BlackTrax to soon celebrate 1,500-event milestone

CAST announced that its multi-award winning BlackTrax real-time motion tracking solution has been deployed in 1,485 plus shows since late 2013.

Adding to its international presence, BlackTrax has a growing ecosystem of partners that benefit from easy on-site training and support, enabling them to push the boundaries of what can be achieved for their clients. Additional technology partners include: Mark Roberts Motion Control; AI Media Servers; Jurlights, Netherlands; The Unit, Netherlands; Production Technology LLC, Protec, Dubai; Prolight, Poland; DWP Live, Tennessee; and, Spirit Events in Toronto, with many more in the pipeline.

It’s going to be terrific to see our BlackTrax system reach this milestone,” says Gil Densham from CAST. “It is a product built out of passion from a lot of dedicated people and it has proven to be an essential resource for companies wanting to track people and objects allowing them to be more creative with their shows. The number of projects that BlackTrax has helped, is testament to not just the BlackTrax team who built it, but to the international companies who it has helped along the way.

Today, the award-winning BlackTrax system offers the fastest and most efficient calibration process for tracking cameras, moving lights, sound and projectors, plus soon to be added Lasers. It’s the only system that uses Instant Target Acquisition (ITA) technology, ensuring that the tracking LED’s are recognized with their own unique identity, within 1X100th of a second, after they are seen.

BlackTrax’s Intelligent tracking, adjusts to fit different situations, by using the onboard smoothing and prediction learning algorithms, ensuring flawless performance for all users. Recently, BlackTrax set its own world record in the biggest distance ever tracked. Jurlights from the Netherlands used BlackTrax to track six 40-ft shipping containers fitted with LED screens, over a distance of 80,000 square feet or a 200 by 400ft volume area outdoors, for the opening of Maasvlakte II at APM Terminals in Rotterdam.

For many people, BlackTrax has been a life-changing moment, as it has helped lead projects and jobs, vastly improving their production values. Overall, our customers haven’t had to change their production scope, or compromise their creativity in making BlackTrax work for them. In fact it has enhanced their creativity, their freedom and allowed for complete spontaneity, while solving other production problems and also reduced their production costs,” adds Densham.

BlackTrax has been deployed at a diverse number of events. Commenting in a behind the scenes video, Sam Bergen, Executive Creative Director at Energy BBDO says: “For Bud Light's Real Life Pac-Man commercial, we re-created the classic video game in the real world and partnered with BlackTrax using their amazing technology to bring the game to life. The life-sized Pac-Man game-board worked just like the arcade game, using BlackTrax the lights seamlessly turned off as Riley, the real guy featured in the commercial, ran over them. Our client was delighted with the results of the live commercial shoot which broadcast during the Superbowl and on social media to millions.

BlackTrax is also used in arena size touring shows daily. To name a few these they include Cirque du Soleil’s Varekai and Feld Entertainment’s Marvel Universe LIVE!.

BlackTrax was also used recently by Prolight to drive lights and projections while tracking the dancers in Dancing With The Stars broadcast on Polsat TV, Poland.

And a panel of expert designers and programmers in the disciplines of Lighting, Sound and Projection selected the BlackTrax system as the winner, in the projection software category, at the Live Design Products of the Year Awards 2015.

What the industry says about BlackTrax: 

“BlackTrax effortlessly tracks people, objects and any target tagged with the BlackTrax Beacon, while driving lights and projections to follow the targets. This methodology has been a major asset to our show!”

Sam Doty, Lighting Designer for Feld Entertainment. 

“BlackTrax is a great addition to our production. My role includes a lot of stunts and jumps so it’s essential to be thinking about that, rather than where I need to be when the lights are there. BlackTrax lets me focus on the performance.” 

Madison Embery, the performer who plays Maria Hill in Marvel Universe LIVE!

"d3 has always been about empowering show designers’ creativity - the ability to move projection surfaces freely is a major part of this achievement.  BlackTrax provides currently the best available technology for achieving this in the demanding live show environments we encounter."

Ash Nehru, Software Director at d3 Technologies.

“BlackTrax is an easy to use and creative tool that’s changing the industry as we know it. The plug and play design fits seamlessly into our workflow, allowing us to track performers, dancers or objects in real-time. This dynamic element is precision tracking at its best with invaluable time saving features.” 

Justin Crutchfield, Director of Communications & Administration, DWP Live

“Throughout my 37-year career in lighting design, I have never been asked to light anything static andround, aside from a mirror ball and Pavarotti! 

With our circular light beams we strive to illuminate odd shapes (like humans) and they also display a tendency to move around.

If we are highlighting choreography, from a single dancer to a phalanx of two thousand, we need the performers to move exactly where we have programmed the lighting; unless we use a follow spot, the clue is in the name.

In Olympic events such as the Sochi Paralympic Ceremonies, which I lit in 2014, we used twenty-four follow spots and these would still only cover a very small percentage of our total performers, set objects, flying things, VIP guests and singers - all of whom do not stand still.

We as designers have always aspired to being able to track and follow everything we are called upon to make visible and with the least amount of light sources possible, the advent of moving lights gave us a great opportunity to achieve this HOWEVER....

Without a tracking system like BlackTrax, which enables us to follow many targets in 3D space, we are still confined to programming our lights and performers to fixed areas of space - a time consuming and therefore costly process.

If you understand that when we programm large events over night, the performers and stage technicians who move scenery are not present and when we return the following night to review our work, you can almost guarantee that during the day everything has been moved by the directors! The night is spent doing everything again then for the next rehearsal... guess what?

BlackTrax and the ability to get a grip on the previous paragraph is not a luxury, in my mind it is a fundamental necessity to do what we do well in the eyes of the World on these moments of History.”

Durham Marenghi, Lighting Designer, DurhamLD Ltd.