Events News

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.

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.

Lighthouse LED at Motor Show
Friday, 16 February 2001

Major car manufacturers used 19 large Lighthouse LED video screens for their stands during January's Detroit Motor Show - the first major motor show of the 2001 international calendar and the most important one in North America. The Detroit Show also highlighted the first major commercial use of the new Lighthouse 5mm ultra high resolution LED screen on auto manufacturer Mini's booth. AV rental companies used a total of almost 307sq.m of the Lighthouse 10mm product - LVP102 and 15sq.m of the new LVP202 5mm screen. The Lighthouse video screens featured on the stands of Audi, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Mazda, Mercedes, Mini, Porsche, Toyota, and Volvo.

Pro Audio Theatre at Event 2001
Friday, 9 February 2001

Following ever increasing attendances over its four year history, the dates for John Hornby Skewes’ Event 2001 have been confirmed as June 17-19. One major new feature of Event 2001, which takes place at JHS’s premises in Garforth, Leeds, will be the provision of a dedicated pro audio demo theatre on-site. This will feature the HK Audio range of pro audio, including the HX active systems, LUCAS, ELIAS and ACTOR, and the most recent addition to the range, the powerful 3.6kW PROJECTOR. Other pro audio products on show include The Scanner radio system, the Get Yourself Connected series of cabling, JHS pro audio components and Kustom PA systems and cabinets.

Hollywood’s Biggest Party
Friday, 2 February 2001

Hollywood recently celebrated its biggest party - the Golden Globes - held in the International Ballroom at the Beverly Hilton. Production Resource Group companies Fourth Phase, ProMix and LSD/Fourth Phase were on hand to help. ProMix Burbank provided all of the audio equipment for the event, which included the press audio and video feeds to the worldwide press audience. All presenters and award recipients were heard through the propriety ProMix ‘pop-up mic’, a robotic system. Front-of-house console was a Yamaha PM4000, driving Apogee speakers and Crest amplifiers. Sound designer for the event was Gary Hardesty with his team consisting of audio supervisor Bruce Burns, system engineer Andrew Fletcher, press liaison engineer Steve Cohen, with Mark King on broadcast audio mix and Randy Faustino on house audio mix.

The interior lighting was designed by Lee Rose of Design Partners, and LSD/Fourth Phase provided the rigging and conventional lighting package for the 11th consecutive year. LSD crew chief Ken Delvo and LSD technician Jeremy Schilling oversaw the installation and operation of the kit, which included ETC Source Fours and Par 64s, controlled by an Expression 2X and Sensor Rack. The exterior lighting, also designed by Lee Rose, was handled by Fourth Phase Burbank. The equipment included a selection of 300 and 650W ARRI fresnels, 125W HMI ARRI pocket pars, 1.2kW HMI Sunrays, 2.5/4K HMI ARRI pars, MR16 Xray strips and 1K Mickey Moles.

PLASA Website's Major Re-Launch
Friday, 2 February 2001

On 1st February 2001, PLASA went online with its brand new website at The new site is the latest development in the six-year history of PLASA’s online presence, and continues the organisation’s aim to provide the premier online resource for the entertainment, presentation and event technology industry worldwide.

The new site further develops the extensive and freely-available information resources offered to the industry by PLASA. Now available are fully-searchable databases allowing fast, easy and flexible access to the full listing of 450+ PLASA members; 1,500 industry news items in the online news archive; a comprehensive calendar of industry events, and over 100 titles in PLASA’s Technical Book Service.

PLASA’s Managing Director Matthew Griffiths comments: "Aside from the great new look of the site, I’m especially pleased with the new keyword-search facilities. We provide the opportunity - for free, and within a matter of seconds - to find every news item that a particular company has appeared in on the PLASA News website over the past 18 months. The same applies for searching the membership database for companies, products and services, or for finding details of worldwide industry events. This is what the industry has been demanding from a website like ours, and we’re pleased to be offering such a truly beneficial service."

