Business News

Battle for Dome Hots Up
Tuesday, 6 March 2001

Since the Government made the decision to remove preferred bidder status from Legacy plc, the battle for who gets to do what with the Dome has intensified. The Experience consortium, which includes promoter Harvey Goldsmith, has joined forces with the four-company consortium of Quintain, Lend Lease, Stanhope and Grosvenor. The latter has already been in talks with the BBC and the Tussauds Group, which may spur the revival of a 10-year-old plan for a giant theme park at Greenwich, first put forward by Tussauds long before the notion of a Millennium Dome was conceived. Any BBC involvement in the bid could involve turning the Dome into a theme park inspired by classic programmes such as EastEnders and Walking with Dinosaurs. This now places the consortium in a strong position to challenge the rival bid from the Dome’s former chief exec Pierre-Yves Gerbeau, whose bid is centred around retaining the Dome as a visitor attraction.

OPTI Expands US OperationsOPTI Expands US Operations
Monday, 5 March 2001

Following an impressive year’s trading, the US operation of OPTI has announced its move to larger premises. Based in Virginia, the business has set up home in a new building which will combine office and storage space and provide scope for future expansion. The new facility will continue to stock the full range of UK-manufactured OPTI Kinetics lighting products, as well as OPTI Trilite for the rental market produced at the company’s plant in Carp, Ontario, Canada. With responsibility for sales, marketing and distribution throughout North, Central and South America, turnover for the year is set to grow by 20 per cent.

Avesco Buys Gearhouse Divisions
Monday, 5 March 2001

Following the news last week that the Gearhouse Group and a large number of its subsidiary operations have been placed in administrative receivership, Avesco PLC has acquired the Midlands and North divisions of Gearhouse Group PLC for £4 million. We understand that the business and assets acquired include the operations in Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow and at the NEC.

Momo Gives Thumbs up to BSS
Sunday, 4 March 2001

In a drive to match its highly-rated North African cuisine with high quality audio, fashionable restaurant Momo, in London's West End, has carried out a major upgrade to the audio system across both its two floors. Proprietor Mourad Mazouz, enlisted the Sound Division Group to replace the entire system. As a result, a pair of BSS Soundweb 9088 Mk2 devices offers routing and processing capabilities throughout the premises. The Kemia bar downstairs plays host to many up-and-coming bands as well as featuring DJs playing a very wide variety of musical styles. The front end mixing is taken care of by an Allen & Heath Xone 464 with the two Soundwebs’ processing power being used as a combined resource, the bulk of it assigned to running the upstairs dining area (used mainly as a background system although instantly reconfigurable as a foreground system for private parties).

Showlight Pulls in Top Names
Sunday, 4 March 2001

Paula J. Dinkel, Peggy Eisenhauer and John Rayment will be the keynote speakers heading a formidable array of 21 top-class speakers at Showlight 2001.

Paula J. Dinkel, principal lighting designer for Walt Disney Imagineering, is currently leading the lighting design teams at Walt Disney Studios in Paris. Her paper ‘Theatre to Theme Parks’ owes much to her 20 years’ experience with Disney theme parks and retail projects, amongst them DisneyQuest in both Orlando and Chicago, the Port Discovery Children’s Museum in Baltimore and Club Disney.

John Rayment, the man responsible for the exciting lighting design of the opening and closing ceremonies of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, will discuss this experience in his paper ‘Olympics’. Beginning his career in seventies London, Rayment went on to become associated with the Sydney Dance Company, and was also one of Australia’s first lighting designers to go freelance and get an agent, allowing him the freedom to work on projects which have included drama, opera, musicals and events such as World Expo 88.

Peggy Eisenhauer, the only lighting designer to receive two double-nominations for lighting design, is talking about ‘Design Philosophy’. With partner Jules Fisher, she runs the successful Third Eye studio, a provider of innovative lighting design for some of America’s top shows, the most recent being the musical production of Jane Eyre which opened on Broadway in December. Her partnership with Fisher began some 15 years ago and they have gone on to collect many desig

‘Scouser’ Going Live
Saturday, 3 March 2001

Soundcraft has announced a new event in its successful series of Going Live seminars.

