USA – In the Texas tradition of going big, Houston welcomed Super Bowl LI with a number of exciting attractions, including the Houston Skylight high atop the George R. Brown Convention Centre(GRB). Houston First Corporation, which maintains GRB, asked Nimblist to conceive and execute the Houston Skylight, a rooftop beacon that marks the centre of the city’s cultural activities.
Nimblist designer and creative consultant Spike Brant devised an array of 36 Claypaky Supersharpy fixtures, mounted on staging on the GRB roof overlooking Discovery Green park. The Supersharpys swept the sky with powerful searchlight-style beams and created numerous lighting effects as well.
“We have an ongoing conversation with Mike Waterman with Houston First about using light as a beacon to connect all of Houston,” says Spike Brant. “The Houston Skylight would symbolize energy as light and serve as a visual metaphor connecting the Super Bowl festivities. The installation was commissioned as a proof of concept for a broader effort to illuminate Houston to the world and create a citywide attraction using multiple types of lighting installations.
A.C.T Lighting helped Brant arrange for Claypaky’s factory in Italy to build and ship 20 Supersharpys, which Houston First purchased through local dealer LD Systems. “A.C.T got us the lights quickly. I can’t thank
Belgium - After experimenting with a number of different microphones, Belgian folk group Skratt has opted for DPA’s d:vote Instrument Microphones to capture the sound of a variety of unusual instruments, including accordion, bagpipes and nyckelharpa.
All seven members of the band have very different musical backgrounds covering a diverse range of styles, from heavy metal and pop to folk and classical. This allows their music to branch out from traditional folk and incorporate influences from all over the world and many different genres.
Skratt founder Mathias Van de Vliet says it was the search for a microphone that could truly capture the sound of an accordion that led the band to DPA.
“To begin with we tried other microphones but they sounded thin and were terrible on monitoring. We just could not hear the accordion,” he explains. “We also tried a condenser mic on a stand for the violin, but that wasn’t practical.”
The wide range of clip mounts available for d:vote microphones proved a big draw.
“The clip mounts are great because they are made for a different kinds of instrument shapes, so they fit really well,” Van de Vliet says. “They are super versatile and that’s what I like most. You can use them on just about every instrument because they are so well thought out.
“With a bit of creativity, you can even
USA - Set in the vast expanse of the Sonoran Desert in early February, the Gem and Jam Festival has a way of inspiring flights of imagination. Originally an after-party for the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, the four-day electronic music festival, which this year featured stars like The Trancident and The Floozies, pays tribute to its roots by embellishing its grounds with a captivating and sparkling array of crystalline artwork.
This enchanting atmosphere was apparent at the Festival’s Onyx Stage, the only indoor stage of the four gem-inspired stages, set to go off at closing of the mainstage and continue to sunrise. The building was centred in a fantastical courtyard that housed an eclectic mix of sculptures and vendors. The stage was bejewelled with enormous clear quartz matrixes, large wooden panels riddled with intricate cut-outs of coyotes, symmetric crystal and interweaving geometric shapes.
Cody Lisle brought out the full aesthetic qualities of the stage and its surroundings with a richly coloured and deeply textured lighting and set design that featured a collection of Chauvet Professional and Chauvet DJ fixtures supplied by LIT Lighting.
“The idea was to create an organic look that blended with the surroundings, and not just have a standard cookie cutter stage design,” said Lisle. “I put a lot of effort into even small details and tried
How does someone get started with their event designs? What software and what tools are available to help you create fabulous designs?
LSi has teamed up with Exertis Unlimited, the exclusive distributor of the Vectorworks software in the UK to run an informative morning where we will show how to make the most of event and exhibition designs.
USA - SGM Q-7 strobes were the main cannons of the stage lighting for Justin Bieber’s exclusive show at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami, FL.
Everlast Productions have carried out the New Year’s Eve Party at Fontainebleau Hotel for several years. It was the first year that Tyler Frank spearheaded the overall design. Tyler and his crew took the shell of the structure from previous years and incorporated that into the new design for the stage.
He wanted to create something that had more depth, immersion and dynamics, all the while fitting into the tight restrictions of the space. They built a 18m wide x 15m tall x 13m deep (60’ wide x 50’ tall x 40’ deep) structure and stage over an existing poolside bar. The lighting design had to be practical, bright and resilient to South Beach weather conditions. He explained why he chose the Q-7s for the stage setup:
“The Q-7s were the main cannons for the show. They were the only fixtures that I could trust to fill in the void between the LED walls and to have an output bright enough to make it across the pool. The Q-7s were going to be out in the open to the elements and so the IP-rating and the durability of SGM was a no brainer. The fixtures acted as bookends to the LED wall and really brought synergy between the lighting and video elements.”
