VIVID SYDNEY: LIGHTS ON BRIGHTENS WINTER NIGHTS
INFOCOMM SHOW 2011: FULL WRAP WHITE OUT: WHAT NEXT FOR THE INTERACTIVE WHITEBOARD? LIFT OFF: KENNEDY SPACE CENTER’S LATEST ATTRACTION REVIEWED: VIVITEK D795T EXTREME SHORT THROW PROJECTOR AKG K SERIES HEADPHONES $6.95 inc gst
30th AUGUST1st SEPTEMBER
in association with
Hordern Pavilion &
Royal Hall of Industries
Moore Park, Sydney www.integrate-expo.com
The first scalable line array for all occasions
However large or small your audience and the venue may be, you can put together a system suitable for every situation using just the six components of the HK Audio Elements system. Here are just a few examples of systems you can build using the six components of Elements. Thanks to E-Connect, HK’s novel integrated
2 x E435 1 x EA600 1 x EP1 1 x EF45
6 x E435 2 x EA600 2 x E110 2 x E110A 300
6 x E435 2 x EA600 2 x E110 4 x E110A
8 x E435 2 x EA600 4 x E110 4 x E110A 2 x EF45
signal routing, even the largest Elements setup is performance-ready in just a few minutes with a minimum of cabling. Due to each component’s extremely compact and rugged design, transportation is no longer a hassle.
i t ‘s e l e m e n t a r y Your nearest Elements dealer: ACT: Pro Audio | NSW: Kirby Productions | NT: Top End Sounds QLD: Musiclab & Mackay Music | SA: BSS Light Audio Visual | Vic: Factory Sound Distibuted by CMI Music & Audio. For more info visit: www.cmi.com.au
Display Wall Cubes
Bring your vision to life with the superior quality of Japanese design and engineering. Mitsubishi Electric has the visual solution to meet your needs, no matter how small or large the task. With the freedom to choose from a large range of commercial LCD displays, Digital Video Recording and security control systems, large format Resoliaâ„˘ LED billboards, home or business projectors and Display Wall Cube systems, the possibilities are only limited by your vision. Mitsubishi Electric Australia Pty Ltd, 348 Victoria Rd Rydalmere NSW 2116 www.MitsubishiElectric.com.au ph: (02) 9684 7777 fax (02) 9684 7208
Proud partner of the Australian Centre for the Moving Image
fidelity (ﬁ’dἐliti) — n. pl -ties
1. devotion to duties, obligations, etc; faithfulness 2. adherence to truth; accuracy in reporting detail 3. electronics See also high fidelity the degree to which the output of a system, such as an amplifier or radio, accurately reproduces the characteristics of the input signal ultimate audio solutions for the real world
Production Audio Services Pty Ltd P.(03) 9264 8000 firstname.lastname@example.org www.productionaudio.com.au Production Audio Services New Zealand P.+64 (0) 9272 8041 email@example.com www.productionaudio.com.nz
Editorial Under a cloud Like quite a few of the hundred-odd Australians who attended InfoComm 2011 in Orlando Florida, I’m still trying to find the silver lining associated with the improbable appearance of a volcanic ash cloud over southern Australia in the days leading up to the show. While our recentlysacked News Editor and Termination columnist, Graeme Hague may have briefly enjoyed himself taking the mickey out of AV’s Editorial Director and I for our ‘junket’ to attend the show in his Termination at the end of this issue, the true story of our journeys is probably more suited to the plot of one of Graeme’s horror novels. The night before we were due to fly out to the US from Sydney, the ash cloud turned up, and aviation in southern Australia was grounded. So, about 13 hours before our flight was due to leave, AV’s Editorial Director Chris Holder tossed his bags and a pile of CDs into his car and made the 10-hour journey from his home near Ballarat to Sydney airport, where he left his car and caught our flight to Dallas with just a little time to spare. Living in Hobart, no such option was available to me. Even if there had still been berths available on the Bass Strait ferries, there just wasn’t the time to get to Sydney for our flight. A day later I managed to get a seat off the island on an aircraft that flew at only 3000m (instead of 10,000m) to
stay below the ash cloud. Of course by then I had missed our original flight out of Sydney, and was forced to take an alternate route that added an extra 15 hours and two more legs to my journey. By the time I eventually arrived at the InfoComm show in the middle of its first day, I had been travelling for about 44 hours (and I don’t sleep on planes). By contrast the trip home, only four days later, was relatively unremarkable, except that our destination was Melbourne. So, after a 30-hour trip from Orlando, Chris had to hop a flight to Sydney, and after paying about $300 for the week of parking, he then had to make the 10-hour drive back to Ballarat. Although the show was really interesting and the complimentary finger food at the International Reception was up to InfoComm’s usual high standard, that doesn’t quite qualify as a genuine 92.5% sterling silver lining. Thank goodness the flight to Sydney for Integrate is a little under two hours. You can regale me with your ash cloud horror story when I see you there. Andy Ciddor, Editor Join the AV adventure. Dob in a friend. Drop a note to the editor Andy Ciddor firstname.lastname@example.org and tell him about your discoveries.
the AV Industry’s Lunchroom Noticeboard • Who’s doing what work where • What’s happening on the technology front • What training is available • Who’s hiring
Subscribe now: www.av.net.au
Customizable backlit buttons
TLP 1000 Series 10" TouchLink Touchpanels
Configurable Control for Larger AV Systems VISIT US AT STAND XX The Extron TLP 1000MV and TLP 1000TV are fully configurable 10" TouchLink™ touchpanels featuring a sleek, contemporary look and thin bezels to complement any decor. The larger, 1024 x 600 resolution touchscreen surface provides ample room for sophisticated controls and graphics. An integrated MTP twisted pair receiver accepts S-video or composite video and audio input signals over standard CAT 5 cable. Power over Ethernet – PoE, allows the touchpanels to receive power via the Ethernet connector, eliminating the need for a local power supply. The TLP 1000MV mounts on a wall, lectern, or other flat surface, while the TLP 1000TV sits on a tabletop or installs on a VESA mount. Both touchpanel models are ideal for control environments that require a larger control surface within an elegant touchpanel design.
Key Features: • Fully-configurable touchpanel control systems provide powerful control with no programming required • 10" color touchscreen with 1024 x 600 resolution and 18-bit color depth • Integrated Ethernet port compatible with IP Link® control processors
IPCP 505 - IP Link® Control Processor
• Power over Ethernet allows the touchpanel to receive power via the Ethernet connector, eliminating the need for a local power supply • Contemporary, thin bezel designs complement the aesthetics of any environment • The TLP 1000MV mounts on a wall, lectern, or other flat surface, while the TLP 1000TV sits on a tabletop or installs on a VESA mount
Australian Distributor of Extron Products
Need to be in 2 places at once? The reduced costs of broadband and cable access, along with more cost effective and easier to use software solutions have made telepresencing a viable and cost effective communication solution, for even the smallest companies. Once you have the software, screens and network connections, you then need a flexible platform to house and protect this technology. Thatâ€™s where Axis by Gilkon comes into play. Axis by Gilkon offers a broad range of motorised and manually operated wall and ceiling mounts and brackets, as well as ingeniously designed LCD and plasma stands and trolleys. The entire commercial-quality Axis by Gilkon range is manufactured to Australian design and safety standards and is finished using state-of-the-art eco-friendly finishes. Axis by Gilkon is a testament to the fact that in some areas, Australian manufacturing still leads the world. Wilson & Gilkes PO Box 63 Moorebank NSW 1875 Australia 02 9914 0900 www.gilkon.com.au
The New Samsung LED*BLU Simply Stunning Commercial Displays The slim and lightweight design of the Samsung ME and HE Series delivers a flexible and customisable solution to suit your business needs. The ME and HE Series Displays are only 29.9mm thick, improving the aesthetics as well as the functionality of installations.
ME series • 29.9mm thickness with 15.1mm bezel • Available in 40, 46 and 55 inch sizes • Built-in Media Player - plug and play your content easily! • Optional Set Back Box PC for networked digital signage applications
HE series SBB
- Optional Set Back Box for ME, HE and UE series
Media Player PC only 32mm thick designed to attach to the back of the screen for networked digital signage applications. • Dual core 2.5GHz with DDR3 2gb with 16 gb SSD • GbE Ethernet LAN • USB2 x 2 and USB 3 x 2, Dp out, Audio Out, RJ45 • Other spec options available
* Samsung LED displays utilise LCD screens with LED edge lights.
• 29.9mm thickness with 15.1mm bezel • Available in 40 and 46 inch sizes • Built-in Digital HDTV Tuner –yes a commercial TV! • Optional Set Back Box PC for networked digital signage applications
Crew Matt is a freelance technical writer with a background in marketing and a focus on lighting and entertainment. He contributes to publications around the world and provides media and marketing services for the entertainment industry. A strong contributor to Melbourne's independent theatre scene, he has worked as a producer, director, actor, stage manager, and more recently as a lighting designer. Matt is a produced playwright and budding screenwriter (although Hollywood doesn't think so... yet) and freelances his reviewing skills both online and in print.
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 (email@example.com) Publication Manager: Stewart Woodhill (firstname.lastname@example.org) Editorial Director: Christopher Holder (email@example.com)
Pete Swanson is the NSW/ACT Regional Sales Manager and Consultant Alliance Group Manager for AMX Australia. He has spent over a dozen years in the world of AV integration including time as Director of WSP Lincolne Scott's AV consultancy division, working as a contractor with Electrosonic and as an AV designer in the UK. He is almost uncontrollably passionate about improving the AV industry and has found an outlet for this passion in his work with InfoComm, where he is involved with promoting the organisation and developing industry standards.
Publisher: Philip Spencer (firstname.lastname@example.org) Art Direction & Design: Dominic Carey (email@example.com) Additional Design: Leigh Ericksen (firstname.lastname@example.org) News Editor: Graeme Hague (email@example.com) Accounts: Jen Temm (firstname.lastname@example.org) Circulation Manager: Mim Mulcahy (email@example.com)
Richard is an academic who tries to keep his feet on the ground. He works for the University of Wollongong where he manages audiovisual as well and the videoconference and podcasting services. As well as technology management Richard researches technology in higher education. He has several books and many publications in academic journals to his credit. He firmly believes that the practice of managing technology keeps his academic alter ego grounded.
Cover image photograph: David Clare
alchemedia publishing pty ltd (ABN: 34 074 431 628) PO Box 6216, Frenchs Forest, NSW 2086 firstname.lastname@example.org All material in this magazine is copyright ÂŠ 2011 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. 22/7/11
Starting out in life training as a dentist, Stuart soon saw the error of his ways. Instead he started up an AV company in London in 1984, and has been in AV ever since. His expertise is in vision for live events, from 35mm slide to videowalls, projection, and more recently, blending and multi-projector systems. He has worked as technical director for touring television shows and corporate events of all sizes, and has spent the past 10 years as General Manager at Haycom.
The new Samsung LED*BLU Video Wall solutions put the focus back on the image Utilising the latest in LED*BLU video wall display technology, the Samsung UD55A 55 inch LED* Display is a revolutionary design, with super narrow bezels offering image to image gap of only 5.5mm, focusing the attention on the content. Full HD LCD with LED back lighting offers high brightness, colour, contrast and clarity without compromise.
UD Series • Super Narrow Bezel – only 1.8mm (bottom and right) and 3.7mm (top and left). • Full HD 1920 x 1080 in 55 inch • 700 cdm2 brightness 3500 to 1 contrast ratio • Low Power Consumption – lower than previous Samsung models with CCFL Backlighting. • Optional Slide in PC Module for Digital Signage Applications
UE Series SBB
- Optional Set Back Box for ME, HE and UE series
Media Player PC only 32mm thick designed to attach to the back of the screen for networked digital signage applications. • Dual core 2.5GHz with DDR3 2gb with 16 gb SSD • GbE Ethernet LAN • USB2 x 2 and USB 3 x 2, Dp out, Audio Out, RJ45 • Other spec options available * Samsung LED displays utilise LCD screens with LED edge lights.
• 29.9mm thickness • Narrow Bezel – only 5.3mm suits video wall or stand alone applications • Full HD 1920 x 1080 240Hz LED*BLU in 46 and 55 inch sizes • Built-in Media Player - plug and play your content easily! • Optional Set Back Box PC for networked digital signage applications
When you’re putting on a show for the best in the world, you can only rely on the best in the world... Yamaha’s MY-card expansion system, standard across all models of Yamaha digital mixer and programmable DSP, enables connectivity to all major digital audio protocols, including the CobraNet distribution backbone that ran around the Formula One Qantas Australian Grand Prix track in Melbourne, March 24-27 2011. “Choosing the LS9 for the media conference systems just made sense. The combination of on-board DSP processing and the availability of CobraNet I/O made integration of the mixers with the rest of the control system simple and foolproof.” Chris Dodds, Managing Director, The P.A. People
For further information on all Yamaha Commercial Audio products, please visit www.yamahaproaudio.com or call Yamaha Music Australia on +61 3 9693 5272 For sales enquires regarding all Yamaha Commercial Audio Products, please contact The P.A. People directly on +61 2 8755 8700 or email email@example.com
Issue 19 REGULARS INFOCOMM 2011 NEWS News from the InfoComm 2011 show and an Integrate 2011 update.
INFOCOMM HIGHLIGHTS Editorial wrap of InfoComm 2011.
INFOCOMM NEWS Regional news from InfoComm.
TERMINATION The low-down on creating state-of-the-art social media-aware, interactive products.
VIVID RECOLLECTIONS The ‘Lights On’ sculpture festival brightens Sydney's winter nights.
BLAST OFF NASA seeks new astronauts via Kennedy Space Center's ‘Exploration Space’ show.
THE GANG'S ALL HERE Melbourne’s Gang Show raises some questions about its ‘Amateur’ status.
VIVITEK D795T Ultra short throw projector.
AKG K240 STUDIO HEADPHONES Headphones for professional applications.
TUTORIALS WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HAPPY ENDING? How can we get enough time to properly commission our projects? WRITING ON THE WALL The Once and Future history of the Interactive Whiteboard. AV & IT PROFESSIONALS WORKING TOGETHER Communicating between the professions.
Put on a great digital signage display without any clowning around.
Sony’s new digital signage player: so easy to use. The Sony VSP-BZ10 is a dedicated IP-addressable digital signage player, capable of displaying Full HD video, still images, scrolling text, and audio. Content is stored locally on an SD card and is easily distributed to each player via a network or USB flash drive. The VSP-BZ10 includes easy to use software which controls up to 10 players, allowing for a simple, yet very powerful set up. SO11304/AV
Sony’s new VSP-BZ10 digital signage network player. Visit the Sony stand at Integrate for a one on one demo.
“SONY” and “make.believe” are trademarks of Sony Corporation.
More high resolution windows at full frame rates.
Meet Fusion Catalyst from Jupiter Systems. The Fusion Catalyst family of display wall processors ushers in a new era of performance and flexibility for collaborative visualization applications. Employing cutting edge, second generation PCI Express technology, Fusion Catalyst processors offer up to an astonishing 192 Gbps of bandwidth. That’s enough bandwidth to carry multiple ultra-high resolution video signals at a full 60 frames per second, drive ultra-high resolution monitors at a full 32 bits per pixel, and support virtually any configuration requirement. Dual-link DVI for resolutions up to 2560x1600 Up to 96 graphics outputs Up to 94 DVI, HD, or RGB inputs Up to 376 streaming video inputs Up to two Intel Quad Core Xeon CPUs Up to 64 GB of ECC-protected RAM Up to three 320GB SATA-300 HDDs, RAID support Integrated PC—run Windows apps on your wall Hot swap fans, power supplies, hard drives Now shipping with Windows 7
Visit our stand U30 at Integrate 2011 to experience a Catalyst demonstration
Image Design Technology | 1300 666 099 | www.idt.com.au | firstname.lastname@example.org
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A BEATLES RECORDING ENGINEER Integrate is honoured to present a world first: two of audio’s most famous and gifted recording engineers, Geoff Emerick and Richard Lush, together on stage for the first time. Messrs Emerick and Lush were responsible for the recording of classic albums from The Beatles, such as Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Revolver and Abbey Road. These two legends of the recording world have never spoken together publicly about their Abbey Road Beatles sessions – until now. For serious recording engineers, producers or Beatles fans, this is a not-to-be-missed, once in a lifetime event! For the first time, Geoff and Richard will come together to set the record straight: debunk some myths; correct some misinformation and offer fascinating insights into the iconic Beatles recordings. So forget the secondhand information, ditch those Chinese whispers – come to Integrate and let Geoff and Richard take you on a fulltilt magical mystery tour into recording history! AudioTechnology editor, Andy Stewart, will host the two-hour headline event, which will involve everything from discussions about some of the revolutionary recording techniques used during the sessions to hilarious and fascinating insights about what went on behind the glass all those years ago. Geoff and Richard will talk specifically about their engineering techniques of the day, the equipment used (and abused) and how the music was mixed in mono – an art almost forgotten by engineers in the 21st century. We may even convince the pair to play a few of their classic Sgt. Pepper's mono mixes and reflect on the impact these iconic works had on recorded music. There will also be a 30-minute Q&A at the end of the session, so come armed with your most compelling question and have it answered by the gentlemen themselves. It’s destined to be a day in the life none of us will ever forget… If you’re keen to be part of history at the ticketed Wednesday afternoon session in the Integrate Headroom, we’d love to have your company. Tickets available on the integrate website.
