Tomcat’s second annual Las Vegas Motor School is sweeping through the Western Region this year hot on the heels of LDI 2002. The workshop, scheduled for 21 and 22 of October, will be held at 4 Wall Entertainment and consists of a full day of motor instruction taught by Don Dimitroff of Columbus McKinnon, a half-day of fall protection led by Morgan Neff of Mine Safety Appliances, and a half-day of truss design, use and theory taught by Keith Bohn from Tomcat USA. In other Tomcat training news, the annual Tomcat Hoist and Rigging Workshop will be hosted by Tomcat USA in Midland, Texas, from 5-8 February 2003. Recognized worldwide as one of the most comprehensive training courses of its kind, the Hoist and Rigging Workshop is a unique learning opportunity for those new to the entertainment industry, as well as veterans of the business.
For more information regarding either workshop or to register, please contact Lisa Jebsen at +1 915 694 7070.
Alistage provided several of their ‘Alidome’ roof structures were used throughout the country during the Jubilee celebrations, by a variety of event organisers. Alidomes were used by local authority festivals in Newham, Wandsworth and Canterbury. BBC Wales also hired in an Alidome for their event, held in Cardiff Castle. Stratford-upon-Avon council also became the first user of their new Eclipse winch-controlled ground support system. Many other jobs had to be satisfied on a dry-hire only basis, because of the increased demand, which saw some 200 additional stage units being manufactured.
Alistage was also involved in some of the street visits which the Queen undertook in London, one in particular involving the construction of a ‘gold’ circular podium in the East-end. The stage came from standard equipment, but the police only allowed a 30-minute build time, which thankfully, was achievable.
Several members of the creative and technical teams involved in the recent Jubilee Celebrations have been recognized in a special honours list announced on Monday. All the honours, announced the day after the Queen Mother's birthday, are from the Royal Victorian Order, a decoration which is a personal award for services performed on behalf of the Sovereign. Amongst those honoured with an LVO (Lieutenant of the Victorian Order) were Alan Jacobi of Unusual - the main contractor for the central weekend events; Party in the Palace event producer Robbie Williams and Simon Brooks-Ward, director of the Royal Windsor Horse Show. Mark Fisher, creative director for the Queen’s concerts and Wilf Scott of Pyrovision, the company which handled the pyrotechnics, were awarded MVOs (Member of the Royal Victorian Order).
A comprehensive report covering the Jubilee events in central London runs in our August issue, out next week.
Set in the heart of Cheshire is Warrington's brand new performing arts venue, the Pyramid Centre. It is scheduled to bring the very best in dance, drama, music and comedy to the area and will host its official opening at the end of October this year.
The centre is aimed at all levels of performance from internationally acclaimed professionals to local school children. It reflects this versatility by offering an impressive array of facilities, including six performance spaces, an artist suite, three artist studios, a technology suite, four media studios plus hospitality suites, a restaurant, a reception and box office area. In addition to being a state-of-the-art entertainment venue, the Pyramid Centre will also host a range of corporate events and conferences.
With such a broad spectrum of potential uses for the venue, versatility was paramount for all equipment supplied for the project. Richard Fleming, the centre's technical manager, specified 36 2x1m units of Metrodeck, having seen it showcased at PLASA 2001. "As flexibility was the key factor we needed a staging system that was multi-purpose and highly adaptable. It's better to spend money on something we can use in a wide variety of applications, than something that can be used in only one way!"
Maltbury was chosen over two other staging companies to supply its popular mid-weight Metrodeck system, which was customised with varnished birch ply tops and fascias. The units provide a demountable staging facility suitable for use throughout the venue or, alternatively, in combination with 100 luxury tip-up c
Edinburgh-based Prolyte distributor, Black Light, found that their Easter holidays were seriously disrupted this year due to the untimely intervention of BBC Scotland. The reason for the distraction was that the BBC needed a former warehouse to be converted in to a fully functional television studio at short notice. The new studio complex is required for an as-yet-unnamed new soap opera.
Black Light, in association with Scaffolding Great Britain, was asked to supply and install almost 600 metres of truss, so that a saturation lighting rig could be used on the set, thus enabling lighting designers to light every aspect of the studio area easily and efficiently. After a great deal of analysis, the BBC decided that Prolyte X30V triangular truss was the ideal product for this application, because of its good loading characteristics and ease of use due to the CCS conical coupling system.
