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LSN Magazine - Road Tests

LSN Magazine

April 2012 Issue
Road Tests
Martin EC-10 LED Panels
Written by Tony Caporale (Read Original Article)
Thursday, 12 April 2012 13:43

In today’s video production industry, vendors and designers have been looking for an impressive, all-purpose LED video panel. A number of video panel manufacturers have answered the call with products that are brighter, more durable, easier to work with and higher-resolution than ever before.
Martin Professional, whose LC Series LED panels broke new ground with their easy cabling, quick setup and user-friendly processing, now offers their 10mm pixel pitch LED display panel, the EC-10. It features a lightweight and cable-free design for a quick and easy setup.

Sleek-Yet-Tough Design

Built with sleek-yet-tough aluminum casing, the EC-10 has a IP65 protection rating and is suited for use in a wide range of temperatures. That makes it well-suited for those tours that shift between indoor and outdoor shows. The EC-10 also is convection-cooled and does not use external fans, eliminating any of those distracting noises.
“This new series is a true 10mm product and one of the lightest panels on the market,” says Brad Haynes, LED product manager from Martin Professional USA. “We are really working hard investing time and money to perfect color calibration on our LED displays,” he adds. “We want to step up and be a heavy hitter in the realm of LED video display.”
With Nichia LEDs and 48-bit color processing, the EC-10 offers a range of color and brightness (3000 nits) that makes the panels a good choice for outdoor events such as amphitheatre shows in broad daylight, punching out a level of brightness that will keep audiences visually satisfied into nightfall. A 2250 Hz LED refresh rate also ensures that the screen will be flicker-free.

Multiple Applications
Stewart Davis, vice president of production at Louisville, KY-based Axxis Production (www.axxisinc.com) got a first look at the EC-10 in action at Soundcheck Nashville (www.soundchecknashville.com), where many bands rehearse and store their gear. (That facility has also become a place in Music City where manufacturers show their products to the folks in the production industry.)
Like Haynes, Davis points to the product’s light-weight and “true color-matching” as key selling points. “It made all of my outdoor environment fears go away,” he says. Davis also pointed to the EC series’ rigging advantages, including a one-man-setup system that doesn’t require any tools or loose parts. Each panel is easy to handle, weighing in at around 29 pounds, and EC-10 panels can be used on a “mix-and-match” basis with Martin’s compatible EC-20 panels.
“We are utilizing the EC-10 and EC20 in environments this year where the incumbent LED display was 6,000-plus pounds,” Davis notes. “We are going in with a similar-sized or larger wall with 2,100 pounds. As a result, we’re putting less stress on support structures and adding to the overall safety of the event. We may even be freeing up weight capacity to allow for more audio to be hung.”
Another rigging advantage, Davis says, is easier and quicker setup and teardown. “Because of the lighter weight and easy assembly, once we start building, we’re live in under an hour,” he notes. “On the strike, the LED video team is now back at the hotel before the audio guys.”

The EC-10’s sleek design eliminates the need for an additional rental structure, and with power and other signal connections built within the panel, there’s no need for cabling between the panels. Because the cable inside the panel is passed from frame to frame, the LED display appears extremely clean. The header bar system — data and power homeruns reside on top of the panels — are another key part of the sleek design.

An additional advantage with the product’s streamlined design is with truck packs and transport. The panel designs allow for a smaller, tighter pack, and because they can go just about anywhere in the truck, that makes for fewer headaches at the beginning and end of the day.
Designers aren’t limited to flat-surface displays, either. The EC series panels feature integrated curving technology that lets users curve them down to 15 degrees concave, all while maintaining a seamless pixel pitch between each curved panel, letting designers go “outside the box” with all sorts of shapes and configurations.

P3 System Controller

Martin’s P3 System Controller, featuring easy-yet-advanced video signal processing and integration with a lighting console, are designed with user-friendly, plug-and-play functionality and Gigabit Ethernet and Cat5e cabling to speed connection and set up time. Along with the EC-10, the P3 System Controller can also be used for other EC and LC panels; no additional video processing units are required — further trimming setup and tear-down requirements.
To date, Davis has used his EC-10 panels on an outdoor event sponsored by the NCAA, an indoor trade show, and for an arena event in Las Vegas. He credits the panels’ ability to stand up to the rigors of a 40-city tour with “flawless performance,” underscoring their advantages of being “very bright outdoors, with great resolution,” and running off of only one processing unit.
 

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