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Archive by David Steinberg

OneRepublic Wraps Its “Native” World Tour with Clay Paky B-EYEs, Sharpys and grandMA2 Control

OneRepublic’s headlining “Native Tour” wraps in the UK March 24 after spending last year circling the globe and breaking new ground as the first tour to utilize Clay Paky’s A.leda B-EYE K20 innovative, LED-based moving lights. A complement of Clay Paky Sharpys was also on hand, and the tour was programmed and operated from a grandMA2 light platform. A.C.T Lighting is the exclusive distributor of Clay Paky fixtures and MA Lighting in North America.

The American pop rock band toured Europe, North America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand last year in support of its third studio album, “Native.” OneRepublic’s tour has continued in 2014 with more dates in Europe and the UK.

On this final leg of the tour lighting designer Chris Lisle has carried over a diamond-shaped theme from last year, which features trusses, video screens and even some of the same fixtures. “The show has some big visual moments, so I had to come up with a design to meet that need,” he says. “The band likes cutting edge, so using the latest technology is important to us.”

Programmer Scott Chmielewski notes that, “Chris always designs his projects with the artist in mind and tries to keep the focus on the music. It’s important for him to make sure that the technology doesn’t overshadow the talent but still has the capabilities he needs. This has been a very technology-heavy show, but it was used tastefully and was well in control.”

Lisle was introduced to the B-EYEs at LDI and “knowing the feel that the band wants in their show, it was a no-brainer to use them,” he reports. “We used all 12 upstage on the diamond pods, both floor and flown, and facing directly out toward the audience. They have so many tricks up their sleeves that I think we used them at just 50 percent of their capacity.”

He notes that the band was “amazed” to see the new B-EYE fixtures during rehearsals and immediately asked what they were. Chmielewski says, “these guys have been around the world over and over again on countless shows and stages so you’d expect them to look past new toys like this. But not this time!”

Lisle explains that he let “the fixture show itself off gradually throughout the show. First it was just a wash light, then we added a couple of ‘inner/outer’ ring tricks, then a couple of ring chases, and ultimately the lens spin tricks toward the end of the show.”

Chmielewski likens the B-EYEs to a “firecracker – knowing that the fuse is always lit and about to go off. For a portion of the show they were used as typical wash lights, but we were able to mimic the effect of every kind of traditional fixture from big to small and use the entire bag of tricks a programmer has with color, dimming and pan/tilt effects. Plus, they added an entirely new set of looks that were quite literally the first of their kind. As a programmer, I spent hours just exploring these new abilities and looks, and when we finally used them in the show they became the centerpiece of the design.”

Lisle says that two weeks into the final dates for the tour the B-EYEs were working “amazingly well” and proving to be “a very solid fixture.”

“Through marathon programming sessions they didn’t have a single issue, and we were really putting them through their paces,” Chmielewski adds. “I was surprised to see just how few moving parts were involved in creating whirlwinds of amazing effects.”

In addition to the B-EYES 30 Sharpys were an integral part of the lighting design since Day One, Lisle says. “I love the fact that they can punch through video intensity when needed. They also gave us some great beam/aerial effects. You can’t beat them for speed: They were super-fast for the ‘techno’ moments of the show.”

“The Sharpys were a perfect complement to the B-EYEs in the rig,” agrees Chmielewski. “It takes a lot of power to compete with the look and brightness of a Sharpy, but the B-EYEs held their own.”

Chmielewski programmed the tour on a grandMA2 light with three active NPUs. A back up grandMA2 light was also available on the road.

He calls the platform his “weapon of choice” for the past few years. “Its ability to continue to build and refine a very powerful and custom toolset for programming is unrivaled,” he says. “All of the integration of MA 3D, grandMA2, onPC and VPU makes everything seamless as the ability to previs everything, including Art-Net merging, media and every fixture type, is an enormous asset. Add to that the fact that once the show was programmed, it was one show file on one USB stick.”

He notes that the show featured LED nodes embedded into the LED wall. “We had almost 5000 very bright, forward-facing LED fixtures, each DMX-controlled from the console,” Chmielewski explains. “Using grandMA2′s Art-Net merge capabilities, we were able to merge data from the media servers and have both media control and typical DMX control of all the nodes as well as the 5000 fixtures on the Matrix 5×5 blinders.”

