Showlight 2001 shall never be forgot - Tony Gottelier walks us through the highlights.
After having spent the weekend in Helensborough with friends, and undertaking several outdoor excursions immersed in Scottish mist, as opposed to Scotch mist which is something else entirely (and of which more later), it was quite a shock to wake up to unexpected and blazing heat for the first day of Showlight 2001. However, this weather was certainly appropriate as, in a very literal sense, the sun seemingly bathed this fourth quadrennial colloquium on entertainment lighting, in a golden glow throughout.
Huge credit has to go to the committee for the success that Showlight was once again. Some of the members of this panel will be mentioned in this article, some will not, if only because their roles were more behind the scenes, as it were, but all deserve fulsome praise for their contribution to a thoroughly rewarding and convivial event. None more so than long-suffering chairperson, and fellow L&SI columnist, John Watt. For, Watty’s affable charm and wit was a thread that ran throughout. By the end, he was no doubt wishing that he had been born with a different surname, so that an alternative career might have presented itself. But then, I suppose the obvious option of heating engineer isn’t quite as glamorous either, despite the fact that John’s skills in the hot air department are second to none.
The first surprise, on entering the Festival Theatre in Edinburgh, was to discover that the exhibition had been set out on the stage (if only someone had told me that
The Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU) has defeated the UK Government at the European Court of Justice over the UK’s implementation of the Working Time Directive. The UK’s Working Time Regulations 1998, which implements the Directive, entitles workers to a minimum of 20 days paid leave each year. But employees are not entitled to the leave until they have completed a qualifying period of 13 continuous weeks with the same employer. This means that many freelance and contract workers who work for less than 13 weeks have been denied a right to take paid leave.
BECTU launched a legal challenge to the UK legislation and on 26 June 2001 the European Court of Justice (ECJ) accepted the opinion of the Advocate General of the ECJ, which stated that national governments may not exclude groups of workers from the rights that the directive gives them. The judgment effectively extends the entitlement to paid leave to all workers from their first day of employment. Later the same day the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), which is responsible for the Working Time Regulations, announced an urgent consultation on regulations to amend those already in place and corresponding guidance. The amended Regulations will not mean that workers will be able to take four weeks paid leave from their first day of employment, but if the employment ends during the first 13 weeks they will be able to claim for leave which has been accrued but not taken during this period. The consultation will propose a system of accrual, providing one-twelfth of the ann
The United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) has announced that the deadline for submissions to its 2002 Architecture Awards Program will be 2 October 2001. Nominations will be accepted for projects located anywhere in the world, and new construction, renovations, retrofitting or reuse of structures will be considered. Now in its ninth year, the Architecture Awards program was established by the group’s Architecture Commission to bring public and professional recognition to architectural projects chosen for their design excellence and ability to resolve the challenges associated with performance spaces. To be eligible for consideration, project construction must have been completed after January 1st 1992. Among last year’s Award winners were the Severance Hall in Cleveland, Ohio; Theater and Congress Hall in Weimar, Germany; The Lowry Centre in Salford, UK; the LG Arts Centre Sangman Hall in Seoul, South Korea, and the Royal Court Theatre in London, UK.
Barco has announced a number of important appointments and investments to accelerate its growth in a number of target niche market areas. The appointments are aligned behind the five strategic Barco Projection Systems business units - Projection Products, Digital Cinema, Daylight Displays, Control Room Displays and Simulation.
Simon Turtle, an experienced Barco sales manager, has been promoted to business development manager of Barco Projection Products. He is joined by Colin Dunne as customer services manager. Dunne, formerly with Christie UK and Dynamic Logic has more than 25 years' experience in engineering and customer service. Mark Anderson has been appointed to the newly created position of market development manager for Barco's rapidly-expanding Home Theatre product group. Previously with Pioneer and Sony, he brings nearly 20 years of sales expertise to develop the dealer network. Mark Leahy joins as sales manager for Barco's acclaimed rental and staging product group. Leahy, formerly with Chrysalis Entertainment, brings more than 20 years' sales experience to provide an enhanced support to Barco's UK rental partners. Ashely Raines has been promoted to head up the corporate product group. He is joined by two new account managers, Simon Owen and Anthony Urion.