The ‘Scouser’ Going Live, which will run in Liverpool at the end of April, will feature a panel of engineers who all started their careers in the city.

The formula of Going Live is a simple and proven one. Soundcraft provides comprehensive and professional PA equipment for the students to work on, including a wide variety of mixing consoles for front-of-house and monitoring. All the course tutors are working engineers who tour with the biggest acts in music today. All the usual topics from how to operate front-of-house and monitor consoles, to microphone placement and outboard electronics, will be covered in the three-day agenda. There will also be a special class on digital mixing in a live situation. PA systems and tech support for the seminar will be provided by Liverpool’s Adlib Audio.
Dates: 27-29 April 2001
Venue: Liverpool

Touring Toys for Backstreet Boys
Saturday, 3 March 2001

The Backstreet Boys are the biggest boy band out there. So it’s fitting that their Black and Blue world tour, which kicked off January 22, is likely to be the biggest show on the road right now - with a lighting package of more than 250 moving lights and a stage overflowing past 100 feet, rumbling across the country in 27 trucks. The equipment list, supplied by lighting contractor Premier Global Productions of Nashville, includes 144 High End Systems products and includes Studio Beams, Studio Colors and Cyberlights all controlled through a pair of Wholehog II consoles. Veteran lighting designer Peter Morse has specified High End gear on a variety of top-name tours including Barbra Streisand, Christina Aguilera, Reba McEntire, Mariah Carey and more.

Interactive Club Experience for Students
Friday, 2 March 2001

Mobile phone company Orange has kicked off its largest ever Student Union club tour: ‘Enjoy Music on Campus’ is a high tech clubbing production that transforms student unions into impressive clubbing venues. Orange is employing expertise gained through its extensive music sponsorship portfolio to take leading DJs and the latest technology to universities across the UK. The first event took place in February at the De Montfort Student Union in Leicester and throughout the coming months will visit universities from Belfast to Plymouth, to allow as many students as possible to Enjoy Music on Campus. The line up for the events include the Freestylers, Jon Carter and talent from Grand Central Records. The club nights are designed to support the launch of ‘Orange on campus’, a mobile phone package specially designed for students.

TOA Hit the Stadium Market
Friday, 2 March 2001

TOA France has installed a new sound system in the Stade de la Meinau, a 30,000 capacity soccer stadium in Strasbourg, and the home ground of FC Strasbourg. The new system not only provides general public address announcements, but also emergency warning broadcasts, interlocked with the fire alarm system. To meet European technical criteria for voice evacuation systems, the SX-1000M Smart Matrix Unit was selected as the nucleus for the system, and features emergency audio signal channels as well as speaker line failure detection circuitry. A total of 56 ES-0871 general use speakers and 20 F-160 Fashion speakers are sited both inside and outside the stadium, driven by 18 2kW power amplifiers. This project was realised with the co-operation of Spie Trindel and CGV France.

PCM Training in South Africa
Friday, 2 March 2001

PCM kicked off 2001 by continuing its on-going commitment to industry training, taking its award-winning Lodestar Motor School across the globe to South Africa. PCM’s John Jones and Tony Dickson held three Schools - one in Cape Town and two in Johannesburg. This is the second time John and Tony PCM have visited South Africa for training and Motor School purposes. The last time was in 1998 when the course was run in conjunction with SARA (the South African Roadies Association) to provide 16 of its members with much needed training opportunities. The Schools were attended by 16, 20 and 28 people respectively. Most students were relatively inexperienced, and travelled from all corners of the country to take advantage of the opportunity. PCM’s John Jones comments: "It’s really great to be back in South Africa and to add continuity to the work we started two years ago.. We continue to be impressed by the hunger to learn and the energy and commitment shown by those wanting to make a career in the production industry."

