In what it believes to be a world first, Black Box-AV has just launched a CD listening post with a moving, dot matrix LED display. Installed in the new Virgin Megastore at Glasgow, the 3" wide by 3/4" high signs provide a welcome message prior to headphone pick up, together with a 'thank you' closing message when the headphones are replaced. Messages can be updated via PC or hand-held organisers such as Psion, although the post itself is not PC-based. The product is the latest in a new range of listening posts from Black Box-AV which include the bar code recognition system widely used throughout the Virgin Megastores. All these now utilise CD-ROM drives as the audio delivery mechanism.
From next spring, Bristol's visitors and residents will have access to one of the most sophisticated learning and leisure destinations in the world. An imaginative mix of science, nature and art, the £97 million at-Bristol landmark millennium project makes extensive used of advanced media techniques. The centre is home to two major attractions - the scientifically-led Explore-at-Bristol and Wildscreen-at-Bristol which will reveal the diversity of the natural world. The centre also includes an Imax large-format cinema and planetarium. As principal AV partner, Sony will provide a broad range of professional display solutions, including its PFM-500 professional flat screen monitors, VPL-S900 and VPL-X2000E LCD projectors, together with a range of monitors and LCD panels.
Giant outdoor screen specialist Screenco is celebrating its 15th anniversary this Spring . . . with brand new, much larger premises in Hampshire, UK. The company, which was founded in 1985, has grown to become one of the world's leading suppliers of giant CRT and LED outdoor screens and screen mobiles, with offices and associated companies based in the UK, Holland, Germany, Australia and the USA. The new HQ is at Fareham in Hampshire, around 10 miles from the former Eastleigh base. The 13,000sq.ft facility gives the company more than double the warehouse space of the old building and greatly improved office and workshop space. Screenco has also unveiled a brand new website which includes full details of the company's range of rental video screen, camera and portable production unit (PPU) services, equipment and key team members.
Pulsar recently hosted a new seminar to present the latest Clay Paky range of Display Line projectors to its UK reselller network. Each projector consists of a lighting unit, an objective lens and twin guides on which effects can be mounted. These can be combined in modular configurations and can be chosen from a range of optional extras. Each delegate in attendance was awarded a training certificate
An innovative joint technology and media partnership is giving fans of the Rugby Football Union's Six Nations Championship a giant screen view of the action at Twickenham. Screenco has teamed up with Blink TV, content providers for giant screens at sports event sand rock concerts, to offer the RFU a unique media proposition for the championship which benefits fans and sponsors alike. Under the deal, Screenco has installed at Twickenham the largest outdoor screen ever seen at a European sports stadium - an ultra-high resolution 76sq.m Sony JumboTron daylight screen. Blink TV, meanwhile, has negotiated on-screen advertising and sponsorship deals covering all of this year's matches at Twickenham.
Starlite Systems Technology (London) has announced its acquisition of data and intellectual property rights previously branded under the ShuttleCAD banner. The acquisition has spawned two new products into its family of industry-specific drawing software; Stardraw Audio and Stardraw AV. The data takes the form of thousands (approx. 12,000) high quality symbols of products by manufacturers active in the professional audio and A/V sectors. Starlite's Director of Software David Snipp explains: "In the past Starlite has provided the software engines that drove Stardraw and ShuttleCAD products, but the symbols we used were generally produced out of house. By bringing the manufacture of software and symbols under our control we can concentrate on development and let our distributors deal with the selling."
Corporate event specialists Set 'n' Stage has completed a major set-building contract for Powerhouse Productions at Center Parc in Longleat, for a two-day convention held by Walkers Crisps. The contract included the building of a stage 40ft wide by 12ft high, as well as the supply of two front-projection 10ft by 7.5ft Fast Fold screens, which were designed into the set, as well as 5ft-wide logos for Walkers and Pringles. Production manager was Powerhouse's Phil Page, and Set 'n' Stage crew included Ron Golan and Rod Wallington.
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.