A virtual press conference from Sound & Video Contractor

Archive by David Steinberg

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Tour Rolls Cross Country With Clay Paky

It wouldn’t be Christmas without Mannheim Steamroller. The distinctive ensemble is marking the 29th anniversary of its Christmas concert tours with a multimedia display featuring a light show and big-screen images and videos synchronized with their music. Lighting designer Richard Jackson has included Clay Paky Sharpy Washes in his rig for the first time.

Mannheim Steamroller debuted their first Christmas album in 1984 combining the group’s signature mix of baroque instruments and rock ‘n roll beats to give a fresh twist to holiday classics. This year two tours of six-member ensembles are playing 80 dates on a Christmas tour running from mid-November to late December.

Francesco Romagnoli, Clay Paky Area Manager for North and Latin America, commented, “It’s great to see our Sharpys added to such an iconic show. I’m glad that Mr. Jackson is getting good use out of them and I’m sure the audiences will enjoy them as well.”

“Mannheim Steamroller is the longest-running, best-selling Christmas show of all time,” declares Jackson, who has been the tour’s lighting designer for the last five years. “I design the show with the production manager and lighting director for the other tour. I go out with one of the tours and do all the programming as well.”

This year Jackson opted for 16 Sharpy Washes, from long-time Omaha-based equipment supplier TMS, as his primary wash units. “Thanks to the versatility of the light, they have become workhorses,” he says. “We have ten in the air and six on the ground. They do a lot of graphical stuff, high-beam stuff. I can go from a wide wash with great smooth coverage from ten of them then tighten them up and get nice beamy graphical stuff.

“What I really like about them is that they work great in the range of venues we play – from a small place with low trim to a big college auditorium or arena,” says Jackson. “I also like their speed – not just movement speed but the ability to change from a color wheel effect to a color mix wash almost instantly. They have also lowered my power consumption, which is I great. I think they’re fantastic!”

Jackson seems to have struck just the right note for the Christmas tour with his equipment. “All the gear has performed flawlessly even in the extreme temperature changes we experience,” he reports.

The LDs for the two tours are Richard Jackson and Patrick Haines and the lighting techs are Justin Borgelt, Tony Gibson and Andrew Shaw.

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Alcorn McBride Appoints Loren Barrows as Director of Business Development

Loren Barrows has been named Director of Business Development at Alcorn McBride, which is renowned for its show control, audio and video equipment for the themed entertainment industry and an array of other applications.

Barrows, who was already part of the business development group, will join the leadership team in charting the direction for the company championing internal and external customer service. She will also engage in business strategy and planning and partner with the sales force to pave the way for continued growth.

Barrows moves into the top business development role following the departure of Jeremy Scheinberg, who has launched the venture, www.herecomestrobo.com. The father of young children, Scheinberg is creating innovative and fun programs focusing on the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) curriculum. Scheinberg’s start-up features a storytelling plush robot “Trobo” and companion Apple iPad and Android adventures.

“Jeremy has been a key member of the Alcorn McBride team since 1996, and we will miss him. At the same time, he’s also a good friend, and we are all excited to see him follow his dream. We hope to see Trobo on everyone’s holiday gift list next year!” says Alcorn McBride’s CEO, Steve Alcorn.

“For nearly five years Loren has been a near-magical force here,” Alcorn continues. “Whether developing new customer relationships or organizing fun and creative activities for the Alcorn McBride family, Loren is indispensible. As her duties expand in her new role, I’m excited to hear the fresh insights and enthusiasm she brings to every project.”

Barrows is well prepared to take on her new position. “I’ve enjoyed working with Jeremy and learned so much from him,” she says. “I hope to build on his successes and grow our core product lines while keeping focus on our biggest strength – delivering above bar service and support experiences that will shock our customers.”

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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Vista Systems’ Spyders Captivate Passengers at the New Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles Airport

The new Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles Airport (LAX) opened after a $1.9 billion renovation that has earned the facility world-class status. The terminal features an Integrated Environmental Media System (IEMS) designed to create a unique passenger experience and a new source of non-aeronautical revenues for the facility. Five of the seven media features that comprise the IEMS use Vista Systems’ Spyder image processors to enhance passenger arrivals and departures.

