What is in this article?:
Studios come in a wide range of shapes, sizes and applications, from small news studios to specialist motion capture rooms to large flexible spaces used for audience shows and live transmissions. A modular cooling system can provide zoned temperature control of the whole space. This, for example, allows a simple, quick change from an audience show (lots of cooling over the lights and talent, minimal over the audience) to live election coverage (roughly similar levels over the presenters and crew). Presets allow regularly used setups to be stored for later recall.
TV, radio and master control rooms have predefined layouts of operational staff and equipment. Maximum cooling can be accurately provided where there is maximum heat generation, while the air flow can be directed so that staff do not suffer cold drafts.
Post production takes many forms, whether offline, online, or audio recording and sweetening. These are usually environments where valued clients spend lots of time polishing their projects to perfection. The rooms need to be comfortable places to work and need to reflect the quality of the service provider. A discrete but effective air conditioning system can be treated to match the interior design and, if necessary, cool “hot spots” such as high-resolution video projectors.
Apparatus rooms were once spaces where equipment was installed and remained mostly unchanged, often for a decade. But the move towards file-based workflows and the increase of IT-based systems have led to a steady change of hardware and, in turn, greater heat generation. A small air conditioning package can easily be added to existing air conditioning to provide extra cooling exactly where it is needed.
The compact nature of a quiet cooling system allows it to be used in the temporary facilities used for sporting and other live events such as the Olympics. These can be permanently built into a prewired cabin or as a short-term installation that is removed after the event.
Indoor and outdoor location shoots are easily satisfied by a mobile system built as a free-standing unit. Comfortable working conditions ensure that recordings do not need to be stopped for the cast and crew to cool down, makeup does not need to be redone, and external doors can be closed to keep out unwanted noise.
Proof of performance
To demonstrate the noise performance of a silent air conditioning system, the University of Salford carried out independent tests. A detailed report was prepared based on the measurements taken in its anechoic chamber, and it confirmed a noise level down to NR 15 (ISO noise rating, also called noise criterion). This was after a new, more sensitive microphone was purchased as existing ones initially could not capture the noise from the system.
The final and most important test is customer satisfaction. Systems are already in use in studio, post-production and Foley suites, and they have been tested in more than 100 locations during the London 2012 Olympics, including studios for BBC, ITN, ESPN, APTN and Al Jazeera.
In summary, the benefits of the new systems include ultra-quiet operation, energy efficiency, quick and easy installation, compact modular design, aesthetically pleasing appearance, mobile units that perform at NR 18, the ability to be relocated from site to site, scalability to work in a wide range of applications, and a flexible zoned approach that provides maximum comfort for customers.
—Neil Dunstan is head of broadcast sales at Silentair.