UK - Communications solutions specialist, Surfhire, has provided essential services for UK Athletics (UKA), the governing body of athletics in the UK, for the 10th consecutive year.
Responsible for overseeing the governance of athletics events in the UK as well as its athletes, their development, and athletics officials, the UKA hosts a programme of key events throughout the British summer.
For the 2019 season, Surfhire deployed a considerable amount of kit, including walkie talkies, matrix intercom, commentator systems and extensive networking services across six events.
The comms, radios and networking infrastructure - with comms for the UK Athletics Sport Presentation being run by head of comms, Paul Carter - is a multi-faceted operation. A central control area and several remote locations, as well as interfacing to the host broadcaster, The BBC, all come under Carter’s supervision.
For the comms rack, Surfhire utilised an RTS Adam 80-way Intercom Matrix, an RVON IO IP Convertor, Optocore X6R-FX Fibre Convertor, Wohler VAMP-SDR Audio monitor, Canford Audio patch bay, and Sonifex Redbox Audio DA with assorted panels; KP32 CLD, KP32 and KP12.
Glen Fuller working for Surfhire took charge of the radio shack and RF base. The RF Rack boasted Bolero V2 Base, Bolero Beltpacks, Bolero Active Antennae, two TAIT TB7100 bases and four Surfhire SiFace simplex radio interfaces.
Surfhire’s Simon Hodge, who has provided comms packages for Hugh Jackman, Drake, Take That, Coldplay, Robbie Williams, Sam Smith, One Direction, Queen + Adam L
UK - Independent rigging specialist Rigging Team has announced the appointment of Matthew Millward to the role of technical manager at its Stevenage headquarters.
Working with some of the industry’s leading rental providers and as key crew on a host of major international tours, Millward’s experience encompasses a diverse variety of roles from in-house technician through to touring production manager on large scale arena shows.
Adam Searle, Rigging Team director, says: “Matt brings with him over two decades of real-world experience in rigging, technical theatre and technical management. This wide-ranging understanding of our business will ensure he remains an enduring member of our team.”
UK - TSL has completed the rebrand of Basingstoke-based stage lighting equipment supplier Blinding Light to TSL Lighting following the latter’s acquisition in January 2018.
Operating as TSL Basingstoke, the company will look after all lighting projects, whilst the rigging projects will be processed at TSL’s warehouse in Gatwick.
The move has been described as “a milestone” in the expansion of the company, which is under the directorship of Sam Tamplin, Loz Wilcox and Dom Sheerman.
Tamplin comments: “During the time that Blinding Light has been part of the TSL family, we’ve harmonised our processes to the point where the equipment preparation for all jobs, whether styled as TSL or Blinding Light, is identical, so the time feels right to remove any potential brand confusion for our customers.
“Bringing the brands together as TSL Lighting will see no change or disruption to new or existing customers of either brand. Projects will continue to be delivered from both our Basingstoke and Gatwick locations and our trade hire teams will continue to service our industry colleagues.”
Tamplin adds: “Clients can continue to deal with their existing project manager or hire coordinator at the same location, via the same phone numbers and email addresses, and will continue to enjoy the same great level of service and quality of equipment they have learned to expect from both brands. I’m excited to continue our mission into 2020 and beyond and to cement our position as one of the leading independent suppliers in the UK.”
UK - Manchester International Festival (MIF) is staged every two years at venues across the city and presents work from across the spectrum of performing arts, visual arts and popular culture.
A major commission at this year’s festival had an urgent technical requirement, which Triple E were only supported
Jack Thompson, MIF’s technical director, reports: “We had an urgent requirement for a replacement system for some rollers for the world premiere of Invisible Cities, which we produced with 59 Productions and Rambert and staged in the Mayfield, an abandoned railway station. We needed a speedy response from a reliable supplier. Triple E fell into the frame pretty quickly with their UniTrack system.”
Production manager at MIF19, Niall Black adds: “Within 24 hours of us making the call, the installation had been completed. UniTrack is so simple to install, 10 hours after it arrived on site, all of it was up in the air and working, which, on a dead hung grid in a space the size of Mayfield Railway Station, with a specially constructed canal running down the middle of the 40m x 15m stage was not the easiest of asks. But a five-man team working overnight from UK Rigging had it up and rigged ready for rehearsals the next day.”
