Rigging and Staging News

Total Structures Provides Icing on Cake
Friday, 23 November 2001

Total Structures and BSI Production have designed and installed a state-of-the-art rigging grid for the Coach USA Center in Elmira NY. BSI Production was approached by the GM at the Coach USA Center to design a rigging system that would be able to accommodate the needs of touring production without extensive modification to the existing roof. BSI's Ron Branchini and Hard Hit Productions' (the arenas preferred lighting and rigging supplier) Bruce Perron identified the needs of this multi purpose venue. Total Structures was then contracted to engineer and then manufacture the appropriate system. The equipment has been designed to allow rigging from the ground, which eliminates the fall hazard to the crew working the event and reduces load-in times.

PSA Get Together at Vari-Lite
Tuesday, 20 November 2001

The Production Services Association (PSA) is arranging a series of informal get-togethers around the country to enable its members to share stories and network with others in the industry. The first of these regional meetings will be held at Vari-Lite’s Greenford premises on Tuesday 11th December at 7.00pm. Those attending will have a chance to view the company’s facilities and see how it is tackling the challenges of 2002. The evening will also feature a demonstration of Vari-Lite’s new lighting systems in the demo room.

Anyone interested in attending should contact Keith Owen on 0121 693 7109 or e-mail keith@psa.org.uk.

EC&O Appoints Unusual & Outback
Friday, 16 November 2001

As part of an on-going strategic review of the services offered to clients, Earls Court & Olympia Limited (EC&O) has announced new arrangements for the provision of rigging services in its venues. Following a competitive tendering process, EC&O has appointed Unusual Rigging as exclusive supplier of rigging services for Earls Court, whilst at the same time awarding the Olympia contract to Outback Rigging. The contracts will be three-year rolling appointments, which will be reviewed annually. "We are determined to provide our customers with the very best levels of service and delivery. By appointing different companies we believe that we will be able to get real focus in each venue. Unusual and Outback are perfectly placed to provide the levels of service we’re looking for," commented Jon Sellins, group halls director for EC&O.

As a new supplier to EC&O, Mark Surtees, managing director of Outback, was pleased with the appointment: "Olympia is an impressive venue and this contract is one we’re proud to have won. We’ll be working hard with EC&O to ensure that we deliver on the ground with their clients as well as in the air with their rigging."

Alan Jacobi, Managing Director of Unusual Rigging, commented: "Earls Court is London’s premier exhibition space and we’re delighted to be reappointed, enabling us to focus on providing the very best service and support throughout the year to EC&O and its clients."

Michael Garl Receives Swan Award
Thursday, 15 November 2001

At the recent LDI exhibition in Orlando, Florida, ESTA (the Entertainment Services and Technology Association) awarded the 2001 Eva Swan Award to Michael J. Garl, president of James Thomas Engineering, Inc. The Eva Swan Award is presented to a member who has put forth exceptional efforts in time, expertise and personal resources on behalf of ESTA; been instrumental in shaping and promoting the strategic direction of the Association; made major contributions to the realization of the mission, goals and objectives, and enhanced the value of membership for all.

The 2001 Award was presented by Wally Blount of Columbus McKinnon, who said: "The most important attribute this person has could be summed up in one word: willingness. His willingness to give his time for the betterment of the entertainment industry; his willingness to share his knowledge so that others may learn; his willingness to work without expecting any compensation for his efforts; his willingness to spend weekends away from his family helping to build an industry he loves; his willingness to take a leadership position while others are trying to figure out what to do next; his willingness to take on more work than one person can possibly do; his willingness to work quietly behind the scenes just to get the job done; and his willingness to stay calm when others are not."

Garl has been a member of ESTA sine the early days of the Association. He has served on the Technical Standards Committee since its inception, and he has chaired the Rigging Working Group from the beginning. The Rigging Working Group

Montgomery Leaves Bytecraft
Monday, 12 November 2001

Bytecraft has announced that its long-serving international marketing manager John Drummond Montgomery, has left the company after more than nine years service, following his appointment as Australian Consul-General / Senior Trade Commissioner to Japan, based in Osaka. In an announcement to staff, general manager John Rowland said that Montgomery had been the most successful marketing manager Bytecraft had had. Mr Rowland stated that John had been responsible for opening up new markets for Bytecraft's stage automation business in Holland, Korea, China and Japan, as well as ameliorating the Bytecraft name internationally. In opening these markets, Montgomery had won the biggest stage automation contracts in Bytecraft's history, notably the Singapore Arts Center and most recently the China Grand National Theatre in Beijing.

