Europe - The Sennheiser Group has acquired Merging Technologies. Under the agreement, the Swiss digital audio recording systems specialist will partner with studio sound business Neumann.Berlin as part of a growth strategy.
The first product of the partnership will be an audio interface that enables integration of Neumann products into a digital infrastructure. The existing portfolio of the two companies will remain unchanged.
All Merging Technologies staff will continue to be located at the company’s Puidoux, Switzerland site.
Ralf Oehl, CEO of Georg Neumann GmbH, comments: “We plan to strengthen Neumann's offering, particularly in the area of digital workstreams, in order to provide our customers with holistic audio solutions in studio quality. Merging Technologies' products and solutions are an excellent complement to the Neumann product portfolio. We are therefore very much looking forward to working together with the Merging team.”
Claude Cellier, founder and CEO of Merging Technologies, adds: “Neumann.Berlin and Merging Technologies are a perfect match, and the collaboration opens up new opportunities for both parties. Both companies share a passion for excellence and a commitment to always set new standards in audio.”
Andreas Sennheiser, co-CEO of the Sennheiser Group, concludes: “We are very pleased to welcome Merging's employees as part of the Sennheiser Group. As a family-owned company, we want to grow sustainably on the strength of our own resources in the coming years. To achieve this, we are investing significan
Czech Republic - Every 360° stage comes with its own set of knotty challenges, believes Martin Hruška. The rigging is more complex, so is cable management. Then there is the issue of positioning lighting fixtures and video panels in a way that won’t impede fan viewing angles and artist mobility.
Nevertheless, when the renowned designer’s client approved his plans to go with a costlier 360° stage for arena shows by Czech star Leoš Mareš, he was ecstatic. “The essence of Leoš Mareš is to connect with the audience,” said Hruška. “He is always going out on catwalks to connect to the audience. This is an artist who thrives on constant contact. Given this, I wanted a stage open on all sides in the middle of the arena, with two catwalks that extend out into the crowd.”
Judging from the powerfully evocative looks that are supporting Mareš on his tour through Europe, the decision to go with the 360° configuration was right on the mark. The multi-level centre stage structure is actually an open square, with two U-shaped cat walks extending far into the audience from two of its sides, thus giving the star ample opportunities to connect with fans seated in different sections.
Drawing on a high-output 300-fixture rig that was run on a ChamSys MagicQ MQ500M, Hruška and his team are filling venues with radiant colours, mostly red, creating different moods each time they go through slight changes in hues, light angles, and intensity levels. Downlighting from an overhead circular truss structure pulls eyes toward the centre stage, making ever
UK - Version 2 has completed the asset purchase of broadcast lighting rental company Finelight.
Finelight's rental business will come under the Version 2 umbrella with immediate effect, its operations set to be consolidated into Version 2's Reading HQ during July. Communication channels for both companies will remain unchanged in the interim.
Version 2's managing director Nick Edwards comments: “We are excited to integrate Finelight's inventory into our growing operations. As a preferred supplier to the BBC, Finelight have built up an excellent reputation for quality of service. We're equally delighted to welcome Simon Perrott to our management team.”
Finelight's managing director Simon Perrott adds: “We have got to know Nick and the team at Version 2 over recent years whilst collaborating on a number of high-profile shows. We have a shared passion for great customer service, and we're looking forward to building upon this further with the backing of Version 2 and their large equipment inventory.”
UK - Rise, the advocacy group for women in the broadcast media technology sector, has announced that entries are open for its annual Rise Awards with the introduction of two new categories, Ally of the Year that honours men who have been supportive of striving to achieve gender diversity, and Business Operations of the Year, celebrating an individual who excels at making sure the workforce and clients are happy and the business is reaching its targets.
Submissions and nominations are encouraged from across the global broadcast media technology audience to showcase talent across the industry whether in a manufacturer, service provider, engineer or broadcaster role.
The awards are free to enter and nominations will close on 18 August, with a drinks events at IBC to announce the shortlist. The awards will be held in partnership with BT Sport and Timeline on 10 November at BT Sport Studio, with graphics being provided by Moov and drinks by EMG.
