APOLDA, GERMANY – Last year, music resonated throughout the beautiful Festwiese Apolda. Stars from Germany and around the world journeyed to this central German setting to perform. Of course, these joyful sounds went silent following the COVID-19 lockdown.
For weeks, the pastoral fairgrounds remained void of public entertainment. Happily, that changed on Friday May 15 when Studio D4 launched Autokino Apolda, a pop culture throwback to the 1960s-style American drive-in, but with a decidedly high-tech touch provided by a bright 10-meter by 6-meter LED video screen built with CHAUVET Professional F4 IP panels supplied and installed by Materie Event Production.
Mounted on a 2-meter high platform and supported by a solid rigging grid, the video panels deliver the kind of clear, crisp images that would have been unimaginable back in the glory muscle car days of the early drive-in movies.
“The panels give us brilliant colors and sharp definition thanks to their 4.8 mm pixel pitch,” said Heiko Ullrich of Materie Event Production. “The black body of the LEDs means that we have great images even during sunlight. This was important, because the client needed vibrant colors and high contrast during the daylight as well as at night.”
Autokino Apolda offers a full schedule of movies, such as Bohemian Rhapsody, A Star Is Born, and Spiderman. The pop-up drive-in opens every day, seven days a week. Since the panels will be left outdoors for the long run (likely as long as to COVID-19 lockdown lasts), their IP65 rating is essential.
A combination of two Novastar scalers, a Blackmagic ATEM Television Studio Pro 4K, a Sony Blue-ray player, and three Decimator MD HX feed the video wall content. “The control we get is excellent,” said Ullrich. “We can run 120 panels on just one scaler.”
The Materie Event team arranged six Maverick Storm 1 Wash and four COLORado Panel Q40 units over the big video wall. From this position, the IP65 rated fixtures are used to create stunning effects after the film showings, an “extra” that James Dean and Marlon Brando never had in their drive-in days!
To draw attention to the drive-in, the Maverick fixtures are also used to create aerial effects, which can be seen from great distances. The fixtures serve another marketing function by creating captivating images of the venue to use in advertising material.
On the subject of marketing, Studio D4 is offering customers a chance to win a day with a vintage muscle car from HarzCruisers, so they can experience the vibe of the classic drive-in era.
Fans have been turning out for Autokino Apolda in impressive numbers. Adhering to government safety regulations, they are limited to two people per vehicle, and can leave their car only to visit the toilet or purchase refreshments. Audio is transmitted to their radios via UKW.
Someday stars like Clueso, Sarah Connor and Captain Fantastic will return to Festwiese Apolda to make music again. Meanwhile, people in this region are finding a welcome reprieve from their daily concerns, escaping time and place by entering a classic drive-in experience beautifully lit by Materie Event Production and displayed on a clear LED video wall.