Business News

EST Shows Motoring Logistics
Wednesday, 21 February 2001

Once again, those masters of logistics, Edwin Shirley Trucking (EST) have co-ordinated 30 truck movements to ensure that the Ford Motor exhibit at the Amsterdam Motor Show went together seamlessly. Design house Imagination contracted EST to ensure that the right parts for the Ford stage set - stands, turntables and all the other myriad pieces of the display - arrived at the show on time and in sequence. As if that wasn't enough, EST will be repeated the entire exercise in mid-February on a larger scale when they shipped the Ford stand for the Geneva Motor Show.21 Feb 2001

PSA Announces New Benefits for Members
Wednesday, 21 February 2001

Following the announcement of the new administration and management set-up of the PSA, a substantial package of new benefits for members has been unveiled. A new membership pack has been produced which includes a personal membership identity card, pre-paid subscriptions to appropriate magazines, training information and course dates, training booking forms, a diary section, book list and contacts, plus a new, truly interactive web site which is updated daily. Birmingham-based Business Media Services Ltd (BMS) recently took over the role of administrative and membership operations of the PSA office. Bob Fox, the head of BSM, told PLASA Media: "It is our aim to ensure that members of the PSA get the maximum possible from their association with us. We have put together this new package to increase the benefits that membership brings."

 
 
Rainmaker & Vertigo at BMW Plant Launch
Tuesday, 20 February 2001

Corporate and industrial event lighting specialists Rainmaker injected drama into the launch of the new BMW engine plant at Hams Hall in Birmingham. Rainmaker’s Paul O’Brien produced a dazzling lighting design for a stage set based on the new BMW engine block. The pistons formed four platforms at different levels, the stage right of which was also a revolve which revealed the new engine. The whole on the interior of the high-tech plant’s parts storage area was also lit by Rainmaker, with electric blue MBI and HQI architectural luminaires. Natural building features like ducting, electricity supplies, pipework, air vents and columns were spectacularly highlighted with ETC Source Four profiles. For stage lighting, O’Brien utilised Studio Spot 250s and a variety of MAC automated lights, Source Four PARs, Source Four 26 degree profiles and cyc floods. The show was programmed and operated by John Harris using an Avolites Pearl 2000 console.

Vertigo Rigging provided 12 motors and a Thomas 30.5 cm box truss to accommodate the lighting equipment and Delta Sound’s audio equipment, as well as building scaffolding platforms for Creative Technology’s projection apparatus. A cross spur from the truss provided rigging points for the house lighting. Vertigo also supplied two cherry pickers used as access for rigging and focussing, and the project was managed and crew-chiefed for them by Paddy Burnside. The production company was ACT Live and the show was production managed by Gary Wilson.http://www.rainmaker.co.ukhttp://www.vertigo-rigging.co.uk

 
Two More Arrests in Dome Fraud Investigation
Tuesday, 20 February 2001

Police have arrested two more people in connection with allegations of fraud at the Millennium Dome. A man and a woman in their 30s were detained in Liverpool, bringing to six the number of arrests over suspected fraud at the Dome. Property was also seized from two homes and a business in the city's Wavertree area in a joint operation between Merseyside Police and Scotland Yard. The two people were later released on bail, and ordered to return in June. It is believed that the latest arrests are linked to the arrest of four people in autumn last year, related to the investigation of alleged fraud involving a lighting contract at the Millennium Dome. They included a man and a woman, also from Wavertree, a woman in her 60s from West Yorkshire and a man in his 30s from south-east London. There are now four separate enquiries being conducted by the fraud squad involving into Millennium Dome contracts totalling tens of millions of pounds.

 
 
Unique Flame Light Co in Liquidation
Monday, 19 February 2001

The Unique Flame Light Co, original manufacturer of silk flame effect units, has gone into liquidation. The company, formed in 1997, had won Awards for its flame effects, notably at The Lighting Show at the NEC in Birmingham, and at Entech 2000 in Sydney, and counted among its clients MTV, BBC, Ministry of Sound, Royal Opera House, New York Metropolitan Opera, the Cannes Film Festival and Celebrity Cruises. Crawley-based Baker Tilly is the appointed liquidator.

