Orad, Vinten Radamec Combine Efforts for Ball State’s New Virtual Studio

Ball State University has developed a sophisticated virtual studio for a variety of broadcasts, including student-produced nightly news and updates from its University Teleplex. Starting in the fall, the facility will be used by and for students as well as for paying corporate clients. For the new virtual studio, the University has deployed Orad Hi Tec Systems’ ProSet virtual studio and HDVG (HD digital video graphics) platform along with three Vinten Radamec Quattro SE manual encoded pedestals topped by Vinten Vector 950E manual encoded pan-and-tilt heads.

“This is a facility like no other in the Midwest,” says Bill Cahoe, director of the University Teleplex. “We really hope to see not only students but business, government, and non-profit organizations using this space.  It’s an asset not just for the university and our students, but for the region.  We are open for business and eager to see the studio become a beehive of commercial and pedagogical activity and collaboration.”

The University Teleplex provides state-of-the-art media-related services to Ball State faculty, staff, and departments. Its services include video, graphics and interactive multimedia production as well as professional broadcast services, classroom media delivery, digital and satellite-based conferencing, media archiving, and equipment check-out, installation, repair, and maintenance. The facility also provides public television and radio programming to East Central Indiana.

“By installing a sophisticated virtual reality system featuring Orad’s ProSet studio, we are able to produce our own newscasts and give them a polished, professional, and viewer-pleasing look,” says Cahoe. “In addition, we now have the opportunity to train our broadcast students in the use of leading-edge technology and to market our production services to discerning commercial customers. Thus the facility has a threefold payback for the university — in education, in information, and in revenue.”

The Ball State Teleplex houses two studios, one measuring 1,200 square feet for news, and the other measuring 2,400 square feet with a coved cyclorama backdrop painted in chroma-key green. Ball State’s three-camera virtual reality system can easily move between the two studios with only minor re-calibrating. The Teleplex technical crew estimated such a move and recalibration could be done in five minutes.

“We can go from one studio to the other with the three cameras, and everything remains the same,” says Cahoe. “You just re-center the cameras and pedestals, and everything remains in lock.”

Orad’s ProSet imports models — along with their geometry, textures, and animations — directly from multiple design platforms, and then uses the company’s HDVG rendering platform to ensure that the set runs smoothly and in real time. The Vinten Radamec pedestals and heads provide up to a million positional data points through 360 degrees, enabling the Orad engine to generate backgrounds and foreground objects that move as the cameras move.

“Vinten Radamec and Orad have collaborated on numerous projects in multiple countries, and the Ball State installation is certainly one of the more extensive to date,” says Carl Bodeker, technical sales manager at Vinten Radamec, a Vitec Group brand. “It’s a state-of-the-art facility that promises to attract students from across the country and increase overall revenue for the university.”

Shaun Dail, VP of Sales and Marketing, Orad North America Adds: “We have such a long-standing and deep relationship with Vinten Radamec that we actually incorporate their tracking data into our own tracking set software,” says. “Customers [also have] the ability to have the talent move in between virtual objects.”

“Honestly, I really wanted a top-notch system, but in the dreaming of this I did not foresee the system as we actually have it, and I think it’s going to be a great return on our investment for the university.”