Matrox VS4Recorder Pro Forms Hub of Groundbreaking Research Facility at the University of Melbourne
As any teacher knows, capturing the attention of a classroom full of students can be a difficult art. Try then, capturing every word, every expression and every piece of work a student produces during a lesson.
The Science of Learning Classroom at the University of Melbourne is a brand new state of the art facility designed to capture all social interaction in classrooms at a level of detail not previously attempted. Situated at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education (currently ranked number two in the world), a team of technicians devised a solution for capturing the extremely rich audio and video data produced in various classroom settings. A computer farm of custom built Matrox VS4-based turnkey systems, integrated by specialist computer-reseller Advanced Audio Visual & Music Technology (AAVIM Technology) in Australia, was teamed with the very latest VS4Recorder Pro software from Matrox.
VS4Recorder Pro with its VS4Control feature let the team easily network four VS4 machines in a master/ slave configuration to capture up to 16 channels of HD video. Cameron Mitchell, technical manager of the new facility explains the decision to go with Matrox and the VS4 solution. “We have high-profile international researchers from the fields of education, neuroscience and cognitive psychology all working together to better understand the learning process between students and teachers. We looked at every system available that could do synchronous AV capture of multiple channels. Some were complicated and astronomically expensive, others simply unreliable. When we first got our hands on the new VS4Recorder Pro software, it just worked, and we couldn’t believe the economical pricing for a complete four-channel recording solution. This, for us, is a real game changer!”
The new Melbourne facility features 16 channels of HD capture and up to 32 channels of audio which gives an extremely fine-grained perspective of the classroom. Additional features were added to the room to put the control of sessions into the hands of researchers. For example, each researcher can have an iPad to control a personal audio monitor mix from within the control room. Traditional two-way communication systems also allow direct conversation between researchers and teachers. In addition, messaging/chat capabilities allow discreet communication via iPads.
A bank of Apple TV units captures student laptop or iPad screens for realtime records of student work in the classroom. The immense amount of data is recorded directly to a high speed SAN, with web proxies made available post-lesson for online access through a digital asset management system.
Mitchell describes how the VS4-based solution helps to capture the fast-paced world of classroom teaching and learning, “In the classroom, very little is scripted. The teacher will have a plan for how they intend the lesson to unfold, but the students don’t. Our only chance to capture those one-off moments is to have more cameras, more audio, and more recording. It’s always more, more, more! Our VS4Recorder Pro system with VS4Control technology ensures we don’t miss anything. We couldn’t be happier.”
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