South Africa - The South African live events industry once again joined hands with #WeMakeEvents to participate in charity bike ride #TheSurvivalTour and raise awareness of the plight of event industry affected by the COVID-19 disruption.
Similar to the action that took place in the UK, the South African cyclists embarked on a lengthy route, passing by some of the country’s iconic venues, now closed due to the pandemic. As many as 24 cyclists participated in a 60km route, visiting Constitution Hill, Teatro at Montecasino, Sandton Convention Centre, Nelson Mandela Square, Joburg Theatre, Market Theatre, Mary Fitzgerald Square, and the TicketPro Dome on 24 October in Johannesburg.
Many industry players cut their teeth at some of the venues on the journey, and there was a tangible feeling of loss amongst the riders, seeing the once busy spaces now standing empty. “A venue like the Sandton Convention Centre is where I learnt the trade and started my career in my younger days,” said Chris Pugh, who led the pack. “We all felt a sense of nostalgia and sadness, seeing the devastation COVID-19 has left behind.”
“Everyone loved #TheSurvivalTour South Africa,” adds Pugh. “There were a few complaints about the hills and heat, but there was great spirit amongst all the riders. It was so popular that I’ve had requests to do it again, and we hope to add a new route with more venues in the near future.”
UK - In these difficult times for the live entertainment industry, Yamaha is working with both practical measures and its #BringingLive2Life campaign to help audiences and performers alike to experience live entertainment again. One of its first successes was playing a key role in helping Boisdale of Belgravia - the first live venue in London to reopen.
Boisdale is a chain of four themed restaurants, located in London’s Belgravia, Bishopsgate, Canary Wharf and Mayfair. Before lockdown they featured live music every night, with a number of well-known artists - including Alexander O’Neal, Mica Paris, Natasha Hamilton, Rebecca Ferguson and Omar - booked for the Canary Wharf restaurant.
Boisdale managing director Ranald Macdonald has previously worked with Yamaha Music London and, as the national lockdown began to ease, contacted retail operations manager Stephen Davies to see if the company could help to restart live performances in a safe, sustainable way.
“Ranald and I came up with the idea of moving the artists they had booked for the 250-capacity Canary Wharf restaurant to the smaller Belgravia venue, playing two sets a night for two sittings of diners,” says Stephen.
As a result, on 15 August, Boisdale Belgravia was the first live London venue to reopen.
To make the initiative financially viable and ensure that live performances could be staged according to Government guidance, Yamaha Music London sponsored the stage and offered Ranald a combination of loaned and purchased equipment. This included a TF-RACK mixer and a pair of
UK - 7thSense has announced the completion of its merger with Medialon. In June 2019, the team behind 7thSense acquired the Medialon brand and ShowControl activities from Barco to form Medialon Limited. Since then, the Medialon team and product line has expanded from offices in North America, Canada and the UK.
As part of the integration strategy, which became effective on 1 October 2020, all Medialon products have been added to the 7thSense product portfolio and Medialon product names remain the same.
All Medialon staff will now join the 7thSense team and continue to work on the development of the Medialon product line.
Matt Barton, 7thSense CEO, comments: “The synergies between Medialon and 7thSense have been demonstrated since the 2019 acquisition - this merger is intended to cross pollinate the knowledge and skills of both companies, while maintaining independence and flexibility of each of the product lines which will continue to be developed. Both Medialon and 7thSense are well known for their commitment to the support of products and users. By combining our teams, we will continue to build on that reputation. We are now proud to be one.”
As part of the merger, Eric Cantrell has moved from the position of VP business operations, Medialon, to the position of director of products, 7thSense. He will also maintain product manager responsibility for the Medialon product range in his new role.
Speaking about the change, Eric Cantrell notes, “We are keen to share functionality between product lines, where beneficial to do so, but w
Denmark - Vejle Musikteater, in the fjord-side town of Vejle is usually a bustling hub for live entertainment, offering a mix of band concerts, dance and DJ events, theatre production and conferences, events and presentations.
Like most venues, it closed as COVID-19 spread worldwide, stopping the industry in its tracks in March. However, far from becoming a ghost-like shell of its former self, staff, management and crew have been busy in the last six month overseeing a complete technical refit and the Musikteater has just cautiously reopened for shows and business to reduced capacities and a new set of COVID-compliant operational rules and regulations.
