Business News

USITT Theatre Architecture Awards
Thursday, 28 June 2001

The United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) has announced that the deadline for submissions to its 2002 Architecture Awards Program will be 2 October 2001. Nominations will be accepted for projects located anywhere in the world, and new construction, renovations, retrofitting or reuse of structures will be considered. Now in its ninth year, the Architecture Awards program was established by the group’s Architecture Commission to bring public and professional recognition to architectural projects chosen for their design excellence and ability to resolve the challenges associated with performance spaces. To be eligible for consideration, project construction must have been completed after January 1st 1992. Among last year’s Award winners were the Severance Hall in Cleveland, Ohio; Theater and Congress Hall in Weimar, Germany; The Lowry Centre in Salford, UK; the LG Arts Centre Sangman Hall in Seoul, South Korea, and the Royal Court Theatre in London, UK.

Sennheiser for Kilmarnock Theatre Upgrade
Thursday, 28 June 2001

Kilmarnock Palace Theatre in Scotland has been re-equipped with new Sennheiser radio microphone and infra-red systems as part of a National Lottery grant-funded refurbishment. The Northern Light-supplied audio upgrade includes five dual-channel EM 3032-U wireless RF receivers, 10 SK 3063 miniature bodypack transmitters with MKE 2 Gold tie-clip mics, and a dual-channel, infra-red transmission system for use by the hearing and sight impaired. As a major boost to accessibility in the theatre, the infra-red system has been instaled to privide transmission to stethoset (wireless headphone) and neckloop receivers. The system consists of a Sennheiser SI 1015 two-channel wideband modulator, four SZI-1029-UK large area radiators in the auditorium, and 20 HDI-302 two-channel stethoset and 10 R15/O/L neckloop receivers. Northern Light’s Eddy O’Hare described the system as "a no-compromise system delivering reliability proven over many years."

The infra-red system can deliver a true dual-channel output, containing either a stereo balanced mix of the on-stage sound, or, in situations also requiring audio description for the visually impaired, two discrete channels carrying a description channel as well as a show channel. The on-stage Sennheiser 3000 Series wireless system is augmented by a Pro Split 600 aerial splitter, specially built to order by Sennheiser UK, with the receivers flightcased and able to be positioned at any of three pre-sired plug-in points, to provide control room, balcony and stalls control positions to cater for a range of production rigs.

Soundcraft Gets Intimate
Wednesday, 27 June 2001

The 12 Bar Club, famously voted the Best Live Music Venue in London by Time Out magazine, has taken delivery of a new 16-channel Soundcraft Spirit LX7. The intimate venue has recently played host to Nigel Kennedy, Lambchop, Mark Eitzel, Billy Bragg and the Jesus & Mary Chain’s William Reid, and with four acts a night, seven nights a week, the new console is already being put through its paces.

Paul Gilbert, engineer and on-line TV webcaster for the 12 Bar Club, knows how well the LX7 is coping with the demands placed upon it. "We’d been using a Spirit Live 3 for years. The longest anyone’s been working here is seven years and the desk was here before he started, so we figured it was time to get a new console. The Club is extremely small and the control room is tiny, so we knew we needed a really small console with plenty of features and outputs. And, as about 40% of artists playing here are singer/songwriters with acoustic guitars, it’s vital to have a really clean signal.

"I visited the Soundcraft website and picked the desk I felt was most applicable to our needs. It’s really compact; its six auxes and four sub-groups are really important as we broadcast every night live on our website. The two sweepable mids give us the EQ control we need, plus it has plenty of outputs. We run outs to the main bar and restaurant, one to the front of house, one to the camera, another one to a minidisc player if the bands want their show recorded and one to the monitors. Soon we’ll be installing AV screens throughout the club, so people in

Fat Frog Controls Clinton
Wednesday, 27 June 2001

The quiet town of Hay on Wye annually plays host to a world-famous literary event which regularly attracts over 60,000 visitors. The Sunday Times sponsored’ festival runs over 11 days and during that time features over 200 events across three venues. During the festival, visitors get to hear presentations from celebrities ranging from Kate Adie and Germaine Greer to Melvyn Bragg and Louis de Bernieres.

