Chameleon & Enttec Make Light Work of World Youth Day

Posted on Friday, August 15th, 2008

Faced with the challenge of distributing DMX signals across 70 towers surrounding Randwick racecourse, Chameleon turned to Enttec’s ODE with great results.

World Youth Day, held recently in Sydney, is the largest youth event in the world, and with 110,000 international pilgrims from over 170 nations, the largest event ever hosted in Australia. The Final Mass celebrated by the Pope, and overnight vigil leading up to it, were held at Randwick Racecourse, requiring a massive amount of site lighting, supplied by Chameleon Touring Systems.

The site is enormous, capable of holding up to 400,000 people, so the challenge of providing enough light to keep everyone safe during the overnight vigil was a big one, to say the least. Organisers turned to Chameleon Touring Systems to meet the challenge of lighting up all the World Youth Day sites.

One of the big challenges was always going to be the distances involved. With hundreds of par cans, Light Balloons and intelligent fixtures deployed around the site on 70 scaff towers, the data distribution required some planning. World Youth Day were installing a fibre-optic network around the site with HP managed switches for the production departments to utilise. Chameleon decided the best course of action was to distribute Art-Net from their Wholehog II console in the Venue Control Room to the various locations around the site. All they needed was a cost-effective, simple yet reliable, DMX over Ethernet converter to allow this to happen.

Josh Moffat, Chameleon’s Site Lighting Account Manager, remembered seeing the Enttec ODE (Open DMX Ethernet), a single-universe DMX over Ethernet node, during the Entech tradeshow earlier in the year, and realised this would be perfect device for this application.

The ODE supports Enttec’s Node Management Utility (NMU) – a free software package that bypasses IP settings and allows remote configuration of DMX over Ethernet nodes from a central location. This allowed him to assign each node to an Art-Net universe, and change it later if need be, from the control position, rather than having to wander out to each tower to check dip-switches if there were any problems.

The low cost of the ODE (around $350 inc GST) also made it attractive for such a large project, as previously DMX over Ethernet nodes have been well over the $700 mark, making it unaffordable for use on such a scale.

Chameleon got final sign off on their design and proposal with only two weeks until the load in was due to begin, and ordered 90 of the ODE’s to be delivered within 10 days. Enttec were ready and delivered the full amount with a day or two to spare, allowing Chameleon to test the units prior to deploying them in the field.

“We had a minor issue during the initial testing, but Enttec’s support was great and we got them up and running in no time” says Josh. “The NMU application made configuring the ODEs straightforward and easy, and given the size of the network we were putting together, that was really important. In the end, the gig went well and we were really happy with how it all came together”.