City of Greater Dandenong Driving Urban Screen with Bluefish444 & CasparCG
11 November, 2016
The City of Greater Dandenong, in the south-east suburbs of Melbourne, Australia, has a rich history of multicultural celebration and the promotion of artistic endeavors. As part of the 2014 development of their Harmony Square in Dandenong, the City of Greater Dandenong installed a large 8m x 4m LED urban screen to show a variety of local and international content.
The screen is one of the highest quality screens of its size in the southern hemisphere, featuring a range of sporting events, films, interactive artworks, news, and other content, programmed around the clock, 24/7. As part of a larger public, civic space, it was important that the screen became the showpiece, and that required a high-quality and reliable approach for the system’s hardware.
Live and scheduled content is controlled by a Master Control area in the Council offices, which in turn controls all source and mixing hardware in a best practice, state-of-the-art server room. 300 metres away, the screen is driven by multiplexing all the signals over optical fibre. As the intermediary in all of this, Bluefish444 video cards combine with CasparCG Server to deliver content to the big screen for pre-roll. This allows the City of Greater Dandenong to drive dynamic templating, social media, and other overlays to the SDI video output.
CasparCG is a fully-fledged video server capable of playing multiple layers of dynamic graphics, video and images in real-time. Used in broadcast, live event and signage applications with the ability to generate content with its own alpha channel, CasparCG can output the video and key data through the Bluefish444 SDI outputs.
Programming is presented from a range of sources, including free to air, pay TV, creative content, Council messaging and other content providers. Harmony Square also accommodates live events with multiple 3G-SDI, fibre and CAT6 patch points located throughout the space, allowing for the broadcast of live events directly to the screen or outside broadcast vehicle.
Thomas Dawe, Urban Screens Coordinator at the City of Greater Dandenong, understood the need for a premium product that wouldn’t become a point of failure for their system in such a mission-critical environment. With the same platform that drives the large screen at Federation Square in Melbourne, it was important to have a package that would consistently perform on demand.
When making the final decision on a solution which would suit their needs, he notes that they wanted something that would just work, without the headaches that can come with other products they have used in the past.
“We were impressed with the high build quality and reliability of the Bluefish444 hardware”, explains Dawe. “We’ve known about Bluefish444 for years, and it has always been in the back of my mind to consider their products. The opportunity came [with the urban screen project], so we decided to give them a go”.
Being a local government body, especially one that advocates so strongly for local manufacturing, meant that they were thrilled to be able to support local business in Melbourne. Dawe also notes “The support that I have received from the engineering team regarding the SDK and the CasparCG support has been top notch. And dealing directly with the Managing Director of Bluefish444, Craige Mott, when it comes to the hardware side of things; you can’t ask for any better.”
The City of Greater Dandenong are so pleased with their existing Bluefish444 cards, they recently acquired Bluefish444’s Epoch | 4K Neutron video card with a plan to upgrade the system, allowing for more scope and feature flexibility with upcoming 3G support for CasparCG.
As for the future at The City of Greater Dandenong, Dawe comments “We’re looking at migrating to SMPTE 2022 IP delivery for our next major overhaul of the system. With the new KRONOS video cards featuring SFP connections on the horizon, it looks like Bluefish444 are one step ahead of us. They will definitely get our first look-in when we start rolling out that technology.”