For session times, pricing, availability and more session details go: www.integrate-expo.com
EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY CONFERENCE: Education Technology is a full-day conference and exhibition for K-12 Educators and ICT (Information & Communication Technologies) administrators. Some of Australia’s foremost experts in the application of technology in classroom will be on hand to showcase stunning uses of education technology that will change the way you think and revolutionise the way your students will learn. The keynote will be co-presented by education visionaries Lynette Thomas and Melissa Eagles.
Entitled ‘Incubating Exploration & Invention with Technology in Education’, Lynette and Melissa will demonstrate examples and strategies of how technology in a blended environment can build a platform on which to experience, at firsthand, ways of combining a variety of media to enhance multimodal ways of learning. Lynette and Melissa will challenge your ways of thinking, ways of teaching and the perception of ‘the classroom’ from K–12! Sue Beveridge will also be presenting. Sue has been an advocate of enhanced learning
through the use of technologies for 32 years. Her concept of the ‘fresh equation’ encourages educators to utilise, high quality digital content, interactive whiteboards and collaborative tools to engage students. The AETM (Association of Educational Technology Managers) is at the vanguard of ICT use in the education sector. Derek Powell, President of the AETM, will present cutting-edge examples of audio visual, video conferencing, E learning, streaming and podcasting technologies at work in Australian universities and TAFE colleges.
Finally, Tim Sadler and Chris McKeith from the Australian Film, Television and Radio School will provide an insight into how it has applied technology into its screen and broadcast training program along with associated production and operational environments. This is a full-day program (lunch included) that will not only be inspirational, but practical and applicable. Tickets are now available on the integrate site (click on Seminars 2011 on the home page).
AFTRS FILM SOUND SESSIONS Australian Film, Television & Radio School is offering four great film sound sessions during Integrate. Mixing in Surround: AFTRS Head of Sound, Chris McKeith, explores and demonstrates aspects of making and mixing 5.1 surround soundtracks for film and TV. This session is being conducted in AFTRS’ state-of-the-art mix theatre and with fewer than 20 people in the class you’ll have ample opportunity to have your questions answered. Advanced Mixing in ProTools: Chris McKeith, examines features
and techniques using ProTools and ICON consoles for mixing 5.1 soundtracks. This session is also being conducted in AFTRS’ stateof-the-art mix theatre. How Film Music Works: AFTRS Composer and Head of Screen Music, Martin Armiger, guides you through how to successfully marry the worlds of film and music. Introduction to Location Sound: In this session aspiring recordists will learn key location sound concepts and hear/see real-life examples of where location sound has gone right and where it’s gone very wrong.
in association with
INFOCOMM ACADEMY SESSIONS: REAL WORLD EDUCATION Demystifying the Loop: The Building Code of Australia is changing the way we design and install hearing assistance technology. The Deafness Forum of Australia shares some important information in relation to the requirements for future technology that is compliant with the Disability Act. The seminar then looks at different types of technology available to meet the regulations, including Induction Loops, Infrared and 2.4GHz RF. Presenter: Michael Pun, Brand Manager, Hills SVL. Solving Real-Life HDMI/DVI/DisplayPort Installation Problems: HDMI, DVI and the emerging DisplayPort format offer extremely high video image quality and other advantages, but since they were mainly developed for one source to one display, they introduce limitations and problems in large-scale AV installations. In this session you’ll learn how to convert between the formats, identify problems when using them together with analogue formats, send the signals over distance, and prevent and solve EDID-related issues. Presenter: John Ungerer, CTS, Managing Director, Kramer Electronics Australia. The Power of Integration and Net-centric AV: The Power of Integration delves into the world of integrated, converged and net-centric technologies. Understand the importance and fundamentals of integration, convergence and net-centricity; know what’s required to achieve a successful integrated project; and have a greater knowledge of integrated systems of yesterday, today and tomorrow. Presenter: Peter Sean Coman, CTS, RCDD, CDCDP, AssocIES, Managing Director, InDesign Technologies. Video Calibration Primer: This seminar will give technicians a broad level of understanding of calibrating all the important performance aspects of modern video displays and projectors. This seminar covers everything from video basics to advanced
calibration of all display technologies, addressing video processing, video equalizers, and video generators. Learn the general performance factors that determine image quality of displays and projectors and become familiar with the calibration characteristics of different display technologies. Presenter: Jeff Murray, ISF Instructor and President of SpectraCal, brought to Integrate 2011 by VR Solutions. Advanced Fibreoptic Design: Many AV systems rely on fibreoptic technology for secure transmission of data, error-free delivery of content, and signal integrity over extremely long distances. In this course, you will learn critical system design techniques utilising fibre technology. This course will provide you with the knowledge to successfully design cutting-edge fibre technology into new or existing AV systems. Presenter: Jerry Kushnir, RGB Integration. Conferencing Best Practices: Room Environment and Design – Acoustics and Lighting: Lighting and Acoustics are critical elements for successful remote communication, yet the room environment is often overlooked or poorly implemented, leaving the end user with a conferencing system that is inherently limited in performance. This seminar will review basic theory for good room environment design and provide designers and integrators with the necessary tools to offer informed and constructive recommendations to their clients. Presenter: Mark Hanson, Director, Hanson Associates and ICE Design Australia.
HALF DAY CONFERENCES: Communications Technology in the Built Environment This half-day conference is designed for architects, project managers, IT managers, consultants and facility managers, and is comprised of three sessions. Systems design for the Contemporary Built Environment is presented by Michael Comiskey, CTS (Principal AV Consultant, AECOM Australia); AV Installation Processes & Pitfalls – Where Budget and Design Meets the Physical Integration, is presented by Wizard Projects’ Managing
the basics of installation, maintenance, and equipment. Presenters Cameron Lucas (Madison Technologies) and Rod Sommerich, CTS (Spinetix) provide you with an understanding of digital signage, how to apply that knowledge to projects and understand the hardware used in a digital signage network. Bringing it all Together – Developing Your Digital Signage Business Case is presented by InfoComm International staff instructor Rod Brown. Rod discusses typical business models; what should be included
Director, Paul Van der Ent, CTS; and finally, Facility Management – Bridging the Divide Between Project & Users,presented by Reg Collins (AV/IT Working Group Chair, Campus Development Plan, Information Technology Division, University of Technology, Sydney). Digital Signage Conference Digital signage is a significant growth area and this three-session, half-day conference provides integrators and installers with the tools to set up a successful network. Digital Signage 101 covers
For session times, pricing, availability and more session details go: www.integrate-expo.com
in a business plan; identification of additional staff and other resources which may be required to enter the digital signage field; and consideration of where to go from here. Maximising the Appeal of Digitial Signage Content will demonstrate how effective and creative digital signage messaging can maximise an audience’s engagement. Damien Edmonds (Director, Edmonds Marketing) will discuss how best to understand your audience, truly integrate your message, and get the most out of digital signage.
SUPER TUESDAY: BE INSPIRED Integrate 2011’s Super Tuesday program is stronger than ever. This year InfoComm International supremo, Randy Lemke, to provide the day’s keynote, The Dawning of the Net-Centric Era. Randy asks: ‘If you buy AV and deploy it on a network are you making the new connections needed to get the most value from your systems?’ Randy explains why new technical and business connections with IT are important to your enterprise if you are a buyer of AV and are equally important if you are a commercial system integrator of AV. Unmissable. Here’s a precis of the full lineup. Taking Video Communications to a Higher Plane (Without Needing to Jump On One), presented by Jason Bordujenko – National Video Conference Service (NVCS) Manager at the Australian Academic Research Network (AARNet). Extending Unified Communications-Based Multimedia Services Beyond the Enterprise: presented by Bill Efthimiou – Unified Communications Engineer at the Australian Academic Research Network (AARNet). AWAG (Australian Wireless Audio Group) wireless spectrum update: co-presented by Jands’ Jeff MacKenzie and Syntec’s James Waldron. Integrated Building Technology: presented by Jason Lewis – National Manager Education & Government, Hills SVL. I Can See the Future – Standards are Coming! Avoid surprises and be prepared: presented by Peter Swanson, CTS – NSW/ACT Business Manager, AMX Australia. BIM: An Introduction to Building Information Modelling and its Impact on the AV Community: presented by Peter Blackmore – founder of Blackmore Audiovision (BAV). Control in the Age of Smart Devices: Graham Barrett – AMX Australia & NZ Marketing & Communications Manager.
The conference will conclude with a Q&A session with the panel.
AMX: GET WITH THE PROGRAM
CHRISTIE GO 4K
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE…
AMX released a near-deluge of new products in time for InfoComm. Of note is the Modero X series of touch panels with its Panoramic Control Surface, unforgivably called the Pantastic UI – shame AMX, shame! The new Enova DGX-16/32 Digital Media Switcher will convert any source signal and use SmartScale to ensure every display’s native resolution, plus route IP, all from a single box. From the same family there is the Enova DVX-3150 HD All-In-One Presentation switcher and the DXLink TX/RX Digital Media Category Cable TX/RX. Rapid Project Maker allows users to design, configure and deploy AMX systems in less than an hour without programming. The Clear Connect Wireless Light Solution with Lutron can be integrated into existing systems by simply replacing a lightswitch. The ICSLan Device control boxes can make most devices Ethernet-ready. Add to this list three new Hydraport Connection models, the NXV-CPI Control Phone Interface, the Vision Video Management package, two new wall plates, new types of grommets and a partridge in a pear tree… sorry. AMX Australia: (07) 5531 3103 or www.amxaustralia.com.au
Christie’s D4K35 projector delivers 4K (4096 x 2160) resolution and is designed for large applications requiring ultra-high resolution at high brightness – think amusement parks, large auditoriums, museums, planetariums, virtual reality settings… the big stuff. The D4K35 projector delivers 35,000 lumens to make the grade. Equipped with up to 4 x 3G HD-SDI inputs, the D4K35 displays 12-bit (4:4:4) 4K images while its twin HDMI inputs provides for Blu-ray, HD and other 2K sources. If required, different lamp options ranging from 13,000 to 35,000 lumens can tone things down a bit. Christie says the D4K35 is the first 4K DLP projector released for non-cinema applications. With more than four times the number of pixels as 2K projectors, the Christie D4K35 overcomes the need to manage 2 x 2 tiled arrays of projection in order to display 4K resolution. The Christie D4K35 can also display triple flash 3D with 1080p and 2K sources up-scaled to 4K, the input format matching 3D video sources without requiring extra lens hardware. VR Solutions: (07) 3844 9514 or www.vrs.com.au
You’d expect a company like Crestron to have a bundle of new gadgets to release around InfoComm time. And it hasn’t let us down. First, the DigitalMedia 8G+ is the next generation of Crestron’s high output, onewire digital AV network infrastructure technology. DigitalMedia 8G+ simplifies implementation of a DM network by offering a choice of standard CAT5e, DM8G cable or CresFiber 8G. Along the same lines, the DM-RMC-200-C DigitalMedia 8G Receiver and Room Controller has a built-in HD video scaler and 30W stereo amplifier and provides a single HDMI output, plus speaker and line level audio to each connected display. Also: there’s a new range of energy-efficient high-power commercial amplifiers imaginatively called the AMP Series; and a budgetpriced, portable wireless microphone system complete with powered speakers called FreeSpeech is designed for classrooms. Crestron’s Multimedia Presentation System has gone digital to become the Digital Multimedia Presentation System. A new High Definition Video Scaler promises to “fill the void left by the inadequate scalers that are built into most displays”. And finally the MC3, Crestron’s 3-Series control system has been given a make-over to be now powered by Core 3 OS. Crestron: (02) 9737 8203 or www.crestron.com.au
NEWS IN BRIEF:
EAW’s new QX Series loudspeakers are optimised for installed system applications that require precise directivity in a low-profile form. The QX Series provides size-efficient yet very high output point source clusters. Perfect for medium-to-large-sized spaces including sports arenas, the series is also designed for a wide range of venues requiring high power and consistent coverage from a compact housing. The QX series is a passive, wiredfor-bi-amplification design. Production Audio Services: (03) 9264 8000 or sales@ productionaudio.com.au
Prysm has a new line of retail solutions creating what it claims is a whole new Digital Merchandising Experience. Prysm’s product suite includes the Digital Mannequin, Digital Kiosk and Digital Widescreen Solution all powered by its Laser Phosphor Display (LPD) platform. Plus, Prysm’s, high-definition stackable display tiles can be organised into any size and shape, enabling retailers to deliver product content and provide a more engaging brand experience for customers, all at lower energy costs than traditional technology. Prysm: www.prysm.com
Roland Systems Group has unveiled the M-480 V-Mixer, a new flagship V-Mixer console. A new cascade function allowing two units to be connected enabling a 96-channel mixing solution. The two connected consoles share Aux/Matrix/Main/ Solo busses with bi-directional communication allowing a compact, high-channel mixing solution. Stand-alone, the M-480 V-Mixer offers 48 mixing channels and six stereo returns for a total of 60 channels. Roland Systems Group: (02) 9982 8266 or email@example.com
Mitsubishi’s new WD380UEST and XD380U-EST use high-quality, extreme short-throw lenses instead of mirrors. This design makes installation easier and flexible while keeping the interior of the projector cleaner. Output is 2800 and 2500 lumens respectively. A specially-crafted lens provides the short-throw focus performance and can project a 1780mm (diagonal) WXGA image from less than 600mm away. Mitsubishi Electric Australia: (02) 9684 7777 or www.mitsubishielectric.com.au
Version 5 of Dataton’s Watchout adds new 3D Effects and Stage Preview option which lets you position and rotate all media objects in 3D space. There is also seamless Stereoscopic Playback. Version 5 now offers support for multi-head output cards, meaning that up to six displays can now be driven off one suitably equipped computer. Interactive Controls: (02) 9436 3022 or firstname.lastname@example.org
SPIELBERG, YOU’RE FIRED
SOLUS SHINES FOR SYMETRIX
NO JOB TOO BIG FOR BIAMP
Polycom has come up with a neat idea for ensuring that, during teleconferencing, participants don’t wander away from the camera’s point of view. A combination of software and hardware called Eagle Eye Director uses audio triangulation and voice recognition to track a (human) speaker as they talk. Linked to Polycom’s HDX Series conference systems the Eagle Eye Director has a base station with a microphone array, which is in the form of a single vertical element mounted on the base station and the facility for one or two cameras also fixed to the base station. The cameras alternate between close-up and room views, and participating speakers must first calibrate their voice to be recognised by Eagle Eye Director. Set up is straightforward and the system automatically deals with issues such as noise cancellation from the remote side of the conversation. It’s recommended that anyone involved needs to be within a 9m radius of the base station. Single-camera systems can be used if you don’t want that ‘director’s cut’ look after all. Transition Systems: 1300 864 835 or au.transition-asia.com
Symetrix, home of the SymNet 8x8 DSP and the ‘zerolearning-curve’ Jupiter processors, has now released Solus, which couples open-architecture SymNet processing with fixed input/output counts for small to mid-size installations, thereby reducing costs. With the SymNet Designer software, integrators can either use or modify any of the existing Solus templates or build entirely new designs from scratch. Currently, there are two Solus hardware units that differ only in their input and output counts. Solus 4 has four mic/line (with phantom power) inputs and four outputs. The Solus 8 has eight mic/line (again with phantom power) inputs and eight outputs. The Solus processors forego input/output expansion in favor of providing lower pricing. The Solus 4 and Solus 8 share the same set of communications and interface possibilities including Ethernet, ARC port, RS-232 port, two control inputs and four logic outputs. The Solus software and hardware fully support Symetrix ARC wall panels and SymVue (Symetrix’ own end-user control panel application), as well as most third party control systems. Production Audio Services: (03) 9264 8000 or email@example.com
No job too big for Biamp’s new Tesira networked media system. Tesira is a highly scalable media system for digital audio networking using Audio Video Bridging (AVB) as the primary digital media transport. Tesira is an enterprise-wide solution made up of intelligent network modules that share and boost performance. It is equipped with modular scalable inputs and outputs, DSPs and networked end-points, providing system design capabilities for unlimited scenarios including ‘centralised’, ‘distributed’ and ‘hybrid’ type applications. Integrators have the option of customising Tesira with up to eight DSP-2s , for a total of 16 DSPs in a single chassis with up to 420 x 420 audio channels over a scalable digital media backbone. Tesira software provides easy configurability and greater expansion potential with partitions and Biamp’s compilation engine, which automatically creates the digital audio transport connections and automated hardware specifications needed to complete a system design. Tesira features Biamp’s SpeechSense Technology and AmbientSense Technology, each designed to enhance speech processing by more accurately distinguishing between human speech and ambient noise. Audio Products Group: 1300 134 400 or www.audioproducts.com.au
Clear-Com now has its Clear-Com Concert Version 2.6 Intercomover-IP communications solution, which provides professional voice conferencing and intercom capabilities over the internet or a standard local area network. Scroll through your contact list and click on the appropriate name to connect with that individual via a call, chat box or both simultaneously. New for Concert 2.6 is support for Mac and Windows 7 platforms, plus echo cancellation. Jands: (02) 9582 0909 or firstname.lastname@example.org
dbx’s new ZonePro 320 and ZonePro 210 Digital Zone Processors. The ZonePro 320 features three stereo inputs and two stereo zone outputs and the ZonePro 210 features two stereo inputs and one stereo zone output. Both processors are stereo throughout the digital processing path but can be run in stereo or mono modes. Each processor offers an isolated output, specifically designed for supplying music-on-hold audio to phone systems. Jands: (02) 9582 0909 or email@example.com
The Realis WUX4000 is Canon’s first LCOS (Liquid Crystal on Silicon) projector for the installation market. The Realis WUX4000 employs Canon’s fourth-generation AISYS (Aspectual Illumination System)enhanced LCOS optical engine to deliver higher-than-HD-resolution (1920x1200) widescreen images with an aspect ratio of 16:10 and a high-brightness level of 4000 lumens. Clients have a choice of three new hi-res interchangeable Canon projection lenses and a motorised lens-shift feature. Canon Australia: 131383 or www.canon.com.au
ATEN’s VanCryst Media Matrix Solution – which is a combination of the VM0808T matrix switch and VE500 and VE300 extenders – routes and distributes audio and visual signals over distances of up to 300m while maintaining video resolution and sound quality. The device can be controlled locally from its front panel or remotely via serial connection. Anyware Corporation: www.anyware.com.au
Sony’s VPLFH500L installation projector features native WUXGA resolution, high brightness at 7000 lumens colour light output, a centred lens and the ‘widest lens shift in its class’. The VPLFH500L includes a twin-lamp system for economical operation and is compatible with current interchangeable lenses to enable a wide range of options — from long distance projection in large auditoriums to short distance rear projection applications. Sony Australia: 1300 720 071 or www.sony.com.au
Behringer Eurocom MA6000 Series automixers offer up to 80% efficiency to create power savings over traditional technologies by employing switchmode power supplies and Class-D amps. The 2 x 80W MA6008 and 2 x 180W MA6018 integrated mixer-amps are capable of driving 70/100V and 4Ω loads simultaneously and feature eight mic/line inputs on XLR/TRS and Euroblock connectors, plus four pair summed RCA aux inputs and a dedicated paging input. Behringer: (03) 9877 7170 or www.behringer.com.au
IN TOUCH WITH EXTRON
K-ARRAY: SPEAKERS WITH SPOTLIGHTS?
