Apologies to the Stereophonics, but this is going to be an unsung heroes review. Unlike other shows, I’m going to concentrate attention on the peripherals, everything other than light and sound.
Following the appalling tragedy at Roskilde, crowd management has ridden to the top of all festival organiser’s agendas. This was the first big show at Donnington since the demise of the annual Monsters of Rock five years ago, and security arrangements were uppermost in many minds. Showsec, the contracted party, has much experience of Donnington, not least from Monsters, so in many ways choosing them was a given. Company founder Mick Upton managed a team of 250 Showsec staff from the control room, which he shared with local emergency services and licensing officials, monitoring events by radio and CCTV. Mike Harding, group operations director, was at the sharp end of crowd control, with responsibility for some 40,000 individuals. "As it happened, the event was very good-natured. The crowd tended to be younger and less intoxicated than the old Monsters crowds, and presented no major challenges, even back at the campsite after the show."
Harding’s low-key post show report belies the planning that led to this benign state of affairs. One of the key areas of concern was the front of the crowd and pit area. Following the commitment made by SFX director Stuart Galbraith at the International Live Music Conference (ILMC) this year, where he said that SFX would "proactively discourage crowd surfing," plans were drawn up. A primary D barrier system (f
Currently touring the UK, the Budweiser House Party, visiting the cities of Leeds, Manchester, Glasgow and London among others, showcases some of the UK’s top DJs and is part of a touring promotion campaign for Budweiser Beer. The essence of ‘cool’, the Budweiser house has the statutory flying ducks on the wall, a range of retro furniture, a bath full of Budweiser and a dance-floor bed. Staging specialist Maltbury was approached to supply staging for the events. Jon Scott, managing director of Jon Scott DC, was contracted to design and construct the innovative dance floor bed for the Leeds House Party at Granary Wharf. The ‘bed’ needed to be robust enough to support the weight of partygoers whilst also creating interest and focus within the set of the Budweiser house. Maltbury was chosen to provide nine modules of Metrodeck staging, some of which were to be modified to create the dance floor bed. A number of 600mm square framed lightboxes were incorporated into the Metrodeck staging to create the ‘disco-feel’ dance floor in the shape of a bed and each of the lightboxes was individually lit. Scott specified Maltbury’s Metrodeck for several reasons: "Due to the imminent deadline on this job and the number of modifications that had to be made to create the dance floor bed it was essential that we chose the right company to provide the staging. Maltbury demonstrated once again the ability to alter a design to order and work within a limited time frame. Metrodeck is a lightweight decking system and far easier to transport than
First-time exhibitor Acutek comes to the PLASA Show having recently moved to new custom-built premises in Ipswich. The move comes within the company’s first year of operation and will allow for more streamlined production and more efficient customer service. The company now employs 10 people and expects this to increase over the next 12 months. "Our new premises have ample scope for us to expand as we develop our product range in line with the industry’s requirements," said operations director Ian Elder. At the Show itself, the company is demonstrating its range of motion and hoist control systems and its recently developed range of touring dimming systems.
Acutek can be found on Stand R54
Australian company Bytecraft has won the contract to supply the Beijing Grand National Theatre with its control system and electrics. The state-funded Opera is scheduled for completion in December 2004 and the Bytecraft contract - which covers both the control system featuring 400 axis of control and electrics and is worth $32million - will see the creation of one of the biggest control systems in the world. Bytecraft expects to go on site in early 2002 and remain there until the venue opens.Bytecraft can be found on Stand R48.
The doors have opened at Earls Court for Day 1 of the 24th PLASA Show, and the first visitors are now filling the show floor, where over 370 exhibitors are displaying their latest innovations to the industry. Over 400 products are making their first appearance at a PLASA Show, with the cream of the crop entered into the PLASA Awards for Product Excellence, and displayed in the New Technology Gallery on the Top Deck of Earls Court, which is this year sponsored by Lighting&Sound International magazine.
Throughout today, and for the duration of the show, the team from PLASA Media will be bringing you all the latest news and pictures from the show floor. To follow events as they unfold at PLASA 2001, visit our dedicated news section at the address below:
The 56 products nominated for this year’s PLASA Awards for Product Excellence are currently available for visitors to view on the Top Deck of Earls Court, in the Lighting&Sound International-sponsored New Technology Gallery (pictured). The Gallery allows a one-stop view of all the latest product innovations in the categories of Lighitng, Sound, Stage Engineering and Audio-Visual. Judging for the Awards will take place during the show, by a panel of experts from each respective field. The winners will be announced at a special ceremony at 9.30 on Wednesday morning, at which time PLASA will also present the money raised from the Awards entries to a number of charities.
