Storm at the Mandalay Bay Resort is one of the latest cutting-edge shows to add to the glitz and glamour of the famous Las Vegas Strip. In Storm, performers dance and sing to live musicians against the backdrop of ‘nature’s powerful forces’. A combination of live concert event, Broadway theater experience, and Las Vegas dance spectacular, Storm is a musical journey of human emotion expressed through the forces of nature.
As part of the show’s huge technical set-up, Electrosonic Systems was commissioned to design a system which would reliably retain 35mm film clips produced for the Storm show, and display them on three screens. Crucial to the system was ease of operation in conjunction with live actors, musicians and dancers. Two of the screens are Saco LED (12ft wide x 9ft high and 8ft wide x 6ft high). The third is a Stewart screen 30ft wide x 38ft high with two Digital Projection 15SX projectors overlapping each other’s images to double the brightness.
Image processing is by an Electrosonic Vector, configured for six standard inputs, two standard outputs and 1 high definition output. Three Doremi JPEG servers store the source material. JPEG was decided upon as the correct solution, because the director of the show wanted to craft the material on the screens by starting or stopping on any frame in a video sequence and determine this in ‘real time’ during rehearsals. Two Cannon XL1 Cameras, using wireless antennae, are also used in the show, so that live images can be intermixed with the filmed images
For the crowds who thronged the banks of the River Thames to witness this year’s Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race, it was one of the most memorable races in recent history. And as the lead chopped and changed constantly, the only certain way of monitoring progress for the live audience was via the two giant i-mag displays provided by Screenco.
The company supplied a 50sq.m 25mm high brightness display at Putney Bridge and an auxiliary 10sq.m, 15mm LED mini mobile rig, anchored at Furnival Gardens in Hammersmith - a popular meeting place for supporters of both crews. Contracted by sponsors Aberdeen Asset Management, Screenco worked through event organizer and production manager, Dominic Reed.
Commented Screenco’s project manager Steve Purkess: "We have been providing a turnkey package for the Boat Race since Aberdeen Asset Management became involved four years ago, and it has become quite an complex project." He explained that Screenco liaised closely with BBC Television, taking the Grandstand feed, as well as running VT for BBC London, and displaying messaging.
The Boat Race remains one of the most popular events on the sporting calendar, watched by over six million people annually on BBC Television and by a huge global audience estimated at 400 million people in 180 countries.
That is the upbeat message from PLASA’s new Show Director, Sue Saint. Celebrating its 25th year, the PLASA Show is the world’s pre-eminent light, sound and audio-visual event, attracting major brands every year, and this year is no exception.
Stand bookings are currently at 82%, with top names such as Vari-Lite, Sennheiser, Martin Professional, Denon, BSS Audio and Total Fabrication already booked. The show pulls in over 13,000 visitors from the UK and abroad each year, having become the main marketplace for the £11billion entertainment technology industry.
"The show is evolving continually," commented Saint, "and one of the key trends emerging is the growing number of manufacturers choosing to exhibit in their own right, rather than rely solely on representation through distributors. In addition, many long-standing exhibitors, including Numark, Peavey, Sound Technology, Avolites and SGM, have reaffirmed the importance of PLASA by booking larger stands. Other major industry players are also recognizing the role the show can play in developing their businesses and this year will see Marantz, Tascam and Duran Audio exhibiting for the first time. All this is happening at a time when the economy generally has been talked down, but the increased interest in the show is clear evidence that the market is picking up and that the PLASA Show is an integral part of the exhibitors’ marketing armoury."
Steve Warren, sales director of Avolites, an exhibitor at the show for the past 13 years, added: "The PLASA Show is clearly the most imp
The continuing expansion of automation control specialist Crestron has brought two new recruits to its UK facility in Kingston-upon-Thames. Ken Weller joins as sales & business development manager. His move, after seven years in custom development with hi-fi/home cinema loudspeaker specialists B&W Loudspeakers, reflects Crestron’s own increasing penetration of the high-end home automation market.
Weller is joined by Amy Hutchings as sales and administration co-ordinator, who brings a wealth of experience in similar capacities with internet companies, AltaVista and Razorfish. She will bring her own PR skills to bear as the first point of contact for Crestron’s increasing client base. Announcing the appointments, Robin van Meeuwen, managing director of Crestron UK, said: "These appointments are designed to consolidate our relationships with key customers. As our business matures so our commitment to customer support must grow alongside, which includes recruiting further technical support staff."
