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06

Editorial It’s Showtime

The other major AV show that comes up in this issue is World Expo Shanghai. At first glance you may think that I’ve become confused by too many plane trips and too many time zones (this is being written in the air as I cross two more of them in a bid to finally destroy my already-wavering circadian rhythms), but if any project deserves to be treated as an AV show, it’s a 21st century World Expo. What became very clear to me during my wanderings about the Expo pavilions is the deeply embedded use of audiovisual technologies. In virtually every country teams of designers, producers, writers, composers, artists, performers, camera crews, photographers, recording engineers, editors, graphic designers, technical directors, engineers, programmers, installers, operators, construction and maintenance crews have been engaged in the process of putting together projects varying from a simple static graphic display to complex, innovative, bleeding-edge projects that don’t quite gel. It’s the AV that makes it all happen and it’s the AV that distinguishes the ho-hum from the astounding. Without the AV World Expo Shanghai is just a bunch of big sheds on a recentlycleared block of riverside wasteland.  See you at Integrate. Andy Ciddor, Editor If you can suggest a topic that we haven’t covered yet, or better still a loopy way of linking our randomness into themes, please contact me: andy@av.net.au

for th

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This issue is quite tied up with AV shows. No, we’re not going to try to stretch your credulity again by coming up with another implausible theme – we’re saving that until the next issue for our Arenas Special – but don’t hold your breath, I’ve probably mozzed it completely by even mentioning the possibility. The AV show connection is several-fold. Firstly, if the postie did his/her job properly, there should be a copy of the Integrate Show Guide in the plastic bag with this magazine. It’s show time again; time to catch up with old friends, enhance your knowledge through the seminar and training programs, drive the poor buggers on the stands crazy with technically obscure questions about their products (my favourite part), and for the first time, it’s your chance find out who was clever and innovative enough to win an AVIA award. We’re also covering the grand-daddy of all AV shows in this issue: InfoComm 2010 Las Vegas. While some in the industry said that they found nothing to knock their socks at the show this year, the inexorable forward movement in speed, resolution, intensity, energy efficiency, accuracy, distance and bang for the buck, has implications for us all – in every corner of the AV industry. Digital signage is showing increased signs of finding a sense of direction, while 3D has crossed all bounds of credibility and is threatening to become an industry sector without a cause in consumerland. It would be nice to just stand back and watch it unfold from the sidelines, but it is already starting to have dire consequences: in the form of the requests we’re beginning to see from our clients at every level. We’re even thinking about a special 3D issue of AV, complete with cyan/magenta anaglyph glasses and cardboard pop-up models.

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7

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Crew Tim Stackpool is a broadcast technical director, most recently completing the design and construction of a three-studio TV facility for IP Studios in Sydney. After spending 10 years at Channel Nine, Tim founded and remains co-owner of production company Sonic Sight. Tim also supplements the [lavish – Ed] income he receives from AV Magazine by assuming the role of Australian correspondent for Global Radio News in London and the Canadian Economic Press.

Cover Photo: Katarina Stuebe Advertising Office: (02) 9986 1188 PO Box 6216, Frenchs Forest, NSW 2086

Editorial Office: (03) 5331 4949 PO Box 295, Ballarat, VIC 3353

Editor: Andy Ciddor (andy@av.net.au) Publication Manager: Stewart Woodhill (stewart@av.net.au)

Mandy Jones is Event Manager for Museum Victoria, responsible for producing media launches and special events across the organisation’s four sites (Melbourne Museum, Immigration Museum, Scienceworks and the Royal Exhibition Building). Previously she worked in venue hire sales, and in all aspects of indoor and outdoor theatre including production and stage management, lighting design and operation. For many years Mandy was the Melbourne correspondent and photographer for Connections/CX magazine, and also served on the ALIA committee as a board member and honorary secretary.

Editorial Director: Christopher Holder (chris@av.net.au) Publisher: Philip Spencer (philip@av.net.au) Art Direction & Design: Dominic Carey (dominic@alchemedia.com.au) Additional Design: Leigh Ericksen (leigh@alchemedia.com.au) News Editor: Graeme Hague (news@av.net.au) Sub Editor: Lisa Clatworthy Accounts: Jen Temm (jen@alchemedia.com.au) Circulation Manager: Mim Mulcahy (subscriptions@av.net.au)

Paul Collison is a freelance lighting designer based in Sydney. He has a purple suitcase that is more a home than his house and has an addiction to a decent espresso and a good Eggs Benedict on crispy bacon, not ham. Armed with these vices he takes on the world of lighting design and operation on special events, both domestically as well as overseas. Normally adept at writing six or seven lines in an email, Paul is making a laughable attempt at adapting that style to articles in AV magazine.

alchemedia publishing pty ltd (ABN: 34 074 431 628) PO Box 6216, Frenchs Forest, NSW 2086 info@alchemedia.com.au All material in this magazine is copyright © 2010 Alchemedia Publishing Pty Ltd. The title AV is a registered Trademark. Apart from any fair dealing permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any process without written permission. The publishers believe all information supplied in this magazine to be correct at the time of publication. They are not in a position to make a guarantee to this effect and accept no liability in the event of any information proving inaccurate. After investigation and to the best of our knowledge and belief, prices, addresses and phone numbers were up to date at the time of publication. It is not possible for the publishers to ensure that advertisements appearing in this publication comply with the Trade Practices Act, 1974. The responsibility is on the person, company or advertising agency submitting or directing the advertisement for publication. The publishers cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions, although every endeavour has been made to ensure complete accuracy. 20/7/10

Graeme Hague worked for the last 20 years in regional theatre venues as an audio, lighting and AV technician. Graeme is a regular contributor to AudioTechnology magazine and is the principal writer for the Guerrilla Guide to Recording and Production (www.guerrillaguide.com.au). He owns a Maglite, a Leatherman and a wardrobe of only black clothing which proves he is more than qualified to write on any technical subject.


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Issue 12 REGULARS NEWS A full wrap of the news out of Vegas from InfoComm10. Also: an Integrate 2010 update, and Clay Paky is thrown an Australian lifeline.

16

INFOCOMM NEWS Regional news from InfoComm.

64

TERMINATION Mind your tradeshow Ps & Qs.

66

WORLD EXPO SPECIAL

38 50

AUSTRALIAN PAVILION A homegrown triumph for our very own rusty shed in Shanghai.

32

WORLD EXPO ROUNDUP Best and worst of the rest: including a peak at Iceland, Vietnam, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Shanghai, Chile and… erm, Pakistan.

38

FEATURES

54

GEELONG PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE GPAC scores a thrifty update.

50

AUST. ADVANCED SCHOOL OF MEDICINE Macquarie University AV scrubs up.

54

ADELAIDE ENTERTAINMENT CENTRE AEC gets a touch of Vegas.

58

TUTORIALS DIGITAL AUDIO STANDARDS Digital audio storage explained.

62

VISION & LIGHT Learn the basic behaviour of light.

65

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016

NEWS

THE MAIN EVENT

PAIN IN THE ARTS?

AVIAS – ENTRIES ARE IN, JURY’S OUT

‘The Main Event – Sound & Vision for Winter Olympics and World Expo Opening Ceremonies’ is a panel discussion presided over by Integrate’s guest of honor, Bruce Jackson. Bruce was Audio Director for both events and has years of enormo-events experience under his belt. Productions such as Olympics and Expo Opening Ceremonies provide unique case studies. With so much at stake and with the whole world watching, the productions are lavish, using state-of-the-art gear and with the sort of redundancy levels you’re unlikely to find outside a NASA Shuttle launch. The panellists include: Chris Kennedy, Norwest Productions: The Norwest supremo has seen his jet-setting PA inventory hop from one big international event to the next. Chris brings his experience in supplying large-scale sound. Peter Milne, The Electric Canvas: The Electric Canvas is a world leader in large-scale projection projects and Peter Milne shares his considerable expertise in how to meet the technical challenges of turning a huge space into a ‘big screen’. Nick Newey, David Atkins Enterprises (DAE): DAE is synonymous with big events like Olympic opening and closing ceremonies. Nick Newey provides an insight into the technical challenges and logistics of pulling off ‘best Games ever’ grand flourishes. Integrate is super-excited to have The Main Event dream team convene for this session. Doubtlessly Boris Johnson will be along to gets some tips for 2012.

Upgrading your performing arts centre is like giving birth… to triplets – painful and prolonged, with plenty of sleepless nights.  Which is why Integrate is convening a Performing Arts Centre panel discussion. The panel is populated by veterans of a lifetime of upgrades and walks you though the minefield of funding approvals,  shootouts, and specifying. Hear about all the mistakes the panel has made so you don’t have to! Quiz the panel on the ‘small stuff’ that  can make all the difference. Not due for a big chunk of change just yet? Then learn how to properly prepare the ground for an upgrade once you get the nod. On the panel you’ll find: Marshall Day theatre consultant, Craig Gamble, who will recount his experiences working on the Melbourne  Theatre Company and the Geelong Performing Arts Centre, and how to  make the budget work for you without the ‘what might have been’ regrets that often plague technical upgrades. Sydney Opera House  Technical Director, David Claringbold, will have plenty to say about the enormous technical upgrade recentlycompleted at the Sydney icon. Craig and David will be joined by Gold Coast Performing Arts Centre’s Chris d’Bais, who is fresh from a $5m upgrade. The panel is moderated by AV Magazine Editor – and long-time performing arts participant – Andy Ciddor

There’s been a solid response to the AVIA awards with dozens of high-quality submissions pouring into the AVIA inbox. Right, so here’s what happens next. All the entries will be given to our judging panel. From there we’ll decide on a short list. We will notify you if you’ve made the second round of assesment. You may have even heard from us by the time you read this, or at least by the end of the first week of August (Friday the 6th). As a side note, one of our judges, Peter Swanson has left his former employment for a new role at AMX. We’ve no doubt Peter would have fulfilled his role scrupulously, but he’s resigned from the panel for reasons we hardly need to explain. Going into the second round means your project will be showcased at Integrate and at the AVIA Awards ceremony. The winners will be judged in the days prior to the show. This means the winners will be a tightly kept secret until the night of the Awards. If you’ve made the cut then we’d urge you to secure your tickets to the AVIA awards ceremony. It’s a standup cocktail and nibble affair at the conclusion of Day 2 (25th of August), and will be mercifully short and to the point. Saying that, it’ll be a hoot and a special evening for the winners. Anyone can attend, but you need to book your tickets – don’t expect to just wander in. Tickets are a token $10 a shot, so we know the numbers and can cater accordingly. Go online and click the AV Awards button. AVIAs: www.avias.com.au

One-Day Conferences

Integrate 2010 is bristling with AV-related seminars and workshops, including three days of seminars staged by Hills SVL. Topics include: Hearing Assistance Technology, Sound Reinforcement in Difficult Spaces, 100V What’s Old is New Again, Integrating the Unintegratable, Directions in Digital Projection and more. You’ll also find info on three oneday programs: Video Conferencing & Telepresence (Day 1): Video conferencing, along with digital

signage, is an area that shows enormous signs of growth in all sectors – government, education, SMB as well as the more traditional big-end-of-town. This one-day conference will expose the new developments and the integration of video conferencing. InfoComm Academy will be presenting aspects of its VID214 Video Conferencing program as part of the day, and there will be practical demonstrations of video conferencing at work. Digital Signage One-Day Conference (Day 2): Digital

Signage is looming extremely large as the next big audiovisual growth market. InfoComm Academy is running an ‘Introduction to Digital Signage’ course alongside a selection of high-profile case studies. InfoComm Academy’s Rod Brown takes charge of proceedings. If you’re an AV professional wanting to know how to make digital signage part of your business then this conference is a must. Education Technology (Day 3): Educators and ICT managers won’t want to miss this day of

inspiration. E-learning, Interactive whiteboards, projectors, connected classrooms, video conferencing and the web have changed the classroom and revolutionised teaching methods. But, as with any revolution, there comes a need for fresh thinking and new methods. Passionate educator, consultant, learning coach and inspirational speaker, Georgina Pazzi, is delivering the day’s keynote address. AETM President, Derek Powell, is presenting cutting-edge examples of audio visual,

video conferencing, E learning, streaming and podcasting technologies in action. Cisco is demonstrating its educationfocussed video conferencing technologies at work, and there will be a guided tour of the nearby Australian Film, Television & Radio School’s state-of-the-art facilities. What‘s more, Samsung has put up a $30,000 Interactive Classroom to be won by one lucky school! Register online now! That web address again: www.integrate-expo.com


The driving force.

SUPER TUESDAY, SUPER LINE-UP Integrate’s 2010 Super Tuesday program – so popular in 2009 – has bedded down and comprises a formidable line-up of international luminaries and local AV heroes. Here's the rundown: AV & Lighting Systems Designs: Pete Swanson looks at current trends in audio visual and lighting systems and their integration with interior design. We consider future trends in this area, both in terms of technologies and design approaches. Test your theories and those of others in a discussion following the presentation. Projection Screen Technology: Da-Lite’s Adam Teevan takes us through screen size, gain, viewing angles, and other factors that can easily mean the difference between success and failure in critical projects. This seminar will cover the relevant basics and best practices which will make it easy to specify the right screen with confidence. Analogue Sunset: With analogue video output being phased out by the end of 2013, now’s the time to understand the affects of the Analogue Sunset on your future AV system designs including cabling, connectivity and system performance. Presented by Crestron’s Jason Tirado. The Future of Real-Time Video & Graphics Over IP: Extron’s Dave Pincek helps us understand the technologies associated with deploying both hi- and lo-res video on an IP network. The seminar covers compression standards, network protocols, error correction, latency and all other aspects of integrating streaming technology. Asset Content & Device Management in Tomorrow’s Facilities: The use of networks to deliver content, managed devices and control assets will be vital to the facilities and IT managers of tomorrow’s corporate, education, government and hospitality environments. Graham Barrett from AMX looks at the technology and solutions that will help the industry deliver on these requirements and provide a true return on technology investment. Tickets for this full-day program: $99 – superb value – and are fast selling out. Book now.

Cisco Keynote Address: Peter Wynne Hughes, Cisco’s General Manager Communications & Collaboration for Australia & NZ spells out the global giant’s video vision and strategy. Video is transforming the way the world manages business, communicate and collaborate. In an ever-changing global environment, leveraging video as the means to collaborate and share information on any device, any place, anywhere, anytime, gives businesses competitive

and cost-saving advantages. In his keynote presentation, Peter Wynne Hughes looks at innovations in creating a media-ready network and how it will enable customers to prepare their networks for increased demand and use of video. In recent years Cisco has developed some market leading technologies in this arena, including: TelePresence, TelePresence Exchange Services, Digital Media Systems, Media Processing, Video Surveillance Systems and Converged Building

Systems. In other words, Cisco is obviously a global heavy hitter and this will be an important address with real implications for the pro AV sector. Note: This session will be conducted at the end of the Super Tuesday program at 4:30pm. Super Tuesday delegates will have first dibs on seats for this keynote, although it’s free of charge to any Integrate attendee. First in best dressed.

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018

NEWS

InfoComm 2010: Faster, Stronger, Higher Text:\ Andy Ciddor

The annual InfoComm show is really just too big for anyone to comprehend in any detail. It would take most of a lifetime to attend all the seminars, summits, conferences and receptions on offer across its seven days of programs, and several more lifetimes to attend the dozens of available training courses. The exhibition alone occupied some 95,000sqm of floor space. That’s three and a half times the total space of all the exhibition halls in SCEC at Darling Harbour, or if you prefer, over three times the total exhibition space of Jeff’s Shed in Melbourne (MCEC). Within that vast space were clusters of stands (pavilions) dedicated to specific product groupings such as digital signage, 3D imaging, audio, unified collaborative conferencing, technology for worship, glasses-free 3D, lighting and staging. In your spare time you could also visit the many demonstration rooms, preview theatres and technology showcases, or attend one of the audiovisual technology tours behind the scenes of a Las Vegas venue. I attended the 2010 show as a guest of InfoComm in a bid to gather some sense of the direction of the industry as read in the entrails of the offerings at the show. I was by no means the only Australian at InfoComm, there were about 160 of us registered to attend in various capacities. INTERACTIVITY: TOUCHY FEELY

Interactive display technologies are sprouting all over the place. We’ve had infrared illuminator and camera systems with us for a few years, giving us interactive whiteboards, projection screens, windows and floors. We’ve had surfaces with embedded inductive grids and, of course, an ever-expanding range of variations on resistive and capacitive touch surfaces. In recent times we’ve seen the rise of external bezel systems that can be fitted over existing surfaces such as table tops and monitor screens. The interactive world is continuing to spread in a number of directions. The DLP group at Texas Instruments continues to wring more out of its micro-

mirror nanotechnology, squeezing more mirrors onto the chips and pumping them ever faster. The inevitable consequence of this development has been the search for what to do with those extra capabilities. More mirrors obviously leads to more pixels in the output of the optical system, and it seems that we’ll never have enough of them, but what about using the extra speed? One of the first applications was ‘DLP Link’ which uses the micro-mirrors to generate a subliminal burst of white light between the frames of interlaced 3D images, to trigger the LCD shutters in viewing glasses without the need for a separate emitter. More recently that additional capacity has been used to overlay an invisible pattern on a projected image to enable the mini-camera in a pen-style pointing device to know exactly what part of the screen it is seeing. This enables ‘writing’ on the projected image from virtually anywhere in the room that can see the screen, a trick not possible with interaction technologies such as infrared and RF. Coming at interactivity from precisely the opposite direction are the touch sensing and gesture recognising devices from such companies as MultiTouch and GestureTek. These look through a panel (usually an LCD screen) from behind, using infrared cameras and some pretty serious vision processing software, to read multiple touches and even recognise objects and symbols placed on the sensing surface. Taking the infrared LED bezel to new heights (or at the very least into the Z plane) is Baanto Technology, one of several companies demonstrating interactive projects based around Christie’s MicroTiles. Its very simple infrared bezel concept uses the shadows cast by objects in the sensing field to provide three-dimensional positional information, offering even more capabilities for gesturebased interaction. While some of these gesture detection/recognition technologies have their own interfaces, increasingly they are working through the multi-touch gesture API available in MS Windows 7.

