The Sheraton Frankfurt recently added a new chapter to its 27-year history, following the completion of a 50 million renovation and redecoration programme. As an elegant five-star hotel with bright, spacious areas, it offers the latest technical equipment, large conference and banqueting facilities, direct access to Frankfurt Airport via a footbridge, close proximity to the ICE terminal and metro connections to Frankfurt’s city centre.
As Europe’s largest airport hotel, it has over 1,000 guest rooms. Not only has the interior design of the lobby changed completely, but also its location. Gone are the relatively dark charms of former days, now replaced by a bright and modern lobby six times larger. The floors are Italian porcelain tiles, extravagant Venetian plaster decorates the walls and the staircase is constructed of marble and glass. In the new ‘Glass House’, guests have a choice of snacks as well as a variety of speciality teas and coffees. Electrosonic installed a custom-built videowall, designed as a glass drum with a 4-metre diameter, using 12 Sanyo projectors to produce the image. Image processing is by an Electrosonic Vector processor, with an Electrosonic Video Server, VHS, DVD, satellite and PC as sources. Audio is routed into three zones within the seating area via a Bose ceiling speaker system.
One of the most significant innovations at the Sheraton Frankfurt is the ‘Towers Floors’ area on the eighth and ninth floors of the tower opposite Terminal 1, Hall A. Here Sheraton has created a luxurious area where guests may w
Cinematographer Jon Driscoll contacted XL Video UK to supply projectors, playback and a control system for the dramatic projected backdrops he designed and produced for Up For Grabs. The production - specifically the projections - wowed the packed audiences flocking to see Madonna’s West End debut at the Wyndhams Theatre. The 10-week run was fully sold out in advance.
Driscoll was originally approached to design backdrops for the project - directed by Laurence Boswell, designed by Jeremy Herbert - by John Owens, a director of Aura Sound, the production’s sound consultants. Driscoll had previously worked with Up For Grabs’ sound designer Fergus O’Hare (who’s also a director of Aura Sound) at the National Theatre. Driscoll worked on the projection design and production with his colleague Richard Overall, who edited and post-produced the original material shot by Driscoll during an intense five-day shoot in New York.
Up For Grabs’ minimalist set consisted of a huge upstage screen backdrop, divided into six cubes (two high, three wide), each cube divided by moving sections of sheet glass mirror. From all audience angles, the video was reflected off the mirrors in addition to being visible on the flat 180° screens. At certain points, the video was masked so it only appeared in two or three of the cubes simultaneously. Other times, it stretched across the entire backdrop in dramatic fashion - sometimes split six ways, sometimes one integrated image.
The play, a comedy by David Williamson, is about art dealing in New
Specialist audio-visual company, Blitz, has appointed Chris Jordan as regional manager for Manchester and Birmingham, to strengthen its sound offering. His immediate task will be to ensure that the same the level of expertise is available at all locations.
Chris’ background in theatre sound strengthens Blitz's presence in this field, bringing valuable experience to the whole Group. He has 23 years experience in theatre and conference sound, having worked as a sound designer, consultant and production engineer on many major productions worldwide. He joins Blitz having spent the last eight years based first in Brazil, and then in Oman. During that time, he worked as a freelance sound design and production engineering consultant. Before this, he was general manager of Theatre Projects Sound Division, handling many major corporate presentations, and prior to that worked for the Royal National Theatre for five years. His career started at the BBC and includes time with Show Presentation Services and Martin Levan Sound Design.
Evenser Group, the UK's largest event services Group, has created a new division - Evenser Broadcast and Presentation Services. The creation of the new division will enhance the service offering available to clients through greater access to technical expertise, equipment and project management, say the company.
The division will incorporate the Group's international broadcast and audio-visual activities, including Charter Broadcast, Cinevideo, ABS and Blitz Communications, all of whom will continue to trade under their own names. David Carr continues as managing director of the broadcast businesses, whilst Paul Hutton, a director of Blitz Vision since 1993, will become the managing director of Blitz. The new division will be headed up by Evenser main board director Michael Breen.
