Business News

Synco Europe Unveils New System
Monday, 10 December 2001

In the first major revision to the Renkus-Heinz Synco Touring System since its introduction four years ago, Synco Europe has announced a single, new mid/high cabinet to replace the long and short throw cabinets currently in use across the Synco Network. The Synco Network members (Ampco Pro Rent and PAS Audio of Holland; DEE Sound and Light and Flashlight/APR of Belgium; R G Jones of the UK and Puro Audio of Portugal) agreed on a programme of updating their current stock of equipment with the latest technical updates. The result is a radical change from all of the network’s current MH 60-40 (40 degree vertical dispersion) and MH 60-25 (25 degree vertical dispersion) cabinets to the new standard long-throw cabinet, the MH 60-30."It has not only entailed a major change in Synco Network logistics and planning," comments Fred Heuves, managing director of Synco Europe. "The new R-H Synco Touring System now has just one mid/high longthrow cabinet instead of two cabinets, and the new cabinet itself represents a significant technical and performance upgrade, and the power and sound quality of the new cabinet is amazing."

Luminar Go for Growth
Monday, 10 December 2001

Luminar plc, the name behind numerous bars, restaurants and nightclubs across the UK, has recently released details of its interim financial results for 2001.

The figures make impressive reading and indicate that there is still much to be positive about in the night sector. Company turnover is up 116% from £77.2million last year to £166.4m this year. The company’s pre-tax profit has more than doubled to £29.5m.

Underpinning the financial success has been an aggressive growth strategy, which has seen Luminar acquire 10 venues from Scottish and Newcastle plc (making it the largest operator of late night venues in Scotland) and also the Life Limited brand from Whitbread. It has also continued to roll out its own brands, including Chicago Rock Cafe, Jumpin’ Jaks and Liquid, together with the development of ukclubculture - a relatively recent initiative which is aimed at 14-17 year olds.

The interim results have set the agenda for the next 18 months, and the company has announced a major acquisitions and openings programme which will see 44 new venues added to the Luminar portfolio across 2002/2003.

The company has also reorganised its management structure - divisional directors John Aust, Alistair Burford and Brendan McLoughlin will now become functional heads and report directly to chief executive Stephen Thomas. Commenting on the results, Thomas told L&SI: "We continue to be totally focused on developing our concepts for differing lifestyle brands. Roll out and organic expansion will be funded through internally generated cash, and we will conti

Focus 21's Top Grade InstallationFocus 21's Top Grade Installation
Monday, 10 December 2001

Focus 21 Visual Communications has undertaken a series of videowall installation projects for a large financial firm in the City of London involving both Sony and Christie technology. Focus installed two conference/meeting rooms at the Corporation's Thameside location at Blackfriars - generally to facilitate 'plug and play' Powerpoint presentations from a laptop computer, using scan conversion technology.

Focus 21 services director Nigel Warrilow states that by using the Sony DSC-1024 scan converter, coupled with the Christie Digital's ability to split images from multiple displays in the overall picture area, correctly displayed data images can be presented from any PC. "The company wanted a big display occupying minimal depth or loss of space," he continued. "The ambient light level wouldn't lend itself to front projection, while rear projection would have eaten up too much space. So this was the ideal solution."

The major installation undertaken by Focus 21 was in the Grade II-listed Great Hall in the City of London School's former assembly room. Currently used for banking conferences, Focus 21 needed to work around the protected covenant of oak panels, and with access to a traditional ceiling-mounted design denied them in the 50m long room, they were confronted by compromises based on the large amount of ambient light escaping through the prominent windows. With a front-projection system therefore ruled out, they looked at a rearpro solution - only to find that the vibration from the London Underground, running directly underneath, prevented that

Conferences at Entech 2002
Monday, 10 December 2001

The Entech 2002 Conference program features workshops and seminars in areas of lighting, design, rigging, audio, projection and even the business needs of a DJ. Sessions includeIntroducing the Line Array; The Future of Systems Integration and ProAV Technology; Venue Design Forum; Digital Live Sound Mixing; Lighting Designer Forum; Rigging Workshop; Stacks and Racks; Motor Training School; Location Sound Recording; Trends in Facilities; The Art of Designing with Moving Lights; We Are Surrounded (Surround Sound); and The Changing Face of Post Production.

