Project Process

Phase One involves qualifying the client's needs and making a preliminary review of the available specifications and drawings from the architect. This first meeting and review would be gratis.

Phase Two is the process of specifying the support systems required for sound system use to satisfy the client's needs and the venue use established from the first meeting. (Sound System refers to the performance and playback audio as well as production intercomm, video - both playback from a projector and monitoring of the stage, conductor and safety etc. camera shots, hearing assist and paging and monitoring systems for the lobby and backstage, and sometimes data distribution).

These support systems are basically the electrical and wiring required from the electrical contractor, the structural requirements from the general contractor and millwork contractor and a view to the interface of the various systems into the venue space and the building in general.

Establishing and specifying these support systems before the building is finished will save time and money in the future. They are typically not expensive requirements during construction. After construction, cutting and coring access holes and finding cable routes that conform to fire and building codes after the fact is a painful process. Mounting speakers and video monitors etc. where there has been no allowance for back support can be very difficult, messy and the cause of visually unattractive elements sticking out that could easily have been properly integrated in the early stages.

 

Putting equipment and wiring that is acceptable to fire and building codes in public access areas and where actors, dancers, musicians and technicians are working, when there has not been proper planning, makes a huge difference in wasted production and rehearsal time. If there is any intention to have the venue used for lectures and presentations etc. and by outside performance groups, making it easy to install equipment on a short-term basis and to access good support systems and wiring makes the difference between a user-friendly and therefore valuable space and one that just doesn't get used much.

It may be that the architect has addressed all these issues; that will be determined in the preliminary phase. My experience comes from years of putting sound systems into buildings either for a one-night show, a long-term production or a permanent install. It is rare to find a building that has been properly configured. Architects and even most theatre consulting firms have just not had the specific experience of mounting a show that is going on TONIGHT!! You need to know and understand what the performers and technicians need to do their job to fully understand the technical support systems requirements.

This phase can be identified as a project for a fixed fee.

Phase Three involves determining the equipment requirements, the budgets and the designs. There is likely a good, better, best optional equipment scenario combined with rental, used and time managed acquisition variables.

This may involve almost nothing initially because periodic rental of equipment or requiring any outside users to provide their own are all that budgets will allow (all the more reason to have good support systems behind the walls).

At whatever points along the way that resident equipment is procured, having an independent consultant with venue and theatre experience working for the client versus a company salesman who typically comes from a rock or DJ background and working for commission is going to accomplish the best result at the best price, because it is open to a competitive but fair market, not just the access and capabilities of one particular company. The equipment supplier is only required to price the job. Having spent no time qualifying, defining and designing the support systems or the actual equipment specifications, they are willing and able to supply at a reduced margin.

The consultant will act as the client's representative to ensure the quality and proper execution of the supply, install, testing, commissioning, documentation and subsequent service. This will be invaluable to the client's personnel responsible for the project since they likely do not have the expertise nor the time because they are often doing the project in addition to their regular job.

This phase can be identified as a project for a fixed fee.

Phase Four involves sound design and training if the client wants professional expertise brought into their learning and extra curricular activities. The consultant would also be available on an on-going basis as additions and expansion to the system may occur.

This would be a negotiable rate.