Specialist AV company, Blitz communications, has appointed Martin Green and Martin Clowes as branch manager and operations manager respectively, to handle the running of its new Birmingham office.
The 'two Martins', who have already worked together as freelancers and project managers for seven years, have a wealth of industry experience. In his role as branch manager Martin Green will be helping to ensure that Blitz's clientele in the Midlands receive exactly the right solutions, whilst Martin Clowes, who is operations manager, will be supporting him in his efforts by maintaining smooth client relations.
Michael Breen, managing director of Blitz told us: "The Birmingham region is host to a whole gamut of AV opportunities due to the mix of venues and a healthy business environment. I am confident that our appointment of the two Martins with their technological expertise, customer-service skills and overall commitment, will ensure that we achieve considerable success."
Angelo Russo has joined giant screen manufacturer, Lighthouse, in its UK office as product marketing manager. Angelo had worked for nearly three years as marketing manager for Clipsal Vision, Australasia's largest supplier of Lighthouse screens, where he was involved in a host of prestigious projects including the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, the Melbourne Cup Carnival, the Australian Formula One Grand Prix, the Jade and Eden Park stadium installations in New Zealand and the Subiaco Stadium in Perth, as well international events such as the Hanover Expo.
Angelo brings with him a vast knowledge of Lighthouse screens and will be working alongside marketing support manager Sian Sparkes. Commented Lighthouse international sales and marketing director Graham Burgess: "Angelo's arrival brings an extra dimension to Lighthouse's UK-based team and we're delighted to have him on board."
Creative Technology London recently supplied a wide array of AV equipment to the Microsoft TV Corporation at the IBC exhibition in Amsterdam. Commissioned by Evolution Event Management Ltd - Microsoft's preferred supplier throughout Europe - CT provided 18 x 37" Plasma screens, a 7 x 5 Barco iLite 6mm LED Screen, extensive graphics equipment and a complete audio replay system. Hitachi 37" Plasma screens were used in Demo Kiosks and a 50" Plasma on the reception area, whilst the ultra-high resolution Barco 6mm LED screen was used for relaying pictures and graphics from the Microsoft TV station. The whole integrated installation was Dataton Trax controlled enabling the presenter to run their shows from a touch screen display, set in a lectern. Robert Bell of Evolution commented: "We used CT because they already have existing relations with Microsoft TV Corp, but mainly because they provide good service, prices, back up, quick answers and professional staff."
Paradigm recently supplied two 40" dnp Holo Screens and a rear projection rig to top executive search consultants Korn/Ferry in London. Supplied and commissioned by specialists Wave - who design and install bespoke presentation and technology systems and have a long-standing business relationship with Paradigm - the screens were part of an entire refurbishment, which included the installation of various technologies within the reception area, the board room and the training room.
Installed within the reception area - along with two Proxima projectors above the ceiling - the two Holo Screens present rolling information sourced from Korn/Ferry's website, and are controlled solely via PCs. Adrian Hicks of Wave commented: "We worked with the company’s project manager for the entire fit out and sat down at an early stage. We discussed their vision of the end result as a whole, and proposed the Holo Screens as an obvious, but alternative solution to the standard plasma screen."
Show Presentation Services, the leading equipment rental and staging specialists, won the prestigious award for Rental Company of the Year in the 2001 AV Industry Awards. The winners of the awards, designed to celebrate the best audio-visual companies, projects, users and applications and held by AV Magazine in association with Sharp and a raft of sponsors, were announced at a ceremony at the Grand Hotel, Brighton, on 18 October. SPS beat off competition from Saville's and XL Video to win the award, which was given to the rental company which had shown the most marketing, technological or applicational innovation and which had demonstrated business development and both turnover and profit performance.
Robin Coles, managing director of SPS, commented: "We are delighted that the judges recognized our genuine commitment to innovation and excellence, demonstrated by a 70% increase in turnover over the last year. Staggering business growth rates were achieved by our scenic construction and lighting rental departments in particular, of 241% and 148% respectively. 2000 also saw us launching our LED rental business following our investment in a Barco D-Lite7 Modular LED screen, and Event IT, a new department dedicated to supporting the use of all types of IT requirements in the conference, exhibition and live event arenas. We also commenced a five year AV contract for Earls Court and Olympia."