LG TUNE IN TO TV
Extron had so many new products on show at InfoComm that its new product catalogue is substantially bigger than this whole issue of AV. Undeterred, we can tell you the Global Configurator Professional is Extron’s next generation configuration software for larger, more sophisticated TouchLink-based configurable control systems. It offers an integrated environment for defining advanced AV control system functionality from an easy-to-use GUI. Features such as controller groups and conditional logic provide greater flexibility for more elaborate control system designs. GC Pro is ideal for any TouchLink-based control system requiring enhanced functionality and advanced configuration. GC Pro offers the same features as GC 3 plus a host of more specific capabilities including controller groups, macros and templates, virtual TouchLink support such TouchLink for iPad and TouchLink for Web, an enhanced User Interface and Driver Configurator Support which allows the creation of user-defined serial and Ethernet drivers for devices that don’t currently have drivers available. Serial and Ethernet drivers now have the ability to recognise ASCII commands. RGB Integration: (08) 8351 2188 or www.rgbintegration.com.au
Five new loudspeakers from K-array: the KU36 ultraslim subwoofer, the KTL22 and KTL22C compact speakers with integrated spotlights, the KZ10-4 Pack bundle and the KA7-7 amplifier. The KU36 ultra-slim subwoofer is designed to complement any K-array installation series speaker. Housed in steel, the subwoofer is ideal for outdoor use and areas that are subject to the elements. K-array’s KTL22 and KTL22C ceiling-mounted loudspeakers with integrated spotlights are designed for use as architectural and display lighting in areas that also require sound reinforcement. The KZ10-4 Pack bundle is a discreet, high-performance sound system in a single package that includes components for an ultra-miniaturised line-array. Finally, the KA7-7 power amplifier is built into a 2U, half-rack, lightweight aluminium chassis. Comprised of two or four output channels, the KA77 provides up to eight channels in a standard 2U rack space when mounted together (yes, they’re saying buy two). It features on-board DSP presets optimised for K-array speaker systems. Syntec International: 1800 648 628 or www.syntec.com.au
LG Electronics has unveiled EzSign TV, the first LG digital signage solution to incorporate live TV without additional hardware. EzSign TV is a turnkey solution that offers any business owner an intuitive and cost-effective digital signage display system with the added feature of broadcast television. Business owners can simultaneously show branded advertisements and television broadcasts to customers. Content creation is simple: owners can use a computer to access a selection of more than 30 templates then add their own images and text. The content is then transferred to the EzSign TV display via a USB drive. The system is based on the ProCentric platform developed by LG for hospitality applications. The LD452B display series is available in 812mm, 1066mm and 1193mm sizes. The two larger displays have full HD 1080p capability. HDMI and USB components provide versatility and allow for additional content and entertainment options. LG Electronics: (02) 8805 4409 or www.lg.com.au
NEWS IN BRIEF:
Tannoy and Lab.gruppen have collaborated on new sound reinforcement range with Tannoy’s new VX and VXP Series loudspeaker technology being integrated with Lab. gruppen amplification. With an expanded range of enclosures and transducers, the VX Series combines next-generation dualconcentric driver technology with ergonomic, portable and installfriendly new cabinet designs. Audio Products Group: (02) 9578 0137 or www.audioproducts.com.au
AV Stumpfl released version 4.20 of its multimedia software Wings Platinum. In addition to detail improvements, a new title generator provides high-quality text and a wide variety of extensive formatting options and effects. Virtually all fonts installed on the computer can be used at any display quality and in any size. Text formatting is object-oriented. Text effects can be combined with other effects Wings Platinum has available for images and videos. AV Stumpfl: (02) 9477 5709 or www.avstumpflaustralia.com
BSS Audio is releasing a full-bandwidth Acoustic Echo Cancellation (AEC) algorithm for its Soundweb London conferencing processors. The algorithm is available with HiQnet London Architect v3.04 and can be used with existing Soundweb London AEC Input Cards and the recentlyintroduced Soundweb London BLU-101 and BLU-102 devices. The existing 8kHz-bandwidth AEC algorithm is optimised for POTS, VoIP phone systems and digital phone system applications. Jands: (02) 9582 0909 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Black Box has launched its iCompel Enterprise Digital Signage (EDS) platform, introducing Black Box into the large-scale enterprise signage market and building on the success of the iCompel, an all-inclusive, integrated hardware/ software signage solution for small to medium organisations. Black Box: 1300 734 455 or www.blackbox.com.au
Da-Lite is expanding its Polacoat line of rear projection optical coatings with the addition of DA-50WA. Specifically designed for applications using high lumen projectors in conjunction with short throw lenses, this optical coating provides wider half-gain angles than traditional coatings, reducing the incidence of hot spotting. This coating offers a 0.5 gain and a 60° half angle. It is available on the entire range of Da-Plex screens and with DaLite’s full range of factory framing options. Wilson & Gilkes: (02) 9914 0900 or email@example.com
The new DMS 700 is a revolutionary digital wireless solution designed for the future: The First Professional Digital Wireless System NEW YAMAHA COMES TO THE SURFACE Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems launched its VS Series of surface mount speakers. Designed for public address, background music, retail store, club, restaurant, meeting room or house of worship, the VS Series speakers deliver high quality sound in both indoor and outdoor settings. The VS Series is visually appealing and its compact, functional design is easily adaptable to virtually any environment. The VS Series can also be used to supplement theatre or stadium sound. Two models are offered in the VS Series. The VS6 has a 165mm cone woofer to handle bottom end, while the VS4 houses a 100mm woofer. Both models feature a 25mm balanced dome tweeter. With water-resistant enclosures and transducers, the new surface mount speakers meet industry standard IEC60529 IPX3 (protection from sprayed water) rating requirements. Internally mounted transformers enable the speakers to operate in 70V or 100V distributed sound systems. Speakers are available in black or white and may be installed horizontally or vertically using an included, colour-matched, steel U-bracket. Yamaha Music Australia: (03) 9693 5272 or www.yamahamusic.com.au
AV resellers, installers or integrators can benefit from supplying projector lamps direct to their clients. There are over 100 brands and around 8000 different projector models in the market, and not without its fair share of complications and pitfalls from a consumer and reseller perspective. Just Lamps specialises in replacement projector lamps and can make the job of supplying your clients’ replacement lamp needs easy. Just Lamps: (07) 5449 9483 or www.justlamps.net Sony Australia Limited has announced the appointment of Lemac Film and Digital as an authorised dealer for Sony’s professional production products. Lemac Film and Digital: (03) 9429 8588 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Hills SVL now include the WolfVision brand into its portfolio of products and solutions. WolfVision GmbH, Austria, is a leading manufacturer of visualizers/ document cameras. Hills SVL (02) 9647 1411 or email@example.com Philips Selecon boss Jeremy Collins announced he would leave Philips Selecon at the end of June. Collins, who bought the company in 1985 (with colleague Andrew Nichols) and had been instrumental in building the Selecon brand over the past quarter of a century, said that he is moving on to a new stage in his life.
• Up to 150MHz tuning range • 256 bit RC4 signal encryption for secure audio transmission • 2-channel digital true-diversity receiver • No Compander (used in analogue systems): higher sound quality • On-board DSP per channel (Compressor, EQ, Limiter) • Quick setup via infrared data link to the transmitter • Graphical spectrum analyser helps find clear channels • Remote monitoring and control via PC
1 3 2
1/ BENQ LEAVES THE LIGHT ON
2/ BLACKMAGIC MAKES THE SWITCH
3/ CASIO GET MORE SLIM
BenQ has a new top-of-the-wozza SH960 high brightness projector. Designed for use in the most demanding settings, the SH960 utilises 1080p native resolution and BrilliantColor technology, creating bright, vibrant images on any surface. With a brightness of 5500 ANSI lumens, BenQ claims the SH960 “projects brilliant images even in the presence of ambient light”. The SH960 features a 3000:1 contrast ratio and a native 16:9 aspect ratio with a full 1.07 billion-colour palette. The projector’s duallamp design offers an option for maximum brightness or an eco-mode that extends lamp life by up to 30 percent. The H+V lens shift gives users more flexibility in projector placement allowing the focal point of the lens to be adjusted in venues where dead-centre placement isn’t possible. BenQ’s proprietary Wall Color Correction feature provides an adjustment for projecting natural-looking color even on tinted walls. BenQ Australia: (02) 8988 6500 or www.benq.com.au
Blackmagic Design has a new range of ATEM Production Switchers that will be sold independent of the control panel, so customers can use the chassis and a software control panel instead. Broadcast Panels can be purchased separately, if needs be. The software control panel software can be Mac and Windows based and allows customers to use ATEM switchers from their laptop. The software provides a professional M/E workflow control panel with parameter adjustments in simple-to-use palettes. Users can also manage the media pool in the switcher and change switcher settings. There are two models of ATEM switcher and both include the ATEM Software Control Panel. The 1 M/E model occupies two rack units, and includes eight total inputs of SDI, HDMI and component video. The 2 M/E model is a larger 3U device, and includes two separate M/E rows, a total of 16 video inputs, six aux outputs, two Multi Views for monitoring, redundant power input and SuperSource multi layer compositing. New Magic Australia: (03) 9722 9700 or www.newmagic.com.au
Casio is building on its SLIM product line of mercuryand lamp-free high-brightness data projectors. The new SLIM projectors include enhanced connectivity, improved audio, higher brightness levels and new 3D capabilities. All of the new models are built using state-of-the-art laser and LED Hybrid Light Source technology which, by eliminating the use of mercury lamps, allows consumers to streamline costs and count on a 20,000 hour estimated life. The technology combines blue laser light and a fluorescent element to generate a high output of green light. The green light, blue laser light, and the light emitted by a red LED are projected through a DLP chip which, in turn, passes through the projection lens as the final combined image. The new models include short throw types, pro projectors for the professional AV market and introduces a Signature series of projectors which provide a variety of enhancements for gamers and mobile presenters. Shriro Australia: 1300 748 122 or www.casio-intl.com/projector
4/ CREST POWER UP
5/ A PAIR OF PLAYERS
6/ COOL FUSION
Crest Audio revealed two new power amplifiers, the Pro-Lite 3.0 and Pro-Lite 3.0 DSP, featuring lightweight design with high power output into 2Ω loads. The ProLite Series amps are built on a Class D design with a switch-mode power supply that reduces weight while increasing thermal efficiency and output power. Both models deliver 870W per channel at 4Ω stereo, up to 3150W bridged at 4Ω, weigh 6kg and promise consistent, stable performance at 2Ω operation. The Pro-Lite 3.0 DSP model has an onboard DSP that hosts a suite of delays, adjustable crossovers, adjustable limiters, parametric EQ, HF driver EQ, four user preset storage locations and stereo/ mono operation with lockable security settings. The front-panel LCD provides control or there’s a USB port for external setup and adjustment. The Pro-Lite DSP section also integrates Waves MaxxBass Bass Extension technology for extra… well, bass. Audio Products Group: (02) 95780137 or www.audioproducts.com.au
Denon Professional released two universal audio/video Blu-ray players, the DBP-2012UDCIP and DBP-1611UDP. Both play back Blu-ray, DVD-Video, DVD-Audio, Super Audio CD and CD Audio discs, along with a variety of compressed audio and video formats from a disc or via a front-panel USB connection. Ethernet ports can access online content without a PC, as well as multimedia content from a computer or NAS (Network Attached Storage) device. The DBP-2012UDCIP’s additional features include an RS-232c port for integration with any appropriate control system. There’s HDMI 1.4a compatibility with support for CEC (Consumer Electronics Control) functionality, 32-bit/192k audio D/A converters, a 12-bit video D/A converter and an Advanced High-Bit I/P Scaler. Operation is via an onscreen GUI or the included Glo-key IR remote control. Audio Products Group: (02) 95780137 or www.audioproducts.com.au
Jupiter Systems has introduced its Fusion Catalyst 8000 Display Wall Processor, offering high performance, video quality and reliability in a costeffective, hot swappable, space-efficient platform for network operations centres, public utility control centres, intelligent traffic management centres, civil and military surveillance systems, and other applications requiring large displays. The processor’s bandwidth reaches 320Gbps delivering multiple high resolution windows at full frame rates, plus it features second generation PCI Express slots and a true, nonblocking Switch Fabric communication infrastructure. Each 4U rack-mountable Fusion Catalyst 8000 CPU can support up to 80 PCI Express 2.0 four-lane slots – that's 120 outputs at 2560x1600 pixels at 32 bits. With optional Dual-Link DVI-I Input Cards, Fusion Catalyst can support up to 100 DVI, progressive scan component HD or analogue RGB inputs. Image Design Technology (IDT): 1300 666 099 or firstname.lastname@example.org
“Photo courtesy of the New York City Office of Emergency Management, RGB Spectrum image processor”
VR Solutions “ we deliver future technologies Now! “We have been where you are, we know what you want” We address your technology requirements with custom made solutions and state-of-the-art products.
in association with
VR Solutions Pty Ltd 16/20 Depot Street Banyo, QLD, 4014
PH: +61 07 3844 9514 Fax: +61 07 3844 1399 email: email@example.com
Visit us in booth V7
ENABLING INNOVATIVE PROFESSIONAL VISUALIZATION
1/ READ MY LIPS
2/DID YOU SAY nE TO THAT OLD WOMAN?
