Archive for November, 2014

From Tailored Furniture to Module-R

Thursday, November 27th, 2014

by Neil Reed, Managing Director of Custom Consoles


Custom Consoles celebrates its 18th anniversary this year. The company was originally incorporated in 1996 as a specialist manufacturer to the broadcast industry, designing and building individually tailored technical furniture.

The past two decades have seen a major swing from dedicated hardware towards virtual devices running on personal computers. The objective was obviously to reduce capital costs wherever possible. Production studios, master control rooms, post-production facilities and playout suites are today dominated by keyboards, video displays and mice.

As a designer and manufacturer of studio furniture, one of our first responses to these changes was to automate the development and production processes at our 12,000 square foot headquarters in Leighton Buzzard, Hertfordshire. From 1999 onwards, we have been using 3D computer aided design and visualisation software. The CAD data feeds computer-controlled tools which allow materials to be machined in three dimensions. This investment eliminated the need to create every furniture element by hand, increasing production accuracy and speed.


Custom Consoles built its name in the design and manufacture of bespoke furniture to a client base that includes the BBC, Channel 4, Carlton, TV4 Sweden, and Sony. Due to ever increasing pressure on timescales and costs, we introduced in 2006 a pick-and-mix technical furniture system called Module-R. This product range allows robust and aesthetically attractive to be configured for practically any required room dimensions from a selection of high-quality pods, base sections, 19 inch rack housings, worktops, end-panel modules and legs. Coordinated desk pods are available as single-bay sections with up 10U chassis capacity. Module-R cabinet construction is in high-quality veneered MDF. Other features include continuous brush-strip cable access to front worktops. Recent additions to the range include new 19 inch rear-desk equipment pods, new front-access panels with increased ventilation, and optional hardwood worktop edging.

Module R comes in a selection of finishes and can be delivered from stock in 10 to 15 days. The quality in design, ergonomics and finish has been recognised by industries such as security, air traffic control, process control and network monitoring. Clients include Astro All Asia Networks, Arqiva, Associated Press, the BBC, BT Sport, Cosmos Television, The Home Office, ICS Media Production, Input Media, ITN, Middlesex University, Radio-Television Slovenia, Radio Télévision Suisse, Scottish Television, Siemens, Teuve and UEFA

Media Wall

In 2007, we applied the same thinking to the task of mounting flat-screen display panels in process control areas. Widely used by broadcasters, in security centres and industrial process control suites, Media Wall is a robust and efficient multiscreen mounting system. The latest version features a series of enhancements including narrower front-to-back depth, reduced from 600 to 500 millimetres. Like its predecessor, the new version of Media Wall is fully self-supporting and retains the option of adding coupling brackets directly to the studio wall.

Available in a silver-anodised or black-powder coated finish and in bespoke widths, Media Wall incorporates height-adjustable horizontal beams suspended between 2.3 metre high aluminium columns. Equipment pods with 19 inch racking behind removable vented panels can be incorporated at floor-level. Freely adjustable horizontal and vertical screen spacing replaces the former discrete-mount mounting holes. This allows individual display screens to be positioned so that their edges meet exactly to form a continuous horizontal monitorscape limited only by the boundary of the display itself. Cable management within Media Wall is now along ducts with finger-trunking slots. This combination ensures that all wiring is fully concealed and can enter or leave the structure at any desired point. Integral mains distribution units are available as an option. VESA mounts of our own design allow easy front access when mounting small screens to Media Wall.

An example of a recent Module-R installation was the UEFA Match Control Room in Switzerland, designed by Gearhouse Broadcast. This includes three tiered desks facing a front monitor wall. All three desks together with the monitor wall surround are finished in white laminate Every desk is equipped to seat six operators and is a variant of the Module-R range. This specific design has a shallower frame than standard, being optimised for the latest ultra-compact control and communications equipment. Each operator position has two 22 inch widescreen monitors attached to the desk via vertical supports. Monitor cabling runs inside these supports. Also accessible to each operator is a three rack-unit equipment bay with a sloping control surface. These bays provide desktop access to talkback communications equipment. Every operator position also includes power outlets plus space for a laptop computer which can be docked into the MCR network.

Demand for tailor-made furniture has certainly not disappeared. An elegant solution provided for Arqiva was a 10 metre wide desk forming nearly two thirds of a circular configuration. This forms the centrepiece of an ultra-modern technical facility at the company’s European Playout Centre in Buckinghamshire. The desk and surrounding monitor supports were designed in partnership with Hampshire-based systems integration specialist Broadcast Networks.


Desk sharing is fairly common in many facility houses, particularly those in city centres where space is at a premium. SystemTwo is a multi-element desk designed to accommodate free-standing or pod-mounted equipment such as graphics workstations and editing terminals. The SystemTwo range includes the S2-01B desk and S2-02B shelf, both electrically adjustable in height from 660 to 1,250 millimetres. This gives users the ability to set a worktop to match their personal taste.

All Custom Consoles furniture is designed, built and tested to meet all current European legislation for ergonomic and structural integrity, while still ensuring that the look and feel add to the working environment and please the eye.

