Lighting News

Lyon - City of Lights
Sunday, 20 January 2002

In recent years a growing number of manufacturers have turned their research teams towards the development of large-scale lighting instruments - big lamps with some of the newer features of modern theatre lighting - in-built colour changing devices, moving yoke, etc.

Why? Well, either the manufacturers are trying to drive new markets having saturated theatre, TV, concert and corporate events with smaller, highly developed models, or alternatively the market researchers have been busy and discovered that there is, in fact, a latent demand out there for such lighting equipment. Personally, I tend to the second view, but there’s no doubt that having once created a beast, chances are someone will find a use for it - witness the large xenon-powered searchlights that are commonplace at festivals and special events. But when we turn our attention to buildings, especially in the UK, we have little beyond the Lloyds Building in the City to inspire us.

Not so in Lyon, where a modern and inevitably Gallic approach to the illumination of buildings has been underway now for many years. Where else would you find the daring imagination to include not only the jewels of Lyon’s architectural heritage, such as the magnificent gothic pile that is the Hotel de Ville - but also the austere concrete tragedies of the Duchère district? "It’s the Toxteth of the city," one lighting designer commented. "It’s a bleak and barren landscape dominated by a 30-storey tower. Other tower blocks dotted around are punctuated by 11 so-called Bars, essentially large c

RFH Transformation
Sunday, 20 January 2002

The Royal Festival Hall production team gave blood, sweat and tears to stage the 2001 festive ballet season, featuring the renowned Moscow Stanislavky Ballet.

The team, led by head of production Nigel March, and in collaboration with the venue’s riggers Vertigo Rigging, transformed the concert hall into a proscenium arch theatre, with all the expected rigging and flying facilities, ready to stage The Snow Maiden and Swan Lake.

This was the most ambitious set and lighting design ever staged at the South Bank, as well as one of the tightest timeframes. The initial task of the Vertigo team, headed by Paddy Burnside, was to install an 18 x 12 metre mother grid in the roof of the Hall. Below this was hung a trussing sub-grid to hold all the lighting and scenery bars and tab tracks. Because the changeover between shows was so tight, scenery and cloths for both had to be rigged at the outset - leaving just 40mm between each bar!

Vertigo also built a fly gallery off to stage right, and two over-stage followspot positions. The orchestra pit was created by adding an 8ft thrust to the front of stage and removing six rows of seats. This created a space just large enough to accommodate the 36-piece Stanislavsky orchestra. To enable a 40ft x 40ft dance platform to be installed for the performers, at a stage height of 7ft, the hall’s upstage choir stalls were removed. The pros arch was constructed from trussing and clad with flats and drapes. Lighting design (by Ildar Bederdimov for The Snow Maiden and Anatoli Remizov for Swan Lake, operated by James Tapping) uses much

 
 
AES New York
Sunday, 20 January 2002

Phil Ward identifies some of the key product launches at the December AES Show in New York

New York at the beginning of December is a sentimental place. Horse-drawn carriages trot fur-coated shoppers along 59th Street at Central Park South. Sesame Street’s Big Bird switches on the Christmas tree lights outside the Lincoln Centre. Tourists flock to Ground Zero. And AES delegates - at least the Americans - exhibit, buy, sell and discuss in detail ‘classic’ audio technology.

One whole section of this show was dedicated to ‘When Vinyl Ruled’, and offered tear-jerking insights into valve and lathe technology. Even away from this grotto, microphone and signal processor designs from the 1950s were on display, re-issued and repackaged with loving attention to detail.

Les Paul himself, who pioneered multitrack recording in the 1950s, figured in Gibson Laboratory’s activities, adding to the general air of reassuring heritage. Such was the mood of the exhibition, the city and, it seemed, the country as a whole, a few false white beards would not have been incongruous at the Jacob K Javits Convention Centre.

Progress continued, though. The biggest sound reinforcement technology announcement was Nexo’s GEO, a new generation holding three patents. On display were the S805 and S830, both full-range compacts for horizontal or line array; and a supercardioid subwoofer, CD12.

