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AWM IS ACE!: PETER JACKSON’S WWI DOGFIGHT REALISED HOT PRODUCT: DANTE – WHAT’S ALL THE FUSS? REVIEWED: LSC CLARITY CONTROLLER SONY HVR-Z5P HD CAMERA PROJECTIONDESIGN FL32 LED PROJECTOR $6.95 inc gst


THINGS ARE LOOKING UP Maxims of Behaviour Renowned Australian artist, Alexander Knox, chose Melbourne’s Royal Mail House for his 1032sqm ‘projection’ of ghostly images. Credits: Client: City of Melbourne Luminaires: The IP65-rated Luxor LED Bar from Space Cannon Lighting suppliers: Lightmoves P/L Image: Casamento Photography

Space Cannon Australia Pty Ltd 3/169 Beavers Road Northcote 3070 Victoria Australia

sales@spacecannon.com.au tel. +61 (3) 9486 5366 fax. +61 (3) 9923 6249


You prepared for a stunning presentation. So have we. The sensational new Hitachi Professional Series LCD Projectors. Unmatched Hitachi reliability and awesome resolution makes the Professional Series 3LCD projector the ideal video solution for auditoriums and convention halls. From the UltraPortable Series to the powerful Professional Series for larger venues, Hitachi has the range to deliver renowned performance with unprecedented reliability and durability.

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Ultra Short Throw


The quality of customers through the Hills SVL stand was first cl through on Tuesday and Wednesday and the very positiv depth demonstrations of the Australian Monitor AV Re undoubtedly grew our business at Integrate. Stuart Craig, Ge numbers for the first show. The overall presentation o for doing a remarkable job for their first show, and I l How would I compare Integrate to Entech? I can’t of the quality of the visitors and the venue. Pete new clients. Mission accomplished! Ian Bayfield informative and high quality event. With so ma is really appreciated. Geoff Swan, AXT Systems. Grea an excellent mix of exhibitors, products and quality visitors and quality questions. Marc Boo – his love of music; and his strong sound quality was able to meet many up to date with I purchased production and also found equipment future presentations. I will highly Corporate Voice. Just a short note to it will be back in 2010. Mick Privitera, Chris on finally delivering the right Audio Services. We launched a new brand believe that Integrate moved us at least audience for our products and they were wel Green, Da-Cappo Micro Microphones. The industry ne learn. Integrate 09 provided the perfect platform in conjunction with Integrate 2010. Ginny Tobias, Navigate Gro were constantly busy right up until (and slightly after) clos booked the same stand for next year’s show with an extra 30


lass. We were really happy with the focus of the show, the numbers that flowed ve reaction to the show format and location. Our own training seminars and in evolution and the Crestron Digital Media range were all well attended and we eneral Manager, Hills SVL. There was a great cross section of attendees and good of the show in both halls looked great. Congratulation to Louise, Philip and Chris look forward to working together on the next Integrate. Con Biviano, ULA Group t say that I have ever had a good time at Entech but I did enjoy Integrate because er Trojkovic, CMI. Our goals for Integrate 09 were simple: gain exposure and meet d (CTS), Integration Supplies. I’d like to thank you for putting together such an any changes and innovations in sound and lighting technology, this kind of event at show – especially for a first off. Roger Kelly, Active Audio. Integrate 09 delivered d seminars … The simple fact is our stand was very busy for three days with oth, RGB Integration. Massenburg’s headline presentation was right on the money his openness to new technologies push not to accept substandard inspiring. Joe Malone, JLM Audio. I was distributors and brought visual & audio equipment. several items for an upcoming that I will recommend to my clients for recommend any future events. Ken Sparkes, The say Integrate was a great show – and I am glad to hear Australian Concert Productions. Congratulations to Louise, Philip and trade show for the AV industry – long overdue. Graeme Stevenson, Production at Integrate, Que Audio, on the back of our existing Da-Cappo brand and we truly t six months forward with brand acceptance. The participants were the right ll qualified. An excellent show and an excellent choice of venue, well done. David eeds an event where it can come together to network, share information and m to fulfill those goals. We are already planning our Navigate Sales Summit 2010 oup. We had an absolute boomer of a show. We SEE YOU NEXT YEAR! sing time on the last day of the show. We have 24 — 26 AUGUST 2010 0% space. Harry Lloyd-Williams, Acoustic Technologies. i n t e g r a t e - e x p o . c o m


06

Editorial

The Emperor’s New Screen. Just like the craft guilds of old, the AV craft has its secret language and symbols known only to those on inside. That language may be full of TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms), ETLAs (Extended TLAs) and jargon words because they act as a shorthand format to simplify communication, or they may be used as barriers to prevent outsiders from understanding us. Let’s face it, if our clients ever actually read the manuals and figured out how straightforward some things really are, they would do the jobs themselves. On the other hand, if some of our colleagues ever actually read the manuals… In a business as technical as AV, we especially depend on our suppliers to know vast amounts about their products, to help us select the right solution for a project, and then give us support as we actually implement the design. People parachuting into the AV business are frequently quite bewildered by some of what we do and most of what we say. Some sales and marketing people turn up among us thinking no one will notice if their sales material is either inaccurate or downright misleading. Before the microprocessor came along and brought with it the personal computer back in the time when mainframes and mini-computers roamed the land there was a joke among EDP (Electronic Data Processing – now called IT) people, that the difference between a used car salesman and a computer salesman is that the used car salesman knows he’s lying to you. Sadly that same situation exists today in parts of the AV world, where as technological developments move products into wider market availability, there just aren’t enough people with adequate product knowledge to be either helpful or truthful, or even to know if there is a difference. The most recent example of this was an advertising campaign from a screen manufacturer suggesting that changing over from a standard definition to a high definition projector required upgrading to newly-developed ‘high definition’ screen material. You can’t help but wonder how they’re going with developing a screen suitable for our old SAV 35mm slide projectors with their resolution four times higher than HD.  Get in touch with AV and share your stories of shonky products, clever designs, interesting ideas, and strategies, products and projects that exploit useful technologies and equipment. Contact AV’s editor, Andy Ciddor at andy@av.net.au

issue #6

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for the audiovisual professional

If you’d like to receive your own copy of AV or if you’d like to continue to receive AV AWM IS ACE!: PETER JACKSON’S WWI DOGFIGHT REALISED HOT PRODUCT: DANTE – WHAT’S ALL THE FUSS?

issue #6

REVIEWED: LSC CLARITY CONTROLLER SONY HVR-Z5P HD CAMERA PROJECTIONDESIGN FL32 LED PROJECTOR $6.95 inc gst

2009

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Auto dimming sensor

Ready-to-use templates for many common systems Fully configurable user interface

7" High resolution touchscreen

Full-motion video display Backlit buttons

Motion sensor

Speaker Volume knob Adjustable tilt screen

Fully Configurable Touchpanel A/V Control Systems Powerful Control Without Programming Introducing Extron TouchLink™, the first fully configuration-based touchpanel control system with ready-to-use templates and the power to handle the control needs of single display rooms, dual display rooms, divisible rooms, multi-image systems, and video conference suites. Extron pioneered configurable A/V control systems with the MediaLink family of push-button controllers. Now, with TouchLink, Extron is set to revolutionize the way you design, install, and maintain touchpanel systems. Three new TouchLink panels feature a high resolution touchscreen with field-labelable backlit buttons, full-motion video, and many more features.

Key Features:

With our ready-to-use templates and drag-and-drop configuration software, TouchLink Control Systems can be deployed much faster than traditional programmable control systems and are easier and less costly to support. TouchLink Systems integrate seamlessly with Extron’s awardwinning GlobalViewer® Enterprise and Free GlobalViewer® software for complete A/V resource monitoring, management, and control over a computer network.

• Drag-and-drop design tool with master pages, popup pages for transport controls, multistate buttons, 3D effects, video windows, dynamic text, and more

• Three TouchLink Panel models: Wall mount and tabletop versions with 7" touchscreen, and a Cable Cubby® version with 3.5" touchscreen • No programming required; TouchLink control systems use Global Configurator, the same configuration tool used for MediaLink systems • Free GUI Configurator software with full-color templates for out-ofthe-box control of popular A/V system applications

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Crew Zac Shenker is a third-year computer science/digital media student at UNSW. He has been obsessed with all things AV since volunteering as a lighting operator at age 14. An ALIA board member for the past two years, Zac is gaining experience in the lighting industry as technical crew on numerous productions. His interests in photography, software development and AV keep him in regular freelancing gigs and helps to finance his gadget obsession.

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) Advertisement Manager: Stewart Woodhill (stewart@av.net.au) Editorial Director: Christopher Holder (chris@av.net.au)

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

Publisher: Philip Spencer (philip@av.net.au) Art Direction & Design: Dominic Carey (dominic@alchemedia.com.au) Additional Design: Heath McCurdy (heath@alchemedia.com.au) Deputy Editor: Brad Watts (brad@av.net.au) Circulation Manager: Mim Mulcahy (subscriptions@av.net.au)

Currently a technical director at G1 Productions, Paul has worked in video projection and multimedia since 1992. He has been involved in video production management for events in the corporate, broadcast, exhibition, fashion and entertainment industries, and has toured extensively. He has expert knowledge of multimedia, content creation and complex live video systems. Paul lives in the Southern Highlands of NSW with his wife and three daughters and commutes daily to Sydney.

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 2009 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. 14/8/09

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 6 REGULARS INTEGRATE NEWS News from Integrate 09, includes sneak peak of U2’s new stage look.

12

ASSOCIATIONS NEWS News from the AV industry associations.

64

TERMINATION Bonding with junk.

66

LUMINOUS CONTENT

26 36

40

VIVID Sydney is bathed in enviro-friendly ‘light art’.

26

SMART LIGHT SYDNEY A highlights package of the best light sculptures.

32

MAXIMS OF BEHAVIOUR A shadowy illusion on a winter’s night.

36

SPEAKING VOLUMES Melbourne’s Federation Square turns on the Light in Winter.

40

FEATURES AUTO DIDACTIC An automated vision capture system for Flinders Uni.

44

OVER THE FRONT Wide-screen projection on a wing and a prayer.

48

AUDINATE DANTE The hottest new approach to networked audio.

54

TUTORIALS VIDEO SIGNALS & DISTRIBUTION FOR LIVE EVENTS An excerpt from InfoComm’s new Live Event course.

65

REVIEWS

32

60

63

LSC CLARITY LIGHTING CONTROLLER The PC/dedicated console lines are blurred.

56

SONY HVR-Z5P A good HD camera just got better.

60

DA CAPPO HEADSET MICS Water resistant micro microphones.

61

WHAT CUE ARE WE IN? Silence that nagging Stage Manager with Ken Roach’s new software.

62

PROJECTIONDESIGN FL32 A LED-powered projector for the long run – 11 years, in fact.

63


012

NEWS

2 1 3

1/OPTOMA SHINES ON

2/SEEING RED

3/DISTRIBUTION SOLUTION

Optoma has a number of projectors to be released in Australia during the next quarter. The units feature new case design and improved performance. The units to be released include the EP-1691i and 7155i 1.3kg portable projector, offering 3000 ANSI lumens in native 16:9 or 4:3 aspect ratio, and the EX-766W WXGA 4000ANSI lumens 1280 x 800 native DLP widescreen with lens shift and weighing 5kg. The EX766W also offers 2 x VGA S-Video composite audio inputs, RS232 or network control, and +12V trigger. All new Optoma projectors carry a three-year parts and labour warranty and come with direct power on and quick power off, remote mouse, laser pointer, key pad lock, and a soft carry case. Amber Technology: 1800 251 367 or professional@ambertech.com.au

Audio Products Group previewed Biamp’s RED-1 remote ethernet device: a remote control for Audia and Nexia systems. The RED-1 offers a simple, intuitive interface – without mechanical pushbuttons! It can be installed and configured to fit the needs of many applications. The device connects via standard Cat-5/6/7 cabling and is powered over ethernet, eliminating the need for custom cabling and local power sources. Multiple remote control panels can be connected over large distances using standard ethernet network technology. RED-1 features a high-contrast OLED display with a wide viewing angle, and surface-mounts to any wall. 100m ethernet cable lengths can be extended with standard PoE network technology (routers, switches, hubs, media converters). The RED-1 is scheduled for availability in the fourth quarter of 2009. Audio Products Group: 1300 134 400 or info@audioproducts.com.au

The DM-MD8X8 is more than just another HDMI switcher or extender; it is a ‘complete integrated solution’ that manages, controls and distributes all analogue and uncompressed HD digital content over twisted pair or fiber. DM matrix switchers are flexible, modular systems that can accept virtually every single type and transmit them long distances as digital DM signals. Built-in exclusive QuickSwitch HD technology, pre-authorised HDCP keys, maintains a constant handshake for continuous, glitch-free HD switching. At the end points, DM receivers control and output HDMI to the display. The DM-MD8X8 features a modular architecture with eight input card slots, and two quad output card slots. Each card slot on the DM-MD8X8 is field-installable, allowing for easy and flexible system configuration with the ability to make changes to the system as needs dictate. Crestron DigitalMedia distributes all analogue and uncompressed HD signals, and manages embedded data such as HDCP, EDID and CEC. Crestron: (02) 9737 8203 or www.crestron.com.au

INTEGRATE 09 LIFTS OFF

a crackingly-good education program. The stage was set, literally, for a great three days of seminars and workshops thanks to a fantastic venue in The Headroom. The Headroom was largely the brainchild of Staging Rentals, which put it together with the assistance of Pollards. The Headroom seated up to 160 delegates on the first day when industry legend George Massenburg gave his headline address on what we can do to arrest declining audio standards. The Headroom’s AV

Thanks for coming. Budgets are tight and it’s hard to get away, so we’d like to thank all those who found the time to attend Integrate 09. If you weren’t able to come, then this issue will give you a taste of what you missed… and there was plenty. It was the chance to see dozens of new product releases – many items fresh from InfoComm in June – and this issue’s news pages put the spotlight on the gear that debuted at Integrate 09. Furthermore, if you missed Integrate 09 you also missed

was masterminded by VideoPlus, which threw considerable time, expertise and resources at the show and distinguished itself in the process – many thanks to VideoPlus. Thanks also to Syntec for providing the innovative K-Array column PA and the Sennheiser steth-set ‘silent seminar’ system; and ULA for brightening up The Headroom stage with its VuePix pixel panels. As for the education program itself, the highlight was undoubtedly InfoComm’s Super

Tuesday. ‘Future Trends’ was the theme, and InfoComm’s Jonathan Seller and Rod Brown pulled together a jam-packed day of the pithy and the bleeding edge. The seven sessions were all well attended, presented by local and international specialists and covered a broad array of pro AV technologies. Also of considerable interest to AV readers was Sound in the House – a sneak peak at the new sound system being installed into the Sydney Opera House’s Concert Hall; Tom Back’s (from Alcons

Audio) presentation on ribbon transducers; PA Shootouts – a lively panel discussion addressing the pitfalls of choosing the right sound system; Kathy Katz’s (from Brightline) seminar on lighting video conferences; and Ben Clarke’s (of Production Audio Services) look at the finer points of Smaart v6. We enjoyed ourselves so much we’re doing it all again next year – Integrate 2010 will be staged at the same location on 24–26 August. In the meantime I’d like to hear from you. I’d like to hear


GN Series MODULAR CONFERENCE MICROPHONE SYSTEM

4 • AKG quality: great audio and reliability • Modular: fits any situation • Supreme flexibility for any AV company

Highly efficient windscreen Each capsule individually tested Five self-cleaning gold plated contacts LED Ring shows system status • Can be disabled High quality gooseneck bends precisely into the desired shape and is resistant to inadvertent readjustment Capsules

4/FULL COLOUR SMD MESH

• • • • •

The VuePix range of LED video solutions incorporates indoor and outdoor LED video screens and LED mesh, making this one of the most versatile LED video range on the market. Following on from the success of the popular P25 LED panel, the new P18 offers superior colour depth and uniformity. The P18 LED panels are an easy-to-handle 1152 x 576mm module format, clipping together seamlessly together to form a semitransparent screen, utilising powerful three-in-one SMD RGB single chip LEDs. VuePix enables you to redefine the imaging landscape and customise LED video screens and curtains to your specifications. VuePix maintains the highest standards of design and quality, offering superior colour depth and uniformity through carefully-selected LED chips. Already installed in many stadiums and sporting arenas, and adopted by large rental houses for production and touring, the VuePix range offers amazing versatility and quality. ULA Group: 1300 852 476 or sales@ula.com.au

CK47 – Studio Quality Hypercardioid CK31 – Cardioid CK33 – Hypercardioid CK32 – Omni CK80 – Speech optimised hypercardioid

Gooseneck Lengths • 15cm • 30cm • 50cm Gooseneck Terminations • XLR (includes lockable mounting) • Programmable Switch XLR (includes lockable mounting) • 5 Pin XLR (LED ring control) • Installation (screw mounted) Hidden controls in XLR section • LED activate/ deactivate • 200Hz Bass Rolloff • Programmable Mute button (ESP switched version) • On/Off • Momentary On • Momentary Off (cough button)

• Gold Plated XLR pins for better connectivity

Also Avaliable:

about the aspects of Integrate you liked and didn’t like. I’d like to hear why you chose not to come; I’d like to hear what irked you about the seminars; I’d like to hear about what we could be doing better… the more I hear the more we can make Integrate the show you want to attend. Christopher Holder Editorial Director: chris@alchemedia.com.au

Hanging Gooseneck Module

1.5m Free Standing Gooseneck Module

Wireless Gooseneck Module (AKG WMS4500)

FOR YOUR NEAREST DEALER: AUSTRALIA: Call 1300 13 44 00 or visit www.audioproducts.com.au The Headroom seminar nerve centre in full swing at Integrate 09.

