Video and AV News

Creative Technology’s Top Management Reshuffle
Thursday, 26 April 2001

A number of management changes have been announced within the Avesco group following the creation of their new Audio Visual Services Division, which will be headed up by former Creative Technology managing director, Graham Andrews. As a result, Andrews hands over the day-to-day running of CT to Mark Elliott, simultaneously assuming the role of chief executive, in order to oversee the strategic development of the company. CT’s new managing director has worked with the company for the last nine years, latterly as operations director. "I have a long history in the industry, extending back to 1982, and recent years have proved both exciting and rewarding," said Elliott. "My role will now be to further develop the management structure underpinning a high quality and specialist service business, while supporting the growth of Creative Technology within the full framework of the AV Division."

Also stepping up in the company reshuffle are Jon Hodgson, who becomes director of project management, and Guy Mapley, who is appointed director of sales. The roles of Andrew Hawker as technical director, Gary Holford as graphics director, Adam Berger as director of outside broadcast and Philip Threadgold as finance director, will remain unchanged.

Expansion at Crestron
Thursday, 26 April 2001

Managing director Robin van Meeuwen has revealed that following consecutive quarters of record-breaking sales and recruitment, Crestron UK has committed to a proactive programme that will not only include improved customer service but additional training and resources. At the same time, the company has expanded its operation in Kingston, Surrey with a new demonstration showroom with Crestron total control solutions. "What this basically means is that we are infusing more energy and dedication into our service with the new ‘True Blue’ initiative." Van Meeuwen explains that the ‘True Blue’ name symbolises Crestron's core principal - total focus and commitment to their partners and the industry as a whole. "For example, all Crestron products are now available for shipment from stock, since we've doubled the size of our facilities in California and Chicago to provide the added service that comes with more training space and larger support staffs." The UK office and European headquarters in Brussels have been caught up in the same momentum. "The future at Crestron looks bright," Van Meeuwen summarises. "Our product line is stronger and more vital than ever, anchored by the award-winning Isys touch-panel control system, Crestron home automation and networking solutions and Crestron e-Control - the only true industry standard for Internet-based control."

Van Meeuwen also says that at this year’s INFOCOMM (June 13-15, Las Vegas), a brand-new, high-performance control system will be introduced, as will a host of

Dial Launches ShowMagic AV . . .
Saturday, 21 April 2001

The well-appointed showroom at Dial HQ was packed. No less than three PAs - Bose, Martin Audio and ASS - stood arrayed before us at the far end; above, hung from Tri-lite trussing, were the latest lamps from Abstract, Clay Paky and Opti. Was this to be a light and sound shoot-out?

Well, no - and the clue to why lay in the neat little Sanyo video projector (700 lumens yet barely bigger than a desk diary) tucked neatly in amongst the lighting gear. "This is to witness the birth of a new AV control," Andy Blackwell of Dial Sound and Lighting confided.

None-the-wiser, we settled in as the presentation began; music played and lights began to dance in harmony. We are informed that all the elements of light and sound were being controlled by a single piece of software. Nothing revolutionary there, but then the screen rolled sedately down from the trussing. It wasn’t so much the projected images, though they were pin sharp, nor the Panasonic demo DVD’s recourse to seventies footage of well endowed ‘chicks’ or action sequences, it was what was added. The soundtrack was overlaid by perfectly synchronised music, and the overlay could be turned on and off like a tap. Then, during the famous bungy jump from Golden Eye, the video itself was augmented, colour being added to its periphery, and lighting subtly introduced to the surroundings. What was striking was the effortlessness with which it was all achieved. "That’s the point," said Blackwell. "Some people look at this and their initial reaction is ‘it looks a bit Fisher

PLASA Set for 2001 AGM
Friday, 20 April 2001

The 2001 PLASA AGM, along with the popular AGM Dinner, will take place on Thursday 14 June in the historic setting of Coombe Abbey, near Coventry. Set in 500 acres of parkland and dating back to 1150, this former Cistercian Abbey is now a thriving hotel and conference centre. In a slightly revised format for 2001, the day will include an opportunity for members to meet with key representatives of PLASA’s various operations in a number of small, hour-long ‘break-out sessions’. These will be organised as follows:

- PLASA Show - members of the Clarion Events show management team and members of the PLASA Exhibitor Forum will be on hand to discuss PLASA Show-related issues.
- Membership Services - PLASA’s head office staff dealing with membership services will be joined by consultants from certain of our service providers and members of the PLASA Executive Committee.
- PLASA Standards - PLASA’s Technical Standards Officer Tim Cox will be joined by consultants and other of PLASA’s standards representatives to discuss Standards-related topics.

