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For me the heroes of this Sydney Opera House project are the guys from HME … Working conditions were just plain awkward … and the installation constraints were mind boggling Nick Orsatti, NSW Manager, Rutledge Engineering

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AETM BACKS AWARDS AETM Members representing 30 Australian and New Zealand institutions enthusiastically endorsed the idea of AV Awards with a specific Tertiary Education category at their Annual Conference in Canberra. Members felt that their umbrella body, the Association of Educational Technology Managers (AETM) would be well qualified in assisting to bring forward nominations, set evaluation criteria and recommend experts as part of a judging panel. “Tertiary Sector projects cover an incredible range of spaces, budgets and technology applications,” commented AETM President Derek Powell. “Innovations in Teaching Technology frequently appear first at universities then trickle down to the other parts of the educational sector.”

“I expect that the kinds of projects AETM members deal with each year – which range from a single room like an Advanced Concept Teaching Space to a complete new Business or Dental school with up to a hundred AV equipped spaces – will be a rich and varied source for award nominations,” said Powell. AETM believes that the awards will provide an opportunity for recognising the contributions of many AV professionals whose work is presently unseen. Other benefits are in promoting excellence in the industry and providing greater visibility to a wide range of project types. As a non-profit, non-partisan and non-commercially aligned organisation, AETM is well placed to assist AV Magazine in this endeavour. The organisation will draw on the experience of sister organisations around the world, including the UK equivalent SCHOMS who have already participated in such a scheme. We are 100% behind the concept.

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AETM members are involved in designing, procuring, installing, commissioning and operating a wide range of technologies including large-scale room automation and monitoring systems; lecture recording and distribution and remote teaching facilities. In addition, Australasian universities boast many ‘signature spaces’ with world leading educational

technology in specific discipline areas like Pharmacy, Veterinary Science, Law, Business, Nursing and many more.


AV AWARDS ARE GO As we hoped, the proposed AV Awards has given the industry plenty to think about. INNOVATION WINS: Overwhelmingly, the response to the idea of the Awards has been positive, with most appreciating the focus on innovative design rather than simply the scope or profile of a project. COMMERCIAL INTERFERENCE: Others remain justifiably sceptical that the awards can be kept free of commercial interference, whether that interference be via sponsorship or by the sheer might of the big integrators. We’d like to reiterate our commitment to keeping the awards free of manipulation, and we believe the various category ‘weight divisions’ along with the ‘wild card’ Innovation Award will ensure smaller operators will feel just as in the race as the big operators. JUDGING PANEL CRUCIAL: As many have observed, getting the judging panel right will be critical to the Awards success. It is difficult to find people who have the breadth and depth of experience to be competent judges while still having a degree of separation from the people they are judging. Selecting the judges will be difficult and, doubtlessly, regardless of the choices, will attract some criticism – we will need to cop this criticism so long as we can adequately justify our selections. SPECIALIST JUDGING PANELS: If it wasn’t hard enough to find a credible and independent panel of judges, it

would seem that more than one panel is inevitable. To do the submissions justice the Education categories need specialist judges, as do the more general installation categories. Perhaps the Innovation Award could be judged by a ‘full bench’ of appointed judges. SUBMISSIONS PROCESS: It has been suggested that each submission would need to attract a nominal fee (say, $100 or so). This would help defray the costs of convening judges, as well as discouraging less-thanserious submissions… ‘no tyre kickers’, in other words. Clearly, the Awards are not a money making venture for any parties concerned but the fee might well ‘kill two birds’ here. INDUSTRY BACKING: Special thanks go to InfoComm, AETM and ALIA. These key associations have

pledged to assist in mobilising members. Any new awards program inevitably suffers from a combination of apathy and/or modesty and hopefully we can overcome both. We need to shine the light on innovators, and innovators aren’t generally the world’s best self-publicists.

“The AV industry needs an Awards program to help recognise those who are truly pushing the industry forward and to give everyone a goal to aim for beyond that of just completing the project and keeping our clients happy. It’s great to see AV and Integrate taking on an issue that many have discussed in recent years. I hope that the industry will embrace this proposed Awards program and that we can use it as a great opportunity to come together and celebrate the achievements of our peers.” Peter Swanson Director Audio Visual, WSP Lincolne Scott

“The proposed AV Awards fill a void. Currently the only industry accolades go to those who sell the most or have the biggest budgets. This has nothing to do with innovation. B&H is right behind saving our clients money with smarter thinking – a $100k job can often be a $50k job thanks to an innovative design. So it’s not all about the biggest, the brightest or the flashiest, there are other criteria, and I like the fact that this proposal recognises this fact. I look forward to hearing more.” Barry Smith Managing Director, B&H Australia

“The AV industry in Australia has always been some kind of huge dysfunctional family. Competitors fight like cats and dogs over all sorts of issues, but at the end of the day we’re all family! When the chips are down there’s always been a kind of unwritten camaraderie. Competitive feelings get cast aside when we get together over a couple of beers, talk about past triumphs and disasters, or simply put faces to names. Our industry has sadly lacked an organisation to bring us together for some years. A categorised awards program is a perfect forum to make this happen.” Lester (Doc) Jurott Haycom QLD

Your comments and suggestions are not only invited they’re required. Please get in touch. Get online to view the proposed Awards categories: Christopher Holder Co-Director of Alchemedia Publishing & Events

Andy Ciddor AV Editor



Exploring a New Dimension

technology becomes cheaper and easier to use. What we haven’t done, and what it is going to be very difficult to do, is use 3D imaging to replace the vast majority of video image systems that we currently deploy. Live 3D image capture, processing and replay systems are almost infinitely more complex to implement than the 2D systems we use today. The pan, the zoom, the track and the jump cut are quite terrifying tools in the hands of an inexperienced 3D image maker, and pretty much everyone falls into that category. Look around at the promised crop of 3D films currently in production, and there are quite a few. They are all animated or computer generated productions. The process of making 3D productions with live images has not really begun in earnest. The only live 3D TV that I know of was an experimental sport narrowcast in the US. It was done with a relatively small number of jury-rigged TV cameras running through a jury-rigged vision mixer, signal processing and transmission path. About the only part that was moderately easy to implement was the 3D graphics and captioning. The post-mortem discussions of that broadcast will echo on for some years to come. Nevertheless, there is great pressure being brought to bear on us to move up to 3D – ready, willing and able or not. We will be asked to design, build, operate and maintain these systems, so it’s time to start inventing a whole new world of ideas for working with 3D. It really is much more complicated than doubling the frame rate of the images we display.  Get in touch with AV and share your stories of clever designs, interesting ideas, and strategies, products, and projects that exploit useful technologies and equipment. Contact AV’s editor, Andy Ciddor at

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Now that high definition screens have established a sound commercial beachhead on the community’s shopping lists, and everyone is anxious to watch predominantly up-converted PAL 625/50 television and up-converted 576/25 DVD video on their technologically advanced 1080/25/50/100/200 screens, it surely must be time to move on. Just as we have to keep developing more technologically demanding computer and console games because it’s the only available mass market for all that processing power, so we keep developing screens and projectors with the ability to put more pixels on the screen more often. The problem is what to do with all those extra pixels every second, when we already have images of sufficient horizontal and vertical resolution for most tasks and we can’t make the pixel pitch very much lower to increase the visual resolution. We’ve already tried scanning more often, but once you get to a small multiple of the image scan rate, there’s nothing much to be gained. The answer would appear to be: let’s show alternating images on the same screen and thus give our viewers 3D. Great idea. Nobody has a 3D TV or projector in their office, boardroom or home at the moment, so they will just have to buy one. So why do we need 3D images? We in the AV business already know the answers to that, because we’ve been dealing with 3D image systems for longer than it’s been possible to build them. Three dimensional CAD modelling is extremely useful, similarly, 3D systems are excellent tools for complex data visualisation, geophysical modelling, medical imaging, terrain modelling, physical and structural chemistry, geographic modelling and a vast range of other tasks. We are already taking up every 3D projector and screen the moment they hit the market and using them to simplify, brighten and sharpen all of the things we’ve been doing for years and opening up other opportunities as the

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

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 ( Advertisement Manager: Stewart Woodhill ( Editorial Director: Christopher Holder (

Jason Buchanan has been an audio front of house and monitors operator for over ten years, primarily with national and international bands and corporate events. For the past three years Jason has worked as an account and operations manager within key five star corporate venues and production warehouses in Melbourne. Now currently freelancing, Jason is migrating further into theatre production and audio system design.

Publisher: Philip Spencer ( Art Direction & Design: Dominic Carey ( Additional Design: Heath McCurdy ( Deputy Editor: Brad Watts ( Circulation Manager: Mim Mulcahy (

Scott launched Auditoria Pty Ltd on completion of his Masters in Design Science at USYD and leading into his role as Audio Director for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. Since then Scott has designed audio and technical systems for some of the world’s largest events including World Youth Day 2008, whilst providing technical consultancy for permanent installations in the Australasian region. Knowing all too well how overcomplicated audio can be presented, Scott and the team at Auditoria are bringing us back to the principles.

alchemedia publishing pty ltd (ABN: 34 074 431 628) PO Box 6216, Frenchs Forest, NSW 2086 All material in this magazine is copyright © 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. 17/11/09

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.

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Issue 8 REGULARS NEWS News from the AV world


INFOCOMM NEWS Regional news from InfoComm


TERMINATION Conference Call Hits Shopping Mall



20 42


JINIAN GAMES Paul Collison tags along to a quaint local sports carnival in China.


SOMETHING IN THE AIR AV provides the ups and downs of the SimJet flight simulator.


HORSING AROUND Outback Spectacular 2 lives up to its name.


THE DA VINCI MODE State-of-the-art AV and renaissance art collide in Leonardo’s Last Supper.


SAIL OF THE CENTURY The Sydney Opera House has new concert rig. And there’s a story to tell.


TUTORIALS EVERY PIXEL IS SACRED Part I of our edge blending tutorial.


PREACHING TO THE CONVERTED The fundamentals of digital signal processing.


CLASSROOM ACOUSTICS Hostile pupils, hostile acoustics.


DEFINING ROLES An AV project management team under the spotlight.






INTER-M PAC500 A zone mixer with a difference.


EPSON EB-7000WU LCD Projector












Symetrix announces the launch of the AirTools Multiband Processor 2m. This 1RU stereo DSP unit satisfies a variety of broadcast, production, and mastering needs. A Windows interface provides setup and real time control of all parameters directly from a PC or via a LAN. The 2m signal path is a collection of DSP tools that include filtering, de-essing, automatic gain control, EQ, four-band compressing, limiting and soft clipping. In one of many applications the 2m is ideal for simulating air chain processing on headphone cue sends. User settings saved into any of 50 preset memory locations can be recalled via front panel, optional hardware remote, 2m Windows software, on board Event Scheduler, or IP-based automation commands. Custom programming includes 16 factory presets including settings for music formats, podcasting and mastering. Advanced filtering, dynamics processing, and clipper modules assure predictable, consistent audio for mission-critical applications such as satellite uplinks. Production Audio Services (03) 9264 8000 or

Sanyo’s new PLC-XM150/150L and PLC-XM100/100L projectors, come with Sanyo’s Active Maintenance Filter (AMF) system, and a new optical engine. Touted as ’the highest brightness projector in its class’, the PLC-XM150/150L is rated at 6000 lumens, more than enough light output to fill a decent conference hall or auditorium. While still considered a high brightness product, the PLC-XM100/100L offers a version rated at 5000 lumens. An inorganic liquid crystal panel was incorporated into the newly developed optical engine and, combined with a superior cooling technology, allows both projectors to boast such brightness levels. The light efficiency is approximately 20 percent higher compared to Sanyo’s conventional models, enabling big screen projection in large venues and well-lit areas, which also lends itself to handling digital signage. There are five lens options for the PLC-XM150/150L and PLC-XM100/100L, enabling the best lens selection for the installation site. Both models are sold with or without lenses. Sanyo Oceania: 1300 360 230 or

Barco’s OL rear projectors come with Sense6, a sensor technology which co-ordinates across multiple rear-projection modules to provide brightness and colour stability over time, and across the entire video wall screen. An integrated spectrometer continuously measures brightness and colour characteristics of the full visual spectrum. Sense6’s algorithms monitor the outputs of these spectrometers in real time and then dynamically adjust all the projectors of the video wall to generate an image that is most suited for viewing by the human eye. Unlike factory calibrated systems, the OL continuously measures and adjusts colour and brightness in real time and therefore requires no maintenance or manual adjustments. Barco’s LED-lit video walls also have a heat management system based on liquid cooling to counteract the effects of high temperatures on the LED light sources. In comparison to heat pipe systems, Barco’s liquid system can provide an additional 10 degrees of temperature decrease on the LED light source. This effectively doubles the lifetime of the LED light source and reduces noise substantially. Barco: (03) 9646 5833 or


The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) announced on November 10th that it has adopted Apple’s Mini DisplayPort (mDP) as a standard, meaning that it will be available for other companies to license through VESA. According to the organisation: “The mDP standard defines the mechanical dimensions of the mDP connector and the cable assemblies and adaptors that are supported. Devices using the mDP connector will meet all the electrical and protocol

specifications required by DisplayPort 1.1a, and cable assemblies incorporating an mDP connector at either or both ends must meet the cable assembly electrical specifications required by the standard.” As a standard, other companies will be able to adopt the technology for their own products. If this happens, Apple’s portable line will be able to use third-party displays with mDP support without adapters, and the same will be true of Wintel users when using Apple displays.

Auditoria, an audio and technical consultancy specialising in major events and fixed installations, was this October, pleased to have won The Best Achievement in Technical Production award for its work on World Youth Day 2008 at the inaugural Australian Event Awards. The Australian Event Awards were established to celebrate and recognise the excellence in events and to celebrate the outstanding success within the industry. The judging panel of event industry experts, co-chaired by Johnny Allen and Sandy Hollway, was

particularly impressed with the calibre and diversity of events from all across Australia. “From Australia’s work in the Beijing 2008 Olympic Torch Relay to the community events in Warrnambool City Council, the 2009 Australian Event Awards is proud to reward excellence across all sectors of our thriving national events industry,” said Johnny Allen, Foundation Director of the Australian Centre for Event Management. Auditoria: (02) 9660 9800 or

The Matrox M9188 is capable of running eight 2560x1600 displays simultaneously. While most of us can barely handle the eye strain that comes from working with dual monitor systems here at the AV office, not to mention the excruciating neck pain from flitting between dual monitors like some clockwork pigeon, we were pretty stunned to learn of a graphics card that’s powerful enough to handle so many displays simultaneously. Potential beneficiaries include our good friends in the AV industry:


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4/LIFE-SIZE TELEPRESENCE LifeSize Communications recently announced its 220 Series telepresence products. The series is the first embedded full HD multipoint control unit supporting up to eight sites. It’s also the first HD video system with embedded full HD MCU for under $16,000, and the first full HD video communications system for under $9500. The 220 series supports both 1080p30 and 720p60 video, along with dual display support and integrated content sharing. LifeSize Adaptive Motion Control features are standard on 220 series products, enabling distributed teams to collaborate in real time. Priced for broad deployment, LifeSize 220 systems deliver HD video at just 768kbps, extending the reach of telepresence communications to any size business. Features include a maximum supported bandwidth up to 8Mbps, eight-way MCU with continuous presence and voice activated switching, and LifeSize Adaptive Motion Control to dynamically adapt to changing network conditions to aid visual motion control and clarity. LifeSize Communications: (03) 9700 0851 or

financial traders, system control room jockies, and moon-tanned ‘internet’ addicts. The card under scrutiny is a PCIe X16 device, which comes with 2GB of video RAM and is compatible with Windows 7, Vista, XP, and Linux. The even better news is you can combine two M9188 cards to form a seamless desktop that stretches across 16 monitors. Hop over to the Matrox website for the lowdown. Matrox Graphics:

The DVI-6000 by MultiDyne, is designed for the transport of DVI-I, RGB-HV and DVI-D over a single fibre, presenting a vital building block for any pro A/V or broadcast fibre optic installation. A key breakthrough for the DVI-6000 lies in its ability to offer SMPTE-compliant data transport, converting all formats into a SMPTE-compliant 3G optical and electrical transport stream. Gencom Technology: (02) 9888 8208 or

Epson's new EH-DM3 projector includes an integrated DVD/DivX player, virtual surround sound stereo speakers, a projector that can be used indoors or out, and sophisticated automated ambient light sensing and keystone image correction. An auto colour optimiser in the DM3 reads ambient lighting conditions and adjusts the projector’s brightness and colour settings to give the optimum picture for each environment. Price: $1249 Epson: (02) 8899 3666 or

• Up to 110MHz tuning range • 256 bit RC4 signal encryption for secure audio transmission • 2-channel digital true-diversity receiver • No Compander (used in analogue systems): higher sound quality • On-board DSP per channel (Compressor, EQ, Limiter) • Quick setup via infrared data link to the transmitter • Graphical spectrum analyser helps find clear channels • Remote monitoring and control via PC












Listen Technologies has a full range of FM products to accommodate the auditory needs of the Australian market. Operating in the 150MHz range, these products offer solutions for language interpretation and/or assistive listening for theatres, boardrooms, meeting/ training facilities and houses of worship. The products are also appropriate for tour group communication. Offering 32 channels, easily-read LCDs, customisable options and a wide selection of earphones, antennas and case accessories, Listen’s new line provides solutions for applications of all sizes. The products line includes a stationary transmitter, a portable transmitter, and two display receivers. Features include an 80dB signal-to-noise ratio, and up to six simultaneous transmitted channels, and, of course, Australian certification. National Audio Systems: (03) 9761 5577 or

DAS Audio launches two digital signal processors for audio management. The DSP 2060 and DSP 4080 Digital Signal Processors use 24-bit converters running at 96k on both inputs and outputs, providing a bandwidth of over 30kHz and a dynamic range exceeding 116dB. Two or four balanced inputs, and up to eight balanced outputs, offer increased flexibility. Any input or combination of inputs can be assigned to any output, forming a flexible matrix. To simplify configuration, a template selection is available to set-up the system. The DSP-4080 is equipped to operate with the latest AudioCore control software developed by XTA, which allows remote control of the DSP-4080 Audio Management System. The software allows up to 32 units to be controlled via a PC computer using RS232 or RS485 interfaces and via a wireless network, and is compatible with Windows 98/ME/2000, NT and XP. Magna Systems: (02) 9417 1111 or

As the next step in Alcons’ Digital Cinema sound system program, the company has developed the CR4 largeformat pro-ribbon cinema front system, specifically aimed at medium to large applications where maximum projection control and non-compressed digital sound reproduction are required. The CR4-system functions as a true line source. This combines maximum acoustical output (through driver coupling) with optimised projection control, making large waveguides obsolete, enabling a shallow system design of only 35cm. The CR4-system has a three-way configuration, with double 15-inch woofers for low-frequency reproduction. The medium-frequencies are reproduced by an array of four 6.5-inch units in a dedicated wave-guide. The highfrequencies, already starting at 1kHz, are reproduced by a pro-ribbon HF section, featuring an array of Alcons’ four-inch pro-ribbon drivers, each with optimised waveguide and impedance. Loud & Clear Audio: (02) 9439 9723 or




Soundcraft is now offering a Vi Series control surface for applications where space is tight. The new Soundcraft Vi2 inherits all the basic functionality of its larger brothers, the Vi4 and Vi6, but measures just 850mm – around half the width of a Vi6. The Soundcraft Vi2 is equipped with one channel section of eight input faders, and the master section, which also houses eight faders. The Vi2 can handle as many inputs as a Vi4 or Vi6 (72 and 96 channels, respectively) using the standard stage box and local rack hardware, with access to eight inputs at a time on the channel bay. By touching the input meters on the Vistonics screen of the master section, control of those inputs is brought onto the channel faders, along with all the channel functionality such as EQ, auxes and groups, etc. Jands: (02) 9582 0909 or

Medialon announces its Showmaster Pro and Showmaster iPro. The series offers an all-in-one controller system, with relevant interfaces such as DMX, MIDI, serial, timecode, digital I/Os, and of course, TCP/IP. Applications are programmed in much less time than with conventional control systems, with no coding required. Showmaster Pro, an embedded show controller, is especially designed for medium to large Show Control applications where a large amount of devices require additional interfaces. The Showmaster iPro is for applications requiring complex PLC control in sync with accurate Show Control, such as ride, attraction and architectural show control. The unit comprises a Medialon control engine in a Siemens mEc PLC running in parallel with the regular Siemens realtime environment and connected to Medialon ioBox for DMX, timecode, and serial extensions. Show Logic: (02) 9906 1889 or

Taking display technology to another level, Christie MicroTiles are built on DLP technology and are specifically designed for maximum image quality in demanding indoor, high ambient light environments. MicroTiles are suitable for a range of applications, including architectural elements, advertising, command and control video walls, and event production. Leveraging the strengths of both DLP projection and LED technology, MicroTiles offer brighter images and a much wider colour palette than conventional flat panel LCD and plasma displays. With no practical limit to the number of tiles in a display, Christie MicroTiles produce a virtually seamless (1mm between tiles) canvas with an unlimited number of super-fine pixels. With a ‘building block’ format and small footprint, MicroTiles provide designers freedom to specify and install a digital media display to fit any commercial or public space. With a depth of only 260mm, and weighing only 9.4kg, MicroTiles fit virtually any environment you can think of. VR Solutions: (07) 3844 9514 or

The Short Throw Projector with a new vision. The new Hitachi CP-D10 Short Throw Projector. The CP-D10 is ideal for use in presentation environments where space may be limited. The projector features a short throw distance of 92.7cm that projects an 80-inch image, eliminating image obstruction in front of the screen. To find out more about short throw technology and for your chance to win a Hitachi LCD data projector, visit

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The Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre has become the only convention centre in Australia to hook up to Telstra’s Digital Video Network (DVN), enabling live television broadcasts to occur from the venue without the hassle of satellite links and outside broadcast vans. The upgrade of the centre’s analogue fibre optics system to join the DVN opens the way for television networks to broadcast digitally from the centre during major events and for event organisers to send video news releases direct to television stations. With the centre able to receive or transmit live broadcasts from any room in the venue, organisers will also be able to coordinate high quality live broadcasts of keynote speaker presentations. The new service further boosts the centre’s impressive audiovisual capabilities, which include the boutique production unit, Centre Video Production (CVP), featuring three high definition editing suites. First to use the centre’s DVN facility was Sky News, which broadcast live from the venue throughout the Federal Australian Labor Party conference held in late July. For bookings contact Daniel Daley at CVP on (02) 9282 5301

Hitachi Australia recently announced the CP-D10 shortthrow projector – the first product from the Hitachi short-throw projector promising quality at affordable prices. The CP-D10 projector uses a free-shaped plastic lens that allows it to achieve a short-throw distance of only 93cm for a very sizeable 80-inch screen. As a result, lessons and presentations can be made in limited spaces without the audience being distracted by constant presenter shadowing. The CP-D10 features a brightness of 2000 ANSI lumens, a 400:1 contrast ratio and XGA resolution. Ambient sound is kept to a minimum through the fan design, achieving a low noise of 28dB in Eco mode. The hybrid filter included in the CP-D10 reduces maintenance and cleaning session intervals from 400 to 4000 hours. The Hitachi CP-D10 also benefits from various security functions including a PIN lock and a security bar that allows safety chains to be securely attached. The added MyScreen function also increases security by identifying the owner of the projector by displaying an unchangeable, personalised screen at startup. Price: $2145. Hitachi Australia:

ClearOne has announced the Converge Pro VH20, the latest member of ClearOne’s Professional Conferencing family of products. The VH20 provides a direct connection between Converge Pro audio conferencing systems and VoIP PBX phone systems so users can transport audio signals across their IP networks. The VH20 links with any of ClearOne’s Converge Pro products to create a complete audio conferencing system that can quickly be integrated with Cisco, Avaya and other VoIP PBX phone systems for complete interoperability. The Converge Pro VH20 delivers wide-band audio and ensures full security with TLS, AES and SRTP encryption. “The majority of enterprise phone systems currently utilise converged voice-and-data networks to support today’s advanced communication services,” said Scott Woolley, Product Marketing Director, Professional Audio, at ClearOne. “The addition of the VH20 to the Converge Pro product line makes our HDConference audio quality available to organisations using these converged communication systems.” Production Audio Services: (03) 9264 8000 or


Sirius 3-D’s ColorCode 3-D division specialises in the development of 3-D stereoscopic hardware and viewing products based on its ColorCode 3-D system. The company co-operates internationally through a variety of partners with the primary aim of providing better communication and entertainment to consumers, creative professionals, companies, and large cinemas and viewing studios. ColorCode 3-D takes you to the bleeding edge of presentation, and helps to attract full attention from your customers

and audience by delivering the ‘most powerful visual experience available’. The ColorCode 3-D Division of Sirius 3-D was chosen to provide the supporting technology behind ‘3D Week’ on the UK’s Channel 4, kicking off on 16th November. As part of the UK-wide promotion, 10 million ColorCode 3-D glasses were given away at Sainsbury’s supermarkets. “From The Queen’s Coronation to Disney’s Hannah Montana, to Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein – all can be experienced with true

stereoscopic depth right in your home when 3D Week airs,” enthused Steen Iversen, CEO of Sirius 3-D. “And if ‘Flesh for Frankenstein’ becomes too much for you in 3-D, you can simply take off the ColorCodeViewer (3-D specs) and experience it in normal 2-D. With ColorCode 3-D, spectators – with or without the 3-D glasses – will never witness unwatchable double images, as was the case with earlier systems.” Apparently, if ‘spectators’ aren’t wearing the glasses, they’ll still

be able to view a coherent 2-D image with minimal artefacts. As Iversen explains, this is just one of the many benefits the ColorCode 3-D system has over competing technologies. “Our 3-D glasses have amber and blue filters built into them: amber for colour information, blue for depth. The advantage of ColorCode 3-D is, compared with the old-style anaglyph (red/green) glasses used for early 3-D movies or the polarised glasses used in 3-D cinemas nowadays, the technology allows content to be

watched using the naked eye and still provide an acceptable viewing experience. Additionally, for the Channel 4 event, we implemented a special broadcast processing so that anyone watching 3D Week while wearing the glasses will get a noticeable 3-D effect – not just those on a high-quality digital connection, but also those on an analogue connection, on a lowerbandwidth SD connection, or using a digital receiver connected with an antenna cable, S-video or composite rather than HDMI. Furthermore, we have developed

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4/GEFEN BREAKS DISTANCE BARRIER Connectivity enthusiast, Gefen, recently announced the release of its HDMI v1.3 over Cat-5 ELR (extra long range) extender. This sender/receiver system sends high definition video with audio, Ethernet and IR back channel up to 100m over a single Cat-5 cable, nearly double the distance previous systems could reach using two Cat-5 cables. The ability to extend Ethernet allows IP-based applications to be easily integrated into the system, and an IR blaster allows the remote source to be controlled by an IR remote pointed at the display. Resolutions up to 1080p/60 full HD supporting lip sync, and 8.1 digital audio with Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio, are delivered instantly from the local source to the extended display. The sender unit connects to the source, while the receiver unit connects to the display. Amber Technology: (02) 9452 8600 or The Professional Choice From wireless and wired microphones to versatile A/V mixers offering integrated control with a variety of projectors - Sony’s comprehensive range of pro audio solutions offers an assurance of reliability, quality and consistency. With a host of systems and accessories to choose from, together with proven performance in broadcast, production and AV applications, it’s hardly surprising that Sony’s pro audio range is the professional choice. a live 3-D transmission system with ColorCode 3-D encoding in real-time, so that Channel 4 can incorporate live broadcasts into the 3D Week schedule.” During the 3D Week, Channel 4 screened a variety of 3-D shows shot and post produced by Can Communicate. Scheduled highlights included neverbefore-seen footage of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953, which was shot in 3-D stereo and has since been restored by Can Communicate with support

from Sirius 3-D. There was also a ‘3D Magic Show’ presented by Derren Brown, along with a number of classic 3-D movies and TV experiments from the past four decades. “Once you have acquired content using two cameras stereographically, you can make a 3-D commercial in almost any format,” concluded Iversen. “With 3D Week on Channel 4, we aim to demonstrate to the broadcast industry not only that spectators can have a hugely enjoyable

experience regardless of their home equipment setup, but also that the 3-D content creation workflow is nothing to be afraid of – on the contrary, it is established, controllable, flexible, and ready to go, right here, right now. And you no longer have to worry about spectators getting offended by blurry double images.” Sirius 3-D Colorcode Division: or

PCM-D50 Linear PCM Recorder The latest addition to Sony’s family of portable audio recorders, built rugged and compact to withstand the demands of any environment. • 96kHz/24 bit, virtually noise-free recording quality • 4GB internal Flash Memory, plus expandable Memory Stick Pro-HG Duo™ slot for up to an additional 4GB 1800 017 669








Dadco, manufacturer of the Sunray line of HMI type discharge lighting fixtures for motion picture and television, introduced two new 24kW discharge light fixtures, the Challenger and the G4, in September this year. Both products have a convertibility feature that allows each to operate as a 12, 18 or 24kW light. The Challenger and the G4 24kW are billed as being the first single source discharge lights that outperform DC-powered carbon burning arcs, once the staple of the motion picture industry. For over 30 years, attempts have been made to perfect a singlesource Fresnel light that would match the output of the carbon burning arc. The Challenger and G4 are said to produce 30% more output than the 18kW discharge light. Dadco: +611 818 768 8886 or

Melbourne’s Federation Square integrates civic spaces, a transport hub, tourist and civic facilities. At the centre of it all is a giant 16:9 high-definition LED screen, which provides visual communication and entertainment as well as coverage of live sporting events. This is FED TV, and it plays a central role in building the buzz for Fed Square’s myriad events. During October this year, AV specialists Rutledge Engineering installed a substantial PA system for FED TV, using a line array solution for the main front-ofhouse system, and a couple of full-range units to act as a secondary in-fill speaker system. To drive both the main speaker hangs and in-fill speaker system, Rutledge Engineering turned to Group Technologies for Camco 3000W Vortex 6 amplifiers for the main left and right arrays and subs, with Camco Tecton models handling the supplementary system. Group Technologies: Rutledge Engineering:

Opus by Analog Way is a multi-layer mixer scaler seamless switcher with universal analogue and digital input/output and full hig- resolution digital processing. It offers numerous live effects including keying and moving PiP, as well as two operation modes: Multi Layer Mixer and 12 x 2 Seamless Native Matrix. In Multi Layer Mixer mode, Opus uses one output as a preview and the other main output for the audience. Due to its full frame and logo memory, Opus can display up to six layers: three live sources, one frame and two logos. Live Layers can be customised with various attributes: Borders, Movements, Zoom or Transparency. Seamless Native Matrix Mode offers a 12 x 2 scaled native matrix with true seamless switching. The switch between any of the 12 inputs can be in cut or fade and synchronised on the two outputs. General features include up to 12 inputs including two fitted with digital DVI and two fitted with SDI. Equipped with TCP/IP and dual RS232, Opus can be updated with new features and functions throughout its lifetime. Axis Audio Visual: (03) 9752 2955 or


Countryman does a tiny, capsule used by broadcasters and announcers worldwide. Revolabs’ HD Wireless Adapter connects the Countryman Microphones range to the Revolabs Executive HD wireless microphone system, or the HD single/dual channel wireless microphone system. The combination provides great sound with wireless convenience without bulky equipment such as a belt-packs or batteries. Production Audio Services: (03) 9264 8000 or

Crestron has opened its 743sqm ‘Experience Centre’ in the US – an atrium-style reception area, cutting edge multimedia presentation room, digital boardroom (pictured), and Theo Kalomirakis home theatre and interactive design studio featuring an ADMS Intermedia Delivery System and Procise 7.3 HD surround sound. The centre provides a great working showcase. Crestron Australia: (02) 9737 8203 or

InFocus Corporation recently announced that it has appointed Revolution Technologies as exclusive distributor of its line of business and home entertainment projectors for Australia and New Zealand. Based in Brisbane, Revolution Technologies specialises in AV, IT and consumer electronics technology products. Revolution Technologies: (07) 3902 8051 or

ASL Safety and Security present Vipedia, a life-safety rated networked DSP audio system. Already veterans of the voice alarm market, in particular for the rail and airport sectors, Vipedia is ASL’s first product for the professional audio industry, and has been specifically developed to bridge the gap between pro audio networks and life safety systems. ASL

Coolux Media Systems is set to unleash v4.5 of Pandoras Box. With over 50 new features, v4.5 now includes a new 3D projector preview system. One of the features, a built-in media encoder, speeds up workflow and offers media encoding and playback for up to 4k video content. An ultra-low latency dual HD-DVI live input board is being introduced as well. Show Technology: (02) 9748 1122 or

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4 4/ADELAIDE CC EX-PANDS The Adelaide Convention Centre has invested in Yamaha’s PM5D-EX (the ‘EX’ stands for ‘Expanded Digital Mixing System’) to meet its growing event production requirements. The complex, which underwent a major extension in 2001 and consistently ranks among the world’s leading convention centres, has a system that comprises Yamaha’s mainstay PM5D-RH V2 digital mixing console packaged with Yamaha’s DSP5D rackmount digital mixing system and DCU5D digital cabling unit. This configuration gives the venue all the inputs, outputs, mixing and processing power of two PM5D-RH consoles – 96 mono and eight stereo inputs, 48 mix buses, four stereo outputs and 16 matrix outputs – all controllable from a single control surface. By using the DSP5D – essentially a PM5D-RH in a remote stage box format – in conjunction with the DCU5D, the Adelaide Convention Centre now has a powerful Cat5 digital multicore solution which can be used up to 100 metres away from the front-of-house mix position. “Audio is number one,” says Richard Builder, Technical Services Manager at the Adelaide Convention Centre. “It’s extremely important. We’re in the communication industry, so first and foremost, we have to distribute speech clearly. For every event that we do, before we do lighting, before we do vision, it has to be audio. Audio quality and dispersion are very, very important.” The PM5D-EX’s input, output and processing capability will be put to greatest use at the Centre’s gala dinners, says Technical Production Supervisor Kevin Farrant: “At the end of the year we do a two-night Christmas party, so corporations can buy one or two tables of 10. And that’s 3000 [people] a night. So we’d definitely be using everything in that – the PM5D out the front, the DSP5D at the other end, and probably a M7CL on monitors.“ Yamaha Commercial: (03) 9693 5272 or

The Professional Choice From wireless and wired microphones to versatile audio/video mixers and recorders - Sony’s comprehensive range of pro audio solutions offers an assurance of reliability, quality and consistency. With a host of systems and accessories to choose from, together with proven performance in broadcast, production and AV applications, it’s hardly surprising that Sony’s pro audio range is the professional choice.

UWP Series UHF wireless microphone package Digico’s EX-007 increases the number of available faders and channels controllable at any one time via its SD7 – and from a distance of up to 100m via Cat5. It’s possible to augment an SD7 with two EX-007s, each acting as control panel to provide 24 faders and two additional touchscreens, as well as metering and other standard functions, turning the SD7 into a 100-fader mixing console. Group Technologies: (03) 9354 9133 or

Taking display technology to another level, Christie MicroTiles are built on DLP technology and are specifically designed for maximum image quality in demanding indoor, high ambient light environments. MicroTiles are suitable for a range of applications, including architectural elements, advertising, command and control video walls, and event production. More on this soon. VR Solutions: (07) 3844 9514 or

Wybron’s Cygnus 200W Wash is a compact, lightweight and self-contained luminaire, and the only fixed-focus luminaire on the market to incorporate red, green, blue, and white elements in a single LED package. This allows colour mixing to occur in the lenses, rather that outside the fixture, and also eliminates distracting rainbow shadows. The addition of a white element to the red, green and blue also means that Cygnus produces pastels. Bytecraft: (03) 8710 0600 or

Each package has a transmitter and receiver so you’re up and running straight from the box! • Space Diversity Reception ensuring stable signal reception • Rugged and lightweight to provide reliability and mobility needed for field and venue applications 1800 017 669



Jinan Games Local sports carnival. Text & Images:/ Paul Collison

The world could take a leaf or two out of China’s book on how to celebrate an occasion. Sure the Beijing Olympic ceremony was seen by 594 million people live across the globe, but how many people saw the opening to last year’s Table Tennis Championships in China? Not many outside the region one would assume, but that didn’t stop the Chinese from putting on a show that was massive by any world standard. The same can be said of the 11th National Games opening ceremony on October 16th in Jinan, China. Not many outside of China witnessed the show. However, with an estimated television audience of 188 million, it was certainly a huge event for China. LIGHTING With a complement of over 1600 moving lights, this was a large lighting system in a relatively small stadium. Think

more Sydney Football Stadium, rather than the MCG. There was always going to be a huge impact with that many fixtures in such a small space. The performance area was essentially the entire field. The space extended from the outside of the running track to the centre of the field. Being a broadcast event the audience and architecture needed to be defined as both a background and a feature.

Six horizontal trusses spanning over 300m each provided lighting positions in the roof: two to light the audience from the rear, and four close to the leading edge of the roof for the field. On top of this there was the old faithful balcony position, which provided an opportunity to light the roof and the lower audience areas in addition to the performance area. The last position, and possibly the most important when it comes to lighting performers in this sort of scale, was the edge of the field. As a pseudo footlight come sidelight position, this provides a great opportunity to light your performers without lighting the floor, thereby providing the designer the chance for at least some contrast between performers and the floor. This also aids in allowing any projection on the floor surface to be read properly. Control was via an ever-faithful grandMA series 1 system. There were five active consoles operating across three sessions, each with its own backup. A classic distribution of 39 network signal processors around the stadium, linked via an optic fibre network, ensured accurate control over the entire show. Chief Lighting Designer Weng Chun Pu admits that the grandMA system was the only choice given the scale of show. “The programming style of the Chinese programmers stems from

the Avolites platform. The grand MA system allows us to program in that style but control many more lights.” PROJECTION A battery of 270 custom built LED source film projectors were used to create 52 discrete images on the field as a backdrop to each segment. Yes, you read it correctly, an LED source, projecting through film. The LED projection units were a custom build by Zhi Gao in Hang Zhou China. Each unit consists of 110 x 5W 6000K LEDs. Based on a similar process to that found in the well-known E\T\C PIGI projection system, these LED projectors have a single roll of film material within which all keystone distortion must be pre-corrected. Each unit is DMX controlled and occupies only six control channels.

Weng Chun Pu explains that for the creative director, the projected images were the cohesive part of the show, “Each image took the audience to a new place. This was important to the telling of the story. Extra care had to be taken with the lighting so as to not affect the image – either live or on camera.” That’s not an easy feat when you consider that at times there were 5000 performers on the field, and that at best there was 300 to 400lux of light on the field from the projectors. There was some colour inconsistency in the output and colour rendering of the projectors, however it was interesting to see LED successfully used as a source in this type of application. STORM IN A TEA CUP In the centre of the arena was a large projection surface supported by four circular trusses; two of 50m diameter and two of 35m. Between each 50m and 35m circle, 15m strips of white nylon, approximately one metre wide, created the projection surface. Small gaps between the strips allowed for some wind to pass and gave the surface the flexibility to invert and change shape throughout the performance. This was achieved



Photo: Zhang Wei Technically simple, but a big winner with audiences – coordinated mass movement wowed the local Chinese television audience of some 188 million viewers.



by simply changing the trim height of each truss. It was quite a simple but ingenious design that allowed for an easy reconfiguration of the space.

In the standard formation, the screens resembled an hourglass: wide at the top, tapered in the middle and wide at the bottom. This flexibility came at a cost. Even though there were small gaps in between each strip, the entire surface still acted as a big sail. Anything stronger than a threeknot wind would distort the shape and move the surface. Consequently lining-up became a nightmare. Once done, the following night the wind would ease and the surface would sit in another position. Although frustrating for the technicians on the ground, their tenacity proved fruitful as the end result was exceptional. Having a projection surface with an area of 1.2 square kilometres gave the space an animated core which the entire performance was centred around.

The upper part of ‘the teacup’, as it became known, was covered by 48 Barco XLM HD30 (2048 x 1080, 6.3kW Xenon lamp, 27k ANSI lumen) projectors. The projection surface was broken up into 24 areas, each area being allocated a pair of doublestacked XLM HD30s for increased brightness. At a throw distance of roughly 120m per projector the result was spectacular. Amazing to the point where the screen became too bright in the context of the show and needed to be pulled back in level to match the rest of the lighting on camera. The XLM 30HDs were fed via a Watchout system which took care of all the blending and warping. The lower part of the screen was lit with more LED Projectors with texture that matched the appropriate content on the upper part. A massive onsite editing team modified content day and night, right up until last minute. The same media creation team was responsible for media creation for the LED projectors. AUDIO A distributed line array system delivered audio to the live audience. The PA for the stadium consisted of four different types. A Meyer Milo system looked after the VIP seats from the arena floor. The remainder of the lower bowl was filled with a locally manufactured LAX line array similar to those used for the Beijing Olympic ceremonies, while the upper bowl was covered by two other locally designed and manufactured line arrays. At FOH, a Soundcraft Si2 console ran all monitoring and broadcast sends, while a Yamaha PM5D looked after the stadium.

Without live music and dozens of headline talent, the audio was a relatively simple affair. There was a

“it was interesting to see LED successfully used as a source in this type of application”



“A battery of 270 custom built LED source film projectors were used to create 52 discrete images on the field” surprisingly small input list, consisting of microphones for protocol segments and some live singers flying above the arena for the finale, in addition to the replay devices. Audio replay was run from a ProTools system that also looked after all time code, click tracks and choreography audio. It was interesting listening to the PA as a foreigner. It seemed that all the nasty mid frequencies were pushed at the expense of clarity. It often sounded too loud and the midrange really sat in your face. Mandarin is tonal based and is often described as almost singing when enunciated correctly. It is not clear why the Chinese favour this type of audio, however it seems omnipresent in the region. AUTOMATION As with most public events of this scale, an automation system rivalling that of any outdoor spectacular you’ve seen of late was built from the ground up. Since the Sydney 2000 Olympic opening ceremony, nearly every large-scale public event has had some sort of flying system. Some are complex, while others simple but effective. The system in Jinan was definitely the later.

To start with, there needs to be some sort of mother structure to support the system. Often this is not easy as these types of production are seldom thought of when designing and constructing a stadium. In this instance, steel wires from the roof above the audience joined at a hub in the centre of the arena. Once this structure is in place, the mechanical lines can be installed. Large electronically-controlled winches were placed on the ground outside the stadium. Two steel cables per ‘line’ are then run up to the roof and diverted to the hub, from where the cable is diverted 180° back to another winch. This then allows you to push and pull your point across the stadium. In order to add a vertical position to your point, a secondary line is run out to the first point. You can now drop a piece of scenery while

moving it into the centre of the performance space. Now repeat this a hundred times and you have something close to the Jinan system. The technique for the teacup screen was much simpler as there was no need to move it laterally, only up and down. Each circular truss was suspended by up to 16 support points. Built by Long Ying Automation, a well respected company that provides automation services for many film and television projects in China, the system was driven by proprietary control software.

Above: The view from the lighting control position during a technical rehearsal. Below: The top of the hourglass is covered by 48 Barco XLM HD30 DLP projectors, while the bottom is covered by a multitude of custom-developed Zhi Gao LED-powered strip projectors.



BIG PROPS What large scale Chinese show would be seen without large props and lots of LED? The Color Company of Beijing were not only charged with supplying all lighting and vision services, but also with set design and construction. This gave them the unique ability to really integrate these designs into the show and incorporate control back to the lighting system via wireless DMX. Beijing Color is not like your normal lighting supplier. They often focus on only one project at a time and devote almost 100% of their resources to that particular event. Overlooking multiple aspects of the event allows them to utilise labour and other resources more efficiently. The result is a comprehensive focus on the show at hand and the synchronisation of efforts across the board to deliver a show.

The mesh of rigging lines radiating out from the central hub. Those 'birds' down on the field of play are actually flying props.

Like the Olympic Ceremonies 12 months previously and 400 kilometres up the road, this show was big, but followed the same keep-it-simple rule. There was flying, more lights than you can point a DMX cable at and a video screen to make many an event producer squirm with glee. Add to this an excess of fireworks and enough to PA to fill two stadiums and you have the makings of a huge show, but underscored with simplicity. Above all, it was a show for the people. Too often it seems, we try to produce shows that are technically amazing. But do the audience really get wowed by a thousand moving lights doing a complicated chase, or are they equally excited by scores of people moving in time waving flags and smiling? In this instance, it seems it was both. ďƒ­

Far left: Looking like something knocked up in your grandad's garage, many hundreds of Zhi Gao LED-powered strip projectors covered both the field of play and the bottom section of the hourglass projection surface. Right: A stacked pair of Barco XLM HD30 projectors.

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Something in the Air … or not, as we investigate the latest in flight simulation. Text:\ Tim Stackpool

A new installation in Queensland is set to send the flight simulator market into a flat spin with a new low-cost development for SimJET by Brisbane-based VR Solutions. This new philosophy of flight simulator allows trainee pilots to log hours on a platform using a new custom technology called VR Sync along with Microsoft’s Flight Simulator X application. VR Solutions project developer Alisdair Paterson believes that the display system for the Boeing 767-300 simulation is quite unique. “What makes this different is the cylindrical screen, it’s not faceted,” he explained. “It’s a blended display system, not individual surfaces butted together. The overall resolution is fairly large as well at approximately 5300 x 1080 pixels. It also uses a PC cluster to run the graphics with 4 high end computers to deliver the 3 channels of graphics, one to each projector.” The SimJET simulator uses Christie Digital HD high resolution projectors incorporating

the Christie automatic calibration system known as AutoCal, together with VR Solutions’ VRSync software application. Each element was designed specifically to work with SimJET’s custom made high resolution onemetre satellite terrain data (i.e. shows details over one metre in size). VR Solutions managed the supply and installation of the Christie Digital HD projectors with AutoCal and custom developed the new VRSync software whilst working on the project. Does the world need another flavour of industrial simulator? Apparently so. This particular flight simulator technology was developed after a gap was identified in the low cost, aircraft-specific training device market. This gap has arisen from a pilot shortage which has required airlines to progress pilots faster than might have been previously comfortable. Airlines have consequently been forced to convert lesser experienced cockpit crew, with minimal flying hours or limited aircraft type

experience, into pilots capable of flying modern commercial aircraft. Whilst carrying out this skill upgrade, inconsistencies were found in the level of competency of both First Officers and Captains. IT FLIES BUT DOESN'T MOVE

This new ‘fixed base’ flight simulator (no hydraulically-operated moving platform is used) provides a low cost aircraft-specific training system for airlines to address training competency levels, and effectively extends the capacity of their existing full-motion simulators. “The visual system is based around Christie Digital Matrix HD4K with embedded Twist,“ said Paterson. “The Christie Twist allows geometric remapping of the flat plane image onto the cylindrical surface. The 5000ANSI lumen projectors are built for 24/7 operation, with a Xenon lamp based chassis. The custom built PC cluster uses fibre optic


Photos: Richard McMullen Pilot's-eye view from the SimJet simulator. The Orbx terrain data for Australian airports in FSX is very detailed.

