Projecting the Future – Pro Audio Systems supplies Panasonic solution for Kirklees Council

Projecting the Future - Pro Audio Systems supplies Panasonic solution for Kirklees Council.

The Town Halls of Huddersfield and Dewsbury in West Yorkshire are busy municipal facilities operated by Kirklees Council. Both boast stunning Grade II listed Victorian architecture and interior design, and are used for a wide variety of entertainment events, conferencing and presentations. The range of demands placed upon such multi-functional venues requires that they are equipped with reliable, efficient and high quality technology, and Kirklees Council recently sought to make enhancements to visual provision at the Halls, with a view to future-proofing and improving the overall quality for screenings at meetings, conferences and general events.

Andrew Wrixon, Technical Manager for Kirklees Town Halls explains:

“At Huddersfield Town Hall we were motivated to buy a new projector as our existing one was ten to fifteen years old and failing in terms of light output. We host Council conference events using visual presentations that could be difficult to see with full stage and house lights on. Also we’ve increased the range of activity in the hall to include the showing of films, and that, coupled with the use of projection for commercial music shows and events such as school presentations, meant that a projector of the highest quality had become essential.” Andrew contacted Pro Audio Systems (PAS) of Bradford to consult over the best way forward. As well as its long-standing presence in the world of professional audio, PAS is rapidly expanding the video and lighting side of its operation to meet persistent and growing customer demand. The recruitment of experienced video and lighting specialist, Chris Beardwell, to take charge of this area of business was a significant statement of intent, and it was with Chris that Andrew Wrixon discussed his requirements.

Chris Beardwell takes up the story:

“At Huddersfield Town Hall, the brief was to replace their existing projector, which had been in place for over a decade, with a more up-to-date solution that would not only future-proof the venue in years to come, but also provide a projection solution that better addressed daylight-hours events. Presentations taking place during the day would often attract complaints that the projector simply wasn’t bright enough, with the result that onstage lights had to be dimmed and curtains closed - not ideal, by any means.”

To combat the high levels of ambient light within the Hall, PAS supplied a Panasonic PT-RQ22K projector. A high brightness (21,000 lumen) projector, which is part of Panasonic’s 3-Chip DLP projection line-up, it is the world’s smallest and lightest 20,000-lumen-class 4K+ projector. The PT-RQ22K features hermetically sealed optics and filterless heat-pipe-based cooling which underline reliability in dusty conditions, while solid-state lasers consistently control the brightness ramp over 20,000 hours of maintenance-free operation.

Chris continues:

“The PT-RQ22K was the perfect choice in this setting. It’s not only bright, but its 4K+ resolution will enable the screening of extremely high quality imagery. We supplied one of Panasonic’s innovative ET-D3LEW200 lenses for the projector, a specialist 90° short throw lens to address the fact that available space in the venue is limited. This solution enables the projection of a 6m-wide image at a very short range, whilst also enabling the projector to be mounted side-on rather than front-facing for further space saving.”

PAS also addressed the cable transmission solution that was used to take HDMI and audio signals from the control point at the side of the stage to the projector and the audio mixing console. The existing set-up used a mixture of HDMI Cat5 transmitter and receiver boxes, as well as HDMI de-embedders to take audio to the mixer. This combination was not always fully reliable, so Chris recommended a Panasonic Digital Link Switcher, which consolidates signal transmission into a single box solution, transmitting video to the projector via a single Cat6 cable with no receiver box necessary. The Digital Link Switcher, which also carries audio signals to the mixing console, helps to reduce the complexity and cost of installations of this type.

Huddersfield Town Hall was already in possession of a Draper FocalPoint modular projection screen. This flexible screen can be varied in size by first purchasing the correct size of surface and then adding or taking away components to suit a particular presentation. In order to obtain maximum flexibility from their new projector, the Kirklees team asked PAS to supply a new surface and some additional sections to facilitate a full 6m screen. At Dewsbury Town Hall, the facility’s existing traditional ‘fast-fold’ screen had seen better days and was no longer fit for purpose. Impressed by the quality and performance of their screen in Huddersfield, Kirklees decided to make a further investment, and asked PAS to supply a substantial 4.88m wide x 2.74m high FocalPoint screen for Dewsbury.

Andrew Wrixon reflects on working with PAS to achieve positive results:

“We have had a fantastic relationship with Pro Audio for many many years and have always received fantastic service from all at the company. Chris was excellent in taking our sometimes vague requirements and presenting various options for which he arranged demonstrations. In this way were able to narrow down exactly what was needed to meet all the needs of our wide ranging programme of events. Nothing was too much trouble. The PAS approach is clearly based on making sure the customer gets what is needed, and is not just purely driven by sales, which in turn is why we trust and respect their input.

“It’s early days with the new equipment but so far we are extremely happy and know that if we do have any issues down the line, PAS will be there to support us. As well as sales and installations, we also take full advantage of PAS’s Hire Department for a range of solutions including sound equipment and engineers - the quality of the service is always beyond excellent.”