Broadcast and cable networks pack dynamic presentations and star power into their annual upfronts, and Discovery Communications' 2009-2010 upfront presentation, where Idyll Hands Imagery provided multimedia coordination and playback solutions for DePalma Production, Inc. was no exception. Held April 2 in the Frederick P. Rose Hall in Jazz at Lincoln Center, the upfront featured most of the branded Discovery networks (including Discovery Channel, TLC and Animal Planet), unveiling their exciting slates of programming for the upcoming season. Discovery Communications is the world's number-one nonfiction media company reaching more than 1.5 billion cumulative subscribers in 170 countries.
While best known as digital content designers and creators, Idyll Hands also specializes in media coordination and implementation and has developed a reputation as a team player that can work with any project that comes in the door. The Discovery upfront was a particularly collaborative effort that found Idyll Hands partnering with client DePalma Production, Inc., New York-based production company that has produced the show with Discovery for nearly 20 years, and LMG, Inc., who supplied DePalma Production the video and lighting for the shows.
"The intensive techniques on this upfront demanded everyone being 'on,'" notes Idyll Hands' Rodd McLaughlin. "Due to the synchronization of all the elements on this project the entire crew was required to pull off any aspect. It was impressive how everyone on the production came together to seamlessly present the massive amount of video and graphics we had. I attribute he professionalism of Jimmy (DePalma) who created an extremely condusive working environment for everyone."
The upfront created and produced by Discovery Communications and DePalma Production. which focused on "the wondrous, the adventurous and the curious" in the networks' programming, featured close to 1,500 pieces of video and graphics content which Idyll Hands was charged with directing to an array of multimedia displays. They included a large, central HD screen and five supporting screens which were either synched with the main screen or worked independently.
"The multi-layered screens could have the same image, different images or composite images," McLaughlin explains "The beauty of using PRG's Mbox media server was that all the screens could operate on their own while still coordinating imagery with each other. Mbox is an extremely good synchronizing tool."
McLaughlin ultimately found himself controlling six media servers, one for each of the screens, while also playing PowerPoint graphics, synching HDCAM videotape decks to timecode and triggering a Mac Pro desktop system running Playback Pro which handled the main screen rolls.
"In a complex economic environment where shows have super-technical requirements it's a challenge to find a company like Idyll Hands that can combine everything so perfectly," says James P. DePalma of DePalma Production, Inc. "Working with Idyll Hands has been a true pleasure through the years. We have many shows behind us and many more ahead."
Gerard McCarthy was brought on board at Idyll Hands to help with the technical aspects of the set up, assist in content coordination and handle incoming changes for slightly different shows in Chicago, New York and LA, the three upfront venues.
Based in New York, Idyll Hands Imagery is headed by Rodd McLaughlin and Patrick Dierson who have decades of experience in lighting, video and projection to make clients' creative visions a reality. Idyll Hands provides digital content design and creation from the ground up or can transform clients' ideas into digital content for media-server playback. For more information visit idyllhandsimagery.com