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Archive by David Steinberg

grandMA2 Consoles with VPU plus Amp Up the Visual Energy at the Electric Forest Festival

Dodd Technologies, Inc. of Pendleton, Indiana provided a pair of grandMA2 consoles with VPU plus for video control on the main stage of the Electric Forest Festival, a four-day, multi-genre event featuring electric music and jam bands held on the Double JJ Ranch in Rothbury, Michigan. grandMA2s were everywhere at Electric Forest: A total of five (four full-size grandMA2s and one grandMA2 light) were on hand during the show. A.C.T Lighting, Inc. is the exclusive distributor of MA products in North America.

Brought on board by Lambda Productions, Dodd Technologies was tasked with managing the content for two 8-meter screens configured upstage in a diamond-shape panel. The company created content for bands that didn’t already have big-screen imagery and routed some media to the screens for the DJs.

Dodd operated two powerful VPU plus video processing units with SDI inputs, which were connected to the grandMA2 consoles for state-of-the-art video control that was highly intuitive, familiar and easy to use. “We’ve used the VPU plus before and like them because, operationally, they’re very simple to connect to the console and don’t rob the consoles’ parameters,” says Andy Meggenhofen, lighting and production designer with Dodd Technologies. “They don’t eat brainpower on the consoles, and that’s not true of all systems. We can put the servers anywhere but still manage content. We can ingest media on the spot and distribute it through the network while we’re doing another show or programming – without being disrupted.”

Meggenhofen praises the SDI inputs. “The processing is so quick – latency is just a frame or two. We have a couple of POV cameras on stage and can work with them in realtime. The VPUs provide a lot of versatility and functionality that we didn’t have before. They’re a really viable solution for us.”

The equipment was particularly adaptable to the needs of the Electric Forest festival, he notes. “We didn’t know what a lot of the acts were going to be. We had a lot of media at our disposal and the ability to fade between clips on the same layer – all done on the fly as we went along with the band for the ride! To be able to respond like that with video was huge. We could make things interesting and unique.”

Meggenhofen says the grandMA2s and VPU plus performed “great” during the show. “We had a lot of power at our fingertips to pull from,” he reports. “And the systems’ roadworthiness was amazing. We have constant issues with other media servers but not with the VPUs. We’re really happy with their robust construction, layout, features and support. And there’s always someone there to help us if we need it.”

The extraordinary capability of the equipment was even noticed by the talent. “Andy Cass with String Cheese Incident fell in love with the VPU during the festival,” says Meggenhofen. “He was very impressed. He had used another system but prefers this one now and is specifying it for the band’s fall tour. Everyone who uses grandMA2 and the VPU loves it!”

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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Ohio’s Hamilton County Emergency Management Agency Adds Vista Phoenix for Street Camera System Display

When the Hamilton County (Ohio) Emergency Management Agency (EMA) had a complete technical renovation last year it acquired a Vista Phoenix system for use with its street camera system.

Based in Cincinnati, Ohio, the Hamilton County EMA runs a regional operations center for 12 counties in three states: eight in Ohio, three in Kentucky and one in Indiana. The agency is concerned with all natural and man-made hazards, including international and domestic acts of terrorism and homeland security functions.

Vista Phoenix is a network distributed open content management system for simultaneous encode, decode and display of AV data. “Our main use for Phoenix is to bring in our street camera system for viewing,” says Steven Siereveld, regional operations center manager. “We have approximately 100 street cameras in the Cincinnati area and river cameras in all three states. With Phoenix we can capture all the camera feeds, bring them in and view them in full HD quality on our new main display, a 14×35-foot videowall comprised of Christie Entero high-brightness 67-inch LED cubes.”

Prior to installing Vista Phoenix the Hamilton County EMA brought in the street cameras through a software web viewer and displayed multiple security camera-style views on monitors. “Now we can pull direct feeds from the camera with Phoenix. Our integrator, AVI in Cincinnati, recommended Vista Phoenix as a complement to our Christie videowall and Vista Spyder image processor. It’s a perfect fit,” Siereveld says.

The street and river camera displays are critical for emergency situations. “We need these camera feeds available for emergency viewing and for planned events like the annual River Fest, which draws half-a-million people, and next year’s MLB All Star Game,” Siereveld explains. “So far, we’ve only used Phoenix for testing and drills, but it works well and the quality of the camera feeds is just great.”

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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Lady Gaga Launches ArtRave Tour with Clay Paky Fixtures and grandMA2 Consoles Joining Her on the Road

Lady Gaga has launched her tour, ArtRave: The Artpop Ball, and Clay Paky’s A.leda B-EYE K20 innovative, LED-based moving lights, Clay Paky Sharpys and grandMA2 consoles are along for the wild ride. A.C.T Lighting is in the exclusive distributor of Clay Paky and MA Lighting in North America.

ArtRave marks Lady Gaga’s fourth concert tour. It is in support of her third studio album, “Artpop” and kicked off May 4 in Fort Lauderdale. It will play 78 dates in North America, Europe, Oceania and Asia.

PRG has provided 120 B-EYEs for the tour as well as a large complement of Clay Paky Sharpys. Lighting control is performed with three full-size grandMA2s and 10 NPUs.

“Production and lighting designer Roy Bennett’s approach to the show was to make it an immersive rave that reflected Gaga’s non-stop party aesthetic,” says programmer Jason Baeri. “That means active, alive, vibrant and high energy — it requires us to be just as active on stage as in the crowd. The audience is every bit as much a set piece as they are a room of spectators, so we had to include them as part of Gaga’s same party not just watching the spectacle from afar. Cue wise, that’s almost like programming two shows at once: Both had to behave as one cohesive element, which was made light of, as always, by grandMA2.”

Bennett describes the set as three stages connected by Lucite catwalks over the audience so the crowd can dance while watching Gaga perform above them. “It’s very interactive. She plays off the audience with her dancing and a big rave vibe,” he says. Bennett had previously used B-EYEs for Lady Gaga’s gig at the Roseland Ballroom. On this tour they are mounted above the upstage video wall, which measures 3×40 feet. “They mainly act as eye candy,” he explains. “They’re working great; they’ve been very reliable.”

For the ArtRave tour the lighting designer has deployed the Sharpy rig “all over the place: the main stage, front, rear, side, as well as on the pods over the audience. The Sharpys act as our other main effects light. I always have at least 100 if not 200 hundred on shows.”

Baeri cites the data management challenge the tour poses given “the immense amount of pixels we’re controlling. There are about 120 B-EYEs on the show, all in full-tilt mode, which adds up to over 4,500 pixels of just B-EYEs — and we use them in every configuration possible. Gaga’s music is extremely detailed, so we’re using every part of that light for the various tones and inflections in every song.”

Baeri loves that the console will “let me grab one pixel and turn it on, then a second later grab 2,000 pixels in a deferent direction, as fast as the grandMA2 allows me to. We’re bending the MA-Tricks on this job in ways I didn’t know you could, and we still keep finding new ways to use it,” he adds.

He likes the console’s layout view, too. “With this many individual sub-fixtures, I need to be able to graphically see and access everything at once without worrying about the minutiae of keying in cell after cell on the keypad. With the right combination of layouts, I can create an overview of what every fixture in my rig is doing for a visual snapshot of the whole scene all on one screen. For a rig that fills an entire arena floor, that’s a pretty impressive feature for a programmer!”

The grandMA2 has become Baeri’s console of choice primarily for its data management capabilities. “I’ve had my hands on plenty of platforms, but none let me control as many fixtures with so little effort,” he reports. “Every key on every screen is exactly where I want it. If there’s a function I want that isn’t there already, I make a new key in seconds flat without having to employ long-handed workarounds and new versions of software.”

He notes that the crew had little more than two weeks to put ArtRave together. “Speed was of the essence. I use the grandMA2 because it allows me to put together incredibly complex shows extremely fast without compromising the details that would otherwise be too time consuming on any other platform.   And if I get in trouble, there’s someone on the phone, 24/7 anywhere in the world. No dreaded 4 am ‘leave a message’ help line. I pick up the phone and I’m covered. I can’t tell you what a comfort that is.”

Baeri says the grandMA2 is turning in an “exemplary” performance, “as always. We were bending over 60 universes at a time, and I never saw the NPUs workload exceed six percent. Not once. That’s a lot of universes to keep in time and in sync. I’m impressed, as usual!” he declares.