International Seminars at Pro Light & Sound
Friday, 2 March 2001

PLASA, the VPLT (PLASA’s sister association in Germany) and Trade Partners UK (British Government) have been working together to present three seminars at the Pro Light & Sound Show at the Frankfurt Musikmesse next week with simultaneous German/English translation. The first, on Wednesday 7th March at 12.30pm, covers ‘Cruise Ships and Events Technology‘ with Peter Ed of ETC Europe, Martin Lilly (Airtours/Sun Cruises), and Davey Smalley of BSS Audio. The seminar looks at event technology on cruise ships, revealing what requirements there are and which products and solutions are needed for these less than straightforward environments. The second seminar, on Thursday 8th March at 12.30pm, is entitled ‘German - English Trade’. Paul Robinson from the British Embassy in Berlin and Michael Schneider of Lightronic discuss the difference between the British and the German way of thinking and its marketing. It considers the differences in supply and demand and reviews the development of trade relations between both countries with regards to event technology? ‘Working on DMX, fog, rigging and others - the international standards situation.’Is the final seminar on Friday 9th March, again at 12.30pm.The standards officers of PLASA and the VPLT, Tim Cox and Eckart Steffens, discuss the importance of technical standards and review the various projects underway worldwide.For further details visit the VPLT/PLASA stand - A01 - at the show.

Screenco Make Hay at Goodwood
Friday, 2 March 2001

Goodwood has offered Screenco a three-year contract to supply outdoor video screens for the Festival of Speed and the Goodwood Revival meeting. The large-screen visual display specialists return for the ninth Festival of Speed in July, which will be themed The Will To Win, and celebrates 50 years since Ferrari had their first Grand Prix victory. Screenco will be providing two 40sq.m truck-mounted screens for the event, along with production facilities and links. Both screens are linked by microwave, positioned in such a way that one is never far from seeing the action. September’s Revival meeting has become one of the world’s most historic motor racing events, and the only one which recreates in period detail the atmosphere of post-war motor racing. Screenco will be attending with two 40sq.m trucks.

Bidding War at Dome Auction
Friday, 2 March 2001

News reaches us that the recent Dome auction turned into something of a bidding war and in so doing laid to rest fears that there would be a flood of cheap second-hand product hitting the market. Word has it that whilst there were some bargains to be had - top end lighting desks normally worth £15,000 upwards going for £7,000 - there were also numerous instances of bidders paying way over the list price for items. A 24-channel lighting control desk, for instance, which you can get for £525, was actually sold for £700, and this before the 10% premium buyers have to pay on all items. We also understand from our mole at the auction that numerous other items were attracting slightly higher or close to list price and one can only wonder at who out there has pockets so deep that price is not an issue. But not everything promised in the auction actually made it to the sale as the NMEC withdrew several items yesterday on the basis that it didn’t wish to prejudice the future use of the Dome - these included the Broadcast and Dome TV Suites and all associated equipment, together with plasma screens.By the time the auction ends at close of play today, more than 15,000 items from the Dome will have been sold and an anticipated £5 million will have been raised for an attraction that cost £800 million.

Manchester United Scores with TannoyManchester United Scores with Tannoy
Thursday, 1 March 2001

With 18,000sq.ft of floor space, the new Manchester United Megastore is currently the largest Football Club merchandise store in the world and sells over 2,000 branded product lines including replica kits, sportswear, magazines, videos, books and other memorabilia. Situated within the new East Stand development of Old Trafford, the Megastore uses Tannoy speakers throughout to provide both background music and audio to accompany video screen presentations. Installed by Preston based ADI, six Tannoy i5 AW ICT speakers flank the entrance ramp and provide an effective audio introduction to the store. In addition, two Tannoy i8 Dual Concentric speakers complement a large rear projection video screen located at the rear of the store.Tannoy CMS 65 ICT ceiling monitor systems are also used throughout the store for background music, particularly in the café and MUFC Sport areas. The Tannoy speakers are fed through Biamp SPM522AMX PC based mixers and powered by three R300 and a single PA9 InterM amplifiers.

