UK - Digital agency Dept has partnered with Extended Reality (xR) pioneers disguise and games developer Epic Games to launch an xR experience helping brands better understand how the metaverse can transform the way people play, shop, interact and consume media.
Hosted by Isabel Perry, director of technology at marketing technology agency Byte (part of Dept), and held on disguise's xR stage in London, the real-time xR experience took exclusive attendees on a journey through the metaverse to show marketers how xR can create ‘truly spectacular live brand experiences and ultra-efficient production capabilities’. Dept co-hosted the event with disguise.
Perry took viewers on a journey, opening the experience in a seemingly simple Zoom call which soon transformed into a fantastical xR world featuring stunning interstellar spaces, waterfalls, gravity-defying cars, a fashion show where Perry chose her virtual outfit in real-time and a scene that showed her taking selfies in different locations before seamlessly uploading the images to social media. Throughout the experience, Perry interacted with virtual elements, showcasing newly enhanced ‘occlusion’ capabilities in Augmented Reality (AR) by creating the illusion she was walking around the items, even though they didn’t physically exist.
The experience ended with a panel discussion between Isabel Perry herself; Paul Doyle – director, Product Marketing & Business Strategy at Epic Games’ Unreal Engine; Tom Rockhill – chief commercial officer at disguise; plus Louis de Castro, CEO, and Q
Belgium - Although Antwerp’s Olympisch Stadion was built as the main location of 1920’s Summer Olympics, it remains one of the city’s landmarks today, thanks to its status as the home base for local football team, K.Beerschot V.A. When the stadium’s management came to a point where they could no longer continue with their outdated sound system, they called on audio experts PFL and Face Projects to assist.
“PFL – one of our preferred dealers – came to us for advice on their design and budget in reference to renewing the stadium’s existing sound system, which was about 25 years old at the time,” said Steven Kemland, manager at Face Projects. “Beerschot wanted to have an installation to improve quality of speech and to be able to play a good ambient sound; the latter of which was not really possible with the old system.
“From the first design we were able to answer all their questions within the budget they had in mind, so we were not forced to make any backup plans.”
The system would need to transmit both speech and energising music, with volume and fidelity key aspects in setting the right ambiance, allowing spectators and football team to perform at their best.
The team chose three Powersoft’s Quattrocanali 8804 DSP + Dante to drive the 25 x Martin Audio CDD15-WR and 17 x CDD10-WR (which are used as delay). This is controlled by a Dynacord Matrix made up of an MXE5 mix engine and a pair of TPC-1 touch panel controllers, as well as Van Damme LSZH Speaker Cables.
“We love Powersoft and the people involved,”
Europe - An illuminated trail of 105 x Astera AX3 ‘beacons’ fitted with custom firmware from the manufacturer was set up along a 58-kilometre stretch of the Danish / German border as part of Genforeningen 2020, a series of events celebrating the centenary of the reunification of Southern Jutland with the kingdom of Denmark. This took place following a referendum in 1920.
The event was captured on film and camera by various drones, aircraft and ground-based photographers, videographers and members of the public along the way, whose images were hash-tagged and posted on social media raising awareness and excitement of the event.
Technical production and rental specialist All Stage ApS, based in Varde was approached by the Barbara Simonsen Theatre in Aarhus to assist in the realisation of this ambitious and fun lighting installation project. The border of beacons was designed by Line Lybek Witt from the Theatre and All Stage ApS’s Anders Kruse and organised by Teater Seachange.
It was originally planned for 2020, but postponed due to the pandemic.
Anders Kruse was delighted to take up the challenge – the Barbara Simonsen Theatre team had found them from looking on Astera’s website – as they have a large stock of Astera products.
The 105 x AX3s were placed along the route on 105 specially selected – and accessible – border stones out of the 280 that mark the boundary between Denmark and Germany.