Introducing Nexo’s Hyperboloid Reflective Wavesource (HRW), GEO guides the wave using an acoustic mirror rather than the walls of the cabinet, creating a

 
Rock Muse-ic . . .
Sunday, 20 January 2002

Devon-based rock trio Muse appeared at a wide variety of UK and European venues at the tail end of 2001; Mike Mann saw them in the cavernous London Docklands Arena.

Lighting designer Oli Metcalf has seen his system squeezed into small clubs and stretched to fill a full arena stage - and has managed to keep the CAV-supplied rig intact along the way. Metcalf is using CAV for the first time, a decision, prompted by their stock of up-to-date High End product. "I’m using 16 Studio Color washlights and the same number of Studio Spot CMYs," he revealed. There are also 14 AF1000 strobes in his design and a quartet of modified Cyberlight Turbos - their rear cable entries have been removed to allow them to stand vertically under four fabric cones which form an important part of the set. "CAV seemed to have all the new High End kit I needed, and they had no problem with me wanting to work with my usual crew," said Metcalf, who also brought in Total Fabrications to build top plates for his truss towers, allowing moving lights to be attached to a standard length of well-secured barrel.

To drive the Pars, ACLs and Source Four profiles, Metcalf specified 72 channels of Avolites ART 4000 dimmers. "They have an amazing DMX response time," he said, adding that his console of choice was the Avo Sapphire 2000. "It’s a very busy show - it’s all about timing - so a quick response is really important." Metcalf’s system shared projection screens with a fast-moving video design, necessitating accurate focusing and luminance control

 
 
Cast Lighting Tackles Second Olympic Games
Friday, 18 January 2002

Cast Lighting, a subsidiary of Cast Group, will set up and oversee the complex lighting requirements for CBC’s English and French Home Base coverage of the Winter Games in Salt Lake City during January and February 2002. The events will be broadcast live on CBC for approximately 16 hours a day for the duration of the Games. This is the second time the Canadian company has been invited to participate in the Olympics: Cast also supported the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2000 Sydney Olympics, by providing full WYSIWYG pre-planning and visualization tools.

Cast will be represented at the Games by Allyn Terry, lighting director/designer and Russ Widdall as board operator/assistant. Preplanning of the studios will take place in Toronto. Terry and Widdall will spend some two months on site in Salt Lake City with the set-up and managing of the studios. These studios will have numerous configurations in order to accommodate the various broadcasting needs.

For the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Cast created a Super-WYSIWYG system that allowed the lighting designer to pre-cue the opening and closing ceremonies off-site. Some of these cues were used directly via WYSIWYG’s computer-generated format and, once executed on stage, did not require additional adjustments. The custom-made, 17,000-channel WYSIWYG system simulated 32 universes of DMX. It also allowed the eight board operators to see more than just the performance of their own lights - they were also able to see what the other operators were doing as well.

(Ruth Rossington)

 
ENTTEC launches the EVO at ENTECH
Friday, 18 January 2002

At the forthcoming EnTech show in Sydney (4-6 February), ENTTEC is to release its flagship product - the EVO. This is a new generation of lighting desks based around Ethernet and new technologies. The hardware centres around a large 5'7 blue back lit LCD touch screen and seven motorised faders, whilst communication comes from an Ethernet port, and DMX options come via the desk’s DMXEthergate suite of products or a DMX over Ethernet solution.

The EVO was designed for maximum ease of use. Its user interface gives constant feedback over the current show or programming actions using plain English sentences. Thanks to the motorised faders, the user will be able to program scenes as on an analog desk or run entire cuelists from one submaster. ENTTEC have also included new features such as semi-automatic crossfades and web remote control. The EVO is not built around a PC, but uses an industrial real-time operating system for added reliability. Fixture libraries can be downloaded from the ENTTEC web services website or edited using an easy to use web editor.

After the initial release, the company plans to develop the software to include networking programming, where multiple desks on the same network could be used to program the same show, or remote Ethernet-based processing nodes to upgrade the processing power. A range of add-ons and options are also in the pipeline, including an offline editor, an expansion wing with more faders, buttons and a trackball, low cost playback unit and expansion modules such as sound inputs and a VGA video output.

