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onal fe s s i a l p ro i ov i s u e a ud fo r t h

Please See Your Doctor RFDS PRESCRIBES LATEST VC TECHNOLOGY

TAKEN AS RED: AUSSIES WOW MOSCOW WITH HUGE PROJECTION GRAND UNIFIED THEORY: SYNDEY OPERA HOUSE’S MASTER LAN

Digital consoles & multi-tracks The Portastudio offers songwriters and musicians worldwide the tools to create and demo on the fly and this range continues to offer peerless sound quality and essential features. Tascam’s digital mixers are among the most transportable digital consoles available today and come with a huge array of features.

EXTRAORDINARY RECORDING GEAR Handheld recorders

Broadcast & specialist recorders

Great for recording everything from field sounds, lectures, interviews and speeches; through to band rehearsals or as a quick ‘notepad’ on which to get song ideas down, TASCAM’s range of handheld and field recorders offer light compact designs, vast features sets and amazing audio quality.

TASCAM also have recording devices for field recording; broadcast; TV & film; mobile facilities; studios; installed systems; post-production and many other applications.

For more information contact CMI Music & Audio on 03 9315 2244. www.cmi.com.au


Bring images to life with the superior quality of Japanese design and engineering. Whether it’s a small classroom or a giant sporting stadium, Mitsubishi Electric has the visual display solution to suit your needs. With the freedom to choose from a large range of home or business projectors, commercial LCD monitors, Video Wall systems or large format Diamond Vision LED screens, the possibilities are only limited by your vision.

Projectors

Commercial LCD

Diamond Vision LED

DLP/LCD/LED Video Walls Proud partner of the Australian Centre for the Moving Image

VISUAL INFORMATION SYSTEMS

Mitsubishi Electric Australia Pty Ltd, 348 Victoria Rd Rydalmere NSW 2116 www.MitsubishiElectric.com.au ph: (02) 9684 7777 fax (02) 9684 7208


DS8000 Digital Wireless Microphone Systems Pro Spec: 24-bit audio quality for concert stage, recording studio and broadcast. Fail-Safe Redundancy: System automatically detects a system fault and seamlessly switches to the backup system. For example, when the system senses a battery is about to die it automatically switches to the backup transmitter and receiver and sends a text message to tech support.

Mission-Critical Audio

Production Audio Services New Zealand P.+64 (0) 9272 8041 sales@productionaudio.com.nz www.productionaudio.com.nz

Production Audio Services Pty Ltd P.(03) 9264 8000 info@productionaudio.com.au www.productionaudio.com.au


04

Editorial Boost Your AV iQ One of the best features of the mightilyunderused AV website (yes, we do have a website, it was actually online before the first issue of AV even hit the streets) has been our link to the amazing InfoComm IQ system. Camouflaged under the misleading label ‘Product News’, this extensive database of AV product news and information is updated pretty much every working day with the latest releases from the vast majority of international AV equipment manufacturers. Here at AV we have been talking about how we could add a product news section to our website, but when we saw the scale, depth and relentless currency of the monster that InfoComm had already built (and were adding to at a rate we couldn’t even aspire to achieve), we jumped at the iQ team’s offer to syndicate it for our readers. Even if you haven’t found this database, we’ve been using it for product research, not only for the magazine, but also for our own AV projects. Although this equipment database was pretty damned good and covered most of what we use here in Australia & New Zealand, it had a couple of serious shortcomings. Firstly, it didn’t cover all of the products available here (particularly those from local and regional manufacturers), while at the same time it displayed North American products that either weren’t suitable for our market or weren’t on sale here. But almost worse than that, the database only listed North American distributors and resellers, which could be really frustrating if you’d found the product that was ideal for your project, only

to discover that you couldn’t find where to buy it from, or even ascertain its price and availability. Clearly I wasn’t the only person in the world who had this simmering love/hate relationship with InfoComm iQ, because at the InfoComm show in Las Vegas in 2010, the iQ team started to talk with us about what a locally-relevant version of the iQ system might look like. It took several meetings and several more teleconferences for us to work out why we couldn’t communicate the shape and texture of the local industry. However, once we’d worked out that the iQ team assigned totally different meanings to common words like ‘catalogue’ (catalog), ‘shop’ and ‘distributor’, we were able to explain to them how the AV industry is structured in a country as about as large as the US but with a population only 7.5% that of The States; the majority of whom are scattered thinly along a coastal strip along eastern edge of the country. The eventual result of those discussions was a major restructure and upgrade to the iQ system to allow it to handle industry models that differ from the US, while at the same time providing a whole new list of functions that include information about service and equipment rental providers in addition to equipment vendors. For us here in Australia and New Zealand it means the creation of AViQ, the equipment, service and supplier database that covers the entire local industry, listing locally available products and services, complete with local distributors, resellers, rental companies, service agents and local pricing.

Of course, a database without data is totally useless, so since the final beta versions of the AViQ went live a few months ago, representatives from AV and InfoComm have been pestering and cajoling all the local suppliers to tap into the existing global database and fill-in the local parts of the puzzle. Everybody gets listed (to ensure the database is comprehensive as it can be), whether they’re InfoComm members or not, and everyone also gets the chance to pay for an upgrade to the amount of detailed information that’s listed. The new AViQ will be going live very soon, replacing the old iQ linked from that secret button on the AV website. We’ll let you know via our AV Newswire email service when it becomes available (if you don’t get Newswire, follow the link on our website to subscribe). It will be well worth the effort to have a poke around and see just how amazingly useful the site can be when you’re looking for an equipment spec or the contact details of the local supplier. You can also browse the listings of all the equipment that’s been released recently and what’s been upgraded and who’s distributing what this week and a whole bunch of other stuff. Please let us know if we’ve missed listing a company and please let the companies know if they’ve overlooked a product that you’re interested in.  Andy Ciddor, Editor Contact Andy on andy@av.net.au

Australia’s Own Web Research & Marketing Tool contact Philip for more 02 9986 1188 or philip@alchemedia.com.au

Powered by


The new Samsung LED*BLU Video Wall solutions put the focus back on the image VISIT US AT STAND XX

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

www.samsung.com/au/lfd it.sales@samsung.com


Crew After spending five years desiging and installing sound, communication and network systems in the Big House, Cameron has now been released out into the Real World. Prior to the ‘House, Cameron worked as a freelance theatre technician on commercial shows.. A staunch believer in technology and combined networking, he now wanders the country in search of venues in need of communications assistance.

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

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

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

Derek is an audiovisual consultant with AVDEC, specialising in tertiary education projects. Starting in broadcast TV and radio at the ABC, he bounced between event AV and video production before settling for 12 years at the University of Queensland. He is past president of the Association of Educational Technology Managers and has been a regular judge of the AVIA awards. He now divides his time between consulting, writing and the occasional video production assignment.

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

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.

alchemedia publishing pty ltd (ABN: 34 074 431 628) PO Box 6216, Frenchs Forest, NSW 2086 info@alchemedia.com.au All material in this magazine is copyright Š 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. 11/11/11

Paul is a freelance lighting designer based in Sydney. Struggling to find work in his homeland, Paul spends much of the year in far flung places in perpetual search for the perfect breakfast and good coffee. With a love of lights, gadgets and a good story, Paul makes an admirable effort to bring to AV reviews of products and events from around our small and wondrous globe.


Customizable backlit buttons

TLP 1000 Series 10" TouchLink Touchpanels

Configurable Control for Larger AV Systems 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

www.extron.com

www.rgbintegration.com

+65.6383.4400


C R E AT E A L A S T I N G EXPERIENCE IN A WIDE RANGE OF MARKETS

Clarity Matrix LCD Video Wall System

S E E M I N G LY S E A M L E S S For customers who need a nearly seamless video wall and uninterrupted operation, the Clarity Matrix LCD Video Wall is the ultra-thin bezel LCD video wall system that provides outstanding tiled visual performance, supports extended operation and requires minimal installation space. The Clarity Matrix LCD Video Wall System provides the most vibrant visual performance while easing the difficulties in achieving perfect alignment, optimal cooling, simplified service and extended operation, proving that Planar offers superior display technology for the world’s most demanding users — when image experience matters.

Clarity Matrix Features: Available in 46” or 55” Ultra-thin bezel 24/7 operation

Image Design Technology | 1300 666 099 | www.idt.com.au | sales@idt.com.au

Features EasyAxis™ Mounting System for precision alignment Designed for superior reliability and ease service


Issue 21 REGULARS NEWS AV industry news.

12

INFOCOMM NEWS Regional news from InfoComm.

46

TERMINATION Feel smug or uneasy as we track the travails of an unfortunate AV operator.

50

FEATURES

20

QLD EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTRE The story of how AVI completed this complex install during the floods.

20

TRY, TRY & TRY AGAIN The Rugby World Cup Opening Ceremony, as viewed from the control room.

26

BANKING ON A RECORD David Atkins marks Moscow’s Federal City Day with a projection spectacular.

30

VIDEO CONFERENCING ON THE FLY The Royal Flying Doctor Service embraces the latest in video conferencing technologies.

36

REVIEWS BOSE ROOMMATCH An installation PA system precisely tailored to the space.

26 36

42

TUTORIAL SOH GRAND MASTER LAN A first-hand account of how the Opera House has put all its datagrams in one basket.

40

PROFESSIONAL SALES SKILLS Listening to your client’s needs.

48

PA HOISTS

VIDEO OVER IP

THEATRE LIGHTING

THEATRE COMMS

AUDIO OVER IP

(DMX)

PORTABLE DEVICES

WIREL

SS

ELE

ESS

WIR

30 CONTROL LAPTOPS

EXCHANGE SERVERS THE GRAND MASTER LAN

OFFICE PCs

PRINT SERVER

(EMAIL, WEB)

BOX OFFICE TICKETING

VoIP TELEPHONY

AUDIO SIGNAL PROCESSING

40

42


You create a custom solution for each installation.

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At Bose, we launched a research project

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module or four module modes, delivering

The results are the new Bose® RoomMatch™ array module loudspeaker and the PowerMatch™ configurable professional power amplifier. Now you can create a

Fifteen different coverage patterns

Horizontal 55º, 70º, 90º, 120º Vertical 5º, 10º, 20º, 40º, 60º

best-in-class audio performance, regardless of configuration. We believe these products are a fresh approach compared with conventional solutions,

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RoomMatch™ array module loudspeaker I PowerMatch™ configurable professional power amplifier To learn more, call us on 1800 659 433 Visit pro.Bose.com/info Or email us at info@bose.com.au

Bose Professional Systems Division Design I Performance I Support ©2011 Bose Corporation.


MORE COMPELLING THAN EVER Philips BDL4651VH 46-inch LCD Monitor

Philips BDL5530EL 50-inch LED Display

Deliver crystal clear marketing messages even in locations with high sunlight or brightness conditions. The 1500 nit LCD display brings you incredible picture quality just about anywhere.

Deliver startlingly clear images in a more eco-friendly way with the edge LED display. High on performance and reliability, yet low on power consumption, it is ideal for projects where no compromise is accepted.