When darkness fell on 8 May, the boundary was lit up and energised in a line of snaking lights extending from Skomagerhus
The Netherlands - Zodiac The Musical is a new musical produced by Peet Nieuwenhuijsen, directed by William Spaaij and staged at the Koepelgevangenis, a former prison in Breda, which provides the backdrop to this entertaining piece set in 2031 and focussed on a number of human, political and environmental issues.
Lighting designer Marc Heinz was among a team working under the technical production umbrella of Unlimited Productions – also based in Breda – helping to deliver this new work.
He and technical production manager Michiel van der Zijde – representing Unlimited Productions together with Jeffrey Kranen and Luc Huisman – also designed the set, and Marc specified 32 of Robe’s recently launched new T2 Profile fixture for the project, together with 50 x Robe Spiider LED wash beams and assorted other lighting fixtures.
Marc and his assistant designer Jordy Veenstra, Michiel and the entire production team were delighted to be back working on a show after a long break due to the pandemic, and particularly in such a special space.
The prison was designed by Johan Fredrik Metzelaar and opened in 1886 based on a panopticon design, whereby the activities of four stories of cells could be observed by a minimal contingent of guards stationed in the centre. The Koepelgevangenis complex was designated a national monument in 2001 and housed a women's prison until 2013 before closing completely two years later. Since 2018, it has been temporarily used as an event space, waiting for a new owner and a renovation plan.
USA - As the Times Square ball drop is for New Year’s Eve, and The Tournament of Roses Parade for New Year’s Day, the Boston Pops 4th July Spectacular has become an indelible part of Independence Day celebrations across the USA. Even a temporary change of venue couldn’t diminish the power of this association.
Although it was moved 130 miles from its traditional home at the Hatch Memorial Shell on the banks of the Charles River to the Koussevitzky Music Shed in Tanglewood this year as a safety precaution against COVID, the nationally televised concert was as rousing as ever, as it helped millions across the country celebrate the American spirit past, present, and future.
Contributing to the experience for those in attendance at Tanglewood, and the millions more watching on television and via livestream was a lighting design by Michael Berger, anchored by over 270 Chauvet Professional fixtures supplied by 4Wall Entertainment.
“Our team was intrigued by the opportunity to work in a new venue this year. While the show was a great success – we can’t wait to return to the banks of the Charles in 2022,” said Berger of Innovative Intensity, Inc. “At the shed in Tanglewood, we had to stretch our normal rig out over a larger space. A greater number of light sources were essential to creating the impact on television, as well as for those in the audience.”
Filling a variety of roles in Berger’s lighting design were the 38 Maverick MK3 Wash fixtures in his rig. Hung on overhead rigging, in addition to being positioned throughout the ho
Switzerland - The Montreux Jazz Festival has launched its 55th edition which runs until 17 July, with Meyer Sound returning for its 35th year as a strategic partner and official sound provider. Although scaled back with fewer venues and lower capacities to meet local health and safety guidelines, the long-established Swiss festival nevertheless promises a new audience experience as the principal venue moves outdoors to the scenic shoreline of Lake Geneva.
“This year we reimagined the festival to adapt to the times,” says Marco Güntensperger, production manager for the festival. “It was a major challenge, so it was great to again collaborate with our long-time partner, Meyer Sound. Their team was instrumental in finding the best audio solutions, such as at the new Lake Stage, to ensure a great experience for artists and fans alike.”
The Meyer Sound system at the Lake Stage is based around Meyer Sound Leopard line arrays for the mains, with deep bass support from 900‑LFC low-frequency control elements. Ultra‑X40 and Ultra‑X20 - Meyer Sound’s newest point source loudspeakers - are deployed to cover the outer seating terraces. The Lake Stage, with seating for 500, hosts most of this year’s headline acts, including Camélia Jordana, Zucchero, Woodkid, and Ibrahim Maalouf.
