London-based Blink TV, the big screen entertainment company, has announced the opening of a business development unit in the USA, headed by Van Jarvis and based in San Francisco. Jarvis has been in the professional live video production business for over 20 years, having worked for two of the leading US video rental companies, and produced high profile music shows such as the Tibetian Freedom Concert in Washington in 1999 and the United Nations sponsored Groundwork 2001 in Seattle.
Blink specializes in the provision of integrated video packages for rock and pop concerts and festivals around the world. The concept has proved very successful in the UK, Europe and Australasia, and the US office has been established to promote their services to the huge live entertainment market in America. The operation in the States will be structured along similar lines to its other territories around the world. Blink subsidizes the costs of bands touring with video equipment in return for the rights to use the screens during walk-in and intervals. Blink then produces entertainment to run on the screens during those periods of downtime.
Jarvis feels the climate is ripe for the Blink concept to take off in the US, in spite of the current difficult economic climate. "Production values are still high, and acts can benefit from keeping their costs down and simultaneously adding value to their shows," he states. He confirms that there’s already been interest, and expects to announce the first Blink TV US tours early in the New Year.
Blink has also recently expanded its UK sa
AV specialist Saville Audio Visual has appointed Matt Alexander as area sales manager for South London, Kent and parts of Surrey and Sussex. Formerly based in Devon with Greenham Video, Alexander has extensive experience in the AV industry and his responsibilities will include sales of LCD projectors, audio visual and conferencing systems.
CT NEC has provided full AV support for Land Rover, on a three-year permanent installation basis, at the Bluewater Shopping Centre in Kent. Situated in two high profile areas, eight Panasonic TH-42PWD4 42" plasma displays and two Panasonic DVD-RV31 players have been supplied and fitted as visual reinforcement for Land Rover's impressive vehicle displays.
Split into two adjacent areas, the first site - a Land Rover Clothing Store, located in the Southeast Welcome Hall - contains two screens, with the capacity for future upgrade to enable data capture. The second installation is located within the main shopping mall thoroughfare, and boasts six screens, with four at ground level and two on the first floor. The screens display product and corporate video footage and currently present the same video sequence, fed from two separate source players. Provision has also been made for potential upgrades to the installation, such as touch-screen interaction and data capture.
Paradigm was recently commissioned by audio visual specialists Integrated Circles, to supply three Ultra Contrast Screens for use at artist Liam Gillick's exhibit, 'Annlee You Proposes', at Tate Britain.
The 52" screens - together with specially adapted LCD projectors - have been hired by the gallery for the duration of the exhibit, which continues until 31 March this year. Footage on each screen comprises three minutes of looped video art - which together with sound clips - portrays 'Annlee', using Japanese-style cartoon images. The screens are positioned as window displays which face onto a newly landscaped garden and patio area within the Tate Britain grounds.
Paul Nolan of Integrated Circles told us: "Providing large, vivid video images in a sunlit, south facing outdoor environment, presented us with an unusual challenge that meant we needed exceptional contrast to achieve what Liam Gillick intended. The ultra contrast screens provided by Paradigm have enabled us to achieve an impressive result."
The famous stage at the Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam took on a number of different scenic guises when Dutch radio station Radio 538 presented its ninth anniversary party, Live38, recently. Thanks to the reconfigurable pair of 18sq.m 25mm LED Megascreens from Screenco/JVR, which could be split and moved across the stage with the help of a motion tracking device, acts such as The Corrs, Wyclef Jean, Volumia, Blof, Di-rect and Crazy Pianos could be seen in bespoke scenic settings. The rigging and trolley system were provided by Frontline/Sightline.
Radio 538 undertook all the production themselves, and credit for the inventive screen concept goes to the station's Pieter Lubberts. "This flexibility enabled us to reinforce the stage images either as one giant screen behind the musicians, split into two 18sq.m side screens - or present them as six individual columns, each displaying component parts of the image. The fact that we were able to track these displays across the length and depth of the stage made the production a huge success, and proved very popular with the artistes."
Screenco Holland has a long relationship with Radio 538, and in addition to providing video support for their promotions also provided the LED screens for last year’s Live38 party in Utrecht. "But this year's technical production was a lot bigger," confirmed Screenco’s Jeroen Jongenelen, "and the radio station already has even more ambitious ideas for next year."