As part of PLASA’s aim of increasing the opportunities for useful communication with its members, these sessions are intended to provide an informal environment for discussion, feedback and questions. PLASA’s managing director Matthew Griffiths comments: "We hope these sessions will prove a valuable use of the time between the AGM and the start of the evening’s entertainment. By offering the chance of an informal meeting with key representatives of the Association, we h

X-treme Sound and Vision in Qatar
Friday, 20 April 2001

Creating a thunder and lightning special effect was just one of the tasks facing D J Willrich Ltd (DJW), the AV and multi media specialist, at X-treme World in Doha, Qatar this month. Situated on the third floor of a large shopping mall in the centre of Doha, X-treme World incorporates a go-kart track, rock climbing, a real snow ski slope, fairground rides and other extreme sporting activities. DJWs 10-day remit included sound, video and the rumbling special effects. DJW’s 16-screen videowall placed at the entrance offers both film footage of professional and extreme sports as well as links with the complex’s eight CCTV cameras set up to capture all the action at the attractions. The wall, which features16 Pioneer 40" rear-projection video cubes, has a 4-channel MPEG2 server plus control and switching hardware.

DJW, through Simon Rice-Oxley, supplied four video films for the wall, using a programme that runs the films in sync with the CCTV cameras which follow the action around the attraction being switched into the wall at certain points during the show. For this, DJW used a video matrix switcher controlled by a Stinger show control unit.The sound system has been designed to cover the entire 70m x 70m area for music playback. Here, DJW encountered a couple of challenges as the client requested a sound system that gave good volume and clarity within a fairly limited budget. Added to this, the speakers had to be hung from a roof 15m high. John Doe, DJW’s project manager at X-treme, said: "To overcome these problems we used 10 Bose Panaray LT spe

Cereco Opens New Auction Sites
Tuesday, 17 April 2001

Cereco International, the on-line equipment auction facility run by John Lethbridge, believes it has found a way to protect both buyers and sellers from fraud, without the need to use a credit card. The solution, the company believes, is to be found on their two new sites.

Cereco Used Trade Auctions is again for goods supplied by manufacturers and distributors but will now include VAT registered rental companies, installers and VAT registered sole traders. All of the equipment will be ex-rental, ex-installation or part-exchanged audio, lighting, video or special effects. All of the sellers on this site are known to Cereco International, and have to enter into a written agreement to fulfil certain conditions including replacing any goods not received in the condition described. Buyers deal directly with the seller. This service is completely free to sellers if no sale is achieved.

Gearmarket UK is for goods supplied by private individuals and small businesses who are not VAT-registered. All the sellers on this site have to agree in writing to Gearmarket UK collecting payment for their goods, which is then held for 72 hours while the buyer checks the goods and either authorizes payment to the seller or ask for the goods to be collected and returned, in which case, the buyer received a 100% refund. This service is completely free to sellers for sales less than £250. For sales over £250, Gearmarket UK take a 10% commission.

InspHire Sign Partnership Agreement
Friday, 13 April 2001

InspHire Ltd, providers of hire management systems for hire companies, has signed a Partnership Agreement with Microsoft Great Plains Business Solutions. inspHire will offer Great Plains Dynamics and e-Enterprise solutions as the fully integrated Back Office solution for inspHire’s SQL Edition. With a long history of working together to deliver new business technologies, the two companies are joining forces to provide a package for small and medium companies. Andy Beal, inspHire MD told PLASA Media: "The signing of the Partnership Agreement between the two companies was the culmination of a two-year search for a suitable Back Office partner to integrate into inspHire SQL Edition. Great Plains' purchase by Microsoft, together with the VBA tools available to us in the end, made it an easy choice. Not only will we be able to offer the same level of two-way integration with our hire system, but our customers will have the benefit of using a Microsoft branded accounts system in use in 130,000 businesses in 132 countries worldwide."