“The Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX is the first and last impression of Los Angeles for nine million travelers every year,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti in a released statement. “This new terminal enhances passenger safety and security, while giving travelers the first-class airport experience they expect from a world-class city like Los Angeles.”

The high-profile project’s unique IEMS take the lead in offering a new revenue stream for airports nationwide. Developed by MRA International in concert with Los Angeles World Airport’s (LAWA) executive team, the IEMS built within the Bradley West terminal architecture offers the first corporate sponsorship programs in a U.S. airport.

Daktronics, the industry leader in designing and manufacturing electronic scoreboards, programmable display systems and large-screen video displays, has a very visible presence in the new terminal. To support the content for the displays that comprise the Welcome Wall, Bon Voyage Wall, Story Board, Time Tower and Destination Board Daktronics selected five Spyder X20s, four with 16 inputs and one with 8 inputs. “We had experience working with Vista Systems on a number of other projects and felt most comfortable with the Spyder,” says Bob Seeley, LE project engineer at Daktronics. Daktronics worked in concert with the designer of the media features, Marcela Sardi of Sardi Design, and Smart Monkeys who programmed the features, to achieve the design intent and functionality designed for each of the features.

“Vista Systems is proud to be part of the new Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX and its innovative media features,” says Victor Vettorello, Director of Application Engineering at Vista Systems. “Working in tandem with Daktronics’ displays, Vista Systems’ Spyders are delivering fun, artful and informative content that elevates the passenger experience a cut above any other airport.”

The Welcome Wall greets international passengers as they exit passport control and descend to baggage claim. A dramatic 80-foot LED wall, in portrait mode, requires the equivalent of four HD feeds. It bisects the passenger departure bridge with content that ranges from gorgeous atmospherics to joyful scenes of welcome. The Bon Voyage Wall gives a special send off to departing passengers as they clear security and cross the departure bridge. Daktronics’ 6mm LED screen, also in portrait mode, showcases LA residents jumping in super-slow motion in scenes reminiscent of legendary photographer Philippe Halsman’s Jumpology pictures.

Spyder’s powerful capabilities allow a single Spyder X20 to operate both the Welcome Wall and Bon Voyage Wall with a total of eight HD-SDI feeds.

Another Spyder is configured to operate the Destination Board where a total of four HD-SDI feeds and three DVI sources combine background images as well as flight info from the FIDS system. The curved Destination Board displays departure data while entertaining passengers with visuals of destination cities. The 80-foot wide Daktronics screen is flanked by fun facts, weather briefs and images related to the passengers’ travels. An arched LED crest shows graceful patterns tied to the display, such as graphics of national flags and subtle arrays of color.

A fourth Spyder operates the Story Board feature, which has a total of eight HD-SDI sources and one DVI image. The Story Board is a 120-foot long multi-panel LED display from Daktronics spanning the west end of the Great Hall. Also called The Voyage of Discovery, the Story Board tells narrative journeys, relates stories of travel and transformation, and shows stunning visual panoramas on a series of floating screens suspended on custom trussing.

A pair of Spyders supports the complex Time Tower. Built around the Great Hall’s elevator tower, it both tells time and reveals time as part of the travel experience. Its upper surface is composed of high-resolution 6mm Daktronics LEDs and integrates a functional clock face with fun content such as the mechanical clockwork Dance Time with Busby Berkeley-style dancers and a puzzle formed by interlocking pieces of luggage.

“We chose Spyders because we needed a processor that could support the high resolutions of the displays,” says Seeley. “The iconic Time Tower has a resolution of 3198 pixels tall and 4128 pixels wide if the display was unwrapped in 2D space. The end user can provide pixel-accurate content – with no scaling – using a series of off-the-shelf players. The X20′s ability to stitch together the eight 1080×1920 HD-SDI frames required for this media feature made it a perfect fit.”

