Vaddio Records Rock and Roll History

MINNEAPOLIS, MN (November 19, 2009) – It’s the world’s most important rock destination. The multipurpose Foster Theater at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum hosts everything from live performances by rock royalty to intimate interviews. And when the whole world is watching, there are no do-overs. That’s why they chose Vaddio to capture every history-making moment.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Inc. is the nonprofit organization that exists to educate visitors, fans and scholars from around the world about the history and continuing significance of rock and roll music. It carries out this mission both through its operation of a world-class museum that collects, preserves, exhibits and interprets this art form and through its library and archives as well as its educational programs.

The Foster Theater

During the recently completed renovation of the 14-year-old theater on the Museum’s fourth floor, the wall fabrics, lights and seats weren’t the only components revamped. With a generous grant from Gregg and Madelyn Foster, the $1 million upgrade to the 4th-floor theater now includes a remote high-definition camera system in the design.

Events held in the Foster Theater include live concerts, educational programs, artist interviews, panel discussions and video screenings. Artists such as Little Richard, Aretha Franklin, Al Green and The Staple Singers have performed in the theater. Before her Grammy nomination Taylor Swift played in this theater to an intimate crowd of just 30 people, which now boasts three Vaddio WallVIEW HD-18 CCU high-definition camera systems to record and capture these historic moments.

Although NPi Audiovisual Solutions installed the Vaddio camera systems mainly for archiving purposes, they will also be used for webcasting, videoconferencing and eventually live streaming of the theater’s daily events.

“Archiving has always been done,” revealed Rob Weil, Director of Production for the Rock Hall, “but now we can provide a much better product with the shift from standard-definition to high-definition.” And good timing too.

Opening its doors in late 2010 is the Rock Hall’s new Library and Archives building, a 22,500-square-foot facility located in downtown Cleveland. Built to house the Rock Hall’s research collection of written and audiovisual materials relating to rock and roll history, Vaddio’s camera systems will play a key role in the audiovisual element of the new library.

Design and Execution

Jim Madden of NPi was the chief integrator for the AV overhaul. “Rob and his crew wanted a one-man control situation and they were interested in high-definition, however they had a price.” Madden adds, “Using Vaddio cameras and CCU’s we were able to come in at a realistic price range.”

For the past 14 years multiple cameras would be piled in the theater for a three-man shoot. Weil added, “They would take up valuable real estate and we wouldn’t get particularly good shots. There would be heads in the way and the cross shots wouldn’t be at the right angles, so when we got the Fosters on board, one of the first things we discussed was installing a camera system.” After looking at several different options, Weil and Madden decided on Vaddio WallVIEW CCU HD-18 robotic PTZ (pan, tilt, zoom) camera systems controlled by Vaddio’s Precision Camera Controller.

Vaddio’s ClearVIEW HD-18 high definition PTZ cameras come equipped with a 1/3˝, 1.3 megapixel CCD imaging sensor, a glass multi-element wide dynamic zoom lens (18x optical), tally light and 1.8-lux rating. In Weil’s case, they are converting the HD signal to HD-SDI. “When Vaddio releases the new HD-SDI card we will then take the native HD-SDI signal straight from the camera,” added Weil.

For total robotic control the cameras are paired with the WallVIEW CCU systems, featuring cutting edge High Speed Differential Signaling (HSDS™) technology and fingertip control of iris, gain, color, pedestal, gamma, chroma, knee and detail.

Controlling each WallVIEW CCU system is Vaddio’s Precision Camera Controller, a broadcast-quality joystick controller. The Precision Camera Controller operates extremely smooth and accurate pan, tilt and zoom. Located in the control room behind the theater, the Precision Camera Controller is used in conjunction with the Panasonic AV-HS400 multi-format live switcher for a complete system that easily integrates with the WallVIEW CCU HD-18 systems.

Ultimately, having a one-man camera operating system will prove to be a significant cost savings for the Rock Hall. “Having the three shooters before, we now only need one,” adds Weil.

What’s Next?

With the new theater completed, the Rock Hall can now concentrate on completing its estimated $35 million capital campaign, which included the Foster Theater, as well as the redesign of the Rock Hall’s galleries and the new Library and Archive. Everything is on schedule for the Rock Hall’s 15th anniversary approaching in 2010. It only makes sense that the event be recorded in high definition.

“We now have American-made, cutting-edge technology,” says Weil. “Sometimes you have to look outside the box, beyond the large vendors, and Vaddio has really stepped up to the plate for us.”


About Vaddio:

Vaddio is the leading manufacturer and OEM distributor of specialty PTZ cameras and high-end camera control systems used in the broadcasting, audio/visual and videoconferencing industries. Headquartered in Minneapolis, MN, Vaddio also has operations throughout the Americas, as well as sales and support partners throughout the world. More information can be found on the Vaddio website, or at (800) 572.2011.