Forefront completed a comprehensive installation of audio, lighting & video equipment for the new multi purpose hall at Charlton Christian College, located at Fassifern NSW.
Being a school with strong creative, dramatic & musical presentations, it was important that the new facility cater for these types of events with state of the art systems, but also be easy enough to use for simple multi purpose usage such as assembly, indoor sports - announcements and background music.
To this end, we designed a full concert / theatre level audio, lighting & video package, augmented by a dual control system based around simple wall mount controllers for everyday easy use.
The result is fantastic. In an environment which is multiple purpose by it's very nature, we have been able to craft systems that transform the space into an exceptional performance space.
We caught up with Nathan Wiggs, who was the coordinator of the project from Charlton Christian College.
What is your role at the school?
Science Teacher and Event Technical Producer. Basically I'm employed to teach Science and, because of my passion for production, I have been given the opportunity and time to run the technical side of our events.
What was the need / catalyst for new audio, lighting & video systems at the school?
We built a new multipurpose centre and, as such had the opportunity to put in equipment that would allow the creative arts departments at the school to utilise state of the art modern equipment.
What was your criteria / requirements for the new systems?
There were two main criteria - The system had to have components that were easy to use by any staff member or student at Charlton with limited technical knowledge. This meant the system could be used by anybody for basic events such as assemblies and guest speakers. As such this led to the installation of wall panels that allow the system to be run without the need of the main console.
The second thing the system had to do well were our bigger events. These range from a contemporary fortnightly chapel service, Music, Art and Drama nights, regional youth rallies, our Presentation Night and our musicals, most recently "Cathy Rigby's is Peter Pan." For this, we used over 25 radio head sets and multiple backing tracks and live instruments.
What are the advantages of the dual control system – i.e. wall panel vs console? Which advantages do you see in the systems you had installed?
The advantage of the dual control system is that anybody can use the 2 mic inputs, the computer input and stereo jack to get a simple presentation happening. Simply put, I don't have to be there for every little thing that happens in the MPC, which is great, because I do have classes to teach.
It also allows the freedom to use the console if we desire as well as use the main FOH and Mezzanine delays as separate systems for smaller groups all at the push of a button.
What lead you to choose Forefront?
Forefront were able to demo all the equipment in situ for one of our chapel services, providing an opportunity for the school executive and myself to get a feel for what a system installed by Forefront would sound like and function like for one of our events. They were even very gracious when the event ran overtime and provided diagrams of the whole system.
Were there any solutions, systems or particular products that were a pleasant surprise in fulfilling your requirements?
The DiGiCo SD9 has surprised me in how easy it is to use, I have had the opportunity to use various digital consoles (Midas pro series, Soundcraft, Behringer X-32 and Yamaha), but had never used the DiGiCo console before. The students find it really easy to pick up and the detailed control over scenes and presets has been really useful during our musicals with multiple cast members playing the one role.
Why is it important for schools to have good quality technical equipment / systems?
As a Christian school, it is really important that we foster excellence within our students so that they can fulfil their God-given potential. And it followed that we cannot expect great things from our students without backing them up with equipment to match their commitment to excellence. So I firmly believe that every school that wishes to foster its creative arts needs to support that with equipment that lasts the test of mistreatment, constant use and is of high quality to ensure the students are not distracted or hindered by the equipment they are using but are encouraged, supported and made feel special.
What would you say to other schools about using Forefront in the future?
Forefront were great in helping us to support our students’ needs and can provide a system that will support the many needs of a school. The team that did the installation were professional and were very careful to ensure that the components being installed were hidden from view and installed neatly.
Do you find it an advantage to have the same company that supplied your installation, able to supply additional rental equipment for special events?
One of the biggest advantages has been the ongoing relationship with Forefront. Also for the hire of LED screens and other equipment for camps, large events and their general expertise and advice when planning these events. Rob, Nick and the team know the venue and are able to tailor the equipment hired, making them easy to integrate into the existing system.