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McMaster Engineering Studios

Created by the McMaster Engineering Strategic Communications team, the McMaster Engineering Studios is a resource and support service for engineering faculty members and other course instructors as they transition to online academic course content for the Fall of 2020.

 

The Faculty of Engineering is committed to supporting faculty members during this time of transition to online course content.

What McMaster Engineering Studios offers:

Studio Spaces: Two studio spaces have been set-up with the proper audio, lighting, camera and backdrops to seamlessly record a lecture with just the touch of one button. Spaces include lightboards. Studios will be booked in four-hour blocks (max of two bookings per studio per day).

Take Home Camera Kits:  Four take home/portable professional camera kits will include professional 4K camcorders, microphones and tripods for professors to borrow for up to a week at time to film at home or in your own office or other locations. 

Content Support: The Faculty's Strategic Communications Team is available to provide guidance, expertise, and content creation support to faculty members. While not pedagogical experts, the team will provide help to faculty who wish to be creative with their content in terms of video, animation, infographics, multimedia, podcasting and clear, concise writing. The communications team works closely with the MacPherson Institute and meet on regular basis to discuss online course content needs.

Lightboard One-Button Recording Spaces (Available Now: JHE A211 and JHE 254)

The Faculty of Engineering has prepared 4K capable recording spaces with Lightboard teaching setups operated at the press of one button. Currently two studios are available in rooms JHE A211 & JHE 254 with two more following soon (ETB 225 and JHE 219A). 

Studios can be reserved from Monday to Friday from either 8:30 am to 12:00 pm or 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm with an hour between for cleaning and maintenance. 

Book Now

 

Lightboard One-Button Recording Spaces

Lightboards are transparent "whiteboard" style teaching tools positioned in front of a camera that can be used in synchronous or asynchronous teaching environments. 

Our One-Button studio setups were created in conjunction with the Lightboard and are meant for asynchronous recording.

However, the studio space is capable of synchronous recording independent of the One-Button system if the user has the know-how to run the Open Broadcaster Software that the camera and audio hardware is linked to.

JHE A211: Lightboard with One-Button

JHE A211: Lightboard with One-Button

JHE 254: Lightboard with One-Button

JHE 254: Lightboard with One-Button

 

Each room will feature the following:

1. 4K capable Sony camcorder

1. 4K capable Sony camcorder

2. Sennheiser Professional Shotgun Microphone

2. Sennheiser Professional Shotgun Microphone

3. Macbook Pro & Audio Interface

3. Macbook Pro & Audio Interface

4. Studio Lighting

4. Studio Lighting

5. 55-inch Lightboard on an adjustable table

5. 55-inch Lightboard on an adjustable table

6. One button interface to control all recording

6. One button interface to control all recording

Creating Your Content

We understand that not everyone will feel comfortable coming to campus to create their academic content.

The Faculty of Engineering has also created take home camera kits with professional recording equipment available to rent via the Hub.

In addition to this, below you will find a compiled list of equipment recommendations that you can purchase on a variety of budgets to create better work from home setups as well as effective teaching/recording environments.

Available Resources

  • 4K Sony Professional Camcorder

  • Sennheiser Professional Shotgun Microphone

  • Manfrotto Professional Video Camera Tripod

  • Studio Lights - AC outlet powered (Available extra request)

Prices outlined are MSRP at the time of writing August, 2020. Please note they are subject to change or inaccuracies and does not cover sales or discounts.

USB Microphones

The use of a USB microphone will significantly increase the audio quality of your live meetings, streams, and academic content. Even if your video quality falls short (especially common during online calls), good audio will keep your audience engaged with your content and delivery. We recommended the Blue Yeti Nano for the value and overall sound quality.

  • Fifine USB Mic - $60

  • Blue Snowball - $70

  • Blue Yeti Nano - $140 (Recommended)

  • Blue Yeti - $180

Webcams

Although laptop built-in webcams are fine for most meetings, they may fall short for creating academic content in image quality especially if you are writing on camera or demonstrating techniques/content. We'd recommend you steer clear of most no name webcam brands since they lack the software to tweak keystone (warping), custom settings/outputs, and oftentimes colour/image quality is untested and unreliable. We recommend the Logitech C920 for 1080p quality and value and the Razer Kiyo with its built in ringlight and image quality.

