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M.A.D.E: DEMOCRACY IN ACTION IN A NEW LIGHT: LAMPLESS PROJECTION EXPLAINED REVIEWED: SPINETIX ELEMENTI • BOSCH PLE-SDT • POINT SOURCE AUDIO EARWORN MICS issue #32 $6.95


Are you www.readyfordigital.com.au Are you ready for the Digital Dividend Restack? From the

> Restack Overview

1st January 2015 you may not be able to use your current

> FAQ’s

wireless audio products. There is a lot of confusion and

> Updates and Articles

misinformation out there about the Digital Dividend and how

> Online Forum

it will affect you, so we’ve created the one website where you

> Frequency Guide

can find everything you need to be Ready for Digital.

> Helpful Links


XTP CrossPoint 3200 Modular Matrix Switcher

XTP CrossPoint 1600 Modular Matrix Switcher

XTP T UWP 202 Transmitter

XTP T USW 103 Transmitter

XTP R HDMI Receiver

XTP T HDMI Transmitter

XTP T VGA Transmitter

XTP SR HDMI Receiver

Extron XTP Systems Extron XTP Systems™ provide a completely integrated switching and distribution solution for multiple digital and analog formats. Ethernet, and power up to 330 feet (100 m) over a single CATx cable. Easy to Set Up box to save you time and money. Intuitive control software complicated programming. Performance XTP Systems deliver extremely high switching and transmission performance to support a wide range of video formats, including the highest resolution DVI and HDMI future-ready AV integration solution.

Australian Distributor of Extron Products

Free Call 1800.EXTRON

Reliable XTP Systems deliver robust system reliability and dependable switching of video signals through EDID and HDCP key management. Featuring advanced 24/7 system monitoring and hot-swappable modular components, XTP CrossPoint matrix switchers are built for continuous, trouble-free operation in the most critical applications. Flexible System Designs XTP Systems let you easily integrate digital and analog devices into your system design. Connect and switch between local devices, or extend to remote locations up to 330 feet (100 m) away using just a single CATx cable that carries, video, audio, RS-232 or IR control, Ethernet, and power.

www.extron.com

+65.6383.4400


Take a closer look The new range of Samsung Commercial Displays The new Samsung ME-C, PE-C, UE-C and UD-C series LED BLU* displays have all received important upgrades from the previous models, offering great new features for digital signage applications, video wall set ups and information sharing. The new Samsung Smart Signage Platform with MagicInfo™ Premium S Enabling web based^ multi-display signage networks** without the need for external media players! Included with the latest ME-C, PE-C, UE-C and UD-C series displays, SSSP eliminates the need for external PC media players, streamlining display and content management. Combine with MagicInfo™ Premium S** software, to create, schedule and deliver content to either a single display or multiple displays over a network**^ Easy Image Rotation – use the display settings to rotate your content The image rotation feature enables simple rotation of screen content using display menu functions. This feature is designed to allow content to be reoriented without losing its aspect ratio, and can also be delivered to multiple screens via DP1.2 loop out (daisy chain), eg. to expand landscape content across 3 displays in portrait mode (as shown).

DP1.2 Ultra High Definition Loop Out for 2 x 2 Video Wall Configurations The new Samsung ME-C, UE-C, PE-C and UD-C series displays utilises DP1.2 technology to help enable delivery of UHD content across 4 separate displays (each display sold separately) when set up in a 2 x 2 landscape video wall configuration. Simply loop out of the first display with a DP1.2 cable,* daisy chain the displays and they are ready to accept Ultra High Definition (3820 x 2160) content.** *DP1.2 cables sold separately (4 required) **Content delivery device must be able to deliver UHD content via DP1.2 to the first display

HDCP Support using DP1.2 loop out* The new ME-C, PE-C, UE-C and UD-C Series, now offering the DP1.2 loop out, also offer HDCP support through DP1.2 loop out for up to 7 daisy chained compatible displays. This helps to overcome HDCP compliance issues for multi screen deployments or video wall applications where you need to deliver protected content from one device to multiple displays. *DP1.2 cables sold separately

Share Content to multiple displays with DP1.2 Loop Out daisy chain*

The new SSSP, streamlining content and display management

*HDCP up to 7 displays.

Easy content rotation

Create, collaborate, communicate

Images simulated for illustration purposes only. Cables and computer not included. *Samsung LED BLU Commercial Displays use LCD display panels with LED back or edge lighting. **MagicInfo™ Premium S software is included with displays for stand-alone applications only. For network applications, server licenses are required at additional cost. ^Internet connection required. Data and subscription charges may apply. Usage may be subject to third party service provider agreements.


There is more to see!

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


we are family

be a part of our family over 60 products across 13 series of projectors, panels and touch screens

pro.sony.com.au


07

Editorial Spreading the AV Word I’m writing this on my way home from InfoComm 2013 where I’ve just had a chance to see the best and worst of the AV industry on show. When I’m back behind my desk in Hobart, I’ll put together my detailed show report — once I’ve had the time to read and digest the contents of the couple of CDs, the dozen or so novelty USB memory sticks and downloaded the files from some new and even less convenient document distribution system called Dropcards. These look like business cards with a URL printed on them together with an 11-character password that allows you to download a bunch of files from a server somewhere on the internet. Many of the cards are made from a very thick and durable plastic that will still be lying around in land fill long after everyone has forgotten there was once an internet. Others of these cards are made from ‘environmentally sound’ recycled paper – embedded with the seeds of some unnamed native

American wildflowers. Here we see American horticultural imperialism at its most frightening, sneaking wildflower seeds past Australian biosecurity and starting off another outbreak like Prickly Pear or Patterson’s Curse. Never mind the US National Security Agency eavesdropping on your emails and mobile calls with or without the assistance of your carrier, the USA’s public relations industry is sneaking the seeds of our destruction as a food-producing nation past those cute and ever-vigilant beagles on airport quarantine duty, in the briefcases of unwitting Australian business tourists. Even the US/Israeli Stuxnet worm was only targeted at Iranian nuclear centrifuges, not the entire Iranian population! My first thought after being handed a dropcard was that these same PR people had already wasted many (billable) hours chasing me via email and telephone to come and visit their client’s stand. Perhaps they could simply have emailed me a link to the important zip file full VISIT US AT STAND XX

MEET US AT INTEGRATE BOOTH: I34

WATC H O U T P R E M I U M PA R T N E R AUSTR ALIA, N EW ZE AL AN D I NTER AC TIVE CO NTRO LS P h o n e: + 61 ( 0 ) 2 94 3 6 3 0 2 2 inf o@int era c tive cont rols.com.au w w w. i n t e r a c t i v e c o n t r o l s . c o m . a u

of images of some vice-president of something in an expensive suit shaking hands, with a similarly attired vice-president of something else with an even more expensive smile. This is exactly what one of the guys from ClearOne did today, because nobody gave me a CD, dongle or Dropcard when I had my tour of their stand. I’m making a plea on behalf of Australia’s farmers, the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service and the survival of the planet. If your supplier offers you a Dropcard instead of product information, and you feel too polite to refuse it, please don’t throw it out. Burn the cardboard ones in a very hot fire and chop the plastic ones up finely and use them instead of stones and sand for the drainage in your pot plants. The crown for this year’s ‘best novelty USB device in show’, has been retained by Projectiondesign for its little rubber projectors. 


Crew 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 AVIAs. He now divides his time between consulting, writing and the occasional video production assignment.

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 Director: Stewart Woodhill (stewart@av.net.au) Editorial Director: Christopher Holder (chris@av.net.au) Publisher: Philip Spencer (philip@av.net.au)

Marcus has worked in the entertainment industry for over 15 years. He has lit everything from TV to tours, corporate to circus, galleries to garages, and yet he’s still smiling and always up for a joke. He spends much of his time looking after a large client base for Melbourne lighting company Resolution X. He is currently a committee member of the Australian Lighting Industry Association, a member of the AVIAs judging panel, and has a continuing passion for lighting in all fields.

Art Director: Dominic Carey (dominic@alchemedia.com.au) Graphic Design: Leigh Ericksen (leigh@alchemedia.com.au) Associate Editor: Jen Temm (jen@av.net.au) News Editor: Graeme Hague (news@av.net.au) Accounts: Jaedd Asthana (jaedd@alchemedia.com.au) Circulation Manager: Mim Mulcahy (subscriptions@av.net.au)

Marc Murray is a co-founder of Just Lamps, a global projector lamp distributor and Diamond Lamps, a Singapore-based projector lamp manufacturer. After too many years in the cold and rain, he moved from the UK to sunny Noosa. When not playing golf or fine dining on the beach, Marc spends his days as CFO (chief bean counter) of both businesses. Over the last 18 months, the Just Lamps Group has been diversifying and has recently launched a distribution arm for lampless projectors called Just Lampless.

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 2013 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. 18/6/2013

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


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Issue 32 REGULARS NEWS AV Industry news, includes Kryal Castle’s hi-tech reboot

14

INFOCOMM ASSOCIATION NEWS News and important dates for the Oceania region.

46

TERMINATION Game on: iPads, tablets and other puzzling trends.

50

FEATURES

22

TOWERING INTELLECT RMIT’s new whip-smart teaching spaces.

22

MADE TO EXPERIENCE Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka: a museum with plenty of smart AV and precious few exhibits..

30

TUTORIALS

38

18

THE HIRE MIRE Getting the most out of your hire company.

38

PROJECTORS WITHOUT LAMPS Solid-state light sources come to the world of projectors.

44

NEEDS ANALYSIS Gathering customer information.

49

REVIEWS

30

44

40

POINT SOURCE AUDIO CO SERIES Earworn microphones.

40

BOSCH PLE-SDT Solid-state playback device and FM tuner.

40

SPINETIX ELEMENTI Digital signage scheduling and content creation software.