NEW ZEALAND: Call 0800 111 450 or visit www.audioproducts.co.nz


014

NEWS

3 2 1 6 4

5 1/BARCO IMAGE PROCESSING

2/ EXTRON’S TOUCHLINK

3/BOSCH IRIS-NET SOFTWARE

The FSN series is a high-resolution production switcher that combines advanced video switching with the power and flexibility of Barco image processing — in a streamlined multi-format production package that’s modular, easy to operate, and easy on your budget. Native HD or SD operation, cross-conversion, frame synchronisation, and selectable native output formats (480i, 576i, 720p, 1080i). With megalithic input and output flexibility, the system’s architecture enables you to install five dual-channel universal input cards, and two dual-channel universal output cards. Internal storage of 100 still frames (with up to three-frame buffers on line simultaneously), up to four channels of optional internal 2D DVEs, and integration with the Encore Presentation System. A minimum two lines of delay for native genlocked inputs. Scaling and conversion (using the Universal Input Card, Universal Output Card and DVE Card) adds additional delay. Barco Systems: (03) 9646 5833 or sales.au@barco.com

TouchLink is touted as the first fully configuration-based touchpanel control system with the power to handle the control needs of single display rooms, dual display rooms, divisible rooms, multi-image systems, and video conference suites. The new TouchLink products include three touchpanel models, an ethernet control processor, and Extron GUI Configurator Software. TouchLink Control Systems integrate with Extron GlobalViewer Enterprise software and the Free GlobalViewer Web application for A/V resource monitoring, management, and control via a computer network. Setting up a touchscreen layout is designed to be fast and simple with ready-to-use, customisable design templates, or users can start from scratch and design their own layout using GUI Configurator touchscreen design software. Standard templates for single display rooms, dual display rooms, divisible rooms, multi-image systems, and video conference suites are carefully matched to the most common AV applications. RGB Integration: (08) 8351 2188 or www.rgbintegration.com

Back in 2001, Electro-Voice decided to create a software platform that would integrate and control all Bosch products. This has become a realisation under the IRIS-Net (Intelligent Remote Integrated Supervision) software platform. Demonstrated at Integrate 09 was the complete remote control and supervision capabilities of everything from microphones to loudspeakers. Beginning with the E-V REV wireless system, the E-V NetMax DSP has the ability to run 32 separate FIR filters, all with 2.19ms maximum latency. This was then integrated with the Dynacord PowerH amplifiers which are one of the very few amplifiers on the market that can deliver their full output continuously into 2Ω. The PowerH amplifiers also have the ability to include FIR filters within, if required. Bosch even integrated the Midas Pro6 console into the chain for some serious control and supervision. Bosch Communications Systems: (02) 9683 4752 or boschcomms@au.bosch.com

4/SPYDER X20 SPIED

5/HITACHI’S CP-SX12000

6/SAMSUNG ULTRA-DEF VIDEO

VR Solutions demonstrated the capabilities of the Vista Spyder X20 a versatile hardware-based video processor combined with the flexibility of a universal routing switcher. The Spyder X20 includes the matrix switching and integrated source monitoring functionality of the Christie Vista URS. It also includes all the existing features of the Vista Spyder, such as high-end presentation capabilities and an intuitive and easy-to-use interface that appeals to experienced and new customers. New to the Spyder family is the 20-megapixel bandwith feature, which is available in both models: the Spyder X20-1608 and the Spyder X20-0808. Both units support blending, windowing, mixing and scaling in any source format, and then route the signal to any destination device. The Spyder X20-1608 features 16 inputs and eight outputs and the Spyder X20-0808 has eight inputs and eight outputs. In both models, any output can be rotated to display portrait images. VR Solutions: (07) 3844 9514 or www.vrs.com.au

Hitachi’s latest addition to its professional series, the CP-SX12000 offers quality, innovation and reliability to large venues that require a high-end projector. With 1400x1050 SXGA resolution, the Hitachi CP-SX12000 offers brightness of up to 7000 lumens. The model also features exceptional image quality, with an iris-based high contrast system delivering a contrast ratio of 2500:1. The projector is ideal for auditoriums, exhibition halls, large lecture theatres or stage productions. Designed to specifically meet the demands of the professional market, the CP-SX12000 features a dust resistant cooling system that eliminates one of the main reliability issues in high-end projectors. The efficiency of this system also means that the air filter will last for over 10,000 maintenance-free hours, regardless of the ambient conditions. The use of long-life components, including inorganic LCD panels and polariser filters enhance reliability even further. Priced at $17,700. Hitachi Australia: (02) 9888 4100 or www.hitachi.com.au

Samsung displayed its UD video wall solution, which provides real-time and dynamic content control. The UD software allows control of content from up to 125 source PCs – with a single PC, all in real time on up to 250 display units. You can zoom in, zoom out, switch images, drag and control content with native resolution capability across multiple screens. The UD video wall displays giga-pixel images quickly, and is compatible with the Samsung MID Interlocking Display (ID) kit, allowing you to easily assemble even multi-sided freestanding video walls. Available in the new 460UTn-UD super narrow bezel model as well as in 40- and 46-inch UXn-UD ultra-thin bezel models. Samsung also chose Integrate 09 to launch its 460UT series 46-inch super narrow bezel LCD screens. The UT series, designed specifically for video wall applications, features bezels of just 2.4mm on the bottom and right, and 4.3 mm on the top and left. Samsung: 1300 362 603 or www.samsung.com/au


016

NEWS

2

3 1

1/ALL FOR ONE

2/GEFEN GOES 5GHZ

3/PRODUCT OF NOTES

Apogee Electronics’ One is a sexy-looking and somewhat discreet pocket-sized 24-bit/48k interface with built-in microphone. One is a single-input, stereo output USB interface designed to work seamlessly with Apple’s iTunes, GarageBand, Logic, Final Cut or any Core Audio-compliant application on a Mac. The internal reference condenser microphone allows you to spontaneously capture musical moments. Apogee is proud of One’s ‘high quality’ microphone preamp, and there’s an instrument input for guitar, bass, and keyboards, and a stereo output for headphones or powered monitors. Other features include software selectable 48V phantom power, three-segment LED input and output metering, a multi-function encoder knob for input gain control and output level control, and Apogee’s Maestro software for advanced control and low latency mixing. Available in your favourite colour – as long as your favourite colour is black. Price: $389. Sound Devices: (02) 9283 2077 or info@sounddevices.com.au

Gefen showed its latest wireless products at Integrate 09, including the GTV-WHDMI which offers 10m transmission using the 5GHz band. The product is sold in two configurations: Unicast Mode (one-to-one): HDMI-compliant displays can be placed up to 30 metres from the HDMI source. This solution uses one sender and one receiver unit to extend resolutions of 1080p at 24fps or 1080i at 60 along with 5.1-channel digital audio. Broadcast Mode (one-to-many): In broadcast mode, multiple GTV-WHDMI-BR (broadcast receiver) units can be used to feed an HDMI or DVI signal to multiple displays placed up to 30 metres from the HDMI source. The HDMI or DVI source cannot be HDCP-encrypted but hi-def resolutions to 1080p at 24fps are still supported. When purchasing a broadcast mode wireless system, the base package includes one sender and one receiver. Additional receivers may be added to the package as required. Amber Technology: 1800 251 367 or professional@ambertech.com.au

Annotator is a hardware-based annotation processor for video and computer-video sources. The Annotator features an intuitive graphical user interface that allows the presenter to draw, point, or add text to electronic presentation materials using a touchscreen and/or a keyboard and mouse. An integrated, seven input multi-format presentation switcher supports all common analogue and digital A/V signal types. Three standard outputs are provided, including RGB, VGA, and Extron MTP – mini twisted pair, with high performance scaling up to 2048x1080 and HDTV 1080p. For ease of integration, a configurable fourth output is provided for use with optional DVI, HD-SDI, or scan converter output boards. The Annotator is ideal for use in any presentation that requires the overlay of graphic and text elements for emphasis. RGB Integration: (08) 8351 2188 or www.rgbintegration.com

NEWS IN BRIEF

The 640R from Kramer Electronics is a high performance receiver for HDMI and IR signals. The 640T converts an HDMI and IR signal to five coax signals and then converts back into an HDMI and IR signal. The unit is HDTV compatible with a maximum data rate of 3.4Gbps per channel; upgrades legacy RGBHV cabling to HDMI signals; and provides IR transmission and bi-directional support for remote IR devices. System range is up to 150m. Kramer Electronics Australia: (07) 3715 6200 or sales@ krameraustralia.com.au

CMI Music & Audio showed the HK Audio CADIS installation array system. The CAD 208 packs two eight-inch loudspeakers mounted in a precision-tuned polyamide housing. Two one-inch HF drivers are coupled to two CD horns with 100° horizontal and 15° vertical directivity. The tough polyamide housing is weather and UV-resistant. It comes in black or white, though other colours are available on demand. The CAD 115 is the companion 15-inch sub. CMI: (03) 9315 2244 or cmi@cmi.com.au

National Audio Systems (NAS) has been appointed as the exclusive distributor for the full range of Cloud products for Australia and New Zealand. Recognised for robust and reliable manufacture as well as excellent after-sales service, Sheffieldbased Cloud Electronics has made itself even more appealing via an extended standard warranty – five years. National Audio Systems: 1800 441 440 or sales@nationalaudio.com.au

Philips: With Dynalite’s DTP100 Revolution colour touchscreen you can create and display visually stunning and easy-to-use control pages incorporating logos, buttons, faders, floor plans, and diagnostic icons. The touchscreen also enables operators to execute simple and complex conditional logic macros with a tap of the screen. Measuring just 5.7 by 9.5cm, the screen displays 480 x 272 resolution graphics with 16-bit colour depth. Philips Electronics Australia: 1300 304 404 or itinfo.australia@philips.com.au

Australian National Film & Sound Archives (NFSA) has become the first Australian user of Cintel’s ImageMill image stabilisation system. The image stabilisation system, is capable of operating in SD, HD or Data, while Cintel’s other software applications such as Grace, the noise and grain reduction system, are capable of running on the same hardware platform. Quinto Communications: (02) 9894 4244 or sales@quinto.com.au


4

4/RETRACTABLE MICS ARE GO Clockaudio has released a range of retractable boundary layer microphones. The Retracta series can be pressed down into a boardroom table when not in use, leaving a virtually flush-fit low profile. The Retracta series has a built-in mechanism that allows the microphone to disappear without having to physically remove it from the table. Simply pressing down on the top of the capsule will lock the microphone flush with the surface of the table; pressing the head again will release the microphone back to its original position. The Retracta series is available in omni-directional and cardioid versions and has been engineered in high quality brass with a built-in shockmount and RF filter. The microphones are available in satin, black or nickel. Madison Technologies: (02) 9748 1911 or www.madisontech.com.au

Riedel Communications introduced its Acrobat Digital Wireless Intercom series to the Australian market at Integrate 09. The system is a full-duplex, wireless communications intercom, which allows the operation of an unlimited number of wireless beltpacks. The system features both partyline and pointto-point communications, digital audio quality, and no interference with radio microphones or IEMs. Taking the DECT standard, Riedel developed technologies to implement its Acrobat VoIP-

over-DECT platform. Riedel’s ‘enhanced channel agility’ (ECA) allows use of the complete DECT channel spectrum by dynamically allocating calls to any free RX or TX time-slot. The Acrobat wireless beltpack is a light, compact, digital headset station with two individually configurable channels for intercom and IFB use. Operation is intuitive and follows the concept of Riedel’s Performer C3 digital partyline beltpack. Riedel Communications: (02) 9550 4537 or www.riedel.net


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2/ATLONA HDMI SWITCH

3/BOSE DOWNSIZES

Integrate 09 marked the debut of Audio Products Group’s relationship with GPT Engineering, the Canberra-based manufacturer of the I-Amp family of induction loop amplifiers and receivers. The I-Amp amplifiers are cost effective and very easy to install. In fact, the amplifiers have no requirement for minimum loop impedance, so cable selection is greatly simplified – a benefit for contractors and specifiers. The I-Amp family includes three amplifiers and three receivers: The GPT20 amplifier covers approximately 40sqm, the GPT60-IV suitable for rooms of up to approximately 200sqm, and the GPT300-II packs a 300VA amplifier that can cover a space of up to 600sqm. Receivers include the Venue Listener: a simple assisted-listening receiver that can be issued to people who don’t have a hearing aid. Venue Assistant is a receiver designed to help administrators keep hearing aid loops operating effectively, and Venue Master, a high-dynamic-range receiver and field strength meter. Using the Venue Master, a loop can be calibrated to meet Australian Standard 60118.4 requirements. Audio Products Group: 1300 134 400 or info@audioproducts.com.au

Avico Electronics introduces the Atlona AT-HD44M-SR 4x4 HDMI matrix over Cat5 with IR control path. The unit provides a flexible and cost effective way to route high-definition video sources plus multi-channel digital audio from any of the four HDMI sources to the remote displays – all at the same time. Not only can high quality video and audio be transmitted to the display sites via Cat5 or Cat6 cables, but users can also switch between four HDMI sources using the pushbutton or remote control. Signal extends over a single CAT5/6, 30m at 1080p or 60m at 1080i. Features include: HDMI 1.2a and HDCP compliance, supports 5.1- and 7.1-channel digital audio, allows control of local video sources such as DVD and TiVo via an IR extender. Avico Electronics: (02) 9624 7977 or www.avico.com.au

Bose introduces the L1 compact portable line array system, the most portable addition to the Bose L1 product line. The system features an integrated lowfrequency enclosure and combines the amplifier, monitor, PA, mixer, and EQ into a complete audio system ready for simple connection to an instrument, microphone, MP3 player, computer, or other audio device. Like the Model I and Model II systems, the L1 Compact system continues the legacy of the original Bose Cylindrical Radiator loudspeaker – the product to first introduce the company’s unique approach to live music amplification.The system features a 14-inch line array and offers two distinct setup configurations: extended (68 inches tall) for larger venues or collapsed (17 inches tall) for smaller venues, where it can be placed on a table or other elevated surface. There are no heavy tripod stands or complicated speaker wires to connect, just a an AC power cord. Price: $1695. Bose: 1800 659 433 or www.bose.com/musicians

PUFF PIECE A last minute inclusion at Integrate 09 was a Puffershere projection sphere, as recently featured on Coldplay’s Viva la Vida world tour and this year’s Eurovision Song Contest broadcast. Developed by Pufferfish displays in Scotland, the air-inflated spheres are built from rear projection material and filled with an image from a single Barco or Christie projector, using a custom-made lens and the Pufferizer effect on a Hippotizer media server. The Puffersphere, making its

debut in Australia, was supplied and cared for by Massteknik Asia Pacific, while Clearlight Systems provided the Hippotizer and Technical Direction Company supplied the Barco CLM R10 projector. Much more about Pufferfish’s ‘sphericool’ projection systems in the next issue. Pufferfish: www.pufferfishdisplays.co.uk

Right: Puffersphere at Integrate 09 Far right: On Eurovision 2009


4 4/BRIGHTLINE R-VIEW The R-View has been developed to fulfil an industry need for a cost-effective, energy-efficient, portable videoconference fixture that delivers high-end aesthetics and broadcast-quality illumination in an out-of-the-box format that’s simple to deploy. The sleek, streamlined look of the R-View with its distinctive rolled effect marks it as a sophisticated piece of industrial design, at home in the most upscale corporate boardroom or the hippest hi-tech studio. The approximately eight-inch high by 22-inch wide by five-inch deep fixture body is fabricated entirely of aluminium, which, compared with the steel construction of other fixtures, is much lighter, offers better fatigue properties, and dissipates heat more effectively. Units are powder coated in a choice of five colour options. The R-View turns out very little heat, consumes ‘up to 90%’ less electricity than comparable incandescent fixtures, and offers lamp life in excess of 8000 hours. Herma Technologies: 1300 730 025 or www.herma.com.au

Sanyo’s PDG-DHT100L is being touted as the industry’s brightest two-lamp, full HD, single-chip DLP projector. It’s a 1080p projector that allows for increased light output and a user-changeable, twin colour wheel system to increase colour reproduction and light output efficiency. At 6500 lumens, the PDG-DHT100L slots into brighter environments, particularly for theatres, auditoriums, or large lecture halls. Price: $27,000. Sanyo: 1300 360 230 or www.sanyo.com.au

STOA Hanger: While many pro AV and lighting companies have fabricated their own cable hangers over the years, one NZ company has developed a functional, cost-effective cable suspension hanger that everyone can use. The recyclable stoA cable suspension hanger separates power and data cabling; saves time rigging and de-rigging; and saves hundreds of metres of electrical tape wastage in temporary AV installs. Design Quintessence: (02) 9649 2266 or info@dq.com.au


