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May the Fx4s be with you!


The Royal Albert Hall is about as grand a venue as London has to offer.  So, when it rolled out the red carpet for the European premiere of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, to a huge audience, expectations and excitement levels were high; despite the freezing weather.  The Stormtroopers were on the stage but it wasn’t the Dark Side running the show.

Behind the scenes was less like the control room of the Death Star and more like a rock concert.  UK creative Digital Insanity, a video solutions provider specialising in content creation and show operation, provided content and playback solutions for the premiere of the latest in the Star Wars franchise, and the team relied on Datapath and Green Hippo to help make it spectacular.

A Datapath Fx4 display controller was delivering Digital Insanity’s creative video content from a Green Hippo Karst media server to the array of screens lining the red carpet. The Fx4 directed a 4K-output split into three HD streams to LED screens with a fourth output giving a feed to the outside broadcasting mobile LED wall, situated at the far end of the red carpet. The effect was incredible, creating a dramatic back drop to the gleaming Stormtroopers parading menacingly.

Having successfully created an alliance with Datapath’s display wall controllers and Green Hippo servers at the premiere of the previous Star Wars film; The Force Awakens. Digital Insanity immediately allocated control duties to its Green Hippo server and Datapath Fx4, both safe in their proven ability and reliability. Outside on the steps of theRoyal Albert Hall - with temperatures barely above zero – the robust Fx4 performed dependably.

Datapath’s Fx4 display controllers are suitable for a wide range of applications; delivering content in office environments to welcome and boardroom screens, through to retail operations and, as at the premiere, live events.

The Fx4 features a DisplayPort1.2 main input alongside two HDMI1.4 inputs offering 4k 4096x2160p at 60fps. Datapath offers both an HDMI output version with 4 x HDMI1.3 (1080p/60 or equivalent up to 165MP/s) and a DisplayPort version with 4 x DP1.1 (1080p/60 or equivalent up to 165MP/s) with loop through and genlock input features for both versions.

Their flexibility, compatibility and small size make them perfect for live events, where space is at a premium and technology has to just work.

Commenting on the premiere, Richard Bagshaw, Managing Director of Digital Insanity, said: "Digital Insanity’s relationship with Datapath goes back over seven years when we started using their capture cards.  As our business has developed we began using their x4 and Fx4 display wall controllers due to their robust and reliable nature and, of course, their great value for money.  So, when we produce an event like this we know the Fx4 won’t let us down.”

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