Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, is one of the nation’s oldest technological universities. Expanding its leadership in interdisciplinary research and education, Rensselaer founded the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC), a facility with next-generation presentation and production capabilities for art and science that span the physical and virtual worlds. EMPAC houses four main venues — as well as many smaller studios and lab spaces — under one roof, providing artists, scholars, researchers, engineers, designers and audiences opportunities for creative exploration.
Rensselaer faced its biggest challenge by starting from a blank page in designing and implementing EMPAC. EMPAC’s engineers, in concert with other EMPAC staff and representatives from Rensselaer, worked with team members from AZCAR, Audio-Video and product vendors.
EMPAC’s space, equipment and workflow needed to be reconfigurable. With little turnaround, the concert hall may be used for a live orchestral concert for an audience of 1200, a lecture series, recording solo piano work, architectural acoustic research or hosting an independent film festival. Physically, all spaces are also designed with NC15 noise floor criteria, making them ideal for live performance, recording and research platforms.
There were many vendors involved in the building of EMPAC, and flexibility was key when it came to choosing every detail. This is the main reason Rensselaer chose Ross for the switcher. The Ross Video Vision 3 QMD-X multidefinition production switcher fit the budget while leaving room for features such as VTR control, aux keys and smart conversion.
EMPAC’s A/V infrastructure embraces the very latest in broadcast, live performance, post-production and research technologies. It installed an extensive cable plant of single-mode fiber, Cat 6A F/UTP and other traditional and nontraditional cable technologies to tie all the building’s venues together. By doing this, any activity can be easily centralized or decentralized.
Since opening its doors in 2008, EMPAC continues to impact students, researchers, artists and audiences with opportunities fostered by leading-edge science and engineering performance technology.
New studio technology — nonbroadcast
Submitted by Ross Video
EMPAC: Eng. and staff
Technology at work
AJA Video: conversion and integration products
Apple: Final Cut Studio, Final Cut Server
Blackmagic Design: Conversion and integration products
Canon: XL-H1 and XH-G1 video cameras
CISCO: 3790 router
Clear-Com: System communications
Digital Projection: Projection system
Fujitsu: 10GigE switch
Gallery Software: VirtualVTR
Gefen: Paths and bridges between broadcast video and computer graphics capabilities
Harris: Platinum 3G-SDI router
Laird: Paths and bridges between broadcast video and computer graphics capabilities
Lawo: Nova73 MADI/AES audio router, MC266 mixer
MOTU: Conversion and integration products
Nucleus: Conversion and timing products
Projection Designs: Projection system
Ross Video: Vision QMD-X multidefinition production switcher
Sony: EX3 and HDCx310 video cameras, projection system
Soundcraft: Front-end and user interface to ProTools, Apple Logic and Nuendo
TV One: Conversion and integration products
Telemetrics: Telepod, remote user control panels
Yamaha: Audio mixers