WATCHOUT powers ‘history in the making’ at Liberal Party Convention in Toronto
In a powerful demonstration of its ability to integrate live data into a multimedia production with both local-venue and broadcast connectivity, Dataton WATCHOUT™ multi-image display and presentation software has been deployed as a key presentation tool at the Canadian Liberal Party’s Ontario Leadership Convention in Toronto.
The WATCHOUT licences were supplied to Mediaco by Show Sage, Dataton’s Premium Partner for North America. Jim Testa, President, Show Sage, comments: “Whether it’s equipment rental, lighting and staging, technical production or fully fledged system design, Mediaco is a highly innovative and trusted partner, and it was a pleasure to support them in the creation of the Liberal Party Convention multimedia show.”
The Convention, which resulted in the nomination of Kathleen Wynne as the first openly gay female Premier in Canadian provincial history, was held in Toronto’s historic former Maple Leaf Gardens building and took place over two days in January this year.
Local event production company Mediaco was responsible for the technical system design and co-ordination of the event, including all on-site AV provision and appropriate OB feeds to Canada’s broadcast community. Mediaco has just rebranded aligning themselves to providing the fastest service and support possible.
Matt Farrell, Mediaco’s Production Manager for the Convention, takes up the story: “The Liberal Party is the sitting party in Ontario so this was no ordinary Leadership Convention – it was a congress to elect a new leader for the entire province of Ontario. As such there was an enormous amount of media attention, in addition to all the hectic negotiations you would expect from a Convention where six candidates have to be reduced down to one winner in a matter of 48 hours.”
Mediaco’s work on the project began a week ahead of the Convention’s opening, with lighting and audio systems being hung over truss in a series of eight-hour shifts. “We came into the building the day before and had to be loaded-in by 4pm for the start of rehearsals,” Farrell continues.
“We had three separate rear-projection displays, using WATCHOUT to create a single HD backdrop that could also be divided into three, depending on the requirements of the event and the timing of the votes inside the venue.
“The screens showed a mixture of pre-made images created by our in-house content team, live camera feeds of the candidates making their pitches to the Convention delegates and other key party members delivering speeches and, last but not least, the big numbers for each candidate as the votes were tallied up.”
As well as the edge-blending and scheduling capabilities of WATCHOUT, Mediaco also used the software platform’s geometry correction functionality for projection onto the center screen because of installation issues caused by the building design.
WATCHOUT’s timeline-based show management tools also allowed direct integration with pre-programmed sound effects and cues that were fed into the on-site audio desk.
The complete audio and video feed was then made available to a broadcast connection that was used live by local stations and in highlights packages by national networks.
Throughout the two-day Convention, Mediaco staff had to adapt the content of their main display to accommodate the shifting political landscape of the event – as Chris Cameron, Technical Director at Mediaco, relates:
“There were a lot of last-minute changes to the presentation which we were able to accommodate into the WATCHOUT timeline because the software is just so easy to use. Once on-site we used the platform’s ability to take data from a live input capture card. This allowed us to broadcast up-to-date voter statistics throughout the frenzy of delegates transferring their vote from one candidate to another as each round of voting was completed.”
Fredrik Svahnberg, Marketing Director, Dataton, concludes: “People tend to associate WATCHOUT with artistic content, and rightly so. But in this particular application we see the power of our platform to act as a communications tool as political history is being made – to the benefit not just of the local audience but to the millions watching broadcast channels at home.”