3/ NOW IT’S A TOUCH WALL
Hall Research has released the AD-340 Universal Audio Delay Processor, a processor that can add delay to stereo as well as multi-channel bitstream audio signals, allowing hi-def video to sync to audio in larger distributed systems. The AD-340 provides both analogue (L/R) and digital (S/PDIF) inputs and outputs, enabling conversion between analogue stereo to LPCM or vice versa. Output delay can be dialled in as milliseconds, video frames or distance, depending on the application. Analogue inputs provide ±24dB of gain for direct connection of low level mic as well as handling 2V RMS line-level signals. The AD340’s digital I/O supports two-channel linear PCM, 5.1 channel Dolby Digital and DTS Surround encoded bitstreams at sampling rates from 32kHz to 96kHz. Inputs are ground-isolated to prevent buzz and hum when connecting to PC’s or other unbalanced sources – ‘unbalanced’… do they mean Britney Spears? Madison Technologies: 1800 669 999 or www.madisontech.com.au
No, our typesetter hasn’t been drinking – bear with us here. MediaMatrix have labelled its new processor the Nion nE processor. The Nion nE is a DSP platform designed for mid-market applications. The Nion nE supports up to 32 channels of analogue audio and up to 64 channels of AES digital audio via four Nio card slots in the Nion nE frame. It uses the same Nio cards as a standard Nion frame, so users get the same selection and variety of input and output options including the new Nio-AEC echo cancellation card. The Nion nE also accepts CobraNet or Dante digital audio transport network cards. The idea behind the new Nion nE is simple: keep all of the horsepower of the Nion engine and fully support NWare, but reduce the cost and make the MediaMatrix processing available to a broader market. Hills SVL (02) 96471411 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Planar Systems, which specialises in display solutions, tells us its the first display manufacturer to introduce an LCD video wall solution with integrated, multi-touch capabilities. Planar’s Clarity Matrix Touch provides a turnkey solution for deploying multi-touch video walls suitable for public, interactive signage applications. The system combines DViT (Digital Vision Touch) technology from SMART Technologies with Planar’s ultra-thin LCD video wall system and proprietary ERO (Extended Ruggedness and Optics) optically-bonded glass touch surface. ERO glass is bonded to the front of each LCD, eliminating the need for a separate protective surface. The bonded glass screen also prevents the build up of hot air between the glass and the screen, avoiding excessive heat that can damage and shorten the life span of the displays. The Clarity Matrix Touch will debut in three sizes and configurations: 2336mm (2x2), 3300mm (3x2) and 3500mm (3x3). Arrow Electronics: (02) 9868 9900 or email@example.com
4/ RCF LINE UP NEW ARRAY
5/ VADDIO SMARTENS UP
6/ GEFEN TAKE FIVE
RCF has added to its TT+ High Definition Touring and Theatre range. The new TTL11A digitally steerable array is an active column speaker array system comprising two modules, one for the mid-high and one for the bass frequencies. The TTL11A-H is the HF module and is equipped with four 60mm neodymium compression drivers with 38mm exit throat. The TTL11A-B is the bass frequency section of the system and features four 200mm neodymium woofers with 63mm voice coils for powerful mid-bass response. A 32-bit/96k DSP integrated in the TTL11A-H provides the signal processing for both modules and 2000W digital amplifiers provide power for the system. With the addition of the new TTS26-A subwoofer, the new column array can be a complete, compact and high definition live sound system. The TTS26-A is a 3400W compact subwoofer with two 380mm neodymium drivers. Group Technologies: (03) 9354 9133 or www.grouptechnologies.com.au
Vaddio announced the ClearView HD-19 hi-def PTZ camera with SmartShot technology. The camera is equipped with a 19x optical zoom lens and is built around a 1.3 megapixel, 1/3-inch type Sony Exmor low-noise CMOS image sensor. Integrated SmartShot technology with AIP (Adjustable Image Processing) provides the end user with control of advanced imaging DSP functions. Using an increased pixel aperture size, high frame rate, high signal-to-noise and column-parallel A/D conversion method, the detail and sensitivity of the sensor are increased and noise is reduced. Outputs include component HD in 1080p, 1080i or 720p and simultaneous SD video in 480i. SDI is also available with an optional slot card. Control runs via VISCA command protocol or the IR remote. Slip-clutch robotics enhance the system performance for accurate camera movement and control. Minimum illumination is rated at 0.7 lux. Transitions Systems Australia: 1300 864 835 or au.transition-asia.com
Gefen has released five new media players that cover the needs of users from basic media playing and scheduling through to comprehensive, full-scale content creation solutions. The EST-HD-DSMP is the standard media player at the bottom of the foodchain with calendar scheduling and Gefen Content Management Software. The EST-HD-DSP is the next step up aimed at digital signage applications with 2GB of internal flash storage. The EXT-HD-DSWF offers LAN-based capability using Wi-Fi and has calendar-based scheduling including 10 pre-loaded templates. The EXT-HD-DSWFP is a media player with ‘Wi-Fi Plus’ – capable of taking a live video feed and separating the signal into four quadrants. Finally, the EXT-HD-DSC is the full-HD Digital Signage Creator which comes bundled with content creation software, is accessible from any web-based browser and supports 1080p playback. Amber Technology: 1800 251367 or www.ambertech.com.au
DME SEriES Open Architecture Programmable DSP
Now with Acoustic Echo Cancellation. Exceptional I/O Flexibility & Networking Yamahaâ€™s MY-card expansion system, standard across all models of Yamaha programmable DSP and digital mixers, enables connectivity to all major digital audio protocols, as well as multiple analogue I/O options. All DME Series models are controllable via Ethernet (compatible with AMX and Crestron), USB, RS232,GPI and MIDI. Networkable up to 256 units, IP addressable, customisable multi-user PC based GUI. Yamaha programmable Ethernet and GPI controllers available.
8 mic/line in, 8 line out, 4 AES/EBU in, 4AES/EBU out, 4 channels of AEC.
8 mic/line in, 8 line out. 1x MY card slot for expansion.
Any combination of up to 32 analogue in and 32 out, up to 64 digital in and 64 out, up to 16 channels of AEC with 16 AES/EBU in and 16 AES/EBU out.
20 DME Series models available DME8i8o, DME12i8o, DME8i12o, DME16i8o, DME8i16o, DME16i16o, DME-AEC, DME24Dante, DME24-CobraNet, DME24-EtherSound, DME24-MADI, DME24-AES/EBU, DME24ADAT, DME64-N, DME8i-C, DME8o-C, DME4io-C, DME8i-ES, DME8o-ES, DME4io-ES Contact Yamaha Commercial Audio on (03) 9693 5272 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on the range.
DME Training Courses Contact Yamaha Commercial Audio on (03) 9693 5272 or email@example.com to book your place in the next scheduled training course. One and two day course options. Travel and accommodation packages available on a case-by-case basis. Courses are hands-on and limited to 4 attendees per session.
LIFT. CLICK. PLAY. Introducing the KLA Active Line Array System Award-Winning K Series Technology • 1,000 W (continuous) Class D Power Module. • Intrinsic Correction™, DEEP™, GuardRail™ Processing. • DMT™ Directivity-Matched Transition provides seamless transition between the high and low frequency drivers.
SOLO™ Rigging System • Convenient, one-person hang for most popular configurations. • No tools or external hardware required for array assembly. • Just press the button, lift the lever, and you’re connected!
Ar-Q™ Frequency Optimization • Simply click the rear-panel dial to select the number of boxes in your array and Ar-Q will tune and configure your system for a perfectly-balanced response. No external processing is required. And with a fixedarcuate design of 18 degrees per enclosure, you can create a 90 degree array using only five enclosures.
And the price – let’s just say that you’ll soon be flying your KLA rig overhead, without going in over your head. For more information about KLA and all the active speaker solutions in the QSC House of K, visit us at www.qscaudio.com or contact TAG: Ph. (02) 9519 0900 E. Info@tag.com.au
2011 QSC Audio Products, LLC. All rights reserved. QSC and the QSC logo are registered trademarks of QSC Audio Products, LLC in the U.S. Patent and Trademark office and other countries. SOLO, Ar-Q, Intrinsic Correction, DMT, DEEP and GuardRail are trademarks of QSC Audio Products, LLC.
InfoComm 2011 Highlights This year’s InfoComm show might have been difficult to get to but delivered in every other respect. Text:/ Andy Ciddor
Like all US InfoComm shows, the 2011 show at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida was big in every sense; with 33,001 people visiting the 925 exhibitors spread over about 4.4ha of hall and demo rooms (that’s roughly 1.75 times the size of the playing field at the MCG). On the training side of the event, approximately 6000 people attended InfoComm Academy courses. Naturally a gathering on this scale makes it the preferred place for getting the industry’s attention with your new product and policy announcements and boast about your achievements. Clearly, with the show running for only three days, our editorial team of nearly two people (I was half a day late for the show – see my Under a Cloud editorial for more on that saga) was unable to provide blanket coverage of the event, so instead we’ve attempted to distill out some of the more important trends we saw, together with a few randomly-selected interesting highlights. MORE GRUNT: HEAVY-LIFTING GETS EASIER
If there is one unmistakeable trend since the development of the first modern transistor at Bell Labs in 1947, the cost of manufacturing electronic devices continues to fall whilst our ability to make devices of increasing complexity continues to accelerate. In the world of Integrated Circuits (ICs) this trend was identified by Intel’s Gordon Moore in 1965, and ‘Moore’s Law’ that predicts the doubling every couple of years of the number of devices it’s possible to build into in an IC, has become almost an article of faith in the world of electronics. Audiovisual technologies have been among the greatest beneficiaries of this progress, indeed in some corners of the AV industry (particularly consumer electronics), we are seeing an embarrassment of riches. There are fields where the amount of available processing capacity has enabled all of the encoding, decoding, storage, retrieval, compression, noise reduction, equalisation, signal conditioning,
echo cancellation, merging, splitting, signal generation, Fourier transformation, control logic, buffering, image generation and user interaction that we actually need. Once this point is reached, the marketing department must begin casting around for new applications and additional customer-driven features to soak up the newly available processing power and bandwidth, to ensure that there will always be ‘new and improved’ products. This then is the biggest big-picture we can offer of what we saw at InfoComm; in addition to the handful of wished-for products that could only have come into existence in a world where processing power is nearly free and communication bandwidth is vast, everything else we saw was bigger, faster, easier to use and had more (occasionally inexplicable) features. And this year, of course, everything (except cable crimpers) has an iPad interface. 3D IN 2011
The AV industry may have been providing stereoscopic imaging systems for decades, but the public’s brief obsession in 2009 - 2010 with the nearly plot-free movie Avatar, sent content producers into a frenzy of buying (or at least testing samples of) all the tools required for acquiring, generating, editing, processing and releasing stereoscopic content. This was eagerly abetted by the display panel and projection systems sectors, who were sure they finally had a reason to build products that could pump out twice as many pixels for 3D displays. InfoComm 2010 came along when the wave of stereoscopic-obsession was nearing its peak and every manufacturer was convinced that there would be a 3D-led recovery in the world economy. Most of them were so busy hurrying these products to market and commissioning studies to prove that the public particularly wanted to buy the things they saw on stereoscopic signage displays or that boring school subjects could be made more interesting by using stereoscopic
teaching materials, that they didn’t walk around the show and notice excerpts from the same three kids movies and the same two sports video recordings were being shown in every booth. There was no program material to watch and consequently no particular reason to replace perfectly good display systems with 3D-capable ones. Stereoscopy was very much present at InfoComm 2011, but it wasn’t the highly-promoted new sensation that we saw at the previous show. Thanks to the Moore’s Law dividend, the processing power for 200Hz displays comes as a bonus with this year’s processor chips, so many more manufacturers have now incorporated stereoscopic technologies into their product lines. To a great extent it has now become another checkbox feature in product specifications, alongside image scaling, blending, wireless data, 90-250V power supplies, stealthed carbon-fibre carrying handles, and an iPad interface. There is still no indication of any one method for L/R image separation becoming ascendant. Even though TI’s DLP chips with its embedded Direct-Link synchronisation technology have been shipping in projectors for a good couple of years there are still plenty of DLP-based projectors that don’t use it for active 3D. I saw many stereoscopic demonstrations at the show, but didn’t notice that any one technology was more prevalent. Auto-stereoscopy (ie. 3D without glasses) does seem to be making some improvements, and while I still wouldn’t want to spend a couple of hours in front of an auto-stereoscopic screen watching a feature film (especially not one about blue people), it’s no longer such a disorienting experience to view the latest lenticular filter screens. The other big point is that while in 2008 you had to stand exactly on the marked sweet-spot to get any useful 3D effect, by 2011 that sweet spot is a now a circle about 750mm in diameter so two (or even three people of the appropriate sizes) can now experience the 3D effect of a lenticular screen. METAMORPHOSES & CONVERGENCES
Digital signage is showing signs of approaching some stability and maturity. Thanks at least in part, to the Swiss boffins of Spinetix – with their neat little player box and all the OEM deals they’ve made to put elements of their technology into other people’s gear – the idea of the stand-alone signage player seems to have found a place as a core component in many small- to medium-scale signage projects. Gefen alone introduced five players of various kinds at the show. The signage-as-a-service (SaaS) concept which made such a splash at the 2010 show has yet to have lived up to its promise. As these services were primarily targeted at the US market which is still stumbling around trying to kid itself that it’s in recovery, it’s possibly too soon to say whether or not the idea has legs. One company that has changed almost beyond recognition since InfoComm 2010 is Prysm. These guys made a big song and dance about their revolutionary, high definition, laser-scanned phosphor display technology that did things that they weren’t actually prepared to divulge, but they assured us it was really cool technology and that their cubes were the cleverest cubes available. At InfoComm 2011 there was also a company called Prysm, but they were showing off a life-sized high definition retail clothing display system, that just happened to be built from the display cubes that were the focus of attention last year. They are now talking even less detail about the technology in the cubes as they have become a digital signage company. We can look forward to many such transitions as the digital signage industry figures out what it does and how it will do it. The area of multi-display projection systems continues to both expand and converge. While Dataton’s Watchout has acquired some
“There was no program material to watch and consequently no particular reason to replace perfectly good display systems with 3D-capable ones”
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new capabilities in v5, including live interaction with data streams, something that was once the exclusive province of Pandora’s Box from Coolux. Pandora’s Box is itself spreading out to include additional live interactive features previously only seen in dedicated gesture and interactive touch control systems. STANDARDS IN AV
The last few years has seen quite a bit of activity on the standards front with the convergence of IT, AV and consumer electronics technologies but the dangling carrot of Ethernet, TCP/IP and UTP (Cat5/5e/6/6A) interoperability has been tantalising out of reach. It’s interesting to note that these several moves towards standards were not initiated by equipment manufacturers who desperately wanted their gear to work with their competitors’ products. The benefit of customer lock-in through proprietary interfaces still has proponents in many boardrooms. Much of the initial action towards standards has come from the chipset manufacturers who have their eyes on world dominance through every piece of gear being fitted with their chipset. Let’s face it, if you can just bolt on a chipset that handles your encoding, decoding, protocol setup and transport layer, why would you want to reinvent that wheel, and that’s why so many equipment manufacturers have become members of these standards alliance. The first of these standards that springs to mind is probably the AVB suite of protocols, but you should also be looking at the HDBaseT standard which only came out in public about a year ago, while also wondering about the meaning of the Open Control Architecture (OCA) standard that Robert Bosch announced during InfoComm 2011. AVB is slowly gaining traction as it’s being incorporated into new product development cycles, as we see with Biamp’s announcement of their AVB-based Tesira networked audio system. What’s not yet clear is which AVB components, other than Biamp’s Tesira family, can be used with this system, as there seems to be a lot of proprietary technology piled on top of the AVB transport layer. However, as we get closer to Tesira’s shipping date of early 2012, more will no doubt be revealed (and developed). The AVnu Alliance, which is promoting the AVB standard, run interoperability demos at every possible industry event and it’s always interesting to see how much work it takes to get ostensibly ‘standards compliant’ devices to play together nicely; but the list gets longer all the time. While the AVB protocol is nominally about Audio/Video Bridging, almost everything I’ve heard has been about audio, where there was previously a veritable Tower of Babel of existing audio-over-Ethernet technologies. There doesn’t yet seem to be a lot of activity on the video front. HDBaseT is a technology from Israeli developer Valens Semiconductor designed to use every bit of the theoretical 10.2Gbps bandwidth that can be bullied out of a Cat5e+ UTP cable, to carry AV data. Promoted to the consumer market under the name Five-play, the primary signal moved is uncompressed, unidirectional HD video
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which is accompanied by full duplex 100Mbps Ethernet and bi-directional digital audio, USB, RS232, IR and other low bit rate housekeeping data. Overlaid on this is 100W of DC (phantom or PoEstyle) power. The original group to adopt the technology included LG Electronics, Samsung and Sony Pictures Entertainment. However the list now includes: Extron Electronics, Microsemi Corporation, Pulse Electronics, Quantum Data, AMX, Atlona, Crestron, Elka International, Gefen, Hank Electronics, Himax Technology Solutions, Intersil Corporation, Kordz, Kramer Electronics, Lastar Inc, Legrand/Ortronics, and Panduit Corporation. Several of these companies were displaying products built around this technology at InfoComm, generally labelled as ‘HDMI over Cat5e extenders’. The impressive demo on the HDBaseT stand showed a Samsung LED-backlit LCD panel connected only via a single Cat5e cable for HD video, audio, power and remote control via IR and RS-232. There are just so many professional AV applications for equipment that works to this standard. OMNEO. Other than a carefully-worded, and essentially content-free, media release from Robert Bosch at InfoComm, almost nothing is yet known about their proposed OMNEO standard (not even
“While the AVB protocol is nominally about Audio/ Video Bridging, almost everything I’ve heard has been about audio” what the acronym OMNEO may stand for). The first component is an audio transport protocol (OMG another one!) that was codeveloped with Audinate and so uses its Dante technology. This apparently will be merged with AVB sometime in the future. The other component is the OCA: “an open Bosch Security Systems development descended from the Audio Engineering Society’s AES24 protocol architecture”, which according to the media release: “includes many features for flexibility, reliability, security, and compatible growth over the years”. So now you know as much about it as anyone else. I suppose I’ll have to wait until Integrate to get a Bosch person alone and find what this really means.
