Pandora wins at Tamworth

Posted on Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

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The Tamworth Country Music Festival has cemented itself as an Australian January institution and is possibly the biggest party in the whole of the country. The population of Tamworth almost doubles in size to 100,000 and the festival generates more than $40 million to the local economy. They come by ute, bus, train, plane – some blokes used to travel each year by camel – to the large inland city on the banks of the Peel River.

With some 120 different venues showing about 4,000 performances, about 590 buskers on the ‘Boulevard of Dreams’ (Peel Street) and so many visitors, it’s a wonder that country hospitality isn’t stretched to breaking point but the smiles on the locals are as wide as ever.

The festival culminates in the Country Music Association of Australia’s night of nights, the Golden Guitar Awards, which was held this year at the Tamworth Regional Entertainment & Convention Centre. Paul Collison was the lighting designer for the event and saw it as a prime opportunity to utilize the Pandora’s Box Media Server.

On the Funniest Home Videos Grand Final production Paul used the Pandora’s Box Media Player which is the software you use with your own hardware but in Tamworth he used the Pandora’s Box Media Server which is the hardware solution.

Last years Golden Guitar Awards featured one large video screen behind the stage which rather dominated the set and so this year Paul wanted to break up the video elements turning it more into part of the set design than just a video screen.

The LED panels were divided into random strips across the stage with the Pandora’s Box Media Server used to map video, using it more as a wallpaper or set design than a straightforward video screen.

“We were really happy with the Media Server,” Paul said. “When I used the Media Player I was very happy with the smooth playback and the efficiency of the software but using the hardware solution from coolux just took it to another level again. I can definitely see in the near future that products such as Pandora’s Box will be a better solution than software like Watchout and start to bridge that gap between video and lighting. It will bring those departments much closer together.”

Along with the Panodora’s Box Media Server, Paul networked a second Media Player running on a 20inch iMac to send graphics on to the LCD panels on stage. “The LCD panels were only patched in on the day of the show, I used the Spread Content feature of the PB system to spread the content I was using on the main server to the media player. This meant I could clone the Media Player to the Media Server on the grandMA and viola, most of my programming was done for me”

The media used was mainly from the comprehensive collection that Paul has amassed over the past couple of years and included softly moving waves of colour and textures. There were no ‘in your face’ graphics used for this production.

“Video graphics can often be overdone, it was nice to see it as much more of a background than a feature,” remarked Paul.

Paul used Martin MACTW1 fixtures as keylights for the show and he only has one word to describe them.

“Awesome, just awesome,” he said. “I don’t know what else I can say about them. They are hands-down my favorite light. I love the colour mixing and the way they look on camera. Instead of having thirty conventional fixtures in my rig I could use just eight TW1’s with no fuss. They’re just perfect for television.”