The Production Resource Group is to relaunch and rebrand its lighting division. With effect from October 20, the companies in the PRG Lighting Group - Cinema Services, Light & Sound Design (LSD), Production Arts, Production Lighting Systems and Vanco Lighting Services - will come together under the name Fourth Phase. All of the companies except LSD will assume the name Fourth Phase, whilst LSD will be called LSD/Fourth Phase. The new identity coincides with new operational changes within the company. A national sales team has been established, under the direction of Bill Gallinghouse, senior vice president of sales and marketing. Jeff Senkovich, meanwhile, has moved from his operational responsibilities with the PRG Audio Group to assume the newly created role of COO of the Lighting/Audio Group. As COO of PRG, John Hovis oversees the operational aspects of the organisation. Full story October L&SI.
Combine photographic imagery with photosynthesis and what do you get? An amazing 10ft high by 11ft wide image in grass that is currently on display at the V&A in London, acting as a reminder of the original appearance of the V&A's 14th century Devonshire Hunting tapestries. Artists Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey have explored the art of grass before (you may recall seeing it in L&SI) but needed technical expertise for their most recent project and turned to Wyatt Enever at DHA. Using a technique similar to that used to transfer continuous-tone images onto glass gobos, Enever converted a continuous tone image into a random-dot break up and then, transferred this to film which could withstand high temperatures. A Pani projector was then used to project the image onto a frame of earth containing germinated grass seed, which then grew in relation to the amount of light projected. The grass was allowed to dry and the result is an incredible sepia photographic images depicted in grass.
Andrew Lloyd Webber's latest musical The Beautiful Game, with book and lyrics by Ben Elton, is to be the subject of a South Bank Show this coming Sunday (October 1). The programme will look at the musical from its initial concept through to rehearsals.
Melina Simeonova, a second-year graduate student enrolled in the MS in Lighting program at the Lighting Research Center (LRC) in Rensselaer, is the recipient of the first Color Kinetics Scholarship in Lighting. Simeonova, a licensed architect in both Bulgaria and the US was chosen by the Graduate Education Committee of the LRC to be the first-ever recipient of the scholarship after submitting a detailed thesis proposal investigating the use of solid-state, coloured lighting to light retail displays. Simeonova's research will compare the conventional method of lighting retail visual displays through luminance modulation, a technique that uses varying intensities of white light, with a new technique utilising coloured lighting.
Strand location lighting features in a dramatic backlit film-set of the London Eye at Sunset, which opens and closes a new movie called Inferno. The 20-minute sci-fi comedy drama has been put together by students from the National Film & Television School in Beaconsfield, as part of their post-graduate course and has been presold to Channel 4. Producer Teun Hilte and director Paul Kousoulides approached Strand to see if they could get hold of some Strand 4K Super Quasars which Kousoulides had used some years earlier on another project. Although these lights have long since been discontinued, Strand Lighting MD Jim Ryan readily endorsed the project and soon the company's newly-appointed location lighting specialists, LCA, were pulled into the loop subsequently providing a pair of 12/6kW Pars to complement a further 12kW Par and power generator provided by Direct Lighting.
Stage Electrics, the Bristol-based supplier of lighting, sound and technical equipment, officially unveiled its new London office during PLASA. The new branch, at 284-302 Waterloo Road, offers a trade counter selling consumables and also hosts a Virtual Lighting Studio housing a full WYSIWYG software programme and other WYSIWYG facilities. Also available at the new branch is a demonstration suite, displaying lighting and special effects from major industry manufacturers, giving clients and designers the opportunity to review all the latest technology. Finally to complete the facility, there is a cafe area suitable for informal meetings.
The SS Ausonia, a recently-refurbished luxury cruise ship contracted to First Choice Holidays by Louis Cruise Lines, has had a state-of-the-art audio design specified by cruise line specialists, Fisher Marine. The equipment installation was carried out by Louis Cruise Lines' own contractors. The Halifax-based company used a wide range of Martin Audio loudspeakers as their primary sound reinforcement source in the three main zones - the main and secondary show lounges (which are multi-purpose, transforming into cabaret and late night discotheque usage) and the main deck, which also features a massive lighting rig. The system on the Ausonia, which has its audio presets stored and relayed to the different show areas by three BSS Audio Soundweb devices, will be fed from a mixture of CD and Minidisc playback sources, as well as live cabaret through a radio mic system.
Following a recent review of its membership categories, PLASA has welcomed its first Associate Member. Lesley Harmer, who runs the highly successful Harmer PR public relations company, which counts several PLASA members amongst its client list, becomes the first person to take advantage of the revised membership structure. PLASA introduced the Associate Membership category in the summer to encourage universities, colleges, charities, individuals and consultants, together with those businesses that operate on the periphery of the industry, to play an active role in the future of the industry. Lesley Harmer is pictured here with PLASA MD Matthew Griffiths.
