A virtual press conference from Sound & Video Contractor

New In-House AV at Vandenberg Air Force Base

Placing a satellite into polar orbit isn’t the only cause for a launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB) on California’s “Central Coast”.
In January of 2010, Jensen AV launched the newly renovated Pacific Coast Club, the on-base banquet and meeting space at VAFB. The facility hosts a variety of events including promotional ceremonies, conferences and other military functions. Generals and dignitaries speak at trainings and launches. It even supports non-military community events – think comedy shows, weddings and local high school proms.

Prior to the new system installation, the banquet staff would have to call in the on-base AV rental company for any presentation equipment or services. The banquet staff would then have to call in a request to the subcontractor to order a sound system, video camera, screen and projector – any piece of AV gear. And on top of that, a contractor would have to be hired to operate the system.

“This was an expensive, complex and sometimes frustrating system considering the amount of events taking place in the facility,” explained Jane Darrah, Director of Special Events and Catering for the Pacific Coast Club. “We no longer have to quickly flip rooms from one type of an event to another – setting up and tearing down all of the AV equipment off of the floor.”

The facility offers a large three-section ballroom, as well as two smaller breakout rooms (Warrior Room 1 and 2). The large ballroom can be split into three separate meeting spaces, all with individual AV capabilities. Combined with the two Warrior rooms, at any given point in time up to five presentations can be taking place concurrently.

“It really enables us to host a variety of events with different types of audiovisual needs simultaneously – without any interference between rooms,” stated Darrah.

Each section in the large ballroom contains a Vaddio ClearVIEW HD-18 PTZ Camera, a Sanyo 7,000-Lumen DLP projector and a sound system. The Warrior rooms are also equipped with Vaddio ClearVIEW HD-18 PTZ Cameras, a Sanyo 7,000-Lumen LCD projector and sound systems.

Each of the five rooms is equipped with a DVD player, a PC for PowerPoint presentations and an 8-inch portable AMX touch controller for individual room control of playing, pausing, switching sources and video playback. Now the banquet staff can set up the AV in each room, literally start setting up the tables and chairs, and move onto the AV setup.

Back in the control room, a ProductionVIEW HD switcher/mixer controls the cameras, while an AMX Modero VG Series controls the entire room system.

“Because all of the rooms are connected, a single camera operator can actually view, monitor and record all five rooms from one central control room,” said Salgado, Sales and Engineering Director of Jensen AV. The operator also has the ability to route video from one room to another. If the main ballroom is at capacity, video can be pushed to the Warrior rooms as an overflow option. If a more intimate demonstration is taking place in the Warrior rooms, video can be routed to the main ballroom for overflow.

“This really gives them the flexibility they need,” explained Salgado. “The whole point is that they’re understaffed, so now they only need one AV tech to run the entire event center.”

Adhering to the space’s existing aesthetics, the sleek look and feel was a must when designing the system. The products had to blend into the room design – and of course the existing lighting. And there isn’t much lighting in those rooms. “Because the lighting is varied and not very bright, it was extremely helpful to have Vaddio’s Quick-Connect CCUs. Salgado elaborated, “Having the ability to alter the color of the video image from one central location saves hours and hours of time. We tested several cameras and everybody liked the Vaddio HD-18 cameras the best.”

Not to say there weren’t any obstacles along the way.

The 50-foot height of the rooms presented a problem for mounting the screens and cameras. “The sections were split by 30-foot ceilings, and then we had to mount everything another 20-feet past that,” explained Salgado. “It was just a feat to safely and securely mount everything into place.”

Another challenge posed was coordinating and working around rooms in use. Because it’s a military base the facility never shut down. “While we were installing equipment in one room there was actually a meeting going in the other room,” said Salgado. “We would have to finish a room, move to the next and completely pack up and leave the room usable. When a General needed a meeting the general got the meeting. But they were really good about working with us and giving us notice so it worked out.”

“They’ve been so much happier as far as being able to control the equipment. Being able to have an ad-hoc meeting really easily – being able to sell the room now with installed gear – as opposed to an empty room. It’s made it much easier to market the facility.”

And Darrah agreed. “There aren’t any facilities in our community that can compare to ours. Our AV capabilities combined with our food service, location, size and incredible pricing takes us to the top of the list for meeting events in the area. This equipment is keeping the customers coming. Without it, we would lose business to a facility that is equipped. It is an absolute asset.”

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