Video and AV News

Symbol Wizard for Stardraw
Wednesday, 22 January 2003

UK - The last few months have seen the introduction of some significant new technology to the Stardraw product portfolio via the unique 'Feature-per-Month' update service. The newest feature to be added is the Symbol Wizard.

Even with the hundreds of products added to Stardraw's libraries every month there are likely to be times when users wish to create their own symbol. The Symbol Wizard can be used within the Block Schematic environment of Stardraw Audio, Stardraw AV and Stardraw Radio to create a high-quality symbol in seconds. The new symbol can be based on one of hundreds of pre-drawn templates which are grouped by product types such as Amplifiers, Loudspeakers, Players/Recorders etc. Alternatively, the user can start from scratch with a blank template. The Wizard's dialogues allow set up of the product details (for instance manufacturer name, model number and product description) and likewise set inputs and outputs. Furthermore, the newly created symbol will support Rubber-Banding, so any Doglegs used to connect your symbol to others in your Block Schematic will stay attached as you move it around the drawing.

Marketing director Rob Robinson views this as a significant enhancement. "At Stardraw we work hard to give our customers the tools they need to do their job, the way they want to do it. This wizard allows you to create symbols that match Stardraw¹s own qualitative standard in seconds. It's an exciting productivity enhancement, and adds yet another level of flexibility to Stardraw's already comprehensive toolset."

(Lee Baldock)

Stardraw continues to buck the trend
Tuesday, 21 January 2003

UK - At a time when the IT sector as a whole is experiencing a marked downturn, indeed, even industry giants such as IBM and Sun Microsystems are reporting reduced profits and scaling back their predictions for next year - Stardraw has announced a staggering 55% growth in sales of its traditional shrink-wrapped range (namely Stardraw Audio, Stardraw AV, Stardraw Radio, Stardraw Lighting 2D and Stardraw Professional) over the last 12 months.

Stardraw marketing director Rob Robinson is understandably pleased: "Annual growth of 55% is a considerable achievement under any circumstances, particularly as it represents almost three times the growth rate we achieved in the preceding period, but against the backdrop of the slowdown currently being experienced within the IT and entertainment technology sector, it is especially gratifying. It proves that we are on the right track with our products. Clearly the traditional applications continue to go from strength to strength and our strategy of continual and incremental enhancement via the Feature-per-Month program is appreciated by our customer base. The revenue generated by this activity has enabled us to fund the development of new technology which will pave the way for the future and take us to the next level of software application."

Over the last 12 months, in addition to the ongoing enhancements to the existing shrink-wrapped range and the launch of Stardraw Radio for the audio broadcast market, Stardraw has also developed the technology to deliver design and documentation tools via the web with its unique

Peter Pan - an E//T//C UK adventure
Monday, 20 January 2003

UK - Large format projection specialists E//T//C UK supplied two PIGI projectors with double scrollers to the spectacular festive Peter Pan - A Musical Adventure production, staged at the Royal Festival Hall in December and January. The production was a collaboration between the venue, production and design specialists Imagination and promoters Raymond Gubbay.

Projection design was by Imagination's Chris Slingsby, who joined a formidable creative team including Ian Talbot (director), Will Bowen (set), Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen (costumes), Durham Marenghi (LD) and John Del Nero (sound design). Projection ran for the whole show, overlaying the top and sides of the impressive scenic false proscenium arch, covered in grey gauze, which was specially installed for the production by Unusual Rigging. This transformed the Royal Festival Hall from a concert hall into a more 'traditional' style theatrical venue for the duration.

For Peter Pan's first scene, a full front cloth was flown in front of the whole stage, and the projection also worked right across that surface. All projection material was researched and created at Imagination before being sent to E//T//C UK for processing into scrolling artwork. The projection films were made in black and white, and were based stylistically on the engraved illustrations found in Victorian children's books, some were referenced to original pictures, others specially created for the piece.