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5 1/QUINTESSENTIAL DISPLAY

2/ENTTEC DIN-TEC

3/REMOTE WIZARDRY

Design Quintessence has created a family of curved truss, presentation units with its plasma/LCD stand, lectern and plinth. Each unit incorporates a curved F33 tri-truss column with a brushed and anodised finish. The lectern has a folded clear acrylic top and allows microphone cables to be hidden inside the truss chords, exiting underneath the elevated base. A matching plinth allows cables to run inside the truss chord and makes a great companion piece to support a laptop computer or product display unit. A soon-to-be-released LED light fitting fits into a hole in the base of the lectern and plinth for colour changing or uplighting. The plasma/ LCD screen stand looks unlike standard temporary stands, and includes a universal mounting bracket, allowing screens to be hung at different heights for landscape or portrait viewing. An optional clear acrylic shelf is available to support a media player. Design Quintessence: (02) 9649 2266 or info@dq.com.au

Australian lighting control manufacturer Enttec launched its Din-Rail mounted range of integration, control and distribution products on the Balanced Technology stand at Integrate 09. The Din-Tec range, including switch closure input modules, RS232 modules, LED driver, and DMX splitter modules, is designed to be a flexible, simple and cost-effective addition to any system. The intuitive (and free) configuration software, DinTool, allows configuration of Din-Tec modules to control or respond to any device or input that can send or receive RS232, or trigger a switch closure, allowing a standard light switch to start or stop shows in a DMX recorder, or trigger a CD or DVD player, for example. Other modules allow direct control of LEDs via DMX or using built-in programs, and a Din-Rail mounted fourway DMX splitter with RDM capability. Priced from $88 to $352. Balanced Technology: 1300 305 832 or www.balancedtech.com.au

The A0979 from Opus One Wizard is a fully programmable touchscreen remote control incorporating both infra red and zigbee wireless RF protocols. Offering full home automation of home theatre and hi-fi systems, electronically controlled blinds, motorised screens, projectors, lighting circuits, or any product operated by IR or RF control (with the addition of the A0980 RF repeater). When equipment is mounted in a cabinet or rack, away from the viewing area, the A0980 four-port RF to IR repeater may be used – ideal in situations where equipment is not in line-of-sight with the remote. An RS232 input is provided for external control and interfacing with existing equipment. The TFT screen layouts, buttons and logos can be customised to suit, with screen layouts constructed on computer and uploaded via USB. A macro function allows multiple button presses to be combined into a single key stroke. Altronics: 1300 780 999 or www.altronics.com.au

4/ ROBE DIGITAL SPOT 7000DT

5/ALCONS LR7

6/DIMMING FOR DUMMIES

DigitalSpot 7000 DT is Robe’s second digital moving light projector, based on LCD and LED technology. This combination of a digital projector and two powerful RGBW LED modules offers amazing digital gobo effects and the projection of highly saturated colours – all in a single moving light fixture. The DigitalSpot 7000 DT emits 6500 ANSI lumens from a single 330W projection lamp with an contrast ratio of 2000:1. Each of its two LED modules consists of 48 Luxeon Rebel RGBW LEDs and provides an extremely bright light output across the full colour spectrum. Offering DVI input and SDI input/output, the DigitalSpot 7000 DT is aimed at the top level professional markets and applications. Its brightness makes it one of the highest output and most affordable digital moving light projectors currently available. The DigitalSpot 7000 DT is well suited to all pro entertainment and leisure applications including corporate events, concert touring, TV and theatres. ULA Group: 1300 852 476 or sales@ula.com.au

The LR7 is a passive two-way line-source loudspeaker system. It is a true line-array system, to be used as a vertical array, either in stacked or flown configurations, for both portable and permanent installations. The frequency response of 74Hz (–3dB) to beyond 20kHz enables a full-range deployment without the immediate necessity of additional bass systems. In applications where extended bass response is required, the LR7 can be combined with a pressure-bass or deep-sub system. Loaded with the RBN401 pro-ribbon driver on a ‘Morpher’ lens (up to 94 percent frontal radiation), the system features a 90° or 120° dispersion of choice with seamless coverage, due to the ribbon’s cylindrical wavefront. The transient response and high peak power handling provides intelligibility and throw, while the micro-compact size, combined with the weight-saving all-neodymium drivers, makes the system easy to transport and handle. Loud & Clear Audio: (02) 9439 9723 or info@loudandclear.com.au

The C-Bus L5112D are a range of high powered 12-channel dimmers designed for commercial applications such as hotels, restaurants and office buildings. The dimmers are C-Bus controlled, multi-phase control units, compatible with a wide range of load types, including neon. Dimming is achieved through phase control techniques for extra efficiency The L5112D range provides on-board MCB protection, thermal overload protection and also accommodates the RCD requirements as per AS/ NZS3000:2007. The dimmers contain modular output channel cards of various ratings, allowing customisation. A maintained active output is provided on each channel for emergency lighting. Each channel card has a bypass switch which permits direct local override of the lighting circuit. In the event of an over-temperature condition, such as one caused by excessive load current being drawn, the dimmer channel reduces the output power as long as the condition exists. Clipsal Australia: (08) 8269 0587 or cis@clipsal.com.au


MEDIORNET

Re-Defining Fiber-Optic Networks

• Fiber Signal Transport for Multi-Channel HD/SD Video, Audio, Intercom & Data • Supports any Combination of Network Topologies • Integrated CWDM Multiplexing • Uncompressed Real-Time Signal Distribution and Routing • Supports 3rd Party Router Control • Software-based Signal Processing and Conversion • Future-proof Hardware Platform www.mediornet.com


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2/SYMETRIX ROOM COMBINE

3/AMIS POWERS ON

K-array’s KR200s is a high performance and decidedly slender, powered two-way system designed for use in mobile and install applications. The KR200s satellite features a line array of 32 two-inch diameter highefficiency drive units incorporating neodymium magnets and suspensions – housed in a rather slim enclosure. The KLM18ma amplification and sub unit features a 1600W 18-inch driver designed for ‘extreme’ linear excursion, and housed in a light reflex-porting cabinet. The cabinet is fitted with two pocket handles and a single 35mm pole mounting point for simple installation of each satellite. Porting is designed to be large – for reduced air noise. Frequency response of the system is rated at 35Hz to 19kHz, with the sub and satellite rated to handle 800 and 500W respectively, and capable of surviving 1200W each. Priced at just under $21000 for a set. Syntec International: 1800 648 628 or sales@syntec.com.au

The Symetrix Room Combine 788 is the latest addition to its Integrator Series. The series now consists of four purpose-built processors, and is based on Symetrix’s SymNet platform for network audio DSP. The unit is a complete solution for combining up to eight microphones and four background music sources in as many as eight different rooms. It can be used in hotels, banquet halls, schools, conference venues, or any facility where dynamic allocation of space is required. In addition to providing full input processing, automatic mixing, and complete loudspeaker management, the unit allows easy assignment of microphones and BGM into various spaces in predetermined combinations. All Integrator Series products employ a Windows software application (Vista and XP) for control and setup. Production Audio Services: (03) 9264 8000 or info@productionaudio.com.au

The Australian Monitor AMIS60 and AMIS120 have long been the backbone of many a commercial audio installation, and has proven to be the most popular amplifiers Australian Monitor has ever produced. The latest upgrade to the AMIS60 and AMIS120 mixer amplifiers are now shipping – the revamp being even more contractor friendly with the addition of two extra balanced XLR mic/dual RCA line inputs. The AMIS60 and AMIS120 still boast the same reliability and feature set including vox muting on channels one and two (defeatable), bell, pre announce, evacuation and alert tones on board, voice triggered output relay, VCA master level control, 15 VDC phantom power and mains or 24DVC operation. The AMIS120 is available now with the AMIS60 arriving late September. Australian Monitor: (02) 9647 1411 or www.australianmonitor.com.au

Projectiondesign’s F80 1080 projector featured at Integrate 09. The F80 is created for largescreen video image reproduction in e-cinema, graphics, and staging applications including multi-channel imaging and visualisation. It also features Projectiondesign’s own built-in Advanced Colour Optical Processing technology (ACOP). Amber Technology: 1800 251 367 or professional@ambertech.com.au

Recently the New York Racing Association become the first horse racing organisation in the US to install a real-time mobile receiver, RF Central’s 6.4GHz RFX-PRX-II in its chase ambulance, which is transmitted from RF Central’s 6.4GHz CMT-II wireless camera system. Jockey safety has never been more immediate, with a camera placed inside the race-following ambulance. Quinto Communications: (02) 9894 4244 or sales@quinto.com.au

Gepco’s VHD13F is an extraflexible HD coax cable with three audio twisted-pairs. The VHD13F is a co-extruded zip cable that houses both audio and video components side by side. This construction reduces the size and weight of the cable, making it more portable for field productions. Each audio pair is individually shielded and isolated with a mylar/ foil shield and drain wire. Carraro Broadcast Solutions: (03) 9557 1288 or www.broadcastsolutions.com.au

The ASX floor-mounted active installation subwoofer from Martin Audio houses a 21-inch transducer, Class-D amp with 8.5kW peak power, as well as full DSP. When incorporated into a Martin Audio Hybrid horn design, the system can deliver 152dB peak output from a single enclosure. The onboard DSP provides delay, EQ and filtering, as well as amplifier and driver excursion limiting. Technical Audio Group: (02) 9519 0900 or info@tag.com.au

Auditoria has been recognised for business excellence being named as a finalist in the 2009 Telstra Business Awards held in July. Auditoria, helmed by Scott Willsallen, has developed an international reputation for its capability and a successful track record that includes 2004 Athens Olympic Games, and 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games. Auditoria: (02) 9660 9800 or www.auditoria.com.au

Fostex has the new LR16 – a 16:4:2 live mixer with built-in 16-track recorder. Features include a separable connector box (recorder and I/O) and controller (mixer section) that can be connected via standard Cat-5 cable up to 50 metres apart; while a built-in 80GB hard drive, which provides approximately 16 hours of 16-track uncompressed digital recording at 16-bit/44.1kHz. Price: $3499. Major Music: (02) 9525 2088 or info@majormusic.com.au


Tough act to follow

Sony’s 65-inch GXD L65H1 is a super-ruggedised commercial LCD panel, built to thrive in environments where other screens simply wouldn’t survive. Such us

MINING, INDUSTRIAL, TRANSPORT & SPORTING VENUES > IP54 rating (dust & splash proof) > Economical power consumption > 3-year factory warranty > Portrait or landscape mode > Ideal for digital signage

*Panel shown with optional VSP-NS7 Digital Signage Player and SSS-PG02 Speakers attached.

The GXD L65H1* has completely sealed terminal and cable compartments including power, as well as an internal cooling system which uses heat sinks to draw heat outwards and maintain optimum temperature, eliminating the need for ventilation holes.

For more information on this and the entire range of Sony digital signage solutions visit: www.sony.com.au/displaysolutions or phone: 1300 13 7669.


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Barco & U2 do the Full 360 You know those toy expanding balls we give our kids? The ones that fold down into a sphere a mere fraction of their expanded size. Those toys are actually a patented design belonging to Chuck Hoberman. The ‘Hoberman Sphere’ as it’s known, isn’t actually a sphere at all, it’s an icosidodecahedron; a polyhedron with 20 triangular faces and 12 pentagonal faces. So there you go! We aim to inform here at AV magazine. What this has to do with AV is a darn good question, and again, in our inimitably informative fashion we’re here to tell you that it’s got a lot to do with AV. Especially when you consider the Hoberman Sphere was the inspiration for the video centerpiece of U2’s 360° Tour. The show kicked off at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain on the 30th of June this year, to the accolades of awestruck fans. Looking remarkably like some giant crustacean quadruped, this in-the-round design has a number of features never seen before on a stage. Let’s face a couple of facts: the well worn format of a few blokes on a stage facing an audience, is getting more than a bit old-hat, and when you’re U2 playing to a stadium of tens of thousands of punters, what chance do any but a tiny minority have of actually seeing any members of the band? They’re just four little tiny fellas half a kilometre from your seat! U2’s giant ‘claw’, as it’s become known, remedies these inate shortcomings with an

incredibly dynamic and never-before-seen show due to the gargantuan, moving circular video screen hanging from the underbelly of ‘the claw’. FULL SURROUND VIDEO

Barco is the company behind this epic, morphing screen. Utilising 888 LED screens, comprised of half a million RGB pixels, the screen expands and contracts courtesy of Chuck Hoberman’s design. When fully expanded, the seven-storeyhigh shape encloses more than 350sqm of stage space. With its 360° shape, the LED screen can surround the band while performing and can change shape in all directions during the concert. The stage and show were created by longtime U2 designers Willie Williams and Mark Fisher, having come up with the concept during U2’s previous tour over two years ago. Barco provided the FLX-24 LED pixels, which are integrated into a transformable structure designed by Barco’s Innovative Designs based on Hoberman’s invention. U2 are the first band ever to tour with a transformable LED screen. Willie Williams, U2 show designer, says “Video is the most powerful tool you can have on stage, but now that video is so ubiquitous in the rock stage setting, we needed a very extreme change of canvas to be heard. The transformable LED gave us the chance to create

a transparent 360° moving video element, unprecedented in this industry. It is the icing on the cake for this design.” Chuck Hoberman added, “It’s thrilling to see the work I have been doing with transformable structures expressed in such a new way. The screen is like a living thing, it continuously changes shapes and forms and the video acts like live skin on it. It is one of the most fascinating objects in the world now.” Mark Fisher, U2’s stage designer, commented: “We wanted to create something that was bigger than a conventional stage. This tour was big enough to make a purpose built structure. I wanted to create a transparent stage and really needed a video screen that would fit into that environment, a round screen that would not block the view for the audience. Barco’s FLX products gave us the chance to create this.” In addition to the flexible LED screen, Barco integrated a total of 1200 FLX-60 pixel modules into the surrounding edges of both the A and B stages and the bridges between the stage centre and the outer circular catwalk. The stage LEDs provide an extra dimension to the graphic show projected on the screen.  Barco Systems: (03) 9646 5833 or sales.au@barco.com


BFLX LED MODULES FLX consists of individually controllable, compact, high quality LED pixel modules that can be combined with a wide variety of specifically designed mechanical structures into any shape you desire. The FLX-24 pixel module has a 24mm diameter, and contains a single bright fullcolour IP66 rated LED. Due to its 16-bit per colour processing, ultra high refresh rate and colour calibration, the pixel modules perform similarly to Barco’s high quality LED video displays.

Above: The Claw by day with colour bars on the fully retracted screen. Left and far left: The system in action.

Images courtesy of Barco

Control and Display Systems Sales Hire and Integration

www.interactivecontrols.com.au

Phone +61 2 9436 3022 Fax +61 2 9436 3522

AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL


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FEATURE

Thousands of visitors braved the wet Sydney winter to participate in the Sydney Opera House's Luminous festival of music, debate, light and performance, curated by Brian Eno. Lighting The Sails was the very public face this contribution to Vivid Sydney. Inset: The projection control room on Circular Quay. Onlyview servers, backup servers, UPSs and preview screens leave little room for an operator.


FEATURE

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Vivid Sydney powers-down but lights-up. Text:/ Tim Stackpool Images:/ Zac Shenker As cities around the world vie for the title of most liveable and most sustainable, the City of Sydney Council continues to gain the attention of the world with cultural events, tourist destinations, and the planet’s best New Year Eve fireworks. The urban landscape of the city has for years also lent itself as the backdrop to luminous creative endeavours, turning the night-time skyline of the town into a feast of luminescence. As part of the Vivid Sydney festival, Smart Light Sydney showcased a range of lighting techniques. These installations were required to include clever design, innovative technology, reusable materials, energy efficiency and reduced light wastage. One major installation, the Light Walk, featured 25 light art sculptures, including seven works produced by international artists from countries including the UK, Portugal, Germany and Switzerland. As visitors strolled around historic parts of the city, they encountered ‘sculptures’ as diverse as pedal-powered artwork on the banks of Circular Quay to a real-time weather pattern projection on Observatory Hill, from a display of moving people creating a human flag in The Rocks to a four-storey-high pot of fibre-optic flowers swaying in the breeze in Cadman Park.


