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Audio Visual Centres in the 21st century
11 Mobile AV Equipment.
11.1 This has been a difficult problem to resolve on such a large site (16 acres and some 30 departments), not least due to security of the equipment when left unattended. The other limiting factor as always is financial limitations. The cost of self access equipment has to be balanced against efficiency of the AV staff. Overall mobile equipment has proved to be a cost effective investment. The video rigs that have been installed are extremely useful and has released AV staff for other tasks. We have taken on more bookings this year as a result, and we are able to support teaching more effectively within our limited budgets. The aim of course is to stop using skilled staff as porters and make it easier for teaching staff to have easier and instant access to AV equipment on demand.
11.2 On the basis of experience to date I will spend a significant proportion of our next years allocated budget on mobile systems.
11.3 Video replay systems have been installed in lecture rooms where they are used most frequently. Depending upon the geography of buildings it is possible to have one mobile video reply rig allocated to a block of rooms. This is a very cost effective solution but clashes can occur if room bookings are not aware of video requirements, but it seems to work well in practice.
11.4 They are virtually thief proof and have withstood several attempts by opportunist thieves. The TV monitors are secured to Unicol stands and the video players are bolted and padlocked inside a Unicol security box with a lockable door. A notice on the outside tells the would be thief that it is only a player and cannot record. Likewise they are also informed that the monitors cannot receive off air signals and are useless for home use or resale.
11.5 Keys for access are normally held in the local departmental office.
11.6 Most large classrooms have 35mm projectors as standard and we intend to increase this number next year. All rooms have OHPs as standard. Permanent screens are the norm in most rooms but we need to increase this cache. We are standardising on solid swivel / tilting OHP screens which have a working life in excess of fifteen years.
11.7 What determines if a room should have permanent equipment? There are two main factors which affect this e.g., usage and location.
11.8 Heavy usage is a fairly obvious criteria but any room which is in an awkward place makes it difficult to install any AV kit. Therefore we have tackled these rooms first. This has saved a considerable amount of technician time and eases the problems for lecturing staff of having equipment delivered late. Equipment lasts longer as a result and re lamping is reduced. One should not overlook the dangers associated with installing heavy AV kit into rooms with poor access. Heavy monitors should not, under any circumstances be carried up or down staircases. These conditions are a prime candidate for permanent equipment. It is also wise to consider the implications of the Health and Safety at Work act, and of course all staff are aware of the penalties for infringement.
11.9 Where sites are large, strategic stores are vital and saves considerable time and effort, but getting departments to relinquish space, however small is not such an easy matter.
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