Mike Coleman, an experienced Barco sales manager, has been appointed business development manager of Digital Cinema to spearhead Barco's entry into the world of digital cinema. Ross Burling, another experienced Barco sales manager, has been promoted to the role of business development manager for Daylight D
In an agreement signed in Shen Zhen, China, last week, ADSworldwide will have access to the largest domestic loudspeaker market in the world. David Hopkins OBE, chairman and managing director of holding company Audio Design Services Ltd, has been working on this project for a number of years, being a frequent visitor to the Far East. The company has appointed 40 Chinese distributors throughout China and plans for that figure to be 400 within the next four years.
The joint venture sees the creation of Adsworldwide China, an occasion enhanced by the official opening of the company’s new building in Shen Zhen. Amongst the 70 people present there was a large cross-section of representatives from Chinese television and press, as well as the newly selected distributors. After the official signing ceremony, a celebration cocktail party and dinner was held at a nearby hotel in Shen Zhen. The new enterprise will see ADSworldwide’s commercial product ranges being marketed under the ADS label. In a speech at the opening ceremony, David Hopkins spoke of the need for a balanced relationship between Great Britain and China. "For too long," he said "China has been used as the Blacksmith’s shop of the world, often being exploited by some countries that benefited from the low labour rates. The cost of buying household named products from the West is out of the reach of the majority. In a balanced relationship, it is now going to be possible to address the needs of the family in China by producing high quality products at affordable prices." David Hopk
At the ABTT Show earlier this year, Technical Standards for Places of Entertainment - a document addressing the standards facing our industry - was launched.
We all know that local licensing authorities impose technical requirements to ensure the safety of the public, staff and performers in places of entertainment such as theatres, cinemas, discotheques, nightclubs and concert halls. An overhaul of these requirements has been long overdue, largely because the regulations were too specific - with the result that the detailed technical requirements were out of date. Another cause for concern was that the expertise and resources available to individual licensing authorities varied enormously, resulting in inconsistencies between them and varying standards of enforcement.
The new publication incorporates a number of features specifically intended to address these problems. It provides functional requirements supported by technical guidance, and incorporates Model Regulations which detail the standards that should apply to any premises used for entertainment. The Model Regulations will be sent to each Local Authority with a recommendation that they be adopted. This will help to ensure an appropriate and consistent national standard for all entertainment premises.
The publication also deals with the physical requirements for building (or converting,) equipping and maintaining any entertainment premises through a series of related discussions on subjects such as Site, Means of Escape, Building Services and Emergency Systems. The publication is expected to provide invaluable
Pan-european AV equipment rental company Heuvelman Ltd, has opened a London office. Using the latest equipment, Heuvelman supply a wide range of businesses including hotels, broadcasters, corporate clients, conference and event venues with technical equipment ranging from a single projector to full state-of-the-art installations. Voting systems, teleconferencing and IT rental are also supplied by the company.
Music with walls? Music without instruments? is the title of an international conference attended by 100 delegates and speakers from Europe and the US. The conference opens today at the De Montfort University (DMU) in Leicester and runs until Saturday.
"This is a high-level conference where we will be looking at the future of how music is composed and technological and music innovations," said Professor Andrew Hugill. He is one of the conference organisers, along with Professor Leigh Landy who heads the Music, Technology and Innovation Research Group at DMU. The conference will feature musical installations, listening posts, an internet station for interactive music-making, and musical performances at Phoenix Arts, Leicester. There will be four concerts and six installations throughout the conference, including ‘Time Drops’ by Akemi Ishijima - a continuously running soundscape. Highlights of the programme at Phoenix Arts include Barry Truax who is curating an eight-channel sound concert with channels being used to create a sense of motion around the room and Paul Rudy who performs with a cactus wired for sound which is projected around the auditorium. One of the issues explored at the conference will be the concept of composing music via the internet.