The projection artwork brought the show alive with a wide variety of magical and intriguing subject matter including jungles, trees, croc

XL Video beam up for Star Trek exhibition
Monday, 20 January 2003

UK - XL Video UK has re-designed and upgraded - as well as supplied and installed - all the new AV equipment utilised for the massive 'Star Trek - The Adventure' exhibition at London's Hyde Park, which celebrates five decades of Trekism. XL was also involved in an intensive three-month pre-production period prior to opening, during which time they wrote the new show control software now running the entire exhibition's audio, lighting, AV, mechanical and automation cues.

XL Video called in by UK promoters Triple A, working for LA-based SEE - Special Entertainment Events Inc - who are staging the exhibition under license from Star Trek's owners Paramount. Sited in a 7,000sq.m tent at Speakers Corner, Hyde Park, Star Trek is the largest exhibition to hit London since the Great Exhibition in 1851, and contains over 30 million dollars worth of Trekkie memorabilia.

A previous incarnation of the exhibition had been on the road in the mid 1990s. It was bought unseen by SEE in 1996, and then mothballed in 138 x 40ft sea containers parked at Hamburg Docks. The first stage in its resurrection for the 21st century was the freighting of all 138 containers to RAF Finningly, near Doncaster, in September. Here each container was opened and its component parts assembled - like a jigsaw. The XL Video team of Stuart Heaney and Quinton Willison assessed each piece of AV technology as it emerged, seeing if it needed upgrading, repairing, servicing or replacing to re-build the show in its New Generation format.

They discovered that the existing gear was well-built but low tech, cons

A to V: 30 events in first three months
Thursday, 16 January 2003

UK - North-west-based audio-visual services company A to V has successfully completed 30 events in its first three months of trading and has now moved into new premises on Manchester's Science Park. The events have included a range of corporate and private sector meetings, conferences, awards dinners, product launches, road shows, exhibitions and special events, with the client list including Cancer Research, Co-operative Group Travelcare, The Environment Council, CIS, Excellence in Cities and Manchester's first 'Fashion Week' sponsored by Midas.

A to V's specialized area is visual communications, in particular the field of projection, control and switching/routing. Larger clients, however, prefer the company's management style to oversee an entire project, including set design and construction, lighting design, audio specifications, equipment hire and crew.

Directors Phil Westwell and Jim Hadfield are committed to providing the best possible technical solution to enable their production company clients to match and often exceed their own clients' expectations. Their no-nonsense approach guarantees a focused set-up to each event, ensuring that all the effort put into customers' presentations achieve the desired impact when 'going live'. "Our customers receive a level of service that is appreciated, respected and relied upon," commented Jim Hadfield.

(Lee Baldock)

Fourth Phase uses trees as projection 'screens'
Wednesday, 15 January 2003

UK - The setting was a muddy field in Worcester in the cold and wet English December weather - not exactly the ideal location for a designer clothing brand. However, a photographic shoot featuring a range of projected images was the order of the day and Fourth Phase London was called in to supply a BP6 projector, complete with generator.

Regarded as a label for conceptualists, fashion label Comme des Garçons fuses fashion with art, science and perfect tailoring. Established in 1973, the label specializes in 'anti-fashion', austere, sometimes deconstructed garments, often lacking a sleeve or other component. The image of Comme des Garçons' trademark blacks and greys, often worn with combat boots, fitted perfectly with the English winter weather scene, although the conditions were so grim that the original day for which the shoot was scheduled had to be called off, the mud making access almost impossible.

However, a venue featuring one big tree with no buildings in the background is hard to come by so the site was ideal. The projector and generator were transported on two four-wheel drive vehicles and set up to project brightly coloured floral, psychedelic and abstract designs onto the lone tree. The resulting photographs, as is the norm in the fashion business, are being kept under wraps.

(Ruth Rossington)

Today's technology for Tomorrow's World
Tuesday, 14 January 2003

UK - Misys Network Services Life and Pensions, the UK's largest Financial Intermediary Network, recently held a convention for over 400 of its members and product providers about future market changes. As the Convention was entitled 'Tomorrow's World', it chose to use the presentation technology itself to reinforce the messages.

