Video and AV News

Giles Conte goes freelance
Tuesday, 29 January 2002

Giant screen project manager Giles Conte, who recently left Screenco after six years with the company, has embarked on a freelance career as a project manager and technician. Giles takes with him a wealth of knowledge and expertise and is very optimistic about the future of LED, with its emergence as an information relay device and creative visual medium for both rock ‘n’ roll and the corporate market.

(Lee Baldock)

ECA2 set for new Futuroscope Spectacular
Tuesday, 29 January 2002

Yves Pépin, president and artistic director of ECA2, and his team are gearing up for the début of ECA2’s new nightly multimedia show, ‘Miroir d’Uranie’ (‘Uranie’s Mirror’), beginning on 2 February at the Futuroscope Park near Poitiers, France. "Uranie is the name of an as-yet undiscovered star that plays a leading role in the show," explained Pépin. "She is one of a number of characters, both touching and fantastical, who appear in the show. There’ll also be Billy la Bulle (Billy the Bubble), a flying fish; Pegasus; Venus; and an elderly fisherman who goes on a dazzling trip through the universe. The fable, the story of an impossible trip through the galaxies, unites classical mythology with ultra-modern multimedia techniques. It will warm the heart even as it dazzles spectators with its special effects."

The spectacular will take place on he Théâtre du Lac (Lake Theatre), just like the current show, ‘Le Lac aux Images’ (The Lake of Images’), which opened in March 2000. This show has been a real hit with audiences, attaining a spectator satisfaction rating of 95%. Similarly, ‘Miroir d’Uranie’ will appeal to all age groups. The new show will last about 20 minutes, and will unfold on 7,000sq.m of show space, including three water screens, five inflatables and pyrotechnics.

(Lee Baldock)

Lighthouse LED at BICLighthouse LED at BIC
Monday, 28 January 2002

Lighthouse LED video screens are at the heart of the installation of a custom-designed outdoor poster advertising screen at Bournemouth International Centre. Adaptable to both outdoor and indoor poster and retail sites, and capable of displaying images alongside ‘split screen’ text messages, the LED billboard concept is being pioneered in the UK by Lighthouse and, at Bournemouth, its integrator partner, Advantage Displays Ltd and screen owner/operator Inter-City Ads.

Nine panels of Lighthouse LVP20 (20mm pixel pitch) screen have been installed. Regular maintenance is provided by Lighthouse, but at the BIC, there is no facility to do this from within the building so to cater for this, a special mounting structure allows the screen to be hinged forward for maintenance work. The screen also has the ability to show two independently-controllable images on the screen at any one time. This is currently being used to show video images on 90 percent of the screen, with the lower 10 per cent displaying ‘live’ text messages about events at BIC.

(Ruth Rossington)

Screenco Deliver A1 Performance at Pop IdolScreenco Deliver A1 Performance at Pop Idol
Friday, 25 January 2002

Screenco has provided the LED screens for the ongoing TV programme Pop Idol. Set designer Andy Walmsley - whose company A1 Set was commissioned by Thames Television - provided Screenco with a brief to deliver the visual display element of the Pop Idol show.

The series - divided into three elements - consisted of various open auditions staged in hotel conference rooms throughout the country, followed by the ‘semi finals’ which took place at a staged ‘rehearsal room’ in Teddington Studios, ending with the ten week finals hosted at Fountain Studios in Wembley. Walmsley - who also designed the worldwide-copied ‘Who Wants to Be A Millionaire’ studio set - told us: "Pop Idol has been fascinating as a design brief, especially because the series has been in three parts. We started with a large video cube wall and one lonely plasma screen at Teddington Studios, but then the anti was upped to an orgy of AV for the final 10 weeks of this mammoth show."