Show Presentation Services (SPS), one of the largest AV rental companies in the UK, was chosen by Black Pig Productions to provide a Barco Dlite7 Screen for the recent Robbie Williams TV Spectacular, which was recorded live for BBC 1 at the Royal Albert Hall on 10th October 2001 and released on DVD in early December. Robin Coles, managing director of SPS, explained that his brief was to "supply 39sq.m Barco Dlite7 LED display to provide the 7168 mm x 5376 mm centre stage backdrop for Black Pig Productions to feed images on to. The show itself was spectacular, and we were very pleased with the effect when it was broadcast on BBC 1 on 17th November," said Coles.
Black Pig’s managing director, Chris Saunders, described the production as "unusual, as it was being filmed in high definition, causing any imperfections in the LED to stand out. This is especially important as the recorded show is to be released on DVD in early December. The unique specifications for this show meant that we needed to use a high resolution LED screen. SPS have supplied us with equipment for other high profile events, such as the Brit Awards, so we knew that they could be relied on to supply us with the highest resolution screen available. My client was very happy with the results, and we feel that the production was an overall success."
Through their official sponsorship of the UEFA Champions League, Ford has been able to reach a critical mass - not only inside the host sports stadia and on television, but also outside the grounds. With the aid of promotional company Prism and audio-visual specialists Creative Technology the company has been able to throw large-scale images onto the sides of buildings (and the stadia themselves) in the true spirit of guerilla projection.
At some grounds a Christie X10 Roadie 10,000 ANSI lumens DLP projector has been set up on the top of an adjacent building, whilst on other occasions it has been fired from the back of a Ford Galaxy in the car park, run from a generator. "This is a high profile site where we can run a Betacam tape, interspersed with Ford's 'Destination Football' ads and highlights of the last few matches as eye candy for spectators arriving at the match," said CT project manager Darren Alexander. "We project as large an image as possible - up to 10 or 20 metres, from walk-in right up to the whistle," he continued.
CT will handle all UK-based grounds and sub-contract coverage at other nominated grounds, such as Nantes FC, to European partners.
Paul Wood has joined XL Video, the concert touring and live event video specialists, as a project manager. Wood joins XL’s team, headed by Chris Mounsor, Lee Spencer, Des Fallon and Richard Burford, bringing with him a wealth of experience. Wood was previously the projects and operations manager for the LED screen department of SPS, where he handled events for blue chip clients like Microsoft and Bloomberg TV. Before that, he enjoyed several years on the road as a freelance engineer and projectionist, cutting his teeth in this exacting area of live production. XL’s Lee Spencer comments: "It’s great to have Paul onboard. He fully complements the rest of the team, and has all the attributes needed to thrive in XL’s lively and energetic working environment."
Wood is currently working on the Tweenies UK arena tour for XL, along with a number of other events currently underway.
Flightcase manufacturer Oakleigh Cases has supplied leading UK live and touring video production specialists XL Video with a massive order of 130 flightcases to protect XL's new Barco I-Lite LED screen system. The cases will be toured extensively with XL's expanding list of international artists, such as like Robbie Williams, U2 and Kylie Minogue - as well as on giant corporate events like The Detroit Motor Show, which is where XL Video's I-Lite will make it’s first appearance, on the Toyota stand.
The XL build was completed against the incredibly tight timescale of just over two weeks. Oakleigh’s general manager Martin Cockton comments: "It's a tribute to our collective team ethics, and to the flexibility of our systems that we managed to achieve this challenging goal!" Oakleigh's CEM CAD/CNC machining centre was in operation 18 hours per day to meet the order. This contract is one of an intensely hectic Festive period for Oakleigh, which has also secured the contract to build over 270 shock-mounted flight cases for Wembley-based Gearhouse Broadcast for next year's World Cup in Japan and South Korea.
AV specialist Blitz Communications has appointed Fraser McCaig as sales manager to increase market share for the company's new Birmingham branch. McCaig will be responsible for raising the profile of Blitz Vision in the Midlands region. McCaig has 17 years' experience in the Midlands AV and video production industry, having spent eight years as hire manager for Quadrant Video Systems in Birmingham, specializing in broadcast and professional equipment hire and filming. Prior to his appointment at Blitz he spent three years selling audio-visual equipment and systems, and project managed large systems installations for clients such as Marconi Communications, Anglo Irish Bank Corporation and Royal Doulton.
Quadrant Visual Solutions (QVS), the specialist supplier, designer and installer of video and film production facilities, was called upon to design, theme, stage and manage the Birmingham Film and TV Festival awards dinner at Birmingham's Burlington Hotel in a sponsorship deal. The festival, one of the UK's most significant moving image festivals, was held from the 15-24 November 2001. As well as the latest international previews, the Festival also included a range of events, workshops and seminars - with advice from professionals like Meera Syal and Pawel Pawlikowski.