Solotech is the video contractor and 8th Day Sound the audio contractor for the show.

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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d3 Technologies’ Media Servers Enable Mammoth Projection Mapping For “Marvel Universe LIVE!” North American Show Tour

It’s impossible not to use superlatives to describe “Marvel Universe LIVE!” the new arena spectacular – and first-ever live Marvel tour – produced by Feld Entertainment, Inc., which just made its 85-city debut with previews in Tampa, Florida. The live-action, movie-style production features amazing stunt performers, motorcycle chases, pyrotechnics, moving stages and astonishing projection mapping that features a three-story wall purported to be the largest projection surface ever built.

d3 Technologies media servers control a sizable array of projectors and LED for the immersive projection mapping, which has been praised in press reviews for enhancing the audience experience. Projections allow characters to seamlessly travel between The Avengers’ tower and Loki’s fortress; they showcase Tony Stark’s lab, a landslide in the Himalayas and the top of the Statue of Liberty.

Ash Nehru of d3 Technologies, says the size and complexity of “Marvel Universe LIVE!” represents an “unparalleled” usage of d3 media servers for projection mapping where scenic locations and effects map the set, props and arena itself. “There hasn’t been a show of quite this dramatic scale before with this kind of high-quality content,” says Nehru. The production is believed to feature the largest, most sophisticated video projection rig ever taken on tour. It utilizes 27 Barco HDF-W26 DLP projectors, each with 26,000-lumen output.

“Marvel Universe LIVE!” pits 25 Marvel characters in an epic battle over the Cosmic Cube, the source of ultimate power in the Marvel Universe, which has been shattered by Thor to prevent it falling into enemy hands. When his villainous brother Loki schemes to clone the Cube’s powers and threaten world domination Marvel’s biggest Super Heroes – including Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Spider-Man and Wolverine – must work together to retrieve the fragments from such adversaries as Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Red Skull, Madame Hydra, Aldrich Killian and Electro and reunite them.

In development and engineering for two years, the innovative production not only utilizes the entire arena floor but also a multilevel aerial space that puts audiences right in the middle of the action. “Marvel Universe LIVE!” has its world premiere in New York City’s Barclays Center, August 13. The first leg of its North American tour calls for stops in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Nashville, Miami and Atlanta.

Unprecedented Size and Scope

“Live representation of the Marvel Universe hasn’t existed successfully until this point,” says Bob Bonniol, video system and content designer for the production. His company, MODE Studios, provides turnkey video solutions for complex installations and consulted on the video system design for “Marvel Universe LIVE!” and supplied the projectors, d3 media servers and signal path equipment along with the expert content management, creation and design staff.

“When Disney bought Marvel it was very natural for live manifestations to be explored. It was equally natural for that exploration to ultimately be done by Feld Entertainment, a family-owned company that produces family entertainment,” he says. “They have enjoyed decades of successful collaboration with Disney producing live entertainment, they own and produce the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, and their motorsports division produces supercross, ‘Monster Jam’ and the enormously successful ‘Nuclear Cowboys’ stunt shows. This represents a ‘perfect storm’ of expertise that adds up to a tremendous show for Marvel.”

Bonniol says that from the outset director Shanda Sawyer and Kenneth Feld and Juliette Feld “were clear that we needed to completely immerse the audience in the show – that it needed to happen in front of them, around them, above them. We were going to have to convincingly endow real humans with super powers and place them in environments where cataclysmic battles would take place with flying, stunts, combat. It kept me awake at night wondering if we could really do this. And I’m sure I wasn’t alone!”

Bonniol had used d3 servers on a world tour for Mexican singer Paulina Rubio and a Vancouver Opera production of Mozart’s “Don Giovanni,” and his experience convinced him that, with d3 Technologies’ support, he could meet the unique demands of the show.

“We knew we had to track moving scenery, props and performers with mapped content. We were going to be the main ‘engine’ for imparting locations, combat effects and environmental effects and also for taking the audience on astonishing transitional journeys to get us from scene to scene. We needed a serving system that would do all of this, as well as move from city to city and efficiently be re-aligned.”