In addition to providing a valuable resource to the global industry, the new site has been designed to represent all the diverse aspects of PLASA as an organisation - including the A

Association News - Venue Confirmed for 2001 PLASA AGM
Thursday, 1 February 2001

The venue for the Professional Lighting and Sound Association’s 2001 AGM and Industry Dinner has been confirmed as Coombe Abbey, near Birmingham. This beautiful 12th century Cistercian Abbey, set in 500 acres of parkland, is now a stunning hotel and conference venue which promises to provide ‘no ordinary experience’.

The AGM and Industry Dinner will both take place on Thursday 14th June - allowing members to attend both events without taking two days out of the office - and offer the ideal opportunity to discover more about the Association and to meet with other members. Details of the guest speaker for the dinner will be revealed nearer the time.

This will be the fifth annual Industry Dinner, and the evening has always proved highly popular in the past, with guest speakers including Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Richard Noble and Frances Edmonds. We would like to urge all PLASA members to take an active role in the affairs of the Association by attending the AGM and the Industry Dinner.

Girl Dies After Festival Crush
Thursday, 1 February 2001

A 15-year old girl has died in Sydney’s Concorde Hospital, following a crush at the Big Day Out festival in Sydney, Australia, last Friday. The girl is reported to have suffered a cardiac arrest at the time of the crush, and died peacefully in hospital on Wednesday. Friday’s crush occurred when the crowd surged forward during a performance by Limp Bizkit. The band’s lead singer Fred Durst pleaded for calm, and wanted to stop the show altogether, but was later persuaded to continue with the set in the light of police fears of a riot if the show were stopped. Limp Bizkit later pulled out of the touring festival, saying they had no confidence in its organisers. Other acts on the bill included Coldplay, PJ Harvey, At The Drive In and Queens of The Stone Age.

20,000 Celebrate 2001
Wednesday, 31 January 2001

Over 20,000 people celebrated the New Year in Nottingham’s market square. The centre of attention was the Nottingham Council House, an imposing town hall, which provided the canvas for a stunning lightshow by NJD. Images of Robin Hood (Nottingham’s millennium symbol) were projected onto the building using NJD’s Predator HX scanners, whilst eight Datamoons were positioned on columns down the centre of the town square, providing sound activated light beams whose movement and colour was synchronised to the music played through NJD’s 20,000W sound system.

ESS & Australia DayESS & Australia Day
Wednesday, 31 January 2001

For the third consecutive year ESS Australia was chosen by Accolade Events to provide structures for the Australian Day Celebrations on 26th January. The 30-minute performance was watched by an estimated audience of 240,000 people. This continues to build on ESS' success. Last year ESS Australia was appointed to provide staging for the opening and closing ceremonies at the Sydney Olympics and Paralympics. This year's Australia Day concept involved four 12m x 8m screens positioned on a barge in the centre of Darling Harbour. In addition, Accolade Events asked ESS to come up with a solution that enabled them to place the PA system on the outside of the structure, rather than hanging it from a central position. The versatility of the ESS Lite truss meant that ESS were able to provide a solution. After running an engineering check, the ESS team was able to bolt on some more LT tower truss so that the PA system could be attached to the outside.

Westsun to Open First US ‘Super-Hub’
Monday, 29 January 2001

Westsun International Inc. has announced the creation of Westsun’s first regional ‘super hub’ in Las Vegas, Nevada. When making the announcement on behalf of the company’s executive Board, Rob Davidson, CFO and acting CEO of Westsun, stated: "This is a natural step in our development strategy, one that will allow us to provide our customers with even greater access to our comprehensive equipment pool. It will also shorten lead times, thereby further improving our market-leading service to all of our clients." This new facility will operate under the Westsun Las Vegas banner. Dick Wright, vice-president of West Coast operations, will lead the operation. Anticipated to house in excess of $15 million worth of stock, the new expansion will be complete by May 1, 2001. During the transition, Dick Wright will work closely with Scott Jevons of Westsun Los Angeles. Scott Jevons will lead the Westsun Los Angeles sales team as sales manager, and ensure that it remains a key component of Westsun International’s sales and marketing efforts. Westsun remains committed to providing a high level of personalized service to its existing and new clients.

