LONDON—As part of the video team for Elton John’s “All the Hits” 2015 world tour, I was in charge of the automation and LED elements of each show. This tour featured an impressive 40-foot computer-controlled LED chandelier running a combination video presentation of the upstage video wall, a custom-designed LED video screen that curved up the back of the stage floor, 16 feet off the arena floor on a 30 degree angle. The chandelier was the focal centerpiece of the set, changing formation throughout the show, in sync with the songs and their respective lighting schemes.
When I took over as the automation/LED elements expert on the tour, I worked closely with and received great support from PRG Nocturne, the concert technology company behind many Elton John tours. I started building out our media server system and looked for a compact and user-friendly interface to receive inputs from our cameras as well as send our video screen feed to the LED walls.
The Teranex converter features dual output of SDI.THE DVI PROBLEM
I began by using the Blackmagic Design UltraStudio Mini Recorder to receive the camera input to one of our media servers, and then moved to the UltraStudio Express capture and playback device. Our media server system ran on two MacBook Pro laptops, so the Ultra- Studio Express with Thunderbolt was the perfect solution for our SDI camera input. From the laptop I was outputting an HDMI signal—which I converted to DVI—to the video screen, and then I was forcing the output with TMB’s DVI Parrot, which allows user-configurable EDID management, to keep the 1920x1080 resolution we required. Having used other Blackmagic Design products, I did some investigating and discovered that the new 12G-SDI Teranex Mini converters from Blackmagic Design would solve this problem.
JUST WHAT WE NEEDED
Once I discovered what Teranex Mini could do, we implemented two HDMI to 12G-SDI models, both with “Smart Panels,” which gave us the option to send SDI feeds out to the video screen and the chandelier, rather than DVI feeds, which had been our conventional way. I found that the dual output of SDI on the Teranex Mini is very helpful as it allowed us to send the signal to both the video screen and the chandelier simultaneously, and eliminated the potential need for an SDI distribution amplifier. I was thrilled to discover that the Teranex Minis were exactly what we needed.
The Teranex Minis have also been very reliable and user friendly. The Smart Panel on the front of each unit includes a color display and user controls so we can quickly monitor video and make sure that a signal was received, as well as change settings right from the front of the converter. On top of everything else, they are also very portable, making it easy to transport.
Lars Kristiansen freelances through his own company, LK Projects, running automation, LED and programming concert elements. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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