UK - 7thSense Design has appointed Geoffrey Platt to the position of product manager.
With over 20 years of experience as a media server technology and emerging digital media specialist, Platt has worked with a number of real-time video companies, and on many high-profile shows and events, including concerts, theatre, film, location-based entertainment and television.
Platt will work with global systems engineering and sales teams from the 7thSense Orlando office, defining key product features and future roadmaps of the expanding 7thSense product range.
“We’re excited to have Geoffrey join our team,” comments Eric Lehman, global sales and marketing manager, 7thSense Design. “His extensive experience of media server technology, interactive digital installations, product design for large-scale live events and video technology workflows will be a huge asset to the future development and feature releases of our Delta Media Server and Juggler pixel processing solutions.”
Italy - Proel SpA has appointed Fabiano Cammoranesi as business unit manager for Sagitter.
Cammoranesi can boast 24 years of experience in the communications and lighting sector. His career at Proel began in 2007 and his product and market strategies have contributed to the growth of the Sagitter lighting brand and the creation of a further brand, SDJ.
In February this year, Fabiano Cammoranesi was called to fill one of the key roles within the Sagitter Business Unit. “An important professional challenge begins,” he says. “This role stimulates me to pour all my enthusiasm and my determination to make the brand grow on the national and international fronts. My passion for this sector is great and it is a pleasure to share it with the whole team. Communicating and transmitting this passion will be my main goal.”
Italy - DTS Illuminazione S.r.L. has appointed Maurizio Gidoni as the company’s technical director.
Gidoni has a background in electronic engineering as well as management and process industrialisation. In his new role, he will lead DTS’ research and development department.
The company says in a statement: “During his 30-year career, Maurizio has developed a strong leadership attitude, alongside with a fundamental teamwork and coaching skills. We strongly believe he will be an example and a human incitement to our technical teams.
“For 10 years, Maurizio has successfully led technical departments and always focussed on electronic products development. His professional philosophy is to promote constant innovation by pursuing the excellence, paying strong attention to cross-functional interaction to achieve the company's goals.
“His skills include market analysis, definition of product specifications, purchasing, quality check from the supplier to the final product industrialisation.
“We are pleased to give him our warmest welcome and we strongly believe he perfectly fits the company growth.”
Europe - Ayrton has appointed Kseniia Igoshkina as the latest member of its international sales team. Based in Detmold, Germany, Igoshkina is responsible for emerging markets across the Baltic countries, the CIS states and South America.
Igoshkina joined Ayrton at the end of 2019, since when she has quickly established her position by appointing new distributors in Belarus, Armenia, Romania/Moldova, Colombia, Panama and the Caribbean. Her previous experience includes two years at Astera LED Technologies as key account manager based in China, after which she relocated to Europe to look for new challenges.
“My first experience of Ayrton was its famous lightshow,” she says. “I was immediately blown away by their unique products. Now, a few years later, I am working for this amazing company and I couldn’t be happier.
“Ayrton’s approach is very different from what I have experienced before. We handle many different types of project and take a very specialised, individual approach to each one. Ayrton products are so full of features that we have something to meet every requirement. It’s a perfect opportunity to create a bespoke solution for all our clients – every day is interesting and exciting.”
“Kseniia brings a freshness and dynamism to Ayrton which perfectly matches our team approach,” says Ayrton Global Sales Director, Michael Althaus. “We are excited to see the response from the emerging markets as she helps raise brand awareness in these new areas.”
UK - Tony Kingsley, a former PLASA chairman, industry maverick and disco lighting pioneer, passed away on Friday 8 May 2020 after a long illness.
If the early 90s marked the period when Tony Kingsley was in the chair of PLASA, it was a decade earlier, when the trade association was still known as BADEM, that he achieved his finest moments, writes Jerry Gilbert.
Tony ran the UK operation of Cologne-based Avitec Electronics GmbH, arguably the pioneers of the ‘superdisco’, who ran operations in four countries.
A former Roger Squire’s store manager, Tony set up Avitec Electronics UK in Hitchin at the end of 1979, and became distributor for the vanguard of popular lighting helicopters, scanners, ‘flowers’ and other effects - mainly from Spain and Italy - that would quickly populate nightclub ceilings and redefine the new disco genre. These included Kremesa (formerly Cremesa), Nisel and Clay Paky.
