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Eight HARMAN Soundcraft Vi6(tm) Consoles on Duty at Eurovision Song Contest

(Back Row, Left to Right): Ralf Wolters, Antonius Kern, Achim Huber, Guido Preuß, Matthias Reusch, Michael Neumahr, Lambert Kreimer; (Front Row, Left to Right): Tim Dahlem-Jockenhöfer, Pit Lenz, Christian Kreinberg

Baku, AZERBAIJAN – This year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Azerbaijan saw no fewer than eight Soundcraft Vi6 digital audio consoles, provided by Cologne-based rental company Toneheads, mixing the sound for the 42 contestants who took part.

The 57th edition of the Contest, held in the capital city of Baku, ran entirely with sound equipment provided from Germany-and Soundcraft digital mixing desks were used exclusively. Cologne-based Brainpool was responsible for the production and sub-contractor Toneheads executed the audio element of the show.

Toneheads already had a large inventory of Soundcraft Vi digital desks, and having provided successful solutions for shows like Schlag den Raab, TV-Total, and more recently Unser Star für Baku (the event seeking the German song entry for this year’s ESC) the decision was made to invest in several more Vi6s. This was based on the sound quality, reliability, user interface and flexible MADI routing capabilities of the Vi6, and enabled Toneheads to present a uniform line-up of the consoles at the newly-developed, 23,000 capacity Crystal Hall.

Rehearsals began at the beginning of May, culminating in two semi-finals followed by the Grand Final at the venue on May 26, which was won by Sweden’s Loreen Talhaoui. The show was estimated to have been seen by around 100 million TV viewers across Europe.

A top team of sound engineers was kept busy working on five of the Vi6s (with the other three on standby). Piloting the FOH mix for the main contest were Toni Kern and Guido Preuss, while the opening and interval acts (along with the moderation) were mixed on a separate desk operated by Matthias Reusch, Pit Lenz and Michael Neumahr.

Down in Monitor World three Vi6 consoles were in constant use. The contestants’ reference sound (and opening and interval acts) were assigned to separate Vi6s, with a further desk used in the In Ear Rehearsal Room. These were respectively under the command of Achim Lanzendorf, Lars Studer and Harald Jäger.

With so many acts taking part the sound crew had needed a superb sounding, resilient and – equally important – quick and easy to operate console. Having had so much experience with Soundcraft platforms in German TV shows, all responsible sound engineers were pleased to report that, once again, the Vi6′s delivered in Baku.

HARMAN (www.harman.com) designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of audio and infotainment solutions for the automotive, consumer and professional markets – supported by 15 leading brands, including AKG(r), Harman Kardon(r), Infinity(r), JBL(r), Lexicon(r) and Mark Levinson(r). The Company is admired by audiophiles across multiple generations and supports leading professional entertainers and the venues where they perform. More than 25 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with HARMAN audio and infotainment systems. HARMAN has a workforce of about 13,000 people across the Americas, Europe and Asia, and reported net sales of $4.3 billion for the twelve months ended March 31, 2012.

New Smart Light Sports Training Systems Project Images Onto Practice Surfaces Using Hitachi CP-X10000 3LCD Projectors

CHULA VISTA, California, May 29, 2012 — Youth athletes and their coaches are looking at training in a new light—literally, thanks to Joe Dellanno, president of Smart Light Sports of Arlington, MA and inventor of Ice Light, Court Light, Lane Light and Turf Light systems for hockey, basketball, volleyball, marching bands, bowling and turf sports. The new patent-pending systems use Hitachi CP-X10000 3LCD projectors to display animated graphics and images onto the playing surface where the athletes can practice in an entirely new and engaging way.

“Coaches are always looking to increase players’ skills and get the most out of their practice time,” noted Dellanno. “However, there’s always been a disconnect between the coaches and the display technology they use to get their points across to the players. How do you convey the feel of moving around on a 17,000-square-foot playing surface using an 8-foot projection screen?”

“With Ice Light, we wanted to show players what they could never see before, such as making shooting angles visible, watching plays develop on the ice, following animations that show how the puck travels, and displaying movement cues and explanations that show players where to skate,” Dellanno added.

