Matrox video have launched an exciting new product for HE at this year’s NAB Show in Las Vegas. Their Monarch LCS is a lecture capture system (in case you were wondering what LCS meant), which Matrox promise is “simple to set up and integrate into any open Video Management System”.
According the the official Matrox site, “Monarch LCS lets you easily define profiles for live streamed and recorded lectures by mixing camera and presentation material from SDI and HDMI sources. Once configured, this versatile H.264 encoding appliance can be operated by anyone at the push of a button. And it won’t break your budget!”
Choose your layout – or let viewers choose their own
Monarch LCS lets you record audio and video footage of the presenter alongside a separate computer source to capture slides and supporting materials, then mix them into a single webcast. “The operator can select a number of operating modes that include layouts such as Picture-in-picture and Side-by-side. If the operator prefers to dynamically change the inputs throughout the lecture, the Monarch LCS also offers Switcher mode. With very little set up time, the Monarch LCS can be configured to capture and deliver content such as presentations and seminars in many appealing layouts.
“In Isolated mode, the appliance provides two independent video files or streams. This feature, when used with a compatible 3rd party player, enables the viewer to select their preferred layout. The synchronised streaming or recording of Monarch LCS’s dual inputs are invaluable when such players are used. By aligning video inputs, the viewer can seamlessly switch to their preferred layout while maintaining perfectly synced audio and video.”
Ease of operation and integration
Matrox explain that “Monarch LCS can be controlled and configured via the Monarch LCS Command Center using any device on the network that supports a standard web browsing application such as a tablet. The interface is designed for operator ease-of-use and features one-click operation to start encoding from anywhere within the user interface. A number of typical streaming and recording presets are provided that define all of the encoding parameters, including resolution and bitrate. Encoding parameters can be customised and combined with destination and operating mode settings and saved as a unique profile. If the device must be accessed by different users, profiles can be instantly recalled without having to re-enter data.
“Designed to work in network environments, Monarch LCS is a network appliance that facilitates a seamless integration into existing infrastructures managed by third party asset management solutions, such as OpenCast VMS and Moodle LMS software. In addition, the scheduler feature supports open source iCal software such as Google calendar which allows you to create a schedule, export to an .ics file format, and easily import to the device. Schedules can be imported at any time and Monarch LCS can be configured to periodically retrieve schedules on your network.”
Monarch LCS can share up to 20 Mb/s of encoding capacity across its two H.264 encoding channels. You can adjust bitrate/quality setting for each independently, and Monarch’s scaling, deinterlacing, and noise reduction engines ensure only the highest quality images are sent to the encoders, which can be set to encode at up to 1080p30 resolutions.
Flexible input and output
Monarch LCS offers multiple destination options when streaming or recording. In record mode, an encoding channel captures MOV or MP4 files, so your video files can be played on virtually any player. You can then store these recordings on local USB drives, SD cards, or network-mapped drives and made available immediately to a Lecture or Video Management System for distance learners to access. When streaming, the encoders use either RTMP or RTSP protocol to deliver live streams to local media servers or cloud-based CDNs.
According to the official specs, “Monarch LCS can support productions with two HDMI video sources or one SDI and one HDMI video source. Embedded or analogue audio can be selected as the audio source. By supporting video camera signals that are either SDI or HDMI, this lecture recorder gives operators the flexibility to select what is best for that installation. SDI signals can travel more than 300 feet (100 meters) over coaxial cable, which is ideal if the camera is mounted a long distance from the encoder. When cable lengths are not an issue, HDMI cameras may prove the most affordable option, particularly in larger installations.”
Frame synchronisation between inputs
Matrox insist that “the ultimate lecture viewing experience can only be guaranteed when computer, video and audio content is synchronised before encoding. However, computer and video feeds rarely share the same resolutions and frame rates. The Monarch LCS accepts these different feeds and synchronises them before encoding.” The result? Frame-accurate video and audio, regardless of the operating mode. There’s also a built-in frame synchroniser to correct any signal discontinuity at either input, ensuring uninterrupted streaming and recording operations.
Live production preview output
Anyone who’s using the Monarch LCS to drive in-house projections, both SDI and HDMI outputs are active and can be mapped to either inputs, a useful feature for driving in-house projections. The HDMI output also gives the operator the option of selecting the production output at the frame size of the encoding parameters, enabling them to preview content that will be sent to the remote viewer.
Remotely manage your device
Got multiple Monarchs? Matrox have an app for that. “The Matrox Utils application allows operators to remotely scan and find all Monarch LCS devices present on their network. The Utils application will also scan the attached Monarch LCS and notify the operator if the unit is up to date with its installed firmware version and will also update the device automatically to ensure that it has the latest software release. The Matrox Utils Application can also be used to reboot Monarch LCS devices present on the network.
“Contractors or in-house IT specialists can take advantage of Monarch LCS Dev Tools, which includes automatic configuration tools and the Monarch LCS Control API, to provide operators with a unified, consistent and branded experience. Individuals do not need to interact with the Monarch LCS Command Center web UI, simplifying enterprise-level and centrally administered deployments.
“The Monarch LCS Control API is an ideal way to integrate Monarch LCS functionality into an existing classroom, boardroom or other space equipped with a Crestron control system. Monarch LCS registered users are invited to download a sample SIMPL module written to run on Crestron 2-Series and 3-Series Room Media Controllers”
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