It seemed like business as usual: another year, another PLASA Show. Existing products, refinements of products, new products; familiar faces mingling with the next generation of entertainment industry practitioners all anxious to find out what was new.
Then came Tuesday September 11th and the PLASA Show faded into the background. Word from New York spread quickly around the hall. The atmosphere was surreal because the events that those who had received phone calls from the States were describing, couldn’t possibly have taken place, even in the wildest imaginations of those who work in this crazy business of ours that specializes in dreaming up the impossible then making it happen.
But as those who gathered in the Platinum Club lounge to watch the news live quickly found - all this, and more, was true. We watched the second World Trade Centre Tower crumble live in front of our eyes. We watched our American colleagues dial and re-dial on their cellphones, desperately trying to reach families and colleagues back home. We wondered about the people we knew in New York - what a small world it is now, how crazy that in such a small world such madness can still take place.
There has been time since that day to face up to the implications for our own industry. The knock-on effects are hard to pin down, but they are already showing themselves, and in his column this month, Tony Gottelier reflects on what the wider implications might be.
It’s difficult to switch from the events of the September 11th to the events of the Show itself, but that’s what we need t
The Avesco Group has responded to the slowing European economy and the aftermath of the recent atrocities in the USA by accelerating the announcement of a restructuring plan. The initiative sees Dave Crump, managing director of giant screen specialists, Screenco, assume the newly-created role of Group business development director. He will take up the new position at Avesco headquarters in Chessington with immediate effect. Crump will focus on development of relationships and business opportunities across the Group’s entire range of AV service companies including Screenco, Creative Technology, Dimension Audio and the recently launched MCL.
Avesco Group CEO, David Nicholson, commented: "We have been planning this change for some time, but the recent events in the USA - and the consequential effects on our businesses - have led us to bring forward the announcement by several weeks. At times like this it is more important than ever to focus on sales development, when the natural reaction is to retrench."
In parallel with this announcement Screenco will become part of the Avesco AV Service Division under Graham Andrews. The day-to-day running of the business will be in the hands of Graham Filmer, following his recent appointment as director and general manager. He has been with the company since 1987 and has experience of every area of Screenco's activity.
When Carlton TV decided on a new format of ‘roadshow’ programme, they called on Star Hire (Event Services) Ltd to provide the stage and production support for the televised events. The CITV 'White Knuckle Tour' presented a number of challenges to Carlton, who required facilities for five stage shows and live broadcasts from five different theme parks during August. Both the stage show and the live element were required to work independently or as an integrated operation.
With the stage show, Carlton applied several criteria, specifying that they were looking for a company that could provide a 'turnkey' operation. Not only would the company be required to provide the stage, but also the lighting, lighting controls and power for the whole site. Star Hire’s Mobile Stages manager Jane Russen liased with Steve Adams at Carlton throughout the project and drew on Star Hire’s experience and network of reputable suppliers to create the package to match Carlton’s very exacting specifications. "Our SS 10-08 mobile stage was ideal for this project," Jane said. "Under the scrutiny of the cameras the presentation and branding of the stage was an important factor to Carlton, which the mobiles lend themselves to. We worked with the TV company to create bespoke branding for the stage that looked great live and on camera.
Wireless performance and IEM specialists Hand Held Audio have purchased 14 of the new dbx in-ear monitoring processors from the Arbiter group PLC. Hand Held’s services include hire sales and consultancy in this precise area of audio. The dbx IEM Processor is new to the market and offers a whole range of effects and processing facilities integrated into a single 1U unit - saving both rack space and programming time. The Hand Held units have gone immediately into action on a large European touring production.
Hand Held’s Nick Bruce-Smith comments: "The dbx offers all the functionality needed, and the brand has a great reputation as a processor manufacturer." Product features include Lexicon reverb settings, four-band stereo limiter/compressor, five-band parametric EQ, four-band crossover, MIDI control, updatable software and many more - all the devices that would normally occupy 3-4 spaces in an external processing rack. The versatile limiting capabilities are also a great advantage of this dbx product, with health and safety issues currently very much to the fore in the world of in-ear monitoring. Our photo shows Hand Held’s Nick Bruce-Smith (left) with Arbiter’s Peter Owen.
