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A virtual press conference from Sound & Video Contractor

Archive by David Steinberg

WorldStage Makes Big Tech Staff Expansion To Support Continuing Growth

WorldStage is pleased to announce five new hires, across a wide range of departments, at its East and West Coast offices. Coming on board are Susanna Harris-Rea as lighting project manager, Russell Cowans as audio engineer, Gus Garces and Greg Duffin as staging project managers, and Frank Musgrove as senior video engineer.

“We are delighted to welcome these five talented and experienced professionals to the WorldStage family,” says company president Josh Weisberg. “We prefer to have our technical people on staff rather than freelance and we pride ourselves on having the most professional staff around. These “newbies” fit right into that philosophy, although I can’t say they’re that new, as we’ve known them all for years.”

Susanna Harris-Rea joins WorldStage in New York in the role of lighting project manager. A graduate of Ohio’s Oberlin College, she has been a freelance production electrician and gaffer for the last 15 years and served as artistic director from 2000 to 2009 at Overlap Productions, a New York based theater company.

Audio engineer Russell Cowans returns to WorldStage after a three-year absence. He was audio engineer at WorldStage predecessor Scharff Weisberg from 2004 to 2011 then joined the celebrated Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater where he remained for the last three years.

Gus Garces comes to WorldStage as staging project manager having served as audio tech/production manager and most recently in sales and production at New York City events agency Production Glue LLC.

Garces previously was director of sales at Paratore Audio Visual, director of production at Star Group Production and Cipriani, production manager/audio engineer at Manhattan Center Studios/Hammerstein Ballroom and staff engineer at Sound Works Studios and The Hit Factory Recording Studios. Like Cowans, Garces enjoyed a stint at Scharff Weisberg earlier in his career where was audio tech/production manager from 2003 to 2005.

Staging project manager Greg Duffin has more than 20 years experience in recording, theater, concerts, events and corporate meetings, including world tours with gold and platinum recording artists. For the last four years he has headed Duffin Design in New York City where The Tribeca Film Festival, ABC, Warner Bros Records, A&E Networks, AMEX, Morgan Stanley, Standard & Poors, the NYC RoadRunners and Columbia University were among his clients.

Previously, Duffin was a sound designer with Basil Twist/Tandem Otter Productions, FOH concert engineer/systems technician at Martin Systems Audio, resident sound designer at the Japan Society of NYC and production manager/FOH engineer for Regina Spektor’s touring show. A graduate of Missouri State University, Duffin began his career with audio positions in Springfield, Lawrence and Kansas City, Missouri and in Atlanta.

Frank Musgrove joins WorldStage in Tustin, CA as a senior video engineer with 15 years experience in leading and managing AV production for a variety of events and programs for corporations, media outlets and staging companies. For 19 years he has been on the production staff of MLB’s San Diego Padres doing live and taped events at the stadium and off site; for almost as long Musgrove has been a member of the Boltvision game day staff for the NFL’s San Diego Chargers.

Musgrove was a senior AV production staffer with Qualcomm INC. from 2007 to 2012 and video head/project manager at Multimedia Presentation Group from 2004 to 2007.

He has done video replay and served as camera operator and EIC for numerous sports productions, including events from host broadcasters, ESPN, Fox, NBC, ABC and CBS. He also handled Vista Systems’ Spyder and Encore video playback and projection for sporting events, concerts and other multi-camera events in the San Diego market. Earlier in his career he had posts at San Diego State University, KUSI Television, King Video Cable and KCRA-TV.

Gary Standard, WorldStage CEO, concluded, “These hirings are another example of the continued growth of WorldStage on both coasts. We welcome all of these professionals to our staff and look forward to the contributions they will bring us.”

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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Kyle Means Creative Uses High Resolution Systems’ UDC Software for Custom Video Switching

IMG_0119Kyle Means, AV producer and engineer at Atlanta-based Kyle Means Creative, has found High Resolution Systems’ UDC (Universal Device Controller) to be his controller of choice for projects nationwide.

Kyle Means Creative specializes in providing screen switching, video content and camera switching for companies like PSAV, PRG, Spectrum Productions and others; Means also works directly with corporate clients. Means is a former lead show team technician and director of sales at PSAV, Atlanta. He also serves as technical director of Titanium Conferences for the International Titanium Association.

