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several USB webcams

Has anyone recorded with 3 or more USB webcams? Any processing lag? does it actually work?

Answers

  • Not two webcams, but a webcam and a doc cam both USB. It works, but you need a fast computer/CPU.

  • We have one lecture space with five cameras (the max in Panopto when using one machine is five secondary and one primary). The setup produces a session that captures video of the instructor, the screen capture, then four views of the students for when they are working on procedures and would need to review later. For what they need, it is perfect.

    Another college uses a dedicated appliance in each room with a 4xHDMI capture card recording a doc cam, a room camera, and the output of the room system.

    We have several spaces with two cameras and a doc cam that run on our standard 6 core podium build, and they work beautifully.

    Two of the takeaways from that five-camera project:

    • If you intend to record at Ultra for all of them, it will take a beefy computer. The podium computer for that room is quite the machine (2x8 core CPU (32 threads), 32GB of RAM, lots of SSD space). Their typical recording is ~3-4 hours and generally processes in about the same amount of time we would expect for a 4-hour session. Editing the sessions is difficult, but luckily they don't usually need to edit any of them. Recording with all 5 takes up at least 60% of the machine. The camera on the podium is static running through an HDMI capture card, but the other four are PTZ cameras running over USB. I am sure that they could get by with less of a computer, but it was more important to have a solution that was able to work all day, every day.
    • USB 3.0 is needed. The company that installed the hardware initially put in USB 2.0 over ethernet. To say it didn't work was an understatement. Once we got the USB 3.0 stuff in, it worked great!

    You can combine sessions from multiple computers if you want to have more than six cameras/sources available. I am not sure if there is an actual upper limit, but having one Primary and five Secondary is a struggle to edit and to watch actively. I would say five cameras is probably the point where I would stop, but if there was a need, it could be done with more (in theory).

    The best part of the project was that Panopto was there to support us the whole way through.

    -Michael

  • great info thanks

  • Panopto seemed reluctant to recommend specific hardware to guarantee success. There are a lot of variables involved that can influence the quality of the recording. Nonetheless, using the best hardware you can obtain, as Michael Espey suggests, goes a long way to guaranteeing a good quality recording.

  • Cait McCabeCait McCabe Administrator
    edited August 2020

    Hi All,

    I just wanted to chime in to say that Panopto has a list of officially endorsed hardware, which can be found in this article: Learn About Officially Endorsed Panopto Hardware.

    Best wishes,

    Cait

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