The lighting for the new season of Classical Spectacular shows was recently pre-programmed at Stage Electrics’ new Virtual Lighting Studio in London’s Waterloo. The show, which performed at arenas around Britain and at the Royal Albert Hall, involved over 200 performers playing 20 popular classical pieces, complete with cannons, muskets and an indoor firework finale.
The show set up on the morning of each performance and had to be technically ready by 2.30pm for an orchestral rehearsal. Promoter Raymond Gubbay has long championed the use of large intelligent lighting systems to accompany the Classical Spectacular experience and expected this system to be used to its full potential with some 500 lighting cues throughout the show.
LD Durham Marenghi, who has been lighting the show for the last decade, utilised over 100 intelligent Martin Professional luminaires with 2,000 control channels as part of his new design. Illuminating the production are 16 MAC 2000s, Martin’s most powerful automated moving head, along with 16 MAC 500s, 72 MAC 600s, 12 Pro 400 colour-changers and 22 conventional lights, all supplied by Stage Electrics of Bristol.
It was clear that the lighting programme could not be created in one morning on site, so pre-programming was vital. In the past, large, expensive rehearsal spaces such as the Docklands Arena have been used, along with all the necessary equipment and crew, for one week. The show would then be worked through with the orchestra and choir layout marked with tape on the arena floor - a far from ideal method of envisaging
Lamba, the Hertfrodshire-based distributor for KAM, Nady, Stanton and Cerwin Vega! products in the UK, paid for 12 of their UK dealers to preview their suppliers’ new products on a three-day trip to the recent NAMM show in Los Angeles. Gerry Frost, director of Lamba, said: "We extended the invitation not necessarily to our highest-spending dealers, but as a loyalty reward to those prepared to stock the widest range of products."
JBL Professional has recently released the EON G2 ‘Generation 2’ line of powered speakers. Among these is the EON10 G2 compact powered speaker with 10" woofer, increased power and a three input mini-mixer. This is ideal for AV applications, smaller musical and spoken word performances and, when combined with the new EONSUB G2 powered subwoofer, provides a full range sound system with full range power for more demanding performance and playback applications. The EON10 G2 features increased power over the first generation EON 10, with 125W for low frequencies and 50W for the highs. The 10" Differential Drive low frequency driver uses a neodymium magnet for light weight and reduced distortion. As with other EON G2 speakers, the EON10 G2 is kept cool, not by heatsinks or fans, but by JBL's Thermomaster Total Thermal Management System.
Hollywood recently celebrated its biggest party - the Golden Globes - held in the International Ballroom at the Beverly Hilton. Production Resource Group companies Fourth Phase, ProMix and LSD/Fourth Phase were on hand to help. ProMix Burbank provided all of the audio equipment for the event, which included the press audio and video feeds to the worldwide press audience. All presenters and award recipients were heard through the propriety ProMix ‘pop-up mic’, a robotic system. Front-of-house console was a Yamaha PM4000, driving Apogee speakers and Crest amplifiers. Sound designer for the event was Gary Hardesty with his team consisting of audio supervisor Bruce Burns, system engineer Andrew Fletcher, press liaison engineer Steve Cohen, with Mark King on broadcast audio mix and Randy Faustino on house audio mix.
The interior lighting was designed by Lee Rose of Design Partners, and LSD/Fourth Phase provided the rigging and conventional lighting package for the 11th consecutive year. LSD crew chief Ken Delvo and LSD technician Jeremy Schilling oversaw the installation and operation of the kit, which included ETC Source Fours and Par 64s, controlled by an Expression 2X and Sensor Rack. The exterior lighting, also designed by Lee Rose, was handled by Fourth Phase Burbank. The equipment included a selection of 300 and 650W ARRI fresnels, 125W HMI ARRI pocket pars, 1.2kW HMI Sunrays, 2.5/4K HMI ARRI pars, MR16 Xray strips and 1K Mickey Moles.
On 1st February 2001, PLASA went online with its brand new website at www.plasa.org. The new site is the latest development in the six-year history of PLASA’s online presence, and continues the organisation’s aim to provide the premier online resource for the entertainment, presentation and event technology industry worldwide.
