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
UK - For the past 25 years, Sennheiser has been sponsoring Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA), with a Student Scholarship Programme, as well as its audio expertise and resources to the specialist institution.
The relationship between Sennheiser and LIPA goes back to 1996, when representatives from each organisation met to discuss the impending launch of an exciting new school to teach the performing arts and associated disciplines, from design and technology and management to sound technology. This cohesive combination allows different mindsets to work together right from the start, encouraging understanding of each element’s needs and ways of working. From that first meeting a quarter of a century ago and until the present day, Sennheiser has been an active partner of LIPA.
The scholarship is a way of helping the students chosen to study freely and achieve their full potential by covering school fees, accommodation costs and, for international students, transport costs to be able to travel home to visit family and friends. It is available to the chosen students for their full three years at LIPA. Every year, a new first-year student is selected, meaning this revolving programme always has three students benefitting from Sennheiser support each year. In order to qualify for the scholarship, students already need to be enrolled at LIPA. The scholarship is for those taking part in the BA (Hons) Sound Technology Course.
From the 25 submissions received this year, 12 students were jointly chosen by LIPA and Sennheiser to continue to the n
Germany - The Hyperbowl studio has just opened its doors at Expo Munich, offering the largest virtual production space in Europe.
ROE Visual was selected as preferred partner to provide all LED screens for the studio, a concept by ACHT and NSYNK, realised by TFN in corporation with Fournell.
Trying to find alternative platforms for tradeshows and live events while the COVID-19 restrictions are in place for large scale events, companies are offering inventive solutions that involve a mix of live presentation with virtual audiences, so-called hybrid events. ROE Visual LED screens are increasingly used to create large, visual displays for these types of events, due to their perfect on-site as well as on-camera performance.
Early April, TFN set out to present their format to several interested parties, after which they were contacted by the Expo Munich. The Expo Munich fortified its interest, based on feedback from several of its clients, some of which from the automotive industry, and continued the conversation with TFN. The decisive factor being the Expo Munich providing a 10,000sq.m venue to build the virtual environment.
The virtual studio could be employed at least till September 2021, encompassing the annual car show, normally planned at this time. This interest in a virtual studio environment for an extended period, opened doors to look int the actual investments needed and parties to involve in the implementation and execution of the work involved.
Appointed to supply the LED screens and further technical infrastructure Fournell turn
USA - Chicago -based Charles Ford and his business partner Brandon Clark from Creative Live Control have been busy using creativity and lateral thinking during the coronavirus pandemic to help maintain positive energies.
First off, the two have been helping light up different areas around Chicago embracing the Unite at Night initiative, with Robe moving lights from their rental partner, JRLX.
This nightly sing-along, make-some-noise and DIY lightshow - interpreted as bring what you can fairy-lights, glitter-balls, LED battens, etc. - started spontaneously in and around the city to bring communities together in uncertain times and celebrate the efforts of all heroes on the frontlines helping to keep everyone safe.
Immediately when Charles and Brandon saw what was happening they thought . . . “let’s do this and get some real lights out and about!” says Charles.
They chatted to JRLX and worked out a good deal for what they could fit into their car which was two MegaPointes and two Spiiders.
They then rocked up over two weekends at different locations including two neighbourhood ‘hot spots’, one in the South Loop adjacent to the downtown area, and the other in Lakeshore East just north of Millennium Park.
Both locations are replete with tall buildings, so they set up - about half a mile away from the main structures - using the Spiiders for general wash lights and the MegaPointes to blast spectacular razor-sharp gobo patterns which climbed up and down the buildings to the delight of onlookers and residents as th
Iceland - At 75m high, Hallgrimskirkja Church in the centre of Reykjavik is the largest church in Iceland and one of the tallest buildings in the country. Its sweeping frontage and steeple dominate the skyline of the city both with its height and its dramatic architecture. The design is the work of state architect, Guðjón Samúelsson, who was inspired by the crystalline structures of the basalt rock that is so prevalent in this volcanic country.
First commissioned in 1937, the edifice took 41 years to build with the spire completed in 1974. On 16 January 2020, Hallgrimskirkja formed the stunning backdrop for the celebrations marking the centenary of the Icelandic Midwives Community.
Icelandic full-service sales and rental company, Exton, was called upon to illuminate the huge façade of the church for the evening with a brilliant white light that would symbolise the bringing of new life into the world.
