In a drive to match its highly-rated North African cuisine with high quality audio, fashionable restaurant Momo, in London's West End, has carried out a major upgrade to the audio system across both its two floors. Proprietor Mourad Mazouz, enlisted the Sound Division Group to replace the entire system. As a result, a pair of BSS Soundweb 9088 Mk2 devices offers routing and processing capabilities throughout the premises. The Kemia bar downstairs plays host to many up-and-coming bands as well as featuring DJs playing a very wide variety of musical styles. The front end mixing is taken care of by an Allen & Heath Xone 464 with the two Soundwebs’ processing power being used as a combined resource, the bulk of it assigned to running the upstairs dining area (used mainly as a background system although instantly reconfigurable as a foreground system for private parties).
A magnificent exhibition of Treasures of Catherine the Great has been staged to inaugurate the new Hermitage Rooms at Somerset House. The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg has loaned more than 500 works of art and paintings, which will be on view to the public until 23rd September 2001.
The décor of the Hermitage Rooms recreates, in miniature, the imperial splendour of the Winter Palace and its various wings which now make up The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. This imperial shell will provide the backdrop for rotating exhibitions from the collections of the Museum in St. Petersburg and other Hermitage-related activities, providing London with a window on Russian art and history.
Although the Hermitage Rooms at Somerset House have been designed to be a palatial backdrop for important works of art, they also feature the latest in high technology display. The technology is discreet: it is used to enhance the visit in a subtle way and most visitors will be unaware that the latest web technology, high definition video, video conferencing technology, flat screen displays, MPEG compression and MP3 audio are all being used.
Electrosonic was appointed to design and build the audio-visual system for the Hermitage Rooms, and the aim throughout was to ensure that the hardware system was completely unobtrusive. The audio visual elements include a film of the interior of the Hermitage, produced by Mosaic Films and presented through a high definition video projection system. There is also a live image of the exterior of the Hermitage, presented on a 40 inch pla
If proof were needed that entertainment technology crosses all boundaries, then here it comes in the story of the newly constructed Potter’s House worship centre, home to one of the fastest-growing churches in the United States.
This 26,000 member nondenominational church in Dallas, Texas, led by Pentecostalist minister, author and entrepreneur T.D. Jakes, set out to build the country’s most technologically innovative church facility yet. $32 million later they have created a 300ft by 300ft, 8,200 seat venue, dubbed a ‘Smart Church’.
Power and data terminals installed at 200 seats allow attendees to download sermon notes and power point presentations onto laptop computers. Altar attendants are equipped with handheld PDAs to allow immediate input of new member data and ‘prayer needs’. An associated language translation centre features translation rooms with the capacity to simultaneously input and output up to six language translations.
Dallas-based consultants Acoustic Dimensions designed state-of-the-art sound, lighting and MATV systems. They worked with PRG company SPL on the installation of the audio and video systems, the centrepiece of which is a sound reinforcement system similar to the one recently installed at the Tennessee Titans football stadium in Nashville.
With a footprint on the main floor the size of two football fields, no one on the design team wanted the space to feel like a sports arena. A number of acoustic and audio strategies were utilised to make the 8,000+ seat venue feel like a smaller church. Not only di
TOA France has installed a new sound system in the Stade de la Meinau, a 30,000 capacity soccer stadium in Strasbourg, and the home ground of FC Strasbourg. The new system not only provides general public address announcements, but also emergency warning broadcasts, interlocked with the fire alarm system. To meet European technical criteria for voice evacuation systems, the SX-1000M Smart Matrix Unit was selected as the nucleus for the system, and features emergency audio signal channels as well as speaker line failure detection circuitry. A total of 56 ES-0871 general use speakers and 20 F-160 Fashion speakers are sited both inside and outside the stadium, driven by 18 2kW power amplifiers. This project was realised with the co-operation of Spie Trindel and CGV France.
PLASA, the VPLT (PLASA’s sister association in Germany) and Trade Partners UK (British Government) have been working together to present three seminars at the Pro Light & Sound Show at the Frankfurt Musikmesse next week with simultaneous German/English translation. The first, on Wednesday 7th March at 12.30pm, covers ‘Cruise Ships and Events Technology‘ with Peter Ed of ETC Europe, Martin Lilly (Airtours/Sun Cruises), and Davey Smalley of BSS Audio. The seminar looks at event technology on cruise ships, revealing what requirements there are and which products and solutions are needed for these less than straightforward environments. The second seminar, on Thursday 8th March at 12.30pm, is entitled ‘German - English Trade’. Paul Robinson from the British Embassy in Berlin and Michael Schneider of Lightronic discuss the difference between the British and the German way of thinking and its marketing. It considers the differences in supply and demand and reviews the development of trade relations between both countries with regards to event technology? ‘Working on DMX, fog, rigging and others - the international standards situation.’Is the final seminar on Friday 9th March, again at 12.30pm.The standards officers of PLASA and the VPLT, Tim Cox and Eckart Steffens, discuss the importance of technical standards and review the various projects underway worldwide.For further details visit the VPLT/PLASA stand - A01 - at the show.
With 18,000sq.ft of floor space, the new Manchester United Megastore is currently the largest Football Club merchandise store in the world and sells over 2,000 branded product lines including replica kits, sportswear, magazines, videos, books and other memorabilia. Situated within the new East Stand development of Old Trafford, the Megastore uses Tannoy speakers throughout to provide both background music and audio to accompany video screen presentations. Installed by Preston based ADI, six Tannoy i5 AW ICT speakers flank the entrance ramp and provide an effective audio introduction to the store. In addition, two Tannoy i8 Dual Concentric speakers complement a large rear projection video screen located at the rear of the store.Tannoy CMS 65 ICT ceiling monitor systems are also used throughout the store for background music, particularly in the café and MUFC Sport areas. The Tannoy speakers are fed through Biamp SPM522AMX PC based mixers and powered by three R300 and a single PA9 InterM amplifiers.
PRG company Fourth Phase supplied equipment, design engineering, project management and installation supervision for the entertainment lighting system in the newly constructed Potter’s House worship center, home of one of the fastest growing churches in the United States. This 26,000 member nondenominational church in Dallas, TX, led by Pentecostalist minister, author and entrepreneur T.D. Jakes, set out to build the country’s most technologically innovative church facility yet, dubbed a ‘Smart Church’. The new $32 million, 300 feet x 300 feet, 8,200 seat sanctuary creates a footprint larger than two football fields. Power and data terminals installed at 200 seats allow attendees to download sermon notes and power point presentations onto laptop computers. Altar attendants are equipped with handheld PDAs to allow immediate input of new member data and ‘prayer needs’. An associated language translation center features translation rooms with the capacity to simultaneously input and output up to six language translations. Dallas-based consultants Acoustic Dimensions designed state-of-the-art sound, lighting and MATV systems, whilst PRG company SPL installed the audio and video systems. The $600,000 entertainment lighting package is based around ETC Sensor and Unison dimming, an Expression 3 control console and a range of ETC, Altman, DeSisti and Lycian lighting fixtures.
NXT flat panel loudspeakers were recently specified as part of the new speech reinforcement system installed in Eton College Chapel by Cambridge Architectural Research Ltd (CAR), in conjunction with Mission. Using panels from Mission's award-winning FS2-AV Home Theatre system, Tim Lewers, chief acoustician of CAR, worked with other suppliers to install a computer-controlled sound reinforcement system using Peavey Media Matrix software, complete with touch screen display controls. The Mission FS2 satellites are located along the pews and mounted into bronze housings to match the lights and music stands and maintain the existing decor. They are placed in a spaced array of five panels down either side of the chapel to provide complete coverage of all seated areas. Further panels are wall mounted in the ante-chapel and chancel. Each NXT satellite is driven by its own amplifier and time-aligned for distance to the selected microphone, of which there are ten, located throughout the chapel. Thus the direct sound of voices arrives at the listener at the same time as the sound from the Mission FS2 speakers.
A cutting-edge club sound and lighting system have been detailed and installed by Marquee Audio into the new 2,300-capacity concert and dance venue, The Academy, in Birmingham. Opened in Dale End by the McKenzie Group - owners of the Brixton Academy and Shepherds Bush Empire - some £600,000 has been spent on converting the former Rank-owned Hummingbird, which had been closed for six years before being sold to the London-based entertainment company, into a premier mid-sized concert venues. The brief was to deliver a quality club system into both the major auditorium and 400-capacity auxiliary room. As a result, Marquee spec’d a computer-controlled Turbosound sound system, driven by a combination of 15 MC2 MC-1259 and three MC-750 amplifiers, and digitally distributed through a pair of BSS 9088LL audio matrix devices, with a Soundweb 9010 ‘Jellyfish’ remote providing local access.
As for lighting, Marquee supplied eight Optikinetics Solar 250 projectors, four Deathstar strobes, four Martin MAC 500, eight Martin Destroyer X250 multi-rotating beam effects, 12 Martin PRO 918s and two MAC 250s on the rig - working with a four-head Martin Techno Haze smoke machine - all run from an Avolites Azure 2000 desk. In the secondary room a further four Opti Solar 250s, eight Martin Destroyer X250s and four Martin MX4 intelligent light projectors form the rig, controlled from from a Light Processor QCommander.
TiLE will be the official European Show of The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). TiLE is aimed at those who have an interest in the future of location-based leisure attractions, whilst TEA is an international alliance of the world's most talented and experienced professionals in the themed attractions industry. The decision coincides perfectly with the 10th anniversaries of both TiLE and TEA and recognises the close relationship that has built up between the two; the European Chapter of TEA (now TEA Europe) was launched at TiLE 1998 in Strasbourg, France, and has become one of the fastest growing chapters of TEA.
Following an 18-month market research and development project, Sarner International Ltd, a leading audio-visual design and installation specialist, has re-launched itself with a new management line-up which includes the promotion of experienced divisional managers to its board and the introduction of a new corporate identity. The company’s Ross Magri, Michael Bennett, Ian Revens and David Dempsey have joined the Sarner Board. David Dempsey, Sarner's sales and marketing director told PLASA Media: "We reached the conclusion that we needed to re-evaluate the direction of our work and our expectations for the future." As a result, the company has decided to concentrate its efforts on three main markets: the integrated presentation systems market, the corporate production and events market and the design and build of themed visitor attractions and experiences market.
Elissa Getto has joined Theatre Projects Consultants as senior theatre consultant in the Norwalk, Connecticut office. She will be a principal member of the team conducting performing arts feasibility studies and advising on a wide range of administration issues. Currently she is working on major studies for the Lincoln Centers in both New York and Dallas. Prior to joining TPC, Getto served as CEO and President of the Westport Country Playhouse, Connecticut and was also president of the Cincinnati Arts Association and an executive director of PACT Inc.
International Leisure Industry Week (LIW - 2-4 October 2001, NEC, Birmingham) has appointed Neil Felton as show director. Felton, previously manager for fitness, health and sport at LIW, is now responsible for overseeing the entire exhibition, as well as dealing with the show’s sponsorships and liaising closely with trade associations.
The year 2000 saw Renaissance Cruise Lines add three new ships to its fleet, the R5, R6 and R7. Already distinguished by having the youngest fleet in the industry, Renaissance Cruise Lines will soon be amongst the five largest cruise lines in the world, with the addition of the R8, which will be named in a ceremony on 18 February. Built at the Chantiers de L’Atlantique yard, Saint-Nazaire, France, the R-class ships are almost identical in design, and the Saint-Nazaire division of HMS France has supplied and installed the entertainment systems, TV distribution and the broadcast and editing systems on all of them. For the entertainment areas of the R5, R6, R7 and R8, HMS installed an ETC Sensor delta dimming system plus 48 Source Four PARs and 32 Source Four ellispoidals at the specification of its Miami-based division Harbour Marine Systems.
On February 1st AEI Music held a launch party for ProFusion, featuring renowned Ibiza and Ministry of Sound DJ Brandon Block. Hosted at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts, the launch was attended by many of the UK’s leading retail and leisure operators. Attendees were treated to a champagne reception and demonstrations of the software that supports ProFusion, blending all the benefits of Hard Disc storage with the know-how of experienced professional music programmers. Capable of running 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, the system is able to store 400 hours of digital music or eight hours of video. Up to four separate zones from a single unit give businesses the opportunity to segment their sites into specific areas. Pre Launch trials have proved a great success, with operators including Whitbread, AMF Bowl and Scottish and Newcastle signing up for further installations.