The new site further develops the extensive and freely-available information resources offered to the industry by PLASA. Now available are fully-searchable databases allowing fast, easy and flexible access to the full listing of 450+ PLASA members; 1,500 industry news items in the online news archive; a comprehensive calendar of industry events, and over 100 titles in PLASA’s Technical Book Service.
PLASA’s Managing Director Matthew Griffiths comments: "Aside from the great new look of the site, I’m especially pleased with the new keyword-search facilities. We provide the opportunity - for free, and within a matter of seconds - to find every news item that a particular company has appeared in on the PLASA News website over the past 18 months. The same applies for searching the membership database for companies, products and services, or for finding details of worldwide industry events. This is what the industry has been demanding from a website like ours, and we’re pleased to be offering such a truly beneficial service."
In addition to providing a valuable resource to the global industry, the new site has been designed to represent all the diverse aspects of PLASA as an organisation - including the A
Avanti Television, one of the largest-growing independent production companies in Wales, has recently launched an all-digital facility - The Pop Factory.
The new operation, located in Porth near Cardiff, is sited in the former Corona Pop Works and will become home to a weekly live music programme that will be seen on the digital platform BBC Choice Wales. It also houses A3 Records and a brand new 48 track recording studio and rehearsal complex, complete with on-line and off-line editing facilities, called The Welsh Hills Works.
The multi-purpose broadcast centre is, according to Avanti’s founder and MD Emyr Afan, the most important development in Welsh broadcasting this decade. "There is a new confidence in Wales. More and more high-tech companies are locating here. With The Pop Factory, we are proud to be bringing London-quality facilities to South Wales and creating a focus for media businesses in the region."
The centrepiece of the audio system is the new Sony DMX-R100 which was chosen to fulfil a busy and varied schedule in the Pop Factory’s hectic programme, which includes the production of a music magazine series for BBC2 as well as ‘Sesiwn Hwyr’ (the ‘Late Session’) - a live welsh-language programme for S4C. Programming was already underway when the building was officially opened by Welsh music icons Tom Jones, Cerys Matthews and Kelly Jones of the Stereophonics in the latter part of last year. "In fact, the moment the console power was switched on, we were editing on it!" recalled Owen Thomas, head of sou
Ronan Keating’s solo material was showcased at the end of last year - and an arena tour has already been announced for this Spring. Mike Mann reports.
Though LD Paul Normandale’s design (based around a couple of 40ft trusses and a 33ft diameter semi-circular Tomcat MD stacking truss) was essentially traditional, the eagle-eyed lamp-spotter would have picked out a quartet of new luminaires in the rig - Normandale was putting the MAC 2000s through their paces for the first time. "This is really an early trial for me," he explained, "and Martin have been very supportive. I never go to tradeshows, and I don’t like trying anything out in the warehouse." Though the 1200W HMI unit is, says Normandale, better suited to arena shows, the more intimate environment of the Keating tour gave him a chance to see more clearly what the MAC 2000 is capable of. "So far, I’m happy - it seems to do everything that other powerful moving heads can do - plus zoom."
The remainder of Normandale’s kit list (sourced from Lite Alternative) included 18 Vari*Lite VL5s, 10 Starlite Mk5s, a dozen or so Par 64s and eight ChromaQ scrollers. A pair of Strong II FOH followspots were augmented by a single rear truss spot. Control (under the direction of Fraser Elisha) was via an Avolites Sapphire 2000 console, with a second unit "to give me something to do during the show," according to Normandale. The set, from Alan Chesters at Hangman and Lite Structures, was largely drape-based, though the addition of plush red velvet riser facings, r
The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) saw the five year Centenary Project of redevelopment and refurbishment come to fruition at the end of last year when the new facility was opened by HM The Queen alongside a host of celebrity guests, politicians and past students. Andy Wood talks to head of sound Colin Brown.
The scheme for the re-development of RADA - one of the premier training establishments for theatre arts and technology - was made possible thanks to a £22.7m grant from the Arts Council Lottery Board, along with £8m of self-generated capital donations. RADA includes a new Jerwood Vanbrugh Theatre, George Bernard Shaw (GBS) Theatre, John Gielgud Studio Theatre, a recording studio and three control rooms, all of which are linked by a state-of-the-art sound, video and communications systems which allow complete synergy between the performance spaces.