The order was finally placed on Black Light on the Thursday before Good Friday, with the first delivery being required on the following Wednesday. This schedule would have been a tall order over an ordinary weekend, let alone one with a public holiday on either side. "We were really up against it on this one," says Gavin Stewart, Black Light’s managing director: "But, because we carry a relatively large sales stock of Prolyte truss, and with some support from the manufacturer and other members of the UK distributor group, we were confident that we could make the deadline, tight as it was."
In the end it proved to be quite a stress-free time, the initial shipment w
PCM has broken new ground on the training front again, running the world’s first ever Advanced Lodestar Motor School. As with all PCM product-based training, the school was completely free - and the 12 places were fully booked early on. The Advanced Motor School is designed as a Level 2 extension to PCM’s renowned CM Motor School, which has been running for nine years, and has trained over 1,400 people. The Advanced course was designed to cater for those working day-to-day with Lodestar motors. However, about half the attendees had never opened a Lodestar since they attended the standard Motor School.
The first thing the 12 attendees saw when they walked into PCM’s special training room, was Lodestars stripped down on the benches, waiting to be reassembled. The students worked on two-tonne motors for their two-day course. The conversion of these motors into higher speed one tonne units, and into faster still half-tonne units was covered in the course, illustrating what a straightforward task this is. Attendees also completed a challenging fault-finding session, featuring 12 ailing motors. PCM’s John Jones explained: "The Advanced course takes the standard course to new levels. It covers motors and lifting equipment in more detail - traditionally PCM’s area of expertise - in addition to the more complex issues of computerized motion control."
The computerized motion control module was taught by Ibex’s Adam Pulley. Ibex manufacture a computerised control system for Lodestar for which PCM is the UK agent. This section also cove
PCM - specialists in the supply of lifting, flying and rigging equipment for all areas of the entertainment industry - show their new battery or electric drill driven, Pilewind winch at PLASA, along with a selection of other winches and Lodestar motors. PCM will also be highlighting its new Projects division, and its Lodestar Motor and Rigging training courses, which have become renowned throughout the industry.
The PCM Pilewind is designed for multipurpose theatrical applications, and alleviates the strain of winding units up and down by hand - saving time and physical effort! Available in 250kg or 500kg models, the Pilewind winch has been designed to allow for quick and easy raising and lowering of stage scenery and lighting bars. Fully contained within a protective housing, the Pilewind winch has a drum capacity of 10 metres and up to five suspension lines. An integral gear box maintains the applied load. Ever thoughtful of practical installation and maintenance elements, PCM's designers have formed a unit that can be totally stripped down, into three handle-able sections, by simply removing five bolts. In the event of a power failure, the Pilewind can also be raised and lowered by hand with a separate drive shaft and a 19mm socket.
PCM’s new Projects Division was formed in September 2001 to further build PCM's reputation of providing a full service to all clients. The projects division specialises in the supply and installation of mechanical and electrical equipment in theatres, schools, television studios, public buildings and performance spaces. The division
JR Clancy Inc has become the only US designer, manufacturer and installer of theatrical rigging equipment to have its quality management system certified to the rigorous ISO 9001:2000 standards. ISO 9001 is an internationally-recognized set of quality management requirements with an emphasis on customer satisfaction, and the certification is a result of an 18-month effort across the company in which every JR Clancy employee participated in the review and upgrade of existing processes.
ISO, the International Organization for Standardization, has established demanding quality assurance models against which businesses can be audited. These standards are widely respected as a goal for companies with a desire for continual improvement - not just in products, but in all aspects of operation. Each department at Clancy - accounting, sales, project management, engineering, shipping, receiving, manufacturing and administration - scrutinized and strengthened its own processes in the preparation for the third-party audit.
AVW will be showing an upgraded version of its award winning Impressario - the system voted Engineering Product of the Year at the recent ABTT trade show. In addition to a larger computer, improved software and the facility to run off Windows XP, Impressario II will be housed in a smooth silver finish metal casing, as opposed to the original textured black.
AVW Controls can be found on Stand N9
Doughty Engineering is raising the curtain on a whole host of new products, including, appropriately enough, its new Six Track curtain rail system.
In addition, there is a host of other new products on show, including 63mm Mammoth Clamps, panel clamps and Quick Trigger clamps, new TV Quick receivers, Par can floor plates, Easy Lift wind-up stands and locking elbow assemblies. Then there are new RAT Music Stands, safety bonds and flyrail cleats.
If the additional products from Doughty aren’t what you’re looking for, then your needs may be fulfilled from the company’s new 60-page catalogue, packed with fittings and accessories from the ‘mind over metal’ specialist.