To view the complete list of products entered for the PLASA Awards for product Excellence, visit the web address below:
PLASA is now just two days away and it looks like this year’s event will be the best ever. PLASA is where you get to find out what over 400 of the industry’s leading players have been doing in the past few months. It’s got to be better than leafing through hundreds of product brochures or trawling the internet for information. Aside from the exhibition, there are plenty of things to catch the eye, including the DJ Competition on the Sunday, the newly-introduced iDJ Talk Zone offering advice to DJs, a comprehensive seminar and workshop programme, the PLASA Awards for Product Excellence, the various Feature Areas, and the many events, press launches and on-stand receptions organized by exhibitors. If you still haven’t registered for the event, don’t worry, you can register on the day. All you need to do is turn up at Earls Court 1 and register on the door. See you there.
Vertigo Rigging was called in by Silent Associates International Ltd to rig for the high profile Dealer Event revealing the new Mini to North American Dealers. By far the most ambitious Mini venue - one of three - on the menu that day was the Mezzo restaurant in Wardour Street, Soho, London. The mission for the Vertigo team, led by the unflappable Ken Mehmed, was to lift a Mini from the service bridge, at street level of the venue, into and across the downstairs restaurant area below - where the event was staged. Scenic aspects were designed by Hottopp Associates from the USA. Like Silent Associates, they were also under direction of California-based Route 66 Productions for the project.
Starting at 4am on the Sunday morning of the event, the glass panels from the bridge leading to Mezzo’s kitchen area on the top floor were removed along one side. This allowed the Vertigo crew to shore up the bridge with temporary scaffolding equipment, and gain access to build a 12m long ground support truss. The truss was supported by two 2m legs going onto the bridge and a two more legs extending down to 6.5 metres onto the downstairs restaurant floor. Once the box truss support system was in place, beams were clamped under the trussing, motors were fixed to the beam trolleys and the Mini - which arrived at 9.30 - was moved onto the bridge with just millimetres to spare.
From here the Mini was clamped to Vertigo’s lifting frame, tracked across the restaurant and lowered onto its angled, revolving plinth below. Time was extremely tight. The Mezzo event started in the after
When bwa-uk was asked to organize this year’s International Gathering of Champions by the Kingsway International Christian Centre (KICC) they once more turned to Summit Steel to rig the event for sound and lighting. Summit had rigged for them last year at the London Arena. "We chose Summit again because we have found them efficient and helpful," said Peter Willis of bwa-uk. "Ninety percent of an event like this is founded upon the pre-production and planning stages, and Summit’s input to this process was invaluable. They worked with us all the way to ensure the event ran smoothly and that clinched it for us."
This year’s event was held in two giant marquees pitched at KICC’s headquarters in Waterden Road, Hackney. The bigger of the two marquees measured a staggering 105m wide by 40m deep while the other measured 85m by 20m. The conference was attended by approximately 120,000 people during its eight-day run. The main stage was positioned along one long wall of the large marquee. Summit Steel provided hanging points for the lighting in the form of trusses to the front and side of the stage, while the main PA system was flown using two of Summit’s versatile SmarTmasts, the self climbing tower developed by Summit director Jon Bray. The prize-winning SmarTmast has an exceptionally small footprint, keeping audience blind spots to a minimum. The lighting presented problems of its own. The building’s portal frames every five metres gave Summit a further challenge. "Each one can only carry 200kg so a lot of care was nee
Self-adhesive product innovators LeMark Group, winners of two consecutive PLASA Show awards for its Blacktak and SlipWay Tape products, has announced a strategic alliance and working partnership with Scapa Tapes plc. Scapa is one of the world’s largest adhesive tape companies, supported by 22 production and distribution sites around the globe. LeMark will work with Scapa to co-develop, market and manufacture a specialist range of both plain and printed products for all aspects and areas of the growing entertainment industry. Le Mark and Scapa will jointly look to expand both their European and particularly their USA, Canadian and Latin markets.
Stuart Gibbons, LeMark’s managing and marketing director said: "This is an exciting collaboration, bringing together the entrepreneurial skills of Le Mark and the manufacturing excellence of Scapa, forging a global alliance that will benefit the entire arts and entertainment industry. For the first time, clients working any where in the world will be able to access high quality cross-over products that have been specified for their production or event."
