Silverpoint is joining SenovvA Inc.

June 22, 2018

Markham’s own Silverpoint Media Inc. has joined LA-based SenovvA Inc., a leading global media technology solutions company – curious, creative and motivated to be anything other than ordinary and driven by a desire to push the limits of what’s possible. This merger will allow SenovvA to expand its service offering to clients with custom content creation and technology solutions for the entertainment, special event, architectural & building, and media services industries. SenovvA will now have touch points across the globe as they continue to serve their growing roster of clients both locally and internationally.

“We’re excited to join the SenovvA family. Telling stories is what we do, it’s in our DNA. The merger with SenovvA expands our creative possibilities beyond the traditional screen experience and allows us to reach larger global audiences. It opens up a whole new realm for us.”

Keith Chang
Keith Chang CEO, Silverpoint Media silverpoint.ca

“The merger with Silverpoint, not only allows us to expand our offerings to our clients, but it also helps to integrate the idea of storytelling through both the content and the technology. The two companies together create the narrative from concept to execution.”

Dave Crainford
Dave Crainford CEO of SenovvA Canada

About Silverpoint Media

Silverpoint Media Inc. is a full-service content production studio specializing in video, animation, motion design, scripting and score composing. We work with clients at the earliest conceptual stages of a project, all the way to the final touches. From scripted projects to documentary-style content, we’re committed to crafting an authentic end film that ultimately connects with your audience. Our clients include CBC/Radio-Canada, Cadillac Fairview, Deloitte, Milacron, Metro Toronto Convention Centre, OMERS, Hudbay Minerals, Porsche, Up Cannabis, Nobis and Equitable Bank.

silverpoint.ca

About SenovvA

SenovvA hijacks technology to tell your story in innovative and electrifying ways to excite and engage audiences globally. Headquartered in Los Angeles, we are a growing team with offices in New York, San Francisco, Toronto, and Dublin. SenovvA is a group of collaborative individuals with expertise in high-end design, production, content, and management. Our work can be seen across the world through live productions, special events, and temporary and permanent installations. Our clients include the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Mercedes-Benz, Samsung, CBS, Viacom, Rockwell Group, Elton John AIDS Foundation, Nickelodeon and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum.

Recreating The Situation Room

BCS (before computer simulations) current events were considered about as popular as watching grass grow, aside from discussions and role playing in school. There was no active participation. Games were played mainly outside in a park, with the exception of board games or crossword puzzles inside the house.

Fast forwarding to the present, students are most fortunate to be actively immersed in a fictionalized AV simulation based on a real-life event: the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan. Thus was developed the Situation Room Experience (SRE) at the Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush Presidential Libraries that are located, respectively, in Simi Valley CA and at Southern Methodist University in Dallas TX.

SenovvA (Sensory Innovation) of Los Angeles did the design/build. Our integrator interviewees are Curtis Kelly, CTS-D, DMC-D, Executive Producer/Chief Designer, and Coty Shipe, Systems Engineer/Chief Engineer on the project. (Additional SenovvA credits include System Application Programmer Lauren Sheridan, Application Engineer Andy Kulhavy and System Integration Technician Wayne Martinez.) Mira Cohen, Director of Education with the Reagan Presidential Library (www.reaganlibrary.gov), offers the client perspective.

Full Article
Published: February 20, 2017

Vista Lounge | Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas

Las Vegas, NV – Caesar’s Palace recently upgraded several of its lounges and bars including what is now the new Vista Lounge, a unique immersion experience featuring the latest in video technology along with a sophisticated Martin Audio sound system.

SenovvA of Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Toronto, a design and management group specializing in the entertainment, special event, architectural-construction and media services industries, was tasked with the design and integration of this one of a kind multimedia project.

Bill Sage, SenovvA Account Executive for the project, explains, “We worked with the Rockwell Architectural Group in New York and Bergman Walls and Associates in Las Vegas. They came up with this immersion concept for the Vista Lounge that makes you feel like you’re at the top of a skyscraper looking out of the windows down at panoramic skylines of cities like Dubai, New York and Beijing through the use of 4K UHD videos in the windows and LED panels in the lounge’s ceiling.

“We had to come up with the video and audio elements to make their vision and intent work,” Sage adds. “We started with 32 NEC monitors projecting the programmed city views from a Watchout video media server that synchronizes and runs the video to all of the different displays with Crestron processing and control.

“The videos overlook various cities with real time effects like day to night, building office lights, airplanes, clouds and rain striking and running down the windows. The lounge can also load in content for branded environments and special events when a sponsor wants to buy out the bar. We also put 55 Oracle 8mm LED panels in the center of the lounge ceiling with special glass and effects that are synced to the window content to simulate a large skylight.”

