Real-time video surveillance in hot Frankfurt "Gibson" live music club

"Video surveillance and the vigilance of our security officers are the best combination to ensure the security of our guests, our staff and our property", says Bastian Bernhagen, co-owner and floor manager at the Gibson.

The largest live music club in Europe, Gibson, is located right in Frankfurt's high street, the Zeil, and is one of the biggest draws in Frankfurt nightlife. The club hosts exceptional live music events which captivate up to 900 guests every night. With the aid of a video surveillance system made by ABUS, the security staff at the club can always keep an eye on everything happening. This allows any incidents which could spoil the party to be spotted and resolved quickly.
In April 2012, Gibson opened its doors for the first time. A walk down several stairs and past unrendered walls with their concrete and exposed brick vibe allows the guests to arrive in the heart of the action. Three bars, the dance floor and a lounge area are spread over a surface area of 1,570 square metres. The centrepiece is formed by the 50-square metre stage for the concert programme and DJ events, which change daily.

More eyes
Very early on the club operators realised that crowds make security essential, and therefore included a video surveillance system in their planning right from the start of construction. “For events of this magnitude, an efficient and effective security concept is absolutely essential." Bastian Bernhagen, co-owner and floor manager at the Gibson explains. “Video surveillance and the vigilance of our security officers are the best combination to ensure the security of our guests, our staff and our property", ascertained the hospitality industry professional.

The demands required for the future video surveillance system at the Gibson were therefore clear from the start: typical incidents in nightlife, such as violence and theft, were to either be prevented directly by comprehensive real-time video surveillance or at least be able to be solved subsequently using the recorded data. The new video surveillance system was also to allow the security staff to access the images from the camera using tablets and smartphones in real time in order to maintain an overview from every corner of the building.

The challenge of difficult lighting conditions
A major hurdle when planning the video surveillance in Gibson were the highly variable lighting conditions within the club. Although a state-of-the-art fibreglass and copper network for transmitting digital multimedia signals had been installed, ultimately the decision was made for an individual solution: the use of 16 vandal-proof analogue cameras with 650 TVL and night-view function, which transmit their signals to a 16-channel digital video recorder using analogue-digital converters. 

Individually customised concept
This unconventional approach was recommended by the Neu Isenburg-based company “Regionale Sicherheit". It has been relying on video surveillance products made by ABUS for years, and provides comprehensive customer advice: “All consultations and plans must address the exact requirements of the customer", accentuates Goran Dzekulic, managing director and proprietor of Regionale Sicherheit. “Correspondingly, we presented one concept using network cameras and one using analogue cameras to Gibson, along with detailed explanations about the advantages of the respective solutions", says Dzekulic. 

Although the existing fibreglass and copper network making use of network cameras seemed to be the more obvious solution, after consulting with Dzekulic, the owners of Gibson decided for the individual solution using analogue cameras and a digital video recorder. “Given the difficult lighting conditions at Gibson, analogue cameras will guarantee good images. The point-to-point connection ensures the most failure-free operation possible", according to Dzekulic. Once finalised, 15 fixed, vandal-proof day/night dome cameras for installation in all inside and outside areas, a high-performance PTZ dome camera with a 32x zoom, automatically removable IR cut filters and two IR illuminators to ensure coverage of the entire area in front of the stage, as well as a 16-channel digital video recorder with a memory capacity totalling four terabytes had all been added to the order list.

“We worked around the clock and finished up half an hour before the official opening", as Dzekulic explains. Each camera was connected to the existing fibreglass network with one converter each. “This allowed us to bridge up to 600 m from the receiver to the camera",  Dzekulic recalls. The network cable also provided a central 12-volt power input, so that all cameras were able to be connected without requiring an additional source of power.

Functioning smoothly
Now that a year has passed since the video surveillance system was completed, all those involved have come to a positive conclusion. The system is running without faults and has already yielded several terabytes of video material which allowed the staff and the police to solve misdemeanours.

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