  • Logitech C310 720p/30fps - $70

  • Microsoft Lifecam HD-3000 720p/30fps - $100

  • Logitech C920  1080p/30fps - $100 (Recommended)

  • Razer Kiyo 1080p/30fps + Ringlight - $140 (Recommended)

  • Logitech StreamCam 1080p/60fps - $200

  • Logitech Brio 4K - $260

Headphones

The speakers on your laptop/system are great for most meetings, however they often send audio through your microphone. This creates a continuous signal called "feedback". To avoid this problem we'd recommend these headphones for a comfortable audio experience in meetings with numerous participants whilst using a USB microphone. We recommend the Audio-Technica ATH-M40x or Sony MDR7506 for a balanced listening experience at a great value.

  • Audio-Technica ATH-M20x - $80

  • Audio-Technica ATH-M40x - $150 (Recommended)

  • Sony MDR7506 - $170 (Recommended)

  • AirPods Gen I - $220 

  • Bose QC 35 Series II NC - $380

Headsets (Alternative to Headphones + Microphone Combo)

If having a separate microphone and headphones is too much to think about, another alternative is a headset, essentially a pair of headphones with a microphone built in. This is for individuals who need sound isolation in both the output to their ears and input from their voice. We recommend the Logitech G Pro headset for the best sounding mic and audio quality for the price. If mic quality os a concern, a Pro X version with a microphone tuned by Blue Microphones is available for a $40 premium. The other alternative we recommend are the Apple Airpods Gen I for the wireless capability and call quality compared to other bluetooth earbuds in the price range.

  • Logitech H151 - $30

  • Corsair HS60 Pro - $100

  • Logitech G Pro  - $130 (Pro X version with Blue Mic is $170) (Recommended)

  • AirPods Gen I - $220  (Recommended)

  • Beats Solo Wireless - $250 (Pro version is $300)

  • Corsair Virtuoso Wireless - $270

Digital Writing Tablets

Instead of Lightboards, whiteboards or chalkboards, using a drawing tablet connected to software such as OneNote or Corel Studio is also a viable method of visual demonstration. There is a bit of a learning curve when it comes to using these drawing tablets but they can be invaluable tool once adjusted to. Keep in mind, each model comes in various sizes depending on the screen size of the connected device and the prices listed here are for the smallest sizes each. We recommend the base Wacom Intuos for the price to performance. In addition, we've also included the iPad with Apple Pencil to be used as a secondary touch display when connected to new Mac computers via Sidecar (check iPad compatibility) as well as the Microsoft Surface Pro with the Surface Pen as an all in one device.

  • Huion H420 - $35

  • Wacom Intuos - $105 (Recommended)

  • Wacom Intuos Pro - $330

  • iPad + Apple Pencil

  • Microsoft Surface Pro + Surface Pen

Monitors

When looking for a monitor for your home office, resolution is important for greater clarity at regular viewing distances. For 24inch monitors, we recommend looking for a 1080P resolution with an IPS panel if possible. If you intend on getting a 27inch, we encourage you to look for one at a 2K (1440P) resolution due to the screen size with the same IPS panel type where possible for clarity. Typically 24inch displays will benefit dual monitor setups while 27inch will benefit single monitor + laptop type setups due to the real estate of the screen.

 

An outline of policies, procedures, and guidelines, specific to working in the Outreach Studio Spaces.

Video Filming and Editing - Virtual Series

In this virtual series, we'll be teaching you how to edit, film, compelling videos. This includes how to use Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) with Zoom and MS teams for live synchronous teaching.

Editing in Adobe Premiere Pro

In this virtual session, we’ll be teaching you the basic fundamentals in Adobe Premiere Pro. This will range from setting up your project on Premiere Pro, tips and tricks to making your editing more efficient, to the export settings for final rendered video.

Video: 

Editing in iMovie

In this macOS specific session, we’ll be teaching you the fundamentals in iMovie, a free editing software that comes pre-installed on your iMac/Macbook. This ranges from setting up your project for editing to settings for exporting the final video.

Resource links

Brand website Resource Homepage  Engineering Logos Department Outros

Video: 

Filming Compelling Video

In this macOS specific session, we’ll be teaching you the fundamentals in iMovie, a free editing software that comes pre-installed on your iMac/Macbook. This ranges from setting up your project for editing to settings for exporting the final video.

Video: 

Synchronous Teaching through OBS with Mike Justason

In this session, Mike Justason, will offer some more advanced tricks and workarounds to creating engaging online synchronous teaching sessions with the use of Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) and lightboard setup. This includes overlaying digital slides on the lightboard, creating live polls for students to engage with, and other enhancements that you can add to you online teaching sessions.

Links

Open Broadcaster Software OBS VirtualCam Beginner's Guide to Using OBS Studio

Video: 

Contacts