Coles continued: "To win the AV rental company of the year award means a lot to SPS. Therecognition by a panel of judges selected from our industry that we have excelled a
Ian Myhill has joined Audio Visual Material Ltd (AVM) as the company's new sales manager. After 13 years successfully heading up the Communications Division at Vivitar (Europe) Ltd, Ian has decided to take up a new challenge with the Farnborough-based company, who provide exclusive UK distribution of numerous international manufacturers. He will be responsible for the sales of AVM's full product range of professional AV solutions, including famous names such as Draper Screens, Communications Specialities, Altinex interface and distribution products, Gentec, Kramer signal management solutions, Avialec, Euvision videowalls and videowall controllers and Albiral video and data monitors.
PLASA Media is looking for feedback from readers of Lighting&Sound International magazine and PLASA Online News, to find out the products that are making the biggest impact among entertainment technology practitioners - and we want your input.
'Tried & Tested' will take a simple approach: we're not asking for your views on hundreds of different product categories, we're just after your gut reactions to a series of broad-based questions on the equipment you're using, in the fields of lighting, sound, staging and effects.
The aim of this is simply to sniff out what's impressed you, what's made a difference to your working life. There are no awards and no ceremonies - we're just going to stir the pot and see what, if anything, floats to the top. The products you vote for can be new or old, high-tech or low-tech - all are valid.
The products which have the highest profile from among the votes cast will be featured in the December 2001 issue of L&SI, and one lucky entry, picked at random, will receive £100 worth of Technical Book vouchers to spend at the PLASA Technical Bookshop. And if your entry stands out as being particularly noteworthy, then we might think of something for you too . . .
Details of how to vote will also appear in the November issue of L&SI. Voting closes on 20 November 2001.
Universal Events was called in by Mark Borkowski PR to provide full technical infrastructure for the world launch of the revolutionary smart car (right hand drive versions) from Daimler Chrysler UK. The event took place in the car park at Wembley Stadium, and revealed the vehicle for the first time to UK smart dealers and users, plus the national and motoring press.
Universal supplied everything - from the lighting, sound, video and staging - to the dome-shaped marquee and seating rostra. The company’s brief was to provide a clean, slick, streamlined environment in which to launch one of the most ecologically sound vehicles available. Universal’s Steve Butcher designed the show’s production elements. A flat, empty centre stage at the start of the show was soon filled with the demo smart car, revealed by elevator, clouds of smoke and flashing lights, early on in the proceedings.
Lighting was designed by Chris Doy. Rigging points were provided by two circular Penn trusses - a 4m diameter section over the stage, suspended from the nodes of the dome, and a 15m diameter curving elegantly around the perimeter of the entire space. Doy used 22 Futurelight MH 640s spaced equidistantly around the outside ring, plus two under the stage, and six Futurelight MH 660s on the central truss for gobo work and for whizzing about - all from Universal’s moving head stock. Doy operated using a Celco Ventura console, located in the very handy circular production area, created between the inner and outer skins of the tent.
The audio, covering a variety of sources, w
Presentation Services Ltd, the presentation equipment and event staging company, officially opened their latest on-site office at the NEC, Birmingham on October 1st this year. The new 4,500 sq.ft site is catering for the already growing number of PSL clients exhibiting at the NEC and also opens the market for PSL to serve companies in the Midlands and North of Britain.
Martin Hunt, who has 15 years’ Industry experience is heading up the operation in Birmingham alongside dedicated and fully-trained staff. They will work closely with the London offices to bring clients the full range of technical services on offer at PSL.
The site is to benefit from a significant investment in new equipment providing a major Midland support base from where PSL can serve their clients’ presentation requirements. PSL already have a number of successful on-site offices at some of the UK’s premier venues, including the ExCeL arena in London’s Docklands.
The new address is: PSL Birmingham, Unit 4b, The Perimeter Road, NEC, Birmingham, B40 1PJ, UK.
