West Hollywood, CA – December 2019… Although its ownership group is mostly the same, the new Rocco’s WeHo is distinctly different from the Los Angeles area’s popular Rocco’s Tavern sports bars. A casual restaurant and bar during the day, Rocco’s WeHo becomes a high-energy nightclub hot spot in the evening. After 10 pm it’s adults only, with DJ’s and go-go dancers.
Rocco’s WeHo comprises three spaces. The main barroom features a nine-screen video wall near a portable stage, with five TVs at the bar and several more around the perimeter. A stylish lounge, which is available for private events, features a smaller bar with four TVs and more screens around the perimeter. Finally, along the sidewalk is dog-friendly outdoor seating with yet more TVs. The main bar boasts an impressive sound system with a pair of L-Acoustic X12 coaxial loudspeakers flanking the video wall, X8 loudspeakers distributed throughout the venue, and an 18-inch subwoofer flown in each room. Only the outside seating area has no audio, in deference to the neighbors.
Systems integrator TechArts designed and installed Rocco WeHo’s AV and lighting systems, with Jason Vandergrift handling primary system design and programming. To maximize AVL quality, serviceability, system performance, and ease of use, Vandergrift and TechArts CEO Chuck Mitchell deemed it crucial that all components be on an IP network. To get video on the network, Vandergrift specified 14 Visionary Solutions PacketAV Duet PoE 4K UHD-over-IP video encoders with Dante audio encoding. One Duet encoder enables visiting DJs to put their visual effects onscreen, one serves a video camera, and the other 12 handle the streams from TV tuners.
“We split the system so half the tuners are available for the video wall, and the other half are available for the TVs,” Vandergrift details. “The customer can set up some tuners with the same channels and then just change tuners, so they have a bank of tuners they can route to any TV. Setting up one tuner on each TV would have required too many tuners, too much remote control, and too much walking around for the customer.”
The video wall and all 18 TVs in the venue are fed by Visionary Solutions D4100 4K UHD over IP video decoders. “We installed nine Visionary Solutions D4100 decoders for the video wall,” Vandergrift explains. “We used dedicated D4100 decoders for each TV, except that three decoders are split to feed adjoining-back to back TVs in the main bar and outside.”
Another D4100 decoder feeds an Extron 15-inch touch screen at the main bar so that video preview is integrated into the controller. “You can see what’s on each TV without going to a preview monitor,” Vandergrift observes. “Using the decoder in this way also adds the ability to monitor each tuner, so you can choose what you want and put it up on any TV or the video wall,” adds Mitchell.
A smaller Extron touch screen without preview provides system control in the lounge. “The customer can lock the lounge system to the feed from the main bar or unlock it so when a small band comes in, they can plug in, and there are local controls for the room.” notes Vandergrift. “The controls for the venue are emulated on an iPad, so the owner can walk around and adjust volumes and the like.” An Attero Tech unD6IO-BT Dante-enabled wall plate in the lounge offers Bluetooth input, as well as RCA and 3.5 mm audio access, enabling guests renting the space to play their own music.
All audio is on a Dante network, with audio processing and video switching managed by a Symetrix Prism 8×8 DSP. “We’ve been using Symetrix processors for more than 10 years,” Vandergrift reports. “They got into Dante integration at the beginning, and we jumped on that bandwagon. We recently did shootouts for sound quality, and Symetrix DSPs sounded better than the others.”
TechArts’ use of Symetrix processors and Dante was one reason they chose Visionary Solutions video networking. “Rocco’s WeHo was our first project with Visionary Solutions,” Mitchell muses. “The Duet’s Dante integration was the biggest thing that got our attention, along with Symetrix integration, which helped on the programming side.” “The programming is a lot easier,” confirms Vandergrift. “Symetrix sends scripts out to the network, so once you have a TV programmed, it’s just a matter of changing the IP address and copy-and-pasting that set of commands for a different encoder.”
The ability to monitor Rocco’s WeHo’s entire network remotely was key to the project, and the TechArts team appreciated Visionary Solutions’ willingness to help program the switches to make that work. “If we get a request from a client, or if they need technical help, we can monitor and control the entire system from our office or homes,” Vandergrift explains. “It’s crucial because it’s at least a two hour drive in traffic to get to Rocco’s, and they’re operating late at night, so having people on call to drive there is difficult. The remote access system is specific to Ubiquiti switches, and we had to optimize our switches for the network. Visionary Solutions was really responsive. We sent them a switch before the project opened, and they tested it and created settings for us. So far, it has worked well. We can even see snapshots every two to three seconds of what each encoder sees, and if a DirecTV box isn’t sending video, we can poke it to bring it back to life.”
A year after the Rocco’s WeHo project began, the system is completely up and running, and the customer is delighted. “The programming has settled in, and we have no issues on the Visionary Solutions side,” Vandergrift reports. “We’re very pleased,” concludes Mitchell. “We’re definitely planning to use Visionary Solutions again in the future.”