USA - Drone show technology specialist Verge Aero recently provided its expertise in drone swarm technology to a US television show, the History Channel’s Unidentified: Inside America’s UFO Investigations.
The show follows Luis ‘Lue’ Elizondo - former director of the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Programme (AATIP), the secretive Pentagon unit that studied UFOs - as he investigates reports of unexplained aerial phenomena.
Last December, sightings of large drone formations flying over Eastern Colorado and Nebraska sparked considerable press attention. However, extensive investigations by state and federal authorities including the FAA, DOD, and FBI failed to find an explanation for the presence of the machines.
Elizondo met Verge Aero’s experts to find out more about its proprietary drone ‘swarm’ technology, and consider whether this kind of technology could give rise to UFO sightings. Could advanced drones - designed to deliver entertainment light shows - form seemingly ‘solid’ objects in the sky, and move in the ways that witnesses have reported?
To answer Elizondo’s questions, Verge Aero flew a swarm of drones to demonstrate their formation capabilities. The flight attracted onlookers who pulled off the nearby road to figure out what was happening in the deserted New Jersey field. When interviewed, some said they had thought they were seeing a UFO.
Elizondo concludes: “These things are manoeuvring so precisely in the air that the eye actually believes there’s a solid object that is holding these
Poland - Bedoes is one of the most popular rappers in Poland and boasts many collaborations with popular Polish singers.
On 18 September, he held an open-air gig in Warsaw, the last date on the Opowieści z doliny smoków (Tales from the land of dragons) tour.
“The tour started in January 2020, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic we were forced to postpone the last two shows until the end of summer” said Szymon Płotkowski, lighting designer who oversaw the project.
“While designing a lighting plot for this tour, I wanted to reflect the dark atmosphere of the album (medieval, fantasy references), adding some glamour when needed. That's why I used Prolights SunBlasts 3000FC in the basic plot. These fixtures gave me the opportunity to have ‘dirty’ wash sidelight, fancy pixel effects and powerful strobes. A huge range of amazing effects all from one fixture. Super useful in smaller venues.
“During the tour we didn't use front lights at all. The idea was to use only footlights and this time I decided to make use of brand new Prolights EclCyclorama 100. With these products I was not only able to recreate warm tungsten-like light, but also to change slightly feeling of the show by using colours instead of white footlight.
These projectors provide an amazing brightness and beautiful colours, and thanks to their wide range of effects there's no limit to a lighting designer's imagination. That's why I can easily imagine further uses of Prolights fixtures in my future projects.”
USA - To bring the energy and excitement of a typical basketball experience to an NBA season that was anything but typical, Firehouse Productions deployed two complete Harman Professional Solutions audio systems featuring JBL Professional loudspeakers and Crown amplifiers.
Due to restrictions on large gatherings related to COVID-19, the NBA decided to proceed with the 2019/20 season without fans present. To safely accommodate players, staff and support crews, the NBA set up a strict isolation ‘bubble’ at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World. Teams began playing 30 July at the 8,000-seat AdventHealth Arena and 5,000-seat HP Field House venues with audiences of just a few hundred essential personnel.
To ensure uncompromised, high-impact sound for the dramatically reduced crowds, NBA officials turned to Firehouse Productions, who have been providing sound reinforcement for NBA games for more than a decade. To deliver a dynamic experience while retaining intelligibility under strict volume limits and preventing bleed onto the court, Firehouse Productions deployed JBL VTX V20 line array loudspeakers and VTX S25 subwoofers powered by Crown I-Tech HD Series amplifiers.
“The NBA has a very strict 85 dB limit on the PA system, so intelligibility becomes everything,” said Mark Dittmar, vice president, Firehouse Productions. “When you can go up to 100 dB, you don't need as much intelligibility, because you can just turn it up and people can hear it. When you have an 85 dB limit, that's a very different game. You need to be inte
UK - Scottish lighting trail Wondrous Woods has secured a corporate sponsor for their relaxed performance evening in October. The lighting trail, being organised by Edinburgh event company 21CC Group opens its gates at Hopetoun House on 21 October promising “2km of beautifully-lit woodland trails and a magical safe night out for families”.
