March / April 2013
AV System Integration | Installations | Live Events | Studio & Broadcast Audio HIGH POWER ProjectiON
CIRQUE DU DRALION TOUR SOLEIL
Projector & Screen Guide COMPARING AV CONTROLLERS LONDON FASHION WEEK
THE MONEY TELEVISION STUDIO DROP
COMPACT DIGITAL CONSOLES AFRICA LOUDNESS SUMMIT
Game Changed Game Changed
32-Channel, 16-Bus Total-Recall Digital Mixing Console for Live and Recording Applications 32-Channel, 16-Bus Total-Recall Digital Mixing Console for Live and Recording Applications
A Quantum Leap Forward Generation Q Mixers with KLARK TEKNIK E ects
www.proaudio.co.za For a dealer in your area contact Proaudio
New tel from January 011-608-2099
news Publisher & Editor
Pro-Systems has entered the second quarter of 2013 with much excitement and vigour. Our journalist Greg Bester is currently in Frankfurt attending Pro Light and Sound (10 to 13 April) and we look forward to his entertaining and in-depth coverage of this prolific exhibition in our next issue. The publication has also made significant headway on the online front by launching a bi-weekly Pro-Systems eNewsletter that you will find in your inbox every second Monday of the month (to receive our newsletter visit www.pro-systems.co.za). In this issue we feature plenty of informative and engaging articles for our four vertical markets. Have a look at our stories on streamlining corporate communications (p14), the South African leg of Cirque Du Soleil’s Dralion tour (p44), and compact digital consoles (p52). The next issue, our bumper Mediatech Africa edition, will be hot off the press in time for this massive advanced media and entertainment technology exhibition. You can look forward to copious amounts of AV systems integration, live events and studio articles, as well as a report on Pro Light and Sound. As a publication we are excited about Mediatech’s impressive lineup of international guests, the SACIA and Government AV Forum workshops, and the Africa Loudness Summit. I hope to see you all at Mediatech! Simon Robinson
AV Controller Comparisons
Comparing AV controller products......10 – 11
Projecting the right path................................34 Presenting the best.........................................35
Industry Expert Interview with Stuart Pringle...........................12
International Lighting Lighting up London Fashion Week........36 – 39
Television Production Report
Streamlining corporate communications.....................................14 – 15
Rocking The Money Drop......................40 – 43
Cirque du Soleil Report
Building on our
Cirque du Soleil – a technical dream..44 – 46
management standards........................16 – 17
Product Launch Hybrid + LA212 review............................48 – 49
Ultra-short throw interactive projector – a class act.....................................................18
Tracking Technology............................20 – 22 Projectors & Screens
Concert Solutions Afrikaans is Groot and going places....50 – 51
Digital Consoles Sometimes smaller IS better...................52 – 53
Step by step guide –
Tracking Technology............................54 – 55
How to select a projector and screen for your meeting room......24 – 27
Studio & Broadcast
Seminar Loud and clear.......................................56 – 57
Studio Budgets Audio post-production
Venue Solutions Installation for a higher purpose…........28 – 29
studio budgets........................................58 – 60
HeAVen.....................................................32 – 33
Allen & Heath ICE-16......................................61
Barco DP2K-10S / Christie Solaria One /
Proudly South African.............................64 – 65
Loudness Summit Please ...turn that down!...................... 62 – s63
Industry Expert Marinus Visser..................................................66
Social ...............................................67 – 68
Contributors Claire Badenhorst | Industry expert with eight years experience in event management, PR, marketing and advertising within the professional audio, video, lighting and staging sector. Claire has played an integral role in the development of the concept and content creation of Pro Systems and works closely with our advertisers and readers.
Louise Stickland | Professional journalist and photographer with huge passion and enthusiasm for technology and the production industry. Louise initially worked and toured as a lighting designer after graduating from university. She has many years experience in the music and live event sector, and works closely with leading international designers, production companies and technology manufacturers.
Greg Bester | Musician and audio engineer – proficient in both the analogue and digital domains and has extensive experience mixing live music, setting up and configuring loudspeaker systems, monitoring and general stage management. He has mixed hundreds of events and is comfortable on large and small-format mixing consoles.
Geny Caloisi | An accomplished technology journalist, who has been travelling the world to cover events, speak to industry pundits and see the latest technology products since 2001. She started working in the broadcasting technology sector, as Editor of online publication advanced-television.com and continued with the audiovisual industry. Geny was Assistant Editor at the UK’s leading trade publication, AV Magazine for five years.
Simba Nyamukachi | A graduate in journalism and has an honours degree in Media & Culture Studies. He grabbed the opportunity to join Sun Circle Publishers in his first position as a journalist for Pro-Systems News. He has an immense passion for the AV and live entertainment industry and is furthering his AV integration knowledge by completing an online accredited AV training program.
Paul Watson | After touring professionally with several bands in the UK and then the US, Paul went on to open his own commercial recording and rehearsal facility, where he was resident producer/engineer for six years. For the last five years, he has been a regular contributor for a number of UK titles, covering live sound, studio sound, lighting, video, broadcast and post-production. He is also European Editor for one of the major US trade music publications.
Publisher & Editor | Simon Robinson | email@example.com Sub-Editor | Aimee Olsen In-house JournalistS | Greg Bester | firstname.lastname@example.org and Simba Nyamukachi | email@example.com Advertising Sales | Claire Badenhorst | firstname.lastname@example.org Design | Trevor Ou Tim | email@example.com Subscriptions | Albertina Tserere | firstname.lastname@example.org Sun Circle Publishers (Pty) Ltd | Tel: +27 11 025-3180 | Epsom Downs Office Park, 13 Sloane Street, Bryanston, Johannesburg | PO Box 559 Fourways North 2086, South Africa
www. pro-systems.co.za 2
Collyer Lessick launches Boardwalk Hotel Collyer Lessick, provider of creative and innovative eventing solutions, recently facilitated the launch of the Boardwalk Hotel and International Convention Centre, Port Elizabeth. The Boardwalk Casino and Entertainment World is situated in Port Elizabeth, adjacent to the Nelson Mandela Bay beachfront and is part of the Sun International Group South Africa. To pull off the event, Collyer Lessick partnered with technical solutions provider, TechRig. The two companies received a brief that required them to accentuate the fountain and lake area as well as to light up the performance and main stage. “We used spots and washes to create depth and side-light the dancers in order to work with the black and white costumes, while gobo projection was used to create a ‘living’ pattern on the costumes worn by the performers,” said Lighting Designer, Johnny Scholtz from TechRig. “We used the Clay Paky Sharpy for the aerial beam work and
impact for the show, and created an elegant event through our meticulous planning and premium equipment brands.” Caley Phillips, public relations and entertainment manager of The Boardwalk, only had good things to say about the launch: “The main focus for us was to create an elegant event that would be remembered for the good food, great atmosphere, awesome entertainment and endless highlights of the evening. Collyer Lessick created an official opening event that was spectacular in every way from the décor, costumes, food and entertainment.”
SARA to collaborate with academy in UK
Naledi Makhetha, Freddie Nyathela and Thulani Manyoni
Two South African Roadies Association (SARA) trainers, Thulani Manyoni and Naledi Makhetha, recently joined SARA President, Freddie Nyathela, in attending The National Skills Academy for Creative and Cultural Skills Annual Industry Conference 2013. The conference took place at the newly built Backstage Centre, a technical training and rehearsal facility in Essex, on 6 and 7 March. The two-day conference saw key decision makers from across the creative and cultural
sectors come together to discuss the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead and the power of collaboration. According to Nyathela the purpose of SARA’S visit was to attend the educational sessions, and to network and engage with industry professionals regarding technical and production knowledge, and skills development issues. Furthermore, the visit was aimed at creating better opportunities for the technical and production oriented youth of South Africa. “The visit afforded us an opportunity to meet with the officials and members of the National Skills Academy, to consolidate the working relations, and to tour their newly built Backstage Centre,” Nyathela stated. SARA also used the opportunity to meet up with the officials from the UK’s Backstage Academy to have further discussions about their unique ‘Foundation Degree in Live
Prosound to distribute P.Audio
Prominent pro audio, lighting and installation company, Prosound, recently announced that it is the new home for P.Audio in South Africa. P.Audio has gained worldwide respect as one of the world’s leading manufacturers of professional, high-quality audio loudspeaker components for many of the world’s leading pro audio companies. P.Audio products cover a wide range of very high-performance transducers. Their range of low-frequency and high-frequency transducers are designed and produced to thorough standards of performance and reliability. A full range of Neodymium and Ferrite transducers cover all professional audio requirements. Grant Scott, head systems engineer at Prosound, highlighted that like Prosound, high performance is the cornerstone of P.Audio’s design philosophy. He added that high performance and professional-level reliability is demanded from every product in the line, from entry level to ultra highperformance transducers and compression drivers, and all are designed to meet the rigorous expectations for all applications. “Such high standards are exactly what Prosound demands of their products. Loudspeakers and their components are my passion, that’s why I got into the audio business in the first place. So when we were asked to take over the distribution of P.Audio we did not hesitate.” Scott stated. “P.Audio has a great team of engineers in Bangkok and a world renowned loudspeaker designer in the US. We look forward to distributing to a wider market in South Africa and our neighbouring countries.”
Events Production’. This is in line with the association’s mission to address the need to have such a qualification registered on the South African National Qualifications Framework, or to develop a similar qualification.
Electrosonic hosts CM Lodestar training
Electrosonic, a leader in light, sound and image control in Southern Africa, recently held a CM Lodestar training day, on 25 February, at their offices in Johannesburg. Chris Jones, senior technician at Columbus McKinnon Corporation, conducted the day-long lecture. The course gave attendees hands-on training on the CM Lodestar electric chain hoist (motors). The Lodestar is used for applications such as lifting and securing overhead truss systems, lighting arrays and speaker clusters and is recognised worldwide as the industry workhorse. According to Jones, this is why professional entertainment riggers and organisers have trusted the CM Lodestar to
deliver reliability for generations. Speaking about the training Jones stated: “This professional training programme was specifically designed to meet the needs of the entertainment industry. This, like other courses at Columbus McKinnon, consisted of lectures and hands-on training, highlighting safe use, fault-finding, maintenance, repair and testing of the CM Lodestar, in line with current legislation. I believe that training on the most current techniques, product features, and industry requirements is critical to safe work environment and sound maintenance programmes.” Jones also expressed his excitement at visiting South Africa. He said that it was a great opportunity to visit Electrosonic, authorised CM-ET distributer in South Africa. “It was excellent visiting Electrosonic and meeting some of their customers in person. South Africa itself is fantastic and everyone I met here was very friendly and made me feel most welcome,” he concluded
Sound and Light City gets a facelift Sound and Light City, importers and distributors of professional audio and lighting, recently upgraded their facilities in Midrand and Cape Town. The upgrade was in line with the company’s dedication to deliver quality and service to its ever-growing clientele. At their Midrand offices, Sound and Light City had to contend with the inconvenience of having their technical division located across the courtyard in another business park. This all changed this year when the company managed to secure new technical premises next door to their head office and main shop. “The new premises are twice the size of the previous workshop. This means that we can carry even more spares than ever before and now customers that require repairs and services no longer have to visit
two venues for one transaction,” said Gregory de Villiers from marketing at Sound and Light City. De Villiers also noted that their Cape Town branch, which has enjoyed steady growth over the past year, also demanded a newer, better and bigger premises while remaining accessible to the local customers. To this end, the Sound and Light City branch moved to Blackheath, Kuilsrivier, a few kilometres away from the previous shop. “While the two premises are merely down the road from each other, the difference is remarkable. The new shop is a far more pleasant place to visit, within a secure industrial complex,” De Villiers concluded.
Polycom names DD System Integrator of the Year
Dimension Data, the $5.8 billion global ICT solutions and services provider, recently announced that Polycom Inc., the global leader in open standards-based unified communications and collaboration, has named Dimension Data as both Global and EMEA System Integrator of the Year, for the second year in a row. Dimension Data received the award at TEAM Polycom 2013, the company’s annual sales and partner conference held in Vancouver, British Columbia, from 4-7 February 2013. “We are proud to be recognised by Polycom for our excellence in execution for two consecutive years,” said Graham Parker, Dimension Data’s operations director, Global Solutions and Services. “Together with Polycom, Dimension Data is meeting client demand for end-to-end solutions based on the Microsoft Lync platform. Being acknowledged by Polycom for this work is great validation of our investments and vision in the evolving UC&C marketplace.” “In an ever-changing, rapidly growing market, it’s critical to have partners like Dimension Data who can help us meet our customer’s complete business needs with transformative solutions and tailored UC&C offerings that enable people to work and collaborate better,” said Ron Myers, senior vice president, Worldwide Channels, Polycom. “We congratulate Dimension Data for their continued excellence.” Dimension Data provides planning, deployment, integration and managed services for UC&C based on Microsoft and Polycom technologies. We include support and management of Polycom environments through our Managed Services for Visual Communications – delivering flexible, integrated and managed visual communications solutions globally in 51 countries, across five regions.
A Fully Immersive Visual Experience
4K SXRD Home Theater Projector The VPL-VW1000ES projector is packed with advanced technologies to make watching 2D and 3D content at home just like being at the movies. From the 4K lens and rich color reproduction, to super-high 2000-lumen brightness and a dynamic contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1, 4K revolutionises the home cinema experience, delivering over four times the quality of Full HD.
For a free Demo contact Roushal Poole +27 11 690 3302 SA Dealers: AVC +27 11 462-1435 | SBMS +27 11 262-0058 | Pinnacle +27 11 265-3000 Sony Broadcast & Professional +27 11 690-3200 | www.pro.sony.eu/mea
Ster Kinekor gets Dolby Atmos Ster Kinekor in Gateway, Durban, recently installed the Dolby Atmos – an advanced cinema audio platform. Dolby Atmos reinvents cinema sound by giving each speaker its own unique feed, enabling many new front, surround and ceilingmounted height channels for the precise panning of select sounds. The result is a fully immersive experience, putting the audience right at the centre of the action. The Gateway installation makes Ster Kinekor one of the few cinemas across eleven countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa to be fitted with Dolby Atmos. More Dolby Atmos Installations for cinemas, on a global scale, are to be announced this year. “Dolby Atmos enables cinema-goers to be transported into an adventure through a lifelike and immersive sensory cinema experience. “We pride ourselves in being pioneers of sound technology and are thrilled that Ster-Kinekor will be using Dolby Atmos to present films in the best possible
way, just as the director intended,” said Tarif Sayed, Dolby regional director, Middle East and Africa. “It’s our most revolutionary sound innovation in years and we’ve had incredibly positive feedback from our creative and production communities. I’m really pleased to bring it to Ster-Kinekor South Africa for the first time.” Wild and Marr, sole distributors of Harman Pro Products in South Africa, supplied all Crown Amplifiers including 48 JBL loudspeakers and subwoofers for the installation. The company released a statement expressing their excitement for being involved in a project that provides immersive cinema audio to movie-goers.
SAE offers a degree in sound production The School of Audio Engineering (SAE) in Cape Town has announced that enrolments are now open for their Bachelor of Arts in Sound Production, commencing in February 2014. The three-year course will cost South African Students R 63,000 up front and R 67,000 if paid in instalments. This curriculum addresses the art, science and technology of sound production across a wide range of applications, from music recording to live concert sound and sound production for film and television. Each sub-discipline of sound production is covered in detail to ensure all graduates have the superior theoretical and practical skills necessary to work in the broad scope of the international entertainment and music industries. In addition to the focus on the vital knowledge and skills required from a sound engineer or producer, students are
constantly exposed to the pertinent qualities and values expected of an individual in the industry with regards to professional practice, ethics and credibility. This is done with the view to produce graduates who can operate effectively as well rounded audio professionals, and make a meaningful contribution to the industry and society.
Epson launches new projectors in SA
Epson, world leader in the projector market, has launched a complete digital solution for business meetings and classrooms. The integrated Epson EB-1410Wi and EB-1400Wi – which combine the benefits of projectors, interactive whiteboards, flipcharts and other presentation equipment into one easy-to-use device – were recently launched at an event held in Johannesburg on 28 February. The models project a 100-inch interactive image, offer a wide variety of input sources, help businesses and schools increase productivity and cut installation costs by eliminating the need for multiple pieces of meeting room equipment. Kelvin Reynolds, general manager of Epson South Africa, says: “These new devices are so much more than just interactive projectors, as they offer a complete digital solution that caters to a wide range of business needs. With one piece of equipment doing the job of the three or four that would have been required before, businesses are able to reduce investment costs on additional equipment and save valuable time in their meetings.” The advanced features allow users to turn any surface into a 100-inch interactive screen and make written comments or notes on any projected image from a variety of input sources; computers, office networks, USB memory sticks, visualisers and many other smart devices. With the interactive pens provided, users can interact with computer software in the same way they would with a mouse. Once meetings have finished, notes can be saved and shared to office networks and USB memory sticks, and be sent to other users by email.
Open day showcases 20 years of Gearhouse Gearhouse South Africa, a front-runner in providing technical support for live events, held an open day on 26 and 27 February at their offices in Bezuidenhout Valley, Johannesburg. The open day was attended by many local industry players who came to view and experience the company’s state-of-the-art equipment, which has helped it maintain its leading status in the live events arena. Among these products were the
a semi-transparent screen, DuoLED, whose shutters can be opened to let in light from behind. This allows for an added ‘wow’ factor at concerts when the screen is used in conjunction with background light effects. Attendees at the open day also found out more about Gearhouse’s 10 companies and illustrious twenty-year history.
SAFTAs honours film and TV industry L’Acoustics’ K1 sound system, recently used at the Red Hot Chili Peppers concerts, and Gearhouse’s impressive new midi dome. The dome is designed by In2Structures as an up-market alternative to a marquee for smaller events. Gearhouse also used the open day to parade their range of LED screens, including
Audiosure reward technical excellence at Naledi awards The Naledi Theatre Awards, recognised as the premier event on the Gauteng theatre calendar, were held at the prestigious Lyric Theatre at Gold Reef City on 18 March. The awards’ mission is to recognise and reward excellence in the Performing Arts as well as to raise the profile of Live Theatre and the abundant talent in the local theatre industry. This year the Best Theatre Lighting Design award was bestowed on Tina Le Roux for her work on Abnormal Loads. Braam du Toit scooped the Naledi award for Best Theatre Sound Design / Sound Effects for his work on Trilogy: Lot/Betésda/Babbel.
Tina Le Roux
The 7th annual South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs) were held on 15 and 16 March at Gallagher Estate in Midrand, Johannesburg. The SAFTAs celebrate local stars from television and film as well as production companies and crew members. The awards show, produced by Vertical Limit Production and Vibe 2000 Entertainment, received overwhelmingly positive reviews. The proceedings of the second evening began with a thrilling act by 2012 Idols winner, Khaya Mthethwa, as well as Zakes Bantwini, Zaki Ibrahim and Mafikizolo, who had the guests up on their feet as a closing act. (See our next issue for the full story)
Robe’s von den Stemmen to visit Mediatech
Harry von den Stemmen
DWR Distribution, a world-renowned brand in the sector of professional lighting systems, has announced that regular international guest, Harry von den Stemmen, will once again attend Mediatech Africa (17 to19 July). Von den Stemmen, Robe Lighting’s sales director, will be at the exhibition to share his expert knowledge on Robe’s latest products. Von den Stemmen’s impressive CV includes 20 years of commercial experience in the pro lighting industry. He’s been involved in theatre, entertainment and architectural sectors – from cruise ships to large building projects. Speaking about Mediatech Africa he stated: “When I visited
Mediatech in 2011 I found it stunningly professional and well organised. I believe that it is the only trade show on the African continent of its kind.” This announcement comes after von den Stemmen’s visit to South Africa late last year during the highly successful DWR Distribution Roadshow that was held in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town. DWR Distribution has also confirmed that von den Stemmen will be joined by other international guests including: Elaine Peake (Le Maitre), Peter Kirkup (LumenRadio) and Sarah Rushton-Read (The Fifth Estate).
Mastering your Trade at Mediatech Africa The AV technology industry is a constantly evolving and competitive market, as such, it is essential to be able to make use of current tools and expertise. In the digital age a vital element in the success of any company or industry professional, in South Africa’s AV market, is investment in training and education, thereby keeping up to date with advances in international trends. Mediatech Africa is not only a crucial industry event for visitors wanting to explore ground breaking, advanced technology products and services, but an educational platform for optimising industry developments and getting expert advice on the best use of equipment. The biennial exhibition takes place 17 – 19 July 2013 at The Coca-Cola Dome, where local and international delegates are invited to attend educational workshops, conferences and interactive training presentations – delivered over the course of the three days. Mediatech show director, Simon Robinson, is focusing efforts on an increased African presence at the exhibition: “We welcome African visitors attending the event, not only for the exhibition but also to
gain valuable knowledge through the conference and educational workshop programs.” Following the success of the previously held presentation at Mediatech 2011, SACIA and the Government AV Forum will be presenting another half-day workshop, with a focus on the use of broadcast and AV technology in government and state-owned enterprises. The workshop will take place from 8am – 12pm on Thursday 18 July at Mediatech. For the two days before Mediatech opens, SACIA will be hosting a new IABM training course focused on the broadcast market: Internet Protocol and Network Essentials for Broadcast Engineers. The course cost is R13 500, but for SACIA members and out-of-town delegates pre-registered for the Mediatech show, the course cost is reduced to R11 350. Also running immediately prior to Mediatech is the popular SACIA InfoComm accredited GEN111 Essentials of AV Technology course. This three-day course will
run 15-17 July and provides in-depth explanations of the science and technology for basic audio, visual and audio-visual systems integration. A brief overview of the sales, rental/hire, design and installation functions is included in the course content. This course builds the student’s understanding of the everyday fundamentals used in the AV industry. It is also great preparation for students wanting to earn the InfoComm-recognised AV Technologist certificate. The course cost is R6 500, but for SACIA members and out-of-town delegates pre-registered for the Mediatech show, the course cost is reduced to R4 500. Both courses will be held at Blandford Manor in Northriding (just 5km from the Northgate Dome where Mediatech is being held). Visitors interested in attending can contact Kevan Jones at email@example.com for bookings and further information. For an interactive and engaging experience, visit Mediatech Africa and hone your skill as a professional in production and live entertainment technology. Along with workshops and training, there is a myriad of activities to enjoy, including: outdoor sound demos, international speakers, live entertainment and over 800 brands represented by 125 companies. Register online at www.mediatech.co.za before the 7th July to avoid paying R50 at the door.
