A virtual press conference from Sound & Video Contractor

Archive by David Steinberg

grandMA2 and Clay Paky Sharpys Work Packed Houses at the 2013 ESSENCE Festivalä in New Orleans

Crowds turned out in record numbers for the 19th annual ESSENCE Festival in New Orleans. A-list artists including Beyoncé, LL Cool J, Jill Scott, Tamia, Janelle Monáe, and others packed venues throughout The Big Easy. The festival was staged by ESSENCE Communications and produced by Solomon Group, a New Orleans-based entertainment production company which supplied various equipment including grandMA2 consoles and Clay Paky Sharpy lighting fixtures to eight stages across town. A.C.T Lighting is the exclusive distributor of MA Lighting and Clay Paky products in North America.

“With great some support from VER, Solomon Group supplied gear to several stages, including five in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, two in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and one in Woldenberg Park,” says Matt Foucheaux, Senior Production Manager at Solomon Group. “We used a total of four grandMA2s. The Main Stage at the Superdome had two grandMA2 full-size units accompanied with two fader wings. Both the Center Stage and the Empowerment Experience Stage in the Convention Center had grandMA2 Lights.”

Foucheaux, who also served as the lighting designer for the Main Stage, selected the grandMA2 for its popularity among designers and directors working the festival. “It’s the console of choice for most people in the industry,” he says. “We know it well, which meant we could help our guest designers program their show. We were also able to send plots and patches to the designers ahead of time so they could pre-program. That was very helpful since their time on-site was extremely limited. We hope to utilize an off-site grandMA2 3D suite in the future. Given the limited time designers have to program their show, I feel like adding this piece will enhance their shows, and take some stress away from the time crunch that these festivals bring”

Foucheaux and festival programmer, Ryan Stumpp, built many presets that would help the guest designers. Since there was such limited time to program, it helped for these designers to come in and have a good amount of presets in their back pocket” “All of our NPUs and networking for the main stage was behind the stage which was around 350′, so we utilized a fiber network to carry all 22 universes of data”

Foucheaux deployed 65 chrome Clay Paky Sharpys for the Main Stage at the Superdome, which he says looked striking against the black truss that Solomon Group utilized onstage. “We built vertical columns between the LED screens and hung Sharpys inside of them to create the ability to show some really powerful aerial beam looks,” he says. “We also hung some above the IMAG screens, which were programmed at times to rake would go out into the audience.”

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 stocks, sells and supports their inventory, and . The company provides superior customer service and value for money to a diverse client base.all of its clients.

For more information, call 818-707-0884.

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Electrosonic Continues Southeast Expansion with Appointment of Senior Systems Consultant Les Hill to Orlando Office

Electrosonic has appointed Senior Systems Consultant, Les Hill, to its Orlando office to reinforce the company’s commitment to audio-visual service and systems engineering support for Florida’s large theme park and tourist industry.

Electrosonic is a leading national and global AV systems integrator. Its portfolio includes many of the highest profile theme park attractions, museums and visitor centers in the world. The company has worked closely with the leading theme park developers in Florida since it opened its first US office in 1972.

Les will be responsible for expanding new business opportunities and building on existing partnerships. He joined Electrosonic in 2005 at the company’s Burbank, California, headquarters and is responsible for many of Electrosonic’s West Coast and Asia entertainment projects in the museum, theme park and live entertainment markets.

“I’m thrilled with the opportunity to support Electrosonic’s business in the Southeast,” says Les. “I’m looking forward to bringing my many years of experience in the Entertainment market to further enhance our support for our clients.”

“The Entertainment market in the Southeast is a key business area for Electrosonic,” added Bryan Hinckley, Electrosonic’s Business Development Manager of Themed Entertainment. “Les brings an unmatched experience in the theme park and museum markets that will help us develop new business as well as support our existing clients and ongoing projects.”

