The National Botanic Garden of Wales in Carmarthen offers visitors a view of botany through the years. L&SI looks at the AV installation.
The National Botanic Gardens, officially opened in 2000, was a hugely ambitious project and the first of its kind for nearly 200 years. The Gardens are set in the Middleton Estate - 586 acres of landscaped park set against the stunning Welsh landscape. It has varied topography, a variety of water features offering diverse aquatic habitats, a range of microclimates, rich wildlife, established woodland and, amazingly in the present day, is virtually free from pollution.
Response to the project has been highly positive - during the first year, the Garden attracted over 250,000 visitors. It boasts the largest glasshouse in Europe, designed by architects Norman Foster and Partners to mirror the contours of the surrounding hills. The Theatre Botanica, at the heart of the Gardens, offers two different visitor shows. Up to 52 visitors per show sit in a block of seats mounted on an 8m diameter turntable which rotates during the longer show to take visitors round three different settings. During the shorter show, the screen comes forward and locks into position for a 360° projection show, accompanied by subtitles.
The theatre can also be used as a conference facility - and this intended use was designed into the sound, lighting and video system configuration from the start, giving the theatre a useful extra string to its bow.
Tyco Integrated Systems Limited (TIS), a division of Tyco International (previously Philips Projects), was appoin
Screenco have strengthened their position in the concert touring market with the recent appointment of Richard Shipman. Most recently with event video production specialists Black Pig, whom he left in June, Shipman was working in a freelance capacity with Oasis before joining Screenco this month.
Commenting on the appointment, Screenco director and general manager, Graham Filmer said: "Richard represents a significant addition to the company. As senior project engineer, he will boost our concert touring expertise - a sector of the industry in which he commands enormous respect - introducing a comprehensive skill set in video graphics, screen displays and projection technology, which will add a new dimension to our touring services." Richard said he was relishing the opportunity. "I will be bringing all my experience from touring and broadcast to the source of the image Screenco."
His experience is extensive: starting as a trainee service engineer he later joined AVC in Slough and rose through the ranks of audio visual from senior technician, project manager, production manager and then technical director. In the summer of 93 he went freelance, embarking on his first music tour. Shipman took up his new position with Screenco on October 15.
Neutrik UK Ltd, the specialist in entertainment industry connector technology, has undergone a major management restructure during 2002. The new management team, with over 40 years of cumulative pro audio experience, is spearheaded by company director Cheryl Walker, technical sales and marketing director Bob Davies and production director Chris Arnold. Their aims and objectives will be to refocus the company on customer-specific product development, and high quality service and sales support.
Plans are underway to construct a new purpose-built production and sales facility in a green field site in Ryde on the Isle of Wight. The land has been purchased and completion of the new factory is anticipated in mid-summer 2003. Moving the manufacturing plant and the 110 employees from the existing site just three miles away should be complete by the autumn.
The design of the new facility is influenced by the commissioning of a new corporate headquarters for the group in Schaan, Liechtenstein, housing the production, management and administration offices, as well as the R&D facilitites. "Our buildings should mirror our corporate culture of innovative energy but still be recognisable as production centres," said Neutrik CEO Werner Bachmann. He added: "The presence of a manufacturing and sales facility in the UK, servicing the UK market, is part of a key strategy to maintain close and effective links with our home market customers."
In response to feedback from the industry that the PLASA show, at 25 years old, was in need of re-energizing, exciting new plans for the exhibition were unveiled to both exhibitors and press at PLASA 2002.
We took time out with Matthew Griffiths, managing director of show-owners the Professional Lighting and Sound Association (PLASA) and Nicola Rowland, acting show director for organizer Clarion Events, to hear about the plans and their implementation. Matthew Griffiths expands on the background to the decision: "The PLASA show is the leading entertainment, communication and presentation technology show in the world. To maintain this position, the Association realises that the show needs to be a pioneer in adapting to industry change. It also needs to ensure that the visitor experience is kept vibrant, fresh and business-focused.