Quadrant actively strive to be at the forefront of video/film production services, particularly outside of London, and are soon to open their film, video and media services centre in Liverpool. Among their celebrity guests at the awards dinner will be their Liverpool-based customers, Alex Cox (director of Repo Man) and Todd Davies (producer) having just completed their latest movie Revengers Tragedy starring Sophie Dahl, Christopher Eccleston, Derek Jacobi and Eddie Izzard. QVS supplied all of the video equipment that was used for the film’s insert short clips, a technique used by Alex Cox for the first time, and the on-line editing system.
QVS provided a comprehensive range of equipment, including Sharp SVG10 data video projectors, an xf30 data/video projector, a 12ft x 9ft front projection screen, six Bose 802 loudspeakers, a Soundcraft K1 audio mixer, a DFS500 vision mixer, a Sony PVW2800 Betacam SP player, a BVW75 Betacam SP recorder, scan converter, four Martin MAC 500s and two followspo
Sarner and ESP have combined resources to provide a creative solution for Liverpool’s new multi-million pound International Astronomy and Space Centre (IASC). Sarner, which has recently been bought-out by two of its directors, Michael Bennett and Ross Magri, is thrilled to have such an innovative and important project under its creative direction. "This is a great win, not just for us but for the team at Sarner and for all our clients and colleagues," comments Bennett. "Sarner has been highly successful for over 30 years and we intend to build on that reputation and drive the company forward with new commitment to delivering innovative design solutions that have so often won clients’ belief in our skills, quality and service."
Sarner will be responsible for the design and production of special effects for the new visitor attraction, while ESP will project manage the fit-out of the centre, bringing life to the dramatic designs - from the spectacular hanging celestial sphere atrium through to the excitement of a 'Journey To The Stars' in the space-time machine.
IASC, which is part of the continued regeneration of Liverpool's Wirral district, is due to be completed by Easter 2003. "Visitors will be taken on an interactive journey through time and space that is set to have people, both young and old, returning time and time again", said Ross Magri. "This is theatrical sensationalism at its best. It is the aim of the project team to bring the excitement of astronomy and space to life with multi-sensory technology, simulated time
As tribute bands go, the Australian Pink Floyd are a touch different: for a start they imitate a band that, on stage at least, have virtually no physical presence, so they are relieved the task of attempting to look like them.
Lead guitarist Steve McElroy - the David Gilmour of the band - does make some small gestures towards his cipher, the mic stand arrangement is identical, with the tuner strapped just so off a separate stalk. He even manages those strange facial gestures during the guitar solos that I remember so well from my time working with Gilmour in the early eighties. But essentially this is all about the music, and they don’t make a bad fist of it - indeed The Times is quoted on the band’s flyer as saying: "Probably the greatest tribute band in the world," which, in the wider scheme of things, places them on a par with Carlsberg Lager, entirely appropriate for an Aussie band.
The show opens in the Floyd tradition, with Shine on you Crazy Diamond, but thereafter plots its own course, and in so doing visits some of the more neglected corners of the Floyd pantheon. I must confess a nostalgic tear when I heard Dogs for what must be the first time in 20 years, and yes, sad git that I am, I have now dragged Animals out of my album collection. But as far as the audience is concerned, that’s entirely the point of the show, to evoke lost youth, and revisit the thrills of adolescence. That and the undisputed pleasure of hearing Comfortably Numb at volumes far outside the reaches of home hi-fi - it’s a lad thing you see, something to d
Hardware Xenon's projection balloon is an innovative solution to the problem of high quality projection in lit areas, particularly suited to exhibitions, conferences, product launches and events. This projection balloon (registered model) which gives a very bright spherical image, can be placed at the top of a mast or hung in trussing.
The spherical balloon is inflated with air and classified M1 non-inflammable. The standard model is two metres in diameter and is placed at the top of a mast 3.4 metres high. This fits into the space normally available in exhibitions between the top of the stands and the authorized maximum height of five meters. At this height the balloon can be seen from afar, while the occupied ground space under the balloon is reduced to a minimum: the aluminium mast required is only 12cm square. For clients with particular needs, balloons of different diameters and masts of different heights can be provided.
The image covers two thirds of the sphere, it is sharp over the entire projected area, and the lighting is even. This innovation is possible thanks to the use of a 4000W OLS (Optimal Light System) projector equipped with a very wide angle lens with a very great depth of field, designed and manufactured by Hardware Xenon. The projector can hold 100 images and the projected image can scroll and turn in all directions.