Dream Theater is an interesting mixture of ‘prog’ rock, metal and mayhem; they have a cult following and are enjoying great success with their latest album ‘Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence’. We’ve not yet figured out quite why it is six degrees, but there must be a reason.
Led by drummer and impresario Mike Portnoy, DT have just completed the European leg of their current world tour, before heading to Mexico and North America. It’s a high energy show, and this is mirrored by lighting designer Benoit Richard. The lighting for the whole tour is supplied by Bandit Lites, handled for the European section by their UK office.
The front, back and two staggered middle trusses, are scattered with a mix of fixtures - from Martin MACs to High End Cyberlights and ETC Source Fours with scrollers. There’s also a copious contingent of floor-based fixtures. However, it’s the 12 4-lites with scrollers which are the basic building blocks of the rig.
Richard uses these expressively to create big blocks of colour that he overlays with beams, gobo texturing and sharp highlighting pick-ups from other fixtures. A row of upstage deck-based MAC 600s is utilized for rear lighting and to produce dramatic silhouettes for the moments of respite during what is a pretty intense show!
It is Richards’ first tour with Dream Theater, and he is also a huge fan. Portnoy and he had crossed paths a few times over the years, but he was offered the job after Portnoy caught one of his Yes Symphonic shows last Autumn. "I see things very differently,
Specialist AV company, Blitz Communications has secured two theatrical firsts for the new Queen musical We Will Rock You, opening in London's West End on 14 May. The show marks the first time that Blitz's new HRS high-resolution videographics system will be used which will be linked to the biggest video screen ever installed in a theatre.
The HRS system will allow graphics, pre-recorded video sequences, live action shots and scenic backdrops for the show to be displayed on a giant LED screen measuring 10.2m x 4.8m. Blitz brokered the deal for production company Lighthouse to obtain the LED screen, which cost £1million and was shipped over from Hong Kong. It is made of LVP1010C Quarter Bin LED panels and divides into eight separate smaller screens. Four of these operate at floor level on individually powered, steerable trucks. Another four are flown using an automated motionsystem that allows both horizontal and vertical movement.
During the production the screens can operate in various separate formations to allow split image displays to the front or rear of the stage. Alternatively, the four flown screens resting on top of the other four on stage can form one huge seamless image. Blitz are also supplying the live action cameras and video production equipment, creating a TV studio under the stage.
We Will Rock You opens at London's Dominion Theatre. The production has been six years in development and is a collaboration between members of the rock group Queen and Ben Elton. The show is designed by rock n' roll veterans Willie Williams and Mark Fisher,
XL Video - specialists in touring and live event video production - supplied a full digital touring package to the successful Pop Idol tour - one of the fasting selling tours in the history of UK popular performance!
Video director and XL crew chief was Ruary MacPhie and the medium of video played an important role in the show’s look, a creative collusion between Peter Barnes’ lighting and set design and Kim Gavin’s overall artistic direction. XL supplied four Sony D35 cameras for live camera playback - two in the pit on a track-and-dolly system, one at FOH and the fourth, hand-held onstage. Realtime show action captured by these was primarily beamed onto two soft screens either side of stage. The main onstage screen consisted of 40sq.m of Unitek 25mm pixel pitch LED, located upstage centre, supplied direct to the production by GL UK. It split to form an entrance/exit for the performers, and was rigged upstage of another ovular shaped soft screen, framed by and moulded into the set.
The XL Video team’s main challenge was the hectic first half when they were dealing with a tightly cued sequence featuring multiple play-ins from the hard drives, effects from the Magic DaVE digital video effects generator plus the live camera feeds. MacPhie mixed the visuals using a Grass Valley GVG 1200 mixer/switcher. Blink TV, the large screen entertainment specialists supplied onscreen material for the pre show and interval period.
PSL has appointed David March as business development manager of its Concert Touring division. Marking his return to the live entertainment industry after a spell in the architectural lighting sector, March was previously European operations manager at High End Systems, prior to which he was general manager at Vari-Lite Europe.