Following a successful IBC in September, our focus is now on the March 2015 CABSAT show in Dubai. The Middle East has proved a highly successful market and one which continues to develop.

Custom Consoles reports strong demand for broadcast control room and post-production furniture in 2014

Thursday, November 27th, 2014

Leighton Buzzard, UK, November 26, 2014: Custom Consoles reports a highly successful 2014 with sustained strong demand for its range of technical furniture for use in broadcast control rooms and post-production suites. The year began with the introduction of the EditOne desk to the Middle East market at CABSAT in Dubai.

“Actual sales leads from CABSAT were almost triple the level we have experienced at other broadcast shows, thanks in part to the economic prosperity now being experienced in the Middle East and African broadcast markets and to an excellent stand location,” says Sales Manager Gary Fuller. “Our recently introduced EditOne postproduction desk, upgraded Media Wall multi-monitor support and established Module-R desk system all attracted strong interest.”

EditOne is an ergonomically efficient desk which goes beyond traditional rectangular styling by using sculpted support panels. The curved theme is carried through to the desktop and a raised monitor shelf, both of which are designed for a centrally seated operator. Each desk incorporates three equipment pods with a collective 9U of rack space forming the base of a monitor shelf. Full cable management is provided. Power distribution is optional. An auxiliary equipment pedestal with an additional 11U of rack space and an integral worktop can also be supplied.

Custom Consoles desks and monitor display supports were chosen for installation at the Cairo headquarters of a major Egyptian free-to-air satellite broadcaster. They included a Module-R production control desk with a Media Wall monitorscape, a Module-R sound control desk and three SystemTwo height adjustable edit-suite desks. These formed part of a recently completed upgrade to the network’s engineering infrastructure. A 6.7 metre wide by 1.2 metre front-to-back structure, the production control desk faces a centrally located 4.85 metre wide Custom Consoles Media Wall. Operating positions, from left to right, comprise prompter, producer, graphics, producer, production assistant, lighting and camera control.

Input Media, one of Britain’s leading specialists in sports television production, invested in Custom Consoles Module-R furniture as part of a major technical upgrade at its studios in west London. The new installation includes seven desks and several bench tops for voiceover booths. “The Module-R furniture is strongly built, popular with our operators and highly practical in terms of access to integrated equipment. The project, which centred on an expansion of our high-definition capabilities, has proved a great success,” commented Nick Symes, Director of Technology at Input Media.

Malaysia-based broadcast systems integrator Digistar has chose Custom Consoles furniture at the core of a new construction project for a large television and film production facility in Iskandar, Malaysia. Six Module-R desks and six Media Wall co-ordinated monitor displays have been installed across two identically equipped television control rooms, each divided into three suites: Sound Control, Production Control and Lighting & Vision Control. The order also included 15 of the recently introduced EditOne desks plus side-pedestals and a Module-R desk for a central Ingest area.

“Custom Consoles Module-R and Media Wall gave us the freedom to order furniture from an industry-proven range of component modules,” states Russ Jones, Chief Engineer at Digistar. “The result exactly matches our customer’s requirements in terms of functionality, stability, visual elegance and dimensions. For the post-production suites where we needed stand-alone furniture, the EditOne series proved ideal.”

A new Module-R desk and Media Wall monitor-support installation were completed at a major broadcast television playout centre in central London. The core of this project was a 39 seat operations area which is being used to monitor and control media services and platforms for a wide range of clients. The desks are configured as two V-shaped units with eight operator positions at the front and nine and the rear.

Module-R desks form the structural base of a new production control suite at one of Europe’s largest sports venues. The new production control facilities are assigned across two rooms. One is equipped with a four-operator forward desk. A second four-operator desk is assigned to camera control. The entire width of the second control room is occupied by a seven-operator desk. Two further desks are located in an adjacent room which is staffed by four operators at the front and a single-operator sound mixing desk at rear. The desks are relatively uniform in design with a mix of 3U, 4U and 6U high equipment pods. Each operator position is fitted with its own monitor screen attached directly to the desk on an Ergotron arm which can be individually adjusted in height and angle.

Custom Consoles

Founded in 1996, Custom Consoles Ltd ( is an ISO 9001 certified manufacturer of project-specific and modular broadcast, process-control and security furniture. The product range includes motorised, manually-adjustable and fixed-height units plus fan-cooled sound-insulated equipment housings.

Custom Consoles operates from a 1,200 square metre UK-based production facility equipped with 3D computer-aided-design and computer-controlled cutting machinery. This provides the dual benefits of precise quality control and prompt delivery times, typically 21 days from receipt of order. The company’s clients include broadcasters, production and post-production studios, governmental and corporate organisations in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australasia.

Contacts for further information

Newsmedia support: David Kirk, Stylus Media Consultants | Tel: +44 (0)1342 311 983 | Email:

Custom Consoles: Gary Fuller | Tel: +44 (0)1525 379 909

Custom Consoles Ltd, Leedon House, Billington Road, Leighton Buzzard, LU7 4TN, England | Tel: +44 (0)1525 379 909 | Fax: +44(0)1525 370 237 | Web: