Archive for Month: August 2017
Symetrix serves at the Lincoln Presidential Museum
Just as Abraham Lincoln remains one of the most popular U.S. Presidents, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (ALPLM) is one of America’s most popular presidential libraries. More than 300,000 visitors pass through its Gateway area each year to enjoy 40,000 square feet of immersive exhibits, historical artefacts, interactive exhibits, and dramatic performances. While only a few exhibit areas rely on spoken word, audio is everywhere: mostly music, sound effects, and occasional museum-wide announcements.
After a dozen years, the museum’s analogue audio system began to show its age, and some pieces could no longer be serviced. After research and consultations with systems integrators Video Services of America in Chicago, ALPLM Systems technical director Sam Cooper opted for a Dante-enabled network managed by four Symetrix Prism 16×16 DSPs and a Symetrix Radius 12×8 EX DSP equipped with a Symetrix 4 Channel Analog Output Card.
Music and effects are supplied by TASCAM DA-6400 64-channel digital recorders with Dante I/O cards connecting the recorders directly into the Dante network. An assortment of JBL Control-series ceiling and wall-mount loudspeakers deliver the audio, powered by Crown amplifiers.
Visitors buy their tickets at the Gateway, but you won’t hear networked audio there because, observes Cooper, “that would drive the front entry personnel nuts.” On entering the Plaza, though, guests begin an audio-intensive walking tour through the world of Honest Abe. “You might see and hear Lincoln giving a speech, or hear birds, bugs, chopping wood, and music in the Plaza,” offers VSA Senior Sales Representative Greg Bayer. “The museum uses a vast array of synchronised sound effects and music, and as you move between locations, you transition to new sounds and music. There are speakers everywhere, and getting the timing and flow right requires sophisticated control, which is a strength of Symetrix DSPs.”
The exhibits are organized into two major “Journeys.” Journey 1 presents the Railsplitter’s pre-Presidential years, while Journey 2 is about his presidency. “The cool thing about the Journeys is the 27 separate areas we call Scenes,” Cooper details. “For example, Scene 1 is outside the log cabin, and Scene 2 is inside the log cabin. As you wander through, the music changes from one scene to another-but at the doorways, the music is blended so you don’t notice that it changed. The composer wrote the music to keep the same feel throughout transition areas yet immerse you into the scene.”
This complex audio network covers the museum exhibit areas and the Plaza only, although plans are to extend coverage to the gift shop. It could eventually also cover the library if desired. The two theatres, both still on the older analogue audio system, will also be added to the Symetrix network eventually.
From the Plaza, you can enter “Journey 1,” which uses 28 channels of audio, while “Journey 2” has 56 input channels where every input is used, including XLR analogue inputs. “The Plaza has its own music,” notes Cooper. “The ‘Ask Mr Lincoln’ exhibit has separate dialogue. ‘Mrs. Lincoln’s Attic’ has its own music, as does the ‘Illinois Gallery,’ which changes with each exhibit. We didn’t use much EQ, but level control was very important, and the Symetrix DSPs made a big difference there.”
In fact, says Cooper, level setting was the most challenging part of programming the system. “We’d take it down 3 dB in one room, then realise that’s too much, so we’d adjust it again,” he recalls. “But because of that change, we’d have to go to the next room and make a little change. We spent a lot of time going back and forth and adjusting. We walked the Journeys with the VSA team over and over until we got it right – and they did a great job. Once we got the levels right, we generally haven’t had to change them.”
Symetrix’ products proved to be the right solution. “We chose Symetrix DSPs because they have the capabilities we need, including Dante, while also fitting our budget,” reveals Cooper. “They’re not hard to program in general, but neither VSA nor I had done something quite like this before. In addition to level control in the Plaza, we wanted two Symetrix ARC-3 controllers, mounted inside our operator control panels that mirrored each other to control the Plaza system. We have four zones in one scene that use multiple audio streams, depending on section, and those need to be controlled independently on a dedicated mixer in the DSP. Sometimes we mute individual scenes, which adds complexity. We have interactive exhibits on the network, each with audio. We also wanted the ability to expand the system. It was a lot to program. So VSA called Symetrix on the phone, and the Symetrix people were great about explaining how to do what we wanted.”
