Business News

ReStyle for Le Maitre
Saturday, 19 May 2001

Le Maitre, the name behind a respected range of pyrotechnics, smoke generators and theatre effects for the entertainment industry, has recently restructured.

The Peterborough-based company, with offices in Mitcham and both Canada and the USA, has taken steps not only to remove some previously held misconceptions, but also to expoit its growing presence in a range of new markets.

The most immediate change is the removal of the word ‘fireworks’ from the company name; from now on it will face the industry simply as Le Maitre Ltd. In the UK, Rick Wilson will continue as sales director, working in the company’s more traditional markets, whilst director Karen Haddon will concentrate on the contracts side of the business, developing Le Maitre’s presence in the touring and production markets. Display manager Richard Huffam will service clients on the contracts side, whilst Steve Ramos becomes UK sales manager and Sam Samkin will look for new clients on the events and displays side.

The changes are designed to stimulate further business for the company - a move that has already been given some impetus by the success of the Prostage II pyrotechnic system. Its launch has gained it a higher profile in the burgeoning theme park and leisure markets, particularly in growth regions such as South America and the Far East. These trends have been complemented by steady growth in other sectors.

To facilitate further expansion, the company has recently acquired the unit adjoining its head office in Peterborough - in so doing doubling its current space at the site

Non-Stop Fog from AC Lighting
Friday, 18 May 2001

MDG’s Non-Stop haze, fog and low fog generators, which come with a 10-year warranty, are now available in the UK from AC Lighting Ltd. MDG machines employ CO2 gas for their propellant and have an in-built Automatic Purging System (APS) which purges the heating module after the first heating cycle and after every emission of fog, preventing residual build up and clogging. The complete range includes the Atmosphere and Touring Atmosphere Haze Makers, the MAX 3000 and MAX 5000 Fog Makers, the ICE Fog low fog generator and ICE Fog Touring low fog generator. The ICE FOG models can produce an overwhelming effect of pure white fog capable of filling an area up to 1000 cubic metres.

A unique hazing system is encompassed in the Atmosphere models that utilises a safe mineral oil that is heated to a precise temperature and infused with inert CO2 gas to exponentially reduce particle size (0.5 - 0.7 microns). This produces a non-stop haze with a greatly improved hang time, while dramatically reducing both fluid consumption and residue. Options for the products include remote control, two-channel DMX interface and flightcases. MDG Fog Generators, MDG Neutral Fog Fluid and MDG Low Fog Fluid are available from stock at AC Lighting with immediate effect.

Artistic Touch in Plymouth
Friday, 18 May 2001

Artistic Licence has developed a custom colour-changing LED module called ‘Street LED’ specifically for a new installation that has just opened in Plymouth, Devon. The Plymouth Pannier market project was designed and installed by Pyramid Productions using an all-Artistic Licence system. Individual control of the Street LED modules was provided by an LVD-12 in the base of each tower. Each LVD-12 was controlled by a Show-Control 60-channel DMX512 controller.

High Hit Rate for Autograph
Friday, 18 May 2001

Autograph Sound Recording have had a hectic first few months with 22 productions opening around the country since January. The year started with a sound design and equipment rental project called Northern Odyssey, an ambitious one-off concert at the new Odyssey Arena in Northern Ireland. Sound design was by Autograph's Nick Lidster, whose most recent design is for Bounce, which opened at the end of April at the Roundhouse in Chalk Farm, London.Feelgood, the political satire based on the current governments spin-doctoring, opened and sold out at the Hampstead theatre in January followed by a small countrywide tour, before it started a longer run in London's West End. Autograph's Simon Baker sound designed this hilarious new play before starting work on his new project Closer to Heaven, Really Useful Group's new musical collaboration with The Pet Shop Boys, which opens at the Arts Theatre in June. In-between these two projects Simon managed to fit in a few weeks at The Prince of Wales Theatre, wearing his associate sound designer’s hat, for The Witches of Eastwick’s move out of The Theatre Royal Drury Lane into the more intimate space where Autograph's Andrew Bruce adapted his innovative use of the L'Acoustic d-Vdosc loudspeaker system.

