Cisco Event Brings Widescreen Perspective to Constrained Space.

A constricted space at a hotel ballroom was configured for a wide-stage, theatrical feel during Cisco Systems’ conference.

Cisco Systems'Connections 2002 conference, which brought together Cisco dealers from around the country, was held this past spring at the La Quinta Resort and Club in Palm Springs, Calif. The resort's ballroom posed a challenge because it was built for standard business meetings, and the production company, Brainstorm Creative (Santa Barbara, Calif.), wanted to provide Cisco with a more dramatic, theatrical presentation, utilizing the latest widescreen technology.

To accomplish this, Brainstorm enlisted the design and production assistance of technical producer Dave Taylor, a veteran of several Academy Awards shows, including his work this year as projection supervisor for the Oscars. (See the June/July issue of SRO.) Taylor assisted with the technical design of the widescreen multiple image display used for this year's Oscar telecast, and he created a similar “ultra-widescreen” look for the Cisco meeting using Vista Control Systems' CanvasMaster signal-processing package.

Our company, AV Concepts, worked with Brainstorm Creative to implement the system and to overcome challenges created by the physical constraints of the meeting space. AV Concepts has been actively involved with Vista Control Systems in developing and beta-testing CanvasMaster widescreen technology in the last two years, and it has provided technical support for dozens of successful shows since the technology was released.

Jefferson Elliot, production designer, worked closely with Taylor to design a customized, modular, scenic treatment to finish out the stage and dress the screen and backdrop. The physical constraints of the meeting space were carefully considered when configuring all aspects of the video presentation. We therefore purchased a Stewart Aeroview 100 screen for the show. The screen was designed to fit nicely inside the ballroom while still meeting our aesthetic requirements.

At the conference, we used the CanvasMaster system to create 12'×45' PowerPoint graphics, with some picture-in-picture video inserts, for speaker support. The opening creative modules featured full-motion video in both the 4×3 and widescreen aspect ratios, including comments from former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, via a pre-recorded video interview.

The widescreen format offered attendees a dramatic depiction of the New York City skyline prior to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The creative elements added a new, multi-screen video “point of view” of the attack from a neighboring office building, and other widescreen footage was shown of the ensuing emergency response.

Brainstorm Creative produced these widescreen video elements, with input from the AV Concepts team. The screen displayed a seamless image across the entire surface, projected by six Christie Digital System 8k DLP projectors. The CanvasMaster system relied on Folsom Research's upgraded VFC-2200DE scalers to accomplish seamless edge-blending during the presentation, and a Dataton control package was used for video playback source synchronization of fast-forward component video hard drives. Speaker support images were projected digitally using Christie 12k DLP units.

ELS, North Hollywood, handled the lighting, working with a design created by Robin Gray. Managing the audio was 140db, El Segundo, Calif., and Concept Design Productions, Monrovia, Calif., provided scenic fabrication services.

Warren Tash, the lead account executive for AV Concepts' Los Angeles office, worked on the Cisco project. Tash is an A/V industry veteran with more than 20 years experience.