The P.A. People – Operational Simplicity for Multi-use Facilities
Bloodstock auctioneer William Inglis and Son’s Riverside Stables Complex at Warwick Farm, 40km South-west of the Sydney CBD, boasts a 144 room five-star hotel, more than 800 stables, a conference centre, and extensive hospitality suites and services. It’s home to the biggest sale events on the equine calendar, including the Australian Easter Yearling Sale and The Sydney Classic Yearling Sale.
The P.A. People were called upon to design and install extensive networked video, audio and control systems across the Complex, enabling auctioneers, buyers, sellers, guests and service providers to access sound and vision from any part of the site at the touch of a button. As part of their brief, The P.A. People were also tasked with equipping the Sales Arena with theatrical-grade PA and lighting systems, giving the facility the flexibility to host entertainment and major events.
“We’re selling high-end goods, and it’s got to run smoothly,” said Arthur Inglis, Deputy Chairman at William Inglis & Son Ltd. “The site-wide AV system is integral to that operation. The P.A. People were proactive in ensuring we got the best possible results in what is a very large facility, and it’s been dealt with very well.”
Multi-purpose venues such as the Riverside Stables Complex have varying day-to-day operational requirements by design. A weekday might host a business conference with videoconferencing requirements across a dozen rooms, while a weekend might host a society wedding with entertainment on Saturday and a major broadcast event on Sunday. AV systems for multi-purpose venues are often very large scale – and must deliver flexibility while being intuitive enough for end-users to operate.
Keeping it Simple
Making a complicated system easy to use is a difficult feat, and much of the effort happens behind-the -scenes in design and programming. “I spent a month pre-programming, creating interfaces and building the logic that makes the Riverside Complex understandable,” said Dmitry Istomin, Programmer and Commissioning Engineer for The P.A. People. “On an everyday basis, the client does not need the system’s operation to change that much; the biggest challenge was to create a user-friendly, easily understandable graphic interface that enabled staff to do everything they need simply and automatically.”
The Riverside Complex AV system includes LG screens fed signal by Exterity IPTV endpoints, distributing video from live cameras and PCs during auctions, while JBL speakers around the facility and a Bose ShowMatch PA system in the Sales Arena are connected over Ethernet with sources available from 210 inputs, including Shure radio microphones that can be mixed and routed automatically by the end-user. Guests in the hospitality suites, corporate boxes, and meeting rooms can send their device’s outputs to their own screens, take feeds from the auction areas, and control their own audio. All of these functions are controlled simply and intuitively via installed touch panels.
“When conducting an auction, it’s vitally important that people can see and bid on the product, while being able to easily follow and understand the progress of the bidding,” explains Arthur Inglis. “This is why it was so important to us to ensure that the live video and audio from our auctions is available throughout the facility and the adjoining hotel.”
“The AV technology on-site keeps our clients connected to our sales, no matter where they are on the grounds,” elaborates Mark Webster, Managing Director at William Inglis and Son Ltd. “They can move around, socialise, inspect horses, and still stay connected to what’s happening in the sale ring. The technology provides an enhanced auction experience; when a horse enters the sale ring, bidders not only see the horse in the flesh, they also watch a promotional video package on the big screens that includes footage of the horse galloping on the track. Potential buyers can now assess the athletic qualities of the horse, rather than just seeing it standing on stage, which gives them more confidence.”
Convergence = Capability
The key to the operational simplicity and efficiency of Riverside’s vast AV system is convergence; running all audio, video and control equipment on the site’s Ethernet network, administered by the William Inglis and Son’s IT department. “This is the first time we have implemented a converged network at Inglis, but it’s something we needed in terms of flexibility that it offers,” confirms Deane Jacobs, CIO of William Inglis and Son Ltd. “The modular capabilities made it an easy choice, along with the fact that The P.A. People have so much experience delivering projects of this nature. Their insight meant that they anticipated many requirements that we wouldn’t have considered, and in hindsight, they all made perfect sense.”
In the Arena
With the Sales Arena functioning as a multi-purpose venue, its stage was treated to a lighting and sound system capable of hosting everything from Inglis’s prestigious auctions to a touring band. The Bose ShowMatch line array PA system provides enough power for any live act, while the industry standard Robe, ETC, and PR Lighting fixtures controlled by an LSC Clarity lighting desk enable the venue to create the ambience for a banquet dinner or an eye-popping variety performance. The venue is designed to run in two modes; simple automatic mode, in which auctioneers can use both lectern and radio microphones, adjusting volumes via a simple graphic interface on a touch screen; and full production mode, in which the venue’s installed concert-sized Yamaha CL5 digital mixer and remote Dante stage boxes can be used by technicians for full control of large shows.
Two large VuePix LED screens measuring 4.5 metres wide and 2.5 metres high flank the entrances to the Parade Ring in the Sales Arena, with a third at 2.5 metres wide by 1.5 metres installed above the auctioneer’s desk in the middle of the ring. Their sheer size meant The P.A. People had to collaborate closely with the architect and builder to ensure the correct supporting and rigging infrastructure was put in place.
While dealing with the heady virtual world of digital audio and video, The P.A. People also kept their minds firmly on physical practicalities; “The P.A. People were a great help to us in considering simple physical requirements like cabling and conduit that we would have overlooked,” illustrates Deane Jacobs. “For example, some of our auctions are televised, and OB trucks come in for the events.
The P.A People ensured that cabling, patch points and wall boxes throughout, all run via conduit to where they need to go and to the parking area for the OB trucks. Because of this, we’re able to position cameras anywhere they need to be and able to route any cabling they bring in. There’s no propping open doors, running across high-traffic areas, or running cable trays; it was all considered.”
“While this was our first time working with The P.A. People, I have to say they were fantastic. Chris Dodds and the team are both knowledgeable and helpful. They proved to be excellent communicators that convey technical information and requirements clearly. The systems they designed and provided met the expectations of the client, who are now very happy; the first sale run at Riverside was a resounding success and broke the record for their February event.”
Mark Mothersole – Commercial Manager, FDC Construction and Fitout said, “It’s not every day you put together a $140 million equine facility, and a lot of work went into the coordination of the services, particularly in the hotel. The P.A. People attended weekly coordination meetings with the rest of the trades and ensured everything went smoothly. They worked closely with Inglis and ourselves on all technical aspects, including the supporting infrastructure needed to install the large LED screens in the Sales Arena. This was FDC’s first time working with The P.A. People, and I wouldn’t hesitate to work with them again.”
Matthew Organ, Service Coordinator, CS Infrastructure, said, “I worked closely with Chris Dodds and Ross Ford from the client side, making sure the customer outcomes were as Inglis had specified. The P.A. People were conscientious in providing status and progress reports, feedback on issues, documentation, and review material. The audio and video systems they provided are cutting edge. The entire precinct captures the look and feel William Inglis and Son intended and the AV system provides all of the interactivity and flexibility that was planned. My client got a good end result and are very happy.”
- 190 x LG Hospitality TVs 49-, 55- and 65-inch.
- 110 x Exterity r9300 media players (IPTV).
- 320 x JBL speakers: Control 67, Control 65, Control 14, CBT50.
- 15 x Crown DCi multi-channel network amplifiers.
- 16 x PR XLED 3019 moving head wash lights.
- 8 x Robe Robin BMFL Blades.
- 16 x ETC CS Spot profiles.
- LSC Clarity LX300 lighting console.
- Bose ShowMatch Main Sound system: 10 x Mid-High, 4 x Subs with Bose PM8500N network amplifiers.
- BSS audio control.
- 16 x Shure QLXD radio mics site-wide.
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