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A bright 'Spark' technology solution

SPONSORED: Saville Audio Visual deliver a world class AV/IT experience to Southampton Solent University

Posted by Ed Brown | January 24, 2018 | Facilities

Located in the heart of the city, Southampton Solent University is recognised for industry research in communication, culture, media studies, maritime, engineering, sport and exercise sciences. With a strong international reputation plus facilities that compliment today’s fast-changing technologies, Solent ranks in the UK’s top 10 for the creation of graduate start-ups.

The University invested £33 million in a revolutionary new building. ‘The Spark’, is designed to provide innovative teaching, events and conferencing spaces.

From early in the design stage the objectives were to deliver a world class AV/IT experience that would promote the latest in learning technologies and an exceptional digital experience for students, staff and visitors. 

Saville Audio Visual was contracted to design and equip the entire building, including 35 classrooms, five lecture rooms, interactive study spaces and a professional conference and exhibition space.

The Challenge

With a demanding range of requirements, the brief called for innovation and creative thinking in each area of the installation, from the giant atrium display down to easy-to-use room system controllers. 

One room that was particularly challenging was the below ground level lecture theatre, Palmerston Theatre. In a departure from standard ‘raked’ seating, the Palmerston Theatre is a Harvard-styled environment arranged in a horseshoe design to promote group working.

Due to the circular seating projection needed to be laser-sharp and flexible. To further the challenge, the theatre has very tight ceiling constraints that made traditional projection virtually impossible.

Osama Khan, Director of Learning and Teaching at Southampton Solent University, says: “One of my favourite spaces within the Spark is the Palmerston Harvard-style lecture theatre. However, its layout created challenges around the back-throw projection initially designed for the space; the project lighting would blind teachers and presenters and cast a shadow on the projection screen.”

The Solution

Saville is known for its experience and innovation and knew that Epson could deliver the ideal solution. The answer was found in the Epson EB-L1100U 6,000 lumen laser installation projector. This projector offers a superior picture through HD images with 4K enhancement that results in exceptional sharpness, clarity and detail for the real 4K effect. It also has long-lasting, low maintenance performance that guarantees up to 83,000 hours1 thanks to a long laser life.

However, the spatial constraints meant this couldn’t be a straightforward projector installation. The projector was fitted with an Epson ELPLX01 short-throw lens. This lens features a 0.35 throw ratio and zero offset, allowing installation of the projector just inches from the screen while still getting large, clear, crisp projection. With the ELPLX01 lens, the EB-L1100U projector was able to be installed below the screen on a bespoke Quadra cabinet as opposed to above. This created a unique and fully comprehensive solution for multiple challenging constraints, including very tight ceiling height. 

Osama Khan says that Epson projector was able to solve the solution “by bypassing the presenters/teachers, and its compact footprint allows teachers and presenters to interact with their audiences in the way the space was intended.”

With the addition of the ‘cinema-quality’ projection, the space was equipped with surround sound so attendees are fully immersed in the lecture experience.

Throughout the project, Saville worked closely with the university’s  IT teams and consultants. Epson was a part of the new standard they delivered for digitally enhanced teaching that has been well received by students and academic staff alike.

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