JCB Presentation Theatre
The JCB presentation theatre is a truly integrated system on every level.
With a capacity for 250 guests the theatre is situated within the JCB visitors centre at their global headquarters in Rocester, along with “The Story of JCB” museum and the base for factory tours.
The venue is used daily for a wide range of events, including global dealer conferences, product launches and reveals, press conferences and presentations to visitors as part of the factory tour programme. The audience varies from JCB dealers from any one of 15 countries to direct customers (including farmers, the construction industry and the MoD), journalists, school children and the WI.
The Theatre is also the final link in the chain of the JCB internal communications department, as well as the source point for satellite broadcasts and webcasts.
JCB have had a presentation theatre for many years, however many of their systems had become obsolete and sporadic updates of single elements through the years had led to a mismatched and counter intuitive system with many flaws. JCB as a whole is very focused on the environmental impact of its product and operations and previous systems were particularly inefficient and energy-hungry.
The objective of the Theatre upgrade was to create a broadcast quality system that could form the heart of the JCB communications operation, delivering an intelligent workflow and a robust platform for the team to produce events, reveals, outside broadcasts and films in a wide variety of languages with professional results, whilst reducing the carbon footprint of the venue.
Chosen for their proven track record in high profile broadcast event installations Feltech pride themselves on attention to detail, high standards and a genuine passion to produce outstanding work for their clients. Feltech’s dedicated JCB Account Manager headed up the team and worked closely with the JCB Communications department, identifying their “wish list” for the Theatre and understanding the day to day needs of the system.
The Feltech team took a holistic view of how the system could be enhanced, whilst bringing in energy efficient alternatives and improving the overall workflow of the facility. In constant contact with the JCB team, Feltech ensured each stage of the process stayed on track and took on board new requirements and feedback in regular meetings on site at the venue. Feltech commented “Direct communication, a “can-do” attitude and transparency are essential with a complex project such as the JCB Theatre. The whole project was completed in just 12 weeks from design sign off to final commissioning which was a mammoth task, but through clear communication, robust planning and careful on site scheduling the project was completed on time, on budget and our clients are delighted with the results”.
Feltech took a back to basics approach and proposed standardising HDSDI signal distribution throughout the venue, replacing a vast array of up and down converters and incompatible multi format systems, bringing a broadcast inspired professionalism to the Theatre. This HDSDI matrix forms the backbone of the very complex but smart design, from the vision mixer through to the autocue booth, plasmas, projection, ‘edit share’ system and outputs for outside broadcasts, the broadcast quality signal is constant. With 15km of HDSDI cable required to complete the installation, it took the Feltech team five weeks to complete the infrastructure.
Production Control Room / Technical Control Room & Geeves
Feltech created a Production Control Room (PCR) as the central hub of the operation for Theatre Control, and a Technical Control Room (TCR) to manage the broadcast output of the Theatre. Both the PCR and the TCR integrate into a Geeves edit share system to link with the JCB internal communications department and a feature Broadcast Pix 6000+ and a 2000+ vision mixer respectively, linked together. These can be used to independently vision mix different simultaneous outputs or as a main unit and a back up.
This allows multiple camera feeds from the Theatre’s three HD remote head Sony cameras and vision mixer edit decision lists from the Theatre’s live shows to be instantly available in any of the venue’s 6 avid suites for quick turn around post event films. The data is held on a single system so there is no waiting time and any live mix output can be tweaked without delay as all rushes are accessible immediately. Equally there is no time lost exporting completed films from the Avids, files are immediately available for the big screen in the theatre via a 10 gigabyte fibre through drag and drop software.
The Production Control Room is centred around a bespoke consul designed and built to Feltech’s specification by sub contractor MW Video. The ergonomic and well laid out desk forms the core of the control room with multiple quad split screens and preview monitors mounted above.
