AV, from the Mountains to the Speedway

AV, from the Mountains to the Speedway

Peter Freedman, founder and president of RØDE Microphones (left) and David Wiener, chairman and CEO of DWV Entertainment. You know the best place to vacation in August? An amp room. In the past three weeks, I hiked in the mountains of Salt Lake City, roamed the paddocks at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the MotoGP race there, and then, finally, immersed myself fully in the supreme beauty of concrete block and some serious air conditioning BTUs backstage at Millennium Park’s Pritzker Pavilion in Chicago.

They don’t sell postcards featuring pictures of the Pritzker’s amp rooms, but if they did, I would definitely write “Wish you were here” most emphatically on the back of every one.

It certainly helped that I was in the amp room with one of my favorite characters in our industry or anywhere else, Jonathan Laney, a principal consultant with Threshold Acoustics. He was working at the park as a systems tech that day, a role he’s had since he designed the crazy trellis-hung immersive audio experience there with TALASKE 10 years ago. Each summer, he works alongside FOH engineer and all-around authority on making an outdoor venue sound as sublime as an orchestra hall, John Lisiecki, and the audio crew from KOBOTECH. I might join them next summer as a volunteer amp room manager for the park.

Meanwhile, I guess I always have to admit that the mountains of Utah are kinda sublime in their own right. If you like that sort of thing. While I was in Salt Lake, I met up with David Wiener of DWV Entertainment, known to us AV types as the guy who founded SoundTube, and more recently, the owner of Aphex. He was in a good mood, as he’d just sold the latter company to RØDE Microphones, which will usher the company in to its next level of growth following the most successful period of growth in its history.

It was pretty cool to catch up with Mr. David Wiener Ventures, because he’s even more excited about building his Respect the Music Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to boosting musical education to students of all levels. As usual, he has a few other things cooking, so keep an eye out for what he tackles next.

This MotoGP bike, raced here by Kirsten Nelson’s favorite rider, Valentino Rossi, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, is actually a very, very fast camera dolly. After Utah, I set my sights on another natural wonder, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where I caught the final race before the track shuts down to complete a massive renovation prior to the 100th running of the Indy 500 in 2016.

I wasn’t at the track for that reason, though. Longtime readers of my columns will know that I am obsessed, truly obsessed with MotoGP. I’ve actually had the pleasure of attending four races in the U.S. and Europe this year, enjoying media credentials and writing about the sport for motorcycle and video technology magazines. Have you seen the crazy cameras they’re using on bikes these days? MotoGP may have officially partnered with GoPro, but the in-house engineering team at the sport’s management firm, Dorna Sports, will blow your mind with their innovations. Dorna celebrated 30 years of on-board camera development at the race at the Assen TT Circuit in The Netherlands earlier this summer, and I was there to learn all about the hardware and crazy advanced production software they’re using to automate tracking of bikes between cameras. Slightly off the record, but kind of okay to say here, MotoGP will test out a full 4K production workflow at some point during this season. So y’all should tune in to see supremely high-tech machines loaded with mechanical sensors and grinding through turns and straightaways, all while speedily transmitting high-def video over RF. You can call it a business expense, because MotoGP riders are basically beta testers for video technology. That’s probably how they’d describe what they do, right?

Kirsten Nelson is editor-at-large of SCN.