USA - Atlona has promoted industry veteran Blake Jochum to the role of territory manager for Florida effective immediately, following a very successful period as an inside sales representative. Jochum will represent Atlona’s commercial and residential AV product lines, and support David Pendleton, Southeast regional manager, to cover the many business opportunities that exist state-wide.
Jochum will also work closely with Atlona’s state-wide partner network to drive sales and business development. He reports to Scott Ettinger, director of sales, Eastern region.
Jochum has spent the majority of his career in Florida, and has developed a strong network of industry relationships along the way. Following six years as an AV programmer and lighting technician for Pensacola-area nightclubs, Jochum joined All Pro Sound as corporate sales manager, integrated systems.
He spent 25 years at All Pro Sound before moving onto a senior systems designer role at Tampa-based Synergy.
The Netherlands - ROE Visual is gearing up for ISE 2019 with a new selection of products and integration options aimed at the rental and system integration markets they serve. ROE Visual is located in Hall 12, stand F50.
This year’s stand design will feature a massive Sapphire SP1.5 screen, a Diamond 2.6 video wall and the Black Marble LED system in various applications. Next to these high-end products the ROE Visual stand design incorporates the ROE Strip and the newly released Vanish V8 LED panel.
The versatile Black Marble system has evolved from a fast-building LED floor to a full-fledged system that provides stylish and unique integration solutions, to create floors, multi-level platforms and walls suited for architectural, broadcast or event applications. The system has four different finishes for a classy or fashionable look.
The Sapphire platform is billed as the only NPP system that can be suspended. Sporting a mere 1.5 mm pixel pitch and unique frame structure, Sapphire offers a flawless canvas that is strong and stable. The clever assembly system with intersection layers guarantees a seamless assembly.
The Vanish V8 system offers high transparency. With a transparency of 60% this light-weight LED panel features high-brightness and excellent viewing angles, capturing the audience’s attendance with a surprising visual experience.
Europe/Asia - Two teams will take part in the 2019 Mongol Rally to raise money for technical entertainment charity Backup.
The rally, which takes place in July and spans 10,000 miles from the Czech Republic to Ulan Ude in Russia, requires participants to ride a very small vehicle, with no support or set route to the finish line, which must be crossed in four to eight weeks.
Team Backup, comprising Salvador Avila, Ethan Forde and Duncan McLean, are aiming to raise £50,000 for the charity, with team The Nomadic Numpties of ‘Turbo’ Anthony Hall and ‘Henri’ Abby Cooper targeting a further £1,000.
Team Backup will ride a 2001 Toyota Yaris with over 121,000 miles on the clock. Meanwhile, Team Nomadic Numpties are looking for ideas from the industry on turning their car, Poppy, into a mobile mirror ball.
“It won’t be easy, and the drive is fraught with danger,” says Duncan Mclean, a video and projection designer based in London and New York, who has worked in theatre, TV and large-scale live events for the past 15 years. “There will be highs and lows, the car will breakdown - a lot - and friendships will be pushed to their limits.
“But our goal is to raise £50,000 for Backup and we’re aiming to get manufacturers, hire companies
USA - For a third year running, global design and BIM software solutions provider Vectorworks is sponsoring awards at the Kennedy Centre American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF). KCACTF is a national programme designed to celebrate college theatre in the United States and help students develop their creative and technical skills. This year marks the 50th anniversary of KCACTF.
Every year, KCACTF hosts eight regional festivals for college theatre students across the United States. The festival activities include workshops, discussions, regional-level scholarships and award programmes. The first regional festival begins on 8 January and the last festival ends on 28 February.
“As we gear up for another exciting festival season for KCACTF, once again new doors will open for a handful of students because of the connections between KCACTF and our industry-leading sponsors, such as Vectorworks,” says KCACTF national chair of design, technology & management Jesse Dreikosen. “The company’s sponsorship helps foster students’ creativity and supports them every step of the way as they discover new innovative ways to communicate their design ideas."
This year, each winner of the eight festivals will receive a free professional license of Vectorworks Designer, a solution that offers lighting, rigging and rendering tools in a single interface.
