Game shows just aren’t what they used to be and Denmark’s ‘Den Store Mission’ (The Big Mission) just may take the prize for, well . . . best prize.
The Big Mission is already generating a lot of interest in Scandinavia with the winner of the competition earning a trip into space aboard the first commercial spacecraft. The Big Mission went on air in October, billed as a competition whose lucky winner will be crowned "First Dane in Space".
The show consists of several ‘levels,’ each presenting a unique challenge in skills relevant to astronaut training - knowledge, physical skills, teamwork and mental strength. Contestants are eliminated over the course of several half-hour shows until The Finals in which 10 contestants remain. Much in the same style as the popular Survivor show, contestants will be eliminated one by one until a final winner remains. The elimination process will include a trip to Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center in the USA, as well as authentic tests previously used to train astronauts.
Martin’s local distributor, Martin Danmark, supplied MAC moving heads including MiniMACs, MX and PAL scanners and a TrackPod followspot system to TV2 studios in Copenhagen. The luminaires were spread across a host of stages and incorporated into the lighting scheme at all levels of the show. Par cans were also used in the lighting scheme. Lighting designer for The Big Mission is Torben Lendorph, with lighting programming completed by Thomas Brockmann.
Lighting Technology Group has opened a central London office at the Business Design Centre in Islington. The office will represent all areas of Lighting Technology Group activity but focus on attracting designers, specifiers and potential end-users. "The new office will be an appealing space for architects and designers to come into," said Lighting Technology Projects’ Bruce Kirk. "It will be permanently manned, and there is sufficient space for five staff and the appropriate meeting facilities. Our product and project managers will work between our HQ at Park Royal and the BDC to suit our clients' requirements. Our ultimate aim is to serve and support designers and provide an attractive and welcoming environment in which to discuss and progress their concepts." The showroom's display area will contain a constantly changing animated lighting presentation showing interesting 'old and new' solutions to lighting problems and provide visual demonstrations of new techniques.
The multi-screen movie complex craze which swept across North America some years ago, has arrived in Italy with an added element of attention getting effect, namely Martin intelligent lighting. The Medusa multi-screen theater in Bologna is a 31,000 square foot theater complex featuring nine separate theatres. Outside the complex two Exterior 600 wash lights bathe the building in a colorful mix of yellows and blues while two PAL 1200 scanners add gobo and logo projection.Inside, in the large foyer, eight MAC 600 wash lights provide the colour wash with eight MAC 250 profile spots adding pattern and logo possibilities. All lighting is controlled from a Martin ProScenium, a DMX lighting control package for multi-media and architectural applications. Audio is provided by eight Mach Installation series M68 in-fill speakers, four Mach M208 subwoofers and four Mach M62 two way, near-field speakers.
City Theatrical and its founder and president, Gary Fails, recently received a Crain’s Small Business Award from Crain’s New York Business. The Award, which recognises companies that contribute to New York both economically and by reaching out to the community, joins the long list of accolades City Theatrical has already received since its founding in 1986. Located in the South Bronx, the company actively recruits and trains employees from the surrounding neighbourhoods. Earlier this year it was named to Inc. Magazine’s Inner City 100, a list of the top companies nationwide operating primarily in inner cities. More recently it has picked up its third ESTA Dealer’s Choice Award in the last four years. The company will be profiled in the December issue of L&SI.
Futurist has won the entire contract for production lighting and entertainment lighting packages for Leeds City Council’s new Millennium Square project in Leeds, West Yorkshire, which has been supported by the Millennium Commission. The contract includes the supply of Avolites control and dimming systems, together with Martin MAC 500 and 600 automated fixtures and an entire rig of theatrical lighting and special effects. The highlight of the contract is the supply and installation of eight laser systems, designed and manufactured by UK-based Laser Electronics Ltd, which use brand new 2.5W DPSS diode technology, developed in-house by the company. The lasers are also the first of their kind to offer full digital blanking capabilities. The systems do not require three-phase power supplies or water cooling, and simply plug in to a 13 amp domestic supply. The systems are currently under manufacture and will be installed ready for the New Year’s Eve celebrations, which will also serve as the Council’s official opening of the project.
The Effects Company was chosen to supply some unique effects equipment to the Casino Estoril in Portugal. The Casino recently carried out a major refurbishment of its 1,500-seat theatre. Lighting designer Andrew Gardener was commissioned to update the facilities, allied to a new production titled Tempo and specified a four-head CO2 jet system, four Cirrus Lowsmoke systems, a Turbo 3000 smoke machine with fan projection, CO2 monitoring system and control systems. The Lowsmokes were installed in four separate stage positions with permanent condensate draining systems and DMX control. During the course of the project, members of The Effects Company team visited the casino several times to ensure that the whole system was installed and working correctly, advising the local technical crew on the correct high pressure CO2 system and electronics/control system.
Currently wowing theatre-goers in South Africa is African Footprint - a song and dance spectacular, which is set to stride its way into the international arena.
Scheduled to tour Europe later this year, the current home of the production is in the replica of the original 19th century Globe Theatre at Gold Reef City. It was Solly and Abe Krok’s idea to copy the original Globe Theatre at Gold Reef City - a theme park recreating early Johannesburg, taking the opportunity to utilise an intended ‘mini-plex’ cinema whose backers had pulled out.
They brought in consultant Richard Loring, and his production manager Debbie Batzofin, who in turn approached lighting designer Denis Hutchinson. The roof of this intended small cinema was raised by two metres, which allowed seven metres clear over the stage and a balcony in which patrons wouldn’t have to kneel. But even so, it wasn’t possible to include a proper dome in the auditorium (much less a fly tower over the stage). The alternative was a barrel vault ceiling, in spite of the acoustic disadvantages it presented. Fortunately, it was accepted that the type of show staged in the venue would always use amplified sound. Hence acoustically absorbent tiles for the ceiling were specified as part of a scheme to make the room nearly, but not quite, acoustically dead.
Another fortunate outcome was that the control area for both lighting and sound could be incorporated as part of the auditorium. Sound equipment for the 306-seat venue includes a generous 40-channel DDA mixing desk with 64 balanced lines betw
Martin Professional equipment played had a large presence at the Hannover Expo this year; it is estimated that around 60% of all moving lights at the Expo were Martin products. Much of the equipment was supplied by Procon as the general contractor, but also by Martin distributors in the various national pavilions. Martin gear made its presence felt from the very outset. All entrances were lined with Pro 918 scanners along with MAC 500 profiles and MAC 600 washlights, which greeted guests with gobo and color wash projection. And Martin lighting could be found on many of the stages throughout the grounds including the EXPO Plaza (approximately 100 MAC 500s and 600s) and the Belvedere Stage (MAC 500s).Some 175 countries were represented across the huge 160-hectare site in Hannover. Among those utilising Martin equipment as part of their Pavilion presentations were Canada, Monaco, Lithuania (pictured), Britain, Australia, Romania and Belgium. In addition, one of the most popular attractions, the ‘Planet of Visions’ exhibit in Hall 9, which was lit by MAC 500s and PAL 1200 scanners, while PALs were also used to project text in the form of inspirational quotes at the entrance. Lighting designer for Planet of Visions was Harry Gladow.
At the end of October, Elizabeth Hurley brought the ‘Millennium Breast Cancer Awareness Month’ to a dramatic close by switching on the lights that turned the British Airways London Eye. Park Avenue, who designed and realised the Millennium launch of the BA London Eye, created and ran this final event. Led by Producer Ajay Parekh, the internationally renowned team included creative director Andy Bass, lighting designer Paul Cook, Vari-Lite Production Services, SMAC Associates and Set and Stage. The lighting consisted of 64 VL5Arc wash luminaires and four Sky-Art Searchlights powered from two silent generators from Ariba Resources which were sited in a barge moored along side the Millennium Pier in front of the London Eye. The entire system was rigged and tested on the Monday night with Ian Reith, the operator, making only a few minor alterations to the WYSIWYG pre-programmed show, before going live at 8pm on Tuesday 31 October.
No sooner had Sussex-based Multiform Technology Group announced success at the PLASA Show and set out the showroom to include the newest lighting effects from Meteor and Sagitter, than it began to rain!
Multiform’s factory, in close proximity to the swollen River Uck - one of the worst flooded in the South East - was also built two feet below the eventual high water mark of Uckfield town, and therefore suffered a great deal of water damage on and after October 12th 2000.
Help came from all quarters. Once the water had receded enough for the factory doors to be opened, the Multiform team with the help of visitor John Lethbridge, rolled up their sleeves and took up hose pipes, brooms and buckets to clear the invading mud and water. Managing director, Iain Price-Smith told us: "Multiform would like to assure customers that business will return to normal as soon as possible. A large amount of stock has been destroyed, and production will be disrupted for several weeks, but thanks to the dedication of the staff, our office is now fully operational again and open to business."