SACIA’s code of conduct gets thumbs up The Southern African Communications Industries Association (SACIA) has, over the last few months, been actively engaged with its members and industry stakeholders to develop a Code of Conduct for the communications industry in the region. The lengthy and interactive process has resulted in a code designed to promote ethical business practice and aims to make the SACIA logo synonymous with trust and quality. The ethics and accountability drive began in April 2012 when SACIA members elected a new board, chaired by Bruce Genricks, to lead the association for a two year period. Soon after, in June, the new board convened for a full-day strategy session to define SACIA’s objectives and activities for the coming year. The meeting was attended by the SACIA board and key stakeholders within the broadcast and pro-AV industry and moderated by Dr Nico Walters from the Strategy Institute of South Africa. The key objectives discussed were the need to market the association, expand membership and ensure that the SACIA logo becomes synonymous with ethical business practice in
the industry. Kevan Jones CTS, executive director of SACIA, indicated that they requested help from the Ethics Institute of South Africa in order to develop a code of conduct that is relevant to the industry. “We organised an industry networking breakfast in Johannesburg on 5 October 2012 and invited Kris Dobie from the Ethics Institute to lead the discussion and gather feedback from industry delegates. We also invited South African Screen Federation (SASFED) and other industry associations to send delegates,” he stated. “The presentation was recorded by the SABC, and a series of videos of the presentation and subsequent discussions were put together by Libravision in Cape Town. These videos were then uploaded to the SACIA Vimeo site. Based on the discussions at the Ethics breakfast in October, we then drafted an interim Code which was circulated to all members and industry partners for comment.” In the following months the Ethics video was viewed by nearly 200 people and SACIA received feedback from more than 100 associations and individuals. The Ethics
Institute then collated the feedback and produced the final business code adopted by the SACIA Board in early January. According to Jones the board was cognisant of the fact that an effective code of conduct was based on input from the industry. “We wanted to make sure that we were not imposing a code onto the market, but rather providing as many people as possible with the opportunity to contribute to the development of this code,” he added. The final version of the SACIA Code of Conduct was launched earlier this year in January. So far, about half of the SACIA members have become signatories with the remainder expected to ratify by the end of April. The code can be downloaded from the home page of the SACIA website at www.sacia.org.za.
System Integration AV CONTROLLER COMPARISONS
Comparing AV controller products Paul Watson looks at some of the fundamental similarities and differences between three of
the leading manufacturers’ flagship controllers for integrated AV solutions...
Enova DVX 3150-HD
Product overview AMX’s Enova DVX 3150-HD All-In-One Presentation Switcher combines all of the components needed to control/automate any environment into a simple, flexible, comprehensive solution including control, video switching, transcoding and scaling, and local and remote distribution – all in a single, compact enclosure. In addition to these capabilities, the DVX also offers room-level capabilities such as multi-format local inputs, audio mixing and amplification in the same enclosure.
Features: • InstaGate Pro Technology – Eliminates HDCP key constraints and HDCP switching delays • SmartScale Technology – Ensures best resolution on every display in mixed resolution applications • Multi-Format Inputs – Supports analogue and digital signals on a single connector • Audio Breakaway and Embedding – Allows audio and video signals from one source to be switched to different destinations • Twisted Pair Distribution – Send audio, video, bi-directional control and Ethernet up to 100m • Integrated Digital Signal Processor – Easily adjust audio to match the room’s unique acoustics • Microphone Processing – Eliminates amplification of unwanted noises ensuring crystal clear communication • Automatic Standby Mode – Power-down all audio and video circuitry when not in use • Web GUI for Audio and Video Configuration – Point and click GUI simplifies setup and installation
Additional features: • AMX’s SmartScale technology automatically delivers an optimallyscaled image to every display in the installation while eliminating incompatibilities between source devices and displays • • AMX’s InstaGate Pro technology seamlessly integrates HDCP into system designs and provides hassle-free matrix switching to any HDCP compliant displays without constraints or delays
The RC-63DL is a six-button, wall mount controller designed for use in multimedia rooms. The buttons are designed in two groups: a group of two display buttons and another group of four source buttons, all of which are backlit and can be programmed according to the user’s requirements. The unit may function either as a standalone room controller, or as part of a K-NET control setup (K-NET is Kramer’s proprietary protocol for communication between its products). When used as part of a K-NET control system with a dedicated master room controller, the RC-63DL is connected by a single K-NET cable and no configuration of the wall controller is required as it automatically reverts to slave mode under the master controller. Several user interfaces can be connected to the same master controller.
Features: • Although originally designed for use with Kramer’s SummitView – used to control audio and video components and other room facilities such as lights and screens – the RC-63DL is a far more advanced piece of kit, and integrates AV and room control into a centralised system via a plethora of control ports. • The bi-directional RS-232 port controls AV equipment such as projectors, LCD and PDP displays, power amplifiers, switchers and scalers; two relay contact closure ports simplify and centralise control of room functions including lighting, opening and closing of drapes and screen and projector settings; and the unit’s two K-NET connectors connect to other control panels or a central control processor. • The IR output is an additional control port for AV equipment and its IR learning function automatically learns commands sent from any IR remotes. In addition, a USB port is available for configuring the RC-63DL via a laptop or desktop computer.
Additional features: • Six programmable colour back-lit and label-capable buttons, for a user-friendly appearance • Programmable back-lit LCD group labels • Configurable digital volume control knob with five LEDs • Macro capability allows users to carry out multiple commands with a single press of a button • Command banks: each button offers multiple layers of functions for alternate behaviour • Internal clock: allows users to schedule recurring tasks and define the system shutdown timer • USB port: for more efficient programming
A team of specialised technical supply professionals for corporate, television, theatre and music events.
Product overview Crestron’s PRO3 rack-mount control processor presents a new benchmark in control system technology, the manufacturer claims. It includes Crestron’s proprietary Core 3 OS control engine, which is said to provide a pronounced increase in processing power and speed, as well as more memory.
Features: • Crestron says its IP based Core 3 platform has been engineered to deliver a network-grade server appliance capable of handling a very wide range of AV applications, from boardroom AV and home theatre to complete building management. The manufacturer claims that it provides rock-solid networking and IP control, as well as a unique modular programming architecture. • Core 3 also provides a far easier integration with all IP-controllable devices. As a result PRO3 can also be part of a larger managed control network. • Core 3 UI XPanel technology also provides e-Control remote access, allowing for virtual touch screen control through any web browser running on a laptop or desktop computer. • Another key element of PRO3 is its dedicated Control Subnet, which is a Gibabit Ethernet port dedicated to all Crestron devices. Via the PRO3’s Control Subnet, an installer can connect a single touch screen or wireless gateway, or add a Crestron PoE switch to handle multiple touch screens, gateways, AV components or other devices. Autoconfiguration of the entire subnet is performed by the PRO3, discovering each device and assigning IP addresses without any extra effort from the installer. • A separate LAN port on the PRO3 provides a single-point connection to the primary LAN, requiring just one IP address for the complete control system. The LAN port allows full interconnectivity between devices on the local subnet with other devices, systems, servers and WAN/Internet connections outside the local subnet. For sensitive applications that require complete security, the entire control subnet can be totally hidden from the primary LAN using the isolation mode.
Sales & Rental of Pro Audio Equipment
Lighting Supplier and 3D Lighting Design
Additional features: • A modular programming architecture allows up to 10 simultaneous programs to run, which optimises the performance and allows changes to be made and device-specific programmes to be upgraded independently, with minimum downtime. • On-board 1GB RAM and 4GB Flash memory, with expandable storage of up to 1TB. • Multiple control ports: Gigabit Ethernet port for connection to primary LAN; Subnet port; two RS-232/422/485 COM ports with hardware and software handshaking; four RS-232 COM ports with software handshaking; eight IR/serial, eight relay, and eight Versiport I/O ports; and three built-in 3-Series control card expansion slots. • USB 2.0 host port. • Colour LCD front panel display. • Secure access through active directory integration or standalone account management. • Supports Core 3 UI XPanel web-based remote control. • Supports Crestron Mobile control apps for iPhone, iPad and Android.
Advanced Video Presentation Technology
Interview with Stuart Pringle Stuart Pringle is co-founder (along with Stephen Kellaway, CEO) and director of Omega Digital Technologies (Pty) Ltd, a Johannesburg based company that specialises in visual communications solutions and AV integration. Stuart has been a long-time player in the AV industry here in South Africa so it was no wonder that Greg Bester tracked him down to learn a bit more about him and what he does. Here’s what he had to say.
System Integration Industry Expert
What do you see for the future? Is there anything exciting on the horizon that you’re looking forward to in the next five years? I feel that the future may see close partnerships between network integrators and telepresence integrators such as ourselves. We can provide the niche skills required to cover the AV and telepresence portions of a network contract held by a network integrator. Video as a service (VaaS) is also on the cards. We have already built hosted services, ’CloudRooms,’ and have the ability to provide a turnkey service to our clients that incorporates the equipment, network, hosted services and service level agreement, all as a service.
What has been your most rewarding job and why? Tell me a little about how you got into the audio visual industry. In 1999 I was employed by Future Media (one of the leading AV integrators at the time) as an IT administrator. Being technically inclined, I attended internal training sessions that the AV field engineers went through. In a short space of time, the control system programming bug bit me and I started to assist Future Media in their core business of AV integration. I managed to make an impression there and moved through the ranks to become a senior member of the technical team. Once AV is in your blood, there is no getting out of it!
After you and co-founder Stephen Kellaway formed Omega Digital what was your goal for the market? We felt that the AV industry in South Africa lacked the level of professionalism that other ICT industries had. We decided that we would like to raise the bar of solutions and service delivery in the local AV industry, and by doing so establish credibility which would drive success. We were able to form an exceptional team quickly who we believed could deliver on our motto: “Expert advice, exceptional service.”
What correlations do you see between having your B.Tech degree and what you do at Omega? Has it been a crucial stepping stone in dealing with the technical nature of the job? Not a day goes by when I am not thankful that I have a degree in engineering. Engineering taught me how to think in a logical way and solve problems creatively. The grounding in electrical principles has been a tremendous benefit and the level of mathematics has allowed me to easily overcome some major obstacles encountered in AV design.
What do you feel is the most exciting aspect of the audio visual industry at the moment? Technology fields are full of excitement on a continuous basis. I am most excited about the development of training courses and material to enable technical staff to be up-skilled. With skilled personal, we have the ability to add true value that our clients are willing to pay for. The most noteworthy for me is that fact that clients who want a professional solution are willing to pay for design and consultancy services – a cost absorbed by AV integrators in the past.
For many years I headed up our design team. During this period, it was extremely rewarding to see blank sheets of paper turn into architectural drawings, detailed schematics and 3D renderings that allowed our delivery teams to implement solutions that were world class. Walking onto site and seeing the end project in all its glory has always been a proud moment for me.
What particular invention that is not currently available would make your life easier? Audio visual installations that require no cabling would make our lives much easier.
What bothers you most about the AV industry? It is frustrating that the barrier to entry into the general AV industry is low. The industry is tainted by upstarts who have not made significant investment in resources, training and all of the backend requirements. If clients don’t do their homework they may fall into the trap of doing price-based business with AV companies that can afford to give away services and margin, which more substantial companies require to be sustainable. Unfortunately, when these projects go bad, the industry as a whole gets a bad name.
What advice do you have for AV industry aspirants? Firstly, it’s a tough game if you want to play at the highest level – be prepared to knuckle down. Secondly, if you are not learning, you’re not growing. With all of the material that is available, spend some of your own time investing in your knowledge and skills – it may seem like a sacrifice in the short term, but will position you for fantastic opportunities in time to come. Thirdly, make sure the company that you work for is a professional outfit built to last. Companies in this category should be willing to invest in growing your skills and plotting a career path with you. Spending a long period of time at a company like this will give you the knowledge and experience that will differentiate you from others and allow you to prosper.
What takes up your time when you are not working? (hobbies, etc) I’m a bit of a sports freak. I love playing squash and watching sports, whether on TV or live. I also spend as much time as possible with my family. My eldest son has recently started go-karting, so I spend a fair bit of time with him at the race track while he works on his lap times.
17 - 19 July 2013, Coca-Cola Dome, Johannesburg, South Africa www.mediatech.co.za
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System Integration CORPORATE COMMS
Streamlining corporate communications By Greg Bester
Large mining and smelting companies like Samancor Chrome have many large interests to maintain. Of course, maintaining this requires numerous meetings, presentations and internal company conferencing and communication. Needless to say, when you’re ‘one of the largest integrated ferrochrome producers in the world’ it is crucial that every idea, policy and management decision is disseminated as quickly and efficiently as possible. Indeed, it is inconceivable how much information they must stay abreast of.
As we all know, many company decisions and meetings happen in the boardroom; often companies such as Samancor hold several meetings each week. Accordingly, as time passes and technology progresses, it is prudent to ensure that your boardroom conferencing and communication systems are up to date for the simple reason that well-engineered technology saves time and as we all know, time is money. Called upon to handle the installation of Samancor’s Chrome boardroom conferencing and presentations systems was industry AV masters Blue Hammer, coordinated by Kevin Craig and Richard Pape, with the aid of Dean Jules from Epson. Epson is the top choice for corporate projection worldwide and Blue Hammer is proud to be
their sales arm in Southern Africa. Initially, the operation at Samancor started as a renovation and the services of interior design specialists BCS, with whom Blue Hammer worked very closely, were enlisted. The result was a beautifully designed boardroom that boasted a sleek, modern look with a warm, inviting atmosphere fitted with state of the art presentation and conferencing technology. Kevin comments: “The CEO of Samancor had a very clear idea of what he wanted to do. He wanted to keep things simple and had a very clear brief on how he wanted to interact with his boardroom. We did not do the blinds, lighting control etc, however the system is capable of upgrade opportunities.” The core AV installation at the Chrome room consists of the following components: a PC; a Polycom CX3000 IP conferencing phone which acts as the audio hub for terrestrial and video calls; a Crestron Compact Series 2 Control system brain with Ethernet facility; a Crestron 7” surface mount touch screen for system navigation and control; an Epson EB-485Wi projector and a Vaddio HD USBB PTZ Camera for video conferencing. The audio system installed was a Bose system consisting of Freespace 3 satellite speakers, and a Freespace 3II subwoofer, installed in the ceiling. A Biamp digital sound processor handles processing of the system. Finally, an Apple iPad was included wirelessly to control the projector. All aspects of the system are networked to the company LAN and a variety of inputs are accommodated for seamless connectivity without hassle. This gives the opportunity to share and conference virtually any document within the company infrastructure. The projector can be wirelessly controlled via Epson iProjection control software on your iPad, iPhone or Android device and can be used to display a wide variety of items such as web pages, photos, or documents. Probably the central feature in the Chrome room installation is the 3100-lumen ultra-short throw Epson EB-485Wi interactive projector,
CORPORATE COMMS System Integration
connected to the Chrome room master PC via USB for setup, control and diagnostic. This projector offers the ability to project an interactive image up to a size of 100in/245cm onto any flat surface and for the presenter to stand very close without casting a shadow. Inputs are automatically detected. Annotation is done via infra-red digital pens that work with pre-loaded software and up to two pens can be used at one time. All work can be saved and printed for distribution. In addition, the EB-485Wi image is self-calibrating and takes very little time to warm up, which makes it very user friendly. Richard Pape comments: “One of the reasons we use Epson is for the simple fact of value for money. If you look at the opposition in regard to interactive white board you pay more than (literally) double the price and get very little control in terms of software. With Epson, you get the software for free.” Video conferencing is done via Microsoft Lync, which is Microsoft’s flagship video conferencing and messaging client, enabling employees and clients to share and contribute to documents in real time over the internal network or internet.
The Wrap The installation by Blue Hammer at the Samancor Chrome boardroom is slick, comprehensive and efficient. With a variety of inputs available to project and annotate virtually any document from virtually any source – both wired and wireless – there is no doubt that future meetings, conferences, and presentations will be accurately and effectively disseminated. The fact that the installation is open-ended allows further upgrades such as automation, is another value add that, I’m sure, will please all involved and help push Samancor well into the forefront in 21st Century mining and smelting.
System Integration Building Automation
Building on our management standards By Geny Caloisi
The demand for building management solutions is increasing and finding the right resources to achieve a straightforward installation is not always easy. This is where KNX – an international standard that controls building systems automation – comes in. Whether it is a residential property, an airport, a business block or a shopping centre; KNX allows integrators to create an intelligent building using less wiring while also obtaining shiny ‘green’ credentials. Management of air-conditioning, lighting, security systems, access control, HVAC systems, monitoring systems, metering, AV control, appliances and the ever important issue of energy control, can all be automated and organised via one protocol. This makes KNX a must for newly built, modern buildings looking to not only keep their carbon footprint small, but also to save costs. KNX has been developed over 20 years, drawing from the experience from previous systems such as EIB, EHS and BatiBUS. KNX is an approved international standard (ISO/IEC 14543-3), a European standard (CENELEC EN 50090 and CEN EN 13321-1) and a Chinese standard (GB/Z 20965). At the end of last year KNX opened its South African office and we spoke with
Joubert, lead tutor and programmer at KNX, to find out more.
In your words, what is KNX? Jean-Pierre: KNX is a standardised protocol providing both a common language and platform for installing, maintaining and updating all facets of building management. This allows building managers, such as theatre managers, to control not only the house lights but also manage the climate control, curtain operation, and any other electrical functions.
applications to the building layout in ETS, linking the two using a virtual wire (called a ‘group address’) and download the software to them. You are able to switch the light using the button.
What are the benefits of integrating KNX? Jean-Pierre: Besides energy efficiency, KNX brings the benefit of less cabling required for an installation because all products can be placed locally, meaning fewer cables are run. Since most items take their operating power from the KNX Bus, they can be put next to where they are needed. So, you can place a switching actuator directly in the pump room while the sensor may be down the hall, and all that you need between the two is the same KNX bus cable, a thin two/four-wire cable. There is a wide range of products and manufacturers that use KNX. You could have a light switch from ABB, which will speak to a Zennio blind controller, a Hager movement sensor and an Elsner weather station, without a problem. With KNX there is no need for proprietary systems; it removes the need for superfluous multiple bus systems; fewer gateways are required, which minimises errors in translation between systems; it is easy to use and provides easy maintenance for the building manager who will only need to know one (not a multiple) system and it lowers installation costs.
How does it help energy efficiency? Jean-Pierre: By allowing the various electrical systems in a building – lighting, climate systems, curtains/blinds, pumps – to essentially speak to one another via a common language, the various systems can be managed to work together better. For instance, lighting and climate systems are often left on in unoccupied rooms. This creates excess energy expenditure for the management company, as well as any tenants. By integrating these systems together with movement sensors, for instance, we can automatically switch both systems on or off, depending on movement inside the area. Adding a simple window sensor would allow the HVAC to turn off should the window open, minimising the workload of the air-con and lowering energy usage drastically. Also, if you install a weather station and blind control to the building, you could allow the building to automatically lower blinds should the sun shine on a particular facade. This not only minimises sun damage and wood warping in furniture, but also lowers the amount of light and heat entering the room, lowering the light levels and air-conditioning temperatures required for a comfortable working environment. All of this increases the building performance and lowers energy usage.
What companies and manufacturers have adopted KNX? How does it work? Jean-Pierre: KNX is very simple; an integrator uses a programme called EST (Engineering Software Tool) to design a layout of the building. Each product used has a software application that is placed into this layout. Every required function is linked into the software and the physical products are programmed individually. For instance, if you have a light switch (called an ‘actuator’) and a button on the wall (called a ‘sensor’) you would add both
Jean-Pierre: There are over 300 manufacturers developing more than 9 000 certified KNX products. Locally there is specific representation for ABB, Somfy, Hager, via Electromechanica, Cape Town and GIRA, via AMC German Technology. In addition we (as KNX Electronic Components) have recently become local representatives for Futurasmus, a web-based provider of all KNX brands to allow access to products not normally catered for by the larger manufacturers such as direct HVAC integration, audio/
video control, alarm system gateways and pricing comparative to that found in Europe.
What advantages does KNX bring to manufacturers and integrators? Jean-Pierre: For manufacturers it opens products up to be sold in a global market. It allows external verification of product quality assurance, since all KNX products undergo a rigorous testing procedure to attain certification status. It ensures that products conform to ISO 9001, and minimises R&D time by using a tried and true bus system as its backbone â€“ instead of developing its own from scratch and having to deal with bugs. Benefits to integrators include international recognition of their skills, which are easily transferable in the event of relocation. In terms of using KNX standards they have easy use of planning, installation and maintenance; a unified software tool with ETS; a wide range of product solutions; and it is an open system, so clients always have access to an expert who can upgrade or maintain the system. Lastly, as each product has its own intelligence there is no central point of failure. If a part fails, everything else in the installation keeps working.
What is KNX South Africa doing? Jean-Pierre: KNX South Africa National Group has just launched to better promote KNX locally. In addition to this we are working with groups such as the ECA to help KNX be recognised locally as the building standard comparable to the rest of the world.
What courses are available on KNX? Jean-Pierre: Currently two companies, KNX Electronic Components in Cape Town, for which I am a tutor, and Industrial Data Xchange (IDX) in Johannesburg, which offer the certified KNX Basic and KNX Advanced training. In addition to this KNX Electronic Components are also busy with local audio/video distributors to develop various KNX Integration courses for Elan Systems, Bang & Olufsen, and so on. These will be offered in addition to the standard KNX courses.
Provide some examples where KNX has been used in South Africa? Jean-Pierre: Locally there are a number of installations using KNX including the Polokwane Stadium, the Vodafone Innovation Centre and the Rosebank Standard Bank building in Johannesburg, the library at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, as well as many other offices, showrooms and private residences throughout the country. There has also been an increase, not just in the awareness of KNX locally, but of certified individuals â€“ a growth over the past three years from 11 to currently 46 KNX partners. With the work of the KNX National Group and Training Centres we are hoping to not only continue but also increase this growth rate. For more information visit: http://www.knx.org/za/knx-south-africa.