Visitors to the Serpentine Gallery might have wondered what was going on when LA-based artist Doug Aitken brought his New Ocean exhibition to Kensington Gardens, London Crowning the mixed media installation, which included 20 video projectors supplied by DVS, and audio throughout the building supplied by Total Audio, were two Coef Show 250 scanners (programmed on a Compulite Spark console) - supplied by i-Vision in conjunction with Fentura Productions.
Focus 21 Visual Communications has undertaken a series of videowall installation projects for a large financial firm in the City of London involving both Sony and Christie technology. Focus installed two conference/meeting rooms at the Corporation's Thameside location at Blackfriars - generally to facilitate 'plug and play' Powerpoint presentations from a laptop computer, using scan conversion technology.
Focus 21 services director Nigel Warrilow states that by using the Sony DSC-1024 scan converter, coupled with the Christie Digital's ability to split images from multiple displays in the overall picture area, correctly displayed data images can be presented from any PC. "The company wanted a big display occupying minimal depth or loss of space," he continued. "The ambient light level wouldn't lend itself to front projection, while rear projection would have eaten up too much space. So this was the ideal solution."
The major installation undertaken by Focus 21 was in the Grade II-listed Great Hall in the City of London School's former assembly room. Currently used for banking conferences, Focus 21 needed to work around the protected covenant of oak panels, and with access to a traditional ceiling-mounted design denied them in the 50m long room, they were confronted by compromises based on the large amount of ambient light escaping through the prominent windows. With a front-projection system therefore ruled out, they looked at a rearpro solution - only to find that the vibration from the London Underground, running directly underneath, prevented that
The Entech 2002 Conference program features workshops and seminars in areas of lighting, design, rigging, audio, projection and even the business needs of a DJ. Sessions includeIntroducing the Line Array; The Future of Systems Integration and ProAV Technology; Venue Design Forum; Digital Live Sound Mixing; Lighting Designer Forum; Rigging Workshop; Stacks and Racks; Motor Training School; Location Sound Recording; Trends in Facilities; The Art of Designing with Moving Lights; We Are Surrounded (Surround Sound); and The Changing Face of Post Production.
Entech 2002, Australasia’s leading entertainment technology trade show, will be held in Sydney’s Darling Harbour from 4-6 February 2002. For further details on the conference programme and exhibits, visit the web address below:
XL Video supplied projection for Pulp's recent UK tour - one of many tours and events wrapping up an extremely busy year for XL, specialists in touring and live event video. Pulp - fronted by the charismatic Jarvis Cocker, featured innovative video footage created by Cocker himself, once a Fine Art and film-making student at Central St Martin's College.
Video was used to produce quirky and emotive visuals throughout 80% of the show. The footage ranged from heavily treated, stylized 60s soft porn for 'This is Hardcore', to time lapse film of flowers opening, trees and abstract patterns. XL Video supplied a fully digital video playback system for the tour, looked after by crew member Dave McKinlay. The projectors were two of XL's new 5000 lumen Barco SLM G5s. These were rigged on the front lighting truss, with both focused to produce the one upstage screen image - which varied in width according to venue, with 15 x 20ft being the largest.
It was run live cue-by-cue by McKinlay using an SDI Magic DaVE to mix the sources, pulled from a Doremi hard drive. For the Brixton Academy show, a hand-held video camera was also hooked into the system, enabling Jarvis to experiment, have fun and reek video havoc during the set. XL’s projectors were also hooked into the Academy's two house screens. XL Video has recently invested in 12 new Barco G5s - which have been designed and optimized for the practicalities of the touring market. The Barcos come complete with their own rigging system including sub-frame and clamps. The lamps can be removed from the side of the unit, allowing f
OPTI, the lighting effects and trussing supplier, has appointed Idunn Rodziewicz to its domestic sales team as regional sales manager. Rodziewicz brings with her 17 years of experience in the retail and exhibition market with Marler Haley. OPTI chairman Neil Rice told PLASA Media: "We're very pleased to have her on board. She has a great track record with clients here in the UK and internationally, as well as the experience to identify what they need and how to provide it."
Rodziewicz will initially concentrate on the OPTI Trilite side of the business, cementing links with clients across the retail and exhibition markets. She commented: "I'm really looking forward to it. OPTI is a leader in its field, and has great products as well as a fantastic range of support services. I think a lot of our clients, new and existing, are going to be pleasantly surprised at what OPTI can offer them."
