Events News

SPS Launches E-Commerce Website
Thursday, 11 January 2001

Show Presentation Services (SPS), the audio-visual equipment rental and technical staging specialist, has announced the launch of its new e-commerce website, along with a brand new on-line ‘Budget Estimator’. Robin Coles, SPS managing director, says: "A UK event manager for a multi-national brand with a requirement to take a product road-show to six European cities, should provide the Budget Estimator with details such as audience size, type of event/presentation and location, and they will be provided with immediate on-line staging information specific to their requirements with accompanying pricing."

Gearhouse Unveils New Advertising Hoarding
Monday, 8 January 2001

A new application for the company’s Optiscreen technology was given its official launch on Friday by AV company Gearhouse. The company is using its modular video screen system to create a new style of advertising hoarding which allows for advertising to change throughout the day. Newly-appointed Gearhouse director John Hemming unveiled the new system at the company’s Birmingham premises.

IoA Conference
Saturday, 6 January 2001

The Institute of Acoustics (IoA) held its 16th conference on Reproduced Sound in November - and much of the varied content was relevant to the theatre and live music industries.

Multi-channel sound reinforcement was a topic that generated a large amount of interest, with presentations from David Malham (University of York), Fred Ample (Technology Visions), Robin Whittaker (Out Board Electronics) and Steve Ellison (Level Control Systems). It was clear that the demand for higher-quality audio environments is growing rapidly.

Robin Whittaker explained the theory of source-oriented reinforcement and illustrated its applications from the wealth of theatre, industrial and music productions that Out Board has undertaken. Whittaker concluded by stating that the concept of source-oriented reinforcement has several key benefits; namely, the minimisation of room effects, even distribution of SPL and tonality and improving the direct-to-reverberant energy ratios to improve intelligibility.

Steve Ellison explained LCS’ drive towards improved multi-channel control of live audio. The Matrix3 system, with its CueConsole and Ethertracks add-ons, represents Ellison’s vision of the future of multi-channel systems; completely integrated playback, routing, processing, mixing and distribution. A further presentation from Ellison and Markl Poletti of Industrial Research in New Zealand, on the LCS Virtual Room Acoustic System, showed how such an integrated system could be expanded still further.

Two further developments were worthy of note: Duran Audio in the Netherlands has ta

Glastonbury Cancelled Over Crowd Fears
Friday, 5 January 2001

Glastonbury Festival organiser Michael Eavis has cancelled this year's event because of fears about crowd safety. The festival, which was first staged in 1970, had been under fire from his local authority after thousands of fans sneaked into last year’s Festival. The 2000 event has left Eavis facing prosecution over alleged breaches of the festival licence, and he says he hopes his decision will send out a message that organisers are taking the issue seriously. In a statement he said: "After much deliberation and consultation I have now decided not to run the festival this year." He added, however, that he has every intention running the Festival in 2002. Eavis’s decision follows the deaths of nine crowd members at the Roskilde Festival in Denmark last year. Eavis has commented that the Roskilde tragedy has made organisers and authorities more concerned about crowd numbers.

Playlight’s Mike McMullan Dies
Thursday, 4 January 2001

PLASA Publishing has learned of the death from cancer of Playlight founder, Mike McMullan, who died peacefully at home on Tuesday 3rd January, surrounded by his family. A statement from the directors and staff of the Playlight Group said: "Mike was one of life's great characters, and will be greatly missed by all who knew him."

The funeral will take place next Wednesday 10 January at 1.00pm at the Altrincham Crematorium, Whitehouse Lane, Dunham Massey, Altrincham, Cheshire. The family has requested that instead of flowers being sent, donations be made to the following charities: St Ann's Hospice, St Ann's Road North, Heald Green, Cheshire; the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, 11 London Road, Bromley, Kent; or the Lymphoma Association, PO Box 386 Aylesbury.

Star Hire Achieves National Standard
Tuesday, 2 January 2001

Following two years of concentrated improvements to its company training programme and the development of individual employees, Star Hire (Event Services) Ltd has just received recognition as an Investor In People. The Investors In People award signifies that Star Hire know where they are going as a company, have imparted this focus to all their staff, and have trained them to move forward in line with that vision. Maddy Sheals, responsible for steering the company towards the standard said: "In the feedback session at the end of the two days, the assessor said how much he was impressed with the calibre of people he interviewed - their honesty, commitment, and individual skills, plus an awareness of what Star Hire is trying to do." Maddy hopes to build on this achievement through a programme of continuous innovation and improvement in the training and development of all Star Hire people.