STEP IN RIGHT DIRECTION
STEP InfoComm used the show to announce the formation of the Sustainable Technology Environments Program (STEP) Foundation a move towards making this excellent concept the reality that we need. STEP provides a rating system, backed up by a 179-page document that explains the criteria for each part of the rating system. STEP sees InfoComm and CompTIA joining forces, and all parties are at pains to stress that this isn’t just a rating system for the AV industry but includes IT, with the scope widening as other interest groups can be brought on board. Todd Thibodeaux, President and CEO, CompTIA: “InfoComm already has made great strides on the universal and AV-specific components of the STEP rating system, and now CompTIA will begin the task of developing IT aspects of the framework, such as data centres and the cloud, the role of managed IT and print services, cabling and product end-of-life issues.” InfoComm CEO Randy Lemke believes the STEP rating system distinguishes itself because it addresses projects in ‘operation mode’ and not just in the design and build. From a wild and lawless frontier just a few years ago, the AV business is really growing up and embracing the standards that let us get things right more often and more consistently.
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Vivid Recollections Lights On at Vivid Sydney: jaw-dropping light installations are only an extension cord away. Text:/ Tim Stackpool
In the space of only three years, Vivid Sydney has become a much-anticipated winter festival of spectacular light, music and ideas, spread across 18 days. Immersive projections on the Sydney Opera House sails, performances from local and international musicians as part of Vivid Live and a free outdoor exhibition of light sculptures, all contribute to the event. While the festival includes many public talks, debates and discussions among leading creative thinkers from Australia and around the world, the public display of light sculptures around the Sydney Harbour foreshore precinct attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors, and present the organisers with almost as many challenges. Developed with Events NSW, AGB Events principal, Anthony Bastic, partnered with some colleagues after seeing similar events in Europe. Together, they developed the Sydney light sculptures concept (and more) with the various state authorities. ‘Lights On’, as the sculpture exhibition is called, is produced by Laura Roberts, with the prep work starting with compiling an invitation list of lighting designers and companies from around the world. These designers are asked to make a submission, based on an expression of interest (EOI) document framed by AGB’s production manager Peter Loxton. “They were asked to submit a 250-word synopsis of their concept
along with detailed installation plans, power requirements and safety issues,” Laura Roberts said. “The process required artists to really think through their submissions.” From those approached, the AGB team received 60 submissions, most of which made the grade. A selection panel made up of Events NSW, AGB, their technical advisor and the exhibition curator reduced the number to a shortlist of 35 who were then required to present their intention to the panel. “The technical and physical considerations were that the event was outdoors at the beginning of winter, had to be in place for 18 days, accessible to the public and could stand up to the wear and tear of the visitors,” Laura Roberts said. PICKING WINNERS
Finally, 24 artists were selected to exhibit at Vivid, including six international artists from Singapore. Apart from these, five major works were commissioned for the event, including the illumination of the Opera House by Superbien, Customs House projections by The Electric Canvas, Fire Dance by Howard & Sons Pyrotechnics, an interactive ‘Paint’ projection by Spinifex Group at the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the lighting of the ‘dress circle’ of buildings around Circular Quay by 32 Hundred Lighting. For production manager Peter Loxton,
the early priority was on delivering the event safely, on time and within budget. “The EOI was an important piece in this puzzle,” he said. “It was worded in a way that placed a great deal of ownership onto the artist, which included engineer’s certification if required, Safe Work Method statements, public liability insurance for anyone working on site, work zone areas marked off with cones, tape and bollards, as well as appropriate clothing, being high visibility vests, correct footwear and such.” The bump in and out periods were identified as potentially the most risky times. AGB had five site managers, each responsible for monitoring the activities within an allocated zone. The site managers would carry out a full site induction before issuing coloured wrist bands as a form of ID. Notwithstanding the attention required to achieve the installations smoothly, AGB needed to also keep a handle on artist management, ensuring they deliver ontime and to the standard described in their submission [see my comments on the success of this process – Ed]. Landowner management also presented a challenge. Working within The Rocks and Circular Quay public spaces can involve liaising with up to five different landowners, both government and private, for just one exhibition site. Each had their own processes for attaining permission to access
Jellight: Simon Lee, Aamer Taher and Pascal Petitjean (Australia, France, Singapore). French event and movie lighting guru Pascal Petitjean teamed with Australian film light expert Simon Lee and Singapore architect Aamer Taher for Jellight's giant lit jellyfish.
their property. Additionally, the artists had to be made available to the media, and regular meetings with Vivid Live and Creative Sydney ensured that the festival met the expectations of the client, Events NSW. FINDING A SPACE (& A POWER POINT)
For the producer Laura Roberts, the balance between technical necessity and artistic temperament was a consideration. She told AV: “Most of the artists already have in mind the exact location they want their installation to be set up in. And they usually all select the same location! We also need to meet the client’s expectation, which is to spread the light installations throughout The Quay and The Rocks, finding little pockets or alleyways which encourage the public to explore areas they might not otherwise know about. After many walk-throughs and hundreds of maps drawn, once we settle on a location we would then identify the landowner, obtain permission and if required, locate the nearest power source”. The flow of pedestrian traffic around the artworks also needed significant thought. “For example, have we created bottlenecks? Can people safely gather around the installation? Does this meet the requirements of our Risk Assessment and Emergency Evacuation Plan? We essentially needed to please the artist, Events NSW and finally
make sure it’s all feasible from a production standpoint. The ‘aLf’ piece down at First Fleet Park took months of work to get to that point!” Laura said. FIREFLIES SOCIALISING
Of the sculptures presented at Vivid 2011, one stands out as having particular impact on the production crew, not just because of its innovative nature, but also because of the public’s response. Social Firefly was presented to the selection panel as a new design concept, described by the artists as a social structure of friendly lights. The Vivid selection panel commissioned Liam Ryan and Jason McDermott (of Arup) and Frank Maguire to create the artwork, engaged by the possibilities of public interaction with this artificial social network. It became one of the most immersive and interactive installations of the festival. Billed as a creative exploration of social network theory, the work involved a Moreton Bay Fig tree inhabited by a colony of 50 fully autonomous ‘Fireflies’; electromechanical devices equipped with ‘eyes’ built from light dependent resistors, an 8-bit industrial microcontroller for a ‘brain’ and a servodriven LED MR16 light source as its ‘tail’. Each Firefly was able to react to the light sources around it, including from the environment, its neighbours and from people
with torches. This worked in combination with interaction algorithms developed to mimic artificial life. The result was that the more connected fireflies were highly influential and influenced more easily, while isolated fireflies had to work harder to make an impact on their friends. As Jason McDermott, one of the artists put it, “We were genuinely surprised by how much people wanted to interact with the fireflies, choosing to clap, scream and wave at the artwork, even when it was purely light based. The artwork was an illustration of emergent behaviour, not only through the light patterns of the fireflies, but also the interaction behaviour of visitors to the festival!” Another installation popular with the crew was ‘Public Art Pencil’ by Brisbane based artist Paul Johnson. Public Art Pencil was a 3m-long ‘pencil’, being made of metal containing two Oracle lasers that allowed the public to draw onto three large panels that hung from the side of a building, somewhat like an oversized ‘Etch a Sketch’. HERDING CATS
Given this is Vivid’s third year, one might hope the logistical solutions and infrastructure used previously might make for an easier rig in subsequent years. Not so, says Peter Loxton. “While the aim is the same – to deliver an event that will
attract people into the precinct – there was no workable template to deliver ‘Lights On’ for Vivid 2011. Our previous experiences gave me an understanding of what was or wasn’t possible, but we couldn’t begin to map out the structures until we confirmed the final list of installations. It then takes numerous meetings, both on and off site to establish the final destinations of every installation and associated information light boxes.” For each installation consideration has to be given to such matters as whether the sculpture is interactive and requires public access; the relationship between the sculpture and the surrounding spaces, other nearby installations and the other public uses of the location; the availability of power; the exposure of the installation to the elements; vehicle and machinery access for delivery and installation and removal; and because of the locale, the impact of the installation on heritage buildings and locations. The list of landholders who were required to give access to their property for the 2011 event included, Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, City of Sydney, Opera House, Sydney Ports, NSW Maritime, Railcorp NSW, Roads & Traffic Authority, Sydney Ferries, Opera Quay, Bennelong Apartments, National Parks and Wildlife, Overseas Passenger Terminal, Rocks tenants, Circular Quay tenants and Alfred Street tenants. That’s
enough red tape on its own to strike fear into the heart of any event organiser. IN FOR THE LONG RUN
Technically, once in place, the sculptures required little maintenance, as the endurance of each work was a significant requirement at the pitch stage. The durability of the piece at the hands of a curious public was a major consideration, as was weatherproofing. In 2010, the event suffered rain for 19 of the 21 nights. Again this year, all external electrical components were rated IP66 (which is proof against water jets, not immersion), had to be tested and tagged, and approved by the relevant authorities. Sourcing power only proved to be trying in a couple of instances. “In general it wasn’t a huge problem as most of the installations only required a standard general purpose outlet,” said Peter Loxton. “There were a few that were quite a challenge to arrange, mainly due to the various landowners. Some locations took literally weeks of calls, emails and meetings to even establish which landowners were responsible for the power source. The Argyle Cut for example, has six different parties who all have some ownership or responsibility for an installation in this space. I’m proud to say that no generators were required to power any part of the exhibition. The biggest challenge was to keep the installation at its desired location but keep
Social Firefly: Liam Ryan, Frank Macquire and Jason McDermott (Australia). Industrial designers Liam Ryan and Frank Maguire teamed with interaction designer, architect and digital artist Jason McDermott for their Vivid Sydney project. “A visually beautiful, friendly light community,” Social Firefly reflects on human interaction as the LED Fireflies gain and lose light friends. Image courtesy of Vivid Sydney Festival
A member of the Firefly colony. Image courtesy Liam Ryan, Frank Macquire and Jason McDermott l
VIVID REPORT: “MUST DO BETTER”
Illuminate: Dan Mercer and Richard Neville (Mandylights Australia). Illuminate draws on the collective power of some 140 hanging tubes filled with individually-controllable LEDs to re-light The Rocks Square with continuously-changing colours and patterns. (Image: Mandylights)
the power cable runs, in particular cable trays, to a minimum; not from a cost perspective, but simply from the look and safety aspects.” During the event, AGB site managers would conduct visual maintenance inspections of every installation at least three times per night. Security teams were also required to report any issues or concerns they had to the site managers. The various crews provided an additional set of eyes. Problems relating to the local power were addressed by the technical crew, who were on site every night. Any problems relating to the installation themselves were reported to the artist immediately. ‘Out of order’ signs were used to inform the public that a particular installation was not working. Only a couple of installations failed during the event due to local power failures, and even this was restored within an hour in one instance, and within 15 minutes for the other. Some installations did require daily cleaning or expected maintenance, which was flagged before the event began.
Vivid is certainly a unique production, not only within Australia, but also around the world. “It’s like the Biennale festival: an interesting clash of art and an outdoor environment, but with the added bonus of light,” Peter Loxton said. “Creating a light playground for thousands of people to enjoy makes all the hard work worthwhile. The bonus is working the nights as you get to experience first hand this enjoyment.” In 2010, Vivid was visited by 300,000 people to the exhibition. The goal for 2011 was to raise that by 100,000. In fact, while crowd numbers for this year officially reached the target, unofficial estimates put the figure much higher. And while any display of public art will attract both praise and criticism, the attendance numbers have made Events NSW very happy indeed.
Perhaps I’m not entirely typical of the punters who visited Vivid; but unaccompanied by the PR minders who are usually assigned to members of the media, I took a stroll round the Rocks and Circular Quay area one cold winter’s night, to have a look at the artworks. I was immediately impressed by the lightboxes (obelisks?) that were located near each artwork. These displayed some text about the artwork, a mini-biography of the artist, the obligatory logos of all the sponsors and a map of the locale, showing the positions of nearby works. For many of the works this helped to explain the artists’ ideas and often gave hints as to how an artwork was intended to be viewed or interacted with. Unfortunately in several cases the obelisks were more meaningful and better presented than the artworks they accompanied. Please don’t dismiss my remarks as merely coming from some art Philistine who was a hardbitten lighting tech for a few decades. I’ve also designed the lighting for hundreds of live and video productions, art installations and performance art works. I have many friends who are visual artists, and through collaborating with them and through teaching production technologies in an art and design school and an arts academy, I’m quite familiar with the language and dialectics of the visual arts. Given this background I wasn’t baffled by the art rhetoric that accompanied each work, but I was frequently dissatisfied that the work fell a long way short of the promise contained in its curatorial description. Sorry, but bunging a few lights haphazardly around a historical building isn’t about ‘teasing out the historical context’ of the building or ‘hinting at its many moods’. I was initially angered when I came across one piece that used solar cells to charge up during the day, then run for about a half an hour after sunset before ceasing to perform at all for the majority of the night. I thought that I had been cheated of an opportunity to see this work in action, until it later dawned on me that I had seen it in all its glory. The work was actually a great big raised middlefinger to all the stupid punters like me, who came expecting to see a performing artwork. What we had to do was imagine what it would have been like if the sculpture had stored enough energy to actually work. As a punter I was intrigued by quite a few of the pieces, baffled at the artistic meaning of others, impressed by the clever technology and ideas in the Fireflies, mildly amused by some of the graphic designs projected onto the Opera House sails by the now-traditional cluster of Christie projectors, absolutely sucked in by the Howards’ fire show, and finally surprised at how hard it was find a cup of coffee near the Lights On show at 10:30 on a Tuesday night in Sydney. Mostly though, I was disappointed by the number of ill-conceived and poorly executed artworks which clearly failed to live up the promise of their submissions to the selection panel. Vivid obviously needs to bring in the Arts branch of the ACCC to ensure that the artists deliver on their promises to the public. – Andy Ciddor
Blast Off AV Editor, Andy Ciddor, shuttles out to the Kennedy Space Center and suits up for the new Exploration Space attraction. Text:/ Andy Ciddor Images:/ BRC Imagination Arts I suppose I should be up front and disclose my personal bias: I’ve been obsessed with space science, interplanetary exploration and rocketry for as long as I can remember. I was in prep grade when the USSR launched earth’s first artificial satellite Sputnik 1, and enthralled when Dad took us outside to show us the new star moving across the night sky. Decades later, the primary reason for upgrading our household Internet connection from an ISDN splitter to ADSL was to get (almost) enough bandwidth to watch streaming NASA TV. I’ve closely followed the journeys of the two Mars rovers for the seven years since they landed, and last year, on the only recreational trip I’ve taken to the US, my equally space-obsessed adult stepson and I spent two very intense days at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida, taking every available launch-pad tour and looking at the visitor centre exhibits. So you can imagine how long it took me to respond to an offer to sneak off for an hour from the InfoComm show in Orlando for a technical tour of Exploration Space, the most recently opened attraction at KSC. Exploration Space is especially important to NASA as the July 8th launch of the shuttle Atlantis on mission STS-135 marked the end of NASA’s manned space program for the foreseeable future, and the transition of KSC from a working manned space-launch facility to what is essentially a museum and theme park. Exploration Space represents an interesting change of direction for NASA; it looks to the glorious future of space exploration, rather than celebrating or reliving its past achievements. The message of the exhibit is that we’ve only taken the first faltering steps into the cosmos, and that the most interesting and challenging tasks are yet to come, so NASA is looking for its next generations of scientists and engineers. TO INFINITY
While many of us, especially those with kids, are familiar with the educational and inspirational orientation of such places as Scitech, ScienceWorks, Questacon, etc, the existing exhibits scattered around the vast KSC site are more museum-like; celebrating NASA’s bold past and in particular their obsession with astronaut worship. During my previous visit to KSC I was quite surprised to find that many of the visitor centres and exhibits were tired and worn out through prolonged use, and what appeared to be inexpert maintenance. Many used very dated, low-resolution and often substantially-deteriorated replay and display systems. In one son et lumiere show the script was cringeworthy, the ‘special effects’ were neither special nor effective, and the lighting cues appeared out of synch with the sound track. Other exhibits demonstrated a lack of creative inspiration and more surprisingly, a disdain for authenticity and accurate technical detail.
