BlackBox Debuts Alpha at ProLight + Sound; Announces New Partners

Posted on Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

You have no doubt read about or seen preliminary demos on BlackBox from CAST Software, the world’s first combination of hardware + positioning + interconnecting + communicating + speed for the entertainment production industry. But in just the past few months, the production solution has grown by leaps and bounds. For starters, BlackBox has added three new partners filling the categories of media server, stereoscopic camera and network technology.

What’s equally as exciting is that the first Alpha version will be debuted during ProLight + Sound, and the system is already in preliminary specifications for some of the biggest upcoming productions, including the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India.

If you don’t know about this revolution, a quick definition is in order.

BlackBox uses a new wysiwyg.bbx proprietary “CAD-type” software which defines the space (establishing “0”0”0”). BlackBox receives and converts live positional data received from input various devices, such as RFID, stereoscopic/thermal camera, SONAR, RADAR, about any/many moving objects, establishes the exact 7D positions of those objects, computes instructions in XYZ, plus yaw, pitch, roll and time terms, and shoots out moving positional information so moving lights, set pieces, spatial sound, media servers, robotic cameras, etc. are synchronized and tracking to the action of those moving objects, all at a minimum speed of 50 Hz.

The design is plug-and-play – the brilliance is that these devices have never before talked to each other – the speed is realtime!

CAST has been working with key industry leaders – each a respected innovator in its own field – to ensure BlackBox meets its technical objectives.  In exchange, these companies are granted a 12-month exclusive partnership to capitalize on the power and speed of BlackBox in the market once it is available for general distribution, likely later this year.

After a round of successful demonstrations and high-quality reviews following PLASA and LDI, we are proud to announce that Coolux, Magna BSP Ltd. and SAND Network Systems have joined the ranks of our current partner network.

Coolux Media Systems, with locations in the USA, Germany and China is the producer of the award-winning Pandora’s Box media and show control system, the solution for realtime video editing and image processing. Pandora’s Box Media Servers and Players are a scalable network system with access to all common control protocols from within their Media Net platform.

Magna BSP of Israel is the producer of BiScopic Protection, a high performance stereoscopic vision sensory system for the detection of perimeter intrusion. BiScopic Protection (BSP) is based on a pair of electro-optic cameras – CCD and/or infrared thermal imagers – to achieve high probability of detection while maintaining a low false alarm rate (FAR). It operates 24/7 in all conditions and can detect a target as small as one pixel and even less. The unique stereoscopic vision feature of the system and its sophisticated software allows accurate detection of objects and a precise estimation of their size, distance, height above ground, azimuth and other critical characteristics. The system can filter the detected objects according to a wide range of parameters.

SAND Network Systems, Inc. (SandSys) with locations in California and Norway is dedicated to control and network technology, developing and manufacturing hardware and software for Ethernet and USB, entertainment-specific technologies like DMX, RDM, ACN, MIDI, wireless DMX, as well as a number of open and manufacturer proprietary protocols.

These highly respected companies join the existing BlackBox partners including

MA Lighting of Germany for lighting control; Niscon Inc. of Toronto Canada for motion control via its Raynok Motion Control System Software; Out Board Electronics’, of London UK, TiMax Audio Imaging delay matrix system for sound automation; and Ubisense, providing rapid response realtime location detection.

“Our industry continually strives for more impressive creative results to wow audiences by investing significant capital in technology, innovation, and robotization,” says Gil Densham, President of CAST Software.  “Accomplishing the creative objectives means it is vital that each disparate technology communicate and work seamlessly together.  BlackBox is designed to deliver these solutions.

“CAST’s BlackBox is a truly collaborative effort. We selected our partners to help us ensure that BlackBox becomes the solution we envision. Together, we will develop a technology solution that may revolutionize our industry and, while doing so, each partner will showcase their own technology to demonstrate the collaborative power and speed of BlackBox. Continuing our mission for universality in the industry, which accounts for the substantial growth of wysiwyg’s developer programme, we think industry professionals should be able to pick and mix the equipment/manufacturers that deliver the technology they need to get the results they want. Ongoing development will see BlackBox also become a universal solution for the benefit of the entire industry — it will interface with the input/output devices made by numerous manufacturers.”

For the highly automated, high-tech entertainment industry in particular, using BlackBox means that formerly autonomous technologies can work together as one, live and realtime, in both dynamic and pre-programmed ways. It means a better coordination of a production, in addition to no more missed cues or potential collisions.

BlackBox will also deliver higher revenues (productions with more wow and spontaneity), substantial cost savings (reduced precuing and rehearsal times; labour efficiencies), and improved carbon footprint (previsualization and less setup/rehearsal time in venues).

The gains made possible by BlackBox make it truly revolutionary!

Don’t miss the Alpha premiere of BlackBox at ProLight + Sound, 24-27 March at Messe Frankfurt in Germany, Hall 11.1, Stand C46.