Following the success of the pre-Christmas Corrs shows at Wembley Arena, where designer Willie Williams utilised Screenco's ‘exploded’ screen as a backdrop to the band, Screenco continued on the European tour throughout January and this month provided the same system for the band’s US debut, with a sold-out show at New York’s Radio City Music Hall. A one-off New York theatre show would not normally have had the budget for a screen of this type to have been flown in especially. However, following a call from Ian ‘Chip’ Calder, the band’s production manager, Screenco’s MD Dave Crump contrived a deal which worked for Screenco, the band and Unitek Displays (the manufacturer of Megascreen, Screenco’s, 25mm LED system). Fortunately, Unitek already had some Megascreen in the US, which had been used for demonstration purposes, and Screenco arranged to collect this from Dallas and fly in 14 additional modules - along with the custom-built flying and masking hardware. Craig Tinetti directed the New York show, with UK-supplied playback for the Screenco display, which was run by engineer Bill Dixon; cameras and projectors for side stage i-mag were locally sourced. Screenco’s Dave Crump commented: "I have always been a great believer in co-operation between suppliers and this tour has not only seen us work alongside Unitek for the New York shows, but also with Nocturne Europe on the i-mag and playback end of the operation."
As from April 1st, Martin Professional will pass responsibility for the distribution of its products in Austria to its German subsidiary, Martin Professional GmbH. Martin says the move has been made in order to open up expanding market segments (such as the architectural lighting sector) more efficiently and quickly, and to profit from the advantages of a worldwide sales and service structure. Martin Professional GmbH will work in co-operation with its Austrian trading partner, MTEC GmbH, located in Wels, Austria. For Austrian customers, advantages will include access to a large distribution organization including extensive inventory, enhanced training possibilities, and a far-reaching service and support system. The new distribution structure in Austria will also make it possible to quickly respond to market changes, and to carry through on projects that require long preparation times and service work, say Martin professional.
Sweden’s 'Tunes for Millions' tour in Sweden, with its cast of hundreds, includes some of the biggest concert events staged anywhere in the world. This touring choral concert production now plays 14 shows in Sweden's largest cities, to audiences of up to 4000 people. The tour comprises a small symphony orchestra, four well-known Swedish solo artists and a pop band, plus, at each concert, a large choir. Choral singing is extremely popular in Sweden; typically, the choir size would be 150-280 members. At the headline event at the Globe Theatre in Stockholm, it was 5,000-strong. Front-of-house engineer Thomas Malbeck relied heavily on DPA Microphones, using DPA 4011s to capture the choir accurately on a busy sound stage. "We had so many channels, up to 96 in total," explained Malbeck, "that for the choir I had to choose a microphone with very low noise, that's why I specified the 4011. The pop band was very loud on stage, so I had to be careful that the detail of the choir could be heard above them. I used a total of 18 DPA 4011 cardioid microphones, positioned on stands, in about three or four rows, depending on the size of the choir."
Malbeck was using a Midas XL4 console to mix the concerts, submixing the choir and the violins on a Heritage 3000. The show carried a full NEXO Alpha sound rig, provided by Starlight PA. " When you use a lot of microphones, as I do, you can tell that there's a big difference between the noise level of the average mic and that of the 4011, which has incredibly low noise. Also, I like the sound of these mics: mayb
PCM has completed its first five-day intensive Rigging School 2001, which proved as popular as ever with 51 attendees. The course attracted a diverse range of applicants - from newcomers to those employed in all sectors of the professional rigging, show presentation, performance and entertainment industry. As with all PCM’s training initiatives, the Rigging School is run on a no-profit basis. The concept of the Rigging School was the brainchild of PCM’s John Jones, a committed and vocal advocate of the furtherance of professional training in the entertainment and production industries. The Rigging School is co-ordinated by PCM in conjunction with several like-minded associate companies - Vertigo Rigging, James Thomas Engineering, MAN Flying Systems, Columbus McKinnon, Rope and Lifting Technology, Rope Assemblies and the Liverpool Community College (LCC).