Entech 2002, Australasia’s leading entertainment technology trade show, will be held in Sydney’s Darling Harbour from 4-6 February 2002. For further details on the conference programme and exhibits, visit the web address below:

Metal School by James ThomasMetal School by James Thomas
Monday, 10 December 2001

Trussing, aluminium and ground support specialists James Thomas Engineering has designed an integrated Trussing module - on its safe use and handling - for PCM's renowned Lodestar two-day Motor School. An extended version of the trussing module is also run at PCM's five-day-Rigging School. James Thomas's Trussing course was devised by project manager Paul Young, who says: "There's more than meets the eye with trussing and its associated safety issues, and also the wider ones generally across in the rigging industry. Anyone interested in furthering their knowledge of motors and rigging also needs to know all about trussing. People are often surprised at the complexity of the subject!"

Like the Motor School, the Trussing module is presented in a hands-on, practical manner. For the two-day Motor School - run free of charge by PCM - the Trussing section takes up half a day. At the longer five-day Rigging School, it occupies a full day and includes a practical session. Here students have the opportunity of getting their hands dirty and assembling and disassembling a full ground support system and a box truss from start to finish. JTE's course provides a comprehensive overview of the trussing manufacturing process and the options, materials and manufacturing methods available. It will familiarize owners, users and specifiers of trussing with the different choices for the application, and also covers the make up, design philosophy, operational theory and safety aspects of the products. Trouble-shooting is also discussed.

Potter Scales the Heights
Sunday, 9 December 2001

Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone has already received great critical and popular acclaim and is expected to become the biggest grossing film ever for Time Warner. Vertigo Rigging, Spirit Design and Fourth Phase were amongst those who helped supply the magic for the recent World Première at London’s famous Odeon Cinema, Leicester Square.

Vertigo, working for production company West Design, show producer Lucy Smail and production manager Andy Cheesman, transformed the front of the building into Hogwarts School of Wizardry & Witchcraft for the evening of 4 November.

With a seven-day get in, the event required over 22 tonnes of equipment, 12 tonnes of which was hung off the side of the building - representing a huge logistical and practical challenge for Vertigo. Work began on 29 October, when project manager Paddy Burnside and his team of riggers supervised a 60 tonne crane to lift over 10 tonnes of pre-built RMD (prefabricated Rapid Metal Decking) superstructure onto the roof of the Odeon.

The superstructure’s purpose was to support two sections of truss framework - the lower main roof - measuring 22m wide by 8.5m deep, and the tower section - 8m wide by 31 metres high. The tower section of superstructure was anchored to its own two top floors using six M20 studding rods, drilled through the floors for maximum stability. The next four days were spent installing the truss and attaching the set to it. The trussing statistics were equally impressive - with a total of 190m of 52cm Thomas Supertruss and 200m of Thomas Superlite used. The 52cm form

BBC connects with Kelsey
Friday, 7 December 2001

Kelsey Acoustics, leading manufacturer and supplier of professional audio and lighting cables, supplied a number of Kelsey 100 touring multipin connectors, looms and breakouts to ATG Spectrum for its recently-completed installation in Studio 3 at the BBC's Television Centre in Wood Lane.

Studio 3 is the new home of the Top of the Pops and Later with Jools Holland broadcasts, and the request for Kelsey's involvement came directly from the sound supervisor responsible for both programmes. Mike Felton explained: "We were temporarily housed at Riverside Studios for TOTP whilst the move and refurb was going on, and SSE were supplying all the monitoring and PA facilities. They use Kelsey's 32-way multicore as standard, and having used it ourselves, Gary [Clarke, sound supervisor TOTP] and I immediately requested that a compatible line system be installed in Studio 3. It entirely fitted the bill of what we were looking for."

