BBC Training & Development has opened a new training studio in central London. Greg Dyke, deputy director-general and BBC director-general designate formally opened the studio on December 14, which will be used for training BBC staff and other broadcast professionals. The studio's facilities include a Calrec C3 audio mixer, Denon Minidisk, Sony DAT and Sony CD systems and an ADB lighting system.
Earls Court Olympia, the venue for the annual PLASA Show, is currently part-way through a £60 million six year improvement programme. Phase One sees several improvements come on line including the upgrade of the main escalators. Phase Two will address the general upgrade and refurbishment of facilities throughout the venue, including the refurbishment of several catering areas in Earls Court 1 and a new business centre. Part of this phase will also see the completion of the painting and 'column cladding' programme on the ground floor of Earls Court 1. The Warwick Road and West Brompton entrances to Earls Court 1 are on-line for upgrading during 2000. In addition to all the work going on within the Exhibition Centre, the West Brompton/Earls Court rail-link is now fully operational, enhancing the travel routes direct to this important central London venue.
SSE Hire has just completed a benchmark Nexo Alpha E installation into a large, purpose-built club/live venue in Birmingham. The company, better known for its work in the live touring market, was approached to provide the system for the recently-enlarged Garryowen, which now includes a 2000 capacity main room with an additional lounge, VIP area and a restaurant. SSE's Chris Beale was asked by club owner Brendan Joyce to "Design a system that will rock my socks off!" To do this, Beale used seven pairs of Alpha E system, each pair comprising an Alpha E-M mid-high and an Alpha B1-18 bass cabinet, powered by Crown MA3600VZ amplifiers. The main stage area is covered by two pairs per side, while for club nights there is a further pair left and right at the rear of the hall. A long bar area adjacent to the main room is covered by another pair. With the exception of the bar area, and the subs which fit neatly under the stage, the entire system is flown.
The Cavern in Exeter has installed a new sound system. The venue turned to Bristol-based Audioforum for the audio solution, requesting a system that would be flexible enough to meet the varying styles of the venue's artists and DJs. David Leigh of Audioforum selected the package which comprised Opus cabinets with a combination of Opus HD and C-Audio amplification - all run under a BSS control system.
Two major colleges in the Midlands have undergone technical refits, purchasing substantial Martin Audio Wavefront systems - and the first commercial Blackline system - from LMC Audio in Birmingham. New College, Nottingham - now the largest College in Europe - has a pair of compact trapezoidal WT2s in the theatre space and four Wavefront W3s and a pair of W8S subs for the live performance space (two W3s and a sub each side of stage).At the suggestion of LMC's Andrew McGregor, Wolverhapmton College opted for Martin's new Blackline series when its budget wouldn't stretch to a Wavefront system. A pair each of F15 full-frequency portable compact enclosures and S18s (18" sub) now form a teaching rig in the college's performance space.
The latest of Carnegie Leisure's Babylon nightclubs, in Ayr, has been installed with Geni lighting. Glasgow-based Starstruck Professional Sound & Light undertook the installation, and contacted Lamba, exclusive UK distributors of Geni products, for the lighting effects they needed. The equipment includes eight Geni Shiva HSD-200 scanners, four Geni FL2000D DMX strobes, 44 ignitor tubes and four DMX-1s. Other equipment supplied by Lamba includes a KAM KCD960 for CD mixing and Stanton 680AL cartridges.
The SuperStructure from the Pure Group is a new mobile venue, designed to the highest construction standards and developed by the Group to provide another link in the chain of the Total Production Solution offered by the Company. The SuperStructure measures 65 metres long by 14 metres wide and features 14 styled arches, each with a uniformly distributed weight loading of two tonnes - more equivalent to a permanent venue specification. There is 8.5 metres of headroom at the top of the arches which have 4.8 metre centres - again far more than you'd normally expect in a tented structure. The Group turned to the engineering and design skills of James Thomas Engineering to construct the arched roof framework for the new venue. The result is the first such arched outdoor roofing system that Thomas has built.
Laser Grafix recently spiced up the official opening of the 400-seater Shere Khan restaurant at the Trafford Centre in Manchester with their Monumental Slide Projection service. The ceiling of the Orient complex of the Trafford Centre had the new Shere Khan corporate image projected on it, along with images of poppadoms and curries.
Paul Kinsey, deputy director of operations at First Leisure has led a management buy-out of the Group's nightclub and bars division. The £210.5million asking price was reached with a little help from investment company Candover, also recently involved in the acquisition of Earls Court Exhibition Centre. The division includes just over 60 clubs and themed venues.
FX rentals recently helped producer Tristin Norwell (producer of Talvin Singh's Mercury Award-winning album 'OK') when he wanted to convert a Gloucestershire manor house into an impromptu recording facility. The company provided a rental package based around a Studer A827 analogue two-inch 24-track tape machine running with Dolby A, 32-channel and 24-channel Mackie mixing desks, Munro MA1 monitors and an extensive range of mixing equipment. The facility was used for the recording of Embrace's new album.
Stagetec has just completed the supply and installation of a complete new sound and lighting system for Sir Thomas Picton School, Haverfordwest. The sound system is to be used for everything from school assemblies to rock concerts and consists of two pairs of Martin Audio EM186 speakers for the main seating area and a pair of Martin Audio EM76 speakers for the balcony. Foldback was provided by a pair of Renkus-Heinz Qube 12s whilst the sound system is processed utilising a BSS Soundweb enabling the system to be fully commissioned and then left to run with no user controls. A complete new lighting installation was carried out including new lighting bars, socket outlet boxes and a cord patch unit incorporating six Light Processor Paradime dimmer packs controlled from a Compulite Photon lighting desk with riggers control. The existing luminaire stock was refurbished and additional units were supplied consisting of Selecon Pacific profile spots, CCT Freedom fresnels and ADB floods.
Busch Creative Services designed and produced the main exhibit displays at the 50,000sq.ft Spirit of Ford Tour Center, which opened in Dearborn, Missouri, earlier this year. One of the requirements was to create a large-scale animated display for the centre atrium of the building, which would be effective in high ambient light. The company opted for a 53ft by 8ft Electrosonic videowall, fed by DVD players, and consisting of 80 40-inch projection cubes. The Electrosonic videowall was chosen for its bright output and flexible programming options.
The rapidly-expanding Fiddlers Pub Company has recently installed Xtra Music satellite systems into six of its premises in North London. Fiddlers' John Tann said: "We are a very cosmopolitan chain, and the music we play in our venues needs to match that feel. Having 80 channels of uninterrupted digital music allows us to change the mood of our outlets quickly and seamlessly, and offers incredible value for money when compared to alternative systems."Xtra Music's system provides 80 channels of continuous CD quality stereo music, with the benefits of no commercials, no DJs, no interruptions, no moving parts and no playback media.
C Audio amplification has been installed at Fantasy Island, Europe's biggest indoor amusement park, situated in Ingoldmells near Skegness. The units are used to power the loudspeaker system within the live entertainment area from late afternoon and throughout the evening. The need for powerful sound reinforcement is clear, as the stage itself is housed within the huge glass pyramid structure of the park, together with the background noise associated with a myriad of fairground rides.Fantasy Island's Tufty Gordon turned to Rob Walker of Blacklight International, whose experience of this type of installation was already known to him. He specified four JBL 300W full-range cabinets with two 600W sub-bass units, to be powered by two C Audio GB 602 amplifiers, all purchased through Arbiter Group plc.
The drama department of Queen Margaret University College recently moved into the refurbished Gateway Theatre at Scotland's International Drama Centre. Edinburgh-based GB Audio were asked to design a radio production facility which could also operate as a basic recording studio. GB Audio's Chief Designer, Graham Bodenham, and QMUC's subject leader in lighting and sound, George Tarbuck, came up with a system based around a Yamaha EMX2000 mixing desk. This provides a comprehensive control surface for microphones, instruments, stereo line inputs and talkback, plus a host of outputs to run control room monitors, studio playback monitors, two headphone circuits, tape routing and master output logging.Wall-mounted Denon SCM5K mini monitors are used in the control room with Tascam MD801 minidisc machines, Revox B77s, microphones and headphones by Audio-Technica. ATM multicores connect the studio and control room via simple patch panels.
London-based Lighting Technology Projects were the specialist lighting supplier and installer for the Olympic Spirit Sports Museum, a recently-opened themed attraction in Munich, Germany. The attraction has a dedicated area for each of 33 Olympic sports. A distributed DMX control network was installed, with the dimmers for each area located within the sport experience zone. The majority of the zones also included complex audio-visual displays that interfaced with the lighting.A GrandMaster Flash PC-based system from Artistic Licence was selected for control, as it enables each zone to be treated as an individual light show, while also allowing overall control when required, such as special events, for example. Specially-manufactured three-circuit lighting track recessed into 48mm diameter tubes were used around all of the zones to allow flexibility in the positioning of the luminaires for the lighting consultant, as well as for ease of installation. The venue designer was Event Design Services, and the lighting consultant was Malcolm Innes of Jonathan Spiers & Associates.
ETC's Australian distributor, Jands Electronics, has announced that the Queensland Art Gallery has replaced its total architectural lighting control system with ETC's new Unison system, controlling 26 racks of HP6 wall-mount dimmers. The system was sold through the Production Shop, and installed by O'Donnell Griffin. Lighting levels are critical in the gallery, especially where photographs and works on paper are concerned, as levels above 50 lux can be damaging. The new Unison system ensures that lighting levels meet the correct conservation standards in all the Gallery's exhibition spaces. The control rack houses a central processor with battery back-up memory for storage, and a floppy disk drive. The rack provides network connection to wall stations, PCs for on-line control, and other Unison racks with output via a single DMX512 data system. A DMX512 input is also provided with powerful supporting programming options.
LMC Audio has supplied a multiple Soundweb package to Home, Big Beat's new seven-storey nightclub in London's Leicester Square. The programmable DSP system is at the heart of the multi-zone sound system, and includes 12 Soundweb 9088 boxes, three 9000 Mk II hubs and three 9010 'Jellyfish' remote controllers. The system was designed by BSS Audio's Matthew Bate, with LMC Audio's London sales manager, Ian Woodall, in conjunction with Home's technical manager, Andy Kayll. Of the seven floors at Home, the only level not directly under Soundweb control is the third floor. This features the Steve Dash Phazon system, where, as at Cream in Liverpool, all the processing is managed and stored in a BSS Omnidrive, which is fed by Soundweb.
Installation of some 250 Selecon luminaires has begun at the Tallinn City Theatre in Estonia bringing to life the performance venues in this complex of fifteenth-century buildings which house eight different stages. The Hell Stage, opened in November 1997 and acknowledged as the most unusual stage in the Tallinn City Theatre, was the first performance site to benefit from the choice of Selecon fittings. Originally planned as an understage, this vast irregular-shaped hall lies six metres underground, hence the name. Aboveground, is the Heaven Stage which is due to open in December.
London's latest high profile venue, The Loop in the capital's West End, features an all-JBL sound system, with the equipment line-up reading like a wish-list from the company's extensive range. Project manager Ed Manwaring of Music Marketing Services Ltd who installed the system specified the JBL system. Coverage for the Dance Floor is provided by two VS3115 3-way loudspeaker systems and VS125HS low frequency speaker systems from JBL's Venue Series, together with six Sound Power SP212-9 2-way full range loudspeakers. A pair of EON 15P powered loudspeakers are used for monitoring. JBL Control 25s provide background music for the restaurant, with eight Marquis MS28s used in the Basement Bar. The Upper Bar is served by six Control 28s and this area is also the location for the amp-racks comprising six MPX600 and seven MPX1200 amplifiers, again from JBL.
The papers have been full of the trials and tribulations of Sheffield's National Centre for Popular Music. The £15 million pound project has run up debts of over £1million since it first opened in March this year (see L&SI March 99). Things didn't look too good for the Centre recently, but following a creditors meeting this week, its future has been safeguarded by the 200 creditors agreeing to a package offering just a tenth of what they are owed. The Centre has failed to attract the visitors levels anticipated and has also suffered staff cutbacks.
A new night club has recently been added to the London club scene which boasts a highly sophisticated lighting and sound system. Supplied and installed by Audio Tek of Dublin, the audio system is based around JBL Venue Series speakers MPX amplifiers. The largest dance floor has the most impressive system with almost 30,000W of amplification and a calculated maximum SPL in excess of 148dB. A major crowd-pleaser, and a first for the UK, is the installation of a 'body-sonic' dance floor where bass drivers mounted in a cavity below the dance floor make it vibrate with low frequency sound.
The three original venues of the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) in Brisbane, have undergone an extensive lighting overhaul. The 2,000-seat Lyric Theatre, the 2000-seat Concert Hall and the 320-seat Cremorne Theatre opened in 1985 and, together with the 850-seat Optus Playhouse, now form the largest installation of ETC lighting and control systems in Australia. The Cremorne uses one of two Express 250 consoles purchased for QPAC's two new rehearsal studios, but will inherit an Obsession II from the Lyric when it is replaced by an Obsession II 1500. The Concert Hall uses two Express 72/144 desks, while the 850-seat Optus Playhouse boasts an Obsession II 1500 channel desk with full tracking back-up, as well as the largest installation of ETC Source Fours in Australia, with 457 Source Fours and 20 Source Four Pars.
Miss Saigon closes at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on October 30th following a record-breaking run of more than 10 years. White Light have been with the show from the very beginning, supplying David Hersey's complex and ambitious rig and then supporting and updating it through the years. The original rig included one of the earliest uses of the now-ubiquitous Rainbow scrollers along with 110 CCT Silhouettes, 80 Par cans, 12 R&V beamlights and over 110 Coda floods of various types, as well as classic lanterns such as Patt 264s and Patt 23s used to dress the club scenes. Control for the rig was from the theatre's Galaxy 2 console for the length of the run. Miss Saigon also saw the first use of a colour-changing version of the motorised light curtain earlier used on Les Misérables - an effect achieved using a then-newly developed Rainbow light curtain scroller.