AV AWARD 2015 FINALIST – EDUCATION CATEGORY
The University of Greenwich television studios and post production facilities offer students the opportunity to experience end-to-end High Definition workflow from studio production to post production, edit and delivery.
A single creative hub that nurtures talents from film, animation and design, the environment is designed to inspire above and beyond simple functionality. The studios and associated facilities, including multi-‐camera sound stages, sound studios, colour grading and edit suites offer high-‐spec equipment in industry standard layouts so that students can more quickly adapt to commercial environments. The aim is to combine students practical development alongside creative experimentation.
Architects Heneghan Peng wanted the building itself to incite learning, teaching and research at the highest levels. As a modern, challenging university collaborative working across disciplines is essential. The building and its facilities embody this ethos and the equipment and functioning components must too.
Feltech designed, installed and commissioned the HD television studio complex at the University of Greenwich Stockley Street campus with this philosophy in mind.
The objective of the TV Studio Complex was to create a broadcast quality system that could form the heart of the Department of Creative Professions and Digital Arts, delivering an intelligent workflow and a robust platform for a wide variety of student projects. With a strict deadline of students arriving for the Autumn term timing was key to the success of the project.
“The students absolutely love it.. actually the staff love it as well”
Professor Gregory Sporton Head of Department for Creative Professions & Digital Arts and Professor of Digital Creativity commented “This is a real shift for us from very ordinary SD equipment in to the HD world… The workflow part was really important to us, the idea that we could bring everything together in a straight line and make it quite a simple process for students was really important”.
Professor Sporton continued “It’s got that professional feel, that cool edge that students respond to – they respond creatively.
This has been a nice opportunity for us to get all the material lined up in one go so students go all the way through from recording their work in to post production and putting it forward for marking. The students absolutely love it – actually the staff love it as well”.
At the heart of the facility, positioned between the studios, the gallery control room features a custom built desk with split level monitoring facilities to allow maximum student participation.
Fully equipped with digital video and lighting control, audio mixing and recording systems, the control room is designed to mirror commercial environments down to the smallest detail.
In order to standardise the infrastructure Feltech applied HD-‐SDI signal distribution throughout the installation, bringing broadcast inspired professionalism to the facility and laying the foundations for future system expansion.
The control room receives signals from four High Definition JVC GY-‐ HM890 cameras with Telecast Fibre integration units.
Each camera is mounted on Vinten Vision Studio pedestals, with one equipped with a full Autocue display system controlled by Autocue software running on a PC in the control room.
Each camera has full studio lens remotes, viewfinders and tally lights with engineering control via JVC RM-‐ LP25 joystick remote control panels.
The gallery control room is equipped with a For.A HVS-‐390 Multi-‐format Vision Mixer, the multiviewer outputs are displayed on two Sony 52″ full HD screens for production and a Sony LMD-‐1751W for engineering. Signals are routed with a Blackmagic Design Smartvideo Hub matrix.
File based video recording and playback are handled by a new 8-Core Mac Pro with Blackmagic Decklink Quad & Duo connectivity running Softron ‘Movie Recorder 3’ and ‘OnTheAir’ applications. This innovative easy to use solution allows 4 channels of live material to be ingested or played out in a range of industry standard Codec’s to a central video shared storage solution. This allows captured video from the TV Studios to be accessible by the facility’s fifteen Avid / Adobe Premiere Pro CC edit systems and DaVinci colour grading suites instantly. The Mac based ingest solution also enables ‘Edit while Ingest’ workflows, allowing students to start editing live video feeds seconds after the ingest has started enabling modern collaborative workflows to be practiced.
A high-speed video shared storage and flexible collaboration, user, project and media management solution was also designed and implemented forming the backbone of the facility’s data management system.
A Small Tree 128TB TitaniumZ video NAS highly optimized for media usage connects all ingest, edit, audio, motion graphics and grading systems via either standard GigE or 10GigE connections. All media is centrally stored allowing maximum ease of access and collaboration for students.
