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Archive by David Steinberg

UDC Timecode Makes its Debut at Tradeshows with Riverview Systems Group

Corporate event production company Riverview Systems Group Inc. of Milpitas, California has become the first company to utilize UDC Timecode, a new feature in the Protocol Translation portion of High Resolution Systems’ UDC Pro Plus package. UDC Timecode enables users of the popular UDC (Universal Device Controller) software to sync with external timecode or turn UDC in to a timecode generator itself.

Riverview often needs to automate video and lighting cues simultaneously at clients’ tradeshow booths. “A couple of systems would allow us to do that, but they required complicated programming and required significant resources to implement,” says Derek Ytreeide, technology specialist with Riverview Systems Group.

“We had worked with Drew and Mike Taylor at High Resolution before and became familiar with UDC,” he continues. “We had a client who needed a big video playback system at a tradeshow. We figured UDC would work perfectly to trigger the video, but we had to go further – we needed to trigger the lighting cues, too. We could stripe timecode on the video roll or use an external timecode generator. But UDC had an internal timecode generator already, so High Resolution explored programming UDC to send out a timecode signal, while using a Kiss-Box transceiver in between. Once High Resolution wrote the code, we tested the new UDC Timecode feature and decided to use it at the show.”

UDC Timecode made its debut at the RSA Security conference in San Francisco for Riverview’s client, Symantec. “Conference goers walked into the theater within the Symantec booth where three 90-inch and eight 40-inch displays played individual videos which were all synchronized simultaneously from five playback machines,” Ytreeide explains. “We needed to trigger a library of three videos and an interstitial loop simultaneously from Playback Pro, combined with six lighting cues from our grandMA2 system.”

An additional complication emerged when Symantec wanted to tailor the videos displayed on the screens to specific clients that walked into the theater. The videos would not play in a scheduled or random order.

“A lot of systems are timeline-based with scheduled events; few are cue-based using commands which are independent of each other,” Ytreeide notes. “UDC Timecode proved to be an amazing solution for us, allowing us to do what Symantec required.”

Riverview was so pleased with UDC Timecode that it decided to implement the software at the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) conference in Chicago for their client Zimmer.

“UDC Timecode will act as central control software performing two different functions: generating timecode to control the grandMA2 lighting console in the main theater and generate timecode for two sub-theaters where videos are shown, but not on a set schedule,” he explains. “We’ll have absolute control of the house lights and videos and can trigger the videowall to funnel people from the theater to a hands-on demo experience.”

UDC Timecode is available now for customers who have a Protocol Translation license on UDC Pro Plus.

About High Resolution Systems
High Resolution Systems, a member of the Society of Broadcast Engineers is a company with a strong systems engineering and applications background. Its founders have decades of experience in the audiovisual rental and staging industry, broadcast applications, A/V installations and system design. This combined experience allows them to provide the highest possible quality solutions to its customers in the most efficient manner. For more information, visit www.hrscontrol.com.

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WorldStage Goes Wide for Adobe Summit: The Digital Marketing Conference’s Keynote Room

For important presentations by Adobe, the dominant image software company, image quality may not be the only thing, but it is certainly is one of the most important parts of the experience. This was the case during the Adobe Summit: The Digital Marketing Conference, where WorldStage supported keynote presentations, helping make them a memorable experience for some 5,000 attendees.

Adobe Summit was held at Salt Lake City’s Salt Palace Convention Center, March 5-8 to provide insight and vision into the new technologies that are reshaping the digital marketing landscape. The event also showcased the new release of CQ 5.6 and the Adobe Experience Manager platform.

The Kenwood Group hired WorldStage, the new brand for Scharff Weisberg and Video Applications, Inc., to provide Adobe with a full complement of audio and video services for the Keynote Room. There, four “acts,” each 90-120 minutes long, played out with attention-grabbing visuals on mammoth screens supporting a roster of speakers and a number of different product demos.

The Keynote Room featured two overlapping, curved main screens with a nine-foot offset to allow presenter egress to the stage, while maintaining a continuous image across 234 feet of screen area. The curved screen at house left measured 124 feet wide and the curved screen at house right 110 feet with the total video area comprising 4,500 square feet and 14,515, 200 pixels.