SPS Launches Event IT
Thursday, 12 April 2001

Show Presentation Services (SPS) has launched a new department dedicated to support the use of all types of information technology in the live events market. SPS Event IT will cater for the now commonplace use of IT within conferences and exhibitions, but its approach will differ from ‘traditional’ IT ideas. "What matters to us," said SPS managing director Robin Coles, "is the event as a whole. Stand-alone computers, flat screens, local networking, Internet access, webcasting and all the associated peripherals are becoming as fundamental as video, sound and lights at many events, and should be delivered with the same professional attitude, with all the technology that comes together to service an event being intrinsically linked. We have staffed SPS Event IT with people who approach anything computerish from the live show perspective. Our crew are not ‘nerd’ prima-donna’s who never get their hands dirty, but ‘show’ people with an IT specialisation."

72% Visitor Increase for ABTT
Thursday, 12 April 2001

Point Promotions have announced a 72% increase in attendance at last week’s ABTT Theatre Show. The show this year expanded into both of the Royal Horticultural Halls, and had widened its remit to attract 30 new exhibitors. The initial un-audited visitor attendance figures show an increase of 72% over last year’s registered numbers. Point Promotions was appointed by the Association of British Theatre Technicians (ABTT) to administer the change from the ABTT Trade Show to the bigger and improved ABTT Theatre Show. The expanded show featured on-stage technology such as lighting, rigging, drapes and sound and also many exhibitors with front-of-house technology including seating and staging.

IMAX in $15m London Underground Deal
Wednesday, 11 April 2001

Digital Projection International (DPI) - a wholly-owned subsidiary of IMAX Corporation - has announced a strategic partnership which will expand IMAX's market-leading digital projection technology into the realm of digital electronic billboards. The agreement, with Sweden's DHJ Media AB, is to develop and install digital media network systems that will replace traditional poster advertising with high-revenue digital billboards. The companies announced today that the London Underground is the first to sign up for an installation of the system. To be marketed under DHJ's trademarked ‘Outdoor Evolution Systems’, the IMAX-DHJ networked digital billboard system will allow owners to increase revenues and direct advertsiements to any given location at any designated time of the day, thus allowing for better timeliness of messages, flexibility, and the ability to purchase the entire billboard network.

Under the terms of the agreement, IMAX will sell the digital projectors that will display the images, and DHJ will provide the network functions as well as the billing, scheduling and distribution of ads. IMAX and DHJ agreed to market the Outdoor Evolution System to five potential locations in Europe. As a result, the London Underground has placed an order with IMAX for 400 digital projectors with a value of close to $15 million, the largest order ever for IMAX's DPI subsidiary. The first 100 systems are expected to be installed by the end of 2001, with the balance expected to be delivered over the following 12 to 24 months. TDI Outdoor, a subsidiary of Viacom Inc, will

Alan Law Joins SPS
Tuesday, 10 April 2001

Alan Law has recently been appointed general manager for the SPS group, with responsibility for service delivery, quality assurance and Health & Safety. Alan joins SPS from Earls Court & Olympia where he has spent the last three years as technical services manager and health and safety manager responsible for non-exhibition related events and conferences including The Brit Awards, the Vodafone Gala dinner and numerous pop shows. Law was then asked to take on the role of Halls H&S manager, with the brief to audit and re-evaluate Earls Court’s approach to the ever-increasing H&S legislation. Prior to this Alan worked with Blackout, the drapes and rigging company and was a key player in the rapid expansion they experienced in their early years. SPS managing director Robin Coles comments: "To have a manager of Alan's experience and ability in this new key role adds another dimension to our company."

Crestron Appoints UK Sales Manager
Monday, 9 April 2001

Continuing its programme of expansion, Crestron UK Ltd has announced the appointment of Andrew Butler as technical sales manager. The move follows an outstanding year for the company, which has seen them win a number of awards, including AV magazine’s Company of the Year. Butler joins from Midnight Security, where he gained experience in the specification, programming and installing of Crestron control systems.