Screenco has supplied an LED screen to The Saturday Show, the recently-launched CBBC's Saturday morning programme. The show runs from 9.00am to 12.00pm every Saturday morning and is the first Saturday show from CBBC that will play every week of the year. The ultimate audience participation show, it is presented by Dani Behr and Joe Mace, and is broadcast live from Television Centre. Commissioned by CBBC, Screenco provided a Lighthouse 6 x 5 10mm LVP10 LED screen, which is used as a backdrop for the main performance stage in the Saturday Show Studio. Feeds consist primarily of pre-edited visual packages produced on the 'Fire' graphic system for pop performances. The Saturday Show is the latest of many BBC programmes that Screenco and sister company Creative Technology - from whom they sourced the screen - have been involved in. As part of the Avesco Group, both companies provide a full range of LED indoor and outdoor technologies.
Creative Staging was recently selected to provide the video projection, audio and lighting design and supply to the Nike exhibition - 'Nike - A Design for Movement' - working alongside exhibition designers Tonkin Architects, and the computer graphics and video producer at the Design Museum.
The project involved four 'zones', coming together at the centre, each having its own theme with a separate video and audio sound track. Periodically, the four videos would synchronize to form 270-degree 'wrap-around' computer graphics with lighting effects. As visitors moved from zone to zone, the soundtrack changed automatically to synchronize with the video material and exhibits in that area without the headphone wearer having to adjust or change units in any way. This was achieved through the use of infra-red headsets with video and audio material run from synchronized DVD players controlled by a Creative Staging system.
Creative Staging is part of the Myriad Group of AV, broadcast and communications companies.
Creative Technology London were the official IT and AV suppliers at the recent TMA 2001 exhibition, held in the Brighton Centre, and at the town’s Metropole and Grand Hotels. In the largest supplier agreement so far, services were provided to over 30 separate stands at the show. Contracted by organizers TMA Ventures, Creative Technology London provided a wide range of presentation services that included the provision of all press office IT communication equipment. This dedicated area was designed to replicate the event’s theme of intelligent communication, by allowing exhibitors access to some of today’s mobile IT solutions, in order to stay in contact with the office whilst visiting the show.
Karen Brennan of TMA Ventures commented: "In what has been a difficult period in the telecommunications industry, we were delighted with the way that IT and AV supply at TMA 2001 was conducted. We felt we were in partnership with CT London and were satisfied that exhibitors received the highest levels of on-site support."
Live touring video specialists XL Video were video equipment providers on the highly successful Depeche Mode Exciter world tour, supplying all projection equipment and crew. The tour featured a unique and groundbreaking visual element created by show designer Anton Corbijn. Corbijn has designed the band’s live stage show since 1989, with moving image playing an important and provocative role. Corbijn - a renowned photographer and film-maker in his own right - is a guru on the international arts scene. He has also been involved with producing Depeche Mode's promotional videos, album artwork and graphics.
Lee Charteris, who was responsible for much of the pre-production and team building for the Exciter tour, asked XL Video's Des Fallon to an initial meeting with Corbijn, lighting designer Paul Normandale, set consultant Charlie Kail and himself. They saw Corbijn's stage design, and discussed the various show visuals and states. Fallon then asked Richard 'Jedi' Turner to assist with the video projection design and maths, after which XL submitted its quote and was informed it was the successful bidder.
The stage look for the Exciter tour was large and cinematic. A massive 50ft wide x 24ft high projection screen upstage framed the action, and the set by contrast was kept low and sparse, to ensure that there were no distractions to the screen. Video was used sparingly to maximize impact - only running for five songs, and not starting until seven or eight songs into the set. But when it kicked in, the images were immensely strong and potent, and had breathtaking impact.
CT-NEC recently provided an array of AV equipment to the official opening of the newly-built Arup Campus, attended by 500 guests, including the Lady Mayor of Solihull. Arup Group is a multi-disciplinary firm of consulting engineers offering independent advice and innovative designs globally. The new premises based in Solihull accommodate specialist divisions in rail engineering, bridges, geotechnics, advanced technology manufacturing and most recently communications and IT. Despite hosting its own 150-seater auditorium with in house AV facilities, Arup’s AV consultant David Lakin required the assistance CT-NEC to provide Sharp LCD projectors and associated sound systems to relay the events in the auditorium to the remaining guests throughout the building.
Further satellite projectors showed off presentations from each of the specialist divisions within the company. The package was completed by dual gobo projection of the Arup Campus logo on the outside of the building. CT-NEC provided a total of 11 Sharp LCD projectors, two 8x6 screens plus four Bose 802 speakers and control system. David Lakin commented: "As technical manager for the event, I was keen to keep the intrusion of the AV to a minimum in order to achieve a slick and polished performance, and thanks to the professional rigging and operational assistance of Creative Technology, the evening was a huge success." CT's project manager for the event was Alan Plant.