It was in 1981 that German parent company, Avitec GmbH, booked a staggering 6,000sq.ft of space on two floors at the DIFA Show in Münster. The ‘Discorama’, as it was termed, was designed as a showcase to present their own products and those from UK companies for whom they acted as distribution agents, namely Pulsar, Optikinetics, ICElectrics and Mode.
This did the rounds of mainland Europe, and such was the impact of these awesome displays of technology, that its arrival in London was not long coming. At the BADEM 82 Light & Sound Show in London’s Novotel, Tony Kingsley oversaw an incredible installation of a blue 1000sq
UK - Following the death of Alan Jacobi in April, Unusual Rigging has announced that Jacobi’s son Tom Harper will take on the role of managing director, with Jacobi’s wife Peta appointed as chairwoman. Beyond this change, the Board will continue to lead the Unusual team, directing the overall strategy of the business and assessing how best to respond to all future opportunities and challenges.
“The consequences of losing AJ are great,” says Harper, “and his absence will be felt, both by his family, colleagues, and the industry as a whole for many years to come. As a business, there are obvious implications that need to be addressed which in turn, honour AJ’s wishes regarding succession. AJ shared with Peta and myself that after he was gone, Peta would become the company Chairman, and I would become the MD”.
This strategy was recently reviewed and approved by the Board, which was formed in 2018 when Unusual was faced with exponential growth, and was enhanced by further directors – Simon Stone, Steve Porter, Simon Tiernan and Tom Harper, who each took on specific leadership roles within the organisation.
Jacobi said at the time: “We needed to regenerate the thread of continuity as we move forward and continue to grow, and the Board needs to reflect this intention in the management and governance of the company. We needed a solid and secure base to guide us into the future where responsibilities are growing ever more demanding”.
“And now”, says Harper, “our industry is facing challenges never before contemplated. Yet d
UK - Long-time ETC employee Mark White has announced his retirement from the company after nearly 20 years of service.
White has worked in theatre since 1985 and was part of a team of theatre consultants at the Royal Opera House before he joined ETC Europe in October 2000, taking on the role of sales manager for the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
He has remained at ETC since and his most recent position was regional sales manager, Ireland & UK Rigging, a role in which White focussed on progressing ETC’s stage machinery offering across the UK as well as growing the business in Ireland. Following his departure, Jeremy Roberts will take on those duties.
White comments: “ETC has been a fine company to work for. I am retiring at a time of new and exciting product development in the company, which will keep ETC in pole position as the go-to suppliers of entertainment lighting.”
Darren Beckley, sales manager, ETC Ltd, says: “Mark has been an integral part of developing the company’s brand these past 20 years. We thank him for all of his efforts and wish him the very best on his retirement.”
USA - Apollo Design Technology, the manufacturer of gobos, colour filters and lights, has announced the appointments of Connor Digan and Aaron Prins to sister company, AVID Labs.
Connor Digan is named a project manager for AVID. Digan graduated from Bishop Dwenger High School in Fort Wayne, and Purdue University in West Lafayette with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering Technology.
Joel Nichols, chief innovation officer for Apollo Design and AVID, shares, "It has been great to bring on Connor. He has done a great job of ramping up, leading the AVID team and taking project management to the next level."
Aaron Prins now serves as mechanical engineer for AVID. Aaron graduated from Rose-Hulman with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 2019 with a concentration in Aerospace. Aaron did an internship at Precision Aerospace Corp last summer.
"We’re excited to have Aaron join the AVID team. He is excited to build on his aerospace engineering experience with the AVID family," states Connor. "His addition in this role strengthens the mechanical aptitude of the team. Aaron’s curiosity for product development is equally matched by his tenacious problem-solving ability. The crew and I are excited to welcome him aboard."
UK - L-Acoustics Creations has recently appointed Nick Fichte to the role of business manager.
The appointment completes the existing new business team and “positions the division to make headway in key installation markets, leveraging the relationships and knowledge that Nick has forged in his 15-year career in the AV industry”.