Felton went on to explain that the key features were reliability and flexibility. "When you are using anything up to 160 circuits for just one programme which is basically five lots of 32-way multicore systems that have to be set up and broken down again in record time, they have to be tough to cope with the hurly-burly and the hostile; environment of professional use. Reliability is an essential feature for us, and the Kelsey equipment, which is military spec, seems more than tough enough for the job. It also allows us great flexibility, which is another important requirement on big music shows like TOTP and Jools Holland. We are able to de

Stage Technologies to Sponsor Theatre Conference
Friday, 7 December 2001

Stage Technologies has announced its decision to become Gold sponsor for the forthcoming international conference on Theatre Engineering and Architecture 2002 taking take place in London next June. The theatre event of 2002 will examine technology and architecture for the performing arts. Presented in a hotel venue in London's Theatreland, the conference will bring together theatre technicians, architects, consultants, scenographers, lighting designers, stage and building services engineers, acousticians, fire prevention specialists as well as building owners, cost consultants, new clients and project managers.

The conference will be followed by the ABTT Theatre Show. Stage Technologies' commercial director Nikki Scott said: "We are delighted to sponsor this landmark international event. It is an important opportunity to discuss with industry colleagues and theatre professionals the issues which exist today and to develop a vision for the future. Stage engineering continues to benefit enormously from technological advances and we must work together to ensure that the improved facilities these advances provide become accessible to the theatre world as a whole."

J2s Newcastle
Friday, 7 December 2001

Julies nightclub is a well-known Newcastle landmark. Like most clubs, it’s had its fair share of small upgrades over the years, but owner Keith Gibbon, of Lazi Leisure, felt the time had come for a major renovation - hence Julies 2.To effect the refurbishment, the venue was closed at the end of January to allow for major structural alterations to increase its size. Keith Gibbon came up with the design concept and called in the team at Lighting Technology Projects - Craig Grieveson, Dave Philips and Ray Scott - to undertake the installation. The effects lighting rig centres around Martin Professional’s MAC 250s, MiniMACs, Mx4s and CX2 colour changers, with Abstract Moonrays, Pulsar Demon Strobe units and shed loads of neon providing further punctuation. Controlling all this, and the Jem ZR12 Smoke machine, is a Pulsar Masterpiece 216. A Sony-led, four-screen video system is also installed in the venue.

For the audio elements, Ray Scott contacted Steve Coxon of Mackie/RCF to discuss the new system. The brief was for a rig that was capable of producing an articulate sound at background levels, but one which could also reproduce full-on levels when required. Following a site visit, Mackie Industrial ART 300s were spec’d, in conjunction with Monitor 8s and Vision 180s for subs. DJ monitoring was supplied by a single Mackie Industrial Art 300a.

Steve Coxon told L&SI: "The venue was a building site when we did our visit, but it was obvious even at that stage that this was an unique and exciting venture. It was easy to tell that Keith Gibbon was very pas

Harrow’s Historic Chapel Gets a Clearer Sound
Thursday, 6 December 2001

An all-new sound reinforcement system has recently been installed in the historic chapel at Harrow School by installation specialists Scan Audio. The Grade 2 listed building was designed by Gilbert Scott - famous for landmarks such as the Albert Memorial and St. Pancras station, so the installation had to be carried out with great sensitivity.

"A key area to address was the problem of hearing the choir properly at back of the chapel over the large pipe organ," notes Dee Couchman of Scan Audio. Improved sound reinforcement for speech was also required throughout the chapel. "It was the opposite to the usual problem of long reverberation times in that type of building," comments Paul Malpas of consultants Arup Acoustics. "We needed to lift the choir and subtly balance their level with the organ."

The solution was to completely strip out the old column speaker-based system and to use a brand new 100v line installation. The opportunity was also taken to improve the visual aesthetics of the chapel by re-routing the new cabling underfloor or otherwise concealing it. Couchman specified mainly Renkus-Heinz loudspeakers, including six RFX81s - one of each in the north and sound transept, a pair in the chancel position and another pair in the nave. Three TRC32s were also positioned at the rear of the chapel for choir reinforcement. A pair of TOA F160s were also placed in the organ gallery, under which three Martin Audio C516T ceiling speakers were installed. The whole system is controlled via a BSS 9088 Soundweb, controlled by a 9010 Jellyfish remote

Vari-Lite to Discontinue Virtuoso Sales
Thursday, 6 December 2001

Vari-Lite Inc has announced it has discontinued selling the Virtuoso DX control system, with immediate effect. However, the company will continue to rent the desks and to provide customer support for units already in the field. "This was a tough and emotional decision," said Rusty Brutsché, chairman and CEO at Vari-Lite. "But in the end, sales of the Virtuoso DX console just weren't profitable for Vari-Lite. And therefore the decision was made to concentrate all our manufacturing and sales efforts on the luminaire market, which has greater potential for profitable growth. The overwhelming and positive response to Vari-Lite's newest automated luminaire, the VL1000 ERS, combined with the success of the Series 2000 luminaires - reinforced our decision."

