Cause & Effect, the organisers of the 2001 Birmingham Fringe theatre festival, are looking at the possibility of holding collaborative projects with entertainment technology companies during the 2001 festival, in order to demonstrate the contribution made by them to technical theatre. Project director Derrick G Knight told us: "My motivation is to enhance Birmingham as a host city for performing arts. This will be achieved through the development of a network of performance venues in partnership with the performers, venue owners and production companies associated with performing arts." An initial idea is to include a sound and lighting exhibition alongside the festival, which takes place in July and August 2001, and Knight is currently exploring the availability of no-cost exhibition space at a number of venues adjacent to the reserved performance spaces. For further information is available from the number below.
New York video artist Tony Oursler recently installed his imaginatively-provocative The Influence Machine work into the urban landscape of London’s Soho Square. Its trees and architecture proved a perfect setting for this compelling visual and sonic experience.
The piece was presented by The Beck’s/ARTANGEL Commission. Oursler has worked in video and mixed media since leaving art school in the mid-seventies - when the cumbersome Sony Portapak reigned supreme.
Conceptually, the work - which was simultaneously running in Madison Square Park in NY - is devised from the human attraction to virtual and moving imagery. It explores how this fascination and the technology allow us to enter different psychological states. As a result, giant talking heads, hands and eyes rolled around the trees and buildings. Eerie and ghoulish voices ranted and hissed in the night, interacting with the natural elements and sounds.
Oursler positioned five Sony LCD video projectors around the Park, beaming images onto trees and buildings. Footage included references to some key characters in the history of telecoms and media. Emphasis was also placed on the advent of the telegraph in the mid-19th century. Source material for the event combined art history with science and spiritualism - the ideas of ‘spirits’ trying to communicate with the ‘living’ via tapping, knocking and Morse techniques. It also featured early pioneers of moving image and magic lantern theatre techniques.The installation was production managed by Simon Byford and Simon Corder - who often t
It’s a show made by unlikely collaborators. Starting with the authors: Andrew Lloyd Webber, Lord of the Realm, and Ben Elton, former scourge of the government?
Unlikely, but true; it seems that Elton’s enthusiasm for the musical form re-awakened the composer’s own excitement. To this mix, add the unlikeliest of subject material, a boy’s football team in Ireland in the heights of the trouble. The result is The Beautiful Game, hailed by some critics as Lloyd Webber’s best musical, and drawing comparisons with West Side Story from others.
A creative team was then assembled from the world of opera: director Robert Carsen, designer Michael Levine and lighting designer Jean Kalman. For those familiar with his work - summed up, if over-simplified, by describing it as a 4K HMI fresnel in each corner of the stage, plus some low Par cans from the circle front as front-light - Kalman was perhaps the most unlikely choice of all, his style about as far from the brightly-coloured, tightly paced stereotypical ‘musical’ lighting as it is possible to get! But The Beautiful Game isn’t that kind of show. A workshop of the production, staged in what became the show’s actual venue, the Cambridge Theatre, used an empty stage with the lighting rig flown up to grid height. The real production simply finesses that concept: fake versions of the side walls were built within the real side walls to give concealed entrances and exits. A fake back wall includes moving panels to reveal the pure, distant countryside in one song, whilst the prosceni
Logic System Pro Audio’s new CS1296 three-box bi-amp system has received a good reception since its launch at the PLASA Show in September, Logic reports. Long-term Logic user Creative Light & Sound of Aberdeen has recently invested in eight stacks of the system for their own hire stock, with proprietor Charlie Flett praising the CS1296 for its flexibility, compact dimensions and the ease with which it can be arrayed. Flett chose the multi-functional CM20 15" plus 2" coaxial unit to complement the system. Meanwhile, a new customer, Innovation Pro Audio from the Netherlands, has also invested in CS1296. Four stacks of the system now feature in their rental portfolio along with an array of other Logic products including four stacks of the two-box CS1090 system, four CS1000SB 2 x 18" sub bass units and eight CM15 15" plus 1" coaxial units.
