It is rare that a state-of-the-art digital lighting desk should find itself on a school's shopping list, but when Design Technology teacher, Kevin Dutton, from Ninestiles School (a leading technology college in Birmingham), attended last year's PLASA Show there was only one thing on his mind.
By the time he left Earls Court he had placed an order for a 48-channel Strand Lighting 300 Series desk through AC Lighting. With a background in theatre, Dutton has been a regular visitor to PLASA over the past five years. He operates as part of a team that includes Jo Falk and Eddie Halliday from the English faculty, that seeks to promote and educate students about lighting and sound. Ninestiles, which offers its 1400+ students a broad spectrum of GCSE, GNVQ and A Level subjects, has already earned a top accolade from Ofsted, as the school with the highest teaching standards in the country. Dutton says: "Our ambition over the next three to four years is to ensure that every student is assigned their own laptop, as we are working towards ‘anytime anywhere’ learning."
The school has two auditoriums - a drama studio and the school hall, the latter generally configured in the round for school productions. "In the last five years there has been a positive attitude towards developing the school’s technical facilities for performing arts and drama, and this has culminated in the purchase of the 300 desk," Dutton continued. Funding was provided by the PTA, ‘Friends of Ninestiles School’ and Birmingham City Council’s local initiative
The Board of Standards Review of the American National Standards Institute has approved ESTA's "Entertainment Technology - Recommendations for Inclusions in Fog Equipment Manuals." This standard now becomes ANSI E1.14-2001, and is the third ESTA standard approved by ANSI this year. The ANSI E1.14 project was started by a group of fog equipment dealers who were unhappy with the amount and quality of the information found in the manuals of some of the equipment they handle. The equipment manual is the primary document for telling the end-user how to use the equipment safely and effectively, but some of the fog machine manuals said very little beyond ‘Fill with fluid. Plug in. Make fog.’ The proposed standard lists the information that should be included in fog equipment manuals to ensure that the user has enough information to use the equipment properly. ANSI E1.14-2001 is available at no cost on the ESTA website as an Adobe Acrobat PDF file. Go to the web address below for the link to the download page.
The newly-formed London-based PA rental company Blitz Sound (formerly TP Sound), has given a significant boost to its hire inventory with the purchase of 10 Crest X4 consoles from exclusive UK distributor The Sound Department - through dealers, Marquee Audio. The desks are intended for use as Blitz Sound’s standard consoles for small- to medium-sized shows within the corporate and conference markets and also for small musical and theatrical events. They replace existing stock in an ever-expanding hire facility. To date, the desks have been in operation on such events as the Opel Vivaro car launch in Germany and a Millennium Dance Company Show staged in London. Crest’s X4 consoles occupy a privileged position in the marketplace. As Blitz director Dave Perry illustrates, "The X4’s are really the only desk of that size, with the number of inputs and outputs that we need - with the requisite build quality that we require, and at a price that suits."
An XTA Electronics SiDD (Seriously Intelligent Digital Dynamics) processor has become, in the space of one tour, a vital component in conveying Gary Moore’s vocal power on stage. Moore’s front-of-house engineer, Andy May, decided to experiment with the multi-dynamics device after trying "virtually every compressor on the planet, from all the familiar units to the most esoteric American kit." Capital Sound is providing the tour’s audio production, with a Martin Wavefront 8 system, itself controlled by XTA DP226 digital loudspeaker processors. Both the DP226 and SiDD are based on XTA’s proprietary AudioCore DSP engine. The Gary Moore band is a straight-ahead four-piece line-up. The rig includes a Midas Heritage 3000 desk, Martin LE700 wedges, and Crown Macrotech amplification. Graham Lilley is production manager and Danny Stead mixes monitors.
May explains the challenge: "Gary sings and plays with a lot of passion and adrenalin, which works the vocal audio chain to the limits. He also likes a high guitar level on stage, so when he walks away from the microphone, the guitar sound floods into the mic, which means a lot of riding the faders for me. I’ve tried every kind of compressor on his vocal and none has ever really done the job of managing the dynamics without compromising the energy of his performance or the sound quality. SiDD goes a long way to solving that problem; it’s simply a brilliant product."