However, one of the big names this year caused quite a buzz in the town - ex-president of the USA Bill Clinton attended the festival to deliver the keynote address entitled ‘Conflict Resolution’. Paul Elkington of Theatre Vision has been the technical director for the festival for the past 14 years, and chose Zero 88’s new Fat Frog desk to control his rig of Martin Mac 250s, Par cans and theatre luminaires.

Strand Lighting MovesStrand Lighting Moves
Wednesday, 27 June 2001

Strand Lighting has further strengthened its position in London with a move to a large studio office facility in Hammersmith. A result of recent expansion, the move will enable all operations and services of the UK Trading Division to be conducted under one roof.

The 100-year-old mews building, formerly recording studios, now houses the sales office, credit control and project management team, a large showroom, impressive training facilities and will also be home to the new London Service Centre. Offering a new base for the sales team and a total package for clients, sales director Ivan Myles told PLASA Media: "This is another positive step forward for Strand, which is now consolidating its position by being able to offer improved customer service with larger stock and a faster response time to customers." The move comes after six productive months in temporary offices in Fulham, and mirrors events in America - where after 20 years at their offices in Rancho Dominguez, CA, Strand Lighting has moved to premises in Cypress California, also combining office, training, presentation and manufacturing facilities.

SGM Giottos on IceSGM Giottos on Ice
Tuesday, 26 June 2001

The annual Canadian-based Preston Figure Skating Show is considered to be one of the best amateur figure skating shows in North America. Involving over 170 amateur skaters, this show is rehearsed for over a month and runs four shows during the three day festival. Lighting designer for the event was Carl Lukings of Concord Production Services, who specified 12 SGM Giotto Spot 250s for his rig. "I used the Giotto 250s for both frontal and back lighting for each number, as well as to create an ice ‘wash’ effect. The Prism and Gobo effects coupled with the Linear Zoom made it possible to create great static and moving projections on the ice surface. The factory colour selection is perfectly suited to the artistic nature of figure skating lighting." Lighting contractor for the event was Little Electric Inc of Cambridge, Ontario.

ECA2 at Expo 2001, Japan
Tuesday, 26 June 2001

After the success of the multimedia waterscreen shows during the world expos in both Osaka (1990) and Tottori (1996), Yves Pépin and his team at ECA2 have been asked to produce the multi-media watershow for the Yamaguchi Expo in Japan, which runs from the 14th of July through to the 30th of September 2001. For the last two years, ECA2 and its technicians have been working alongside the Japanese Expo team to ensure the success of this night-time spectacular. The show will feature images projected onto four monumental spheres, as well as onto a giant water screen; pyrotechnic and fire effects will complete the impressive show.

IALD Honors Nine Lighting Designs
Tuesday, 26 June 2001

The International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD) recognized nine lighting projects with Lighting Design Awards for their outstanding lighting solutions and creative techniques. One award of excellence, seven awards of merit and one special citation were announced at the 18th Annual Lighting Design Awards held recently in Las Vegas. The IALD received 175 submissions from all over the world for this year’s competition and a panel of award-winning lighting designers and architects reviewed the projects.

The Award of Excellence went to Charles G. Stone II, IALD, Henry Forrest, Alicia Kaphelm, and Matthew Toomajian of the New York-based design firm Fisher Marantz Stone Inc for their work on the American Museum of Natural History Rose Center for Earth and Space in New York, NY, USA. The seven IALD Award of Merit winning projects were Alexander Graham Bell House British Telecom Regional Headquarters, in Edinburgh, Scotland, designed by Jonathan Spiers, IALD and Gavin Fraser of Edinburgh-based Jonathan Spiers and Associates Ltd; Fußgängerbrücke (Pedestrian Bridge), in Innenhafen Duisburg, Nordrhein Westfalen, Germany, designed by Uwe Belzner and Stefan Hofmann, of Stuttgart-based Architekur Licht Bühne; Herz Jesu Kirche in Munich, Germany, designed by George Sexton Associates of Washington DC, USA; Millennium Dome in London, UK, designed by Jonathan Spiers, IALD, Mark Major, IALD, Laura Jones, Claudia Clements, Henrietta Lynch, Andrew Jaques, Philip Rose and Colin Ball of London-based Spiers and Major Ltd; Module VII Chiller Plant, University of Pennsylvania i

ESS’s Photo Finish
Tuesday, 26 June 2001

London-based ESS used its staging technology to help the BBC provide live, online coverage of Royal Ascot for the first time to audiences around the world, including a unique view of the famous finish. The company provided two 30m high TV towers which were positioned along the final straight of the racecourse. Each tower had to be able to take the equivalent of a 5 tonne force, the weight by the camera as it speeds along the 700m, to provide the bird’s eye view of the finish.