MTFX has just finished the first phase of bringing together all the disciplines of the company under one roof. The group has invested over £500,000 in new premises just north of Bristol. This includes five acres of testing/research grounds and 4,000sq.ft of storage, manufacture and administration offices. The first phase is now complete, with the administration and offices having moved over to the new location. The second phase will be complete by Christmas and will include the transfer of all manufacturing processes, hire equipment, storage and sales stock. MTFX’s managing director Mark Turner told PLASA Media: "These are exciting times for us. For the first time in our nine year history, we will all be under one roof. This will allow all departments to work in unison and should make collections and deliveries much easier."
The company’s new address is Velt House, Velt House Lane, Elmore, Gloucestershire, GL2 3NY. They can be reached on Telephone +44 (0)1452 729903.
Sound and light are working together at the Bose Factory Store in Ashford, Kent, thanks to a state-of-the-art lighting control system from iLight Ltd. With the aim of creating a stimulating in-store experience for customers, the shop is sub-divided into different ‘retail experiences’ to demonstrate the high quality sound and home cinema products. Connected into the audio and AV systems, the iLight system is installed throughout the store as an integral part of the ambience control.
Comprising a mix of seven source controllers, one universal interface and a single two-button stainless steel control panel, the iLight solution is designed to be simple to use. The audio demonstrations and lighting within each retail area are selected via a Crestron touch screen that is connected to the iLight system. The sales executive selects a product on the touch panel and the general lighting in the area is dimmed, the product is illuminated and the demonstration begins. The Bose order was received by iLight’s Norwegian distributor, Nortelco, and supplied and installed by the iLight technical team from their head office in Penshurst, Kent. There are plans to supply another two Bose stores in the UK, plus the opportunity for others stores around Europe.
Federal Signal’s contract to supply advanced voice alarm (VA) equipment for London’s prestigious Canary Wharf development has passed two major milestones. The company has delivered a new VeriFire voice alarm system to Citigroup’s European head offices at Canary Wharf. System acceptance has also been received for a 14-rack VeriFire installation in the HSBC building. This is the latest contract for Federal Signal in its long association with Siemens Building Technologies, which manufacture, supply and install life safety systems for Canary Wharf Contractors Ltd.
A new organization representing professional audio and lighting rental companies has been established in The Netherlands. PRESA - Production Rental Equipment Services Association - like fellow organizations ESTA and PSA, has been set up to promote safe working conditions, high technical standards and regular contact between professional rental companies.
Behind the new association are Ampco Pro Rental, Flashlight, Focus Show Equipment, Improve and R&R Show Equipment, all well established companies in the entertainment industry. Chairman Antoinette Wijffels told PLASA Media: "We have finally managed to create a platform where members can exchange ideas, and one which we hope will lead to an even more professional attitude towards clients. We can now also negotiate on important matters at government level, which, as individual companies, was not possible before."
Barco LED displays were selected by Coca Cola to revolutionize its famous digital billboard at the heart of Piccadilly Circus in London. Coca-Cola Great Britain wanted to ensure that the sign was capable of continuously displaying dynamic images 24 hours a day and therefore the decision was taken to replace the previous projector installation with a highly advanced LED daylight display. As a result, over 52sq.m of DLite 10 has been used to replace the old installation. Barco’s Dual Pixel Technology offers a visual resolution of 10mm, allowing for a smoother picture, shorter viewing distance and enhanced performance. The system features built-in intelligence that enables auto-configuration and allows hot swapping of tiles without interrupting the display of the pictures.
Commissioned by event production company Aztech Productions, Screenco provided LED screens and crew for V2001 in both Chelmsford and Shropshire recently. At Chelmsford, two 32sq.m 25mm LED screens were used stage left and right, whilst two 32sqm JTS17 Jumbotron screens were used stage left and right at Weston Park. As an additional enhancement, a 21.5sqm Lighthouse 20mm daylight screen was used upstage centre as a backdrop for the Red Hot Chilli Peppers set.