PSL Lighting Under New Management
Monday, 9 April 2001

Mick Scullion is to head up PSL Lighting, formerly Lighting Unlimited, as part of the re-launch of the division under the Presentation Services Group branding. Mick brings with him over 20 years’ experience within the industry, having worked for both Concert Productions (now Vari-Lite) and the Spot Company where he was a director for five years. "It is an exciting time at PSL, the new structure will bring a lot of benefit to the lighting division and allow us to offer an even better service to our clients," commented Mick. "We are currently investing in the latest lighting equipment and along with our lighting design service, we aim to build on our already successful position within the marketplace providing our clients with service to the highest level." Barry Dennison, formerly of Gearhouse XTC, also joins Mick alongside current project manager Iain Grant. The division is continuing to grow to meet current demand.

Three New Sales Execs for Christie
Monday, 9 April 2001

Christie Digital Systems USA has announced three sales executive appointments: Dale Miller as vice-president of sales Europe; Joe Delgado as vice-president of sales Latin America; and Lin Yu as vice-president of sales Asia. Scott Friedberg, national sales manager, will handle Joe Delgado’s previous North American responsibilities. Reporting to Lin Yu, Rick Norris will continue his tenure in the Asia Pacific region as the new director of business development, and is relocating to Singapore.

The BRIT Awards, 2001
Sunday, 8 April 2001

The UK’s annual pop music back-slapping gala event, The Brits, was recorded live, in spectacular style, on February 26th at Earls Court 2, London. The live production was managed by Brit regular MJK Productions.

Another regular, Vari-Lite Europe provided the complete lighting system - featuring more than 500 luminaires - as well as providing the rig for the After Show Party. Lighting designer for the event was Al Gurdon. With the ceremony designed to look spectacular both for the live audience and a massive worldwide broadcast audience, the lighting design encompassed the entire space within Earl’s Court 2, both on and around the huge stage and the specially-constructed auditorium.

The large-scale lighting rig included 40 VL2416s, 54 VL5 Arcs, 81 VL5Bs, 76 VL5s, 24 VL6 wash luminaires, 38 VL6Cs, six VL7s and 130 VL2C spot luminaires, with control from two Virtuoso consoles. VL also supplied a substantial conventional rig, with 16 4k Xenon Sky Art Searchlights, two 70k Lightning Strikes, four 40k Lightning Strikes, 160 Par 36s, 400 Par 64s and 44 Diversitronics Strobes. The rig also included 420 metres of truss, two 12 metre-diameter semi-circles of truss and 14 one-tonne hoist motors complete with cable, control and rigging accessories.

The After Show Party’s lighting was designed by Theo Cox who lit the four exclusive rooms - Air Lounge, Water Bar, Earth Garden and the Fire Club - using a rig that featured 56 VL5 wash luminaires, 16 VL6B spot luminaires, VL Moving Mirror Ball units and conventionals, all run from a pair of Wholehog 2s and an Avolit

Gearing Up for PLASA 2001Gearing Up for PLASA 2001
Friday, 6 April 2001

The countdown to the PLASA Show 2001 has begun! The entertainment technology industry’s leading event will run from 9 - 12 September at Earls Court Exhibition Centre, London. With over 89% of the available stand space already sold and all the leading manufacturers booked into the show, PLASA 2001 promises to live up to its reputation as the showcase event that launches the entertainment technology year. Venue improvements have continued, with over £500,000 invested in the last 12 months to improve comfort cooling at the Show. Furthermore, an overall investment of £6million will ensure that Earls Court is a fully air-conditioned exhibition centre by 2002. Over 400 exhibitors and 14,000 UK and international visitors are expected to attend and experience the sound and lighting extravaganza that has become synonymous with PLASA. Manufacturers, suppliers and distributors of professional lighting, sound and AV equipment will descend upon Earls Court to unveil their latest products and technical developments for the vibrant and hugely diverse entertainment and leisure industry.

Almost 13,000 visitors, including a record 25% from overseas, attended the PLASA Show last year. Specifiers, consultants, attraction managers, recording technicians, disc and light jockeys, corporate presentation planners, technicians, architects, installers and other professionals from the world of entertainment technology traveled from all corners of the globe to see the very latest products, innovations and designs showcased.

