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.
A new initiative to improve the career prospects of those working within the events sector has also recognised the importance of the sector to UK tourism. The continuing growth of events in the UK is a primary reason for the creation of TTENTO, the new National Training Organisation for Travel, Tourism Services and Events. The Government-backed organisation has been set up to ensure industry employers undertake training and development and will provide the events sector with nationally recognised qualifications for its workforce and individual career paths. In particular, TTENTO is working on initiatives for small businesses which comprise some 85% of the travel, tourism services and events industries. The new body brings together all three sectors under one banner for the first time and follows the launch of the events industry NVQs/SVQs earlier this year.
SSE Hire has just completed a benchmark Nexo Alpha E installation into a large, purpose-built club/live venue in Birmingham. The company, better known for its work in the live touring market, was approached to provide the system for the recently-enlarged Garryowen, which now includes a 2000 capacity main room with an additional lounge, VIP area and a restaurant. SSE's Chris Beale was asked by club owner Brendan Joyce to "Design a system that will rock my socks off!" To do this, Beale used seven pairs of Alpha E system, each pair comprising an Alpha E-M mid-high and an Alpha B1-18 bass cabinet, powered by Crown MA3600VZ amplifiers. The main stage area is covered by two pairs per side, while for club nights there is a further pair left and right at the rear of the hall. A long bar area adjacent to the main room is covered by another pair. With the exception of the bar area, and the subs which fit neatly under the stage, the entire system is flown.
Martin Professional has entered into an agreement with the owners of its German distributor to establish a joint venture, creating a new Martin subsidiary - Martin Professional GmbH.Martin will hold 51% of the shares in the new operation, which will officially begin trading on January 1st. Located in Karlfeld, near Munich, this latest venture brings the number of Martin subsidiaries to six. The company has 20 employees with a yearly turnover of nearly $10 million which will result in a positive return for Martin Professional from the outset.
The Loch Ness monster is alive and well thanks to the latest in multi-media display technology supplied by GB International - a specialist supplier of presentation systems. The seven projector system forms the heart of a new exhibition at the Official Loch Ness Exhibition Centre in Drumnadrochit, on the banks of the famous loch. The Exhibition uses seven Philips LCD Projectors to project movie and animation sequences using a mixture of front and back projection onto gauze, 3D objects, large screens and even a half-silvered mirror to create a realistic, dramatic 3D environment.
The achievements of small businesses in West Glamorgan were recognised recently at the 1999 Business Connect Neath Port Talbot Awards Dinner during which PLASA member Black Box AV won the coveted Business of the Year award. The company was chosen because of its success in the audio visual industry and its innovative approach to both product and company development. Black Box AV enters the millennium with a 'personal best' turnover and profit for 1999 and excellent prospects for 2000 with a host of new products to be launched during the first quarter.Pictured far right is Jonathan Knight of Black Box with others who were honoured at the ceremony.
A 25-year-old freelance lighting crewman was killed in the early hours of Thursday 16 December when he fell more than 80ft during the breakdown of the after-show party for the Spice Girls following their recent sell-out performances at Earl's Court. PLASA Publishing has learnt that the technician, one of the crew working for lighting supplier Spot Co, was not de-rigging the stage in the main arena, but working on the second level where the after-show party had been held. He was taken to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. A spokesman for Earls Court confirmed that the fatality had occurred at 3.50am Thursday morning. Earls Court management, in conjunction with the relevant authorities, is in the process of a thorough investigation of the incident. A further statement is expected shortly.
Intercom DFB trade Distributors has announced new developments in its trading operations. The company has relaunched itself as Intercom Sound & Light Warehouse. Building on its existing trade business, the company will additionally provide retail sales to the club market. Aimed specifically at DJs, mobile discos and pro sound, Intercom Sound & Light Warehouse will supply equipment from some of the leading manufacturers in the industry, including Altai, Skytronics, Celestion and Denon.
The Cavern in Exeter has installed a new sound system. The venue turned to Bristol-based Audioforum for the audio solution, requesting a system that would be flexible enough to meet the varying styles of the venue's artists and DJs. David Leigh of Audioforum selected the package which comprised Opus cabinets with a combination of Opus HD and C-Audio amplification - all run under a BSS control system.
Soundcraft's popular Going Live sound engineers' training course is returning in the New Year and has now been scheduled for Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 March at The Depot Rehearsal Studios in London. The course will cover the Spirit 328 digital console for the first time. Although it is still too early for the guest engineers to be confirmed, Soundcraft report that they will include Jim Ebdon, Andrew Frengley and Chris Trimby.
In the United States, ABC TV has taken on the highly successful UK game show 'Who wants to be a Millionaire?' and, as with the UK version of the show, much of the dramatic lighting comes from a rig of Vari*Lite VL5 wash luminaires and VL6B spot luminaires.The VL equipment was supplied the Dallas VLPS office, and put together by lighting designer Deke Hazirjian, president of New York City Lites. Hazirjian employed 32 VL5 washlights and 12 VL6B spots around the 360 degree mirrored-floor stage, where higher stakes are accented with increasingly complex lighting effects.In contrast to the UK version, the top prize ($1million ) has already been won – by Internal Revenue Service tax agent John Carpenter.
Total Audio Solutions has relocated to new premises in Bromsgrove, near Birmingham. The new 6,000 sq ft TAS premises were opened at the beginning of November by Mr. Kantaro Tadaka from Sony, who is responsible for Pro Audio product development in Japan. Total Audio Solutions' relocation now places the company adjacent to the M5/M42/M40 Midlands motorway hub, as part of the company's drive to maintain and improve technical support for its growing list of rental and sales clients.Total Audio has recently informed us that it has supplied the largest single installation of Sony MDS-E11 1U MiniDisc players, specified for a prestigious exhibition in Lisbon, Portugal. The 24 MDS-E11 units were supplied pre-mounted in a 19" flightcase, saving up to half the space that would normally have been required.
