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A virtual press conference from Sound & Video Contractor

Aims Community College Designs New Video Production Studios Using Free Design Tool from Winsted.

Studio A

Aims Community College Studio A.

Thirty years since ground was first broken for Beaty Hall on the campus of Aims Community College, the building has been reborn as a center for technology and media.

The newly renovated building boasts the latest technology in the college’s brand new video, radio and audio engineering studios and is also home to new computer information systems, graphic technology, music and arts, as well as mathematics laboratories.

One objective of the $5.5 million renovation was to integrate the college’s Communication Media and Media Services to capitalize on facilities and services. In doing so, the college incorporated two state-of-the-art video production studios.

The responsibility of designing systems and consoles for the two studios fell to Dev Multer, senior producer for Aims Community College.

Studio A serves as the school’s video production facility used primarily by professional staff and is commonly operated by a single producer. Studio B, on the other hand, is the instructional studio and may be run by 7 to 10 students at a time.

From the start, space limitations were a significant design consideration for both studios, which included compliance with ADA requirements.

New console furniture needed to be designed and constructed for each studio to house all necessary controls, monitors and other equipment; enable efficient workflow; and make it all happen in a limited amount of space without sacrificing the comfort and productivity of the operators.

Although he considered several options for the consoles, in the end Multer went with a brand he knew he could trust.

Winsted consoles had been used in the previous studio facilities at the college and he’d been sitting behind them for 20 years. They have a reputation for quality, design flexibility and affordability that is well-known throughout the broadcast industry.

“Honestly, we looked at other consoles from a company out of New York and they had some beautiful stuff but they were really, really expensive. When I found out how much it was going to cost I didn’t even ask the bosses because I knew the answer was no,? said Multer. “But we were able to get Winsted consoles that functionally work for us every bit as well for a fraction of the cost of other consoles.?

Aside from his familiarity with the Winsted name and existing products, Multer was impressed with the company’s free WELS software and found it to be a valuable tool when designing consoles for each of the studios.

Winsted Equipment Layout Software, or WELS, is the company’s exclusive interactive design tool that allows customers to design their own consoles and room layouts quickly and easily. WELS allows users to select components from Winsted’s extensive catalog of consoles, racks and accessories to create complete custom designs.

“I had the plans for the building with our rooms in it so I knew the dimensions of the rooms. I was able to use that and the WELS software to start laying pieces out,? said Multer. ?That was a really big advantage for me. It enabled me to see how it would look. And it actually came out looking pretty much like we thought it would.?

Using the WELS tool, Multer was able to select the console chassis, layout components on the work surface, determine elevations for rack mount equipment, decide monitor placement for optimum sight-lines and preview his room layouts.

Multer selected different configurations of Winsted Slim-Line consoles for each of the studios. Slim-Line console work surfaces are manufactured with a high-density core and beveled front edge for operator comfort and can be customized to suit virtually any need.

The console in studio A has on it an audio mixer, switcher panel, edit controller keyboard, Chyron keyboard, lighting board and monitors for the edit controller and three graphics workstations. The studio A console is also equipped with three Winsted desktop racks containing audio processing equipment and patchbays, two matrix video routers and quad LED display. Under the console are two keyboard pullouts with a jog shuttle controller for the editor and keyboards for two graphics workstations.

The configuration is a single modified U-shaped console. There is a custom turn in the console to alter the shape to a make it possible for a single operator to control the studio when necessary.

The custom turn is an option that is not a standard component of Slim-Line consoles. But because the WELS software is flexible enough to allow users to incorporate such custom elements, Multer was able to send the drawings of his WELS layout to Winsted’s product specialists and ask for advice.

Ultimately, the Winsted team was able to make his layout work with the custom turn. They also made a number of helpful suggestions, such as using a deeper work surface in one area, which enhanced the design and ensured that all of the desktop equipment would fit as planned.

Studio B, the instructional studio, includes two rows of Slim-Line consoles, which are configured to be operated by a group of students. The front console includes four unique workstations a graphics station, a switcher control panel an edit controller and a second graphics station. The second console has three workstations: a lighting position, director’s position with an intercom and backup monitor and an audio station.

Aims Studio B

Aims Community College Studio B.

Slim-Line consoles feature adjustable monitor shelves, which can be modified for height and angle to allow users to easily tailor sightlines and monitor viewing angles based on personal needs – ideal for a studio classroom environment such as this.

In Studio B, because of the number of people working simultaneously, the size of the room and the width of the consoles, Winsted suggested using a narrower work surface to allow more room to move around. The only piece of equipment that would not fit on the narrower work surface was the audio mixer. For this, Winsted suggested creating a custom cut that is deeper at that one workstation.

According to Multer this worked great and was something he would not have thought of as a possible problem. But Winsted’s experience in the industry and attention to detail eliminated potential pitfalls such as this.

When the time came to make all the WELS drawings and plans a reality, Aims enlisted integration firm CEAVCO Audio Visual. CEAVCO helped the college with the final drawings, ordering the equipment, system setup as well as installing the Winsted Slim-Line consoles.

With installation complete and the staff and students of Aims Community College hard at work in their new state-of-the-art studios, Multer is pleased with how well the project turned out.

“I think it is pretty close to what we had envisioned when designing the studios with WELS,? said Multer. “ Everything fit. We spent enough time working on that that everything laid out as we hoped.?

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