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The grandMA Rocks The House For “Wrestlemania”

WrestlemaniaAt World Wrestling Entertainment’s (WWE) slammin’ “WrestleMania? there’s even room for grandMA. Media server programmer Peter Acken tapped one grandMA, one grandMA Light, and grandMA on PC for “WrestleMania XXIV? at Orlando’s Citrus Bowl, where they were primarily used to control servers, and the “Big Lights?, Syncrolights, which were utilized for the big crowd shot moments. A.C.T Lighting, Inc. is the exclusive distributor of the grandMA in North America.

Peter Acken has chosen the grandMA Platform exclusively on other projects such as Disney’s “The Little Mermaid?, “Das Rheingold?, Symantec ‘08 Meeting in Las Vegas, Blue Man Group, and soon “Faust? at the MET in NYC, utilizing the grandMA to control all the major show elements over a vast LAN. “The grandMA is great: It can control anything that takes DMX commands or anything that can be modified to. You can switch cameras, output sources, even control projectors directly from the grandma, as well as utilize remote control with a keyboard through MIDI.? Acken explains. With that kind of workflow they’d, be ready to tackle Wrestlemania!

“WrestleMania? is WWE’s five-hour live, worldwide PayPerView event — a larger than life extravaganza that rocks the house for wrestling fans and, as such, required an intense focus on detail.

With a theme of Art Deco/Florida beaches/fun in the sun — and Wrestling of course — production designer Jason Robinson crafted a 150×120-foot replica of a South Beach hotel from various LED surfaces with a giant curved screen for text in the middle and a “WrestleMania? sign on top. In addition, there were three enormous can-shaped LED walls on stage deck right behind the wrestlers’ entrance; a Versa Tube sculpture that gave the whole intro area a 3D thrust; and low-res LED stick surfaces above and to the sides that completed the hotel set. “Those low res led surfaces are what really makes the total experience that much more intense, as your eye fills in the gaps for what’s not there. ‘Total Eye Candy’ is the end-result.?

“It was a gargantuan, over-the-top playground — something WWE fans have come to expect,? Acken declares.

He was challenged to port the show from another control console over to the grandMA when grandMA became available for the event. Acken had a day before moving on site to rebuild the base show using the most current show file, and to using all the detailed notes he made of each wrestler, which included entrance videos, music and the Hippo media library structure — which amounted to hundreds and hundreds of cues. That way onsite, Acken and Dan Cerasale (The WWE’s best 3d Compositor would be ready to upload and create all the new custom media that would comprise the look of WrestleMania 24.

“I like the grandMA’s view buttons and command line macros,? he says. Combine that with timcode shows and then you’re really talking “Mad Science!?

The thing about ‘WrestleMania’ is that there are 130 wrestlers. “We made a macro for every single wrestler and used a macro number for them instead of a page. We let the console automatically reload itself.?

“Jason and Peter had an enormous job and a strict time schedule that needed to be adhered to. The grandMA proved to be the perfect tool for the job. The console’s live & real-time abilities, tied with Peter’s programming magic made this work,? comments A.C.T Lighting President and CEO Bob Gordon.

Acken enjoyed his gig with WWE and “WrestleMania.? “It’s a great organization,? he reports. “The show required a lot of last-minute stuff, but WWE does nothing subtle, and that is why working for them is so much fun!?

About A.C.T Lighting

A leading importer and distributor of lighting products, A.C.T Lighting, Inc. strives to identify future trends and cutting-edge products, and stock, sell and support their inventory. The company provides superior customer service and value for money to all of its clients. For more information call 818-707-0884 or visit www.actlighting.com.

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August 2008
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