Organiser, Geoff Crow of 21CC Group says: “We understand that the multi-sensory nature of the environment may cause sensory overload in those with Autism or other sensory processing disorders, so on Tuesday 27 October we are reducing capacity, decreasing the sound levels, and increasing the lighting levels to ensure the best possible experience for our guests. All of this is only possible with the support we have secured from Walter Scott; we are delighted that they are on board with us, allowing us to bring this event to those who may have ordinarily decided not to attend.”
A spokesperson from Walter Scott adds: “The Walter Scott Giving Group is proud and delighted to support this ground-breaking event. This relaxed performance is a tremendous opportunity to raise accessibility and inclusivity for all children and young people and enabling them to share and enjoy this wonderful Wondrous Woods experience.”
Crow continues: “In a year where there have been so few events, it is hugely encouraging to have secured a corporate sponsor that allows us to deliver this relaxed evening at a significantly reduced ticket price. With this addition to our programme, we are now opening the gates for a fantastic 18 n
UK - Having worked on the show’s previous series, White Light recently supplied the technical system to run all the visual content on the latest socially distanced series of The Russell Howard Hour. The company also helped create the technical set-up of the show’s newly built lockdown studio, Your Questions Room.
WL has worked on The Russell Howard Hour for the past two years, having initially being approached by the show’s production company Avalon. The company’s role is to provide a system to run all of the content being sent to the screens throughout the studio. This includes those positioned behind Russell Howard which act as his backdrop and a point of reference for most segments.
WL’s key account manager for broadcast Ian Charlampowicz explains: "The content used is based on a main run of the show but changes every week depending on what topics were being discussed. As we live in a world where so much is changing day in, day out, we had to utilise a system that would respond quickly to any last-minute changes. As such, on the day of recording, our team, led by Lee Woodger and Alex Loftie, has to program in new bits of content for that day’s show which often includes different guest introductions, updating the topic images and, from time to time, adding an entirely new section."
One of the most important aspects of WL’s role is to create a relaxed, helpful environment for Russell Howard which allows him to feel at ease and completely confident that no disruptions will occur; hence he can focus solely on presenting t
USA - When they invested in Martin Audio’s large format Wavefront Precision Longbow (WPL) early last year, Virginia-based Southard Audio became the first of two co-operative live event production companies in the US to acquire the line array.
Servicing a wide range of events in the mid-Atlantic region, Southard found much of their workload in the surrounding East Coast states cut off after COVID-19 struck … and even in the academic sector - a market segment in which they are usually particularly active - the normally busy Orientation Events week was virtually wiped out.
One that did go ahead, albeit under heavily moderated conditions, was Bridgewater College. The presence of COVID-19 meant an enlarged role for Southard at this Liberal Arts institution, as the students were divided into pods and the classrooms were moved outside onto two large grassy spaces providing plenty of room for social distancing.
Each of the two back-to-back main stages contained a pod for 250 students, with a road running between, respectively serviced by Martin Audio WPL and WPS rigs. However, it was not without its challenges.
Southard Audio managing partner and operations manager, Jason Misterka, noted that the College wanted to avoid either of the stages feeling like a ‘second stage’.
“We used a wireless HD video stream to cross the street, and a wireless audio stream as a redundant, allowing announcements to be made locally from either stage,” he explained. “The internet hit the WPL stage and multiparty Zoom calls were shown on both large LED w
UK - As the outbreak of COVID-19 across the globe saw the entire UK go into lockdown late March 2020, the last six months has forced both a sudden hiatus and transformation of the live events industry.
In response, Creative Technology (CT) has moved virtual event technology to the centre of its offering.
