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Allergan Sales Conference, Tenerife

Pharmaceutical company Allergan held their EAME conference in Tenerife this January.

This was a large, complex event held in the stunning Magma Congress Centre on the Costa Adeje. We rigged 18 Panasonic 20K projectors to project both in-the-round and image mapped on to flying cubes across the auditorium.

The show also featured the ever popular Xlyobands, which look great in big numbers.

My role was projector rigging, followed by directing and mixing a four-camera mix for both live PIPs and post-show production. We used a lot of BlackMagic kit, including the cracking Hyperdecks and ATEM mixing system.

AV systems were provided by Integrated AV, and the mapping performed in Hippos by Fix8 Group.

Simultaneous translation, Royal Courts of Justice

Just to add to the ecletic mix of technology I use, one of my clients asked me to assist with installing a simultaneous translation system in the Royal Courts of Justice recently.

A long-running case needed to question a non-English speaking witness. The larger courts in the building have permanent systems installed for this, but the space we were in did not. We installed a translation booth and microphone/earpiece system to translate both to and from English.

This work was carried out in conjunction with Clarus Language Solutions and TransPerfect.

Virgin Media Short Film Awards

Virgin media sponsor the short film awards, which had their gala night at the British Film Institute, London recently.

To showcase some of the previous winners, the reception area was transformed into an interactive exhibition with embedded screens running short films and promos. In total 8 screens were installed in moving structures that transformed into dance floor lighting features for the evening event.

DiVentix II for Dell printers

Dell have re-vamped their line of printers and it’s time to show them off to the sales force.

This was done at a two-day conference @ Millbank, London. Working this venue can be difficult as the load in is hard and there’s nowhere to store cases, but it’s centrally located and the view from the top floor is stunning.

The show was projected using the in-house Christie projector firing 1080p onto the cinema screen.

Video control was provided by a spanking new Analog Way DiVentix II – capable of 4 layers and presets, courtesy of Integrated AV. This included an animated background, static backgrounds, live camera pips and on-screen presentations.

This was my first time using the DiVentix II (I’ve used the original model I for some time now) and I was impressed with it’s capabilities. It fills the gap between straight video switching and a full-blown Spyder solution well.

Homebase Charity Dinner

Last night Homebase held a charity dinner for key staff and suppliers, in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust.

This was a relatively small affair with a simple set, a rear-projected 4:3 screen, 4 ways of radio mics and some lights on stands.

Christopher Biggins (of Celebrity Jungle fame) is an ambassador for the Teenage Cancer Trust, and was on site to host a charity auction, which he carried off with much aplomb – including selling 13 bog-standard plastic buckets for £100 a piece.

Lots of cash for a good cause.

Christie Spyder X20 training

The Christie Spyder X20 is a one-box video processor set up for large-scale projection. It’s capable of working with 20 million pixels at rates of up to 120Hz – and that’s 3d speeds. With a standard 1080p HD screen comprising just over 2 million pixels, this box of tricks is for shows that require more than just a few Powerpoint slides.

As with most powerful tools, there’s an unavoidable level of complexity. To work around this, I recently spent a couple of days at Christie’s EMEA headquarters learning my way round the system.

Processing takes place in a 4U 19″ rackmount server, with either 8 or 16 inputs and 8 outputs. This is controlled using the Vista Advanced software running on a PC and connected to the server via Ethernet.

One advantage of this two-box approach is that it’s possible to configure and program a show offline on a standard PC. Once on-site, the server (called a ‘frame’ in Christie-speak) can be connected and the input sources and output devices tested.

All the pre-programmed layers, borders, shadows and animations are then uploaded to the box and you’re ready to go.

Many thanks to Kate Eve @ Central Presentations for helping to arrange the training.

NFL @ Wembley

The NFL (that’s American football) rolled into town at the weekend with a game between the Chicago Bears and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Outside the stadium a ‘tailgate‘ park was setup – complete with hall-of-fame, team tents, merchandise shop, covered BBQ area and practice pitch.

In addition, the Great Hall within the stadium was used as a VIP dinner venue pre- and post-match.

During the buildup to this show I was arranging 42″ and 50″ plasmas to relay the game throughout the tailgate area. On show day I was running VT and switching live cameras during the VIP show – with hall-of-fame interviews and cheerleaders live on stage.

This was my first time working at Wembley, and the scale (and security issues) makes for a lot of walking each day!

Movember launch party

Gents prepare your faces – Movember is coming soon!

If you’ve not met it before, a little introduction:

Movember is a charity organisation who rasie money for men’s health – predominantly prostate and testicular cancer research. Started in Australia a while back, it’s grown at a phenominal rate over the past few years and has raised £106m worldwide since 2003.

The UK launch party was held at the very trendy Village Underground in Shoreditch last Thursday. I was tasked with providing video projection in two areas – one to run some films illustrating the growth and passion of Movember, and another looping some cow footage.

The cow footage was projected onto a brick wall using a 15k lumen projector, and some basic projector mapping enabled us to fit the wooden window frame in the VT to the indents in the wall.

One of the guests caught some video footage of the event which illustrates the concept nicely:

Travis Perkins Charity Ball

This is the second year I’ve been working the Travis Perkins charity ball. Last year was in Birmingham, and this year it’s London.

Nine Kings Suite is a venue in the Lancaster hotel. Loading in is fun (most crews just expect a parking ticket), but once in there’s a great array of bars, cabling and fixings in the roof to use.

This year the ball had a carnival theme with roaming musicians, magicians and circus performers entertaining the guests during dinner.

I was on site providing video projection, switching and plasma screens to cover the area.

A 9am get in and a 4am finish make for a long day – but the bed has never been so comfy!

Jimmy Carr @ Warwick Arts Centre

Jimmy Carr is a hard working man. This event is the fourth time I worked on his shows – in various roles as lighting engineer, sound engineer and stage hand.

This time round I was working the sound desk as he entertain the students (and locals) at Warwick Arts Centre.

Technically the show is pretty simple – a couple of lightings states, a screen and projector, and a couple of microphones. However, when the show is one bloke and one microphone, it’s important that that one microphone works.