UK - Outdoor venues, including open-air theatre, opera and music venues, can reopen from 11 July and host socially-distanced performances, the culture secretary Oliver Dowden has announced this afternoon (9 July).
This will mean venues will be able to host performances for the first time in 115 days since they were forced to shut on 18 March.
"This is an important milestone for our performing arts, which have been waiting patiently since March," Dowden said. "We are taking various measures to make these places safe as they reopen. Venue capacity will be reduced and organisations will be encouraged to move to electronic ticketing to help Test and Trace. But our performing arts deserve an audience and they will be getting one."
He added that the government is working to usher audiences indoors as soon as possible and is funding scientific studies to find ways to mitigate "specific public health risks", like the impact of singing and wind and brass instruments on coronavirus transmission.
It is also working with the sector to pilot a number of small indoor performances with a social distanced audience. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is working alongside sector bodies including UK Theatre, the Association of British Orchestras and the Musicians’ Union to identify suitable pilots. This will include working with London Symphony Orchestra at St Luke’s as well as the London Palladium and Butlins amongst others.
"The more we know about coronavirus in this setting, the safer we will be," he added. The minister said governme
UK - TSL Lighting joined the Light It In Red campaign on 6 July (Monday), bathing its Gatwick and Basingstoke premises with light as part of the ‘red alert’ initiative lobbying the government to ramp up support for the arts during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Light It In Red galvanised the entertainment technology industry to come together to warn that without financial aid, the supply chain for live entertainment and events is threatened.
The initiative took place as the government announced a financial aid package worth £1.57bn for the arts after months of pressure.
“It’s vital that we show solidarity with industry and raise awareness of the dire situation,” comments TSL’s Loz Wilcox. “The supply chain does so much for theatre, TV and events and it goes without saying that the arts have been invaluable during lockdown, giving us streaming services like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and so on. Now, the foundation of the businesses that contribute to producing much of that content is at risk. TSL is a proud member of our industry and we are working to support and lobby for positive action in any way we can.”
As much of TSL’s extensive lighting stock remains in its warehouses due to the shutdown, Wilcox gave the TSL crews free rein to use their fixtures to achieve the most striking and powerful looks on the buildings.
The company also sent a crew to light up the PLASA and LSi premises in Eastbourne, as well as the Identity Event
Austria - A new exhibition by sound artist Bill Fontana entitled Primal Energies opened 1 July at Kunsthaus Graz. Occupying the museum’s vast ovoid dome Space 01 Gallery, Primal Energies pays homage to the future of renewable energy through a mesmerising mix of video imagery and evocative soundscapes that portray our planet’s expanding wind, solar, hydroelectric and geothermal resources.
While viewing images on the eight large screens, visitors are immersed in a blend of energy-related sounds reproduced by 64 Meyer Sound self-powered loudspeakers. The impact of the installation is further enhanced by dynamic spatial sound movements created and automated using a beta version of Meyer Sound’s soon-to-be-released Spacemap Go technology.
Sounds and images for the work were recorded on location by Fontana with assistance from Scott George of London-based Autograph Sound. During this preparatory period, Fontana and George - both of whom have long association with Meyer Sound - were recruited to serve as beta testers of Spacemap Go.
A spatial sound design and mixing tool that leverages the processing power of the Galileo Galaxy Network Platform, Spacemap Go provides ‘an easy-to-use interface for multi-channel panning using one or more iPads connected to systems comprising multiple Galaxy processors’.
“We used Spacemap Go extensively on Primal Energies,” says Fontana. “It’s the ‘digital brain’ behind all that is happening with dynamic spatialisation of sound. In that realm, it lets me do everything I did before usin
Russia - Croatian-born DJ Solomun has been a regular visitor to Russia since early on in his career. Synonymous with contemporary electronic music, and attracting vast throngs of fans, his most recent performances have been at the popular Adrenaline Stadium in Moscow, where SETUP Studio developed and implemented a hi-tech lighting rig, with GLP fixtures as the centrepiece.
