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The Russian Institute of Theatre Arts – GITIS – needed to enhance its educational capabilities, namely in the area of occupational retraining, postgraduate studies and further education. The objective of the project was introducing full-fledged online learning to be used in parallel with traditional face-to-face training and without interruption of the creative education process.
The objective of the project was to create a multimedia complex with TV functionality to produce audio-visual content and provide GITIS students with online learning courses in the form of videoconferencing.
To achieve this objective, the following requirements were defined:
- The solution must support all production processes related to professional video shooting and editing.
- The solution must not disrupt the creative process in the lecture rooms allocated for system integration activities.
- The solution must support the telebridge mode without signal delay.
- The solution must ensure 24/7 uninterrupted operation since GITIS holds classes every day.
- The solution must be scalable and future oriented.
The project envisaged equipping two control rooms and six lecture rooms located on two GITIS sites.
The lecture rooms were provided by several GITIS departments, including Acting, Theatre History and Criticism, Producing, Ballet Master, and Sound Engineering.
The solution includes:
- Professional video equipment
- Lighting equipment
- Information display system
- Sound equipment
- Control room equipment, workstations and servers for editing, storage and airplay.
The multimedia complex is based on equipment from the following vendors: Newtek, Birddog, Panasonic, Logocam, Blackmagic, Yamaha, Audinate, Samsung, Sennheiser, NEC, Cisco, Facecast, and TrueConf.
Each lecture room that is used for online learning sessions conducted by professors and attended by groups of students is equipped with two camcorders on mobile stands for multi-camera shooting, one robotic camera with remote control and a set of TV lightning equipment. Remote audiences are displayed on large TV screens. With this solution, the process of shooting can be controlled from both the lecture room and a remote control room.
One of the key features of this solution is the use of NDI-enabled video equipment. NDI (Network Device Interface) is a two-way protocol which can work on a standard GbE LAN carrying multiple video streams with a minimal delay of 1 frame and high-quality compression with no losses due to recompression. This technology ensures a very high quality of video and a minimal delay when the channel bandwidth is also minimal. Audio is also transmitted over a standard Ethernet network with the use of Dante protocol. This approach makes the entire solution really flexible.
An important feature of this solution is the custom lighting system installed in all six lecture rooms. In addition to general lighting, it can be used to produce lighting effects (i.e. back, background, base, and booster light), as well as to adjust light and color parameters of lighting. The system consists of:
- Overhead lighting equipment
- Remote control system
- Portable floor lighting system
One of the most important requirements was carefulness and accuracy in the process of integration of the solution comprising sophisticated technology products in lecture rooms that are used to provide both face-to-face and online training. The solution supplied by BELTEL can be operated without interrupting the creative education process.
The solution features two systems designed for live streaming of lectures. The first system enables live long-distance communication between the professor and remote students in the Russian regions. The other system is intended for webinars for large audiences (up to 10,000 students). The solution also supports cloud-based content storage and protection allowing access to archived lectures and master classes.
Project activities began in June 2019 and were finished in 2019, before the start of the new academic year. In the first two months, more that 15 training events devoted to different topics were streamed with the total footage of 468 hours. The feedback received from participants was very positive.
The multimedia complex was used in several students’ theatre productions. Currently, GITIS is considering expanding its use of online learning technology.
The solution designed and delivered by BELTEL takes into account all the needs and requirements of the Russian Institute of Theatre Arts offering a wide range of features that can be employed for both online and face-to-face learning, as well as show production, presentations and master classes.