High Definition Projection for His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet.

Thousands of people gathered in Nottingham last week for a series of public talks and teachings given by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama during his 2008 UK Tour. Over 8,000 attended the two days of Public Talks and over 5,000 attended the three days of Teachings at the multi-purpose Trent FM Arena.

To be able to create a sense of intimacy in such a large auditorium QED chose to employ the very latest in large arena audio and video systems.

The brightest single phase 3-chip DLP native HD projectors in the world, the 17,500 ANSI lumen Christie HD18Ks, were the obvious choice to fill the twin 24ft by 13.5ft screens. Not necessarily so obvious was the decision to use Vista Spyders to control the cameras as well as the whole audio visual system. Two linked Spyder 344 units were combined to mix five HDSDI cameras plus DVI graphics and VT sources. Spyder outputs were fed via DVI fibre to the HD18K projectors at 1080p and also to Apple Mac Pro recorders at HD-SDI 1080i, and to Sony HVR-1500 recorders at SDI.

Mixing cameras on Spyder was made easy by use of the Christie’s new Spyder Shotbox which provided regular push-button keyboard control instead of the standard computer interface usually employed to control Spyder. Live HD camera images were supplied by Sony HDW-750 High Definition cameras fitted with Canon HJ40 lenses. With all the signal distribution sent via fibre-optic cable the entire rig was fully digital HD from source to screen, and with no sub-mixing there was no need to employ any audio delay for lip sync.

The quality of images was simply the best that QED has so far achieved in a brightly lit indoor arena. Those who were seated near to the screens were treated to stunning high resolution images instead of the pixelated images usually experienced when sitting closer to standard definition large projection or LED screens.

By very carefully designing the line array sound system and rigging the projectors high enough above the screens there were no restricted views anywhere in the heavily raked arena. The small chassis sizes of both the both the main HD18Ks and back-up machines looked very small indeed in such a large auditorium, yet the brightness was so impressive that the audience could still remain in well lit conditions. Stage lighting had to be relatively low due to HH The Dalai Lama being very sensitive to lighting, yet audience lighting needed to be high, so this was very different to most events.

The HD18Ks were doubled up for live back-up and extra brightness and the geometric correction provided by the Christie Twist modules once again proved to be absolutely vital due to the high and unusual projection angle. Wireless laptop network control enabled all the projectors to be accurately lined up from the audience seating area remotely, and the QED flying brackets made the projector rigging extremely quick and easy.

The central backdrop was brought to life by utilising two twinned Sanyo XF47 projectors which projected high quality gobos onto the central drapes. The images were fed from an Analog Way Di-Ventix seamless switcher and sent to the projectors through the DVI fibre-optic multi-core system. The high definition live camera images and gobo projections combined together perfectly to help create a wonderful backdrop.

The choice of sound system was totally critical, as quality, clarity and total intelligibility was required for every single seat in the arena. The main hang was a new Meyersound Mica curvilinear array, with side hangs and front fills comprising of Meyersound M'elodie, all of which were self-powered, cutting out the need for space for large amp racks. Meyer MAPP online Pro software was used to acurately predict the performance of the system within the room and to ensure full coverage. All system processing was handled by a Meyersound Gallileo 616, and the system was aligned using SIA Smart Live analysis software. The FOH desk was a Yamaha PM5D RH and on-stage monitoring was provided by the self-powered KV2 Audio EX range. The main microphones were Schoeps mk4 with Collete extension tubes, with Neuman TLM 103s and Shure UHF series radio mics for other contributions.

QED’s work for the Dalai Lama dates back to 1991, providing technical facilities and audio-visual services for visits to the UK, France, Spain, the Netherlands and Australia.
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