Radley College Advances Rowing Instruction with Extron Scaling, Audio, and Control
Radley College is a leading independent boarding school in England for boys age 13 to 18. The school aims to provide the very best education in and out of the classroom. One of the core activities at Radley is rowing, and the Radley College Boat Club has been part of the school since 1849. To improve training access for its rowers, Radley planned for a building that would house a stationary, eight-oared row boat within a purpose-made pool, could be opened to the outdoors, and would include an AV system to enhance instruction. To provide essential AV system capabilities, the AV team at Radley College selected Extron scalers, DTP® twisted pair products, audio amplifiers, speakers, and MediaLink® Plus controllers.
I know that as we evolve the solution...the Extron components will just easily interface. That’s one of the principles we like.Ray Smith, IT Project Manager - Radley College
AV Needs and Challenges
Radley College had several key goals for the Rowing Center, including the installation of a versatile, user-friendly AV system that would support a variety of sources and deliver quality audio reproduction. Training sessions are recorded using cameras mounted around the boat, so that training crews can improve upon techniques, position, and posture, and first-time rowers can quickly learn about rowing. As a result, it was necessary for the AV system to integrate with this video recording system. Coaches present the captured video alongside other content using a single projector. Additionally, the AV team at Radley College wanted to ensure simple and effective AV system operation.
A great deal of training and teaching time is lost when teams are unable to train on the nearby River Thames due to flooding or bad weather. The Center closely replicates the actual river, allowing teams to practice year-round. The doors along the sides of the building can be fully opened for cross ventilation. This presented a challenge since it would require weatherproofing for some of the AV equipment.
High Quality Video Scaling and Signal Extension with the IN1604 DTP
The AV team chose the Extron IN1604 DTP, a four-input, HDCP-compliant scaler with built-in DTP signal extension, to manage video signals in the Rowing Center. The IN1604 DTP provides fast and reliable switching between sources that include a PC and portable devices, such as an iPad. Several networked IP cameras capture views of every rower within the boat, from multiple angles. Video signals from these cameras are then sent over the network to the PC, where CCTV software handles recording and multi-window display of the camera feeds.
During training sessions, the coach can use an iPad to select the desired camera feeds. The training coach presents source content to the team using a projector housed within an environmental cage at the front of the Rowing Center. To ensure an optimal viewing experience, the IN1604 DTP scales incoming video from the PC to the native resolution of the projector.
The IN1604 DTP scaler in the AV closet includes a DTP output that sends video and bidirectional control signals over Extron XTP DTP 24 shielded twisted pair cable to a
High Quality Audio System
The audio system in the Rowing Center supports program audio as well as speech audio from a wireless microphone that is used for coaching. An auxiliary audio connection allows for playing music from a mobile device. The AV team selected an Extron DMP 64 6x4 audio digital signal processor to provide essential audio mixing and processing capabilities, plus easy level adjustment. To amplify processed audio content, the AV team chose an Extron XPA 4002 two-channel audio power amplifier that delivers 400 watts per channel to four SI 28* Two‑Way Surface Mount Speakers mounted around the Rowing Center.
User-Friendly AV Control with MediaLink Plus
The AV team at Radley College provided the coaching staff with a simple-to-use pushbutton control panel to operate the AV system. The Extron MLC Plus 84 MK two-gang MediaLink Plus controller makes it easy for the staff to choose the function they need, including source selection, adjusting the volume level, and powering the projector on or off. Ray Smith, IT Project Manager at Radley College, customized several of the buttons using Extron’s online Custom Button Builder application. The visual and audible feedback on the pushbutton controller provides users with confirmation of the selected actions.
Additionally, PoE – Power over Ethernet capabilities streamlined installation of the AV equipment near the pool by allowing power and communication to be sent to the MediaLink Plus controller over a single Ethernet cable. Designed to mount in a two-gang MK junction box and enclosed in weatherproof housing within the AV closet, the MLC Plus 84 MK controller is protected from chlorine and the elements when the Rowing Center is opened to the outdoors.
“The Extron equipment just works,” says Ray. “Since installation, there has been minimal need for support calls from the coaching staff about equipment operation or technical issues. It all just works.”
In addition to the MLC Plus 84 MK that is used on a daily basis, the staff also uses the Extron Control app on the iPad. This app emulates the interface of the mounted MediaLink Plus controller, providing an additional point of control for the AV system during events when staff members do not have direct access to the controller in the AV closet or when training occurs after support hours. Ray configured the MLC Plus 84 MK controller using Extron Global Configurator Plus. Attending the School of Global Configurator Plus provided him with additional training on this powerful configuration software and its capabilities. “Extron offered support at every step, from the initial design stage to training and technical support,” says Ray.
For the Radley College Boat Club, the Rowing Center and its versatile AV system enable powerful and effective training that is geared toward the individual needs of each rower. The ease of installation and intuitive operation for end users were key factors in choosing Extron. “I know that as we evolve the solution, add another display for example, the Extron components will just easily interface. That’s one of the principles we like,” says Ray. “The longevity of the Extron system means that as we upgrade, the products that are already there will simply work and merge with the new equipment.”
*Note: The SI 28 speakers mentioned in this story have been discontinued and are now replaced by the SM 28 SpeedMount Two-Way Surface Mount Speakers.