3D DISPLAY: GET AMONGST IT

I have no doubt that this year will go down in the annals of glib headlines as ‘The Year that 3D broke’ due to the coincidence of two events. It began with the extraordinary marketing budget for a movie that attempted to make up for its paper-thin plot and one dimensional characters by being generated in 3D. The other was the development of an unused capacity for frame refreshing in the flat screen industry at a time when it was struggling to overcome the effects of a global downturn in consumer spending. As alternating-frame stereoscopy is one of the easiest ways to display 3D on a flat screen, what better way to sell screens to people who otherwise would be perfectly happy with the 200Hz oversampling screen they put in their family room last year? And they have to buy some LCD shutter glasses too. There were also many screening areas and demonstration theatres showing projected stereoscopic images. Every demo that I visited was using circularly polarised glasses, which would indicate that for the moment none of the other filter technologies has gained a lot of traction. The other thing that all the demonstrations seem to have in common was the same handful of trailers for animated 3D kids movies and the same three-minute loop of a stereo telecast of a golf match, complete with exaggerated depth due to cameras with an oversize inter-ocular distance. The message seems to be that we have the technology at hand to show 3D images in lounge rooms and theatres, but we don’t seem to have much program material yet. I can’t wait for Lateline in 3D with 7.1 audio. In a bid to fill that program void, Panasonic has done an amazing job to bring its AG-3DA1 3D camcorder system to market in such a short time. Although it’s hardly a fully-fledged production camera, at about $25k it does provide a relatively easy-to-use, 3D capture system that has already tempted the likes of TDC, the television networks and even a couple of Sydney-based wedding videographers, to place orders on the strength of the pre-production


NEWS

protoypes. Panasonic says it expects to sell 100 of these cameras in Australia in the year after its release in early October. The various companies producing 3D products are resorting to the age-old strategy of claiming educational benefit as the sales driver for their products. Some of you may be old enough to remember the claims that television would revolutionise learning, replacing the need for so many classroom teachers, etc. What we really got was Home and Away, Mr Ed, Who Wants to Be A Millionaire and Today Tonight. A similar claim was made for the benefits of the World Wide Web, yet more time is spent on Facebook and YouTube than in the promised online virtual classrooms. When it comes to 3D, speciallycommissioned studies have shown that most students pick up mathematical, geographic and spatial concepts more easily in a 3D environment. Even if the methodologies and interpretations of these studies stood up to rigorous analysis, it would hardly constitute a case for conducting all classroom teaching using 3D interactive whiteboards and projection systems. AUTO-STEREOSCOPY

Auto-stereoscopy (3D without glasses) continues to gain ground, albeit rather slowly. Alioscopy of France is attempting to create an ecosystem of developers and solution providers around its portfolio of lenticular display panel technologies. For all of the improvements in this technology over the last couple of decades as panel resolution and frame rates have increased, it’s still quite difficult to watch these displays for any

length of time – even if you are able to stand in the sometimes-illusive ‘sweet spot’. PROJECTOR ALIGNMENT: IN THE WINGS

Projection from multiple sources has long been a black art, practised in the depths of the night in darkened spaces by wizards with magical tools, special incantations and vast amounts of patience. Whether it’s stacking projectors for more output or blending them for more coverage, until very recently it was not a task to be undertaken by the faint of heart or anyone in a big hurry. InfoComm 2010 saw Scalable Display Technologies (EasyBlend) and Vioso (Wings Vioso) showing very similar computer vision-based technologies that allow a lowcost camera and a computer to automate the processes of projector alignment and geometric correction. Vioso’s product appears to be tightly linked with AV Stumpfl’s Wings display software, while Scalable Display is seeking to licence its product to the likes of NEC, Canon, Digital Projection and Hitachi to accompany their projectors and Calibre in the UK for incorporation into its projected image processing tools. Both groups were showing recently-developed desktop-blended image systems. RESOLUTION & BRIGHTNESS: QUAD HIKE

Projectors, video wall modules and flat panel screens are of course continuing their upward trajectory in resolution, brightness, contrast, refresh rate and most obviously size. No surprises there. Quad VGA is rapidly giving way to quad HD as the aspirational resolution for your desktop, boardroom screen or digital sign. The land grab for 3D and its doubling

019

of the required screen refresh rate will serve to absorb the additional refresh rate and resolution capabilities of the next iteration or two of display devices. Somebody had better start planning what to do with the 500Hz, quad-HD, daylight-viewable screens that are due here any minute. STANDARDISATION?: AS IF

The absence of interoperability standards from so many parts of the AV world is a neverending source of frustration to designers, engineers, integrators, technicians and, above all, our clients and their accountants. Digital signage is an area where little standardisation exists beyond the level of the video and audio feeds to the display devices. However, the really big area of lost opportunities is that of digital audio, where entire ecologies of protocols and equipment have been developed, but the only possible interface between systems is via a line level analogue signal. While this may have provided a commercial opportunity for the developers of transcoder devices such as Klark Teknik’s new network bridges, it remains a major problem. It is an encouraging sign that significant players in the audio industry are now developing products compatible with IEEE 802.1 AVB, the current great white hope for digital audio compatibility. Some real working products from major industry players were playing together nicely in the AVnu Alliance demonstration area at InfoComm 2010. While peace is more likely to break out in the Middle East than in the audio industry, it was heart warming to see even a hint of a possibility of Audio Détente. 


020

NEWS

1/UP CLOSE & PERSONAL

2/EXTRON TOUCH UP

3/BANKING ON AMX

Panasonic’s KX-VC500 HD Visual Communications system adds new meaning to the old saying ‘warts and all’ when it comes to video conferencing. The high resolution of the pictures won’t leave much to the imagination, so wear your best suit. With full HD video and 360º full-duplex audio, the HDVC system allows images to be displayed on a wide range of HD monitors from desktop LCDs to the largest plasma displays or even projected with an HD projector onto a screen. The system also allows for multiple HD cameras to be utilised, so a second camera can zoom in and share detailed pictures with all the participants of the videoconference. A third option allows fullmotion, hi-res video and other file sharing to be transmitted over the system from connected laptops without interfering with the bandwidth, which uses H.264 video compression technology. The system includes on-screen help, one-touch memory keys for frequently-called locations and both on-site and remote technical support from Panasonic. Panasonic Australia: 132 600 or www.panasonic.com.au

Extron Electronics has several new TouchLink products. Extron describes TouchLink as ‘the first fully configuration-based touchpanel control system with the power to handle the control needs of singledisplay rooms, dual-display rooms, divisible rooms, multi-image systems, and video conference suites’. The TLP350MV is a 3.5-inch touchpanel suited to a small installation footprint. Ideal for wall or lectern use, the TLP 350MV provides the power of touchpanel control in the same three-gang form factor common for keypad interfaces. It also incorporates power over ethernet to further simplify installation. The IPL500 is the latest addition to the IP Link control processor line and offers eight bi-directional serial ports, eight configurable IR/S ports, four relays, four flex I/O ports, ethernet driver support and four switched DC ports. The increased control capability of the IPL500 greatly expands the applications for Extron configurable control systems. There are new mounting accessories including wall boxes, surfacemount boxes, and pre-construction back boxes as well as VESA and swivel mount options for the various TouchLink touchpanels. RGB Integration: 1800 398766 or www.extron.com

AMX showcased the nine-inch (230mm) widescreen MVP-9000i, offering AMX’s latest innovations in touchpanel technology and a next-generation user interface that supports finger-swipe navigation to activate animated page transitions such as fades, flips and scrolls. The MVP-9000i combines the speed and security of a wired ethernet connection with the convenience of an 802.11 a/b/g wireless connection. It’s designed to automatically switch between ethernet connectivity when docked and wi-fi when out of dock, delivering both table-top and in-wall control. Wireless security features are good enough for banking and corporate settings. Support for Power over Ethernet (PoE) saves the need to pull a separate power cable for the docking station. Features include VoIP intercom, 800x480 screen resolution, 85° wide-angle viewing in all directions, built-in speaker and microphone, USB stick and Micro-SD slots. The mounting system for the MVP-9000i is ‘revolutionary’ with a rough-in box that allows the touchpanel to be flush, recess mounted in stone, drywall, brick and almost any other surface. AMX Australia: (07) 5531 3103 or www.amxaust.com.au

NEWS IN BRIEF

Atlas Sound has announced the APS-6RMIP Power Stream IP control and monitoring system. The APS-6RMIP system offers design flexibility to meet most installation requirements for AC power distribution, equipment power conditioning, surge suppression and event scheduling with the facility for system monitoring and remote adjustment over IP. TAG: (02) 9519 0900 or www.tag.com.au

K-array is boldly putting kredibility on the line as well as its Year 10 spelling pass mark with claims its Kobra 3D line array speaker system, which is less than 600mm deep and weighs just 2.5kg, will deliver audio across its entire frequency range with a peak output of 120dB. Another feature of the Kobra KK50vb is that it can change vertical coverage from the 7° to 120° at the flick of a switch – klever stuff. Syntec International: 1800 648 628 or sales@syntec.com.au

Extron Electronics has announced several new features for the SSP 7.1 Surround Sound Processor, including a seven-channel, nine-band parametric EQ; Live and Emulate operation modes with configuration file saving; and up to 100ms of lip sync adjustment on each input. These new features can be accessed with v2.0 of the Setup and Control Software. RGB Integration: 1800 398766 or www.extron.com

Klark Teknik has launched two new digital audio format and sample rate converters, the DN9650 and DN9652, enabling the Midas XL8 and Pro Series mixers connection to third-party multichannel digital audio networks. Both models have an impressive 144 channels of sample rate conversion with independent synchronisation for the two interfaces. Configurations are set up using a standard web browser and an auto-configured Ethernet interface. National Audio Systems: 1800 441 440 or sales@nationalaudio.com.au

Here’s a very cool little black box. Matrox TripleHead2Go is an external multi-display upgrade that adds up to three monitors to your notebook or desktop computer. Designed for professionals requiring more desktop space, no doubt gamers will be queuing up as well. The TripleHead2Go lets you run different software on each display or view one application across all three monitors. Multimedia Technology: (03) 9837 2500 or matrox@mmt.com.au


“Supplying Intelligent Solutions from Innovative Partners”

DECIMATOR 2

3G/HD/SD-SDI-SDI to HDMI down converter to user-selectable NTSC / PAL output and De-Embedded Analogue Audio

WIN AN iPAD™!

Visit The AV Group’s stand at INTEGRATE to win an Apple® iPad™ See website for details and conditions. NSW Permit Number: LTPS/10/06337

4/BIAMP VOCIA

5/CRESTRON V-PANELS

Biamp’s Vocia is a Networked Media System that introduces several new concepts to paging and voice evacuation systems, including combined distributed processing and page routing, as well as networked audio and control. This networked and modular approach eliminates the potential for a single point of failure and allows for the design and construction of a system that is easily expandable from a single paging station and amplifier to multiple zones with several hundred inputs and outputs. The Sydney Olympic Park Authority installed a prerelease implementation of Vocia at its Homebush Olympic Park site. Vocia handles site-wide paging and covers all public areas of the park. Site managers use the system for crowd control and egress announcements, as well as for background music broadcast to the public areas. “We were very impressed with the simplicity of the installation of the Vocia system,” said PA People boss Chris Dodds. “The software interface was very intuitive and the system as a whole was among the easiest we’ve ever worked with. Since the installation, the Sydney Olympic Park Authority reports to us that the system is working flawlessly, so we are pleased with the overall result.” Audio Products Group: 1300 134400 or www.audioproducts.com.au

Crestron has released its TPMC V-Panels, delivering the original V-Panel appearance and installation flexibility, but at a lower cost. A complete multimedia, control and communications solution, the TMPC V-Panel simplifies control of the most demanding and versatile environments. While simultaneously controlling the home, conference room or building, the new slim 12-inch (300mm) and 15-inch (380mm) models provide built-in apps for accessing online music, movies and other digital content, plus viewing metadata and cover art and Web browsing. With a swipe of the finger, enhanced gestures navigation enables access to a broad selection of entertainment and control menus. Additional features include embedded media players, on-screen annotation, 2-way VoIP intercom and built-in microphone, speakers and a keyboard/mouse port. Integrated Adobe Flash provides for creating animations and 3D effects onscreen. Less than 50mm deep with a standard VESA mount compatibility and a flushmount option, TPMC-V-Panels have an edge-to-edge glass housing. A table-top tilt stand is also available. Crestron: (02) 9737 8203 or www.crestron.com.au

Quadrive is Sanyo’s optical engine that adds a yellow colour control device to the red, green and blue elements of a 3LCD system. This produces a wider colour gamut in addition to enabling much higher brightness levels making QuaDrive suited to large venue presentations. Proving it all works Sanyo has previewed the PLC-HF10000, the first QuaDrive projector featuring 2K resolution. Sanyo: 1300 360 230 or info@sanyo.com.au

The new Adamson Eklipsa array offers a super-tight 18°H x 60°W horn pattern. Although it’s primarily a horizontal array, multiple cabinets can be flown vertically. Eklipsa targets touring companies, theatres, nightclubs and live venues that don’t require the longer throw of a line source system. A low ceiling height or missing hanging points can often be a bother when you’re trying to fly a vertical line array. The Eklipsa has been designed to solve these problems. CMI: (03) 9315 2244 or www.cmi.com.au

Avistar Communications announced it has been granted a US patent in practical realtime bandwidth management. Until now, IT administrators had reservation/management systems that controlled blocks of bandwidth, often resulting in traffic overload in one system that slowed applications and wasted unused bandwidth in each block. The newly granted patent covers the use of an automatic adaptive control system that provides traffic feedback and controls on an ongoing basis. Avistar: www.avistar.com

AUD $540* (Ex GST)

Features include:

• HDMI Output • 2 x RCA Analogue Audio Outputs • USB to allow for future features, updates and control

MD-RDA

Miniature (3G/HD/SD)-SDI 1 to 6 reclocking distribution amplifier

AUD $450* (Ex GST)

Features include:

• Reclocks one input and outputs 6 new copies of either 3G-SDI, HD-SDI or SD-SDI

MD-QUAD

3G/HD/SD-SDI Quad Split with 3G/HD/SD-SDI and HDMI Outputs

APB-Dynasonics’ new ProDesk-8 features eight subgroups and matrixes and an eight-channel mute group system with individual ‘mute safe’ switches. Its eight-bus aux send system can generate mono and switchable stereo mixes with signal sources switch selected on a per pair basis, pre or post fader and overall in the pre-fader position from a switchable pre or post EQ source. Production Audio Services: (03) 9264 8000 or sales@productionaudio.com.au

AUD $1,495* Features include:

(Ex GST)

• On Screen 16 character UMD for each quadrant • On Screen Tallies for each quadrant • On Screen Format status for each quadrant • PC based control application via USB port • GPI control for full screen display of each input *Pricing subject to change

For more information contact The AV Group on (02) 9764 5911 or visit www.avgroup.com.au


022

NEWS

1/EAW QX FIX

2/MIDAS GET MORE PRO

3/RENKUS-HEINZ GETS SQUARE

EAW released a whole swag of new speakers at InfoComm, with the QX series arguably the pick of the bunch. The QX Series provides size-efficient yet very high output point source clusters. The series is particularly geared toward medium-to-large-sized spaces including sports arenas but is also designed for a wide range of other venues requiring high power and consistent coverage delivered by a compact design. The passive, wired-for-biamplification QX speakers have squared, symmetrical, dual-trapezoidal enclosures. A centrally-located co-axial MF/HF horn and two pairs of phase-aligned neodymium 12-inch low frequency transducers work together to ensure that the entire frontal area contributes to horizontal and vertical pattern control capability. The result is a loudspeaker with excellent pattern control and low distortion. The five new models include the QX596 (90° x 60°), QX594 (90° x 45°), QX566 (60° x 60°), QX564 (60° x 45°) and QX544 (45° x 45°). The picture above is deceptive – all units measure 710x 710x610mm and weigh 59kg. Production Audio: (03) 9264 8000 or info@productionaudio.com.au

With 48 inputs, 27 buses and six stereo effects you’d hardly expect the Midas Pro3 to be the smallest of its digital console products – but it is. At the other end of the scale and released simultaneously, the Pro9 offers 88 inputs and 35 buses. The Pro3 comes with the ‘costeffective’ DL251 fixed-format stage box – as can the Pro9. However, the Pro9’s extra channels offer more mileage or, to be accurate, about half a kilometre more, with dual splitter boxes that can be 200 metres apart and 500 metres from the FOH position. The range also includes the new Klark Teknik DN9650 digital format converter offering other digital protocols including MADI and Dante. Midas is happy to admit the Pro3 and Pro9 have a heritage (pardon the pun) firmly based in the successful Pro6 and XL8 models including offering similar effects and dynamics processing. If you find you’ve out-grown the Pro3, it can be ‘supersized’ up to the Pro9. National Audio Systems: 1800 441 440 or sales@nationalaudio.com.au