Production company, 3D Communications together with their technical staging specialists, The Show Company and computer graphics design house, Cadco, teamed up with Blitz Birmingham to give the presentation a futuristic look. It was delivered on a hemispherical centre screen and the challenge for Blitz was to select projection equipment that would ensure the sharpest images and allow maximum flexibility in manipulating both videotape and graphics images on this centre screen as well as two side screen areas.

Blitz selected six digital projector 5100s and two Extron 408s to switch videotape and graphics between all three screens. In order to maximize available space within the conference room, the images were front projected from a 20mt truss flown high above the audience. Jan Da Costa, managing director of 3D commented: "It is always difficult finding impactful ways of delivering these corporate messages, but the outstanding feedback we had from our client and their members was extremely positive. We shall certainly consider this type of approach in the future."

(Lee Baldock)

$6.5 million Lighthouse LED screen for San Antonio Spurs$6.5 million Lighthouse LED screen for San Antonio Spurs
Tuesday, 24 December 2002

The SBC Centre at San Antonio, Texas, the new home of the San Antonio Spurs NBA basketball team, has at its technological heart a unique, tightly integrated, $6.5 million video package of live action screens, banner displays and a scoreboard system designed and co-ordinated by Lighthouse, in conjunction with a team of specialist partners. The project marks Lighthouse’s largest indoor installation contract to date, and features the company’s new M4 screen technology, unveiled in four new screen products at this year’s NAB and Infocomm shows.

The scoreboard module is four-sided and arranged on five levels, housing a total of 12 screens. At the top is a ring of eight Lighthouse LVP2056 (20mm pixel pitch/5,600 nits) screens, formatted in an unusual 2:1 ratio rather than the usual 4:3 or 16:9, for advertising and scoring. Next down is a custom-built LED digit scoreboard ring, and below that are the four main live action screens, using Lighthouse LVP1012 M4 screens, each measuring 16ft 9in (5.1m) wide by 9ft 6in (2.9m) high.

The fourth level features the new Lighthouse video banner product, the 16mm pixel pitch, 1600 Nit brightness LVB1616, which carries ads, sponsor logos and other graphics. The lower level is the naming rights module, bearing the SBC Center logo. The matrix and scoring portion consists entirely of LED components, while the matrix and advertising panels are fully integrated into the control system, running player and game statistics with real-time scoring. Running around the parapet of the arena bowl are 972 linear feet (296m) of Lighthouse

Catalyst gives Little Prince Royal treatment in AustinCatalyst gives Little Prince Royal treatment in Austin
Tuesday, 24 December 2002

"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye." So is the wisdom of "The Little Prince," teaching the adults what is essential in the beloved childhood fable by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. His tale comes to life this holiday season at The State Theatre in Austin, Texas. And products from locally-based lighting manufacturer High End Systems ensure that what is essential is made visible to the eye.

Well-known Broadway lighting designer Richard Winkler (Evita & Fame - The Musical Tour) is using High End Systems' Catalyst system for the first time. He's also specified a High End rig with eight Studio Spot 575 and four Studio Color 575 automated luminaires, controlled by a Flying Pig Systems Hog 500 console.

"Catalyst is a new tool that will help revolutionize the industry - it will take us to the next level of theatrical presentation," says Winkler. "Sound in the last 10 years has become the major important design element, along with lighting, scenery and costumes - and video is on its way. The advent of the Catalyst will help move things forward at a very rapid pace."

The Catalyst system combines the power of digital media with the creativity of automated effects lighting. In The Little Prince, Catalyst is called into play when a character must draw various images - a sheep, and a rose, for example - which are illustrated in the book. Says video designer Colin Lowery: "The script has little line drawings that one of the characters draws on a sketch pad in the

CT provides retro set for Children In NeedCT provides retro set for Children In Need
Tuesday, 24 December 2002

Creative Technology (CT) produced some unusual television effects for the BBC Children In Need fund-raising marathon hosted by Terry Wogan and Gaby Roslin recently. The company was contracted by BBC Resources to build on the Totaliser screen reinforcement they provided last year, as well as adding a spectacularly ‘retro’ LED dancefloor. The dancefloor dominated the stage and was in use for much of the evening. CT’s project manager Paul Holden said: "Last year we provided a flown screen over the Totaliser using Barco i6 high-brightness panels. This year we used 80 of the superior Barco i8 panels, in a 16 x 5 configuration."

