Continued from October  2011 CTI Newsletter

Andrea Bocelli in NYC's Central Park With SHoW DMX

It was hard to miss Andrea Bocelli's concert in New York City's Central Park with over 60,000 attendees on the Great Lawn.  This was a perfect application for wireless DMX and the design and electrics team chose City Theatrical's SHoW DMX to solve one of their big challenges:  How to get DMX to remote lighting positions out in the crowd.    City regulations prohibited running cable through the crowd, so wireless DMX became the solution to this problem.

We talked with Richard Beck and Matt Geneczko to hear how they did it.

CTI:  Who was on the technical team on the show?
RB &MG:  The LDs Bob Barnhart and Ted Wells, Gaffer Richard Beck, Asst Elect. RJ Styles and Chris Szabo Project Manager Matt Geneczko, Moving Light Tech Meg Flanagan.  PRG was the rental shop and Chris Conti was on site as their rep.   Lighting Directors:  Matt Firestone, Victor Seastone, Harry Sangmeister

CTI:  What were the general parameters and design needs for the project (what did you need to do)?
RB &MG:  This was the Andrea Bocelli concert in Central Park for PBS.  We had a main stage and six ball fields with lighting.  These fields were in the audience areas and needed to be controlled by wireless DMX. 
There where 6 Towers (one for each ball field) and each Tower had 1@ 7k xenon and 1@ dimmer rack. The furthest point away after the ball fields was at the far end of the Great Lawn and that area had 5 xenons. So 11 @ 7ks total, 6 dimmer racks controlled wirelessly. The gear was 2 Transmitters, 5 Receivers, 7 @ 60deg antennas, and necessary hardware to hang. Furthest point away was 2000 feet. 

CTI:  Were there specific design, budget, time, or physical constraints that you had to work within?
RB & MG:  We had a short amount of time to load this in due to the rules of Central Park.  That is why we did two shifts, a night shift and a day shift.  The night shift had to unload trucks and the day shift had to complete the hang.  Cat Power had generators located at each tower for power but the distance between the towers was large and would be full of people. It would have taken a lot of control cable running between towers IF Central Park allowed the cable to run where we needed it. They may or may not and we had to adjust our load-in according to their rules and if they changed their minds on a previously agreed plan, that was too bad and we had to figure out a new course. Wireless control seemed a good option.

CTI:  Which City Theatrical products or services did you use, and why did you decide on CTI products or services? 
RB & MG:  
Robert Barnhart in the first meeting said we needed to do wireless for the ball fields.  That is when we decided on CTI wireless control which we got from PRG.  It was used on the last U2 tour.  Matt Geneczko went to CTI for a demo and lesson on using wireless.

CTI:   Did you do any preliminary testing?
RB & MG:   Only in the shop.

CTI:   How did you set up the equipment?  Was there anything special, unique, or difficult about the installation?
RB & MG:   The receivers were set up on top of the 25’ high trusses.  We were trying to get the best and clear sight lines.  The ball fields were about 300’ apart from each other.  Chris Conti from PRG was a big help in the install.  Everything worked the first time.  One issue we had was rain.  We covered the wireless DMX with bags so as not to get soaked in the rain.  They worked great even with the bags on.

CTI:   What was your overall experience in working with City Theatrical equipment on your production?
RB & MG:    (RB):  It was great.  It saved so much time because we didn’t have all that cable to run.  (MG): Great. First went to CTI to get a lesson and advice on best way to use equipment. Andrew Nikel and Larry Dunn gave advice and told us to set up a test. Chris Conti at PRG also helped me to figure out best placement of the transmitters and receivers based on where and how to get DMX to the Transmitters. Chris also came out to place the equipment and set up. He configured it once and we never touched it again until strike. It just worked for what we required.

CTI:  Would you have done anything differently in hindsight?
RB & MG:   No

Xenotech spots light the sky, controlled by SHoW DMX

Andrea Bocelli on stage.

The crowd at sunset.

One lighting location, showing why wireless DMX was chosen.

A example of good antenna placement.  This is a focussed panel antenna
placed high above the heads of the crowd with line of sight to the Transmitter.

Close up of a SHoW DMX Receiver with a panel antenna.