West Herts College specialises in vocational education and apprenticeships, serving communities across south west Hertfordshire and north London.
Rated outstanding by Ofsted in 2010, it has centres in Watford, Kings Langley and Hemel Hempstead. The college’s brand new campus in Watford town centre features modern kit and equipment across every subject – with broadcast and audio visual at the forefront of this investment.
Feltech were approached by Hewshott International to tender for a two phase Installation project for West Herts College: Phase one consisted of a High Definition TV Studio, three Music recording studios (1 analogue pro tools studio, one digital pro tools studio and 1 HD pro tools studio), a Lecture Theatre, four band practice rooms, three dance studios, three drama studios and two dressing rooms; Phase two consisted of Hair & Beauty areas, four kitchens, a fitness studio & gym, a spa, nine mini support centres, a boardroom, two science blocks, seven street displays and a seminar classroom. Feltech were delighted to be awarded the contract and work with Hewshott International on the complex installation.
Music Recording Studios
Each of the three studios Feltech installed were acoustically fitted out to broadcast specification, featuring custom made MW Video studio desks. Each studio & control room has 32 tie lines, 24 sends & 8 returns. The studios were also accompanied by four Band Practice rooms each with 12 tie lines, 8 sends and 4 returns. All of these tie lines run into a central patch bay making all of the studios, control rooms and practice rooms completely versatile. Furthermore within the three control rooms there is also the functionality to be able to monitor and communicate with the other three live spaces and four band practice rooms, with CCTV feeds and ceiling microphones in each room giving students and staff complete communication to anywhere in the music facility. The four Band Practice rooms are also wired back into the central wall box patch bay with any of the studio control rooms capable of monitoring the recording and practice sessions as they take place.
Phase one of the project featured a full HD 3 camera TV Studio. Feltech were tasked with the complete system design and installation of this new studio space, which featured 3 JVC GY-HD251E HDV Studio cameras, a number of wall box connection points fitted with CCZ camera control connecters and also TX feeds, comms and video / audio tielines. The studio also incorporated a Doughty lighting grid controlled by the latest ETC control console and Chilli dimmer packs. Around the perimeter there was a Doughty curtain track, with individual tracks fitted to divide the space into two working studios. Feltech specified a custom MW desk for the control room fabricated to house a wide range of equipment including JVC DV/HDV players, HD/SDI Blueray player/recorder, Sony HD/SDI recorders, Panasonic vision mixer, 65” HD Panasonic display, Autocue system, HD/SDI PC caption generator, 12 ch Audio mixing desk and various other TX monitors and speakers. The TV Studio is also connected to the performance theatre, two green rooms and music recording studios via video and audio tielines and a Techpro 4 wire comms talk back system.
Digital Signage System
During phase two of the college project Feltech implemented a digital signage solution to work alongside the college distributed TV signal, which also allowed the screens to be controlled remotely. Feltech specified a Spinetix Hyper Media Player 100 and Crestron QMI-RMC. This allows the client to control the Sony screens through an Ethernet port via a piece of custom code, which also incorporates timer controls built in to turn the screen on in the morning and off at the end of the day. The screens are distributed throughout the college including break out areas known as Mini Support Centres, the Hair & Beauty reception area and the Café.
For this application the existing Exterity IPTV system installed by Feltech from the old college building was repurposed and supplemented by 6 new HD receivers. These can either be programmed and control via a laptop locally with the IPTV Manager software. The receivers are fitted with both HDMI, Component; S-Video and Composite video connectors, allowing the client to connect to any Display device. This receiver displays full 1080p HD pictures and can be powered via a POE switch.
The college features three training kitchens and a pastry kitchen, which Feltech enhanced with a lecture caption system enabling tutors to be able to record demonstrations onto a HDD via a dome mounted camera and radio microphone ready to be played back to various monitors around the students preparation areas. This equipment was housed in a wall mounted rack and control by a wall mounted 6” Crestron touchpanel with built in video preview.
The Performance Theatre is a multifunctional space which was designed for several applications. Feltech were tasked with providing a Performance Theatre system that delivered a working theatre feel, whilst also being able to use the space as a Lecture Theatre. Feltech achieved this with the installation of a 24 channel digital Yamaha desk, 16 channel ADAT expansion card, ProTools recording system, 8 wireless and 8 wired microphones, a pair of flown ambient microphones, four Tannoy V15 speakers and a 6000 Lumen Panasonic DLP projector. All of these elements were strung together with several kilometres of Image 1000 HD/SDI video cable, StarQuad mic cable and FST audio cable and wired back into Jackfields and Krone frames to give the client the flexibility they required.
Dance & Drama
Throughout the college Feltech enhanced a number of Dance and Drama studios, consisting of mobile audio equipment racks, lighting rigs and consoles. The audio equipment racks feature 12 channel Yamaha mixing desks, 2 wireless microphones, Tascam CD Recorders & CD Players, a 31 band graphics equalisers, a multi effects unit and power amp.
Gym & Fitness Suite
Both the Gym & Fitness suite were also equipped with video & audio equipment. The Gym benefits from a professional TV distribution system linked into the bikes and running equipment giving the client 8 no DTT freeview channels to view. Feltech also installed a state of the art multi room audio system that is housed in an equipment rack that feeds the gym, the hair & beauty area, restaurant and café. This is controlled by a number of wireless controllers that can select between a CD player, the library stored on an external hard drive and any internet radio station.
Since completing the project Feltech have provided on-going technical support to West Herts College by way of an annual preventative maintenance contract and telephone support.