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EASILY LED

Festival director and founder Mary-Anne Kyriakou was extremely keen to ensure the artists and designers created a new work that considered an energy conscious approach to the design. “All designers were encouraged to be innovative with LED technology along with exploring the theme of City and Memories,” she said. “Light is all about atmosphere and this builds and creates our memories of people and spaces. One of the key selection criteria was the work needed to engage with the public.” Smart Light Sydney operated on three core principles. The installations were required to support energy reduction, encourage best practice in lighting design and reduce obtrusive light into the night sky. As for the curatorial aspects of the works; the designs were expected to embrace an architectural lighting approach, incorporating a sense of the theatrical by way of a marriage between music and light. “I consider all of these areas to be part of public light art,” Kyriakou said. The technical aspects of the works were project managed by Andy Webster, with consultancy by Andre Kecskes and Mark Hammer of Creative Lighting & Audio. With such a diversity of art to be deployed, the various installations took anywhere from a few hours to a few days to rig. One installation, Jewel Box of Light by Reinhard Germer, Fiona Venn and Tim Geary, saw the Garrison Church in Argyle Street lit from within, creating a glowing jewel box of light showing the diversity of colours within the intricate stained glass windows. Through the use of low energy LED and metal halide lighting, Jewel Box of Light used less than half the energy usually required to light the church. For the team, this installation was the most challenging. “The coordination of the installation both inside and outside the Garrison Church meant we were dealing with scaffolding, riggers, electricians, wet weather and keeping the church open for its normal day-to-day activities,” Kecskes said. “The fixtures inside the

The Eastern aspect of the Opera House displayed a scrolling retrospective of 30 years of work from Brian Eno


FEATURE

“I have never seen so many professional photographers around town before”

029

church were rigged 10 metres in the air with the setup taking place over the pews and furniture of the heritage-listed church. Outside we had wet weather issues and road closures to deal with,” he added. WINTER SAILS

Across Circular Quay, Lighting The Sails by Brian Eno, was a performance projection of light onto the world-renowned Sydney Opera House sails, “creating a living, interactive media façade on this white architectural canvas.” This hallmark of the event cleverly employed bespoke projection lenses (designed for the Beijing Olympic Ceremonies) improving magnification by 40% over standard optics, and resulting in enormously improved energy efficiency. Precise design of the pixel graphics ensured minimum light waste off the sails’ surface and improved footprint coverage, saving energy through minimised use of equipment. The projectors were entirely powered by biodiesel-fuelled generators – canola oil was the fuel of choice. The content was comprised of paintings selected from Eno’s body of work, displayed in a continuously changing projection which never repeated itself over the course of the festival. Driven by Sydney-based firm, The Electric Canvas (TEC), along with production partner Big Picture, an array of 14 Christie Roadster S+20K data projectors, with lenses ranging from 7.5:1 to 11.2:1 over a throw distance of 450 metres covered the exterior of the Opera House. The digital projections were fed by five Onlyview timeline-based media server systems that managed the scaling and programming (another five were running as a parallel hot backup). The eastern side of the building was illuminated by four of TEC’s Xenon-powered E\T\C PIGI filmstrip projectors working with 10:1 lenses from an incredible 650 metres, under the control of another Onlyview system linked back via WiFi to the control point for monitoring. Spectators from Mrs Macquarie’s Point saw a slowly scrolling montage composed of images from Eno’s 30-year archive.


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Having a little bit each way: Brian Eno's Lighting The Sails on the left side of the Sydney Opera House provided by 14 Christie Roadster S+20Ks, and on the right side, a scrolling 30 year Eno retrospective delivered by 4 E\T\C PIGI projectors. Inset: Some of the Christie Roadster projectors delivering the AV work Lighting The Sails.


ONLY A FAÇADE

The Electric Canvas was also instrumental in the design and installation of Façade – a series of architectural projections onto the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA). This work used three of the E\T\C PIGI scrolling film projectors controlled by Onlyview and programmed for a repeating loop that ran from 6.00pm until midnight each night of the festival. This installation was also monitored via a WiFi link back at the central projection control. Having so many stand-alone sculptures dotted about the city led to issues of power and weatherproofing. “Waterproofing was just one of the safety issues that we were dealing with. Where possible we recommended IPrated equipment,” reports Andre Kecskes. The Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority offered assistance with local precinct power, however, some displays required very little power or they generated their own – like the Malvern Star-powered installation. Others, such as the work ‘Fireflies’, recharged their power supply during the day using solar panels. It is interesting to the note the emphasis placed on LED lighting technology, its popularity no doubt derived from the perspective of the event founder. “As an architectural lighting designer and engineer, I enjoy designing and having a hands-on approach to what I do,” Mary-Anne Kyriakou said. “I am, and have been, a strong supporter of LED technologies for a long time. Smart Light Sydney is the first digital light art festival in the world. The majority of works created by the artists only use LED technology. There were no incandescent lamps used.” While all outdoor events are undertaken at the mercy of the elements, heavy rain did dog the calendar during the festival, but didn’t deter the visitors. “We’ve had amazing feedback from all round,” Kyriakou said. “The festival was a celebration of lighting display, lighting ideas and lighting innovation. We like to think that this will inspire artists and the general public for next year or for other events like this. We hope people enjoyed the work and had lots of fun. I have never seen so many professional photographers around town before.” NUTS ABOUT CREATIVITY

Smart Light Sydney was a cornerstone of Vivid Sydney, billed as the biggest international music and light festival in the Southern Hemisphere. Setting aside the recent economic troubles, it should be remembered that from 1996 to 2006 creative employment growth in NSW increased by 28%, against a total employment increase of 13.5%. (Source: DSRD (2009) NSW Creative Industry Economic Fundamentals.). Cultural festivals such as this reflect the AV industry’s contribution to any city’s culture, beyond arena spectaculars and corporate communications. Such events add personality, colour and parochial appeal to any urban landscape, as Mary-Anne Kyriakou summed up: “I have a 10-year plan for the festival and look forward to seeing it grow. For example, hot chocolate drinks and roasted nuts on the road side wouldn’t go astray for the night stroller.” 

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FEATURE

Smart Light Sydney Text & images:/ Zac Shenker Billed as a celebration of light art, music and ideas, Smart Light Sydney was intended to promote energy savings in lighting, best practices in design and a reduction of obtrusive light into the night atmosphere. Exactly how these lofty ideals were intended to be achieved in a project that added even more lights to an energy hungry city, and then attracted more people to travel into the city to participate, isn’t explained in their manifesto. What they did manage to achieve was to set up some 25 fun and interesting light installations along the Smart Lightwalk route that all featured low energy lighting devices. For those of you who didn’t make it there between May 26th and June 14th, AV takes you for a stroll past some of the highlights. 

HORIZON: Flynn Talbot (Australia)

WEATHER PROJECTION: Alex Haw (UK)

Location: 72 Erskine St The few passers-by that were brave enough to explore the touch-panel controls on the window of this lightwall installation were greeted with a selection of colours which dynamically controlled the light output of the installation. The installation consisted of a grid of Color Kinetics iColor Cove EC LED fixtures, controlled by a Pharos LPC architectural lighting controller.

Location: Rotunda, Observatory Hill Alex Haw’s Weather Projection installation delivered imagery and video of weather from across the globe into a virtual sky projected into the ceiling of the rotunda atop Observatory Hill. The combination of collected time-lapse footage and live satellite data (downloaded via 3G modem) created an ever-changing, always-exciting view of how others are experiencing weather in locations thousands of kilometres away. This installation was realised through a custom software solution feeding four, overlapped Sony FX51 projectors that bathed the rotunda’s ceiling in amazing images. The combination of the projections and the already incredible outlook over the Harbour Bridge made this a magical location.


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TREE AND BENCH: Reinhard Germer, Fiona Venn, Tim Geary (Australia)

Location: Observatory Hill While simple in its title, Tree and Bench transformed a usually dark, uninteresting, and mostly deserted by night, location into an eerie and mystical place. The only LED light sources used were both energy efficient, with the whole installation consuming just 285W, while being very visually effective. Individual benches and nearby trees were given a defining glow, bringing them out of the darkness to shine against a backdrop of Sydney.

FIRE FLIES: Francesco Mariotti (Switzerland) Location: Along Argyle St This sculpture-based work presented an interesting and exciting composite of recycled and reused materials with the modern technology of LED lighting. The hundreds of flashing bottles served to instantly attract the attention of spectators. The energy efficiency of this installation was also impressive, with the entire installation consuming just 75W.

ROCKLIGHTS: Ingo Bracke (Germany) Location: Argyle Cut The Argyle Cut, which leads into Sydney’s historic Rocks area, was given a makeover through the use of Selecon Pacific profile spots as projection sources. The curved ceiling of the Cut was enveloped with patterns of light that added a mysterious quality to the space.


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VESSEL OF (HORTI) CULTURAL PLENTY: Warren Langley (Australia) Location: Cadman Park Fibre optic technology allowed this installation to adapt to changing ambient light levels, and as a result, it was able to operate 24 hours per day. This installation used three fibre illuminators consuming a total of 450W to light up some 200m of fibre optic cable sprouting from a pedestal high above the heads of passers-by.

RAINBOW: Mark Hammer, Andre Kecskes (Australia) Location: Outside Billich Gallery While many would consider this installation technically quite simple, the use of constantlychanging rich, vibrant colours clearly attracted attention. Hordes of people constantly crowded around, to take photos, or just to get a better look at this dynamic light show. The effect was achieved while consuming only 20% of the power used by a standard incandescent lamp. The installation was a collaboration between highly-experienced lighting designer, Mark Hammer and system designer and project manager, Andre Kecskes.

FAÇADE: The Electric Canvas Location: Museum of Contemporary Art The Electric Canvas, a company well known for their large scale projection work on major events right across Asia, has once again delivered, this time as a complete overlay on the already imposing facade of the Museum of Contemporary Art. Large scale Xenonpowered E/T/C PIGI projectors were paired with carefully drawn artistic images and animations which perfectly matched the scale of the architecture of the building, to provide a completely seamless image. Several artworks from Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama were adapted for projection, in addition to five other designs created by Electric Canvas. These works were cycled through on a timer, to constantly wow the admiring audience.

FEATURE


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FEATURE

Maxims of Behaviour Melbourne’s phantasmagorical illusion for a winter’s night. Text:/ Graeme Hague Images:/ Greg Sims

Lighting a major building artistically is a concept that’s been around for a long time, but the idea of illuminating a building with (or as) a work of art is entirely different. The Melbourne City Council launched an initiative called “Illuminating Melbourne” and called for proposals from Australian artists to come up with suggestions for creating artworks within the CBD using lighting and illumination in ways that were actually thought-provoking: true artistic projects, rather than just some kind of light show. It wasn’t entirely an altruistic notion from the MCC. They were keen to make the city a more appealing and attractive place to be during the winter months. Alexander Knox is a renowned Melbourne-based artist and probably had a slight edge over any competition. He’d already done something similar with the Royal Domain Tower, and had a good understanding of what might be done with modern lighting technology. He began to think about the rather haunting aspect of the inner city at night and how the supernatural is often associated with shifting light and shadows. This brought him to a poem by Lewis Carroll called “Phantasmagoria” (the Lewis Carroll of ever-increasing Alice in Wonderland fame). Loosely interpreted, how else should you decipher Carroll’s work, Phantasmagoria portrays the spirit world as ghosts allocated to houses, buildings and even people in a kind of regulated, union-like controlled existence including a strict set of rules called the “Maxims of Behaviour”, which became the title of Knox’s artwork.

Next came a search for an appropriate building to use as a basis for his lighting. Melbourne is full of beautiful architecture and Knox figured it didn’t make sense to use this opportunity to highlight a structure that already got its fair share of attention. It would be better to bring something comparatively unknown – or at least unnoticed – into the public eye. The more he looked at the Royal Mail House, the better it got. The location and slightly iconic reputation meant it was well known, yet hardly considered a landmark. More importantly, the southern face had a unique design of small windows each which its own protruding ledge that could both compartmentalise and reflect individual lighting fixtures. And finally, the Royal Mail House had a management in place that controlled the entire building, meaning Knox wouldn’t have a minefield of multiple companies and endless board meetings with different entities to get approval. Working with animation expert Craig Deeker from The Gingerbread Man company Knox soon discovered that conventional lighting programming wasn’t going to get the results they needed. They ended up using non-linear editing software to bring Knox’s vision to life in the virtual world. The non-virtual reality of installing lights, cabling, colour and controlling it all into a faithful rendition of Knox’s artistic vision was the responsibility of Lightmoves, who also were involved in the Royal Domain Tower and so had worked with Knox before.


FEATURE

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Alexander Knox has taken advantage of the strongly saturated palette available from RGB LEDs in his colour choices for Maxims of Behaviour.


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Image courtesy of Lightmoves

Above: Abseilers installing the Space Cannon LED fixtures. Top right: The chill shadow of a ghost passes over the face of Royal Mail House. Right: Royal Mail House brightens up a winter's night in Bourke Street, Melbourne.

BLEEDING EDGE OF KINETIC ART

Each of the building’s 88 window ledges has its own light fixture and is treated as a ‘pixel’ in Knox’s vision. The luminaire selected for the task was Space Cannon’s IP65 rated Luxor LED bar. Aside from the necessary DMX and RGB capability (there is a white version available) the Luxor is an exterior, architectural fixture with a weatherproof housing and secure mounting points that would ensure none of the units might bonk any of the good citizens of Melbourne on the head during a gust of wind. Add to this the miserly power consumption and low maintenance of LED technology and Lightmoves had a rig that would last the distance and not cost the rate-payers a fortune to run. To control the lighting sequences, an Enttec E-Streamer replays the output of the ArKaos VJ 3.6 Pixel-mapping software that translated Knox and Deeker’s final design into a program running almost two hours, before looping back to the start. Craig Deeker programmed the Arkaos system, while Andrew Sherar , Technical Director of Lightmoves, programmed the E-Streamer. The installation took place over four weeks with the only real excitement coming from the abseilers required to fix the lights onto the ledges from the outside. All the cabling was put in place from inside the building. The final result is a projection (for want of a better word) 1032sqm in size, a flowing panorama of colours interrupted by very convincing shadowy human figures that appear to move across the face of the building. Maxims of Behaviour is showing every night of winter until 2012.  To see a video of the project: Hi-resolution 10-minute Quicktime movie: www.thegingerbreadman.com.au/maxims/ Three-minute YouTube version: www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZXmn-eYffQ

FEATURE


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040 FEATURE


FEATURE

041

For the last three years, Melbourne’s Federation Square has been doing its bit to brighten up the CBD during the dark and murky months with its Light In Winter series of exhibitions, incorporating cutting-edge, light-based artwork. The artistic director is Robyn Archer, former director of the Adelaide, Melbourne and Tasmanian international arts festivals. In a coup for Light In Winter, Archer secured Volume, a work by United Visual Artists (UVA) from the United Kingdom, for the 2009 festival. UVA specialises in audiovisual projects for a diverse range of clients, including anything from lighting Covent Garden, London, and releasing the latest BMW, to staging concerts for the likes of Massive Attack, rock videos for the Arctic Monkeys, and promotions for Kylie Minogue. Volume was originally put together as a semi-permanent display for the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, but Light in Winter cleverly seized the opportunity of the non-operational months to bring it Downunder.


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FEATURE

Visitors having a ball interacting with the Volume control system. Each column consists of 24 Barco OLite modules with an individually driven 6" x 9" JBL speaker in the top. Sub-bass is delivered from loudspeakers under the decking structure that contains all power and signal cabling for the installation.

VOLUME COLUMNS

The basic building block of Volume, quite literally, is the Barco OLite 510 SMD LED module, which can be assembled Lego-like into practically any shape you require. On its own, one OLite measures 111mm across and 88mm high, providing a block of 88 LEDs at a 10mm pitch. For Volume, 46 columns of single OLite units, each stacked 24 high, were placed across the floor space in custom-built housings to protect them from the weather – not to mention the sticky fingers of the punters (even in the Victoria & Albert Museum, they’re still punters right?). Personally, I thought that 1104 was a pretty impressive quantity of OLites to use, until Toby Waley at Technical Direction Company (TDC) told me that the most recent Genesis tour used over 15,000… While some of the more specialised signal processing and control equipment had to be brought in along with UVA’s crew who were overseeing the installation, it was Sydney-based TDC, which got the guernsey for supplying the OLite modules, cabling, OLite controllers and D320 image processor. The OLite 510s have

a multi-pin connection for each unit to either receive data or pass it through to the next device, but 46 columns still present an unsightly network of cabling and to keep these neatly out of view Volume is constructed on a bespoke floor providing a completely clear platform for people to walk on – no gaff or tattered bits of carpet off-cuts required. EXPERIENCING VOLUME

Volume needs to be experienced and to do that you must walk through the columns. Move among the columns and the OLites illuminate in an intriguing array of colours and patterns, sometimes mimicking the action of the person’s movement. At the same time, individual music and sound effects are also triggered. But not just any old music – tracks composed and sounds designed by Neil Davidge and Robert Del Naja of Massive Attack fame. In common with an increasing number of interactive systems, UVA uses a cluster of highbrightness infrared sources to illuminate the space with IR for an overhead CMOS camera that feeds into an image-processing computer.

