The High End Systems Catalyst V4 digital media server has enjoyed a busy year in 2007, and Projected Digital Image is happy to be a part of the bustle.
UK rental company Lite Alternative invested in three Catalyst v 4 systems (run on Mac Pro G5 machines). Lite Alternative’s Catalyst systems have been on many live shows and concert tours throughout the year, from Radio One’s Big Weekend to Arcade Fire’s Neon Bible world tour, featuring lighting and set design by Paul Normandale with visual design and video direction by Richard Stembridge.
Others include Maximo Park (LD Stevie Marr), Interpol (LD Lucas Cotterham), and Paul McCartney and Kings of Leon (LD for both: Paul Normandale). Normandale also used PixelMAD on recent James Blunt and Mark Ronson tours, and a Catalyst system will be utilized on James Blunt’s 2008 world tour.
Normandale realizes it is now essential to have the creative opportunities of integrated video within a lighting design, rather than as an added extra. Catalyst gives him these creative options. “The beauty of Catalyst is its ability to modify—in all ways—the content on site, as opposed to needing expensive editing post and pre-production facilities,” says Normandale. He particularly likes the image framing and the easy size image scaling facilities, and being able to customize software for specific projects. As a designer, “The advent of Catalyst has raised the visual potential to encompass video in a realistic manner,” concludes Normandale.
Fons Hogenes, from Dutch company Improve, believes that having 4 Catalyst V4 PRO servers has placed them firmly on the map. Recently the company staged seminars at Delft Digital Lighting University where they received positive feedback from all participants, particularly on the Catalyst system.
They use Catalyst on a wide variety of the shows, which they design and operate themselves. The majority of Improve’s work is in the corporate world and it includes numerous presentation dinners. In these situations it is extremely useful to be able to play movies with sound and link movies to external timecode. Catalyst’s ability to use several layers on top of each other and the facility to create wide screen applications with multiple servers is a powerful tool and something Hogenes particularly likes.
Manchester-based production services company Basic Monkey invested in Catalyst equipment after Basic Monkey’s director James Cooksey was impressed by the sales information he received from PID and on the Internet. As a result, he purchased a Catalyst Express from PID, which he’s used for a number of private parties—all designed and operated by himself. He is looking forward to new content packages which will assist him in moving onto awards show applications, replacing dull PowerPoint award stings.
Cooksey likes the fact that the system has almost universal media acceptance and will accept almost anything in whatever formats. And as a lighting designer it has enabled him to offer his clients more innovative and creative uses of LED and AV equipment.