According to Seeley, the Time Tower has 10 primary source feeds (eight HD-SDI and two DVI) plus 10 backup feeds. They are broken down into various DVI outputs to the Daktronics VIP-4060 display interface processor.

“The Spyders are performing well and, by all accounts, the systems have met or exceeded the client’s expectations,” Seeley reports. “As usual, the Vista support staff has been very good and accommodated the various scheduling requirements for the project.”

The IEMS project was directed by MRA International; the media features and content program were designed by Marcela Sardi of Sardi Design Inc., who acted as creative director for the content. Smart Monkeys Inc. was the System Designer and conceptualized the unique AV/IT system; Electrosonic did provided the system engineering and integration. Montreal’s Moment Factory was executive content producer for the media features; LA’s Digital Kitchen was content co-producer responsible for giving expression to the LAX brand across the features and developing the Destination Board content.

Alan Anderson of Smart Monkeys Inc. concluded, “We really pushed this system to the limit and forced products to work like they’ve never worked before. The Spyder took everything we threw at it. The flexibility of what we could do with it is responsible for the system we have at LAX today. The Spyder is very robust, very reliable and a very mature product. Its role in bringing content to the screens cannot be understated.”

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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WorldStage and World Premiere Events Give Vista High School Students the Red-Carpet Treatment

It looked like a Hollywood premiere and everyone attending was a star when World Premiere Events (WPE) and WorldStage rolled out the red carpet to honor 100 students at Vista High School for their outstanding achievements.

“World Premiere Events celebrates the dedication of young people to their communities by partnering with high schools to create red-carpet events to honor students who volunteer for special programs,” says Shawn Oatey of WorldStage. “Upon completion of the students’ volunteer work, WPE comes in and hosts a Hollywood-style movie screening to recognize the students. It’s a unique way to salute young people who give their time and talents to their community, and WorldStage is proud to offer our support. It’s a cool opportunity for us to give back to the kids who have given so much of themselves in these programs.”

The latest gala evening in Vista, California served as a fundraiser for the school’s continuing community-based outreach program for students. “The red carpet is usually reserved for movie stars and celebrities, but on this special night the real stars of the show were the students being honored,” says Vangie van Esch, director of event management at WPE. “With the help of WorldStage we transformed Vista High School’s gymnasium into a movie theater and created the feel of a real Hollywood premiere. The students being honored drove up in limousines and were met by actor Noel G, who has appeared in ‘The Fast and The Furious,’ ‘Training Day’ and ‘Bruce Almighty.’ It was their night to shine!”

“It was hard to believe the front our gym would be turned into a complete red carpet experience,” says Amy a student who was recognized for her work with the Character Leader program on campus. “Not only was it the first time I was able to ride in a limo, but I was greeted by dozens of cheerleaders and hundreds of people applauding me. ME! The red carpet and atmosphere made me feel like a movie star!”

“WorldStage is pleased to assist WPE and support these events,” says Gregg Whitaker of WorldStage. “We have provided video projection and audio for the movies and will be offering WPE our expertise as they navigate the technical side of these events and expand their reach nationwide.”

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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Clay Paky Spends Thanksgiving with Lady Gaga and The Muppets

What’s Thanksgiving without The Muppets? Or Lady Gaga? Or all of them appearing together in ABC’s “Lady Gaga & The Muppets Holiday Spectacular” with guests Sir Elton John, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Ru Paul. It was definitely an occasion to roll out Clay Paky Sharpys and Sharpy Washes.

Lighting designer Tom Beck got a call for the show the Monday before the Friday load in as Lady Gaga was finishing her latest album and time was running short.

“I really wanted to use Sharpys and Sharpy Washes,” says Beck who grabbed 20 of the former and 23 of the latter from the inventory of ELS. “It was the first time I had the chance to use the Washes, which I really love. I wouldn’t mind trying a whole rig of just Sharpy units.”