Playhouse Disney Live! is on the road after many months of planning. Organized by Kathleen Gearhart, Disney’s special events director, and Jonathan Stott, production manager, Europe, Middle East and Africa, the tour runs for six weeks - with three free shows a day - from mid September to early November 2001. The tour, which features Avesco Group companies, Creative Technology and Dimension Audio in a joint collaboration, is designed to promote the Playhouse Disney Channel and is being staged in shopping malls across the UK.
The set was designed by Eye Design and built with the Barco iLite 6 indoor LED screen in mind. Owing to venue space restrictions, the Playhouse Disney Tour stage was a smaller, lightweight version of the TV set. Designed for durability on the road, the stage was made of a lightweight aluminium frame with cloth painted panels that Velcro onto the walls. The ‘Book of Pooh’ section was added to the set as Disney wanted to incorporate this into the show.
The ultra high resolution 6mm screen made it ideal for this event as Disney encouraged their audience to be as close to the stage as possible. CT project manager David Lawrence said: "The high resolution and brightness of the i6 were the two most important factors in choosing a screen technology that matched Disney’s high production values. Having to consider the varying levels of light in the different venues meant that it would have to be fully adjustable to suit the combination of artificial and/or natural light and the Playhouse stage itself."
Knowing that the targ
MAVCO has been awarded the contract to design, supply and install a range of audio, video, lighting and effect systems in over 20 venues on board a third Crystal Cruises ship. Commissioned by ALSTOM Marine Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard in St Nazaire, France, MAVCO will be involved with the complete turnkey contract for local entertainment systems.Scheduled for delivery in late June 2003, the as-yet-unnamed 68,000-ton vessel will see an increased number of Crystal Cruises' most successful features, including more entertainment lounges, expanding on the best of Crystal Harmony and Crystal Symphony. The scope of the project ahead for MAVCO incorporates detailed system design, supply, installation and commissioning, shared between the company's offices in Miami and the UK.
The Galaxy Show Lounge is the main entertainment venue for the line's distinctive award-winning production shows, featuring more intimate seating arrangements, improved sight lines and the latest technology in sound and lighting systems. This includes a fully automated digital mixing console, a 1,500-channel lighting console, extensive video systems and complete show control facilities, all installed by MAVCO.
MAVCO will also be installing equipment in the contemporary renditions of Crystal guests' favourite public rooms, including the airy Palm Court and adjacent Vista Lounge, the Avenue Saloon piano bar and sophisticated Connoisseur Club cigar bar. Plus, MAVCO will be providing video systems in the significantly enlarged Computer University@Sea classroom, as well as audio and video systems for the
The summer is about Festivals and this year was no exception: in late August, L&SI mingled with the crowds at the Reading Festival, part of the Carling Festival Weekend, which also plays in Leeds and Glasgow.
Sound for Reading (and Leeds too) was supplied by SSE. Chris Beale explained that the company had adopted a slightly different approach for the main stages this year, using BSS systems to split the Nexo systems into six separate zones and thereby optimize performance and controllability.
SSE used SIA SmartPro computer-based analysis software to give them precise system control. This ensured both systems behaved in exactly the same way in terms of SPL, EQ, dynamic performance and other general characteristics, allowing bands to have as near the same sound as possible at both sites - notwithstanding the natural variants of wind and atmosphere. True to form, the elements remained as stoically unpredictable as ever, and weather conditions changed dramatically at Reading and Leeds across all three days of the festival.
The noise control factor at Reading was crucial, with difficult limits to meet and the site located just 600 metres away from leafy Caversham - a wealthy suburb inhabited by non-festival sympathisers! With the wind blowing in the wrong direction - as it was on the Sunday - containing the noise turned into a nightmare.
