Integrator accommodates last-minute request, using barge to display the 33-foot screen for beachfront audience.
By Tom LeBlanc
July 23, 2010
Jimmy Buffett is a big act.
His sister, Lucy Buffett, owner of famed LuLu’s at HomePort Marina Restaurant on Alabama’s Gulf shore, is a big custom electronics client.
So when LuLu’s wants a Jimmy Buffett concert simulcast on a big screen, the integrator had better find the biggest screen available.
That was the task at hand for Fairhope, Ala.-based BSUN Media Systems when it set out to display the simulcast of a Jimmy Buffett charity concert benefiting victims of the BP oil spill.
BSUN, which had installed about 80 Episode speakers, 16 zones of Crestron automation and 10 Zektor-switchable HDTVs at LuLu’s, was asked to quickly procure the “largest JumboTron” available, says owner Brad Sundberg.
Sundberg called Argyle, Texas-based GoVision, which was able to deliver GoBigger, what it calls “the world’s largest mobile high-definition LED screen,” within a few days. BSUN and GoVision technicians floated the 19-foot by 33-foot unit on a barge just off the dock near LuLu’s.
“We put the screen on a barge – no small feat – and had a tugboat pull the giant truck-mounted screen on the barge up to the dock at LuLu’s,” Sundberg says. “I ordered another pair of Zektor video extenders, and in no time I had the world’s largest HDTV connected to the LuLu’s video infrastructure, as if it had been there all along.”
The kicker is that the Buffett concert was canceled due to tropical storm Alex. However, since LuLu’s patrons were already buzzing about the concert – and the owner happens to have some connections – it was determined that the show would go on.
Sundberg explains how he scrambled to accommodate the request:
“Around 10 a.m. on June 30 I was informed that Buffett [and his Coral Reefer Band] would indeed be performing a live show that night on the beach at LuLu’s, and we had to use the video switcher in the GoVision truck for camera feeds.
“Four HD cameras and crew were brought in, improved stage lighting was quickly installed, and the endless video and audio tests from cameras to control booth (in a truck on a barge!) were underway. By show time, we had a clean HD feed from the cameras to the barge to the 33-foot JumboTron, then through the Zektor extenders to my A/V room at LuLu’s, where they were distributed via Zektor to the 10 TVs connected to the system.
“Likewise I took a stereo mix from the front of house console, compressed it to protect my speakers, and distributed it among the more than 80 speakers around the property at LuLu’s. Keep in the mind, the video had to travel perhaps 500’ feet from the cameras to the switcher and the first Zektor, then 700 feet over Cat 5e, then convert back to analog to feed into the Prowler, then another distance (200 to 500 feet) to the various TVs, and again convert to RGB for each display.
“I was amazed at the quality of the picture after all of that. While it was a lot of work, I am happy to report everything came together without a hitch.”
About 2,500 people attended the impromptu concert and Sundberg says the screen was visible from a quarter-mile away.
The planned charity concert happened on July 11, about a mile from LuLu’s and was simulcast to the restaurant on a 9-foot by 16-foot screen because GoBigger was already booked.
Tags: Argyle, BP oil spill, Brad Sundberg, BSUN Media, Crestron, Episode, GoBigger, GoVision, HDTV, Jimmy Buffett, LCD TV, Lucy Buffett, LuLu's at HomePort Marina Restaurant, RGB, Texas, Tom LeBlanc, Zektor