Lighting News

Mach 1 Show with AC LightingMach 1 Show with AC Lighting
Monday, 1 October 2001

Thrust SSC, the fastest car on earth, has been purchased by the Museum of British Road Transport (Coventry) and is to be displayed in a specially designed ‘Mach 1 Show’ open to the public from 9th September 2001. Thrust SSC, powered by two Rolls Royce Spey 205 turbojet engines, became the first car to achieve the Supersonic World Land Speed Record on 15 October 1997 by achieving a speed of 763.035 mph. It now takes its place in the museum alongside Thrust 2, its land speed record predecessor, which has been on display since 1992.

The car was purchased with the help of a major grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and this included a sum of money for use in mounting an imaginative presentation of the vehicle using a variety of audio-visual techniques. The museum awarded a contract for overall design and project management to JSP Design Associates Ltd. of Northampton to create a unique exhibition space and an imaginative presentation of the car. JSP Design sub-contracted AC Lighting to resolve the audio-visual and show control aspects of the presentation and to introduce a tactile element to the display. The AV presentation, which runs for just over four minutes, utilizes two Phillips, cBright SV1 multi-media projectors fed from two Phillips PRO170 DVD players. Projecting onto screens above the car, these show video footage taken during the record-breaking run from a camera mounted inside the cockpit of Thrust SSC and a view from a camera mounted in the tail wing fin. Show control is provided by a Common-Sense interface unit from Artistic Licence, and this is use

MTFX Moves to New Premises
Thursday, 27 September 2001

MTFX has just finished the first phase of bringing together all the disciplines of the company under one roof. The group has invested over £500,000 in new premises just north of Bristol. This includes five acres of testing/research grounds and 4,000sq.ft of storage, manufacture and administration offices. The first phase is now complete, with the administration and offices having moved over to the new location. The second phase will be complete by Christmas and will include the transfer of all manufacturing processes, hire equipment, storage and sales stock. MTFX’s managing director Mark Turner told PLASA Media: "These are exciting times for us. For the first time in our nine year history, we will all be under one roof. This will allow all departments to work in unison and should make collections and deliveries much easier."

The company’s new address is Velt House, Velt House Lane, Elmore, Gloucestershire, GL2 3NY. They can be reached on Telephone +44 (0)1452 729903.

New Voice for Rental Companies
Thursday, 27 September 2001

A new organization representing professional audio and lighting rental companies has been established in The Netherlands. PRESA - Production Rental Equipment Services Association - like fellow organizations ESTA and PSA, has been set up to promote safe working conditions, high technical standards and regular contact between professional rental companies.

Behind the new association are Ampco Pro Rental, Flashlight, Focus Show Equipment, Improve and R&R Show Equipment, all well established companies in the entertainment industry. Chairman Antoinette Wijffels told PLASA Media: "We have finally managed to create a platform where members can exchange ideas, and one which we hope will lead to an even more professional attitude towards clients. We can now also negotiate on important matters at government level, which, as individual companies, was not possible before."

Barco Billboard for Coca Cola
Thursday, 27 September 2001

Barco LED displays were selected by Coca Cola to revolutionize its famous digital billboard at the heart of Piccadilly Circus in London. Coca-Cola Great Britain wanted to ensure that the sign was capable of continuously displaying dynamic images 24 hours a day and therefore the decision was taken to replace the previous projector installation with a highly advanced LED daylight display. As a result, over 52sq.m of DLite 10 has been used to replace the old installation. Barco’s Dual Pixel Technology offers a visual resolution of 10mm, allowing for a smoother picture, shorter viewing distance and enhanced performance. The system features built-in intelligence that enables auto-configuration and allows hot swapping of tiles without interrupting the display of the pictures.

New President for Color Kinetics
Wednesday, 26 September 2001

Color Kinetics Inc has appointed William J. Sims as president and chief operating officer. Sims will also join the company's Board of Directors. Color Kinetics co-founder George Mueller - who Sims succeeds as president - will remain CEO, focusing on overall company direction and the development of strategic partnerships. In his new role, Sims will drive the company's sales, marketing, operations and product development, delivering the next wave of advanced digital technologies and positioning the company for growth in the illumination market, which analysts predict will reach close to $30 billion dollars by the year 2010.

