An expert at streamlining the multiformat process, Robb Wagner has recently paired content creation and implementation with Vista Systemsâ€™ Spyder on a number of high-profile television projects: the game shows â€œ1 vs. 100,â€? â€œMoment of Truth,â€? and â€œDuelâ€? plus the â€œEllenâ€™s Really Big Showâ€? hosted by Ellen DeGeneres.
Wagnerâ€™s Burbank-based company, Stimulated Inc., creates original screen content for TV award shows, major TV music & event specials, concert tours and game shows. Its first gig utilizing Spyder video processing technology was Al Goreâ€™s Live Earth for which Stimulated created the screen content at Giants Stadium.
â€œWeâ€™re increasingly working in a multiformat world,â€? says Wagner. â€œThereâ€™s no better example than a primetime game show set. The Spyder can simultaneously be connected to any combination of HD and/or SD broadcast devices including cameras, tape machines and media servers, along with any array of computer-based signals that are desired. â€œ1 vs. 100â€? called Wagner when it added a new high resolution LED screen to the stage. Background Images provided the screens to the show featuring a grid of 100 contestants. â€œEach member of the â€˜mobâ€™ had a large LED tile behind them. For the new season the show added a 16 x 9 high resolution LED screen to the center of the mob. They wanted to fly graphics through the whole thing, incorporating the mob tiles and center high resolution screen in a seamless look,â€? Wagner explains.
â€œThe center screen would feature question material as well as close-up shots of contestants. So on a wide shot the high res LED displayed both people and information,â€? he continues. â€œWe created some content for them which played from media servers, through the Spyder to the screens. We also took feeds from the video truck and the game play computers. We even took triggers from the game control computer to enable synchronous cues between screens, lighting and sound effects. We used the Vista Spyder to feed all the screens and integrate all the elements going into all the screens.â€?
FOXâ€™s lie detector-themed â€œMoment of Truthâ€? featured a game computer with a PAL/HD matte and fill output. â€œWith Spyder we were able to mix the native PAL/HD with an NTSC signal from a media server, and seamlessly output to a number of screens,â€? Wagner reports. â€œThe real magic of the Vista Spyder is that productions can send just about any format to us without externally up-converting, down-converting or cross-converting. Weâ€™re multiformat and native on the source side as well as the destination side. It really streamlines the technical process.â€?
Stimulated recently completed round two of â€œMoment of Truthâ€? for FOX.
ABCâ€™s â€œDuelâ€? also required Stimulated to perform synchronous switching between screens, lights and sound effects. â€œCBS Electronics wrote code that sent triggers to the Spyder,â€? notes Wagner. â€œSound-effects devices, lighting consoles and even the production switcher in the truck were simultaneously activated so when a contestant hit a button, the switcher would cut to a wide shot displaying the synchronous effect of the screens, lighting and sound.â€?
Wagner was also in demand in Las Vegas for â€œEllenâ€™s Really Big Show,â€? a TBS special hosted by Ellen DeGeneres and culled from star-studded performances during the HBO Comedy Festival at Caesarâ€™s Palace. â€œIt was on Celine Dionâ€™s stage which, at the time, had the largest LED screen in Vegas,â€? he recalls. â€œThe entire stage was a screen. We brought in the Spyder to serve as the screens-control room. We took HD camera feeds from the truck and graphics played from Profiles. The Vista Spyder fed seven separate signals to the stage.
About Vista Systems
Vista Systems was recently acquired by Christie, a global leader in visual solutions for business, entertainment and industry, to create a comprehensive source for imaging processing and projection solutions. The acquisition combines the power and flexibility of Vista’s video switchers and real-time windowing and composition products with the power, performance and reliability of award-winning Christie projection systems. Vista Systemsâ€™ switchers have become the industry standard for live multiple-destination video and data mixed signal switching. For more information on Vista Systems, visit their Web site at