Oracle Open World ’04 just wrapped in San Francisco and this year, Oracle’s main challenge was to combine two formerly separate user groups, Oracle Open World and Oracle Apps, into one for the general session. With a much larger audience than previous years – but the same budget – Oracle Creative Director Paul Salinger and Creative Producer Don Richards brought in executive producers Kerry Williams and Cory Burton from Invision Communications. They in turn enlisted Obsurca Digital of San Francisco, Radium and Lightswitch. Together, they conceived the idea of developing a set composed entirely of video.

Rather than using a more tradition set, the environment was created by a total continuous display area that was 400’ in length and 18’ high. Two center video screens formed the anchor, with four additional screens off to each side. The spaces between were filled with Main Light Soft LED curtains with fiber optics. With a total of 18 individual video feeds to coordinate, not only with each other, but with the lighting design – and only one day to load in – Lightswitch’s Norm Schwab and the rest of the design team quickly realized that all of the design work would need to happen in advance. So they turned to Tom Thompson and his team at Prelite San Francisco.

Obscura Digital developed the content, with Radium producing some of the video used, all of which was deployed on Obscura’s proprietary media servers. The design concept used the 18 video feeds discretely, sometimes with different images, sometimes with the images handed off from one feed to the next – for example, a train moving quickly through all 18 projectors, from one side of the stage to the next – with tightly integrated lighting to reinforce the image produced.

To facilitate the intricacies of the programming, Prelite deployed ESP Vision software, which allowed the video imagery to run native on the visualization software. With Norm Schwab and Paul Efron acting as lighting designers, Phil Shearer as automated and media programmer and Eric Fedler as conventional programmer, the system was set up to run all of the automated lighting and media from one Whole Hog 2 with the conventional lighting run from a second Whole Hog 2. MIDI from one Hog was used to issue serial commands to the media servers. Steve Swanson acted as production manager.

Schwab comments “This was an interesting challenge. We had to deal with the differences in resolution between the projectors and the LED curtains, and use the lighting to reinforce the imagery produced. With only one day on site, we had three days in the Prelite studio, with the first two days devoted to lighting and the third to integrating the video. This type of project is perfect for Prelite.”

Prelite’s Thompson adds, “It was interesting to see a different approach to controlling media with a lighting console. We mostly see designers using DMX controlled media servers such as NEV, MBox and Catalyst, so we were excited to see the Obscura system. While it is quite different than the others, it was an impressive sight to see 18 monitors in the front of the room displaying 18 feeds of video. Although it can currently only show one video source, it was great to see the video displayed with the lighting in ESP’s Vision software.”