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Streaming and recording lectures

Before making video or audio recordings of people or streaming footage of them to the public Internet, we are legally required to obtain their consent. For children and vulnerable adults their parent or guardian's consent is required.

  • The speakers should fill in a form giving us permission to record and publish their lecture.
  • The audience should be informed that filming is taking place. Signs posted on the doors of the lecture theatre are generally sufficient, however for school parties and similar events it is important to obtain parental consent in advance.
  • If employing an external AV company (not covered in detail here), also have them sign the Photography/Filming Commission Agreement which grants copyright to the University.
  • All forms, signs and notices mentioned above can be downloaded from the Legal Services website (Raven login required).

Lecturers should be aware that "fair dealing" copyright exemptions may apply for a face-to-face lecture which is not being recorded, or where access to the recording is restricted to students enrolled on a specific course (e.g. via Moodle), but not for a lecture which will be published or streamed to the public Internet.

Streaming is via YouTube which automatically saves a recording of any stream lasting less than 12 hours. The streams and recordings are "unlisted" which means that they are not advertised on YouTube but are accessible to anyone who has the URL.

It is also possible to use the Sony camcorder as a standalone recording device for greater confidentiality. Videos will be saved to its memory card and can then be uploaded to the Streaming Media Service (SMS), allowing for the use of Raven to control who can view your content.

A note on location

MR2 has a cupboard at the back of the room where the AV equipment is kept, and cables installed in the walls to transmit the data to the equipment. It is therefore the recommended choice for lectures with AV requirements. If it is necessary to record (not stream) a lecture in another room, this can be done with the camcorder, microphone and tripod.

The stream is displayed in one or more "overflow rooms". MR3 has historically been the most popular choice for this, however all that is needed to display the stream is

  • A computer
  • A projector
  • Speakers powerful enough that the sound can be heard throughout the room

It is strongly recommended that you carry out a test run before the event, particularly if it takes place outside of normal working hours.

What can be streamed / recorded

MR2's AV cupboard contains a Linux PC with additional hardware and software which can be used to stream one video feed, either from the camcorder or from the Windows PC at the front of the room, and one audio feed, usually from the built-in microphones. Consider whether you want to show a video of the lecturer themselves or of their slides, bearing in mind the option of requesting a copy of the slides.

To record a lecture in another room, use the Sony camcorder as a standalone recording device

If none of these options work for you please consult help@maths giving as much notice as possible. In the future more options may be available, for example one camera per blackboard.

Setting up the camcorder

The Sony camcorder on its tripod

About the camcorder

The Sony camcorder (often referred to as "the camera") is most often used to send a video feed over an HDMI cable to other AV kit. It is sometimes also used outside of MR2 to record to an SD card (like a home camcorder), generally in conjunction with its tripod and the Sennheiser radio microphone which is kept in the box with the camera.

If the following tips on setting up the camcorder are unclear please consult the manual which is also kept in its box and which includes pictures showing the location of its many sockets and buttons.

  • Please read the instructions on the tripod's box before attempting to mount the camcorder on it. Incorrect use could damage the tripod or camera.
  • If possible, connect the camcorder to the mains when it is in use. Otherwise ensure that it is fully charged beforehand. The power socket is under a small hatch on the back labelled "DC in".
  • To turn the camcorder on, open its screen (labelled "Sony" and "XDCAM") and remove the lens cap.

The camcorder is configured by a combination of switches and buttons, a touchscreen, and a menu system. This is accessed by pressing the Menu button which is under the open screen, and navigated using the "controller" button (on the back of the camera). Up and down arrows to scroll through the menus, right arrow to go one level deeper, left arrow to go back, "exec" (press centre of button) to register a change. If the camcorder seems to be stuck in the menus turning it off and on can help.

Checking the preview image

Do a visual check of the preview image on the camcorder's screen before starting to stream or record. You may need to use the switch labelled W/T on the top of the camera to zoom in (Telephoto) or out (Wide angle). In MR2 we need to zoom out most of the way to get as much of the blackboard space as possible in shot.

If you notice any problems with video quality of the preview image, check that the camera is configured as detailed below. If the image is flickering, ensure that the refresh rate is set to 60i (via the menu OTHERS -> 60i/50i SEL). Format the memory card after changing the refresh rate - otherwise an "A" symbol will flash on the screen to warn you that recording will not work.

  • Auto/manual switch on back of camera near viewfinder set to Auto.
  • Zoom/focus switch near front of camera set to Focus meaning that turning the large ring just behind the lens will adjust the focus.
  • Manual focus enabled and set at infinity. In the bottom left corner of the screen there should be a picture of mountains before the letters PP4. If you have PP4 on its own press the AF/MF button (near front of camera, probably concealed by screen) then turn the ring until the focal length goes to infinity. We prefer this over autofocus so the camera does not refocus itself if someone walks in front of it.

After using the camera

  • If you have changed any settings such as aperture, exposure time or white balance manually, please reconfigure the camera for the automated setup described above.
  • To turn the camera off, close the screen. Please replace the lens cap when you have finished.

Microphones in MR2

  • Lecturer wears wireless lapel mike and switches it on.
  • Test the audio by speaking into the microphone. It should be easy to hear your voice coming from the speakers.
  • You are advised to use the hand-held microphones when taking questions from the audience, otherwise they are likely to be inaudible on the recording/stream.

Streaming / recording / viewing procedures