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Matrox Monarch LCS lets SMPTE stream to Facebook Live for real-time interaction

Live streaming allows remote participants to interact directly with presenters

The Matrox Monarch LCS lecture capture appliance is helping SMPTE members – professionals involved in motion imaging – to participate remotely and in real time in the association’s education programmes.

SMPTE is a global professional association of technologists and creatives. Currently it has more than 7,000 members worldwide comprising researchers, motion-imaging executives, engineers, technologists, and students who contribute their time and expertise to the standards development and educational initiatives.

Local SMPTE Sections host more than 200 technical education programmes in 27 locations – such as meetings, tutorials, and workshops – annually across the globe. Technical programming is tailor-made for each geographical location.

SMPTE Montréal/Québec Section and the Ottawa Subsection only had facilities to send out video-on-demand versions of presentation materials. But many members who are unable to attend these technical presentations want to watch them live and ask questions to the presenter. Deciding to stream presentations live for the benefit of these members, the Montréal/Québec Section and the Ottawa Subsection’s technical committees, on a quest for a dual-channel encoder, chose the Matrox Monarch LCS lecture capture appliance. 

At a recent SMPTE-Montréal/Québec Section meeting  – highlighting the newly published ST 2110 suite of standards for Professional Media Over Managed IP Networks, and Networked Media Open Specifications (NMOS) registration – all presentations were webcast to Facebook Live using Monarch LCS. The webcast provided a way for online viewers to pose questions in real time and receive instant feedback from presenters.

The SMPTE Section leveraged the Monarch LCS’ HDMI output as a double validation to confirm that the video was being processed correctly. 

In cases of unreliable input sources, the Monarch LCS’ frame synchroniser ensured that picture quality was consistent. 

The Monarch LCS’ streaming and recording operations are controlled via the Monarch LCS Command Center web-based user interface, which is also used for configuring the unit. Matrox Monarch LCS Radar is another application that is of incredible assistance in multi-seat installations. This is a browser-based dashboard that helps administrators to monitor centrally, and update and control all Monarch LCS units deployed on a network, either individually, in groups, or all together.

Soon, the Montréal/Québec Section and the Ottawa Subsection will use Monarch LCS to simultaneously record the presentations, to upload to SMPTE’s YouTube channel for video-on-demand, as well as for archiving purposes. 

While Monarch LCS offers several set-up options and suggested presets, these users’ default setting for streaming is RTMP protocol, in 720p60 format, and at a fixed bitrate of 4.5Gbps. An SDI PTZ camera captures the presenter and sends a SDI feed to the Monarch LCS’ input, while the second available input comes via HDMI directly from the laptop containing the PowerPoint presentation material. The operator can dynamically change the input from camera to laptop, and vice versa, using the Switcher mode in the Monarch LCS. The presenter and questioner’s microphones are sent from a mixer into Monarch LCS.

“We have been using Monarch LCS for more than a year now,” said Michel Poirier, ad hoc director at SMPTE Montréal/Québec Section. “The Matrox Monarch LCS appliance is small and I find it easy to set up. We use the Monarch LCS with an external camera to stream our meetings to our online page using Facebook Live functionality. Our members and Facebook followers say that they are impressed with the AV quality, and we like the interactivity that it helps us achieve.”