Renkus-Heinz has released the IC Squared series of speakers, telling the world the series represents ‘the first ever crossover array’. The IC Squared is a digitally steerable line array that combines the power and focus of point source loudspeaker technology with the control and flexibility of a digitally steered array. Confused? Stay with us here... Four eight-inch low-frequency neodymium transducers and one-inch titanium nitride-coated HF drivers provide high SPL point source performance, while individual steering control of each driver gives the IC Squared vertical pattern control as well. Each IC Squared module can deliver up to four beams, with individual control over aiming and opening angles. There, that wasn’t so hard, was it? The IC Squared can be used as a standalone high-performance loudspeaker, a small ground stack or a flown array of up to 20 cabinets. The IC Squared series is part of Renkus-Heinz’s Iconyx range of products. Audio Telex: (02) 9647 1411 or nsw@audiotelex.com.au

NEWS IN BRIEF

Panasonic’s new AG-HMX100 a low-cost HD/SD digital AV mixer that incorporates a built-in multi-viewer display output and combines video switching and audio mixing features. It supports SD, HD and 3D Professional formats. The AG-HMX100 is designed for permanent installs or portable applications. Also, two new LF20 Series Full-HD LCD displays, the TH-47LF20U and TH-42LF20U, Panasonic’s first pro LCD models for general-purpose signage are on offer. Panasonic Australia: 132 600 or www.panasonic.com.au

The BSS Audio BLU-HIF Telephone Headset Interface provides a connection of the headset jack of a VoIP/digital phone to an AEC input and analogue output of a Soundweb London device, allowing the VoIP/digital phone to be used as the dialling interface and hybrid for a conference system. The simple interface eliminates the programming requirements associated with third-party control systems. Jands: (02) 9582 0909 or info@jands.com.au

Of course, InfoComm is the place to release new equipment. Even so, new speaker models popped up everywhere like mushrooms. JBL Professional has added nine new loudspeaker models to its AE (Application Engineered) Series, raising the total count of models in the AE Series to 31. Jands: (02) 9582 0909 or info@jands.com.au

Harris has introduced the Nexio Volt integrated storage server, a small form-factor, highperformance baseband video server equipped with its own media storage. The Nexio Volt integrated storage server offers support for up to four mixed SD/ HD or SD-only baseband channels in a 1RU package. Harris Corporation: www.broadcast.harris.com

Sharp has some new PN-‘E’ Series of Professional LCD Displays, offering largeformat monitors of choice for sophisticated digital signage and display applications. Developed for commercial use, the 60-, 52-, 47- and 42-inch screen class monitors offer full 1920x1080 (1080p) resolution from most any analogue or digital RGB source as well as HD video for outstanding image quality, and 10W per channel of stereo audio with builtin speakers. Sharp: 1300 135 530 or www.sharp.net.au


DN-F400 digital audio player and RC-F400 controller

4/FUN & GAMES ON JUPITER News releases for product launches often promise a lot, but a ‘zero learning curve’ is a new one. Symetrix’s Jupiter is an audio processing platform drawing its inspiration from the ‘apps’ paradigm of smartphones like Apple’s iPhone (where, personally, learning curves can mimic the flight path of the phone being thrown across the room). Jupiter hardware is available in three versions differing only in their input/output counts. All inputs are software selectable for line or mic levels with phantom power. Jupiter software apps transform what would be generic hardware into specific audio engines for operations like paging, automixing and loudspeaker management. The free software used to configure Jupiter hardware runs on the Windows operating system. Symetrix regularly adds to its library of downloadable Jupiter applications and even dares to suggest that setting up application specific audio signal processing can be a fun way to spend time. They may need to get out more. Production Audio Services (03) 9264 8000 or sales@productionaudio.com.au

DN-F400 • • • • • • •

Plays WAV and MP3 files from SD/SDHC cards (card slot can be secured) ±20% Pitch control Control via front panel or via RCF 400 remote control RS-232 control of track selection and start/stop GPIO control Balanced outputs (Phoenix type)

RC-F400

Vivitek’s D525ST shortthrow projector comes with a 0.9–0.99:1 manual zoom and focus lens, which means it’s pretty much a problem-solver rather than something that can be utilised during a presentation. It comes in Native XGA (1024x768) with a 4:3 aspect ratio putting out a healthy 2600 lumens. HDMI connectivity is there and it is ‘3D ready’. Hills SVL (02) 9647 1411 or www.hillssvl.com.au

Ten new models are added to EAW’s two-way JF series. The active JFNT types are based on the 12- and 15-inch passive models only (60° x 45° and 90° x 45° versions are available) and have a hefty 1500W of power. Along with the amp comes EAW Focusing processing, EAW Pilot software-accessible front-end DSP and its proprietary U-Net audio and communications network capability. Production Audio: (03) 9264 8000 or sales@productionaudio.com.au

Who’d have ever thought that HDMI would become so commonplace that an 8-way matrix switcher would be useful? The AMX HDMI UTPRO 0808 Matrix Switching and Distribution Solution uses AMX’s own HDCP InstaGate technology HDMI signal switching through the OTPRO 0808 is possible without the usual delays due to HDCP re-authentication and eliminates video stream interruption to existing HDMI signal paths. AMX Australia: (07) 5531 3103 or www.amxaust.com.au

• • •

Quick - select remote control partner for DN-F400 Rapidly navigate menu trees of audio segments, effects and signals Ideal replacement for FX carts, other storage devices

Applications: •

Schools

Retail Centre

Gyms

Houses of Worship

Broadcast

Cafes / Restaurants

Dance Classes

Sporting Venues


024

NEWS

1/SONY’S ‘SLIGHT’ OF HAND

2/BEHRINGER MAKES MOVE

4/SANYO FULL HD DLP

It’s getting so we won’t be able to tell the serious news jockeys staggering under shoulder-mounted cameras from the idle passers-by who whip out the camcorder hoping to make a quick buck or achieve YouTube fame. Sony’s new palm-sized HXR-MC50E camcorder has many of the professional features of its big brothers except it’s – obviously – ‘palm-sized’. Making it stand out from those more consumer models is provision for a professional shotgun microphone and mount, along with a headphone output to capture high-quality location sound, a large lens hood and battery capacity promising twice the life of standard units. Internal Flash memory of 64GB should cater for most events and there’s capability for memory stick Pro Duo or SH/SHDC cards, if the operator gets any Gone With The Windlike ambitions. 1920x1080 HD recording is possible. Other features include a 10x optical/20x digital zoom and a GPS receiver and map index. Price: $2299. Sony Australia: 1300 720 071 or www.sony.com.au

It was inevitable that Behringer would eventually turn its attention to the audio install industry, and it made a big push at this year’s Infocomm with the new Eurocom series. The Eurocom line will offer a diverse product assortment designed to fully address the needs of nearly any commercial, industrial or institutional application. The new products have been carefully engineered to provide the end-user with ‘ultra-intuitive’ ease of use. Backed by a massive increase in research and development support from within the organisation, the Eurocom line will feature a proprietary new design language, which is expected to push things along no end. Additionally, the line was developed with energy efficiency in mind and the products will create a significantly smaller carbon footprint. Behringer Australia: (03) 9877 7170 or www.behringer.com.au

Sanyo’s PDG-DHT8000L is an high-brightness projector with an output of 8000 ANSI lumens. This native full HD single DLP projector utilises not only two UHP lamps at 330W each, but also twin colour wheels. Its newly developed Peltier element cooling system allows it to operate in near silence while projecting a bright image. In its Eco-mode, fan noise is only 35dBA. Minimal maintenance is required, due to its dustresistant sealed optical engine and 30,000 hour Active Maintenance Filter system. Suitable for large screen applications in venues such as university lecture halls and corporate auditoriums or events. Sanyo: 1300 360 230 or info@sanyo.com.au

INDUSTRY NEWS

Three cheers for the KLM Group which staged a highly entertaining/worthwhile day for the industry. Held in Melbourne’s Carousel conferencing facility, KLM had 15 stalls on site that served to connect its suppliers with 300-plus of its customers. The varied presentation program was MC’ed, often hilariously, by Vince Sorrenti. KLM Group: (03) 9320 3444 or www.klmgroup.com.au

A European AV accessories brand called Vision has entered the Australian market with a range of products designed by and for installers. On offer in Oz will be Techconnect modular cables and faceplates, Techmount bracket solutions and Techaudio amplifiers and speakers. Integration Supplies: 0408 570 950 (Ian Bayfield) or ian@isupplies.com.au

EAW has struck up partnerships with Lake, Lab.gruppen and Powersoft allowing those manufacturers to integrate EAW’s Gunness Focussing DSP algorithms into some of their product lines. Later in the year more wheeling and dealing should let EAW sell a selection of its partners’ products as components in EAW system sales. Production Audio Services: (03) 9264 8000 or sales@productionaudio.com.au

Control4 has announced that Advance Audio Australia will become its distribution partner in the Australian market. With a nationwide presence in both major and specialty realtors Advance Audio brings strong support to Control4 installers. Advance Audio will begin distributing Control4 products in October 2010, when Control4’s current distribution agreement with Convergent Technologies expires. Advance Audio: sales@advanceaudio.com.au

Old sparring partners, Patrick Salloch and Tony Fitzsimmons have joined forces to form Professional Audio Technology (PAT). PAT is distributing InfoMedia, Danish Interpretation Systems (DIS), Optocore, Focal monitors and K.M.E., a respected German PA manufacturer. Most recently, PAT has entered into an agreement with Klotz AIS to supply a select range of its cable catalogue to the Australian pro A/V and installation market. PAT: (02) 9940 3053 or www.proaudiotechnology.com.au


Hundreds of Installed Sound microphone requirements Nine high quality microphones One low price AKG introduces the 99 Series of value-priced microphones for contractors and installers. The 99 Series comprises: Hanging mic (black or white)

Dynamic gooseneck mic

3/ EDIROL LIVE VIDEO SWITCHER

Lapel mic

4 condenser goosenecks (two lengths, two polar patterns)

Omnidirectional boundary layer mic

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Roland Systems Group has introduced the Edirol V-1600HD Multi-Format Live Video Switcher. The V-1600HD is suited to any live event or installation that requires a high channel count and the ability to accept a variety of video input formats out of the box. The V-1600HD switcher features a built-in preview monitor that provides a convenient monitoring solution when external monitors are not available or ideal. The 16 inputs provide connectivity to HD/ SD-SDI, DVI-D/HDMI, RGB, Component, S-video, and composite formats, as well as still images assignable via USB memory. The 14 mixing channels provide built-in scalers and frame syncs for mixing regardless of the resolution or format. The V-1600HD supports a variety of system design and creative production options for live or fixed installation applications. Dual independent multi-format outputs provide a number of innovative multiscreen output options including the ability to ‘span’ the mixer output to two projectors with the ability to edge blend the center region. In Aux mode, the outputs can be set to different resolutions ideal for sending the program out to a record feed. Roland Corporation: (02) 9982 8266 or www.rolandsystemgroup.net

Dynamic gooseneck mic

ALL RRP $229 inc GST

Hats off to Group Technologies, which recently held a seminar on the new building standard AS1428.5, published in May this year. The standard specifies the requirements for the installation of assisted listening systems (ALS). Two seminars were held on the day, providing insight into the new standard and available ALS products. Humantecknik’s Director of Engineering Karl-Heinz Sicklinger was also on hand. Group Technologies: (03) 9354 9133 or www.grouptechnologies.com.au

Barco acquires digital signage specialist dZine: Barco, a world leader in LED display solutions, announced it has signed an agreement to acquire Belgiumbased digital signage solutions company dZine. Through this acquisition, Barco significantly broadens its current offering of digital visualisation products with the addition of advanced software tools for content creation and management. Barco: (02) 9695 1146 or www.barco.com

Philips’ Pronto control family continues to grow. The new wall docking stations are flushmount docks that allow the Pronto TSU9600 and TRU9800 control panels to be stored in-wall – very neat. New ProntoEdit Professional software, PEP 2.4, offers extended integration and control possibilities. The new software will cut programming time and costs for dealers, and improve the look and functionality. Qualifi: (03) 8542 1111 or www.qualifi.com.au

99 Series mics make quoting easy – same low price, no matter which mic you need! (Actually, they’re not all the same price. The CK99L lapel mic is only RRP $149 inc GST.)


026

NEWS

1/WHAT IS THE HELIXNET?

2/CHRISTIE LW LCD

3/ TAKE TWO TABLETS &...

Clear-Com has launched HelixNet, a unified intercom platform that’s designed to deliver cabling simplicity, ease of use, networking flexibility and system intelligence. The first two products in the family are the HelixNet Main Station (HMS-4X) and HelixNet Beltpacks (HBP-2X). HelixNet simplifies the setup, management and use of intercom systems often required in today’s multiplatform production workflows, including those of houses of worship and intimate live venues. Based on Clear-Com’s I.V.Core technology, HelixNet breaks down the silos of separate intercoms and allows operators to connect and control multiple system connections on a single communications platform – whether it’s a main station, portable beltpack, digital panel, wall-speaker unit or software-based client. HelixNet offers flexible and simple cabling and networking. All systems on the platform are designed to work on common, standard cabling, such as microphone cables, Cat-5 and fibre. In addition, all HelixNet systems can connect into a facility on a standard LAN/IT network infrastructure without the need to add new wiring, yielding significant time and cost savings for any new intercom project. Jands: (02) 9582 0909 or info@jands.com.au

Christie has added two new LCD projectors to its product line-up. The LWU420 targets professionals needing WUXGA high resolution and the LW555 is an ‘affordable’ WXGA high brightness widescreen projector. Both are compact, lightweight models. Putting out 4200 lumens with WUXGA (1920x1200) resolution, the LWU420 delivers full HD capability, auto H/V digital keystone, vertical and horizontal lens shift, 10-bit image processing for grey scaling, 1000:1 contrast ratio and a 2x zoom lens.  The 5500 lumens Christie LW555 projector features native WXGA resolution (1280x800), centre lens design with a fully motorised lens shift, inorganic LCD panels, toploading lamp, 10-bit image processing and Christie’s 3D Keystone technology which promises that users can place the projector almost anywhere in the room and still create a perfect picture. VR Solutions: (07) 3844 9514 or www.vrs.com.au

Wacom and its tablets have been around a long time, but it’s worth noting the distinction between these and the professional interactive pen displays or ‘direct penon-screen models’ which have more to offer. Featuring a 21.5-inch (546mm) widescreen HD display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, the DTU-2231 has a generous work surface that matches the resolution of modern large displays and projectors of the types encountered in the corporate world allowing presenters to maintain the image quality and aspect ratio they need. The DTU1631 is a compact model with a 15.6-inch (396mm) LCD at 1366x768 resolution. Both have an internal USB hub for connecting a flash drive, web camera or other USB device. The video pass-through feature allows the work done on the pen display to be shared directly with a secondary screen. The cordless, battery-free pen has 512 levels of pressure sensitivity, there’s a tip switch, two customisable side switches, an eraser switch and a tether hole. Ingram Micro: (02) 9381 6855 or www.ingrammicro.com.au

Digital Signage Grows Up

InfoComm 2010 saw some promise that digital signage is maturing into a real industry rather than a bunch of disparate enterprises and technologies. Alliances and partnerships are coalescing from the cloud as the players realise that customers are seeking working solutions rather than just a big bag-full of individual clever components. More software producers are forming hardware partnerships or listing the compatible, qualified and tested hardware components and vice versa. Companies

expanding their offerings into the digital signage sector are now acquiring stable OEM platforms to launch from, rather than developing yet another incompatible line of products. Perhaps the most important sign of maturity is the gold rush for the heretofore non-existent single-sign market. While everyone has been chasing retail chains, outdoor signage companies, and large campuses of buildings, the SMB sector has either gone it alone via the in-house digital signage evangelist or simply stayed way

from digital signage because it was just too complex or too foreign. The increasing number of recent announcements of the availability of digital signage as a service is a new and interesting development and signals the need for the AV industry to consider how they fit into this new ecology. Look for some guidance through this uncharted landscape in our brand new sister publication Digital Signage (go: www. digitalsignagemagazine.com.au to register for a free subscription). – AC

The Voyager AV Signal Distribution Platform from Magenta is an interoperable set of extenders, distribution amplifiers and matrix switchers which enable any end-to-end configuration for distribution of uncompressed video, audio, RS-232, IR and USB signals over fibre. Voyager is designed to deliver exceptional high-resolution image quality and 24/7 reliability. IDT: 1300 666 099 or sales@idt.com.au


GATE CHANGES? NO PROBLEM.

