Business News

Wembley Bows Out with Final Concert
Friday, 15 December 2000

Early November saw the final concert at Wembley Stadium before the venue is demolished and redeveloped. Quietly publicised, it passed off with little note in the Nationals, but nevertheless raised a substantial amount of cash for the NSPCC thanks to a host of stars.

Keith Morris, under the auspices of CSS Productions, managed the event, reassembling the team he used so successfully for the British Gas, Maritime Museum New Millennium’s Eve event (strange how little we hear of the Millennial events that succeeded). Being November and rather nippy around the towers, this dinner and music show was staged on the pitch, but under cover. Serious Structures provided its Space Building, a giant derivative of the classic Orbit roof, being a curved ‘tunnel’ 92 metres long, 40m wide, with a max height at centre of 15m. The main feature of the Space Building is the totally transparent side fabric, which meant a lavish lighting display could be staged against the backdrop of the famous Twin Towers.

"This event was always going to be very tight on time," commented Morris. "The window for the build and de-rig was only 10 days (seven-day build, three-day de-rig). Scheduling was therefore of prime importance and a lot of time was spent with suppliers and site manager William (Pitso) Pirrie going through this process.

All audio was in the hands of Capital Sound, project managed by Martin Connolly. All Martin Wavefront 8, nine cabinets were flown each side of the stage as main system, plus two sets of delays down the length of the structure to avoid hig

Martin Pro Launches New Web Site
Thursday, 14 December 2000

Martin Professional has given its website a new look, in order to give its visitors a more customized experience. Martin has segmented the website into the various lighting industry segments. There are also separate areas for Jem smoke machines and Mach loudspeakers.Users logging on to the site for the first time can customize their visit by choosing a lighting industry sector, and language, so that users are always directed to a sub-site reflective of their background and interests. The 10 different sub-sites cover the following segments: DJ, Club, Touring, Theater, Architectural, TV, Commercial, Leisure, Jem Smoke and Mach Speakers. Each sub-site contains products and case stories relevant to that particular sector, as well as company information, a comprehensive distributor directory page and support area, as well as some fun extras.

Millionaire Gets the Midas Touch
Thursday, 14 December 2000

Elstree Sound Associates (ESA) has recently purchased a Midas Heritage 1000 from the London branch of LMC Audio Systems. Celador Productions dry hire a TV sound control room from ESA for the UK version of ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire?’ Having already been aware of Midas XL4 and XL3s, ESA were familiar with Midas for their reputation in live sound environment. On being presented with the new H1000, ESA was convinced that the console would work equally well in a broadcast environment. Sound supervisor Kevin Duff commented: "You never know how a desk is going to perform until the red light is on . . . but the H1000 excelled and blew me away with its warm, bright and crisp sound." He was also impressed by the console’s automation, adding: "There are two sound supervisors on 'Millionaire' - Chris Thorpe and myself - and we both have our own personal operational preferences in the way we use the console. By storing our preferences in the snapshot automation either of us can recall our settings instantly, which greatly reduces set-up time."

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Thursday, 14 December 2000

Central London-based Orbital Sound is currently in pre-production for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s musical adaptation of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which will make its London debut at Sadler’s Wells this Christmas.

In order to accommodate the complexities of this acclaimed production of Lion, Orbital worked closely with sound designer Scott Myers at all levels to help augment his initial sound design, first created three years ago for the show’s original run at the RSC.

Orbital has invested in the revolutionary new Yamaha PM1D as a world first to operate as the FOH theatre desk. The potential of this desk as part of Orbital’s extensive inventory is set to dramatically change sound design in theatre for both complex sound effects plays and larger musicals.

As Scott Myers explained: "The facilities on the PM1D will enable me to do complex operations simultaneously such as various changes in orchestra colours, quickly yet subtly, difficult changes in foldback mixes, and multi-dimensional sound effect placement. This should allow me to give the audience a first-rate theatrical experience."

From the show’s inception, Myers and Orbital’s head of production, Andy Robinson, have engineered detailed CAD schematics and produced a new systems design, breaking new ground by way of the use of the PM1D. Orbital’s in-house editing suite has proved especially useful on Lion. Working closely with Pro-Tools expert Sebastian Frost, Scott Myers found that the company’s vast library of sound effects has enabled him

H&S Training Courses
Wednesday, 13 December 2000

Stagesafe, a company set up to address the training needs of companies in the industry, with particular reference to Health & Safety issues, is now taking bookings for the next round of its Event Health and Safety Awareness Course.