There is now less than a week to go until designvision, a brand new exhibition for the world of restaurant, bar, hotel and pub interiors opens its doors to the trade at London's Olympia. Running from Sunday 1 to Tuesday 3 October, the event is expected to attract over 10,000 restaurateurs, bar operators, hoteliers and publicans., as well as architects, specifiers and designers. In addition to an exhibition of the industry's leading suppliers, the event will play host to a comprehensive seminar programme featuring industry personalities such as Stuart Hopson Jones, Simon Woodroffe, Ian Caulder and Callum Lumsden.
Details of the fourth annual Fullpower Showcase have been announced. This year's event, which is free to attend, takes place on November 9th and will again be held at Salisbury's Red Lion Hotel. It will showcase DJ technologies from all the leading manufacturers including Martin Profesional, Batmink, Lamba Plc, Gemini Sound, Numark and Antari. The event is very much an interactive experience with demonstrations and hands-on session being a key feature of the show. Information and tickets can be obtained from Richard Hunt on 01722 718331.
On the Monday of the PLASA Show, Prolyte held one of its now legendary PLASA parties. However, this year the event had a much more celebratory feel as it marked the launch of Prolyte's UK Dealer Network which led to much revelry, and not a little over indulgence (not only from the Prolyte crew). Representatives from 12 of the UK dealer companies attended the party, taking the opportunity to meet, for the first time, members of Prolyte's technical and sales departments, all of whom had been flown in from Holland especially for the event. A large number of Prolyte's worldwide distributors were also present.
The Rank Group is to sell its holiday camp division, which includes Butlins, to a group led by Bourne Leisure in a deal that could be worth £700 million. Bourne has backing from both Candover Investments and Legal & General Ventures, who will take a percentage share of the business. For Rank, the deal allows it to continue its programme of restructuring and to use the income from the sale to offset some of its debts.
Laser Grafix in Royston, Herts, has formed a new liaison in Dubai with lighting and sound specialists, DLC ensuring that Laser Grafix will have ongoing representation in Dubai, ready to handle the Middle East enquiries for laser light shows. A wide range of laser equipment will be permanently based at DLC's premises in Dubai, to serve the home market place and GCC countries. This equipment will include water features, lasers, projectors and both inflatable and water screens. Laser Grafix has provided lasers and effects for a number of events in the region, including the celebrations of the 100 year Anniversary of the Founding of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
West London-based HFM Lighting has acquired 13 of Coemar's new CF7 luminaires from UK distributor CoeTech, currently making HFM the largest UK supplier of this new intelligent lighting fixture. HFM, headed by Hugh Frazer Mann, specialises in the supply of high specification intelligent lighting and projection systems for exhibitions, corporate presentations and special events, is looking forward to adding the CF range to their existing inventory. Since its launch this Summer, the CF7 has already found favour with top lighting professionals. In particular it has been specified by Lighting Designer Liz Berry for Robbie Williams. As the largest stockist of the CF range in the UK, HFM is currently supplying VLPS with 12 CF7s for the forthcoming Robbie Williams tour. HFM will be hosting a number of open days later in the year when full light shows and technical courses will be offered.
HSL Productions has made a large and carefully calculated investment in a Crest and Community touring system. The decision was made principally with the Performing Arts Management summer tour in mind, however the company wanted a system capable of reproducing any musical genre. At the heart is the flagship 52-channel (48 + 4) Crest V12 mixing console.In addition to the V12, HSL has placed additional orders with Sound Dept for a 40-channel Crest XVCA console and a 32-channel XM monitor desk, to complement its existing Crest console range. Having converted the company's amplifier stock to Crest 18 months ago Simon Stuart confirmed that HSL have purchased an additional 60kW of Crest CA18s and CA9s to drive its newly-acquired PA system, which comprises 24 stacks of Community SLS-960 mid/tops, with VLF-218 bass cabinets.
Themed recreation venues and attractions took centre stage on the evening of Saturday, September 16 as the Themed Entertainment Association celebrated its seventh annual THEA Awards Gala in the Grand Ballroom of the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel. The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man at Universal Studios Island, James Cameron's Titanic: The Experience, Fox Studios in Sydney, Australia and the Stone Forest in Yunnan Province, China (all of which have been featured in Lighting&Sound International) all picked up awards. Universal Studios Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Florida was also voted the best Theme Park. The THEA Classic award went to Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, Denmark - said to be one of the prime inspirations for Walt Disney in determining the character and quality of Disneyland. Tivoli Gardens has operated continuously since 1843. A special award recognising Breakthrough Technology was collected by Richmond Sound Design for its AudioBox system. The company developed a special version of its AudioBox for The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man at Islands of Adventure, designed to withstand shock and vibration up to 15Gs.
With the aim of improving and upgrading the efficiency of its distribution and support network in Switzerland, Clay Paky has formed a new sales network appointing Emme (Camorino), MCG (Zürich) and Audio Light (Colombier) to handle its range of intelligent lighting products.
