chipmunk webres

Hippotizer Chipmunk is the latest addition to Green Hippo's award winning Hippotizer media server range. Driven by the same acclaimed software engine that powers the entire range, Chipmunk delivers two layers of 1080p HD with ease. Full on-layer geometry, FX and colour control plus keystone correction. Timeline functionality is as per Chipmunk's siblings along with RegionMapper, Preset Manager, ScreenWarp and many more of the components Hippotizer users have come to expect.

The ability to switch to a single layer with cross-fade opens up a host of possibilities for Chipmunk. With a selection of transitions and mixer style functions built in, the system is ideal for on the fly applications such as music events, nightclubs or even permanent installations.

Chipmunk can be further configured to perform advanced functionality through a series of additional software packages that can be purchased at any time.

For projects requiring no more than 2 layers of HD video via a single output without sacrificing flexibility and control Chipmunk is the perfect solution.

Chipmunk: Within reach...without compromise!


  • Single output HD
  • Class leading video playback and real-time rendering
  • 2 media layers (1 layer in XFade)
  • Up to 2.5MegaPixels encoding and playback with FlexRes codec
  • PixelMapper > 25 output universes
  • 1U rackmount case
  • Optional patch panel for professional connections
  • 2 FX engines per layer - 100+ effects per FX engine
  • Frame accurate synchronisation across multiple servers (Connect & Control pack only)
  • Media Manager with live media updating and WatchFolders
  • ScreenThief for Ethernet video capture
  • Keystone and ScreenWarp for non-linear projection surfaces
  • Soft-edge blending
  • Timeline for stand-alone operation
  • HippoNet (Connect & Control pack only)
  • External control via DMX / MIDI / TCP-IP / OSC / RS232 / MaNet (Upgrade packs only)
  • High performance 3D show visualisation integration via CITP and HMap2 (Upgrade packs only)
  • Map to the most complex screen setups using RegionMapper and the award winning VideoMapper
  • New visual presets applicable across all layers
  • XFade - Automatically fade between clips and layer settings seamlessly
  • Multiscreen setups using Chipmunk as a render node (Connect & Control pack only)




Chipmunk: Within reach...without compromise!

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Posted in Lighting Archive



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In September this year Durban hosted the first ever South Africa India Film and Television Awards (SAIFTA) Ceremony. The who's who of Bollywood and South African film were there, as was Gearhouse Durban, who supplied all the lighting requirements for the event.

There were a few jitters when SAIFTA confirmed the job only two days before load in. The pressure was on to prep the kit and load the trucks to be at the venue, the Durban International Convention Centre (ICC), on time. As always Gearhouse was pumped for the challenge; and the lads worked late into the night to make sure they were at the ICC on time.

One hundred and twenty moving lights, countless LEDs and hundreds of par cans illuminated the stage, but none shone brighter than the beautiful Bollywood actress and dancer, Mahduri Dixit. Dreamsets did a wonderful job with the set, and each structure included an LED strip light which allowed the set to change colour at the flick of a switch.

The lighting rider included 28 Martin Mac Vipers, and it was very exciting to see them in action together – they certainly justify the hype. They add a crisp, clean look; the optics are amazing; the light output is highly impressive; and they helped make the live show translate brilliantly to television.

I'm happy to report that there were no glitches and the client was delighted with what Gearhouse managed to achieve. Thanks to all my colleagues from Gearhouse for putting in the hours to ensure that the inaugural SAIFTA Ceremony was a shining success.

Article by Ryan Dunbar - Lighting Operator for Gearhouse South Africa

Photos by Ryan Dunbar

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Posted in Lighting Archive



Sea of Vipers

About eighteen months ago Gearhouse South Africa's Ofer Lapid (Founder and Managing Director) and Tim Dunn (Design and Concept) accompanied Bruce Schwartz (Entertainment Lighting Manager of Electrosonic SA) on a trip to Arhus, Denmark.

Arhus is Denmark's second biggest city and home to 1.25 million people; it's also home to one of the world's top automated lighting and control manufacturers - Martin Professional. Their mission was to check out Martin's new range of automated fixtures. After eight years of faithful service Gearhouse's ever-reliable Martin MAC 2000s were starting to take strain.

The intrepid three were fortified against the Scandinavian winter chill with plenty of tasty food and good wine. But merrymaking was not the main purpose of the trip: there was serious work to be done. Peter Skytte and Peter Dahlin from Martin Professional treated Ofer, Tim and Bruce to a sneak preview of the Viper series. Back then there were only two early prototypes and these units were still some way from completion; the two Peters had to be careful not to damage the fragile mockup on the bench. The preview was a success and Ofer and Tim were delighted that they'd found a worthy replacement for their treasured '2ks'.

Ofer Tim Bruce

Many automated lighting manufacturers make the mistake of trying to over-stuff fixtures with too many options. Martin stuck to the basics: a solid, compact, very bright light that offers superb optics and a range of compatible fixtures. Like its legendary predecessor - a real touring workhorse. Martin has unveiled a viper worthy of the name: a supreme competitor with bite and venom.

The only problem for Ofer and Tim was that they would have to wait out the field tests, and the spec'ing of the units on international riders, before the Vipers could go into commercial production. So they used the trip as an opportunity to get a bit of TLC for the 2ks. A spreadsheet was compiled in which each and every MAC 2k in Gearhouse's inventory was recorded and the necessary spares applied. The Danes also helped out by hastily assembling some emergency spare parts.