Specially designed for anyone working in the live events industry, the day-long course examines event hazards in detail and covers everything from legal responsibilities to Risk Assessment. The course is open to freelancers, students and groups from companies, venues and student unions, and is fully approved by the Production Services Association. The course runs on the following dates: Bristol (29th Jan 2001), London (31st Jan 2001), Manchester (12th Feb 2001), Birmingham (13th Feb 2001).

Live! Awards Dinner Moves to Ally Pally
Wednesday, 13 December 2000

After a number of years at the Royal Lancaster Hotel, where the spiralling success of the event has seen more and more people literally squeezed into the hotel's Westbourne Suite, the 2001 Live! Awards dinner will be held in the Great Hall of Alexandra Palace. The change of venue offers the twin benefits of easily accommodating the large numbers who now wish toattend the Awards, while allowing much easier access to exhibitors and visitors to the Live! Show. The Live! Awards dinner takes place on the evening of Wednesday 7th February 2001, the first day of the Live! Show. In addition, this year, for the first time, you can register online for the Live! Show at the web address below, which also features comprehensive Show information.

Belgium’s Flashlight/APR Joins Synco Network
Wednesday, 13 December 2000

Belgian audio and lighting rental company Flashlight/APR has signed up as the fifth member of the expanding Synco Europe Network of PA companies, while two existing Synco Network members have announced substantial new equipment investments. Flashlight/APR, of Houthalen, Belgium, joins DEE Sound and Light (Belgium), PAS Audio (Holland), Ampco Pro Rent (Holland) and Puro Audio (Portugal) in the network. The latest move means that Belgium now has a full complement of Synco members. Flashlight’s current work is in broadcast (including video production houses and commercial and state-owned TV channels), corporate events, theatre musicals and touring.Flashlight/APR underlined its commitment to Synco with the purchase of 30kW of Renkus-Heinz Synco Touring System (RH-STS) PA, amplifier and drive racks with Crest amplification, a full RH-STS rigging system and multicores, as well as Midas Heritage 2000 and 3000 consoles. It also includes eight 15” and eight 12” Synco stage monitors and matching Synco amplifier racks.Flashlight/APR is run by joint managing directors Walter van den Langenberg and Erwin Franck. The company also has a large stock of lighting equipment through its relationship with Flashlight Holland. Meanwhile, DEE Sound & Light has invested in an additional 6 RH-STS SUB 18/RR cabinets, while Ampco Pro Rent has purchased another 24 RH-STS SUB 18/RRs. APR also invested in 24 of the compact, full-range Renkus-Heinz SR5 cabinets and Crest amplifiers for their growing theatre work along with another Midas Heritage 1000 - bringing the total number of Herita

MAC 2000 at Lotusphere
Tuesday, 12 December 2000

The first major event to utilise Martin Professional’s new MAC 2000 profile spot was the opening of Lotusphere 2000, a conference for software company Lotus Development Corp, which was held at the International Congress Center (ICC) in Berlin. Stage Electrics supplied 28 MAC 2000 profile spots for the event, which featured a large stage set created by Michael Woodage and lit by lighting designer Durham Marenghi. "The brief called for the set to change colour in symphony with the opening video sequence," says Marenghi. "The colour palette was able to match all the colors utilized in the video graphics and faded between them without the associated intermediate and unwanted colours, which was most impressive. The beam-shaping effect was used to light the tall 3D numeric figures at the rear of the set and allowed us to keep the beam completely off the screens. The adjustable colour temperature feature kept the camera images flattering when the units were used as stage key lights for presenters."

University Challenges Industry to Provide Work Experience for Students
Tuesday, 12 December 2000

As there has been a major growth in students signing up for the BA (Hons) Events Management and HND in Events Management courses offered by the UK Centre for Events Management, at Leeds Metropolitan University (LMU), the University is looking for around 120 events industry work placements for its students next year (2001/2002).

Students without previous experience spend 48 weeks working in the events industry, normally with one organisation. A few students undertake two 24-week placements. Students are normally paid a modest salary and, as well as contributing to the day-to-day operation of the business, they are required to undertake a project which will be of lasting benefit to their host organisation.

Martin Wright, senior lecturer at the UK Centre for Events Management at LMU, told L&SI: "There has been a lot of recent media comment about the need for practical, as well as academic, input to event management courses. To date we have received tremendous support from the industry. Now is the opportunity for other events organisations to provide that much-valued industrial experience for our students. At the same time sponsor companies will gain the services of a motivated, enthusiastic and very able young person who can bring real benefits to the business."