“We were so delighted to be able to turn around such a large order in a very short time. I am immensely proud of our staff who all pulled together to ensure the track and parts left within an hour of the order being confirmed,” says Brenda Edelstein.
Europe - EXE Rise series’s most established hoist range - the Large Frame Hoist - is the subject of a new video released by EXE Technology distributor Area Four Industries.
Adam Beaumont (UK, EXE Technology brand manager) is back again on the company’s A4i.tv video channel to explain the product’s features, benefits, components and technical specifications.
Designed for touring and permanent installations, the Large Frame Hoist is available in one-tonne (single fall) and two-tonne (double fall) loading capacities.
Europe - Area Four Industries have continued to promote various trussing products through its video channel A4i.tv, dedicating the latest one to the Milos Corner Brace HD.
This piece of kit has been designed to add full support for small- to medium-sized roofs and eliminate the need for guy wires.
In the video, available here, Area Four Industries’ technical director Norbert Tripp discusses the design, features and advantages of the Corner Brace HD. Designed for use with standard two-way and three-way 90° corners, it eliminates the need for guy wires by ensuring stabilisation, reducing ballast requirements, providing more access to the stage, and requiring less time to install.
UK - White Light has returned to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe where it is supplying the lighting and rigging equipment for all of the Gilded Balloon venues for the sixth year running.
WL’s customer service key account manager Dan Last comments: “We work closely with Gilded Balloon across their five buildings: Teviot (nine spaces), The Museum (auditorium space), Old Tolbooth Market (three spaces), Rose Theatre (three spaces) and the newly-acquired Patter Hoose (five spaces). Our role is to supply the lighting and rigging solutions in each of these, ensuring that they are well-equipped and able to host a range of performances throughout the Festival.”
Prior to the Fringe, Last and the WL team work closely with Gilded Balloon to decide on the equipment that will be used in each space. “We initially work with Karen and Katy Koren who each run Gilded Balloon, which is one of the only ‘Big Four’ producers who are Scottish based and operated,” says Last. “As we move closer to the festival, we then liaise with production manager Meredith Rehburg and technical manager Simon Cook to finalise the specific technical requirements.”
This year saw the Gilded Balloon take on a new venue - Patter Hoose. Unlike the other spaces which were utilised at previous festivals, the producers had to create the technical set-up completely from scratch. Last explains: “With Patter Hoose, we were asked to go up in January to see the space, which at that time was essentially four blank rooms and one lecture theatre. We were shown round the different spaces
Europe - Area Four Industries has announced availability for James Thomas Engineering’s latest aluminium truss, the JTE Quatro (4CF30).
Made from EN-AW-6082 T6 aluminium alloy and designed for medium-duty structural requirements, the truss achieves extended free-spans of up to 20m (65ft) and provides heavy-duty loading characteristics. Compatibility with JTCELL 200/400/600 series cell clamps and Xtruss accessories extend its wide range of applications. The 4CF30 also offers 50mm (2’’) aluminium tubes and anti-twist end brace, whilst powder coat colour finish is available on request.
Area Four Industries’ David Gore comments: “Quick, simple and secure assembly is ensured by its popular conical connection system, and comes with the well-known durability and reliability you’ve come to rely on from James Thomas Engineering.”
UK - PLASA has announced its line-up of seminar sessions in the run up to the PLASA Show 2019 (15-17 September, London Olympia).
In collaboration with top industry figures and brands, the programme will feature an array of creative achievements as well as advice on salient industry issues.
Pro audio journalist and consultant Phil Ward will lead a panel of industry figureheads - Chris Hill from Wigwam, Jim Griffiths from Vanguardia and Steve Jones from d&b audiotechnik - in ‘Equal rights for audio!’ They will assess how live performances, including the recent Spice Girls reunion tour, can neglect audio in the rush for spectacular video, lighting and set design.
Moving from concerts to theatre, Shure will present the future of audio for theatre productions, in association with Curtain Call. This panel will explore how the advancement of microphone technology, such as wireless and lavalier mics, continues to influence performance and push the industry forward.
Meanwhile, Women in Music will host a session on how to survive and thrive in the live music industry, sharing tips on how to create an impressive CV, keep busy during the slow season, gain recognition, and prevent burnout whilst on the road.
