MA Lighting’s grandMA control system made a big impact with lighting designer Chris Jaeger at the PLASA Show last September. Jaeger, a lighting designer with 20 years’ experience, was impressed enough by what he saw to follow up the demo with a more extensive evaluation of the desk at UK distributor AC Lighting Ltd’s new demonstration suite in High Wycombe.
From there, AC offered to loan a desk to Jaeger for a forthcoming production of Jack and the Beanstalk at the Queens Theatre in Hornchurch, Essex. The production, directed by Matt Devitt, with set design by Dinah England, was set to run through seven weeks in December and January. Jaeger, along with the Queens Theatre’s house technician Dave Starmer, who handled the programming of the show, were full of praise for the system, with particular emphasis on the system’s programming facilities. "It’s really straightforward," explained Jaeger, "it can be as easy or as complicated as you want to make it. We were changing the desk as we went along, setting it up to suit our particular way of working."
Once the show was programmed, the grandMA was returned to AC Lighting, who then provided a grandMA Light desk for the duration of the show. (Incidentally - Clay Paky take note - great praise was also reserved for their Stage Line fixtures which were used on the production: "When I saw the Clay Paky fixtures, I just thought they would be too small to do the job, but I was wrong: the speed at which they move and the light output and colour are very impressive."
The international conference on Theatre Engineering and Architecture 2002 will take place between 16th and 18th June 2002, in London.
Focusing on stage technology in its widest sense, and covering all types of performance venue, this is the first international conference structured to attract theatre technicians, architects, consultants, designers, engineers and acousticians, as well as administrators, building owners and project managers. The conference includes discussion on the current trends in stage machinery and other stage technologies, alongside debate about the types of, and need for, new buildings. The implications of new and existing regulations are to be examined, as well as the process of designing and constructing one of the most complex types of building. The conference, which is being presented by the Association of British Theatre Technicians in conjunction with its Industry Supporters Group and the Organisation Internationale des Scénographes, Techniciens et Architectes de Théâtre, is being sponsored by the international stage engineering industry.
Cologne-based audio rental company, Toneheads, has bought a pair of Allen & Heath ML4000 mixing consoles for use on the hit comedy television show TV Total. The programme is produced by Brainpool for the ProsiebenSat.1 network and stars cult German TV personality and former Eurovision contestant, Stefan Raab. A 48-channel ML4000 console provides the house mix and broadcast feed, whilst a 32-channel version fulfills monitoring duties.
Their experience of using the consoles for TV Total has given Toneheads the confidence to invest in another two ML4000s. These additional mixers will be used in the production of two more successful ProsiebenSat.1 programmes, Wochenshow and Elton TV. The consoles were supplied by Expotus, the exclusive Allen & Heath distributor in Germany. ML4000 is a 23-buss live sound console with eight VCA groups, eight audio groups, 12 aux sends and an 11 x 4 matrix.
I half expected there to be fleets of Parka clad spotty youths on spangled scooters outside the venue. The billing alone was enough to evoke a mid sixties revival - the Who? Watford Town Hall? Surely not?
L&SI does not take lightly the privilege to exclusively witness this unique event, many thanks to Bill Curbishley (manager), Mick Double (production manager) and Tom Kenny (lighting designer) for their kindness.
In essence this was one of two warm-up venues for the Who’s brief residency at the Albert Hall - but of course, it was also so much more than that. How often do less than a thousand punters get the chance to see a band of this stature in such intimate surroundings? Feeling like the David Attenborough of R’n’R, I recognised instantly the natural habitat of this wildest of beasts, a seminal rock band in a provincial shoebox.
Mick Double joined the band as Keith Moon’s drum roadie in 1970, later progressing to production manager. With such a rare perspective on their career I asked him how this differs from their more usual outing? "It’s a better quality experience, for both the band and the punters. And it’s louder," he added half jokingly. "No seriously, it’s better for them (the band) and it does stimulate them. We cut our cloth accordingly and have gone for a small sound system tailored to the venue." The Entec supplied d&b C4 system might be just that, small, tiny even, but as it transpired Double’s comment was hardly a jest, it was very loud. And with the Who you shouldn’t have it a
Shure unveiled its new Performance Gear Microphones at this year's Winter NAMM. The line, which is due to ship in the first quarter of 2002, is ideal for both the first-time buyer and the musician looking for reasonably-priced, application-specific microphones. Comprising six models designed for vocals and various instruments, all Performance Gear microphones come packaged with cables and mounting accessories to provide plug-and-play simplicity, as well as rugged reliability for onstage performance. As a complement to its individual models, the Performance Gear line additionally includes a pair of drum mic kits, both of which come in their own carrying cases.