BlackTrax Integration and Previs

Bonniol worked closely with his associate Pablo Molina to conceive new ways to use localized content. Ash Nehru partnered with Bonniol, Molina and Cast BlackTrax development team to use the tracking data “across enormous resolutions with extraordinary accuracy and limited latency,” Bonniol says. BlackTrax is a comprehensive tracking technology solution that delivers precise 3D and 6D positioning in realtime from BTBeacons (attached to performers, vehicles and moving scenery) to controllers for automated/robotic technologies.

“We’ve been working with BlackTrax for some time. For our needs, it is the most advanced system that we know of.” Nehru reports. “On prior shows we had tracked 10-12 BTBeacons, but ‘Marvel Universe LIVE!’ requires 60. It was a learning experience to scale up and develop a system that could be easily managed by the user. But that has set us up well to provide solutions for other large-scale projects. Cutting-edge projects like Marvel Universe LIVE! really brought this feature we were already developing in d3 to a mature level so this will be something everyone will be able to benefit from soon.”

A d3 media server was also deployed during the previz process. “Since the show required an extended development period for content we were going to have to demonstrate easily and accurately what it would look like for Marvel, Disney and the Felds,” explains Bonniol. “I engaged The Antfarm to create most of my content, and we placed a d3 there at the beginning of the process. There were so many challenges in the content development process: understanding spatial relationships, making perspective work for multiple locations in the arena, sorting out how effects would transition among surfaces. D3 proved invaluable not just for client approvals but also for the content team to visualize all of these challenges and efficiently find solutions.”

“Viewing the content in 3D as they created it meant they were always working in a 3D environment and able to make critical decisions long before show time,” says Nehru. “When you use d3 in previs the savings in sweat, stress and money can be astronomical.”

Dynamic Soft Edge Launches

d3 Technologies also developed a new projector blending tool for the media server, which makes its debut with “Marvel Universe LIVE!” and will be standard in the system moving forward. “Typically, when you have multiple overlapping projectors there are bright areas where they overlap,” Nehru explains. “So you have to use a mask to blend them. It’s a manual and static process; you can’t have surfaces that move through the projector beam. With 27 projectors on ‘Marvel Universe LIVE!’ this would have been impossible.”

d3 Technologies had already been developing a solution to this problem. Marvel Universe LIVE! is the first large-scale implementation of this feature, called Dynamic Soft Edge. “With Dynamic Soft Edge we can generate masks automatically and dynamically so we’re able to move projection surfaces through multiple projector beams and come out with a flat color,” says Nehru. “This has huge implications for productions with moving scenery where there were always restrictions before.”

Bonniol says that “tracking scenery and performers through three dimensional space, having the server system understand how this was happening and be able to adjust on the fly how the projectors were blending and projecting the content is a deceptively simple thing to ask for but devilishly complicated to achieve. We asked for a very difficult thing to be achieved, and in the end it was.”

d3 Technologies also offers quick projector calibration – a huge advantage for a touring production with 27 projectors. “Each venue requires recalibrating, which takes five to ten minutes per projector,” Nehru says. “With 27 projectors, some of them moving-head projectors, more than 50 different calibrations have to happen in a few hours. The d3 media server is the only system that can handle this quickly and effiiciently by allowing multiple people to work in parallel on separate laptops.”

Bonniol calls d3 his “media server of choice when faced with sets that need projection mapping. I find d3′s programming interface to be intuitive and powerful and, right now, I think it’s absolutely the best choice for a media server that provides robust tools and process for mapping video onto non-traditional shapes and structures.”

Emmy Award-winner Joe Stewart is the production designer for “Marvel Universe LIVE!” and Norm Schwab is the show’s lighting designer.

About d3

d3 is the world’s first fully integrated visual production system for video professionals, combining a real-time 3D stage visualizer, timeline, video playback engine and projection mapping tools into one product. d3′s unique integrated workflow assists the designer at all stages of the project, from pitch through development to final delivery. www.d3technologies.com For more information contact Judith Hornman at d3 Technologies: +44 207 234 9840 / judith.hornman@d3technologies.com

About BlackTrax

CAST BlackTrax is the multi-award-winning realtime tracking technology solution that delivers precise streaming 3D & 6D positional data to controllers for targeting the connected automated robotic technologies already used extensively in event and entertainment production, and houses of worship. www.blacktrax.ca. For further information, please contact Katinka Allender, Publicist, k.allender@k-communications.com.