System Integration InTERACTIVE PROJECTION
TECH FOR LEARNING: Roushal Poole demonstrates the VPL SW 535C projector
Ultra-short throw interactive projector – a class act In the simpler days of education teachers relied on chalkboards, flipcharts and overhead projectors to facilitate learning in lecture halls and classrooms, but times have changed and classrooms now include advanced AV systems. It is for this modern day classroom that Sony, a globally renowned provider of displays and projectors, has produced the versatile VPL-S500 series of ultra-short throw projectors. Pro-Systems went to see the series’ VPL SW 535C interactive projector in action at the Screen Media Show held at the Sandton Convention Centre on 11 and 12 March. Simba Nyamukachi reports: Although the Sony stand at Screen Media Show paraded a number of impressive products that consisted of CCTVs, projectors, professional displays and video conferencing solutions, the exhibition belonged to the VPL SW 535C which clearly stole the limelight. The white, slick and stylish 3000 Lm WXGA projector, which landed in the South African market in the fourth quarter of 2012, was a hit with exhibition attendees and the local market alike. “The VPL-SW535C has been very popular since it made its debut in South Africa late last year. Reception from the education and corporate sector has been overwhelming and as a result we have sold a number of VPL-SW535Cs and we continue to expect large orders throughout the year,” said Roushal Poole, Sony South Africa’s product manager for the Projectors & Displays/Broadcast & Professional Division. The projector, which combines the capability of a standard projector and an interactive whiteboard in one box, is ideal for education and corporate applications. It is designed to allow two users to draw concurrently on the projection screen with the use of
supplied interactive pens and drawing software. The same interactive pens can also be used to control presentation files and the rest of the Windows or Mac personal computers being used. “To achieve full interactivity of this kind in the past, at least three different products were required – a projector, either an electronic whiteboard or some whiteboard attachment as well as software. These solutions were labour intensive, unsightly due to cabling and very expensive,” Poole adds. The VPL-SW535C is ideal for small or difficult spaces – its ultra-short throw ratio can produce an 80-inch diagonal wide image from only 1.6 feet away from the screen. This short projection distance has two key benefits for the presenter and the audience. It helps the presenter to avoid glare from the projector when standing in front of the screen while making it easier for the audience to see the projected image because screen shadow is minimised. The projector boasts numerous installation advantages and sports a low-profile chassis that makes it appear to blend into the ceiling or wall that it is mounted to. It is equipped with an optical zoom and lens shift capability, a function that allows the position of the projected image to be adjusted to the desired setting during installation. This greatly reduces the time and hassle of fine-tuning the image position without having to physically move the projector or sacrifice the image quality. “Another strong point is that the VPL-SW535C ships with an original wall mounting from Sony and ultra-short throw lens so it is far easier to install than a traditional projector. If you buy and install through one of our approved dealers it should be up and running within an hour,” Poole adds. The projector features three brightness modes for different use – ‘High’ for naturally white presentations in bright rooms, ‘Standard’ for everyday use, and ‘Low’ for video in darkened rooms. Sony rates this projector’s expected lamp life at 6000 hours, an approximate period in low mode. The long life goes a long way in helping with the total cost of ownership. The VPL–SW535C comes with a 3-year warranty on the projector, a 1-year (or 1000 hour) warranty for the lamp, and a price tag of approximately R20 000. As with all Sony projectors, the VPL-SW535C features the Sony BrightEra 3LCD inorganic panel technology that delivers higher picture quality, substantially brighter images, higher efficiency, better contrast, consistent colour stability and longer durability and usability.
System Integration TRACKING TECHNOLOGY
TouchIT Board TouchIT Board works in conjunction with your data projector and your computer to create a touch-based interactive whiteboard where you have full control of your PC from the Board. The TouchIT Board works just like a mouse, allowing both left and right-click functionality on the board. No longer do you have to be stuck behind your desktop computer to teach a class, the TouchIT Board enables you to have full control, allowing you to really engage with your students. The TouchIT Board is available with Wizteach Educational Content. Built on Infra-Red touch technology and a low glare porcelain enamel steel whiteboard, the TouchIT Board delivers all the benefits of a touch based Interactive whiteboard without the loss of any of the traditional functionality of a regular whiteboard. No special solvents or cleaning fluids are needed to clean your dry erase marker notes from the board – a simple dry cloth or board eraser is all you need. Distributed by www.audiosure.co.za
Extron Electronics 3G-SDI input card Extron Electronics has introduced a new two input 3G-SDI Card for the Quantum Elite videowall processing system that accepts SDI, HD-SDI, and 3G-SDI signals. The new 3G-SDI input card features Extron high performance scaling technology, motion adaptive deinterlacing, and film mode cadence detection to ensure high quality image presentation on videowall displays. Automatic source format detection captures 480i and 576i SDI sources, HD-SDI sources up to 1080i/60 Hz, and 3G-SDI sources up to 1080p/60 Hz, complying with SMPTE 259M, 292M, and 424M digital video standards. SDI, HD-SDI, and 3G-SDI input support is also available for the Quantum Connect videowall processing system. Extron Quantum Series videowall processing systems deliver reliable multi-image presentations for demanding, mission-critical environments. They feature high performance graphics and video processing, and a dedicated high-speed video bus that maintains real-time performance under heavy input loads. Quantum Series processors can simultaneously display hundreds of windows of high quality graphics and video, making them ideal for medium to large videowall systems in environments including public spaces, corporate buildings, surveillance, visualisation, and command and control.
TV One HDBaseT HDMI
TV One recently introduced the New HDBaseT HDMI over a single Cat.5e/Cat.6. This HDMI System consists of a 1T-CT-651 transmitter and the 1T-CT-652 receiver. These units coupled together employ HDMI v1.4 capability and the HDBaseT 3Play™ technology to allow transmission of uncompressed 1080p high definition TV signals over a single Cat.5e or Cat.6 cable (the type of cable typically employed for Ethernet computer networks). HDMI v1.4 signals are supported, including 3D and 4k x 2k formats, and the system will also allow DVI signal transmission with appropriate DVI to HDMI Cable adapters. In addition, embedded 7.1CH LPCM, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio capability is standard. The 1T-CT-651/1T-CT-652 system can achieve signal distribution distances of up to 100 meters (325 feet) for uncompressed 1080p signals without signal degradation. Both the transmitter and receiver units feature the unique TV One-task locking power connectors to enhance overall system mechanical security.
Lectrosonics DNT BOB 88 Dante
Lectrosonics pronounced the new DNT BOB 88 Dante Breakout Box for use with the company’s ASPEN Dante network processor or other Dante hardware. The DNT BOB 88 is a high quality, general purpose interface designed to transmit and receive line level analog audio signals via a Dante network. This new breakout box is an outstanding choice for creating a bidirectional digital snake for stage productions, sending audio to a remote recording location in a courtroom complex, or delivering audio to remote amplifiers and loudspeakers in a stadium. With the DNT BOB 88, analog inputs are converted to digital and appear on the network as transmit channels. Audio for the analog outputs is taken from subscriptions to transmit channels on the network from other sources. When connected to a network, each DNT BOB 88 break out box will appear as a separate device in the Dante Controller software interface. The unit operates as a native Dante device with automatic device discovery and clock configuration using standard Ethernet hardware. High quality A/D and D/A converters ensure excellent audio quality. Distributed by www.audiosure.co.za
TRACKING TECHNOLOGY System Integration
AMX’s Enova DGX 16
The Galaxy Pro range of controllers is a highly expandable and flexible solution for video wall and multi-screen display applications, offering various display configuration possibilities. Whether you require a simple 4-screen data wall or a complex system, Galaxy hardware can be tailor-made to suit your needs. The controllers are optimised for operation with the latest generation of PCI express graphics and video capture cards. The Galaxy Pro can also be used with the Galaxy
AMX’s Enova DGX 16 Enclosure is a Digital Media Switcher that includes an integrated NetLinx Controller, redundant power supplies and can be populated with Enova DGX video input and output boards in addition to optional audio insert/ extract boards. There are four connections per video board, and each enclosure holds four video input boards and four video output boards for a maximum matrix of 16x16. The Enova DGX 16 is far beyond a modular media switcher with built-in controller – it functions as the centerpiece of a complete integrated solution that manages and distributes analog and digital audio and video including HDMI/HDCP, control and Ethernet. Easily integrate HDCP into system designs and enjoy hassle-free plug-and-play operation. No tools, no delays and no key constraints – it just works with AMX’s exclusive InstaGate Pro Technology. Built for today’s and tomorrow’s needs, a comprehensive set of Enova DGX hot swappable boards can be used in conjunction with DXLink and DGX Transmitters and Receivers to provide an end-to-end distribution system over twisted pair cable or fiber.
Functionality: • Redundant power supplies and hard drives • Input cards cater for almost any type of video signals, from legacy analogue signals to the latest high definition signals • The outputs are just as flexible with cards that cater for DVI, HDMI, RGB and VGA • Easily integrates with control systems such as Crestron • Wall control software allows for user configurable layouts and input selections • Pro-X expansion chassis. Distributed by www.electrosonic.co.za
System Integration TRACKING TECHNOLOGY
ASPEN Digital Audio Processors Lectrosonics’ ASPEN – Digital Audio Processors provide you with technology not found in any other system. They have a powerful array of features such as optimised architecture for an error-free audio pathway, and the patented Proportional Gain Algorithm (PGA) for seamless auto-mixing. In addition, Centralised Echo Cancellation supports bridging for multi-location telepresence, along with simultaneous TELCO and video conferencing. Lastly, there’s no gas-gauge to indicate that you’re running out of DSP resources… because you never will. Features: • Unlimited input expansion • TCP/IP Ethernet addressable • Seamless auto-mixing with PGA™ • 48-channel mix bus with full output matrixing • Simultaneous multi-point 3rd party and native control • Ultra-low 1.33 ms near-side latency for real-time audio Distributed by www.audiosure.co.za
The Huawei TP3206 is the first panoramic telepresence solution in the world, consisting of one co-optical centre camera and three impressive 55-inch ultra-narrow bezel displays to provide users with an immersive and internationally competitive conferencing experience. Furthermore, the TP3206 supports local conference, front mount installation and maintenance and saves space, power consumption and bandwidth – lowering TCO by up to 30%. In a corporate environment where telepresence systems are growing in prevalence, a degree of interoperability and reliability is essential in realising the benefit of investment in this technology. As such, the Huawei TP3206 also adopts standard-based H.235 and AES encryption techniques to ensure cross platform integration as well as security. Finally, the TP3206 features a touch based Graphical User Interface and employs Huawei’s popular MediaPad for conference control. It also includes Huawei Super Error Concealment (SEC) and Intelligent Rate Control to ensure a consistent user experience, even in low bandwidth environments.
NC900C DLP cinema projector
Designed for theaters with small screens, NEC’s NC900C DLP cinema projector delivers an enhanced theater experience with pristine images. With its S2K chip set from Texas Instruments®, the NC900C is the most compact 2K DCI-certified digital cinema projector on the market. Its small size enables it to be installed in small projection booths within the theater or transported for mobile applications. The all-in-one Integrated Media Server (IMS) with 2TB RAID5 of storage offers versatile connectivity, while reducing the number of peripheral devices needed. Additionally, NEC offers a standalone solution that allows for compatibility with your preferred IMS. The NC900C features precise 2K (2048 x 1080) resolution, 3D capabilities and 3-chip DMD reflection method and is easy to operate with user-friendly accessibility and minimal maintenance required.
DriveCore Install Series
HARMAN’s Crown Audio announced the introduction of its DriveCore Install (DCi) Series power amplifiers. Successor to the company’s acclaimed CTs Series, the new DCi Analog stereo and multi-channel amplifiers incorporate a host of improvements, including HARMAN’s exclusive DriveCore technology, to set new industry standards in reliability, sound quality, flexibility and efficiency. Twelve models in the DCi Series are available, ranging from 300 to 600 watts (into 4 and 8 ohms and 70 and 100Vrms). The first number in the model is the amount of channels and the second number indicates the watts-per-channel power rating. All amplifiers are just 2U rack spaces high, which conserves valuable installation space. Distributed by www.wildandmarr.co.za
A new hybrid species
With a bigger sting!! •
CNC Fabricated / Birch Plywood Cabinets
European Drivers (www.celtopro.com)
Original Neutrik Speakon NL4 connectors
Hexion.USA Coarse-Textured Black Coating (Environment Friendly)
Main club system loudspeaker
Ultra high power Subwoofer
Frequency Response (+/- 3dB):
Frequency Response (+/- 3dB):
Frequency Response (+/- 3dB):
Maximum SPL /1m (Calculated):
Maximum SPL /1m (Calculated):
Maximum SPL /1m (Calculated):
Woofer: 10” CELTO ACOUSTIQUE
Woofer: 12” CELTO ACOUSTIQUE
Woofer: 18” CELTO ACOUSTIQUE
Power Rating: 300W RMS (AES Standard)
Power Rating: (AES Standard)
Power Rating: 3000W RMS (AES Standard)
300mm(W) x 300mm(H) x 300mm(D)
594(W) x 1094(H) x 695(D)
348mm(W) x 756mm(H) x 494mm(D)
Viva Afrika Sound and Light (Pty) Ltd Unit 2, 2 Drakensburg Road Longmeadow Business Park West, Westfield PO Box 4709, Rivonia, 2128, South Africa Tel: 011 250-3280, Fax: 011 608-4109 firstname.lastname@example.org, www.hybrid.co.za
System Integration Projectors & Screens
Step by step guide
– How to select a projector and screen for your meeting room (Courtesy of dnp Denmark)
Improve your image Today, most presenters prefer a bright presentation environment so they can see their audience, and read their facial expressions and body language. However, there is one big problem with room lighting: It can make even the best presentation look pale and boring if you choose a wrong projector-screen combination. This step-by-step guide will help you select the equipment needed to make perfect presentations in your meeting room: • Screen size and format • Type of screen – plain white or optical screen • Required projector brightness and lens • Image sources/presentation software . Step#1 Step#2 Step#3 Step#4 Step#5 Step#6 Step#7
Basic needs and requirements for meeting rooms Calculating screen size, viewing distances and angles Calculating required image brightness Deciding on required image contrast Selecting the right screen Selecting projector and lens Sourcing products and assistance
Step 1: Basic needs and requirements for meeting rooms Before you purchase AV equipment for your presentations, you need to know two things: what you want to show, and in which environment you are going to show it – room dimensions, ambient light level, viewing requirements (distances, angles) etc.
Presentation equipment Typical presentation needs include PowerPoint, Word, Excel and internet, Blue-Ray and maybe also a Vizualizer. Your shopping list could look like this: • PC running 16:10 (I.E. WUXGA,1 920 x 1 200 pixel resolution) • Blue-Ray and Vizualizer running 16:9 (I.E. 1 920*1 080) • A projector in 16:10 format* • A projection screen in 16:10 format • Control equipment to switch between image sources Depending on lighting conditions in your meeting room and choice of screen type, you might also need to invest in room darkening/window blinds. *Since the computer will be the most used equipment, one should accept having small black boarders on top and bottom of the image while displaying Blue-Ray and Vizualizer, which are in 16:9 format. Alternatively one can use a scaler to transform Blue-Ray and Vizualizer to 16:10 format.
Presentation environment The typical conference room is a mid-size room between 20m² and 100m² (215 – 1 100 ft2) with a moderate ceiling height and a rectangular shape. In many situations there will be a window on one side of the room, which implies high ambient light levels.
Controlling the environment
fig. 1 – typical conference room
Disclaimer: The guide is written by image-specialists from dnp Denmark, a leading manufacturer of projection screens. The guide is an extract from the more extensive dnp Technical Guide. All recommendations in the guide are based on requirements in typical conference rooms and the AV technology available at the time of writing. dnp Denmark can not be held responsible for purchases based on the content of the guide
Use drapes to control the daylight to a reasonable level. The windows closest to the screen should be completely blocked to avoid any reflections on the screen. Even when using window drapes and the described lighting, it is still realistic to have up to 450 – 500 Lux (42 – 47 ft-c) ambient light on the meeting room table and 200 – 250 Lux (19 – 23 ft-c) ambient light falling on the screen. Furthermore, the field of vision has to be optimised. Use muted colours on the wall surrounding the screen and avoid using light fittings with directly visible lamps. Illumination should be omnidirectional and all luminances in the field of vision kept within a restricted contrast range.
Projectors & SCreens System Integration
The screen should be located centrally in the back wall following the centreline of the table and the height from the floor to the screen should be at least 90cm (35”) to ensure that everybody seated at the table can see the bottom of the screen.
fig. 4 – viewing angles
fig. 2- controlling light levels
Step 2: Calculating screen size,viewing distances and angles Make a plan-view drawing showing the room layout and seating arrangement in relation to the desired position of the screen.
Farthest viewer is 9.14m (30ft or 360”) from the screen. This gives a minimum image height of 9.14m ÷ 8 = 1.14m (360” ÷ 8 = 45”) In this scenario we choose a 100” 16:10 screen which has an image area of (W x H) 2.154m x 1.346m = 2.90m2 (84.8” x 53” = 31.2 square feet)
Step 3: Calculating required image brightness
Take measurements from the centre of the screen to the minimum and maximum viewing distances, VDmax and VDmin. As a general guideline, a viewing distance of 4 times the height of the image is optimal. The viewing distance should not be less than 2 times the image height, and the maximum viewing distance not beyond 8 times the image height. Please note that this may vary depending on the resolution used.
Normally the light level in a meeting room is around 2-300 lux (19-28 ft-c) – or 4-500 lux (37-47 ft-c) if it is an open-office type of environment. As a rule of thumb the brightness level on the screen surface in such a room is 50% of the ambient light level on the table. Use an Illuminance meter to measure the actual light level in the room. You can download a LuxMeter app for your smartphone or ask an AV reseller with professional equipment to do it for you. The light level should be measured at the screen position and at the seating area, using the light settings and amount of daylight desired. These measurements will give an indication of the adaptation level and thus the requirements for the image brightness.
Required image brightness
The DIN 19045-1 standard recommends horizontal viewing angles, HVA (i.e. viewing positions) to be within ±45o and within ±30o vertically. Again this depends on the actual application. For example the height of the image will depend on the seating layout.
As a rule, the image peak luminance should be 2-3 times the luminance of a sheet of white paper on the table in order to be comfortable to look at. If the illumination level at the table position is, say, 400 lux (37 ft-c), then the luminance from a pure white surface will be 127 nit (400/π) (37 ft-L) and the target image brightness should be 254-381 nit (74 – 111 ft-L). Remember that in a room with more light on the conference table, the required screen brightness will be higher in order to create a good viewing experience on the screen.
Example: Closest viewer is 2.74m (9ft or 108”) from the screen. This gives a maximum image height of 2.74m ÷ 2 = 1.37m (108” ÷ 2 = 54”).
The meeting room is very bright with 344 lux (32 ft-c) ambient light on the table. The light level at the screen position is measured to 204 lux (19 ft-c) = 59% of the light on the table. The luminance of a white paper on the table is 344/π = 109 nit (32 ft-L). This gives a required image brightness of 218 – 327 nit (64 – 96 ft-L).
fig. 5 – in-room light levels
fig. 3 – viewing distance
System Integration Projectors & Screens Step 4: Deciding on required image contrast According to the global ANSI/InfoComm 3M-2011 standard, AV applications for meeting rooms should have an image contrast ratio of minimum 15:1 in order to deliver “acceptable” quality. A system image contrast ratio of 20:1 is perceived as “good” quality. We recommend aiming for 20:1 in system contrast ratio.
Basically there are two types of Supernova Screen materials: 1. Low-Gain type offering good uniformity and wide viewing angles (on-axis Peak-Gain of 0.8; Horizontal Half-Gain angle of 85°) 2. High-Gain type offering high brightness and narrow viewing angles (on-axis Peak-Gain of 2.3; Horizontal Half-Gain angle of 23°) 1
Depending on screen material and light setup – consult your AV reseller or see step 7
Choice of screen material depends on how the audience is seated in the room and type of screen. • In rooms with a long conference table in front of a fixed screen we recommend High-Gain screen material. • In rooms with wide seating arrangements and a retractable or portable screen, you should go for Low-Gain screen material.
fig. 6 – The central screen in this conference room is a dnp Supernova Infinity. The screens to the left and right are standard white screens. Note the big difference in brightness and contrast.
Step 5: Selecting the right screen Once you have calculated required image brightness and decided on minimum contrast needed to produce a good high-contrast image, you should consider which screen to use. Although it only represents a small part of the total AV budget, the screen is inarguably the face of the display system. A good screen can dramatically enhance the image quality. A cheaper one can ruin your image – which makes it a false economy in the long run. There are two types of projection screens on the market: conventional diffusion screens and optical screens. In the diffusion screen category, white screens are dominant. Conventional “white” diffusion screens are essentially white surfaces, which reflect projected light and send it back in all directions. Such screens are generally said to have a Gain of 1. These screens are relatively cheap but typically require a dark presentation environment – often requiring additional investments in window blinds and/or a more powerful projector than you would need with an optical screen. Optical screens such as the dnp Supernova Screens have a built-in lens system, which enables you to control the projected image for maximum impact and enhance the contrast level of a projected image by up to 7 times. As a result these screens require a smaller and less expensive projector, as you will see in the next section. Optical screens are more expensive but work excellently in high ambient light unlike traditional projection screens that do not perform as well. The reason is that dnp Supernova Screens do not reflect as much unwanted ambient light (“noise”) as other screens because ambient light is absorbed within the lens system. The ambient light reflectance of a white screen is typically 20-30%. The ambient light reflectance of a dnp Supernova screen is normally around 5 – 6% . Ask the manufacturer for the actual figure of the specific screen (or look for it on the data sheet). As you will see in next section, the screen’s ambient light reflectance has huge impact on how much projector brightness is needed to deliver a good quality image. In the dnp Supernova Screen optical screen category, you can choose from different designs and visual properties.
fig. 8 – dnp Supernova Screen in bright meeting room.
Step 6: Selecting projector and lens Based on the image requirements and ambient light conditions, you can now calculate the required brightness of the projector (measured in Lumens).