Continuing on this theme, Rose Bruford graduate Tom Harrison will speak on the lifestyle of technicians. Working on the road is notoriously hazardous for diet, sleep and exercise, but Harrison is equipped with the latest research and insights to help those interested in leading healthier and more sustainable lives.
James Simpson, L
China - The Prolyte Group has opened a new office in Guangzhou.
The premises provide capacity for manufacturing, warehouse, sales, and customer service. It operates alongside Prolyte Asia Pacific, the company’s base in Malaysia.
The Prolyte Group has also announced Guangzhou trussing manufacturer Eagle Group as a ProLyft distributing partner, working alongside Prolyte’s long-established partner in China, Trinity Technology.
Ralph Stockley, Prolyte's chief business development officer, comments: "Prolyte continues to see a trend worldwide for the needs of shorter lead-times. Our new offices and production facility in Guangzhou has been strategically located to satisfy the demand for ProLyft products in China and allow for quicker delivery times through Asia. Factors, such as tax benefits, the strength of the Chinese economy and the proximity to the port of Guangzhou, helped finalise our decision."
Lambert Bouwmeester, Prolyte's chief executive officer, adds: "After the success of our new office and warehouse opening in the USA in 2018, I am pleased to announce the continued growth of Prolyte with the opening of our Chinese office and production facility in Guangzhou. These local offices will serve customers better in the region, speed up delivery times and provide the inventory and presence needed for Prolyte's continuing worldwide growth."
Prolyte will exhibit at Prolight + Sound Shanghai in October, where it will introduce its entertainment hoist series to the Chinese market.
UK - Independent event production specialists Light Fantastic Production Services returned to The Old Truman Brewery, London to support innovation festival Unbound with a complete event solution.
Featuring presentations by a host of leading brands, the two-day symposium attracted over 5,000 visitors.
The LFPS team worked with Unbound to transform the capacious venue into a series of zones, including the Main Stage, Future Stage, Networking Zone, Partners Lounge plus individually-branded spaces for over 140 exhibitors.
The guest speaker presentations and panel style discussions were hosted within custom designed auditoria, built from the ground up by the LFPS team. Covering every aspect of the installation LFPS provided all lighting, audio, video and staging along with an extensive suite of stylish exhibition stands, digital event branding and signage.
Commenting on the project LFPS managing director Rob Myer says: “We’re delighted to have once again partnered with the Unbound team for this phenomenal event. With our 50 strong crew, we provided the organisers a single source solution for all equipment, technical support and full production management.”
Central to the event was the 500-seat Unbound Main Stage. The set design wove together LED video panels and 3D fragments of the Unbound logo to create an abstract, modern setting around a 10m upstage video wall. This LED wall was fed via a Barco S3 switcher with Panasonic laser projectors deployed on IMAG duties. In addition to the live audience, all sessions on the main stage were st
USA - ESTA and USITT have announced the sponsors for the 2020 New World Rigging Symposium, taking place 31 March to 1 April in Houston in conjunction with the USITT Conference and Stage Expo.
Returning as the platinum sponsor for the third year is Stage Rigging, Inc. a diversified theatrical rigging company that provides a full range of specialised rigging services on a global basis for tours, corporate and special events, and expositions.
Chris Schmidt, vice president and general manager of Stage Rigging, comments, “When I started my career in rigging little did I know that by working for Stage Rigging, one of the first to focus only on arena rigging, I had access to the some of the industry's most respected and innovative professionals to bounce ideas and ask some of the most basic questions. The New World Rigging Symposium is the perfect place for both seasoned riggers and those interested in rigging to do the same. This is a great place to network and have access to the rigging industry’s top talent. And please don't be afraid to ask!”
Returning gold sponsors are ETC, offering a range of hoists and controls to accommodate the needs of any production space and budget, and J.R. Clancy, providing professional riggings solutions worldwide on thousands of venues since 1885.
Certex USA joins returning silver sponsors Geiger Engineers and Kish Rigging. One silver sponsorship at $5,000 is still available.
To the Moon Rigging joins returning Bronze sponsors CM-ET, H&H Specialties, The Light Source, Motion Labs, Prolyte, Reed Riggin
Europe - The new Milos Armor Cart is the focus of a new video released by Area Four Industries.