Drury Lane is now getting ready to receive the much acclaimed new production of My Fair Lady from The Royal National Theatre, where it has been playing to sell out audiences since March. Autograph is supplying the complete sound and communications system for both venues. Another old favourite, <

Playlight Auction - Tuesday 22 May
Friday, 18 May 2001

Following a reorganisation of its business, Playlight is hosting a massive auction next Tuesday, where literally hundreds of items will come under the hammer. On the lighting side these include a collection of lighting desks and dimmers, and just about every type of lantern and moving light under the sun. For special effects, there are smoke machines, mirror balls, projectors and ultra-violet systems, whilst on the audio side, a large stockholding of speakers, amplifiers, mixing desks and microphones will be auctioned. Rigging and trussing will also feature, as will a range of office furniture and general equipment.

The auction takes place on Tuesday 22 May in London at 860 Coronation Road, Park Royal, London and begins at 11am. All items in the auction can be viewed on Monday 21 May from 9.30am to 4.30pm and on the day of sale.

For a catalogue call +44 0117 930 4020.

Non-Stop Fog from AC Lighting
Friday, 18 May 2001

AC Lighting will use the PLASA Show to underscore its recent appointment as a distributor of Canadian manufacturer MDG’s range of non-stop haze, fog and low fog systems. Visitors to AC’s stand will be able to see the range of MDG machines which employ CO2 gas for their propellant and have an in-built Automatic Purging System (APS) which purges the heating module after the first heating cycle and after every emission of fog, preventing residual build up and clogging. The complete range includes the Atmosphere and Touring Atmosphere Haze Makers, the MAX 3000 and MAX 5000 Fog Makers, the ICE Fog low fog generator and ICE Fog Touring low fog generator.

A unique hazing system is encompassed in the Atmosphere models that utilizes a safe mineral oil that is heated to a precise temperature and infused with inert CO2 gas to exponentially reduce particle size (0.5 - 0.7 microns). This produces a non-stop haze with a greatly improved hang time, while dramatically reducing both fluid consumption and residue. Options for the products include remote control, two-channel DMX interface and flightcases. AC Lighting - Stand G18/G20

Geckos in Southwark Cathedral
Thursday, 17 May 2001

London's Southwark Cathedral has been described as Shakespeare's church, where clerics and commoners alike congregated amongst the infamous bear baiting pits, brothels and theatres in the surrounding area. However, having been immersed, and to a degree obscured, by a network of roads, railways and warehouses for the past 100 years, the glory of Southwark Cathedral has now been reinstated. On Saturday 28 April hundreds of people turned out to see former South African president Neslon Mandela re-open the cathedral, as the culmination of a restoration and building programme. Southwark Church, previously a monastery, became Southwark Cathedral in 1905 and now, nearly a century on, an interior exhibition linking the building's past with its present takes visitors on a remarkable journey through time. Myriad Productions Ltd was commissioned to research, curate, design and install the exhibition and, as part of the presentation of the history of both the cathedral and its parish, Myriad called upon DHA Lighting to instill a modern feel with the company's Gecko image projector.

"We wanted the dramatic look of theatre lighting but without using conventional theatre lanterns. The light had to be bright and easily integrated into the design - apparent but minimal. We wanted people to admire the effect rather than the product, but without the effect being too heavy", commented Clare Chance, exhibition designer and creative designer at Myriad. Projecting the words "Southwark Cathedral, the Long View of London" through a lighting template in the entrance hall, as w

RML Adds to Clay Paky Stock
Thursday, 17 May 2001

Richard Martin Lighting have recently purchased a further 20 Clay Paky Stage Zoom 1200s for their hire stock. This purchase means that RML now have a grand total of 100 units, which are regularly used in TV shows, theatres, exhibitions and several other applications. As Steve Wells, RML’s operations manager enthuses: "The Stage Zooms are very powerful and versatile projectors and increasing our stock was a natural choice, due to their high popularity and demand."

