QED Productions provide a wide range of audio visual production services from equipment hire to management of large scale projects. Pioneers and developers of UltraWideScreen™, Projection Mapping and 3D projection, QED is always at the forefront of audio visual presentation technology, putting R&D and excellent customer service at the heart of its operation.
QED decided to create a set of Portable Production Unit (PPU) racks to further extend their comprehensive stock of hire equipment. These provide full production and engineering facilities for HD multi-camera applications in the corporate and events industries and are built into mobile 32U flight cases for flexibility and easy transportation. The QED engineering team identified that one of the keys to rapid rigging, de-rigging and integration to external systems was to provide full facilities on rear patch panels to the engineer, clearly laid out and labelled.
High-quality custom panels would be required, and QED determined that engraved lettering would be the most sensible option for clarity and hard wearing.
QED Production Manager, Paul Simmons commented: “We originally drew up our requirements for custom panels and sent the CAD files to various manufacturers, including Canford, with whom we have a very longstanding relationship. It quickly became evident that Gavin and Laura at Canford Manufacturing could not only provide the quality of product we required, but also the flexibility to work closely with us to achieve the best possible results within the project budgetary constraints.
In addition to the custom panels, we had identified there was no rack-mount fan product on the market which fulfilled our specific requirements – namely, a sufficient airflow, and given that the racks sometimes operate in acoustically critical areas, we required that the rack cooling fans were temperature controlled in order that they run at the lowest possible rate (and therefore as quietly as possible) to maintain a reasonable temperature within the racks. The solution was to design our own, and with the close co-operation with Canford Manufacturing, came up with a compact, reliable fan unit which fulfilled this criteria.
We also designed two other pieces of equipment – one to encode and decode tally information from the vision mixer via Ethernet, and one to provide matrix switching for the main engineering monitor from the camera RCP joystick ‘touchdown’ controls. Again, close working with Canford resulted in a highly compact enclosure based around the Canford extruded aluminium panels so that these devices matched the appearance of the other panels in the racks.
There were a further three styles of panel which we decided to include in the rear of each rack, for the convenience of the engineer. These became known as the ‘Looking Stick’ and the ‘Listening Stick’. The Looking stick provides a 7” HD monitor in a rack panel, along with the relevant connectors, to allow the engineer to quickly identify signals appearing at the patch panels without having to shift positions. The ‘Listening Stick’ provides the same facility for audio; a miniature loudspeaker driven by a small amplifier which allows quick identification of audio signals on the patch panels. Again, Canford provided the custom panels for the mounting of these, including a very neat solution for the panel-mounted loudspeaker and grille. Finally, to maintain the same appearance, Canford made for us a matching panel for dimmable gooseneck lights for illuminating the rear of the rack.”
The systems were designed from the ground up to provide the highest level of quality, flexibility, and speed of set-up. Every decision was made with quality, reliability and compatibility in mind. For QED, it is the details which are important. The design and build-quality of the custom panels from Canford are a large part of this. They also facilitate extremely easy integration into other companies’ systems, where the QED HD PPU may be working as part of a wider scheme.
QED’s HD Portable Production Units were successfully commissioned and have already been used at many venues around the UK and Europe including Wembley Stadium, The ACC Liverpool and the O² Arena.
Paul Simmons added: “Close collaboration with the Canford Manufacturing team has again proven invaluable for QED. It is unique to have direct access to the team who are actually producing the kit. We’ve benefited from the manufacturing experience of the Canford Team, and would have no hesitation to work with them again”.
Date Published: 22/02/17