Gearhouse Group in Receivership
Thursday, 1 March 2001

The Gearhouse Group plc and a large number of its subsidiary operations have been placed in administrative receivership. A legal notice posted on the company’s website states that AR Bloom & AJR Wollaston (Ernst & Young) were appointed joint administrative receivers on 23rd February 2001. Over recent years, the Group, a supplier of professional presentation and event production equipment, for both rental and sale, to the corporate presentation, TV, film and live entertainment industries worldwide, had followed an ambitious programme of growth, acquiring a number of complementary companies and rebranding them under the Group banner. It appears from the notice that most of the companies within the Group are now in receivership - these include all the Gearhouse subsidiaries across the UK, Gearhouse LED Screens, Gearhouse Lighting, Gearhouse Special Projects, Gearhouse Structures, Gearhouse XTC, Impact Rentals, PPL Event Services, Presentation Services, Proquip Gearhouse, Sceneset and Set 'N' Stage.

Crossroads Brought Back into the Light
Thursday, 1 March 2001

An institution is coming home, when Crossroads returns to our TV screens in the spring. The soap is planned to fill the gap following the departure of Home and Away. Filmed in Carlton TV’s studio in Nottingham, Crossroads will be the new centrepiece in ITV’s daytime schedule. Second time around, Crossroads has moved up-market, from the original motel to a modern hotel with a beauty salon, bar and restaurant and this time will be lit by a range of . To ensure the perfect lighting, Carlton bought 144 channels of ETC Sensor dimming, supplied by AC Lighting. The returning stars from the Crossroads hall of fame are Jane Rossington (no relation to L&SI’s editor sadly) as Jill Harvey, Kathy Staff, who hangs up the wrinkled stockings of Last of the Summer Wine's Nora Batty and dons the uniform of much-loved laundress Doris Luke and waiting in the wings for a return later in the series is Tony Adams as Adam Chance, Jill Harvey's ex-husband.

Fourth Phase Illuminates Smart ChurchFourth Phase Illuminates Smart Church
Thursday, 1 March 2001

PRG company Fourth Phase supplied equipment, design engineering, project management and installation supervision for the entertainment lighting system in the newly constructed Potter’s House worship center, home of one of the fastest growing churches in the United States. This 26,000 member nondenominational church in Dallas, TX, led by Pentecostalist minister, author and entrepreneur T.D. Jakes, set out to build the country’s most technologically innovative church facility yet, dubbed a ‘Smart Church’. The new $32 million, 300 feet x 300 feet, 8,200 seat sanctuary creates a footprint larger than two football fields. Power and data terminals installed at 200 seats allow attendees to download sermon notes and power point presentations onto laptop computers. Altar attendants are equipped with handheld PDAs to allow immediate input of new member data and ‘prayer needs’. An associated language translation center features translation rooms with the capacity to simultaneously input and output up to six language translations. Dallas-based consultants Acoustic Dimensions designed state-of-the-art sound, lighting and MATV systems, whilst PRG company SPL installed the audio and video systems. The $600,000 entertainment lighting package is based around ETC Sensor and Unison dimming, an Expression 3 control console and a range of ETC, Altman, DeSisti and Lycian lighting fixtures.

TC and Munro Associates Expand Alliance
Wednesday, 28 February 2001

The Strategic alliance between Dynaudio, Munro Associates and TC Electronic in June 1999 has been expanded, widening TC Electronic's responsibility for worldwide distribution and marketing of Dynaudio Acoustics to include all larger systems developed by Munro Associates. These include the ultra high-end MA1 Mastering Monitor, the well-known M4 main-monitor systems and the THX approved M3F system. As a result of the alliance, several joint development projects are already in consideration.