From a situation where an almost unknown client would purchase the occasional lamp, Lighting Technology has found itself supplying equipment for space equipment testing, with lighting units from Arri key to the project. With help from Mike Perry of Arri, Lighting Technology’s Jonathan Price and Andy Dodd demonstrated the Arrisun 60 6kW HMI fixtures to TS Space Systems of Marlow, who have since ordered the units for one of their test programmes. The company designs and builds test equipment for acceptance of materials and sub-assemblies for spacecraft, with space simulation chambers, ion thruster chambers and testing of solar cells and panels.
TS Space Systems’ Bill Williams said: "As part of the tests for UV ageing of materials, most tests have up to now used DC xenon or mercury arc lamps. However, HMI lamps have come on in leaps and bounds, are lower in cost, involve no water cooling, and provide roughly twice the light output. For the tests involved we run a twin 6kW system, whereby should a lamp fail, a motor-driven unit automatically moves the failed unit away and brings the other unit into play."
He continued: "We are delighted with all the help and technical support received from Lighting Technology. The tests are now successfully under way and the units are providing an excellent spectrum and level of intensity."
UK band Toploader have set themselves up with a travelling demo studio using a Tascam 788 8-track Digital Portastudio. Guitarist Julian Deane was the first to convert to the unit: "We’ve been using a live sampler set-up for the last five years," he explained. "It’s had a fair bit of wear and tear on the road, being thrown into the backs of trucks and what have you. We’ve decided to switch over to an MDM format and the Tascam is renowned for its quality and endurance. It also interfaces with the Spirit digital desk. All of the outputs will be going into my desk and I will be dubbing it up as ususal."
Hosted by Jerry Springer, Channel Five’s ‘Greed’ hit UK television screens this month, as contestants battled to answer a series of eight questions heading for a total one million pounds prize money. Pearson Television, London, bought the worldwide rights for the winning formula of US-based Fox Television Network's 'Greed', first screened in the USA in 1999/2000. Since March 2000 it has been sold to 17 different countries, the most recent production being in the UK. It is already a hit in Portugal, Israel, Germany, Finland and Denmark, amongst others. Production company A1 Set was commissioned to design the UK set which features a bank vault, a safe door and deposit boxes alongside piles of gold bullion. A1’s Andy Walmsley, who also designed the set for Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, commissioned Blackout Triple E to supply and rig three truss circles, 12m, 9m, and 5m in external diameter, from which 31 VL6Cs, 12 VL5s, five VL6s and four VL7s have been hung to provide the main lighting for the show. "The circular truss are silver and form the ceiling to the entire set - we wanted something that could be heavily featured as a central focus rather than concealed," commented Walmsley.
South African-based Matrix Sound recently supplied four Trantec S4000 IEM transmitters and 18 S4000 IEM receivers for use by the cast of Grease, The Stadium Spectacular, staged at Johannesburg Stadium. The lead characters, Danny and Sandy, had their own in-ear mix, as did the rest of the support cast. Although the vast stage area was covered by side-fills and wedge monitors, due to the sheer size of the production - andthe delayed sound returning from the rear of the stadium - it was decided that an in-ear system would aid the artists’ timing for song and dance numbers. Custom moulds were manufactured for all 18 performers as the S4000 IEMs made their first large-scale South African stage debut. The ability to operate on higher frequencies within the Channel 62/64 range ensured an interference-free performance from the 18 headset radios and 12 radio comms being used simultaneously on the show. Grease played to 60,000 people at Johannesburg Stadium and was very well received. Danny was played by South African, Craig Urbani, fresh from playing the role of Buddy Holly in London’s West End, while Sandy was played by fellow South African Amra Faye. The show also starred South African superstar Yvonne Chaka Chaka and popular breakfast radio show DJ Jeremy Mansfield as Vince Fontein.
