Entec laughs with the polar bear

Monday, 5 December 2011
Entec laughs with the polar bearLaugh or the Polar Bear Gets It at the HMV Hammersmith Apollo
UK - London- based Entec Sound & Light supplied lighting, sound and video production and crew for the recent Friends of the Earth's star studded comedy extravaganza at the HMV Hammersmith Apollo, Laugh or the Polar Bear Gets It.

The line up of eight comedians, one singer and one larger than life polar bear's head set-piece featured Tim Minchin, Josie Long, Badly Drawn Boy and Richard Herring and was presented by Greg Davies. The venue was completely sold out as all united in an evening of hilarity and arctic proportions.

Laughing all the way to the lighting desk was Entec's Ryan Brown, who created a production lighting design for the evening - which resembled a festival in style and execution.

His aim was to compliment the main set piece, a giant polystyrene polar bear's head, so to connect this to its immediate environment, he imbibed the stage with an arctic ambience, choosing 24 Clay Paky HPE 300 moving lights as the main fixtures. These were rigged on two low-hung side stage trusses and a front truss. The ones on the side trusses were used to shoot beams diagonally across the stage in a selection of arctic colours - steels and pale blues and lavenders.

The HPE 300s were also chosen as a powerful but energy efficient lightsource. "There was an element of trying to keep it as expedient on the power consumption as possible," says Brown, in keeping with the theme of the evening.

Six Martin Professional MAC700s Washes were used as back lighting, contrasting vividly in appearance with the side beams.

At the back of the set, Entec provided a 24ft wide projection screen, which was fed with two Barco R10 projectors, edge blended together to form a single image. Content for this - a mix of logo loops, stings and pre-recorded VT footage was stored on two Green Hippo Grasshopper media servers, which were triggered by Brown from the grandMA2 light console. The lighting package also included two follow spots.

Entec's head of Sound Dick Hayes originally quoted and confirmed the event with a d&b Q-Series sound system, similar to the one they had used in 2009 for Friends Of the Earth's 'Livestock' show at the same venue, however, this time, the spec ended up being changed to the J-Series, which is currently the first choice of Pete Clements, Tim Minchin's FOH engineer. Hayes also upgraded the FOH console to a Midas Pro6.

The monitors were mixed on a Yamaha PM5D with d&b E12/E15 side-fills & M4 wedges, all run passively which is ideal for this type of scenario.

Entec supplied a six-way Shure UHFR radio system with a mix of handheld 58s & Countryman headsets along with AKG414s for the grand piano and a splattering of other mics and DIs for the various acts.

The crew were Kevin Smith, who looked after FOH, systems tech James Kerridge and monitor engineer Chris Trimby, all of whom together with lighting crew were highly entertained for the evening and all came back to the warehouse with smiling faces.

Jilia Barraclough from Friends of The Earth's Events & Promotions department says, "It's very reassuring to work with a professional and proficient production company like Entec. After successfully working together in 2009 in bringing LIVEstock to life, we had no doubt who we wanted to help us realise our vision for Laugh or the Polar Bear Gets It .

"Entec are friendly and truly lovely to work alongside, in addition to being effortlessly competent, highly creative and environmentally conscious, which is something that's vital to Friends of the Earth.

The money raised by the event will help fund Friends of the Earth's critical campaigning work, including the fight against climate change and keeping the polar bears safe.

(Jim Evans)

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