Immersed in prayer
AUSTRALIA: Following on from its newly installed d&b V-Series sound system (p16 Worship AVL Asia, Spring 2014) Australia’s Largest Christian Youth and Young Adult Movement Planetshakers City Church was looking to bring its services firmly into the 21st Century. Dan Cornwell and Paul Collison were tasked with production of the church’s Awakening Conference, which saw the congregation relocated to Melbourne’s Hisense Arena to witness an audiovisual display courtesy of Coolux’ Pandora’s box. Equipment for the event was supplied by Resolution X and Big Picture.
The Awakening Conferences have become recurring events taking place in Malaysia, Australia and the US, with Planetshakers first taking part in 1996. The number of people attending this year’s event approached almost 10,000, forcing the church to temporarily relocate from its nearby 2,100 capacity campus. Music has historically played a big part in the event and the church has recorded an album at every show since 2000. Over this time its music profile has reportedly expanded dramatically, and with this so has its focus on entertainment technology.
‘Planetshakers has been using Pandoras Box since 2009,’ explained Mr Cornell, who was responsible for overall production design. ‘At first the system was acquired for soft edge blending a projection display, but since that time, as the product has evolved it has become much more of an asset in the area of content management, particularly in multi-display scenarios. We have trialled similar products over time but nothing has given us the same level of confidence as Coolux.’
A total of eight Pandoras Box Media Player Pro systems were controlled by Media Manager Pro. One layer was assigned to chase SMPTE timecode from Pro Tools with the church’s custom content. The opacity of this layer was controlled by an MA Lighting grandMA2. The remaining layers on each machine were freely controllable from the console, giving the team flexibility for changes.
‘Being able to control the opacity of all video from the lighting console is important for us,’ added Mr Cornwell. ‘The ability for us to lock to timecode was also important as many hours and days were spent creating the custom content, however there were times when the band would break from the form of the song and timecode would stop rolling. In these instances, we could manually trigger loops on the other layers. For me, this was imperative to running proper video with ultimate control.’
With the initial show design completed in late 2013, the following months were dedicated to refining the design, and organising equipment contracts, with the final configuration finished just a couple of weeks before the event. With such an extensive A/V setup, installation was not without its challenges, and it took the team three days just to pre-rig the venue.
‘Our most significant challenge for this year’s event would have been in regards to rigging,’ explained Mr Cornwell. ‘With over 200 points and more than 60,000kg of trussing, rigging, lighting, video and PA, this was probably the most complex show ever held within the 10,000 seat, Hisense Arena. Our crew and in particular, Fergal O’Sullivan from lighting provider, Resolution X came up with a great plan that worked well within the limitations we were given.’
A d&b audio system was used to provide sound coverage, and comprised 56 J-Series and 44 Q-Series full-range cabinets, 12 J-Series subs and 12 J-Series infra subs flown across eight hangs. Nine Midas consoles were used with three Pro9s handling FOH, the band monitors, and recording functions. A further two Pro2s handled vocal monitoring and guest monitoring, a Pro1 was used for broadcast capabilities, and a Pro2C for guest FOH. All consoles were connected via a tie line through a Pro2, which provided a single point of word clock sync as well as the ability to route audio to any point of the building.
The extensive audio and video setup was further enhanced with over 280 lighting fixtures all controlled by Stephen Piemontese. Forty Clay Paky Sharpy’s sat alongside 245 Martin wash, profile, beam, strobe, and quadray luminaries.
Asked whether he would make any changes for similar events in the future, Mr Cornell appeared content with this year’s operations. ‘Given the look of the finished product and the fact that there were no significant issues at all this year, I would be inclined to say no,’ he concluded. ‘Obviously there are always small design aspects that might work better a different way, but overall I was extremely happy with the final result.’