PLASA held its most successful AGM to date on Thursday 14 June in the stunning setting of Coombe Abbey, near Coventry. Just under 70 Members attended, including for the first time, a number of Associate Members.
During the AGM, both PLASA Chairman Mick Hannaford and Treasurer Sammy de Havilland reported a successful year for the Association, covering the range of initiatives that had been introduced in the past 12 months. In his keynote speech Chairman Mick Hannaford reflected on the changes taking place within the industry and the need for companies to equip themselves to cope with a rapidly changing world. He emphasized the role that PLASA had to play in this and also stressed the need for more training, an ambition that the Association has given a further boost to with the recent establishment of its training and education steering group. In a reference to the increasing concern about copyright infringement, he also told Members of the Association’s plans to introduce a low cost design registration scheme next year. Following the AGM, members were given a presentation on the future strategy of the Association by managing director Matthew Griffiths. He made reference to the recently completed Industry Research, commissioned by PLASA to give its members immediate facts and figures about the size and potential growth of the industry, which had suggested that the entertainment and venue technology industry was worth £10billion worldwide.
Following the AGM, Members decamped to a number of break-out sessions covering the PLASA Show, Standards and Member Services, wh
Dutch HK Audio distributor Wils Muziekimport sponsored a seminar on the topic of On-Stage Monitoring. The seminar, which was held in ‘013’ in Tilburg, Holland, was led by guest speaker Rob Hodgkinson and was attended by over 50 participants eager to pick up some practical tips from the Deep Purple monitor engineer. Hodgkinson’s presentation, which focused on all the important aspects of preparation that make effective stage monitoring possible, was followed by a virtual factory tour and additional background information about the entire HK Audio touring and rental line, presented by product specialist Christian Stumpp. After the theoretical part of the presentation came the practical segment, for which a seven-piece band was ready to perform a live soundcheck.
In contrast to standard product demos that use music from CDs, here each member of the audience was given the opportunity to work the monitor console or FOH desk and carry out a thorough soundcheck of any instrument they wanted or of the entire band. Several competitors’ monitors were also available for comparison. A great deal of attention was given to the new HK Audio VT 115 X. This is a two-way full-range loudspeaker system, which can be used for both monitor and FOH applications. Further seminars are planned - for details visit the company’s website.
Exhibited widely in Europe, Japan and the US, Panamarenko, whose works are immediately recognizable and highly distinctive, has become one of the most famous contemporary artists in the world. Obsessed with flight, Panamarenko calls himself an artist-technologist, producing work that is a cross between art and science.
Belgium’s Museum of Contemporary Art (SMAK) in Ghent recently hosted a three-month retrospective exhibition of his most impressive works, an event that opened with a one-off show entitled Panamarenko by Night which took place on March 23. Martin’s Belgian distributor EVDV proposed giving Panamarenko’s work an additional touch of dynamism for the show so its architectural lighting specialist Duncan Verstraeten took the opportunity to incorporate Martin effects lighting into this rather unusual environment. He contacted lighting specialist Lode van Pee of City-Lights who designed a scheme to ‘guide’ visitors through each piece of art.
20 of Martin Professional’s new Atomic 3000 strobes debuted at the show. Other Martin lighting effects included nine Exterior 600s, two MAC 300s and 13 CX-4 colour changers (some with custom-made wash lenses) along with a MAC 2000 profile spot. The light show was programmed on a Martin LightJockey and replayed by a DMX recorder. A Jem 6500 heavy fog machine created an even more surrealistic atmosphere. City-Lights installed all lighting.