CT has expanded its in-house facilities which includes a XR studio powered by the Unreal engine, a fully fitted remote production gallery, two additional remote production suites and two COVID-secure socially distanced performance spaces - all based at its offices in London, Gatwick.
Says the company, “The ability to record, edit, and live stream content all in one location has allowed us to create some extraordinary events, reaching thousands across the globe. From demanding and complex streaming events such as a virtual event for international blue chip company, which saw CT delivering three simultaneous 90 minute live virtual shows twice over one day in six different languages for client, BK Events, to the Human Rights Watch fundraiser which gained over 11,000 viewers across the day raising nearly $8,000,000 for the cause.”
Another event that made use of CT’s newest facilities was Katherine Jenkins’ live sing-along, powered by Vodafone. The opera singer’s home performance was streamed to thousands of people via Facebook Live and into over 100 care homes across the UK and was a huge success.
In August, CT hosted the AIM Independent Music Awards, presented by Tiffany Calvert who was joined by a selection of award-winning artis
Germany - Decisions often involve a trade-off, as taking steps to address one challenge may complicate another. Philipp Reister, the event technician at the famed Hochschule für Musik Freiburg, understands this issue first hand.
Reister values the flexibility of moving fixtures, especially since changing lights on the Z Bridge at the school’s performance hall is a time-consuming process involving a mobile crane. On the other hand, the moving fixtures that had previously been installed at the school, while providing the desired flexibility, raised the issue of noise.
In the past Reister and the team at Hochschule für Musik Freiburg have worked diligently to balance these issues. This summer they enlisted the help of a new “partner” to their cause: the Chauvet Professional Maverick Silens 2 Profile.
“We needed to improve our flexibility because our hall is a fixed installation,” said Reister. “Therefore, we have relied on moving heads, which are flexible in all areas - as spots but also as wash and with colours. However, some of the events we have also demand absolute silence. This is why we were so happy to see the new Maverick moving profiles. The Silens are as promised: they are operating completely in silence, especially when their Absolute Silence mode is enabled.”
The Z Bridge at the school’s hall is divided into three sections, with a single Maverick Silens 2 Profile controlled via sACN, positioned in each. Reister is quick to point out that the value of these fixtures extends far beyond their flexibility and silent op
USA - The iHeartRadio Music Festival marked its tenth anniversary virtually this year recording its headline artists live, with no audiences, in Los Angeles and Nashville. Lighting designer Matthew Ardine handled the LA portion of the show, which hosted Miley Cyrus, Migos, Alicia Keys, Swae Lee, Khalid and Usher at the iHeartRadio Theatre. He utilised an array of Claypaky fixtures, which are part of the theatre’s rep plot.
The two-day mega-concert was live streamed on 18-19 September and viewable on The CW app; it was broadcast on The CW and iHeartRadio stations nationwide.
Ardine has been one of the iHeartRadio Theatre’s lighting designers for about six years. He designed the base rig for the 2020 festival then worked with each individual artist’s team to create a look for the performer’s brand.
“For the main iHeartRadio Festival design, two of my goals was to give each artist a unique look and to give every camera angle a full background,” Ardine explains. “The set was built for us to look 360°, surround in LED video walls. We have a rep plot for the space for normal shows that are on the 40 x 20ft stage with an audience. But for this show, we ripped out the stage and did a 360º set that filled the whole stage area and audience floor. The rep plot wasn’t effective with this new setup, so we took down every light, moved it to a new position then rented another 200 lights to fill the space.”
Ardine believes that not having an audience for the show “really opened up the creative possibilities. For my whole career I have fo
USA - To coincide with major investment in its infrastructure, the vibrant Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas has upgraded its TiMax SoundHub immersive audio processor to include the all-new HARDCore FPGA audio processing platform.
