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Metropolitan South Institute of Tafe - Case Study

Metropolitan South Institute of TAFE (MSIT) prides its self in providing an exciting and flexible learning opportunity for students wishing to extend their skills and knowledge to attain success in tomorrow’s world.

Studio Background

Five years ago MSIT completely refurbished and dedicated a building to the Creative Arts, part of that building was allocated to a studio space and TV control room. The studio space would also extend into an auditorium where studio cameras would be used in a live situation and mixed back in the control room. Kevin Young, the Lead Vocational Teacher, said “Unfortunately the control room system never really worked properly and could take up to 3 hours to get the control room operational. Vision switching, signal routing, and audio mixing were unnecessarily complex operations and students found it impossible to remember the settings required between classes. The biggest problem was an 180 millisecond audio delay which made everything you were watching in the control room out of sync.”

After a visit to the University of Southern QLD to see their studio setup that had been installed by VIDEOPRO, MSIT approached VIDEOPRO to see if they could help transform their non-working studio into an effective, functioning space that would allow the students and teachers to work in an industry standard environment. MSIT wanted the recurring issues of the studio to be resolved and asked VIDEOPRO Account Manager, Wayne Newton to provide a solution.

System Design

Wayne and Kevin set about redesigning the whole studio space to make it functional for teaching and to bring it up to the level of how a broadcast studio would look and operate. After many discussions a suitable control room layout was decided upon. Since the budget was tight, emphasis was placed upon repurposing any existing equipment into the new design. The camera chains, tripods, prompters, monitors, computers, and lighting were all able to be reused.

To future proof this new control room the back bone was designed and cabled into a full HD infastructure . Up converters and down converters were added where existing non HD equipment was used. Many of the problems that the old studio had, were due to much of the back end or hidden infastructure simply never being installed initially.

The new equipment list started to grow with the addition of a Techtronics Waveform Monitor and Vectorscope, Panasonic AVHS410 Vision Switcher, Allen & Heath 24 Channel Audio Mixer, Philips Lighting Desk, Ross Routers and Opengear DA’s Redbyte and AJA converters. The Avid system PC was upgraded to incorporate a Nitris DX breakout box, to allow for editing of the program feed. Going one step further and to allow for ISO camera recording and playback, a new HD/SD 4 channel Autocue ‘play in play out’ video server was added into the mix.

The existing Clearcom talkback systems were reused and installed correctly along with talkback headsets and controller microphones. Patch bays in the studio and the equipment rack make connecting into the system easy and an audio delay unit keeps everything running in sync. A new monitor wall was installed that has one large 50” panel for the mixer ‘multiview’ as well as adding some other existing monitors for program out, studio floor monitoring, CCU operators, and for Waveform Vector Scope viewing.

MSIT has 42 Avid Editing systems in two classrooms above the studio. With the addition of a new fibre connection running between the two floors, all these systems, as well as the four computers in the control room are now connected into the Autocue server, allowing fast and easy file transfer.

Installation

With all the equipment ordered and the install dates set in place the existing equipment and cables were removed, so that the new equipment could be fitted into place. A new control room desk had also been fitted so that all the new equipment could be sunk down into the desk to allow for that control room feel, as well as hide all the connection cables. Videopro contracted two well known broadcast engineers, John Innes and John Galea, to help with the consultation and to do the installation.

Throughout the installation, Wayne was onsite to assist with any problems that arose. This enabled the project to be completed in the set timeframe, and to stay within the allocated budget. The cabling is second to none; full CAD schematics were updated onsite as the studio took shape and some variations were added.

The end result is a fully functional control room which MSIT can be proud of. The studio has a true professional edge, all the equipment is either sunk into or fastened to the desk to keep it in place. A requirement was that the control room should have an exciting atmosphere for students, creating a desire to learn its functions. This is done, not only by the use of state of the art equipment, but with the unique LED lighting that illuminates the equipment rack, keyboards, control surfaces, patch bays, and walls.

MSIT Comments

Bryn Warren-Giles - Manager: Product & Innovation and Educational Manager, Music & Screen Media at MSIT stated, “The new HD control room will benefit all MSIT Screen students by exposing them to the processes and technology used in a modern broadcast facility. The integration of existing and new technologies has allowed us to provide students with a state of the art facility at a reasonable upfront cost,

“Having a control room and studio that is easily upgradable when new equipment comes on line will give MSIT greater flexibility in current delivery and more opportunity in future delivery of screen qualifications.”

Kevin Young, Lead Vocational Teacher Creative Industries “Students can now concentrate on learning its functions and creating content...The end result is far better than we expected.”

Seeing the end result, a fully functional studio, has been a rewarding result for everyone involved in the project. Students and staff are suitably impressed to see the transformation from a non functional studio into a fully, integrated AV and IT space that is simple to use and makes the connection between studio and classroom, accessible and exciting.

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