MCL London’s newly formed in-house lighting service has seen a busy inaugural month - from serious design, as a stand-alone service, to the supply of services as part of a complete package. In June MCL’s LX designer Nick Whitehead provided complete lighting design and rigging facilities, for a major international retailer’s London conference, as part of the full AV staging service that MCL is supplying throughout the UK. The project - an internal communication event for senior management - required a cost-effective solution converting an existing in-house studio facility into a theatre-style auditorium and dining area. Vision, sound and staging were also provided as part of the complete package under the MCL brand. Nick came up with the well-proven ‘black box’ idea as part of the integrated solution. "We provided the client with a 30m x 20m ground supported truss structure to support the drapes and graphics material as well as the lighting rig," said Nick, "and an LSC Atom - one of MCL’s recent purchases - in conjunction with Avolites dimming, controlled the show."In addition Nick oversaw the lighting design, and equipment supply, for a major UK production agency - their client, a blue chip corporation, held a one-day conference with presentations from directors, including their CEO, to senior management. The stage set, designed and supplied by the agency, consisted of a series of curved white gauze panels. The rig was hung from a 16m wide ground supported truss using MCL’s new stock of Slick Minibeam and progra
The PSA launched its latest initiative for those working within the Entertainment & Events industry. The aim of the Register - called Skill Base - is to provide all operatives with the opportunity to obtain recognition of their skills and qualifications, and to provide evidence to a contractor or employer of their ability to do a job competently and safely.
The creation of the Register is also intended to help counteract some of the problems facing the industry, such as declining employment, skills shortages, lack of training, poor health and safety records, and an unfavourable public image. The Register will set agreed industrial skill standards, based on qualifications and experience, which are being established in co-operation with trade associations and employers across Europe. This will further enhance the new International groups being established by the PSA in Ireland, Holland Germany, France and Switzerland with others to follow. The system will be web-based from the PSA site and is free to members for the first year and is also available to non members for £50pa inc VAT. Companies wishing to list their employees will have to become corporate members at a cost of £450pa + VAT. Once up and running, anyone will be able to check out an individual’s skills by searching on the website by either name, company or skill type. Future developments will include a full blown Continual Professional Development system which the PSA hope will become the international reference point for anyone employed in the industryThe launch date will be August 2001.
Popular Scottish band, Mogwai, played a pre-launch gig for their second album ‘Rock Action’ at the Shepherds Bush Empire in London. Mogwai, known as the 'no words' band because of their cinematic and instrumental music, played the pre-launch gig prior to embarking on a tour of Japan. The lighting rig for the event featured a host of Martin moving heads supplied by Bandit Lites and specified by LD Nick Jevons. He used six MAC 2000s, 10 MAC 500s and 10 MAC 600s, all controlled via an Avolites Pearl 2000, to create a cinematic and dramatic lightshow which perfectly complemented the various moods of Mogwai’s music. Jevons has been a lighting designer for over 10 years, and in his time has designed spectacular lightshows for bands such as the Super Furry Animals, Reef, Elastica and Skunk Anansie. In addition, he has also designed the lighting for a large number of extreme sports events.
AVW Controls have recently completed a couple of major projects. In less than five days, staff at the company designed, built and installed an entirely new motion control system and provided full training to the production crew for Howard Katz, which opened on 1st June at The Cottesloe, Royal National Theatre. The theatre needed to control two circular revolves, one inside the other, similar to a doughnut. As the existing house system was not able to perform the number of complex functions and movements that the production required, AVW was contracted to provide eleventh hour assistance using the company's Impressario control system. With a depleted budget, AVW agreed to effectively hire the system to the theatre. In a separate project, the company also designed and built the hydraulic power pack control system to raise and lower the stage during the ever-popular production of Joe Penhall's Blue/Orange, currently showing at London's Duchess Theatre.
The Dickson CyberExpress is a 21st century retail concept, first launched in Hong Kong last autumn. The HK$380m investment by the Dickson Group of Companies has resulted in a 70,000sq.ft, high-tech development at Kowloon Station.
It’s a full-on interactive shopping environment, offering a wide selection of the best known brands in the universe. The ‘cybermall’ functions as a complementary intelligent retail centre to Dickson’s e-commerce venture, DicksonCyberExpress.com.
The idea was to create the ultimate consumer experience for cyber-chic shoppers. The team chosen to pull the project together included UK-based design and production company Media Projects International, retail designer JGA Inc from the US, Hong Kong architects Gensler, UK-based AV systems specialists Electrosonic and various LDs and directors.CyberExpress’s seven ‘zones’ include Entertainment World (CDs, DVDs, videos, books and magazines), E-World (computers, communications, AV and electronic equipment); Fashion World (clothes and accessories); Kiddy World (toys, sweets and learning games); iCosmetic World (cosmetics and health products) and Sports World (sports and fitness products). Two internet cafés - Exploration World and Cyber Sea - offer connected opportunities for shoppers to take a break.