Le Mark, using Scapa 3170 matt cloth tape, has already designed and developed a new range of high visibility printed Cloth (Gaffer) tapes - with the emphasis on 'Safety Warning' for both inside and outdoor situations. The product will be officially launched on the Sunday 9th September on the first day of the PLASA Light & Sound Show. A champagne reception will be held on Le Mark's stand (B14) at Earls Court London Celebrating both the alliance with Scapa and
When the BT Cellnet Conference was held in July, organisers Colebrand Design commissioned Indigo Design & Build to handle part of the venue preparation, including the staging. Because the BT Cellnet conference consists of a number of smaller events, the staging needed to be versatile enough to be constructed in different shapes depending on the size of the event. The natural choice for this element of the project was staging expert Maltbury and so Indigo purchased13 modules of Maltbury Metrodeck to complete the job, each varying in shape and size, ranging from 0.5 x 1m to 1 x 2m blocks. Metrodeck is Maltbury's own mid-weight staging system and has proven especially popular in venues where manpower and storage space is limited.
Vertigo Rigging continues its association with the fast-moving world of automobiles. The two-show Vauxhall Vivaro event, staged to mark the launch of a new Transit-sized van, took place at the National Agricultural Centre in Stoneleigh, Warwickshire. The biggest challenge for Vertigo, according to project manager Paddy Burnside, was the rigging of the massive amount of weight involved within the venue’s point loading constraints of 75kg per-point-loading. All trussing had to be raised on Superlifts, transferred and deaded off with steel wire rope. Thirty-six steel wire rope bridle lengths were needed to secure the lighting trusses in the correct places above each display van, and these were calculated in advance using CAD facilities, and made up in Vertigo’s yard.
Vertigo were on site seven days from get in to de-rig, supplying and rigging all the trussing needed for over-stage and the overhead series of exhibition vans in the venue’s main Hall 2 event room. They also rigged a ground supported truss for a Gala dinner in Hall 2, plus various breakout areas and LX trussing for a large workshop area in Hall 1.
The impressive rigging statistics included the utilization of 2.5km of steel wire rope, 665m of truss - both 30.5cm and 52cm Thomas SuperTruss and Thomas SuperLite, 600m of black drapes . . . and no chain hoists whatsoever! Vertigo also raised and tilted back a large projection screen using a steel wire rope winch, and decorated the entire space with an assortment of banners, logos and signage.
Edwin Shirley Staging provided two identical stages for this year’s V2001, the national summer music festival that takes place in two separate locations in Essex and Staffordshire. This year’s festival featured a host of acts, including the world-famous bands Texas and Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
The two V stages, constructed using ESS's Lite tower system, boasted an impressive 52m wide façade and were assembled in just four days. The 14m high, 10-towered structure with an ESS inflatable roof was specially designed to provide support for the massive sound system and the two 32sq.m Screenco video screens which flanked each stage. Texas and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers also required their own rigging, and ESS had therefore to ensure that the roof grid was configured for the demanding set changes, including the addition of an extra video screen.
The festival hosted 48 artists over two days over the 18 and 19 August. The acts appeared at both locations - Chelmsford, Essex and Weston Park, Staffordshire - over the course of the weekend. ESS also provided essential additional infrastructure, including two Front of House mixing towers, camera platforms, PA delay towers, followspot positions and disabled viewing platforms.
Salisbury-based Stagecraft unveiled its new Prolyte Arc Roof at this year's Salisbury Festival. Stagecraft is the first company within the UK to offer this unique staging system for hire. The Arc Roof can be adapted to suit individual events and will be seen in action throughout the summer at The Big Chill festivals, West Green House and Brockstock, a fundraising event for local charities. Stagecraft's involvement in this year's Salisbury Festival ranged from the hiring of stage equipment to the full installation and supervision of projects such as Prolyte Arc Roof's use in both the opening ceremony and fireworks finale in the Cathedral Close. Stagecraft also constructed a giant outdoor cinema screen in front of The Cathedral School to show silent movies, supported by the French band, Art Zoyd, as well as constructing a two storey front-of-house position, split level stages and PA wings, all fully weather proofed.
Bookings are now well underway for the seminar and workshop programme planned for the PLASA Show. This year the emphasis is very much on knowledge with those signing up gaining an insight into how new technology is creating new opportunities, how individuals have pulled together highly complex projects, why integration is so important and how they can achieve more by picking up tips and techniques from others.
In a programme of seminars sponsored by Installation Europe, audio installation and integration is the theme under which issues of networking, control and the benefits of converging technologies are explored. Tuesday sees a Theme and Leisure Masterclass, presented by Leisure Management, in association with the TEA and TiLE, which focuses on how the leisure industry exploits special effects, lighting and audio technology to create unique environments to enhance the visitor experience. On Wednesday, the sessions move to consider the integration of audio and lighting into building design, the regulations facing those who install lighting, the increasing profile of new media such as LED technology, and the basics of video conferencing.
