Screenco and parent company Avesco PLC have today announced the acquisition of Unitek Displays' rental operation. Unitek introduced the Megascreen to the entertainment market in 1997 and since that time has made significant improvements to the product and established a growing rental business from its Gerards Cross base. With immediate effect all the rental equipment will transfer to Screenco and the business will be integrated into Screenco's existing European rental operations located in the UK and Holland. The deal includes the purchase of 120sq.m of existing modular LED equipment and a commitment to purchase a further 164sq.m of Unitek's latest LED system for delivery during the summer months. More on this story in the April issue of L&SI.
The new Vari-Lite Virtuoso control console, previewed throughout 1999 and already working on major shows in the USA, is making its European touring debut this spring with six weeks of shows by Dutch chart-topping artist Marco Borsato. VLPS Amsterdam is supplying a substantial Vari*Lite rig for the shows. Central to the rig is the Virtuoso console, officially launched at PLASA and LDI last autumn, which is in command of both the Vari*Lite and conventional lighting systems plus 12 VL7, 12 VL6B) spot luminaires, 26 VL5 wash luminaires. Conventionals (supplied by Focus Showequipment) include nine 4-Lite Molefays with Wybron Scrollers, 12 ETC Source Four Profiles and three smoke machines under DMX control. The current tour is playing 1,500-2,000 seater theatres but in October a string of large arena dates including the Ahoy in Holland and the Sportpaleis in Antwerp has already sold out.
Following exploratory visits by Iain Mackintosh, Theatre Projects Consultants has been appointed by the Government of Gibraltar to advise on the reopening of the Theatre Royal Gibraltar, which has been dark since 1969. A business plan will be prepared before work starts on the re-modeling of an important theatre parts of which date back to 1847 on a site where a theatre has stood since 1826 serving both the Spanish and English speaking communities.
Leading members of the Association of Professional Recording Services (APRS) and the Professional Lighting & Sound Association (PLASA) have been working towards closer links between the two Associations. PLASA MD Matthew Griffiths and APRS chief executive Mark Broad have identified a raft of common interests which could result in the conversion of APRS membership into PLASA. "The two associations have enjoyed a communicative relationship over the last few years," states Griffiths, "and during that time APRS approached PLASA with a view to working closer on areas such as trade mission support and publishing. This proved to be successful, and a conversation was then started as to how this relationship could be expanded to the benefit of all concerned. PLASA will invite the entire membership of the APRS to join PLASA to maintain an effective voice for the recording technology industry." Meanwhile Broad has announced the postponement of the next APRS show until June 2001, in order to maximise the benefits of integrating APRS within the PLASA umbrella. With the support of the recording technology industry, PLASA will now look at running the Recording Technology exhibition in 2001, building on the successes of '99. Full story April L&SI.
Audio Motion, a computer generated graphics (CGI) and motion capture specialist, recently used Sennheiser UHF radio microphone systems to record vocals for a new television commercial featuring cult heroine Lara Croft. Produced for Sega in several different languages, the advert was handled by studio manager Des Tong, who was also responsible for the original music composition and sound effect creation. Tong explains: "We added a CG Lara to live footage using both full-body and facial motion capture. I recorded the voice-overs with the Sennheiser MKE-2 attached to a pair of HD25 headphones to enable the special Vicon cameras to see the 63 small reflective markers attached to the actresses face. Using the SK3063 UHF transmitter and an EM3031 receiver, the audio can be recorded in sync with the facial movements giving a realistic performance."
The 12th International Live Music Conference (ILMC) attracted a record total of over 600 delegates on March 9-12. The event was staged at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, West London, with sponsors Carlsberg. More than 40 countries and occupations spanning the entire spectrum of the business side of the live music industry were represented by the invitation-only attendance. Delegates took in four days of scheduled events, conferences and breakout sessions covering issues including event safety, emerging European markets, e-commerce and the rapid growth of downloadable music through MP3 and similar Internet formats. Saturday night's highlight was the annual Arthurs Awards, ILMC's light-hearted take on industry awards. Full report April L&SI.
Lite Structures' success in set building continues with its construction of the Michael Flatley Feet of Flames scenic elements. In collaboration with Brilliant Stages, who built the main stage and lifts, the set incorporates multi-level LiteDeck platforms and stairways together with a pair of 8m tall sliding doors as the central feature. These doors have an opening width of 13m which allow the whole cast to pass through together, yet take only 30 minutes to assemble during the hectic get in period.