One of Oslo’s biggest theatres, Sentrum Scene West, has upgraded its front-of-house system with a new Sony DMX-R100 8-bus digital mixing console. The 1,000 seat venue needed a flexible desk which could be instantly reconfigured for a variety of roles, yet which offered high sound quality. The theatre stages a wide range of productions, including live concerts, theatrical performances and one-off special events, and previously the engineers would have to reset the FOH console for each new show. However, by using the DMX-R100 on-board snapshot automation, this can now be achieved with the touch of a button.
Kjetil Husoey, the theatre’s sound designer, said: "With so many different projects running in the theatre at the same time, we needed a console that had the flexibility and more importantly a snapshot automation facility. Other contenders were considered, but would have been double the cost of the Sony."
Mobil Tech UK has recently announced two exclusive distributorship agreements to promote and sell their products. Liverpool-based Adlite will be the main distributor in the north of England, whilst The Warehouse Ltd will be selling exclusively in Scotland from their Edinburgh headquarters and shortly from their brand new showroom in Glasgow. Both companies will be selling the complete range of Mobil Tech stands, trussing and accessories as well as the new range of lighting effects. As Mobil Tech UK sales manager Peter Stressing comments: "These agreements will allow us to concentrate our sales effort fully throughout the whole of the UK market. Adlite and The Warehouse will be able to promote our full range of products as well as providing a local focus point for customers in that both companies will be carrying a full range of products for demonstration."
This move has been prompted by the increasing popularity and growth in sales of Mobil Tech products, notably for stands such as the popular SP2TA and the 'Rolls Royce' of the stand fleet, the ALP5. Likewise sales of aluminium trussing are growing, notably for the 250 and 290 section trussing in triangular and box sections. Additionally, as a counter to the traditional lighting stand top section of 32mm, Mobil Tech UK are now able to offer a reducer from 35mm to 32mm that will enable customers to use Mobil Tech stands without necessarily replacing their stock of adapters in one go. Adlite can be contacted on 0151 486 2214, and The Warehouse Ltd on 0131 555 6900.
New York City’s Carnegie Hall has become the world’s first concert hall to include a Yamaha PM1D digital mixing system, as part of a recent audio system upgrade, which also included a Myere Sound loudspeaker system. The design was completed by David Andrews of Andrews Audio, John Monitto from Meyer Sound and acoustical consultants Art-Tec, who performed extensive acoustic and RASTI measurements. The decision to purchase a large format digital front of house console came about through recommendations, and the need for future expansion. "We had an analogue board for 11 years, and it worked very well," said head of sound John Cardinale. "However, we were intrigued by the capabilities and the sound of digital consoles when they were first introduced, so we convinced management to make an investment in a quality front of house console as part of our upgrade. Our decision to go with the PM1D was based, for the most part, on an established paradigm in sound reinforcement," he continues, "and that’s the signal flow and layout of the Yamaha PM4000. The majority of the touring acts that come to Carnegie Hall specify a 4000 on their rider, and the control surface of the PM1D is very similar. We found that you can set it up to work on the surface, and don’t have to page through menus."
Carnegie Hall’s main PA consists of a centre cluster, comprised of three Meyer powered MSL4 cabinets and four CQ1 cabinets, with side stacks consisting of four MSL4 and two PSW2 cabinets. "The front-fills are UPM1Ps that lay across the st
Studio Brussel is one of Belgium's most vibrant radio stations catering for the dance-orientated youth market. For their annual party this year they decided to go for a full-on festival held in Kuipke, the old velodrome in Ghent. A total of seven different venues were used to showcase the best of both Belgian and international talent. The main stage was in Kuipke and featured acts such as the Postmen, 28 days, Starflam, the Guano Apes and many more. Acoustic sessions took place in the Casino with the likes of Novastar, Monza and Luc de Vos, while other attractions included a drive-in movie theatre, cabaret, and DJ sets from Cut la Roc and Luke Slater. The welcome area included a live broadcast studio and a display of artwork from famous Belgian artist Panamarenko.
