Campus A/V officials are striving to justify needed upgrades to campus auditoriums, stadiums, classrooms, and theaters.
Campus technologists say that college and university finances have largely recovered from the thin times after the 2008 economic collapse, though the purchasing of A/V equipment remains an expenditure that many campus decision makers are loathe to discuss.
Budgets for A/V equipment aren’t falling, campus officials say, but they’re not rising either. It’s that budgetary stagnation that leaves many in higher education at a loss for how to approach A/V upgrades that modernize school facilities and make the college or university more appealing to prospective students.
Up-to-date — or even cutting edge — A/V systems can be a powerful recruitment tool as prospective students tour campuses before making their final decisions. In other words, good audio and video can be an effective money maker for colleges and universities of every size.
Making wise A/V investments that will save money in the long run is something that came up time and again in interviews with campus A/V experts who had recently switched to Sony’s 3LCD laser projector.
“Anyone with a good grasp of finance can wrap their head around this,” said Robb Mann, manager of classroom operations and special events at the University of North Carolina (UNC) Wilmington since 2003. “It’s simple math, really, especially when you trust the technology so much.”
Beyond the dollars and cents of upgrading campus A/V infrastructure, there’s the impact on teaching and learning that sometimes goes unmentioned in discussions about budgeting for new audio and video products.
“This is something that directly affects students, and that made it relatively easy to make a really compelling argument,” Mann said. “You don’t want the newest and greatest just because it’s the newest and greatest. … You want it because it will make a difference in the way educators teach and students learn that material. That’s what we have here. This model really is a generational leap in educational technology.”
(Next page: The most innovative new A/V/ products for higher ed)
ATEM 1 M/E Production Studio 4K from Blackmagic Design: ATEM Production Studio 4K has features a college would need for the most innovative live concerts, sporting events, theater productions, and conferences on campus. When a school is doing live events with super large high resolution screens, simply switch your ATEM Production Studio 4K to Ultra HD brings incredible quality to the event, according to higher-ed customers. ATEM includes features such as a chroma key, creative transitions, media pool, downstream keyers, and audio mixer.
HuddleVU Collaboration Tables from FSR: This was among the many FSR releases at this year’s InfoComm conference in Las Vegas. The new HuddleVU Dugout seats up to 12 users who can share their information on one or two large monitor screens. The dual height tables seat the users at two viewing levels to maximize space, reduce visual obstructions and provide seating comfort. Two additional seating areas can be utilized for handicapped seating as required. The inner table boxes furnish AC Power, Device charging, AV Connectivity and Control while the outer table has AC power and device charging. There are a variety of table finishes available as well as upholstery styles to match existing decor.
Constellation by Meyer Sound Laboratories: Constellation has been described as a breakthrough in acoustical science providing an effective solution to the complex challenge of attaining optimal, yet flexible acoustics in building design. With Constellation, colleges and universities have the ability to design state-of-the-art multi-purpose venues without the constraints or expense of traditional materials and room shape. The acoustical effectiveness, ease of control, and invisibility of Constellation will enhance the success of your venue. “The key to the versatility of the [campus auditorium] is the Constellation system, which allows us to instantaneously reset the acoustics of the room, tailoring it to any kind of music,” said Peter Otto, director of music technology at the University of California San Diego Department of Music. “Constellation gives us the versatility of a multipurpose room without the usual compromises in acoustics. Prior to the opening of our music center we had many unhappy experiences with multipurpose rooms.”