 
Universal Audio Launched
Monday, 19 February 2001

A new company has been formed that will continue to manufacture the Reflekta and Spektra brands, previously manufactured by Acoustic Sound Systems. Universal Audio will add its own range of cinema speakers, whilst also offering an OEM facility to other manufacturers. A brand new touring system is going through development at the moment and should be in production by mid-summer.

 
 
Spanish Stars
Sunday, 18 February 2001

James Thomas Engineering has supplied its Spanish distributors, Madrid-based Bofil & Asociados, with a unique stage set/tower system for production company Snake.

The system was custom-designed and built by James Thomas in the UK for an extensive domestic tour by top Spanish music artists Miguel Bose and Ana Torroja. This is the first time the two have performed on a twin-headlining bill, and the tour completely sold out within hours of being announced.

The incredible aesthetics of this set were created by James Thomas’ project manager Paul Young, collaborating with stage designer Ignace D’Haese and JTE’s structural engineers The Broadhurst Partnership. It’s based on three 14m high stand-alone towers, complete with self-climbing cross beams - connected via custom sleeve blocks that interface with 20cm trussing to make up a T-shape. The cross beams contain lights and glide up and down throughout the performance. The towers themselves are constructed from 52cm SuperTower - a product specially conceived by JTE for this project.

Another key feature of the towers is that they have no guy wires. They utilise 4m outriggers and ballast weights - four points of 1250kg, and are built to withstand high winds at outdoor shows. The biggest challenge was making the towers free standing, whilst ensuring their bases were unobtrusive. It was possible to dispense with the guy wires because of a combination of the strength of the SuperTrussing itself, and the carefully calculated ballasting. The footprints of the towers are concealed below the stage, the radius

 
Stagetec Product Day
Sunday, 18 February 2001

On March 6th, Stagetec Distribution is holding a Product Day on the Compulite and LSC product ranges.

The full range of products from both companies will be on show, including the new flightcased/touring version of the CompuDIM 2000 digital dimmer and pre-release versions of two completely new consoles from LSC scheduled for launch later this year. Anybody interested in attending should call Stagetec on +44 (0)1753 553522.

 
 
City Theatrical
Saturday, 17 February 2001

Every now and again one stumbles across a fact that truly surprises. New York-based company City Theatrical, which has seeped into the British theatrical conscience over the last five years or so with its award-winning range of accessories, dry ice machines and, latterly, the AutoYoke moving light, is actually 15 years old.

Company founder Gary Fails manages to hide his surprise at my surprise, then fills in more historical details. "I started the company while I was working as a Broadway electrician - for the Circle in the Square Theatre. I felt that it would be good to have a back-up plan, to have a company as a base. LDs and rental shops often needed special, one-off items made for shows - so I became the person who made them!"

It is typical of Fails’ self-effacing modesty that he underplays the work involved in getting started. Without any background in engineering or metalworking machinery, Fails taught himself about the equipment he’d need, then went out and bought it - the presses, the folding machines: these very machines still form the heart of City Theatrical’s operations today. He also found premises for the company in a building in the South Bronx, far enough from the glitz of Manhattan to be affordable, close enough for him to keep in touch and deliver goods quickly. And, in fact, to continue working in both places. "For the first 10 years or so I had a double life, working here during the day and working on the shows at night."

Eventually, he realised that he couldn’t continue to do that. "The real aim of

 
Broadway Goes Digital
Saturday, 17 February 2001

"It’s the first time a show’s sound has been all-digital on Broadway," says sound designer Jonathan Deans. "As revolutionary as Tharon Musser putting memory lighting control on A Chorus Line."