“Our involvement with the Kennedy Centre American College Theatre Festival the past two years has been wonderful, and we look forward to supporting the next generation of entertainment professiona
UK - The West London demo room of Kinesys was home to a Green Hippo Automation Masterclass with an international flavour. Welcoming attendees from Finland and the Netherlands, as well as the United Kingdom, Green Hippo partnered with Kinesys to deliver Masterclass III - Automation.
The two-day course, which took place earlier this month, enabled delegates to take a deep dive into integrating moving elements with Hippotizer and SHAPE 3D projection mapping. Occupying the Kinesys base, conveniently located 20 minutes from Heathrow, students benefited from a venue fully-equipped with chain motors, rotators, trolleys and truss - this was a true hands-on experience where participants experienced using actual hardware to practice key skills including object alignment, parenting and automation scripting.
Both days saw students spending the mornings absorbing theory in the training room, moving in the afternoons to the demo room for hands-on, practical sessions. Day one included a section on automation history and terminology as well as basic usage of Kinesys Vector and K2 systems - no prior knowledge of Kinesys systems was required for this course, though a good understanding of Hippotizer and basic SHAPE functions was recommended - closing with rotation and translation ‘in real life’. The second day’s topics included 3D basics and texture mappers, moving on to (Epson) projector alignment, setting up multi-axis automation with parenting, and automation visualisation.
At the end of the masterclass, delegates left with their automation skillset signific
USA - Pro AV solutions supplier Biamp has acquired sound masking specialist Cambridge Sound Management (CSM) from Gladstone Investment Corp.
CSM joins as a product family within the Beaverton-based company’s portfolio, with business functions set to gradually blend into a single Biamp business.
Rashid Skaf, Biamp president, comments: “It has been just one year since I led the acquisition of Biamp with Highlander Partners with the stated intent of leveraging it as a platform to build a respected provider of comprehensive AV solutions. This transaction is the first evidence of that strategy being implemented but far from the last. Biamp is on the move.
“The acquisition of Cambridge Sound Management unites two great brands in the professional AV market.”
The deal will enable Biamp, who provides AV solutions for conference rooms, lecture halls, auditoria as well as paging and notification systems, to also provide a sound masking offering through CSM.
UK - The Maestra Group in London and Dubai have switched from their existing server-based equipment rental software to HireHop’s cloud-based rental equipment software to manage their productions, hires and inventory.
Maestra is an international event production and AV rental company based out of London and Dubai, with a large portfolio of iclients and events under their belts.
HireHop’s director Keith Jacobs says: “We are delighted to have such a prestigious and well-respected company on board, and we look forward to facilitating Maestra’s growth in the future.”
Justin Hammond, managing director of Maestra London, adds: “We had encountered numerous limitations with our previous rental software and needed a replacement. We switched over to HireHop because it could do everything we needed and more, due to its speed and the wealth of functionality, making it the perfect fit for our ever-growing company.”
A.C. Entertainment Technologies (AC-ET) has provided KCS Group with a Green Hippo Hippotizer V4 Karst+ Media Server to make Honda UK’s live event content stand out from the crowd.
KCS, an experiential marketing and events company, has worked with Honda exclusively for 15 years - providing them and their dealerships with the support to make every event a success.
KCS were asked to procure a media server and all necessary hardware to give Honda the ability to display varying content across different areas of their show stands, whilst giving them the option to link the screens together as well, to broadcast live content simultaneously across them all.
Gareth Coleman, project manager for KCS, visited PLASA earlier this year to research his options. He met Stuart Burdett, sales manager for AC-ET's specialist video sales division.
Coleman says: “After speaking with Stuart at PLASA along with other media server suppliers, Green Hippo stood out as being the most user-friendly and the most versatile platform. All the other options we looked into only offered a 3D working environment which is quite complicated to get your head round when you’re new to this type of technology. The ability to switch between a 2D and 3D environments means that no matter what type of experience you have you can build your project in Hippotizer V4+.”
The Green Hippo Hippotizer V4 Karst+ Media Server will be used to help Honda UK bring visual stories to life at any event required. This will range from internal conferences mixing live content with pre-recorded conten
The Netherlands - Panasonic’s presence at ISE 2019 will see it offering a range of technologies that “provide creative freedom to those involved in visual and proAV technologies allowing them to push the boundaries across live entertainment, public displays, education and collaboration”.
