University Centre Grimsby

It’s lights, camera, action time at The Grimsby Institute’s University Centre Grimsby, as undergraduate students get their chance to shine using new TV studio facilities specified and installed by Planet PC in a new £20 million higher education building.

The Grimsby Institute provides a wide range of further and higher education courses alongside business training and community education support to more than 22,000 students every year across three sites. It is the largest provider of vocational courses in North East Lincolnshire, and the new University Centre Grimsby offers over 100 higher education courses, all of which are accredited through partner Universities The University of Hull, York St John, Huddersfield and Leeds Metropolitan.

University Centre Grimsby

Technical Development Manager, Lee Howard, knew during the planning of the new 8,000 sq ft University Centre Grimsby that space had been allocated for TV production facilities. The facilities would support undergraduates studying for qualifications in Television & Digital Film Production, Multi- Platform Journalism, Motion Graphics and Games Design.

He turned to Planet PC, after working successfully with them on the installation of the existing Avid newscaster system at the Institute, to talk through his requirements and build the specification.

“What impressed me most about Planet PC was that they looked at the installation from a teaching and learning perspective, and not just a broadcast perspective,” he says. “They quickly identified the equipment that would deliver the best results from a budget and broadcast point of view, but they also suggested ideas that would enhance the studio space as a teaching environment.”

“It was their in-depth knowledge of the education sector, their understanding of the technology available and the development of a very strong specification at a competitive price that won the tender to deliver this project.”

The University Centre Grimsby opened in October 2011, housing state of the art TV studio facilities alongside a video editing suite, radio and photography studios, high specification gaming equipment, a range of teaching facilities including a sports and science lab, a two-storey library, open access computer facilities and café.

The TV studio setup comprises a main control room located between two studios. The first - a ‘soft’ studio - enables traditional journalism students to record pieces to camera and news bulletins in a ‘chat show’ setting.

The second is a ‘virtual’ studio, incorporating chroma key technology that allows students to create broadcasts in a range of 3D virtual sets limited only by their imagination, alongside motion capture technology that can be live streamed into the creative labs and accessed by multiple users working on games development.

The control room features a range of high specification equipment for broadcast quality production. One of the ideas built into the specification that most impressed Lee was the inclusion of three 40” screens directly above the main control room computers. This means that while some students operate the control room, others can clearly see what’s happening on the big screens.

Another was the creation of a freestanding, suspended lighting system in the virtual studio to give added flexibility. The inclusion of a Smart Videohub allows all video inputs and outputs to be controlled wirelessly with an iPad, and enables lecturers to cut to a specific camera or feed from wherever they are in the studios and talk to students about what they see.

The installation was completed over the summer holiday, with staff training completed in time for the new building’s opening in October. “We were incredibly impressed with the way Planet PC approached this project,” says Lee. “Their focus on teaching and learning sets their approach apart from other providers, and it has given us exactly the facilities we were looking for to reinforce our reputation as a provider of quality learning experiences.”