4/BEHOLD! PANASONIC Panasonic likes to play the super-sized, big-screen game more than most. So it should come as no surprise that it’s fronted up with the titanic TH-152UX1 152-inch, 4k x 2k (4096x2160) resolution full HD 3D plasma display. Equivalent to nine 50-inch screens, this colossal 17:9 display will immerse spectators in life-like, three-dimensional images and can illustrate even oversized products with life-size views. Panasonic is also announcing the TH-103VX200U and TH-85VX200U, 3D versions of its premium 103inch and 85-inch plasma displays. The three new full HD 3D large-format plasmas are designed for corporate environments (eg., for 3D CAD proposals, where life-sized 3D simulations could improve design accuracy and flexibility); in commercial applications (eg., car showrooms or real estate offices for virtualreality customer demos); healthcare (where the ultra-large panels and full-HD display performance could be used to supply high-level medical solutions in advanced healthcare environments and teaching hospitals); in home theatres and screening rooms; for digital signage in public facilities; in education and in entertainment staging. Panasonic: 132 600 or www.panasonic.com.au

Vision has released additions to its Techconnect2 range. The Techconnect2 Tilt is a connectivity faceplate which mounts into the desktop of a table. It is simple to install and uses a motorised mechanism that allows you to raise and lower the faceplate by touching the Vision logo on the top. Next, the Techconnect2 Twist converts USB to run over twisted-pair cable and is used where a connectivity faceplate with USB must be some distance away from an

interactive whiteboard. Up until now you’d need to use 5m USB extender cables which are hard to hide. Finally, all Techconnect2 cables now come with a male phoenix connector attached, which is plugged into the rear of the module. This change is set to reduce installation times as no wiring is now required. Integration Supplies: (03) 9803 8770 or www.isupplies.com.au

Meyer Sound has announced CAL, a new series of selfpowered steerable column array loudspeakers. Providing ‘exceptional’ intelligibility in highly reverberant environments, the CAL steerable column array loudspeakers feature ‘unparalleled’ vertical coverage control and low-distortion sound. The vertical beam can be angled up or down 30° and can be configured with vertical beam widths from five to 60°. Meyer Sound: 1800 463 937 or www.meyersound.com.au

Vocia ®, the new critical paging system from Biamp®, was designed to do more than deliver clear information. It was designed to last. Its fail-safe, networked structure easily expands into new zones and new buildings. In fact, it was built from the ground up to meet EN54-16 standards, providing the reliability and scalability you need today and in the future.

FOR YOUR NEAREST DEALER: Australia: Call 1300 13 44 00 or visit www.biamp.com.au New Zealand: Call 0800 111 450 or visit www.audioproducts.co.nz


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FEATURE

Clay Paky Makes Comeback. The old king of the moving light hill gets back on its horse. Text:\ Paul Collison

Clay Paky's Golden Scan 4: the Godfather of all robotic fixtures.

In November last year as winter was settling into Europe, I had the pleasure of visiting Clay Paky headquarters in Bergamo Italy. The weather was cold but the hospitality was the warmest you could hope for. Anyone who was part of the lighting industry in the ’90s would know the name Clay Paky. No show was complete without some Miniscans or Goldenscans amongst an armoury of par cans, Astro Raggi’s and pinspots. Clay Paky made all types of ‘disco’ effects and seemingly ruled the world when it came to moving mirrors. Unfortunately, its transition to moving heads was a long and treacherous one. The first range of Stage Zoom heads were heavy, and lacked the features of their younger and up-and-coming competitors. Disappointed customers found alternatives and ultimately, Clay Paky went back to the drawing board. Not too dissimilar to the way a football team looks at themselves after a series of losses… (hello NSW rugby league). This period is something that Pio Nahum, sales and marketing director for Clay Paky, readily acknowledges. He’s also quick to point out it was during these times that the company learnt important lessons that have resulted in some fantastic new products and the resurrection of the famous Italian manufacturer. A revival lead by Paky himself, Pasquale Quadri, not only the company namesake and owner, but its lead designer and figurehead, has brought them back to life. Exhaustive market surveys and consultation with

designers and technicians has lead to a new range of fixtures that are bright, crisp and most importantly, extremely reliable. For these reasons, designers are flocking back to CP fittings. The Alpha range of fixtures is proving to be the key to this success. Gone is the familiar clack, clack, clack associated with the startup of a Clay Paky fixture. The same brilliant optics are there, as is the desire for perfection. Wandering around the factory you see that passion is spread from the top down. Every worker is proud to work for the iconic company ‑ and with the Alpha range in full swing, they have every right to be. MORE MODELS THAN YOU CAN WAGGLE A MIRROR AT

The current range is somewhat bloated, consisting of over 26 moving head fixtures. It is this breadth that could prove to be the Achilles heel of the manufacturer. It leads to supply issues where different companies have purchased slightly different versions of similar fixtures, making supplies in large quantities difficult. Ideally the range would be slimmed to a 300W, 700W and 1500W. The existence of the 575W and 1200W is probably redundant when you look at the output of the 300W compared to the 575W, and the 700W compared to the 1200W. There is simply not enough difference there to justify so many lamp types. For each lamp there is generally a range of two profile types, plus a wash and a beam. The 300 and 700 amazingly fit in to the

exact same housing, leaving the 1500 range significantly bigger but gaining massive ground in the output stakes. Innovation is back, with simple things like completely new dimming concepts. A combination of shutters and actual reduction of lamp output means not only a smoother and more rounded dimming curve from blackout to 100%, it also means tangible savings in electricity costs. Running the dimmer at 80% actually represents a 50% power saving to the lamp. So for those tedious pan and tilt preset position sessions, you can save power and lamp life by grabbing that master and pulling it back a little. Then there is the hold focus through zoom feature. Although not a completely new thought, CP has taken it a step further by allowing you to modify the focus relative to the zoom. This means that with a tight zoom, the programmer can still grab the focus channel and pull focus only slightly. This pulled focus will then hold throughout the zoom. It’s a feature that can be turned on and off via DMX, if the programmer prefers a more traditional approach. Also in the Alpha software there are now powerful inbuilt macros to assist in programming of colour, iris and zoom chases, as well as variable random strobe and pulsing effects. CP has listened to the end users. All fixtures in the Alpha range can be addressed and set without mains power. An on-board battery makes this small task much easier. The 300 and 700 fixtures are tiny in comparison to


TOA Type H Column Line Array Controlled dispersion helps to achieve constant sound levels in the room, while at the same time avoiding problematic areas. Being only 84mm wide these speakers will provide high quality, discreet audio, in a slim-line, stylish package. Cost-efficient, high quality audio solutions for a variety of installations, including: • • • • •

Houses of Worship Function Centres Boardrooms Lecture Halls Auditoriums Four Models Available

Just 24 of the 26 currently available range of Alpha Spots. Perhaps some rationalisation of this range may be due.

the competition. This makes rigging, transport and positioning in a lighting system easier. Tilt and pan locks keep the fixtures rigid during transport and the matte black surface of the fixture means they look newer for longer. Beyond moving lights, there is also a huge range of architectural fittings Clay Paky has been making for years. Follow spots and scanners, along with fixed colour changers and the new Mirage IP65 LED panels, round out what is an impressive and diverse range of lighting instruments. Clay Paky is certainly back in a big way. With LED fixtures in the pipeline and a renewed vigour, the Italian lighting powerhouse is guaranteed to change the landscape of the moving light market once again. While it has been a little while since there was an official Clay Paky distributor for Australia, until new arrangements are announced, the original distributor, Show Technology (www.showtech.com.au) is acting in a caretaker role, looking after spare parts, service and sales enquiries. 

1. SRH2L - Short (668mm) straight column with zero degrees vertical dispersion at higher frequencies. 2. SRH2S – (Short 663mm) curved column with zero degrees vertical dispersion at higher frequencies at the top and 20 degrees dispersion at the bottom. 3. SRH3L - Long (1186mm) straight column with zero degrees vertical dispersion at higher frequencies. 4. SRH3S – Long (1177mm) curved column with zero degrees vertical dispersion at higher frequencies at the top and 20 degrees dispersion at the bottom.

Clay Paky: www.claypaky.it FOR YOUR NEAREST DEALER: AUSTRALIA: Call 1300 13 44 00 or visit www.toa.com.au NEW ZEALAND: Call 0800 111 450 or visit www.toa.co.nz


DIGITAL SIGNAGE Integrate 2010 presents a one-day conference: Digital Signage – The Power of Digital Networked Display. The digital signage revolution is upon us. Are you ready? In conjunction with Infocomm International, Integrate presents Digital Signage: The Power of Digital Networked Display. Under the direction of InfoComm Academy staff instructor, Rod Brown, the day will explore many of the technical demands – from networking and delivery – through to design elements and the ‘human’ factors of a digital signage system. We look at sign placement, legibility and the effective use of sound combined with signage. Learn how to discuss and present networked and non-networked signage solutions to your clients with confidence; discover how signage solutions can maximise customer impact. Digital signage applications, environments and physical aspects of sign placement are also discussed. Topics range from simple signage systems to more

elaborate solutions. Special guest, Rod Sommerich, from Swiss digital signage specialists Spinitex, will show examples of digital signage in action. Rod will look at real-world examples of how digital signage informs, directs, stimulates and inspires. Who’s it For: At the conclusion of this day you’ll have an appreciation for the specialised challenges and opportunities presented by this emerging market sector. Places are strictly limited so bookings are essential. Email: seminars@integrate-expo.com or book online, www.integrate-expo.com and follow the links. Certification Renewal Units

24th - 26th August 2010 2010

Hordern Pavilion & Royal Hall of Industries, Moore Park, Sydney, Australia

www.integrate-expo.com

®


Sony projectors. Making life a little easier.

Gone Fishing

Introducing Sony’s range of ‘people friendly’ projectors: Designed to perform with minimal fuss, Sony’s new range of installation projectors feature long-life lamps and filters, so they run longer without any maintenance. Having one of the lowest power consumption ratings in their class, these ‘eco friendly’ projectors will also save you energy,

especially in “standby mode”. Add to this Sony’s next generation “BrightEra LCD” technology and you get long life optical performance with the stunning images that you expect. For the boardroom, conference room or auditorium with over 30 years of leading innovation in video projection, Sony provides peace of mind for your investment.

VPLF30 Series SO912001/AV

sony.com.au/projectors

VPLF40 Series

VPLF500 Series

“SONY” and “make.believe” are trademarks of Sony Corporation. “BrightEra” and are trademarks of Sony Corporation.

VPLF300 Series


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FEATURE

Australia Pavilion Beneath the rustic exterior beats the heart of one of the most ambitious audiovisual installations ever conceived. Text:/ Andy Ciddor

Australia has long taken great pride in its well-presented and well received World Expo pavilions, and after the resounding success of the pavilion in Aichi, Japan, for the 2005 Expo, several of the key players in that project started working on ideas for the Shanghai Expo for 2010 – even while the crowds were still lining up outside Aichi pavilion. An Expo pavilion may be required to perform many roles, including showcasing a country’s products, its culture, its industrial capacity, its lifestyle, its value as a tourist destination, its desirability as a place to immigrate, its value as a trading partner, or its suitability as a place to invest. An Australian pavilion is intended to fulfill many of these functions and so contains office facilities for trade and business meetings, VIP guest entertainment areas and a substantial component for engaging with the general Expo visiting public. Think Outside The Square (think!OTS), the company responsible for much of the design and content of the public elements of the 2005 Expo pavilion led a small group who wondered what it might be like if, just for once, a pavilion was designed and constructed around the functions it would perform rather than the more usual process of shoehorning those functions into a clever piece of architecture. Thus the pantomime horse was put before cart, and the think!OTS group, through creative director Pete Ford, was able to convince the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, through their tender response, to allow them to develop the design concept for the pavilion. The concept was further developed into a piece of clever architecture by Wood/Marsh architects and engineered and constructed through a partnership with Bovis Lend Lease, the general contractor for the project. At each stage in the journey think!OTS was retained as the designers and developers of the pavilion’s content and in turn it led a team of contractors who conceived, wrote, designed, constructed, installed, commissioned, as well as operate and maintain the pavilion’s attractions for the six-month run of Expo 2010. RUSTED ON AUSSIES

You would have to have been trapped in a very deep cave to have missed the fact that this pavilion is constructed from a special type of rust-forming steel which weathers to a red ochre and through its organically-curved slab shape echoes the form of Uluru. The audience involvement in the Shanghai pavilion was conceived as operating along the lines of a three-act play: Act 1 introduces the characters and sets up the location for the action, Act 2 contains the main dramatic elements of action and conflict and, finally, Act 3 brings the resolution of the conflict and the transformation of the characters. As played out in Australia’s Expo 2010 pavilion, Act 1, Journey, is an introduction to Australia: its geography, people and history; Act 2, Discover, is the main drama, telling the story of contemporary Australian life; and Act 3, the denouement, Enjoy, is the

Rusted Splendour: Through the archway is the Act 3 atrium. The LED-embedded floral pods can be seen hanging from the grid. Outside is the shaded queueing area for the first few hundred of the thousands of visitors.


FEATURE

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Ridgey-Didge: Some of these indigenous artefacts conceal speakers for the 12-track soundscape.

Dramatis Personae Pete Ford: Creative Director, Think OTS Tim McMahon: Project Director, Think OTS Angus Wippell: Project Director Bovis Lend Lease (General Contractor) Graeme Woolacott: Construction Manager Bovis Lend Lease (General Contractor) Andrew Dibble: Producer/Partner, Think OTS Anne Sykes: Executive Producer, Think OTS Paul Van Der Ent: Executive Technical Director, Wizard Projects Anthony Cornish: Act 2 Mechanical Design Engineer, Connell Wagner Glenn Harris: Act 2 Mechanical Design & Construction Engineer, Harris Movement Engineering Dave White: Art Director Bob Brunton: Exhibit Designer Phil Lethlean: Lighting Designer Richard Grenfell: Lighting Programmer Tony Russo: DSP Design & Audio System Engineer, TAG Brian Lawrence: Audio Producer, Brian Lawrence Sound Dale Cornelius: Audio Composer


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FEATURE

Base of a screen segment showing a Spiralift, its drive motor and the motor control cabinet. The two three-phase power buses can be seen at the rear. Right: One of the four stage wagons has rolled from its storage position onto the lift and is about to ascend to stage level.

opportunity for the visitor to connect personally with their new-found friend Australia by buying its products, clothes, food and souvenirs, while being entertained by Australian performers. Although each of these sections has been given titles for public consumption, they continue to be referred to as Acts 1, 2, and 3 by most people on the pavilion team. ACT ONE: JOURNEY

On entering the pavilion, visitors walk through a 160m curving cylindrical ramp that passes in and out of the pavilion walls, taking them on a journey through six introductory experiences on their way to the main auditorium. An acknowledgement of Australia’s immense indigenous history and culture, Bedrock combines elements of indigenous art from Maningrida in the NT with an evocative 12-channel soundscape. In addition to the QSC AD-S52T ceiling speakers mounted over this area, several of the tall cylindrical ‘carvings’, reminiscent of oversize didgeridoos, are constructed from very modern materials to conceal speakers delivering some channels of the soundscape. Sisters is a series of 21 short documentary pieces by Annie Venables about insprirational women in Australia and China. The aim is to demonstrate our commonalities as people and as countries through the stories of these inspirational women – “what we share”. These videos are played back from a Coolux Pandoras Box and projected on to the surface of the cylindrical tunnel with four Christie DS+ 6K-M SXGA+ projectors using the Coolux system to correct the image for the geometry of the tunnel surface. The

audio comes from more of the QSC AD-S52Ts that are used throughout the pavilion. Known to the Expo team by its working title of ‘222’ for reasons soon to be apparent, Nation is a far-from-serious look at the 222 years of Australia’s history since the arrival of the first European settlers. This section takes the unusual form of a 22.2m-wide diorama-style display (think: Myer at Christmas) accompanied by a 24-channel soundscape (probably in 22.2 format… guffaw). The display features tableaux of caricatured models of significant people, places and events in recent Australian history. Land is a complex sculptural structure in a shape resembling a wave rising up and curling over the visitors as they pass down its 16m length. Created from acrylics, steel and foam with an embedded custom LED screen, this section is intended to provide comparisons between China and Australia through facts relating to population. The journey through the Act 1 tunnel ends with People, a photo montage of Australians at work and play across the country. During that 160m journey from the entrance to the doors of the Act 2 auditorium our visitors have passed video screens carrying 128 different VGA feeds – a not inconsiderable feat of video distribution. ACT TWO: DISCOVER

While the rest of the world has been getting excited about immersive projection theatres – varying from partial wrap-around to full enclosure, in formats ranging from square and polyhedral, to cylindrical and spherical geometries (see our Expo pavilion rundown in the pages that follow)

– Act 2 turns that concept completely inside out. Rather than an audience staring upwards and outwards at the encompassing screens, this show concentrates on a more physically immediate and engaging format. The show is ‘performed’ in a 1000-seat arena-style circular auditorium, where the audience faces in towards centre stage and across to the rest of the audience. On entry, the focus is on a central circular stage, pre-set with a patch of Australia’s signature beach sand, complete with sandcastles, buckets and spades. The audience’s expectations are clearly being set up for a live show. What they get is a projected video presentation, combining live action footage with a cast of computer-generated characters as they learn about life in contemporary Australia. What makes this presentation more dynamic and so significantly different from anything else at Expo is the continuously-rotating cylindrical screen that rises up through the floor to enclose that beach scene. The cylinder is split into six sections that can be independently raised and lowered to any level, from flush with the floor to its full 5m height. The inner surfaces of alternate segments are also custom-built, constant pixel pitch 25mm LED screens from Shenzen Aoto Electronics. Projection on the outer surface of the cylinder is from seven Christie Roadster S+20Ks, fed from a Coolux Pandoras Box system to compensate for the geometry of both the projection angle and the cylindrical screen surface. The Pandoras Box also provides moving masking to ensure the images are only projected onto visible sections of the rotating and elevating screen segments. To ensure the masking corresponds to the screen


FEATURE

The stage wagon emerges between screen segments. The LED screens on the inner screen surfaces supplement the lighting on the wagon. The Opera House wagon sits alone at centre stage. Overhead are some of the 17,280 LED tubes. Above the stage are the six QSC Wide-Line arrays and flown subs.

