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Recommended Equipment

In case of disruptions to teaching and learning see our Remote Learning Advice

Recommended equipment for audio-video software and lecture capture using Panopto

This page details AV and IT equipment recommended by the Replay service. This list is non-exhaustive and deals mostly with AV and IT equipment of which the Replay service has first-hand experience, and omission from this list does not mean that the equipment is unsuitable for use with Panopto. The Replay service can offer staff and departments advice on which equipment would be best suited for personal and room based recording, so if you have any questions please get in touch via replay@it.ox.ac.uk.
 

1. Personal AV/IT equipment for using Panopto and related audio-video software 

Detailed guidance on equipment suitable for both Panopto and MS Teams can be found in the following downloadable documents. These were written in July 2020 and also address new requirements for AV equipment for Pandemic-time teaching and online learning.
 

2. Room based lecture capture AV / IT equipment for Panopto

Room based AV/IT equipment full guide covering general AV/IT scenarios and revised with specific advice for online teaching in the 2020 pandemic

PC (Windows)

  • 8GB RAM minimum (16GB recommended), USB 3.0
  • Quad Core i5 processor (i7 recommended)
  • Windows 7 or above.
  • Microsoft Office 2016 (PowerPoint) or above
  • Panopto remote recorder v8.0 or above for scheduled recordings in lecture rooms and Panopto Manual recorder for ad-hoc recordings

MacOS 

  • 8GB RAM mimimum (16GB recommended), USB 3.0
  • Quad Core i5 processor (i7 recommended)
  • macOS 10.13+ or above
  • Microsoft Office 2016 (PowerPoint) or above, and/or Keynote 7.
  • Panopto Mac recorder v7.1 or above
The remote recorder is only available for Windows. 
 
Ideally, the computer(s) will be permanently located in the lecture theatre, though occasionally a presenter will wish to use their own laptop. There are several ways Panopto can be used in this scenario:
  • The presenter can install the manual recorder on their laptop (Windows or macOS), and manually start and stop the recording. The recording will be automatically uploaded to the cloud server.
  • A second computer with a capture card can capture a projector feed. This computer would also require an audio feed from a microphone near the presenter. Please see our section on Dual Recorders on the Recording page.

Microphones

  • Low-budget microphones:
    • MXL ProCon Series AC-404 Boundary Microphone  - http://www.mxlmics.com/microphones/web-conferencing/AC-404/ - approx £85. Our recommended choice for lecture rooms and meeting rooms.
    • Samson UB-1 boundary microphone – approx. £70
    • Easy to use plug-and-go solution: Beyerdyamic MPC 70 USB boundary mics; can be configured to be permanently switched on, once plugged into the PC, as well as a switch to provide +10dB more gain, so they’ll pick up the lecturer’s voice even when they wander well away from the microphone
  • Higher-budget microphones:
    • Sennheiser EW112p G4 microphone set / Sennheiser Speechline - approx £500 (provides much better quality audio, but is more expensive and trickier to use as it must be passed between speakers and will require an advanced AV system and AV staff member on hand)

Cameras

  • Manual cameras:
    • Any camera with HDMI or SDI output, as budget dictates. This could be a professional Sony PXW-Z90 camera. New cameras are released constantly, and the Replay Team can advise on the best solution for your budget.
    • Webcam - either the built-in webcam of a monitor or laptop screen, or an external USB webcam (Logitech cameras are recommended e.g. C920, C922 - approx. £100)
  • Automated cameras:
    • Automated cameras come in different shapes, sizes, resolutions and cost. Depending on the size and angle of your lecture theatre you may wish to look at a variety of cameras.
    • Network IP cameras. These transmit video over the network via an Ethernet cable. They can also be powered over the same Ethernet cable, and can be easily controlled from a remote location. The recommended brand is Axis (www.axis.com) and there are various models depending on your budget and needs. Contact the Replay team for the latest advice, but expect to pay between £700-1000.
    • Remote pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) camera. We recommend either the Panasonic AW-HE38 (approx. £2500, HDMI & IP) or AW-UE70 (approx £4000, HDMI or SDI, & IP). This is a more expensive option than a fixed camera because of the PTZ functionality, whereby the angle and focal length of the lens can be adjusted. The quality is also higher than fixed cameras. Modern Panasonic PTZ cameras can also be used via IP instead of HDMI or SDI and are a good option for large teaching spaces. Axis also produce a suitable PTZ camera in the Axis V5915.
If using a camera, we recommend connecting it to an additional Windows PC of the minimum spec (possibly at the back of the room), and to use the Panopto remote recorder instead of the manual recorder. The remote recorder can be installed on both the back PC and the presenter’s computer, and synced to deliver a single recording from both streams. Attaching a camera directly to the presenter’s PC is usually difficult due to long trailing cables through the audience area, and will place more strain on the presenter's processor during the presentation, making the computer more likely to crash.
 

Cables and connectors

Required when using HDMI or SDI cameras:
 
  • Magewell XI100DUSB converter Version 2 – available in HDMI or SDI versions, and allows you to feed a camera with one of these outputs into a USB socket on a PC or Mac. Approx £250.
  • Basic HDMI cables (try not to use greater than 30m – if you need to run a very long length, consider a Startech USB to CAT5 converter, and run the length as Ethernet). Consider the trip hazard of running a long length of cable from a camera at the back of a room to a computer at the front. SDI cables can be run for up to 60m.

Non-recommended equipment

The Replay service has found that the following equipment/software does not work optimally, for the reasons given:
 
  • Blackmagic Ultrastudio Mini recorder - this is appealing due to its low cost, the fact that it can be powered via a Thunderbolt port, and because it has both SDI and HDMI inputs. But we have noticed a significant lag (> 1s) between audio and video when using it with the Mac recorder. Panopto support has confirmed this as a bug, but do not know if it will be fixed.
  • Logitech C930E webcam – Cardiff Law School reports this has an auto-focus bug, and the older C920E model is a better option as of July 2014.
  • Revolabs xTag lipstick microphones – we found these to be very quiet and extremely poor quality when used with Replay. Avoid.

Panopto’s list of recommended equipment

This list is extensive, but a little overwhelming. It contains Panopto recommended kit as well as equipment recommended by customers: http://support.panopto.com/equipment
 
Alternatively, you can download the Quick Start Equipment Guide from Panopto.
 
 
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Written by IT Services. Latest revision 23 July 2020