March will be working closely with the PSL Concert Touring team of Stephanie Jefcoate and Scott Russell, who are currently providing video and projection services for the Supertramp European Tour, the UK tours of Godspell and Sunset Boulevard, Lord of the Dance and the upcoming Gabrielle UK Tour. PSL managing director Gary Davies commented: "PSL Concert Touring has been one of the key players in the industry for many years. With David March joining our team we will now be able to offer our ever increasing range of specialist services to an even wider range of clients."
DIVAS is a new company, specializing in the design, project management and installation of visual and audio systems to all areas of the professional entertainment business. The DIVAS team consists of four individuals - Tony Day, Damian Brunetti, Darrin South and Steve Nicholls - who have all worked together on various projects in the past.
The company will design, specify and install lighting sound and AV schemes, either working directly with end users or working under the umbrella of large sound, lighting and AV companies. DIVAS has already been working in a miscellany of environments including clubs, bars, shops, cinemas, ice arenas, leisure centres, stadiums, hotels, churches, museums, ballrooms and live music venues. One recently completed project was the sound and lighting systems spec and installation at Flicks club in Sleaford, Lincs. The club is housed in a former cinema retaining many original features. Working directly for owner Phil Broughton, DIVAS designed and installed a Logic Systems sound system, a Coemar, TAS and MAD moving light system and kitted out the DJ booth with Denon and Technics gear. They also specified the first ever new ShowCAD Artist control system in a club environment.
Full story in April's issue of Lighting&Sound International.
Sarner is working on a unique multi-million pound travelling exhibition of Russian Yachts, which is set to open in Hamburg at the end of this year. ‘Treasures from the Tsars Imperial Yachts’, depicts the evolution of the Imperial Navy from 1703, when Peter The Great launched his first ship, through to 1918 and the era of Nicholas II - it includes more than 400 original artefacts, jewellery and ships from the palace of Peterhos and the Central Naval Palace in St Petersburg.
Intellectual property management company, Eagle Crown Productions, who have the rights to this stunning collection, first met with Sarner to discuss the venture almost three years ago. As a result, Sarner have been responsible for every element of the exhibition design and concept; visitors enter by walking onto an imposing aft deck of an imperial yacht; once inside there are displays of panoramic archive film; reconstructions of living quarters, scale models and clothing, with audio, lighting and smells employed to make the exhibition as life-like and interactive as possible.
Sarner directors Mike Bennett and Ross Magri, who bought out the company last year, comment: "We have worked on a concept that uses the best techniques of theatre combined with the disciplines of exhibiting artefacts from this unique collection. The ships were literally floating palaces and the exhibition shows all aspects of what life was like on board these amazing vessels for the sailors, working shipman and the Royal family." Plans are currently in place for ‘Treasures from the Tsars Imperial Yac
A new distribution agreement between Le Mark Group and Link srl or Rome was finalized during the recent SIB Exhibition in Rimini. As a result of the agreement, Link will distribute Le Mark's Magtape range of gaffer tape, as well as its award-winning Slipway cable cover tape.
Link is internationally recognized for its range of high quality products, which includes its own Eurocable and LK Connector ranges, both extensively used within the audio, video and lighting sectors. "We are all extremely pleased with the new agreement," said Le Mark's Stuart Gibbons. "Both companies have excellent reputations and have shown sustained growth within the industry."
Online Learning 2002 Europe - an event addressing the issues of online learning - was held recently at London’s ExCel. CT London was commissioned by GMA Events, the exhibition and conference organizers for Online Learning, to provide a total of seven bespoke areas split by their respective technology and conference requirements. CT had also been asked to service the needs of those who were to exhibit during the event, which covered visitors and delegates from some 38 different countries.
CT provided audio visual hardware including projection, lighting and audio, with feeds for use with translation booths for international delegates attending the numerous Q & A sessions. The company also covered two separate break-out rooms in the ExCel conference centre and one area in the main exhibition hall, again utilizing vast stocks of projection, audio, VT and data hardware. CT also provided a bespoke hardware solution in the main exhibition hall for two Software Simulation ShootOut sessions: these saw four different software simulation-building tool companies working in real-time creating content authoring tools focused on making the overall task easier for use. CT achieved the end result by providing projection, audio and switching capabilities for the contestants who each provided their own IT hardware.
