Electrovision, the Merseyside distribution company, has bought another well known name in the industry - Altai Group Ltd. This take-over further strengthens the group's position within the market giving it such famous house brands as Sound Lab, Eagle, Vision, ELV and of course NJD, as well as distribution for many other industry names. The take-over also includes branches in France, Holland, Germany and Belgium, as well as representation in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Mark Benyon now of Altai told PLASA News: "This move will provide greater penetration of the European market and will provide a better and more comprehensive service to all our customers. It gives us even stronger buying power to offer the best possible value to our customers." Richard Fox of Electrovision added: "I am very pleased with the successful outcome of this project and look forward to hearing from our customers old and new who should all benefit substantially, with even better service, from this new arrangement."
Production Resources Group is to hold an auction for the Lighting Group and the Audio Group which will see a range of automated lights, dimmers, scrollers, speakers, processing equipment audio and lighting consoles go under the hammer. The auction will be held at 3026 Airport Avenue in Santa Monica, CA on Wednesday 15 March beginning at 11.00am. A preview of the equipment to be auctioned will take place on Tuesday 14 March at the same location, from 11.00am to 4.00pm. Auction catalogues (available 7 March onwards) can be downloaded from the PRG website whilst LA-411 will also be accepting pre-auction bids on equipment via their web site at www.la411.com. The proceedings will be transmitted live via the LA411 web site the day of the event.
Ideal Entertainment, Imax Corporation and CERTS are working on the production of a concert film for IMAX Theatres featuring live performances by Carlos Santana, BB King, Sting, Sheryl Crow and others. All Access is set to premiere in February 2001 and in addition to a front row seat and spectacular larger-than-life performances, will provide exactly what its title suggests - a rare All Access pass to the rehearsals, sound checks, casual conversations and general backstage madness that lies behind the scenes of every concert. Initial sequences for the film were shot at the Grand Olympic Auditorium in downtown Los Angeles in February and additional sequences will be filmed with other live performances in the coming months.
Celestion has announced a key addition to its international sales network: Greater Union Entertainment Technology (GUET) has been awarded exclusive distribution rights for Celestion loudspeakers in Australia. With expertise ranging across sound, projection and lighting, the company now maintains offices throughout Australia, New Zealand, Asia and Europe, distributing brands such as Hafler, Studiomaster, Mogami, Klipsch, and Monster Cable. GUET has a specialist division dedicated to sound, video and lighting (SVL) contracting work, which will be particularly applicable to Celestion's expanding range of installation systems. Celestion and GUET make their first joint appearance at the Entech 2000 trade show.
Stage One has just completed one of its most complex logistical challenges with the staging of a series of sales presentations throughout Japan for Amway. Working on behalf of London-based Maritz Communications, Stage One designed and built the sets including a wedge-shaped catwalk, auditorium and 12 modular exhibition units which were transported to Japan for the presentations as part of a major Amway recruitment drive.
The new Soho Theatre and Writers Centre is the West End's first ever purpose-built theatre for new works. Following a £10.6 million National Lottery-funded development, Soho Theatre Company will be launching its first season of plays in its permanent new home on March 14. The main 200-seat auditorium features Strand lantern, control and dimming systems provided by London-based trading partners White Light. The Theatre is also the first English home for Strand's newly-launched 300 Series control desk, the company's fully-featured control surface, supporting Genius Pro operating software. The lighting specification was prepared by Jason Taylor, the consultant who designed the system.
TMB Associates has been appointed as exclusive North American distributors of DHA Lighting's Digital Light Curtain luminaires. TMB's Tommy Stephenson told PLASA Publishing: "We're very excited to be involved in the marketing of these unique fixtures. We plan to sell them through our dealers around the country and believe they have a great future in the American market. In addition to developing new sales, we intend to fully support the existing US inventory with a comprehensive stock of spare parts." The Digital Light Curtain's credits to date include Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, Cats, Oliver, Tommy, EFX and others.
Dubai-based Production Technology LLC, has increased its rental stock of Strong International followspots, with purchases of two Super Trouper II 2kW Xenon units and two Truss Trouper 1.2kW HMI units from High Wycombe-based AC Lighting. The company already owns a number of Strong International Gladiator 3kW Xenon followspots and this latest order reinforces its belief in the Strong International product range. Adrian Bell, general manager of production Technology, said: "Our decision to continue with Strong was underlined by a virtually faultless performance with the Gladiators. The Gulf is one of the harshest environments these products can be exposed to, and our Strong products have come through with impeccable reliability."
