The Riverside Stables
The Riverside Stables
William Inglis & Son embrace both heritage and high-tech with The P.A. People
After 101 years at their Randwick premises, Australian bloodstock auctioneers and horse racing institution William Inglis & Son Ltd have moved to a vast new purpose-built premises, The Riverside Stables Complex at Warwick Farm 40km north-west of the Sydney CBD.
Boasting a 144 room five-star hotel, more than 800 stables, a conference centre, and extensive hospitality suites and services, the Riverside Stables is now the home to the biggest sale events on the equine calendar, including the Australian Easter Yearling Sale, The Sydney Classic Yearling Sale, the Chairman’s Sale Breeding Prospects, the Australian Broodmare & Weanling Sale, and the Inglis Ready2Race Sale.
With timbers reclaimed from the original facility at Randwick, Riverside Stables was designed to honour the long heritage of William Inglis & Son Ltd while bringing its operations into the future. To this end, AV integrator The P.A. People were called upon to design and install extensive networked video, audio, and control systems across the Complex, enabling auctioneers, buyers, sellers, guests, and service providers to access sound and vision from any part of the site at the touch of a button.
As part of their brief, The P.A. People were also tasked with equipping the Sales Arena with theatrical-grade PA and lighting systems, giving the facility the flexibility to host entertainment and major events.
An astonishing 110 LG screens are fed signal by Exterity IPTV endpoints, distributing video from live cameras and PCs during auctions, while 320 JBL speakers around the facility and the Bose ShowMatch PA system in the Sales Arena are connected over Ethernet with sources available from 210 inputs, including 14 Shure radio microphones that can be mixed and routed automatically
by the end-user.
Guests in the hospitality suites, corporate boxes, and meeting rooms can send their device’s outputs to their own screens, take feeds from the auction areas, and control their own audio. All of these functions are controlled simply and intuitively via installed touch panels.
Two large VuePix LED screens measuring 4.5 metres wide and 2.5 metres high flank the entrances to the Parade Ring in the Sales Arena, with a third at 2.5 metres wide by 1.5 metres installed above the auctioneer’s desk in the middle of the ring.
Their sheer size meant The P.A. People had to collaborate closely with the architect and builder to ensure the correct supporting and rigging infrastructure was put in place.
Working with client representative Podia, service coordinator CS Infrastructure, and builders FDC, The P.A. People’s design team, including Managing Director Chris Dodds and Project Manager Ross Ford, created a specification based on analysis of the functions of the old site created by engineering consultants Marshall Day. This set a benchmark for functionality that was expanded on in discussions with the client.
Convergence – a No-Brainer
“After we engaged The P.A. People, they visited our auctions at the old site,” related Deane Jacobs, CIO of William Inglis & Son Ltd.
“The limitations of the old system were quite clear, and I flagged some of the issues I foresaw arising with the move to Warwick Farm. Something we knew would be key to the success of video at Riverside would be a low latency IPTV network. The Australian Turf Club is running Exterity IPTV systems at four sites, including Rose Hill.
“After visiting these sites and talking to the technicians, I was impressed with how easy Exterity is to control, and integrate with digital signage. We then found out that the Accor Group, who run The William Inglis hotel at Warwick Farm, use a VOD system that has a plug-in for Exterity, so it became a no-brainer.
“We were initially concerned about the latency of the IPTV system, but The P.A. People helped us to get it down to 250ms, a vast improvement on our IT standard of one second.”
With all vision being implemented on the site-wide converged network, audio naturally followed, with Dante chosen as the method of choice. “The P.A. People put forward Dante early on,” continued Deane.
“The modular capabilities and flexibility made it an easy choice, along with the fact that The P.A. People have so much experience delivering projects of this nature. Their insight meant that they anticipated many requirements that we wouldn’t have considered, and in hindsight, they all made perfect sense.”
While dealing with the heady virtual world of digital audio and video, The P.A. People also kept their minds firmly on physical practicalities; “The P.A. People were a great help to us in considering simple physical requirements like cabling and conduit that we would have overlooked,” illustrated Deane.