Entrants can be nominated, or they can nominate themselves. All applications will require statements on the nominee and why they are relevant for the award. The judges, across the categories, are looking for the best demonstration of exceptional achievement, innovation, positive impact, and the ability to fulfil the criteria.
For more information about the Awards and to submit nominee applications, please visit: www.risewib.com/awards
The categories include R&D Engineer (sponsored by Ateliere Creative Technologies
Germany - Hagius in Berlin is staffed by young professionals that offer classes for various disciplines such as yoga and boxing with the intention of strengthening and conditioning both body and mind, incorporating the spectrum of senses in neuro-athletic training.
Hagius has chosen a complete Genelec loudspeaker solution, supplied by local distributor Audio Pro and integrated by the Berlin acoustic design studio, Studio SPC.
"We wanted to create a space in Berlin where we could offer a different kind of training experience," explains co-founder Timothy Hagius. "Physical performance starts in the mind. Movement is regulated by the central nervous system and sensory input plays a significant role in this process."
For this reason, staff opt to work primarily with smaller groups, placing more of the emphasis on the individual’s multi-sensory journey, following the theory that everyone should be attuned with their own biorhythm. There are several rooms, each of which use a combination of the senses to help simulate a certain state. Sound plays an essential role in all of them, which is why a premium audio solution was required.
"The guys from Hagius asked me to offer them something high-end, functional and aesthetically appealing," says Kenan Jan Ibar, from Studio SPC. "After I introduced them to Genelec’s RAW recycled aluminium loudspeakers they immediately fell in love with the aesthetic, as it blends so seamlessly with their existing interior, based on greys and stainless-steel elements."
The room that received the most attention w
USA - Mental Health First Aid Training Classes for July, August and September 2022 are now posted on the Behind the Scenes website at btshelp.org/mhfa.
The course is delivered in two parts. The first is a two-hour self-paced online course that must be completed prior to a six-hour virtual live instructor led session. Go to btshelp.org/mhfa to learn more and to select the date and time you wish to attend the virtual live session. Classes are being offered 18 and 19 July, 15, 16 and 21 August and 12, 18 September. On completing the course you will become a certified Mental Health First Aider which is valid for three years.
The registration fee is $125. IATSE Members and those working under IATSE agreements may be eligible for Training Trust Fund reimbursement on proof of successful completion of the course. A limited number of partial and full scholarships are available to individuals not eligible for reimbursement. Private group classes of 15 -20 are available - contact firstname.lastname@example.org for information. Training for Canadians is available through the AFC at this website.
North America - Coldplay have completed the North American leg of their Music of the Spheres World Tour, where Ayrton Domino and Perseo fixtures illuminated the stadium show from coast to coast. ACT Entertainment is the exclusive distributor of Ayrton lighting in North America.
The tour has a sustainability theme, with each show powered exclusively by renewable, super-low emission energy.
“Misty Buckley and Phil Harvey, the co-creative directors of the tour, developed a production design and creative direction inspired by Pythagoras’s Music of the Spheres theory,” says lighting designer Sooner Routhier of Sooner Rae Creative, who began working with Coldplay in 2019 on their Everyday Life album campaign. “There’s a specific diagram that displays the arcs and movement of the solar system and its celestial bodies that we leaned on for inspiration. Thus, the architecture for the lighting design and the cuing of the system is heavily based on spheres, circles and arcs.”
The duo took as their starting point the Pythagorean theory that the sun, moon and planets create sounds and harmonies that are not audible to humans but can be heard by our souls. “We then explored music in space and went into a whole amazing creative wormhole of time, space, music and aliens, which led to the concept of alien music festivals in space, love, people and togetherness. It was a really mad and wonderful creative thread.”
Routhier chose 66 Ayrton Domino S and 74 Perseo Profile fixtures for her lighting design for the unique show. Upstaging
Germany - When Doering creative agency contacted LEDcave about their ambitious plans to create alternative visuals for German singer, rapper, songwriter and producer Clueso’s new music video Mond (Moon) where he sings together with German-Turkish musician Elif, LEDcave had a stellar solution in mind.