Vari-Lite will support all Virtuoso DX consoles sold to date. "The goal is to provide the same quality service that our customers and dealers have experienced in the past," said Brutsché. "I also want to emphasize that VLPS will continue to rent and provide customer support for the Virtuoso and Virtuoso DX consoles as always."

Orbital Brochure Wins Award of Excellence
Thursday, 6 December 2001

Orbital Sound's company brochure 'Working With Sound' has won the Award of Excellence for a corporate or promotional brochure at the 2001 Communicators in Business Awards. Designed and produced by London-based design company, Mot Juste, the brochure was judged by a panel of industry experts on its design, content and communications factor.The judges commented: "On picking this publication up we were immediately struck by the obvious high quality. Regardless of the role you play in theatre, it is obvious that the content has been geared at a number of posts, all of whom have different reasons for using this sort of equipment. The contents were very well handled and we have no doubt gave the reader sufficient information on which to make a decision whether to ask for more information.

Established in 1954, The CiB Awards recognize the highest standards and quality in business communications and attract a thousand entries on average each year.

Turbosound Upgrades School Chapel
Wednesday, 5 December 2001

A Turbosound TCS system has recently been installed in an upgrade to an impressive school chapel in New Zealand. St. Paul's Collegiate Chapel - set within the schools grounds - underwent an audiovisual and conferencing system upgrade, undertaken by installers Audio Video Solutions Ltd.

Supplied through Turbosound distributor Audio Telex, a sound system comprising numerous TCS-56, TCS-59 and TCS-10 loudspeakers, was both flown and wall-mounted, along with a set of TCS-118 subwoofers and TCS-12M floor monitors. The chapel consists of highly reflective, angled walls, plus an all glass rear wall. With large amounts of glass panelling throughout, the client brief required the design to impress acoustically, whilst being aesthetically discreet.

Stuart Craig of Audio Telex told us: "The client wanted to be able to use the system for music playback vocal reinforcement, as well as live music. Excellent feedback rejection and the way the TCS boxes are voiced, helped us achieve all of these objectives."

The TCS56 and 59 speakers were also chosen for their slim line characteristics, which allowed them to be placed in front of the chapel columns, minimizing visual obstruction.

Pulp Fiction for XL VideoPulp Fiction for XL Video
Wednesday, 5 December 2001

XL Video supplied projection for Pulp's recent UK tour - one of many tours and events wrapping up an extremely busy year for XL, specialists in touring and live event video. Pulp - fronted by the charismatic Jarvis Cocker, featured innovative video footage created by Cocker himself, once a Fine Art and film-making student at Central St Martin's College.

Video was used to produce quirky and emotive visuals throughout 80% of the show. The footage ranged from heavily treated, stylized 60s soft porn for 'This is Hardcore', to time lapse film of flowers opening, trees and abstract patterns. XL Video supplied a fully digital video playback system for the tour, looked after by crew member Dave McKinlay. The projectors were two of XL's new 5000 lumen Barco SLM G5s. These were rigged on the front lighting truss, with both focused to produce the one upstage screen image - which varied in width according to venue, with 15 x 20ft being the largest.

It was run live cue-by-cue by McKinlay using an SDI Magic DaVE to mix the sources, pulled from a Doremi hard drive. For the Brixton Academy show, a hand-held video camera was also hooked into the system, enabling Jarvis to experiment, have fun and reek video havoc during the set. XL’s projectors were also hooked into the Academy's two house screens. XL Video has recently invested in 12 new Barco G5s - which have been designed and optimized for the practicalities of the touring market. The Barcos come complete with their own rigging system including sub-frame and clamps. The lamps can be removed from the side of the unit, allowing f

Tivoli Leases Acclaimed Synco Wedges
Tuesday, 4 December 2001

The Tivoli, one of Holland’s most established rock clubs, has announced a leasing agreement with Synco Europe for 12 Synco 15" monitor wedges with matching Synco amplifier and control racks. The deal makes the Tivoli the fifth club in Holland after O13, Music Center Utrecht, Nighttown and The Milky Way to have acquired the Synco wedges. All leasing contracts cover a period of a 60-month rental.