“It's a blended display system, not individual surfaces butted together�



Photo: André Paulke


Photo: Richard McMullen

Top Left: The VR Solutions-designed gantry with its rigid mountings for the three Christie Matrix HD4 projectors that provide a full wraparound coverage of 150o. Above: The SimJet facility uses a cylindrical screen with seamless blended coverage, rather than the more common arrangement of segmented flat panels found in commercial simulators. Left: The gantry straddles the earth-bound cockpit. There are no hydraulically-driven pitch, tilt and yaw mechanisms on this firmlygrounded simulator platform.

Photo: André Paulke

DVI-D transport to feed the projectors. The high resolution terrain detail was provided through the Orbx FTX enhancement for Flight Simulator. There is a network tool used also for integration of the cluster using Microsoft’s Flight Simulator X.” The PC cluster uses Intel Core i7 920 Processors with 6 GB of RAM per machine and Inno3D 1GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 285 GPU video cards overclocked to gain the speeds required. For storage, the array boasts 64GB Solidata X4 solid state drives. The entire system is run on a Windows 7 x64 Ultimate platform. FRAMES IN LOCK STEP

VR Sync, which has been in production since late 2007, was developed to frame lock the PC cluster so that if the pilot banked sharply for example, all of the display channels would remain in sync, and no tearing or delaying of

the blended channel occurs. This is generally considered the main ‘achilles heel’ of the using PC clusters. The software was first devised when initial testing of the Microsoft’s ESP simulation engine across multiple blended channels using other software products, displayed a disappointing result, with a far from seamless image. According to VR Solutions, the VRSync software is currently the only available software capable of keeping the video frames close enough together to produce a seamless image. The overall effectiveness is derived from the combination of all systems to deliver a flight training experience that closely mimics the real thing. With the Orbx terrain, ultra high resolution images and a fully operational cockpit fitted out by the team at Flight Deck Training, the experience is an extremely high quality and very accurate visual result for a mere training environment.

The Gantry itself that hosts the projection rig was built from scratch and this had to be extremely rigid as nothing ruins an immersive experience more than a wobbly image. The screen was custom built for a 190 degree horizontal field of view with a 40 degree vertical field of view. VR Solutions designed the screen, the gantry and the optical layouts in concert with Christie Digital. The screens are now a product of VR Solutions and can be made to suit most cylindrical applications. VR Solutions have plans for similar deployments elsewhere in the future. Currently the company is working on a virtual environment project based in India, which will occupy the team for most of 2010, and perhaps beyond. 


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Horsing Around Outback Spectacular 2 – Heroes of the Light Horse Text:/ Tim Stackpool

The Australian Outback Spectacular has been the must see show on the Australian tourist circuit since its debut in April 2006, and apart from some minor changes made about a year ago, the show remained virtually unchanged until its new incarnation Heroes of the Light Horse debuted in October 2009. Using live action, lots of horses, lots of heroes, extensive audio, video, projection and staging techniques, Outback Spectacular 2 tells the story of the legendary Australian Light Horse Brigades of World War 1, particularly the events at Beersheba in Palestine, on 31 October 1917 when the horsemen undertook a last ditch charge across open desert against around 4000 entrenched Turkish infantry. B-I-I-I-I-G SCREEN

With a 35m-wide by 8m-high screen, the new show is all about projection. It begins with an introduction featuring amazing high definition helicopter footage of the Australian landscape.

The screen continues to act as both a backdrop and a story telling medium throughout the show. Prior to implementing the new show, the first quarter of this year was spent evaluating and selecting equipment and finalising the budgets. Rehearsals then commenced in the autumn as script and story development continued. Lighting and audio design began mid-year, while the production’s Director Simon Wincer and Producer John Menzies began shooting the screen content. Commercial realities required the existing show to maintain its five nights per week performance schedule while the new production was being developed, installed and rehearsed. “The final piece of the puzzle – the installation of the new video projection system – happened quite late in the piece at the end of August, and then we were able to go full steam ahead with dress rehearsals and lighting and projection programming,” said Lighting Designer Clinton Dulieu. “Screen content was still being produced and edited right up until opening night.”


The new production required a changeover of the entire lighting control, audio front of house and projection systems, meaning the old systems needed to be operated in tandem until the new show opened. The mostly in-house production team managed the changeover by installing and working on new show components each day until around 3pm, when preparation begins for that evening’s show. “The new Barco FLM HD20 projectors with 1.2 lenses were installed right alongside the existing PIGIs to allow us to run both during the changeover,” reports Dulieu. “Eventually I programmed the old PIGI images into the new projection system, so for the last couple of weeks of the old show we actually ran the new projectors with the old content. One of our biggest concerns was ensuring the roof could handle the additional load of the new projectors at nearly half a tonne per stack.” The original show used a projection system



“Commercial realities required the existing show to maintain its five nights per week performance schedule while the new production was being developed, installed and rehearsed.”

Image courtesy: Australian Outback Experience The show is all about projection. The 35m-wide screen forms an important scenic element throughout the performance – and so of course do all the horses.

based on E\T\C’s Xenon-powered PIGI scrolling film projectors which were by far the finest option available at the time of launching. “The PIGI system obviously had its drawbacks in that we could only do stills projection and the highly exposed nature of the film and projectors meant we had a lot of problems with dirt,” Dulieu told AV. “The film required constant attention and to be cleaned by hand every two weeks – a lengthy and delicate process. Obviously being film-based meant that not only were we locked in to the content that we had, and changes were expensive, but we had to replace the film entirely every nine months which too, was very expensive. When the new film first went in the images did look amazing, however the harsh environment of our venue soon took its toll.” DISHING THE DIRT ON DIGITAL

Several years down the track, the team has embraced the improvements in digital projection, not only in terms of resolution and

brightness, but also in cost. High definition projection was a particular priority for this production, as even at 3500 pixels wide, each projected pixel on a 35-metre screen is around one centimetre across. “We had pretty much narrowed down our equipment choice to video sight-unseen, then Barco arranged a full-scale demo for us on site,” Dulieu said. “It only took one look to sell management on the idea, then we set about designing the system. We went with four Barco FLM HD20 projectors which are hung in two double-stacks. One of the initial reasons for choosing the FLM over something like a Christie Roadster was that the FLM uses a completely sealed, liquid-cooled DLP engine – that’s one problem less to consider when trying to keep the dirt out. “So we brought in Tyson Niepelt from Customised Technical Solutions (CTS) to design an environmental enclosure for the projectors. As a single FLM requires 300 litres per second of air throughput for cooling, each stack must

have total of 600 litres of dust-free filtered air per second. In fact, each enclosure has eight fans, each capable of 150 litres per second of air throughput. Four fans run constantly while the other four are available as on-demand backups. That’s a total capability of just over four million litres per hour.” While the result is hardly a quiet operation, in a rig that includes 300 colour scrollers and 50 moving lights, the projector fan noise just blends with the ambient, albeit relatively high noise level. ROUTINE RUSTLING

Rigging and maintenance of equipment for the show is a major challenge. As there are no catwalks in the venue, everything has to be done from a boom lift, and the production team needs to minimise the number of occasions when the 100kg projectors are lowered down for maintenance. Inside the enclosure, each projector sits on its own cantilevered sliding drawer, secured by its standard three-point



Top Left: Inside a Coffin projection support enclosure there is a monitored power distro, data communications, fibre-to-DVI converters, DVI splitters, UPS, a PLC-based temperature, power and fan monitoring and control system and a row of LED chips to provide an internal worklight. Top Right: A projector enclosure with the air-tight front door open for servicing and the lower FLM HD20 projector pulled out on its rails for maintenance access. The Wybron mechanical dousers can be seen attached to the optical glass door. Left: The AV control area. Right: The AV control area together with the in-house designed stage manager's panel on the left of the picture, bathed in blue worklight. Photos: Clinton Dulieu

couplings. A sealed, optical-glass door on the front of the enclosure provides access to enable filters to be changed, lamps replaced and routine maintenance to be undertaken, without disturbing the line-up of the projectors. A DMX512-controlled Wybron mechanical douser is fitted to the inside of the access door to provide an absolute projection blackout when necessary. Another custom-built enclosure sits above the cable tray adjacent to each of the projector housings. Dubbed ‘The Coffins’, these boxes contain all of the ancillary services and monitoring for the projectors and their cooling systems. Custom distribution boards built by Jands take a standard 40 Amp three-phase mains input and distribute it to the projectors and ancillary equipment. Power status is reported to a customised PLC that drives the whole box.

An uninterruptible power supply provides clean power to the signal equipment and half the fans, to ensure that the projectors don’t over heat, even if in the event of a loss of mains power. A series of redundant 24 Volt power supplies feed the UPS. Gefen converters take the optical data feed from the control booth and turn it back into DVI. Two DVI splitters then split and boost the signal to compensate for the 5m DVI runs to the projectors. The brain of the operation is a custom-coded BARIX PLC developed by CTS which monitors the power and temperature both inside and outside the projector box and drives the cooling fans accordingly. The PLC then reports the system status over the web as well as reporting back to the CTS servers in Sydney where everything is recorded and graphed. This allows for retrospective system analysis in the

event of system failure. The power supply for the Wybron dousers is also in this box. Other little touches make life easier, like LEDs that illuminate as work lights when the access hatch to the coffin is opened, and reporting when someone opens the coffin or the main door to the projectors. The system can also be setup to email or SMS whenever there is a problem, or if an unauthorised person opens the enclosure doors. MEDIA PLAYBACK

Coolux Pandoras Box was selected as the media playback system for the production due to both the available features and the cost-effective price. Three Coolux Media Player Pros feed the projectors, one for each stack and one as a backup, a Coolux standard Media Player handles all audio playback, while a Coolux Distributed in Australia by: Magna Systems and Engineering, Unit 2, 28 Smith Street, Chatswood, NSW 2067 Australia Tel: (02) 9417 1111 Fax: (02) 9417 2394



Left: More horses, more big projection, and more big acting (for a distant audience). Image courtesy: Australian Outback Experience

Media Manager machine ties the whole replay system together. The video replay machines are also fitted with Blackmagic capture cards fed from a Barco/Folsom Image Pro-HD to allow for the possibility of a variety of live inputs. Back on the ground, normality prevails, with the output from each of the three Pandoras Box players being sent via DVI into a Barco 8 x 8 matrix switcher. This then feeds the six DVIto-fibre converters and two 24-inch Samsung preview monitors. The fibre then runs to the projectors. Some spare fibre lines bring the networking info from the projectors back down via Moxa industrial fibre switches. The networking for the projectors feeds into the

show network as does all other intelligent components. The PLC network goes through a VLAN and onto the corporate network, allowing access to the outside world. Strict access and firewall rules govern the traffic to ensure unauthorised traffic or other nasties don’t bring the show network down. The Pandoras Box system is driven from SMPTE timecode as well as DMX over ArtNet. The system is quite versatile, allowing use of some of the layers on the internal timeline or triggered cues, while manipulating other layers on the fly over DMX. This combination of operating styles works extremely well, enabling the bulk of the show to be programmed on

the timeline, then the brand new grandMA2 and timecode can be used to trigger the cues. At the same time, the contact closures on the grandMA2 can be used to trigger cues for projection masks to come in and out. All the output settings for each player can also be controlled over DMX, allowing the operators to easily switch the backup feed between the right and left half projector stack as required. UNBRIDLED AMBITION

The new show is much more technologically complex than its predecessor, and that’s where much of the re-launch budget was spent. The original control ‘booth’ has been superseded

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Many more technical details of the new AOS production, together with heaps more of Clint's technical photos can be found in the Web Extras section of our web site at

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The da Vinci Mode Haughty auteur, Peter Greenaway, presents a very different take on ‘Leonardo’s Last Supper’. Text:/ Jason Buchanan Images:/ Courtesy Melbourne International Arts Festival

One of the Melbourne International Arts Festival’s main drawcards this year was the Peter Greenaway work, ‘Leonardo’s Last Supper’, held at the North Melbourne Town Hall. First shown in Milan in 2008 as part of the I Saloni Fair, Leonardo’s Last Supper is a multimedia production created by visionary film maker and artist, Peter Greenaway, and makes extensive use of multiple projected images layered over a full-size fully-detailed replica of the original da Vinci painting. The production incorporates multi-channel audio, synchronised programmed lighting and a set with fully rendered walls, windows and doorways. Greenaway emphasises the elements of the original masterpiece and brings the layers and forms forward by use of intricate and detailed animation and projection, fusing traditional art with modern multimedia.

The painting and the room almost literally come to life with animations highlighting such elements as the outlines of the human forms and the sunlight streaming through the windows to produce realistic shadows on the figures. The projections identify the human figures in the piece, both as groups and individuals, creating moods, isolating characters, and both reinforcing the colours and textures of the original work, and at times creating new and vastly differing hues and tones. Accompanying the painting is a huge table placed in the middle of the room. On it are simple white objects that replicate the items seen on the table in da Vinci’s painting. Throughout the show the lighting highlights areas of the table and particular items of cutlery and crockery corresponding to similar areas highlighted by

projections onto the painting. The room is filled with visual movement from the lighting and projection and auditory movement created by the multi-channel audio installation. TABLE TABLEAU AV spoke with the Project Manager, Matteo

Massocco, to discover what was involved in bringing such a project to Australia, and how this production differed from its Milan debut. “This is the first time the production has toured outside of Italy where it premiered in 2008. There was a larger setup there, because the space was bigger than what it is here. For the Milan show, which ran for six months, we set up a total of nine video projectors, with nine channels of vision playback using a Dataton Watchout system. Then we also had the opportunity to do


one night where we projected onto the original painting, which was a lot simpler, because you are not allowed to bring almost anything inside the room for conservation reasons. That oneoff show was done with eight projectors with UV filters on them, dimmed down because you can only direct a certain limited level light onto the painting. Now we have come here to Australia as part of the Melbourne Festival, and this particular installation is based on five projectors, one on the main painting clone itself (a Christie Roadster S+16K – 16000 lumen, three-chip DLP), two on the back wall and one on either side of the painting for the side walls (all Christie HD10K-M – 10000 lumen, three-chip DLP). This setup is controlled by five channels of Watchout.”


The cloned painting is the focal point of the work and is the basis for the projection content. The clone was constructed by Factum Arte, a London/ Portugal-based company which specialises in recreations of large artworks. The original Last Supper painting was photographed in sections at very high resolution then recreated right down to the texture of the surface and the exact matching of the tones of paint in the original. Matteo explains the recreation process: “Factum Arte has copied a number of works, but it is not a simple process. It is based on an aluminium frame covered with plaster and the plaster is sculptured in a way to copy the original texture of painting. It is then printed and fixed onto single panels. These have to be stitched


together and retouched. This then becomes four big panels that can be transported and we can set them in place in the venue on scaffolding. Once you have them perfectly set in position and level, all the seams need to be filled and retouched. Touching up the edges by the restoration team takes about five days, and involves filling all the seams with a special material. Once this is dry they have to hand match the exact colours to complete the image.” STARS ALIGN

During the 20-minute performance, the importance of precise alignment of the projection and lighting systems becomes clear. Matteo explains: “In Milan, it was very difficult. Being the first time, we spent a very long time standing in front



“this installation is based on five projectors, one on the main painting … two on the back wall and one on either side of the painting for the side walls”

of the painting and making adjustments. But here it wasn’t as long, as the painting is the same: same dimensions and characteristics. A lot of the work had already been done, so we just had to match it and warp it correctly. “To explain further – the projected image on the main painting was created using the 3D digital compositing tool Eyeon Fusion, and has been pre-rendered in 3D because we have to exactly match the painting. You have masks in various places, but then you have to move every single pixel on a grid to warp it, and when you find the right warp, you then have to render it all with this warping. Any later editing was done using Final Cut Pro and all the images on the main painting have been done using this process. We decided to use Watchout for the projection, because it makes our life easier, not just for playback, but it also helps a lot for the tweaking of the image and was easier to take care of the masking processes on the clone painting.” SUPPORTING CAST

Greenaway uses projection to analyse and annotate the content of da Vinci's painting., playing with the light sources, pointing out the compositional devices and tricks, and even restoring the part of the painting that was lost when a new door was cut in the wall of the monastery.

