20.10.06

School leaders are better educated

AUTHOR: Inavate

Originally opened in 2002 as a flagship of the UK’s project to produce world class teaching staff, the National College for School Leadership recently underwent a significant AV refit at its Learning and Conference Centre in Nottinghamshire.

The National College for School Leadership provides learning and development opportunities and professional and practical support for school leaders at every stage in their career. Its core purpose is to develop individuals and teams to lead and manage their own schools and work collaboratively with others.
The organisation’s learning and conference centre in Nottinghamshire in the north of England recently underwent a significant upgrade to its auditorium, the heart of a site that can provide five star accommodation and conferencing facilities for up to 250 visitors. The work was carried out for the council by Saville Audio Visual, who installed a new integrated audio visual system including custom furniture and their own Intellect control system.
The auditorium can seat up to 200 delegates, depending on room layout, and the centre-piece of the AV equipment is the Barco iCon 600 projector. Sited at the back of the room, the projector is fitted with the accompanying long throw lens and mounted on a Unicol CP1/2000 ceiling mount.
The 6000 ANSI lumen brightness makes it well suited to such presentation facilities. Saville also picked it for its on board features. The projector can operate in a picture-in-picture mode allowing it show feeds from two sources at once.
This feature is of particular use when the video system is hooked up to the Tandberg 6000MXP video codec, also supplied by Saville AV. The picture-in-picture functionality of the Barco projector allows the near and far end of the VC link to be shown on the same display.
Another feature of the auditorium’s video system is four flat panel displays. Two NEC LCD4010 40” LCD screens are mounted on Unicol brackets in the reception area to the auditorium. These allow for the space to be used as an overflow for the auditorium, or so that people waiting outside can choose an appropriate moment to enter. The screens can show both a camera shot of the speaker and the content from the projection system.
Inside the auditorium itself, two Hitachi 55PMA550E 55” plasma screens are placed on the back wall. These mirror exactly what the audience see on the front projector and are intended to assist the speaker if he / she is roaming the floor using the wireless microphone system. They effectively remove the need to turn ones back on the audience to reference material in a presentation.
Saville also provided a number of items of custom furniture including the 3.8m x 2.1m projection screen and lectern. In the top of the lectern is mounted a Smart Technologies SSID250 15” interactive whiteboard tablet to allow the speaker to annotate directly onto the presentation. This comes with the company’s SE300L Synchronise software.
Video sources for the facility include an Elmo 5500XG digital visualiser, Panasonic VHS and DVD playback and an additional, three Samsung VO4 pan / tilt cameras. The additional cameras are linked to the videoconferencing system and allow operators in the projection room of the auditorium to focus more precisely on individuals in the audience, or the speaker if they are away from the lectern. Speakers can also plug their laptops into the projection system via one of four Altinex DA1907SX computer interfaces.
All video sources are switched via Kramer equipment, which includes a VS-808XL 8x8 video matrix switcher and a VP88 RGBHV stereo audio matrix switcher.
On the audio side, Saville AV again performed a complete refit. The NCSL was outfitted with ClearOne’s XAP800 audio matrix mixer, which handles the inputs from the various microphones available to the speaker. Amplification comes in the form of a four-channel cloud CX A4. An Audio-Technica gooseneck microphone was provided for the lectern along with a selection of Sennheiser tie clip microphones and hand held radio mics with associated rack mounted equipment. An Ampetronic induction loop amplifier ensures the room is compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act.
During the refit Saville AV also managed to salvage the auditorium’s existing ceiling speakers and re-use them. Also salvaged was the room’s existing projector, which is now housed as a backup facility alongside the AV equipment rack in the old “projection room”, and a complete set of duplicate controls.
Tying the entire system together is the AMX control system. AMX MVP7500/02 or MVP8400 Modero WiFi touch panels provide the speaker with free-roaming control of all the room’s functions. This extends to control of the AV sources, blinds, microphone volume and the stage lighting (also installed by Saville AV).
Saville AV’s regional technical manager Colin Firth commented: “We were proud to win this prestigious contract. The system we have designed incorporates state-of-the-art technology yet is easy to operate even by inexperienced presenters.” While a spokesperson for the NCSL concluded: “The upgraded facilities will ensure that we can continue to make a difference to the lives and the life chances of children and young people through the development of world-class school leaders.”