PCM is running its next two-day Columbus McKinnon Lodestar Motor Schools on 27-28 June and 29-30 June respectively. PCM has now trained over 800 owners, specifiers and users of Lodestar Motors via these invaluable hands-on workshops. PCM's Motor Schools, which are still free of charge, offers attendees a comprehensive, hands-on overview of the CM Lodestar motor. There is also a basic motor trouble shooting session. Once again, the event will be broadened by trussing, ground support and metalwork specialists James Thomas Engineering. Further Motor schools will follow throughout the year as part of PCM's on-going commitment to training.
Stage One Creative Services has become the first scenic construction company to achieve the Investors in People standard. It seals a period of expansion for the Yorkshire-based firm, which was also the first in the scenic construction sector to achieve ISO 9002 accreditation. The company, which provides the scenic solutions for events ranging from international product launches to corporate conferences and television stage sets, has doubled its turnover to £5 million in the past two years alone. And since a merger with Hangar Staging in 1996, its staff has grown from around 20 to over 60. Staff at Stage One are in the final stages of preparation for their biggest project so far this year - providing extensive staging and scenic elements for the Royal Military Tattoo 2000 in June, which will be broadcast live across the country.
After six months in the US, Mads Hald is back at Seelite in Denmark. He will work both as a service technician and as the company's regular technician in the two big Copenhagen concert houses - Pumpehuset and Vega. Ole Helms Knudsen has also joined SeeLite as warehouse manager in Copenhagen and Jan Støiberg now takes over responsibility for all maintenance repairs and related tasks.
Total Fabrications has upgraded its website. The site pages include access to news releases, product and training details, shows and special project information with a link to some of TFL's major client sites. The menu items refer to their associated content pages, which load clearly and are simple to navigate.
Out Board Electronics has introduced a new series of chain hoist controllers designed for multiple control for a range of staging and rigging applications. The series comprises the CM4 four-channel 4U Lodestar hoist controller, the CM6 - six-channel, 3U controller and the CM12 - the most compact controller on the market, with 12 channels in a 3U chassis. All models conform to European EMC and LVD requirements. The first sale of the new controllers has been made to London-based Vertigo Rigging, who have invested in three 12-channel controllers and two of the 6-channel CM6s for use within their hire stock.
Thetford-based Centre Stage Engineering Ltd has only been trading 18 months, but already they have an impressive range of projects appearing on the company CV. They have now added to this with their most prestigious project to date. This is to design, supply and install the complete stage machinery package for the new Durham City Millennium Hall. This includes 39 single purchase counterweight-flying sets, orchestra pit elevator, safety curtain and 28 seating wagons on air castors. Carillion Building are the main contractors and installation is scheduled to start in October this year with a finish date of April 2001.
TFL's sales team got a boost recently when Laura Robertson joined the company to fulfil the new role of sales assistant to Gary White. Robertson, who comes to TFL from Nomadic Displays, will spend the next six months familiarising herself with the TFL product range.
FX Rentals have taken on distribution of the new range of Taytrix modular acoustic panels. FX Group's technical director Frank Oglethorpe spotted the panels at a recent AES exhibition."They are incredibly light-weight and can easily be stacked for transporting. Once on site they are assembled using a system of slots and straps into virtually any shape the client wants. We have already used them to isolate amplifiers and to build vocal booths." The panels are available for sale or rental and come in three different models - Plexiglas, Fabric and Combination.
Star Hire (Event Services) Ltd enjoyed its busiest weekend ever with its fleet of mobile stages over the BBC Music Live weekend. The company could have hired their own stages out two or three times and in the end had to sub contract three stages in to deal with the increased levels of demand. The Star Hire team supplied a range of stages to events all over the country from Kings Lynn to Newcastle and even north of the border to Leith. The company was also involved in the Somerset House concert, where a CS 15–12 was the first ever stage to be erected for a concert in this historic building, the stage being installed the day after it was opened to the public by the Queen Mother.