To Russia with Celestion
Monday, 25 June 2001

Celestion’s new Cxi sound reinforcement cabinets have been chosen for a sizeable concert hall installation in Taganrog in Russia. Located in the city of Taganrog on the coast of the Azov Sea, the venue, which is sponsored by the large Tagmet mining company, has capacity for 850 people and will host a variety of musical events.

The new sound reinforcement system comprises 20 Celestion Cxi 1022P, a 2 x 10" mid-range cabinet with a 2" driver, and 10 CXi1812 bass bins. Amplification is from Yorkville AP4040s, with ART equalisation, and an Allen & Heath GL3300 front-of-house console. Elsewhere in the Russian industrial heartland, another mining company, Yakutugol, has financed a similar venue. In Nerungri, a town in the Yakutia Republic, an all-purpose music and conference hall has also installed a Celestion system. This time, the system is QX Series, mixed with KR2 background music speakers. Celestion products for both venues, and for the Church of John Kronshtadtskiy in Moscow, have been supplied by PAXT to Slami & Co, the distributor for the region.

Barco Expands UK Operations
Monday, 25 June 2001

Barco has announced a number of important appointments and investments to accelerate its growth in a number of target niche market areas. The appointments are aligned behind the five strategic Barco Projection Systems business units - Projection Products, Digital Cinema, Daylight Displays, Control Room Displays and Simulation.

Simon Turtle, an experienced Barco sales manager, has been promoted to business development manager of Barco Projection Products. He is joined by Colin Dunne as customer services manager. Dunne, formerly with Christie UK and Dynamic Logic has more than 25 years' experience in engineering and customer service. Mark Anderson has been appointed to the newly created position of market development manager for Barco's rapidly-expanding Home Theatre product group. Previously with Pioneer and Sony, he brings nearly 20 years of sales expertise to develop the dealer network. Mark Leahy joins as sales manager for Barco's acclaimed rental and staging product group. Leahy, formerly with Chrysalis Entertainment, brings more than 20 years' sales experience to provide an enhanced support to Barco's UK rental partners. Ashely Raines has been promoted to head up the corporate product group. He is joined by two new account managers, Simon Owen and Anthony Urion.

Mike Coleman, an experienced Barco sales manager, has been appointed business development manager of Digital Cinema to spearhead Barco's entry into the world of digital cinema. Ross Burling, another experienced Barco sales manager, has been promoted to the role of business development manager for Daylight D

Sarner Makes History
Monday, 25 June 2001

Sarner, in collaboration with the Natural History Museum, is breaking new ground in conference technology and the use of video streaming in an educational environment. Following a competitive seven-way pitch, Sarner has been appointed to handle the design and technical installation for the Natural History Museum's innovative new Darwin Gallery.

The museum chose Sarner for this unique project, due for completion in Autumn this year, having previously worked with them on other projects. Sarner's brief was to conceive, design and install leading-edge technology which would enable academics and businesses who are giving lectures or presentations in the Darwin Gallery to be able to simultaneously transmit these lectures to specific recipients around the world and have an interactive discussion with those not present at the Gallery. Video conferencing, which will include digital audio and visual formats, will be sent across the world using the internet as a medium to broadcast the information.