Among a number of new technologies unveiled at the show will be the introduction of a 50,000 lumens laser projector.
Panasonic will be showcasing its full range from 3,000 lumens portable units to the ultra-high brightness 50,000 lumens model. Panasonic will also have a full 4K professional display range on show, from entry level to high-end, featuring a modern, slim bezel.
The company’s annual ‘showstopper’, will use Panasonic’s market leading technology which in the past has seen projection mapped sports cars, 4K robotic screens, magic shows and live projection mapped dance shows on the Panasonic stand (Hall 1 H20). This year a 3D mapping on a giant inflatable surface featuring Panasonic’s new fish eye lens will combine in a projection showcase which will see visitors taken on a Visual journey across the world.
Hartmut Kulessa, European marketing manager at Panasonic, comments: “ISE is going to be an exciting few days. We’re showcasing our strength in verticals such as live entertainment, education and collaboration. For the rental market, the introduction of a 50K projector with the most compact dimensions on the market, is sure to make a mark and will take events to the next level. And we are excited by the prospect of our annual ‘
UK - disguise has expanded its global reach by opening two new offices, in Shanghai and Los Angeles. This is in addition to their bases in London, New York and Hong Kong.
Fernando Kufer, CEO at disguise, comments: “The decision to expand into China and open a second office in America was a logical step in our business growth strategy. We are seeing rapid growth across the globe and some of the most talented visual designers are in these regions, so it is critical that we can work with them effectively and offer culturally relevant support.”
disguise have also hired multiple new team members across different regions. Bill Collis has joined disguise as chairman of the board, bringing his leadership experience within the film and video industry. The company has also appointed a new executive team including: Tom Rockhill as chief sales officer, Paul Hunt as chief financial officer and Lorna Bains as chief people officer. Other senior appointments include Roberto Scandian as head of operations, Ethan Forde as head of support, Laurence Dalby who is leading the company’s new Mixed Reality features for film and broadcast. There are also new teams in Shanghai and LA to support the new offices and regions.
UAE - Qasr Al Hosn is the oldest and most significant heritage site in Abu Dhabi. It was built after more than 11 years of restoration and the site has now reopened its doors as a museum to the public, showcasing the development from a community reliant on fishing and pearling to the modern Abu Dhabi.
Creative Technology Middle East (CTME) were on hand to deliver 9,750sq.m of projection for the historical event on behalf of client, People.
The Qasr Al Hosn Inauguration was opened by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi on 5 December 2018. The large projection show featured content supplied by Fly Studio, showcasing the UAE’s heritage and the history of Qasr Al Hosn Fort. The content was delivered across three buildings, the Musalla, the Cultural Foundation and the Qasr Al Hosn Fort. The projection covered such a large area of the event that the only way for the audience to follow the full story was from the central revolving grandstand which slowly rotated as the show progressed across the large site.
CTME used 34 Panasonic 31K laser projectors and 46 Panasonic 21K projectors installed into 20 bespoke towers strategically placed to cover all three main aspects of the projection areas. CTME’s senior project manager Dan Hughes says: “We use Panasonic projectors due to their reliability, brightness, optics and are a perfect product for the job in hand.”
CTME used its internal Octopus application to control switching of backup feeds on the matrix. Hughes explains: “Octopus is an application created internally by ou
UK - At the end of 2017, Pete Tong, Jules Buckley and the Heritage Orchestra, treated UK fans to a live production of his acclaimed album, Ibiza Classics. Such was the reception that dates for the outing in the run up to Christmas 2018 were booked almost immediately. While the essential elements of last December’s tour remain the same, changes have been made.
“For me, what has made it different this time around is the change of musicians, with different players in the orchestra; their physical technique affects how it looks and feels and consequently where I place the cameras,” explains video director Mark Davies, pointing to one area that has been refreshed. “That’s a subtle distinction but when you get to an instrument the size of a cello posture and playing technique has a big influence.” Paddy Hocken Productions are once again using the services of Video Design to support Davies’ work; they too have been effecting change.