Given the location of the event and its number of international visitors CT was asked to provide both dedicated and temporary Internet Connections in the main exhibition hall. CT also provided IT hardware for use in a one day Technology workshop. CT took an ethernet conne
A group of exhibition design final year students from the Reinwardt Academie in Amsterdam recently enjoyed an informative visit to the London office of Sarner, audio visual, visitor attraction and design specialists. Frank van Oosterhout, faculty lecturer from the Academie (an institute which specializes in Museum Communication, Management, Registration and Conservation) was so impressed when he visited Sarner’s Lands End tourist centre installation in 1996 that he brought the students to the UK to meet the company behind the project.
Marije Kruize, one of the visiting students, thoroughly enjoyed the experience. She commented: "We’ve all been inspired by Sarner’s individual approach to each project and would love to work for a company like that. The visit has helped us all get an insight into a company that delivers innovation and technology with bags full of passion."
I-Vision supplied and co-ordinated the equipment for an eye-catching exterior architectural lighting scheme for the re-opening of the Walker Arts Gallery in Liverpool. The show was designed and produced by Liverpool City Council’s Cultural Events Officer and lighting designer Lee Forde.
The Gallery re-opened after a £4.3 million refurbishment, part of National Museums & Galleries on Merseyside’s (NMGM) first major capital project for the 21st century. The Victorian building façade which features central steps and an extruded section, is flanked by Grecian-style columns, and flat sections either side. The columns and two statues either side of the steps, were lit using 300W profile fixtures, and the flat, end sections of the building’s fascia were bathed in blue light from powerful Coemar Panorama 1800W cyc fixtures. Tight 4-way finger-beam fans of ‘Aircraft Landing’ lights (ACLs) were also used on the building fascia to produce a contrasting lighting state on this area.
The blue washed building sides were then overlaid with high powered, large-scale white scenic projections featuring special slides of some of the artwork on show inside. The projections were calculated precisely to fill the available space. Equipment for this aspect of the project - 2 x Hardware for Xenon 7kW units - was supplied by CT, and programmed and operated by Peter Wilms. The projections consisted of a 20-minute scrolling slide show, with two asymmetric images running for the first 10 minutes of the show, which merged to form one central image for the latter half o
Our pictures shows Borrowed Time - the latest work by David Cotterell, an artist shortlisted for Beck’s Futures 2002, the UK’s largest arts prize. His nominated entry features a film of a train emerging from a tunnel.
As it draws near, the gallery fills with a cloud of smoke onto which an image of the steam train is projected to create a ghostly apparition. Reminiscent of the Lumière brothers, the train rushes towards the viewer before fading to black. The smoke effects are being produced using Cirrus Low-smoke machines supplied by The Effects Company.
The smoke is unusual in that it is a mixture of Liquid CO2 and a standard glycol-based smoke fluid. Synchronizing and controlling all the elements of the installation is a Pulsar Masterpiece 108 control system, specially adapted for the purpose by the company’s Andy Graves, who also built a custom interface to work between the video and control set-up.
Beck’s Futures 2002 will be exhibited at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London from 29 March to 6 May, before setting out on a tour of the UK and Europe.
Late February, Summit Steel abandoned the typically dull, British weather and took off for Cannes in the South of France. The company was called in by Adam Proto, producer for Turquoise Blue, to rig a party at the Radisson SAS Montfleury Hotel, for Lucent Technologies’ guests, as part of the 3GSM World Congress. Summit’s principal task was to rig large, white, gauze sails between the palm trees around the pool which were to be used as projection screens.
Since there was no flying equipment from roof trusses on this job, this proved to be open air rigging with a difference. "It made a change from climbing roof beams," explained Summit’s Jon Bray. "We actually used the pool-side Palm trees to rig the sails, fixing guy wires and using diverters in the palms to ensure we did not cause any damage. The end result looked great. The sails created an outside auditorium, the perfect backdrop to the stages."