In addition to live footage supplied by Mission TV and XL Video, pre-recorded programming for intervals was supplied by Blink TV. Blink also commissioned Screenco to provide LED screens at both the Reading and Leeds festivals this summer. Two 17.5sqm 15mm LED screens were used stage left and right for both venues, whilst an 8.5sqm 15mm LED was also situated FOH at Reading with pre-recorded footage again produced by Blink.
Screenco also provided Jumbotron screens and crew at both Creamfields and Gig on the Green. Commissioned by event management company Polar Arts, the screens were utilized as additional visual conduit for the Radio 1 stage at Creamfields and for the main stage at Gig on the Green. As well as live feeds, the screens were also used to output BT Cellnet’s SMS service, displaying text messages from audience members.
Liverpool-based Ad Lib Audio is the first UK hire company to purchase JBL’s new VerTec line array system. The deal was sealed between Ad Lib and JBL’s UK distributors, Arbiter Pro Audio, at PLASA. The initial order of 16 boxes will go into Ad Lib’s hire stock. The line array is already booked out for a series of events and shows over the upcoming months.
Ad Lib has a reputation for producing some of the country’s most talented live sound engineers working with some of the highest profile international acts. "We are widening our target markets all the time," explains Dockerty. "VerTec looks and sounds excellent and is also popular among American engineers." Ad Lib researched their line array decision carefully. First they heard and saw the VerTec system in action at Arbiter’s demonstration days at the Hammersmith Apollo in May. They then asked to trial it again, close-up, at a Soundcraft Going Live seminar they were involved with the next month. This was quickly followed by the chance to really test the system - at the Miss Monneypenny’s VIP arena at the Ministry of Sound’s Knebworth event at the end of the summer. For contrast, Ad Lib also used a VerTec system at the Royal Court Theatre in Liverpool - one of the many venues for the renowned Matthew Street/Beatles Festival Weekend.
The mighty Embrace launched their third album earlier this month with a special acoustic set for 600 fans at HMV's flagship store on Oxford Street in London. The show kicked off at 11pm to finish in time for the midnight launch of the new album, If You've Never Been. In a continuation of the company's long-standing relationship with the band, Dobson Sound provided all of the audio requirements for the exclusive gig.
Dobson's Bill Woods explained that the system was "nice and straightforward" with a d&b C4 stage system and the customary d&b MAX monitors. Dave ‘Milky’ Millward on FOH used a Yamaha PM3500 while Basil Ferneley on monitors went for a Midas Heritage 3000. "Everything ran like clockwork," said Woods. "The only fly in the ointment, if indeed it could be called that, was the lack of sleep for the crew! The band were due to play another live set later on that day for Steve Lamacq's Evening Session show on Radio One, so we more or less went straight from Oxford Street down to the BBC's studios in Maida Vale. Both gigs went really well and the fans had a great time, so the lack of sleep was worth it."
The Guild of Firework and Pyrotechnic Operators (GFPO), has announced that a National Firers Register is available that aims to register all firework and pyrotechnic firers in order to create a central database of personnel operating within the industry and provide a framework for recording skills and proving competency.
The register is Internet-based, with registered persons receiving a personalized ID card that includes name, ID number and expiry date. Details of the registered person are included on the GFPO website which also has a skills and services search facility. Information, a code of practice, links and news articles will be available on the website for those registered. The launch is set for the beginning of October and any interested persons should visit the GFPO website where they will find further details on how to sign up.
Twenty years ago, Vari-Lite Inc revolutionized the entertainment lighting industry. On Sept. 25,1981, in a dusty bullring in Spain during the first night of the Genesis Abacab tour, Vari-Lite debuted the world’s first automated lighting system. "We couldn’t have known back then what kind of impact we would have on the lighting industry," said Rusty Brutsché, chairman and chief executive officer of Vari-Lite. "But we’ve continued to change with the times, creating innovative new luminaires and control consoles, moving into new markets and always trying to provide excellent, versatile lighting products to lighting designers in all segments of the lighting industry. As we move into the next 20 years, we will continue developing new products for the lighting and production industry."
