The Konigswinter Conference held its 50th annual meeting of German and British leaders in politics, business, banking, finance, and media at the Randolph Hotel and Keble College in Oxford on the 23rd-25th March this year. Ascott Conference Communications provided the complex and comprehensive sound facilities required for the event, in conjunction with conference organiser, Maxine Vlieland of Specialist Conferences . This is the seventeenth successive year that the two experienced British companies have worked together on the project. Ascott provided the full staging, lighting, sound and simultaneous interpretation services for presenters and the media from both countries.
Martin Professional will provide over 300 automated luminaires for the Eurovision Song Contest 2000 to be aired on May 13th from Stockholm, Sweden. Martin distributor, Oscar lighting, will provide over 200 moving heads, including MAC 600s, 500s, 300s and 250s, as well as other Martin luminaires. Belgian company Groupe Son Privé (through Martin distributor EVDV) will also be providing 60 MAC 600s for the Eurovision Song Contest. This is the second year running that Martin lights will be used for the popular talent show. Eurovision 1999 from Israel also boasted a huge Martin lighting rig. This year's event will take place at Stockholm's Globe Arena and will be aired by Swedish station SVT. An estimated audience of over 100 million viewers will tune in to the show. Lighting Designer for this year's event is Kristoffer Röhr and the massive lighting rig will be the largest intelligent light show ever produced in Sweden.
The return of the SIB exhibition in Rimini (26-29 March), following its switch to a biennial basis in 1998, was a well-attended and successful event, with the majority of exhibitors reporting excellent international coverage among their visitors. Particularly strongly represented among the visitor profile were Eastern European and South American visitors, as well as those from the Middle and Far East - highlighting the show's continued status as a major international attraction. A group of 12 companies took part in the PLASA UK Group, exhibiting under the British Trade International SESA funding programme. Many members of the group received a personal visit on the Monday morning from the British Consul General, Charles de Chassiron, who had travelled from the British Consulate in Milan to visit the UK companies at the show.A full round-up of the news and highlights from the show will appear in the May issue of Lighting & Sound International magazine.
Pioneer Europe has launched a website resource aimed at DJs of all levels of experience - at www.djsounds.com. The site's 'Interactive' section allows visitors to sample the Pioneer range of mixers for themselves, selecting tunes from a variety of genres including Techno, Drum 'n' Bass and House. The 'Music' section offers 20 tracks of the latest releases from progressive record labels. Other features of the site include video interviews with the world's biggest DJs and details of the hottest upcoming events around Europe, as well as a text and chat forum covering a wide range of topics pertaining to dance music and DJ technology.
Playlight has now expanded its lighting hire operation for customers based in the south west and London areas. Barry Hampson, Playlight's commercial director told PLASA Publishing: "Due to our recent large scale commitments to major film productions, we realised that our service to the television and drama production markets was under-resourced. To address this we have introduced additional lighting stock at our London base." The company now has an increased range of studio heads and moving lights, generators, ARRI HMI and MSR heads, Kino Flo heads and Joker light and socket Pars, plus a host of power distribution and cable.
TOA voice alarm equipment features prominently in a rolling development programme at London's Natural History Museum which is currently being carried out by Static Systems Group plc. Presently the installation utilises three TOA equipment racks, plugged with V series amplification and processing. Each fire alarm fully communicates with the voice alarm, which sends out a common PA message. Destinations can be selected and the system will link the fireman's mic and broadcast to any PA zone via a touch-screen and Static Systems' proprietary TDM (Time Division Multiplex). The AMX front-end touch screens were supplied by TOA, to provide a visual switching and a map of the museum for paging and message broadcast purpose (messages are pre-recorded and stored using TOA's EV digital message machines). While much of the system is connected to standard loudspeakers, TOA F-777s are found in the main entrance hall, F-505s on the stairs and F-10Bs in the alcoves and balcony, each controlled via TOA's DP-0204 digital signal processors. Eventually, TOA expects eight racks to be commissioned, connecting areas such as the Earth Galleries, Whale Hall and Darwin Centre through the control rack in the Central Hall of the Waterhouse Building.