The upgrade provides extended delay-matrix crosspoint memory of up to one second, plus new ultra-smooth holistic delay-panning algorithms across the street’s vast and unusual 52.4 channel audio system. With 26 pairs of loudspeakers distributed down the five-city-block space, the powerful new TiMax platform updates extend the necessary resources needed to deliver fully immersive dynamic effects spatialisation for the huge scale of the street’s stunning show content.
TiMax also handles basic routing and housekeeping for all audio aspects of Fremont Street’s daily activities. The browser-based TiMax Portal bespoke touch-screen controller enables mode-selection of background music, audio mix assignment and imaging between three different live stages, plus focussing to a DJ stage as well as various performers and events on the street.
Marketing and creative agency, Contend, won the bid to create content for the screen’s brand-VivaVision public launch event. 1602 Group’s, Duncan Crundwell, TiMax partner for the United States, worked with Contend’s audio engineer, Dave Wein, to provide TiMax workflow familiarisation and programming assistance. Between them they rendered the immersive sound fields using the tightly integrated TiMax PanSpace and TimeLine tools, animating them through the length of the str
Canada - North America’s National Hockey League (NHL) returned to play without live audiences but with massive enthusiasm, determination and impressive TV and online followings - for the 2020 Stanley Cup playoff series which had been suspended in April during the coronavirus pandemic.
Lighting equipment was supplied by Solotech and included over 200 Robe moving lights - a mix of Pointes, Spiiders and Tarrantulas used by lighting designer Tom Kenny.
The 24-team playoff format (comprising Eastern and Western Conferences) was staged in two Canadian hub cities - Edmonton and Toronto - over two months, running as two complete Covid-secure ‘bubbles’ for production teams, players, coaches and other associated personnel.
Tom was asked to design lighting for the two arenas - Scotiabank in Toronto and Rogers Place in Edmonton - working closely with production designer Gary Wichansky of Seattle based Hotopp. The two have collaborated in these capacities on several previous NHL projects, and together they crafted the production design for clients, the NHL entertainment team of Steve Mayer, Rachel Segal, Bob Chesterman, John Bochiaro and Renee Riva.
The overall production offered what is currently a rare and much-appreciated opportunity for some of the industry’s highly skilled creatives and technicians to work through the months of July and August.
The production featured crews across all disciplines and departments who had been integral to many of the highest-profile tours on the road in March when the industry ground to a halt.
USA - When explaining how he designed Price Tower in Bartlesville, OK, Frank Lloyd Wright described it as a “tree-like mast” supported by a central trunk of four elevators shafts anchored by a deep central foundation. The arrangement made it possible for the building’s 19 concrete floors to extend outward like cantilevered branches of a tree reaching over 220ft to the sky.
Today, 64 years after its completion, the only skyscraper designed by Wright inspires as powerfully as ever, reflecting its creator’s belief that “all fine architectural values are human values”. This spirit was celebrated in September when the noted building glowed in vivid colours in honour of Pride Month with help from a collection of Chauvet Professional fixtures supplied by GW Illumination.
“This project was initiated by the Bartlesville Chapter of Oklahomans for Equality for Pride Month,” said Price Connors, education and outreach specialist at the Price Tower Arts Centre. “The City of Bartlesville proclaimed Bartlesville Pride Month in September (postponed from June, because of COVID-19), and Price Tower Arts Centre graciously supported their wish to light the Tower in a show of support. Marty Smith and Rick Lloyd were also essential to this project.”
The many of the distinctive features that endow Price Tower with its power to inspire, presented challenges to the design team, which was led by John Gasche, Technical Director of GW Illumination.
“Price Tower is a masterpiece, but from a lighting point of view, it’s not an easy building because
Poland - Brzeg Cultural Centre is a local institution which offers a number of artistic and interdisciplinary activities, such as dance, theatre, music and sculpture classes, as well as a lot of cultural events. At the end of August 2020, it was fully equipped with a spread of Prolights products.