“The projection combined with the content made for an extremely impressive sight,” says WorldStage account executive & VP of Prod. Services Richard Bevan. “Since the screens were so wide, the speaker support content was 3840×1080 and was pip’d on each of the wide screens. We used Pandora’s Box media servers for playback and had seven streams of HD content going to the wide screens via two Vista System Spyder X20s in expanded mode. Pandora’s Box supplied full screen playback and the backgrounds and animations for content appearing in windows within the screens and the IMAG windows as well.”

Sources included Mac towers for widescreen graphics and Apple iPads, Apple iPhones, Mac towers and robotic cameras, which created user-interactive experiences.

In addition to the main screens, three 16×9 delay screens were positioned in the audience. Cabling to the projectors, including six projectors dedicated to the delay screens, totaled 5.1 miles. WorldStage installed all of the projectors and cabling in 16 hours, which included unloading time, to be ready for the first tech run-through at midday on the second day of load in.

WorldStage also furnished the event’s audio equipment providing nine clusters of JBL VERTEC and VRX line array clusters for the Keynote Room with an audience of 6,000.

“Our WorldStage crew has worked together so long that even when things were super-intense we just nodded to each other and knew what needed to be done,” says projectionist Terry Nakamura. “The show was so complex and the time to install it was basically only one day, but our team remained very mellow.

“WorldStage and The Kenwood Group worked so closely together that we acted as one big company to pull off a difficult assignment,” he adds.

At The Kenwood Group Web Burrell was the senior producer, Daniel Pinkham the senior creative director and Wayne Leonard the executive producer.

At WorldStage Jack Dussault was the project manager, Neal Gass the EIC, Jason Spencer the Spyder operator, Terry Nakamura and Bryan Dominick the projectionists, Geof Gibson the A2 and Alex Bright the Pandora programmer. Freelancer Stan Dickerson served as A1.

For more information on this project, please visit:
Video: http://www.worldstage.com/adobe-digital-marketing-summit-video/
Images: http://www.worldstage.com/2013-adobe-digital-marketing-summit/
Press Release: http://www.worldstage.com/corporate-staging-adobe-summit/

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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Vista Systems’ Spyders Help Deliver 4K Digital Display to US Navy’s NUWC and SOUTHCOM Facilities

Vista Systems’ Spyders have joined the Navy and are instrumental in two installations featuring the same 4K digital cinema technology used in the entertainment industry.

IGI (Immersion Graphics, Inc.), which is headquartered in Detroit, included Spyder X20 video processors with 16 inputs (8 DVI, 8 video/HDSDI) and 8 outputs for the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) in Newport, Rhode Island and the US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) in Doral, Florida. Their new installations now offer the highest resolution single display visualization solution used by the US Navy.

At NUWC 4K technology is deployed for education, information, training and collaboration with other naval sites, such as the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. Before the upgrade visualization was done with a three-panel screen, three low-resolution projectors and analog RGB sources.

Now, a 50-seat PowerWall Room with a dedicated media support staff boasts a custom 25×14.7-foot rear-projection screen and a Sony T-110 SXRD 11,000 lumen 4K projector. Sources include an IGI Visualization Workstation outputting 4K (4096×2160) signals and a 7th Sense Delta Media Server capable of playing uncompressed image sequences at 4K resolution. . IGI wrote custom software, which enables users to manipulate multiple windows on a 55-inch multi-touch panel and implement Spyder to display those windows on the PowerWall.

“Users can pick sources from the multi-touch panel, drag and drop them onto the screen, and resize and reposition them by dragging their fingers along the panel,” explains Matt Lamb, Engineering Manager at IGI. “Using this gestural interface they can enlarge an image, arrange images in pre-set windows or create custom arrangements. Spyder and our software allow them to do that.”

The PowerWall operates in two modes. Cinema Mode projects the image onto the full width of the PowerWall. Critical Viewing Mode brings the projector closer to the PowerWall and tightens the pixel density for detailed high-resolution viewing. Legacy Mode is still offered for the three-panel screen as well.