Sims brings to Color Kinetics over 20 years of experience in growing both established and emerging companies gained through senior positions at Zenith, JVC and e-SIM. As president and CEO of e-SIM's Live Products division, Sims oversaw all aspects of a successful start-up, leading product development and dramatically increasing the company's customer base. During his tenure as president of the Zenith Sales Company, the organization achieved significantly improved profitability and expanded worldwide market position for key segments of its consumer product lines. Prior to Zenith, Sims was vice-president, Consumer Video Division of JVC Company of America, where he expanded the business of JVC's largest US division. He has also served on the Board of Directors for the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).

"With Bill, Color Kinetics gets the perfect combination of old economy know-how and new economy drive and agility. His track record of effectivel

Navigator’s RentalDesk Enjoys PLASA DebutNavigator’s RentalDesk Enjoys PLASA Debut
Wednesday, 26 September 2001

UK-based Navigator Systems has added a low-cost rental management software package called RentalDesk to their product range. Launched at PLASA, RentalDesk has been designed for the Small Business Enterprise which requires asset tracking but cannot justify the expense of larger and costlier systems. Commenting on RentalDesk’s debut at PLASA, Navigator’s David Rose told us: "The response to RentalDesk at PLASA was overwhelming. We had more serious enquiries on the first day than at the whole show last year."

Rose continued: "This is by no means a replacement for our larger systems, but a move to address the needs of smaller businesses which are looking to improve their operations, but don’t have the large amount of capital needed for new systems. During tougher economic times, those companies that have cut costs and become more efficient have a better chance of surviving. RentalDesk will give them a software package for less than £400.00, which contains many of the features that are in our larger systems."

RentalDesk includes equipment tracking and equipment scheduling. It allows for packaging of equipment and includes an interface to standard serial barcode readers. Other features include an interface to Microsoft Word for quote generation, and an easy to use report designer for modifying printed forms. In addition, RentalDesk will include new skinning features, which allows the user to design their own look and feel. The system will be limited to three simultaneous users.

Greg Smith, president of Navigator Systems USA, commented:

National Firers Register Launched
Wednesday, 26 September 2001

The Guild of Firework and Pyrotechnic Operators (GFPO), has announced that a National Firers Register is available that aims to register all firework and pyrotechnic firers in order to create a central database of personnel operating within the industry and provide a framework for recording skills and proving competency.

The register is Internet-based, with registered persons receiving a personalized ID card that includes name, ID number and expiry date. Details of the registered person are included on the GFPO website which also has a skills and services search facility. Information, a code of practice, links and news articles will be available on the website for those registered. The launch is set for the beginning of October and any interested persons should visit the GFPO website where they will find further details on how to sign up.

Vari-Lite Celebrates 20th Anniversary
Wednesday, 26 September 2001

Twenty years ago, Vari-Lite Inc revolutionized the entertainment lighting industry. On Sept. 25,1981, in a dusty bullring in Spain during the first night of the Genesis Abacab tour, Vari-Lite debuted the world’s first automated lighting system. "We couldn’t have known back then what kind of impact we would have on the lighting industry," said Rusty Brutsché, chairman and chief executive officer of Vari-Lite. "But we’ve continued to change with the times, creating innovative new luminaires and control consoles, moving into new markets and always trying to provide excellent, versatile lighting products to lighting designers in all segments of the lighting industry. As we move into the next 20 years, we will continue developing new products for the lighting and production industry."

Vari-Lite’s humble beginnings trace back to a "eureka moment" in 1980 at a Dallas barbecue restaurant. Employees from Showco, originally the parent company of Vari-Lite, came up with the idea of developing an automated lighting system that used a computer to control the movement, colour, dimming and beam shape of each luminaire. Within a year, Vari-Lite was formed as engineers developed and tested the first automated lighting system. "We wouldn’t have made it this far without the people who put their hard work and genuine love into everything we do," Brutsché said. "That includes the people working for Vari-Lite who have created, developed, manufactured and used some of the most advanced lighting systems in the world, th