The required (effective ) projector brightness is determined by 8 factors: 1. Ambient light in the room (here = 344 lux = 32 ft-c) 2. Ambient light on the screen (here = 204 lux = 19 ft-c) 3. Reflectance factor of the specific screen (Supernova = 6%, Standard white = 25%) 4. Required image contrast (here = 20:1) 5. Contrast ratio of the projector itself (here estimated = 80:1, but look in product specs) 6. Required image brightness of display (here = 218 – 327 nit = 64-96 ft-L) 7. Screen area (here = 2.90m2 = 31.2 ft2) 8. Screen Gain (2.3 for Supernova High-Gain, 0.8 for Supernova Low-Gain, 1 for standard white screen)
Projectors & SCreens System Integration 6.1 Verify calculated image brightness Make sure that the calculated minimum image brightness, in order to meet the requested image contrast level, is within the required image brightness range (see step 3). Minimum image brightness needed to obtain the 20:1 contrast ration is calculated like this: AMBIENT LIGHT ON SCREEN x SCREEN REFLECTANCE x PROJECTOR CONTRAST x (IMAGE CONTRAST – 1) ÷ (PROJECTOR CONTRAST – IMAGE CONTRAST)
Example: 204 x 0.06 x 80 x (20 – 1) ÷ (80 – 20) = 310 nit. This value is acceptable as it is within the required image brightness range of 218 – 327 NIT. If the value was outside the “tolerance” you would need to adjust image contrast ratio or light level until specifications are met. The formula is slightly different for US units: AMBIENT LIGHT ON SCREEN x SCREEN REFLECTANCE x PROJECTOR CONTRAST x
You now have an idea of how much projector brightness you need for your system. Due to brightness loss in the projector (caused by calibration and lamp decay) there is often a significant difference between what a projector is specified to output and what the actual light output is. The last two rows compensates for 10% brightness loss due to calibration, and 25% brightness loss due to gradual lamp decay in the service life of the lamp. As a general rule of thumb the specified lumens of the projector should be 1.5 times the required lumens (i.e. if you need 3 000 lumens, look for a 4 500 lumens projector).
6.4 Lens throw and projector placement Due to the lens structure in optical screens the projector should not be placed closer to the screen than 1.5 times the image width and not higher than 100% off-axis. For optical screens with High-Gain screen material lens throw should be 1.8 or more to reduce hot spotting.
(IMAGE CONTRAST – 1) ÷ (PROJECTOR CONTRAST – IMAGE CONTRAST) x PI
Example: 19 x 0.06 x 80 x (20 –1) ÷ (80 –20) x 3.14 = 90.5 ft-L This value is acceptable as it is within the required image brightness range of 64 – 96 ft-L. 1
The effective light output from a projector can vary significantly from the number stated in the
This is the ANSI checkerboard contrast, which will typically be in the range between 60:1 and 100:1.
Example: With a lens throw of 1.8 on a 100” screen in 16:10 the projector should not get closer to the screen than 1.8 x 2.154m = 3.9m (1.8 x 84.8” = 152.6” ÷ 12.7ft). Seeing is believing and it is strongly recommended that the desired projector/lens combination is tested before the final decision is made.
Step 7: Sourcing products and assistance
This value is not always found in the projector datasheets. Ask the manufacturer for the value or use an estimated contrast level of 80:1.
6.2 Calculate required effective projector brightness Now calculate how much effective projector brightness you need to reach above brightness level (the effective light output from a projector may vary significantly from specifications). PROJECTOR BRIGHTNESS = IMAGE BRIGHTNESS x IMAGE AREA x PI ÷ SCREEN GAIN
Example: 310 x 2.90 x 3.14 ÷ 2.3 = 1,228 lumens The formula is slightly different for US units: PROJECTOR BRIGNTNESS = IMAGE BRIGHTNESS x IMAGE AREA ÷ SCREEN GAIN
Example: 90.5 x 31.2 ÷ 2.3 = 1 228 lumens
6.3 Compare screen solutions You are now able to compare different solutions by replacing the parameters of different screen types/materials (the grey fields in the table below) in the calculations. As you can see in the comparison table, the results are very different: The numbers in red mean that the required specifications are not met: 6.6:1 contrast is way below the recommended 20:1 level and 1 292 nit is far too bright to create a comfortable viewing experience. The required brightness and contrast changes depending on screen type. Typically a white screen in a meeting room needs to be 4 times as bright in order to deliver the same image quality.
fig. 9 – dnp Supernova Screens are designed to absorb ambient light so they can be used even situations with large amounts of natural light.
You now have a pretty good idea of what type of equipment you need to buy in order to make a great presentation: • Screen size and format • Type of screen – plain white or optical screen • Projector brightness If you need help with the calculations we recommend that you talk to a professional AV installer with experience in presentation solutions for meeting and conference rooms. All certified dnp resellers are trained in these calculations and can help you find a proper solution for your meeting room.
SN High-Gain (23-23 material)
SN Low-Gain (08-85 material)
Ambient light in room
344 lux / 32 ft-c
Ambient light on screen
204 lux / 19 ft-c
Required image contrast
Estimated projector contrast
Required image brightness
218-327 nit / 64-96 ft-L
2.90 m2 / 31.2 ft2
Real image contrast
310 nit 90.5 ft-L
310 nit 90.5 ft-L
1 292 nit 377 ft-L
311 nit 90.8 ft-L
Real image brightness Required projector brightness
1 228 lumens
3 530 lumens
11 768 lumens
2 835 lumens
Projector brightness adjusted for calibration loss (10%)
1 364 lumens
3 922 lumens
13 076 lumens
3 150 lumens
Projector brightness adjusted for lamp decay (25%)
1 819 lumens
5 229 lumens
17 434 lumens
4 200 lumens
Installations Venue Solution
Installation for a higher purpose… Having done work for the Spoken Word Fellowship Church, Longdale, Johannesburg, in the past, Audiotech was called back in to provide a solution for their newly acquired venue.
Spoken Word Fellowship Church had purchased a building as an empty shell and transformed it into a facility that would cater for many more people than it was originally designed for. It was to be a place of worship, celebration and entertainment. A new stage was specified as well as a new gallery. In the gallery Audiotech housed their equipment, as well as the equipment from another supplier, that would stream the service live and cut it to Blu-ray. Because of the charismatic nature of this church and its congregation, there was to be a live band playing on the stage. All the instruments and vocalists needed microphones and the pastor and translator required dedicated microphones mounted on the pulpit. The video streaming supplier needed four different positions where they would mount their cameras. In addition, the HD video was to be routed through to the control room for processing and a dual display system was required with matrix switching capabilities. Finally, the control of the switching and displays was to be done from the control room and the pulpit.
Audio system Due to the dominance of many hard surfaces inside the venue, Audiotech decided to go with a Bose audio solution, using two Bose Panaray 802III loudspeakers suspended above the pulpit. The loudspeakers were stacked to give an even coverage throughout the lower level of the church as well as provide uncompromised audio to the gallery. Utilising eight full range 4.5 inch drivers per enclosure, they preclude the need for a crossover point in the middle of the vocal range, providing excellent tonal consistency and warmth in the mid frequencies. They perform well in the low frequency area too – right down to 50Hz. With a dispersion of 120 degrees, they provide excellent off-axis response without pronounced on-axis directionality. Audiotech supplemented the 802IIIs with a pair of Bose MB12 compact subwoofers, comprising one 12 inch driver per cabinet, for additional low frequency extension right down to 40Hz. The MB12s were positioned under the stage in purpose-built cavities. The result is an effective yet unobtrusive front of house sound system for sermons
and live performances. Finally a pair of Bose 310Ms were positioned on the stage to meet the band’s monitoring requirements. Bittner Basic 1 200 and 200 power amplifiers, with their marketleading damping factor specifications, bring out the best of this Bose loudspeaker combination. Bose loudspeakers love to be given plenty of power, so the Bose and Bittner combination is the perfect team. A Biamp Nexia SP DSP digital signal processor provides microphone management and all-system processing – including auto microphone mixing, Bose speaker equalisation and all necessary delay and limiting – making the system extremely flexible yet simple to operate. Biamp’s Da Vinci software provides a customisable graphic user interface with live VU meters to allow our technicians to monitor system levels via the GUI. A Soundcraft GB4 24 channel analogue mixer was used to mix the many microphones and feed out to the amplifiers. The purpose of the analogue mixing desk is to allow the customer to control the volume, gain and inputs of the microphones to the amplifiers. The purpose of the Biamp digital DSP is to equalise the programme material and eliminate feedback. Audiotech decided to limit the users’ interaction with the DSP and only give them access to the mixing desk to prevent user mistakes. Finally, Beyerdynamic gooseneck, handheld, and lapel microphones were employed throughout the church.
Venue Solution Installations
Video routing The video routing included converting the camera’s HDMI outputs to CAT5 and running them back to the rack. There the signal is converted back to HDMI, switched via 8x8 HDMI matrix switcher, and then routed back to the display devices via CAT5 before being converted once again to HDMI. The display devices installed include dual NEC U250X projector systems on the front wall along with two Elite fixed frame screens and Samsung HDMI LED screens mounted throughout the church and adjacent rooms. The purpose of the LED screens is firstly as a reference for the pastor when delivering his sermon, and then for overflow into the adjacent rooms as well as outside in the courtyard. Audio from the service obviously accompanies the video to its destination.
Control system The control of this venue was designed to be functional and give the control room technician overall control. The pastor or other users have limited control from the front of the church. For budget purposes and to avoid complexity, Audiotech decided to use a BitWize receiver and the free iPad/Android application, downloadable from iTunes and Google’s market. They configured the customer’s iPad using the GUI connected to the pre-configured WiFi router and immediately began switching images to display devices. The BitWize solution is very simple to configure and the customer was very happy with its functionality.
Challenges The power in the church was unstable to start with, experiencing regular outages, spikes and dips. Audiotech was concerned that a surge may damage the routing and switching equipment. As with any HDMI routing and switch solution there is a degree of apprehension when firing the system up for the first time; particularly when the site is full of other contractors pulling and squashing cables under their ladders and scaffolding. However, as Audiotech used ‘best of breed’ equipment and shielded, cabling and connectors, the synchronisation and flow of HD content was not interrupted. One thing that did pose a problem, however, was interfacing with the HD streaming system due to incompatibility between the two solutions. Using an EDID emulator Audiotech solved the problem elegantly.
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Installations PROJECTOR COMPARISONS
Barco DP2K-10Sx Christie Solaria One Sony SRX-R515
The Barco DP2K-10Sx projector is a compact and fully integrated digital cinema projector designed for the special needs of smaller theaters, independent cinemas and art houses. The projector comes as a fully integrated, DCI-compliant projector, including a 0.69” DLP Cinema chip, a high-grade cinema lens and an Integrated Media Server with integrated redundant storage. As such, it is the perfect choice for exhibitors looking for a worry-free solution to go digital with minimal hassle and risk.
The Christie Solaria One is an affordable, DCI compliant, complete projection solution that’s perfect for screens up to 10.668 m wide. Christie Solaria One is a single digital cinema projection system, complete with a lens, custom-designed Xenon lamp, and a Christie Integrated Media Block (IMB) with its own easy-to-operate Screen Management Software (SMS). The projector delivers 8,000 lumens within the DCI colour space and more than 9000 lumens when presenting alternative content.
The Sony SRX-R515 is a high quality 4K digital cinema projection system designed for use in small or medium sized screen auditorium. The projection system, which has a smaller body than the SRX-R320, is fully DCI compliant and boasts design features that make it more cost effective and simple-to-use. These include a lower cost light source system that allows easy and safe lamp replacement, a washable air filter, a single 15-inch GUI control panel and iPad and Android tablet support for remote operations.
Christie Solaria One
9 000 lm
8 000 lm
11 000 lm
1 xenon lamp 0,8 to 2,2 kW
1 xenon lamp 1,4 to 2,1 kW
6 mercury lamps 330 or 450 W
Up to 10 meters
Up to 10.7 meters
Up to12 meters
2 048 x 1 080 pixels
4 096 x 2 160 pixels
4 096 x 2 160 pixels
Type of lenses Motorised
3D and HFR ready HFR projection
Heat extraction Optional
Digital Cinema Initiatives) (DCI ) compliance
Tel: +44 (0)1494 535312 Fax: +44 (0)1494 438669 E-mail: email@example.com
Wavefront series www.audiosure.co.za
The Martin Experience
Installations Venue Solution
HeAVen By Greg Bester
The Northfield Methodist Church in Benoni has been a mainstay in the community for many decades; 86 years in fact, and has affectionately been known for the majority of that time as “the Church on the Hill”. I myself grew up in the area and despite not being a Methodist my grandparents were members there for the entirety of their lives. My acquaintance with it runs deep. It’s also quite fair to say that its influence has gone beyond merely its congregation. Indeed, its white façade is iconic in Benoni and reminds me of the innumerable journeys to Tom Newby, the school that I attended a little further down the street. Given the fact that it has enjoyed such longevity, chances are its AV systems have evolved through the ages accordingly to meet the needs and growth of the congregation, and ultimately, their budget. Admittedly, the status quo does not often change quickly in these kinds of ministries because (I assume) their income and budget is highly dependent on the generosity of their membership. So when the budgets have been made, a system that is cost effective, reliable, easy to operate and future-proof is often the focus. Stepping on board to coordinate their AV systems upgrade was Tom Croswell of Inta-Media, turnkey solution providers based in Edenvale and operating within the Gauteng area. Inta-Media offers services in areas such as sound reinforcement, AV solutions, IMAG, stage lighting, AV capture and production, and broadcast. Their client focus includes houses of worship, corporates, broadcast and recording studios, theatres, sports facilities, stadiums and hospitality, education and government institutions. As many installations go, the Northfield Methodist church did not immediately set out to upgrade their entire system. The initial brief was simply for a new projector and after Mr Croswell brought a new one in for demonstration, the results were so positive that an opportunity arose to discuss a comprehensive upgrade. One thing led to another
and the upgrade evolved from one projector to two projectors, to a full blown audio, lighting and AV system upgrade. One of the main points of discussion was the transition from an analogue system to a fully digital system due, in large part, to what Croswell calls the ‘analogue sunset’ and to leave the door open for future upgrades. Of course, once the digital system was outlined, the choice was obvious and the church went ahead with commissioning it.
AV The AV system is based around a Crestron DM-MD6x4 digital media switcher. An HDCP compliant HDMI backbone was integrated throughout and runs full HD (1080p) for both screens, projected upon by dual NEC PA500Us. Access to the projectors can be made by connecting a laptop via HDMI, or wirelessly through a WiFi infrastructure. The entire system is networked on CAT5 and the projectors can be controlled and diagnosed from control software running on PC, over the Ethernet backbone as the Crestron system. Presentations projected to the screen are run from Pro Presenter by Renewed Vision. Tom comments: “Pro Presenter is, in my book, the best church presentation software around. It is very stable; crashes are rare. It is very easy to use and one of few that runs video very smoothly. It’s one of my favourite packages.”
Audio The core mixing and routing hub of the audio system is an Avid Venue, imported and distributed by SEGMA and supplied by Cristo
Avid Venue console
firstname.lastname@example.org www.ephproductions.co.za 012-345 5303 082 924 9046
Hattingh from Sound GP. Resident sound engineer Kobus Venter comments on why they chose the venue. “The Venue has 32 channel recording capabilities by just plugging in Firewire and because of plug-ins, straight off the bat. Those were the two big things for me that I really liked. We were, at the time, one of two venues in Africa with an AV-B setup.” Looking at the FOH loudspeakers, previously a Bose system (which has been relocated to another venue) was employed but then replaced by a JBL AE (Application Engineered) series. A single flown array was hung above the stage, which includes a single ASB6118 subwoofer along with three 12-inch AM4212/95 enclosures in a mono array. However, kept from the previous installation were the satellite Bose delay enclosures and the existing amplification and Biamp Nexia SP DSP unit to manage and time align the Bose loudspeakers. Amplification for the main system came courtesy of a Crown 2002XTi and a 1002XTi and an assortment of previously used amplifiers for the delays, monitoring and cry room. One of the main goals for this installation was using as much of the previously installed gear as possible. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, right?
How would you like us to go?
Lighting Lighting is straightforward and simple. For FOH, six Robe Par 18s were selected, and hung via flown trusses, which were part of the previous install. There are further lighting points on the trusses in case the church wants to add more lights at a later date. For back lighting, there are six LEDForce 7s. Two additional LEDForce 7s with 25 degree lenses were used to light the alcoves. All lighting is controlled via an Avolites Titan Mobile controller, integrated with PC-controlled software on the backend for total lighting control.
The wrap Despite the fact that the Northfield Methodist church is a relatively low key church on the outskirts of Ekurhuleni, the system upgrade it has procured from Inta-Media is thoughtfully designed and masterfully installed. I foresee the congregation being very happy for years to come and rejoicing at the upgrade using minimal investment.
For all your LED Screen requirements to the Rental & Live Event Market. We also supply Sound - Lighting Audio-Visual - LED Screens - Stage Structure - Generators - Crew - Creativity… 33
LIVE EVENTs LARGE-SCALE PROJECTION
Photos by Ross Ashton
Projecting the right path
HIGH POWER PROJECTION: All Souls Church in Cheriton, UK
Ross Ashton, one of the worldwide gurus of the genre of large format projection is also a fan of the PT-DZ21K projector.He recently used a single PT-DZ21K machine to cover the whole front of All Souls Church, Cheriton near Folkestone in Kent, UK, with his giant video artwork ’Spiritus’ for the 2013 Cheriton Lights Festival. The Panasonic PT-DZ21K was supplied by Creative Technology, a leading UK video and AV rental operation. Fitted with a 1.3 lens the projector was located 25 metres away, pointing out of an office window across the road from the church – this was the optimum projection position. The advantages of the PT-DZ21K in a situation like this include the fact it can be run off a 13 Amp socket and needs no special power supply. Compared to other projectors of its output, it’s very compact (about half the size of its competitor products) and a two-person lift that is straightforward to install and extremely bright. Other neat features include hot spot control, lens setting memories, user-friendly edge-blending and keystone correction from the on-board Geometry Manager Pro software and colour matching. Ashton was commissioned to produce ‘Spiritus’ by production company Strange Cargo and collaborated with sound artist Karen Monid who composed a special accompanying soundscape. All Souls Church, which stands at the end of Cheriton High Street and was consecrated in 1895, (it is a fairly conventional parish church of its era) with the slightly unusual feature of four stunning stained glass windows depicting the four Archangels: Gabriel, Michael, Uriel and Raphael. Ashton and Monid took these windows and the vivid colours of the peacock feathers making up the Archangels’ wings as the starting point of their concept, and created a two-centre piece which works both inside and outside the church with Monid’s soundscape tying the two zones together.
Panasonic PT-DZ21K projector
Presenting the best
An impressive turnout of about 60 people attended the Pan Solutions’ Panasonic product launch event at the Premier Hotel near Johannesburg’s OR Tambo airport, which highlighted the latest screen and projection technologies available from the brand. The presentation was co-ordinated by PanSolutions SA’s Johan Oosthuizen. It’s specific focus was on the new PT-DZ21K 20,000 ANSI lumen flagship projector – ideal for all types of high powered and monumental projections. Also their range of SSI projectors offer a bright, sharp LED/Laser-combined light source with about 20 000 hours of life under continuous operation and perfect for all types of installations and corporate work. The aim of the event was to raise awareness not just of these specific products, but also of the full and diverse range of projection solutions – including LED, LCD and plasma screen displays – available from Panasonic via PanSolutions. The Pan Solutions SA team was joined by a contingent from Panasonic Japan, including representatives from the projector and display factories, the sales force and also from Panasonic Dubai. Panasonic Japan’s Fumiaki Takahashi and Shuuji Teranisi each also presented a section of the event, which ran from 4pm to 6pm and was divided into smaller presentations to ensure everyone’s attention. Takahashi ran through the rationale behind Panasonic’s latest screen technology, while Teranisi extolled the virtues and applications of the PT-DZ21K, completing his presentation with a video of the nightly show on to the front of the Venetian in Macau, which features 26 projectors covering an image 40 metres wide by 20 high. Oosthuizen also gave overviews of Panasonic’s wider product ranges for both screen displays and projectors. Oosthuizen predicts the latter will be a big growth area and that SSI projectors will be their biggest seller over the next 18 months. Attendees represented all areas of the production, corporate and event industry including show organisers and producers, rental and staging companies, AV specialists, sales and marketing personnel and corporate solutions providers as well as those working in in digital signage. “It was a real cross section of all our clients,” said Oosthuizen, confirming that they were really pleased with the turnout, which included all their key clients many of whom had travelled from across the country to Johannesburg for the afternoon. The presentation was followed by drinks and networking. Oosthuizen feels that awareness of the potential impact of large format projection in SA has increased as the general trend for mapping buildings and structures and including them in shows increases. This all since the stunning pitch projections for the Closing Ceremony of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in Soccer City. These were delivered by Patrice Bouqueniaux and a crew from E/T/C Paris and co-ordinated by projection artist Ross Ashton from the UK who consulted for VWV on that aspect of the technical production for the CC event. All are experts in their field.
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LIVE EVENTs INTERNATIONAL LIGHTING
Lighting up London Fashion Week London Fashion Week (LFW) has become a serious barometer of world fashion and one of the ‘Big Four’ global style runway events along with Paris, Milan and New York Fashion Weeks.
Lighting any fashion event properly is a carefully balanced equation of pressure, precision and politics. Nick Gray of creative Londonbased lighting design practice, Renegade, this year again designed lighting for the main British Fashion Council (BFC) Courtyard Show Space at Somerset House for LFW’s recent Autumn/Winter (AW) 2013 event. Gray also lit a series of high profile ‘offsite’ shows, including Rocksander, Vivien Westwood, Mark Fast, L’Wren Scott, Kinder Aggugini and Pringle.
BFC Courtyard Show It’s the seventh season that Gray has lit the BFC Space, which features up to five or six shows per day for a plethora of leading designers including Marios Schwab, Issa, Emilio de la Morena, Bora Aksu, Jasper Conran and numerous others. His main objective is to make sure that the light on the models is optimised right along the runway for the world’s press to be able to get the best photos and videos of the featured collection. The delicate mix of science, art and experience that this requires is a lot more difficult than it sounds, and has been honed to a fine art over the last five years or so, since Gray shot to prominence as a fashion LD with fresh and innovative ideas about how to light the genre. Working for show producers Bacchus, Gray’s BFC space lighting design for AW2013 featured a three truss format overhead – centre and two sides – running the full 25 metres of the catwalk.
The set this year featured a wider entranceway for the models and an elegant chevron-shaped wood and black carpeted runway, all of which required a few changes to the lighting from previous seasons. Around 170 ETC Source Four profiles were rigged on the overhead trusses and used to make up the front array, while the entrance and back wall was lit with 10 strategically positioned Svobodas, all carefully masked from view. Lighting was operated for the shows by Paulus van Heijkant who is one of Gray’s regular crew, running a Chamsys MQ100. Renegade’s crew chief was Alex Murphy. Highlights included an extra show for Mario Schwab, for which Gray added a specials package of active sunstrips positioned along the edges of the runway, cross-lighting it at floor / foot level, plus ten Clay Paky Alpha Beam 300s fitted with custom rectangular gobos which were positioned on various rigging bars. A hazer also helped to ramp up the atmosphere. To create a more dramatic visual effect, the Schwab show used only the extra package lighting and the centre row of profiles on the overhead truss. The LFW event also morphed into London Fashion Weekend, which saw the installation of a stage and a live performance by Labrinth in the BFC space, for which Gray rocked up the lighting substantially, adding 12 Martin Professional Mac Auras, 12 x Clay Paky Sharpies and a bunch of strobes.
