Racing Channel broadcaster, Satellite Information Services, has upgraded its studio equipment to include Trantec radio systems. The installation included a Trantec S5000IEM transmitter with two receivers and two Trantec S5000L systems, under the supervision of SIS's installation engineer, Julian Stevens. The lapel mics give the two presenters greater freedom of mobility than they have previously enjoyed and they will be receiving information via the IEM in-ear receivers.
Britannia Row Productions ended the year by supplying the sound system and technical staff for the New Year's Eve opening celebrations at London's Millennium Dome. The event was broadcast to millions across the world and although the invited audience at the Dome numbered only 15,000, the area to be covered by sound was considerably larger than a standard arena. Given the source material and the dispersion needed, it was decided to augment the main 48-pair Flashlight left and right system with six Flashlight delays. Floodlight, and the new TCS-56 enclosures, were used for audience infill. Brit Row's touring clients during 1999 included Robbie Williams, Simply Red, The Pet Shop Boys, Chemical Brothers and Nine Inch Nails, with events covered including Glastonbury, The Brits, The MTV EMA awards and the Miss World competition.
To see in the new millennium, three Megascreens were supplied by Unitek direct to Birmingham City Council to be positioned in two city centre locations. One 18sq.m LED screen was situated adjacent to the main stage, situated at one end of the square, whilst the other screen was positioned in the middle of the square, screening performances by acts such as The Honeys, Roy Wood of Wizard and Sir Cliff Richard to a crowd of 20,000 people. The third screen, measuring 32sq.m, relayed the action to the crowd 'overspill' in Victoria Square. Additional shows including family events and an open air disco sponsored by BRMB utilised the screens until January 2.
2000 has begun well for the Oxford Sound Company, with contracts being confirmed with a cumulative value of over £1.5m for design and installation work. Included in the record-breaking month for the company are two voice-captioning suites for BBC Television in London, a fully digital re-build and re-location of all of BBC Aberdeen, sound and communications for all of RADA's three new theatres, as well as the new Soho Theatre in London, and the Derry Theatre in Londonderry, and a sound system for the Regents Park Theatre.
Sony projectors, plasma displays and television monitors are forming part of the AV display at a new sports bar in Prague, capital of the Czech Republic. The ice hockey-themed Jagr's Sport Bar is the first in a new chain of restaurants to make extensive use of Sony AV systems, featuring LCD projection systems, wireless microphones, amplifiers and multi-speaker audio systems. The centrepiece of the bar is a large projection cube consisting of four VPL-S900E LCD projector screens, each delivering a powerful 1100 ANSI lumen output, suspended above the central bar. A further 34 video monitors are positioned around the walls, comprising both KV-14M1k and KV-21T1K units. The audio system includes SRP-S520 and SRP-S320 speaker systems plus an SRP-B900 subwoofer, powered by SRP series amplifiers. Wireless microphones include Freedom series mic systems, as well as an ECM-310BMP headset mic, with signals mixed by an SRP-X6004 mixer.
At the recent AGM of the Society of Television Lighting Designers (STLD), the Society honoured the support it had received over the past 25 years from Strand Lighting. Bernie Davies, secretary of the STLD, presented a special award to Alan Luxford, Strand's long-serving sales manager, who was present at the very first meeting of the STLD which was held at Strand Electric's King Street showroom in Covent Garden, and has supported the society ever since.
PLASA Publishing has received official confirmation that Cue Pro Audio Services went into liquidation at the close of last year. The company, based in London offered a repair service to the audio industry and was an authorised service centre for a host of manufacturers Carver, Denon, Furman, Omniphonics, Sony, Panasonic, Ramsa, RTS, Telex, Kramer and Yamaha. A creditors meeting took place on the 22nd November, 1999, at which point insolvency practitioners McCann Taylor were appointed as liquidators.
Stonewood Electronics Ltd, the manufacturer of the Metro Audio intercom products, has informed PLASA Publishing that it has purchased the name, good will and trading title of Metro Audio, which was liquidated last November. The company has formed Stonewood Audio Ltd, which will distribute the professional intercom products together with Stonewood's new product range, which includes a full duplex multi-channel wireless intercom system using true duplex beltpacks. Steve Gunn has been appointed sales manager of Stonewood Audio Ltd.