“We have been in conversations with Doering’s team for the past two years about various creative opportunities at our LEDcave studios across Germany,” says LEDcave’s CEO Thilo Strack. “When this music video project came up there was no time for ‘star gazing’ - we knew our Berlin studio would be perfect, both creatively and technologically, for what the teams had in mind,”
As LEDcave’s most advanced VP studio, the 2,500m2 Berlin space features a giant LED volume comprising a curved LED wall measuring 40m wide by 6.5m high made up of LEDitgo vP2+ LED panels. The LED roof surface, which consists of the same 2.6mm panels, is 24m long and 14m deep. Sixteen high-end media servers with state-of-the-art components such as the NVIDIA A6000 graphics cards play the environments created in Unreal Engine via an Analog Way Aquillon CS+ with 24 inputs and 20 outputs in 4K60 in 10 bits via a total of 16 Brompton Tessera SX40 4K LED processors, with multiple Tessera XD10G data distribution units utilised for distribution to the LED panels.
All panels have been dynamically calibrated using Brompton’s Hydra measurement system, making them Brompton HDR-ready and able to take full advantage of Dynamic Calibration features such as Therma
Australia - Optimal Audio has appointed Audio Brands as its exclusive distributor in Australia.
Based in Sydney, Audio Brands is focused on the installation and production markets and specialises in commercial audio and AV solutions, supplying Australia through a wide network of dealers and integration partners. With exclusive distribution for a number of leading global brands, Audio Brands has developed a strong reputation for customer service.
Don McConnell, director of Audio Brands Australia, comments: “We’re thrilled to be representing such an innovative range of products. The experienced team behind Optimal Audio truly understand the requirements of the commercial audio market, and it’s refreshing to see a focus on the user interface. The Optimal Audio range complements our existing brands perfectly and we’re looking forward to introducing the Optimal Audio solution to our integrator customers and consultants.”
David McKinney, sales and support for APAC at Optimal Audio, adds: “We are proud to be able to partner with a distributor of the calibre of Audio Brands in Australia. Their strong technical background and expertise in the commercial audio market is perfect for the solutions that Optimal Audio offers. The unique Zone processors and WebApp are catching a lot of early attention in Australia thanks to the initial work Audio Brands have done. Now we are shipping the full Optimal Audio range, we are ready to move in Australia.”
Dom Harter, Optimal Audio MD, is well-acquainted with Don McConnell and Audio Brands: “I’ve
USA - Vari-Lite has announced the VL3600 Profile IP, a large-scale, high output production profile fixture with an IP65 rating. Designed to withstand inclement weather, yet with weight and size comparable with similar non-weatherproof fixtures, the VL3600 Profile IP is suitable for touring and TV productions, stadiums and arenas, and large theatres and houses of worship.
“Weather-rated moving lights are becoming highly desirable for outdoor and even indoor applications, but current IP65 fixture designs considerably increase the size-to-weight ratio compared to equivalent non-IP rated fixtures,” explains Martin Palmer, sr. product manager, Vari-Lite and Strand Luminaires at Signify. “This makes the fixtures harder to mount and heavier in the rig. The VL3600 Profile IP is the lightest in its class, meaning designers no longer need to choose between lighter non-weatherized fixtures or heavier IP-rated ones, reducing the budget and environmental impact of the entire tour.”
With a 1000W monochromatic light engine producing 85,000 source lumens, the VL3600’s considerable output power is ready to light the show from any distance in any weather. Thanks to a CMY+CTO colour wheel mixing system, the fixture produces a wide range of rich colours while eliminating the appearance of blades in the lens, improving direct view applications.
“We really focused on making the VL3600 a workhorse fixture that gives the designers what they need while making life simpler for the crew as well,” adds Palmer. “From a design perspective, the VL3600 Profile IP
USA - Clifford Antone was all about the blues. The son of Lebanese immigrants harboured a love for that strain of Americana and ended up building an empire around it, including its crown jewel: Antone’s, one of the seminal establishments of Austin, Texas’ famed 6th Street music-club row.