“In my architectural business I use projectors for presentations all the time,” Dellanno continued. “Once my children started playing sports and I started coaching, it gave me the idea: why couldn’t I turn the projector 90 degrees and do the same thing on a playing surface?”

However, to make the system work for hockey, Dellanno needed a projector that was bright enough to project images onto a variety of playing surfaces.

John Bonyman of North Billerica, MA-based systems integrator Total Audio Video worked hand in hand with Dellanno in developing the system and recommended the Hitachi CP-X10000. Total Audio Video is the exclusive integrator for Ice Light.

“I knew the Hitachi projector would be a good fit for this unique application because of its brightness and its ability to achieve a big enough image size,” said Bonyman. Currently, Smart Light systems are in place in rinks in Woburn, MA and Exeter, NH, and a system is being installed at Iona Preparatory School in New Rochelle, NY in its new rink and turf facility.

“Giving the players the ability to look at visual cues right on the surface is amazingly effective,” Bonyman continued. “Usually, hockey practices are 50 minutes and during that time you get about 30 minutes of skating time, and the rest of the time the players are doing something else – but you’re still paying for the down time over the course of maybe 60 practices in a season.”

“With Ice Light, the players are spending a lot more time skating. But more importantly, they’re more focused and engaged,” Dellanno pointed out. “It’s pretty amazing–you can run through a drill and after just one time the players get it and are doing it themselves. Also, we can project multiple images, which allow all the players to participate in drills, not just some of them.”

“Ice Light enables better, faster and more effective skill development, and Hitachi is an essential part of the system,” Dellanno concluded.

The CP-X10000 projector offers XGA resolution, with a brightness of 7,500 ANSI lumens and a 2500:1 contrast ratio. It features inorganic LCD panels for longer projector life and dust-resistant cooling systems, allowing the filter to operate for 10,000 maintenance-free hours. The CP-X10000 also features a 3,000-hour lamp life and blackboard/whiteboard mode and daytime mode. Security features include a PIN lock, Kensington slot and transition detector.

To learn more about Smart Light Sports please visit www.smartlightsports.com

For more information about Total Audio Video go to www.totalavinc.com

For more information on Hitachi visit www.hitachi-america.us/digitalmedia

Follow Hitachi on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hitachi-Projectors/131067323636829

Follow Hitachi on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/HALProjectors

About Hitachi, Ltd.
Hitachi, Ltd., (TSE: 6501), headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is a leading global electronics company with approximately 320,000 employees worldwide. Fiscal 2011 (ended March 31, 2012) consolidated revenues totaled 9,665 billion yen ($117.8 billion). Hitachi will focus more than ever on the Social Innovation Business, which includes information and telecommunication systems, power systems, environmental, industrial and transportation systems, and social and urban systems, as well as the sophisticated materials and key devices that support them. For more information on Hitachi, please visit the company’s website at http://www.hitachi.com.

Lou Mannarino “Overwhelmingly Satisfied” with KIVA

L&M Sound & Light CEO Lou Mannarino (left) and L-ACOUSTICS CEO Christian Heil

Live audio engineer for the NY Philharmonic applauds L-ACOUSTICS system

NEW YORK CITY — Lou Mannarino, live audio engineer for the New York Philharmonic and CEO of L&M Sound & Light, recently expanded his company’s inventory with the addition of an L-ACOUSTICS KIVA system, which has already been deployed on a number of high-profile events throughout the Big Apple. more

HARMAN’s Studer Hosts Product Seminar in Jakarta

JARKARTA, Indonesia – Indonesian distributor for HARMAN’s Studer, PT. Kinarya Swarna Indonesia, recently organized a Studer product seminar for the radio broadcast industry. Held in the Sari Pan Pacific Hotel Jakarta on April 25, 2012 the seminar was attended by over 70 Indonesian broadcast professionals.

The Seminar showcased the Studer OnAir console range with a focus on the new Studer OnAir 1500 mixing console. The Studer OnAir 2500 mixing console was also displayed.

Studer Regional Sales Director, Keith Prestidge and Sales Engineer, Yee Tat Nam presented a technical overview of all Studer products. Digital radio system design was also covered with discussions covering audio networking and studio workflow and control connectivity.

