Archive for October, 2012

Robe Rocks in Nigeria


Solution Media and InfoTech Ltd, a high-tech multimedia company specialising in sound, stages, laser multimedia, lighting, tent and digital print in Nigeria, recently staged an evening of live entertainment to demonstrate the power and versatility of the latest Robe technology along with other brands in their inventory.
Five hundred guests relaxed and enjoyed their favourite songs at the “Memoirs and Wine”, event including performances by two bands; Soda Pop from the Philippines and the Flame band from Kenya at the Federal Palace hotel in Lagos.
The event was co-ordinated by the CEO of Solution media, Prince Adeyanju Lipede and Executive director, Prince Adeyeloye Lipede, together with the staff, plus Robe’s Middle East Sales manager, Elie Battah who comments “ It was really an excellent way of getting a good targeted audience in-front of the equipment and been able to show it off for real in situ”.
The Robe moving lights fixtures used in the rig included, ROBIN LEDBeam 100s of which Solution Media is a proud owner of 84 pieces, recently acquired from ROBE, together with MMX Spots and ColorSpot Wash 2500E ATs.
Solution Media also provided a kicking sound system, LED Screens and IMAG video systems as well as an animated backdrop and various atmospheric effects to create that ‘world class event’ ambience.
The specially invited guests consisted of visual and show designers, event planners, brand managers and ambassadors, media managers of telecommunication and oil companies together with film and TV stars who added extra glamour and of course ….. the press! Collectively, they represented a broad cross section of professionals’ entertainment, event and market sectors.
All the Robe products displayed attracted a lot of interest, however the powerful and literally pocket-sized LEDBeam 100 stole the limelight! People were blown-away with its tiny size, incredible intensity, speed, power and light weight of just 4Kgs.
The MMX Spot was also a winner, with its dual graphics wheel among other features making it highly flexible together with the brightness and compact size. Robe’s commitment to producing genuinely less power hungry fixtures is an asset in Nigeria, all helping to create a greener footprint.
Battah comments, “With the ozone depletion and destruction of the eco system advancing so rapidly, Robe’s green commitment is critical to its future business strategies”. He feels that customers are definitely becoming more environmentally conscious and aware of the things they can do to help make a difference.
At the end the Memoirs and Wine show, the Solution Media management team gave a short speech, followed by Battah, who offered an overview of Robe and the company’s activities, aims and ambitions.
The event was a brilliant success, not just in terms of product exposure in a proper concert / on-stage scenario, but also as a networking and cross-communication opportunity and a thoroughly enjoyable social occasion. “We received nothing but positive feedback,” says Battah.
In specific locations and emerging markets, this model is an ideal way to acquaint people with Robe’s products and its possibilities.

AJA Announces Universal Power Supply Included with all Mini-Converters

Grass Valley, CA—AJA Video Systems, a leading manufacturer of professional video interface and conversion solutions, today announced that its entire line of Mini-Converters will now ship with an internationally-compatible universal power supply, free of charge.

AJA Mini-Converters meet the highest standards in reliability and are designed to deliver uncompromising quality video and audio in a range of remote, mobile, on-set and studio-based professional production and post-production settings. AJA HD and SD Mini-Converters offer the most complete range of compact, standalone conversion solutions to uniquely meet the needs of any production.

The new DWP-U-R1 power supply operates at a 100-240v input range at 50-60Hz, and includes four interchangeable plug adapters for US and international usage.

For more details please visit: http://www.aja.com/en/products/mini-converters/.

About AJA Video Systems, Inc.
Since 1993, AJA Video has been a leading manufacturer of high-quality and cost-effective digital video interface, conversion, acquisition, and Desktop solutions supporting the professional broadcast and post- production markets. With headquarters in Grass Valley, California, AJA maintains an extensive sales channel of dealers and systems integrators around the world. For further information, please see our website www.aja.com.

World’s Broadcasters Cover Elections with Vizrt Live Video and Graphics Tools

On November 6th when results from the United States Presidential election race come pouring in, nearly 90 percent of the world will be watching live video and graphic tabulations produced with Vizrt equipment as Vizrt continues to be the company the world is truly watching. Thousands of Viz Engines will be working overtime for this event, performing real-time video and graphic composites and rendering 2D and 3D animations in SD and HD.