Bytecraft announced recently that whilst earlier this year it had injected much needed capital into UK company Caire Ltd, in order to protect staff and creditors of that company it was now putting Caire into liquidation. "Bytecraft feels that liquidation is the only responsible course of action," said general manager John Rowland in London. "Because of a long-standing relationship with the Caire parent company, and also because we had bid several projects with Caire Ltd, we felt we needed to help the company when it ran short of funds," Rowland added.
Earlier this year, Bytecraft has injected £60,000 into the troubled company and had, in fact, been implementing Stage 5 of its international strategy that called for a permanent presence in the UK. An investment position in Caire Ltd added value to the opening of a UK daughter company Bytecraft Europe with potential to deliver some inter-company business. "When analysing the sales opportunities and current order book, an investment in Caire Ltd appeared sound. We could never have anticipated the recent turn of events," Rowland said. "The largest creditor and debtor to Caire Ltd is Caire SA and the directors were unable to agree on a payment schedule. We therefore had no alternative than to take the onerous, but responsible, decision to close the company."
"Bytecraft Automation has been negotiating several contracts separately from Caire Ltd. These contracts are being put together by our UK staff, but are contracted and funded by Bytecraft HQ in Melbourne, Australia. These unfo
In true Vegas-style, Tomcat unveiled its new Las Vegas office in mid May. The grand opening of the new office in the Western region of the United States lasted the entire afternoon with over 40 representatives from surrounding companies and various media visiting the new facility. The new site will carry over 200 sections of standard truss products in stock at all times, as well as over 50 Columbus McKinnon Lodestar motors and various rigging accessories. The new office comes hot on the heels of the opening of Storm at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino where the Tomcat family of companies manufactured essential parts of the special effects. The new office is located in an industrial section of Las Vegas at 4020 Ali Baba Lane, Bldg D Suite A about two miles off the Southwest end of Las Vegas Boulevard. The office consists of two staff members, Sharon Ozzolek, sales assistant, and Brian Wise, hoist technician.
PLASA held its most successful AGM to date on Thursday 14 June in the stunning setting of Coombe Abbey, near Coventry. Just under 70 Members attended, including for the first time, a number of Associate Members.
During the AGM, both PLASA Chairman Mick Hannaford and Treasurer Sammy de Havilland reported a successful year for the Association, covering the range of initiatives that had been introduced in the past 12 months. In his keynote speech Chairman Mick Hannaford reflected on the changes taking place within the industry and the need for companies to equip themselves to cope with a rapidly changing world. He emphasized the role that PLASA had to play in this and also stressed the need for more training, an ambition that the Association has given a further boost to with the recent establishment of its training and education steering group. In a reference to the increasing concern about copyright infringement, he also told Members of the Association’s plans to introduce a low cost design registration scheme next year. Following the AGM, members were given a presentation on the future strategy of the Association by managing director Matthew Griffiths. He made reference to the recently completed Industry Research, commissioned by PLASA to give its members immediate facts and figures about the size and potential growth of the industry, which had suggested that the entertainment and venue technology industry was worth £10billion worldwide.
Following the AGM, Members decamped to a number of break-out sessions covering the PLASA Show, Standards and Member Services, wh
The PSA launched its latest initiative for those working within the Entertainment & Events industry. The aim of the Register - called Skill Base - is to provide all operatives with the opportunity to obtain recognition of their skills and qualifications, and to provide evidence to a contractor or employer of their ability to do a job competently and safely.
The creation of the Register is also intended to help counteract some of the problems facing the industry, such as declining employment, skills shortages, lack of training, poor health and safety records, and an unfavourable public image. The Register will set agreed industrial skill standards, based on qualifications and experience, which are being established in co-operation with trade associations and employers across Europe. This will further enhance the new International groups being established by the PSA in Ireland, Holland Germany, France and Switzerland with others to follow. The system will be web-based from the PSA site and is free to members for the first year and is also available to non members for £50pa inc VAT. Companies wishing to list their employees will have to become corporate members at a cost of £450pa + VAT. Once up and running, anyone will be able to check out an individual’s skills by searching on the website by either name, company or skill type. Future developments will include a full blown Continual Professional Development system which the PSA hope will become the international reference point for anyone employed in the industryThe launch date will be August 2001.
The Dickson CyberExpress is a 21st century retail concept, first launched in Hong Kong last autumn. The HK$380m investment by the Dickson Group of Companies has resulted in a 70,000sq.ft, high-tech development at Kowloon Station.
It’s a full-on interactive shopping environment, offering a wide selection of the best known brands in the universe. The ‘cybermall’ functions as a complementary intelligent retail centre to Dickson’s e-commerce venture, DicksonCyberExpress.com.
The idea was to create the ultimate consumer experience for cyber-chic shoppers. The team chosen to pull the project together included UK-based design and production company Media Projects International, retail designer JGA Inc from the US, Hong Kong architects Gensler, UK-based AV systems specialists Electrosonic and various LDs and directors.CyberExpress’s seven ‘zones’ include Entertainment World (CDs, DVDs, videos, books and magazines), E-World (computers, communications, AV and electronic equipment); Fashion World (clothes and accessories); Kiddy World (toys, sweets and learning games); iCosmetic World (cosmetics and health products) and Sports World (sports and fitness products). Two internet cafés - Exploration World and Cyber Sea - offer connected opportunities for shoppers to take a break.
Each zone has a dynamic mix of vibrant and innovative new media installations, interactive stations, virtual games, video programmes and information portals. Media Projects’ creative director, Malcolm Lewis, explains that although screen-delivered infotainmen
The Association of British Theatre Technicians (ABTT) has announced that it intends to appoint an Honorary Archivist. The archivist will be responsible for collating the association's own papers as well as the drawings, audio and video tapes, etc, which form the ABTT's historical collection. The post is honorary, although a budget is available to enable the work to be carried out. For further information please contact Howard Bird, Executive Director, ABTT, 47 Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 3XT.
This summer saw a free concert for 20,000 people staged in the busy heart of London. Mike Mann discovered that such a production has its logistical difficulties . . .
Before even thinking about the problems involved in bringing central London to a standstill, Star Hire’s Roger Barrett realised that the stage design for the Africa Day concert would have to be an unusual one: "We would normally have built a higher stage than this - but a major feature of the design was that the famous lions should be visible on stage." Two of the huge statues were incorporated into the stage, which was positioned just in front of Nelson’s Column, facing northwards towards the National Gallery. Flanked by the South African Embassy (who funded the entire event) and Canada House, the central area of Trafalgar Square itself also needed treatment. "One of the first things we realised was that the ornamental fountains obscure sightlines for a large part of the square," explained Barrett. "So we included 3,000sq.m of industrial flooring to raise the outer sections of the audience." This was the first rock‘n’roll outing for the Danco flooring system - a modular industrial system which has also seen service in Formula One pit areas.
The stage and audience flooring were delivered to Trafalgar Square by a total of 20 full-size trailers, each one bringing traffic to a complete standstill. In addition to this, a further three trucks for the security fencing, plus other deliveries for sound and lighting systems, meant that Londoners had to cope with
PLASA has completed the first phase of its major industry research project, which will provide PLASA members with an invaluable insight into their industry. As well as being able to estimate the global market size for professional lighting, sound, staging and AV products and services, the research also gives a very detailed picture of the market in the UK. For the first time, PLASA has information about the value of the product sectors, how fast they are growing and the size and growth of the various vertical sectors into which its members sell. The findings enable the Association to say some very precise things about its members collectively and the nature of the industry as a whole.
PLASA plans to repeat the exercise every 12 months, enabling it to build up ever-more accurate trend information. A quick flick through the 119-page report reveals that it estimates the respective size by revenue of PLASA’s four main product sectors: light, sound, AV and staging; gives growth figures for this year and next across the four product sectors; breaks the sectors down into sales and rental; includes information on revenue from the provision of services such as installation, design and servicing; sizes the target market sectors and indicates which are the healthiest and the fastest growing; includes information on average company size by staff, investment in training, R&D and marketing.
Members who took part in the survey will shortly receive a free 22-page copy of the overview, together with the opportunity to buy the detailed sections. Members who didn’t take part w
Recently arrived at industry specialist PR agency JGP, Noelle Lane brings a background in IT - with some media experience tucked away. With a keen interest in music and songwriting, Noelle will work as PR assistant alongside Jerry Gilbert. She says she is relishing the challenges ahead. "I’m really excited about entering an industry where my personal interests overlap those of business. I feel I’m finally embarking on a career worth getting out of bed for."
