Martin LC Panels launch new Mercedes

Posted on Monday, January 21st, 2008

When Mercedes Benz decided to launch their new C Class car into the Australian market they turned to James Klein of atmosphere to technically produce the event and design the reveal component in an innovative and creative manner.

“My client (3 Degrees Marketing) asked me to come up with a fresh and different way of revealing the car,” explained James. “They didn’t want a normal silk reveal or to drive the car in behind a drape or anything like that. I had a look at the venue, which was Mercedes Benz’ signature showroom/office for Australia and it’s in the shape of the Mercedes Benz symbol; a circular shape with the cross built in architecturally to the building. The client wanted to do the reveal over to one side, driving it through some drapes or something like that, but I said that the room lends itself to do the reveal right in the centre of the space. Basically I left that meeting saying I had an idea and that I’d get back to them.”

James’ idea was to wrap the car in video (initially he was thinking of Element Labs Stealth panels), have all the guests around the vehicle and then raise the video panels into the air to reveal the car. Upon acting on his idea James discovered that there were not enough Stealth panels in the country and also that they were very expensive to hire. Fortunately for James the Martin LC Panels had just made a triumphant entry into the Australian market.

“They were certainly a lot more cost effective and basically I got the same sort of effect for a lot better budget,” he remarked. “The LC Panels also bought a new element into my design; they allowed me to light up the car while the video was still playing around it. This meant there were three stages to the reveal; the complete block out where you couldn’t see the car through the video, we then turned lights on whilst the video screen was down so you could see the car through the video and finally the whole screen rose up into the roof revealing the car.”

Working out how to hang the LC Panels in that particular configuration took a bit of time with James using Vectorworks to model the LC Panels, which are designed to be hung straight as a rectangle, into a curved shape. The result was that it was impossible to discern the start point for the video, which scrolled around in 360 degree motion.

”Chameleon Touring Systems, who supplied the LC Panels, and I did a few tests in the warehouse beforehand,” commented James. “I took the design of the panels off the internet, and then drew them up in Vectorworks onto a circular truss to work out how many Panels we’d need and whether they would fit. I worked out that we’d have a gap of about 30 centimetres left over but the guys at Chameleon and I experimented with taking some rods out of the Panels, keeping the whole frame. I wasn’t sure if the remaining rods would continue to work but they did so we customized one of the Panels to fill the 30cm gap.”

The reveal worked perfectly and the event was highly successful. According to James, the client was thrilled and the event was held at several more Mercedes Benz showrooms throughout the country.

The reveal began with Jade McRae singing ‘Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz’ as she descended down a staircase. As she touched the LC Panels, the launch sequence was triggered and the reveal happened.

The video images were run off a Hippotizer media server using custom-made content from Atmosphere as well as generic Hippotizer images. The LC Panels were run separate from the lighting to ensure that James had total, individual control.

Martin MAC700 profiles and MAC600 washes complimented the LC Panels as well as profiles and fresnels to supply generic lighting around the room. LED lighting in the form of twenty-four Pulsar ChromaBanks and Pro Shop LED Honeycombs were also utilized.

“I’d like to use the LC Panels on heaps of different shows,” concluded James. “My overall opinion is that they’re a fantastic, cost effective way to get a Stealth-like effect. I believe there are so many different uses for them, they’re really versatile and they can adapt to a whole range of different scenarios. I think they’ll be getting used over and over again and incorporated into more and more shows. Plus they’re so much cheaper than the high-end video gear. I also like the fact that they’re 2 metres high by 1 metre wide as that gives you a lot of screen surface for a relatively small hire charge. For the same hire charge you’d only get 30cm x 30cm of Stealth screen. Yes, it has a higher resolution but I’m not so fussed about that – I’m more there for the effect and bang for your buck. The LC Panels deliver a fantastic solution to incorporating video into a show.”

Microhire supplied the other audio visual gear, Norwest Melbourne did the audio whilst Chameleon supplied the LC Panels and the lighting.