Bruce Ofer

By the time January 2013 rolled around Gearhouse's Durban branch was in dire need of larger format fixtures. Ofer, and Branch Manager Ashley Singh, took this as an opportunity to trial run the Vipers in sunny South Africa – and so they invested in twelve Martin MAC Viper Profiles and some Martin M-Series Desks. Like its venomous namesake, the Vipers showed that they are as comfortable in Africa as they are in other parts of the world. Many South African LDs (Lighting Designers) got the chance to work with the Vipers, and they were mightily impressed. The comments followed a familiar theme: "Vipers are a winner". LDs consistently praised them; using terms like: 'bright', 'compact', 'versatile', 'amazingly simple workhorses'.

In March 2013 the range of Viper Fixtures was up to 6 variations (Profile, Wash, Wash with Internal Barndoors, Air FX, Air FX with Quad array) and it was clear that Martin Vipers were fast establishing themselves as the fixture of choice for many international riders. The Prolight + Sound International Trade Fair in Frankfurt in April 2013 proved a good time for the South Africans to lock down some deals with Martin Professional. The audio and infotainment group, Harman, had acquired Martin Professional in late 2012. But this was no obstacle to some fruitful negotiations a few months later where Electrosonic SA and Gearhouse (represented by joint Managing Directors, Ofer Lapid and Nasser Abbas) met with the Martin team. A deal was struck and the Vipers started to make their way to South Africa.

Gearhouse now has 72 Viper Profiles in its inventory with plans for more units. Gearhouse is currently the sole member in Africa of the growing MGAP (Martin Global Alliance Partner). This partnership has many benefits for both members and non-members who are looking for a trusted, accredited and up-to-date rental house to supply fixtures and staff on world tours. By networking with other MGAP members Gearhouse is in a unique position to leverage knowledge and also share its vast knowledge gained over the years.

The new Gearhouse Vipers barely touched the ground before they were checked and deployed on their first job, The Bidvest Annual Chairman's Awards at the Sandton Convention Centre.

Stuart Andrew


Gearhouse South Africa was founded by Israeli-born Ofer Lapid. As a youngster Ofer was passionate about working backstage on gigs and live events. In the mid-eighties he toured South Africa with an Israeli act and developed a kinship with the African continent. He stayed on to work on a show at the Civic Theatre (now Johannesburg Theatre) before landing a job at the State Theatre, followed by a position at Sun City.

After a year at Sun City, Ofer recognised the importance of constantly investing in equipment and keeping pace with technological change. It was a seed of an idea that germinated when Ofer was invited to tour with Johnny Clegg in 1989. It was in that year that he started Lighting Unlimited. In 1993 Ofer expanded his offering by founding Stage Design; and then in 1995 he bought four generators and founded Woza Power.

In 1996 Ofer sold the three businesses to Gearhouse, a UK based company that had dozens of branches around the world, but stayed on to run the South African operation. When, in 2001, Gearhouse went into receivership in the UK, it seemed the end of the road for the South African branch, but Ofer had other ideas. The easy solution would have been to allow the business to go bankrupt and then buy the gear off the liquidators. Ofer's sense of loyalty to his crew, to his suppliers, and to the industry resulted in a management buy-out of the South African division of Gearhouse, which has since continued as a privately-owned entity known as Gearhouse South Africa. Lapid remains the Managing Director of the company.

Gearhouse describes itself as a locally based, proudly South African, Total Technical Solution Group. The company has branches in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban and a fleet of trucks and vehicles that crisscross Southern Africa bringing top-class technical solutions to myriad events. Such is Gearhouse SA's reputation that they even provide services into other parts of Africa, and indeed worldwide.

The environment at the company is a nurturing one, both professionally and personally. There is a commitment to growing people by giving them on-going training and skills development.

Little wonder that Gearhouse is the service provider of choice for international events taking place in South Africa.


Posted in Lighting Archive



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The Pretoria-based Hatfield Christian Church is passionate about Christ, about life, and about their community. The church complex has two auditoriums; a junior and senior level school; a restaurant/coffee shop; and a bookshop.

And such is the enormous interest in the Church that they are expanding. When the Main Auditorium got too busy they decided to extend the smaller auditorium (Minor Auditorium) to accommodate more worship groups. Electrosonic SA has enjoyed an on-going relationship with the Church and over the years has assisted in various technical aspects, including the installation of a lighting system for the Minor Auditorium. We completed the installation with ADB Softlux fixtures and Versa-Light LED Parcans. The Church was very happy with our work, and when it came time to upgrade the lighting in Main Auditorium they knew who to call.

After numerous demonstrations and proposals by Electrosonic SA the Church went for the Martin Mac Auras, the JEM K1 Hazer, and the world class M2GO Lighting Console. This has transformed the lighting in Main Auditorium into a world-class set-up. Because this house of worship is continually growing, the Church decided to beef up the lighting in Minor Auditorium. Various fixtures were added: Versa-Light LED Parcans, the Mac350, the JEM Compact Hazer and the M2PC lighting controller. This has helped to standardise lighting control in the complex.

It was hugely rewarding dealing with such a wonderful, well-established, and well-organised group. Electrosonic SA is very fortunate to have the Hatfield Christian Church as a loyal client.

We feel that we too are part of their warm family, and we look forward to continue supplying them with all their lighting requirements. We would like to extend our thanks to Carl Schultz, our liaison at the Church. Carl was a thoroughly professional, and very knowledgeable, partner in the project. We look forward to working with him in the future.

Carl Schultz writes:

Electrosonic SA provided Hatfield Christian Church a professional service and went the extra mile in understanding the church requirements. We are very pleased with our new systems, which have had a major positive influence on our Sunday experience across all our services. When it came to training up our volunteers we were very blessed by the training provided by Electrosonic SA, who went the extra mile for us.

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Posted in Lighting Archive

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