In the United States alone, six national networks and more than 150 local channels will cover this election with Vizrt tools. Approximately 1,000 Viz Engine renderers will drive election results for U.S. broadcasters.

“With our installed base clearly the majority around the world, Vizrt customers will again produce graphics that most of the world will watch on November 6th,” said Petter Ole Jakobsen, CTO of Vizrt. “We’re proud of what our customers are creating with our technology and of the added excitement our tools enable on such mission-critical, high-profile, live events.”

The way in which the equipment will be used for election coverage has expanded along with the number of installations. More U.S. broadcasters will use Viz Engine within the studio than ever before. Interactive screens, video walls, virtual studios and immersive graphics will be powered through both Viz Engines and Viz Media Engine server-based media asset management systems. Viz Anchor, an iPad control application, will be used with greater frequency by news anchors to manipulate video clips and graphics running on Viz Virtual Studio and Viz Video Wall. With Viz Virtual Studio, existing sets can be enhanced with immersive graphics, with which the anchor can interact.

The all important results map that breaks down voting results by US county and state is created with Viz World. Used by over 1500 broadcasters worldwide, Viz World has become the defacto standard in broadcast mapping. With live data feeds, the maps are updated in real-time on air, in touchscreens, virtual sets, and fullscreen.

Playlists are created and managed in Viz Content Pilot, a template-based graphics and video file management system which gives complete control of all graphic and video content from within the newsroom control system. Graphics can be edited via a plug-in for the Viz Trio CG software that enables all major non-linear editing systems to access Trio templates to change text, images, 3D objects and clips. And live election data will be continuously displayed with Viz Ticker3D. In the Control room, Viz Trio will display live graphics and video with content constantly being updated live from various data sources. Many broadcasters will be using Viz Trio operators in the control room but in the U.S. many of the local stations will be driving Vizrt graphics through control room automation systems.

The number of broadcasters throughout the world using multi-platform delivery has also increased as Viz Media Engine plays a larger role in controlling video and its distribution to different devices. With a single step Vizrt takes videos from a MAM to the web and mobile platforms faster than real-time. Combine this with device adapted graphics and a viewer can watch the coverage on television, online or through a mobile device with the highest possible quality.

Vizrt’s hands-on support of its customers is apparent this election season, with over 20 Vizrt staffers providing on-site and creative services, data integration instruction, final set up of election show related devices, and equipment rental management to its U.S. broadcast clientele.

About Vizrt:

Vizrt provides real-time 3D graphics and asset management tools for the broadcast industry – from award-winning animations & maps to online publishing tools. Vizrt’s products are used by the world’s leading broadcasters and publishing houses, including: CNN, CBS, Fox, the BBC, BSkyB, ITN, ZDF, Star TV, Network 18, TV Today, CCTV, NHK, The Globe and Mail, Times Online, The Telegraph, and Welt Online. Furthermore, many world-class production houses and corporate institutions such as the Stock Exchanges in New York and London use Vizrt systems.

Vizrt is a public company traded on the Oslo Main List: VIZ, ISIN: IL0010838154. For further information please refer to www.vizrt.com

Martin Burkhalter / CEO / +41 22 365 75 01 / MBurkhalter@vizrt.com

Ofra Brown / CFO / +47 5351 8040 / OBrown@vizrt.com

Håvard Myklebust / EVP Products & Marketing / +47 9184 5602 / HMyklebust@vizrt.com

Christie HD10K-M Projectors Receive the Highest Grade at Appleby College Anniversary Celebration

100 Years of History Comes Alive At Canadian Prep School with the Aid of Christie Technology
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Appleby College, an Oakville, Ontario-based prep school, recently celebrated its 100th anniversary with the aid of 26 Christie HD10K-M 3-chip DLP projectors installed and managed by Metalworks Production Group, a live event company.
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With the projectors installed 18-feet high in a 360-degree circle around the interior of Appleby Arena, Metalworks knew the concept presented challenges in drafting and designing the rigging. According to Mitch Mazerolle, technical director, Metalworks Production Group, 26 projectors flown at precise distances from the 360-degree surface made it a challenge to get the lens throw exact for the fixed lenses.

