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ArKaos PRO MediaMaster PRO 4.0 for Addison Theatre Centre, Texas

ArKaos PRO MediaMaster PRO 4.0 for Addison Theatre Centre, Texas
ArKaos PRO MediaMaster PRO 4.0 for Addison Theatre Centre, Texas

USA - The Addison Theatre Centre, home of the WaterTower Theatre, has invested in ArKaos MediaMaster Pro 4.0 software which it recently utilised on the WaterTower Theatre Company's production of Bonnie and Clyde.

Founded in 1996, the multi-awarding-winning WaterTower Theatre is a not-for-profit professional theatre company that produces six main stage shows each season alongside award-winning educational and community outreach programs.

Earlier this year Fred Mikeska and Darrell Barnes of A.C. Lighting, Inc. (ArKaos’ US distributor) took Arkaos MediaMaster Pro to The Addison Theatre Centre where they presented a full demonstration of its capabilities to technical director, Scott Guenther, and lighting designers, Dan Schoedel and Jason Foster. "The team at Addison Theatre Centre was evaluating different media server options that would meet the venue’s diverse requirements," says Mikeska. "After seeing the presentation by A.C. Lighting, Inc. and downloading the demo version of MediaMaster Pro, the Addison Theatre Centre purchased a full licence of MediaMaster Pro 4.0 which has quickly become an important part of the Centre’s inventory."

Why did Addison Theatre Centre choose Arkaos? Scott Guenther had first investigating media servers at the LDI 2013 show and proceeded to research his options thoroughly over the following months. "We needed something with which to create theatrical environments for the wide variety of productions at ATC," he says. "Two main criteria determined our choice: firstly we wanted media server software – within our budget - that was capable of handling multiple screens and outputs. ArKaos’s MediaMaster Pro was the only product to meet this criteria. Other products we tried required us to buy hardware, or had extremely limited software that would only control a single screen and single output unless we also invested in hardware. Both these options would put us over budget. ArKaos provided the answer we were looking for by being an affordable software-driven solution able to control multiple screens and outputs from a Mac Pro computer.

"Secondly we wanted to invest in devices that could control the ArKaos Kling-Net protocol. Adopting MediaMaster enabled us to purchase a number of LED fixtures which have integrated Kling-Net and can be controlled very successfully using MediaMaster. We are very happy with the result."

Directed by Rene Moreno and with set designed by Sarah Brown, WTT’s production of Bonnie and Clyde was one of the first productions to take advantage of the new MediaMaster Pro. Working in conjunction with Brown, Guenther and Schoedel chose to project onto the set to create the atmospheric locations and deliver topical images of the day.

Two projection areas were incorporated into the set: a soft draped cloth positioned upstage centre which was periodically raised to allow entrances of set and cast, and a irregularly-shaped flat flown in an upstage left position to provide a solid projection surface. Onto these were projected images to replicate environmental indicators like a church exterior or a river; to display text, newspaper headlines, or police photos of Clyde Barrow; and to present historical images such as the exteriors of the Dallas County and McLennan County courthouses.

The irregular shape of the central cloth, hung loosely from above, called for some complex projection mapping around its curves in order to conceal the off-stage set and activity behind the drape. "We used ArKaos MediaMaster to map our images to the unusual shape of the cloth, and also to that of the irregular solid shape, cutting them cleanly to the dimensions of the projection surfaces to ensure there was no spill," says Guenther who was responsible for the content, distribution and management of the system.

All cropping, scaling and positioning of the images was done by Schoedel using a Jands Vista L5 console sending commands to MediaMaster Pro. Guenther and his colleagues prefer this method as it creates a better workflow, does not require the use of multiple devices and can then be used to run/trigger the show.

A Panasonic TP-DW830 8500 lumen projector was used for the centre cloth and a BenQ SH960 5500 lumen projector for the rigid side projection surface. "Both projectors were running in HD but the historical photos were of a grainy texture which didn’t really call for HD!" laughs Guenther.

The WaterTower Theatre Company has used Arkaos MediaMaster Pro on several past projects with Gunther being the only person to use version 4.0 prior to its official release on a production of Carrie the Musical.

"We are very happy with MediaMaster Pro’s capabilities," says Guenther, "and not only on this production. Outside of Addison Theatre Centre we work within a cooperative of lighting, media, sound and stage designers under the name of Full Stage Productions. The portability provided by the ArKaos software in combination with a Mac Pro means that Dan, Jason and I have been able to transport our media handling set up easily to productions in other venues which has been invaluable for our outreach programs."

photos: Dan Schoedel

4th December 2014

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