system, which is used in the college's broadcast media center, includes a document camera, a DVD/VCR, video-on-demand server, and an instructor computer/electronic tablet combination that enables the instructor to make annotations over the computer display. It also features two cameras for capturing video, the Sony EVI-D70 camera with a wide-angle lens to act as the "reference" camera and a Sony EVI-HD1 to handle tracking. The instructor wears a wireless microphone to transmit audio.
"Our selection of the Vaddio TrackView system was based on a combination of price and functionality," said Edward Breault, television systems engineer. "TrackView does not require the instructor to carry a tracking sensor so the teaching environment is more natural for faculty to teach without having to do something special or to remember to put on something special."
Video and audio/graphic materials are recorded to a Web encoder that can be started manually by the instructor using a touchscreen panel or through an automated scheduling program. The AV content is recorded on the campus video server and the graphic material is recorded on the campus Web server. Once the recording is done, the content is available almost immediately.
The system allows for the drawing of "masks," small blocks of video area that limit the camera tracking. "You draw over the image from the reference camera to identify what areas of the teaching area will sense motion and what area will be ignored," Breault said. "Two important portions of the reference camera shot that should be blocked off from motion detection are the classroom display screen and the students' heads in the front of the classroom." This set-up allows the tracking camera to capture the instructor's movement as he or she moves about the space.
De Anza's media center also includes a "student director desk," which provides a means for an operator to control production. The desk equipment provides the operator with access to the instructor control panel, a Vaddio ProductionView FX video switcher, and two additional pan/tilt/zoom cameras. Those additional cameras allow the operator to select from three camera shots, the auto tracking camera, a front student question camera, and a second rear-mounted camera.
The college is currently constructing a new media learning center that will offer 11 more classrooms similarly outfitted.
Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.