Vocal models include the PG48 and PG58. The PG48, created for speech and karaoke, has a cardioid pick-up pattern and a smooth frequency response. For more demanding vocal applications such as lead and back-up vocals, the PG58 offers a more tailored frequency response, an even tighter cardioid pattern, an internal shock mount to further reduce handling noise, and a dent-resistant hardened ball grille.
A versatile microphone designed to be utilized with either amplified or acoustic instruments, the dynamic PG57 is equally at home on guitar amps, brass or saxophones. Also created for instrument use, the highly sensitive PG81 is a condenser mic offering a flat response curve for detailed reproduction of acoustic instruments and overheads. The PG52 and PG56 are built for drums that feature integral swivel mounts. Tuned to capture the low-end punch of kick drums, the PG52 can also be used on bass guitar amps, while the
Incubus are currently enjoying a sold out world tour, coinciding with the runaway success of third album, Morning View.
The lighting designer for the tour is Joe Paradise, who took the bold step of choosing an all-Martin MAC moving light rig - there’s not a generic light in sight! So far, 16 MAC 600s, four 500s, eight 300s, ten 250s and four 2000s have been Paradise’s tools, arranged between two trusses and the floor, operated by Paradise using a WholeHog II console.
In the supply seat are the US and UK operations of Bandit Lites, who are providing lighting for the whole tour, which kicked off on September 14th and also takes in Japan and Australia before returning to play three months’ worth of arenas in the US. Paradise is a hands-on LD and currently it’s just him and Bandit US crew-member Geddy Kordyjaka in the lighting department, although the system was boosted in terms of fixtures and crew for the Wembley show.
FOH sound engineer is Greg Nelson, a man who loves his sub bass, and who has been with Incubus for three years. The sound suppliers in the US are Illinois-based DB Sound, with the UK and European sound rig supplemented by Britannia Row.
Nelson is using the new EV X-Line line array system for the tour. At Wembley, his usual main FOH PA system became the side fills, and the main stacks role was fulfilled by the EV X-Array boxes. The mix is handled on a Midas Heritage 3000 which is Nelson’s desk of choice. "It’s smaller, lighter, purple and looks cool," he comments. He also likes the smoothness, presence and
The film and TV equipment hire business of VFG Plc has been bought from administrative receivers KPMG by a management team backed by HBoS and ING Barings. In a deal worth £15million, the new company - VFG Hire Ltd - comprises the operational business of VFG Plc, together with its principal assets and liabilities.
VFG Plc went into administrative receivership on 20 December 2001, having found itself over invested in new equipment. The new operation will operate as a private company, and is headed by executive chairman Bill Gore who has been advising the company for some time on the restructuring process. By mutual agreement Richard Dunkley steps down as managing director. Bob Sutcliffe will be joining the board as a non-executive director and Keith Long will be its new finance director. Graham Hawkins and Bill Summers remain as heads of the camera and lighting operations respectively.
The company is also taking the unusual step of assuming responsibility for many trade supplier arrangements entered into by VFG Plc prior to administrative receivership.
One of the most enduring effects in the club scene is the Strobeflower from Luton-based lighting specialists, OPTI. When it was first launched, it proved an instant hit with promoters because it combined laser-like effects without the cost and complexity associated with true lasers. As a result, it has become one of the all-time classic effects for concerts, clubs and events all over the world.
Now it’s received an important updating which puts it right back into the forefront of dance music theatre. OPTI has introduced a DMX to Analogue converter box that can be used with its Club Strobeflower, Terrastrobe or the Shutter/Dimming option of the K Range projectors to allow easier control from a central lighting desk. Taking advantage of this development, UK lighting hire company Colour Sound Experiment (CSE) based in Park Royal, London, have converted their entire hire stock of OPTI Club Strobeflowers. These have since been featured on tours by dance acts, Orbital and The Bays, as well as at The End’s recent sixth birthday celebrations.