Lisle calls the grandMA2 “an amazing console – even more so when you have a programmer like Scott who can unlock all of the tricks within it. The desk is just so powerful. I never heard, ‘it can’t be done’ from Scott during the programming process.”

Chmielewski gives kudos to “the team at A.C.T, which is always on for us as we continue to push new technologies from consoles and previs to the newest lighting fixtures. There is no way we would be able to create and achieve what we do without the help of their east and west coast teams.”

The equipment was supplied by Neg Earth, UK.

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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NPI Audio Visual Solutions Adds First Vista Systems’ Spyder to its Inventory

Cleveland-based systems integrator NPI Audio Visual Solutions has invested in its first Vista Systems Spyder X20 for use in live events and for its demo room where the company showcases equipment for permanent installations. NPI serves customers nationwide with a primary focus in Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and West Virginia.

“Our installation/integration division provides engineered AV systems for broadcast facilities, corporate installations, K-12 and higher education, mobile facilities and portable AV flight packs” says director of sales Sam Avellone. “In addition, we have a staging and rental division, an in-house AV services division for hotels & conference centers, corporate event production, and an HD video truck, trailer and portable AV flight pack systems for live event production, broadcasts & web streaming, with an in-house production studio for content development, editing & duplication.” “So we can pretty much handle anything in the AV realm (sales, rentals & production).”

Recently, NPI was looking for a device to “zone content and edge blend,” Avellone explains. “After a little research we discovered that Spyder was the product that delivers those capabilities.”

He notes that NPI has developed a control system for scoreboards, which Spyder has augmented. “A lot of the scoreboard companies only have one video input on their control system which limits what they can display on the scoreboard. But now that we have Spyder we can plug in a head end system that allows them to also show branded/sponsored videos, advertisements and instant replays which can be placed ( in any configuration ) on the video display. The customer gets a next-level scoreboard and a system that not only enhances the “in-game” experience, but can also generate revenue for them”.

Avellone reports that the Spyder has been “working great and everybody is happy with it. Vista trainers came here to provide training for our technicians, and they’ve been great in terms of sales support, too. We did a tradeshow with Vista for the annual Ohio Association of Broadcasters Engineers conference. Vista was very helpful in assisting us to show off the product and even came and worked the booth. Spyder looked great and got a lot of attention on the show floor.”

About Vista Systems
Vista Systems’ switchers have become the industry standard for live multiple-destination video and data mixed signal switching with real-time windowing and composition. For more information on Vista Systems, visit their website at www.vistasystems.net.

For More Information about NPI Audio Visual Solutions, contact Sam Avellone -
Director of Sales ( Phone : 216-514-5023 / E-mail: sam.avellone@npiav.com )

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Alcorn McBride Helps Animate Big Tex

A new and improved Big Tex was back welcoming guests to the 2013 State Fair of Texas thanks to SRO Associates and Texas Scenic and the innovative implementation of Alcorn McBride’s V4 Pro frame-accurate controller and AM4 Digital Audio Machine.

The iconic giant cowboy had been greeting fairgoers since 1952 when it was destroyed by fire near the end of last year’s State Fair. The rebuilt Big Tex was bigger and better than ever tipping the scales at 25,000 pounds and towering over the fairgrounds at 55 feet tall. He boasted a new red, white and blue outfit and boots decorated with the Texas and American flags, the State Capitol, bluebonnets, longhorns and other Lone Star State imagery.

Big Tex was no static figure. He waved his hand, turned his head and spoke pointing guests to The Million Dollar Midway and the Texas-size fun and wonders that awaited them. Over a period of 10 months SRO Associates designed and built the shape and visible parts of Big Tex at its studios in Boerne, Texas and partnered with Texas Scenic in San Antonio to engineer the structure and design the mechanisms that make the giant cowboy come to life.

Key to making Big Tex bigger and better was developing a new control system, says Louis Bohn, Lighting Designer & Technology Project Managerat SRO Associates. “Before, the control was hydraulic: There was a button panel like you might see on any fairground ride,” he explains. “But they wanted to add more movement to Big Tex and make those movements more fluid, so we elected to go with large industrial electric motors and a new user interface.”

Bohn had worked with Alcorn McBride on a previous project and turned to the manufacturer for its V4 Pro frame-accurate controller and AM4 Digital Audio Machine, which “really filled the bill” for Big Tex’s audio needs. “We needed a scheduler and interface to drive the motors, a very robust system that would run 24/7 and a system that allowed some audio mixing. That’s how I wound up with Alcorn McBride.”

