Business News

Nexo at the Crazy Reindeer
Thursday, 4 January 2001

Nexo has won the sound installation contract for Finland’s ‘coolest’ new venue, Hullu Poro, (The Crazy Reindeer). Possibly the most northerly entertainment venue in Europe, Hullu Poro is a large multipurpose centre being built in the busy skiing resort of Levi. When it opens next spring, the two-level, 1800-cpacity venue will host concerts by all the top Finnish artists and many international names. Nexo’s distributor in Finland, Oy Hedcom, is overseeing the installation of a Nexo Alpha E system, featuring six Alpha E-M, four B1-18s and two S2 sub-bass for the main PA, with six Nexo PS8 compact cabinets for fills around the venue.

Adlib Tour With ArmatradingAdlib Tour With Armatrading
Thursday, 4 January 2001

Adlib Audio has completed a successful UK Theatre Tour with Joan Armatrading, covering venues ranging from 330-capacity up to the 1800-seat Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, which provided the biggest test for Adlib’s Martin Audio Wavefront System and the rigging capabilities of their crew. With Alan ‘Nobby’ Hopkinson mixing FOH on a Soundcraft Series 4 and the Astoria’s Erik Sanderson-Evans on monitors (doubling as production manager), Armatrading played acoustic guitar exclusively across a wide range of styles. Adlib’s Andy Dockerty said: "Nobby put this tour out to tender, but knew that our equipment was quite new, and given the type of show that it was, that the Wavefronts would be smooth enough to handle the wide range of styles." There were 16 W8Cs at Adlib’s disposal, "but we only ever put three subs each side of the stage," says Dockerty. "We had the option to do a single or a two-bar drop, but tended to use six top boxes downstairs, stacked each side of stage, reinforced with three subs."

Brits Nominated in US Event Awards
Tuesday, 2 January 2001

The UK Events industry has received an important accolade on a world-wide scale, with four companies from the ISES (International Special Event Society) UK Chapter nominated for awards at the ‘Special Event’ to be held this January. Nominees include The Moving Venue (Best Off-Premise Catered Event), The Special Event Company (Best Multi-Day Event), Vok Dams Gruppe (Best Achievement in Technical Support), and The Full Effect has received nominations in an impressive three categories (Best Corporate Picnic, Best Entertainment Concept over $50k, and Best Theatrical Production). The final judging takes place in New Orleans during the Special Event Show, with the Awards and Gala Dinner being held on 13th January. "It’s a tremendous achievement for the Brits to get so many nominations from the 375 entries submitted," said ISES UK Chapter president, Sally Webb. "The UK Special Events Industry is up with the leaders in terms of new, innovative and creative ideas, and this has been reflected with many British award winners over the past few years."

Star Hire Achieves National Standard
Tuesday, 2 January 2001

Following two years of concentrated improvements to its company training programme and the development of individual employees, Star Hire (Event Services) Ltd has just received recognition as an Investor In People. The Investors In People award signifies that Star Hire know where they are going as a company, have imparted this focus to all their staff, and have trained them to move forward in line with that vision. Maddy Sheals, responsible for steering the company towards the standard said: "In the feedback session at the end of the two days, the assessor said how much he was impressed with the calibre of people he interviewed - their honesty, commitment, and individual skills, plus an awareness of what Star Hire is trying to do." Maddy hopes to build on this achievement through a programme of continuous innovation and improvement in the training and development of all Star Hire people.

Friday, 29 December 2000

It would appear that the world of opera is trying to take over the world of the musical: London in early autumn saw two directors best known for their operatic work in action in the West End. Robert Carsen created The Beautiful Game at the Cambridge Theatre, while up the road at the Shaftesbury multiple-Olivier award winning director Francesca Zambello was pulling together Napoleon, an epic new musical charting the love of Napoleon Boneparte for Josephine through troubled times in France.