Christie Projectors Light up the hockey arena at Appleby College

Christie Projectors Light up the Hockey Arena at Appleby College


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“We were dealing with a low-ceiling hockey rink and several projectors so everything was very tight. Given the configuration and height, we knew the edge blending needed to be precise but I spoke extensively with Geoff Chick (central and western regional sales manager, Christie) and John Hallman (senior manager, regional sales, Christie) and they helped immensely,” said Andrew McLaren, video department manager, Metalworks. “Metalworks is extremely pleased with the flexibility and powerful nature of the (embedded) Christie Twist technology. The blending and warping worked perfectly, making for a visually stimulating and tastefully done presentation.”
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Christie Twist enables full image warping and advanced edge blending through the control of a powerful and easy to use Graphic User Interface. Users can expertly control edge-blended multiple curved images seamlessly. Images can be warped to fit virtually any dimension or shape display with perfect pixel-to-pixel alignment.
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With a century of Appleby College history to look back upon, three era-specific segments – including photos dating back to 1912 – were displayed. The first era featured memories from the school’s 1912 opening until the end of the 1940s with the second part covering the 1950s through the 1980s. The third part featured the 1990s to the present. The college contributed archival footage and Metalworks assembled digitally animated content segments – including digitally animated photos. Superimposed over the photos was custom-made animation. Bob Spencer, President of Metalworks, pitched the 360-degree blend concept for the show and the client was both immediately interested and extremely happy with the outcome.
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“Metalworks is a Canadian company and it was a big plus to use a locally manufactured product. In fact, Metalworks is looking to increase its relationship with Christie and having its manufacturing facility just down the road is a big plus for us,” said McLaren. “We know there are other companies out there but for us, the dominoes all fell in the right place and the only logical choice was Christie. We’ve worked with Christie before and Christie products are reliable; we had 26 Christie projectors going and didn’t have to touch them for any reason. That is huge.”
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“Considering everything Christie has to offer, it was a no-brainer to work with the company,” Mazerolle concluded. “For the price and ability to do what was required, the Christie HD10K-M projectors provided the idea solution. We are truly impressed with the capabilities of the technology and Christie made us look great.”