Screenco supplied a 15mm central rotating screen complemented by 25mm LED Modules and 42" plasma screens - sourced from sister company CT London - which were arranged about the set in an abstract fashion. The 15mm LED was mounted on a bespoke rotating structure, whilst the 25mm LED Modules and Plasma screens were all supported by tailor-made aluminium brackets supplied and constructed by stage contractors Total Fabrications. Also provided by Screenco were the graphics - displayed during the show - which ran from two Doremi V1D Digital video player/recorders and were mixed through a

Electrosonic Awarded New Quality Standard
Tuesday, 22 January 2002

Electrosonic Ltd has been awarded the international quality standard ISO9001:2000 and is now approved by National Quality Assurance (NQA). The new ISO9001:2000 standard is based upon eight quality management principles: customer focused organization; leadership; involvement of people; process approach; systems approach to management; continual improvement; factual approach to decision making and mutually beneficial supplier relationships.

To attain certification, Electrosonic demonstrated its understanding and application of these principles throughout all of its business processes.

(Ruth Rossington)

Screenco Supply first ever Top of The Pops AwardsScreenco Supply first ever Top of The Pops Awards
Tuesday, 22 January 2002

Screenco recently supplied a 15mm Saco LED stage screen at the first ever Top of The Pops Awards, hosted at the Manchester Evening News arena. Commissioned by production company AMP - working for BBC Worldwide - the 20.74sq.m screen was configured in a 14:9 aspect ratio and was positioned off centre stage right in an asymmetric set design.

Serving an audience of 11,500, the screen was used as backdrop support for presenters and artists, as well as nominee clips. Showcasing a rich mixture of the best in pop music over the last 12 months, the first annual TOTP’s Awards Show was also broadcast on BBC One the following day, and hosted 12 performances from international artists including Kylie Minogue, Mariah Carey, Westlife, Tom Jones, Travis, Nelly Furtado and Jennifer Lopez.

A full report on the Top of the Pop Awards appears in the January issue of Lighting&Sound International.

(Ruth Rossington)

Rock Muse-ic . . .
Sunday, 20 January 2002

Devon-based rock trio Muse appeared at a wide variety of UK and European venues at the tail end of 2001; Mike Mann saw them in the cavernous London Docklands Arena.

Lighting designer Oli Metcalf has seen his system squeezed into small clubs and stretched to fill a full arena stage - and has managed to keep the CAV-supplied rig intact along the way. Metcalf is using CAV for the first time, a decision, prompted by their stock of up-to-date High End product. "I’m using 16 Studio Color washlights and the same number of Studio Spot CMYs," he revealed. There are also 14 AF1000 strobes in his design and a quartet of modified Cyberlight Turbos - their rear cable entries have been removed to allow them to stand vertically under four fabric cones which form an important part of the set. "CAV seemed to have all the new High End kit I needed, and they had no problem with me wanting to work with my usual crew," said Metcalf, who also brought in Total Fabrications to build top plates for his truss towers, allowing moving lights to be attached to a standard length of well-secured barrel.

To drive the Pars, ACLs and Source Four profiles, Metcalf specified 72 channels of Avolites ART 4000 dimmers. "They have an amazing DMX response time," he said, adding that his console of choice was the Avo Sapphire 2000. "It’s a very busy show - it’s all about timing - so a quick response is really important." Metcalf’s system shared projection screens with a fast-moving video design, necessitating accurate focusing and luminance control

Photon 999
Sunday, 20 January 2002

The first major European installation by Los Angeles-based artist Hiro Yamagata. Photon 999 opened at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, at the end of last year. Yamagata worked with a team of over 30 specialists to realise the installation. 15 laser systems (from Tarm Showlaser, Times of Change and Dymax Special Effects), including four of Coherent’s new Viper lasers, are placed around the edge of a pool. These are projected to over 200 mirrors installed on 20m high JTE truss towers and Mylar holographic panels applied to the surface of the central walkway. The system is controlled by a custom software package designed by Laser Animation.

Leeds Plays Host to QVS in Media Centre LaunchLeeds Plays Host to QVS in Media Centre Launch
Friday, 18 January 2002

Quadrant Visual Solutions (QVS), the specialist AV designer and installer and conference specialist, has specified and equipped ‘Host’ - the new media centre in Leeds, recently opened by Melanie B, with a comprehensive range of state-of-the-art multi-media equipment. The centre, funded by Leeds City Council, is situated in Chapeltown and was built as part of the Council's drive towards regenerating Leeds' inner city. Providing office space for small new media companies to rent, QVS equipped the centre with sound, radio and TV studios, conference rooms, multi-media training rooms and video edit suites.