PLASA Publishing has learnt that VLPS (Europe) is to be sold to a European-based consortium. Although the move has not been officially confirmed by parent company Vari-Lite International Inc, VLPS Europe is understood to have all but completed the paperwork for a management buy-out backed by a venture capital company based in Sweden. A letter of intent is in place and confirmation of the deal is expected in the next few weeks. Vari-Lite Europe, together with Theatre Projects/Concert Productions and Brilliant Stages, became part of the Vari-Lite Inc Group in 1994 when the Samuelson Group sold off the companies. It later merged with Theatre Projects to form VLPS London.
Dolby Laboratories has announced that MARS (Multimedia Archive & Retrieval Systems) On-line has begun using Dolby Digital for the delivery of audio to professional broadcasters and the production community via the Internet. MARS On-line provides an Internet library music archive via a comprehensive on-line database search engine. The audio is stored, encoded and distributed using Liquid Audio technology, which employs Dolby Digital audio encoding.
Ausio-visual design and installation specialist Sarner International has been chosen by Purbeck District Council to produce a new interactive tourist attraction for the Swanage Heritage Centre. The new exhibition will provide an overview of the area's history and development, stretching as far back as the Jurassic period, with a display of dinosaur footprints found at a nearby quarry. Sarner is responsible for the entire attraction, including the creation of static displays and information videos. The centre is due to open in April 2000.
The recently-opened Royal Opera House isn't experiencing much luck since its £214 million redevelopment. Following technical problems and cancellations on a run of recent productions, the Opera House was beset by further problems during a recent performance of Sir Harrison Birtwistle's Gawain. The production was brought to a halt part-way through a performance when one of the lift mechanisms intended to transport a performer into position failed to operate effectively. The production was temporarily halted and later resumed - by the time the curtain came down it had fallen 40 minutes behind schedule.
ESTA has announced that the draft American National Standard BSR E1.14, Entertainment Technology - Recommendations for Inclusions in Fog Machine Manuals, is available for public review until March 14, 2000. The draft standard applies to the instruction manuals for fog machines manufactured for use in the entertainment industry, and describes what information should be included in fog machine manuals to help ensure that users operate these machines safely and effectively. A copy of the above standard may be obtained from the ESTA website at www.esta.org/tsp/ or by writing to: Technical Standards Manager, ESTA, 875 Sixth Avenue, Suite 2302, New York, NY 10001, USA.
Total Audio Solutions has just completed a full radio production studio installation for South Birmingham College. The College runs several courses from its Sparkbrook Media Centre, including HNC in Radio Broadcasting and NVQ and ONC in Radio Production. The studio, which was fitted out as a turnkey installation by the company, incorporates presenter and guest facilities, allowing students to polish their interview technique. Playback sources range from traditional turntables through to MiniDisc and DAT, while the college's Sadie production system is also integrated into the production suite.
The spectacular Millennium celebrations in Newcastle-upon-Tyne centred round the backdrop of the Tyne Bridge - the prototype of the larger Sydney Harbour Bridge, itself the backdrop to spectacular Millennium celebrations. The bridge was lit using City Color architectural luminaires, with design by Illuminatum. Newcastle-based power distribution specialists Innovation supplied six tonnes of cabling to provide one megawatt of power on and around the bridge. The stroke of midnight saw a fireworks display by Walk The Plank, including a stunning 150ft waterfall effect from bridge to river. The majority of the installation was carried out during normal daily activities, until the site became a vehicle exclusion zone on the morning of the 31st. Unfortunately, this also meant that all the production vehicles were ticketed by an over-excited traffic warden!
The first Sennheiser manufacturing facility in the Western Hemisphere is currently under construction in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This 45,000sq.ft facility will manufacture printed circuit boards for the world market, as well as wireless headphones and wireless microphones for the American market. This is the first Sennheiser manufacturing facility outside Europe, and is modelled after the Wedemark, Germany, facility. Heading the project in New Mexico is Bill Jenner, recently named vice-president and general manager of the Sennheiser New Mexico facility. Initially, the plant is scheduled to operate with forty employees with approximately 10,000 sq.ft earmarked for future expansion.