Big Tex’s moving mouth had to function with the live voice of the giant cowboy as well as with prerecorded audio. “With the prerecorded audio we originally planned to do a timeline of mouth movements to audio. When we decided to actually interface with audio we had to come up with a system to make it more dynamic,” says Bohn.

With five motors inside the head of Big Tex SRO devised the idea of using a light organ device to take the incoming audio signal and split it into low-, mid- and high-frequency signals and give them a visual orientation. “We were able to convert that to numbers and go into the V4 Pro controller and apply numbers directly into SEW Eurodrive’s MOVI-PLC (Programmable Logic Controller), which controlled the motors,” Bohn explains. “We added an audio delay to compensate for the latency of communication. And everything worked fantastically well.”

He notes that “there was no textbook to reference” for solving the audio needs of the giant cowboy so ingenuity and innovation were essential to deliver his much enhanced audio capabilities. With the solution SRO developed, “we could analyze the audio and move his mouth accordingly,” Bohn says. “Based on amplitude, his mouth not only moved at the right time but also differently depending upon the audio. Big Tex opened his mouth more and gestured more depending upon the live or prerecorded audio. That way we didn’t have to preprogram the mouth movements for the prerecorded audio, which wouldn’t look the same – or as good – as the live audio.”

Alcorn McBride engineer Joy Burke says the V4 Pro served as the show controller for Big Tex, starting and stopping his performance via the Showtouch software interface from a touch panel. “The V4 Pro is a very reliable system, rock solid with no chance of downtime. It easily interfaced with the complex systems involved in this show and communicated with the MOVI-PLC as well as the AM4 audio player,” she says.

Specifically, the V4 Pro sent the MOVI-PLC “appropriate commands and toggle bits to allow it to follow the audio file and tell the PLC when to move Big Tex’s mouth up and down,” Burke explains. The V4 Pro triggered prerecorded audio tracks with a timeline and audio tailored to particular times of day by reading the audio values and sending commands as needed. For live audio, when the voice of Big Tex used the microphone the V4 Pro made the figure’s mouth movements coincide.

Bohn says he approached programming Big Tex as a lighting designer, making “individual modules to pull into different sequences. Any single movement required at least 12 bits of data. Big Tex had 80 prerecorded messages, and I didn’t want to do all that programming 80 different times. So the operator simply pressed a single button on the computer to get the whole thing started.”

He reports that Big Tex’s audio “worked really well” and gives kudos to Burke for being “instrumental in helping us line up all these systems. We all worked together to integrate everything, and Alcorn McBride updated firmware to tailor the system for us. Alcorn and Joy were phenomenal and very supportive of the project.”

Bohn believes Big Tex may be improved even further by the next State Fair. “We may add new movements other than his mouth, head and hand. We’d like to be able to have his forearm move for a much more natural wave. That will be a big upgrade.”

About Alcorn McBride:
Founded in 1986, Alcorn McBride is the leading manufacturer of show control, audio and video equipment for the themed entertainment industry, and a rapidly growing provider of audio and video systems for retail environments and transportation applications. Staffed by some of the industry’s best engineers and backed by outstanding customer support, the company has demonstrated great agility in bringing new designs to market. A hallmark of Alcorn McBride products is their durable, zero maintenance design. The company’s products provide consistent, reliable operation for audio and video playback applications worldwide. For more information, visit www.alcorn.com.

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“Electrosonic – 50 Years on the Audio-Visual Front Line” Published to Mark Company’s 50th Anniversary

Electrosonic celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, and to mark the milestone the company is publishing “Electrosonic – 50 Years on the Audio-Visual Front Line,” which celebrates five decades of achievements in the AV community.

The story of Electrosonic from its founding in 1964 to the present day is a complex one that spans the analog to digital revolution, the move to HD and 4K, and amazing innovations in display technology. The book tells this story in a series of chapters covering key aspects of the company’s first 50 years.

Electrosonic began as a two-room startup in London’s Greenwich vegetable market. The book’s first chapter, “A Short History,” tells how the fledgling firm became a multimillion-dollar international business with headquarters in Burbank, California and offices worldwide. Parallel stories chart changes of ownership, subsidiaries, related companies and acquisitions.