Fichte first stepped into the AV industry when he was still a student, applying to work for custom installer, Audio Vision. He was offered the position and boarded a flight to Turkey the following day to assist on technology integration for one of the world’s largest superyachts. This experience cemented a vocation and led to his career progressing at Audio Vision where he became store manager of one of their Bang & Olufsen dealerships. Nick later held sales roles at London-based custom installers Olive Audio Visual and Inspired Dwellings, then, prior to joining L-Acoustics, Crestron.
Fichte comments: “I am extremely excited to join such a world-renowned professional audio manufacturer to drive growth as we enter the residential and marine AV markets. With unique solutions designed for the most exclusive homes and yachts, this is going to be a great journey.”
“We are very pleased to have Nick on board,” comments Christian Heil, president and founder of L-Acoustics. “L-Acoustics Creations brings a new way to experience music and home entertainment to market. It requires rethinking current approaches which in turn requires close collaboration with integrators and end users. Fichte’s proven abilit
UK - Satore Studio has appointed Zillah Watson as Director of Content and Executive Producer. She will lead Satore’s development of virtual production and experiential content, as the company enters an ambitious new phase of growth.
Watson was Commissioning Editor for Virtual Reality at the BBC and headed up the BBC’s VR studio. She was executive producer of a number of award-winning VR experiences and led a project to push VR out to over 170 public libraries around the UK, resulting in the most comprehensive VR audience research in the UK to date.
Satore Studio combines design and technology to bring bold, beautiful concepts to life, delivering truly memorable virtual experiences from runways, stages and sets to audiences worldwide. The studio is led by creative director Tupac Martir.
Discussing Watson’s appointment, Martir said: “I am incredibly excited to be able to share this news with the community. Zillah has always been someone that we can trust on giving us the correct opinion and constructive criticism to move our projects forward. To have her as part of the Satore team brings joy and fills me with enthusiasm for what we can build together; we have become stronger and more creative with the arrival of Zillah.”
Watson brings a wealth of experience in creating and commissioning high-quality content from over 20 years in broadcasting prior to her work in VR. A former Head of Editorial Standards for Radio 4, she started her career in TV documentaries and later worked as a journalist for BBC News.
Before leading the BBC
UK - Robe UK has appointed Theresa Gibson as head of marketing. Theresa has worked across a mix of sectors including marketing / live event agencies, and also in the world of entertainment technology for a distribution company, all of which will be a “massive asset” to Robe UK, comments managing director Mick Hannaford.
“Lights set the scene, create atmosphere and can really bring any environment to life, so to be working with a market-leading moving light manufacturer is fantastic,” she commented.
Theresa will be based at Robe UK’s HQ in Northampton. The scope of her role there will include coordinating marketing activities across events, tradeshows and exhibitions, digital and social media and a range of integrated brand communications.
She will be collaborating closely with her colleagues at Robe UK as well as Robe’s international marketing / communications team to continue developing essential brand value and enhancing the company’s business opportunities in tandem with the immersive ‘end-to-end’ customer experience for which Robe is renowned.
Theresa joins Robe UK at a highly challenging time for the whole live music, show and event industry as the Coronavirus pandemic unfolds creating an extraordinary set of circumstances forcing companies, organisations and brands to revaluate their purpose and approaches to life and business.
“The quality and innovation of Robe’s products, the company’s commitment to – and valuing of – human relationships and their ability t
UK - LSi is sad to report the passing of lighting designer and Society of Television Lighting And Design (STLD) committee member Chris Harris.
He passed away on 7 April whilst being treated for COVID-19 and associated complications.
Harris had over 45 years of experience in the entertainment and broadcast industries, including 14 years at BBC's Pebble Mill Studios in Edgbaston. He had worked at most of Birmingham's leading theatres, including the Birmingham Hippodrome, the New Alexandra Theatre, the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, and the ICC. He also managed the TV studio and theatre technical departments at Rugby School for many years.
Most recently, Harris was the lighting director for Channel 5's The Gadget Show.
The STLD says in a statement: "Chris was a tireless member of our committee, giving untold hours of his time to it and travelling many miles for the STLD to arrange exhibitions promoting us. And with the hours that he had left in the day he organised membership, took an interest in student matters, and visited colleges. Chris will be a hard act to follow."
Harris' funeral will take place on 27 April at 1.30pm, but due to the UK's social distancing measures, only the closest family can attend. A memorial will be held at a later date when the restrictions are lifted.
Beyond his work in lighting, Harris was a railway enthusiast and volunteered at the South Devon Railway. Those wishing to donate in his memory should visit the test
USA - The American Society of Theatre Consultants (ASTC) has announced that at the ‘Online’ Annual Business Meeting, Jack Hagler, Todd Hensley, and R. Duane Wilson were recognised and awarded the title of Fellow of American Society of Theatre Consultants (FASTC.)
Jack Hagler, a theatre consultant for over 25 years, is a partner at Schuler Shook where he manages the Dallas office. An ASTC member since 1994, he has been the ASTC liaison to the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) since 2005. He has given educational presentations to many industry conferences across the United States.
Todd Hensley has been a theatre consultant for over 32 years and an ASTC member since 1998, during which he has served on the Board of Directors and president and is currently active on several committees. Hensley has consulted on over 400 projects with Schuler Shook where he serves as partner in their Chicago office.
R. Duane Wilson has been an ASTC member for 32 years and has served as the secretary-treasurer since 2013 providing an invaluable service to the Society. Wilson is a graduate of Yale School of Drama in Theatre Engineering, and joined theatre consultant pioneer, George C. Izenour in his practice in the mid-eighties and he remains part of the firm.
With only a maximum of three fellowships awarded every two years; only a small percentage of members attain this honour. ASTC was founded in 1983 and currently has 79 full members representing 31 consulting companies in the US and Canada.
Admitted into membership at the same meeting
USA - Martin Audio has grown its team in the US with the appointment of Will Harris as product support engineer. As the latest addition to the manufacturer’s product support group, Harris will be supporting the Martin Audio team and resellers with demos, system design and implementation. He will also commission installations and provide technical support to customers.
Harris has experienced all aspects of the pro audio industry, from musician on stage to live sound engineer as well as technical support for a high-profile manufacturer. Based in Las Vegas, he will ensure that Martin Audio’s technical support will now cover US customers coast to coast when required.
“Will is not only an experienced live sound engineer, but has experience working for a prominent manufacturer designing and supporting systems,” says Lee Stein VP of sales, North America. “Our rapid growth has required us to add additional staff to support our sales and our customers appropriately. Will has very strong technical expertise, practical experience and has held this position with another manufacturer. The fact that he’s located in Las Vegas is another plus as it expands our technical support presence across the country.”
“I joined Martin Audio to be part of their great history in music,” adds Harris. “Martin Audio has always put the musical experience first and that shows in every product we make.”
UK/USA - Green Hippo’s product specialist team has strengthened on both sides of the Atlantic with the appointments of Zep Mouris as Hippotizer product manager at its new London HQ and Nick Spencer as product specialist, based in Chicago.
The move comes as the company focuses on delivering enhancements to its range of real-time video manipulation products for the AV industries. It follows hot on the heels of a recent leadership change at Green Hippo, which saw the appointment of David March to sales and marketing director and Ryan Brown to operations and product director.
“Zep has been a cornerstone of software development since joining Green Hippo in 2013 and we’re thrilled that he now takes the role of Hippotizer product manager,” says March. “He has been instrumental in the design of many much-loved Hippotizer software innovations, including SHAPE, the advanced 3D mapping toolkit which integrates with all Hippotizer V4 Media Servers.
“We’ve worked alongside Nick on numerous projects over the years in his roles as freelance lighting and video programmer and witnessed his many talents. We welcome them both and look forward to rolling out developments for our end users born from their enthusiasm and skill.”
Spencer graduated from Western Michigan University with a BFA in Theatre: Technical Production, before freelancing for five years in video for festivals, touring productions, films, corporate events and installations.
“I met and began working closely with Green Hippo during my time with design company Dunaway Designs
USA/Europe - James ‘Graham’ Thomas, founding partner of James Thomas Engineering, has died. The industry has been paying tribute to Graham who retired from the business in 2014 when JTE became part of Area Four Industries.
“All of us at JTE were saddened to hear that Graham ‘James’ Thomas, original founding partner of James Thomas Engineering passed away overnight,” says JTE’s website. “Graham and his partner, John Walters, started JTE in Worcestershire, England in 1977 and their designs became synonymous with the growth and look of rock ‘n’ roll productions throughout the 80s & 90s, in the U.K., in the United States and across the world.