Each zone has a dynamic mix of vibrant and innovative new media installations, interactive stations, virtual games, video programmes and information portals. Media Projects’ creative director, Malcolm Lewis, explains that although screen-delivered infotainmen
Microphone manufacturer Audio-Technica has appointed Ideas Marketing to act as its UK public relations consultants. Established by Nick Powell, former employee of A-T, Ideas Marketing is seen as well equipped to assist Audio-Technica's marketing effort. Rod Geary, Audio-Technica's general sales manager commented on the agreement: "A-T have appointed Ideas Marketing to help us to maximise the impact of several very exciting products which we have in the pipeline." Rod Geary also explained that since Nick's departure in May of this year, the A-Team has streamlined its approach to marketing related issues, with Denise Turner recently appointed to the position of executive assistant. Denise, who has been with the company for four years and has held a number of roles including marketing administrator, becomes the first point of contact for all Audio-Technica marketing activities, which will be co-ordinated in conjunction with Rod Geary.
Adam Hall is using PLASA to launch a range of new products. These include the Racklight - a brand new concept for illuminating 19" racked products for stage, studio and installation. This product uses innovative technology to produce clear and uniformed light, will not get hot or burn out, is very strong and durable, and does not use conventional bulbs!
Also new is a brand new range of loudspeaker systems for PA stage and installation use. The range of Talon loudspeaker systems comprises a standard series of compact loaded ply wood cabinets available in either black painted or carpet finish and a series of unique high spec cabinets featuring the Fane 'Concept One' primary drive units.
Other new products featured on stand include the latest additions to Amphenol's range of audio connectors, new versions of the 'Astroboard' lightweight material for constructing flightcases, and a range of new hardware components.
Adam Hall - Stand E32
The stars (and the stripes) were out in force for the party to celebrate the West End premiere of the much-talked about film, Pearl Harbor. AD Event Design and Production staged the eye-catching event held at the University of London's Senate House, bringing in Dobson Sound to cater for the audio requirements.
Amanda Davis is known for creating visually spectacular and innovative events, and this was no exception. The whole event was themed as a US wartime party with several extras in 1940s US Army uniforms lounging around the balconies of the main hall, drinking beer and whistling at the guests in typical army fashion as they came in. Perhaps the most spectacular visual feast was the front of the building which was lit from top to bottom with stars and stripes while search lights played into the sky. However, no event would be complete without audio, and that is where Dobson Sound came in. Dobsons provided a distributed and delayed system of 34 d&b E3 cabinets which extended from the Cloisters through into the galleried ‘Crush Hall’ and the bar area beyond. This was effectively a DJ system for big-band music playback, with the DJ himself on a pair of Technics SL1210 turntables and a Denon DN2000 twin CD player. The Beveridge Hall was the main performance area with the Jump Jive band (aka national Youth jazz Orchestra) and the dancers, for which Dobsons provided four d&b C7 systems with d&b MAX wedges and lots of microphones running from a Yamaha PM3500. The final system was for the VIP area in Chancellors Hall where guests were serenaded from the luxury of th
Two of the UK's leading facilities houses recently announced the formalisation of a new exclusive hire agreement. The arrangement sees ARRI Lighting Rental become the sole supplier of lighting facilities to Magic Eye Studios, one of London's leading commercial and TV studios. Wandsworth-based Magic Eye, recent home of 'The Weakest Link', has been seeking a prominent partner with which to develop business opportunities. After considering various options, Magic Eye decided on ARRI Lighting Rental: "Their reputation for quality equipment and service, coupled with a refreshing attitude to business, settled it for us. Our clients deserve the best equipment and technicians, and that is what we intend to give them." This is the first time ARRI Lighting Rental has established links with a studio. Managing director Tommy Moran explains: "We have had many opportunities in the past to link up with studios in the London area, but never one as exciting nor high profile as this. I have been very impressed with magic Eye and their business philosophy and we look forward to a long fruitful relationship."
Federal Signal has announced a new scheduled maintenance package for its Millbank and Akusta customers. As a result of the move, the company is one of the first major PA/VA manufacturers to provide customers with maintenance service contracts, which are supported entirely from within its own resources.
