The move to hybrid enhances flexibility at The Christie’s Education Centre.
Located at the heart of the largest single-site cancer centre in Europe, The Christie’s Education Centre faced significant challenges in keeping essential training and patient conference services going during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Without the potential for external visitors to attend the site, the staff at the Education Centre needed to find a way to remain open while protecting onsite staff and the highly vulnerable patients in the cancer centre. The solution, developed in partnership with audio visual integrator Pure AV, was to upgrade the auditorium and meeting spaces to deliver enhanced remote access and introduce the ability to run hybrid events at the centre.
The upgrade included the venue’s main 134-seat auditorium space and four seminar rooms of varying sizes. A small in-house team of technicians run the facilities and offer full production and event support.
The chosen solution, while integrating with Microsoft Teams, also had to offer platform choice. It needed to create a high-quality experience for all participants, whether remote or in-person and demonstrate value for money to meet the tight budgetary demands of the business case. With significant time pressures on the in-house team, the solution also needed to be straightforward to manage and enable room users, once set up, to operate the smaller spaces independently.
In the auditorium, the cameras and sound system were updated, and a new live video production system was introduced. Event staff now have three cameras to cover the audience and presenters, and through the Epiphan Pearl-2 system, they have seamless control of remote and in-room sources.
From an audio perspective, the solution enhances the in-room, remote and recorded experience by introducing Sennheiser TeamConnect 2 mic arrays with a QSC Core 10F DSP. The TruVoicelift feature of the mic arrays brings the double benefit of creating a natural speaking and listening experience for those in the room while providing superior clarity for remote participants and recording.
Fears around infection transmission have been removed, as mics are no longer passed around the audience, and the automated pick up of audience contributions frees the events team to focus on camera operation while encouraging a free-flowing exchange between contributors.
The introduction of the Ephiphan Pearl-2 for production and streaming has notably increased the flexibility of the system. When working hybrid events, it is now easy for the in-house team to capture and manage the feed from remote presenters. When streaming, the system works seamlessly with a range of platforms, allowing the venue to work securely with the room user’s preferred content delivery network. Additionally, the team at The Christie can record all sources separately alongside the live stream, which allows greater flexibility during post-production.
In the seminar and training rooms, each space has been enabled for hybrid access. Handheld and lapel mics have been replaced by Shure beamforming mic arrays and additional cameras or, in the case of the smaller seminar room 3, with a Logitech MeetUp, to provide full audio and visual coverage.
An in-room PC allows users to choose their preferred video service. Simple touch screen control means that the technicians can greet presenters and delegates before leaving them to run their meetings independently, whether the trainer is in the room or delivering the session remotely.
Having now hosted several events at the upgraded venue, including a radiotherapy summer school, staff inductions, and patient conferences, each supporting a mixed in-room and remote attendance, centre staff are impressed with the new system and its increased flexibility.
The feedback from attendees is universally positive. Those in the room note how easy it is to present and interact with the audience and enjoy total confidence in being heard wherever they choose to stand. Remote attendees have been able to follow events with ease, impressed with the clarity of the information presented to them.