5 Star Cases has supplied XL Video UK with a specialist flight case for one of its Grass Valley Kayak HD mixer/switcher consoles, an integral element of its new HD PPU (portable production unit) systems.

The console case is based around 5 Star’s Heavy Industrial range of flight cases and is sloped and shaped to the Kayak, featuring all the usual recessed hardware and the XL Video logo and graphics cut into the wood.

It has spaces to accommodate all the necessary comms and power supplies, and can simply be positioned and plugged in when on site. The case’s modular design also allows for the Kayak to be removed and used in stand-alone mode if necessary—ideal for situations when space is tight.

The shallow base can be easily removed from the inner pod that houses the Kayak itself along with ancillary equipment including a 19” rack bay. The case is configured similar to a standard audio mixing console case layout with castors fitted to a removable lid.

The “pod” was designed by 5 Star using Solid Edge (SE) 3D modeling systems, of which they have three sets. From the initial 2D geometry of the equipment and an overall brief for the layout, the “pod” was modeled in realtime using SE, enabling the design team to produce rendered images to check that the equipment would fit, as well as checking its overall appearance.

SE also produces the geometry ready for sending to 5 Star’s two CNC machining centers. The “pod” is constructed from a combination of MDF and plywood, featuring a texture-sprayed two pack stain, with a black paint finish and XL Video branding.

It’s also slightly different from other desks in that there’s space for an assistant to sit and work alongside the vision mixer or director.

The overall dimensions are 1.8m wide by 600mm deep, complete with wrist resting pads along the front.

The console case was specified by XL Video’s Malcolm Whittall, who worked closely with 5 Star’s design team on its development. It is designed so the desk stays sitting inside the case once in position and set up.

5 Star has also made cases for other XL Video consoles in the past, and Whittall comments, “They have an excellent woodworking department, are really flexible and will make things on request—always a great advantage.”

Whittall says, “The service is excellent from 5 Star and they really listen to what we want. The 3D visualizations and drawings are very useful and flexible, allowing tweaks to be made throughout the process, and covering all aspects of the design and construction.

He adds that the turnaround time of less than 10 days from 5 Star receiving the order to delivering the case was also impressive.

XL put the new console and case straight out on Roger Waters, where it was used for HD recordings of his Manchester and Birmingham shows on the recent UK leg of his world tour.