Creating the Great Indoors - AvNetwork.com

Creating the Great Indoors

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Velocity AV recently brought the outdoors to the University of Pittsburg Medical Center's video-centered, green-themed Hillman Cancer Center fundraiser.When the University of Pittsburg Medical Center needed to bring the outdoors in for its video-centered green-themed Hillman Cancer Center fundraiser, San Diego's Velocity Audio Visual made the cross-country trek and brought a barren airport hanger to life with the beauty of nature.

Using a large-as-life high definition video production, Velocity's visual magic transformed the cold hard corners of a newly built hanger at Pittsburg International Airport into a scenic California dream of beaches, mountains, and flower fields that were so real attendees claimed "it looked like you were there and could reach out and touch it."

"The theme was Destination Hope, so we turned to nature to capture everything fresh and alive," says Dave Howell, Velocity AVS managing partner. With high-def pre-production video equipment in hand, Howell scouted locations throughout San Diego, Riverside, and Imperial counties and Yosemite National Forest to find as many images as possible with green meaning. "With a subject like this, the need for original high-def content was more important and noticeable than ever," Howell adds.

Howell captured images of the ocean waves crashing against the beach jetty, the stately spin of Palm Spring's windmill farm, the majestic mountains of Yosemite, and the gentle roll of cornfields, wheat fields, and lavender fields, all of which became the backdrop for a 2 1/2-hour video-layered fundraiser without one presenter, emcee, or talking head.

"We had to create a whole new wow for the client, and, in order to do that, video became the most important element of the production," says show producer Ray Gosselin, president and CEO of Epic Entertainment. "Because videos were the key element to the event, it was important to have the right mixture of today's technology. Velocity delivered and proved that high def creates a much more vivid picture."

To convey the event's theme, "Destination Hope...A Future Without Cancer," layered video provided a fluid and continuous storytelling medium that included a series of acts by Broadway performers, a 40-piece orchestra, the songs of music legend Nancy Wilson, and video vignettes of cancer survivors. "It was unique and challenging all at once because there was not one talking head -- everything was done by audio and video," Gosselin says.

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Velocity used two Spyder 344 systems due to their flexibility and layer control options, and the Maxedia media server for center screen scenic clips due to its layering and real-time color, speed, and 3D control options.
Surround Sight
Velocity employed 140 feet of technology in the front of the room to bring nature to life and to accommodate the multiple layers of video clips and live performances. A 60- by 15-foot screen centered the room, flanked by two 40- by 15-foot blended screens, and four 10.5- by 14-foot screens on sidewalls.

"The front of the room was surrounded in the video of wheat fields, mountains, and oceans to convey and green and healthy lifestyles, while the blended screens and side screens showed the on-stage performance and previously filmed patient vignettes," Howell explains.

Velocity used two Spyder 344 systems due to their flexibility and layer control options, and used the Maxedia media server for center screen scenic clips due to its layering and real-time color, speed, and 3D control options. For projection, the Christie 16K projectors did the job, providing flexibility and bright picture quality.

"We chose the Spyder systems because we had a combined resolution of over 10 million pixels of HDTV 1080i material put together to form the background and create the 140 feet of image," said Francis Collette, president of San Diego-based MPG. "On top of that background we were able to manipulate up to eight different PIPS/layers of many sources ranging from standard definition video up to high resolution graphics."

"Blended screen technology allowed us to take footage we collected and present it on a large-format screen so the audience could feel like they were sitting in front of a mountain, overlooking fields of lavender or enjoying the waves crashing on the beach," Howell says. "Blended screens gave a pixel count that exceeded that of high definition. By combining the use of original high-definition content and the 16K Christie DLP projectors, we were able to make the footage seem more real to life. Velocity is geared up for new technology and offers a full line of high-def services."

Arrivals and Departures
Perhaps the biggest challenge for executing the show was working at a functioning international airport. "We were out working on the tarmac as jets and charters were flying in and out," Howell states. But after a four-day load in, conquering the rigging challenges of a hanger, and two days of rehearsals, the show was ready to roll. Above all, Howell adds, "You can never be over prepared."

For more information visit www.velocityavs.com.

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