Oklahoma-based RSI has supplied a Turbosound system for the newly-built South Hill Christian Center in Washington. Representatives of the new church were insistent that the sound reinforcement system should be of high calibre and work with the acoustics of the new building. Dennis Cummins, co-pastor at South Hill, was reportedly shocked that a system of such intelligibility and warmth would be affordable to the coffers of his church. The installation consists of six Turbosound TCS-56 full-range two-way enclosures, three TCS-30 cabinets, two Turbosound TCS-115 and two TCS-118 subwoofers and four TCS-20s. The TCS-56s, designed primarily for speech and music, formed the main thrust of the system, configured three wide and two deep at the front of the church. Positioned below, one of the TCS-30 cabinets, distributing wide horizontal coverage, provides the front fill, a further two provide front side fills. The loudspeakers providing the low end for the system were integrated beneath the preaching platform in sealed boxes, whilst the TCS-20s underneath the balconies dealt with the delay.
Gearhouse plc have set up one of the most powerful lighting production companies in the events industry with the merging of two of their subsidiaries, Lighting Unlimited (UK) and Kent-based Gearhouse XTC. The operation, headed by Nick Whitehead, will be known as Lighting Unlimited UK and will be based at the company's existing facility in north-west London. Lighting Unlimited already enjoys a major share of the corporate conference and product launch market, while XTC predominantly specialises in the exhibition markets. In anticipation of the increased workload, and as we reported earlier, Lighting Unlimited has already responded by recruiting three senior personnel from the Spot Co, including former sales and operation director Mick 'Jaggie' Scullion who becomes sales director. He is joined by project managers Tony Fagan and Theo Cox.
White Light has been appointed by producer Cameron Mackintosh to supply the conventional lighting rig to his new musical The Witches of Eastwick, which will open at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in July. The Moving Light Company will supply much of the automated lighting rig to the production. Howard Harrison is in the lighting designer's chair and working alongside him will be assistant lighting designer Oliver Fenwick, production electrician Alistair Grant and lighting programmer Rob Halliday. Harrison's conventional rig will include over 200 units including ETC Source Four profile spotlights, Strand SL Zooms, Par 64s and various battens, as well over 100 Rainbow scrollers and Cadenza EP effects projectors with custom disks in White Light's VSFX motor units. Control will be from a Strand 500-series console. The Moving Light Company will be supplying the production with 12 Strand Alto Pirouettes, 15 DHA Digital Light Curtains, four DHA Digital Beamlight 2s, six City Theatrical AutoYokes and nine compact moving mirror units which will be hidden around the auditorium to light the show's innovative flying effects.
Lighthouse Technologies, the Hong Kong-based giant screen specialists, has acquired Pixelite from Avesco plc. This will create the world's most broadly-based giant screen sales and installation operation with core offices in Hong Kong, Europe and North America, and associated offices in Australia, Africa and Asia. For both Lighthouse Technologies and Pixelite, the move is a natural fit and opens a host of possibilities for the enlarged organisation. Lighthouse is already a major player in the giant video screen market whilst Pixelite, headed by Graham Burgess, Dave Gunn and Simon Taylor has a strong track record in the giant screen business in the UK and Europe. The entire Pixelite team will be joined at their Isleworth offices in west London by the current European Lighthouse staff.
Screenco and parent company Avesco PLC have today announced the acquisition of Unitek Displays' rental operation. Unitek introduced the Megascreen to the entertainment market in 1997 and since that time has made significant improvements to the product and established a growing rental business from its Gerards Cross base. With immediate effect all the rental equipment will transfer to Screenco and the business will be integrated into Screenco's existing European rental operations located in the UK and Holland. The deal includes the purchase of 120sq.m of existing modular LED equipment and a commitment to purchase a further 164sq.m of Unitek's latest LED system for delivery during the summer months. More on this story in the April issue of L&SI.
