ICTP Workshop 2007/BlogNotes on virtPresenter

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{{#titlehere:}} Please note that the present pages on the ICTP workshop were obtained from a mediawiki used during the workshop. There may be a number of links that go to missing pages, and other inconsistencies. Much of it is also very informal, and should be seen as workshop notes! From: User:Mathe/BlogEntry: 2007 December 10 09:44:30 UTC

We are having a presentation on VirtPresenter: overview on theory and practice by Mertens and Rolf. The system addresses several scenarios that deal with video recording and archiving of the recordings. For example a student may listen/view the entire recording or just specific elements of the recording to that are of interest. They deal with these scenarios by focusing on navigation. (Thus 'navigation' can be regarded as a distinguishing feature of their system). Their system uses time based navigation, structure based navigation (this is more of slide based recording), and brushing/visible scrolling (this is can be regarded as enhanced time based navigation). Other notable features that relate to their implementation of navigation is use of color. Using color one is able to keep track of bits of recording that have been viewed. They also use backtracking to provide context of where one is and where they have been if they wanted to return.

To gain a better understanding of how their recording system works it is imperative to understand the 4 phases of lecture recording and how their system deals with them. These phases are:

  • preparation - administrative tasks
  • live talk and recording - setup equipment, disassembly equipment
  • Post processing- redundant meta data, upload data to web server, link to course
  • Usage

Many of these phases have been automated much like EyA (except that unlike EyA its setup looks a bit intimidating than EyA or perhaps Carlo oversimplified his presentation). Also the system at the moment is tied to power point but work is been done to accommodate other platforms.

In developing their system they carried out usability studies. From this studies they learned that first time users in particular had problems with their interface. This resulted in the creation of a simplified interface. The simplified version looks similar to the first interface is that one portion on the screen has been removed to reduce clutter so basically the new interface only has features that are absolutely necessary and nothing more. This new interface is a direct result of applying the Kiss rule, (which states keep it simple stupid).

Now moving to how the system works, a lecture has to initiate the start and end of recording. Another credit to EyA! (May be it would have been a grand idea to have Carlo present after this presentation so that I don't get into the temptation of comparing the two systems. So from now onwards I will try to resist the temptation of pointing out how EyA compares to virtRPresenter).

Cost analysis of the system for recording is about 700 euro (doesn't look bad but inclusion of servers for post processing may cause the overall costs to go up substantially). One of the server required in the post-processing phase allows inclusion of files for podcasting.

In upcoming version, the system will integrate with social networking tools like face book and del.ico.us.