“IGI has worked with Vista for a long time, and Spyder is known for its reliability and quality,” says Lamb. “Spyder handles multiple 4K windows seamlessly; it’s superior to many products on the market. It’s been performing flawlessly at NUWC.”

Spyder is similarly configured at SOUTHCOM, where it performs more operations-based functions. SOUTHCOM is one of nine unified Combatant Commands in the Department of Defense and is responsible for providing contingency planning, operations and security cooperation for Central and South America and the Caribbean.

“Spyder is also rock solid at SOUTHCOM,” Lamb reports. “It’s in use at least 10 hours a day with people looking at very high-resolution intelligence data.”

Pat Hernandez is the president of IGI and provided the mechanical design for the projection systems at NUWC and SOUTHCOM.

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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Electrosonic to Showcase Control Rooms Solutions at its ‘Technology Day’ on April 17 in Burbank

Electrosonic is pleased to announce its Technology Day for Control Rooms, a free event slated for April 17th at its Burbank headquarters.

Attendees will have the opportunity to experience the latest technologies for control rooms, and discuss custom solutions with Electrosonic’s expert staff and some of the leading products manufacturers in the field. Technology Day will showcase the latest developments in simulation training, collaboration, networks, content streaming and distribution, and display technology.

“Attendees will view the latest technologies, expand their knowledge and network with other professionals in the arena,” says Todd Miller, VP of Control Rooms at Electrosonic. “Electrosonic has successfully hosted Technology Days for several years. We’re excited to be focusing this month’s event specifically on control room applications.”

Those attending Technology Day will see hands-on product demos by top manufacturers and be a part of in-depth discussions on the newest innovations in command and control rooms products and solutions. Participants include Barco, Christie, Crestron, Extron, Jupiter, Planar and RGB Spectrum.

Technology Day is scheduled for 12 to 9 pm on April 17, and features an evening cocktail reception with raffle giveaways. Attendees may RSVP by email at info@electrosonic.com or register online by visiting the event page at electrosonic.com/tech-day-burbank More information about the event is also available from the Electrosonic Control Rooms team at 1-855-333-3601.

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Clay Paky and grandMA2 Light Up the Ultra Music Festival in Miami for More Than a Quarter-Million Fans

Clay Paky lighting and grandMA got rave reviews at the 15th annual Ultra Music Festival (UMF) in Miami’s Bayfront Park where they added to the pulsating excitement generated by fans, DJs and electronic musicians under the tent-like Carl Cox Mega Structure. A.C.T Lighting is the exclusive distributor of both grandMA and Clay Paky fixtures in North America.

This year’s UMF was the first two-weekend, six-day event in festival history and the most successful to date drawing over 330,000 electronic dance music fans. Over 200 DJs and electronic musicians and emerging artists performed each weekend. “This years UMF was incredible! We designed and built some amazingly complex and overwhelming environments that truly tested the limitations of technology,” comments Stephen Lieberman of SJ Lighting. “The Carl Cox arena / Megastructure took things to a whole new level. We are extremely hard on equipment at these show for 12 hours a day – 6 days of events.”

UMF also scored another first with the public debut of the Clay Paky Sharpy Wash 330 in the U.S. Fifty Sharpy Wash fixtures were featured in the innovative Cox Mega Structure, which was purpose-built for the high-energy festival to showcase DJs and artists on stage and shelter legions of dancing fans.

Clay Paky’s Sharpy Wash 330 is a compact, lightweight 330W washlight, with the luminous efficiency, graphic and optical performance of a 1000W fixture. It is extremely silent and quick and is fitted with a complete CMY color system, special colors, 6.5°-48° zoom, mechanical dimmer, beam shaping filter and motorized top-hat. It is an eco-friendly light, allowing considerable running and consumption cost savings.