The move comes in response to growing demand from the market place for PA/VA equipment manufacturers to provide around-the-clock maintenance back-up and support for equipment they have supplied to either fire safety systems integrators or end-users. The service applies to Millbank public address and voice alarm systems, and Akusta on-shore general alarm and page party systems. The company has already won its first batch of maintenance contracts from Siemens Building Technologies, which manufacture, supply and install life safety systems. These cover installations at City Bank and HSBC buildings at London's Canary Wharf, the House of Fraser store at the Bluewater Shopping Centre and the Sadler's Wells Theatre.
This year’s Monaco Grand Prix, held at the end of May, saw Michael Shumacher steer his Ferrari to yet another flawless finish for his fifth win in Monaco. This was Schumacher’s 48th career win, three short of the all-time record of 51 held by Frenchman Alain Prost, and puts him at the head of the Driver’s Championship and Ferrari first in the Constructors Championship.
The action was relayed on two Lighthouse screens, provided for the race for the 12th year in succession by French audiovisual company, Lumison, on behalf of Automobile Club de Monaco. The larger screen, 120 panels of LVP2056 in a 12 x 10 configuration and measuring a total of 150sq.m, was placed at Saint Devote - the first bend of the race and the most dangerous part of the Monaco Circuit - and a second screen of 30 panels was positioned on the roof of the temporary television building at the entrance to the pit lane. Brent Watson, Lighthouse’s technical manager, oversaw the installation. "The larger screen was supported by a specially made scaffold structure, built well in advance to allow for building regulations inspections," stated Watson. This screen gave racegoers at the tightly-packed circuit trackside TV footage from TCM, the official television company of Monaco, with graphics for placings and timings overlayed by Lumison. Lumison also provided three screens for the Barcelona Grand Prix, with footage provided by FOCA (Formula One Constructors Association), and earlier in the year for a variety of events including the Paris Fashion Show, as well as four screens for
Mad Manufacturing will be providing the full lighting rig in the HK Audio demo theatre at the JHS Event 2001, held at the company's Garforth head office. In addition, Mad Manufacturing will be a guest exhibitor at Event 2001, able to both demo their impressive state-of-the-art lighting and effects systems, and to access the large number of trade visitors throughout the busy three-day duration of the show. With a well-deserved reputation for innovation in what is a highly competitive market, one of Mad's recent successes was the launch of the IMP, or Image Marketing Projector. This is a simple-to-use projector system which features an array of onboard programming options designed to give retailers a high-tech but convenient method of in-store product promotion.
Alongside the IMP, Mad's new installation range also includes the popular 250W AXIS moving head, and the IMP Pro series of effects, all of which will be featured in Mad's lighting and effects setup at the JHS Event 2001.
The JHS Event 2001 runs from June 17 - 19.
A progressive independent church in South Wales has enlisted Marquee Audio to help upgrade its audio system. Darran Clements, head of sound at the Kings Church in Newport, Gwent, wanted to increase the audio front-end and called in freelance engineer, Matt Creed, who has an extensive background in live sound. "The old mixing desk was eight years old; it was no longer big enough and had reached the end of its life. I was asked to find the most appropriate replacement," said Matt, "and so I called Jimmy Potter at Marquee Audio and he recommended the Allen & Heath ML4000-48."
The church needed greater number of inputs to accommodate its expansion and to ensure some future-proofing. "We wanted a large number of channels on a small footprint, and there was nothing that could touch this for quality, price and features - it’s one of he most transparent desks I have used," stated Matt. "With theatrical productions and different band setups requiring a lot of channels - as well as six stage mixes - 50 inputs was the minimum requirement."
The church went on Marquee’s recommendation for the ML4000, which is configured 48 mono, 2 stereo, sending mixes to the pre-existing 15k Nexo PS15/PS10/LS2000 PA rig. New QSC amplification was also ordered from Marquee to drive the stage monitors.