Brits Nominated in US Event Awards
Tuesday, 2 January 2001

The UK Events industry has received an important accolade on a world-wide scale, with four companies from the ISES (International Special Event Society) UK Chapter nominated for awards at the ‘Special Event’ to be held this January. Nominees include The Moving Venue (Best Off-Premise Catered Event), The Special Event Company (Best Multi-Day Event), Vok Dams Gruppe (Best Achievement in Technical Support), and The Full Effect has received nominations in an impressive three categories (Best Corporate Picnic, Best Entertainment Concept over $50k, and Best Theatrical Production). The final judging takes place in New Orleans during the Special Event Show, with the Awards and Gala Dinner being held on 13th January. "It’s a tremendous achievement for the Brits to get so many nominations from the 375 entries submitted," said ISES UK Chapter president, Sally Webb. "The UK Special Events Industry is up with the leaders in terms of new, innovative and creative ideas, and this has been reflected with many British award winners over the past few years."

Etruscan Expo
Monday, 1 January 2001

Palazzo Grassi is among the most imposing buildings on Venice’s Grand Canal. It was built in the 1700s for a rich merchant family before being purchased by Fiat in 1984, who restored it to its original splendour and equipped it with all the facilities necessary for a large modern exhibition centre.

Currently running until July 1 is a new exhibition covering ‘The Etruscans’. Occupying 36 exhibition rooms with 700-plus exhibits, the exhibition uses cutting-edge multimedia technology to ensure visitors high-impact immersion in the history of this mysterious race of people. The company responsible for these aspects of the exhibition was specialist Turin firm Medialogos/WDM, whose expertise in this area has been gained on other high profile events, including ‘The Future of the Longobards’, the Italian Design Process show in Seoul and the ‘Sinestesia’ exhibition on the five senses.

The company’s Ottavio Dichio explains: "The idea was to use innovative technology to complement the information given by the more traditional media - so videos, stereoscopic computer graphic reconstructions and 3D Dolby Digital sound environments help tell the exhibition’s story." 3D videos, designed for projection on ‘fragment’ screens, are used to emphasize aspects of the Etruscan civilisation.

"In rooms with just projections," continues Ottavio "we used DVDs with films in MPEG2. The D-1999E players by Olidata can play DVD, video and audio CDs and CDs with MP3 files and have a built-in AC-3 decoder for Do

Car Show
Thursday, 28 December 2000

Creative Technology crews and communications systems were out in force at the British International Motor Show 2000 - working alongside leading design companies Imagination and Jack Morton Worldwide (formerly Caribiner).

The highlight was the spectacular Ford Motors stand, dedicated to the launch of the new Mondeo, which dominated Hall 4 of Birmingham’s NEC. The centrepiece of their display was CT’s fully-integrated audio-visual installation, designed and programmed by Chris Slingsby, head of Imagination’s Special Projects dept, working alongside CT’s Dave Herd. The presentation combined multiples of 6K PIGI scenic projectors, using double scrollers and rotating double scrollers through 360 degrees, supplemented by eight Christie 7K Roadie projectors. These were mounted onto the circular lighting grid in the centre of the drum, firing out into the 30m diameter auditorium - one projector assigned to each of the four perimeter screens. The 3-chip DLP Roadies provided the video element and live camera replay while the picture origination was from Doremi hard drive systems, controlled via Dataton, which also interfaced with the show automation system. Playback was from a three-camera PPU system, with desktop video PCs, providing the speaker support.

On the dealer and press days the presentation was made in a full show format. Tracking screens moved on monorails as part of a choreographed sequence, while dealers watched from their seats inside the theatre ‘drum’. As each show commenced the screens moved from their fixed positions, and eac

Support for Birmingham Fringe
Thursday, 21 December 2000

Cause & Effect, the organisers of the 2001 Birmingham Fringe theatre festival, are looking at the possibility of holding collaborative projects with entertainment technology companies during the 2001 festival, in order to demonstrate the contribution made by them to technical theatre. Project director Derrick G Knight told us: "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." An initial idea is to include a sound and lighting exhibition alongside the festival, which takes place in July and August 2001, and Knight is currently exploring the availability of no-cost exhibition space at a number of venues adjacent to the reserved performance spaces. For further information is available from the number below.

A Meeting of Worlds - highlights from the Hanover Expo
Monday, 18 December 2000

Expo 2000, the first World Expo in Germany, closed its gates on 31st October after running for 153 days. During its brief lifespan, 18.1million visitors attended what was almost certainly the biggest event of 2000 and the country’s first really major showpiece since the 1972 Munich Olympics.

