Tutorial: Observation Room (M06)

By Todd BlayoneExperience, Tutorials, , , , , , , , Comments are off

EILab, UOIT, CanadaThe EILab Observation Room (M06) at the Faculty of Education, UOIT, features an iMac and a PC workstation behind glass panels, offering researchers a wide view of the observatory. The computer systems are configured to support data capture and analysis with special emphasis on multi-perspectival video recording, facial analysis and event tagging/analysis using the Noldus research suite.

EILab Observation Room M06EILab Observation Room M06 (click to enlarge image)

Resource Summary

  • 27” iMac workstation running OS X 10.7.5 and VMware running Windows 7 (Nekkar-M06)
  • HP Compaq 8200 Elite Small Form Factor running Windows 7 with 27” Samsung display (Noldus-M06)
  • Creative web cam for Noldus-M06 PC
  • Apple Time Capsule, wireless storage device, for iMac backup
  • 2 Western Digital network storage drives
  • Cisco 32-port Gigabit Switch
  • 4 AXIS midspans providing connectivity and power over Ethernet
  • Basic M-Audio sound mixer with a variety of connectors, including XLR
  • XLR sound pass-through (wall mounted below HP PC)
  • Tripod and base for digital cameras
  • Noldus Media Recorder, FaceReader and The Observer XT, media and manuals
  • Versions of Microsoft Office, VLC media player and Internet applications

Basic Computer Access

HP Compaq Windows 7 PC

  1. Power button is located on right side of black box behind the display.
  2. Samsung display power button is located on the bottom right. It glows red when turned on.
  3. Windows 7 is configured with the standard EILAB user name and password combinations.*
  4. Shortcuts to the three Noldus applications are located on the desktop.
  5. Three USB sticks with red lights must remain plugged into the HP PC’s rear USB slots. These are security keys required for Noldus software to run!
  6. Power for the USB-connected and powered M-Audio mixer is on the back right.


  1. Power button is located on back, bottom left of the display.
  2. OS X is configured with the standard EILAB user name and password combinations.*
  3. To run Windows 7 applications, launch VMware Fusion from the dock, or access the Windows 7 desktop or a particular Windows application directly from the VMware pull-down (tilted double arrow icon) on the right side of the Finder menu. (The Windows 7 Start Menu is replicated in this pull-down menu.)

Basic AXIS Camera Operation

  1. In order to access video feeds from AXIS cameras 1-4 (mounted on ceiling of main lab) turn on black surge protector located on east wall under the iMac.
  2. When power is turned on, the four midspans (small beige adapters labeled 1-4 sitting on top of counter to left of iMac) will light up. (Two solid green lights on each midspan will indicate proper functioning. No light or a flashing light indicated a malfunction.) In a few seconds, the cameras will be assigned an IP address and will begin to function.
  3. Live camera feeds can be accessed in any web browser by typing in the appropriate IP address (four numbers separated by periods) like any URL. The labels on cameras and the wall chart provide easy reference to these numbered addresses. When prompted, supply the appropriate credentials.*
  4. The browser-based interface provides essential, if somewhat awkward, controls for panning, tilting, zooming (PTZ), and setting other technical parameters.
  5. For more information about using media capture devices in the EILAB, see Doc 4: Cameras and Video Capture Overview, and Doc 5: Audio Hardware Operations Overview.

Video Drive Network Storage Units

  1. Two Western Digital network storage units (labeled VideoDrive1 and VideoDrive2) offer 2TB each of storage, and are situated to the right of the iMac. These units are connected directly to the network, have their own power supply and function independently of any computer.
  2. Front lights will indicate the units have power. These lights will also change colour and flash depending on the mode of operation.

Additional Items

  1. Noldus documentation is available on the counter. The latest versions are printed and stored in binders. PDF versions are maintained in Dropbox (dropbox.com).*
  2. A camera base and tripod are stored against the wall.
  3. A grey sound cable (to pass an audio signal through to the main lab equipment from one of the computers) runs along the counter wall.
  4. Both fresh and dead batteries are stored on the counter to the left of the iMac.
  5. A Cisco switch is mounted under the counter to the left of the iMac. This switch provides network/Internet connectivity to all networked devices in the room. If the green lights aren’t flashing above or below a port, there is a problem with that particular connection.


*Acquiring Access and Login Credentials

To acquire access and login credentials for mobile devices, computers, AXIS cameras and software services, please contact todd.blayone@gmail.com.