Available on A4i.tv, the video shows how the Armor Cart helps reduce hoist storage and transport space, as well as making the movement of hoists to and from venues more convenient.
USA - The American Crane & Safety and Reliable Design Services were approved this month to become ETCP Recognised Training Programmes. The courses that participate in the programme present an opportunity for ETCP technicians to get a bulk of their education credits in one place, as these training opportunities count one point per hour of attendance.
“I am excited to say that ETCP now has almost 20 Recognised Rigging Training Programmes that provide relevant courses for those who need renewal credits. Perhaps the most important thing ETCP has brought about in our industry is a sincere interest in training. Adding these two training opportunities only furthers that mission,” says Tim Hansen, ETCP council chair.
American Crane & Safety’s Entertainment Rigging Courses is designed to provide participants with the ground-rigging basic knowledge of inspecting rigging gear, load control, as well as rigging procedures and techniques used in the entertainment industry through a problem-solving workshop. Scott Weldon, company owner, joined the ranks as ETCP recognised trainer this month as well. The Entertainment Rigging course is available online anytime. The courses are also taught onsite for those who would like to attend in person.
Reliable Design’s Advanced Structures Workshop is co-hosted in Dallas on 24 September 2019 with Clark Reder Engineering. Attendees will learn about a wide range of structures used for outdoor events, including, how to deal with forces on systems and a rare opportunity for hands-on time to experiment with loads a
UK - Adlib supplied full production - sound, lighting, video and rigging - plus crew for the recent UK tour by Daryl Hall and John Oates, whose impressive string of top 40 hits stretch back to the 1970s.
After the UK tour, an Adlib control package and video servers went on to the Latin American leg of the tour, and then returned to Europe with the addition of a full audio package for the third segment and euro festival run.
Adlib’s Craig Hamilton - based in the Glasgow office - project managed and co-ordinated all things sonic, liaising closely with Daryl Hall & John Oates’ audio team of FOH engineer Chris Salamone, monitor engineer George Squires and US supplier Firehouse’s stage tech, Jeff Child.
Adlib’s Billy Bryson was the system tech, Jay Petch was the monitor and stage tech for the UK section of the tour and Billy was also the tech on the European festival dates.
They again chose to work with an L-Acoustics PA to achieve the precise sound they wanted, deploying 12 K1 plus 4 K2 down-fills for the main arrays and 12 K2 for the side-hangs.
For lip fills across the stage six L-Acoustics X8 were utilised, with out-fills comprising four ARCS II per side.
Subs were 16 x KS28, deployed in four blocks of four, tipped on end. The onstage sub in each stack was reversed and run in cardioid mode, at the request of Chris Salamone in continuity with the setup on their most recent US tour.
Adlib specified an Outline Newton multisource processor which matrixed between the main DiGiCo SD10 FOH console, the DiGiCo S21 backup
Saudi Arabia - The inaugural edition of Jeddah World Fest on July 18 took place in the grounds of King Abdullah Sports City, Jeddah, and attracted a sell-out crowd of almost 40,000. This was the largest music festival held in Saudi. Protec delivered an extensive audio, lighting and rigging package for their client The Manual on behalf of Roqu Media.
This event ties in with Vision 2030, a progressive plan which sees the country open up as an entertainment destination and relax some of its stricter laws around events. With the country’s General Entertainment Authority set to inject upwards of an estimated $60bn into the sector over the next decade, Jeddah World Fest is the first of many events which will fuel the AV and events sector in the Middle East.
Featured artists included Janet Jackson, 50 Cent, Chris Brown, Liam Payne, Steve Aoki, Tyga, Future, R3wire and Varski.
Project manager for Protec, Luke Doyle reports, “The show looked and sounded incredible. The stage structure was the largest ever seen in the Middle East. This type of event had never been done to this scale in KSA and it was a great show to be a part of for sure. Definitely one to remember. The crowd were fantastic and it was almost emotional to witness.
“As the line-up wasn’t 100% confirmed until last minute we were under immense pressure to fulfil the technical rider for each artiste. We had catered well technically for the event using stock from our Riyadh and Dubai warehouses, however, we had to move quickly to discuss the requirements with the relevant artiste’s
Europe - Area Four Industries has released a four-minute video dedicated to the Ultimate Hinge from Milos.
