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Finnish National Opera Upgrades its AV With Hippotizer

From left: Finnish National Opera and Ballet's lighting manager Kimmo Ruskela and video programmer Heikki Riihijärvi with Johan West, video product manager at Msonic.
From left: Finnish National Opera and Ballet's lighting manager Kimmo Ruskela and video programmer Heikki Riihijärvi with Johan West, video product manager at Msonic. (Image credit: Green Hippo)

The Finnish National Opera & Ballet (FNOB) has upgraded its stock of Green Hippo media servers with the company’s latest Hippotizer V4 systems. 

The new equipment, supplied by Green Hippo’s exclusive Finnish distributor Msonic Oy, comprises seven Hippotizer Karst+ DVI, two Hippotizer Boreal+ DP, and six Hippotizer Montane+ RTX servers—all with dual SDI input cards.

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The new servers were specified by Johan West, video product manager at Msonic. A long-standing Hippotizer user, West has enjoyed a close relationship with the FNOB since specifying its very first Green Hippo systems back in 2008. Since then, he has been responsible for training the opera house crew, as well as advising on the use of Hippotizer on many productions. He also provides all Green Hippo training and support for the FNOB team.

“A series of new pieces are premiering and the designer wanted to use Notch and live camera feeds mixed together with content, in real time,” West said. “This gave us some things to think about: camera feed latency, latency of LED/video projector processing/signal distribution. Everything specified had to meet some rules: latency had to be kept as low as possible, it had to be flexible, and it needed to work with existing signal distribution formats.

“Hippotizer’s 3D toolkit, SHAPE, also plays a big role here. The opera house uses moving projection surfaces that are mapped using SHAPE. Also, some of the automation is pinned using automation objects in SHAPE.”

The new servers have been specified to manage content on the FNOB’s projection screens, as well as its newly purchased ROE Visual CB3 LED wall. The main auditorium’s three Barco HDQ-2K40 projectors and Barco UDX 22 laser projector are run from one Boreal+ DP and one Karst+, each with a backup system, located in the control room rack. 

Three Montane+ RTX servers are dedicated to the new LED wall, which is set to be used on many forthcoming productions, while another Karst is used for pixel mapping various fixtures via Art-Net. Again, all are fully backed up. Another Karst—again with backup—is used in Almin Hall, the opera house’s 500-capacity black box auditorium, and yet another is based in the opera house’s 3D studio, where shows are programmed and tested.

“Because we are a repertory house, with one show rehearsing in the morning and another performing in the evening, we need a great deal of flexibility from our systems, and that has greatly improved with this Hippotizer upgrade,” said Heikki Riihijärvi, video programmer responsible for Hippotizer operations at FNOB. “Also, as we are preparing to run 4K throughout the venue, the new servers give us the possibility to meet those expectations in the future.

“Everything has worked great so far and we haven’t reached the limits of the Montane+ RTX servers yet, so lots of future-proof there. And the support from Msonic has been great. Johan’s know-how and tireless response to calls and emails has been priceless!”


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