MAVCO has been awarded the contract to install the audio equipment for all public areas on Carnival Cruise Lines' Carnival Spirit. The 960-foot, 84,000-tonnes Carnival Spirit is destined to go into service from Miami in the spring of 2001. Onboard, MAVCO is involved with designing and installing audio systems in a total of 23 venues, headed by onsite project manager, Nick Gibson. Work on the project started in Turku last October, where he and his team built 56 racks within six weeks, which are now being installed on Carnival Spirit in Helsinki. In the main theatre, MAVCO is installing two LCS LD88 audio processors to provide room surround effects, and 90 EAW loudspeakers, together with 60 Renkus Heinz and Macpherson loudspeakers. Processing will be via a Peavey Mediamatrix digital sound processor, and 54 Crest CKS amplifiers will be controlled by Crest's NexSys computer control system. The theatre will also have a Midas XL4 fully automated audio mixer together with a Midas XL3 side wing mixer.
A couple of new developments on the performing arts front. Ballast Construction has won a £14m contract to build the Laban Centre in Deptford, including 13 dance studios and a 300-seat theatre, whilst Newcastle City Council is currently reviewing plans with Newcastle University to develop a £60m arts and heritage complex at the Playhouse theatre site at Barras Bridge. Leisure development continues apace: Government approval has been given for a £30m leisure development at Gloucester Docks which will include a multiplex cinema, restaurants and retail units. Associated British Ports, meanwhile, has submitted plans for a new leisure and retail development at Alexandra Dock in Grimsby, including shops, a restaurant, pub and possibly a hotel. Isle of Wight Council is considering plans from Godshill Park Developments for the creation of a 60-bedroom hotel and conference centre in Wootton and finally Leicester City has won approval to build a £35m 32,000-seat football stadium at Freeman's Wharf.
Park Avenue has been awarded a multi-million dollar contract to design and build new exhibits for General Motors’ successful Test Track attraction at Epcot in Orlando, Florida. Guests board the Cyber Seats and are taken on a virtual journey, which uses state-of-the-art stereoscopic displays, 3D sound and seats that rotate and vibrate to enhance the experience. This project will be the second ride based around an animated film that Park Avenue has designed, produced and installed at Disney. In July 1998, Park Avenue created the ‘Sparky’ ride film and 18 Cyber Seats as part of the new Innoventions Pavilion within Tomorrowland at DisneyLand in Anaheim.
In a launch event spanning three days, Imagination has opened the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, a brand experience on which the company has been working since 1997. The Guinness Storehouse, which replaces the Hopstore, the brewery’s existing visitor attraction, is set to become one of Ireland’s biggest draws, with a million Irish and overseas visitors anticipated annually.
The six-storey Guinness Storehouse sits at the heart of the St James’ Gate brewery complex. Originally built in 1904, the former fermentation plant was the first steel-framed building in Ireland. Imagination has converted the 170,000 sq.ft building into a state-of-the-art visitor attraction featuring an immersive Guinness Experience as well as three bars and a retail store. The Irish business community, as well as Guinness’ own staff, are able to use the Guinness Storehouse’s extensive facilities for corporate training and events, while the building’s purpose-built gallery and exhibition area will host an eclectic mix of one-off artistic, musical and cultural events designed to attract a local as well as an international audience. The building is also home to the Guinness Archive, which contains 250 years of brewing and social history.
The emphasis on attracting local visitors as well as the tourist market was a key element of Imagination’s vision for the Guinness Storehouse. The company collaborated with Dublin-based architectural practice Robinson Keefe Devane in the conversion of the building, whose most distinctive feature is its 102ft high atrium, in the
On 1st February 2001, PLASA went online with its brand new website at www.plasa.org. 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
Avanti Television, one of the largest-growing independent production companies in Wales, has recently launched an all-digital facility - The Pop Factory.
The new operation, located in Porth near Cardiff, is sited in the former Corona Pop Works and will become home to a weekly live music programme that will be seen on the digital platform BBC Choice Wales. It also houses A3 Records and a brand new 48 track recording studio and rehearsal complex, complete with on-line and off-line editing facilities, called The Welsh Hills Works.
