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Scott Chmielewski Brings grandMA2 to Virgin Mobile’s FreeFest



When Scott Chmielewski, president of Digital Media Designs, put a pair of grandMA2 consoles through their paces at Virgin Mobile’s FreeFest, a day-long music and dance extravaganza, he deployed the grandMA’s brand new 2.0 software with stunning results. A.C.T Lighting is the exclusive distributor of the grandMA in North America.

FreeFest attracted some 40,000 fans to the Merriweather Post Pavilion and surrounding grounds at Columbia, Maryland on September 25 where headliners included Joan Jett, Lucacris and M.I.A. Chmielewski, whose Digital Media Designs offers innovative concepts in lighting design, marketing and media presentation, served as the designer, programmer and production provider for the event and was responsible for the dance stage and one of the two primary stages.

“Everything went exceptionally well,? he notes. “I was able to previz the show about a week before the event and, with the use of grandMA 3D (MA Lighting’s free visualization software), I was able to have most of the show done before we ever loaded in. Running the software on my MacBook Pro I never saw a hiccup in the previz, which was surprising given the amount of fixtures we were using. I was even able to run grandMA2 on PC and grandMA 3D at the same time.?

Chmielewski used “every aspect? of the console family and its new 2.0 software, including grandMA 3D, NPUs, VPU, Art-Net and multi-user sessions. “The new layout views were an amazing tool, especially when using large amounts of fixtures and data,? he reports. “The whole process was very logical. You’re no longer limited to a ‘grid’ for placing fixtures; they can be placed and dragged freely and more logically, and the amount of information that’s provided is invaluable. Combining this with the new effects engine made for a whole new array of tricks and abilities.?

He found that features such as open-ended macros, preset-based effects and cue-list commands “opened a new window of abilities to programmers and designers. These features and automation techniques save valuable programming time which allows for more creative instead of purely technical programming.?

As is usual during a festival, Chmielewski had to interact with several of the bands’ lighting designers. “For most of them I provided console views that were executors and faders with the effects and cues that they requested,? he explains. “The Direct Action ability on those screens was a great feature and made operating for the touring guys very straightforward. The ability to set up worlds also meant I never had to worry about anyone going beyond their skill level or affecting other vital parts of the show, including key lighting or effects.?

For FreeFest the grandMAs controlled 12 High End Showpix, 24 Mac 700 Profiles, 28 Stagebars, eight Mac 2K Performances which were used as key lights, a wall of 96 Mac 101s and eight Atomic Strobes with scrollers. The grandMAs also controlled media servers and 20 Martin LC+ 2140 LED panels.

“The network sync-ability of the grandMAs was flawless,? Chmielewski concludes. “Freefest required us to use every aspect of the grandMA, and the system really delivered for us.?

“Scott put together a complex show with the grandMA and his results were excellent,? commented A.C.T Lighting President and CEO Bob Gordon.

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.

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October 2010
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