The Barco Group is closing the 1999 financial year with a group turnover of 28.6 billion BEF, compared with 26.436 billion BEF for 1998. This represents an 8% increase. Within this, Barco Projection Systems saw its turnover increase by almost 5%. This was probably limited by only partial recuperation of the loss in market share, especially in the USA, after the fire in the projectors factory in Kuurne in February 1998. During the course of 1999 however, Barco started to catch up with the introduction of the ELM projector based on the DLP technology of Texas Instruments. The year was also marked by some important structural changes within Barco Projection Systems with the business structured into five divisions.
The Entertainment Laser Association (ELA) has introduced two new membership categories - nightclubs and laser jockeys. These are both aimed at encouraging participation in the organisation from the expanding club market - currently enjoying a renaissance in active laser use. The existing members of ELA - which includes all the UK's major entertainment laser rental and sales companies - reap many benefits. These include use of the organisation's comprehensive risk assessment document, legal updates, newsletters and literature, promotion via the ELA web site and lists of ELA approved companies and crew. The organisation is also engaged in an on-going programme of research and development into the safe and professional use of lasers in the entertainment industry.
The Dome in Whiteley Bay has recently installed a new DAS Sound System. The installation was carried out by freelance sound engineer Mickey Ware, in conjunction with Colin Rowell from Arcadia Leisure with equipment supplied by London-based Sensible Music. The main truss featured four RF212s running in conjunction with a pair of Sub18s on the floor, complemented by six RF115 monitors. As a listed building the Dome presented specific problems as Ware explains: "We had to be careful how things were flown, and the shape also posed problems when it came to the acoustics. In order to achieve a real surround feel to the system we used DAS Factor 5 compact monitors around the periphery of the building to act as in-fills. Finally, we used factor 8s in the bar area for playback music and also on the trussing and spot-fills for some dead spots off to the side of the stage."
TMB Associates is about to move its London operations to a 12,000sq.ft facility in Brentford's dockland. Paul Hartley, general manager of TMB UK told PLASA Publishing: "Over the past couple of years our sales have really grown in the British, European and World markets. The new building has lots of room for extra stock and more people, to help us better serve both our existing and new customers." As most of the industry knows, TMB Associates is a distributor of entertainment lighting equipment, supplies and services, not to mention socks, and has been serving the professional lighting industry for 17 years. The new UK office will be open for business on April 3 at 2 Commerce Road, Brentford, Middlesex TW8 8LR. Tel: +44 (0) 20 8560 9652 Fax: +44 (0) 20 8560 1064
Theatre Projects Consultants has been commissioned by the Singapore Tourism board and the National Art Council in Singapore to advise on the planning, design and construction of a new theatre in Singapore's Chinatown. Currently referred to as the Village Theatre, the new venue will occupy a one-block site on South Bridge Street in the heart of Chinatown. David Staples of TPC is leading the team preparing the brief for the Theatre and determining the size, form and type of theatre to be constructed on the site. DP Architects of Singapore have been appointed as the architects for the projects. They are also working with TPC on the Esplanade - Singapore's major new arts centre.
QSC has launched the RMX series of power amplifiers. Three models range in power from 430W to 1200W per channel @ 2 ohms, all in a compact chassis, two rack spaces high and less than 16" deep. All RMX amps boast comprehensive features including XLR and ¼" balanced inputs, Speakon and binding post outputs - which allow users a choice of connectors, user-defeatable clip limiters and user-selectable low-frequency filters - optimising the performance for any audio system.
Sibelius Hall, the new concert hall in Lahti, Finland, opened its doors in March. Designed as the permanent home for the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, the Hall consists of three elements - the concert/congress hall, the Forest Hall and a renovated former carpentry factory. Artec Consultants of New York provided the theatre planning, acoustics consulting services and sound and communication system design for the venue. The concert/congress hall design includes a moving acoustic canopy, acoustic control curtains and acoustic banners. We will carry more on this in a future issue of L&SI.
To address the growing fitness market, Cloud has developed a new multi-source audio distribution system. At its heart lies the Cloud Pump Station 16, which has the capacity to connect up to 16 remotely controlled stereo headphone outlets with a choice of up to eight stereo line level music sources or programmes, plus voice-over, alarm or microphone override. For larger venues the system is expandable, using the Sub Station 8. The Pump Station 16's powerful headphone amplifiers provide a selection of high quality musical programmes to individual locations via a small, personal control unit - the RH-8. This can be easily mounted to almost any exercise equipment and allows the user to select from a choice of up to eight programme sources and to set a preferred volume level. The audio is delivered via a pair of customised, lightweight stereo headphones, made for Cloud by Sennheiser.