Organisations interested in offering work placement should contact Andy Jones on 0113 283 5878 (E-mail: Details are also available on the UK Centre for Event Management website at

PLASA’s Christmas Donation
Tuesday, 12 December 2000

This Christmas, along with an increasing number of companies who choose to help the environment and benefit charity at the same time, PLASA will again be making a donation to two charities instead of sending Christmas cards. £600 will be allotted to charity from the savings on Christmas card mailings, while a further £300, collected at this year’s PLASA Show from visitors to the PLASA stand, will be added to the sum. The total of £900 will be donated by the Association to two charities which have been put in place to benefit industry personnel in times of hardship: the PSA Welfare & Benevolent Fund and to Light Relief.The team at PLASA Publishing would like to wish all visitors to the PLASA Electronic News site a very merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

Fisher Productions Lights the Great Court
Monday, 11 December 2000

Fisher Productions were specially commissioned to organise the recent official opening of the British Museum's Queen Elizabeth II Great Court, in conjunction with the events department of the British Museum. The project involved the arrangement and co-ordination of the entertainment and technical support aspects of the opening, as well as the creation of a spectacular Son et Lumiere. The two-acre inner courtyard of the British Museum, hidden for 150 years and now transformed into Europe's largest covered square, provided an impressive setting for the four-minute Son et Lumiere, which was performed to a revised arrangement of Haydn's 'The Creation', by Stephen Warbeck. The finale involved shafts of light shining through the glass and steel roof from a specially-erected crane outside the building. The Great Court was officially opened by Her Majesty the Queen.

Funky Junk with Dreamhire
Monday, 11 December 2000

UK pro audio rental company Dreamhire has extended its influence in Europe by entering into a joint venture with Funky Junk in Sweden and Italy. Funky Junk's branches in Stockholm and Milan now carry a range of Dreamhire rental equipment from manufacturers such as Neve, Neumann and Urei, as well as acting as a point of reference to anyone wanting to access Dreamhire's entire equipment list.

LSC Broadens its Worldwide Representation
Thursday, 7 December 2000

Australian-based lighting control manufacturer, LSC Lighting Systems (Aust) Pty Ltd, has appointed three new distributors for its lighting control product range. Socel Ltd in Santiago, Chile, has been operating in the lighting market since 1987. They have already placed their first stock order of LSC desks and dimmers. Tectronics of the United Arab Emirates has been trading since 1978 with offices in Sharjah and Abu Dhabi with one shortly to open in Egypt. An order has been placed for an Atom lighting desk and patch panel for a hotel project in Dubai. Stagetec Distribution Ltd, based in Slough, UK (see earlier news), has been created to import LSC and other international brands into the UK market. Their initial stocking order for Atom and Axiom desks, along with samples of LSC’s new dimmer range, has been delivered with further orders to be fulfilled prior to Christmas.

Nexo Sound for Mandela Lectures
Thursday, 7 December 2000

London-based AV company, Montage Presentation Services, has recently purchased four Nexo PS-8¹s, an LS-400 sub bass and the PS-8 TD controller to add to its inventory of Nexo loudspeakers. The first outing for the PS-8 system was for two private presentations given by Nelson Mandela on behalf of BP, including the inaugural BP Annual Lecture at the new BP Lecture Theatre at the British Museum. Under the general theme of ‘World Civilisation’, the lecture will be given each year by an internationally renowned figure. Sir David Attenborough introduced the series’ very first speaker, Nelson Mandela.The other presentation took place in the atrium at BP's Finsbury Circus headquarters. Rising through seven storeys of glass and marble, the atrium presented a significant acoustic challenge. As Louis Backer, MD of Montage explains: "Despite the cavernous proportions of the venue, our most pressing concern was space, as indeed with the British Museum. Our watchwords are neat and discreet - we go to great lengths to make our installations as invisible as possible, yet without compromising sonic quality. Generally, the only element of the installation that is visible are the loudspeakers themselves, and then only if we haven't managed to hide them somewhere!"

Production Arts are Most Wanted
Tuesday, 5 December 2000

Fourth Phase Production Arts were at the centre of a dramatic and highly successful campaign by West Midlands Police which involved projecting giant images onto their Lloyd House HQ in the Hockley area of central Birmingham. The images were of their three Most Wanted criminals, and the event was part of an ongoing anti-robbery initiative called Operation Safer Streets. Production Arts provided a Pani BP6 Gold projector to locally-based production company Stagepoint Technical Services, who were asked to undertake this off-beat visual challenge after West Midlands police saw their website. The project was handled for Stagepoint by Andy Carleton and for Production Arts by Emma Hutchison.