The display - measuring 7.16m wide by 2.24m - was run in 16:5 format, receiving 16:9 aspect ratio feeds, to create a letterbox effect. The content mostly comprised of Totaliser-specific graphics. But the more challenging aspect of the set was the creation of an underlit dancefloor, reminiscent of the Saturday Night Fever dancefloor matrix popularised in the late 1970s. "Rather than use standard lighting effects we suggested placing some bright LED screens under the floor," says Holden. The idea was agreed and 96 Barco i10 modules were immersed beneath the 1" thick perspex surface in a matrix display consisting of 24 blocks of 2 x 2 tiles.

BBC Resources said: "This is the first time we have been able to use this effect in television and it enabled the Lighting and Vision team to create hugely varied and exciting floor treatments. Everything between simple colour washes, live or still shots, and ric

Screenco shines at Royal Variety Performance
Monday, 23 December 2002

Screenco provided three large displays to enhance performances by a diverse array of stars at this month’s Royal Variety Performance, London. Icons and celebrities from the worlds of music, film, television and theatre gathered for the prestigious annual Royal Variety Performance in the presence of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.

The who’s who of the showbiz world included Anastacia, the cast of Bombay Dreams, Enrique Iglesias, Gareth Gates, Kylie Minogue, Liberty X, Ronan Keating, Shania Twain, Will Young and many others. Working for BBC Resources, Screenco supplied a giant 15mm display - measuring 4.8m x 5.04m and positioned upstage centre - rigged on a solid truss and flanked by a pair of Barco i8 displays, measuring 2.24m square. Screenco controlled the content on screen, including the graphic content - created by Artbeat and processed by Blitz. This provided one of the evening’s highlights and was the subject of much favourable comment.

Screenco supplied a PPU to handle the mixes, under the supervision of Simon Greaves, and the graphics were processed through a DPS 3D editing and playout system. "We supplied two different mixes - one for the centre and one for the outside screens," said Screenco project manager, Steve Purkess. "Occasionally we took a feed from the BBC but the majority of the playout was graphics."

(Lee Baldock)

Lighthouse screen transforms HMV’s flagship storeLighthouse screen transforms HMV’s flagship store
Thursday, 19 December 2002

For the first time in the UK retail industry, an LVP1010 (10mm pixel pitch) LED screen has been installed in HMV’s Oxford Street store, to act as both an entertainment and advertising medium.

The screen, measuring 3.84m x 2.4m, is part of a complete audio visual installation undertaken by London-based Interactive View and forms the backdrop to a 6 x 5m stage area constructed by Rode Island. The area is designed to host an array of live events, including DJs, solo artists and bands and was heralded by a week of live events, including appearances by Grand Master Flash, Craig David, Blue and The Libertines promoted on Capital Radio throughout.

Interactive View managing director, Lee Edwards, commented: "This is the largest audio-visual installation in a retail outlet in the UK to date, and is part of HMV’s nationwide refurbishment. We’ve designed and managed this part of the project, but our involvement doesn’t stop there. In association with a our business partners, we’re also managing the visual content of the screen to give added value to HMV by providing in-store promotions, as well as pure entertainment."

A media scheduling system is used to feed the screen with jpeg and flash images as well as DVD pictures. The software also gives the ability to provide video capture, so that direct feeds from both cable and satellite can be shown through multiple layers on the screen if required.