Les has spent over 25 years in the themed entertainment market. Prior to joining Electrosonic, Les worked for Universal Studios as Area Director and Technical Manager during the construction of Universal Studios Japan. He was also the Show/Ride Manager for the Indiana Jones Ride at Disneyland and for the Splash Mountain Ride at Walt Disney World. He also spent several years as Project Director for SimEx-Iwerks where he participated in the development of the company’s extremely popular Turbo Tour motion based systems and 4D seat products, and managed dozens of special venue theaters around the world.

About Electrosonic
Electrosonic 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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grandMA2 Rocks Bon Jovi’s Because We Can: The Tour

Because We Can is Bon Jovi’s 15th tour, and grandMA2 is playing a key role as the Jersey rockers play 92 dates around the world during an almost year-long gig. A.C.T Lighting is the exclusive distributor of MA Lighting in North America.

Because We Can supports Bon Jovi’s studio album, “What About Now,” whose lead single gave the tour its name. Uniquely, the band’s arena and stadium shows are completely different although four grandMA2s work front of house: Two grandMA2 full-size units are dedicated to lighting, two grandMA2 lights are devoted to video and there are 8 NPUs. All exist on the same Art-Net network.

Performance Environment Design Group’s Doug “Spike” Brant conceived the arena show design as a kinetic sculpture with a lot of movement. By contrast, the stadium show design transforms the entire stage into the front end of a 1959 Buick Electra with the band playing in the 130-foot wide grille flanked by four headlights each 10 feet in diameter. The headlights are made of Chromlech Elidy-S panels. TAIT engineered and built the muscle car set, complete with New Jersey license plate.

The 60-foot multi-level stage section where the band performs is the only common element in both the arena and stadium shows; it provides familiarity to the rockers at both venue types and is easily set up from date to date.

Eric Marchwinski, the tour’s lighting programmer, previsualized and programmed the lighting for both the arena and stadium tours. Control Freak Systems’ Kirk Miller, the tour’s video programmer and operator, did the same for the video elements. “Eric and I tied ourselves together via Art-Net,” Miller explains. “We shared a lot of control over things like the automated columns for the projection during the arena tour. Faced with the challenges of automation, it was great that we could control our own motion presets.”

According to Marchwinski, “there was an incredible time crunch for the arena tour. grandMA 3D proved to be an integral part of programming offline. We were able to do everything with an extreme degree of accuracy. We used 16-bit motion channels that were embedded into the content, which gave us thousands of DMX values. The fact that grandMA 3D let us put in physical values meant we could look at it in a number of ways.”

“The grandMA2 is a very comprehensive system that we stretched to its full potential,” he reports. “No other console would have allowed us such direct control and amazing data management. In fact, the grandMA2′s flexibility made it a show control console instead of just a lighting console.”

For the arena shows Marchwinski also programmed control of 32 winches with lights on them plus 10 lighting towers in the back. “We have feedback coming from the [TAIT/FTSI] Navigator control software for the winches,” he says. “We can control things in feet and degrees.”

Working together, TAIT and Control Freak Systems created a program that allowed the grandMA2 to send control commands to the Navigator software. Miller explains, “We could program automation like lighting – the grandMA2 made it unbelievably easy to manage that data just like you would a moving light. Only it was a 2,000 pound video column instead.”

Miller, who has been using the grandMA2 for close to three years, agrees with Marchwinski that the platform is more than a lighting console. “We don’t look at grandMA2 as a lighting or video desk but as a show control desk – one control surface firing off everything,” he says. “For this show, there was no debate-that was the control system we were going to use.”

On the arena tour the grandMA2s are controlling four media servers, three Encores via CFS Encore Bridge, and Navigator. The use of the grandMA2 in the complex control system has proven to be a distinct plus for Miller and Marchwinski. For the stadium system, either the lighting or video grandMA2s can control the LED tiles as well as the Elidy-S panels. Marchwinski creates numerous color tricks by taking control of the 120 LED tiles in the center grille of the stage.