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FEATURE

Act 1: The 222 diorama (above) tells the story of Australia with its tongue planted firmly in its cheek, while Land (right) breaks over the visitor in waves.

segments’ actual positions rather than some hypothetical timecode-synchronised points, realtime positional information is fed from 11 shaft encoders on the lift and rotation system. The screens are mounted on a 10m-diameter, rim-driven, ring-shaped dolly which runs constantly from pre-show start-up each morning until the close of the pavilion each night. All mechanical drive, movement control and video drives for the screen system are on board the dolly. Its only connections with the outside world are two three-phase slip-ring power feeds, one for mechanical drives and one for electronics, and a bi-directional radio link that carries all video, command and control data. Although it is recognised that a radio link is less reliable than cable, it was considered that any high-bandwidth data slip-ring system, while being substantially more expensive, would prove no more dependable or easy to maintain for the duration of the run. Around the ceiling of the auditorium, radiating out from the stage, are 17,280 individuallyaddressed colour-changing LED Happy Tubes, driven by around 12,000 channels of DMX (a Coolux media server outputs ArtNet, which is converted to DMX via dozens of Pathway Pathport devices). In addition to doubling as lowenergy house lighting, the tubes provide a range of opportunities for extending the look of the screen material and involving the audience space in the performance. A Jands Vista console looks after all the other lighting, run from dozens of LSC dimmers. The elevation of the screen is via a pair of Gala Systems Spiralifts per segment. Spiralifts were selected for their simplicity, stability and compactness, but turned out not to have the speed

ultimately required for the show. To overcome this shortcoming, the Spiralift was used as the actuator for a classic double-purchase lift system, which may require double the thrust, but which produces double the speed. The centrestage platform is actually a motorised stage lift in the tradition of the operatic wagon-stage. Four wagons with threedimensional scenic elements are stored in a motorised, cross-shaped rail network beneath the stage and moved onto the stage lift and raised into position when masked by the screen. In line with all other departments, service and scheduled preventive maintenance is conducted on the mechanical system overnight. As the visitors to the pavilion are predominantly Chinese, the 24-channel soundtrack played over the PA is voiced in Mandarin (with English subtitles), with English and Chinese voice tracks available via a Creator wireless infrared system for the hearing impaired. The 360° main FOH PA system is a six-hang of 4 x QSC ILA 2082 WideLine line arrays and four QSC WL118 flying subs, with 12 x QSC AD-S82H providing front fill. Surround effects are provided through 15 x QSC AD-S82H, spaced equally around the rear wall of the auditorium. Along with the rest of the pavilion, the system is powered by QSC’s Audio CX series multi-channel amplifiers. The theatre with its three vomitory entrances is designed for rapid audience turnover after each nine-minute show. The optimum throughput for the show is 40 x 1000-person full-houses per operational day, but when I visited on only the second day of Expo, it was working substantially below that capacity. By the 22nd of July (Expo day 83), audience

management procedures had geared up to the behaviour patterns of the audiences, with punter throughput reaching above 53,000 on busy days. By the end of that day, a total of 3,713,472 people had visited the Australian pavilion, while 30,826,700 had visited Expo as a whole. ACT THREE: ENJOY

The final stage of the visitor’s journey is the three-storey atrium space which houses the food, beverage and souvenir concessions and which hosts a series of Australian acts to entertain the punters while they spend their hard-earned yuan. Hanging from the ceiling are eight huge organically shaped pods filled with LED illuminated flowers in the shapes of the official flora of the states and territories. The ceiling also has a lighting grid and a substantial rigging system supplied by Omotion for the aerial acts which are part of the regular roster of entertainment that is supplemented by a regular program of visiting performers. The PA for the audience area of the atrium is QSC ILA WideLine 2082 line array boxes and WL118 flown subs. While everything in the pavilion is designed to handle the substantial hammering of 14 hours of continuous operation, every day for the 184 days of Expo, this is not a permanent installation. At the end of the six-month run, the circus folds its tents and the entire pavilion will be disassembled and the site cleared and rehabilitated. Meanwhile, if you were to hang around the pavilion for very long you would probably overhear the discussions about the one they want to build for Expo 2015 in Milan. 


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FEATURE

Expo, Expo – Read All About it Expo Shanghai 2010: an 800-acre AV benefit gig. Text:/ Andy Ciddor

I recently had the opportunity to do a quick lap of World Expo in Shanghai courtesy of Christie Digital, which is so proud of its huge involvement in the event that it shipped in a group of journalists from around Asia to show off some of the impressive results. Expo Shanghai is an event on an almost incomprehensible scale. The pavilion area occupies 3.28sqkm (810.5 acres). Of the world’s 196 nations, 189 are participating, together with about 50 international organisations. To that, you can add pavilions for the odd Chinese, English, French and German city or region, some Chinese government-themed pavilions, and a bevy of large corporations. With about half a million people visiting the site each day (that’s the total population of my home island of Tasmania), it’s necessary to queue for up to six hours to see some of the more popular pavilions. Given those numbers, it’s pretty clear that my three-day visit, even doing some pavment-pounding 12-hour days, was never going to give me much more than close-up looks at a few pavilions and some fleeting glimpses of the big picture. For me, one of the most interesting aspects of Expo was the diversity of reasons that the exhibitors had

for being at Expo. There is no doubt that commercial pavilions such as Coca Cola and China Mobile were there to spruik their products to the Chinese public. Some countries were clearly seeking to develop a relationship with the rapidly expanding Chinese consuming public, selling themselves as a tourist destination or as a purveyor of desirable products. Others, such as the City of Liverpool and the French region of Rhone-Alps, were there primarily to act as launching platforms for establishing business relationships between companies in their region and companies in the burgeoning Chinese economy. Some pavilions carry a strong message about their country’s contribution to world technology or culture, while others seemed content simply to say how good life was in their corner of the world. There were some countries however, that seemed completely unsure why they were there. Take the Irish pavilion for example. This is a beautifully designed and genuinely relaxing space to visit. There are some clever uses of simple AV technology, some excellent graphic design, and photographic murals. My favourite experience was a deceptively simple wall consisting of hundreds of apparently uniform 16x9 format panels.


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FEATURE

Photo: Katarina Stuebe

Photo: Katarina Stuebe

Some panels were simply well-photographed backlit transparencies, others were LCD video display panels showing HD footage, while others were actually display boxes containing items of produce or objet d’art. All the panels were lit at the same colour temperature and featured similar levels of brightness, contrast, and colour saturation, which gave the display a unity of design, but a huge diversity of content. I had plenty of time to look at the panels, because I was one of only a few dozen people scattered around the multilevel pavilion. There was no signage to indicate what anything in the pavilion was about or why it was there, and other than the usual handful of Chinese security guards (there to make sure nobody nicks anything), there was not a single representative of the exhibiting country. I am utterly baffled why the Irish taxpayers had this beautiful pavilion designed and built, or what they hoped to achieve with it. It seems that there’s a requirement for every selfrespecting pavilion to have dozens of video display panels and some form of multi-projector and at-leastpartially-immersive screen environment. Indeed, it’s almost a statement of cultural independence not to have Photo: Katarina Stuebe

them. The UK pavilion in creating a pleasant park-like environment for punters to relax on (albeit one covered with grey rubber grass), was either way out in front or way behind the trend. Its astonishing seed pod covered with oversized seed-embedded optical fibres (as seen on this spread) is second only to China’s inverted red pyramid when it comes to recognisable symbols of the Expo, yet there’s not a screen in sight. There’s no doubt that video display, projector, audio and signal distribution companies were the big winners at an Expo that appears to have been staged entirely for the benefit of the international AV industry. It certainly is worth visiting if you have the chance. In the pages that follow you’ll find some further fleeting impressions of Expo from that three-day visit, together with those of peripatetic lighting designer, technical consultant and AV contributor-at-large, Paul Collison, who spent many months in Shanghai during the lead-up to Expo as part of the team that put together that spectacular opening concert we covered in the last issue. 


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FEATURE

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The Danish pavilion is one of the smaller pavilions on the huge site. Occupying roughly 3000sqm, the Danes needed to come up with something special to compete against their larger European cousins. Designed with the intention to emote the lifestyle of the average Dane, the pavilion is based on a flowing walkway that twists over and back under itself. A bicycle track, bars and food outlets populate the walk. The centrepiece of the exhibit is the original Little Mermaid statue borrowed from Copenhagen harbour. Strange as it may seem this statue has great significance to the older Chinese visitors as the Hans Christian Anderson story was one of only three foreign stories permitted to be told in China, during the repressive period of Chairman Mao’s Cultural Revolution. From an AV perspective, it is the subtlety in which the building is lit that is mind blowing. Surrounding the curved façade is a series of circular penetrations that not only allow for air movement and a nice texture, but also become large pixels for mapping textures through video on the façade. The density and size of the pixels varies in a way that is aesthetically pleasing, however their mapping is limited by the structural integrity of the building. In areas where there is significant stress on the façade due to the cantilevering, the holes are less frequent and smaller. Each of the 3580 holes is a Perspex tube from the external façade to the inside. A single SMD LED fitting casts light down the internal structure illuminating the entire tube. The façade extends for roughly 300m. In contrast to the normal Shanghai skyline, and indeed the entire Expo site, the content on this surface shows great restraint and is predominantly variations

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on white, with a single display including the colour red, at 9pm each night. The building undertakes an impressive transformation on sun down. It is the class and moderation of the programming that separates the Denmark pavilion from its more exuberant peers. Leif Orkelbog-Andresen, Market Manager Architectural from Martin Professional was responsible for all lighting in and around the pavilion. This included point of sale areas and functional areas. Martin would normally not undertake a project like this directly, however given the importance of the pavilion from the Danish government’s perspective, they readily agreed. Would they do it again? Absolutely, except they would hand over the on-site installation responsibilities to others says Leif. Control of the entire lighting system is via the new Martin MAXYZ Cerebrum. Video is controlled via completely custom media server by CAVI, the Ahus University Centre for Advanced Visualisation and Interactivity, who admit it might have been easier to use an existing media server, but liked the idea of building their own! Light sensors keep track of ambient light levels and pre-programmed states change accordingly. Amazingly there are no technical staff onsite. The system is completely automated, however changes and updates to the control system can be done remotely from Denmark. Any faults are immediately reported and appropriate actions can be taken. It is important to note that in the first two months there have been no faults. Of course the pavilion management can make changes and override the system with their iPhone remotes. Paul Collison 


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Chile The Chilean pavilion is an extraordinary mix of technology and organic styling, creating a unique experience at Expo. Even the most technological aspects of the pavilion are muted in favour of preserving the warmth and pleasantness of the Chilean culture. The journey begins in a small room with a vertical LCD screen on a wall looking down on to a four-way blended projection surface, one metre below the surrounding catwalk. From the screen, a young Chilean girl looks out to scenic views of her city. Views, which took almost four months to shoot and have now been compiled to show a varied landscape that makes up her country. The fourminute loop can be quite mesmerising. Moving on to the second room you find yourself in the girl’s apartment. However her apartment is upside down above you, taking license from the ancient joke that if you dig far enough you will end up in China. On the wall there are 24 more vertical LCD windows. Day moves to night, as the threeminute video loop again gives you a peek into Chilean homes. The pathway moves on, clad in wood imported from Chile. At no point is the visitor overwhelmed by technology, rather the technology is used to support the narrative from the girl. As in other pavilions, the technically exciting exhibits are left until last. The first is Antipode’s Well, a beautifully crafted wooden wishing well encases a horizontally laid

LED screen. The screen again takes license from the digging theory displaying live streamed images from a portable camera in Chile. The portable camera goes to bars, football matches and all sorts of daily events in Chile. In return, there is a camera in the well that sends back images from Expo to Chile. This has proved a highlight in the pavilion and indeed back in Chile. The final wow for the visitor is The Wall of Chile, billed as the world’s largest HD interactive multi-touch wall. At 4m wide by 1.2m high, the wall is made up of eight 46-inch MultiTouch Cells. Designed by Francisco Arevalo of Riolab in Santiago and supplied by Finnish company MultiTouch, the system contains over six hours of HD footage and thousands of still images. Each piece of media can be triggered, sized and moved using traditional multi-touch gestures. Think Minority Report with Tom Cruise type manipulation. Watching the public begin using the system after a short time, it is evident multi-touch technology is something people can intuitively grasp quickly and easily. The back end of the wall is a cluster of high-end computers feeding content for up to 36 users at any one time. The technology isn’t without its glitches and there are moments where the system needs to catch up, however, running multiple HD videos on demand with real-time variables in play is very impressive. Paul Collison 


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Theme Pavilion

Just in case all the other pavilions at Expo were too frivolous or failed to have sufficient educational value, various branches of the Chinese administration sponsored pavilions with serious themes and significant social and educational value to reinforce the Expo’s official theme Better City – Better Life. The vast, and imaginatively titled, Theme Pavilion is one such space. Being intended for consumption primarily by the Chinese majority of Expo visitors, the sections within the pavilion were not named with an eye for marketing, or even clarity of meaning, in English. These themed sections are the Urbanian Pavilion, the Pavilion of City Being and the Urban Planet Pavilion. Significant planning, design and resources have been invested in these areas, resulting in a well-developed series of educational displays that look thoughtfully at the elements of urban life and the impact of cities on both the economy and the planet. As this is a permanent pavilion, the millions of Chinese school kids who pass through these displays during the 160 days of Expo and the years that follow will be both entertained and informed by some carefully and cleverly designed educational displays and experiences, interspersed with some really naff examples of well-intentioned public education

(ie. government propaganda). It’s immediately clear why my host Christie Digital brought me to this pavilion. The sheer scale of the displays, some of them designed to be viewed by audiences in the thousands at one time, necessitated significant numbers of highoutput projectors capable of long run and low maintenance operation, something that Christie is quite experienced at supplying. However, the number of big-iron projectors in this one building is pretty impressive. In the transportation hall, along with the four full-sized retired locomotives, in a space big enough to house a football match, there’s a well put-together animated presentation about the future of urban rail transportation projected onto the screen that forms the roof of the hall, using no less than 10 Christie Roadster S+20K projectors. The pavilion includes the inevitable immersive theatre – this one a vast space with seven 15m x 7m screens forming a full 360° wraparound, plus a 19m x 19m ceiling screen. Each of the vertical screens was covered by a pair of Christie Roadster S+20Ks, while the ceiling was covered with a further 12. In fact, for sound logistical and maintenance reasons, the Roadster S+20K is the standard large projector for the pavilion. The Urban Planet section of the pavilion,

by far the best section, is an excellent piece of design, development and construction from Triad of Berlin, which produced an amazingly elegant and absorbing design, based around a pair of interleaved spiral ramps (yes, a double helix). A major feature of this section is the 22m-diameter double-skinned hemispherical screen at the centre of the spirals. This is used to spectacular effect as both the inside and outside surfaces are used for projection. The outer surface, viewed by visitors from above on the ramps, is covered by 13 more of the Roadster S+20Ks fed by a Coolux Pandoras Box system to produce some very convincing planetary effects (check out the videos at www.triad.de). Viewed from floor level, in what is one of the largest reverse dome projections in the world, the inner surface is covered by a further 13 Roadsters running under a Watchout system configured by domeprojection of Germany. With this pavilion alone having some 67 Roadster S+20K projectors it’s easy to see why Christie set up a special group in Shanghai to support the demands of Expo. It established a register of Christie equipment in use at Expo, from whatever source, whether purchased or rented from anywhere in the world, so that adequate stocks of spares and consumables would be available when needed. Andy Ciddor 


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Side view


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FEATURE

Vietnam The sense one gets from the Vietnam pavilion is simplicity and calm. After decades of wars to oust its various colonisers and occupiers, this long-time ally of China seems to want to offer itself to the newly middle class Chinese as a quiet, gentle and contemplative place to have a long weekend. One gets the impression that Vietnam would like to become for the Chinese the kind of tourist destination that Bali has become for so many Australians. To this end the pavilion is clad in bamboo, both inside and out – a material that is warm, simple and familiar. Inside are simple displays of Vietnamese culture and art dominated by two huge statues of Buddha, each sitting in a large reflecting pool, gazing down beneficently upon the punters. To retain the warm tones of the bamboo, and despite the aggressive energy conservation that is a feature of Shanghai’s Expo, this pavilion is uniquely lit throughout by incandescent tungsten light sources. Fixtures used include cheap and simple QI floods, 1kW parcans and glass chandeliers. Andy Ciddor 

Shanghai The Shanghai Corporate pavilion (or Dream Cube) is funded by Shanghai-based businesses and explores the Expo’s Better City Better Life theme with emphasis on its ‘green’ aspects. The façade is made from, among other things, secondhand CDs and DVDs. Solar panels on the roof turn sunlight into electricity and then return unused power to the local grid. Rainwater is also collected and used for daily tasks. The façade is, in fact, a 3D LED screen. That is to say, five levels of LED on spines that extend out from the building at 500mm centres (approximately 65km worth). Each LED level is a layer on an M Box media server and, together with the other layers, creates the 3D imagery. It’s an impressive sight. Australian media creators Spinefex developed the content. The overall internal experience was designed by Ed Schlossberg’s ESI. The lighting design is by Lighting Design firm Full Flood, under the leadership of world-renowned Lighting Designer, Robert Dickinson. From the top of the first escalator ride the visitor is gently immersed in an interactive world, full of light and sound. Firstly there is the LED ‘meadow’ that changes colour as you run your hands through the LED wands. The walls are adorned with various forms of electronic art. Further on, the intensity builds and the visitors find themselves almost in the heart of downtown Shanghai. The climax is most definitely the 360° interactive theatrette. The dream cube control centre is a mind blowing nine-minute package. The texture of the external façade can be changed by their movement inside. Waving arms change the flow of the content, clapping hands change the texture of it. All good fun. Paul Collison 