Doughty can be found on Stand D10
RMS will introduce no less then five new versions of its well-known Rental Management Systems software. All new versions share the RMS planning engine and the easy-to-use interface, which assures fully reliable data at extremely high speeds.
The first version is RMS Touring, a software package designed especially for handling rentals of touring-companies. This version is excellent for companies that have large quantities of equipment out for longer periods. Together with the crew- and transport-planner, it gives full control over all touring-rentals.
Next is RMS Conference, designed for renting AV-equipment to conferences, hotels, etc. This version focuses on aspects like keeping track of serial-numbers, short-term rentals (even on an hourly base is possible) and maintenance schedules. RMS Exhibition is a version, which deals with the specific problems of exhibition rentals. Easier pricing schemes (pricing for the exhibition-period, rather then per day), project-management to oversee all jobs for a given exhibition, are some of the features of this version.
RMS Crew & Transport is the long-awaited version, which can be integrated with each of the above versions, or may be used as a stand-alone application. RMS Crew & Transport is capable of handling even the most complex scheduling-situations and makes them manageable. The last of the five new versions is RMS Demonstration, designed for manufacturers and sales organizations wishing to handle demo-stocks.
"After talks with our diverse types of clients, we soon realized that, besides similarities, there are also
Stage Technologies, the pioneering scenic automation experts, are currently transferring two of the UK's most recent hit theatre productions to the southern hemisphere. Both Oliver! and Witches of Eastwick will be touring Australia by the end of this year, using sets transferred from the UK shows and automation equipment rented from the North London- based automation specialist.
Both Australian production companies have chosen similar automation systems, each of which include numerous award-winning Big Tow Winches and the Acrobat control console both ideal for touring applications. Oliver!, which opened in May in Sydney to critical acclaim, will shortly be joined by Witches of Eastwick, which starts previewing in Melbourne in August. The latter uses Stage Technologies' Pathway - a specially developed software application which allows objects (in this case the three witches) to move in space along complicated, pre-programmed curved trajectories. The Pathway software will enable these complicated performer flying sequences to be re-created in other venues on a tour which visits Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney in its first six months.
Since launching the Pathway software, Stage Technologies have further developed it to produce the magical flying sequences for their latest project Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in London's West End.
Maltbury has three new products for visitors to PLASA 2002: Metrodeck Ultra, Pro-Alloy and Morgan Trussing.
Metrodeck Ultra is based on, and fully compatible with, the ever-popular Metrodeck staging system. The combination of a polished aluminium frame and a specialist ply/foam board means that Metrodeck Ultra not only looks good, but is also light and easy to handle. Pro-Alloy, Maltbury’s latest demountable staging system, has an attractive polished aluminium frame and an anti-slip phenolic-coated plywood top. Each unit combines lightness, durability and strength (a 2 x 1m unit can handle 7.5kN/m²) with modern elegance, making it ideal for use in conferences, venues, arenas and hotels. Manufactured to comply with European standards, Maltbury’s Morgan Trussing tried-and-tested system offers a range of truss styles and sizes to meet a wide range of requirements. The system has double-ended connectors so that joining the truss sections together is fast and simple. In addition to an array of angled and jointed sections, Morgan trussing can be curved or made to order.
The long-standing issue regarding the use of 3-pin, 110V, 16 Amp yellow CEE-form control connectors fitted to CM Lodestar chain hoists has finally been resolved. From 1 September 2002, both PCM and Tomcat UK will be supplying all Columbus McKinnon Lodestar hoists with 4-pin, 110V, 16 Amp yellow CEE-form connectors instead of the current 3-pin version. Both companies will be contacting all of their Lodestar customers shortly to discuss this change and its repercussions.
The issue dates back two-and-a-half years, when it became apparent that the continued use of the 3-pin connector for Lodestar hoists would not be possible. Although the connector was extremely well suited to the application in many areas, for safety reasons, it was felt that the use of the earth pin as a conductor should preclude its future use. This resulted in extensive discussions involving the manufacturer of the Lodestar - US-based Columbus McKinnon, PCM, Pfaff Stage Technology and Tomcat UK on the suitability of the connectors and possible replacements. The discussions were supported by the Production Services Association (PSA) and the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), with input from PLASA and other relevant organizations.