Image processing software then monitors zones in the image of the Volume space for specific changes to trigger vision and sound sequences in the OLite columns. While the extent and complexity of programming required to achieve the level of interactivity in the Volume project may be a closely held secret, suffice it to say that the impact of Volume is stunning. Federation Square registered over 58,000 visitors to Volume over its month-long residency (about 2000 a day) although the display was definitely at its best at night and with small numbers of people in the interactive field. The audio elements of Volume are delivered by individual speakers installed in the top of each of the columns, plus six subwoofers underneath the stage. Signal feeds for the columns come from a pair of MOTU 24 I/O processors while a third eight-channel MOTU takes care of the sub bins. Volume is an innovative application of current AV technologies in a way that results in an exciting piece of interactive visual art.  A QuickTime movie of Volume in action is available on UVA’s website www.uva.co.uk


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TUTORIAL

Auto Didactic The in-house AV team in Social Sciences at Flinders University has developed an automated multi-camera vision capture system to record lectures. Finally, hardworking students get to sleep in. Text:/ Andy Ciddor

Although lecture capture may sound like a very 21st-century idea, recording lectures for later replay by students has been the stockin-trade of the AV departments in education institutions since shortly after the introduction of the compact audio cassette. Generations of AV staff have been engaged in recording, editing, cataloguing, dubbing, loaning and duplicating the words (and, later, pictures) of generations of educators. For much of this time, the product has been substantially below what the community would expect to find in a commercial recording on the same medium, and even with advances in all of the technologies we use, this gap isn’t going away any time soon. LESSONS LEARNT

On the audio side of the equation, the digital signal processor has finally given us an affordable kit of processing tools to assist us with eliminating some of the more egregious problems that arise when attempting to capture intelligible audio in an acoustically inhospitable environment, from presenters with neither voice training, nor any particular interest in microphone technique or basic acoustic principles. While in the video world, we may have been making recordings of lectures since the first U-matic machine tangled a tape around a head drum, things haven’t really improved all that much. Granted that today’s cameras are much more light sensitive, and that industrial video lenses and pickup arrays are now generally capable of resolving the writing on the board and sometimes even the skin colour and gender of the presenter. Some 40 years after it all began, the vast majority of lecture video recordings are still only unexciting static wide shots, even if they’re now recorded by chip-based cameras on hard disk or flash RAM. While it’s widely accepted that multicamera coverage of a teaching session captures substantially more useable information, and

consequently produces much better knowledge transfer than a static wide shot, the simple fact is that not even the best resourced of teaching institutions has the staff or the money to provide a fully switched multi-camera coverage for every lecture or presentation. In the Faculty of Social Sciences at Flinders University in Adelaide, some lectures were being manually switched and recorded in 2003, but Matt Cooper, the Manager of the Audiovisual & Multimedia unit, was sure the processes of recording and distribution could be cost-effectively automated with available technologies. His interest in the possibility of a an automated system was shared by Jonathan Wheare a Computing Systems officer in the same faculty, who believed that image switching automation could be achieved using available machine vision technology, running on standard PC hardware. To prove their point, in

Each input has its own set of specific content and trigger rules. On data feeds, an absence of sync information or a blank screen will produce a ‘no picture’ message for the switching decision logic. If there is a change in the image from a data feed or document camera, the change must meet defined threshold requirements before producing a ‘changed image’ message. This is required to prevent a moving mouse pointer or picture noise being mistaken for new data. Defined areas of camera images may be identified as areas to be ignored. These areas are set up to avoid false triggering from the random movements of students dozing off or throwing paper darts or such artefacts as reflections from specular objects in the frame. The vision switching logic is provided with a list of event priorities, hold times and timeouts that produce the best possible representation of the presenter, computer data feeds, replay vision and document cameras, without random flash cuts or dead air. The wide shot camera is the default output, with other, changing sources, taking priority in a defined hierarchy, until they haven’t changed for a specified hold period. Similarly the audio inputs are gated, compressed, limited and gain controlled via a DSP system to produce the best possible mix of presenter’s voice and the audio outputs of any replay devices used in the presentation.

“the inputs from a four-port PCI slot video input card are monitored for specific types of changes which are used to produce event triggers” their own time, Cooper and Wheare developed a proof-of-concept prototype system, built entirely from spare parts available on-hand. SWITCHING LOGIC

They analysed the existing manual vision switching processes to derive rule sets that could be used in an automated switching system. Using the same machine vision technologies employed for security, surveillance and process monitoring, the inputs from a four-port PCI slot video input card are monitored for specific types of changes which are used to produce event triggers.

STORE & FORWARD

System output is stored locally in DV format on the hard disk of the capture computer and uploaded to a media processing server as bandwidth becomes available. The ‘store and forward’ approach enables the recording process to complete successfully independently of the network backbone, and places lower peak demands on backbone bandwidth. In the media processing server, lecture recordings are transcoded into the requested video and audio formats, typically Flash for steaming video and MP3 for the audio content.


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TUTORIAL

CAPTURE PROCESSING

DELIVERY

LECTURE CAPTURE WORKFLOW In the teaching area inputs are intelligently switched to produce a single image stream that is stored locally on the Automated Vision Capture System. The raw stream is transported across the network to a central processing system for encoding and any manual editing that may be required (usually just the removal of pre and post lecture shuffling about). The processed audio and video are then uploaded to the media server for viewing via the web interface.

(1)

(3)

(2)

(4)

WHAT THE AV STAFF SEE Above: Remote monitoring quad split of the vision sources for the session. 1) Document camera. 2) Computer output. 3) Fixed wide shot camera. 4) Moveable (PTZ) camera. Left: Content management screen that tracks and routes a lecture session from booking the recording session to publishing the finished media on the appropriate web server page.


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TUTORIAL

WHAT THE STUDENTS SEE Left: The media resources selection screen for a lecture series. Above: The familiar Flash media player interface that pops up from the selection screen.

The files are then logged in to the content management database and transferred into the content servers for WebCT. Automated lecture capture, however, is only one small part of the system, which provides a full cradle-to-grave automated management system. It begins when a lecture recording session is booked on a web page and ends when that lecture recording has been converted to the appropriate media formats and made available for replay on the selected WebCT pages. BROADER APPEAL

In late 2004, while algorithms, thresholds and priorities were being refined, the prototype automated system was run in parallel to the existing manual switching system in Social Sciences Lecture Theatre 3. With the prototype system capable of full operation, in 2005 it was examined

by a number of groups with the university, including the external commercialisation arm, which recommended the university assess the patentability of the concept while looking at introducing it across the wider campus. Unfortunately, neither of these recommendations has yet been implemented. However The Faculty of Social Sciences picked up the system, and has since installed lecture capture installations in four lecture theatres and set up a portable capture system that can move around between a range of smaller teaching spaces that have the appropriate video and audio facilities. The capabilities of the system continue to be extended, with capture servers now having the capacity for eight video inputs and beyond. With contributions from faculty AV staff Bean Keane and Melchior Mazzone, a content management system has been added to the back end to allow web-based online

selection and distribution of recorded material to a range of distribution and viewing pages. A monitoring and media tracking package is the most recent addition to the system. This allows a single technician to remotely monitor the status and operation of multiple capture systems and all steps in the processing path. With its quad-split video monitoring of each system’s inputs, it enables direct intervention in recording and processing operations, right down to the level of modifying machine vision settings, overriding switching decisions and tweaking the framing and focus on the PTZ cameras. The complete automated system has now been in full production for over three years, capturing and processing around 70 lectures per teaching week and serving up some 50,000 web sessions per semester; a feat of unlikely productivity for such a small AV unit. ďƒ­


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048

FEATURE

Over the Front Some audiovisual know-how along with Peter Jackson’s passion for WWI aircraft has given the Australian War Memorial a winner of an exhibit. Text:/ Tim Stackpool

With Australia’s World War One aviation heroics now almost the stuff of folklore, the Australian War Memorial (AWM) embarked on a major exhibit, recording and reproducing the very-real exploits of Australian pilots in the skies over the Western Front in France and in the Middle East. Most times, the young Aussies fought airborne battles in flimsy machines of wood, canvas and wire. In a collaborative trans-Tasman effort, Over The Front brings artefacts and visuals to visitors, ensuring the gallant deeds of our early pilots are recollected and recognised. Bruce Brown, Project Manager with Mental Media in Sydney, oversaw the AV installation which included consulting on the hardware design, specification, and documentation in collaboration with Alex Smythe, AV Manager at the Memorial. The exhibit features five aircraft – three Allied

types and two rare German fighter planes – along with other collection items including the left boot of The Red Baron, Baron von Richthofen. Aside from the AV, the aircraft and collection objects are displayed in an exhibition designed by Freeman Ryan Design and include a 21m x 3.5m curved projection screen. BLANK CANVAS?

Situated in the Anzac hall, the virtual blank canvas did represent a number of challenges. “The exhibition uses approximately one third of the hall and is open to the other two thirds and although it is important to immerse the audience in the sound experience it is also important not to cause too much disruption to the rest of the exhibitions in the hall,” Bruce Brown said. “This was achieved by careful choice and placement of the components

and by expert system tuning undertaken by Tony Russo from Technical Audio Group.” The sound was produced in the 7.1 Dolby Digital Cinema surround system and plays an important role in the interpretation of the production. For Tony Russo, natural acoustic ‘bounce’ became the enemy. “I needed to overcome the vast areas of hard reflective surfaces such as the polished concrete floor and glass typical of museums and galleries. My experience has taught me these spaces are like sacred sites to staff; don’t even mention adding acoustic treatment to surfaces, just deal with it,” Tony said. “We worked with our local dealer Darrin Russell from Elite Sound and Lighting and Glen Harrison from HME Engineering, who was responsible for all the tricky steel fabrication, and together we came up with a turnkey solution.”


FEATURE

049

Photo: John Gollings

CINEMA SOUND

A Martin Audio Screen system is suspended behind the curved screen in a left-centre-right configuration. This comprises 3 x Martin Audio Screen 5 THXapproved cinema active three-way systems, with dual 15-inch low frequency drivers, a large-format mid/high horn containing six-inch horn-loaded midrange, and a one-inch compression driver. The surround speakers (being 2 x Martin Audio Screen 1a high-powered 18-inch sub-bass units, to THX spec) are suspended far left and right of the space with a overhead dead centre effect speaker. Once the seven channels leave the surround decoder they’re processed via the QSC Audio Basis system which handles all the audio processing as well as load monitoring, fault reporting, remote IP access and amp control. Klotz cable was used throughout.

Ultimately Russo went for realism, saying “It’s mostly about putting sound exactly where you want it and nowhere else. The choice of speakers gave me genuine pattern control down to 300Hz which helped me on the way to conquering the space. The Screen 5 from Martin Audio is a THX Hollywood cinema-size cabinet and stands well over two metres high. The large format mid/high horn gives hi-fi-sounding results but at concert levels. I want the people to feel like they were in the cockpit during the air battles, such that the flybys really felt like a plane had just buzzed through the memorial and over their heads. It’s a fine line between too much volume and effect, and making it realistic. It’s no different to riding a major theatre show – a quarter of a dB here or there can make all the difference.”

ALERT BUT NOT ALARMED

Beyond the audio install, Russo also had to consider the ongoing maintenance of the system. “This exhibit really will be running non-stop, so reliability is everything and the key to reliability is fault monitoring,” he said. “When something in the system does fault – such as an open circuit driver, faults on the speaker line, or an intermittent amp fan – then the operators need to be instantly alerted of the exact nature of the fault.” To manage this, the system can send alert messages via email or SMS and the technical team then remotely log onto the system to check everything and pinpoint exactly where the problem is. Tony Russo again: “Remember, these exhibits run automatically every hour without operators so you don’t have the benefit of tech staff picking up


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FEATURE

Photo: Tony Russo

problems, and I know the 81-year-old lady from Queensland on holidays doesn’t tell the staff that there should have been more top end above 8k on the left stack.” PROJECTION RIG

Turning to the visuals, the projection rig, required to deliver content produced at 6000 pixels wide by 1000 pixels high, was installed by the AWM AV staff with the screen and rigging points fine-tuned by Glen Harris of Harris Movement Technology. The visual content was produced by none other than New Zealand filmmaker Peter Jackson – better known for his epic elf wars. He did however, utilise his chairperson position with the 1914-18 Aviation Heritage Trust to bring visitors of the AWM a bird’s-eye view of what it was like to fly a fighter plane. The aircraft used in the film were sourced from the Aviation Heritage Trust by Jackson himself. These flyable replicas were used in conjunction with scale models and clever computer animation. Working with his production company,

Wingnut Film Production, Jackson has devised an awe-inspiring piece which makes the most of the wrap-around screen. With visual effects by Weta Digital, the installation provides the audience with remarkable insight and is enhanced by the audiovisual system. The original footage was shot on three Red 4K cameras mounted on various reproduction aircraft to capture the action footage. The vision was then stitched together in post production by Weta Studios. The image is seamless. At 3.5m high, the screen curves around 110 degrees at an 11m radius and is bright enough to overcome ambient light levels. Furthermore, the projection shoots around an airplane suspended in the middle of the space. According to Bruce Brown, this represented the most difficult issue of the project. “The space was empty and as the positions of the screen and the plane were ‘planned’ there were lots of things that could go wrong,” he said. “Using the projector’s geometry correction and requesting small

adjustments to the mounting of the plane, we determined that we could achieve it with 50mm to spare – a very small degree of error.” In order to achieve this, the team installed the screen and projector rigging bar prior to anything else, making the positioning accurate to within a few millimetres. Further accuracy was ensured by marking out the exhibition on the floor, including all exhibition showcases, plinths, planes and other items. “All measurements and the rigging points for the screen and projectors were then based on the marked out exhibition,” Brown said. Projection geometry perfection was finally achieved when Mental Media requested an additional five degrees tilt for the SE5a fighter plane mounted in the middle of the exhibition. SOMME KINDA CONTROL

The entire presentation is controlled by a Medialon system installed and programmed by Interactive Controls as part of the AWM’s overall multimedia control system. The Medialon system schedules


All Sortied: Martin Audio cinema speakers behind the acoustically transparent projection screen.

Dual High-Power Ribbon Drivers Ribbon drivers produce a coherent planar wavefront as compared to compression drivers on compromised waveguides

EQUIPMENT LIST Custom-built 3.5m x 21m curved screen frame covered with matte white standard perforated cinema screen material Custom-built projector rigging bar 4.5m radius 4 x Chief RPA Mounts 4 x Gefen DVI 1000HD fibre TX/RX 4 x Projectiondesign F32 1080 projectors 4 x AWM standard display computers c/w Dataton Watchout keys & networking 3 x Martin Audio Screen 5 2 x Martin Audio Screen 1A 9 x Martin Audio Effect 5 2 x QSC Audio Basis 922az 5 x QSC Audio PL230 2 x QSC Audio PL236 1 x Denon DNA7100 surround sound encoder

Versarray 112 Enclosures Feature Pro Neo BWX™ Speakers with patent-pending Ram Air Cooling.

A video of the installation of the exhibition, commencing with the mark-out can be found on YouTube at: www.youtube.com/watch?gl=AU&hl=enGB&v=hmRGC0YWCH0

Aim With EASE

the Over the Front production as well as the other productions in the rest of the Anzac Hall in a linear timeline to prevent audio clashes across the space. The production itself is delivered by the Dataton Watchout application running on four computers. The production was programmed via the Watchout system, which undertakes edge blending as well as, according to Brown, a highly sophisticated and malleable geometry correction facility to enable accurate edge blending and correction on the curved screen. The image is delivered to the projectors via Gefen DVI fibre optic baluns. Projectors are monitored and controlled over Cat-5. Audio files are also delivered from one of the Watchout computers to the surround sound decoder in the equipment rack. Lighting control is from the Medialon system via a pre-installed Jands Vista console and Dynalite dimmers.

Download EASE Focus acoustic simulation software for the Versarray free of charge at http://www. peavey.com/support/ software/ease.cfm to determine the proper fl ying or mounting points and the correct dispersion angles for your Versarray 112 enclosures.

The Versarray 112 offers extreme (modular) versatility and high performance for coverage of small- to medium-sized venues (or outdoor events), and is designed for use with the acoustically-matched Versarray 118 or 218 subs.

WETA APPETITE

In dealing with a world recognised motion picture company for the visuals, Mental Media spent some time convincing Weta Studios that their delivery platform presented Weta’s production at the quality they expected. “Weta were unfamiliar with the Dataton Watchout system and the Projectiondesign projectors,” Bruce Brown said. “We sent Dean Stevenson from Interactive Controls to Weta in Wellington with an FOR YOUR NEAREST DEALER: Call 1300 13 44 00 or visit www.peavey.com.au


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FEATURE

Photo: John Gollings

AWM presentation-standard computer and Amber Technology (the Projectiondesign distributor) arranged for the supply of a projector so a single screen could be viewed in Weta’s preview theatre. This also allowed them to optimise the data compression codec to their images. However, questions remained about the edge blending and geometry correction and it wasn’t until test files were run on the installed system that they were convinced the solution would meet, and in fact exceed their expectations,” he added. Another challenge involved ensuring the hardware installation had a very low visual impact. Visitors to the AWM can view the gallery through floor-to-ceiling windows from the Landing Place Café located on the mezzanine level of Anzac Hall. It was important to ensure the projectors were tucked up as close as possible to the roof to avoid interrupting sightlines to the exhibition. This was achieved by utilising the full 110% vertical lens offset available from the projectors and setting them at a distance from the screen that placed them as high as possible under the sloping ceiling of the hall. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

Ultimately, the project was required to satisfy four principal criteria. In essence, the system had to be compatible with the existing multimedia hardware and systems at the Australian War Memorial, and be easily maintained. Additionally, the images and sound had to meet the

exacting standards of Peter Jackson and Weta Studios. The hardware installation was to remain discreet, with the exhibition being about the content and design created by Freeman Ryan Design, not about the technology. And finally, the multimedia had to be consistent with the aims of the high standards set by the Directors of the Australian War Memorial. For Russo, a personal challenge was being objective about the subjective elements of the audio. “Even after days of objective computer tuning and testing, matching what’s happening on screen from the film involves countless more hours of subjective listening,” he said. “Do you add a bit more 1k, so when a wing breaks off mid-flight it sounds realistic; or 4k when the gunman is firing his rounds from the cockpit? It’s a fine balance. It’s no longer about nice flat responses on the computer screen.” With a nine-month turn-around from concept to completion, it seems the display is a high-flying success, as Bruce Brown summed up: “It looks good, it sounds good, everything works as expected, the client is happy – what more could you ask for? 