Dick te Winkel, managing director of the Tivoli told us: "Although it's our usual policy to own all the equipment in the club, the demands from our technicians and performing bands for these wedges have been very high so we're very pleased with the leasing option we got from Synco Europe, since their wedges are not for sale."

Precision Devices’ Management Buy-Out
Tuesday, 4 December 2001

L&SI has learned of further important changes from within the Harman Pro Audio camp. John McFarland and Mike Sowden of Precision Devices have negotiated a management buy-out, acquiring in the process both the company’s premises and brands.

McFarland and Sowden, who have spent the past three-and-a-half years managing the company’s operations in Redruth and Rotherham on behalf of Harman International Industries (HII), agreed the deal for the purchase of the Redruth site and brands in mid-October. The new company will be called Precision Audio Products Limited.

John McFarland told L&SI: "I believe that this move is the first step in an extremely positive future for the business, for our employees and our customers, and that our new-found independence will enable us to better develop the different arms of the business." McFarland will be taking the role of managing director and Mike Sowden will become financial director.

AVW in Monte Carlo and Rochdale
Tuesday, 4 December 2001

The Monte Carlo Ballet is set to take on a new choreographic adventure, La Belle. Created to the music of Tchaikovsky, La Belle has an exceptional artistic team, put together by Scena Productions. Scena has become a regular client of AVW Controls, most recently on a project for Aston Martin in Tokyo where AVW was commissioned to work on two areas of the show. In rehearsal throughout November and December before hitting the stage for a tour beginning 27 December 2001, La Belle requires six motorized rotating doors, three on each side of the stage plus a radio-controlled stage truck.

AVW has created similar designs before, including a radio-controlled birthday cake and washing machine for a Ray Cooney farce at the Whitehall Theatre some years ago, plus the boat in Phantom of the Opera. AVW Controls has also taken over the maintenance of scenery control for Phantom at Her Majesty's Theatre in London. Having worked on the show in Holland, Switzerland and London, managing director Anton Woodward and AVW project manager John McBryde, who previously worked as chief electrician at Her Majesty's Theatre, ensured the smooth-running of what has become the most successful musical ever produced. Grossing more than $3 billion worldwide and still rising, Phantom features some strikingly melodramatic effects, including the famous falling of the chandelier, and, having premiered in 1986, the show continues to play to packed houses in London's West End.

And from Monte Carlo to Rochdale. At the beginning of November, on behalf of PMC Stage Service

Theatre Attendance Remains Strong
Monday, 3 December 2001

The West End braced itself in the aftermath of the WTC/Pentagon attacks, fearing that with people less willing to travel, audience figures would simply dwindle away, and that some shows would be forced to close ahead of schedule.

However, if the recent results released by the Ambassador Theatre Group are a barometer for the rest of the West End, then the anticipated downsizing ain’t coming. Attendance figures for ATG venues across the UK show a 3% increase in the West End and a 12% increase in the regions. ATG’s managing director Howard Panter told L&SI: "People are not staying away from the theatre - attendance figures are up and some shows are playing to record houses." Executive director Rosemary Squire added: "Far from closing shows, we are opening even more shows. We are bringing a major musical - My One and Only - to the West End in the New Year, and at the beginning of next month we’ll be opening Noises Off on Broadway. Pantomime sales are galloping ahead of target, and our regional box offices are at all-time highs. There are tremendously loyal domestic audiences out there."

The figures were measured in the six weeks following September 11.

ARX Appoints Australian Distributor
Monday, 3 December 2001

ARX Systems, the Australian-based manufacturer of professional audio products has appointed well-known Melbourne-based distributor - The Resource Corp (TRC) - as its Australian distributor. ARX managing director Colin Park told us: "ARX has previously managed its own distribution network in Australia. However, with both our domestic and export markets growing rapidly, especially in Europe and South America, we realized our Australian Dealer Network needed a heightened level of support that only a truly distribution-based company like TRC could offer."

Tony Hosking and his team at The Resource Corp have over 100 years of accumulated experience in the Australian Industry.

