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Wagga Wagga Civic Theatre finds AV Flexibility with D2N and ATEN

Wagga Wagga Civic Theatre is home to a 491-seat auditorium with orchestra pit, opening out onto two foyers across two levels. With an eye to bringing in a bigger variety of functions, conferences, and non-traditional events, the Theatre has recently upgraded its AV infrastructure with a powerful and flexible video distribution system provided and installed by D2N – Technology Solutions.

“This is an upgrade of our entire video system,” explains Russell Stewart, Technical Coordinator at the Wagga Wagga Civic Theatre. “We’ve replaced our performance relay cameras, all monitors both front and back of house, put in a central video switcher with every component connected, integrated our marketing computer, and added control over Wi-Fi that we can access from tablet and mobile.”

At the heart of the new system is an ATEN VM51616H video matrix router. With 16 ins and 16 outs, the feeds from the new JVC PTZ and Victorem infrared 2K SDI cameras that capture the action on stage can be routed throughout the building, so performers backstage and audience members in the foyer can all keep tabs on the action. The VM51616H features a front panel LCD screen that can preview all port connections, and a local video output which can be configured to display 1, 2, 4 or all 16 inputs. Russell has ingeniously looped this output back to an input so the stage manager can view the four most important inputs as a multiview. D2N integrated an ASUS touch screen monitor into the rack for local control, FOH staff have control via keyboard and mouse, and presets can be triggered via iPad and mobile.

The JVC KY-PZ100 PTZ runs JVC’s IP communications engine, and is connected via Wi-Fi to the Theatre’s network. As such, it can be controlled from a web browser, and have up to 100 presets triggered from the AV network’s control system. Cabling around the building is supported by ATEN VE883K2 single mode fibre HDMI extenders and ATEN VE811 Cat 5e HDMI extenders, which connect four new 43” 4K Philips displays and a 27” LG 4K display back to the switcher.

While the foyer monitors normally display marketing material fed from a dedicated PC, the new AV infrastructure means performance relay or inputs from a hirer can be routed at the press of screen. This opens up the possibility of multi-room conference events at the Theatre, utilising the foyer spaces as well as the stage and auditorium.

“We have AV input and output patch points throughout FOH and on stage,” illustrates Russell. “If we have a hirer come in with their own cameras, playback, vision mixers, and monitors, they can plug in and route anywhere there’s patch points. We are now set-up for multi-room conferencing.”

The new system was installed while the Theatre was shut due to the pandemic, giving D2N the full run of the building without restrictions. “I worked with D2N every day of the job,” relates Russell. “They are a great team and easy to get along with. We talked through the install as it progressed, and got into all the details of how the new system would benefit our operations. Despite all of us dealing with the restrictions of iso, I think D2N enjoyed the autonomy of having the building to themselves and not disrupting anyone else!” 

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