Although the painting is the focus for the performance, it is supported by other images panning across the surface of the painting from the side panels of the set and images projected on the entire rear wall; a process that Matteo explains: “The side panels are more difficult to cover because you are projecting from the front onto a three dimensional surface. so with Fusion you can set up a virtual camera where the projector will be mounted and this is used to create a render of the surface characteristics you're projecting onto. The virtual camera is used to create an image of the actual surface to allow the projected image to be mapped exactly onto the 3D model. “The main issue of the whole work is we are overlaying the projections on the clone painting, not obscuring it with projected images. What you are seeing is a blend, so matching tones and lines may be very subtle, or may be very sharp… matching and melding within the original.” Other production elements play important supporting roles in Greenaway’s work, as Matteo explains: “The lighting works in strongly with the vision. When the focus is on Christ and the centre of the table on the painting, the same happens on the table in the room with the lighting. This also happens when the blood appears on the table on the painting. When the blood droplets run down, the physical table turns red. The lighting is very reactive to what is happening with the projection on the painting. In regards to the design, we focused more on sharp edges from above the table, so essentially the lighting design was really done in response to the set.”


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THE PROJECT Peter Greenaway Leonardo’s Last Supper is a project by Change Performing Arts and Superintendency for Architectural and Natural Heritage of Milan in collaboration with Municipality of Milan/Culture Council commisioned by Cosmit Milan on the occasion os Salone Internazionale del Mobile 2008 under the patronage of Federlegno-Arredo. A Vision by: Peter Greenaway Visual Design: Reinier van Brummelen Music: Marco Robino Performed by: Architorti Sound Editing: Stefan Scarani High Definition Photography: HAL9000 Digital Characters Sculptor: Rod Seffen Compositing: Neda Gueorguieva Facsimile/Clone Production: Factum Arte Production Director: Franco Gabualdi Technical Director: Amerigo Varesi Light Design: Marcello Lumaca


The audio was being run from a Fostex hard disk recorder, which was the coordinating hub for the show, feeding timecode to both the Watchout system and the lighting console. The audio component itself was spread across six channels, each feeding an independent speaker. Matteo again: “Essentially the audio for the six speakers is simply to create a little depth. There are two central channels for the narrative voice, while the front and the back channels are instrumental parts only. All tracks were recorded on standard stereo originally, and this was then moved to six channels. It really is only a subtle difference with high-end and low-end between front and back.” IN A NEW LIGHT

Peter Greenway has built a reputation for combining his twin obsessions of the visual arts and film-making to produce unusual, confronting and exciting films that break out of their frames in unexpected ways. His work/production/performance/exhibition of Leonardo’s Last Supper is an impressive example of how the visual arts can combine with the arts and technologies of AV to engage audiences and encourage them to look at old and often overlooked art forms in an entirely new light. 

LOCAL PRODUCTION & CONSTRUCTION VIDEO INSTALLATION Haycom Staging: Graeme Trott, Wayne Nietz WATCHOUT PLAYBACK SYSTEM Digital Sets: Mel Padgett AUDIO Optical Audio: Jason Read, Jason Buchanan LIGHTING Active Lighting: Kevin Robotham MIAA: Aaron Hock SET Onset Design: Osman Saathoff RIGGING Element Rigging: Rob Irwin The full-scale replica of the table in da Vinci's Last Supper used in Greenaway's presentation. Objects on the table were selectively illuminated to illustrate Greenaway's narrative.

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Sail of the Century A permanently installed sound reinforcement system for the Sydney Opera House’s flagship Concert Hall. Text:/ Christopher Holder

‘Iconic’: it’s an adjective that’s now used to describe anything from hamburgers, desk lamps and old comedians to hand bags. Anything now has the potential to be iconic, and if you’re a marketeer then best bung the word into every second sentence… just to be safe. The Sydney Opera House is truly iconic. By which I mean it transcends its raison d’etre: it’s far more than a performing arts centre, it’s a national symbol of a young energetic country, with global aspirations far beyond its remote location and

meagre population. It’s inextricably bound up with the other ‘iconic’ images of kangaroos, Uluru and Lara ‘where the bloody hell’ Bingle in a bikini. But with instant international recognition comes a commensurate and considerable international expectation; or in performing arts terms: if you walk the walk, you gotta talk the talk. And, for many years the Sydney Opera House’s Concert Hall wasn’t ‘talking the talk’. At this point, if anyone from the Sydney

Symphony is reading this and arcing up, put the tympani mallets down and back away slowly… the criticism has rarely been in the programming or the performances: it’s been about the sound reinforcement. TURNING UP

Sound reinforcement in the Concert Hall has always been fraught. For a proud and knowledgeable technical staff it’s long been a source of frustration. Sure, the Concert Hall’s


Totally Covered: These two views show the various d&b speaker systems in place: the main nine-element J Series hang, the wide-dispersion Ti Series side arrays, and the four-element Qi Series delays at the back of the hall. You can also spot the cardioid J Subs stacked on stage and Qi10 in-fill. The main J Series array has three modes, or hang heights, depending on the use. These allow the SOH to accommodate a variety of sight line and rigging issues, e.g having a screen behind the orchestra or doing a TV show

prime purpose is to host acoustic orchestral performances, but whenever the amps were turned on, the ‘notices’ were often less than glowing. Something had to be done. Cue: David Claringbold, Technical Director of the Sydney Opera House. But before we hear from David, a little background: the SOH is a big bureaucracy, often as byzantine and intricate as the building’s distinctive architecture. Buying a new rig isn’t as easy as getting a budget and signing a purchase


where the PA needs to be heard but not seen, as well as standard concert positions. The main PA can be vertically adjusted up to 20° in addition to the various height settings. These are ‘touch of a button’ programmable winch positions (with EQ and delay settings to match), much to the relief of the sound crew who, prior to the install, would be routinely up all hours in preparation for an amplified gig. NB: in these photos the main PA hang is set high in ’Speech Mode‘ for symphony purposes.

order, there’s a complex array of stakeholders and gatekeepers to deal with. Claringbold has seen the machinations of the SOH for too long to make the mistake of breezing into a board meeting and saying he wanted a new sound system ‘because it’ll sound better’. David Claringbold: You need to make a business case. So the application was framed as seeking an improvement to the business capabilities of the SOH and resulting sound performances for visitors who expect the best.


Knowing the hurdles that needed to be negotiated, Claringbold set about building a formidable team to give the enterprise its best chance of success. David Claringbold: I’ve had some experience with large tenders and I knew having an objective voice to assist is very important. I contacted Bruce Jackson, who’s well known to the audio community in Australia and worldwide, and asked if he’d like to be involved. Bruce spent a couple of sessions with our sound



team, watching what was going on, talking to them and asking questions. He’s accustomed to going into arenas like Wembley Stadium with artists like Barbra Streisand and getting things precisely how he’d like them. Meanwhile, he was looking at us, thinking ‘why all the compromises when there doesn’t seem to be a reason for them?’. Importantly, Bruce gave our sound team the confidence that he was on their side. Then he did something quite unique: a high-profile jazz artist was due to perform and we’d had quite a few bad reviews about jazz performances in the Concert Hall – it’s a tricky venue for the intricacies of jazz. I asked Bruce what he’d do. He moved some things around, but the main change was to hire $2000 worth of drapes, hang it above the stage and dampen the acoustic down. By chance, much of the board and executive turned up to that show because they liked the artist and for them it was a revelation. From then on we had their undivided attention – they felt comfortable that the people we were dealing with, and the kinds of solutions possible, would match their aspirations. SHOOTOUT

Evans as Chief Executive at SOH accelerated the impetus for change. The essential desire was to encourage international artists from all musical genres to perform here. MONO TO STEREO

Meanwhile, Ralf Zuleeg (Head of d&b’s Application Support department) was beavering away on a stereo solution based around d&b J-Series loudspeakers that would accommodate those international aspirations. The design won the second-round system shootout in 2008. From there, in the interests of certainty, a test system was installed. National Audio Systems, the Australian representatives of d&b, had sold J Series rigs to a number of Australian rental companies and it was now time to hire the gear back. System components came from IJS, with added support from Cairellie and LSV Productions in Sydney. The system comprised a left/right hang of J-Series, with J-Subs, E3 front fills, and Qs for first position side hang, and out above the upper stalls for delays. Ralf Zuleeg, d&b: We ran the system for a show with Anoushka Shankar, daughter of Ravi, with three or four musicians: tablas, percussion, siitar. That’s just what you need, it’s no good running

oversight of the job, with Rutledge Engineering appointed as head contractor and system integrators. Rutledge assembled a team that included: Downer Engineering for electrical, and Harris Movement Engineering (HME) for the specialist mechanical engineering and cable management systems. Rob McCormack, Operations Manager, Rutledge: All projects come with challenges, but working in the Sydney Opera House, and in particular the Concert Hall ceiling, presented challenges quite different to anywhere else we’ve worked. The roof space is so tight and awkward that in the end we, or rather the HME guys, manhandled all the equipment up the stairs by hand. The only exception was the two-tonne chain hoists, which came up in the basket through the ‘bomb bay’ doors. These are a pair of doors directly above centre stage; each approximately 1sqm – they lift out. The basket has a load limit of 450kg and only just fits through the doors with 10mm clearance each side. To raise loads you have to hang out over the void on a harness and push the load around and past some of the acoustic donuts as it comes up. Awkward at best, that’s why it was only used for the really heavy loads that couldn’t be physically carried upstairs. HME has done some fine work, they had to remove some of the legacy gear from the previous sound systems, including a huge winch for a centre cluster which they had to cut up to get out. It was similar for the new gear; the amplifier racks, the cable management systems, the wire winches; all were carried upstairs in pieces and assembled in place. Glenn Harris, Owner HME: The chain hoists for the main J-Series hangs are Lift Champ from GIS in Switzerland. Meanwhile, we purpose-designed Zero Fleet EDH250 250kg drum winches for all the other lighter PA points – the T-Series around the stage and the Q-Series delays out in the house – and they were all designed and built by HME. The Zero Fleet winch drum moves to wind the wire along it, rather than the wire being guided onto the helical drum. We found there simply wasn’t enough room for the wire movement required for the simpler winch type. Positional accuracy is obviously very important, so we run all the hoists and drum winches from a Kinesys Elevation 1+ system, 18 points of axis in total. It’s a very good system. While running as a discrete control system for the loudspeaker hoisting system, it is integrated into the wider E-Stop safety systems within the Concert Hall.

“We now have the answer to all the challenges that have come past here in the last five years, and we can do it well”

David Claringbold: Next we went through the formal process of auditioning the kinds of systems we might like. It was important from Bruce’s perspective that people got to show their wares, and it was illuminating: there are a lot of good sound systems out there. It gave our sound team a chance to engage with Bruce about how to subjectively evaluate a sound system. There were no EASE plots or measurement programs, just our ears, some Sennheiser MD421 mics and a CD player – nothing fancy. Bruce Jackson: The thing is with a shootout, you always get someone ending up on top, that’s the purpose. But we made it as fair as possible; we had them all walk round, listen to what we heard and we gave them our comments. When we heard things we’d make a suggestion and we’d allow them to adjust and then we’d listen again. MOMENTUM

That first shootout was staged in 2004 and based on mono centre cluster submissions – an approach, after considerable modelling and consideration, that was discarded. Then progress stopped… for some two years. It was no coincidence that momentum only returned when David Claringbold returned (from a stint in the ‘private‘ sector)… that and the arrival of a new CEO with a fresh perspective: David Claringbold: The arrival of Richard

a system trial with CDs, because a CD is preEQ’d; they tend to have too much HF and low end, and they never really display the dynamics of a live show. Bruce Jackson expressed concern about the low mid from the side boxes. In that we were agreed: the dispersion from the Q was too tight for the available rigging positions, which put the boxes too close to the target audience. Fortunately, I knew we were about to launch the T-Series; with its wider 105° dispersion and more power. It was perfect, I just needed to persuade David and Bruce. The resulting solution was agreed after Zuleeg returned with a practical demonstration system of the T-Series system. MORE THAN A PA

Selecting the PA was one thing, getting it permanently installed was another matter entirely. Integrating the cabling, the infrastructure and machinery that would drive the system proved to be a serious test of skill and ingenuity. Theatre consultant Peter Holmes from Marshall Day was given


Rutledge Engineering’s NSW State Manager, Nick Orsatti, picks up the story:


Nick Orsatti, Rutledge: For me, the heroes of this project are the guys who were working in the ceiling. Working conditions were just plain awkward and uncomfortable – there is almost nowhere you can work upright, it’s a crouch at best. It’s also hot and humid in the ceiling void. This, coupled with working the graveyard shift for extended periods, made for a very challenging environment. The installation constraints were mind boggling. 3D modelling and the like were used to their full potential during detailed design, but at the end of the day, the hi-tech approach made way for a string line and plumb bobs for the most complex of locations. But lack of symmetry was a killer, you’d drop a line from the roof where surveying and design told you a point needed to be, and when you looked down from in the hall it just didn’t look right; some of the locations were as much as 100mm off. KNUCKLE SANDWICH

This is a double bind: the wooden interior of the Concert Hall is entirely hung off a floorstanding metal framework, independent of the SOH’s outer concrete shell. It poses the question: do you hang what looks right, or what’s geometrically symmetrical? As you might expect, aesthetics wins. But how to make the fine adjustments? HME came up with an ingenious mechanical solution. Glenn Harris, HME: Every connection needed three degrees of freedom worked out before the steel could be installed: vertical angle, horizontal angle, and twist. We designed a knuckle that allowed this to be set on site, as measuring this


for each location was nigh on impossible. AMP RACK DECISIONS

Where to put the amp racks was another vexed question given the constraints of the roof space. Rob McCormack, Rutledge: The specification intent called for the amplifiers to be as close to the arrays as possible – on the flat catwalk close to the crown of the roof void. But issues of excessive heat and lack of serviceability drove us to find a better solution. We found a platform above the inner shell, in the void between inner steel frame and the outer concrete shell; not only was it much cooler, the access to amplifiers, once you’d navigated your way there, was excellent. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite that simple, we had to run power there. For practical future proofing we installed a 250A supply direct from the central control room (CCR). The CCR is over 100 vertical feet (30m) beneath the platform, and a very convoluted path to reach it was needed to navigate past every air conditioning duct, fire drencher pipe, and all the other existing services, let alone the structural framework of the building itself. On top of this, new power was provided for the system components at stage level [subs, fill etc] and at front of house to ensure clean power for the new system. WIRED FOR SOUND

Peter Holmes, Marshall Day: The processing system needed to handle the different system configurations, and the Dolby Lake Processors had the inside running there, as the SOH had previous experience with them. The DLPs neatly

The d&b amp rack found a rare spot in the roof cavity that was suitably cool enough and roomy enough. Audio from the Concert Hall mixing console is routed to Dolby Lake Processors in the roof via the Dante protocol and then onto the d&b amps via AES digital.


