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Fat Frogs Join More Than A Million People On The Mall In Washington For Obama Inaugration

MallIt was a historic occasion. More than a million people turned out on the Mall in Washington, D.C. to witness the inauguration of Barack Obama. It was perhaps not as well known that 11 Fat Frogs were there too, controlling fixtures from Christie Lites, which, last November, supported Obama’s victory speech in Chicago’s Grant Park. A.C.T Lighting is the exclusive distributor of Zero88 in North America.

“We were very fortunate to have two career-milestone gigs,” says Robert A. Roth, of Christie Lites, about the victory speech and Mall events. “They were very rewarding personally and professionally.”

Once again Christie Lites teamed with event producer C3 Presents of Austin, Texas for the Mall lighting. “There was a series of tower positions along the Mall; some of the ones on the east end of the Capitol were set up in a reasonably symmetrical array,” Roth recalls. “Initially, we were led to believe we could establish wired DMX among these 12 towers. We had only four weeks to plan with the holidays coming right in the middle.

“We added a rigging position on the towers and put up automated moving lights for remote focus,” he continues. “But we couldn’t establish wired DMX for security and safety reasons. We needed a console to hold focus and adjust it once we observed the crowds. So we decided to fly in 11 Fat Frogs to our hotel.”

One Fat Frog was installed at each of 11 towers which acted as their “own stand-alone islands in a sea of people,” notes Roth. “From those positions, the Fat Frogs controlled multiple Mac 2K XBs; we just programmed each console, disked it for back up and moved on. We could set them and forget them.”

The Fat Frogs’ ruggedness and reliability were key to an event which faced “multiple challenges from multiple sources,” Roth reminds us. “My crew was stellar, working 12- to 14-hour shifts. And the Fat Frogs were stable down to unbelievably cold temperatures. We never had a single failure. The gear performed great, offered the functions we wanted and remained stable under very difficult circumstances.”

Zero88′s new products continue the Fat Frog tradition of sophisticated and economical lighting control. The Jester ML48 provides features from the original Fat Frog with improvements that include built-in effects, multi-function keys, USB support and greater fixture control.

“Kudos to Christie Lites for creating a working solution to solve the unusual issues associated with this historic event and the demands of the venue. The Fat Frog packs a rich feature set into a surprisingly inexpensive package. Christie Lites were the first to recognize this and they have put hundreds of them into their inventory,” comments A.C.T Lighting President and CEO Bob Gordon.

Roth gives kudos to C3 for the producers’ problem-solving capabilities. Clair Brothers, StageCo, and Screenworks also provided support for the history-making event.

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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February 2009
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