Show Presentation Services (SPS), one of the largest AV companies in Europe, and Earls Court Olympia (ECO) have entered into a five year contract to offer the complete range of SPS audio-visual and staging services based in house at both ECO's London venues. SPS @ ECO as the new venture will be known, will have a large AV equipment stockholding and personnel at both venues.
Demospec, the specialist French manufacturer of cinema screens and other projection surfaces, has been acquired by the Harkness Hall Group. The acquisition creates a company with operations in the UK, USA and continental Europe, giving the Group an increased ability to meet the needs of customers worldwide. The two companies will share products, manufacturing and technology. Andrew Robinson, managing director of Harkness Hall Group, said: "The enlarged group has the capability of serving the cinema, theatre, exhibition, conference and special venue markets with the specialised products needed. The Harkness Hall Group is even better placed to serve a market which has become increasingly international in recent years."
Screenco supplied a 5x15 module wide-screen format digital LED screen to presentation services company Motivforce for the J. Rothschild Assurance annual company meeting at London's Barbican Theatre in January. Special guest of honour at the event was actor Christopher Reeve. This was the first time that the client had used an LED screen for a keynote presentation. In order to accommodate the 14.5m wide screen, the Barbican Theatre's ceiling was modified by Unusual Rigging. Video cameras were supplied by Screenco's sister Avesco company, Creative Technology, and Screenco supplied the video production hardware. Giles Conte was Screenco's project manager, working with vision mixer Chris Keating and screen technicians Bill Dixon, Andy Joyse and Tim Parry.
Gearhouse LED Screens was recently contracted to supply the main display screen for the London Boat Show at Earls Court. The company supplied a 5m by 5m OptiScreen system to the show for the second year running, which was used to display sponsors' messages and advertising. Gearhouse has now built over 600sq.m of OptiScreen panels since the system was launched in the autumn of 1998.
Proquip Gearhouse Ltd recently supplied video equipment and crew for Jaguar's millennium celebrations and promotion days held in December at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham. The event, which attracted dealers and suppliers from all over the country, featured a single 8x8 and two 4x4 Toshiba videowalls for the display areas. In addition, several rigs of Sony playback equipment and monitiors for tertiary displays were supplied by Gearhouse Birmingham.
Sony Broadcast & Professional Europe has appointed Rob Sherman as head of its Large Screen Display Group. His career with Sony spans 11 years: he spent four in the Middle East, working to establish a Sony division in the region, followed by two years as head of Sony Broadcast & Professional in Portugal.
Sony projectors, plasma displays and television monitors are forming part of the AV display at a new sports bar in Prague, capital of the Czech Republic. The ice hockey-themed Jagr's Sport Bar is the first in a new chain of restaurants to make extensive use of Sony AV systems, featuring LCD projection systems, wireless microphones, amplifiers and multi-speaker audio systems. The centrepiece of the bar is a large projection cube consisting of four VPL-S900E LCD projector screens, each delivering a powerful 1100 ANSI lumen output, suspended above the central bar. A further 34 video monitors are positioned around the walls, comprising both KV-14M1k and KV-21T1K units. The audio system includes SRP-S520 and SRP-S320 speaker systems plus an SRP-B900 subwoofer, powered by SRP series amplifiers. Wireless microphones include Freedom series mic systems, as well as an ECM-310BMP headset mic, with signals mixed by an SRP-X6004 mixer.
To see in the new millennium, three Megascreens were supplied by Unitek direct to Birmingham City Council to be positioned in two city centre locations. One 18sq.m LED screen was situated adjacent to the main stage, situated at one end of the square, whilst the other screen was positioned in the middle of the square, screening performances by acts such as The Honeys, Roy Wood of Wizard and Sir Cliff Richard to a crowd of 20,000 people. The third screen, measuring 32sq.m, relayed the action to the crowd 'overspill' in Victoria Square. Additional shows including family events and an open air disco sponsored by BRMB utilised the screens until January 2.
Ausio-visual design and installation specialist Sarner International has been chosen by Purbeck District Council to produce a new interactive tourist attraction for the Swanage Heritage Centre. The new exhibition will provide an overview of the area's history and development, stretching as far back as the Jurassic period, with a display of dinosaur footprints found at a nearby quarry. Sarner is responsible for the entire attraction, including the creation of static displays and information videos. The centre is due to open in April 2000.
At last, Chris Mounsor has announced his future intentions in the business after his departure from Audio Visual hire company PSL. Mounsor is to head up a new video rental company, specialising in the field of Camera & Video design and support to the concert touring and music industries. Mounsor has teamed up with industry legend Pat Morrow of Nocturne Inc and Rene De Keyser of XL Video to create Nocturne (Europe) Ltd. The company is currently in negotiations to purchase a 6500sq.ft warehouse in St Albans, and hope to be ensconced by Feb 1st.
Giant-screen rental company Screenco, and its sister companies around the world, provided screens for a number of high profile Millennium projects. On the big night in the USA, Screenworks, based in LA and Dallas, provided video screens for the 'In Sync' event on Hawaii, shows by both Bette Midler and Barbara Streisand in Las Vegas, the New Year celebrations at the Pasadena Rose Bowl in Los Angeles, a major Christian convention in Houston, Texas and LED screens for Eddie Grant's concert on the island of Tobago. Five screens were used for the celebrations in Berlin, while Screenco Australia provided two 46sq.m CRT screens floating on barges on the Brisbane River, another on the banks of Melbourne's Yarra River, three LED screens for Sydney and one for Cooberpedy Town Square. In the UK, three Screenco mobiles were used at the Hogmanay celebrations in Edinburgh, while three modular JumboTrons featured in central London.
Alain Bardouil from White Butterflies Productions took delivery in December of the first Compulite SparkTop system. White Butterflies has owned a Spark system for several years primarily for controlling Hardware for Xenon projectors. The system had its first outing to St Brieuc in the North of Brittany for a Millennium night show controlling Hardware double image scroller projectors.
At the same time as the announcement that Metro Tyrell is to remain with the WPP Group (see Business News) PLASA Publishing has learnt of several high level appointments at the company. Simon Brett, formerly of Avid Technology and Discreet Logic, has taken on the role of joint managing director, alongside Stephen Payne. Brian Little, formerly regional sales manager for Avid Technology, will head up the company's second office, which will open in Manchester during 2000. Andy Wilde, also formerly of Avid Technology, will work with Little as the North's product specialist and support manager.
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 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.
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.
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.