High Resolution Systems' UDC-400 Universal Device Controller proved to be an invaluable tool for Jason Spencer, who directed the recent North American regional convention for Nu Skin Enterprises at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. A software-based control platform that allows simple to setup, cost-effective control of devices using IP (TCP/UDP) or serial (232/422/485) protocols, the UDC-400 enabled Spencer to control the output of the router from the Front of House so he could view the different sources and two preview/program feeds on his monitor.
Nu Skin Enterprises is a direct-selling company that markets premium-quality personal care products under the Nu Skin brand, science-based nutritional supplements under the Pharmanex brand and technology-based products and services under the Big Planet brand. The company's North American regional convention was held October 6-9, with Webb A/V handling the general sessions and breakouts; Jason Spencer is Webb's show director.
Three edge-blended screens spanned the 200' width of the stage and a fourth edge-blended screen was positioned behind the center display to act as a scenic backdrop. High Resolution Systems provided a seven-frame Christie Vista Spyder system to feed the screens and a Lightware Visual Engineering 32 x 32 DVI router for source management. Sources for the screens included live cameras, PowerPoint content and elements from four main sync rolled Playback Pro machines, one dedicated to each screen. The displays were constantly busy illustrating everything from keynote speaker Kevin Carroll's address to amping up the performance of Styx on closing night.
But it was the UDC-400 that helped make Spencer's job in the front of house easier and more efficient. Drew Taylor built the controller interface for the UDC-400, which he ran on his computer backstage where he operated the Spyder system on a Montage II console. He took advantage of the UDC-400's web server feature to provide Spencer with an interface on an Apple iPad. "Jason had my iPad on a little stand on the desk next to him in the front of house so when he switched his monitor he could look at all the different sources," Taylor explains. "I customized the interface with his company logo that spanned four buttons not in use. That branded the iPad as his. It was a way to impress the client and get them excited about UDC and my involvement on the show."
Says Spencer, "I loved the iPad and UDC software -- it was so valuable that I wish I had it on every show. It simplified things dramatically. It made it easy for me to see what I wanted on my Front of House monitor and not have to ask anybody about it. Through the iPad I could control what was displayed on my video monitor, whether PowerPoint, prompter, cameras, any source. I'd highly recommend it for any show director sitting out at front of house."
Taylor notes that, from his perspective backstage, his intercom communications with Spencer were also facilitated by the UDC-400. "It was easy to talk about what source was next and helpful for troubleshooting and when we were building slides, screen looks and other elements during rehearsals. Jason and I could show the Nu Skin client different screen looks with iPad control from the front of house."
Spencer says he heard from Nu Skin that they considered the convention "their best show ever" and gives rave reviews to Taylor and High Resolution Systems for their roles in that success. "Drew was extremely knowledgeable about the Spyder and all the other equipment he brought in. He's so good at what he does, he makes things happen."