Crestron | STX-3500C | Application Highlight - Absolute Video Theatre (12-99

Application Highlight
December 1999
“Give us full video- and teleconferencing
capabilities, but keep everything—
everything!—out of sight.” Those were the
marching orders issued to systems integrator
Absolute Video Theatre (AVT) when awarded
a contract to upgrade the board room of
Toronto-based Wittington Properties. To say
the least, it was a tough demand, but that’s
what Wittington wanted.
through and said they could make it happen
for us,” says Corlett. As a result, Wittington’s
15 telephone lines and 12 microphones
terminate into fifteen digital telephone hybrids
and three interconnected Gentner AP800
matrix controllers that are installed in an
operator booth located outside of the board
room. Other equipment is concealed within
the board in two cabinets, or inside one of the
table’s legs. The teleconferencing system itself
is controlled using a bi-directional wireless
Crestron control system. It monitors the
status of each phone line, allowing the
operator to either remotely connect or
terminate connections, as well as detect and
recover dropped lines.
Obviously, any kind of intrusive A / V
equipment—be it front projection TVs,
cameras, speakers, or microphones—were
simply out of the question for this installation.
Hence, AVT and the interior designer,
Rebanks Architects, had to consider both
performance and invisibility when they came
up with the design. Unfortunately the A / V
industry has yet to invent invisible equipment.
As for microphones, they had to be quick to
install, yet invisible when not in use. To solve
the problem, Corlett chose Shure MX 393
Microflex table mics. He fitted the back of
each with a right angle, gold-plated 1/4” jack
made by Switchcraft. In use, the male jacks
plug into female jacks embedded in the table
and are connected to cables that travel
underneath to one of the three table legs.
Being hollow, the table legs conceal the cables
as they snake to the floor, then travel via
conduits to the operator booth. To conceal
the connections when not in use, the mics are
removed, and decorative disks styled to match
the table are inserted. For speakers, AVT
mounted four Atlas Soundolier Fa-95-6
loudspeakers over the table. At the front of
the room two AEG IWS8 in-wall speakers and
an Atlantic 272-PVM sub-woofer were
Faced with this truth, AVT’s strategy was to
install everything so that it could be concealed
when not in use. Central to this strategy was
the board room’s 24-seat Corian™ table. For
teleconferencing, the requirement was for AVT
to install 12 table microphones, then connect
them to a teleconferencing bridge that could
handle up to 15 telephone lines at once.
After suffering numerous line drops through
the local telephone company, Wittington
decided to build its own teleconferencing
bridge. “It was embarrassing to the users to
keep having such problems with Ma Bell,”
said AVT president Mark Corlett. “Rather
than risk more dropped lines, they decided to
install a telephone bridge of their own.
However, it’s not easy to find equipment to
handle15 lines. In fact, when I went down to
Infocomm in June of 1998, there wasn’t anyone
who could do this,” Corlett further explained.
Thankfully for AVT, “the Gentner people came
Gentner Communications Corporation
P: 1.800.945.7730
P: 1.801.975.7200
Sound complex? Well, the Wittington
videoconferencing system is even more
complicated. The heart of it is an nView 455
video data projector. Back in early 1997, when
1825 Research Way, Salt Lake City, UT 84119
F: 1.801.977.0087
Equipment list:
AVT did its first installation for Wittington, the video
projector was built into the boardroom table. Specifically,
AVT installed an Auton lift assembly into another one of
the table’s three legs. When needed, the nView simply
rises up 8 inches and fires at the Draper screen. When
finished, it descends back into the table, leaving a flushmounted surface on top. Of course, AVT didn’t want the
concealing panel’s edges to stand out. That’s why this
edge matches the table top’s hex line design.
3 Gentner AP800 Matrix Controllers
15 Gentner AP10 telephone hybrids
12 Shure MX 393 microflex table mics
Creston Crestnet II master controller
Creston CTP-4000RF wireless remote control
Crestron STX-3500C bi-directional wireless
remote control
2 Crestron wireless gateways
Sanyo 14" color monitor RMA-7514
Xantech IR control system
PictureTel Venue 2000, System 50
videoconferencing system
6 ‘Look at me’ buttons
Auton lift assembly
Aiwa Multi Standard VHS Hi Fi HV-MX100u
Sony SLV-770 VHS Hi Fi
Kramer VIZ-5x4 AV matrix switcher
Extron automatic switcher SW4
Kindermann Famulus reflex low profile overhead
Draper tab-tensioned screen
Draper 1400 series white board
nView 455 video data projector
4 Atlas Soundolier FA-95-6 coaxial speakers
2 AEG in-wall IWS8 speakers
Atlantic 272-PVM subwoofer
Lantex PPX 120 watt power amplifiers
2 Furman SP20A amplifiers
Rane SM92 line mix
As for heat? Obviously a ventilating fan would ruin the
room’s ambiance. That’s why the projector’s heat is drawn
away by a special cowl, which feeds hot air directly into
the plenum space of the room below. The result is there’s
no noise from the projector, or its cooling system, heard
within the boardroom.
Then there’s the video camera, which feeds the board
room’s PictureTel Venue 2000 videoconferencing system.
In a burst of inspiration, Corlett realized that he could
attach a 14-point Hirose connector on the projector’s
housing. In turn, he could then connect the system’s
PicTel pan and tilt video camera to this. The Wittington
system has six ‘Look at Me’ buttons. When one is
pressed, the PictureTel camera automatically homes
pans, tilts, and focuses on the person who pushed it.
As a result, even videoconferencing is quick and easy at
Wittington. Just mount the camera when needed, then
remove it when the projector has to be concealed. Feeds
from this camera travel back to the equipment rack,
where they’re sent out via ISDN telephone lines.
Meanwhile, the projector can also display feeds from
either VHS, computer, or cable TV inputs. The bottom
line: AVT was able to give Wittington exactly what they
wanted, although not without experiencing much
frustration. It wasn’t just concealing the equipment that
was difficult, Corlett explains. The board room’s midtown
location made it prey to lots of RF interference, which
AVT had to trap out with ferrite bead filters.
Reprinted with permission from Systems Contractor News.
Thanks to Mark Corlette of Absolute Video Theater (AVT)
for submitting the story.
Gentner wants to hear your story.
Thanks to AVT’s “tenacity”, Wittington Properties now
holds banquets in the same room where they
videoconference. For the guests who dine there, it’s the
perfect illusion of low-tech elegance ... as long as no one
looks underneath the boardroom table.
Gentner Communications Corporation
P: 1.800.945.7730
P: 1.801.975.7200
Tell us how you used Gentner products to solve a
difficult room conferencing configuration. Please contact
Vanessa Elias at for details.
1825 Research Way, Salt Lake City, UT 84119
F: 1.801.977.0087
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