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TECHNOLOGY

Audinate Dante Dante is the new audio networking name on everybody’s lips. But why is Dante so hot? Text: / Christopher Holder

Shock, Horror… digital audio is now just like all the other data chugging around computer networks. Audio isn’t special anymore (sob). Yes, that’s right (are you sitting down?), any IT shmo can start configuring and managing an audio network in the same way as he or she might manage any other ethernetbased Internet Protocol (IP) network. Take an RJ45 connector at the end of an ethernet lead and plug it straight into your computer; turn on your audio or control software and you can send and receive audio to your heart’s content without any extra hardware. In fact, use the one network to update your Facebook profile and send email, as well as bussing pristine, low-latency, sample-accurate synchronised audio at any sample rate and bit depth of your choosing. Crumbs. What’s changed? Dante has changed everything. Protocols like Cobranet and Ethersound have always grabbed digital audio and sent it packing down an ethernet network but Dante is built on IP over ethernet – it’s the IP bit that makes all the difference. IN AUDINATE

So is this article about the advantages of digital audio? No. That ship has sailed. Sure, there are still a few pockets of resistance in AV land – cafés and the odd Grateful Dead concert – but the advantages of squirting audio and video info around digitally are just far too compelling to ignore. The good stuff is obvious: we can use lightweight (and cheap) Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) cable as opposed to deadweight (and pricey) copper multicore snakes; there’s no induced noise on long cable runs; and digital is far more versatile – routing and matrixing is ‘drag ‘n’ drop’-easy; as is adding DSP processing. What’s more, you can manage a digital audio network from a central point or even remotely. But no one’s saying digital audio transmission has a spotless track record. Traditionally it’s had more than its fair share of inherent constraints, compromises and gremlins. Latency is a big one. Convert sound from analogue to digital (or vice versa) and you have a tiny delay. Add a

bunch of tiny delays together and it becomes an annoyance, or even unworkable. Bad sync is another serious problem. Send sound to one device 5m away and another 100m away and timing errors can occur – a real no-no in high-performance systems where sound quality is critical. But practically, latency and sync aren’t nearly as much of a digital deal breaker as all the arcane digital protocols we’ve had to contend with. These protocols might use UTP but that’s where the ‘garden variety’ off-therack comparisons to everyday networking end. Whether it be Cobranet, Ethersound, Aviom, Netcira, IQ…there are some 30-odd different flavours out there, and none of them talk to each other and they each need their own UTP cable to travel down – they don’t like to share. I caught up with Audinate’s Chief Operating Officer, David Myers, recently and asked him if there’s one easy way of conveying the practical Dante difference to people – i.e. with the right software, will Dante happily plug into any ol’ network and play ball? “Sure. Even in our own labs in Sydney we only have one office network,” Myers assures me, “and that’s what we use for our mail systems, our PCs and all our audio equipment. So it’s entirely possible.” PROTOCOLS FOLLOWED

Once the nascent Audinate research team had figured out how to use IP networks, while keeping latency acceptably low, and sorting out the sync issue – the two principal sticking points up to this point – the IP world was Audinate’s oyster. After all, IP networks have been around since the ’70s and countless man hours have been spent ensuring that the protocols are robust and full of ways of building in redundancy, while designing your own protocol means starting from scratch. IP over ethernet networks use gear that gets sold by the millions and, as a result, switches and the like are cheap as chips. Plus, ethernetbased networking technology will happily tag along whenever there’s a generational leap, such as the recent moves from 100BaseT up to 1000BaseT and (imminently) on to 10Gbps. In other words, a system like Dante

gets to hitch a free ride along with every other IP-based networking technology. Which is absolutely priceless in an AV environment of more channels, more zones, more speakers, more control… more more more. ZEN & THE ART OF NETWORK CONFIGURING

But it’s not just the IP’s ‘lingua franca’ status that makes Dante so easy to work with and configure. There’s also Zen, a selfconfiguring, plug-and-play digital audio network solution. “The team had a strong background in what’s called zero configuration networking, a system designed to take the headache out of home office networks,” explains Myers. “The idea is to work around the need for the DNS and DHCP servers that dish out IP addresses and translate a host name such as www. your-site.com to an IP address. With zero configuration networking, devices advertise their presence and get an IP address that’s guaranteed not to conflict with anything else on the network – they effectively set themselves up. “We took those principles and applied it to the AV domain, such that boxes discover each other and they know how many channels of audio they can transmit and receive; they know what sample rates and bit depths they support, and so on. That’s what we call Zen and it’s a big departure from older systems where it’s tricky to set up the network. Traditionally, you need to give every box a unique address and in a large install that’s a big job and it can be hard to track down conflicts.” AUDINATION

Since Audinate started trading in earnest in late 2007, it’s been on a ballistic trajectory. Dante was almost instantly mentioned in the same breath as Cobranet and Ethersound – the two main incumbents operating under a similar licensing business model. In the subsequent 18 months or so, Audinate worked hand-in-glove with some significant players such as (fellow Sydneysiders) Lake. This turned into a strategic relationship with Lab.gruppen, which recently took over the Lake brand from Dolby. Many other companies in the contracting market are also


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TECHNOLOGY

The Dante-MY16-AUD card is fully compatible with the Mini-YGDAI card slots in Yamaha’s range of digital mixing consoles, processors and power amplifiers. Included with the card is Audinate’s Dante Virtual Soundcard (DVS), an application that turns the mixer into a live or studio recording solution. This means any Yamaha digital mixer equipped with up to four Dante-MY16-AUD cards can interface directly with a PC via Cat-5, without the need for an external audio interface. Each Dante-MY16-AUD provides 16 bidirectional channels at 48k (or eight channels at 96k) and full Dante network audio redundancy.

licensing Dante, including Symetrix, Peavey and Whirlwind. More recently, a Dante MY16 card has been developed for Yamaha consoles and Bosch has also signed up for some Dante action. But isn’t there a bit of competitive insurance going on here – these companies will license the rights to Shrek 4 if they think there’s a chance their customers might want it, surely? “I think it’s more than that,” says Myers. “For example, I might not be able to say too much about what Bosch is planning, but I can assure you we’re actively working with Bosch – it’s a company-wide strategic push, not a cosmetic touch-up. As for Yamaha, I’m told they used Dante almost exclusively for their demonstrations at InfoComm this year in Orlando – so that’s quite a show of faith.”

The UK’s Britannia Row has been using Dante extensively. Dante made its live debut on the City Salute. The City of London saluted British forces with a fund-raising spectacle at St. Paul’s Cathedral and Paternoster Square. Britannia Row supplied seven separate PA points around St. Paul’s Cathedral, Paternoster Square and on the roof of Juxon House directly across from St. Paul’s. All speakers were fed from Dolby Lake Processors using Audinate’s Dante networking technology. The production required sending audio down the network using Ethernet Cat-6 cable as well as the use of media converters to fibreoptic for some of the longer cable runs. Britannia Row used Dante networking technology to link multiple production sites and viewing points around St. Paul’s Cathedral.

SOUNDS GOOD, COBBER

In fact, because of the tight sync and credible latency figures, Dante has a strong reputation for ‘sounding good’. British live sound leviathans, Brittania Row, was an early adopter. It has a big inventory of Lake Processors and is using Dante on jobs where it might normally run hundreds of metres of copper – notably on events such as the Olympic handover and The Police concert in Hyde Park. Kieran Walsh, Head of Digital and RF Systems for Britannia Row is quoted as saying: “Dante’s sample-accurate playback synchronisation produced a noticeable improvement on the high end of the loudspeaker arrays and eliminated the noise

typically heard as a result of long analogue cable runs.” High praise, something Audinate isn’t short on in the time it’s been in business. AV systems are increasingly complex beasts that are designed, altered, modified, expanded, decommissioned and redeployed, often like there’s no tomorrow. And the networking needs to keep up. The fact that AV has potentially lost some of its territory to the IT Borg is, I suggest, trivial compared to the headaches that Dante has done away with. And the fact that it’s a home-grown success story? Well, it shouldn’t matter – we’re all global villagers after all? – but goodonya Audinate… what a bottler. 

A BRIEF HISTORY OF AUDINATE

THE DANTE DIFFERENCE

Audinate was founded by a group of Australian researchers led by the current company Chief Technology Officer, Aidan Williams. Motorola had just closed its Australian research facility so Aidan and his team took their smart networking ideas to the NICTA (National ICT Australia) research institute. NICTA exists to commercialise research and development work. After a couple of years of wearing lab coats and playing Sudoku at the taxpayers’ expense (just kidding), Aidan and his team set about establishing Audinate the company and bringing Dante to market. Audinate looks to be going ballistic, with millions of dollars of investment, a US office in Portland, and a heavy-hitting American CEO in Lee Ellison. It feels like expectations are mightily high. It’s probably the Bosch relationship that best illustrates what’s possible. What with its EV, Dynacord, Telex, Midas, Klark Teknik and Bosch brands, it’s an initiative that’ll see Dante moving in a wide range of audio circles – everything from glamourous concert touring, through to all manner of installations, all the way into the tediously prosaic emergency evacuation systems. Dante may also find itself in the upper end of home theatre/automation. So the horizons are reasonably broad, made all the broader as and when (or, indeed, if) video content is added to the Dante armoury.

Standard IP Network Protocols: Only need one standard network that can handle any sample rate or bit depth. Achieves low latency and tight sync. Zen: No specialised skills required to set up an audio network. Won’t be any IP address conflicts. Universal Control Capability: Control data and audio distribution on the one network. Dante network happy to ‘share’ with personal computers. Flexible Channel Routing: Efficient multicast pruning. Unicast for point to point. Redundant channel connections. Channel Count: Better than 48 x 48 channels at 48kHz on a 100BaseT network. Better than 512 x 512 at 48kHz on gigabit ethernet.

Audinate’s Brooklyn provides all the core networking, control and monitoring functions needed for products such as DSP processors, amplifiers, digital snakes and break-in/break-out boxes, allowing manufacturers to more easily develop Dante-enabled products.

www.audinate.com


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REVIEW

LSC Clarity Lighting Controller The innovative lighting console that further muddies the choice between PC-based and dedicated consoles. Text:/ Paul Collison

A typical Clarity system consisting of a notebook computer connected to a VX20 wing with two additonal monitor screens.

This review starts high – very high – 30,000 feet (~9km) high to be exact. I’m on a flight from Shanghai to Sydney, and what better way to while away the hours than to examine the soon-to-be-released lighting control package from LSC called Clarity. As soon as the seatbelt sign goes off, I pull out my laptop and install the software. The install file is only 66MB and takes less than a minute to install. The release version of Clarity will be dongle protected, but for now it’s a 30-day demo. It’s not long before Sam, the gentleman next to me, leans over and asks me what I’m doing. It turns out Sam is an accountant for the Australian Taxation Office. I realise now why they only give you plastic knives on flights. Usually when someone tries to talk to me on a flight, I’ll pretend not to speak English and put some headphones on. In my excitement to play with a new toy, I forget to have my headphones handy. Against my better judgement I make an exception to my rule and start to explain to Sam lighting control systems, how they work and what I’m doing with this new software package. Ten minutes later I’m showing him the Patch, the Programmer and the Effects engine. It’s at the point of explaining split fades across a fixture that I realise, here I am, having used this software for all of 10 minutes, and I’m showing a layman how it works. In anybody’s book that is a feat, not just for my clearly exemplary skills in understanding new software, but more for the fact this software is intuitive and laid out in a way that even a novice can easily understand and begin to use relatively quickly. I’m already impressed, but there is still a long way to go. CLEAN INTERFACE

The first thing of note is the fresh and clean interface. Every part of the software is easily accessible from the main page and broken

down into tabs. The Patch, Programmer, Effects, etc, are all accessible from here. Each tab is undockable from the main window so users with two, three, or even four monitors can really open up the software and spread things around. A simple double-click on a tab undocks the appropriate window. The Graphic User Interface (GUI) is reasonably dark. Not quite as dark and high contrast as I would prefer on a dark plane at night (more importantly in a dark venue), but better than most – which means your computer screen will not be screamingly bright in a venue with an audience all around. A mouse predominantly drives the software. There are some keyboard shortcuts for many operations, but I understand there are more to come. The Patch is the most intuitive and easy to use I have ever come across. Simply drag and drop each fixture for simple and quick patching of your show. Clarity uses the Carallon fixture library core as a basis for its fixture library. The MA2, Vista and others use the same library. This means the resources behind Clarity can focus on the more important aspects of product development, rather than searching for obscure fixture libraries. A soon-to-be-added fixture builder will allow users to build their own profiles for fixtures not generally seen. However, the Carallon library is fairly comprehensive and will cover the needs of most people. The simplicity of the interface can easily mislead you into believing that Clarity is a basic piece of software. I do learn however that this is a broad and powerful control platform when I catch up with Nick Denville, the father of Clarity. Nick was on the development team for the Wholehog II platform, and more recently the Vista control system from Jands. He knows a thing or two about lighting control systems. This is evidenced by the familiar preset-

based ideals and the graphic user interface in the programmer. Nick explains that Clarity is not aimed at any one particular market, “We really tried to make software that enables easy and simple lighting control. There are parts of the software that we have specifically written for different segments of the market, but overall we are trying to keep everyone happy.” BUSKING IS A BREEZE

An example of this is the Performance screen that almost makes busking a show viable on a laptop. It is a simple triggering grid that allows the operator to combine looks on the fly. Going a step further, you can quickly store, and then recall, combinations via the row masters. You also have the ability to mask different attributes for each cell. For example in one column you can mask all but your position information and in the other you can have only colour. It’s the same cue list – just in different cells. However you are only allowing particular parts of the list to be replayed. This is a powerful section of the software that gives the user ultimate flexibility for replaying cues. You can also set a master tempo in Clarity and have your cue list fall in line on the next beat after you click: a great feature for clubs and disco operators. The Levels tab is a place to view all of the level output, and also to identify the source of the output, i.e. which cue is sending what information. Nick points out there is scope here to add a view for fade and delay times, something almost all theatre programmers and designers will definitely like to see. There is also a traditional command line structure for those who like the simple syntax of ‘Channel 1 @ 100’. One of my favourite features by far in Clarity, is the two programmers. Having more than one programmer allows an operator to ‘play’ with two different looks without losing


REVIEW

FEATURE

Programmer window showing graphic display of timing. On the left-hand side is the fixture browser and at the bottom is the universal controller.

information bouncing between both. It is a simple feature, but a very powerful one that is not seen on many, if any, top-end consoles. Of course there are all the usual features such as Blind, Highlight and Undo that you would expect to find on any modern lighting console. TIMELINE VIEW MEETS GUI

At first glance, Clarity seems to take the best parts of timeline and graphical interfaces and melds them in to an easy-to-use and understandable GUI. There is the timeline type of view in the Programmer tab, giving the operator excellent feedback for delays, fades and splits of both. It allows for traditionally complex programming, such as arrayed delay times, to be made very simple, without simplifying things too much. There is scope to enter numbers in a traditional way, should you prefer to use this method. Overall, the GUI is easy to understand, albeit a little boxy and similar to a spreadsheet. That being said, development is moving forward at a great rate. As with most software, aesthetic changes to the GUI are generally left until later in development. Nick Denville is clear that Clarity is, and will be, a software package that will continue to grow and be refined for some time. Clarity is by no means a control system that’s only suitable for a couple of moving lights and a dimmer rack. In fact, in the final release version, Clarity will be able to control a whopping 128 streams of DMX. That makes it viable to control media servers and pixel map LED walls on a large scale. The current focus is definitely personal computer based, with hardware accessories. However there is talk of a full scale hardware solution in the future. DMX is to be output from either the QX2 or the QX4

057

Programmer window showing fixture attributes in expanded detail. The fixture browser on the left is displaying the sort controls for the current selection.

units. As their names suggest, the QX2 has two DMX512 outputs, whilst the QX4 has four. Each device connects via USB to your computer. Being powered directly from the USB bus, there is no need for external power supplies. Nevertheless there is an option for one, should your computer not have the full 500mA available on its USB ports. Of course a powered USB hub can fix this, and may become necessary if you have numerous accessories. WINGS OF DESIRE

Then there are the two fader wings, the VX10 and VX20. Both have 10 fader masters with two assignable buttons per fader for extra control. On the VX20 wing there are also 10 faderless masters, each with two buttons for advancing or flashing through a cue list. The VX20 wing also includes a trackball for pan and tilt control, with shortcut keys to Intensity, Position, Colour and Beam control. Between the faderless masters and the fader masters is a monochrome LCD display for cue names. The VX10 is USB bus powered and has two DMX outputs. The VX20 is either USB or mains powered, and has four DMX outputs. Again the GUI allows for simply dragging and dropping the appropriate cue list/s on to each button. Both devices have 99 pages giving the user plenty of room to move. The hardware itself is reminiscent of recent LSC consoles. The buttons are the same, however the faders seem to be less grainy and more responsive than on previous LSC boards. The two wing panels have Kensington slots for security. Of course it doesn’t stop there. Clarity also has one of the best pixel mapping features I’ve come across in a control system solution. The Matrix tab opens up the simplest pixel

mapping array I’ve ever seen. The Matrix wizard will help you easily set-up an array for your fixtures. Assign a QuickTime movie to the layout and play with the X and Y rotation or position, perspective and even opacity, to get the desired look. Nick mentions the possibility of adding colour control to clips in coming versions. Speed control is present in the current version, although frame interpolation (frame blending) is something that will be addressed in the future. However, even in this state, the ability to play a movie file through your fixture array is something that is quite special. Usually this feature has been the domain of a media server, so it is quite nice to see such a feature become part of the control solution. While on the subject of media servers, Clarity welcomes many types of media players into its system. Media servers and players such as Media Master, Arkaos VJ, Hippotiser, Maxedia and even Pandoras Box are CITP/MSEX supported. This means thumbnails are fed back to Clarity from your media server, giving the operator an idea of the types of media files in the server ready to be played. This is a very useful feature that unfortunately is not implemented in many consoles. Clarity currently supports the Hippo Range, Arkaos and Media Master, with others to come. A TABLET MAKES IT BETTER

Playing with Clarity further, I realise that the interface can be a little more efficient with a touchscreen or tablet. I plug in my Wacom Cintio tablet and the software goes in to overdrive. I find I can now access features much more quickly and really zoom around the software. I can undock windows and drop them on my laptop screen while using the tablet as the workhorse for the programmer


058

and playback screens. With a keyboard and a wing under my left hand and the tablet under my right, the system is now starting to feel like a real lighting control solution. Although still in its infancy, Clarity already seems to be mature enough to take on its competitors in a fairly tough market. The scalability of the hardware makes it a product that is definitely viable for small schools and theatres, right up to production houses and mid size touring productions. LSC has done a great job in creating a control package that can be scaled to suit most needs. Although currently there is no option for a networked system, the fact that Clarity is able to run on a Mac or Windows, means that standard screen sharing applications will allow for basic network configurations. Overall this is an impressive combination of software and hardware. Clarity will be released through the LSC distribution network in September. 