The suggested solution is to use a 4-pin, 110V, 16 Amp yellow CEE-form connector - already widely in use for the same application in mainland Europe. The HSE has noted that although both EN 60204-1 and EN 60204-32 preclude the use of EN 60309-2 CEE-form plug and socket connectors in control applications (as they are mains connectors), there may be justifiable reasons for using suc
Leading technical design consultancy LDPS has opened an office in New Zealand, to service clients in Australasia, the Pacific Rim and the Far East. The move follows four years of LDPS operation in Ireland and the UK, which will continue to be directed from the Cork office. LDPS’s Grant Collie told us: "I’ve had incredibly positive feedback on the New Zealand office and on the business we will be doing in these territories. I’m already working on several projects."
LDPS NZ will concentrate on the company’s core business as a performance venue technical consultancy. The team specialises in all aspects of design including sound, lighting, multi and mixed media facilities, audio-visual and stage technology. Working in the Southern Hemisphere will also give LDPS the opportunity to expand it's service to sports facilities, in particular the design of public address and broadcast video infrastructures.
LDPS also supplies its services for other areas like interactives at heritage projects, visitor attractions and museums, co-ordinating with specialist manufacturers of themed rides and similar facilities. Collie is expecting to continue this element of the business in the new territories, where LDPS can either work directly from the conception of a project, or with a client’s existing specialist consultants.
The company can also assist in the preparation of entries for architectural design competitions.Grant Collie says: "We’re often called into a project when it’s at a fairly advanced stage, which can prove to be false
The latest innovative roof system designed by Tomcat USA was installed at Disney’s California Adventure park in early July for Disney’s Rockin’ the Bay summer music series. Tomcat and Kleege Industries worked together to engineer the custom 43ft x 46ft (13.1m x 14m) roof system with cantilevered PA wings in less than a month.
"What makes this system so unique is that it is surrounded by water on three sides and a portion of the towers are actually underwater," comments Tomcat design manager, Keith Bohn. The two upstage towers go through the stage and rest in 15ft (4.6m) of water. Custom bases were designed to accommodate the uneven floor at the bottom of the lagoon. The underwater towers consist of steel with multiple coats of two-part epoxy paint. All chords are capped and kept air-tight to help resist corrosion. All four towers interact with the stage for lateral support and guy cables on each corner of the grid are also used for additional support. Guy cables on the front towers are tied to steel ballasts underwater while guy cables on the back towers are tied to custom anchors on the concrete sea wall."
The 42 days of concerts, which started in mid-July, were kicked off by The Beach Boys and will feature a line-up of other famous names including The Temptations, The Commodores, Starship, The Bangles, Village People and The Monkees.
Ibex plan a busy PLASA show this year with the launch of three new products - two new motion control units and Ibex’s first ever audio product.
The two new hoist controllers build on the success of the Programmable Hoist Controller launched at PLASA two years ago. The Programmable Hoist Controller Plus adds even more features for the most demanding applications, including an Ethernet port allowing linking of controllers and remote PC control. The HC8 complements the range, providing control of eight Lodestar or Verlinde style hoists, together with the new safety features now required for hoist control systems in the entertainment industry.
Ibex’s new audio product - Sonix MP3 - is a professional audio sound store, with a versatile range of triggering options. Audio files, using the high quality MP3 format, are played from inexpensive, high capacity CompactFlash memory cards, or via an optional Ethernet port.
Martin Heap has joined Vertigo Rigging as projects director, based at the company’s new headquarters in Deptford, London. After working as a freelance production manager, Heap joined Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group in 1992, as technical manager, overseeing new productions and ventures in the UK and Europe.
In 1997 he became RUG’s director of production, managing all aspects of the company’s producing arm. Martin’s role at Vertigo will include overseeing the project management department, supervision of the larger contracts and aiding in the day-to-day management and running of Vertigo, an extremely busy hire and service company.
Star Hire (Event Services) Ltd supplied mobile StarStages to the organisers of the UK’s largest gay festival, Mardi Gras, for the two main stages at the Hackney Marshes event. The main G.A.Y. stage was a mobile SS 15-12 StarStage that housed the PA and lighting, with a line-up including Atomic Kitten, Westlife, A1, Human League and Belinda Carlisle. These were variously introduced by a range of celebrities including Graham Norton, a host of Big Brother stars, Ken Livingston, Mo Mowlam and Trisha. Meanwhile, the more intimate ‘Popstarz’ Indie stage was a mobile SS 10 08 StarStage that featured acts including Suede, the Cooper Temple Clause and Haven.
Graham Drew headed up the Star Hire crew who had to cope with the summer’s inclement weather and the soft ground of Hackney Marshes that meant production schedules were stretched. "The whole production team worked against tough conditions and the stages ended up looking great, with a stunning lighting matrix on the back wall of the main stage," said Graham.