During this long ‘dark’ period, the venue’s technical manager Rasmus Primdahl explained, they purchased 16 new Robe Esprite LED Profiles which have been added to the existing 16 x Esprites - selected after extensive comparative in-house testing with competitor products - and acquired at the end of 2019 from Robe’s Danish distributor, Light Partner.
The Esprites join 16 Spiiders and 16 Tetra2 moving LED battens which are also new for 2020 plus 10 LEDWash 600s and eight Spikie fixtures which were already at the venue which invested in Robe steadily in recent years.
The moving lights have provided an adaptable solution that works with numerous setups across all their performance spaces.
Additionally, just recently they also just purchased five Robe PixelPATTs which are used to help create atmospheric backgrounds for streaming applications and for adding scenic ‘prop’ dimensions
UK - Avolites has announced the release of the latest version of the Titan lighting software with version 14, featuring time-saving and practical features taken from user feedback.
“We decided that this release was a great opportunity for us to focus on the many feature requests we have from our users. We feel it is really important to listen to what users want and to provide them with what they have asked for. We hope everyone enjoys using this feature packed release,” says Paul Wong, managing director at Avolites.
Key features in this release include Virtual Faders, Open Workspace Window Overlay, MaskFX, Handle Options, and Manual Crossfade FX.
Virtual Faders give you access to 15 virtual handles that provide additional control of playbacks, masters, fixtures and more via the touchscreen. The faders can be paged and the window is fully configurable to suit your needs.
Mask FX is a brand new feature that expands and replaces the old ‘Block Shapes’. MaskFX expands Block Shapes to cover key frame shapes running on any attribute and Pixel Maps. MaskFX is a quick and powerful tool to adjust the shapes running in your show, helping to make programming more efficient.
What was previously Playback Options is now upgraded as Handle Options. This feature has been completely re-engineered under the hood to make it faster, simpler and more predictable, and to help address a very common pain-point: assigning a key profile to multiple playbacks at once. New shortcuts, along with the streamlined interface, are designed to increase effici
USA - The new IP65 rated COLORado Batten Q15 from Chauvet Professional features an array of rigging options that make it suitable for a wide range of designs.
The adjustable trunnions on this one-meter long RGBW LED batten, which can be adjust without tools on its integrated track, have been given an even greater degree of versatility with the addition of ¼ turn omega brackets.
Adding to the COLORado BattenQ15’s adaptability is a new system for joining different units together. Integrated into the end caps of the fixture is a system to connect units seamlessly for perfect row alignment. Since these attachments are weight bearing, the COLORado Batten Q15 can be hung ‘icicle style’, or arranged in tower configurations using the included hanging/floor mount plate.
“Given the demands of today’s market, when lighting rigs are being set up in many different types of settings, we feel that adaptable rigging options have never been more important,” said Albert Chauvet, CEO of Chauvet. “The COLORado Batten Q15 combines a high degree of rigging versatility with outstanding performance features.”
Among those performance features is the intense output from the new fixture’s 15 20W LEDs, which render beautiful and vivid colours and lend themselves to sizzling pixel mapped displays without the “skittle” look often associated with battens.
The COLORado Batten Q15 features an elliptical 42-15° beam spread, a stowable glare shield, colour temperature presets from 3200 K to 10000 K, and selectable smooth dimming curves.
USA - Global design firm, DX7 Design, recently embarked on its second season of lighting the hit American TV dance competition Dancing With The Stars, shot at CBS Television City in Hollywood.
Production loaded in at the end of August and the show runs for 11 weeks, culminating in the final over Thanksgiving weekend, at the end of November.
After featuring GLP fixtures heavily on the last series, LD Tom Sutherland has raised the bar even higher this time, deploying 150 GLP fixtures, predominantly X4 Bars and JDC1 hybrid strobes, in his ever-changing landscape. “We reprogramme weekly,” he explained. “Then we bring in extras for certain dances week-to-week if the creative team call for them.”
The lighting brief is heavily dictated by the set design. “[Production designer] Florian Wieder has created a modern take on an art deco ballroom. It’s essential that the lighting and set work in harmony,” he said. “Many elements of the set have been built to contain fixtures of our specification, which is great as it keeps everything looking neat and tidy.”