Tyler was very satisfied with the performance of
Portugal - An array of Audio-Technica microphones was recently used for the fourth series of TV show The Voice in Portugal, broadcast by RTP1, the main television channel of the country’s public broadcasting corporation.
The microphone line-up was supplied via Audio-Technica’s Portuguese distributor NAN Audiovisuais to AV company Auditiv, which has been involved in the show since its launch in 2011.
The show’s house band was miked entirely with Audio-Technica models, from dynamic instrument mics to large-diaphragm condensers, with shotgun types picking up the studio audience. Auditiv (who operate across TV, live event and studio recording sectors with clients including Universal Music, Endemol, Vodafone and MTV) came to the decision to use the microphones on The Voice partly as a result of the company’s experience with Audio-Technica microphones at the Rio Olympics.
“We’d used some stereo shotgun models from Audio-Technica’s Broadcast & Production range for the Olympics ceremonies and really enjoyed them,” explained Joâo Escada, Auditiv managing partner and founder. “So, I was keen to try a variety of mics for The Voice. While the band set-up is relatively straightforward, it’s important that the microphones are as unobtrusive as possible – the producers never want to see them. So models like the new ATM35
Germany - Production company LaserFrame recently installed Elation Professional Platinum HFX hybrid moving heads and ACL 360 Bar effect lights into one of the world’s top clubs, Bootshaus in Cologne.
Located at the Cologne shipyard, Bootshaus has been an integral part of the city’s club culture for more than a decade. Primarily a techno club, Bootshaus attracts a clientele of sophisticated clubbers who often dance to the beats of top DJs like David Guetta, Avicii, Hardwell, Afrojack and Tiesto. The club is all about quality and as a top club maintains high standards when it comes to its lighting and sound systems. Pyro, Co2, lasers and confetti are part of the standard repertoire as well.
Bootshaus houses three rooms – the Mainfloor, the BLCKBX and the Dreherei, an old workshop – plus a large outdoor area where open air parties can be celebrated. The Mainfloor is the largest space with a total capacity of 1200 guests. It is here that 16 Elation Platinum HFX and 20 Elation ACL 360 Bars are used as part of an integrated lighting concept around the dance floor.
“We decided on the HFX due to its excellent price:performance ratio,” stated LaserFrame owner Guido Schütz. He adds, “From my perspective it was the best on the market. We tested it against hybrid lights from some of the top manufacturers and it came out on top. The most convincing f
USA - The latest in a succession of lighting professionals to adopt GLP’s award-winning X4 Bar 20 platform has been designer and programmer, Brian Jenkins. Part of an experienced team based on America’s West Coast, along with people like Roy Bennett, his verdict was unequivocal. “In the moving LED batten market, GLP has hit it out of the park.”
Jenkins is no stranger to the German company’s products, having originally been introduced to the Volkslicht by Seth Jackson when he was designing the Selena Gomez tour. This kick-started an enduring relationship with GLP and its staff. Now in his fourth year with Maroon 5, the LD says, “When we first fired-up in 2015, Roy Bennett designed the production and lighting, with Jason Baeri and myself handling programming and associate design duties. We’ve found a workflow that we both enjoy.
“Outside the main tour, which Roy designs, I handle all the other designs and show direction and am given creative freedom for each show.” And this included two shows at Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay Events Centre on 30-31 December.
Regarding his lighting plot as “an extension of Roy’s vision”, Brian Jenkins kept returning to a promising, and pre-existing structural concept but recognised that it needed some “extra legs”.
Having been introduced to the X4 Bar 20 by Matt Shimamoto at Volt Lites he could
Europe - Laserworld's Purelight Series with 6W, 10W and 20W offers high power for a low price with a good white balance. This makes the units suitable for high power applications in bigger venues.
Laserworld’s Purelight systems are powerful white light RGB laser systems with a power range between 6 and 20W. The three offered RGB systems have a good white balance with homogeneous beam profile and analogue colour modulation.
Lasers in the new Purelight Series have a compact housing, thus they easily integrate with existing lighting setups and established room concepts. Due to the rugged mounting bracket, the Purelight laser systems can be mounted in standing and hanging position, thus it is possible to hang the units from a truss or mount them on top of a stand. Laserworld Purelight systems are especially suitable for beam shows with longer beam distances such as festivals or bigger stage shows.