At the recent Showlight 2001 conference in Edinburgh, a new logo for the Light Relief benevolent fund was unveiled by Tony Gottelier and Rick Fisher.
Light Relief is the industry-sponsored fund, supported by PLASA and the ALD, to assist people in the industry when they are affected by catastrophic personal events. "The lot of the freelancer is not always a happy one, just look at the state of Rick!" joked Gottelier, pointing at ALD chairman and lighting designer, Rick Fisher. The duo were attending the Showlight reception, sponsored by Fourth Phase, on the serious matter of launching the newly-designed Light Relief logo and its attendant leaflet, and to raise the profile of the industry’s benevolent fund.
The pair appealed to the manufacturing and service companies to come forward with offers of help. "We need you to come up with creative initiatives to raise cash," Gottelier said. By the end of Showlight, something in the order of £20,000 had been added to Light Relief’s coffers, due to the generosity of those attending. In one particularly impressive stunt, Fred Foster, President of ETC, agreed to wear a kilt the following day, provided £2,000 could be raised for the cause. The money was duly promised and consequently Fred attended the conference resplendent in highland regalia. Not only that, but Foster also attended the tour of his competitor, Strand Lighting’s, factory in the tartan. "This is just the kind of stunt we are asking people to come up with to raise Light Relief’s profile and to enhance the value of the
Luciano Pavarotti recently returned to his home town of Modena, to host the annual open-air Pavarotti & Friends charity concert, with funds this year going to alleviate the plight of Afghan children.
The event was held, as always, in front of a packed crowd and transmitted live by Italian state broadcaster RAI’s channel 1. Daniele Tramontani is in charge of sound for the star-studded show. "Initially, it seemed a live recording wasn’t going to be done, but the organizers decided to put together a well appointed studio in a container backstage, so as well as supervising the FOH system, I was also responsible for the realization of the recording and broadcast mixing set-up - in short, everything apart from monitors!"
Sound engineer Stefano De Maio mixed FOH, with a 72-channel Cadac M-type master desk, a Midas XL3 for the orchestra, and a Heritage 1000 for guest musicians. The audio contractor for the event was Agorà of L’Aquila, and FOH comprised 16 + 16 V-Dosc plus 16 + 16 Meyer Sound 650 subs, plus three delay towers and UPA/MSL4 systems on front-fill - Tramontani once again swore by his trusty SIM II,, which is "indispensable for setting the rig’s components." Monitor engineer Stefano Martinovic helmed two DDA QII, two Innovason Sentury and an A&H 5000 to mix the orchestra’s bug mikes.
Backstage, Mackie’s Sandro Chinellato watched over nine of the firm’s HDR 24/96 hard disk recording units, brought in to immortalize this unique event, at which ‘friends’ duetting with Pavarotti included Deep Pu
I hadn’t been to Showtech before, but I understand from those that have, that the Show started out life like ABTT - lots of standard shell-scheme type stands, set out like so many rows of beach huts in a Victorian seaside resort on the South coast of England - as befits an environment apparently conducive to our brethren from the theatre set.
Now, however, the Berlin show is more like an ABTT on growth hormones! Five big halls, segregated more or less by type of product, and large, designed stands that better reflect the egos of the firms concerned than the little market stalls of old. Yet the traffic, in terms of numbers at least, seemed to be dwarfed by the scale of the venture. That’s not to say that the visitors were not of a very high calibre, as was certainly the case. This was more like shopping at Harrods, wide aisles, no crush and exclusive clientele. So the parallels with ABTT are justified, except that Showtech would have filled Earls Court all on its own.But that’s where the parallels end, for it was evident that there was none of the marshalling that so dogs exhibitors at Earls Court and, despite the growth, the get-in seemed remarkably relaxed with none of the usual hassle. Mind you, the Messe Berlin is an enormous complex and could swallow this show and several others, plus all their trucks without pausing for breath. When looking for an e-mail source, I had to walk about two kilometres to a service office (only to be told to go back to where I started)!