For the first time you can also attend any number of focused courses and workshops. The ISCE is running three sessions covering the issues associated with audio system design, whilst Loughborough College and the AETTI are jointly promoting a series of courses which offer those interested in theatre a chance to work towards BTEC certification.
In late July, Kew Gardens held its Summer Swing Festival, a five-day music event, in the midst of some of the worst mid-summer weather for 30 years. After the success of last year's event, production rigging company Nippy Industries has been awarded a three-year contract to provide the outdoor roof, staging, and all platforms for sound and light control. "For this years' event we installed a steel deck stage 15 metres wide by 9 metres deep over difficult terrain including steps and drop levels," said Nippy's Steven Williams. "The stage was then protected from the elements by our newly-purchased roofing system from Total Fabrications Limited (TFL)."
Jools Holland and his Big Band opened and closed the festival, in between artists such as The Bootleg Beetles, Bjorn Again and Kid Creole and the Coconuts who entertained some rather soggy audiences. "Considering the appalling weather conditions, the quality of our planning and attention to detail meant that the bad weather wasn't an issue for us. The roof proved simple and safe to erect," said Williams.
Bryan Wilson and Jon Gee formed central London-based Flying Squad Aerial Rigging Services late last year to offer a specialist team devoted to flying performers and acrobats. As part of their expansion, the company has just welcomed a newly-appointed director, Rory McKeown. The Flying Squad now offers a fully comprehensive production rigging service including design, consultancy, manufacture and installation. From Frank Sinatra to Kylie Minogue, McKeown’s CV reads like a who’s who in entertainment. At the forefront of imaginative rigging design for over 20 years, Rory McKeown toured with Pink Floyd on the original ‘Wall’ tour in 1980, rigging the famous huge inflatable moving puppets. This led to his rigging Roger Water’s ‘Wall’ at the Berlin Wall in 1990. He has flown Prince during his 1987 European tour and been chief rigger for U2's nine month world tour. In 2000, he flew Alan Davies for the UK TV production Love is a Many Splintered Tthing.
In his new position, McKeown is currently establishing the rigging department at Excel Event Services, in London's docklands. He is concluding negotiations with structural engineers to create an in-house code of practice to expand the capacity for live events within the facility. The venue was originally designed without any rigging capacity considered. In addition, Flying Squad have recently designed and supplied the flying system in The Turbine hall of Tate Modern for a private party held by Lord Stevenson and family. Lord Stevenson was a Chairman of the Tate trustees for 10 years.
At this year’s PLASA Exhibition Prolyte is introducing new product including a brand new delay tower system, available in 550 kg, 1100 kg, 1600 kg and 2100 kg versions. The large version is being displayed on the stand of Lightfactor - one of Prolyte’s UK distributors. The smaller version can be seen on the stand of another prolyte distributor in the UK, Unusual Rigging. Also new is a completely restyled and updated version of the MPT tower system, to bring the product in line with future demands and regulations.
The updated version of the Prolyte catalogue is also available, featuring over 100 pages of product information and background knowledge from the world of truss. Furthermore the company invites visitors to the cosy surroundings of their stand to enjoy some fun and business gossip at the famous ‘Prolyte Bar’ or to meet Prolyte’s distributor representatives in the UK.
Prolyte can be found on stand D10.
Visual Act is a system of remote-controlled wagons for creating movement on and off the stage. Movements are limited only by the imagination, giving both artists and technicians total freedom in design. Visual Act combines the elements of computer control, battery-operated servos, high-speed radio communication and laser-based navigation to obtain a high level of flexibility and dependability. All components are modular and easily installed in the wagon framework. They can therefore be reused in wagons of almost any shape and size.
See Visual Act at PLASA at stand R62.
Blackout Triple E Ltd has just completed what it believes to be the biggest draping job ever under taken in Europe. The brief was to construct 11 acoustic friendly session rooms, in addition to providing the rigging for lighting, sound and video throughout a hall measuring over half a kilometre in length by 100m across and 15m high. The project involved over 100 motors, 5000m of catenaries, over 1000m of truss and a staggering 1000 drapes, which alone weighed over 30 tonnes and required three 45ft trucks to transport them to the newly commissioned Montjuic 2 exhibition centre run by Fira de Barcelona in Spain.
Discussions began over 12 months ago about the feasibility of holding simultaneous presentations in such a big hall: the requirement was to create eleven 'rooms' - nine to hold 880 people, one to accommodate 1650 and another for 2050 people. The task was to create a cost-effective solution built in a limited time and to provide a high quality finish complete with the all-important soundproof property. As a result, planning began early on as Blackout Triple E and production company Ultimate Events embarked on a series of audio tests with Delta Sound Systems. Such tests necessitated a complete test build of one room plus various temporary structures, which all took place in the venue before the building had actually been commissioned.
