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Music, Magic and Tablet PC Technology

at the Hollywood Bowl

by Linda A. Epstein
August 2004

Tablet PC line

Hollywood Bowl

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Los Angeles may not have an actual theatre district, The Rockettes or chestnut vendors on street corners, but there are two world famous outdoor amphitheaters and a new $274 million Walt Disney Concert Hall at the Los Angeles Music Center.

The Hollywood Bowl opened on July 11, 1922. 82 years later The Bowl is a major jewel in the crown of outdoor venues.

The sense of joy and pride for those of us who live in the area have in the Bowl comes from the powerful history of events that have taken place within its shell. Frank Sinatra made his Bowl debut in 1943. Dwight D. Eisenhower: gave a presidential address there on September 23, 1954. The Beatles made history on August, 23 1965 when they were the first rock and roll band to play at the Hollywood Bowl.

Beatles Tickets        Beatles

Countless performers have since followed in their footsteps. Celine Dion’s first appearance in the United States was opening for Michael Bolton at Hollywood Bowl. An experience so overwhelming that when she first walked onto the stage she just stopped and stared at the audience in awe. 

The Hollywood Bowl opened its 2004 season on June 25 after a twenty five million dollar renovation that included a new shell for improved acoustics and state of the art technology for lighting and sound.

Motion Tablet PC Hollywood bowl

The Hollywood Bowl’s new L’Acoustic sound system is controlled by Lake Contour software running on a Tablet PC.  

Tablet PC- Lake Contour
Tablet PC- Lake Contour
Tablet PC- Lake Contour
Levels tab, faders & meters on the Tablet PC Screen
Lake Contour Software
running on a Tablet PC
EQ Properties
on the Tablet PC Screen

A nice feature of the Lake software is that the sound settings can be saved, backed up and transferred from one Tablet PC to another using a USB key.  Fred Vogler, L. A. Philharmonic Sound Designer and Michael Cooper, Audio/Video Department Head at the Hollywood Bowl collaborated to design and bring the new sound system to life.  Be it a symphony, jazz, ballet, opera or rock concert, controlled with six Lake Contour Pro26D digital loudspeaker processors, Lake Contour software and a Tablet PC, the Bowl's world class Sound does it all.

Michael Cooper- Toshiba   Fred & Michael Toshiba Tablet PC   Fred Toshiba Tablet PC

The Tablet PC Controls the sound from the front to the back and of the venue and allows Michael and Fred to quickly and easily implement desired changes as necessary.

Michael and Fred

Michael Cooper and Fred Vogler with the Toshiba M200 Tablet PC
during set up for the August 9, 2004 "THE WHO" concert.

Michael and Fred use a Tablet PC to optimize the sound during set-up, sound checks and during concerts for every show.  According to Michael the Tablet PC increases productivity because its mobility makes it highly effective.  Fred finds the Tablets flexibility and responsiveness make his job quicker and more efficient.                             

Before the Tablet PC sound tuning was done by multiple people using walkie-talkies; a scenario similar to the “can you hear me now “.  One person would be out in the sound booth and the other would be inside the Bowl giving him meter readings and information needed to optimize the sound. However none of this was generally done during a concert. With the Tablet PC running the Lake software you can control sound equalization, delay and level settings anytime from anywhere with immediate results.

With seating for just under 18,000 people, The Bowls sound system is divided into zones with each zone optimized using the Lake Contour software from Lake Technology on a Tablet PC.  Because sound is effected by the temperature in the Bowl,  it Is always changing and requires powerful tools like the Lake Contour & Tablet PC to accommodate these numerous changes seamlessly.

Hollywood Bowl Seating Chart

Hollywood Bowl Seating Chart

 Motion Tablet PC Fred        Motion Tablet PCs -Fred

Since these are not Tablet PC's with outdoor displays they appear to be off when they are in fact on

Above: Fred Vogler helps out The Who's sound team by setting up the Bowls Tablet PC for the nights concert.

By now my guess is you have two questions, how many Tablet PC's is the Hollywood Bowl using? and , how does this state of the art Tablet PC controlled sound system actually sound?  

In the past few weeks Michael and Fred have evaluated may Tablet PC's including the Toshiba M200, the Panasonic Toughbook 18 and the Fujitsu 4110, in the coming weeks they they will be evaluating others as well.  Currently they are using a Motion M1300 with HardTop keyboard.

From what I heard during set up for Eric Clapton and "The Who" its pretty amazing, but I'll be back to let you know after Rod Stewart’s show the end of the month.

Tablet PC Eric Clapton        Tablet PC Eric Clapton

Getting ready for Eric Clapton August 2, 2004

The Hollywood Bowl is special in many ways. During the season when the classical, jazz or weekend spectacular series concerts are going on, you have the option of having Gourmet Picnic Dinners delivered to you box.   It’s not at all uncommon to find people dining in their boxes while sipping Perrier Jouët champagne at tables complete with fine china, sterling silver place settings, crystal candlesticks, and delicacies packed in their own picnic baskets.

On the nights the Bowl has been leased out for rock concerts or other events anyone can bring in picnic baskets sans the fine china, candlesticks, alcohol or anything else in a bottle.

The days of carrying in picnic baskets complete with silver candlesticks and your own champagne to leased events such as Eric Clapton, "The Who" and Rod Stewart, may be gone forever, but the musical magic of the Hollywood Bowl continues to thrive and expand.

Music, Magic and Tablet PC Technology at the Hollywood Bowl,

To be continued .....

TOshiba M200 Tablet PC

For Hollywood Bowl tickets or information click here

CHampagne bottle

Special thanks to Fred Vogler, Michael Cooper, Miguel Hadelich, Andrew Dixon and Larry Storey, for making this article possible.


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