CSE’s Haydn Cruickshank told us: "The Strobeflower effect has remained unique to OPTI since the heyday of the rave scene more than 10 years ago. There’s no other lighting effect, except a laser, that comes anywhere near it. Now OPTI have provided a DMX control option we see a resurgence in its popularity, which is why I chose to convert our stock over. The dedicated analogue controller can still be used with the OPTI Club Strobeflowers, but hooking them into DMX makes them so much simpler to rig and operating
Show Presentation Services has appointed Mike Fisher as its head of lighting, following Stephen Prince's return to lighting design on a freelance basis.
Mike Fisher joined SPS in 1999 as Prince's right-hand man and over the last two years the duo have established SPS as a major player in the conference lighting market. He told us: "Everyone at SPS was unhappy to see Stephen Prince leave, but his ideas, drive and vision have given us a great platform. Now it’s my job to let our established clients know how the SPS lighting department can help them whilst maintaining the highest standards."
Mike Fisher was previously sales and marketing director of Cerebrum Lighting and was part of the team that established the brands of Celco and Powerdrive in the eighties and nineties. More recently he had returned to freelance lighting design whilst continuing marketing strategy with Lightstorm.
Britannia Row Productions (BRP) has added Jim Alexander to its ranks. Alexander is that classic of the industry, a former ENTS man from his time at college, who now specializes in the corporate event market.
"Although my first steps in audio were with live bands, it’s always been my ambition to service the corporate sector and do it properly," said Alexander. "I left college and immediately worked with a local PA company in Crawley who had an F2 system. A little hairy for a first system, I soon learned the fundamentals of sound control." A few years later Alexander established Forefront Audio with Jim Mills from Blue Box, determined to make the jump to corporate presentation. "Unfortunately, as with so many fledgling companies, we couldn’t service the jobs and provide the infrastructure and support they required simultaneously. We were either mixing the show or running the office, but never both, and corporate clients require a consistent presence. That’s why I’m pleased to take up this position with Britannia Row."
BRP Director Mike Lowe added: "Britannia Row is known primarily as a touring/concert company, but we have always been in the large special events market. In recent years we have had significant growth in the live audience broadcast market. Bringing Jim on board means a natural extension to these activities, and broadens our overall usefulness in meeting the requirements of our customers."
Britannia Row’s corporate work in January and February includes projects for such end clients as C
Northamptonshire County Council is the first Council in Britain to have a Virtual Audio Network. The system, CDS-VAN, has come from Brähler ICS UK Ltd, as has a microphone and voting system, CDS-200. The latter was chosen to improve both the overall management of meetings and the audibility of the proceedings. The Council Chamber is now equipped with 74 councillors’ units. Each of these has removable directional microphones with in-built speakers to enhance audio reproduction. And the chairman’s unit has a priority button which gives it an override facility.
The system, supplied through Willow Communications of Northampton, was selected after an extensive evaluation process that involved other manufacturers, its unobtrusiveness and user friendly operation securing it the contract. The CDS-200 includes an integrated digital voting system. To signal a vote, delegates simply press a button for yes/no/abstain. Results are immediately displayed in the operator’s console. Moreover, the company’ chip-card technology ensures that authorised councillors only can vote.
Brahler’s Mark McGlynn added: "There are a number of refinements that complement the CDS-200 set-up at Northampton. It provides public address reinforcement to the public galleries by employing NXT flat panel speakers, and infrared technology to enable the hard-of-hearing to pick up messages better. In addition, portable radio microphones are very handy for presentation purposes. In fact, transmissions from them can be relayed via the in-built speakers, the PA, and the hard-of-h
Many of the top names in the lighting industry watched as the new Vari-Lite VL1000 ellipsoidal reflector spotlight was put through its paces in collaboration with the Vari-Lite Series 2000 products at a recent open day hosted by Vari-Lite. The demonstration took place on Thursday, 7 February at The Manhattan Center Studios Grand Ballroom in New York. "The VL1000 continues the Vari-Lite tradition of providing the most reliable and innovative lighting systems available on the market," Bob Schacherl, Vari-Lite vice president of sales and marketing, told those in attendance.
Attendees, which included some of the top lighting professionals on Broadway, were treated to an exhibition showcasing the VL1000 ERS. Also on display, were the VL2202 spot luminaire, the VL2402 wash luminaire and the VL2416 wash luminaire.
