The 150,000 square foot, 250-seat learning center facility at UCLA, named the Dr. William M.W. Mong Memorial Learning Center, was built to host engineering events, promote distance learning, enable collaboration with other engineering and research institutions, enhance media capture, and accommodate facility and small department meetings.
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In order to accomplish this, the auditorium was designed to accommodate multiple modes of operation, including some that are not normally associated with a large lecture hall setting. It was also designed to optimize student and instructor interaction via a request to speak system that is seamlessly integrated with the rooms audio, video and lighting systems.
The audiovisual portion of the Dr. William M. W. Mong Memorial Learning Center Auditorium project enables the large lecture hall to expand its use for distant learning and collaboration; faculty and staff meetings; major events, like movie presentations, distinguished speaker talks and expert panel discussions; and for enhanced media capture for live streaming or playback for online viewing.
It allows audience members that are both in the room and connected remotely to experience a much greater level of participation via the seamless integration of the room’s audio, video, lighting and request to speak systems. At the same time, this seamless integration helps presenters and speakers interact more effectively with audience members that are both in the room and connected remotely.
The project involved furnishing, installing, programming and testing all the audiovisual and related equipment required to create a multi-use, state-of-the-art auditorium space.
The front of the auditorium was designed to accommodate 50 removable seats and 25 portable folding tables that can be arranged in a layout optimized for one of the room’s four modes of operation: distance learning, enhanced media capture, theatre/large events, and small department or faculty meeting.
A mounted discussion microphone station with push-to-talk capabilities and two flip-up boxes with AC/USB power outlet were installed in each table. Behind this area is sloped seating for 200 audience members. Keypads with backlit buttons were installed in the armrests of this fixed seating area as part of the auditorium’s audience request to speak system. Six ceiling mounted, motorized/retractable microphones were installed above this area.
A 5×5 array of 25 flat panels was installed on the wall at the front of the auditorium. One PTZ HD camera was installed below the video wall for the video capture of the audience in the 50 seat distance learning area, while two PTZ HD cameras were installed on both sides of the video wall for video capture of the sloped audience seating area. 22 Ceiling loudspeakers were installed as part of the auditorium’s sound reinforcement system. An IR transmitter and radiator kit with multiple receivers was installed to provided assistive listening.
A teaching station that is removable and easily disconnected was setup at the front of the room. It was equipped with a preview monitor with annotation capability, dedicated computer with integral Blue-Ray/DVD player, digital document camera, analog and digital connections with audio for portable laptop or other equipment, wired gooseneck microphone, AppleTV, and a touch panel for simplified control. Confidence monitoring or far-site image display was made available via one 50-inch flat panel display on a mobile cart. One 1-CCD pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) High Definition (HD) camera mounted to the confidence monitor car for video capture of the presenter,
The auditorium’s control booth, where a live operator can support and facilitate a wide variant of anticipated events, was outfitted with a digital audio mixing console, video production switch with joystick camera control and multi-view monitor, flat panel system monitor, wired gooseneck “talk back” microphone, dedicated computer with integral Blu-Ray/DVD player, broadcast television tuner/receiver, powered studio monitor loudspeakers, and a touch panel for detailed technical room control. In addition, the booth was equipped with both a videoconferencing multisite codec and a rich media capture appliance to provide live camera video, audio and graphics content feeds, capture and playback; and AV equipment racks to house all the support electronic components.
The auditorium’s mode of operation is accomplished by modifying the table and microphone configurations and by selection at one of the touch panels located at the teaching station or in the auditorium’s control booth. The audio system facilitates voice reinforcement, video conference and audio capture of sessions through the use of wired and wireless hand held microphones, wireless lavaliere microphones, and the table and ceiling microphones.
In addition to the learning center auditorium, IMS also provided audiovisual solutions in the following spaces in UCLA’s new Engineering VI building:
- 1 – divisible multipurpose room
- 1 – alumni meeting room and suite
- 3 – large conference rooms
- 5 – medium conference rooms
- 12 – small conference rooms
- 6 – interaction areas
- 1 – library suite
- 1 – VIP suite; and installed digital signage throughout the building.
When the auditorium is being used in the distance learning mode, images are displayed on the lower 3 rows of displays of the video wall to improve viewing angles for participants. The front 50 seats and 25 tables are arranged in a layout optimized for distance learning. The microphones on all tables are connected, while the microphones in the ceiling of the sloped audience area are inactive.
A wireless lavalier microphone is available for the use by the instructor, along with a teaching station that enables the instructor to share text, image and video content, annotate presentations, queue up student questions, and control microphone and lighting settings via simple manipulation of a touch panel. In addition, a cart with a 50 inch display enables the instructor to monitor what the audience is seeing and display the observations and reactions of distance learners.
In a similar manner, the auditorium can also be converted into three other modes for enhanced media capture, theatre/large events, or small department/faculty meetings.
The source device options for all modes of operation include a control booth resident computer, broadcast television (cable TV), and portable auxiliary devices.
The audio system facilitates voice reinforcement, video conference and audio capture of sessions. Speech reinforcement is provided by a distributed overhead speaker system. Program audio reinforcement is provided by a stereo loudspeaker system using compact column arrays to optimize coverage and intelligibility for different room modes. Assisted listening is provided by an IR transmitter, radiator and multiple receivers.
The video wall processor provides preset viewing configurations that include single and multiple input source windowing setups, bezel correction and execution of the presets from the AV control system. Matrix switching allows the viewing of separate sources on any display.
Room lighting was zoned to enable simultaneous activities such as video presentation and note taking, and interfaced to the audiovisual control system to link to presets and provide channel dimming from the lectern.
The room’s audience request to speak system allows students to enter a queue for questions by pressing a button on their table or on their table or on their armrest depending upon which area they’re sitting in. The instructor is able to manage the queue and simultaneously control room microphones and lighting via a touchpad. Flashing backlit buttons inform students when they are next up in the queue.