WorldStage Inc. provides audio-visual design, engineering and implementation services to the corporate, theatrical and broadcast communities. The company’s design and research division specializes in systems and configurations that are both innovative and cost effective.
In theatrical productions, prestigious art installations, retail displays and corporate meetings clients and audiences alike expect to see sharp, impactful audio-visuals that communicate clearly. And for WorldStage Inc., a specialist in design, engineering and implementation services that often takes on unique, high-profile assignments, performing the technical wizardry to make this happen can be a challenge. A case in point is the system used for The Song, an outdoor video art exhibit created by acclaimed artist Doug Aitken, a production that entailed projecting video across the surface of the Hirschhorn Museum in Washington D.C. To make it work, WorldStage needed a way not only to send a signal to the projectors, but also to control projectors from a remote media server room located in the basement of the museum - a distance of up to 150 meters, depending on the projector.
And in glitzy, glamorous Las Vegas, the visual design of theatrical shows needs to make a big splash, but the backstage environment may be too small to accommodate the video system that’s needed. That’s the challenge WorldStage faced in displaying the video for Surf, the Musical, at Sin City’s Planet Hollywood. For this show that brought together the music of the Beach Boys and surf culture, projection of crisp sun and seashore images was essential to its success. Here, the company was challenged not only to extend a digital visual interface (DVI) signals across distances of up to 150 meters, but also to streamline the footprint of the video racks from a typical 3-rack structure to 2 racks, to help reduce costs.
At WorldStage, every challenge is an opportunity to discover a new innovative solution. Having worked with Thinklogical products on another project, Barry Grossman, Chief Engineer at WorldStage, was familiar with Thinklogical and impressed with its ability to deliver products on time. When WorldStage was engaged to provide a projection system for The Song, the company turned again to Thinklogical for multiple solutions. The project entailed video projection across the surface of the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington D.C., which required extending the DVI video signal from the media server room located in the basement of the museum. The scope also included controlling projectors over an Internet protocol (IP) network and sending out an audio feed with a cabling distance of 500 to 750 feet, beyond the limitations of a copper-based solution. The company used Thinklogical’s fiber-optic based Q-Series and VEL-Series extenders for video, network and audio, and used Thinklogical’s Velocitykvm series keyboard, video and mouse (KVM) extenders. Grossman said, “It was the first time we used the VEL series that included video, IP network and audio. Thinklogical had the right products and delivered what we needed when we needed it.”
For Surf, the Musical, WorldStage used Thinklogical products including Q-series transmitters and receivers, the MX48 fiber-optic non-blocking matrix router, and KVM extenders. These space-saving options enabled WorldStage to put more hardware into the available space and included redundant power supplies, allowing the company to save at least ten rack spaces. Less rack space allowed WorldStage to work within the footprint available for the video system without affecting the quality of the video image or the ability to control it.
Tourists taking in an outdoor video spectacle and vacationers enjoying Las Vegas entertainment may not grasp the technical hurdles to be scaled behind the scenes. Thinklogical has gone a long way toward helping WorldStage scale those hurdles by enabling the company to meet other benchmarks including solution availability, on-time product delivery and product reliability.
Thinklogical’s ability to address these needs continues to make this customer relationship work. The company consistently delivers products and solutions in a timely manner. In the field, on a rare occasion when service has been required or when firmware upgrades have been needed, the Thinklogical engineering lab has proven helpful. With reliable product, WorldStage has been able to repurpose the gear for subsequent jobs. Said Grossman, “The current generation of VEL, Q-Series and KVM products are incredibly reliable. Thinklogical’s ability to deliver the right product at the right time has been a key reason why we continue to use their products. They have good products and they have good customer service.”