NEC Display Solutions Client Installation Education

THE SUGARHOUSE AT LANCASTER UNIVERSITY

COMMUNICATION & ENTERTAINMENT WITH ADDED VIBE

Regarded by its student customer base as lacking in vibrancy, the Sugarhouse nightclub invested in digital signage and a projected video wall casting vast edge blended imagery to lift the atmosphere and inject a new vibe into student nightlife.

The Sugarhouse nightclub, owned and operated by Lancaster University Student Union, is the largest destination venue in Lancaster. Situated in the city centre the venue currently opens three nights a week in term time providing a safe, student only environment.

The Challenge

Recent feedback from a Lancaster University student questionnaire indicated that the venue was lacking in vibrancy. As a venue solely serving the student population, the Student Union was keen to find ways to lift the mood and create a more exciting atmosphere for its student customers. Having supplied and maintained the sound and lighting system in the venue for over 15 years, audio visual solutions integrator Lee Engineering, was approached to provide a digital solution.

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Paul Paluch, chief installation director, says, “I suggested looking into a video system as this has never been done on any great scale before. A digital visual solution can be used to create a mood with moving images to fit with the current event.”

The flexibility of a digital system appealed to Rafaella Karydi, Venue Manager at the Sugarhouse. “The Sugarhouse wanted a means to communicate directly with its customers when waiting at the bar,” she says. Drinks pricing, special offers and upcoming events can all be promoted via digital signage placed in the bar area with an opportunity to earn incremental revenue through advertising. Displaying Twitter feeds enables interaction with the students and delivers a platform of great relevance to them.

“We wanted an interactive format and a product which would allow us flexibility to show more than one image and that would allow us to play video,” states Karydi.

The NEC Solution

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Lee Engineering installed three 46” NEC V462 and eight 32” NEC V322 signage displays plus four NEC UM280X projectors creating a projected image on a curved wall some 10m by 2m. The signage network is managed via a Just Add Power HDMI distribution and control system.

“I specified the NEC projectors having seen the new Ultra Short Throw UM series at ISE in January,” says Paluch. “Due to the construction and layout of the venue the projectors had to be UST and wall mounted. To achieve a bigger than usual image we used an edge blend technique to create the ‘video wall’ effect. The UM280X’s do this very well with fantastic lamp life, great connectivity and all the hardware supplied with the projector.”

The edge blending was achieved using a media PC with an AMD FirePro™ W600 Professional Graphics card and Resolume VJ software.

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The Result

Karydi is convinced that the digital solution has enhanced the vitality of her nightclub, “the video wall was introduced to give added impact to a space which was dark and bland. The video’s that we show through the system have had an impact on the entire area and add to the overall experience.”

“I believe that the system we have running now is achieving the impact that we had hoped for in creating a much more vibrant atmosphere whilst we can better communicate with our students. We have received very positive feedback from our students and the biggest test of all - they keep coming back for more!”

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