Education is naturally the major emphasis, however, RADA also doubles up as a public performance venue with 16 full productions a year and as such its infrastructure needs to be flexible. For Colin Brown, head of sound and a RADA technical staff member since 1974, the new work involved co-ordinating with the BBC, Theatre Projects, the Oxford Sound Company, builders Laing and project managers Buro Four Project Services, to create work spaces that would allow both practical production and instruction in the same area. The same criteria applied to head of lighting Neil Fraser. The new Jerwood Vanbrugh theatre therefore is the first space in London to use a high-tension steel wire grid, which both lighting and sound
Over 20,000 people celebrated the New Year in Nottingham’s market square. The centre of attention was the Nottingham Council House, an imposing town hall, which provided the canvas for a stunning lightshow by NJD. Images of Robin Hood (Nottingham’s millennium symbol) were projected onto the building using NJD’s Predator HX scanners, whilst eight Datamoons were positioned on columns down the centre of the town square, providing sound activated light beams whose movement and colour was synchronised to the music played through NJD’s 20,000W sound system.
beyerdynamic has been appointed exclusive UK distributor for the full line manufactured by AudioControl Industrial - a US-based specialist in audio measurement and analysis systems. The company’s key products include the SA-3052 Real Time Spectrum Analyser; a one-third octave Spectrum Analyser that includes a pink noise generator, six memory snap-shots configured in a ‘Point and Shoot’ characteristic that requires no PC, parameter setting or complex menu commands making it simple, practical and easy to use. A printer can be used and the display is a high brightness 9 x 31 LED matrix that can display measurement results in a variety of formats at selectable decay times. Supplied with a measurement grade calibrated microphone the SA-3052 is a rugged device packaged in a practical and easy to handle steel enclosure. Available for immediate delivery, the SA-3052 is the first of the Audio Industrial products that beyerdynamic will stock, with more new products due to be announced over the next few months.
The planned auction of the Dome’s contents may possibly die before it even gets going if Legacy plc’s bid for the site is not concluded on 14 February as intended. It appears that the Government and Legacy cannot agree terms, and, as a result, the New Millennium Experience Company has reviewed plans to postpone indefinitely the £10m auction, which is scheduled to start at the end of February. We understand that they may, however, proceed with the sale of some of the site’s assets. If the Legacy bid does fall through, it will mean that other potential bidders, including the Dome's chief executive, Pierre-Yves Gerbeau, who has struck an alliance with James Palumbo, property firm Pilton Group and the pop impresario Harvey Goldsmith, may have their wish to keep the venue entertainment-based rather than the business park proposal that was at the heart of the Legacy plan.
The latest product to be available from ASL is the VAR-4 Digital Audio Router. This unit uses digital signal processing to provide a self-contained Public Address/Voice Alarm control system and includes built-in digital message storage for emergency or routine announcements. It allows connection of up to six audio inputs routed to four outputs and for the monitoring and control of up to 64 amplifier mainframes (V400) and associated amplifier interface card/surveillance units. Each mainframe connects to the VAR-4 via an Audio-CAN serial data network and audio monitor bus. The router includes digital storage for 2 x 32-second emergency messages and 2 x 10-second test messages, and provides four microphone inputs, typically for two fire microphones and two general purpose paging microphones. Two connections are provided for background music sources, either of which can be selected for routing.
In a move that has been agreed by all parties involved, Showcom Audio is to hand over distribution of the Camco amplifier range to UK pro audio distributor, Fuzion. Commenting on the decision, Showcom’s Richard Willis explained that over the last year Showcom Audio’s resale and installation support activities have increased significantly with the prospect of this becoming even more pronounced in the future. He said: "Showcom Audio has chosen to concentrate exclusively on the added-value direct sales opportunities, as this seems to be the more profitable route for our future. We are becoming more and more focussed on providing dedicated sound reinforcement solutions for our highly varied client base which is growing daily." He continued: "I am satisfied that Fuzion will represent the line as it deserves to be represented in the UK, and at the same time will give us the opportunity to build on the relationship we started with Fuzion when Showcom became a main dealer for Nexo systems in spring last year."
Fuzion’s Tony Oates commented: "We are delighted that Showcom will continue to sell and support the full range of Camco amplfiers as there is an obvious symbiosis with the Nexo range, which the company already supports." He added: "From a Fuzion point of view, we welcome a brand that is as complementary to those we already carry, while at the same time filling a niche in our portfolio not already covered by our existing manufacturers."