John had played a key role in Bytecraft's development and position as the premier Stage Automation company in the world, not only in winning business for Bytecraft against larger competitors, but also in developing strong relationships with Bytecraft's strategic partners around the world. Further, the company stresses, Montgomery played an important role within Bytecraft in team-building and keeping morale high.

As a lighting designer of International standing Montgomery was also able to add value to Bytecraft’s business by winning prestigious lighting jobs, which would subsequently be prepared by Bytecraft and utilize Bytecraft technology. The Spire atop the Victorian Arts Centre perhaps being the greatest monument to his ability.

AMX Appoints New CEO
Monday, 12 November 2001

AMX Corporation, a leader in advanced control system technology, has announced that Scott Miller, chairman, president and CEO has resigned, and the company’s board of directors has named Robert J. Carroll, a director of AMX since January 2001, as his successor.

Carroll has over 30 years' experience, including 25 years' operational experience, with a wide variety of technology companies engaged in software development and electronics manufacturing. He served as a consultant to the company in early 2001, and since 1995, has provided similar consulting services to other companies as a principal in Roscommon Limited, which is a technology investment and consulting practice providing specialized support in turnarounds, acquisitions and divestitures.

Additionally, AMX reported 2002 second quarter financial results. Including one-time charges of $8.2 million, the company reported a net loss for the quarter of $8.1 million, or $0.74 per share. As a result of current business and market conditions, the company recorded one-time non-cash charges which included inventory related reserves of $3.2 million; additional accounts receivable reserves of $0.5 million; the write-off of miscellaneous intangibles of approximately $0.3 million; and a valuation allowance against deferred tax assets of $4.2 million. Excluding one-time charges, the company reported pro-forma breakeven operating results on revenues of $23.0 million as compared to $0.02 per share on revenues of $25.9 million in the year ago quarter.

In one final piece of news, the company has expanded its West Region pres

Volkswagen’s Big Box
Thursday, 8 November 2001

The 2001 Volkswagen Stand claimed the entire ground floor of Hall 3 at the Frankfurt Motor Show and featured an innovative multimedia experience ‘The Big Box’ which was produced by HP:ICM of London. The exhibition environment was designed by German architects Cebra who worked closely with HP:ICM to create the perfect environment for the ‘Big Box’ theatre, a circular room containing a 170 degree video projection screen.

The 50 metre wide, seven metre high screen was used to show a specially commissioned film directed by Robert Butcher and Liam Lyons with a score by Jonathan Goldstein and produced by HP:ICM, in front of this screen was a huge water ‘lake’ which concealed submerged water and pyrotechnic effects which accompanied dynamic moments in the film; the roof supported a comprehensive lighting system and was covered by a 35 metre diameter fibre optic star cloth.

The audience viewed the spectacle either from a half crescent ‘beach’ which overlooked the lake or from a five metre high bridge that spanned the Big Box at first floor level, the rear wall was a huge semi-circular gauze lit to reflect the various colour themes contained within the storyline. The film, which celebrated Volkswagen cars and company identity, lasted for seven minutes with interspersed mist, rain, fountains, water curtain, gas flame and lighting effects and ended with a one-minute light and laser show.

Lighting Designer for the ‘Big Box’ theatre was Durham Marenghi who was employed by HP:ICM to light the experience and to co-ordinate

Flying Squad with Fiat & Ford
Thursday, 1 November 2001

Central London-based Flying Squad Aerial Rigging were recently contracted by London-based Acrobat Productions to project manage the stunning centrepiece aerial show at the Indian launch of Fiat's new Palio, staged in Goa on 20-21 September. The Fiat Palio is heralded as India's 'hot' new hatchback and the product on which Fiat India will base a complete revamp of its manufacturing performance, dealer network and brand image. With this in mind, its launch party was a stunning showcase, set in a purpose-built geodesic structure on a Helipad above a palm-fringed beach.