• 1500 nit LCD • Full HD • Slim bezel • Ideal for sunlight applications • SmartPower for energy saving • Smart insert in the backcover to place a small PC

• Edge LED Backlight • Full HD • Narrow bezel • SmartPower for Energy Saving • Advanced anti image sticking function • Smart insert in the backcover to place a small PC

Exclusively Distributed by: Avico Electronics 8 Foundry Rd, Seven Hills, NSW, 2147 P: +61 2 9624 7977 www.avico.com.au commercial@avico.com.au


012

NEWS

MORE CONTROL FROM CRESTRON

PANASONIC MAKES SWITCH

MORE 3D

The DMPS-300-C from Crestron is a high-definition presentation control and signal routing solution for boardrooms, lecture halls, and video conference rooms. Integrating the control system, multimedia matrix switcher, microphone mixer, audio DSP and amplifier all into one 3U package, the DMPS-300-C provides extensive signal routing flexibility and highperformance signal processing without the need for separate components. Auto-configuring inputs enable plug ’n’ play compatibility with a wide range of digital and analogue sources. Built-in DigitalMedia connectivity allows for a streamlined wiring solution for interfacing with remote AV sources, computers, and display devices. Every step of the DMPS-300-C setup process is designed to be quick and easy, using its front panel or Crestron Toolbox software, configuring inputs and outputs automatically while letting the installer make design decisions along the way. Out of the box, the DMPS-300-C front panel supports basic signal routing for easy testing and troubleshooting during installation. Crestron: (02) 9737 8203 or www.crestron.com.au

Panasonic will release a new live switcher for professional broadcast use, the AV-HS410. In a compact, all-in-one 19-inch rack-size design the AV-HS4101 1 ME switcher provides in its standard configuration nine signal inputs, expandable with option boards to a maximum of 13 signal inputs (HD/ SD switchable). The 7-inch colour LCD panel displays settings in an easy-to-read format along with a new memory preview function, an improved multi-view function and a simple key layout optimised for live broadcasts. Expandability is provided by optional board slots enabling support for a variety of input signals, including 3D cameras, and by the provision of a software development kit (SDK) that makes it possible to add software-based functions. In its standard configuration, the AV-HS410 supports HD and SD multi-format signals and the system frequency is switchable among 60Hz, 50Hz, and 24Hz, enabling operation and digital cinema control worldwide. Builtin effects include standard wipe, mix and cut effects in addition to DVE transition effects such as squeeze and slide. Panasonic Australia: 132 600 or www.panasonic.com.au

Projectiondesign has released its new F35 AS3D, claiming it to be the ‘world’s highest resolution Active Stereo 3D DLP projector’. With up to 1920 x 1200 pixel resolution at full 120Hz refresh rates, the F35 AS3D displays fully uncompressed 3D. The F35 AS3D is based on the F35 WQXGA model, Projectiondesign’s high resolution DLP projector. The F35 AS3D features a wide range of specifically designed high-resolution projection lenses and incorporates projectiondesign’s RealColor colour management suite for achieving on-site calibration and colour accuracy. Natural and precise colours add to the high-resolution performance of the F35 AS3D, and image quality can be guaranteed over any number of projection channels. The projector offers brightness levels up to 7500 ANSI lumens, a range of configuration options, and seamless switching between 3D and 2D. Additional benefits include user adjustable Smear Reduction Processing that reduces motion artefacts in high-speed imaging. Amber Technology: 1800 251 367 or ambertech.com.au

NEWS IN BRIEF:

Acoustic solutions manufacturer Vicoustic has announced that Radiance Audio Visual will distribute its product range in Australia. The Sydney-based company will focus on developing Vicoustic business in the music, broadcast, hi-fi and home cinema markets, adding the brand to an existing portfolio of high-end audio and hi-fi products and accessories. Presumably calls from pro AV customers will also be welcome! Radiance Audio Visual: (02) 9659 1117 or info@radianceav.com.au

Polycom, which specialises in standards-based unified communications (UC), has announced the acquisition of ViVu Inc. ViVu has developed innovative video collaboration software that can be easily embedded into web applications such as enterprise, social, and vertical industry applications to enable instant web-based HD video collaboration. ViVu gives Polycom a fast-track to embed HD video into web-based applications. Polycom: 1800 355355 or www.polycom.com.au

Claimed to be the first to be based in Australia, a new Midas XL8 is the flagship console for emerging Melbourne/Hobart company Mighty Rock Performance Technology, a rental operation set up to focus purely on Midas digital consoles and associated accessories. Mighty Rock’s XL8 is joined by a Midas Pro9 digital sound system with the addition of the new Midas Pro2 series planned within a matter of months. National Audio Systems: 1800 441 440 or sales@nationalaudio.com.au

Hills SVL distributorship of Samsung Large Format Displays (LFD) became effective on the 1st of October 2011. Hills SVL has announced that the initial shipment of inventory has arrived into its warehouses nationally and Hills SVL are now taking orders. The Samsung Commercial LFD range has nearly 50 different models of LCD and plasma displays catering for digital signage, commercial display and information display applications. Hills SVL: (02) 9647 1411 or nsw@hillssvl.com.au

FrontRow and Calypso Systems announced that they will merge into a single entity operating under the name FrontRow. The unified company plans to offer a suite of technologies that schools can use to improve communication and device control within and between classrooms. In Australia, Image Design Technology (IDT) will remain a Calypso Systems Distribution Partner, working closely with FrontRow in servicing local and NZ markets. IDT: 1300 666 099 or sales@idt.com.au


EXTRA WASHING The Varilite VLX3 Wash Luminaire promises to give you all the benefits of LED technology with the best performance characteristics of traditional automated luminaires. Using three LED engines, the VLX3 Wash offers high colour and intensity, multi-year source life and long reliability. Three, replaceable custom 120W RGBW LED chipsets provide output that offers three times that of comparable tungsten sources. The total system provides approximately greater than 6000 lumens of white light output and the 10,000 hour source life of the chip ensures that lamp replacement costs are minimal. Additionally, the VLX3 wash offers a dynamic CRI adjustment, a continuously adjustable colour temperature white range between approximately 3000 and 9000 Kelvin, and seamless colour mixing. Beam size control is achieved by the use of an optical zoom system that offers a zoom range from approximately 15 to 55 degrees. Accessory mounting points are included allowing the attachment of additional, aftermarket beam control devices. Jands (02) 9582 0909 or info@jands.com.au

THE CONFERENCE PHONE,

EVOLVED Revolabs has redefined the traditional design of conference phones. FLX is comprised of several distinct components giving you unprecedented freedom with respect to placement and accessibility of the speaker, microphones and dial pad. FLX is wireless and simple to set up making it the perfect choice for any mid to small sized conference room.

Matrox’s own MuraControl for iPad, the company’s first app for Apple mobile devices, was released by the App Store on September 20th, 2011. Available as a free download, MuraControl transforms the iPad into a touchpanel control interface capable of remotely managing input sources on any Matrox Mura MPX-powered video display wall. The app replicates the video wall on the tablet screen so that users can drag, drop, and tap on windows on the iPad to create media layouts on the video wall in real time. New Magic Australia: (03) 9722 9700 or www.newmagic.com.au

Don’t get your Marshalls mixed up here. Marshall Electronics and Quinto Communications have reached an agreement whereby Quinto will become Marshall’s official distributor for the sales and technical support of broadcast monitors in Australia and New Zealand. Marshall Electronics is a well established North American manufacturer with a wide range of cost effective professional video and audio equipment. No loud guitars, or car batteries involved at all. Quinto Communications: (03) 9558 9377 or www.quinto.com

Stylish design

Wireless freedom

Bluetooth integration

Superior audio quality

Simple set-up (with video tutorial)

For your nearest dealer: Call 1300 13 44 00 or visit www.audioproducts.com.au

Scan the QR Code to watch the FLX video


014

NEWS

THE POWERHOUSE POWERS UP

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

THE LATEST BUZZ IN HDMI

The Brisbane Powerhouse Theatre recently acquired two Digico consoles for use across its spaces. A Digico SD8-24 and a SD9 were commissioned along with a Digi-Rack and a SD8 MADI-Rack. Management at the Powerhouse wanted a system that was reliable and flexible, considering the diverse range of applications the venue demands. Ease of use was also a factor with the same user interface across all of the SD Series consoles making training new operators simpler. With the new consoles Tony Childs, Head of Sound at the Powerhouse, has noticed that his team is now extremely eager to work since they will have access to Digico, which has made his ability to roster operators much easier and unfortunately suggests they were a slack, grumpy bunch of sods previously – but we’ll assume that wasn’t the case. For those who don’t know; opening in 2000, the Powerhouse Theatre in the suburb of New Farm was built inside the shell of a decommissioned power station that was constructed in 1940. Group Technologies:(03) 9354 9133 or www.grouptechnologies.com.au

Following the recently launched Commercial Solution Series (CSS) Ceiling Speaker range, JBL has released accompanying Zone Control DSPs, paging stations, wall controllers, an amplifier package and… a few more speakers. Everything is packaged under the JBL Commercial Solutions banner, so no one gets confused. The range includes two mixers, the CSM-21 for a single zone and the CSM-32 which caters for two. Three remote wall panels are available, connecting via Cat5, the CSR-V (Commercial Sound Remote-Volume only), CSR-2SV (two source selector and volume) and CSR-3SV (three source selector and volume). There’s a two-channel half-rack sized amplifier, the CSA-2120 rated at 120W per channel at 8Ω/4Ω with a limiter and 70Hz HPF. A similar half-rack transformer, the CST2120 will provide100V/70V output. Speaker-wise, the CSS-1S/T is a Control 1Pro clone, but its innards are quite different featuring a 10W multitap transformer that can also be run at 8Ω – at which its power handling is 60W. Wallmount bracket is included. Obviously, JBL is serious about this commercial stuff. Jands: (02) 9582 0909 or info@jands.com.au

Okay, this is very cool and I want one. Jonsa Ellies has a range of HD-Power-Link and HDMI over Power products that are ready for release. These devices (transmitter and receiver) allows you to stream H.264 HD Video, Multi Channel Audio content from a HDMI source such as a Blu-ray Player, Media Centre, Pay TV STB and other similar sources to around the home or office using the existing power lines – yes, feel free to read that again. The concept’s been around since the days of dodgy Tandy intercoms plugging into the mains, but still – HDMI…. The HD-PowerLink distributes the HDMI signal up to 100m and with the Deluxe version you can select up to three AV sources. An infra-red control blaster/re-emitter cable controls your AV devices from any other room from where the streaming AV device is located and a remote is used for the usual software programming. LAN connections allow for a network-over-power setup as well. See? I knew there was a reason I couldn’t be bothered filling my new house with control cabling. Jonsa Ellies: 1300 660 155 or sales@je.com.au

NEWS IN BRIEF:

CMI Music & Audio has announced its appointment as the Australian distributor for Antares, arguably the worldwide standard for vocal processing tools, as from the 15th October 2011. Antares Audio Technologies develops DSP-based audio software that provides musicians, producers and engineers with creative capabilities including the almost indispensible (these days) ‘Auto Tune’ software that has become a household name in the industry. CMI Music & Audio: (03) 9315 2244 or www.cmi.com.au

More news from Polycom, who have unveiled RealPresence Mobile, the first enterprise HD video software solution for tablets, available now on iPad 2, Motorola XOOM, and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. Powered by the Polycom RealPresence Platform, it extends their HD video collaboration to allow mobile professionals to use a tablet to communicate with desktop, video room systems, tablets or laptops. The application is available via a free download. Polycom: 1800 355355 or www.polycom.com.au

LifeSize has announced that LifeSize ClearSea (formerly Mirial ClearSea), an enterpriseclass desktop and mobile video conferencing platform, now supports iOS5. Users will be able to connect from any iPhone to any H.323 or SIP-based video conferencing system. LifeSize is now offering natively interoperable video calling from the conference room to the PC and Mac as well as to iOS5, and a range of smartphones and tablets. A free trial of LifeSize ClearSea is available from www.clearsea.com/ download.html.

