Woking-based B&H Production Services recently designed and installed an Infra-Red system for the Skyscape venue adjacent to the Millennium Dome in Greenwich, which features two 2,500-seat auditoriums. Due to the design of the venues, the location points for the IR radiators were limited, and the units were mounted on top of the main flown loudspeaker stacks. Sky, which sponsors Skyscape, will be using one of the auditoriums as its sound stage for filming the world's top 100 bands during 2000. A total of 60 IR receivers are available for the public to use, with the choice of headphones or neck loops. B&H has had long experience of induction loop systems for clients such as Virgin and UCI, and has recently moved into IR systems, using the US-based Williams system.
The new Jazz Hotel and Casino opened recently in New Orleans, with Lumenyte fibre optics playing a large part in the design. The lighting design for the building is by The Elwyn Gee Group of Novato, California, who specified the 42ft runs of BRB-LEF and LEF510M fibre optics as a safety feature inside the handrails on the steps and escalators. This method of lighting was chosen because downlights would have been too intrusive on the themed environment. In another application, Lumenyte was used to detail three of the four entrances of the Terrazzo stone steps.
Netherlands-based companies Focus Showequipment BV and Jansen & Jansen have combined forces, and will now operate under the sole name of Focus Showequipment BV. The move has been made in order to combine the areas of expertise in lighting, sound and studio facilities developed by the two companies over the past 25 years. In addition, the company will alter the way it deals with projects to provide a segmented approach, fully utilising its various fields of expertise.
Penn Fabrication Inc was responsible for the 20ft diameter Christmas wreath which was installed on The White House in Washington DC. Designer Robert Isabel used Penn's 10 inch box truss system to construct a strong, rigid structure that would withstand the elements but also be relatively lightweight and easy to work with. Sapsis Rigging of Philadelphia, PA were responsible for the installation using cranes to lift the massive wreath onto the second storey portico of The White House.
Marquee Audio has informed PLASA Publishing of a new deal with Digidesign distributor Mediaspec UK, which will see the company offering a sales and support operation for Digidesign's fifth generation ProTools product in London and the South of England. Mediaspec's Pete Eaglesfield said of the deal: "From this vantage point, both companies benefit from an extended product portfolio and client base but most importantly, by working together, we are able to offer a highly skilled structure of support." Marquee's new training suite forms the focus of Mediaspec's southern operation. The facility features the new ProTools system, state-of-the-art digital consoles from Mackie, Soundcraft and Yamaha, a JBL 5.1 surround system and a host of other high end pro audio equipment. 'Marquee's Spencer Brooks (left) and Mediaspec's Peter Eaglesfield at Marquee's demo facility')
Neutrik USA, Inc and parent company, Neutrik AG, have filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Switchcraft, Inc over the Neutrik Speakon product line. The federal suit, filed in the United States District Court, Southern District of New York, seeks a remedy for Switchcraft's infringement of Neutrik US Patent No. 5205749 directed specifically to an electric plug-in socket that covers the company's Speakon connector line. The litigation seeks to enjoin Switchcraft from selling its HPC (High Power Connector) line, leading to a permanent injunction and possible financial compensation. Neutrik also claims that Switchcraft has made trademark infringements on the promotion of its HPC line.
An Avolites Pearl was put through its paces by enthusiastic students at Ebbw Vale campus of Gwent Tertiary College in Wales for their end of term concert. All lighting design was devised and operated by students using four Martin MAC 600s loaned by local lighting rental company Fineline, organised by Ian Brown of Martin Professional; four Martin RoboScan P518s on loan from Avolites, plus PAR 64s, fresnels and cyc lights. The house dimmers are Zero 88 Betapacks and the sound system was provided courtesy of Wales-based 24:7 Productions. The show proved an ideal opportunity for the students to get hands-on experience of the skills they had been learning throughout the term.
Following David Pacy's recent return to Clever Group, and the company's change of name back to Metro Group, further changes have been announced by the company. Pacy commented: "Metro Tyrell's business is extremely specialised. Therefore, I believe that Metro Tyrell will operate more successfully working alongside the Metro brands as a sister company and part of WPP Group plc, as opposed to being part of the Metro Group. All parties are in agreement and with the full support of WPP, we look forward to an extremely successful 2000." The company name will be changed by the end of January.