Vari-Lite Inc Expands Sales Team
Tuesday, 25 September 2001

Vari-Lite Inc has announced the appointment of three lighting industry veterans to fill vital positions as regional sales managers. Craig Burross, Sean Hoey and John McDowell will play key roles as Vari-Lite increases sales and creates new dealer relationships. "The sales experience and extensive background in entertainment production and design that Craig, Sean and John have is going to make a major impact as we move forward with our sales and establish our dealer base," said Bob Schacherl, Vari-Lite's vice-president of sales and marketing. "Each one has already been a top sales rep in this industry and been instrumental in developing new sales strategies and programs. Getting these lighting industry pros to Vari-Lite is a major coup for our company."

An 18-year veteran of entertainment production and design, Burross was key in helping get automated lighting systems for major TV networks NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox Television. He got his start in the industry when he founded a sound reinforcement business in the 1980s. Burross gained his film and television production experience working as a sales specialist and applications engineer for Victor Duncan Inc. Later, as a national sales manager of the architectural division at another lighting manufacturer, Burross established regionaldevelopment for automated lighting throughout the United States and Europe.

Before joining Vari-Lite, Hoey spent more than 10 years in the lighting industry as a regional manager for various territories, most recently as sales manager for North and South America. He was instrume

AETTI-Loughborough Theatre Courses held at PLASA
Tuesday, 25 September 2001

The Arts & Entertainment Technical Training Initiative (AETTI) has announced that 12 more candidates undertook the AETTI - Loughborough College Intermediate BTEC Award (General Theatre Technician) during the recent PLASA Exhibition at Earls Court (9-12 September).

Thanks are owed to PLASA for making the space available and to White Light, Blackout-Triple E and Rope Assemblies Ltd for providing teaching materials. Many other companies supplied useful product information for the candidates to take back to their theatres. The course held at PLASA followed previous courses and was one of several in the pipeline at various locations. The General Theatre Technician course, which is divided into three modules, was held across the first three days of the PLASA Show. Attendees could either choose to complete all three modules at the Show, or begin with one or two modules and complete the course at a later date.

Joe Aveline, secretary of AETTI, commented: "It is reassuring that most of those on the course are working and were given the three days off to attend. They have been financially supported by their employers, who realise the value of a nationally-recognized certificate. In addition, the feedback from those doing courses has been enormously positive and supportive."

Matthew Griffiths (PLASA CEO and chairman of AETTI) added: "PLASA recognizes the value of and need for properly certified training. By combining this with the support of the PLASA Show and the initiative of the AETTI and Loughborough College, we have been able to help provide a valuable trainin

ProSound Range from Maplin
Monday, 24 September 2001

Maplin Electronics has launched a new premium range of disco and PA equipment, designed to appeal to DJs, venue managers, event organizers and managers of small theatres looking for value for money equipment. The new ProSound range includes speakers, lighting effects, fog and bubble machines and a wide selection of mixers. The new range of speaker cabinets and monitors has been designed and manufactured in the UK specifically for ProSound, and includes the ‘ProSound Blue’ speaker cabinets which feature Celestion drive units. The range of ProSound equipment will be expanded over the next few months to include everything from decks and audio leads to piezo tweeters and amplifiers.

Vari-Lite’s Major Sale Via EML
Monday, 24 September 2001

EML Productions, based in Holland and Belgium, has confirmed the purchase of two substantial Vari-Litecontrol console and Series 2000 luminaire systems from Vari-Lite Europe in London. The systems are destined for two major new European productions: Joop van den Ende Theatre Productions have purchased one for Disney’s production of Aida in Holland, with Stage Holding Germany spec’ing one for Disney’s The Lion King in Hamburg.

In total, EML Productions has purchased four of the new Vari-Lite Virtuoso DX compact control consoles, along with 92 VL2202 spot luminaires and 61 VL2402 wash luminaires. Disney’s production of Aida at Schedenend in Holland marks the first time this production, which opens in October, has been seen in Europe. To light it, EML Productions in Belgium is supplying Joop van den Ende with two Virtuoso DX consoles, 59 VL2202 spot luminaires and 27 VL2402 wash luminaires. The show’s lighting designer, Natasha Katz, along with associate LD Daniel Walker and associate automated lighting designer Aland Henderson worked closely with Vari-Lite, to take care of some of the specific artistic needs that are unique to this production. It’s the first time that the Series 2000 range of luminaires have been used on an Aida production, and will also be one of the biggest Vari-Lite rigs ever seen in Holland.