London-based Decibel Audio has been working on a series of audio upgrades for Regent Inns plc. In Bar Logic, next to the London Palladium, Decibel has installed 20 JBL enclosures across the bar's two floors, with amplification from C Audio GB402s. Three GB402s drive the 12 loudspeakers in the upstairs bar, while the remainder downstairs are powered by a further two 402s. At Gordon Bennett's in Tooting, Decibel has again used three GB402s to drive JBL wall-mounted cabinets, along with a GB602 for Decibel's own bass bins.
For the prestigious Grammy Awards, which took place last night at The Staples Center, Los Angeles, lighting designer Bob Dickinson and console programmer Andy O'Reilly used a Vari-Lite Virtuoso lighting control console to 'mix on the fly' - literally creating the lighting looks for each performer just minutes before they took to the stage. As it was impossible for the pair to know the colour and style of each artist's wardrobe, O'Reilly received cues from backstage as each artist appeared, and then used the Virtuoso's facility for instant creation and editing of cues to create the right colour scheme.
For the fourth successive year, Britannia Row Productions has been engaged to carry out the audio production for the BRIT Awards, which moves to Earls Court 2 next week. Brit Row is continuing its association with sound designer Derek Zieba for the event. Chris Coxhead and Bob Lopez will be looking after the front-of-house sound, with Vince Sharpe and Andy Ray on monitors. Sound reinforcement will be drawn exclusively from Brit Row's Turbosound Flashlight inventory - the main system will consist of TFS-780 and 760 L-C-R clusters, with L-C-R delays and various audience and pit fills.
Michael Grade has purchased the famous Pinewood Studios for £62m. The former head of Channel 4 and BBC1 led a consortium of investors backed by investment trust 3i, which is buying the film studio from Rank, the leisure and entertainment group. The consortium is paying £55.5m in cash and £6.5m in a loan note. Rank had been seeking a buyer for Pinewood for some years, and on Monday it also sold its cinema chain, Odeon, for £280m. Rank is using some of the money to buy a DVD processing plant in Los Angeles for £11m.
A free on-line legal check-up for companies in the music trade using the web to sell their services or products has been launched by e-commerce experts, Laytons solicitors. To use the service, businesses simply e-mail their website address to Laytons. who will then carry out an on-line legal diagnostic and advise on what steps that business could be taking to ensure the website is legally watertight. Jonathan Oddy, head of Laytons' e-commerce unit, says: "Businesses must be careful not to infringe the copyright and trademarks belonging to other organisations, as well as the law relating to data protection and privacy, both in the UK and other jurisdictions."In addition, the government is planning to make it unlawful for the website of any UK business not to quote prices inclusive of VAT and any other custom duties before customers agree to buy. This, and many other issues, should be addressed as soon as possible.
Following the announcement at the end of 1999 that Trantec's UHF and VHF radio microphones are available to the export market for the first time, the company has announced the appointment of two European distributors. JBK Audio Pro will be representing the company exclusively in France, and Audio International, trading with its sister company Audium SRL, will be responsible for distribution in Italy. The two companies will begin trading immediately, and will be exhibiting at the AES Show in Paris and SIB in Rimini respectively.
In a move that marks an increased focus on professional commercial audio markets, Yamaha-Kemble Music UK has formed a separate department, headed up by Alan Johnson as sales and marketing manager. The new department, as part of Yamaha's pro-Music Division, will be separate from the current pro audio department and will concentrate on the areas of live sound, outside broadcast, installed sound systems, touring sound, professional recording, audio post production and broadcast applications. A number of initiatives are already in place, such as a dedicated dealer hotline which will resolve any technical and system enquiries. Also, to coincide with the UK launch of the PM1D digital live mixing console, a PM series support helpline has also been established, active from 9am to 11pm seven days a week.
An innovative joint technology and media partnership is giving fans of the Rugby Football Union's Six Nations Championship a giant screen view of the action at Twickenham. Screenco has teamed up with Blink TV, content providers for giant screens at sports event sand rock concerts, to offer the RFU a unique media proposition for the championship which benefits fans and sponsors alike. Under the deal, Screenco has installed at Twickenham the largest outdoor screen ever seen at a European sports stadium - an ultra-high resolution 76sq.m Sony JumboTron daylight screen. Blink TV, meanwhile, has negotiated on-screen advertising and sponsorship deals covering all of this year's matches at Twickenham.
The Ambassador Theatre Group Limited (ATG) has recently added a further seven high profile London venues to the ATG portfolio, bringing its total holdings to 16 buildings and consolidating its position as a major industry player. The seven theatres, previously managed by Associated Capital Theatres, include the Donmar, Albery, Phoenix, Piccadilly, Wyndhams, Comedy and Whitehall and are renowned for playing host to a variety of first class productions. The Group currently owns and operates the Duke of York's and the New Ambassadors in London's West End, the Ambassadors Centre in Woking and also the historic Theatre Royal, Brighton.