Christie Powers “Big Green Screen” At The Tom Ridge Environmental Center

The Big Green Screen Theater located in the Tom Ridge Environmental Center (TREC) at Presque Isle State Park has made the move to digital cinema technology. The announcement was made by Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Richard J. Allan at the Sunset Celebration held on October 26. This event, hosted by the Friends of The Tom Ridge Environmental Center, also included the presentation of the 2012 John C. Oliver Environmental Leadership Awards. This special recognition was presented to the award recipients by Governor Tom Ridge.
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The Big Green Screen Theater is owned and operated by DCNR and offers various educational films for school groups, families and other users of the park. It is the only large format theater in northwest Pennsylvania with its 4-story high, 45-foot wide screen. R&R Technical Services, a full service cinema supply company and Christie partner, installed the Christie Solaria® Series CP2230 projector. It will replace an 8/70.5/70, 4/35 Kinoton Projector, which will, however, remain in operation, for occasional use to show film when a movie title is not yet available in a digital format.
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“Presque Isle, with its beautiful coastline and many recreational opportunities, is one of the most-visited state parks in our system, however a lot of that visitation occurs during the warm months,” Allan said. “The Big Screen Theater plays a big role in creating a destination during the off-season at the Tom Ridge Center. That’s why we did not want to skip a beat as the industry transitions from film to a digital format.”
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“The Christie CP2230 was chosen because of its superior image quality and reliability, and the full backup services provided by Christie’s Network Operation Center and service team,” said Bob Ray of R & R Technical Services. “With our colleagues at TREC and Poggi Designs, we developed a design and layout of the digital system that accommodates both the Christie 4500 watt Xenon lamp-based projector and the Kinoton. We could see that Christie would produce the best image quality for this large format screen, compared to other brands.
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“It was challenging to keep the Kinoton projector fully operational and in the same place, alongside the digital projector, since the front wall of the projection booth was double 8-inch cement block with reinforcement. But after a short closure for upgrades and the installation of a new port opening, we are now able to switch between the film projector and Christie’s in a matter of minutes,” said Mr. Ray.
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The agreement with Christie also includes Service Plus, a warranty program that offers next-day parts delivery and complete remote monitoring to minimize down time from Christie’s Network Operations Center (NOC), ensuring fast and reliable technical support and maintenance for the environmental center. Through remote monitoring, Christie technicians make sure that tens of thousands of displays across the U.S. and Canada are running smoothly, getting timely maintenance and receiving software upgrades.
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Sean James, vice president of Christie Managed Services, noted that the Tom Ridge Environment Center chose Christie’s Service Plus plan, selecting from a menu of services that provides 24/7 remote monitoring of the Christie projectors and connected devices. Through this service, the Center gained access to a local network of technicians for rapid response to technical issues, software upgrades and troubleshooting, as well as repair and replacement of parts for the next 10 years.
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More about TREC
The Tom Ridge Environmental Center (TREC), named after Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge, is the gateway to Presque Isle. The center is open year-round, offering visitors information and insights into the unique 3,200-acre peninsula and the many different forms of life that inhabit it.
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The center was built as a premier green building within Pennsylvania’s state park system. It was designed to achieve a silver LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating from the U.S. Green Building Council. Incorporated into its design and function are environmental features such as natural ventilation, an inverted roof to collect rainwater, recycled materials wherever possible, native landscaping and renewable energy sources. The building features large and small classrooms and research facilities as well as the theater and a discovery center for younger patrons.
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The theater, which hosts hundreds of school and community groups for educational films each year, seats 175 persons and has the largest screen format available in the region.
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About the Friends of the Tom Ridge Environmental Center
The mission of the Friends of The Tom Ridge Environmental Center (TREC) is to forge a partnership between the private sector and the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources in order to preserve and enhance educational programming, natural history research and visitor services opportunities of the highest quality to assure that the Tom Ridge Environmental Center is nationally recognized as a center of excellence now and for generations to come. For more information, visit www.FriendsofTREC.org.
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About DCNR
The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is charged with maintaining and protecting 120 state parks; managing 2.2 million acres of state forest land; providing information on the state’s ecological and geologic resources; and establishing community conservation partnerships with grants and technical assistance to benefit rivers, trails, greenways, local parks and recreation, regional heritage parks, open space and natural areas. More information at www.dcnr.state.pa.us.

PARADIGM PROVIDES LARGE DA-LITE REAR PRO DISPLAY FOR ONE OF UWE’S PREMIUM LECTURE THEATRES

A major lecture theatre on the Glenside Campus of UWE Bristol (the University of the West of England, Bristol) has been upgraded with the installation of a large, 150” Da-Lite rear projection media display.

Da-Lite distributors Paradigm AV supported contracted suppliers GV Multimedia — who have a long-standing relationship with the University — and provided a single-mirror rear projection rig and technical drawings to ensure optimum utilisation of the space.

At the same time GV Multimedia project manager, Dan Victory, carried out his own computer predictions and visualisations to ensure the optimisation of off-axis viewing in the 240-capacity theatre and correct balance of brightness and contrast.

He opted for a Da-Lite Da-Snap (fixed snap-frame) solution, using Da-Tex rear pro screen material set flush against the high arched wall. The visible area now measures 196” x 110” and harnessed in the Paradigm ‘Easy-Erect’ rig is a 16:10 aspect ratio Christie DHD800 projector with 0.8-1 fixed lens.

The screen itself was selected for its combination of brightness and image quality and the project manager’s CAD drawings were designed to accommodate all viewing angles “so that it was possible to see clearly from even the front seats.”

GV Multimedia specialises in the education sector and has a relationship with UWE extending over a decade. This is the latest in a long line of upgrades, and the University’s technical demands remain high at Glenside Campus, where some departments of the Faculty of Health & Life Sciences are based.

Dan Victory recalls that the previous rear projection set-up, with only a small screen and 4:3 aspect ratio projection, was ripe for upgrading. “The previous equipment was good for the time it was installed, but technology has moved on since then. This time the University wanted as big a display as possible inside the space, upgraded to HD since it is an important room for teaching, particularly medical studies.

