LUMINEX GigaCore 14R PoE switches and GigaCore 12 managed Gigabit Ethernet switches are the talk of motion picture and television productions featuring equipment supplied by Project SSSHH Inc., Toronto, Ontario.
Project SSSHH provides the entertainment industry with sales, rentals, service and design for lighting, rigging and safety. With backgrounds in theater, corporate production and rock 'n roll, partners Andrew Read, Ken Wiebe and Jeff Archbold have expanded into support of feature films and television and have a lengthy customer roster to their credit.
They have provided lighting control systems, LED dimmers and console programming services for motion picture reboots of "Total Recall," "Robocop" and "Poltergeist" as well as "Pixels" and the upcoming "Suicide Squad." On television, Project SSSHH's work includes Syfy's "Warehouse 13" and the cablenet's new series "The Expanse" plus NBC's hit "Heroes Reborn."
Project SSSHH uses MA Lighting Series 2 consoles, which it networks with Art-Net connected equipment such as media servers. They had been using small business unmanaged switches but the influx of media content on the set and the need to run a separate network segment for Art-Net had the company looking at other options.
"We liked the feature set that LUMINEX switches offered; they matched pretty well with what we do," says Read. "First we bought two GigaCore 14R switches so we could serve large sets and long fiber runs. Then we added the GigaCore 12s to our rental inventory. We chose the GigaCore range for its reliability, flexibility and ease of use."
''Lighting crews in the film industry work under a lot of pressure, and they need to be able to rapidly deploy reliable backbones. This is exactly what LUMINEX is for," says Hugo Larin, director for LUMINEX in America.
Typically, Project SSSHH installs equipment and moves it to different sets continuously, sometimes on a daily basis, so reliability is a must. Larger set ups consist of the GigaCore switches and MA NPU and Luminex Art-NET nodes at various spots around the studio or location so consoles can be connected on any part of the set. This allows them to follow the camera around, enhancing communications with the gaffer and DP.
''One advantage of the LUMINEX GigaCore equipment is being able to tunnel MA-Net and Art-Net down one Ethernet cable using V-LANs," says Read. ''I enjoy nothing more than running a studio or location full of lighting equipment while easily being able to grab the media content, or pixel map LEDs, and Art-NET merge that map to the console. Then I can control those LEDs either directly from the console, or via media server, all over one Ethernet cable.''
Set up is often based around dual NIC MA onPC workstations running as master and outputting Art-Net and MA-Net into two separate groups (V-LANs) on the switch then distributing that around the studio or location via the ISL (Inter-Switch Link). Physical lighting consoles deployed on the set are only connected to the system via a single network line, acting as a remote for the onPC workstation, which is the master and outputting all lighting network outputs.
For Suicide Squad, shot recently at Pinewood Toronto Studios, Project SSSHH was charged with networking three soundstages so one operator could run any console based on those sets from any of the three locations. "We had grandMA2 Light consoles on two shooting stages and one pre-light set," Read recalls. "We networked them with the GigaCore 14Rs and 12s and Art-Net so the board operator could jump in from any of those locations at any given time."
"Networking multiple stages is not common, although we did it for a new TV series, too," he adds. "Most console programmers don't contemplate this kind of set up because they don't have the networking knowledge and equipment. But the ease of setting up LUMINEX switches and the ability to monitor network status from any location can be extremely useful to a production."
Luminex Network Intelligence was founded in 2002 and is a Belgian based manufacturer of data distribution equipment for professional lighting, audio and video applications, mainly in the entertainment industry. They offer a complete range of switches, nodes and boosters, enabling users to build a complete data distribution system for all types of AV devices. The GigaCore switches are, like almost every other Luminex device, truly plug-and-play products that provide an excellent solution to expand an AV network in a user friendly way, without the need of any IT knowledge.
For more information visit www.luminex.be