Chapter two, “Products and Technology,” reviews the many industry changes and challenges faced by Electrosonic in its 50 years in business. From the era of slide projectors and overhead projectors to 4K projection and network technology, Electrosonic has maintained a leadership position and developed many unique products. It was among the first to exploit the emerging technologies of electronic lighting control, multi-image slide projection and videowalls. From the start, Electrosonic combined the manufacturing and selling of products with the building of complete engineered systems. The product and systems portions of the business continued together through 2010 when the products side of the business, which by then represented a small portion of overall revenue, was sold.

Chapter three, “Projects,” reviews some of Electrosonic’s most impressive global projects, including multi-image spectaculars in 1970′s Iran, the world’s biggest videowall in Seville, Spain, in 1992, and massive projection displays at EXPO 2010 in Shanghai. These projects and more reveal how the company pushed the envelope in applying new technology, whether it was pushing 70mm film to the limit, implementing multi-channel dynamic sound systems, or achieving huge 3D images with the latest electronic projectors. The importance of long-term relationships with designers, suppliers and customers is also discussed.

Electrosonic has created new business units to support the changing needs of AV users across five decades and chapter four, “Service,” examines these developments from the early days when the principal service was “pulsing” (programming magnetic tapes) and then making “show copies”, to the more recent on-site staff support of major installations.

Electrosonic’s extraordinary success in business is a testament to its “People” who are recognized in chapter five. In 55 profiles of the company’s talented staff members, the book salutes the different personalities and skills, which have contributed to 50 years of growth, innovation and outstanding customer support.

The final chapter, “Contribution to the AV Industry,” details how Electrosonic has supported the development of the AV business by example, sponsorship and participation in trade events. It features a look at the company’s current ownership and governance.

Robert Simpson, one of the co-founders of Electrosonic, authored “Electrosonic – 50 Years on the Audio-Visual Front Line.” A graduate of Trinity College, Oxford and the former Chairman of Electrosonic Ltd., he is a frequent writer and lecturer on AV and lighting control topics and has several other books to his credit. Robert is a member of many professional organizations and the recipient of the 2008 InfoComm Distinguished Achievement Award.

“Electrosonic – 50 Years on the Audio Visual Front Line” is now available; those interested in purchasing a copy can visit www.electrosonic.com/50thbook to learn more.

About Electrosonic
Electrosonic, celebrating its 50th anniversary, is an international audio-visual company that creates tailored, state-of-the-art solutions for a wide range of markets including theme parks, museums, control rooms, and corporate meeting rooms. Since its founding in 1964, Electrosonic has built a strong reputation for working on complex projects, both large and small, and has developed lasting partnerships with customers and suppliers. Beyond complete integrated systems, Electrosonic provides a comprehensive scope of services including technical design, projector lamp sales, maintenance and operational support.

Learn more about Electrosonic. Visit http://www.electrosonic.com

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Clay Pak Lighting and grandMA2 Control Do the Honors at the Interactive Achievement Awards and AVN Awards in Las Vegas

Awards season is in full swing and every genre of entertainment has a gala awards ceremony. Clay Paky Alpha Spot lighting fixtures and grandMA2 control were on hand for both the Interactive Achievement Awards at the D.I.C.E. Summit, which celebrated the best in interactive entertainment, as well as the AVN Awards for the adult entertainment industry. A.C.T Lighting is the exclusive distributor for Clay Paky and MA Lighting in North America.

The Interactive Achievement Awards was held by the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The honors are also known as the D.I.C.E Awards, the acronym for Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain – the core tenets that power the annual D.I.C.E. Summit.

Lighting designer and programmer Chris Lose pixelmapped the entire stage with stock graphics and custom content implemented by the grandMA2. The pixelmapping enhanced sets crafted by creative director Chris Wu.

“Using grandMA was huge for us because we used the internal DMX Art-Net merging feature, which is unique to MA,” says Lose. “We usually have to do it externally. But this feature allowed us to take all the media, convert it to DMX info and send it to the rig. The grandMA2 made everything so easy; there were really no challenges for us.”

Lose also selected a complement of Clay Paky Alpha Spot HPE 1500s as front wash fixtures. “They were very impressive,” he reports. “We were able to get a nice CTO look and a lot of rock ‘n roll looks out of them.”

The AVN Awards take place annually during the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas. Dubbed the Oscars of Adult by Entertainment Weekly, the show is broadcast on Showtime Networks and everyone who is anyone in the adult industry attends.

Chris Lose served as house lighting designer for the AVN Awards at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino; Jeff Ravitz was the show lighting designer and David Zuckerman the programmer.

