Business News

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.

Big Sound - A New PA Company
Friday, 1 December 2000

The Big Sound Corporation (BigSound) is a recently launched PA company which has been established in South Wales to offer live sound services to both touring bands and corporate clients. Based in Swansea where it is ideally placed to service both local and national clients, BigSound can now offer a comprehensive stock of high-end PA equipment which includes Allen & Heath’s flagship console the ML5000, in addition to an Allen & Heath MixWizard, a number of BSS FCS966 OPAL graphics, Drawmer DS201s, Behringer Multigate Pros and a selection of Shure and AKG mics - all purchased from LMC Audio Systems. The new company is headed by sound engineer and qualified acoustician Duncan Wild, who has more than 10 years experience in the live sound business in both the UK and Europe. Since its formation, it has worked on a number of events, including the BBC's Music Live event in Cardiff where it provided the PA for over 30 bands over the four-day event.

Space Cannon Middle East
Thursday, 30 November 2000

Space Cannon vH Germany has opened new Middle East office, in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Projects in the pipeline for the new arm of the company include the illumination of the new airport in Dubai. Space Cannon Illumination Middle East will develop lighting concepts for companies and agencies, advise on event production and provide equipment rental and full technical backup. Kai Niedermeier will head up the Middle East office.

Electrosonic In the Far North
Thursday, 30 November 2000

BRC Imagination Arts has created a state-of-the-art visitor centre and theatre located in Karasjok, Norway, 360 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle. The cultural centre uses complex special effects to celebrate the long history of the region’s Sami people, one of the few indigenous peoples of Europe. For the Centre’s main theatre presentation, which shows the history of the Sami people and how they are being affected by the modernization of the planet, BRC developed an advanced combination of simultaneous front- and back-projection systems together with a fog projection screen, unique fibre optic effects, and a ‘fly away screen wall’. Electrosonic Systems Inc of Burbank, California, was responsible for the systems engineering and installation of all the audio-visual systems in the main theater, and also the pre-show and waiting area. An Electrosonic Video Server drives the video projectors, with an Akai 16-channel digital audio unit providing sound for the main theatre. The show is controlled automatically by a computer running Electrosonic EASY software, and may be run in any one of eight different languages.

Change for Klark Teknik’s UK Distribution
Tuesday, 28 November 2000

Shuttlesound, the distributor for Klark Teknik products in the UK, has announced a significant change to the way in which KT products are to be sold in the UK. Shuttlesound will no longer sell direct to customers and end-users; instead, products can now be sourced via a network of nominated re-sellers throughout the country. Shuttlesound MD Paul Barretta explained the decision: "I am a great believer in letting people do what they’re good at doing, and in this case, rather than continue to deal direct ourselves, we have carefully selected five re-sellers across seven locations in the country who are perfectly set up to showcase the Klark Teknik product range to its best advantage in the professional audio market. Of course, Shuttlesound is still here to talk to anyone who wishes to have a Klark Teknik conversation, but all KT sales and after-sales service will be through our re-sellers. Our support is 100% behind the re-seller group."Shuttlesound says that under the terms of the scheme, each retailer is contractually obliged to perform a minimum of one KT demonstration per site, per week. This means that there will be a minimum of seven KT demos going on up and down the country. The dedicated KT resellers are: LMC Audio Systems (London, Birmingham and Leeds), Marquee Audio (Shepperton), Raper & Wayman (London), Northern Light (Glasgow) and Sound & Communications (Dublin).

Legacy of the Dome
Monday, 27 November 2000

The Legacy consortium (which includes British Telecom, Imperial College, the Open University and Sun Microsystems) has emerged as the preferred bidder for the Millennium Dome. The consortium plans to retain the controversial tent as a place for IT and science-related businesses as part of a £125m business park called Knowledge City. Talks on the deal are still ongoing, but should Legacy's bid for the Dome collapse, there will be no shortage of others to take its place. The owners of Canary Wharf are eyeing the Dome site as a potential aid to its programme of expansion in the area, whilst a consortium of businessmen, including Michael Jackson’s manager, will stump up £135m to transform the Dome into a rock venue.