Dee Sound of Belgium was responsible for supplying the audio requirements for this high profile event. Both the main stage and the casino were equipped with the Synco Touring loudspeaker system. After the gig the Guano Apes engineer commented: "It's a great system it gives you lots of headroom at high SPLs without loss of clarity." It was also the ideal opportunity to put the two newly-purchased Midas Heritage 3000s through their paces, particularly as the consoles were used for both FOH and monitoring purposes. According to Andre Schneider (owner of Dee Sound): "The desks are so clearly mapped out I have no worries letting visitors work on them. "
The event was attended by 10,000 people who partied until dawn. The Studio Brussel team, who confessed to a slight case of butterflies before
Barco’s high-performance projection systems have been selected for the Italian Museum Cinema in Turin. This tall museum in Antonelli’s Mole covers 3200sq.m, and is full of cinema exhibits. Euphon, one of Italy’s leading specialists in broadcast, communication and AV integration, has installed 10 Barco 708 Series CRT and 2 Barco 6000 Series LCD projectors. They were chosen because of the unmatched image quality. The Museum of Cinema, an ancient Temple of the Jewish Community, is home to five levels of exhibitions with thousands of film posters, photographs, books, periodicals, paintings, prints and film equipment. A journey through the magic of film provides the visitors a course on the archeology of cinema and the various stages of film production to end in the spectacular and immense Temple Hall, the heart of the museum. In this area, visitors can relax, watch two Italian 35mm films and enjoy the extraordinary video and light show, which runs every 18 minutes. Surrounding this central hall, the audience can visit 10 chapels, dedicated to the history of cinema.
Euphon was chosen to work out the impressive audio-visual installation for the museum project. This leading Italian audio-visual integrator designed a tailor-made solution, based on the requirements for every specific zone of the building. On the first level, dedicated to pre-cinema, Barco’s 6000 Series LCD projection technology provides the visitors with very bright and sharp video images. In addition, each of the ‘chapels’ around the Temple Hall is equipped with a Barco 708 Ser
Members of the ALD (Association of Lighting Designers) and the STLD (Society of Television Lighting Directors) along with other lighting designers have been invited to Wybron's Open Day for a demonstration of the Autopilot II system. The demonstration will be held at the Prince of Wales Theatre, London, where the Autopilot II is currently in use on the production of The Witches of Eastwick. Autopilot II is Wybron's automated followspot system, which is very easy to set up, use and monitor from a PC. Lighting designer Kevin Burgess will demonstrate its full potential and show how it's used in Witches. "We are really excited to have Kevin Burgess, the true Autopilot II ‘expert’, with us on the Open Day," says Mike Goldberg, manufacturer's representative for Wybron, who is arranging the event, which takes place at 3pm on May 25th. Goldberg can be contacted at the e-mail address given below.
Vari-Lite Inc partnered this month with Clearwing Productions Inc. of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to increase the availability of Vari*Lite automated lighting equipment for a variety of entertainment, corporate and special events throughout the United States. Clearwing Productions evaluated the future of the automated lighting market for several months before adding VL2402 wash luminaires and VL2202 spot luminaires to its wide variety of production services. "The partnership with Clearwing Productions is another step in our ongoing effort to increase the availablity and use of Vari*Lite products," said Ken Matthews, vice-president of sales and marketing at Vari-Lite. "Clearwing is a proven leader in production services, and we are proud to associate Vari-Lite with a company that has secured a solid reputation for delivering only the highest quality products and services."
Tony Trovato, lighting department manager at Clearwing Productions, said that Clearwing had purchased VL2402 wash luminaires and VL2202 spot luminaires as part of an ongoing effort to expand its in-house services to include intelligent lighting equipment. "When Vari-Lite finally made fixtures available to own, we just had to purchase some," said Tony Trovato.
Clearwing Productions provides sound, lighting, staging and backline services to one of the country's largest music festivals, Summerfest, as well as numerous other prestigious corporate, festival and concert clients.
Multiplex, the Australian company renowned for its on-time completion of the Stadium Australia for the Sydney 2000 Olympics, is currently working on upgrading Chelsea Football Club's Stamford Bridge ground. As part of this, its on-site contractor SVT were asked to look at the arrangements for evacuation in cases of emergency such as bomb threats. Deciding that a new system was required they turned to a partnership of ASL's world-leading PA equipment and Navica Ltd's rack-building expertise for this flagship installation. ASL's products from the core of the Incident Evacuation system, which will be used to control and evacuate the crowd inside the stadium. The primary fire evacuation system, in this case, will continue to use conventional sounders but should it be necessary, ASL's system can be configured to be fully compliant to the standards required of a primary fire evacuation system.