For the third consecutive year, City Theatrical has been named to the Inner City 100 - a list of the fastest growing companies located in America's inner cities. The list is a joint project of Inc, magazine and the non-profit Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC). City Theatrical placed 52nd on the nationwide list of firms. "Inc. and ICIC started the list to reverse bad perceptions that prevent businesses from locating in inner cities - and therefore prevent inner cities from thriving," says City Theatrical president Gary Fails. "But they are finding that inner-city businesses actually set the pace for many business trends, including outstanding customer service and top-speed turnaround."Based in the Bronx, with easy access to New York's theatre district and suppliers, City Theatrical manufacturers precision lighting accessories for theatres, convention centres and other venues. As the dominant supplier of lighting accessories for New York's Broadway stages, the company's products are part of the city's most popular productions, including such shows as Chicago, Contact, Les Miserables, and Phantom of the Opera."City Theatrical is proud to be named to the Inner City 100 for the third year running," Fails adds. "Locating in the Bronx was a good business decision for us, and I'd like to think that by being here we also are contributing to the economic well-being of our neighborhood."
Multiple DAS loudspeaker systems have been installed in a refit of 'Bar Ice' in Bexley Heath, south London. Recently acquired by new owners, the venue has received a considerable upgrade to its in-house sound system. Installed by experienced sound and lighting systems company Compa Lighting, the new system replaces the exiting speakers with four DAS Sub-18 sub-bass units and six DAS DS-12 two-way cabinets. Managing director of Compa Lighting, Andrew Matthews, commented: "The 18 inch bass bins deliver superb bottom end that perfectly complements the existing system and are able to cover the entire dance floor area."
The two-way, passive crossover DS-12 cabinets were used to balance the sound in areas beyond the main dance floor and as such they were required to be powerful but compact. The 12" bass and 1" compression drivers of the DS-12s proved perfect for Compa's requirements: "We had to add some reinforcement to one of the bar areas," explains Matthews. "The DS-12s are compact and unobtrusive, but still able to generate high quality sound at very loud listening levels."
Although the results of the combined system were impressive, the performance of the D.A.S. components was so good that it was later decided to go ahead and replace the four remaining cabs from the old system. Compa therefore ordered and installed four additional DS-12 cabs, bringing the entire system up to DAS quality.
The Association of British Theatre Technicians (ABTT) has announced that it intends to appoint an Honorary Archivist. The archivist will be responsible for collating the association's own papers as well as the drawings, audio and video tapes, etc, which form the ABTT's historical collection. The post is honorary, although a budget is available to enable the work to be carried out. For further information please contact Howard Bird, Executive Director, ABTT, 47 Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 3XT.
When brewer Old Monk required a sound, light and video supplier for their latest Springbok site in Newquay - a former swimming pool which has been converted into a state-of-the-art late license venue - they turned to Nottingham based company TTL. With a design brief demanding a system capable of nightclub sound in the evenings yet with an unobtrusive presence for the daytime trade, TTL project manager Andy Hague specified Logic System loudspeakers throughout. Hague explained: "The main area has a 30ft ceiling height and full length windows along one side, therefore to achieve the necessary SPL, whilst minimising overspill, I needed a very accurate and directional cabinet. The Logic System CS1296 proved ideal. The cabinets are flown 25ft in the air, effectively out of sight, yet still control coverage to 150Hz whilst avoiding overspill in the bar areas. With the bass units being built into dance podiums, we’ve created a stunning dance floor system that is virtually invisible and does not detract from the interior design of the venue."
To complete the system, Logic System IS6 and IS8s are run full-range with the support of IS26 bass cabinets in the bar areas, and are again hidden within the fabric of the design. An Allen & Heath DR128 controls the system and offers the ultimate flexibility of changing the system configuration for daytime and evening use, while an Audace hub was specified to provide localised volume control and source selection behind each bar. TTL account manager Mark Harding summed up the project, commenting: "The whole concept works e
Sennheiser has announced that it is to undertake the distribution and marketing in the UK of the MindPrint range of signal processors, with immediate effect.
The German based company specializes in manufacturing state-of-the-art input signal processing devices, which offer high-end professional standards of construction and performance for commercial studio, home recording and desktop audio-based applications alike. The range is specified to offer first class input processing in the recording studio environment, or to enable the upgrade of computer-based audio workstations and hard disk recording systems to fully professional audio standards, unobtainable with on-board sound cards and standard computer audio interface devices. Performance features within the range include Class-A pre-amp circuitry, 24 bit, 96kHz analogue to digital conversion, balanced XLR and line level jack inputs, switchable 48V phantom power, AES and SPDIF digital outputs, selectable sync options, and professional signal metering.