To achieve the required drama and brightness, Exton’s lighting designer, Erling Þorgrímson, chose 12 Wildsun K25-TC LED fixtures as the sole lighting fixtures for the project: “The WildSun units were the only ones capable of covering such a large expanse at the required intensity,” he said.
The Wildsun K25-TC were placed at ground level approximately 20m from the front of the church, from where they were able to wash the full length and breadth of the tower and wings with a brilliance that could be seen across the city.
“The power of the Wildsun K25-TC is unprecedented compared to other brands,” sayss Exton’s technical sal
UK - With over 14,000 students, including 4,500 international students, the University of Bedfordshire is recognised as ‘internationally excellent’ in the areas of computer science and informatics and business and management studies.
Now, with the addition of a new £40m teaching and laboratory space for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses, the University aims to build on its already strong STEM offering, thanks to an ambitious AV project incorporating Shure’s Microflex Advance MXA910 IntelliMix DSP Celling Array Microphone platform. This has provided students with a superior learning environment, as well as raising the profile of the university.
Set out over four storeys and incorporating 6000m2 of floorspace, the university’s STEM building will also support and encourage the value of science and engineering to local schools and the wider Bedfordshire community.
Discussing the initial project, Malcolm Butler, senior AV programmer and planner, Bedfordshire University, said: “When the STEM building came across our desk, I said that if this was going to be the ‘jewel in the crown,’ then it needed to be the shiniest jewel we can possibly make it.
“We wanted quality, we wanted durability. From a delivery standpoint on output, we wanted fidelity and clarity. We wanted something that was quite easy to use, and then simple to service from a support standpoint as well.”
Consultancy, design and integration of the project was awarded to Lancashire-based AV specialists, PureAV. Working with the proje
UAE - The Afterlife series of worldwide electronic music festivals arrived in Dubai for the first time in February at the Hangar 4 industrial warehouse event space. Lighting designer Pascal Bach of VEM Visionemotion GmbH utilized 100 Claypaky Sharpy fixtures to deliver the evening’s signature Afterlife look within the monumental space.
Italian DJ duo Tale of Us were the hosts of the show, which featured performances by Âme, Mind Against, Fideles, Kas:st and Innellea. Pascal Bach created the lighting design and handled the operation of lights and lasers during the show.
“The main part of the design was a 60m truss in the centre of the 100m hangar. The truss was filled with 50 Sharpys and additional wash lights,” says Bach. “The idea was to create a massive array of light beams that behaved as one single object in an organic way. In general, the Afterlife shows are more relaxed and focused on nice looks and moods instead of crazy and hectic effects. People should feel the music in combination with the visuals and lights without everything making them crazy.”
The setup contained 50 fixtures on the main centre truss and 25 more on each of the two side trusses. Additionally, 30 Claypaky B-EYE K10s were used to create a side glow and illuminate the hanging Afterlife man, the iconic visual element of the show.
“Sharpy is a widely used fixture and was the only one available in the quantity I needed for a reasonable price,” Bach notes. “It also had everything I required for the show. It needed to be small, fast and not too heavy.
Israel - MSolutions has announced the immediate availability of its IP Network Analyser software introduced at ISE 2020 in February. Available for use on its MS-TestPro portable test device, the specialised, secure software gives integrators an affordable toolset to test AV signal integrity and performance over IP networks.
The MS-TestPro is one of the first HDBaseT testers to integrate AV over IP test capabilities, eliminating the need for an expensive standalone network tester. The initial software release is compatible with Cisco network switches and is activated upon connecting the MS-TestPro to the network switch. Customers can download the IP Network Analyzer software to their existing MS-TestPro devices for an immediate 14-day trial, or purchase the software for use on new devices.
The software provides immediate, detailed feedback on network and switch information and settings, and a general overview of IP network conditions and connections. The information received allows integrators to quickly confirm if network settings fit AV over IP performance requirements, and that the switch configuration can support smooth video streaming.
“This industry-first innovation represents an affordable value-added option for technicians seeking to minimise the number of testers they carry from job to job,” said Eliran Toren, CEO, MSolutions. “As Cisco switches are among the most widely used network switches in AV over IP installations today, the software will provide a near-immediate ROI for our customers installing complex AV over IP systems today.
USA - One year on from taking delivery of the world’s first Wavefront Precision Longbow (WPL) system, Richmond, VA’s Soundworks has now switched its entire inventory to Martin Audio, purchasing both 8-inch WPS and 10-inch WPC systems.
