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Analog Way Aquilon C+ Drives Main Stage Screen at Coachella 2024

"Aquilon C+ was a great choice for its low latency, layering capabilities and all the horsepower it provides in one box eliminating the need to link several devices together," says Cronk.

Analog Way's Aquilon C+ fully modular and scalable 4K/8K multi-screen presentation system and videowall processor drove a massive curved ROE CB5 LED video screen on the Main Stage, or Coachella Stage, at the eponymous musical festival this year.

The 2024 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, known as "Coachella," is held annually at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California. Founded in 1999, the two-weekend event features artists from many genres of music, including rock, pop, indie, hip hop and electronic dance music, as well as art installations and sculpture.

Tim Nauss, managing director of Denver-based Dapper Productions, was hired by Goldenvoice and NEP Sceenworks as Screens Producer for the Main Stage. He has a history of working with Analog Way products using an Aquilon C+ on the 2024 Super Bowl half-time show and an RS4 on the 2024 Academy Awards telecast where he served as system engineer.

"Using Analog Way on those shows was a good proving ground for utilizing the Aquilon C+ on Coachella's Main Stage," says Nauss. "Coachella is high stakes for us and our guests: It's the premier US festival of the year. Analog Way has published documentation outlining levels of latency, what causes it, and how to minimize it overall. We were ecstatic to be able to confidently say how much latency the switcher was adding and know that we could engineer solutions to improve that for our guests. At Coachella, every guest brings a premier product and low latency is crucial for us to help deliver that."

Connor Cronk, Analog Way's inside sales and support specialist, notes that, "Aquilon C+ was a great choice for its low latency, layering capabilities and all the horsepower it provides in one box eliminating the need to link several devices together. The system is also user-friendly with a relatively short learning curve: You can master all the basic features and be up and running in a few hours."

"Most days the Main Stage had five different artists, each with their own content, creative team and, often, their own servers," says Sean W. Green, who acted as Screens' technical director. Green is also programming and technical director with his company, Veserius, based in Astoria, Oregon. "My role using the Aquilon C+ was to make sure the artists' content interfaced with the screen quickly and looked the way they wanted it to look."

On site, a 53' former broadcast truck was outfitted to serve as the screens' truck. "All of the screens' infrastructure was built in, including Analog Way," Nauss reports.

"Since we had to interface with whatever the guests brought, we had an 8x HDMI router FOH and a 16x HDMI router stage right, which fed into a 48x router in the truck," Green says. "That fed into the two Aquilons, a main and backup, both running the whole time.

"In the Aquilon we had five layers for scaling with UHD inputs, three layers allocated to PIPing IMAG, and backgrounds used for native inputs," Green continues. "The first 17 inputs on the Aquilon were guest inputs; inputs 18 through 20 were set aside for house interstitials, featuring scenic California landscapes between the acts, and inputs 21 to 24 were program feeds and backup and two emergency feeds for announcements, if necessary."

Nauss and his team engineered the screen workflow, so they were able to host all the guest signals from the time they arrived on site to the end of the show. "Other festival stages typically host one or two systems at a time. At the Mainstage, we were able to establish and maintain a full day's lineup worth of guest feeds throughout the entire day," he explains. "With so many inputs, Analog Way allowed us to monitor signals all day, spot any problems and troubleshoot them."

Unlike Nauss, Green had never used Analog Way equipment before. "It was really easy to use and intuitive -- it just made sense," he notes. "I found the Aquilon fast to program and fast to implement changes."

Nauss says that Analog Way's Zoom training session enabled his entire team to join Green in learning how to use the Aquilon and to confirm that the configuration they envisioned for the show would indeed work. He was impressed by Green's additional Analog Way online training to acquire an even greater in-depth knowledge of the Aquilon C+.

"Throughout the process Connor was very supportive," Nauss adds, "answering our questions and interfacing with tech support at the show. Everyone at Analog Way was always very quick to respond, as if they were on stand-by for us."

Green, who does music gigs, such as U2 and Dead & Company at Las Vegas Sphere, as well as corporate projects, has a new business job coming up which will feature another Analog Way Aquilon. Following the high-profile and high-stress weekends of Coachella, he's ready to go!


(9 July 2024)

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