The much talked about Made by Google press event in San Francisco unveiled the Google Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones and other hardware initiatives developed by the tech giant. It was produced by Brooklyn-based MAS Events + Design with AV support from WorldStage.
Google chose the historic Ghirardelli Square chocolate factory as the venue to introduce the high-end smartphones and showcase a voice-controlled speaker system called Home as well as a virtual reality headset dubbed Daydream View. Google CEO Sundar Pichai and other speakers briefed the press on the new products and presented demos against a backdrop of bold visuals.
WorldStage was tasked with providing an AV solution for the venue, which is typically not used as an event space. WorldStage employed a Unilumin U3 LED wall instead of projection to showcase the demos and provide speaker support and informational graphics.
“It was a small room, and projection wasn’t feasible,” says WorldStage senior account manager Josh Perlman. “A rear-projection configuration would’ve used up valuable floor space and front projection would’ve been washed out by the high ambient light conditions. LED was a great technology choice due to the limited footprint and the bright, punchy video performance.
The choice of an LED wall was not without its challenges either. “LEDs are very bright, but when there’s almost no space between the screen and the presenter, as was the case in this room, interference known as moiré is created on camera. And compressing a video signal for web streaming only makes the interference worse,” Perlman explains.
WorldStage drew upon its creative and technical knowledge and old-fashioned teamwork to resolve the problem. “With a bit of hard work by our EIC Frank Musgrove, we were able to nail the camera look even with all the challenges of the LED wall,” Perlman reports.
Video capture was accomplished with three Hitachi cameras, a pair of Panasonic robocams and a Ross switcher. The event’s live web stream was watched by hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.
Russell Cowans, one of WorldStage’s A1s, took on the audio aspects of the project, installing primarily d&b Y-Series speaker arrays. “The issue with audio is always that you don’t want to see it, but it has to sound good everywhere,” says Perlman. “Once again, the room had its challenges with tall ceilings, lots of glass and concrete plus an element of multi-point surround speakers. Russell stepped up to all the challenges.”
At WorldStage, Dennis Menard was senior project manager overseeing on-site logistics; John Denion was a project manager as well as assistant account manager.
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. For more information visit www.worldstage.com