104 Crystal Vision interface boards for the University of York’s state-of-the-art new building

Crystal Vision has been chosen as the exclusive modular interface supplier for a multi-million pound development by the University of York. This major investment by one of the UK’s top ten universities includes 104 Crystal Vision boards for distributing, down converting, synchronizing, switching, embedding and de-embedding the signals for two HD television studios in a brand new building designed for the Theatre, Film and Television department, with the boards selected and installed by Leeds-based systems integrator AVC.

The department was previously limited to single camera shooting and some post production. The brand new facility allows an increase in student numbers and is equipped to full HD broadcast standards to provide a teaching environment that is representative of broadcast industry practice, as well as a facility capable of being hired out to external clients. Alongside the impressively-equipped 176m2 and 89m2 studios with associated galleries, there in an apparatus room, video and audio finishing areas, 200-seat theater and large Black Box shooting space.

With over 20 years experience in the industry, systems integrator AVC had good knowledge of the products from its long-standing relationship with Crystal Vision and was confident that their chosen interface supplier would be able to meet the demanding timescale. Explained AVC’s Managing Director, Jim Crothers: “This prestige project illustrates AVC’s continuing growth in the educational sector.”

The majority of the Crystal Vision boards are being used to distribute a variety of video and audio signals around the facility. 52 3GDA105N digital DAs are distributing general 1.5Gb/s HD video for the studios and some shared facilities, with the 3GDA105N’s 3Gb/s capability perfect for future proofing the infrastructure. Reference signal and autocue distribution comes from ten VDA110M HD and VDA210M HD analog video DAs.

Eleven AADA416FM are being used for analog audio program distribution in both studios, and distribution of audio, test signals and timecode in the apparatus room and post production. Finally, AES test signals are being distributed in the post production areas using two DADA208N and a DADA208.

Four Q-Down short-delay down converters and DAs, offering a flexible combination of analog and digital outputs, are being used for the distribution of both the main studio feed and a selected floor monitor feed, with the HD, SDI and PAL outputs suiting a variety of operational needs. The university is using two SYN HD synchronizers along with two SW221 3G 2 x 2 routing switchers for an emergency cut function, available should a vision mixer fail.

A total of 20 TANDEM HD-21 are also in use, configured as six de-embedders and six embedders for the feeds in and out of the larger studio and four de-embedders and four embedders for the smaller studio feeds.

The 104 boards are housed in ten 2RU and two 1RU frames, which are located across the facility in the large studio, smaller studio, central systems rack, post production apparatus room and two sound galleries. For control, most boards have been manually pre-set on board edge switches with no changes required on a day-by-day operational basis, while the SW221 3G 2 x 2 routing switcher is using GPI control to switch from “normal” to “emergency cut” mode.

Based at Whittlesford near Cambridge in the UK, Crystal Vision provides digital keyers, picture storage modules and a full range of interface equipment including converters, synchronizers, distribution amplifiers and audio embedders to the professional broadcasting industry worldwide.