FlavourSYS Strawberry Production Asset Management (PAM) software was chosen for it’s easy to use project, user, team, security, collaboration and media management features. This system enables students to log in with a unique user name and password anywhere in the facility and instantly have access to all of their media. It also allows the tutors to easily create teams of students that can share media and projects allowing collaborative workflows to be enabled very easily. A key feature crucial to the University is that students can only access their own media or media that tutors allow them to see as part of a collaborative team.
This system enables students to log in with a unique user name and password anywhere in the facility and instantly have sole access to all of their files; it also allows the tutors to manage how much data each student is using.
Audio is handled with a Soundcraft Vi1 Digital desk with Pro-‐Tools control via an AVID interface and a dedicated quad core iMac. The facility is equipped with a variety of Sennheiser wired and radio microphones, with monitoring handled by individually controlled pairs of Tannoy Reveal 502 loudspeakers.
The entire facility, from the studio complex to post production and sound suites are linked by a Riedel talkback system, often used by broadcasters and in Formula One to create a seamless chain of communication throughout the production process.
There are various tie lines from each studio routed to the TV control room by way of wall mounted panels, including audio, HD-‐SDI video, Ethernet data lines and talk back points. The HD cameras can be connected in either studio space using broadcast, hybrid opticon fibre optic cables.
The main production area is two storeys high and fully equipped with TV lighting with motorised hoists, four High Definition Studio cameras, Riedel talkback, audio and monitoring equipment. Chroma key, black and white cyloramas are available as backdrops. Studio floor monitoring is provided by a Samsung 55” display on a Unicol stand. Working closely with Lighting Logic Feltech equipped the studios with TV Lighting arrays.
These are mounted on a mixture of fixed bars, motorised hoists and pantographs, and controlled via a DMX network using ETC SmartPack dimmers and an Element 40 console with touch screens. Studio lighting incorporates a mixture of existing fixtures owned by the department enhanced with a range of lower consumption lighting in order to limit the environmental impact of Highlights, Arri, Source 4 LED, Sola 6 and Rotalight luminaires.
An addition to the two TV studio facilities, the complex includes a separate Sound Recording Studio and Foley area situated in a bespoke control room in the post production area. Based around AVID ProTools, running on a MacPro with an AVID C24 Studio control surface, audio monitoring is provided by a Genelec 5.1 surround system. Video playback from the MacPro onto a Samsung HD screen allows for ‘Foley’ special effects audio dubbing in the studio space. A Pro Tools HD native core system and Native PCIE card integrates the Pro Tool HD system into a MADI environment for post production.
“This is exactly the right time for us to be encouraging collaborative projects involving staff, students and the community. Our new facilities will enable us as facilitators and mentors to challenge the students and push them to achieve their full potential.” Professor Gregory Sporton.
To complete their work the facility offers students 15 Avid editing suites and a DaVinci Resolve colour grading suite also linked to the proprietary NAS storage system, for video and audio editing and file management.
Valerie Brown, Principle Lecturer at the Department of Creative Professions and Digital Arts, said “We feel this new environment will produce greater opportunities for students to work together across courses. The new studios with their ‘state of the art’ kit encourage peer assisted learning. The studios also emulate a real working environment allowing students to learn about workflows that mirror industry practices.” Valerie continued, “The studios need to appeal to local film makers and other creative professionals. The university should be pivotal to the community and we believe our new facilities will further encourage and enable this.”
Professor Sporton added, “This is exactly the right time for us to be encouraging collaborative projects involving staff, students and the community. Our new facilities will enable us as facilitators and mentors to challenge the students and push them to achieve their full potential.”
“It seemed to us that Feltech were the only ones who were really interested in building a partnership with us… From the outset we knew we didn’t have the budget that would really replicate what happens in a professional studio but we knew and Feltech understood that what we had to do was at least simulate that… as you can see we’ve done better than just simulation that there are some parts of this that are absolutely the sort of thing students will experience in their first jobs”.
At the opening ceremony on 9th December 2014 First Secretary of State Rt Hon William Hague MP commented “It is an honour to join in opening this spectacular new library and academic building, which sends an extremely strong message about the future of the University of Greenwich, and of Greenwich itself. This university has one of the largest bodies of international students of any London university. The mingling of students from around the world brings together ideas and experiences derived from many different cultures, enriching the life of this university and creating a web of connections around the globe.”