Business News

Northern Light Announcement
Tuesday, 18 September 2001

Edinburgh-based Northern Light has been appointed sole agent for the UK for the ELC Lighting product range. Well known since PLASA 1998 for its focusHAND and focusBRAIN HF remote control for DMX equipment, ELC lighting is now producing a full range of DMX accessories including the showSTORE DMX real time recorder/player, the small AC 612 wall mount 12-channel DMX controller, as well as DMX mergers and splitters. John Allen, managing director of Northern Light, comments that ELC is a perfect complement to their product range and to the company’s activities as a major contractor, stockist and distributor of professional equipment for the stage.

James Thomas: Imagination in ActionJames Thomas: Imagination in Action
Tuesday, 18 September 2001

James Thomas Engineering has supplied technical design and procurement company Technovations with an innovative, customised ground support system for The Imagination Theatre at the Legoland Windsor attraction. The system was part of a major refit to prepare the theatre for the upcoming season where it hosts the Life On Mars show, an exciting new multimedia LEGO production.

Technovations’ Graham Owens explains that they turned to James Thomas to help design a unique, multi-purpose, trussing solution to maximise the theatre’s rather unusual space. It was originally an open air theatre and is now enclosed by a tented roof. The trussing system had to accommodate - and be utilisable for - all production elements in the theatre, both stage and auditorium lighting, sound and scenery as well as providing plenty of scope for larger, more complex productions that will be staged in the future. Paul Young project managed for James Thomas - the first time they had worked with Technovations. Timescale was initially extremely tight, and was then brought forward a further week by the client, but all deadlines were met and the build plans went like clockwork.

Paul devised a six leg system built out of 30 cm tower truss for the legs. They used 45 x 30 cm trussing on the main beam runs, two of which are cantilevered from the towers to form a large U shape. Heavier duty 52 cm truss - needed in this instance to take loads of up to 1500kg - was used for the run across the front-of-stage edge of the structure. The entire trussing grid sits in the Imagination Theatre’s audito

Tracoman and Coemar Announce Acquisition
Tuesday, 18 September 2001

Tracoman Inc, a Stanton Group subsidiary and a professional lighting industry market leader in North and South America, and Coemar Spa, a world-leading manufacturer of automated lighting fixtures based in Castel Goffredo, Italy, has announced an agreement in principle whereby Tracoman will acquire a controlling interest in Coemar.

Gerald Cohen, CEO of Stanton Group, said: "We recognized the unique and special talents within Coemar early on and have worked diligently since the beginning to get this deal done. Coemar and Tracoman have seen tremendous growth in the past 24 months. The unity of talents and synergy of the combined businesses will help to fuel further growth in the coming years. The extraordinary talents of Coemar’s founder will greatly benefit the combined group in the future."

The agreement will allow the current management of Coemar to run their operations while Tracoman will provide the expertise to enhance the company’s marketing, distribution and research and development capabilities needed to develop growth. Bruno Dedoro, founder and president of Coemar, told us: "I have really enjoyed working with Tracoman over the past two years. I have learned a side of the business that I never knew. I look forward to being a part of this team for many years to come, while co-operating to give Coemar the market share it deserves. This business combination will allow me to spend more time developing the best lights in the world, while our new partner will take care of the sales and marketing they are known to do so well."

Gerard Coh

Phoebus Restores LA City Hall Lindbergh BeaconPhoebus Restores LA City Hall Lindbergh Beacon
Tuesday, 18 September 2001

Phoebus Manufacturing of San Francisco has just completed the restoration and upgrade of the ‘Lindbergh Beacon’ for the newly-restored Los Angles City Hall, coordinating with the landmark building’s grand rededication on Sunday, September 23, 2001. On the strength of a similar installation in the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco, Project Restore and the City of Los Angeles chose Phoebus Manufacturing to renovate and refit this famous artefact of the twenties. The Charles Lindbergh Beacon was an aircraft guidance light which sat atop City Hall from 1928 until World War II. The beacon was first illuminated by President Calvin Coolidge who activated the light by pressing a telegraph key from his desk in the White House. The beacon’s light revolved six times a minute and was visible for 60 miles, providing guidance for pilots approaching Los Angeles airport in the days before the advent of radios and radar for aerial navigation.

