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Christie co-stars in 15-hour performance with Dutch National Opera

Day 1 Michaels Reise um die Erde © Ruth & Martin Walz, Dutch National Opera

As part of a 15-hour performance spread over 3 days, the Dutch National Opera performed major parts of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s aus LICHT cycle. As one of the world’s top five opera companies, the Dutch National Opera opted for a combination of Christie Terra for AV distribution and processing, and Christie Pandoras Box for content management and control of the four LED video walls, cameras and projectors used throughout the performance space.

The performances were produced in cooperation with the Holland Festival, the Royal Conservatory in The Hague and the Stockhausen Foundation, and held at Amsterdam’s Gashouder, a former industrial hall that now serves as an event space.

Day 2 Kinderfänger und Enftführung © Ruth & Martin Walz, Dutch National Opera

The audience experienced some of the highlights from the artist’s seven operas, named after weekdays, during the three-day performance. This is the first time that a summary of aus LICHT has been staged.

Act 1: Installation
Christie partner Rolight supplied the Christie Terra AV distribution equipment. 2 x Christie Pandoras Box Managers and 2 x Christie Pandoras Box Quad Servers supplied source signals to Christie Terra Transmitters. 4 x Terra Receivers supplied signals to each of the 4 LED walls, and 4 more Terra units were used for previewing AV sources and broadcast feeds. The system operated from a 10G Ethernet switch and a Terra Controller was used to configure and control signal routing.

The large-scale production was recorded, with the aim of reproducing the entire sound universe of Stockhausen’s aus LICHT.

This was achieved with 3 wireless cameras in the hall, 6 remote cameras, 2 wireless cameras outdoors and 4 cameras in 4 helicopters. All feeds were supplied to the Pandoras Box servers directly, as well as through a vision mixer which was fed into the server providing the ability to do direct switching for some scenes.

The performances included live feeds with many different effects, including a LUT shader designed by Michael Hantelmann (Hantmade) for colour grading, as well as pre-produced video content on the 4 video walls.

Each video wall had a native resolution of 1280 x 768, but all live feeds and content was produced in 1080p/50 format.

Entry: Christie Terra and Pandoras Box
Based on SDVoE technology, Christie Terra was designed not only to simplify distribution, processing and management of AV signals over 10 Gigabit Ethernet components, but also to provide enhanced and optimized options for designing AV workflows.

Pieter Huijgen, Head of Lighting, Video and Stage Technology at the Dutch National Opera, explained:

“We were thrilled with the flexibility of the system, the programmability for assigning backup sources and the multi-view capabilities.”

In combination with Christie Pandoras Box, Terra features were exploited to the fullest, ensuring that the content was of impeccable quality without pixel loss.

“The ability to program during rehearsals without jumping in the sequence or having to program blindly in a second system made our work much easier,” said Huijgen. In addition, Huijgen found the ability to create custom user interfaces in Widget Designer enormously helpful to recall routings on the 40×40 SDI router, which supplied the correct signal of the different SDI patch points throughout the Gashouder to the 8 3G-SDI inputs on the Pandoras Box servers.

Day 3 Orchesterfinalisten © Ruth & Martin Walz, Dutch National Opera

Widget Designer in combination with some custom I/O boxes supplied tally signals to any of the cameras, no matter if they’re switched actual from the vision mixer or programmed on Pandoras Box sequence.

Final chord – Christie Terra as an AV network
The three-day staged program not only convinced critics and fans, but the equipment was the right choice: “Pandoras Box and Christie Terra were simply a very good combination,” said Huijgen.

After the project, the equipment was reinstalled at the opera house and the Terra system will be used as a standard solution for AV distribution including delivery of AV content to various locations in the foyers.