Digital and automated lighting company High End Systems, a Barco company, has announced the appointment of newly-created Lexair Entertainment as its Australian distribution partner. Headed by well-known control specialist Alex Mair, Lexair Entertainment will provide total Australian-based support for High End’s full range of Wholehog lighting consoles, automated and digital lighting products. Lexair: 0418 691 509 or AlexM@lexair.com.au

The multicore hasn't give way to Cat5 yet. Klotz Cables has released the OmniFIX OX22AY, a multicore cable for stages, studios and fixed installations. Suitable for analogue and digital audio, it comes in 2 – 24 pairs, and is suited to fixed installation due to its overall foil shielding and flame retardant PVC outer jacket. Delivering low attenuation (4.3dB/100m at 3MHz) and outstanding jitter performance, it's ideal for very long cable runs. Production Audio Services: (03) 9264 8000 or sales@ productionaudio.com.au


PMD661 Professional Field Recorder

WAV (Broadcast WAV File) or MP3 recording format

ON ANY GIVEN SUNDAY Nope, there’s no Steve McQueen and no loud motorbikes – just a loud PA. Hillsong Church’s Greater West extension service has purchased an integrated Yamaha PA system. Hillsong Greater West is one of 12 extension services run outside of the main Baulkham Hills campus. Every Sunday the worship team runs a 9.00am and 11.00am service, meaning bump-ins are early, fast and need to be done right (9.00am exists on a Sunday? I don’t think so…). Hillsong wanted a PA that could deliver quality, flexibility and wide coverage, and decided on an LS9-32 digital mixer and digital multicore connected directly via Cat5 to the processor, a DME80-ES. The speaker system consists of a single IF2115/95 cabinet with a 60°x40° horn per side, underhung with an additional IF2112/95 cabinet with a 90°x50° horn. Two IS125 dual 15-inch subs provide the bottom end, and the whole rig is powered by T5n power amplifiers. Impressive, but still all a bit much for Sunday mornings for most of us. Yamaha Music Australia (03) 9693 5272 or www.yamahamusic.com.au

Large, easy-to-read OLED display

Uses stable, reliable SD or SDHC memory cards

Digital recording at 44.1/48/96 kHz fs at 16 or 24-bit quantization

Ergonomic, onetouch transport controls & More

Based on the innovative design of our hugely popular PMD660, the rugged and robust Marantz PMD661 incorporates a wide range of technical advances and convenience features Cel-Soft has added automatic detection of edge-violation to its Cel-Scope3D software. Edge-violation is a visual artefact that can occur when part of an object is visible at the edge of one image pair, but not at the other. Using Cel-Scope3D, an alarm messages can be superimposed on the analyser’s display screen as soon as the violations are detected. Also, the offending objects are visually yellow-highlighted on the depth map display. Cel-Soft: www.cel-soft.com

Following the successful preview of the smallest model in the series, Clarity LX300, LSC is busy finalising the development of the range of new consoles – the LX300, LX600 and LX900. All feature touchscreens, multiple programmers, unlimited undo/redo, Fader Ident for playback mode indication, media server integration, LED pixel mapping and what’s called Rig Schematic patching, which allows the importing of rig or venue images to overlay patched fixtures – neat. LSC Light Systems: (03) 9702 8000 or www.lsclighting.com

that help it excel in virtually any application. Big enough to accommodate dual XLR microphones and light enough for handheld use, the PMD661 offers exceptional recording quality in literally any location.

FOR YOUR NEAREST DEALER: Australia: Call 1300 13 44 00 or visit www.marantzpro.com.au


016

NEWS

3 1

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5 4 1/ SEAMLESS CIMA MULTI-SCREEN

2/ CHRISTIE CRACKS OPEN NEW DOUBLE YOKE

3/ GEFEN PUT TO THE TEST

CIMA Digitec has closed the gap, with its 60-inch ‘seamless’ multi-screen system – its expandable plasma solution reduces the seam size between displays to under 3mm. The bezel size of each screen is an incredibly low 1.4mm – the thickness of a credit card. The CP-60VMH model can be expanded to any size tile formation – as huge as your budget or ego allows. CIMA’s solution also boasts a way of coping with image retention by memorising the location and brightness of the area, and compensating images to display a clear picture. The screens also quote 600Hz operation and a 0.001ms response time to reduce any motion judder effects. What’s more, the CP-60VMH has great green credentials – it’s a very low consumer of energy. CIMA Digitec: (02) 9438 3913 or info@cimadigitec.com.au

Christie has launched its new YK50 dual-arm projector yoke. This latest addition to the Christie Nitro Solutions family of yokes and projectors is smaller than the Christie YK100 (single-arm yoke) and Christie YK200 (dual-arm yoke), and is suitable for live events, theatre productions, and staging applications in small to mid-sized venues where moving fixtures are the norm, but rigging or floor space is at a premium. The Christie YK50, designed for the Christie LX700 or Christie LHD700 projectors, can be used as a moving light or moving video projector and when combined with either of these provides 7000 ANSI lumens. The YK50 is totally media server agnostic, allowing users to select whichever media server meets the needs of their production . VR Solutions: (07) 3844 9514 or www.vrs.com.au

A handy bit of gadgetry, Gefen’s next-gen Mini Pattern Signal Generator for HDMI 3D TV is designed for easy mobility when installing, designing or troubleshooting AV systems in the field. Housed in a small, lightweight enclosure it offers real-time testing of multiple displays and projectors with support for 3D TV. The Mini Pattern Signal Generator outputs several types of test patterns for calibrating and testing video performance including 19 HDTV and VESA standard timings. The 3D TV test pattern supports side-by-side, top-bottom, and frame packing 3D formats up to 1080p @ 24Hz, plus the connection of digital optical audio used to test for the HDMI 1.4 feature of audio return channel. This is to determine if the connected display properly returns audio over the same HDMI cable. Amber Technology: 1800 251367 or www.ambertech.com.au

4/ KRAMER HITS THE ROOF

5/ TURNING OVER A NEW LEAF

6/ PICK VIEWSONIC’S POCKET

Kramer Electronics has introduced the SPK-CCF848, Equal Sound Dispersion (ESD) ceiling speaker. The SPK-CCF848 ESD comes in a Pro version for the professional video market or an Edu version, for the educational market, each in eight different configurations of stereo or mono, full-tile or half-tile versions. The device is constructed with a central driver and four pivoting tweeters that direct the sound, based on the room environment, for equal sound dispersion. This patent allows for 180° sound dispersion with no need for multiple standard speakers. The professional version (Pro) is optimised for music and voice reproduction. The educational version (Edu) is optimised for speech, making it ideal for universities, classrooms and presentation venues – the damned kids will all be listening to their iPods anyway. Kramer Electronics Australia: (07) 3806 4290 or www.krameraustralia.com.au

Now that HM the Queen has high-tailed it back home, we can fly our Australian flag again, including flagging the virtues of local Oz manufacturer Nexus Technologies which, under its Leaf brand, has recently released its Nexus True HDMI range. Of particular note, the first products that are part of what will become a much larger range are the LTHDMIB88 and LTHDMIB88E along with the relevant breakouts LTB1 and LTB1E. The LTHDMI88 is an eight-source, eight-zone HDMI matrix capable of 3D, and handling the highest quality image and audio codecs. The LTHDMI88E builds upon this and also has RS232 transport, IR and ethernet as well, all down a single UTP cable. Leaf Matrix Systems is designed to work with any control system of choice thanks to RS232 control. And like all Nexus products, the Leaf range is also designed, engineered and fully manufactured in Australia. Leaf Audio: (03) 9586 1700 or www.leafaudio.com

ViewSonic launched two new ultraportable and energyefficient LED projectors, the PLED-W500 ($1299) and PLED-W200 ($899). Of the two, it’s the PLED-W200 that’s caught our eye. The PLED-W200 measures 130 x 126 x 32mm and weighs 420g. The LED light source with 250 ANSI lumens lasts 20,000 hours. The PLED-W200 comes equipped with a built-in 32GB SD/SDHC card reader, dual integrated 2W speakers and Microsoft Office/PDF viewer. The projector displays Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF and other multimedia files without a PC. The PLED-W200 also features a 1.16:1 short throw ratio that can project a 40-inch screen from a one metre distance with native WXGA resolution. Both models support 3D technology with 120Hz frame rates and have a USB port. ViewSonic Australia: 1800 880 818 or www.viewsonic.com.au


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

• Voice detection — Microphones are voice-activated in automatic mode

• Flexible & easy to modify — Microphone and camera settings can be controlled by PC

• Simultaneous interpretation — Use up to four channels for multi-language meetings

More information? Contact your Audio-Technica dealer or TAG info@tag.com.au Ph. (02) 9519 0900.


020

FEATURE

In Case of Emergency Coping with a flood of work.

WINNER

2011

Text:/ Derek Powell

Queensland integrator Advanced Video Integration (AVI) was proud to be helping the State Government prepare for future disasters with a comprehensive videowall, videoconference and signal routing project in the new state-of-the-art Emergency Operations Centre. But just part way through the build, the future became the present as the worst floods for a generation inundated the state. Suddenly, the Operations Centre was needed right now and the AVI installation team became part of the crisis response, frantically hand-patching feeds in real-time to emergency teams coping with an unprecedented scale of destruction. Then, with the crew at full stretch, they became part of the crisis itself as metres of muddy floodwater engulfed their Milton headquarters, devastating workshops, stores and IT systems. How AVI managed to beat the odds is a classic Queensland story that is already passing into audiovisual folklore, but the start of the project gave little hint of the drama to come. THEATRE OF OPERATIONS

The Queensland Emergency Operations Centre (QEOC) is officially described as “a purpose built world-class facility in line with best practice for highly effective communications centre management and disaster coordination”. The $78m project is the first purpose-built centre for emergency services in Australia and serves the Queensland Department of Community Safety (DCS), comprising Emergency Management Queensland, the Queensland Ambulance Service, Fire and Rescue Services and Corrective Services. DCS managed the original tender for the project and AVI’s system design specialist Tristan Herrod recalled the initial site tour as a big event. “There were at least seven national AV companies there,” he noted. The project was huge, comprising separate communications centres for Fire and Ambulance services, each with a massive 24-screen central videowall display, plus the State Disaster Management Centre

AWARD

comprising multiple coordination hubs with comprehensive presentation (including three more videowalls) and videoconference facilities. A total of 206 input sources and 158 displays were to be tied together. Any input could be allocated to any output, via a campus-wide video and audio routing system. There was also to be a full IPTV system which would include facilities for recording and automatic archiving of content. The operational rooms needed to be able to call up live broadcast coverage of any unfolding disaster, but also had to be able to access any of the hundreds of traffic cameras operated by other departments, plus live pictures transmitted from emergency response vehicles on the spot. Clearly switching was the cornerstone of this project and Philip Holtum, AVI Managing Director, was quick to pick up on a potential contradiction in the documentation. “Probably the biggest change [we made] in the project was the switching and signal management outcome,” he observed. “We actually read the fine print that said the design must be robust and redundant with no single point of failure, yet the design was a single crosspoint switcher in the basement. That’s a pretty big single point of failure! If that fails, every single display in the building goes off-line… I don’t want to take that phone call,” Philip noted wryly. MAKING THE SWITCH

The outcome was that the AVI team produced an innovative and elegant distributed switching design based on the AMX DGX-series fibre and DVI switching modules, and offered that to the client as an alternative. Their design featured a core 144 x 144 DGX fibre switch, trunked to eight 32 x 32 DGX switches and one 16 x 16 switch serving the major operational areas. Smart routing would be employed so that signals between switchers were managed intelligently, with the most efficient available signal path always selected. In the event of problems at the core, local sources would be unaffected while emergency patching could

The Queensland Ambulance Service Communications Centre (000 call centre). The video wall is an 8 x 3 array of Sharp 60-inch panels, and in common with all of the videowalls in the QEOC, is driven by a Jupiter Fusion Catalyst 4000 controller. And, yes, that's Milwaukee 4, Cincinnati 2 at the bottom of the 5th. (Image courtesy of Advanced Video Integration.)


FEATURE

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bypass faults to restore key services. It was a bold move, as the proposal was significantly more expensive, but the Department immediately picked up on the value offered by this more resilient solution, and awarded AVI the contract. The next step was a comprehensive design review process. “What made it a great installation for us was the capacity to sit with the client and really understand their needs,” Philip reflected. Tristan Herrod took up the story: “Post the award of tender, we ‘deep dived’ room by room. We actively encouraged and asked for interaction with the end users and we drilled down into what they were wanting, what they were expecting, what they felt they should have or could have… and we went through the entire project and heavily refined it,” he commented. It was a tactic that paid dividends with the client. Dean Collette, QEOC ICS Program Manager, has gone on the record praising the cooperative way that AVI approached the job. “It’s not a project where I’ve felt we’ve got a supplier and us,” he stated. “It’s a project where the supplier has become part of the team and it’s just operated as a single team.” WONDER WALLS

AVI involved the client every step of the way with numerous ‘proof of concept’ demonstrations for major hardware items like the 60-inch Sharp and 46-inch Mitsubishi LCD panels that formed the various videowalls. Installing the two major walls of 8 x 3 and 6 x 4 monitors was a precision task, involving laser levelling and millimetre precision for the mark-up of the mounting brackets. “It was a huge job,” recalled Tristan, “with the team spending more than a week working on each of those walls.” The largest videowalls, one for the Ambulance and one for the Fire Communications centres, dominate their respective spaces in the building. Signals are processed using the Jupiter Fusion Catalyst 4000 video wall processors, in an Australian-first deployment of this technology. The system is flexible enough to allow any of the 12 connected DVI inputs to be displayed anywhere and at any size on the wall.

