UHD-READY CORPORATE BROADCAST STUDIO & CONTROL ROOM
Schroders is an asset management and financial investment organisation headquartered in London. With both internal and outbound communications so integral to the nature of Schroders’ business, the company operates a multi-functional corporate broadcast studio and control room to orchestrate content aimed at global staff, clients and external PR and news broadcasters such as the BBC, CNN and Bloomberg.
Schroders wished to undertake an expansion and refresh of its corporate broadcast studio and control room facilities, with ES Broadcast systems integration team and studio build partner Croga Studio Builds appointed to deliver the project.
EARLY BEGINNINGS OF THE STUDIO REFRESH
Schroders’ goals in upgrading its facility centred around improving the quality of internal communications and creating a more professional broadcast feel for public-facing content. Schroders regularly record and stream internal corporate video content using the studio, including global staff briefings, HR training and educational guides.
Externally, the facility allows senior colleagues to be linked into television broadcasters to provide expert financial analysis for finance or current affairs programming, as well as being used to conduct virtual meetings with high-profile clients and prospects.
In both regards, it was felt an upgrade was necessary to enhance the external perception of the company and the professionalism of its broadcast offering, especially in light of the increased global exposure Schroders had achieved thanks to these interviews.
With important input from the senior management and HR teams, Schroders decided on a multi-function studio space equipped with areas for news broadcasts, client presentations and vodcasts, to help boost the impact of external communications. To bring a fresh angle to its content, the client also wanted to install three remote wired camera positions elsewhere in the building which would link to the control room, so that rooftops, terraces and other meeting rooms could be used as filming locations.
CREATING A MULTI-FUNCTIONAL CORPORATE BROADCAST STUDIO
There were four main elements to the facility refresh, comprising of the studio, control room, rundown and scripting, and a server room.
The upgrade of the existing studio would deliver improvements in functionality, size, technical capability and equipment. With three new Sony HDC-P50 cameras in the main studio and a further three remote camera positions situated around the offices, Schroders would be able to benefit from a range of different camera angles and locations, with the enhanced production values – and flexibility of use – this would bring.
For the remote camera positions, fibre was run from the studio to a wall box in each location. A small plug-and-play flypack was then built, which could be plugged into the wall box in each location. This included RF microphone receivers, comms and the base unit for a Sony PXW-Z750, which would transmit footage via RF link to the flypack and in turn via the fibre connection to the control room.
The HDC-P50s in the studio itself, meanwhile, were mounted on pre-existing robotic heads, primarily to streamline the number of operators required for a production, as the cameras could be operated remotely from the control room. One of Schroders’ goals was to bring production in-house with the addition of a dedicated studio operator, rather than having to rely on third-party support.
Alongside the studio uplift and the new remote camera installations, the studio control room required a technology upgrade to support not only the increased number of camera feeds but also the desired step-up in the professionalism of Schroders’ broadcast output and an upgrade path for the eventual switch to UHD. This included a Ross Video Carbonite Ultra switcher alongside a Calrec Brio 36 audio mixer built on Dante connectivity. Video routing was via a Ross Ultrix FR2 router, while the control room also incorporated a Telemetrics robotic camera control system.
CONFIGURING INTO CLIENT’S NETWORKS
The key technical challenge of the upgrade project was configuring the studio solution into Schroders’ networks. It wasn’t possible to run the studio on an independent network so instead it was necessary to merge with the existing network and firewalls. Given the nature of Schroders’ business, IT security is of paramount importance, with stringent rules around any network access.
ES Broadcast’s config engineers worked with Schroders’ in-house team to ensure all ports and protocol were detailed, and to create firewall routes that ensured the required functionality was delivered without any compromising of security measures. Using Dante as a communications protocol was key to this solution.
ENHANCING PRODUCTION CAPABILITIES
To deliver the professional production values Schroders desired, a video wall and two dedicated podcast rooms were integrated into the corporate broadcast studio design. With staff increasingly producing and participating in external podcasts since the Covid-19 pandemic, the podcast rooms were seen as another important way of improving the company’s creative output. The podcast rooms were equipped with multiple microphones to accommodate presenters and guests, alongside a sound mixer and monitors to produce the podcast content.
The large video wall was deployed to improve the presentational output of the organisation. This offered a large space to house client presentations at the offices, while also creating a more dynamic environment to improve the quality of contributions to television broadcasts.
ES Broadcast also incorporated several PC feeds into the solution to enable external contributors to be dialled into the live feed via MS Teams or Zoom.
TRAINING AN INTEGRAL PART OF HANDOVER
A structured knowledge transfer and training programme was the final element of the project, led by the ES Broadcast engineering team in conjunction with specialist input from product manufacturers Ross Video and Calrec. The training centred around an operational handover of the newly deployed camera and audio equipment, alongside upskilling specific key staff members on the operation of the control room. The knowledge transfer sessions had to consider that the staff were based in roles around the business, including finance and HR, and that operating broadcast systems was not necessarily their native skillset.
Following installation, the upgraded corporate broadcast studio and control room have been used for several financial interviews provided to national and international broadcasters. The remote camera positions, meanwhile, have added another dynamic to Schroders’ content output, allowing more creative freedom in internal briefings and corporate videos.
- Ross Carbonite Ultra vision mixer
- Calrec Brio 36 audio mixer with Dante network connectivity
- Ross Ultrix FR2 video router
- RTS communications system
- Telemetric camera robotics
- Lund Halsey Custom Console Desk
- 3x Sony HDC-P50 UHD cameras with Canon CJ24 lenses
- 1x Sony PXW-Z750 UHD camera with Canon CJ24 lens