Studio Sound Ceases Publication
Monday, 3 December 2001

The December issue of Studio Sound magazine will be the final issue of the publication dedicated to the audio broadcast and studio sector. The magazine, edited by Tim Goodyer, is part of the CMP stable, and a sister title to Installation Europe, Pro Sound News Europe and What's New in Pro Audio.

Technical Teams Shine at MTV Awards
Monday, 3 December 2001

The prestigious MTV Europe Music Awards took place live from the Festhalle in Frankfurt, Germany on 8 November, presented by the ever-controversial Ali G. Contributors to the event were headed by main lighting contractors Vari-Lite Europe Ltd, Britannia Row Productions, who provided a Turbosound Flashlight PA, and Black Pig, who co-ordinated the live video screen production.

Al Gurdon designed the lighting, assisted by programmer/operator Mike Owen, and Vari-Lite supplied a massive system comprising over 400 automated luminaires, 700 conventional lights and a Virtuoso control desk. Vari-Lite also supplied a prodigious 3,500 feet of truss, 105 chain hoists and nearly two kilometres of cable. The stage consisted of two large curved set pieces, principally lit by a combination of VL5s, VL6Cs, VL2402s, together with 26 MAC 2000s and 13 truss-mounted Sky-Art Searchlights with beam divertor mirrors. There were also a number of Molefay and fluorescents scattered around the stage system. The draping and trussing was supplied by Blackout Triple E and between the two set pieces there was a large Westernhagen LED Video screen.

The auditorium lighting was mounted on a central circular truss with 14 truss spines radiating round the hall with a bend in the leg to follow the curve of the roof. Mounted on these were VL2416s, VL2Cs and VL5s. Completing the auditorium were 17 VL2C spot luminaires and bars of six Par cans mounted around the balcony rail, each with a double Encapsulite fitting attached. Keylights for the presenting areas were provided by ETC Source Four profiles. These we

New Technical Focus for 2002
Saturday, 1 December 2001

You’ll see a number of changes to L&SI over the coming months.Central to our plans for 2002 is the introduction of a regular technical section - Technical Focus - which will feature hands-on reviews of products, discuss technical issues, assess the latest standards and health & safety directives, review recent book releases and feature a readers’ Q&A section.

First subject in the hot-seat is digital signal processing. We’ll also be looking at the recent amendments to the Working Time Directive and BECTU’s campaign to secure paid annual leave for freelancers, together with the debate rumbling away about chain hoist connectors.

To oversee its development we have appointed a new technical editor, James Eade. James is a qualified mechanical and electrical engineer who has an extensive knowledge of the entertainment technology industry.If you have a question you’d like answered on any subject e-mail it to

SGM on Italian Lottery Show
Friday, 30 November 2001

130 SGM scanners and moving head fixtures have been specified for 'Torno Sabato . . . la lotteria', the top rating Saturday night programme produced by leading Italian broadcasting company RAI TV. The show, which started in September and runs through to January 2002, is seen each Saturday by a record 10 million audience, and attracts a host of international guests (these have included Cher and Jamiroquai). The show is broadcast from different locations across Italy and to meet these exacting requirements, RAI TV called on the expertise of Global Service, led by Pierantonio Faccenda and coordinated by Maurizio Corradi, to deliver the sound and lighting elements. Global Service opted for SGM fixtures for each recording, including Giotto Series Moving Heads and Victory Series Scanners.

Screenco and The Saturday Show
Friday, 30 November 2001

Screenco has supplied an LED screen to The Saturday Show, the recently-launched CBBC's Saturday morning programme. The show runs from 9.00am to 12.00pm every Saturday morning and is the first Saturday show from CBBC that will play every week of the year. The ultimate audience participation show, it is presented by Dani Behr and Joe Mace, and is broadcast live from Television Centre. Commissioned by CBBC, Screenco provided a Lighthouse 6 x 5 10mm LVP10 LED screen, which is used as a backdrop for the main performance stage in the Saturday Show Studio. Feeds consist primarily of pre-edited visual packages produced on the 'Fire' graphic system for pop performances. The Saturday Show is the latest of many BBC programmes that Screenco and sister company Creative Technology - from whom they sourced the screen - have been involved in. As part of the Avesco Group, both companies provide a full range of LED indoor and outdoor technologies.


Latest Issue. . .