the number of production courses has developed massively over the last four years
UK - SGM is continuing to support Backstage Academy, the industry-led education centre in the north of England, in its bid to offer BA (Hons) degree courses within the events industry.

Linked to LS-Live, Europe's biggest production rehearsal arena complex, Backstage Academy's technical director, Gareth Welbourn, says the number of production courses has developed massively over the last four years and today they have 96 students attending them. "We now have a really good set of course modules and these have developed with the help of supporters like SGM."

The relationship between the two parties dates back to the PLASA Focus show in Leeds, several years ago when students helped SGM UK build their exhibition stand. "This got [SGM UK's] Dan Kirby and myself talking about ongoing support in the lighting and show control modules."

Welbourn immediately earmarked the X-5 and XC-5 LED strobes. "These were the first fixtures we liked the look off as they were very well built, bright and use next to no current - which was great for us.

"In fact we've now taken nearly all their range of IP65 rated products - perfect for the show control modules as we have a lot of water features and systems. Water and SGM lights go very well together and this year we had the SGM SixPacks G-Spots, P-5 wash lights and the X-5 strobes."

The module is also based heavily on automation and show control, giving students the opportunity to place fixtures in the grid systems. "As the featured lighting is exclusively from SGM, Dan [Kirby] has been able to show us around the equipment."

All are proving popular with the students - but in particular the SixPacks. "This is due to their power output and pixel mapping ability," Gareth Welbourn believes. "One group managed to use the Green Hippo [Hippotizer server] to pixel map the fixtures around the screen surround. The G-Spots were also very impressive with their LED light output and quality of their optics."

But SGM's support for the next generation of production personnel extends further than just supplying the hardware. "Whenever they are onsite they help with the students' projects - mainly in product training.

"They did also once throw down the challenge to break a G-Spot. Two students and a hosepipe took up the challenge - but the G-Spot still worked!"

(Jim Evans)

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