The Los Angles City Hall was damaged in the Northridge earthquake in 1994. Project Restore, a non-profit restoration and preservation organization, spearheaded fundraising and planning for refurbishing the landmark building called the ‘The Crown Jewel of Los Angeles’. The restored beacon was helicoptered into place atop the building’s 29-story tower on 8 September amid mass media coverage.

Combining historical restoration with an opportunity to upgrade to a modern light source, Phoebus designed and engineered a number of improvements. The beacon was refitted to accommodate a 2.5kW HMI metal halide short

PCM’s PSA Contributions top £17,000
Tuesday, 18 September 2001

PCM, Wirral-based European importers and distributors of the CM Lodestar hoist used PLASA 2001 to present its latest cheque to the PSA (Production Services Association) in support of their Welfare and Benevolent Fund. This brought the total now donated by the company to over £17,000. The cheque for £4,020 was presented to the PSA’s Chris Coates by PCM’s John Jones. This instalment results from PCM’s on-going ‘sponsorship’ of the PSA’s Welfare and Benevolent Fund, an initiative launched in February 1999. The deal is linked directly to PCM’s sale of Columbus McKinnon Lodestar hoists: for every Lodestar hoist purchased in the UK through PCM, £10 is donated to the Welfare Fund.

The deal was set up by PCM’s John Jones. Jones sees support of the Fund as part of PCM’s on-going commitment to the entertainment and production industry: "We’re extremely proud to be doing this. I’m positive we’re setting trends for others to follow. It’s great to be able to help those who use our gear and support us," he enthuses. The PSA Welfare & Benevolent Fund was initially launched at PLASA 1998. It was established for two immediate purposes: firstly, to provide occasional financial ‘life-boats’ for members and their families suffering from unexpected trauma when failed by private insurance or the welfare state, and secondly to expand the skills and qualification base of members, in particular to assist in re-training.

AC Lighting Announces MA Deal
Tuesday, 18 September 2001

Announcing the completion of an exclusive UK distribution agreement, AC Lighting used its presence at the PLASA exhibition to display the product range of leading German manufacturer, MA Lighting Technology. MA Lighting Technology has established an enviable reputation for its lighting consoles which combine digital technology with a control philosophy that delivers ease-of-use and maximum flexibility. This approach has led to the creation of consoles that offer sophisticated control for large lighting systems utilising hundreds or even thousands of channels - vital in large productions using high numbers of moving lights.

The grandMA console held pride of place on the AC Lighting stand at PLASA and the show was the venue for the launch of Version 3.0 software. The grandMA is the largest console in the range and is completely at home in the world of complex large-scale theatre and touring productions. The release of Version 3.0 software introduces advanced networking capabilities allowing multiple operators to programme complex shows and provides facilities for full tracking backup between consoles and replay units. A distinguishing feature of the grandMA is the provision of three colour TFT touch displays. All output displays are interactive offering direct access for modification following the philosophy of 'see something - touch it - modify it'. In addition, the console will support two optional external monitors. The console is equipped with 20 motorized faders that can be assigned to a host of functions including controlling single channels just like a preset board,

massAV’s ‘Big Rig’ gets bigger
Monday, 17 September 2001

Mass Audio Visual, of Burlington, Massachusetts, recently purchased two Digital Projections Lightning 15sx projectors. This acquisition further expands the company’s inventory of presentation equipment and follows their earlier purchase of the new EAW Line Array sound system. Commenting on the purchase, massAV general manager Jeff Robinson told PLASA Media: "We are now able to offer clients a one-stop-shopping solution for large event staging. This furthers our commitment to provide the latest in technology, for both high-end audio and video, to our expanding customer base."