The Evo can be seen on s

 
 
AC Lighting’s Major Installation for York St John CollegeAC Lighting’s Major Installation for York St John College
Friday, 18 January 2002

Adjacent to the City Walls and near the famous Minster in the historic city of York, York St John College offers a range of opportunities for post-graduate and post-experience study, alongside an extensive programme of MA and PhD research degrees. The main 9.87 acre site with a history dating back to 1841 is located on Lord Mayor’s Walk, just a few minutes from city centre shops, restaurants, theatres, galleries and museums.

The College has recently embarked on a major programme of investment in infrastructure facilities to develop a state-of-the-art learning centre including a new library and IT facilities. The programme has also included a significant installation of lighting and audio equipment to enhance the college’s Communication Arts Studies in Media and Performance (CASMAP) facilities.

This part of the installation has been carried out by AC Lighting Ltd, creating two drama studios, a dance studio, a recording studio and facilities for music production and pre-production work. The drama and dance studios have been fitted with a high density of ceiling-mounted internally wired lighting bars and an extensive range of Selecon and Vision lanterns. A number of Strand lanterns from a former college location have also been integrated into the facilities. Control is provided by a mixture of Strand and Zero 88 dimmers in conjunction with ETC and Zero 88 consoles. Extensive patching facilities have been incorporated as part of the dimmer installations. Each studio has also been extensively equipped with tracking and drapes to enable simple and rapid reconfigu

 
Louis Teo Starts New Distribution Company
Friday, 18 January 2002

Louis Teo has left Singapore-based distributor Del Salado Entertainment Pte Ltd to start his own company, Lighting & Sound Distribution. The new company will also operate from Singapore and will import and export lighting and sound goods including special effects such as fiber optics, foam machines, CO2 Jets, as well as distributing brands such as Logic System Pro Audio, Starway, MBN, DiscoTech, Supervision and Dare Pro Audio in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

(Lee Baldock)

 
 
New Year, New Beginnings
Friday, 18 January 2002

It's a shame that all the great work that goes on in the run-up to Christmas fades so quickly into the past. The lights might be up until January 5th, but the party ended New Year’s Eve, such is the ephemeral nature of the season and the entertainment that accompanies it. Looking forwards is the resolute option, and this January LSD Fourth Phase has much to look forward to, not least with a re-scheduled tour by Destiny's Child out there in the middle distance.

S Club 7 is the biggy of the month; the group is at Elstree studios for rehearsals as we speak, with the tour commencing at the end of this month. This is a major production, set design by Charlie Kail (built by Total Fabrications Ltd) with Pete Barnes designing the lighting rig which will contain Icons, PC Beams, Super Cycs, Studio Colors and 64 trusty Par cans. Out in the audience a huge flown catwalk (flown by Summit Steel, who rig the whole show) also holds Studio Colors along its length.

Status Quo have re-scheduled shows to do this month: Pat Mark’s lighting rig of Pars and Mac 500s will be visiting Oxford and Guildford before month’s end, with further shows in Grimsby, Carlisle, Plymouth, Leicester, Hereford and Port Talbot in February.

Travis commence their long awaited arena tour in February with LD Matt Jensen totally beefing up the show for this shift from the theatre circuit to arenas. I spoke to him on the ski slopes at the foot of the Matterhorn yesterday. "The rig will be similar to that seen before Christmas, only bigger. Willie Williams and video director Adam Buxton are j

 
Bandit Lites & Manilow Embark on LIVE2002 TourBandit Lites & Manilow Embark on LIVE2002 Tour
Wednesday, 16 January 2002

Barry Manilow is once again venturing out on a world tour with lighting designer Seth Jackson, and Bandit Lites. This year’s tour began on 3 December and is expected to be out for nine months playing theatres and arenas across America and Europe. This year’s lighting system is again based around a moving light package from Martin Professional. Jackson is using 31 MAC 300s and eight MAC 600s for his washes and utilizing 17 MAC 250 and 15 500 for some striking beam looks and effects. Production manager for the tour is Joe Clayton, stage manager is Steve Ernaut and crew chief is Tom Fulscher.

(Lee Baldock)

 
 
Heads Up with American DJ
Wednesday, 16 January 2002

American DJ has launched the XP-3 intelligent moving head - a high performance DMX-compatible fixture with a fully rotating head and an affordable price tag. "In the past, moving head fixtures were beyond the price range of the average club and professional DJ," said Scott Davies, general manager of American DJ. "The XP-3 offers those who have a smaller budget the excitement of a moving head fixture, without a high price tag."