Kuba Czarnik, production manager for Show Design, Prolights distributor for Poland said: “Brzeg Cultural Centre is, like any other community centre, very important for the district, where it is located. It is here, where social awareness and sensitivity to art and culture are built. We are glad that we were able to help in the development of this institution with Prolights.
“So, we decided to make use of a lot of Prolights solutions to light up the hall. In particular, we installed eight Luma 1500SH with animation module as front lights and above the stage, four Diamond 19 and two Diamond 37 as wash lights plus optional beam and pixel effect when needed; 10x EclProfile FC as coloured front lights; eight Ecl HD2TU as white front lights; 12x EclFresnel TW in the stage area and on mounted on trusses above the audience; six EclFresnel TU as white fresnel lights; 12x Pixie Zoom mounted on side trusses to decrease shadows as well as to provide additional possibilities; 10x LumiPar 12HPro as wash lights.
“The request from the client was to create a versatile rig able to be used as a standard theatre stage as well as a concert stage. We focused on finding a balance between these two requirements and now the stage is really useful in any situation.
Greece - Allen & Heath systems mixed at both ends of the digital snake for platinum-selling singer, Eleonora Zouganeli’s summer 2020 Namaste tour of her native Greece. The tour played to appreciative audiences in 1,500 - 2,500 capacity outdoor venues, navigating the challenges of changing government restrictions and local interpretations of the rules.
Zouganeli’s long-standing FOH engineer, Brian Coon specified the mixing system, which was supplied by rental company, Backstage Services, based in Perama-Piraeus.
A dLive DM48 MixRack was the heart and brains of the system, providing a split over A&H’s GigaACE protocol to a dLive S5000 surface on monitors and a compact SQ-7 console at FoH. The SQ-7 had been treated to the full DPack upgrade, allowing Brian to employ many of his favourite dLive processing models.
Having worked with many other industry standard consoles in the past, A&H has become Brian’s console of choice. “I have been trying to use Allen & Heath consoles since I first encountered dLive three years ago,” he explains. “I immediately loved the sound, the workflow, the effects and the compressors, dynamic EQs and everything. The monitor engineer hadn’t encountered the current generation of A&H mixers before this tour and he was also very pleased with the sound, the headroom and the effects. Our artist noticed the difference right away too.”
The channel count for the singer and her five backing musicians reached 32 inputs, including four for the main vocalist (AES, analogue, spare and comms chann
UK - With the demand for virtual events rising during the Coronavirus pandemic, lighting and audio specialists Audio Visual Live (AVL) have created a multi-purpose studio space, with Vista by Chroma-Q handling all of the lighting control requirements.
The new AVL Studio is located in Slough, Berkshire and offers a well thought out studio space, which can be used for a simple rehearsal right up to a full music video or corporate presentation.
Normally used to servicing the corporate events and live performance sector, AVL managing Director Kristian Ardley comments: “With the pandemic in full effect we wanted to put our professional inventory of lighting, video and audio equipment to good use and add another revenue stream to the company. The studio was the obvious choice.”
The 9.5m x 6m black box studio ‘house rig’ features lighting products from well-known lighting brands with the option to add additional staging and full web streaming capabilities.
Ardley continues: “One of the big things that we wanted to do was to ensure we got the lighting right. We therefore enlisted the help of lighting designer Robert Price, who we have trusted and worked with on a number of large projects in the past, to specify the control system and design/program the studio looks. The main requirement was that it had to be something that could eventually be operated by someone with limited technical knowledge, but yet still deliver on our high production values.”
Price chose to use a Vista by Chroma-Q touch screen system combined with a Vista EX
USA - Bandit Lites and Moo TV are offering another collaboration at Bandit’s Venue One space, complete with a full lighting and video setup. With 10,000sq.ft of open space, clients will have access to the industry’s best in lighting and video.