The set designed by Tom Lenz featured “a lot of curves and arches – it was beautiful,” Beck reports. “I put up an arched truss with half a 60-foot radius and lined it with alternating Sharpy Washes and beams, mostly for effects and as a backdrop to the whole set. It looked really spectacular. We also had some more Sharpy fixtures on the floor. I was quite happy with all of them. I love the beams and the Washes were terrific – a great little unit.”

Programmer Mark Butts had used the Sharpy Washes on several projects but this was his first for television. “I was curious about how they were going to work, and they turned out to be really awesome. The Washes get almost as narrow as the Sharpy beams but have color mixing and zoom so you can use them as a wash light. They’re really fast and do all the stuff that Sharpy is known for. We also had a fairly low trim in the TV studio, so the lights worked well in that situation – they were compact and bright, a real winner!”

Butts notes that there’s nothing like spending holidays with The Muppets. “I grew up with them, so it’s the coolest thing in the world to do something with them. I spent the morning doing pick ups with Animal! It was such a fun show to work on – a real special experience.”

Francesco Romagnoli, Clay Paky Area Manager for North and Latin America, commented, “There were three stars on television that night: Justin Timberlake, The Muppets and the Clay Paky Sharpys. And of course Mr. Beck and Mr. Butts are all stars in the lighting arena. We are proud to be part of this program with so many luminaries.”

A.C.T Lighting is the exclusive North American distributor for Clay Paky.

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WorldStage Helps New Yorkers Engage in “Talking Transition” as New Mayor Prepares to Take Office

As the New York mayoralty transitions from the Bloomberg era to the de Blasio era, New Yorkers were asked to share their views about the city’s future in an innovative citywide effort, “Talking Transition.” WorldStage provided extensive lighting support for the tent-like complex at Hudson Square at Canal and Varick Streets in Manhattan, which served as the initiative’s home base.

The nonpartisan project, Produced by Jennifer Kurland of production glue, was brought to NYC by the Atlantic Philanthropies, Brooklyn Community Foundation, Ford Foundation, NYCT, New York Foundation, The New York Women’s Foundation, North Star Fund, Open Society Foundations and Rockefeller Brothers Fund. It was designed to initiate conversation amongst New Yorkers about what was important to them in the next administration.

The Duarte Square headquarters consisted of a 500-person meeting space that hosted programs and conversations on a wide range of public policy issues from taxes and infrastructure to lessons learned from Superstorm Sandy. UVLD supplied the lighting design for the “Talking Transition” HQ; production glue produced the event.

“We did the environmental lighting, the general illumination and lit the signage,” says UVLD lighting designer Greg Cohen. “In addition to the main stage, where headliners like Matt & Kim did a special DJ set, there were two large environmental tents that called for both accent and mood lighting. WorldStage and its vice president/director of lighting Terry Jackson gave us great support.

Cohen was challenged by the fact that the “Talking Transition” headquarters was a temporary structure – in a season where winter set in well before its arrival on the calendar. “The weather and wind determined how much gear could be hung,” he notes. “Tom Bussey at production glue encouraged the team to ground support – rather than hang – most of the fixtures. While there was never a question of safety, no one wanted the audience to wonder at the lighting rig swaying in the wind..”

Cohen points out that the scenic design evolved as the priorities of the initiative changed. “We thought there would be a lot of LED and video, so initially we were concerned about controlling daylight. But as the client honed their interests and made the space more about community dialogue and a well-illuminated public space than about technology, we opted for a clear tent roof so the daylight would just stream in. We made no attempt to control the lighting during the day. We prioritized lighting around the available light and gave it an environmental feel at night.”

The central scenic element was milk crates,. “We made milk crate chandeliers using WorldStage’s Color Kinetics iColor Cove fixtures,” says Cohen. “Outside there were big milk crate arrows with iColor Coves for chasing light. We also were able to add bare bulbs to milk crates on site to give the accent illumination a found object feel.”

Cohen also deployed a number of Martin MAC Aura washes, which he calls “very camera-friendly LED fixtures, which are extremely lightweight. We were thrilled that WorldStage was able to provide them in quantity.”