“It feels great to be out doing live music again,” says José Gaudin, a Meyer Sound technical support specialist who also has mixed FOH for the festival since 2007. “The new Lake Stage is very impressive. When the sun sets over the lake with the concert going, i
Belgium - Jonas Weyn of Art & Yes and his team demonstrated recently created a new lighting and set design for Campus Cup, a popular game show that has teams of college students match wits and knowledge against one another.
Now in its third series, Campus Cup has moved from Canvas TV to the more highly watched Eén channel. To mark the move, production company Woestijnvis asked Arf & Yes, which has worked on the show from the beginning, to come up with a new look while keeping a consistent theme with previous seasons.
Weyn and the Arf & Yes team, which includes lighting director Dirk Declercq and lighting operator Jarmo De Blaeij, obliged with a design featuring Chauvet Professional ÉPIX fixtures.
Last season, they created a stunning back drop for the show by arranging 140 ÉPIX Strip Tour and 19 ÉPIX Strip Tour 50 RGB linear lights in a horizontal configuration. Using the same collection of units this season, they positioned the fixtures diagonally instead of in straight lines, to endow the show with a bold, new look while still retaining a sense of continuity in their design.
Going beyond this basic reorientation, the team placed the ÉPIX fixtures in wooden recesses and directed them backwards so they illuminated the empty space inside each cove. “This created an attractive even field of light for our backdrop,” said Weyn. “We basically relied only on indirect light for this, which is a great way of using the familiar EPIX strips for an exciting new application.”
The colours produced by the ÉPIX fi
Guatemala - The Universidad Francisco Marroquín in Guatemala City, also known by its abbreviated name UFM, is one of the top universities in Latin America. For 50 years, UFM has been ardently following its mission of teaching and disseminating the ethical, legal and economic principles of a society of free and responsible individuals. The university is the original founder of the ITA scholarship programme which identifies the most highly qualified and motivated students among Guatemala’s poorest and makes it possible for them to earn a life-changing UFM degree.
Recently, the university’s IT and AV team worked with installer Farei to deploy Sennheiser TeamConnect Ceiling 2 (TCC2) microphones in 52 of its classrooms and various faculty auditoriums.
Whilst the plans for getting a new professional audio system had been in place for several years, the pandemic acted as a catalyst in the modernization of the university’s AV and IT infrastructures. The situation also resulted in adaptations to UFM’s collaboration and communication strategy, which now prioritizes hybrid teaching models, social distancing and touchless audio.
“To start with, we had to follow certain protocols and reduce the student capacity in all of our classrooms by distributing everyone into two groups of in-classroom and remote attendants,” said Víctor Zetina, chief of network infrastructure at UFM. “We then had to find a way to simultaneously teach and support both of these groups effectively by offering live sessions where everybody could join in.”
Australia - Location sound recordist Christopher MacGregor became the first customer to embrace Point Source Audio's Lavalier Switch Kit, a two-in-one lavalier and on-ear miking tool kit. Its value became instantly apparent with the included Embrace earmount put straight to work miking an active TV host of an Australian gardening show.
"The gardening host I work with is often performing quite physical tasks so for some years, I've been concealing the microphone into his mop of curly hair using wig and hair clips," explains MacGregor. "This takes time and often requires readjusting throughout the shoot. So when the Point Source Audio Lavalier Switch Kit became available, I thought, 'that's going to make life so much easier.' I've probably got a dozen different methods of mounting lav mics and this has added another great option."
The kit delivers the company's best-selling waterproof omnidirectional lavalier microphone that transforms into two wearing styles and three different colour options to help audio technicians meet the ever-changing conditions of miking talent.
The Embrace microphone configuration has already served on three successive shoots with the presenter. "It has made things a lot easier to manage," MacGregor states. "I'm no longer constantly going up and fiddling with the talent's hair and having to put the clips back in! Also with his role, it's very physical - he could be digging holes with a spade, sawing stuff, using secateurs, cutting branches, very physical stuff; so the Earmount, in particular, does a really good job at holdi
Australia - When popular Australian Hotel and Resort, The Beachcomber, decided to completely gut and upgrade their entire audio system ahead of their busy season, local supplier Pro Sound and Lighting called on LEA Professional to amplify and transform the space.
