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Lancaster University Lecture theatre & cinema upgrade

Lancaster University is considered to be one of the best higher education institutes in the UK.

Top 10 in three major national league tables, they hold a TEF Gold rating for teaching and are highly ranked in international league tables such as the QS World Rankings.

The optimisation of a multipurpose space

The Bowland lecture theatre is a 254-seat tiered lecture theatre used for teaching during the day and as a cinema run by Lancaster University Student Union’s Take2 Cinema in the evenings and at weekends.

The university wanted to upgrade the equipment within the space to create a better environment for teaching and learning.

The solution implemented needed to work alongside the existing NEC N2000 Digital Cinema projector and integrate with the shared audio and AMX control system.

It had to simplify the control for the lecturer and optimise the image and sound quality experienced by the audience, whether in a lecture or watching a film.

From a technical management perspective, the new system required the introduction of additional audio and video connectivity in the AV room able to offer greater flexibility during technician supported events.

Brighter images and a reassuring backup

To enhance the visual experience during teaching a new 12,000lumen Panasonic laser projector was introduced.

This replaced the existing lamp-based unit used during teaching and offered an immediate improvement in the clarity of the images displayed on the projection screen.

As a laser unit, it also offered reduced running costs and minimised ongoing maintenance requirements.

Both the cinema projector and dedicated teaching projector are managed via an AMX control system with a desk mounted touch control panel on the lectern and a second in the AV control room at the back of the lecture theatre. To build resilience into the system and to offer additional peace of mind, the system is designed to enable simple switch over to the cinema projector should the main teaching projector fail.

A familiar user interface

The upgrade was also an opportunity to bring the room control in-line with the rest of the University estate.

When a lecturer enters the space, they are greeted now by a familiar lectern design and touch panel control with the same user interface found in other lecture theatres across the campus.

The addition of wireless connectivity via Mersive Solstice has also increased the flexibility within the presentation area and enables those delivering the lecture to move about more freely within the teaching area.

A balanced audio experience

One of the greatest challenges in a multipurpose space like the Bowland lecture theatre is the creation of two very different audio experiences.

The requirement for excellent speech intelligibility and even content playback when in use as a lecture theatre contrary to the desired theatrical experience when in use as a cinema.

To meet this challenge new amplifiers and BSS Blu 100 audio processors were added to the existing Martin Audio O-line arrays and Sennheiser mics were added to the lecturer’s tool kit

The Pure AV audio engineer was then able to program and commission the system to extract the best possible audio performance for the room environment and mode of use.

The system is now configured with pre-sets to prioritise atmospheric immersion when in use as a cinema and clarity of speech and intelligibility for teaching.

Reliable and hassle-free

Those responsible for the support of the lecture theatre have seen a marked reduction in call outs and improvements to student feedback.

“The upgrade to the teaching equipment has dramatically improved the learning environment; lecturers have commented on how much better the audio is in the space and how much clearer the presentation content is compared to the past.
The fact that the operation of the theatre is now the same as in other teaching spaces has also resulted in fewer call outs for setup support, the lecturers simply come in and get on with delivering the lesson.”

David Neal, Teaching space technology coordinator - Lancaster University

As far as Take2 Cinema are concerned, it’s been business as usual, with the added benefit of the simplified operation of the system and an enhanced audio experience.

362 Leach Place, Walton Summit, Preston, PR5 8AS

0845 602 2861

info@pureav.co.uk

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