Vertigo Rigging’s Paul Nichols and Dave Brierley ran the rigging section of the course, while aluminium trussing specialist James Thomas Engineering conducted a section on trussing and ground support systems. Representatives of MAN Flying Systems taught the basics of PA rigging, Rope Assemblies provided a selection of equipment for inspection, while health and safety expert Euan Turner of S4C gave a presentation on the LOLER regulations in relation to the entertainment rigging industry. Also Integral to the course was a special Lodestar Motor School, tutored by Tony Dickson of PCM.
PCM’s next rigging school is scheduled for February 2002.
Australian manufacturer of architectural lighting control products, Dynalite, has announced that Dimtek Ltd has been appointed the exclusive distributor of Dynalite Products in the UK and Ireland. Dimtek is a joint venture between Dynalite and a company headed by Jon Theis (formerly lighting controls product manager at Thorlux Lighting, a division of FW Thorpe plc). With an experienced staff of sales people and engineers, Dimtec is in an excellent position to offer full customer support, say Dynalite. John Gunton, managing director of Dynalite, said: "Establishing a joint venture office will enable us to better serve and support our valued customers in the UK and Ireland. A direct representation in these areas will also enable us to align our research and development activities with emerging trends in the UK lighting control market."
Dynalite has a number of new product releases scheduled up for 2001, which will make lighting controls more accessible and user-friendly. These include the ‘DIN Rail’ range, a powerful new touch-screen, internet-enabled software and a range of products for the ‘smart home’ market.
Clay Paky’s intelligent lighting fixtures played a major role in Italy’s recent Sanremo Festival 2001. Clay Paky was the official lighting supplier for the festival and lit the Ariston Theatre with a large number of intelligent projectors, including 48 Stage Zoom 1200s, 60 Stage Light 300s, 80 Mini Scan HPEs and a number of Stage Color 1000 Halogens and Super Scan Zooms. The Stage Zoom 1200s were used both for general lighting and for a high impact effects, with 20 of the units highlighting the singers and other guests when they entered the Ariston Theatre, via the specially made catwalk. The Stage Light 300, powerful, compact and fast moving body projectors, were installed on the large hemisphere of the back wall, where they formed a synchronised ‘moving wall’ of light.
The Mini Scan HPEs, installed in an arc on the platform, around the walls, along the gallery parapet and at the rear of the theatre, completed the impressive effects. The synchronised units created a ‘wave effect’ from one corner of the theatre to the other. The Stage Color 1000 Halogen units, located at the sides of the stage, provided additional colour to the scene. The impressive Clay Paky lighting system was completed by over 430 CP Spots, which created the clearly visible message ‘SANREMO 2001’ on the stage.
Out Board Electronics’ TiMax level and delay matrix has been specified for the third consecutive year by sound designer Bobby Aitken, for Raymond Gubbay’s annual opera-in-the-round at London’s Albert Hall. TiMax is in place as the delivery engine for the vocal reinforcement system on this year’s production, Aida. TiMax provides precise source-oriented reinforcement, making it obvious where each voice emanates from, resulting in unobtrusive sound reinforcement that is natural and believable, avoiding the ‘disembodied voices’ syndrome that the connoisseurs find so distracting. Out Board’s Robin Whittaker, who has been intimately involved with the programming and set up of the full sound system used for all three annual productions, commented: "The two preceding productions - of Tosca in 1999 and Madam Butterfly last year - were invaluable learning opportunities in the process of developing the techniques brought to bear on this year’s Aida. It's been a progression of a great leap forward followed by a step backward, and this year, a couple of further strides forward."
For the fourth consecutive year, Audio-Technica microphones were the microphone of choice for the Grammy Awards, staged at the Staples Center in Los Angeles last month. Audio-Technica supplied over 370 microphones for one of the most widely-watched music events of the year. On-hand was New York City-based Effanel Music's all-digital mobile remote truck with John Harris at the helm to mix the broadcast sound as well as ATK/Audiotek from Burbank, California, who supplied the sound system at the event with front-of-house engineer Rob ‘Cubby’ Colby. Audio-Technica's market manager for live sound, Joel Singer, spent the week in LA during the Grammy rehearsals to offer technical assistance. Singer worked closely with both Effanel and ATK/Audiotek, providing his extensive knowledge on microphone selection.