The live presentation will be sent via data lines linked between the Natural History Museum and other sites. Video has to be streamed onto the museum's network, rather than using a conventional coaxial line transmission, and this is proving quite a challenge as there are over 20 sources, some at MPEG 2 resolution, and no one product existing which can fulfil all the requirements. Ross Magri, technical director of Sarner, explains: "We have overcome the problem, by proposing a system which will preview the 20 sources whilst MPEG 2 streams are picked up by the video projectors. To d

Artacoustic Appoints MilTec
Monday, 25 June 2001

Artcoustic, a manufacturer of flat, full-range speakers for the install and leisure markets, has appointed MilTec (UK) Ltd as its commercial distributor. Kim Donvig, director of Artcoustic told PLASA Media: "We have been looking for a distributor who has good relationships with installers within the bar and hotel business and we have now found that company in MilTec (UK) Ltd."

Launch of ADS Worldwide ChinaLaunch of ADS Worldwide China
Monday, 25 June 2001

In an agreement signed in Shen Zhen, China, last week, ADSworldwide will have access to the largest domestic loudspeaker market in the world. David Hopkins OBE, chairman and managing director of holding company Audio Design Services Ltd, has been working on this project for a number of years, being a frequent visitor to the Far East. The company has appointed 40 Chinese distributors throughout China and plans for that figure to be 400 within the next four years.

The joint venture sees the creation of Adsworldwide China, an occasion enhanced by the official opening of the company’s new building in Shen Zhen. Amongst the 70 people present there was a large cross-section of representatives from Chinese television and press, as well as the newly selected distributors. After the official signing ceremony, a celebration cocktail party and dinner was held at a nearby hotel in Shen Zhen. The new enterprise will see ADSworldwide’s commercial product ranges being marketed under the ADS label. In a speech at the opening ceremony, David Hopkins spoke of the need for a balanced relationship between Great Britain and China. "For too long," he said "China has been used as the Blacksmith’s shop of the world, often being exploited by some countries that benefited from the low labour rates. The cost of buying household named products from the West is out of the reach of the majority. In a balanced relationship, it is now going to be possible to address the needs of the family in China by producing high quality products at affordable prices." David Hopk

Technical Standards Launched
Saturday, 23 June 2001

At the ABTT Show earlier this year, Technical Standards for Places of Entertainment - a document addressing the standards facing our industry - was launched.

We all know that local licensing authorities impose technical requirements to ensure the safety of the public, staff and performers in places of entertainment such as theatres, cinemas, discotheques, nightclubs and concert halls. An overhaul of these requirements has been long overdue, largely because the regulations were too specific - with the result that the detailed technical requirements were out of date. Another cause for concern was that the expertise and resources available to individual licensing authorities varied enormously, resulting in inconsistencies between them and varying standards of enforcement.

The new publication incorporates a number of features specifically intended to address these problems. It provides functional requirements supported by technical guidance, and incorporates Model Regulations which detail the standards that should apply to any premises used for entertainment. The Model Regulations will be sent to each Local Authority with a recommendation that they be adopted. This will help to ensure an appropriate and consistent national standard for all entertainment premises.

The publication also deals with the physical requirements for building (or converting,) equipping and maintaining any entertainment premises through a series of related discussions on subjects such as Site, Means of Escape, Building Services and Emergency Systems. The publication is expected to provide invaluable

Hotcakes Wins Award
Friday, 22 June 2001

Brand experience consultancy Hotcakes has won the international award for Best Consumer Products Event at the European IBTM Awards in Geneva (30 May), for its production of Marks & Spencer’s unique ‘Time To Celebrate’ touring show.

‘Time To Celebrate’ has been acknowledged as Europe’s biggest ever touring show undertaken by a retailer and was devised to showcase the retailer’s Christmas/Millennium collections. Taking place in a specially-designed state-of-the-art structure, the show was staged adjacent to M&S’s flagship stores in Bristol, Gateshead, Edinburgh and Camberley. It incorporated a celebrity cooking demonstration, a fashion show and an exhibition of merchandise from the Home & Gifts department, and was seen by 26,000 customers and staff across the UK. The event was managed by a crew of 550, and transported around the country by 25 articulated trucks. Hotcakes collected the award during a ceremony at Geneva’s Inter-Continental Hotel. The Event, which has been incorporated for the first time into the huge European IBTM Exhibition at Palexpo, has been created to recognise the excellence, creativity and planning which helps big brands and multi-nationals reach out to their staff, suppliers and customers. From a shortlist of four, Hotcakes fought off strong competition to win the Award, and received additional acclaim for its production of the Mazda MX-5 Catwalk at Cosmopolitan Show which was Highly Commended.