To help her, Zambello turned to regular collaborators, notably set designer Michael Yeargan and lighting designer Rick Fisher, who won the 1998 lighting Olivier for his work on Zambello’s Lady in the Dark at the National Theatre.To stage the show, which covers a huge range of locations and times, Yeargan designed a spectacular floor capable of rising, falling, twisting and tilting to provide land, sea or mountains as required; this scenery proved to be something of a technical challenge, requiring international co-operation between scenery makers TMS, engineers Devineau, Jetter Automation, Vertigo Rigging and production managers Stewart Crosbie and Mark Whitemore - along with one programme credit you don’t see on many shows: automation interpreter, this the experienced figure of Miki Jablkowska. Yeargan also made the bold decision to extend the French flag painted on the show’s frontcloth out onto the proscenium itself, to dramatic effect.

Though the set was capable of many dynamic shape changes, much of the work of defining space and time actually fell to lighting an

Huntington in Control
Friday, 29 December 2000

If you’re interested in how control systems and computers are used in the live entertainment arena, then John Huntington’s latest book will not disappoint.

Control Systems for Live Entertainment has become something of a bible for those who seek a better understanding of control systems. In this updated and revised version, Huntington has revised his original work in answer to the changes of the past six years. He covers the new technologies that now operate in the field, although perhaps the most important change has come not in the technology itself, but the level to which it is now being used. Huntingdon addresses the challenge of how to adapt these technologies to purposes for which they were never designed. Covering control for lighting, lasers, sound, video, film projection, stage machinery, animatronics, special effects and pyrotechnics for theatre, concerts, theme parks, themed-retail, cruise ships, museums, corporate and other events, the second edition includes sections on all major entertainment control standards, methods and protocols, including DMX512, MIDI, MIDI Show Control, Sony 9-Pin, SMPTE Time Code and many others. It also addresses the basics of control systems and data communications, including EIA serial standards, in addition to offering information on networks for entertainment applications, including the all-important Ethernet.

Huntington also casts his expert eye over system design concepts and case studies featuring realistic problems and practical solutions. Drawing on his extensive experience in the field and classroom, John Hu

Car Show
Thursday, 28 December 2000

Creative Technology crews and communications systems were out in force at the British International Motor Show 2000 - working alongside leading design companies Imagination and Jack Morton Worldwide (formerly Caribiner).

The highlight was the spectacular Ford Motors stand, dedicated to the launch of the new Mondeo, which dominated Hall 4 of Birmingham’s NEC. The centrepiece of their display was CT’s fully-integrated audio-visual installation, designed and programmed by Chris Slingsby, head of Imagination’s Special Projects dept, working alongside CT’s Dave Herd. The presentation combined multiples of 6K PIGI scenic projectors, using double scrollers and rotating double scrollers through 360 degrees, supplemented by eight Christie 7K Roadie projectors. These were mounted onto the circular lighting grid in the centre of the drum, firing out into the 30m diameter auditorium - one projector assigned to each of the four perimeter screens. The 3-chip DLP Roadies provided the video element and live camera replay while the picture origination was from Doremi hard drive systems, controlled via Dataton, which also interfaced with the show automation system. Playback was from a three-camera PPU system, with desktop video PCs, providing the speaker support.

On the dealer and press days the presentation was made in a full show format. Tracking screens moved on monorails as part of a choreographed sequence, while dealers watched from their seats inside the theatre ‘drum’. As each show commenced the screens moved from their fixed positions, and eac

Trent Quakes Under the Latest Cerwin Rumble
Saturday, 23 December 2000

Daniel Carver of university specialist consultants, Section 77, has opted for the new Cerwin-Vega SUB218/T250 Intense stacks for Nottingham Trent University, following a demo of this and other leading brands by John Southee of JPS.

Thus an order for eight stacks was placed with Cerwin-Vega’s exclusive UK distributor, Lamba plc. The SUB218 is a direct-radiating twin 18" sub, featuring high-power output down to 32Hz - a combination of deep bass and high power handling. Thanks to its stainless steel bar handle and and wheels it’s also portable - which is precisely what the University wanted, since the 1,500-capacity auditorium functions as a canteen by day, and the evening conversion includes the eight stacks of T250/SUB218 being wheeled into position - four stacks either side of the stage.