Expos are massive political, logistical, financial and creative undertakings: the host country needs nerves of steel, deep pockets (the Hanover Expo cost $1.65 billion), wealthy friends and a pretty extensive run at it (six years in this case). Still, the Germans were fortunate enough to have a head start, this being the first Expo ever to take advantage of existing trade fair facilities which contributed nearly 100 out of the 160 hectares of exhibition space.

The Hanover Expo took on the theme of ‘Humankind, Nature, Technology’, with over 170 participating countries and organisations (a record number in the history of the event) presenting their ideas for the future. Just under 50 of those countries built their own pavilions, and it is these that dominate the eyeline - architecturally and technically they are some of the most challenging structures you will ever see. Appropriately enough, the German pavilion is perhaps one of the most striking, with its facade composed of 2,900 glass elements. Also striking was Deutsche Telekom’s dramatically-mounted cube-shaped pavilion - T-Digit - walled entirely in glass, featuring the largest Sony JumboTron LED giant video screen (a massive 207sq.m) and supported by just one pillar inclining at an eight degree angle.

Lighting Cal IT
Monday, 18 December 2000

Stage Light Design supplied creative lighting design and equipment for the Cal IT conference, held in the Fleming Room of the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in Westminster. The company was called in by production company Dynamic Range to light the event, a major symposium for Californian IT companies visiting the UK to promote their products and seek new investment.The event’s fast-moving format allowed for 10-minute presentations to be given by the different companies. They did this on stage, backed by a large central screen, flanked each side by two auxiliary video monitors. Stage Light Design’s Alastair Crooks designed the stage lighting and operated the show using a LightProcessor QCommander console. A front truss was fitted with assorted fixtures including Golden Scans, Stage Color 300s and conventionals. Onstage lighting fixtures included more Stage Colors, Codas and other conventionals. Stage Light also supplied a selection of mains distro gear and Celco dimming.

ESS Continues Rapid Expansion Strategy
Monday, 18 December 2000

ESS (Edwin Shirley Staging), the staging and structure specialist, has created a new joint venture with Pure Group, called ‘ESS Superstructure’ to invest in and service the growing market for small and medium-sized events. This venture is the latest in a series of strategic partnerships that enhances the range of services ESS can offer corporate clients. By combining ESS’ experience in producing highly-specified structures, with the Pure Group’s reputation for managing corporate events, the new venture will be able to provide a highly competitive offer for clients in the corporate hospitality and corporate event market. The new company will be responsible for developing and marketing arch-shaped structures up to 30m in width. Products will include the unique Superstructure mobile venue, as well as Orbit buildings. The Superstructure is ideal for a variety of uses from conferences, concerts, film premieres, balls, trade shows, fashion shows, outdoor events, corporate hospitality and product launches.

Tim Norman, managing director of ESS Holdings, said: “This is our third venture in the past three months and is a significant step in the expansion of the ESS offer to corporate clients. The new venture will be able to provide a highly competitive offer to clients in the corporate events or hospitality market, but with the same commitment to excellent service.”

Live! Awards Dinner Moves to Ally Pally
Wednesday, 13 December 2000

After a number of years at the Royal Lancaster Hotel, where the spiralling success of the event has seen more and more people literally squeezed into the hotel's Westbourne Suite, the 2001 Live! Awards dinner will be held in the Great Hall of Alexandra Palace. The change of venue offers the twin benefits of easily accommodating the large numbers who now wish toattend the Awards, while allowing much easier access to exhibitors and visitors to the Live! Show. The Live! Awards dinner takes place on the evening of Wednesday 7th February 2001, the first day of the Live! Show. In addition, this year, for the first time, you can register online for the Live! Show at the web address below, which also features comprehensive Show information.

Fisher Productions Lights the Great Court
Monday, 11 December 2000

Fisher Productions were specially commissioned to organise the recent official opening of the British Museum's Queen Elizabeth II Great Court, in conjunction with the events department of the British Museum. The project involved the arrangement and co-ordination of the entertainment and technical support aspects of the opening, as well as the creation of a spectacular Son et Lumiere. The two-acre inner courtyard of the British Museum, hidden for 150 years and now transformed into Europe's largest covered square, provided an impressive setting for the four-minute Son et Lumiere, which was performed to a revised arrangement of Haydn's 'The Creation', by Stephen Warbeck. The finale involved shafts of light shining through the glass and steel roof from a specially-erected crane outside the building. The Great Court was officially opened by Her Majesty the Queen.