A wide-selection of Audio-Technica microphones was employed, including: AT4033a (hi-hat, percussion overheads, bass cabinets), AT4050/CM5 (drum overheads, celli and bass acoustic strings), AT4047/SV (guitar cabinets), AT4041 (percussion overheads), ATM25 (rack and floor toms), ATM23HE (snare, congas, timbales), ATM35 (strings), AT4054 and AT4055 (brass) and AT4071a (audience). In addition, the ATW-7373x handheld condenser wireless system was used for lead vocals by Destiny's Child, U2's Bono and Sheryl Crow.
The biggest gaming venue in the world, Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut, has taken delivery of a Midas Heritage 2000 in time to celebrate the casino’s 9th birthday. Having started life in 1992 as a 250,000sq.ft facility with a 46,000sq.ft casino, Foxwoods has now grown to nearly 20 times that size. The complex occupies an impressive 4.7m sq.ft and contains five main casinos under one roof with 320,000sq.ft of gaming space, 28 places to dine, shops, meeting rooms, nightclubs and spas. While Foxwoods houses six performance venues ranging in size from 100 to 4,500 seats, the premier venue, now home to a new Heritage 2000, is the Fox Theatre in the heart of the ‘Theatre District’. This 1,450-seat showroom opened on Nov. 17, 1993, with a concert series by Frank Sinatra. Since then, the Fox Theatre has hosted hundreds of other entertainers including Tony Bennett, Celine Dion and Joe Cocker.
Foxwoods’ audio supervisor, Dave Albro, explained his choice of a Heritage 2000 for the resort’s busiest venue. "I was looking to upgrade our 7-year old PM4000, and once I started shopping, it became clear after looking at several brands and models, that Midas was really the only choice. I ruled out digital consoles because I wanted a console that visiting engineers would be familiar with and happy to use. While there is nothing wrong with our existing board, whenever a road act brought in a Midas, we could all hear the improvement. After that it was just a question of which one. After researching the various options we decided on a 56-c
Production Resource Group (PRG) has announced that it has established new credit totaling $125 million with GMAC Business Credit, to support its strategic plans. This refinancing was coupled with the sale of PRG's Systems Group consisting of Signal Perfection Ltd and the Ancha and SPL-Integrated Solutions divisions, to a newly-formed entity controlled by shareholders of PRG and Systems Group management. "With such rapid expansion, there have been obstacles and growing pains. None the less, the hard work of the talented people that make up PRG and the new management we've implemented has significantly reduced our debt from $190 million to $110 million," says Jere Harris, chairman and CEO. "I attribute these achievements to the continual efforts of our employees. It's their diligence, dedication and teamwork that has directly resulted in improved performance."
PRG anticipates continued growth as the management changes and investments made in the past year take full effect.
The Mach SlingShot series was in use for the closing concert of the14th Macau International Music Festival. The Venue was Forum I, Macau - a 2000-capacity, indoor venue for multi-purpose activities including sport events and music concerts. Shalom AV Technology Limited (Hong Kong & Macau’s sole agency) and Master Piece Light & Audio Engineering Co (one of Macau’s largest rental companies) provided all lighting, sound equipment and rigging for the show. Master Piece is the first rental company in Macau to introduce the Mach SlingShot for daily use.
A total of eight Mach SlingShot MS1262 three-way top boxes were used as the main reinforcement system. Flown clusters of two MS1262s per side served the front seats and an MS1262 served the side seats, while four MS118 bass cabinets were placed in front of the stage. An EV Dx38 was used as the system crossover for the front SlingShot top boxes and subwoofers to form the four-way system, Mach MS-3s crossover/controllers looked after the side-fills. The show featured a combination of classical and pop music which included the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and a host of singers from Hong Kong, Macau, China and Europe including CoCo Lee, Eason Chan and Warron Mok. Chan Wai Man, chief sound engineer of Master Piece, Macau said: “The Mach loudspeaker provided good clarity, dynamic sound and the high sound pressure level needed for both classical and pop music. Also the dispersion angle was precise and easy to aim. Even a small amount of cabinets could provide enough sound level and clarity."