Choosing a sound system to complement the video scheme was easy for Sage and Curtis Kelly, Lead for SenovvA’s Systems Design Group, given they share over 20 years of experience with Martin Audio in both the live sound and installation markets.

“Vista is supposed to be a relaxed, low-key alternative to some of the more over the top clubs at Caesar’s,” says Bill. “There’s a DJ who plays what I’d call chill-out music that doesn’t overwhelm the patrons with sound and reinforces the romantic mood. The client wanted an Ultra-Lounge system with high quality sound they could feel, which added up to Martin Audio for us because Curtis and I knew it would give them everything they wanted and more.

“We mounted five Martin Audio DD12s high up on the walls at angles facing the bar which provide real smooth coverage for the room because of the Differential Dispersion™ technology in the boxes. There are also two PSX compact powered subwoofers, one buried under the DJ booth and one on the other side of the room which worked out well because we didn’t have space for amps in the rack room and the built-in processing warms up the sound without overpowering the room. We also installed 8 Martin Audio C8.1T ceiling speakers for additional fill and to supplement the system when playing low-key background music. A BSS BLU-80 Audio DSP system provides additional processing.”

In addition to Sage and Kelly, crew for the installation included Project Manager Coty Shipe, Video Server Programmer Andy Kulhavy and Crestron Programmer Micheal Block.
Asked about the client’s response to the installation, Bill confirms, “They really love the Martin Audio system. Vista Lounge is a nice counterpoint to some of the other clubs at Caesar’s because the videos really take you to other places and the sound is subtle but fantastic.”

Published: August 14, 2015

For more about Martin Audio, please visit www.martin-audio.com

SenovvA’s 10th Anniversary

SenovvA staff from all over North America gathered to celebrate our historic 10th Anniversary on May 28, 2015 in Los Angeles. In honor of this significant milestone, the entire team welcomed clients, vendors, collaborators and friends to an open house at our newly opened 11,000 sq. ft. headquarters.

Originally founded in 2005 by K Lee Harvey, Frank McMinn and Robert Balmet, SenovvA has grown into a team of thirty full-time employees with regional offices in New York, Toronto and San Francisco.

Starting with just a few producers at its inception, SenovvA now offers a broad range of production management services to the entertainment, special event, architectural / building, and media service industries.

“I am so proud of our team and what we’ve been able to accomplish in the last 10 years,” said CEO, K Lee Harvey, “With our expansion in staff, newly opened regional offices and the addition of our Advanced Development Projects Team, we are well positioned to offer our agile innovations and solution driven production services for more exciting years to come. Many thanks to all of our partners, collaborators and friends who have joined us on this incredible journey.”

Here’s a look at our current operating units and some examples of our proud achievements in the last 10 years, all made possible by the talented team that is SenovvA.

Production Services

Broadcast & Film
Leading media networks turn to SenovvA for LED and projection expertise on the most watched televised events throughout the year. Our display work on the Academy Awards broadcast is seen by more than one billion people in 225 countries and territories around the world. Hundreds of millions more see our other televised and streamed events from broadcast and cable networks across every digital platform available.

SenovvA’s Production Services Group is headed by Principal Partner & President Frank McMinn. His teams projects have included The Primetime Emmy Awards, Billboard Music Awards, Kids’ Choice Awards, The BET Awards, as well as upfronts for NBC, CNN, ESPN, and the Television Critics Association’s biannual Press Tours. The production services team includes Executive Producer Dave Taylor, Senior Producer Marcus Irwin, Executive Producer Tristan Valencia, Technical Producer Walt De Jong, Producer’s Eric Leverton and Steve Nider, Project Manager’s Joe Sebenius, Robert Ingram, Brian Tracy, Ian Strimple, Daniel White and Andy Kulhavy.

“Our deep understanding of client needs and our best-in-class teamwork delivers premium management expertise that brings our clients back year after year,” said Frank McMinn, “You can order gear from anyone – but the brain trust needed to create extraordinary events is where we shine.”

Corporate & Industrial
SenovvA’s long history of design and management enables us to partner directly with corporate clients, agencies, PR firms, and event designers. We service leading brands from consumer electronics, automotive, aerospace, entertainment and media industries and our projects have included: press events for Mercedes-Benz and Samsung; store openings for Hugo Boss and Desigual; fashion shows for design brand Y-3; sponsored events for Red Bull Mind Meld at Ultra Music Festival, H&M Stores at Coachella Music Festival; trade show displays for AgustaWestland’s exhibit at Heli-Expo, as well as cutting edge consumer activations like Time Warner Cable Studios Experience in NYC.

SenovvA has proudly managed all aspects of production for the Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Oscar Viewing Party – Hollywood’s largest, longest running outdoor charity event associated with the Academy Awards, as well as Ellen Degeneres 50th Birthday Celebration on the backlot at Warner Bros. Studios.

