It’s not the Festival de Cannes—yet—but the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) has quickly become one of the most prominent film festivals in the world. Now the annual 11-day event, which hosts hundreds of public movie screenings and unofficially kicks off the Oscars race, has a high-tech headquarters befitting its standing on the world stage.
The TIFF Bell Lightbox, which opened in fall 2010, is 175,000 square feet; it houses cinemas, three studios, a film gallery, meeting and event spaces, and more. Suspended above the building’s three-story atrium is a red, glass-fronted cube that holds the venue’s master control room. The control room is the brain for all the audiovisual systems throughout the Bell Lightbox, from 28 channels of digital signage, to TIFF’s own in-house IPTV network, to live broadcasting from areas throughout the building, to video capture, storage, and streaming of events and presentations. AV integrator and Spotlight Award winner Westbury National Show Systems built the control room’s signal distribution architecture around FOR-A 300HVS switches, a Sierra VIdeo Systems Ponderosa HD-SDI router, and Harris Corp.’s Nexio Advanced Media Platform. Audio and video travel over single and multimode fiber.
The Bell Lightbox’s theaters are designed to host everything from vintage films to current, digitally encrypted 3D Hollywood movies. Its flagship cinema, Theatre One, uses Meyer Sound Laboratories Acheron loudspeakers to complement the visual entertainment. But systems vary from theater to theater almost as much as the films they host, so switching configurations—including acoustics, screen masking, signal routing, projection, lighting, and more—to suit the featured content had to be easy. Westbury National programmed AMX touch panels to do the job.