“Graham Thomas and John Walters pioneered the Thomas Spun Aluminum PAR Can and Thomas Pre Rigged Truss, making both widely available for the entire industry globally. The name Thomas is synonymous with trussing and lighting fixtures.
“Graham truly was one of the founding fathers of the truss and rigging entertainment technology industry that we know today. All of us at JTE and Area Four Industries would like to pass on our condolences to Graham’s friends and family.”
John and Graham were both in other industries and began making spun aluminium Par cans on the side, at a time when the steel Altman was the industry standard. Other UK firms were engaged and involved in the early days, but once John and Graham began mass producing PARs, James Thomas Engineering took off.
Dizzy Gosnell (then of Meteorlites) and Ronan Wilson worked with John and Graham to come up with the origi
UK - LSi is sad to report that following a long illness, Alan Jacobi LVO, the founder of Unusual Rigging, passed away peacefully at home on 13 April aged 67.
Jacobi began his career at the Old Vic. He soon moved to the lighting department of the National Theatre, under the directorship of Lord Olivier, and assisted in the theatre’s subsequent move to its current home on the South Bank. He continued to build his comprehensive technical knowledge of show production and toured the world as a freelance production electrician with theatre shows, music and concert production.
Forming Unusual Rigging in 1983, he expanded the company in 1990 to incorporate the production of large-scale national and international events.
In 2018, Jacobi was voted by his peers to receive the Gottelier Award in recognition of his work towards raising the profile and professionalism of the rigging industry. On receiving the award he said: "I am so very honoured … to know how much support I have from industry peers, friends and colleagues. They not only voted me the winner of this year's award, but have been a source of support over the years as we strive to give riggers the credit and professional respect they deserve."
Jacobi - known affectionately to many in the industry as AJ - had long championed the need for training and education in the sector and was a driving force behind the National Rigging Certificate (NRC) accreditation scheme since its inception in 2005.
Awarded an LVO in a special honours list drawn up by the Queen fo
UAE - Sonance has announced the appointment of John Dodson as the new manufacturer’s rep for the Pro Series and 100v product lines within the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa territories. Dodson assumes direct responsibility for the channel partners, consultant relationships and authorised integrators in the region.
John Dodson has been in the audio-visual field for more than 35 years and has held positions in retail and distribution with numerous well-established commercial manufacturers. With this new appointment, Dodson is tasked with cultivating and discovering new commercial audio-visual business relationships. In addition to the Sonance line of commercial-targeted audio solutions, Dodson’s product arsenal also includes microphones, amplifiers, processors, cables, connectors and technical furniture.
Regarding the new appointment, Dodson stated, “I am delighted to add the Sonance commercial products to my family of quality brands; these loudspeakers are a great fit with my existing lines, and I am looking forward to delivering them to my customers and friends around the region.”
Adrian Ickeringill, international sales director for Sonance, will manage Dodson from a Sonance product and strategy standpoint. “Having known John for years, I was only too aware of his extensive knowledge and network of customers throughout the Middle East market. We are delighted to have John on board, providing much needed focus in the Commercial market for our 100v line Pro Series, IS4C invisible series and Landscape & Omni series outdoor products.
USA - Bandit Lites has announced that long-time team member Stephanie McSpadden will be taking on a new role as a sales support manager. Her new duties will include overseeing sales invoicing, administrative support of inventory, sales project management within accounting, tax reporting, fixed asset reporting, revenue recognition and project administration.
“All these functions occur as Stephanie is seated in a position between sales and accounting,” comments Bandit Lites chair and founder Michael T. Strickland. “She is truly a hybrid leader in her functionality.”
McSpadden first joined Bandit in 2007 as the Knoxville office manager, answering phones and assisting each department as needed. She then joined the purchasing department to support inventory management and shipping followed by a move to the sales department.
“I am so very proud of Stephanie, not just for her daily accomplishments at work, but for the phenomenal task of earning an MBA while working and being a wife and mother,” adds Strickland. “Stephanie is part of a transformational team that is and has been leading Bandit to new, higher areas in business.”
Europe - Area Four Industries has announced that Eric Laanstra is the latest expert to join the Rigging Commandos, a group of specialists who present the latest developments happening in the industry.