Michael Breen comments: "This is a great opportunity for both the audio-visual and broadcast businesses. I'm very excited to be spearheading the development of these two areas." Barry Day, chief executive of Evenser Group, added: "The creation of this new division reflects the Group's desire to see sustained organic and acquisitive growth from our broadcast and audio-visual businesses. The simplified divisional structure and combined management team will enable us to maximise the opportunities available to these businesses."
Screenco provided a 28sq.m Barco Dlite 10 LED display to Bloomberg, the international information media company, for use at a combined World Cup and evening film event at their Finsbury Square facility in London. The display was rigged under a temporary curved dome, erected to provide protection for the viewers from the typical English summer weather. Using a mixture of Barco 3 x 2 and 2 x 2 fast set-up rental structures, a display of 14 tiles wide by 10 tiles high was constructed. Terrestrial feeds for both the BBC and ITV provided the daytime World Cup football coverage, and in the evening the screen was used in a traditional cinema environment running well-known feature films from a DVD source.
Graham Filmer, Screenco director and general manager said: "We chose the Barco Dlite 10 for this high profile and prestigious event with Bloomberg because we wanted to offer the client a high performance solution that would reflect the Bloomberg identity to a very exacting city audience. The screen also satisfies the needs of some of the increasing concert touring and music work we are doing by offering a high quality flexible system."
Screenco’s client, John Farquhar-Smith, who produced the event, has been delighted with the screen and the service provided by Screenco. "Having worked with Screenco on previous shows I knew I would get a first class product and great back-up from the guys down in Fareham. The screen has been absolutely superb in terms of picture quality both during the daytime shows and evening screenings. We had a lot of rain in the first
A leading global consumer brand recently asked international production company, Imagination, to create the ultimate wow factor for the 3,000 attending its annual meeting - held at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
Imagination’s Chris Slingsby, who conceived the innovative set, turned to Creative Technology to draw on its inventory of audio-visual support equipment, anchored at equipment locations throughout the US and UK. In London, Dave Herd (who co-project managed the event with Joe Conway) worked closely with Imagination, ensuring that all software would be compatible with the various screen resolutions and aspect ratios. The result was one of the most elaborate stage sets ever designed, involving no fewer than 552 panels of Barco’s iLite 6mm LED panels and 318 panels of their iLite 10.
Presenters Charlie Rose and Donald Sutherland - along with fellow guests including Muhammad Ali and Jon Bon Jovi - thus appeared in front of an immense visual backdrop which, says CT’s account manager, Herb Brandt, proved to be "a tremendous success and a positive experience for all." The LED displays were permanently alive with stings, graphics, library footage and live camera work. The iLite 10s were built up in two walls - one landscape-configured as 12 high x 21 wide, the other portrait-style (11 x 6), both hung from chain motors.
The iLite 6s were composed into one vast 12 x 16 flown wall and four vertical 5 x 18 strips. The top 15 of these strips (the maximum possible) were also flown, and carefully tied to the bottom three rows, which were g
US company The Screen Works has opened an office in The Netherlands. A joint effort with The Screen Works, Europe (an already established UK operation), the Hoofddorp facility, located just outside Amsterdam, will provide convenient, centralized access to presentation equipment and staging resources. It will have an extensive inventory of projection screens, pipe and drape systems, trim kits and skirting, modular scenic systems, a projection screen cleaning and repair service and presentation accessories.
Overseeing the new venture will be Gabriel West, a long-standing member of The Screen Works management team, who has relocated from Chicago to take up his new role of European operations manager - Netherlands. Company president, Lee Facklis explains: "An overseas operation allows us to manage equipment resources, accelerate turnaround times and contain freight costs. Customers will see a direct benefit in responsiveness and cost reduction."
XL Video is supplying video production for Mexican guitar legend Carlos Santana’s world tour, which has just finished its European leg. The tour now continues in amphitheatres in the US for a month, before taking a break and resuming Stateside again in October.
The video element of the tour was co-ordinated by XL Video Inc in the US, where the tour kicked off on the first of three US legs. The video front end and control in Europe was supplied by LA-based XL Inc and the screens came from XL Belgium. Santana played a single UK date at Crystal Palace. This is the first time that Santana has toured with a full scale video production, and video director Gerald McReynolds explains that Carlos Santana had some very clear ideas about what he wanted in terms of images - including fire, water and other abstract pre-recorded sources, which are skilfully mixed in and overlaid with the live camera footage.