Many of the shows that take place are repeated on a regular basis, which inspired the inclusion of a Medialon pre-programmable audience specific automation system that operates a multitude of elements including curtains, complex lighting cues, projectors, winches, pyrotechnics, smoke and special effects. The system is entirely flexible and allows ‘time line’ based automation with manual intervention at any point, allowing more complex and bespoke shows to be quickly programmed and executed. The Medialon system is perfect for JCB’s global dealer conference which is repeated daily for a month, and regular factory tour audience shows. Feltech chose automation specialist David Burchill of DB Show Control to programme the Medialon system.
One of the key audio features of the system is its ability to deal with foreign language requirements. Using Sennheiser Guideport, transmitters based around the facility, within the Theatre, factory and the museum allow international guests to receive all audio through a single set of headphones they choose on entry. The same headphones pick up the relevant feed, whether they are in the museum listening to an exhibit, around the factory with a simultaneous translated guide or in the presentation theatre for a vehicle reveal listening to a radio microphone feed or product launch.
Feltech matched the visual elements of the Theatre upgrade with an impressive sound system incorporating the country’s first permanent installation of a Bose Room Match Array. Bose were personally involved at each stage of the design and commissioning process to ensure precise parameters were adhered to and the results are outstanding.
The 5.1 surround sound capable multiple speaker installation offers even distribution of sound around the auditorium with compound bass speakers to enhance rumble effects and low bass notes. The system is digitally routed and mixed with individual dedicated channels per source input. The system’s digital radio microphones are supported by multiple antennas to eliminate dead spots.
Audio handling is processed by a Yamaha LS9-32 in the PCR and an LS9-16 in the TCR, linked together by Dante networking technology to allow source sharing.
A wireless Theatre Talkback system has been integrated into the system to ensure all members of the crew are able to communicate at all times, including two way intercom and two separate channels, one for the main Theatre Show Crew and another for the production and camera crew.
For broadcast events the system also incorporates in ear monitoring for presenters, capable of providing two channel programme sound and foldback, within the Theatre with an interface to allow remote operation down the line or via radio link for outside broadcast type contributors.
Lighting / Stage
A key consideration for JCB’s Theatre upgrade focused on the need to address environmental targets within the lighting scheme.
A new modular rigging structure was created to support multiple intelligent light installations, with ECO LED Intelligent moving head light and colour wash fixtures for the stage area and ECO LED Chroma Pixel Strips for side wall effects. These changes have reduced the power consumption of the facility by 60%, one of the major goals of the upgrade.
Strobe lighting, laser scanners, hazers and fog machines to boost lighting and laser effects were specified to enhance the stage shows, alongside a white cyclorama at the rear of stage for virtual backdrop projection.
Feltech specified lighting consoles from Avolites, incorporating touch control with hardware faders, and DMX distribution around the stage area and auditorium.
Feltech commissioned Lighting Designer Justin Adams and specialists Stage Electrics to create the impressive low energy lighting systems for the Theatre.
Feltech also took the opportunity to revise the video projection elements of the Theatre, replacing an existing front projected screen on the main stage with a custom made cinemascope automated screen with a fast deployment time. A Christie Roadster full HD projector provides 12,000 lumens of HD image with a hot spare. The main projector is complemented by two repeater 85 inch plasma screens, either side of the main stage.
There is also a rear projection system for more conventional meetings and seminars.
The facility is used as a true plug and play environment with presenters encouraged to use multiple sources and integrate their own media.
The system incorporates synchronised HD players alongside server based HD playback from the edit suite ‘edit-share’ system, Blu-ray, DVD, Terrestrial TV and Internet TV capability including recording and Apple TV.
The system also incorporates a number of presentation systems including computers with back ups for PowerPoint featuring dual output cards to enable the presenter screen to be routed to the matrix, a similar dual mac based system for Keynote, dual wireless remote controllers, a caption generator, iPad controllers and multiple lectern inputs for guest laptops.
The HDSDI matrix system also covers a number of additional break out rooms which are all fitted out to the same standard and incorporate large screens, Bluray and HDD players, projectors, Apple TV interfaces and televisions with internet connectivity.