ISCE Seminar Success at PLASA
Monday, 17 September 2001

After many year's absence, the ISCE led range of mini seminars which took place during the recent PLASA Show, attracted over 100 people across the three workshops. Doug Edworthy, Events chair told PLASA Media: "I think everyone attending benefited from the variety of relevant subjects covered in the audio field, and many are now booking for ISCE's extended one day programmes scheduled throughout 2001/2."

ESS’s Fiesta in Frankfurt
Monday, 17 September 2001

Edwin Shirley Staging, the international staging and structure specialist, has been commissioned by PCI LiveDesign, one of Europe’s leading live communication companies, to provide a bespoke structural solution for the launch of the new Fiesta by the Ford Motor Company, during the Frankfurt International Motor Show this month. An empty warehouse space near to Frankfurt Airport has been transformed into a multi-levelled launch venue with ESS designing two temporary grid structures, a stage platform and show control platforms within the Nexos Centre for the launch. In order to facilitate the flying elements of the launch show, two roof grids measuring 12m by 14m have been specifically designed to take in excess of five tonnes in weight. The whole structure fits inside the Nexos building and was assembled in just three days.

transtechnik Wins Major Ordertranstechnik Wins Major Order
Monday, 17 September 2001

transtechnik has been awarded a contract to the value of DM 398 800 by the Theater am Stadtgarten in Winterthur in Switzerland. The order covers the complete renovation of the control elements of the theatre’s 15-year old lighting system - the venue being one of the largest in the German-speaking world to be dedicated solely to touring companies. New equipment installed includes Prisma NT, Focus and Iris NT lighting consoles, a radio control system for remote control of these, a pair of remote operating stations, an Ethernet hub to be used to network the systems, three DMX mergers to be used to merge and amplify of the DMX512 signal, a digital auxiliary console (Profibus system with programmable controller), a DMX Gateway (protocol converter, Profibus/DMX) and a range of digital dimming.

Transtechnik went on site in early summer and will complete the work this month in readiness for the new season which opens with a performance of Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor. Our picture shows the digital auxiliary console, the main Prisma NT system and the Iris NT auxiliary console (from left to right).

TMB Supporting US Relief Efforts
Monday, 17 September 2001

In an effort to support the victims of the recent attacks on the United States, TMB is collecting donations of money and clothing in both of its US locations and encouraging employees to donate blood at their local Red Cross. On September 14, the LA office shipped out the first pallet of West Coast donations, along with a large quantity of socks, raingear and tarpaulins, to the Red Cross relief effort. TMB CEO Colin Waters is issuing a call to other companies in the lighting industry to do the same: "We are terribly shocked and saddened by the recent attacks and want to do everything we can to show our support to the victims and relief workers. I hope that all of the companies in our industry will make similar efforts. With so many caring and capable people in the lighting community, we can make a significant difference when it is needed most."

If you work in the LA or NY area and would like to drop off donations, TMB will make sure that they get to the right place quickly. Please visit the TMB website (address below) for details. To learn more about making contributions to the Red Cross call 1(800) HELP-NOW or visit the online donation system at

Entech’s Educational Opportunities
Monday, 17 September 2001

Entech 2002 returns to its Darling Harbour home in Sydney next February. The show is one of the largest audio and visual trade shows of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. It attracts professional designers, engineers and equipment users from all over the Asia Pacific region. Each Entech boasts an extensive range of conferences, seminars, workshops and equipment training sessions. These include sessions on a range of issues, including rigging, with the ever popular DJ Bootcamp also returning. A trio of topic-related seminars will be held daily in the new Convention Centre South, nearest to the trade show halls. Pro Audio seminars include surround sound and contracting audio topics, along with a discussion on line array systems and DSP. InfoComm will present a daily session on vision and integration. Venue design is the topic of a summit style seminar, where architects, venue managers, and consultants discuss trends, shortfalls and the future of venue design. Graham Walne will host a series of lighting seminars focusing on designers, and featuring professional working lighting designers.