Using a combination of specially created graphics and material from the Lightdance video, directed by David Fourtney, the live camera action is deftly woven in to the mix creating a seamless moving backdrop to Santana’s maverick performances. The screens - one large upstage central (5 x 6 modules) and two smaller (4 x 4) offstage side screens are made up from Saco 15mm pixel pitch LED panels. McReynolds uses a Synergy 2 switcher/vision mixer, and the system is SDI digital throughout. Three Sony D35 cameras - FOH, onstage and in the pit - are joined by two Robocams with pan/tilt heads, rigged on the upstage trusses. The pre-recorded material is stored on Omega Fast For
The PSL music division team are midway through a hot summer of music. They have provided two of their High End Catalyst systems with Barco ELM R12 projectors, along with on-stage dome-cameras and front-of-house cameras, for Gabrielle’s UK tour. Lighting designer Patrick Murray also used these Catalyst systems for Gabrielle’s appearance at Picnic in the Park, Hyde Park on June 29.
The weekend of 22 and 23 June saw PSL out in force at Gatecrasher Tour Western providing crew and a total of 11 Barco projectors and folding screens across the four arenas. Orbital also continues its long-standing relationship with PSL for the Somerset House and Glastonbury gigs using two Barco G5 projectors, a motorized screen and magic DAVE for Orbital. Meanwhile, Mardi Gras 2002 at Hackney Marshes will see two of PSL’s new Barco DLite 7 screens in action along with a four-camera digital PPU and Jimmy Jib. Lenny Henry has a two-week stint of shows for the BBC during July with PSL providing a Barco G5 projector and screen.
The music division team based at PSL’s 70,000sq.ft facility continue through the summer with on-going projects including the Lord of the Dance European Tour, Supertramp European Tour and the Sunset Boulevard UK tour.
In a move designed to enhance both businesses and add value for the end user, design and documentation software specialists Stardraw.com have announced a unique partnership with the audiovisual association, ICIA.
InfoComm iQ, developed, maintained and delivered by the International Communications Industries Association, Inc (ICIA), is an industry-wide product information database for the AV market which offers users instant access to the most up-to-the-minute product information. ICIA takes raw data from manufacturers and re-authors it to be complete, current and comparable. It is then distributed directly and through third party dealer websites. By teaming up with Stardraw, with its own library of over 36,000 high quality symbols from manufacturers, ICIA can now make InfoComm iQ available to a wider audience.
According to Stardraw.com Inc president, Randell Green, the arrangement is the perfect dovetailing of two totally complementary products to create a more powerful tool. "Our partnership with ICIA is a great example of how co-operation within the industry adds value across the board, and more importantly results in a better and more complete service for the customer."
As part of the ongoing growth of VDC Trading, the pro audio, video and broadcast cable specialists have recruited Jo Clarke as sales manager. Clarke has wide experience of tele-sales and customer service management within the telecoms industry, and presently heads a large team of experienced staff, with plans to expand the team to meet VDC’s upturn in business. "I wanted a move into the independent sector, and in VDC I can see enormous potential for growth," she says.
Clarke’s early tasks will be to implement a training programme and an improved sales and marketing strategy. Managing director, Niall Holden, commented: "VDC’s reputation has spread through word of mouth amongst its loyal and committed customer base over the last 15 years. It has grown in a reactive culture based on short lead time demands from customers anxious to get their products. Jo’s remit is to structure the future growth in a far more controlled manner, ensuring that we maintain our service level and ‘can do’ attitude."
ECA2 were honoured on 13 June this year at the annual awarding of FICHE prizes, organised to recognise French companies in the field of special events. ECA2 obtained the competition's two most prestigious prizes. Firstly, the ‘Grand Prix’ for an Institutional Event, won by the ECA2 evening spectacle ‘Luces y Voces del Tajin’ (Lights and Voices of El Tajin). This ECA2 production, commissioned by the government of Veracruz state, Mexico, took place in March.