Based on the requirement GV Multimedia produced a specification before tendering successfully for the work. Having carried out an earlier phase of cable laying they returned in June, knowing that this would be a fast-fit project with a sensitive budget.

“I had not worked with Paradigm previously but I certainly knew of their expertise,” the project manager acknowledged. “I had seen Da-Lite screens at trade shows and knew that in this situation it would be a perfect fit. It needed to be a rear projection solution, and with 4m depth it was simply a choice between whether we used a single or twin mirror rig.” The presence of air ducting on the rear wall reduced the space and eventually dictated a single mirror solution.

With PC feeds and medical data projected from a visualiser, the requirement for superior image uniformity was a given. “We opted for a high-contrast solution, and were prepared to sacrifice a little of the brightness to ensure a wide viewing angle. This has proved to be the correct decision, as there is no differential from corner to corner — there is excellent referencing for everyone in the theatre and there are no hotspots. On top of that the Da-Lite screen bezel is only 40mm, which is great.”

Other new equipment specified includes TOP-TEC Voyager Dalen Height Adjustable lecterns (both in the lecture theatre and other environments), Extron HDMI extenders, transmitters/receivers and scalers, with PC’s set to 1080p. The blinds and lighting are also controllable from Extron touch screens.

In summary, Dan Victory said the assistance offered by Paradigm AV had been invaluable in this implementation. “They provided a lot of advice on which screen surfaces would be best in this environment. Their geometry was precise and accurate and everything was cut to precision.”

Commented Technical Manager for the Faculty of Health and Life Science, Marcus Olivant, “This equipment is important for us in providing a new level of technology for some of our key teaching areas. At UWE Bristol it is important for us to ensure our students benefit from the best teaching and best technology that is relevant to their studies. Working with Paradigm AV has been helpful in achieving this in one of our core subject areas.”

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XL Video Supplies Projection for Big Blue Madness 2012 at Rupp Arena, KY

To celebrate the 30th Big Blue Madness (it traces its origins back to Midnight Madness in 1982), the Rupp Arena wanted to ensure a spectacular launch for the Kentucky Wildcat’s 2012/13 season, particularly as the University of Kentucky are the current U.S. National College Basketball champions.

For the 12th October event, Bob Stoops, Technical Services Manager at Rupp Arena, contacted XL Video to specify and supply equipment and crew for a visually stunning projection directly on to the 94×50 foot basketball court. As the court became a screen, the rousing video was the perfect introduction, and got the 23,500-strong crowd pumping and ready for the scrimmage.

To provide the projection XL Video supplied 8 Barco HD20 projectors – 4 pairs in tandem in dual cradles made by Tait Towers. Projectionists on the night were Jeff Larchar and Mark Clements, and XL’s Crew Chief was Phil Evans.

Rigging for the projectors was handled by SGPS Nashville with support from David ‘Hud’ Haney and Bobby Carrell.

Content for the projectors was fed by XL’s Catalyst media server, controlled by Joe Cabrera. Joe used Datapath and Teranex scaling conversion to ensure Brent Sandrock’s content displayed perfectly on the court.

Mark Haney comment: “Big Blue Madness was a great opportunity for XL to showcase our projection talent. The overall team effort, along with incredible content from Brent Sandrock, is something that all involved can be really proud of. We really appreciate Bob Stoops’ trusting us with what is a big night for Kentucky Athletics.”

Renegade Helps Design Ultimate 007 After-party for Skyfall at Tate Modern

Nick Gray from London based creative lighting and design practice Renegade imagineered a dramatic and striking lighting ambience – both outside and inside – London’s iconic Tate Modern art gallery, which hosted the new James Bond “Skyfall” movie world premier’s glamorous after-party.

