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
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.
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:
The Arts & Entertainment Technical Training Initiative (AETTI) has announced that 12 more candidates undertook the AETTI - Loughborough College Intermediate BTEC Award (General Theatre Technician) during the recent PLASA Exhibition at Earls Court (9-12 September).
Thanks are owed to PLASA for making the space available and to White Light, Blackout-Triple E and Rope Assemblies Ltd for providing teaching materials. Many other companies supplied useful product information for the candidates to take back to their theatres. The course held at PLASA followed previous courses and was one of several in the pipeline at various locations. The General Theatre Technician course, which is divided into three modules, was held across the first three days of the PLASA Show. Attendees could either choose to complete all three modules at the Show, or begin with one or two modules and complete the course at a later date.
Joe Aveline, secretary of AETTI, commented: "It is reassuring that most of those on the course are working and were given the three days off to attend. They have been financially supported by their employers, who realise the value of a nationally-recognized certificate. In addition, the feedback from those doing courses has been enormously positive and supportive."
Matthew Griffiths (PLASA CEO and chairman of AETTI) added: "PLASA recognizes the value of and need for properly certified training. By combining this with the support of the PLASA Show and the initiative of the AETTI and Loughborough College, we have been able to help provide a valuable trainin
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.
The LDI Show will go ahead as planned from November 2-4 in Orlando. In response to a number of enquiries following the events in New York and Washington, the organizers are keen to reassure people, through a statement posted on their website, that the exhibition will go ahead as usual. "We at LDI would like to express our deepest sympathy to all who are affected by the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Our thoughts are with you. We cannot let terrorists bring world business to a halt and we at LDI and Primedia Business Exhibitions feel it is very important that all businesses show their resilience. At this time, we do not foresee major disruptions for a smooth and successful show floor opening on Friday, November 2, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. LDInstitute is still scheduled to open on Monday, October 29."
If any exhibitors or visitors have any questions or concerns about the Show, they should contact any of the following people: Paul Stratton, LDI Show Director Tel: + 1 720-489-3118 email@example.com
Ellen Lampert-Gréaux, LDI Conference Director Tel: +1 212-229-2965 x 830 firstname.lastname@example.org
Jacqueline Tien, Publisher, Lighting Dimensions, Entertainment Design Tel: +1 212-229-2965 x 815 email@example.com
You can also look at PLASA Media’s LDI Factsheet at www
James Thomas Engineering has supplied technical design and procurement company Technovations with an innovative, customised ground support system for The Imagination Theatre at the Legoland Windsor attraction. The system was part of a major refit to prepare the theatre for the upcoming season where it hosts the Life On Mars show, an exciting new multimedia LEGO production.
Technovations’ Graham Owens explains that they turned to James Thomas to help design a unique, multi-purpose, trussing solution to maximise the theatre’s rather unusual space. It was originally an open air theatre and is now enclosed by a tented roof. The trussing system had to accommodate - and be utilisable for - all production elements in the theatre, both stage and auditorium lighting, sound and scenery as well as providing plenty of scope for larger, more complex productions that will be staged in the future. Paul Young project managed for James Thomas - the first time they had worked with Technovations. Timescale was initially extremely tight, and was then brought forward a further week by the client, but all deadlines were met and the build plans went like clockwork.
Paul devised a six leg system built out of 30 cm tower truss for the legs. They used 45 x 30 cm trussing on the main beam runs, two of which are cantilevered from the towers to form a large U shape. Heavier duty 52 cm truss - needed in this instance to take loads of up to 1500kg - was used for the run across the front-of-stage edge of the structure. The entire trussing grid sits in the Imagination Theatre’s audito
PCM, Wirral-based European importers and distributors of the CM Lodestar hoist used PLASA 2001 to present its latest cheque to the PSA (Production Services Association) in support of their Welfare and Benevolent Fund. This brought the total now donated by the company to over £17,000. The cheque for £4,020 was presented to the PSA’s Chris Coates by PCM’s John Jones. This instalment results from PCM’s on-going ‘sponsorship’ of the PSA’s Welfare and Benevolent Fund, an initiative launched in February 1999. The deal is linked directly to PCM’s sale of Columbus McKinnon Lodestar hoists: for every Lodestar hoist purchased in the UK through PCM, £10 is donated to the Welfare Fund.
The deal was set up by PCM’s John Jones. Jones sees support of the Fund as part of PCM’s on-going commitment to the entertainment and production industry: "We’re extremely proud to be doing this. I’m positive we’re setting trends for others to follow. It’s great to be able to help those who use our gear and support us," he enthuses. The PSA Welfare & Benevolent Fund was initially launched at PLASA 1998. It was established for two immediate purposes: firstly, to provide occasional financial ‘life-boats’ for members and their families suffering from unexpected trauma when failed by private insurance or the welfare state, and secondly to expand the skills and qualification base of members, in particular to assist in re-training.
Edwin Shirley Staging, the international staging and structure specialist, has been commissioned by PCI LiveDesign, one of Europe’s leading live communication companies, to provide a bespoke structural solution for the launch of the new Fiesta by the Ford Motor Company, during the Frankfurt International Motor Show this month. An empty warehouse space near to Frankfurt Airport has been transformed into a multi-levelled launch venue with ESS designing two temporary grid structures, a stage platform and show control platforms within the Nexos Centre for the launch. In order to facilitate the flying elements of the launch show, two roof grids measuring 12m by 14m have been specifically designed to take in excess of five tonnes in weight. The whole structure fits inside the Nexos building and was assembled in just three days.
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.