“I use UDC 400 and an iPad to create custom switching services,” he explains. “A lot of people use UDC to control Vista Systems’ Spyder [image processor], but what I think is really cool is using UDC to control other devices like DT Videolabs’ PlaybackPro so we can run concurrent video playback on multiple screens simultaneously. That can only be done through UDC.”

Means also likes the ability “to manage multiple AJA Ki Pro record decks,” he says. “I can roll multiple Ki Pro machines and manage multiple record decks.”

He’s beginning to experiment with using UDC to control multiple single destination switchers from a single control surface. “That essentially gives clients who can’t afford a true matrix switcher the kind of show that has multiple destinations,” says Means. “A lot of companies don’t have these big matrix switchers but need that capability for a show. So we’ll have a number of switchers set up with UDC as the central control surface. Through programming and UDC we can deliver the same kind of functionality as a big matrix switcher.”

About High Resolution Systems

High Resolution Systems known as HRS Control is a company with a strong systems engineering and applications background. Its founders have decades of experience in the audio visual 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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LUMINEX Shows Latest Product Developments at LDI 2014

GigaCore_New_FamilyLUMINEX Network Intelligence, a Belgium-based developer of lighting control, pro audio and video data distribution equipment for the entertainment industry, will showcase its latest product developments, GigaCore 16RFO, GigaCore RPSU and GigaCore firmware V2, at LDI 2014 in Booth 1366.

Last summer, LUMINEX introduced the latest member of its product family, the GigaCore 16RFO Ethernet switch specially tailored for touring applications and designed with the input of key industry players.

The unit brings all the advanced functionalities of the GigaCore Ethernet switch range to a custom touring package. The 2U-high device offers rugged optical connector options, including OpticalCon, which can be set at the front or rear of the unit, for a very flexible solution. A full back up power supply is available for true redundancy at the power level. A redundant PoE supply kit is available as an option.

“We are very pleased to add this touring-friendly device to the GigaCore product line,” says Hugo Larin, Director of LUMINEX Network Intelligence in America. “Front-end display, rugged connectors and the easiest managed switch interface on the market combine in a no-compromise Ethernet switch that is the result of feedback from the best users out there.”

LUMINEX recently announced the introduction of GigaCore firmware V2, which ushers in a brand new core system for the GigaCore family of Ethernet switches. V2 firmware features support of precision time protocol (PTP v2), new group web interface and enhanced PoE and Multicast media support.

Also on hand at LDI will be the GigaCore RPSU, a redundant main and PoE supply rack-mount device for the GigaCore family. It can support two GigaCore Ethernet switches and provide back up to one unit in case of power failure.

Luminex will also display the beta version of 4.2.0 firmware for its range of Ethernet-DMX converters. This version brings evolutions such as synced output mode, which allows all outputs to sync perfectly within the entire network. This guaranties a smooth and synced data flow on large-scale installations, such as media facade pixel mapping. The other new feature of this 4.2.0 firmware is the fade between sources. Users can now seamlessly switch between two ArtNet, sACN or DMX sources

“We are very excited to be back at LDI showing all these latest developments from LUMINEX,” say Larin.


LUMINEX Network Intelligence was formed by Bart Swinnen and Jan Renckens as a branch of parent company LUMINEX Lighting Control Equipment nv, which has an extensive technical background in the lighting industry. LUMINEX Network Intelligence launched its successful Ethernet-DMX8 converter in 2004 when it ran 32 DMX lines at the Paralympics in Athens. Their complete DMX and Ethernet solutions range debuted at Siel 2005 in Paris.

For more information visit www.luminex.be

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Alcorn McBride and Oceaneering Team on New AmpTraXX DSP-Enabled 16-channel Ride Vehicle Amplifier

AmtTraXX_frontAlcorn McBride and Oceaneering Entertainment Systems have collaborated on the development of AmpTraXX, a DSP-enabled 16-channel ride vehicle amplifier. It will be shown at IAAPA Attractions Expo, November 18-21, in the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.