The lighting system is comprised of six 20ft curved towers each loaded with Chauvet R2X wash, Chauvet R1 FXB and Chauvet RH1 Hybrid fixtures topped with an Elation Smarty Hybrid. The front 25ft truss has GLP X4 wash units and a BMFL spot controlled by the Robe RoboSpot system, while a rear centre Robe BMFL spot is also on the RoboSpot system. In the centreis a 10ft circle loaded with more Chauvet R2X washes and Ayrton Magic Dots as well as a 36” mirror ball on its own chain hoist.
The entire system is laced with 500ft of TMB LED programmable festoons. Base Hazer Pro units provide the haze, and all of this is controlled with a grandMA2 full size desk running 22.214.171.124 software.
Booking Venue One includes access to the fully-outfitted, massive production space, as well as virtual programming suites, two loading docks and a ramp for a quick and easy load-in and loadout, high-speed Wi-Fi access, dressing room, kitchen areas and private restrooms. The turnkey package includes room rental with power, access to above amenities, the Bandit Lites lighting rig and Moo TV video panels as well as two lighting tech leads and one video engineer.
Clients will also save on load in and load out, as all the gear is already installed. Optional services are also available, including livestream services, additional ligh
Singapore - The Star Performing Arts Centre in Singapore has taken its first-ever stock of Ayrton LED moving heads with the recent addition of Ayrton Khamsin profile fixtures to its lighting inventory. Forty-four Khamsin-S and 6 Khamsin-TC fixtures were supplied to the landmark venue by Ayrton’s exclusive distributor for the region, Total Solution Marketing.
The majority of its new Khamsin profiles have been installed in the 5000-seat Star Theatre, The Star Performing Arts Centre’s key venue, which prides itself on its state-of-the-art stage technology. The Star Theatre hosts a wide range of amplified music and speech events, including large scale, high-profile conferences, pop concerts and dance performances, and recently hosted the Singapore National Day 2020 Concert.
“The Khamsins are mainly rigged on overhead fly bars and FOH trusses from where they facilitate the multiplicity of diverse events that happen here,” says head of lighting, Mohamad Azhar Bin Mazlan. New Creation Church holds its weekly Sunday service at the venue which provides an opportunity for Khamsin’s capabilities to truly enrich the experience. “The Khamsin-TC profiles are used as the pastor’s key light during the service, with the Khamsin-S fixtures used primarily for effects and occasional supplementary key light,” continues Azhar.
Ayrton Khamsin was chosen after the team at The Star Performing Arts Centre carried out comprehensive research to find LED moving head replacements for the venue’s existing inventory of 1.2kW discharge fixtures. “Our original o
USA - The organisers of the aptly name Pizza Stock fundraiser, which took place at the Events United Studio Lab in Derry, NH, were given the opportunity to create their own graphics for the 52.5’ wide by 13’ tall video wall that served as the backdrop for their livestreamed fundraiser broadcast.
Inspired, the charity organizers came up with an engaging graffiti-like display that wove myriad images together on the massive 7.2m-pixel curved wall made of Chauvet Professional F2 LED panels.
“The folks from Pizza Stock were impressed by how clean their graphics looked on the wall, both in person and to the livestream audience,” said Tim Messina, owner of Events United. “This annual event raises funds for mental health and suicide prevention. The video wall allowed them to acknowledge all of their sponsors without taking anything away from the crisp appearance of the programme.”
For the Studio Lab team, having a backdrop with such a wide variety of images offered the added benefit of allowing them to expand their lighting palette. “The wide range of colors on the video wall actually freed us up to use more creative colours in the lighting, because we were not limited to the two or three colours that often define the entire pallet in corporate shows,” said Ryan Lane, lighting designer for the show.
The livestream’s lighting rig featured 27 Rogue R1 Wash fixtures, which were used for general stage washing, and 24 Maverick Mk2 Spot fixtures that provided front light and effects. Also included were 14 Colorado Solo Battens for floor l
India - Sound Frame recently outfitted Lord of the Drinks’ Kolkata location with a complete Harman Professional audio system.