"After ongoing discussions and regular feedback from visitors and key participants, the decision was taken by the Association to radically shake-up the floorplan, allowing us to introduce new feature areas, where we were unable to before. The ideas include moving The New Technology Gallery from upstairs to the very front of the hall, highlighting the show’s position as a key launch pad for new product. We are proposing that an interactive stage area be built where visitors can see products demonstrated in a live environment. And an enhanced educational programme, developed in conjunction with key associations and trade bodies, with even more technical courses for both technicians and end-users, will provide a forum from which vi
The Park Club, a health and fitness facility in Abingdon, UK, has reopened after extensive refurbishment work, with Chris Gunton & Associates (CGA) having worked closely with the architects and designers to create a sound and video package to complement the wide range of new facilities. CGA have used a number of leading brands to ensure that each room and application meets the high aesthetic and performance requirements of the venue.
CGA installed new sound systems throughout the existing club, and added 10 28" video screens and a cardio-vascular headphone system for the 40 main machines around the video screens. The existing dance studio has been upgraded with new amplification and control equipment, including a Denon combination CD/tape deck, a Trantec radio mic and a Cloud Electronics zoner. Three of Rolec’s hard-disk music systems provide a range of music throughout the complex.
In the new sports hall, swimming pool and dance studio, CGA have fitted JBL Contractor series loudspeakers, finished in white, to carry paging announcements, background music and visiting sources through the local connection plate. Throughout the changing areas, corridors, offices and health and beauty areas, ceiling speakers are fitted to relay all music sources. The main sound distribution system is run via a Peavey Media Matrix system which, using Cobranet, has enabled CGA to route all the sound sources to all areas in any combination. Most of the rooms in the club feature a local control panel, which provides access to continuous music, providing a choice of either slow, mediu
Creative Technology has expanded its management infrastructure with three new appointments. Announcing the changes, managing director Mark Elliott said the move will place CT in a firm position for the development of new business in both domestic and international markets, while further enhancing client and project handling at a high level.
Formerly with Gearhouse (and later MCL Birmingham), Chris Cox takes up a newly-created role as business development manager. He will liase closely with other CT offices worldwide and raise awareness among domestic blue chip companies operating in the exhibition and conference markets.
Another returning to the Avesco camp is account manager, Charlie Whittock. He formerly worked as a project manager with CT before moving to the United States seven years ago. While there he pursued a successful career as a freelance production manager, often working closely with CT’s North American offices. Over the years, Whittock has acquired a wide experience in production, managing a range of live events and exhibitions, and particularly those containing a high degree of high-end video/data display systems. Whittock’s role will be to look after large-scale projects and key accounts, particularly in areas where CT are expanding and diversifying.
Another new account manager is Rob Merrilees. Rob has spent many years in the business, production managing and co-ordinating events all over the world. Recently, he has been working closely with CT-NEC - introducing a wealth of new business.
Barco’s daylight display systems have once again been used to bring a world-class event - the World Championship Road Racing - to the many fans who turned out for the event this weekend in Zolder, Belgium. The daylight displays were supplied by one of Barco’s largest rental partners, XL Video - a leading supplier of rental and staging equipment to events such as U2’s Elevation tour, The Malaysian F1 Race and the US Open Tennis Championships. XL supplied a total of 90sq.m of Barco’s Dlite displays to show both live and pre-recorded footage to spectators throughout the duration of the six-day event.
The Dlite displays, specifically designed and developed to be used outdoors and withstand extreme weather conditions, were used on the Jacky Ickx corner, on the first left corner as well as on the finish line. At the Jacky Ickx corner, the race could be seen live on a 50sq.m Dlite 14 display, while both the other displays gracing the course were Dlite 10 displays. "We own almost 400sq.m of Barco’s daylight displays and use it at various high profile events across the world," says Rene de Keyzer, managing director of XL Video. "Both Barco’s Ilite (indoor) and Dlite (outdoor) daylight displays offer us the image quality and system integrity we seek in our equipment. Our clients in turn know they can rely on us for the very best equipment available on the market today."
Gracing the finish line at this year’s Road Racing Championships was another of XL Video’s inventive ways of utilizing the Barco displays. This t
The Electrosonic Group has announced the addition of two companies, Lightinen and Qualitron, to the Group. Lightinen, based in Helsinki, Finland, provides audio-visual and lighting systems to the cruise ship, entertainment and corporate markets. The company employs 35 people and in 2001 the turnover exceeded US$10 million. Risto Oinaala, managing director of Lightinen, will continue the day-to-day management of the business.
