Every five years Canon Expo, which highlights Canon's new and existing technologies and hints at future products, is a must-see for an invited audience of customers, partners and selected media. WorldStage, Inc. companies Scharff Weisberg and Video Applications, Inc. (VAI) provided technological and staging expertise for the latest event, Canon Expo 2010 held September 1 at New York City's Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. With the theme, "We Speak Image," the Expo showcased Canon's extraordinary range of innovative, top-performing imaging products in fields as diverse as broadcast video, digital SLR cameras, medical imaging and business systems. With support in video, audio, lighting and complex AV design, WorldStage was uniquely qualified to handle the job as comprehensively as it did.
With a reputation as a leading patent holder for many advanced devices, Canon and its Tokyo-based agency Dentsu, wanted to create an Expo that generated as much excitement as Canon's products do. Producer David Rome, working for Dentsu, sought out WorldStage, which has a reputation of its own for high-end staging and comprehensive A/V services.
WorldStage was tasked with meeting the technical and AV demands of the Expo's Canon Central area, exhibits about the future of imaging ("Imaging the Possibilities" and "Imaging for Tomorrow" sections) and the ancillary and breakout rooms. It also supplied time-lapse recording, content encoding and show control for the event and, as lead lighting rental coordinator, worked closely with the UVLD design team to furnish a substantial lighting and rigging package.
Key to Canon Central, the Expo's main entrance to all exhibits, was WorldStage's custom-built, 20-foot diameter cylindrical rear-projection screen. Steve Zink, the executive producer came up with the idea to have cylinder in the center of the space, to showcase Canon's brand and video shot on Canon's 5D mark II camera.
"It was the Expo's show piece and image statement," says Scharff Weisberg president Josh Weisberg. "It had to look awesome, and it did. With an image area 65 feet wide and 10 feet high containing 1080 x 6737 pixels, the screen displayed content of all kinds, including, at times, a contiguous image. We decided to take a rear-screen approach to avoid ambient light issues and that meant projectors needed to be placed within the cylinder circumference. It also meant that the screen could not have internal structure of any significance. It took many design hours between the Stewart Filmscreen folks, who fabricated the cylinder and screen fabric, and ourselves to come up with the best design."
In the final design, eight Christie HD10K-M DLP projectors were placed on top of the screen, which utilized Stewarts Aeroview 70 material. Four Pandora's Box servers were used for media playback, warping and as a vehicle for routing PowerPoint graphics. A sound system, featuring D&B Q1 and 10 speakers, sub woofers and a Meyer UPA, was also installed. Florian Mosleh served as the Pandora programmer.
The future of image areas focused on Canon's experimental work in advanced imaging technology. WorldStage delivered video and audio technology spotlighting technology in development, furnishing HD monitors, projection displays and sound systems for exhibits that interacted with Canon products of the future.
WorldStage also supported on-site media encoding and editing in HD using their portable editing package. The company also provided a Medialon show control system to assist cueing for the scripted presentations.
In the ancillary and breakout rooms WorldStage supplied Meyer UP and Apogee AE series speakers, Midas and Yamaha audio consoles, Barco Screen Pro switchers and Christie HD10K-M DLP projectors.
In addition, World Stage provided a system for time-lapse recording using a pair of Canon's EOS 5D Mark II digital SLR cameras mounted on truss.
Twenty-three tractor-trailer loads of lighting gear for the Expo were pre-installed and pre-trussed using swing-wing truss by Scharff Weisberg Lighting for UVLD 's John Ingram and Greg Cohen who crafted a highly-functional and well-received lighting design. David Rees was UVLD's design project manager.
"The lighting and rigging component of this project was well beyond the normal trade show booth requirement. It was much more like lighting many large trade show booths simultaneously," reports Scharff Weisberg Lighting senior rental manager Terry Jackson. "To ensure that the rig went up in the air with a minimum of time and labor, the system was prepped extensively in our shop before delivery so that it could be flown immediately once it was in place on the floor. I can't complement the electrics crew enough, especially Tom Blancato, who made our lives much easier due to the thoroughness of his preparation."
Among the lighting equipment supplied were 300 ETC Source Four conventional fixtures; 60 ARRI fresnels; 300 VARI*LITE and 300 Martin moving light fixtures; 400 ETC sensor dimmers plus five grandMA consoles networked via 800 feet of fiber optic reels.
"Having known and worked with Josh Weisberg and the team for more than 25 years, I recognize their expertise, which crosses video, audio and lighting. This was an unusually large job that required an enormous amount of integration. I was very confident that WorldStage was up to the task and, as usual, they exceeded my expectations," concludes Steve Zink.
For WorldStage, Tony Rossello was Scharff Weisberg's overall project manager with additional project management provided by Andy Muller, Guy Bostian and Jack Dussault. John Ackerman was engineer-in-charge and Tom Donoghue was tech supervisor for the cylinder installation. In addition, a crew of more than fifty WorldStage technicians took part in the installation and operation of this project.
WorldStage is a collaborating partner to clients requiring unique and imaginative solutions for their event, spectacle and large-meeting lighting, sound and video requirements whether local, national or worldwide. For more information visit www.scharffweisberg.com or www.videoapps.com.