Dresdner Bank in Frankfurt has a sophisticated new conference system from Brahler ICS. The bank's auditorium, round hall and mirror hall were the three areas which were equipped with microphones and language transmission systems via Brahler's latest digital wired - and wireless infra red - technology. In the auditorium, 168 delegate units were installed, all fitted with new hand-held microphones with luminant ring indicator. These mics switch off automatically and the cable recoils itself, when they are replaced in the holder. Software control is 32-bit. Three CCTV cameras in the auditorium are computer-linked to the microphones, so that delegates can be viewed by the interpreters inside the booths, whilst they are speaking.
PLASA EXCLUSIVE: PLASA Publishing has learnt that Technotronics, the West-Yorkshire-based manufacturing company who specialised in lighting effects and control equipment, were declared insolvent at the close of last year. Insolvency practitioners are now dealing with the company's affairs and a meeting of creditors is to be called shortly. Earlier in 1999, the directors of the company established a new company - TTL Distribution Ltd - to help promote and sell its lighting range, but also to distribute complementary products to the trade - principally those of Ultrak UK and Chauvet. TTL Distribution Ltd continues to trade from Technotronics' premises.
Giant-screen rental company Screenco, and its sister companies around the world, provided screens for a number of high profile Millennium projects. On the big night in the USA, Screenworks, based in LA and Dallas, provided video screens for the 'In Sync' event on Hawaii, shows by both Bette Midler and Barbara Streisand in Las Vegas, the New Year celebrations at the Pasadena Rose Bowl in Los Angeles, a major Christian convention in Houston, Texas and LED screens for Eddie Grant's concert on the island of Tobago. Five screens were used for the celebrations in Berlin, while Screenco Australia provided two 46sq.m CRT screens floating on barges on the Brisbane River, another on the banks of Melbourne's Yarra River, three LED screens for Sydney and one for Cooberpedy Town Square. In the UK, three Screenco mobiles were used at the Hogmanay celebrations in Edinburgh, while three modular JumboTrons featured in central London.
At last, Chris Mounsor has announced his future intentions in the business after his departure from Audio Visual hire company PSL. Mounsor is to head up a new video rental company, specialising in the field of Camera & Video design and support to the concert touring and music industries. Mounsor has teamed up with industry legend Pat Morrow of Nocturne Inc and Rene De Keyser of XL Video to create Nocturne (Europe) Ltd. The company is currently in negotiations to purchase a 6500sq.ft warehouse in St Albans, and hope to be ensconced by Feb 1st.
Lord Lloyd Webber is to take control of 10 of the West End's leading theatres in a deal said to be worth £85million. The purchase of the Stoll Moss group of theatres, which includes the Garrick, the London Palladium and the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, was carried out by Lloyd Webber and a City financiers NatWest Equity Partners, in order to prevent the venues from falling into the hands of 'money men'.
Danmarks Radio, the national radio and TV broadcaster of Denmark, has bought a complete 10-channel Sony WL-800 series wireless microphone system for use on large-scale musical events across the country, in conjunction with Moto, one of Denmark's leading PA rental companies. Danmarks engineers have reported that the sound quality of the WL-800 UHF technology is so good they have occasionally forgotten they were recording a wireless source, say Sony.
In a bid to attract top name DJs to his club Infinity, on the island of Jersey, owner Gary Dobson, already the owner of three clubs on the island, recently invested in a new sound system. He awarded the contract to London-based installation company, Tarsin Ltd. Dobson visited a number of Tarsin's previous installations on mainland UK, including the recently re-opened Hammersmith Palais with its Nexo Alpha E system, supplied by UK distributor Fuzion. The 1,000-capacity Infinity is split over two levels, plus a mezzanine level on either side. Eight Alpha E B1-18 bass cabs and four E-M mid/hi packs cover the ground floor while a further four B1-18s and a pair of E-Ms cater for the top level. Two more E-Ms fire onto the mezzanine levels, while the DJ, situated at mezzanine level, uses two PS-15s as DJ monitors. Three Crown MA-5000VZ amplifiers power the bottom end and four MA-3600VZs run the mid-highs while an MA-2400 looks after the DJ monitors. Protection, level monitoring and EQ is provided by a Sabine GRQ-3101S Graphi-Q, also supplied by Fuzion.
EAW has become the official sponsor of a technically ground-breaking club night at The Matrix in Reading, where the company's new Avalon sound system recently made its UK debut. The Extra Dimensional Experience (EDX) is held on the first Friday of every month, and uses state-of-the-art mixing techniques for both audio and video to produce what is described as a homogenous, interactive visual and aural experience. Yes, well we've all had those!