PICK OF THE MONTH
A WEDDING LIKE NO OTHER (AND WITH A CRESTRON CONTROL SYSTEM!)
It was my wedding day so I wanted to throw everything I had at it, this was a big stage for me to be let loose on. Above all else I’m a designer and protagonist, I’m passionate about creating things; from digital artwork to animations to architecture to retails spaces to web sites to buildings made from scaffolding. So of course I wanted to apply this creativity to my big day.
Location was everything and having my parent’s beachfront property in Lower Largo (once owned by Alexander Selkirk) as our venue and blank canvas proved key to what we ultimately achieved on the day.
’3000 Scallop shells and 500m of scaffolding isn’t at the top of most wedding budget lists’
The design process was long and at times arduous. Not only was I seeking approvals from my wife to be but also from my parents who’s beloved garden I was going to be ‘transforming’. We started planning a year in advance and threw around ideas ranging from a marquee made out of reclaimed telephone poles and ship sails to pergola with an installation of parabolically suspended LED lit wine bottles (which was kyboshed when my dad pointed out the collective weight of the bottles would be 1.5 Tonnes!). Although no idea was completely rejected or discarded and designs we ended up with evolved from these original concepts.
For example the Da Vinci Bridge Pergola (later named ‘The Lobster Pot’ by Dad) made from scaffolding poles became the main hang out and bar area. From a construction point of view this was ambitious as a DIY build. Ultimately this was a huge success and served as the primary congregating area for the day. From an architectural and engineering perspective this was an impressive structure but it was the lighting and music that gave it life. This extended to all of our main areas and formed the basis of my ‘brief’ to Davy. I wanted to add some technology to elevate the spaces I’d designed to another level.
‘We might not need to ‘plug in’ Jamie and Nick on the bagpipes, you’ll probably hear them in Pittenweem without a microphone’
In simple terms I wanted a multi-zone audio and lighting system to cover; the entrance passage, big ‘Lobster Pot’, the Marquee, the small ‘Lobster Pot’ seating area, the Seaside Terrace Sitting Area and of course the Beach where we had the ceremony. I also wanted to ‘plug in’; the Humanist Minister (from the beach alter), the Band, the Opera Singer and the Kilted Giant so that vocals/backing tracks/keyboard could be heard by everyone in all areas.
We are Infracore and this is the game we’re in so it was more a question of where do we stop!? With my ‘Client’ hat on, in the end all I had to do was agree the concept design. With my ‘Infracore’ hat on I produced some General Arrangement documents and then Davy said ‘Okay, leave it with me and I’ll sort it out’…
WHEN A COLLEAGUE BECOMES A CLIENT.
Danny (fellow Director at Infracore and now my ‘client’) is not a guy that likes to hear ‘no’ or ‘can’t’ so I decided early on that I was going to agree with everything he said. We literally talked about it for a year (with me nodding a lot) then before I knew it the wedding was almost upon us.
The order of the day in essence was an outside version of an integrated system comprising; five zones of ‘multi-room Audio’, x16 Circuits of Lighting Control and Mixing Console with PA. Not a ‘conventional’ mix of tech but I treated it like an official Infracore project which meant that nothing was off the table and everything doable. I thought, we can get a CI company in (and a Live Events company and an Electrician) or we can just get on with it ourselves. I’ll take a few days off and we’ll knock it out between us.
’If we don’t design this properly and use good kit, on the day the guest (me) will become the onsite tech support engineer!’
Lisa will support from Glasgow, Simon will pre-configure and program the kit from London and Jack arriving on Friday and will help me finish up. Although I told my wife I’d be home on the Tuesday. Then the Thursday. Then ‘sorry, I’ll just meet you at the Airbnb place on the Friday and can you bring me a suit please’. I am at times overly optimistic with timescales!
We pieced the solution together using some kit lying around our Glasgow and London offices, nicked some bits from my house and we borrowed the rest from our industry friends. There was a few kilometers of infrastructure too, but the guys at FS Cables helped us out with this. Then there was B&Q, Screwfix and Duncan’s Hardware in Leven (bless that man for carrying stock of IEC Leads!) to fill all gaps and facilitate the real time ‘design changes’. Apart from the B&W and Bose speakers nothing else was waterproof. We had a ‘cover’ contingency but if I’m honest we just crossed our fingers, sometimes you just need to go for it. The sun always shines on the righteous.
We had an eclectic mix of hardware available to use from Crestron, B&W, Bose, Anthony Gallo, Monitor Audio, Lode, Triad, Kramer, Denon, Sonos, Ubiquity and Pakedge. All cracking stuff so I wanted to find a home for everything whilst sticking to the brief. With audio, for me, more is more but quality is paramount. And tying everything together using the best control system is an absolute must where no compromises or short cuts can be made.