“Modern radio control surfaces [mixing consoles] need to be highly ergonomic in design,” said Yee Tat Nam. “They also need the control connectivity to talk to other equipment in a way that ultimately makes it easier for the on air talent to perform without errors. Control surfaces, however, still must have access to all the sophisticated features should they be required. Studer has invested a lot of effort into the surface design to get both these aspects right.”

Studer, in conjunction with PT. Kinarya, has successfully supplied both standalone mixing consoles and integrated Studio–MCR systems in to several Indonesian radio stations including the RRI network, Woman Radio, Elshinta Radio and others. “We are very excited by the future prospects in Indonesia and look forward to designing innovate solutions for the Indonesian market,” Prestidge commented.

HARMAN (www.harman.com) designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of audio and infotainment solutions for the automotive, consumer and professional markets — supported by 15 leading brands, including AKG®, Harman Kardon®, Infinity®, JBL®, Lexicon® and Mark Levinson®. The Company is admired by audiophiles across multiple generations and supports leading professional entertainers and the venues where they perform. More than 25 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with HARMAN audio and infotainment systems. HARMAN has a workforce of about 13,000 people across the Americas, Europe and Asia, and reported net sales of $4.3 billion for the twelve months ended March 31, 2012.

Jünger Audio Adds A Third Prism Sound dScope Series III To Its Equipment Arsenal

After 30 years’ experience of an extensive range of audio Test and Measurement equipment, Jünger Audio’s Technical Support engineer Bernd Fuhrmann has voted Prism Sound’s dScope Series III as the instrument he likes best.

“It is definitely the one for me,” he says. “Over the years I’ve used many other brands and I am very familiar with all their pros and cons. However, I was curious about the dScope Series III and had the opportunity to test it before buying. It took only a few minutes to make the first measurements and was extremely accurate and easy to use.”

Prism Sound’s dScope Series III includes precision analogue and highly-optimised digital outputs and inputs. Precise and automatic gain-ranging allows high resolution measurements over a massive range, from a few micro-volts to more than 150 volts RMS, and from less than 1 Hz to over 90kHz. Its interface processor uses dedicated DSP to provide a wide range of real time measurements, while its software uses the host PC for almost unlimited number crunching and analysis options such as Fast Fourier Transforms, unique ‘FFT Detectors’, swept sine and multi-tone testing. Designed to be highly programmable, the dScope Series III can be automated from a wide range of third-party software using Active X controls, or internally using VBScript.

Jünger Audio manufactures high quality audio loudness and dynamics equipment and already has two Prism Sound dScope Series III instruments – one in the R&D department and one in the quality control test lab. Although compatibility with these units was a factor, Bernd Fuhrmann was free to choose whatever brand he liked for the Technical Support department.

“Positive recommendations from my colleagues were important but in the end my choice was made on the features dScope Series III offered,” he says. “The price/performance ratio in comparison to other test equipment was a major reason for choosing it, plus I really like the automatic logging functions and the fact that it integrated seamlessly into my test environment.”

Fuhrmann is using his dScope Series III to check audio quality with sweeps, long term min/max tests, THD+N and long term bit tests.

“I have found this instrument very easy to install and I’m happy with its performance,” he adds. “I also like its small footprint and the fact that it is totally PC controlled.”

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About Prism Sound
Founded in 1987 in Cambridge, UK, Prism Sound manufactures a range of high quality professional test equipment for audio applications. The company is organized in three divisions and in addition to audio test equipment, Prism Sound also manufactures equipment for high-quality recording and production for music and sound applications and for voice-logging recorders used in law enforcement, legislative and business applications. Prism Sound audio test equipment is used by many major consumer electronics brands in automotive, home entertainment, personal mobile, communications and other market sectors as well as most of the world’s leading broadcasters including the BBC. Prism Sound’s music recording products are widely used by leading professionals in music and film sound such as the legendary Abbey Road Studios in London.

For more information: www.prismsound.com

Elite Sound and Lighting Expands With HARMAN’s Soundcraft

Darren Russell, managing director of Elite Sound and Lighting

CANBERRA, Australia – Elite Sound and Lighting of Canberra and the Australian capital’s premier audiovisual production and installation supplier, has a wide variety of clients from dry-hire to rock’n’roll to corporate and conferencing. Consequently whenever the company purchases new equipment, the key element is versatility.