Theater & Performing Arts
SenovvA plays a fundamental role in the live theater and entertainment world. From Broadway to Vegas to regional theaters and touring shows, our work has been consistently recognized on the live stage as we work with innovative production designers to deliver media systems that enhance, involve and delight audiences. In addition to providing and integrating technology for the stage, we have been Producers, Associate Producers and provide artistic direction services.

The Theatrical Division, is headed by Arianna Knapp, SenovvA’s Director of Communication & Strategy / Theatrical Producer, “We look at a project, an idea, a vision or a script, then match our expertise and resources in order to create a collaborative partnership that delivers amazing results in real-time, every time.”

Broadway Theatrical Projects have included Something Rotten!, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Lucky Guy, Bring it On and American Idiot. Touring shows have included Rain, Backbeat, and Bring It On. SenovvA has provided technology and expertise for; The Public Theater, The Old Globe, North Shore Music Theatre, The Alliance Theatre, Berkeley Rep, Steppenwolf, and Center Theatre Group.

Systems Design Group

Launched in 2012, SenovvA’s Systems Group is headed by veteran Technical Director Curtis Kelly. Curtis’ team is responsible for permanent installation projects and supported by our newly opened San Francisco Bay Area Office, in association with our expanding work with nearby technology clients in Silicon Valley. Systems Group projects have also included exhibits at the Reagan Discovery Center in Simi Valley, The Vista Lounge at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas and an interactive bar display at Wolfgang Pucks Lupo Restaurant at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas.

The team is led by Peter Waxdal in Project Administration, Account Executive Bill Sage with Project Manager’s Fred Jacobo and Coty Shipe, and includes Executive Producer Tristan Valencia, and Scott Kellogg in Business Development.

Design & Integration
In partnership with leading architects, technology giants, and entertainment groups, we use our technical knowledge and production experience to bring their visions to life.

SenovvA’s system engineers, programmers, content designers, and installers are the “quiet success story” in the retail, museum, nightclub, traveling exposition, and architectural media. From video walls to projection systems and installations, to content servers, to unique audio and control systems, SenovvA brings our vast technical and creative experience to support our partners in the architectural and facility management industries.

Management & Contract Services
SenovvA leverages its vast experience to deliver strategic consulting and management of high-tech media facilities. Our services include event production design, equipment rental, technical staffing, systems service agreements, and allied field partnerships.

We offer a variety of unique facility management service that ensures the success of any services. Our operations are tailored to meet the differing needs of conventional audio/visual in-house service providers and labor bureaus. We offer contract technical training programs, as well as the authoring and delivery of services for production partners and staging houses. With direct access to our other operating units, along with the depth and flexibility of our facility-based services, SenovvA is unmatched in an otherwise commodity driven industry.

Advanced Development Projects (ADP)
Headed by Director, Design & Development P. Michael Anderson, the Advanced Development Projects group was created to be both SenovvA’s research and development group, as well as our own “in house-special response team,” able to respond to the most demanding projects we encounter.

“It’s not about what we can do “FOR” you, it is about what we can do “WITH” you,” said P. Michael Anderson.

ADP develops new services and product lines for SenovvA’s innovative production and creative services, and exists in a place that we often can’t reveal or discuss in open marketing and media channels. In many cases, ADP and Systems Group staff are embedded within a client or partner organization and culture, rather than operating from SenovvA offices.

Supporting P. Michael Anderson in the ADP Group are resources from SenovvA’s existing talent base that include Producer Vince Pecchi, Media Director Sean Tarantino, and Chris Blanchard in Operations & Logistics.

SenovvA Canada

Dave Crainford, General Manager SenovvA Canada continues to develop SenovvA’s services and expertise in Canada and is expanding our reach into international markets. Working out of our office in Toronto, Dave collaborates with clients including; the Munk Debates, Hermes, the City of Toronto, Amgen, and Pattern Energy.

SenovvA Operations

Chief Operating Officer, Robert Balmet manages support for all SenovvA product service lines. “With projects happening all over the globe, everyone of our producers and designers are connected to our network of resources, and each bring our collective insight to all the sectors we engage with.”

Robert’s team includes Office Manager Victoria Montalvo, Operations Manager Juan Alba, Facilities Manager Gina Farina, Accountant Aren Esaian, and IT Systems Engineer Michael Sheliga.