"The Purelight laser systems are extremely efficient, especially for their low price," said Norbert Stangl, CMO of the Laserworld Group, who co-developed the Purelight systems. "There is a significant need of strong laser systems for festivals and large stages at a low price, which became obvious over the last few months. Due to the large manufacturing quantities and technical developments we had the chance to dramatically reduce the production costs."
Europe - 4EVAC rerports its best ISE yet, showcasing its Compact 500 Voice Alarm System which offers a lean design footprint and makes for cost effective installation and operation.
Designed and manufactured in Europe the C500 is EN54 compliant, and in line with 4EVAC’s rigorous standards, also third party approved and certified beyond the minimum relevant European standards, including EN54-16:2008, EN54-4:2006, EN54-17:2005 and EN50130-4:2011.
4EVAC’s sales director, Albert Van der Hout, commented, “This year’s ISE was unprecedented for us. We’re delighted with so much interest now that the C500 is fully certified, in stock, and ready to purchase as a complete system including paging microphones and networking. We’ve taken orders from integrators as well as receiving distribution enquiries, making a very positive start for business in 2017.”
Comprising self-contained compact ‘Wall-mounted Control’ and ‘Indicating Voice-Alarm’ panels, the C500 offers a ‘mean’ and powerful solution, providing an advanced digital audio-distribution on a networked VACIE solution.
It cleverly packs a punch offering the implicit simplicity of a stand-alone conventional system, but with the added power and benefits of Global Network Topology.
USA - Susan McGuirl, the Head of North America Entertainment, Entertainment Division, Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty, has accepted an invitation to join the Behind the Scenes Foundation Board of Directors.
Susan has been in the insurance industry for over 25 years holding various leadership positions in both claims and underwriting. Allianz Entertainment is the largest entertainment insurance writer in the U.S. focusing on providing specialized insurance solutions for the entertainment industry
Upon accepting the appointment, Susan commented, "I am honoured to serve on the Behind the Scenes Board of Directors. BTS’ dedication to the entertainment industry is important and necessary in serving those who need our help and support."
Rick Rudolph, the chair of the Behind the Scenes Foundation, welcomed Susan to the Board saying, “We are extremely honoured to have Susan join us in our work. Her desire to support entertainment technology professionals in need is a natural extension of her longstanding commitment to making our industry a safer place. We look forward to breadth of experience and new ideas she will bring to the Board.”
The Behind the Scenes charity provides entertainment technology professionals who are seriously ill or injured with grants that may be used for basic living and medical expenses. For more information about Be
Sweden - The contrast between the volume demands of clubbers and the desire of near neighbours for peace and quiet always makes for a difficult balancing act. At Stockholm’s Underbara, a Yamaha system is providing high quality audio all the way from the front door to the DJ booth, but the neighbours can still enjoy a good night’s sleep.
SoFo is one of the more bohemian areas of the Swedish capital, where cafes and restaurants rub shoulders with a range of shops dealing in clothes, jewellery, design, furniture, vintage gear and other fashionable items. Located in a former cinema in the basement of a block of apartments, Underbara combines the ambience of an exclusive night club and urban lounge.
In the past, it was subject to regular complaints about noise levels, but a comprehensive renovation has seen Swedish AV specialists Watt & Volt undertake a high quality audio redesign. Maximising both the club experience and good neighbour relations, the key has been a Yamaha audio system.
“Due to the previous complaints, acoustic measurements had been performed in several of the surrounding apartments. So we knew what we needed to achieve in terms of noise reduction,” says Jonas Hamrin, Watt & Volt chief technical officer. “The revamped venue featured three bars, a VIP area and a major dancefloor, plus the entrance area, so it was a case of ge
Off The Wall - Roger Waters has said he would consider performing on the border between the US and Mexico as an act of defiance. The veteran Pink Floyd frontman and bassist has been a vocal critic of Donald Trump's plans to build a security barrier along the Mexico border. In a rare public appearance alongside drummer Nick Mason, promoting the forthcoming Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains exhibition at the V&A Museum, the two former Pink Floyd members discussed their new exhibition as well as what would happen when Donald Trump visits the UK. "I'm quite sure if President Trump comes to this country there will be an enormous taking to the streets," Waters said. "I think we would see demonstrations in London bigger than any demonstrations than have ever been seen."
Profiteering - Secondary ticketing website Viagogo has been criticised for "profiteering at the expense of teenage cancer sufferers". The website is advertising seats at vastly inflated prices for next month's Ed Sheeran concert at London's Royal Albert Hall, which is a fundraiser for the Teenage Cancer Trust. Seats have reportedly been advertised for up to £5,000, with the most expensive on the website currently costing about £1,500. Viagogo admitted on its website that the original face value for each ticket was between £49.50 and £110.