Terry Crouch of SVT is delighted with both the equipment and the support during the design, rack build and commissioning process from ASL and Navica. He stated: "The key thing for me about the system is that it's so simple to wire, configure and use. The entire process is so easy using ASL's clear and concise instructions and frankly, in our business, less wires means less mistakes and money saved."
The Royal Albert Hall has recently purchased eight Clay Paky Stage Zoom 1200s for use in the famous auditorium. Supplied by Clay Paky and Pulsar reseller AC Lighting Ltd, the Stage Zoom units will be used to complement all visiting showcase events. Technical manager Mark Jones explained why he chose the Stage Zoom: "Due to the diverse nature of the shows in the hall and the varying distance that the units are from the stage, we were looking for a zoom profile with high light output. After a product comparison of all the 1200 moving head projectors on the market, we chose the Zoom because it is exceptionally bright with good colour mixing, the gobos can be changed easily, it is quiet and most importantly, reliable."
Europe’s largest outdoor advertising screen is sited on the C&A building in central Berlin’s famous Kurfurstendam, and is fully integrated into the architecture of the building. It features 100sq.m of Lighthouse LVP502 screen modules, measuring 10 panels wide by 8 high. The whole of this part of central Berlin has been substantially rebuilt in recent years and the new screen will be the eye-catching centrepiece for one of the city’s liveliest streets. Statistically, the site offers advertisers the opportunity for their commercials to be seen by more people than anywhere else in the city. Media! AG carried out the installation, and will operate the screen and its control system, while advertising sales and marketing are being handled by MIM in Hamburg.
Advertisers include blue chip companies, with the first to sign up being C&A themselves, and Media! AG anticipates the screen will be used mostly to display moving video (in the form of commercials), although it is equally capable of showing still video and computer graphics images. For further versatility, Media! AG has installed a satellite link and the screen can be remotely driven. Hans-Peter Mack, CEO of Media! AG, says: "This is the first of its kind anywhere in Germany, and is the first of a network of screens that will be located all around Germany and Central Europe."
The Greater London Authority in temporary residence in Westminster has contracted Recreation Sound to supply the conference equipment necessary for the public council meetings for sound reinforcement, broadcast to news media and for live transmission on the GLA website. To assist them in this, Recreation Sound opted for a beyerdynamic MCS system: "We looked at different systems for the GLA system, and we were impressed by the sound quality of the beyer MCS system," commented Mark Trigg, managing director of Recreation Sound. John Kensington is the system operator and was impressed by the ease of the system’s operation: "I control everything from the laptop. In the excitement of the discussions and debates, the participants can forget to turn on their microphones and it’s as easy as a mouse-click for me. We leave Ken's [Livingstone] mic on all the time as he has most to say and as the entire meeting is recorded we don't want to miss any of his rhetoric!"
The entire system is installed in the Marsham Street venue by Recreation Sound for major meeting or by the GLA's own technical staff for smaller internal meetings and has to be de-rigged after use as the room is used for other functions. The central control rack also includes Drawmer DAs for News Media isolated feeds, Denon recorders, an Allen & Heath DR66 mixer and a Nexo PA system.
Production Resource Group company Fourth Phase has announced the opening of a London facility to service the theatrical and corporate theatre market, with Alan Thomson at the helm as managing director. Fourth Phase West London (formerly Production Arts Europe), providing large-format projection systems, has been relocated to this location. Rental operations are based in Croydon, while a sales office is located in Central London.Thomson told PLASA Media: "Fourth Phase London is a small compact facility incorporating the consolidated inventory of The Spot Company, Midnight Design and projection equipment from Production Arts. Our approach is very targeted, assisting designers who are looking for a personalised, friendly and professional service. The rental team is comprised of James Hall and Jedd Hamilton. In the coming months, we will incorporate a state-of-the-art CAD WYSIWYG facility into our Central London sales office. This offers designers a comfortable, convenient location to prepare events."