“Together with our partners, we are poised to take on the challenges and successes that we’ll encounter as a team over the next ten years.” – K Lee Harvey

 

ShapeShifter Fixtures Shine at EJAF Oscars Party

Each year during Academy Awards week, Hollywood’s A-List comes out to raise millions for Elton John’s AIDS Foundation. For the last 15 years, SenovvA has brought increasingly spectacular productions to the Elton John Foundation’s annual Oscar Viewing Party. Production / Lighting Designer Peter Kyte has designed the show for the last seven years; for this latest event, he utilized High End Systems SHAPESHIFTER C1 and W1 automated fixtures as the main effects lighting fixture for the evening. Joining Kyte on the SenovvA team were programmer Fraser Kerrigan, Master Electrician Sean McGrath and Project Manager Brian Tracy. Executive Producer was Marcus Irwin.

Peter explains, “Our parameters with this show are primarily to create something unique, different than our past designs, and to work within the parameters of the temporary structure that we build. We employed a very ‘old school Studio 54’ theme, and when I first saw the SHAPESHIFTERs at LDI, I thought they were very interesting, and would be a great center point for the event. I envisioned a 1970s looking flower effect that would run across the upstage, so I used the SHAPESHIFTERs as the centerpiece of the flower, along with smaller LED fixtures surrounding them.

“One of the biggest challenges working in a tent was the weight restriction. We used a new tent company and they were very good about letting us know the actual weight restrictions and keeping us to that number. I couldn’t put a lot in the air, so I used Airstars because they’re light and gave me the ambient light that I needed, and a very small FOH rig just to get the heat on the stage that we needed. The SHAPESHIFTERs were used for all the effect lighting. I had C1s and W1s – they looked great and worked really well. They really helped make our design pop.

“We had the C1s as the center of the ‘daisy’ and the W1s were placed lower as sort of a beauty uplight type thing from behind. We spent a lot of time exploring the range of options on the C1s. The W1s were a bonus but we thought they would add a nice divine lighting effect coming down from behind. As we were in the practical moments of setting up, we decided to move them off to the side and a little lower. They worked out really well, and we were able to hit the 3′ disco mirror ball as well.”

According to Kyte, Programmer Fraser Kerrigan ran the SHAPESHIFTERs in full mode, and really put them through their paces. “It’s an entirely new way of programming,” says Peter, “and it’s possible for designers to be overwhelmed, but the payoff is really worth it. It may take a bit longer when you first get going, but once you get into this fixture you can get some really great effects.”

In closing, Peter comments on SHAPESHIFTER’s importance as a lighting tool: “With video and pixel mapping now taking a lot of work that programmers used to do – and making it simple, this adds another vital tool for your toolbox. Even though the technology is very 21st century, in my opinion, the programming and the result is a very pure lighting type of effect; you’re dealing with the moving light on a whole new scale. It is so new, and is a revolutionary new way of thinking about how to program, but yet the effect for the audience is so striking. With better tools to work with, the results can be spectacular.”

Published: March 27, 2015

SenovvA Opens San Francisco Bay Area Office/Warehouse

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 03/17/15

Contact: Arianna Knapp, Director of Strategy and Communications, AKnapp@SenovvA.com 213.689.6900 x112

SenovvA, Inc. opens facility in San Francisco

Los Angeles, CA (March 10, 2015) – SenovvA, Inc. (“SenovvA”), a leading production, design and management group with offices in Los Angeles, New York, and Toronto, today announces the expansion of its operations to include an office and warehouse in San Francisco, California. Through the new location, SenovvA expands its foothold in the North American market to provide services to the Digital Cinema, Theatrical, Broadcast, Industrial/Corporate, and Architectural System Design and Installation sectors.

“There was a time when SenovvA’s Broadcast clients were dealing with Los Angeles, our theater clients dealt with New York and our systems design and integration clients worked with a team that was spread across the country. As SenovvA enters it’s second decade, we have partnerships from all our markets working with us from all our offices. There is Broadcast work in New York and Las Vegas, there is theater work in Toronto, San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles, and of course the corporate industrial events are happening everywhere. This additional location gives us an even greater agility to serve all our partners.” – SenovvA’s Director of Strategy, Arianna Knapp

“This expansion further demonstrates our commitment to provide design and management for technology visionaries as well as theaters, corporate clients, and architects/builders” said Kevin Lee Harvey, CEO of SenovvA, Inc. “We will have a top notch Bay Area team including Bay Area natives Bill Sage (Account Executive Systems Design Group), Scott Kellogg (Business Development), Fred Jacobo (Project Manager) as we open our doors April 15th”

Introducing Bill Sage:

Bill Sage returned to his beloved Bay Area in 2012, taking on a new role and gaining valuable skills in estimating, contract negotiation and document management for public works and major sporting arena projects. He has applied these skills to major projects including the paging system and tower renovation at San Francisco International Airport’s Terminal 3; Los Angeles Dodgers stadium audio renovation; and the mass notification system installation at the Port of San Francisco’s new cruise ship terminal.

Joining SenovvA has reunited Bill with many trusted and respected colleagues. He is thrilled to be a member of the team and looks forward to playing his part to expand and develop opportunities for SenovvA in San Francisco and beyond.