In a move that is certain to be of interest to the live sound marketplace, Sennheiser has informed PLASA Publishing that it is to distribute Innova-Son digital mixing consoles and related products in the US. Innova-Son was the first to the European market with a wide range of digital mixing consoles and is poised to do the same in the US. Sennheiser is therefore in the enviable position of becoming the first in the US to have a digital mixing console ready for delivery. The new Innova-Son Sensory console was used during the summer on the 12-week Audio Denver Gipsy Kings tour and has been widely used elsewhere by the BBC, Radio France, in several national performing arts centres and by Jean Michel Jarre for the Y2K concert at the Egyptian Pyramids. In addition to its own range, Sennheiser currently distributes Neumann microphones, D.A.S. Audio Loudspeakers and Chevin Research Amplifiers. Sennheiser's Jeff Alexander will manage the Innova-Son brand.
Black Box AV has recently installed a new digital video concept at the new Virgin Megastore in Piccadilly. The problem posed to the store designers was how to make people aware that another trading floor existed below and what products were stocked on that floor. Black Box AV proposed and eventually installed an all new Video Signage system. In simple terms, the signage is provided by a six screen LCD 'Video Ribbon' which is suspended above the stairwell. The ribbon is linked to a fast computer with a multi output graphics card that addresses each screen individually. In addition to the video signage system, the company also installed 38 of its Bar Code Listening Posts in the Piccadilly store, a product which has now become a standard in new build and refurbished Virgin Megastores throughout the UK.
Two major Amsterdam live music venues - the Paradiso Club and Melkweg (Milky Way) - have extended their existing Martin Audio sound systems with further orders from pro audio specialist Ampco. The Paradiso has redeployed its existing Martin F2 system for use in its new basement facility which will open in the New Year, while upgrading the main venue to Martin's Wavefront 8C system. The Melkweg, meanwhile, has extended its own W8C system to three stacks per side, following a recent extension.
Manchester-based Power Gems has grown over the last eight years to become the world's largest independent designer and manufacturer of electronic power supplies for the motion picture lighting industry. PLASA Publishing has learnt that the company has entered into a strategic alliance with US-based Warner Power LLC, and as a result, is now expanding its technology into industrial and medical markets. Power Gems investment has secured a 49.9% shareholding in Warner Power, a management buy-out of WPI Electronics Inc and WPI Power Conversions Inc, with a combined $20million turnover.
Le Mark has appointed NDC as its dealer in Switzerland. The company, run by Nicholas de Courten, will handle the full range of Le Mark products. It already has strong ties with the major TV studios, theatre and production companies across Switzerland and is looking to expand into the conference and exhibition markets. NDC's appointment follows a series of new appointments by Le Mark including that of Strong In Spain.
Pixelite, the video screen sales division of Avesco plc, scooped the most challenging outdoor video screen contract of the year as its very first installation order - with a unique curved design on the front of the recently opened Home nightclub in London's Leicester Square. Owners the Big Beat Group - operators of highly successful venues in Sydney and Scotland - planned Home as the capital's most exclusive leisure venue. The first Pixelite PXT-1204 LED screen - using modules designed by sister company System Technologies in Belgium - displays digital art on the building's facade overlooking the famous square. Uniquely, the 11.52m x 5.76m (portrait format) screen curves through a 93 degrees convex plane, with a 12mm pixel pitch and a total of 960 vertical lines of resolution x 480 horizontal. In all there will be almost two million LEDs in the screen. Because of its sheer size and resolution, the GMI screen at Home can show up to 12 images any one time, recreating the idea of a videowall.
The team of theatre consultants which has been operating as Techplan for the past 15 years has become incorporated and is undertaking new projects as Theatreplan. Charles Wass, Roger Fox, John Whittaker and Richard Brett have been joined by Neil Morton and are trading as Theatre Planning and Technology Ltd. They continue to be contactable through the Stagehouse in Kingston, but the centre of operations will be transferred to Doughty Street in London.
Two divisions within Philips Electronics UK Ltd will merge as from January 1st 2000. Philips Communication & Security Systems (CSS) and Philips Imaging and Connectivity (I&C) will form Philips Communication, Security & Imaging (CSI). The move is seen as "a logical step which will create new business opportunities and open additional sales channels." The newly formed company will cover the areas of PA, congress, private paging, healthcare, communication and intercom systems and CCTV.
