Mediasite Update, October 2013

As part of an ongoing effort to keep Mediasite Administrators on campus informed, we created this DELTAwire article specifically for you! We have several important announcements regarding our Mediasite servers, the new Mediasite Desktop Recorder and other changes in functionality we wanted to share with you. For help with any Mediasite questions, please contact us at mediasite-help@ncsu.edu.

This article includes information on the following topics:

Mediasite 5 Servers to Be Decommissioned

As communicated prior to the upgrade from version 5.5 to 6.0, DELTA will decommission the Mediasite 5 servers in December 2013. The following applies to the 5.5 server only: Beginning October 21 through October 22, we will turn off access to servers to prepare the content stored on those servers for archival and final shutdown. During this time, content on the servers will not be accessible and administrators will not be able to log into the management portal. If you have users who are still direct linking to content or Publish to Go files, please train them to correct their links and use the download feature on the catalog page in Mediasite 6 rather than linking directly to the Publish to Go files. Direct links will be broken when zip files are deleted during regularly scheduled maintenance windows. If a deleted zip file is needed, it can be recreated by taking the same action used to originally create the file.

My Mediasite Pilot Update

DELTA is continuing to work with My Mediasite, Sonic Foundry’s desktop capture and video upload software. The pilot parameters have been adjusted to prepare for a full roll out of production-level services in summer 2014 instead of spring 2014. Several considerations led to this adjustment, including:

Server Disc Storage

Current Mediasite production continues to grow at a dramatic rate. While this is good news and something DELTA encourages, it has an immediate impact on the available OIT disc storage set aside for Mediasite production. DELTA must assure sufficient storage for current production before My Mediasite production launches, as use of My Mediasite is expected to generate a considerable amount of content.

Phased Pilot

Another element contributing to modification of the My Mediasite pilot is the determination that a phased approach would better serve the eventual production level service. The overriding goal is making My Mediasite production robust, dependable and as hassle-free as possible. In order to accomplish this goal, DELTA has opted to delay the production roll out despite the inevitable disappointment of both DELTA personnel and campus Mediasite partners.

WMV and MP4 Templates Changes

Those who purchased Premium Mediasite Customer Assurance (P-MCA) and received their recorder refresh, as well as those using a recorder running the Windows 7 Embedded Standard recorder image, should use the following templates on a daily basis:

  • 4:3 Template for desktop and mobile playback (for full recorders with Windows 7 embedded only)
  • 16:9 Template for desktop and mobile playback (for full recorders with Windows 7 embedded only)

These templates should also be used if you are not live streaming presentations.

(Note: Use of these templates will prevent the creation of unneeded wmv files on the server. Your students will be able to play their presentations more quickly since the files will not need to be transcoded.)

Image Advance Setting

The image advance/slide capture setting on a Mediasite presentation, template or recorder is an adjustment that determines how many slide images are captured at a given time. Previously, DELTA recommended a setting of four frames per second at 95% sensitivity, which was set on all default templates. This means that for every second of recording time there will be four still captures of the computer image if 5% or more of the computer image changes. Sonic Foundry introduced a new capture setting in Mediasite 6 called “adaptive.” The adaptive screen detection setting changes the sensitivity threshold on the fly based on the type of content being captured. This gives better capture performance for annotation or document camera scenarios.

Since the summer of 2013, DELTA has been testing improvements made by Sonic Foundry to the adaptive screen detection and has determined this is an ideal image advance/slide capture setting for most Mediasite recordings. We encourage you to create test recordings using this setting to see if it is compatible with your system. For the adaptive setting to work as intended, you should test your environment and ensure you do not have duplicate slides captured of a static computer image. Please keep in mind that document cameras are sensitive to shadows and inadvertent hand gestures and it is almost impossible to avoid capturing duplicate slides. However, we have determined that adaptive screen detection is still the ideal setting for document camera recordings. Also, please note that Windows XP recorders do not support the adaptive slide transition encoding profile.

Beginning spring 2014, DELTA will be adjusting default templates to use adaptive screen detection.