FEATURE

RESPONSE TO EMERGENCY RESPONSE

When the floods hit regional Queensland, the system was only at around 60% completion. The main program feeds were in place, but all signal switching was via the integrated site-wide routing system for which programming hadn’t yet been completed. The focus instantly switched from installation to support as the AVI teams scrambled to patch crucial feeds to the major coordination and control rooms. As the Premier and Prime Minister faced the cameras from the media room, AVI staff were feeding signals to the massive 103-inch Panasonic plasma that provided the backdrop and primary display for the press conferences. Then the floods hit Brisbane itself. From the second floor conference room at AVI’s Milton headquarters, Philip Holtum pointed out the high water mark, three metres above the car park. At the height of the flood, he rowed a dinghy up to the outside of the upper floor and smashed a window to get in and rescue crucial computer equipment. The ground floor, housing workshops, storerooms and training areas was totally destroyed. “Probably the single most challenging part,” said Philip, in a masterpiece of understatement, “was the fact that we had to manage our own crisis while also resourcing the ongoing operations at the QEOC – and significantly resource them.” Today, there is little visible sign of the inundation and the workshop or store, and the training rooms are abuzz with activity. But freshly-painted besser-block walls have replaced the former plaster partitions – “easier to hose off, if the river ever comes back!” GUI ELEGANCE

Back at QEOC, as the water receded, the programming effort was hitting high gear. “This is the only project, I’ve ever worked on where I felt we delivered a customised piece of software, not just an AMX program,” commented Tristan. Both he and Philip are full of praise for the work done by in-house programmer Jody Ernst. Early on, AVI argued for the inclusion of a ‘super-user’ panel located at the main switching rack. The 19-inch ELO/ TPI Pro2 system allows a top-down view

The Queensland Fire & Rescue Service Communications Centre (000 call centre). Here the videowall is a 6 x 4 array of Sharp 60-inch LCD panels. (Image courtesy of Advanced Video Integration.)


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:

EQUIPMENT LISTING 10 x AMX NI master controllers 44 x AMX touch panels 10 x AMX DGX fibre switch frames 82 x AMX DGX Rx modules 186 x AMX DGX Tx modules AMX RMS room management system 1 x AMX Vision2 IPTV System 1 x AMX TPI Pro presentation interface 1 x 19-inch ELO touch panel display 48 x Sharp 60-inch specialist LCD monitors 36 x Mitsubishi 46-inch specialist LCD monitors 46 x Samsung LCD monitors (32-inch/65-inch) (approx. half interactive) 1 x Panasonic 103-inch Plasma panel 1 x Cisco C90 videoconferencing system 6 x Cisco C60 videoconferencing system 1 x Cisco C40 videoconferencing system 13 x Cisco Precision HD camera 4 x Jupiter Fusion Catalyst 4000 videowall processors 23 x video source devices (Foxtel, HD STB, DVD recorder) 4 x DVTel server/portals (acess to traffic camera networks) 1 x EYE12 Wolfvision high resolution ceiling camera 1 x BRCZ700 Sony HD PTZ industrial camera 15+ custom designed and manufactured mounting solutions 4 x ClearOne Converge Pro 880T audio conferencing system 2 x ClearOne Converge Pro 8i mixer expansion unit 1 x Biamp AudiaFlex audio processing system

• • • • •

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


024

FEATURE

of the entire facility, allowing monitoring of signals before and after switching and providing routing alternatives in case any single link should fail. The panel, and the enormous flexibility it provides for signal switching, naming conventions and permission setting, is the heart of the pioneering routing design. “The entire solution across five floors and two buildings is visible, controllable and dynamically assignable on that panel,” commented Philip. “We started there and worked outwards to the rest of the building.” AMX touchscreens provide control in each of the 35 operational spaces, with a variety of panels ranging in size from 5-inch to 17-inch depending on the complexity of the control requirements. The user interface is simple and intuitive, yet astonishingly powerful. Central to the control philosophy is built-in redundancy, which preserves functionality wherever possible in the face of hardware faults or network outages. The program is designed so that one compiled source is sent to all masters and data is mirrored across all, meaning any data lost on reboot is reloaded from another master.

Top: The Queensland State Disaster Coordination Centre. This videowall is a 5 x 3 array of 46-inch Mitshubishi LCD panels. There is a Wolfvision EYE-12 HD camera mounted (just out of frame) on the ceiling directly above the central map desk. Above: The videowall control screen on the Ambulance Service Communications Centre’s 17-inch AMX touch panel. This screen provides control of videowall layouts and source selection. Right: The media centre in use during the floods, as the Premier Anna Bligh and Emergency Services Minister Neil Roberts, address the media in front of the Panasonic 103-inch plasma display panel. (Images courtesy of Advanced Video Integration.)

TRUE INTEGRATION

The integrated audiovisual systems at QEOC represent a huge technical achievement, even without the challenges faced by an installation carried out in the midst of the worst natural disaster in a generation and despite the inundation of AVI’s own facilities. The innovation and evident customer satisfaction with the results were recognised with an AV Industry Award for Best Installation (over $1m). The last word should go to AVI Managing Director Philip Holtum, who rates the most satisfying part of the project as the “ability to forge a real partnership between builder, client and integrator”. Don’t we all wish for more projects like that! 

AVI PROJECT CREDITS Software Development: Jody Ernst and Gareth Sheard AVI Technical Services/Engineering Manager: Richard Powers Audio & VC Systems Engineer: Michael Mead Site Managers: David Parker & Chris Weston Plus the entire AVI team.


Ultra Short Throw,

Ultra Low Maintenance Long-life filter L DLP light engine 3D ready FFully enclosed mirror

Compatible with all IWBs C

Purchase them on government contract in NSW, VIC, QLD, WA and the ACT

Discover the advantages of the SANYO education projector range – call 1300 360 230 or visit www.sanyo.com.au

The world’s shortest throw projector providing the optimum OHS solution for teachers and students.

Side view

BLDE774

The Sanyo PDG-DXL2000E ultra-short throw projector takes advantage of its low maintenance design: a long-life filter, easy lamp replacement and fully enclosed mirror. Enjoy a more engaging educational experience, thanks to the DLP light engine and 3D-ready design.


026

FEATURE

Try, Try & Try Again The view from the control room at the Rugby World Cup opening ceremony. Text:/ Paul Collison

The opening ceremony to any sporting event is an opportunity for the host nation to show an international audience the culture and essence of the local community, while bringing some sort of humanity and identity to the event. No matter how big or small, the opening ceremony sets the tone for the weeks to come. The opening ceremony of the 2011 Rugby World Cup in Auckland New Zealand did just that. Broadcast to a worldwide audience of over one billion, despite being largely snubbed by the Australian media, the ceremony was a short, sharp and precise cultural display that many New Zealanders were proud of, and more importantly, made the rest of the world sit up and take notice. After a lengthy tender process, David Atkins Enterprises of Sydney were announced producers of the event. DAE immediately expanded its New Zealand operation to include a healthy balance of local talent and ceremonies-experienced international team. Creatively headed by David Atkins himself, the ceremony had to be designed around some utterly non-negotiable parameters. HOLY GROUND

Firstly, whatever the ceremony was to entail, the protection of the playing surface was of the utmost importance. No matter how spectacular a production design might have been, if it were to have a detrimental affect on the playing surface, it was instantly discarded. The second parameter that weighed heavily on the design team was the requirement that the playing field had to be cleared within 10 minutes of the conclusion of the ceremony, for the opening game to start a short time later. Of course there were a thousand other challenges facing the design team, including limited finances, resources and space. However, the two principle issues of the playing surface and clearing the field of play quickly were constantly at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Enter the projection surface. What better way to tell a story and protect the playing surface than with a projection surface on the

field. The surface was made from standard shade cloth, stitched together into straight sections and then painted to leave an oval projection zone in the centre of the field. Shade cloth was the ideal material as it let rainwater penetrate through to the grass rather than pooling and causing headaches for the ground cloth crew. It also didn’t suffocate the grass underneath during the eight or so hours it was out for each day/ night. This approach is nothing new. In 2003, for the opening of the Rugby World Cup in Sydney, a projection surface on the field of play worked with the PIGI projection from The Electric Canvas. Fast forward eight years to 2011, and The Electric Canvas, still headed by Peter Milne, is using 32 Christie Roadster S+20K projectors to similar effect. Although the advantages of video projection over PIGI scrolling projection are abundantly clear, the reduced light output of video projection remains an issue. Despite 32 projectors, quad-stacked on eight footprints, the light level on the projection surface hovered around 150 to 180 lux. This is quite low considering that under the stadium sports lights the level is around 3000 lux! While modern HD camera systems can deal with the lower light level, other factors had to then be considered including ambient light spill from concessions, basic egress lighting in the stands and the actual lighting of performers interacting with the projections. A careful balance of lighting and projection had to be evolved for the ceremony to be successful. PROJECTION RULES

Enter the lighting department. It was critical to strike that perfect balance between lighting the show and not disrupting the projection on the field of play. The base light level was dictated by the projection. Any and all other lighting had to balance to that. The outside broadcast cameras were essentially wide open for the duration of the performance. The resulting limited depth of field may have given the camera operators a hard time in holding focus, however, it did mean that

the basis of the show, the projection, would always be prominent in shots. Lighting performers and set pieces on the field was no easy task. Direct light from an elevated position was less than ideal, as this of course would wash out the projection. A combination of side light from the periphery of the performance space and tight integration with the image content was the only viable solution. ARK LIGHTING

A modest 60 x Martin Mac 2000 profiles were deployed in groups of three around the performance space. Compare this number with the 180 used for a similar surface area for the 2006 Commonwealth Games opening, and you’ll begin to appreciate the challenge. Those 60 fixtures actually lit 90% of the broadcast. Meanwhile, 82 x Mac 2000 washlights covered most of the audience to fill out the background of the low-angle field shots. We also can’t forget the 16 x High End Cyberlight Turbos (that Noah generously donated from his ark for the event). On the odd occasion they returned to their prerecorded positions, they did a stellar job in lighting various tableaux and protocol moments. The integration of lighting and projection under these conditions was indeed problematic. At times where it was impossible to light a performer for various reasons, windows and highlights could be built to create areas in the projected image where a performer, or a group of performers, could be visually enhanced. John Baxter of Perceptual Engineering in Auckland was responsible for building the media content for the show. His desire to not only build the content with animation, but also include organically-captured video, helped legitimise the content and make some of the packages quite realistic. Working on a modest budget, the animation team did an amazing job collaborating with Michael Reid of DAENZ to deliver some beautiful content.


