Business News

High End Expands in New York and Europe
Wednesday, 6 September 2000

High End Systems is now making its presence felt in the Big Apple. Located just off Times Square, the company's new office has a fully-equipped demo facility and dedicated WYSIWYG room, as well as a training and seminar area and a customer meeting room. Sales, marketing and technical service representatives will be based at the office, which is headed up by director of special projects, Paul Sonnleitner. The company has also expanded its presence in London by refurbishing the original offices of its partner, Flying Pig Systems. The new office in West London offers visitors a fully equipped demo facility with a training and seminar area, technical workshops and a customer meeting room.

Soundcraft in Spain
Tuesday, 5 September 2000

Soundcraft live sound consoles are busy in the Spanish PA rental market this summer, notably through sales of the Series FIVE front-of-house and FIVE Monitor desks. Lexon has provided 40-channel Series FIVE consoles to BTM Sound of Gerona in northern Spain and Rafa Sonido in Las Palmas, which has used the desk for live shows by Lucrezia, Hamlet and the Philharmonic of Gran Canaria. A 44-channel FIVE Monitor has been bought by Tecnosound Lanzarote, and a new 52-channel FIVE Monitor at Madrid-based rental company Espiral Sociedad Cooperativa has been used for flamenco star Rocio Jurado, and Monica Naranjo, a pop performer well-known in Spanish-speaking countries.

Hong Kong's Largest Club Chooses Nexo
Tuesday, 5 September 2000

The largest nightclub ever to open in Hong Kong will feature a powerful Nexo sound system. The 348 Discotheque opens in Kowloon at the end of August, complete with a Nexo Alpha E rig and the first Nexo PS8 compact cabinets to be installed in the territory. Built in the former Tai Wah movie house, the 3000-capacity club has the advantage of a theatre's high ceilings. Much of the million-dollar audio budget has been spent on the Alpha E speakers, with 10 Alpha E-F cabinets used around the dancefloor; four of the full-range boxes flown left and right of the DJ console, and another two boxes mounted facing the club entrance to provide maximum impact as people walk in. A total of 14 Alpha B1-18 folded horn high-power bass enclosures are being installed.Sound designer Benny Cheng of Creative Engineering Company is the first installer in China to buy NEXO's E Series: "I hadn't even heard these boxes, but I was so impressed by the NEXO Alpha touring system that I ordered them anyway! Including the PS Series, I have now installed NEXO in 10 clubs in mainland China and Hong Kong, and they are a company that we trust, with products that are always reliable." Cheng has also installed an Alpha E system at Taiping's most successful nightclub, Sing Ho.

Christie Lites Signs Deal with Martin Pro
Tuesday, 5 September 2000

Christie Lites has signed a three-year multi-million dollar deal to exclusively support the Martin line of moving lights. In a unique move for a rental company, Christie Lites will only purchase Martin automated lights for the duration of this contract. Troels Volver, CEO of Martin Professional Inc. comments, "We are very pleased that Christie Lites has chosen Martin as its vendor for automated lighting. With our extreme dedication to customer care and technical support and our professional partners in Canada and throughout the world, we are able to support a company like Christie Lites and their global business practices. The benefit to customers in the USA and abroad will be the increase of various MAC series rental units for larger productions including touring, television and corporate events. Their shops are second to none when it comes to providing quality equipment and service. We can count on them to represent our products properly and professionally. With their commitment to us, we in turn have pledged our 100% support, especially with new product development such as the recently released MAC600NT and the new MAC2000 series" Christie Lites has offices in Calgary, Dallas, Orlando, Toronto and Vancouver.

Getting a Life in AV
Monday, 4 September 2000

Creative Technical Services has installed a dnp-fronted AV environment, supplied by exclusive UK distributor, Paradigm AV Ltd, into Cardiff's Life nightclub - the latest in a string of Luminar Leisure ventures. The installation by CTS is part of an ongoing commitment by Luminar Leisure to embrace leading edge technology and develop an AV policy throughout its establishments. The installation featured four 6ft x 4ft dnp wide-angle rear projection screens, in conjunction with Sony S900projectors.

Marine Hall Fleetwood
Monday, 4 September 2000

A major sound installation has just been completed at the Marine Hall in Fleetwood, Lancashire. The Hall was first opened in 1935 and provides a range of arts and entertainment for locals and visitors to the area from live music to dance and drama, comedy workshops, festivals and pantomimes. After extensive system evaluation, technical manager Tony Mitchell chose a Turbosound system supplied and installed by Stagetec consisting of a pair of TQ440 mid/high speakers flown either side of the stage, a pair of TQ440s as delay fills and four THL818.2 single 18" sub-bass speakers ground stacked either side of the stage.

