High Resolution Systems’ UDC-400 Universal Device Controller proved to be a winner when it was selected to provide screen control and ArtNet translation at the 28th annual MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) on August 28 and multiple screen control at the 63rd annual Primetime Emmy Awards on September 18. Both events aired live from LA’s Nokia Theatre.
Mobius Productions of Coral Springs, Florida, which provides screen systems and playback for special events and television, chose the UDC-400 for both events.
The controller’s ArtNet translation feature was key to its deployment at the VMAs, where Mobius owner Jason Rudolph used this feature of the UDC software as the DMX bridge interface between a grandMA2 light lighting control console, which controlled the servers, and a Vista Spyder X20, which handled switching to multiple screens that formed part of the VMA set. “The UDC-400 acted as a bridge so I had the ability to trigger presets off the Spyder for seamless transitions,” Rudolph noted. “We set up the system so if the main Spyder went down, I could quickly re-route everything to a back up Spyder.”
A software-based control platform that allows simple, cost-effective control of devices using IP (TCP/UDP) or serial (232/422/485) protocols, the UDC-400 has quickly become the must-have product for live events such as major awards shows. UDC software can send ArtNet DMX commands from the UDC-400 itself as well as from a touchscreen computer, iPad, iPhone and other smart phones. It also supports Protocol Translation for ArtNet.
Although Rudolph had some previous experience with the UDC-400, the VMAs marked his first major usage of the system. “I had tested it on smaller shows, and it did what I needed it to do,” he recalled. “I felt confident about using it on a larger show, and the level of support from the guys at High Resolution Systems was just great. They did a phenomenal job with any issues that arose as we prepared for the show.”
A few weeks later Rudolph found himself once again using the UDC-400 as the primary controller for a Spyder X20 on the live Emmy Awards telecast where multiple screens also formed the awards-show set.
He gives kudos to the UDC-400 as the go-to device for high-profile applications such as these. “It’s constantly filling in the gaps for the control systems we use,” he said. “It allows better and tighter integration of things – and that’s exactly what we need.”
The main technician for Mobius on the VMAs and the Emmys was Matt Waters. The Spyder operators on the VMAs and Emmys were Larry May and Shiran Stotland, respectively. John Pritchett was the associate director for the screens on the Emmys.