Avid iNEWS and Upgrade at UCLAN

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) in Preston, originally founded in 1828 as the Institution for the Diffusion of Knowledge, is one of the largest universities in the UK. 

Since its formation its motto has been Ex solo ad solem – From the Earth to the Sun, which embodies its philosophy to help people from all walks of life to reach their full potential. UCLan has a student and staff community approaching 38,000 with academic partner across the globe.

UCLan provides a range of media and journalism courses for its students as part of its School of Film, Media and Performance and School of Journalism, Language and Communication, the latter of which houses the university’s new state-of-the-art journalism broadcast newsroom facility.

Key equipment list and scope of work:
  • Upgrade to Avid iNews NCRS software and servers
  • Upgrade to Avid MediaCentral
  • Avid Airspeed | 5500 MPEG-2 HD four-channel capture and playout server
  • Avid Interplay facility bundle
  • Avid ISIS | 5500 shared storage
  • A transition to Avid floating licenses
  • ATEN KVM System
  • On-site training and ongoing technical support
  • Provide professional services including Avid education services

Last year, UCLan made the decision to fully upgrade its aging Avid iNEWS newsroom management system for the start of the new academic year. UCLan looked for a partner that could supply, install and support a state-of-the-art newsroom facility that reflects a real world environment, equipping students with the skills that they need to enter the workplace. UCLan sent out a tender to six resellers early last year and of the three able to meet the requirements of the contract, Altered Images was selected as the preferred supplier.

Although open to using different newsroom control systems, UCLan decided that Avid iNEWS was the right technology for its students, as local broadcasters’ and facilities such as Dock10, BBC and ITV, etc. use Avid products extensively. UCLan also required a modern, industry-standard PAM system and a 64TB shared media storage platform that would integrate with its existing storage infrastructure. To meet these requirements and to provide a fully integrated broadcast newsroom, Altered Images selected Avid’s MediaCentral Platform and ISIS | 5500 storage to compliment the Avid iNEWS system.

As a dynamic centre of news content creation and distribution, Avid iNEWS enables UCLan 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 Media Central 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 provided UCLan with an Avid Interplay facility bundle; an ideal starter package that will allow it to grow as and when required. This consists of an Interplay | Production engine, ten MediaCentral |UX base licenses, a 64TB ISIS | 5500 shared storage engine and Media Composer licensing (including Media Composer | Cloud options), increasing UCLan’s Media Composer (with NewsCutter options) client count to over 25. UCLAN also migrated its Avid licenses to a floating license model, which enables it to deploy Media Composer and iNEWS systems as student requirements change. Avid AirSpeed | 5500  completed the newsroom line-up, allowing students to directly transfer edited material to a four-channel studio playout system that can record or play in either HD or SD.

Altered Images provided full system wiring and integration of the new Airspeed | 5500 into University’s existing studio gallery. The company also prebuilt
the complete upgraded Avid iNEWS system at its Shepperton, UK headquarters for factory testing and commissioning before deploying on site. This process meant everything was installed as seamlessly as possible.

As part of the agreement with UCLan, Altered Images also completed unique customisation including writing custom scripts to automate the copying of files to ensure that the Burli (radio newsroom) system and Avid iNEWS systems integrated correctly. It was essential that the Avid iNEWS data receiver automatically received and ingested XML-based news feeds from two separate news providers, Independent Radio News (IRN) and Press Association (PA), while preserving existing story ingest into the University’s radio newsroom system.
Finally, and crucial to the UCLan contract win, a dedicated and onsite training package that covered all aspects of iNEWS, Interplay and ISIS was provided.

Altered Images worked closely with Avid Professional Services to deliver a complete support, design, implementation and training package.
As a result of the successful completion and installation of this project, Altered Images has also successfully bid for additional UCLan tenders including supplying a Ross Carbonite mixer for same TV Studio.

“We had a rigid tender process for this contract. We were very keen to select  a company that fully understood the requirements of the University and the students, and that could create a real world environment that reflects a professional workplace. Altered Images did all this and more, providing a seamless transition that heightens creativity and streamlines workflows”
Brian Moss, Senior Technician, UCLan.