With 12 outlets across India, Lord of the Drinks is one of the most highly rated nightclubs in the country. Located in the South City Mall, Lord of the Drinks Kolkata is a new fine dining lounge and bar that becomes a high-energy nightclub in the evenings. With ceilings stretching over 24ft above its patrons, it’s the tallest bar in Kolkata. Lord of the Drinks hired Sound Frame to install a state-of-the-art sound system that wouldn’t distract from the aesthetics of the elegant design.
It was imperative that Sound Frame worked around the height of the space as well as an elevated DJ booth and bar seating. They also had to ensure that the sound system would not obstruct important decorative elements on the walls, a request from the designer of the space. To accomplish this, Sound Frame worked within the space restrictions and negotiated with the Lord of the Drinks’ designer to situate the sound system. They were able to carve out space in the smoke lounge for the main front of house subwoofers and loudspeakers were set in place via a steel-rope suspension method rather than traditional wall mounts.
“The client requested a versatile solution that could deliver superior sound through the venue,” said Milind Raorane, electro-acoustic design consultant, Sound Frame. “The JBL Professional networked audio system we installed ensures class-leading tonal quality, power response and sustainability. This dynamic setup prov
Spain - It’s approaching a year since Spanish lighting designer Juanjo Llorens first compiled his design for Circo de Hielo 2, the latest winter show from Madrid-based Productores de Sonrisas (Smile Producers), creators of large scale multidisciplined extravaganzas like Circo de Los Horrores and many others.
The newest arena show, directed by Suso Silva, played in a bespoke 1,800-capacity circular tent that was erected for the run of shows at IFEMA Madrid that combined premium ice skating with acrobatics, breath-taking stunts – including a skater fighting with a violinist playing live - and heaped with theatricality, pumping live music and visuals.
Juanjo chose 40 x Robe LEDBeam 150s, 24 MegaPointe and 24 Spiider moving lights to be central to his lighting rig, and these were purchased for the run of shows by Productores de Sonrisas.
Right now, the producers, creative team, technicians, and cast are anxiously awaiting a possible announcement of dates for 2021, when this mega production can hopefully be reprised after its original run from November 2019 to February 2020.
The final performance portentously finished just before the live entertainment industry worldwide was shot down with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
Juanjo has worked on several previous Productores de Sonrisas productions, a challenge he always enjoys, and his first ice show for them was in 2016. The new tented venue for this one was also designed to provide more precise rigging positions to accommodate the various technical disciplines – lig
USA - “You can tell a successful church just from the vibe,” said Mark Salamone, sales manager at All Pro Integrated Systems. “The first time I visited Wellspring Community Church in Ruskin, Florida, they had a red movie theatre carpet, velvet ropes, popcorn, and Star Wars stuff for the kids. There were a lot of young families, and it felt progressive and brimming with good energy.
“The service was amazing - full hands-in-the-air singing from everyone led by a charismatic pastor and a praise band loaded with talented musicians. The sound system was just ok, but Preston Eaves, technical arts director, was squeezing everything he could out of it. In terms of community service, Wellspring made it clear that they weren’t just talking the talk – they are actively working to improve access to the material and spiritual needs of the community.”
Salamone, who has a long history of critical listening in the role of recording and mixing engineer, attended that service in anticipation of Wellspring’s move to a new, larger sanctuary that would eventually benefit from Danley Sound Labs point-source loudspeakers, subwoofers, and DSP-enabled amplifiers. Wellspring Community Church’s existing sanctuary held only 180 people, and congregants were regularly overflowing into the lobby even though the church was holding five all-live services every weekend.
“We could see where we were at and where we were going, and a bigger space was definitely needed,” explained Eaves. “Our new sanctuary seats 550. We have a high-energy praise band with drums,
Belgium - During a career that has seen him work on TV specials like European Commission’s Presidential Debate, and popular programmes, including Dancing With The Stars Belgium and Liefde voor Muziek, Michiel Milbou has built a reputation for his key lighting.