The work was put out to European tender, and QVS account manager Andrew Hogben is delighted to have been awarded the contract. "We worked in partnership with Sony Broadcast and Total Audio Solutions to produce the original specification. For the sound studios, we supplied a Sony DMX-R100 Digital Audio Mixer, a Digidesign ProTools System, a Cuebase VST software, PMC Audio Speakers, a Tascam DA98, multi-track recorders and Akai samplers. A Sony PX31 data projector, and an AMX meeting room control system was supplied for the conference room, and 18 PCs with midi-keyboards for the multi-media training room. We provided the Centre's TV studio/video with a 36 Channel TV lighting system, a Sony DSR500 widescreen digital camera and accessories, Vinten tripods and dollies and an Avid XpressDV video edit suite on IBM PC with a Pioneer DVR-AO3 DVD Burner and DVD Authoring Software."

The contract commenced in March 2001 and phases 1 and 2 have just been completed

Blink TV Opens US Office
Tuesday, 15 January 2002

London-based Blink TV, the big screen entertainment company, has announced the opening of a business development unit in the USA, headed by Van Jarvis and based in San Francisco. Jarvis has been in the professional live video production business for over 20 years, having worked for two of the leading US video rental companies, and produced high profile music shows such as the Tibetian Freedom Concert in Washington in 1999 and the United Nations sponsored Groundwork 2001 in Seattle.

Blink specializes in the provision of integrated video packages for rock and pop concerts and festivals around the world. The concept has proved very successful in the UK, Europe and Australasia, and the US office has been established to promote their services to the huge live entertainment market in America. The operation in the States will be structured along similar lines to its other territories around the world. Blink subsidizes the costs of bands touring with video equipment in return for the rights to use the screens during walk-in and intervals. Blink then produces entertainment to run on the screens during those periods of downtime.

Jarvis feels the climate is ripe for the Blink concept to take off in the US, in spite of the current difficult economic climate. "Production values are still high, and acts can benefit from keeping their costs down and simultaneously adding value to their shows," he states. He confirms that there’s already been interest, and expects to announce the first Blink TV US tours early in the New Year.

Blink has also recently expanded its UK sa

CT NEC Support Land Rover at Bluewater
Wednesday, 9 January 2002

CT NEC has provided full AV support for Land Rover, on a three-year permanent installation basis, at the Bluewater Shopping Centre in Kent. Situated in two high profile areas, eight Panasonic TH-42PWD4 42" plasma displays and two Panasonic DVD-RV31 players have been supplied and fitted as visual reinforcement for Land Rover's impressive vehicle displays.

Split into two adjacent areas, the first site - a Land Rover Clothing Store, located in the Southeast Welcome Hall - contains two screens, with the capacity for future upgrade to enable data capture. The second installation is located within the main shopping mall thoroughfare, and boasts six screens, with four at ground level and two on the first floor. The screens display product and corporate video footage and currently present the same video sequence, fed from two separate source players. Provision has also been made for potential upgrades to the installation, such as touch-screen interaction and data capture.

(Lee Baldock)

Alexander Tackles South East for Saville
Wednesday, 9 January 2002

AV specialist Saville Audio Visual has appointed Matt Alexander as area sales manager for South London, Kent and parts of Surrey and Sussex. Formerly based in Devon with Greenham Video, Alexander has extensive experience in the AV industry and his responsibilities will include sales of LCD projectors, audio visual and conferencing systems.

(Lee Baldock)

Paradigm Supply Exhibit at Tate GalleryParadigm Supply Exhibit at Tate Gallery
Wednesday, 9 January 2002

Paradigm was recently commissioned by audio visual specialists Integrated Circles, to supply three Ultra Contrast Screens for use at artist Liam Gillick's exhibit, 'Annlee You Proposes', at Tate Britain.

The 52" screens - together with specially adapted LCD projectors - have been hired by the gallery for the duration of the exhibit, which continues until 31 March this year. Footage on each screen comprises three minutes of looped video art - which together with sound clips - portrays 'Annlee', using Japanese-style cartoon images. The screens are positioned as window displays which face onto a newly landscaped garden and patio area within the Tate Britain grounds.

