Central storage server
Our brand new Apple XServe offers 40 Terabytes of media storage for video post-production and sound design. This allows students to log on to any Mac in the building and connect to the server to continue editing their stored work. This system saves time and effort and increases flexibility in booking out our facilities.
We offer all Media Arts practice students access to a comprehensive stock of professional location recording equipment, including Sony V1E camcorders, Redrock outfits, Sachtler, Manfrotto, Vinten and Libec tripods, Sennheiser K6U microphone systems, Rycote windshields, FilmGear, Dedolite and Kino Flo DivaLite portable lighting kits, digital stills cameras, portable audio recorders and a range of reflectors, diffusers and gels.
Students are given training in location recording techniques and location safety during the first few weeks of the course, after which they can borrow equipment for course productions on or off-campus, subject to completing the necessary safety risk assessment form for each shoot.
We currently operate 12 individual edit suites, each with a Mac Pro computer running Final Cut Studio. Six are dedicated to third year undergraduates and six for postgraduates. Each suite is equipped with dual computer monitors, either a Sony HVR-M25AE HDV or a Sony DSR-25 DVCAM deck and a 14" video monitor. Software on each Mac Pro includes Final Cut Pro 7, Motion 4, Soundtrack Pro 3, Color 1.5, Compressor 3.5, DVD Studio Pro 4 and Adobe Photoshop Elements.
Every edit suite is connected to a central storage server to allow students to access their work wherever they are in the building. This not only allows flexibilty in the way they work and the way we can teach, but also means that content can be shared among teams, teaching materials can be made available in one easy step and, if necessary, extra space can be given to a specific project at the click of a mouse.
We also operate two multimedia labs each comprising thirteen iMacs, all running Final Cut Studio (including Final Cut Pro 7, Motion 4, Soundtrack Pro 3, Color 1.5, Compressor 3.5, DVD Studio Pro 4 and Adobe Photoshop Elements. One iMac in each lab acts as a teaching computer during classes, and is connected to a data projector and speaker system. In each lab, four of the iMacs act as input/output facilities for capturing footage and outputting back to DVCAM. One lab also has Steinberg Nuendo and Aperture 3 installed on all machines.
The Media Arts Sound Studio has been used for all manner of projects, such as voice overs, translations, music and sound effects for video projects, as well as music CD projects for research. It has a high quality 'Motu' sound card, some very professional Studio Projects C3 microphones and a 5.1 surround monitoring system.
All recording is done via the Motu & Mac Pro using Sountrack Pro. Also installed is Logic Studio 9 and this is allied with the Roland JV30 keyboard.
More and more, we send the music/sounds mastered in the Sound Studio to other edit suites around the building, as well as the TV Studio, via the high speed computer network.
We also have an additional Sound Mixing Room to enable 5.1 surround editing. Comprising mostly the same equipment, the main difference is that the Sound Studio has a voice recording booth attached.
The Media Arts Centre offers a purpose-built television studio of 108 sqm floor area with adjacent Gallery, Sound Control Room, Green Room, Central Apparatus Room and Dimmer Room. It was designed to operate as a broadcast studio so that students could develop production skills that are relevant to industry practice. The studio video system was upgraded to SDI (Serial Digital Interface) standard in 2004. There are three Ikegami HC400 production cameras available, two mounted on Vinten Dolphin Arm camera cranes offering considerable flexibility for tracking and craning movements, with additional fixed cameras for overhead views, artwork, etc. The cameras and other video sources are routed through a 16x16 digital video matrix, which offers considerable flexibility in introducing feeds and outputs for particular situations.
Additional readily-available video sources include an industry standard Aston Green Caption Generator, two DVCAM decks and a PC for importing display graphics from our media servers via our Local Area Network (LAN). A number of A-D converters also enable analogue video sources to be imported. The Ross Synergy Vision Mixer offers broadcast quality mixing and digital video effects (DVE). While the output is normally recorded onto a DVCAM deck, other digital video recorders can be hired or brought in by clients for specific productions. There is a Mac Pro computer installed within the system which gives us the added flexibility of Tapeless recording. The lighting system has been upgraded in 2010 to a Digital Multiplex (DMX) computer assisted lighting desk and additional DMX fluorescent luminaires to reduce our Carbon Footprint and add much more flexibility.
A range of professional quality studio microphones is available, as well as a number of other pre-recorded sound formats. The sound from the various sources, is mixed via a 16 channel desk, and monitored by means of a pair of industry standard Peak Programme Meters (PPMs) and a range of outboard processors that can be used to compress or limit signals and add reverb, delay and other effects.
The Gallery, or Production Control room, was designed for teaching studio operations and has capacity for 20 students in addition to any student production crew engaged in production. Cast and crew can be directed from the Gallery via the wireless radio talkback system, and designated operators can control camera switching, lighting, sound and VT operations.
The Studio Floor offers a versatile area for recording performances in a range of genres including drama, documentary interviews, dance and music performance. The ‘cyc track’ enables choice of blue, black or TV white cyclorama to be set in position along any of the four walls and there are loading doors enabling set components and props to be brought in as required. The lighting grid covers the whole ceiling area and offers a flexible means of suspending a range of popular industry studio luminaries, such as 2kW Strand Castor lamps, Iris Four cyc lamps, profile spots for projecting patterned lighting effectsand new efficient Kinoflow DMX dimmable fluorescent lamps.
All undergraduate students do a studio piece during their first year and have the option of continuing with studio operations during their second and third year options.