“I’ll give you one small example,” says Davies. “Last time out - and thanks to the intervention of Video Design’s boss Alex Leinster - I was given the chance to use a prototype remote operated tracking camera from BR Remote. Small, discrete and deck mounted, it gave me those all-important dynamic camera angles from across the front of stage without the intrusion of jibs or cranes spoiling the audience’s view. Now, just eight months later they have practically redesigned it.”
Davies is too modest to say so, but part of that process was following feedback from himself and Leinster. “They hav
Canada - Solotech has named Daniel Méjean as vice-president (strategic sourcing) effective 14 January 2019.
In this new position under the direction of Nicolas Lavoie, chief financial officer, Méjean will actively contribute to the performance of the rapidly growing sourcing department as a key player in strategic planning, as well as long and short-term alliance building with suppliers and partner.
Méjean has over 20 years of experience in strategic sourcing management and direction in large-scale companies.
Canada - Solotech has announced the appointment of Mitchell Sadofsky as sales director, effective 10 December.
Sadofsky holds a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and Business Management (Double Major) from the University of Massachusetts. He has been working in business management for about 15 years. His areas of expertise include, among others, account management, and sales growth planning and analysis in large-scale companies such as Peerless Electric and Alico Lighting.
“Thanks to his solid experience in business development in Ontario, Mr Sadofsky was the natural choice for this position. We are looking forward to engaging his skills and leadership,” says Philip Giffard, president, sales and integration division.
Canada - Solotech has announced the appointment of Nicolino Iannotti as vice-president, finance, effective 7 January, 2019.
Iannotti holds a bachelor’s degree in commerce from Concordia University, and the CPA, CMA and CA professional designations. He has 20 years of experience in accounting, external reporting, audit, and financial planning & analysis in large-scale companies such as Gildan and Deloitte.
“As a leader in financial management in the United States and Canada, Mr. Iannotti will be a great asset to support Solotech’s growth on a global scale”, said Nicolas Lavoie, chief financial officer.
USA - With two hospital locations, 12 primary care clinics, six rehabilitation centres and nine specialty care sites, Children's Minnesota is one of the largest paediatric health systems in the United States. Star Studio is the hospital's in-house television studio with production spaces located on both the Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses. Star Studio programming is shown on Children’s own 24-hour television channel. In addition to pre-recorded programmes, Star Studio also produces 12 live and interactive shows a week.
To increase production efficiencies and to provide better audio quality for the studio's interactive game show programmes and recorded content, Ben Diger, Star Studio broadcast engineer at Children’s Minnesota, began using Dante-enabled equipment and the Dante Via software for the multi-channel routing of computer-based audio.
"With live and pre-recorded content, audio is 80 percent of the experience, and if we have bad audio, no one's going to watch," said Diger. "Producing a show with high-quality, professional audio is a must for us. Dante allows us to do this."
The Dante audio network platform allowed Diger and his team to pull in separate game show audio and music channels, as well as microphone and headphone channels, from a single computer, creating a virtual studio. The team also uses Dante to tie together its intercom system over the network, instead of traditional XLR cabling.
With Dante Domain Manager, Star Studio’s audio is efficiently integrated into a single, manageable and secure audio over IP network tha
Europe - Absen has appointed Alex Couzins to the newly created position of head of brand and marketing for Europe in a move that sees the company underline its commitment to the region.
Alex, who joins from systems integrator AVMI, will be part of Absen’s corporate marketing team where he will be responsible for European brand marketing and providing local marketing support for the group’s VAPs (Value-Added Partners), referring to Absen’s ecosystem of highly trusted and experienced distributors and systems integrators.
The role will involve collaborating with peers across the business, including China and the US, to develop and implement the company’s marketing plans and brand strategy at a European level.
On his appointment, Alex commented: “I’m excited to be joining Absen at this exciting time. The company has a fantastic reputation for high-quality, reliable products and has been the top Chinese export brand for LED displays for 10 consecutive years; a testament to the company’s vision, performance and endurance in such a competitive global marketplace. I look forward to being part of this international team and working with our valued customers and partners to drive business growth.”
UK - The Green Hippo training team took to the road to deliver a week-long residency at Backstage Academy in Production Park, Wakefield, as well as a private training session in Lithuania.