Success was on the agenda for Sanctuary Mobiles at the annual Royal Television Society Craft and Design Awards held at the London Park Lane Hilton late last year. Director Tim Summerhayes swapped his more customary jeans for a tuxedo to collect the award for Best Sound for Culture and Non Drama Productions for BBC2’s classical drama, The Marriage of Figaro. The award went to Tim and John Middleton for the production, part of the BBC Music Live five-day festival last summer. The opera was staged at Kirtlington Manor in Oxfordshire, and Tim was drafted in to handle the broadcast sound and to record the production, created for TV in association with the City of Birmingham Touring Opera and directed by Trevor Hampton and Matthew Richardson. Tim Summerhayes and John Middleton are pictured collecting the award.
Several new projects have been given the green light this month. Dunfermline Athletic has won planning permission for a business enterprise centre, 60-bedroom hotel, swimming pool and leisure facility at its football stadium in Fife. Meanwhile, maintaining a sporting theme, Grimsby Town is expected to start work on a new football stadium at Great Coates in September, having won the go-ahead from North East Lincolnshire Council. Travel giant Stagecoach has submitted plans for the development of a multiplex cinema and entertainment centre at the bus station site in Exeter, and the BBC has begun recruiting 80 staff for a new £4m TV and radio news broadcasting facility in Sevenoaks.
Details courtesy of UK Business Park.
Stage Two Ltd, the Watford-based audio-visual, sound and lighting company, has announced that David Reeves has returned to the company as business development manager to consolidate the company's position in the conference equipment hire and presentation field.
At the recent NAMM Show in Anaheim, Soundcraft launched a new range of compact mixers - the Spirit M series. The Spirit M4, M8 and M12 offer 4, 8 and 12 mono inputs respectively, and all feature four stereo inputs, four stereo returns, 100mm faders, and an S/PDIF stereo digital output. All channels have peak and signal LEDs, complemented by a high-resolution stereo output meter.
Physically, the layout of the desk will be instantly familiar to any experienced engineer or musician. The mono input mic preamp design comes straight from the award-winning Soundcraft Ghost console. The powerful three-band EQ has a swept mid and tightly focused HF response that delivers a cleaner and more controlled sound. The electronic design of the desk incorporates ‘ground-tracking’ architecture, usually found only on more expensive mixers, and attention has been paid to details such as grounding around the faders.
Tannoy equipment has been specified for use in a new themed bar in Manchester by Aquarius Acoustics in conjunction with Dutch installers, MK2 Visuele Media. The Dutch concept bar, Teasers, features a bar, dance floor and DJ booth on the ground floor, with additional seating space and videowall on the first floor, linked by a stunning glass lift centrepiece. Tannoy speakers are used throughout the bar, with the ground floor and dance floor boasting four i12 Dual Concentric speakers and eight compact i8 Dual Concentric speakers for sound reinforcement. Two Tannoy T40 subs, TX1 and TX2 advanced electronic controllers to optimise speaker performance, together with Chevin amplification complete the ground floor. The first floor, complete with balcony, also takes full advantage of Tannoy’s Dual Concentric speakers, using four i12s and eight i8s to provide high quality sound both day and night.image - Teasers1.jpgicon -
Westsun International Inc. has announced the creation of Westsun’s first regional ‘super hub’ in Las Vegas, Nevada. When making the announcement on behalf of the company’s executive Board, Rob Davidson, CFO and acting CEO of Westsun, stated: "This is a natural step in our development strategy, one that will allow us to provide our customers with even greater access to our comprehensive equipment pool. It will also shorten lead times, thereby further improving our market-leading service to all of our clients." This new facility will operate under the Westsun Las Vegas banner. Dick Wright, vice-president of West Coast operations, will lead the operation. Anticipated to house in excess of $15 million worth of stock, the new expansion will be complete by May 1, 2001. During the transition, Dick Wright will work closely with Scott Jevons of Westsun Los Angeles. Scott Jevons will lead the Westsun Los Angeles sales team as sales manager, and ensure that it remains a key component of Westsun International’s sales and marketing efforts. Westsun remains committed to providing a high level of personalized service to its existing and new clients.