SETUP Studio is constantly searching for new creative concepts connecting sound and light. The team has been collaborating with Solomun for several years and has implemented many different setups for the DJ. The last two performances at the Adrenaline Stadium were not only notable in the scenic and lighting design worlds, but also became undisputed favourites of the studio itself.
Back in 2018, they had the idea of implementing kinetic winches, but because of the high cost and sophisticated design, this idea was abandoned. In the course of the following discussions, Stepan Novikov, one of the co-founders of the studio, suggested making a long LED-screen plate and placing it strategically so that it is in the direct line of the dance floor. In addition, it was decided to place the plate within a frame consisting of GLP impression X4 Bar 20 fixtures, in order to significantly expand the range of artistic possibilities.
“According to our idea, the same video content would be broadcast both on the screen and via the pixel array of GLP X4 Bars. This enabled us to obtain a very unusual effect: video content from the screen edges ‘fell’ downwards through narrow light rays,” expla
Germany - Düsseldorf’s 240m high Rheinturm tower was the setting for a sky-high laser projection and light show in June to promote Deutsche Telekom’s extended 5G network. The telecommunications company worked with German event management agency DO IT! to realise the show, and they in turn commissioned AO Creative to help conceptualise, design, supply the fixtures and technology, and execute the display.
Overseen by AO Creative’s Marco Niedermeier in collaboration with JALD Jerry Appelt Licht Design and Beacon, the project brought together AO’s team of design and technical specialists based in Germany. The team included lighting designer Jerry Appelt, who created a detailed scheme to light the concrete Rheinturm in a beautiful wash of magenta - Deutsche Telekom’s brand colour. Alongside, Laserfabrik facilitated laser-projected branding on the ‘trunk’ of the tower.
Atop the circular crown of the building, AO’s high-performance Falcon searchlights were positioned in concentric rings to spread bright, controlled beams of white light out across Düsseldorf, symbolising the transmission of the 5G signal and visible from far across the city. The Falcons were positioned with twelve on the inner ring, and twenty-four on the outer ring.
Luminaires from SGM and Elation provided additional beam effects for viewers closer to the tower.
“We were thrilled to be a part of this impressive event that lit up Düsseldorf’s night sky,” says Niedermeier. “AO Creative has a long history of working with the DO IT! agency and long experience
UK - The interactive installation, Scream the House Down by artist Marcus Lyall is going down well with the public around the world: London, New York, Hong Kong, Russia and beyond - so due to demand it has been extended it by a week, to 11 July (Saturday).
With social distancing still in place and tensions continuing to rise, London-based artist Marcus Lyall and not-for-profit arts organisation Illuminate Productions, have transformed a soon-to-be-demolished office block in London Bridge into an interactive public artwork.
In this new site-specific work, Lyall invites you to join a Zoom call where you can scream or otherwise vocalise your feelings. A monumental light installation instantly illuminates the building in response to your voice.
The louder and longer your outburst, the bigger the response from the building. The building interprets every voice and scream differently, to create a unique response for each guest. You can participate using any device that supports the Zoom app.
You can also submit short films of your scream via email at email@example.com.
Screams will be played to the building each night and the results posted the next day on the Scream The House Down YouTube channel.
USA - Bandit Lites returned to the picturesque countryside of Blackberry Farm for Boards and Boats, where guests of the resort could spend a weekend partaking of wakeboard, wakesurfing and boating. In addition to tips and demonstrations from MasterCraft, the weekend concluded with a dinner and a concert featuring Americana artists Chatham Rabbits.
Bandit Lites supplied a lighting package comprised of Chauvet Freedom Pars, GLP X4 Atoms, and Gantom lights as well as the event’s staging complete with Edison bulbs, conjuring a mood of rural elegance.
