P4K at The Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music and Performance

October 4, 2022

The Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music and Performance is a state of the are teaching facility located at the Clayton campus of Monash University, one of Australia’s leading universities with a global rank inside the top 100. The journey into NDI and BirdDog products began with the establishment of an all-new Digital Hub which was built from the ground up as a cutting-edge, collaborative performance and recording facility.


The Digital Hub was designed to globalise students’ learning experience by empowering them to engage in real-time performance and teaching opportunities with musical heroes around the world.

“Remote collaborations have been made possible with the new setup. We can do recordings with p

eople in France, lead Masterclasses in New York, and do all sorts of great things that traditional recording studios can’t do.”

There was a need to route video feeds in and out of the hub and, with the global ambitions of the space in mind, the search was on for hardware to enable IP video at full broadcast quality.

“Running traditional video cables when we had the IP backbone already in place seemed a step backward. BirdDog and NDI was the logical choice for the video piece of the Digital Hub.”

The Digital Hub was the school’s first foray into NDI® and the BirdDog Mini converters offered the flexibility to switch between NDI Encoding and NDI Decoding, in Full HD at 1080p with frame rates up to 60fps. 

As Covid hit and the school was forced to move a lot of the learning online, Chris Cody, having seen the potential of NDI from the Digital Hub project, started looking into the options available to help facilitate the evolution of the 236 seat auditorium.

When looking at cameras the key requirements were super high-quality pictures and full NDI. 4K was also a requirement in order to future-proof the overall camera investment. After looking at all options available Chris decided the BirdDog P4K was the best in class camera due to its 1” Sony Exmor R CMOS back lit Sensor, Zeiss Sonnar T lens, and full NDI capabilities. 

“We’ve been blown away by the picture quality, ease of use, and total flexibility with the BirdDog P4K. Everyone is always commenting about how good our productions look.”

BirdDog P4K also offered a true one-cable solution with video, audio, PTZ control, and PoE all over a single Ethernet cable, while the 12x optical zoom allowed for nice tight shots even from a decent distance.

“The P4K just ticked all the boxes for us. Great low light performance and due to the single cable operation it’s really fast and easy to set up and pull down for shows.

During productions, the Monash team is typically very small and often is actually just a single person. The remote control of all the P4K camera functions, including recalling preset camera positions, has allowed for professional level productions even when flying solo. The free BirdDog Cam Control software also has allowed for remote shading and colour matching without having to leave the master control room.


Equipment used at The Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music and Performance:

  • BirdDog P4K

  • BirdDog FLEX

  • BirdDog Mini

  • BirdDog 4K Family