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High Resolution Systems’ Universal Device Controller for Video Art

High Resolution Systems’ Universal Device Controller for Video Art
  • High Resolution Systems LLC’s Universal Device Controller (UDC) took to the art installation stage when it helped “Dunkelkammer” (Dark Room) control a series of AJA KiPro Mini field recorders in the Spielhalle of Munich’s Kammerspiele Theatre.


Earlier this year artist and director Dries Verhoeven devised the idea of a 360º projection in the Spielhalle, which would depict the power and powerlessness of the human eye. His concept involved having six blind actors pull a film dolly through the city; mounted on the dolly was a configuration of four Sony HXR-MC50E camcorders, each pointing in the direction of one of the four cardinal points and capturing the world of the sighted person from the point of view of the sightless.

Verhoeven initially planned for live transmissions during the actors’ trek through Munich. But when this proved impossible due to long distances and budget, engineer Nicolas Hemmelmann was tasked with finding a solution that simulated a live environment. He discovered that HD Flash recorders were the safest and most cost-effective technology, and they would permit the dolly to move about under its own power when using a gel cell battery.

“AJA KiPro Minis seemed to fulfill all the requirements for the recorders: HDMI inputs, HD-SDI outputs, network remote control – plus their gang recording feature would guarantee synched tracks with 2-3 frame accuracy,” says Hemmelmann. “It was easy to control the KiPros with their network interface, but there was no option to use them like a 4-output media server. Luckily, German AJA distributor MCI came up with the idea to try UDC control software, and it turned out to be the solution.”

The audience for “Dunkelkammer” sits in a kaleidoscopic space with the visuals collected by the blind actors projected on the walls around them. “Since Verhoeven wanted the audience to believe that [the show] was done [live] by the actors, all the technical control was put behind the walls of the venue,” Hemmelmann explains. “All four KiPro recorders are now controlled over HTTP commands as soon as the dolly reaches its destination in the city and gets wired for the second part of the show.”

UDC software has performed flawlessly for 30 rehearsals and shows, he reports. “It’s reliable and accurate, and High Resolution Systems offered fast and helpful support,” he says. “We also use the UDC software running on a laptop to access player and projector web interfaces.”

“Dunkelkammer” continued its run in Munich until the end of November. Then it moved on for shows in Utrecht, the Netherlands and London.