To add to this year’s Entech educational opportunities, keynote speakers will be addressing the topic of the industry’s future in a free daily seminar.

Entech runs from February 4-6, 2002.

Screenco Modules Meet Sophisticated TV Set Design in BerlinScreenco Modules Meet Sophisticated TV Set Design in Berlin
Friday, 14 September 2001

The Internationale Funfausstellung, which takes place every two years in Berlin, traditionally opens with a live television transmission (alternating between German national TV networks, ARD or ZDF). ARD was responsible for this year’s opening spectacular on August 25, and while the location in recent years has been the ICC, which is situated close to the fair, this time ARD opted to use the Convention Center at Europe’s biggest hotel - the 1000-bed Hotel Estrel.

Set designer Peter Roth, the man responsible for a number of ARD shows in Germany, wanted to create something original for the network other than traditional projection and cube systems, and the show title Tele Visionen also implied the need for a modern set. Besides centre stage - where the acts performed - there needed to be projection screens in the wings, where the main interviews and presentations would take place. However, the centre stage also required a creative approach, with a 1-2 minute change around, and the ability to project different images and colours - and he knew that only an LED screen would deliver this result.

Having decided on the design concept, the second problem was that in the Convention Center the ground load was restricted to 750kg/m2 - thus it would have been impossible to use a LED system with a weight in excess of 70kg/m2. The Screen Visons/Screenco 25mm LED screen overcame this problem, thanks to its module weight of just 50kg/m2. Yet even this lightweight system required staging and tracking company, Stage Kinetik from Cologne, to support the ground rig with additi

News from New York
Friday, 14 September 2001

PLASA Media has heard from Brad Mackie of New Jersey-based Prism Theatrical Lighting. Brad tells us that on Tuesday his crew were working on a dance series with leading New York ballet companies at the base of the first of the World Trade Center towers to be struck, and were just beginning rehearsals at the time of impact. Brad wants to let everyone know that all the production crew members from RSA Audio, Prism Theatrical Lighting, CSS Staging and MPE Generators got out of the building safely.

Bringing Tintin to Life Again!
Friday, 14 September 2001

Twelve DHA Digital Light Curtains are set to create stunning visual effects in the production of Tintin and the Temple of the Sun, making a spectacular stage debut in Antwerp on 15th September 2001. The production will be under the direction of one of Belgium's most acclaimed directors, Frank Van Laeke, and will be lit by Jack Van de Velde. With two versions of the musical in different languages, the production team is confident of its success and plans are already underway for tours of the Netherlands, France, UK, Germany and Canada.

The main difficulty that faced the creators of this musical version of the all-time classic was how to allow the production to speak to the audiences' imagination with the same impact as the written words and in the same style as the original.

Theatre Vision for Sound & Vision
Friday, 14 September 2001

Cardiff-based Theatre Vision (a Stage Electrics Group company) has kick-started its busy corporate season by providing production lighting services for the recent WHAT HI-FI? Sound & Vision Awards 2001. Hosted by the irrepressible Clive Anderson at the Hilton in Park Lane, the show is produced by Head to Head Communications on behalf of Haymarket Publishing. Theatre Vision was called upon by busy awards lighting designer Matthew Evered to provide dynamic lighting for the event. A mixture of Strand SL cool-beam profiles, parcans and Martin Mac 300 moving lights were used to help jazz up the event, now in its 25th year, and all controlled and programmed by Tim Routledge on an Avolites Pearl. Also provided were a number of low voltage lighting kits for various branding and reception areas. Truss and rigging was provided by RoadRunner while sound was sourced from Tone Ferne from Dobsons.