“The Chauvet Freedom Pars were used to control the colour of the room environment itself by placing them along the walls of Bramble Hall,” explained Bandit Lites Nick Brown. “The GLP X4 Atoms were used as our front light, and the Gantoms served as a low backlight.”
Even with the fickle Tennessee weather of the Smoky Mountains, Bandit Lites’ team was prepared when the decision was made to move the concert indoors into Blackberry’s Bramble Hall. With its reclaimed wood walls and rustic beams, cupolas and fireplaces, Bandit kept the lighting focused on highlighting the natural elegance of the space, adding to the ambiance without distracting.
“The design direction for the event was simple ambience and minimalistic,” finished Brown. “There wasn't a huge need for over the top lighting.”
“Blackberry is all about excellence, and we always strive to deliver excellence in all aspects of production we provide,” said Bandit Lites general manager Giff Swart. “It is always a
UAE - AO Drones, specialist provider of drone light shows, recently played a key role in an unforgettable event to thank Dubai’s frontline workers for their heroic service during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Conceived and produced by AO Drones’ producer, Marco Niedermeier, the event combined a stunning aerial display from AO Drones’ sophisticated drone fleet, plus a special message from emergency services vehicles arranged to spell ‘Thank You’, in both English and Arabic. The whole event was captured in a short film, shot in the style of a dramatic action movie, and shared widely on social media.
To realise the event, Niedermeier called on the help of friends from Dubai’s event production network, including Done Events, GTV Film Productions and Brand Dubai. Together they secured support from Government of Dubai and authorities including the Dubai Police Force, the Roads and Transport Authority, the Media Office and others. “Everybody was keen to be involved,” says Niedermeier. “We all wanted to say thank you.”
Dubai’s COVID-19 lockdown meant that all planning meetings were carried out via video conferencing platforms, and on-site operations were conducted in accordance with safe working guidelines.
The film of the event, which took place on 11 June, began with aerial shots of messages of support spelled out on Dubai landmarks including the Burj Khalifa, before following the emergency vehicles along the Sheikh Zayed Road – closed to public traffic for the occasion – to converge on the show site. The film culminated with spec
UK - A resource for freelancers working in the performing arts sector has been launched to help drive the community’s bid for further government support.
Freelancers Make Theatre Work is described as “an inclusive community for the 20,000+ self-employed and freelance workers from all areas of theatre, opera, dance and live performance”.
It has been designed as an information hub for the freelance theatre workforce and will also act as a platform that will communicate the community’s visions and concerns to theatre management, production companies, industry bodies and government.
The website is run by a voluntary group comprising Adele Thomas, Andrew Whyment, Beth Steel, Bill Bankes-Jones, Chinonyerem Odimba, Hazel Holder, Neil Austin, Ola Ince, Polly Bennett, Paule Constable, Peter McKintosh, Prema Mehta, Simon Manyonda, Tom Piper and Vicki Mortimer.
“We aim to encourage more transparent and inclusive conversations within the theatre industry by listening to and articulating theatre freelancers’ needs to theatre managements, production companies, industry bodies and government,” the organisation states.
Visitors to the website (www.freelancersmaketheatrework.com) can find resources such as legal, financial and mental health support; information about unions and advocating bodies; petition and surveys, campaigns and protests; studies and seminars, and more. The website also enables visitors to contact government by providing MP letter templates.
Freelancers Make The Theatre Work recently carried out a poll e
Canada - Green Hippo has appointed DataVisual as its exclusive distributor for Canada.
Ottawa-based DataVisual will add Green Hippo’s Hippotizer Media Server product range to its comprehensive AV systems portfolio, improving its offering to clients across Canada’s pro-AV marketplace.
Having enjoyed a long relationship with Green Hippo’s sister brands Magenta Research and tvONE, DataVisual found the Hippotizer range a “perfect addition” to its technology offering.
