Black Box AV has recently installed a new digital video concept at the new Virgin Megastore in Piccadilly. The problem posed to the store designers was how to make people aware that another trading floor existed below and what products were stocked on that floor. Black Box AV proposed and eventually installed an all new Video Signage system. In simple terms, the signage is provided by a six screen LCD 'Video Ribbon' which is suspended above the stairwell. The ribbon is linked to a fast computer with a multi output graphics card that addresses each screen individually. In addition to the video signage system, the company also installed 38 of its Bar Code Listening Posts in the Piccadilly store, a product which has now become a standard in new build and refurbished Virgin Megastores throughout the UK.
Pixelite, the video screen sales division of Avesco plc, scooped the most challenging outdoor video screen contract of the year as its very first installation order - with a unique curved design on the front of the recently opened Home nightclub in London's Leicester Square. Owners the Big Beat Group - operators of highly successful venues in Sydney and Scotland - planned Home as the capital's most exclusive leisure venue. The first Pixelite PXT-1204 LED screen - using modules designed by sister company System Technologies in Belgium - displays digital art on the building's facade overlooking the famous square. Uniquely, the 11.52m x 5.76m (portrait format) screen curves through a 93 degrees convex plane, with a 12mm pixel pitch and a total of 960 vertical lines of resolution x 480 horizontal. In all there will be almost two million LEDs in the screen. Because of its sheer size and resolution, the GMI screen at Home can show up to 12 images any one time, recreating the idea of a videowall.
The Loch Ness monster is alive and well thanks to the latest in multi-media display technology supplied by GB International - a specialist supplier of presentation systems. The seven projector system forms the heart of a new exhibition at the Official Loch Ness Exhibition Centre in Drumnadrochit, on the banks of the famous loch. The Exhibition uses seven Philips LCD Projectors to project movie and animation sequences using a mixture of front and back projection onto gauze, 3D objects, large screens and even a half-silvered mirror to create a realistic, dramatic 3D environment.
The achievements of small businesses in West Glamorgan were recognised recently at the 1999 Business Connect Neath Port Talbot Awards Dinner during which PLASA member Black Box AV won the coveted Business of the Year award. The company was chosen because of its success in the audio visual industry and its innovative approach to both product and company development. Black Box AV enters the millennium with a 'personal best' turnover and profit for 1999 and excellent prospects for 2000 with a host of new products to be launched during the first quarter.Pictured far right is Jonathan Knight of Black Box with others who were honoured at the ceremony.
Ontario-based visual communications specialist Electrohome has sold its Projection Systems Division to Christie Inc of Cypress, California, for C$38m. The company is now known as Christie Digital Systems. Christie is a world-leading manufacturer of film projection systems for the cinema market and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ushio America Inc.Jack Kline, executive VP and COO of Christie Inc promised a massive R&D commitment for the new company, commenting: "The acquisition and renaming of Electrohome Projection Systems allows us to build on our existing brand strength and technological leadership in the high performance projection market. It also positions us at the forefront of electronic digital cinema."
Barco has announced its involvement as 'Preferred Solutions Provider' for projection and large format display technology to the Millennium Dome. The contract includes the two giant DLite LED-based daylight display screens and more than 60 advanced LCD and DLP projection systems, including the Barco 6000 series and ELM series. Both the LED screens, hired via Show Presentation Services, will feature in the central arena at the Dome Opening Ceremony and throughout the Dome's year of operation.The DLite LED screens include proprietary technologies to ensure optimal flexibility and seamless pictures over the entire display regardless of size, shape or resolution. The modular system includes built-in intelligence for auto-configuration and allows hot-swapping of the tiles. The ELM (Extreme Light Machine) series of DLP projection systems utilise Texas Instruments' three-chip DLP digital micro-mirror technology, combined with Barco's state-of-the art optical systems. Two models, the ELM G10 and ELM R12 deliver 10,000 and 12,000 ANSI lumens respectively, and are available with a range of high quality zoom lenses.
The Concert Touring Division of Presentation Services Ltd (PSL) will announce a record month's trading in December, following a number of tours by girl-bands and boy-bands, dance tours and one-off spectaculars. More than 15 acts have been serviced by PSL during December -– from Steps and The Spice Girls to Black Sabbath and The Fun Loving Criminals. Des Fallon said the preparations for the month have been very challenging, designing and producing more than a dozen simultaneous top line shows, and moving seven video directors and up to 50 crew around the UK's arenas and concert halls.
PSL, Gearhouse and Action International (France), all members of the Gearhouse Group, have invested in £1.9m worth of state-of-the-art projection equipment from Digital Projection.PSL will extend their rental inventory with a further eight Power 8gvs and 16 Lightning 15sx projectors. Supporting Texas Instruments' DLP Technology, the Lightning 15sx is capable of outputting 12,000 ANSI lumens and claims to be the brightest DLP-based projector available.
Giant screen sales and rental specialists, Unitek, has announced the expansion of its sales force.Roger Macnair, whose background was in plasma screens and LCD projectors, joined Unitek's screen sales team in September and has already successfully contracted projects including a sale to the Hilton Hotel group in Africa. Reacting to a substantial increase in rental activities, Unitek have also recruited Anita Page, previously sales and marketing manager at Screenco, who will be primarily concentrating on sales and marketing for the company's music and special events. Adrian Offord, previously with lighting hire company Playlight, also joined the rental team in November.