The current 400-capacity iteration of the venue, which originally opened in 1975 and has long been a regular host site for the annual SXSW music festival, is now a block away on 5th Street, but its audio technology took a leap forward in February with the installation of a DiGiCo Quantum225 console that serves both front-of-house and monitor duties.
Myles Fontaine Crosby, head of audio for the club, has been part of the Antone’s family for the entire seven years that it’s been in this location and for six years more at its previous address. He oversaw the installation and use of the DiGiCo S21 that had served well as the house and monitor console there for some time, but he also noticed that it wasn’t as instantly familiar to many of the touring FOH engineers passing through the club.
“A lot of the younger artists and their engineers coming through the club were more familiar with the SD-Range consoles,” he recalls. “I was spending an increasing amount of time showing them the ins and outs of the board.”
Using some of the funds received from the Small Business Administration’s Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) programme, Crosby recommended that Antone’s invest in not just a new console but DiGiCo’s newest Quantum Series desk. “I
The Netherlands - From September 2021 through to the end of 2022, Dutch girl band the Dolly Dots is saying a final farewell to its loyal fanbase, performing an array of hits and bringing back memories of their 1980s heyday to enthusiastic, sold-out audiences throughout the Netherlands. A Yamaha Rivage PM5 digital mixing system is helping them to roll back the years.
Dolly Dots enjoyed a number of European dance/pop hits throughout the 1980s, a television series and a starring role in feature film Dutch Treat. Having gone their separate ways in 1988, the band members performed occasional reunion shows until the death of founder member Ria Brieffies in 2009. Now the remaining five - Angela Groothuizen, Angéla Kramers, Anita Heilker, Esther Oosterbeek and Patty Zomer, all now in their 60s - have come back together for one last tour.
Backed by a five-piece band, led by musical director and keyboard player Sven Figee, the Sisters On Tour dates see the women performing their best known songs, remembering Ria and relating stories of their 1980s success, or ‘crazy circus’ as they call it.
Marc Hofstede of promoter Ambassadors of Entertainment asked CJ Otten of production company Max Power Rent to assemble a two-trailer production carrying sound, lighting, video and set, along with a nine-member touring crew.
CJ runs Max Power Rent with his son Max. Impressed by demonstrations of the Yamaha Rivage PM5 digital mixing system, the company purchased two systems for their front of house rental stock in time for the original 2020 Sisters On Tour
USA - A major mural unveiling took place in downtown Minneapolis recently - heralded by a weekend of celebratory events - when a new 100ft high artwork of Prince, featuring three shots of the Minneapolis musician, was revealed for the first time.
This $500,000 Crown Our Prince project, as it is known, has been under development for seven years, with the mural undertaken by Florida street painter Hiero Veiga.
For the Purple block party to coincide with the reveal, local company Slamhammer Audio were brought into handle production, including the sound reinforcement. Having been a loyal customer of Martin Audio for the past two decades, they fielded a combination of eight Martin Audio W8LC Compacts, eight WS218X subs and a pair of W8LM Mini for front-fills. For delays - set at the FOH position, and shooting back towards the rear of the crowd - they turned to a pair of Martin Audio CDD-LIVE and CSX-LIVE118B subs.
The reveal party was a free event, which brought several thousand people flocking to downtown Minneapolis’s Ramp A on a perfect evening. The timing was also appropriate as Prince would have turned 64 on 7 June.
According to Slamhammer sales manager, Cam Dickison, from a production perspective the main challenge was the small footprint of the bandstand location, and the timing that they had to work within - since the street could not be closed during the day. “With the stage itself needing to be constructed in a very small area, we opted to build sound wing platforms and mounted the PA on those instead of rigging from the stage
UK - Robe enjoyed a successful ABTT (Association of British Theatre Technicians) show at Alexandra Palace in London, a highlight of which was the company’s win in the Lighting Product of the Year category of the ABTT Awards for its T11 fixtures.
Robe’s new stand design in the main exhibition hall featured a selection of the latest Robe and Anolis brand technologies and ran in tandem with a black box demonstration area downstairs where fixtures were shown ‘in situ’. RoboSpot workshops were also running downstairs throughout the expo for those keen to expand their knowledge of this powerful and versatile system.