42


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EXCLUSIVE SEMINAR PROGRAM Biggest Professional Development Program Ever in Australia! Cases studies on Sydney Opera House and King Kong live on stage PLASA international speaker program featuring Karl Ruling and Timothy Bird from the UK Keynote presentations from Scots Willsallen, Bruce Ramus, Brenton James and Rolf Greve – all leaders in their chosen fields Two-day Riggers Forum with Bill Sapsis, Nick Barnfield and Tiny Good Dedicated stream covering Integration and Business Skills Discounted passes for multiple sessions available

NEW TO ENTECH 2013 BOSE Visitor Networking Evening. Free drinks, food and live entertainment! RST ENTECH will be using Presdo Match a ME TIM EVER unique networking platform which allows you to make 1 to 1 appointments with industry professionals – www.entechshow.com.au Exclusive ACETA Australian Hall of Manufacturers ACETA Skill Zone: Explore career options in the Entertainment Technology Industry RST Audio Engineer and Lighting ME TIM EVER Technician Lunches

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014

NEWS

CEILING MOUNT

BARCO HITS ESC

1000W ONE-PERSON LIFT

Abtus has released a new plasma/LCD ceiling mount. Designed to carry two screens back-to-back with monitors ranging from 37-inch to 50-inch, the AV417-V1 is aimed at shopping malls and other narrowaccess installations where 360° viewing isn’t required. However the mount itself does provide 360° rotation and the central pole is adjustable to vary the height of the screens. Both mounting sides can be tilted down by 20° and backwards by 5°. The total weight the AV417-V1 can carry is 100kg. The mount comes in the usual choice of colours: black, black or black. Screencom: (03) 97946102 or www.screencom.net.au

Barco has revealed details of its technical contribution to the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC). Barco provided 60 projectors and three Encore systems at the Malmö Arena, put in place by European facilities house, Mediatec . A large number of the projectors used are from Barco’s latest high-brightness range, the 28 HDQ-2K40 projectors, 13 of which were blended and warped into a spectacular back wall – the main feature of the stage design. Content was fed from Green Hippo servers, via a Barco Encore system contacting five video processors, Matrix Pro DVI 8x8, Matrix Pro II SDI 3G and a large controller. Other destinations were fed by additional video processors with the proprietary BarcoLink technology handling signal distribution between the projectors and image processors. Barco has a long history as a technical partner to the Eurovision Song Contest but this year its role in Europe’s largest annual live TV music event was its biggest yet. Barco: (03) 9646 5833 or sales.au@barco.com Mediatec: (03) 8768 6400 or www.mediatecgroup. com.au

It’s fair to say that 12-inch and 15-inch pole-mounted, powered cabinets represent a fiercely competitive section of the PA market. The ZLX is the next generation of such portable active loudspeakers from Electro-Voice, tempting potential customers with 1000W of power – unthinkable not so long ago, if you wanted to be able to chuck the thing onto a pole all by yourself. Passive versions are available too. Both the powered ZLXs have a 1.5-inch high-frequency titanium compression driver and that 1000W Class D amplifier under the bonnet. EV has decided to take most of the hard work out of setting up your PA by providing a single-knob DSP control with an LCD display and choice of presets. The location of the multiple carryhandles is meant to allow easy transport, and puts you in exactly the right place for that high lift onto a pole mount. The shape of the ZLX has been defined by EV as ‘industrial’ – whatever that means. Don’t panic, the ZLX can still double as a floor monitor. Bosch Communication Systems: (02) 9683 4572 or www.boschcommunications.com.au

NEWS IN BRIEF:

Sydney-based firm Wilson & Gilkes has announced it has acquired Argent Techno-Racking and as a result, will now be manufacturing Argent products. Wilson & Gilkes: (02) 9914 0900 or sales@gilkon.com.au

Analog Way has announced the Ascender 32 and Ascender 48 Premium multi-screen seamless switchers. Both systems offer 12 seamless inputs and 42 input plugs: 6 x HDMI, 9 x DVI-I, 3 x DisplayPort, 12 x 3G/HD/SD-SDI and 12 x Universal Analogue. The devices can handle any source from composite video up to 2560 x 1600, and outputs a variety of formats including HD-TV and data format up to 2560 x 1600 and 4K. Both systems include an independent dual-link output for monitoring purposes, with a live source mosaic layout. Axis AV: (03) 9752 2955 or www.axisav.com.au

Connecticut-based Trans-Lux Corporation is claiming the world’s first and only 1.5mm pitch LED solution. The new TL Vision 1.5mm LED display promises “exceptionally bright, HD quality images with breathtaking colour reproduction and clarity”. The 1.5mm LED video display is ideal for high resolution applications with image quality that rivals HD flat screen displays. Trans-Lux Corporation: www.trans-lux.com

Clear-Com has announced its Eclipse HX-Delta Matrix Frame. The HX-Delta brings Clear-Com’s larger matrices to a compact, cost-effective 3U frame. This smaller frame allows connectivity using IP or fibre as well as seamless integration with wireless and third-party devices, without external interface frames. The Eclipse HX-Delta system also offers a new connection paradigm for larger venues, giving users the option of building a distributed matrix system with frames in multiple areas of a facility. Jands: (02) 9582 0909 or info@jands.com.au

VMB Lifters is creating some worldwide interest with its variable-speed, variable-height Show Lift tower. Rated at 55kg load, the lifter is extendable up to 4.11m high and can be controlled by DMX or touch screen. Ideal for lighting fixtures or set pieces, the Show Lift can add a dynamic feature to a show, product launch or trade exhibition. Design Quintessence: (02) 9649 2266 or www.dq.com.au


MINI JOYSTICK Camera Corps has announced the latest version of its ultra-compact PTZF (pan/tilt/zoom/focus) Mini Joystick, designed for restricted-space applications. The new PTZF Mini Joystick Version 3 is optimised for use with up to five Camera Corps Q-Ball Pre-Set remotely-controlled heads. Ten positions per head can be assigned and recalled. For total flexibility, individual control reverses are provided for pan, tilt, zoom and focus, and stored separately for each of the five heads. Data input from an external camera control unit, data output and incoming power can all be carried via a single connector. Space on the PTZF Mini Joystick panel is saved by using a twist action on the joystick to provide zoom control. Three rotary controls below the joystick provide individual adjustment of pan, tilt and zoom speed and can be set to different values for each of the five Q-Ball Pre-Set heads. The same rotary controls can be used to adjust functions such as manual and auto iris and red/blue gain. The PTZF Mini Joystick Version 3 operates from a 9 - 18V DC power adapter or battery. Camera Corps: www.cameracorps.co.uk

Martin Professional’s compact Jem AF-1 fan has been upgraded with improvements in control, rotation, speed range and increment adjustment. Speed control response is instantaneous, minimum fan speed has been lowered and motor noise at low speeds has also been reduced. Fully-controllable by DMX or via a hand-held remote, and featuring a new design, the AF-1 Mkll can be mounted on a truss or used free-standing on the floor. Show Technology: (02) 9748 1122 or www.showtech.com.au

Avlex Corporation has introduced two new MiPro 7 Series wireless transmitters, the ACT-71Ta bodypack transmitter and the ACT-71Ha handheld transmitter. Of particular note, the ACT-71Ta bodypack transmitter provides a silent on/off switch with a separate mute button and provisions for the optional MJ-70 remote mute switch control, enabling the person wearing the transmitter to easily mute/unmute the transmitter – even when it is buried underneath clothing. Hills SVL: (02) 9647 1411 or nsw@hillssvl.com.au

ARX has added to its series of USB audio interfaces with the release of a new USB I/O VSR broadcast standard USB audio interface. The USB I/O VSR was designed to specifications outlined by the technical department of the BBC to fulfil its requirements for a broadcast standard USB interface, updating its A/D and D/A interconnections from the soundcards that have been in use across the organisation. The Resource Corporation: (03) 9874 5988 or sales@trc.com.au

Control Contractor 60 Series

Control Contractor 50 Series

Control Contractor 40 Series

COMPLETE COVERAGE

for your next project. High Performance Meets High Refinement The professionals choice for over half a century No matter where you go in this world, you’ll find JBL Installed Sound Speaker Systems at many of the most notable venues. With that kind of global perspective, JBL has come to respect the one indisputable truth of business: every customer is unique. A speaker system that is perfectly right for one job might be perfectly wrong for another. That’s why JBL Installed Sound products offer a range of options

Distributed by

jands.com.au

without equal. From the extraordinary value of the Control Contractor Series to the ultimate precision of the JBL Precision Directivity Series, there’s a JBL Installed Sound product with a solid business solution based on equally solid business savvy. For more than 60 years, JBL has been the professional speaker of choice wherever sound matters. We’d like to believe it should be your choice, too.


016

NEWS

AN APP FROM AJA

BRIGHT iDEA FROM BRIGHTSIGN

MORE INPUT FROM RIEDEL

When it comes to converters and cables there’s often a choice of solutions for whatever particular problem you’re trying to solve. The AJA Mini-Matrix app is an interactive, searchable catalogue of AJA video and audio converter products for anyone needing to convert between different video formats and connection types. Designed to help you find the solution you need as fast as possible whether you’re on set or active in the field, the AJA Mini-Matrix’s simple and powerful search tool promises to get you the answer you need. Search by name, input type, conversion type or output type or any combination. Search results can be emailed or explored further with direct links to product pages on the AJA website. Also, you can figure out where to buy the AJA MiniConverter of your choice anywhere in the world by selecting ‘Where to Buy’. The app is free, for iPad and iPhone only, and is a 9.7MB download. Digistor: 1800 643 789 or www.digistor.com.au

The BrightSign App allows users to easily interact with locally-networked signage using your iPad or iPhone. The app is designed for menuboard updates, retail installations, emergency messaging, and more. The app offers a simple interface to select any BrightSign player connected to a local network, and then change the user variables for the current presentation, or trigger presentation events and transitions. All locally connected BrightSign players are automatically detected. Select a player, and the controls for that player’s presentation are immediately available for real-time interaction. Custom event triggers can be added directly within the app and the diagnostic facilities for each unit can be directly accessed and managed. The app can also be password-protected for security. The BrightSign app is free and is a 1.8MB download. Image Design Technology: 1300 666 099 or sales@idt.com.au

Riedel Communications has released an application called the Artist Input Monitor, available at the iTunes Store for iPhone and iPad. The Artist Input Monitor is the first of a new series of utility apps for the iOS platform from Riedel and provides real-time networks for video, audio and communications. The app can monitor and control up to eight freely assignable audio inputs of an Artist Digital Matrix Intercom system, and gives the intercom administrator a new way to manage the four-wire input levels of a system without having to be in front of a computer running the Director configuration software. The level meters can be configured wireless directly on the iPad. The app isn’t a freebie – the price is $17.99 in the Australian App Store and is a 21.5MB download. Riedel Communications Australia: (02) 9699 1199 or www.riedel.net