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The Pakistani pavilion is a standout example of how poor planning and shoddy execution can produce a truly lame pavilion. If there had never been a previous world expo of any kind, it might be possible to understand how a poor country with few resources and no experience could produce such a travesty. Pakistan is far from the poorest country with its own Expo pavilion and as an exporter of nuclear weapons technology, it’s certainly not a country lacking in technical or design skills. We can only be left to assume that a very bad decision was made in assigning the design and construction contracts for its Expo presence. The cultural and historical displays appear to have reasonable research behind them, but are executed at such minimal level of competence that the result is cringeworthy. While many pavilions inexplicably feature static images on their walls coming from brand new state-of-the-art data projectors, the Pakistanis have sensibly opted for printed colour images on the wall to tell large parts of the story of their history and culture. However by the time I saw this pavilion on just the third day of Expo, the edges were already lifting on many of the images – they were stuck directly to the walls rather than being mounted on board. Other signs of half-arsed planning and execution, included floor ‘mounted’ projectors connected using twisted wire and electrical tape left fully exposed to the ravages of visitors for a six-month run. Those same projectors were enclosed in hastily constructed plywood boxes that clearly had already been sat on by tired visitors and now carried a scribbled note on a scrap of paper, asking visitors not to sit on them. The one section of the Pakistan pavilion that appears to work well is the concession stall area at the exit. The local Chinese Expo visitors seem unable to get their hands on enough ugly brass castings of elephants and camels, crudely-carved wooden elephants or marble artefacts such as bracelets and big dice. Perhaps the concession stall operators had to pay for the design and fitout of the entire pavilion as a condition of their contract. Andy Ciddor 

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FEATURE

Iceland

After its well-publicised near-death financial experience at the hands of sub-prime mortgage speculators, Iceland, with a population slightly less than the ACT, went very close to withdrawing from Expo 2010. With only 18 months left to opening day, the decision was finally taken to go ahead with a budget-constrained 500sqm pavilion (half the size that had been originally planned). The result of a national design competition, the pavilion takes the form of a giant ice cube, both inside and out. The major interior feature of the pavilion is the ice cube-shaped projection auditorium with images projected onto all four walls from Panasonic PT-DZ12000 HD projectors and onto the ceiling via diverter mirrors, from eight smaller NEC NP3250 projectors at floor level. The ice cube theme is further enhanced by the deliberately chilly temperature of the air conditioning system, set to give the audience a visceral impression of Iceland to match with the chilly visuals. The theme of the 12-minute visuallyimmersive presentation is Iceland as a ‘Cloud Factory’ or ‘Water Factory’ and incorporates a substantial proportion of open vistas of the mountains and glaciers that cover much of the island. Put together in a four-week shoot by Icelandic television and feature film production company SagaFilm, all material was captured on 4K Red One cameras using a 40mm prime lens for visual continuity between all five projection surfaces. Some of the image sequences were collections of sequences

from a location, while others used all five surfaces to fully immerse the audience in an experience such as standing on a glacier or being underwater. According to director Magnus Vidar Sigurdsson, most of the full fiveplane surround image groups consisted of four separate takes from a fixed camera position with the camera (and the crew) rotated 90° between shots. The rig was then reset to the vertical for the sky component. For two shoots, at some of the more complex surround locations and for some moving camera sequences, a rig of four Red One cameras was assembled, and in one case slung under a helicopter (utilising a lot of bungee engineering). Although many months were spent writing, shooting, editing and assembling the presentation in Dataton’s Watchout, budget limitations meant that it was February 2010, only three months before Expo, when the production team finally had an opportunity to test screen the project at actual size. Unsurprisingly things looked very different at full scale and the project went back into the editing process for a major rework with very little time to spare. The de rigueur footage of the erupting Icelandic volcano that caused so much grief for air travellers was shot and edited only a couple of days before the start of Expo and dropped into the show as the gates were being officially opened. By the end of the first month of Expo, the number of visitors to the pavilion had already exceeded Iceland’s total population. Andy Ciddor 


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FEATURE

Germany The German pavilion is the great grand-daddy of the site. With waits of up to six hours, this pavilion is second only to the China pavilion, in terms of numbers through the door and lengths of queues. It takes roughly 40 minutes to navigate this 6000sqm structure. Upon entering, there is a 200m semi-indoor pathway with backlit panels full of information about the various regions of Germany. Interesting, but certainly not technically mind blowing. That is until you hit the first escalator and you’re thrust into a world of dazzling magnitude and (most importantly in Shanghai) air conditioning. Paying homage to Germany’s industrial strengths, there are dozens of product displays of designs, concepts and items from various German companies. There are many interactive video elements that read information from infrared sensors around a person that in turn control elements on a video screen. There are sound- and visionscapes that keep visitors entertained, all the while educating them on the industries that Germany excels in. The pièce de résistance of the German pavilion is the multi-level spectacle at the end of the journey. A 1.2-tonne, 3m sphere hangs on a 6.4m pendulum in the centre of the tri-level, round theatrette. The sphere has an X/Y movement that span to 4.8m in diameter in less than nine seconds from a standing start. Covered in 1561, small locally-manufactured LED panels, the sphere, (dubbed the Energy Source) is said to be the source of all energy at the pavilion. The LED panels are an 8mm pitch in a 16x16 format, giving a total

count of some 390,400 pixels. With the help of the audience, content is mapped, depending on where the most noise in room is coming from. Microphones are placed around the room reading the sound levels from the audience. The custom interface then sends MIDI notes to the grandMA2 lighting console that controls the grandMA VPU (Video Processing Unit) for specific lighting and video cues. The same system is used to control the movement of the ball via the automation system. The audience is encouraged to make noise to drive the ball back and forth, making no two shows the same. The show’s hosts, Yanyan (Chinese) and Jens (German) are tracked around the circular hosting platform by ETC Source Four profiles fitted with Rosco I-Cue moving mirrors which are driven by a Zac Trac locating system. The Zac Trac system is developed by a company called Zkoor in Austria. Operating in the 2GHz band, it uses eight receiver antennas and a reference transmitter on the performer. The system uses the differences in arrival time of the signals from the performer’s transmitter to calculate the transmitter’s position relative to the receivers. However, this system presently only works to a limited extent. Like all previous automated ‘follow spot’ systems, this one is plagued with problems, as the mirrors move around – constantly trying to locate their target – even when said target is still. This design faux pas really distracts from what is ultimately an enjoyable show. The 12-minute spectacular is definitely the highlight of the pavilion, eliciting responses from the crowd that are unseen in any other venue. Paul Collison 


VIDEO CONFERENCING

&TELEPRESENCE Integrate 2010 will host a one-day conference to expose new developments and the integration of video conferencing. Integrate, in conjunction with InfoComm International, hosts a oneday conference to expose the new developments and integration of video conferencing. Interest in video vonferencing and telepresence is running white hot and this one-day conference is perfectly timed to provide CIOs, integrators and technology managers with the information they need to stay ahead of the game. Hosted by InfoComm’s Staff Instructor Rod Brown (CTS-D), the course focuses on videoconference environments, where the room makes all the difference between a great experience and a marginal one. This class will highlight the importance of properly

designing the environment and will discuss the audio and video technology behind the room. Topics will include sightlines, camera angles, lighting, display sizes, audio reinforcement and some basic networking issues. Amber Technology’s Brian Parle has been invited to demonstrate VC in action and discuss some interesting and emerging applications for VC in government, education, SMB as well as the more traditional big-end-of-town sector. Brian is product manager for LifeSize and is happy to answer all your questions. Places are strictly limited so bookings are essentials. Email: seminars@integrate-expo.com or book online www.integrate-expo.com and follow the links. Certification Renewal Units

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FEATURE

Ford Theatre’s Extreme Makeover Geelong Performing Arts Centre’s big bang for a few bucks has something for everyone – including a new name. Text:\ Mandy Jones Images\: Trevor Mein

The value of a regional performing arts centre to its community cannot be overstated. The successful ones showcase the best of local talent through school productions, dance concerts and musical performances, and attract touring productions and big name entertainers to give the locals a taste of the big city. Geelong Performing Arts Centre is one of those centres that has perfected the balance and in doing so has created a loyal following. After 30 years of operation in its original form, GPAC’s Ford Theatre recently underwent an extreme makeover thanks to a $3 million grant from Arts Victoria, and the work of a committed team of designers, consultants, suppliers and staff. The Ford Theatre re-opened three months later as The Playhouse, a 797-seat, architecturally striking and operationally superior venue. Jamie Stahl, Venue Operations Manager for GPAC and Craig Gamble, renowned consultant with Marshall Day

Entertech (Cultural Facility Consultants) recently took me on a tour of the newly refurbished Playhouse. With limited funds and time to deliver a redevelopment that would have maximum impact, determining the project scope was paramount. For the GPAC team, the goal was technical, aesthetic, operational and accessibility improvements. “We had a set amount of money so we had to clearly define the areas we were going to spend it in. The scope of work was pretty much from the setting line (where the curtain falls) through to the control room, and within the auditorium from sound lock to sound lock,” Gamble explained. THE BANISHMENT OF MISSION BROWN

Standing on stage, the most obvious changes to the venue are aesthetic. Gone is the dull, tired-looking auditorium with its mission brown walls and rows of dreary seats. The redesign of the

auditorium by Studio 101 Architects is a triumph – a combination of pale green upholstered seats with walnut timber frames, padded rear auditorium walls that accentuate the green of the seats and reference the red of the new house curtain, all gently lit by a new LED house and aisle light system. The addition of walnut cladding to the balcony boxes has made them an architectural feature, and walnut cladding to the underside of the balcony and masking the lighting bridges has created a beautiful flow to the space. One of the benefits of having theatre consultants such as Marshall Day Entertech on a project like this is their connections. The Playhouse has ended up with premium quality seats due to a choosy designer on a project in Texas. “The seat design is very similar to the seats that have just gone into Winspear Opera House in Texas, however when the walnut arms and backs arrived on that project there they were considered


FEATURE

too pale for use, so we were able to procure them and thus get a much higher quality chair than we initially could afford for this project. Studio 101 was very excited about that, and that opportunity drove the selection of the timber in the rest of space. It’s dark enough that it disappears in a blackout, and being timber it’s hard and gives us some nice acoustic reflections,” Gamble explained. While the seats were imported from South America, Gamble revealed the decision was made to source a local fabric supplier to upholster them, so in the interests of supporting the local economy Geelong Textiles was selected to provide the seat fabric. IMPROVED ACCESSIBILITY

The new seating system went a long way in addressing the access issues identified by staff, users and access consultants Bernie Clifford from Morris Godings, and Marshall Day. Mobility-impaired

positions have been added by way of a variation to the standard seat which features a transfer arm – a swing out arm rest enabling an audience member to transfer easily from wheelchair to seat. The venue operates with a seat out policy, meaning that a number of removable seats are always left out to accommodate patrons in wheelchairs. However the versatility of the redesigned seating means that a greater number of wheelchairs can be accommodated and there is more flexibility around positioning of companion seats. The existing hearing loop was recommissioned and a new radio frequency hearing assist system by Listentech was specified to assist patrons with cochlear implants, those without hearing aids and non T-switch enabled hearing aids. “The RF system also gives GPAC an opportunity to offer other services using that same equipment, such as live descriptions for visually impaired

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patrons, or translations in to other languages. Or even director’s notes sessions which other facilities are doing with the same technology,” detailed Gamble. Gamble went on to explain they were also interested in making the venue more accessible in a broader context, not just in terms of universal access. Small changes like additional handrails and new grab rails in the balcony aisles have made access much easier for audiences. But by far the biggest improvement to access was the reconfiguring of the seating and side aisles in the stalls to enable access from one end of the auditorium to the other at stalls level. Previously the stalls had been separated into two sections due to the seating, causing confusion for audience members who could only enter via a specific door. “Opening of the side aisles within the auditorium, while increasing the size of the doors from single to double doors meant that they could staff the

A thespian's-eye view of the newly renamed and extensively refurbished GPAC Playhouse, showing new seating, walnut cladding and acoustic treatments.


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FEATURE

Electrolight supplied a complete LED lighting solution for the house lights, aisle lights, stair nosing and strip lighting on the end panels of the seating, all controlled via Dynalite. The new circlefront lighting position and aisle grab rails are simple but highly-effective improvements.

auditorium more easily and get audiences in and out with less confusion,” Gamble explained. “It’s really simplified access for our patrons and our staff, and by widening those doors, it has also improved universal accessibility,” Stahl added. THE TECHS GET A SHARE TOO

In terms of technical improvements, the balcony lighting rail was extended, and new dimmers and a patch bay were installed in the auditorium lighting bridges. Reveal Productions realigned the stage lift, added an orchestra lighting bar in the proscenium area and installed a new house curtain with track and motor. The existing left and right speaker clusters were co-combined on hand winches from one location to reduce climbing requirements for crews. In addition to this, cabling runs and removable seats were installed to enable designated centre stalls, rear stalls and balcony mix positions for audio operators. The Playhouse has the honour of being the first major auditorium in Australia to be 100% lit with LED lighting. Stahl said he has been greatly impressed with the LED systems designed by Electrolight which provided solutions for house light fittings, aisle lights, stair nosing and strip lighting on the end panels of the seating, and even emergency lights.

The functional house lights are an LED fixture by Queensland-based Digilin, and are specified in narrow, medium and wide beam angles, custom black housings and surface mounted cans. The 11000 lumen fixtures above and under the balcony are a replacement of existing 50watt dichroic fixtures, so achieving adequate and even light levels was relatively straight forward. However the areas over the stalls were harder to predict. Electrolight undertook extensive modelling to ensure the design could achieve a bright enough result from the varying ceiling heights. Tridonic Atco fixtures were specified to highlight the timber surface of the box balconies, while remaining discrete enough to be concealed into the cladding. In addition to the aesthetic improvement the LED systems have added to the space, Stahl said the energy savings and low-maintenance requirements are a great outcome. And because the entire system is controlled via Dynalite, control over each of the system elements is fully integrated and extremely user friendly. THE RETURN OF BASIC BLACK

Other improvements to the auditorium included improved directionality of air delivery from the air-conditioning system, new carpet and, of course, a good coat of black paint on those formerly ‘mission brown’ walls.

A long-standing acoustic issue ‑ a flutter in the rear stalls under the balcony as sound bounced between the two side walls ‑ was resolved with a clever architectural product provided by Aktar products specified by Marshall Day Acoustics. “We wanted to solve the issue with something that was sympathetic to the architectural intent and the milled plywood product that the architect chose comes in two forms – the acoustic version which has acoustic perforations with felt behind it, and the solid architectural version, and from an appearance point of view it’s the same product, so it works seamlessly,” explained Gamble. The Playhouse has been in operation since May and Stahl says the feedback from hirers and audiences has been overwhelmingly positive. For Gamble, the success of redevelopments like this comes down to the client and the project team: “Projects like this are so much easier when you’ve got an informed client. Because it’s a working venue and it’s working so well, the team knew what they needed. There was something for everyone in this project: for the audience it looks clean, new and sparkly, and each technical area got something. We were there to make that happen. And the fact it was delivered on time and under budget shows it had the correct scope and the right people working on it.” 


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FEATURE

Image courtesyof GPAC Before: The Ford Theatre. Brown was clearly the new black of the ’80s.

Dramatis Personae: Geelong Performing Arts Centre: www.gpac.org.au

Lightmoves (LED lighting systems, Dynalite): www.lightmoves.com.au

Studio 101 Architects: www.studio101.com.au

MultiTek Solutions (theatre equipment, audiovisual cabling, Listentech RF hearing assist system): www.multiteksolutions.com.au

Marshall Day Entertech (theatre consultancy): www.marshallday.com/entertech Marshall Day Acoustics (Acoustics): www.marshallday.com/acoustics Morris Goding and Associates (disability and access design): www.mgac.com.au Umow Lai (services engineering): www.umowlai.com.au Hadleys/Series (seating): www.hadleyaustralia.com.au Mobility impaired positions have been added by way of a variation to the standard seat which features a transfer arm – a swing-out arm rest enabling an audience member to transfer easily from wheelchair to seat. The aisle seats on Rows F and G are examples of this.

