Staging a birthday

Quorum Productions has staged a fake TV show to celebrate the birthday of French housing office, Dynacité. The resulting event incorporated sophisticated projection across nine screens.

For 60 years Dynacité, the public office for land settlement and construction, has worked to govern the building of housing in France. To celebrate the landmark age Dynacité decided to stage a fake TV show, gathering local politicians for the event held over one day.

The Office is part of the French department of Ain, situated on the eastern edge of the country. It was created to help reconstruction after World War II and work to solve the resulting housing crisis. However, the Office continued its work after the crisis and maintained its focus on housing projects. The Office is now responsible for 24,000 abodes through six different agencies.

Dynacité turned to Publicis Link, a public relations agency that offers services in event communication, to produce the show that was staged before an audience of 800 people at the exhibition centre in the town of Bourg-en-Bresse, located in eastern France. Publicis Link handed over the audiovisual elements of the show to Quorum Productions, which was tasked with creating a stage backdrop comprising nine screens.

Laurent Labrosse, associate, multimedia and R&D director at Quorum, explained: “The event started in the afternoon and continued through the night with about 800 people who came to attend Dynacité’s birthday. Many different themes were on the programme in order to trace the 60 years of existence of the Public Office.”

Labrosse submitted designs for a stage of 26m and proposed visual scenery that integrated topical pictures as a backdrop for debates. Quorum’s solution was selected and the company was hired to provide the complete technical service for scenery, structure, furniture, sound and lights. The company had to deploy thirty people and invest three days in set-up. This was no small feat for a company that consists of 16 permanent employees. However, Quorum regularly employs contract workers to assist it in the production of between 100 and 120 shows a year for customers in communication agencies or companies in the pharmaceutical, food or banking industry so felt it was well placed to handle the event.

“We had a total of nine screens of different sizes and formats suspended on the stage, and two Christie HD18 Mirage video-projectors to cover these screens,” continued Labrosse. Two screens of 240x180cm were joined to create one large screen of 480x180. Three existing screens of 240x180 were utilised alongside two existing screens of 390x220. And two screens of 513x289 hung alongside a single screen of 385x289. All screens were custom made by Quorum.

“During debates, pictures were opened on each screen in order to illustrate the speakers’ speeches, display PowerPoint presentations and broadcast movies, animations and camera feeds. The challenge was to have the ability to switch in fade all these screens with different sources, independently or simultaneously, on demand. During jingles, one video source was displayed in very high resolution on all screens, each screen showing the corresponding part of the image to give the impression of a single projection.”

Sources consisted of a Wings platinum multi-screen system from Stumpfl, made of two kits with one master PC and two slave PCs each. To generate different picture sources and animate the stage according to each theme the company also used four other PCs for PowerPoint presentations and five Sony HDC1500 cameras, two hard disk drives and one autocue PC. A JVC shoulder form factor camera, that was able to roam from point to point, supported the Sony models. The camera was fitted with a Cam-Wave wireless camera transmission system that sent uncompressed video images from the camera to a receiving station. A Panasonic video switcher handled all the camera signals. A 12x8 Extron matrix handled routing.

Labrosse said the event provided Quorum Productions with many challenges. “For this event, we needed to do picture in picture (PIP). Basically, the two video projectors were in soft edge mode in order to create IMAG over two screens (2 x 1920 x 1080), and each of the nine screens corresponded to the opening of a PIP. For that reason, we needed many PIPs. Each PIP had the same size as the corresponding screen, and I was opening and replacing sources in each screen to display computer of video sources, animations, and so on.

Analog Way products were selected to handle transitions for each PIP, with Labrosse opting for three Di-VentiX II, one Eikos, one Di-VentiX and two EventiX. The Eikos and one of the Di-VentiX II units were used to premix video sources towards two main PIPs. The two other DiVentiX II units allowed handling of the four PIPs and the two backgrounds coming from the Wings system. All the Analog Way switchers were linked and a Kramer matrix handled routing.

“The goal was to be able to make a transition in fade, sometimes with one PIP, or with two, four or even six PIPs simultaneously, without passing through black,” explained Labrosse. “Thus I needed a great number of layers to make a true fade for each source. To control the show, I chose two event controllers from Analog Way, the Orchestra and TripliX.” For the stage feedbacks, four 42” NEC plasmas were installed as well as four 24” high-definition Asus LCD screens integrated into the table. A four channel Neutrik Opticalcon connection system handled signal distribution over fibre optic.

Speakers at the event were provided with a Sennheiser EW335 G3 wireless microphone system, which was supported by four Sennheiser SK300G3 and eight Shure MX412 lapel microphones. As the TV show format was played out, politicians and public figures were seated at tables on the stage for interviews and speeches. The audio was played out to the audience along with soundtracks for the visual aspects broadcast across the innovative background of nine screens. All audio mixing was taken care of with a Yamaha LS9 console. D&B speakers and amplifiers managed the sound reproduction.

Labrosse feels that Dynacitè was very pleased with the event and he’s probably right as the company subsequently recommended Publicis and Quorum Productions to the Public Office for Land Settlement and Construction of the Rhone department for their next event. After all, nothing says happy birthday quite like a few PIPs and some multi-screen projection.


D&B speakers and amplifiers
Sennheiser EW335 G3 microphone system, SK300G3 lapel microphones
Shure MX412 lapel microphones
Yamaha LS9 mixer

Analog Way Diventix II, Eikos, Eventix, Diventix, Orchestra, distribution amplifiers
Asus LCD
AV Stumpfl Wings
Christie Mirage projectors
Extron matrix and distribution amplifiers
Kramer DVI matrix
NEC plasmas
Neutrik Opticalcon fibre optic connection system
JVC GY HM700 video camera
Panasonic AV-HS450N video switcher
Sony HDC1500 cameras and editing recorders

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