Continuing its expansion, Leicestershire-based Hawthorn Theatrical Ltd recently added over 220m of Prolyte S36R truss to its hire stock. The addition coincided with Hawthorn Theatrical becoming Prolyte dealers. To complement the truss, Hawthorn also added 16 Verlinde Stage Maker Compact 1T winches to its stock. Almost all Hawthorn's truss stock was used at the Pro Retail exhibition at the Telford International Centre in May. The brief was to turn a 3000m2 hall into a versatile venue for lunches and evening functions seating 1200 people. The company's solution involved runs of truss down the room with white ceiling panels spanning the full width and length. Room and ceiling lighting was achieved using Par cans whilst the stage lighting incorporated both generics and moving lights from Clay Paky and Martin Professional. Hawthorn also provided the sound system from its extensive Martin Audio Wavefront stock.
Palma in Italy is the first stop for PCM's Tony Dickson and John Jones on the company's expanded training programme, an initiative that will see them visiting Europe-wide locations to hold Motor Schools. The Italian Motor School has been jointly co-ordinated by PCM and their Italian agents Audio Link, headed by the charismatic Stefano Cantadore. The Italian School will see 30 owners, users and specifiers of Lodestar Motors trained. The course is designed to offer attendees a comprehensive, hands-on overview of everything there is to know about a CM Lodestar motor. Attendees engage in the complete process of dismantling and reassembling the hoist. Also included is a basic Lodestar troubleshooting session, using faulty motors. PCM are taking all the kit needed for the school with them from the UK.
Tony Beresford is to leave Stageline UK at the end of May to take up a position with a marketing and advertising company in its shows and exhibitions department as a project manager. Jon Slater of Pit Stop Barriers will take over Beresford's role.
The BBC's FutureWorld exhibition is touring nine major UK cities throughout this year. Designed in-house by BBC Resources, it aims to promote new digital technology, at the same time as revealing the making of its recent successful 'Gormenghast' and 'Walking with Dinosaurs' programmes. The exhibition is divided into 11 zones, many of them hands on with computer equipment provided by LG Electronics, each defined with OPTI Trilite trussing. International exhibition contractor Networks of Sheffield are responsible for both installation and moving of the exhibition from venue to venue and are using seven 45ft trucks for this at present. The Newcastle venue, The Lightfoot Centre, sees the first use of an auditorium built by Networks with feature work using OPTI Trilite. There are in fact two sets of exhibition material being leapfrogged around the country. The exhibition is free and details of the remaining venues and dates can be found at www.bbc.co.uk/futureworld.
Star Hire has started the new Millennium by committing to work towards the Investors In People National Standard. This step has involved detailed inward examination of the company's policies and working practices, with subsequent formalising and tightening up of existing procedures. The company has developed its own training programme and have recently implemented its largest ever training programme.
Vertigo Rigging was called in to rig three cars to set the scene for a recent Formula One gala dinner at the Dorchester Hotel in London. The event celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Formula One World Drivers Championship. The idea was to create a roller coaster effect with the vehicles at varying angles. With rigging time very tight, Vertigo used as much stock equipment as possible. The framework was made from Vertigo's stock of truss, with the addition of some specially-made header plates to create the pitch of the cars, which were then lifted onto Vertigo's adjustable car cradle, placed in position and anchored to the truss. The operation was overseen by Vertigo's Tim Roberts. The three cars were a red 1950s Maserati Formula One car (worth over £1m) from the private collection of Pink Floyd's Nick Mason, last year's World Championship McLaren, driven to victory by Mika Hakkinen, and a new Jaguar XKR production model, auctioned during the dinner for upwards of £75,000. The event organiser was Fisher Productions and the display designer was Terry Brown.
Total Fabrications Ltd (TFL) continue to go from strength to strength. The company doubled its workshop facilities last year, and has seen a major increase in the demand for its specialist manufacturing services. In order to meet that demand, TFL has recently recruited Neil Darracott to its ranks. Since graduating from Southampton University in '88, Darracott has spread his work experience between mainstream industrial engineering, and developmental work for the entertainment Industry, including time spent with Unusual Rigging.