In a statement on their website,
UK - For a band named after Bastille Day (so named because lead vocalist Dan Smith’s birthday falls on 14 July), it seems somewhat appropriate that their Front of House engineer, Paul ‘Coop’ Cooper, has chosen to use a French loudspeaker brand for their Wild World tour. But his choice of L-Acoustics has nothing to do with a nod to any Gallic connection. It is simply because whenever he encounters L-Acoustics, he knows exactly what to expect and he knows it will be good.
The K1 and K2 system Coop is currently using is supplied by SSE Audio, who have been working with Bastille since 2013. “As Coop is a local lad to SSE one of the guys that works in our fabrications department knew him from the club scene in Birmingham. They said he was working with a band that just might have something about them,” explains SSE’s Dan Bennett. “At SSE we have a policy of supporting emerging talent, so I got in touch with Coop to see how we could help and it all started from there.”
Bastille certainly do have something about them. They now have two number one albums under their belts and, on this latest tour, have sold out arenas around the UK and Northern Europe, including London's 20,000-seater The O2 Arena.
“They did the summer festival run, which went really well,” says Dan. “They loaded out of SSE for the Wild World tour in October and now they’
UK - Claypaky Spheriscans were selected to deliver a display of spectacular lighting effects that merged architectural and entertainment lighting during Edinburgh's famous Hogmanay torchlight procession. The award-winning fixtures were supplied and installed on The National Monument of Scotland at Calton Hill by Edinburgh-based production and rental outfit Black Light.
Project manager James Gow from Black Light worked alongside lighting designer Grant Anderson and production manager of the torchlight procession John Robb, to create a lighting plan that offered maximum impact and versatility for the event.
Gow explains: "We chose to use the Claypaky Spheriscan thanks to its 360-degree pan with an IP54 rating, which makes it a unique fixture on the market. With no need to add extra weather proofing, the unit has a sleek and discreet design."
One Spheriscan was placed between each of the eight front columns of The National Monument of Scotland. The remaining two were positioned in front of the monument where the fixtures bright beams and inbuilt gobos provided texture and illuminated the stone - making it prominent against the night sky.
"A key requirement for this event was 'in air effects'," explains Gow. "The Spheriscans offered us fast moving, strong beams of light that were captured perfectly by the smoke given off from the event's bonfire, fire
Belgium - International creative design practice Painting with Light was commissioned to design lighting and a video system, plus produce video content for the recent staging of Disney’s Beauty & the Beast musical by Marmalade in Hall 8 at Ghent Expo in Belgium.
The Belgium based company’s Luc Peumans also seized the opportunity to use their new BlackTrax real-time motion tracking system for the first time on a major production . . . to ensure that all the principal cast members were perfectly illuminated as they moved around the performance space.
When Luc came on-board, the set designed by Stefaan Haudenhuyse - under licence to Disney with the producers having to meet certain criteria – was already initiated. Spectacular and dynamic, it was based around a 50m long performance area in the shape of a rose in the centre of the hall with audience seated 180 degrees in the round. Upstage of the ‘stage’ end was a large LED screen backdrop which split into four sections and tracked into different configurations.
The show, production managed by Bart de Coensel, also featured multiple flying props and scenery pieces which came in and out throughout, including large objects like show portals to books from the library and trees from the forest scenes, church windows and a host of others.
Luc – working with associate lighting designe
UK - Reading-based SFL Group has announced three new training sessions for Yamaha CL and QL series digital mixing consoles, aimed at sound engineers and potential console purchasers. Taking place on 29 March, 28 June and 11 October 2017, the sessions include comprehensive, hands-on tuition on designing, configuring and mixing with CL and QL-based audio systems.
“Yamaha has arguably contributed more to our appreciation and expectations of the workflow of a modern digital mixing console than any other manufacturer, with the Centralogic interface forming one of the most established and widely recognised benchmarks of the industry,” says SFL project manager Pat Smith.
“During these seminars we will simulate an event environment with live multi-track recordings. Once the basic console functionality has been explained, participants will be mixing live shows in the classroom!”
Alongside the consoles themselves, participants will be introduced to Yamaha’s R-series Dante I/O and network interfacing products, including how to design and configure large, multi-console networks, and a unique session on Dante networking. Use of Yamaha’s StageMix iPad control app and PC-based interfaces and editors is also covered.