Terminal Turns to Turbo Monitoring
Wednesday, 28 February 2001

Terminal Studios, based in London Bridge, has made a significant investment in Turbosound stock with the purchase of 24 TFM-330 floor monitors, supplied by Marquee Audio. The TFM-330 incorporates a custom designed 4" voice coil, 15" low frequency driver and a high power 2" high frequency compression driver on a custom waveguide in a compact vented enclosure. The studio bought its first Turbosound loudspeakers in 1985 in the form of a pair of TMS-4s and has continually added to and upgraded the stock since that time. The studioshave worked with a host of pop icons since their establishment in 1979 such as David Bowie, Duran Duran and more recently Take That, Robbie Williams and The Chemical Brothers, the quality and sound of the monitors was the prime consideration in the choice, for managing director Charlie Barrett.

Pulsar Wins ‘Training in Excellence’ Award
Monday, 26 February 2001

Pulsar picked up the ‘Excellence in Training’ award at this year’s LIVE! Awards. The award is recognition of their comprehensive range of both Clay Paky and Pulsar technical seminars hosted at their Cambridge HQ, the joint organisation with DI of both the UK and World Light Jockey Contests, and their latest collaboration with PLASA introducing the Student Lighting Designer Award aimed at colleges.

East Anglia to get its own Superclub
Monday, 26 February 2001

The recently-established Crystal Leisure is all set to launch its first major project. The company will unveil plans for a new multi-million pound superclub within the next few months. Summit, as the club will be known, will hold approximately 1500 clubbers and will be situated on Nene Parade in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire. The company is currently working with leading sound, lighting and design companies to create the look and feel of the club.

Support for Birmingham Fringe
Sunday, 25 February 2001

Cause & Effect, the organisers of the 2001 Birmingham Fringe theatre festival, are looking for companies within our industry to collaborate on a range of projects during the 2001 festival.

The idea is to demonstrate the contribution made by our industry to technical theatre. Project director Derrick G Knight told L&SI: "My motivation is to enhance Birmingham as a host city for performing arts. This will be achieved through the development of a network of performance venues in partnership with the performers, venue owners and production companies associated with performing arts."

The initial idea is to include a sound and lighting exhibition alongside the festival, which takes place in July and August, and Derrick Knight is exploring the availability of no-cost exhibition space at a number of venues near the performance spaces. If you are interested in participating call +44 (0)121 622 1771.

DHA Design Winner
Saturday, 24 February 2001

Gobo specialist DHA Lighting organised a gobo design competition for members of the ALD at its Waterloo base recently.

The winner, Robin Carter (pictured with DHA MD Diane Grant), is a freelance lighting designer based in Brighton, East Sussex, and his winning design, called ‘Smoke Screen’ (inset) was one he created for a production of The Glass Menagerie at The Northcott Theatre, Exeter. Carter, who began his lighting career in New Zealand where he grew up, came to the UK four years ago, and has been designing for regional theatre productions ever since.

The winning design will now be published in the DHA gobo catalogue, and instead of receiving royalties for his design, Carter has opted to donate these to the Light Relief fund, set up last year to provide help and assistance to freelance lighting designers in times of personal crisis.

Belgium’s Saint Lambert Lit
Friday, 23 February 2001

The Saint Lambert Cathedral was destroyed during the French Revolution 200 years ago, but in its day was one of the biggest Gothic buildings of its kind in the world, even bigger than Notre Dame in Paris. The city of Liège decided to honor its lost treasure by creating a replica of the church’s ‘heart’. This small piece of what was once an enormous construction is situated in exactly the same location as it was centuries ago. The temporary construction is 30 metres wide, 20 metres deep and 42 metres high. Belgian company Sonoflash was given the task of lighting the cathedral and worked with EVDV (Martin’s Belgian distributor) to spec 10 Martin Exterior 600s with control coming from the Martin ProScenium.


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