FEATURE

Low angle side-light from around the edges of the performing space covers the carefully-placed performers without washing out the critical image from the quad-stacked projectors. Photographer: Paul Collison Right: The now-compulsory flying child, representing the 'sportsperson of the future' soars above the field, reaching up to an illuminated Rugby ball to symbolise 'striving for a better world'. As a clue to the low light levels on the field, note how bright the lighting appears in the sponsors' lounges and commentary booths in the grandstand. Photographer: Scott Willsallen

027


028

FEATURE

PRODUCTION CREDITS David Atkins Enterprises Creative producer: David Atkins Executive producer: Merryn Huges Producer: Michael Reid Technical director: Nick Newey Lighting designer: Paul Collison (Eleven Design) Audio designer: Scott Willsallen (Auditoria) Technical manager systems: Ian Baldwin Technical manager: Alistair Cameron Lighting – Oceania Norwest with Spot-Light Systems Account manager: Simon Garret Project managers: Jeremy Fern & Alex Oldham Programmer: Jason Fripp Video projection –The Electric Canvas Project manager: Peter Milne Sound – Oceania Norwest Project manager: Andrew Rodd Systems engineer: Justin Arthur Replay engineer: Trevor Beck Audio operator: Ian Shapcott

Above: Looking over audio operator Ian Shapcott's shoulder to the field of play before the ceremony you can see some of the 20 tonnes of lighting, sound and effects equipment that was struck in the nine minutes after the ceremony. Photographer: Cat Strom

TOTAL CONTROL

The co-ordination with other departments did not stop at the technical level. It was imperative that the choreography of the performers was within the limits of what could physically be lit at one time. Due to the side-lit nature of the show, mass cast movements had to be carefully placed. Performers could easily mask light intended for another. Entrances and exits of mass cast also had to be precisely choreographed, with many hours of rehearsal time spent considering this. Driving the video side of things was the Onlyview video replay system from ETC of London and Paris. Onlyview is a distributed video control solution that The Electric Canvas have used on many events around the world. It is at the core of all their video projection events largely because of the flexibility and redundancy it provides. The central video control area housed the main ‘Producer’ controller from which the show was programmed and run. Server clusters were then located on the Eastern and Western roof positions, not far from the projectors themselves. Redundant Producer stations receiving timecode were located and manned in those areas, ready to take control should the network go down and local control be required. WHISTLING IN THE DARK

From an audio perspective, the challenges were just as great. Audio designer Scott Willsallen,

from Auditoria, points out “Eden Park Stadium was a very difficult venue, both architecturally and in terms of getting access to the field of play to deploy the loudspeaker system and conduct system tuning. In fact, the only time we heard the audio system at full show level was during the show itself. This situation required days of modelling and calculations, as well as a great deal of previous experience with the loudspeaker system to arrive at the final tuning.” Musically, the ceremony was spectacular, drawing from the rich musical traditions from all parts of New Zealand and combining traditional instruments and sounds with contemporary music to produce a show that was dynamic, powerful and enveloping. It was clear from the beginning of the design process that the loudspeaker system would need to deliver high sound pressure level and full bandwidth to every seat in the 80,000 capacity stadium. The system consisted of 18 arrays distributed around the edge of the field of play. One array was located in each corner, three across each end and four along each side of the field. Each array consisted of five L-Acoustics Kudo line-source elements and two EAW BH760 horn-loaded subwoofers plus monitor speakers for the cast. The audio control system was a 100% dual-redundant design with a primary digital network using Optocore hardware teamed with an analogue backup network. Two Digico SD8

consoles were used for mixing FOH and monitors, again in a dual-redundant configuration. A pair of Pyramix 48-channel replay systems driven by an Isis remote controller delivered the music stems to the mixing consoles and to the host broadcaster. A custom dual-redundant Rode lectern microphone system was used to capture the speeches. HEAVY LIFTING

The available live load capacity and the geometry of Eden Park Stadium structure did not allow for a suspended audio design or copious quantities of lighting fixtures in the roof. Thus the audio system in its entirety, along with a bulk of the lighting equipment and some special effects (some 20 tonnes all up) had to be co-located on the field. Under the expert direction of Nick Newey, Ian Baldwin and Alistair Cameron, most of this equipment was installed and removed each day for around two weeks prior to the show. In an amazing display of teamwork and planning, all equipment including the ground cloth was removed from the field of play in less than nine minutes at the conclusion of the show – allowing the New Zealand and Somoan rugby teams to get on with task of playing an actual game of football. 


QUEENSLAND EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTRE

COMPLEX SIGNAL MANAGEMENT MADE SIMPLE. ENOVA DGX FROM AMX Any signal, analogue or digital, delivered perfectly to any display with AMX SmartScale, plus the power of integrated AMX NetLinx control. End-to-end distribution of analogue and digital HDMI signals, now with full HDCP, all with the simplicity of analogue? That’s Beautifully Simple. www.amxaustralia.com.au

A U T O M AT E

©2011 AMX

I CO N N E C T I CO N T R O L I M A N AG E

MEETING ROOMS I CLASSROOMS I AUDITORIUMS I BUILDINGS


030

FEATURE

Banking on a Record David Atkins celebrates Moscow’s Federal City Day without a single tap-dancer. Happy 846th! Text:/ Matt Caton

Sure, who hasn’t been to a birthday or anniversary celebration where somebody has gone overboard with the entertainment? However, I must admit that no matter what elaborate prank or obscene gimmick I’ve seen at various parties, none of them has ever earned a Guinness World Record. Russia’s Alfa Bank managed to achieve such a feat during their 20th anniversary celebration, which complemented the celebration of Moscow’s 864th birthday, by commissioning the largest mapped video projection ever attempted on a building. Now, if you’re thinking that anything this spectacular would have to have some Aussies involved, then you’d be bang on the money. Alfa Bank engaged Australian event producers David Atkins Enterprises (DAE) to deliver this spectacular off the back of its 20year history with large-scale ceremonies and video mapping achievements. What followed can only be described as phenomenal, as David Atkins created and directed a 30-minute visual experience, that celebrated Moscow’s long and eventful history, as well as its present and future. Played live to 300,000 patrons in front of the event’s canvas – the 25,500sqm facade of the Moscow State University building – this visual extravaganza has set a new benchmark in live production. The spectacle transported its audience on a journey from Moscow to different worlds, through natural landscapes and masterpieces of architecture, famous attractions and into the realms of the human imagination. There really are no words or photos that can convey just

how impressive this event was. (Let’s face it, those Guinness people don’t throw its records around lightly). EXCITEMENT IS BUILDING

The centrepiece of the show was the video mapped onto the building’s immense facade. Taking viewers on a haunting visual journey, the 30-minute video program included every trick and effect in the video-mapping book; creating and deconstructing iconic images and Russian masterpieces, and scenes of nature and technology. At one point, the building iced up, collapsed to the ground and refilled to transform into a giant aquarium. The building disappeared and was rebuilt numerous times, and became the stage for everything from flame-spitting dragons and ancient Roman characters to several Wonders of the World. The eight weeks of preparation saw DAE’s creative director of digital content, Robbie Klaesi, busy from the very start: “We had some intense creative difficulties initially. The building’s sandstone surface didn’t do much for punching true colour or contrast, but we overcame this with some totally full-on, right-off-the-Richterscale, contrast and colour saturation tweaks.” Getting a true ‘white’ proved tricky, but “wearing your sun glasses when previewing content really does help!” The animations for the video content were created in Australia by The Spinifex Group. A total of 81 of Christie’s Xenonpowered projectors were used to cover the 6.3 acres of building facade. Supplied by ETC Russia were 56

While 5000 real pyrotechnics were bursting around the Moscow State University building, at the end of the 30-minute video segment of the show, the mapped video extended the look with projected pyro effects. Photo: Meredith Whitford


FEATURE

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“The building’s sandstone surface didn’t do much for punching true colour or contrast, but we overcame this with some totally full-on, right-off-the-Richter-scale, contrast and colour saturation tweaks”


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FEATURE

A small sampling of the looks mapped onto the complex structure of the Moscow State University building. Note how well Trudy Dalgleish blends the portico area in with the projected content. You owe it to yourself to check out the videos of this show on YouTube. Photo: Meredith Whitford

Roadster S+20K (3kW, 20,000 ANSI lumen) and 15 Roadie HD+35K (6kW, 32,500 ANSI lumen) projectors. Image content was distributed in DVI format via optical fibre. One of the critical aspects of a video mapping project such as this is the media server driving it, and DAE once again used ETC’s Onlyview. “Since the 2006 Doha Asian Games, Onlyview is the only system we use,” explains Robbie, who has been involved with the Onlyview software on the 2010 Montreal Winter Olympic opening ceremony, and used it for the LED screens in the acclaimed Australian production of Hairspray (see AV Issue 14) [and for the Rugby World Cup opening ceremony that features elsewhere in this issue – Ed]. Onlyview allows synchronisation of any number of video projectors into a single panoramic video, allowing a projection of absolutely any size. Quite necessary when covering a building facade of this size. FOLLOW THE MASTER

Accompanying the 30 minutes of video content was an audio and effects track created by musical director David Pierce. The audio track actually drove the entire sequence, as the event’s

production editor and senior replay operator Steve Logan explains: “The replay systems supplied the music and sound effects as well as the timecode tracks. Timecode was sent from the replay system to video, lighting, pyrotechnics, flames, automation, stage management and broadcast. The replay followed the call from the Stage Manager and started and stopped the show as required.” Twelve L-Acoustics Kudo line arrays were used for main coverage and delay stacks, which ensured that all spectators from Moscow University to the various viewing points were able to see and hear the show in all its splendour! The playback facility consisted of three ProTools systems, two of which provided the dualredundant replay, while the third was used for production editing and for fill loops during replay. The main and backup systems were equipped with Euphonix MC controllers supplied by Auditoria, while a 24 x 8 mixer was used to bring everything together. Timecode was sent via distribution amplifiers to the required destinations, while network-distributed timecode was supplied to the readers used by stage management and anyone else who needed a visual reference.

THE FOURTH DIMENSION

Impressive as it was, the video content was only part of a spectacular that included live performances accompanied by lighting, pyrotechnics, bubble and snow machines, which provided the rationale for claiming the ‘4D’ aspect to the production. All of these elements were triggered to match and marry with the visual effects. Live performances included French free-climber Alain Robert, known as the French Spiderman, who scaled the constantly-changing facade of the building, as well as Russian opera diva Anna Polovinkina who sang excerpts from Borodin’s Prince Igor Suite. Lighting was in the trusted hands of lighting designer Trudy Dalgleish. Having to balance the lighting with the projection, while also lighting the audience for the TV coverage and enhancing the snow and rain effects and the 50,000 balloons that were in the air; all without hitting or washing out any of the projections, were just some of the challenges to the design. Trudy explains: “The other and harder part of my job was to light the large portico building that led directly to the main building and was in the centre bottom of all


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FEATURE

Photographer: Robbie Klaesi

the projection shots. For some reason this could not be projectionmapped, so my brief was to meld this building into the projection during the show. I ended up with over 200 lighting cues over the 30 minutes that were timecode-locked to the projection. Every time the images changed, so did the lighting on the portico building. It was a challenge, as matching the colour was sometimes almost impossible, so I used textured gobos to help meld it in.” Trudy programmed and operated the GrandMA1 console herself. The lighting crew were from PRG Belgium, while the Russian crew in charge of all production infrastructure were Kometa Productions. The portico was lit using DTS Delta 7 RGB wash fixtures, Martin Mac 2000 XB washes, PRG Bad Boys and 40 Ireos 7kW searchlights. The stage itself was lit with a mix of VariLite 3000 profiles, Martin Mac 2000 XB washes and two Lycian long-throw followspots. All lighting equipment was supplied by PRG. Pyrotechnics and special effects were supplied by Orion Art, with more than 5000 condensed explosive charges and fireworks effects lighting up the night sky and 50,000 balloons released to celebrate Moscow’s 864th birthday. A MOSCOW & SEE

As well as the estimated 300,000 live viewers, a 14-camera coverage of the event was broadcast live in HD right across Russia. Robbie Klaesi ended up having an event-time role as an IMAG director in the broadcast OB truck, and found the experience quite unique. “Being in a Russian OB felt very much like being in a crowded German Beer Hall. There were people screaming and swearing. The place was as close to full as you could imagine and people were smoking up the back all the way through.” It really is difficult to convey just how spectacular this 30-minute visual feast really was, and it’s for that reason that I recommend to anybody who has made it this far into the story, to check out the event on YouTube (search for ‘Alfa 4D Moscow’), where you’ll find the full broadcast, and several edited highlights packages. You’ll quickly see why it was awarded a Guinness World Record, and why this event is being spoken of in such high regard in the world’s live production circles. 

Top Left: The Moscow State University by day. Around the stage are projector stacks facing in all directions to cover the complex shape of the buildings. Out front can be seen some of the dozen L-Acoustics Kudo line arrays, an IMAG screen and enough crowd barriers to replace the Iron Curtain. Top Right: Mac 2000 washes in raincoats lighting the portico. Above: Some of the 81 Xenon-lamped Christie projectors required to cover the university building.