The Beachcomber Hotel & Resort, or as the locals call it 'The Beachie' is a waterfront destination located in the heart of the Central Coast, Toukley. The resort sits between two Great Lakes and the Pacific Ocean with nearly 100m of lake frontage and its own private pier. The sprawling complex was recently relaunched as a 4-star, 80-room resort offering multiple indoor and outdoor facilities.
To carry out the extensive renovation work, the resort relied on local production company Pro Sound and Lighting to provide a new audio system for the resort's gaming and sports bar, DJ area, outdoor area and hotel lobby areas.
Leonard Buckley, production manager at Pro Sound and Lighting, explained the demanding timeline of this project meant that the team was fighting against the clock and struggling with many manufacturers not having equipment on hand.
“This project had a particularly quick turnaround time, we needed to get the entire install done within the space of three or four weeks and couldn’t be held back because of equipment delays, '' commented Buckley. “One of the main reasons why we chose the LEA amps was because they were so easy to get our hands on and they were one of few companies with no supply chain issues.”
Ultimately the company decided to power the resort
Poland - Michal Hyra could have been forgiven if he wondered what else could go wrong. Chosen to light the grand finale of the two-month long celebration of Tryptyk powstańczy - pamięć ziemi, which marked 100th anniversary of the Third Silesian Uprising, he found his rehearsal time for the on 25 June event severely curtailed by unrelenting rain.
Despite this issue, Hyra was able to create a captivating lighting design that engrossed the large crowd gathered in Byton’s historic Market Square as well as those watching the livestream of one of the most important events in Poland.
His smooth colour changes and seamless transitions flowed naturally with the traditional Polish folk dancers on stage. Later in the evening, when the initial performers were replaced by a rock band, he created a tour-like show.
Helping Hyra accomplish this feat was the ChamSys Magic MQ 500 Stadium console that he used to run his eight-universe show. “I started learning MagicQ almost exactly a year ago and I've been using MQ500 since September of 2020,” he says. “It proved its worth on this project, which was carried out as a final part of the Metropolitan celebrations.”
Recalling the 100th anniversary project’s challenging start, Hyra says: “Due to the heavy rain, we had to programme the whole show with only a reduced number of dancers, our director Karolina Widera, and our LD Paweł Murlik, present. We had to listen to a partial rehearsal from the day before to figure things out. This is where the MagicQ stepped in.”
Hyra credits his console’
France - Paris La Défense Arena is a 40,000 capacity, multi-purpose indoor arena located just west of the Paris city centre. Opened in December 2017, the venue takes advantage of the “multiuse” component of its design. It has played host to The Rolling Stones, Kendrick Lamar, and Paul McCartney. It hosts rugby union fixtures for France’s national team, and is the home stadium of Racing 92, a rugby union team competing in the Top 14.
The commitment to a multiuse venue requires a unified audio system that sounds great for live performance, offers intelligibility in the spoken word, and can be relied upon in the event of an emergency. The system needs to adhere, without compromise, to EN54 - a set of stringent European life safety product standards required by law, that dictate the performance criteria for a life safety audio system, which is to be used in the event of a fire.
Traditionally, large arenas have struggled to source a fully EN54 compliant system that also meets their exacting audio performance requirements. This has mainly been due to challenges associated with traditional EN54 compliant battery-backed systems in delivering the required performance flexibility and power requirements in the bowl.
The traditional solution has been the installation of two separate audio systems, adding significant extra costs, with complex design and delivery, and increased ongoing maintenance costs. However, when the Paris La Défense Arena was first being conceptualized the audio designer on the project wanted to see if it was possible to produce a s
El Salvador - San Miguel-based Electronica 2001, with seven branches across the country, has been at the forefront of El Salvador’s entertainment technology industry for the past 35 years. Most recently, it has invested in Central America’s first DiGiCo Quantum 7.
