Engie brings together tech for Springvale Community Hub.
Text:/ John O’Brien
The Lyons Architecture-designed Springvale Community Hub is a flagship project for the City of Greater Dandenong, hosting a large library, multiple civic spaces and council offices. Set in a colourful public parkland by landscape architects Rush Wright Associates, the building strikes quite a presence.
AECOM worked across multiple disciplines with Lyons and council, ensuring seamless integration between building facilities and services. As AV consultant, they let out to tender for a large outdoor screen located on the northern façade with sound reinforcement to suit. The tender also included a production system onsite at Springvale and allowed for full remote production from the council offices in Dandenong’s Harmony Square or for staff working remotely at home.
ENGIE AV Technologies won the bid and worked closely with Thomas Dawe, Council’s in-house Media Production and Technology Coordinator, to ensure the platform could meet the client’s needs of entertaining, informing and advocating, even in a COVID environment.
Redundancy, stability and low latency were all important to the client and were factored into every decision.
SCREEN & SOUND
ENGIE AV Technologies chose VuePix ER3 panels to create a 6.5m x 3m screen comprising 39 individual units. With a dot pitch of 3.9mm and brightness of 5000 nits, these IP65-rated units are designed more for the rental market. In this case, their relatively light weight and slim profile made them a good fit. Their high brightness was also a major selection factor, overcoming the harsh ambient light of a north facing outdoor location. A Barco Image PRO-II scaler takes the video feeds and sends to a Novastar MCTRL R5 LED display controller to handle the screen requirements.
With no room for a full line array, designing the audio system was a challenge for ENGIE AV Technologies’ partner CMI Music & Audio, which proposed a slim profile audio system comprising 2 x Fohnn FMI-100 high-frequency and 2 x Fohnn FMI-400 low-mid frequency speakers provide the main sound for public consumption. Audio dispersion from these units is controlled in the speaker with Fohnn’s built-in beam steering technology, allowing optimal coverage regardless of physical speaker orientation. The team at CMI added preset configurations for open and closed positions, easily recalled by the control system.
8 x Fohnn AT221w speakers are also mounted on lighting poles, strategically positioned to mimic a home theatre 5.1 setup outdoors. Surround and stereo audio is processed by a Q-SYS Core510i DSP. These high-end European staging boxes are powered by Crown DCi 8|300DA amps, one speaker per channel.
HUB’S SPOKES PEOPLE
This setup is striking enough in its own right but much effort has been spent getting quality content on screen and in speaker. Council have invested heavily in content production and distribution resources. A NewTek TriCaster TC1 production system is installed at the Springvale location. This is complemented by a TriCaster VMC-1 at Harmony Square, Dandenong to produce events and programming for the large public screen already there. A TriCaster TC-410 is used to handle the legislative requirements of council’s fortnightly meetings.
Panasonic AW-UE150 4K PTZ cameras are positioned across the council area and can be accessed from and routed to any location on the council’s dedicated IP network. Feeds can come from any camera, FTA, in-house signage or any other sources hooked up to the network.
MULTI-SITE FIBRE LINK
The network backbone is a 40Gb/s dedicated fibre ring main that traverses the entirety of the municipality, carrying all feeds over a dedicated VLAN. BirdDog encoders are installed at each venue to ‘on board’ any baseband services to the new NDI standard preferred by the TriCasters.
With only a 4-6 frame delay, near real-time feeds have been achieved between Springvale and Dandenong hubs and cameras from other production venues such as the Drum Theatre, or Dandenong’s pending new art gallery.
Crestron CP3 control adds the top layer, and this is accessed remotely via iPads. A custom web interface has been developed to control signal routing and selection. Operators can patch and mix feeds on the fly, whether in the office or out in the field, with the ability to add graphics, roll in lower thirds and titles, or playback content at the push of a button.
SOLVING THE TRICKY BITS
Every job has its problem moments to overcome. One of the trickiest aspects of this install was dealing with a north facing screen. ENGIE AV Technologies worked with Arup to confirm that 5000 nits would be sufficient for daytime use. That was the easy bit. Late in the game, a request was made to have the screen swivel, pivoting by 45 degrees to allow a larger viewing audience.
Theatre specialists ITE assisted with design and construction of the mechanism, no mean feat with the screen and speaker assembly weighing over two tonnes. Even more impressive is the addition of a weather station to alert the system to automatically close the screen if inclement wind conditions are pending. As befits a cautious client, a manual over-ride can take over if needs be.
This caution extended to every aspect of the job. Redundancies are built into every level. There are duplicates of key equipment at each major location. All video points have both NDI and SDI cabling. All audio points incorporate both Dante and analogue runs. The whole system is designed to keep running constantly, with fallback options in the event of any gear failure or cabling breach.
ENJOYING THE GOOD BITS
Springvale Community Hub is a great success story for the community. ENGIE AV Technologies is proud to work closely with the teams from Ireland Brown, AECOM, CMI Music & Audio and Greater Dandenong City Council to successfully deliver a highly customised and unique large-scale LED installation.
Feedback from the client has been extremely positive. So much so that the concept is being seriously looked at by other councils.
For Engie, the plaudits are even higher. This concept and meticulous approach to implementation is getting some major international recognition.
ENGIE AV Technologies: engie.com.au
CMI Music & Audio (Fohhn, Crown): cmi.com.au
Ireland Brown: ibconstructions.com.au
Rush Wright Associates: rushwright.com
Lyons Architecture: lyonsarch.com.au
VuePix Infiled: vuepix.tv
TAG (Q-SYS): tag.com.au