Hippotizer V4 for MGG & the EOH Awards

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South African based MGG, suppliers of technical services and equipment, have expanded their inventory with the investment of a Hippotizer V4 Boreal. The media server made its first grand appearance at the prestigious EOH Annual Year End celebration which was hosted in three regions. At the Johannesburg leg, Gallagher Estate in Midrand ran two shows with 4000 guests attending per night, while 2 000 guests attended the performance hosted at the Cape Town International Convention Centre and a further 700 people attended the wonderful festivities at the Durban ICC.

Johan Botha from MGG has been in the industry for many years, and has experience with media servers, though it was his first time on the Hippotizer V4 Boreal. “An MA command wing controlled the Hippotizer V4. We ran main and back-up which went into a matrix switcher in the unlikely case that anything should go wrong. Honestly, though, the Hippo is a reliable piece of kit.”

Having worked with the Hippotizer V3 in the past, Johan has seen a huge improvement. “I felt very comfortable running the Hippotizer V4, the videos didn’t stagger and there were no worries that the server would fall over. I ran big files – the Hap Codec in Quick-Time format – and the system behaved brilliantly. It was a phenomenal experience.”

With a background in lighting, Johan believes that media servers are at their optimum performance when run in conjunction with a lighting console. “It gives the user a lot of versatility and the one thing that I really love about the Hippotizer V4 is the versatility. It allows you to do many things on the fly during a show. At the EOH event in Durban and Cape Town, the main show was followed by a DJ performing in the same venue.  I could continue running the visuals, obviously able to compliment the beat and music being played, in comparison to time line programs which do not offer this flexibility.”

Johan Botha


Content for the EOH event was supplied by MGG, in fact created by Johan himself. Running the show and creating the content was a great undertaking, and he made use of two computers, one to edit and the other to export as he loaded the content to the Hippotizer V4. “It was an intense show but the client was ecstatic,” he said.

“Obviously if you can create the content and run the show it helps so much as you understand how the content has to fit into the mapping. We had a top layer and a bottom layer, and in total there were six LED screens with one pixel space, we made use of our Robe Cubes 324 and lastly used ten delay screens. The mapping was impressive. It was simple and after I got my head around – thank you to Dylan Jones from DWR Distribution for the training – it took about half an hour to complete.”

Petro Palmer from Festival Sound ran the audio aspects of the show on the DiCiCo platform. He sent time code from Reper to both Johan and lighting designer Francois van der Merwe, who were both using MA.

The show consisted of two acts, each with five scenes. “I wanted to make the opening act spectacular and it really was a wow,” said Johan. “The other scenes were more generic but looked beautiful.” Each scene had an individual look with variety and a joyous party ambience ensuring all guests had a wonderful time.

In conclusion, Johan says Hippotizer 4 was a pleasure to work with. “The media server is laid out in a fantastic way, it has easy access to different menus which helps a great deal. As soon as you get your head around the main menu, you’ll know exactly where to find everything. It’s that simple. As soon as I opened the mapping everything made sense.

Tim Parker


Johan is not the only person from MGG excited about the potential of the Hippotizer 4. “Green Hippos is a great machine, both solid and stable and integrates with lighting,” said Tim Parker. “It’s obviously great for bigger shows but is user friendly and has a section called the ZooKeeper which is great to work with. I’m looking forward to playing with the system.”

Photos by Duncan Riley