“For many years, DiGiCo has been the benchmark in professional audio consoles,” says the company’s sales manager, Eduardo Gomez. “As a service company, we need to be at the cutting edge to address the demands of both producers and engineers who specify the best consoles for their shows.
“DiGiCo’s range of products is the first choice on most technical riders. Our philosophy has always been to work with the best in the industry and owning DiGiCo consoles has allowed us to provide the equipment necessary to do any world-class show here in El Salvador.”
“We are very proud to be part of the DiGiCo family and to be able to accommodate the demands and professionalism with which the most prestigious shows are now produced,” adds Diego Gomez, who is in charge of international relationships at Electronica 2001, which also has an SD12, an SD10, four fully loaded 32bit SD-Racks and two D2-Racks in its inventory. “This is part of our DNA as a rental company. Owning three of the best consoles in the world is amazing. It has helped us achieve the high level of commitment we have to always live up to the exacting demands from our industry.
“Whilst we have all faced challenges, adding Quantum 7 to our inventory means that we are ready to continue this commitment into the fu
South Africa - The Foschini Group (TFG) is a South African JSE-listed retail clothing group headquartered in Cape Town. Recently, TFG announced that they were opening a new store in Canal Walk shopping centre, Cape Town, which required a visual overhaul. Stage Audio Works provided two large Pixel Plus LED digital signage screens outside each entrance of the store, supplied and installed by digital communications specialists, AVT.
Working with the integrator, SAW specified two Pixel Plus Xcell-I Lite screens, each measuring 3.2m wide and 1.95m high, to match the location, visibility and the budget of the client. The purpose of these screens is to clearly communicate the brand’s clothing line and image, consequently driving traffic into the store. SAW also designed and manufactured custom wall-mount brackets brackets.
The screens were specified with a pixel pitch of P4, which refers to the density of the pixels (in this case 4mm apart) and influences the optimal viewing distance for a display.
To complete the Foschini setup, AVT supplied two Novastar TB6 LED processor and multimedia players for signal processing and smooth control of high definition content playback.
AVT account manager Jerome Bullock comments, “The project went off without a hitch. This was our first project with Stage Audio Works, and I’m pleased to say that it was a great experience. Everyone played their part perfectly, and even exceeded expectations to complete this time-sensitive project without delay. From the screen selection process to the handover, their sales m
USA - Lighting and video designer Tony Caporale was at the visual helm for the new Triller boxing and music event in Atlanta, harnessing the punch and power of Hippotizer Boreal+ Media Servers to drive a host of LED screens at the city’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Music heavyweights including Snoop Dogg, Justin Bieber and Diplo joined boxing big-timers Jake Paul and Ben Askren for the event, which took the US by storm.
A pay-per-view audience of more than 1.5m watched as the fights were interjected by pop performances, with each requiring a feast of visual delights to match the action. The boxing ring area had two portrait LED video screens for fighter entrances, a single LED video wall above the announcer booth, with another LED screen used as a fascia for Diplo’s DJ booth. The performance stage had five screens.
“This was a lot of video, right?” says Caporale, who was brought in by project lighting designer Tom Kenny and PRG account rep Anthony ‘Looch’ Ciampa. “But that’s not all - we also rigged a load of Revolution Blade LED strips and VDO Sceptrons throughout the set scaffolding, driving the content across the whole stadium. We pushed the visuals to the limit, and I’m happy to say the two Boreal+ servers handled it all, considering how hard we were pushing them.”
Caporale discussed the hefty visual requirements in pre-production with Luke Lewis and Anthony Wilson from PRG and landed on the Boreal+ Servers.