The sessions take place at SFL’s premises at Unit 5, Headley Park 10, Headley Road East, Woodley, Reading, RG5 4SW, with each
UK - National League football club Dover Athletic has substantially invested in the facilities at its 6,500-capacity Crabble ground in Kent, both to meet the Football League criteria, and also provide a better match-day experience for its supporters. The centrepiece is the new £1.3m cantilevered Family Stand, which aside from providing a further 500-seats and improved facilities for players, officials and disabled supporters alike, required a state-of-the-art public address system.
Old Barn Audio (OBA) were awarded the contract, and as they have on so many occasions recommended a Martin Audio CDD (Coaxial Differential Dispersion) solution - in this case dipping into the ‘WR’ series. “The weatherised CDD-WR was the perfect choice,” stated director Phil Clark. “And with 32 enclosures installed it is the largest CDD-WR install yet in the UK.”
The company first carried out a demo for the club chairman, Jim Parmenter, using CDD10-WR’s. “He was extremely impressed with both the quality and dispersion,” says Clark.
As a result, OBA’s contract was extended from the Family Stand to all four stands spread over seven zones. The new design would replace a simple 100v horn based system. In terms of speaker deployment the new Family Stand has been equipped with four CDD10-WR, fixed to the leading edge of the roof, all angled down using sta
UK - Originally performed at the Chichester Festival Theatre before transferring to Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, Running Wild is now back and embarking on a UK tour. The show is based on Michael Morpurgo’s best-selling novel and uses live-action puppetry to tell the story of Will, whose visit to Indonesia sees her and elephant Oona having to ride deep into the jungle in order to escape a tsunami. White Light was called upon to provide the lighting equipment.
Running Wild is being produced by the Children’s Touring Partnership, which is a collaboration between producers Fiery Angel, CFT and a consortium of regional theatres.
The lighting design for the tour is by James Whiteside. He comments, “This is an extremely busy show, with the setting ranging from the Indonesian rainforest to a rural part of England to the tsunami itself. The highly-stylised set is based around the debris left by the destruction of the tsunami. We have a full-blown ceiling and masking legs of debris which form the jungle. One of my biggest tasks was to get the light pouring through the ceiling which would create the dappled light of the jungle.”
As the ceiling made it impossible to focus any lights above it, this meant that James would need to rely on moving fixtures. As a result, he drew on a series of 16 x Martin MAC 700 Washes for the backligh
UK - Mobile Technik, specialist in event trailers and pop-up structures, has been appointed as the sole UK distributor for the German-made mobile event space, Promocube. The Promocube is a versatile mobile event space that “heralds a dramatic new design”, opening to create an innovative 36m² pop-up environment. From high-end VIP hospitality suites, experiential brand zones, TV studios and broadcast hubs to pop-up retail units for UK touring roadshows, this new temporary event space helps to create environments to meet a range of budgets and creative briefs.
The Promocube is designed for both indoor and outdoor use with an open structure for an airy feel, or with easy-to-assemble Plexiglass panels providing a weather resistant, temperature controlled, enclosed environment. This space is fully customisable to suit any requirement from wrapping the whole structure with branding to installing internal screen displays and event furniture.
Manufactured in Germany, each structure is transported on a flat-bed trailer and simply installed on site by hydraulics lifting the Promocube off the trailer and easily into place.
Mobile Technik’s Billy Smart comments: “This is a revolutionary new product to the UK events market as a temporary structure with the look and feel of a sleek permanent building. The team were impressed with how quick and easy the Promo
South Africa - The twelfth season of Idols South Africa wrapped up with a stunning finale at Carnival City Big Top Arena in Johannesburg, broadcast live on the Mzansi Magic network with a highly vocal audience of 3,500 packing into the venue - and lighting designer Joshua Cutts of Visual Frontier choosing nearly 200 Robe fixtures to be at the core of his rig.
As always, the challenge was to make this final season look better and different than before, and with over 80m votes cast across Series 12, a lot of eyes are on it and production values have been honed accordingly to reflect the intense public interest and impress fans. A skilled and imaginative creative team once again united to produce amazing results.
Technical production – lighting, sound, video, set and rigging - was delivered by Dream Sets for producers SIC Entertainment and the series, which also included nine elimination rounds recorded on the Drama Stage at the State Theatre in Pretoria, was directed by Gavin Wratten.
The popularity of this and other singing / talent contests in South Africa, highlights how a diversity of music, song and lyrical based entertainment is integral to the culture and heartbeat of the country.
Throughout the 2016 Idols final series, there was a big emphasis on lighting supported by video – rather than the other way around – and this continue