Sony supports Bournemouth University in offering students state-of-the-art TV production facilities

Working with solutions architect, reseller and consultant Digital Garage, Sony has provided equipment for Bournemouth University’s new media centre that gives students an authentic taste of real-world TV production.

How we helped
Challenge icon
The Challenge
  • University media faculty wished to offer an authentic studio environment for students seeking future TV production careers
Solution icon
The Solution
  • 2x XVS-6000 video switchers
  • 8x HDC-3500 4K studio camera
  • 3x BRC-X1000 PTZ cameras
  • 2x PWS-4500 4K video servers
  • 10x LMD-A240 24” monitors
Outcome icon
The Outcome
  • Signals can be freely patched between four studios, two vision galleries and two sound galleries
  • Future upgrade path from SDI to all-IP working in 4K UHD

The authenticity of our studio facilities is a big draw for students who are looking for their break into the world of television production.

Mark Brocklehurst
Director of Operations - Faculty of Media & Communication, Bournemouth University

Cutting edge facilities for TV production students

Bournemouth University on England’s south coast offers students an acclaimed range of industry-accredited undergraduate and masters courses in television and film production. The university’s new five-storey media centre is home to state-of-the-art TV studios and control rooms, representing what may be the biggest and best-equipped facilities available to students anywhere in the UK.

A complete package of Sony professional production equipment – including 4K studio cameras, video switchers, servers and picture monitors – has been provided to the media centre by North Oxfordshire based system integrator and reseller Digital Garage. Digital Garage’s expert team engaged with academic and technical staff to architect and deliver the complete solution in line with Bournemouth University’s ambitious pedagogical needs.

A studio equipped with a switcher and screens

Preparing a new generation of professional talent for the real world

Fundamental to the project’s trajectory was the Faculty of Media & Communication’s requirement to recreate a best-of-breed environment, effectively duplicating equipment and working practices that students will encounter in their future careers.

“TV production facilities at educational establishments are often compromised in terms of their technical infrastructure and operational facilities, as well as the all-important look and feel they offer to students, which hinders students in their development and ultimate employability” says Mike Whelan, Managing Director at Digital Garage, who have designed and delivered a large number of cutting edge educational film, TV and XR projects across the UK and Ireland. “The results are all too often ‘kind of’ like a TV, film, radio or recording studio – but they don’t give the authentic experience of working hands-on in a top-tier broadcast environment that many students are aspiring to.”

“Bournemouth University has a fantastic reputation for delivering graduates into high quality real-world broadcast jobs” notes Mike. “It’s very much a defining point of difference for the university and the variety of media related courses they offer. And the environment we’ve created with Sony really does represent a media production facility for the 21st century.”

Bournemount university viewing gallery

Duplicating real-world 4K broadcast workflows

A total of eight camera chains feature Sony’s HDC-3500 4K studio camera that offers pristine 4K/HD picture quality with high dynamic range and exceptionally low noise. They’re complemented by three remotely-controlled BRC-X1000 4K PTZ cameras that are colour balanced to closely match the look of main studio cameras.

Video mixing is handled by a Sony XVS-6000 multi-format video switcher in each of two studios, while ingest/playout is via a pair of PWS-4500 4K video production servers that deliver recordings to editing storage. Their 1PB Editshare shared storage and Production Asset management Solution provides integration from the post production and grading/audio finishing areas elsewhere in the building that were also designed and installed by Digital Garage. Video monitoring in key vision positions is provided via ten slim, light weight LMD A240 24-inch Full HD high grade LCD monitors that are suitable for HDR production.

Separate to the main studio is a smaller, feature atrium studio in the media centre’s entrance area which features a flown truss-based lighting rig with motorised hoists as well as full infrastructure connectivity to all galleries and master control room. SDI signals from HDC-3500 cameras in both studios are carried over fibre connections, and can be freely patched to either of two vision galleries that are also connected with each other. Studio cameras, switchers and servers are all compliant with ST 2110 open standards. While the faculty is currently working in baseband video, there is a straightforward path to upgrade studios and control rooms to all-IP operation as future needs dictate, with infrastructure in place to cater for this when required.

Bournemouth university recording studio and SONY HDC-3500  studio camera

Support at every step

Also included in the project is an extended package of 5 years Sony PrimeSupport, giving the university access to spares and technical support, and underpinned by a comprehensive on site service and support facility provisioned by Digital Gararge, covering all the new technical facilities.

“The authenticity of our studio facilities is a big draw for students who are looking for their break into the world of television production” says Mark Brocklehurst, Director of Operations, Faculty of Media & Communication, Bournemouth University. “And of course they’re going to be working with Sony cameras and switchers in many professional settings – this is as real as it gets. The Digital Garage team have been instrumental in helping us create an environment for students and teaching staff that genuinely reflects current production practices. The advice and support we’ve had from them at every stage of this project has been fantastic.”

Staff in discussion and a switcher in a recording studio

Delivering positive pedagogical outcomes

“At Digital Garage we’re very proud of our track record within the educational sector – and especially of this project we’ve undertaken with our friends at Bournemouth University” notes Mike Whelan. “It was a long journey, working with the Project team, Architects and Senior Management before a foundation for the new space had been dug. This detailed engagement was a vital part of the overall success of the project, ensuring that the detailed technical requirements for the facility are captured, working with all stakeholders and helping to shape the specialist spaces within what was a multi million pound new building.

“We specialise in not only considering the technical and its interfacing with the space and the building, but how this then relates to pedagogical outcomes” states Mike. “Our team of experienced consultants and engineers use their commercial skills and educational knowledge to ensure that we create a technical scheme that addresses both the short-term needs and the long-term strategy for development of the course and facilities.

“We were delighted to leverage our industry knowledge from our works with the BBC and ITV to help guide the technical choices. The end result speaks for itself, with cutting edge broadcast solutions from Sony at the very heart of the workflows. And with forward-looking capabilities for 4K and ST2110 too, it really does give students that real world state-of-the-art experience.”