Paul Nolan of Integrated Circles told us: "Providing large, vivid video images in a sunlit, south facing outdoor environment, presented us with an unusual challenge that meant we needed exceptional contrast to achieve what Liam Gillick intended. The ultra contrast screens provided by Paradigm have enabled us to achieve an impressive result."

(Ruth Rossington)

Megascreens Live and In Motion LIVE38
Monday, 7 January 2002

The famous stage at the Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam took on a number of different scenic guises when Dutch radio station Radio 538 presented its ninth anniversary party, Live38, recently. Thanks to the reconfigurable pair of 18sq.m 25mm LED Megascreens from Screenco/JVR, which could be split and moved across the stage with the help of a motion tracking device, acts such as The Corrs, Wyclef Jean, Volumia, Blof, Di-rect and Crazy Pianos could be seen in bespoke scenic settings. The rigging and trolley system were provided by Frontline/Sightline.

Radio 538 undertook all the production themselves, and credit for the inventive screen concept goes to the station's Pieter Lubberts. "This flexibility enabled us to reinforce the stage images either as one giant screen behind the musicians, split into two 18sq.m side screens - or present them as six individual columns, each displaying component parts of the image. The fact that we were able to track these displays across the length and depth of the stage made the production a huge success, and proved very popular with the artistes."

Screenco Holland has a long relationship with Radio 538, and in addition to providing video support for their promotions also provided the LED screens for last year’s Live38 party in Utrecht. "But this year's technical production was a lot bigger," confirmed Screenco’s Jeroen Jongenelen, "and the radio station already has even more ambitious ideas for next year."

(Lee Baldock)

SPS Supplies Screens for Robbie Williams
Monday, 7 January 2002

Show Presentation Services (SPS), one of the largest AV rental companies in the UK, was chosen by Black Pig Productions to provide a Barco Dlite7 Screen for the recent Robbie Williams TV Spectacular, which was recorded live for BBC 1 at the Royal Albert Hall on 10th October 2001 and released on DVD in early December. Robin Coles, managing director of SPS, explained that his brief was to "supply 39sq.m Barco Dlite7 LED display to provide the 7168 mm x 5376 mm centre stage backdrop for Black Pig Productions to feed images on to. The show itself was spectacular, and we were very pleased with the effect when it was broadcast on BBC 1 on 17th November," said Coles.

Black Pig’s managing director, Chris Saunders, described the production as "unusual, as it was being filmed in high definition, causing any imperfections in the LED to stand out. This is especially important as the recorded show is to be released on DVD in early December. The unique specifications for this show meant that we needed to use a high resolution LED screen. SPS have supplied us with equipment for other high profile events, such as the Brit Awards, so we knew that they could be relied on to supply us with the highest resolution screen available. My client was very happy with the results, and we feel that the production was an overall success."

(Lee Baldock)

Ford Projects Best Image for UEFA
Friday, 4 January 2002

Through their official sponsorship of the UEFA Champions League, Ford has been able to reach a critical mass - not only inside the host sports stadia and on television, but also outside the grounds. With the aid of promotional company Prism and audio-visual specialists Creative Technology the company has been able to throw large-scale images onto the sides of buildings (and the stadia themselves) in the true spirit of guerilla projection.

At some grounds a Christie X10 Roadie 10,000 ANSI lumens DLP projector has been set up on the top of an adjacent building, whilst on other occasions it has been fired from the back of a Ford Galaxy in the car park, run from a generator. "This is a high profile site where we can run a Betacam tape, interspersed with Ford's 'Destination Football' ads and highlights of the last few matches as eye candy for spectators arriving at the match," said CT project manager Darren Alexander. "We project as large an image as possible - up to 10 or 20 metres, from walk-in right up to the whistle," he continued.

CT will handle all UK-based grounds and sub-contract coverage at other nominated grounds, such as Nantes FC, to European partners.