The project was developed in just on 12 months; a process that included the US President cancelling NASAâ€™s post-shuttle manned space program, which was featured heavily in the exhibit, only weeks before the opening
Live on Stage: Twice an hour the live presenter delivers a tightly-scripted six-screen show thatâ€™s programmed in Dataton Watchout to give the appearance of the central screen being a huge gesture-based touchscreen.
Kennedy Space Centre: www.kennedyspacecenter.com Electrosonic: www.electrosonic.com BRC: www.brcweb.com Dataton: www.dataton.com Christie: www.christiedigital.com
Exploration Space is the complete opposite of these older exhibits. This project was conceived and produced by BRC Imagination Arts, one of the global heavyweight companies in exhibition design, in collaboration with KSC Visitor Complex and Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts. It's clearly focussed on catching and holding its audience’s attention while it tells its story and makes its sales pitch for their hearts and minds. The project was developed from initial vague briefing concept to running exhibit in just on 12 months; a process that included the US President cancelling the Constellation project (NASA’s post-shuttle manned space program) which was featured heavily in the exhibit, only weeks before the opening. ROCKET SCIENCE
The exhibition presents space travel as a series of challenges that need to be overcome: spending long periods in a weightless environment while being bombarded by cosmic rays, landing safely on a new planet, getting enough equipment out of the earth’s gravitational field, moving around in an alien landscape, designing and building the equipment required, and planning a journey for the minimum travel time. Some of these problems are presented primarily in a graphical format augmented by video presentation, others are essentially video presentations accompanied by some graphical guidance material, while the problems of such tasks as orbital docking and planetary landing are presented on interactive consoles running a 21st century descendent of the once-popular Apple ][+ Lunar Lander simulator. In addition to all of the flat screen and graphical material, two of the exhibits feature striking two and a half and three dimensional replicas of systems being developed for movement across alien terrain. Throughout this exhibition, very large-scale, bold graphics are used to break out of the frame of the traditional museum display. Some of these wall-scale graphics feature life-size images of NASA scientists and engineers that are so startlingly realistic that the images have been ‘defaced’ by signage to emphasise the two-dimensional nature of the graphics, and prevent the images being mistaken for real people, which from my own experience is very easy to do (but then I mix with a lot of two-dimensional people anyway). The Your Destination exhibit uses a picture frame portal to disguise the 45° inclination of the black rear projection screen behind it. The high-contrast full-frame images of spherical bodies such as the earth, our moon and Mars on the screen, give the overwhelmingly convincing illusion that you are looking at a three-dimensional spherical objects. A cheap trick but a good one. SPACE TIME
The centrepiece of the exhibition space is an open-format 50seat theatre with a lectern, a small stage, a six-screen Dataton Watchout projection system, a flexible lighting grid, a wireless mic and full cinematic surround sound. Twice each hour the theatre hosts a 12-minute multimedia show featuring a live presenter interacting with a six-screen canned show. In keeping with the experiences of its young personal electronicsNo Goggles Required: The combination of a 45° inclined black (ok, dark grey) rear projection screen, with high-contrast, high-definition images of spherical stellar bodies, gives an unshakeable impression of three-dimensional objects floating in front of you.
YES, THAT ELECTROSONIC
Designing the ATHLETE (All Terrain Hex Legged Extra Terrestrial Explorer – NASA is the home of the dubious acronym). One of the exhibits that features big graphics and life-sized images of engineers and designers. Note the label discreetly placed over the photo of the engineer to spare him from being moved on for loitering.
habituated target audience, the show content is designed, programmed and choreographed to give the impression that the central screen is a giant iPad-style touchscreen that responds to the presenter’s iOS-style swiping gestures. During the show, five of the 4.5m screens on nearby exhibits switch over to Watchout-fed material that complements the stage presentation and thematically encloses the auditorium space. The show combines an inspirational retelling of NASA’s glorious past and possible future with an eye to encouraging, and eventually recruiting, the next generation of interplanetary scientists, engineers and space explorers. This is all wrapped up in some politically-important double-think that tries to reconcile an exciting space future with a political and financial present that has decimated the US space program. At that point it begins to sound a little like any other government policy announcement or corporate presentation. FLEXIBLE LAUNCHPAD
Most importantly though, the show consists entirely of a live presenter and recorded content
Yes, this is the same Electrosonic that practically invented the technologies that made possible the ‘multimedia’ slide shows that were once what the AV event business was all about. However, just as Bell & Howell in Australia became the integrator B&H, the Electrosonic company with branches in many countries, has become an integrator on an international scale, and in March of 2010 sold its products division to Extron Electronics, so that it could focus on the integration business.
replayed through a very flexible system. At the drop of a cosmonaut’s helmet the system can be used for a wide range of public or corporate presentations, hired out to clients, or new shows prepared to tell a range of different stories. The flexibility designed into the auditorium systems is typical of BRC’s approach to the entire exhibition space. Even the 12-minute Watchout show was structured so that individual segments can be updated or replaced as policies and technologies change or NASA revises its near-term goals. Although the Exploration Space exhibition is located in a pretty ordinary commercial warehouse-style building that has housed exhibitions for many years, BRC was able to strip it back to bare walls and start again with what could have been a purpose-built setup for this exhibition. Instead, what BRC and its technology/integration supplier Electrosonic did was to refit the building into a much more flexible facility that’s capable of staging all sorts of events and exhibitions during its lifetime. No doubt some of that flexibility was built in to allow for the changes that would inevitably arise
with such a fast-track project where the refit was happening simultaneously with the development of the exhibition content. Something that was clearly custom-built for the current exhibition are the auxiliary air conditioning ducts that supply clean, cool air to the intakes on the Christie projectors. This is a simple but effective means of keeping the projectors in optimum operating condition in the hot and humid environment of the swampy Florida coast. UNIVERSAL APPEAL
Created by the same BRC/Electrosonic design and integration team that has produced high quality exhibitions at major sites and around the world, Exploration Space is an outstanding example of the art, science and magic of AV, and particularly in view of its subject matter, was a great joy for me to behold. Without taking anything at all away from the excellence of this project, I was encouraged by the realisation that the best of Australian design and integration is also in this class.
The Gang’s All Here Is it an amateur show if it’s run by pros and has an unlimited budget? Text:/ Matt Caton
If you don’t know your dibs from your dobs then here’s the skinny on the Melbourne Gang Show: Descended in a direct line from the original London production in 1932, the Melbourne Gang Show has been providing a platform for artistically and technically-minded Scouts and Guides to show off their wares since 1953. While the show is essentially a nonprofessional production, a quick glance at the technical team and five minutes watching the show, reveals that there’s nothing ‘Amateur’ about the technical elements happening of this production. Technical Director David McKinnon of CVP – who also doubled as the AV Designer – explains the way the production team came about: “We actually have to pay a show fee to be involved; so all the members of the team donate 100% per of their time. It’s really all about providing a chance for some of the technical kids to see what they can do on a large complex production.” SCOUTING OUT NEW FRONTIERS
Each year, the technical team focus on raising the bar in one of the technical areas, and this year it was clearly the audiovisual. In the opening scene, the main character, ‘The Facilitator’, is placed centre stage while his image is projected onto the scrim in front of him, a screen behind him, onto smaller screens fixed to the rotating staging, and displayed on four flown plasma screens. A Sony DSR-PD170 rigged on the first lighting bar and mounted on a remote pan/tilt head supplied the image for the media server. Throughout the show both recorded and live streams were shown on many projection surfaces. An offstage green screen booth, equipped with a GY-JVC HM100E SDHC camera, provided a live feed to the media server for use in on-thefly chroma-key effects. McKinnon chose AV Stumpfl’s Wings Platinum 4 media server to drive his sophisticated AV design. In addition to these two live camera feeds, video elements included some stock footage, some footage
recorded specially for the show, and some custom animations created by CVP. In terms of outputs, there were eight projectors ranging from 12,000 ANSI lumens to 3000 lumens and four 50inch plasma screens. The Wings Platinum system was capable of four simultaneous, independent output streams, and through the judicious use of optical shutters on the projectors, was able to have multiple devices share media server outputs. The projectors on the three rotating scenic trucks received their video inputs via Gefen VGA-over-UTP devices, while all other projectors and the plasma screens ran RGBHV. The live camera feeds were run over HD-SDI. All devices on the system were controllable over an Ethernet network, so that the individual devices could have been controlled remotely had the Wings Platinum system failed. The network also had a wireless component which meant it could all be done via an iPhone had the worse case scenario eventuated. Thankfully, the system and equipment, all donated by CVP, worked flawlessly.
The sound was designed by Greg Ginger of Outlook Communications, who also donated the sound equipment for the show.
SMOKE & MIRRORS
The music-based show was split into two very different acts; the first, a futuristic video game styled rock opera, and the second, a typical pantomime-style fantasy quest complete with goofy dragon. Lighting Designer Darren Kowacki effectively lit both these contrasting scenarios using a rig largely made up of equipment donated by one of the show’s major long-time sponsors, the Production Resource Group (PRG). PRG supplied a moving light package made up of 9 x High End Technobeams, 13 x Vari-Lite VL2500 spots and 15 x VL2500 washes, as well as various Strand fixtures, a couple of Xebex followspots and enough dual Molefays to give a blind man a migraine. The scrollers, truss, dimmers and various other equipment, including the WholeHog 3 desk that controlled it all, were included in the package, which more than complemented the Besen Centre’s house rig.
Smoke projection was used in Act 2 to great effect. A pair of Mitsubishi 3000-lumen projectors with DMX-controlled shutters were built into the set. These rear-projected onto smoke screens built into the set floor. The custom-built smoke screens used Corflute panels to create three stable airstreams. The two outside streams were simply fan-driven air which sandwiched the centre smoke stream from an F100 smoke machine to create the 1.5m high screen of smoke. The projected images were composited live camera feeds from the green screen booth. Using technology such as this provides a rare opportunity for the young technicians and crew, and no doubt many of them will soon join the impressive list of industry professionals who, [like me – Ed] name the Melbourne Gang Show as their first ‘big’ production.
PIMP MY TRUCK
One of the major highlights of the set was the three rotating scenic trucks which formed the foundation of the Act 1 set. The two outside trucks were each equipped with a pair of Panasonic projectors, rear projecting onto custom-made screens. The trucks were also decked out with verticals of 300mm box truss encrusted in LED Happytubes, LED Pixelpars and those dual Molefays. Each truck was fitted with a 12-channel dimmer, and had three-phase lighting power, DMX512, mains technical power and Cat5 UTP cables carefully run to them. McKinnon explains: “By experimenting with the set model, we established the best way to run the ‘umbilical cords’ as we called them, to enable the most effective operation. On Truck C we actually found it more efficient to pre-wrap the umbilical around the truck as part of the show preset, allowing it to unwrap as the performance progressed.”
PRODUCTION TEAM Producer: Jon Willis Director: Rob Motton Technical Manager: David McKinnon Stage Manager: Mat Baranow Production Manager: Jacq Siebel AV Design: David McKinnon AV Operator: Alan Lambe Lighting Design: Darren Kowacki Lighting Operators: Callum Walker, Chris Williams Sound Design: Greg Ginger Sound Operation: Dale Krummins, Tim Archer EQUIPMENT SUPPLIERS AV: CVP (www.cvp.com.au) Lighting: Production Resource Group (www.prg.com) Audio: Outlook Communications (www.outlookcomms.com.au)
Photographer: David Reeve
The 21st century Gang Show mixes a contemporary multi-image display system with live cameras and live chroma key (insert bottom right) together with â€˜80s concert lighting technology, modern moving lights, and staging techniques that are as old as theatre itself.
Photographer: Graeme Gill
Photographer: David Reeve
Whatever Happened to the Happy Ending? Why do so many AV projects end acrimoniously? Pete Swanson has a plan to wipe away the tears. Text:/ Pete Swanson, CTS
There’s a tragically accurate maxim in the world of software development that the first 90% of a project accounts for 90% of the allocated time, while the remaining 10% accounts for the other 90% of the allocated time. Indeed for me, right now, the biggest problem we seem to face in the AV industry is the challenge of delivering projects to totally unrealistic deadlines. Sure, tricky technology, the endless search for experienced new staff, the digital domain and other elements, conspire to make our lives that little bit harder, but the thing that really gets people prodding me in the chest (mostly metaphorically) is how on earth we get enough time at the end of a project to successfully commission systems. This is not a new problem. I remember the same things happening when I started in the industry in the ’90s and I’m sure those with more years on me could attest to the same experiences in their early years. But, with each passing year, we are cramming more complex technology into smaller spaces with ever-diminishing time frames to get it up and running. And you know what makes me mad as hell? It’s not that everything is getting more complex for all of us in order to make life easier and more sophisticated for the user; it’s that no-one is willing to allow our industry the time to make each installation truly awesome. Now, of course you can’t expect that the client is going to put up with extended commissioning periods just to make life more relaxed for the AV team. However, I bet if we put some numbers and structure behind the situation, they would stop and think for a second and maybe even change their approach. So here are three pitches we can take to our respective contacts in the broader marketplace:
• Number of weeks (averaged to 4 years): 208 weeks • Extra time to commission systems: 2 weeks • Percentage of total lifespan: 0.96% So, the client is risking less than 1% of the utilisation of their facility to make sure everything is actually up and running properly. Why did I pick two weeks? Some projects take far longer than that to commission! Here comes the second part of this argument: phased handover.
TOTING THE WRONG COSTS
1. Time to complete as a percentage of total lifespan: When the building is nearing completion and everyone wants to start using it, impatience is easy to understand, especially if the builder or other trades have (as usual) overrun their program! However, let’s take a look at the average lifespan of a building and see what a delay in commissioning might actually mean: • Typical AV system lifespan: 3-5 years
2. Return on Investment – the cost of getting it wrong: This approach is all about the dollars lost through ineffective use of systems. Take the commonplace situation in which commissioning is rushed, and thereafter the integrator is called back countless times to fix the system. There is most certainly a heavy cost on the integrator here, but let’s not forget the indirect costs to the client such as:
Even with the most complex facility, the trend is for large numbers of relatively simple systems, and smaller numbers of more complex systems (boardrooms, NOCs, multipurpose lecture theatres, etc). This means that with an extra two weeks up front before the rooms go into use, you can probably get a large number of systems on line, or at least get the high-priority, morecomplex ones finished. You may need some more time to get all the systems up and running, but if you can hand over some systems after two weeks of unfettered access, the client can then begin to use the facility and leave you in relative peace to complete the remainder. There are of course plenty of reasons why you might need a higher or lower value than two weeks, but I’d suggest this is a reasonable period to start with. The concluding point with this argument is that the two weeks actually start from Practical Completion. Decouple the client’s (and thereby the builder’s) contractual expectation that all systems will be on line the day the builder walks off site, and you dramatically improve the chances of success. No more frantic efforts to make the system ‘seem finished’ to get a tick in the box – only to return later to get it working for real.
• Disruption to planned meetings, lectures or events in session • Unexpected cancellation of rooms prior to a meeting, lecture or event • Users lose faith in systems and utilisation drops, thereby diminishing the value of the investment Where these things are really important to clients – courts, network operation centres and similar – you will more often get a reasonable commissioning period, as they typically understand the risk and cost associated with a failing or incomplete system. It is now time for us to spread that knowledge to others. We really can’t know how many things are likely to fail, so let’s work through a worstcase scenario. We’re deploying multiple rooms with control systems and 5% of the required time is allowed to complete them. Now, let’s assume that this leaves a 95% chance of room failures until such time as code writing and commissioning are completed. So, of 20 rooms, 19 (95%) will fail in the course of use. Once a room has failed, let’s assume that it takes three to five workdays to resolve the failures and bring it back fully on line. This means that on average, 76 days of productive use will be lost across those 20 rooms before all bugs are resolved. Compare this with two days required to initially commission each room. While that might be 40 days in total, let’s not forget the average AV company would probably operate at least two commissioning teams on a job of this size, meaning a four-week commissioning period in
total. However, at the end of two weeks, they will have 50% of the facility on line and operational, while over the remaining two weeks, other rooms can be incrementally brought on line. There are many ways to slice and dice this maths, but the point is trying to impress on the client the long-term risk they are taking for perceived short-term gain. BELIEVE IN THE PLAN
3. How Does IT do it?: How many times have you heard on site that “the network’s not up yet and won’t be for another xx days/weeks”, “the phone system is only partially commissioned”, “voicemail hasn’t been brought on line” and so on. And rarely are people screaming, they just accept that IT’s not done yet. Sounds a lot like blatant excuses for not getting the job done! Or, maybe it’s that the IT world has well-defined standards and processes that help clients to appreciate (if not to understand) why things take time. This is where standards like InfoComm’s 2M:2010 Standard Guide for Audiovisual Systems Design and Coordination Processes can help. Alternatively, adopt a PRINCE2 methodology, ISO9001 or other process to define how you will deliver a project. All clients inherently want a wellmanaged, process-driven project, but if you don’t offer them that, and really sell to them that you’ll deliver on it, they will just see another bunch of artisans who need to get a move on so they can move in. So, if you haven’t already done it, brush off that Project Management manual, get right into it and impress on your clients that you are delivering to a plan. That plan needs to be clear, regularly updated and you and your team need to believe in its value. Once you do, others will start to as well. In this model, don’t forget the power of regularly recording and updating progress. It’s much easier if you have a body of well-documented evidence (otherwise known as meeting minutes and professional emails) when the time comes to remind the client that you always said you’d need three to four weeks of commissioning once everything else, including the network, was ready. That well-oiled project management machine may just help you to squeak it in, in a little less time, and save those last few hours on the job for what they ought to be there for: a smooth training and handover process. HAPPILY EVER AFTER
Which brings me to my final point: what does a client remember at the end of the project? Do they remember what you said when you won the job; about the quality lasting long after the price is forgotten? Do they recall how you tirelessly changed wall plates when they flim-flammed between white, black or brushed stainless panels? Do they recollect that your team worked overnight to hit the final deadline? No. They remember whether or not they understood how the system worked, and whether the manual and the cut sheets actually helped them to use the system in those first few days. They remember whether or not the system did what they were expecting. They remember whether you helped to fix those final defects. And this is the key. For clients to truly value the technology and the process to deliver it, they must feel that they have something useful; something vital to their everyday business and that it is worth working at, to get it right. No system, no building, exists in isolation. They are all built for a definite purpose, and budget is allocated where the client perceives most value; in terms of both time and monetary commitments. As an industry we must make sure clients are getting the best possible system at the end of the project, and that their journey with that system has the best possible start. Then, we can build on these successes by increasing the profile of our industry. We can gradually win more say in making sure the client really gets what they need, and that it’s working 100% on the day they take ownership of the systems. If you think about the successful projects you’ve been involved with or know about, my guess is you’ll be able to identify that some or all of these factors – which amount to an acceptance by all parties of the need to do things properly the first time – were part of the successful mix that gave the client a great outcome. Now we just have to make that the norm for the industry and we can all live happily ever after.