An often neglected skill in specifying a system is the ability to ‘sell’ the upgrade to those signing the cheques. David Claringbold is a past master at knowing the importance of pitching a technical upgrade: “we’d only have one chance to present, one shot to describe what it would mean to them, and to get the funding approved.” Claringbold knew Peter Holmes of Marshall Day would be invaluable in presenting the case. Peter began by setting down the objectives of the upgrade, which included: • provide the best coverage • to be permanently installed to reduce cost to the client • to provide flexibility for the performance and announcements made there • to provide improved coordination with the other theatrical systems • meet the conservation plan

Peter Holmes, Marshall Day: Single-use concert halls, where there’s a solo acoustic environment, are financially difficult to maintain, especially in a country like Australia where there’s a large amount of product going through. We’re noticing that concert halls are dealing with a wide array of presentations with reinforced music playing a part. The system had to integrate with projection and a vast array of musical instruments. In other words, this needed to be a single system that’d do the job. Not a single vocal system then a supplementary system for the reinforcement; one system that could sit permanently in the space that was acknowledged as being part of the heritage of the room. To get the proposal past the board we built a visual model of the room itself [credit must go to Gary Jackson for these] and put the components of the room into the model [pictured]. We could demonstrate to the board all the components that were being looked at.




This would represent the most innovative, best conceived and consistently excellent audiovisual installation of the year.

This award would cover audiovisual projects and installations in the post-secondary education sector.



This award would provide smaller installers and integrators the chance to show their wares. The install that best meets the unique demands of the project would win. Doesn’t need to be the most glamourous or highest profile project going around.

This award would cover audiovisual projects and installations in the K-12 (Kindergarten to Year 12) education sector.


This award would cover all staged events – commercial product launches, made-for-TV spectaculars, one-off events etc. The winner wouldn’t necessarily be the most lavish production but the best conceived application of AV technologies and design.



This award won’t be tied to any one event or installation. It will be recognition of a nifty ‘idea’; a solution to a curly problem; a unique perspective on an existing technology. In other words, anyone reading this could potentially win this award with their wit and cunning.

integrate with the Audinate Dante networking, which is a high-speed lowlatency audio network that can share bandwidth with other networking systems. [See Issue 6 for more on Dante.] So, from the console the sound would head to the DLPs in the ceiling via the Dante network. From there the amp racks are fed via AES. There’s an analogue fallback, so if the Ethernet network were to fail, a signal can be distributed around the main audio network to allow the system to operate. Nick Orsatti, Rutledge: There’s no point providing redundancy if it can’t be accessed quickly, so we worked with the wider project team to prepare a risk assessment and fail-over strategy for the system’s signal distribution. The outcomes of this design development included more comprehensive patching at critical locations, and the upgrade to an AES/EBU-capable redundant backup, complete with discrete wordclock distribution. A new cable path was found to create the shortest run possible between the console and the amps, meaning we could provide a 96k-capable backup solution. DONE DEAL

With the system now installed, the SOH sound team can settle into a busy Summer season. Royce Sanderson sums up the situation nicely: Royce Sanderson SOH Sound Department: The SOH is always asking us to do ambitious things; things we’ve had to struggle to do with the tools we had available. We now have the answer to all the challenges that have come through here in the last five years, and we can do it well. We get the most varied productions: ‘Jerry Springer’ [the opera], school speech days, the Foo Fighters; this system will easily alternate between those without major adjustments; I have no fear about headroom, and I know it will be a totally linear performance. But, fittingly, it’s only right to give the final word to David Claringbold: David Claringbold: The new system – complete with the draping solution, a great light show and the spectacular setting of the Sydney Opera House – now means the Concert Hall is, in my opinion, one of the best places on earth to see a live show. Artists love playing here, and now our audiences can share the thrill. That coupled with giving school speech days, community events and global superstars the same treatment, is to me what the Opera House is about – something for us all to enjoy.  This article was put together based on a combination of interviews commissioned by d&b, transcripts from the Integrate 09 ‘Sound in the House’ seminar and interviews conducted by AV. A brief synopsis of the ‘Sound in the House’ seminar is on the Integrate site in YouTube format. Go: and follow the Video link.

HME has used GIS hoists (left) managed by Kinesys controllers, making for an excellent variable speed C1 hoist arrangement. The cable manager (right) was required to give an unbroken cable path from amps to array – no slip rings allowed. In the case of the main hang this meant 75m of 22mm multicore. HME used a reverse Reeves pulley system. This unit is nearly 2sqm, weighs 450kg and requires 1.4 tonne of force to work.




Inter-M PAC 5000 A zone controller with a few tricks up its sleeve. Text:\ Graeme Hague

Back in issue 2 I had the chance to look at InterM’s PX8000 audio matrix. The matrix tag explains everything, really. But although it was very clever at doing what it could do, routing various inputs sources in all directions, the PX8000 missed out on a few basic features that I expected many venues would need. The more day to day operations were lacking. Now Inter-M has the PAC5000 and this unit addresses all those questions I raised earlier. The PAC5000 is much more of a hands-on device that suits operators who are constantly changing their programming. We’re talking about foyer entertainment, background music that is altered daily according to a client’s needs, unscripted announcements and also localised PA systems for lectures and seminars. PAC'ED TO THE RAFTERS

The PAC5000 offers multiple media, microphone and line inputs, plus the usual connections for fire alarm and emergency broadcasts. These can all be routed across 24 zones. To provide more separation, it can broadcast two sources simultaneously throughout two separate groups (A and B), each of 12 zones. In other words, a single microphone can be routed to Group A, while background music is playing to Group B. Logistically, you can split your building in half. If you choose the same input (microphone or CD for instance) for both groups, then you are broadcasting the same material across all 24 zones. Each input is given a priority status over others except for the Aux inputs, which continue to play; so that music for example, isn’t entirely interrupted by voice-overs. However, the Emergency microphone will defeat everything. The two groups ultimately route to a 120 Watt, 100 Volt amplifier each. Having to double up on your input selection to reach everywhere could be annoying, but two disparate groups of a dozen zones each does add a lot of versatility. You can also program in custom groups of zones of less than 12 each, meaning that certain areas can be muted (or included) by choosing that program. Like many of these multi-zone controllers you should spend a little time setting up programs and presets that will remove the fearfactor for people scared by too many buttons. The other familiar controls, such as individual volume knobs, are clearly marked.

For straightforward situations like providing ambient music, the PAC5000 has a built-in FM tuner and a CD player with MP3 and WMA capability. Interestingly, the CD unit has the added feature to copy CDs to the PAC5000’s internal memory “so that it will lengthen the durability of the CD mechanism”. This set off a small copyright violation alarm in my head, but we won’t go there. That internal memory has better, maybe more legal, applications. Standard audio files, like oftused announcements or advertisements, can be stored here and programmed to be played regularly. Another source of pre-recorded files is the USB port on the front of the unit. USB can be chosen as an input and any files stored on an attached device, such as a flash drive, are displayed and available for playback. Remote control via a computer or AMX/ Crestron system is available through an RS232 serial connection. The PAC5000’s GUI then gives you extra options to refine your system. A threeband equaliser is online and there are settings for timed announcements. In fact, while the access to menus on the front panel is good, the GUI is better – no surprise there. Another terminal allows for hooking up a 24 Volt back-up battery that the PAC5000 will charge when mains power is okay. This battery will only maintain essential connections and functions during emergencies and talking of which – there is a choice of two chimes to politely get customers’ (or staff’s) attention and two sirens to send them fleeing for the exits. If that doesn’t work, a tiny condenser ‘Emergency Microphone’ is installed on the front panel for live announcements that can be replaced by something more to your liking, using an input on the rear. BASES COVERED

The PAC5000 has all the bases covered for a configurable multi-function, multi-room venue. If you need more zones, four PAC5000s can be slaved together. 

PRODUCT DETAILS Magna Systems & Engineering: or (02) 9417 1111 Price: $2400 (inc GST)



Epson EB-Z8000WU Plenty of life in LCD yet. Text:\ Paul Newton

Having worked primarily with DLP projectors over the years I have developed a somewhat jaundice attitude towards LCD projection. I’ve had a lot of negative experiences with trying to colour match LCD projectors in the past. The polarisers seemed to age quite quickly (due to heat) which resulted in terrible discolouration across the panel which turned colour balancing into an all-night exercise. The EB-Z8000 is the latest 6000 ANSI offering from Epson. The native resolution of the panel is 1920 x 1200 (WUXGA). The projector is powered by two 330W UHE lamps with a power consumption of just under 900W. The chassis and overall design of the EB-Z8000 is sleek and neat – this projector would not look out of place in a modern boardroom or lecture theatre. It’s not a bad size for an 6000 ANSI LCD projector of this brightness (dimensions of 534mm x 734mm x 167mm and weight of 22kg) and has a low operating noise level compared with its DLP cousins. The six available lenses provide a wide range of projector placement options, and are easily interchanged with a bayonet-style connector. ON THE MENU

The Epson engineers have created a great menu system that’s very straight forward to use – there’s no real chance of getting lost in there, which is a refreshing change. I felt very comfortable navigating my way through all of the menus. I had an image on screen and was playing with the colouring and geometry settings within five minutes. I used my MacBook Pro laptop that has a matching WUXGA display for testing this projector. The colour reproduction is pretty impressive. I changed my colour profiles a few times and the projector responded well. I use a desktop with lots of grey content and hatching, and the reproduction was stunning. Fast moving content also performed well via the HDMI/ DVI and the standard video connectors. The

images seemed very stable, crisp and with no noticeable interpolation. Composite video looked pretty average; but so it should when stretched to fill a WUXGA panel! I didn’t have the equipment on hand to test HD component but would have liked to have tried. PLENTY TO TWEAK

I am not usually a fan of keystone adjustments, as I’ve always preferred to position the projector in its correct location, but I really like the way you can adjust the four corners of the image separately in addition to the traditional H and V adjustments. Aspect ratio adjustment is equally simple, with easy-to-use with controls quite similar to my LCD TV at home: Normal, Auto, 16:9, Full, Native or Zoom. Colour control is very responsive. You can select between six different presets (Dynamic, Presentation, Theatre, Photo, Sports, sRGB) or you can adjust individual colours using the Custom option. While most projectors look good out of the box, I would like to see what this projector looks like with a few hundred hours on its lamps, panels and polarisers (saying that, the generous four-year warranty certainly allays most fears). I’d also like to see what it would be like matching two of these units together, but unfortunately there was only one preview unit available. That said, the EB-Z8000 is a good performer. I was pleasantly surprised at the image quality and brightness of this model. My only previous exposure to Epson projectors had been with very small (sub 5000 ANSI) projectors, and this was a long time ago, so overall, I’m impressed. There are a host of ‘permanent install’ features such as security/password options, PC remote control, auto power off and autolocking, as well as LAN and AMX connectivity. There is one final feature that I like; there is no cool down delay when you are finished. When you power down you can unplug the cables and avoid the usual five-minute wait. 

PRODUCT DETAILS Epson Australia: or 1300 130 194 Price: $25,995 (inc GST)

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Martin MAC 401 Dual An LED washlight that’s ready to go toe-to-toe with the 575W incumbents. Text:/ Paul Collison

At first glance, the Martin MAC 401 is like one of those babies with an uncomfortably big head – a little disproportionate, but strangely cute and cuddly. That’s where the all references to cute and cuddly end. This is one amazing fixture that bats way above its class. It heralds a significant step forward for LED-based fixtures. I have had the pleasure of spending the last few months with six field test units and dragging them around Australia. This is what I found. The MAC 401 Dual, as it’s officially called, is based on the premise of utilising both sides of the luminaire’s head. On the front face, there are 36 Osram multicolour LED emitters, each housed under its own lens. The lenses have two functions. Firstly they help array the LEDs to form a single unified beam, and secondly, and aesthetically most importantly, they provide a translucent surface under which all the RGB colour mixing takes place. What this means is that from the outside the user only sees amber, instead of red and green LEDs. This makes the 401 look less like its LEDpowered brothers and sisters and more like a ‘real’ light. Great for TV too, as the source is the same colour as its beam. There is also a gel frame should you wish to add a frost of some description. The other face, or the back of the head, is where things become a little more flexible given your personal tastes. Although still under development, there is the intention to have an option for a white array of LEDs including warm and cool LED to give the user a range of colour temperatures in a punchy white wash. Alternatively, there is a mirrored surface, which gives older users of

the VL-M a wry smile. There is an abundance of effects that can be generated by a fixture with two sides that illuminate; the real questions is where would these effects be appropriate? Having the flexibility of being able to switch between RGB and a really bright white source that has various colour temperatures would excite many. However, at the expense of spinning the head? Truth be told, the 401 stands respectably on its own four feet without using the rear face. Time will tell if the second surface is ever widely used. THE COOK'S TOUR

Weighing in at just 20kg, the 401 is lighter than most 575W fixtures but certainly heavier than other LED wash lights, like the GLP Impression at 7.5kg. Starting from the bottom of the unit, or the top depending on where you sit, the 401 has the same omega clamp system as all Martin moving heads. On the side of the base we have two 5-pin XLR connectors with a PowerCon and two RJ45 sockets. The RJ45 connectors are in place to take advantage of Martin’s new P3 protocol for future integration in to the LC Plus system via a P3 controller. This means that you could use the 401 as part of a video wall with LC panels, and map the appropriate piece of content to it. It’s worthwhile noting that this is not part of the current software, but is slated for introduction at a later date. Users of other Martin fixtures will be at home with menu system for access to the fixture’s settings, test modes and profiles. Moving up to the head, there are the two surfaces for the LEDs. There are vents

for airflow which will definitely create problems for those looking to use the 401 outdoors. With an IP rating of 20 the 401 is very much an ‘indoor use only’ fitting. The software in a moving light is often the key to its success or failure. It’s even more important in an LED fixture like the 401, as the software developer will need to spend copious amounts of time making the LEDs react as a traditional fixture would with mechanical dousers and other mechanisms. For example, strobe or dimming effects in a traditional moving light are done with the douser blades. To strobe a LED, it’s about ramping or spiking the power to each LED. Similarly with dimmer effects, there needs to be close attention to the ramping on and off of the LEDs regardless of the colour mixed at the time. Even from its early stages, the software in the 401 has strived to optimise dimming and strobing so that it reacts as a programmer would expect a ‘normal’ light to behave. Most importantly, its feature set is similar to other Martin fixtures. The strobe features are in the strobe channel. The various strobing macros you expect on any other MAC, including offset strobing and pulse effects, are all there. There are also some of the newer effects from the MAC III, including the funky burst effect. The dimming curve is nice. There are four to choose from, although the default square law, is more than adequate for general use. There are the normal LED issues in the 0% to 5% range of the dimmer curve. Nothing that creative programming and a knowledge of LED fittings can’t get around. There are some colour effect macros too. As the front face of the unit is broken down in



From hot spot to hole in middle: the wide 17°–49° zoom range achieved by moving the lens array that covers the 36 LED clusters.

to quadrants, you can either program your own or access the inbuilt chases that take advantage of this. You do pay the price of a bigger footprint in your DMX mapping. In its leanest mode, the 401 takes up only 13 channels, but if you want all the whiz-bang effects, it takes up 33 channels. Now it has to be said at this point that during the months I was using this fixture, I didn’t find a point where these effects would be useful. The 401 is an outstanding LED wash light, the effects in my mind don’t endear it any more, or less for that matter. That said, there are sure to be many who will love this aspect of the device. ZOOM ZOOM ZOOM

There is an impressive 17°–49° zoom on the 401 that’s achieved by moving the front lens array back and forth. Taking approximately 0.5 seconds from end to end, the action is smooth, and faster than most other zooms. In hyper-mode, fixed at 17°, the beam is tight but at the cost of introducing some serious halation. At the other extreme of the zoom range, you do begin to see a dip in level at the centre of the beam. The dip is similar to the donut look in a Syncrolite at full zoom, although nowhere as pronounced. In their wisdom, Martin decided that rather than inhibit the zoom and avoid the hole and the halation, they would rather give the user the utmost flexibility. So if you’re in a situation where halation is not acceptable, then you need to zoom out little. Likewise, if you’re trying to wash a space and a variation in level in not acceptable, then think more 30° to 40° than 49°.