Edwin Shirley Staging (ESS), the international staging and structure specialists, has bought a 50% share in the entertainment staging company Orbit (UK) Services Ltd. Paul Ladd, the founder of Orbit (UK), will continue as managing director of what will be known as ESS Orbit. This joint venture expands ESS' existing business, meaning it will now be able to service client demands for structures and staging equipment of all sizes. Customers will benefit from access to a wider variety of products. Commenting on the joint venture, Tim Norman, managing director, ESS Holdings, told PLASA Publishing: "Our joint venture with Orbit UK brings together two like-minded companies focused on delivering value for money, and the efficient supply of quality products and services. We will now be able to meet all our customers' needs for large and small structures alike. We are also pleased to be working with Paul and all the staff at Orbit (UK) to develop the business further."
Music Education Consultants of Guildford has again been busy working with schools in order to bring music facilities up to current specifications for teaching KS2 and KS3 curriculum music and GCSE, A Level and HE Music Technology Courses. One of the most challenging projects for the company was designing the functionality of the new Recording and Music ICT facilities at The Academy of Contemporary Music's new centre, The Rodboro Buildings, which opened on September 22. The new ACM building incorporates a dedicated Music ICT suite based on PCs running Cubase VST 5, Wavelab 3.0, Recycle and Rebirth, Roland Keyboards and Yamaha Samplers all connected to a flexible monitoring and recording system. Five highly-specified studios were designed, ranging from small post rooms to a large 30-seat capacity teaching studio. A control-room based on twin Yamaha 02Rs and a host of other state-of-the-art digital equipment faces the main teaching control room. In-between the teaching control room and the 02R are four live rooms that can be accessed from either studio allowing maximum flexibility.
The Sound Company is supplying the sound equipment for three of the latest plays to open in London's West End - The Puppetry of the Penis, The Blue Room and The Guardsman. Puppetry, which opened on Monday 18 September at The Whitehall Theatre, features two well-endowed young men with no pants! It arrives hot from The Edinburgh Festival where it received rave reviews. The show, already causing a huge stir, is produced by Richard Temple and David Johnson and is the fourth production the Sound Company and Richard Temple have done together. The second of the three to open, The Blue Room, based on the infamous La Ronda, opens on 28 September at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket. David Hare's acclaimed adaptation was initially presented at the Donmar Warehouse and on Broadway in 1998, staring Nicole Kidman. Finally, The Guardsman, Produced by Paddy Wilson, opens a week later on 4 October 2000 at the Albery Theatre. This elegant comedy, by one of Hungary's best-known playwrights, Ferenc Molnar, is transferring to the West End after its successful regional tour.
Le Maitre has signed two new distribution deals in Japan and India. The contracts were signed during the recent PLASA Show at Earls Court 1 in London. The Japanese contract is with Kazoue Inoue, President of the Rock Co, Tokyo. Le Maitre sales director Rick Wilson told PLASA Publishing: "At last we have found a customer in Japan willing to take the trouble to cut through the enormous amount of red tape required to import pyrotechnics. The Rock Co. has an extensive network of customers in live rock and roll." Le Maitre has also been successful in opening up another extremely difficult area of the world, India. Wilson added: "With huge tariffs on imported goods, India has always been a difficult market to crack. Our new partner Morani Fireworks, based in New Deli, is well connected in the film and entertainment industry which is burgeoning in India." Both companies will be taking Le Maitre's new range of ProStage ll pyrotechnics featuring over 300 different products, plus the full range of professional smoke machines. Most of the smoke producing devices will be heading for Film and Theme park applications.
Bandit Lites has been appointed to provide lighting services for the Orange-Arrows FIA Formula One Team for the 2000 season, worldwide. Set designer Mark Williams and Dominc Denny from Bank engaged Bandit to provide lighting and creative services to enhance the atmosphere prior to each Formula One event in the team's vendor/sponsor area. Phay MacMahon from Bandit is acting as production manager for all dates.
Clockwork AV has recently installed an RCF sound system at the Gateshead International Athletic Stadium. Following a number of demonstrations, the stadium's local council chose the RCF system for its melodic feel - which was an important factor for the project. Clockwork AV specified a Vision system comprising 14 Vision PA121s and two Vision PA180 SWs situated in the main grandstand, five Vision PA261s in the East stand and 15 pairs of waterproof Monitor 4Ts located in the North and South seating areas.
At this year's graduation ceremony for The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, Professor Dr Jorg Sennheiser, presented the inaugural Sennheiser Student Achievement Awards. The ceremony, held in the art-deco splendour of the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, saw Professor Sennheiser share the stage with lead patron Sir Paul McCartney, principal and chief executive Mark Featherstone-Witty and almost 200 graduating LIPA students. Professor Sennheiser presented the three achievement awards to a total of five students for work of outstanding merit in both recording production and theatrical sound design. Among the graduating students was Adam Fulton, who was awarded a first class Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Sound technology; the second Sennheiser scholarship student to graduate and achieve a first.