Flying Squad's director Jon Gee worked closely with Acrobat Productions, the Delhi-based production team and each of the artists to ensure that, after only one day of final rehearsals, it would be completely safe for them to perform. Rigorous checks were made to the design of the rig itself as well as to the specialist equipment used to fly the performers. With many years of experience spent as a Trapeze artist (with Zippo's Circus amongst others), he easily overcame implicit challenges including extremely humid working conditions with temperatures soaring above 40 degrees. He was also invited to abseil into the finale and, taking centre stage, made a dramatic impression!

Roger Robinson, director of Acrobat Productions, explained: "We asked Jon to fly out and join our performers as we have a long working relationship with him and the Flying Squad team. Their professional approach, coupled with Jon's own experience as an Artist, puts them in a unique position. Jon understands that to perform there must b

Brown Joins Milos
Wednesday, 31 October 2001

Glen Brown has joined Milos Structural Systems as sales and marketing director to lead its new UK design and distribution facilities. Brown has over 10 years’ experience of modular systems in exhibition and entertainment sectors and will be responsible for developing the domestic market.

Slick Truss for Excel
Wednesday, 31 October 2001

Truss manufacturer Slick UK Ltd has announced the sale of 114 lengths of 2.4 meter Minibeam truss and 38 lengths of 1.2 meter Minibeam truss to the Excel exhibition centre in London's Docklands. The contract was to supply truss to allow more points to be hung in the roof of the centre and to give greater flexibility to exhibitions held there. Slick's Ian Hall told PLASA Media: "The order was worth in excess of 50k and was clinched by the new regime of good customer service and on-time delivery of product operating at Slick."

QuickTruss Arrives in the UK
Tuesday, 30 October 2001

Milos Structural Systems recently expanded its European operations with the opening of a new UK design and distribution centre in Luton, Bedfordshire. Milos specializes in modular aluminium trussing systems for entertainment, theatrical, exhibition and display applications.

The new UK centre comes 18 months after the launch of Milos America in Ashland, Virginia, and is timed to coincide with the increase in its semi-automated production facilities to almost 90,000sq.ft. The latest range of QuickTruss systems feature quick-connect pins and solid connectors, creating one the fastest assembling truss systems available today whilst maintaining structural integrity. A comprehensive range of system formats and configurations are available to suit specific project and loading criteria. Also available from Milos are MT1 Rigging Towers, MR1 and MR2 Roofs for special events, and the latest range of cell aluminium clamps and couplers.

Tried & Tested: Your Vote Required
Friday, 26 October 2001

PLASA Media is looking for feedback from readers of Lighting&Sound International magazine and PLASA Online News, to find out the products that are making the biggest impact among entertainment technology practitioners - and we want your input.

'Tried & Tested' will take a simple approach: we're not asking for your views on hundreds of different product categories, we're just after your gut reactions to a series of broad-based questions on the equipment you're using, in the fields of lighting, sound, staging and effects.

The aim of this is simply to sniff out what's impressed you, what's made a difference to your working life. There are no awards and no ceremonies - we're just going to stir the pot and see what, if anything, floats to the top. The products you vote for can be new or old, high-tech or low-tech - all are valid.

The products which have the highest profile from among the votes cast will be featured in the December 2001 issue of L&SI, and one lucky entry, picked at random, will receive £100 worth of Technical Book vouchers to spend at the PLASA Technical Bookshop. And if your entry stands out as being particularly noteworthy, then we might think of something for you too . . .

Details of how to vote will also appear in the November issue of L&SI. Voting closes on 20 November 2001.

ESS Installs Grid for Earls Court OneESS Installs Grid for Earls Court One
Friday, 26 October 2001

Earls Court has introduced an innovative new grid ceiling feature and dividing wall which enables the venue to create two smaller exhibition spaces within the existing Earls Court One hall. International staging and structure specialist, Edwin Shirley Staging (ESS), were appointed to develop the overall solution and installation of the grid as part of an ongoing programme aimed at providing service excellence for clients in the exhibition and live events industry. Tim Norman, managing director of ESS, said: "ESS was approached to provide a solution that would help improve the overall service Earls Court is able to provide its clients in the exhibition and events industry. Our bespoke system increases the adaptability of Earls Court One, allowing clients the opportunity to adapt the hall space to a preferred scale. This project helps establish ESS as a strategic solution provider to venue owners and operators within the exhibition, event and public building sectors."