Sign Language

Walk into any bar, and it’s a safe bet you’ll find at least two things: digital signage and a mirrored wall of booze. The bar at Wolfgang Puck’s Trattoria del Lupo restaurant in Las Vegas is no exception, but it also bucks the stereotypes about what that signage can add to the experience.

Tucked inside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Trattoria del Lupo opened in 1999 and recently completed a major remodel that included adding interactive digital art to the bar in the middle of the restaurant. Four 42in. displays now adorn the top of the bar, but they’re not there to show ballgames or talking heads. Instead, they show streams and balls of light that, thanks to infrared cameras, ebb and flow based on bar patrons’ movements. For example, reaching for a drink can be enough to make the streams move in a way that mimics the breeze of an arm.

Interactive art is a rarity in bars and restaurants. So the artwork—titled “TRAILERS_LUPO”—was a test case not only for the Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group, which owns 14 other restaurants in cities such as Beverly Hills, Dallas, and London, but for the rest of the industry, too.

“It’s something they’re doing to change the way people look at digital signage and digital art,” says Curtis Kelly, who leads the systems design group at SenovvA, the Los Angeles-based integrator on the project. “I really applaud them for it. That’s been so successful that they’re now planning to do more restaurants. We’re getting ready to do another commission.”

Behind The Scenes

In a way, the Trattoria del Lupo project got its start backstage at the Academy Awards, where SenovvA did the LED wall behind the stage. Digital artist John B. Carpenter was there, as well.

“The thing that really impressed me about their work at the awards was the seamless integration of the technology into the stage design and the way they were able to get a non-pixelated image for the audience by using a slight diffuser in front of the wall,” Carpenter says.

When Carpenter received the Trattoria del Lupo commission, he asked SenovvA to help execute his vision. One challenge was selecting the right hardware. Although many commercial AV installations now use consumer-grade monitors because they’re inexpensive, SenovvA and Carpenter agreed that approach would be shortsighted.

“It would be cheaper to do it that way, but you’re going to replace them four times [as often],” Carpenter says.

One reason is because “TRAILERS_LUPO” requires displays that are in portrait mode.

“You have to have a commercial display if you’re going to run it in portrait orientation because consumer displays don’t run properly in portrait,” Kelly says. “They’re designed to run and cool in landscape mode.”

SenovvA chose LG 42VS20-BAA LCDs. Kelly had used LG displays on other projects, but not this particular model. After comparing specs and talking with LG reps, this model stood out for several reasons:

  • Its cooling adapts based on orientation, helping maximize its lifespan and avoiding downtime. A high-quality video card and power supply also help ensure reliability.
  • It provides the high contrast ratio necessary to avoid washouts and blooming, as well as ample control of contrast and brightness. “With plasma, we probably could have got better black levels, but we wanted something that was going to be more robust on a commercial level running 24/7,” Kelly says. “Most digital signage displays are all about the nits. For us, it was more about contrast ratio and the black levels for a really natural look.”
  • It includes a broad, deep menu, including options for scheduling and auto reboot, all accessible remotely from a Web browser.
  • It offers an Ethernet port for remote access and monitoring, a feature that Kelly liked from other LG models. “I love them because they have a very good control protocol over IP or RS-232. Very robust. A very easy language to work with,” he says.

Networkability also was key for connecting each display to an Apple Mac Mini over HDMI. The infrared cameras—mounted underneath each display—connect to their respective Mini via USB.

Although they’re designed for the consumer market, Minis are increasingly common in pro AV. They were an ideal fit for Trattoria del Lupo partly because they have a solid-state drive (SSD), providing more reliability than a hard disk. SSDs also enable faster boot ups, which was a factor because the system is cycled off once a day. This clears the memory to ensure everything stays performing smoothly. After all, artwork that’s meant to mimic human movement and the wind can’t exist in fits and starts.

“It’s a very natural, smooth flow,” Kelly says. “So there had to be some specific things that had to be in the design development to make sure that the displays had a fast refresh rate so there wouldn’t be any jogginess. The computers had to have SSDs instead of [hard drives] because it’s running 24/7. They had to have fast refresh rates on the video cards.”

The infrared cameras also had to be flexible.

“The Kinetic cameras aren’t just standard ones you buy off the shelf,” Kelly says. “They’re professional models that can handle custom drivers.”

Thinking Small To Push The Envelope

When the system was ready for installation, Carpenter didn’t simply hand SenovvA a thumb drive or DVD of code for them to load into the Minis. Instead, he was hands on, which isn’t surprising considering his background. Carpenter’s day job is as an engineer at Oblong Industries, a company whose founder inspired the gesture technology seen in the 2002 Tom Cruise movie Minority Report. Carpenter also has a private art practice, and in both, much of his time is spent programming.

