Campus Martius Park is a 2.5-acre public square and year-round entertainment venue at the crossroads of downtown Detroit. This Christmas the park was significantly brighter than in past holidays with more than 19,000 multicolored LED lights on the city’s official Christmas tree and 142,000 more LED twinkle lights on 80 trees throughout the park.
The “Light Up the Season” ceremony marked the tenth anniversary of Christmas tree lighting in the park and the kick off to Detroit’s holiday season. The 60-foot Norway spruce sat atop the park’s beautiful fountain; live music and skating performances on the rink adjacent to the tree entertained the festive crowd. The Ikea D-Light! Presentation was a five-minute, show-stopping track of legendary Detroit artists performing classic holiday songs synchronized to the Christmas tree’s blinking, dancing and sparkling LEDs; it played at scheduled times throughout the holiday season.
Troy, Michigan-based Advanced Lighting & Sound performed the initial AV install in the park in 2005 and returned to upgrade the space last year as the park expanded into the adjacent Cadillac Square. “The original control system utilized Flash as the programming language and ran fine in a PC environment but didn’t play well with iOS devices,” explains Bob Sullivan at Advanced Lighting & Sound. “With the park expansion we needed to add more control functionality. Since we were going to completely reprogram the system we decided to find a controller that would play nice with all the devices and be easily updatable as things changed in the park.”
The client expected a seamless transition to the new control system, too, Sullivan notes. “They wanted to see basically the same control screens because all of the staff had become very familiar with it. They wanted to be able to use a variety of devices to control the system and have the flexibility to add control points as needed. So we installed a Raptor control processor along with a variety of Global Cache devices to interface with the other equipment in place.”
A Linux-embedded server that significantly lowers costs to users over full-blown Windows servers, High Resolution Systems’ popular Raptor comes with an Ethernet connection to the device network, has a built in web server and natively supports a wide variety of AV equipment and advanced control system functions. It occupies 1RU in height and one-half of a rack in width and ships with an optional rack shelf for space-saving rack mounting. Raptor supports the same user interface designs as UDC software: iPad touch control with the HRS Control Pro iOS app available in Apple’s App Store; the HRS Control Pro app for any Windows tablet; in-wall mount touchscreen and button solutions; Android tablets; and web servers. Any device with a browser can act as a controller.
“Raptor is the heart of the park,” Sullivan declares. “The folks from High Resolution Systems were able to add an Astronomical Clock function to their unit that automatically drives a variety of events in the park based around sunrise and sunset. Their ability to make these changes in the software in days instead of weeks or months made the change possible.”
Sullivan says he’s using an array of contact closures to control a Square D lighting panel controlling the park’s lights. “We also control a few cable boxes through IR, which allows for music playback and channel selection for a pair of flat-screen TVs in the restaurant window. All video control falls under a Kramer serial router.”
The main audio processing system, which was also upgraded, is managed by a Biamp AudiaFLEX system. “Raptor recalls presets and adjusts volumes for all the sources and speakers through serial control,” Sullivan explains. “Raptor serial control is also used for the lighting system controlled by Martin LightJockey software.”
He reports that Raptor meets all the current needs of the Campus Martius Park and allows easy growth and changes. “With the old system you had to be knowledgeable in Flash programming, and that’s not easy nor in wide demand today,” Sullivan notes. “We wanted to choose a new system with a simple user interface that allowed us to make changes if needed. After just 30 minutes on the software I was able to create new pages and functions, which is huge.”
The Raptor has been “working great” since its Christmas debut, and “the feedback from the operations staff and owner has been very positive,” says Sullivan. “Everything looks familiar to them and functions as they wanted.”
The Campus Martius Park installation is Advanced Lighting & Sound’s first project with High Resolution Systems. “It’s been nice working with another Michigan-based company – we’re located about 10 miles from each other,” Sullivan notes. “Their attention to even this small project was great, and we look forward to other applications for their products and services.”
About HRS Control
High Resolution Systems known as HRS Control is a company with a strong systems engineering and applications background. Its founders have decades of experience in the audio visual rental and staging industry, broadcast applications, A/V installations and system design. This combined experience allows them to provide the highest possible quality solutions to its customers in the most efficient manner. For more information, visit www.HRScontrol.com.