Stage Accompany has introduced the new EFN-DP processing modules, an extension of the Extended Function Network (EFN) circuitry, featured in its Efficiency Series amplifiers. Dedicated to SA loudspeakers, each module features three speaker-dedicated functions, operating simultaneously - clip/excursion protection, dedicated filtering and power optimizing. The clip/excursion parameters are dedicated to the exact specifications of the driver and cabinet, and the excursion protection is a frequency-dependent, zero-attack limiter. The filtering is adjusted to the system set-up, i.e. the filtering for a top/sub system can be a combination of Bessel and Butterworth filter characters, or can have phase correction/alignment.
The third function of the EFN-DP module is power optimizing. Due to the different RMS/peak power values of a speaker and an amplifier, either the actual output capacity of a speaker is never used 100%, or the speaker is exposed to over powering. The power optimizing of the EFN-DP module matches power output of the amplifier with the RMS/peak power handling of the speaker. The circuitry is Opto-coupler regulated for less noise and distortion. Combining the EFN-DP processing with SA’s Dynamic Damping Control circuitry, Stage Accompany say they have achieved the ultimate synergy between speaker and amplifier.
ARX, the Australia-based manufacturer of signal processing, powered and non-powered loudspeakers and power amplifiers has appointed a new distributor for Cyprus. The copany’s product range is now available from Nicosia-based A.G.C. Ehitiki, headed up by Loris Demetriades. The company can be contacted at:
Tannoy speakers have been specified and installed at a brand new award-winning conference and event facility at the Royal York Hotel in York. Chosen for their high-quality sound performance, the combination of Tannoy speakers, installed by Orsett-based Creative Audio, has been chosen to provide speech and audio reinforcement for a wide range of differing applications, including conferences, presentations and live music productions. Creative Audio has designed and installed a powerful, high-quality audio system based around Tannoy Point source loudspeakers, with elements suited to the different applications. For the central paging system, Tannoy CMS 55 ICT ceiling mounted monitor systems provide discrete, high-quality sound reinforcement for speech and music. The 90° dispersion characteristics of the CMS 55 ICT allow the whole room to be covered with just four units.Four Tannoy i12 Dual Concentric loudspeakers are wall mounted at the middle and rear of the room, providing effective speech and music reinforcement. Extended bass response is provided by four Tannoy B225 15" bass speakers, which together with four Tannoy i15 speakers provide the extra impact required at front of house for larger events and live music productions. Two Tannoy TX2 controllers provide crossover and control functions and stage foldback monitoring is via four Tannoy T12 Dual Concentric speakers. All speaker systems are driven by Lab Gruppen amplifiers. The fully-equipped control room features an Allen & Heath 32-channel mixing desk, with monitoring from two Tannoy System 600 monitors.
Building on the success of the CD-A500 and CD-A700, Tascam has extended the range of products available to professional sound contractors, installers and engineers, with the introduction of the CD-A630 rack-mounting combination three-disc CD changer and auto-reverse cassette deck. Designed for installation in music clubs, bars, restaurants, theatres, dance studios, and for small to medium PA applications, the CD-A630 provides a space-saving versatile sound solution, say Tascam. Available in the UK from TEAC.
Scar Audio - part of Audio Industries Research - has introduced a range of baffle-only speakers available direct from the factory. These ‘ready to play’ baffles range from 2-way 12" systems, to 2 x 18" sub-bass bins, surround speakers and studio monitors, are fully wired and tested with drivers, horns, crossovers and tuning ports. All that is needed is a simple box (or flightcase).
The BBC programme Tomorrow’s World recently featured an innovative new microphone that will help to ease communication in very noisy environments – such as between security officers at pop and rock concerts. Where the noise levels generated by screaming fans can exceed 110dB, using radio walkie-talkies to relay potentially vital messages can be a real problem. However, the new microphone, called Invisio, gets round the problem by picking up the wearer’s voice from inside the head. Sitting inside a specially-made earpiece, the miniature microphone picks up the voice of the speaker via the vibrations passing up through the jawbone.