“My challenge as a designer is to match products with my designs that add balance to the system, adds Lieberman. “With the Sharpy’s incredible output, this has not been an easy task to accomplish. 1500 watt fixtures have to run at full throttle to keep up. The new Sharpy Wash 330 has definitely met the challenge. I was extremely impressed with its output. The color mixing system worked flawlessly, giving me everything I demanded of it throughout the event – from the deep saturations to great, subtle hues. It was also quick enough to handle big color mixing effects, where lesser fixtures would have stalled. The small size of the Sharpy makes life significantly easier for the electricians to and it also makes for quite a fast pan and tilt.”

The Sharpy Wash fixtures joined a complement of Clay Paky Sharpys, Alpha Spot HPE 1500s and Beam 1500s mounted in the Mega Structure’s lighting system. The truss pods were controlled by 54 CyberHoist motors; lighting was controlled on a grandMA2 full-size console.

“Stephen creates a truly immersive environment not found anyplace else in a live music festival. Clay Paky’s drive to create high output fixtures in a compact form lends itself to such an environment. The truss pods containing the Sharpy Wash moved to within 10′ of the audience creating a highly dynamic effect. It was a perfect match for the Sharpy Wash,” comments A.C.T Lighting’s VP of Sales, Brian Dowd.

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UDC Timecode Debuts From HRS Control

High Resolution Systems, developers of the popular UDC (Universal Device Controller) software, announces UDC Timecode, a new feature in the Protocol Translation portion of the UDC Pro Plus package. UDC Timecode enables users to sync UDC control with external timecode or turn UDC in to a timecode generator itself.

“Customers have requested timecode capabilities in UDC for concert tours, tradeshow exhibits and theater installations,” says HRS’s Drew Taylor. “It extends functionality for any project customers want to automate and adds scalability to new projects when they use a timecode automation tool like UDC Software.”

UDC integrates a Kiss-Box LTC and MTC transceiver, which allows users to deploy the standard Ethernet network to distribute SMPTE LTC timecode and MTC Midi timecode to any part of their system. “Kiss-Box enables customers to receive LTC or MTC timecode in UDC and add timecode triggers so they can execute a macro at specific timecode intervals or automate control in theaters, museums, concert tours or theme parks,” Taylor explains. “It’s an additional benefit for current customers looking for timecode driven automation solutions.”

UDC Timecode supports a wide array of timecode-driven devices, including video playback, processors, switchers, recorders and lighting control consoles; it also extends Art-Net protocol.

“Customers can manually enable or disable the external synchronization of timecode and manually drive the event at times,” he adds. “This is useful if one portion of a show is synchronized with timecode and another portion is not.”

Derek Ytreeide, technology specialist with Riverview Systems Group Inc. in Milpitas, California, was one of those who approached HRS Control about offering timecode capabilities to customers. “We needed to implement a complex video playback system in addition to cueing specific lighting commands for our client. UDC was a perfect solution to trigger the video, but we needed it to go further and trigger the lighting cues as well,” he says. “UDC already had an internal timecode generator, so they needed to program a way to send out that signal with Kiss-Box in between.”

Ytreeide already implemented UDC Timecode successfully for Riverview’s client Symantec at the RSA Security conference in San Francisco and is preparing to use UDC Timecode again for their client at the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) conference in Chicago.

UDC Timecode is available now for customers who have a Protocol Translation license on UDC Pro Plus.

About High Resolution Systems
High Resolution Systems, a member of the Society of Broadcast Engineers is a company with a strong systems engineering and applications background. Its founders have decades of experience in the audiovisual rental and staging industry, broadcast applications, A/V installations and system design. This combined experience allows them to provide the highest possible quality solutions to its customers in the most efficient manner. For more information, visit www.hrscontrol.com.

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Electrosonic Supports the Crystal, Siemens’ Sustainable Cities Exhibition in London

When the Crystal, a sustainable cities initiative by the global electronics and electrical engineering powerhouse Siemens, opened at London’s Royal Victoria Dock, it showcased what’s billed as “the world’s largest exhibition dedicated to the future of cities.” Designed and produced by Event Communications, the exhibition features extensive audio-visual systems engineered and installed by Electrosonic.