Qualitron is a Helsinki-based broadcast systems engineering company serving the broadcast industry in Finland, Russia, Ukraine and other Confederation of Independent States (CIS) countries. The company employs 32 people, including a 12-person office in Moscow, and the emphasis is on the provision of the latest digital broadcasting technology. Turnover in 2001 was approximately US$10 million. Managing director Tapani Karjalainen will continue to manage the company.
Both these new companies in the Electrosonic Group will report to Kyle Carpenter, the Group president and CEO. "We are very excited to expand the Electrosonic portfolio with the addition of Lightinen and Qualitron. Both of these companies bring extended geographic reach, market penetration and technology scale to the Electrosonic Group. Likewise, they will provide a stable platform upon which Electrosonic’s core strengths in image processing and audio-visual systems integration can be developed for market share growth in the Finnish and CIS markets", said Carpenter.
Philip Aminoff, chairman of the Electrosonic Group, and a principal owner, said: "This expansion of t
Blitz Television Services of Elstree, UK, has taken delivery of 50 panels of Lighthouse’s new state-of-the-art 6mm LED video screen, the LV0630, with 30 panels immediately going into use on the newly-revamped BBC children’s television show Saturday Morning, which for the first time features a special Saturday edition of the chart show Top Of The Pops.The new-format show was first broadcast on September 21 with the TOTP slot featuring Saturday Morning’s house band Stamford Amp, plus guest artists including Busted, Gareth Gates, Will Young and Nick Carter.
Blitz Television Services’ account manager Jeff Bailey and project manager Mike Kane chose the Lighthouse panels, says Jeff Bailey, "Because we felt the picture quality was excellent, with very good contrast and brightness levels, and the resolution with the tight 6mm pixel pitch is ideal for TV applications where the viewing distances are very short and cameras have to be close to the set. It was also felt that Lighthouse would be the best product supplier because of their excellent customer service and support record."
The team are making full use of the LVP0630s’ light weight and compact panel size, combining them to form a giant six panel wide by five high videowall backdrop to the main TOTP stage and then splitting them into three separate columns for creative effects. A custom-built stage was designed to be easily pulled apart to achieve the screen moves.
The ultra-high resolution 6mm pixel pitch allows the screen to be viewed at much closer distances
Avesco Plc has announced the reorganization of the senior management structure of its audio-visual services business, following the establishment of CT Germany. Graham Andrews will head up a new division incorporating all the Creative Technology-branded audio-visual businesses in the UK, USA and Germany, as well as Screenco and Dimension.
MCL, Avesco’s full service audio-visual operation in the UK based in Birmingham, London, Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh, will report directly to David Nicholson, Avesco’s chief executive, as will the CT OB outside broadcast business. Graham Andrews commented: "This is the right time to bring together these businesses as many of our customers are seeking a global service solution. This is an exciting opportunity to drive that further forward. Also there is more we can do on equipment sharing in this new division. We are ordering substantially more LED for our UK and USA businesses to consolidate our position as market leader in this field."
News of management changes comes from PSL, where Gary Davis now holds the position of vice-chairman, while David Barrass has joined the board as managing director. Gary Davis told us: "I have wanted to get closer to the business for a while and my new role will allow me to devote all of my time to developing relationships with existing and new customers. I still hold my position on the main board and will be heavily involved in the growth strategy for PSL."
Davis’ role as vice-chairman is a full-time role at PSL, focussing particularly on sales, marketing and business development. David Barrass’ appointment is intended to further strengthen the existing management team by adding a wider general management skill-set, gained from many years working at the most senior levels in various service businesses. Most recently, Barrass was European MD for Allied Worldwide Inc, prior to which he spent seven years as a divisional MD at Rentokil Initial plc.
Avesco plc has announced that Creative Technology, a leading company worldwide providing audio-visual services, is establishing a new operation in Germany. CT is now based in London, NEC Birmingham, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and Stuttgart.