Turning to the GLP deployment, he said: “I’ve always been a great fan of their products. The X4 Bar and JDC1 strobes are my workhorses on many shows. I love to use those fixtures.”
Sutherland has added in quite a few extra GLP fixtures for this season - all supplied by local vendor Felix Lighting. “These fill in the gaps where we used to have an audience,” he said. “This year we are using 70 X4 Bar 20’s, 66 JDC1 strobes and 14 GLP X4’s.
USA - Nestled in the Highlands neighbourhood of White Plains, New York sits Bet Am Shalom Synagogue.
In 2016, systems integrator Shadowbox Design Management installed a Prism 12x12 at Bet Am Shalom as the heart of a public address/reinforcement system with four main zones - the main synagogue, chapel, multifunction room, and library.
In the spring of 2020, the COVID-19 global pandemic caused historic changes to common gathering spaces necessitating strict social distancing rules. This unexpected event imposed new rules and restrictions on how the synagogue could utilize their floor space and ultimately resulted in a mandatory halt in services and activities for their congregants.
Leaders of Bet Am Shalom contacted Shadowbox Design Management to find a way to upgrade the audio system throughout the facility so the synagogue could continue their services while following the new CDC guidelines. They needed to expand the system’s ability to combine the spaces and route audio from anywhere on demand -allowing the synagogue to continue serving their congregation and community.
Although new standards of social distancing forced adjustments to the usage patterns of the facility, the thoughtful system design by Shadowbox in 2016 powered with a Symetrix Prism 12x12 DSP was well-equipped to adapt to the synagogue’s evolving connectivity and system control needs.
With the Symetrix Prism 12x12 DSP, the necessary functionality for additional audio routing within and between common spaces was already built into the system. Relatively minor tweaks t
UK - Under a new Calibre Premium Channel Partner Programme, Calibre UK will incentivise companies selling commercial Calibre LED and image display solutions.
“It takes more than just a product to be the supplier of choice,” says Paul Wilson, account manager EMEA at Calibre UK. “We’ve introduced a new partner programme to enable our business partners to deliver innovative and high-quality solutions to integrators and specialists across a broad spectrum of applications, markets, and geographies.
“Based on vertical markets, other revenue and business models, the Calibre Premium Channel Partner Programme will reward partners with several benefits to help partners win business and make money.”
Benefits include online training opportunities, increased knowledge transfer, a web portal for web-based product support, promotions such as e-shots and newsletters, strategic consulting, sales and marketing support, and competitive product discounts, leasing and financing options. Several companies have already joined the programme.
“Working with Calibre and their new partner programme has enabled us to provide French-speaking customers based in France with immediate product and support for their video needs, says Frédéric Collino, Distrimedia, France. “Our partnership with Calibre demonstrates how a reseller and vendor can work together to deliver excellent results.” -
“The Calibre programme is hugely advantageous for our entire integrator community and it allows us to do what we are good at such as supporting small to large pr
USA - Eastern Lighting Design has been relying on Chroma-Q products for many years and many projects, including their most recent lighting design project for WGN’s News Nation studio. Specialising in TV and broadcast studios, Matt Gordon, president of Eastern Lighting, along with VP of design Mick Smith, and supported by Barbizon Lighting Company, worked through the COVID-19 pandemic to provide the lighting for the Chicago based facility.
“Working through a pandemic has been a real learning experience and adjustment.” explains Matt “I am still surprised how quickly we were able to turn around the project within the given time-lines considering that most of the world was in lockdown. We opted to work during the night in order to practice social distancing from other trades.”
News Nation is a new national newscast programme that was going into WGNs old, 3,500sq.ft, Studio 3. The studio was completely gutted and redesigned from the ground up in addition to a 12,000sq.ft newsroom with a 2,000sq.ft broadcast space in the middle of that space.
The turn around for the studio was very tight, approximately six months, with a short extension to account for COVID-19 closures and challenges. Clickspring Design quickly put a scenic design in place that integrated many lighting positions into the architecture of the space. Creating lighting that can be built into the set enabled it so that fixtures would be more aesthetically pleasing during wide-angle camera shots. Eastern Lighting always likes to work with clean sightlines, fitting the lighting desi
UK - Arts Council England has opened its £18m Developing your Creative Practice (DYCP) fund to a wider pool of creative practitioners in light of the COVID-19 effects on the workforce.