“We always spend a lot of time researching products, which is exactly what we did when we recently decided to invest in some compact digital audio consoles,” commented Darren Russell, Elite’s managing director. “We looked at what all the manufacturers in the market had to offer but in terms of versatility and features, we felt that HARMAN’s Soundcraft consoles had the edge over the competition.”

For Russell, one of the main selling points with the Soundcraft consoles is their ability to either take analogue inputs and outputs on the back of the console or use a CAT5 digital multicore system, or a combination of the two.

“That was a large part of the equation for us,” Russell said. “Plus we’ve had some larger, older Soundcraft consoles in our hire department for many years and they’ve always sounded great and their reliability is always good. The fact that the digital consoles have that HARMAN pedigree in them is assuring; the effects are Lexicon and the processing is BSS or dbx models. It’s all industry standard gear that sounds great.”

The result of Elite’s research led the company to purchase a Soundcraft Si Compact 16 console, a Soundcraft Si Compact 32 console and two Soundcraft Compact Stagebox digital multicore systems.

“For what they are and at the price point they are at, the Soundcraft Si Compact consoles sound amazing,” Russell stated. “Versatility and features for their price were the main reason for their purchase. Soundcraft added a heap of new functionality in their most recent software upgrade, which was great. We had ordered them based on a demo of the previous version so we were delighted to have all these new features.”

Russell remarked that his staff often comments that the Soundcraft consoles are obviously designed by people who have actually done live audio and mixed live sound.

“We have found that digital audio consoles come from either one of two places,” he said. “They are either designed by a propeller-head, computer-programming boffin who has never mixed a band or show in their life or, as is evident with the Soundcraft consoles, they come from someone who actually has done live sound. It’s nice to get a live sound console out of the box to find it’s immediately evident that it has been designed by a sound guy!”

This was proven when Soundcraft’s Australian distributor Jands sent Elite a Soundcraft Si Compact to demo and Darren and his crew had it up and running passing audio without even opening the manual.

“To be honest, since getting our Soundcraft Compact Si consoles we’ve probably only had to look at the manual twice to find out how to do some complex routing,” added Russell. “Anyone who has mixed live sound before could get one of these consoles out of its box in its factory state and do a gig on it. That’s how intuitive and user-friendly it is. We have operators with a vast level of experience and they can all use the Compact Si consoles straightaway. In fact I reckon my two and a half year old daughter could almost use one!”

HARMAN (www.harman.com) designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of audio and infotainment solutions for the automotive, consumer and professional markets – supported by 15 leading brands, including AKG(r), Harman Kardon(r), Infinity(r), JBL(r), Lexicon(r) and Mark Levinson(r). The Company is admired by audiophiles across multiple generations and supports leading professional entertainers and the venues where they perform. More than 25 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with HARMAN audio and infotainment systems. HARMAN has a workforce of about 13,000 people across the Americas, Europe and Asia, and reported net sales of $4.3 billion for the twelve months ended March 31, 2012.

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HARMAN Installed Venue Systems and Portable Rental Systems Dovetail For Optimal Audio Performance At Season’s Major Events

NORTHRIDGE, California – In two compelling examples of how HARMAN professional audio systems installed at leading venues can play excellent host to temporary gear from HARMAN-equipped rental system owners, the Halftime Show of Super Bowl XLVI and the 54th Annual GRAMMY(r) Awards both relied upon event sound designs that integrated HARMAN house systems at Lucas Oil Stadium and STAPLES Center respectively, with concert-quality systems supplied by ATK Audiotek of Valencia, CA.

“The high-profile, televised events that we serve place an increasing amount of pressure on the facilities that host them,” observed Mike Stahl, President of ATK Audiotek. “Our engineers must often do extensive quality testing and even reconfiguration of installed house systems when we elect to interface with them. However, when we come across venues with HARMAN equipment installed, we are assured of a certain level of quality and performance that we can work with and rely upon.”