Laanstra has been product manager at Prolyte for the past 10 years. He states: “I hope I can continue as Prolyte product manager for many years and have lots of fun with my new colleagues at Area Four Industries.”
Rigging Commandos is a group of respected experts who take an in-depth view of topics exciting interest within the industry. They identify closely with riggers and technicians and are constantly looking at ways to increase safety and efficiency at work by offering an extensive range of educative and informative videos that can be watched via A4I.tv on PCs, laptops, and mobile phones anywhere, anytime.
Europe - LED display manufacturer, Absen, has hired Philippe Poppe as its new business development manager for the Benelux region.
Poppe has a strong background in the corporate AV market, having worked at Harman, AMX, and Crestron among others, and will primarily be tasked with helping Absen to build its fixed installation business in the area. In addition, he will work closely with Absen’s local distributors and system integrators (VADs/VAPs) and help develop the company’s regional channel strategy.
Poppe started at Crestron in 2007 and was focussed on the Benelux region as a technical sales manager, before moving away from the tech side of things to work as a sales manager. In 2011, Poppe moved to AMX, which was, in turn, acquired by Harman in 2013.
“At Harman in 2018 I worked internationally in the EMEA region, specialising in the corporate, education, and government verticals,” explains Poppe. “Despite this relatively narrow focus, Harman’s vast distribution network and presence in the rental market taught me a great deal in terms of end user engagement and business development.”
In his new role at Absen, Poppe will use his in-depth knowledge of the Benelux region to effectively manage day-to-day activities with local distributor Van Domburg Partners, as well as building strong relationships with key resellers in the region; particularly those in the retail and corporate sectors.
“The Benelux market sees a lot of investment, given its relatively small geographical size,” Poppe says. “It is a very dense market,
UK - Ollie Searle has joined Stage Electrics as a service engineer working within their busy service department. As part of a team of five service engineers, Ollie will be responsible for visiting customers across the UK, maintaining and repairing a wide range of production lighting audio and video equipment.
Stage Electrics are authorised service centres for ETC, Chauvet, ChamSys, Zero 88, Avolites, Martin Professional, Vari*Lite, Strand, Yamaha, DiGiCo RCF, TecPro, Altair and Swisson brands.
“It is something I have always wanted to do. My degree was in music production and I enjoy fixing things. Both of these go hand in hand with this role,” said Ollie.
Rob Ley, service manager, comments: “Ollie brings with him experience of setting up and operating audio systems in a live sound environment, as well as diagnostic/fault-finding and workshop repair skills. He is customer focused and understands the importance of getting systems/equipment repaired with minimal downtime, making him ideally suited to the role.”
UK - Britannia Row Productions recently offered a work placement to a Year 13 Production Arts student from the BRIT School. Ethan Wells (pictured) joined the audio crew to gain hands-on experience of the 2020 BRIT Awards.
As a long-time rental supplier to the BRIT Awards, Brit Row agreed to select and include a student within their crew, resulting in a fully immersive end to end experience of a high-pressure technical delivery.
Celebrating its 40th year in February, the 2020 BRIT Awards once again hosted the best in British and international pop music, with a series of live performances from the likes of Stormzy, Billie Eilish and Dave, broadcast live to home viewers and also enjoyed by audiences in the venue.
Deploying what was undoubtedly the most complex audio system in over 20 years of partnership, including a dual L-Acoustics PA system with a 3D spatial audio solution with Out Board’s TiMax, Brit Row was also keen to evolve further and support the Brit School’s emerging talent.
To select a student entering into the professional audio industry, Brit Row Directors Nicola Amoruso and Lez Dwight conducted the interviews personally and selected Ethan first-hand. A fully engaging placement - from the very first stages of equipment prep through show prep, configuration, load in and rehearsals - Ethan was also able to take on an assisting role within the crew on show day. Afterwards, the de-rigging and warehouse return operation ensued.
Following the two-week placement, Ethan - who is in the final months of a two-year UAL Level-3 dip
UK - Rob Foster has joined the technical sales team at Stage Electrics. Foster is responsible for developing new business and maintain existing relationship with customers interested in rigging especially Prolyte, Milos and Admiral.
His new role will focus on promoting the Prolyte brand of trussing and staging and a range of associated rigging accessories from Admiral Staging.