The current product range includes the EN-Voice Class-A mic/line pre-amp and tube compressor with optional digital 24 bit I/O, the AN/DI Pro 24/ 96, Class-A, stereo analogue-to-digital convertor, the T-Comp stereo tube Adaptive compressor with optional digital 24 bit I/O, and the DI-Port entry level 24-bit, Class A mic/ line pre-amp and stereo analogue-to-digital convertor. Commenting on the new product line, Sennheiser UK’s director of marketing, John Steven, told PLASA Media: "A range of high quality, competitively-priced products like MindPrint is clearly com
NXT has announced that Amina technologies, a licensee of NXT's award-winning SurfaceSound flat panel speaker technology, has supplied speaker systems to the UK’s Houses of Parliament. NXT speakers have been installed in the refurbished Grand Committee Room and as narrow panels along the edge of the windowsills in St Mary's Chapel. A further eight panels are situated in the Public Lobby where they have been painted to look like the supporting stonework. Amina Technologies' NXT flat panel speakers were installed by Sound & Visual Limited and chosen over conventional technology because of their superior sound characteristics when used in open spaces. Unlike conventional speakers, NXT's SurfaceSound flat panel speakers disperse sound evenly across all frequencies. Aside from the acoustic qualities of flat panel speakers, NXT has also been chosen because of the ability to blend flat panel speakers in with their surroundings. NXT speakers can, for example, be disguised as pictures, ceiling tiles or even as part of the fabric of the building. NXT flat panel speakers have achieved wide levels of acceptability in the commercial arena and are now found in buildings across Europe and the United States. Installations include several investment banks in the City of London including ABN AMRO, Goldman Sachs and Chase Fleming; Eton College Chapel; Edinburgh University; Gleneagles Hotel; The Cheesecake Café Bar, Brussels, Belgium; the Hotel Kuunpaikka, Finland; Disco Paradiso, Rimini, Italy; several lecture theatres within Barcelona University and, more recently, London's most high-t
Oxford-based company Airstar Space Lighting helped illuminate the recent Playtex Moonwalk in Battersea Park in London where more than 7,000 women stripped to their bras to raise funds for cancer research. The world-wide leader and pioneers of the lighting balloon industry used one of their large helium-filled lit Solarc's and several air-filled Crystal's to guide the way for the half-dressed walkers during their midnight charity stroll. On the same weekend, Airstar provided light for 50,000 night-time revellers in Oxford's Cuttleslowe Park during an annual hot-air balloon festival. Airstar's products have been used around the world for a variety of projects including Film and TV productions, festivals and cultural and sporting events. The balloons have also been hired to light the set of the Oscar-winning blockbuster Titanic, for the 1999 Miss World contest in the Seychelles and numerous international music festivals.
The balloons, which are tethered between 5m and 50m, can be used to illuminate from 1,000sq.m right up to 40,000sq.m and are suitable for small-scale garden parties to major outdoor events. The balloons are constructed of a translucent fabric that is custom made to Airstar specifications and are easy to store, transport and set up. They are available to be rented or sold.
As if to put paid to theories of how, thanks to new technology, we’ll all be working from home and communicating with the rest of the world via the internet, Showlight 2001 was the biggest, and quite possibly the best, so far. Three hundred people journeyed from across the globe to be part of this unique event, made even more special by virtue of it taking place just once every four years.
Edinburgh, a truly cosmopolitan city, added its own particular charm to the event and the Festival Theatre couldn’t have been a better choice of venue. It is the sponsors (aka exhibitors) that enable Showlight to take place, and the stage of this great theatre - the second largest in the UK - was capacious enough to house the 40 exhibitors, plus delegates, very comfortably. With an audience made up of a mix of students, consultants, lighting designers, manufacturers and suppliers, the atmosphere was buzzing with discussion, controversy and gossip, as well as the simple pleasure of renewing old acquaintances.
Showlight is special because the speakers do not just turn up, say their piece and depart. They arrive at the beginning and they stay until the end, giving the audience the opportunity to ask questions later! And the social side of Showlight is equally important - delegates enjoy three days 'full board' - coffee, lunch, tea and dinner, all included. And 2001 was no exception: Strand Lighting organised a stunning Scottish Gala Dinner in the splendid setting of Hopetoun House, a thoroughly enjoyable evening which was brought to a dramatic close with a display from a flo