Creative Technology Germany, will be located near Stuttgart and plans to be operational from mid-November 2002. The new company will be headed by Georg Roessler who gained his over 12 years of experience in the audio-visual industry at ict AG, latterly as Director of the Board.
CT Germany will specialize in project-oriented solutions for its customers. As a full service provider, CT Germany will be supplying a full range of audio-visual services used in events, trade shows and fixed installations. Georg Roessler and his qualified staff have years of experience in these activities. "I have known Georg for 12 years and, when we heard he was leaving ict, we jumped at the opportunity to persuade him to head up this exciting new venture. I am delighted he agreed to join our group," said Graham Andrews, chief executive of the Division, including Creative Technology, the largest of the companies within Avesco plc.
Screenco provided three big screen displays for last month’s tense Ryder Cup competition at the Belfry in Warwickshire, continuing a long tradition with both the major sporting event and the production company, Viewpress. Such was the cheering from the huge partisan crowd out on the course that Screenco often had to use their 50sq.m screen on the 18th fairway to switch away from the live action to the Ryder Cup logo - in order to ensure minimal distraction for the players on the 1st and 10th tees.
The contest has come along way since 1985 - one of the first Ryder Cups that Screenco supported, which was also held at The Belfry. This year Screenco supplied three 25mm displays - the 50sq.m screen and two 32sq.m rigs - all configured in 4:3 aspect ratio. The two smaller displays were sited on the practice green and in the tented village, forming part of the corporate hospitality area.
Viewpress’s course cameras were routed to the screen destinations from the mixing desk to enable the crowds to keep up with the action at the key assembly points. With only four groups out at any given time, Screenco project manager, Steve Purkess said that the presence of the big screens had helped to maintain the high-octane tension of the event - at the same time preventing it from spilling over as the European team neared its famous victory.
Derivative Inc has teamed up with NVIDIA Corporation, the worldwide leader in visual processing solutions, to advance the art of real-time visual performance with an impressive display of 3D animation set to the music of legendary rock band Rush. As part of the band's current 40-city, 'Vapor Trails' concert tour of North America, Derivative's Touch 012 visual performance tools and NVIDIA GeForce4 Go graphics processing units (GPUs) are being used to deliver on-the-fly improvisation of 3D animations projected during 11 songs, providing concert-goers with an exciting new way to experience live music.
Designed for creators of interactive artworks, the Touch tool set uses powerful Academy Award-winning visual effects technology to enable digital artists to author, perform and share expressive interactive 3D visuals from their PCs. On the 'Vapor Trails' tour, Touch artist James Ellis is using TouchMixer and TouchDesigner to create and perform real-time 3D animation sequences, which are projected onto a 40ft by 15ft (12m x 4.5m) LED screen. While some animations are structured to precisely match musical cues and particular sections of the music, others are designed to enable on-the-fly improvisation, providing visual variations from concert to concert.
"I'm in love with this concept," commented Geddy Lee from Rush. "Touch is an innovative new technology that allows us to create a visual environment for our music that evolves as the tour progresses. This means, the more the Touch operator understands the nuances of our music the more they can improvise and re-sh
Des Fallon and Richard Burford have become directors and shareholders of XL Video UK, underlining their dedication and commitment to the company they've helped build. XL Video UK was formed in March 2000 by Chris Mounsor and Lee Spencer, and has gone on to become a market leader in the field of video production for all types of live events, festivals, concert tours and corporate presentations.
Working in conjunction with newly-opened identical operations in the USA and Germany, the UK operation supplies high impact, state-of-the-art digital video production, playback and display technology to the professional performance, entertainment and presentation industries. Sister companies in Belgium and North America provide LED screen solutions for major projects.
Live acts and events serviced this year by XL Video UK include Kylie Minogue, Travis, the Pop Idol tour, S-Club, Jamiroquai, Santana, Roger Waters, Oasis, Will & Gareth, The Doves, The Chemical Brothers, Coldplay, Glastonbury, the V Festivals, the Move Festival, Apple Expo and many others.
Just under 500sq.m of Barco’s daylight display systems are currently at work at the annual Paris Motor Show in France. After a successful presence at the Geneva International Motor Show in March, where Barco had over 300sq.m of its LED displays used, it now has the largest overall surface of daylight displays by any one supplier at this year’s Paris Motor Show. No less than 21 stands, of some of the world’s leading car manufacturers, will feature Barco daylight display products.