Two new fixtures from Luminarc are the Ilumipanel 40 IP and Ilumipod 18g2 IP. Designed as a midrange wash light and ideal for uplighting walls, Ilumipanel 40 IP is an interior/exterior fixture with a slim structure that easily blends with the environment. The Ilumipod 18g2 IP is a more powerful unit ideal for wall washing, uplighting trees, columns and façades. Show Tools: (02) 9824 2382 or www.showtools.com.au

Bittree’s twisted pair feedthrough panel category was designed with install technicians in mind. Cables terminated with XLR connectors can be plugged into the XLR to E3 panel, and E3 cables can extend to the rear interface or your equipment or directly to your patchbay. Rackmount harness assemblies with E3 or punchdown (ID) allow system designers and integrators to build flexibility into modular racks. Madison Technologies: 1800 669 999 or www.madisontech.com.au

The Microsoft Perceptive Pixel PPI 82LCD is an 82-inch interactive projected-capacitive display that enables you to communicate, present, comprehend and interpret rich and complex data in an entirely new, hands-on way. Ideal for both presentations and creative, collaborative multi-user environments such as storyboarding and brainstorming sessions, the PPI 82LCD interactive display provides a high-impact platform with a small footprint. Amber Technology: 1800 251 367 or www.ambertech.com.au

Draper’s VideoConferencing Camera Box recesses a camera in the wall, behind a hinged tempered-glass door. The installer ‘simply’ cuts the desired opening in the wall, inserts the five-sided steel enclosure and engages the quick clamps. No additional hardware or brackets are required and the box has a bezel that trims the rough opening. All visible surfaces are finished with black powder coat. Five cable exits make wire management simple and it includes a lock to protect sensitive equipment. Draper: www.draperinc.com available from Pro AV Solutions, Rutledge AV, Videopro.

The DVPHD High-Definition Digital Video Processor from Crestron is a multi-window video processor that displays hi-res computer and high-definition video signals with HDCP, provides a fully-customisable HD graphics environment, and enables realtime annotation and touchscreen control – all in a modular, scalable hardware platform that’s easy to install. The DVPHD is configurable to handle up to eight different inputs of virtually any type. Crestron: (02) 9737 8203 or www.crestron.com.au

Evertz’s new high-resolution 4K Slo Mo record/replay system, dubbed Dreamcatcher, uses a scalable and flexible architecture that allows a technical production team to create stories faster without compromising quality. With its internal 4K technology Dreamcatcher allows a production team to capture the event from all angles and particularly suits sports broadcasting. Several HD sequences selectable by the operator may be obtained from the one master 4K image for instant replay. Quinto Communications: (03) 9558 9377 or www.quinto.com


TOUCHLINK APP Extron's TouchLink for iPad brings mobile, handheld convenience to AV systems with installed TouchLink touchpanels. The familiar user interface of this app duplicates the TouchLink model you’re controlling, while button presses, lights, and other key functions are kept in sync. Easy-to-configure wi-fi connectivity means TouchLink for iPad can be used anywhere on your network while the iPad travels with you, within the room or between rooms. Simply choose a room from the dropdown Rooms list, and you’ve established a connection to the TouchLink panel in that room. This app is compatible with projects created using Extron Global Configurator 3.5. TouchLink for iPad is available for download on the App Store. It’s iPad-only, will cost you $4.99 in the Australian App Store and is a 5.3MB download. RGB Integration: (08) 8351 2188 or www.rgbintegration.com.au

The future is

PROJECTION FOR A GREENER FUTURE

New eco-friendly, portable long life LED & laser hybrid light engine projectors are changing the face of the projector industry. NO MERCURY LOW POWER CONSUMPTION

Today's Lampless projectors are mercury free & LG and Madison Technologies have combined forces to provide commercial monitors and displays. The LG commercial display panel range includes LCD and LED monitors in full HD, wide screen, narrow bezel and shine out panels for hospitality, outdoor, touch, video wall and general applications. Madison’s contribution is the entire associated infrastructure such as mounts and brackets, locking HDMI cables and bulk cable. Madison Technologies 1800 669999 or www.madisontech.com.au LG Electronics (02) 8805 4409 or www.lg.com.au

Shure has unveiled the SE846 Sound Isolating Earphone, featuring a quad highdefinition micro driver with a three-way system configuration for dedicated low, mid and high frequency distribution. The design includes a low-pass filter with true subwoofer and an optimised nozzle angle to rest comfortably in the ear. The earphone is available with three changeable nozzles allowing you to select the nozzle insert with the frequency response you prefer – balanced, warm or bright. A detachable cable and an accessories package that includes three pairs of disposable black foam sleeves, three pairs of soft flex sleeves and a carrying case are included. Jands: (02) 9582 0909 or info@jands.com.au

economical to run. Some are so portable they run off batteries, others are high lumen short throw and will run all day in a classroom for over 10 years without

$ LONG LIFE ENGINE

regular maintenance or bulb replacement. Take the high quality service and technical expertise that you have come to expect of Just Lamps over the last 10 years and remove the lamps. What you get is Just Lampless - The Solid State Projector Specialist.

www.justlamps.net

07 5449 9483

PORTABLE


018

NEWS

Kryal Castle Revivified Playing for Keeps Text:/Christopher Holder

Forsooth! Just when you thought Kryal Castle had been hung, drawn, quartered and its head put on a pike… News comes through that the corpse has been disinterred and reanimated. Located deep in the Middle Earth of Greater Ballarat, Kryal Castle began as a labour of love for one Keith Ryal back in the ’70s. It enjoyed a season of popularity before falling out of favour, until such time that it was a veritable basketcase — hosting the odd music gig or chapter meeting for chain mail fetishists. Kryal Castle was on the market for a number of years and speculation was rife as to its long-term future (at one point a planning application came before local council to turn it into the southern hemisphere’s largest brothel) before investors, with enough groats and enough chutzpah to surrender to the medieval schtick of Kryal, came along. The result is a re-suited and re-booted Kryal Castle that’s had a big injection of cash to bolster its ageing faux-bluestone ramparts and to bring it in line with what the Harry Potter generation expects of a 21st century attraction. FANTASY LAND Speaking of the world’s most famous boy wizard, Kryal has decided to ride the wave of interest in all things fantastical — everything from Harry Potter to Lord of the Rings, to Twilight and Game of Thrones. So

although you can have your fill of jousting, falconry and other medieval shenanigans, Kryal is about as close as many younglings will get to being in Hogwarts. There’s a goodly investment in AV at the Kryal ‘front end’. As visitors enter the castle they’re walked through a variety of exhibits that serve to prepare them for what’s to come. The Kryal back-story is retold by a Pepper’s ghost queen, some air-activated knights, an animatronic dragon, and a king's head projected onto a tombstone. The whole presentation including the lighting (lighting design by Benjamin Cistern, with lighting control from Dynalite) is controlled by a Medialon system ably programmed by Interactive Controls. The bigger picture – namely the look and feel of the opening attraction – was overseen by Arterial Design. Arterial’s Jamie Fergusson walks us through the setup they call ‘The Dragon’s Labyrinth’: “Kryal has a long history and many people have a preconception as to what it is. It was our job to use the entry way to create a initial fantasy experience and set up the adventure within the castle walls.” USHNAGH THE SHE-DRAGON “We worked with Kryal and with a production company to establish a story line about Kryal’s fantasy royal family and the relationship with the dragon – they wanted dragon fantasy elements to be strongly portrayed around the castle. We developed a story and

laid it out through the existing architecture. It functions like a walk-through theatrical experience, almost like a walking ghost train, where you’re led through a series of discrete areas. “We’re using pretty traditional theatrical techniques: show control and a mix of screens, projections, a Pepper’s ghost and mirrored effects, along with physical pneumatic animatronic effects timed to synchronise with a soundtrack and video production. “The Pepper’s ghost is something we put together using a large LCD and standard glass to reflect the image. Otherwise, we use existing wall, floor and ceiling surfaces for projections, while in one of the areas a tombstone provides a projection surface for our talking king. In another space we acquired an offthe-peg animatronic dragon from China. “Speakers are concealed within the sets, hidden in alcoves or behind curtains. The show control triggers solid-state media players for the audio.”  Kryal Castle: kryalcastle.com.au Interactive Controls (Medialon): (02) 9436 3022 or www.interactivecontrols.com.au Arterial Design: (03) 9482 6166 or www.arterialdesign.com.au


2 SHOwS AT 1 TImE

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Towering Intellect RMIT sets the bar high with its newest teaching spaces. Text:/ Derek Powell

RMIT has taken a giant leap into the future with the opening of the $200m Swanston Academic Building (SAB) in Melbourne’s downtown. The striking 11-storey building now houses the university’s College of Business and contains 80 brand new teaching spaces. The design, by Lyons Architects, takes as its metaphor the iconic Melbourne laneway culture, and transforms the interest and exuberance of the cafes and clubs that line these thoroughfares into a vertical village – replete with vibrant verandah-like indoor/ outdoor spaces and plenty of gathering zones for students. The project was delivered well ahead of the original schedule meaning long hours and plenty of challenges for the AV integrator KLM, working to a design prepared by consultants AECOM. Dean McFadden, RMIT’s Technical Architect, AV Design and Strategy, talked AV through this massive addition to the university’s portfolio of teaching spaces. There are six main lecture theatres, the largest accommodating 360 students, plus a fully-fledged cinema that is also equipped for teaching. Projection is a mix of Mitsubishi and Panasonic. The larger theatres feature the Panasonic PT-DZ110XT threeDLP WUXGA projectors, which push out a whopping 10,600 lumens, while smaller rooms utilise the Mitsubishi single chip projectors. RMIT policy is for single projection, so most theatres

feature a relatively straightforward line-up of input devices with a fixed house PC, laptop input, document camera and Blu-ray player. Lecture recording is available in a dozen spaces, via the Echo 360 capture appliance, coupled with a PTZ camera. Audio includes Biamp DSP controllers and an array of mostly JBL speakers (Control 25 and 28 wall mounts, and Control 26 ceiling speakers). This building was designed prior to the new building code regulations for hearing assistance, meaning that only a dozen of the larger spaces required hearing loops. Due to the proximity of the spaces, KLM spent quite a bit of effort ensuring that spill from the loops was minimised between the adjacent rooms. McFadden pronounced himself very satisfied with the results they obtained though, as he said: “…there’s only so far you can push the laws of physics”. With the regulations now in full force, hearing assistance will be required in all new-build rooms with amplified sound and he plans to meet that challenge using Sennheiser infra-red systems. The other challenge for close-spaced rooms in a high-rise campus is finding enough frequencies for radio microphones,

The futuristic Swanson Academic Building towers over the Victorian-era Oxford Scholar Hotel like an alien predator poised to subsume it. Photographer: John Gollings courtesy RMIT.