“We told Alcorn that the ride market needed a better ride vehicle amplifier product, and they quickly understood what we were talking about,” says Matt Kent, head of creative services at Oceaneering Entertainment Systems. “Before AmpTraXX we had to specify separate marine amplifier and playback units and make more room inside the vehicles to accommodate them. Now, we have a complete audio system from Alcorn consisting of the AM4 audio playback unit and the new AmpTraxx amplifier. Combining these allows us to achieve a much smaller footprint which is an incredible lifesaver for us – it means less equipment to cram into a vehicle..”

The new product is a companion to Alcorn’s RideTraXX 16-channel solid-state audio playback system and TourTraXX GPS-triggered multi-channel audio player. AmpTraXX will make its debut on board Oceaneering’s newest product, EVO-6, a full-programmable, fully motion-based six-passenger tracked ride system.

“Alcorn McBride’s track record for customer service is amazing,” adds Kent. “They respond to us instantly.” Rob Trudell, Oceaneering project engineer, notes that Alcorn “really stepped up to the plate” to develop a product that met the very specific needs of Oceaneering-caliber ride vehicles. “They had an operational demo ready for usin only two weeks and our complete production runin four months! That’s amazing!”

He marvels that AmpTraXX has “16 channels of audio in the footprint of a device that would normally have 2 or 4 channels. Before, it would have taken four or more devices of the same footprint to give us the equivalent output. It has digital signal processing on board so we for the first time, we don’t need additional devices to achieve the same task. And custom brackets from Alcorn allow the AmpTraXX and Alcorn’s AM4 Digital Audio Machine to be stacked, which frees up a lot of panel space. Unlike a typical amp or speaker system, which is generally obsolete within 6 months, AmpTraxx is going to be on the shelf for a minimum of five years. I can just put it into a vehicle and not worry about it.”

AmpTraXX has been uniquely designed for vehicle applications. Alcorn McBride Director of Engineering, Jim Carstensen, compares its size to that of “a large hardcover book, which is tiny for a 400-watt unit.” Each 25W channel of AmpTraXX has independent DSP capability, including a 9-band EQ, dynamic range and compression control (DRC), as well as gain and stereo/mono mixing capability. Channel pairs can also be bridged to provide 50W if more power is required. AmpTraXX is easily programmed with graphical Windows and Mac OS compatible software included with each unit.

All settings are non-volatile, and the USB and serial interfaces can also be used for on-the-fly volume and mute adjustments for installations equipped with a control system. AmpTraXX can even be controlled directly from RideTraXX, eliminating the need for an external control system.

Each amplifier is completely protected against short-circuit and overdrive events, and all inputs and outputs are on vibration-resistant, locking connectors to guarantee years of maintenance-free operation. A dual-color LED constantly displays the status of the unit.

Applications for the new AmpTraXX include not only theme park ride vehicles but also multi-lingual transportation systems and tour buses.

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

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Clay Paky Sharpy Washes Turn in Winning Performances at the “Miss America Pageant”

MA 1Fifty-three contestants walked the walk on stage at Boardwalk Hall when the 88th “Miss America Pageant” returned to Atlantic City in September. Two dozen Clay Paky Sharpy Wash fixtures were on hand from Atomic Lighting in Lititz, Pennsylvania for the gala telecast on ABC Television.

Allen Branton was the lighting designer for the “Miss America Pageant” with Felix Peralta and Kevin Lawson the lighting directors and Laura Frank the screens producer and media programmer.

“It was our eighth year doing the pageant,” says Peralta. “It’s always a challenge to recreate the excitement of the show; we’re looking to enhance and improve the previous year’s telecast. With three days devoted to pageant preliminaries, which are not broadcast, we got an opportunity to build the show on site. Friday and Saturday were camera rehearsal days then Sunday was the live show.”

Kevin Lawson was responsible for the key light and audience light – an important role for a show where 53 young ladies take center stage. “The show is ultimately about the contestants, and my primary task was to make sure all of them looked good whether 53 girls were out there or one of them was performing in the talent competition,” he notes. “In a lot of ways the pageant is like an awards show: They want a certain amount of grandeur, and there’s a long-standing tradition behind it. The show has to be exciting but high quality and dignified.”