Learning 300 or 500 With White Light
Monday, 27 November 2000

White Light, in association with The Service Company, has announced the latest addition to its popular Training Initiative training scheme: courses covering every aspect of Strand Lighting’s popular 300- and 500-series lighting consoles. White Light will be running courses on the consoles as an extension of The Training Initiative; these will take place on Wednesday mornings during the first part of 2001 at White Light’s new West End offices in Shaftesbury Avenue, and will be open to West End theatre staff and lighting freelancers in particular, though all are welcome! The courses will be led by experts in different aspects of the console. Course leaders confirmed so far include Antony Bridges of The Service Company (who has commissioned many of the most complex 500-series control systems, including those at the Coliseum and the RSC in Stratford-upon-Avon) and freelance programmer Rob Halliday (who has used the consoles on many shows since 1995, including Pan in Australia and The Witches of Eastwick in London).Anyone interested in taking part in these courses is invited to e-mail, detailing any particular areas they would like to see covered.

Gearhouse Offers High-Tech Solutions
Friday, 24 November 2000

Gearhouse has launched a new division operating from Birmingham, the NEC and Manchester. Called Gearhouse Computer Rental Services, it has been started in response to customer demand, mirroring market trends where computer technology has become integral in conference and exhibition presentations. Duncan Murdoch is the new head of the division. Formerly a director of the highly-successful Gearhouse Multimedia operation in Surrey, Murdoch has worked with Gearhouse since June 1992 in several divisions of the Group. The new division offers a wide range of laptops, low- and high-end PCs, networking services and internet connections including routers and hubs, which are used for cyber cafes, and to enable PowerPoint presentation delivery. Printers, LCD screens and plasma screens will be available to clients in a turnkey service.

Amplifier Theft
Friday, 24 November 2000

ADSworldwide has been so successful with the sale of its range of amplifiers that the criminal fraternity has taken more than a passing interest. In an early morning raid on the company’s Stockport premises, BT lines were cut in a main street junction box to allow thieves to take a supply of Jeil, Paso and the new ADS amplifiers. If anyone is offered the above branded amplifiers from an unofficial source, please contact either the Stockport CID or ADS direct on 0161-666 6363.

The Training Initiative On The Road!
Friday, 24 November 2000

White Light’s Training Initiative, launched in 1999, took on a new form during October and November 2000: the White Light Wednesday Roadshows. These are an expansion of the popular Wednesday Workshops, open training sessions held at White Light’s Fulham base. Intended to allow the Workshops to reach a wider audience, the Wednesday Roadshows brought the familiar faces of White Light, plus established industry professionals, directly to drama colleges. Over five consecutive weeks, the Roadshows visited the Bristol Old Vic College, Rose Bruford College, LAMDA and Croydon College, as well as holding a specialist moving light session at The Moving Light Company’s new demonstration suite in Parsons Green.Aimed at students and young professionals who are keen to find out more about the industry, topics included ‘Pyrotechnics’, hosted by Le Maitre and Just FXs, ‘Health and Safety in Theatre’, ‘Using Scrollers and DMX Devices’, ‘Moving Light Operation’ taught by lighting programmer Rob Halliday, a specialist workshop on ‘Using Colour and Gobos’ with DHA Lighting and Rosco, and a seminar on Lighting Design Practice presented by lighting designer Jenny Kagan.White Light are already planning similar seminars to run in tandem with future college semesters, and would also like to extend the Roadshow schedule to include other colleges.

Stagetec Sets up Distribution Arm
Thursday, 23 November 2000

Stagetec (UK) Ltd has recently formed a new company to handle the product distribution side of its business. The new company, Stagetec Distribution Ltd, will take over the UK distribution of the Compulite range of lighting control and dimming products previously handled by Stagetec (UK) Ltd and has also just been appointed UK distributor for LSC Lighting Systems in Australia. The new company will provide a platform for further development of the distribution side of the business and enhancement of the dealer network, whilst ensuring that Stagetec (UK) Ltd can concentrate on the fast expanding sales and installation aspects of its business.

Scalpel, Swab, Lens Cap?
Thursday, 23 November 2000

Gearhouse Manchester proved itself a cut above the rest when it recently provided a live link between the operating theatre and restaurant at the Alexandra Hospital, Cheadle, for BMI Healthcare. Gearhouse has accommodated some wide and varied projects for clients, but a recent request asking them to get up close to supply images of the inside of the human body has got to be one of the strangest. Scott McAughtrie, general manager at Gearhouse Manchester, has worked with the hospital on a number of occasions, where the surgeons are regularly working on pioneering techniques and equipment, and has developed this unique relay of live pictures with sound to allow the hospital to share key information with other key surgeons and registrars around UK. Four Gearhouse crew were responsible for installing and operating various cameras including the tiny Polecam. This lighter, smaller camera was used for filming the more intricate work, often working within inches of the open chest without interfering with the surgeon.