The latest version of ShowMagic, the sound and lighting control system, was released in December. New features include a device library for RS232 control - plain English commands can now be used for devices listed in the library (VTRs, switchers etc); extra support for laptops (Sunlite USB DMX device); new MIDI control features for external audio processors; ‘Latest chase takes precedence’ option; lighting control output through DMX, PMX and MIDI simultaneously and an updated fixtures library.
Simon Woodroffe’s new ‘Yo! Land’ in London’s Farringdon Road, Clerkenwell, is the new home for the company’s HQ, as well as the site of the latest Yo! Sushi (featuring a 2,100ft-long conveyor belt which carries dishes to up to 200 diners) and Yo! Below operations.Yo! Below, situated behind Yo! Sushi, provides punters with a rather unusual blend of food, live DJs, Manga videos, massage and singing waitresses. This strongly entertainment-led venue, designed by John Isted, has sourced its show technology from the newly-created Marquee Installations, with MI’s Mark Brown responsible for the design and supply of the system.
"Farringdon combines the best elements of previous sites we’ve worked on, with visuals becoming an ever-increasing part of the landscape. For instance, we’ve now upgraded to the superior quality of plasma displays," said Brown, adding: "It was clear that they wanted the best technology available and the key element is that since the entire trading area in Yo! Below is a performance stage, we needed to achieve even sound coverage."
The components of the system, therefore, had to be carefully selected for their effect on the soundscape. Sennheiser radio microphones are supplied to the performers who strut down catwalks between diners, while Sabine feedback exterminators ensure a clear signal, and a combination of QSC amplification and six tried and trusted RCF Monitor 8s handle the delivery, sourced either from the Technics SL1210 decks, minidsic or Numark CD players at the DJ station, or f
Rain and cold weather presented many challenges for a smooth presidential inauguration ceremony, but speaker systems from JBL held up to the elements and delivered the sound. Patrick Baltzell of Baltzell Audio Design specified JBL VerTec speakers for the hundreds of thousands of listeners on the Capital Mall. Baltimore's MSI installed a number of their new VerTec VT4889 arrays on custom towers throughout the mall. MSI's project manager Art Isaacs and the MSI crew worked all-night shifts in freezing weather to prepare the nine delay towers. JBL VerTec line array systems were set up in multiple locations, with the two main towers spanning a front stage area nearly 47 metres (150 feet) wide. Crown power amplifiers were used throughout. In the VIP/Diplomat section, 155 JBL Control 25AV speakers were utilized, whilst JBL 4892-90A Array Series speakers were provided by MSI for covering mid-throw applications in a number of audience regions.
Dubai-based Production Technology LLC (Protec) recently staged a spectacular, integrated sound, light and pyrotechnics show to launch Dubai Media City to an invited audience of 2000 VIPs. Guests were granted stunning views of the production from a grass amphitheatre in front of the three state-of-the-art buildings, during which a 24m x 9m backdrop of the stage was lowered, opening up sightlines to the glass edifices which became the focus of the show. The buildings were then lit in yellow, red and blue, virtually creating a large scale replica of the Dubai Media City logo. The entire six minute sequence was choreographed to a specially-commissioned musical composition which flooded the site through a 50,000W sound installation, culminating in a vivid pyrotechnical display that boasted over 6500 effects. Over 1500 lights were installed inside the buildings to illuminate them and a further 180 intelligent luminaires were used to light the arena and surrounding landscaping, using over 260Km of cabling.
A major overhaul of the sound system in one of Britain's most famous cathedrals has been achieved with the help of Audio-Technica microphones. Sound designer Michael Hyland and installers Northern Light opted for a range of Audio-Technica mics as part of a complete revamp of York Minster's sound system, which included an induction loop to aid the hard of hearing and new video facilities. Unobtrusive AT935QMRX miniature gooseneck condenser mics, AT961-RH condenser boundary mics and the popular high output, low impedance MB2000 mic, with its MagnaLock silent switch, were all used in the new system which covers a number of zones in the Cathedral of St Peter. A central 'status panel' is set out to represent the Gothic building's layout. The status panel incorporates the 29 loudspeaker zones and 23 microphone positions and allows the user to set up the sound system before an event.