Navigator Systems’ US Division has appointed Ray as Technical Director. Covenant has many years’ experience in the entertainment industry, particularly in the field of information systems. Covenant will oversee technical support for the hundreds of companies in North America currently using HireTrack Eclipse. He will also be involved in the implementation of a new application service where companies will have the option to rent software instead of purchasing new software. The users will connect to Navigator Systems server farms via the internet and run HireTrack Eclipse. Greg Smith, president of Navigator Systems US, commented, "I am so excited that Ray has joined our team. He brings many years experience working with entertainment companies and their software systems."
At LDI in Las Vegas last month, for the second year running, Artistic Licence received a Cease and Desist order from Color Kinetics Inc (CKI), relating to Artistic’s LED lighting systems.
CKI holds a patent in the USA for the control of colour-changing LED lighting systems, and claims that Artistic’s LED-based Digital Lighting Product range infringes their intellectual property rights. CKI’s Kathy Pattison told L&SI: "We very much respect what Artistic has done in the DMX community, but where LED systems are concerned, we will defend our intellectual property rights."
Artistic’s Wayne Howell told L&SI: "They turned up with their solicitor at the busiest time of the show, when the booth was full of customers. It really amounts to little more than a childish attempt at harassment." Howell continued: "We have made a number of approaches to this company to try to find out what it is they are upset about. To date we have not received any coherent repsonse. With regard to their claims, there is simply no substance . . . I find it rather insulting to be accused of copying another company’s design. We’re proud of our reputation for innovation."
Pattison, however, told us that CKI has held "multiple discussions, both internally and through counsel" with Artistic Licence.
A major sound, lighting and video installation has just been completed at the new Toxic8 club in Cambridge. With interior design by Steve Howie of Howie Designs, the club’s visual inspiration drew on the imagery of Fritz Lang’s 1927 masterpiece movie Metropolis. But Toxic8 is anything but silent!
CP Sound won the technical design and installation contract amidst stiff competition: audio throughout was designed by CP’s Colin Pattenden with lighting by CP’s Russ Evans.
A ground-floor bar acts as a feeder area for the 500-capacity club, and features music and visuals controlled from behind the bar via a six-way switch and volume control installed by CP Sound, together with three Sony K5 televisions and six JBL Control 28 speakers. Additionally, a mobile DJ set-up is available for special events. This consists of a Denon 2000 Mk 3 twin CD player and a Citronic 10/4 mixer and mic. The first and second floors have been fused into one area: the audio spec here includes another Citronic 10/4 mixer and Denon CD player, two Technics 1210 decks in the DJ box and a customised CP 10/1050 DJ monitor. Dancefloor speakers are two twin 15" 1200W JBL i-746 cabinets, and for the mid-range, JBL 300W MS112 tops, hung in the corners of the void area.
Dancefloor lighting includes three Solar 250 projectors with red infused oil wheels and eight MADScan 411 APs in the void, pointing up and down. Control is from a Pulsar Masterpiece 216. On the second floor, fixtures include two 1500W Anytronics Megastrobes, four additional MADScans, two ITM 250 MADScans and four
Visitors from the lighting and creative media worlds were given a unique preview of the kinetic future when Screenco fronted a two-day Illuminated Video Workshop at Three Mills Island Studios recently.
In association with a prime team of concert service providers, including Vari-Lite Production Services, Avolites, Stage One Creative Services, Creative Technology, Aerial Camera Systems, SSE Hire, ShowSec and Vertigo Rigging, the experimental two-day interactive workshop graphically highlighted how the boundaries between the rapidly-converging disciplines of automated lighting and video displays are being pushed back. The workshop was the brainchild of Screenco’s Mike Walker, whose vision for the event was born out of a desire to bring the creative skills of video and lighting together. Production manager for the event was Adam Wildi at Hothouse, assisted by Mary Jefferson from Tiger Productions.
Two leading show lighting designers - Vince Foster and Nick Jevons - were asked by Screenco to blend their visual techniques, with each pursuing a completely different path in two large studios, back to back. For Foster, and VL Virtuoso board operator Theo Cox, it was a conventional live concert stage with a widescreen video display, and for Jevons it was a fast-changing club/dance environment, working in conjunction with DJ Callum Wordsworth to deliver spectacular colour-changing set elements, interacting with live video graphics.
