News

15 Dec 2021

Techs on The Beach

by Jason Allen

The Gold Coast’s newest Day/Night Club gets the full treatment

In an act of pure post-pandemic optimism, Artesian Hospitality, owners and operators of multiple Gold Coast venues, have brought something familiar yet new to Australian shores. Sun-kissed hedonists familiar with Vegas and Ibiza will recognise the format immediately; it’s a day/night club, on the beach (in reality, four storeys in
the air), ripe with the promise of cabanas, pools, luxury bottle service and pumping DJ tunes in the pool.

Beach clubs are a familiar sight around the world anywhere the young, rich, and tanned congregate, but no council in Australia will allow any beach to be built on, let alone let a private business charge for entry. This massive 5,500 sqm space was previously leased by a hotel next door and had sat idle for years before Artesian swooped in to secure it. With the lease signed, designing the ultimate outdoor club experience was next.

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AV Integrators The Prestige Group have a longstanding relationship with Artesian, and took the call. “We’re building this; make it work. That was pretty much the brief,” says Nathan Wright, General Manager at The Prestige Group. What Prestige had to make work was an outdoor space with multiple pools, bars and hospitality spaces that could function as both a club and corporate event venue with all of the AV that normally entails, but outside in the salt air and weather. The full club audio experience please, but don’t annoy the neighbours.

Turn Down For What?

“The biggest issue in any outdoor venue is audio,” explains Nathan. “The club needed a high-quality sound system that would survive the conditions while being easy to control. JBL distributor MadisonAV came to the party. All of the loudspeakers chosen for this project are designed for this harsh environment, and JBL is a brand with a long-established reputation for quality and reliability.”

“Prestige contacted us and said they had a ‘small pool project’ we might be interested in,” chuckles Benjamin Page, National Business Development Manager ‑ Audio at MadisonAV. “After some discussions, we put together a design, and started modelling in both Harman’s DDA (Digital Directivity Analysis) software and EASE.”

The biggest challenges for the audio design were weatherproofing, noise, and bass. Bass is needed for the club atmosphere, but with residences and a hotel next door, the design aimed for 50Hz but no lower, and that only where it’s really needed. A major part of the brief was that the system had to sound exactly the same everywhere, regardless of whether you’re swimming in the middle of the pool or dancing in front of the DJ. 

A range of JBL all-weather models were deployed to hit the brief, including Control-14CTs, AWC62s, AWC82s, and AWC15LFs for the lows. CBT70J and CBT1000 steerable arrays were used for the DJ booth and cinema, providing high SPL with controllable directivity.

“The JBL all-weather loudspeakers are constructed with stainless steel, zinc, and aluminium,” outlines Benjamin. “All of the cable entry points are waterproofed and sealed. The distributed design meant we achieved constant directivity but wide dispersion, courtesy of the AWCs and CBTs.”

“The support we received from Ben and MadisonAV was great,” confirms Nathan. “All of the JBL products have behaved exactly as we expected from the modelling. And the SPL its certainly doing its job to create the club vibe!”

Big Screen Energy

With a massive 8m x 4m cinema screen dominating a back wall by a beach volleyball court, video is a major star at Cali Beach. A letterbox-style 10m wide by 1m high screen addresses partygoers in the pool, while a portrait mode 3m high by 2m wide screen sits behind the DJ. A NovaStar H2 processor handles all of them.

“We chose VuePix LED Panels for all of the screens because of their outdoor reliability and local support from distributors ULA Group,” states Nathan. “The cinema screen is also designed for corporate events and is viewable from the bar as well as the cinema seating area. All of the supporting structures and screens have been engineered to cope with high winds. We have ArKaos Media Master on hand for DJs and VJs, and we have free-to-air TV and Nightlife available as sources. We’re soon going to add NDI sources so anyone can plug in to the network and move video around.”

The cabanas all include their own 55” Samsung LCDs which are set by default to receive visuals from the DJ. They have the ability to switch to any of the other video inputs, as well as supporting BYOD for meetings and corporate functions. Cabana guests can also blend and mix their audio sources with the DJ feed. 

