1998 (David Carroll Associates)
Electronic Arts is the number one computer game maker on all platforms. Murray Allen, head of the "Media Lab" at EA, had been using DCE and Signal Transport products for years in their old facility in Foster City. As a part of their move to a new campus at Redwood Shores in Redwood City, CA, the Media Lab (later renamed "Media Blitz" was to be expanded. DCA was hired to provide design services and subsequently requested to handle the systems integration and move logistics.
The new facility provides the sound track for all of EA's games. Murray knew that game technology was converging with the home theater market to bring 5.1 surround format to gaming. So the mixing facilities were designed with the highest performance in mind, with full surround capabilities. The facility consists of two mix rooms (one with an SSL digital console) and up to 10 flexible editorial rooms, with a shared video master control room.
Our scope of work was overall systems design, and to put in place an Audio/Video and Control systems backbone to each of the edit rooms which would allow complete flexibility in their use over time. Extensive use of Signal Transport products was made (Project Patch, Modular Panel System). Stantron racks were supplied and outfitted off site. The entire video master control room was integrated off-site and cabled for easy installation. A backboard was mocked up in our shop and harnessed from the racks. Simultaneously our on-site crew pulled and terminated all building wiring to the real backboard, so that when time came for rack installation, the panels were ready to plug in.
Customer: Electronic Arts
|Video and Audio patch bays: all Audio Accessories. Video patching is available for YUV, S/video, composite, and SDI. The entire audio patching and wiring system is compatible for either analog or AES/EBU signals. A choice was made to go with a single system which could handle either signal rather than tailor tie lines for each, and time has proven that there is no problem with this approach. Indeed both digital and analog signals coexist on the same patch bays.|
|Video master control edit console.|
|Computer remote racks. All workstations (Macs) were rack mounted and extended to the master control room.|
|The Wiring Infrastructure: In master control, two layers of cable tray were installed. The upper layer extended out into the building and contained all cabling exiting master control The lower layer carried the cabling going back and forth between the two rows of racks which had been prefabricated off site.|
|The Wiring Infrastructure: the continuation of the upper level of cable tray, extending down the hallway. To allow for easy access for future additions, the cable tray was hung below the ceiling tiles, and conduits were stubbed down which ran into the individual rooms where they joined with the Wiremold system on the walls. To date (2002) the existing design has been adequate and no new cabling has been required.|
|The Wiring Infrastructure: each edit room was wrapped with Wiremold G-6000 cable chase to allow cabling to reach anywhere in the room. The bottom of the chase is notched and a Signal Transport MPS surface mounted chase attached below. Thus the entire access point can be moved to a different location quite easily (cable is stowed in the chase) or an additional access point added at any time. All general purpose tie lines terminate at these panels.|
|At the Backboard behind the video racks in master control. Special hardware was developed to allow video, audio, and control demarcation between building ties and equipment racks. There are several reasons for adding this termination point. At EA it was done to allow easy separation of the building tie cables and rack cabling into two workgroups.|
|A point of special note: EA was the debut of the Project Patch flat wire system, based on DC's design for twisted pair/flat wire with interleaved shield conductor. The system reduced costs of termination by allowing mass termination of 8 pairs simultaneously and allowed each rack to be prewired to BOB's located in the rear of the rack, where they could be connected en mass to the flat wire ties to the patch bays. Shown is a BOB frame built for backboard use.|
|Shown here is a BOB frame built for rear rack rails.|
|A typical audio edit room. Within each room we provided patching for the Mackie mixer, video equipment, outboard gear, and tielines.|
|An Avid room showing typical patching and wiremold system.|
|Mix room 2 - Protools and Mackie, used for monitoring only.|
|Mix room 2 - Equipment credenza designed built and installed by DCA.|
|Mix room 1 - SSL Avant, with DCA credenza and Protools station. I know, it's not a Mix Magazine shot, but it's a working studio -- the important thing to look at here is that after 4 years of operation, the entire system infrastructure is still working, and still adequate: no hacks!|
|Another view of Mix 1. Note perforated screen with variable masking: we setup the projector for 4:3 and 16:9. Genelec 5.1 system with 3 behind the screen.|
|A look inside one the rear of one of the outboard credenzas: 4 years after installation. Note at the bottom is one of our "48 position panels" where all patchbay outboard rows terminate. All equipment plugs into these panels with short jumpers to allow easy reconfigurablity. I call it the "organized mess"... the jumpers are considered "transient" and are not labeled or tied off. It starts life looking a bit messy but it's completely accessible and it always stays looking like this. I've seen lots of racks which start out life as works of art, dressed to the 9's, but only stay that way until the first change, at which point all the ties come off and it's a disaster. The "organized mess" is the solution to that.|
All rights reserved © 2008