- Integration is where all of the different systems and machines and pieces of a project come together. It's also the part of the project where we take the equipment out into the field and we install the equipment on site for the customer. - A lot of what we do is custom and different and new every time even though we have these stock building blocks. The way they get assembled will vary time to time so there's a lot of interaction between me and the end user on the tour to make sure we're tailoring things the way they want and to train them on how to use specific parts of the software or specific features that they maybe haven't used before.
- [Ben] This is one of these jobs at TAIT that's on the unique TAIT line between art and engineering. If you're too mechanical you may not understand the artwork that we're trying to achieve here because we are trying to do a show. This is entertainment. But if you're too artistic we may lose sight of some of the gear's capabilities and not have a greater understanding of what we need to do to, say, fly somebody across the stadium. - As a kid growing up I knew that I always wanted to make things and I didn't really know what specifically that meant so I started off doing my degree in mechanical engineering but ultimately as I wanted to make things move I transferred from doing mechanical work to controls and robotics.
- People that know about robotics, people that know about automation, that's all really important relevant experience. - Today's shows are more and more interconnected. Video works with lighting works with motion works with all of these departments. Navigator does a lot of tying in to these components. Stuff that we built or stuff that we didn't build it really tries to be this central hub and this conduit of information.
- My job as a 3D artist who has an animation background is figuring out how to make those tools accessible to other animators. So really I'm doing the first fifty percent and handing off to them to do the integrational and the nav side. For Taylor Swift they were programming things based on where she was in 3D space. So if you put her at the end of the propeller arm and that moves you don't really have to think about "How is the propellor arm moving?" when you're focusing a camera.
You can just say, "Focus on Taylor." - There's a lot of specific project-based investigation and learning that has to happen to figure out how to program something we haven't used before that's from some other vendor. - Out R&D group is working on generally bringing the software and the hardware together. There's always new technologies project pushing new boundaries and what I'm doing is helping bring this new technology and hardware to be compatible with the Navigator software.
- I very much have a strong half of me that's technical and solving technical problems but there's also a really strong part of my job that needs to be soft skills and human interaction skills and working with lots of different people with lots of different backgrounds. - You know you can seamlessly go from being and engineer one moment to then riding around on a tour bus with a bunch of roadies the next moment. - You're not just building a show you have to think about how they're going to tour it, right, you have to make things easy for them. - You're breaking things down in sizes that fit efficiently on sea containers and trucks and airplane pallets and so the really impressive part to me is the fact that it can all be torn down in a matter of three hours, packed on a truck, driven six hours down the road, and set up in a matter of hours and they do it all again.
And they do that day in day out for months at a time. - I had never been involved in the theater/entertainment industry so being backstage in the creation of a show process was just really exciting to me. - To be able to take a step back and see how people react to it is really an amazing experience.