Designed by Philippe Brandt using ‘art’ as the theme, the party also kept Summit busy within the hotel. This included creating a 12m x 10m music lounge using a ground-supported Superlight truss system. The Star Cloth Walls, along with a variety of truss structures supporting the lights and sound, created a unique performance space. The local production manager was Alex Gorman, video imaging by Atomic Arts and lighting design by Andy Gardner, with lights supplied by Arpege Son et Lumière.
Blink TV, the big screen entertainment specialists, go into the spring touring period with the three biggest UK tours - Pop Idol, Westlife and Kylie - on their roster. Each of the tours is a heavy user of video with sophisticated combinations of digital cameras, LED screens and projection systems, and, in each case, Blink is responsible for co-ordinating the supply of the video hardware and producing the programming to run on the screens pre-show.
It’s been water, water everywhere recently for D J Willrich Ltd (DJW), as the Hampshire-based AV and multi-media specialists have recently completed work on the saltwater Bournemouth Oceanarium in Dorset and the freshwater Lakeside Aquarium at Newby Bridge on the shores of Lake Windermere.
Working within a deadline of just three weeks, DJW installed in the Bournemouth Oceanarium three Sony plasma displays, three touch screen quiz-based interactives and, with the help of strobe lighting and Bose speakers, the sound of a rainforest thunderstorm that automatically comes to life every 20 minutes.
Visitors to the Lake District are obviously used to it raining more frequently there since DJW’s thunderstorm sound simulation at the Lakeside Aquarium proved to be so popular that it now runs every three minutes! In addition to this, DJW has also installed two Sony plasma displays, lighting and sound controls, plus an AV theatre featuring a 2 metre screen and projector showing images of the surrounding Lake District hills, lakes and wildlife.
As well as having water in common, Bournemouth and Lakeside both have BSS 9088 Soundwebs and a 9010 Jellyfish remote - the Jellyfish being essential to enable staff to control the audio systems from the office. "The Soundwebs are crucial to the easy operation of the audio systems within the two aquariums," said Kevin Southwell, project manager. "It means that staff can vary sound levels from their main office depending on whether it's a quiet or busy day. They also have an easy facility for using radio microphone
CT London has utilized an extensive selection of its equipment and resources to provide the entire AV and IT element for Imagination at a Ford Dealer Training Event in Marbella, Spain. The event, which began in early February and runs for six weeks, will be attended by over 17,000 Ford Dealers from across Europe.
The event, masterminded by Imagination, will launch Ford’s new range of small cars including Ford Fiesta and Ford Fusion to dealers. It features a 400-seat auditorium acting as the central business meeting location, plus five interactive workshops on the consumer benefits of the new range, along with training on Five Fiesta Facts. CT London supplied, installed and maintained the equipment, with a full team of support engineers and technicians. The company provided a wide array of desktop and laptop PCs running Powerpoint with Mpeg playback and various displays including Barco video projectors and Hitachi Plasma screens. All were complemented by a bespoke Dataton interactive control system.
As part of a recently completed refurbishment of its flagship Oxford Street Megastore, Virgin has commissioned an unusual giant video screen system on the store’s ground floor that is all but invisible until in operation. In the centre of the main stairwell, flat 'blades' rotate and lock into position like an enormous Venetian blind to reveal the five metre wide screen. Flanking the screen are a pair of Mackie Fussion 3000 active speakers and two pairs of 1800SA/1800S active sub bass combos.
PAI and AV designer Vincent Rice carried out the design and installation, as PAI’s managing director Paul Adams explains: "Following a referral from PPM (Perspective Project Management), who we’ve worked with previously, we were approached by Richard Greenleaf of the design company Red Jacket, and Vince Rice and I had a meeting with him to discuss the project." Adams continues: "Red Jacket's concept was very clear. There is a large atrium alongside the escalators, and the brief was for a video screen that could move in and out of the space. When it was not being used it would maintain visual access to the rear shopping and retail areas."
As a result of the meeting, Vince Rice came up with the idea for a massive motorized Venetian blind screen, made of steel, measuring 6 x 5 metres and weighing in at 1.6 tons. Rice explains: "Using a combination of choreographed effects lighting with a quality sound system and a video presentation, all they had to do was turn it all on and it's show time." Rice admits that his choice of Mackie Fussion w
S Club 7 have recently completed a UK arena tour. Considering it’s only a matter of months since their last outing, it’s to the band’s credit that they decided to create a whole new image for this tour. The impressive set, designed by Hattie Spice (no relation to the Girls) and co-ordinated by Charlie Kail, included not only a series of lifts and moving elements, but a massive over-audience catwalk. To rig the show, rigging contractors Summit Steel used 220m of James Thomas trussing, along with 55 CM Lodestar hoists. These were used to provide backdrop, side screen, tracking screen and catwalk support trussing, as well as cable bridges and hoists used during daily fit-up for the scenic elements.