Writing on the Wall Are the days of the Interactive Whiteboard numbered? Text & Images:/ Richard Caladine
In the beginning, the writing was on the walls of caves. Then it was on chalkboards. Then came whiteboards. After that came electronic whiteboards. Then came recording devices on whiteboards like eBeam and Mimio. And today we have Interactive Whiteboards. Interactive whiteboards (IWB) can be thought of as large, wall-mounted graphics tablets onto which a computer’s desktop is projected. Users control the computer by touching the board with a stylus or their finger rather than with a mouse. All of these technologies have problems. Writing on cave walls had its unique difficulties. Chalkboards were messy and the things written on them were ephemeral. Whiteboards solved the problem of the chalky mess but unless a photograph was taken, the writing on the board was equally ephemeral. Electronic whiteboards made it possible to print what was written on the board but the hard copy was not high quality as a whole board of writing was compressed onto an A4 sheet. The recording devices (eBeam, Mimio) produced usable results but the technology was clunky, as there were problems with the enclosures for markers that communicated with receivers that clipped onto whiteboards. Interactive Whiteboards still have many problems. Even with short throw projectors users have to work in their own shadow, and while projection technology has come a long way, images on IWBs are still quite susceptible to dilution from ambient light. As the projector is physically separate from the IWB, calibration
is an ongoing issue, especially with mobile units. Most projectors still require relatively short-lived and expensive replacement lamps. In addition, if someone writes on an early, resistive technology IWB with a whiteboard marker, erasing is difficult and often messy. As with any technology that has problems, good managers look to the next generation to see if the problems have been addressed. Most of us who manage audiovisual equipment receive unsolicited promotional material, sometimes on a daily basis. Today was no different. The headline on the glossy brochure was ‘LCD Touchscreens 55-inch – 65-inch’. The company was A Brighter Image P/L (www.abimage.com.au), I enquired about the price and was pleasantly surprised. The recommended retail price was approximately $10,000 and as any good AV manager knows, actual prices are usually lower. Perhaps LCD touchscreens are the answer to the problems with IWBs. RESISTANCE IS NOT FUTILE
I work at a medium-sized Australian university and have been under a great deal of pressure to install Interactive Whiteboards in teaching rooms on all our campuses. I have been resisting the pressure and so far have installed them in less than 10% of rooms. There are several reasons for my resistance. Some of the reasons are the technological ones mentioned earlier and some of them are about usage. There is no doubt in my mind that IWBs have a lot to offer primary and secondary
education, as they allow students, as well as teachers, to manipulate content. However, I believe the jury is still out on the benefits they bring to higher education. As a manger of AV I have to address the question: If they were installed in all teaching spaces at my university would some or most of them end up being very expensive screens? So far at my university I have found only two defensible uses of IWBs, and together they make up a very small minority of users. The first group is the people that train future teachers. Their students will be expected to use the IWBs that have been installed in schools, and it makes sense to teach them with the same technology. The second group is those that teach via videoconference to multiple campuses, as networked IWBs provide a way for students at all locations to work on the same virtual board and thus promote cohesion in distributed classes. However, if other users could be encouraged to incorporate interactivity into their presentations, and if the price was right, the technology would enhance the learning experience. Perhaps part of the management of this technology is the training of users. Simply showing them how to use an IWB or touchscreen to annotate their presentations, and how to record the annotations would be a positive first step. A TOUCHING SOLUTION?
One way to reduce or remove some of the technological problems with IWBs is to use LCD touchscreens. As smartphones and tablets
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become increasingly popular, it’s reasonable to expect that large and affordable touchscreens are not far away. Cost is the only reason I have approved the installation of IWBs over LCD touchscreens into the 10% of my university’s teaching rooms. To date, touchscreens have been much more expensive, though for the past few years I have been watching the prices of LCD touchscreens and noting the downwards trajectory. For example, the 65-inch Samsung 650TS (that’s TS for touch screen) with an RRP of $14,950 and the 65-inch, $10,000 touchscreen in the ABI brochure are both challengers to IWBs. They are somewhat smaller than the early 77-inch IWBs (which have a 4:3 aspect ratio) and significantly smaller than the latest 87-inch IWBs (which have a 16:10 aspect ratio). I rang the supplier and asked about larger LCD touchscreens but from their responses its clear that production quantities are keeping 75-inch and 80-inch prices very high. The question is then: how far away are reasonably priced LCD (or LED or OLED) touchscreens that are about the same size as IWBs? Only time and some educated guesswork will tell, but I am one AV manager who is not rushing into the widespread installation of IWBs. While touchscreen technology has been here for some time in PDAs and tablet computers, it has recently become popular with the success of smartphones and tablets like the iPad. Early touchscreens were single touch compared to the multi-touch screens on current devices that allow complex interactions like rotate, pinch and squeeze that make the interaction experience so much richer. TECHNOLOGY: TAKING A POSITION
There are several touchscreen technologies and they can be categorised as Resistive, Capacitive, Surface Acoustic Wave, Infrared, Optical Imaging, Dispersive Signal and Acoustic Pulse Recognition. Infrared and Optical
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Imaging are often referred to as Bezel technologies as they rely on light (usually infra-red or ultra-violet) being transmitted and received in the bezel. The light is transmitted across the screen and shadows of fingers or styluses detected. Simple triangulation then allows the device to ascertain the position of the finger or stylus. Early interactive whiteboards generally used resistive technology which was single touch. When the surface of a resistive screen is touched the surface deforms sufficiently to allow contact between two resistive sheets underneath. Typically one sheet’s resistance would be measured at 90° to the other. The contact between them changes the resistance of each sheet and hence allows the touch position to be calculated. The deformable surface was generally sheet plastic which was very easy to write on with whiteboard markers but very difficult to erase. Later interactive whiteboards use a bezel technology that uses multiple cameras to locate the touch position. With camera technology the surface of the IWB can be rigid and some manufacturers are now providing IWBs with hardcoated steel surfaces that are suitable for both projection and dry-erase markers thus removing the problems with erasing. Also the multi-camera technology facilitates multi-touch. Other recently available optical imaging technologies include cameras and sensor arrays directly behind an LCD screen that ‘look through’ the LCD panel in the infrared spectrum to detect multiple fingers, pointers and even objects on the other side. Capacitive touchscreen technology, as featured in many smartphones and tablets such as the iPads and iPhones, is multi-touch and is now found in an increasing number of devices. These touchscreens use two layers of glass (or plastic) that are coated with a conductor. The coating may be uniform, a grid pattern or parallel stripes. The stripes on the top sheet can be at right angles to those on the bottom sheet and where the stripes cross, a small capacitor is formed (as a capacitor can be simply two conductors separated by an insulator). As the capacitor is small, the presence of a human finger is sufficient to change the charge and hence reveal the touch position. SCRATCHING THE SURFACE
No discussion of touchscreens would be complete without a mention of the Microsoft Surface. First conceptualised 10 years ago and unveiled in 2007, the technology is now a real product with the release of the Samsung SU40 earlier this year. Unlike the expensive and unwieldy camera-based system in the original Surface, Microsoft Surface 2.0 uses yet another touchscreen technology from Samsung called PixelSense, in which every pixel is also a low-resolution infra-red camera. This allows detection of multiple points at the same time and the ability to recognise things other than fingers. A different approach has been taken by Dell with its S500wi ultra short throw, interactive projector. This projector employs TI's DLP Interactive technology which uses the DLP mirror array to overlay an invisible grid on the screen. This is then picked up by a camera in the pen/pointer device to give an exact screen location for interaction; without touching the board. In fact, the Dell blurb says the projector is interactive up to nine metres away. The touchscreen technology landscape is not a simple one and clearly touchscreens the same size as interactive whiteboards are not affordable just yet. However, in the not too distant future, whether it’s an interactive whiteboard or a touchscreen, the writing will still be on the wall.
Digital Place-Based Media & Technology
Vivitek D795T Extreme Short Throw Projector Text:/ Stuart Gregg
This is a projector that knows who it wants to impress. For my money it’s aimed squarely at the classroom or mid-size meeting room, and will serve them well. The Vivitek D795T has the shortest throw of any unit I have seen. At a distance of just 450mm to front of the projector it produces an image 2.2m wide. The restriction that goes along with these extreme optics is that you can only set your image size to between 2.2 and 2.4m wide, and, as you would expect, you have no lens shift and it requires fairly critical mounting/positioning to get a good square image. When mounting the projector you need to make sure that it’s perfectly square to the screen and your surface is very ‘true and smooth’ as any imperfections will be exaggerated by the extreme nature of the optics. I originally set the projector up on a tripod screen, but the slightest ‘wave’ in the projection surface showed up very clearly in the image and especially in images with straight lines such as spreadsheets, graphs, etc. If you need to mount the projector below table height, and consequently need to tilt the unit to raise the image, you do have ±15% vertical keystone adjustment, but when top of screen ceiling-mounted or bottom of screen table-mounted, keystone adjustment is not necessary. I was impressed with the image quality for such a specialised projector in this price range. When set properly, the image was sharp and focused evenly across the field. Fine detail on data images was clean and crisp. Photos and graphics looked pleasant, with saturated colours and natural looking skin tones. PROJECTS A GOOD IMAGE
Video images were good, but did require stepping outside the six preset image settings to get the best results. Using the User Mode setting you can achieve a really very respectable video image. Motion was good with very few of the rainbow artefacts that can be seen on all single-chip DLP units. While I’m sure it’s not been designed as a home unit or with heavy video use in mind, it would do a decent job of it. Running through some standard test patterns and known images, the projector displayed an impressive brightness and colour uniformity. It’s not perfect, as the image does tend to be very slightly brighter at the bottom (not really surprising given how close the bottom of the image is to the projector compared to the top). You would struggle to notice this in general use, as it would only really show up in some static images with large areas of light and dark. WELL CONNECTED
The projector has a good range of inputs including S-Video, composite, HDMI and 2 x VGA (RGBHV) which should cover most situations. I ran a range of signals in from PAL DVD to 1920x1080 files direct from Final
Cut, and it handled them all well. It will happily accept signals up to 1600x1200. All sources and signals were selected and effectively adjusted by the auto image function. The D795T is 3D ready using TI’s DLP link technology for active shutter glasses, but we were not in a position to test that side of its functionality. The menu system was simple and easy to use. The projector can be controlled and monitored via Crestron software as well as having an RJ45 Ethernet port for network and web connection. Lamp life is a claimed 4000 hours in normal mode or 6000 in eco mode (still not met anyone who runs a projector in eco mode but…). The requirement for maintenance should be low, with just a clean of the mirror and intake grilles when required. The highly-shaped mirror is fairly exposed to fingers, etc, and if floor-mounted, may become scratched if care is not taken when cleaning. CLEAN & WELL PRESENTED
The projector looks stylish, and will easily blend into most installations, even though it doesn’t have a tiny profile. No one will be disturbed by fan noise as it is extremely quiet. The overall build quality is good and the unit is finished off with clean lines and design. All connections are at the rear off the projector so cable installs will be neat and out of sight, but will need to be tidy as the projector only just sits out from the wall. I have over the years had left-of-centre thoughts of using extreme short-throw projectors such as this for ‘intelligent’ ground row lighting on sets. As this unit is whisper-quiet and fairly punchy, maybe those ideas may yet become a reality.
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AKG K99, K240 Studio & K171 Headphones Three well-priced professional headphones are given a hearing. Text:/ Graeme Hague
It’s easy to get carried away by all the hype that can surround headphones. Some cheaper makes and models, despite their price, will still promise ‘unbeatable quality’ with extra bass, extra highs, extra-special noise cancellation and… well, just about ‘extra’ everything. Not surprisingly a lot of headphone products are designed to enhance personal mp3 player use, which isn’t something we really have to consider here; I’m only pointing out that it’s very possible with all the marketing and packaging rhetoric about so-called professional or high-fidelity features to buy something that in fact has all kinds of misleading, frequency tweaks that’ll lead you down the garden path – not real quality. The question is, do you want to listen to music or do you want to hear what’s really going on? Fortunately a lot of the leading, professional headphone manufacturers know better than to offer designs that artificially enhance certain frequency bands. It’s all about accuracy, durability and comfort. To be honest, it can be a little hard to review a single pair of headphones at any great length, so when AKG announced a new model had been released it made sense to grab AKG’s offer to compare some current models at the same time. Making things interesting for yours truly the new model is a re-release of the ‘classic’ K240 Studio model, a type I’ve been using for a long time and I was intrigued to find out what, if anything, had been changed. GOOD THINKING 99
Let’s start with the cheapest cab off the rank, the AKG K99. At a recommended retail of $129 the K99 headphones don’t break the bank. Still, AKG’s marketing department has found plenty to talk about on the packaging, including “skin compatible leatherette earpads”, which does raise the alarming thought of what should happen if the earpads were not “skin compatible”! Marketing aside, the reality is that the K99s are a workhorse headphone for the less discerning listener – someone for whom the actual sound isn’t the most critical factor. They’re designed to be chucked across the control room in disgust, dropped on the studio floor, trodden on by the clumsy musician, hung around someone’s neck only to be forgotten and the cable stretched to the limit when they walk away – the K99s are a tough headphone that still delivers a quality sound acceptable for most professional applications. The semi-open earpiece shells are made of a rugged, no-nonsense plastic as is the arch brace and softer
headband. The cable is hardwired to a single side – there’s no serviceable plug connection. At the other end is a 3.5mm stereo plug with a 6.5mm push-in adapter supplied (not threaded). I’d rather see this the other way around, given that these adapters can get dodgy over time. The standard for professional headphones should be 6.5mm connector with a reducing adapter supplied. Just another subtle nod towards mp3 players? Perhaps. As for the sound of the K99s a slightly harsh uppermidrange won’t put them at the top of your audiophile listening experiences and no doubt they could get fatiguing over extended listening sessions. With an impedance of 32Ω they’ll be a little louder than others too, should you be mixand-matching headsets. On the plus side, the sound would help cut through when you need it. The conclusion here is – give ‘em to the guitar player! CLASSIC RE-RELEASE
Next according to price range we have the newly re-released ‘classic’ K240 Studios. The K240s are also semi-open, mindful of operators who may need to wear them for long sessions and don’t want a Greenhouse Effect inside their skull. The RRP is $199 and, as you’d expect, the extra money brings a few extras with it. The cable is connected to one side with a mini-XLR plug which, while it’s moulded and unserviceable, at least gives you the option to easily replace the cord yourself. At the other end is again a 3.5mm base plug with a 6.5mm adapter supplied, but this time the adapter is threaded for a secure fit. The earpads are large, covering your entire ear and gimble-suspended, meaning they offer a certain amount of X-Y movement to fit your head exactly. Also, the selfadjusting headband – a feature on all the headphone models – is accommodating enough to allow using the K240s on one ear only (a necessary evil I’ve never understood). The best way to describe the K240’s sound is ‘smooth’. Everything is there exactly how it should be with clear definition. The bass is solid without being falsely enhanced and the highs are clean without getting harsh. The K240s would be great for critical applications such as mixing down, if decent monitor speakers aren’t available, thanks to their well-balanced frquency response. For the record, comparing them to my own K240s which have taken a hammering for more than a decade, mine only exhibited a very slight tired quality. Too much loud progressive rock, I suspect. Mind you,
I should also point out that my original K240s are 600Ω while the latest types are 55Ω. You can hear that difference. EARING TEST
Finally we have the K171 MkII with a pricetag of $299. What do you get for the extra 100 bucks? The K171 are an on-ear, closed-back headphone, created to provide a greater degree of isolation from external noise. The on-ear design helps to this end and if you’ve not tried this type of headphone, the difference is immediately noticeable. The earpads are smaller and sit more on top of your ear, attempting to isolate your actual ear hole rather than blanket the entire outer ear. It’s very comfortable and combining this with the solid, closed-back shells the K171 definitely provide good isolation. The K171s come with a choice of pads, either a standard leather type or you can switch them over to the supplied felt-like material – probably better in humid conditions or, in my case today (where it’s cold and windy) – warmer! You also get two different cables – the usual black wire or a coiled version. Aside from the usefulness of the coiled cable, just getting some kind of spare is handy. When you put the K171s on for the first time you naturally wait to be blown away. Okay, I was instantly impressed with the level of detail the K171s provide. It was like someone had slipped a high-end mastering rig in the signal chain. Bass was tighter, the highs much more defined. The K171s would be great in critical conditions like monitoring field recordings, live mixing at a console that’s poorly situated and for use with video cameras – although their physical size might be an issue there. The isolation qualities of the K171s will make them suitable for noisier environments or indeed when you need to avoid headphone spill into open microphones. The quality of the K171s and the K240s does have a different kind of price. They don’t particularly like being driven really loud – the clarity turns nasty. Of the two, the K240s suffers earshredding volumes better. At sensible volumes both the K171 and the K240S demonstrate you can’t beat studio-quality, well-designed headphones that can offer highly accurate reproduction. Price: K99: $129; K240 Studio: $199; K171: $299 Audio Products Group: 1300 134 400 www.audioproducts.com.au
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
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.