“The support we get from A.C.T and MA has been great,” Miller says. “They help us solve problems and push the limits of the desk and make things happen. grandMA 3D is amazing – no other product on the market offers such a feature. It gave us the power to do the show well in advance of getting the video columns – we relied heavily on grandMA 3D for this.”

Sooner Routhier is the lighting director of the Bon Jovi tour.

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Electrosonic Helps Launch Space Shuttle Atlantis Exhibit, Newest Attraction at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex near Orlando just unveiled its latest blockbuster space exploration attraction, Space Shuttle AtlantisSM, at what is now the new home of the historic spacecraft. Working in concert with the operators Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts as well as with the designer firm PGAV Destinations, Electrosonic participated in the four-phase design consulting process, after which they completed the AV integration and installation of the headline attraction.

The 90,000-square foot exhibit tells the story of NASA’s Space Shuttle Program with multimedia presentations that feature more than 60 interactive exhibits and AV simulators. These give visitors a look at the 33 missions of Atlantis, including the maintenance of the Hubble Space Telescope and the building of the International Space Station.

Earlier this year Electrosonic provided AV support for the reconfigured entry area into the park. Now the company has led the way in using leading-edge technology to give visitors an unparalleled up-close-and-personal experience with the mammoth orbiter.

Just as with the park’s entry area, Electrosonic’s Design Consulting team got the Atlantis project off the ground, serving as AV consultant to architects PGAV Destinations. Electrosonic’s Yiannis Cabolis was the designer of record. Gary Barnes was Electrosonic’s project manager and Toni Losier and Andrew Kidd the account executives.

“From the outset we wanted to combine the architecture of Space Shuttle Atlantis with technology in a way that had never been done before. The fact that Electrosonic already had a track record of delivering audio/visual systems to some of the biggest and most complicated attractions in Orlando was a big factor in our selecting them for the initial consulting,” says Emily Howard, AIA, project architect at PGAV Destinations.

After that consulting phase was completed Electrosonic was brought on board by Delaware North Companies, which manages the operation of the venue. “Throughout the installation process, the design consulting group within Electrosonic remained engaged, representing our interests as architects and exhibit designers and ensuring that the design intent and functionality were maintained and protected throughout the design-and-build process,” Howard notes.

After passing by the entrance with its full-scale vertical replica of Atlantis’s 18-story tall external tank and two solid rocket boosters, visitors enter the building containing the Atlantis attraction itself. Designed by PGAV Destinations in the form of two sweeping “wings” representing the Space Shuttle’s launch and return, the building’s outer layer is iridescent hues of orange and gold representing the fiery glow of re-entry while the shimmering gray tiles represent the underside of the orbiter.

Visitors ascend the entry ramp where 26 speakers, including ceiling and surface-mounted box types, are installed and fed by a multi-channel server in the Electrical Equipment Room (EER). They arrive at a batching area and begin learning about the history of the space program while an LED countdown clock shows the time remaining before the start of the next multimedia pre-show. The pre-show gives historical context to the upcoming exhibits, the role that Atlantis played in the Space Shuttle Program and how the program has paved the way for NASA’s next generation of manned space flight.

In the pre-show theater four Projection Design F35 2560×1600 video projectors are edge blended in a 2×2 configuration for the main screen’s immersive experience. Sixteen Projection Design F32 1400 x 1050 video projectors edge blended in groups of four add video content to four arches.

“This is a very high-resolution video mapping application not commonly associated with visitor attractions and the display of ‘museum-like’ artifacts,” Cabolis notes. The Projection Design units were chosen for their extreme reliability, color accuracy and the “bespoke installation options you need when you are designing for a project like Space Shuttle Atlantis,” he says. The show is controlled and synchronized using Medialon show control.

Eighteen speakers, including four subwoofers, deliver audio sourced from a 16-channel player/processor linked to the video servers through time code.