The XP-3 features a fully rotating head, with pan and tilt. It includes four DMX channels and incorporates smooth stepper motors and an easy-to-read digital display. Features include 17 gobos plus spot, six colours plus white and four multi-colours and strobe. The XP-3 can be operated with any standard DMX controller. It can also be used with American DJ’s Utopia/C Controller (sold separately) to control black out, slow scan and strobe at the touch of a button.

Additionally, the XP-3 can be operated in a sound activation mode. It features a sensitivity knob to control the intensity with which effects move to the music’s beat. Multiple XP-3 units can be linked together master-slave via XLR cable.

(Lee Baldock)

 
Carpenter Joins HES West Coast
Thursday, 10 January 2002

Industry veteran Doug Carpenter has joined High End Systems as its new west coast regional accounts manager. Carpenter has 15 years of experience in the lighting industry, most of those concentrated at control and dimming manufacturer NSI. During his years there he worked his way up from production test technician to service manager and onwards to worldwide sales manager. Carpenter will work closely with Randy Mayer, HES' inside sales rep, who recently moved to the company’s LA office.(Lee Baldock)

 
 
Mushroom's White Christmas for Harvey Nichols
Thursday, 10 January 2002

Northampton-based event and display specialists Mushroom Events provided a white Christmas for shoppers at the famous Harvey Nichols department store in London's Knightsbridge, by creating half-hourly artificial snowfalls in the street outside the store. The display began on November 14 and ended on Christmas Eve, running from 10.40 in the morning through to 7.20 in the evening.

Mushroom, which has created window display lighting for the store's branches in London and Leeds for the past three years, and the new Birmingham branch which opened in October, came up with the idea as a follow-up to last year's seasonal decoration when strings of fairy lights adorned the store's façade. The snowfalls are created by three snow machines, mounted on the store's roof, which produce a totally safe, detergent and water-based, white foam. Forced through a fine mesh and released into the air, it takes on the appearance of snowflakes. Mushroom designed an automatic timer for the machines which monitors the flow of fluid and refills the machines' tanks when necessary. In the run-up to Christmas Eve, 3,000 litres of fluid were consumed.

Mushroom also lit the store's Christmas window display, the theme of which was giant slices of Christmas cake adorned with oversized cake ornaments and holly. The lighting used was a mixture of PAR56 lanterns and Source Four PARs, controlled by NJD Logic 8000s; in three of the windows Mushroom employed a new effect from Gam Film FX based on the Source 4 Profile which creates the effect of giant falling snowballs. The company also installed a large quanti

 
Alexander Tackles South East for Saville
Wednesday, 9 January 2002

AV specialist Saville Audio Visual has appointed Matt Alexander as area sales manager for South London, Kent and parts of Surrey and Sussex. Formerly based in Devon with Greenham Video, Alexander has extensive experience in the AV industry and his responsibilities will include sales of LCD projectors, audio visual and conferencing systems.

(Lee Baldock)

 
 
American DJ's Gem Upgrades
Wednesday, 9 January 2002

American DJ has introduced the Dual Gem and Super Jewel, upgraded versions of two of its most popular sound-activated moonflower effects. As its name suggests, the Dual Gem is a double version of the Color Gem. The Super Jewel is similar to the American DJ Jewel, but has sharper optics and a bigger beam spread to provide even more impact.

The Dual Gem includes an FX switch, which allows it to be operated in sound active, static or continuous rotation mode. A special sensitivity knob has also been added to control the degree of intensity with which the beams respond to the music. With the sensitivity adjustment, DJs can set the effect for high-energy movement or for calmer effects.

The Super Jewel features a high-power LL-64514 120V, 300W lamp. In addition to its increased brightness, new colours and wider beam spread, the Super Jewel now includes an FX switch for operation in sound active, continuous rotation or static mode. Other user-friendly features include an easy access lamp replacement door and hanging bracket.

(Lee Baldock)

 
Nic Tolkien Leaves AC Lighting
Wednesday, 9 January 2002

AC Lighting has announced that Nic Tolkien is to retire immediately from the position of export sales director. Tolkien had been instrumental in developing the export market for AC Lighting since 1984 and managed the export sales office on a daily basis. AC Lighting's managing director, David Leggett commented: "Nic is our longest serving employee and has been with AC Lighting since the early days. We would like to publicly thank him for all his hard work over the years."