The final acoustic solution was to build the rooms with double lined drape walls, hung from catenaries attached directly to the roof structure. The walls included an essential acoustic air gap and were finished at ground level by temp
Few people understand the full complexities of health and safety regulations inherent in the design and installation of motion control systems, even less so when EU legislation is surpassed by a country’s own. The DIN standards, imposed by the TÜV, are known for being the toughest, most stringent safety regulations in the world and govern installations from railways and airlines to nuclear power stations. It was within such DIN regulations that AVW Controls designed, manufactured and installed the automation systems for the newly-built 1,450-seat Concert Hall in Thessalonika, Greece.
The facility is used for opera, theatre and as a convention centre, and as such needs to be totally flexible. The specification, one of the largest AVW has worked on, called for a fully computerised flying system for 34 scenery bars, 10 point hoists and four lighting bars, all with the capability of being controlled from multiple control positions. The control also needed to be easy to use and simple to programme, yet provide the sophistication of traditionally more expensive systems. The result was the AVW Impressario Motion Processor - IMP100, a motion controller with safety and simplicity as priorities. Impressario includes a generous 500 programmable cue capacity, advanced cue following facilities, group control and group synchronisation of scenery bars and even a real-time virtual reality simulator.
As well as the powered flying system, AVW Controls was commissioned to design and manufacture the proscenium control system, consisting of a portal lighting bridge and motorised pro
Lighting&Sound International, PLASA Media’s leading entertainment technology journal, is sponsoring the New Technology Gallery at PLASA 2001. This is the showcase of all products nominated for the prestigious PLASA Awards for Product Excellence. Situated on the Top Deck of the PLASA Show, near to the main bar area, the showcase offers visitors a chance to check out the features and capabilities of all of the major product innovations at PLASA 2001, in one place.
L&SI will be based on the Lower Deck (stand K19), where we will be offering free readerships to qualifying UK industry personnel, plus special offers on international subscriptions only available at PLASA 2001 - plus PLASA Media freebies to all new subscribers!
L&SI can be found on stand K19.
The PLASA Standards Office has prepared a series of Guidance Notes for PLASA Members. Each provides useful information on current topics of interest and will be updated on an ongoing basis in line with developments. Further documents are planned in response to the needs of PLASA members. The following guidance documents are currently available. These documents are in PDF (Portable Document Format) and may be read with Adobe Acrobat Reader (version 3 or later) which is available free from www.adobe.co.uk
Guide to Australian EMC Framework: contains advice on the EMC and C-Tick labelling requirements for equipment destined for the Australian market.
Basic Guide to the FCC Rules: contains advice on application of the USA Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules on EMC for entertainment equipment.
Standards for Dimmers: contains advice on the applicable safety and EMC standards for professional dimming equipment in Europe. Now revised - version 2.
EN 61000-3-2: details the current status and activity on EN 61000-3-2, the EMC standard for harmonic current limits. Now revised - version 2.
Electrical Safety for the USA Market: contains advice on the electrical safety requirements for the USA market.
CE Marking for Trade Shows: contains advice on the CE Marking requirements for equipment displayed at trade fairs and exhibitions in Europe, including the PLASA Show.
The C.D.M. Regulations - A Summary of the Regulations for PLASA Members: contains advice on the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations. Now rev
The Entertainment Services and Technology Association has launched projects to draft three new American National Standards:
BSR E1.18, Recommended practice for the selection, installation, use, and maintenance of single-conductor portable power feeder cable in the entertainment industry. The standard is intended to offer guidance on how to select, install, use and maintain single-conductor portable power feeder cables. The project will promote safety and compatibility in the equipment and practices used in live performance and in film and video production in North America.
BSR E1.19, Recommendations for the use of ground fault devices in the entertainment industry. The standard is intended to offer guidance on how to select, install, use and maintain ground fault protection devices in the entertainment industry. The project is intended to promote the use of these devices to protect people and property from hazards associated with using electrical equipment in wet locations, such as when pools of water are used on stage or a location video-shoot is conducted in the rain, and to promote reliability and avoid nuisance tripping.
BSR E1.20, Remote device management over USITT DMX512. The project is intended to develop a method of bi-directional communication over a USITT DMX512/1990 data link between an entertainment lighting controller and a remotely-controlled dimmer, moving light, or other device. The protocol for this communication is also intended to work with the BSR E1.11 lighting control protocol being developed by the same working group.Int