L’Wren Scott Working offsite offers many additional technical and creative challenges to lighting in a more conventional environment like the BFC space, but it’s also extremely rewarding, and has given Gray the chance to work in some of the most charismatic, interesting (and often well hidden) venues in and around central London. One of his favourite off-site shows this year was for L’Wren Scott, who the scene for her prominent LFW debut with a banquet style seating arrangement at number 1, St George Street. Unusually guests ate a meal – prepared by fashionable caterers to the stars, Cellar Society – while the models swooshed by on the runway; a set up that created a real stir and a completely different atmosphere. “It was an amazing grand room – in which I’d not worked before – so that always makes it a lot more exciting,” explains Gray. “The table décor was absolutely beautiful, and the waiting staff were all choreographed to be part of the show and serve the platters at exactly the right time and with the correct flow and movement. It was a full sensory experience.” Added to that, the audience was oozing with A-listers, beautiful people and VIPs! Gray added to the glamour and luxury of the occasion, lighting the room with an abundance of gelled Source Four PAR floor cans, to enhance the rich golden architecture and detail. Making sure the lighting rig didn’t distract from the space was key. Scott wanted no overhead trussing and nothing to obstruct the windows or the eye-catching architecture, so a huge front array of lights was integrated into the press riser, rigged with 45 variable Source Four profiles. For back lighting, two single ‘stick’ towers were installed out of shot, also rigged with nine Source Fours each, and the tables were lit with a textured golden wash of light that helped build the initial atmosphere and enhance the overall elegance.
LIVE EVENTs INTERNATIONAL LIGHTING
Vivien Westwood This is another favourite of Gray’s – he relates to Westwood’s strong personality, individuality and hyperactive imagination. There wasn’t a dull moment when she revealed her Red Label collection at the Saatchi Gallery this AW13 season, taking over a whole floor of the venue for the show, delighting the crowds with her rapacious talent and ability to shock and bring a simmering fusion of rebellion, idiosyncrasy and inspiration to the catwalk. Gray’s lighting design built up front arrays of ETC Source Fours in each of the galleries for photography positions and integrated these with the overhead house lighting, which resembled large light boxes. Show producers were My Beautiful City.
Tungsten or daylight? “The decision on which colour temperature to choose is usually undertaken by a combination of the LD and the designer. It also depends on the room and the actual collection, particularly its colours,” expands Gray. He discusses the subject intensively with the designer/s and the house photographers before lighting their shows. Daylight adjusted incandescents / tungstens can sometimes appear a little murky, so for daylight shows he prefers to use MSR or HMI lightsources where possible for a crisper, more real daylight white. The drawback is that these are usually less controllable and rarely dimmable, so you can lose that essence of theatricality that tungsten so effortlessly offers.
Thinking out of the box The key to being a successful fashion lighting designer – apart from being good at lighting – is also being flexible enough to work in all sorts of spaces and places, dealing with practical parameters like low ceiling height, limited power and little or no rigging opportunities plus restricted access for getting kit in and out. And of course, incredibly short turnaround times. “Basically being able to think out of the box and not being scared to experiment, there are many ways you can approach all of these challenges and not all of them are conventional,” says Gray with relish. His experiences in rock ‘n roll, theatre and lighting and designing corporate events in crazy locations all help him bring that different and diverse approach to fashion show lighting that is proving such a success. Next on Gray’s fashion calendar is June’s ‘London Collections – Men’ also for the BFC. He has also designed lighting for comedian Eddie Izzard’s world tour, which has just kicked off in Europe and comes to SA in June.
Nick Gray is one the UK’s best known international fashion show lighting, set and visual designers. His clients also include rock bands such as Kasabian and he creates video sculptures and other innovative art works combining new technologies, imagination and a sense of fun.
LIVE EVENTs TELEVISION PRODUCTION REPORT
Photos by Louise Stickland
Rocking The Money Drop
The Money Drop (Nigeria) and The Million Rand Money Drop (South Africa) are new versions of Endemol’s high-tension TV game show and the first such series to be broadcast on the African continent by M-Net. It is the first series for both countries. Nigeria aired in January and SA is scheduled for April, which has been brought forward from June. They were recorded back-to-back in Johannesburg’s busy Kew Studios, with technical production supplied by leading SA rental company, Blond Productions. Blond’s Christiaan Ballot explained that they were approached by Endemol South Africa and asked to deal with all the technical elements required, based on their previous work for the producers on numerous projects, including four episodes of Big Brother, Step on or Step Out and Survivor (Maldives and Mozambique). While Kew Studios did not quite match the exotic locations of Survivor, Blond were extremely happy to be involved. Endemol wanted their expertise, knowledge and imaginative application of technology that had impressed them on those other shows, plus their understanding of the required modus operandi.
The search for space Part of Blond’s brief was to find an appropriate studio for The Money Drop. This presented one of the initial challenges as they needed somewhere with enough headroom to build the studio floor – up to 2.4 metres in height, the optimum physical height required for the money to drop through the trap doors above on the stage above. With 8.5 metres of clearance, Kew’s studio was the highest space they could find. It was also a venue with which they were familiar. Ballot and his team developed a staging concept and also supplied full production management and co-ordination for the shows, including setting up and running the specialist game computers and software. Scenic pod screens were supplied as well as a full technical production package of lighting, video and audio. Wayne Sproule from Pendragon Dezign was commissioned to create the set – based on Endemol’s series ‘bible’ and adapted for
WIRELESS DMX these specific regional productions – and built off site by Dream Sets. Blond asked Julio Costa and Peter Furstenburg to come onboard to develop the bespoke software and systems needed for the game play elements which were linked to the lighting cues and triggered via MIDI control. This included calculation of the various amounts of money that would be placed on different play areas according to weight, and how they would then be physically dropped into the bins below by the release of trap doors. MIDI signals were also used to fire 90% of the lighting cues.
Light creating dimension An aesthetic challenge was fitting the double decker set into the relatively compact studio space even with the given headroom, and to also increase its height and depth appearance on camera – a task in which the lighting was crucial to the visual trickery. Designed by Peter Reick, in terms of cues and operation, lighting had to be slick, smooth and streamlined as the show’s different sections segued together and the contestants bet their money on answering eight questions correctly. Blond seized the opportunity to invest in 48 new Robe ROBIN LEDBeam 100 and six ROBIN 600E Beam moving lights for the project, as well as their first ever trussing (Prolyte 52 SV) all delivered by DWR Distribution together with a new grandMA2 light console.
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LIVE EVENTs TELEVISION PRODUCTION REPORT
Up to this point, they had always hired trussing as required, so the Prolyte joins the constantly expanding hire stock. They chose a heavy duty version of trussing because no one else has it and also as they supply a lot of video screens to shows, it made sense to go with something rugged with excellent load-bearing.
“It was a really timely opportunity to make all these investments,” confirms Ballot, delighted at the almost immediate ROI possibilities. With the set and lighting installed for a month in the studios, the opportunity and budget were available to ensure that the very best quality solutions were found for all the visual and live staging challenges. There were many more Robe moving lights on the rig including MMX Spots and 600E Beams plus ColorSpot 250E ATs, ColorSpot 700E ATs and 575 XT Scans. Reick had to follow certain style rules, however he was also able to add his own touches of televisual magic to make the show really rock. The SA series was shot in HD, so a vivid well-balanced look was key, helped by using multiple LED sources. It was vital that texturing, depth and definition could be added by lighting the set, so Reick and Ballot met with Duncan Riley from Robe’s South African distributors DWR to identify which fixtures might combine best with the set design. The LEDBeam 100 caught their eyes and this is also when they
decided to use Anolis ArcLink Optic 4 to internally light sections of the set. Ninety-six units of the ArcLink Optic 4 fixture from the premium LED architectural brand were chosen to provide an even wash across various frosted panels around the top storey of the set, giving a mid-air floating effect at times. The LEDBeam 100s were used highly effectively – complete with the optional 25 degree frost filter – to light and texture the four outer set pillars bringing a real three-dimensionality to these key features. Ballot is really pleased with the purchase, he says the units are: “Phenomenal! Especially with 48 of them, you can get serious punch and a whole range of cool effects.” He sees an extremely busy future for them as dynamic little fixtures – easily fittable into all sorts of spaces due to their light weight and miniscule dimensions. Twelve Robe MMX Spots were positioned at the back of the set, used for powerful beam light effects shooting forward and through the main playing areas. These were joined by 12 Clay Paky Sharpies for the Nigeria version and an additional six Sharpies – making 18 in total – for the SA show. Sharpies continue to be hugely popular effects lights everywhere you look and even the producers – who might not normally be acquainted with the name of specific lighting fixtures – know the Sharpie, and what it does. A total of 12 x ROBIN 600E Beams were rigged on trusses running down each side of the studio for general set coverage, together with the 12 x ColorSpot 700E ATs on the front truss. The Robe 575XT Scans were right at the back of the space behind the audience, and another six ROBIN 600E Beams in this same position, augmented the SA show. A variety of other lights were used, including 48 LED PARs and 48 BriteQ LED battens used to change the colour at the back of the
audience for which the capacity was also expanded for the SA version. Thirty 2K fresnels dotted around provided the white light components of the show corrected to CT blue as the show was shot in ‘daylight’ – a creative decision taken by Reick and director Eugene Naidoo which paid off and provided the streamlined modern HD look the producers were after. Sixty standard PAR cans were also used to craft the different palettes of colours utilised for the two series which had their own unique colour looks decided in advance. Endemol Money Drop Series producer, Josh Feldman, comments:
“This show is all about lighting and visuals and so it was important that we chose the best suppliers to work with us on it. Blond did an excellent job again.” Blond supplied 48 panels of their 6 mm LED screen panels from one of the popular quality Chinese brands, which were used to make up the two side screens flanking the set. Twenty-four panels of the 12mm version were used to form the ticker-tape strip screen surface around the back of the set which flashed up information and graphics relating to the game in progress – including the all important matter of how much money was left in
BLOND AMBITION: DWR’s Duncan Riley (second from right) with Christiaan Ballot (centre) and the Blond Production team
the pot as the action progressed. The content feeding into these was all controlled by the games machines, run by Costa and Furstenburg. For sound Blond provided a basic PA system for playback, comprising the compact and versatile JBL PRX612 speakers which were focused on the audience and contestant areas to deliver playback sound. This was mixed via a Soundcraft Si2 console. Blond also supplied the Shure wireless lapel mics worn by the contestants and presenters. There were 10 Blond crew permanently engaged in the project for the month of recording, which all went very smoothly and produced a great looking show. The Money Drop (Nigeria) was aired on African Magic Entertainment under DStv Africa, and all those eagerly awaiting the SA transmission now only have weeks to wait...
Photos by Greg Bester
LIVE EVENTs Cirque du Soleil REPORT
Cirque du Soleil – a technical dream By Greg Bester
From 21 March to 1 April 2013, the world famous Cirque du Soleil entertainment company showcased their easternthemed Dralion tour at the Coca Cola Dome. Performed in South Africa for the first time.
Indeed after its founding in 1984 by Guy Laliberté and Gilles Ste-Croix, Cirque du Soleil has established itself as one of, if not the, best circus acts in existence, starting with the original Cirque du Soleil and metamorphosing into its many off-shoots, such as Mystere, O, Corteo and of course Dralion. Cirque du Soleil, translated to English, means Circus of the Sun. Originally named Les Echassiers el la Baie and formed in Canada in the early 1980’s, they were initially a troupe on stilts who performed in the streets of Baie-Saint-Paul in the province of Quebec. As a result of a contract from the Quebec Government in 1984, they were bolstered financially to present the first Le Grand Tour du Cirque du Soleil, enjoying a fantastically successful year. They received another government stipend in 1985 for the International Year of Youth and toured Canada. Cirque du Soleil’s creativity and daring soon earned it a place of distinction among Canada’s cultural enterprises. Founded in 1998, Dralion is the brainchild of Guy Laliberté, Guy Caron and set designer Stéphane Roy and as mentioned, is based upon an eastern theme. Dralion is a portmanteau of the words
‘dragon’, representing the east and ‘lion’ representing the west. The show plays with the symbolism of the pursuit of harmony between nature and mankind, each of the four elements are personified and represented by a different colour. Indeed Dralion is Cirque du Soleil’s top-grossing show, which garnered a Primetime Emmy Award , and after touring for 13 very successful years it was briefly retired in January 2010 while being adapted to an arena format. It was then re-launched in October 2010, starting in Trenton, New Jersey and has been touring ever since. Of course, a show on this scale requires a very professional, highly tuned technical crew. It is extremely energetic and that energy has to be conveyed in every way possible, including audio and lighting. The show simply would not project the way it does without sound and lights, because after all, they are half the experience.
Sound The head of sound for Dralion is Glen Beckley, a well-seasoned UK-based engineer with 20 years’ experience in sound for theatre, rock n’ roll and comedy which is a nicely balanced mix of experience that suits the show well. Beckley says: “The system is very much an arena system, but the mix is kind of like a loud theatrical mix. We don’t run at rock ‘n roll levels but we certainly run quite a bit louder than you would in most musicals.” Speaking of the system, every single piece of kit was shipped along with the show. The core mixing surface is a Soundcraft Vi6 running MADI link on fibre to a single Vi6 stage box, which Glen has not had extensive experience with, but has settled into for Dralion. In all there are 64 inputs, 62 of which he is using for a full six-piece live band, backing track feeds from Ableton Live run backstage and controlled with a MIDI keyboard, and around 10 channels of RF vocal
Cirque du Soleil REPORT LIVE EVENTs microphones used throughout the show. Since the show is heavily percussion based, there are 32 channels of drums and percussion alone. There are 18 channels of playback and keys, two bass channels, two guitar channels, one acoustic guitar channel and four channels of violin. Including FX returns the total channel count approaches 86 channels. It was crucial, therefore, for the console to be the 96 channel version. Three Meyer Galileos are used for system processing. The main PA rigged for the Dome is all Meyer; the main hangs consisting of 14 Mica boxes per side and the out-hangs consist of nine M’elodies per side with a 600HP subwoofer flown on top of each array. Additionally there are two MSL-4 clusters with three boxes per side to fill the floor and a stack of 700HP subwoofers per side behind the stage masking, arranged in cardioid configuration. Two CQ1 boxes are flown above FOH to fill the rear if need, but Beckley has not had to use them yet. He explains: “This format of the system is sort of our ‘option two’ as it’s more of a traditional arena setup. What we would generally do is have a distributed system and 11 clusters altogether. So instead of having a big pile of PA we would break it down into smaller chunks so each bank of seats would have their own stereo system. There would also be three hangs of subs flown. That way everyone is in the near field. What we’ve got up here represents about 65% of what we have in total.” The goal for Dralion at the Dome was to create an intimate environment for the audience. As a result, massive drapes spanning from the ceiling to the floor were hung to create a semi-circle around the audience and walls to the sides of the stage. This helped
immensely in dampening the reverberant nature of the dome and aiding in clarity. When asked what the most difficult part of their involvement was, Beckley says: “In this arena the riggers had the biggest challenge. Obviously the show is always the size that it is and the trusses in relation to the set are always in the same place so when there’s a lot of space like this, it’s really cool for us because we have a few options as to how we want to do it. But the riggers did a great job. Here we have 19 rigging points.” A multi-track recording is routinely taken by Beckley via the MADI feed from the Vi6. While it is somewhat easier these days than it used to be and therefore a widespread practice, Beckley’s reason for recording was quite surprising. “I take a stem recording, basically, so each element of the band has its own sub-group, which is how it gets to the mix. I can set up different routing schemes so I can record those sub-groups as a 16 track multi-track. We use that to create backup tracks in case a member of the band is ill so we can put those tracks into the Ableton project and open up two spare channels.” Walking over to monitor world, a Yamaha DSP5D (needed for the additional inputs) – operated by monitor engineer Massimo Tabai – is the monitoring console of choice, which takes a split from 64 channels of Radial active splitters. Phantom power is supplied from there. Since the band is stationary, everyone apart from the percussionist has got hard wired IEMs. The percussionist uses RF IEMs because he has to play the large Japanese drums onstage at the end of the show and needs to be mobile. A few outboard units including a Lexicon PCM96 are also employed because the vocalists don’t enjoy the reverbs on the DSP5D and for this I don’t blame them.
Photos by Greg Bester
LIVE EVENTs Cirque du Soleil REPORT
Lighting Head of lighting for Dralion is Frederick, Maryland (USA) native Josh Mowczko, who has been touring with Cirque du Soleil for over five years. Graduating from Lingamore High School, he credits his career in lighting to a missed theatre audition where he was given the opportunity to fill a position no one else could or was willing to do. From then on he started his journey into lighting, now with more than 20 years’ experience behind him he tours the world with Dralion. The centrepieces of Dralion’s lighting control are dual GrandMA2s, one running the show and another as a backup. The back-up mirrors the main surface so if there is a crash, Josh can immediately switch over to the backup without a hitch. “Every show I’ve ever done I’ve run redundant. Luckily, nothing has ever gone drastically wrong. Once or twice I’ve had the [main] console crash so I’ve just switched to the backup. With shows like Dralion, you don’t want any kind of a show-stopper.” Josh is also running the GrandMA 3D control software on a laptop for “quick visualisation”. He uses the GrandMA2 Remote app on an iPad running through an Apple router with a signal booster and monitors WiFi traffic to make sure there isn’t any interference with his network. To keep his WiFi signal clean to the console, he runs on the
5Ghz band, which is much less cluttered. MAnet is the protocol used to link all of the MA Devices, including the visualizer and iPad remote. Streaming ACN is used as the transport protocol from front of house to backstage via fibre where it is translated by an ELC Node to DMX. Josh elaborates: “Originally we used Art-Net as the DMX transport protocol. This required independent cabling from MAnet. We soon discovered if the MAnet connection between consoles was lost, both consoles would output Art-Net and confuse the node, flashing the system as it tried to read both streams. We circumvented this problem by switching to ACN, which is multiplexed with the MAnet signal on the same output.” A custom emergency relay system that’s powered by three UPS’ is integrated in case of a power failure, and fitted in a custom ETC Sensor touring rack. Dralion uses Clay Paky fixtures exclusively. All in all there are 151 fixtures, including 72 moving lights and the rest comprising traditional units. For hard-edge fixtures there are Alphaspot HPE700s 1200s, 1200 Profiles and 1500s. For washes there are Alphawash HPE700s, 1200s, and 1200 Halos. Additionally there are a few conventional fixtures – all ETC. There are six Source Four fixtures fitted with Seachanger CMYG dichroic colour mixing engines instead of traditional colour scrollers. Josh elaborates:“The dichroic colour mixing engine is great because the added green increases the colour gamut in as far as how much it can produce. It extends how much you can actually get out of the fixture as far as colour goes.” There are four 400W Wildfire black lights for what Josh calls the “Spirit Act” where the costumes fluoresce. On the set wall there are 120 traditional MR16 lamps, which are consumer lights, 30 on each wall panel. They supply a star effect. Four Martin Atomic 3000 strobes are used for punch effects, which creates a flash of broken light through the gaps of the industrial construction of the set. For low fog effects Josh is using three Gem Glaciator X-Streams – for very specific reasons. He explains: “We’ve found it’s much easier not to use a CO2 or nitrogen system because in different countries it’s hard to find. All of our stuff is gasless just because it’s easier to travel with internationally.” As far as hazers and foggers go, Josh is using Look Solutions Unique 2s for haze and a Look Solution Viper NT for a fog effect in the centre of the stage. Backstage lighting, something not often discussed in articles such as these, is handled by ETC Selador LED fixtures. “We’ve found that we can light the entire backstage area off of one 20 Amp circuit. We use them for two things: backstage lighting or for places where there is no exterior lighting during loadout.”
The wrap Never mind the show itself, the sound and lighting systems for Cirque du Soleil Dralion alone is enough to make one’s head spin. The sheer size and perfectly executed efficiency of the production is something that not just we in South Africa can learn from, but the world at large, and clearly demonstrates why it is Cirque du Soleil’s top grossing show. The fact that they ship their entire production worldwide is testament to the immense backing of the show and no doubt it’s ever increasing notoriety and popularity. I’m sure if they keep it up, they’ll be pleasing crowds for decades to come.
LIVE EVENTs PRODUCT LAUNCH
Hybrid + LA212 review By Greg Bester
On 20 February 2013 at the Thaba Ya Batswana four-star lodge in Johannesburg South, South African pro audio manufacturing giants Viva Afrika launched their new Hybrid + range of products. Hybrid already boasts a massive product line but the new Hybrid + range is set to push Viva Afrika firmly into the professional arena to compete with the best pro audio has to offer. At least, that is the aim. Hybrid is an interesting brand. Not only do they move more boxes across Africa than one can imagine, but their products are 100% South African-conceived since 1988. Their philosophy is one for the common man, who they believe deserves great sound without the humungous price tag that is usually associated with it. Indeed, their products have seen massive success and now with the launch of the new Hybrid+ range of products, such as the EXS121, EXS22, EXS153, the Prime series, and the LA series, they are set to break new ground. After arriving at Thaba Ya Batswana and parking my car, I found my way toward the main conference hall were everyone was waiting for the doors to open so that they could be seated and take a load off of their feet. We were ushered into a large, cool, wood-floor room where there were an abundance of cushioned seats. The seminar opened with a welcome note from Bernard Pienaar who introduced electrical and DSP engineers Jose Tasende and Miguel Blanco and gave an overview of the products that we were all about to be acquainted with. After lunch we were given a design overview talk by Hybrid’s French acoustical engineer, Arthur Felix, who proceeded to give a series of new product demonstrations. Of particular interest was the new line array unveiled at the launch, namely the Hybrid+ LA212 with EXS218 subwoofers handling low end duties and powered by the new 2.1 and 4.1 amplifiers.