Carswell Replaces Cadman at Park Avenue
Monday, 4 December 2000

Park Avenue, one of the world's leading brand communications companies, has announced the appointment of its new managing director, Hugh Carswell. He has been at Park Avenue for the last four years during which time he has managed a huge variety of communications projects including the launch of British Airways' new corporate identity - which involved the largest global satellite link-up ever at the time, the British Airways London Eye launch on Millennium Eve, and the Euro-American announcement of the merger of Deutsche Bank and Bankers' Trust. Carswell takes over from Tony Cadman who is leaving to start his own venture consultancy after six successful years at Park Avenue.

Las Vegas 2000
Friday, 1 December 2000

Lee Baldock and Steve Moles report from LDI, Las Vegas

T his year’s LDI was, we are told, the biggest and the busiest LDI Show to date, with more exhibitors than ever before and record-breaking attendance, topping 12,000 in the first two days alone. The show floor of the Sands Expo & Convention Center certainly seemed very busy for the most part - as did the rest of Vegas, mind-bogglingly over-booked and bursting at the seams.

One of the few really high-profile debuts at the show was from Vari-Lite in the form of the Virtuoso DX console; this brings the for sale option to the Virtuoso control platform family - the daddy of which was launched at PLASA last year. Using the same operating system, the Virtuoso DX supports up to 2,000 luminaires and contains eight built-in DMX universes in a smaller package. Added to this is a new offline programming software package - Visionary 3D - which allows the creation of Virtuoso show files without a console or a lighting system. Also from Vari-Lite were two new luminaire configurations. The VL2202 is the 700W version of the 2201 spot, boasting double the light output. The VL2402 wash luminaire, also 700W, comes in the same compact package as the 2200 series, and offers the same beam control technology as the other members of the 2400 washlight series.

Martin Professional added to its recent success in the PLASA Awards (for the new MAC 2000) by collecting the LDI Architecture Lighting Product of the Year Award for its Exterior 300 - an economical alternative to the Exterior 600. This is a CMY colour-changing unit in

MOBOs Fly at Ally Pally
Monday, 20 November 2000

London-based MJK Productions has helped to open a new era in the long history of legendary Alexandra Palace by flying, for the first time, a substantial sound, lighting and video production from the venue’s vaulted glass roof.The MOBO Awards have grown immensely over the past five years. Increased ticket demand for this year’s MOBO Awards brought about the move to Alexandra Palace, with a show hosted by MTV’s Trevor Nelson and TLC’s Lisa ‘Left-Eye’ Lopes. Live performances included Craig David, Gabrielle and the much-anticipated return of Sade.

The Great Hall at ‘Ally Pally’ was completely refurbished following a disastrous fire in 1980 and a new glass roof installed. However, the roof was never intended to support heavy event production rigging, with a maximum loading of 1500 kilos on each arch and no greater point load than 500kg.

MJK Productions had produced the BRIT Awards in the Great Hall in 1995, using a ground-supported production. This time MJK’s Mick Kluczynski, production manager for the MOBOs, was determined to fly his production, the heaviest single element being a four-tonne followspot platform located high over the seated audience’s heads. "The loading restrictions made it rather critical, as it wouldn’t support even the weight of a mothergrid to carry a lighting rig. We had to get very creative. We went to the house riggers, Outback, and discovered they had been in negotiations with the original architects and engineers, and had got to a critical point when our show came along."<

New Contract for New Company
Friday, 17 November 2000

Circle 8 - the new company set up by former PLASA Show Manager Nicky Rowland - has confirmed its first industry contract in its first week of business. Circle 8 will be managing Theme Magazine’s Bar & Restaurant Awards - a series of regional awards dinners, culminating in a spectacular final dinner in London in June 2001. The North West’s awards ceremony has already taken place and the next event will be taking place on Monday 20 November at Brighton’s famous Grand Hotel to celebrate the best in the South East and Home Counties. Circle 8 offers a unique blend of event management, sales and marketing skills that can be applied to the entertainment industry and beyond.

AES, Los Angeles
Wednesday, 1 November 2000

Much of the performance audio buzz at the LA Convention Center at the end of September surrounded the new line array PA systems, but there was more besides. L&SI reports on some of the highlights.

