Of all the hundreds of large conferences, meetings, seminars and sales meetings that take place throughout the year, there is one that places the impact of the visual presentation on an exceptionally high pedestal. And, each year it is up to a team made up of some of the most accomplished professionals in the presentation and event business to figure out how to top the prior year. This entry is dedicated to that great team.
Year after year, the attendees of Adobe MAX - The Creativity Conference, travel to San Francisco to be wowed by the power of Adobe’s suite of creativity applications, which include Photoshop, After Effects and other important tools of the trade. Sitting amongst 5,000 of your fellow web designers, video editors, photo editors and visual effects wizards and waiting for the keynote session with it’s trademark spectacular opening module is one of the more suspenseful moments of the week.
For the 2013 version of the conference, the design and execution team, led by Jeremy Nichols of Pix Productions, looked to create a stage setting that would build on previous designs but take them to a more sophisticated level using organic shapes for image surfaces rather than standard flat scenic elements. As in the prior year, this setting would expand beyond the boundaries of the stage area within the Nokia Theater LA and include large portions of the theater itself. In all, the aggregate screen surface exceeded 18,000 square feet of image space.
The resulting design revealed seven separate screen areas arcing out from center stage along the sides of the theater as well as above the stage and audience area in a very dramatic fashion. All of the screens would be used for image projection and would be the basis of the program composed for the opening module. Now the task was to figure out how the design could be executed with failsafe reliability as well as visual panache.
Richard Bevan and his team at WorldStage were responsible for the extensive projection system and they carefully mapped out the type and placement of the many projectors that would be utilized. In order to cover all the curving shapes, Bevan employed the full gamut of available technologies including 1080, 1200x1920 & 1050 x 1400 resolutions in various combinations, resulting in a 40-projector system. Feeding these projectors, a bank of Coolux Pandora’s Box servers provided content playback as well as image warping and blending. Throughout the week an astounding five terabytes of content was displayed.
The other key ingredient in this recipe was the extensive and effective lighting design built to highlight the performance on stage as well as work hand in glove with the visual presentation. The project lighting designer, Fabian Yeager, arrayed an extensive rig of spot fixtures that generated moving beam patterns in perfect sync with the visuals.
At the conclusion of the opening module, amongst the loud applause, the team was gratified to note that the entire audience of 5,000 Adobe loyalists appeared to have, for once, put aside their smartphones and focused their attention entirely on the presentation. In 2013, perhaps that’s the ultimate compliment.
Producer: Jamie Cherry
Creative Director: James Kern
Content Studio: Core Studios
Video Direction: Mark Jepsen
Sound Designer: Stan Dickerson
Scenic Designer: Peter Crawford
Scenic Fabricator: Mystic Scenic
Lead Projectionist: Terry Nakamura
Pandora Programmer: Florian Mosleh
Partial Equipment List:
Christie Digital Roadster HD20, S+20k, W20k Projectors
Vista Systems Spyder X-20 Video Processors
Ross Vision 3.5ME Video Switcher
Hitachi HD Cameras
Coolux Pandora’s Box Media Servers
JBL Vertec Speaker Systems
Riedel Digital Intercom System
WorldStage Inc., the company created by the merger of Scharff Weisberg Inc and Video Applications Inc, continues a thirty-five 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.