Protec At Dubai’s Media CityProtec At Dubai’s Media City
Friday, 26 January 2001

Dubai-based Production Technology LLC (Protec) recently staged a spectacular, integrated sound, light and pyrotechnics show to launch Dubai Media City to an invited audience of 2000 VIPs. Guests were granted stunning views of the production from a grass amphitheatre in front of the three state-of-the-art buildings, during which a 24m x 9m backdrop of the stage was lowered, opening up sightlines to the glass edifices which became the focus of the show. The buildings were then lit in yellow, red and blue, virtually creating a large scale replica of the Dubai Media City logo. The entire six minute sequence was choreographed to a specially-commissioned musical composition which flooded the site through a 50,000W sound installation, culminating in a vivid pyrotechnical display that boasted over 6500 effects. Over 1500 lights were installed inside the buildings to illuminate them and a further 180 intelligent luminaires were used to light the arena and surrounding landscaping, using over 260Km of cabling.

Le Maitre Fires Dome’s Record Pyro Show
Monday, 15 January 2001

On New Year’s Eve, the largest indoor special effects show ever staged in the UK was fired at the Millennium Dome, Greenwich. It took seven technicians seven full nights to wire and rig the pyrotechnics, manufactured by Le Maitre at their Peterborough factory, across the 400m span of the Dome. A total of eight firing stations were used to ignite the effects, some of which have never been seen before by the British public. The effects included airburst effects under the walkways which encircle the roof, while glitter, confetti and streamers dropped from the ceiling for the finale, engulfing the entire central arena of the Dome. The show was the culmination of Le Maitre’s involvement with the Dome, which started with the high-profile opening ceremony in front of Her Majesty the Queen, and continued with three pyro shows per day throughout 2000.

Smoke Factory’s Expo-tise
Sunday, 14 January 2001

Further to our report on the 2000 Hanover Expo in the last issue, we return as promised to the Smoke Factory’s extensive role in the Planet of Visions . . .

The vast Planet of Visions exhibit - the largest at the Expo - suffered a setback shortly after the Expo opened, when the original smoke effects contractor was removed from the project. In a major dilemma, someone at this point remembered that Hanover was home to a smoke effects specialist - The Smoke Factory.

The Smoke Factory’s Florian von Hofen told us: "This was probably the most complex smoke effects project ever undertaken - not the biggest, but the most complex. It is a vast exhibit, visited by 30,000 people each day. The budgets would not allow for permanent technical personnel, so everything had to be automated."

By the time The Smoke Factory was called in, the set had been built, and there was no opportunity to pre-plan for anything. "We had to live with every limitation that had already been built in to the exhibit," says von Hofen. What he and his team came up with was certainly complex: the system required 42 smoke machines covering the 16 separate scenes of the display, all of which are controlled via an Avenger Show Controller. The entire exhibit runs through a day/night loop lasting five minutes, at which point the loop returned to point zero - meaning all smoke had to have gone. In addition to this, Hall 9’s highly sophisticated ‘sniffing’ smoke alarm system had to be taken ito consideration. This analyses regular samples of the air in the hall, lo

Brit Row Take MTV Awards with Turbosound
Friday, 12 January 2001

Stockholm's Globe Arena played host to November's MTV Europe Music Awards, which aired live to over two billion viewers worldwide. To repeat the audio success achieved in the previous four years, Britannia Row Productions were once again approached to supply the sound reinforcement. Brit Row's Bob Lopez specified a complete Turbosound Flashlight rig, the characteristics of which perfectly complemented the complex environment.

The FOH system comprised 24 TFS-780H, flown eight wide and four deep as a stereo left and right configuration with TFL-760HMs and TFL-760 LMs as downfills. 24 TFS-780L low frequency cabinets provided the low end - due to the space restrictions of the televisation, the cabinets were arrayed within the flown system rather than being groundstacked. The delay system comprised a four wide hang left and right of eight TFS-780H, with four groundstacked TFS-780L per side. Infill at the front and below the stage was provided by six of the new Turbosound self-powered TQ-440SP cabinets and ten TFS-780Ls.

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


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