The newly renovated GVRD boardroom design was developed by Omicron Consulting of Vancouver, and we developed the A/V system design. The support of computer based and AV presentation and the increase in seating count were the primary purposes for the renoavtion. The seat count was to grow from 39 to 52, with the number of microphones growing from 19 to 52. The previous desk configuration had speakers below the desktop pointing at the director's knees, so voice support with the previous sound system was poor.
The room had a very low ceiling for the length and width of the meeting area and that limited the choices for effective visual display. A large screen projection system was not suitable as there was insufficient height between the desks and the ceiling for the viewing distance. The seating layout of the directors and the public gallery would have required numerous large projection screen locations to allow everyone to have good image legibility with adequate screen size and reasonable viewing angles and there were no suitable locations for projection screens.
The best legibility for computer based presentations would be provided by using individual 15" LCD computer monitors at each of the director seating positions that receive the computer and video sourced displays. This was combined with a local monitor switch at each position to select the overall presentation display or individual network computer stations so that the directors can each follow an electronic version of the agenda or view the presentation. The GVRD's IT department developed the HTML based interface for the navigation for the various committees that meet in this room, complete with help screens for new directors.
The gallery visual displays are provided by two 37" Hitachi XGA plasma monitors. By using 4:3 aspect ratio plasma displays with native XGA resolution to match the desk displays, it was possible to eliminate another layer of scaling or image compression so that the image the gallery sees is the same high quality image as the directors. There are no issues with the 16:9 "grey bars" or image distortion by trying to display a 4:3 image on a 16:9 display. The shallow gallery seating area is well served by the wide viewing angles of the 37" plasma monitors.
Video sources include computer presentations that can be sourced from the presenter's positions, staff positions, and the recording seretary and headtable positions, and a VCR/DVD player. There are provisions for laptop connections and a document camera connection at the presenter's position. All video is scaled up to native XGA resolution for display on the LCD and plasma displays.
The audio system uses miniature directional shotgun microphones and a mix-minus loudspeaker configuration for the desks, plus an auto-mix buss for the ceiling speakers in the public gallery area. The press desks and cable TV feed have audio distribution of the mix. There is one robotic camera in the boardroom capturing the headtable or a wide shot of the room. The cable TV also gets a video feed of all presentation material, including scan converted computer presentations.
The touch screen control system allows the corporate secretary to operate the technical systems, room lights, and control and preview the video sources. The touch screen also operates the order-of-speaking queue. The chair has a touch panel display that allows him to view the names in the queue and/or control the queue if desired. The order of speaking queue has indicators on each desk that let each person know when they are in the queue and when they are live. They can also drop themselves out of the queue if someone else has dealt with their issue. The room is used by several committes as well, so the system has memories for several committee seating layouts.
The AV system was installed by Emergent Systems Corporation in Burnaby, BC.