“I knew we had to have Hippotizer’s + models out there to handle the weight of this show,” explains Capora
France - Playmodes is utilising 15 Claypaky Sharpys to illuminate its immersive installation Exo, part of the Constellations 2021 international digital art festival in Metz, France, running from 1 July 1 to 4 September.
The Barcelona-based Playmodes collective works with tailor-made technologies mixing creativity, software and hardware to create immersive installations, projection mapping, architectural lighting, digital scenography, audiovisual instruments and sound design.
Exo is presented with the support of Vinci Construction France and staged inside the Temple Neuf, a Protestant church in Metz. It explores the structures of language and communication by using light and sound as an audiovisual language.
“With Exo we’ve tried to experiment with how a new form of life, which is audiovisual, might communicate: Basically we’re talking to an organism made of light and sound,” says Eloi Maduell, CEO of visual research at Playmodes.
“We’ve used our own custom software, based on low frequency oscillators and mathematical manipulations, to drive data that drives light and sound,” he explains. “The language core is a stream of data that feeds light and sound engines, so we end up with super tightly synched audiovisual contents.”
“Exo’s” creators have developed a procedural workflow based on randomness, noise and probabilities so the show never repeats and is always algorithmically calculated in real time. The light and sound behaviours they create might mimic a conversation, for example, wit
USA - The Scottish Rite Theatre (‘The Scotty’) in Peoria, Illinois, was built in 1925 as a Masonic cathedral. Recently, the Gothic-styled building underwent a $5m-plus renovation and now offers downtown Peoria a modern performance and event venue. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Scotty encompasses an 800-seat theatre, luminous stained-glass windows, a lower-level ballroom with capacity for 300 people, and more than 10,000ft of usable space, as well as a full basement kitchen and banquet facility. And it now boasts an L-Acoustics Syva sound system installed there earlier this year by the Chicago office of integrator Creative Technology.
“Syva was the perfect solution for audio reinforcement at the Scotty,” says Greg Moore, installations project manager for creative technology. “It had to sound great, which it does, but it also had to disappear. The aesthetics of this project were of paramount importance to the client. We were able to essentially camouflage the Syva, which we ordered in white from L-Acoustics, by installing them in the fluted trim around the sides of the proscenium.
“We used a combination of the manufacturer’s own mounting solutions and a custom Unistrut bracket to hang them. The slim-yet-powerful Syva form factor is a perfect fit with the venue’s proscenium architecture.”
The Scotty’s new system comprises one Syva enclosure mounted to each side of the stage, a white Syva Low sitting on the stage below each main Syva column, four KS21 subs in the orchestra pit, and six 5XT coaxials spread o
USA - Illuminarium Experiences, an experiential entertainment company creating immersive venues, has opened its first Illuminarium in Atlanta. The venue takes visitors on African Safari via a multi-sensory journey brought to life with the help of modern technology.
llluminarium has entered a long-term strategic partnership with Holoplot which will equip the Illuminarium venue in Atlanta as well as future venues with their sound systems.
Holoplot is a Berlin-based hardware and software manufacturer of professional 3D audio technology. The company’s technology ‘allows to control sound similar to light, meaning to steer audio with highest precision to the desired target area only, all while creating a homogeneous soundfield with consistent level and quality over distance’.
The company recently launched its X1 product line, including the X1 Modul 96, a full-range two-way matrix loudspeaker, and the X1 Modul 80-S, a full-range three-way matrix loudspeaker. X1 offers ‘the ultimate level of directivity control’ to demanding applications such as performing arts venues, arenas, stadiums, immersive spaces, and theme parks.
The two-room Illuminarium Atlanta venue is configured with a 360° immersive Holoplot X1 system, consisting of 52 Modul 96 and 7 Modul 80-S. The installation complements the visual projections and, together with the in-floor haptics, engages the audience in different ways by placing them ‘inside’ the narrative.