ESS, together with Earls Court, developed the overall solution and managed the installation of the grid, which will also carry a new general hall lighting system for Earls Court One. "This is a major transformation which revolutionizes the way Earls Court One is used by our organizing partners," said Nigel Nathan, Earls Court and Olympia commercial director. "In re-defining the space we can now offer a growing number of smaller shows the benefits of our unique location, constantly upgraded facilities, top class customer service and the Earls Court brand.

"The new system will giv

Ollett Appears
Wednesday, 24 October 2001

For the many who worked in the blunt end of Concert Lighting during its explosive growth in the seventies and eighties, the name Paul Ollett is synonymous with the very finest in well-designed, dependable dimming and control systems. Absent for many years, Acutek has been delighted to welcome this talented man back into the heart of the developmental world.

"We're building a company here at Acutek that addresses all the very exacting technological needs of the presentation industry," said managing director Iain Elder. "Having someone as well respected and innovative as Paul Ollett on board is easily one of the best management decisions we’ve made in Acutek's short history."

Ollett's influence is already being felt: the company launched a brand new 36-channel touring dimmer at PLASA in September with his design input, and he is presently working in collaboration with Acutek’s control and software expert, Dave Black, to complete development of the company's motion control system.

AVW Controls Team Expanding
Friday, 19 October 2001

AVW Controls has announced that John McBryde joined the company as a project manager in November. McBryde was the chief electrician at Her Majesty's Theatre in London's Haymarket for many years, working on productions such as Phantom of the Opera and West Side Story, as well as numerous Sunday shows. Coincidentally, he also used to work for Stage Drives & Controls, where both AVW's managing director Anton Woodward and recently promoted director Mark Brown were once employed.

As a project manager at AVW Controls, McBryde will be responsible for organizing and ensuring the smooth running of the diverse range of AVW projects. "Working at AVW Controls will be a welcome change for me and I am delighted to have the opportunity to join the team," said McBryde. "At the moment, in addition to planning ahead for a number of projects which have yet to be announced, we're finalizing work on The Brighton Dome theatre and, as Starlight Express goes into its final few weeks in London's West End, we have taken on responsibility for its maintenance until it closes in mid-January. The original control system was installed in 1984 by Stage Drives & Controls and about six years ago Anton himself designed and installed the computer control upgrade."

AVW Controls now employs six engineers and has an ever-growing list of successful projects.

Blackout Triple E in the Retail World
Thursday, 18 October 2001

Creative Solutions and freelance production manager Eddie Campbell teamed up with Blackout Triple E at the Birmingham ICC in September to create a staff convention, complete with fashion shows and party, for the TopShop and TopMan stores for client The Arcadia Group. The brief to designer Stuart Stanley was to develop a scheme offering two different looks for two retail brands, achieved primarily through the choice of drape fabric, lighting treatment and subtle scenic changes with the turnaround time between the two looks being very tight.

Delegates were seated on a block centred around a catwalk, thrust from a wide stage area that served as both a business meeting forum and a scenic entry-exit point for the models. Blackout Triple E was responsible for providing trussing, 28 electric chain hoists, the tracking system for a huge rear-projection screen and the suspension for the lighting, sound and video equipment. Further projection screens were suspended on truss portals and a large quantity of rental black drapes was used for masking purposes. A significant number of custom-made white drapes created the perimeter walls and divisions for specific zones, whilst voile drapes created a lavish texture for the lighting designer Quentin Jarman. To close the conference, the nine metre main screen was tracked off the stage and a live band riser traveled downstage to allow for a performance by Toploader.

The assembly took place in a mere 40 hours and Blackout Triple E project manager Eric Porter headed a team of 12 who worked in four shifts of 10 hours. "All aspects of the

Production Factory Moves
Thursday, 18 October 2001

The Production Factory, the Netherlands-based lighting and production specialist, has announced that the company headquarters is moving from Utrecht to a new home in Arnhem. From the end of October, you can contact the company at the following address:

The Production Factory BV, Delta 46, 6825 MS Arnhem, The Netherlands.