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especially with the reduction in channels caused by the so called ‘digital dividend’. As part of the solution, all the wireless lapel mics in the SAB are Revolabs HD series, which operate on wi-fi frequencies. That might have been a problem in itself, since these mics have to share the spectrum with a total of 420 wireless access points that handle up to 17,500 simultaneous computer wifi connections. However, McFadden reported no problems so far. By contrast, the hand-held radio mics are all AKG and so need to find clear spots to operate among the current digital TV channels. “We’re okay for now, but it might get interesting when the digital channels are re-stacked,” McFadden pointed out. IN CONTROL

The AV control systems are AMX (mostly seven-inch Modero touch panels with large ELO touch panels and TPI Pros in the bigger rooms); however the switching is all Crestron Digital Media. An AMX Room Management System watches over all of the AV systems,

FEATURE

providing monitoring and warning of any equipment failures. Where possible, all equipment control is implemented over IP rather than by RS-232. McFadden plans to make this the standard into the future and told me that the new building required around 2100 IP addresses in the AV system alone. “It was quite a change,” he said. “Prior to the SAB we only had about 2000 AVrelated IP addresses across the whole university. This building doubled that at one stroke.” A showcase room is the fully kitted-out 180seat cinema, which McFadden noted is used for Cinema Studies courses. As well as a pair of Mitsubishi WD8200U WXGA projectors for standard teaching, a Panasonic PJ-DZ1200E 12,000 ANSI lumen full HD projector lurks in the projection booth for movie presentations. Celluloid is also fully catered for with two Kinoton 35mm film projectors packing 2kW lamp-houses. One of the projectors is dual gauge, allowing 16mm film presentation as well. There is a full motorised drape system up front so the screen can be masked to the correct aspect

MORE INFORMATION TeamSpot and ClassSpot: Tidebreak Software www.tidebreak.com Kinoton Cine Projectors: www.kinoton.de/en/home.html Epson DC11 Document Camera: www.epson.com. au/products/ProjectorAccessories/ELP-DC11.asp NEC Live Signage: au.nec.com/en_AU/solutions/ display-solutions/digital-signage/nec-liveoverview.html

A 23m LED ticker runs around the foyer atrium. Photographer: Diana Snape courtesy Lyons Architects


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ratio for different cinema formats. “We all had to do a conversion course to get up to speed on sprockets,” McFadden commented wryly. “Luckily, one of the guys here on site is a fully-qualified cinema projectionist and he just loves operating in there.” Naturally, audio hasn’t been forgotten and the cinema has been designed to conform to THX specifications should RMIT decide to opt for certification. A Dolby CP6500X processor handles decoding of movie soundtracks and feeds purpose-built Electro-Voice cinema-grade power amplifiers and speaker systems configurable for up to 9.2 channel sound. Naturally, the front EV speakers sit discreetly behind the perforated screen. COLLABORATIVE CLASSROOMS

“Apart from the main lecture theatres and cinema, there are very few traditional ‘face-the-front’ classrooms,” McFadden explained. “Most of the teaching is based around student collaboration, with a lot of six-seat tables in the smaller rooms.” Display in these collaborative classrooms is managed by a combination of AV and IT techniques. We are now firmly in the era of BYOD (bring your own device) computing and there are no PCs provided for student use in the teaching rooms. Instead, students participate by logging in from their own laptops, tablets or i-devices to their university ‘virtual desktop’. Once there, they can use TeamSpot software to connect wirelessly to each other or to the lecturer’s PC at the front of the room. With the matching ClassSpot software, the academic can then choose to take output from any student’s machine and display it on the projector. Top: Collaborative teaching and learning is the underpinning for the classrooms, with designs based around groups of six students working together. Photographer: John Gollings Courtesy RMIT. Left: In the interactive theatres, individual office-style seats allow students on the double width tiers to form groups with the row behind. Photographer: Diana Snape courtesy Lyons Architects.


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EQUIPMENT HIGHLIGHTS Projection Data Projectors: Panasonic PT-DZ-1200E Mitsubishi WD 8200U Projector lift: Ultralift PRT-32-5 Film projectors: Kinoton FP30E Kinoton FP38E

In the ‘project rooms’, each six-seat group table has access via TeamSpot to an adjacent wall mounted 55‑inch (1.4m) LCD monitor. For teacher-led sessions, the academic’s PC is connected directly to all monitors. To further simplify the audiovisual switching in these rooms, an Epson DC11 document camera is connected via USB to the house PC at the lecturer’s station. To show the camera, the academic simply uses software to display the camera on the PC output. The classrooms also feature lots of writable surfaces and a number include TeamBoard 87-inch (2.2m) interactive whiteboards. DIGITAL SIGNAGE

Spread throughout the building are more than 90 digital signage displays based on the NEC Live platform. As well as the more conventional large LCD information displays, there are a couple of special interactive implementations. In the SAB, academics don’t have individual offices; there are open-plan spaces on several of the floors. These spaces are secured using access cards so at each office area entrance, there is a 22-inch (560mm) NEC touchscreen display that allows visitors and students to search the phone number of the person they wish to visit. Outside the large lecture theatres, a similar-sized monitor shows the timetable for that room – very handy when literally thousands of students attend classes in the theatres each day. Finally, in the foyer, there is a scrolling LED ‘ticker’ display that runs 23 metres around the atrium walls. RMIT University has certainly made a powerful statement from the outside with the striking architecture of the SAB building, but with around seven and a half million dollars of audiovisual fit-out, the interior speaks equally powerfully about their commitment to the student experience. 

Above: Collaborative lecture theatre with directional overhead speakers for tight acoustic control. Photographer: Dan Murphy courtesy RMIT.

Source Equipment Document camera: Elmo P30S Video player: LG GC980W Control & Switching Control system: AMX NI 4100 Netlinx controller NI-900 Netlinx controller MVP-9000i-TCS wireless touchpanel TPI-PRO2-DVI presentation interface ELO Touch 1900L touchscreen Switching: Crestron: DMMD16X16 DigitalMedia 16x16 matrix frame Crestron DigitalMedia - fibre transmitter 201 Crestron DigitalMedia fibre receiver & room controller DMCHD HDMI input card DMCS fibre input card DMCO4400 4 x fibre w/ 2 x HDMI output card Recording Echo360 lecture capturing device Audio Microphones: AKG SR450 receiver CU400 dual handheld/belt pack charging station WMS450HTC handheld diversity wireless microphone Revolabs HD-Mic-Wear HD wearable wireless microphone HD-Venue HD wireless receiver - 2-channel DSP: Biamp Nexia-CS Dolby Processor Dolby CP650OX Dolby cinema audio processor Amplifiers: Electrovoice CPS 2.4; CPS 2.6; CPS 2.9; CPS 2.12 stereo amplifiers Loop Amps: Ampetronic ILD1000G; SP5 Speakers: Electrovoice VariPlex-M cinema LCR speaker TL440 cinema sub speaker SL10-2V cinema surround speaker Australian Monitor AM20CS 2-way premium ceiling speaker


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MADE To Experience A new museum is turning people on to democracy. Text:/ Christopher Holder Images:/ Scott Shirley Only a few years ago a museum without exhibits would be no museum at all. But with the help of professional AV and expertly authored multimedia, the new Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka (MADE) in Ballarat immerses visitors in the power of music, images, history and words, largely without resorting to the use of traditional exhibits and objects. Dug into the original site of the Eureka Stockade – to many, a holy pilgrimage site for Australian democracy – MADE is made to be experienced. It’s not a large museum but in a relatively small footprint, hundreds of documents can be viewed and many hours of footage can be accessed. Democracy is most definitely in action at MADE. Thylacine was anointed the museum designers, while Mental Media was brought in as the media consultant to prepare the brief and tender documents for the client, Lateral Projects. Interactive Controls won the hardware tender while the software spoils were shared between Lightwell and Mental Media itself.

TIMELINE

The main exhibition is ringed by a cyclorama timeline that puts Eureka in the context of 3000 years of democracy. The timeline starts in Ancient Greece in 500BC and travels through events like the French Revolution (1788), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), the 1950s Civil Rights movement and the 2011 Arab Spring. It ends with changing projections of current happenings and includes a Twitter feed, via a front projection (using a NEC PA500UG).


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EUREKA TOUCH TABLES

The centrally located touch tables explore the events surrounding the Eureka Stockade in 1854 when gold miners fought against taxes with the cry of ‘no taxation without representation’. The touch tables bring to life the Eureka events with Lightwell’s 2D animations. Pictures, articles, handwritten diaries and other information can be electronically explored as visitors expand, move around and drill down into the many moving components of the tables. Michael Hill, Lightwell: We came up with the collaged approach, which uses the media in a more interesting way than is traditional. People can look at the history and see some of the actual documents that relate to the affair using all the usual multitouch gestures. The story is in a series of chapters. The screens are in pairs or solo if the story requires it – six PCs address 10 screens. The PCs run off Linux; the content was developed in C++ and Open Frameworks for Linux; and displayed on MultiTouch MT420 screens. The brief from the client was to keep it very visual – they didn’t want it to be too laden with text. On the final screen, visitors can enter their own views about what Eureka means to them today and upload it to Twitter. The Twitter feed is then continuously updated on the final touchscreen. The feed is moderated by machine and by staff. We’ve managed to filter out all [known] swear words as a starting point. Then the comment is uploaded after staff take a quick look. AV: Touch has come a long way in the last few years. What does MultiTouch bring to the party, as a touchscreen pioneer, that others can’t? Michael Hill: Its product stands out because it still has the narrowest bezel of all the screens going around. Most have a big frame, which makes dragging content around between screens more clunky. Plus Multitouch now has hybrid tracking. Traditionally, tracking has always been done with infrared. With hybrid tracking, every second frame is used to take an optical image rather than IR image, and it’s looking at the shadows the fingers are casting. So it means in changing light and high light circumstances, they’re a lot more sensitive than previous versions. So MultiTouch is being spec’d heavily in high brightness environments.


