Implementing a Multi-Purpose Studio at the University of Sunderland 

The University of Sunderland in the UK required a new multi-purpose studio that could be used for live operations such as news and sports magazines. To meet this need, CJP Broadcast Service Solutions was brought in to redevelop an existing studio and add a second production space primarily dedicated to live broadcast. The studio was designed to have real-world workflows with no workarounds, providing students with hands-on experience preparing them for their future careers. This case study shows how affordable, secure, and high-quality broadcast facilities can be built using accessible equipment, making it a clear model for corporate media facilities and smaller broadcast companies. 

The Challenge  

The University of Sunderland in the north-east of England has a thriving media faculty, which involves students from various disciplines like writers, performers, photographers, fashion students, and others. To support this diverse range of activities, the university needed a new studio that could be used for live productions such as news and sports magazines. The equipment, installation, and workflows had to be those of a professional studio in HD, without compromises. 

“One of the reasons that we focus on live productions is because we listen to potential employers and what they are looking for. They tell us that there is a real shortage of skills in live television. We now have the technology, and the experience, to give them real experience in that sort of production, where they are working in a small space but thanks to the Virtual Production toolsets, combined with the TV Production technology supplied by CJP Broadcast Services Solutions, it will look like a massive studio.”

Sue Perryman, senior lecturer at the University of Sunderland 

The Solution  

To meet the university’s requirements, CJP Broadcast Service Solutions was asked to remodel an existing greenscreen studio and add a second production space primarily dedicated to live broadcast. This live production studio also includes a large LED volume for virtual studio work. It was designed to provide real-world workflows with no workarounds, giving students practical hands-on experience to prepare them for their future careers. 

For the core functionality of the studio, CJP chose Ross Video equipment. The Carbonite 2 M/E production switcher with the Touchdrive TD2S panel was chosen to provide all the facilities needed for live productions. Realtime motion graphics come from the Ross Xpression platform, again providing the sort of dynamic, immersive production experience typically seen in news and sports programming. 

To capture, secure and play out multiple live feeds, the studio also includes the Media I/O video server platform from Ross. This also provides automated routing and workflows to simplify busy live productions. It works with the Evo Signature storage system to provide the complete storage and delivery platform. Lighting in both studio spaces was fitted by CJP, using LED luminaires from Kino Flo to minimize the carbon footprint. 

For sports and news work, CJP supplied an outside broadcast package based around a four-channel Streamstar system with LiveU remote cellular connectivity.  

The production studio designed and built by CJP also features a 10m x 3.5m LED volume, with 1.9mm INFiLED panels supplied and installed by Bendac, together with Brompton processing. Camera tracking is by Mo-Sys Star Tracker, with the Mo-Sys VP Pro XR providing access to the Unreal Engine to generate photorealistic environments, as well as precision camera tracking to combine live and virtual elements. 

For students interested in gaming, the set-up also includes full-body motion capture by Xsens and Faceware facial tracking software. This allows virtual characters to move naturally based on performance capture. 

The Future  

The new multi-purpose studio at the University of Sunderland has set a standard for affordable, secure, and high-quality broadcast facilities. It provides students with hands-on experience and prepares them for their future careers in the industry. The implementation of the studio has shown that broadcast quality can be democratised and achieved using affordable equipment. This project provides a clear model not only for educational establishments but also for corporate media facilities and smaller broadcast companies that are looking to build professional live news or production studios. 

“What was important when we were talking with the university was the necessity to make it feel like a real broadcast production centre. The goal was to have real-world workflows with no workarounds. That is a really important part of preparing students for their future careers. What it shows in the wider context is that ‘broadcast quality’, which we used to regard as something only practical and affordable for broadcasters, has now been democratised. This shows what can be achieved in systems which are affordable and secure. It provides exactly the same functionality, in exactly the same workflows, as any professional live news or production studio, so it is a clear model for corporate media facilities and for smaller broadcast companies.” 

Christopher Phillips, managing director of CJP Broadcast Service Solutions 

Share your thoughts