An 110×20 foot, 8mm LED wall acts as a backdrop to the orbiter. During the pre-show presentation it displays the earth as the Atlantis is revealed. The display is bolted onto a sub frame provided by Electrosonic and anchored from the back to the adjacent wall.

Electrosonic selected individual multi-head 7thSense custom-configured Delta media servers for the batching area, preshow and LED backdrop. “These servers are typically found in digital planetariums or as play-out media services in high-demand multimedia interactives and high-value attractions worldwide,” says Cabolis. “The servers are physically locked to each other so independent timelines can be frame-accurately triggered giving visitors a perfect continuous show as they progress from the batching area to the excitement of the orbiter Atlantis reveal.” Electrosonic also worked closely with Mousetrappe who created the spectacular content for the show.

Once out of the pre-show, visitors find themselves in the main exhibit space with the massive Atlantis itself. The orbiter is supported by numerous artifacts, interactive and simulation exhibits as well as two additional theaters.

The Hubble Close-up Movie Wall highlights the famed space telescope whose stunning images are displayed via two Projection Design F35 video projectors; eight speakers supply audio. A life-size model of the telescope is also on view.

The International Space Station Micro Gravity Theater gives a realistic view of astronauts aboard the ISS. It features a large TransScreen, a translucent membrane that acts as the projection surface for a pair of 10,000-lumen projectors installed behind, and at an angle to, the transparent material. Audio is fed to eight speakers, and a 26-inch touchscreen offers visitor interaction.

Interactive stations populate the entire Atlantis attraction. Three of the most interesting directly relate to the orbiter. The Crew Module AR consists of three multi-axis movable pods, which Electrosonic has outfitted with 26-inch touchscreens, small USB-powered line array speakers and webcams. Electrosonic also supplied four rotary encoders for each pod, which feed position information in USB form to a PC.

The Aft Fuselage AR is similar to the Crew Module with its three multi-axis movable pods and equipment complement. The Cockpit 360 interactive offers an encompassing view from the driver’s seat and features a 26-inch touchscreen with USB-powered line array speaker and four rotary encoders.

The STS Timeline presents visitors with six 55-inch LCD multi-touch displays installed in portrait mode at a slight angle to horizontal in a table configuration. They are fed by a PC and have dedicated line array speakers powered by local amps.

The International Space Station Media Wall is another bold display featuring seven 55-inch LCD multi-touch displays in vertical portrait mode. They are also fed by a PC and have custom low-profile speakers and amps.

Electrosonic designed the EVA, or space walk, interactive with three identical systems, each operating independently. A 65-inch LCD screen is installed at each exhibit along with a 3D depth-sensing system that allows the visitor’s actions to trigger the media application. A source PC, located at the exhibit, received data from the sensing system and triggers the media app. Audio is fed from the local PC to a passive micro line array speaker.

A series of simulators involve visitors even further in the space shuttle’s routines. Landing the Orbiter simulators comprise nine kiosks fitted with 26-inch displays, each connected to their own PC and small USB-powered speaker. Robotic Arm and Docking Station simulators consist of twelve separate kiosks each with four 19-inch displays; they are connected to their own PC and small USB-powered speaker. Electrosonic provided interfaces for one joystick and up to eight buttons for each of the simulator kiosks.

Finally, the Beanie Cap Floor Interactive, named for the “beanie caps” that covered the tops of the Space Shuttles on the launch pad, features an SXGA+ resolution projector, which Electrosonic custom-mounted to throw the image through a 45-degree mirror down to the floor. A sensing device connects to a server in the EER; four speakers deliver two channels of audio.

In specifying the audio components for the attraction Electrosonic opted for QSC’s Q-Sys Layer 3 hardware-independent IP WAN networked audio delivery technology for its scalability, low latency and flexibility. “Q-Sys monitors the QSC amplifiers via data port connectivity, which provides remote standby control, device status/monitoring and DSP processing,” Cabolis explains.