Following the demise of Out Board Electronics Ltd, which entered into voluntary liquidation in November 2001, the ‘assets, name and goodwill’ of the company have been purchased from the liquidators by the company’s original founder and inventor of TiMax, Robin Whittaker, and former commercial director, Dave Haydon.
Whittaker and Haydon have incorporated a new company called Sheriff Technology Ltd, which will trade under the ‘Out Board’ name. The new company will focus its core business on TiMax and its applications, as well as future peripheral and related audio and media technology development and marketing. The company is establishing manufacturing and marketing joint-ventures in chain-hoist motor control, PAT testing and AC distro in order to maintain and develop market support and growth in these technology sectors.
For its core audio control products sector, the company has entered into a UK manufacturing partnership with a division of Solid State Logic (SSL) to enable the ongoing supply of TiMax Rack Systems and TiMax ImageMakers to the pro audio marketplace. Systems are available for delivery now, and the company intends to expand its rental and production support programme to include flexible rental and lease/purchase programs alongside a pool of experienced and trained TiMax sound designers and show programmers/operators.
Telephone and fax numbers remain as before, although new address details apply: Out Board Electronics (Sheriff Technology Ltd), Magna House, Dales Manor Business Park, Sawston, Cambridge, CB2 4TJ, UK.
PSL is the first video projection rental company in the UK and US to invest in High End Systems' new Catalyst image manipulation system, which turns ordinary video projectors into artistic tools. Winner of five technical awards in 2001-2002, Catalyst offers users a unique new tool that integrates the video and lighting industries.
At the heart of the system is the Catalyst Media Server (video processing computer and video/DMX interface). This provides an unlimited range of real-time image processing capabilities. Designers can load their own still or moving images or select from an extensive library of stock files. They can then scale, rotate, zoom, edit, morph, colour mix or overlay to create the desired effect. Images can be projected anywhere in three-dimensional space using Catalyst's unique orbital movement system. The head provides 250 degrees by 360 degrees of movement and can be fitted to most high-powered video projectors.
PSL has currently bought three Catalyst systems, two for the UK and one for its US Division. Mick Scullion, head of PSL's Lighting Division told us: "We’ve bought Catalyst because it uses the most up-to-date technology to produce a system that can create visual effects never seen before. All our lighting designers have shown great interest in the product and feel that it will give a new visual dimension to all our live shows, be they corporate events, product launches or concerts."
PSL is also in the exclusive position of being able to offer clients an in-house graphics and video production facility to complement the Catalys
Entering a high-profile competition to win a superb HK Audio Projector PA system as recently run by Music Mart magazine certainly paid off big time for one lucky reader. Trying not to look too stunned as he collected his sound reinforcement haul was Farnborough-based winner, Richard Payne. Richard, 21, who works in customer services in an energy management company, is a big fan of the south of England’s techno scene, and had been saving hard for a deposit for a decent PA system when he received the good news.
Richard collected an £8999 3.6kW self-powered active Projector system from the head office of exclusive HK Audio UK & Eire distributors, John Hornby Skewes & Co. Ltd. Richard is already making plans for his new system, including getting it out working on the South’s techno circuit, and setting it up on a pitch at Glastonbury 2002.
From the opening ceremonies until the last medal is awarded, Vari-Lite Inc will play a prominent role in lighting the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. More than 1,200 Vari*Lite luminaires are being used to light events within and surrounding the Olympic Games, including the nightly concerts following the medals presentations at the medals plaza.
Rusty Brutsché, chairman and CEO of Vari-Lite, said: "Just as the athletes have spent years training for the competition, organizers have shown the same dedication in preparing for the way the games and events are presented. We were up here exactly a year ago for a trial run on the opening ceremonies, so it has been a painstaking process to make sure the proper equipment is in place and being used. Vari-Lite is extremely proud to be an integral part in the way these events are presented worldwide."
A lighting package that included 204 VL2416 wash luminaires, 146 VL5 wash luminaires, 238 VL5Arc wash luminaires, 54 VL6 spot luminaires, 52 VL6C spot luminaires, 126 VL7 spot luminaires and two Virtuoso control systems lit the opening ceremonies and will be used during closing ceremonies on 24 February. Bob Dickinson is the lighting designer for the events. He is supported by lighting directors Andy O'Reilly and David Grill.