Vari-Lite’s humble beginnings trace back to a "eureka moment" in 1980 at a Dallas barbecue restaurant. Employees from Showco, originally the parent company of Vari-Lite, came up with the idea of developing an automated lighting system that used a computer to control the movement, colour, dimming and beam shape of each luminaire. Within a year, Vari-Lite was formed as engineers developed and tested the first automated lighting system. "We wouldn’t have made it this far without the people who put their hard work and genuine love into everything we do," Brutsché said. "That includes the people working for Vari-Lite who have created, developed, manufactured and used some of the most advanced lighting systems in the world, th
West London-based Ampekko, the sole UK distributor for German loudspeaker manufacturer WHD, has signed an exclusive arrangement with Uckfield-based installers Blucat at the recent PLASA show, Earls Court, 9-12 September. Blucat, a specialist in supplying and installing independent breweries, leisure and retail units with sophisticated 47-channel satellite music systems, has ordered an initial consignment of WHD MX40s and WHD MX50s, along with specialist amplification from Commax. The company has plans for their imminent use across a variety of integrated systems designs this Autumn.
As Jennifer Linstead, Blucat’s sales director explained: "We are tremendously impressed with the range from WHD. It offers huge potential, particularly as its standard build quality and clarity are well represented in the MX 40 and MX 50. They both offer value through high performance, they’re compact and look good. We’re looking forward to building them into our systems designs."
Not only compact and offering enhanced performance, the WHD MX40 and MX50 offer high standard two-way technology. The former benefits from a 130mm woofer and a 26mm dome tweeter. The MX40 also has an impressive linear frequency response. This coupled with its bass reflex technology, enables excellent low-frequency reproduction. In addition, its wide radiation characteristics allow for a large area with even sound dispersion, minimizing the number of cabinets required and making them ideal in applications where low ceilings and medium noise levels are required. Similarly, the MX 50 is an
Marquee Audio has been appointed a dealer by Crestron UK, manufacturers of touch-screen automation and e-control networking systems. Already a market leader in the corporate boardroom, video-conferencing and home automation markets, where their processors form the hub of sophisticated networking systems, they see the move into entertainment as a logical progression - and Marquee Audio as the ideal company to partner with.Marquee’s sales director Andy Huffer, told us: "Increasingly, we have been asked to integrate DSP matrix systems such as BSS Soundweb into overall control systems - whether in boardroom, theatre or conference facilities - so Crestron seemed to be the natural choice."
Crestron UK’s technical sales manager, Andy Butler, said: "Each component that forms part of a modern audio system comes complete with its own control facility. Whilst relatively good control, it does not provide flexibility and total control over the whole system. Crestron control systems offer seamless integration between each component and therefore provides a practical and easy to use solution."
ESTA has announced that two draft American National Standards are now available for public review via the ESTA website. BSR E1.6, Entertainment Technology - Powered Rigging Systems is available for public review until 18 December 2001. This draft American National Standard establishes safety requirements for the design, manufacture, installation, and use of motorized rigging systems in theaters, theme parks, studios, and other places of public assembly and performance. This document does not address manually powered systems or lifting equipment used in the construction of these spaces.
The second draft standard - BSR E1.4, Entertainment Technology - Manual Rigging Systems is also available for public review until 18 December. This draft American National Standard describes the design, construction, installation and use of manually-powered rigging systems to enhance the safety of these systems. These systems are used in theatres to raise and lower scenery, props, lighting equipment and similar loads over the stage. The standard does not apply to raising and lowering people, or to motorized systems.
The Arts & Entertainment Technical Training Initiative (AETTI) has announced that 12 more candidates undertook the AETTI - Loughborough College Intermediate BTEC Award (General Theatre Technician) during the recent PLASA Exhibition at Earls Court (9-12 September).