(Ruth Rossington)

Paul Wood Joins XL Video
Wednesday, 19 December 2001

Paul Wood has joined XL Video, the concert touring and live event video specialists, as a project manager. Wood joins XL’s team, headed by Chris Mounsor, Lee Spencer, Des Fallon and Richard Burford, bringing with him a wealth of experience. Wood was previously the projects and operations manager for the LED screen department of SPS, where he handled events for blue chip clients like Microsoft and Bloomberg TV. Before that, he enjoyed several years on the road as a freelance engineer and projectionist, cutting his teeth in this exacting area of live production. XL’s Lee Spencer comments: "It’s great to have Paul onboard. He fully complements the rest of the team, and has all the attributes needed to thrive in XL’s lively and energetic working environment."

Wood is currently working on the Tweenies UK arena tour for XL, along with a number of other events currently underway.

Oakleigh Cases supplies XL VideoOakleigh Cases supplies XL Video
Monday, 17 December 2001

Flightcase manufacturer Oakleigh Cases has supplied leading UK live and touring video production specialists XL Video with a massive order of 130 flightcases to protect XL's new Barco I-Lite LED screen system. The cases will be toured extensively with XL's expanding list of international artists, such as like Robbie Williams, U2 and Kylie Minogue - as well as on giant corporate events like The Detroit Motor Show, which is where XL Video's I-Lite will make it’s first appearance, on the Toyota stand.

The XL build was completed against the incredibly tight timescale of just over two weeks. Oakleigh’s general manager Martin Cockton comments: "It's a tribute to our collective team ethics, and to the flexibility of our systems that we managed to achieve this challenging goal!" Oakleigh's CEM CAD/CNC machining centre was in operation 18 hours per day to meet the order. This contract is one of an intensely hectic Festive period for Oakleigh, which has also secured the contract to build over 270 shock-mounted flight cases for Wembley-based Gearhouse Broadcast for next year's World Cup in Japan and South Korea.

McCaig Joins Blitz Vision
Monday, 17 December 2001

AV specialist Blitz Communications has appointed Fraser McCaig as sales manager to increase market share for the company's new Birmingham branch. McCaig will be responsible for raising the profile of Blitz Vision in the Midlands region. McCaig has 17 years' experience in the Midlands AV and video production industry, having spent eight years as hire manager for Quadrant Video Systems in Birmingham, specializing in broadcast and professional equipment hire and filming. Prior to his appointment at Blitz he spent three years selling audio-visual equipment and systems, and project managed large systems installations for clients such as Marconi Communications, Anglo Irish Bank Corporation and Royal Doulton.

QVS at Birmingham Film Festival Awards
Friday, 14 December 2001

Quadrant Visual Solutions (QVS), the specialist supplier, designer and installer of video and film production facilities, was called upon to design, theme, stage and manage the Birmingham Film and TV Festival awards dinner at Birmingham's Burlington Hotel in a sponsorship deal. The festival, one of the UK's most significant moving image festivals, was held from the 15-24 November 2001. As well as the latest international previews, the Festival also included a range of events, workshops and seminars - with advice from professionals like Meera Syal and Pawel Pawlikowski.

Quadrant actively strive to be at the forefront of video/film production services, particularly outside of London, and are soon to open their film, video and media services centre in Liverpool. Among their celebrity guests at the awards dinner will be their Liverpool-based customers, Alex Cox (director of Repo Man) and Todd Davies (producer) having just completed their latest movie Revengers Tragedy starring Sophie Dahl, Christopher Eccleston, Derek Jacobi and Eddie Izzard. QVS supplied all of the video equipment that was used for the film’s insert short clips, a technique used by Alex Cox for the first time, and the on-line editing system.

QVS provided a comprehensive range of equipment, including Sharp SVG10 data video projectors, an xf30 data/video projector, a 12ft x 9ft front projection screen, six Bose 802 loudspeakers, a Soundcraft K1 audio mixer, a DFS500 vision mixer, a Sony PVW2800 Betacam SP player, a BVW75 Betacam SP recorder, scan converter, four Martin MAC 500s and two followspo

Sarner Brings Time Travel to LifeSarner Brings Time Travel to Life
Friday, 14 December 2001

Sarner and ESP have combined resources to provide a creative solution for Liverpool’s new multi-million pound International Astronomy and Space Centre (IASC). Sarner, which has recently been bought-out by two of its directors, Michael Bennett and Ross Magri, is thrilled to have such an innovative and important project under its creative direction. "This is a great win, not just for us but for the team at Sarner and for all our clients and colleagues," comments Bennett. "Sarner has been highly successful for over 30 years and we intend to build on that reputation and drive the company forward with new commitment to delivering innovative design solutions that have so often won clients’ belief in our skills, quality and service."