Founded in 1976 by Steve Payne, Soundworks has long benefited from a working relationship with Southard Audio, led by Mike Southard in neighbouring Harrisonburg, VA. In 2019, the two companies jointly chose Martin Audio for the first time, becoming the first WPL users in the world with each company purchasing 24 WPL cabinets, 12 SXH218 hybrid subs and 12 iKON iK42 amps.
“We used WPL for the whole of last season and we were just delighted with it,” says Payne. “We looked forward to every opportunity we had to use it but for smaller events we still had to use a smaller, older system that we had in our inventory. That was hard! We did one very large jazz festival where we had 12 boxes per-side of WPL for the main PA but an eight box hang of this older system for delays. I asked our System Tech, Bryan Hargrave, to check if the delays were working and when he came back he said ‘they’re working - but they sound like they’re broken!’ They just couldn’t match WPL.
“I knew then that we needed to invest more in Wavefront Precision. There was no hesitation, no doubt in our minds that it was the right thing to do. WPL totally sold us on the possibilities.”
Having sold his previous system, Payne was faced with the choice of adding either 8-inch WPS or 10-inch WPC enclosures to his inventory. “The WPC
Germany - The Arberger Mühle foundation village is located in the middle of the old town of Arbergens near Bremen. It was built in 1803 and is a Dutch mill set in impressive grounds. It is the oldest preserved mill in Germany, and has been a heritage listed building since 1973.
As part of the extensive renovation of the mill, Illumination Physics were asked by the owner whether to participate in the development and implementation of a lighting concept for the outer facade of the mill.
The owner's aim was to integrate the mill into the cityscape as an outstanding building, but, as the premises are also used for events, to be able to change the colour of the lower part of the façade on special occasions.
This, however had to be achieved with the lowest possible energy consumption.
What looked simple at first soon proved otherwise. The ground plan and the architecture are complex, and the extensive requirements of the monument protection authority had to be taken into account.
Several test mock-ups were necessary during which the responsible monument conservator was always present, until the ideal technical solution was settled on.
“Since the restoration and preservation of the historic mill is only possible with a great deal of private and honorary commitment, we took on the lighting planning, programming and construction supervision as a sponsorship of this project,” says Illumination Physics.
USA - As a bright and fun landmark in the heart of West Palm Beach, the Canopy by Hilton is a new boutique lifestyle hotel with a stunning glass façade and fibre optic art hanging in the atrium. To ensure quality sound reproduction for their guests, management invested in the installation of a healthy assortment of loudspeakers from DAS Audio.
‘Skinny’ Greg Gilman, who is involved in a wide range of sound and music endeavors throughout the West Palm Beach area, including being a well-known DJ, was contracted to manage the Canopy’s sound system installation. Working in conjunction with Oakland Park, FL-based TM Sound, an AV design/build firm, the combined team deployed an assortment of DAS loudspeakers that drew from the company’s WR, Quantum, and Artec Series catalogues. Gilman discussed the project.
“Most of the install inside the hotel is a blend of a stereo sound system reinforced by distributed audio, Gilman explains. “The entryway of the lobby has two Quantum 23-TW loudspeakers, which provide guests entering the premises their first taste of the venue’s high quality sound. Inside the Banter restaurant, there are two Artec 310.96-W loudspeakers that fill the room effortlessly - without the need for increased volume. This setup provides balanced sound, enabling servers to interact comfortably with their guests, and for the guests to enjoy fine dining accompanied by great sound.
“Moving up to the 13th Floor, the Treehouse is intended to offer guests an exquisite nightlife experience without having to leave the hotel,” Gilman con
Big Birthday - Ringo Starr celebrates his 80th birthday today (7 July), even though it will now be online due to the coronavirus pandemic. “I've got a huge birthday; I am going to be 80,” says Starr. “But I am going to celebrate it a little differently this year from the last 12 years, where we had the peace and love moment at noon.”
This annual tradition began in 2008 at a 100-guest gathering for his birthday at the Hard Rock in Chicago. Since then it has expanded to 27 countries, with its epicentre on a big stage in Hollywood. The Beatles drummer celebrates the event with music performances from himself and his friends, in front of 100s of fans. But he had to cancel the event this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Instead, he will put on a virtual charity concert on YouTube called Ringo's Big Birthday Show. He'll be joined by Sir Paul McCartney, Joe Walsh, Ben Harper, Sheryl Crow, Gary Clark Jr and Sheila E to benefit Black Lives Matter, The David Lynch Foundation, MusiCares and WaterAid.
