Video equipment from Blackmagic Design is at the heart of the installation at two new auditoria at the Ministry of Health in Gunfozah, Saudi Arabia.
As well as providing public healthcare services to a population of 26 million, the Ministry of Health (MOH) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia provides also provides on-the-job training for thousands of staff across a variety of disciplines.
To help fulfil this latter duty, the MOH has built a specialist training theatre in the city of Gunfozah, which includes a 266-seat auditorium for males, supplemented by a 160-seat auditorium for females.
Eminent physicians and other specialists from across the country deliver lectures, specialist seminars and conferences to doctors from Gunfozah hospital and other nearby cities. Prior to this the MOH was renting facilities and AV equipment from a nearby hotel.
Integration partner Pearl of Art Production and Supply, based in Saudi Arabia, was responsible for the design and installation of the entire system.
“The MOH came to us with a request for a fairly simple installation comprising a projector, one camera and a basic sound system,” explained Zaki Shaban, owner of Pearl of Art. “When we sat down to talk through the brief it became evident that they weren’t aware of the possible alternatives. Part of the problem was that they felt bigger would mean more expense. However, when we suggested the additions they could make based around Blackmagic Design they were extremely impressed.”
In delivering the project, allowances had to be made for a shortage of experienced AV specialists in the region. As a result a significant amount of time and resource had to be invested in providing on-the-job training for the local workforce.
Work on the initiative was carried out over a six-month period. Pearl of Art was involved in every aspect, from the civil engineering works, through expanding the site, to installing the AV system, explained Shaban. “We even had to get involved in soundproofing the room.”
The MOH purchased a Blackmagic Design ATEM 1 M/E Production Switcher with eight inputs and paired it with an ATEM 1 M/E Broadcast Panel, providing operators with full control of the switcher, including cameras, transitions and DVE control. The ATEM 1 M/E Broadcast Panel connects via Ethernet and includes a loop-through link for more than one panel or computer.
Three cameras are connected over HDMI to the ATEM switcher, while an additional feed from the stage area allows the ATEM operator to mix video feeds with presentation material.
The main program output is displayed on a 3x3 video wall consisting of nine 46in screens in the male auditorium, while a second signal is output over five 55in LED screens located around the sides of the room. A third signal is also output to the female auditorium and displayed across two LED screens.
In addition to the live feeds, the MOH also produces training videos from its symposiums and lectures. Content over a fourth SDI signal is captured on an Apple Mac Pro via a DeckLink capture and playback card. Video training packages are then edited and stored for future use.
To complement the theatre’s video infrastructure and provide audio support, a 16-channel audio mixer has been installed, which is used to manage six stage microphone inputs and a further six wireless microphones split across both lecture rooms.
After completion of the project, Shaban, alongside personnel from the MOH Jeddah Branch, spent one month training staff on how to use the AV system and troubleshoot any technical issues that might occur during daily use.
“One of the main factors that allowed us to deliver this project was the service and support offered by [Blackmagic distributor] MediaCast. The fact that they didn’t skimp on advice or ideas when it came to fulfilling the project brief made our job much easier,” said Shaban.
"I am very proud of the system we have built with Blackmagic Design, a first of its kind in the entire Ministry of Health. Where other alternatives were expensive and complicated, Blackmagic Design's hardware made possible what was until now an out-of-reach upgrade. This affordable broadcast quality solution will provide a blueprint for other MOH facilities throughout the Kingdom,” he concluded.