(Ruth Rossington)

Orange and Imagination Discover Wirefree Technology
Wednesday, 18 December 2002

Imagination has created a new space for young people to learn about technology at the science centre, @Bristol. The Orange Imaginarium is aimed at 4-16 year olds and seeks to explain wirefree technology (developed by @Bristol sponsor Orange) from a child’s point of view.

The Imagination team, led by designer Caroline Wilson and lighting consultant Tony Rimmer, worked in collaboration with researchers and futurologists from Orange to create the interactive learning environment. The experience begins with a series of animated stories, linking everyday needs to technology. Three more zones follow a pattern of ‘Search and Find’, letting visitors experience and be creative with technology. The space is built around three key technologies - voice activation/recognition, personalized information and Orange Home services. In ‘Tell Me A Joke’, voice recognition software from IBM and Wildfire - previously only used to recognize adult voices - has been redeveloped, and now tells a joke at the child’s request. The software is triggered by RS232 inputs from an Electrosonic control system. Audio interfaces are via BSS Soundwebs, allowing full control over microphone and speaker levels with full parametric EQ and sound gate to limit the amount of background noise sent to the PC’s sound card (a Soundblaster Audigy device within Compaq Evo slimline desktops). The ‘Say Your Name’ area, also uses directional speakers to throw back voices at different pitches using voice recognition technology.

In ‘Chase The Rainbow’ visito

Jean Michel Jarre
Wednesday, 18 December 2002

Known as much for his elaborate outdoor shows as his music, Jean Michel Jarre recently added to his reputation for groundbreaking outdoor performances with an extraordinary show in northern Denmark.

On 7 September, he held an out-of-the-ordinary event at Gammel Vrå Enge windmill park near the Aalborg in Denmark. Titled ‘Aero’, the show’s central theme was ‘energy and environment’ and bizarrely, the wind played the lead part, not only as energy, but also as a carrier of sounds, images and messages.

The concert consisted of 16 Jean Michel Jarre numbers, both classics and new material, with a scenography that was radically different from his previous concerts. The show featured a number of visual treats such as the windmills ablaze in light, and pyro exploding in sync with the music. Lighting designer Lars Nissen (Eurovision 2001), of lighting rental company Seelite, was responsible for lighting the show: 10 massive windmills, a large stage and a sizable projection cyc were illuminated throughout, and to achieve this, Nissen used Martin Pro kit, including 150 MAC 600 and 30 MAC 300 washlights, 60 MAC 2000 profile spots, 60 Atomic 3000 strobes and 29 Exterior 600 colour changers.

"The windmills were positioned to face the stage, all with spinning rotors," explained Nissen. "We illuminated each windmill using three Exterior 600s, a MAC 2000, three Atomic strobes and a Space Cannon. It was a very open design . . . so the audience could look through the stage and see the windmills behind. The depth of view with Jean Michel Jarre

BBC LED presentationBBC LED presentation
Wednesday, 18 December 2002

A special event at BBC TV Centre in Wood Lane, West London, on December 6 saw a unique demonstration of LED screen technology to an invited audience of television lighting directors.

The Society of Television Lighting Directors (STLD), Blitz Television Services of Elstree, UK, and LED screen manufacturer Lighthouse joined forces to demonstrate the newly installed Lighthouse LVP0630 screen on the BBC children’s television show The Saturday Show, which includes a special Saturday edition of Top of the Pops.

Presented by Lighthouse International sales and marketing director Graham Burgess and Saturday Show LD Rod Litherland, with Guy Horrigan, Dave Gunn and Blitz’s Scott Burges also on hand, the presentation aimed to explain the characteristics of LED technology and explore its creative possibilities. Topics covered included colour balance, contrast, camera angles, viewing distances, and practical issues such as rigging and power consumption. Burgess explained why the latest generation of LED technology, exemplified by the LVP0630, is highly suited to the demands of TV set design and lighting thanks to a combination of close viewing distances, image quality, colour uniformity and fast, two-person rigging. He also showed the audience how the fine pixel pitch of the screen eliminates the moiré effect caused by the larger pixels of lower resolution screens interacting with the CCD pixels in TV cameras.