The new Vari-Lite Virtuoso control console, previewed throughout 1999 and already working on major shows in the USA, is making its European touring debut this spring with six weeks of shows by Dutch chart-topping artist Marco Borsato. VLPS Amsterdam is supplying a substantial Vari*Lite rig for the shows. Central to the rig is the Virtuoso console, officially launched at PLASA and LDI last autumn, which is in command of both the Vari*Lite and conventional lighting systems plus 12 VL7, 12 VL6B) spot luminaires, 26 VL5 wash luminaires. Conventionals (supplied by Focus Showequipment) include nine 4-Lite Molefays with Wybron Scrollers, 12 ETC Source Four Profiles and three smoke machines under DMX control. The current tour is playing 1,500-2,000 seater theatres but in October a string of large arena dates including the Ahoy in Holland and the Sportpaleis in Antwerp has already sold out.
Following exploratory visits by Iain Mackintosh, Theatre Projects Consultants has been appointed by the Government of Gibraltar to advise on the reopening of the Theatre Royal Gibraltar, which has been dark since 1969. A business plan will be prepared before work starts on the re-modeling of an important theatre parts of which date back to 1847 on a site where a theatre has stood since 1826 serving both the Spanish and English speaking communities.
Leading members of the Association of Professional Recording Services (APRS) and the Professional Lighting & Sound Association (PLASA) have been working towards closer links between the two Associations. PLASA MD Matthew Griffiths and APRS chief executive Mark Broad have identified a raft of common interests which could result in the conversion of APRS membership into PLASA. "The two associations have enjoyed a communicative relationship over the last few years," states Griffiths, "and during that time APRS approached PLASA with a view to working closer on areas such as trade mission support and publishing. This proved to be successful, and a conversation was then started as to how this relationship could be expanded to the benefit of all concerned. PLASA will invite the entire membership of the APRS to join PLASA to maintain an effective voice for the recording technology industry." Meanwhile Broad has announced the postponement of the next APRS show until June 2001, in order to maximise the benefits of integrating APRS within the PLASA umbrella. With the support of the recording technology industry, PLASA will now look at running the Recording Technology exhibition in 2001, building on the successes of '99. Full story April L&SI.
Audio Motion, a computer generated graphics (CGI) and motion capture specialist, recently used Sennheiser UHF radio microphone systems to record vocals for a new television commercial featuring cult heroine Lara Croft. Produced for Sega in several different languages, the advert was handled by studio manager Des Tong, who was also responsible for the original music composition and sound effect creation. Tong explains: "We added a CG Lara to live footage using both full-body and facial motion capture. I recorded the voice-overs with the Sennheiser MKE-2 attached to a pair of HD25 headphones to enable the special Vicon cameras to see the 63 small reflective markers attached to the actresses face. Using the SK3063 UHF transmitter and an EM3031 receiver, the audio can be recorded in sync with the facial movements giving a realistic performance."
The 12th International Live Music Conference (ILMC) attracted a record total of over 600 delegates on March 9-12. The event was staged at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, West London, with sponsors Carlsberg. More than 40 countries and occupations spanning the entire spectrum of the business side of the live music industry were represented by the invitation-only attendance. Delegates took in four days of scheduled events, conferences and breakout sessions covering issues including event safety, emerging European markets, e-commerce and the rapid growth of downloadable music through MP3 and similar Internet formats. Saturday night's highlight was the annual Arthurs Awards, ILMC's light-hearted take on industry awards. Full report April L&SI.
Lite Structures' success in set building continues with its construction of the Michael Flatley Feet of Flames scenic elements. In collaboration with Brilliant Stages, who built the main stage and lifts, the set incorporates multi-level LiteDeck platforms and stairways together with a pair of 8m tall sliding doors as the central feature. These doors have an opening width of 13m which allow the whole cast to pass through together, yet take only 30 minutes to assemble during the hectic get in period.