Overall, however, the noise complaints stayed encouragingly low. Friday night provoked a few, but by Saturday preventative measures were well in place. "By far the worst sound whinges were caused by content," stated Beale. S
Film, art, hosiery and fashion was the combined theme for Laser Grafix on 17 September 2001 with a spectacular film projection on to London’s Natural History Museum. The occasion was the first night of London Fashion Week and Julian Roberts, designer for the fashion label 'nothing nothing', was launching his label 'Julian And'. Laser Grafix of Royston used three DLP 10SX Digital Video Projectors and ran the show footage from a Beta Cassette - with the equipment installed within the (now famous) Laser Grafix projection vehicle sited directly in front of the Museum. A 2000W outdoor sound system was used to playback live mixing by a Japanese student who works for the Fashion agency nothing nothing. The film was art directed by Julian Roberts who described his featured collection as "based on all the ‘heroes and anti-heroes’ who influence my fashion world, whether I like them or not."
The stunning evening projection onto this landmark museum by Laser Grafix’ Richard Hawkins proved to be a real crowd puller and set London Fashion Week off to a spectacular start.
Arbiter Pro Audio has supplied Essex-based Xtreme AV with a substantial order of Powersoft digital Digam Q and D Series amplifiers. Arbiter is exclusive UK distributor for the Italian manufacturer. The Powersoft range is lightweight - just 9.5kg per un it - as well as powerful and reliable, say Arbiter. It draws a lower voltage than other amplifiers, making it ideal for environments where power is not so abundant. The Powersoft range is suited to a range of pro audio applications, from installations to touring, clubs to theatres and multi-purpose venues, and Arbiter saw a massive interest in the range at the recent PLASA Show.
Extreme AV has just completed a Powersoft installation at the latest Elbow Rooms venue in Bristol. This successful brand - part of an ongoing roll-out - is themed as a late licence hybrid environment, stylishly designed, with a loungey atmosphere, pool tables, music and live DJs. Xtreme’s Craig Wiggins chose Powersoft for the Elbow Rooms. Before making his decision, he undertook an extensive evaluation of the product. The deal was handled for Arbiter by Peter Owen. The installation consists of one Powersoft Q3002, two Powersoft D4002 and three Powersoft D2002 units. In addition to these, Xtreme AV has also invested in more Powersoft for its hire stock. The company installs sound, lighting and AV into the nightclub and theatre markets, and their busy hire department is always active with a diverse selection of on-going projects from corporate work to dance events.
Tannoy Professional has appointed a new distributor to represent its products to the AV market. York-based Source 1 now has access to the Tannoy range of sound reinforcement loudspeakers, amplifiers and microphones and will be responsible for increasing Tannoy's exposure in the AV industry. "The audio-visual market is one that we want to expand our core business, and although Tannoy already has excellent relationships with larger installers, the wider AV market is too large to handle on our own effectively," explained Alan Lochhead, Tannoy UK sales manager. He continued: "Consequently we have been searching for a partner with a range of complementary products and the contacts to improve our exposure. Source 1 personnel can offer us nine years’ experience of AV distribution and we are anticipating a successful, long-term relationship."
Source 1’s managing director Tony Leedham commented: "Access to Tannoy's range of high quality sound reinforcement products, together with our range of Vortex acoustic echo cancellers, will enable us to offer complete audio conferencing solutions for improved corporate communications. We are confident that the quality and performance of Tannoy's products will be seen as a welcome benefit to the AV market."
Screenco provided a 25sq.m JTS17 Jumboscreen for the live relay of David MacVicar’s production of Rigoletto from the Royal Opera House to Covent Garden’s Piazza recently.Commissioned by event management company Aquarius Productions - who have worked with the Royal Opera House for 12 years - this is the ninth such event in the last three years where Screenco have been involved. Live footage was augmented with pre-recorded programming, such as rehearsal footage, both filmed and produced by the BBC. Established in 1985 by Susanna Little, Aquarius Productions has a unique niche in utilizing public spaces in central London to produce live events through direct broadcast or retransmission.
The last time a son et lumière was staged in Sion, Switzerland, was 1961, but that didn’t mean the concept couldn’t be re-kindled. "This was a test project funded by the City, with the support of some local sponsorship," explained lighting designer Andy Doig. "They simply wanted to know if it was feasible and realistic to resurrect what had been an annual event."
Well they certainly had a stunning location, as the photograph reveals: two castles sit atop adjacent peaks and strategically dominate the valley that leads now to the modern city of Sion. Striking in their position, the impregnable nature of good castle design left Doig with a big problem. "Although the castles are just 500 metres apart as the crow flies, commuting between them takes a tortuous drive of several kilometres down one mountain and up the other." Which is exactly what Doig had to contemplate.