WorldStage also supplied VARI*LITE 2500 spots, Elation EPAR QA LED PARs, Litepanels1x1s and Source 4 ellipsoidals and PARs. The company provided a full grandMA console and a grandMA2 Light for lighting control.

At production glue, Jack Hilley was technical director.

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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Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Tour Rolls Cross Country With Clay Paky, MDG and grandMA2 Gear

It wouldn’t be Christmas without Mannheim Steamroller. The distinctive ensemble is marking the 29th anniversary of its Christmas concert tours with a multimedia display featuring a light show and big-screen images and videos synchronized with their music. Lighting designer Richard Jackson has included Clay Paky Sharpy Washes in his rig for the first time along with an MDG Atmosphere hazer and grandMA2 Light console. A.C.T Lighting is the exclusive distributor of all of those brands in North America.

Mannheim Steamroller debuted their first Christmas album in 1984 combining the group’s signature mix of baroque instruments and rock ‘n roll beats to give a fresh twist to holiday classics. This year two tours of six-member ensembles are playing 80 dates on a Christmas tour running from mid-November to late December.

“Mannheim Steamroller is the longest-running, best-selling Christmas show of all time,” declares Jackson, who has been the tour’s lighting designer for the last five years. “I design the show with the production manager and lighting director for the other tour. I go out with one of the tours and do all the programming as well.”

This year Jackson opted for 16 Sharpy Washes, from long-time Omaha-based equipment supplier TMS, as his primary wash units. “Thanks to the versatility of the light, they have become workhorses,” he says. “We have ten in the air and six on the ground. They do a lot of graphical stuff, high-beam stuff. I can go from a wide wash with great smooth coverage from ten of them then tighten them up and get nice beamy graphical stuff.

“What I really like about them is that they work great in the range of venues we play – from a small place with low trim to a big college auditorium or arena,” says Jackson. “I also like their speed – not just movement speed but the ability to change from a color wheel effect to a color mix wash almost instantly. They have also lowered my power consumption, which is I great. I think they’re fantastic!”

Controlling the lights is a grandMA2 light, Jackson’s “console of choice.” A veteran grandMA user, he made the switch to grandMA2 Light on last year’s tour. “The power of the desk is great, and the software is extremely intuitive and very easy to use,” he says. “We can create a lot of things a lot faster; I can program complicated things and it’s always rock solid.”

Jackson, who is president of Last Minute Lighting, LLC, took advantage of running grandMA 3D on his own command wing to do previs for the tour. “grandMA 3D is a major tool, an absolutely wonderful tool that I use for all my jobs,” he says. “I did previs at home on my command wing to start programming, cloning fixtures and solving problems. It was great to get a feel for the desk. Then I spent a week at TMS while the crews were prepping the system to wrap up previs on the console we took on the road.”

Also on the tour is an MDG Atmosphere hazer, which Jackson calls “TMS’s go-to hazer – and my favorite hazer as well. I love that we can get it every year. It’s quiet, which is very important. And there’s no mess with it. I don’t get any complaints about using oily equipment. It’s really nice how it creates haze that hangs in the air, too. It lasts a lot longer than haze manufactured by other hazers. I can fill the room up, turn off the machine and still have haze in the air for an hour or more.”

Jackson seems to have struck just the right note for the Christmas tour with his trio of Clay Paky, MDG and grandMA equipment. “All the gear has performed flawlessly even in the extreme temperature changes we experience,” he reports.

The LDs for the two tours are Richard Jackson and Patrick Haines and the lighting techs are Justin Borgelt, Tony Gibson and Andrew Shaw.

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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WorldStage Offers Viz:140, Merging Live Tweeting and Professional Presentations

Viz:140, the professional software tool that captures, curates, visualizes and presents social media on any number of displays, is available for rental exclusively through WorldStage Inc. Viz:140 (formerly called CommuniType) was developed by Pretty Extreme Inc. to give presenters, party planners and content producers ultimate control over social media content. Much more than a media server, Viz:140 allows users to program a show with any combination of data sources, filter that data into meaningful content, then visualize it onscreen in customizable and unique ways.