Material Girl
Tuesday, 5 December 2000

Nocturne Europe was an integral part of the video production for the super-hyped, high profile Madonna gig at Brixton Academy. The show was netstreamed live by Microsoft to an audience estimated at over 200 million - the world’s largest webcast to date. Nocturne Europe became involved in the show via their US counterpart Nocturne Inc, who have serviced previous Madonna productions and also worked with their European partner XL Video from Belgium in a unique triumvirate collaboration.XL Video provided their new indoor Lighthouse Screen, fed from Nocturne Europe’s control system. This was based around a 4-input vision mixer fed from three Doremi hard drives, used to store all the pre-recorded video footage. The video control was automated via an ARTI system from Nocturne Inc, which converted SMPTE timecode from the band’s MD to trigger the hard drives. Nocturne Europe also provided a Barco ELM projector, fed from the CT OB truck parked outside. The high-pressure job - Madonna is well known for being a complete perfectionist - was co-ordinated from the Nocturne Europe office in St Albans by director Des Fallon. The show’s production manager was Chris Lamb, production lighting was supplied by Fourth Phase LSD and sound by Clair Brothers.

Coe-tech Expands and Moves
Tuesday, 5 December 2000

Coe-tech is moving into a new, expanded HQ in Northampton. The company has bought the new, larger, premises in a move designed to locate and integrate the sales team with the general administration and financial divisions. The new building also features new demonstration facilities and showrooms.Coe-tech’s sales operation has expanded so rapidly in the last two years that the company outgrew the previous site it occupied for eight years. This is just the first stage in Coe-tech’s comprehensive expansion plans for the new century which are scheduled to unfold over the next five years. The Millennial year has seen the completion of many major projects for Coe-tech, all of which have contributed to the need to move. In addition to the Coemar, Studio Due, TAS and Futurelight lighting fixtures now established by Coe-tech in a range of pro lighting applications, the poly optics, fibre and flow neon side of Coe-tech’s business is fast expanding.(5 December)

Conference on UK Theatre
Monday, 4 December 2000

The first ever cross-industry conference for British theatre to address the challenges and opportunities for its future will take place in London between February 28 and March 3, 2001. Organised by the Society of London Theatre, the Theatrical Management Association and the Independent Theatre Council, key topics of Theatre 2001 will include new ways of working, developing new leadership, new audiences and ways of financing theatre. Speakers include Melvyn Bragg who will open the conference and Richard Eyre whose BBC2 series Changing Stages is currently being shown. There will also be a speech from culture secretary Chris Smith and David Puttnam is scheduled to debate the contrast between the popularity of cinema and the challenges that face theatre. The conference which includes a range of talks, surgery sessions and social events takes place at 1 Great George Street, off Parliament Square.

Klark Teknik in the South Seas
Monday, 4 December 2000

The government of Tahiti, at the behest of their president Gaston Flosse, has invested in a $1.5m state-of-the-art modular sound system for all state functions, parades and cultural events, including concerts in the island’s 5000-capacity To’ata Stadium. Based on a 40-box EAW KF750 rig, the package also includes no less than 24 special 25th anniversary edition Klark Teknik DN360 graphic equalisers. APEX Audio of Huntingdon Beach, California, designed and specified the system, in conjunction with Tahiti-based audio speciailist Karl Brinckfieldt.

Standards Must be a Priority
Friday, 1 December 2000

The recent news of a third accident involving a rigger at Earls Court & Olympia has provided yet another reminder of the need for the industry to demonstrate that it is not complacent, and establish a set of standards by which it can be judged.

This latest accident happened in late September at Olympia, when David Upton of Unusual Rigging caught his foot whilst fitting a banner to the entrance of the Grand Hall and fell 18ft. Fortunately, it didn’t cost him his life, but it has left him paralysed, and an investigation is now underway by Hammersmith and Fulham Council.

This latest incident has refocused attention on the two earlier fatalies at Earls Court - the death of Kevin O’Brien, a freelance lighting designer working for the SpotCo, in December 1999 and the subsequent death of David Mott, a contractor working for Unusual Rigging, in June this year. L&SI has contacted both the Environmental Services Department of The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, the authority responsible for investigating the December fatality, and the Health and Safety Executive, the enforcing authority for the June fatality.