Features The LA212 is a large format, scalable passive line array which boasts 1 100W RMS per box (900W+200W) and engineered to address audiences of up to 50 000. Up to 12 speakers may be rigged per array at 10 times the currently prescribed safety standard. The 12-inch CELTO Acoustique ferrite magnet drivers boast a three-inch voice coil and are Europeanmade to premium specifications. The 2.8-inch neodymium magnet, TC4 high frequency diaphragm is Aquaplasted, which means it is covered with a flexible coating that increases longevity and at the same time smoothes the top end response. One of the more unique features of the LA212 is Hybrid’s proprietary Isophase wave-shaping acoustic lens, which is a specialised, ported ‘lid’ covering each 12-inch driver, that looks somewhat like the silhouette of a tree on its side. The inner workings of this lens are no doubt a trade secret but I assume it has something to do with keeping phase linearity between drivers. To finish it all off, the LA212 is wrapped in a hardy, touring-grade black-textured covering.
Now, some tech specs. As mentioned, the power handling of the LA212 is 900W+200W RMS with a peak handling of 1 800W+400W. The frequency response is 50 to 18 000Hz with +/- 2dB tolerance from 300 to 10 000Hz. The calculated max SPL/1m is 134dB continuous and 137dB peak. It has a horizontal dispersion angle of 90° and a vertical coverage of 9° per cabinet, but total vertical directivity, of course, depends on the final array setup.
The demonstration The LA212 demonstration took place in a large field situated at the base of a bushy hill at the lodge. To sum up system configuration, there were 12 LA212s per array totaling 24 and a total of 24 EXS218s subs, stacked in a layer of two; each stack about a meter apart and spanning the entire system. The EXS218s pack a mammoth 3 000W RMS per enclosure with a peak program power handling of 6 000W! Their frequency response
PRODUCT LAUNCH LIVE EVENTs
extends from 1 100 to 30Hz and they have a maximum SPL rating of 136dB continuous and 139dB peak. A total of 18 amplifiers were used to power the system comprising a combination of the newly launched Class-D Hybrid+ 2.2 and 4.1 models. These amplifiers boast 95% energy efficiency, incorporate a resonant switch mode power supply, and have onboard DSP controllable via CAT5 network (compatible with off-the-shelf IT hardware). Control software is available on Windows 7 or 8, Android 4 and iOS6. The 2.2 is a stereo amplifier that offers 2 X 3500W / 2 ohm; 2 X 3000W / 4 ohm; 2 X 1600W / 8 ohm. The 4.1 is a four channel amplifier that offers 4 X 2500W / 2 ohm; 4 X 2000W / 4 ohm; 4 X 1200W / 8 ohm . In terms of what amplifiers were powering what, there were six 4.1s driving all 24 LA212 mix/high boxes and 12 2.2s driving the 24 EXS218s. With the total estimated cost of this system coming in at around R500 000, what I was about to hear was truly impressive. A variety of music was played for us but most of it was down-tempo electronica, interspersed with vocals and live instruments. Granted, the day was a bit blustery and the wind would have an impact on how the system sounded, so I took that into account when setting out on my walk around. I started in the centre, in front of the FOH tent and noticed a nice
bottom end, particularly in the 100 to 200Hz range where the kick is supposed to hit you in the chest. The top end at this point was nice and sparkly and the system sounded like it was balanced spectrally. I started my half-moon course and made my way toward the outer right extreme. Sure enough, around 10 to 15 metres from the right array and beyond 90° off-axis to the speakers there was an appreciable drop in level, particularly in the top end. At least this means that the data sheet is accurate and their design is consistent. Also, there was quite a drop in low-end as I came to about 60 ° off-axis but I assume this is a result of what is called ‘power alley’, a common problem with subwoofer arrays. Power alley comes from having more than one low-end point source which will cause cancellations to the sides of the low end dispersion. Moving back toward the center near the front of the listening area, I felt the bass come back and system clarity return and as I made my way toward the left side of the system, about 90 degrees off-axis, the identical scenario arose: a drop in top and low-end. I then took a walk to hear the throw of the system and was impressed to hear clear sound from around 50 to 75 metres back. Even when leaving the venue, I could hear the music crystal clear. This system could definitely cover a large crowd of 50 000 with ease.
The wrap The LA212 is good value for money. It’s actually so well priced I’m sure you’ll be hard pressed to find a system with a similar price to performance ratio. Granted, I personally feel that if more attention was given to system configuration, particularly the subwoofer array, a more impressive result could have been achieved on the day, but for all intents and purposes it delivered a fair result. What I did like about the system, however, is that the top end is clean, crisp and gives the program a certain sparkle. It’s got a very nice transient response and, if you’re standing dead center, almost sounds like you’re standing in front of massive studio monitors. Needless to say, it is the first line array design that Hybrid has attempted, but given its price and performance ratio, it is a clear winner for our market.
Photos by Alvaro Rodrigues
LIVE EVENTs CONCERT REPORT
Afrikaans is Groot and going places Last October 28 000 fans descended on Moreleta Park Auditorium, a reformed Dutch Church in Pretoria, for Afrikaans is Groot – a four-night feast of live entertainment which, in true South African spirit, brought together the crème de la crème of Afrikaans artists, writes Paul Watson.
Afrikaans is Groot is no ordinary event – in fact, it’s much more than that. In 2008, the brand was born by record company, Coleske Artists. Think the Now series of compilation albums, but with an Afrikaans twist and several hit records in succession was enough to raise a proverbial eyebrow or two, and for Coleske to take Afrikaans is Groot to a live arena. The event has quickly evolved into one of the biggest musical properties of its kind in South Africa with a growing presence in TV, radio, print and online. Last year’s event warranted a sizeable 400-strong cast and crew. The main technical supplier for Afrikaans is Groot was AV Systems, which, according to company owner Alvaro Rodrigues, had to provide “a visually intense” LED setup. AV Systems subcontracted rental company Gearhouse SA to supply all the lighting gear, and SDS (a division of Gearhouse) provided power and rigging, as well as the stage and set, which was built on top of the church’s original concrete stage. AV Systems handled the video side of things, which led to the deployment of some serious kit: 36 square metres of digiLED 6mm
indoor LED screen; 50 square metres of LED Vision Lighthouse 6mm indoor LED screen; four Christie Roadster S+16k projectors; and two 8m x 4.5m front projector screens. “We brought in some nice big 16k Christie projectors for the side screens and the five columns at the back of the stage also had to be brightly lit,” he explains, “so we integrated (LED Vision) Lighthouse screen into each of the five pillars and illuminated the two side screens with some of our own digiLED 6mm kit, which gave a particularly nice effect.” Throughout the show, content was constantly running on all seven columns, courtesy of five Dataton Watchout servers and a Watchout production PC. The full breakdown for image processing and show control included seven Folsom Encore HD video processors (with Folsom Encore control desk), one 16 x 16 HD/SDI matrix switcher, one Calibre HD Premier view processor, three Folsom HD Image Pros, two Kramer DVI DAs and a couple of Acer 23-inch HD Preview screens. “We use Watchout exclusively to run show control and content management at all the major live events we work on, it’s definitely the most widely used product of its kind, and it’s excellent.” Rodrigues continues: “For this show, we didn’t actually provide the content, but because a number of the acts required backing tracks for additional percussion and instrumentation, we implemented standard time code throughout, which Watchout was then able to read and work from; all signal transmission was carried via fibre optic DVI send/ receive systems.” Stage Audio Works supplied the PA for the event – a sizeable d&b system – and everything else audio was supplied by Audiologic which included two Soundcraft Vi6 digital mixing consoles; one for FOH and one for monitors. FOH duties were performed by Johan Griesel and monitors by Revel Baselga. Marius Marais from Audiologic was the system architect for the production. “The main PA system consisted of 12 J-Series enclosures per side, hung in a L/R configuration, with the right ratio of J-Sub to
CONCERT REPORT LIVE EVENTs complement it and there was an additional eight boxes per side of d&b Q-Series for the outfills,” Marais explains. “We ran active splits – all XTA DS800s – to supply the outside broadcast team who also worked from a Vi6.” Marais also specced the show’s microphone package, which included a number of Shure, Audio-Technica, Beyerdynamic and AKG elements and for playback he opted for an RME system interface, which was played out of Logic. “Because it’s the first Afrikaans is Groot, there was always going to be challenges along the way,” he says. “We sent the local suppliers of the d&b system to do their plots, and they got it approved by d&b in Germany, so the system sounded great. Overall, it was a very enjoyable show to be a part of.” At monitor position, Baselga used all 32 groups and 96 inputs (including the effects) on his Vi6 and had to build the whole show as scenes, though this isn’t unusual given the circumstances, he says. “It’s quite common building a show that involves so many artists in this way, the only thing that can be a bit of a challenge is the amount of groups you have to use, but I’ve worked on a Vi6 many times before – it’s very versatile and always does the job very well,” he reveals. “I had the whole band on myMix personal monitoring systems (also supplied by Audiologic) which meant I only had to feed a few mixes out to the wedges, and the singers were using a mix of in-ear monitoring systems: Sennheiser G2s and G3s and Shure PSM 900s. “I think all in all everyone was pretty happy – thankfully enough, no
artists threw anything at me, so that’s always a good sign! It also helped that Johan (Griesel) has a great ear – he’s mixed FOH for Steve Winwood, Jeff Beck and Johnny Clegg, so he really knows his stuff.” Gearhouse provided lighting designer, Sean Rosig, with a plethora of fixtures, the bulk of which were by Martin Professional. The core setup comprised 36 Martin MAC 2000 Profiles, 18 Martin MAC 2000 Washes, 60 Martin MAC 101s, and six Martin MAC 300s. In addition, 24 Clay Paky Sharpy elements were deployed, along with 16 Vari-Lite VL 3500 Spots, 24 ETC Source Four Profiles (36-degree), seven 1KW Fresnels, 22 PAR 64s, six 8 Lite Molefays and six 4 Lite Molefays. Rosig was also the lighting operator for the show and used a Martin M1 console along with two Martin Ether2DMX8 processing units. “My thought process behind the lighting design was to completely enhance the visual dynamics of the show; every performance number had to look completely unique and visually interesting, supporting the meaning behind each song,” Rosig explains. “I decided to go with a kind of theatrical rock approach – nothing too crazy. I also had to consider the type of audience mix that we were entertaining and I ended up using a lot of back, floor and side effects orientations which enabled the beams to cut through and stand out from the LED video panel backdrop.” The two-and-a-half hour show was choreographed by Willie Venter and directed by Paolo Acevedo, and featured a massive 38 songs from a string of notable Afrikaans artists including Theuns Jordaan, Bobby and Karlien van Jaarsveld, Steve Hofmeyr, Juanita du Plessis, Arno Jordan, Corlea Botha and Dr Victor. All artists were backed by the five-piece house band, though some of the acts were treated to some extra-special accompaniment in the form of a 100-piece choir, six dancers, four violinists and even a bagpipe player! And if that’s not exciting enough next year’s event promises to be even bigger, with six shows already planned for two South African cities: Pretoria will again play host to four in September (6,7, 13 and 14); and two additional performances will commence on 15 and 16 November in Kaapstad. The evolution continues then, for the Afrikaans is Groot brand.
LIVE EVENTs DIGITAL CONSOLES
Sometimes smaller IS better...
To say that the compact digital console market has exploded over the past couple of years is an understatement, writes Greg Bester.
Filling of this gap in the compact digital console market was inevitable and after many years of comparatively meagre but worthwhile little consoles like the Yamaha 01V reigning as king, we now find more evolved specimens emerging in the market offering much more power and many more features, within the same small footprint. But where do you go? Which console do you choose? Granted, it seems that every manufacturer has their own offering in this class and the choices can be bewildering, but ultimately the console you choose boils down to your needs and workflow. Of course, a console that sounds great, is easy to operate, can handle a wide variety of sources, has a flexible routing facility and can be upgraded easily if need be is pretty fundamental. So even basic considerations are many. Enough blab. Let’s get to it, shall we? Allen & Heath GLD80 The GLD-80 includes 28 mic inputs, expandable to a total of 48 comprising 44 mic and four line. There are 30 userdefinable busses, 16 DCAs and 20 mix processing channels. All console control is reflected in an 8.4-inch full colour touch screen. 20 channel strips in four layers are supplied, along with user-definable rotary controls and colour coded scribble strips for each channel. Native I/O includes 4 XLR mic /line inputs, 4 XLR outputs, 4 RCA inputs, 2 RCA outputs and SPDIF and AES3 digital outputs. The AR2412 stagebox includes 24 XLR mic inputs, 12 XLR outputs and two additional AR84 expander units can be added, each offering 8 XLR mic inputs and four XLR outputs. All stage boxes are connected to the console and each other via CAT5 Ethernet cable and can be run a maximum of 120 metres on the A&H dSnake protocol. Option cards are also available for Dante, MADI, Ethersound, ADAT, Waves and A&H ACE. Additionally, the console supports the Aviom Pro16 personal monitoring system which can be connected to a port on the AR2412 and the Hear Back system (from Hear Technologies) is compatible via the MMO option card. USB recording of two-track sources is also available. Distributed by audiosure.co.za Behringer X2 The Behringer X2 is fitted with 32 native XLR mic inputs and 16 XLR outputs. It can be expanded to a total of 40 inputs. There are six matrix buses, 16 mix buses, eight DCAs, six mute groups, 25 faders, user-
definable buttons and rotary knobs and a seven-inch day-view colour TFT screen. Each channel boasts a 128x64 dpi LCD scribble strip. I/O can be connected remotely via the S16 stage box via CAT5 Ethernet cable and can be placed a maximum of 100 meters from the console. Dual X32s can be networked to one another via the AES50 Supermac protocol without the need for a snake or splitter system. For monitoring, an ULTRANET port is included to connect Behringers’ P-16 personal monitoring system. An AES/EBU stereo digital output along with MIDI is also supplied. An integrated USB port enables the user to make uncompressed stereo recordings directly to a USB flash disk and the console can act as a 32x32 audio interface via Firewire for multi-track DAW recording and mixing. The XiControl app for iPad supplies remote control facilities for FOH and monitor control, while the XiQ app for iPhone and iTouch allows access to monitor functions. In addition XControl PC software provides comprehensive control of the mixer and storing of settings along with offline editing of console settings. Distributed by proaudio.co.za DiGiCo SD11 The SD11 features 32 input channels including eight ‘flexi’ channels which can be configured as either stereo or mono. There are 12 flexi buses, L, R and C buses, an 8x8 output matrix and twin solo buses. The control hardware itself offers 12 faders in two layers and four banks and parameters are reflected on a 15-inch touch screen. Natively there are 16 XLR inputs, eight XLR outputs, MADI, MIDI, Ethernet and USB connectivity and dual mono AES3 ports. For expanded I/O facilities the console can be connected via CAT5 to the DiGiCo D-Rack up to 100 metres away which provides 32 XLR inputs and 16 XLR outputs. Networking is also supported via PC or Mac using the SD11 control software featuring offline settings editing and remote control. An additional SD11 can be connected to another via Ethernet for 24-fader control and hardware redundancy. The SD11 can also assimilate with the Aviom A-Net personal monitoring system. Distributed by tadco.co.za Mackie DL1608 The DL1608 is a digital mixer which is controlled via an iPad. All in all you get 16 mic/line inputs, left and right main outputs, six aux outputs on TRS and 17 total input channels. Natively there are 12 XLR mic inputs, four XLR/ TRS combo jacks. The mixer itself features 16 rotary gain knobs, a rotary headphone control and a dock for the iPad. The 9.7 inch iPad is used to manipulate all mixer settings and parameters and up to 10 iPads can be wirelessly networked to the surface for FOH and monitor control. Finally, a stereo recording can be made directly to the iPad when it is docked. Midas PRO1 The PRO1 features 48 input processing channels, 16 aux buses, eight maxrix buses, eight VCAs, six POPulation groups, L, R and C busses and 40 primary inputs. The control surface offers eight input faders and eight output faders on several POP groups and VCA
DIGITAL CONSOLES LIVE EVENTs layers, eight user-definable rotary knobs and buttons, and all control parameters are reflected on a 15-inch day-view display. Natively the PRO1 offers 25 XLR inputs, 24 XLR outputs, two AES3 inputs, three AES3 outputs, six AES50 ports, word clock in and out and video sync ports on BNC, a DSUB diagnostics port, an Ethernet control port, a DVI display output and two USB ports. Also included is a ¼”footswitch port. MADI and DANTE protocols can be interfaced via a Klark-Teknik DN9650 network bridge. Offline editing of pre-show settings is also available via the Midas editor PC software and the console can be controlled wireless via the Midas Mixtender app for iPad. Distributed by prosound.co.za Presonus StudioLive 24.4.2 The StudioLive 24.4.2 features 24 channels, four sub-groups, ten aux buses, and L, R and C buses. The mixer itself provides a total of 29 faders and an LCD screen for parameter reflection. Natively there are 25 XLR inputs, three XLR outputs, 16 TRS outputs, RCA inputs and outputs, an S/PDIF output, two Firewire ports, and three DSUB25 direct outputs. A 48x4x2 system can be formed by daisy chaining two consoles together. DAW recording can be accomplished via the Firewire port and each channel can be sent either pre- or post-processing. The StudioLive control software, running on either PC or Mac, can control the console via network and integrates Presonus’ Rational Acoustic Smaart measurement technology. Wireless control can also be accomplished by using the Studio-Live Remote for iPad app and the QMix app running on an iPhone or iTouch enables performers to adjust their own monitor mix. Roland M-200i The M-200i offers 32 channels, eight auxes, four matrix buses, L and R main buses, eight DCAs and eight userdefinable buttons. On the surface you get 17 faders on five layers, a 132x64 dpi LCD screen and a dock to use an iPad as a 7.9-inch colour display. Natively there are 16 XLR inputs, six TRS inputs, eight XLR outputs, four TRS outputs, two RCA inputs, and USB, MIDI and AES3 outputs. The I/O of the M-200i can be expanded by connecting any of the Roland digital stage boxes an additional 40 inputs, totalling 56. Roland’s proprietary REAC protocol is integrated into the console and stage boxes and they can be located 100m apart. Stereo recording is accomplished via the USB port and a Roland R-1000 digital recorder
can be attached via REAC, which provides multi-track recording up to 48 tracks. MADI is also accommodated via the Roland MADI bridge. Roland’s M-48 personal mixing system is also available via REAC and the M-200i RCS software allows remote editing of settings and live control. An iPad utilising the M-200i remote app allows wireless control of all integral parameters via WIFI network. Soundcraft Si Performer 2 The Si Perfomer 2 features 24 channels, 20 auxes, eight matrix buses, eight VCAs, L, R and C buses, and doubles as a DMX lighting controller. The control hardware offers 24 faders, a colour LCD display and colour backlit LCD scribble strips on each fader. Natively there are 24 XLR inputs, eight TRS inputs, MIDI, AES3 and DMX outputs. The Soundcraft ViSi Connect range of stage boxes can be connected via CAT5 or optical MADI in order to expand the I/O capabilities of the console. Multi-track recording systems or the Waves plugin system can be interfaced via the MADI protocol. CobraNet and the Aviom A-Net personal monitoring system can be interfaced via option cards which slot into the rear of the console. FOH and monitor functions can be controlled via the ViSi Remote iPad app and multiple iPads can be used on the same network. Lighting systems can be controlled via the native DMX controller. Distributed by wildandmarr.co.za Yamaha CL1 The CL1 features 48 mono and eight stereo input channels, 16 DCAs, 24 mix buses, and eight matrix buses. The control hardware comprises 18 faders on several layers, a 16-bit colour LED touch sensitive display, channel scribble strips, four assignable knobs and 16 user-assignable buttons. Using the Audinate Dante protocol any of Yamaha’s Rio stage boxes can be attached via CAT5 and placed up to 100 metres away. The Rio3224-D stage box offers 32 inputs, 16 outputs and four AES3 outputs. The Rio1608-D offers 16 inputs and eight outputs. Stereo recording is facilitated via USB and the DANTE protocol enables multi-track recording. Yamaha’s Mini-YGDAI option cards provide AES3, ADAT, CobraNet, EtherSound, MADI, Riedel Rocknet, Optocore and Waves interfacing. Offline editing and live control are accommodated via the CL Editor software for PC or Mac and the StageMix iPad app allows wireless control of main console parameters via WIFI.