“This type of technology is typically used in themed entertainment. Because of its size, the attraction benefits from the Q-Sys technology, topology and monitoring features,” he notes.

According to Cabolis, the entire Space Shuttle Atlantis attraction “required very intense concept creation by PGAV Destinations, which, in turn, inspired the rest of the design teams and consultants. Throughout the various project phases we got to experience the NASA hospitality and were allowed to view, up-close-and-personal, various artifacts that for some of us – like myself – had a very special meaning. It was the desire to give visitors that same kind of emotional connection with the NASA program that drove us. I feel very privileged to have been part of this team. We couldn’t be happier with the results.”

About Electrosonic
Electrosonic 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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WorldStage Adds Lightware FR33 Routers to Its Inventory

WorldStage has invested in two Lightware MX-FR33 frames for its equipment inventory to accommodate staging larger shows, including those at New York City’s Metropolitan Opera where WorldStage is the provider of a number of sophisticated video systems. The Lightware MX-FR33 is a 33×33 digital crosspoint router frame with redundant power supplies, built-in control panel and CPU2 processor board. Lightware U.S.A. is the US distributor for Budapest-based Lightware Visual Engineering products.

“We’ve added a pair of MX-FR33 matrix frames to increase our Lightware inventory, which includes two FR65 frames, 32x, 17x and 16x routers, as well as an 80x, which we purchased a couple of years ago” says Barry Grossman, Chief Engineer, at WorldStage. “The driving force in purchasing the FR80 was our long-term commitment to the Met Opera and its expanded use of video as part of their productions.” Adding the FR33 will enable WorldStage to service larger shows with a single router, he points out. “This coming season we will use an FR33 instead of two 16x or 17x frames.”

With multiple productions, each requiring it’s own video origination system happening within the same season, WorldStage wanted to provide the production team with a easy and reliable way to switch from one system to another. Building a transmission/routing rack designed around the 80x was the perfect solution. “This year, with ten shows featuring video, we will provide the house crew with up to ten presets to recall the complex routing configuration,” says Grossman.

At the Metropolitan Opera each video show has its own Lightware router in either 16x or 32x configurations. The outputs of those routers feed the 80x transmission rack to allow the operators to easily switch from one video system to another. The output of the 80x matrix feeds the show projectors, back of house monitors, as well as the multi-viewers that allow operators to see all server feeds in a few monitors. The 80x effectively serves as the master router for the whole house.

Grossman notes that, “the Metropolitan Opera team has grown so comfortable with the easy to use Lightware routers and EDID management they provide that they have purchased an 8x frame for their own media server system. The opera house has come a very long way from the days of large format slide projection (which was the former method of provide imagery to the state) and the Lightware products have smoothed the path considerably.”

About Lightware U.S.A.

Lightware U.S.A. is the US distributor of professional AV products manufactured by Lightware Visual Engineering in Budapest, Hungary. For more information on these products, visit www.lightwareUSA.com.

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Alcorn McBride Promotes Larry Howard to Director of Sales

Alcorn McBride announces the promotion of Larry Howard to director of sales. Howard, who has more than 25 years of experience in the industry, joined Alcorn McBride in 2010 most recently serving as the company’s sales manager.

“Larry has done a great job plotting our sales strategy for long-term growth,” says Alcorn McBride COO Jeremy Scheinberg. “By expanding our distributor network and corporate partnerships as well as our training initiatives, Larry has helped to introduce us to new customers, while strengthening relationships with the great customers we have worked with for years.”

Howard says, “I’m pleased to be a part of the company’s continued expansion and growth. I’m looking forward to working as Director of Sales as Alcorn McBride continues to move forward with new products, new distributors and new customers. What drives me as well as the company is to continually find new opportunities both on the customer side and product side while maintaining our dependable and faithful current customers and our “go-to” products. Our recent new appointees of dealers and distributors along with several new product introductions have opened up new markets and territories. I am eager to watch these seeds grow the business we all strive for.”