October was another packed month for the Green Hippo training division, involving a week-long residency at Backstage Academy in Production Park and a successful private training session into the Baltic region.
Green Hippo is renowned for its commitment to training excellence - its Hippotizer training sessions, known as HippoSchool, have been running for over 10 years, visiting over 38 countries and training over 2,000 students, freelancers and professionals - and October 2018 marked the beginning of Green Hippo’s new partnership with Backstage Academy, the Production Park-based centre of excellence that specialises in degree courses, short courses and training programmes for the live events industry.
This new partnership, announced earlier this year, means Backstage Academy’s students now have access to three of Green Hippo’s Hippotizer Amba+ Media Servers, supplied by A.C. Entertainment Technologies. Additionally, Green Hippo will also deliver training courses, giving real-world work and project experience to Backstage Academy’s students and staff.
The first of these sessions saw two Green Hippo product specialists travel to the Academy to deliver a week of invaluable instruction. Green Hippo’s Suzy Stenning and Zep Mouris spent the first two days at Production Park delivering training to Backstage Year 1 and Year 2 Live Visual Design & Produc
UK - Stage Electrics has won a contract to supply production lighting and AV solutions to Croydon’s Fairfield Halls as a part of the venue’s highly anticipated redevelopment.
Working with the Contractor, Vinci Construction, and the theatre consultant, Sound Space Vision, the Stage Electrics team, will be starting on site this month. “Stage Electrics has a long-standing relationship with this venue,” comments Richard Phare, Stage Electrics regional commercial manager. “I was personally involved with Fairfield’s last technical refurbishment over 20 years ago. It’s fantastic that Stage Electrics can, again, play a part in this venue’s continuous development.”
The Stage Electrics team are completing works within the venue’s three main performance spaces; the 1800-seat Concert Hall, the 750-seat Ashcroft Theatre and the Arnhem Gallery - plus a new multi-function space for up to 450 people.
“This is an ambitious project,” adds Phare. “Fairfield Halls will become home to a vibrant new cultural quarter once the works are finished. The client’s aim is to transform Fairfield into landmark destination for the arts in South London, something I feel is certainly achievable.”
UK - Avolites’ lighting and video integration software, Synergy, debuted on Gary Numan’s Savage tour in November.
The flagship performance at London’s Royal Albert Hall saw the British synth-rocker’s dramatic end-of-days video content emerge from LED screens into the 3D space as the multitude of GLP and Vari-Lite fixtures pixel-matched its colour and effects.
Creative designer Luke Edwards’ two Avolites Sapphire Touch consoles and dual Avolites Ai Q3 media servers were loaded with the new Synergy software.
“Synergy is the future and as a designer it’s making me very excited,” says Edwards. “It’s not just lights anymore. In fact, the term ‘lighting designer’ is one day going to be a thing of the past - Synergy integrates lighting and video so beautifully, so simply, so powerfully, that ‘multimedia designer’ is the new thing. It’s truly changing the way we think, design and action. The words ‘game-changer’ and ‘ground-breaking’ are used far too often, but Synergy really is both of those things.”
The result of years of R&D by a dedicated Avolites team, Synergy allows users to stream Ai video colour data through any fixture group, to instantly integrate them into a larger video canvas.
Launching in the UK in September at PLASA London, Synergy immediately won Avolites the coveted PLASA Innovation Award. The judges commented that Synergy stood out because it ‘opens up the creative opportunities for visual effects on stage as well as providing time-saving opportunities in production workflow
Europe - Swiss AV solutions manufacturer Merging Technologies has announced new distribution deals for its professional product range in Northern Europe.
The company has appointed Nordic Pro Audio in Denmark and AV Marketing Finland in Finland.
Nordic Pro Audio’s Frank Grønbæk (product specialist - live and studio) and Allan Holmberg (product specialist - field recording and broadcast) will be responsible for increasing sales across the market sectors addressed by Pyramix, Ovation, ANEMAN and networked audio interfaces Horus and Hapi.
Meanwhile in Finland, the appointment of AV Marketing will see Jyrki Mäkinen support the Swiss brand.
