VSI innovation at Cardiff Pierhead
It is one of the city of Cardiff's most familiar landmarks, originally built in 1897 as the headquarters for the Bute Dock Company.
The venue's main hall can now be run as an interactive visitor attraction or utilised for numerous events and functions. VSI worked to a technical specification originated by theatre consultant Paul Covell, adding their own expertise and specialist knowledge.
The new installation includes a projection system that shows a seven-minute video biography detailing the history of the Pierhead. This combines various archival and current materials and is projected onto six large electric roll-down screens (three per side) running down both sides of the walls of the main room.
The project was led for VSI by Keith Fish, who comments, "It was a pleasure to be involved with such a prestigious local and historical landmark site and being able to see the design through from conception to completion."
The projection is via six Panasonic PT-D4000E machines. Behind the screens, the windows are in turn blacked out by a series of roll-drop blinds, also supplied as part of the VSI package. These have been RAL matched and painted to fit the existing decor.
At the heart of the control system is an AMX NI3100 and 10" Modero touch screen controller which can be set to auto mode or be manually triggered from an eight-button AMX preset control panel in reception. This enables staff to run the show when there are enough people in the space, complete with all the audio, lighting and video effects, switching and triggering.
The control equipment is neatly tucked away in an adjacent ante room, and includes Kramer switchers and networking and a Tascam DVD player.
Sound is delivered through a Martin Audio system. The four white Martin AQ8 white speakers are powered by MA900 amplifiers, and run through an Allen & Heath 1DR8 digital signal processor and a Yamaha 01V 96VCM mixer, all switched via the AMX. A selection of microphones and stands completed the audio picture, together with 2 portable Mackie SRM450 speakers and stands that can be utilised for functions.
Part of the supply also included the installation of a basic event lighting into the space with Light Project lanterns, a Zero 88 Chilli dimmer pack and Juggler control console. The lighting and sound system control consoles can also be used independently for live events taking place at the Pierhead.
The display of e-voting information was also incorporated as part of the package, allowing visitors to have their say on issues of the day, with the results and information displayed on the screens.