CAST Brings Its Crowd-Stopping BLACKTRAX Demo to NAB

cars.pngCAST Group of Toronto, Canada is bringing some racing excitement to the show floor at NAB 2012, which can be seen 16-19 April 2012 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Booth #C9808.

CAST is exhibiting for the first time at NAB 2012 and will be demonstrating the cutting-edge technology of BlackTrax in one of the most creative demonstration formats ever done. Visitors to NAB will push to the competitive edge! CAST's unique stand design features a slot-car racetrack that pits competitors against each other in a head-to-head race: both racers will try to beat the realtime speed of BlackTrax. The racetrack itself is projected via Coolux from above and the entire stand will be bursting with 3D audio delivered by SonicEmotions along with Sharpy moving lights – all receiving live, realtime dynamic positioning about each car from BlackTrax.

The point of this high-energy, hyperactivity on the CAST Stand is to let anyone at NAB prove for themselves how BlackTrax-filled interactivity, involving moving lights, spatial audio, projection, automated scenery, delivers the holy grail for producers and designers – WOW and a fully immersive entertainment experience for audiences.

Production executives ask: is it expensive? No – in fact, it pays for itself. BlackTrax is designed to reduce rehearsal time, seriously cut the time it takes to calibrate moving lights and enable the use of moving lights instead of followspots, for example. Is using BlackTrax risky? No, because BlackTrax is performance enhancing – it doesn't turn anything on or off.

So, what is the BlackTrax Solution?

btsystem-ver-3-2.jpgBlackTrax (patent protected) is a live solution that uses an IR LED beacon to track objects or people in a defined 3D Space and delivers the dynamic positional data in realtime in up to 6 Degrees of Freedom – the usual x, y, z, plus roll, pitch & yaw – to audio (including true 3D audio output), lighting and media technologies, as well as CAST's new BlackBox. BlackTrax is a first and it promises to revolutionize the production industry.

Using leading-edge proprietary IR, BlackTrax 3D can track all the parameters of each uniquely tagged object in the defined 3D Space (the normal installation easily handles up to 130ft cubed) using a beacon (similar to a Lavalier). BlackTrax is fully scalable and can also handle extended for even larger Spaces. Should the IR line of sight be obstructed, the Beacon's onboard accelerometer delivers redundant tracking data. The onboard gyroscope communicates the orientation of a moving piece or performer at over 150 frames per second. BlackTrax can deliver the precise 6D positioning data about people or objects, moving in the Space, to lighting, spatial audio, and media servers directly, or through BlackBox which uses realtime bidirectional communication to a broader spectrum of production technologies so they can interact with one another. Whether for one-offs or repeat performances, these technologies will change the way production professionals work in live broadcast, film studios, road shows, not to mention churches, stages, and large venues. Whether a fixed or rental/travelling installation, BlackTrax delivers practical, economic production control and enhancement for myriad applications, allowing an entirely new degree of creative freedom, safety and control.

More about the interactive display

To prove the point, the CAST racetrack display demonstrates the speed and accuracy of BlackTrax while providing a fun interactive activity for visitors. The racetrack is controlled by a 22” touchscreen mounted on a podium. As each competitor drives his or her car (at their speed – which can be faster than an ice skater or trapeze artist -- and control) – BlackTrax will track the race time of each car in realtime. Each race winner will be entered into a raffle for prizes, and the fastest racer each day wins a daily grand prize.

The CAST Stand has absolutely no live programming. Based on exactly what each racer does, BlackTrax will coordinate pre-created lighting effects, spatial audio, live video streaming, media server projection, and camera tracking by streaming precise positional data in realtime. The result is a totally hot immersive entertainment experience for the racers and onlookers alike.

The BlackTrax racetrack and podium are completely projected. To increase WOW, video will be projected onto the cars and surrounding track; for example, there can be leaves on the track and as the cars drive over the leaves, these get blown away, or a portion of the track can be simulated to be glass and break as the cars move over the track. Visitors can also manipulate the track through the podium touchscreen, showing a bird's eye view of the racetrack. Someone may strategically place a stick of dynamite on the track, through the touchscreen, which will trigger a projected explosion if hit by a car.

Using the BlackTrax positional data, the system will automatically counts the number of laps driven, calculates the duration per lap and will show the maximum speed of the cars. Races will be projected onto the rear wall of the stand for better viewing by passers-by.

Several products and technologies will be used for the demonstration. Each racecar will be tracked around the track with a Clay Paky Sharpy moving head lighting fixture; all spatial positioning data is provided by BlackTrax. As the cars race along the track, spatial audio follows in realtime. When the cars reach the final lap, the Sharpys will strobe the winning car. As the cars race, BlackTrax delivers the positioning data for the 3rd party spatial audio, lighting, and projected media -- where it needs to be -- without distracting the rest of the stand.

BlackTrax will also demonstrate its ability to feed realtime positional data to CAST's BlackBox, in turn driving automated cameras. Mounted above the control podium will be a dome camera. The dome camera will be able to integrate aerial shots of the cars; think of it as a helicopter flying over the track. Each race will be recorded and posted to the CAST channel on YouTube, which will be provided to each racer. Take a look at the action from the show floor at Prolight + Sound in Frankfurt, Germany: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjIEWHlm9i0&feature=youtu.be.

So, what does this prove?

It's simple. Given that each racer “drives” at different speeds and the 3D audio, moving lights and media tracks and interacts with each car as it is driven, then you will witness the first-ever realtime 3D tracking available in the industry. The superlatives from the audience at Prolight+Sound2012 were consistently complimentary.

CAST is always available to answer your questions and receive your input and ideas, and will have a team of industry experts on hand to talk about all of their products including wysiwyg lighting previsualization software, Vivien -- Virtual Event Designer, and to discuss the uses and applications for the BlackTrax technology.

For those who have heard of some of these new technologies from CAST and want to experience it first hand and talk to the pros, NAB is the perfect opportunity to see, hear and feel what it's like to have total control.

About CAST

Since 1994, CAST develops and delivers software solutions to the entertainment production industry by automating the planning, design and productions of film, TV, stage, theme parks, road shows and large special events. CAST's Emmy and Gemini award winning wysiwyg design suite, with its proprietary library of >23K intelligent, automated, robotic and conventional lights, hardware and equipment, and textures, provides the single point of design and pre-visualization for motion, lighting and media controllers. Today it has more than 14,000 registered End Users worldwide and wysiwyg is indubitably the industry standard!

Just a few samples of wysiwyg's portfolio of significant projects include: The Queen's Jubilee at Buckingham Palace, numerous Olympics ceremonies (including 2012), Cirque du Soleil shows, Disney shows, concert productions (including recent Eurovision, U2 and Elton John shows) and gala events like the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremonies. wysiwyg is used by many large theatrical venues like the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, the new Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto, and Sydney Opera House. As well, wysiwyg is used extensively by major film productions such as the Harry Potter series, Spiderman, X-Men, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Alexander the Great.

To learn more about CAST products, visit www.cast-soft.com. For NAB show hours and directions, visit www.nabshow.com/2012/.

CAST Software Ltd., 35 Ripley Avenue, Suite 1, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M6S 3P2. Tel: +1 416 597 2278. Fax: +1 416 597 9594. Email: info@cast-soft.com.

Photos: Copyright CAST Group, used by permission.

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