The Barco daylight displays and spectacular multi screen presentations using Barco SLM G8/R8 and ELM R18 found on the Citroen, Lexus and VW booths, will be represented at the show through some of Barco’s European rental partners including ETF (Belgium), CT (UK), Gahrens & Battermann (Germany), VPS (France), Sono (Spain) and ICT (Germany). The vast majority of the 486sq.m to be seen at the show is divided between Barco’s famous ILite 6 and the Dlite 7, a product most often used at large venue concerts. Currently, Barco’s ILite display products are available in four resolutions ranging from 3 to 10mm with viewing angles up to 160º; the Dlite, meanwhile, is available in 7, 10 and 14mm versions.
XL Video supplied five large LED screens to the Rockingham 500 Fed Ex Champ Cart racing event, held at the Rockingham Motor Speedway in Corby Northants. It’s the second time this American CART racing phenomenon has been run in the UK, and is part of the new CART European tour. XL supplied a 25sq.m truck-based screen and a 40sq.m ground-stacked Saco LED screen, located to cover all the grandstands on Turn 1. At Turn 4, the grandstands were covered by a 49sq.m Unitek MS17 screen. The picture was completed with two 20sq.m ground-stacked 15 mm Saco screens covering the main grandstand, sited on top of the garages over the pit lane.
The XL Video team also undertook some high-speed work themselves - all screens were installed quickly and efficiently the Thursday before the qualifying rounds took place on the Friday, ready for the event proper on the Saturday.
Electrosonic Systems Inc only started its operation in Orlando, Florida, in1999 but has already outgrown its current facility. In an area surrounded by theme parks and large military contractors, the company has found a unique position in the market, and in 2002 has been awarded some major new contracts.
These projects include several Universal Studios installations, Del Monte’s corporate boardrooms, the Network Operations Center for the FBI, and many command and control centres on board US Navy ships. The expanded workload for Electrosonic Orlando required an increase in manpower, and a move to new premises. The 9,000sq.ft facility is about double the size of the original space and will allow for more local fabrication and engineering of projects. In addition, nine new staff members have been added to the office, including experienced project managers, project engineers and a fabrication/production manager.
Electrosonic’s new address in Orlando is Electrosonic Systems, Inc. 4525 Vineland Road, Suite 209, Orlando, FL 32811, USA. Tel: +1.407.839.1154.
Electrosonic has announced the return of Nevil Bounds to the company as Senior Consultant, specialising in the corporate market. Nevil brings back to Electrosonic wide experience of the European audio-visual industry, in which he started when he was with the company between 1985 and 1991 and previously with Hammonds AV. Most recently, he was managing director of Dataton UK, where he developed projects with many core corporate clients.
Nevil is well-known to many suppliers and clients in the audio-visual and communications industry with a broad knowledge of the business, gained both in his previous employment with Electrosonic, and in subsequent years.
Two specially designed Lighthouse LED video screens with Electrosonic VECTOR image processing were chosen as the high definition medium for a major new football and soccer stadium which opened in August 2002 in Seattle, USA.
The company behind the new stadium is First & Goal Inc, headed by Paul G. Allen, owner of the Seattle Seahawks and co-founder of Microsoft. The facility was built a few blocks south of downtown Seattle in the historic Pioneer Square district, on the site of the Seattle Kingdome, a 23.9 acres concrete and steel arena which opened in 1976, and saw over 73 million visitors pass through its doors during its life. Last year, 24 years to the day after it opened, the Kingdome was demolished to make way for the new stadium.
The stadium is the new home of the Seattle Seahawks football team and is designed with a 67,000 seat capacity, with 5,000 additional seats available for high profile events and 1,400 seats for fans with special needs. The stadium will also be a major facility for a number of other sports, concerts and live events.