As a lighting person, I’m not one for taking much interest in stage machinery,
Performance Exhibitions Ltd has announced the launch of Performance 2001 - an exhibition including conferences, seminars and workshops aimed at the live performance industry. To be staged at the Newcastle Telewest Arena on 17-18 November 2001, the exhibition will bring together manufacturers, venues, producers and promoters, plus a complete range of associated services. Colin Rowell, director of ShowBlokes, whose vast portfolio includes production stage manager of The Tube, stage director for the MTV Awards and stage manager for the Brit Awards, recently returned to the North East, and is involved in live events in the area. He says: "I feel that this exhibition will offer companies a platform for exhibiting to a large audience. It will put the North East on the exhibition circuit where it belongs for this important segment of the industry." Over 1500sq.m of exhibition space will house exhibitors displaying the latest in lighting and sound equipment, staging, studio technology, special effects, transport, catering and support services.
PLASA has completed the first phase of its major industry research project.
The research will provide PLASA Members with an invaluable insight into their industry. As well as being able to estimate the global market size for professional lighting, sound, staging and AV products and services, the research also gives a very detailed picture of the market in the UK. For the first time, PLASA has information about the value of the product sectors, how fast they are growing and the size and growth of the various vertical sectors into which its members sell.
Was the research really necessary? Matthew Griffiths, MD of PLASA believes so: "We have over 400 members, but until now, we haven’t been able to say very much about the nature of the industry that we represent." With members’ interests straddling four key product sectors - lighting, sound, AV and staging - and selling to an even wider range of market sectors, the lack of a single source of information can be no great surprise. Griffiths continues: "Building an accurate picture of the market for professional entertainment technology products and services through existing research was virtually impossible. We had to commission our own."
The findings certainly enable the Association to say some very precise things about its members collectively and the nature of the industry as a whole.
The main uses for the research are:
- to talk to Government bodies convincingly about the industry; particularly with the DTI and Trade Partners looking to identify the support that can be expected bot
The Production Services Association has made two announcements: the first is that John Jones of PCM has filled the remaining seat on the 2001 PSA Council. John is a long-time supporter of the PSA and through his company PCM has donated £10,000 to the PSA Welfare & Benevolent Fund since the Fund’s inception. PCM has also gained a reputation for being among the industry’s leaders in promoting training, with the PCM Motor Schools now well established. In a separate announcement, Keith Owen will now oversee the PSA’s new series of BTEC courses. The courses, which commence in June in Birmingham with the Production Technician Intermediate BTEC, will be expanded during the year to cover other disciplines. Owen spent 20 years at Light & Sound Design before spending 18 months at Loughborough College as the PSA’s representative for training. He is working for two days a week at BMS in Birmingham in order to kick-off the new range of PSA Entertainment and Events Industry BTEC qualifications.
Le Maitre, the name behind a respected range of pyrotechnics, smoke generators and theatre effects for the entertainment industry, has recently restructured.
The Peterborough-based company, with offices in Mitcham and both Canada and the USA, has taken steps not only to remove some previously held misconceptions, but also to expoit its growing presence in a range of new markets.
The most immediate change is the removal of the word ‘fireworks’ from the company name; from now on it will face the industry simply as Le Maitre Ltd. In the UK, Rick Wilson will continue as sales director, working in the company’s more traditional markets, whilst director Karen Haddon will concentrate on the contracts side of the business, developing Le Maitre’s presence in the touring and production markets. Display manager Richard Huffam will service clients on the contracts side, whilst Steve Ramos becomes UK sales manager and Sam Samkin will look for new clients on the events and displays side.
The changes are designed to stimulate further business for the company - a move that has already been given some impetus by the success of the Prostage II pyrotechnic system. Its launch has gained it a higher profile in the burgeoning theme park and leisure markets, particularly in growth regions such as South America and the Far East. These trends have been complemented by steady growth in other sectors.
To facilitate further expansion, the company has recently acquired the unit adjoining its head office in Peterborough - in so doing doubling its current space at the site