“The fit between our two organizations has always been very good, as we both place a high value on the service and support required of more technically sophisticated products,” comments DataVisual CEO Lisa Kislich-Lemyre. “The addition of Green Hippo to that family was welcome news. We’ve had a lot of success with tvONE’s video wall processors, but Media Servers were the one piece of the content delivery puzzle that we were missing.”
She adds: “The more we learned about Green Hippo and their media playback solutions, the more excited we became. Suddenly we had a whole suite of playback options that we could offer, from a well-known vendor with A-list customer references.”
DataVisual, which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary, has grown from a small supplier of AV accessories to become one of Canada’s largest distributors of professional AV technology for the installation, infrastructure and live events markets. Key to its growth has been its focus on personalised service and support and its experienced staff of regional sales and business develo
Taiwan - Described in 2003 by Time magazine as the ‘New King of Asian Pop’, Jay Chou has turned his signature sound - which fuses traditional instruments and styles with R&B or rock - into a global phenomenon. In late 2019, Chou’s record label JVR Music promoted the spectacular Carnival world tour to celebrate the artist’s 20th year in the entertainment industry. A Yamaha RivagePM10 digital mixing system was chosen to mix the performers’ monitors.
Sound engineer Mr Luo began his career at an audio rental company when, as he says, “in Taiwan there were no such thing as monitor engineers”. As the number of higher profile artists began to increase, the demand for professional monitor engineers rose. Despite retiring from the industry after a decade, his reputation meant invitations from artists tempted him to become involved with the JVR Music team and Jay Chou’s regular monitor engineer.
“The Carnival shows were very demanding for the hardware. There were often more than 10 musicians on stage with a wide range of musical instruments, plus dancers. The musicians all wanted studio-quality sound, which can be very challenging for me as the monitor engineer. Plus, of course, we couldn’t have any equipment problems, the stability of the system was extremely important,” says Mr Luo.
The show generated around 80 input channels, with splitters sending the signals to front of house and monitors. Mr Luo specified a Yamaha Rivage PM10 digital mixing system, comprising two DSP-R10 engines in mirror mode, for full DSP redundancy,
UK - Having cancelled their live London Executive Summit due to COVID-19, coaching organisation Vistage sought an innovative and fully digital solution enabling them to deliver this flagship event. To help bring the new digital format to life, technical solutions specialist White Light (WL) utilised its SmartStage studio in Wimbledon.
Formed over 60 years ago and comprising of 24,000 members from SMEs around the globe, Vistage annually connects more than 200 CEOs, MDs and senior business leaders for their live summit. Following cancellation of the London event, Vistage required an advanced technological solution to deliver a series of expert-led coaching workshops to their audience, conducted safely online via a professional platform.
Hiring WL’s SmartStage facility enabled the live presenters to access a safely isolated location and work together from a social distance, while connecting with other remote presenters participating from the USA.
James Thurlow, WL’s venue technical manager, explains: “We embedded the stream within a purpose-built microsite, which not only assisted in branding the event but also enabled other functionality such as peer-to-peer chat and the submission of audience questions. We relayed these questions back to presenters in real-time, giving the feeling of 'live interaction'.
“The website also gave us the ability to display event insights such as information on the agenda, keynote speakers and sponsors, as well as linking through to the client's social media channels. We added further variety to the transmis
UK - Martin Audio’s British headquarters in High Wycombe got a dramatic new look as part of Monday night's #LightItInRed campaign, which saw 700 buildings of every kind across the UK lit up in ‘emergency red’ to amplify the voice of the event and entertainment industry during this critical time.
Martin Audio’s managing director, Dom Harter, comments: “The live events industry is on a precipice. Unless it receives urgent funding to safeguard its future, the shockwave of the resulting collapse will impact hundreds of thousands of jobs in businesses up and down the country and ultimately have a significant detrimental impact on the culture of Great Britain.