Lose again deployed Clay Paky Alpha Spot HPE 1500s for the ceremony, finding them “great for the camera as well as for nice rock ‘n roll beams. They just punched through everything else that AVN brought in.” Lose notes that the HPE 1500s are particularly effective for making skin tones look good on screen.

“I’m pleased with their lack of maintenance, too,” he says. “I haven’t had to work on them once. They always work perfectly and are super bright.”

Zuckerman programmed the awards show on a grandMA2. “He just migrated to the system from grandMA1 was really impressed by everything that had been added,” says Lose. “He loved the grandMA1 and loves the grandMA2 even more!”

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.

About Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is Las Vegas’ off-strip playground, just minutes and less than three miles from McCarran International Airport. The premier destination entertainment resort is owned by Brookfield Real Estate Finance Fund II and managed by WG-Harmon, LLC, a subsidiary of Warner Gaming, LLC. Built in 1995, the property completed a $750 million expansion in 2010. Hard Rock Hotel & Casino offers an energetic entertainment and gaming experience with the services and amenities associated with a boutique luxury resort hotel. The property is known for its innovative nightlife and music scene where acts such as The Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi, Paul McCartney, Incubus, Foo Fighters, Carlos Santana, Mötley Crüe and Guns N’ Roses have all performed. Features of the property include an 11-story Casino Tower with 640 guest rooms, 17-story Paradise Tower with 490 rooms and suites and the all-suite HRH Tower with 359 suites, eight spa villas and seven penthouse suites; 72,000 square feet of casino space featuring Peacock High-Limit gaming and Asian gaming amenities; 80,000 square feet of flexible meeting and convention space; more than $4 million in rare music memorabilia; Body English Nightclub; Reliquary Water Sanctuary, Spa & Salon; 4.5 acres of tropical pool paradise housing world-famous pool parties REHAB Sunday and RELAX Monday; live music/entertainment venues The Joint and Vinyl; Hart & Huntington Tattoo Co.; restaurants Culinary Dropout, Nobu, The Ainsworth, 35 Steaks + Martinis, Pink Taco, Mr. Lucky’s Café and ?Fú; a state-of-the-art fitness center and trendsetting retailers John Varvatos, Affliction, Love Jones and Rocks The Jewelers. For room availability and additional information call 800.HRD.ROCK (800.473.7625) or visit www.hardrockhotel.com. Follow Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest news and updates.

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WorldStage Helps Volkswagen “Think Blue” in Live Augmented Reality Presentation at LA Auto Show

The theme at Volkswagen’s press event at the 2013 LA Auto Show was “Think Blue,” and it was all that blue on stage and on screen that posed a challenge for WorldStage in creating a live augmented reality experience for the automaker.

WorldStage marked its third year servicing the VW press event at the auto show, but it was the first time that event producers, George P. Johnson, and creative content agency, Spinifex Group, asked WorldStage to tap its deep technical knowledge to help create an augmented reality element where live images were enhanced with pre-programmed CG effects. What complicated the technique was the fact that portions of the augmented reality presentation showcased a blue vehicle shot against a bluescreen background and the presenter, VW USA president and CEO Jonathan Browning, wore a blue suit. The many blue-toned elements made live keying a challenge, and WorldStage performed a lot of tests to ensure that it could key out the blue background while retaining the blue of the car and Browning’s wardrobe. The resulting presentation was a unique and enchanting look at the VW lineup for 2014.

VW’s “Think Blue” philosophy of sustainable mobility and environmental leadership was presented to a cadre of press eager to see three new vehicles: e-Golf, the company’s first fully-electric model in the US, which will soon be available in showrooms, and two concept cars, the sporty Design Vision GTI and Cross Blue Coupe. Browning addressed the audience from a drive-in blue set with a large LED wall mounted high behind him on the back wall.

“Normally, this kind of live action and graphics compositing would be done in a studio where you could really finesse things,” says WorldStage account manager Richard Bevan. “Then the pre-produced video would play back on the video display. Done in a studio, augmented reality would not have been that complicated. But all the playback and keying had to be done live at the auto show for all three of the car models. And one of the car models was a bright metallic blue.”

Preproduction at WorldStage’s Tustin office was “intense” he reports. Mock ups were constructed and different tones of blue for the set were tested to see which worked best with the complex keying. Although the exact conditions of the stage at the auto show couldn’t be duplicated off site, the R&D done by WorldStage in prepro was instrumental to pulling off a successful augmented reality presentation.

