A major upgrade of Avid Newsroom Systems at Middlesex University.

Middlesex University, in Hendon, northwest London, can trace its roots back to the 19th century, yet was not formally recognised as a teaching institution until 1973.

In 2012, the University re-structured its academic schools to align more closely with the needs of industry. Courses at Middlesex are now delivered by the schools of Business, Law, Art and Design, Health and Education, Media and Performing Arts and Science and Technology, alongside the university Institute for work based learning.

In autumn 2014, Middlesex University approached Altered Images to take over the support services for its entire Avid Installation.  Following the successful win of the support contract, Altered Images then won a tender to upgrade Middlesex University’s Avid infrastructure
to support an entirely new Journalism and Media BA Honours course starting at the beginning of the new academic year in 2015.  The installation took place in August and September last year and the first students are now fully using the new state-of-the-art newsroom and studio, including: 

  • Provide 15 new and upgraded Avid iNews System, forming a complete new journalism workgroup
  • Upgrade Avid MediaCentral Licensing, software and servers.
  • Add an additional 32TB of ISIS | 5500 storage
  • Install a new core 10GB switch provision
  • Add a new HD capable Avid Airspeed | 5500 MPEG-2 capture and playout server
  • Install a complete iNews command workflow for accurate news automation and device control
  • Install data receivers for live news feeds
  • Provide professiobal services including Avid education services
  • Upgrade software in existing media composer edit suits and workshops
  • Design and installation of a unique desk arrangement for students
  • Provide a mobile tutor station for teaching

Housed in the Grove, the University’s hi-tech design and media centre, the newsroom and studio are designed to provide students with a creative environment to further enhance the learning process. As well the newsroom facility, the Grove is also home to art and design studios, digital media labs, workshops, photographic studios and darkrooms and TV studios as well tutor rooms and a cafe. The Grove’s impressive atrium provides a perfect backdrop for events, including exhibitions and fashion shows, giving students the chance to show their work to their peers and future employers.

One of the key criteria of the brief supplied to Altered Images by Middlesex University was that the new facility had to meet the BJTC’s (Broadcast Journalism Training Council) strict accreditation criteria. The BJTC works in partnership with all the main employers in the UK broadcast industry including: BBC, ITV, ITN, Associated Press, Sky News, Channel 4 News, National Union of Journalists, Creative Skillset, Reuters and The Radio Centre.  BJTC’s primary responsibility is to accredit UK journalism courses within higher education.

The University also required a fully integrated facility that could scale as it grows. With a large existing Avid installation supported by Altered Images, expansion of the Avid iNEWS and Avid MediaCentral facilities was a logical choice. The relationship between Middlesex University and Avid is longstanding with the University taking part in Avid’s Learning Partner (ALP) programme for a number of years. The Avid systems and studio equipment has grown organically over the years and lthough some equipment was still fully usable, some of the older technology was not capable of supporting new software versions.  Altered Images had to fully scope and create a statement of work that could provide a state-of-the-art newsroom and studio that could be fully integrated into the University’s wider Avid network.

Altered Images supplied eight new Avid iNEWS systems and upgraded seven existing Avid iNEWS systems to form a complete new journalism workgroup. It also upgraded the University’s Avid MediaCentral licensing and software, supplied new servers and installed an additional 32TB of ISIS |5500 storage. As a dynamic centre of news content creation and distribution,
Avid iNEWS enables Middlesex University students to create and deliver breaking news, unify their entire newsroom operation and engage audiences across a broad spectrum of TV, web, mobile and social media channels. Avid iNEWS integrated with Avid  MediaCentral simplifies and streamlines workflows enabling students to create and deliver content quickly and easily. It also allows multiple editors to connect concurrently and simultaneously, accessing the same high res media in real-time via the ISIS | 5500 shared media storage platform.

Altered Images also designed a unique desk arrangement for the newsroom due to the shape of the room and location of pillars. I-desk in Reading designed a customised solution providing 15 journalist stations with rising monitor positions. The desks can either be used for editing or with the monitor retracted creating a ‘conference style set-up. Power and USB points are extended to each seat so that Avid users can ingest locally via media cards.

Altered Images worked closely with Avid Professional Services to deliver a complete support, design implementation and training package.

“With the new Journalism and Media BA Honours course starting in 2015, it was really important that our Avid infrastructure could meet the requirements of our media students. Altered Images had been providing us with support services for the year leading up to the new installation and we felt very confident that they could deliver a fully integrated system that would ensure creativity, ease of use and technical longevity. They haven’t disappointed” Daniel Sosnowski, MPA Technical Manager, Middlesex University