The product, an aluminium and steel truss that allows for up and down and side-to-side movements of truss spans, features a high-strength lifting eye for connection with electric hoists or lifting points.
In the video, Area Four Industries technical director Norbert Tripp explains the design of the Ultimate Hinge, its feature set, loading capacity factors and the self-balancing act it achieves when attached to truss spans.
It can be viewed on www.a4i.tv/2019/07/30/milos-ultimate-hinge.
USA - Broadweigh Bluetooth has been put to the test for the first time at the New York International Auto Show.
Broadweigh’s US product partner Paradigm Rigging supplied the kit to Hang Ten Rigging, who were hired by brand experience agency, Imagination Group, to oversee the rigging component of the build of the Ford booth, complete with lighting, video and scenic truss.
As the exhibit booths at these motor shows compete to be ever more impressive, the designs become more and more challenging. Michael Sorowka, managing director of Paradigm Rigging is no stranger to these events. He explains: "Not only do the auto shows put the riggers to the test, but increasingly, the kit they use in order to build impressive, safe displays is also being required to do more.
“Load cells have become an absolute must, at times, in this industry - whether that's because of weight restrictions imposed by the venue, or because we're being required to fly cars above the heads of thousands of visitors. Sometimes it's video walls and at other times lighting trusses, as was the case at this year's show."
In order to monitor the loads on the lighting truss, Michael loaned four Broadweigh Bluetooth load cells to the project. "This was prior to the official launch of Broadweigh Bluetooth", explains Sorowka. "We felt it imperative that the new kit should be tested in various environments prior to the official launch - and I knew an event like this would really put it through its paces."
Head rigger Joe Harrison installed four Broadweigh Bluetooth load cells a
UK - The stars came out in force to celebrate the career of the late Dame Gillian Lynne, with Unusual Rigging brought on board to rig the event at the newly named Gillian Lynne Theatre in London's West End.
The evening also saw the launch of the Dame Gillian Lynne and Peter Land Foundation, set up to help young performers, with Jerry Donaldson, technical director at Cameron Mackintosh providing his experience and expertise to manage the production.
Lean Two Productions, the producer behind the event, comments in a statement: "It was Jerry who brought Unusual in to work on this project which made complete sense as they are not only the very best at what they do, but had themselves worked with Gillie on shows for many years."
Scenically, the show was kept very simple with a small band onstage and a 'moon' which had been designed and built for the re-naming of the venue in June 2018 was reused. Extra lights and projection was required, making the event complex in terms of working with and around what was already in place for the theatre's resident production, School of Rock. Meanwhile Adam Fisher and the sound department had over 70 people needing to be heard onstage, plus videos, speech clips and recorded track.
Lean Two Productions adds: "We started the load in directly after the show on the Monday evening and worked through the night in order for the stage to be ready for rehearsals on the Tuesday. There was another big event in the theatre the day after us, so we had to do the get-out immediately after the show and be out of the bui
UK - A week-long summer school run by the charity Magpie Dance at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley has provided the opportunity for children and young people with learning disabilities to develop their creative dance skills, thanks to a donation from Unusual Rigging.
Magpie Dance was founded in 1985 by Avril Hitman BEM as a way of including, rather than excluding people because of their disability. Since its inception, the group has grown from 45-minute sessions once a week to 13 sessions per week plus outreach workshops, enabling over 300 people to access regular dance activity sessions each year.
Alan Jacobi, managing director of Unusual Rigging, comments: “We are delighted to have sponsored Magpie Dance’s summer school this year, to give children and young people the opportunity to access an activity which provides such enjoyment. Just as importantly, it helps build on important skills - communication, confidence building and improving self-esteem. The arts should be accessible to every group of society - regardless of age, social status or ability.”
Laura Graham, general manager of Magpie Dance, adds: “We want to encourage young people to realise that a learning disability should not be a barrier to personal and artistic success in dance. Our mission is to enable all our participants to reach their full potential through dance and to challenge other people’s perceptions of what people with learning disabilities can achieve.
