A City Council chambers is a place for the elected representatives to come together alongside the public for matters of policy, so it’s vital for it to be a space that encourages ease of communication. The audio system should work smoothly and allow for good quality of sound so that everyone in the area can hear the proceedings. Ideally, it’s also beneficial to have the proceedings televised throughout the building so that those who can’t be in the chambers itself can still observe. Additionally, with today’s technology digitally recording for archival and streaming to cable TV local channel or to web site and Facebook amongst other venues is a driving demand nowadays.
These are the elements we kept in mind when the City of Milpitas came to PCD with a project for completely revamping the City Council chambers and adjoining rooms. In order to accomplish this task, we had to create a deploy a audio-visual system that included microphones, cameras, video feed, digital projection, and speakers throughout the building. The Council chambers needed to be accessible via live audio and video feed, recorded via document camera, and also factor in a timer system for public speaking. Voting software was also a requirement.
PCD incorporated a Crestron control system to automate the different rooms within the building, offering a central hub for control of the A/V system throughout the City Council chambers. We used Shure microphones for a clear audio signal reproduction set up through the main chamber and nine additional rooms. This allowed for conference room presentations throughout the facility. To ensure clear, intelligible sound from anywhere in the building, we installed Lab Gruppen amplifiers with Bosch/Electrovoice speakers and a Peavey NION digital sound processor.
For visuals, we opted for Vaddio high definition pan, tilt, zoom digital cameras and a Wolfvision document camera. In the main chamber room, a Digital Projection 8000 lumen 1-chip DLP high definition projector and Da-lite screen make the presentation of information or images easy and accessible with enough contrast to allow the viewers to see a high quality high contrast image. The lobby was outfitted with a 70-inch Sharp LCD monitor and 55-inch Sony television in the pre-function room, both fed from the house video distribution feeds for observation. For proceedings, a DSAN public speaker timer system and DIS voting software was installed. To ensure accessibility for the hearing impaired, we incorporated a Sennheiser Assisted Listening System, which utilizes infrared technology to keep the signal inside the room.
The complete system allows for excellent sound, video, and accessibility to information from anywhere in the chambers and surrounding rooms. We’re glad to know that hearings and policy proceedings, as well as public meetings, will be more efficient for all involved. When communication is clear, everyone benefits. This case study illustrates ingenuity and adaptability for a unique space that serves the public.