AKG Acoustics launched the PR 81 pocket receiver, a lightweight, durable and feature-packed miniature diversity receiver based on AKG’s WMS 81 wireless technology. The company sees its compactness and plug-and-play operation as ideal for small broadcast and video production houses. AKG also unveiled the WMS 40 UHF wireless system, a fully-featured transmitter/receiver system at what AKG says is a 'breakthrough price' for a product of its ability.

Allen & Heath staged the US debut of the ML4000 dual-function (FOH/monitor) console. Slotting in between the GL400 and the recently-launched ML5000, it's a VCA-equipped 12 aux, eight audio group mixer with eight mute groups, a four-way matrix and enhanced LCR and IEM facilities. VCA groups and the LCRplus panning system join ML5000-derived features such as an angled fader bay, 32-, 40- and 48-channel formats, all with two dual stereo channels and a compact footprint.

Audio Technica promises ‘a new benchmark in wireless performance’ with its ATW-7373 handheld condensor wireless system, which comprises the ATW-T73 handheld condensor microphone/transmitter and the ATW-R73 true diversity receiver. At the heart of the ATW-T73 is the same element used in the AT4033 microphone, a mainstay of recording studios, a combination which A-T says adds up to studio quality sound with road-proven toughness.

Cadac launched its R-T

ILMC Unveils Conference Dates and New Team
Monday, 30 October 2000

The International Live Music Conference (ILMC The 13th) has announced that it will return to the venue for the 2000 event - the Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington, London - on the weekend of March 9th-11, 2001. A new team has been assembled by ILMC organiser Martin Hopewell to produce the Conference and create both its discussion agenda and the series of social events that surround the conference sessions themselves. Conference producers for ILMC 13 are Alia Dann and Lynn Curtis, with Mike Lethby and Sarah James at Gasoline Media responsible for media and sponsorship. Registration and sponsorship details are available from the ILMC office on 0207 833 8998.

Biggest Ever LDI Closes in Las Vegas
Tuesday, 24 October 2000

At the close of the LDI exhibition on Sunday evening at the Sands Convention Center, Las Vegas, the show was being hailed as the biggest, busiest and most successful LDI yet. In addition to its regulars, the show boasted no less than 65 first-time exhibitors, while the visitors were out in force. Speaking at the LDI Awards ceremony on Saturday evening, LDI's Jacqueline Tien said that with more than 12,000 visitors through the doors, LDI 2000 had already outstripped last year's visitor total, with a day left to run.

LDI Awards
Monday, 23 October 2000

The annual LDI Show has just finished its run at the Sands Expo & Convention Center in Las Vegas and early reports suggest that this was a busy and successful Show (more show news in the next few days). One of the highlights of the event is the annual awards presentation which took place on Saturday, October 21. The Wally Russell Award for lifetime contribution went to San Miller, chief executive officer and chairman of Rosco Laboratories. Miller is the only person ever to be named both a Fellow of the United States Institute for Theatre Technology and a member of the American Society of Cinematographers. Having graduated from Brown University in 1954, Miller served in the US Army until 1956, and acquired Rosco in 1958. The Best Widget Award went to American Harlequin for its new storage bag. In the design categories, the Lighting Designer of the Year Awards are divided into three areas. Dawn Hollingsworth picked up the architecture award, Tom Ruzika, collected the themed award and Patrick Woodroofe was honoured in the entertainment category.Coemar's CF7 was voted the Entertainment Lighting Product of the Year, whilst Martin Professional added to its raft of PLASA Awards by collecting the Architecture Lighting Product of the Year for its Exterior 300. On the audio front, Level Control Systems' Cue Console was recognised as the Sound Product of the Year, with Honourable Mention going to Wireworks Wirelux cables. Tony Meola was voted Sound Designer of the Year. Pathport picked up the Best Software Product Award for its Pathway Connectivity system and Dataton's Watchout was aw

Students Required!
Wednesday, 18 October 2000

Are you a lighting student eager to visit the only International Colloquium on Entertainment Lighting? If so, Showlight 2001 may be able to offer you the opportunity of a lifetime! Exhibitors at Showlight have the option to sponsor one entertainment lighting student, to enable people at all levels of the profession to attend and participate. The essence of Showlight is to encourage attendees to talk, discuss ideas and mix with some of the top names from theatre, television, film and architectural and themed lighting, and the list of exhibitors encompasses some of the top names in the industry, including DHA Lighting, ETC Europe, Strand, White Light and Wybron, with confirmed speakers from the worlds of themed entertainment, television and outdoor events. For further details contact Ruth Rossington, Showlight 2001, telephone +44 (0) 1323 418401.


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