In late 1998, Stageline Inc launched legal proceedings against Five Corners (The Mobile Stage Co) seeking a number of injunctions to prevent Five Corners from trading. On March 9, 2000, Stageline's claim for injunctions against Five Corners Distribution was rejected by Quebec Superior Court Judge, Diane Marcelin. She also ordered Stageline to pay $22,500 to Five Corners, partly to cover costs and partly as exemplary damages. Roger Barrett of Star Hire, agents for Five Corners in the UK, told PLASA Publishing: "We are pleased the case has been resolved. Resorting to legal action at every twist and turn has never been our way of doing business - all four Five Corners supplied mobile stages currently in the UK will be working on the BBC Music Live series in May."
Blackout Triple E has launched a new track system - ChainTrack. It utilises a duplex chain - the top portion for driving and guidance and the lower section from which the curtains or scenic objects are hung. Curtains can be attached to the chain using either a sliding carrier (on conventional straight type systems) or rings (fitting into the chain to provide a fixed distance between hanging points). It not only enables a motorised curtain to turn a 180° corner within a radius of just 30mm, it also allows operators to stack acoustic curtains in a cupboard with a series of parallel tracks. The system can also be used to construct a continuous moving background in a depth of only 100mm. In agreement with the inventor, Michel Morice sarl of France, where the system is already installed in both television studios and theatres, Blackout Triple E is producing and marketing ChainTrack worldwide as well as further developing the system and its accessories.
Lite Structures' success in set building continues with its construction of the Michael Flatley Feet of Flames scenic elements. In collaboration with Brilliant Stages, who built the main stage and lifts, the set incorporates multi-level LiteDeck platforms and stairways together with a pair of 8m tall sliding doors as the central feature. These doors have an opening width of 13m which allow the whole cast to pass through together, yet take only 30 minutes to assemble during the hectic get in period.
Geodesic domes for outdoor use have been introduced by Tecna International, one of the few companies in the UK to manufacture this type of structure. The Domes come in a range of sizes up to 10 metres in a diameter and installation times are rapid with coverings fully waterproofed and fire retardant.
PCM has completed its first five-day intense Rigging School of two planned for 2000. This was attended by 54 individuals from all sectors of the professional rigging and entertainment industry. Vertigo Rigging's Ken Mehmed (Live Rigger of the Year 2000), Ian Lamb and John Teahan ran the rigging section of the course which covered all areas of rigging, rope access, truss walking, working at height, bridling, flying, motor husbandry, etc. Aluminium trussing specialists James Thomas Engineering conducted a section on trussing and ground support systems led by John 'Jig' Higginbotham. MAN Flying Systems' redoubtable Mick Nash de Villiers and Tony Mathews taught the basics of the very precise business of PA rigging. Rope Assemblies provided a selection of equipment for inspection, while health and safety expert Mike Curtis hacked away the official verbiage of the LOLER regulations. Also Integral to the course was a standard Lodestar Motor School, tutored by Tony Dickson of PCM and Wally Blount from Columbus McKinnon.PCM's next rigging school is scheduled for July 2000.
James Thomas Engineering has expanded its Special Projects team with the appointment of Paul Young. Young has been with the company for seven years during which time he has worked within various aspects of the company’s production processes, including the manufacture of luminaires, aluminium trussing, ground support towers and roof systems. Most latterly, he has worked in the drawing office as a design draftsman. He will now liaise with clients and guide projects from conception to completion. Young will work alongside Patrick Lockwood, who has been performing this role for the last 12 months.
Stage One has just completed one of its most complex logistical challenges with the staging of a series of sales presentations throughout Japan for Amway. Working on behalf of London-based Maritz Communications, Stage One designed and built the sets including a wedge-shaped catwalk, auditorium and 12 modular exhibition units which were transported to Japan for the presentations as part of a major Amway recruitment drive.
OPTI has appointed David Naylor as regional sales manager for the sales and marketing of OPTI Kinetics effects lighting equipment and OPTI Trilite structural systems. Naylor will have responsibility for UK North and the retail sector of business throughout the UK. Naylor has for the past 17 years worked in the sign industry, specialising in the retail and corporate identity markets, liaising with designers, specifiers and end-users for both UK and Pan-European contracts.