LIVE EVENTs TRACKING TECHNOLOGY
BriTeq W-DMX G4
The Philips VL3015LT Spot luminaire provides unprecedented output in a 1500W lamp that offers incredible zoom range, optimised for long throw applications, along with a vast array of powerful features. Using the highly reliable 1500W Osram double-ended short arc lamp to produce 41,487 lumens of output, the VL3015LT Spot features 10:1 zoom optics, CYM color mixing, variable CTO wheel, two 5-position colour wheels, three gobo/ effects wheels, a beam size iris and separate dimmer and ultra-fast strobe mechanisms. A standard palette of gobos, effects and colours is provided with the unit. Customisation is also available. Additionally, the light contains an independent rotating and indexing 3-facet prism as well as an independent frost glass. The zoom range of 6° to 60° allows for use in a multitude of applications from stadiums to theatres. The VL3015LT Spot luminaire allows users to operate its single lamp at three different wattages via either a control channel setting or a lamp menu option. With only a setting adjustment, the fixture will run its short arc lamp at 900W, 1200W or 1650W without any detrimental effects on the lamp. Distributed by www.dwrdistribution.co.za
BriTeq have announced the release of the perfect wireless DMX solution. The W-DMX G4 transmitter and receiver use a protocol that is guaranteed for both reliability and compatibility, supporting 1 DMX universe (512 channels) per pairing. Both transmitter and receiver units feature an antenna tuck-away compartment to protect the antenna during storage and transport. The single-button setup, small size and adaptability to any standard truss clamp make this robust setup perfect for events and rentals. The universally accepted 2.4GHz band means it can be used across the world without spectrum licensing. It has connections for DMX 3pin, DMX 5pin and standard IEC-C13 230V power. Distributed by www.soundandlightcity.co.za
Martin Professional M6 Martin Professional’s new M6 is a state-of-theart lighting console that functions as a highly advanced visual control surface. Designed to control everything from conventional and moving lights to the most advanced media server, the M6 has been designed for today’s demanding multimedia shows and tomorrow’s challenges. Based on the well-proven M-Series software platform, the M6 provides users the ultimate control surface for fast programming and extensive playback control, all from one console. Incorporating the latest available technologies with an industrial multi-core processor, solid-state drives and custom-designed high-brightness touch screens, the M6 is capable of delivering up to 64 DMX universes directly from the console’s network ports, without using costly external processors. With advanced features like a LiveBlender T-Bar, FastDial rotary encoders, Paired Playback buttons and BriteTouch display, the M6 is Martin’s most advanced console design ever. It offers a total of 44 playbacks, including dual Main Go sections, 10 motorized faders and 12 additional faders, as well as a total of 17 encoders for parameter access. Distributed by www.electrosonic.co.za
Yamaha LS9 series The LS9 series consoles follow in the distinguished footsteps of the Yamaha PM1D, PM5D and M7CL, thus expanding Yamaha’s digital mixing console lineup for live sound and installations. The LS9 series consists of the 32-mic/line input 64-channel LS9-32, and the 16-mic/line input 32 channel LS9-16. Compact and light enough for one person to move and set up easily, both models include features that have been field-proven in previous Yamaha digital consoles, as well as outstanding sonic quality. In addition to an extensive range of gating, compression, and equalisation capabilities, there’s also a built-in USB memory recorder/ player for recording or BGM playback, and other functionality that give you everything you need for small to medium scale live sound or installed applications in remarkably compact, all-in-one consoles. Distributed by www.yamahaproaudio.co.za
TRACKING TECHNOLOGY LIVE EVENTs
The MIDAS’ Verona takes the concept of the original ultra-compact Venice, MIDAS’ bestselling console of all time, and elevates it to the next level. Verona delivers more inputs, more features, along with legendary MIDAS quality in a package that revolutionised the 8-buss market. Visually, the console looks stunning; despite it’s physically modest proportions, it feels like a full-sized MIDAS to work on; and of course, most importantly of all, it sounds as good as it looks. Mechanically and electronically, Verona is much more than just another 8-buss console. The Verona series consists of 4 models ranging from 24 up to 48 inputs, and incorporates all the features and components that make it look, sound and feel like a true MIDAS. Anyone who has ever bought the original Venice and loved it is going to be captivated by the Verona – you get more inputs, more features and that all-important MIDAS quality. Distributed by www.prosound.co.za
Crown Audio 4x3500HD DriveCore Crown Audio announced the introduction of its new flagship I-Tech HD Series 4x3500HD DriveCore Series 4-channel power amplifier. The I-Tech HD incorporates Crown’s sixth-generation Class I engine with DriveCore technology to deliver 3,500 watts per channel burst into four or two ohms. It offers a host of Crown’s most advanced features including: a 4.3” TFT LCD with capacitive touchscreen, exclusive HARMAN HiQnet System Architect 2.0 control functionality and Version 5 DSP preset support for JBL Professional’s newly-launched VTX Series V25 and VERTEC Series line array loudspeakers. The Crown I-Tech 4x3500HD delivers 1,900 watts per channel into eight ohms, 2,000 watts per channel into four ohms and a massive 4,000 watts into four ohms bridged with all channels driven at full bandwidth all from an amplifier that measures just 2U rack spaces high. This remarkable power to size ratio is made possible by Crown’s exclusive DriveCore amplifier IC chip. The DriveCore chip combines the amplifier driver stage into the power output stage (along with additional audio-signal functions), to dramatically reduce overall size and power-consumption requirements and yield energy-efficient operation that conforms to HARMAN International’s GreenEdge environmental initiative. Distributed by www.wildandmarr.co.za
Audix USB12 Audix’s USB12 is a miniaturized USB condenser microphone used for recording voice and acoustic instruments directly into a computer via the USB port. This mic is designed to naturally capture and reproduce vocals and instruments with stunning detail. The USB12 is clear, flexible, easy to use and has excellent sound response. With a uniformly controlled cardioid polar pattern, the USB12 provides isolation and control at the sound source with a smooth, accurate response over a frequency range of 50 Hz – 16 kHz. The USB12 supports both 44.1k and 48k sample rates for playback and recording. This high definition condenser microphone features a push-to-talk button, “steady on” or “momentary on” as well as a headphone jack for real time monitoring. The USB12 is also equipped with a bass roll-off filter to control unwanted low frequency signals. Distributed by www.proaudio.co.za
NEXO STM series The STM Series is the latest offering from modern touring and rental company NEXO, it’s also the first scalable modular line array on the market. Its concept combines the best of NEXO Alpha functionality with the technical innovation of NEXO GEO waveguide designs to deliver a system that is powerful, flexible and easy to use. Scale Through Modularity (STM) describes the STM’s ability to scale up or down to suit event audiences from 1 000 to 100 000. Distributed by www.tadco.co.za
Studio & Broadcast SEMINAR
Loud and clear “All I wanted to do was to make the sound as accurate as possible — what goes into the microphone comes out the loudspeaker without any nonsense in between.” – Ray Dolby On 14 February 2013 at the Holiday Inn, Sandton, a seminar entitled ‘Delivering Multichannel Audio in a Digital Age’ was offered free to the public by global audio giant Dolby UK, TSL and South African partners Inala Broadcast. Greg Bester was there. A seminar on multi-channel audio comes at a pertinent point in time for us as South Africans because, as many already know, we are preparing to make the leap into widespread digital broadcast. Among the many challenges, one in particular is the issue of perceived loudness. One only needs to flip from channel to channel on our current platforms to confirm that there is a massive swing in loudness evident from programme to programme. This, of course, can cause massive annoyances for viewers, particularly those with sleeping babies who have to frantically lunge for the volume control
at every commercial break. I, for one, was happy to learn that the seminar would address this. However, loudness was not the only topic covered as this seminar was set to address the other core challenges when switching over to fully digital broadcast: audio quality, metadata, audio to home delivery and acquisition of sound. After a warm welcome from the organisers and some breakfast tea, we were quietly ushered into the conference room where four Genelec 1038CFs were set up for left, right, left surround and right surround reproduction, along with a single 8260A for the centre channel. Also present was a large Samsung flat panel display for content demonstrations, a projector and screen. First up was Dolby’s senior marketing and brand manager, Venkat Venkateshwaran, who gave us an introduction to the seminar and introduced the first speaker, Dolby’s regional director for the Middle East and Africa, Tarif Sayed. After some background information on himself, Mr. Sayed proceeded to give his talk entitled, ‘Delivering a superior entertainment experience with digital TV.’ He explained why audio is important in broadcast from an emotional and business point of view, bolstered by a quote from the prominent film director, George Lucas:
“Sound is half the experience.” Following this, a timeline of Dolby’s accomplishments from 1965 to 2012 was presented with such milestones as noise reduction, 5.1 channel digital audio, surround sound for headphones, HD audio for PCs, 3D digital cinema and fully dimensional cinema sound. Dolby’s partnerships were briefly looked at and then a synopsis of why viewers value audio content, leading into an introduction to digital TV and
SEMINAR Studio & Broadcast how it is penetrating world markets. Interestingly, according to Mr. Sayed, 99% of HDTV’s in Europe today support surround sound on the Dolby Digital Plus platform. Next up was Soundfield Product Manager Pieter Schillebeekx from UK Dolby partners Television Systems Limited (TSL) who gave a presentation of the Soundfield microphone system, the pre-eminent leader in surround sound acoustical capture. Concepts such as acquisition of surround sound for broadcast and the challenges thereof, the Soundfield microphone system’s operation and design, and processing and control were covered. Also delivered was an overview of the DSF-3 remote app, example of events utilising Soundfield, microphone placement, location and music recording and software de-coding. After breaking for lunch we returned to the conference room for a final demonstration of the Soundfield B-Format system, which is the proprietary multi-channel signal format employed by the Soundfield microphone. A variety of program material to showcase this format was played back from Pro Tools and decoded using their Surround Zone plugin including recordings of live music featuring drums and strings, an airplane, an F1 race car and choral music. Following the Soundfield presentation by Peter was Dolby Broadcasts Systems Engineer, Matt Colman. Matt gave the most lengthy of the talks as he was set to cover three comprehensive aspects of digital broadcast namely, Dolby metadata, loudness and delivering multi-channel audio. First was audio metadata. Audio metadata is the benign set of control messages sent through the broadcast stream to deliver instructions on such parameters as optimal replay configuration and programme information. He explained that by using metadata, a single mono-cast audio stream can be optimised for all end users by broadcasting in Dolby Digital Plus and having the set-top decoder apply the appropriate audio configuration which, depending on your system, can be anything from full 5.1 surround in a home theatre all the way down to the black and white CRT set with mono audio. Key audio metadata parameters include Downmix which controls stereo/mono downmix; Dynamic Range Control (DRC) which controls dynamic range for stereo/mono and ‘late night’ outputs; Dialnorm which aligns program loudness; and Channel Configuration which flags channel configuration. DRC and Dialnorm work together to control loudness. The next part of his presentation included the presentation on loudness, bringing the EBU’s standard R-128 together with Dolby’s
Dialnorm and DRC parameters. A variety of concepts were covered, most notably the history of loudness, the EBU R-128 loudness standard and its subsequent rollout in Europe. Basically, to put it how Colman did, abrupt changes in loudness are annoying and equally so is that broadcast loudness is poorly regulated. Not to mention, thus far, standard broadcast practice has been to merely align peak level, which provides very little success in balancing loudness. Accordingly, the EBU instituted the R-128 standard to address the main problems with loudness rooted in the fact that loudness is perceptual. R-128 outlines a number of specific guidelines for broadcasters and content producers to follow to achieve a favourable balance from programme to programme, as follows:
• • • • •
An audio signal is characterised by ‘programme loudness’, ‘loudness range’ and ‘maximum true peak level’. Program loudness level shall be normalised to -23.0 LUFS (1LUFS = 1dBfs) with a tolerance of +/- 1LU. A meter compliant with ITU-R BS.1770-2 and EBU Tech Doc 3341 should be used. The maximum permitted true peak level in production is -1 dBTP (True Peak, 1dBTP = 1dBfs) Metadata shall be set to indicate a loudness of -23 LUFS for programmes that have been normalised to that level (Dialnorm).
After a short break, Shillebeekx returned with a short presentation on upmixing to 5.1 and showcased various products such as the UPM-1 stereo to 5.1 converter, including its plugin version. Effective upmixes of stereo material was then demonstrated with impressive results. Finally, Colman presented his last talk on ‘Delivering multichannel audio’ which focussed on Dolby E and workflow considerations therein, Dolby E alternatives, trends in broadcast system design and end user delivery in the form of Dolby Digital Plus. In a nutshell, Dolby E is a ‘professional audio data-stream designed to carry up to eight channels of audio, metadata, and timecode on stereo PCM systems’. There is one frame of delay for each codec pass and it is carried in a single AES digital pair, boasting a massive data rate reduction compared to PCM audio, making the transport highly efficient in delivery.
SOUND ADVICE: TSL’s Pieter Schillebeekx
The wrap The Dolby presentation at the Holiday Inn, Sandton, was an onslaught of a wealth of information. Indeed, the seminar lasted the whole day and it would conceivably take many more pages than I am afforded to deliver it in its entirety. However, suffice it to say, everyone came away with something they didn’t know before and new light was definitely shed on concepts of metadata, loudness and the many issues we ourselves are set to tackle in the coming digital future.
Studio & Broadcast STUDIO BUDGETS
Audio post-production studio budgets By Greg Bester
The entry barrier to putting together a competent post-production studio is now lower than ever. With computing and digital technology getting cheaper, faster and more powerful, we now see entire productions being completed on nothing more than a laptop with little hardware.
Feasibly, a meagre audio interface and a decent set of studio monitors will suffice for many applications, but is that enough? Well, maybe in the right hands, but what about setting up a professional grade studio that can cater to a variety of needs? I was given the task of putting together three fantasy studio shopping lists to outline the costs involved in assembling the core components of three different levels of audio post-production studios. Of course, you could go with the aforementioned setup of laptop / audio interface / speakers, but one would have to ask whether it would help get you any of the big jobs. As much as many of us may begrudge the fact, a professional grade studio needs to have some degree of ‘wow factor’. All the fantasy studio shopping lists I have drawn together cater to audio post-production. They all incorporate the ability to accommodate 5.1 surround sound, have the ability to at least record one source (like a voiceover or ADR), and have some sort of external display monitoring.
Low – less than R100 000 R100 000 is not a lot of money these days and not impossible to finance. Given this perspective, I chose R100 000 and less as the first tier of our three budgets for aspirants seeking to break into the studio market. At the heart of the studio is an Evetech i7 GTX custom PC, costing R16 741. This monster PC is based around the latest generation i7-3770, with 8GB of RAM, a 120GB SSD, two 1TB HDD’s, with two 20” AOC monitors and wireless keyboard and mouse, all wrapped up in a beautiful white Corsair Graphite 600T case. This will be more than enough power to handle even the most processor-hungry projects. For the centrepiece of the R100 000 studio I chose the newly released Behringer X32, coming in at a relatively paltry R30 000. The X32 doubles as a DAW controller with motorised faders and many user-assignable knobs and buttons, which means you can use it as a multi-track front-end to record audio and then as a control surface for mixing. Next, for R20 000, I chose Steinberg’s newly released Nuendo 6 as the DAW of choice. Needing virtually no introduction, Nuendo has been a serious player in the post-production and the mixing sound for video world and continues to offer some of the most comprehensive features in the industry. It also mates well with the HUI and Mackie control surface protocols employed by the X32, and has some of the best surround sound features available. For monitoring I chose the Yamaha HS50M with the HS10w subwoofer to provide all six channels of the surround matrix coming in at a cost of R21 000 for the lot. These speakers offer fantastic quality at a very affordable price point, which makes them perfect for this setup and at R21 000 for everything, you can’t go wrong. For display monitoring I chose a standard 46” Samsung LED flat panel display, which is available through Game stores for a very low R7 000. Because it is LED it has a much lower latency than other technologies,
such as plasma, and has a high refresh rate of up to 240Hz. Finally, to record voiceovers or ADR, I chose the Audio Technica AT4050 LDC, which is a fantastic microphone for around R5 000. Because the X32 offers preamps from Midas and full processing on input, I didn’t include any outboard preamps or processing. This is, after all, the ‘budget’ setup.
1 x Evetech i7 GTX custom PC – 1 x Behringer X32 – 1 x Steinberg Nuendo 5 – 5 x Yamaha HS50 – 1 x Yamaha HS10w Sub – 1 x 46” Samsung LED flat panel – 1 x Audio Technica AT4040 – TOTAL
R 16 741 R 30 000 R 20 000 R 15 000 R 6 000 R 7 000 R 5 000 R 99 741
STUDIO BUDGETS Studio & Broadcast
Medium – R250 000 Jumping into the next financial tier, we now have a budget of R250 000. This, to me, was the most difficult budget to put a list together for, as it’s easy to be frugal and even easier to go overboard. Sticking to a median often proves to be an exercise of logical constraint more than anything. At the core of this system I chose a Mac Pro 12-core tower, at a cost of R45 700. Quite simply put, when you buy a Mac, you know you’re buying power and reliability and the tech spec of the base model includes dual 2.4GHz Intel Xeon 6-core CPUs, 12GB DDR3 RAM, ATI Radeon HD5770 graphics, 512GB SSD, 2 x 1TB hard drives and comes loaded with OS X Mountain Lion. This machine is a juggernaut and you will have no trouble running sessions with hundreds of tracks. The DAW of choice at this level is, of course, Avid’s Pro Tools 10 HD|Native, the industry standard in audio post-production. As Avid currently offers a bundle that includes Pro Tools 10 HD|Native, the HD|Native PCI-e card, and the HD Omni interface for R51 300, this seemed like the most cost effective and streamlined option as the Omni also integrates a 5.1 surround sound monitoring section. But what about a control surface? Well, the Euphonix Artist series, owned by Avid, is the logical selection. Combining the Control, Mix, and Transport modules, a comprehensive control surface is achieved on the EUCON protocol, which is a best mate for Pro Tools 10, with all the relevant controls, faders and metering at your fingertips. For monitoring, I chose five Dynaudio BM6a’s with the Dynaudio Bm9s subwoofer, costing R43 000 in total. These monitors offer clean, accurate monitoring and with the addition of the subwoofer, no LFE will go undetected. Since many good post-production studios have some sort of video editing and capture facility, I thought it might be useful to incorporate a Blackmagic Design Link 2 Video Card to playback Pro Tools
reference movies out to the video outputs, all in real time and for video capture, if need be. This card offers SD/HD video with SDI, HDMI and analogue connections, a built in hardware down converter, four channels of balanced analogue audio, and two independent capture and playback streams. Black Magic Media Express video capture software is also included. For video monitoring I chose the Sharp LC52LE830U professional LED display at a cost of R32 000 and for the ADR booth display, a 32” Samsung LED flat panel at a cost of R4 000. Speaking of ADR, a Neumann TLM103 large diaphragm condenser microphone seemed like the best choice, coming in at a cost of R12 000. The Neumann brand is a staple in the studio industry and affords great sound and fantastic reliability. Pairing it up to the TK Audio “The Strip” channel strip, high quality pre-amplification, compression, and EQ is afforded at a cost of R12 500.
1 x Mac Pro, 12 Core – 1 x Avid Pro Tools 10 / HD Native PCI-e / HD Omni bundle – 1 x Euphonix Artist Control – 1 x Euphonix Artist Mix – 1 x Euphonix Artist Transport 5 x Dynaudio BM6a – 1 x Dynaudio BM9s – 1 x Black Magic Deck Link 2 video card – 1 x 52” Sharp LC52LE830U LED display – 1 x 32” Samsung LED display – 1 x Neumann TLM103 – 1 x TK Audio The Strip – TOTAL
R 45 700 R 51 300 R 17 100 R 14 250 R 4 500 R 30 000 R 13 000 R 7 500 R 32 000 R 4 000 (Booth) R 12 000 R 12 500 R243 850
Studio & Broadcast STUDIO BUDGETS
High – R750 000 When one has no budget, the sky is the limit. However, realistically, this never happens so instead of focusing on an unlimited budget, I chose to see how close I could stay to R750 000 while still going a bit wild and satisfying the gear acquisition syndrome within me. Once again, I chose the same 12-core Mac Pro tower we saw in the mid-level budget, however, this time with a few extras. I added two more 1TB hard drives (four total), two Apple 27” displays, and dual ATI Radeon 5770 bringing the price up to a hefty R65 700. The DAW of choice, once again, is a Pro Tools 10 HD|X system, centred around the new C|24 control surface and incorporating an HD 8x8 interface and the HD|X PCI-e card. This system is also offered as a bundle by Avid, coming in at a whopping R424 000 and is five times the power of the previous HD3 system, offering comprehensive routing, mixing, and editing facilities. Additionally, the C|24 offers a complete front end to the system with integrated I/O, 24 motorised faders and encoders, and a 5.1 surround sound analogue monitor section. I also decided to throw in the Avid HD Sync for R18 700 for occasions where synchronising external video machines such as Betacam is necessary. Looking to integrate top-shelf monitoring, I selected Focal Solo6s and a Focal Sub6 subwoofer. Focal have been making huge waves in the audio industry with their smooth, clear top end, detailed midrange, and tight bass response, so a fantastic, high-end monitoring system is achieved. With the addition of the subwoofer for an extended low end, this system can extend well below 35Hz. The five Focal Solo6s plus the Sub6 comes to a total of R76 500. Not forgetting that DSP is a huge must in a professional audio post-production studio, I also chose to throw a UAD-2e Quad into the mix for R22 500. This will give the already powerful system a huge boost in processing power and will supplement the other stock plugins that come with Pro Tools 10. Moving into the video side of things, I figured it would be a good idea to stick with the Blackmagic Design Deck Link 2 Video Card that we saw in the previous budget for remedial capture and monitoring of video. The card remains at the R7 500 price point, however, with the addition of Avid’s Media Composer video editing software for those impromptu occasions where some minor video editing is in order, a further R22 300 is required. For a main display monitor, I selected the same 52” Sharp LC52LE830U professional LED display for R32,000 along with the same 32” Samsung LED for R4000 in the ADR / voiceover booth. For voiceovers and ADR in this league a top shelf microphone and
preamp combination is recommended so I selected a Neumann u87AI and an Avalon VT-737SP. The u87AI comes in at R36 000 and the Avalon at R23 000, making for a very expensive mono channel. However, the Avalon is a complete channel strip with a high quality preamp, a smooth opto compressor, and a fantastic sounding EQ that can only offer versatility.
1 x Mac Pro, 12 Core – 1 x Avid C|24 / Pro Tools 10 HD|X / HD 8 x 8 bundle – 1 x HD Sync – 1 x Black Magic Deck Link 2 video card – 1 x Avid Media Composer 6 – 5 x Focal Solo6 – 1 x Focal Sub6 – 1 x UAD-2e Quad – 1 x 52” Sharp LC52LE830U LED display – 1 x 32” Samsung LED display – 1 x Neumann U87 Ai – 1 x Avalon VT-737SP – TOTAL
R 65 700 R 424 000 R 18 700 R 7 500 R 22 300 R 60 000 R 16 500 R 22 500 R 32 000 R 4 000 (Booth) R 36 000 R 23 000 R 732 200
Conclusion Today, an audio post-production studio can be assembled at a variety of budgets. If you’re not satisfied with merely working on your laptop and have a bit of cash to burn, there are many competitive options available, allowing one to get into the market for minimal investment. Of course, one can spend just about as much money as there is available so, as always, it is cost effective to first cater to your needs. Buying intelligently is a must as the gear you ultimately choose will have to pay itself off at some point. Of course, it is good practice to exercise reason first when making a purchase, ensuring it serves the needs of your clientele, speaks to your workflow, and facilitates good work. After all, when all is said and done, no matter how fancy your gear is, you have to deliver the goods!
PRODUCT REVIEW Studio & Broadcast
Allen & Heath ICE-16 While most of the recording world has marched happily along to the tune of the DAW for a number of years now, there’s still some merit in other recording platforms that don’t require lugging around a computer. Of course, that’s the first advantage: minimal hardware to get the job done. Sometimes you just want to plug in and go without too much fuss and we all know the perils of a PC crash. Oh, the PERIL. The other advantage is speed of operation. Often it takes a while to boot up the computer, open the DAW software, and set up a track to record. This procedure has a tendency to kill the vibe because, as we all know, when inspiration strikes it needs quick attention. You don’t want to miss out on that next hit, do you? You could be on your way to retirement, you know. Lastly, we have simplicity. A standalone recorder is fool-proofishly simple. Often it’s a matter of powering up, plugging in and pressing record. No need to worry about USB drivers or monitoring latency because what you hear is what you get, instantly. Allen & Heath recently released their own standalone recorder called the ICE-16, which is basically a 16-track digital recorder in a 1U rack space that interfaces to recording media via USB. Because this recorder costs considerably less than other contenders in the market, such as the Joeco Black Box, it is already turning heads. Let’s see what all the fuss is about.
