John Monash Science School, VIC

John Monash Science School, VIC

Clayton, Victoria: A government senior-secondary school with 640 Year 10 to 12 students, John Monash Science School is Victoria’s first specialist science school. It focusses on teaching science, mathematics and associated technologies.

 

John Monash Science School (JMSS) and Dragon Image have created a state of the art broadcast studio to meet the digital video production needs of the NBN Virtual School of Emerging Sciences (NVSES) project. Students from across Australia take part in online classrooms where teachers from JMSS deliver a blend of live discussion and pre-produced video content.

NVSES went live in February 2013 with lessons in Astrophysics. They have recently expanded to include Quantum Physics and Nanoscience.

 

The school’s innovative culture encourages its teachers to create contemporary curriculum and to utilise technologies that allows them to work with students and teachers in remote locations.

 

Project success

Critical to the success of building the broadcast studio for the NVSES project has been Dragon Image’s capacity to work within a specific budget and short timeframes. Additionally, on-site visits to scope and plan the retrofit of the cyclorama, studio floor and production control room were part of the service model.

 

Neil Carmona-Vickery, Leading Teacher eLeadership, eResources & eLearning says that the teachers find the studio so well-equipped and easy to work in that they can focus on the teaching and learning rather than the production and technical aspects of the virtual classroom. “Getting the right mix of lighting, video cameras, sound equipment and computing hardware was absolutely essential for teachers to feel comfortable teaching in the high-tech studio,” he states.

 

“Dragon Image provided expert advice on what equipment we should install and they went the extra mile to source equipment that they didn’t initially supply. This dedication saved the project thousands of dollars because we didn’t have to utilise the costly services of an AV integrator.”

 

Further confirmation of the project’s success is the use of the green cyclorama to ‘transport’ teachers to planets or within the human body. The inclusion of this footage in the virtual lesson engages students and allows teachers to be more creative in the way they virtually deliver science-based content.

Studio design

The studio blends the science laboratory and television studio. Think of it as a television cooking show - except with experiments and green screen special effects. Most importantly, it offers a complete live to the web digital video production workflow. At its core, the digital solution harnesses and blends Blackmagic Design equipment with Apple computing technologies, Cisco WebEx videoconferencing software and Vaddio PTZ cameras. Comber Broadcast LED lights, Sennheiser wireless microphones and a Behringer mixing console completes the studio.

 

Key studio features include:

• camera switching

• camera to computer screen switching

• automatic camera tracking

• overhead camera

• green cyclorama (green screen effects)

• videoconferencing capability (hardware and software)

• digital recording of lessons

The way the studio has been designed allows for a single teacher to operate the whole production process from the laboratory bench. Neil explains, “From in front of the camera, a science teacher can control whether they, the science laboratory bench, computer screen, green cyclorama or whiteboard is shot. It’s quite remarkable that we no longer need a camera technician or editor to be in control of what our remote students see and hear.”

By carefully choosing and investing in the right equipment and set, what traditionally has been a challenging and labour-some production process is now straightforward.

Flexible use & special visit

As a direct result of the studio’s development, many more students are interested in using the facility to improve the quality of their school projects. It’s also not surprising that student interest in selecting VCE Media has also increased since the build.

Recently, the Hon. Senator Conroy (Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Leader of the Government) held a videoconference with students across Australia using the broadcast studio. (pictured above). It was here that he launched the 2013 National Cyber Security Awareness Week.

Dragon Image Sourced Products:

 

  • Vaddio AutoTrak 2.0 HD-20 PTZ

  • Vaddio Ceiling View HD-18 Document Camera

  • Blackmagic ATEM 1 M/E Production Switcher

  • Blackmagic Broadcast Panel

  • Blackmagic Intensity Pro Gator Box

  • Sennheiser EW112-p Wireless Microphone Systems

  • Sennheiser HD-280 Headphones

  • Rode HS1-B/P Headsets

  • Rode NTG-3 Shotgun Microphone Comber CM5500 Broacast LED Lights with Wireless Controller

  • Samsung 32” Commercial LCD TV

  • Behringer Eurorack UB1832FX-Pro

  • Custom Mobile Trolley Cables & Connectors

 

Dragon Image Sourced Services:

 

  • Green Cyclorama

  • Cabling

  • Installation (Lighting, Equipment)

  • Project Management (Commissioning, Expertise)