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ETC Unison Mosaic™ system lights up festive Sundance Square, Fort Worth, Texas

ETC Unison Mosaic™ system lights up festive Sundance Square, Fort Worth, Texas 12/21/2011

Fort Worth-area residents and visitors are being treated to a feast for the eyes again this holiday season—the festive lights outlining historic Sundance Square. This year the beloved lighting display has been expanded, while going greener with LED lighting controlled by an ETC Unison® Mosaic show-control system.

A signature of the downtown area has been the sparkling white lights outlining buildings, windows and trees. The goal this year was to replace those building-outline lights with long-lasting, programmable RGB LEDs that would still simulate the warm lighting look of incandescent lamps while also changing colors and creating patterns. The new system employs approximately 7,600 LED fixtures mounted along the rooflines, vertical corners, and windows of 20 different Sundance buildings. This required sophisticated show-control technology. According to the project’s lighting designer Dall Brown, “It quickly became clear that the ETC Mosaic controller would provide the most flexibility, ease of programming and scalability for the system. And it didn’t hurt that a master programmer on the Mosaic system, Jeff Mabray, of the Edwin Jones Company, lives in the area.”

Power supplies and protocol converters are mounted on the rooftops. Data from the Mosaic controllers is routed over Ethernet to ETC Net3™ Gateways, which output DMX512 data. The DMX is then routed through surge suppressors to the rooftop protocol converters. The system currently has a capacity of over 38,000 channels of DMX, which can easily be expanded as more buildings are added into the design in the future.

“I wanted to be able to treat the entire area as one big canvas with colors sweeping down Main Street or hopping from building to building,” says Brown. “Mosaic’s Designer software allowed me to create complex moving patterns overlaid on a graphic representation of the buildings. Uploading the program to the controllers over the network automatically stores the relevant data in each controller. The capability of Mosaic to communicate from building to building over the existing fiber optic LAN is ideal. The Sundance Square IT staff just assigned us a block of IP addresses and created a virtual lighting LAN through their existing switches. The result is a perfectly synchronized system that can be scaled easily as we add more buildings.”

Dall and Mabray created several programs that can be easily selected by the Sundance Square staff right from desktop computers. Some are solid colors or simple chases. Some, like the winter holiday program, are actually a series of programs with transitions between them.

“One program that Jeff and I have been working on is a rocket effect with a red body and a trail of white sparks that fades out behind. By applying these to the various verticals and staggering the timelines, we get an animated effect—like multiple rockets or roman candles.”

By changing the variables in the stock effects and then layering the timelines, a wide variety of looks can be achieved—much like working with the layers in a media server.

Brown says that all of the controllers and peripheral devices have performed flawlessly.

The Sundance Square project was installed by Dallas-based Innovative Performance Contracting, Inc.

Photo credit: Brian Luenser