Conference Cast - Casting the Net Wider
Monday, 4 September 2000

Presentation Services, the specialist AV and staging division of the Gearhouse Group, has announced a new alliance with computer networking specialists, Madge.web. The two have launched ConferenceCast,, which will specialise in the broadcast of corporate and live video and audio events over the internet. A high-profile launch on Wednesday 23 August, at the Whitbread Brewery in London, featured a full conference set and live streaming media demonstrations. For both Madge.web and PSL, ConferenceCast is a logical extension to their existing areas of specialisation. Madge.web is one of a few companies worldwide to offer an integrated service of managed networking, VPNs, streaming media and web and application hosting. The company has recently opened a new Network Broadcast Centre in Wokingham. PSL, meanwhile, is perfectly situated to provide the dedicated web-encoded front-end AV Hardware, having at its disposal one of the largest stocks of presentation technology.

New Distribution Channel for WYSIWYG
Friday, 1 September 2000

CAST Lighting of Toronto, Canada, has announced that it has signed a letter of intent with Electronic Theatre Controls that allows ETC exclusive territorial distribution rights for CAST's lighting design and visualisation software. This announcement comes on the back of an earlier announcement that ETC and CAST have formed an OEM alliance that would allow CAST's software to be integrated with ETC's range of advanced lighting control products. R. Bruce Freeman, CEO of CAST comments: "It made absolute sense to us, once we started discussions with ETC about the OEM relationship, to pursue the idea of having ETC distribute our mainstream software product." While the distribution agreement is effective from August 21, 2000, both companies will officially launch the alliance at PLASA.

Sadlers Wells Refutes Mirror's Claims
Friday, 1 September 2000

Sadler's Wells has issued a press statement following the Daily Mirror's claims this week that the theatre is in trouble. The newspaper claimed to have seen leaked documents which suggested that the theatre was close to going bust and that lawyers were in discussion about declaring the venue insolvent. Sadlers Wells' statement says that the article published in the Mirror was apparently referring to correspondence between the Arts Council's capital services department and its professional advisors. The correspondence concerned was taken out of context and arises from prospective litigation concerning some contractors and others. No public monies are being used in this prospective litigation, but the Arts Council and Sadler's Wells consider that the public interest requires that monies are recovered from those responsible for the overspending. Ian Albery, Chief Executive told PLASA Publishing: "Sadler's Wells was one of the first major lottery projects to open on schedule and has rightfully taken its place as London's dance theatre. It has brought international dance companies to London that have been absent for lack of a suitable theatre for many years and has created new and record audiences for dance at affordable prices in the last two years."

BBC Science Programme Needs Your Help!
Friday, 1 September 2000

Dream Lives, a BBC Science documentary series, is looking for companies to come forward with information on the latest in DJ and music equipment. The programme is trying to help the residents of an estate in Hackney, London. There are about 600 kids on the estate and nothing for them to do, but they are particularly interested in music and are desperate for a chance to channel and build on their talents. Dream Lives is hoping to re-open their disused youth club and give young people on the estate a chance to learn skills, build confidence and have fun with the latest technology. Dream Lives will replace Tomorrow's World on BBC1 for six weeks in January 2001. If you are a company that specialises in the latest, high-tech music equipment and are interested in finding out more about this community project, please call Clare Beavis on 0208 752 6433 as soon as possible.

Martin Reaches Settlement with Vari-Lite
Thursday, 31 August 2000

Martin Professional A/S has reached a settlement with Vari-Lite Inc which sees the lifting of the injunction against the Martin MAC 500s, MAC 600s and MAC 300s in the US market. The two companies had been locked in a long-running legal battle over the issue of the manufacture and sale of the MAC units which also extended to the company's Case series controller when sold in conjunction with these. Only two months ago, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit had reaffirmed the injunction, rejecting Martin's claim that the patent expired in July 2000, ruling instead that it did not expire until March 2001. For Martin Professional, the settlement means a return to full trading freedom in the United States, which is expected to contribute positively towards the company's future development in terms of both turnover and profitability. With the recent release of a half-year financial report showing significant growth and profitability over 1999, the return of the full MAC range to the American market is expected to have a further positive impact.

New Distributors for Gearhouse Optiscreen
Wednesday, 30 August 2000

PublicScreen & Lightsystem has joined the growing family of Optiscreen distributors enabling Gearhouse Special Projects to supply more screens to more end users through its specialist distribution force. PublicScreen & Lightsystem have offices in both the UK and Germany and the latest in the Optiscreen family of products will be launched on its stand at Photokina at the end of September.