Audience members attending Hugh Whitemore’s new play God Only Knows at The Vaudeville Theatre in London may not realise that they are witnessing a small revolution in theatre sound design: Aura associate Robert Tory and Aura director John Leonard have decided to make it the West-End’s first ‘mixing-desk free’ show . . .
The original touring equipment list, supplied to the production by Autograph Sound, included a Yamaha 02R digital desk, along with an Akai S6000 sampler, playing out through Richmond Sound Design’s AudioBox and controlled by RSD’s Showman show-control program to replay the atmospheric sound effects mix, and to ‘fly’ a sinister helicopter effect around the auditorium for the play’s denouement. Both Tory and Leonard, along with Aura’s show-control expert Scott George, were keen to investigate the latest option for AudioBox users, CM Automation’s MotorMix, which adds a motorised fader-pack to Richmond’s audio-playback matrix. The unit facilitates hands-on programming and provides a fader mimic for the AudioBox, as well as providing full remote control for show-running. Following Aura’s comprehensive use of the AudioBox and associated ABEdit software for Madame Tussaud’s New York exhibition (see L&SI, Dec 2000), Leonard and George were confident that the entire show could be handled just by the AudioBox and MotorMix combination and that any other front-end equipment could safely be made redundant.
Aura specified a complete double system, with a standby AudioBox tracking the m
Le Maitre, the name behind a respected range of pyrotechnics, smoke generators and theatre effects for the entertainment industry, has recently restructured.
The Peterborough-based company, with offices in Mitcham and both Canada and the USA, has taken steps not only to remove some previously held misconceptions, but also to expoit its growing presence in a range of new markets.
The most immediate change is the removal of the word ‘fireworks’ from the company name; from now on it will face the industry simply as Le Maitre Ltd. In the UK, Rick Wilson will continue as sales director, working in the company’s more traditional markets, whilst director Karen Haddon will concentrate on the contracts side of the business, developing Le Maitre’s presence in the touring and production markets. Display manager Richard Huffam will service clients on the contracts side, whilst Steve Ramos becomes UK sales manager and Sam Samkin will look for new clients on the events and displays side.
The changes are designed to stimulate further business for the company - a move that has already been given some impetus by the success of the Prostage II pyrotechnic system. Its launch has gained it a higher profile in the burgeoning theme park and leisure markets, particularly in growth regions such as South America and the Far East. These trends have been complemented by steady growth in other sectors.
To facilitate further expansion, the company has recently acquired the unit adjoining its head office in Peterborough - in so doing doubling its current space at the site
MDG’s Non-Stop haze, fog and low fog generators, which come with a 10-year warranty, are now available in the UK from AC Lighting Ltd. MDG machines employ CO2 gas for their propellant and have an in-built Automatic Purging System (APS) which purges the heating module after the first heating cycle and after every emission of fog, preventing residual build up and clogging. The complete range includes the Atmosphere and Touring Atmosphere Haze Makers, the MAX 3000 and MAX 5000 Fog Makers, the ICE Fog low fog generator and ICE Fog Touring low fog generator. The ICE FOG models can produce an overwhelming effect of pure white fog capable of filling an area up to 1000 cubic metres.
A unique hazing system is encompassed in the Atmosphere models that utilises a safe mineral oil that is heated to a precise temperature and infused with inert CO2 gas to exponentially reduce particle size (0.5 - 0.7 microns). This produces a non-stop haze with a greatly improved hang time, while dramatically reducing both fluid consumption and residue. Options for the products include remote control, two-channel DMX interface and flightcases. MDG Fog Generators, MDG Neutral Fog Fluid and MDG Low Fog Fluid are available from stock at AC Lighting with immediate effect.
Artistic Licence has developed a custom colour-changing LED module called ‘Street LED’ specifically for a new installation that has just opened in Plymouth, Devon. The Plymouth Pannier market project was designed and installed by Pyramid Productions using an all-Artistic Licence system. Individual control of the Street LED modules was provided by an LVD-12 in the base of each tower. Each LVD-12 was controlled by a Show-Control 60-channel DMX512 controller.