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THE POWER OF NUMBERS

The force of numbers is felt in the portal that features four music ‘stands’. When the first stand is occupied one voice starts singing a protest song and a picture of a protester appears on the wall. These expand to pictures of hundreds of people in mass movements when all four stands are occupied. Back in the machine room a multichannel media player handles the four separate channels. Pressure pads under the floor go to the Medialon control system. The control system determines what to do with each pressure sensor and then plays the song. It also triggers an associated luminaire via a Dynalite control system. Bose Freespace inceiling speakers and a sub take care of the audio.

TOOLS OF CHANGE

Tools of Change videos feature interviews with those who have worked in grassroots activism and formal politics. They give practical and insightful advice on the best way to get your voice heard – be they former Federal Green’s leader Bob Brown or GetUp director Sam McLean. A portrait-oriented Samsung 40-inch DE40A displays the linear (not ‘on demand’) hi-def imagery streaming from a Medialon server via Gefen HDMI extenders. A Dakota Audio directional in-ceiling speaker deals with the audio.

RACK ROOM

The cerebral cortex of MADE lies within three racks of computers. The MultiTouch PCs use Linux. A phalanx of Windows PCs – two taking care of the Democracy Karaoke, and one each for the portrait screens – provide the HD video via Gefen HDMI extenders. Two machines running Linux take care of the Words Beacon display. A Medialon Showmaster system does all the show-related control – powering up of a morn and powering down of an evening. With so many Netgear switches, with their associated plug packs, Interactive Controls boss Dean Stevenson decided to use consolidated Cindi 5V power supplies. All of the rackmounted PCs use RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Drives) arrays of SSDs (Solid-State Drives) for mass storage. Dean Stevenson: “You can’t hot swap the RAIDed SSD drives but you can shut the machine down, pull the drive out, put a new drive in and it will automatically rebuild the

RAID. So effectively there’s a level of built-in redundancy. Traditionally, in a job like this, one of the most common failures is in the hard drives, so it’s good to have that layer of redundancy. “For the last year and a half we’ve been building machines for Watchout with SSDs in them. If we get a failure it’ll be in our normal burn-in phase. There are a limited number of writes you can perform with an SSD but even if you write continuously it’ll still last a few years. And the performance benefits far outweigh the inconvenience of replacing the drives. The biggest factor for video is access time – getting to that data; not necessarily how much data you can access, but how quickly you can get it. SSD access times are minimal compared to a regular HD. “We run a VNC viewer, which allows us to remotely investigate any system issue. For example, we can view the temperature the MultiTouch tables are running at, the lamp hours on the projectors, etc.”

INCENDIARY BOOKS

A library of Incendiary Books makes us think about a controversial collection of volumes that changed the world – from Harry Potter and the Diary of Anne Frank to Silent Spring and the Qur’an. The interface, developed by Mental Media, allows the viewer to swipe through the selection and touch on a book spine to view a short blurb. Selected books pack a full transcript or a blog. A 40-inch Samsung 400TS3 touch display has been framed to present a square image.


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PROTECT THE PAST

WITHOUT POWER

What does it mean to be without power? One way to make visitors feel this is with the Discrimination Machine [no, not another name for Pauline Hanson – Ed] that uses facial recognition software to read visitors’ features and then randomly discriminates against them on the basis of age, gender and so on. The Samsung 400TS-3 touchscreen has a web cam mounted above it, interfacing with the facial recognition software. The software doesn’t need to be bleeding-edge perfect, in fact the more insulting it is to your age or even your gender, the more likely you are to be outraged – the desired result, after all. On each side of the machine are historic artefacts and screens with first person accounts of what it means to be denied rights, displayed on portraitoriented Samsung DE40A panels with more -focussed Dakota Audio directional speakers, which are set to the lowest volume possible to reduce the level of the general ambient hub-bub.

THE POWER OF SYMBOLS

The Flag of the Southern Cross (Eureka Flag) has returned to the site of the Eureka Stockade like a holy relic. In the darkened, purpose-built gallery, visitors can reflect on what this fragile 4 x 2.6m symbol means to them. A piped ambient soundscape plays discreetly in the background to mask noise leaking through from the main floor of the museum.

The Flag Conservation display features a documentary about the recent work on the restoration, forensic investigation and preservation of the 158-year-old Eureka Flag. Mental Media devised a display that places a transparent 46inch Crystal Display panel on the front of a showcase containing flesh and blood tools used for the restoration. The showcase’s lighting acts as a de facto backlight for the Samsung OEM LCD panel, with the content highlighting the tools and techniques used. Bruce Brown, Mental Media: “The technology is quite simple but there are a few tricks to employ to make it look seamless. No doubt you’ll see more of this type of thing very soon, on vending machines and in front of commercial display fridges. Crystal Displays supply this as a package – the Samsung panel and the external electronics.”


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THE POWER OF INFLUENCE

THE POWER OF WORDS

VOTING-IN DEMOCRACY

The Science of Influence features a consumer behavioural psychologist exploring the myriad ways in which we are influenced. A beardy Adam Ferrier (you’ll remember him from The Gruen Transfer) takes care of the presentation. The Mental Media interface uses a periodic table-style matrix, allowing viewers to click on the various techniques of influence such as Commitment or Priming. Again, a framed-off 40inch Samsung 400TS-3 touch display is deployed, running the recorded presentations off a Medialon media server. A Dakota Audio directional speaker overhead provides the sound for those standing in the sweet spot.

In the Power of Words, designed by Lightwell, the sound and patterns of the electronic words of 12 great speeches – by the likes of Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela and Eureka Stockade leader Peter Lalor – flow around visitors in a darkened portal. Four ProjectionDesign units (3 x F22s for the walls and a ceiling-mounted F32 for the floor) combine with two infrared sensor cameras to pull off the effect. As many as three peoples’ movements can be tracked. If you’ve seen the novelty projection effect of stamping on a projected fishpond (or similar) and seeing the ripples and fish scattering, The Power of Words takes a similar approach. Mental Media’s Bruce Brown pointed out something interesting about the use of screens in such a darkened nook: “We’re projecting black and white text so there’s no need for a white screen or a high-gain screen. In fact, doing that would actually be detrimental – it would reflect light all over the space. So it’s better to project onto a dark screen in this case.”

Democracy is hardly the vibiest subject going around and something rarely appreciated by most of us until it’s taken away. And here lies the problem with getting teenagers to switch off their iDevices long enough to think about what democracy actually means. Allowing school groups to touch, swipe, pinch, hear, expand and generally experience the attributes and advocates of democracy makes the task a whole lot easier. Truth be told, adults will benefit greatly from the museum as well. Although at $12 an adult ticket, they may find they’re preaching to the converted. 

DEMOCRACY KARAOKE

A good-looking, well-spec’d auditorium provides the perfect location for school groups to reconvene, or as a public lecture theatre. ProAV Solutions installed the AV elements into the space. A big attraction is the Democracy Karaoke, where visitors can stand at the lectern and present a famous speech rolling on the autocue. The presentation will be recorded, replayed and even emailed to you if desired. The auditorium has some AMX control (to toggle between presentation and karaoke mode) and is built to accommodate outside broadcast.

MORE INFORMATION MADE: www.made.org Thylacine: www.thylacine.com.au Mental Media (Software): www.mentalmedia.com.au Lightwell (Software): www.lightwell.com.au Interactive Controls (Hardware, Medialon): www.interactivecontrols.com.au ProAV Solutions (Auditorium Install): www.proavsolutions.com.au


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FEATURE

The Hire Mire Getting the most out of your hire company. Text:/ Marcus Pugh

In these tough times when producers and production companies are trying to get the most out of every dollar, it is more important than ever to establish a good relationship with your hire company – it can save you big bucks now and into the future. But how does one establish this good relationship? I called on my network of fellow hire managers from all areas of production, lighting, sound, rigging, AV and staging to help with the answer, and drew on my own 10 years of experience in lighting and rigging hire with Resolution X. (If you happen to be one of those lucky designers or producers working with an endless budget for your show, you needn’t read on.) FORWARD THINKING

Get your equipment wish list into the hire company as early as possible, even if your design or show hasn’t fully been realised yet. Most times you will know the main pieces of gear you need or the overall look and sound the show requires weeks ahead. Nothing pointlessly soaks up budget more than someone desperately trying to pull together a show at the last minute – it erodes discount and goodwill if the hire company has to rush around for a disorganised client.

COMMUNICATE WELL

During pre-production you should have time to communicate with your hire company, usually by email (and remember swearing at someone isn’t likely to get you a better discount). Don’t be afraid to give your contact a loose budget figure – you’ll find that most prefer this because it helps in the quoting process. Always read the terms and conditions of the hire, especially the payment terms. Nothing sends a relationship sour like someone who doesn’t pay within the agreed time. Chances are on any complex production you are going to need to communicate with your hire company on multiple matters, so compile your changes and questions and send them in one hit. This helps to save the hire company time, which brings us nicely to the next point. TIME IS MONEY

Like any other business, hire companies have overheads to cover and if you’re willing to reduce overheads like transport and prep, this will help with the overall cost of the hire. Wherever possible, collect and drop off the equipment yourself – this also helps establish a face-toface relationship.

BE FLEXIBLE

DO YOUR RESEARCH

Everyone hates to read the Substitutions section of the quotation but there are reasons most every quote contains it. Either the company doesn’t have the requested equipment available or your budget won’t cover the cost of it. Take these substitutions into consideration and don’t just write them off. If acceptable, they can be a good bargaining tool in the negotiation process – but more about that later.

It’s useful to know which brands or particular models of equipment your hire company carries because this assists in tailoring your gear list to get a better price. If you’ve done your research you should also be aware of what alternatives might be available that suit your particular market place. And while all of us love to have the latest equipment to play with in our rig, these are usually going to attract the greatest amount of hire cost. In most cases you will find an industry workhorse in all categories of equipment and chances are most companies will have these in greater numbers at more competitive prices.

TAKE ADVICE

Just because hire companies don’t always come off as the friendliest lot, this doesn’t mean they aren’t trying to help you achieve the best possible show. If the first quote based on your wish list is out of your budget, don’t hesitate to ask what other equipment could achieve a similar result. You should also be able to prioritise your elements; for example, is the size of the screen more important than the resolution or output brightness, or can you compromise on your back light fixtures for a better quality front light fixture? A few small compromises could save you a bucket-load when it comes to the bottom line cost of a production or tour.

