Pandora’s Box previews at Funniest Home Videos

Posted on Monday, February 16th, 2009

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Towards the end of last year Channel 9 produced their popular Funniest Home Videos Grand Final at Brisbane’s Southbank. Stuart Anderson was the Lighting Designer and Lighting Production Manager with Ryan Swan the Lighting Director.

Paul Collison was bought in to operate the moving lights which included Martin MAC2000 spots. LED technology was utilized to the max with 18 x GLP Impressions, 24 x Martin Stage Bars, 54 x Martin LC Panels and some LED tubes. Control was via a MA Lighting grandMA, an MA Lite and three NSP nodes. Three Unique hazers provided atmospherics and there were 108 conventional fixtures in the rig.

Paul also bought with him a brand new secret tool – three coolux Pandora Box software packages to use with both the LC Panels and a centre LED screen (a folsom was used to convert the DVI to SDI and send it to the OB truck from where what went into the main screen was controlled). An ArKaos Media Server ran content to the LED tubes. This was the first time that Pandora’s Box has been used in the country and Paul admits it was used without any official training from coolux!

“It was maybe a bit of a gamble at that stage but we were very happy with how things turned out,” said Paul. “The first time I heard about Pandora’s Box was when I was doing a seminar for MA Lighting in Korea. It wasn’t until I sat down in the room that I realised there was going to be a three hour presentation on the coolux media server and I wasn’t too happy about it. I thought I knew what media servers were and I didn’t need to hear about one for three hours. However by the end of the presentation I wanted to know where to buy one!!”

At that time there was no distributor for coolux products in Australia but once Paul heard that Show Technology had taken it onboard and that there would be quality support for it in the country, he immediately purchased some Pandora’s Box Media Players. Paul’s enthusiasm saw his Pandora’s Box in use at Funniest Home Videos Grand Final.

“It was the perfect show to give it a run on,” he said. “Vince Haddad and I spent a couple of days working it out and I really liked the fact that we could grab the software, install it and make it work. Obviously since I’ve been properly trained to use Pandora’s Box I can do far more with it!”

Paul describes Pandora’s Box as a very smooth product that runs video very, very well.

“In fact that’s the first thing that drew me towards it. Most media servers tend to lack the fundamental ability to play a video clip smoothly from start to finish but Pandora’s Box can.”

A cool feature that Paul discovered with Pandora’s Box is the way that it’s networkable; it’s very similar to the MA Lighting system in that you can control multiple servers and have them all syncronised down to each frame of vision.

“As a result timing is never an issue with your pictures,” Paul commented. You can use the networkable control either via the timeline manager like a video product or you can run it like a traditional media server off the console.”

Paul ran the Pandora’s Box software like a media server from the grandMA console for Funniest Home Videos as the video content was fairly simple.

Lighting gear was supplied by Chameleon Touring Systems.