Heuvelman Open London Branch
Friday, 22 June 2001

Pan-european AV equipment rental company Heuvelman Ltd, has opened a London office. Using the latest equipment, Heuvelman supply a wide range of businesses including hotels, broadcasters, corporate clients, conference and event venues with technical equipment ranging from a single projector to full state-of-the-art installations. Voting systems, teleconferencing and IT rental are also supplied by the company.

Celestion Appoint Lyd-Systemer
Friday, 22 June 2001

In the final stages of a major revamp of its distributor network, Celestion has appointed Lyd-Systemer as its representative in Norway. Lyd-Systemer is one of Norway’s leading pro-audio distribution companies, and carries Amek, DPA Microphones, EAW and TC Electronics in its portfolio. Managing director Terje Engedahl anticipates that "Celestion will be attractive to the large number of Norwegian end-users looking for cost-effective background and foreground music solutions. This will include the entertainment venues, bars, clubs and restaurants, but also the installation customers, especially in the retail sector."

ESS International Concerts
Friday, 22 June 2001

Edwin Shirley Staging, the international concert staging company, has won the contract to provide staging for Tom Jones, Sting, The Beach Boys and other high profile, international pop stars as part of a UK tour this summer. The concerts will be held at Warwick Castle and Cardiff Castle towards the end of July. ESS is set to build an 18m by 18m stage in the grounds of Warwick Castle for three concerts which will feature performances from The Beach Boys and Status Quo (20 July), Van Morrison (21 July) and Tom Jones (22 July). All three concerts are already sold out and will attract audiences of more than 30,000. The staging will then be dismantled and re-assembled in time for a series of concerts the following week-end inside the grounds of Cardiff Castle, where Sting and Tom Jones will be performing in front of an audience of 10,000. The BBC will be broadcasting Tom Jones’s performance live in Wales.

Unusual Capsule
Friday, 22 June 2001

When the Science Museum decided to replace the Steel House exhibit with a capsule identical to the ones currently in use on The London Eye on the Thames, it called on the services of Unusual Rigging. The work involved entailed lowering the house, dismantling and removing it, bringing in the capsule, building it and hanging it. Directly below the space where the steel house was hanging was a large beam engine, which could not be moved and also had to remain visible as an active exhibit during the install. The Unusual team had to carry out all the work during nights as any impact on the normal running of the museum was unacceptable.

A large truss table was constructed above the beam engine. Once this was built, the Steel House was lowered onto the working platform and then dismantled. The component parts were lowered over the side of the platform using a chain hoist, suspended from the roof of the building. The capsule arrived in two parts. The first consisted of the side pieces and the second was a flatbed, with the top and bottom of the capsule.

The upper and lower sections of the capsule were delivered in individual L-shaped steel frames. These were too high for the access doors of the museum, so Unusual devised a way of getting the units in by extending the lower edge of the frame and rotating the shell 45 degrees, hence reducing the overall height. Once in the building, this rotation process was reversed, because there was sufficient height in the museum to get the exhibit to its destination, but insufficient gangway width. Four riggers were used to install suspensi

Moving Moving Lights at RSC
Friday, 22 June 2001

A redesign of the playing area at the Royal Shakespeare Company's Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon for the 2001 season meant that a completely new repertoire lighting rig was required. And, when designing that rig, the RSC's head of lighting Vince Herbert and lighting designer Peter Mumford saw the potential for some new lighting opportunities, they turned to The Moving Light Company for advice.

Their plan was to move beyond the increasingly-standard use of automated lighting: as well as having the lights pointing themselves in different directions from fixed positions, they wanted the lights themselves to move! The tracking system for the lights was to be created by the RSC, with the drives and control provided by automation specialists Stage Technologies. Dave Isherwood from The Moving Light Company was able to show the RSC the wide range of equipment held in MLCo's stock. After careful examination, they opted for the High End Studio Color washlight, settling on a system of 12 Studio Color Ms with magnetic power supply, and six Studio Color Ss with electronic power supply and the position correction system. The Studio Colors are arranged over both horizontal and vertical tracks, allowing the widest possible range of lighting angles from a relatively minimal rig. Controlled from the theatre's Strand 500-series control system, installed in 1998 by White Light and The Service Company, the new rig has already been put to use by a wide range of lighting designers, including Peter Mumford, Pat Collins and Ben Ormerod.