At the press event WorldStage provided three Hitachi HD1000 cameras. Two at the front of the stage captured tight shots of Browning and wide shots of him and the vehicles; a third was mounted on a Steadicam to cover the reveal of the cars driving on stage.

The motion graphics, with various levels of transparency, were designed to appear both in front of and behind the live vehicles. The shiny car could not reflect the blue stage or it would ruin the effect. At the same time the “countryside” background had to appear through the windows of each vehicle. During one segment the wheels of the car appeared to be turning and kicking up leaves as it traveled.

The compositing was performed in a Ross Vision 3.5 production switcher and complex custom masking in the shape of the vehicles was created using WorldStage Media Hubs. All of the graphics and video playback was sourced from two 4-channel Dataton WATCHOUT media servers for primary and back up. WorldStage used WATCHOUT’s alpha channel capabilities to guide the placement of content created by Spinifex Group.

WorldStage also filled the audio needs for VW integrating JBL VRX speakers with the public audio system on site. WorldStage supplied Shure Axient wireless mic system, which offered the most robust wireless system available, using dynamic spectrum management. “At a venue like the auto show there’s so much competing RF activity,” Bevan points out. “Axient is a relatively new, high-end system that constantly scans the airwaves looking for interference. It alerts you to any issues so the system can switch to a back up transmitter and change to a better frequency.”

At WorldStage Gary Kajikawa was the project manager, Carl McMillan did much of the testing and consulting, Mike Alboher the EIC, Alex Bright the WATCHOUT operator, Paul D’Amour the Ross programmer & operator and Gabe Benso the A1. The TD was Steve Oliker and the producer Robert Walker

WorldStage Inc., the company created by the merger of Scharff Weisberg Inc and Video Applications Inc, continues a thirty-year legacy of providing clients the widest variety of entertainment technology coupled with conscientious and imaginative engineering services. WorldStage provides audio, video and lighting equipment and services to the event, theatrical, broadcast and brand experience markets nationally and internationally.

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Electrosonic Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of its Founding

Electrosonic announces that March 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the company’s founding. In 1964 the company started with two rooms in London’s Greenwich vegetable market. Five decades later, Electrosonic is an international, multi-million dollar business with headquarters in Burbank, California, and offices worldwide.

Electrosonic’s story is complex but in many ways it parallels the history of audio-visual technology, and provides a window into how the industry and its services and products have changed.

Founded by Denis Naisbitt, Michael Ray and Robert Simpson, the company opened with the strapline “Electronic Control and Audio Systems”. From the start, Electrosonic combined the manufacturing and selling of products with the building of complete engineered systems. Key product categories included electronic lighting control, multi-image slide projection and videowalls. The product and systems portions of the business continued together through 2010 when the products side of the business, which by then represented a small portion of overall revenue, was sold.

“The 50 year anniversary marks an important milestone for the company as we look back on our incredible heritage of talent and accomplishments. Electrosonic is continually investing in new generations of talented staff through mentoring and education as we continue to push the limits of what AV technology can do,” says Jim Bowie, President of Electrosonic Group. “A key element of Electrosonic’s success, and one that we are very proud of, is our long and enduring relationship with designers, suppliers and customers.”

Electrosonic carried out many impressive and memorable projects over the last 50 years all around the world, from multi-image spectaculars in 1970s Iran and the world’s biggest videowall in Seville in 1992 to massive projection displays at EXPO 2010 in Shanghai. Electrosonic was often leading the way in applying new technology, whether it was pushing 70mm film to the limit, implementing multi-channel dynamic sound systems, or achieving huge 3D images with the latest electronic projectors.

Electrosonic’s historical project portfolio can be best summarized as embracing world EXPOs, lighting control, theater sound systems, experience shows, museums and visitor centers, theme parks, videowalls, control rooms and corporate AV.

World EXPO, or international exposition, work was a key business driver for Electrosonic from the start. Exposition work, starting with EXPO 67 Montreal, instilled in Electrosonic the desire to work internationally. More importantly, many influential people from around the world saw the shows, which in turn led to demands to emulate the work at home and globally. Electrosonic would go on to carry out installations in 15 different EXPOs.