Telephone: +31 (0)26 38 40 110, Fax: +31 (0)26 38 40 111.

Safety by Design
Tuesday, 16 October 2001

Orchard Road in Singapore is the main thoroughfare of this City State. Rivalling Rodeo Drive as a retail nirvana, Ngee Ann City is its focal point, a modern shopping plaza filled by the world’s leading designer brands. It was also the site chosen by one of the most highly respected amongst them - Chanel - to launch its new collection to the Far-Eastern world.

One major problem though. Being the tropics, most afternoons the plaza is deluged by rain of unbelievable ferocity - not the ideal environment then for a fashion show. Which is why event producers Faber Image, and particularly director Robert Seah, began to give this conundrum some serious thought. "This was to be a big show, a reception followed by the fashion parade for a seated audience of almost 1,000. We needed a large, flexible structure, at least 40 by 20 metres, and it needed to be elegant as befits our client."

Step forward Winston Goh of Total Fabrications Ltd (TFL). He, together with TFL’s technical director Peter Hind, put forward a system based on the company’s award-winning safety truss, T2. "Seah immediately saw the advantages," said Hind. "As a major player in the world of corporate presentation, Faber Image would be in possession of an eight-mast tower system and substantial quantities of the safest truss available." There were other benefits for Faber Image: the structure is designed to be free standing and is still rated for 25 m/s winds and a four-tonne payload. Thanks to its design, it can easily be split into two separate, fully-enclosed units, a

New Set-Up for Maltbury
Friday, 12 October 2001

Maltbury Ltd has taken the decision to sell off the hire part of its business to a newly established company, LEL Hires Ltd. Run by Jason Tucker, proprietor and managing director of LEL Enterprises Ltd, the new venture will operate from Rochester, Kent, whilst managing director Philip Sparkes and Maltbury sales will remain based in London.

Since 1995, the sales and hire divisions of Maltbury have been managed under one roof by Philip and his team, offering both high-quality products and service to clients. "We are delighted to have Jason taking over responsibility for the hiring out of Maltbury's staging systems," said Philip Sparkes, who will now be able to give his undivided attention to the sales side of the business. He added: "This streamlining of the business allows us to continue to provide our clients with an efficient and professional service while at the same time planning for future expansion."

Having previously worked for Maltbury running the hire team and later co-operating with the company on a number of projects, Jason has a thorough understanding of the product and market. LEL Hires will stock Maltbury's popular modular staging systems Steeldeck 7.5, Metrodeck and Ambideck, as well as a wide range of accessories. A well-known and respected member of the industry, Jason is looking forward to leading the hire business to many future successes, and despite the separation of the sales and hire, Jason assures clients that "there will be no change to the quality of service we offer - it will remain as professional as ever". Both J

Blackout Triple E in An Audience with Kylie Minogue
Monday, 8 October 2001

Kylie Minogue recently celebrated beating Victoria Beckham to the top of the charts by performing her hit single in front of a celebrity audience. She performed her sixth number one - Can't Get You out of my Head - at the recording of An Audience with Kylie Minogue at the London Television Centre on Sunday 23 September 2001.

Blackout Triple E was commissioned by London Weekend Television to provide a double kabuki drop with burgundy festoon drape. The kabuki was hung from Blackout Triple E truss and motors with a separate motor lowering a mirror ball. Stars including Coronation Street actress Tracy Shaw, Julian Clary, Cat Deely and Kylie's sister Dannii watched the 33 year-old Australian perform for the Audience show, which was screened this weekend.

Flying Squad Rigs for Oil
Wednesday, 3 October 2001

Central London-based Flying Squad, experts in rigging and aerial flying for special events and live productions worldwide, were recently contracted by Vari-Lite to supply full rigging design and installation services for Cooper Cameron’s striking 140sq.m stand at Offshore Europe 2001. Designed by US design agency Excalibur Exhibits and with contract management of the truss and lighting installation in the UK by DB Systems, the stand fused the use of intelligent lighting, truss and staging to its creative limit.