The PLASA Show 2001 will feature many of the attractions that cont

New CT Operations
Friday, 6 April 2001

With the setting up of new Creative Technology companies in London and Birmingham NEC, the Avesco subsidiary brand is set for a substantial increase in its work portfolio. In charge of Creative Technology London is Steve Rowan, former head of Gearhouse Multimedia. From its 8,200sq.ft base in Chessington, Surrey, the company is ideally placed to service exhibition sites such as Earls Court, Olympia, Business Design Centre and the new ExCeL in Docklands. Meanwhile, the former Gearhouse NEC - based inside the Birmingham exhibition complex - has now been re-branded Creative Technology NEC, and will operate under the senior management of Chris Bramwell. This division was part of the northern group bought out of receivership by Avesco plc last month, along with Gearhouse’s Manchester and Scottish operations.

Although the established end of Creative Technology, based in Wandsworth, has for many years been working in the exhibition environment, CT London will be setting up a dedicated operation in which IT will form the core element of their service to exhibition organizers and direct-to-venue clients. Steve Rowan’s experienced operational team, which joins him from Gearhouse Multimedia, will specialise in providing a total solutions service for exhibition clients. General manager is Jon Dasent and technical manager, Paul Holden. Creative Technology London is investing around £700,000 in PC technology and web access hardware, including thin computer terminals especially for show control rooms. A highly-experienced, commercially-focused team and dedicated project crew

CDAI Design System for TRACON
Thursday, 5 April 2001

CDAI has recently completed the design of the lighting, videowall systems, architectural acoustics and mechanical noise control, for the FAA's new Atlanta Terminal Radar Approach Control Center (TRACON) in Peachtree City, Georgia. Controllers at Atlanta's new TRACON will manage over 3,200 flights for more than 30 airports in the state of Georgia. The new facility will be fully operational on April 10, 2001.

Atlanta's Hartsfield International Airport, only one of the 30 airports managed by Atlanta TRACON, is the busiest airport in the world, having surpassed the traffic of Chicago’s O’Hare airport in 1999. It has 78 million passengers a year, and a daily airport average traffic count of 2,600 flights. Key to the system are 20 Barco MP50 video display systems. Its digital processors allow the FAA to show all sources in their native resolution and create the ability to quickly change the videowall configuration with the push of a button.

MCL Opens for Business
Wednesday, 4 April 2001

Media Control (Europe) Ltd (MCL) is a new company set up by Avesco Group plc to provide full AV staging services to the UK and European corporate presentations market. The company officially began its operation on April 2. Based in Chessington, Surrey, MCL is headed by Mike Bell, who has worked for rental, conference production and support companies in the corporate presentations market for over 20 years. MCL will offer a wide range of services, from dry hire packages to complex presentation solutions. The company will also offer a ‘cloaked’ service to agencies and freelance producers: to protect agency brands, equipment can be provided in unmarked boxes.

MCL will offer a complete inventory of audio, lighting, staging and AV equipment. Mike Bell told us: "We are intent on changing current conceptions about AV staging - often referred to as ‘One Stop Shops’. Working as meticulously as the single-line hirers, MCL will maintain an overall project view, ensuring that all departments come together to fulfil our clients’ expectations."

MCL will enjoy the full backing of the Avesco Group, providers of specialist services to the corporate, presentation, entertainment and broadcast markets, with offices throughout Europe and the USA. Compnaies in the Group incldue Screenco, Creative Technology, Dimension Audio and JVR. Mike Bell is joined at MCL by operations manager Ed Marron, operations coordinator Ian Rawlinson and office manager Laura Cameron.

Heuvelman Opens London Branch
Tuesday, 3 April 2001

Pan-european AV equipment rental company Heuvelman Ltd, has opened its first UK branch, situated in London. The company is a specialist in the supply of AV equipment to a range of clients including hotels, broadcasters, corporate clients, conference and event venues and can supply anything from a single projector to a full state-of-the-art installation. Voting systems, teleconferencing and IT rental are also supplied by the company.

Nocturne Europe to XL VideoNocturne Europe to XL Video
Monday, 2 April 2001

Live video production specialists Nocturne Europe are changing their trading name to XL Video with immediate effect. The move will offer a more consolidated approach to international markets and associate the company directly with XL Video in Belgium, the USA & Japan - outdoor screen suppliers with extensive stocks of Barco, Delite, Saco & Lighthouse LED screens.

