The Vermont State House in Montpelier is the state capitol of Vermont. The building is a Greek Revival structure that was first occupied in 1859. Given its history and age, the structure needed upgrades for its audiovisual system.
The State House’s current AV system, even with upgrades throughout the years, was still nearly 50 years old. The hodgepodge of systems left the State House with an unreliable system that was not easy to troubleshoot. The temporary solutions gave the building challenging acoustics and visuals. These previous solutions made the situation difficult to include remote participants with COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. The State House needed Pro AV to install a system that would bring the State House up to current technology capabilities.
Pro AV had several project goals. The first was to improve speech intelligibility. Debate is an essential part of legislative action, and clear communication is vital. Zoom capabilities with multi-cameras added the necessary visual capability for legislators to engage with citizens. We needed video and audio press feeds and overall system usability via a control system (ease-of-ease).
The biggest part of the project beyond the number of mics was the system’s ability to support multiple, simultaneous Zoom camera angles. Zoom does not natively support these angles. We added additional video processing to mix cameras to deliver a single Zoom feed. This multiple-camera approach worked in such a way that remote participants can now see the entire room. More importantly, the speaker of the house is always visible. We accomplished this without switching cameras or having a camera operator.
We encountered multiple challenges. The state is a historic building that requires all hardware mounting to have the historical society’s approval. The restriction posed challenges because we needed to install speakers, along with nearly 100 microphones, mounted at the desks of state reps. Another challenge was that the older construction does not easily allow cabling and the cable pathways were hard to conceal. We created custom millwork as a shelf for the microphones with construction matching the desk wood type and stain color, blending effortlessly into the historic design.
Clear audio was also difficult because state reps often move away from the microphones when they talk. Balancing freedom of movement and audibility required multiple visits to finetune the system. We swapped microphone types and lengths numerous times until we found the perfect balance between performance and aesthetics.
The project was a success after multiple return visits to alter the system based on user feedback. There are nearly 100 state reps with unique ideas of how things should sound or operate. We made sure to listen and respond with professional interaction to deliver a workable solution for everyone involved.
The State House is nearly four hours away from our closest office, which poses a potential challenge in responding to requests in a timely manner. However, distance is never an issue as our team always strives to prioritize our clients first and foremost. As a workaround for this client, the Pro AV team provided remote troubleshooting and assistance.
In addition to the Vermont State House, the Pro AV team also partners with reliable contractors for other projects. Our Pro AV team works with clients to design and engineer systems that match their facility’s specifications. Working with Pro AV Stems on your next audio-visual project will give you the expertise that you need for your project.