20 Nov 2014

The Royal Agricultural & Horticultural Society of South Australia turns 175 with Novatech

It’s not every day you celebrate your 175th birthday. South Australia’s Royal Agricultural & Horticultural Society is the institution behind the Royal Show, and the second oldest organisation in the state after the Police Force. With deep connections to the State’s primary producers and a special place in the heart of every child who’s ever been to the Show, it befitted such a beloved institution to celebrate in style.

1,500 members of the Society were invited to attend a gala dinner at the Goyder Pavilion of the Adelaide Event and Exhibition Centre on Saturday 26th July. Unbeknownst to most of the guests, one of Australia’s leading production companies, Adelaide’s Novatech Creative Event Technology, started technical preparations for the event months beforehand. Novatech had four giant cycloramas custom manufactured for the event. With two measuring 74 metres x 9 metres and two at 50 meters x 9 metres, the diners were surrounded by an enormous canvas that was used to project imagery and video illustrating the long and rich history of the RAHS.

Hanging in the centre of the room above the presentation stage, four projection screens carried live images of hosts and guest speakers, as well as pre-made custom video content. Handling the pre-visualisation, projection mapping, content storage, delivery and live switching of the complex video presentation were five of Novatech’s industry-leading d3 Technologies media servers, including two of d3’s new 4x4pro models. The combination of d3’s incredibly powerful software and hardware allowed Novatech to model the physical requirements of the system at the design stage, map the vision across projectors, store and distribute a vast amount of content in High Definition and output 15 independent video streams at once. As the event images demonstrate, the results were breathtaking.


But it wasn’t just digital sweat that powered the show; over 1000 crew hours were dedicated to the event. Technical work started at the venue early in the week, with staff spending two days setting up before a rehearsal on the day of the show. Amazingly, after the guests had left, the entire rig was removed from the venue in just three hours. In addition to the state- of-the-art video system, Novatech provided all projection, screens, lighting, audio, signal distribution and drapes, including a huge 304 meters of black drapes hung behind the cycloramas to control light spill from backstage and catering areas.

Audio was more than capably handled with a six zone PA of L’Acoustics Kara, supplemented with L’Acoustics SB18 subwoofers. Bands worked across two stages, and were mixed from an AVID Profile digital desk. Martin Mac Vipers, Clay Paky Sharpy’s and GLP X4’s lit the stages, with 16 more Mac Vipers and 48 X4’s covering the tables. ETC Source Four Profiles illuminated the remaining entrance way, foyer, and backstage areas. Lighting control was tasked to an MA Lighting MA2. Projectors included 14 Barco FLM HD20s and four Barco RLM W8s. Video distribution was via Optocore, with a fail-safe redundant video switching system provided by Lightware. Three JVC HD video cameras were used to capture live video, distributed with no visible delay through the d3 system.

Now, it just wouldn’t be show business if the crew didn’t silently and efficiently avert a major crisis without anyone being the wiser. One hour before guests were due to walk through the door, a false alarm activated the building’s fire alarms and extractor fans. The resultant suction caused the giant, sail-like cycloramas to physically move out of position, which meant the focus and setup of 18 separate video projectors, which had taken hours to set, had to be changed as quickly as possible. Novatech’s crew not only achieved this, but did it all remotely from their video control room with only a single camera feed from the room to guide them. Now that’s how you put on a Royal Show!


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