Sarner will be responsible for the design and production of special effects for the new visitor attraction, while ESP will project manage the fit-out of the centre, bringing life to the dramatic designs - from the spectacular hanging celestial sphere atrium through to the excitement of a 'Journey To The Stars' in the space-time machine.

IASC, which is part of the continued regeneration of Liverpool's Wirral district, is due to be completed by Easter 2003. "Visitors will be taken on an interactive journey through time and space that is set to have people, both young and old, returning time and time again", said Ross Magri. "This is theatrical sensationalism at its best. It is the aim of the project team to bring the excitement of astronomy and space to life with multi-sensory technology, simulated time

Careful With That Axe, Bruce
Thursday, 13 December 2001

As tribute bands go, the Australian Pink Floyd are a touch different: for a start they imitate a band that, on stage at least, have virtually no physical presence, so they are relieved the task of attempting to look like them.

Lead guitarist Steve McElroy - the David Gilmour of the band - does make some small gestures towards his cipher, the mic stand arrangement is identical, with the tuner strapped just so off a separate stalk. He even manages those strange facial gestures during the guitar solos that I remember so well from my time working with Gilmour in the early eighties. But essentially this is all about the music, and they don’t make a bad fist of it - indeed The Times is quoted on the band’s flyer as saying: "Probably the greatest tribute band in the world," which, in the wider scheme of things, places them on a par with Carlsberg Lager, entirely appropriate for an Aussie band.

The show opens in the Floyd tradition, with Shine on you Crazy Diamond, but thereafter plots its own course, and in so doing visits some of the more neglected corners of the Floyd pantheon. I must confess a nostalgic tear when I heard Dogs for what must be the first time in 20 years, and yes, sad git that I am, I have now dragged Animals out of my album collection. But as far as the audience is concerned, that’s entirely the point of the show, to evoke lost youth, and revisit the thrills of adolescence. That and the undisputed pleasure of hearing Comfortably Numb at volumes far outside the reaches of home hi-fi - it’s a lad thing you see, something to d

Spherical Projection by Hardware Xenon
Wednesday, 12 December 2001

Hardware Xenon's projection balloon is an innovative solution to the problem of high quality projection in lit areas, particularly suited to exhibitions, conferences, product launches and events. This projection balloon (registered model) which gives a very bright spherical image, can be placed at the top of a mast or hung in trussing.

The spherical balloon is inflated with air and classified M1 non-inflammable. The standard model is two metres in diameter and is placed at the top of a mast 3.4 metres high. This fits into the space normally available in exhibitions between the top of the stands and the authorized maximum height of five meters. At this height the balloon can be seen from afar, while the occupied ground space under the balloon is reduced to a minimum: the aluminium mast required is only 12cm square. For clients with particular needs, balloons of different diameters and masts of different heights can be provided.

The image covers two thirds of the sphere, it is sharp over the entire projected area, and the lighting is even. This innovation is possible thanks to the use of a 4000W OLS (Optimal Light System) projector equipped with a very wide angle lens with a very great depth of field, designed and manufactured by Hardware Xenon. The projector can hold 100 images and the projected image can scroll and turn in all directions.

New Ocean
Tuesday, 11 December 2001

Visitors to the Serpentine Gallery might have wondered what was going on when LA-based artist Doug Aitken brought his New Ocean exhibition to Kensington Gardens, London Crowning the mixed media installation, which included 20 video projectors supplied by DVS, and audio throughout the building supplied by Total Audio, were two Coef Show 250 scanners (programmed on a Compulite Spark console) - supplied by i-Vision in conjunction with Fentura Productions.


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