White Light Oversees Technical Upgrade at Sage Gateshead

Sage Gateshead is an internationally-renowned music centre and conference and event venue located in the North East of England. In 2019/20, it welcomed 430,000 visitors, staged 500 concerts and events, supported over 200 musicians, worked with 20,000 children and young people and 20,000 adults through music-making, whilst an additional 6.6 million people heard its work via stream or broadcast. The venue houses three main stages of acoustic excellence, a 26-room music education centre, four bars, a brasserie and a café. Last year, it decided to install audio and visual facilities on the concourse and hospitality areas and approached White Light (WL) to oversee this technical upgrade.






Having first opened in 2004, the aim of the upgrade at Sage Gateshead was to ensure its facilities were completely up-to-date and provided the best possible experience for those visiting the venue. The project was overseen by WL’s Business Development Manager James Pini, who comments: “Prior to our installation, the concourse and hospitality areas had no installed audio or visual systems for enhancing ambience and experience. The team at Sage Gateshead wanted to implement a multi-functional operation, including zoning to create a particular feel/atmosphere during a particular time of day and throughout certain events. They also wanted to improve the building’s overall visual communication, whether that was highlighting upcoming shows, promotions or access points. As such, they were looking to invest in digital signage and LED screens in order for the interior to be aesthetically pleasing but also have clear messaging”.  







spoken to Sage Gateshead, WL’s Systems Design team made several site visits to

the venue to finalise a specification that would suit the venue’s technical and

budgetary requirements. The main areas of focus would be the bar and

restaurant, along with the main concourse.











In terms of the audio installation, this saw WL put in a place a brand-new sound system. James explains: “For us, it was important to have consistency throughout all of the spaces in terms of output but we also wanted to make them as user-friendly as possible for the client; ensuring that the system could be controlled from one place. As such, we drew on the QSC audio system which included a full-range surface mount and ceiling speakers in each area. This was controlled via a seven inch touch screen so the staff could change it as and when it suited them. At the back of house, we deployed a QSC Core 5.10.i which distributed the audio around the different areas and had the ability to split the various spaces”.







the bar area, WL had to draw on a different system due to the specificities of

the space. James explains: “Obviously ambience and music is vital for any

social area yet one of  Sage Gateshead’s

bars is actually an open top meaning it could be slightly challenging when it

comes to audio output! Thankfully, we have experience of working in similar

spaces and knew to draw on the Yamaha full range speakers and sub woofers.

These were installed behind the bar and thanks to their position, allowed for

completely even distribution”.






Once the audio installation was complete, the WL team then completed the visual elements. This included transforming the iconic Northern Rock Foundation Hall wall, which featured a 6m x 4m LED screen acting as the building’s main focal point and one which could be seen through the windows across the Tyne river. Both WL and Sage Gateshead decided to increase the size of the screen in order to make it a true centrepiece, upscaling it to 10m x 5.5m, using the Uni Lumen Uslim 4.9mm pixel pitch to ensure the picture was as high-quality as possible.











On the West Elevation Level of the building, WL also installed a transparent LED 6m x 4m screen which can be used to push content via the Brightsign digital signage players. As the screen is positioned over the West entrance, this means it is visible to visitors as soon as they enter the building. Similarly, on the East and West side of the building, there are 8 x 55inch LCD full weatherproof signage boards which can also relay content and information on upcoming events. The overall control system utilises Crestron and each individual area can be controlled via an iPad, which was customised and programmed for the Sage Gateshead team, offering the most user-friendly experience possible.






The technical upgrade is now complete and will be on full display when visitors are able to return to the building later this year.






James concludes: “This was a fantastic project for us to be involved in and we were delighted to work closely with Sage Gateshead and deliver on its specific brief to elevate its spaces. We’re looking forward to when audiences can return to the building and experience this upgrade first-hand for themselves”.






Photos courtesy of Tynesight.




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