The Crystal serves as home to Siemens’ Center of Competence – Cities, a team of multi-disciplinary urban experts. The 2,000 sq.m. (21,500 sq. ft.) interactive exhibition guides visitors through the urban infrastructure of the future by examining the possibilities for sustainable mobility, building technologies, power and water supplies and healthcare.

The Forces of Change

The theme “Forces of Change” is announced when visitors enter the exhibition and are directed to the mezzanine level. There, an immersive black box theatre uses ten DLP projectors to create a dynamic presentation displaying the challenges of Demographic Change, Urbanisation and Climate Change in short video loops.

The presentation’s unique display surface covers an end wall and carpets most of the floor. The projected images are sourced, blended and warped to fill the screen without distortion and are accompanied by a powerful multi-channel soundtrack.

Outside the black box theatre, three touchscreen exhibits further explore the challenging Forces of Change. In the Urbanisation exhibit, four 55-inch touchscreen LCDs in portrait mode are sandwiched between poured concrete slabs. The Climate Change exhibit uses four embedded 32-inch touchscreen LCDs also in portrait format. The Demographic Change exhibit has a three-sided configuration with widescreen LCD touchscreens comprising two of the sides.

Traversing The Zones

Visitors receive a RFID-tagged card for the exhibition. The idea is that visitors collect a “crystal” at each exhibit, which appears on the tag reader as illuminated coloured indicators showing which zones the visitors have already seen.

One of the first stops is the Creating Cities zone where the “Cities Icon” takes centre stage. Crafted from LED panels, it displays a series of images received from the control room. Other exhibits in the zone include the “Understanding Cities” interactive display and the multi-user “City Game” whose four 24-inch LCD touch terminals are capped by 55-inch repeater displays.

The Safe and Sound zone looks at protecting the city and addresses topics such as fire prevention, rapid response to incidents and crowd control. The “Fire Prevention” exhibit structure, composed of ArtBoard modules provided by Light Emissions, features giant, cut-out lettering on the modules spelling words related to the security theme, such as trust, peace of mind, shield and care. Three interactive terminals enable visitors to discover the causes of fires; visitors’ responses modify a big, curved low-resolution LED display of flames.

The Smart Buildings zone is dominated by a cube-shaped space in which three sides display five-metre wide projected images. In front of each is a 40-inch LCD touchscreen, which invites visitors to create their own sustainable buildings and watch them constructed on the displays. Another exhibit shows what makes the Crystal a sustainable building by using two touchscreen displays and an array of LED indicators to reveal real time statistics about the Crystal’s rainwater recycling, heat pump efficiency and solar energy performance.

The Clean and Green zone features a dramatic centerpiece composed of a living wall of vegetation. Because the wall keeps the plants sufficiently wet, Electrosonic provided two IP65-rated LCD touchscreens to ensure reliable operation. The Water is Life zone includes displays about harvesting rainwater, desalination and recycling waste water. The Health Life zone focuses on staying healthy, personalised medicine and reducing healthcare costs.

The main interactive in the Go Electric zone is a spectacular gesture-operated exhibit, which includes a Tesla coil spark display within a Faraday cage. The Keep Moving zone emphasises the role of electrically-powered transport in a number of LCD and interactive displays.

A Peek Into the City of the Future

The Future Life zone, the finale of the exhibition, is centered on an optimistic panoramic show “Enter the City of the Future,” which shows how cities could look and operate if ideas presented in the Crystal were to be applied. The show is displayed on a nine-metre curved screen by three DLP projectors with short-throw zoom lenses.

This zone also includes terminals where visitors can review their tour based on the data accumulated using their RFID card. The “What Do Today’s City Leaders Think?” exhibit offers comments from city leaders from around the world.

Both the introduction and finale shows use 7th Sense servers as the image sources. They provide both synchronous multi-channel replay and image “blending and bending”. All other sources are DVS products: DVS Blade players for simple video replay and DVS video computers for the interactives. They are mounted in twelve 19-inch racks in a dedicated control room.

