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Seattle Children's Hospital Upgrades its Auditorium From Analog to Digital

Consistently ranked as one of the best children's hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report, Seattle Children's is a 254 bed hospital that has been delivering patient care and advancing new treatments through pediatric research for more than 100 years. 

Located in the Giraffe wing of Children's, the Wright Auditorium is a vital part of the hospital's infrastructure.  It holds numerous staff trainings, medical lectures and patient/family education events throughout the year, which means it must always be ready for the next event, be it a simple PowerPoint presentation or a multi site videoconferencing and video recording event.

In March of 2012, the hospital's A/V department decided to upgrade the video system in the 266 seat auditorium.  The department, which consists of 5 staff members and which supports more than 100 meeting rooms across eight office buildings and multiple regional clinics, knew this might not be an easy task.


Defining the Goals

Given that the auditorium's previous A/V system was completely analog using RGBHV and RG6 coax cabling, the team's goals for the new auditorium were ambitious.  These included: upgrade projection to be 1920 x 1080, create a 100 percent digital video workflow, add in remote control of video switching and projection, build state of the art video streaming capabilities, add in a new remote controlled HD camera, upgrade to an HD video switcher and remove all of the old analog cabling.  On top of that, the A/V department needed to do all of this while at the same time simplifying workflow and controls for presenters and hospital staff.

"All of our A/V system design and installation is done exclusively in house," said Derrick Lund, AV/Telemedicine systems designer at Seattle Children's.  "One of the primary reasons for this decision is so we have the expertise and ability to make adjustments as needed instead of calling in a contractor to fix everything for us.  With a total budget of $35,000 for this project, we knew that we needed affordable, reliable products to help us accomplish our many goals for this renovation."

Members of the hospital's A/V department spend 100+ hours per month broadcasting events from the auditorium, so Lund wanted to make the system as simple and reliable as possible while maintaining full signal routing flexibility.

Many of the events recorded and streamed from the auditorium are related to staff education. One example is the hospital's weekly Grand-Rounds conferences, where visiting physicians share their expertise on specific topics or medical studies. Several of the hospital's staff members who work at remote clinics around the northwest region attend these events through videoconferencing or web streaming that is broadcasted on the hospital's internal network as well as on the internet.

The auditorium also broadcasts patient and family education events, such as the Autism series, which are 90-minute classes for parents and caregivers of children with autism who wish to better understand the disorder. Faculty from Children's and the University of Washington teach the classes, which are open to the general public and are also available through videoconferencing at several locations throughout Washington, Oregon and Alaska.

Not all of the meetings are broadcasted, however, so the auditorium needs to provide simple controls so that all users can operate the general A/V features without requiring assistance from an A/V tech. Lund and his team installed the same standardized control system that they implemented in every other conference room across the organization.

To accomplish all of these goals, Lund chose a variety of Blackmagic Design products.

Out with the Old

One of the first areas Lund began working on was the control room, and he started by adding in a Blackmagic Design ATEM 1 M/E Production Switcher and an ATEM 1 M/E Broadcast Panel. To monitor all the feeds coming into and out of his ATEMs, Lund replaced his aging control room video monitors with Blackmagic Design's SmartView Duo monitors, which feature 8-inch LCD screens in a compact rack mount design, and which handle all SD, HD and 3 Gb/s SDI video standards.

The ATEM 1 M/E Production Switcher and ATEM 1 M/E Broadcast Panel were installed to handle all video switching for the auditorium. This included switching control for events using the auditorium's HD cameras, as well as providing control for live stream and videoconferencing feeds due to the ATEM's ability to handle high video quality with low processing delay.

Available in a two rack unit size, which allowed Lund to easily place it within the small confines of the control room, the ATEM 1 M/E Production Switcher includes eight total inputs of SDI, HDMI and component video, and three auxiliary outputs, with a single Multi View for monitoring. Audio and video is fed directly into the ATEM 1 M/E Production Switcher, with the control available through the ATEM 1 M/E Broadcast Panel.

The ATEM 1 M/E Broadcast Panel is a professional control panel with buttons, knobs and controls. It comes in a compact form, fitting within a rack width, and gives Lund full control of the ATEM 1 M/E Production Switcher, including cameras, transitions, keyers, fader and DVE control.  It is connected via ethernet and includes a loop thru connection for more than one panel or computer.

Beyond monitoring and switching, Lund needed to convert all of the auditorium's PC, laptop, and video player output signals to HDSDI. He did this using a mix of Blackmagic Design Mini Converters, including the HDMI to SDI, Analog to SDI, SDI to HDMI and SDI to Analog models, as well as a DVI extender.

For routing and router control, Lund used the Blackmagic Design Micro Videohub and the Blackmagic Design Videohub Smart Control. As the world's smallest router, the Micro Videohub includes 16 x 16 SDI routing, auto standard detection for SD, HD and 3 Gb/s HD-SDI, re-clocking, with built in ethernet, USB and serial router control interfaces, while the Videohub Smart Control features 40 customizable buttons that can be set to any router label for fast manual switching. 

Since Lund is often in different parts of the hospital or away from the control room, being able to remotely control the routing workflow was an absolute must. To do this, he has been able to use the Blackmagic Design Videohub iPad app, which lets him and his team route remotely and troubleshoot from anywhere they can get Internet access.

"We were able to reuse the existing RG6 Coax cable for these new digital HD signals to connect back to a Blackmagic Design Micro Videohub router," said Lund. "We saved a significant amount of money by reusing the existing cabling. The only new cabling we needed to install was for more network connectivity."
"We are very happy with the new Blackmagic Design equipment," said Lund. "We have vastly improved our system and can better support the live events in our auditorium, which at the end of the day are helping to advance the care that the children at our hospital receive."

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Related Keywords:Blackmagic Design, A/V, DV, Digital Video, ATEM 1 M/E Production Switcher, Videohub, Live Production

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  • Seattle Children's Hospital Upgrades its Auditorium From Analog to Digital by DMN Editorial at Dec 26, 2012 4:11 pm gmt

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