The Barco Group is closing the 1999 financial year with a group turnover of 28.6 billion BEF, compared with 26.436 billion BEF for 1998. This represents an 8% increase. Within this, Barco Projection Systems saw its turnover increase by almost 5%. This was probably limited by only partial recuperation of the loss in market share, especially in the USA, after the fire in the projectors factory in Kuurne in February 1998. During the course of 1999 however, Barco started to catch up with the introduction of the ELM projector based on the DLP technology of Texas Instruments. The year was also marked by some important structural changes within Barco Projection Systems with the business structured into five divisions.
The Entertainment Laser Association (ELA) has introduced two new membership categories - nightclubs and laser jockeys. These are both aimed at encouraging participation in the organisation from the expanding club market - currently enjoying a renaissance in active laser use. The existing members of ELA - which includes all the UK's major entertainment laser rental and sales companies - reap many benefits. These include use of the organisation's comprehensive risk assessment document, legal updates, newsletters and literature, promotion via the ELA web site and lists of ELA approved companies and crew. The organisation is also engaged in an on-going programme of research and development into the safe and professional use of lasers in the entertainment industry.
TMB Associates is about to move its London operations to a 12,000sq.ft facility in Brentford's dockland. Paul Hartley, general manager of TMB UK told PLASA Publishing: "Over the past couple of years our sales have really grown in the British, European and World markets. The new building has lots of room for extra stock and more people, to help us better serve both our existing and new customers." As most of the industry knows, TMB Associates is a distributor of entertainment lighting equipment, supplies and services, not to mention socks, and has been serving the professional lighting industry for 17 years. The new UK office will be open for business on April 3 at 2 Commerce Road, Brentford, Middlesex TW8 8LR. Tel: +44 (0) 20 8560 9652 Fax: +44 (0) 20 8560 1064
Theatre Projects Consultants has been commissioned by the Singapore Tourism board and the National Art Council in Singapore to advise on the planning, design and construction of a new theatre in Singapore's Chinatown. Currently referred to as the Village Theatre, the new venue will occupy a one-block site on South Bridge Street in the heart of Chinatown. David Staples of TPC is leading the team preparing the brief for the Theatre and determining the size, form and type of theatre to be constructed on the site. DP Architects of Singapore have been appointed as the architects for the projects. They are also working with TPC on the Esplanade - Singapore's major new arts centre.
Sibelius Hall, the new concert hall in Lahti, Finland, opened its doors in March. Designed as the permanent home for the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, the Hall consists of three elements - the concert/congress hall, the Forest Hall and a renovated former carpentry factory. Artec Consultants of New York provided the theatre planning, acoustics consulting services and sound and communication system design for the venue. The concert/congress hall design includes a moving acoustic canopy, acoustic control curtains and acoustic banners. We will carry more on this in a future issue of L&SI.
R&W Sound Engineering has recently installed a complete audio system into the new London lounge bar, Mono. As customers would be unlikely to benefit from the advantages of a stereo image R&W specified a mono sound system, designed to be operated by staff with basic technical experience, is used for background music, DJ sets and live music sessions.Involved in the project from the outset, R&W's recommendation of a mono audio system, led to the name and theme of the members-only bar. The audio system's main source is a Marantz CC38/Pro 5-disc CD player, which feeds the system via a Cloud SX133 two-zone mixer and ARX EQ30 graphic equaliser. A separate Mackie 1402-VLz Pro mixer, connected via a recessed wall socket to the main system is used for live events. An ARX Microdrive three-channel amplifier drives four ARX Micromax loudspeakers and a hidden ARX sub-woofer.
PLASA Publishing has learnt that Canford Audio founder Iain Elliott is to acquire the business of the long-established UK pro audio distribution, installation and manufacturing company Audio Systems Components (ASC). Elliott left Canford at the end of last year and said at the time that he was looking for a fresh challenge. The industry, though, has not yet seen the back of Len Lewis, ASC's founder, who will continue to work alongside Elliott for a while, bringing to a conclusion current contracts before gently easing into the back seat.