Before joining Alcorn McBride Howard worked in various rolls encompassing product and business development, sales and marketing as well as technical management for Clair Brothers, Klotz Digital Audio Systems, Community Professional Loudspeakers, Tannoy, Soundelux Showorks, Planet Hollywood International and with Universal Studios Orlando in Tech Services.

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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WorldStage Gets Creative at Adobe MAX 2013

Adobe MAX 2013 “The Creativity Conference”, took a very creative set design and projection mapping approach to deliver visuals to an audience of some 5,000 Adobe users and software developers – and over 100K more who watched the gathering’s livestream. WorldStage helped Adobe Systems, Inc. meet its ambitious creative goals providing AV support for the entire event, whose general sessions were held at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live.

The annual conference is billed as a source of ideas and inspiration, a place where creative minds meet. While WorldStage handled projection mapping for a dazzling stage set during the 2012 conference, this year Adobe introduced a far more complex configuration, including two overhead canopy screens.

“It was a very organic design, a very natural feel for the space, with large compound curves,” says Richard Bevan, vice president of production services at WorldStage. “There was a lot to do in a short period of time, but we benefited from a collaborative design process with our client, Jeremy Nichols with PIX PRODUCTIONS. With the various scales and styles of display that this design required, it was an intensive process to arrive at the final design.”

The set design featured a huge center hero screen with two curved side returns flanked by a pair of IMAG screens. Two more screens formed an overhead canopy in a T shape.

“No one size projector fit all the displays, so we used 4:3, 16:9 and 16:10 projectors with a combination of vertical and horizontal blends on the surfaces,” Bevan explains. Forty projectors were online in total. “We needed so many projectors because the square footage of the display surfaces was so large that it required a great deal of horsepower to achieve the desired brightness.”

Over all, the WorldStage projection system addressed a 38×120 foot hero screen at center stage, two curved 38×50′ screens to the left and right and at the extreme left and right were two arced 30×37′ screens. In addition, screens suspended above and over the stage measured 60×62 and 30×75′. The position and variety of screens required locating projectors in many unorthodox positions including at the lip of the stage itself.

WorldStage furnished Pandora media servers, a Vista Systems Spyder X20 image processor and a Ross 3.5 ME Vision HD switcher. Six Pandora servers were dedicated to the 12 live feeds, providing realtime masking and warping. Pandora Manager handled sequencing, queuing and content management and synchronized 4-channel audio playback to the video.

“Pandora did the opening segment on day one of the conference, then the Spyder took control of the hero and side IMAG screens while Pandora continued to feed the rest of the surfaces for the demos and presentations,” Bevan explains.

The opening segment on day one entranced the audience with immersive images of clouds, landscapes and warp-speed flocks of birds and colorful exploding geometrics. A similar segment kicked off day two followed by featured work by keynote artists attending the conference. Approximately 5TB of media were ingested and played for the conference by WorldStage; PIX PRODUCTIONS (www.pixproductuions.com) collaborated with Core Studios to create the media content and scenic for the screens. Mark Jepsen was the video director for the program record and web cast feed, that continues to gain viewers at Adobe TV.

WorldStage also provided eight HD cameras and three robocams. Robocams mounted on each side of the canopy zoomed in and captured overhead shots of the demo area on stage.

WorldStage augmented the theater’s JBL sound system with JBL Vertec speakers for video playback and presentations. A 64-channel Riedel digital intercom system facilitated point-to-point communications between 50 user stations.

In addition to projection mapping, WorldStage supported The Office of Tomorrow demo, which was presented as the futuristic workplace of a digital publisher. “We provided a pair of 80-inch LCD touchscreens and a 65-inch plasma, which acted as a table with a touchscreen overlay,” Bevan explains. “The publisher could move paper back and forth between the table and the LCDs with a multi-touch overlay by PQ Labs.” The third robocam was mounted above the 80-inch LCD’s delivered close up shots of the table surface in use.

