Giant-screen rental company Screenco, and its sister companies around the world, provided screens for a number of high profile Millennium projects. On the big night in the USA, Screenworks, based in LA and Dallas, provided video screens for the 'In Sync' event on Hawaii, shows by both Bette Midler and Barbara Streisand in Las Vegas, the New Year celebrations at the Pasadena Rose Bowl in Los Angeles, a major Christian convention in Houston, Texas and LED screens for Eddie Grant's concert on the island of Tobago. Five screens were used for the celebrations in Berlin, while Screenco Australia provided two 46sq.m CRT screens floating on barges on the Brisbane River, another on the banks of Melbourne's Yarra River, three LED screens for Sydney and one for Cooberpedy Town Square. In the UK, three Screenco mobiles were used at the Hogmanay celebrations in Edinburgh, while three modular JumboTrons featured in central London.
At last, Chris Mounsor has announced his future intentions in the business after his departure from Audio Visual hire company PSL. Mounsor is to head up a new video rental company, specialising in the field of Camera & Video design and support to the concert touring and music industries. Mounsor has teamed up with industry legend Pat Morrow of Nocturne Inc and Rene De Keyser of XL Video to create Nocturne (Europe) Ltd. The company is currently in negotiations to purchase a 6500sq.ft warehouse in St Albans, and hope to be ensconced by Feb 1st.
Lord Lloyd Webber is to take control of 10 of the West End's leading theatres in a deal said to be worth £85million. The purchase of the Stoll Moss group of theatres, which includes the Garrick, the London Palladium and the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, was carried out by Lloyd Webber and a City financiers NatWest Equity Partners, in order to prevent the venues from falling into the hands of 'money men'.
Danmarks Radio, the national radio and TV broadcaster of Denmark, has bought a complete 10-channel Sony WL-800 series wireless microphone system for use on large-scale musical events across the country, in conjunction with Moto, one of Denmark's leading PA rental companies. Danmarks engineers have reported that the sound quality of the WL-800 UHF technology is so good they have occasionally forgotten they were recording a wireless source, say Sony.
In a bid to attract top name DJs to his club Infinity, on the island of Jersey, owner Gary Dobson, already the owner of three clubs on the island, recently invested in a new sound system. He awarded the contract to London-based installation company, Tarsin Ltd. Dobson visited a number of Tarsin's previous installations on mainland UK, including the recently re-opened Hammersmith Palais with its Nexo Alpha E system, supplied by UK distributor Fuzion. The 1,000-capacity Infinity is split over two levels, plus a mezzanine level on either side. Eight Alpha E B1-18 bass cabs and four E-M mid/hi packs cover the ground floor while a further four B1-18s and a pair of E-Ms cater for the top level. Two more E-Ms fire onto the mezzanine levels, while the DJ, situated at mezzanine level, uses two PS-15s as DJ monitors. Three Crown MA-5000VZ amplifiers power the bottom end and four MA-3600VZs run the mid-highs while an MA-2400 looks after the DJ monitors. Protection, level monitoring and EQ is provided by a Sabine GRQ-3101S Graphi-Q, also supplied by Fuzion.
EAW has become the official sponsor of a technically ground-breaking club night at The Matrix in Reading, where the company's new Avalon sound system recently made its UK debut. The Extra Dimensional Experience (EDX) is held on the first Friday of every month, and uses state-of-the-art mixing techniques for both audio and video to produce what is described as a homogenous, interactive visual and aural experience. Yes, well we've all had those!
The opening of the recently-refurbished Royal Court Theatre on London's Sloane Square has been postponed because the building is not ready. The Theatre was scheduled to re-open on 7 January 2000, following its £25m lottery-funded refurb. This is by no means the first delay - work was originally scheduled to conclude in May of 1998: this was then put back one whole year to May 1999 and then a further six months, to November 1999. When it does eventually open, Lighting & Sound International magazine will bring its readers a full technical review.
Stageline, the mobile stage specialist, has formed an agreement with Pitstop Barriers Ltd, in order to offer customers in the UK and Ireland a single source for the companies' combined products and services. The complete Stageline product range is now available through Pitstop Barriers for short-term hire, long-term rental or purchase. Products include the SL and SAM series of staging products, as well as the soon-to-be-launched SL100 'smart' mobile stage - a 24ft by 20ft mobile unit with multiple applications.
In an attempt to cut down on drinkers causing noise as they make their way home from a bar in London, they are being encouraged to suck lollipops. A students' union bar in Bloomsbury has introduced the novel idea of giving lollipops to drinkers leaving the bar, after local residents complained about the noise at closing time. The scheme, which is based on the belief that the drinkers are less likely to be able to talk loudly, shout or cause a disturbance whilst they are sucking the sweets, seems to be working. Since the scheme started, complaints about noise have fallen sharply.
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.