“For example, some of our auctions are televised, and OB trucks come in for the events. The P.A People ensured that cabling, patch points, and wall boxes throughout all run through conduit to where they need to go, and to the parking area for the OB trucks.
“Because of this, we’re able to position cameras anywhere they need to be, and able to route any cabling they bring in. There’s no propping open doors, running across high-traffic areas, or running cable trays; it was all considered.”
Integrating all audio, video, and control functionality on the network has also provided Riverside with huge efficiencies.“This is the first time we have implemented a converged network at Inglis, but it’s something we needed in terms of flexibility that it offers,” confirmed Deane.
“When OB trucks come on site, we can simply hand them a configured Ethernet switch patched to our system, and they can get all of the audio and video they need, plus our xml feeds for their overlays. All of that is available from our standard network, and no-one has to run separate cabling.”
With the Sales Arena set to function as a multi-purpose venue, its stage was treated to a lighting and sound system capable of hosting everything from Inglis’s prestigious auctions to a touring band.
The Bose ShowMatch line array PA system provides enough power for any live act, while the industry standard Robe, ETC and PR Lighting fixtures controlled by an LSC Clarity lighting desk enable the venue to create the ambience for a banquet dinner or an eye-popping variety performance.
The venue is designed to run in two modes; simple automatic mode, in which auctioneers can use both lectern and radio microphones, adjusting volumes via a simple graphic interface on a touch screen; and full production mode, in which the venue’s installed concert-sized Yamaha CL5 digital mixer and remote Dante stage boxes can be used by technicians for full control of large shows.
Making a complicated system easy to use is no easy task, and all of the effort happens behind the scenes in programming. “I spent a month pre-programming, creating interfaces, and building the logic that makes the system understandable,” said Dmitry Istomin, Programmer and Commissioning Engineer for The P.A. People.
“On an everyday basis, the client does not need the system’s operation to change that much; the biggest challenge was to create a user-friendly, easily understandable graphic interface that enabled staff to do everything they need simply and automatically.”
Dimitry utilised the advanced processing and routing capabilities in multiple BSS Blu DSP units, Crown DCi power amplifiers, and Bose networked amplifiers, all controlled and monitored from a single software interface in Harman’s Audio Architect, giving technicians a powerful back-end to operate and maintain the system.
110 x LG Hospitality TVs 49″, 55″ & 65″
110 x Exterity r9300 media players (IPTV)
320 x JBL speakers: Control 67, Control 65, Control 14, CBT50
15 x Crown DCi multi-channel network amplifiers
16 x PR XLED 3019 moving head wash lights
8 x Robe Robin BMFL Blades
16 x ETC CS Spot profiles
LSC Clarity LX300 lighting console
Bose Showmatch Main Sound system: 10 x Mid-High, 4 x Subs with Bose PM8500N network amplifiers BSS audio control
14 x Shure QLXD radio mics sitewide.
Cameron Thomson – Director, Podia, client representative for William Inglis & Son
“While this was our first time working with The P.A. People, I have to say they were fantastic. Chris Dodds and the team are both knowledgeable and helpful. They proved to be excellent communicators that convey technical information and requirements clearly. The systems they designed and provided met the expectations of the client, who are now very happy; the first sale run at Riverside was a resounding success and broke the record for their February event.”
Mark Mothersole – Commercial Manager, FDC Construction and Fitout
“It’s not every day you put together a $140 million equine facility, and a lot of work went into the coordination of the services, particularly in the hotel. The P.A. People attended weekly coordination meetings with the rest of the trades and ensured everything went smoothly. They worked closely with Inglis and ourselves on all technical aspects, including the supporting infrastructure needed to install the large LED screens in the Sales Arena. This was FDC’s first time working with The P.A. People, and I wouldn’t hesitate to work with them again.”
Matthew Organ – Service Coordinator, CS Infrastructure
“I worked closely with Chris Dodds and Ross Ford from the client side, making sure the customer outcomes were as Inglis had specified. The P.A. People were conscientious in providing status and progress reports, feedback on issues, documentation, and review material. The audio and video systems they provided are cutting edge. The entire precinct captures the look and feel William Inglis & Son intended, and the AV system provides all of the interactivity and flexibility that was planned. My client got a good end result, and are very happy.”