DON’T PLAY GAMES

The first price may not be the best price – don’t be afraid to ask for a better deal or advice on what substitutions could better suit the budget. While there is an art to negotiation, don’t play games because no one likes having their time wasted. You are looking to establish a good ongoing relationship, not just to get a great deal on one job to the detriment of future hires.


FEATURE

039

RETURN AS RECEIVED

Nobody likes to lose stuff, least of all hire companies. Keep track of your cables and those small accessories like power connectors and rigging pins. If you’re not sure what you hired, check the delivery docket or contact the hire manager for the list before load-out – they will respect the forethought. And remember to treat the gear like it’s your own. If damage does occur, and we all know it’s inevitable in our industry, own up to it. Mark up damaged units with some tape, or let them know before the gear goes back. If you keep the relationship positive, the next time you

need equipment you will get an equal or better discount. If you’ve had a better than average experience with your hire company, don’t hesitate to mention it in an email, or drop off a slab of brews or a bottle of plonk when you return the equipment. You will find the money you spent will be far outweighed by the advantages of maintaining a good relationship. And remember your contact at the hire company is the gatekeeper to the gear you want. At the end of the day they want your show to look and sound good too; it reflects well on them. 


040

REVIEW

Point Source Audio CO7 Ears ahead. Text:/ Christopher Holder Shure and Sennheiser should be all over this but for some reason they’re not. The first names in headset mics are still DPA and, to a lesser degree, Countryman. Musical theatre led the way, with its all-singing, all-dancing antics, a micro capsule taped onto the cheekbone would allow the performer freedom without sacrificing audio quality. The likes of DPA cottoned onto the fact its miniature mics were being used in this manner and designed products that would attach securely to the ear. Broadcasters followed. Including the likes of the Channel 9 cricket commentary team. When Heals or Tubs are showing you the finer points of a stumping or a forward defence, they’ll be sporting a headworn mic. Anyway, if you’re a broadcast engineer or an audio pro in theatre you’re unlikely to need convincing of the benefits of headworn mics. But there are still plenty of regular clip-on lavaliers out there and most should probably be swapped out for a headworn alternative. I recall a couple of years back switching

our church from a lav to a headworn and the difference was night and day. The hours spent trying to coax a few more dB out of presenters and riding the fader as they looked up and looked down, or the regular accidental thumping of the capsule – a real chore. Meanwhile, the headworn, in our case a Da-Cappo set, had gain for days and sounded incredibly natural in comparison to the lavalier that had been hacked to pieces with remedial EQ. It was like handing a lumberjack a chainsaw. I also recall being a little reticent to introduce the headworn, fearing a ‘can I take your order please’ backlash. Not so, just about everyone I’ve dealt with has been perfectly cool with a lowprofile headworn mic. Chances are they’ve seen Anthony Robbins or a TED lecturer using one, so it must all be okay, right? These Point Source Audio microphones performed very well. There’s plenty of gain, they’re comfortable to wear, and easy to adjust (thanks to a bendy boom) to fit on any noggin.

These mics fit over one ear. Anthony Warlow may insist on a model that hangs off both ears for extra security but most presenters will be perfectly fine with the single ear approach. They’re so lightweight you hardly notice them on (other Point Source Audio models hook over both ears). The mics I had for review used a mini XLR output, most commonly seen on Shure wireless systems, but there are models for all the other flavours such as Sennheiser, Audio-Technica and AKG. In fact, if you head to the Point Source Audio site you’ll find a whole host of variations, including waterproof versions. I wouldn’t hesitate to use these mics for any presentation. And if you’re still stuck in the world of chasing your lavalier tail, then I suggest you look into it. It’ll be the best $300-odd you’ve spent.  Madison Technologies: 1800 007 780 or www.madisontech.com.au Point Source Audio: www.point-sourceaudio.com Price: $344 (inc GST)

Bosch PLE-SDT Set and forget solid-state playback device and FM tuner. Text:/ Christopher Holder Bosch has a long history of producing capable, well-engineered round pegs that neatly drop into round holes. The PLE-SDT is no exception. Its full title is the PLE-SDT Easy Line Source Unit, and should hint at this unit’s MO – no complications. Within a couple of minutes of busting open the box, I had the unit plugged in and playing back audio. And this is a device you could easily install into retail, hospitality, gyms, etc., safe in the knowledge that the customer won’t be phoning you for ‘technical assistance’. On one side of the front panel you have music playback via an SD/MMC card or USB stick and on the other side you have an FM tuner. Around the back you have separate RCA outputs for the tuner, the solid-state playback section and a ‘combined’ output (for playing one or other on the same output, not for impromptu mashups of ABC FM with a stick full of Ministry of Sound). Also on the back panel are (non-detented) level

pots for the three outputs. Clearly the idea here is for customers to have a permanently installed set/forget background music solution. With the device able to take cards/sticks of up to 32GB capacity, that’s plenty of music to have at your disposal. You can organise your music into folders (say, for example, a restaurant/bar may have Breakfast, Daytime, Dinner and Late Night) and you can design your own playlists. With its unbalanced outputs there’s no pretence of audiophile audio quality. In fact, the quality of the audio is going to be far more dependent on the bit rate of the MP3s you’re saving to your flash memory device (it handles 32kbps to 320kbps, and both constant bit-rate and variable bit-rate are supported). Meanwhile, I found the FM signal to be strong and reliable, and there are more than enough presets for easy switching between stations.

The PLE-SDT has a handy Sleep mode (programmable from 10 to 90 minutes of inactivity). Here’s a well-engineered hard-working rackmount warrior that will serve its purpose in life uncomplaining – playing hundreds of hours of background music without any supervision – for years. What not to expect? Don’t expect a digital radio tuner. Don’t expect any level of external control (the USB ports are for your music files only) other than the supplied remote. Don’t expect any other output formats than the three RCA pairs. I can assure you, there’s no need to audition this thing. If the application fits, just phone and order.  Bosch Communications Systems: www.boschcommunications.com.au or (02) 9683 4752 Price: $599 (inc GST)


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042

REVIEW

Spinetix Elementi What’s under the cloak of Spinetix latest digital signage construction software. Text:/ Andy Ciddor A wide range of text formatting options.

Elementi is the latest, simplest and most powerful of the methods for programming the Spinetix family of digital signage media players. Where it differs most markedly from the Fusion platform, that’s already embedded in the Spinetix HMP players, is Elementi is an application that runs on an independent Windows (Vista and beyond) PC and communicates to one or more HMP players via TCP/IP. The Elementi application builds a screen Project on its host computer, from which it compiles an SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) project file and a set of associated resource files. These are then broadcast to the target HMP devices. This build-thenbroadcast architecture uses all the power of the Elementi host’s computer to provide a sophisticated user interface while putting no load on the HMP players in the system. It’s also the only really practicable approach to creating multi-screen signs using the HMP players. When I decided to review the new Elementi authoring system, I chose to break my tradition of 30-odd years and approach it in a very different way. You see, I came to computers quite late in their history. By the time I arrived, real computers the size of a couple of chest freezers were already being replaced by little machines built around a single microprocessor chip instead of dozens of card frames, populated with thousands of cards, each bearing thousands of individual transistors or logic chips. JUMPING IN

To use an operating system, a programming language, or one of the rare off-the-shelf software packages, entailed tucking-in to a shelf or two of manuals, and poring over them for a few days until you worked out what the software in question could do, and what kind of tricks could be done with it. The legacy of those times is that to this day, one of my very favourite pastimes is to thoroughly immerse myself in the manual for new software before I even tick the box agreeing to the 250 pages of unenforceable terms and conditions and start using it (I know, I’m a sad case and really ought to get out more). However, for this review time I chose to approach the software your way: plunge headfirst into the system without the benefit of a safety net, to see what happens… About 10 minutes of waving my mouse cursor over

objects on the screen to see the pop-up hints, opening the sample projects that come with Elementi, and clicking on things at random (which I believe is the contemporary technique) gave me the confidence to have a go at building my own digital sign. I should confess that I’m not a total novice at this – I created a digital sign using the Fusion signage platform built into all SpinetiX players [see Issue 14]. I expect the average Elementi user will have had experience with such tools as PowerPoint, Publisher, PhotoShop, Visio and possibly also with some CAD platform, so the concepts and tools in Elementi will have some familiarity.

Character by character formatting .

Formatting options for every screen object.

SCREEN TEST

Each signage display is contained within an Elementi Project, which holds all of the elements of the display including the main SVG file that stores the properties of all the screen objects including: images, video, schedules, SVG scripts for active objects like live video or streamed data, and any other scripted object you and a team of coders may later dream up and compile using SVG. Elementi also supports multi-screen signs ‘out of the box’, although the supplied SVG templates only support 16:9, 16:10 and 4:3 aspect ratios and their portrait equivalents. That’s not really a big deal, because it will take your local HTML5 graphics guru about five minutes to tweak the template file if you require anything more exotic. As a page composition system, Elementi most closely resembles Microsoft’s PowerPoint and Publisher in the way you place objects directly into the desired position on the screen. Each of the objects sits on its own layer in a manner similar to Photoshop and, like Photoshop and CAD systems, each layer/object has a range of editable properties. The range of properties that can be edited on each layer is something to behold. Of course you would expect to be able to select the position and size of a screen object, but Elementi also adds such niceties as when in the project timeline the object appears and how long it remains; the type of transition (fade, wipe or slide) it makes as it appears and also as it disappears; the object’s transparency and a separate range of effects than can be applied to the object while it’s being displayed.

Transition effects for each screen object.

Highlighting effects for each object.

Formatting options for images and streams.


043

REVIEW

Above: The neat colour selector, complete with eye-dropper screen colour grabber. Right: Main Elementi screen with composition window, resources window and screen objects (layers) window.

COLOURS & EFFECTS

Text objects have their own wide range of effects that include both horizontal and vertical scrolling (to reveal multi-line text larger than the display area), and a range of jiggling effects to catch the viewer’s attention (and potentially make them seasick). The formatting tools are very powerful allowing every character on the page to be independently defined for size, font, colour, bold and italics. Colour selection is nicely handled throughout Elementi. There’s an eyedropper tool that lets you select your colour from any object on the screen, including images, other objects, video clips or any other program that’s running. As Elementi was developed using the cross-platform GTK graphics toolkit, it uses the ‘gcolor2’ colour selector which has to be the most useful colour selector I’ve met in my 30-plus years of using software. HELVETICA’S REVENGE?