ATK Audiotek provided the main PA system at the GRAMMY Awards, featuring four main arrays each containing 12 JBL VERTEC(r) VT4889 fullsize line array elements, plus two arrays of six VT4880A fullsize arrayable subwoofers each. Additionally, 12 VRX932 Constant Curvature loudspeakers were used for front fill. The newly-installed permanent audio system at the STAPLES Center, based on acoustical design support from Chips Davis Designs and a customized installation by I.P.R. Services, features multiple arrays each containing between 11 and 13 JBL VT4889DP-DA powered line array elements. Two fill clusters each containing four VT4889DP-DA elements, specially positioned to cover the end seating areas were also installed. To extend low frequency performance, the system also features four subwoofer arrays, each containing six VT4880A fullsize arrayable subwoofers.

For Super Bowl XLVI, ATK Audiotek deployed its custom-designed cart system, which allows for easy setup between events, and quick transport of the VERTEC loudspeakers on and off the field. The half-time entertainment featured performances by Madonna, LMFAO, Nicky Minaj and M.I.A. Each of the 18 carts included four JBL VERTEC VT4889 fullsize line array elements and two VT4880A fullsize arrayable subwoofers. The cart system was seamlessly integrated by ATK with the JBL VERTEC and VLA line arrays that comprise the house PA system at Lucas Oil Stadium. ESCO Communications installed the venue’s powerful, full-bandwidth system, which was designed by WJHW, for Lucas Oil Stadium’s opening in 2008.

“Both of these projects posed unique challenges,” Brad Ricks, Application Engineer at JBL noted on the deployment of both HARMAN tour-class sound systems used in concert with HARMAN house systems. Both systems feature many of the same BSS, Crown and JBL product families. “The obstacles were dealt with by some of the most exceptional system design and production professionals, working with the most advanced audio components available. Both projects met their key goal, to comprehensively deliver great sound with rock-solid reliability.”

According to Michael MacDonald, HARMAN Professional Executive Vice President of Marketing and Sales, the deployment and integration of HARMAN fixed and tour systems for these major entertainment events underscores the firm’s unmatched capacity to provide quality sound all around. This is shown through uniform voicing in its JBL loudspeaker products, clean and flexible digital signal processing from BSS, consistent power amplification with its Crown products, optimal system configuration and control via its HiQnet(tm) networking protocol and software, and a single point of accountability and support for advanced, professional-grade audio systems.

“The Super Bowl halftime show and the GRAMMY Awards have consistently represented the pinnacle of live-event production sophistication and artistic achievement,” MacDonald noted. “This year was no exception. With so many viewers watching and listening onsite and at home, such talented artists performing at both shows and so much production time and resources at stake to ensure flawless execution, it’s fitting that HARMAN systems should provide the best possible sound reinforcement support.”

Information about ATK Audiotek can be obtained at http://www.atkcorp.com/

HARMAN (www.harman.com) designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of audio and infotainment solutions for the automotive, consumer and professional markets – supported by 15 leading brands, including AKG(r), Harman Kardon(r), Infinity(r), JBL(r), Lexicon(r) and Mark Levinson(r). The Company is admired by audiophiles across multiple generations and supports leading professional entertainers and the venues where they perform. More than 25 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with HARMAN audio and infotainment systems. HARMAN has a workforce of about 13,000 people across the Americas, Europe and Asia, and reported net sales of $4.3 billion for the twelve months ended March 31, 2012.

Networking Switches and 10GbE Cards from Small Tree are “Sexy and They Know It” for Moment Factory

From creating the imagery for Celine Dion’s three-year residency show at Caesars Palace to developing an enhanced, immersive visual environment around Madonna’s 12-minute, five song performance at Super Bowl XLVI, Moment Factory is a new media and entertainment studio specializing in the conception and production of multimedia environments combining video, lighting, architecture, sound and special effects to create remarkable experiences. As the studio’s business continues to grow causing more pressing demands for the production team’s time, Moment Factory installed two Gigabit Ethernet switches and 10GbE cards from Small Tree to improve workflow.

“We originally installed a Small Tree switch for the Celine Dion project,” said Nicolas Syriannis, IT director at Moment Factory. “We needed something over the network that would be able to deliver and stream the content fast and efficiently to the animators working on the project. We also required a solution that we could use onsite when making adjustments to any of the projections. For that, we put one of the two switches from Small Tree in a road case with a Mac server so the team is able connect to a mobile SAN solution in order to make the necessary corrections immediately.”

