AV Case Study: Jacksons on George
The newest iteration of this famous Sydney pub sees its AV capacity significantly expanded.
Text:/ Graeme Hague
Like most buildings in the centre of Sydney, what’s long been known as “Jacksons on George” – or to be specific, at 176 George Street – has a long history. It’s been knocked down more times than Sylvester Stallone in Rocky III although it has throughout all its various incarnations always been a watering hole of some description, right back to 1905 and its beginnings as the Blue Anchor Hotel.
Now it’s part of the Sydney Place development and the current building offers three floors of different styles of hospitality, starting with the ground floor Public Bar which despite the traditional name is a far cry from the kinds of drinking establishments that have graced the location in years past. Next floor up is the Bistro where diners can enjoy a wide-ranging menu that caters to all tastes, plus there is a private dining room for intimate events and celebrations. The top floor, not surprisingly called The Rooftop, is a mix of a well-featured bar and an open-air venue where patrons can take in the stunning cityscape around them and the stars at night.
With such a diverse audience across the three venues – not to mention in segregated areas within each one – the AV installation required a flexible and reliable network that could deliver exactly the right program and content where it was needed while at the same time keeping things simple for the inhouse staff to operate. Showtime Production Services was asked to provide the solutions, and as Asher Daoud, the Director of Showtime explained, “Every bar or zone in the building was expected to work in a standalone mode, completely separated from the rest of the system. At the same time, we wanted to be able to send anything to anywhere. It had to have give the venue all the options, and any configuration, required on the day.”
The final design involved a large number of display screens, some projection, audio zones, and peripherals such as microphone and data connection points. Fortunately, when it came running the cabling and installing mounts for all these, as part of the total fitout, the building was essentially a blank canvas, so Showtime Production Services had full access to every nook and cranny behind the scenes.
However, in the public areas the aesthetics presented challenges of a different kind. A lot of the bespoke and custom finishes to the spaces had to be considered. Asher says, “We had to be very selective about the material used and how things were installed to fit with the décor. Occasionally we had to come up with a compromise – speakers and screens do need to be seen and heard after all.”
We love the ease of control and seamless transition for all the vision and audio inputs to all our various outputs across all three levels.
A system utilising reliable video over IP was the answer. Sourced from Amber Technology, at the heart of the whole AV network is a WyreStorm NHD-CTL-PRO V2 controller – the unit being a compact version of the NHD-CTL-PRO – feeding a pair of Pakedge MS Series MS-2424 switches. Next in line is either one of seven Wyrestorm NHD110RXV2 audio/video decoders, or one of another seven WyreStorm NHD110TX decoders – fourteen units in all. These have the entire venue covered when it comes to displays and audio outlets. They also allow for additional AV to be brought in for special events such as the Melbourne Cup, and this can be connected and programmed without needing further network hardware.
The General Manager of DTL Entertainment Group, the owner and operator of Jacksons on George, Michael Broome, sums it up with, “We love the ease of control and seamless transition for all the vision and audio inputs to all our various outputs across all three levels.”
Asher says of Amber Technology, “The team from Amber, with a special shout out to Marc and Dan, went above and beyond to facilitate the installation, meeting deadlines and accommodating necessary changes for us as the project landscape continued to evolve… It’s not our first use of such a system and thanks to their continued on-going support, it definitely won’t be our last.”
Jacksons on George has been reborn yet again, this time with a serious and accomplished application of 21st century technology to complement the venue’s charm, fine cuisine, and appeal as a place to simply meet and greet, and have a few drinks.
And really, you can say it’s still a pub.