Dream Nightclub in South Beach, Florida, recently underwent a renovation to its video system, adding visuals to the 8,500sq-ft, two-level venue that spans three rooms, including the main room where the central bar, DJ booth, and lounge is located.
James Reed and Michael Callahan, partners in Miami-based Audio Video Lighting Innovations Inc. (AVLI) who also worked on Mansion Nightclub, have added to the 550-person capacity club since its opening a few years ago. “The owner, ex-NFL player Kevin Hardy, tends to upgrade every six months or so, and he wanted to add a 6mm video screen, something like a video billboard. When he visited the Elation booth at LDI, they introduced us.”
Reed notes that Hardy decided to do more than just the 6mm screen. “We ended up doing a lot more, customized for the club,” he says. “We really wanted to mix it up with different resolutions—not all 6mm or all 20mm—to give the club some dimension and not look like a leader board on the side of the highway.”
The video package AVLI added is focused on enhancing the main space, with a large Elation Professional EVP6 LED video display on one side of the room, an Elation EVLED1024SMD 20mm LED display on the other over the bar, and a custom LED backdrop for the DJ booth.
The display over the bar is one panel high by 15 panels wide. “It feels like what you would see in an arena,” says Reed. An Elation EVLEDVSC video system controller and EPVVSC video processor are also on board.
Around the perimeter of the room are 24 custom LED video mirror panels that hang vertically and comprise American DJ Flash Panels. “We actually took these out of the casings and put in a custom frame with a two-way mirror cover, so basically, when the product is turned off, it looks just like a mirror hanging on the wall,” says Reed. “The mirrors were already in the club without LEDs in them, but we added the lighting element to it.” All the elements of the club’s video system tie in with a Madrix control setup, loaded onto an AVLI 4U custom media server, and Enttec Datagates.
“Madrix generates a lot of the color patterns, but we do have some custom content also made for the screens, and that gives the ability to control each section, so the club can have advertisements and run text or graphics on the rest of it or vice versa,” says Reed. Custom content is created by Michael McEvoy and updated regularly.
Recent enhancements were also made to the lighting system, including eight Chauvet Q-Wash™ 260-LED units added to the circle trusses around the mirror ball in the main room, as well as 10 American DJ FREQ 16 strobes. These fixtures supplement the existing plot of eight Martin Professional smartMACs, four Martin Mania SCX600s, and four Martin Mania EFX-500 units. Martin’s LightJockey software controls the lighting.
The venue has a house VJ as well as a house lighting director. “The house originally tried to have one guy for everything, but the owner asked us why the show didn’t look a certain way every night, and they realized they had to hire more people,” says Reed. “It’s just too difficult to get all the looks you need with one person doing everything. The value in that was seen right away.”
Reed notes that there is an intentional lack of a huge dance floor in the venue. “In South Beach, Miami, and Vegas clubs, there tends to be more of lounge seating area where there is high-end bottle service, favored over a huge dance floor. It’s more about ‘see and be seen.’” A second level includes a back VIP room encased in glass that looks over the main lounge area.
Reed says that the club’s owner understands the value in doing upgrades regularly and that he sees the business increase. “The bar is being raised in the nightclub industry right now,” Reed says. “The price of LEDs is coming down, and owners are packing people in. The market is changing a bit. People are used to going to festivals and concerts and getting used to big experiences, so we’re trying to imitate that in a nightclub setting.”
The team at AVLI is currently working on Hakkasan Club at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, as well as a few other large remodels in South Florida.