The lively, 20-minute question-and-answer session that followed saw the Lighthouse/Blitz team field a wide range of questions about the workings of LED technolog

Millennium Mills
Wednesday, 18 December 2002

CMT - laser, projection and live event technology specialists - brought together a unique team to create a son et lumière spectacular at Millennium Mills, the derelict hulk of the former Spillers flour mill at Royal Victoria Docks, East London. The event may have been a world first, as a result of its use of a wireless LAN link to control all the various technologies involved.

CMT was approached by event organizers Mask Event Design & Productions to supply the design and technical infrastructure for an impressive opening show to kick-start the four-day World Travel Market exhibition running at ExCel - sited across the River Thames from the Mills. CMT’s Gino and Ram Malocca and Tim Fothergill jumped at the opportunity to stage the event, which had many technical and logistical challenges, and also included unorthodox live elements such as speedboats and helicopters.

For lighting, they called in the unflappable Darren Parker and his company DPL Production Lighting - no strangers to working in galvanizing environments. Parker’s section of the 15-minute show was to produce wild beam effects from a row of automated fixtures lined up along the jetty wall of Millennium Mills.

Two faces of the building - the North and West - were used as a massive 150m projection surface for an animated video show, which depicted travel scenes from around the world. The event culminated in an incendiary firework and pyro display by Fantastic Fireworks, with explosives located all along the front of Millennium Mills, and spanning the nearby footbridge, which became engulfed in a 1

GL UK and Barco on Fame AcademyGL UK and Barco on Fame Academy
Monday, 16 December 2002

Large screen specialist GL UK is supplying production company Endemol UK for the BBC’s latest pop phenomenon Fame Academy, with 55 panels of Barco I-lite 8 mm LED screen for the 12-week series. The screens were specified for the show by the original director Tony Gregory, who worked with GL UK on Big Brother earlier in the year.

Throughout the week, leading up to Friday, they are also filmed auditioning, working, performing and practising, etc. In the studios, the screen panels are configured in two very different-sized formats. One is a seven panel wide by four panel high widescreen, and the other is a three wide by nine high horizontal screen. The latter is split into three equal sections, allowing images of three different performers to be shown simultaneously. This effect is specifically used as they approach their ‘jeopardy moments’, after which the voting eliminates one out of three.

Tony Gregory wanted the screens integrated into the stage design to evoke the feeling of a large event taking place for the series. "Screens are now a recognized symbol of the large event environment," he explains. He also wanted it to look modern, and to have screens available for general IMAG.

The 3-way screen is also utilized for revealing Fame Academy’s different plot lines, as the three upcoming contestants‘ activities, ideas, opinions and thoughts are followed in the run up the Friday broadcasts. Again, the need was to find a visual device that offered all three participants an equal billing to the viewers and live studio audience. The v

Sysco’s DNP solution for Tussaud’s world leadersSysco’s DNP solution for Tussaud’s world leaders
Monday, 16 December 2002

A new feature awaits some of the two million visitors who flock annually to Madame Tussaud’s in London. Guests can now stand on a podium between President Bush and Prime Minister Blair, and via a discreet camera have their image beamed onto a rear-projected screen above and behind them - thanks to a 120" New Wide Angle screen from dnp.

The installation is the work of systems integrators, Sysco, whose relationship with The Tussauds Group extends back nearly 10 years to when they first fit out sister attraction, Tussaud’s London Planetarium. Managing director Hugo Roche explained: "Over the years we have undertaken a lot of the Group’s AV work - sometimes winning competitive tenders, on other occasions being appointed during the design phase and working more on a design/build basis."

In terms of delivery, Sysco looked at a number of ways of achieving the brightness given the ambient light level and the need for wide viewing angles. "The 120-inch dnp rear projection screen won hands down," said Roche. Features of dnp’s New Wide Angle Screen include 180° horizontal viewing angle, enhanced contrast, image brightness and image resolution - the opportunity to optimize for either high contrast or high gain and high corner to centre brightness.