In standby mode the 401 draws approximately 30W @ 240V. With the RGB face at full you draw closer to 386W @ 240V. We often hear about how LED fittings use less power, wash the dishes and do the odd tax return on your behalf. Regardless of how much this is the case (regarding the power!) there are some important things to consider here. With your discharge lamp, you are drawing close to full power all the time. When you close the shutters for the opening of the house and leave the lamp burning for an hour while the audience is seated, you are drawing almost full power, unless your fixtures have a smart standby mode. With an LED source, the only parts of the fitting drawing power during a blackout are the processor and minimal current to hold pan and tilt in place. It would be interesting to see exactly, for a musical or your average theatre show, how much of the average day in the life of a moving light, the shutter closed. More than half one could safely assume. Saving power is not just about the bills. There’s the environmental impact which we all will have to pay for sooner or later. THE FINAL WASH UP

We could go on about lumens per Watt and bamboozle everyone with numbers and figures, however, what is really interesting is how the 401 stacks up against other fixtures in a normal everyday environment. The six field test units were on a rear truss on a televised dance show where they spent most of their time in a tight zoom and were competing for attention with 12 GLP Impressions, 14 MAC 2k Washes, 18

MAC 2k Profiles, Pulsar Chroma Banks, ACLs, par cans and more. Ultimately the 401s spent a lot of their time at around 70 to 80% intensity, particularly in the pastels, and as you would expect, ran at full in the more saturated colours. Their chunky strobe effects really worked hard as did RGB chase after RGB Chase. Their movement was quick, not as quick as a GLP Impression or VL6, but faster than your average 575W wash fixture. The halation mentioned earlier became an issue at times; however, it is noteworthy that the production run of the 401 has tidied this up somewhat. The six units performed their duties for two months straight, often working for 15 to 17 hours at a time. During the two months not one fixture required the attention of a technician. The Martin MAC 401 Dual is a very tidy wash light that competes easily in the 575W wash market. This is a fixture that is versatile and would fit nicely in to the inventory of every production house. Although this may be a premature call, it almost definitely signals the beginning of the end for discharge wash lights in the 575W to 700W range. 

PRODUCT DETAILS Show Technology: (02) 9748 1122 or Price: $14,000 (inc GST)



Every Pixel is Sacred Blended projection tutorial – Part I Text:\ Paul Newton

Projection blending is not a new concept. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, blended projection involves ‘stitching’ a series of projected images to form a seamless widescreen panoramic image. I was introduced to 35mm slide panoramic projection rigs when I was an AV technician in the early ’90s. The quality of the image was amazing compared to the CRT projectors we were also using at the time. Neither were very bright by today’s standards, but back then projected images were only displayed in complete darkness, and all projectors look bright in a pitch black room! The mechanical nature of the rigs intrigued me; the fact that these things even worked amazed me more. Video projections today are frequently designed ‘out of aspect’ to create a more interesting canvas than traditional 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratio screens or projections could ever provide. This technology even allows the event/ stage designer to create a ‘digital stage set’ that can be transformed into anything they like, whenever they like. Whilst it can be expensive to create the images and hire the equipment required for a large scale projection blend, so also is set construction and storage! Large-scale blended projection has become a popular way to immerse people in new and different environments throughout an event or show. OVERLAPPING

To create a seamless blend between two projected images, the projectors must be overlapped (usually by 15%–25%). However, when you overlap two projected images, the area of overlap will be brighter, because this section is being covered by both projectors. Soft edge blending solves this by fading the overlapping sections to black to produce uniform brightness. In these digital times the fade can be performed within multimedia software, the mixing console or within the projector itself. The overlap or soft edge area is the most critical part of a blended projection. The slightest difference in colour or pixel misalignment makes the overlap obvious and destroys the seamless effect. The outer edge of each projection must align precisely, otherwise graphics or text passing through this part of the blend will appear ‘blurred’. PIXEL CALCULATION

The first step is calculating a pixel specification. Although many hardware providers supply blend calculation applications to assist with determining accurate pixel specs, I used these various tools to create my own spreadsheet in Excel. The sheet was pretty simple – it calculated the number of projectors required to fill the screen, the projection overlap (in pixels and millimetres) and the overall pixel width of the display. I further enhanced my spreadsheet to calculate the required projector zoom lens, the projection distance, pixel

Top: Direct overlap of projected images. While the geometric overlay is accurate, the added intensities form a distinct bright band at the overlap point. Bottom: Blended overlap of projected images. Uniform fades in the overlap zone disguise the join, resulting in a single blended image.




“Video projections today are frequently designed ‘out of aspect’ to create a more interesting canvas”

An array of projected alignment images showing alignment grids and overlap zones.

size and other installation information such as power requirement and weights. Calculating this information accurately is critical, as miscalculations are difficult to fix later in the production process. Annoyingly, you can’t argue with maths and physics, but some clients will always try. The calculated pixel dimensions are passed on to the graphic design department to build the content at 72dpi (dots per inch). It is valuable to get your designers to build a test grid with hatching and grey-scales at this point. These test pattern files, which can be produced in Photoshop or similar bitmap editing software, need to be pixel accurate and should outline each display edge and the overlap area. Designers will use them as guides throughout the content building process, and projectionists will require them when it’s time to set up the projectors.

to working on either a 16:9 or A4 canvas. Dealing with extremely wide aspect ratios can be very challenging, as the designer needs to have a clear picture of the real-world scale of the blend. As the audience is not simply looking at a computer screen or a sheet of paper, their location and their distance from the screen will dictate image and font size within the project. Information often needs to be repeated across the screen because the overall width of the projection is often too large for the viewer to see the entire image. Creating still backgrounds is relatively easy with a program such as Photoshop. However, full-screen multimedia files such as Windows Media Player (WMV) or Apple Quicktime (MOV) can be a little more challenging as files need to be frame-accurate to ensure there is no skipping during playback. Codec selection is also important to make sure that all files are triggered and looped seamlessly. Factors such as frame rate, bit rate and sub-sampling also need to be considered when building large-scale motion files, not only for their impact on replay quality, but for the size of the files produced. Large motion graphics images (exceeding 2000 horizontal pixels) usually need to be split into sections and triggered to play in sync. Smaller files play more comfortably on most systems with no overall reduction in picture quality. There is a delicate balancing act between image quality and safety. Obviously we all want the content to look its best, but it also needs to run reliably on the replay system. Overloading the replay systems can have disastrous results. Designers need to be aware of the position of the overlap areas when building content, so they can avoid placing finely detailed logos or critical content on these areas. With a perfectly blended projected image this shouldn’t be a concern, but the live event industry is what it is, and time is not always on our side. I have always found it valuable to invite members of the graphic design team out to a live event so they can appreciate the scale and comprehend the ideas and concepts for application in future projects.



Finding a good, reputable graphic design house with experience in producing this type of ultra-high resolution work can be a challenge, as most designers are used

Content timelines need to be clearly defined to ensure all parties are kept in the loop during the pre-production process, as this is where a lot of projects come unstuck.


Loading a new version of the conference opener (due to a typo or error) on the morning of the show is, sadly, not uncommon. Clients need to be aware that this process is not as flexible as building a Keynote or PowerPoint presentation. All source graphic files, logos and movies need to be provided a few weeks out from the event, so they can be programmed into the show. Storyboards should be used to clearly outline positioning and movement of all content. Constant changes of content delay the production process and consequently cost money. Clients need to be very clear about their concepts and expectations. A detailed corporate awards night, complete with 15-20 award categories, each with multiple nominees could have as many as 400 cues and use over 800 different media files. This sort of show would need a couple of days of programming and testing, followed by a pretty comprehensive cue-to-cue rehearsal on site. This process should definitely not be rushed. ďƒ­ In Part II, we will look at the software, hardware and production of blended projection projects.


Movie & Still: The alignment images (above) for a 10-projector 360o blend. (below): The environment created for a Jim Beam dealer promotion with the 360o projection system.

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Preaching to the Converted Principles of Digital Signal Processing. Text & Images:/ Scott Willsallen & Luis Miranda

Digital Signal Processing (DSP) is a term you simply can’t avoid as progreessively more systems are moving into the realm of digital audio. So it’s well worth having an understanding of the concepts of signal processing in the digital domain, since they have an audible impact on any sound system. SIGNALS, SYSTEMS & DSP

In theoretical terms, a signal is the description of how one parameter changes in relationship to another parameter. In analogue audio systems these two parameters are amplitude and time; in digital audio systems the two parameters – as discussed in our previous article [Issue 7] – are discrete amplitude (understood as the quantised amplitude) and, discrete time (the values at each sample point). In basic terms, a system is a process that produces an output signal from an input. DSP in an audio system refers to the process in which an input signal is transformed by a known and predictable way in order to obtain a modified output signal. Audio systems usually have some basic characteristics which define the way the DSP works. These include: Time invariance: A time-invariant system is one where the output of the system is independent of time. In a time-invariant system the output of the system will be identical for two identical signals regardless of the time when these signals are input into the system. If a signal is input into the system, the output will be the same if I input the signal now, or two hours later. Linearity: Linearity is described by two properties:

Fig. 1. Impulse and impulse response of a system

Homogeneity: This property states that the output of a system is proportional to the input of a system. For example, regardless of the gain applied to a signal, the resulting level will depend on the level of the original signal. Superposition and additivity: Superposition refers to the property where the response of a system is the same if multiple signals are applied at the same time or separately. Additivity is closely related to this, and states that signals that are added at the input or within the system will produce an output signal that is the addition of the signals. It is important to note that the signals will be added but they will not interact with each other, i.e. they will not create additional frequency content. These systems are usually known as linear, time-invariant (LTI) systems. IMPULSE & IMPULSE RESPONSE

We often hear the terms ‘impulse’ and ‘impulse response’ to describe a digital system. In digital audio systems an impulse is a signal where all the sample points have a value of zero except for a single non-zero sample point [see diagram below]. This type of signal is very important in digital systems because it will aid in correctly describing the output of a digital system. When we input an impulse signal into a digital audio system, the output, also known as impulse response, will have the spectral characteristics of the system… the sonic fingerprint, if you will. We can say that the impulse is the ‘cleanest’ signal available and by using this signal we can measure exactly what a system will do to any signal. It might be obvious, but it’s important to mention

that if two systems are different they will have different impulse responses. CONVOLUTION & RESPONSE OF A SYSTEM

Convolution is the one of the most important operations in digital audio systems. It is a mathematical operation just like addition and multiplication. Whereas addition produces a third number by adding two numbers, convolution produces a third signal by convolving two signals. Generally, in digital audio systems convolution describes how an input signal is transformed by the impulse response of a system and how this operation results in an output signal. The convolution of an input signal with the impulse response of a digital audio system is what dictates the response of the system. When we tailor the impulse response of a system to a desired output we can think of it as a filter. The result of the convolution is the coming together of the spectral character of the input signal and the spectral character of the impulse response. In practice this operation is done by reversing one of the signals and sliding it across the other signal. The resulting signal will be composed of the sum of the products of the two signals at each position of the process. This highlights a very important fact of DSP. The resulting signal will be as long as the sum of the sample count of the two signals minus one, as shown in Fig. 2. This longer signal, plus the processing time, is one of the main causes for latency in a system. As complex calculations need to be performed at each position of the convolution, the latency of a system will depend on the length of the filter being used. Longer




Fig. 2. Signals to be convolved and the resulting convolved signal

filters usually have better frequency response, but it is important to know that there is a tradeoff between latency and the best achievable frequency response. It is also important to realize that as these filters grow, the usage of computational power also increases. DSP OPERATIONS & FILTER TYPES

The three most common operators used by digital signal processing devices are: the delay, the adder and the multiplier. These are the three basic pieces used to build filters used by DSP units. Using only these three operators we can build a convolving process. There are two main types of digital filters: Infinite Impulse Response (IIR) and Finite Impulse Response (FIR). The term FIR filter is used when the output signal in a system is the convolution of the input and the impulse response of the system. In this type of filter the signal moves only in a feed-forward manner. IIR filters are recursive filters; this means that they have a feedback path. The output of the filter will depend not only on the filter but also on the signal applied. Fig. 4 and 5 show diagrams of a second order IIR and a second order FIR. The order of the filter refers to the number of delays accompanied by a multiplier or coefficient. There are many differences between these two filters. FIR filters are always stable while, due to their recursive nature, IIR filters can cause system saturation if they are unstable. This means that the feedback path will make the level of the signal grow until, in theory, infinity. On the other hand, FIR filters can be designed to be phase linear while this cannot be achieved in IIR.

Phase linearity is very important in situations where the integrity of the phase relationships between the signals is important, such as in a sample converter filter. IIR filters can be used in situations where this is not critical, such as in reverberation systems. IIR filters can achieve a similar magnitude response with smaller filters, which make IIR filters more efficient. The length of FIR filters also introduces more latency than IIR filters. The two important factors to keep in mind when selecting filters are the frequency and phase response that we are trying to achieve.

Fig. 3. DSP operators


In digital filters we will come across three main phase responses: Minimum phase: These filters have very short delay times and are frequency dependent. They can produce considerable phase distortion. This type of filter is widely used in situations where small delays are preferable, for example, live audio situations. Maximum phase: These filters have long delay times and are frequency dependent. They can produce considerable phase distortion. This type of filter is rarely used, since it introduces considerable delay and phase distortion. Linear phase: These filters have delay times that are proportional to the length of the filter. The delay introduced is the same for all frequencies. This kind of filter is used when it is desirable to preserve the phase relationship of the signal’s components. They can be used in many applications but are not very well suited for live applications if the filters are too long. ďƒ­

Fig. 4. Schematic of a second order IIR Filter

Fig. 5. Schematic of a second order FIR Filter



Classroom Acoustics A critical, but challenging environment. Text:\ Andrew Steel

As far as acoustics goes, the topics I’ve previously covered in these pages may have seemed tricky, but this one takes the cake – only read on if you like a real challenge! Classroom acoustics requirements differ in many ways from the type of spaces we have already discussed such as churches, venues, boardrooms etc. One major difference is that the users of the space in all other instances will give feedback by either complaining or physically walking out. Students in a classroom, however, not only don’t have this option, but are highly unlikely to know there is something wrong. Teachers may raise the issue in very bad cases, but they are normally so overloaded with other things that acoustics just falls by the wayside. Tragically, the net effect of poor classroom acoustics is that the students are more likely to have trouble taking things in. This then, is probably the most important acoustic environment we should be working on improving. We put lots of effort into improving teaching practices, so surely we should include acoustics in the mix to keep up with the latest teaching methods. Teaching in classrooms has changed over time and is now very different to when I was a student. The days of a teacher continuously ‘lecturing’ from the front of the room are over. Teaching from the front is still done, but teachers are much more likely to be walking around the room, interacting with students; as a whole, in small groups or as individuals. Classrooms are not only set up as rows of desks, but have group activity areas and more casual spaces like mats on the floor, to suit the type of activity. All sorts of media sources like television, computers, PA systems and projectors are used to support the teaching process. Quite obviously then, the acoustic requirements of a modern classroom are very different to those of the past. If we were trying to undertake a contemporary lesson in an oldstyle classroom, would it even work?

quite differently and, in fact, often had reasonable acoustics. The reason for this is that they had more absorbent surfaces like carpet and curtains – even timber floors and walls helped a little. Today, classrooms are made of concrete, plasterboard and glass, to make them cheaper to build and easier to maintain. This however makes them acoustically bright, shiny boxes, and the acoustic conditions inside them are less suitable for teaching. Even the sources of outside noise, which contribute negatively to the acoustics in a classroom, have in

acoustic conditions inside the room. The sources of external noise are many in number and mostly quite obvious. They include traffic, other classrooms, sports/physical education classes, ground maintenance (like mowing and construction), plant and equipment (like air conditioners), footfall noise from rooms above, and even rain. Most of these are reasonably taken care of if the layout of the buildings can be optimised. Clearly this suits the construction of new schools and, in this case, simply keeping reasonable distances between noise sources and classrooms makes a big difference. Ensuring the sports areas and noisy areas like manual arts classrooms are far enough away, keeping plant like A/C behind barriers, and even keeping classrooms as separated as possible by hallways will all help. In existing school buildings it gets a little more complicated as the noise source and receiver can’t be moved and barriers are rarely able to be constructed. For the ingress of noise to be reduced in existing buildings, the actual soundproofing of the structures themselves will have to be improved. This is relatively easy for walls, floors and ceilings and has been discussed in previous articles. Windows are a different story though. Unless the classroom is air conditioned, windows can’t always be closed – and an open window isn’t very soundproof. One option may be to use louvred vents that allow air to pass, but have some sound reduction capacity. Classrooms will almost certainly have opening windows, so some noise will always enter. The approach must be to minimise noise entering as well as minimising noise generated within the room.