"I had originally been approached by the Concepteur, Christophe Gruyard (a local classical composer) and his collaborator Bernard Moix (an architect) earlier in the year. The composition was to be a narrated tale in the medieval tradition, a fairytale if you like, and they’d wanted to use projected images, but frankly there wasn’t the budget." Doig came up with a lighting concept that involved using movement within and around the two castles and their surroundings to evoke the dynamics of the story. "The difficulty was getting the lights in position - a helicopter was the only practical solution." And by good fortune this did not turn
Chiswick House is an historic 18th century home whose walls no doubt have tales to tell of its many fascinating inhabitants. The house was designed and built by the wealthy Lord Burlington, who was an amateur architect fascinated with the classical period; hence the lines of the house are simple and elegant - a perfect canvas for the projection of stunning images to recall the spirit and lives of those associated with the glorious building.
Ross Ashton from E/T/C UK was the man responsible for the creation of an absorbing 35-minute Son et Lumiere that recalls the halcyon days of Chiswick. Famous figures such as King George 1, Handel and Alexander Pope all succumbed to the charm of the House and it was these that inspired Ashton and his collaborators: "When I was first presented with the idea of creating a Son et Lumiere about Chiswick House, the trickiest part was figuring out who would be the narrator. There are so many amazing characters associated with the house, but we finally decided on Lady Burlington as she had witnessed so much and survived most of her family."
Ashton spent a great deal of time absorbed in the archives of English Heritage searching for images that would recall the rich history of the house. Many of these images and drawings were black and white, which Ashton then converted to colour on a Mac. To maintain the integrity of the piece, the decision was taken not to include any visual effects other than the projected images, which cut through the blackness of the night sky onto the façade of the house, with striking colour and clarity.
Thrust SSC, the fastest car on earth, has been purchased by the Museum of British Road Transport (Coventry) and is to be displayed in a specially designed ‘Mach 1 Show’ open to the public from 9th September 2001. Thrust SSC, powered by two Rolls Royce Spey 205 turbojet engines, became the first car to achieve the Supersonic World Land Speed Record on 15 October 1997 by achieving a speed of 763.035 mph. It now takes its place in the museum alongside Thrust 2, its land speed record predecessor, which has been on display since 1992.
The car was purchased with the help of a major grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and this included a sum of money for use in mounting an imaginative presentation of the vehicle using a variety of audio-visual techniques. The museum awarded a contract for overall design and project management to JSP Design Associates Ltd. of Northampton to create a unique exhibition space and an imaginative presentation of the car. JSP Design sub-contracted AC Lighting to resolve the audio-visual and show control aspects of the presentation and to introduce a tactile element to the display. The AV presentation, which runs for just over four minutes, utilizes two Phillips, cBright SV1 multi-media projectors fed from two Phillips PRO170 DVD players. Projecting onto screens above the car, these show video footage taken during the record-breaking run from a camera mounted inside the cockpit of Thrust SSC and a view from a camera mounted in the tail wing fin. Show control is provided by a Common-Sense interface unit from Artistic Licence, and this is use
The Avesco Group has responded to the slowing European economy and the aftermath of the recent atrocities in the USA by accelerating the announcement of a restructuring plan. The initiative sees Dave Crump, managing director of giant screen specialists, Screenco, assume the newly-created role of Group business development director. He will take up the new position at Avesco headquarters in Chessington with immediate effect. Crump will focus on development of relationships and business opportunities across the Group’s entire range of AV service companies including Screenco, Creative Technology, Dimension Audio and the recently launched MCL.
Avesco Group CEO, David Nicholson, commented: "We have been planning this change for some time, but the recent events in the USA - and the consequential effects on our businesses - have led us to bring forward the announcement by several weeks. At times like this it is more important than ever to focus on sales development, when the natural reaction is to retrench."