In Studio 8 Vince Foster had produced the 3D visualisation for the band show and presented Theo Cox with the CAD drawings to carry out his o
The famous Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith has taken a further step towards a digital future, thanks to a Lottery grant.
In addition to new sound equipment in both performance spaces, The Lyric has also purchased a GeniusPro Strand 520i desk - for use in the Main House, and also replaced the dimmers in the Studio Theatre with digital LD90s. The former was supplied by Stage Electrics and the latter ordered through White Light.
Although Strand’s 500 Series desks had been in the Lyric’s focus for around the past three years, the purchase was still made slightly earlier than expected. "We mounted a production outside, literally, in Lyric Square, with Mac moving lights running alongside conventionals," explained chief LX Clare Tattersall (inset). "It was impractical to move our existing Galaxy outside - and plotting moving lights on a Galaxy is a tedious process - so rather than hire in a board we brought forward the delivery date."
The 520i was supplied with two monitors - one displaying the cue sheets and the other the channel levels. "It’s a 350-channel desk but we expect to expand on that in the future. As we have not been able to afford to replace the Main House dimmers we have had to convert our STM dimmers for digital, but hopefully at some stage in the future we will be able to make the full changeover."
The 120-capacity Studio Theatre has complemented its new seating and sound reinforcement system with five racks of Strand LD90s (one of which contains a block of non-dims), providing 104 channels of theatrical dimming
The new Wizard from Martin Professional is a DMX-controllable effect light which uses a high-output 250W discharge source (2000 hour life). The Wizard houses two independent color/gobo wheels offering seven colors plus two white and six gobo patterns, as well as a separate shutter for fast strobing. Taking the effect of the popular Acrobat a stage further, the Wizard produces a unique flower-effect which is projected onto a pan and tilt adjustable mirror drum, delivering more than 80 light beams with continuously changing colors and gobo patterns.
London Associates and Strand Lighting have won the prestigious industrial product design award at the recent DBA Design Effectiveness Awards, with Strand Lighting's SL Series of spotlights. Strand’s product development manager, Ian Thomson, and senior design engineer, Martin Freeborn, both attended the awards presentation dinner, held at the Hilton Hotel in Mayfair. Thomson explained that Strand's had been working with London Associates for 14 years and the objective had been to create a new product for the world market, that was smaller, lighter in weight and consumed less electricity than conventional models. The SL Series met all of these requirements with significant results. Within three months of its launch, the SL Series has easily become the best-selling product in Strand Lighting's portfolio. It has also enabled the company to increase its European rental market share from 3% to 15% within one year.
The Strand Board has appointed Phil O'Donnell as CEO of Strand Lighting. O’Donnell has been with the company for 22 years and during this time has held several positions, including managing director of Strand Asia and President of Strand Lighting Inc. For the past two years he has been running global sales and has been a member of the main board. As part of his executive team, he has appointed Peter Rogers to the position of global sales and marketing director and Bill Campbell to the position of managing director for all European operations. This executive team will take over the day to day running of the company and Jim Ryan will remain on the Strand board as a major shareholder.
Vari-Lite Production Services has appointed Colin Brooker as regional sales manager. This is a highly significant role as the roll-out of the new Vari*Lite sales luminaires makes its impact felt on the European marketplace. Since joining the industry in 1992, Brooker has worked in numerous lighting production roles at venues including the London Palladium, the Theatre Royal Haymarket and the Shaftesbury Theatre, followed by years ‘on the road’ as lighting technician and board operator for a number of bands including Garth Brooks, Wet Wet Wet, Spice Girls, Finlay Quaye, Beautiful South and Simply Red. He also has wide TV experience, having worked on TV shows such as the MTV Awards, Miss World, Lord of the Dance and TFI Friday. Brooker will be working closely with Simon Roose, European dealer manager.
Pete Barnes, assuming the triple role of LD, set designer and production manager, explained that he had been carrying the idea for the design for Mel C’s Northern Star tour in his head for some time.
"I went to the Pompidou Centre in Paris four years ago, and one of the works was a cave by Bernard Buffet, called Jardin d’Hivers. It was very simple - just a white landscape but with heavy black contour lines like you would find on a 3D map. Ever since seeing it I’ve wanted to do something in that style."
Barnes applied the concept to a design that had to be practical for small-scale touring - Melanie C’s first major tour plays to civic halls rather than the arena circuit tramped by the Spiceys. The floor and cyc are decorated with seemingly random lines, and a trio of stylistic trees adorns the stage, marked out in black and white. The trees themselves, which were fabricated from aluminium section and covered with velcroed fabric, provide suitable mounts for a dozen MiniMACs, which add a further vertical dimension to the two-truss main rig.