Gray was working for Skyfall after-party event producers AD Events. A demanding production brief included making the after party equally as dazzling and memorable as the premier screening at the Royal Albert Hall.
The event took up the entire Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern (formally a power station), and once again gave Gray the opportunity to work his lighting magic in this most distinctive and uber cool architectural space.
Gray says, “The Turbine Hall is an amazing environment to work in and already highly atmospheric, so the real challenge was to add requisite 007 qualities like mystery, action and intrigue to the setting, and to further WOW those who had already been blown away by experiencing the movie premier!”
A massive effort was made to keep the space as clean and clear of visible rigging and technical infrastructure as possible. Special scaffolding structures were built around the pillars to provide lighting positions and to avoid having to run overhead trussing down the room.
Fixture placement was all the more crucial as lighting also had to enhance massive scenic projections onto the walls of the Turbine Hall that transported everyone from the banks of the Thames to the edgy street scenarios of downtown Shanghai!
Additional video and effects were played out on a series of staggered floor-standing LED screens at the end of the Hall, and the event space was further enhanced by several props from the film, including an 8 metre high Chinese dragon and an Aston Martin DB5 car.
While this made the lighting design process infinitely more of a brain-teaser, Gray also relished the task that much more. “You really had to think carefully about using lights appropriately and simultaneously maintain the raw, industrial beauty of the venue,” he explains.
The most important psychological task for lighting was to create a high-impact entrance for the 1600 guests. Gray ensured that this happened on The Bridge immediately as everyone entered the Turbine Hall – it was the first impression they had of what they were about to encounter.
He used 24 Clay Paky Sharpies at the end pointing directly into the entrance, shooting piercing shafts of light down the Bridge, while people flowing in to the building were silhouetted with 12 x Vari*Lite 3500 Spots from behind the entrance which stunned everyone! It had a powerful and emotionally visceral effect!
Underneath the Bridge was an assortment of luminaires including Martin MAC 301 LED wash moving lights, ETC Source Fours and pin-spots, rigged on two runs of black truss concealed between the structural RSJs.
Fastidiously positioned and focussed Source Four PARs and Codas on top of the Bridge were used to generally illuminate the space below including the seating areas.
At the far end of the Turbine Hall, Gray used a combination of Chroma-Q Color Force 48 and 72 LED battens, Clay Paky Sharpies, Alpha Wash 1500 and Martin MAC 700 Profile moving lights, together with Source Four profiles for highlighting. After only one intense overnight programming session – which was all they had – a steamy molten mix of Oriental nightscapes created by video and lighting pervaded the Tate Modern!
Outside, Gray’s refined lighting scheme utilised six Clay Paky Alpha Beam 1500s, together with eight V*L 3500 Washes and a splattering of outdoor PAR cans to illuminate the building’s exterior.
The interior lighting was programmed and run by Rob Gawler using a Hog 3 console, with the exterior run by Matt Waterfield on a Chamsys MagicQ 100 console.
The majority of the lighting equipment came from Neg Earth, a regular Renegade supplier, with specific specialist elements and the Chamsys console supplied by Renegade.
Renegade’s crew chiefs were Paul Saunders and Chris Fyfe.
The impressive projections and other video content were designed by Richard Bagshaw of Digital Insanity with equipment supplied by CT London and Dobson Sound was the audio contractor.

Alcorn McBride Equipment Enhances the Fright-Filled Ambience at Eli Roth’s Goretorium in Las Vegas

Halloween comes more than once a year at Eli Roth’s Goretorium in Las Vegas where guests are exposed to the most intense live terror experience in town. Alcorn McBride plays a big part in the spookfest, with three compact Digital Binloops and two ProTraXX units for audio playback. A versatile, frame-accurate V4 show controller runs the show from the central equipment room.

Open year-round on the Las Vegas Strip, the $10-million Goretorium is a 15,000 square-foot attraction featuring a to-go bar, unique horror retail shop, and ’60s inspired ‘Baby Dolls’ lounge. The multi-level space features 24 individually themed rooms set within a mythical horror hotel, where guests witness gruesome sights and sounds as they encounter live actors, animatronic frights and special effects.

“All of the sounds and music are played through Alcorn machines from the entrance in the lobby area to the last room, plus the bathrooms and the Baby Dolls lounge,” says consultant Dale Whealton CTS who specified the gear. “The triggered sounds are the most interesting. They might include a character that appears and screams at you or an animatronic animal that jumps out. The Alcorn V4 show control unit triggers the animatronics, the effects and the sounds. Manual triggers are activated by the actors.”