I have a concern that the text formatting power could be wielded by those with no design skills. The possibility (high likelihood) of ransom note-style multi-coloured, multi-font, multi-sized text, being displayed using all the available transition and jiggling effects, could be the Swiss getting their own back on the signage world for its blatant overuse of their precious Helvetica font. On the subject of fonts, although there are only a small number of fonts supplied with Elementi, you can import any TrueType or OpenType face into the system. Elementi can play a range of video formats directly and automatically transcodes Flash files. It also accepts live streams using the RealTime Streaming Protocol (RTSP) to control stream feeds and playback. It also comes with a powerful set of SVG scripts that allow for the importation and display of live data, such as news, weather, road conditions, stock prices, cocktail of the week or today’s lunchtime specials. The scripts can easily customised by that friendly HTML guru (or your 14-year-old nephew). ON SCHEDULE

program. I thought I was allocating a signage project to run for a couple of days, but Elementi scheduled it to run for several decades instead. I’ve already sent a query off to Spinetix to find out the error of my ways on that one. In this review I’ve only looked at the free 30-day trial version of Elementi S, which is available for download to anyone who can work their way through the slightly confusing process of registering on the Spinetix website. This is the most basic version of the product. Elementi M the multi-user version and Elementi X the enterprise version have many more importing and management features I’ve only had hints about from Spinetix (possibly because those versions are still in development). I borrowed an HMP200 player to test the results and learn about the discovery and broadcast processes, but as Elementi also has a full-screen preview mode, you really don’t need a player to build a full digital signage project on your own computer. What you do need however is an internet connection (as I discovered on the plane to InfoComm). When Elementi launches, it phones home to Mum to check if you have a valid licence key or if your 30-day trial has ended. So if you’re going to use it while travelling, launch Elementi while you’re still on-line and send your system into hibernation until you need it. … MY DEAR WATSON

Overall I’m impressed with the power and simplicity of Elementi as a system you really could pick up and use to produce quite sophisticated signage. However, there is so much power and capability in the system that it really isn’t designed to be used by someone who hasn’t spent some time familiarising themselves with its capabilities. Indeed, my major criticism of Elementi at this early stage of its life, is actually the quality of the available documentation. The current 42-page PDF Quick Guide is just that, a quick guide that doesn’t go into any depth at all about the full capabilities of this software. What’s desperately needed before users can get the very best out of Elementi is a good solid manual with details of all of its power. 

Scheduling is a basic requirement of all signage display Madison Technologies: systems, and Elementi comes with an extensive and very 1800 007 780 fine-grained scheduling system, although the current www.madisontech.com.au release either has a bug in it or is too arcane for me to


044

TUTORIAL

Projectors Without Lamps Solid-state light sources come to the world of projectors. Text:/ Marc Murray

Late in 2009 Casio announced it had created the first lampless projector. Although this was hailed as groundbreaking by the usual spin doctors, it was really just a bigger than usual leap in the long evolution of projector technology. We are on a journey from Joseph Plateau and his Phenakistoscope in 1832, via cine-projectors, and video projection systems using cathode ray tubes, tungsten halogen, ultra high pressure mercury (UHP) and xenon lamps to the current age of LED and laser. The technology required to reproduce high quality images from today’s standard UHP-based projectors using either digital micro-mirror devices (DLP) (sometimes with colour wheels) or LCD panels is well established. The problem is that the UHP lamp itself is fragile, inefficient, contains environmentally damaging materials and is relatively short-lived. The Holy Grail in the development of projectors is to find a light source that eliminates these drawbacks but illuminates the screen. The latest developments in solid-state or lampless technologies are getting ever closer to this projection Nirvana. So how does it work? There are currently two basic solid-state light devices – direct output LEDs and LED-powered lasers – that are either used independently or in tandem (hybrid) to generate the light. LED

Light emitting diodes have been with us for longer than you would think, having first been discovered in 1927. However, it was not until the early 1960s that the modern LED was born. Following Haitz’s Law (the LED equivalent of Moore’s Law for CPUs) the light output has doubled every three years since, and with improvements in materials and innovations in dissipating heat, there is still some way to go. Although the boundaries will continue to be pushed, the highest projector output currently available from LED is around 500 ANSI lumens. Almost all sub-500 ANSI lumen projectors use LEDs and single DLP micro-mirror chips. Interestingly, manufacturers are split on using either a single block of white LEDs with the usual filter wheel, or separate blocks of red, green and blue LEDs. While the RGB route gives better colour saturation, the three separate chips racks up the cost. There is a wide range of very good models available in Australia ranging from 50 ANSI lumen ‘pico’ projectors, through to highly portable mini projectors such as the one reviewed in the last issue of AV. Most

of these are targeted at the user on the move and thus often have in-built PowerPoint, on-board data storage, and most in the 200 to 250 ANSI lumen range run off a battery. To get a flavour of the general specification of this type of projector let’s consider the Viewsonic PLED-W500, which is fairly typical of its class. It outputs 500 ANSI lumens at a native 1280 x 800 (WXGA) resolution, with a maximum contrast of 6000:1. The thing that often impresses AV professionals is the 30-bit (1.07 billion) colour depth and 120 percent NTSC colour gamut. There is no intrinsic reason why an LED-based light engine with adequate thermal design should not keep going up to and beyond the 20,000 hours that most are rated to achieve. However, like all light sources, the brightness of the LEDs slowly degrades over a long enough period, with quoted life being the time when the brightness falls to 70 percent of the initial output, a level change not detectable by human eyes. Good – bullet proof, environmentally sound and cheap to make. Bad – limited light output. LASER

A number of traditional projector manufacturers have already brought laser-sourced projectors to market, and if the talk at ISE and InfoComm is even close to the mark, there will be a lot to follow. There is a range of image generating techniques used between the various laser-powered offerings. Some use a single DLP chip illuminated alternately by red, green and blue semiconductor lasers, while others use three DLP chips, each illuminated by separate (RGB) lasers. Because of the very low beam diffraction of the highly coherent light from the lasers, these systems can suffer from a little speckling. An alternative approach that eliminates speckling is to use a blue laser to stimulate three phosphor panels, which produce the RGB primaries which are then directed onto a DLP chip. Yet another approach was seen at ISE in January when Sony demonstrated a 4000 ANSI lumen 3LCD projector based on an existing production model with the original UHP lamp module simply replaced by Sony’s white light laser and phosphor module. When the light source is pumping out over 2000 ANSI lumens, the projected image is as good as you would expect from a traditional projector. The BenQ LX60ST, which has been in the market for about a year, has a resolution of 1024 x 768 (XGA) and a colour


045

TUTORIAL

CIE chromaticity chart showing the extended gamut of the hybrid light sources.

A hybrid source that uses a Red LED in combination with a blue laser that produces the Blue directly through the transparent segments of the colour wheel, and the Green by striking the green phosphor segments of the wheel.

gamut of 1.07 billion colours (30-bit). Contrast ratio is right up there at 80000:1. This type of projector does pretty much what a traditional projector does, just with a great deal less power and for years longer. Like LED, a laser light engine should easily last for 20,000 hours of operation, but the output falls off to about 70 percent at the 10,000-hour mark. Good – very bright for solid-state, environmentally sound. Bad – expensive to produce and thus expensive to buy.

impressively wider colour gamut for projectors using this source. The Viewsonic Pro 9000 with its 100000:1 contrast ratio from a DLP Darkchip3 DMD, native HD 1080p (1920 x 1080) resolution and its wide colour gamut is developing quite a reputation for the quality of its images. Good - (nearly) bullet proof, environmentally sound and cheaper to make than laser. Bad – Still a bit more expensive than a traditional projector.

HYBRIDS

WHERE IS THIS GOING AND WHY YOU SHOULD CARE?

Some manufacturers have tried to blend the economies of LED with the brightness of laser and have come up with a hybrid light engine. This technology was pioneered by Casio and continues to underpin its extensive range. Light outputs of up to 4000 ANSI lumens have already been achieved. Casio and Viewsonic are the only manufacturers offering hybrid projectors in the Australian market right now. They use almost identical technology, where the red and blue are produced by LED arrays, while the green component is produced by firing a blue laser at a rotating phosphor wheel. These primary colours are directed onto a single DLP chip. It’s essential for the green phosphor wheel to rotate to spread the intense energy from the blue laser. By introducing a moving part to an otherwise solid-state light source, there is a potential mechanical point-of-failure that could limit what ought to be a very long-lived light source. One of the attractions of the hybrid LED/laser source is its improved colour reproduction compared to LEDs alone. The chromaticity chart reproduced here is claimed by both Casio and Viewsonic and shows an

End users have always whinged about the cost of replacement lamps and the AV industry has mostly just tutted and pocketed the profit from the lamps. Why would a school, business or home user pay more for a solid-state projector when a traditional projector is cheaper? When it comes down to it, very few buyers actually take much notice of the ‘total cost of ownership’ argument. If they did, they would notice the sums are sobering. Throw in the energy usage, lamp replacements, down-time, servicing etc., and a traditional short throw projector in a classroom will cost more than double to run over a five-year life than its solid-state equivalent. Sooner or later high-usage customers will work this out. But the biggest reason is soon going to be: because you have to. European countries are leading a very aggressive anti-mercury policy through legislation. If this gains momentum, we could see the traditional UHP projector actually being banned in some countries. If you think this is a little farfetched, Europe’s most recent WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) Directive is a sobering read. 


046

NEWS

InfoComm News

News from the Oceania Region

SEE US AT INTEGRATE

NEW CTS EXAM GUIDE

Integrate 2013 is on in Sydney 27-29 August and we have what is shaping up to be a really strong educational program that you won’t want to miss. Registration is open, so sign up soon. InfoComm University will return with the latest global trends and insights fresh from InfoComm 2013 in Florida. A comprehensive series of à la carte seminars on a variety of subjects will run over the three days, as well as specialised seminars for higher education technology managers in association with the AETM. This year’s InfoComm University will culminate with an exciting keynote from our new executive director and CEO, David Labuskes, CTS, RCDD, which will cover ‘Creating the Exceptional Experience’. Learn how the future of the industry will be tied to satisfying customer needs and expectations. And of course, you’ll want to stop by the InfoComm booth to say hello and get the latest information on InfoComm programs.

