The January inauguration ceremony for Texas Governor Rick Perry was held at the foot of the steps of the Texas Capitol building in Austin — a nice place, but not necessarily the ideal venue and circumstances to provide a clear line of sight for an audience of more than 2,000.

The event featured the inauguration ceremony and a live concert afterward. To permit attendees to see the oath of office and, later, entertainers on the stage, producer Tom Phillips asked Austin's GoVision to provide its custom-built, self-powered, Go Big 1 mobile truck.

The truck features a 16:9 outdoor LED display consisting of 60 Barco Dlite-10 units combined and attached to a hydraulic mast capable of raising the screen up to 15 feet into the air, and turning it 360 degrees. This was important for inauguration day, because the event required GoVision to provide easy-to-see visuals for two separate portions of the event — the inauguration itself and the party that followed, with the audience for each located in different directions.

“The way things were set up, only about 1,000 people could see the swearing-in directly, so our first job was to show that event on the LED screen to the rest of the crowd,” says Mike Godwin, GoVision vice president. “As soon as that event was over, they had the entertainment on the Capitol building's south lawn, which meant the screen had to be turned a full 360 degrees. Security at the event precluded us from moving the truck once we got stationed, so a rotating LED screen was the only solution.”

For the inauguration itself, GoVision's job was made easier by virtue of being conveniently parked next to a television truck from CBS affiliate KTVT, which broadcast the event throughout Texas. GoVision arranged to run a cable from the KTVT truck, and thus received the KTVT feed, which it then broadcast on the LED screen.

The entertainment portion of the event, however, was a bit more complicated. GoVision had to tape that part of the show itself, using a JVC DV-500 camera, while broadcasting it IMAG-style on the LED screen for revelers to enjoy.

“Because we were not allowed to move the truck, we were about 800 feet away from the stage,” Godwin says. “Therefore, we had to set up an 800-foot cable run from the camera. To make that work smoothly, we set up a distribution amp-lifier system, which boosted the video and audio signals.”

Godwin says the truck's ability to run on its three-phase generator was crucial. Its position and event security precluded using shore power, so the system had to run on its own the entire day. “For an event like this, you have to be totally self-contained,” he says. “There was no way to get external power, so our generator ran all our systems — video, sound, external lighting, and so on. We're capable of running up to 90 hours without refueling.”

The other advantage was the relative ease of load-in.

“We loaded the night before the event, but it only took about 45 minutes to get into place and test everything, because, other than the big cable run for the camera, everything else was already active and ready to go on the truck,” Godwin explains. “Without a truck, to try and connect everything, the setup for something like this would probably range from several hours to half a day.”


Send submissions for the Center Stage column to SRO Senior Editor Michael Goldman at mgoldman@primediabusiness.com