He notes that 96 tracks of Digital Binloops are used for audio beds and point source audio while the ProTraXX units are primarily deployed for the triggered samples.

According to project lead Gary Brown with integrator Technology West, Alcorn equipment is the industry standard for attractions like Goretorium. “I come from a themed entertainment environment, and Alcorn is the standard system show controller at the major theme parks,” he says. “There are 33 system inputs currently. An optical trigger delivers signals to the V4 to commence special effects, such as making a mechanical dog bark.” Eight audio triggers are dedicated to the bathrooms alone, delivering sounds of whispering, laughter and rats.

Whealton reports that Alcorn equipment was chosen for its robustness in a grueling environment. “A haunted house is not the most friendly environment for electronics,” he reminds us. “There’s a lot of fog, steam, blood and body parts. But the CompactFlash format of Alcorn equipment is robust, and we’ve never experienced a failure. We’ve never had to worry about it. It performs fabulously.”

Brown concurs. “The Alcorn equipment runs five nights a week for seven hours a night and performs fantastically,” he says.

HSL Supplies Cheryl Cole A Million Lights Tour

Well … in reality …. It wasn’t quite that many ….. BUT leading Blackburn, UK based lighting and visuals rental specialists HSL did indeed supply lighting equipment and crew to Cheryl Cole’s first solo ‘A Million Lights’ arena tour, once again working for technical producers Production North.

The lighting design by Peter Barnes, directed / operated out on the road by Neil Trenell of Fix8, proved that imaginative and intelligent use of lighting and effects can bring serious layers of magic to a high-impact show.

The tour was project managed for HSL by Mike Oates who comments, “Production North under the technical direction of Iain Whitehead co-ordinated another superb looking and highly entertaining show, and we were really pleased to be involved”.

Barnes and Trenell worked closely with creative directors Fatima Robinson and Beth Honan, who commissioned the set design from Bruce Rogers. They also initiated the video and visuals concepts, bringing a lively mix of footage to the picture, played back across an upstage pyramid shaped set clad with LED panels and a set of stairs immediately in front of it.

The lighting which matched and contrasted this as Cheryl’s fast paced, slickly choreographed show unfolded was based around three trusses. The front one was split into two sections to maximise coverage of a catwalk extending from the middle of the stage out into the audience.

The back truss was rigged with 14 Clay Paky Sharpies on drop-bars, emulating the shape of the LED screen plus eight Martin MAC 2K XB Washes and ten Martin Atomic strobes.

The mid truss was 60 ft wide and contained five MAC 2K XB Washes and six MAC3Ks, while the front truss had 16 MAC 2K XB Washes and six MAC 3 Profiles in total.

On the floor were ten Sharpies stationed on the stairs which mimicked the pyramid shape of the main upstage LED screen.

Above the B-Stage just in front of the FOH mixer position, a box truss was flown to provide positions for ten Sharpies and ten MAC 2K XB Washes.

HSL supplied two Robert Juliat Lancelot FOH follow spots, and Trenell operated the show using two grandMA Lites and two NPUs, with two Green Hippo HD i7 media servers supplied by Fix8. These stored and ran all the show’s video playback, triggered from the grandMA2.

The general aesthetic was simple, strong and dynamic, reflecting the more urban direction of Cheryl’s recent music and live performances – which is a great hit with her fans.

All the lighting fixtures were worked hard and in a truly multi-purpose capacity. Clever programming – completed during five intensive days and nights at Elstree Studios – combined with eye-catching video gave the hi-energy show a big, bold, bright performance context.

Barnes and Trenell made much use of the frost filter on the Sharpies which diffuses the output very nicely so they can double as highly effective washes.

Trenell worked alongside an HSL crew of three – Johnny Harper, Jon Trincas and Chris Roper – who he comments were “Fantastic – great fun, hard workers, very dedicated – and we made an excellent team”.

He adds, “As always, working with HSL was a complete pleasure, everything was spot-on … and Mike Oates is awesome!”

IMAG video was directed by Ruary MacPhie with the camera package, PPU and side screen projection system delivered by XL Video, the LED screens sourced from VER and audio from Wigwam.

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