Summit Steel Raises Hopes
Thursday, 17 May 2001

Just days before previews commenced, Thelma Holt’s new production of Noel Coward’s Semi Monde had a weighty problem. The main scenic element, essentially a large hemisphere built of steel frame and plaster, remained resolutely on terra firma. Summit Steel effected a solution, but it was not just a question of the appropriate support. The set-builders had estimated a weight of 2000 lbs for the hemisphere, calculating that it would be flown by strapping eight counter weight fly bars together. However, when all eight cradles were fully loaded, the structure refused to defy gravity. "Fortunately, one of the production crew had worked at the Albery Theatre where we had solved a similar flying problem for that theatre’s production of Baby Doll," said Chris Walker of Summit Steel. "A frantic Monday morning phone call to tell us of their nightmare meant we were able to meet quickly with the Theatre owner’s consulting engineer and have a fully operational system up and running by Wednesday." Sighs of relief all round since the show’s first preview was that Thursday.

Once on site Summit quickly discovered the object in fact weighed 2.5 tons, more than twice the original estimate! They supported the set piece by static lines to a 10m by 4m box truss grid which in turn hangs by six electric chain hoists, rigged to spreader beams laid between the Theatre’s wooden beams. "The big problem is daily movement," explained Walker. "Due to the object being moved in and out for every show on a multiple point m

Catalyst Will Spur Video Development
Thursday, 17 May 2001

This year’s PLASA will see the future of automated lighting and the application of high-powered video projection, move a step forward with the launch of High End Systems’ new product, Catalyst. Developed for HES by English design company, Wynne Wilson Gottelier (WWG), the alpha version of Catalyst created a considerable stir at the Showtech Exhibition in Berlin where it was soft-launched earlier this month.

Mounted on the front of a Barco ELM R12, a 12,000 ANSI lumens output, triple-DMD video projector, Catalyst allows an image to be moved smoothly and positioned accurately, time after time, within a global envelope. As it is video-based, Catalyst allows truly unlimited colour mixing, with a selection of masks that act as framing shutters or overlays on video clips. The system is delivered with hundreds of gobo patterns, that can again be overlaid, including the entire DHA and High End libraries. All of these facilities are accessible from any DMX desk, and were demonstrated at Showtech from the Wholehog 2. The package, which consists of the dynamic hardware, a control rack, DMX system control software, and video processing software, is to be marketed by High End Systems to rental companies, who are already own suitable DLP projectors, as an add-on.

High End - Stand E64

GL4000 Put In 'The Shed'
Wednesday, 16 May 2001

An Allen and Heath GL4000 has recently been installed in top West Midlands live venue 'The Shed'. Richard Willis of Showcom Audio, the company that supplied the equipment, said the nature of the venue meant they needed a: "Sensible board for sensible money and lots of facilities." The GL4000 is certainly that. A 10 aux, 8 group dual function FoH/Monitor mixer, it is entirely at home in any situation and offers complete control to a single engineer. Its 8 mute groups with 128 MIDI mute snapshots further support the versatility of the console. The console is at the heart of a complete sound system refit that includes six decks of Nexo Alpha E loudspeakers, PS-15 monitors, Camco Vortex series amplification and Klark Teknik signal processing throughout. Since its installation last month, the GL4000 has been used regularly in the 500 capacity venue by a wide variety of visiting acts and sound engineers. Their verdict on the mixer? Richard Willis sums it up: "They're delighted with the system."

1000 DHA Digital Light Curtains
Wednesday, 16 May 2001

This month, DHA Lighting has sold its 1000th Digital Light Curtain. The company has supplied seven pitching six lamp Digital Light Curtains (DLC) and three standard six lamp units for the Australian production of Mamma Mia, already hugely successful in London, Toronto and the USA, taking DLC sales over the 1000 mark. Due to preview from 31 May at the Princess Theatre, Melbourne, with the premiere on 9 June, rumour has it that Mamma Mia is scheduled to run until 3 November, though there have been unconfirmed reports that the show may move to Sydney.

What is now DHA's DLC began its life as a prototype Light Curtain produced for the English National Opera's 1976 production of Dalibor and in 1978 24 Light Curtains were used in Evita to create the innovative production concept of a 'white out' effect. The first motorised Digital Light Curtains were installed on Miss Saigon in New York and the range is now available in six or eight lamp versions with integral tilt drive and colour scroller. DLCs offer reliable versatility, particularly when used with the optional pitching yoke which provides a second axis of movement.