“TRAILERS_LUPO” uses a program called Processing, a creative coding environment that Carpenter developed for artists and designers. The algorithms change the artwork based on environmental factors, so it never looks the same way twice. “It means you’re not dealing with a looped video,” Carpenter says. “You’re always getting something different.”

For Carpenter, the Mini is an ideal environment for realizing his visions. “One of the things we talked about is whether to use a simple video player or whether we needed a computer,” he says. “I like the Mac Mini because I’ve worked with them a lot, and they’re small and reliable.

“It’s the best solution for me right now. It’s a good space to write code in, and it behaves fairly predictably and reliably. I know a number of artists and creative coders that work with them just for the ease of installation.”

New Life For A Dead Space

Trattoria del Lupo is an example of some of the ways that pro AV is changing. First, the use of Mac Minis instead of specialized AV hardware is part of the ongoing trend of AV-IT integration. Second, the project highlights the benefits of having the integrator work early, often, and well with a specialist from a different field. In some cases, that’s a building management engineer or an architect. Here, it was an artist. “Good open conversation, plus trusting that each group is good at what they’re doing” is what Carpenter believes is key for a great working relationship. “The expertise that they brought with the hardware and installation was fantastic. Working with SenovvA allowed me to focus on the code and artwork. I knew they were going to take care of the hardware and integration.”

“TRAILERS_LUPO” has been enough of a success that more interactivity is coming. The bar currently has four displays, but there’s room for another two if Trattoria del Lupo decides to expand the artwork. In the meantime, SenovvA and Carpenter have begun work on the area just behind the bar. Currently there are several French doors that lead to a small storage area. Those are being modified so that patrons see what appears to be a live street scene, with people walking by and trees moving in the wind. During the daytime, the scene will be lighter. The artwork is called “FIELDS_sinapis.”

“It’s a feeling of being somewhere else,” Kelly says.

In future interactive art projects, SenovvA will apply what it learned with “TRAILERS_LUPO.” For example, Carpenter currently accesses the system via a VPN, a design that SenovvA probably will avoid in the future.

“Since it’s more involved now with the systems, we’ll probably get involved with their IT department to plan on having a port opened just for us to keep it easy,” Kelly said. “They’re going to do more of these down the road, so maybe it’s time to start talking to them about integrating our allocation in their network for taking care of things. That’s becoming a trend. Everybody has to give people ports for the outside world to come in.”

That’s also yet another example of why AV integrators need IT skills these days and why they need to come into a project early on, when it’s cheaper and easier to make fundamental decisions about networks and other aspects.

“People call us to do a lot of black-box, weird things,” Kelly says. “We’re lucky enough to sit at the owner’s table at the stakeholder level to help them figure out if things can become reality and help them save money from the beginning. We value engineer it before it even gets to the RFP.”

Article
Published: July 26, 2013

Reinventing The Academy Awards

The Oscars has always been one of the most interesting gigs you could land– after all, what better platform to demonstrate your technical chops than the most prestigious entertainment/technology awards ceremony there is? Over the years we’ve reported on the video technology used at the Academy Awards– and we’ve seen different mixes of video with traditional staging technology. We’ve seen the venue itself evolve its technology resources with the changing needs of the Oscar production as well as for other live event needs. This year’s Oscar ceremony saw brought some interesting twists to the narrative.

Since the venue previously known as the Kodak Theatre – with its 3,400 seats, the theatre has hosted the Oscars since 2002– was rebranded the Dolby Theatre in June 2012, the venue has hosted premieres for the Oscar-nominated films like “Brave” and “Zero Dark Thirty.” It has also hosted Cirque du Soleil productions, and a wide variety of concerts. In preparation for the 2013 Oscars ceremony, Dolby came in and working closely with this year’s Academy Awards producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, Oscar telecast director Don Mischer, the film studios, and ABC– made sure everyone was on board for retooling the show to be broadcast in Dolby Surround 5.1, including every movie clip and taped segment. That included mounting 187 new loudspeakers in the theatre. In addition, new for this year, there was a new VIP lounge with a fabric ceiling designed to create the look of a sound wave, a 7.1 channel Surround Sound installation and a 84-inch flat panel display that showed a live feed of the Oscars broadcast. The process actually started last summer with the installation of a Dolby Atmos system, for the release of the movie “Brave” that was the first film to use the system (in fourteen theaters in the U.S. and Canada).

“Atmos, at any one time, can have 128 sound objects running,” said Dolby’s David Gray. “Pieces of sound can be placed anywhere in the room. Pieces of sound can be placed anywhere in the room. The Dolby Theatre has so many speakers–187– receiving so many commands, including, for some showings, an array that runs vaulted overhead–that it takes three processors to control them all.”