Arup (structural engineering): www.arup.com

Reveal Productions (staging systems and house curtain): www.revealproductions.com.au Music Workshop (theatre equipment): www.musicworkshop.com.au Kane Constructions (construction): www.kaneconstructions.com.au Arts Victoria (funding): www.arts.vic.gov.au GHD (project management): www.ghd.com/global/locations/australia

Electrolight (LED lighting design): www.electrolight.com.au

Large Scale Video Projection 3D Stereoscopic Projection LED Screens Broadcast Camera Systems Control Systems Flat Screen Displays

Video Equipment Solutions for the Events and Entertainment Industry Technical Direction Company

1300 783 832

www.tdc.com.au


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FEATURE

Australian School Of Advanced Medicine Surgery school is hands-on at Macquarie Uni. Text:\ Tim Stackpool A visit to the newly established Australian School of Advanced Medicine is more like stepping into a perfect industry synergy between complex higher medical education and customised audio visual development. Imagine stepping onto the lab set of an episode of CSI Epping and you’re getting close to the experience. Various medical apparatus surrounded by hi-tech LCD monitors, remote controlled cameras, anatomically correct dummies that can speak [sounds more like Search for a Supermodel – Ed.], and discreet control rooms for recording and appraising the scholars are all integrated into a purpose built and highly functional facility. Yes, it’s impressive. Macquarie University recently opened a 200-bed private hospital, complete with 12 operating theatres, each of which is linked back via fibre optics to the school in the adjoining building. Various POV (point of view) cameras fit into surgical appliances, and the vision can be patched back to lecture rooms by the mere dancing of fingers on AMX touchscreen controllers elegantly recessed into the walls of the theatres. Recorded vision can be called for replay in any of the venues within the school, be it a formal classroom setting or collaborative conference. Students can collaborate around a table and observe complex surgeries in real time, video conference with the operating theatre, and can converse with the surgeon in situ. SCRUBBED UP WELL

Within the school’s simulated operating theatre, used both for training and appraisal, stands a virtual replica of the real theatres, with the experience for the student commencing right from the point of ‘scrubbing in’. Observation and recording of students’ actions begins from this point. Within the theatre, remote cameras keep watch on the simulation, and microphones mounted in the ceiling allow for monitoring and recording of the conversations during the procedure. The Laerdal subjects (crash test-like dummies) are fitted with RF receivers and internal speakers, so that actors out of the room can converse remotely with the ‘doctor’ as if the patient were real. Meanwhile, behind an innovative one-way screen and glass wall, appraisers can follow the action while switching between camera angles, and record the proceedings on video servers, logging critical points in the recording for instant replay when reviewing the events in another room. The logging and replaying of such video is one of the most impressive features of the facility. Any

recording can be ‘tagged’ on the fly, and metadata notes added to the vision. When it comes time for review, navigating the in-wall mounted touchscreen in any of the lecture rooms or conference areas can locate the vision, presented as a series of clips, which the lecturer or reviewer can replay, pause, scroll or fast forward. Dallmeier encoders and servers were installed for the purpose, hailing from the security industry. Being modular, the input and storage capabilities of the servers can be increased if desired. As you would expect, each of the various teaching venues are fitted with ample flat screen displays, video projectors and interactive whiteboards (see the inventory list). Most rooms have video conferencing access. It’s a joy to behold, and much of the operational specification was written by John Cartmill, Professor of Surgery at the school, and he remarks that he is ‘very pleased’ with the result: “Audiovisual facilities allow us to look very closely and critically at what we do – analyse it, learn from it, perfect it, try it again,” the professor told AV. “Surgery is one of the ‘doing’ professions. Judgement, experience and consultation with others are all important but ultimately surgery is action. Other action industries, particularly sports, have long used AV to analyse, fine-tune and get the best out of participants. Medicine has lagged behind, but the Australian School of Advanced Medicine (ASAM) project at Macquarie University has allowed us to apply AV to surgical learning and other important aspects of the ways hospitals work, teamwork in particular.” RADICAL SURGERY

Professor John Cartmill considered other facilities such as the Mayo Clinic, John Hopkins, and The Royal College of Surgeons as a starting point for the brief. But rather than basing the AV at ASAM on the physical structure of those institutions, the professor instead developed the specification on the fundamental principles of the pursuit of excellence, lifelong learning and joint action. He admits that having surgeons formulate the AV structure could be “a recipe for disaster”, but notes that substantial consultation was key. He said: “I consulted widely with my colleagues at ASAM, the Dean, Michael Morgan, the Professor of Medical Education Rufus Clarke and particularly my father, Professor Tim Cartmill – not a member of the University but an experienced surgical educator. We spent a lot of time tossing ideas back and forth. Dr Richard Morris was influential and so was Professor Michael Patkin, a surgical ergonomist. Mr Evan Photo: Paul Wright


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FEATURE

EQUIPMENT HIGHLIGHTS ANATOMY LAB 1 x Projection Design F121080P projector 1 x 130-inch 16x9 motorised projection screen 1 x AMX NXD-1700vi 17-inch touchscreen 1 x AMX TPI PR04-DVI Total Presentation Interface 1 x AMX NI-4100 controller 4 x AMX NXC COM 2 RS-232 cards 1 x Extron SMX Series matrix switcher with 4x4 DVI, 16x16 S-Video, 8x8 VGA, 8x8 audio cards 1 x Foxbox 4G DVI fibre transceiver pair 1 x Foxbox 2G AV audio and video fibre transceiver pair 1 x Biamp Nexia VC audio matrix mixer 4 x QSC CX204V amplifiers 2 x Shure ULXS-1493 lapel microphone system 10 x Extron SI26W ceiling speakers 2 x Extron WP-180 AV patch panel for any external video/ audio source 2 x Canon VCC-50i wall-mounted pan & tilt cameras 10 X Stryker 680mm Surgical LED light & flat panel arm 1 x Canon VCC-50i monitor mounted pan & tilt camera 1 x Stryker inlight camera 10 x Stryker 21-inch HD monitor

“It’s great to see users getting so hands-on and taking the time to learn how to operate the AV system” SLAB LAB Another significant aspect of the school is the Anatomy Laboratory, a vast room with 12 separate ‘operating’ tables each with individual overhead surgical lighting. Practice surgery is respectfully performed here on those who have generously left their earthly remains to the advancement of science. The overhead operating lamps can also be fitted with POV cameras feeding up to 11 adjacent LCD screens, ensuring that when the surgeon focuses the light on his work, the camera is also precisely angled to cover the action. Again, this vision can be recorded, tagged and stored for later review.


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FEATURE

Photos: Jonathan McFarlanes

The customised AMX screens are designed for intuitive operation by medicos and academics alike. The volume of each microphone in the room is controlled on the left, while the right side indicates parts of the recording that have been tagged on the fly.   Medic!: (Left) A responsive Laerdal subject awaits ‘surgery’ in the simulation lab while assessors can view and record the procedures from the control room, controlling remote cameras and tagging the continuous recording for reviewing at a later time.

Rawstrom, our chief operating officer helped by reminding me to follow my imagination… he was the one to work out how to pay for it.” Underlying all of this is the ultimate goal of the ASAM facility: surgeons learn to operate at the ASAM undertaking practice in bowel surgery, neurosurgery, orthopaedics and ‘plastics’. AV is not the entire education solution but is recognised by the team as part of it. Simulation, practice surgery and actual surgery are the mainstays of the learning, with AV allowing students to make the most of each exercise. EASY TO OPERATE

The heart of the control for all this magic is the AMX interface. For Jonathan McFarlane, Audio Visual Engineer at the ASAM, making an advanced system operator friendly is a paramount achievement. “The AMX interface has been designed to be easy to use and even our most complex system can be operated by a standard user,” he said. ”I often walk past a room to find someone rehearsing their presentation with the interactive whiteboard or testing the system to see what is it is capable of. It’s great to see users getting so hands-on and taking the time to learn how to operate the AV system. I think this stems from a sense of ownership the scholars and academics have from being so involved in this project from the very beginning.” There is an appreciable buzz and sense of excitement felt when walking through the facility. Despite the experience gained by students learning in such an environment, the ability to review hands-on lessons via an elegant and unobtrusive AV system cannot be underestimated. “AV technology is such an essential part of the educational programs here, particularly for assessment and peer review,” McFarlane said. “I’m in a position where I get

to help users develop ideas on what they can do with this technology. It is refreshing having a focus on development rather than technical support and ‘break/fix’ work. This part of an AV project can often be overlooked, in that the contractors pack up their tools, the design consultant moves onto the next job and the client is left with an AV system that they don’t really know what to do with. AV is more than projecting a computer image and I am really trying to push that here.”

A similar customised screen offers preview and control of each camera, retaining the important video tagging feature on the right.

RUDE HEALTH

And the human input to such a system is not lost on Professor Cartmill. “Jonathon McFarlane has been able to take the facility and extend its capacity in insightful creative ways that go well beyond the original brief. He listens, interprets, explains… makes things happen in a patient and robust way. Jonathon has an eye for appearance and detail that I lack and his systematic ‘engineering’ mind is the perfect balance to the spontaneity. He is just terrific and without him I doubt that we would really have an AV system.” Hospital equipment supplier Stryker was responsible for the overall installation, with Chad Wihelm and Chris Szeleczky at the helm. The extensive AMX programming was completed by Matthew Taylor and Keith Austen from AT Controls. The school itself has set a new benchmark in the way AV integrates with teaching at this level. It’s unobtrusive, effective and more importantly user friendly. The technology as applied does not get in the way of its usefulness, with its back-end complexity hidden from the operator. While being a showcase for the way AV can be intertwined to augment such teaching, it is also a showcase as to how AV technology can be effectively deployed in a unique and fascinating field. 

EQUIPMENT HIGHLIGHTS VIDEO HUB (MACHINE ROOM) 2 x Polycom HDX9004 HD videoconferencing system 2 x Polycom ISDN 30 channel PRI interface 1 x Hai Vision Oscar H264 streaming encoder 4 x 46 RU equipment racks and accessories 2 x 30 Channel ISDN SIMULATED OPERATING THEATRE 1 x Stryker 680mm surgical LED light & flat panel arm (Inlight camera ready) 1 x Stryker Inlight camera 1 x Stryker 26-inch HDTV Monitor 1 x Stryker flat panel cable kit 1 x 400mm articulating anaesthetic boom 1 x pre-installation kit for future equipment boom 5 x wall-mounted pan & tilt cameras 1 x NEC M46 46-inch 1080P LCD screen and bracket 4 x Extron SI26W ceiling speakers 2 x Shure MX-212C ceiling microphones 4 x Shure ULXS-1430 wireless headset system 3 x CPM1 03 AN quick connections points


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FEATURE

Quite the Entrance Adelaide Entertainment Centre is ready for the next 30 years of entertainment. Text:\ Graeme Hague

The Adelaide Entertainment Centre (AEC) opened in 1991 and faithfully served the Adelaide community to the point of reaching a record-breaking 378,000 patrons through its doors in 2008. At that time it was announced that a $52m facelift had been commissioned with the intention of taking the AEC at least another 30 years into the 21st century. The project went well, the workers hung up their hard hats on time in February 2010 and the AEC had itself a new 2500-seat theatre, while what was formerly known as the Alchemy function room was now a totally refitted Star Room. An area outside the main entrance had been transformed with the completion of the ‘Orb’, a dome-shaped portico with a network of LEDs that created patterns and colours on the orb itself. Architectural lighting company Xenian were responsible for bringing to life design architect Ian Khoo’s concept of an ‘entry experience’ for visitors to the AEC. Adjacent to the orb a new electronic sign had been installed.

At a whopping 67m-long and 2.4m-high it was at the time – and probably still is – the largest sign of its kind in the southern hemisphere. Not surprisingly, the striking orb and its neighbouring, impressive sign caught our eye. However, when I started digging around for the background story an unexpected fact about the sign came to light. It had been supplied and installed by Harvey Norman Commercial. GO HARVEY WHO?

Most people will associate the name Harvey Norman only with the giant whitegoods and electronics retailer. Learning of the existence of its Harvey Norman Commercial (HNC) division usually raises a few eyebrows, before it’s assumed that HNC is some kind of bulk-buy organisation for the trade to take advantage of Harvey Norman’s considerable buying power – and they’d be almost right. Harvey Norman Commercial has branches in all the states of Australia except Tasmania and in the words of

Matt Vawser, franchisee of the South Australian HNC, these are “box moving entities”. While the idea is to offer the best expertise and customer service, HNC is still basically a sales outlet. The staff will stand at the door and cheerfully wave you goodbye as you drive away with a truck filled with goodies. Except in Adelaide, where things are different. Matt Vawser is a qualified network engineer with an extensive background in installing integrated systems using C-Bus, Crestron and AMX equipment, to name but a few. He had a vision for HNC in South Australia to become a leading supplier of control networks and take the Harvey Norman Commercial business beyond just supplying pallet-loads of televisions. Matt decided to combine his engineering talents with the HNC brand and with the blessing of the Harvey Norman management was encouraged to give it a go. He started off in the tough sector of servicing system networks in the pubs and clubs of


FEATURE

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Photo: Jennie Groom

Adelaide, and over several years earned a solid reputation. So it was no fluke that HNC Adelaide made a successful bid to supply and install over $4m worth of AV and digital signage as part of the Adelaide Entertainment Centre refit. To make the point that the AEC wasn’t a one-off project for them, HNC is currently finishing another significant project; the installation of AV screens at the Morphetville Race course involving a network of 11 x 103inch plasma screens and some 460 smaller, Panasonic commercial plasma screens. The large sign out the front was only a part of the deal – albeit around a $2m part. It’s made up of 126 x Ledavision P10 panels which were custom-built to 1600mm x 800mm each (normally they’re 1280mm x 960mm), and assembled in a grid of 42 panels long and three panels deep. From there, the panels were segregated into four sections. The entire sign has its own video processing and Crestron control system (as against the digital signage inside–

more on that below) with a thermostat installed for each of the four parts. SIGNING ON

Temperature control is a crucial element to the sign’s performance and maintenance and with Adelaide capable of weather extremes it was more than a simple fail-safe function. The physical installation of the modules required a custom flashing designed to improve air flow for cooling. The thermostat data is compared with the AEC’s building management system as a kind of double-check of the conditions. Temperature readings are also used to configure the brightness of the sign with an obvious correlation being made with heat equating to daytime and sunlight – although in Adelaide you never know. The sign’s brightness caused the only real problem of the entire project. The Adelaide City Council soon requested that the output be dimmed down to around 20% at night,

otherwise the nearby automatic streetlights would be confused and forget to switch on. Data to the signage is sent via a Crestron Digital Media 8 x 8 DVI matrix to four fibre optic send and receive processors providing 24-bit HD colour. In the main comms room, four 21-inch preview screens allow programmers to ensure that no unfortunate errors are displayed in all its 67m-wide splendour. PLENTY TO LOOK AT

Inside the AEC the numbers don’t get any smaller. HNC provided 79 digital signage screens throughout the complex. The showpiece of the system is an array of 16 Samsung 46inch UT displays, the UT model having the thinner bezels that create an almost seamless look. Otherwise most of the digital signage in the foyers and thoroughfares is displayed in banks of three Samsung UXN screens with each producing 1920x1080 pictures. The effect is achieved thanks to Matrox Quad Output


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cards in the main PC. Exceptions are 65-inch Panasonic plasmas installed in the kiosk area – let’s not have any misunderstandings about the beer prices. Data signals to the entire digital signage network is achieved with a Magenta Research infrastructure that uses UTP cabling terminating with one of Magenta’s own baluns at each screen. Again, a Crestron system is used to distribute the digital signal across the network. CONTENT IS KING

Content for both the large screen and the internal digital signage is created in Adobe Flash or Photoshop, with Flash getting the nod most of the time. It’s then fed through a Navori Server digital signage system for distribution and scheduling across all the screens in the centre, including the huge LED array out front. The existing audio system was also upgraded and expanded. A Neon Media matrix gave the AEC more concise control of exactly what’s broadcast where. Previously, the number of zones was limited and broadcasts could impact

FEATURE

on areas that weren’t relevant to the material. With the Neon Matrix more zones and a tighter focus of the speaker system have fixed the problem. Frequent announcements have been recorded into the system including the original chimes to hasten the punters to their seats. Three mobile racks of audio equipment can be patched in around the centre and configured for the immediate area. Which brings us back to the Orb entry dome where a Renkus-Heinz Rhaon speaker system was installed. WEAVING THE ORB

The curve of the dome is intended to mimic the existing arc of the AEC’s roof. The structure is made from a criss-cross of tubular steel that creates 140 squares. These squares are filled with panels made of a new architectural polymer – poly ethylene-co-tetrafluoroethylene that goes under the more pronounceable identity of ETFE. The surface needed to be lightweight and reflective and ETFE could provide this while lending itself to bending and twisting better than glass.

Two Philips Colour Kinetics LED fixtures illuminate each of the squares and it’s the reflection from the panels that creates the impression the ETFE panels are the light source. The LED technology and the pairing of fixtures allows the production of millions of different colours, while an array of 140 panels means that an enormous variety of patterns can be created. Patterns and programs for the Orb array are generated by Philips Colour Kinetics Light System Manager, an integrated hardware and software solution that incorporates Philip’s Light System Engine controller hardware and Light System Composer design software. MAKING A SPLASH

The refurbishment of the Adelaide Entertainment Centre is an impressive, successful combination of the orb’s artistic and creative presence against a solid technical contribution from Matt Vawser’s team at Harvey Norman Commercial. It’s a great example of AV technology coming together to both work solidly in the background and be lighting up the streets at the same time. 


