Multiverse Studio Receiver in situ at The Unicorn
Photo courtesy of Justin Stroh


PROJECT SNAPSHOT

Location:    Paramount Studios, Los Angeles, CA
     
Completion Date:    January 2021
     
Director of Photography:    Craig Kief
     
Chief Lighting Technician:   Justin Stroh
     
Assistant Chief Lighting Technicians:   Steve Irvine (Season II),
Carlos Torres (Season I)
     
Programmer:   Dylan Rush
     
City Theatrical Solution(s): 
  Multiverse® Studio Kit 900MHz/2.4GHz (P/N 5938), including: Multiverse Studio Receivers, Multiverse Transmitter, and DMXcat® Multi Function Test Tool


PROJECT BACKGROUND


Created by Bill Martin, Mike Schiff, and Grady Cooper, CBS original series The Unicorn is an American television sitcom about a widower who is eager to move on from the most difficult year of his life, only to realize he’s unprepared to raise his two daughters on his own and for the dating world where he’s suddenly a hot commodity.






Multiverse Studio Receiver connected to a fixture at The Unicorn



INTRODUCTION


Chief Lighting Technician Justin Stroh of CBS’s The Unicorn first became aware of Multiverse wireless DMX/RDM technology in 2019, from a demonstration at Cine Gear Expo, a film trade show on the Paramount Studios lot in Los Angeles. With prior experience using existing wireless DMX technologies for television and film projects, Justin and his team were looking for wireless DMX solutions that offered reliable functionality with greater usability, making products easier to deal with and use on set. Upon testing this new technology and discovering that it was truly plug and play, they decided to use it on The Unicorn, and first began testing Multiverse wireless DMX/RDM technology during the first season of shooting. For Season II, they implemented the new battery powered Multiverse Studio Kit with contactless charging.





 
 

“If I could, everything would come in and be attached to a Multiverse Studio Receiver. Having that interactive screen on your device… I can see the radio signal, universe, and everything I need to know if I need to assess something quickly. All of that control at the electrician’s level has been a gamechanger. All the guys love it, and they reach for it.”


- Justin Stroh, Chief Lighting Technician, The Unicorn
 
   






Multiverse Studio Receiver at The Unicorn Season 2



DUAL BAND TECHNOLOGY


Justin and his team found it easy to use Multiverse Studio Receivers to set universes from their smartphones with the DMXcat app, and switch their setups from anywhere on set, quickly and easily. They took the time to learn about the opportunities that the various broadcast modes presented - whether in the 900MHz or 2.4GHz band - based on the needs of the shoot ahead. They tended to default to 2.4GHz because they found it easier, but noted the potential for 900MHz band usage due to the increasing number of LED light fixtures and Wi-Fi devices on set in the 2.4GHz band. They found benefits to the Multiverse wireless DMX/RDM system immediately in its ability to control every Node-enabled device anywhere on the set.



Multiverse Studio Receiver connected to an ARRI lighting fixture at The Unicorn Season 2
Photo courtesy of Justin Stroh



 
 

“What I have found with Multiverse is that very rarely have there been equipment failures, just user errors, and we’re learning. There’s so much Wi-Fi on set now, that Multiverse dual band technology is giving us more control. And we can alter everything remotely via RDM. Multiverse is helping us work smarter, and faster.”


- Justin Stroh, Chief Lighting Technician, The Unicorn
 
   


FLEXIBILITY


The flexibility of Multiverse Studio Receivers working with any lighting fixture was useful due to the nature of the work being done, as it was isolated by stages, and combined with previous lighting and wireless DMX technology already in use. Justin and his team found they could be working on stage 15 with Multiverse Studio, and on stage 16 with Multiverse Nodes, if already set up, or existing wireless DMX technology, if native to the fixtures. They linked everything to specific transmissions, and would use a RadioScan™ Spectrum Analyzer as a frequency scanner to plan their broadcast.







Multiverse Studio Receiver at The Unicorn



LONG-LIFE BATTERY OPERATION


The Unicorn lighting team found the Multiverse Studio Receiver is not only a much more streamlined wireless DMX option, but also incorporates the ease of long battery life, contactless charging, and is rated for outdoor use.

In addition to the Multiverse Studio Receivers, the team also used Multiverse technology embedded into ETC fos/4 Panel and fos/4 Fresnel fixtures as appropriate, and enjoyed an even simpler wireless DMX setup.




Multiverse Studio Receiver connected to an ETC lighting fixture at The Unicorn Season 2
Photo courtesy of Justin Stroh



 
 

“The battery-operated aspect of the Multiverse Studio Receiver was a huge thing; that simplicity is why we leaned into it. We can hang stuff, shoot it, and change setups 50-75 times a day – can be four or five times a day per fixture. These receivers are simple, they work, they’re easy to maintain, and work on multiple fixtures. This is a system I can see investing in as an owner.”


- Justin Stroh, Chief Lighting Technician, The Unicorn
 
   


CONTACTLESS CHARGING


The battery life of the Multiverse Studio Receivers is 20 hours, and the Multiverse Studio Kit provides contactless charging in less than four hours. Justin and his team found that this long battery life feature made Multiverse Studio Receivers the right option for floor lighting and other long term installation areas that would usually necessitate wires over wireless DMX.






Multiverse Studio Receiver connected to a Gemini fixture at The Unicorn



CONCLUSION


To accompany the other Multiverse devices in the Multiverse Studio Kit, the team used the DMXcat for testing, programming, and assigning addresses.

Overall, they found the process of setting up, testing, and using Multiverse wireless DMX/RDM to be less complex than their previous experiences in wireless DMX. They found Multiverse easy to troubleshoot, as each device indicates if it’s not functioning in the intended way. They also found they did not have to worry about selecting the right or wrong universe in a multiple universe broadcast, as their choices were clear and simple with the user interfaces on the devices themselves or through RDM.




Multiverse Studio Receiver connected to Gemini fixture at The Unicorn
Photo courtesy of Justin Stroh



 
 

“The biggest selling point of Multiverse for us was that it is plug and play. It can broadcast up to nine universes per transmitter, and efficiently make the switch from one universe to the next. Multiverse has become my go-to for wireless DMX.”


- Justin Stroh, Chief Lighting Technician, The Unicorn
 
   






  



 Multiverse Wireless DMX at The Unicorn Case Study      View/print this case study via PDF.  









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