Martin MACs at Olympic Arts Festival Opening
Wednesday, 30 August 2000

For the recent opening of the Olympic Arts Festival in Sydney, a series of events was held throughout the day culminating in a performance on the forecourt of the Sydney Opera House. The main idea of the show is a ceremony called Tubowgule (the meeting of waters) where the main aboriginal clans of the area meet to welcome foreign visitors to our shores. Lighting designer for the event was Joseph Mercurio joined by the creative team of Stephen Page, David Page and Jenny Irwin. Mercurio used 12 MAC 600s on the stage area, and told us: "I like the colour mix on the MAC600s as well as the beam-shaping. With this show, they mostly went from a full beam to a frost. I use the MAC500s and 600s quite a bit - they always do the job well."Although there was a small stage, 90% of the show happened elsewhere, with the performers spreading out onto the concourse. The Tarpan wall was lit by nine Studio Due City Colors, whilst a prominent tree was lit by a 4K HMI and another City Color. "I hadn't used the City Colors before and I found the output excellent." said Joe. "The beam spread and evenness of light was very impressive. They certainly did the job of lighting the Tarpan wall. I will certainly be using them again as they are a useful architectural fitting." Control was from a Jands Echelon and the lighting equipment was supplied by Chameleon Touring Systems through Martin distributor Show Technology.

Active Autumn for Autograph
Wednesday, 30 August 2000

Autograph Sound Recording is experiencing a very busy month in preparation for a flood of theatrical events premiering around the county this coming autumn. Autograph will be supplying, installing and, in some cases, designing, the complete sound and communication systems for an eclectic mix of forthcoming premieres including Napoleon - a new musical opening in October at the Shaftesbury Theatre; The Beautiful Game - the latest offering from Andrew Lloyd Webber; The Caretaker - directed by Patrick Marber and sound designed by Simon Baker; Henry V - a timeless classic from the RSC, sound designed by Matt McKenzie; The Secret Garden - a musical version following Henry V also from the RSC and Divas at the Donmar - returning for a third season at the end of August, sponsored by Autograph and sound designed by Andy Brown. The company has spent the last six months investing in new technology and personnel, as well as making some structural improvements to its premises in North West London.

Commonwealth Pool Contract for Federal Signal
Tuesday, 29 August 2000

Federal Signal has completed a major £100,000 contract to supply the prestigious Commonwealth Pool in Manchester. The company was contracted to supply and install a combined public address and voice alarm system on behalf of electrical contractors NG Bailey at the complex which, alongside the athletics stadium, will take centre stage in 2002 when Manchester hosts the Commonwealth Games. The contract included products from its Millbank public address brand and elements of data communications from its Akusta range. The facility features an Olympic-size swimming pool, a diving and training pool and a leisure area.

Showman's Show Expanding
Tuesday, 29 August 2000

The Showman's Show will take place on Wednesday 18 - Thursday 19 October, 2000, at its regular Newbury Showground location, but this year visitors will notice a new aisle has being added to the show, and there is an increased international presence. here are several areas of the outdoor event industry which will be boasting new developments: The international community has found Newbury with new stands ranging from a Dutch consortium of companies co-ordinated by Festivak and new marquee companies including 'Tentology' from Canada and Spantech from Belgium. Trade associations within the industry will be promoting standards, and this year Newham College will be promoting education via their new rosta of events related courses and qualifications. On-line registration is now available.

Avolites ART at the Movies
Friday, 25 August 2000

Avolites Hire has supplied ART dimmers for a recent film shoot at Pinewood Studios for the new Meg Ryan movie, Proof of Life. The Avo ART 2000 and 4000 dimmers - four systems of each totalling eight racks - were supplied via Avo's Garry Lodge to main lighting contractor Lee Lighting. Lee's Mark Ackers then co-ordinated all relevant lighting equipment for the film's gaffer John Higgins. The Avo dimmers were controlling all the conventional fixtures on the shoot. This totalled over 500 DMX channels and a mixture of luminaires including practicals, 2Ks, 5Ks and softlights. It was fundamental that the dimmers were capable of allowing them to turn all the lights on full, and leave them running for 14 hours. The shoot lasted two months, during which time all the interior scenes of the house in the movie were shot. The exterior scenes and footage had previously been shot on location in Ecuador.

L-Acoustics in Center Parcs
Friday, 25 August 2000

L-Acoustics, distributor for The Netherlands Ogip Audio & Lights, has provided leading European leisure park operator CenterParcs with an SMPTE-controlled audio and light show. Ogip Audio & Lights BV has provided the complete technical package for the spectacular Market Dome entertainment show. Michiel Illy, head of Center Parcs' special products and development department, commented: "The overall idea of the new show is to create a theatrical show programme throughout the whole area, with the audience becoming part of the show."L-Acoustics EX-112 processor-controlled 12" coaxial full-range loudspeakers are installed with L-Acoustics SB-115 bass extensions. The recently launched L-A17 power amplifier powers the total sound system. Ashly's new Protea equaliser is used for tonal balance adjustments and time alignment. The complete system is controlled by a Akai 4-track hard-disk recorder generating L-R stereo signals, as well as the SMPTE code connected to a Yamaha 01V for the sound and a MA-scancommander for the Martin Roboscans and Robocolors, as well as DMX strobes and theatre profiles.