Medialon Showmaster has a comprehensive control interface and scheduler for full control of individual exhibits, along with global power up/down facilities to enhance the building’s green energy credentials. The Showmaster is supplemented by a Stumpfl Show Controller.

The Crystal was designed by Wilkinson Eyre, Architects with Pringle Brandon the interior/fit out architect. Exhibit fabrication was by The Hub; content for the AV and interactive exhibits was created by ISO, All of Us, Clay, Squint Opera, Spirit Link, B12 and Siemens Software. “Forces of Change” was produced by Event Communications; the “City Game” was developed by Siemens. Exhibition lighting design was by DHA Design.

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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Alcorn McBride Makes a Splash at Ruby Falls

Alcorn McBride equipment helped entertainment production company Full Spectrum enhance the spectacular natural beauty of Ruby Falls. The Digital Audio Machine and Digital Video Machine HD were selected for playback to create an exciting sound and light show deep below the surface of the earth.

Ruby Falls is a 145-foot high underground waterfall within Lookout Mountain near Chattanooga, Tennessee. Located in a large vertical shaft more than 1,000 feet below ground, Ruby Falls is fed by rainwater and natural springs which collect in a pool in the cave floor and then continue through the mountain until they join the Tennessee River at the base of Lookout Mountain.

“We use Alcorn McBride equipment in our systems for control, lighting and 4D theaters,” says Steve Carroll at Full Spectrum, which is headquartered in Stone Mountain, Georgia. “We do a lot of AV design and integration, 3D mapping and multimedia spectaculars, including a big laser show in Stone Mountain. We also do a significant amount of architectural and specialty lighting.”

Full Spectrum has been involved with Ruby Falls for a number of years. They designed the venue’s sound and light show, writing the scripts, overseeing the recording sessions, creating the audio tracks and designing the surround sound. The company also installed the audio stations and programmed the show.

“Ruby Falls originally lit the waterfall with tungsten lights with no control,” recalls Full Spectrum’s Chad W. Kuney. “We were able to show them that we could replace that lighting with LEDs, for energy savings, trouble-free operation and greater interactivity. Then we choreographed the LEDs to music using the Alcorn McBride AM4 Digital Audio Machine.”

Full Spectrum selected Alcorn McBride equipment for its reputation for ruggedness, reliability and solid-state technology. “Being half a mile underground it’s a very hostile environment, very humid. Equipment quickly goes bad there. But the first AM4 we installed is still going strong five years later,” Kuney reports.

Recently Full Spectrum added another AM4, which supplies audio information at various points during the visitors’ tour around the cave. Additionally, another AM4 drives the soundtrack visitors hear during their elevator descent from the surface to Ruby Falls.

They also upgraded the historical video presentation at the entrance to the cave with a DVM-8400 HD Digital Video Machine for solid-state playback.

“Alcorn McBride products are a really good fit for this attraction,” Carroll concludes. “The machines are easy to use and are easily updated, which is helpful when Ruby Falls switches to a Halloween theme in the fall, for example. We just swap out the Flash cards to make seasonal changes. Alcorn has always been very helpful with everything; their support is flawless.”

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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Jason Aldean Takes Clay Paky Sharpys Along on his Night Train Tour

Clay Paky Sharpys are lighting up country singer Jason Aldean on the Night Train Tour, a musical powerhouse of a show also featuring Jake Owen and Thomas Rhett with location specific appearances by Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, and Kelly Clarkson.

Aldean is a double-Platinum recording artist who has had nine singles reach #1 on the Hot Country Songs charts. Bandit Lites Inc. is providing him with 24 Sharpys on the tour along with a pair of grandMA2 lighting consoles.

“The show design by Mike Swinford incorporates a lot of automation,” notes Bandit Lites client rep Michael Golden. “Video panels carry the fixtures.”

Lighting designer and programmer Aaron Swetland calls the show “very dynamic” with “a lot of elements and layers. The automated video screens move in all directions with 24 axes of movement.”

Swetland says the Night Train Tour is the fourth tour on which he’s used Sharpys. “I love that light,” he says. “They have a very narrow beam and great distance. I have them spread out to maximize the effect, and they fill the palette well. It’s great when they work together delivering nice beam angles and great looks.”