With large groups on stage at times Lawson was challenged to not just bathe the scene with light. “I wanted to shape it enough to make the girls look great and be individually visible,” he explains.

Approximately 24 Sharpy Wash fixtures served as the primary stage wash. They were hung across the stage and acted as “workhorses” for the show, bathing the contestants with backlight and color, Lawson says. “They were in pretty much every shot. I love Sharpys Washes: Their field is consistent, their zoom is great. They’re bright, the color is constant; they’re easily manipulated and fast. In fact, they’re good for all shows.”

Felix Peralta, who handled the environment lighting, notes that the Sharpy washes “treated some scenery, too, including the bigger-than-life-size Miss America statue, which had six washes on it.”

John Calkins was the production designer for the “Miss America Pageant.”

Francesco Romagnoli, Clay Paky Area Manager for North and Latin America, added, “What a group of talented lighting professionals. Allen, Laura, Felix and Kevin are so well respected in this industry and it’s a great honor that they like our equipment as much as they do.”

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

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Clay Paky Sharpy Fixtures and grandMA2 Consoles Help Deliver Powerful Message For “Stand Up to Cancer” Blockbuster Special

2When the fourth biennial “Stand Up to Cancer” special aired in the US and Canada on September 5 it raised more than $109 million for its groundbreaking collaborative research efforts. Some 60 Clay Paky Sharpy fixtures were deployed for the event with a complement of grandMA2 consoles controlling lighting and media. A.C.T Lighting is the exclusive distributor of both brands in North America.

More than three dozen broadcast and cable networks in the US and Canada telecast “Stand Up to Cancer.” The show, staged at LA’s Dolby Theatre, featured celebrity guests, music by Lupe Fiasco, Jennifer Hudson and Common, The Who, the Dave Matthews Band, and Ariana Grande, and inspiring stories about patients who have benefited from the research supported by the organization. Atomic Lighting of Lititz, Pennsylvania provided the Clay Paky fixtures and grandMA2 consoles.

“This show really means a lot to me,” says Brad Hafer, vice president of account management, at Atomic Lighting. “‘Stand Up to Cancer’ is about something real – it’s not just done for ratings. It made us all feel that we were contributing something to the cause.”

Allen Branton was the lighting designer for the special with Felix Peralta, Daniel K. Boland and Darren Langer the lighting directors. Peralta worked closely with Branton on the show design. “We’ve been associated with ‘Stand Up to Cancer’ before; its message is a very powerful one and the show has high production values, but not flashy ones,” he explains.

The Sharpys were used as strong beam lights and for their Sharpy dappling technique, Peralta points out. “Giant white walls acted as video projection surfaces, which we enhanced with accents of color or Sharpy dappling – treating the scenic pieces with the high-output fixtures to create a nice effect that you can’t get with a hard-edged light. It was a big part of the look of the show.”

Since the special was “a strong, video-driven show,” Peralta teamed with Laura Frank, screens producer and media programmer, on the media canvas. “She and I like to make sure the lighting and video stories come from the same center, that the transitions are the same, the color schemes complementary or matching,” he explains. “When lighting and video play together both are much more powerful.”

Frank, who is the principal of Minneapolis-based Luminous FX, says Kurtis Kennington of Digital Flodur designed the media content creating “about a dozen looks for the show, plus the band. The entire set was projection mapped so the environment was video driven.” Looks included themes of science and technology to support certain speakers; the band was often accompanied by photomontages of cancer survivors.

“The grandMA2 has been my preferred console for a while,” says Frank. “This show marked just the second time I was using the d3 server driven by grandMA2, and I was beta testing d3′s DMX control interface, which enables the grandMA2 to drive the time line-based d3.”

Boland, who heads LA’s Team Boland Productions, Inc., has been using grandMA desks for a decade or more. He deployed a full-size grandMA2 on “Stand Up to Cancer” where he programmed the key and audience lighting.

“The show was as much about lighting the people in the audience as those on stage,” says Boland. “We made sure everyone was lit, the color temperature was fine. During rehearsal we keyed at least six positions for the people making speeches and introducing the videos, including one on a round extension into the audience.”

Especially handy for Boland was the grandMA2′s special menu for using shutters on spots. “If the fixture has shutters you just choose the shutters menu and angle them easily by dragging your fingers,” he explains.

