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.
Dutch performer Frans Bauer recently played seven dates at the Ahoy in Rotterdam, the experimental nature of his stage set matching that of the music produced by the vibes/marimba percussionist. The production called on 81sq.m of 25mm LED screen, supplied by Screenco Holland, to present a graphics display in line with the music. But what was so unusual was that this display was set at an angle of 20°, enabling the orchestra to sit within the screen itself, creating a type of virtual décor environment. Explained Screenco’s Jeroen Jongenelen: "At the front of the stage a further 30 modules of 15mm LED screen were set under a plexi-glass floor, allowing the artists to walk over the screen."
This was the first time that a screen had been positioned at an angle of 20° to form a vibrant part of Hub Berkers' imaginative set decor and the overall stage environment. "It was made more exciting by the fact that the orchestra could sit within the screen," remarked Jongenelen. To facilitate the front-stage screen, a special construction was fabricated, allowing the modules to be laid on their back for the artists to walk across.
"This was a highly original application of our products and a major step forward for LED screens," summarised Jongenelen. "It was a taster of what we can expect in the future as LED screens form an intrinsic part of increasingly ambitious stage sets."
Industry software provider Stardraw has announced the appointment of Link srl as Premier Partner in Italy. The agreement was struck at the IBTS 2001 show in Milan and took effect from October 8th. David Morrison, sales manager for Stardraw explains: "We were particularly happy to build a relationship with Link because their profile and positioning is ideal for the current range of Stardraw products. As a leading Italian supplier of cable, connectors and connection solutions they have all the right contacts in audio, AV and lighting. Everybody in systems integration needs the 'glue' that Link supplies, and everybody in systems integration needs Stardraw. It's a perfect fit."
Link's managing director Assunta Fratocchi adds: "Link has built its reputation by observing and driving the technological evolution of equipment used for system interconnection. We are now implementing a new, long-term strategy to bring the best in software tools to our clients. This means offering the right products, dedicated staff, training and front line support. Of course, the Stardraw applications had to be the first in our portfolio since they are so particularly appropriate for all of the markets we service. Historically the acceptance of software in the Italian market has been slower than we might have hoped, but we have watched this software grow in popularity internationally and the time is now right for a concerted push into our domestic market."
Morrison continued: "With a market like Italy, product localization is important - Stardraw applications are already a
Large format projection specialists E//T//C UK illuminated London's famous Wellington Arch at Hyde Park corner in spectacular fashion for the 80th Poppy Appeal. For the first time in its 176-year history, the landmark carried a powerful moving image of blood red poppies cascading down the monument, against a cyan background. The words 'We Will Remember Them' were boldly emblazoned across the top of the structure - in a dramatic tribute to all those who fought and died in the First and Second World Wars.
E//T//C were approached by project director Mick Worwood from Ace Consultants, who had been commissioned to produce the event by Rear Admiral Burns, head of the Kensington & Chelsea branch of the British Legion. Burns initially had the concept of projecting onto a suitable building to make a stirring impact, and also to boost the two days of street collections that are an integral part of the annual Poppy Appeal. He worked with Colonel David Williams - head of the Poppy Appeal - and Ace Consultants to co-ordinate the Wellington Arch project.
E//T//C supplied four 6kW PIGI large format projectors - two for each side of the arch, and also produced all the necessary artwork. Its brief was to produce something that was immediately recognizable to the passing motorists coming up Constitution Hill, and that could be read and understood instantly. E//T//C's Ross Ashton explains how they photographed the Arch and applied 'architectural masks' to ensure that the large format artwork fitted exactly the shape of the Arch.
The police and local authorities were initially concerned
Blitz Communications has recently opened a new office near to the NEC as part of its ongoing expansion programme.
The move, a major investment for Blitz, is aimed at giving the company access to the £7million Midlands market. Blitz MD Michael Breen told L&SI: "We have invested £500,000 to ensure that we are offering our customers the high quality, professional service that is expected . . . namely, specialist skills in AV, video imaging, interactive media and graphics for business presentations."
The office will be run by branch manager Martin Green and operations manager Martin Clowes, with Ian Riley overseeing the operation.
PSL provided full technical support as official audio-visual supplier to Salon International, the UK hairdressing industry event held this year at London’s dockland venue ExCeL. The event management team, led by Sophi Bruce and Chris White of new creative agency Bluw Creative Solutions, designed a 1700-seat theatre environment to stage the hair fashion shows. PSL was awarded the contract to manage the build and provide full technical support for the live hair fashion theatre and Salon seminar programmes.
A section of one of the halls was separated via drapes to create the main theatre. PSL provided the main staging and 900 feet of mini beam truss suspended from 38 half tonne electric motors to create the various lighting effects the show required. This involved using over 36 moving and 180 generic lights, including Studio Beam PCs, the latest in wash lights and Cyberlight Turbos to create the different colours and textures. Over 240 cues were programmed in under 10 hours.A Portable Production Unit was used to feed live images from Sony D30 cameras to the two 12 x 9 screens either side of the main stage and three speaker clusters were flown from the truss for sound. PSL also provided presentation equipment for many of the exhibitors there and the seminar break out rooms including a 3 x 3 cubewall, cameras and vision mixing for Toni & Guy and plasma screens for Vidal Sassoon.
The 2001 Volkswagen Stand claimed the entire ground floor of Hall 3 at the Frankfurt Motor Show and featured an innovative multimedia experience ‘The Big Box’ which was produced by HP:ICM of London. The exhibition environment was designed by German architects Cebra who worked closely with HP:ICM to create the perfect environment for the ‘Big Box’ theatre, a circular room containing a 170 degree video projection screen.
The 50 metre wide, seven metre high screen was used to show a specially commissioned film directed by Robert Butcher and Liam Lyons with a score by Jonathan Goldstein and produced by HP:ICM, in front of this screen was a huge water ‘lake’ which concealed submerged water and pyrotechnic effects which accompanied dynamic moments in the film; the roof supported a comprehensive lighting system and was covered by a 35 metre diameter fibre optic star cloth.
The audience viewed the spectacle either from a half crescent ‘beach’ which overlooked the lake or from a five metre high bridge that spanned the Big Box at first floor level, the rear wall was a huge semi-circular gauze lit to reflect the various colour themes contained within the storyline. The film, which celebrated Volkswagen cars and company identity, lasted for seven minutes with interspersed mist, rain, fountains, water curtain, gas flame and lighting effects and ended with a one-minute light and laser show.
Lighting Designer for the ‘Big Box’ theatre was Durham Marenghi who was employed by HP:ICM to light the experience and to co-ordinate
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.