However, in his recent project, Belgium’s version of The Masked Singer, Milbou got to depart from his usual concerns about getting the talent’s face lit “just right”.
“There were no faces to light in this show, since everyone was wearing a mask,” said Milbou, the founder and owner of Never Fear Shadows. “That was very different, and in many ways a nice change, since it opened up many creative possibilities. It allowed us to go with colours that matched the masks without worrying about key lighting faces. So, if there was a character with blue mask, we could hit it with various blues, something we couldn’t do to a face. We used Follow-Me software to track the masked characters on stage so we could keep all kinds of different effects on them.”
Providing the colourful light that enlivened the masks and famous costumes of contestants were 27 Chauvet Professional Maverick MK3 Profiles, which, like the other fixtures in the rig, were supplied by Splendit. “We used the MK3 Profile as our front light,” said Milbou. “Its CMY + CTO colour mixing and zoom ratio were helpful in giving us creative options.”
The interplay of colours on the masked characters’ faces was only one of the flourishes that Milbou and his team brought to their design for the
UK - The UK’s first dedicated socially-distanced music venue since the COVID-19 pandemic began recently opened its gates in Newcastle, presenting a programme of top line acts, and equipped with a premium festival kit list provided by AV company, Kingdom Services, centred around DiGiCo SD10 mixing consoles managing FOH and monitor sound.
Located in the city’s Gosforth Park racing ground, the Virgin Money Unity Arena consists of a pop-up amphitheatre, with 500 separate elevated viewing platforms spaced two metres apart, and hosting a maximum of 2,500 people. Local hero, Sam Fender, headlined the first two sold-out shows, followed by a diverse line-up of artists including Van Morrison, Maximo Park, Alfie Boe, Ronan Keating, comedians Jimmy Carr and Bill Bailey, as well as the Bongo Bingo dance phenomenon.
“Originally, the series of events was going to be a drive through format but remarkably the organiser, SSD Concerts, managed to devise the biggest socially-distanced live event in the country, so that we are able to safely and practically run four events a week over a five-week period,” explains Kingdom Services’ MD John Smith.
Kingdom Services is an AV supplier based in Northallerton in North Yorkshire, with a high spec, premium brand stock list, which includes eight DiGiCo consoles.
“This was the first time we have worked with SSD, a Newcastle-based promoter which organises festivals in the area. We started discussing the logistics of live event production in the current climate several months ago,” says Smith. “Like many in
World - In a collective show of solidarity, live events professionals from all corners of the world held peaceful demonstrations to once again raise awareness of the dire effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the sector and its workforce.
The #WeMakeEvents #StandAsOne Global Day of Action held yesterday, 30 September, was the single largest coordinated global event to take place since the campaign launched in the summer.
Just as with the regional events that preceded it, the demo saw thousands of cultural buildings being lit up in red, whilst the #WeMakeEvents and #LightItInRed hashtags trended on social media.
Campaigners have continued to push for state support for an industry that’s been unable to resume sustainably due to COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings. After more than six months of uncertainty, the future of a once-thriving sector and its workforce has been further threatened as a second spike in cases has seen restrictive measures being re-introduced by governments.
A raft of celebrities and artists endorsed the campaign, including Coldplay, Radiohead, Elbow, Mumford & Sons, Melanie C, Noel Gallagher and His High Flying Birds, James Bay, Frank Turner, Keane, The Libertines, Faithless, Massive Attack, The Happy Mondays, Biffy Clyro, Madness, Fatboy Slim, Skunk Anansie, and many more.
Glastonbury Festival’s Emily Eavis also shared a message of support: "Right now, tens of thousands of people who carry the UK's hugely successful live music and events industry are out of work, through absolutely no fault of their own. The m