Darren Langer, the floor lighting director, worked closely with Boland to ensure consistent exposure levels for the talent and the audience and a “polished” look, Peralta says.

Peralta himself was responsible for lighting the environment for the show, including the scenic pieces and architecture of the house. He says production designer John Calkins partnered with Branton to create a “tasteful and powerful” environment that helped deliver the show’s strong message.

Peralta used a grandMA2 light to “make sure the environment complemented the video and gelled with it,” he points out. He’s been using MA family consoles for about 15 years. “It’s the only choice,” he says. “This was one of the first shows we did with the new 3.0 software, and we were very pleased with the additional features and improvements.

“For ‘Stand Up to Cancer’ we had the luxury of a good amount of time on site so we could program there at a very human pace,” he adds. “It’s uncommon to have that kind of time and we were very grateful for it so we could create a real hand-craft look.”

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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Brand New Metropolitan West Space Debuts with Versace Event and Extensive WorldStage Installation

versace-party-web-preview-5-1252One of the most glittering events during New York’s Fashion Week was the Anthony Vaccarello x Versus Versace Spring/Summer 2015 runway show and after-party at the new Metropolitan West venue. Signaling the notoriety of the event, Naomi Campbell, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Lady Gaga, Bella Thorne, Rachel Zoe and Victoria Justice all made appearances. Metropolitan West is a new event facility designed and built by the Metropolitan Pavilion organization and is the sister facility of Metropolitan Chelsea. Both facilities utilize WorldStage as the exclusive provider of audio, video/staging and lighting services.

The x Versus Versace 8 pm runway show, spotlighting the young diffusion line of the Versace fashion house, and after-party marked the first event since the new space opened its doors. During the months prior to opening, WorldStage had installed a comprehensive audio, video and lighting system to meet the demands of prospective Metropolitan West clients. The systems represent provide state-of-the-art performance while being cost effective, providing clients a wide range of configurations and minimal visual interference as much of the hardware is finished in white to match the interior design.

x Versus Versace utilized both the first and second floors of Metropolitan West. “Since we were supporting not only a full runway show on the first floor but a large party and concert performance on the second floor, we augmented the installed system with additional gear from our warehouse inventory. However, for almost all events we’ll see at the space, the built-in system will be able to handle it.” says WorldStage account executive/project manager Frank Mejia. “Scenically, the client brought in additional walls for the party and we provided the AV package for the performance by St. Vincent.”

KCD partnered with Todo Productions on the creative for the evening. “Anthony (Vaccarello) wanted a clean, modern, white light venue for the show,” says Susan Schroeder with Todo Productions. “He used a lot of graphic patterns in his collection, which we adapted for the graphic design of the runway. Upstairs at the party we used lighting and projection to get that graphic look in the very modern, white space. We also played with the infinity of reflections of the models in a lot of mirrors.”

Frank Mejia notes that WorldStage met the twin challenges of readying Metropolitan West for its debut as well as ensuring it met the needs of KCD and Todo for x Versus Versace’s dual events. “John Ackerman, Vice President – Systems Integration, Barry Grossman, Chief Engineer and I worked hand in hand with the management and operations team of the venue to make sure everything was at 100 percent by the load-in day,” he says.

For the high-profile fashion event WorldStage was charged with implementing the creative visions of lighting designer Joe Saint of IMCD Lighting and audio designer Eric Bechtel of Audible Difference Inc. (ADI).

In all, nearly 100 moving lights, 150 conventional lights and various LED fixtures were used to light the fashion show, party and performance. For sound 40 Yamaha and 34 d&b speakers were used, running from Avid and newYamaha QL1 mixing desks.

“We were the first production at Met West, and WorldStage was great about working together with us to make everything happen for our show,” says Schroeder. “WorldStage really impressed me by putting our needs first.

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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Napa’s Palmaz Vineyards Uses Vista Systems’ Spyder in Unique Projection System Designed to Aid Winemakers in their Work

01_DomeShot_entryLevels_00001No doubt about it, winemaking is an art and a science. Perhaps nowhere is this more evident that at Palmaz Vineyards in Napa, California where winemaking and aging takes place within the living rock of Mount George, in a maze of tunnels and lofty domes. Vista Systems’ Spyder plays a key role in the advanced technology Palmaz uses to aid winemakers in creating complex, elegant, super premium wine.