R&W Sound Engineering has recently installed a complete audio system into the new London lounge bar, Mono. As customers would be unlikely to benefit from the advantages of a stereo image R&W specified a mono sound system, designed to be operated by staff with basic technical experience, is used for background music, DJ sets and live music sessions.Involved in the project from the outset, R&W's recommendation of a mono audio system, led to the name and theme of the members-only bar. The audio system's main source is a Marantz CC38/Pro 5-disc CD player, which feeds the system via a Cloud SX133 two-zone mixer and ARX EQ30 graphic equaliser. A separate Mackie 1402-VLz Pro mixer, connected via a recessed wall socket to the main system is used for live events. An ARX Microdrive three-channel amplifier drives four ARX Micromax loudspeakers and a hidden ARX sub-woofer.
Strand Lighting's new 300 Series consoles, combining Pentium-class processing and the essential featureset of the flagship 500 Series, is set to make its UK debut at the ABTT Show in London (5-6 April). Modules may be arranged in any order or pattern and may be detached up to 100 metres apart. Interconnection between modules is via Strand S Buss communication system over Cat 5 cable, with RJ 45 connectors for simple low cost connectivity. Starting with the 24/48 and 48/96 memory manual desks, the series progresses through the 125 and 250 channel memory systems, designed to meet the needs of small to medium facilities. Completing the 300 Series consoles is a family of four Showcontrollers. An extension of the powerful 510 Showcontroller, the new 310s offer full support for MIDI, ASCII and SMPTE show control.
PLASA Publishing has learnt that Canford Audio founder Iain Elliott is to acquire the business of the long-established UK pro audio distribution, installation and manufacturing company Audio Systems Components (ASC). Elliott left Canford at the end of last year and said at the time that he was looking for a fresh challenge. The industry, though, has not yet seen the back of Len Lewis, ASC's founder, who will continue to work alongside Elliott for a while, bringing to a conclusion current contracts before gently easing into the back seat.
Geodesic domes for outdoor use have been introduced by Tecna International, one of the few companies in the UK to manufacture this type of structure. The Domes come in a range of sizes up to 10 metres in a diameter and installation times are rapid with coverings fully waterproofed and fire retardant.
The London Hippodrome has recently installed a new Pulsar control system. The state-of-the-art console features four new Masterpiece 216s and is capable of controlling the vast 1,500 channel Clay Paky and generic lighting rig. Each Masterpiece has a specific section of the lighting linked to it making programming extremely logical and structured. A MIDI keyboard and MIDI enabled PC communicate with the Masterpieces to synchronise powerful lightshows that can be programmed and recalled instantly for any occasion. The rig houses seven huge motorised satellites, each with six moving petal arms. The control of these has been integrated into the new system via five Masterpiece Replay Units. The complex articulation of the moving rig is accessed through a Touch Screen PC, that commands and mimics the massive structure.
Sutton Coldfield College secured the first Spirit 324 Live mixer from the Birmingham branch of LMC Audio Systems, having attended one of the successful Spirit 324 workshops hosted by LMC at the Live! Show. The desk will be principally used as a training tool for students attending the Theatre Technicians Course. However, as the hub of the theatre's sound system, it will handle a diverse range of activities and will also be interfacing via MIDI with the lighting desk enabling one operator to control an entire show from the FOH position.
Zero 88 Lighting has appointed Graham Eales as sales and marketing manager. He joins from Selecon New Zealand, where he has been instrumental in raising its profile and performance throughout Europe. Eales has over ten years’ experience in the production and theatrical environments and having run a hire company in South Africa and been responsible for Selecon NZ’s sales in the Pacific Rim, Europe and North America. His takes on his new role in May.
Global Entertainment Technology Ltd has outgrown its existing office premises and is currently on the move to larger offices. The move coincides with the appointment of two new recruits to the business - Ian Brown and Stuart Fenwick both formerly of Martin Professional UK. The new contact details are as follows: 2nd Floor, Norman House, Beaver Industrial Estate, Ashford, Kent, TN23 7SH. Telephone: +44 (0) 1233 646 871 Fax: +44 (0) 1233 646 836.
When Bluetones tour LD Mark 'Video' was looking for a way to colour change the white belisha beacons that were a feature of the set for the group's performance at Shepherds Bush Empire, he turned to tour lighting supplier Brian Leitch of Art of Darkness for an answer. He, in turn, called in Tony Kingsley of Ambient Lighting to demonstrate the AVR Colourmaster. Following the demo, AOD subsequently purchased a number of CM50 heads for the tour which were then mounted to the globes projecting upwards from the base with the 40 degree lamp providing full coverage. The fact that the AVR central colour changer motor control accepts DMX meant that programming into the show was easy. A new 150W discharge lamp version has just been released and the higher light output compared with the MR16 units increases the range of potential applications for the AVR system.