On Friday Nov. 17, 2006, I went to the â€œNational Workshop on Strategies for the Development of Performance Indicators for Higher Educationâ€ presented by the Distance Education Modernization Project and the Quality Assurance & Accreditation Council of the University Grants Commission. The workshop brought together many knowledgeable people and although informative, something else caught my eye thereâ€¦.
Tucked off to the side at the conference was a collection of computers, two hard-drives and two cameras. I discovered this set up was the domain of UniConsulting a company formed by a group of bright professors from the University of Moratuwa. They were hired by the workshop organizers to create a multimedia CD of the proceedings. I chatted with Dr. Chathura De Silva who described some of the equipment and software they use. Two digital cameras capture the live visuals and audio from the conference while one operator synchronously adds the powerpoint slides which were received prior to the day. Microsoft Producer (a freely accessible program, if you own Microsoft Office) is where all the streams are combined, live. The hard-drives capture a back up of the proceedings just in case though. UniConsulting has an efficient system whereby they say a conference multimedia CD can be reproduced within 3 days after a conference â€“ depending on the type of content that needs to included. Thatâ€™s impressive!
I was told the entire set up cost US $20,000 (including computers, cameras, hard-drives, software, switching board, wireless microphones, etc) but that they had to be very inventive to outfit themselves for so little. Here are two pictures showing how they converted a cooking pot into a diffusing spotlight for their cameras: