Lighting News

Theatre Direct Zero in on Cambridge
Wednesday, 14 February 2001

Theatre Direct (part of the Stage Electrics group of companies) recently placed a large order for Zero 88 products which included Contours, Betapack 2s and Level 12 Plus desks. The equipment forms a major part of a venue installation for the East Cambridgeshire District Council as part of their Arts Strategy. Theatre Direct installed both the staging and lighting which included dimming, control desks, lanterns and internally wired bars.

Lighting Tech Durango Appointed DHA StockistLighting Tech Durango Appointed DHA Stockist
Wednesday, 14 February 2001

DHA, one of Europe’s leading designers and manufacturers of gobos and innovative lighting effects, appointed Lighting Technology Durango as one of its first distributors in France at SIEL 2001 in Paris. As such, Lighting Technology Durango now holds stock of DHA gobos and moving effects. The appointment follows the successful launch of Lighting Technology’s new Paris showroom under the care of Jean-Francois Cheron and Brigitte Delehaye, who are well known in the French entertainment technology industry, a comprehensive range of products has been set up for permanent hands-on demonstration.

Gordon Leaving High End Systems
Wednesday, 14 February 2001

Frank Gordon, High End Systems' CEO, has announced that he will be leaving High End to consider new opportunities. As a result, High End is conducting a search for a new CEO to replace him, which the company expects to complete as quickly as possible. Gordon originally joined HES in 1998 with the closing of the equity investment by Generation Partners of New York and will remain at HES as CEO until the search process is complete.

Mirror Balls to VegasMirror Balls to Vegas
Tuesday, 13 February 2001

Mirrorware specialist Light Engineering has just completed an unusual contract destined for a Las Vegas nightclub. The brief from Brilliant Stages was for a number of mirror balls ranging from 5" to 32" diameter with a broken glass mirror effect. Shipped just before Christmas, the balls are due to be installed sometime soon and Light Engineering is preparing itself for the flood of orders it is certain will follow.

Project News
Monday, 12 February 2001

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.

Aiken to Accounts at HES
Monday, 12 February 2001

Leigh Anne Aiken has been promoted to account manager for High End Systems Inc. In her new position, she will support the Middle East, Africa, the Pacific Rim and Southeast Asia. Since joining High End in May 1993, she has worked in administration, human resources and in various sales support functions. She will now report directly to John Wiseman, VP of Worldwide Sales, but will continue to be based in the Austin, Texas headquarters.

Direct to Lighting Technology
Monday, 12 February 2001

The rapidly expanding Lighting Technology Group has acquired Milton Keynes-based Direct Lighting. Established for 10 years, Direct Lighting is well known in the industry for the distribution of light sources and related products to independent retailers and commercial end-users. Direct Lighting directors Ian Moodie and Steve Copping will remain with the company, concentrating their future efforts entirely on sales. Stock will move to LTG's brand new central distribution depot in Corby. LTG's sales and marketing director Garry Nelsson, commenting on this latest acquisition told PLASA Media: "This is an opportunity for us to develop our core business of light sources into an entirely different sector of the market. We have a vast stock of lamps and this will enable Direct Lighting to offer faster delivery times and a wider range to their existing customers as well as providing the resources to develop new products and markets."

Colour by Design
Sunday, 11 February 2001

Toronto-based Spectrum Manufacturing has recently launched a new colour-changer - the Aquarelle - the result of a seven-month long race to design an architectural colour-changing system for the Famous Players project in Montreal.

The work began in March last year when lighting designer Stephen Pollard approached Dave George of Spectrum to discuss the feasibility of a new architectural system. The deadline was October 2000 and since he wanted to ‘paint the outside wall of the theatre with light,’ the team at Spectrum, having accepted the challenge, immediately christened the project Aquarelle - French for ‘water colour’ .

Spectrum’s engineering department began by evaluating several architectural lighting fixtures, finally recommending a 1,000 metal halide HID fixture. Its optical system, modular reflector and overall construction of the fixture seemed ideal for the proposed link up with a colour scroller. For the scroller itself, Spectrum started by modifying one of its existing large size indoor constant tension colour scrollers, the M-5 MkII. Since the terms of the brief required the unit to be totally sealed from the external environment and withstand heat from the 1,000W lamp, not to mention the extremes of the Montreal climate which can range from -40 degrees in the winter to +100 degrees F in the summer. Using its in-house environmental chamber, Spectrum tested components, and then built a full-scale prototype to verify that the proposed design would withstand 100% humidity.

A patented IR-reducing technology that eliminates 95% of

Creating the Perfect Pint . . .
Saturday, 10 February 2001

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

CO2 Cannon System
Friday, 9 February 2001

Soon to be released from The Effects Company is an advanced system of air-launched effects - the CO2 Cannon, which will be available in single or multibarrel versions. Previous methods for time-consuming hand loading are now eliminated as this system uses factory pre-loaded cartridges, available in two sizes/loadings with a choice of effects such as E-Fetti, Glitter, Streamers, Star, Hearts, Flash Discs, Metallic Streamers, Ultra Violet E-Fetti and even condoms! Available at the end of March, the CO2 Cannon system will have its world launch at the Frankfurt MusikMesse in early March.

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.

Total Production Moves to Mondiale
Friday, 9 February 2001

Mondiale Publishing has bought Total Production magazine from Pulse Publications. The title will now be added to Mondiale’s portfolio of magazines serving the entertainment industry which include Night, Mondo, Theme and Sleeper. TP’s editor Mark Cunningham and sales and marketing director Andy Lenthall will remain with the magazine. Pulse Publications, meanwhile, has announced its intention to continue publication of TP’s sister title Corporate Event Design.

Strand 500 Workshops
Thursday, 8 February 2001

The Service Company, in conjunction with White Light’s Training Initiative, has recently completed a successful series of half-day training courses on Strand Lighting’s 500 Series of lighting consoles. The courses, aimed at West End and freelance technicians, were held in White Light’s West End offices in Shaftesbury Avenue. The sessions looked at the basics of console set-up and operation, software, hardware and communications. The series of sessions concluded with a seminar on programming moving lights with the consoles, led by leading moving light programmer and L&SI writer Rob Halliday. A further series of workshops are scheduled for March 2001. Anyone seeking further information on these courses, or wanting to book places on them, should contact White Light or The Service Company on +44 (0)20 7731 3291.

Vari-Lite Expands European Dealer Network
Thursday, 8 February 2001

Vari-Lite has announced the first phase of the expansion of its European sales dealer network, supporting the distribution of the new Vari*Lite Series 2000 luminaries, with the appointment of Norsk Sceneteknikk A.S. in Norway and HispaLite in Spain. Vari-Lite has a long relationship with both companies, who have considerable experience of the company’s products and the technical resources to support sales customers. The network is designed to provide an enhanced service to the European marketplace, with local expertise, warranty support and training being easily accessible to end-users. Vari-Lite is actively expanding the network across Europe.

Alan Boyd Joins Vari-Lite London
Thursday, 8 February 2001

Vari-Lite has welcomed Alan Boyd to its London team, as a product trainer. Boyd has several years’ experience in the lighting industry, including a two-year spell as permanent associate lighting designer to Chris Ellis, with largely theatre-based work ranging from operas and musicals to dramas. He has also worked as a theatre lighting freelancer, and spent one year as deputy chief electrician on Disney’s The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre in London’s West End, and as lighting designer for the Batignano Opera Festival last year in Tuscany, Italy. Boyd brings to the company his experience of a wide range of fixtures and control desks - including Vari*Lite automated lighting products.

Set Lighting Becomes First VL Rental Associate
Wednesday, 7 February 2001

Set Lighting & Sound has become the first UK rental associate of Vari-Lite, having added the Vari*Lite VL2202 spot luminaire to its extensive hire stock. The Based on the VL2201 spot luminaire, the VL2202 features an upper enclosure that houses the control electronics as well as a power factor corrected arc power supply for the 700W short arc lamp. The small, lightweight, and virtually silent luminaire also features a zoom optics system and rotating gobos. Controlled from any Vari*Lite console, it can also be controlled from a wide variety of DMX512 consoles without the need for additional interface equipment. Set Lighting’s Guy Heselden told us: "We are very excited at the opportunity of becoming the first UK Rental Associate, and looking forward to along term working relationship with Vari-Lite. Initially adding the VL2202 luminaire to our hire fleet allows us to supply an ever-changing and demanding hire market." Established in 1992, Set Lighting & Sound is also one of the UK's leading suppliers of Martin Professional’s MAC 500 and 600 luminaires for rental.

DMX512 Revision up for Review
Tuesday, 6 February 2001

ESTA, the North America-based Entertainment Services & Technology Association has announced that BSR E1.11, Entertainment Technology - USITT DMX512-A, Asynchronous Serial Digital Data Transmission Standard for Controlling Lighting Equipment and Accessories, is now available for public review and comment. This document is an updating and revision of the widely-used DMX512/1990, which was originally developed by the United States Institute for Theatre Technology. USITT's DMX512 is being revised to clarify undefined and loosely-defined provisions in the original document and to accommodate new lighting technology while maintaining backward compatibility with products that comply with the existing standard. The new version addresses issues regarding the use of alternate start codes, the undefined data pair, grounding practices, over-voltage protection, error detection, and alternate connectors.

Comments on BSR E1.11 are being sought so that the standard may reflect the consensus of the entertainment lighting industry. The complete public review materials packet includes a copy of BSR E1.11 , a comment form for BSR E1.11, and this instruction page. The public is invited to use these materials to review the document and to offer criticism - both positive and negative - by the comment deadline of 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on 24 April 2001. Comments received after that time may not be considered as part of this public review.