AC Lighting has reported a strong response following the launch of the new Jands Event 4 lighting control consoles at the recent PLASA show. The first shipment of consoles, which arrived at AC's HQ recently, were distributed to European dealers within a very short time. This new range combines the familiar layout of a two preset lighting console with an added section capable of controlling up to 20 moving lights and 80 colour changers.
A triamped Martin Audio THX system has been specified for the feature cinema in the new three-screen York City Screen. South London-based Future Projections has been working with the owners, art-house specialists City Screen Ltd, for around 11 years. Martin Audio's first THX system is accompanied by the new THX SG01 digital crossover. The 220-seat feature space contains two projectors and recognises all proprietary film formats. Arranged in an L/C/R configuration, Martin's three-way system comprises three Screen 5s and a pair of Screen Sub 2s, with 16 Effect 5s acting as the surround sound.
Established in 1981, when the first event took place at London's Barbican, Showlight exists specifically to give lighting people time to talk, to discuss ideas and to mix with some of the best known names in the industry. Organised by lighting professionals for lighting professionals, the sixth Showlight will take place in 2001 in Edinburgh on May 21, 22 and 23. Over the three days you will have the opportunity to meet some of the world's top names from theatre, television, film and even architectural and themed lighting. If you would like further details on how to register for Showlight 2001, or would like to be kept informed of speakers and exhibitors as they are announced, contact Ruth Rossington, Showlight 2001, telephone +44 (0) 1323 642639.
In the busy run-up to Christmas, Lighting Technology was called in by the Homebase DIY chain to help them highlight the Christmas tree sales areas outside their stores. The scheme was designed by Mark Taylor of Homebase with technical support from Philip Norfolk of Lighting Technology Group. Green HQI lamps were fitted to the existing overhead fittings to give a green glow to the plants underneath. This lamp type (first used by Lighting Technology Group on the Hoover Building on London's Western Avenue) creates a vibrant glowing green when shone onto foliage. In addition, a three-circuit chasing rope light was supplied to fit around the external canopy to create an animated lighting effect, and draw the attention of external shoppers to the outside tree area.
FX is marking the start of the New Year with a brand new image designed to identify and promote all areas of its business. The changes are highlighted by the company's logo that now features the FX brand name followed by the name of each of its separate divisions. These include FX Rentals, which handles all rental business; FX Copyroom, which handles transfers to and from any format - analogue and digital; FX Music Control, the company's sales arm; FX Spain, which represents its International dimension and the recently added FX Cimple Solutions, a servicing and repairs division.
Ontario-based visual communications specialist Electrohome has sold its Projection Systems Division to Christie Inc of Cypress, California, for C$38m. The company is now known as Christie Digital Systems. Christie is a world-leading manufacturer of film projection systems for the cinema market and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ushio America Inc.Jack Kline, executive VP and COO of Christie Inc promised a massive R&D commitment for the new company, commenting: "The acquisition and renaming of Electrohome Projection Systems allows us to build on our existing brand strength and technological leadership in the high performance projection market. It also positions us at the forefront of electronic digital cinema."
Logic System Pro Audio, the Lincolnshire-based loudspeaker manufacturer, has announced the appointment of a new distributor for Germany. The deal was struck following discussions at the PLASA Show in September. Stuttgart-based Laauser & Vohl already distribute audio brands such as Sennheiser, d&b audiotechnik, Baldwin Boxall, MC2 and White Instruments.Logic has also announced a new distributor in Hong Kong – Tsang Fook Piano Company is now responsible for developing sales within the Hong Kong and China markets.
PLASA Publishing has learnt that London-based staging specialist Maltbury has sold its hire division to Gallowglass of West London. With sales accounting for more than 70% of the company's turnover, it was felt the time was right to concentrate on the core market, say Maltbury. MD Philip Sparkes told us: "The hiring of staging is labour intensive and Gallowglass is a specialist crewing company, so it's an extremely logical deal." The two companies will continue to work together on various projects to provide the most effective solutions for clients.
Barco has announced its involvement as 'Preferred Solutions Provider' for projection and large format display technology to the Millennium Dome. The contract includes the two giant DLite LED-based daylight display screens and more than 60 advanced LCD and DLP projection systems, including the Barco 6000 series and ELM series. Both the LED screens, hired via Show Presentation Services, will feature in the central arena at the Dome Opening Ceremony and throughout the Dome's year of operation.The DLite LED screens include proprietary technologies to ensure optimal flexibility and seamless pictures over the entire display regardless of size, shape or resolution. The modular system includes built-in intelligence for auto-configuration and allows hot-swapping of the tiles. The ELM (Extreme Light Machine) series of DLP projection systems utilise Texas Instruments' three-chip DLP digital micro-mirror technology, combined with Barco's state-of-the art optical systems. Two models, the ELM G10 and ELM R12 deliver 10,000 and 12,000 ANSI lumens respectively, and are available with a range of high quality zoom lenses.
The 1999 International Apparel Festival recently took place in the 7000 capacity Wu Tai Shan sports arena in Nanjing, the capital of China's Jiangsu Province. The fashion show was combined with live performances from top Chinese stars. After a tough tendering process, the contract was awarded to EVI Audio (Hong Kong) Ltd. Naturally EVI specified an Electro-Voice system powered by EV P Series amplifiers, and control was from a DDA CS8 mixing console, selected for its trademark clear vocal reinforcement qualities. The system was built by the Jiangsu Wen Hua Performing Equipment company, while all equipment was jointly supplied by EVI Audio (HK) Ltd and its main dealer, Beijing Star Electronic Equipment Company.