Celestion has launched two new multi-purpose bass systems that make up a range of innovative products called Substation. The new Substation 10, Substation 15 and the Substation18 are flexible units designed for easy integration into fixed and portable systems. All three cabinets feature a unique Celestion connector panel that allows them to be configured in any one of three modes; Passive Stereo, Passive Mono and Direct Mono. The dual voice coil design enables mono ‘summed’ bass reproduction of a stereo signal, while an internal passive crossover allows the user to select mono or stereo high pass passive filtering for separate mid/high loudspeakers.
The smallest loudspeaker is the Substation 10, which has been designed for use in space-critical fixed installations. This provides additional LF reinforcement for music systems and is ideal for use in retail stores and restaurants. The Substation15 combines high power and performance in an easily transportable cabinet, adding extended bass performance to portable systems or fixed installations. This compact unit provides solid bass performance and high power handling make it suitable for high level bass reinforcement in a variety of venues. The Substation18 is the largest product in the range, providing a powerful low-end performance for bars, clubs and live music venues.
Renkus-Heinz has officially launched the Reflex Series of loudspeakers, which was previewed at the PLASA Show in September. Reflex is manufactured in Europe, and brings two key Renkus-Heinz technologies to a host of applications at a more affordable price. The Reflex Series employs advanced Renkus-Heinz technology, top grade cabinet materials and high quality European audio components. The units are designed for both installed and touring applications, with rugged construction and user-friendly features such as handles and tripod mounting sockets.
The Reflex Series incorporate two unique Renkus-Heinz technologies: Complex Conic horn topology (which eliminates the polar pattern distortions created by traditional horn designs) and True Array Principle or ‘TRAP’ (which ensures that the acoustic centres of adjacent cabinets are physically coincident). Typical applications include theatres, nightclubs, small-to-medium size arena/stadium distributed systems, compact live sound PA systems, and portable or installed conference A/V applications.
Early November saw the final concert at Wembley Stadium before the venue is demolished and redeveloped. Quietly publicised, it passed off with little note in the Nationals, but nevertheless raised a substantial amount of cash for the NSPCC thanks to a host of stars.
Keith Morris, under the auspices of CSS Productions, managed the event, reassembling the team he used so successfully for the British Gas, Maritime Museum New Millennium’s Eve event (strange how little we hear of the Millennial events that succeeded). Being November and rather nippy around the towers, this dinner and music show was staged on the pitch, but under cover. Serious Structures provided its Space Building, a giant derivative of the classic Orbit roof, being a curved ‘tunnel’ 92 metres long, 40m wide, with a max height at centre of 15m. The main feature of the Space Building is the totally transparent side fabric, which meant a lavish lighting display could be staged against the backdrop of the famous Twin Towers.
"This event was always going to be very tight on time," commented Morris. "The window for the build and de-rig was only 10 days (seven-day build, three-day de-rig). Scheduling was therefore of prime importance and a lot of time was spent with suppliers and site manager William (Pitso) Pirrie going through this process.
All audio was in the hands of Capital Sound, project managed by Martin Connolly. All Martin Wavefront 8, nine cabinets were flown each side of the stage as main system, plus two sets of delays down the length of the structure to avoid hig
QSC Audio has appointed Roger Maycock to the position of product application specialist. Maycock brings a wealth of industry experience to QSC Audio, having served many years as a product trainer, clinician, documentation specialist and journalist. In this newly-created position, he will function as a technical trainer - spearheading QSC’s education programmes while also serving as a spokesperson on technical issues with the press.
Maycock was, until recently, technical consultant to Mix magazine where, he contributed product reviews, applications articles, and feature stories. His work has been published in Electronic Musician, NetMedia, EQ, Pro Sound News, Down Beat, and Music Inc. magazines. He served several years as TASCAM’s marketing support manager and has also served as a product specialist with Fostex and Roland.