After three years as PSL's head of concert touring, Chris Mounsor has left to specialise in more project-based work within the concert touring industry. Mounsor leaves PSL's concert touring business in the capable hands of Des Fallon, assisted by Scott Russell and Stephanie Jefcoate. Currently PSL (Presentation Services Ltd) are out on tour with Steps, B*witched, Boyzone, Lord of the Dance, Whitney Houston, Everything But the Girl, The Chemical Brothers, Underworld, Nine Inch Nails and The Spice Girls. PSL would like to wish Chris every success in the future.
SPS has expanded its expertise by setting up a new division for the rental of Barco's modular LED daylight display systems. Heading the operation will be Bryan Leathem who has over 18 years experience in outdoor screen markets with Mitsubishi and Screenco - he is joined by Stuart Young, former operations manager at Screenco. The division's first rental contract is to be the opening ceremony for the New Millennium Experience Company at the Dome.
Laser Grafix recently spiced up the official opening of the 400-seater Shere Khan restaurant at the Trafford Centre in Manchester with their Monumental Slide Projection service. The ceiling of the Orient complex of the Trafford Centre had the new Shere Khan corporate image projected on it, along with images of poppadoms and curries.
Blitz Vision and TP Sound Services, two divisions of the Blitz Communications Group, recently provided visual and audio support for the Marks & Spencer AGM at The Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, for production company HP:ICM. Two main screens with 9200 Reality Projectors and a four camera portable production unit. Full two-way audio links, along with back-up audio and communications links via telephone lines, were taken into three separate overflow areas to accommodate the 2,700 shareholders attending the event.
Busch Creative Services designed and produced the main exhibit displays at the 50,000sq.ft Spirit of Ford Tour Center, which opened in Dearborn, Missouri, earlier this year. One of the requirements was to create a large-scale animated display for the centre atrium of the building, which would be effective in high ambient light. The company opted for a 53ft by 8ft Electrosonic videowall, fed by DVD players, and consisting of 80 40-inch projection cubes. The Electrosonic videowall was chosen for its bright output and flexible programming options.
Advanced Plasmavision Ltd, appointed AV rental supplier to the Rugby World Cup, delivered over 500 42inch Fujitsu Plasma display units in one month. Following a tough bidding process, Advanced Plasmavision was selected as the sole supplier of Plasma display products to three major UK Rugby World Cup venues - the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Twickenham and Murrayfield. Working closely with Steljes professional trade hire and Fujitsu UK, the company undertook all the technical and logistical demands required to supply multiple plasma displays and video source delivery systems at all three venues simultaneously.
AV and multi-media specialist, Blitz Communications, has launched Suite P - its new broadcast quality presentation system. Two-and-a-half years in development, the Suite P integrates PowerPoint business graphics software and state-of-the-art digital video hardware, producing images which combine graphics, text and digital or live video footage. Images can be projected onto 1, 2 or 3 screens which are linked seamlessly together giving the appearance of one continuous screen.Suite P is now available for hire from Blitz at both its London and Manchester offices.
Island East is a massive new commercial and high class residential development in Hong Kong. Its remarkable 'by appointment only' corporate visitor centre includes show areas, meeting rooms and marketing suites tailored to different kinds of customers. One of the key features is a 180° video show, designed by Electrosonic, which uses five Barco 707 projectors, with butted images projected onto a metal mesh. The mesh screen has lighting effects behind and during the show, the centre screen splits to reveal a rear projected image. All video sources are from Electrosonic MPEG2 video servers. Electrosonic ESLINX is used to control the 48 channels of dimming, the video servers, the Peavey X-Frame Media Matrix and the motorised doors.
One of the hottest tickets of the moment has to be for The Eurythmics' reunion tour. Peacetour, in aid of Greenpeace and Amnesty International, opened on September 17th in Cologne and will enjoy a four month run before ending in London in mid December. Lighting designer Simon Sidi will work with a rig supplied by Light&Sound Design, whilst video director Matt Askem has the luxury of no less than three of Screenco's brand new Saco 15mm pixel pitch LED daylight video screens, plus two Barco projectors which will feature specially commissioned graphics from Tim Head.
Screenco has expanded its sales and operations team. Mike Walker, formerly at sister company Creative Technology, joins MD Dave Crump and sales manager Anita Page as business development manager at the sharp end of Screenco's rental business. On the operations front, Andy Bramley has joined the team with responsibility for managing Screenco's new Portable Production Unit (PPU). Like Walker, Bramley has also worked with CT, but more recently has been out touring with a number of bands.
The Blitz Communications Group provided the AV equipment and software, support and technical back-up for Microsoft's Tech Ed Europe 99 event. Organised by Ultimate Events, and held in the Rai Centre, Amsterdam, Tech Ed 99 was the largest event ever held by Microsoft in Europe.The event opened in the main auditorium with a wide screen spectacular made possible by Blitz's unique Suite P3, the new broadcast quality presentation system. Blitz also supplied AV for each of the 18 breakout rooms, which hosted approximately 340 seminars over the four-day period. In all the company supplied 23 crews, 40 video and data projectors, 30 separate switchers, 100 interfaces, 30 distribution amplifiers and around eight miles of cable.
Blitz Communications has launched a new web site. The site provides a wealth of information about the group's three divisions - Blitz Vision, Blitz Interactive and TP Sound Services. Easily navigated, stylish and informative, the site provides a comprehensive guide to the range of services provided by each division.
The first AV Business and Technology Awards were held at the Cafe Royal in London in September. Around 300 of the UK's AV industry attended the event, which was organised by AV magazine. Dartford-based Electrosonic picked up two awards, the first for Systems Company of the Year and the second for Excellence in use of Videowall.