In parallel with this announcement Screenco will become part of the Avesco AV Service Division under Graham Andrews. The day-to-day running of the business will be in the hands of Graham Filmer, following his recent appointment as director and general manager. He has been with the company since 1987 and has experience of every area of Screenco's activity.
Paul Highfield has joined large format projection specialists E/T/C UK. Paul was previously technical manager at Fourth Phase Production Arts (formally Production Arts Europe) for five-and-a-half years, joining the company when it first set up the London office in 1996. He joins E/T/C’s Ross Ashton, bringing a wealth of experience and knowledge of this specialist area to the Hounslow-based company.
Highfield’s arrival is also in line with current plans to expand E/T/C into new markets and offer a greater range of equipment and resources. E/T/C UK is sister company of the Paris-based E/T/C Audiovisuel, manufacturers of the renowned PIGI projectors and scrolling systems. Recent projects include a large son et lumière at Chiswick House, West London, the opening of the Dubai Shopping Festival, Sultans of the Dance - a large dance extravaganza staged at Mydonose Showground in Istanbul and now on a national tour of Turkey - and the Thames Festival, where the company projected moving patterns onto the LWT building, part of London’s South Bank arts complex.
Barco LED displays were selected by Coca Cola to revolutionize its famous digital billboard at the heart of Piccadilly Circus in London. Coca-Cola Great Britain wanted to ensure that the sign was capable of continuously displaying dynamic images 24 hours a day and therefore the decision was taken to replace the previous projector installation with a highly advanced LED daylight display. As a result, over 52sq.m of DLite 10 has been used to replace the old installation. Barco’s Dual Pixel Technology offers a visual resolution of 10mm, allowing for a smoother picture, shorter viewing distance and enhanced performance. The system features built-in intelligence that enables auto-configuration and allows hot swapping of tiles without interrupting the display of the pictures.
Commissioned by event production company Aztech Productions, Screenco provided LED screens and crew for V2001 in both Chelmsford and Shropshire recently. At Chelmsford, two 32sq.m 25mm LED screens were used stage left and right, whilst two 32sqm JTS17 Jumbotron screens were used stage left and right at Weston Park. As an additional enhancement, a 21.5sqm Lighthouse 20mm daylight screen was used upstage centre as a backdrop for the Red Hot Chilli Peppers set.
In addition to live footage supplied by Mission TV and XL Video, pre-recorded programming for intervals was supplied by Blink TV. Blink also commissioned Screenco to provide LED screens at both the Reading and Leeds festivals this summer. Two 17.5sqm 15mm LED screens were used stage left and right for both venues, whilst an 8.5sqm 15mm LED was also situated FOH at Reading with pre-recorded footage again produced by Blink.
Screenco also provided Jumbotron screens and crew at both Creamfields and Gig on the Green. Commissioned by event management company Polar Arts, the screens were utilized as additional visual conduit for the Radio 1 stage at Creamfields and for the main stage at Gig on the Green. As well as live feeds, the screens were also used to output BT Cellnet’s SMS service, displaying text messages from audience members.
UK-based Navigator Systems has added a low-cost rental management software package called RentalDesk to their product range. Launched at PLASA, RentalDesk has been designed for the Small Business Enterprise which requires asset tracking but cannot justify the expense of larger and costlier systems. Commenting on RentalDesk’s debut at PLASA, Navigator’s David Rose told us: "The response to RentalDesk at PLASA was overwhelming. We had more serious enquiries on the first day than at the whole show last year."
Rose continued: "This is by no means a replacement for our larger systems, but a move to address the needs of smaller businesses which are looking to improve their operations, but don’t have the large amount of capital needed for new systems. During tougher economic times, those companies that have cut costs and become more efficient have a better chance of surviving. RentalDesk will give them a software package for less than £400.00, which contains many of the features that are in our larger systems."
RentalDesk includes equipment tracking and equipment scheduling. It allows for packaging of equipment and includes an interface to standard serial barcode readers. Other features include an interface to Microsoft Word for quote generation, and an easy to use report designer for modifying printed forms. In addition, RentalDesk will include new skinning features, which allows the user to design their own look and feel. The system will be limited to three simultaneous users.
Greg Smith, president of Navigator Systems USA, commented: