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Archive for December 28th, 2011

BEHIND THE SCENES, MONTRÉAL’S NEW CONCERT HALL RUNS ON SYMETRIX DSP

MONTRÉAL, CANADA – DECEMBER 2011: After long enduring a substandard concert hall, the Montréal Symphony Orchestra was recently blessed with the La Maison Symphonique de Montréal. Built to exacting acoustical standards by Tateo Nakajima of Artec Consultants, La Maison will host a wide range of musical and theatrical performances. While most of the publicity surrounding the building’s opening is justifiably centered on the stunning, state-of-the-art acoustical experience that awaits its patrons, La Maison is just as sophisticated behind the scenes. Indeed, Artec Consultants designed a comprehensive, yet intuitive paging system that will ensure that the production quality of the events at La Maison will meet the highest expectations. Philippe Beaudoin of Montréal-based A/V integrator Solotech programmed and installed the Symetrix SymNet-based signal processing and interface technology that makes the powerful and elegant paging system possible.

Six zones comprise the paging system. The lobby zone conveys pages for patrons, typically before performances and during intermission and retransmits the audio captured within the hall for late arrivers. [Basically, there's a camera that captures the video and sends to displays on all 3 levels of the lobby and a microphone gets the audio and sends to the paging system] Based on their physical layout and intended usage, there are two separate dressing room zones. The stage manager’s booth, the recordist’s booth, the house audio mixer, the follow spot operators and the lighting board op, get their own zone. The venue managers’ offices get their own separate zone. The final zone patches through the main audio mixer into the house sound system. Over three-hundred McBride 820CXB paging loudspeakers powered by two QSC CX-204V and two QSC-1202 amplifiers deliver the paging system’s output.

The linchpin of La Maison’s paging system is the Symetrix ARC-SW4 and ARC-XLR, a pair of wall panel remotes with integrator-programmable push buttons and an XLR jack. Room managers and stage managers have their own Symetrix ARC-SW4 and ARC-XLR to handle outgoing pages, and each one is configured the same way. Two mobile racks can be plugged and patched from different areas of the venue for temporary needs of traveling productions and events. Of its eight buttons, six are labeled by zone. To deliver a page, the user pushes a button for each of the zones that he or she wants to include. Then a push-to-talk button, combined with a Shure 527B microphone, executes the page. Additional features include a push-button chime, which calls patrons to the hall prior to a performance or after an intermission, and a volume control override button. Although it may find other uses, the volume override button’s intended purpose is to deliver urgent messages, such as when a musician or the conductor needs to be called from the dressing room to the stage.

An open-architecture Symetrix SymNet 8×8 DSP, supplemented by a Symetrix Control I/O, sits in the middle of the system. It ably handles the complex routing required of the system, along with all of the frequency and dynamics processing nuances that make the pages not only functional, but also pleasant. “Symetrix delivered on two essential features that make the paging system at La Maison comprehensive, easy-to-use, and cost-effective,” said Beaudoin. “First, it has a wealth of flexible logic modules, which meant that I could design the system to hang together robustly. Second, the ARC remotes convey logic controls and audio on a single Cat5 cable with very liberal distance restrictions. That made the physical installation as easy as it could possibly be.”

ABOUT SYMETRIX
Sound professionals rely upon the performance, value and reliability of audio mixing, routing and processing products from Symetrix. For more information on Symetrix professional audio products, please visit www.symetrix.co or call +1.425.778.7728.

METRIC HALO ULN-2 SURVIVES HAITIAN FIRE

CARREFOUR, HAITI – DECEMBER 2011: Bad things sometimes happen to good people. While he was working for Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) as a hospital administrator in troubled Haiti, Eyal Tapiero volunteered his spare time and expertise to record some remarkably talented hip-hop artists in the community. But just days before his return to Canada, Tapiero arrived to his Haitian residence to find it engulfed in flames. His MacBook Pro was burned, his backup drive and music collection were destroyed, and his Metric Halo ULN-2 emerged from a drawer as hot as if it had been roasted in an oven.

“During my time in Haiti, I developed a close bond with many of my Haitian coworkers and found that some of them had aspirations of being hip-hop stars,” Tapiero said. “They had talent, but they couldn’t afford to get demo tapes made.” While on holiday break in Canada, Tapiero decided to take some recording equipment back to Haiti in order to do a little production work in his free time. “I wasn’t looking to do anything too complicated,” he said. “I had my MacBook Pro, Sennheiser HD 25 headphones which were invaluable for monitoring and tracking, a Shure SM57, Audix i5, CAD GXL-3000, and an M-Audio Oxygen 25 key midi controller and my trusty ULN-2 all running through Ableton Live.”

Despite less than ideal recording conditions, the raw talent and spirit of the performers were making the tracks sparkle with life. The noise of the nearby highway, the loud generator that droned day and night, and the intolerable heat could not deter those in the mesmerizing grip of musical inspiration. The Metric Halo ULN-2 and MacBook Pro were ideal. With minimal fuss and with immunity to the city’s frequent power outages, Tapiero captured some high-quality tracks. “We had two monitor mixes, full recording, and full metering all through one box running power from a laptop,” he said.

His residence fire occurred just one week shy of Tapiero fulfilling his one-year contract with Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF). The neighbors reported that the fire raged for at least twenty-five minutes before it was subdued. “I was devastated,” Tapiero said. “I lost all my personal belongings and electronic equipment. My backup drive, which held all of our recordings and production archives, was destroyed. My music collection was destroyed. None of my friends ever got a final copy of the demo tape. It was terrible. While the ULN-2 had escaped direct contact with the flames, I thought its insides were fried for sure but I still held on to it.”

Several months later, Tapiero learned the insurance for the fire fell through. And since he was constantly traveling and without a new computer, Tapiero didn’t see the value in having the ULN-2 looked at by a professional. “But back in Canada, my brother urged me to give it another try,” he recalled. “So, I plugged the ULN-2 into to his MacBook Pro with nothing more than a FireWire cable and a dim hope. But to my surprise, it worked! We tested all the ports and functions, and everything was working as it should. I was shocked and I couldn’t believe my luck!”

Inspiration restored, Tapiero has begun saving up for a new MacBook Pro. Thanks to the intervention of Metric Halo’s Allen Rowand and the generosity of Alto Music (a Metric Halo and Apple dealer), Tapiero will get his new laptop faster than he thought.

“Tapiero wrote to thank us for making a product that could withstand the torture test of being in a burning room,” said Rowand. “After I read his letter I contacted Jon Habor at Alto to see if he could do anything to help out and he immediately agreed. It’s always terrible when someone loses their property, but it’s even worse when it happens to someone who’s doing humanitarian work. We’re happy that we can help Tapiero get back to recording.”

To find out more about the humanitarian backdrop for this story, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF), interested readers can visit:
MSF Canada: http://www.msf.ca
MSF USA: http://www.doctorswithoutborders.com

ABOUT METRIC HALO
Based in New York’s Hudson Valley, Metric Halo provides the world with high-resolution metering, analysis, recording and processing solutions with award-winning software and future-proof hardware. www.mhlabs.com

PCS Rumbles Phooson and Shakes Christmas Pudding with L-ACOUSTICS

PHOENIX, Arizona — David Stern, president of Precise Corporate Staging (PCS), reports that December has been a banner month for his company with a dozen different productions on its event calendar, all of which utilized L-ACOUSTICS loudspeaker systems.

The month kicked off with a bang as PCS shook Phoenix’s U.S. Airways Center on December 2 for Phooson 2011, an annual pop music festival hosted by KRQ/KISS FM’s Johnjay & Rich and featuring Selena Gomez, Flo Rida, OneRepublic and Gym Class Heroes, among other acts. PCS supplied a concert sound system for the event comprised of 30 V-DOSC, 30 dV-DOSC and 12 SB28 subs. Eight 115XT HiQ coaxial wedges provided stage monitoring, while two ARCS paired with two SB series subs served as sidefills. more

Trinity Baptist Church Captures Every Angle with Vaddio PTZ Technology

Porché Advanced Systems Transforms Trinity Baptist Church into a Remotely Controlled, High Definition, Multi-Camera Facility
Twelve years ago Trinity Baptist Church outgrew its facility in historic downtown Lake Charles, La. and headed to a spacious 40-acre lot on the southern tip of the city. Because of the scale of the new multi-building campus, new communication technology upgrades were a necessity. Phase-by-phase and building-by-building Porché Advanced Systems used Vaddio pan/tilt/zoom camera systems to transform Trinity Baptist Church into a remotely controlled, high-definition, multi-camera facility.
The Phases of Trinity
Phase 1 consisted of an extensive Sunday school classroom space and what is referred to as the main Worship Center. The main Worship Center holds about 1200 people, including an additional platform for the orchestra and choir loft.
Phase 2 continued in 2005 with the Trinity Center, a combination gymnasium-fitness area and a wing devoted to youth ministries – which would eventually house a contemporary worship center called the Cavern.
The Cavern was originally designed to house 300 students. “We came in after-the-fact and started the idea of a contemporary worship venue,” explained Randy Monroe, Associate Pastor at Trinity. “The idea was to run a contemporary worship service and a regular service at the same time – each with a different style of music. At 9:15 and 10:45 every Sunday there are a total of four worship services – two live with the pastor preaching in the main Worship Center and two with live video fed to the Cavern.”
Currently Monroe delays the live video feed to the Cavern on a TiVo DVR in the event both services don’t finish at the exact same time. “Usually within three or four minutes the songs come to conclusion, they hit the Play button, the hi-def screen comes down on the big stage and they start running the video feed.”
“Because the pastor was very adamant about keeping the contemporary venue onsite, the Cavern was really the only option. The challenge was making the Cavern go beyond its original design.”
This is where Porché came into the picture.
The Solution
“We first encountered Vaddio at InfoComm when we were looking for a high definition video feed from the main Worship Center to the Cavern,” explained Jason Ryder of Porché. “We ended up installing the Panasonic HE-100 PTZ camera and at first that worked really well.”
In 2010, TK’s Place (Trinity Kids Place) was completed with 33,600 square feet of space specifically designed for children and preschoolers. “The construction of TK’s Place really started the additional upgrade of the Worship Center,” said Ryder. “We installed the newest and best technology and they were so impressed it triggered the snowball effect of moving everything to high definition. They were looking at small projection systems for the main Worship Center and they said ‘wow this seems so inadequate compared to TK’s Place’.”
Into the Worship Center came two 22-foot 1080p HD projection screens and a need for even more HD cameras. “After debating and looking at different options, they really wanted more camera angles but didn’t necessarily have enough spots to put them where people could man them. So we looked to Vaddio again,” stated Ryder. “Our solution was to add three Vaddio HD-19 PTZ cameras for supporting-angled shots and a studio-quality JVC 1080p manned camera.”
The JVC studio camera is recessed into the center back wall of the Worship Center – positioned next to a wall-mounted HD-19. The additional two HD-19 cameras sit far left and far right. The HE-100 was moved as a rear shot. The center HD-19 is the live video feed to an HD projection system located inside the Cavern.
The cameras are controlled by two Vaddio Precision Camera Controllers. The left and right shots are hooked up to the first controller and the center/cavern and rear supporting camera shots are on the second controller. Staff and volunteers run the camera controllers.
“I’ve had a lot of experience with Vaddio in other installations,” explained Ryder. “As far as a robotic PTZ camera goes, nothing beats installing with Cat. 5 and still getting a high-quality, high definition image. Price is always a big factor and because these cameras are reasonable, we were not only able to get more shots, we could also get the additional controllers.”
Future of HD on Trinity Campus
In addition to the Cavern overflow, the video is also recorded, archived and burned to DVDs for elderly shut ins and volunteers. Monroe added, “On a regular Sunday morning we have 300 babies, birth through 2-years-old, in our preschool department and because its mostly volunteers who take care of the children we also provide them a DVD of the service they missed.”
They even make their own commercials. While some of the commercials are shot offsite, shots of the worship services and instrumentalists are used for B-roll footage.
Eventually they hope to upload the services and stream live but their partial T1 just doesn’t cut it. “At the moment it’s just not feasible,” explained Monroe. “But because we have all the backend cameras in place we are much closer to that reality – now we just need to get the other parts and pieces into place.”
“We’re happy with the new HD system – because it’s so new we’re still learning how to use the system. One of the biggest challenges for some of our volunteers is getting used to the robotic controllers. Our younger generation is a joystick generation so they’re having a great time with it – but they still need practice on moving the cameras left/right, up/down and zoom in/zoom out. There’s a learning curve, but every day they’re doing better and better.”
About Vaddio:
Vaddio is the leading manufacturer and OEM distributor of specialty PTZ cameras, high-end camera control systems and custom furniture used in the broadcasting, audiovisual and videoconferencing industries. Headquartered in Minneapolis, MN, Vaddio also has operations throughout the Americas, as well as sales and support partners throughout the world. More information can be found on the Vaddio website, www.vaddio.com or at (800) 572.2011.
About Porché Advanced Systems:
With over 30 years combined experience, Porché Advanced Systems has designed, built, installed and serviced some of the most impressive commercial audio/video and lighting projects in Louisiana. Turnkey projects that include large format audio systems and intelligent lighting for churches and entertainment venues, retail background audio, projector installation, video distribution, custom home theater, distributed audio and room calibrations. More information can be found at 337-478-5642 or by email at info@porcheinc.com.

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