With the ubiquity of Twitter, the need to bring Tweets into the presentation environment and provide immediate, engaging media sharing to large audiences and visitor groups is greater than ever.

“Making Twitter beautiful is our goal,” says Shelly Sabel, director of design at WorldStage. “Other visualizers are very basic: they simply display the font that’s native to Twitter but Viz:140 makes the content exciting. It encourages engagement with event participants and is a great tool for experiential marketing, big conferences and trade shows.”

Viz:140 developer Josh Silverman has made the visually regimented Twitter “scalable and designable,” notes Sabel. Content can be branded and customized or users can select graphical themes – font styles, colors, backgrounds, images – created by WorldStage. “We have created templates for plug-and-play usage, which can be tailored for a variety of presentation modes” she explains. “We can also embed video content as a background behind incoming Twitter and Instagram feeds. In addition, this software can archive hashtags and output them as a word cloud. Viz:140 is a very flexible tool.”

Viz:140′s node-based display system can drive any number of displays and offers an integrated content production and control interface. In addition to Twitter feeds, data input modules receive inputs from SMS, email, RSS, files, network folders, Instagram and PollEverywhere.com.

“The direct link with Instagram is cool,” says Sabel. “If an image captured at an event has a hashtag it can be discovered or geotagged. And, we now have the ability to connect with PollEverywhere and create real-time audience interaction and response.” VIZ:140′s real-time functionality immediately transforms poll data into compelling bar charts, pie charts and backgrounds that engage event participants.

Viz:140 has been used for corporate events large and small; the system’s flexibility makes it an excellent choice for integration with an A/V system of any size or complexity.

Recently, WorldStage supplied Viz:140 to George P. Johnson for a dealer meeting in Chicago, to InVision Communications for Oracle Open World in San Francisco, and a number of recent HBO premiere events across the country. The system is available exclusively for rental through WorldStage Inc.

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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Carnegie Science Center Selects Alcorn McBride’s V16 Pro Controller for The Works Theater Automated Programming and Live Events

When The Works Theater at Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh needed an equipment upgrade for its aging, proprietary automation system it discovered that Alcorn McBride’s V16 Pro top-of-the-line controller filled the bill.

Carnegie Science Center is dedicated to educating, entertaining and inspiring through programs in science, sports and technology. The Works Theater showcases dazzling demonstrations in a one-of-a-kind industrial setting.

“The theater has been a multimedia space for cutting-edge technologies for more than 20 years, but when its automation equipment started dying and was no longer supported by the manufacturer we began to look for a replacement,” says Doug DeHaven, AV specialist/robotics at Carnegie Science Center. “There didn’t seem to be much on the market that allowed us to automate a theater like we did. Many of the systems out there were expensive and custom-built. But we happened to have an exhibit that featured Alcorn products; it had been working for four years with no issues. So we researched the company, talked to a few Alcorn engineers who were fantastic and ordered the V16 Pro for the theater.”

According to DeHaven, Alcorn McBride’s V16 Pro was “unheard of in this market,” where “a lot of show controllers are very fixed in terms of what they do: It’s difficult to make live, last-minute decisions with them” for live events in the theater.

DeHaven decided to pair the “robust hardware” of the V16 Pro with “easy programming” of QLab software as the multimedia cueing platform. “Our theater has a lot of hardware,” he explains. “We have a 100-year old 10-foot tall, 1.2 million volt Tesla Coil that we need to control. We also have a liquid nitrogen fog machine that takes a lot of control to make it work right. Plus two pan-tilt-zoom cameras and eight video projectors for the screens that ring the theater. We need to run their content and turn the projectors on and off.”

