Building upon the success of a decade-long collaboration, the 2017 version of the Turner Upfront and NewFront broke new boundaries for the annual event. Long an important opportunity to define the cutting edge in production design and event technology for corporate marketing, the annual event this year improved upon prior years by utilizing a stage design that fit the wide, low-ceilinged Theater @ Madison Square Garden to a “T”.
To support the stage design conceived and produced by Lititz, Pennsylvania-based ATOMIC, WorldStage drew upon their wide inventory of LED video displays and media server systems, along with an extensive camera package and a few unique audience engagement elements.
Similar to most highly successful events, planning on the Turner Upfront starts early. This year, WorldStage sent staff and equipment to Turner’s Atlanta headquarters to rehearse with network executives and to Lititz to rehearse with the technical teams prior to the events. “We start rehearsing extra early for the shows,” says WorldStage account executive TJ Donoghue, which results in a very smooth running production despite the show’s complexity.”
Turner presented a dynamic, 90-minute showcase of its media brands – including Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, CNN, HLN, TBS, TNT, truTV and Turner Sports – in the Upfront at The Theater at Madison Square Garden (MSG). The biggest Upfront in years highlighted Turner’s ability to re-imagine the viewing experience for consumers while delivering for advertisers on a massive scale.
Laura Frank of Luminous FX was the screens producer for the Upfront. WorldStage provided a huge configuration of LED walls for the vast MSG space featuring 900 3.9mm lightweight LED tiles and 300 Roe Hybrid 18 18mm pixel pitch LED tiles. Redundant d3 Technologies PRO 4x4 media servers fed the displays while a Dataton Watchout system was employed as an extra level of redundancy.
To capture all the action, WorldStage also provided 18 Sony cameras switched through a Grass Valley Karrera switcher. Two cameras were dedicated to the Red Carpet for the broadcast and webcast pre-show; six were live inside the theater. Another ten cameras were part of the “Talent Pods” in the lobby where guests could step into one of four pods equipped with monitors and handsets and chat with Turner celebrities, such as Shaquille O’Neal, backstage in the green rooms.
Earlier, Turner had held its digital content NewFront at Clarkson North, the event space along the Hudson River. ATOMIC created individual areas for Turner brands Bleacher Report, CNN, and Great Big Story with two small stages for presentations.
Visitors entered through an immersive tunnel by multimedia artists Dave and Gabe with interactive projection screens on all sides. When they emerged they were greeted by a mosaic video wall, designed by ATOMIC, with screens and software provided by WorldStage, comprised of 36 different displays – from conventional TVs to Apple i-devices, Kindle and Android platforms – symbolizing the variety of ways content is consumed today. WorldStage’s Michael Kohler developed a custom app that enabled Turner content to play out on the myriad screens.
The Bleacher Report, CNN, and Great Big Story areas were outfitted with approximately 40 displays ranging from 24- to 80-inch monitors plus eight projection screens. Content was fed by a large Harris routing system. Presentations from the stages were routed to all the displays; at other times each area displayed its own unique video content loop.
Some screens in Bleacher Report used WorldStage’s exclusive Viz140 system to display Instagram and Twitter feeds. Bleacher Report and CNN had integrated Android apps on 55-inch touchscreens so visitors could interact on large displays.
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WorldStage Inc., the company created by the merger of Scharff Weisberg Inc and Video Applications Inc, continues a thirty-year legacy of providing clients the widest variety of entertainment technology coupled with conscientious and imaginative engineering services. WorldStage provides audio, video and lighting equipment and services to the event, theatrical, broadcast and brand experience markets nationally and internationally. For more information visit www.worldstage.com