The Intense! T250 mid/high box is divided into two sections which can be operated in bi-amp or passive full-range mode. The mid-bass comprises a 10" horn-loaded driver, the mid/high a large format 2" exit compression driver and the SS1 1" throat HF driver, featuring hybrid diaphragm technology, handling the top end. Personally recommended for the installation work, John Southee supplied sound - with a 16K output capability - lighting, stage and the triangular Trilite grid for the lighting suspension in a contract that was briefed, designed, commissioned and installed within a three-week period - despite the fuel crisis. To optimise the different EQ parameters and system management JPS picked the BSS FDS-366 Omnidrive Compact.

The final word comes from J

Dome Auctioneer Appointed
Friday, 22 December 2000

Henry Butcher International has been appointed to dispose of the contents, owned by NMEC, that went into creating The Millennium Dome, following the planned closure of the Dome on December 31st. The Dome houses an enormous range of assets, including lighting, audio-visual, broadcast & sound equipment, restaurant and catering equipment, stage equipment, office furniture and equipment, golf buggies, battery-powered scooters and vehicles. Even the equipment from the world famous Millennium Show, which currently employs 350 people, will be for sale, including stage and acrobatic props, costumes and circus rigging. Henry Butcher will be disposing of all assets owned by NMEC over the next three months by Private Treaty and Public Auction. The Private Treaty sale process is already underway and includes many of the themed Zones, audio-visual and broadcast equipment from some of the most sophisticated systems installed in Europe and sound and lighting equipment from one of the largest and most complex installations in the world.

The public auction is open to everyone and will take place over four days - 27-28 February and 1-2 March 2001 - and any enquiries regarding the auction will be dealt with after the Dome closes at the end of December. Viewing of the assets will be a few days prior to the auction sale.

Net Benefits
Friday, 22 December 2000

Star Rigging has installed a new fall arrest netting system into Wembley Arena to improve safety for people working at height during events at the London venue.

The new safety system has been installed into the Wembley grid, which is the largest moving grid in the UK. Pictured is the Fall Arrest Net after being raised at The Who load-in at Wembley Arena.

Both Mark Armstrong and Phil Broad at Star Rigging have been rigging major live events, including major tours for 15 years. The net is a new innovation, which has gained popularity in the construction industry, attracting the approval of H&S executives across the country. The system ensures that a worker who falls off the grid will be caught, and there are handrails to prevent people falling outside of the grid area. Star Rigging had to adapt the net to suit indoor music applications including making it fire retardant to BS EN 1263-2 standards. The company is currently talking to several other venues about the possibility of installing similar systems.

All Systems Go
Friday, 22 December 2000

Secreted deep in the hostile recesses of Doom Island, the Master of Misery presided over his evil masterplan to destroy planet earth . . . all hopes were pinned on Federal Agent 451 to defeat him.

So went the narrative for Thorpe Park’s end-of-season spectacular, a stunning, action-packed amalgam of lighting, sound, lasers and fireworks.

Lighting designer Dave Gibbon (pictured) designed a massive 216 Par can matrix for the project (36 x 6-lamp bars). This was rigged on the island on a tower above his operating ‘bunker’ which also contained six 48-way Avolites ART dimming systems, Dave himself, his trusty Avolites Pearl console and his right-hand rigger-in-chief Chris Henry (Carrot) and Avolites’ John Snelling.

Avolites wrote custom software for the Pearl to allow Gibbon to programme letters, numbers and text for the matrix on a PC - using a mouse and a grid mimic - and then record them as chases. These were then imported directly into the console and stored, edited and replayed just like normal chases. The software also allowed him to select figures directly from the Pearl’s keypad and apply them to the matrix. This saved literally days of programming time and removed the need for a conventional matrix controller. The majority of the show was programmed beforehand at Avolites using a Visualiser system, allowing Gibbon to start the project well prepared.