Beyond the Plaza, with its two ARC-3 panels, each Journey-except the two theaters- has a separate Symetrix ARC-series wall panel for control. That includes a Symetrix ARC-K1e rotary encoder mounted in “Ask Mr Lincoln’s” electronic control room, and three ARC-SW4e push-button wall panels remotely controlling audio functions for the Journeys.
Sam Cooper is thrilled with his new audio tools, and with life at the ALPLM. “I have a dream job, and I have a great staff that backs me up,” he enthuses. “We worked on all of this together and made a point of including the entire staff in the install as much as we possibly could. VSA did a great job making the system work the way we wanted it to. The Symetrix network has been bulletproof. I am very, very pleased.”
This article is originally from www.pro-systems.co.za
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Eos iRFR and aRFR mobile apps get an update
New versions of the iRFR and aRFR remote apps for Eos will be available for purchase on the App Store and Amazon Marketplace starting this week. The overhauled mobile applications feature fully redesigned user interfaces, more intuitive connectivity, and expanded feature sets that include a full-featured keyboard and Direct Selects.
Software v2.6 or higher must be installed on the host Eos device for the apps to function.
The new line-up of remote apps is as follows:
- iRFR-BTS/aRFR-BTS (sales benefit US-based charity Behind the Scenes)
- iRFR-Backup/aRFR-Backup (sales benefit UK-based charity Backup)
- iRFR Classic/aRFR Classic (previous iRFR and aRFR apps, renamed and available as free downloads)
- iRFR Preview (unchanged; available as a free download)
Customers who previously purchased the iRFR and aRFR apps may upgrade to the new versions free of charge with a simple update.
The new iRFR and aRFR apps are NOT compatible with Cobalt devices. Any users who inadvertently update can revert to the old software by downloading one of the Classic apps.
Join ETC’s video celebration of Source Four
This November marks the 25th anniversary of the birth of the Source Four® fixture at ETC. Between now and this year’s LDI tradeshow, we’re taking a look back at this product that has become such a major part of ETC’s story, the fixture that has made a long-lasting impact on our industry, and the product that has inspired many additional ETC fixtures.
When asked what he remembers about the first time he saw the Source Four, ETC CEO Fred Foster says “When I first saw the Source Four it was just a HPL lamp, glass reflector, and a lens on an optical rail in Dave Cunningham’s lab. But it was 40% brighter than a 1000W FEL and used only 575W of power. I was awestruck. It was even more fun to watch the looks on the faces of the LDI attendees when we launched the product a year later.”
Ellen White, outreach and training specialist at ETC, was working in ETC’s booth in 1992 when Source Four was first revealed. “We launched three products at that tradeshow and we really thought the talk was going to focus on the Sensor dimmers and the Obsession console. But Source Four started a small buzz that morning and became the topic of conversation at many dinners that evening.”
Since launching at LDI in 1992, ETC has shipped nearly 3.8 million Source Four fixtures. That gives us plenty of reasons to celebrate this milestone.
As part of the anniversary celebration, we’re creating a video showcasing the longevity of the Source Four fixture. We want to see as many of those millions of Source Four and Source Four LED fixtures as possible. As part of this crowd-sourced video project, we are asking you to send photos of your Source Four and Source Four LED fixtures hanging in your theatres, your churches, your schools, and your community centres.
You’ll find specific instructions and photo submission procedures here: www.etcconnect.com/sourcefouris25.
Between now and 1 October, please submit photos through this online form in exchange for a limited edition Source Four 25th Anniversary t-shirt (while supplies last) and the chance to win one of ten Source Four Mini LEDs.
The last 25 years with Source Four have been an inspiration. Here’s to the next 25!
Latest Eos family software unlocks output upgrades and empowers Element
When Eos® family console users install software v2.6, they may find that their systems get a serious boost. As announced at CUE, ETC’s professional development conference, Eos v2.6 brings major upgrades for Element consoles, and improvements to Snapshots and other programming features. The release also marks a change in the way the console family handles output upgrades for both new and existing users.
Eos v2.6 dispenses with the notion of incremental upgrades, by which customers could purchase consoles and output upgrades at a number of different levels. From now on, any upgraded console is a fully-upgraded console. Moving forward, each Eos family controller will be sold in two formats: base and unlocked. A base level Gio @5®, for example, will have 4,096 (4K) outputs, while an unlocked Gio @5 will have 24,576 (24K) outputs.