Martin Professional has given its website a new look, in order to give its visitors a more customized experience. Martin has segmented the website into the various lighting industry segments. There are also separate areas for Jem smoke machines and Mach loudspeakers.Users logging on to the site for the first time can customize their visit by choosing a lighting industry sector, and language, so that users are always directed to a sub-site reflective of their background and interests. The 10 different sub-sites cover the following segments: DJ, Club, Touring, Theater, Architectural, TV, Commercial, Leisure, Jem Smoke and Mach Speakers. Each sub-site contains products and case stories relevant to that particular sector, as well as company information, a comprehensive distributor directory page and support area, as well as some fun extras.
Elstree Sound Associates (ESA) has recently purchased a Midas Heritage 1000 from the London branch of LMC Audio Systems. Celador Productions dry hire a TV sound control room from ESA for the UK version of ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire?’ Having already been aware of Midas XL4 and XL3s, ESA were familiar with Midas for their reputation in live sound environment. On being presented with the new H1000, ESA was convinced that the console would work equally well in a broadcast environment. Sound supervisor Kevin Duff commented: "You never know how a desk is going to perform until the red light is on . . . but the H1000 excelled and blew me away with its warm, bright and crisp sound." He was also impressed by the console’s automation, adding: "There are two sound supervisors on 'Millionaire' - Chris Thorpe and myself - and we both have our own personal operational preferences in the way we use the console. By storing our preferences in the snapshot automation either of us can recall our settings instantly, which greatly reduces set-up time."
Central London-based Orbital Sound is currently in pre-production for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s musical adaptation of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which will make its London debut at Sadler’s Wells this Christmas.
In order to accommodate the complexities of this acclaimed production of Lion, Orbital worked closely with sound designer Scott Myers at all levels to help augment his initial sound design, first created three years ago for the show’s original run at the RSC.
Orbital has invested in the revolutionary new Yamaha PM1D as a world first to operate as the FOH theatre desk. The potential of this desk as part of Orbital’s extensive inventory is set to dramatically change sound design in theatre for both complex sound effects plays and larger musicals.
As Scott Myers explained: "The facilities on the PM1D will enable me to do complex operations simultaneously such as various changes in orchestra colours, quickly yet subtly, difficult changes in foldback mixes, and multi-dimensional sound effect placement. This should allow me to give the audience a first-rate theatrical experience."
From the show’s inception, Myers and Orbital’s head of production, Andy Robinson, have engineered detailed CAD schematics and produced a new systems design, breaking new ground by way of the use of the PM1D. Orbital’s in-house editing suite has proved especially useful on Lion. Working closely with Pro-Tools expert Sebastian Frost, Scott Myers found that the company’s vast library of sound effects has enabled him
After a number of years at the Royal Lancaster Hotel, where the spiralling success of the event has seen more and more people literally squeezed into the hotel's Westbourne Suite, the 2001 Live! Awards dinner will be held in the Great Hall of Alexandra Palace. The change of venue offers the twin benefits of easily accommodating the large numbers who now wish toattend the Awards, while allowing much easier access to exhibitors and visitors to the Live! Show. The Live! Awards dinner takes place on the evening of Wednesday 7th February 2001, the first day of the Live! Show. In addition, this year, for the first time, you can register online for the Live! Show at the web address below, which also features comprehensive Show information.