Doing their bit to support the England football team, LGH Rigging Services erected a huge flag on the front of the Football Association headquarters in Soho Square, London. Responding within 12 hours of being notified of the job, LGH Rigging Services used a team of abseilers to secure the flag to the façade of the building prior to England’s quarter-final match against Brazil. LGH say they were hoping for a longer hire period - not for the revenue, more for England’s chances in the competition!
LGH Rigging services manager, Bob Dean, commented: "We were very pleased with the progress of the job. We reacted very quickly to the FA’s request and were very happy with the result. It’s a shame that we didn’t feel the same about the result of the England match!"
The erection of the flag was featured on the National Television News, as was the tearful removal of the flag after the game had finished.
Edwin Shirley Staging (ESS), the international staging and structures specialist, has just completed another project for an event that is synonymous with the quintessential English summer season, the 2002 Henley Festival in Oxfordshire. The Festival, which took place in mid-July, hosted a diverse array of artists over a five-day period at one of England’s best known event sites, which is also home to the famous international regatta. ESS, having already this year been present at Epsom, Ascot and Wimbledon, and with Goodwood still to come, see 2002 as a successful year for the company in terms of servicing these classic calendar fixtures.
ESS delivered a 20m Orbit stage, called the floating stage as it was positioned in the Thames facing back to the riverbank, as well as producing a 14m wide, four-bay clear-panelled Superstructure building christened the ‘Transparium’ by the organizers, which was used as a covered venue for parts of the Festival’s repertoire.
ESS has seen an increase this year in activity for events demanding its smaller-scale and lighter weight solutions, which complement the stadium-sized projects that the company is well known for. Tim Norman, managing director for ESS, said: "We are delighted to have successfully completed the Henley Festival this year. The project has seen imaginative solutions deployed on land and on the river, with the Superstructure being used in a way that we have not seen since we launched it in early 2001. Clearly we would like to see more of these kinds of projects in the future."
Prolyte distributor Aerial Rigging Inc recently delivered the first Prolyte ST-roofsystem in its maximum configuration of 77’ 55"x 51’ 2"x 48’ 2" to Pro Stage West for its Las Vegas office. Pro Stage immediately put the system into use - the first set-up was at Sam Boyd Stadium at UNLV in Las Vegas in conjunction with Xtreme 107.5. The concert featured a total of 15 acts, including Cypress Hill and Alice in Chains.
Aerial Rigging also supplied Pro Stage of America earlier this year an MPT-roofsystem of 47' 4" x 42' x 30' 5" (12 x 10). Blake Ferry, president of Pro Stage West and Pro Stage of America commented: "We have been working with Prolyte truss for some years now. We have become very spoiled because the truss using conical connectors goes together so quickly, which has saved me a lot of time and money on the set up of a production. The decison to increase my truss rental stock with Prolyte roofsystems was an easy one for me, as their loading capacity, and speed of installation are incredible. The safety factors built into the roofsysyems were also a determining factor."
Edwin Shirley Staging (ESS), the international staging and structures specialist headquartered in London, has successfully achieved the ISO 9001:2000 Quality Assurance (QA) standard. This award caps over 12 months of work within the business to overhaul its procedures and systems and bring them into line with the internationally-recognised organisational standard.
The company embarked on the process after discussing with clients what key properties would provide assurances to them regarding working with businesses in the future. It became apparent from this research that a growing number of clients from the private and public sectors, based in the UK as well as the other international markets served by ESS, that the ISO QA standard provides an acceptable objective measure of how a business deploys its services. As with all ISO-accredited businesses, ESS will undergo regular audits by an external assessor to monitor that the ISO standard is being upheld.
Preparing the business for the accreditation involved a substantial investment by ESS. The sustained involvement of internal employees over one year, the introduction of new management procedures and software, and the inclusion of external consultants to advise the company formed a major part of the process that ESS followed to gain the ISO 9001:2000 status. Tim Norman, managing director for ESS, told us: "We had spoken to many clients during the past three years about the things that concern them when selecting partners and suppliers. The ISO accreditation was not only mentioned as a preferred criterion on many occ
The Bootylicious world tour of Destiny's Child has just finished its European leg. The high energy show is a dynamic mix of live footage, cut with some playback into a psychedelic rampage of colour, action and excitement. The lighting for the shows was supplied by LSD, XL Video supplied cameras, LED screens and a digital PPU for the tour (with live video directed by Mick Anger), the PA came from Clair Brothers and Star Rigging managed the rigging elements.