For the 85th Academy Awards ceremony, held Sunday, February 24th, at the Dolby Theatre, the buzz in the press was that the producers chose to go with a more traditional set design than in recent years. In its ongoing effort to retool the Oscars– always chasing new viewership– this year Tony Award-winning Production Designer Derek McLane was tasked to “add a fresh perspective to the set of the Dolby Theatre.” So would that translate to more live musical numbers, more theatrical lighting, etc, and less use of video projectors to ‘paint’ sets as we saw in some of the recent years’ productions?

Who reading this magazine could not have loved the trend that reached a peak at the Oscars in 2011, when many of the seventy-three projectors were used to “create sets,” i.e. digitally “paint” flown scenic elements, as opposed to just projecting film clips etc. In that 2011 production, the designers wrapped images to “make the set come to life.” The most impressive part of that was projecting onto four arched portals with rear-projected content framing the main stage, involving 40 Christie 10K HD projectors driven by an UberPan system of 40 outputs from twenty-two HD Hippotizers. That was the 2011 Oscars. The good news is that the same company that did that video production in 2011, SenovvA, was involved in the 2013 production. And heading up SenovvA’s team: Oscar veteran Dave Taylor, SenovvA’s Senior Technical Producer. While SenovvA has been providing the projection (and LED) for the Oscars since 2005, Dave Taylor has twenty-four years experience working on the event. Taylor first did the projection for the event at the 61st Academy Awards, and he’s been on the job ever since (first, working with AVHQ, later with Creative Technology, and now with SenovvA). But it was a somewhat different gig this year. Dave’s official credit this year was “Projection LED Supervisor”. LED? What about the video projection? This year’s production designers– in their attempt to get a more traditional, even Broadway, look and feel to the show, went a bit different direction. (But Taylor reminded me that there were other very LED-intensive years. “2005, 2006 and 2008 were all very LED-heavy years,” commented Taylor.)

Projection lovers– hang in there, there was still enough interesting projection to go around at this year’s Oscars, despite the semantics of production credits (and in an era where the public is enamored with everything “LED”.)

Dave Taylor explained that LED, indeed, played probably its biggest role to date, in the Oscars show. And as you saw if you watched the telecast February 24, 2013 while there was a good deal of video on the stage– it mainly was the old-fashioned kind in terms of content: IMAG, or film clips on screens. Anyone watching the telecast (or sitting in the Dolby Theatre) experienced, indeed, a more music-heavy, if not Broadway-style, production. Even before the many musical numbers kicked in, you could see the stage was more traditionally theatrical. Tony Award-winning Production Designer Derek McLane incorporated over 100,000 Swarovski crystals (weighing over 1,500 pounds) into the Oscar’s stage design. More than a thousand (1,051) replica Oscar statuettes– each a little larger than the real award– was nestled in its own cubbyhole in traditional proscenium and could be lit separately or in sections as needed.

The set up consisted, first, of one big screen cyclorama, permanently upstage. It was 70 X 33 foot LED wall– a 9m Winvision 9, the same system SenovvA used in 2012. The cyclorama used five hundred ninety-five Winvision 9.375mm LED tiles. For all the sets, there was a diffusion screen that stayed in place just 3/8 of an inch in front of the LED. This clever use of a diffusion screen served to eliminate the Moiré pattern you would get if you tried to video capture the screen without one. The diffusion screen also served to dampen down the lumen output of the LED. “Normally we’d run that kind of LED at about 12% intensity to balance with the other lighting etc,” said Taylor, “but with that diffusion screen–that has the effect of turning the LED into thousands of tiny video projectors projecting 3/8 inch out to that screen– we ran the LED at about 60% because the screen of course cut some lumen intensity.”

Projection lovers will be pleased to know that there was one big projection screen– this year the crew and producers called it the “big picture screen” because it was used to screen the Best Motion Picture nominee clips, and for the Governor’s award segment– that did it with big guns. Three Barco HDF-W26 projectors– 26,000 lumens each– were stacked. One of them was a back up, while two were overlapped to get 50,000+ lumens on the screen. A Stewart Videomatte 2000 screen was flown down just in front of close down curtain (that shuts off upstage from down) four times during the show for this system.

Back to LED. The “cube” LED modules used a new product on the market. They are 3 millimeter format LED. Revolution Display 3mm or “RD3” is the name of a new product exclusive to VER. For the Oscars, the designers spec’ed in four LED “cubes”, and PRG supplied the automation for moving the cubes. For the “Captain Kirk” screen that flew in at the beginning of the show, two cubes– each was 11 wide X 13 ft tall– were butted for a 16X9 format screen. Later in the show, Barbara Streisand entered through all four cubes center stage–when she emerged, the two “wagons” tracked off to the wings, and the other stayed on stage for her rendition of “The Way We Were” in the Marvin Hamlisch tribute segment.