Able to apply for a grant this year will be DJs, performer/creators, arts and cultural educators, community practitioners/engagement specialists, movement directors, cultural conservators, creative enablers and creative technicians.
“We know that COVID-19 has had a significant impact for individuals, and many will need to develop themselves and their work to respond to the new environment,” says the Arts Council. “We want to support as many people as possible to reshape and redefine their work and continue to make a positive impact on creativity and culture.”
The grants, ranging from for £2,000 to £10,000, will be awarded for development activities from practitioners working across music, theatre, dance, visual arts, literature, libraries, combined arts, and museums practice. This includes professional development or researching or creating new work.
The money will be allocated in four rounds running until October 2021, with the first round now open to applicants. To be eligible, practitioners need to have one year’s experience, be based in England, have a UK bank account, and be aged 18 or over.
The first round closes at noon on 5 November, with decisions announced in the week commencing 21 December.
To apply, visit artscouncil.org.uk/DYCP.
UK - The BPI/BRIT Awards have announced the donation of £54,000 to the COVID-19 Crew Relief Fund administered by Stagehand, the Production Services Association (PSA) Welfare and Benevolent Fund. The money will help Stagehand’s relief fund to approach £240,000, which will be invested in supporting live music and events professionals affected by COVID-19 restrictions.
The contribution from the BPI and BRIT Awards comes on top of £1.62m of BPI-co-ordinated funds donated earlier this year by the recorded music sector to charities and organisations supporting artists, managers and venues through the pandemic - bringing the total distributed to date to £1.67m.
Geoff Taylor, chief executive BPI, BRIT Awards & Mercury Prize, comments: “Our industry is deeply interconnected and while everyone is feeling the pain of the COVID-19 pandemic in some way, no sector has felt its force to the same degree as the live business. This includes, the expert technicians and events professionals who help make great performances happen.
“That’s why it’s right that, in addition to previous donations to charities benefitting artists, managers and venues, we should not overlook this important part of the music family. We rely on their skills every year in staging The BRIT Awards and the Hyundai Mercury Prize, and we’re delighted to assist the important work of Stagehand supporting live production crew.”
Mike Lowe, Stagehand’s chair of trustees, adds: “As the BPI and BRITs donate £54,000 to Stagehand, it is met with our sincerest appreciation. F
USA - Some of the only ticketed live concerts in New York State in recent months took place 30 September - 4 October on Bannerman Island. Illuminance, a fundraising concert by the Daisy Jopling Band, received special permission from the State of New York to hold five nights of open-air concerts amid the natural surroundings and magical ruins of Bannerman Castle.
Daisy Jopling is a classical/rock violinist who tours with her own band and also runs a music mentorship foundation. Illuminance featured performances by the Daisy Jopling Band, Michael Feigenbaum, Sal Lagonia, and local youth musicians with proceeds benefiting the Daisy Jopling Music Mentorship Foundation and the Bannerman Castle Trust. Five days of sold out shows, two shows per day with 20 lucky guests per show, were lit by New York City Lites using a lighting package of Elation Professional IP-rated luminaires.
Deke Hazirjian and Jimmy Lawlor of New York City Lites served as lighting designer and associate lighting designer respectively on the project. Hazirjian, president and senior lighting designer at the company, was approached by the Bannerman Castle Trust to light the concert series. Having worked on Bannerman Island before, in 1998 and 2007, he knew well the difficulties working on the island presented.
“The island is literally a rock in the middle of the Hudson River and poses a number of challenges,” he said. “The terrain is rugged and there is no electricity on the island so the only way to get power is to bring in a generator. Weather can also be a big pro
Australia - Fibre network specialists Optocore has appointed CMI as its new Australian distributors. The brand provides a strong addition to the Melbourne company’s audio division portfolio.
CMI CEO, Peter Trojkovic said he was delighted with the appointment, stating that he was impressed by Optocore’s ability to provide “innovative, scalable and rock solid backbones”, embracing open standards. He noted that this will influence a range of their core market segments, including events, theatres, stadiums and studios.