Other current stage shows which feature DLCs include The Witches of Eastwick, My Fair Lady and The Secret Garden in the UK, Cats in Germany and Footloose in the USA. DLCs are still going strong at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas for the EFX show, and have been used to light Sting, Jamiroqui and Culture Club concerts. Additionally, the five-deck theatre aboard Royal Caribbean Cruises Line's Voyager of the Seas, the world's largest cruise ship, recently installed

Zero 88 Goes Dutch
Wednesday, 16 May 2001

Zero 88 has appointed Rolight Theatertechniek BV as a European dealer. The company, based in The Netherlands, currently distributes throughout the country via six dealers, Lichtpunt Theatertechniek in Groningen, Pulcinella in Arnhem, Aukes Theatertechniek in Amsterdam, Aveq in Den Haag, Rouvoet and Stagelight who are both based in Den Bosch. Mark Beens of Rolight commented: "The market place is very interested in Zero 88 products thanks to their ease of use and competitive price." To increase Zero 88's presence in the Dutch marketplace, Rolight have organised a dealer meeting at the beginning of June. Tim Burt, Zero 88's product manager will be visiting the event to lend a helping hand with product demonstrations.

Allen & Heath at Club Yellow
Tuesday, 15 May 2001

Two Allen & Heath mixers, the ML5000 and Xone:464, have recently found a home in top Japanese venue Club Yellow. The club hosts a variety of nights, from hard house to soul. Mr Kikuchi, sound manger at Yellow, explained what they were looking for: "We needed a top quality mixer for live mixing and overall control of sound at the club. The ML5000 provided this, at a great price." The 32-channel version of the ML5000 dual function FOH/monitor mixer met his requirements, due to the flexibility provided by its 16 auxes, eight audio groups and eight VCA groups. In addition to the ML5000, Yellow also needed a dedicated DJ mixer for its prominent house, techno and garage nights. The Allen & Heath Xone:464 was chosen and has so far found great favour. Naoko Sugano of Onkyo Tokki, the company that supplied the mixers, believes that the choice of new DJ console at the venue was determined by quality and price for a product that needed to be instantly accessible to any visiting DJ.

Direct Lighting & Lighting Technology
Tuesday, 15 May 2001

New Malden, Surrey is the new home for Direct Lighting, the latest addition to the Lighting Technology Group of companies. Established over 10 years and under the leadership of directors Ian Moodie and Steve Copping, Direct Lighting is well-known in the industry for the distribution of light sources and related products to independent retailers and commercial end users. The company is already networked to take full advantage of the Group's new National Distribution Centre in Corby where a new computerised internal order processing system has been installed to mastermind and speed up deliveries to its customers. The new address for Direct Lighting is: 4 Shannon Commercial Centre, Beverley Way, New Malden, Surrey, KT3 4PT, UK.

Martin Goes Big at Eurovision
Tuesday, 15 May 2001

The 46th Eurovision Song Contest at Denmark’s national stadium, Parken, featured one of the largest automated lighting rigs ever assembled for a single show. Danish lighting rental company SeeLite A/S, who recently took over Martin Danmark’s rental division, supplied all the lighting for Eurovision 2001 (subhired through rental company ProCon of Germany). The package included nearly 900 automated, computer-controlled fixtures including over 700 of Martin’s most successful and popular lights, MAC luminaries. The massive rig also included over 1000 conventional luminaries - all in all a 4.2 million watt lighting system. The Eurovision Song Contest has featured Martin lighting for the past several years, including in Israel in 1999 and Sweden in 2000. By comparison, last year’s Eurovision show in Stockholm incorporated just 300 computer-controlled fixtures. Set-up began a full two weeks before the event.

The lighting design was by SeeLite’s Lars Nissen. With a mandate to produce a show that was bigger than last year’s, and with a large 38,000 seat stadium to fill with atmospheric effects, Lars incorporated a massive amount of Martin automated lighting into the designs. The Eurovision stage itself was enormous; a large and open platform surrounded by several video and projection screens with back light and projection provided by MAC 2000s. Lars placed 78 Martin Atomic 3000 strobes on the projection and video screen truss to the back of the stage for powerful white flash effects. Truss arms hang straight down from the ceiling with pods of M

TOA Calls the Tuna
Monday, 14 May 2001

Hull-based public address specialists, Galloway Electronics, proved the power of an effective website this month when they completed a contract for Indian Ocean Tuna - a subsidiary of Heinz - in the Seychelles. "I turned on the computer one morning and there was the enquiry posted on our website," confesses finance director Brian Galloway. "We had just started to export, and a job right in the middle of the Indian Ocean couldn’t have provided us with a better start." The family-owned business has been operating for 20 years, and for much of that time the company has been dealing with TOA Electronics, and fitting their public address, voice evacuation and CCTV systems as approved installers. Thus when the canning factory stated that they needed a factory-wide public address system, Galloway didn't have to look further than the TOA catalogue.