"I've asked several of my friends to either send me footage from a show they've done and I'm using some of mine from the All-Starrs [his band] last year and I'll be there introducing. We're putting the show on at 5 o'clock (PST). But it's still my birthday and still peace and love," says Starr.
Park Life - Virgin Money and SSD Concerts will hold a music festival in Gosforth Park in Newcastle with the crowd separated to reduce the risk of the spread of the coronavirus. Acts will be announced at a later date. A spokeswoman said people c
UK - PLASA has responded to the UK government’s pledge of £1.57bn funding for the arts with the following statement from its MD, Peter Heath: “While PLASA is pleased to see the government deliver a generous rescue package to arts institutions across the UK, they have only addressed the tip of the iceberg. We hope that the government will announce further support for all the manufacturers, suppliers and freelancers who help make the UK a global leader in events.
“Theatres and venues are absolutely essential to the cultural fabric of the UK, however, they only represent the public face of a vast industry. Each arena concert, musical show, arts installation, or corporate event relies on a complex supply chain, often involving hundreds of professionals. To put on a single arena show requires an average of 443 people working at all levels from planning and manufacturing to logistics and live production.
“PLASA stands by its initial plea which is for the government to provide the entire event industry supply chain with grants as well as extensions to both the Furlough Scheme and the Self-employed Support Scheme. From the start, government grants were not explicitly made available to the event supply chain, with only one out of six PLASA members surveyed successfully receiving grants. And although the Furlough Scheme was a great relief, the tapering off by Autumn does not bode well for companies who do not expect to see any business until next year. The situation has been just as
UK - After weeks of relentless campaigning, the British arts sector has been promised a coronavirus bailout worth £1.57bn.
The funding was announced late on Sunday evening, with the UK government stating it represents “the biggest ever one-off investment in UK culture”.
The package includes:
- £1.15bn support pot for cultural organisations in England, comprising £880m grants and £270m loans;
- £100m of targeted support for the national cultural institutions in England and the English Heritage Trust;
- £120m capital investment to restart construction on cultural infrastructure and for heritage construction projects in England;
- extra £188m for the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland (£33m), Scotland (£97m) and Wales (£59m).
The news follows the government’s announcement of a roadmap to reopening, which was heavily criticised by the sector for lacking investment and timeframes.
Commenting on the funding scheme, chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak said: "Our world-renowned galleries, museums, heritage sites, music venues and independent cinemas are not only critical to keeping our economy thriving, employing more than 700,000 people, they’re the lifeblood of British culture. That’s why we’re giving them the vital cash they need to safeguard their survival, helping to protect jobs and ensuring that they can continue to provide the sights and sounds that Britain is famous for."
UK - The UK skyline turned into a beacon of blue as venues across the country were illuminated on 4 July (Saturday), the eve of the NHS anniversary. Among the hundreds of buildings to light blue were the Royal Albert Hall, the O2 Arena, Harrogate Convention Centre, Bai360 in Brighton and Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh.
Participating sporting and mass entertainment venues included Twickenham Stadium, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Wembley and Lords Cricket Ground.
The #LightItBlue illuminations paid tribute not only NHS staff but to those that have helped the organisation during its most challenging period since its 1948 inception.
#LightItBlue was created by the events and entertainment industry to show a united display of gratitude for those risking their own health to look after Britons who are ill with COVID-19.
The initiative began on Thursday 26 March when over 100 of the UK’s most famous castles, cathedrals, bridges, city halls, sports stadiums and giant LED screens were illuminated in blue to coincide with the nationwide applause for the NHS and frontline care workers. Since then, eminent landmarks across the world including Windsor Castle, Niagara Falls, Komazawa Park Olympics Memorial Tower and the Prince's Palace of Monaco have taken part.
Gary White, MD of event production company White Productions and team leader of the #MakeItBlue Collective comments: “When the events and entertainment industry initially found itself without work due to COVID-19, we wanted to harness our collective skills to thank both the NHS and key worke
UK - At the end of April, British war veteran and walking hero, Captain Sir Tom Moore, raised more than £32m for NHS charities by walking 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday on 30 April.
On his birthday morning, thousands of people worldwide offered their well wishes to the former tank commander. Joining the widespread celebration, Captain Sir Tom Moore thanked the public for their overwhelming generosity from his home in Bedfordshire. Speaking to the BBC Breakfast team, his voice was heard loud and clear thanks to Sennheiser’s Digital 6000 wireless microphone system.
Broadcast sound engineer, Paul Cutler, who has been working with clients such as the BBC, ITV, ITN and Sky for over 23 years, was in charge of audio on the day.
