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Telemetrics Rocks with U2 360 Concert Tour

VIDEOGRAPHY (Sept 25, 2009) – What’s different about this application is that, rather than being a permanent installation, the camera control systems, along with the entire stage set, will be broken down and moved from venue to venue every few weeks over a period of almost 18 months. From the June 2009 opening night in Barcelona, Spain, to the fall’s outdoor concerts at Giants Stadium and other sites across North America, and then on to South America in 2010, Telemetrics camera control systems, including Televators and pan/tilt units, will play a key role in allowing a more personal view of the band to be displayed on the massive cylindrically-shaped Barco video screen situated above the stage.

u2_360stage.jpgThe stage set was created by Hoberman Associates, and the centerpiece, suspended from a massive claw-like structure, is the gigantic transformable video display, made up of 888 individual tiny LED screens and containing over 500,000 transformable LED pixels. This first-ever expanding video screen has a 24 x 16-meter diameter and can change shape in all directions. It operates continuously throughout the concert, and the video images, whether live or pre-recorded, remain proportional in scale to the size of the screen at any stage of viewing or operation.

The “Claw” structure is seven stories tall (approximately 164 feet), covers 3,800 square feet and weighs more than 50 tons. Each of the Claw’s four sides has its own full-size sound system, with each side individually powerful enough for an entire arena, in addition to 72 separate subwoofers.

In a repeat performance, industry gurus XL Video was commissioned to head up the video aspects for the show. Together with Bright Space Technologies, a European broadcast and AV supplier, they selected the Telemetrics products for the remote camera operations, based on Telemetrics’ reputation for high-quality systems and their capability to meet some very unusual needs.

“Video is such a powerful tool in the live concert environment, and for this particular stage setup, the use of robotic camera systems has opened up an entirely new canvas for creativity,” says Colin Clarke, senior technical sales and support manager, Bright Space Technologies. “The unique nature of the set design, however, threw up a number of challenges, which were met by innovative engineering solutions from Telemetrics. They simply have the experience and the know-how to get things done.”

The purpose-built structure allows Bono and the band to perform in an unencumbered space and much more closely surrounded by the audience. Because of this unique arrangement, the live video feed for the overhead cylindrical screen had to be accomplished in a more transparent way and the Telemetrics products provided the solution.

According to Clarke, the Telemetrics PT-HP-S4 pan/tilt head was the perfect design for the decision to install cameras on the rig because of its mounting flexibility. He says, “To obtain the exact points of view we needed, and without having a dozen cameramen running around the stage, we had to install the cameras on the rig. The Telemetrics pan/tilt units could accommodate this requirement because they can be mounted upside down, which is exactly what we did. The inverted heads were also able to carry a variety of cameras ranging from full triax ENG units to small box units to give a wide selection of images.”

The PT-HP-S4 pan/tilt heads are fully featured and include camera and lens control and serial data control using RS-232 or RS-422. The unit receives power from the PS-RM-48 rack-mount power supply and a powerful DC/DC converter at the base of the pan/tilt head converts 48V to appropriate voltage levels for the head, auxiliary robotics devices, camera, lens and viewfinder.

“The performance of the equipment has been fantastic,” said Clarke. “The moves are smooth and unerring and we can matrix the images from all of the cameras to allow a personal view to be displayed on the enormous screen above the stage. The images and the huge video screen are one of the focal points of the performance.”

In another area of the set, the same pan/tilt heads are affixed to Telemetrics EP-PT-S3 Televators. These remotely controlled, motorized telescoping tripods are mounted on a unique revolving stage manufactured by Tait Towers of Lititz, Penn., and can quickly be elevated in height from 4 feet to 12 feet, which is ideal for overcoming challenges associated with capturing footage of the band performing on the unique 360° stage. As well, because the video screen is such an intrinsic and vital element of the show, it was essential that the video be creative in its point of view and the combination of the pan/tilt head affixed to the Televator provides the foundation for a more artistic approach.

“The Telemetrics EP-PT-S3 fast-rising Televator coupled with the HP-S4 PT heads brilliantly provides the moving elements of the ever-changing demands while the band plays in a 360-degree stage,” adds Clarke. “And even though the stage is enormous, we appreciate the small footprint of the Televator. As in so many other elements of the stage set, it seems almost transparent.”

Both the PT-HP-S4 pan/tilt heads and the EP-PT-S3 Televators are controlled with the Telemetrics CP-D-3A desktop robotic camera control panel. Using RS-232/422 serial data communication, operators have precision joystick control of pan, tilt and zoom (twist) functions with adjacent control knobs to set the speed sensitivity. Lens focusing is also at the fingertips on the ergonomically designed panel as well as a proportional control rocker for adjusting the height of the Televator. Up to 16 cameras with pan/tilt functionality can be controlled and up to 255 presets can be programmed into memory.

U2’s concert tour is an enormous undertaking and requires the services of hundreds of professionals to ensure that the technical components of each concert are perfect. Clarke points out that one of the main advantages of the Telemetrics robotic camera control system is that it requires fewer operators and that the installed system is relatively easy to learn and operate. He also notes that with each new venue set up, the Telemetrics systems have been trouble-free.

“Despite a number of technical and operational challenges, that might have stymied other manufacturers, the Telemetrics systems have become an integral part of the U2 experience in this spectacular 360 world tour,” he says.

For more information on Telemetrics’ camera control systems call 201-848-9818, fax 201-848-9819, or visit

About Telemetrics, Inc.

Telemetrics, Inc. offers a comprehensive line of camera control components and systems for broadcast, industrial, educational and military applications. The company’s highly specialized line includes: camera robotics systems including programmable computer controlled pan/tilt mechanisms, weatherproof camera robotic systems, motorized camera trolley systems, advanced control software, and a wide variety of programmable controllers. Additional products include camera control systems through triax cable, RF and fiber links and teleconferencing and distance learning systems.

EDITORS’ NOTE: Electronic files and photos are available upon request by emailing Sara Greenberg at LRG Marketing Communications This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it