If a user wishes to increase a base-level console’s control potential, a one-time, very cost-effective upgrade may now be purchased to expand the desk to its full capacity. What does this mean for users who have already purchased incremental upgrades, or who have purchased a console above its base-level output capacity? Upon installation of v2.6, all existing upgraded desks above the new baseline – even those that have only been upgraded to partial capacity – will be automatically expanded.
Eos v2.6 brings massive upgrades to Element consoles, enabling a whole host of features previously reserved for the larger Eos family platforms. For entry-level Element users, day-to-day operation will not change. More advanced users, however, can now take advantage of multi-user control, partitioned control, virtual media server functions, full display controls, new timing options, filters, presets, highlight functions and more. Touring productions and receiving houses will also find the changes beneficial; a show programmed on an Ion® or larger desk can now more seamlessly transfer to a venue with an Element console.
More features for all
The software update also adds new display and playback features for all Eos family consoles. With the push of a button, users working in the live table view can now bring up part structures, output level, playback sources, or the DMX map. Manual timing masters enhance live playback options, and the ability to assign Macros to playback buttons unlocks a new layer of playback flexibility.
To download Eos v2.6, visit www.etcconnect.com/Products/Consoles/Eos-Family/Eos-Ti/Software.aspx
For a full rundown of Eos v2.6 features, download the release notes at www.etcconnect.com/Products/Consoles/Eos-Family/Eos-Ti/Documentation/
ETC Eos delivers dynamic looks for The Dream of Gerontius
As part of its summer programme, English National Opera appeared at the Royal Festival Hall for a captivating production of Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius. Multi-award winning lighting designer Lucy Carter used light – controlled with ETC Eos® Ti and RPU3 – to create an additional layer of emotion and energy to support and reflect the music.
Widely regarded as Elgar’s finest choral work, The Dream of Gerontius relates the journey of a pious man’s soul from his deathbed to his judgment before God and settling into Purgatory. To evoke an otherworldly feel, Carter opted for simple staging with abstract lighting energies that combined with the music to create an ethereal quality.
“When I was researching this production and arrived at my eventual design decisions, I knew that in order to create the complex and detailed environments to match the expansive and evocative music and themes of the libretto, I would need an immense amount of flexibility from my rig,” says Carter. “I chose to work almost exclusively with the GLP impression X4 Bars and Eos pixel mapping, and to use video files to populate the designed structure of the lights with energies and light textures.”
Supplied by PRG, the rig consisted primarily of 163 GLP impression X4 Bars, arranged into six concentric triangles positioned over the orchestra, and three rows over the chorus. Lighting of the choir and orchestra was delivered by 12 Martin Mac Aura XBs, with the soloists and conductor lit by a combination of ETC Source Four® LED Series 2 Lustr and Vari-Lite VL1000 AS fixtures. The rig required in excess of 40 universes of DMX, delivered via 14 ETC DMX/RDM Four-Port Gateways mounted locally on the trusses by production electrician Martin Chisnall.
To deliver the dynamic range of looks required, Carter worked closely with lighting programmer Jenny Kershaw, with programming support from Andi Davis, on behalf of ETC. “Jenny and I have been working with these ideas for a few years, and the ETC desks are an essential tool for our design work,” says Carter. “I want the lighting textures to feel organic and not mathematically produced and Jenny is able to manipulate the effects tools to create the dancing light textures I want. These are not repetitive effects, but seemingly evolving and dynamic.”
“The Eos Ti’s ability to deliver pixel mapping via the on-board Virtual Media Server, along with its conventional channel-based control, meant it was the perfect solution for this project,” adds Kershaw. “The content was generated on-board via effect layers, allowing for fast and convenient creation and editing of the looks required.”
The demands of this project saw ETC further expand the capabilities of its celebrated Eos software by adding extensions to the existing Eos Family Virtual Media Server feature. The pixel map size limits have been enhanced, allowing for control of up to 16,000 pixels. Additionally, Virtual Effect Layers have been modified to enable generation and manipulation of content for much larger pixel maps, and a variable server smoothing feature has been added.
“Thanks to the fantastic support we received from ETC and Andi Davis, we managed to achieve the complexities I was looking for,” says Carter. “With almost 500 cues and effects and numerous cue lists running simultaneously, Eos never let us down.”