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CBS Upfront Plays Carnegie Hall with Video Support from WorldStage

CBS and Carnegie Hall. Big network, big stage, big success for the annual Upfront Sales Presentation, which previewed the fall program lineup. Once again CBS called on WorldStage, the new brand for Scharff Weisberg and Video Applications, Inc., for video support as Carnegie Hall's famous stage showcased the latest CBS stars and shows.

Having partnered with CBS since 1994, the WorldStage team has finely honed its upfront skills, especially as far as Carnegie Hall is concerned. "CBS has used Carnegie Hall as its upfront venue for sometime now. Over the last three years, the production team has taken the path of using more of the proscenium and larger projections," notes Shawn Oatey, WorldStage account manager/project manager. "This year's upfront continued the process of moving away from the traditional rectangular widescreen-look, allowing speaker support content to live anywhere in the projected space of the proscenium."

WorldStage was charged with expanding display beyond the hero screen to incorporate the architectural elements of Carnegie Hall's celebrated proscenium stage. The network wanted to paint content across the big canvas of a stage more accustomed to hosting symphony orchestras than upfronts.

"The overall project was very demanding from a logistical and schedule standpoint," says Oatey. "Working in a landmark venue like Carnegie Hall presents numerous challenges, and the entire CBS team really did an amazing job in a very compact period of time."

CBS Executive Producer Jane Gottlieb comments, "WorldStage's engineering expertise and client service are the reasons why CBS relies on them for our most prestigious and high profile events. We're impressed with and grateful for the amazingly complex work they are able to accomplish within very restrictive parameters of space and set-up time at Carnegie."

Oatey describes the array of display surfaces, which worked separately and in tandem to dazzle guests. "A hard-wall scenic element painted white created the lower projection surface. There was a large white muslin hero screen surface for the main content. And white muslin scenic elements above the hero screen area, left and right of the center audio speaker cluster, which were also dressed in white. In addition, there was a rear-projected, 21x12-foot screen, which formed a beautiful backdrop for the center-stage 'Mousehole' entrance and main camera shot."

WorldStage used 18 projectors to cover the complex display surfaces: 16 brand new J-Series Christie Roadster HD20K-J projectors, plus a pair of Christie HD10K-M projectors for rear projection on the 'Mousehole' entrance.

Projection design called for two separate 2x2 quadrant projection spaces, one inside the other, to create a seamless overall look that encompassed the entire stage and proscenium arch. "The larger outside quadrant projection was 80 feet wide and 51 feet tall and covered by four double-stacks of projectors," Oatey explains. "The inner quadrant, for the hero screen, was 61 feet wide by 24 feet tall and covered by another group of four double-stacked projectors."

Switching was performed with three Christie Vista Spyder X20s, which managed and distributed the content from 22 Dataton WATCHOUT servers. WorldStage used projection positioning, warping and masking to create an almost 3D projection mapped feel to the overall set.

"This show is truly a collaborative effort and all of us on the CBS team work hard to create something special and a little different each year," Oatey notes.

The CBS team included Executive Producer Jane Gottlieb and Creative Director Lacy Daigle; Scenic Designer Bruce Rodgers of Tribe Inc.; WATCHOUT Technical Producer/Programmer Keith Tromer; Lighting Designer Mike Baldassari; and Technical Director Duane VanderWerf.

Beirne Lowry at Mr. Wonderful spearheaded the complex and challenging graphic design. The scenic elements were built by longtime WorldStage collaborator, Atomic Design.

From WorldStage Engineering and Video Village were managed by Shane Zinke, JasonSpencer and Bryan Dominick with projection handled by Terry Nakamura and Scott Goegebuer.

WorldStage Inc., the company created by the merger of Scharff Weisberg Inc and Video Applications Inc, continues a thirty-year legacy of providing clients the widest variety of entertainment technology coupled with conscientious and imaginative engineering services. WorldStage provides audio, video and lighting equipment and services to the event, theatrical, broadcast and brand experience markets nationally and internationally.