It was all hands on deck at Ahoy Rotterdam recently when the arena was transformed into the biggest pub in the Netherlands filled with the best live bands and 15,000 excited fans. “De Vrienden van Amstel Live,” the 17th annual festival sponsored by Amstel Beer and produced by Tribe Company b.v., used d3 Technologies’ 4U v2.5 media servers to pre-program lighting and video and act as media servers during two weeks of sold-out shows.
Lighting and set designer Gert-Jan Schreuder of Look ’n Feel designed an in-the-round production for the arena supplemented by two stages at the front and the back of the venue. Tenfeet, a long-time supplier to Schreuder and production manager Herman Braakman, provided a lighting director, screen content director and video engineer for the event.
“I’ve been working with d3 systems since 2008,” says Rik Schoutsen, one of the founders of Tenfeet and a creative consultant for lighting, design and video. “After a couple of stadium-sized shows, I fell in love with the timeline feature. You could just take the audio from rehearsals, quantize that and, when the content was rendered, just put in your video layers. That routine hasn’t changed much – it’s just that easy.”
According to Schoutsen, who acted as d3 engineer on the project, “We facilitated the previs in our premises in Utrecht where we spent one-and-a-half weeks using CAST Software’s Wysiwyg and d3 to visualize and pre-program the lighting and video. Then we moved to Ahoy Rotterdam to set up, adjust and rehearse.”
d3 was chosen for “De Vrienden van Amstel Live” because of its many attributes, including “stability, ease of use, timeline programming, video content authoring, previs capabilities and scaling over multiple machines,” says Schoutsen. “In the technical production meeting we could discuss with our client the movement of the video screens, then previs content and send exact pixel maps to both content creators and video suppliers.”
Tenfeet supplied the d3 media servers onsite and collaborated with Look ’n Feel to provide a 16-channel personal in-ear monitoring system for the lighting and video operators so they could hear d3’s timeline, audio from the PA system, and the intercom system. “They could even plug in their own laptops and play back audio over that system,” says Schoutsen. “This was a valuable tool in pre-programming in the studio and onsite.”
At Ahoy Amsterdam screens on the round stage traveled over horizontal trolleys, moved up and down, and rotated 90º forward and backward; the rotating round stage floor was also comprised of an LED video screen.
Screens on the conventional A Stage were manually flipped up to create a 36-piece video ceiling for the orchestra. In between the 36 video panels were four rows of horizonally-hung Robe CycFX 8 LED fixtures pixel mapped to Art-Net so a complete feed could be sent to the stage. d3 sent Art-Net to a grandMA2 console to merge into the lighting system.
Alongside the A stage were two pixel arrays consisting of vertical Art-Net pixel strings. They were hung in a 20×5 configuration to create a 3D video cube for volumetric video imagery. Vision Impossible generated all the custom content for the screens using the high-quality HAP codec.
A number of d3 functions came into play for the event. “d3 fed mapping to the video and Art-Net devices,” Schoutsen says. “Parallel mapping was used to create the volumetric video array images. While the boys were still programming in the studio, I could already go onsite with the slave machines and test video feeds to CT Technologies Holland, the video supplier, and Art-Net.”
Schoutsen reports that d3 performed “without a glitch” during the shows. “We were watching the frame counter in the lower right corner and it never dropped below 45 fps – even with loads of Art-Net processing going on.”
He also gives kudos to d3 for its support of the event. “The company is really responsive, and the level of support goes from beginner to almost software developer level. We could easily fix tricky stuff within minutes after calling d3 support.”
Leon Driessen was the lighting director for De Vrienden van Amstel Live 2015 and Tom van Rijsewijk the screens content director.
d3 is the world’s first fully integrated visual production system for video professionals, combining a real-time 3D stage visualizer, timeline, video playback engine and projection mapping tools into one product. d3’s unique integrated workflow assists the designer at all stages of the project, from pitch through development to final delivery.
For more information, visit @d3technologies.com
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