Belgian audio and lighting rental company Flashlight/APR has signed up as the fifth member of the expanding Synco Europe Network of PA companies, while two existing Synco Network members have announced substantial new equipment investments. Flashlight/APR, of Houthalen, Belgium, joins DEE Sound and Light (Belgium), PAS Audio (Holland), Ampco Pro Rent (Holland) and Puro Audio (Portugal) in the network. The latest move means that Belgium now has a full complement of Synco members. Flashlight’s current work is in broadcast (including video production houses and commercial and state-owned TV channels), corporate events, theatre musicals and touring.Flashlight/APR underlined its commitment to Synco with the purchase of 30kW of Renkus-Heinz Synco Touring System (RH-STS) PA, amplifier and drive racks with Crest amplification, a full RH-STS rigging system and multicores, as well as Midas Heritage 2000 and 3000 consoles. It also includes eight 15” and eight 12” Synco stage monitors and matching Synco amplifier racks.Flashlight/APR is run by joint managing directors Walter van den Langenberg and Erwin Franck. The company also has a large stock of lighting equipment through its relationship with Flashlight Holland. Meanwhile, DEE Sound & Light has invested in an additional 6 RH-STS SUB 18/RR cabinets, while Ampco Pro Rent has purchased another 24 RH-STS SUB 18/RRs. APR also invested in 24 of the compact, full-range Renkus-Heinz SR5 cabinets and Crest amplifiers for their growing theatre work along with another Midas Heritage 1000 - bringing the total number of Herita
Stage Accompany has introduced the latest addition to the Entertainer Series - the E27. Specifically designed as a compact, medium-power full-range loudspeaker, the E27 is usable as a sound reinforcement system without the need for additional bass cabinets.
The Series has a frequency range of 55Hz - 30,000Hz, and a continuous power of 400W and is capable of producing high definition, distortion-free sound at both low and high SPLs, up to 127dB. The speakers feature Ribbon Compact Drivers, SA’s exclusive transducer for mid and high frequencies. Because of the directivity of the driver, no compression horn is needed, which eliminates sound colouring.
AEI Music have announced that its latest hard-disc music storage system will be launched on February 1st 2001. The new system, says AEI, combines the benefits of hard-disc storage with the 'Human Touch' of experienced music programmers, without relying on computer modelling to choose the music, thereby ensuring that repetition is avoided, and tracks 'sound good together'. ProFusion is a closed format system that can be scheduled up to the minute, hour, day, month and year, allowing for promotional items and messages to be stored alongside the music.
At the NAMM Show (Anaheim, California, 18-21 January 2001) Sennheiser will be launching the RS30, 40, 60 and 80 wireless headphones. As the showcase model in the series, the RS60 uses SRS Labs' headphone enhancement technology to include switchable surround sound, delivering a realistic and spacious listening experience through stereo headphones. SRS processing is based on the same psycho-acoustic principles which allow us to hear sounds in three dimensions, and is unique because it achieves without the use of special recording techniques. Frequency response is a full 20Hz to 20kHz, with up to 100dB of sound output.
UK pro audio rental company Dreamhire has extended its influence in Europe by entering into a joint venture with Funky Junk in Sweden and Italy. Funky Junk's branches in Stockholm and Milan now carry a range of Dreamhire rental equipment from manufacturers such as Neve, Neumann and Urei, as well as acting as a point of reference to anyone wanting to access Dreamhire's entire equipment list.
PLASA has announced that Neil Darracott (pictured right), design engineer at Total Fabrications Ltd, has been elected to the Executive Committee of the Association following the elections which closed on 1 st December. The elections attracted 123 membership votes in total, compared with 104 last year. Mick Hannaford (Light Processor), the serving PLASA chairman, has been re-elected for his second three-year term, while PLASA Treasurer Sammy DeHavilland of Dare Pro Audio/Deco Leisure, has been re-elected for a three-year term. Newcomer Neil Darracott fills the other three-year term, while Paul Hinkly of LMC Audio, who was co-opted onto the PLASA committee last year, was elected for a further one-year term.Peter Walker of NSR, who was not re-elected, has served on the PLASA Committee for the past six years, and was for much of that time involved with membership issues, particularly related to new applications to the Association. At the December meeting of the executive committee, chairman Mick Hannaford thanked Peter for his time and hard work over the years he has served with PLASA.The remaining members of the committee are Paul Adams (PAI Group), Paul De Ville (Lightfactor Sales), Nikki Scott (Stage Technologies), David Hopkins OBE (Audio Design Services) and Diane Grant (DHA Lighting).