Deans is speaking at the back of the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York, home to Seussical: The Musical, the slightly troubled new show (half the creative team replaced before opening!) by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, the writers responsible for Once On This Island and Ragtime. He can make the claim because of what looks like a tiny mixing desk shoe-horned into the space next to him: CueConsole, a hands-on control surface to LCS’ Matrix3 and SuperNova range of digital signal processing sound equipment. Why choose to take a chance on a new piece of equipment? Firstly, size is an important consideration in theatre where on a sold-out show each full price seat can bring in around $37,000 per year. "The CueConsole takes up seven seats," Deans notes, "rather than the 28 that a conventional set-up would have needed. That’s for a system with 128 inputs and 64 outputs. If the show’s a hit, that means the producers are effectively getting the sound system for free!"Secondly, the ability to easily move some or all of the modular console around during the production period, connecting it back to the eight Matrix3 LX300 16-input/8-output processing racks in the basement through standard CAT5 cable. "We had all of the faders set up in the middle of the orchestra seating at our first venue, so that the operator could

 
 
Renaissance Cruise Lines Uses ETC
Friday, 16 February 2001

The year 2000 saw Renaissance Cruise Lines add three new ships to its fleet, the R5, R6 and R7. Already distinguished by having the youngest fleet in the industry, Renaissance Cruise Lines will soon be amongst the five largest cruise lines in the world, with the addition of the R8, which will be named in a ceremony on 18 February. Built at the Chantiers de L’Atlantique yard, Saint-Nazaire, France, the R-class ships are almost identical in design, and the Saint-Nazaire division of HMS France has supplied and installed the entertainment systems, TV distribution and the broadcast and editing systems on all of them. For the entertainment areas of the R5, R6, R7 and R8, HMS installed an ETC Sensor delta dimming system plus 48 Source Four PARs and 32 Source Four ellispoidals at the specification of its Miami-based division Harbour Marine Systems.

 
ILMC Conference Addresses Safety Issues
Friday, 16 February 2001

The International Live Music Conference takes place from 9 - 11 March 2001 at the Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington High Street, London. It pulls together key figures involved in the presentation of live entertainment around the globe. Attendance is ‘by invitation only’ and the ILMC includes among its members some 35 different professions from nearly 40 countries. The Main Room debates will kick off as usual on Friday afternoon at the Talking Shop, where a variety of the subjects will be covered, and the rest of the weekend's talks previewed. Taking centre stage in Saturday afternoon's main forum will an investigation of the urgent issues surrounding crowd safety, made more relevant in the last few days by the terrible events at Australia's Big Day Out and Brazil's Planet Atlantido. In a major session set to span the entire afternoon under the banner 'Safety in Numbers', chaired by Roger Barrett and Roberto de Luca, the views of leading figures from the worlds of production, security, and event promotion will be put forward in a discussion that has to be seen as relevant to everyone in the live industry. On Sunday, the conference will examine how the dance market works and the new global medium of webcasting. The conference is organised in association with Blink TV, SMG and Le Maitre Fireworks.

 
 
ACN Project to Draft New American National Standard
Thursday, 15 February 2001

ESTA has announced that the Advanced Control Network (ACN) project, which formally had been a feasibility study, is now officially a project to draft a new American National Standard. In keeping with the ANSI nomenclature for standards, the project is BSR E1.17, Entertainment Technology - Multipurpose Network Control Protocol Suite. The scope of the project is to define a new control protocol suite comprising network management, device management, a device description language and device control with reliable multi-cast transport on standard data networks. The protocol suite's purpose is to allow heterogeneous systems of entertainment and infrastructure devices to fully interoperate. Parties that have a material interest in this BSR E1.17 project are invited to participate by offering comments during future public reviews of the document or by joining the Control Protocols Working Group, part of the ANSI-accredited standards committee E1, Safety and Compatibility of Entertainment Technical Equipment and Practices. Membership in the working group is open to all who are affected by standards-making in the area of control protocols used in entertainment venues and who are willing to actively participate in the group's projects.

 
Theatre Direct Zero in on Cambridge
Wednesday, 14 February 2001

Theatre Direct (part of the Stage Electrics group of companies) recently placed a large order for Zero 88 products which included Contours, Betapack 2s and Level 12 Plus desks. The equipment forms a major part of a venue installation for the East Cambridgeshire District Council as part of their Arts Strategy. Theatre Direct installed both the staging and lighting which included dimming, control desks, lanterns and internally wired bars.

