Dodd Technologies, Inc. of Pendleton, Indiana provided a pair of grandMA2 consoles with VPU plus for video control on the main stage of the Electric Forest Festival, a four-day, multi-genre event featuring electric music and jam bands held on the Double JJ Ranch in Rothbury, Michigan. grandMA2s were everywhere at Electric Forest: A total of five (four full-size grandMA2s and one grandMA2 light) were on hand during the show. A.C.T Lighting, Inc. is the exclusive distributor of MA products in North America.
Brought on board by Lambda Productions, Dodd Technologies was tasked with managing the content for two 8-meter screens configured upstage in a diamond-shape panel. The company created content for bands that didn’t already have big-screen imagery and routed some media to the screens for the DJs.
Dodd operated two powerful VPU plus video processing units with SDI inputs, which were connected to the grandMA2 consoles for state-of-the-art video control that was highly intuitive, familiar and easy to use. “We’ve used the VPU plus before and like them because, operationally, they’re very simple to connect to the console and don’t rob the consoles’ parameters,” says Andy Meggenhofen, lighting and production designer with Dodd Technologies. “They don’t eat brainpower on the consoles, and that’s not true of all systems. We can put the servers anywhere but still manage content. We can ingest media on the spot and distribute it through the network while we’re doing another show or programming – without being disrupted.”
Meggenhofen praises the SDI inputs. “The processing is so quick – latency is just a frame or two. We have a couple of POV cameras on stage and can work with them in realtime. The VPUs provide a lot of versatility and functionality that we didn’t have before. They’re a really viable solution for us.”
The equipment was particularly adaptable to the needs of the Electric Forest festival, he notes. “We didn’t know what a lot of the acts were going to be. We had a lot of media at our disposal and the ability to fade between clips on the same layer – all done on the fly as we went along with the band for the ride! To be able to respond like that with video was huge. We could make things interesting and unique.”
Meggenhofen says the grandMA2s and VPU plus performed “great” during the show. “We had a lot of power at our fingertips to pull from,” he reports. “And the systems’ roadworthiness was amazing. We have constant issues with other media servers but not with the VPUs. We’re really happy with their robust construction, layout, features and support. And there’s always someone there to help us if we need it.”
The extraordinary capability of the equipment was even noticed by the talent. “Andy Cass with String Cheese Incident fell in love with the VPU during the festival,” says Meggenhofen. “He was very impressed. He had used another system but prefers this one now and is specifying it for the band’s fall tour. Everyone who uses grandMA2 and the VPU loves it!”
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