When looking for a solution to its workflow issues, Moment Factory didn’t want to revamp its entire infrastructure. What it wanted, according to Syriannis, was technology that would fit its current workflow and deliver content fast enough to an expanding team of editors. The studio worked with HumanIT to implement the Small Tree technology into its existing infrastructure.
HumanIT is a 20 year old multi-platform systems integrator that builds bridges between heterogeneous information technology and mobile platforms and technologies to accelerate enterprise-wide business execution and collaboration, securely.

“Before expanding we had three people maximum on a project, so bandwidth wasn’t much of an issue,” Syriannis continued. “But for the Dion and Madonna projects we had up to eight people hitting the server simultaneously, so it was imperative to have technology that would help us meet our needs. The switches and 10GbE cards helped us cut down on the time needed for the animators to sync or stream content from the server.”

At the Super Bowl, Moment Factory utilized an integrated system of 3D animation and editing programs, linked through a “Hippotizer” playback system, 32 HD projectors hung directly over the field combined to create a seamless interaction between the company’s signature visual projections, the dynamic LED stage, a 140-by-80 feet projection surface and the pre-existing stadium ribbon boards.

Since its opening in 2001, Moment Factory has created multimedia experiences for spectators at more than 300 events across the world, including Jay-Z, Cirque du Soleil, Disney, Microsoft and Nine Inch Nails among others.

For more information on Small Tree switches, 10GbE cards and shared storage solutions, visit www.small-tree.com.

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XPAND 3D Continues Partnership With Cannes Film Festival

CANNES, France – XPAND 3D is proud to announce that it is once again the exclusive 3D technical partner for the 65th Cannes Film Festival. XPAND 3D is equipping four screening theaters at the Festival, including the 2,400-seat Lumiére auditorium, and eight screening rooms for the film market.

This marks the fourth year that XPAND 3D has served as the 3D technical partner for the Cannes Film Festival and XPAND 3D has renewed its partnership with the Festival through 2015.

“In addition to being the most prestigious film festival in the world, the Cannes Film Festival has championed 3D innovation, as exemplified by its decision to begin its Opening Ceremony in 2009 with the 3D screening of UP, and last year’s 3D screening of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” said Maria Costeira, CEO of XPAND 3D. “Our continued partnership with the Cannes Film Festival also demonstrates the Festival’s commitment to providing the most realistic and immersive 3D experience possible and we are proud to once again bring this experience to audiences at Cannes!”

The 65th Cannes Film Festival marks the continued growing popularity of 3D cinema, with feature films Madagascar 3 and Dracula in official selection. There will also be a tremendous increase of 3D screenings at the film market, with more than 100 3D screenings in total.

For the 65th Cannes Film Festival, XPAND will deploy its high-end Infinity active 3D glasses, which provide the brightest, most vivid and realistic 3D images available. XPAND Infinity glasses are also optimized to work with laser projectors, making it the optimal future-proof 3D system.

The Infinity 3D glasses provide up to 38% transparency and a 3000:1 contrast ratio. The glasses’ lightweight ergonomic designs ensure long-wearing comfort, and their wide 3D viewing angle provides an optimal 3D image across the entire cinema.

In addition, the Infinity glasses are now available in both adult and children sizes.

All new XPAND cinema systems and glasses fully support HFR (High Frame Rate) double and single flash at 96fps, 120fps, 144fps, 192fps, 240fps and even variable fps.

For more information on XPAND 3D, please visit www.xpand.me

About XPAND 3D:
XPAND 3D is the global leader in 3D technologies for cinema, with systems used by over 5,000 3D cinemas in more than 50 countries. XPAND 3D is also the 3D solution of choice for home, business, post-production, education, military, medical and professional 3D applications. XPAND 3D designs, manufactures and OEMs a range of consumer electronics 3D solutions that are driving the 3D revolution. XPAND is committed to advancing the state-of-the art in technology to provide consumers, businesses, educators and medical professionals with the comprehensive advantages of stereoscopic 3D. XPAND provides glasses on a linear scale from the most advanced and feature-packed for sophisticated surgical, training and home theater to more ruggedized and affordable for cinema and mass market use. X6D Limited is a global company whose products and services are marketed under the XPAND brand name.