And if you loved all that use of video projection to “paint sets” in the 2011 and other Oscar shows, you no doubt loved the “Wavy Walls” in this year’s production. In act 2, and again in act 13, four Barco projectors were used to track four S-shaped walls. One wall was downstage, one upstage. The automation data was fed into a Hippo (just like in the 2011 production; Jason Rudolph was the show’s Hippotizer programmer). And for the James Bond 50the Anniversary tribute those same projectors were used to project onto the “Bond discs” on set, as the Bond footage played on the big LED cyclorama.

Given the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science’s purported new focus on retooling the now officially retitled “Oscars” ceremony to create a more Grammies-like fast-paced show not a stodgy “Awards Ceremony”, it’s hard to predict how much envelope-pushing new video technology will be brought to bear for the 2014 Oscars. I’ll bet Dave Taylor and team at SenovvA, PRG, and the Hippo folks will be involved. We’ll wait and see what Dave Taylor’s title for the show is next year.

Published: April 19, 2013

 

SenovvA Executes Massive Projection Mapping Installation at Ultra Music Festival

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 04/02/12

Miami, FL – March 23 – 25, 2012 – SenovvA, Inc. has executed one of the largest and longest run urban projection mapping installations ever produced in the United States for client Red Bull at the Ultra Music Festival in downtown Miami’s Bayfront Park. The installation, Red Bull Mind Meld (#redbullmindmeld), featured projection on the exterior surface of the InterContinental Miami hotel during headline sets from dusk until midnight on all three nights of the festival. Red Bull branded content, created by Brooklyn, NY based company Integrated Visions Productions (IVP), was visible for miles by nearly 200,000 electronic music fans and countless curious residents and visitors, some of whom watched from boats moored offshore. UMFTV (#umftv) broadcast the festival and installation to more than a million fans worldwide. Passengers arriving and departing Miami International Airport reported being transfixed by the sheer size of the display as they traveled.

The Ultra Music Festival is without rival in the electronic dance music world and global festival circuit. It is one of the largest festivals of its kind in the world, with nearly 200,000 fans in full creative regalia, in various states of dress and undress. For three days, legions of festival attendees descended upon downtown Miami, many in hallmark fur boots, seeking a three-day experience with the world’s best and emerging electronic dance music artists. With a lineup including David Guetta, Tiësto, Justice, Skrillex, Afrojack, Laidback Luke, Fatboy Slim, Armin Van Buuren, Bassnectar and more – like a surprise from Madonna herself – the festival sold out fast and continued well into the night. This created the perfect canvas for a gigantic, visually stimulating and subtly branded projection mapping installation.

Senovva and IVP worked with Red Bull to create a proprietary display that would lift both the brand and the festival to stratospheric heights, in both live music and in technology circles. SenovvA leveraged its world-renowned technical and creative expertise in production design and management to produce the unprecedented Red Bull Mind Meld projection mapped installation. IVP developed more than 30 custom 3D animation modules, integrating cultural and extreme sports footage from the Red Bull content pool into the projections.

The SenovvA produced installation was the canvas for the visual announcement of Madonna’s surprise, and first, appearance on the second day of the festival during the headline set by Avicii.  Madonna’s creative team sent logo files for the release of the pop icon’s upcoming album MDNA just days before the performance, the projection of which the content and production teams coordinated precisely to her climactic stage entrance.

From a technology perspective, the project was cutting edge and one of the largest and longest running urban projection mapping projects ever produced in the United States. To achieve the scale and quality of the project, SenovvA blended and converged 12 large format Barco HD projectors combined with United Visual Artists’ (UVA) d3 media management system to create a seamless high-resolution display that covered the entire concave exterior of the landmark InterContinental Miami Hotel. The installation featured a massive overall surface area of nearly 15,000 square feet and covered 29 stories of the landmark hotel.

One media source described the visual augmentation of the Intercontinental Miami as dominating the festival (miami.com), however SenovvA, grateful for the compliment, stressed that the installation was made possible from the strong connection between everyone involved.

SenovvA and its partners are the vanguard of the industry in production and projection mapping. Its pedigree is unparalleled. Principal productions and projects include the Academy Awards and American Idiot (The Musical) on Broadway. It has produced projection mapping and augmented reality projects on various scales and canvases, and with a diverse range of brands and artists. SenovvA recently produced projection mapping projects such as ‘Immersive Surfaces’ on the anchorage of the Manhattan Bridge during the DUMBO Arts Festival 2011, on the interior of Skylight Studios for the Jason Wu for Target capsule collection launch in New York City, and at Lincoln Center for the Barbie’s Dream Closet event during New York Fashion Week.