The fixtures, which are between 2.5m and 3m from the stage floor, are positioned upstage of the six-piece band and under Barnes’ expert direction provide an ideal match for the larger luminaires in the trusses. The total equipment count (sourced from Lite Alternative) includes 12 Martin MAC 500s, 22 VL5s, five 6-way bars and a half dozen 4-light Molefays with colour-changers for cyc lighting. A Wholehog II provided control, with a pair of Deathstar strobes and DF50 crackers for additional eff
Martin Professional A/S has entered into an agreement with the owners of its two Argentinian distributors to establish a joint company, Martin Professional Argentina SA. As of November 1st, the newly established company will handle distribution and service of the group’s products in Argentina. Martin will hold roughly 20% of the shares. The establishment of the new joint company is a natural part of Martin’s market strategy, aimed at securing a foothold in the South American market, which is growing rapidly within the group’s areas of interest. The company will maintain its registered office in Buenos Aires.In Hong Kong, Martin has entered into an agreement to establish a similar company with its local Chinese partners. Martin Professional Hong Kong is expected to be operational before the end of 2000, and will take over distribution from its former Chinese distributor, which wasn’t viewed as allocating sufficient resources to maintain a satisfactory level of performance. Martin will hold 20% of the shares in the company, which will have its registered office in Hong Kong with branch offices in Shanghai and Guangzhou in China.The establishment of these two companies is not expected to have an effect on expectations for the current financial year, although it is expected that they will contribute to increased penetration in these markets during 2001.
High End Systems debuted its newest automated luminaire, the x.Spot, at the recent LDI exhibition in Las Vegas. The x.Spot boasts enhanced projection capabilities through its sophisticated f2.0 (4:1) zoom lens (11° to 45° range) with steady aperture and flat-field focusing. The fixture’s high light output comes from an MSR 700W short arc lamp, optimized through a multi-elliptical reflector for maximum output.Modular construction lets each user customize the x.Spot and assemble the optimal feature set for every show. Gobo and effects wheels are placed in x.Spot's three user-configurable slots. Oversized, rotating LithoMotion wheels create dynamic image movement through the light beam. Another option is a comprehensive set of framing shutters, which accurately frame set pieces. The x.Spot offers state-of-the-art colour mixing as well as variable colour temperature correction (3000° K to 6200° K), making each fixture instantly adaptable for theatre and TV studios.To extend x.Spot's life into the future, each fixture comes with an Ethernet port, making it ready for ACN (Advanced Control Network) and other network-based protocols. x.Spot is targeted to ship during the first quarter of 2001.
Two of the USA's largest sound reinforcement companies are to join forces, following the news that Vari-Lite International has entered into a letter of intent to sell Showco - its sound reinforcement business - to an affiliate of Clair Brothers Audio, Inc. 'The combination of Showco and Clair Brothers will create the most impressive sound reinforcement company in the world,' said Rusty Brutsché, chairman and CEO of Vari-Lite. 'The decision to sell Showco to Clair Brothers was based upon the long-term benefits to Showco's customers and employees as Vari-Lite concentrates its efforts on the development, manufacture and sale of its automated lighting systems and continued operation of our lighting rental and production services offices in North America, Asia and London.'Showco, celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, was formed in Dallas, Texas by Rusty Brutsché and Jack Maxson and from the early days of providing touring rigs for such bands as Led Zeppelin, Three Dog Night and James Taylor has evolved into one of the world’s premiere audio production companies with a product portfolio that includes the Prism sound system, digital controller, stage reference monitors, Prism L3 compact loudspeaker system and the Showconsole which was launched last year.Based in Lititz, PA, Clair Brothers has expanded enormously over the last 10 years and has manufacturing and affiliate offices in the US, Switzerland, Australia, England, Mexico, Singapore and Japan. Formed in the late 1960s by Roy and Gene Clair, the company has a client list that includes Garth Brooks, Mariah Carey,
Essential Lighting has appointed Peter Feeney, Toby Hughes and Martin Lubach (pictured) to its board of directors. This appointment recognises the long-standing commitment and contribution they have made to the business, and will add a broader base of experience to the board for the future development of the company. At the same time, Simon Clench will be joining Essential as production electrician to provide support and a resident client link for the company’s project managers.