New Zealand’s first international-standard convention centre, Te Pae Christchurch, was officially opened in December 2021. With approximately 100 events confirmed for 2022, the centre is busy recruiting and in the midst of planning an open day for the public to experience this breathtaking facility.
“Many convention centres look and feel like small boxes, with no natural light. Here you have expansive views over the Avon River and the greenery of Victoria Square. Over three million labour-hours have gone into the construction, and I think everyone involved in creating this iconic facility should be very proud,” says John Bridgman, Chief Executive of Ōtākaro Limited, a crown company that has managed the design and construction and will own the facility.
TenFour, the audio-visual integrators, share that pride, “This was a massive undertaking that started way back in 2018. We are stoked with the end product and proud to have contributed to achieving Christchurch’s vision of what an international convention centre should be in terms of scale and technology. There is nothing else like it in New Zealand and it is a wonderful asset for the city,” shares Nathan Roche, TenFour’s Sales and Marketing Director.
Working alongside CPB Contractors and consultants WSP, TenFour delivered the complete audio-visual fit out of three separate buildings, an outdoor advertising screen, and full building digital signage and background music systems (BGM) with an Emergency Warning & Intercommunication System (EWIS) and evacuation integration.
State-Of-The-Art Control Systems
Aiming for ease of use and reliability TenFour opted for a Crestron and QSC certified design, “Crestron are lightyears ahead of the rest of the market, especially around network AV streaming,” continues Nathan. “We have a twelve-year partnership which we put to good use in commissioning the solution for Te Pae.” TenFour used a Crestron enterprise-class control system with 3 series processors that support Crestron Fusion. “The Crestron Fusion system gives us full visibility of a room status at any time,” confirms Nathan. “In the event of a power failure or a device going offline, the Fusion server will let us know.” The system emails a warning notification to both the TenFour helpdesk as well as turning notification icons red to indicate an error on the onsite dashboard. TenFour can remote access to fault find and fix, as well as being able to use Crestron X Panel software to assist and resolve issues during meetings by remotely taking control of devices in the room, including access to the in-room touch panel.
Meanwhile the audio backbone, the QSC QSYS Core 510 Audio processor, supports the entire networked based audio distribution and amplification across the venue.
Tripleplay ITPV System Features to Support Client Content Sharing
TenFour selected the Tripleplay IPTV system to meet the client’s priorities. “They wanted to cast what was happening in different spaces across the venue, promote future events, run Freeview TV and push signage,” explains Nathan, “This was the largest roll out we’ve done in New Zealand with over forty IPTV/digital signage and wayfinding screens installed across the site.” With the Tripleplay system, an operator can easily record or stream content from the Auditorium venue-wide, just by initiating it on the touch panels in the Auditorium spaces. Content is stored on the Tripleplay servers to be edited and distributed as required.
The Star of the Show – The Auditorium/Plenary Building
The 1400 seat Auditorium/Plenary building encompasses the Auditorium pre-function space and the main Auditorium that can be broken into two or used as one large space. When the Auditorium spaces are separated by the operable wall system, each side has a Samsung VMR-I P3.9 Indoor Touring LED screen, measuring nine by five metres with full high definition 1920 x 1080 resolution and 16:9 ratio. When the Auditorium is used as one large space, these touring screens can be joined to make a 32:9 resolution. A Roland vision mixer feeds into the CORIOmaster micro videowall processor to allow for the dual outputs to the dual screen images, and to resolve the layout to suit the 32:9 resolution when joined. Each screen has a 4K Samsung S videowall controller to manage the scaling of images to the screens.
TenFour partnered with Bartons Sound NZ for the audio design and testing for the Auditorium. Bartons completed an electro-acoustic assessment of the Auditorium sound reinforcement system and opted for the high-end Martin Audio Multi-Cellular Line-Array loudspeaker system.
On the outside of the Plenary Building on Armagh St, Nathan’s team installed an outdoor LED video wall comprising eighty LED video wall panels arranged in a twenty metre square that can be configured to provide a large single or multiple images. To keep things simple for the end users and in line with the software being used inside the Auditorium, TenFour used the tvONE CORIOmaster micro videowall processing solution. Using a professional videowall production style processor the operator will easily be able to set and schedule all types of layouts and content.
Movie Standard Projection and Audio in Meeting Rooms and Banquet Halls
Fourteen event spaces and two banquet halls can be reconfigured for total flexibility, supported by the Crestron system, meaning when combined the audio and video all join seamlessly at the control panel.
Each of the meeting rooms are equipped with high performance 7000 lumens 4K UHD Christie laser data projectors with customised Ultralift lifters that can drop to 1.5m above ground for ease of maintenance. Panasonic 4K PTZ cameras fitted to the bottom of the lifter are available and the user can preview the camera image on the custom designed Podion Global lectern monitor. In-room audio is provided by two JBL speakers mounted horizontally with six EV high ceiling speakers also provided as part of the BGM and EWIS/paging system and used to fill the room, accompanied by an AKG dual receiver microphone unit.
Samsung LED screens add to the flexibility. TenFour used Samsung 200 inch LED screens with 2.5MM pixel pitch 4800 x 2700 (12.96m2) 16:9, designed and supplied flat to wall mount by Samsung NZ, with JBL DSX180 Intellivox digitally steered line array speakers beside the LED screens. As the control system joins the rooms, the orientation of the room changes to naturally face the LED screen and use the JBL Intellivox speakers for sound reinforcement. The Intellivox speakers are tuned to suit the length and width of the rooms and as the rooms are joined, a single JBL ceiling mount subwoofer is engaged to provide the lower end reinforcement to the audio performance.
The Banquet Halls, two spaces that seat two hundred and fifty that can be joined, are fitted out with similar gear to the meeting spaces but with the projection going next level. Two powerful Christie 4k10HS 10000 ANSI lumen laser projectors are supplemented by another with the same specs, fixed to a custom-designed ninety degree rotatable projector lifter. Each side of the Banquet Hall also has thirty JBL Control 67HC high ceiling pendant speakers to improve quality and coverage.
Accessibility and Ambience Covered
Every space has a ceiling mounted Williams Sound IR-based hearing assistance unit installed, and volumes in pre-function areas are set to a default level, which will automatically raise and lower based on the ambient noise level in the area, picked up by a noise sensing mic. EV ceiling speakers deliver the background music and paging announcements and are programmed to be ‘on’ and ‘off’ based on the same schedule times as the local LED screen.
Reflecting on the End Result
It has been a huge task and collaboration has been key, “We built really close relationships with WSP and with the client Ōtākaro,” says Nathan. “We focused on achieving the best outcomes for the convention centre, at times instigating brave conversations to ensure that decisions were made in the best interests of the end user.”
The challenge lay, as is often the case on a live construction site, in coordinating the AV installation with all the enabling works happening across the site. “We dedicated staff to liaising with other service providers,” relates Nathan. “Our technicians supported the network integration to ensure that everything was compatible, testing and commissioning sometimes more than once as changes were made to systems. At times during the project, TenFour had six full-time staff and three contractors working out of the Christchurch office with an additional twelve staff providing technical resource and project support around technical documentation, commissioning, testing, programming, project management, and health and safety from across our other New Zealand offices.”
“Now we are at the end and I can see what we have all achieved, I am blown away,” concludes Nathan. “As the country opens up again, Te Pae Christchurch will hold its own globally as a destination for international events. I am incredibly proud of our team at TenFour and their resilience and hard work.”
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