The new paging system installed by Avalon Communications into the ExCeL as part of the 90,000sq.m world-class, state-of-the-art event space in London’s Docklands, will run on a major BSS Soundweb network. Corporate communications events at ExCeL are hosted in large, reconfigurable halls, enhanced by a sophisticated IT and communication infrastructure. The venue was intent on having a flexible paging system utilising the recently-installed Avalon distributed Jupiter voice evacuation system. Thus Avalon sales engineer Stephen McCay, in conjunction with LMC Audio’s Tom Davis, designed and commissioned the system to meet the venue’s digital networking requirements, based around ten 9088 Soundweb Mk2s and six 9000 hubs. "Whereas the Avalon equipment provides a fully-monitored voice alarm solution via a dedicated digital highway," said McCay, "we cannot match the flexibility or features of the Soundweb system for the public address element of this project."Two simultaneous spaces, with multiple microphone points, form the exhibition areas on either side of the central boulevard, and each mic point can be programmed to broadcast to any of the other exhibition areas or halls, depending on the configurations. McCay and Davis looked at two possible PC-based networking systems but quickly decided on Soundweb. Avalon, in conjunction with LMC, submitted a proposal, together with a picture of what the end-user interface would look like; the building contractors rubber-stamped the proposal, and Soundweb went online at the end of January.
Tom Davis o
The latest phase in the development of Flagship Portsmouth, home to Nelson’s Victory, has been completed by Sarner International. Mike Mann reports.
The project, which involved several months of in-depth research, in collaboration with the Victory’s curators and crew, led to the installation of a shore-based ‘mood theatre’, which takes a personal view of the battle of Trafalgar in October 1805 - Nelson’s greatest, and final, triumph.
Using Alcorn McBride control and playback systems, Sarner’s David Dempsey, Ross Magri and John Griffin devised a four-scene experience, with an independently-controlled waiting area and several interactive elements. David Dempsey explained that in the case of the Victory Gallery, technology was used to make the story of Trafalgar more accessible, without trivialising this pivotal piece of naval history. "There was a huge amount that we had to leave out of the experience - but as both creative and technical people, we had to make sure that we didn’t ‘dumb down’ the story. We couldn’t lose sight of the fact that the Victory Gallery is a platform for educating people, rather than technology for its own sake."
Colin White, the museum’s deputy director and Peter Goodwyn, curator of the Victory herself, were keen to depict the human side of naval warfare, as well as presenting the strategic overview. To this end, individual mannequins were commissioned to man the replica cannons in the gallery’s ‘gun deck’; stock models were deemed inadequate, and memb
Directors of the newly-constituted Sound Department chose the Frankfurt Musikmesse this month to unveil their plans for the future.
Following the demise of the former Sound Dept, the new company will commence trading from an operating base in Banbury, Oxfordshire, at the beginning of April, under the executive management of Steve Smith (MD), Andy Simmons (sales and marketing director) and Peter Nicholls (FD).
The new company has consolidated its position with all the premier brands previously represented, and will act as exclusive UK distributor for Crest Audio, Community Professional Loudspeakers, Sound Advance, Level Control Systems (LCS) and Australian Monitor Industrial (formerly Audio Telex).
Other key members of The Sound Department team are technical support manager, Steve Badham, along with Bruce Francis, who will now run the service department from a self-contained unit in north London, in an endeavour to provide the utmost in customer service and support for the world class brands that the company represents. Steve Smith commented to L&SI: "The past few months have enabled us to fully analyse our business, and in some areas change our operating practice to become a more cohesive and efficient unit. On this basis we have approached all our suppliers with our new blueprint, and without exception it has been met with absolute approval."
Andy Simmons added: "With the full support of our suppliers we are looking forward to an exciting future, sharing in the many new product launches that are in prospect, and once again becoming a leader in audio
UK-based loudspeaker manufacturer Logic System Pro Audio has recently appointed a new dealer to cover the South East Asian market. Following discussions at PLASA 2000, the company has announced that Singapore-based Del Salado Entertainment Pte Ltd has invested in products from Logic’s IS, CM and CS ranges. The company will be developing Logic System’s business throughout Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. Louis Teo of Del Salado says he pinpointed Logic System as an important up-and-coming brand name, while Logic believe Del Salado will be the ideal partner for making inroads into this vast market.