The investigation concerning O’Brien is now complete and the results are currently in the hands of Kensington and Chelsea Borough’s legal department who will decide what action to take next. What that conclusion will be is anybody’s guess, but the inquest on O’Brien, who wasn’t actually an experienced rigger, found that not only was he not on the approved list and somehow gained unauthorised access to the roof of the venu

SigNET Honoured
Friday, 1 December 2000

The Right Honourable Stephen Byers, Minister of the Department of Trade and Industry, recently visited SigNET AC in recognition of the company’s record of achievement for innovation.

In 1992 the company’s VA system received two industry awards for design and concept. In 1998, the digital distributed system (installed in the largest VAPA site in the world - CLK airport Hong Kong) was granted Millennium Product status by the UK government and in May 2000 the company won SMART Award funding for the development of a new compact networked model.

Stephen Byers represents a constituency in the North East of England and is familiar with the Sunderland Stadium of Light - one of the prime locations in the region to have a SigNET VAPA system. The sound system at the football club has received praise from fans, visiting teams and MPs. However, less well recognised, is the SigNET system of life safety features, control and amplification, which means that in the event of an emergency it is possible to quickly alert and evacuate the spectators from the football ground.

The Wonder of Dimension
Friday, 1 December 2000

Dimension Audio has recently completed the sound production for a Woolworth’s Christmas Party. When the staff of Woolworth’s decided to hold an early celebration at Manchester GMEX, production company Cataclysm enlisted Dimension Audio to supply appropriate types of audio reinforcement. Dimension supplied Trantec S5000 lavalier and handheld radio mics, whilst reinforcement was provided by a combination of d&b audiotechnik 902s and 602s, with L-Acoustics ARCS subs. The sound was mixed on a 48-channel Allen & Heath ML5000 board and the EQ settings were stored and routed via three BSS 9088 Soundweb digital matrix devices. With Martin Pilton designing the sound set-up and Mark Boden project managing for Dimension, the corporate party was a huge success.

Christmas Lights up the London Eye
Friday, 1 December 2000

Yesterday, the British Airways London Eye became a rainbow of revolving colours when it was lit for the Christmas season. Park Avenue, British Airways' brand communication and events agency, was commissioned to design and realise the project, which began over nine months ago and has involved detailed discussion with British Airways, the British Airways London Eye safety and structural consultants and David Marks, the architect. The Park Avenue team, led by creative director Simon Tapping, producer Ajay Parekh, and lighting designer Paul Cook worked with Keith Duncan and the team at Vari-Lite to achieve the effects they needed. As a result 32 Vari*Lites are attached to the pods and take their colour and design from the sky, rather than more traditional or commercial Christmas designs. Special brackets have been designed to attach the Vari*Lites to the structure and ‘anti-freeze' cues have been built into the programme so that the lights will be in constant motion, even when unlit, to ensure that they don’t freeze in one position in sub-zero weather. The whole sequence, which was pre-programmed in WYSIWYG, is controlled by a Wholehog desk, which has been mounted on the Eye itself. A microwave link across the river has been set up so live adjustments can be made from the prime viewing position on the North bank.

Blade of Light
Friday, 1 December 2000

London’s Millennium Bridge may have its wobble problems, but as a piece of static architecture it provides a strong visual connection between the City and St. Paul’s Cathedral on the North bank of the Thames and the newly-opened Tate Modern gallery on the South.

At night, that link is emphasised by a lighting scheme supplied and installed by Lighting Technology Projects. LTP has been involved with the project since mid-1998, and project manager Jonathan Hilton worked closely with lighting designer Claude Engle, who in turn linked with architect Lord Norman Foster’s design team. The night-time ‘look’ of the Bridge, frequently described as a ‘blade of light’ from bank to bank, is created by the use of Light Pipe, the only form of illumination employed. A total of 84 8m lengths of TIR Light Pipe 6" units, plus another 10 8m lengths of various 4" units connected to 250W light sources with specific colour temperatures, produce the desired effect.

However, this was a complex project, with problems of tolerances in running sections of lighting across bridge section joins and the necessary allowances for expansion and contraction. The bracketry had to be ‘disguised’ as an integral part of the structure and the control gear housed underneath the walkway also needed to be placed neatly and away from the sightlines. As for the Light Pipe itself, the tube coating had to allow for light to be emitted from the correct areas, so as to illuminate the walkway and relevant parts of the structure.


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