PRODUCTION CREDITS Executive Producer & Artistic Director: David Atkins Associate Artistic Director: Jason Coleman Producer: Tracey Taylor Production Designer: Elli Bunton Lighting Design & Operation: Trudy Dalgleish Creative Director, Digital Content: Robbie Klaesi Technical Director: James Lee Technical Supervisor: Tarmo Krimm Production Editor & Senior Replay Operator: Steve Logan Musical Director: Dave Pierce Headline Spiderman: Alain Robert Video Design Services: David Atkins Enterprises (www.daeglobal.com) Animations: Spinifex Group (www.spinifexgroup.com) Onsite Production Services: Kometa Production (www.kometaproduction.ru) Sound Equipment: Auditoria (www.auditoria.com.au) Projection Equipment: ETC Russia (www.etc-russia.ru) Lighting Equipment: PRG (www.prg.com) SPFX & Pyro: Orion Art (www.orion-art.com)


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FEATURE

On-the-Fly VC The Royal Flying Doctor Service has a long tradition of pushing the boundaries of technology. We look at the latest move into desktop and portable video conferencing. Text:/ Andy Ciddor

There are few things more instantly recognisably Australian as the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS). From its inception in the late 1920s the RFDS used the cutting-edge technologies of aviation and wireless communications to enable people in the most remote parts of the continent to be within reach of modern medical help. Starting out in Cloncurry, Queensland, as the vision of Presbyterian minister John Flynn, and originally known as the Australian Inland Mission Medical Service, the RFDS today covers the entire country though its federation of seven independent state and territory services, organised into four operating divisions: Central Operations, Queensland Section, South Eastern Section and Western Operations. PEDALLING WIRELESS

When the service was first established, its effectiveness was limited by the ability of those in need of its help to make their situation known. While most outback police stations in the 1920s had wirelesstelegraphy (Morse code) sets that could contact the Flying Doctor, many of

those requiring medical assistance were days, or even weeks of travel, from these communication hubs. To extend what he dubbed “the mantle of safety�, Flynn commissioned South Australian electrical engineer Alf Traeger to develop a radio set for use in settlements that had no electricity supply or technical support. Traeger presented him with the now-legendary Pedal Wireless, a simple and compact short-wave transceiver, powered by a pedal-driven generator. As the development of radio voice communications was still decades away, and Morse code keying was hard to learn, Traegar then went on to develop a mechanised Morse code keyboard, based on a typewriter mechanism. Some 50-odd of these keyers were deployed in outback homesteads in those early days. The RFDS has continued to adopt every available medical, aviation and communications advance to extend and improve the quality of that mantle of

safety throughout Australia. While dayto-day operational communications have continued to be conducted by voice and text in their wide variety of forms, in 2006 the Service introduced Polycom/Tandberg video conferencing facilities into most of its bases around the country. Linked via a leased Wide Area Network (WAN), these high-bandwidth meeting room systems have been used extensively for medical and administrative conferences and medical training sessions. DOCTORED TECHNOLOGY

By 2010 Western Operations, ICT Manager Matthew Turany was of the opinion that video conferencing technology was fast approaching the point where everyday internet connections between everyday off-the-shelf portable computing devices would result in simple,


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“It’s expected that Australian commercial pilots will be using EFBs some time soon, which effectively puts a video conferencing system in all RFDS aircraft”

direct and reliable video conferencing. The hope was that such technology could break video conferencing free of its dedicated rooms and networks and place it in the hands of clinicians, and possibly even their patients, scattered across this wide brown land. The target applications for such a system include direct desktop conferences between the widely-scattered RFDS administration, operations and medical staff, ad hoc clinical collaboration between on-duty medical staff located anywhere in the network, and to extend the RFDS reach to include providing

One of the RFDS fleet of Swiss-made Pilatus PC-12/47E aircraft Image courtesy Royal Flying Doctor Service

clinical support to nursing stations at bush hospitals, stations and mine sites. Turany set about evaluating a range of available and under-development desktop video conferencing products that included Cisco’s WebEx, Citrix’s Go-To-Meeting, Polycom’s Telepresence m100, Radvision’s Scopia and Vidyo’s VidyoDesktop. His ideal product ran on the wide range of hardware platforms in use by both the RFDS and the organisations they would be regularly contacting; was miserly in its use of sometimes-scarce bandwidth; and would be cost-effective for the entire user community.

A major consideration was whether to take on the task of hosting the connection server with its attendant bandwidth and maintenance issues, or simply to buy in hosting-as-a-service and pay by the connection, desktop client licence and conference duration. After looking at the numbers for expected use and factoring in the likely rapid growth in take-up as the user community expanded and found new


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FEATURE

High definition desktop video conferencing with an RFDS commodity office system and a commodity HD webcam. Inset: The Vidyo iPad client with Matthew Turany inadvertently caught in the forward-facing camera while taking this photograph. Photographer: Matthew Turany

applications for video conferencing, Turany concluded that owning and maintaining a system would quite rapidly prove to be the most cost effective approach. One lingering doubt about this strategy was the ease of expanding connection capacity from a service provider by ticking a box on a screen, compared with the need to purchase upgrades or replacements for a locally-owned device. Indeed, one of the deciding factors in the choice of systems was the offer from the successful vendor to give full credit for an existing appliance when later upgrading to more powerful hardware. ACTIVATING APPLIANCES

After considering all the options, RFDS went with Vidyo technology, the system already being used at the Vatican, by NASA in their links to the International

Space Station, and supplied by Evidence Technology throughout Australia to St Vincents and Mater Hospitals in Sydney, the Australian Health Practitioners Regulatory Authority, the Australian Electoral Commission, Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, WA Industrial Relations Commission and NSW Rural Doctors Network. The installation in the RFDS Western Operations facility at Jandakot Airport, in the southern suburbs of Perth, consists of a 1RU VidyoOne H.264/SVC video conferencing appliance and a 1RU VidyoGateway MkII to connect the desktop conferencing network with existing the H.323 and SIP video and audio conferencing facilities. On taking delivery of the system in September 2011, Turany found configuring the VidyOne appliance via its web interface very straight forward, taking

just a day and a half from opening the carton to having a fully-operational conferencing system. Although the specification lists the theoretical capacity of the appliance as handling 50 simultaneous connections, during commissioning and phase-in it has only be called upon to handle a maximum of 12 sessions, which it accommodated with aplomb. It’s now installed on desktops at all western RFDS bases: Kalgoorlie, Meekatharra, Port Hedland, Derby, in addition to their Jandakot headquarters. TAKE YOUR TABLETS

Since the videoconferencing system went live in early November, Vidyo has officially announced the existence of an iPad client for the Vidyo system, although it would hardly rate as a well-kept secret during its development. As you would expect,


NETWORKED PROGRAMMABLE DSP SYSTEMS Th e S o u n dwe b L o n d o n 1 0 0 S e r i e s re p re se n t s a p re m i u m , o p e n -a rch i te c tu r e so l u t i o n i n t h e fo rm o f a h i g h l y f l e x i b l e , c o st - e ffe c t ive a n d sc a l a b l e p a ck a g e .

Image courtesy Museum Victoria

Image courtesy National Library of Australia

Image courtesy Museum Victoria

Top: Alf Traegar’s typewriter-based Morse sending keyboard. Bottom left: Traegar with an early model of his legendary Pedal Wireless. Bottom right: Some of the cams from the Morse keyboard and the letter sequence they represent.

an Android tablet client is (not very secretly) under development. Naturally the RFDS had been testing the beta version of the iPad client and had the release product running on day one. For the RFDS the tablet client is of particular interest, as the US Federal Aviation Authority has recently approved the use of the iPad as an Electronic Flight Bag (EFB). An EFB is an electronic replacement for the satchel-full of charts of possible landing places that all commercial pilots have previously been required to carry. Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority is currently participating in an international project to examine the practicalities of implementing an EFB. With the group due to present its report in mid 2012, it’s expected that Australian commercial pilots will be using EFBs some time soon, which effectively puts a video conferencing system in all RFDS aircraft and extends medical collaboration wherever the pilot can find a network. 

• • • • •

Fi xed I / O co n f i gu rat i o n Op en -Arch i t ect u re P ro cess i n g AEC p ro cessi n g ch an n el s fo r 1 0 1 a n d 1 0 2 co n f eren ci n g ap p l i cat i o n s B LU-Li n k Di gi t al Au d i o B u s Same p owerf u l so f t ware

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040

TUTORIAL

The SOH Grand Master LAN Putting all your datagrams in one basket. Text:/ Cameron O’Neill

About a decade ago I was operating the audio and vision for the Australian Telecommunication User Group (ATUG) annual conferences. There was a repeating theme: ‘convergence’. Every year the network gurus promised that they could save corporations more and more money by combining all of the disparate networks into one Grand Master Network. Their claims weren’t far off. In 1998 a new protocol was introduced to the world: Virtual Local Area Networks, or VLANs. Put simply, VLANs allowed high-end network switches to segregate network traffic into a number of virtual ‘Local’ networks. Previously, this had been achieved by running separate cabling and switch infrastructure, but VLANs eliminated this requirement. Very quickly there was only one network running the print server, the email server, and the corporate website. All of this could be run over just a few cable connections, slashing the cost of corporate networking. Before long, all of the various corporate networks were ‘converged’ into one. Fast forward a decade. Cobranet, the first successful networked audio system, is starting to drift into retirement, replaced by newcomers like Dante. Unlike Cobranet, contemporary protocols use networking-friendly transport methods, allowing them to ‘play nice’ with standard networking equipment. In theory, you should be able to run a protocol such as Dante alongside your daily emails, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephones and business systems. But can you? And, more to the point, should you? ASKING THE BIG QUESTIONS

In 2008 I was part of a team that looked at the first question – can you? At the time, we didn’t even consider the second question – should you? The project was simple; use the Dante networking capability of the Dolby Lake processors to distribute the audio around the Concert Hall at the Sydney Opera House. All up there was a main left/right hang of d&b J series cabinets, and eight delay hangs of Q and T series. We wanted the flexibility to route any number of signals to any of the individual hangs, and Dante gave us the opportunity to do that. As part of the design I specified Cisco switches. They had the reliability and speed that this network required. Sure, they were a little more expensive than a lower-grade switch, but they had all of the extra features that we wanted, and we knew that they would just work. When you’re talking about a

critical system, the extra cost is easily justified. So we contacted the IT department and added one of their network administrators to the team. Little did we know that we were about to start on a three-year adventure into convergence. One of the appealing features of the Cisco switches was their ability to send a distress email whenever they ran into trouble. Not only was this a good feature in terms of knowing if the system was operational or not, but it also meant that we could gather data on what was, at the time, an unproved concept. But, in order to get that extra data out of the switches, we needed to connect them to the email network, and thus our converged network was born. To the network administrator this was a walk in the park. The goal was to create a new VLAN for the Dante traffic, and then simply install switches into the auditorium. These were then connected through a single, high-bandwidth link to the rest of the corporate network. We ran the system up on the test bench, and, to our surprise, everything just worked. Audio entered one box, bounced around the network, and came out where it was supposed to. Further integration tests proved just as successful. The network treated the audio just like any other data, and everything made it through on time. The network administrator even challenged me to try and make his system break a sweat. Even trying my hardest it was impossible to use more than 13% of the Cisco switch’s resources.

VIDEO OVER IP

THEA

PORTABLE DEVICES

EXCHANGE SERVERS

BRINGING THE QoS TO BEAR

One of the keys to our success was the use of Quality of Service, or QoS (pronounced kwos). This is another nifty feature of modern networks that lets you specify the relative importance of different types of data. More important data is put at the top of the transmission queue and sent first. Traditionally this has been used for systems such as VoIP telephony, because a live telephone call has a higher QoS ranking than an email. But with a bit of help from our network administrator we were able to use QoS to make sure the audio data was sent first. The network continued to grow from those first steps. Before long, the Production side of the network was almost as big as the Corporate side. The number of production systems increased to include communications, motor control, DMX-overEthernet and AMX control; all running seamlessly on the same infrastructure as the website, the ticketing system, the corporate email, the building

OFFICE PCs (EMAIL, WEB)

BOX OFFIC TICKETING


“Little did we know that we were about to start on a three-year adventure into convergence.” control system and the telephones. Not only was all of this available on a cabled connection, a few wireless access points allowed access to any of these systems from practically anywhere in the building. Our corporate laptops changed from an overpriced email reader to a full-function theatre control device.