World-class arts facilities are proposed in Rick Mather's Masterplan for the South Bank. The draft plan for the 30-acre South Bank site, from County Hall to Waterloo Bridge, includes a brand new British Film Institute showcase, the bfi Film Centre, a new concert hall to be built beneath the park and a new performance and conference complex. Phase 1 will see a major refurbishment of the Royal Festival Hall which will include a new lecture and recital hall and improved education facilities, as well as work on the auditorium to upgrade the technical facilities and improve the acoustics. The total cost of this first phase will be between £40 million and £50 million. Already the Heritage Lottery Fund has agreed an in-principle award of £12.5 million for the public spaces. In respect of the auditorium and acoustics SBC is to apply to the Arts Council of England Lottery Fund for a portion of the £25 million allocated to the arts aspects of the development. Phase 2 will address The Jubilee Gardens and Hungerford site and includes extending Jubilee Gardens. Beneath the Hungerford end of the park, a new flexible middle-sized concert hall will be built. This is where the new bfi Film Centre will also be situated. Phase 3 covers The Waterloo Site. The Hayward Gallery is to be retained as a stand-alone building, refurbished and extended within its existing site. Full story March L&SI.
Stage Electrics is to rent 2,000sq.ft of space at DHA's London Headquarters. This will provide the company, which currently has branches in Bristol, Birmingham, Exeter, Plymouth and at the NEC, with a London base from which to offer its range of technical services for the entertainment, leisure and events industries. The new facilities will include a demonstration area, trade counter and drop-in café. As a result, DHA is relocating its production workshops upstairs, the first part of a planned refurbishment of its Waterloo-based offices. Diane Grant of DHA explained that the two companies will continue to operate independently, but will both benefit from a practical alliance. It is expected that Stage Electrics' new office will be up and running by 1st June.
The Institute of Sound and Communications Engineers is organising a two-day course covering Basic Acoustics for Sound System Professionals. This will take place on consecutive Saturdays - 18th and 25th March - in Manchester and will cover such diverse areas as how sound behaves, direct and reverberant sound fields, sound in large and small spaces and use of physical and computer models. The course fee (ISCE Members - £100, Non members - £130) includes the cost of written materials and attendance certificates.
Following an audit by Quay Audit Limited, Stagetec successfully obtained certification to ISO 9001 Standard. According to Andy Stone, adopting the procedure within these standards will make the company more efficient and enable it to continually improve the levels of customer satisfaction.
Starlite Systems Technology (London) has announced its acquisition of data and intellectual property rights previously branded under the ShuttleCAD banner. The acquisition has spawned two new products into its family of industry-specific drawing software; Stardraw Audio and Stardraw AV. The data takes the form of thousands (approx. 12,000) high quality symbols of products by manufacturers active in the professional audio and A/V sectors. Starlite's Director of Software David Snipp explains: "In the past Starlite has provided the software engines that drove Stardraw and ShuttleCAD products, but the symbols we used were generally produced out of house. By bringing the manufacture of software and symbols under our control we can concentrate on development and let our distributors deal with the selling."
'The Trace', a unique multi-media installation by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer and Will Bauer, was at the centre of the retrospective of contemporary art that was exhibited recently at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in Canada. The installation was a 'telepresence' experience where people in different rooms of the museum could share the same interactive space. Two Martin Lighting Director (MLD) tracking systems were used to monitor the position and movement of participants in 3D and their presence was reconstructed in real time in the rooms using intersecting light beams, floor projections and positional sound. Automated followspots provided ghostly 3D representations which matched the movement of participants in the remote rooms. The installation used eight Mac 250 units for the aerials and four MAC 250+ fixtures for the projections. In addition, four MAC 300 moving heads were fitted with speakers and parabolic reflectors so that sound beams could also be directed to the location of the participants.
Paris-based loudspeaker manufacturer L-Acoustics has restructured its UK sales and rental activities. V-Dosc Rentals UK has been renamed L-Acoustics UK and will continue renting the V-Dosc and dV-Dosc systems. The major change is the incorporation into L-Acoustics UK of the sales and technical support for all L-Acoustics products, thereby focusing the two distinct business activities under one roof. All sales products will supplied direct from Paris, including the purchase of V-Dosc and dV-Dosc for permanent installations. L-Acoustics UK will be managed by Paul Nicholson, with responsibility for both sales and rental activities.