We hope you enjoy the article below on our latest and one of our most favorite projects to date; the article makes it sound easy to pull off the design, but it was anything but easy. Special notice needs to be given to Chris Burgin and Andy Hammond who worked non-stop to engineer and flesh out the design of the "napkin concept". Without Chris and Andy's hard work and talent, the concept would be worth about as much as the napkin.
We also want to thank Creative Connors who supplied the automation hardware and software that we purchased to automate the turntable. You guys rock!
Finally we want to thank the video crew who pulled off a flawless show with this new deign: Mike Graves, Production Manager; Matt Brewer, LED and Media Server lead; Tony Habich, Video Director; Dave Clan, LED Technician; Daniel Baxter, Lighting; Mark Belicove, Audio and Nate Webster, Graphics.
Our team loves a challenge and everyone played a critical role in a successful show. We used the turntable two months later with great success and we are at it again next month (June) with another turn or two.
The turntable is rated for use with loads of up to 30,000 lbs.“We meet with a client on a Wednesday in December. They pushed us pretty hard to come up with something new and different to work within a space,” says Davis. “That Friday, on the flight home to Louisville, I started doodling like everyone does. There was a little ring on the napkin from my coffee. I started to draw and completed the circle, from there I started thinking ‘What if I build a turntable?’ And so this coffee ring kind of morphed into a circle, and then into an stage design for our client.”
Pretty soon, the idea of a turntable was turning around in Davis’ mind, and he started thinking of how it could be used as a reveal for the band or an event finale. He then imagined placing an LED wall on the turntable and curving it. “What if we flanked the turntable with LED panels and put it on traveler track to have even more reveal and endless walk-on opportunities?”
The turntable is rated for use with loads of up to 30,000 lbs. Napkin Sketch to Showtime
Back on the ground, the design quickly became reality. Forty five days after the flight and the napkin sketch, the turntable, curved LED panels and traveler track were fully designed and in place, used for an awards show at a big convention that took place Jan. 31-Feb. 2 within the Hilton Convention Center in Branson, MO.
The system consists of 80 curved EC-10 LED panels on a ground-supported turntable, plus 100+ EC-20 LED panels on traveler tracks. Despite the high number of panels used, the two-rail system is rigged at only six points with 48 casters beneath. The entire turntable, rated for use with loads up to 30,000 lbs., can support anything from a large band setup to an automobile for reveals.
“We may have over-engineered the structure, but we wanted to be able to offer this to almost anyone without weight being an issue,” Davis says. “What we did was, we built in plates into the turntable and had that part of the engineering so that we can have three towers that connect to the turntable. That means the wall is 100 percent supported by the turntable.”
The finished look along with its functional aspects, the design gives free rein to a variety of aesthetic designs with LED panels ranging in resolution from 10mm and 20mm working at various depths and consisting of both moving and stationary elements.
“The fact that we can support a curved video wall this size from the ground, a 10mm video system, speaks to the fact that it’s lightweight. It took the weight off the structure so we could use it for other purposes,” Stewart notes.
Space is often an issue with such a large video setup, and the backstage area for the Branson event was no different, with only six feet to work with. “This level of production, with such a small footprint, is only possible with LED, and with the modular Martin LED panels we could fit it to the space,” Davis says. “It’s also easy to strip it down and send it out to another user.”
LED Screen Control
The system is controlled via the Martin P3 System Controller. Davis notes that, along with intuitive and straightforward LED setup, P3 can be used to control the LED screens like lighting instruments with direct DMX control of brightness, color, pixel-mapping and more.
The entire system is portable and highly configurable to a client needs. While the system was initially designed to incorporate the Martin LED panels, Davis says it can use alternatives as well. “Since the wall is so modular, we can hang the LED panels, hard walls, curtains, almost anything the client request,” says Davis.
“We’re not done yet,” Davis adds, noting how Axxis is busy with tweaks and improvements. Originally, “the turntable was not able to continually revolve. It had to go back the way it came.” A slip ring solution now addresses that hurdle. “We are working on the wiring and cabling coming through the center hub so the turntable will be able to spin indefinitely without wire getting crossed.”
Axxis plans to reuse the set design often, and is now working on modifications of it for other clients. “Our clients love the fact that we can ‘hide’ something for them until the big moment on stage,” says Davis, noting that the turntable has already been used on different occasions, with more bookings coming in each week