Mateo Willis Captures Eagles In Flight With A GearNex Geared Camera Head Supplied By Oxygen DCT

As a highly regarded wildlife cameraman, Mateo Willis is in great demand from blue chip broadcasters such as the BBC and the Discovery Channel, which employ him to work on many of their most prestigious nature documentaries.

Mateo’s speciality is long-lens work and he often spends large amounts of time in remote locations filming everything from small lizards to large carnivores.

In a bid to find a more accurate way of framing shots, particularly when working with heavy cameras and lenses, Mateo has been experimenting with a CineToys GearNex geared camera head, supplied by CineToys’ UK distributor Oxygen DCT.
This unique product was developed by former Hollywood cameraman Bret Allen in response to a significant gap in the market for affordable geared head technology. It is designed to give film makers access to Hollywood-style geared heads without paying Hollywood prices.
“I was going on a shoot to film Verreaux eagles that required very fine precision moves combined with rock-steady stops,” Mateo explains. “Nothing beats the motivation of following an eagle in flight – in wildlife filming there are no repeat takes. Having read about the characteristics of geared heads I thought they were worth experimenting with and when Oxygen DCT offered me a GearNex for a trial run I jumped at the chance.”

Launched at NAB 2008, GearNex immediately won two prestigious awards including a Best of Show and a Creative Cow Blue Ribbon Award. Among the many film makers who have spotted the unit’s potential is director Robert Altman Jr, who has used GearNex with a Redrock DSLR Cinema Bundle.

Steve Hathaway, managing director of Oxygen DCT, says: “Today’s cameramen face the challenge of operating cameras adorned with monitors, matte boxes, power packs and focus-assist products, all of which can make them heavy and unwieldy. What GearNex offers is the ability to smoothly pan and tilt, even when the camera is loaded with additional equipment. It delivers a much smoother panning experience than conventional fluid heads and is ideal for a wide variety of filming tasks including motion pictures, music videos, short films, television documentaries, commercials and corporate videos.”

Mateo Willis used GearNex with a Panasonic Varicam and hopes to try it with different cameras in the future.

“Like other areas in the industry, the introduction of high-end but relatively low-cost digital cinema cameras is creating a fast-changing landscape in wildlife filming,” he explains. “Last year I was working mainly with ENG cameras supplemented with specialist cameras such as the Phantom, but this year I’ve shot almost everything with Red Epic and Arri Alexa although I haven’t had an opportunity to use those with the GearNex yet.”

As a newcomer to geared head technology, Mateo says there was initially a steep learning curve, but once he became comfortable with GearNex he found it incredibly useful and really appreciated the extra control it gave him.

He explains: “The camera I was using was mounted with a long lens and counterbalanced by several batteries, so was fairly hefty. Once the GearNex was in place I was impressed at how little energy, and hence more control, it took to precisely move the camera. Also, I found the Gearnex robust enough to put up with the arduous conditions of the desert; dust, rough roads and heat. Finally, I was impressed with its size and weight – everything fitted into a single Peli. When you’re travelling with thirty cases, the less you have to load in and out of vehicles the better!”

Mateo adds that GearNex has demonstrated that inexpensive but high-quality geared heads can be made and he is looking forward to seeing where CineToys will go with the next generation.

“My next project is filming geese on the side of a cliff in Greenland, for which I am designing a ‘vertical’ tripod to hang on a sheer rock face,” he says. “This will allow me to film while sitting in a climbing harness so only a super-light head will be appropriate. Now if the Gearnex head was motorised……”

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About Oxygen DCT:
Oxygen DCT is a broadcasts systems solutions provider with a deep knowledge and understanding of the broadcast and professional media markets. This dynamic organisation has amassed in just over five years, a very extensive and comprehensive products portfolio of over 3000 carefully designed broadcast and production products that represent the pinnacle of engineering excellence. Oxygen DCT was the first company in the broadcast industry to fully implement online facilities for its customers and its unique, comprehensive online ordering facility automatically configures equipment systems for customers, saving time and provides industry professionals with the convenience of immediate online pricing. The ‘one-stop-shop’ website caters for the smallest requirements whilst also allowing users to prepare their own quotes and place orders online with immediate order confirmation. Oxygen DCT also provides advice, support and expertise as part of its ‘life cycle’ care scheme, ensuring that customers are fully serviced throughout their career life cycles. www.oxygendct.com

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