In its present role as designer and integrator of complex systems, Electrosonic continues to exploit advances in technology. The business today serves three market sectors, each of which is treated on a global basis. The largest is “Entertainment”, followed by “Corporate” and “Control Rooms”. Beyond system engineering, Electrosonic has always offered ancillary services to further assist its clients. Today these include support services, managed services and technical design consulting.

Electrosonic will release a book about its history in late March 2014, with the title “Electrosonic – 50 Years on the Audio-Visual Frontline”. Written by co-founder Robert Simpson, the book presents a short history of the company, and chapters on its products, notable projects completed, its people and on the company’s contributions to the AV industry.

About Electrosonic
Electrosonic, celebrating its 50th anniversary, is an international audio-visual company that creates tailored, state-of-the-art solutions for a wide range of markets including theme parks, museums, control rooms, and corporate meeting rooms. Since its founding in 1964, Electrosonic has built a strong reputation for working on complex projects, both large and small, and has developed lasting partnerships with customers and suppliers. Beyond complete integrated systems, Electrosonic provides a comprehensive scope of services including technical design, projector lamp sales, maintenance and operational support.

Learn more about Electrosonic. Visit http://www.electrosonic.com

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Sound Investment A/V Invests in Vista Systems Spyder x20

Chicago-based Sound Investment A/V has purchased a Vista Systems Spyder x20 image processor for its production inventory. By stepping up to the Spyder, Sound Investment A/V is now equipped with the next level of professional tools that can attract new clients with multi-image needs or offer greater creativity and production efficiencies to existing customers.

Parent company Sound Investment, a consulting firm, founded Sound Investment A/V with Peter Vanek in 2000 as a rental and staging company offering sound, video, lighting, scenic and staging solutions. It has become a top-tier provider for the industry both nationally and internationally.

“The Spyder is our first Vista Systems product,” says Vanek. “We plan to use it for large-format corporate events, such as general sessions featuring multi-screen, multi-projector situations.”

Vanek says the Spyder was chosen for its “ease of use and flexibility as a system. It can accomplish anything producers might throw at us on the fly. Or we can prebuild a show and be ready to go when we arrive on site. With other systems you have to do all the work once you get to the venue.”

He also notes that the Spyder was an affordable choice. “The price point is great considering the number of inputs and outputs you get,” he reports.

Sound Investment A/V already expects the Spyder to experience heavy usage right off the bat. “We have some big projects coming up,” Vanek says. “One is a 13-screen show with projection mapping, various projector blends and multiple outputs. That’s typical of how we’re going to deploy Spyder. We’re really excited about adding it to our inventory.”

About Vista Systems
Vista Systems’ switchers have become the industry standard for live multiple-destination video and data mixed signal switching with real-time windowing and composition. For more information on Vista Systems, visit their website at www.vistasystems.net.

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Alcorn McBride Names Electori Co., Ltd. in Tokyo as its 2013 Distributor of the Year

Alcorn McBride, the leading manufacturer of control, audio and video equipment for the themed entertainment industry, has named Electori Co., Ltd. in Tokyo as the winner of its 2013 Distributor of the Year Award. Competitors for this first award from Alcorn McBride included all of the company’s international distributors.

“Electori has been our distributor in Japan for three years and has done a terrific job. They bring a high level of technical capabilities as well as strong relationships with top clients, including Tokyo Disneyland and Universal Studios Japan, which have helped build and sustain our ties in Japan,” says Larry Howard, Alcorn McBride Director of Sales.

Electori distributes the full range of Alcorn McBride products in the audio, video, control and lighting categories.

“It is a great honor to receive this award – we were quite surprised!” says Electori president Ted Hirakawa. “We believe that we were not merely evaluated by our business achievements but also by the attitude, stance and engagement of our sales, technical and marketing team. I’m very proud of that. I think the award will enhance the team’s confidence and increase their motivation in the future.”

Howard notes that as a specialty equipment company “before and after sales support is incredibly important” to Alcorn McBride. “Electori supplies technical expertise for our products across the board.”

“It’s an honor to distribute these products in Japan and to work with the great people at Alcorn McBride who are always so supportive of us,” adds Hirakawa. “We plan to extend our distribution and sales promotion for Alcorn McBride in this market so we can justify our Distributor of the Year Award more than ever!”

Howard says that since Electori came on board as the Alcorn McBride distributor in Japan the company has experienced significant growth in the region. “International expansion is a big focus for us while we work to maintain our very positive domestic sales levels, too,” he reports. “Solid Distributor partnerships are critical to our success.”