As part of his brief, Gibbon also lit the Island of Doom, the centrepiece of the action, with eight Studio Due City Colors, also controlled from the Pearl, and a 70kW Lightning Strikes s

Series TWO at 93 Feet East
Friday, 22 December 2000

A new music venue has opened on East London’s Brick Lane. Part of the former Trumans Brewery complex, 93 Feet East is a 500-600 capacity venue with an on-site recording studio, allowing performances to be recorded and broadcast over the internet. The music policy is alternative, and early bookings include Cold Cut and the Sneaker Pimps. The club has a Funktion One PA system, installed by Blue Box, from Sussex. The front-of-house control is provided by a new Series TWO console from Soundcraft, supplied by Marquee Audio. Technical manager and sound engineer Paul Epworth explained: “This desk has a very open sound, considering its price. It’s easy to place sounds in a mix and, like the Soundcraft K3 which I’ve used before in live situations, the EQ is very sensitive. It’s a very flexible console.”

Dutch Parliament’s Digital NetworkDutch Parliament’s Digital Network
Friday, 22 December 2000

The Dutch Parliament Building in Limburg has recently joined the list of government buildings around the world using the BSS 9088 Soundweb to provide digital voice processing and distribution. Forming the hub of a complete new audio-visual and voting network costing 500,000 Guilders, Soundweb encompasses three separate areas - the conference hall, the ballroom and a smaller conference and performance area. TM Audio were subcontracted by Heuvelman Sound and Vision BV, who won the tender for the overall design project, to specify the electro-acoustic elements and audio distribution of the system design. The conference hall includes a central loudspeaker cluster and individual peripheral speakers, distributed around the public tribune for maximum intelligibility. A Philips DCN (Digital Conference Network) discussion system, comprising a 70-piece mic/speaker station, is assigned for the purpose, with its outputs fed to the Soundweb, which supplies all the processing and distribution before arriving at the loudspeaker clusters, as well as the back-up recorders, wireless FM loop assisted hearing system, and many other rooms and offices round the building.

Roxsett Boss Receives Eight Year Sentence
Thursday, 21 December 2000

Roxsett boss David Wilson has been sentenced at Canterbury Crown Court to eight years imprisonment for smuggling £4.27 million worth of ecstasy into Britain. Wilson, whose clients included the Spice Girls, was stopped in June this year with 125 kilos of ecstasy tablets as he drove a rental truck through customs at Dover. His young daughter was in the cab with him. In mitigation, Aidan Marron QC said Wilson was forced to smuggle the ecstasy into Britain by a "vicious" gang of "serious and professional criminals". "He was threatened with a sawn-off shotgun. He feared a loss of life if he didn't obey their orders," Mr Marron said. Wilson pleaded guilty to one count of importing Class A drugs but had smuggled the illegal cargo under duress, Mr Marron said.

Support for Birmingham Fringe
Thursday, 21 December 2000

Cause & Effect, the organisers of the 2001 Birmingham Fringe theatre festival, are looking at the possibility of holding collaborative projects with entertainment technology companies during the 2001 festival, in order to demonstrate the contribution made by them to technical theatre. Project director Derrick G Knight told us: "My motivation is to enhance Birmingham as a host city for performing arts. This will be achieved through the development of a network of performance venues in partnership with the performers, venue owners and production companies associated with performing arts." An initial idea is to include a sound and lighting exhibition alongside the festival, which takes place in July and August 2001, and Knight is currently exploring the availability of no-cost exhibition space at a number of venues adjacent to the reserved performance spaces. For further information is available from the number below.

DJW Turn 4DEX Dream into Reality
Thursday, 21 December 2000

Audio-visual and multi-media specialist DJ Willrich has been making dreams come true recently for one of the world's leading producers of computer-animated films for entertainment simulation. The 4DEX Themeport, which is currently being built in Brighton Marina, is the brainchild of Ian Williams; designed to 'take the visitors into the next dimension of human entertainment experience', the 4DEX Themeport is the airport of the future, transporting the modern time-travelling visitor into both the past and the future. Beginning with the technical design, DJW worked with Williams to develop initial simulation solutions that would 'transport' visitors from each of the terminals to the destination of their choice. The company then introduced Haley Sharpe Designers, with whom it has worked on projects such as The Big Idea in Scotland and the Children's Museum in Sharjah, to work on the conceptual idea. DJW supplied and installed all the simulation, AV hardware, lighting and show control equipment that permits visitors to visit the genesis of the Olympic Games and the magic of the Pharaohs, among other destinations.

