That Sweet Hollywood Sound
Security never sounded better under the stars
- By Tim Chuppe
- May 01, 2010
On the night of July 11, 1922, in a large natural amphitheater in Bolton
Canyon, Calif., 18,000 people sat under the stars on simple wooden
benches to listen to a performance by the Los Angeles Philharmonic
under the direction of conductor Alfred Hertz. It was a historic evening: the opening
of the Hollywood Bowl.
The Hollywood Bowl has since come to be known as one of the finest musical
venues in the world. The amphitheater hosts more than 85 musical performances
each year from June through October. In addition to the Los Angeles Philharmonic,
the Hollywood Bowl presents artists from all musical genres, ranging from
Faith Hill to Aretha Franklin.
With an audience so large and so much talent on display, the Hollywood Bowl
represents a daunting security challenge. Each evening represents a new test, and
each show requires a well-orchestrated performance by security personnel to keep
things moving safely and on time.
At the center of that security performance is a video surveillance infrastructure
that includes more than 70 SpeedDome Ultra 8 Programmable Dome Cameras
from American Dynamics, architected and installed by TAB Technical Services,
a firm that specializes in the consulting, design, installation and maintenance of
state-of-the-art sound and visual systems. Every corner of the stage, parking lots
and neighboring freeways is carefully monitored to ensure that people and traffic
are moving freely. The security video is recorded on a number of Intellex Ultra
digital video management systems to ensure that, if necessary, evidentiary video is
a mouse-click away.
"We had an incident not too long ago, when a guitar was stolen from one of
the musicians who was setting up to perform that night," said Todd Bermann,
president of TAB Technical Services. "We were able to use Intellex to quickly
review the recorded video from the camera monitoring that area, and we caught
the thief red-handed."
A Catch-all Solution
The Hollywood Bowl's robust surveillance system, comprised of cameras, digital
video management systems and MegaPower 3200 matrix switcher systems, serves
many purposes. The stage manager relies on the live video to ensure the show
starts on time. He can monitor the steady stream of audience members as they
make their way to their seats. This allows him to call for more ushers to move
people along or delay the opening act if necessary.
For more traditional security and surveillance, the director of operations oversees
the parking lots and walkways leading to the venue and relies on the PTZ
functions of the domes to give him superior close-ups of potential problems.
"From the visitors' and performers' perspectives, security is invisible," said Ed
Tom, director of operations. "It's pretty amazing when 18,000 people descend upon
the Bowl, and our security team is operating seamlessly and effectively in the background
to ensure that the patrons are flowing in and out safely and efficiently."
This was not always the case. Prior to switching to American Dynamics solutions,
there were no remote viewing capabilities. When TAB Technical Services
was brought in to beef up the system in 1995, that was the first thing to change.
"To see the infrastructure in the backrooms is pretty impressive," Tom said.
"More than 70 cameras are being monitored by our surveillance team through the
matrix switcher and being recorded on four Intellex systems. I love the fact that I
can log in remotely using the Network Client remote management software."
"Viewing video remotely is taken for granted now," Bermann
said. "But the previous digital video management system Hollywood
Bowl had didn't support that capability."
With the start of the new season, the security team at the
Hollywood Bowl is ready for the next set of great performances.