Offshore Europe 2001 - a biennial oil and gas exhibition and conference - opened its doors on 4th September in Aberdeen to over 20,000 pre-registered visitors, from 87 countries. This is a massive trade event, where over 1,500 exhibitors cover a total of 40,000sq.m. Flying Squad's Bryan Wilson was invited to specifically oversee the construction of the enormous Eurotruss supplied by Excalibur. Working within a tight three-day build-up, the truss formed the striking structure to suspend a plethora of intelligent lighting effects and provided the framework to display Cooper Cameron's 'SpoolTree'. With over 24 years of experience, Bryan skilfully overcame the many implicit challenges of this project, including the massive logistical scale where the main feature - the SpoolTree - itself weighed in excess of 37 tons!

As Vari-Lite's Jon Cadbury explained: "We asked Flying Squad Aerial Rigging to help us with the lighting and truss installation for this exhibition because we have had a long working relationship with Bryan Wilson. We know that Flying Squad emp

StarStages - As Seen On TV!
Friday, 28 September 2001

When Carlton TV decided on a new format of ‘roadshow’ programme, they called on Star Hire (Event Services) Ltd to provide the stage and production support for the televised events. The CITV 'White Knuckle Tour' presented a number of challenges to Carlton, who required facilities for five stage shows and live broadcasts from five different theme parks during August. Both the stage show and the live element were required to work independently or as an integrated operation.

With the stage show, Carlton applied several criteria, specifying that they were looking for a company that could provide a 'turnkey' operation. Not only would the company be required to provide the stage, but also the lighting, lighting controls and power for the whole site. Star Hire’s Mobile Stages manager Jane Russen liased with Steve Adams at Carlton throughout the project and drew on Star Hire’s experience and network of reputable suppliers to create the package to match Carlton’s very exacting specifications. "Our SS 10-08 mobile stage was ideal for this project," Jane said. "Under the scrutiny of the cameras the presentation and branding of the stage was an important factor to Carlton, which the mobiles lend themselves to. We worked with the TV company to create bespoke branding for the stage that looked great live and on camera.

Navigator’s RentalDesk Enjoys PLASA DebutNavigator’s RentalDesk Enjoys PLASA Debut
Wednesday, 26 September 2001

UK-based Navigator Systems has added a low-cost rental management software package called RentalDesk to their product range. Launched at PLASA, RentalDesk has been designed for the Small Business Enterprise which requires asset tracking but cannot justify the expense of larger and costlier systems. Commenting on RentalDesk’s debut at PLASA, Navigator’s David Rose told us: "The response to RentalDesk at PLASA was overwhelming. We had more serious enquiries on the first day than at the whole show last year."

Rose continued: "This is by no means a replacement for our larger systems, but a move to address the needs of smaller businesses which are looking to improve their operations, but don’t have the large amount of capital needed for new systems. During tougher economic times, those companies that have cut costs and become more efficient have a better chance of surviving. RentalDesk will give them a software package for less than £400.00, which contains many of the features that are in our larger systems."

RentalDesk includes equipment tracking and equipment scheduling. It allows for packaging of equipment and includes an interface to standard serial barcode readers. Other features include an interface to Microsoft Word for quote generation, and an easy to use report designer for modifying printed forms. In addition, RentalDesk will include new skinning features, which allows the user to design their own look and feel. The system will be limited to three simultaneous users.

Greg Smith, president of Navigator Systems USA, commented:

ESTA: Draft Rigging Standards for Review
Tuesday, 25 September 2001

ESTA has announced that two draft American National Standards are now available for public review via the ESTA website. BSR E1.6, Entertainment Technology - Powered Rigging Systems is available for public review until 18 December 2001. This draft American National Standard establishes safety requirements for the design, manufacture, installation, and use of motorized rigging systems in theaters, theme parks, studios, and other places of public assembly and performance. This document does not address manually powered systems or lifting equipment used in the construction of these spaces.

The second draft standard - BSR E1.4, Entertainment Technology - Manual Rigging Systems is also available for public review until 18 December. This draft American National Standard describes the design, construction, installation and use of manually-powered rigging systems to enhance the safety of these systems. These systems are used in theatres to raise and lower scenery, props, lighting equipment and similar loads over the stage. The standard does not apply to raising and lowering people, or to motorized systems.


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