A couple of years ago, we built a video recording studio based around
the One Button Studio software available from Penn State. We dutifully
purchased the hardware listed on their components list, and even built a
new room to house it.
Initially, everything went great. As advertised, it was dead simple to
use: plug in your USB thumb drive, hit the button, record, hit the
button again, and it would save the video to your USB drive. Voila!
Unfortunately, as time has drawn on, the software has proven itself
fragile. It breaks at the drop of a hat. To name just a few issues:
1) The lights that are supposed to come on automatically, often won't.
2) Audio and video wind up out of sync on the final video.
3) Sometimes the five-second count down gets stuck indefinitely at "1"
and never starts recording.
4) Sometimes it takes longer to save the finished file to the USB stick
than it did to actually record it -- such as a ten minute presentation
taking twenty minutes to save, without even a progress bar to indicate
to the end user that something is still going on and it's not just
5) Software updates are rare, and I have never managed to actually talk
to a human being at Penn State who knew anything significant about how
the thing works.
At the moment, it's been out of commission for a week, and we have a
class of two hundred students wanting to use it. It casts the library
in a bad light. We set this thing up, and sang its praises and invited
everyone to use it. And now we're more often than not in the position
of trying to explain why they can't use it.
And so, we've concluded that we have to jettison the One Button Studio
software and find something else. I thought of OBS (Open Broadcaster
System) immediately, but it is apparently not compatible with the
Blackmagic H.26 Pro Encoder we're using. The Blackmagic Media Express
software that came with the hardware can get a signal from the camera,
but the interface is ... not straightforward.
So I ask Code4Lib: are or have any of you been in a similar position?
What did you do? Any suggestions for alternative software we could use
to glue together our rather expensive video-recording hardware would be
Head of Digital Initiatives, Systems and Services
Chester Fritz Library
University of North Dakota