Tripath and Alesis Appoint Profusion
Thursday, 13 September 2001

Tripath Technology Inc and Alesis Semiconductor, both from the West Coast of the United States, met at this year’s PLASA Show to finalise their new distribution agreement with European audio component distributor Profusion plc. Keith Persin, managing director of Profusion told PLASA Media: "Tripath have excellent patents covering the class T switching amplifier technology, which produces true hi fi quality." With big names such as Sony using these parts and receiving awards, many companies are now looking at the class T designs. Steve Tomlinson (MD of Tripath Europe) continued: "Our parts often require application support as the technology is so different from traditional amplifier designs. Appointing Profusion was a logical choice as they have applications engineers and the facilities to offer good technical support."

AES Postpones New York Convention
Thursday, 13 September 2001

The Audio Engineering Society has announced the postponement of next week's 111th AES Convention at the Javits Convention Center, New York, until early December. The Javits is being used as an emergency services co-ordination centre in the aftermath of the recent events in New York. The organizers have issued the following statement. "We have just returned from the Javits Center where we had a meeting with their top management. We learned that the New York City Mayor's Office of Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have taken over large portions of the Javits Center for use in coordinating emergency services. We also learned that FEMA will have complete control of these spaces and any others that they need, for an undetermined period. This obviously makes holding the event as planned impossible. However, we have been able to reschedule the convention, rather than just cancel it. The new dates will be Friday November 30 to Monday, December 3 2001, with the same exhibit, demo and conference space as would have been used next week."

Thursday, 13 September 2001

Hear’Say are currently part way through their highly successful UK arena tour. The set and lighting was designed by Pete Barnes, with the lighting operated on tour by Graham Feast. In an unusual move, all the lighting gear was supplied by French Company Cote Scene. The audio elements of the tour were provided by Wigwam with rigging by OTT.

The tour’s live video requirements are supplied by XL Video. The 32 square metre central screens - which open like curtains at the start of the show to allow the band to enter - are constructed from Barco DeLite 7 LED systems. Two left and right screens are fed by Barco ELM G10 projectors mounted on the truss, and are predominantly used for the live relay images. PCM was commissioned by Mark Wade from OTT Rigging to build the customised movement system for the video screens. The resulting system, an amalgamation of a Gis tracking system, Beta electric wire winches and a motion control system, is a combination of PCM’s industrial expertise brought into a more theatrical context. The wall is hung on the PCM track, controlled by the Beta Winch that’s rigged through a series of pulleys - allowing the videowall to be opened and closed at a controlled rate. The system is designed with in-built encoders so the PLC (programmable logic controller) can detect the position of each portion of screen. A frequency inverter ensures that the speed, ‘soft start’ and ‘soft stop’ functions can also be closely controlled. A ‘Teach Me’ button enables the settling of the screen in the correct posi

SkyTronic & Adastra
Tuesday, 11 September 2001

The PLASA Exhibition marks an exciting period for SkyTronic and Adastra as they launch their third catalogue in as many years. The 300-page catalogue contains over 4,000 products including 650 which are new for 2002, covering the entire consumer electronics spectrum.

SkyTronic prides itself on bringing new and exciting products to the marketplace backed up with a sales and customer care policy of which they are equally proud. The rapid growth that SkyTronic has achieved and continuing customer loyalty are testimony to this. Adastra Electronics Limited offers a comprehensive range of commercial audio Public Address products. Incorporated in 1949, Adastra has a long history of quality, performance and reliability.

Sennheiser Chips In With £15K
Tuesday, 11 September 2001

Sennheiser's annual 'Industry' Golf Challenge Trophy competition, at Mill Ride Golf Club near Ascot, proved more successful than ever before, this year raising more than £25,000 for Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital in London. Held on 6 July, a good turnout of keen, though not exclusively proficient, golfers entered into the spirit of things. This year's winner was once again Ashok Patel of ASK, just pipping Richard Bleakley from Diamond Stylus for the Stableford competition. In third place was Praful Patel of ASK who took consolation as winner of Nearest The Pin.

The day's longest drive came from LMC's John Ridley and The Texas Scramble was won by Mark Austin of Wycombe Wanderers, Andy Streets and John Hine of Synergy for the front nine, with Charles Smith, Chris Cress and Sennheiser managing director Paul Whiting on the back nine. Martin Sheehan represented Great Ormond Street Hospital and Autograph Advertising's Paul Hodsman was responsible for the Golf Invitations and Score Cards.