Indian Ocean Tuna faxed through drawings and Galloway Electronics put together a design based around a TOA drive rack, for final installation by local contractors. The six-zone system - some featuring music, some voice only - will provide total coverage into all the food preparation, store room, staff room and administration blocks, the TOA direct horn speakers powered from a single TOA V Series amp rack situated in the administration block. The paging includes a 10-zone individual mic system, with an all-call and music restoration facility throughout.

Salisbury City Hall Given Strand UpgradeSalisbury City Hall Given Strand Upgrade
Monday, 14 May 2001

An ongoing technical refurbishment at the Salisbury District Council-owned City Hall, which recently saw motorised hoists and rigging improvements bringing it up to Health & Safety standard, has now seen the venue upgrade to new Strand LD90 digital dimmer racks. While the previous analogue dimmer system sat exposed in the gallery, the conversion of a storage room has provided a dedicated area for the six new racks, which offer 144 channels of 2.5kW dimming (with RCD earth leakage breaker options on the power blocks). At the same time ten Strand SL 15/30 Zooms and eight Strand Cantata F soft-edge fresnel lanterns have been added to the lighting rig.

Work at the 953 (seated)-capacity concert venue was carried out by Edinburgh-based Northern Light, who successfully tendered for the specification prepared by technical consultants, Theatretech, and supplied all the Strand equipment. The Scottish company also wired the new DMX network which, according to the theatre¹s senior technician, Phil Manning, was long overdue. The next phase will see an upgrade to the in-house sound system when funds become available.

The Influence of Lighting
Sunday, 13 May 2001

Late March in London saw several industry organisations come together to contribute to an evening of presentations, the theme of which was Entertainment Lighting and its Influences. Members of the Society of Light & Lighting (SLL), the Institute of Lighting Engineers (ILE) and the Association of Lighting Designers (ALD) were present to hear several speakers outline their own particular experiences.

Peter Phillipson of Future Group Lighting Design talked about the differences between the disciplines of theatre and television lighting, compared to architectural lighting. To illustrate his point, he demonstrated the differences between a number of lighting fixtures. He also went on to discuss the critical role of the lighting programmer and introduced Stuart Porter, who had worked alongside LD Andrew Bridge on the production of Aida at the Royal Albert Hall. Dave Isherwood of The Moving Light Co, followed with a demonstration of moving lights outlining the benefits they can bring to a production.

PLASA’s Matthew Griffiths talked about the role of the Association and outlined a number of projects where entertainment lighting had been integrated into permanent installations, particularly benefiting educational establishments. Television lighting directors Duncan Brown and Warwick Fielding talked about the role of lighting in television, highlighting their presentations with reference to some of the many productions they have lit.

Celestion’s Permanent Mooring in Denmark
Friday, 11 May 2001

A Celestion CX system has been specified for one of Copenhagen’s most popular venues for private functions, the ‘Sealand’, an old ferry permanently moored in the heart of the city. This large vessel, capable of seating 700-800 people for dinner, is in demand for all kinds of private rentals, parties, concerts and fashion shows. Its proprietor Skanlines is jointly owned by the Danish and German governments. Musiktronic, the Copenhagen-based audio supplier, has recently kitted out the huge interior space of the ship with a new front-of-house PAsystem, featuring proprietary Musiktronic cabinets (all using Celestion drivers), and four delay channels, each using a pair of Celestion CX1220s. The system is controlled by a Yamaha 01V mixing console. The Sealand system has an unusual feature; the levels of both the front-of-house and the delay positions can be controlled from anywhere in the room, using wireless remote control.

