Ascender 16 - 4K Supports VJs at Heineken Live Your Music Regional Tour in Malaysia
World-famous brewer Heineken continued its “Live Your Music” regional tour in Malaysia last November and December with a series of curated music events featuring Tiesto and 88rising at the KL Life Centre in Kuala Lumpur. Event organizers Future Sound Asia used Analog Way’s Ascender 16 4K as a 4K scaler and switcher to seamlessly switch between resident and visiting VJs during the shows.
Analog Way’s French headquarters rush-shipped the Ascender from France to arrive at SuaraCahaya Services, the event’s visual hardware vendor in Kuala Lumpur, in just four days.
“The brief from client Heineken Malaysia Berhad was to transform the live venue into an ‘Immersive Super Club’ with the use of a custom set design to fit the venue,” says Russel Especkerman, Production Manager and Set Designer for Future Sound Asia. “We decided to break away from the usual straight rigid lines and come up with something fluid, thus the S-curved left and right wings flanking the center screens. We wanted people on the dance floor to feel immersed in the set with the top and balcony LED, which we're filled with custom-designed content supplied by KBK Visuals from Holland.”
Especkerman was challenged by the low ceiling clearance of the venue. “We had a little over 5 meters to work with on stage which didn't give us much room to be creative,” he notes. “We came to the conclusion that for this to work we'd need to maximize the rigging heights and build wide instead of tall in regard to the structure. We also faced some on-site revisions to the pixel map due to some rigging challenges.”
Once the server was set up the resident and visiting VJs “were satisfied with the system’s ease of use,” he reports. “With the Resolume XML prepped and advanced before the visiting VJs’ arrival on-site, we were ahead of schedule with visual checks thanks to the plug-and-play usability of the Ascender 16.”
Especkerman had previous experience using Analog Way Pulse² mixers/matrix switchers, which he found “reliable and easy to use in various full-HD LED situations.” But to meet the demands of a 4K pixel map of four outputs for “Live Your Music” he stepped up to Ascender 16 4K. “I believe the fact that we had the power and functionality of multiple rack units in one package made the process a lot easier and more cost efficient,” he says.
“When we were told, after the technical briefing, that the VJs would be bringing 4K computers and we needed to switch seamlessly during their transitions, Ascender became our first choice,” recalls Tommy Lim, Managing Director of Visual Contact Pte, Ltd. in Singapore.
Lim explains that using Ascender 16 enabled them “to skip the regular way of using the quad scaler. Our input2 and input6 took in 4K@30, and we managed to map all the output layers with pixel perfection. We omitted the risk of using additional equipment and greatly reduced the latency without the quad scaler.”
In addition, “with Ascender and five HD monitors we were able to simulate the show in our office prior to actual setup,” he notes. “A working simulation always gives peace of mind to our clients.”
The VJs handled switching themselves with Analog Way’s Control Box². “Everything was easy to learn and operate,” says Lim. “The time factor was a big challenge for the entire installation,” he points out. “The stage was always occupied by the sound and light crews leaving very little time for visual calibration. But calibration with Ascender was fast and precise.”
He also found that the compact system “always remained cool and never overheated; it was able to work long hours in a high vibration, smoky environment.”
Especkerman says, “Ascender ran smoothly all through the process and the VJs, with Tommy’s assistance, had a fairly easy time of it.”
“With Ascender around the atmosphere at the visual control console was always relaxed,” Lim agrees. “Ascender reduced tension and pressure since everyone could predict and expect what was about to happen next.”