According to the lighting designer, a number of stadium shows are coming up this spring, and he plans to add 88 Sharpy fixtures to supplement his inventory.

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

Francesco Romagnoli, Clay Paky Area Manager for North and Latin America, adds, “Mike and Aaron are a great design team and I’m glad the Sharpys are the right fixture for the show, indoor and outdoor.”

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grandMA2s, Clay Paky Sharpys and MDG Hazers Help the US Open Hit a Grand Slam at Spectacular Opening Night Ceremony

The US Open tennis classic hit a grand slam the first night of the tournament with an Opening Night Ceremony that dazzled guests and set a new benchmark for kicking off the iconic event. grandMA2 consoles, Clay Paky Sharpy lighting fixtures and MDG hazers played key roles in the dynamic ceremony. All are distributed in North America by A.C.T Lighting.

“The USTA charged its entertainment group with energizing its traditional US Open Opening Night Ceremony, and what fans saw this year was unprecedented, immersive and memorable.” says Christien Methot of design one lighting and production design, who served as the lighting designer. “Two years ago Michael Fiur, entertainment director for the USTA, asked me to get involved, in conjunction with Overland Entertainment, in creating an Opening Ceremony spectacular. They’ve had singers in the past but always used stadium lights. We started talking about the creative aspects of the show – using video mapped to the court and lighting played in conjunction with the video to fill out the stadium. We were going to do it last year, but the hurricane blew in. We learned a lot in the process to put into practice for this year’s event.”

During the Opening Ceremony Jordan Sparks paid tribute to the late Whitney Houston, who performed in the stadium 15 years ago. Sparks sang “Celebrate,” the hit song from the movie “Sparkle” in which she starred with Houston. Then, for the first time at the U.S. Open, the center court was turned into a giant video board with images of past champions flashing across the court during a high-energy music and light show. Sparks returned to the stage for the National Anthem; center court was mapped with red, white and blue flag graphics during her rendition.

“The Opening Ceremony was short and sweet – 20 minutes,” Methot reports. “After Jordan sang ‘Celebrate’ we launched into Taio Cruz’s ‘Dynamite’ with a lighting and video spectacular. Then during the National Anthem we had theatrical lighting and an abstracted video American flag on the court. There was really nice size pyro show, too. A lot of logistics, a lot of collaboration and back-and-forth to get it all done.”

Methot had a pair of grandMA2 Lights running SMPTE timecode; for “Dynamite” it was synched to timecode with MA’s grandma 3D software, which had been used in the pre-viz stage, to synch the space. Ten MDG Atmosphere hazers came into play, and 40 Clay Paky Sharpys lit up the night. Glow Design, which was responsible for the video components, ran eight 22K Barco projectors on Dataton WATCHOUT; they provided Methot’s rig with the SMPTE timecode.

“The grandMA2s, MDGs and Sharpys were all mission critical elements of the show,” says Methot. “They were rock solid and performed without fail.”

Methot deployed 20 of the Sharpys on the court with the other 20 surrounding the audience on the stadium’s promenade level. “We used them to create the white stars of the American flag for the National Anthem,” he explains. “They were also the main performers during the ‘Dynamite’ sequence, synched to the beat and dancing to it as though they were dancers in a nightclub. We picked the Sharpys because they can be seen for miles, have a really concentrated beam and are really fast so they could keep up with a fast-paced song. Their compact size also allowed us to put them anywhere. And they were by far the most reliable of all the fixtures.”

Methot selected the MDG Atmosphere hazers after doing a shootout with several other manufacturers. “The MDGs had the best delivery of haze for an outdoor situation,” he reports. “The CO2 helped because it kept the haze a little cooler and made it hang a little longer. They did a great job.”

He was also pleased that the no-charge grandMA 3D software was “vital in giving us a couple of days of programming in advance.”

Methot rented the equipment through WorldStage. “They have a strong relationship with Overland Entertainment and really took care of us,” he says.

Working alongside Methot were programmer Jason Baeri and gaffer Randy Treu.

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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