This Is What Powered Pilgrimage 2021
Last you heard from me, we discussed critical decisions to make with in-person, large-scale house of worship events. Our topics rang true then, rang true for Pilgrimage 2021 and they still ring true now.
Our In-Person Experience
Pilgrimage 2021 saw new beginnings in many areas. We welcomed in-person attendees to the event at a new location, the Rocky Mount Event Center, which provided a more tight-knit and intimate experience. But it also opened new doors to create a powerful and meaningful experience for attendees that joined virtually — more on that later.
Our AV partner for the event, Atlas Production Group of Raleigh, North Carolina, helped our vision come to reality in Rocky Mount. They used some key tools to make the event happen, and that’s what we will cover today.
The Pilgrimage team coordinates all content shown and experienced at the event. We use ProPresenter to power the distribution of this content. This year, more so than others, I was extremely impressed with ProPresenter and Renewed Vision. ProPresenter 7, which recently hit the market, is an extremely powerful tool, but it does (or at least did) have a couple of kinks and bugs. Renewed Vision’s support team was quite responsive throughout the weekend as we implemented workarounds for some of the shortcomings — they, quite literally, assigned a Support Engineer to our event for the weekend. I’ve worked with plenty of software providers; in fact, I work for a software company, and I have never experienced the level of service that Renewed Vision provided. If you still think that support and services are a moot point when considering a solution, think again.
We incorporated a run-of-the-mill speaker array run that was stacked with QSC hardware. Those flies paired well with the stage fill QSC monitors and floor fill d&b audiotechnik Q7 speakers. Each of these endpoints were powered by two Yamaha QL5’s (one for house audio and one for monitor audio). As you know, the Yamaha QL5 is built on the Dante framework. We used the Yamaha Rio 1608-D as an I/O rack unit.
The venue doubles as a gym, so therefore echo was an extreme concern. Hats off and a big kudos to the techs for taking this challenge in stride, especially with our inexperienced musician talent.
As content hit the switcher — an Analog Way Ascender 48 – 4K — we distributed it to a single 30-foot by 15-foot 16:9 screen using a Panasonic PT-RZ21K with a Panasonic ET-D75LE3/30 lens and a flown LED display with 2.6mm pixel pitch. The LED display was powered by a Novastar MCTRL4K, and Analog Way’s IP-based control software was so lightweight that we ran it on a MacBook.
Lighting and Rigging
A combination of Vari-Lite 2600 Profile LEDs, GLP Impression X4 LEDs and ETC ColorSource Spot DB Ellipsoidals brightened the stage and the experience. The entire show was held together by a series of Milos M520 box trusses and plenty of pipe and drape.
Our Virtual Experience
Similar to Pilgrimage 2020, we used a custom-built WordPress website to invite virtual attendees to the weekend event. Vimeo hosted the video streams, which is easily the most-reliable video hosting platform I have used.
The Dante-enabled audio setup that we discussed above allowed for the stream audio-dedicated audio tech to easily manipulate signals to provide a high-quality audio experience for those attending the event at home. The dedicated audio stream really, really took the virtual portion of the event to the next level.
To encode and distribute the stream, we used none other than an Epiphan Pearl. Epiphan’s IP-based switcher allowed us to create custom layouts with the camera angles that we had, which opened up opportunities to do picture-in-picture views.
The tools (hardware, software, staff) that are employed at a live event truly do define the quality of the experience. I hope my analysis and feedback using the products that we did helps you make informed and educated decisions when it comes to designing a solution for your next client.