“With many fibre-compatible solutions in CMI’s portfolio, this marks a strategic move by the audio division to position CMI as a one-stop solution for performance, broadcast and commercial audio networking.
“Optocore are the world’s most popular and innovative manufacturers of fibre optic networks. With systems already deployed in venues such as the Madison Square Garden, Bastille Opera House, Paris and the newly deployed system in the MCG, this appointment advances our position as the leading provider of performance audio solutions in Australia,” he continues.
“We look forward to working closely with Optocore’s solution engineers in providing time critical, redundant, audio and control infrastructure.”
Dawid Somló, Optocore sales distribution manager, says: “As a brand we have already been recognised by pro-audio professionals in Australia for many years. Therefore, I am delighted for the opportunity to begin cooperation with such a respected company as CMI Music & Audio. It is an important s
USA - Full Sail University, the media arts and technology educational institution located in Winter Park, Florida, has purchased a DiGiCo Quantum338, which has been installed in Full Sail Live 1. The console is also equipped with the new DMI-KLANG in-ear mixing expansion card, bringing immersive audio capabilities to the Quantum338.
Further, the school has also upgraded its existing DiGiCo SD7 console with a Quantum engine, endowing it with many of the same features as the Quantum338, including Mustard and Spice Rack processing. The SD7’s metamorphosis into a Quantum7 will allow all of the school’s DiGiCo components to operate on an Optocore network, including a newly-acquired DiGiCo SD-Rack with Ultimate Stadius 32-bit microphone pre-amp and DAC output cards.
“The Quantum338 will become our new flagship console for our Show Production degree programme students,” says Dana Roun, audio arts education director, who developed Full Sail’s Live Production training curriculum in 1981, two years after the university first opened in 1979. “We do a wide range of event and learning scenarios in that facility, and the Quantum338 will be a tremendous asset there thanks to its power, flexibility, and functionality.”
Roun notes that DiGiCo desks have been part of Full Sail’s teaching arsenal for over a decade. In fact, the SD7 that just received the Quantum engine upgrade has been in place for 10 years, in a Full Sail Live 1 control room where students use it to mix pre-recorded live sound tracks, and where it will continue to be available to stud
UK - Loudspeaker manufacturer PMC has opened a new factory in Bedfordshire, to cope with burgeoning demand for its CI series.
Since launching last September, CI monitors have proved ‘hugely popular’ with the installation market where they are delivering Hollywood studio audio quality. Incorporating the same proprietary PMC technology as the company’s award winning audiophile speakers and studio monitors, these slimline speakers are designed with a shallow depth for on-wall and in-wall custom installations. This design feature also makes them suited to professional studios that are embracing Dolby Atmos immersive audio for music and film mixing and want discreet monitors for their wall and ceiling channels.
“In addition to the flourishing custom installation market, CI monitors also form an integral part of our loudspeaker systems for Dolby Atmos and we anticipate a sharp uptake in demand as more and more professional studios embrace this format for music mixing,” says PMC’s owner Peter Thomas.
“Thanks to its the almost limitless headroom, power capabilities, pin-point accuracy and sonic fidelity, PMC’s system goes well beyond Dolby’s own minimum requirements, making it the template for many internationally acclaimed studios such as Universal’s Capitol Studios in Los Angeles and the legendary Dean Street Studios in London.”
Based on an industrial estate in Sandy - just 10 minutes from PMC’s head office in Biggleswade – the new factory covers 6,000sq.ft and includes additional space for warehousing. Alongside the lates
France - L-Acoustics has introduced its first offering in personal audio, Contour XO in-ear monitor powered by JH Audio.
Contour XO is born from the meeting of Jerry Harvey and Dr. Christian Heil. Both pioneered technologies that influenced the pro audio industry: multi-driver in-ear monitors and the present-day concert PA based on the L-Acoustics line source array.
Jerry Harvey, the founder of JH Audio, focused on the in-ear experience. Challenged by mega-stars demanding better sound quality on stage, Harvey developed the first custom dual balanced armature in-ear monitor. Demand caught fire, catapulting him into the position of a world-leading custom in-ear monitor manufacturer.
