PixelDrive and Color Blocks for Radio One

UK - The latest version of James Thomas Engineering's PixelDrive software was in action at Radio One's One Big Weekend event recently, used by lighting and visual designers Nick and Joey Jevons to programme and control 240 Chroma-Q Color Block DB4 LED fixtures.

The Color Blocks were supplied by main lighting suppliers Bandit Lites UK to Jevons' company Electric Fly Productions, co-ordinators of all lighting and video production on the main stage of the event at Hetherington Park, Sunderland. The PixelDrive was triggered from an Avolites Pearl lighting console, dedicated specifically to LED control and operated by Joey Jevons. Utilizing the versatile selection of onboard effects in PixelDrive allowed them to quickly and easily create colour and movement sequences and chases across the Color Blocks.

The main stage video 'look' of the weekend became the fluid, organic blend of different coloured, toned and speed light across the fixture; this specific look was developed by using the sparser images in the PixelDrive library. At other times, the Color Blocks were tweaked to produce twinkling effects and starfields - all through PixelDrive manipulation - as well as powerful colour blankets across the upstage area. Jevons broke each unit down into its individual modules, which were then rigged on the upstage truss, taking on star like format.

Radical Lighting's Simon Carter oversaw the programming and running of the PixelDrive system, creating new personalities so it could run the Color Blocks. The latest version of PixelDrive will run any DMX LED fixture.

PixelDrive imports video images into the LED fixtures which act as a projection surface, allowing the resulting patterns to be manipulated via a lighting desk. Complex lighting sequences can be evolved with 'virtual' imagery, which can then be sent to any multiples of LED products, using Ethernet to distribute across up to 256 DMX universes, vastly reducing the DMX allocation on lighting desks. LED configurations of all types can be emulated on the PixelDrive system, allowing LDs to pre-program and work as quickly and easily offline as they can in situ.

A lot of the programming was completed the week before the One Big Weekend event in the calm of the Electric Fly office in Leicestershire. They came to site with large elements of this process complete, reducing the immediate stresses of building a show from scratch on location, and ensuring the many visiting LDs had a good selection of LED effects available to incorporate into their shows if desired.

Jevons was thrilled with the results produced using this technology, describing PixelDrive as "The most powerful and flexible media server combination due to it s ability to pixel-map and plot any manufacturer's LED product."

(Lee Baldock)


(26 May 2005)