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WorldStage Provides 4k Solution for Adobe Connect Now Event at Lincoln Center

As part of its Creative Cloud 2014 event, a collective update of its entire line up of desktop and mobile apps for creative professionals, Adobe staged Adobe Connect Now, which debuted the 4K video capabilities of its Premiere editing software platform. WorldStage provided extensive 4K video and engineering support for the headline-making gathering at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall.

Adobe Connect Now is the latest in a series of Adobe events in which WorldStage has played a key role, including multiple AdobeMAX events and Digital Marketing Summits. PIX PRODUCTIONS, the producer for this event as well as past Adobe events, brought in WorldStage to handle the complex and exacting video display requirements of the show.

“This was the first 4k signal and work flow requirement for an Adobe event and we were delighted that our client PIX PRODUCTIONS called on us for support,” says WorldStage project manager Jack Dussault.

“With industry buzz centered on new, ‘cutting-edge’ 4K video applications, Adobe wanted to do demonstrations with a live audience, as well as have a web-streaming presence,” he explains. “The challenge for us was how to display 4K video, software, video switching and manipulation between several 4K sources for a live audience in a rather intimate theater setting of about 300 people while simultaneously streaming the live feed to an expected online audience of over 60,000.”

Dussault notes that WorldStage has done a lot of 4K – and larger – work in the past with projections up to 20K spanning a city block. “Almost all of our display applications exceed 2k or 4k resolutions,” he says. “But these are typically sourced from multiple HD outputs. Getting 4K out of single source is still relatively unusual.”

For Adobe Connect Now WorldStage “manipulated the four 1920×1080 quadrants of a native 4K signal and switched them via Vista Systems’ Spyder to a true Christie 4K projector,” he says. “Our engineers carefully planned and tested the signal path in our our California office before the event to reassure everyone that the system could manage this much information and behave as planned.”

Christie CP4230 34,000-lumen 4K DLP Digital Cinema Projectors with quad HD-SDI input card were used for the event. New Apple Mac Pro towers provided the 4k source material that was processed through the Vista X20 Spyder system.

The display was a 50-foot screen on stage at Alice Tully Hall where video clips and graphics would showcase how Premiere editing software easily masters 4K content. “One sequence with a snowy owl looked more 3D than 3D,” says Dussault. “The images were stunning, sharp, crisp and life-like.”

WorldStage is known for being in the forefront of emerging technologies, and 4K video is no exception. “3D projection, Pepper’s Ghost applications, wide-screen architectural mapping projections – we take on the cutting edge – and 4k source material will only push us further,” says Dussault.

For Adobe Connect Now, Jeremy Nichols was executive producer, Jamie Cherry was the producer, Jaki Johnsen production designer, John Bettini technical director, Shaun Boyle technical producer, Mark Jepsen camera director, Amy Richards live stage manager, and Lucas Hartog demo technical director.

At WorldStage, Richard Bevan was the account executive; Geof Gibson and Gary Kajikawa were in engineering development; Shane Zinke, Geof Gibson, Oleg Burmenko, Roger Gruchalski and Jeff Gottesfeld were live video engineers; and Paul Bevin, Luis Lojo and Erin Crane live audio engineers.

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.

For more information on PIX PRODUCTIONS, visit www.pixproductions.com.

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San Antonio’s Tobin Center for the Performing Arts Chooses Clay Paky Lighting for Performance Spaces

San Antonio’s new Tobin Center for the Performing Arts will open in September with a complement of Clay Paky Alpha Spot QWO 800 fixtures dedicated to both the H-E-B Performance Hall and the Carlos Alvarez Studio Theater.

Rising behind the façade of the former San Antonio Municipal Auditorium along downtown’s famed River Walk, the 1,750-seat multi-purpose venue will be the home of the San Antonio Symphony and other resident companies. It also plans to offer a diverse array of entertainment from comedy legend Bill Cosby and radio icon Garrison Keillor and “The Prairie Home Companion” to the Scottish Ballet’s production of “A Streetcar Named Desire.”