“We continue to support all industry parties and partners in this fight. I would also like to offer my thanks to Nigel Meddemmen, our in-house lighting specialist, and Sophie Hoult for her stunning photography of our headquarters.”
UK - SARM Music Bank in northwest London has transformed its rehearsal rooms into COVID-compliant live streaming, recording and session spaces in partnership with local rental specialists, Colour Sound Experiment.
Each studio now has a fully equipped, modular and scalable lighting, video and multi camera system ready to go. FOH, monitor and broadcast mixing are taken care of in house. Dedicated leased line broadband along with Source Connect is available if needed, and a suite of breakout rooms including dressing room, artist lounge, manager's office, interview rooms and a kitchenette are part of each studio.
Each step of the process has been carefully considered to ensure that artists and crew can operate safely, from a socially distanced chauffeur to contactless catering options.
Haydn Cruickshank, managing director of Colour Sound Experiment, was contacted by a band wanting to do a live stream. “Just down the road, Music Bank’s premises were already almost tailor made. They have a world class selection of Backline equipment for hire to complement Colour Sound’s vast lighting and LED stock, it was a perfect choice.”
Music Bank director Jimmy Mac had already been exploring the idea of setting up a semi-permanent flexible installation, to help artists still reach their fans. The rooms have been set up with a starting framework which can either support existing touring rigs or be enhanced using the two companies pooled resources.
“As soon as it became clear the live sector would have to write off this year, I started to look a
USA - South Haven Baptist Church in Springfield, Tennessee, has been the community centre for a steadily growing congregation since 1986. It expanded its campus in 1997 to include a high school and a gym and then expanded again in 2005 to include an elementary school and a daycare facility.
After its congregation could no longer comfortably fit in its sanctuary, the church moved services to the high school gym for a number of years. Centerline AV of Hendersonville designed and installed a Danley Sound Labs sound reinforcement system for the gym, which made the most of an imperfect situation.
With an eye to the future, South Haven Baptist Church recently expanded its campus yet again, adding a 1000-seat sanctuary. And again, they called in Centerline AV to design and install a sound reinforcement system centred on a stereo pair of Danley J1-94 Jericho Horns – the same boxes used in some of the world’s largest sports arenas.
“South Haven Baptist Church is an independent Baptist church that holds services that are more on the traditional end of the spectrum,” explained Scott Oliver, Centerline AV principal. “Where other Baptist churches would have a praise band, they have a full orchestra, a choir, and a grand piano. Their new sanctuary is a big improvement over the gym that they had been using. The room is a rectangle that is wider than it is deep. Of course, there’s always an element of geometrical challenge when you try to put a speaker – which emits sound as a cone – in a rectangular room, but Danley’s excellent pattern control ma
USA - Whether it was at a stop on one of their many appearances on The Warped Tour, or a festival appearance, The Word Alive have always managed to forge a direct laser-like connection with crowds. Waves of fans invariably push up against the barricades at the band’s shows - and the metalcore band send the magnetic force right back at them.
It is impossible to replicate this connectivity completely in all of its power in a livestream show, but Chris Brodman, Cody Lisle and their creative team came close when the band performed a pay-for-view show at LIT Live on 20 June. Helping them accomplish this feat was a collection of Chauvet Professional fixtures that included the Maverick MK 2 Spot, Rogue R2 Wash, Rogue R1 Wash, and STRIKE P38, as well as the Vesuvio II fogger.
“We had no physical crowd in the room, so our big challenge was to recreate the sense of intimacy you get at a live TWA show in a studio setting,” said Brodman. “Intimate camera shots were very important. Our team chose the angles very carefully to give the viewer the feeling of being very close to the band. I was very happy with how we pulled this off.”
Enhancing the warm familiar tone of the camera angles was the backlighting and redolent colour washes used by lighting designer James Simpson and technical director Cullen Noon. Rows of Maverick MK2 Spot units on the upstage deck and truss grid were used to back light band members from different angles, giving them a more rounded, personalized look in the online broadcast.
