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Adobe and Worldstage Staging Milestones in Las Vegas

Projection Mapping and Other Industrial Magic at the Adobe Summit 2016 12/04/2016 3:37 PM Eastern Last updated at 7/05/2017 11:29 AM

Adobe upped the visual ante once again for thousands attending its annual Adobe Summit, The Digital Marketing Conference (formerly Adobe DMS), for the first time this year at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas. WorldStage marked its fourth consecutive year providing AV support for the summit’s giant panoramic canvas, which dominated keynotes (14 keynotes) and general sessions.

The Summit presented thousands of attendees with the latest strategies and information designed to increase their knowledge and grow their businesses through digital marketing– to help them gain deep insights into their customers, build personalized campaigns and better manage their content and assets. Adobe executives discussed the “experience business” wave, enhancements to Adobe Marketing Cloud and the new Adobe Marketing Cloud Device Co-op. Keynote speakers included actor and philanthropist George Clooney, Comedy Central CMO Walter Levitt and world cup champion soccer player Abby Wambach.

Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen and GM and EVP Brad Rencher kicked the conference into high gear with a keynote exploring how brands can deliver powerful experiences to consumers. Walter Levitt, CMO of Comedy Central, Giles Richardson, head of digital analytics at the Royal Bank of Scotland and McDonald’s CMO Deborah Wahl, joined the two Adobe executives for the discussion.

“Every year, Summit is another major milestone for us in terms of the momentum that we’re seeing and achieving with regard customer adoption and maturity with regard to digital,” Kevin Lindsay, director of product marketing of Adobe Target, said of Adobe Marketing Cloud’s growth. In fiscal year 2015, Marketing Cloud reached a record $1.36 billion in revenue and totaled 41 trillion transactions per year — and 41 percent of analytics transactions came from mobile.

Under the direction of Nicole Williams and Joe Buchwald with the Adobe Events team, PIX PRODUCTIONS, with scenic designer Peter Crawford, once again delivered the visual impact that Adobe Summit attendees have come to expect. This year the backdrop was a convexshaped, 30,000-plus pixel display utilizing a pair of 104-foot screens flanking a 253-foot center screen. This huge landscape canvas supported guest speakers, Adobe execs, and software and tech demos on stage.

“The convex, overlapping screens provided enough image real estate to provide every seat with a great view of the proceedings. In addition, they provided natural portals for stage egress,” noted WorldStage project manager Jack Dussault. “The unique and successful design, which required projection on screen areas blocked by other screens, required some head scratching but the bright minds from WorldStage, including our President, Josh Weisberg, went to work to determine how best to achieve great visuals on these super-wide overlapping screens. ”

WorldStage deployed d3 4x4pro media servers with VFC cards, each with 16 HD outputs, to accomplish the complex projection mapping. “Having more outputs from fewer machines was definitely helpful for a show with screens the scale of this year’s Adobe DMS,” says project manager Randy Briggs.

Dussault agrees. “We had 40 channels of d3 playback. To do 40 channels last year required a 12-foot wall of servers. With d3’s density of outputs per box, our footprint was much more manageable for this event.”

The d3 systems also utilized a 10Gb Ethernet connection for media transfer, which was “extremely helpful speed-wise when dealing with the large file sizes dictated by such a large canvas,” adds Briggs. d3’s previs features came in handy for showing clients actual content on the set rendered in 3D during prepro.

WorldStage also engineered an interface between d3 and a lightbox comprised of intelligent lighting instruments located on the upstage side of the large 3D Adobe center logo.

“In d3 there were 160 pixel mapped sampling points to extract color values from the running video. d3 directly output some of these sampling points as rgb color values and our d3 programmer Florian Mosleh wrote a program using TouchDesigner to convert some of the sample points to cmyk color values, which is what was required by some of the moving light fixtures,” Briggs explains.

“The video content drove the lighting,” said Dussault. “It saved the lighting technicians countless hours of coming up with the corresponding color for the stage lighting to complement every video.”

WorldStage provided many other key pieces of equipment for Adobe Summit, including five Spyder X20 frames, 36 Christie HD20K projectors for the wide screens and four Christie Boxer 4K projectors for the delay screens located on the sides of the room mid-house. Audio gear included over 200 JBL and Meyer speakers, a Yamaha CL5 mixing console and 20 channels of wireless mics.

At PIX PRODUCTIONS Jeremy Nichols was the executive producer, Shaun Boyle technical producer, Gemedy Campos associate producer and James Kern creative director.

At WorldStage Richard Bevan was the account executive; Neal Gass, video EIC; Paul D’Amour, camera switching; Mike Liti, engineering assist; Jason Spencer and Jon Tanner, Spyder screen switching; Greg Jensen, audio systems engineer; Terry Nakamura, Charlotte Ibarra, Luke Frey and Andrew Taylor, projectionists; Patrick De La Cruz and Joel Bucholtz, demo engineers; and Florian Mosleh and Michael Kohler, d3 programmers.

Stage lighting company, Christie Lites, hired DWP Live to provide BlackTrax technology for the 2016 Adobe Summit. BlackTrax, a real-time motion tracking solution from CAST, is a complete solution for tracking and automation. Its intelligent tracking can track people or moving objects and send their positional data to media servers, automated lights and robotic cameras. DWP Live used the technology to track lighting at the Adobe event.

“The video screen upstage extended the full height of the event space, so there wasn’t room to have back spotlights for event presenters, so we used six MAC Viper fixtures controlled by BlackTrax as backlights instead,” DWP Live Founder and President Danny Whetstone explained.

For many years the event production industry has been trying to track individuals on stage in real time. “With BlackTrax technology, event designers won’t miss a cue anymore, lighting and projections will intelligently track performers,” said Gil Densham, president of CAST. “This is a great advancement for those organizing a show, and for those on stage who can now move about more spontaneously without risk.”

“We definitely need to thank Christie Lites for bringing us into this project and letting us highlight some of what BlackTrax can do,” said Greg Foster, DWP Live general manager and project manager for the event.

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