Regarded as the ultimate production showcase by long-term technical partner, Novatech Creative Event Technology, the Australian Hotels Association (AHA) South Australia’s annual AHA Awards for Excellence raised the bar once again this year.
With over 30 awards to present, comperes and performing artists, around 200 time-lined cues, all driven by bespoke video content, the technical design required a solid framework. This was provided by Novatech’s suite of Brompton processing and distribution products, which integrated and simplified the whole LED screen system.
“We have been the technical provider for the AHA Awards for eight years now,” says Bryan Goh, Video Project Manager at Novatech. “It’s one of the signature events in our calendar and we love doing it. It’s a very ambitious event, with fresh concepts every year. They entrust us with creative control over the stage design and technical aspects of the event, which gives us the opportunity to go wild with technology, show off the new toys, and give the hotels industry a great experience,”
For the 2019 ceremony, Novatech went with all-LED screen for visuals. Two 6 x 6.3 metre ROE Visual CB3 3mm LED screens were set left and right of stage, with three curved 4.8 x 4.8 metre ROE Visual CB5 screens were hung on motors to fly in and out, revealing the performing band behind them. Two ‘ticker’ type 9.6 x 1.2 metre long CB5 screens graced each side of the stage, whilst at the rear of the stage, a string curtain digital drape formed a backdrop.
A pair of Brompton SX40 LED processors and Tessera XD distribution units were employed in a main and backup loop for all the ROE CB5 screens, and a pair of Tessera S4 LED processors were used for the ROE CB3 side screens. All LED mapping and content was served and controlled by a Disguise pro media server, and a Ross Carbonite video switcher took inputs from four cameras for live IMAG.
“Having native 4K canvases on the SX40’s, combined with 10G capacity on the XD units, allowed us to push a huge number of pixels with very little equipment,” continues Goh. “A total of seven CB5 LED screens were linked into a single XD unit, with a second employed for redundancy, and we still had boatloads of capacity left! Brompton products help us simplify the gear chain and avoid chewing up multiple processors in mosaic configurations.”
Hosted at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre, the event was attended by over 860 guests, with TV presenter and former professional footballer, Mark Soderstrom, as MC, international cabaret superstar, Hans, as co-host, and entertainment provided by Brisbane indie pop band, Sheppard. Novatech worked with its in-house content creation studio, Campfire Content, to create all the video content and other pre-production elements, such as recording voiceovers, to enable the whole ceremony to flow on the night.
“The Brompton Tessera software and interface is a dream to use compared to other products – the drag, drop, and draw style lets you put LED fixtures anywhere on your pixel canvas,” says Goh. “Being able to see your input live on the canvas helps you quickly map when you can’t see the screen. The network monitoring and control also made on-the-fly adjustments a breeze – we could easily change the brightness and colour information of all LED products and processors from a single interface, and do it comfortably in a show environment. Since we were using three curved LED screens as our stage centrepiece, the On Screen Colour Adjustment (OSCA) mode was also a huge help in reducing the bright lines found in concave LED walls. A quick tweak and all the bright seams were gone.”
“The Tessera SX40 redundancy system is a perfect match for high demand media server work,” adds Novatech Senior Project Manager, Phil Pieridis. “Using the SX40’s Failover system, we essentially had a full, instant swap-over backup system ready to go at any time. If any part of the entire display system failed, no-one would have known!”
Goh rePorts that, yet again, the Awards were a huge success and that using Brompton processors and workflows has significantly changed the way Novatech plans and uses its LED products.
“The processors and receiver cards themselves are rock solid – no signal drops, errors, or glitches over the two days of production!” he concludes. “This alone is the biggest difference over our previous LED products and is why we love our Brompton gear – it just works and keeps on working.”