Surgery on show

AUTHOR: Inavate

Experienced events firm GL Events has provided an extensive projection, digital signage and presentation solution for the Cardiac Surgery World Congress in the CCIB in Barcelona, Spain. InAVate spoke to Didier Charles, the company’s Technical Manager.

“In January 2007, we worked on the Cardiac Surgery World Congress, in Barcelona’s largest convention centre, the CCIB for one of our clients, The Europa Organisation,” begins Didier Charles. Over four days the centre welcomed some 12,000 delegates to the convention where they took part in a host of seminars, presentations and discussion panels aimed at furthering and sharing knowledge of their profession.

GL Events were invited by the Europa Organisation to supply AV services for the event replacing their partner of ten years. Part of the reason for this was they were able to provide a very detailed proposal. This included a full technical plan drawing prior to the event, with precise specifications, which was particularly helpful as the event was taking place in a venue unfamiliar to the customer.”

“We were asked to equip nine conference rooms with video, lighting and sound equipment as well as an internal TV network and to record all of the meetings. Projection in all the rooms was at 1400 x 1050 resolution. We used two separate projection solutions across the nine rooms. Four rooms were equipped with a solution based on Christie projection and Analog Way signal processing and control products. We used eight Christie 16k’s coupled with Analog Way’s Di-VentiX seamless switchers. Each room was fitted with a pair of Di-VentiX units. However, we did not use the soft edge blending mode, they were used to control the “yard” and “garden” screens. These simply represent the left and right screens of a triple image projection. These side images were manipulated using a TripliX console, which was mainly used to simplify the process and give easier access to the commands.”

The second set, of five rooms, was equipped with a Barco solution. The largest of the rooms was fitted with three Barco FLM20 20k lumen projectors and the four smaller ones with three Barco R12+s. The projectors are all controlled by Barco’s Encore presentation solution, which consists of the Athena Scaler, Encore video processor and the Encore control desk.

With the large number of separate rooms in play at once, controlling the show was quite tricky. Six of the auditoriums have their control gathered together in one room. Each was monitored by a pair of cameras to provide a calibrated view of events. By bringing all the control together in one space, it significantly reduced that amount of technical installation that had to be done in each auditorium. The remaining three conference rooms had to have their own control rooms as they were spread further apart on the CCIB campus. Images were delivered to all the projectors via DVI-D signal over fibre. GL Events also employed large number of signal converters from Fulsom and Extron to convert video to DVI or from DVI to SDI signals.

“The objective of the convention was to present new technologies and new working methods in the field. We had a wide variety of sources that had to be presented at very high quality. They included presentation slides, live satellite broadcasts, high-resolution images of endoscopies and captures of the live presentations of the speakers. The mixing of these sources had to be flawless in terms of image quality and colour. During the conference we were receiving by satellite images of live open-heart surgery.”

The audio system for each auditorium followed a standard template. It was a fairly standard analogue system with twelve possible external sources including the satellite feed, digital betacams, hard disk storage or DVD/VCRs. Each room had two external channels and five AKG CK47 microphones along with a head-worn SK 112 from Sennheiser. The sources were mixed by Yamaha LS9 desks and reproduced through L-Acoustics MTD 112 and 115 loudspeakers.

One of the other features of the convention was the site-wide IPTV network. “Synchronisation of the image feeds from our various sources was important for the TV network,” said Charles. “We used the CCIB’s own internal network for signal distribution, which is a combination of optical fibre and Cat-6 cabling. We installed six IP encoders in the control room and then each display was equipped with a set top box to receive the different channels.” The displays used were Panasonic 42” TH-42PH10UK and 50” TH-50PH10UK plasmas, which are located at the entrances to each conference room and the main foyer.

Asked what the main challenges were that his company faced during the show Didier said: “One of the hardest things was to recreate the ergonomics of a control room with small mixers with T-Bars, previews, programs and effects, and to avoid making selections on the front panels of the products. Use of the TripliX as a secondary control interface was the solution.
“We also worked from eight to ten months prior to the event, which helped us to anticipate possible problems. The specification and planning evolved over that period, but we were able to keep track of this and avoid surprises. Three months before the convention we worked with the customer in our show room on the various technical aspects of the project to iron out any problems. Also, a large amount of the sequences were recorded in advance and once we had all the sources available we spent a day setting parameters and programming, and another day encoding. Proper preparation was the key.”