The new Levi's Centre in London's Regent Street has an all-JBL sound system that would not be out of place in many of the capital's top dance clubs. A worldwide re-branding operation, which kicked-off in San Francisco at a cost of £2.5million, means that all Levi's Centres will adopt a lifestyle approach to retail merchandising. A major part of this refurbishment programme is the provision of DJ-driven high quality background music, Chill Out Areas with Sega Dreamcast consoles and video entertainment. Models from JBL's Marquis Series form the mainstay of the system with MS28s also being used as DJ monitors. Some 32 JBL Control 23s are arranged strategically throughout the store, with eight SB2 subwoofers providing low frequency reinforcement. The chill-out area uses four JBL 48923s from the Array Series and a JBL Sound Power SP128S sub woofer underpins the system. The whole system is zoned via a SoundWeb controller.
The Scottish Lighting Exhibition will take place on February 13 and 14 2000 at the BBC Studios in Glasgow. The format will follow that of previous years where an exhibition featuring a range of technical companies will run in tandem with a series of seminars presented by some of the leading names in the industry. A full programme will be available shortly.
Professor Dr. Jorg Sennheiser, chairman of the Board of Sennheiser Electronic GmbH & Co, recently visited The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, where he delivered a lecture on the principles of transducer design and future microphone development to students studying the Sound Technology Degree course. He marked his visit by presenting a Sennheiser Student Achievement Award scheme to Mark Featherstone-Witty, principal and chief executive of LIPA. The new Awards are intended to recognise personal achievement and innovation in the field of sound and performance arts-related technology, and are open to all students enrolled on the BA Hons Sound Technology Programme, the Diploma in Pop Music and Sound Technology and the Diploma HE in Theatre and Performance Technology.
White Light has been appointed as the lighting supplier for the London production of the hit Broadway musical Fosse. White Light Group member The Moving Light Company will supply automated lighting equipment to the production. A celebration of the work of legendary Broadway choreographer Bob Fosse, Fosse opened to critical acclaim on Broadway last year - and won lighting designer Andrew Bridge his third Tony Award for Best Lighting. For the London production, which opens at the Prince of Wales Theatre in February, Bridge is re-creating his award-winning design with a rig that includes 19 High End StudioColors, nine Martin MAC500s, five DHA Digital Light Curtains and a conventional rig composed largely of ETC Source Fours, all controlled from a 1500 channel ETC Obsession console.
BBC Training & Development has opened a new training studio in central London. Greg Dyke, deputy director-general and BBC director-general designate formally opened the studio on December 14, which will be used for training BBC staff and other broadcast professionals. The studio's facilities include a Calrec C3 audio mixer, Denon Minidisk, Sony DAT and Sony CD systems and an ADB lighting system.
Earls Court Olympia, the venue for the annual PLASA Show, is currently part-way through a £60 million six year improvement programme. Phase One sees several improvements come on line including the upgrade of the main escalators. Phase Two will address the general upgrade and refurbishment of facilities throughout the venue, including the refurbishment of several catering areas in Earls Court 1 and a new business centre. Part of this phase will also see the completion of the painting and 'column cladding' programme on the ground floor of Earls Court 1. The Warwick Road and West Brompton entrances to Earls Court 1 are on-line for upgrading during 2000. In addition to all the work going on within the Exhibition Centre, the West Brompton/Earls Court rail-link is now fully operational, enhancing the travel routes direct to this important central London venue.
The second annual ExpoLatina trade show and conference, targeted at the Latin American entertainment design and technology market, takes place from May 23-25, 2000 at the Miami Beach Convention Center in Miami. ExpoLatina 2000 is the only trade show in North America with a complete range of performance and production technology designed for Latin American applications. The show floor boasts more than 200 international manufacturers and distributors of products geared to live performance, film and TV and themed environments.
With so much activity confirmed around the New Year period, it's not surprising to find the big production houses organising themselves ahead of time. As such Edwin Shirley Trucking (EST) is finding itself busier than usual during the dying days of '99. In preparation for the Brussels Motor Show in Jan 2000, EST has begun to transport 30 truckloads of equipment out to Belgium for Imagination, the producers of the Ford display. Also out in Belgium, Toyota is staging a pre-Motor Show bash for its main European dealers, which will require around five EST artics to outfit the show. In a similar vein, but over here in the UK, Ford is holding aChristmas dealer review at the ICC in Birmingham for which a further seven EST trucks will be required. As if that weren't enough, during the same period 14 45-footers will be ferrying equipment over to Seville in Spain for the launch of the all new Ford Transit 2000. All this motoring activity doesn't mean there are no concert tours going on. Barry Manilow is the first to kick off the new-year with a four truck production touring around the UK and Europe from the 6th Jan. Probably just the right artist to soothe those post Millennial hangovers.