Originally I considered dimming and DMX for the lighting with timed pre-set scenes. But the reality was we didn’t need all of that and a lot of the time (like I often find when designing integrated systems) less can be more. Fundamentally, using the Lighting Control allowed for a neat and safe way to centralize our supply, cabling and connections. And why turn a light on manually if you can automate that!
’We’ll put the submersible Fibre Optic Lights in the boat with the Budweiser Lights’
The biggest challenge for me was tying in the wireless mic’s and mixing desk, not something you normally find in a residential system design. Although I’m never one to shy away from the unconventional so I thought we’ll just make it work. Like we always do.
With the concept design pinned down I handed over to Simon to sort the details. My only set in stone stipulation was that we used Anthony Gallo Nucleus Droplet Speakers in the ‘Lobster Pot’ to nestle in amongst Danny’s 3000 suspended Scallop shells. Also, this building has been standing for over 400 years so we won’t be drilling anything! And with that, I passed it down to our London office…
DANCING, DRINKS, DROPLETS & DJ DESK
Davy didn’t want to have to do anything after 17:00 on the Friday before the wedding so this was the brief; ‘’come up with a system that will look after itself and make me redundant. I’ll be wanting to get drunk on the day. Please join the dots and pre-configure and program it accordingly!’’. So I got to work.
The Lobster Pot was top of the list so I used the Denon AVR-X2400H to give us 5.2. This fed x5 Anthony Gallo Nucleus Droplets (set on Neo:6). This was a big area to fill so we wanted a couple of subs. We had a Crestron Aspire IWS82 Subwoofer and Crestron AMP-225 in stock so it was Sub out to Amp to Subwoofer. This was great but we also had a Sonos Sub to use. So we coupled up on the input to the AVR from the Lode and took this into ‘Aux In’ on a spare Sonos Connect Amp. We’ll probably never find a scenario like that again where we’ve got Lode feeding Sonos!! But it worked a treat. We used Zone 2 out of the Denon straight to a couple of Monitor Audio Rock Speakers in the small lobster pot area.
’Five beautifully crafted Anthony Gallo Nucleus Droplet Speakers completed the solution. Gallo hadn’t even started shipping yet. We were privileged to get the first in the UK’
In the Marquee we use x4 B∓W AM-1’s powered from a Triad TS-PAMP4-100 Amp. Additional zones off the Triad were the seaside terrace seating area (with Bose Acoustimass 5) and the beach (with a couple of Bose 151’s).
Switching was taken care of by the Roland M200i mixing console (I shelved the Kramer VS88A and let the desk do all the work, K.I.S.S). A bit of a departure from our normal ‘residential’ solution but we had to actually ‘mix’ with the live audio element on the day.
We ended up switching the lights from a couple of Crestron DIN-8SW8’s. Dimming would have been nice in some areas but we were in danger of over complicating things.
For connectivity, I just extended the existing home network by adding in an 8 port Pakedge SX8P and a couple of Ubiquity UniFi WAP’s.
I consolidated everything using Crestron CP3 Processor and and iPad (which was also handy for accessing the Roland, Lode, Sonos and Denon via their own Apps). It was a fairly quick program to write using VT-Pro and Home Elements Graphics. Handy for when you’re looking for functionality over aesthetic or need a custom GUI. The Crestron App was also on Davy’s phone so he could access the system during the day (which in the end he did but mainly for volume control).
’LODE Audio and SONOS in the Same Zone!? Why not, it’s our gig’
Everyday integration can be challenge, but usually has the benefit of a design stage. For Danny’s wedding, we started off with a pile of kit that we had knocking around, or could scrounge and took it from there. Danny was insistent that it had to sound good so we borrowed a Lode Audio LA4 front end, to stream Danny’s Tidal playlists, allowing us to have the best possible source for the job. Triad’s 4 Zone amp, did a good job of powering each zone speaker and the end result was greater than the sum of its parts. Despite needing a sound engineering degree to operate, we managed to use the RS232 on the Roland mixer to preset scenes from the Crestron, so that Davy could seamlessly switch between the band, background music, singers and after dinner speakers in each zone, without having to leave his chair!
So a very important day which would wouldn’t have been able to add as much to without our dear industry friends; Colin and Stephen at Anthony Gallo, Ed and Lode Audio, Jamie at CAVD, David at FS Cables and Greg at Crestron EMEA. A massive thank you to all.
We love a challenge at Infracore, the home technology company who specialise in Consultancy, Design, Management… and Weddings.
For the full article and to read more please contact Lisa@infracorehtc.co.uk