Features As mentioned, the ICE-16 is a 1U standalone multi-track recorder. It has 16 unbalanced TRS inputs, 16 unbalanced RCA outputs, hybrid USB and Firewire PC connectivity, and sync I/O over DIN connectors. The ICE-16 can record up to 16 tracks of uncompressed PCM wav format audio at 24-bit 48kHz, and 8 tracks at 96kHz to any qualified USB media connected to the front USB port of the unit (the rear USB port is reserved for PC connectivity). It can accommodate six hours of 16-track recording on a 32GB flash drive and supports standard FAT 32 USB hard drives. The front of the unit includes 16 monitor select buttons, a small blue numbered display, signal and peak LED metering on every channel, a mono headphone bus for input or output monitoring, and the usual transport control buttons. Probably the most interesting feature is the fact that you can daisy chain multiple units together over Firewire for 32 channel connectivity to a computer or sync together via DIN connectors for synchronised recording to multiple USB memory devices. Future firmware releases will enable more. I suspect this will come in handy for small home or project studio owners who would like to steer clear of PC-based recording and mix out of the box while still having the flexibility of digital audio. Another great feature of this recorder is that it doubles as a 16 x 16
recording interface for your PC. Merely connect the unit via either the USB or Firewire port, install the ASIO drivers (the ICE-16 is Core Audio compliant so no drivers are required for Mac), and you’re ready to record tracks to your favourite DAW. This should be a great draw card for those wishing to move between DAW- and standalonebased recording. As a side-note for the more tech-minded, the AD and DA converters are based around the Cirrus Logic CS5368 and Burr Brown PCM4104 converter chips respectively, assuring utmost conversion quality.
Conundrum Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Unbalanced RCA outputs?” Yeah, me too. Admittedly, I can deal with the unbalanced ¼ inch inputs but the RCA connectors seemed a strange choice to me. However, you have to admit, Allen & Heath have fit quite a lot into a 1U box already and after doing some research I found a post on a famous audio forum by A&H designer Mike Griffin where he explains: “The reason the outputs are on RCA phonos is purely down to space. There was not enough room to fit jack sockets with the Firewire and USB connectors as well.” Unfortunately, gaining insight as to what A&H was thinking from a design point of view does little to change the fact that anyone interfacing the unit’s outputs with most studio equipment is going to have to implement adapter cabling. However, you only need to procure them once and having to do so does not make the unit any less usable. In most cases you’re going to transfer the multi-tracks to your computer anyway so I doubt most people will ever even use the outputs. Those using the unit in a permanent studio installation will no doubt have to implement some sort of custom cabling anyway so what’s the difference? Call me an optimist, but it doesn’t bother me too much.
The wrap The ICE-16 is a well-priced, flexible, high-quality standalone multi-track recording solution. Granted, the sole concern might be the RCA outputs but, as discussed above, it should not prove to be too much of an issue for most. Given the fact that the unit is based around converter technology from Cirrus Logic and Burr Brown, one can be assured that the sound quality is fantastic and with a pedigree like Allen & Heath attached to its name, you can be most certainly assured of its quality overall.
Studio & Broadcast LOUDNESS SUMMIT
Please ...turn that down! EBU R-128 is the new standard to which audio programme content should now be mixed. Consumers everywhere are complaining that when the ads breaks arrive, when they change channels or when the next programme comes on, they have to jump for their remote controls. What’s up?
Time to learn what the new R-128 loudness recommendation means to audio pros around the world... Is the most worn out part of your home theatre remote the volume control? Or even worse, the mute button? You, your wife and your kids already know all about loudness. Ask anyone. At a push we’ll deal with bad picture – but we won’t put up with bad sound. The good news is: things are changing! This article aims to unpack what’s been happening across the world to address the problem of loudness, and the exciting news is that here in Africa broadcasters and production houses are busy planning what to do about it. If you’ve been trying to cope with automatic level control, hyper-compressed ads, a complaining public, moving technical targets, or just sore ears, read on. In the good old analogue days we relied on quasi peak programme meters (PPM’s). We didn’t want to overload transmitters or carrier capacities, so to allow enough headroom to cope with fast transients and peaks these meters couldn’t reliably display,
Want more on BS.1770 and R-128? In future issues of the Asikhule Update we will expand on these technical recommendations. Meantime check out http://tech.ebu.ch/docs/testmaterial/ ibc09_10things_loudness.pdf Publics grew irate, and while most markets seemed unable to self-regulate, governments eventually stepped in to legislate (take a look at the CALM Act of the USA) to stop the aural assault. Within the ﬁrst decade of the new millennium, industry realised it had all gone too far, and along came a new standard that set out to deﬁne what loudness is, how we’d reliably measure it, and what average programme loudness level and real peaks have been met. This is not possible for a live feed, but is easily doable for any ﬁle based submission a broadcaster, aggregator or distributor might receive. It’s also very doable in music or post production. One exciting consequence of this new paradigm is that now, as
broadcasters universally adopted a ‘permitted maximum PPM level’ (PML) that all content providers needed to adhere to – usually around -9dBFS. In the race to stand out from the crowd, music producers and advertisers have continuously leveraged compression and limiting technologies to push for ever louder content that still falls under (ok, maybe just over) this permitted maximum level. The side effect of this loudness war is that dynamic range of modern material has been reduced dramatically, meaning there is less and less headroom in any modern mix to allow depth and dynamics to survive the squashing process that makes it all louder. And then louder still.
A new paradigm arrives ... Moving from a level limiting paradigm to an average loudness management paradigm is arguably one of the most fundamental and signiﬁcant changes the world of audio production and distribution has ever seen!
audio people, your mixing has to change. The ITU recommendation is BS. 1770 was born in2006 deﬁning an algorithm to measure audio programme loudness and true peak level, and and today we have EBU recommendation R-128, based on BS. 1770, which deﬁnes a target loudness unit level of “-23LUFS” (+/- 1LU) for average programme level, along with a true peak target of -1dBFS (TP) and some guidelines for an average loudness range (LRA) of audio content. What is more – globally the industry has agreed on this approach! So programme loudness is the long-term, integrated loudness over the duration of the programme, or to put it another way – what is the average loudness of the programme over its full duration. “Programme” of course can mean a movie, a commercial, a station interstitial or any other self-contained audio element. It’s important to understand that to determine an average over the full length of the programme implies that you can measure the loudness level, the loudness range and true peaks for the full duration of the programme before assessing whether the R-128 targets of dynamic range to play with – at least 20dB in fact! Compare this to the severely choked 3-5 dB we currently ﬁght the war within, and you begin to appreciate that a whole new language of audio might be possible .
LOUDNESS SUMMIT Studio & Broadcast Three dimensions to address: people, process and technology Having the industry agree on a new standard is actually pretty signiﬁcant. Given the history of divergent picture and sound standards around the planet, and given the competitive vested interests of global and regional tech vendors, not many would have put money on the world agreeing on a new way to measure and manage loudness, never mind implementing it using open-standards based metering and measurement tools. Bigger challenges exist, however, in getting this new audio leveling paradigm working correctly in the context of your existing technical infrastructure and manpower. Many questions will need to be addressed as we move towards our digital tomorrow – questions such as: how to teach everyone in the media concept-to-consumption chain about the new requirements and processes; how to make these work with existing production, ingest, storage, management and transmission processes and technology infrastructure; how to cope with unpredictable levels from live and other real- time third party feeds; how to deal with legacy and archive material; how to get production houses, large and small, to a point where their sound people properly produce to R-128 and use the new dynamic range that’s permissible, and exactly where in the chain should we monitor conformance and quality and ﬁx any anomalies we ﬁnd? Processes need to be developed and carefully managed while we make the transition to this new loudness paradigm. Producers and broadcasters are all realising that to do this properly will require extensive communication, education and skills development. What we really need as an industry is a summit on loudness! Take a look below at what Asikhule is doing about this.
The Africa Loudness Summit is here! In July, Asikhule is presenting the Africa Loudness Summit at MediatTech 2013 with international keynote speaker Florian Camerer, the EBU author of R-128. Day 1: Loudness: war and peace; a day for everyone involved in both the production and distribution businesses. Covering the origin and development of the loudness wars, the current challenges in production and distribution, the emergence of both BS.1770 and R-128. Day 2: Loudness: a broadcaster perspective; Targeted speciﬁcally at broadcasters , covers R-128 in an environment where analogue tape is not yet fully displaced by digital workﬂows Day 3: Loudness: a producer perspective; Targeted at audio mix engineers, as well as production and post teams involved in audio aspects of drama, documentary, insert, interstitials, commercials and other audio content.
Your mixing now has to change!
Registration is at www.asikhule.com/ loudness; or mail email@example.com to book your place today!
#30534 - Rszd E100 Strip - PSN_Layout 1 02/03/2012 11:54 Page 1
E100. More power 2U. 4 x 2.5 kW, 12 kg, Class D Power Amplifier
Sometimes less is more: less space...more power. Delivering high powered, superior sounding amplification in a compact format, E100 guarantees exceptional sound quality and utmost reliability in the most demanding conditions. Our advanced 92% efficient Class D output stage runs cool and draws less power from the mains. Backed by a 5 year warranty, get more, for less. Find the full specs at www.mc2-audio.co.uk. MC2 Audio | Units 6-8 Kingsgate | Heathpark Industrial Estate | Honiton, Devon | EX14 1YG | England | firstname.lastname@example.org
Studio & Broadcast PRODUCT REVIEW
Proudly South African Greg Bester goes in search of (and finds) locally made audio equipment. When you seek pro audio hardware – and I’m talking about high end outboard units – you don’t immediately think to look within our borders. Legendary names from abroad such as Neve, SSL, API and Great River tend to pop into our minds and so does the high-dollar price tag that comes with them because (as most of us know) these products ain’t cheap. The bare cost of a single unit, plus the inevitable cost of importation, tends to strain the pocket and for some, it can break the bank. But at least you know you’re buying quality. The equipment with these names are tried and tested and are world-renowned for a very good reason. That said, what if I told you that there is a way for us to source top shelf, high-quality valve preamps and amplifiers right here in South Africa? What if I told you that you could have one of either (or both!) custom made without ever signing an import duty form? Well, now you can, with Dewaudio. Dewaudio is a new South African company based in Lydenburg, Mpumalanga, which manufactures high-quality valve preamps and amplifiers for the pro audio market. Founder and tech guru Dewald ’Dave’ Visser crafts each and every unit by hand and glancing at the façade of his flagship stereo valve preamplifier model, the TMP3210 Firecat, a silk-screened stamp assures us that dedication and passion are a big part of what they do. Simply put, his products aim to “let the music speak”. So let’s see what it has to say.
Features The Dewaudio TMP3210 Firecat is a dual-channel, high-voltage valve design. It features two independent, high gain preamplifiers housed in a solid, cast-metal enclosure with a bright orange façade and a full complement of brushed aluminium knobs and switches. It is heavy and extremely well made, which is a testament to Dewaudio’s craftsmanship. Now, to the nitty gritty. The Firecat is completely transformer coupled to the primary vacuum tube stage and the output is provided by a parafeed coupled transformer. The PSU is fully regulated and custom-made
Dewaudio TMP3210 Firecat
toroid transformers are used throughout which are vacuum impregnated to prevent mechanical hum. Further, under the hood we see both 12AX7 and 12AU7 valves being implemented. Dewald chose these valves as they have a “lovely, warm character and are readily obtainable,” which means there’s no relentless hunting for replacements. The Firecat is, of course, dual input with identical controls for either channel. Gain is adjustable via a 12-position rotary attenuator, which allows for easy recall of a previous setting. Besides the 12-position rotary attenuator and the adjacent stylish VU meter, each channel features the following flip switches, from left to right: • Standby on/off • Phantom on/off • Phase 0/180 • ISD normal/med/low • Output 0/-10/mute As you can see there are a couple of features that are unique to this preamp that you will not find in others. Of course, the usual suspects are always present, such as phantom power and polarity reversal switches, but the Firecat incorporates what Dewald calls ISD or Inter Stage Distortion. This feature is employed between the first and second triode vacuum tube gain stages and is effectively a ’shunt attenuator system’. In Firecat’s documentation, it states that this serves to attenuate the amplified signal 17 to 25dB before it is handed off to the second stage. This is, of course, depending on the setting that is used. Another useful feature is the output switch, which attenuates the signal further or mutes it altogether. This can be helpful when driving the input, while attenuating the output, to apply tube saturation to the sound. Yet another unique feature to the Firecat is that gain adjustment is achieved by a ’shunt attenuator between the 2nd and 3rd gain stages’. This differs from standard gain pots in that the signal passes through a single resistor, independent of the position of the
PRODUCT REVIEW Studio & Broadcast gain switch. In total the Firecat offers about 75dB of gain with the ISD switch in the NORMAL position. Looking at the rear of the Firecat we see the usual balanced XLR microphone inputs and line level outputs with the addition of a HI-Z instrument input and a HI-Z direct output. This is handy if you want to use the Firecat as a preamp for your bass guitar or Fender Rhodes to add some valve warmth while returning back to an amplifier with a high impedance input.
In use For this review I used the Firecat in a recording session for a local rock band. In this particular session I used it on drum overheads and bass guitar as I wanted a warm sound for both applications. To start, I used a pair of Neumann TLM103s in a spaced configuration for the overheads. Recording drums, for me, starts with the overheads because it is the base of the overall sound of the kit. If I can’t get a decent sound with two overhead mics, a little rethinking is usually in order. I set the Firecat up, plugged the mics in and set the gain to equal values on both sides. This is where the stepped gain rotary attenuators came in handy. I set the ISD switch to NORMAL, as I wanted to hear the preamp as it sounds in its most ‘natural’ state. At this setting the sound was pure, clear and surprisingly ‘cool’. The kit had a decent overall balance but the mics needed adjusting in
terms of their distance to achieve the balance I was going for. Once I had the kick and snare as centred as possible in the stereo field, the resulting sound was pleasing, smooth and musical. Pushing the preamp a little more, I flipped the output attenuator to -10 and was able to get a nice, thick harmonically enhanced signal because of the tube saturation. It sounded fantastic! After the drum session we moved on to the bass guitar. The bass amp was an Ampeg SVT-III and I used a Miktek CV4 LDC along with a locally made TUL F47 LDC on the speaker cab. A DI signal was also taken via an ART Tubefire 8 preamp. Lots of tubes were in the mix! I set the Firecat back to a nominal gain setting with the output attenuator set to 0. Auditioning the CV4 first, the sound was immediate and clear with nice honk in the mid=range. This helped the bass poke through the mix without getting to nasal. The TUL sounded absolutely huge as this mic has a massive bottom end and combined with the Firecat, a large, punchy bottom end was achieved. For the TUL I switched the ISD switch to MED and cranked the gain a bit to introduce some harmonic distortion. Combining that signal with the cleaner gain stage of the CV4 turned out to be absolutely huge. However not being a fan, of a bass sound completely devoid of top end, I mixed in a little of the DI signal to balance out the lows. After a little bit of overall balancing of the three signals a full, warm and clear bass tone was achieved.
Conclusion The Dewaudio Firecat TMP3210 is a fantastic sounding, full-featured premium microphone preamplifier. It is very well built, extremely rugged and supplies a top-shelf professional sound which can stand up to the very best of the overseas high-end contenders. Last but not least, the Firecat is a testament to the passion and talent that South Africa possesses and when recording a South African band in a South African city on South African equipment, one cannot help but feel a sense of pride. Viva RSA and viva Dewaudio!
Interior of the unit showing valves
Studio & Broadcast INDUSTRY EXPERT Marinus Visser and Blue Array have been making quite a name for themselves in the South African live music market as of late. From a
fledgling audio student and musician to one of South Africa’s most sought after live sound engineers. Marinus has grown from strength to strength with such shows under his belt as Muse, Prodigy, Oppikoppi and Ramfest, to name a very select few. Pro Systems journalist Greg Bester caught up with Marinus to discuss his past, present, and future. What is you background? Did you study sound? Marinus: Yes, I studied sound at the Academy of Sound Engineering. I also studied music before that. I’ve got a degree in piano from Stellenbosch University, too.
How so? Do you think other guys who don’t have a musical background struggle a little more? Marinus: I think that it differs from person to person but to be honest, if you don’t have that musical knowledge or understanding in your head, you’ll never really get to a level where you can communicate with the artist in his terms and portray what he wants you to. I also think that if you can play an instrument it helps develop your ears in being able to differentiate frequency and knowing how an instrument should sound. The biggest thing for me is just ears. A musician has better ears. His brain is more developed for listening.
What was your first break getting into live sound? What did you study at ASE? Marinus: I studied a diploma in Sound Engineering, specialising in music production and I accomplished a Pro Tools 210 accreditation.
Did you do any live sound modules? Marinus: I did do some live stuff. It wasn’t officially part of the course but in my spare time I sat in on the live classes. But I did live sound before I went to ASE as well. I had my own little company in Rustenburg where I was from and went to school. It started off as a studio, actually, and then progressed to the point where the artists that I was working with needed someone to do their sound at their shows. That’s kind of where it all started for me. I started working in a studio in standard six doing MIDI programming and small sessions, and then in standard eight I started my company doing back-tracks for artists, and those kind of things. When I went to study music production, I stopped doing studio work because there was just too much live stuff happening.
Marinus: I was doing live sound throughout my life but I think my biggest break to work on serious shows was through Daryl Torr who started using me with Harris Tweed, (now Dear Reader). That opened up the industry to me because I got to work on Oppikoppi, Splashy Fen, etc.
As a white glove engineer? Marinus: Well, a lot of times. Dear Reader had their own VRX system that they bought so for most of their shows, yes, we used their own gear but for bigger shows I just walked in, mixed, and left. I actually met Gearhouse, Sound Stylists, etc. All the big names through that experience as well. Eventually I hooked up with Kobus from Blue Array.
Can you elaborate on how you got involved with Blue Array? Marinus: The thing was, we had a limited amount of VRX boxes and we always needed more so I called Wild and Marr, asked them who else had more and would be willing to dry hire them and they told me about Blue Array. So I rented from them for a while until Kobus (owner of Blue Array) started booking me for some of his gigs and eventually after about two years of him nagging me to come on board with him, I joined. He liked my technical approach and the advantage for me was that he is a brilliant business man, which is not my strong point, because I am an artist. That relationship just got better and better and that is how it all started.
If there was one invention that would make your life easier that we don’t currently have, what would it be?
What happened after that? Marinus: I also did a year course in a studio with Johan Kelder, which was a small informal weekly thing where we’d go every Friday to his studio and do sessions and pro tools training.
Do you think having a musical background was a good grounding for moving into sound? Marinus: Absolutely. It makes me a better engineer.
Marinus: (Laughs) A crew that can work 24 hours that won’t ever be late! Ag, but you know, I think, to be perfectly honest, if there was a tool like SMAART that could integrate with your system processor that would help me a lot. Right now you have to measure the parameters and enter them manually.
What is your favourite food? Marinus: That’s tough. I like food in general! Eating is my second favourite hobby. I really enjoy Asian food, but healthy food in general.
Holiday destination? Marinus: Amsterdam. I was just there in January and it’s such a cool place and the people are so awesome there.
CM Lodester Training – Electrosonic, JHB
Alphas Nkomo and Omar Shafoodeen
Chris Jones and Renier Smit
Chris Jones shows attendees how it’s done
Gearge Kuhluse, Kevin Reckas and Tokozani Dludlu
Julian August and Luke O’Gorman
Robbie Nassi, Jaques Pretoriuos and Andre Westraad
Siyabonga Shabalala and Lebogang Manyama
Vumani Sibanda, Zeeks Molatelo and Lebogang Boinamo
Epson Projector Launch – Johannesburg
Caroline Helberg with George and Valeria Rosa
Christoph Lubinus, Kelvin Reynolds, Masako Abe and Kenichi Yamamoto
Ryan Hodgskin, Malcolm Haefner, Werner Obermeyer and Hugh Davies
Marnus Swart and Christian Bighi
Kelvin Reynolds, Shaun Battiss, Rolf Thiele, Jodi Battiss, Hennie Crous and Stuart Wilson
Masako Abe and Kenichi Yamamoto
Gearhouse Open Day – Bezuidenhout Valley, Johannesburg
Craig Goosen and Kelvin Reynolds
Dean Jules (middle) shows off the EB1400 to guests
Vusi Malobola, Paul Makwela, Loyiso Lindani and Martin Rudman
Carla Human, Julliette Fish, Graeme Marshal, Kabelo Thobi and Gugulethu Buthelezi
Khensani Khobane, Isaac Mhlongo, Thabiet Waggie and Busang Phethle
Phil Lord, Ian Tyler and Chris Grandin
Rolene Hughes and Ralese Andriaanse
The Team from Gearhouse South Africa
Wessel van der Linde and Roger von Borzestowski
Zanele Sibiya, Thami Hlaba and Keitumetse Pilane
Panasolutions Launch – Panasonic projectors and screens – OR Tambo Premiere Hotel
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Ayanda Manguba and Lucky Mbele
Bhans Scheomangal, Craig Mcginn, Jason Bailos & Steryos Sentzikas
Clinton Fowler and Colin Loock
Deon van der Vyver and Derek Olivier
Joe Mafalo and Samuel Manegodi
Leane Thorpe, Amy Thomas, Peter Erasmus & Candice Lewis
Steve Lewis and Travis Wilson
The Panasonic Corporation team
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Hybrid + Speaker Launch – Thaba Ya Batswana Eco Hotel and Spa
Viva Afrika and Hybrid + team
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Yolanda Lombard and Normarie du Plessis
Wilhen Engelbreght, Derrik de Villiers and Rohan Coetzer
Keevin Bradshaw and Sam Walke
Morgan Beatbox, Sou Larinatica and Joel Cruz Aficionado
Ephraim Rateyiwa and Luckson Jojo (from Hard Sound, Zimbabwe)
SACIA Broadcast Workflows training course (under license from the IABM) – Johannesburg
Surend Bharath and course instructor Dick Hobbs
Mabel Nkosi and Octavia Nungu
Eldrich Ferris and Dick Hobbs
Dick Hobbs with participants of the SACIA Broadcast Workflows training course
Mpho Matloha and Dick Hobbs
Steve Schafer and Dick Hobbs
Kuti Legae and Kevan Jones
Tshepiso Searole and Dick Hobbs
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