The leafy eastern suburbs of Melbourne has a number of excellent Catholic secondary schools, where demand for places is high and demand for the best students is just as high. Emmaus College Vermont campus is a mid-sized school of some 1200 students. In late 2017 it cut the ribbon on a brand new education learning centre.
Part of the new facility is a lecture theatre with a point of difference: a 3×3 LG video wall. Well, that’s the most obvious point of difference, but the venue packs an estimable AV spec not often seen in a secondary school… chances are you soon will.
The story behind the AV began the previous AFL footy season. Principal, Tony Hirst, was attending a game at the MCG supporting his beloved Essendon Bombers. He coincidentally struck up a conversation with an ‘off duty’ member of the Light & Sound Solutions crew. Light & Sound Solutions happened to be the installer of the outdoor LED display they were standing under. A conversation ensued and the beginnings of a partnership was struck.
WALL TO WALL AV
Light & Sound Solutions was duly appointed as the project’s systems and helped walk principal Tony Hirst and his team through the process of selecting the right technology.
The school was convinced of the merits of a high brightness display at the front of the theatre but was unsure if a high-spec projector, video wall or LED display would best suit.
After assessing the options and consulting with Light & Sound Solutions, the school decided a 3×3 LG video wall would provide the best bang for the buck and the wow factor Tony Hirst so desired.
“We wanted something contemporary,” Tony Hirst commented. “A projector might have been impressive 10 years ago, but we wanted something more eye-catching.”
The LG 55VM5B 55-inch displays have an ultra narrow bezel (1.8mm image to image) which gives the video wall an almost seamless look, and the video wall is easily visible from the first row to the last.
CHIEF AMONG BRACKETS
Light & Sound Solutions’ Project Manager Daniel Thomas oversaw the video wall installation: “With a display that’s almost bezel-less you really need to get those pixels lined up perfectly. Fortunately the Chief LVS1U video wall bracket makes the installers’ life easier. The mount also makes servicing any of the screens easy as well, simply pull on a cord and the screen pops out around 300mm. It’s good solid American engineering. Chief will never be the cheapest option but when you’ve got multiple screens to line up and install there’s no point skimping — it can saves you hours of crew time.
The screen accepts a PC input from the lectern, a Blu-ray input as well as a Brightsign media player. There are actually two XT1143 4K Brightsign digital signage media players in the rack, which allow the school to push content to the video wall and to an impressive LG 84-inch display in the foyer.
“The foyer screen can be used locally as another learning space,” noted principal Tony Hirst. “But it’s particularly useful as digital signage. We can display images of our students in activities, events etc. Those images help create a positive culture. We can also post up announcements.”
All the inputs are routed through a Crestron DMPS switching system then into the Crestron 4K scaler in the video wall. Spec’ing the DMPS was a key part of ensuring the theatre was easy to use, even by the most technically challenged. There are two Crestron seven-inch touch panels (one at the lectern and the other at the entrance) with an super-simple interface that makes switching and AV reconfiguration a breeze.
BEST AT THE RIGHT PRICE
This isn’t your average high school theatre. But one suspects other schools will already be casting a green eye in its direction. Light & Sound Solutions’ Daniel Thomas appreciated the chance to work on a project that was aspirational: “The school had a budget that allowed us to spec high quality AV — Nexo loudspeakers, amplification and control; Crestron control, LG displays, motorised lighting bar with quality LED fixtures. You don’t often see that in a secondary school lecture theatre. Still, I believe the AV installation represents great value for the client.”
A sentiment echoed by principal Tony Hirst: “There’s nothing better for a principal than to see students’ jaws drop when they enter a new building for the first time. Their eyes light up — ‘this is unbelievable!’. That’s what happened. It makes the install and the planning all worthwhile.”
- 9x LG 55VM5B ultra narrow bezel displays
- Chief LVS1U video wall mounts
- 2x BrightSign XT1143 4K media players
- Nexo loudspeakers, amps & processing
- Crestron control
- Sennheiser Wireless