Palmaz Vineyards has reinvented winemaking on the site of the Cedar Knoll Vineyard and Winery, founded in 1881 by Henry Hagen, one of the Napa Valley’s pioneer winemakers. The Palmaz family bought the forgotten stone winery and introduced true gravity-flow winemaking in a wine cave equivalent to an 18-story building. Gravity-flow winemaking eliminates the violent agitation of pumping, which can change the wine’s intra-molecular structure. Instead, the gentle treatment allows the finest nuances of flavor to develop naturally.

The cave’s fermentation dome is the world’s largest reinforced underground structure with dimensions spanning 72 feet in diameter and 54 feet high. Twenty-four fermentation tanks rotate on a massive custom-designed carousel. Temperature stays constant at 60 degrees and humidity at 75 percent, the perfect atmosphere for aging wine.

“What makes a winemaker great has little to do with the ability to ferment wine and everything to do with the seemingly inhuman ability to sense the subtleties in wine,” says Christian Gastón Palmaz, president of Palmaz Vineyards. “The only instrument we want them to have in hand is a glass. Up to 50 percent of their time is spent determining how far along they are in fermentation. The more tanks you have the less often you check and make critical adjustments and decisions.”

Palmaz partnered with Acrolon Technologies and aerospace metal fabricator Rodney Smith to create the first fully algorithm-based fermentation control system featuring proprietary intelligent instrumentation in each tank which image more than 10 million points of temperature inside the tank space, providing the winemaker a live visual thermal representation of the tank. “With this powerful information they can better steer the artistic ship – and make great things happen to the color, texture, flavor and aroma of the wine,” says Palmaz.

To gain a full understanding of the state of each tank, however, the winemakers need to constantly review the tank data. “How could we put the data in front of them?” asks Palmaz. “An iPad accompanies the process but referencing 30 days worth of data across 36 fermenters on a 9.7″ screen can be cumbersome. Positioning the data so that critical information could be observed without having to search for it became the goal.”

Palmaz envisioned a projection system. After all, he had the huge curved surface of the dome available. “But we had been told for years that edge blending wouldn’t work in that space,” he says. “Even the best planetarium consultants in the world discouraged us from projection.”

Then he heard about two products that looked likely to make his dream a reality. “Christie’s HD14K-M projectors have geometric correction at an unbelievable level and focal depth lengths never seen before. And Vista Systems’ Spyder X20 1608 could create a pixel cloud of unparalleled size. With those products we’d be headed down the right path.”

But Palmaz notes that he’s “a vintner, not an AV specialist.” So he hired commercial integration firm CCS Presentation Systems, Inc., whose San Jose office undertook months of “rigorous testing and custom work” with Christie and Vista to devise a very unique system for the Palmaz Vineyards’ dome. “And the end result is unbelievable,” Palmaz declares. “They took a space inhospitable to projection and delivered projection with extreme high definition, clarity and brightness.”

“The space itself has a big ‘wow’ factor,” says Adam Bahri, senior account executive at CCS. “The AV system now enhances that. You turn it on and the projections deliver an extra ‘wow.’ Changing winemaking through technology – it’s a unique approach.”

The projections give winemakers a graphical representation of control screens showing the thermal state of the tank. That enables them to “focus on fermentation in exquisite detail,” says Palmaz. “During harvest it’s like watching a live movie – the fermentation is active.”

But the system is also designed to take winemakers back through a previous vintage. “You can play back an entire harvest with the tap of a button,” he explains. “There’s an animation of the property then day-by-day sequences showing which vineyards were picked and their fermentation. You can see 240 hours of fermentation in seconds — for all 24 tanks. It’s so visually stimulating. And it helps make an important point of how complex fermentation is.”

Edy Salomon Technical Operations Manager for CCS,says the first challenge faced by CCS was “edge blending six projectors, which is difficult to do. Then edge blending them on a domed ceiling was pretty much unheard of.” Christie did a site survey to determine the number of projectors required, their angles and distances ultimately opting for six projectors custom-mounted on the second floor with the rotating carousel below.