Fineline Goes Heavy MetalFineline Goes Heavy Metal
Friday, 11 May 2001

Touring, festival and corporate event lighting rental house Fineline have become the first UK stockists of Tomcat’s new Extra Heavy Duty trussing. Fineline’s initial purchase of nearly 300ft of the super-strength truss was prompted by the demands of a recent event at Westpoint Arena in Exeter for Warwick Corporate Events, for which Fineline constructed a complete 80m x 30m x 11m high pitched-roof tented structure within the Westpoint venue - using the new trussing to form the topmost span of the apex. The 80m run of Extra Heavy Duty served as the main truss run. Below that, further out from the centre each side were two runs of lighter GP trussing (also Tomcat), and below these - still further out from the centre - were two runs of Trilite lightweight trussing, at a height of approximately 4m. All three layers of trussing were bridled together with additional runs of Trilite for rigidity and stability. The complete superstructure was suspended by 24 Lodestar motors, and Warwick Corporate Events dressed the entire ‘box’ with drapes and starcloths and Fineline installed an impressive moving light rig of Martin MAC 500s and 600s over the dining area, plus Golden Scans over the dancefloor. Lighting design was by @lighting.

Fineline is now adding a Tomcat ground support system with a 4 tonne per leg loading capacity to go with the trussing and into their rental stock. The ground support will be in action in Geneva for a huge corporate event in the summer that requires 80 ft spans with a centre load in excess of 1 tonne. Fineline’s Darren Wring ex

Navigator Hamper
Friday, 11 May 2001

Navigator Systems recently presented Pascale Lecomte of Britannia Row with a Harrods food hamper for taking part in a research and development project linked to the company’s Hire Track Eclipse rental management software. Britannia Row, which has been using Eclipse since 1999, was chosen at random from a number of companies who participated. Navigator will use the results from the findings to further develop the software.

Fourth Phase at White Cliffs of Dover
Friday, 11 May 2001

Fourth Phase Production Arts supplied a BP6 Gold Pani projector to artist Joanna Jones to realise her dramatic projected work on Dover’s famous white cliffs over the Easter weekend. The project was part of the Arts Council’s Year of The Artist initiative. Joanna’s idea was to combine the structures and textures of a cliff face with the structures and textures of a painted layer created by herself into a huge outdoor abstract painting. The painted layer was photographed as a 6 cm X 6 cm transparency by Ute Schendel which was then produced as a large format Cibachrome Pani slide by Wyatt Enever of DHA. Production Arts Emma Hutchison and Dominic Airs visited the site and ran a camera obscura to establish the lens needed, the exact size the artwork should be and the optimum positioning of the projector. They used a 22cm lens and a throw distance of 50 metres to produce a 35 metre square image. The projector was housed in a specially constructed enclosure for protection against adverse weather conditions and inquisitive members of the public. The projector was switched on before dusk at 7.30pm and off again at midnight when the site closed. At 5am, the site opened again and the projector was fired up so the painting could be seen going through its continuum of changes until it had dissolved completely, leaving only the naked cliff face in full daylight. This process could be seen from dusk on Good Friday until dawn on Easter Monday. The innovative idea proved an enormous success. People came from all over the South of England to see the projections and to enjoy

Federal Signal’s PA/VA Roadshow
Friday, 11 May 2001

Federal Signal, the leading supplier of public address and voice alarm (PA/VA) systems, is hosting a new summer roadshow to highlight the significance of British Standards for PA/VA systems. The initiative is aimed at consultants and specifiers from across the PA/VA and fire protection industry who need to know more about the issue of operating standards and why it is important to use systems with BS5839 compliance.

The guest speaker will be Doug Edworthy, formerly of Millbank Electronics and a leading expert in systems engineering, marketing and quality management. He has been running his own consultancy since 1994. Jason Hatswell, commerial sales manager at Federal Signal, said: "The road show will explain why British Standards are so important to those responsible for product specification, design and installation. We will also show Federal Signal’s equipment and explain how it complies with the standards."

The dates for the road show are as follows: 14 June, Federal Signal House, Macclesfield; 21 June, Birmingham Metropole Hotel; 26 June, London Swallow Hotel; 5 July, Newcastle Malmaison Hotel. For more information, telephone +44 (0)1625 666600.


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