The new production of Disney’s The Lion King in Hamburg is also the first time this internationally-acclaimed show has employed Series 2000 luminaires and Virtuoso DX control consoles. For this production, lighting design

Scott Callis to Coe-tech
Monday, 24 September 2001

Coe-tech’s active sales team continues to expand with the addition of Scott Callis. Scott has worked proactively in the moving light business for the past six years, including as a founding member of one of the UK’s leading manufacturers - MAD Lighting. At Coe-tech he’ll be working with the Studio Due and Coemar product ranges, for which Coe-tech is a leading distributor. Coe-tech managing director Ian Brown said: "It’s great to have Scott on the team, and it’s a great opportunity to amalgamate his commercial experience with Coe-tech’s history and track record in this area of production technology."

Scott will be targeting selected rental companies, theatres, AV specialists, architectural installers and venues covering a broad cross-section of the leisure and entertainment industry.

Lightfactor team re-joined by Peter Coles
Monday, 24 September 2001

Peter Coles, well-known in the rental, club and leisure business, has taken the post of field sales manager at Lightfactor and will once again use his extensive sales experience ‘on the road’ for one of the UK’s leading sales companies. Lightfactor’s managing director Paul de Ville comments: "We’re delighted to have Peter back on board. His energy and enthusiasm is a great asset to the company and we are looking forward to a busy autumn after a good PLASA Show."

New Laser Effects from American DJ
Monday, 24 September 2001

American DJ is bringing the excitement of laser to larger venues with two new 4.9mW laser effects - the Emerald Star and Octobeam. Both sound-activated effects, Emerald Star and Octobeam are designed to light up spacious dance floors and night clubs laser effects. The Emerald Star is a green laser that produces 16 geometric patterns. The Octobeam is a red laser with eight moving beams of light that chase to the beat of the music.

"American DJ decided to expand our laser line, because we saw a demand for laser effects geared toward larger establishments," said Scott Davies, general manager of American DJ. "Both the Emerald Star and Octobeam are ideal for more spacious clubs, because they cover a wide area and produce a tremendous amount of excitement and movement for single effects."

Chris Clarke joins Avolites
Monday, 24 September 2001

Avolites has expanded its sales force with the addition of Chris Clarke. Chris graduated from Rose Bruford College with a degree in Lighting Design and has worked on a host of theatrical productions of all types, including as an associate and programmer with top West End lighting designer Chris Ellis. His work with Ellis has included taking the D’oyly Carte Opera production of HMS Pinafore to The Schubert Theatre in Newhaven, New York state. Chris used Avolites kit while at college and his background and hands-on experience is seen as a valuable asset to the Avo team. Avolites’ sales director Steve Warren commented: "It’s great to have Chris on the team. His understanding of the demanding world of theatre production, superb programming and communication skills will strengthen our presence in this exacting area."

LDI 2001 to Continue as Planned
Thursday, 20 September 2001

The LDI Show will go ahead as planned from November 2-4 in Orlando. In response to a number of enquiries following the events in New York and Washington, the organizers are keen to reassure people, through a statement posted on their website, that the exhibition will go ahead as usual. "We at LDI would like to express our deepest sympathy to all who are affected by the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Our thoughts are with you. We cannot let terrorists bring world business to a halt and we at LDI and Primedia Business Exhibitions feel it is very important that all businesses show their resilience. At this time, we do not foresee major disruptions for a smooth and successful show floor opening on Friday, November 2, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. LDInstitute is still scheduled to open on Monday, October 29."

