AME Tap Panasonic, Alcorn McBride for Video Artist Bill Viola

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Industrial-strength AV technology, including Panasonic plasma panels and Alcorn McBride’s A/V Binloop HD players and DVM8500 Digital Video Machines play a role in internationally-renowned video artist Bill Viola’s new show at the Blain|Southern Gallery in London.

“The Dreamers” is presented on seven 65-inch plasmas in a gallery on the lower ground floor. This video shows underwater portraits of people who appear to be sleeping; in its spiritual, immersive subterranean environment, ultimate interpretation is left for viewers to define through their own experiences, notes the gallery. Associates in Media Engineering (AME), a consortium of consultants and a boutique provider of custom solutions for the special venue marketplace, spec'ed the gear and oversaw the installation.

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 “The show, titled ‘Frustrated Actions and Futile Gestures,’ is a museum-scale exhibition of nine new works comprised from more than 20 newly produced video elements and sound designs,” said Benjamin Kidwell Lein of AME.

Through his work, Viola engages with complex aspects of human experience, including mortality, transience and our persistent, yet ultimately futile attempts to truly and objectively understand ourselves and the meaning of our brief lives, says the gallery.

Perhaps the most high-profile display is a 9-channel, 3x3 videowall comprised of 42-inch Panasonic 1080 plasmas sourced with 1080p video and featuring a custom sound design. Titled “The Chapel of Frustrated Actions and Futile Gestures,” the video depicts figures perpetually repeating various activities in real time and calling into question the significance of our daily accomplishments. Its video and audio is sourced from a single A/V Binloop HD player plus a stand-alone DVM8500 for the ninth channel.

The A/V Binloop HD provides up to 8 channels of HD video in a compact and reliable package designed for continuous daily use with no maintenance. Video clips are stored on Compact Flash media so there are no moving parts to wear out; each card can hold hours of media.

Alcorn McBride’s DVM8500 is a studio quality MPEG-2 player with the interfaces AV contractors need for professional installations. The DVM8500 stores video on Compact Flash cards. Clips may be triggered via external contacts or pushbuttons, serial RS-232 messages, Ethernet, playlists or the built-in realtime scheduler. The unit can also simply loop continuously when powered. Associates in Media Engineering chose the Alcorn McBride equipment for Viola, a longtime customer who has awarded the company preferred vendor status.

“The Dreamers” has seven channels sourced from an A/V Binloop HD player. Additionally, several more single-channel videos are sourced from stand-alone DVM-8500s.


“Bill’s videos had to loop seamlessly for both picture and sound,” says Lein. “We had confidence that Alcorn McBride’s products would be able to achieve the artist’s vision – and the show was no easy task for MPEG.”

He explains that Viola’s work “uses a ‘grainfield’ effect, which makes it difficult to compress – and it has to match seamlessly from last frame to first frame- that point where you would really see the hit.”

Lein notes that AME “maintains a 25-year working relationship with Alcorn McBride.” All of the systems for the gallery show were built and tested in the AME facility.

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