Cally Bacchus, export sales manager, continues to lead the day-to-day export sales operation with the established team of directors retaining overall direction. There are no immediate plans to appoint a replacement.

 
 
Stagecraft Makes Technology Accessible
Tuesday, 8 January 2002

Stagecraft has recently been involved in a major development at the New Theatre Royal in Portsmouth. The company supplied lighting and sound equipment to the venue and is also planning a programme of disabled workshops at the theatre.

In 1972 a fire destroyed a large part of the backstage of the Victorian theatre and the refurbishment provided an opportunity to re-design the theatre to provide greater accessibility for all theatregoers. One of the key areas to be developed was the lighting and sound systems and thus Stagecraft supplied a range of technical equipment, including Martin intelligent lighting, Selecon Pacific luminaires, Compulite Luna moving yolks, Zero88 lighting control and dimming, and a range of audio equipment, including Tannoy speakers, Shure microphones, QSC amplification and Allen & Heath control.

Grant Bales-Smith of Stagecraft worked closely with the New Theatre Royal to develop the accessibility of the Theatre. "We have a strong relationship with the team at the theatre and have worked with them through installation and initial training. We are on hand to offer technical support and advice and look forward to holding the disabled workshops where we’ll be able to see the real flexibility and accessibility of the equipment."

The workshops are aimed specifically at those with learning difficulties and those who are mentally or physically disabled. The team at Stagecraft will be teaching those who take part in the workshops about the benefits of using the equipment, demonstrating its capabilities and offering them a unique educatio

 
New, Noisy, and Just in from Australia
Monday, 7 January 2002

If you missed it don't worry, it will return. The World Wrestling Association presented by AAA is the latest wave to catch onto the growing craze for choreographed violence for the under 10s. The recent tour of rippling muscles with cartoon personas has swept through the UK, visiting major venues like Sheffield Arena and Wembley. "When you're presenting shows in venues of this size, and to audiences of 10,000 plus, the same rules apply as for the biggest rock shows," explained production manager Nick Levitt. "That's why we have three artics parked outside - there's a lot more to this than two men grappling in a ring."

One truck was almost totally filled with the ring itself and associated props, such as chipboard ringside tables for the commentators, which shatter harmlessly as these Cinderella Titans hurl each other from the ring in mock fury. In the air, 160ft of truss runs from entranceway to ringside, loaded with Icons, MAC 500s and 600s all from LSD's inventory to provide the requisite grandeur for a triumphal march to stage.

"People will be surprised to discover I brought in Dave Hill to light the show," continued Levitt. "But someone of his abilities proved indispensable. The show came in direct from Australia, without rehearsal, loaded into the Odyssey in Belfast, and by the time fit-up was complete Dave had three quarters of an hour to programme in a show."

Sound proved equally demanding: "We had the smallest PA I’ve ever seen in an arena, it only took two and a half rows in the truck, but it did a fantastic

 
 
Diversitronics Mark 3000 StrobeDiversitronics Mark 3000 Strobe
Friday, 4 January 2002

Following its first public showing at the PLASA exhibition in September 2001, the new Diversitronics Mark 3000 Super High Intensity DMX Strobe is now being shipped by AC Lighting Ltd. The strobe features a long life high power quartz xenon lamp and delivers 24,000W peak flash intensity. Built into a streamlined housing with extensive aluminium heat sinking and automatic fan cooling, the unit is rated for continuous duty.

A major feature of the Mark 3000 is the ability of the strobe to accept both DMX and analogue remote control, as well as operating in stand-alone mode with integral speed control. To facilitate ease of connection, the strobe is fitted as standard with DMX input and through 5-pin XLR connectors and analogue (0 -10V) input and through 4-pin XLR connectors.

The Mark 3000 operates over a speed range from 15 flashes per minute to 15 flashes per second and features a Hyper Flash mode of 60 flashes per second. The microprocessor control provides nine in-built ultra bright Hyper Strobe special effects including Solidlight, Auto-Lightning, Fixed Lightning, Crossfade, Fade-Down, Arcweld, Emergency Vehicle, Rapid Fire and Hyperflash (single emission). Standard features provided by the Mark 3000 include a yoke-mount bracket, self re-setting safety thermal switch, plus LEDs for power-on, DMX present and status.