Cardiff's Visual Arts Centre Closes
Thursday, 24 August 2000

The Centre for Visual Arts in Cardiff is to close in November with the loss of 40 jobs, due to low visitor numbers. The Centre is the largest gallery in Wales showing new and historical art from Wales and around the world. It is also home to Fantasmic, one of the UK's only hands-on interactive galleries. In an announcement on the venue's website, the trustees state that the decision has been forced upon them by the refusal of the officers of the Arts Council of Wales to work with them to explore the ways forward recommended in the independent review of the Centre. During the period before final closure, the Trustees hope that the Chairman and Council of ACW will convince the National Assembly of the value of implementing the preferred option recommended by the independent report.

MAVCO Installs Audio Equipment for Costa Atlantica
Thursday, 24 August 2000

Costa Cruises' newest and largest ship, the 2,680 passenger Costa Atlantica, became the company's flagship after joining the fleet at the inaugural ceremony in Venice last month. Built at the Kvaerner Masa yard in Helsinki, the Costa Atlantica is as tall as a 20-storey building, with a surface area 20 times the size of the Olympic stadium in Rome. It has seven bars, a two-level restaurant, café, gym, beauty salon, spa, casino, conference room and three swimming pools. The audio equipment for all public areas, including the 1,000 seat Caruso Theatre, was supplied and installed by MAVCO. The main theatre uses a Midas XL4 fully-automated audio mixer, together with a Midas XL3 side-wing mixer. 90 EAW loudspeakers, together with another 60 Renkus-Heinz and Macpherson loudspeakers provide sound to the audience of 1,170 guests, in an auditorium consisting of both stalls and an upper circle. Processing is via a Media matrix digital sound processor and 54 Crest CKS amplifiers are controlled by Crest's NexSys computer control system.

Het MuziekTheater - Final Phase Completed
Thursday, 24 August 2000

Amsterdam's Het Muziektheatre, home of the Dutch National Ballet and the Netherlands Opera, recently completed the final phase of a major new sound system installation. Last summer, a full FOH system was installed using Apogee ALA-3s, FH-2s, SSMs and AE-12s. This summer, a complete refurbishment of the ambient surround system was on the docket. A total of 60 Apogee SSMs and 15 custom-built subwoofers were installed at the rear of the seating areas. The five-channel ambient system is used to reproduce sound effects for opera and ballet, and it doubles as the speaker system for 'LARES,' an artificial reverberation enhancement system. Audio director, Hans-Willem de Haan, says: "The change out to the SSMs radically improved the sound quality and believability of the electronically generated reverberation field. And the wide frequency response and power handling of the SSMs let's us programme any effect we like."

BBC Studios Shut
Thursday, 24 August 2000

The BBC is to close its studios at Pebble Mill, Birmingham, with the loss of 90 staff. According to reports, modern technology is now allowing programme makers to operate outside of a studio setting, so some facilities are no longer needed. Pebble Mill will continue with 600 people and will make location-based lifestyle programmes.

DAS Audio for Revolution Vodka Bars
Wednesday, 23 August 2000

Sennheiser UK is supplying alarge and on-going number of DAS Audio sound systems for installation by Eclipse Lighting & Sound in the rapidly-growing chain of Revolution Vodka Bars openign across the country, operated by Manchester-based Inventive Leisure. Eclipse's John Fearon said that the DAS speakers fitted the bill perfectly: "We essentially use white DAS DS8 and DS12 full-range speakers, with SUB18 bass reflex enclosures and the CT-1 system controller. DAS is perfect for this type of install. The build quality is very good and the sound is exceptional."

DJ Willrich Turns Back the Clock
Wednesday, 23 August 2000

English Heritage has recently employed the services of audio-visual specialist DJ Willrich to recreate the atmosphere of a 17th Century riding school at Bolsover Castle in Derbyshire, through the use of sound. By using a 10-channel sound system and a Maris Stinger to synchronise all the events, including lighting, DJ Willrich has risen to the task, so that visitors to the Castle can now close their eyes and imagine themselves standing in the middle of the riding school as it was more than 300 years ago. A host of sounds, including the horses moving about the school, the voice of the riding instructor, the tack and the onlookers, including Lord and Lady Cavendish themselves, combine to recreate the highly-realistic atmosphere which, according to the Chairman of English Heritage, is "a triumph".


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