The four-level H-E-B Performance Hall is the largest of the Tobin Center’s performance spaces; the Carlos Alvarez Studio Theater is a black box-style space with multiple seating options. Dealer Texas Scenic and rep Roy Harline are providing the Clay Paky products.

Six Clay Paky Alpha Spot QWO 800s were selected as “the best fit” for both performance spaces. “We required, quiet, low-maintenance fixtures that offer a variety of design options and would last for many years,” says Tobin Center Technical Director Stefan De Wilde. “Following extensive research, The QWO 800s had the smallest footprint, the lightest weight and the least amount of ambient noise. Their efficient lamp also has incredible output. The QWO 800s are also extremely flexible since they can be used as a wash or a spot fixture.”

The fixtures will be shared by both the H-E-B Performance Hall and the Carlos Alvarez Studio Theater.

Francesco Romagnoli, Clay Paky Area Manager for North and Latin America, commented, “The Tobin Center is a great space and we’re proud to be a part of it. We congratulate Mr. De Wilde and everyone involved.”

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

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HUD’s Brooke-Mondale Auditorium Chooses Vista Systems’ Spyder

The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) in Washington, D.C. has upgraded its Brooke-Mondale Auditorium with a Vista Systems Spyder image processor supporting a Christie MicroTiles videowall.

The Brooke-Mondale Auditorium holds about 300 people for webcasts, large training sessions, town halls and meetings with HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. It previously featured a video projection system for speaker support.

“We needed to improve our visuals,” says Bill Amos, operations manager in HUD’s office of broadcast operations. “Everything in the auditorium requires visual support and what we had looked old. It was time for an update.” So Amos tasked OMNITEC Solutions, Inc. in Bethesda, Maryland with finding a “reasonably priced display solution that delivered the quality we were looking for.”

A technology solutions company with many customers in the government and military sectors, OMNITEC provides managed services for HUD. The company maintains a 14-person team to run the day-to-day audiovisual, event and video production operations for the agency. OMNITEC also converted the entire HUD broadcast and audiovisual facilities from standard definition to full 1080i HD/SDI processing.

While OMNITEC explored several technology solutions for the auditorium Amos says, “There was never any doubt that we’d use Spyder – it’s unmatched for what it can do and its price.”

Paul Royston, program manager at OMNITEC, reports that, “the scalability of the Spyder was overpowering. For that we needed to use if for – PowerPoints, multiple video roll- ins, graphic elements – to be able to manipulate multiple streams off one box was a big point in Spyder’s favor. The other solutions we considered needed multiple devices to do that.”

The next issue was what display to combine with the Spyder for maximum impact. HUD opted for a 16×9-foot Christie MicroTiles wall constructed on a permanent riser stage. Sources are a Ross switcher, several computers to display Internet media and PowerPoint presentations, and Harmonic’s Omneon video server. “Our Spyder has eight inputs, and we use six of them continually,” Amos explains. “Spyder is very versatile in handling these and additional sources.”

The Brooke-Mondale Auditorium is a “workhorse” venue operating approximately six hours a day, Amos notes. “We do a lot of webcasting, often with PowerPoint. Now that we have the MicroTiles wall we can use it as a scenic element behind presenters. We like to use the Spyder to put up colors to accent the presenter without distracting from their presentation; we get a nice separation between the speaker and the background – it’s a really nice effect.”

Spyder also provides more complex visuals. “Our public affairs department commented on the ‘wow factor’ that the Spyder brings to presentations,” Amos says. “It manipulates video, graphics and PowerPoints. It splits the screens and shows different resolutions. The Spyder can provide a subtle background when needed or really catch the eye.”

The upgraded auditorium has already hosted several town halls, the Secretary’s Awards for Exceptional Service ceremony, and an 80th anniversary celebration for HUD’s FHA division. For the latter event the Spyder showcased an anniversary video and the FHA’s new logo – “Spyder really made it pop on the MicroTiles,” Amos recalls.

“Spyder came out of the box, went into the rack and is delivering as advertised,” says Amos. “Spyder is also much more user-friendly than its competitors led us to believe.”

