In late 2015, an innovative exhibition centre and corporate space opened in the heart of Berlin, the DRIVE Volkswagen Group Forum. The venue hosts a diverse programme of events, including an ongoing series of three-month exhibitions, each dedicated to a different brand or theme.
Berlin-based integrator Amptown System Company (ASC) was appointed to install the venue's media equipment, based on a design by AV company macom. ASC relied on ETC to provide a high quality, flexible solution to create the right light for the exhibition space.
There is consistent emphasis on LED lighting throughout the venue. For example, state-of-the-art LED lighting has been fitted to illuminate an upcoming special, interactive exhibition - 50 Years of Motorsport - as well as rotating presentations of the Group's 12 automotive brands. Additionally, in order to ensure the lighting can be adapted to suit other temporary events, the main room incorporates an impressive 21 equipment recesses. Within these recesses, ASC has installed 160 ETC Source Four Studio HD LED fixtures that can be freely positioned on power rails and a specially constructed carriage.
"The lighting solution had to allow for a wide variety of application possibilities to cater for the diverse range of events and exhibitions," explains Thomas Bardeck, light operator for DRIVE's exhibition productions and events. In addition to offering high output combined with excellent power efficiency, the ETC fixtures are characterised by their outstanding colour rendering properties, something which was explicitly requested by the Volkswagen Group during the planning process.
The Source Four LED Studio HD combines exceptional light output with an ultra-flexible, variable white light (2700K-6500K), utilising the technology of ETC's x7 Color System. Bardeck says: "I can assign the exact colour temperatures required for each individual luminaire." This means, for example, that vehicles can be displayed in their true colours and are not distorted by a light that is too cool. The fixtures accentuate certain areas of the exhibitions using different intensities of light, and are used to stunning effect to showcase brand vehicles. Their adjustability is used to full effect for the correct presentation of the different brands.
The venue recently hosted a series of televised concerts by the German Chamber Orchestra Berlin. The broadcast-friendly Source Four LED Studio HD combines impressive light output with incredibly flexible, variable white light, for truer colour performance on camera. The flicker-free mode prevents the undesirable side effects that commonly arise when using LEDs with high-speed and rolling-shutter cameras. "Some parts of the building have windows, and daylight can have an influence on the white balance," says Bardeck. "This wasn't a problem with the Studio HD lights, thanks to their variable colour temperature and ability to blend alongside other light sources."
For the control and programming of the lighting, there is an ETC Gio console alongside an ETC Eos Remote Processor Unit (RPU), via a network using sACN protocol. The RDM functionality of the system allows configuration, status monitoring, and management of the fixtures and other connected devices, including the 10 ETC Four-Port Gateways used to generate DMX from the sACN Ethernet-based lighting protocol.
Bardeck concludes: "At DRIVE, colour and light play an important role. The use of LED fixtures in the exhibition area is often discussed critically. But the results speak for themselves. ETC has brought LED technology to a new level. The interaction of the light sources ensures the desired effect. It's a big project, the lights function fantastically and the result has thrilled me again and again."