PAHOISTS HOISTS PA

ANSWERING THE BIG QUESTION – TOO LATE

EATRELIGHTING LIGHTING ATRE

CE ICE G NG

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TUTORIAL

THEATRE THEATRE COMMS COMMS

AUDIOOVER OVERIPIP AUDIO

(DMX) (DMX)

SS SS ELEELE WIRWIR

WIRWEIR LEESLSESS

CONTROL CONTROL LAPTOPS LAPTOPS

THEGRAND GRANDMASTER MASTERLAN LAN THE

PRINTSERVER SERVER PRINT VoIPTELEPHONY TELEPHONY VoIP

AUDIOSIGNAL SIGNAL AUDIO PROCESSING PROCESSING

THE THEINTERNET INTERNET

FIREWALL FIREWALL

It was only at this point that the question of whether or not we should converge the network or not started to make sense. Take, for example, a standard SOH Forecourt event. At an event like this, you’re going to have a production manager. They’re going to want their computer connected so that they can check their emails and print plans, and a telephone to order more of everything. They’ll want to speak to their crews, and lower the amount of time that they spend running cable. Lighting crews will want to put DMX drops throughout the space, and the audio crew will want to control their speaker management system as they wander the audience area. The box office staff will want to be able to print tickets and capture customer information, and the security team will want to monitor the crowds from their temporary control room. The OB truck will want telephones to mission control, and the talent will want to Tweet about everything that is going on around them. And all of that comes down a single fibre pair running back into the building. Total setup time: about three hours. Of course, this isn’t for the faint of heart. All told, the network took three years to set up, and there were some casualties. Due to software stability problems with the Lake Processors, the original Dante network that started the revolution has since been switched off; replaced with a network of AES audio feeding a smaller number of Lake Processors. Despite such minor setbacks, the network has lived on, and the benefits we were promised a decade ago by ATUG are still felt today. A close working relationship was created and maintained between the Theatre Engineering and Information Systems teams, without which the whole network would have failed. But, once the investment in time and effort was complete, we were left with a solid, future-proof, and totally converged network. 


042

REVIEW

Bose RoomMatch Array Modules & PowerMatch Amplifiers A ‘revolutionary’ new class of curvilinear array or just another PA? AT investigates. Text:/ Gareth Stuckey

Whenever a new PA system is released it’s almost par for the course that the manufacturer will tout it as a ‘completely new’ product line, ‘a revelation’, or ‘something we’ve never seen before’. But as we all know, in reality, most ‘revolutionary systems’ are usually only a slightly different take on something we’ve already used many times before. So, to be honest, I wasn’t all that excited when I got wind of this new Bose RoomMatch Array system. But after mixing on it for a few days all that started to change. The RoomMatch Array system looks like a pretty standard line array at first glance. It’s targeted at the ‘pro sound’ end of the install sound market: churches, performing arts centres, sports arenas and so on. It’s a bit of a re-entry product for Bose… into a market that for many years Bose had been conspicuously absent from. THREE ON THE TREE

The company had identified three design goals that it wanted overcome with this new product: to reduce phase interference seams found in point source arrays (overlapping); seam ‘gaps’ in line arrays with splay angles (when splay angles are too wide the array ceases to act as a true line source); and side wall reflections in indoor venues. I agree with Bose that all these problems need to be addressed if possible, but in the install market, I can’t help but thinking that there are also the even more basic concerns of coverage and speech intelligibility in difficult situations that are worth solving. ROOM TO MOVE

The RoomMatch product line consists of 15 full range modules – that’s right, 15 – and a sub module. The array module is a two-way externally

bi-amped configuration (more on the amps in a moment), with a full range performance down to 60Hz. The optional sub takes care of 40-80Hz, and can be ground stacked or flown. That all sounds pretty standard, right? Nothing revolutionary there… But this is the cool part: the 15 different models all provide different horizontal and vertical coverage patterns – from 70º x 5º through to 120º x 20º, and 13 options in between! Using the Bose ‘Modeler’ software allows you to specify the room you want to cover, how many modules you want to use, and from there the software can choose the most suitable components for the job from the many different dispersion patterns available in the range. This allows to the coverage to be tailored extremely accurately. For example, look at how tight and even the coverage pattern is in the example below:


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REVIEW

CHOOSE YOUR AMPS

Coverage is very even from front to back, with virtually no spill onto the side walls. Even more impressively, the second scenario (below) shows us how you can change the coverage pattern to follow the seating angles by using the different boxes for the different sections, and end up with next to no spill. (Obviously another two hangs of PA would be required to complete this system.

Another added bonus is that the system can be driven with basically any amplifier, allowing you to potentially replace only the boxes in a refit scenario, or use amps from your existing inventory if you’re a production company. Having said that, for this review I simultaneously demoed the RoomMatch system with Bose’s newly created PowerMatch 8500 amps. The 8500 is a Class-D amplifier that Bose claims has the reliability and sound quality of Class AB unit. The design boasts some very clever technology. Firstly, the PeakBank power supply delivers power to whichever amp channel needs it most, drastically improving efficiency and transient response. Even better than that is what Bose calls its ‘Quad-Bridge’ mode. This allows the user to set up the amplifier as needed, resulting in any system that you build only requiring a single model of amp to drive it – power can be allocated in different ways depending on the system requirements. In a nutshell, there are 4000W of power available, and up to eight outputs per amp. This allows you to configure the amp as a stereo 2kW beast, or 500W per-channel into eight channels, or any combination in between. That’s not only a fantastic facility, it’s downright convenient – one amp can act as two 1000W channels plus four 500W channels and so on. Perfect for powering the whole system! All eight in and outs on the amp have DSP for setting up a system, including presets for all the Bose range (old and new). They can also be configured from the front panel, or through USB connection to drive any loudspeaker. Wow. FLEXIBLE & POWERFUL

Bose has been very smart in allowing such flexibility – the end-user can choose if they want a complete system, or just new boxes that can be driven with previously installed amps. But onto the real test – what did it sound like? The system I was mixing on for demo purposes had four boxes per side,

A New Angle on Steered Sound Unlike other steerable arrays, QFlex can steer multiple beams of sound downward at angles up to 70 degrees, making it the only system capable of being mounted high above the audience and out of sight, minimising architectural impact in a place of worship. • Superior intelligibility and musical fidelity • Class leading steering control of +/- 70 degrees • provides unrivalled freedom when positioning the loudspeaker • Powerful and intuitive GUI for easy optimisation • Only steerable array with full range beam control • Target multiple zones with single QFlex column

To learn more about Tannoy call 1300 13 44 00 or visit www.audioproducts.com.au


044

REVIEW

“The 15 different models all provide different horizontal and vertical coverage patterns – from 70º x 5º through to 120º x 20º, and 13 options in between!” Round Peg, Round Hole: RoomMatch comprises 15 different models, all provide different horziontal and vertical coverage patterns – from 55° x 5° to 120° x 60°, and 13 other options in between.

PROBLEM SOLVER

and a further centre cluster of four boxes. These weren’t meant to be used together, but rather show the possibility of installing the system in a number of formats to meet budget and venue expectations. Each array was driven off just one PowerMatch amp! (Again, this is incredible.) As I usually would with any new system, to familiarise myself with the RoomMatch Array I put on my iPod of familiar tracks and had a good walk around the room. The L/R system sounded pretty awesome – extremely smooth in its response. The main thing I noticed (or didn’t) was that from the front to the back of the room the top end was extremely consistent. I sometimes find with line arrays that the tops can be almost too directional – you can find yourself walking out of the coverage of one box before entering the pattern of the next. There was none of that going on here. Front to back it was impossible to say which box you were listening to – the system sounded like a single element rather than the sum of four. Bass response was very solid and powerful right down into the nether regions. Kick drums and bass were fully reproduced, and the top end extremely smooth. It didn’t sound like a horn at all, more like a dome tweeter. The midrange was very clear and defined, however, if I was to be critical at all I would say the system lacked a little ‘crack’. It was all there, and certainly not missing anything tonally, but snares and guitars didn’t leap out at me. Having said that I find this to be the case with lots of line array systems – I sometimes miss the directness of a point source box. SHOWTIME

So – on with the show – I spent the next three days mixing on this system. A number of presentations featured both headset and handheld mics, there were demos of pre-recorded music, and a live band. I noticed particularly with the presentations that gain-before-feedback was excellent, due in no small part to the very specific dispersion patterns of the system and hence the reduced reflections back to the stage area. These presentations were done with just the centre cluster providing coverage to the entire room. Prerecorded music was very accurately reproduced as already mentioned. The live band meanwhile was a standout example of what the system could handle. With a full band on stage consisting of grand piano, keyboards, two guitars, bass, drums, sax and two singers it was certainly a full mix. Everything sounded how it should without too much work. I was particularly impressed with the size (width, depth and realism) of the grand piano. Occasionally grand pianos seem to shrink when you mic them up, but not so in this case. Again, I noticed excellent gain-before-feedback on this sometimes troublesome instrument (especially in the low end – an even better indicator of the directivity of this system).

One thing that really stood out during the three-day demo was the excellent imaging of the system. Even though there were no in-fills or front fills, no matter where I sat in the theatre I felt like the sound was coming from the stage. There was none of that ‘PA way up there’ feeling that can happen with some array systems. This was especially noticeable with the presentations on the centre cluster. I felt right there, in the space, like I was listening directly to the person speaking. Not bad at all in a 700-seat venue. After putting the system through its paces in a variety of ways, I can confidently say that Bose has achieved its design goals. No-one is suggesting we should think of this system as a V-DOSC killer – that’s certainly not what it’s meant to be. What it is, however, is a great tool for system designers around the world. I can see the RoomMatch Array being used in all manner of situations where budget would otherwise have precluded an array system – say a small regional theatre or churches, or a large-scale installation where an expensive concert system simply wasn’t required, but would have been the only option available. After the demo my mind started to imagine all the possible scenarios where the RoomMatch system might benefit troublesome venues, and my first thought went to the extremely expensive refit of Sydney Town Hall: a very difficult reverberant, reflective room – long and narrow with a second level of seats that cover the entire perimeter. The current system is a centre hang of D&B J-Series, but with no products available to ‘narrow’ the throw to reach the rear seats, or ‘widen’ it to get to both the floor and the raised seating nearer the stage, a number of point source boxes have had to be utilised slung underneath the main system for in- and out-fill. The result is less than perfect, and certainly doesn’t contain the coverage to help with the already difficult reverb times. I can’t help but think that the flexibility of this Bose system would have allowed for a more tailored coverage pattern, and hence a better end result. For a Town Hall that likely only sees corporate speeches, school presentations and the odd government function, this system would have suited perfectly and likely cost significantly less!  More information: Bose 1800 023 367 or pro.bose.com RoomMatch Modules: $4995 each RMS215 sub: $4195 Powermatch 8500 amp: $4995 Powermatch 8500 amp (networked version): $5495


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046

NEWS

InfoComm News News from the Oceania Region.

This will be the last newsletter for 2011. As I started to consider what to write, I thought it would be good to reflect on the year almost past as a springboard to looking at 2012 and beyond. So to set this up, some quick highlights of 2011 from the InfoComm perspective. •• •• ••

•• •• •• ••

Roundtable meetings held in six cities. Integrate in association with InfoComm International. Finally the InfoComm name appears on the masthead of a tradeshow in Australia. A vastly increased education program at Integrate requiring a new method of managing the program, involving 40+ volunteers and attracting over 260 students. Virtual classes held each quarter focused on CTS Prep and Audio Visual Systems Design. Certification testing centres now in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, Perth and Auckland. Launch of AViQ, the Oceania-focused product and services directory for the AV Industry. Release of the InfoComm Standard 3M, Projected Image System Contrast Ratio. The standard is available for purchase from the ANSI website.