Secondly, the ‘Grand Prix’ for a General Public Event - designated by a unanimous jury - for the evening show at Expo 01 in Yamaguchi, Japan, entitled ‘Kirara Starlight Fantasy’. On the same day in Berlin, at the TILE (Trends in Leisure and Entertainment) International Conference, Yves Pepin, ECA2's president and creative director, was honoured with the Award for Product of the Year for the scenography of the ‘Palais de l'Equilibre’ at the Swiss National Expo.02, in Neuchatel. The Pavilion, which provides multimedia edutainment on the theme of sustainable development, was designed and produced by ECA2 and is the most-visited of all the various themed attractions at Neuchatel.
Software provider Stardraw has chosen InfoComm 02 to unveil a new suite of design applications. While they follow the principles of the developer’s established product range, Stardraw AV, Stardraw Audio, Stardraw Lighting 2D, etc, the new applications are fully web-enabled and users simply hit a web page to use the software within their Internet browser.
Stardraw managing director David Snipp explains: "Our conventional applications have established the sorts of tools that integrators find easy to use and valuable for system design and documentation. The web-enabled applications have been written from the ground up to provide comparable functionality, but they are designed to run within a web page. This is brand new technology and Stardraw is proud to be the first company to our knowledge anywhere in the world to offer full CAD capability via the web. It's a significant development and we're very excited by it."
Where conventional software is shipped on CD and installed, Stardraw’s web-enabled applications are delivered through HTML pages, using tools which download themselves as and when they are needed. This means that all of the functionality, for instance Cut, Copy, Paste commands or drawing lines, is executed on the client side for speed, and symbols libraries, pricing etc are stored in databases on the server. An advantage of the client/server split is that even if your internet connection is broken, you can still continue to work and save your files locally.
Snipp continued: "We are showing these new applications to manufacturers and
Deltron Emcon, is pleased to announce the appointment of their new UK ‘Media Product’ distributor, Agosy-Cable Warehouse. Argosy will be stocking a comprehensive range of Media, Video, and Audio products from their centrally located facility in Stokenchurch, Bucks.
Ken Eckardt, managing director and Bob Clark, sales manager of Argosy-Cable Warehouse, are proud to be associated with the established ‘Media’ brand from Deltron Emcon, which will further enhance Argosy’s product offering to UK and export customers.
Neill Redmayne, business development manager for Deltron Emcon, sees this as a crucial appointment in the planned growth of the Media brand following the recent relocation of the whole manufacturing businesses into one purpose-built unit in Scunthorpe. The Media range is being re-vamped under the technical guidance of product manager Goolam Ramjan, and sales agent Brian Fairchild of Minium, Deltron’s recently-appointed sales agent, who between them have more than 30 years experience in the Broadcast Industry.
AV industry veteran Alan Barber has joined Lighthouse to support the company’s AV Rental and Staging sales team in the US, with a new office on the West Coast. Barber joins Lighthouse from rental company Creative Technology’s Los Angeles office. His arrival will mean a wealth of experience from 13 years at the front line of the AV rental and sales market, with four years in the LED screen industry.
Barber has worked on a wide range of shows including the 2000 Democratic National Convention; automotive trade shows; corporate trade shows; product intros, and television productions including the 2000, 2001 and 2002 Academy Awards; the 2002 Emmy Awards; the 2001, 2002 ESPN Action Sports and Music Awards and the 2001 AFI Awards Show. He comments: "This is an exciting time in the LED business, and I am proud to be involved with the company that created the indoor market. I truly believe that our industry is feeling a new surge of enthusiasm. Staging companies are finding themselves supporting jobs of all sizes that include LED screens on them. There have been some great improvements in technology that Lighthouse has embraced, and I am eager to see those new products in rental inventories across the US. Opening a West Coast office is a challenging task - and I am ready for it. I have been working on a customer-focused plan to assist our new clients as they enter the market."
RMS - Rental Management Systems has introduced new options to link its rental management software to external software programs. With the 'input-link', users of RMS are able to import equipment-lists from drawing programs such as AutoCAD and Stardraw. Once a design has been created in a drawing package, a list is automatically generated containing all the elements within the drawing, which can then be imported into a project within the RMS software.
The 'output-link' provides an easy way to connect RMS to the most popular accounting packages.After the completion of a project, all relevant financial information can be exported into a file, which can then be read by the accounting software.