L-Acoustics, founded by Dr. Christian Heil, revolutionized the live sound industry not once, but twice, bringing the Wavefront Sculpture Technology of V-DOSC line source arrays to the masses in 1992, and then in 2016 deepened the connection between artist and audience with the first object-based mixing technology for live events, L-ISA Immersive Hyperreal Sound.
For the first time, Harvey and Heil have combined their R&D teams' forces to reproduce the L-Acoustics sonic signature frequency contour in a premium, 10-driver in-ear monitor (IEM).
Additionally, the development of Contour XO supports the upcoming release of new L-ISA binaural object-based mixing software tools currently in beta testing with a select pool of audio professionals.
"I was impressed by the jeweler-like precision with which JH Audio could tune to match our frequency contour i
Poland - Established in 1816, the University of Warsaw is the largest university in Poland with over 50,000 students, 21 faculties and a total of 126 buildings across the city.
Located in the most famous street of Warsaw and surrounded by palaces from the 18th Century, the main campus consists of two spaces (Golden Hall and the Senate Hall) where the most important celebrations and events of the University take place.
With a diverse events schedule that covers conferences, meetings, university readings and the annual meetings of the University Senate, a decision was reached to upgrade the AV solution within the Senate Hall, with the university opting for the performance and reliability of Shure’s Microflex Complete Wireless (MXCW) system.
With the increasing number of devices communicating in the 2.4GHz band causing constant problems for the AV team at the university, and an old AV system unable to cope with the daily requirements and growing RF environment density across campus, a system was required that would offer solid transmission. And, with an ever-changing room layout, a completely wireless system was needed to help with the task of seamless room turnaround.
Various AV systems were tested and trialled within the Senate Hall, with transmitter build, transmission reliability and inferior plastic microphone sockets scrutinised for the probability of accidental or unwanted disconnection of microphones during use, leading to unnecessary nervousness and stress among participants - issues the university’s AV department were keen to avoid
UK - Key to the Guildhall School of Music & Drama’s musical curricula is its annual award for The Gold Medal - a performance competition that began in 1915 and had taken place uninterrupted through 2019. Because of the global pandemic in 2020, the annual May performance had to be put on hold as teaching moved online during the summer term.
“Because of COVID we needed to be swift in our response to ensure things like The Gold Medal could occur and, very importantly, that in-person classes could still take place with full scale participation,” says Julian Hepple, head of recording and audio visual at Guildhall School. “To make that happen we quickly turned to Dante and Dante Domain Manager. And, in September, as we returned to in-person teaching, we were able to hold The Gold Medal and broadcast the performance online."
Dante allows audio, control, and all other data to coexist effectively on the same network. For Guildhall School, Dante enabled them to solve COVID-related challenges both with their live performances and their virtual learning environment.
To adhere to social distancing requirements, The Gold Medal performances were constructed across four separate rooms. The largest space was populated by those on string instruments and the piano, with each participant located two meters apart. Woodwind and brass instruments were split up each into their own rooms, with three meters of space allocated between performers. Finally, the conductor was located in a fourth room. The challenge of this setup, of course, was collaboration between
South Africa - Capetonians Alex Van Dyk from Solid Group and Alan Muller created Solid Studios that ran from April to the start of October this year.
When the South African lockdown was first implemented, Alex and Alan initially started chatting over the phone about PPE, hoping to generate an alternative income. The conversation turned to how many people were now streaming, and they smiled, talking about newbies to the platform showing up with coffee in hand and dressed in slippers! It dawned on them that if they paired up, created a studio and ran it as if it were a tv paying client, they would achieve broadcast quality.
Alex is the owner of technical supply company Solid Group and had the space to facilitate a studio and the necessary quality gear, including a Green Hippo Amba+ media server. Alan, in turn, is a lighting designer for EDM and Dance Around the World type festivals. In the industry for close to 30 years, he cut his teeth in the television market, particularly from a lighting point of view, and has gained knowledge and skill for both TV lighting and set design.
“Alex and I met in person for the very first time over the Covid-19 period," said Alan. "We looked at the Solid Group warehouse and decided to design a 10m x 10m studio. Being a television studio, we didn't need a stage.” Based on the studio’s LED design, the Hippotizer was critical in how they expanded the set. With content playing a major role, they were also able to create abstract shapes and designs with the powerful tool.
“James Rogers, a passionate AV technic