A Matter of Truss

The beautiful curved truss above the dancefloor really brings home the club vibe. Not an original part of the design, it was designed and installed by Clifton Productions after other options fell through. “The custom truss is capable of taking a 500kg point load,” explains Nathan. “It’s a 16 metre curve with 14 metres between each point. We’ve added a camo net, and the rig can support aerial acrobatic performers. All up, it’s about 4 ½ metres off the deck. It took a bit to get it done, but it’s come up beautifully! On the day it went in, it all fitted perfectly with no packing; it all just worked. Clifton Productions did an awesome job, and it really gives the venue that club feel.”

Light It Up

Hanging off said truss you’ll find 12 Acme Cetus IP65 rated moving lights, a lamp-based fixture being used for beams, colour, and movement on the dancefloor. Dotted around the venue are 32 Acme StagePAR Colour 100 IP66-rated full colour LED Pars used for general wash duties. As the venue requires most daily performances to happen without the services of an LD, Osram’s e:cue control system is programmed with a variety of cues and presets that are triggered from Osram’s Action Pad app.

“e:cue and the Action Pad makes life easy,” illustrates Nathan. “It can trigger shows, run countdowns, and fire off sequences. It just works. If we need something more elaborate, there’s Art-Net throughout the venue, so anyone can come in with a lighting desk and address the fixtures.”

It’s not just lighting that can be fired off. It wouldn’t be a club without fog, Co2 and flame, and Cali Beach has all three. “There are two DJPOWER CO2 jets, five DJPOWER fog machines, and six DJPOWER flame machines powered by isopropyl alcohol,” reports Nathan gleefully. “We’ve mounted four of the flame machines in custom white boxes on the dancefloor truss, one on the southern tower, and another’s just going in.”

In the VIP

With a full singing-and-dancing AV and lighting rig to be run by hospo staff from iPads, control smarts are important. “The back end we’ve designed is flexible enough to do a lot of different things,” Nathan elaborates. “We have a Q-SYS Core 110f driving all systems. Audio interfaces via a BSS Dante bridge. There are two channels of Shure QLX-D radio mics that staff can control. The cabanas have their own custom touch panels for their TV and audio, while floor managers have an iPad that can control anything. Q-SYS can trigger presets in the NovaStar processing that can change configuration of the screens. All of the NDI feeds will be routed into ArKaos, which now supports NDI natively in Version 6.”

Cali Beach is already pumping with corporate functions and bookings. DJs and performers are streaming through and thriving in the atmosphere. “Artesian Hospitality are loving it,” concludes Nathan. “They’ve been pleasantly surprised by how even and controlled the audio is over its 38 individual audio zones, even with the pools being giant reflective surfaces. Being outside, everything is still very weather dependent, and if you get a strong wind blowing the wrong way you might get sound where you don’t want it. But, hey, it’s the Gold Coast, where even the mayor says ‘If you don’t like the noise, move somewhere else!’”

Audio

16x JBL Control-14CT

15x JBL AWC62

50x JBL AWC82

8x JBL AWC15LF

4x JBL CBT70J-1 + 70JE-1

2x JBL CBT1000

CROWN CDi BLU link Amplifiers:

8x CDi4/1200BL

1x CDi4/600BL

2x CDi4/300BL

1x BSS BLU-DA Dante Bridge

Video

Screen 1 – VuePix Infiled MV6 – 6.9mm pixel pitch – Cinema screen – 8m wide x 4m tall

Screen 2 – VuePix Infiled GX3 – 3.9mm pixel pitch – Screen for the DJ Box – 2m wide x 3m high

Screen 3 – VuePix Infiled MV5 – 5.9mm pixel pitch – Pool Screen – 10m wide x 1m high

NovaStar H2 Video Processor

ArKaos MediaMaster Pro6 Software

Lighting

12x Acme Cetus IP65 rated beam moving head

32x Acme StagePAR Colour 100 IP66 full colour Par fixture

Effects

6x DJPOWER HF-210 Flame Machines

6x DJPOWER H7D Fog Machines

2x DJPOWER X4 CO2 Jets

Click here to check out the MadisonAV Cali Beach video case study!

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