The Beautiful Game
Wednesday, 20 December 2000

It’s a show made by unlikely collaborators. Starting with the authors: Andrew Lloyd Webber, Lord of the Realm, and Ben Elton, former scourge of the government?

Unlikely, but true; it seems that Elton’s enthusiasm for the musical form re-awakened the composer’s own excitement. To this mix, add the unlikeliest of subject material, a boy’s football team in Ireland in the heights of the trouble. The result is The Beautiful Game, hailed by some critics as Lloyd Webber’s best musical, and drawing comparisons with West Side Story from others.

A creative team was then assembled from the world of opera: director Robert Carsen, designer Michael Levine and lighting designer Jean Kalman. For those familiar with his work - summed up, if over-simplified, by describing it as a 4K HMI fresnel in each corner of the stage, plus some low Par cans from the circle front as front-light - Kalman was perhaps the most unlikely choice of all, his style about as far from the brightly-coloured, tightly paced stereotypical ‘musical’ lighting as it is possible to get! But The Beautiful Game isn’t that kind of show. A workshop of the production, staged in what became the show’s actual venue, the Cambridge Theatre, used an empty stage with the lighting rig flown up to grid height. The real production simply finesses that concept: fake versions of the side walls were built within the real side walls to give concealed entrances and exits. A fake back wall includes moving panels to reveal the pure, distant countryside in one song, whilst the prosceni

New ARX Distributor for Cyprus
Tuesday, 19 December 2000

ARX, the Australia-based manufacturer of signal processing, powered and non-powered loudspeakers and power amplifiers has appointed a new distributor for Cyprus. The copany’s product range is now available from Nicosia-based A.G.C. Ehitiki, headed up by Loris Demetriades. The company can be contacted at:

Royal York Entertains With Tannoy
Tuesday, 19 December 2000

Tannoy speakers have been specified and installed at a brand new award-winning conference and event facility at the Royal York Hotel in York. Chosen for their high-quality sound performance, the combination of Tannoy speakers, installed by Orsett-based Creative Audio, has been chosen to provide speech and audio reinforcement for a wide range of differing applications, including conferences, presentations and live music productions. Creative Audio has designed and installed a powerful, high-quality audio system based around Tannoy Point source loudspeakers, with elements suited to the different applications. For the central paging system, Tannoy CMS 55 ICT ceiling mounted monitor systems provide discrete, high-quality sound reinforcement for speech and music. The 90° dispersion characteristics of the CMS 55 ICT allow the whole room to be covered with just four units.Four Tannoy i12 Dual Concentric loudspeakers are wall mounted at the middle and rear of the room, providing effective speech and music reinforcement. Extended bass response is provided by four Tannoy B225 15" bass speakers, which together with four Tannoy i15 speakers provide the extra impact required at front of house for larger events and live music productions. Two Tannoy TX2 controllers provide crossover and control functions and stage foldback monitoring is via four Tannoy T12 Dual Concentric speakers. All speaker systems are driven by Lab Gruppen amplifiers. The fully-equipped control room features an Allen & Heath 32-channel mixing desk, with monitoring from two Tannoy System 600 monitors.

Fraud Enquiry at Martin UK
Tuesday, 19 December 2000

Martin Professional UK is at the centre of a fraud investigation following the discovery of financial irregularities at the company. A statement posted on parent company Martin Gruppen’s website headed ‘Irregularities in Martin Gruppen’s UK subsidiary’ runs as follows: “At a meeting today, the Board of Directors was informed that fraudulent actions against Martin Gruppen and accounting irregularities have been discovered in the company’s UK subsidiary. These irregularities date back at least to 1999 and were discovered after a former longstanding chief financial officer and his close subordinate retired. Close examinations by KPMG, Martin’s auditor, of these irregularities call for provisions and write-offs in the amount of DKK 9-10 million (between £732,000 and £814,000) in the current financial period. Once the company’s auditor has fully examined the matter, the case will be handed over to the British police for further investigation and possible prosecution. More details on this in the January 2001 issue of Lighting&Sound International.