Flying Pig Systems and High End Systems have announced details of the 2001 Automated Lighting Academy - a comprehensive programme designed to educate participants in the fundamentals of automated lighting. The goal of the six-week course is to give each student the necessary skills and knowledge to be experts at using automated lighting to create powerful lighting designs. Those successfully completing the class will be fully prepared to work with leading lighting designers.
The 2001 inaugural course will run from June 25 - August 3, and will be based in Los Angeles. Some theory will be covered, but the focus will be primarily ‘hands-on’. Students will first be taught how to operate automated luminaires and consoles, and gradually the focus will shift to using these tools effectively. This learning will be done through a variety of projects and assignments. In addition, leading designers and programmers from the theatre, television and touring worlds will visit and share their various approaches to lighting. The course is intended for those who are serious about lighting and are motivated to learn. Standards will be high, and assignments will be evaluated. High-performing students can be recommended for future programming jobs. Tuition is US$3,500 (£2,400) for the entire session and includes all lab fees. Students will need to provide their own housing and transportation. The Automated Lighting Academy will attempt to locate some cost-effective temporary housing options for participants. Further details are available from the e-mail address below. Application
Screenco installed 44sq.m of high-resolution LED image magnification at the Royal Albert Hall in February for a star-studded gala dinner to kick-start the 2001 Formula One Grand Prix season. Screenco featured their 15mm digital LED system at the event, configured for 4:3 aspect ratio material. The screen, the largest of its type ever installed at the venue, was flown upstage centre and integrated within the set design, to broadcast live camera relays of the VIP guests. The event, promoted by Chas Cole for CMP and produced by Andrew Zweck for Sensible Music, was held in aid of the Brain & Spine Foundation, whose patron is Professor Sid Watkins, Formula One’s chief medical officer. Entertainment was provided by Jools Holland and the Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, Chris Rea, Simon Le Bon and Gabrielle, among others, with the finale featuring Eddie Jordan & His All Star Band, including Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason.
Rigging specialist Summit Steel has supplied a custom solution to a hanging problem for the Royal Shakespeare Company, as it embarks on the weighty matter of presenting the entire Henry VI canon, plus Richard III, non-stop, at the University of Michigan. The central scenic device for the production revolves entirely around a ‘hanging’ scenic device as conceived by set designer Tom Piper. At the Swan, this was an adaptation of an existing catwalk, fitted with two trap doors, through which siege ladders could be lowered through for storming the castle walls. Jon Bray of Summit Steel was called in to look at the problem. He explains: "It’s quite a simple device but used in complex roles; actors lowered through on ropes for example, the siege ladders, and in one instance the catwalk itself is used for a fight scene on castle ramparts. It does get very busy up there."
What the RSC needed for the US was something that was venue independent, pre-assembled, and transportable in kit form. "The decking has been built by Scott Fleary in Battersea and is 15m long by 3m wide, mounted to a platform made from our own trussing," explained Bray. "To facilitate all the props, and the raising and lowering of people and equipment, we’ve constructed an upper level of truss structure that houses all the wire winches, pulleys and other mechanical aids supplied by Foys and ourselves."
DHA Lighting continues its international expansion with the appointment of Exton as its stockist in Iceland. As Iceland's leading lighting supplier, Exton H/F, under the leadership of Gunnar Gunnarsson, provides comprehensive support to DHA as a distributor of gobos, moving effects and the DHA Gecko gobo projector. Based in Reykjavik, Exton H/F is involved in theatre, film and television lighting and can be contacted on telephone +354 896 2110 or at the e-mail address below.
Color Kinetics has been awarded US Patent 6,166,496 for a method of augmenting a full variety of digital content - including video games, music, movies and even information - with the company's digital lighting technology. This third patent for the company covers systems and methods of combining and decoding lighting control information with an entertainment signal, so that video games, music, movies, and Internet content can directly drive full spectrum digital lighting to enhance that content. The result is a fully immersive experience where light - in an infinite variety of colours and intensities - interacts with sound, video or information to extend the entertainment experience beyond a television, movie screen, computer monitor or speaker system. Color Kinetics is branding this technology combination ‘Surround Light’. Potential applications cited by the company include the addition of a "light track" to a movie which enhances the mood of the movie and provides an immersive accompaniment to the action, from fiery explosions to sunsets.
