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Case Study: Ocean Frontier



CGA Integration supplied the entire audio visual suite for the conversion of Fort William sewage works into a £1.3 million aquarium, creating the largest indoor tourist attraction in Fort William. Ten themed zones from seashore to deep ocean included a strong reliance on dramatic audio and video projection to enhance the 1.4 million litre centrepiece aquarium. Regular diving displays also provided audience interaction for an expected audience of 100,000 per year.


The central aquarium exhibit was partially open plan, increasing salt and humidity through most areas. A tourist season deadline and tight budget required all aspects to function perfectly first time. In addition, audio visual future flexibility and expansion was a key part of business strategies to maximise repeat visitation.


Diving displays
Regular diving demonstrations and fish feeding incorporated underwater video and audio feeds with radio mics and automatic effects ducking. Processing was required to reduce bubble noise, low bandwidth diver signal and room acoustics. Mediamatrix provided patching and processing while Kramer switching handled the video with a system simple enough for untrained staff to use.


Zone control
Different sound effects for each zone needed to be integrated with radio microphone inputs and PA announcements. An additional feature required by Building Control was an All Off setting to be linked to the Fire Alarm. This was all provided by a Media Matrix X Frame, with two expansion BOBs.


Environmental conditions
Humidity and salt issues were kept at bay by supplying high quality Near A2, A4 and A8 speakers. An air conditioned room was specified to house processors and amp rack, with only breakout controls in challenging atmospheres.


16 NEC data video projectors were supplied to enable dramatic projection up to 4m wide setting the scene in each zone and relaying underwater video images during diving shows to create a live, diver commented ‘Underwater Safari’. CGA Integration also provided a screen for the National Aquarium Conference 2003.


Budgets and timescales
Construction issues threatened to impinge on the AV budget remaining toward the fit out phase of the project and CGA Integration suggested third party finance to keep the system spec at that required to achieve a high quality visitor experience.


Tim Clements, Ocean Frontier curator, was delighted with the end result. “CGA Integration came on board with a wealth of expertise and were instantly up to speed on our project. Their support was second to none and the system gave us excellent flexibility to keep the experience for our visitors fresh and interesting.”

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