 
 
Dobson Sound for What Car?
Wednesday, 14 February 2001

London-based rental company, Dobson Sound Productions recently provided all the audio requirements for What Car? Magazine’s Car of the Year Awards, held at Grosvenor House in London. The event consisted of a sit-down dinner for 950 people from throughout the automotive industry including a significant number of journalists from the motoring press. This was followed by awards presentations for each of the 18 categories hosted by Jonathon Ross, culminating with a spectacular reveal of the winner of the Car of the Year award, won by the new Ford Mondeo. Dobson’s Tone Ferne explained that due to the nature of the reveal, they were required to provide a far more powerful audio system than a standard awards dinner might merit. "We provided a distributed system throughout the ceiling of the Great Room in the Grosvenor consisting of 18 d&b E9 cabinets. There were also two big screens at the front for video and images throughout the awards, behind which we had a further two stacks of d&b C7s each. Then, to make the cutlery rattle on the tables when the Mondeo was finally revealed on a huge revolving turntable to the accompaniment of spectacular pyrotechnics, moving lights and thunderous music, we had two powerful B2 subs hidden under the stage. And I have to say it worked! The cutlery did indeed rattle, along with the fillings in a few people’s teeth I should imagine! We also had the usual plethora of radio mics and playback equipment, and the whole lot was controlled by our trusty Midas Heritage 1000."

 
Lighting Tech Durango Appointed DHA StockistLighting Tech Durango Appointed DHA Stockist
Wednesday, 14 February 2001

DHA, one of Europe’s leading designers and manufacturers of gobos and innovative lighting effects, appointed Lighting Technology Durango as one of its first distributors in France at SIEL 2001 in Paris. As such, Lighting Technology Durango now holds stock of DHA gobos and moving effects. The appointment follows the successful launch of Lighting Technology’s new Paris showroom under the care of Jean-Francois Cheron and Brigitte Delehaye, who are well known in the French entertainment technology industry, a comprehensive range of products has been set up for permanent hands-on demonstration.

 
 
MAVCO Wins Carnival Spirit Contract
Wednesday, 14 February 2001

MAVCO has been awarded the contract to install the audio equipment for all public areas on Carnival Cruise Lines' Carnival Spirit. The 960-foot, 84,000-tonnes Carnival Spirit is destined to go into service from Miami in the spring of 2001. Onboard, MAVCO is involved with designing and installing audio systems in a total of 23 venues, headed by onsite project manager, Nick Gibson. Work on the project started in Turku last October, where he and his team built 56 racks within six weeks, which are now being installed on Carnival Spirit in Helsinki. In the main theatre, MAVCO is installing two LCS LD88 audio processors to provide room surround effects, and 90 EAW loudspeakers, together with 60 Renkus Heinz and Macpherson loudspeakers. Processing will be via a Peavey Mediamatrix digital sound processor, and 54 Crest CKS amplifiers will be controlled by Crest's NexSys computer control system. The theatre will also have a Midas XL4 fully automated audio mixer together with a Midas XL3 side wing mixer.

 
Federal Strikes Oil
Tuesday, 13 February 2001

Federal Signal has won its first contract from Romania's national oil company Petromar. The £150,000 contract involves the design, manufacture and supply of an Akusta-based duplicated PA and general alarm system for Petromar's offshore oil production facility in the Black Sea. The system installation will be carried out by Petromar's own engineers. The system has been designed and engineered to operate in harsh offshore conditions while still complying with BS5588 and BS5839: Part 8. It will provide an extensive range of emergency notifications - from fire and toxic gas alert to abandon platform alarm, as well as full audio communications and paging facilities.