The show proved to be a hub and meeting point for theatre creatives and practitioners working in all sectors, and “a fantastic opportunity to get kit in front of people in-person again,” explains Robe product and theatre specialist, Dave Whitehouse. “We saw many good-quality people all with a huge enthusiasm and appetite for new tech - and using it - as they get back to work.”
The ABTT Awards are one of the organisation’s flagship events, acknowledging those people and products making a difference to the industry.
The secret panel of ABTT judges - an array of experienced and influential theatre practitioners, consultants, and engineers - assessed all the Awards entries on the first show day and made their choices.
They stated that the T11 “fills a void in the industry offering not only a new LED fixture, but also addressing the industry-wide challenge of developing sustainable technology. The units are compac
The Netherlands - Pop acts Kris Kross Amsterdam, Maan, Rolf Sanchez, and others performed at the main stage of the first edition of Toverland LIVE! in Sevenum, under Infinity and Showtec lights.
Theme Park Toverland in Sevenum premiered the festival on Saturday, 21 May. Four stages were created in places where visitors could enjoy both the rides of the park as well as the live performing musicians.
The Main Stage was set up right at the Port Laguna entrance area, which served as the tropical centre of the festival. Top acts Maan, Rolf Sanchez, and Kris Kross Amsterdam created a swinging show, supported by 18 Infinity iW-1915 RGBW washes and 18 sets of Showtec DWE Audience Blinders, which were provided by production company Xymio (Geleen).
The lightshow was designed by Bas Baadjou from Imperial Lighting. The event proved a tremendous success and drew several thousands of visitors to the theme park, which had its hands full with serving everyone.
South Africa - Technological Innovations Group (TIG), which has over 120 dedicated Crestron sales professionals and offices including Experience Spaces in London, Brussels, Paris, Madrid, Milan, Frankfurt, Dubai, Oslo and Johannesburg, has appointed Wikus Botha as its new regional sales manager for Crestron's residential solutions in South Africa.
Reporting to Steven Dullaert, director residential sales EMEA, Wikus has worked in IT, AV and home automation since the age of 17, and will bring his experience, industry knowledge and skills to the newly-created role.
On his appointment, Wikus comments: "The best thing you can do in life is make the most of your skills and talents. I want to bring the very best version of myself to the best technology company in the world and assist our clients and partners to be the most successful they can be too."
Dullaert adds: "We're excited about the appointment of Wikus, who I'm certain will be a great addition to the team in South Africa. He will be the point of contact for our residential partners in the region as we expand into this rapidly growing market sector.”
USA - Loudspeaker manufacturer 1 Sound has appointed Leonardo Dani and Leonardo D’Andrea to its team as sales executives focusing on Europe, Middle East, and Africa.
1 Sound was founded in 2019 by designer Lou Mannarino and has spent the last three years growing its business in the US pro-audio market and developing its product catalogue.
Dani and D’Andrea will work together in developing 1 Sound’s global network of distributors as well as handling 1 Sound sales for EMEA, taking the US brand international.
Leonardo Dani has 15 years of experience in developing and leading international markets and distribution networks with high expertise in building and implementing market strategies. Dani has spent the last three years as Chief Sales Officer for Pequod Acoustics where he developed their international network of sales and marketing. “I am very excited to engage in this new venture with 1 Sound.”
Leonardo D’Andrea has professional experience previous to this new venture with another manufacturer in the pro-audio industry, K-array, where he was directly involved in the development of their distribution network in EMEA. “Today, a new challenge is ready and comes from a great project by Lou Mannarino, a person I have known for a long time and of whom I have always had a great respect for,” he says.
Europe - LiteNordic will no longer distribute Ayrton products in Norway, Denmark and Sweden from 31 July, the French lighting manufacturer has announced.
From 1 August, sales enquiries should be made to Matt Hallard, Ayrton’s European sales director, with LiteNordic supporting sales made before 31 July and under warranty thereafter.
