Media Streaming through SharePoint. Part 1 of 3

July 30, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: SharePoint, Twynham School 

Guest blog post by Dave Coleman Network Manager at Twynham School

Over the next few days I will cover media streaming and how we deliver all of our digital assets through SharePoint. In the presentations that we give on our learning gateways this subject always gets a good reception as this is a great way to engage staff in the whole gateway experience. Before I get into details I thought I would take you through the media streaming journey.

The way we deliver media streaming through SharePoint now is actually version three of our digital media gateway and this all started with the release of windows server 2000. Media services was one of those hidden gems that Microsoft never seem to talk about and so few people in education seem to have installed it. In our set up there are so many other advantages to moving from Windows NT 4 to Server 2000 with active directory and group policy deployment high on the list of big wins.  Given this we also  put media services on the back burner until the release of windows server 2003 when it was a much more mature technology but still very much unknown. But it was not until 2005 that we started digitizing all the video tapes and DVDs in the school.  In many ways we were very fortunate that Dorset County Council decided to reroof the main block of our school during the summer holiday of 2005 and this is where our server room and the majority of IT suites was located. Given this I had find work to cover for the staff during this summer period so a team of 4 set about digitising the entire video stock of the school over 6 weeks from home.

After much research we decided to purchase seven pinnacle studio movie boxes which gave us the ability to connect to any video recorder or DVD player through a scart lead. I also purchased seven video recorders from comet (I am sure the salesman thought I was mad) and a Dell server with 8 drives bays giving us in excess of a 1 TB of local storage on the server. The call went out to staff for their departmental videos in early July and hundreds of tapes turned up which we then divided up and with the help of the techies Christian Drewson, Sylvia Haghighi and Dan Rolles (and even family members!) we started the mammoth task of digitizing the schools video stock. After six weeks we had managed to get over a 1000 pieces of digital media online and delivered through an HTML website on the media server. With the arrival at Twynham School of Darren White we did take the next step and Darren wrote a PHP website allowing us to make the delivery of digital assets to staff more automatic. But it was the next step that was our biggest leap delivering media streaming through SharePoint and I will cover how we did this in the next post.

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