REVIEW

Programmer window showing the pixel mapping controls transforming a QuickTime movie. The floating Matrix Output window is showing the actual output on the LED matrix which is useful for offline programming.

Pricing Trying Clarity comes as a downloadable 30-day free evaluation version with unlimited DMX universes output via ArtNet, LSC’s QX and VX hardware, or a single Enttec USB Pro device. After the 30-day trial, the system reverts to 128 channels of DMX via the same devices and VX wings become DMX nodes only. Download your copy from www.lscclarity.com Buying A one-universe (512-channel) licence with an LSC QX2 Node: $2519 A VX10 wing with a one-universe licence: $3729 A VX20 wing with a two-universe (1024-channel) licence: $6919 Pricing of other configurations on request. Special ‘pre-release’ pricing is available for a short time.

QX2 node and VX10 wing


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060

REVIEW

Sony HVR-Z5P & HVR-MRC1K Sony has played its cards right. Text:/ Mark Davie

Recently at the Integrate exhibition we had a handful of cameras recording seminar sessions, roving around with our interview ‘SWAT team’ and just generally documenting the show for posterity. The mixed bag of cameras included the tape-based Canon XL2, Canon XH A1, and Sony HVR-Z1U, as well as a hot-off-thepress Sony HVR-Z5P with an optional HVRMRC1K Memory Recording Unit. Now back at base, the hubbub of the show has tapered off to a gentle burble, leaving behind the formidable task of capturing over 40 hours worth of DV and HDV footage from a box of miniDV tapes. Obviously, there are better ways to do this sort of thing; capturing to a deck on-the-fly would have been a simple answer, as would have replacing those aforementioned tape-based cameras with three more Z5s. SENSE A CHANGE

Sony’s Z5 high-definition 'professional' HDV camera is a direct replacement for the Z1 and retains a similar form factor of top-mounted LCD and fixed lens. However, there are some major revisions in this update, as Sony has shifted from the CCD sensors it had long been using in its professional range, to the new ¹/³ -inch ClearVid Exmor CMOS sensors derived from its professional line of digital SLRs. The main advantage of the Exmor CMOS over previous CMOS designs and CCDs is its onboard analogue to digital (A/D) conversion. As opposed to processing via an external converter, its onboard column-parallel A/D conversion technique lends the Exmor a much faster data transfer capability, allowing additional features such as smooth slow recording and lower power consumption. Sony has also implemented a dual noise-cancelling technique that operates both before and after the conversion process, achieving a low light sensitivity of 1.5lux at a shutter speed of 1/25sec. This is much better than the Z1’s performance of 3lux, and a full f-stop closer to the 1lux performance of the standard definition Sony PD-150.

The sensor system also has a 45-degree rotated pixel layout to increase signal density with a separate Enhanced Image Processor that interpolates and extracts pixels. The sensor records a native 1080/25p image that is available directly out of the i.Link interface, but is recorded to tape as a 50i signal through a 2:2 pull-down conversion. It can also down-convert in the camera for simultaneous SD output while recording HD to tape. There’s also a HDMI output for HD monitoring. TOP OF THE GLASS

Instead of Carl Zeiss lenses, Sony has started using its own high performance G lenses, building on the expertise in top-of-the-range optics inherited from Konica Minolta. The lens on the Z5 has a 29.5mm wide angle with 20x zoom and an aperture of f1.6 at its widest through to f3.4 at the full extent of its zoom. Its aperture, combined with 10 stepped gain settings from -6dB up to +21dB makes the Z5 a capable performer in low-lit environments. Three built-in ND filters of ¼, 1/16 and 1/64 allow control over the depth of field outdoors and in well-lit spaces. The lens has a 10-group, 15-element structure and is sharp throughout the zoom range with very minimal distortion at wide angles. The LCD preview has 921,000 pixels as opposed to 250,000 on the Z1, and an XtraFine electronic viewfinder with 1,227,000 dots, making it easier to achieve accurate focus. Another key layout change sees all key audio functions, including input select, manual or auto control, and gain settings, as hardware controls. The iris control is now a ring around the lens like a pro camera, similar to the zoom and focus rings, instead of a knob beside the main shaft. The iris control can also be switched to an overall exposure control that simultaneously adjusts the iris, gain and shutter, when any one of these is changed. This provides a painless automatic means of maintaining overall exposure while varying the depth of field.

PAINLESS WORKFLOW

But back to the dilemma of logging all those tapes. The main reason the Z5 was a godsend among its rivals, is its ability to record direct to Compact Flash. Unfortunately the HVRMRC1K memory recording unit is an optional extra for the Z5, but Sony provided one for the review, meaning everything recorded on the Z5 at Integrate was dumped directly into Final Cut Pro on my laptop at the show, taking far less time than it does to dub a tape. The memory recording unit can capture 1080p off the sensor, HDV, DVCAM or DV. It can record synchronously with the tape in HD, or a down converted SD version while the tape records in HD, it can record standalone without the need for tape, and it can also be used to record while a tape is being changed. For those that already have a Z1, or other suitable Sony camera, this nifty little unit can be added to your setup. But the beauty of using it with the Z5 is that the recording unit clips neatly to the rear of the chassis and runs off the camera’s power — no extra battery or messy i.Link cable required. Sony’s HVR-Z5P is a refined replacement for the Z1 with a competent lens, improved control layout, greater low light performance, and the optional extra of recording to Compact Flash media without sacrificing the tried and true workflow of tape. And after spending three days running around shooting everything under the Hordern Pavilion, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Z5’s tapeless workflow. 

Pricing HVR-Z5P HVR-MRC1K

$7400 (ex GST) $1400 (ex GST)

Contact: Tel: 1800 017 669 Email: production.au@ap.sony.com Web: www.sony.com/production


REVIEW

061

FEATURE

Da-Cappo Micro Mics Wet behind the ears when it comes to head-worn mics? Da-Cappo may have the microphones for you. Text:/ Brad Watts costumes, masks and wigs. The wire body can even be carefully bent into shape to fit into even more obscure locations. Break a leg! The overall design is, in fact, decidedly bulletproof. With carbon/Kevlar-coated cabling and screw connectors, these mics are capable of withstanding a good degree of physical abuse, so field uses are vast and possibly yet to be imagined. No doubt these mics will find themselves in some quirky and mechanically compromising locations. HEAR HEAR!

Da-Cappo is a relative newcomer to the headset microphone market, but when it comes to audio recording in harsh environments this fledgling outfit may well have the upper hand over the more established brands. You see, while there are established microphone manufacturers keeping the headset market happy, none offer the resilience to environmental conditions that Da-Cappo ‘micro’ microphones do. But more on that shortly, firstly let’s have a look at the microphones themselves. The range encompasses four microphone options, all utilising the same 2.5mm diameter back-electret omnidirectional capsule. The capsule is rated to withstand a maximum SPL of 140dB and offers an equivalent noise rating of 25dB. First of the group is the lavalier system that includes the microphone, clip, cable and a foam windsock. It’s quite minute, and measures a mere 10mm across with the foam windshield fitted. The next ‘micro-mic’ is auspiciously named, ‘The Stick’, and consists of the Da-Cappo capsule melded with a 1.2mm thick stiffened wire – it’s this wire that carries signal to the mic and acts as the entire microphone body as such. Being slightly bemused as to The Stick’s usefulness, I prodded the manufacturer as to its ideal deployment (no, I didn’t use The Stick to prod the manufacturer). As it transpires, The Stick’s ‘schtick’ is in the arena of theatrical production – it’s an ideal microphone for weaving or sewing inconspicuously into

Let’s look at the actual headset designs. These are available in two basic flavours, those being a dual earpiece, and a single earpiece design. The dual earpiece is undoubtedly the more secure of the two. With its adjustable headband, the unit should fit most human skulls, and the silicone earpieces are exceedingly comfortable. These rubberised silicone earpieces are impregnated with a strip of spring steel to allow the earpiece to fit all (human) ear sizes. I wore the headset around the office for the day, and actually forgot I was wearing it. It wasn’t until a courier looked at me as though I was about to supersize his order that I twigged to the fact that I looked like a drive-thru attendant. Make no mistake – this is a comfy headset. What’s attractive about the Da-Cappo earpiece design is its sheer simplicity – compare the design with other manufacturers’ take on headsets and you’ll see what I mean. There are a minimum of moving parts, and nothing to detach or loosen from the headset assembly. Plus, once fitted, the mics are largely invisible. The single earpiece design is exactly what you’d expect: a microphone with a single silicone earpiece. This mic takes earpiece comfort to a new level entirely – very lightweight and, unlike the dual earpiece design, can be adjusted to fit on either the right or the left ear. All the mics and their accessories are available in four colours: beige, black, coffee, and white. Plus recently I’ve been notified of a 24-carat gold-plated version for ‘bling’-oriented performers – hey, why disguise that mic when you can present your 24k headset! An interesting inclusion on both headset designs is the small silicone ring that slides along the microphone shaft. This is referred to as a ‘sweatring’, and alleviates sweat ripping down toward the microphone capsule. Which brings me to what is possibly the most interesting aspect of the Da-Cappo microphones – their moisture and water resistance.

MOIST

That’s correct, these mics will function after being splashed, dashed, doused, or drenched with water. Now while that doesn’t imply use by your local surf lifesavers as a back-to-base comms channel, it does mean these microphones are an excellent choice for recording outdoors where the recordist and talent are susceptible to the forces of nature – most notably rain, hail and snow. This is an undeniable boon for alfresco recordists, and already the broadcasting fraternity and sports reporting industry are jumping on the Da-Cappo bandwagon. For a bit of a demonstration, hop onto Da-Cappo’s website to witness its managing director being dunked in water while using these amphibious marvels. SOUND AS A POUND

As for the sound of the micro-microphones, the specifications are certainly respectable, with 20Hz to 20kHz frequency range with a slight raise to 7dB at 10kHz. This response begins its rise at around 2kHz and no doubt aids the intelligibility of the microphone’s response and reproduction. In use they sound very good. In fact, during a recent trade show I used the lavalier system for some impromptu interview opportunities and the Da-Cappo microphones kept their own against the traditional brands we had in use. Incidentally, Da-Cappo has covered all the bases as to connection of the mics to the various beltpack wireless transmitters – again these are available in either beige or black, and Da-Cappo will supply your flavour of adaptor when you initially order a particular microphone model. Each mic is also available with either 35dB or 45dB sensitivity, the former offering a higher output for the broadcasting arena. It seems Da-Cappo has covered all the bases – innovative, discreet, versatile while providing some unique possibilities when it comes to discreet microphone placement and those damp and sweaty recording situations.  Pricing Pricing ranges from $329 – $769

Contact: Sound & Music (03) 9555 8081 www.sound-music.com www.da-cappo.com


062

PREVIEW

What Cue Are We In? There are no question marks hovering over What Cue?’s ability to manage cue data. Text:/ Andy Ciddor

It all started out because Melbourne-based lighting designer Ken Roach was constantly being bombarded during technical rehearsals by stage management asking the question, “What cue are we in now?” Admittedly it is a valid question, but that doesn’t make it any less annoying or distracting from the process of checking the lighting cue states. This is of particular interest to Roach whose work as assistant lighting designer for Cameron Mackintosh and the Really Useful Group on productions such as Phantom of the Opera, means that he only moves productions between venues a few times each year, and therefore doesn’t actually have all the cue numbers memorised. Roach thought that it would be great if everyone could simply check on a locallyavailable computer display to get the cue number, description and timing directly from the lighting desk, so he developed the What Cue? system. Not only does What Cue? keep stage management informed, but it also assists lighting designers to keep their notes in order when watching public dress rehearsals from a seat in the house. In its latest version, What Cue? also incorporates pop-up reminders for designated cues to alert the lighting designer to aspects of the cue state in question. Roach sees this being used to keep track of such matters as checking the tricky focus for a special, a note to the console operator about specific visual cue timings, a reminder about a forthcoming spot cue and similar fine details. What Cue? works by collecting cue data live from the lighting console into a Mac desktop computer where it’s processed and translated then made available via WiFi. Roach selected Apple’s iPhone/iPod Touch as the display device because of its wide adoption in the production community, its effortless interface with WiFi networks and the ease of software development using Apple’s iPhone Software Developers Kit. WOT? – GETTING THE CUE DATA

Lighting consoles may incorporate a vast range of output options, but they’re generally intended either to stream DMX512 control data or to provide status and operational information to monitor screens. However, lurking deep inside many lighting consoles there is a powerful, but

What Cue?'s iPhone app displays the current cue number, fade times and cue description

frequently-overlooked capability: MIDI Show Control (MSC). Developed in 1990 in a joint effort between the US Institute for Theatre Technology’s Sound Commission and the MIDI Manufacturers Association, MSC uses the MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) protocol to send cueing and control messages to coordinate production equipment ranging from pyrotechnic devices to stage machinery and lighting controllers to atmospheric effects. What Cue? uses a lighting console’s MSC interface to send out a message each time a cue is executed. The MIDI message is translated into a data string by a standard MIDI-to-USB adapter and passed on to the Mac desktop computer for processing. As each cue is executed, its information is added to the cue list for the production and sent out via WiFi for display. To obtain a full cue list without the need to step through every cue in the console, What Cue? takes full advantage of the cue list report available from the grandMA family of consoles. For other, less endowed consoles, Roach has exploited another piece of 1990s control technology to obtain the cue lists. Once upon a time, as the age of digital co-operation was dawning and control manufacturers had actually agreed on a single digital control protocol for all dimmers and control desks (DMX512), the idealists at the USITT came up with the idea of a standard interchangeable format for cue lists. The idea behind the ASCII Text Representation for Lighting Console Data, was that every console would be able to export its cues in a text format that could be read by humans and imported by any other console. The format represents each lighting cue as a series of text lists of levels and fade times. While the ASCII data protocol is quite useful for shows with static lighting states, it doesn’t deal brilliantly with multi-part fades and is completely overwhelmed by the kinds of continuous ongoing data changes that result from using moving lights and effects engines. Although many theatrical consoles still have an ASCII output capability, it is a technology that hasn’t ever gained widespread acceptance. What Cue?, however, can take the ASCII cue format data from a suitably-equipped console, such as

an ETC EOS or one of the many Strand consoles, and use it to build the cue list for a production, before the first cue is ever run. Although What Cue? has been released for sale, Ken Roach continues to enhance the system to improve the working lives of lighting designers and console operators.  Info A 30-day free demo of the MacOS component is available from www.hardedgesoftware.com. As an intoductory offer, registration costs US$39.95, but will go up to US$69.95 in October The iPhone/iPod Touch component is available free from Apple’s AppStore, www.hardedgesoftware.com

What Cue?’s desktop screen shows all available cue information plus user-defined pop-up reminders assigned to each cue.

