In order to cater for tomorrows broadcast journalists, Production staff and media technolgists, Salford University tendered for a complete broadcast facility which included one 5-camera TV Studio, one 3-camera Virtual TV Studio, Production Control Rooms, two Radio Studios with a dedicated Live Performance Area, a Digital Performance Lab (DPL) with its own Control Room, 3 Broadcast online Edit Suites, a !46 station MAM system supporting Avid FCP and Premiere. A 3D Media Tech Lab, Journalism TV and Radio Studios and an Audio Post Production suite. In addition to the TV Studios, other rooms and open spaces were cabled to allow the whole building to be used for TV production. TSL won the contract to design, integrate and install all of these media facilities, completing the project in September 2011.
The University emphasised the requirement for the system to be capable of providing the students with an authentic experience of what they would expect to find in a broadcasting environment, whilst at the same time giving the lecturers the tools they required to teach engineering and operations. Other requirements included: The technology procurement philosophy for the University was a “many breeds” approach to allow students to gain experience of implementing, using and maintaining many different types of equipment. The infrastructure had to support a wide range of “new technologies” which are relevant to the new delivery methods that content creators and rights owners are increasingly exploiting. In particular, the system had to combine state-of-the-art broadcast engineering with IT, to create a hybrid environment in which students benefit from the best of both worlds.
The University stressed the need to stay at the leading edge in technology terms. Each successive generation of students must learn about the prevailing technologies of their own era. This meant that a high degree of flexibility was built into the system from the start, to cater as far as possible for technologies which are still over the horizon. The educational needs central to the project were ‘what should be taught?’ and ‘how should it be taught?’ This led to the infrastructure being designed to allow a highly flexible approach to the use of space and the provision of technical facilities to those spaces.
‘There are a lot of big AV companies who do education installations and educational integration that couldn’t have done what TSL did’ Laurence Murphy, Senior Lecturer in Media Technology, University Of Salford.