Two giant, high definition Lighthouse LED video screens, one at each end of the stadium, display all scoring, statistical and video information to the fans. The screens use brand new Lighthouse LVP1650 (15.8mm pixel pitch) technology, together with M4 Uniformity Control, which were developed specially for this project. Lighthouse and the Seahawks chose the Electrosonic Vector Image Processor to directly drive the Lighthouse screens. One Vector processor drives each wall, giving six super high-resolution SDI video inputs, 3 HD
Lighting designer Bryan Hartley has specified the High End Systems' Catalyst system to add another dimension to the recent Slayer tour. MCSi supplied the Catalyst and the video projection equipment, while Bandit Lites provided all the lighting, the Wholehog II console - which also ran the Catalyst - and the remainder of the production gear.
"The Catalyst was a lot of fun," comments Hartley, "and it was great to run the video edits through the Hog." The lighting veteran, whose design credits include Kiss, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Meat Loaf and many others, plans to use Catalyst an another upcoming project near the end of this year.
Show Presentation Services (SPS) has successfully completed its fourth consecutive year providing equipment and technical expertise at the Royal Albert Hall’s prestigious back-to-back award week. The events also mark more than a decade of partnership with Philip Talbot Productions (PTP) producing some of Britain’s highest profile awards ceremonies.
This year SPS and PTP teamed up with Qudos Productions to provide staging and production expertise for the Investment Week awards, the British Insurance awards, and the Motor Transport awards over a three-day period. The tight schedule was dictated by the limited time period when a false floor can be fitted in the hall to accommodate the 1,400 capacity audiences at these kinds of events. Following the success of previous years, it was decided to run the events consecutively to maximize the hall availability and ensure the smooth running of the events. SPS supplied video projection, camera systems, video playback and video record, to supplement the graphic systems provided by PTP and Qudos for the events which, due to the set up of the Albert Hall, were a challenge for all involved.
The next projects for PTP and SPS include the Q Magazine Awards, the Media Week Awards and the Mother & Baby Awards - all coming up in October 2002.
A new website for freelance professionals and employers in the UK and beyond has been launched at www.freelanceshowstaff.co.uk. The site has taken two years to develop, making it a very versatile and user-friendly service for the whole entertainment industry - a market sector which relies heavily of freelance labour. A mix of useful information combined with valuable functions, the website is designed for both employees and employers. Since its launch earlier this summer, the site has registered over 200 freelancers and 80 companies - from more than 20 different disciplines including audio, lighting, carpentry, rigging, scenery, stage management and wardrobe.
Potential employers can check a specific registered freelancer’s availability or search for new ones, as well as placing job advertisements. They can search by name, profession, availability, location or even the ability to speak a foreign language. The website has a personal on-line interactive diary where a registered freelancer can show their availability for work as well as adding those other important dates (such as birthdays and dentist appointments) choosing to share as much or as little of this information with others. Links include travel and weather information and all nature of contacts that show staff need - including a full list of UK venues. All those registered can add comments to venue listings, i.e. best local pub, curry house, or even more vital issues such as the sound, lighting, stage statistics and other helpful hints. Still free t
Following the continued growth of Cambridgeshire-based 5 Star Cases Ltd, the company has recently undertaken major changes to its management structure. Jim Willis, the current managing director, has taken the decision to plan for his retirement in a few years by handing over the day to day running of the company to the current technical director, Keith Sykes.
Sykes, who becomes works director (MD designate) has been with 5 Star since 1991 when the company acquired Pro-Tect Cases, the Ipswich-based manufacturer which he ran for six years. "The growth of the company over the last few years has seen 5 Star become a leading name in the case industry. It's down to a professional approach and hard work from everybody in the company," explains Sykes. Justin Locks, the current production manager is promoted to general manager, overseeing both the production and administration facilities. Locks has progressed through the company since joining 5 Star in 1997.
Much of 5 Star's growth has been seen in the last three years. Summer 2000 saw the purchase of new premises at the present Wisbech site, with over 26,000sq.ft of space. This was extended this year by the installation of a 1,500sq.ft mezzanine floor to boost the storage area. Earlier this year, 5 Star acquired Mossman Trunks and Custom Case Foams from Hertfordshire-based Custom Cases Ltd. "These two brands fitted nicely into the existing 5 Star product range," says Keith Sykes. "The Mossman Trunks brand is a different manufacturing process from our normal flightcase products, but the production team w