Changes to the “Ask a Question” Feature

Recently, DELTA Administrators learned that the functionality of the “Ask a question” feature was changed significantly between Mediasite version 5.x and version 6.0. As a result, it was necessary to alter workflows.  If you intend to use this feature in the future, we recommend you test your workflows to determine if the feature still functions as you intend.  Currently, if a user submits a question through the “ask a question” icon, the question feeds into the management portal if security is not set properly on the presentation.  If you want further information on how this feature behaves in version 6.x, feel free to send an email to mediasite-help@ncsu.edu.

Why Can’t My Users Download Presentations From a Catalog?

DELTA administrators discovered that Mediasite 6.0 prevents users from downloading presentations from a catalog unless the role on the folder has “read” and “view” access.  The default is currently “view” only.  This is noted as a bug by Sonic Foundry and should be fixed in a later software release.

If a user does not have “read” access and only has “view” access, they will not be able to download the presentation from the catalog. When they click the download button on the catalog, the download process begins but never advances beyond “Please Wait.”

Recommended Automatic Reboot for Mediasite Recorders

Sonic Foundry recommends rebooting Mediasite recorders at least weekly. The recorder now has a restart function incorporated into the Mediasite software, but must be accessed through an “Internal Menu.” If you would like to automate the restart of your recorders, there is an option check box in the internal menu that, if enabled, will restart the Mediasite Recorders at 1 a.m. Since the auto-reboot preference is hidden and there are several other internal preferences with various degrees of functionality that may negatively affect the Recorder application, we will not be providing instructions to access the internal menu in this communication. If you would like more information, please contact Laura Stephenson at laura_stephenson@ncsu.edu. Sonic Foundry is looking into moving this preference out of the internal preferences in Mediasite version 7.0, so special instructions may no longer be necessary in the near future.

The Proper Way to Delete Presentations From a Recorder

All Mediasite users should be aware that the proper way to delete a presentation from a Mediasite recorder is by going to the “Presentations” tab, selecting the presentation to be deleted and then clicking the “Delete” button. We recently ran into a problem with a few of the Mediasite recorders sending errors to the server because they were unable to read various presentations. We determined that this was due to the deletion of presentations from their location on the hard drive. The Mediasite recorders generate a config XML file that keeps track of the created presentations. If a presentation is deleted directly from the hard drive, the XML file is not updated. As a result, the recorder constantly attempts to verify a presentation that no longer exists. This leads to a “Recorder can’t read presentation” error.

Need to Wake Up Your Recorder? Use the Wake on LAN Function

You can enable the Wake On LAN function within the BIOS of a Mediasite Recorder. Your recorder’s Hardware version can be found in the Recorder application by going to the Settings tab at the top, then looking near the bottom of the application window.

You should see information similar to the following:

Mediasite Recorder 6.1.11 Build 2249 Hardware Version: xxxxxx Serial Number: xxxxxxxxxxx License Status: Licensed (License Status only appears here for Recorder application version 6 and higher.)

For specific directions for your recorder version, see: https://support.sonicfoundry.com/Knowledge/Article/000003831.

UNLEASH, Sonic Foundry’s Annual User Conference

For those of you would not have received direct communication from Sonic Foundry, registration is open for UNLEASH 2014 — the Annual Mediasite User Conference, which will be in Madison, Wisc., April 27 to 30. 

Sonic Foundry is currently offering a Fall Promotion rate of $495 (that’s 50% off the regular $995 rate). This will be the lowest price offered this year.  There will be an NCSU group rate discount after the promotion, but it will be $595.  

So, if you plan to attend UNLEASH this year, register at sonicfoundry.com/unleash2014 during the Fall Promotion, which ends October 31.

To see a glimpse of what you might anticipate, check out the archive of last year’s sessions!

For More Information

If you would like to learn more about Mediasite at NC State, or if there are other topics you would like to see covered in our next update, please contact Laura Stephenson at laura_stephenson@ncsu.edu.  Your suggestions are always welcome.

Mediasite help requests can be sent to mediasite-help@ncsu.edu

You can subscribe to Mediasite updates by sending the message “subscribe mediasite” to mj2@lists.ncsu.edu.