Jay Smith from Livid Design explains how he's been controlling multiple LED walls with two GrandVJ's and Ohm64 MIDI controllers at the Chayanne concerts from the "No Hay Imposibles" Tour in Puerto Rico.
We have a shoot off company of here Livid Instruments called Livid Design, where we design and produce visuals for concerts and events. Both companies got their start with my initial product the "Viditar" back in 2001, a guitar shaped midi controller for live video mixing. So when we mix the visuals for our events we use our current line of MIDI controllers and a bunch of different softwares.
I have been working for Latin pop star Chayanne for about six years, designing the visuals and providing the gear and crew for his tours. All of the visuals are custom designed and mixed live for each show. We have been working on the "No Hay Imposibles" 2010-2011 world tour for the past year, and during each tour we usually play a handful of shows in Puerto Rico where Chayanne is originally from. For these dates we added a lot of elements to make these shows totally unique.
On the regular dates of the tour we have 5 LED walls controlled with an Ohm64 running ArKaos GrandVJ. For this show I wanted to go for a totally different look and added three more 16'x20' 37MM mesh LED panels on the downstage truss controlled with high speed motors so we could fly them in and out in front of the stage to create a completely different set design, just using video.
On the normal dates for the tour our Video Director Jason Senk controls the five upstage LED walls with an Ohm64 and GrandVJ. For the additional screens we need more control so I ran another Ohm64 and GrandVJ for the downstage LED walls. GrandVJ was a necessity for this show because we wanted to control all of the screens with one output each. GrandVJ lets us setup layers that we map to the Ohm64 so we have unique control over each of the panels from a single computer.
We have the Ohm64 mapped to let us treat all five upstage screens as one, but we also have individual control of each panel. Three lipstick cameras and one program feed are routed through GrandVJ so we can bring up these feeds on any one of the panels using the a live input source by sizing and cropping the image to make it fit on a single panel. Since the output is a non standard size or aspect ratio (144x900 px) we were able to set a custom resolution in GrandVJ and adjust the layers individually.
The faders on the controller let us fade the cameras in and out over the visuals. The kind of options GrandVJ give us opens a lot of creative possibilities for multiscreen and multilayer control with a single DVI output, eliminating the need for an expensive control system like Watchout.
The extra LED we used for this show hangs 90' above the stage on the downstage truss. These LED screens are a mesh style product, so when they are black you can see right through them, and when there is video they look like a solid video wall. I was able to fly them in and out independently, and the ability to control the opacity of the screen was essential. Using a single laptop running GrandVJ I was able to control all three downstage screens by changing the content and opacity on each screen as they moved up and down. GrandVJ also supports videos with alpha channels so I was able to use elements with no background to create a 3 dimensional look on the meshLED.
I am really happy with the combination of GrandVJ and the Ohm64. The fact that they instantly map and I can have LED feedback is a big reason why I chose to use it for this tour. GrandVJ frees me up from being bogged down with a ton of gear and technical issues, and lets me spend more time being creative.
The Ohm64 also has both MIDI and USB outputs also lets me run two computers simultaneously, so I can have total redundancy in my setup. The fact that I can add all this extra LED for one set of shows and run it entirely from GrandVJ on a laptop, and literally put it in my backpack and leave the venue (ok I do have a lot of LED panels to load out too) is a huge benefit for me both in time and cost.