Spyder was selected for its ability to “stretch a single image over multiple projectors,” Bahri explains. “Vista manufactures the best equipment and offers the best customer service. In my 15 years experience with Vista you’re guaranteed a satisfactory result.”

Palmaz wrote a simple custom app for Apple iPhone or iPad that allows the winemaker to trigger projections sourced by a Mac Pro tower running ~sedna Presenter and fed to the six Christie projectors, which perform the warping for the dome, and the Spyder, which handles the edge blending.

The unique visual experience in the dome is not only designed for winemakers, however. Palmaz Vineyards conducts private tours by appointment during which visitors can also view the projections.

“Our ambassador taps a button on the iPhone interface to blank out the system so visitors don’t see it at first,” says Palmaz. “They snake their way onto the balcony reaching into the dome structure. They don’t see the projection system although they are inches from it. Then the ambassador taps the button again and the room explodes with light. It’s an overwhelming experience. It’s like being surrounded by magic.”

In addition, the projection system can turn the dome into an art installation. Famous fashion photographer Nicola Majocchi has been commissioned to create a two-volume coffee table book for Palmaz Vineyards, and he’s also been asked “to take the dome’s pixel space and create an artistic exhibition of motion photography,” Palmaz explains. “He calls it ‘a surreal dreamscape as a grape’ – an artistic perspective from the point of view of a grape. It should be ready this fall when we’ll default to this living art canvas, which will be exhibited continuously on the dome.”

Palmaz gives kudos to CCS and the customer service provided by Vista. “I expected this would be an unbelievably expensive project, but we were able to accomplish everything for a very reasonable price,” he reports. “This was so very different from anything I’m used to doing, but CCS, and Vista were on time and on budget and I really appreciated it. It was a great pleasure to work with them.”

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 Sharpys and B-EYEs and grandMA2 Consoles Amp Up the Energy at “Nights by Absolut” on Brooklyn’s Pier 9

IMG_7890Clay Paky Sharpy and B-EYE K20 fixtures and grandMA2 consoles helped light up the New York City sky when “Nights by Absolut” launched on September 12 with a high-volume, high-energy twist on the club scene. Clay Paky and MA are both exclusively distributed in North America by A.C.T Lighting, Inc.

Vita Motus, the design studio of Heather Shaw, transformed the Pier 9 Container Terminal in Red Hook, Brooklyn into one of the most exciting clubs in the world for just one night. The iconic silhouette of the Absolut vodka bottle took center stage with the New York City skyline illuminated behind it. DJs Alvin Risk and Araabmuzik took command of the music on the stage below and built suspense for a surprise appearance by guest DJ Zedd.

The event, produced by VICE, was part of the innovative Absolut brand campaign, “Transform Today,” which launched last year. “Nights by Absolut” staged in Johannesburg, Berlin and Sao Paulo followed.

DMDS7tudios of North Miami Beach worked with Vita Motus and VT Pro Design to bring the custom-rigged, 85-foot tall Absolut silhouette to life with 84 Clay Paky B-EYE K20s and 72 Clay Paky Sharpys.

“The goal for the design team was to bring a very progressive brand like Absolut to the forefront of the technology movement, and there is no other effect or lighting fixture on the market currently that has so many options and so much power as the B-EYE,” says Scott Chmielewski, principal of DMDS7tudios, which was brought onto the project as programmers and technology consultants and integrators. The company was charged with programming and implementing the B-EYE lighting effects and pixel mapping the individual LED cells within the fixtures.

“There is literally nothing like the look of the B-EYE out there and, with the fixture’s latest software, options have expanded dramatically,” notes Chmielewski. “The ability of the B-EYE to change from a very powerful and bright wash light to an effects-filled fixture made it an obvious choice for this project.”

He calls the design of “Nights by Absolut” “nothing short of immersive in both its scale and use of technology. Using a well-scripted and choreographed escalation of the event, each element of the project came to life in dramatic steps showcasing a different use of technology and integrated design.”

To control the B-EYEs and the Avolites Media Ai media servers dedicated to mapping the LED pixels, DMDS7tudios employed the latest grandMA2 v. with four active NPUs and a back up console.