 
 
Party for Sennheiser DecadeParty for Sennheiser Decade
Tuesday, 13 February 2001

Sennheiser UK threw a spectacular party before Christmas at London's Café Royal to celebrate the company's tenth anniversary. In addition to 250 customers, suppliers and staff, special guests for the evening included Professor Jorg Sennheiser, chairman of Sennheiser GmbH and Rolf Meyer, president of sales and marketing in Germany. Presentations to mark the occasion were made to Sennheiser UK managing director Paul Whiting, sales and marketing manager Rob Piddington, financial controller Lesley Alaway, field sales manager Nigel Mann and technical applications manager John Willett, all of whom have been with the UK company since it was formed. During the evening, the company hosted a raffle which raised sufficient funds to bring the total of Sennheiser UK's annual fund raising activities for Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital to £13,000. Additional presentations were also made to Gerry and Jaz Ford of Dublin-based Professional Audio Ltd, Sennheiser UK's distributor for Ireland, also celebrating its tenth year in business, whilst awards were made in their absence to area sales manager Simon Jones and Dave French from warehouse and despatch, both of whom have also been with Sennhesier UK from the start.

 
US Rigging Seminars
Tuesday, 13 February 2001

Harry Donovan and Jay Glerum are presenting a series of seminars on principles and practices of arena and stage rigging. A four-day class will run in Las Vegas from March 12-15, covering the principles and practices of arena and stage rigging. This will also feature a day's session with Rocky Paulson covering personal safety and fall arrest. Further courses will run in Orlando from May 6-9 and in Chicago from June 25-28. Donovan and Glerum are nationally recognised in the entertainment industry for their knowledge of stage and arena rigging, and this is the ninth year they have conducted these rigging seminars.

 
 
New HK Audio Distributor in Spain
Tuesday, 13 February 2001

Alberdi Pro in Barcelona has taken on exclusive distributorship of HK Audio sound reinforcement products in Spain. According to Hans Stamer, HK’s MD of music and sales: "Spain is one of the most important markets for audio equipment in Europe. To be successful in this market we need a strong, capable distribution partner, and Alberdi Pro is that partner." The company already has all major HK Audio products in stock.

 
HHB Celebrates 25 Years
Tuesday, 13 February 2001

HHB Communications celebrates its 25th anniversary this month. The company, founded by Ian Jones, has grown to become one of the UK's leading pro audio suppliers and a major international manufacturer of digital audio equipment and recording media. With offices in London, Los Angeles and Toronto, and distribution partners in more than 30 countries throughout the world, HHB now employs a staff of 70. During its history, HHB has played a pivotal role in establishing the professional acceptance of many digital recording technologies, notably DAT, CD-R and Minidisc and today HHB's own products encompass all these formats. To date, almost three million HHB DAT tapes have been sold, the new Portadisc MD portable looks set to become an industry-standard broadcast recorder and the new HHB BurnIT is the latest in a line of CD recorders which have had a high profile in the market. Looking to the future, HHB sales director Steve Angel outlined the company's plans to assist its customers in taking on the multi-channel world and helping them through the transition from analogue to digital. Our picture shows founder Ian Jones (foreground) with sales director Steve Angel.

 
 
Project News
Monday, 12 February 2001

A couple of new developments on the performing arts front. Ballast Construction has won a £14m contract to build the Laban Centre in Deptford, including 13 dance studios and a 300-seat theatre, whilst Newcastle City Council is currently reviewing plans with Newcastle University to develop a £60m arts and heritage complex at the Playhouse theatre site at Barras Bridge. Leisure development continues apace: Government approval has been given for a £30m leisure development at Gloucester Docks which will include a multiplex cinema, restaurants and retail units. Associated British Ports, meanwhile, has submitted plans for a new leisure and retail development at Alexandra Dock in Grimsby, including shops, a restaurant, pub and possibly a hotel. Isle of Wight Council is considering plans from Godshill Park Developments for the creation of a 60-bedroom hotel and conference centre in Wootton and finally Leicester City has won approval to build a £35m 32,000-seat football stadium at Freeman's Wharf.

 
TC Electronic Takes on TC Works
Monday, 12 February 2001

On the first of this month, TC Electronic took over the exclusive distribution of TC Works products for the UK and Ireland. TC Electronic picked up the contract after TC Works and previous distributor the Arbiter Group agreed to go their separate ways. In the TC Electronic UK team, Jim Motley, will be the man responsible for TC Works sales, while Filip Saelen from the TC Electronic Customer Support team will be taking care of support issues.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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