Week 2 @ MediaCityUK: training

September 14, 2011

@heloukee: Just glad to be here!

It’s been just over a week since I moved to the new University of Salford building at MediaCityUK and there has been a lot of progress…. I have a phone again now and the number will apparently follow me to whichever desk I work at either here or on main campus if I log onto it – handy when research meetings are taking place back in the old place. Email is now up, the LAN is all running smoothly and seems quick and reliable so far, wifi working too. There are also more of us are here now, desks in the big open plan offices are sprouting a mixture of PCs and Macs, some more permanent staff have moved in and staff based partly here and partly on main campus have now started coming in for inductions and training session on the new facilities. I’m back on TV studio

Learning about Studio A gallery

training again this week – I’m getting five full days of pretty intensive training on the two main studios we have here. Not really my area so I’m having to take a lot in but hey, TV studios have sound too so I need to know about it. Studio A is the larger of the two, a five camera HD studio with separate control rooms for audio and video/lighting etc. Comms is critical of course and the system we’ve had installed is really impressive and easy to use. The audio room (my comfort zone!) is roomy, has an SSL C10 HD broadcast console, Pro Tools HD 9, SpotOn playback software and various other toys. The desk is gorgeous and set up with nice easy defaults set up for fast workflows (thanks to Ash and TSL) and will be well manageable by our students when they get here in October. The gallery of studio B has a nice familiar Yamaha o2R96 so should be straightforward to learn. I’m taking a lot in on the video and engineering end of the studios too,

Engineering, Studio A

some of which is new to me, a lot is familar (I’ve used vectorscopes and such before but a long time ago) though I’m not used to working on kit this well designed, fully featured and new. Gotta love it at Media City! Studio B is new territory for me: 3 or 4 camera virtual studio with Orad pattern recognition used for the ‘virtual’ bit. Basically it’s chroma keying but with a grid of green on green so the software knows where the camera is pointing at any give time. This means that we can create 3D virtual studio environments and if the camera tracks

View from one of the cameras in studio A

or pans the perspectives alter realistically – a world away from the usual 2D chroma key background and static cameras. We’re already talking about how students across several schools within the University can work on creating templates for this: students from Computer Video Games, Virtual Environments and Animation are going to get some interesting assignments this year I suspect 🙂 
Orad wall for virtual studios using pattern recognition, this is the largest system of this kind Orad have made so far 

Back on the floor of studio A we’re learning about the Ion lighting controller’s capabilities, awesome!

Ion Lighting Controller

The whole training programme is a real eye opener – things look much like galleries and studio floors I’ve seen in broadcast studios but are really at the cutting edge, students are going to be spoilt and in an environment where fees for courses are being forced upwards I’d rather be promoting our courses from here than anywhere else I’ve visited or worked. The studios and Digital Media Performance Lab (more on that in a later blog post!) even have a green room for artists and performers.

Entrance to the green room

The Egg (mentioned in a previous post when it was all just an aspiration) now has it’s Christie Microtile wall installed and being tested. I’ve still training in the radio studios and audio post production to go next week and all is going well for our first students coming in on the 4th October. More to come soon!

The video wall in the foyer - content on the way!


  1. Yes Ben… Uos MediaCityUK looks like the place to be for media study… what an opportunity… I’ve posted this link on the LinkedIn group…

  2. Thanks Mark

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