White Sound’s Josh White’s latest project was a sound upgrade for a new bar/restaurant in the heart of Soho from the owners of the ubiquitous Alphabet bar, for which he turned to the Turbosound TCS range of loudspeakers. White Sound was responsible for the sound system design and install for the Alphabet bar in 1996, and Josh was the obvious choice for Amber’s general manager, Spike Marchant. Amber is a modern styled bar/restaurant set over two floors. The ground floor restaurant features booth seating and required low level and discreet sound reinforcement. For this area, Josh mounted four TCS-20 cabinets on a dropped ceiling raft that runs through the centre of the room. This method ensured the speakers would not be seen - the sound is reflected off the walls into the seating areas.
Downstairs in the basement bar area - which again sports the booth seating, but this time around the edges of the walls, four wall-mounted TCS-35s create the sound atmosphere - with one covering the bar itself and the remainder serving the seating and dance spaces. One TCS-118 1x18" subwoofer underpins the mid-high boxes. The system will mainly cater for CD-playback and DJs.
When Tony Hall of Essential Lighting took the brief for a recent annual sales convention at the Wembley Conference Centre, he was challenged with a large and complex ‘gyroscopic’ revolve that was to be a centrepiece of the show. Whilst a mains feed could be run through the various slip rings, Tony needed to incorporate a minimum of 36 ways of generic control and three ways of dimmed neon in the revolve to dramatically enhance the main reveal sequence and create a variety of looks for the show. Aware of the existence of radio DMX technology but unable to find it anywhere in the UK rental market, Tony called A.C. Lighting to help source the product. The recommendation was to utilise a state-of-the-art RadioDMX system manufactured in the USA. AC Lighting’s Glyn O’Donoghue stated: "Using a RadioDMX system provides a ‘cableless’ transmission that permits the control of lighting and other DMX controlled devices in locations that it would be impractical to run cables to in the traditional manner."
Eastbourne Council has embarked on a general lighting upgrade effective across the town’s three main theatres, The Congress, Devonshire Park, and The Winter Gardens. Knowing from the outset that Strand was the brand of choice to suit their requirements, the theatres’ technical team approached a number of suppliers before opting for London-based White Light - one of Strand Lighting’s trading partners in the UK. The complete order comprised a total of 80 Cantata fresnels and 16 Alto fresnels, all complete with barndoors and other associated accessories, as well as 18 SL15/32 zoom coolbeam spotlights. The fittings were supplied ready to go by White light which, combined with the company’s service policy, was an important factor in securing the sale.
Douglas Morgan, of the Eastbourne Theatres’ technical team, commented: "We had made an informed decision that Strand Lighting was the only route to take for Eastbourne’s Theatres. Most of the existing lighting is Strand and as well as the want for overall conformity, the quality of the Strand ranges is second to none - the fittings are robust and user-friendly. Additionally, the experience of the theatres, as receiving houses, is that most productions companies prefer designing their lighting arrangements through CAD packages, and therefore with Strand Lighting. Thus we find that our theatres greatly facilitate their production needs."
BAFTA, the British Academy of Film & Television Arts, specified a high level of video production for the Orange British Academy Awards, which was staged before an audience of 1700 people at the Odeon, Leicester Square recently. For the second year running, they turned to Creative Technology, who fielded the latest 3-chip DLP projection and a state-of-the-art modular LED display. Television viewers saw image magnification projected onto an 8 x 8 modular Lighthouse Technologies LVP-102D (10mm pixel pitch) screen to produce picture reinforcement on a 5.12m high and 3.84m wide canvass. Working through production company Initial, Creative Technology was also responsible for the flanking projections onto the walls, situated either side of the main screen. From its hire fleet, the company designated Christie Digital projectors - a pair of 3-chip DLP X6 Roadsters, offering digitally perfect projection and 5000 ANSI lumens output, plus the utility 7K Roadie, also with the 3-chip DLP engine, and the company’s first purpose-built rental staging projector. The units took their feed from BskyB’s roving cameras.