Total Fabrications Ltd were called in to manufacture the catwalk deck and handrail to fit the truss structure supplied by Summit Steel. "The catwalk was suspended using 26 Summit hoists fitted with position encoders and our remote load monitoring system," commented Summit’s Jon Bray. "By using QMotion’s K10s computer hoist command system we were able to ensure safe, accurate and repeatable positioning of the catwalk."
A massive 70sq.m LED screen, supplied by XL Video, dominated centre stage, made up of Generale Location 25mm modules. This split in two, with each half moving sideways to form a dramatic upstage entrance. The screen tracking was controlled by QMotion, again supplied through Summit. The system, designed and built by QMotion to Chris Walker of Summit’s specifications, is driven by a QMotion custom tailored &lsqu
RCI Custom has signed a significant development and maintenance contract with software provider Stardraw.com to create a new, web-based tool for the design and production of custom control and connection panels. PanelBuilder will be hosted on the RCI Custom website and allows registered users to design, specify and purchase custom panels.
Managing director of Stardraw, David Snipp, explained the background to the deal: "RCI had long been aware of the capabilities of applications like Stardraw Audio, but it was a trade show conversation that made them realise Stardraw.com could develop an affordable custom solution. PanelBuilder is based on proven techniques seen in Stardraw applications for years, but it exploits leading-edge software and internet technology."
PanelBuilder is resident on the web server and works from within a browser, so there’s nothing to download or install. It comprises a drag and drop interface linked to a complete library of all of RCI’s panel products, so the user simply selects the panel he or she wants, drags on the connectors that are needed, and sets engraving, finishes, artwork and so on. The resultant design is linked in realtime to sophisticated backoffice systems so that a user will get an automated quote instantaneously.
Users of PanelBuilder can design a connector plate or panel in seconds without the need for complex CAD training and see exactly how it will look. They will also get a price quote and drawing file for that panel immediately, any time of the day or night, even on weekends! The professional quality C
Yves Pepin, president and creative director of ECA2, and his team, are working on a night-time cultural visit of the archaeological site El Tajin, in the jungle of Veracruz state, eastern Mexico. Sound and light shows will be featured every night from 16 to 23 March 2002, with commentary in Spanish, English, French and Totonac. The total number of shows will be 14. El Tajin is recognised as the cultural birthplace of the Totonac people, the first American Indians encountered by the Spanish conquistador Cortés, in 1519. The site is vast and archaeologically rich, with most of its structures dating from 600-700 AD.
Spectators will be guided, over two hours, in a circular movement over the site, stopping at places to witness various aspects of Totonac culture. A notable feature of the visit will be its personal nature: according to rules set by Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History, the site cannot have more than 500 spectators per show. "This ‘exclusivity’ will increase each visitor’s feeling of an intense and personal experience," explained Yves Pépin. "Spectators will really ‘feel’ what Totonac life was like, the people’s beliefs and their traditions, as well as their daily life, as conveyed by projected images, special effects, live performances and music."
"Towards the end of the circuit, visitors will stop at the ‘Pyramid of Niches’, the archaeological highlight of the site. This extraordinary structure will be shown and experienced as never before, thanks to dynamic li
Professional projection specialist, Christie Digital Systems, has introduced three new projectors in its new VIVID LX class of multimedia projectors, designed for a broad range of corporate to educational applications.
The VIVID LX35 is a high-quality multimedia projector providing a rich blend of presentation, integration and AV rental capabilities. The VIVID LX26 is the first high-quality multimedia projector that provides a great fixed installation solution and portability, whilst the VIVID LX20 is a high-quality multimedia projector delivering outstanding presentation performance in a compact and lightweight package. All three projectors are perfect for fixed installations, yet portable enough to move from room to room on a corporate or educational campus.