In California, an even closer association is taking place with the opening of a new XL Video office in LA, also specializing in live video production. The US operation is headed up by Bob Higgins and Barbara Riedling, both of whom have a long-standing history in, and vast knowledge of, the US concert touring market. This name-change and US office launch follows a successful 12 months for the St Albans-based company. Over the past year it has worked with artists such as Oasis, Madonna, Eric Clapton, Craig David, the Corrs, Robbie Williams, Steps, Leftfield, David Gray, Westlife and on the just-commencing U2 Elevation world tour.

Craig David
Sunday, 1 April 2001

I’m not going to write much about Craig David; not that there isn’t much to write about, but because I expect to be writing much more in the future.

While Westlife are a well-voiced, but ultimately plastic facsimile of pop stardom (see feature this issue), Craig David has it all. Last time I made such an assertion was for Baby Bird, who promptly migrated South, so I’ll temper my predictions for David. He is a skilled songwriter - consecutive hits have established that - and he has a rich, round voice, but it was seeing him live that convinced me. He prowls the stage with the leonine grace of a caged animal. He’s compelling, urging the crowd like a Gladiator holding his sword to the neck of his vanquished foe: Thumbs up? Thumbs down? Who cares, this man is dangerous. He may not be playing as many arena shows as Westlife, but they’re sell-outs, and get this - the audience he attracts is, at a rough guess, two years older than theirs, and they scream at 116dB A weighted, according to sound engineer Carl ‘Snake’ Newton - 6dB over Westlife . . . that’s 200% more powerful.

Newton uses a V-dosc system supplied by Wigwam, which is 15 cabinets per side, with three of the near-fill dV-dosc below. As with Westlife, this is the biggest hang of this type I’ve heard. In light of the supersonic screaming of both bands’ audiences, it would be wrong to draw comparisons: there again, the comparison is perfectly made. Walking the room, there’s nothing to choose between them, though I still prefer the low end of the d&b to t

New ETI System for LegolandNew ETI System for Legoland
Thursday, 29 March 2001

With Legoland California now open and the fourth park under construction in Germany, Lego are ready to take their theatrical productions to the next level. By asking Edwards Technologies Inc to install matching AV and show-control systems at similar theatres in all its sites, it is now proving economically favourable for Lego to produce shows with far higher production values, and stage them at all locations simultaneously. In Billund, Denmark, ETI is installing a complete bespoke AV and show-control system to the brand new 450-seat XTREME Theatre, in the original Legoland. This will be the park’s first purpose-built theatre (and the largest in Jutland). The theatre opens in April with a hybrid live/multimedia show ‘Life On Mars’. In California, ETI is expanding its existing AV and show-control system in the Imagination Theatre. This was part of the park-wide installation competed by ETI in 1999. Life On Mars opens there in May.

At Legoland in the UK, ETI is upgrading the facilities of the existing 'Circus Tent' venue. The system will include a complete video and show-control installation, but at Lego's request will integrate with much of the existing audio and lighting equipment. 'Life On Mars' opens in the UK in June. Finally, in Gunzburg in Germany, ETI is engineering a similar state-of-the-art AV and show-control system as part of their park-wide design for the park. The fourth Legoland opens in summer 2002.image – Lego.jpg

Barco Signs Agreement with Major Cinema Dealers
Tuesday, 27 March 2001

Barco has signed major contract agreements with eight leading cinema dealers. Abbott Theatre Equipment Co, Bell Theatre Services, Bright Star Systems, Cinema Equipment Sales, Media Technology Source, National Cinema Supply Corporation, Omnex Pro Film and Universal Cinema Services have all signed rental agreements with Barco Digital Cinema.

Barco Digital Cinema is one of only three licensees of Texas Instruments’ DLP Cinema technology. TI developed DLP Cinema technology in close co-operation with key players in the film industry, and will continue to work closely with Barco to develop commercial products based on this technology. "One of the most frequently asked questions about digital cinema is: Where are the engineers and technicians going to come from, to install and service equipment in this new technology?" said Harry Mathias, Barco’s director of Digital Cinema, America. "The dealers, that are our new partners, are the companies who designed, equipped, and serviced, most of the major new stadium seating multiplexes in the world today. These dealers have an army of experienced cinema technicians that are being trained in the new technology by Barco’s extensive training department."


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