Live Music Online
Tuesday, 19 December 2000 is a new on-line development that has been specifically created to be amongst the first to explore a whole host of new opportunities that have arisen from the Broadband Internet revolution.

The site, launched in late November, is devoted entirely to live music, drawing from the strengths of company partners Wembley plc, The McKenzie Group (owners of three live music venues - Brixton Academy, Shepherd’s Bush Empire and the new Birmingham Academy), UK concert promoters SJM Concerts, Metropolis Music and one of Ireland’s leading promoters, MCD; plus technical partners Virtue TV, Europe’s leading Internet broadcasters.

WTV is distinctive in content and style, featuring "as it happens" tour news and a new Pay Per View Broadband Broadcasting Service. This enables the subscriber to watch a performance as many times as he/she likes during a 24hr licence period. Users get not only unlimited access, but also a digital quality transmission, with full viewer interaction in some cases. By 2004, research estimates that over 40 million households in USA and Europe will be subscribing to Broadband services - in other words in excess of 100 million new viewers.

WTV will also offer other services including on-line ticket selling, concert reviews, artist interviews, competitions, auctions - in fact anything and everything dedicated to all aspects of live music. The four venues owned by the partners are being hardwired in preparation for the filming of live music events and other interested venues nationwide are being approached.


ESS Continues Rapid Expansion Strategy
Monday, 18 December 2000

ESS (Edwin Shirley Staging), the staging and structure specialist, has created a new joint venture with Pure Group, called ‘ESS Superstructure’ to invest in and service the growing market for small and medium-sized events. This venture is the latest in a series of strategic partnerships that enhances the range of services ESS can offer corporate clients. By combining ESS’ experience in producing highly-specified structures, with the Pure Group’s reputation for managing corporate events, the new venture will be able to provide a highly competitive offer for clients in the corporate hospitality and corporate event market. The new company will be responsible for developing and marketing arch-shaped structures up to 30m in width. Products will include the unique Superstructure mobile venue, as well as Orbit buildings. The Superstructure is ideal for a variety of uses from conferences, concerts, film premieres, balls, trade shows, fashion shows, outdoor events, corporate hospitality and product launches.

Tim Norman, managing director of ESS Holdings, said: “This is our third venture in the past three months and is a significant step in the expansion of the ESS offer to corporate clients. The new venture will be able to provide a highly competitive offer to clients in the corporate events or hospitality market, but with the same commitment to excellent service.”

Lighting Cal IT
Monday, 18 December 2000

Stage Light Design supplied creative lighting design and equipment for the Cal IT conference, held in the Fleming Room of the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in Westminster. The company was called in by production company Dynamic Range to light the event, a major symposium for Californian IT companies visiting the UK to promote their products and seek new investment.The event’s fast-moving format allowed for 10-minute presentations to be given by the different companies. They did this on stage, backed by a large central screen, flanked each side by two auxiliary video monitors. Stage Light Design’s Alastair Crooks designed the stage lighting and operated the show using a LightProcessor QCommander console. A front truss was fitted with assorted fixtures including Golden Scans, Stage Color 300s and conventionals. Onstage lighting fixtures included more Stage Colors, Codas and other conventionals. Stage Light also supplied a selection of mains distro gear and Celco dimming.

CD/Cassette Combination from TascamCD/Cassette Combination from Tascam
Monday, 18 December 2000

Building on the success of the CD-A500 and CD-A700, Tascam has extended the range of products available to professional sound contractors, installers and engineers, with the introduction of the CD-A630 rack-mounting combination three-disc CD changer and auto-reverse cassette deck. Designed for installation in music clubs, bars, restaurants, theatres, dance studios, and for small to medium PA applications, the CD-A630 provides a space-saving versatile sound solution, say Tascam. Available in the UK from TEAC.


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