Martin Pro to Supply Lighting for Eurovision 2001
Wednesday, 22 November 2000

Martin Professional has reached agreement with TV station Danmarks Radio to supply intelligent lighting for next year's Eurovision Song Contest to be held in Copenhagen's largest outdoor stadium, Parken, on May 12, 2001. Danmarks Radio has ambitions to produce the most spectacular Eurovision ever, with a unique show that will boast one of the largest intelligent lighting rigs ever used in a single event in Europe. Lighting design will be a cooperative effort between Danmarks Radio and Martin's local subsidiary, Martin Danmark. Martin Danmark A/S will deliver 400 Martin moving head fixtures along with tracking systems, smoke machines and other equipment - the largest contract ever for the local subsidiary. The Eurovision Song Contest has featured Martin intelligent lighting the past two years, in Israel in 1999 and last May in Sweden. The Eurovision 2001 package will include a wide range of Martin MAC luminaires, including the recently-introduced MAC 2000.

Lighting Tech Buys Durango
Wednesday, 22 November 2000

Lighting Technology Group has purchased outright the equity of Durango, the French distributor and service centre for entertainment lighting products. Based just 30km to the west of Paris, Durango currently represents many well-known industry names including Anytronics, Andolite, Lite Structures and Powerdrive, on an exclusive basis within the French market.Lighting Technology Group's Garry Nelsson told us: "This is a great acquisition for the Group. It strengthens our position outside the UK, where channels of distribution have changed significantly in recent years. It allows us to offer a full service facility and showroom right in the heart of one of Europe's most influential lighting markets. "We now have the platform to duplicate in France the success we have enjoyed in the UK," continued Garry Nelsson. "With Durango's founders Jean-Francois Cheron and Brigitte Delehaye we have chosen two of the most experienced people in the French lighting industry as partners. This is another big step in what is a very exciting phase of the Group's development."

GET Light Relief
Wednesday, 22 November 2000, the UK’s internet trading portal for the entertainment industry has launched an Auction Campaign in support of Light Relief - a new fund set up to provide financial aid and moral support for professional lighting designers encountering severe personal difficulties. The interactive Auction Site area of G-E-T’s website is appealing to lighting equipment manufacturers and rental houses for equipment to be put up for auction with G-E-T - the proceeds of which will go to Light Relief. Visitors to the site can put in a bid in for equipment through the usual, easy-to-operate channels. The G-E-T campaign fund was kicked off by West London-based Entec Sound & Light who donated a Martin Centrepiece effect for auction and also by G-E-T themselves, who auctioned a new Palm M200 digital organiser. Light Relief has been set up by the manufacturers of performance lighting and equipment represented by PLASA and lighting designers as represented by the Association of Lighting Designers (ALD), which has over 600 members across all lighting disciplines.

Archaeological Breakthrough for LTP
Tuesday, 21 November 2000

When the audience arrive at the Land of Myths zone at Spain's new Terra Mitica theme park near Benidorm they come as witnesses to the climax of a major archaeological dig. As part of the ploy, whilst they are queuing in the pre-show holding area they are in the company of a TV film crew documenting the 'event'. A team from Lighting Technology Projects, sub-contracted by Electrosonic and working to drawings from DHA Design Services, supplied and installed all the lighting and control equipment. Once through to the 'ride', visitors are taken on a six-minute multi-media 'journey'. Equipment ranges from festoon lighting to embedded strobes, ETC Source Fours, Arri Juniors (to assist the film crew), Clay Paky Stage Zoom 1200s and Mini-Scans, numerous architectural fittings, MDG Atmosphere and smoke machines and two Helvar control systems working to time code one for the queuing area and one for the ride itself.

RSC Appoints TPC for Redevelopment
Tuesday, 21 November 2000

The Royal Shakespeare Company has announced the first appointments of professional advisors to work on the feasibility study for redevelopment of its theatres in Stratford-upon-Avon. The study is being undertaken jointly with a parallel study of local public realm and traffic issues commissioned by the District Council, Warwickshire County Council and Advantage, West Midlands. Among the list of advisors announced for the extensive redevelopment programme is Theatre Projects Consultants (TPC), which has been appointed theatre consultant, joining the design team led by the RSC’s principal architect Erick van Egeraat.


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