Adobe MAX 2013 was “a flawless event,” says Bevan. “It was a challenging projection job for lead projectionist Terry Nakamura who had a lot of wire to run – 2.68 miles of cable for projection only. All the projectors were networked together for central control from a laptop.”

At WorldStage James Sarro was the project manager, Neal Gass the EIC, Jason Spencer the Spyder/screen switcher and Gabe Benso the A2. Freelancers Stan Dickerson and Florian Mosleh were the A1 and Pandora operator, respectively.

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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grandMA2 Controls Lighting and Video for Tony Award-Winning “Matilda The Musical”

The acclaimed “Matilda The Musical” packs the house at Broadway’s Shubert Theatre while backstage a grandMA2 console controls the conventional and moving lights, scrollers, LEDs and video cues for Tony Award-winning lighting designer Hugh Vanstone. A.C.T Lighting is the exclusive distributor of MA Lighting in North America.

“Matilda The Musical,” based on the novel by Roald Dahl, tells the story of an extraordinary girl who dreams about a better life and changing her destiny. It won Tony Awards for best book, featured actor, scenic design and lighting design and special Tony Honors for the young actresses who portray Matilda; the show also netted Drama Desk and New York Drama Critics Circle Awards for Best Musical. A Royal Shakespeare Company production, the show was transferred to Broadway after its West End London debut.

“It’s the second time I’ve worked with Hugh [Vanstone] on a transfer from the West End,” says lighting programmer David Arch, who previously worked with him on “Ghost.” “I had a pretty good idea of what to expect, the hardest part of any transfer is usually getting your head around someone else’s programming. The biggest challenge for me was the substitution of a couple of fixture types that had very different feature sets from what was used in London. Doug Mekanik at A.C.T support was a huge help when it came time to clone them into the show file.”

Hugh and Joel [Schier] the US Lighting Associate worked every day finessing and making the necessary cue and timing changes.

“As well as the lighting package, video, lasers, confetti, haze and footlight pop-ups are all controlled from the grandMA2. We are using time-code on some of the big production numbers as well as sending and receiving midi show control triggers to sync with various sound effects.”

“Matilda The Musical” was David’s first Broadway show on the grandMA2. “It’s been really great,” he says. “They’ve implemented some new features recently with the Theater community in mind. I found myself using “Part Cues” and “Blind Preview Edit” everyday.”

Laura Frank programmed the video cues for the show. “It’s a pretty simple video show,” she notes. “I use the grandMA2 to trigger a video switcher as well as a media server and tie everything to David [Arch's] master cue list – he does all the heavy lifting.”

She points out that the original London production did not run video through the system. “The video cues were in the media server,” she explains. “For Broadway the video components of the show were entirely rebuilt, and I put them on the grandMA2 so everything is triggered from the console. The platform is very fast, and the desk can do so much – it allowed me to manipulate the screen feedback structures so I could create a visual feedback and not numbers. I was only interacting with essential data, and that made for a very useful environment for me.”

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Clay Paky Celebrates The Rolling Stones 50th Anniversary

The Rolling Stones have wrapped the U.S. leg of their 50 and Counting world tour with Clay Paky lighting fixtures along for the still-wild ride.

The Stones sell-out 50th anniversary tour is their first in six years. They opened the U.S. leg May 3 in LA and concluded their 18 dates June 24 in Washington, D.C. The legendary band performed on a stage set featuring a giant set of psychedelic lips and a tongue-shaped walkway that riffed on their iconic logo. Upstaging supplied the lighting equipment for the tour.

Lighting Designer Patrick Woodroffe chose Clay Paky Alpha Wash 1500s for the gigs. Co-Lighting Director Ethan Weber comments, “They’re a very impressive, bright, good-looking light.”

