SIAL Sound Studios: System Uplift (2022)

In early 2022, Simon Maisch designed, configured and installed a significant upgrade to SIAL Sound Studios (School of Design, RMIT University) with the specific goal of elevating the delivery of education in an online, hybrid teaching environment.

Through this uplift integration, the studio is now equipped as a seamless, high quality and unique video conferencing environment. In addition to this, there are now significant audio and video streaming capabilities in the studio, that are easily adjusted and to provide flexibility as needs change throughout the year.

A beam-conforming ceiling microphone is installed in the ceiling, as well as a binaural microphone so online participants receive a spatial representation of the experience in the room. For talks, keynote lectures or events, there has been an RF deployment utilising Shure ULXD and lapel microphones.

Audio can be directed to the videoconferencing far-end and a stereo stream independently, and from not only these microphones, but many sources in the studio, including a stereo sum from the multichannel sound array or stereo output from the computer. The routing of these audio sources can be adjusted easily within the DSP to suit varying needs.

Video signals are captured to a vision switcher from the lecture computer, lecture camera and machine room computer, and there is an SDI patch ready for an additional camera to be directed to the vision switcher when required. This can be used for both recording or streaming; and the audio mix to this can be adjusted as needs shift.

There is also single push-button recording available – to SD card – that captures the lecture screen & a discrete audio feed for easily recording lectures or tutorials in high-quality, as opposed to the low-fidelity capture through Microsoft Teams or Zoom.

All audio signals, including the beam-conforming ceiling microphone, binaural microphone, stereo audio from computer, multichannel audio, far-end participants and lapel microphones can be recorded as discrete signals in the machine room.

Black drapes & a chroma-key-green screen have also been installed for slight acoustic and visual separation, and to also enable keyed content to livestream for additional visual flexibility.

A small lighting system of spots and small moving heads has also been deployed, able to be controlled in the machine room. This can be integrated into Q-Lab sequencing, for seamless operation. General LED panels have also been installed for illumination of the whiteboard and green screen.

Technologies and products used within this deployment include Q-Sys, Shure, Dante, BirdDog, Blackmagic Design, ENTTEC, Chauvet & Theatrical Supplies Australia products.