“I have worked with BBC Breakfast on several other interesting large scale outside broadcasts and special features,” says Cutler. “This particular project gained momentum very quickly and it also grew technically.”
Cutler explains that, after having an initial Zoom meeting with engineering managers on both BBC Breakfast and BBC News, he immediately left his home and went straight to the house of Captain Tom Moore to do the recce that afternoon.
“I did that so that I could physically see the site for the outside broadcast and meet Captain Tom Moore in person, with safe distancing adhered to, of course” continues Cutler. “At that time, it became apparent to me that the kit I needed was going to be fairly large scale, due to the nature and complexity of the OB and that
UK - Entertainment and architectural lighting control manufacturers Zero 88 and iLight have consolidated and streamlined the production facilities and processes at their shared factory in Cwmbran, Wales.
This is to generally boost efficiency and ensure full compliance with the new post COVID-19 health and safety at work directives related to social distancing and general hygiene.
Products from both brands - Zero 88 for entertainment and iLight for architectural / built environments - are fully designed and manufactured in the UK.
With both brands now operating under the Cooper Lighting Solutions umbrella, this recent reorganisation offers complimentary ranges of lighting control solutions for a diversity of projects, scenarios and applications.
Having the fully integrated workspace in Cwmbran means Zero 88 and iLight product volumes can quickly and easily be ramped up and custom projects can be undertaken more cost-effectively, offering all clients better value and service.
With the PCB manufacturing also in house, the shortening of supply chains has become further refined, a move giving Zero 88 and iLight full control, ultimate flexibility and a real edge over the quality control and the complex technologies involved to build their market leading ranges. They also have the capacity to accelerate new product designs and implementation.
The recent increase in production capabilities saw a 17% increase in the workforce last year with new employees taking on numerous roles from production to finance, and several of them being based l
China - The award-winning Christie Pandoras Box is delivering visual experiences to visitors at a newly completed five-sided 3D immersive visualisation chamber in Qingdao, a major sub-provincial city in China’s Shandong province.
Powered by two Pandoras Box Quad Servers and a Pandoras Box Dual Server installed by Christie’s partner Marvel Vision, this visualisation showcase - known as The Light and Shadow Cube - is an initiative by the Qingdao Municipal Government to spur the growth of 5G high-definition video applications.
The Pandoras Box servers are used for the demonstration of spectacular DCI-8K video displayed on LED walls, achieving a total resolution of 8192 x 4320 pixels. This high-tech installation also features a number of technologies such as an active 3D system, a scent-generating system, a 7.1 multi-channel surround sound system, as well as 8K@30fps panoramic 2D-VR video and 8K@60fps panoramic 3D video capabilities.
“The Light and Shadow Cube is a highly-advanced installation that utilises a variety of cutting-edge technologies,” said Daniel Xu, manager, Marvel Vision. “We are very pleased to work with our longstanding partner Goldon Digital Creative Co, the systems integrator of this project, to accomplish the multimedia system design, on-site installation and commissioning, systems training and delivery of the Pandoras Box media servers.”
Xu noted that the Christie Pandoras Box has been chosen as the image processing system for the Light and Shadow Cube due to its ability to integrate real-time 3D rend
Croatia - For centuries, Trg Rijecke Rezolucije has stood as the town square and cultural hub of this bustling port city, hosting events, concerts and rallies. But with the outbreak of COVID-19 and the ensuing ban on public gatherings, the picturesque plaza fell silent.
All that changed recently, when it hosted All For Our Kids, an annual charity concert that raises money for the medical care of children. The crowd was small, and people sat 1.5m apart in observance of social distancing rules, but music rang out, followed by cheering, laughter and applause at the historic venue for the first time in months.
Supporting the on-stage performances with a rich mix of hues and soft glows that played off against the lemon meringue masonry background of the Municipal Palace, a former Augustinian monastery, was a supple a varied Mateo Kustić MattGarret design powered by his ChamSys QuickQ 20.
A ChamSys user for five years, Mateo, who works for G.I.S. Sound & Light, decided on the compact control console because its size and versatility made it well-suited for this application. “I have been lighting this event for some time,” he said. “This year, we had a small audience, perhaps 150 people, and fewer performers, so a compact console fit my plans nicely. Its small footprint was perfect.”
However, Mateo was not willing to give up performance for the sake of compactness. His 21- piece rig was made up primarily of RGBW fixtures, and changing colour gradients was critical to his plan to reflect the varied moods of the show. Being able to a