Closing out 2011 will be two webinars Wednesday 16th of November at 1pm AEDST will be a presentation led by InfoComm’s Pamela Taggart, international education program manager. The webinar is for those that would like to present papers for Integrate in association with InfoComm International 2012 or our 2012 webinar program. This webinar will go through the submission process, hints and tips to increase your chance of success, the submission and marketing calendar for the Integrate show and 2012 webinar program. Wednesday 30th November at 1pm AEDST will feature Peter Sean Coman, CTS, RCDD. Peter will present a case study on the Queensland Emergency Operations Centre. SO ON TO 2012 InfoComm Academy We will be introducing Virtual Workshop classes. A virtual workshop will provide a short course on a single topic area. It will include two instructor-led sessions delivered live that you can log into from your desktop. There will be an initial presentation, and then a few days later a follow up Q & A session. The cost will be $100 for InfoComm members (50% payable by Edubucks) and $150 for non-members. We will also be expanding our InfoComm Academy virtual classroom education with more Design School classes coming on-stream. In 2012 we will present three rounds of virtual classroom courses. These classes are a great way to take your knowledge to a new level. Classes run for five

weeks with two live sessions each week and class work in between. Virtual Classroom courses are $600 for InfoComm members (50% payable by Edubucks) and $900 for nonmembers. The Virtual Classroom timetable will be released early in 2012. So look for details in this regional news page, InfoComm regional e-newsletter and on the InfoComm AsiaPacific regional webpage. Wednesday Webinars Our goal for 2012 will be to deliver seven regional webinars. We are looking for volunteers that have some information that they think the industry will benefit from, and they don’t mind sharing. You don’t even need to be a professional presenter; InfoComm will assist you with preparation to deliver your webinar. Using our Go-To-Webinar platform, you can deliver your presentation from your desktop. InfoComm member programs In 2012 we will be refining our Roundtable meetings. The meetings will feature guest presenters. Topics may be on technology or on business. The discussion will also be expanded to feature time for Q&A with the speaker. Of course we will continue the networking hour at the end of the formal proceedings. We trust these changes will make the roundtable meetings an integral part of our membership benefit enhancements. For those manufacturer/distributor members, we will be offering you sponsorship opportunities in 2012. These will include both financial and equipment/services sponsorships for events and Academy classes. Sponsor recognition will go well beyond any single event or class, with listings on the InfoComm regional webpage and regional marketing efforts. Event sponsors will also be given the opportunity to say a few words to those assembled. Sponsorships are limited, please contact oceania@infocomm.org for more information. AViQ – Find a provider directory. This is a new service that comes with the recently launched AViQ product directory. This directory will list every service provider in the AV communications industry throughout the Oceania region. Non-members will get access to a basic listing. InfoComm members get the option of two levels of enhanced listings, the top level is on a fee-for-service basis. If you would like take advantage of the find a provider program, please don’t hesitate to contact us at oceania@infocomm.org Have we got your correct details ? Are you getting the InfoComm Regional Update newsletter? Are your staff getting the newsletter? Once again, if you would like us to ensure your details are correct, please contact us at oceania@infocomm.org I’d like to finish by offering everyone the compliments of the season from all of us at InfoComm, and wish you all a safe and enjoyable holiday.


048

TUTORIAL

Professional Sales Skills Discover as much as you can about your client and listen.

This is an excerpt from the InfoComm online course AV from A-Z for Sales Professionals. KNOW YOUR CLIENT’S OBJECTIVES & INTERESTS

All good sales reps know how to link their ideas to the client’s environment and express them in ways the client can relate to. It isn’t difficult to do, but it takes effort and practice. Here’s how to do it: 1. Make a list of typical titles of prospects you call on. If necessary, ask your manager or other sales reps: “Who makes decisions to buy our products or services in our client companies?” People like Facilities Managers, IT Directors, Marketing Executives, and Meeting Planners might be among them, depending upon what you sell. 2. Identify some broad responsibilities and/ or concerns a person in that job probably has. A Facilities Manager, for example, wants the building to be well maintained, well utilised, efficient and up to date, safe and secure, attractive, properly equipped, easy to use, cost effective, etc. If you can list a dozen or so concerns like this for each type of person you call on, you’ll have an understanding of what they care about and work on all day. 3. Use this general information to get the individual you actually meet with to tell you more about specifics: how important these concerns are, or if there are some you weren’t aware of. (Clients will open up more to someone who already knows something about their world than they will with people who are clueless.) 4. Most importantly, make sure to connect all your ideas and recommendations to one or more of these concerns. Rather than saying “the control system is custom programmed so everything works from the keypad,” it’s better to say, “because some presenters who use this room won’t have much AV experience, all the control functions have user-friendly language on the keypad menu so you won’t get many calls about ‘how this stuff works’”. HOW TO IDENTIFY CLIENT NEEDS

Knowing there are many ways clients can use AV and many possible applications, how can you find out what this client needs so you can

recommend the best of many possible choices in each specific circumstance? Why not just ask? Some know exactly what they wish to accomplish and exactly what they want to buy. Many (probably most) will need your help to determine that. The best selling happens in a free exchange of information between the client and the provider. When you create a good dialogue both of you can better understand the client’s goals, which should also be your goals. A good dialogue is also friendlier and less threatening. If you want the client to give a full, informative response (or just get them talking) ask open questions which are hard to answer with a word or two. Here are a few examples: • How do people here make presentations now? • What kinds of meetings are held in this facility? • How would you describe the current effectiveness of your training? • What would you like to see done differently or better? Answers to questions like these tell you how your client thinks, how much they know, and what they consider important. If you need factual or specific information, ask closed questions, such as: • How many people will attend the general session? • Are there any windows or columns in that room? • When do you expect construction to start? When its time to bring the client to your point of view, or persuade them one of your ideas will work well, ask directive questions. These are questions which suggest their own answer, usually the one you want to hear. Examples include: • Can you see the added value of a maintenance agreement to protect your equipment investment? • Wouldn’t it be great if everyone knew how to take full advantage of this room? • Would you get more use out of the plasma screen or the projector and installed front projection screen? Questions foster a dialogue, gather important information, get the client involved, persuade more softly than statements. Use

them often, use them intelligently. EFFECTIVE LISTENING

If you only master one skill in AV sales, make it effective listening! The best sales reps are always good listeners. Seems obvious, but it isn’t. Many sales reps ask great questions, but don’t listen to the answers and use the information they receive. Some leave a meeting without good notes and can’t remember what was said. These mistakes can be very costly and are completely avoidable! If you listen really effectively the client will almost always tell you what you have to do or say to get the order! Don’t let the stress of an important client meeting or conversation keep you from good listening. Discipline yourself in every client exchange to: • Keep quiet. You can’t talk and listen at the same time! • Take good notes. Keep them in your client record with dates, names and other facts. • Clarify what you don’t understand. Ask the client to elaborate so you don’t draw incorrect conclusions from what was said. • Summarise key points at the end of the conversation, both yours and the client’s. • Don’t leave a meeting or conversation unsure of what was discussed or agreed. • Avoid interrupting the client when he or she is speaking. Listen and make notes. You’ll get your chance to respond! • Avoid distractions. Try to find a quiet, non-distracting place for your conversation whenever possible. • Concentrate on the subject. Try to keep one subject on the table at a time. • Avoid arguing or confronting. You can always come back to points of disagreement. As you listen, try to maintain a cordial tone. • Delay your response. In fact, pause for a few moments before you respond at all to what was said. Often the client will continue and you will learn even more. Poor listening leads to incomplete or incorrect information. That causes confusion or the need to do things twice. If you have good information your colleagues can help you better and your clients will have more confidence in you. 


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050

Termination Cue Tape? Sacre Bleu! Text:/ Graeme Hague

It’s not easy, when you’re in this business, to sit back and enjoy a show. If you’re an audio engineer you listen to the mix (I can do better than that), lighting guys check out the LX rig (I would have done that differently) and haven’t we all thought ‘geez, they call that in focus? Are these blokes blind?’. Similarly, when things go wrong, while the rest of audience are confused and perplexed, we can wear a cruel smirk and smugly imagine the 10 kinds of chaos that must be reigning in the control rooms. It wouldn’t have happened to us, right? We’re good. I saw something like this recently – on the telly, of course. Along with a millions of other viewers. It was the start of the AFL final between Carlton and West Coast and the fans were asked to stand for the Australian national anthem, and everyone dutifully complied. A pregnant pause followed as nothing happened… and nothing… and nothing. A few folks gave up and sat down again, but the ground announcer tried again and everybody hauled themselves onto their hind quarters once more. Then they were blasted by the (albeit brief, but unmistakable) opening bars of the Carlton Football club’s victory song. Hardly Julie Anthony. While most people found it funny, I couldn’t help thinking of the scene in the control rooms. Please remove all sharp objects from the audio operator’s reach. But how hard must it have been? Come on, just select one correct track and hit ‘Play’. It ain’t rocket science. Saying that: there but for the grace of God go I. So to be fair I’ve recalled how I once stuffed up something even easier. CUE THE MUSIC

The occasion was as an in-house audio operator for a touring French company

called the Philippe Genty Company. Philippe Genty excelled (and still do) in ‘black box’ puppetry, masterful illusion and dance, and did visually gob-smacking, amazing stuff long before any of us had heard of 3D projection, Photoshop or even Cirque Du Soleil. Back then, their show tapes were played on two Revox reel-to-reel machines, one muted and backing up the other (Revox being an undoubted industry standard at the time) and usually audio cues were separated by an auto-stop function. Transparent pieces of splice tape in the reel caused the Revox to stop at the end of a cue and the operator needed only to manually crank the tape a few centimetres and start again (never forgetting to mute the first channels too, so the screech of the tape scrubbing across the heads didn’t scare an audience half to death). However, all the above information is irrelevant, because Philippe Genty were a very slick operation and didn’t like the enormous Clunk! sound of the reel-to-reels restarting all the time. Instead, each half was a continuous playback. All I had to do was hit Play at the beginning of the two acts on both machines roughly at the same time, sit back and enjoy the show. That’s one cue per act. Tricky stuff. The technical rehearsal went perfectly – from my department anyway. I rewound the tapes and set up for the evening performance. Things don’t get any easier really. However, during that night’s show things started to go horribly wrong. FROM 15IPS TO OOPS

It wasn’t long before, inexplicably, both the Revox machines were playing back the soundtrack too slowly. This was should have been next to impossible. Sure, maybe one of the Revox’s had some kind of internal,

garlic-induced Gallic electronic problem that decided to manifest itself by playing back at less the 15ips – but that’s the moment when you smoothly switch over to the backup machine and the show goes on… except the second Revox was doing the same. Merde. Lots of rude language was coming over the comms – fortunately in French, but I’m pretty sure I heard my name and guillotine mentioned in the same sentence. Someone suggested I literally stick my finger in the reels and try to manually turn them at the correct speed, but that’s the kind of thinking that saw the Bastille rather fatally stormed – but I tried, and the music went from alarming to truly awful. Eventually, the first act came to a tortuous end and we had to frantically figure out what was going on. It was easy and a lazy mistake on my part. At the end of rehearsal I’d rewound the tapes without threading them through the guides and auto-tensioners, so the tape was taken up way too tight on the reels and the Revox motors were struggling to pull it off properly. We managed to quickly fast-forward through the entire show, rewind them correctly, and get back to the start of Act 2 in time. Fortunately, the show itself was so bizarre for the Queensland boondocks audience they just assumed the crazy music was normal and no one complained. In a strange kind of way, it explains Bob Katter, too. The moral of the story is that the simplest of gigs are the ones most likely to go drastically wrong. The next time you witness the wheels fall off a live production don’t laugh, because it’s not a case of it might be you. It will be sometime. Just try to keep the live audience under 40,000 and the TV viewers below five million or so. 


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AV issue 21  

AV is Australia and New Zealand's magazine for Audiovisual professionals.