When Mercedes-Benz took the stage for its press event at the 2014 North American International Auto Show at Detroit's COBO Center, it deployed what is believed to be the country's first 3G HD-SDI fly pack, now available from WorldStage. The auto show marked the tenth anniversary of WorldStage's partnership with the brand and client Fischer Appelt, and it was the first entirely 3G event for WorldStage.
"Mercedes and its German engineering team always push the envelope, and they encourage their vendors to do the same," says WorldStage senior account executive Michael May. "They have always been on the leading edge of new AV technologies. Years ago, they were the first to use our HD fly pack and now are the first to take advantage of our 3G fly pack."
3G technology for rental and staging breaks out of the limitations of 1080i displays to allow 1080p displays at 60 fps for smoother motion with fewer artifacts. The impact of much higher bandwidth and progressive video is immediately apparent on videowalls, LED walls and big-screen displays.
The Mercedes press event at the auto show is always high profile. This year Destiny's Child Kelly Rowland performed and webcast feeds took the show around the world.
Mercedes showcased an extra large LED wall, supplied by XL Video in Europe, which spanned the entire back wall of its booth and was one of the larger displays on the auto show floor. The WorldStage 3G facilities package supplied cameras, playback, switching and servers to drive content to the wall.
"We did a lot of prep work in our shop in Tustin, California prior to the show," says May, "performing software upgrades and integrating new and older equipment so everything was 3G-ready. When we arrived at the auto show it was well below zero outside and the truck was delayed 24 hours by storms. That cut our install time, but thanks to the extensive pre-production effort, everything went off perfectly."
WorldStage provided four Sony 2500 3G cameras for live image feeds and IMAG; two were mounted on pedestals, one on a Steadicam and one on a jib. A Sony MVS-7000 3G switcher took all of the camera feeds to the LED wall and other displays. Two EVS LSM-XT3 3G servers played back the prerecorded content.
WorldStage also furnished a Yamaha LS9 digital audio console and Riedel digital intercom system.
"Mercedes prefers to run the show like a TV studio," says May. "The challenge is to create that type of environment in the tight confines of a trade show floor were every inch of floor space is critical. It requires a lot of planning and coordination but as this team has worked together for so long, it's almost second nature.
3G video technology is just beginning to make inroads in the media and entertainment world. Motion pictures and video gaming are expected to be early adopters for enhanced digital cinema and game playback, but May thinks rental and staging won't be far behind. "Once the corporate world sees 3G in person we expect to get a lot of inquiries about our 3G system."
At WorldStage Geof Gibson was the project manager and Riedel intercom technician, Shane Zinke was video engineer, Shawn Hutchinson video technical director and Michael Kacunel audio mixdown engineer.
WorldStage Inc., the company created by the merger of Scharff Weisberg Inc and Video Applications Inc, continues a thirty-year legacy of providing clients the widest variety of entertainment technology coupled with conscientious and imaginative engineering services. WorldStage provides audio, video and lighting equipment and services to the event, theatrical, broadcast and brand experience markets nationally and internationally.