The medals plaza, which was designed by lighting designer Bob Barnhart, features a turntable stage that rotates following each night's medals presentation to form a headliner stage for concerts from artists such as Alanis Morissette, Sheryl Crow, Creed, Dave Matthews Band, *NSYNC, Foo Fig
Blackout Triple E recently supplied two striking theatrical backdrops for the St. James’s Place Group’s one day annual company meeting held at The Royal Albert Hall. Attended by nearly 2,500 employees, the event successfully fused the annual meeting with St. James’s Place’ tenth anniversary celebrations.
Blackout Triple E’s creative team worked closely with the show producers Creating Sunshine, to realize the creative effect of the complex stage design. A stunning 16 x 6 metre fine grey gauze drape was custom designed, manufactured and hand painted at Blackout’s South London facility, to work as a semi-opaque screen in the foreground. This also provided a canvas onto which a light show, designed by Quentin Jarman, was projected from both sides. In addition Blackout supplied 30 metres of starcloth as the backdrop to achieve a galaxy-like effect.
The recent Pop Idol and the current Johnny Vaughan show have been two of the UK's top music entertainment shows over the past months, and just part of the client roster of newly-formed TV sound suppliers, Plus 4 Audio. In order to continue to service its clients’ needs, the company has recently invested in three Klark Teknik DN1248 Plus microphone splitters supplied by Marquee Audio, with a fourth to come at the end of the month.
Plus 4's Stewart Chaney explains why he decided to create the company. "Quite simply I was frustrated at the lack of high quality audio facilities for TV, particularly in the music and entertainment sector where the need is particularly pressing. Having come from a rock and roll/corporate environment, both of which are extremely well provided for, I wanted to create the same service for the market I now work in, which is TV broadcasting, and so Plus 4 Audio was born."
The next question to address was equipment. "It soon became obvious that a high quality splitter system would make a big difference to the quality of service we could provide, so Fred Jackson, who does a lot of work with me, and I scoured the market to see what was available. We both felt that the DN1248 Plus from KT was the best system on the market for our requirements." For peace of mind Stewart decided upon the factory fitted dual power supply option for all of the units. "In live TV, failure is not an option," he stated.
Fred Jackson, currently using the three DN1248 Plus's on Johnny Vaughan Tonight, agrees. "There isn't nearly so
AMS Neve has recently signed an initial one-year sponsorship deal with the Music Producers Guild (MPG). The aim of the sponsorship deal is to help further the profile and work carried out by the MPG and to maintain AMS Neve's awareness amongst the producer community. AMS Neve supplies analogue and digital mixing consoles and hard disk recorder/editors to facilities worldwide.
The MPG is an association made up of over 300 record producers, recording engineers and programmers. Andy East, MPG chairman says: "AMS Neve's sponsorship package is another significant development for the continued growth and future of the MPG. It underlines our commitment to the membership in aligning ourselves with an established and highly respected manufacturer that recognizes our members' contribution to the recording industry."
As part of their commitment to education, the MPG will continue to develop its successful UK-wide university tour and Specialist Interest Group (SIG) seminar programmes.
Following the sudden death last month of its founder and managing director Bob Salt, RW Salt Communications has announced the appointment of its new general manager, Craig Buckley. In a statement from the company, RW Salt’s chairman, Richard A Lyon, said: "It is to Bob’s credit that even though he was taken away so unexpectedly, he left everything in good order, which has enabled our company to function very well indeed."
Lyon also welcomed Buckley to the company. Buckley, who is well known to many in the audio industry, joins RW Salt from Bose, where he had worked for 10 years, recently as national sales manager.
Laser Magic won the prestigious contract for the 2002 Skyworks laser show on the 26 January 2002. The laser team arrived one week before the event to install and programme the show to a custom soundtrack. Very large distances where involved with this event and to this end Laser Magic used (for the first time) the new Coherent Corona diode YAG laser, which has an output in excess of 80W. This was sited at Perth’s famous Bell Tower and is one of the largest entertainment laser systems in the marketplace.