“the acoustic requirements of a modern classroom are very different from those of the past”


As it turns out, it may actually be okay. Previously classrooms were constructed

general increased over time. Oddly then, a quiet and less reverberant classroom of the past may well have worked well if they had a multimedia presentation! Even more odd is that despite the fact that we are now doing things that demand better acoustics, we have reduced the quality of acoustics in the modern classroom. Since a large part of the learning and teaching process involves listening and speaking, acoustics will clearly play a significant part. Interfering noise will obviously make it harder for anyone to hear, but it causes fatigue as well. Excessive reverberation will reduce the level of speech intelligibility and contribute to the noise level. A combination of noise and poor acoustic conditions can create a situation worse than the simple sum of the two. Add to this the fact that younger children need much better listening conditions because they are not sufficiently cognitively developed to predict speech from context, and getting good acoustics in school environments becomes very important indeed. PLEASE SIR: KEEP THE NOISE OUT

As with most acoustic situations, this comes down to minimising the entrance of external noise into the classroom, and creating good


Inside the classroom, there are some obvious noise sources, like the noise from excessive reverberation of students’ speech, and some less obvious ones like, computer fans, projectors, A/C, etc. These less obvious sources need to be minimised by either putting them in ventilated but silenced boxes or cupboards, or putting them in




Keeping it old school: The entire AV crew at a recent staff development seminar.

equipment rooms or equipment cupboards. Air conditioning systems can be made much quieter by design and such techniques are well known. It just needs to be prioritised at construction time. Once these sources are as minimised as they can be, we are left with the task of reducing the reverberation time in the room. This is important not only because long reverberation times decrease speech intelligibility, but because they also exacerbate the effect of noise sources. Reducing the reverberation time inside a classroom follows the same rules as it does for other rooms of similar size, except that classrooms probably have less available space on which to apply absorption. It’s also a fairly safe bet that if you put an absorber with a nice soft surface on a wall in a classroom, someone will immediately pin stuff to it. As the surface of an absorber gets more covered in paper it obviously loses its effectiveness, so absorption on walls isn’t such a good idea. We also know

from previous articles, that thin, pinboard-type material absorbs very little anyway. Bringing carpet back into the classroom would help, but the requirement for easy cleaning seems to prohibit this. If you consider how much wall space is lost to windows and black or white boards, the only real option left is to put absorption on the ceiling – okay we have to rule out spit balls! The last 600mm or so at the top of the wall is a good place to put absorption because it has a slightly better low frequency performance when placed there. So absorption on the upper part of the wall and the ceiling is the best bet for reducing reverberation and improving speech intelligibility in a classroom. Of course, room shape and layout can help too, but limited to the design of new classrooms. Curtains or micro mesh-type blinds on the windows will add a little absorption as well, and although it isn’t a massive help, every little improvement is worth having.


Classroom acoustics involve all of the issues we have explored in previous articles. The environment is probably more demanding than most though, because of the diversity of noise sources, the diversity of uses, the limited space and materials that can be used, and the highly critical role that speech and sound plays in the learning process, especially for younger children. It is very difficult to improve the acoustics of existing classrooms, especially if there are major noise sources outside or really bad reverberation issues in the room. In other words, soundproofing and acoustically treating an existing room would be tough because you can’t just move it to a quieter site or change how it is made or what it is made from. There are always things that can be done to make some improvements, like applying absorption to the ceiling; but ultimately, we need to make the acoustic design of all classrooms a high priority in the planning and construction. 




InfoComm News News from the Asia Pacific Region

EVS101 Event Setup for AV Techs Online Class now available EVS101 Event Setup for AV Techs Online is the online version of InfoComm’s AV Setup Guide for Events, Meetings, Conferences, and Classrooms book. This course offers logical, easy to understand step-by-step procedures for new employees. In addition, the course tests comprehension of the material, incorporates video demonstrations on pipe and drape installation and folding screen set up, and provides a downloadable reference. Students can get answers to some frequently asked troubleshooting questions and practice connecting equipment in proper sequence using interactive graphics. EVS101 Event Setup for AV Techs is an Online with 10 RU’s

EVS212 Staging and Event Management Class – Sydney 19-21 Jan. 2010 The ability to manage technical departments, your client and your venue is a learned skill. Not only must you make sure your client sees a return on the investment made, but you must also maintain budgets, weigh profitability and explore opportunities to provide additional services and products. This course examines the diverse parts of a staging event and teaches you how they work together as a whole. Learn how to minimize costs, keep the client happy and make money for your company. Discuss each technical department in terms of pre-show planning and interoperability. Learn how to analyse an infrastructure, including power, rigging and labour. Discover how putting good pre-show planning into practice can reduce the potential for unknown challenges onsite. EVS212 is a classroom course provides students with 24 RU’s. Note: Detailed information including the full lesson plans can be found at . As indicated above, these classes come with RU’s to assist with your CTS Renewal.

InfoComm Academy Call for Presenters – Integrate Expo 2010 The InfoComm Academy has published its Call for Presenters at Integrate Expo 2010. We will be establishing an Educational Advisory Group to assist us to ensure the program is tailored to suit the market’s needs. The InfoComm Academy program will again feature the “Super Tuesday” Seminar program plus, new for 2010, a program of seminars with a potential for a wide variety of topics. If you are interested in presenting an InfoComm Academy seminar at Integrate 2010, go to our Call for Presenters page at Regional Round Table Regional Round Table meetings were held in Sydney and Melbourne. The key agenda items were discussions on

the InfoComm Outreach Program and a discussion on the recently released for comment “Design and Coordination Components Performance Standard DS1” see more about the standard below. The meetings provided some great feedback for us to use in the development of our 2010 AV Industry Outreach Program. Valuable feedback was also gained on the draft standard and a follow on meeting was held in Sydney on the 10th November to discuss the draft and develop some group comments which can be found on the standards webpage. The dates for next series of Roundtable meetings in Q1 of 2010 have been set, they are as follows. Brisbane - 23rd February Auckland - 25th February Perth - 8th March Adelaide - 10th March Melbourne – 11th March Canberra – 16th March Sydney – 18th March Release of New Draft Standard for Review InfoComm International has made a draft performance standard, Audiovisual Systems Design and Coordination Components (INFOCOMM 2M:2009 DS 1), available for public review. A successful professional audiovisual system installation depends on the clear definition and coordination of processes, resources, and responsibilities of the design and installation project teams. A properly documented audiovisual system provides the information necessary to understand and implement the system goals and project requirements in a logical and efficient manner. The documentation should complement and coordinate related architectural, engineering and construction documentation. This standard outlines a consistent set of the standard tasks, responsibilities and deliverables required for professional audiovisual systems design and construction. Commenting procedures and more information in the form of a single-page summary are available at standards. Comments are encouraged from both InfoComm members and any interested party, internationally. The review period will remain open until December 14, 2009. This review process is in accordance with the ANSI accredited standards developer process. For Further Information on any of the above please contact Jonathan Seller, CTS, InfoComm International Regional Director at or look on the regional web page




Defining Roles AV Project Management.

The following is an excerpt from InfoComm’s new online course GEN105 Project Management for AV Online with instructor Bradley A. Malone, PMP. Mr. Malone is president of Twin Star Consulting Company, and holds the Project Management Professional (PMP) designation from the Project Management Institute. He regularly teaches project management courses for InfoComm, as well as conducting project management activities for major corporations and government. In this online InfoComm course, he focuses on principles of project management specifically for the AV industry. This excerpt examines the roles and responsibilities in AV Project Management. MANAGEMENT EXPECTATIONS

Project Management in AV is much more a cultural conversation than just a single role. It is about how the business manager, sales managers, sales people, implementation manager, project manager, etc. work together, and share information plus learn from the experience to improve future projects. “Most projects are estimated as if they are similar, yet most are implemented as if they are unique.” – Brad Malone, PMP MAJOR ROLES

There are typically five or six major roles and various key supporting roles in a project lifecycle. The following lesson identifies key players and defines major roles in a typical project. Project Client: The purchaser of the project’s deliverables within the organisation requesting the project’s existence. Has overall responsibility for the attainment of its operational value (purpose). Sales or Account Manager: Responsible for generating and capturing opportunities that fulfil the client’s requirements and generate value for the performing organisation. Can be measured based on revenue, anticipated or realised profit, etc. Project Sponsor: The primary owner of the project within the performing organisation who establishes the project’s priority. Has overall responsibility for its successful delivery.


Functional or Resource Manager: Responsible for training, equipping and providing the internal resources (labour, materials, equipment, facilities) which make up the costs of a project. Typically responsible for quality assurance and resource utilisation. Project Manager: The individual with the authority and responsibility for delivering the documented project scope and quality requirements within predictable time and budget targets. Project Team Members: Functional specialists who use their skills to contribute to the project’s deliverables. May work on more than one project at a time, as well as operational or maintenance support tasks. THE TEAMS

The Owner Team: The Buyer of the AV Systems – end-user, facility manager, AV technology manager, building committee, purchasing agent or contract representative. The Design Team: Designs the Buildings and Systems – architect, AV designer, interior designer, consultants (electrical, mechanical, plumbing, structural, lighting, data/telecom, life safety, acoustical, security, etc.) The Installation Team: Provides Construction & Installation Services – building contractor, AV integrator/installer/contractor, multiple subcontractors (electrical, mechanical, plumbing, structural, lighting, data/telecom, life safety, acoustical, security, etc.) The Management Team: Provides management services – represents owner, developer, construction manager, building management agency, and move consultant. RESPONSIBILITIES

Key Responsibilities for Project Sponsor and Project Manager: Two roles in particular, that of project sponsor and project manager are further explained below due to the importance of each separate role. Key Responsibilities for project sponsor: • Approve the project proposal/project plan. • Establish and communicate the project’s organisational priority. • Provide organisational resources critical to the project’s success.

• Review the project’s planning and execution. • Approve changes within established thresholds. • Reward project managers for disciplined application of PM knowledge and reporting practices. Key responsibilities for a Project Manager: • Plan and communicate the work. • Plan and control the assigned project resources. • Monitor work performed against scope, schedule and cost baselines. • Measure and communicate progress against established metrics. • Manage changes within established thresholds. Create an environment which motivates team members. To better grasp the true role and responsibilities of the project manager, imagine a fleet of boats. The project manager is the captain of his/her boat(s). The project manager doesn’t own the boat (sponsor), or the crew (functional manager), or the cargo, its destination and its ultimate usage (customer). The project manager is hired to manage the journey in a predictable manner. Warning: Most organisations view each project or boat independently – to the detriment of most of the other boats in the fleet and their ultimate value.  If you are interested in this online InfoComm course, or in project management training, please contact or visit 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


Termination Conference Call Hits Shopping Mall Text:/ Andy Ciddor

It’s happening to us all over again – another highly-specialised technology that takes years to master and costs vast sums of money to own and operate – is careening into the popular marketplace and will soon be used by masses of undeserving people who wouldn’t know an MPEG2 codec from their cordless phone charger. Of course, given recent technological history, this turn of events shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone in our business. When I started working in broadcast television, we had a total of six videotape machines on the station, the most recent of which had cost as much as row of terrace houses in the street next to the studios. There was generally one operator per tape machine and one full-time technician for every couple of machines. Today most people have at least that many disused videotape machines under the bed in the spare room, or on the top shelf in the garage. Thanks to the development of the integrated circuit, by the time I eventually started working with computers the price of these machines had dropped to the point where some universities had as many as one per department. These minicomputers had shrivelled in size to not much larger than a commercial freezer, could manage without a full-time operator per machine, and one good technician could look after as many as four systems. My irritatingly-slow, five-year-old PDA phone has considerably more processing power, system memory and direct access storage than a departmental VAX 11/780 that could support over 100 simultaneous users. Later still, as the senior tech on a Telecomsponsored outdoor event, I spent a summer using one of our city’s few dozen 007 (PAMTS) portable (but not cellular) telephones that weighed about 12kg and had a talk-time of about 20 minutes per charge. This was at the same time that Global Positioning System receivers were only to be found on navy vessels large enough to carry specialist communications technicians. Today we are disappointed if the video recording capabilities of our 200g, GPSequipped mobile phone/computer/media player/

comms terminal, are anything less than 1080p, or if the battery lasts less than a week. The signs and portents are writ large across the corporate and technological skies. Now it’s the turn of videoconferencing to be improved, standardised, automated, commoditised, marketed and made cool for the teeming masses. And yes, VC will almost certainly rolled into the functionality of our personal ‘communicator’ (let’s face it ‘mobile phone’ is an increasing less accurate description for these devices). In the last several weeks Cisco, who already had products at the topmost end of the corporate videoconferencing market, have bid, and more recently upped their offer, to acquire videoconferencing stalwarts Tandberg. This has been widely seen as Cisco buying ready-made access to the widening commercial videoconferencing market, while at the same time further blurring the diminishing distinction between AV and IT. Notable among Tandberg’s competitors are Polycom and the newer kid on the block, LifeSize Communications. However, LifeSize is in the process of being acquired by, of all people, peripherals manufacturer Logitech. This move may have mystified many industry observers, but if you consider that a mass-market webcam, media player and speaker manufacturer, who already owns a video communications technology company, has just acquired the technology to run HD videoconferencing over a 768 kilobit per second connection, it makes a lot of sense. While it used to take a fair amount of effort to get a couple of hundred kilobits per second of aggregated ISDN lines into a videoconferencing site, DSL technologies can provide that bandwidth (and more) without blinking, over much of the populated area of the continent, and 3G networks can provide it on-the-spot at the drop of an orange plastic witch’s hat. Logitech’s declared intention to develop a conferencing technology that would be placed in the public domain to allow for easy data interchange, would take away the need for much of the expertise that we have been

providing to make conferencing work reliably. It may be time to clear some shelf space at the back of the warehouse, maybe next to your professional VHS replay decks and mothballed SAV projectors, for storing all of your very valuable professional video conferencing equipment.  Something on your mind? Busting to relate a stirring tale? Then send your thoughts to the editor ( – he'll be gentle.

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