To provide a rich educational experience, the TSO wanted to do more than just create videos of its performances—it wanted to bring the audience into the heart of the orchestra.
“An orchestra isn’t a machine for making music, it’s a collection of individuals who work together to create a unique performance,” says Morreale. “We wanted to give students a real feeling for the harmony that comes from collaboration, and show them that everyone has a role to play.”
Finding the right partner
The TSO realized that it couldn’t succeed alone—it needed a partner with both technology expertise and educational know-how. Following a survey of the market, the TSO quickly recognized that D2L’s Learning and Creative Services had the ideal combination of skills to help bring the concept to life.
Morreale says: “We wanted a video player that would allow users to switch focus instantly between different perspectives, so they could watch different parts of the orchestra as the performance progresses. And we just couldn’t find a platform that would do that. Kudos to D2L for taking on the challenge.”
Working in concert
In a collaborative process, the TSO and D2L worked together to record 10 concerts from multiple camera angles, capturing the unique contribution that over 100 musicians make to each performance. The D2L Learning and Creative Services team helped create the digital design and build the video player technology. The videos were embedded in the player by developing easily consumable learning modules with integrated lesson plans on a digital learning site called Canada Mosaic.
The elearning site, which is now publicly available in English and French at canadamosaic.tso.ca/elearning, provides a video stream for each of the 10 pieces, side by side, with a graphic that allows the user to click on different sections of the orchestra to select a variety of camera angles.
As the music progresses, different parts of the graphic are highlighted to show which sections are playing the melody at any given time—providing an intuitive visualization of how each member of the orchestra contributes to the overall performance.
Committing to success
A few months after the successful launch of Canada Mosaic for the country’s 150th anniversary celebrations, the TSO ran into a snag. Major internet browser vendors announced a plan to change the way videos are displayed on the web, which threatened to degrade the user experience on the TSO site.
“D2L didn’t leave us hanging—they started working on a new version of the video player that uses modern HTML5 technologies to sidestep the browser issues,” says Morreale. “This will eliminate any need to reload videos when the user wants to switch to a different perspective, so it will be a completely smooth experience.”