(Lee Baldock)

 
EL&D Helps Recreate Middle Earth at Tobacco Dock
Friday, 4 January 2002

The Event Lighting & Design Company added yet another high profile job to their portfolio recently by designing the lighting for one of the most talked about events of the year - the Lord of the Rings premiere party at Tobacco Dock. This spectacular party, organised by Lady Carolyn Townshend & Associates, aimed to recreate scenes from the film and bring Middle Earth to the Docklands. EL&D worked closely with the film's production designers (who have already won an American Movie Review Award for their work) to recreate the lighting effects seen on screen. Each area in the party had a distinct atmosphere reflecting particular scenes in the film.

Lothlorien, home of the elves, reflected the beautiful wooded landscape. The party also recreated the Prancing Pony, a warm, welcoming Pub with custom-made hanging silk flames. The Village Green was lit to show outdoor twilight where hanging lanterns were customised to mimic the Hobbit ones in the film. The sinister atmosphere of Modor was portrayed through deep red lighting with a combination of Par cans, Miniscans and MAC 600s to show the evil of the Dark Riders.

The party was huge, with around 3,000 guests and EL&D spent a week installing the effects, lighting 25 different areas and working with a design brief that changed several times. They also had the challenge of supplying power to a 100,000sq.ft building.

(Ruth Rossington)

 
 
Internal Reorganization at Martin Professional
Friday, 4 January 2002

Martin Professional has reorganized some key internal departments at its Danish headquarters with the goal of increasing the range of its sales and marketing functions. Martin President and CEO Kristian Kolding has taken over the position of international sales director - entertainment, previously under the leadership of Pio Nahum. Pio will maintain his position as international marketing director, as well as his post as CEO of Martin Professional Italy.

Gorm Teichert, who recently filled the new position of international sales director - architectural, assumes responsibility for product management in the architectural segment. In addition, export sales manager Anders Kryger has taken over responsibility for Martin's qualified team of area sales managers, as well as a growing number of associated companies.

(Ruth Rossington)

 
Tim Burt to Lead Zero 88
Thursday, 3 January 2002

Following the recent integration of the Zero 88 and iLight management teams, Zero 88 has promoted Tim Burt to Zero 88 brand manager. As a result of Graham Eales' recent move to head up the iLight Group, Burt has taken over the day-to-day running of the Zero 88 brand. With over 10 years' experience in the lighting industry and a pivotal member of the Zero 88 sales team over the last five years, Burt is ideally placed to take on the position. "I intend to continue the work which Graham Eales started with the brand and build on the opportunities which our partnership with iLight has presented," commented Burt.

(Ruth Rossington)

 
 
Zero 88 Discontinues Sirius 250 & 500
Thursday, 3 January 2002

As a result of continued problems with the supply of key components for the Sirius range, Zero 88 has announced that it is discontinuing production of its Sirius 250 and Sirius 500 desks. "This has been a difficult decision," explains Tim Burt, Zero 88's brand manager. "The Sirius has been a pioneering range for Zero 88, introducing a number revolutionary new features to the industry such as the Cueline graphical interface. But it is becoming increasingly difficult to source components for these desks, making manufacture and delivery unreliable. We do now have the complete Frog range in place and will be adding some new functionality to the Frog software in the New Year to make these desks even more powerful." Zero 88 will continue to support the product range with technical support and updated fixture data.

(Ruth Rossington)

 
New Year Changes at Stage Electrics
Thursday, 3 January 2002

Stage Electrics has launched a number of projects for the New Year, the first being the decision to offer its full range of hire stock from its London branch. The new branch was one of the success stories of last year and will be the subject of further expansion in the coming year. 2002 will also see the consolidation of the Stage Electrics group of companies into one brand to create a nationwide network of branches. As a result, Theatre Direct in Cambridge and Theatre Vision in Cardiff and Brecon will become branches of Stage Electrics from 1 February 2002 and will benefit from the extra support, access to a wider range of equipment and resources that come with being more closely aligned to Stage Electrics.

(Ruth Rossington)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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