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Archive for Month: July 2019

ETC upgrades networking with Response Mk2 DMX Gateways

Modern luminaires and networked controls allow users to take lighting to more places than ever before. ETC’s new Response Mk2 DMX Gateways ensure DMX and RDM get there, too. The Response Mk2 DMX Gateways flawlessly translate DMX/RDM to and from sACN, allowing users to put control exactly where they need it – saving money and time.

Available in 1-, 2-, and 4-port models, Response Mk2 DMX Gateways provide DMX and RDM data distribution, taking advantage of the reliability and interoperability of industry-standard protocols such as ANSI E1.31 (sACN) and ANSI E1.20 (RDM). With wall-mount, portable, and DIN rail form factors, users can always find the perfect fit for your application. And every model – even the 1-port! – now features a crisp OLED screen and four-button interface to clearly display (and modify) configuration and status.

Response Mk2 DMX Gateways make it easy to deal with the headaches of networks, too. With increased processing, each Gateway can support 256 RDM devices. Plus, all Gateways can be monitored and configured from a central location with ETC’s powerful Concert software, letting users change network status and DMX/RDM settings. And when you want to be more hands-on, the easy user interface on each Gateway ensures you can configure it exactly as you want it – right at the Gateway itself. 

Response Mk2 DMX Gateways offer powerful integration into ETC’s Paradigm, Echo, or Mosaic architectural lighting control systems and of course they pair perfectly with ETC’s entertainment controls.

Something’s Brewing in Randburg

Take one of South Africa’s most dynamic television studios, mix it with a healthy expansion project, and throw in the need for cutting edge lighting infrastructure technology and what do you get? The answer is Urban Brew’s new Studio premises at Ferndale on Republic, formally known as Brightwater Commons.

When Urban Brew made the decision to move from their old home to their bright and shiny new one, they made the commitment to upgrade their Television Studio infrastructure and technology as well, with the explicit intention that it would put them ahead of any other Television studio complex of their kind in the country. Not only this, but the solution needed to be robust enough to serve them properly for at least the next 10 to 15 years.

When it came to the lighting portion of the project the logical solution was a control and networking infrastructure by ETC. Based on similar system architectures that have been employed at the BBC and Sky in the United Kingdom, the ETC system was designed to be able to control any studio from any control room. The initial phase of the installation incorporated Studios 1, 3, 6 and 9 which all came online during last year. Further expansion with new studios is planned throughout this year as well.

But having the right solution is only half of the equation. It still needs to be installed, commissioned and handed over and the tight deadlines on this project made that an even more pressing task. Taking on the challenge was Protea Technology who were awarded the tender for the entire project. To assist Protea with the lighting portion, Prosound was commissioned, the Prosound Projects and Installation Team was headed by David Butcher, David’s task was to oversee the lighting portion of the project which included no less than four studios’ worth of lighting control, networking infrastructure and power distribution.

A particularly interesting feature of the project was the idea that any Studio could be controlled from any Control room at any given time. This meant there was always going to be a heavy reliance on networked IP based systems running through a central switch. Hard-line DMX was not an option for the project and neither was placing bulky external processing units all around the complex. Fortunately, because ETC’s Eos family of consoles do all their processing on board, all that is then required is the distribution of that signal around the facility. For that there are the ETC Gateway Nodes which can be clamped to the overhead grid where they convert sACN signal to DMX before sending the signal along its way to the fixtures. That makes the rig versatile as you can have any port be any universe you choose, at any point in the rig you would like.

But the challenges didn’t stop there. Urban Brew’s fixture inventory represented a mix of LED, Tungsten and Halogen Moving Lights meaning simple dimmers were not going to cut it. The answer, once again, came from ETC in the form of their ColorSource ThruPower units which can switch between dimming, relay and constant current circuits, all via RDM or at the rack itself. Each studio was installed with 4 x ColorSource 24 circuit Wall units except for studio 9 which received 8 x ColorSource 24 circuit Wall units.

That’s a total of 480 circuits, across four studios and control rooms, each with their own console and over fifty gateway nodes to distribute DMX. It’s no wonder that David Butcher’s eyes tear up a little when you say the phrase ‘Urban Brew’ near him.

