SJP at the Drone Races with ChamSys
Wednesday, 19 April 2017
dronenight-39A collection of moving fixtures along with live music enhanced the festival atmosphere
USA - S. Jeremy Peters loves piloting small FPV drones. There is, he says, “no rush quite like it.” He and his wife Alison Peters wanted to share their passion for drone flying with a wider audience. As owners of SJP Productions, a lighting and projection company experienced working festivals, they were in an excellent position to do so. Hooking up with a local brewery, they created one of the first spectator-oriented drone racing events, complete with festival-like lighting, atmospherics and live video feeds all controlled with a three-universe set up built around ChamSys Software.
“Typically drone races are geared toward the racers themselves without a lot of spectators,” said Peters. “Generally, they don’t have much production. Alison and I wanted to draw on our production experience at festivals like Lockn, Peach, Bisco, Mountain Jam, Taste of Country and Gathering of the Vibes to create an event that engaged spectators, so we could draw newcomers to drone racing. When we approached Brewmasters Brewing Services, they were all over the idea. So four weeks later, we held our drone race/festival at a working brewery. It was a blast!”
Brewmasters Drone Night kicked off at 6:00pm on 25 March. It was soon apparent that this would be no ordinary drone race. Peters got things going in high gear with 150 lights and cryo jets at the start gate. Live video feeds from the racers’ goggles and eight camera live switchers trackside put spectators in the middle of the action. ChamSys MagicQ PC software controlled lighting and video using a PC Wing and multiple Playback Wings. Video was triggered via ArtNet using MagicQ.
A collection of moving fixtures, including Chauvet Professional Rogue R2 Beams and R2 Spots along with live music enhanced the festival atmosphere. Pixel mapped LED bars were used to line the building’s stairwell, creating a magical aura. Human “LED hula hoopers” served as obstacles during the race. IP65 rated par-style fixtures were located throughout the course to add colour.
Programming the various visuals of this multi-faceted event was relatively simple, thanks to MagicQ’s user-friendly features. “In general, programming on MagicQ is a breeze,” said Peters. “Once you know how to programme, you can do anything. Pixel mapping on MagicQ is very straightforward, and we use this feature a lot. On this particular show, the LED bars are 36 channels each. We were able to create the pixel mapping effects for them in under a minute.
“Also, ChamSys pairs very easily with video, which was obviously very important in this project,” continued Peters. “ChamSys works with our video software by treating MagicQ as an intelligent DMX MIDI-style controller, patching faders to opacity control on video layers for camera feeds, so they could easily be controlled from a single interface.”
(Jim Evans)

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