“We controlled the Ai media servers, which handled all the media and pixel mapping, and the B-EYE cells, which were all seamlessly Art-Net merged directly into the grandMA2 allowing use of both DMX video as well as the built-in effects of the B-EYE,” says Chmielewski.

For DMDS7tudios, “the DMX mapping and merging were the most challenging elements,” he reports. “Having 12,000 channels of LED sent from both the console and media server over Art-Net sounds like a daunting task, but the capabilities of the grandMA2 platform made it a clear and intuitive process. Being able to create content, albeit in a very unique and low-res format, really helped bring the show’s concept to life. Having that much unique and detailed control over so many elements in such a demanding creative environment was only made possible by the console’s software development, which included the ability of grandMA 3D to previsualize all the elements of the project.”

Chmielewski says there were “no issues with any of the gear” during the pop-up club’s unforgettable one-night only event on Pier 9. “Every element of this show performed flawlessly.” For the grandMA2 that meant “the ability to preprogram in our studios, work with real-world and accurate models of both the fixtures and the environment, and [use] seamless methods for implementing creative nd technical changes that happen on every show.”

The lights were equally problem-free. “We were in an exposed outdoor environment with limited access to the fixtures once they were hung, so that’s one of the reasons the B-EYEs were chosen,” Chmielewski says. “So many options, so few moving parts.”

“Scott is such an innovative designer and this project was really impressive,” says A.C.T Lighting Vice President of Sales, Brian Dowd. “DMDS7tudios has been a great partner of ours and we look forward to many more projects of this caliber from them.”

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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“Inside the NFL” Makes Season Debut in a New Studio with Lighting from WorldStage

10687542_10152458618089495_187091805288343783_oThe start of football season marked several changes for the iconic “Inside the NFL” program, which airs on Showtime and The NFL Network. Chief among them was a move to CBS Studio 42 and implementation of a new lighting package by lighting designers Christopher Landy and Abigail Wells of Vibrant Design LLC with equipment supplied by WorldStage.

The long-running “Inside the NFL” has moved to Tuesday this season and revamped its on-air roster with Greg Gumbel serving as the new host. Its move from studios in New Jersey to CBS Studio 42 prompted new set and lighting design that contributes to a fresh production of a fan favorite.

Vibrant Design was already familiar with Studio 42 when the show moved in. “We do ‘Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’ in that studio,” says Christopher Landy. “We strike that and do ‘Inside the NFL,’ and BET next door, so Vibrant has a great rapport with the CBS staff!”

Landy says “Inside the NFL” is “shot in a great environment. We shoot the in studio portions noon to 3 pm on Tuesdays, then its edited and integrated with roll-ins and airs that same night.”

Due to the nature of turnaround in the studio, both sets are designed with a “substantial amount of scenic lighting incorporated into the set, – miles of LED tape, lightboxes, puck lights – and from a design standpoint I love that. It allows us a great deal of depth,” he says. “It is very consistent, especially with the show loading in and out – two major shows are turned around every week in Studio 42 and there’s not much crossover in terms of gear. We’ve designed ‘Inside the NFL’ to be very plug and play.”

“Abby Wells and John Bell, the show’s lighting director, have done an amazing job!” says Landy, “not only does the set glow, the talent consistently looks fantastic every week. You’d never know the show was loaded in and refocused yesterday”.

Most of the lighting package was acquired from WorldStage, where “Terry Jackson and his team always take great care of us,” Landy says. Beyond the miles of LED tape on “Inside the NFL” are 150 ETC Source 4 lekos, 18 2K soft lights, six 2K fresnels, 40 LED iWhites, six Martin MAC Auras, ten Martin MAC 101s and 24 LED puck lights

LED tape, used within scenic pieces, includes approximately 1,800 feet of dual white LED tape from Super Bright LED in the lightbox walls and approximately 100 feet of RGBA tape from Environmental Lights in the anchor desk and podium platform.
Lighting is controlled from an ETC Ion console, also from WorldStage.

“Once again, we worked well with WorldStage and had another great experience,’” says Landy. “The producers of ‘Inside the NFL’ are thrilled with the new lighting.”

Peter Radovich is the producer of “Inside the NFL.”

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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