A pair of giant Lighthouse LED video screens are relaying the World Cup action throughout the tournament to fans outside the Korean Convention Centre in Seoul. Two 5.12x3.84, 20sq.m 20mm pixel pitch Lighthouse outdoor screens have been erected on behalf of Korean Telecomm Corporation in Seoul by AV rental company Hibino Korea and have been in use since the opening ceremony and will continue until the final itself on June 30.
KT Corporation is one of the World Cup’s sponsors and has secured rights to provide the screens, which are officially sanctioned by world football body FIFA. Seoul was the venue for the World Cup’s first match, when France faced Senegal. Jimmy Lo, at Lighthouse’s Hong Kong office, commented: "It’s a fantastic honour that Lighthouse screens have been chosen to show the tournament in Korea during the World Cup."
Audio visual rental and staging company MCL has launched the UK’s first real-time audio visual help facility on its website. The online interaction enables MCL clients to ask real-time questions about equipment or hire pricing during UK office hours. The help facility takes the form of a chat forum co-ordinating live enquiries between the regional MCL offices in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
MCL’s online marketing manager, John Leah, commented: "We have been trialing the system for a couple of months now and are confident that it is stable. We are getting an amazing response from site visitors and users who seem impressed that they can get immediate information when putting together project proposals, want local venue details from our regional MCL operations or just need some technical information on a piece of kit." The MCL web site now also acts as a portal for consolidating resources from the rest of the Avesco Group, including linked services to Creative Technology, Screenco, Dimension Audio, Broadcast Services - as well as European and American operations. MCL have rationalised their internal structure to operate as a single limited company for the first time since the integration of the former Gearhouse companies.
The Deep is Hull’s £45.5m Millennium project and a central part of the city’s regeneration programme. Supported by a grant of a cool £21.5 million from the Millennium Commission, the world’s first ‘Submarium’ has been designed by Sir Terry Farrell and features various aquaria, a business centre, a lifelong learning centre and research facility.
The venue boasts the deepest water tank in Europe. This, and its 11 other tanks, are home to seven species of shark and thousands of fish. These tanks range in size from the ‘Endless Oceans’ tank holding 2.3 million litres of salt water to the smaller ‘Jewel’ tanks which hold just 1 cubic metre. The design consultant for the exhibition was John Csáky Associates, whilst the lighting consultant for the exhibition and exterior lighting was DHA Design Services, with Peter Fordham as project lighting designer. Lighting Technology worked alongside Waterman Gore to provide the ‘above tank’ lighting, and Electrosonic supplied and installed the complete audio-visual hardware and lighting control system.
The exhibition lighting luminaires spec’d by DHA Design Services include Light Projects AR111 spotlights, Syrett Neon cold cathode built into the setworks (predominately brilliant blue), quite a lot of Encapsulite coloured fluorescent lamps concealed within the setworks, Malham LED inground uplights, DHA Gecko gobo projectors, iGuzzini AR111 Peroquet spotlights, and a Howard Eaton fibre optic starfield recessed into the walls of the Introduction drum. In the ground
In an effort to give that extra dimension to an already prestigious event, specialist AV company Blitz was called in to help with the annual Louis Vuitton Classic, this year celebrating a Jubilee of British motoring at Fulham's Hurlingham Club in early June. Commissioned by Philip Honey, freelance event production manager, Blitz supplied a Lighthouse 10mm pitch indoor LED wall to echo the themes of classic motoring and an earlier golden age of travel. Measuring 3.84m by 2.88m, it alternated between black and white and colour footage of a range of classic cars. As an extra twist the motoring footage was interspersed with live clips of the event itself via a Video Assist microwave camera link. The LED wall also served as a suitable backdrop for the Aston Martin 'Vanquish', positioned in front.
To complement the visual impact inside the marquee, Blitz provided state-of-the-art sound equipment to accompany the cars as they were driven around the grounds outside. This included radio microphones, in particular two handheld Sennheiser SKM3072 and six amplifiers, four P1200A C4s and two P1200A C6s.
All classic cars and motorcycles built in the UK during the Queen's 50-year reign were showcased. In honour of the Jubilee, there was a special category including all-time British sporting icons such as the Mini Cooper, Jaguar E-type, Lotus Elan and the Austin Healey 100/4. Competition judges included Jeremy Clarkson and Damon Hill.