Thanks are owed to PLASA for making the space available and to White Light, Blackout-Triple E and Rope Assemblies Ltd for providing teaching materials. Many other companies supplied useful product information for the candidates to take back to their theatres. The course held at PLASA followed previous courses and was one of several in the pipeline at various locations. The General Theatre Technician course, which is divided into three modules, was held across the first three days of the PLASA Show. Attendees could either choose to complete all three modules at the Show, or begin with one or two modules and complete the course at a later date.
Joe Aveline, secretary of AETTI, commented: "It is reassuring that most of those on the course are working and were given the three days off to attend. They have been financially supported by their employers, who realise the value of a nationally-recognized certificate. In addition, the feedback from those doing courses has been enormously positive and supportive."
Matthew Griffiths (PLASA CEO and chairman of AETTI) added: "PLASA recognizes the value of and need for properly certified training. By combining this with the support of the PLASA Show and the initiative of the AETTI and Loughborough College, we have been able to help provide a valuable trainin
EML Productions, based in Holland and Belgium, has confirmed the purchase of two substantial Vari-Litecontrol console and Series 2000 luminaire systems from Vari-Lite Europe in London. The systems are destined for two major new European productions: Joop van den Ende Theatre Productions have purchased one for Disney’s production of Aida in Holland, with Stage Holding Germany spec’ing one for Disney’s The Lion King in Hamburg.
In total, EML Productions has purchased four of the new Vari-Lite Virtuoso DX compact control consoles, along with 92 VL2202 spot luminaires and 61 VL2402 wash luminaires. Disney’s production of Aida at Schedenend in Holland marks the first time this production, which opens in October, has been seen in Europe. To light it, EML Productions in Belgium is supplying Joop van den Ende with two Virtuoso DX consoles, 59 VL2202 spot luminaires and 27 VL2402 wash luminaires. The show’s lighting designer, Natasha Katz, along with associate LD Daniel Walker and associate automated lighting designer Aland Henderson worked closely with Vari-Lite, to take care of some of the specific artistic needs that are unique to this production. It’s the first time that the Series 2000 range of luminaires have been used on an Aida production, and will also be one of the biggest Vari-Lite rigs ever seen in Holland.
The new production of Disney’s The Lion King in Hamburg is also the first time this internationally-acclaimed show has employed Series 2000 luminaires and Virtuoso DX control consoles. For this production, lighting design
A former DMC winner and now DJ with Moby, ‘RJ’ visited the PLASA Show to stop by Lamba plc who provide him with his Stanton SK2F mixer and 650L cartridges. During a break from touring RJ, who has been working with Stanton products for the last year or so, explained how he received the phone call from Moby - who had heard a number of RJ’s remixes - and asked him to leave the studio world for a life on the road. "He had another DJ at the time, Spinbad; but he had other commitments and I went straight out to play in front of 70,000 people at Glastonbury, with no soundcheck, before embarking on a world tour."
Three months before everything was confirmed he started putting his rig together. "Equipment wise I had been looking for a pair of turntables with the straight tonearm philosophy since I won the DMC competition back in 1985, while for the mixer I chose the Stanton SK2F." Featuring an all silver body with a blue anodised aluminium Protekt panel, the SK-2F is been fitted with the latest generation Focus Fader, a true digital optical crossfader designed by DJ Focus and the OS2 optical scratch switch. It is the first mixer to utilize this technology.
Lamba plc’s Paul Bierton confirmed that with the likelihood of RJ spending an increasing amount of time Stateside, an agreement has been set up with Stanton Magnetics, who will provide full back-up for the DJ while working in the US. In fact Moby will shortly be heading off for brief touring seasons in New York and Tampa. Our picture shows RJ flanked by Laurent Cohen, Stanton product
The recently expanded Creative Technology has quickly gained official IT and AV supplier status on a number of high profile exhibitions, including the recent Total Publishing 2001 show at Olympia in London. Contracted by organizers Quantum Business Media, Creative Technology supplied a semi-permanent network of PC hardware and iMacs for the Technology Theatre, which was used by numerous exhibitors for training workshops aimed at visitors to the show. Extensive use of sound equipment and IT data presentations were also incorporated for assisted product demonstrations.