About Alcorn McBride:
Founded in 1986, Alcorn McBride is the leading manufacturer of show control, audio and video equipment for the themed entertainment industry, and a rapidly growing provider of audio and video systems for retail environments and transportation applications. Staffed by some of the industry’s best engineers and backed by outstanding customer support, the company has demonstrated great agility in bringing new designs to market. A hallmark of Alcorn McBride products is their durable, zero maintenance design. The company’s products provide consistent, reliable operation for audio and video playback applications worldwide. For more information, visit www.alcorn.com.

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Prelite Studios Helps Lighting Designer Bob Barnhart Envision Super Bowl XLVIII Halftime Show

Preparations for Super Bowl XLVIII’s Halftime Show began early and for lighting designer Bob Barnhart they involved using Prelite Studios’ previsualization services to get a jump on working with the actual lighting rig on site at New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium.

Barnhart had 16 previous Hafltime Shows under his belt starting as a gaffer and working his way up to primary lighting designer on four of them. “I hadn’t used Prelite before, but it proved to be a fantastic application,” he says. “We set up at PRG in Los Angeles where we worked for about seven days then moved the entire studio to the basement of the stadium. Because of the bad weather in the east we got the rig two days later than we wanted, but Prelite allowed lighting director/lighting programmer Pete Radice to continue to work with the timecode track three or four days before rehearsal began.”

Prelite’s Tom Thompson configured two Prelite systems, one with WYSIWYG software and one with Vision software, at PRG on January 7. The systems complemented each other with Vision used for its UVW-mapping abilities and WYSIWYG for its performance.

“There were over 200 Magic Panel 602 fixtures, which WYSIWYG ran really well, along with Clay Parky Sharpys, Best Boys, Color Blocks, Solaris Flares, RGB LED Tape, a moving drum set, four on-stage lifts and all of the video,” explains Prelite partner Tom Thompson. “The Vision system had all of the video, the Sharpys, the Flares and the Best Boys. Using the two systems enabled everyone to previsualize things without compromise.”

Thompson worked closely with WYSIWYG developer CAST to make sure he had current fixture files for instruments such as the Clay Paky A.leda B-EYE K20s. “CAST even provided a new executable file that extended to cover 200 universes,” he reports. “The current release is only good for 100 universes, but that gets eaten up rather quickly these days with Magic Panels fitting three to a universe. So we asked for a new file and CAST responded two days later. We also got excellent service from ESP, Vision’s developer, regarding files for the 8-channel Solaris Flare.”

“The Hafltime Show was so massive in terms of its integration, universes and channeling size,” says Barnhart. “We spent our time in LA figuring out how to get the entire system working. The virtual world showed any problems we might encounter, things we would only have discovered with the rig in realtime when everything is more expensive and it’s later in the schedule. We actually found out that we needed to rewrite some software for faster Ethernet and fiber optic systems that we didn’t know would be a problem.”

By the time Barnhart, Peter Radice and lighting director David Grill arrived at the stadium they had “a rough idea of the focus and color palette and a very good idea of the cueing,” Barnhart says. “So when we were working in realtime we knew what overall adjustments to make.”

Radice recalls the crew working “in brutal winter weather conditions” at the stadium. “We loaded in Monday two weeks before the game and rehearsals started Tuesday of the following week. We could modify cues while the guys were checking the rig. We weren’t waiting for each other so we made the most of our time. When you have a limited amount of time at the venue and a big show it helps to lay the groundwork before you get there. With Prelite we could even see where the lights hit the back of the stadium, which we couldn’t see in the booth.”

Radice says the Halftime Show was the first time he used any previsualization, and it made an impressive debut. “Tom provided a great Prelite set up; it helped us a lot.”

Jason Rudolph was the video programmer/director for the Halftime Show and Bruce Rodgers the set designer.

About Prelite

Prelite was founded in San Francisco February 2000 by Tom Thompson and Norm Schwab as a place for lighting designers and programmers to use technologies to previsualize lighting projects. Its success led to the launch of Prelite NY in June 2001 by Kim Grethen and Rodd McLaughlin. The bicoastal company provides studios where previsualization and creativity take center stage away from the distractions and interruptions of a chaotic work environment and where clients save time and money and minimize stress. Prelite also offers on-site previsualization services for those who prefer the convenience of working at the venue. For more information, visit www.prelite.com or contact Thomas Thompson at 415-883-7727.

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