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To Infinity & Beyond: The Intersection Of Modern Production Technology

There’s no mistaking that our beloved entertainment and communication industry is in a state of transition; the question is the direction it’s headed

By Ken DeLoria May 31, 2013

As the world continually progresses, new technologies and methodologies inevitably present themselves.

Most developmental efforts are intended to aid technology users improve their work output in respect to quality and efficiency, while also aiming to make a profit.

This cycle occurs in every industry from heavy construction to microscopic surgery. We, as the providers and operators of entertainment and communication equipment, are constantly in the midst of it all.

And we must adapt to these changes if we wish to stay relevant.

Original ideas come from many sources. Often, it’s a manufacturer that envisions a better way to accomplish a given task, and that vision drives the creation of a new product. Smart phones are a recent, topical example.

Other times, end users pick up the torch and run with it, wishing to make their workflow more efficient and themselves more marketable. Think smart phone apps, frequently developed by individuals or small groups, which foster productivity and convenience while sometimes also earning income for their creators.

The Urge To Merge
Humans are builders, developers, creators, designers, and informed users. It’s in our DNA and it’s there to stay.

Case in point: a new way of looking at the big picture is emerging in professional production. Formerly disparate practices (think sound versus lighting versus video) are beginning to intersect.

Soundcraft’s recently debuted Si Performer small-format audio console includes on-board DMX lighting control, and is an example of an ongoing paradigm shift in product design and live production capability.

Imagine how this might be taken even further. What if an audio console had a second small fader and a few knobs that controlled lighting, located next to each audio fader? A single engineer could bring up a lead guitar solo in the mix, while simultaneously controlling the brightness and color of the lights that are focused on the guitar player. Ditto for keys, drums, vocalists, and so on.

It would be hard to deny that this could be a valuable intersection of technologies with a potentially wide appeal, especially in respect to budget-challenged events.

With lighting controls adjacent to audio controls, there would be no distraction to the console operator. “Tap” buttons might also be added to each channel to allow rhythmic flashing of lights. MIDI, DMX, or another protocol yet to be developed could make rapid scene changes that alter outboard audio effects, onboard plug-ins, and lighting scenes, all at the same time.

Or, perhaps the noise gates on the drum channels could be used to trigger various synchronized lighting effects within the same console, changeable as desired for different segments of a performance, either on the fly or by means of scene presets.

A future implementation might also include a button on each channel that would instantly repurpose the audio controls for lighting or video operation, thereby reducing the number of physical controls, the size of the console, and the cost of manufacturing.


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About Ken

Ken DeLoria
Ken DeLoria

Senior Technical Editor, Live Sound International Magazine
 
Over the course of more than four decades, Ken DeLoria has tuned hundreds of sound systems, and as the founder of Apogee Sound, he developed the TEC Award-winning AE-9 loudspeaker.

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