DeHaven designed the system so the V16 Pro acts as the back end for QLab and allows it to work dynamically with commercial gear as well as the AV equipment. “Alcorn and QLab make a perfect combination,” he says. “We use the V16 Pro to interface with our original controls, which are based on MIDI commands. For example, if the fire alarm goes off, it tells the V16, which will shut everything down. We did a touch interface – Alcorn McBride software is amazing. The display output is very helpful as it keeps track of all commands. The system is also set up so we can just use the V16 on its own as a live room console.”

He reports that he had “all the V16 stuff working before anything else. It’s very easy to use, and Alcorn manuals are amazing. I never had a company work so well with us.”

DeHaven believes that The Works Theater “may be using the V16 Pro in a way very few other Alcorn customers do. We not only wanted the reliability and interfacing capability of Alcorn equipment but also the ability to make realtime show control changes for live events – we have multiple different shows in one space throughout the day. So I found a way to marry Alcorn and QLab products to accomplish this.”

He notes that, “of all the vendors I have worked with, Alcorn McBride stands out as one of the best companies ever from the design of the equipment to the friendly and knowledgeable staff and the great little details in the manuals. Overall, it has been a fantastic experience. In the future, I’ll choose only Alcorn McBride products. I’m now a life-long customer!”

DeHaven specified, designed and installed the show control system and infrastructure and programmed the V16 Pro and touch interface. He also designed the communication protocol between the devices and systems. Dave Hart, in lighting and sound, handled the QLab show creation. Electrician Rick Kwiatkowski helped get the wiring infrastructure in place that permitted control of the Tesla Coil and liquid nitrogen fog machine.

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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Clay Paky Sharpys, Sharpy Washes and grandMA Spend Thanksgiving with Lady Gaga and The Muppets for ABC Holiday Special

What’s Thanksgiving without The Muppets? Or Lady Gaga? Or all of them appearing together in ABC’s “Lady Gaga & The Muppets Holiday Spectacular” with guests Sir Elton John, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Ru Paul. It was definitely an occasion to roll out Clay Paky Sharpys and Sharpy Washes controlled by a grandMA2 console. A.C.T Lighting is the exclusive distributor of both product lines in North America.

Lighting designer Tom Beck got a call for the show the Monday before the Friday load in as Lady Gaga was finishing her latest album and time was running short.

“I really wanted to use Sharpys and Sharpy Washes,” says Beck who grabbed 20 of the former and 23 of the latter from the inventory of ELS. “It was the first time I had the chance to use the Washes, which I really love. I wouldn’t mind trying a whole rig of just Sharpy units.”

The set designed by Tom Lenz featured “a lot of curves and arches – it was beautiful,” Beck reports. “I put up an arched truss with half a 60-foot radius and lined it with alternating Sharpy Washes and beams, mostly for effects and as a backdrop to the whole set. It looked really spectacular. We also had some more Sharpy fixtures on the floor. I was quite happy with all of them. I love the beams and the Washes were terrific – a great little unit.”

Programmer Mark Butts had used the Sharpy Washes on several projects but this was his first for television. “I was curious about how they were going to work, and they turned out to be really awesome. The Washes get almost as narrow as the Sharpy beams but have color mixing and zoom so you can use them as a wash light. They’re really fast and do all the stuff that Sharpy is known for. We also had a fairly low trim in the TV studio, so the lights worked well in that situation – they were compact and bright, a real winner!”

According to Beck, the grandMA2 is the only console he uses anymore. He likes the system for big shows, like the holiday spectacular, and when two programmers work in tandem because grandMA2 networking “works delightfully.”

Butts found the grandMA2 especially handy for the Muppets and Lady Gaga show whose tight turnaround meant he had little time to prepare. “The shooting schedule was really compressed. The last two hours we were there they were performing off the cuff, and I got about 30 seconds notice. I just started diving in to create effects and cues completely on the fly. grandMA2 does that really well. It has great effects and great movement and quickly came up with stuff I was really happy with.”

Butts notes that there’s nothing like spending holidays with The Muppets. “I grew up with them, so it’s the coolest thing in the world to do something with them. I spent the morning doing pick ups with Animal! It was such a fun show to work on – a real special experience.”

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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