To address a growing workload, Worcestershire-based M+D Design has split its operation into two new companies - Ikon AVS and Nebula Audio. The move is intended to create a more viable framework for the two key aspects of M+D’s operation - that of equipment manufacturer/supplier and that of installer. Ikon AVS will therefore concentrate on the manufacture and supply of products such as the company’s award-winning Podules and fault-monitoring systems, whilst Nebula Audio will be primarily a ‘systems house’ offering fully engineered solutions, including design, specification, procurement, installation and commissioning in audio visual and distributed digital audio systems for stadiums, shopping malls, exhibitions and conference halls.
Barco Intelligent Displays, a division of BarcoProjection, has introduced a new range of high-resolution and high-brightness products for the fixed install market. With the IQR300, the functionality of the IQ series is now available in SXGA resolution. Barco’s IQ series offers new functionality, such as advanced picture-in-picture, seamless switching, dual-lamps and an advanced modular design. With its feature-set, the IQ provides intelligent solutions for high-end applications, such as meeting rooms, videoconferencing centres, training facilities and auditoriums.
The UR 7000 projector is one of the first commercial native UXGA (1600 x 1200) projectors available on the market, equipped with features that will make it ideal for meeting rooms and production houses requiring high resolution data and/or video projection. The projector’s picture-in-picture (PiP) feature allows the presenter to display up to two fully resizable source windows on the screen simultaneously and its seamless switching capability between data and video or video and video puts an end to the distracting ‘no picture’ waiting moments that appear when source windows are added.
The projector, which is also equipped with digital zoom-in, lens-shifting, digital keystone correction and logo storage, uses 1.8" poly-silicon LCD panels with a native UGA resolution (1600 x 1200 pixels), offering a maximum of 3,500 ANSI lumens and is capable of handling up to QXGA resolutions (2048 x 1536 pixels). The set of standard connections, including video, s-video, SDI and high-resolution 5
MTV Europe recently brought to life 40 years of James Bond movies at an exclusive party at the Cannes Film Festival, co-hosted with MGM and billed as ‘one of the hottest tickets in the Cannes calendar’. With 1,200 celebrity guests and film executives attending, stunning video effects were required to bring to life an amphitheatre venue complete with snow, Bond's Aston Martin Vanquish and a 10-metre martini ice bar. To achieve this, event organisers GSP - working to MTV Europe's brief - turned to London based AV specialist Blitz.
Blitz was briefed to create a technically sophisticated visual ambience synonymous with MTV's edgy, innovative style and suitable for celebrating the 40th anniversary of James Bond and showcasing the 19 Bond movies. The venue for the party was the Palais Bulles (bubble palace), a submarine-shaped structure complete with portholes and rounded viewing decks, owned by French designer, Pierre Cardin. Installation had to take place within a tight, 24-hour time frame leading up to the party on Saturday 18 May.
To deliver the brief, Blitz shipped and installed a videowall of 20 Barco 2850 monitors, which were embedded in the different levels of the amphitheatre and carefully protected from the surrounding snow. A Pic Block control system was then used to feed random clips of the Bond movies to the videowall. In a particularly dramatic visual effect, five DMD video projectors were placed outside the venue. These were used to project movie clips on to the Palais Bulles' porthole windows, immersing guests in the drama and action of the movies.
Two giant Lighthouse LED video screens are relaying World Cup action throughout the tournament to fans outside the Korean Convention Centre in Seoul. Two 20sq.m, 20mm pixel pitch Lighthouse outdoor screens have been erected on behalf of Korean Telecomm Corporation in Seoul by AV rental company Hibino Korea, and are in use right through from the opening ceremony to the final itself.
KT Corporation is one of the World Cup’s sponsors and has secured rights to provide the screens, which are officially sanctioned by world football body FIFA. Seoul was the venue for the World Cup’s first match, when France faced Senegal. The group matches run up to June 14, with playoffs over the following three days. The semi-finals will be played on June 25 in Seoul and on June 26 in Saitama, and the final will be staged in Yokohama, Japan on June 30.
Jimmy Lo, at Lighthouse’s Hong Kong office, commented: "It’s a fantastic honour that Lighthouse screens have been chosen to show the tournament in Korea during the World Cup."