The entire rear projection rig, which cradles a Sanyo XF30 at the critical angle, was supplied by UK distributors Paradigm AV. The screen itself sits on a frame - supplied by Sysco - which is integral to the rear projection rig, and The Tussauds Group provided the necessary cladding. Roc

Projected Image expands
Monday, 16 December 2002

East London-based gobo and projection specialist, Projected Image, has taken on an additional new premises at its HQ in the Three Mills Island Studio complex, Bromley-by- Bow. This is part of an on-going expansion plan in line with recent company developments and the establishment of sister company Projected Image Digital.

In November, Projected Image announced an exclusive UK distribution deal with RADlite, the revolutionary new PC-based computer generated effects package. Expanding to the new, larger, 1100sq.ft premises will allow Projected Image to enlarge its gobo production facilities and move all administration into the new space, leaving the original area free to be set up and utilized as a permanent RADlite demonstration. "We’re very excited about the move," said director David March. "The intention is also to offer the facility to lighting designers and video directors wishing to programme their RADlite system into the lighting desk and their show ahead of production rehearsals."

Apart from the new company, Projected Image’s core gobo business has also been so successful that a larger physical operation and another cutting-edge laboratory will allow yet more streamlining and efficiency. The company has fast gained a reputation second-to-none for delivering high quality work to incredibly tight deadlines.

Projected Image was keen to remain at the charismatic Three Mills location because of its convenience to central London, and its many links to the live, television and event production industry. Several other related companies

HES Catalyst creates Winter Wonderland in Grand Central Station
Wednesday, 11 December 2002

A virtual winter wonderland has been created at New York’s Grand Central Station, thanks to High End’s Catalyst system.

Scharff Weisberg Pro Audio and Staging in New York is supplying production for the event, using two Catalyst systems with orbital heads on two projectors, controlled by the Flying Pig Systems Wholehog II lighting console. The Catalyst system blends moving light technology with graphics projection technology: when fitted with the optional orbital head, images can be projected anywhere in three-dimensional space. The system can be run on most programmable lighting consoles.

The show started 19 November and runs through to the 31 December, with showings every 15 minutes from 11am to 9pm on the ceiling of the Grand Central concourse in the historic Manhattan landmark. The six, three-minute video projection shows reflect artists' interpretations of the meaning of the holidays. The video art, curated by the public arts presenter Creative Time, showcases original work from a number of emerging artists. Lighting director/programmer Laura Frank met with each artist four times over two weeks so they could go over ideas, and spent a total of six hours programming each artist’s show.

Among all the visuals, several stand out as being totally Catalyst dependent, as Frank expands. "The migrating birds sequence was the most unique and extensive use of what the Catalyst can do. The animation artists handed me actual trajectories - or flight paths - that they wanted the doves to follow. They really thought about how to use the Catalyst features

Retro feel for Children in NeedRetro feel for Children in Need
Wednesday, 11 December 2002

Creative Technology (CT) produced some unusual television effects for the BBC Children In Need fund-raising marathon hosted by Terry Wogan and Gaby Roslin recently.

The company was contracted by BBC Resources to build on the Totaliser screen reinforcement they provided last year, as well as adding a spectacularly ‘retro’ LED dancefloor. The dancefloor dominated the stage and was in use for much of the evening. CT’s project manager Paul Holden commented: "Last year we provided a flown screen over the Totaliser using Barco i6 high-brightness panels. This year we used 80 of the Barco i8 panels, in a 16 x 5 configuration."

The display - measuring 7.16m wide by 2.24m - was run in 16:5 format, receiving 16:9 aspect ratio feeds, to create a letterbox effect. The content mostly comprised of Totaliser-specific graphics. But the more challenging aspect of the set was the creation of an underlit dancefloor, reminiscent of the Saturday Night Fever dancefloor matrix popularised in the late 1970s. "Rather than use standard lighting effects, we suggested placing some bright LED screens under the floor," says Paul. The idea was agreed and 96 Barco i10 modules were immersed beneath the 1" thick perspex surface in a matrix display consisting of 24 blocks of 2 x 2 tiles.