The Rogue Wash fixtures were flown at different
USA - ADJ has announced the immediate availability of the latest addition to its Focus series of LED-powered moving head luminaires. The Focus Spot 6Z has become the new flagship of the range. It is desigmed for event production, rental and touring applications as well as installation in churches, concert venues and large nightclubs.
The Focus Spot 6Z features a potent 300W cool white LED engine that offers a 50,000-hour operational life. This is paired with a precision-engineered, high-quality optical system to deliver punchy output, allowing for sharp aerial effects and crisp GOBO projections. Offering 50% more LED power than the 200W Focus Spot 4Z and 5Z models, the 6Z has an output of 10,500+ lumens, which represents a significant step up for the Focus Series.
In addition to the brightness, the Focus Spot 6Z is also the most feature-packed model in the range. It offers a diverse collection of beam-shaping tools designed to give lighting designers a huge amount of creative potential. This versatility makes it ideal for rental and event production as well as for installation in venues such as large churches and multipurpose venues where the lighting requirements can change from week-to-week or month-to-month.
The signature feature of the Focus Series is motorised focus, which the Focus Spot 6Z combines with motorised zoom to offer a variable beam angle range of between 9 and 28-degrees. The fixture also includes a motorized iris function, which allows precise control over the size of the spot. In addition, the unit incorporates two frost filter op
UK - Last night (6 July), some of the UK’s most iconic venues and landmarks were lit up in ‘emergency red’ as part of the #LightItInRed campaign to draw attention to the critical condition of the live events and entertainment industry. A glimpse of hope was given to Britain’s arts industry on Sunday evening (5 July), as £1.57bn was pledged by the government – yet the supply chain behind the production of live events and festivals, including many freelancers, is still awaiting clarification as to what support they will be offered.
Unlike other industries, live theatre, outdoor events, concerts, festivals and performances have been unable to safely resume due to social distancing guidance and other restrictions. Many predict these events may not resume until 2021. The #LightItInRed campaign aims to draw attention to the often hidden workforce behind such events, many of whom are not eligible for any of the government COVID-19 financial schemes – putting further strain on the sector.
Inspired by Germany’s #NightOfLight protest which took place in June, the #LightItInRed campaign saw hundreds of buildings and landmarks across the UK illuminated, from Cornwall’s Minack Theatre, Glastonbury’s bare Pyramid stage, Brighton’s famous pier and the Biomes of the Eden Project, to London venues including The Royal Albert Hall and the National Theatre, and further north to the Blackpool Tower, Liverpool’s Everyman Theatre, Theatre Royal Dumfries and countless other sites. Industry companies taking par
UK - Pro audio loudspeaker brand Inspired Audio has announced a major restructuring of its operations in the both the UK and also in Asia.
As part of the restructure, co-founder Chris Scott, who left the company at the end of 2018 to establish a production facility and to concentrate on product development has re-joined as both managing director and sole shareholder, while fellow co-founder Gareth Hunt has left the company.
Commenting on the restructure Scott says: “My roots have always been in the design and manufacturing side, so leaving to re-engage with that was a natural step for me, although as I was building for Inspired and also designing the latest product for them, in a sense I didn’t really leave. In a similar vein Gareth’s roots have always been in the retail side of the pro audio business, so this restructure see’s Gareth returning to concentrate on his interests in that sector.”
The Asian office is a joint venture partnership with Guangzhou-based TD Taichee, who will also be taking over distribution of the brand in China. “This is more than just a distribution partnership, it is a full technical collaboration,” comments Scott. “During 2019 TD were looking for a European designer to work with them on new product lines. They had a vision that as the Chinese market matures it will move closer to what we know in the European market, so wanted to prepare themselves for those changes.
“I was invited to China in 2019 and was impressed by the scale and quality of the operation, so while the original plan was a deal to