Additionally, Creative Technology has gained official show status for numerous ongoing events, spearheaded by CT’s Exhibition Organiser’s account manager Beth Hathaway, recruited earlier this year. Based at CT’s NEC office, Beth covers the whole country and since joining has secured a number of exhibition contracts with preferred supplier status including BBC Good Food 2001, Interbuild 2002, Hotelympia and Sports Industry 2002, Trident Exhibitions, Dive Show, Sound Broadcasting Equipment and Speciality and Fine Food amongst others. Also secured with official status - by the CT London office - is TMA Ventures 2001, which takes place in Brighton on October 29-31. TMA Ventures is the commercial subsidiary of the CMA (Communications Management Association) - the business user association for communications professionals. TMAV provides a range of leading media and information services within the Telecoms and IT arena.
Specialists in the concert and corporate event markets, sound production company WE Audio, has broken into the theatre world with a new touring soul musical production, headlining Ruby Turner. Called Hold On, the show was written by Kwame Kwei-Armah, directed by Andy Hay and is promoted by Paddy Wilson’s Hold On UK. The sound system has been designed by WE Audio’s Wayne Barker, who has extended his inventory of Turbosound equipment with a major purchase from Shepperton-based Marquee Audio.
Barker, who has systematically built up his Floodlight stock from Marquee, realized that a different approach was needed to crack the intricacies of raucous ensemble sound, which requires speech intelligibility and even coverage, delayed into the rear stalls and upper balcony, with under-balcony infills. And so after deliberation, he invested heavily in Turbosound’s QLight series. He acquired 14 three-way TQ-440s (two powered and 12 unpowered) and eight TQ-425 bass systems (two powered and six unpowered). The powered enclosures are used for stage fills and the remainder form the FOH rig, with the 440’s flown over the ground-stacked TQ-425s. WE Audio also purchased 12 TFM-230 two-way floor monitors, which double up with eight TFM-330s from his existing inventory.
The bi-amped TQ-440 and TQ-425 are designed to be used with the LMS-D6 digital system controller, 10 of which formed part of Wayne Barker’s order with Marquee Audio. The remit was completed with the acquisition of five racks of Turbosound-badged MC2 TMC-750/1250 amplifiers. Also used on the show
Grand Central Recording Studios has recently purchased an Audient ASP510 surround sound management system to augment the post production facility based in Soho, London. Clients of this well-known studio consist of major advertising agencies and television production companies. The ASP510 interfaces with a Digidesign Protools and Procontrol system in Studio 3a, the music production suite catering for both stereo and 5.1.
Technical and financial director Ivor Taylor comments: "The ASP510 offers a solution for the problem of surround monitoring for a mixed stereo, surround and 5.1 set up. It is straightforward, easy to understand and well engineered with good back-up from the manufacturer."
Installing the ASP510 into this prestigious studio was also hassle free. "It came straight out of the box and it was all there, no hunting for any other parts or interfaces," Taylor addded. The ASP510 and other products in the Audient range are available from the Expotus distributor network.
The LDI Show will go ahead as planned from November 2-4 in Orlando. In response to a number of enquiries following the events in New York and Washington, the organizers are keen to reassure people, through a statement posted on their website, that the exhibition will go ahead as usual. "We at LDI would like to express our deepest sympathy to all who are affected by the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Our thoughts are with you. We cannot let terrorists bring world business to a halt and we at LDI and Primedia Business Exhibitions feel it is very important that all businesses show their resilience. At this time, we do not foresee major disruptions for a smooth and successful show floor opening on Friday, November 2, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. LDInstitute is still scheduled to open on Monday, October 29."
If any exhibitors or visitors have any questions or concerns about the Show, they should contact any of the following people: Paul Stratton, LDI Show Director Tel: + 1 720-489-3118 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ellen Lampert-Gréaux, LDI Conference Director Tel: +1 212-229-2965 x 830 email@example.com
Jacqueline Tien, Publisher, Lighting Dimensions, Entertainment Design Tel: +1 212-229-2965 x 815 firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also look at PLASA Media’s LDI Factsheet at www