The Urban Brew Studios project represents a massive leap forward in the South African broadcasting space. It is the biggest installation of its kind outside of the SABC which was built in the 1970s. It is easily the most modern facility of its kind in the country and plays host to productions which range from the National Lottery Draw to YoTV and The Voice South Africa.

Clearly a facility of this calibre deserves nothing but the best. With their new ETC infrastructure, backed up by the potent partnership between Prosound and Protea Technology, they can rest assured that they’ve got exactly that.

Crux Expands and Upgrades with Symetrix

Nestled in the center of scenic Bend, with a beautiful view of the Cascade Mountains-complete with a “Sundowner Hour” centered around sunset every day-is the Crux Fermentation Project, a brewery and tasting room with an informal and welcoming vibe, a constantly changing menu of beers on tap, and great food. The tasting room in the center of the brewery, which is built inside an old auto-transmission plant, is doing booming business. Crux has recently expanded its drinking and dining experience, adding a new outdoor live concert space with a selection of food carts and an indoor fine dining area with a patio. To provide high-quality audio for the entire space, local contractor AudioVisual Bend designed and installed a new networked sound system centered around a Symetrix Jupiter 8 DSP and ARC-2e wall panels.

“Crux is a local place that’s very influential on the local scene,” explains AudioVisual Bend AV Designer/Project Manager Tony Sprando. “They did a big remodel and went from what was basically a bar with a brewery attached and just a few food items to a full outside concert area.” However, Crux was juggling two different audio systems, neither of them adequate: One was for mics and live acts and the other was designed for residential use. AV Bend replaced both old systems with a modern commercial-grade audio network with four zones. Outdoors, there’s a live venue space with a deck for larger bands. Indoors, the tasting room offers a louder and more celebratory musical environment, in contrast to the fine dining area and the entryway, where the music is kept quieter. The fourth zone is a corner of the dining area that is reserved for smaller one- or two-person musical acts.

“The network allows audio broadcasting in any direction,” observes Sprando. “If we have a little one-person act inside, we can broadcast that outside, and if we have a band outside playing the concert space, we can broadcast that indoors as well. We installed an all-weather patch panel on the outdoor deck; bands just flip up the cover, plug in, and they’re ready to go.” The system outputs to Lab.gruppen amplifiers and weather-rated, pole-mounted QSC speakers for the outdoor venue. JBL CRV speakers, mounted horizontally, cover the patio, while additional CRVs in vertical arrays cover most of the indoor area. JBL Control-series pendant speakers handle the tasting room and entryway. “They have digital signage with menus and more that’s all tied into this,” Sprando adds.

One major reason Sprando and the AV Bend team favor Symetrix is that the processors are easy to program, and the controllers are user-friendly. “Symetrix processors don’t require a lot of hoops to jump through in order to log in and get moving,” Sprando confirms. “User error goes way down; we greatly reduce service calls. And the customers love the Symetrix ARC-2e wall panel; with only three buttons, we market it based on how easy it is to use. The Jupiter 8 also supports Symetrix ARC-WEB for wireless remote control via smartphones and tablets, and Crux’s Pandora background music is now integrated smoothly with the mic and line inputs for easy control from one app.”

AudioVisual Bend does a lot of upgrades, often replacing outdated systems with up-to-date networks based on Symetrix processors. “A lot of the systems we replace are based on knobs and various connectivity devices that have to be manually operated to get audio to the zones,” Sprando relates. “You have to go back into the IT closet to make things work. We replace that with a Symetrix DSP, and you still have all of that control but it’s controlled from out in the listening environment with three buttons on an ARC wall plate or wirelessly from a phone or tablet, using ARC-WEB.”

Sprando notes that both customer and contractor benefit from the ability to service the system remotely. “The Jupiter 8 rack is never touched once we’re done,” he details. “It’s mounted, you lock the door, and there’s no need to go in for day-to-day use. If we have to service these systems, the turnaround time is second to none, thanks to the Symetrix remote-access capability. You just get a laptop and plug it into the switch, and we remote in and make the changes. We can go in and not only turn levels up and down but work with EQ and compression to really dial in our sound for each zone. The flexibility is great, and so is the sound quality.”

“We’ve been using Symetrix processors for six years or more,” Sprando concludes. “The day of the line/mic mixer with knobs in a rack is really over.”