The £10,000 record sum raised on the night, along with the £15,000 proceeds from other Sennheiser fund raising activities, meant that a final overall total of £25,000 was achieved. As in previous years, all the money will go to Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children.Commenting on the success of the day, Paul Whiting said, "I want to thank everyone who took part, both on the fairway and during the evenings activities. Congratulations to the winners, and we look forward to seeing everyone again for next years trophy in July 2002."

Maltbury Invited to the Budweiser House Party
Tuesday, 11 September 2001

Currently touring the UK, the Budweiser House Party, visiting the cities of Leeds, Manchester, Glasgow and London among others, showcases some of the UK’s top DJs and is part of a touring promotion campaign for Budweiser Beer. The essence of ‘cool’, the Budweiser house has the statutory flying ducks on the wall, a range of retro furniture, a bath full of Budweiser and a dance-floor bed. Staging specialist Maltbury was approached to supply staging for the events. Jon Scott, managing director of Jon Scott DC, was contracted to design and construct the innovative dance floor bed for the Leeds House Party at Granary Wharf. The ‘bed’ needed to be robust enough to support the weight of partygoers whilst also creating interest and focus within the set of the Budweiser house. Maltbury was chosen to provide nine modules of Metrodeck staging, some of which were to be modified to create the dance floor bed. A number of 600mm square framed lightboxes were incorporated into the Metrodeck staging to create the ‘disco-feel’ dance floor in the shape of a bed and each of the lightboxes was individually lit. Scott specified Maltbury’s Metrodeck for several reasons: "Due to the imminent deadline on this job and the number of modifications that had to be made to create the dance floor bed it was essential that we chose the right company to provide the staging. Maltbury demonstrated once again the ability to alter a design to order and work within a limited time frame. Metrodeck is a lightweight decking system and far easier to transport than

Pilbrow Heads All-Star Cast at Light Relief
Tuesday, 11 September 2001

In preparation for the process of obtaining official charitable status, Light Relief, the industry fund that supports lighting designers in times of crisis or personal tragedy, has chosen a board of trustees which includes some of the profession’s best-known names. Additionally, Richard Pilbrow, doyen of theatre lighting design and author of the seminal work on the art, has agreed to be Honorary Chairman.

Rick Fisher, ALD Chairman and joint founder with Tony Gottelier of Light Relief, explains: "We desperately wanted Richard to have a role, but as a non-UK resident that would have proved difficult in view of the requirements of the regulations governing charities. Consequently, we’re delighted that he has agreed to accept the position, as we know that his involvement and wise counsel will prove invaluable."

Although born in England and having worked here for many years, Pilbrow departed these shores for Connecticut and the bright lights of Broadway some time ago. As he says: "I told Tony that I was honoured to be asked - provided they don’t mind me being an absentee landlord! Light Relief is a great idea of which they should be proud."

The board of trustees itself reads like a roll of the most respected figures in the profession in the UK and the industry at large: lighting designers David Hersey, Andrew Bridge, Rick Fisher and Patrick Woodroffe, together with Matthew Griffiths, managing director of PLASA, John Simpson, chairman and CEO of lighting rental specialist White Light, Lesley Harmer, a leading public relations consultant

New from Formula Sound
Monday, 10 September 2001

Formula Sound has unveiled its latest modular mixer- the PM-100 - at PLASA 2001. This mixer replaces the award winning PM-90 and is proving to be as popular. One important feature of the PM-100 is the single universal input module which can be configured to accept virtually any type of input source. Also featuring VCA controlled crossfade with punch; contour control and inserts at either end for connecting external signal processing equipment. With its many other facilities and its combination of sizes, layout etc. the PM-100 is the most versatile small production mixer around.

The full range or products for mixing and noise control is on show on stand E26.


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