Outside London, CT’s sister company Screenco were also in action, providing OBs for various Children in Need events around the country. They fielded two 3x3 15mm big screen LED displays at Ipswich Town FC’s Portman Road stadium, Middlesborough’s Riverside Stad

E/T/C UK projects the greatest!
Tuesday, 10 December 2002

Large format projection specialists E/T/C UK projected the images of the BBC’s 10 Greatest Britons onto three different city centre landmarks. Contracted by the BBC, E/T/C UK did this over the three evening’s leading up to the broadcast of the final programme in this high profile series.

As the final winner was announced, the face of Winston Churchill, voted the all-time greatest Briton by the public, was then projected onto all three buildings - in London, Liverpool and Bristol - in a simultaneous live broadcast.

The project followed on from E/T/C’s work with the BBC for the first programme in the series - on Viscount Horatio Nelson. They projected the face of Nelson onto the Shell Building on London’s South Bank. This projection was such a success, that the BBC decided to publicise the finale using the same hi-impact promotional techniques of large format projection.

The London site was Wellington Arch, at Hyde Park Corner - where E/T/C has previously projected for the Poppy Appeals 80th Remembrance Day anniversary in 2001. The Liverpool site was the Holiday Inn City Centre hotel, which has also been utilized for this purpose before, whilst in Bristol they found a new site in the former Bristol & West Building Society tower.

The projections were all achieved using PIGI 7kW xenon projectors with double scrollers. At Wellington Arch, the hardware was rigged in the back of a truck parked in front of the arch whilst in Liverpool, the projector was installed on the fifth floor of an office block opposite the hotel, with cables fed up from the g

Impact Europe and Christie announce new pan European agreement
Tuesday, 10 December 2002

Impact Europe, a market leader in audio visual integration, has signed a pan European agreement with Christie, a leading supplier of high performance projection systems. The agreement encompasses the entire Christie product portfolio.

Impact Europe integrates audio visual products into a variety of presentation systems ranging from simple meeting rooms, to network management centres and virtual environments, as well as providing customer support and facilities management contracts for those installed systems. "With over 39 engineers and dedicated support staff, based out of their Customer Support Centre in Sunbury, UK, Impact Europe is ideally positioned to provide its customers with Christie solutions, which can be supported by a comprehensive range of service and maintenance offerings, with the added security of facilities management and full service contracts when needed,"said Simon Smith, European Business Manager for Christie.

(Ruth Rossington)

Auto Africa with Gearhouse SA
Friday, 6 December 2002

Gearhouse South Africa was extensively involved with the Auto Africa show (23-27 Oct) - Africa’s biggest motoring event. Bill Lawford was Gearhouse SA’s project manager for the event, running a team of 30 Gearhouse technicians. The bulk of the company’s work at Auto Africa 2002 was in providing sound, audio-visual equipment, rigging and decking. In particular, rigging the trussing proved no small feat - Gearhouse SA rigged over 500 different hanging points throughout the three main Auto Africa exhibition halls.

Among the 25+ stands that Gearhouse SA was involved in were Land Rover, Ford, Mazda, Alpha Romeo, Fiat, Chrysler Jeep, Renault, Honda and Porsche. The range of equipment was extensive: for example, a cube wall on the Mazda stand involved 48 separate cubes. "To set that up they had to be perfectly balanced and stitched together which was quite a job," says Lawford. Several sculptural lights hanging over the Mazda stand were also Gearhouse SA’s - built to a particular design with each light’s different colour providing a fresh feel to the stand.

Another task that needed some serious attention was ensuring all technical specs were met. "For example, on the Nissan stand, we had to fly in special lenses for the projector to enable the projected image to fit the rectangular shape of the two screens - a case of tailor-making a technical solution to fit in with a client’s aesthetic."

Gearhouse SA were also integrally involved in the construction of the Polo Theatre and a dedicated Polo presentation area - both o


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