The Certified Technology Specialist Exam Guide Second Edition provides comprehensive coverage of all objectives on the latest release of the InfoComm CTS exam. The book contains learning objectives at the beginning of each chapter, best practices, checklists, diagrams, photos, chapter review questions with in-depth explanations, and a full-colour insert. Designed to help you prepare for the CTS exam, this authoritative resource also serves as an essential on-the-job reference and can be ordered from online booksellers worldwide. The electronic content includes a new CTS practise exam, PDF eBook and all current CTS exam objectives, including how to: • Conduct a site survey • Gather customer information • Evaluate and recommend changes to a site environment • Develop a functional AV scope • Design, provide, and sell AV solutions • Conduct a vendor selection process • Operate AV solutions • Conduct maintenance activities • Manage AV solutions and operations • Project manage AV projects • Perform AV finance and job costing activities • Troubleshoot and repair AV solutions

CERTIFICATION IS CHANGING Starting 1 July 2013, all three CTS exams will have updated job tasks to reflect changes in the AV industry. If you plan to take your exam after the change, you should base your study on the updated exam content outlines. Visit infocomm.org/ certification for more details. In 2014, exams will be updated in April and October. Certification exams are regularly analysed by testing professionals to measure their testing validity. Exams are also reviewed by subject matter experts for content, including changes based on ANSI/InfoComm standards. Additionally, exam questions are updated with new exam questions added or retired on a regular basis.

STANDARDS VOLUNTEERS NEEDED InfoComm standards are created through the hard work of experts like you. If you’re passionate about ensuring exceptional experiences, we want you to get involved. Learn more  about how you can volunteer to be part of the growing Standards and Industry Innovations team by emailing standards@infocomm.org 

All The AV Industry Employment News Delivered to your IN box with AV Newswire Any time you want it at www.av.net.au


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049

TUTORIAL

Needs Analysis Gathering customer information.

This unit continues from Issue 29 and is the next step in the process of creating a scope of work upon which to base an AV design. REVIEW AVAILABLE DOCUMENTATION

The first step is to gather and review all available documentation. Documentation is generally available with information about the existing physical, organisational and technical aspects of a project. In new constructions this is relatively easy to obtain. For existing constructions it may be more difficult. Ask the client for existing documentation. This can consist of items such as scale and engineering drawings (printed drawings, computer-aided design drawings), architectural program documents, organisational project directories, design manuals, standards, best practices and other owner and end user information. Ensure you have a full set of drawings for the space your design and installation tasks will address. Be sure to examine all the elements that may potentially affect the layout, mounting, installation and operation of the AV system components. If no documentation is available you may need to create new material based on existing conditions. It is also important to ask the client about their budget. Providing a fixed budget and estimated expectation will address any concerns the client may have. Ask what part of the budget is for the AV system and what part is for other contracts on the project. The customer may not be aware that other trades may share the project. EVALUATE SITE ENVIRONMENT

If the AV systems are to be installed in an existing facility, it is important to tour these areas during the needs analysis process to gather information about the physical aspects of the spaces and how the spaces are currently being used. Determine with the client if there are any constraints, such as work hours, noise levels, or security issues which may affect the project. It is important to learn about any issues that may impact your ability to work at the client site once the design and installation tasks begin. In many cases the design and installation teams can identify a method to work around any constraints, such as working

during the evening or night in areas where daytime disruptions are prohibited. When touring the existing facility and evaluating the site environment, take special note of the acoustics, lighting and seating. Use handheld light meters and handheld audio analysers for quick, useful measurements. You’re not trying to make a detailed acoustic analysis; you’re just getting to know the space. BENCHMARKING

You should also consider visiting other similar facilities for review and comparison. This is known as benchmarking. This activity gives the owner and the design team a common (and sometimes expanded) vision of the user wants and needs. Seeing a number of locations of similar size, type and usage establishes a benchmark (or guide) on which to base the new facility design. Benchmarking refers to the process of examining methods, techniques and principles from peer organisations and facilities, which can be used as a basis for designing a new or renovated facility. It offers the following benefits: • It provides an opportunity to see varying approaches to design versus budget. • It may inspire new design ideas. • The team can identify successful (and unsuccessful) designs and installations with regard to the project at hand. • It can help to determine which functions and designs are most applicable to the current project. • It allows project stakeholders to establish a communication path with other building managers and end users about what they learned in going through the design and construction process, and to discuss what they would do the same or differently if they needed to do it again. The objective of a benchmarking visit is to identify the AV features and functions desired by the client. Arranging a benchmarking trip involves the following steps: • Determine appropriate facility types to visit. These may be a precise match to the owner’s operation, or they may be facilities with similar functions and operational needs. • Create a list of potential facilities to visit. • Check whether the potential benchmark sites allow visits of this type. Some benchmark visits may require only a user’s perspective in a

public facility, but many are private facilities that require permission to enter. In addition, most benchmarking visits benefit from a behind-thescenes tour, which may require coordination with the technical staff. • Narrow down options to a final list. • Determine who will go. The benchmark group may draw from the end users, owner’s technical staff, owner’s administrative managers and the architectural design team, as well as the AV provider. • Schedule and make the visits. • Write a benchmarking report summarising the sites visited, the pros and cons of each site, what impact there is on the client’s anticipated needs, and the resulting AV systems which will support those needs. Benchmarking can’t occur on all projects but sometimes you can save the time and money it takes to physically visit similar sites by letting the client and end user look through a portfolio of your organisation’s similar projects, or asking them to provide you with pictures of examples of systems or projects they've seen and liked. BEST PRACTICE: ASKING QUESTIONS

Knowing there are many ways clients can use AV, how can you find out what your client needs, so you can recommend the best of many possible choices in each specific circumstance? Why not just ask? Many, probably most, will need your help to determine what they want to accomplish and exactly what they want to buy. The best way to determine what the client wants, occurs 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. A good dialogue is also friendlier and less threatening. When asking questions, use an appropriate combination of open questions, closed questions and directive questions. Questions foster a dialogue, gather important information, get the client involved, and persuade more softly than statements. Use them often and use them intelligently. 


050

Termination Game On Text:/ Graeme Hague

Normally I ignore puzzles. My logic is I see little sense in frustrating the hell out of myself any more than a normal day will achieve – I own an iPad, for a start. The other day on the telly there was a news bite about a bloke juggling three Rubik’s Cubes and solving them during the act. That manages to be really impressive and really ridiculous at the same time, and you have to wonder what the guy might have accomplished in the real world if he’d applied that amount of dedication to something useful like solving cold fusion or a perpetual motion machine. The Nobel Prize is worth about a million bucks these days whereas a decent juggler can earn maybe five bucks from busking on a sunny day. The maths is pretty obvious. I’ve never attempted to solve a Rubik’s Cube. I also don’t give a damn Where Wally Is and I consider doing cryptic crosswords worse than water-boarding. So you may ask why I’d subject myself to the mental torture of – as I mentioned above – owning an iPad? Well, it gets worse. ONE MAN BORE

Let me take you back about 200 years when I used to manage a Tandy shop. It was a one-man store and wasn’t a hard gig because I was rarely troubled by customers. The Tandy business model seemed to discourage selling anything by not stocking products that anyone actually wanted. On a normal day my biggest problem was boredom. Serious boredom, like when the minute hand of the clock refuses to move. One area where Tandy did lead the pack was in selling computers. My store wasn’t a specialist computer outlet but most Tandy shops had a computer or two on the floor.

This solved the boredom a bit. Did I become a self-taught IT expert? Don’t be silly, I played games. These were text-based puzzles on a green screen (a revelation in itself) that put you inside a room and you had to find a treasure, or a way out – you know the concept. Simple text commands like ‘open door’ might prompt, ‘the door is locked’ and you’d have to go searching for a key. This is where I first learned to shout and rage at a computer monitor – and hate puzzles. I can’t believe that today I’m doing it all again. Not only am I yelling at an inanimate (sort of) object in the form of an iPad screen, but I’m searching for clues in a virtual maze. In my defence, the iPad has inveigled its way deep into the technological world and you simply can’t write for magazines like AV (and our sister publications AudioTechnology and Guerrilla Guide to Recording & Music Production) without having one. Products are being designed from scratch with an accompanying controlling app in mind. Software will have a sibling app that contributes to the overall features and functions of the program [See the News section of this very magazine - Ed]. Owning an iPad became a necessity to do this job – all part of Apple’s evil plan to rule the universe. What wasn’t a part of my plan has been how the damned thing has so quickly and insidiously wormed itself into my daily life. It sits on the kitchen bench first thing in the morning checking emails, because I’m in WA and my bosses are all in the east and on their fourth coffee, gearing up for a long lunch, before I’ve even found the toaster. The iPad is my go-to television guide, sports score checker, weather forecaster and music streaming device. In my studio the iPad

controls my main computer – which is kind of bizarre really, software to run software – and offers some amazing musical instruments. GAME CHANGER

You’d think I’d be all iPadded-out at the end of the day, but no – I’ve also discovered a game. Can you believe it, it’s a bloody puzzle game called The Room. You have to find secret symbols and gadgets and stuff to figure out the puzzles and normally I wouldn’t touch it with a virtual barge pole. Unfortunately, damn it, with nostalgic memories of that long-ago Tandy computer game that staved off madness from boredom, I’m hooked. Of course, I could just use the hints and tips to finish the game quickly, but that’s for limp-wristed, lamingtonbaking wimps wearing aprons, not real men. Not until you own an iPad can you truly understand the potential, not to mention Steve Jobs’ creative vision. Still, no one really saw this coming – the iPad revolution I mean – so how can anyone possibly see where it’s all going to go? We can only guess at a few small things and the rest is a mystery. For example, the television remote control will soon be extinct, replaced by an app, which means my wife will have nothing to chuck during the football. We’re heading for an existence where an iOS device in the home or office will be as ubiquitous as the remote control has been for the last 20 years. Some people say that’s already happened, while non-believers scoff at the idea. Wait till they have to buy an iPad. Two things are certain. The next millionaire is whoever figures out a clever use for recycled iPads – and I still hate puzzles, to which I can now add app puzzles. Especially ones I can’t stop puzzling over. 


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In Australia: TAG. Ph. (02) 9519 0900 / E. info@tag.com.au

© 2012 QSC Audio Products, LLC. All rights reserved. QSC, the QSC logo, and Q-Sys are registered trademarks in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and other countries. Intel and the Intel logo are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and/or other countries.


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AV Issue 32  

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