“Ayrton is now actively inviting Nordic distributors and industry captains looking for an exciting new challenge to get in touch,” comments Hallard. “We are very grateful to LiteNordic for the past two years of dedication and hard work, but agree that a change in distributorship is now the way forward. We will continue to work closely with LiteNordic until 31 July to ensure a seamless transition to new distribution partnerships. There’s a wealth of stellar companies out there whom we are yet know and we look forward to meeting them.”
Festival Funding - A free music festival which has been running for 15 years may not go ahead this summer due to a shortage in funds, organisers say. The charity-run Local and Live event, based in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, said the cost of living crisis was hampering sponsorships. A petition has been started calling for Tunbridge Wells Borough Council (TWBC) to help fund the festival.
The council said it was working to find a solution. The volunteer-run event began in 2006 and hosts local musicians playing and works to promote grassroots music and musical education in the area through the Local and Live Charity. Festival organiser and charity chairman Paul Dunton said: "Everyone is feeling the pinch. We've just found things considerably more expensive this year. So it's just added to the burden I suppose. Getting the funding is proving a little bit more difficult this year and we've got more costs than ever, but we're determined to make it happen." Local and Live 2022 is due to take place from 26 to 29 August.
Fundraiser - A ballet company formed of Ukrainian dancers who have fled their homeland will make its West End debut this year. United Ukrainian Ballet will perform at the London Coliseum on 17 September to raise funds to support the people and culture of Ukraine. The company was formed by dancers who fled Ukraine and now live and train at The Hague in the Netherlands. The city has given them the former Royal Conservatoire to live and work in.
Choreographer Alexei Ratmansky, a Ukrainian citizen, is creating a new interpretation of Gisell
UK - Music Support, the charity that helps those who work in music and live events affected by mental ill-health and/or addiction has announced its latest fundraising auction: Music Support’s Music Icons featuring exclusive prizes from four music artists.
With music festivals well and truly back in Summer 2022, artists and crew alike are under pressure to perform at levels that have not been seen for years. The funds raised through this auction will contribute towards Music Support’s core services, including its peer-led confidential Helpline that saw a 60% increase in volume of calls during the global pandemic.
Music Support’s Music Icons auction prizes are as follows:
Coldplay, has donated a Fender Squier guitar, signed by all four members of the band. Of their donation, the band said:
“The music industry can present a very specific set of mental health and addiction challenges which, like many artists, we know all too well. Music Supports provides life-changing help and expert guidance for anyone struggling with these issues. We are proud to support this crucial charity by donating this guitar, signed by all of us, to their Music Icons auction.”
Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend of The Who, signed a striking Fender Stratocaster guitar especially for this auction in March 2022.
Topper Headon of The Clash was happy to sign and donate one of his favourite snare drums, used at the last gig he ever played in Canterbury.
Finally, the ink is barely dry on the Fender Stratocaster signed and donated by all six memb
UK - Late Friday night, as they concluded their 90-minute set on Glastonbury’s acoustic stage, headliners Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott walked out for their first encore. Evoking an earlier time in Heaton’s career, they performed a soulful version of Caravan of Love, a song that was a No. 1 hit for Heaton when he was a member of the Housemartins.
Embracing the music and enhancing its magical effect was a Patrick Sollitt lightshow that he ran on his ChamSys MagicQ MQ500M.
“Caravan of Love, was my favourite look,” said Sollitt. “It was simple, nothing very complicated, just two colours that moved together in a very gentle balanced way. I think it topped off the set perfectly.”
Working with a rig supplied by Fineline Lighting, Sollitt created a variety of other looks that captured the deep, and gently evocative mood of the 21-song set.
The mellow aura notwithstanding, however, the road that took Sollitt to this show was not without its twist and turns.
“Glastonbury always has its own special set of challenges,” he said, speaking from experience after having worked multiple times at the festival. “There is no true global production in place, which can make things daunting at times. I came to the festival with a MQ500M in the back of my truck, but there was already a MQ500M and MQ250 at FOH. Still, you always have to be prepared at a festival.”
A ChamSys user since 2007, Sollitt credits the intuitive and user-friendly features of his MQ500M with helping him navigate his way through the festival experie