“I have been very fortunate to work with Holoplot for the past several years,” says sound designer
USA - With live music now returning after a lengthy absence, country music star Justin Moore is touring again, and recently brought his show to The Ford Centre in Evansville, IN. Moore first hit the Billboard charts back in 2008; now with eight #1 country hits under his belt, he released Straight Outta the Country in April.
Lighting designer Aaron D. Luke handled the production and lighting design for this tour, which is ramping up to play more dates throughout 2021. For the Evansville concert, Cincy Entertainment Services supplied High End Systems SolaFrame 1000, SolaHyBeam 1000, SolaPix 7 fixtures and Hog 4 control to augment the production.
Company president Braden Hasselbeck says The Ford Centrechose their company “for our gear and our team”. “I think Justin Moore’s team was relieved to see we had nicer gear. The only complaint we got from Aaron was that these fixtures have too many features. We chose the SolaHyBeams and SolaFrames based on their similar output, hanging 12 of each on GT truss for the mid-stage. The downstage truss featured a dozen SolaPix 7s - they’re the right size, very punchy, and clients love them.”
Hasselbeck says Cincy Entertainment Services began as a niche DJ lighting company, subsequently moving into full scale production support. “We started out with High End Systems SolaWash fixtures. We looked at all the manufacturers and felt like HES not only had these great products but were going to be in our corner - so we got onboard.
“Prestige and Mac Productions are friends of mine here and we of
UK - Launched in 2017, the Music Venue Trust (MVT)’s Sound + Vision initiative aims to deliver a 21st century live music experience to artists and audiences in every part of the UK. White Light (WL) has been a collaborative partner of MVT on this journey and to date, has supported over 40 Grassroots venues.
Despite some projects being delayed to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing funding restrictions, MVT and WL have worked tirelessly to deliver as many system upgrades as possible within Government safety parameters. The latest of these were at Stoke-on-Trent's The Sugarmill, a live music venue and night club, which benefited from a new d&b audiotechnik xS-Series system.
Jason Larcombe, WL’s project manager, comments: “Thanks to MVT’s ongoing work and previously ringfenced funds from Arts Council England, we are delighted to have been able to continue providing support during this turbulent time. This has enabled venues to return with a bang and support vital campaigns such as #ReviveLive. Working with d&b we are proud to have once again introduced an industry-leading manufacturer to Grassroots venues. Our support package includes the provision of ongoing support and training, ensuring the venues leverage the full potential of their new systems.”
Danni Brownsill, head of promotions at Sugarmill adds: “It was a huge relief to reopen with some socially-distanced gigs, after a difficult 12 months, and there was no better way of coming back than with our brand-new d&b system. Great sound is key to running a live music venue. Small
Australia - Opera Australia (OA) presents more than 600 performances around the country every year, with more than half a million people seeing their work on stage and even more tuning into OA’s radio broadcasts and cinema releases. OA’s integrated digital technologies were used to transport Davide Livermore’s interpretation of Verdi’s Aida to a whole new level thanks to giant LED screens driven by Brompton processing and deployed by Big Picture at the State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne.
A ‘feast for the senses’, 175sq.m of UniView Tekken LED screens were arranged in 10 towering LED columns seven metres tall, creating an immersive theatrical experience, with video designs ranging from symbolic pictures to picturesque landscapes of Verdi’s world of Egypt brought to life by 4K Tessera SX40 LED processors that conveyed the scale, depth and grandeur of this monumental opera.
A fully redundant Disguise system comprising four GX2c servers managed eight 4K content layers as well as dealing with incoming data streams from OA’s custom Raynok automation system, which was used for individual screen rotation and tracking on and off stage.
“We originally chose the UniView Tekken 3.9 because it fitted a very particular brief that we had been given from Opera Australia during the design process for the Opera Digital Stage,” says Nick Bojdak, technical director, Big Picture. “To work with the automation system, it needed to be relatively light per square metre. It also needed to be high enough resolution for still images to resolve li
UK - Hairspray the Musical officially opened its doors last week. The show had been delayed by more than a year following the COVID outbreak. Unusual Rigging was part of the team that helped bring the all-singing all-dancing production to the stage.