If any exhibitors or visitors have any questions or concerns about the Show, they should contact any of the following people: Paul Stratton, LDI Show Director Tel: + 1 720-489-3118

Ellen Lampert-Gréaux, LDI Conference Director Tel: +1 212-229-2965 x 830

Jacqueline Tien, Publisher, Lighting Dimensions, Entertainment Design Tel: +1 212-229-2965 x 815

You can also look at PLASA Media’s LDI Factsheet at www

Utopium Light International Stars
Thursday, 20 September 2001

Utopium Lighting was part of a new production team working at the growing Ross International Festival supplying the lighting for 35 artistically diverse shows during August. The festival has grown year on year since it began in 1995 and this year, a giant 30m x 50m clearspan Roder structure was the festival’s main venue. With a capacity of 14,070, over 50,000 people attended the event nestled against the picturesque banks of the River Wye.

Utopium’s managing director Colin Bodenham worked with lighting designer Simon Tutchener, who designed the show and ran the desk for two of the shows - Vanessa Mae and Lulu - with Utopium’s crew adapting the rig to suit the other performances. Heading that crew were Stuart Farrell who ran the desk and Angus Chinn, who managed the power distribution and technical support. The team had their work cut out thanks to the run-rate of four shows every day. "Time constraints meant that we could not move lights around the rig very often," said Colin, "so we designed a rig that would cope with pretty much everything through refocusing and some sharp operating!"

As with so many projects, Utopium invested in equipment to make sure the event had the most suitable equipment to create the best lighting. "We looked at the venue and decided to invest in a new truss (from Tomcat) that mirrored the shape of the marquee. The truss meant that Simon had plenty of space the work with in an interesting shape." The ground supported truss system was kitted out with 12 6 lamp bars, Martin MAC 500s and 600s, Death

DHA Lighting Appoints New Dealers
Thursday, 20 September 2001

Since the end of 2000, DHA Lighting has been marketing its products direct through stockists in Europe, Scandinavia and Asia. Now with an international network of nearly 30 stockists, illustrating the company's growing international reputation and continuing its impressive rate of worldwide expansion, DHA Lighting's most recently appointed dealers are Audio Light Asia (Singapore) and Bon Studio (Greece). AC Lighting has also been appointed as a DHA stockist.

With a history dating back from the early 1970s, AC is one of the largest distributors of lighting equipment. Based in High Wycombe and Leeds, AC has long been a DHA dealer but will now stock a variety of products. As one of Singapore's leading lighting suppliers, Audio Light Asia has long been aware of DHA's products and services and will now stock a range of DHA gobos, moving effects and the Gecko. One of the largest distributors in Greece working on behalf of all the major brands in the industry is DHA's newest dealer, Bon Studio. With two branches in Athens and another in Thessalonika, Bon Studio has a workforce of over 70 and will stock the full range of DHA products, from gobos to indexers and rotators, to Digital Light Curtains.

Vari-Lite Visionary 3D and 3ds max 4
Thursday, 20 September 2001

The range of software facilities at Vari-Lite Europe has been expanded to provide more powerful options for both visualization and off-line programming. In addition to WYSIWYG, AutoCAD and Vector Works, Vari-Lite Europe has added support for Visionary 3D, the off-line pre-programming software for the Virtuoso and Virtuoso DX control console family and the award-winning software package 3ds max 4.

The Visionary 3D, an off-line programming software package, emulates the main features of the Virtuoso console family (currently only available for the Apple Mac G3/G4) making it possible for lighting designers and operators to create and edit Virtuoso showfiles without the need for a console or a lighting system. 3Ds max4, a modeling, rendering and animation package, complements the core software packages by allowing the LD to realistically visualize a show. It’s the first time that 3D Studio Max 4 has been available in the lighting industry and allows the designer the chance to ‘walk in’ and look around the lighting rig. A copy of the software can be downloaded from the following website.

STLD Seminar on Moving Lights in Television
Thursday, 20 September 2001

The STLD is running a seminar on the impact of the use of moving lights in television. The decision to run the seminar comes in light of new ITC guidelines, which are likely to be adopted by the BBC, which cover the effects of flashing and moving lights on people with epilepsy and assesses whether programmes are suitable for broadcast.

