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Jan 04

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The Best Xmas Gift – Visit to Martin Professional

Back in October 15th, I told you about the contest I won. All my interest in the lighting industry and admiration for the Martin Professional brand earned me a trip to their Happy Factory and the Head-Quarters at 16th and 17th of December. This was the best Christmas gift I could ask for. A dream come true!

One person is particularly responsible for all this passion I have today: my father! He learned by himself the techniques used in the design and installation of stage lighting in music shows, back in the days of simple PAR projectors. When I was a child, I often went with him and my interest grown gradually. Nowadays the technology has changed a lot and it’s me who is teaching him how to use the more advanced M-Series controllers :)

I had to give back all that my father taught me, so I brought him with me and we went to Denmark with high expectations! If you would like to know a little bit more about Martin Professional, follow us on our trip ;)

Happy Factory - Frederikshavn

Brith de Blanck (Product Promotion Manager) was waiting for us in Aalborg Airport and took us to the Happy Factory right away. As soon as you arrive, you feel the presence of the brand, starting on the parking lot. You can see in the photo, those parking lot lights are made by them. Makes sense, aren’t they beautiful?

martin_factory1

Source: aa-a.dk

From the outside you see two cubicles joined together in harmony, but once you get inside, you completely forget that this is where the Martin products are assembled and tested. This is a true factory, but doesn’t feel like it. On the ceiling, you see many smooth light colors, always changing. We saw how the products are assembled and tested, but the thing we found the most interesting is the detail those guys go into when it comes to calibration.

martin_factory2

Source: aa-a.dk

Did you know they calibrate each and every pixel of a video-wall to exactly match their standard, before they are sold? They do the same for the moving lights… The white color is also calibrated, and as some of the readers may know, the color output of an LED changes with the temperature, so they had to develop an algorithm that run on the fixtures that keep them recalibrating while running. Genius, I think!

This is important, because when you have lots of fixtures, you want to make sure that they respond the same way when excited with the same DMX values.

Their logistics inside the factory are fully-automated. Anyone in an assembly line can ask for a component in the computer and in a matter of minutes, it will arrive at the destination. They have a warehouse where no-one is allowed to enter, because they have big robots picking and placing the components in their specific place!

Time to relax

Later in the day, we had the opportunity to meet Paul Pelletier (Product Manager for Controllers), which I known from the forums online, and Wouter Verlinden (Product Manager for Video). Together with Brith, we all went to the RaceHall for a Go-Kart race.

racehallAlthough it was our first time Go-Karting, we managed to get good timing results. Well, once you get to see the Pro’s time, maybe it’s not that good :P After the race, it was time for dinner, with a fantastic view over the track. First day over…

Second day – Head-Quarters

Martin HQ

The Head-Quarters are AMAZING!! You get inside and you feel a nice confortable and warming place. Claus Hansen guided us to the first stop: Martin’s demonstration room, where we got the first contact with many of their products in exhibition. “OMG, is that an M6?” Yes, I couldn’t resist playing a little bit later with it and their Mac Vipers. :)

Secondly, we were introduced to their “Evolution Wall” – a full Martin museum. Even though we well know the present state of Martin, we were not aware of the past history, and sometimes forget that what we have today is the result of several years of hardworking and out-of-the-box mind’s work, with highs and lows. It was really interesting to know some curiosities. Did you know that Peter Johansen (enterpreneur and founder of the company) invented the fog machine (there is no show without it), based on some experiments he made with a coffee machine? How awesome is that? :D

After that, it was time for a nice conversation with Heidi Pedersen and Litte Dalsgaard from the Marketing department, followed by a tour inside the R&D department. For me this was probably the best part of the visit. There is something about their philosophy and environment that amazes me and makes me feel like I would really love to work there one day. It’s probably my biggest dream today…

They’ve got EVERYTHING they need to do fast prototyping! That is so important nowadays: being as less dependant of external companies as possible. For those people, turning an idea into the next big thing is just a matter of weeks (sometimes days).

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Me with the Martin M6 Controller

Then, we met Wouter Verlinden and Paul Pelletier again, this time in the showroom, and they showed us the products they are working in. Wouter made a very comprehensive demonstration of their line of Video products, which we knew nothing about and after this demonstration we found them particularly interesting.

Imagine a moving-head failing in the middle of hundreds of others. Does anyone notice? Probably not. But if the same happens to a panel of video, in the middle of the other panels, everyone will see and it gives a very bad impression. So, they thought of a product that would be easily repaired or exchanged by a new one. Their “click-in” system is amazing – no wires, no screws – makes it possible to change one product in seconds!! Also, the power supply is accessible and is removable without the need of removing the whole panel.

Finally, we had a short talk with Paul Pelletier about the line of controllers. If you don’t know them, I suggest you visit their website and take a look at M2PCM2GO, M1 and M6!! If you are into the lighting business, you can also try out the software they use in their consoles in your own PC: just download M-PC (yes, it’s free) and you will be able to access 1 FREE Dmx Universe and 1 FREE ArtNet Universe!

The visit ended with a flabbergasting show in a stage they have for demonstration purposes… WOW That was intense!! Those 20 minutes of light show kept coming to my mind during our way back to Portugal!

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My father, after the demo show

Conclusion

Do you know how a kid feels in a toy shop? That was our feeling during those 2 days. Both buildings have such a relaxing and humble environment to work in that, at some point, you forget that those creative and dynamic people are working…hard!

I just can’t thank enough for all the time spent with us. Everyone was so nice and welcoming that we really felt part of the Martin family those 2 days, a family of very passionate people about what they do everyday. It was a very enriching experience that we will never forget for the rest of our lives!

And if you want a chance to enter competitions in the future and keep up to date with news and products, you can follow Martin via Facebook on the Martin Professional and the RUSH by Martin pages.

We look forward to come back to Denmark in the future!

Thank you:

  • Brith de Blanck
  • Heidi Pedersen
  • Litte Dalsgaard
  • Paul Pelletier
  • Claus Hansen
  • Wouter Verlinden
  • Michael
  • Peter Høy
  • And all the other people we met and/or are involved in the process of picking us :)

About the author

Ricardo Dias

Ricardo Dias was born in Entroncamento, Portugal and is studying Electronic and Telecommunications Engineering at University of Aveiro. He is a researcher in robotics and is currently the Team Leader of CAMBADA@MSL team. As a hobby, he is also a freelancer Stage Lighting Designer.

Permanent link to this article: http://ricardo-dias.com/2014/01/04/the-best-xmas-gift-visit-to-martin-professional/

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