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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Clay Paky Shotlight Washes Rock at Back-to-Back Outdoor Concerts

Clay Paky Shotlight Wash fixtures really rock. In fact, they took to the stage for two back-to-back concerts in May: the MMR*B*Q, the annual show from Philadelphia rock radio station 93.3 WMMR where Rob Zombie headlined, and the WRFF-FM Seventh Birthday Show where Foster the People headed the bill.

John Duncan of Pinpoint Lighting, the festival lighting designer for both shows, says the same rig stayed in place for MMR*B*Q and WRFF’s Seventh Birthday Show at the outdoor Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, New Jersey. Ten Shotlight Washes obtained from Main Light Industries in Wilmington, Delaware were mounted on the downstage truss for the shows.

“The rig’s overall design was a standard festival plot,” he says. “It’s just that every year everyone wants it brighter. So the Shotlight was perfect for this application.”

Clay Paky’s Shotlight Wash combines a 1500W discharge lamp wash light and a 3000W Xenon lamp strobe in one device. The two wash/strobe functions are perfectly integrated and can be operator-controlled with either simultaneous or separate operation and special effects. The strobe function is provided by two semicircular Xenon lamps working independently so they can flash together or separately at different frequencies.

The wash light section features an optical unit with extremely high luminous efficiency; an 11º-74º electronic zoom; an array of filters; a hybrid dimmer; and three-phase pan/tilt motor for perfectly silent operation.

Duncan had previously used Shotlights on an indoor show and found that he could “wash the entire stage with just four of them. They were really bright, and I needed something big, bad and bright for the back-to-back festivals.”

John Bailey, the lighting designer for Rob Zombie, was initially supposed to use another light as a “good front light” for the singer. “But when I heard the Shotlights were going to be used, I was happy. I was very glad to see a bigger lamp. Ten on the downstage truss was more than enough.”

For Rob Zombie’s act Bailey ran four 9×12-foot scrims with images on them around the stage. “It took only two Shotlights to wash all that for me,” he reports. “They were really perfect for this type of thing. My color palette for Rob is very saturated, and these lights mixed them really well. I was also very impressed with the strobes.”

Duncan says the Shotlight Washes performed “excellently” for the duration of both rock concerts. “We didn’t have one problem with them.”

Bailey calls the fixtures “really amazing” and says, “I look forward to using them again.”

Francesco Romagnoli, Clay Paky Area Manager for North and Latin America, commented, “The Shotlight’s brightness combined with the innovative effects seemed perfect for this application and I’m glad they could function so well for these great lighting designers.”

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

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Alcorn McBride Equipment Provides Audio and Control for “Your Brain,” a New Exhibition in The Franklin Institute’s Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion

Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute recently opened the most significant expansion in the museum’s history. Alcorn McBride’s ProTraXX and VCore controller played key roles in “Your Brain,” a high profile, permanent exhibition. Entertainment Lighting Services (ELS), a leading supplier and integrator of lighting and staging equipment, as well as a full range of production services, provided the gear for the signature exhibit housed in The Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion.

“Your Brain” is the largest exhibition in the country dedicated to the most complex and misunderstood vital organ in our bodies. It features more than 70 interactive experiences, including a two-story climbing structure that simulates a neural network with dynamic lighting and sound effects triggered by footsteps. A Street Scene area enables visitors to travel through a scenario filled with multi-sensory information and scenes from everyday life.

ELS was brought in by the design firm Available Light to furnish lighting and audio integration for the Neural Climb and Street Scene areas of “Your Brain.” Selecting Alcorn McBride equipment was a no-brainer for Steve Prado, Senior Project Manager at ELS, who has specified Alcorn products a number of times. “From a show control trigger and front-end perspective Alcorn is always my first choice. They have great equipment and clearly have been through everything, so I know they’ll be familiar with anything I do. That was validated by The Franklin Institute’s tech crew: When they saw our rack they recognized Alcorn McBride and thought it was perfect. That was great from a maintenance service standpoint – I wasn’t bringing in an unknown manufacturer.”