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
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InfoComm Means Business InfoComm International®, the trade association for the commercial AV industry, provides you with discounted products and services aimed at advancing your business and career.
¡ Make connections with your peers at member roundtables and industry networking events. ¡ Expand your skills with industry training. ¡ Improve your business performance through industry standards and best practices. ¡ Demonstrate your knowledge by earning the Certified Technology Specialist (CTS®) credential, the only AV industry certification accredited under the International Standard ISO/IEC 17024. ¡ Gain a marketing edge by showing your company’s commitment to certification and training through our AudioVisual Solutions Providers program. ¡ Promote your business through AV iQ – InfoComm’s online catalogue solution for the Oceania Region.
Take your business to the next level – join InfoComm International today.
Contact Jonathan Seller, CTS, InfoComm International Regional Director at email@example.com, phone +61 2 8206 0979 or visit infocomm.org for more information.
InfoComm News News from the Oceania Region. INTEGRATE TRADESHOW It’s just around the corner and you’ve been hearing about it from me for months. If you haven’t already done so, go online to www.integrate-expo.com and register for the InfoComm Academy programs at the show. We have worked hard to put together a quality program with some great speakers, so it would be a shame to miss out. Randal A. Lemke Ph.D., Executive Director and CEO of InfoComm International will offer the Integrate keynote on Tuesday, 30 August, at 4:30 p.m. in the Headroom Theatre, at the conclusion of the Super Tuesday program. The topic is The Dawning of the Net Centric Era, and covers the most significant change to the AV systems integration business in the last decade. Don’t miss this presentation. The InfoComm member reception will be held immediately following the keynote in the InfoComm Academy training room above the cafe in the RHI from 5:30-6:30pm. Non-members are welcome to attend as a guest of a member. Drinks tickets will be available at the InfoComm booth. One final reminder: don’t forget to pick up your InfoComm member, CTS, CTS-D, or CTS-I ribbons from the InfoComm booth.
candidates prepare for the CTS exam. CTS Certified Technology Specialist Exam Guide covers all exam content, outline objectives and includes objective call-outs at the beginning of each chapter, exam tips, and practice questions with in-depth explanations. McGraw-Hill’s publication of the CTS Certified Technology Specialist Exam Guide marks an important milestone in the continued development of the CTS credential and the audiovisual industry. At last, a major publisher has recognized the importance of the AV industry and InfoComm’s certification by investing in creating the first one-stop resource for preparing for the exam. Finally, those preparing for the CTS exam can now reference all of InfoComm’s content in one place. We also included content from our most popular training program, Essentials of AV Technology, as an appendix to the book to provide a reference of fundamental AV terminology and knowledge. Those who are new to the industry, can start here to earn the InfoComm-recognized AV Technologist certificate, then move on to prepare for the for the CTS exam. CTS Certified Technology Specialist Exam Guide is available at booksellers worldwide.
SALE OF INTEGRATE TO DIVERSIFIED EXHIBITIONS As you’re probably aware by now, Alchemedia Events, the owner of Integrate in Association with InfoComm International has sold the event to Diversified Exhibitions. InfoComm and Diversified will soon be working on the future of our relationship for the show. For now we are focused on the 2011 show, and on providing a quality InfoComm Academy education program and networking events for our members. Integrate in Association with InfoComm International remains the only show that addresses the professional AV communications marketplace in Australia, and InfoComm remains committed to development of the Industry through the tradeshow platform.
INFOCOMM MEMBER WEBINARS This is a new member benefit that we have been developing for each region around the globe. We have six webinars scheduled in the third and fourth quarters of 2011, and hope to expand the program in 2012. We are constantly on the lookout for speakers and topics for this program and welcome your submissions. Initially you can indicate your interest by contacting Jonathan Seller, CTS Regional Director Oceania, if you are interested in presenting. As with all InfoComm Academy programs, your topic must not focus on a specific brand or product, but rather the technology. We also welcome submissions that are focused on non-technical topics. It’s our intention to gain CTS renewal units for all submissions that are accepted for the program, so we need submissions at least 10-12 weeks before the presentation date, to get them through the process and allow enough time to market the session to members.
CTS PREP BOOK RELEASED Despite the growing popularity of InfoComm’s Certified Technology Specialist (CTS) program, some problems with test preparation have persisted. The most common complaint we have heard is that there is no single resource available to prepare for the exam. I am glad to announce that this no longer is an obstacle. Publisher McGraw-Hill Professional has worked with InfoComm to develop a comprehensive resource to help
UPCOMING DATES Integrate in Association with InfoComm International 30th Aug to 1st Sept - Sydney
Network Support Professional Image Design Technology, a well-established Australian owned audio and visual product wholesaler, whom require an experienced audio visual technical staff member to join its technical support team based out of Chatswood. IDT is a leader in the wholesale distribution of quality AV products and we are expanding into new convergent technology, which offers a unique opportunity for a Network support professional to provide a hands-on, pro-active approach to this role within our innovative and progressive organisation, with the main focus being to support our existing Audio Visual product ranges. High Quality Video and Audio over IP technology is the wave of the future, and the IDT technology is at the cutting edge of the market. So if this type of technology appeals to you, IDT is the place to be, as you will be involved in the pre and post sales support of IDT’s product range from the ground up. Reporting to the Operations Manager, this is an excellent opportunity for an experienced Technical support person to join a rapidly growing company and continue to further your career.
Daily tasks will include but are not limited to: • Phone calls for technical support on our products. • Help with system design. • Contacting Suppliers for Technical information on our products. • Product Compatibility advice. • Creating product training programs for staff and customers. • Managing product compliance requirements. • Help with trade show bump in and Bump outs. • Product quality control and testing. If this sounds like you and you’re up for the challenge, submit your application, in strict confidence, please apply online using the appropriate link below, addressing how you fit our required criteria and your experience in these areas. Any I.T. accreditation will be highly regarded. All resumes to be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Image Design Technology 1300 666 099 www.idt.com.au
AV & IT Professionals Working Together This is an excerpt from the onsite course AVIT211 AV/IT Integration for Technology Professionals. AV & IT PROFESSIONALS WORKING TOGETHER
AV/IT convergence is not just about technology. There are similarities and differences in the people and cultures. For example there can be confusion with terminology; the same words may mean different things. •
A switcher in AV directs signals to different routes or multiple places. In IT a switch directs network packets to the port for which they are intended, without broadcasting them to all connections. In AV we sometimes use the term “routing switcher”. A router in IT is a computer networking device which sends data packets across a network toward their destinations.
IT and AV professionals have been living in very different worlds. It is important to understand them both. The chances are good that any of us will have more experience with one area or the other. So let’s meet a typical IT professional. They are likely to: •
Have a high degree of training, often holding a degree such as EE, CS
Be certified by Cisco, Microsoft, BICSI
Have a highly structured environment – bythe-book out of necessity
WORKING WITH IT PROFESSIONALS
IT personnel have to implement systems according to strict network structure and standards. Things like how their cables are labelled, how they document workstation locations in a building, etc. They must comply with international standards from organisations like EIA, TIA, ISO, ITC, which define industry standard construction methods The physical wiring domain for the IT environment is relatively simple, with only a few cabling types. IT professionals test in a lab before they embrace new technologies; they want to see the documentation of standards and structure. They are resistant to change, and with good reason. They are responsible for environments working reliably 24/7, and the cost of new licensing and implementation can be enormous. IT personnel are concerned with data. To them, all content is treated as data. They just want to know what type of data it is and how much bandwidth it will use. Delivery of the data is what is important. IT people don’t care about cables coming out of the front of a rack, and IT equipment is hands off, the door is locked, there is no access (AV persons are just the opposite!). IT people care about things like: •
Unified “build” of computers Bandwidth usage
Have business-critical responsibilities
Report to CIO
Security of network
IT management has, by necessity, been highly structured and standardised. Otherwise, the internet, for example could not function. Standards have been developed, and are still being developed and maintained. They are strictly followed because they HAVE to be. There is no wiggle room.
Help desk operations
Compare the AV professional, who is likely to:
The AV environment is somewhat the polar opposite of the IT environment. IT networking made standardisation and documentation a necessity. There was no such requirement for the AV industry.
Have a technical and/or creative background
Possibly be certified by InfoComm, NSCA, CEDIA, manufacturers
Work in a multi-faceted environment
Responsibilities are becoming more businesscritical (medical, financial applications)
Report to? – depends on organisation
An AV professional also has a high degree of training, but AV career paths are less defined than those of IT professionals. In the past AV was not mission or business critical, but that is changing.
The bottom line for IT is to avoid ‘downtime’, not lose data and operate securely. WORKING WITH AV PROFESSIONALS
The AV field is constantly changing as technologies and proprietary techniques change rapidly, often before any type of standardisation is possible. We are always coming up with new media, formats, and machines to play them on; and we continue to drag around our legacy equipment! Cabling is challenging and there are many different
signal and cable types, both digital and analogue, making that portion of the AV professional’s job more difficult. AV content is ‘multimedia’; AV people care about what the ‘data’ looks like. AV venues often require diverse interaction with their environments, architecture, lighting, acoustics, and other factors which must be balanced with a wide variety of content. Courtrooms, classrooms, hospitals, more and more critical application. Room use and content type plays an important role in determining AV designs. AV people care about things like: •
“The Show Must Go On”
Environmental factors – lack of feedback, screen brightness…
Media compatibility – laptops, international media (e.g. video formats)…
Batteries, frequencies, lamps
People skills – very important because end user contact is frequent
AV professionals are concerned with the outcome; that the result is a pleasing event, be it a show, a meeting, or a lecture. After all, humans respond to sight and sound. So with AV it is the product, not the process, that is the focus – the end to the means; whereas for IT it is the process, the means to the end. WORKING TOGETHER
Today up to 95% of AV dollars are controlled by the IT professionals. This compares with about 80% just two or three years ago. In universities, corporations, hospitals, museums, and other venues, it is far more common now that the technology manager works in the IT department than the facilities department. In many organisations there is no longer a separate budget allocation for AV – it’s all IT. AV departments still exist, but they collaborate with the IT department, and it becomes difficult when the area is large and the agendas are different. (e.g., banks are very protective, schools cover large geographical areas). Because of this trend, close cooperation and clear communication between AV and IT professionals is absolutely necessary. Understanding and accepting their different needs, roles and responsibilities will help AV and IT professionals work better together.
Termination Holy Schick… It’s a New Product! Text:/ Graeme Hague
They did it again. The editor and the editorial director buggered off on another overseas junket and left me behind. Mind you, last time I wrote something on conferences and seminars I got into trouble for sexist remarks about lap-dancing, so maybe it’s a good thing I stayed here. And to make doubly sure nobody is offended again, they’ve since assured me on their return there is absolutely no lap-dancing to be found in Orlando, Florida. None at all… no-siree-bob. Nothing. They spent many, many hours checking to make sure. That’s where they went, Florida, to visit InfoComm, which is where all the latest and greatest gadgets and technical trickery are released to the industry – with much fanfare and pamphlets, of course. If you’ve got an important, new product to announce, then InfoComm is the place to do it. The whole world will be watching. Which is why I want to write about disposable razors and toothbrushes. Yes, our editorial team would have been well equipped with such things [actually, I haven't shaved since the age of 20 – Ed.], but that’s not what I’m talking about. Instead, I want you to cast your minds back about… oh, 40 years? Picture a company boardroom filled with Disposable Razor Executives. These people are on the horns of a dilemma. They’ve recently enjoyed all the success of a revolutionary product – an all-in-one plastic razor that instead of requiring a fresh blade to be sharp again, you simply throw it all away and use another one. The whole lot, handle and all. The dilemma is – what do they do next? How can they top that? Finally, one of the executives put up a tentative hand and perhaps meekly
suggested, ‘Why don’t we put in another blade?’ Another blade? A twin-bladed disposable razor! Sheer genius! Give that man a raise and two weeks in a condo on Bermuda with his secretary (okay, I watch Mad Men). The problem is solved and everyone can move on… for another 12 months, anyway. However then, the trouble is: what will they do next time? How do they beat that? Maybe the same guy will put up the same hand and say the same thing? Three blades! A triple-bladed disposable razor. Just the syntax of that sentence must have had the advertising departments drooling in anticipation. Awesome! So, what are we up to now? Is it five blades? Six? The sales pitch of a revolutionary product being improved is getting a little old, but seriously – what can you with a product that worked just fine in the first place? Now consider the humble toothbrush. Have you ever thought just how difficult and torturous it must be for toothbrush designers to come up with a new toothbrush – even though the previous model worked perfectly well? They’ve tried flexible heads, moulded handles, laser-shaped bristles… I thought the ‘tongue cleaner’ on the back a while ago was the most amazing piece of marketing, misinformation crap ever dreamed up. [Actually, it works – Ed.] Every year at InfoComm you’ll find a lot of the same kind of thing. There’s a big difference between releasing something that is truly an innovative and exciting new product – and something that has all the same hype, but really they just added yet another blade. You have to feel sorry for the engineers and designers in this
business. They’re put under the pump by senior executives who say the old adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is only going to wreck their sales projections and send everybody broke. Something new must be created. Not only that, but the marketing department then has to somehow convince everybody again that although they insisted the previous models were unarguably the best-ever devised in the whole, entire history of the planet… they’ve come up with something better. It’s not fun. Here at AV we get a lot of news releases and in the interests of offering an objective point of view and that muchvaunted level playing field (I’ve played sports on some cow paddocks in my time, but they never sloped) we judiciously edit out references like ‘innovative’, ‘industryleading’, ‘ground-breaking’, ‘unique’ and ‘exciting’ to name just a few. Which leaves us with pretty much “Dear Sir, please find attached…” and that’s about it. The good news for AV readers is that you don’t have to worry about any of the above. Instead, we’ve done all the hard work for you. We sent (almost) our best team across to Florida to scrutinise everything on offer at InfoComm, sort out the wheat from the chaff – the technological breakthroughs from the tongue-cleaners [actually, they work – Ed.] – and came back with only all the best information just for you. Which undoubtedly makes AV ‘unique’… the industry-leading, uncompromising, innovative, groundbreaking and exciting publication you’ve come to expect every issue.
ExpEriEncE MorE .: CONFIDENCE :.
Confidentiality, too. With Audio-Technica’s ATCS-60 infrared conference system, your wireless signal won’t make it out of the room, let alone visit another building. While typical RF wireless systems broadcast right through walls, the ATCS-60 keeps your signals safe & secure, with no information leakage. The innovative ATCS-60 offers flexible configuration for up to 150 participants, intuitive operation, and selectable channels for multi-language groups. Whatever your installations demand, experience more. audio-technica.com FeatureS • Information control —Your wireless signal won’t leave the room
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More information? Contact your Audio-Technica dealer or TAG email@example.com Ph. (02) 9519 0900.