The seminar, which runs on Monday 24 September at AC Lighting’s new offices in High Wycombe, will feature Professor Graham Harding, an expert in the field of Photosensitive Epilepsy and designer of a flash/pattern analyser that provides an analysis of the effects of television lighting on the viewer. STLD Members are encouraged to take along examples of their work which may have failed under other systems and see if they pass under the new device. The seminar will also discuss the use of monitoring equipment that will affect the way programmes can be lit, and how designers might be liable for costs if the lighting for a show prevents the programme being transmitted. There will be a camera and lights to test out the theories. The seminar begins at 6.30pm Any STLD Members planning to attend should contact Iain Davidson on +44 (0)1386 420234.

Fourth Phase gets Political
Wednesday, 19 September 2001

‘Ken's Bright Idea’ was the headline in the Evening Standard when Fourth Phase London projected Tory leader hopeful Ken Clarke's telephone number onto the outside of the Conservative Central Office in London's Smith Square. Following problems getting phone numbers to the voters, Ken Clarke's campaign party opted to project his phone number where as many members of the Conservative party as possible would see it. A press gathering was organized at the last minute and the operation was undertaken in true military style.

Fourth Phase London took the phone number to DHA Lighting where the file was modified in Adobe Illustrator, formatted to be run out on a film setter, run out, cut to size and mounted in slide frames. Then on August 22, a generator truck with James Hall and Tim Probert of Fourth Phase on board to operate a 6kW PANI projector, parked outside the Central Office. With the projection lined up, the lights were turned on for the press at 9.45pm. The projected telephone number was for a recorded message featuring Ken and his supporters flaunting his merits in a radio broadcast.

First Beneficiary of Light ReliefFirst Beneficiary of Light Relief
Wednesday, 19 September 2001

The first beneficiary of Light Relief was presented with a copy of CAST Lighting’s WYSICAD by Mark White, ETC’s regional manager for the UK and Ireland, on September 11 on the ETC stand at PLASA 2001. Julian Williams has been in the lighting business in various capacities for over 25 years, but for the past two years treatment for bowel cancer has prevented him from working. Part of his plan to get back into action is to learn how to produce stage lighting plans with AutoCad files and to then offer this as a service.

Tony Gottelier and Rick Fisher, co-founders of Light Relief, arranged for Julian to receive a copy of WYSICAD, the 2D and 3D visualization software program, with the co-operation of ETC and CAST Lighting. Then, when Glyn O’Donoghue, marketing director at AC Lighting, heard about the presentation, he immediately offered Julian a day’s training on the product at High Wycombe, plus follow-up technical support. Glyn said: "I’m a big believer in WYSIWYG – it’s a tremendous product and I want to help Julian get the best out of it."

Julian has not worked since October 1999, when his cancer treatment began. Now completely cleared of the disease, thanks to a combination of radio therapy, surgery and back-up chemotherapy, Julian has used his time at home to learn computer skills and to keep up to date with the technical side of the lighting business. He said: "WYSICAD will enable me to work at home, thus alleviating some of the underlying stress of not earning! I eventually hope to upgrade to the full version o

PLASA 2001 Shines in the Eyes of the Industry
Wednesday, 19 September 2001

PLASA 2001, the Professional Lighting and Sound Association’s annual entertainment technology showcase, held at Earls Court from 9-12 September, received an overwhelming thumbs up from exhibitors and visitors alike.

Understandably, the horrific events in New York and Washington cast a shadow over the Show, not least because of the large number of American exhibitors and visitors who always support the event. The shock of the news was felt widely across the show floor, but it quickly turned to a resolve to keep the Show open and a determination that business should go ahead as usual.

Attendance figures were boosted 4.5% on last year’s event as 13,373 visitors (subject to ABC audit) attended the spectacular four-day show to witness the unveiling of the industry’s latest innovations. Of these visitors, an amazing 25% were international. Results of an exit survey showed that over 80% of visitors to this year’s Show felt that PLASA was the Show to view leading edge entertainment technology and new product launches. Highly respected as the international entertainment and technology exhibition, PLASA provided a platform for nearly 350 manufacturers, suppliers and distributors to present their very latest products, innovations and designs and to strike valuable business deals. From state-of-the-art sound systems, spectacular lighting effects, staging concepts and fog machines to audio-visual equipment, trussing and the very latest in DJ decks, PLASA 2001 featured something for everyone.

It represented more than just a place to see the latest entertainm


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