When a leading beverage manufacturer decided to stage its annual corporate shareholder meeting at Madison Square Garden for an audience of 3,000 in April, it asked production company Imagination London to organize an innovative stage and LED presentation far exceeding “typical” corporate shows. Imagination London designer Chris Slingsby drew up plans for a custom-built stage and then asked Creative Technology (Los Angeles and London) to provide a sophisticated A/V infrastructure to bring Slingsby's design to life.

During the show, various celebrity presenters appeared in front of an immense visual backdrop consisting of an extraordinary 870 LED panels — 552 Barco iLite 6mm panels and another 318 Barco iLite 10 panels. Herb Brandt, CT's account manager on the job, insists that the size and scope of these LED walls resulted in what was “to my knowledge, the largest number of Barco panels ever used on a single set.”

The LED displays were filled with various stings, graphics, library footage, and live camera work, with the walls being layered to give the impression of a three-dimensional set, giving different audience members different perspectives on the proceedings.

The iLite 10 units were built in two walls — one in a landscape configuration (12' high by 21' wide) and the other in a portrait configuration (11'×6'). Chain motors were used to hang both walls. Meanwhile, the iLite 6s were composed into one vast 12'×16' flown wall and four vertical 5'×18' strips. The A/V team flew the top 15 of those strips and carefully tied them to the bottom three rows, which were ground-supported.

“The reason we did it this way,” explains Brandt, “was because the Barco walls can only extend 15 modules high, if flown, and 12 high, if ground-supported. We needed them to be 18 modules high, so we took this approach.”

To control the setup, CT used a 3216 Vista Folsom system configured as a three-screen output device. In addition, the media was created in such a way that the two large walls (landscape and portrait) were assigned dedicated Folsom 2200s. The four 5'×18' strips and the 6'×11' portrait display, meanwhile, shared a single output source, displaying source material previously designed to combine five individual strips into a single picture. Each Barco panel therefore served as a particular piece of the final image.

For the live video, CT fielded a digital camera flypack, containing a Grass Valley 2200 digital switcher and five Ikegami HL45 cameras. For show control, they used Fresco show-control software, which managed all playback decks and implemented the switching for the Vista Folsom system. All playback came from six Fast Forward Omega dual channel hard drive recorders — 12 channels, of which six were primary and six were back-up, all running in synch and controlled by the Fresco system.

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