Continued from May 2008  CTI Newsletter

How the  Papal Mass at Yankee Stadium Utilized SHoW DMX

On April 20, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI ministered to 60,000 people in New York City's Yankee Stadium.  New York's Scharff Weisberg supplied the lighting equipment and utilized City Theatrical's award winning SHoW DMX™ wireless DMX to distribute DMX around the stadium.  This installation is an excellent example of an extremely high profile lighting installation that trusted SHoW DMX for the most demanding, mission critical purposes, in view of millions of viewers on live television.

The challenge

The lighting plot for the Papal Mass included moving lights spread around the upper deck of the stadium, hundreds of feet from the playing field, with the lighting console  located in the third base dugout.  Stringing DMX cable would have been nearly impossible.  The use of wireless DMX was considered and the show's lighting designer (Alan Adelman), production electrician (Tom Blancato) and Scharff Weisberg's senior project manager (John Healy) consulted with City Theatrical to get ideas for the best setup.  

The wireless system was controlling 15 Zap Biglites.  They were mounted on trusses hung off the railing of the the top tier of the stadium, parallel to the first and third base lines.  The transmitter was in the third base dugout connected to a GrandMA console.

Site survey

A site survey was performed three days prior to the event.  The transmitter and the three receiver locations were all surveyed for five minutes using a laptop computer utilizing Wi-Spy and Channelizer 3.0 software.  There was no RF detected in the 2.4Ghz band.  There was concern that once all of the television production equipment arrived there would me more RF generators but that didn't prove to be a problem during the show.   The system was configured using SHoW DMX's patent pending user interface features, including limiting the bandwidth to broadcast only on WiFi channels 7 thru 11.  Directional antennas were placed on the receivers, and the standard omni-directional antenna was used on the transmitter.  Because all of the receiver locations had a direct line of sight to the transmitter, the output power of the transmitter was set to 50mW, well below SHoW DMX's maximum output of 125mW.  All of the RF configuration was set so that there would be the maximum amount of available bandwidth for other devices as they arrived on site with other users.  None of these configuration settings effected the fidelity of the system as evidenced by the designer and technician testimonials.

City Theatrical's Adam Klein was on site during the setup and helped perform the site survey and to optimize the configuration of the equipment, as well as conferring with the show crew to decide the mounting positions of the transmitter and receivers.  

What the users said

Millions of viewers around the world watched the Papal Mass from Yankee Stadium.  The pressure on the lighting crew was enormous.  Here's what they had to say about City Theatrical's SHoW DMX:

Alan Adelman, lighting designer:  “From the third base dugout to the upper deck it worked flawlessly, without a hitch.”  

Tom Blancato, production electrician:     “Absolutely flawless start to finish"

John Healy, senior project manager:  “It works phenomenally. We didn’t have to touch it once it was set up.  It was just like having the lights plugged right into the back of the console.  It has a great refresh rate, and I'm really pleased with the response time.”


Setting up in the South Bronx's Yankee Stadium

Looking toward home plate from second base.  

Pope Benedict XVI at Yankee Stadium