They also scattered a complement of Clay Paky Sharpy fixtures around the trusses. “You see Sharpys on every show now,” Weber points out. “It’s a turnaround from a few years ago when we were all using large format lights as our 3rd source. They add a nice texture to most any look.”

Weber and Programmer/Co-Lighting Director Dave Hill manned two grandMA2 full-size consoles, networked together, for the tour. “We love them, ” says Weber. “I handled the key lighting on one console and Dave ran the bulk of the system off the other.” Both men are veteran Stones lighting directors with Hill having programmed every tour since Steel Wheels. And both are veteran MA users.

Francesco Romagnoli, Clay Paky Area Manager for North and Latin America, adds, “It’s great to be part of such a high profile tour and we’re proud that the lighting team for the Rolling Stones have chosen two our fixtures for it.”

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Electrosonic Provides AV Support for Hult International Business School Campuses

Electrosonic has provided classroom audio-visual systems for Hult campuses in London, Dubai, Boston and San Francisco, all to a common design. Each campus was outfitted with AV presentation equipment supported by local service operations. In addition, all campuses are connected to Electrosonic’s 24/7 Video Network Operations Centre (VNOC) in the UK for remote support and management. Electrosonic completed the new Hult campus build in London in 2012; more recently, classroom AV systems were installed in Hult’s Boston and Dubai facilities.

Hult International Business School spans a global network of campuses that now form one of the world’s largest graduate business schools with a focus on teaching practical and international business education.

“Over the many years we have worked together, Electrosonic have delivered only better value results for Hult,” says Yousuf Khan, Chief Information Officer of the Hult International Business School. “The quality of work during implementation has been consistently high and ongoing support has been exemplary.”

To accommodate Hult’s international rotation component where students can attend their studies at more than one location, all systems at each campus had to be consistent. The consistency of the operation of teaching and learning resources also helps to reduce barriers and increase effectiveness and efficiencies.

The AV systems were designed and implemented with appreciation of the overall design aesthetic. Electrosonic furnished the Hult campuses with lectern-based teaching and presentation systems that offer the ability to show images from a rack-mounted PC, laptop or iPad. The rack PC is connected to a SMART Podium 22-inch interactive display that allows lecturers to annotate or use white-boarding capabilities, and have their notes displayed via twin NEC PA500U projectors projecting directly onto the walls.

The campuses also feature Tannoy program loudspeakers, which were installed front of house; room control is provided via a Crestron 2 series processor with an iPad touch control interface.

Each campus has multiple classrooms, four in London, Dubai and San Francisco and two in Boston. In the Dubai campus, which formally opened in March 2013, there are an additional 20 breakout rooms, and 18 in London, for the use of students working on projects, assignments and presentations. Each of these rooms is equipped with a 46-inch NEC LCD; a wall-mounted Extron control panel providing on/off, volume and source control; and a Spinetix digital signage player to allow distribution of content to all rooms simultaneously or to specific functions and events. VGA and HDMI cabling is provided at the table for direct connection to the wall-mounted display. Where possible, equipment is network connected. Remote support is made possible by direct connection to individual devices and by XPanel for the classroom systems.

The Hult campus’ service contract with Electrosonic ensures the reliability of the installed systems. Using a specific VLAN via VPN, Electrosonic is able to access all network capable equipment located at all campuses and offices to provide support. Electrosonic’s 24/7 Video Network Operations Center (VNOC) in the UK provides remote support and management of the systems.

Project management and delivery were organized across geographies. The project was account managed from the UK, and then supported in each region with Electrosonic’s own engineering expertise from its regional offices in the USA and Dubai. This formed an integral part of the relationship experience and leveraged Electrosonic’s international capabilities to provide ‘on the ground’ localized project management for each campus location.

“We have been able to implement consistent AV standards at the school, which resulted in improved customer experience at each of our campuses across the globe,” says Khan. “We continue to work with Electrosonic in a collaborative way to come up with more innovative AV solutions to support our growth.”

About Electrosonic
Electrosonic 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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