Street Scene takes visitors on a walk down a small-town Main Street where they see and hear typical sights and sounds. “Alcorn McBride’s ProTraXX supplies audio effects playback on a loop that the sound designer Karin Graybash and ELS tech Chuck Schoon worked through and programmed,” says Prado. “It’s a pretty straightforward application” for the compact, solid-state MP3 playback unit.

“The lighting and sound effects incorporated into the Neural Climb immerse the visitor and reinforce the concept that the brain is a very active place. It demonstrates the complexities of what goes on in your brain,” Prado says. “The space is like a voyage inside the brain, walking through and seeing synapses trigger and fire. There are five glass disks mounted on the floor and when you stand on them your footsteps trigger a series of lighting and audio cues. By using a VCore controller we can shuffle the cues randomly. When you stand on a trigger it’s not specific to the location, it’s random. The intent was to create a non-repetitive perception of the fact that nothing ever happens twice – and it’s been very successful in its implementation.”

Prado reports that the system is working well. “Alcorn McBride really is the gold standard. And the company is spot on in terms of customer service. They are always responsive and understand the kind of deadlines and last-minute decisions that get made. Alcorn McBride is one of my go-to manufacturers.”

Located in the heart of Philadelphia, The Franklin Institute is renowned as a leader in the field of science and technology learning and is Pennsylvania’s most visited museum. The new 53,000-square foot, $41 million Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion, named for its lead donors, opened to the public on June 14. The Frank Baldino, Jr. Gallery in the Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion houses the museum’s largest permanent exhibition, “Your Brain,” plus a traveling exhibition gallery, and a conference and education center.

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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Entertainment and Film Industry Veteran Tony Miceli Joins Electrosonic

Electrosonic is pleased to announce that Tony Miceli has joined the company as Executive Consultant working with the Entertainment sales and the Design Consulting teams. Tony will be based in Electrosonic’s Orlando office.

Tony has been a leader in the entertainment industry for more than 25 years. He cofounded Soundelux Entertainment Group in Hollywood, California, and Orlando, Florida, in 1991 and, as its president, was the driving force behind their theme park creative development, audio-visual technologies design and installations, sound design, video and animation production and their Academy Award-winning feature film soundtracks. For the last ten years he has run his own company, Tony Miceli Creative, LLC., and worked as the Creative Media Director and Producer for Universal Creative.

“Tony has a very unique skill set that will be a big asset to our Entertainment business,” notes Chris Conte, Electrosonic’s VP of Entertainment. “He has extensive experience in audio and video system design, sound design and mixing and show programming. Tony is also an accomplished writer, director and producer of content with a focus on projection mapping and visual experiences. His direct experience in media creation, including audio composition, video, animation and graphics, will allow us to support our clients and also support our creative media associates in a variety of ways.”

Tony will work in concert with the design, sales and management teams to build and maintain new client relationships, perform senior level design consulting services, and develop business for existing and new markets.

“I am very excited to be joining Electrosonic and look forward to what the future holds,” says Miceli. “I have had the great fortune of participating in some benchmark setting projects over the years, working side by side with the Electrosonic team, and I’ve always been impressed with the quality and professionalism they have consistently delivered. My experience in various aspects of entertainment is a good match for Electrosonic’s roster of innovative projects and will help forge new business relationships while delivering the next generation of groundbreaking experiences.”

Most recently Tony, through Tony Miceli Creative, LLC., provided all AV design and installation and creative media production on Legoland Florida’s “World of Chima.” Tony did concept design development and creative direction for the redesign and renovation of theme park Parque de las Ciencias in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, and co-created, wrote and directed the 3D projection mapping show experience “La Isla del Encanto” at the historic Ballaja Plaza Mayor in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.

While with Universal Creative, Tony worked with the theme park design development team on Universal Studios Dubailand. Also at Universal Creative, Tony was Music Director and Sound Producer, responsible for all sound effects, music selections, editing and mixing for all of “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” land, including “Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey,” “Dragon Challenge” and “Flight of the Hippogriff.”

Many of the Brooklyn native’s projects have received Thea and Telly Awards, including “Terminator 2 3D,” “Men in Black: Aliens Attack,” ‘Daytona USA,” and “The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man – The Ride” to name just a few. In 1995, his company Soundelux won an Academy Award for sound effects editing for “Braveheart.”

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

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

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