Chris Hollebone, Merging’s sales and marketing manager, comments: “These two appointments are symptomatic of the changes we see in the market we serve. From time to time we find that existing sales partners are out of step with new markets we are entering such as AV. Distribution companies also change ownership and that can have a negative impact on sales. We are confident that these companies are operating successfully in our core sectors and will offer the support our customers need.”
Frank Grønbæk of Nordic Pro Audio adds: “We see Merging as an exciting addition to our brands. They have some great products and their leadership in AoIP technology is of real value.”
AV Marketing’s Jyrki Mäkinen concludes: “AV Marketing is ideally set-up to promote Merging in Finland and I am personally very pleased to be back with a brand that I have known well for a number of years.”
UK - North American entertainment technology supplier Solotech has acquired UK-based audio services company SSE Audio Group, thus forming one of the largest AV companies in the world.
SSE Audio’s founder John Penn will continue to head the organisation in the UK. The established brands of SSE Audio, Capital Sound, Wigwam and Sigma Products will also be maintained.
Martin Tremblay, president and CEO of Groupe Solotech Inc, comments: “This is the most important transaction in Solotech’s history. With the addition of SSE Audio, Solotech becomes one of the world’s largest AV and entertainment technology companies. The acquisition will generate growth opportunities and expand the services available to current and future clients on both sides of the Atlantic.”
Tremblay adds: “We are thrilled that SSE is joining the Solotech team, especially their well-known expertise in audio services. This transaction enables us to pursue our expansion strategy in the European market decisively. With it, we consolidate our unique position as a global player, offering a full-service, 360° proposition, including sales, rentals and integration of audio-visual technologies.”
John Penn adds: “In recent years SSE Audio Group has gone from strength to strength to become the UK’s largest audio services company, with a world-famous name and a reputation for quality service. Working together with Solotech, we will continue to serve our clients as we have always done. In time, we plan to grow and develop the range of services we offer in the UK and into Eur
USA - Created to be the Christian Music Broadcasters’ premier annual event, Momentum is a four-day conference which brings together radio and record industry professionals from around the world. Since its inception in 2009, Momentum has been dedicated to the success of Christian music broadcasting offering a showcase of the hottest musical artists today.
Held for the second year at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando, the CMB events team wanted to create an attendee experience “like none before”, so they called upon the Nashville-based production provider Elite Multimedia Productions who supplied three event stages using a full package of audio, lighting and LED video.
“We are a non-profit ministry, so when we start looking at the production design for the Momentum conference, we have to look at what will offer the best experience for our attendees, as well as what is going to be most affordable for us,” began Brittany Whatley, CMB events manager. “One of the reasons we love working with Elite Multimedia Productions is that they understand how to showcase our musical artists in the best way possible, and at the best price.
“The event typically occurs over the course of the Labor Day weekend so there is not a lot of time for the load-in and set-up,” explained Whatley. “Since it’s a pretty quick turnaround, we get started on Wednesday evening and then begin sound checks pretty early in the day on Thursday. The team at Elite really only has a short amount of time to get everything done, but they do it, and I am blown
USA - With over 250 million books sold – including The BFG, James and The Giant Peach and The Twits – few writers have made more impression on the world’s children (or their parents) than Roald Dahl.
Last year, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory opened on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. It featured one of the movie’s most memorable tunes, with the evocative line: “Come with me, and you'll be, in a world of pure imagination”.
Creating such a world on the stage is notoriously more difficult to do than in a movie – which is why the musical relies heavily on staging company WorldStage and its well-established mastery of the technologies that can help turn a designer’s vision into a theatrical reality.
As well as providing an ambitious, custom-made Unilumin LED wall to tell the story of how the Golden Tickets were won, WorldStage also deployed a range of Panasonic projectors, media servers from disguise (formerly d3 Technologies), and a BlackTrax real-time tracking system.
BlackTrax technology has long been favoured by WorldStage’s Lars Pedersen, VP of innovation and technical solutions, being quick to see its potential and becoming an early adopter. Lars continues to provide invaluable feedback to the BlackTrax development team.
Ask anyone who has seen either of the movies what they remember most vividly, and the response will invariably be “the Oompa-Loompas”. The BlackTrax motion tracking system is instrumental in making their appearances no less memorable in the Broadway musical
“We put togeth