The multi-purpose broadcast centre is, according to Avanti’s founder and MD Emyr Afan, the most important development in Welsh broadcasting this decade. "There is a new confidence in Wales. More and more high-tech companies are locating here. With The Pop Factory, we are proud to be bringing London-quality facilities to South Wales and creating a focus for media businesses in the region."
The centrepiece of the audio system is the new Sony DMX-R100 which was chosen to fulfil a busy and varied schedule in the Pop Factory’s hectic programme, which includes the production of a music magazine series for BBC2 as well as ‘Sesiwn Hwyr’ (the ‘Late Session’) - a live welsh-language programme for S4C. Programming was already underway when the building was officially opened by Welsh music icons Tom Jones, Cerys Matthews and Kelly Jones of the Stereophonics in the latter part of last year. "In fact, the moment the console power was switched on, we were editing on it!" recalled Owen Thomas, head of sou
The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) saw the five year Centenary Project of redevelopment and refurbishment come to fruition at the end of last year when the new facility was opened by HM The Queen alongside a host of celebrity guests, politicians and past students. Andy Wood talks to head of sound Colin Brown.
The scheme for the re-development of RADA - one of the premier training establishments for theatre arts and technology - was made possible thanks to a £22.7m grant from the Arts Council Lottery Board, along with £8m of self-generated capital donations. RADA includes a new Jerwood Vanbrugh Theatre, George Bernard Shaw (GBS) Theatre, John Gielgud Studio Theatre, a recording studio and three control rooms, all of which are linked by a state-of-the-art sound, video and communications systems which allow complete synergy between the performance spaces.
Education is naturally the major emphasis, however, RADA also doubles up as a public performance venue with 16 full productions a year and as such its infrastructure needs to be flexible. For Colin Brown, head of sound and a RADA technical staff member since 1974, the new work involved co-ordinating with the BBC, Theatre Projects, the Oxford Sound Company, builders Laing and project managers Buro Four Project Services, to create work spaces that would allow both practical production and instruction in the same area. The same criteria applied to head of lighting Neil Fraser. The new Jerwood Vanbrugh theatre therefore is the first space in London to use a high-tension steel wire grid, which both lighting and sound
A disused soap factory formerly owned by Kone Ab lies in the heart of the old city of Helsinki. Not unattractive, the factory building, though squat and angular, is made from softly textured sandstone. It is barely a hundred years old, yet has just recently undergone extensive renovation.
The reason? It’s been taken over as the new home for the State Theatre School. A major project, the fifth floor of the North Wing is home to 11 large dance studios, while downstairs, surrounding two sides of a roofed courtyard, are five separate, though admittedly small, theatres. Other facilities include lecture halls, a gym, make-up room - just about every possible theatrical discipline is catered for - as well as admin functions being contained within the factory’s ample interior. The funding is all from the government, as is the full digital TV studio just installed at the Helsinki University of Technology.
Although these facilities are decidedly state-of-the-art, they don’t appear profligate; the equipment is there, but not in excessive quantities. On the day of my visit, 300 new students were enrolling at the State Theatre School. These will swell the ranks of an existing 600 second and third year students who were previously trained at various locations around the city and further afield. The department of Lighting and Sound Design, for example, was housed at Tampere, 200km away.
For that reason alone, this new central unitary facility will save the school immense amounts of money. And what do the students have to contribute towards all this? "Just 400 F
The planned auction of the Dome’s contents may possibly die before it even gets going if Legacy plc’s bid for the site is not concluded on 14 February as intended. It appears that the Government and Legacy cannot agree terms, and, as a result, the New Millennium Experience Company has reviewed plans to postpone indefinitely the £10m auction, which is scheduled to start at the end of February. We understand that they may, however, proceed with the sale of some of the site’s assets. If the Legacy bid does fall through, it will mean that other potential bidders, including the Dome's chief executive, Pierre-Yves Gerbeau, who has struck an alliance with James Palumbo, property firm Pilton Group and the pop impresario Harvey Goldsmith, may have their wish to keep the venue entertainment-based rather than the business park proposal that was at the heart of the Legacy plan.