What Cue? Data Paths

iPhone or iPod Touch

Wireless Network

MIDI to USB Adapter between Lighting Desk and the Mac

Lighting Desk

Mac running What Cue


REVIEW

063

FEATURE

Projectiondesign FL32 Fancy a projector with a lamp that runs continuously for over 11 years? Text:/ Paul Newton

Having reviewed two very small, domestic (10 ANSI lumen) LED projectors in the last issue, I was very interested to see how a brighter, higher resolution LED projector would shape up. For the those of you who are unaware (which included myself until quite recently), LED projection still utilises a DLP panel/chip to display information – but the traditional single light source (lamp) has been replaced with a matrix of low voltage (extremely) high brightness LEDs. The main advantages of this new approach to projection are extended lamp life (100,000 hours compared to 1000) and low, overall power consumption/draw (350W). Lamp life and ongoing maintenance are major factors when purchasing projectors and need to be considered when calculating the total cost of ownership. The purchase price of the FL32 effectively includes the price of the first 50 replacement lamps. Discharge lamps degrade quite quickly after being struck multiple times, and eventually descend into unstable flickering or discolouration. ReaLED technology claims to ensure complete colour stability of the product throughout its very long lifetime. That’s a big claim and a very impressive statement. I’d be very curious to see how this claim was tested considering how new the product is on the market. The FL32 looks like any other projector. It is quite large (376mm x 510mm x 223mm and around 15kg with a lens) for an 800 ANSI lumen projector, but considering the technology is only in its infancy, this should really be overlooked. I was ultimately more interested in the colour, brightness and detail of this unit, not the cosmetic aspects. That said, it is an attractive, streamlined projector. Projector stacking is also an option with this series of projector – chassis recesses allow the top projector to perfectly join the bottom projector. Lens installation is simple. The bayonet connection with the projector ensures a tight and safe fit. The external lens release button on the chassis of the projector is a great feature – it’s easy to access and would make lens replacement a breeze. All the lens features you’d expect on a traditional projector are present: electronic zoom, focus, shutter, iris and horizontal/vertical shift. This series of projector boasts a very wide range of lenses from a fixed 0.79:1 up to 3.8 – 6.5:1 zoom lenses.

ONE CHIP, NO WHEEL

The FL32 is a single-chip DLP projector with ReaLED technology. Unlike other single chip DLP projectors, it doesn’t use a colour wheel; instead the three panels of coloured LEDs are individually driven to produce the colour image. I was also lucky enough to have two of the actual projector LEDs provided with my review unit. When I connected the green LED to the supplied 9V battery, my entire office was instantly illuminated in colour. It’s quite staggering how much light comes out of these little (approximately 4mm) LEDs, particularly when you consider that they’re driven at around 30V in the projector. The unit is rated to 800 ANSI lumens but when compared side-by-side with our 1500 ANSI projector in the studio, brightness seemed on par. The review model featured a full 1920 x 1080 HD panel, allowing true 30-bit RGB displayable colours. I ran a multitude of different signals to this projector: component, HDMI/DVI, and analogue RGB (from 640 x 480 up to 1920 x 1080). Signal locking occurred every time, with minimal geometry adjustments required. It took less than three minutes to configure each signal, and I’ve never used Projectiondesign products before. Truly intuitive. Scan frequencies ranged from 15150kHz vertical and 48-190Hz horizontal, as you would expect from any decent DLP projector. While brightness may be lacking, the colour reproduction of these projectors is exceptional. HDCAM and Blu-Ray content that I tested was as accurate as the hi-res Mac monitors in our studio. Flawless reproduction of fast moving content (I was using high-definition Formula 1 car racing footage) is also handled very well by this unit. The internal menu is deceptively detailed. When I first fired up the unit and saw the simple, cute icon structure, I was a little concerned that there would be very little image adjustment available. How wrong was I? The menus are extremely detailed and allow the multitude of fine geometry and colour adjustments commonly seen on high-end three-chip DLP projectors. As well as the usual colour balancing options, the FL32 boasts extended colour options for specifically dealing with skin tones. Reproducing skin tones and warmer, sepia colours have always been a challenge with modern digital projectors.

Electronic filters and colour options to ‘shortcut’ matching these colours are becoming increasing popular with new projectors. LONG HAUL

These projectors are designed, and expected, to run 24/7 year after year. Mission-critical applications such as defence, air traffic control, medical and simulation industries demand such reliability. Low power draw and 100,000 hour lamp life (100,000hrs = 11.4 years) will go a long way to cementing this product within these industries. Permanent installation environments such as airports, shopping centres and universities will also be a market for these projectors. Control/remote options are therefore quite comprehensive. The projector has a multitude of features such as interval timing ability (turning itself on and off each day and night), LAN connectivity and centralised PC control. The Projectiondesign website has a lot of useful support information for its products. While not as comprehensive as its competitors I found it very useful and learned a lot about other Projectiondesign products. As the projector rental business is predominantly driven by brightness and pixels, LED needs to increase in overall light output to the 5000 ANSI lumen mark before that market will adopt this technology. I’m told that LED-powered projectors in this output range should begin to appear within a year or two, although it may take a while longer before they run for 100,000 hours. I’m very impressed with LED projection technology in general. Image colour reproduction suffers very little with this high-efficiency, lowvoltage light source. This is a massive step in the right direction for the world of video projection. 

Info Amber Technology (02) 9452 8600 display@ambertech.com.au Retail Pricing: 1920x1080 model: $57,500 1920x1200 model: $60,000 Professional pricing: Contact Amber Technology


064

NEWS

REVIEW

Associations Page News from the AV industry associations.

AETM – Connecting Universities

InfoComm News

Tertiary Trends: Derek Powell presents an international perspective on teaching technology: As AETM Vice President, I had the opportunity to travel to Britain to attend the SCHoMS conference in Norwich. The Standing Committee of Heads of Media Services (SCHoMS) is the British equivalent of our Association of Educational Technology Managers and the trip provided me with the opportunity to compare the top issues for universities in Australia and the UK. The Global Financial Crisis is still very much on everyone’s mind, despite recent declarations that the worst is over. For universities, the GFC has been very much a two-edged sword. Firstly, in times of high unemployment, enrollments tend to be up as more young people opt for continuing education over a shrinking jobs market. However university incomes can be hit hard by lean times. In Britain, institutions are being squeezed hard by falling investment income and cuts in all kinds of government funding. The UK banking bail-out has meant there has been nothing like the government stimulus packages and capital works program that we have enjoyed here, and I heard stories of AV equipment and staff budgets being slashed by up to 30%. This contrasts with the situation in Australia where the fiscal pain has so far been muted thanks to extra capital spending programs. That said, some of the major ‘sandstone’ universities with substantial investment income have been hard hit already, and tertiary budgets for 2010 and 2011 are predicted to be squeezed harder as the stimulus funds run out. Turning to equipment, lecture capture is the number one talking point. Surprisingly, remarkably few UK institutions have committed to anything more than small-scale trials. In Australia more than half of the universities operate substantial systems to capture audio, screen content and video in lecture theatres and seminar rooms. Other systems though, such as digital signage, campus IP television broadcasting and remote monitoring of AV and environmental systems are much further advanced in Britain. Using our links to SCHoMS, the AETM will be watching these overseas trends and reporting back at our conferences to help members keep ahead of the technology curve. My trip back from the gloomy English climate was punctuated by brilliant sunshine when I visited Education City, located in the Emirate of Qatar which borders Saudi Arabia. In the mega rich petro-city of Doha, the Emir of Qatar has invited five ‘Ivy League’ US universities to establish campuses to seed what they hope will become the education hub of the Middle East. Here the idea of 'no expense spared' is taken to a whole new level. I visited with Paul Materazzo, founder and former AETM president who now runs AV at the Qatar campus of the famous Weill Cornell Medical College. Perhaps I’ll leave the final word to him regarding the financial crisis. “I only get into trouble with budget,” he told me, “if I propose a solution that isn’t expensive enough!”

MEMBERSHIP RENEWALS ONLINE Were you aware that the primary contact for each company/organisation can now renew InfoComm membership online through the My Dashboard feature on the InfoComm website? Just go to www.infocomm.org and at the very top of the page, log in using your username and password. Once you do that, your unique homepage will open and you should see the link, at the top of the page (almost in the same spot as you logged in) to My Dashboard. Click the link and it will take you to your dashboard and display your membership information. From there you can select to renew, just follow the online process.

For more information about the AETM, you can visit the website at www.aetm.org

REGIONALISATION OF DESIGN SCHOOL InfoComm International Staff Instructor, Rod Brown CTS-D, is currently working on the regionalisation of our Design School curriculum. If you would like to contribute to the regionalisation process please contact Rod directly at rbrown@infocomm.org SUPER TUESDAY AT INTEGRATE 09 The InfoComm Academy Super Tuesday Seminar program at Integrate 09 was an outstanding success, as was the show itself. With 110 seats sold and another 20 or 30 people being turned away due to a full house, it was the most patronised educational event in the history of InfoComm in Australia. Discussions are underway between InfoComm and Alchemedia Events, the show’s organisers, to provide a more comprehensive program in 2010. ROUNDTABLE SCHEDULE The dates for future Roundtable meetings in 2009 are as follows: Perth: 18th August Melbourne: 27th October Sydney: 28th October INFOCOMM ACADEMY ONSITE FUTURE DATES DES 212, AV Design Principles: Environment 26th – 28th August, UTS Sydney INS 211 Intl. Installation Technician Essentials 28 – 29th September, UTS Sydney PME 311, Project Management for Execs 26th October, UTS Sydney PMA 211, Project Management for AV 27 – 29th October, UTS Sydney DES213, AV Design Principles: Infrastructure 2nd – 4th November, UTS Sydney DES312, Applied. AV Design / CTS-D Study Group 15th –17th February 2010, UTS Sydney For further Information on any of the above please contact Jonathan Seller, CTS, InfoComm International Regional Director at australianz@infocomm.org or look on the regional web page www.infocomm.org/asia-pacific


TUTORIAL

065

FEATURE

Video Signals & Distribution for Live Events Text:/ Andre LeJeune, CTS – Staff Instructor, InfoComm International

As technology continues to evolve, so do the changes in types of video signals and how they are distributed for display in live events. While much of this technology has already permeated the home theatre market, there are challenges when displaying images for large audiences. DIGITAL VIDEO INTERFACE (DVI)

This digital video connection is quickly replacing the VGA connector found on computers and video displays. There are five types of DVI connectors: DVI-I Single Link DVI-I Dual Link DVI-D Single Link DVI-D Dual Link DVI-A DVI-I connectors include both digital video signals and the same analogue signals found on a VGA connector, allowing a VGA-equipped display to be connected with an adaptor. DVI-D connections are digital only. The DVI-A connection is analogue only. Dual-link connectors include provision for a second data link used for high-resolution images. Connectors that use the second link are often referred to as DVI-DL or DVD-DL. The digital video signal in the DVI connection should be transported on balanced, 100Ω impedance twisted pair cable with a maximum length of five metres. High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) can be an issue with DVI connections. Not fully implemented in the computer industry because of flaws in the protection system, HDCP is used primarily in the consumer industry. Bluray Disc and DVD players with DVI or HDMI connections use HDCP to establish an encrypted connection. Microsoft Vista also utilises this technology in the context of computer graphics cards and monitors. This is only an issue for copyprotected material. HIGH DEFINITION MULTIMEDIA INTERFACE (HDMI)

HDMI was created because of the failings of DVI. The video signals are identical, built out of and backward compatible with DVI. That’s why a cable can have a DVI connector at one end and an HDMI connector at the other. HDMI connections can carry multiple signal types on one digital interface including video, audio, and inter-component operability

commands (remote control signals). Connecting cables should be less than 15 metres. HDMI version 1.4 has recently been released. It increases the maximum resolution of the video signal, provides for a 100Mb/s ethernet connection between HDMI connected devices, and features a new Micro HDMI connector. CONNECTIONS

For the long cable runs used in live events, the best way to directly transport DVI or HDMI is through the use of twisted-pair or fibre-optic extenders, assuming the displays have the proper inputs. Distribution amplifiers are available for multiple displays if HDCP is not involved. Otherwise, HDCP-compliant converters must be used. Conversion to RGBHV is also an option. The real issue often becomes how to switch these signals. Unless the video switcher is equipped with the proper inputs the signals may have to be converted to component video or RGBHV. In that case signal distribution to the displays will be controlled by the switching system’s outputs. It is best to set the switcher’s output resolution to match the native resolution of the display device. If this is not possible, use an external scaler. This, in effect, turns off the display’s internal scaler. DVI connections carry an Extended Display Identification Data (EDID) signal from the display that will attempt to set the output resolution of the source device to the input resolution of the display device. Some types of switching equipment will allow an override of this feature.

HD-SDI Digital Cinema Standard supports 12-bit HD signals at the 4:4:4 sample rate running in dual-link mode with two cables up to 100 metres. Until recently, SDI was only available in broadcast video equipment. Today it is available as an option on professional and semi-professional video switchers, processors, and displays. In closing, remember that DVI is a computer standard and that SDI and HD-SDI are video standards. While they often converge in a live events presentation, the selection of switching and distribution equipment is critical to a successful display. 

DVI-I (Single Link)

DVI-I (Dual Link)

DVI-D (Single Link)

DVI-D (Dual Link)

SERIAL DIGITAL INTERFACE (SDI)

SDI and HD-SDI (High Definition) signals are used for the transmission of uncompressed, unencrypted digital video signals (with the option of embedded audio) within television facilities. SDI can also be used for packetised data. For standard definition applications, the most commonly used bit rate for SDI is 270Mb/s at 576i. It connects using a single 75Ω video cable terminated with BNC connectors designed for operation up to 300 metres. This method is considerably less expensive than RGBHV multicore cable! The basic HD-SDI standard is the 1.5Gb/s backbone of interface and delivery of HDTV at a reasonable cost. It supports 10-bit HD signals at the 4:2:2 sample rate, also on a single cable. The

DVI-A

About InfoComm: InfoComm International is the international trade association of the professional audiovisual and information communications industries. Established in 1939, InfoComm has 5000 members from more than 70 countries. Its training and education programs, along with its separately administered Certified Technology Specialist (CTS) and corporately administered Certified Audiovisual Solutions Provider (CAVSP) company credentials, set a standard of excellence for AV professionals. Its basic general knowledge course ‘Quick Start to the AV Industry’ is available free of charge from its website at www.infocomm.org


066

REVIEW

Bonding with Junk When does junk become landfill? Well… don’t be hasty. Text:/ Graeme Hague

I’d like to know what actually distinguishes something as ‘junk’. Does it have to be not used for a certain period? Do you have to regularly remember that you own it? What are the rules? More importantly, when are you expected to get rid of it? For example, I have a couple of old amplifiers: a Phase Linear 400 and a Crown 300 DC. These are considered classics of the amplifier world and both of them work perfectly well despite having fallen out of a band’s trailer at great speed some years back. They’re also bloody heavy; heavy enough to be used as ballast in the Titanic – before the incident… naturally – hence they’ve been superseded by something I can actually lift. So the Phase Linear and the Crown have happily slipped into retirement – in my shed. What about the 17-inch Acer laptop I bought five years ago? A thing of beauty, a whopping 1GHz Celeron CPU and 512MB of RAM meant it was viewed with reverence by my colleagues and it was a laptop. Now the damned thing can barely bring itself to play Solitaire and certainly won’t run any of my current software. Cash Converters wouldn’t give me 50 bucks, I’d bet. Incredibly, some might consider the ‘legacy’ laptop as landfill. But I can’t throw it out – I just can’t. Apparently one solution is eBay – people the world over are divesting themselves of junk and making a motza! But for goodness sake I’m surrounded by piles of junk because I’m lazy. How the hell can I be bothered doing the eBay thing-o? It’d be all right, if you advertised something on eBay and a successful bidder rolled up to your front door, glad-handed you a wad of cash and disappeared never to be seen again. But that’s not how it works. First you’ve got to register for a PayPal account that provides pimply, unscrupulous teenage hackers everywhere instant access to the bank accounts of your entire family. Then you

have to mail the sold goods (want to guess the postage on my working-order Titanic ballast?) which means packing it properly, wrapping it in tape, writing the damned address correctly… what a palaver. A sneaky option is the aforementioned garden shed. It’s a kind of purgatory; a Departure Lounge for gear whose fate has yet to be decided. I have an extensive collection of extraneous, obsolete yet perfectly-working junk that I can’t bear to part with. And leads? The place looks like the aftermath of an explosion at a 1950s Australian Telecom exchange. Beware the AV technician who can wield a soldering iron. We tend to whip up weird patch leads, then years later stare at it thinking, what the hell did I make that for? You can’t throw them out, though. You might need it again. Anyway, the shed isn’t for long-suffering wives or the faint hearted. Because I live in the countryside it’s also a haven for all manner of vermin which might take some trash/stash decisions out of my hands. Maybe they’ll chew through a power cable or pee on the circuit board. Last issue Brad Watts put up a strong case for recycling. Are you mad?! Give away something somebody else can use? If it’s useful to them, it has to be downright bloody handy for me! I can’t risk it. I bought another computer last week – honest. Partly to satisfy a need and partly to legitimately dodge some tax. For the first time I bought this laptop with the mindset that in two or three years time, it would be obsolete (more like six weeks, really). Just accept it. Who am I kidding?  AV welcomes back-page submissions on any topic pertinent to the pro AV community… or not. Pop the soapbox on your high horse and have your say. Email the Editor: andy@av.net.au


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Bosch Communications Systems Unit 2C, 6 Boundary Rd NORTHMEAD NSW 2152 Tel: 02 9683 4752, Fax: 02 9890 5928 Email: boschcomms@au.bosch.com • www.boschsecurity.com.au



AV issue 6