Chambers Now Orchestrated
Councils are now required to record their chamber meetings. Say it quickly and it sounds easy. In practice, it can take some reasonable AV firepower.
Rutledge AV was approached by Port Macquarie council to bring itself in line with its obligations and upgrade its presentation systems.
Audio is taken care of by a Bosch Dicentis wireless conferencing system.
The camera to capture the councillors in action is a new wide-angle 4K Panasonic UE4 (“the council was adamant they wanted one single, wide shot, not something that was stitched together,” explains Rutledge AV’s Andrew MacDonald).
A handful of LCD panels are in the room, designed to display the order of business and discussion points. An additional panel hangs in an adjoining public space to show live video of the room.
Now what Rutledge AV needed was a system that could glue all these components together. Something that would do the recording, some switching, mixing and live streaming.
The hero of the project is the Lumens LC200 lecture capture system and it can do all the above.
The LC200 records the individual video feeds (in this case the camera and the graphics), but it also has a native multiview feature that allows the screen in the overflow public space to have a side-by-side image of the camera feed and the discussion point graphic. The device also takes care of the live stream.
“There are other lecture capture systems on the market but the Lumens product impressed me with its video processing,” explains Andrew MacDonald. “Especially the nine different multiview templates I could get out of it, which you can change on the fly and recall as presets. And the fact that it can do three simultaneous streams (two screen view in-house, plus the live stream) as well as the facility to record each individual channel meant it impressed me more than traditional lecture capture platforms.”
The system needed to be drop-dead easy to use.
The client’s interaction with the system is via a stripped back Crestron touch panel: turn the system on, select a source to display and control audio volume. Next to the touch panel is a PC running a piece of software called Space Manager (a third-party piece of software that talks to the Bosch API) that serves up all of the active presenters and those waiting to speak using the Dicentis wireless conferencing system. That UI is presented as a floor plan of the room. The operator can click and identify the mics on the UI. They can drag people on the UI to become a public speaker or they can drag them into waiting. Or they can dump them if they wanted to as well. The system auto cues, but Space Manager provides an alternative interface for moderators.
The third level of control is located in the server room — a rackmounted monitor displays the web interface of the Lumens LC200. “A technician can walk up to the rack, stick a set of headphones on, satisfy themselves that it’s recording,” explains Andrew MacDonald. “In fact, you can operate as a director and change scenes on the displays. But that’s locked in the rack.”
The Lumens LC200 back panel features four HDMI inputs but it can accept any number of NDI cameras via the network. As it happens, all the AV in the chambers runs on the network. “We’re using Crestron NVX, which has proven to be very reliable,” continues Andrew MacDonald. “We’ve powered everything off the network switch, that way we don’t have to worry about one-dollar PSUs in the field that will inevitably require a call out. And even if one of the NVX boxes did happen to go down, we can remotely configure another one of them to act like the box that’s failed, because they’re all transceivers. So the system has built-in redundancy.”