Production manager Rich Blacksell reports: “I cannot begin to explain how delighted we are to finally be raising the curtain on Hairspray. We were just four days into week one of rehearsals and about to start fitting up when COVID-19 shut down all live events. We’d brought Unusual on board to handle a rather complex job because we’d planned to rehearse and tech at the English National Ballet’s new home on City Island. We intended to replicate the Coliseum at ENB, install some Kinesys systems and then move at the speed of light into the theatre for the show’s opening.”
As is the case for almost all live events affected by the pandemic, plans have evolved and changed over time, determined by everything from allowed opening dates, to social distancing requirements and budgets. Rich continues: “We started with a Plan A back in March last year when I met with Jeremy Featherstone, one of Unusual’s senior design engineers at the Coliseum to conduct a grid recce
“We were talking about fabrication of diverts and other bits and pieces but with a sense of foreboding. We knew even then it wasn’t looking too likely that we’d get to open the production on schedule. What we didn’t realise is that it would be more than a year. In that time, we’ve probably changed things a fair few
Japan - Japan Jam 2021 took place at Soga Sports Park in Chiba over the country’s big May public holiday weekend. The annual event, which has already taken place three times at this venue, had to be cancelled last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic - therefore, this was the first event in two years, and it was held under strict infection control conditions.
Last time around, more than 30,000 people participated daily in the festival; however, this year the number was limited to 10,000 per day, and the event was devoid of alcohol. The audience needed to obey the rules such as wearing masks and were able to enjoy the live performance in 1m square frames arranged in front of the stage.
As in previous years, Martin Audio MLA was adopted as the main speaker, with 10 MLA elements (including an MLD Downfill) and three stacks of subwoofers, nine per side in total, on main stage, with the middle sub rear-facing for the cardioid pattern. In addition, four WPM were equipped as front-fill/out-fill.
Many precautions were taken to avoid infection, even at the stage area. Bunshiro Hote, of sound rental company, MSI Japan Tokyo, reflected on this. "The microphones that would normally have been reused, were completely replaced. As a result, we used five lines (including spares) to operate only the announcements. We introduced a UV irradiation desiccator for some mics that needed to be used by multiple people, while the console was sanitised every time the sound engineer changed. All microphones (vocal mics for the artistes and talkback mics for the engineers) were
USA - Goth metalcore band Motionless in White performed last month against the backdrop of the abandoned Pennhurst Asylum in southeast Pennsylvania for Deadstream #2, an atmosphere-filled livestream show lit by Mike Null using Elation Artiste Picasso, Dartz 360 and SixBar 1000 luminaires supplied by Squeek Lights.
Motionless in White are one of the leading acts in the genre with an explosive sound and captivatingly macabre stage presence. A troubled and abandoned state-run school and hospital, Pennhurst Asylum, a frightening place with a sordid history of suffering and paranormal presences, provided the backdrop for a heavy hitting dose of horror-themed metal.
“I feel that if Alice Cooper or Rob Zombie or Marilyn Manson were to know where we shot this they would be very jealous of where we were and what we got to experience,” stated lighting designer Mike Null about the eerie location.
Null has been with the band for over a year, a stretch that includes a tour as well as the band’s first Deadstream, recorded at the Squeek Lights shop in New Jersey last October. Null used Elation Artiste Picasso and Dartz 360 on that show and again turned to the LED moving heads for Deadstream #2.
“The first stream planted a seed in their head,” he said. “If we can do this again, how can we make it bigger and better?” As the band hails from Scranton, Pennsylvania, the somewhat local and debilitated environs of the Pennhurst Asylum seemed a fitting place to put on a show at the end of a pandemic. For Deadstream #2, Nu