LiveDesign LiveBlog

I'll take some Mitrix, and could you hand me that life-vest please...

Well, I've just returned from 3 weeks of cruising aboard the inaugural voyage of Holland America's ms Eurodam. I've designed a bunch of shows for Holland America over the last 4 years. Working in the modern cruise era is always dissonant, the theatres are ultra modern, equipped beyond the wildest imaginings of many. Multiple stage lifts, turntables, incredible tracked & automated fly systems that keep flying pieces from moving against the ships motions... Hundreds of Vari*Lites...

And, happily enough for me, a big flying full stage backdrop of MiTrix, and a rack full of Hippotizers to feed it delicious content.

Yet, I'll not pretend that this entertainment is aimed at the serious dramaturgs among us (this is that dissonance part)... Let's face it, this is frothy, fun, uh... Air filled stuff. But it is really pretty, and secretly, I really enjoy it... It's entertainment... You can take the boy out of Vegas, but...

So our mission would be to cook content and cue it for a musical review show called Nightlife. We'd also be making some content tweaks in another review, In Concert. This in the company of my most able Assistant/Programmer, the irascible Sean Cagney.

In the mean time, one of my other partners, Matt Skerritt, would be leading a shooting crew (well really it was just him, me, and our good friend & Grip Gregg Gilmore) in producing all of the custom on-board media that would go with the introduction of a new class of ship. Staterooms have televisions... And these ships all have unique identities in terms of marketing, information, and safety media. So Matt would be shooting and editing on board as soon as the ship left the Fincantieri Shipyard in Venice. By 10 days later he would have to be done creating many pieces of on-board media, just in time for a gala christening and the first cruise from Rotterdam.

It would be a chase to the finish for us both. And we would all do it in a virtual communications blanket. The ship's onboard telecommunication and wireless internet services didn't activate until 3 days before we reached Rotterdam. We were unable to access any media not with us on the ship. We couldn't even call home or check emails... Ever seen what an email box looks like after 2 and a half weeks of not checking it ? Ugly...

But it also cleared the way for us to focus solely on the gigs at hand, which were numerous enough to demand it. Ultimately all the stage shows would be sync'd to SMPTE Timecode and run from a custom AMX control system. First we had to write all of our cues in Sean's GrandMA console. Then identify our proper placement in TC, then merge with the lighting cue stack. Plenty of layers to peel technically. This in addition to generating super hot, pop content.

In our 'spare' time we created all of the media for the christening ceremony itself. A huge dockside arena was constructed, and we would work with XL Video's fabulous gang from London to setup multiple LED screens, roll content from a Catalyst, and catch onstage fun with a sizable IMAG setup. Various Holland America historical pieces, some ship building documentary, and a tribute to the Dutch Royal Family (who attended).

Ultimately we docked in Rotterdam, carried the proverbial day, and delivered a sparkling, vastly entertaining new ship to the cruise mad masses.

Congratulations to Holland America. My what a large boat you have !!

Now off to Amsterdam for some Rest & Recoup... "Hey isn't that Patrick Dierson and Jay-Z in that Bentley ? I love Europe !"

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