Videocraft today gave details of the 3-camera training studio and 3-camera OB van system installation and integration project it recently completed for the School of Communication Arts at University of Western Sydney (UWS).
According to Videocraft State Manager Andy Liell, the convergent media facility project was particularly complex and challenging for a number of reasons. He explained, “We were appointed to supply and install the system by UWS after Graham Paech of Australian Systems Integration (ASI) won the SI design and build tender. It became quickly evident that there were a number of complex logistical and technical considerations that needed to be addressed. The first being the integration of UWS’ existing equipment into what was a major new facility and OB van. This was not a straightforward process and took a great deal of planning and consultation with ASI and the staff at UWS. With the complexities of the install, ASI were able to give us a 75% of the design and we completed the remainder. It was also a key requirement of UWS that we make their training facility as close to a real broadcast environment as possible.”
School of Communication Arts Facilities Co-ordinator Sue Powell was the central point of contact at UWS. “This is the largest project of its kind that we have ever undertaken.” She added. “When we appointed ASI and then Videocraft it was absolutely critical that they had significant broadcast industry knowledge and expertise as both studio and OB van courses have been designed to help students in the real world not just a training environment.”
The project was split into several parts, the studio’s technical control room (for lighting, camera balance and audio), vision control room, green screen and studio area and OB van. Central to the vision control room is the Sony DVS9000 switcher recommended by Videocraft and loved by Powell and her students. She continued, “The Sony DVS9000 switcher is a real beauty! It’s an SD version of the MVS switcher and provides our students with a real operational environment similar to those being used by Global Television, zer01zer0, Charter Broadcast and Channel 9. Quite simply it is brilliant. The system also includes Codan Broadcast routing switchers and peripherals, a Chyron Micro X Character Generator, a Yamaha DM1000 digital audio console, Tektronix test equipment, Miller tripods and an RTS intercom system. As a result, we believe it is the best equipped educational training studio facility in Sydney.”
The system also includes an Apple server system with capture, playout and streaming servers and two Final Cut Pro edit suites, all connected to fibre channel storage. Files recorded in the studio or OB van can be streamed live to the university intranet or captured and edited in the suites for delivery at a later date. Thomson Turbo iDDR’s are also used in the studio and OB van.
As an integral part of UWS’ training courses the students are required to do ‘real life’ field work using a fully operational OB van. The van includes 3 JVC GY-HD251E studio configured cameras, a B-Pix Slate 2100 all-in-one switcher solution with breakout box and failsafe mode and a V-Brick encoder for encoding SDI video and 2 channels of audio into MPEG-4, for streaming across a network.
The OB truck workflow is a particular source of pride for Powell who explained, “UWS has seven campuses all over Sydney. Videocraft have integrated a second V-Brick decoder into our IP network so that we can drive the OB van to any location, plug into the network and transmit directly into the studio where it is seamlessly mixed into the programme being made. It’s real-time MPEG-4 encoding made simple. Completing the installation is a bi-directional comms, programme audio and video set up with full functionality through just one network cable.”
Live and recorded programmes from the studio and OB van can also be fed to the school’s foyer where a two-storey ‘monitor garden’ was built alongside a 4-screen video wall.
Sue Powell concluded, “Basically we now have a set up that is second to none. With our central router in the control room we can communicate and transmit and receive material from anywhere to anywhere, including streaming live to the internet from our studio and it’s wonderful. I simply cannot praise Videocraft enough for their tireless efforts and level of expertise. It was very clear they had a passion for what they did and the cabling alone was a work of art. We are very proud of what’s been achieved.”