“We rely on generous donations from our supporters to keep our much-needed programmes going and we are in
UK - Technical production company Maestra Group has launched a scenic division. Based at Maestra’s London HQ, Maestra Scenic will offer services including CNC, carpentry and joinery, fabrication and engineering, painting and finishing as well as integration of other technical detailing - such as lighting, video or audio - into scenic fabrication projects.
The new division will employ a team of 20 full-time staff, who will be led by director of production Mark Davies, former director of technical operations at the National Theatre and sales director at Stage One Creative Services.
Davies comments: “The goals for good scenic companies are about meeting and then exceeding client expectations in all aspects - quality and build, finishing, being on-budget and ease of installation. It is essential to have the right people and processes all working harmoniously and with a full understanding of each project’s individual requirements. At Maestra, we strive to achieve this every time.”
Joining Maestra Scenic as head of its construction department is Paul Evans, former NT head of construction. Another key appointment is Jon Chute as head of production. Chute was previously an account director for Stage One Creative Services and a senior production manager for Imagination.
Meanwhile, the Maestra Scenic facility is made up of a 9,000sq.ft fabrication area which will include CNC equipment for carpentry and metalwork, and a mezzanine area that will be utilised for CNC poly carving and other 3D modelling. An external spray booth will deal with all fi
UK - With today’s temperatures hitting around 104F in some areas of the UK - making it the hottest July day on record - St Ives-based Le Mark Group has come up with an inventive way for its production and warehouse operatives to keep cool: Utility kilts.
Stuart Gibbons, Le Mark’s MD comments: “It’s tough for our production team in this heat. I had seen utility kilts being worn by riggers and technicians in Las Vegas, Dubai and Scotland (of course), but thick woollen tartan can be hot. I was happy to offer these ‘supper cool’ and very well ventilated tough cotton utility kilts to all those operatives that wanted them - free of charge, of course!”
Gibbons continues: “Anything we can do to make life a little more comfortable for our production team, we are happy to offer.”
South Africa - As live production stages get bigger, heavier and more complicated with equipment suspended above the audience, safety is imperative. Ilan Bahar from Eilon Ron StageMaster recently visited South Africa, and in conjunction with local distributor DWR Distribution, presented load cell demonstrations to a variety of rental companies in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.
Eilon, a family business, was established over 40 years ago and their safety monitoring systems are used in diverse applications including entertainment stages, aerospace with sales to NASA, wind turbines and shipment weighing to mention a few.
“The Eilon Ron StageMaster concept is very simple,” said Ilan Bahar. “When you hang equipment above people, you have to know the load of every point because there are limitations, such as the limitations of a roof. You have to make sure that you don’t cross those limitations and that is what the load cell does. It measures the load at every point, sends the data to the receiver and then you have it on a display where you can continually monitor the status.
“Before people used the load monitor, they would make calculations, but even if you are in a position where everything is stable, once you hit the controller, everything changes. The Ron StageMaster system helps to verify the plan and is also a second defence layer: First is the load calculation plan, and second is a realtime verification that the calculated loads are similar to the measured load. Both layers are necessary in order to provide an effective overload prot
UK - Audio Light Systems called upon the expertise of Doughty Engineering to help deliver a new media studio at Edinburgh University's Argyle House.
The University which has a fast-developing programme of Distance Learning at Scale, had an existing media studio but was struggling to fully support the programme of media production required. Audio Light Systems was brought on board to assist with the creation of a new TV studio and gallery on floor D of Argyle house as Neil McLucas, Audio Light Systems' senior technician explains:
"The TV studio already had a space prepared with new wiring and decoration. Our task was to develop the gallery, housed in an existing acoustic sound booth adjacent to the studio. The specification was for the supply and installation of sound, video, studio lighting curtain and tracks and so we got in touch with Doughty Engineering to supply us with the bits of kit that we needed."
Dan Phillips, project sales co-ordinator at Doughty comments: "It's always a pleasure working with Audio Light Systems - we've done many studio installations with them. For this project, we supplied track for the perimeter curtains and cyclorama, some facility panels, pantographs and a lighting rail system. Neil needed a selection of off-the-shelf kit from our range that would be functional and reliable. The majority was mounted on the ceiling, with the exception of the facility panels."
Thanks to a very detailed tender document, the installation was extremely efficient. However, timescales were tight and the lead time for the required f