A side effect of coronavirus has been a huge change in how we enjoy our entertainment. The hospitality industry has been creative in its response and as restrictions have eased, there has been a rise in outdoor events. Throughout the UK, drive-ins have made a comeback and outdoor screens are seeing a surge in demand.
Caister Holiday Park is a popular resort set on the Norfolk coast. As part of an extensive refurbishment of its outdoor leisure facilities, a new outdoor screen has been installed to show films and other broadcast programmes.
The Paul Robinson Partnership approached us to produce a noise assessment and management plan for the outdoor screen. The purpose of the noise management plan was to meet Great Yarmouth Borough Council’s requirements for noise control and minimise disturbance from amplified sound to nearby residences outside the park.
Assessments of music noise are typically made by comparing the music noise level to the background noise level in the absence of the music. We therefore began by taking a background noise survey one evening in early January. The park was closed and there was no activity noise from the site so we could use the results of our measurements to assess the permissible amplified sound levels at the nearest residences.
We used CadnaA noise mapping software to model site noise in relation to residences. The modelling process allows us to take into account the directivity and positioning of multiple loudspeakers as well as screening and reflections from surrounding buildings and static caravans. From these results we determined the highest audio levels permissible in the arena in front of the stage, while meeting noise criteria agreed with the Council at the nearest residences.
Drawing on our extensive experience of sound system design, we were able to advise the audio-visual designers and installers, Sneaky AV, on refinements to loudspeaker positioning and orientation to optimise coverage of the arena while minimising noise transmission to the nearest residences. The final system comprised four Electrovoice ZX1i outdoor loudspeakers and a twin 10” subwoofer cunningly concealed within a beach hut. We specified that a tamper-proof line-driven audio level limiter was installed to automatically control sound levels. The limiter had programmable timeslots to allow different threshold levels for daytime and evening.
On completion of the AV installation, we revisited the site to take commissioning measurements and worked with the AV installers to set the limiter threshold levels.
Our noise management plan laid out clear procedures for the site staff to follow in the event of any complaint. We also drew attention to other noise issues which might not have appeared obvious at first, such as noise from glass recycling or tipping into disposal bins.
With a huge demand for staycation holidays, Haven Holidays recently announced they are extending their opening season into November. We hope that the outdoor cinema entertainment will enable them to benefit from this whilst keeping their neighbours happy.