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TUTORIAL

Digital Audio Storage Storage and transmission explained. Text:/ Scott Willsallen & Luis Miranda

In the previous articles on the Principles of Digital Audio we have reviewed the theory of coding audio signals, filter design characteristics, digital signal processing and digital audio transmission. In this article we will review typical digital audio storage methods as well as common methods for reducing the size of digital audio files. DIGITAL AUDIO STORAGE

Digital audio is ubiquitous along with the means to store it. Big technological steps have been made in audio storage from the first cylinders used in the phonograph but the intent is the same: store an audio signal to be played back at a later time at the user’s convenience. Digital audio storage provides great advantages compared to typical analogue storage methods: digital audio storage provides the ability to produce limitless amounts of copies and unlimited playback without degrading the quality of the original recorded signal. Also, thanks to digital audio storage and the advances in data networks, large amounts of digital audio files can be shared between users only limited by the extent of the network. It is important to note that the quality of the stored signal does not depend on the storage media; it will depend on the recording process, the quality of the A/D convertors and any file compression algorithm that might be applied to the signal. What makes a digital audio storage medium better than other is usually defined by storage capacity and the speed at which audio data is retrieved. The most common audio data storage media can be divided in magnetic storage, optical storage and hard disk and flash memory storage. What follows is a brief review of digital data storage media, at this stage only reviewing storage of data; how audio is coded as data is reviewed in a later section.

together or they will interact, causing demagnetisation; this can cause lower magnetic force in the reading stage leading to reading errors. Some of the most common digital audio tape formats from the last 20 years are: DAT, ADAT, DASH and, less commonly, the Digital Compact Cassette. OPTICAL STORAGE

The most common optical storage media are flat discs. To retrieve information stored in an optical disc a light is shone onto its surface and variations from this light are read and transformed to binary data. Data can be stored in optical discs such that a change in the data stored will cause: a change in the intensity of the reflected light, a change in the polarisation of the reflected light or a change in the phase of the reflected light. The light differences are commonly caused by pits engraved into a reflective layer on the optical disc. This reflective layer is usually enclosed between two other layers: a transparent one on the bottom of the disc and another one, transparent or opaque, on top. These two layers provide protection. Information is stored along a spiral track or concentric tracks on the disc and the storage capacity of a disc is limited by the spot size of the light beam shone onto the disc. To maximise storage capacity a highly focused laser light is used. The most common optical storage devices are differentiated by the wavelength of the laser used. The following table shows the most common optical disc storage media along their maximum storage capacity and laser wavelength; it is important to note that the standard disc size in this table for any of this media has a diameter of 120mm. The less common 80mm disc size is not included in this table.

MAGNETIC STORAGE

Magnetic storage is not a common as it once was, now that optical storage and hard disk has taken over. The most common medium for magnetic storage is magnetic tape. A magnetic tape storage system records digital signals into a magnetic tape by polarising the particles in its coating. It relies on the ability of these particles to be forced to take a magnetic polarisation and to keep this polarisation once the magnetic force is removed. For digital signals only two polarised stages are required. The system will usually include a recording head that polarises the tape and a reading head that will retrieve the information from the polarised tape. The storage capacity of a magnetic tape is determined by the density of particles on the tapes’ surface. It’s important to note that particles cannot be placed too close

* The data in this column only includes user data and does not include the data read as part of the error detection and correction methods included as a standard in all this formats. The raw data read rates would be higher.


TUTORIAL

FEATURE

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The following table summarises the most common lossy audio codecs available.

HARD DISKS, SOLID STATE DRIVES & FLASH MEMORY

This type of storage is the media that has gained the most terrain in the last years. Under this category we can include all computers, memory cards, USB storage devices, etc. The variety of techniques to store data in this manner are widely different and beyond the scope of this article, but we can summarise that all of this store data in an electronic way and in most cases this data can be erased and replaced with new data. DIGITAL AUDIO CODING

In recording and playing back digital audio, a set of guidelines is required to dictate the way audio is stored into the chosen media and then later retrieved for playback. There are several methods used to encode digital audio; they all have been designed with specific goals in mind including: capabilities of the storage and playback media, compression capabilities, security features, etc. We can divide digital

audio coding into two overarching categories: lossy audio compression algorithms and lossless audio coding schemes. Both coding schemes allow smaller representations of audio signals, which make storage and transmission more effective. The exception is when using linear PCM or DeltaSigma Modulation, where the coding only provides framing, clock information and error detection and correction. Digital compression algorithms use mainly two strategies, which are not exclusive to each other, to reduce the size of audio files: perceptual irrelevancies and statistical redundancies (these terms taken from Spanias, et. al., Audio Signal Processing and Coding, Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, USA, 2007). A detailed explanation of these concepts is beyond the scope of this article but a small explanation is included in the following paragraphs. ‘Perceptual irrelevancies’ refers to the characteristic of the human hearing system where some sounds will be rendered inaudible

by other sounds by a combination of frequency spacing, difference in level and the threshold of hearing. Masking is then calculated based on frequency bands that resemble how humans hear. Bit reduction is achieved by reducing the bit depth of bands that are deemed unable to be perceived by the coding algorithm. For higher compression rates more information is deemed to be perceptually irrelevant, this results in audio that closely resembles the original signal but with a clear loss in quality. ‘Statistical redundancies’ refers to compression of the audio data when viewed simply as a string of values. Compression can be achieved by analysing the data and exploiting patterns in the data that are continuously repeated throughout the audio data string. A process called entropy is widely used. Entropy refers to assigning a special code to parts of the data that are repeated the most in the analysed file; reduced file sizes are achieved by assigning smaller codes to the data strings that are repeated the most. 


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NEWS

REVIEW

InfoComm News News from the Asia Pacific Region.

INFOCOMM STANDARDS The second InfoComm International Standard has been released: ANSI/InfoComm 2M-2010, ‘Standard Guide for Audiovisual Systems Design and Coordination Processes’ is available for purchase from the ANSI Standards store. Please visit www. infocomm.org/standards for more information on the Standard, InfoComm member pricing and how to order a copy. The website also has some great Information on using standards as a part of your strategic business plan, and the process of developing standards. InfoComm is looking for people to be involved with our Standards Committee work. If you are interested in contributing to the development of global AV Industry standards please contact Joe Bocchiaro (Ph.D., CTS-D, CTS-I) VP InfoComm Standards and best practices at standards@infocomm.org INFOCOMM MEMBER RECEPTION AT INTEGRATE At Integrate 2010, InfoComm will once again hold the InfoComm Member Reception at the conclusion of the InfoComm Academy Super Tuesday program. The reception will be held at the InfoComm Booth, located at the rear of the Royal Hall of Industries building, adjacent to the Headroom theatre entrance. Please come to the reception and take the opportunity to network with your peers in the Industry. Food and drinks are on us! CERTIFICATION TESTING COMES TO PERTH, WA A new Prometric Testing Centre has opened in Perth. If you would like to take your Certification test visit www.infocomm.org/ certificationand download the Candidate handbook. This will provide you with all the details on how to register to sit the exam. INFOCOMM RIBBONS AT INTEGRATE Stop by the InfoComm booth at Integrate to pick up your ribbons. We’ll have ribbons for: InfoComm Member, CTS, CTS-D and CTS-I. CALL FOR PRESENTERS: INTEGRATE IN ASSOCIATION WITH INFOCOMM INTERNATIONAL 2011 With the co-operative agreement between Integrate and InfoComm taking effect from 2011, InfoComm will be increasing our educational offerings at the show. In addition to the Super Tuesday program, the Infocomm Academy will offer six, twohour seminars. If you would like to present on behalf of the InfoComm Academy at the 2011 show in Sydney, please stop by the InfoComm booth and pick up your Call for Presenters documentation. Submissions are required by November 2010, to allow time for program development and attendee marketing. AV WEEK: 18TH – 22ND OCTOBER Just another quick reminder that AV Week is an International celebration of the AV Industry. It’s our industry’s public relations campaign to the outside world. Infocomm has developed many tools to help you promote your business to stakeholders and customers alike. Why not take a look and get involved? Go to www.infocomm.org/avweek for more details.

CTS, CTS-I, CTS-D RENEWAL UNITS (RUs) AV Industry professionals holding either the CTS, CTS-D or CTS-I credential must renew this every three years. To do this, certified individuals must attain 30 RUs in the three-year period. These can be earned by participating in most InfoComm Academy classes or by attending one of the many Approved Manufacturer Training programs held throughout the year. Next time you attend a Manufacturer Training program, don’t forget to ask if this program offers RUs. To see a current list of courses offering RUs visit www.infocomm.org/certification and download the list. FUTURE DATES InfoComm Academy at Integrate • Super Tuesday Program, Tuesday 24th August • InfoComm Networking Function, Tuesday 24th Last Hour of the Show at the InfoComm Booth, RHI. All are Welcome. • VID214 Video Conference Workshop*, Wednesday 25th August • DGS214 Digital Signage Workshop*, Thursday 26th August. * delivered as a part of the Integrate Conference program. Architect Lunch & Tours Melbourne: 14th September Sydney: 6th October InfoComm Academy Day & Roundtable Meetings Melbourne: 28th September Sydney: 7th October AV Week International Celebration: 18th – 22nd October, 2010. InfoComm Asia Expo Hong Kong, 17th - 19th November, 2010 INFOCOMM IC10 LAS VEGAS THANKYOU We would like to thank those InfoComm Members and AV Industry Colleagues that travelled to Las Vegas to join the 32,000+ attendees at this year’s show. 2010 saw record attendance from the Oceania region, with more than 200 people attending. Mark your calendar for InfoComm 2011, Orlando, Florida, June 11-17, 2011. For further Information on any of the above please contact Jonathan Seller, CTS, InfoComm International Regional Director at oceania@infocomm.org or look on the regional web page www.infocomm.org/asia-pacific


TUTORIAL

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FEATURE

Vision & Light Remember: light is a wave and a particle… I know, your brain Hertz. This is an excerpt from the Vision and Light Section of our newly revamped GEN106 Essentials of AV Technology Online. GEN106 Essentials of AV Technology Online is a comprehensive, introductory overview of science and technology for audio, visual and audiovisual systems integration with more than 240 lessons, quizes to help professionals assess their understanding of the material, and section tests to help students demonstrate understanding of essential AV technology. Content from this course is the basis for the InfoComm-Recognized AV Technologist Test. Learn more about this exciting new education certificate program at www.infocomm.org/avtechnologist. VISION & LIGHT

Vision and the behaviour of light are important in AV. Light is the most important element to vision and visual displays. In order for the image on a display to be effective, your audience should be able to see it without difficulty. This requires controlling light to provide a bright image with good contrast to draw attention to the image detail. Knowing how the eye perceives images will help you choose viewer-friendly colours, sizes and shapes for a display.

colour and resolve fine detail in what we see. There are three types of cones: those that can receive red, blue, and green light. • Connected to the rods and cones is the optical nerve, which transmits the visual data to the brain. Your brain must take the electrical information from the optic nerve and convert it into information that you can use. This is called perception. Sometimes your brain can trick you into seeing things that are not real, such as an optical illusion. The size of each eye’s visual field is impressive: 135° high and 160° wide. Taken together, the horizontal field of view is 200°. This wide angle of view includes what is known as peripheral vision. For visual systems we use approximately a 60° angle in each plane.

VISION & PERCEPTION

Your eyes allow you to convert analogue light into electrical signals that your brain can interpret. Understanding how your eyes work will help you understand how visual systems can be configured for best performance. The eye is your optical system. It detects variations in light. • Light first passes through the cornea, a clear covering in front of the eye. • Behind the cornea is the lens and iris (the coloured part of the eye). • The pupil is an opening inside the iris through which light passes. The diameter of the pupil will change as the intensity of the light changes. As the light becomes brighter, the iris reduces the pupil size to decrease the light level entering the eye. • The lens focuses the light on the back of the eye, an area called the retina. • Two types of light receptors cover the surface of the retina: rods and cones. • Rods are extremely sensitive to low levels of light and do not detect colour. They help us see at dusk and at night. The majority of rods are located on the perimeter of the retina. • Cones are the receptors used to see under bright conditions. They are densely placed at the centre of the retina. Cones give us the ability to sense

LIGHT

There are two primary theories about the nature of light. One theory says that light, like sound is made of waves of energy. Another theory says that light is made of small particles, called photons. For the purposes of this course, and for most audiovisual applications, it’s helpful to think of light as a wave. There are many different kinds of light waves. These waves of energy are categorized by their wavelength. Here is the entire range of the electromagnetic spectrum categorized by wavelength: Only a small section of the electromagnetic spectrum is visible to the human eye. This is called the visible light spectrum.

WAVELENGTH, FREQUENCY & AMPLITUDE OF LIGHT

Wavelength is the physical distance, in metres, between two points exactly one cycle apart in a waveform. With light, that distance is typically measured in nanometres. A nanometre is equal to

one billionth of a meter (10-9m). At the left edge of the electromagnetic spectrum are gamma rays. They have the shortest wavelengths of 10-6 nanometres. At the right edge are TV and radio signals with long wavelengths of 108 nanometres. FREQUENCY

Frequency is the number of cycles in a given time period. Most often, frequency is measured in Hertz (Hz). One Hertz is equal to one cycle per second. If you are viewing light with a frequency of 1014Hz, your eyes receive just more than four hundred trillion light waves every second. Gamma rays have a frequency of 1018Hz, while radio waves have a frequency of 104Hz. The frequency of a light wave determines its colour. Green is at the centre of the visible light colour spectrum. Blue light waves have a higher frequency and are hardest to see. Red light waves have a lower frequency. Frequency and wavelength are inversely related. As wavelength increases, the frequency decreases. Think of it this way: If there are a lot of little waves hitting the beach quickly, they could be said to have a short wavelength and a high frequency. If there are only a few big waves hitting the beach slowly, they would have a long wavelength and lower frequency. AMPLITUDE

Amplitude is the magnitude of a signal. As represented on a sine wave, it is the intensity of a wave. Higher and Lower Amplitudes of Sine Waves at Common Frequencies

Similar Amplitudes at Different Frequencies


066

Termination Show and tell. Text:/ Graeme Hague

still in their hand. Some booths are populated by real pros, people who travel and sell for a living, and run the build and presentation of their stand like Cirque du Soleil. These guys are worth keeping close. They know the companies that always employ scantily-clad stand babes to promote products that have no possible sexual connection – and may even be able to organise an introduction. The pros always have the comfiest chairs and a telly somewhere quietly tuned into the important sports. A good coffee machine will be lurking ’round the back and if you ask them very nicely at exactly the right juncture you may be introduced to beer fridge that’s hidden behind the partition — that’s hidden behind the other partition... under the desk. They know which companies are hosting functions later and where. They might even tell you how to get in. Of course, in return you’ll have to buy something from them. You may have noticed there’s a lot of stuff regarding InfoComm this issue. A couple of blokes from the AV office jetted off to Las Vegas for baccarat and free beer, as well as the latest and greatest in gadgetry at Infocomm. Bastards. I’m allowed a trip to the post office and that’s about it. But I don’t care – honest. Truly, I’m okay with it. I’ve been to plenty of trade shows and I know exactly what was there. Who needs a trip to bloody Las Vegas – with its endless buffets, dancing girls and razzle dazzle – anyway? Trade shows are crazy, predictable, exciting, boring, noisy, dull, fascinating places. In short, they are what you make of them. You can come away inspired and informed, or with sore feet and a too-much-useless-information headache. Some insiders’ tips can help and even though I was once again left behind, I’ll pass them on. First you need some understanding of the people running the displays. Mostly they’re local sales reps press-ganged into service for the duration and you have to be careful about when you approach these folks, if you want the good oil. Their enthusiasm for the task is on a sliding scale directly proportional to the length of the trade show. They’ll be surreptitiously packing up gear several hours before the doors finally close. For goodness sake, don’t roll up late and ask about something that’s already boxed up and taped, particularly if the Stanley knife is

SEEING IT FROM THE OTHER SIDE

In fairness, the problem from the other side of the sales counter is trying to determine who is visiting the expo with a genuine agenda, who is escaping the office on a company junket, and who has merely wandered in out of the weather attracted by the noise, flashing lights and aforementioned scantily-clad girls. As a registered and name-tagged punter, how do you get the sales folks to take you seriously without actually waving a wad of cash in the air? Get your timing right. Burst through the doors in the opening seconds like it’s a Boxing Day sale and most likely everyone will believe you’re keen. In fact, arriving any time during the first morning is an indication that you’re worth talking to. Even better, the sales reps at the booths still have quite a high tolerance for people who may be... (narrow your eyes and spit sideways here) time-wasters. Saunter through the entrance in the afternoon and we all know who you are – really. You’ve convinced the boss this is a must-see event, maybe you’ve had your airfare paid for and a motel room and you need to leave with at least a decent show bag of goodies to prove you made the effort. In truth, there are more important things on your mind… Like scoring an invite to one of those famous, after-hours functions where there’s free beer, food and serious gossip to be exchanged. Some

of these booze-ups are closely-guarded events and you’re expected to conceal any personal invitation even from your closest friends in case they ask if they can “come along” – which, of course, they can’t. Roll up with an unannounced colleague and you may never be invited again. Plainly, you’re too unreliable and indiscreet. KEEP YOURSELF NICE

But back to correct expo etiquette. Always accept a brochure. Declining to take one is akin to refusing a business card from a Japanese executive – a grave insult. You don’t want any sales reps slipping out the back and impaling themselves on their iPhone to atone for the utter loathing they feel for their lack of self-respect, do you? So take a brochure. Always look interested, even if you’re not. Incredibly, it happens: some uninteresting things sneak into trade shows and you can find yourself trapped between the water cooler and the plasma display, listening to an endless spiel about a patent-pending wopple-sprocket. Weather the storm, smile and take a brochure. Move on quietly. Always look knowledgeable, even if you’re hopelessly out of your depth. There’s always Google to fill in the blanks later. Take a brochure. Otherwise, appearing as if you don’t understand what you’re being told is a dead giveaway that it was never on your shopping list. You’re a filthy, tyre-kicking time-waster. Always look alert. Trade shows are exhausting and concentration can lapse in the middle of even the best sales pitch. If it does, try grasping a handful of drawing pins in your jacket pocket – and tissues to staunch the bleeding. Works every time. Then take a brochure. PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT

The good news is you can apply these tips and practice all the above techniques at Integrate 2010. We promise everything will be interesting, so get in early. We’re working on the scantily-clad girls, but there’s no guarantee. Unfortunately there will be no secret, afterhours Alchemedia nosh-up with free beer and canapés. Absolutely not. We don’t believe in that sort of behaviour. If you do hear a rumour of such a party, you didn’t hear it from us. And for Pete’s sake, don’t tell anyone else. The caterer will go nuts. 


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AV Issue 12