Anyone interested in seeing the next development in the us

Conference Examines Music Technology
Thursday, 21 June 2001

Music with walls? Music without instruments? is the title of an international conference attended by 100 delegates and speakers from Europe and the US. The conference opens today at the De Montfort University (DMU) in Leicester and runs until Saturday.

"This is a high-level conference where we will be looking at the future of how music is composed and technological and music innovations," said Professor Andrew Hugill. He is one of the conference organisers, along with Professor Leigh Landy who heads the Music, Technology and Innovation Research Group at DMU. The conference will feature musical installations, listening posts, an internet station for interactive music-making, and musical performances at Phoenix Arts, Leicester. There will be four concerts and six installations throughout the conference, including ‘Time Drops’ by Akemi Ishijima - a continuously running soundscape. Highlights of the programme at Phoenix Arts include Barry Truax who is curating an eight-channel sound concert with channels being used to create a sense of motion around the room and Paul Rudy who performs with a cactus wired for sound which is projected around the auditorium. One of the issues explored at the conference will be the concept of composing music via the internet.

Gosford Park Gets Audio Treatment
Thursday, 21 June 2001

The long-awaited new movie from acclaimed director Robert Altman - Gosford Park - has just completed shooting using very complex audio multi-track recording. Set in the thirties, with an all-star cast including Alan Bates, Stephen Fry, Sir Michael Gambon, Richard E. Grant, Sir Derek Jacobi, Helen Mirren, Dame Maggie Smith, Charles Dance and many more, this film seems certain to be a box office winner.

Director Altman is well known in movie sound circles as the man who ‘invented’ multi-track dialogue recording in feature films. In its basic form, each actor wears a radio microphone and is recorded separately on a multi-track system. During more complex scenes, many different conversations can take place simultaneously, and are filmed by two or more moving cameras. The audio is then reconstructed in post-production from the radio mic tracks and booms. Peter Glossop was in charge of the audio and recording on Gosford Park, which was shot on location in north London and Shepperton. Glossop has perfected the technique of multi-track recording and received the coveted MPSE Golden Reel award for his work on Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet. He was later nominated for an Oscar for Shakespeare in Love and since then he has used multi track techniques continually including on his latest film, the blockbuster The Mummy Returns.

Glossop’s complex recording technique makes enormous demands on the microphones. At times during Gosford Park, we were using 16 Audio Ltd radio mics - 8 channel 69, 4 channel 36 and 4 VHF," he recalls. "One of the main problems wa

Roxy Music Back on the Road
Thursday, 21 June 2001

Nearly 19 years after they vowed never to play live again, Roxy Music ended years of seemingly endless speculation with the announcement that they would be back on the road this year with their original line-up. Also back is producer Rhett Davies, who has been drafted in as sound director for the tour. Rhett has worked with an impressive and varied roster of artists over the years, including Dire Straits, Brian Eno, Talking Heads and the B52s.

Rhett and Levi Tecofski (FOH mixer) will be using three Mackie HDR24/96 recorders to record the entire Roxy tour. All the concerts will have every feed sent to the HDRs, which in turn will provide a full 72 tracks of new recordings at every stop. The band will be performing songs from an impressive portfolio that includes such hits as Avalon, More Than This, Jealous Guy, Angel Eyes, Dance Away, Love is the Drug, and of course, the seminal Virginia Plain.

The tour kicked off in the UK on June 11th in Glasgow. Additional stops include Newcastle, Nottingham, Birmingham, Sheffield, Manchester and three nights at Wembley Arena beginning tomorrow night. On July 17th, the tour moves to North America where stops include Boston, New York, Atlanta, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The third leg includes three nights in Tokyo beginning September 7th returning for more European dates and a final gig in Dortmund, Germany, on September 21st.


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