Olaf A. Schulte on Matterhorn, Opencast and ETH Zürich Multimedia Services

Olaf A. Schulte, IT Services, ETH Zurich

Only recently the Opencast community has re-elected their new board members, among those  who have served since the launch of the project in 2009 was also Mitja Jermol one of the Program Managers at VideoLectures.NET. In this blog we will present you a video interview we had with Olaf A. Schulte who is Head of ETH Zürich Multimedia Services and at the time of the making of the interview was Opencast Matterhorn Project Product Manager.  Olaf  was kind enough to discuss with us in a Q/A video session produced at ETH topics such as the Matterhorn suite, Replay, html 5 and share his views about are future of academic video content. This is what we were interested in:



1. Olaf, you are Head of Production and Distribution, Multimedia Services at ETH Zurich, Europe. Can you tell us more about the background of the repository, its size, content and target groups?



2. At ETH you went so deep into academic video production that you developed your own tools like Replay which evolved into the OpenCast project. Can you speculate about its future and how do you think it will affect open access video in general?



3. ETH Zurich is one of the largest producer of academic video content in Europe, or actually European academic video content. What are the next steps in technology, content and organizational aspects for the Multimedia Services at ETH Zurich?



4. VideoLectures.NET is becoming a large distribution channel, we have a more online digital library based concept of work; filming conferences on locations, etc., whereas ETH is more campus based. Where do you think this inflation of video content will lead? Can you comment on this from the European perspective, since both initiatives are based in the EU?



5. What would be your message to the open education community?



6. Do you have a “blue sky” project of your own?



We would also like to report that on 09/02/2011 was announced the release of Matterhorn 1.2. For those of you who do not know what Matterhorn is you can get more information at the Opencast Matterhorn project website. In short the project aims at developing  an open source software to develop video capture and management technologies that are of primary importance to the Opencast community’s mission thus Matterhorn is a free, open-source platform to support the management of educational audio and video content. Institutions can and will use Matterhorn to produce lecture recordings, manage existing video, serve designated distribution channels, and provide user interfaces to engage students with educational videos.


The most prominent feature in the Opencast Matterhorn 1.2 release is the addition of Authorization capability for viewing recordings, allowing administrators to determine which groups have access to particular series of recordings.



New in Matterhorn 1.2:

1. Authorization for Engage, allowing administrators to determine which groups have access to particular series of recordings

2. User directory integration (LDAP, CAS etc.)

3. Improved services for managing Series

4. Improved handling for dublin core metadata

5. Security enhancements

6. Support for large files uploaded to inbox

7. Number bug fixes and user interface improvements


For a detailed list of new features in 1.2, visit the 1.2 documentation in the wiki. These features expand upon the powerful features that were already included in Matterhorn 1.0 and 1.1:


1. For learners, a fully accessible media player capable of multiple-stream full screen viewing that creates an engaging and effective learning experience, and integrates easily with existing campus content systems through embeddable media or RSS feeds

2. For instructors, powerful media tools that automatically analyze video and extract text, enabling slide segmentation and in-video searching, further reducing the time and effort learners must put in to find relevant content

3. For webcast administrators, a sophisticated dashboard enabling complete control over capture, processing and publishing of recordings

4. For program administrators, an efficient scheduling tool for future recordings whether ad hoc or repeating for a full semester, as well as a strong API enabling customization for local needs

5. For classroom infrastructure, specifications for building a low cost, low power capture devices that supports simultaneous recording of video (e.g. of the lecturer) and VGA


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