This is a guide to help you plan your Ensemble Studio lecture capture deployment. For details on configuring and using Ensemble Studio, see:
- Monarch HD and LCS Video Inputs and Streaming Output
- Ensemble Video Dual Stream player
- Audio-Video Considerations
- Cloud-hosted with Local Recorder
- Network Diagram – Self-hosted
- Network Diagram – Cloud-hosted
- Network Diagram – Cloud-hosted with Local Recorder
Introducing Ensemble Studio
Ensemble Studio is a lecture capture solution that enables fully-automated scheduled video recording or ad-hoc recording. Administrators register streaming appliances (Ethernet connected devices with video/audio inputs that will encode and stream video) located in classrooms, meeting rooms, interview rooms, or wherever there is a video source and network connection and a need to automate video recording and streaming. Ensemble Studio software takes control of these devices to start and stop streaming and recording as needed.
An Ensemble Studio tab in Ensemble Video enables you and your users view and control your streaming/recording appliances. You and your users can just click a button to start and stop recording as needed. Whenever a recording is started, the live stream content is viewable in real-time, while the recording is on-going.
You can also set up fully-automated scheduled recordings that happen with no user intervention at all.
The scheduling function includes the ability to schedule recurring recordings that can repeat for whatever period of time you desire.
You can also set up automatic publishing for scheduled recordings so that they will be published to a specific Ensemble Video playlist when the recording is complete. This can be used to automatically update content in a Learning Management System or other publishing platform external to Ensemble Video.
Any streaming/recording appliance that is registered in Ensemble Studio becomes a resource, and administrators can assign Ensemble Studio permissions to enable different types of access. This allows administrators to control who, when, and where users can start and stop recordings, and who can manage device settings, schedules, and user access. These permissions can be assigned as needed to support uses in wide ranging venues including classrooms, meeting rooms, studios, interview rooms, or event rooms.
- Access Scheduled Recording Permission – enables users to view and control a recording appliance during a specific scheduled time when the recordings are designated for a library the user has access to. Users can start and stop streaming/recording only during scheduled times. This enables fully automated scheduled recording where the end user doesn’t have to do anything to start the recording, but they can stop (and restart) recording as needed. This permission is assigned as a default permission to all Ensemble Video Contributors and is useful for automated classroom lecture capture.
- Make Recording Permission – gives a user full-control of the device at any time. User can log into Ensemble Video, navigate to the Ensemble Studio Tab, and Stop and Start recordings at any time. Enables users to start and stop recording whenever needed, for example you may want to grant only a handful of users ad-hoc recording permission to a Matrox Monarch recording device located in an auditorium or event center.
- Allowed IP Address – this is assigned in the Studio Setup Settings area, and it defines a specific computer that will have access to start and stop recordings. This is most often used to register a computer located in the same room as the recording/streaming appliance (e.g., typically a computer that is integrated into the room’s audio-video system). Any Ensemble Video user logged into Ensemble Video from that computer will be able to start and stop recording. This can be useful for employees who are Ensemble Video users and have access to a meeting room where a Monarch is installed.
- Manage Recording Device Permission – This is for administrators, so they can have full access to start and stop recordings at any time, manage settings and set up automated recording schedules.
Matrox Streaming/Recording Appliances
Ensemble Studio is designed to control two types of streaming/recording appliances, both from Matrox Inc., an industry leading video technology company headquartered in Montreal, Canada. Administrators simply add devices to their network with an IP address, register the devices in Ensemble Studio, then configure them to suit the usage scenario. Ensemble Studio then controls the devices to enable fully automated ad-hoc and scheduled streaming/recording.
Two Matrox streaming/recording appliances are supported:
Video in - 1 HDMI Input
Audio in - from HDMI
Single stream recording only
Video in -2 HDMI inputs and 1 SDI input
Audio in - from HDMI, SDI or unbalanced analog stereo input via 1/8” (3.5mm) jack
Supports single or dual stream recording and playback
The Monarch HD supports a single input and single stream recording. The Monarch LCS supports two inputs, so it can be configured to support video streaming/recording on one of 4 configurations.
- Dual Isolated – two inputs are active, and the two inputs create two separate streams/recordings
- Side-by-side – two inputs are active, but they are composited together into a single side-by-side stream/recording
- Picture-in-Picture - two inputs are active, but they are composited together into a single picture-in-picture stream/recording
- Single Isolated – A single input is active, and there is a single output stream/recording
Ensemble Video Dual Stream Player
The Monarch LCS in Dual Stream mode, which most customers choose to use, enables simultaneous streaming and recording of two streams. Most often this is an instructor and a computer output or document camera.
The Ensemble Video Dual stream player lets the user control how they want to view the two streams. They can choose among various Picture-in-Picture layouts, side-by-side, or full screen on just one stream (instructor) or the other (computer or document camera output).
If you have multiple video sources connected to the Monarch HD or Monarch LCS, and you switch inputs while streaming such that video resolution is changed, the Monarch will need to re-start streaming/recording to re-configure video handling within the device. This will cause multiple recordings. For that reason, we strongly recommend that audio-video professionals implement a Scaler wherever that scenario occurs.
For example, in the case of the Monarch HD, there may be multiple inputs controlled by a switcher, and the output of that should go through a scaler to ensure that there are no resolution changes when users switch inputs.
For the Monarch LCS, there is typically a single camera aimed on the instructor for one input, but the other input may have a switcher and multiple inputs connected. Here again we recommend a scaler between the video switcher and the Monarch LCS.
Ensemble Studio -- Network Architecture
The Ensemble Studio software, which is bundled within the Ensemble Video Web application, controls the Monarch HD and LCS devices with calls to the API over port 80. When a recording is started the LCS or HD starts one or two live streams that are sent to a Wowza server (over port 1935) where the streams are recorded. Users can also view the live stream while it is recording.
Once the recording is complete, it is transferred to the storage location for the Ensemble Video Library and the video-on-demand recording is added as an item to that Library.
There are three different scenarios for how these three components can be configured.
Many customers deploy this solution in a campus environment where the Monarch devices, Ensemble Video server, and Wowza Streaming Engine are all hosted on the campus network. In this scenario, all the Monarch API calls, Monarch video streams, and recording is managed on the same network, behind the campus firewall.
Another option is to deploy Monarch HD and LCS units in classrooms or meeting rooms in your institution but manage the devices and perform all recording using cloud-hosted Ensemble Video. In this case ports need to be open from the Monarch devices to the cloud-hosted Ensemble Video server (port 80) and to the cloud-hosted Wowza Streaming Engine server (port 1935).
Cloud Hosted with Local Recorder
With the cloud-hosted configuration, there is some potential for Internet connection bottlenecks to disrupt smooth streaming/recording from the on-premise Monarch to the Ensemble Video cloud servers. With dual streaming, the bandwidth utilization for a single LCS unit can be several Mbps of streaming traffic, and you must be sure you have a very robust Internet connection to support streaming/recording the cloud. Deploying a local Wowza Streaming Engine server on the campus network, so that all streaming and recording is happening over the campus network which is well suited and architected to support high-bandwidth application, and alternative scenario that can prevent disruption due to Internet connectivity challenges. In this case, the Ensemble Video cloud-hosted server controls the Monarch devices but streaming and recording all goes through the local Wowza server. Recordings are automatically uploaded to the Ensemble Video cloud-hosted Wowza Streaming engine upon completion.
Network Diagram – Self-hosted
Network Diagram – Cloud-hosted
Network Diagram – Cloud-hosted with Local Recorder