New Appointments at AC Lighting
Tuesday, 6 February 2001

AC Lighting Ltd has announced a number of major staff appointments. Mark Tonks joined AC Lighting in 1993 and became a key player in export sales whilst developing his interest in IT. In his new role as IT & Logistics Director, Mark will play a major role in the organisational side of the business. "In the future we believe companies will sink or swim on their ability to exceed customer expectations. As we continue to grow, it is my challenge to establish that infrastructure," says Tonks. Secondly, Peter Searles has been appointed company secretary. Searles joined AC Lighting on the completion of the sale of his successful plastic-moulding company in 1990, and has since held many and varied senior roles within the company, many related to special projects. Finally, a new face in the company’s technical sales department is Martin Savage. Formally assistant head of lighting at the Millennium Dome, Martin comes with a wealth of experience from his days on cruise ships with Royal Caribbean International and touring with, amongst others, the 1998 production of Boogie Nights. His primary role will be demonstrating products to AC Lighting's customers at a technical level and offering training and assistance as required. He will also become a familiar face on the international industry trade show circuit.

A Modern Approach to a Classic . . .
Saturday, 3 February 2001

The lighting for the new season of Classical Spectacular shows was recently pre-programmed at Stage Electrics’ new Virtual Lighting Studio in London’s Waterloo. The show, which performed at arenas around Britain and at the Royal Albert Hall, involved over 200 performers playing 20 popular classical pieces, complete with cannons, muskets and an indoor firework finale.

The show set up on the morning of each performance and had to be technically ready by 2.30pm for an orchestral rehearsal. Promoter Raymond Gubbay has long championed the use of large intelligent lighting systems to accompany the Classical Spectacular experience and expected this system to be used to its full potential with some 500 lighting cues throughout the show.

LD Durham Marenghi, who has been lighting the show for the last decade, utilised over 100 intelligent Martin Professional luminaires with 2,000 control channels as part of his new design. Illuminating the production are 16 MAC 2000s, Martin’s most powerful automated moving head, along with 16 MAC 500s, 72 MAC 600s, 12 Pro 400 colour-changers and 22 conventional lights, all supplied by Stage Electrics of Bristol.

It was clear that the lighting programme could not be created in one morning on site, so pre-programming was vital. In the past, large, expensive rehearsal spaces such as the Docklands Arena have been used, along with all the necessary equipment and crew, for one week. The show would then be worked through with the orchestra and choir layout marked with tape on the arena floor - a far from ideal method of envisaging

Martin MACs on Ireland’s Millionaire
Friday, 2 February 2001

Martin MAC fixtures are being used in Ireland’s RTE studios for the Irish edition of Who Wants to be a Millionaire - the 77th version of the show to go on air worldwide. Hosting the Irish show is Irish Late Late Show presenter, Gay Byrne. In the Millionaire studio, 22 MAC 600, 10 MAC 250 and 4 MAC 500 moving heads create a stunning lightshow on the set. The ingenuity of lighting designers, Joseph Canavan and Luis Poveda, given the strict guidelines for lighting the show, is highly praiseworthy, says Lisa Mitchell of Tyrone Productions, adding: "Millionaire in Ireland has turned out to be a phenomenon! The Irish public expected a scaled-down version of the British Millionaire Show, but everyone is really pleased. There are over 1.2 million viewers, which tops Gay Byrne’s Late, Late Show figures - That’s phenomenal!"

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

Torben Johansen Leaves Martin Pro
Thursday, 1 February 2001

Yet more significant news from the Martin Professional camp. Torben Johansen, the company’s production director, has left the company. A brief statement posted on the company’s website says that Johansen has resigned and that until a successor is appointed his role will be taken on by CEO Kristain Kolding. The management thus consists of CEO Kristian Kolding and group director Lars Dige.

Out of the Boy Zone
Thursday, 1 February 2001

Ronan Keating’s solo material was showcased at the end of last year - and an arena tour has already been announced for this Spring. Mike Mann reports.

Though LD Paul Normandale’s design (based around a couple of 40ft trusses and a 33ft diameter semi-circular Tomcat MD stacking truss) was essentially traditional, the eagle-eyed lamp-spotter would have picked out a quartet of new luminaires in the rig - Normandale was putting the MAC 2000s through their paces for the first time. "This is really an early trial for me," he explained, "and Martin have been very supportive. I never go to tradeshows, and I don’t like trying anything out in the warehouse." Though the 1200W HMI unit is, says Normandale, better suited to arena shows, the more intimate environment of the Keating tour gave him a chance to see more clearly what the MAC 2000 is capable of. "So far, I’m happy - it seems to do everything that other powerful moving heads can do - plus zoom."

The remainder of Normandale’s kit list (sourced from Lite Alternative) included 18 Vari*Lite VL5s, 10 Starlite Mk5s, a dozen or so Par 64s and eight ChromaQ scrollers. A pair of Strong II FOH followspots were augmented by a single rear truss spot. Control (under the direction of Fraser Elisha) was via an Avolites Sapphire 2000 console, with a second unit "to give me something to do during the show," according to Normandale. The set, from Alan Chesters at Hangman and Lite Structures, was largely drape-based, though the addition of plush red velvet riser facings, r


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