Several other lasers were also used, including Emerald 40W Nd YAG lasers and some smaller 10W CW YAG lasers. Laser Magic even had a laser system bolted on to a fast motorboat, which created special effects as it travelled across the bay shooting beams in to the night sky. In total, five laser systems were used on this show all controlled via the latest Pangolin 2000 software and each system utilised SMPTE for show control. Laser Magic has already won the Skyworks 2003 contract and will be using both the StratoSphere and barges plus even more lasers.
South London-based creative exhibition lighting specialists Stage Light Design started the year busily, lighting two stands at the BETT education/technology show in the Grand Hall at Olympia. It’s the seventh year that the company has been involved with clients at BETT. This year both Intel and RM benefited from their lighting schemes.
Intel’s stand was straightforward for SLD, who lit a stage area and lectern used for presentations with Par 56 lanterns, controlled by a Pulsar Rock Desk and dimmers. The RM stand was more complex: as one of the UK’s leading suppliers of software and hardware to the educational market, RM wanted their stand to have plenty of impact. The stand design was totally new and included two demonstration theatres that were continuously in use. Lighting was designed by SLD’s Alastair Crooks, who lit the theatres with Par 56 and Par 36 lanterns for general stage lighting. Around the sides of the demo areas were numerous graphics, some screen printed onto voile material, which is particularly reactive to light, and others that were screened onto tinted glass. SLD highlighted all these graphics with Par 30 fixtures.
The stand’s massive ceiling canopy was illuminated with Par 64 cans programmed as a cross-fading colour wash effect, all controlled from a Jands Event desk, with Celco dimming. The stand designer in both cases was Surrey-based 2LK. Upcoming work for Stage Light Design includes the creative lighting design and consultancy for two stands at NAB in Las Vegas in April. The same two stands will then go on to IBC in
Laser Studio - part of the i-Vision Group - has launched the latest addition to its new I-scan Performer range of DPSS (Diode Pumped Solid State) lasers. Following recent breakthroughs in diode technology, Laser Studio has produced the UK’s first commercially available Colour DPSS laser for under £20,000.
Laser Studio’s new 1W colour unit currently offers eight modulated colour outputs. The aim is to develop the system into a 256 fully modulated colour system in the future. This product, say Laser Studio, heralds a major change in laser technology and is an important step forward in replacing older, inefficient equipment that required complex cooling and hefty electrical supplies.
The ‘Beam in a Box’ concept - and specifically this product - has been designed with the conference, exhibition and club markets in mind, although it will also be suitable for theatrical and live performance applications. The new laser weighs just 31kgs, is approximately the size of a small travel case and plugs into a 13 amp socket. Brightness wise - utilising the high efficiency of the diode lightsource, this DPSS laser has an efficiency of 10:1 over ion technology, and the diode lifetime is expected to be in excess of 10,000 hours.
Laser Studio’s Geoff Jones comments: "This is the first of the new series of DPSS lasers we’re releasing over the next year. Thanks to diode technology, we can banish forever the ‘Here come the plumbers’ syndrome, whilst making available a highly affordable, bright, easy to rig-and-use laser for a huge diver
The new EVO speaker system from JBL Professional has been installed at the high profile Teatr Komedia in Warsaw. The theatre, built in the 19th century, is one of the busiest and most successful in Poland, primarily due to its popular and accessible programme of entertainment.
The theatre was looking for a dynamic and highly precise sound system that would be applicable for a wide variety of shows. They approached JBL’s Polish distributor Polsound, with whom they have worked previously and arranged for a demonstration of the system. Impressed by what they heard, the technical team gave the go ahead for the design, supply and installation of the EVO/JBL system which was overseen by Polsound’s Wojciech Puczynski & Pawel Danikiewicz.
Four EVOi.324 speakers are used for the main auditorium left and right arrays. They are joined by two JBL Marquis Series MS28s for centre fills in the front rows of the stalls. Two low-profile JBL Array 4893A sub-woofers are rigged above the centre fills. This slightly unorthodox position was chosen because of limited options for placement. However it works extremely well for sound effects, blasting additional low end energies out over the stalls.
Four channels of surround sound throughout the curved auditorium are pumped out by an additional ten MS28s, making a total of seven discreet channels of sound, plus a low frequency subwoofer channel in the venue. All signals are routed through a Crown USM810 digital matrix mixer (now the BSS PSS8810), which takes care of all dynamics processing, delays, crossovers etc. The system uses a