Roxsett boss David Wilson has been sentenced at Canterbury Crown Court to eight years imprisonment for smuggling £4.27 million worth of ecstasy into Britain. Wilson, whose clients included the Spice Girls, was stopped in June this year with 125 kilos of ecstasy tablets as he drove a rental truck through customs at Dover. His young daughter was in the cab with him. In mitigation, Aidan Marron QC said Wilson was forced to smuggle the ecstasy into Britain by a "vicious" gang of "serious and professional criminals". "He was threatened with a sawn-off shotgun. He feared a loss of life if he didn't obey their orders," Mr Marron said. Wilson pleaded guilty to one count of importing Class A drugs but had smuggled the illegal cargo under duress, Mr Marron said.
Bandit Lites Inc has appointed Bryan Dihigo to join its Nashville sales team. Dihigo, who previously worked for the Shop At Home Television Network as a floor director and as an independent representative of Excel Communications, is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University with a BS in Mass Media Communications. Bryan will be heading up the local sales efforts as well as being responsible for inventory management.
Cause & Effect, the organisers of the 2001 Birmingham Fringe theatre festival, are looking at the possibility of holding collaborative projects with entertainment technology companies during the 2001 festival, in order to demonstrate the contribution made by them to technical theatre. Project director Derrick G Knight told us: "My motivation is to enhance Birmingham as a host city for performing arts. This will be achieved through the development of a network of performance venues in partnership with the performers, venue owners and production companies associated with performing arts." An initial idea is to include a sound and lighting exhibition alongside the festival, which takes place in July and August 2001, and Knight is currently exploring the availability of no-cost exhibition space at a number of venues adjacent to the reserved performance spaces. For further information is available from the number below.
Audio-visual and multi-media specialist DJ Willrich has been making dreams come true recently for one of the world's leading producers of computer-animated films for entertainment simulation. The 4DEX Themeport, which is currently being built in Brighton Marina, is the brainchild of Ian Williams; designed to 'take the visitors into the next dimension of human entertainment experience', the 4DEX Themeport is the airport of the future, transporting the modern time-travelling visitor into both the past and the future. Beginning with the technical design, DJW worked with Williams to develop initial simulation solutions that would 'transport' visitors from each of the terminals to the destination of their choice. The company then introduced Haley Sharpe Designers, with whom it has worked on projects such as The Big Idea in Scotland and the Children's Museum in Sharjah, to work on the conceptual idea. DJW supplied and installed all the simulation, AV hardware, lighting and show control equipment that permits visitors to visit the genesis of the Olympic Games and the magic of the Pharaohs, among other destinations.
New York video artist Tony Oursler recently installed his imaginatively-provocative The Influence Machine work into the urban landscape of London’s Soho Square. Its trees and architecture proved a perfect setting for this compelling visual and sonic experience.
The piece was presented by The Beck’s/ARTANGEL Commission. Oursler has worked in video and mixed media since leaving art school in the mid-seventies - when the cumbersome Sony Portapak reigned supreme.
Conceptually, the work - which was simultaneously running in Madison Square Park in NY - is devised from the human attraction to virtual and moving imagery. It explores how this fascination and the technology allow us to enter different psychological states. As a result, giant talking heads, hands and eyes rolled around the trees and buildings. Eerie and ghoulish voices ranted and hissed in the night, interacting with the natural elements and sounds.
Oursler positioned five Sony LCD video projectors around the Park, beaming images onto trees and buildings. Footage included references to some key characters in the history of telecoms and media. Emphasis was also placed on the advent of the telegraph in the mid-19th century. Source material for the event combined art history with science and spiritualism - the ideas of ‘spirits’ trying to communicate with the ‘living’ via tapping, knocking and Morse techniques. It also featured early pioneers of moving image and magic lantern theatre techniques.The installation was production managed by Simon Byford and Simon Corder - who often t
It’s a show made by unlikely collaborators. Starting with the authors: Andrew Lloyd Webber, Lord of the Realm, and Ben Elton, former scourge of the government?
Unlikely, but true; it seems that Elton’s enthusiasm for the musical form re-awakened the composer’s own excitement. To this mix, add the unlikeliest of subject material, a boy’s football team in Ireland in the heights of the trouble. The result is The Beautiful Game, hailed by some critics as Lloyd Webber’s best musical, and drawing comparisons with West Side Story from others.
A creative team was then assembled from the world of opera: director Robert Carsen, designer Michael Levine and lighting designer Jean Kalman. For those familiar with his work - summed up, if over-simplified, by describing it as a 4K HMI fresnel in each corner of the stage, plus some low Par cans from the circle front as front-light - Kalman was perhaps the most unlikely choice of all, his style about as far from the brightly-coloured, tightly paced stereotypical ‘musical’ lighting as it is possible to get! But The Beautiful Game isn’t that kind of show. A workshop of the production, staged in what became the show’s actual venue, the Cambridge Theatre, used an empty stage with the lighting rig flown up to grid height. The real production simply finesses that concept: fake versions of the side walls were built within the real side walls to give concealed entrances and exits. A fake back wall includes moving panels to reveal the pure, distant countryside in one song, whilst the prosceni
Logic System Pro Audio’s new CS1296 three-box bi-amp system has received a good reception since its launch at the PLASA Show in September, Logic reports. Long-term Logic user Creative Light & Sound of Aberdeen has recently invested in eight stacks of the system for their own hire stock, with proprietor Charlie Flett praising the CS1296 for its flexibility, compact dimensions and the ease with which it can be arrayed. Flett chose the multi-functional CM20 15" plus 2" coaxial unit to complement the system. Meanwhile, a new customer, Innovation Pro Audio from the Netherlands, has also invested in CS1296. Four stacks of the system now feature in their rental portfolio along with an array of other Logic products including four stacks of the two-box CS1090 system, four CS1000SB 2 x 18" sub bass units and eight CM15 15" plus 1" coaxial units.
Stage Accompany has introduced the new EFN-DP processing modules, an extension of the Extended Function Network (EFN) circuitry, featured in its Efficiency Series amplifiers. Dedicated to SA loudspeakers, each module features three speaker-dedicated functions, operating simultaneously - clip/excursion protection, dedicated filtering and power optimizing. The clip/excursion parameters are dedicated to the exact specifications of the driver and cabinet, and the excursion protection is a frequency-dependent, zero-attack limiter. The filtering is adjusted to the system set-up, i.e. the filtering for a top/sub system can be a combination of Bessel and Butterworth filter characters, or can have phase correction/alignment.
The third function of the EFN-DP module is power optimizing. Due to the different RMS/peak power values of a speaker and an amplifier, either the actual output capacity of a speaker is never used 100%, or the speaker is exposed to over powering. The power optimizing of the EFN-DP module matches power output of the amplifier with the RMS/peak power handling of the speaker. The circuitry is Opto-coupler regulated for less noise and distortion. Combining the EFN-DP processing with SA’s Dynamic Damping Control circuitry, Stage Accompany say they have achieved the ultimate synergy between speaker and amplifier.
Television lighting director John Allard has won an award for the development of a new fluourescemt lighting system based around a twin 36W PLL light tube. SunStar, now manufactured by AC/DC Lighting of Barrowford, Lancashire, is a cost-effective, highly portable tungsten or daylight balanced fluorescent light. With its hot light output, cool running and low energy consumption, this system is ideal for use with television film crews, photographers and exhibition set illumination. The light units are already in standard use with television companies GMTV and This Morning.
Telestage Associates and it parent Waagner Biro Stage Technology has announced the retirement of Qahtan Hardy as managing director of Telestage Associates. Hardy will officially step down at the end of the year but will retain his links with the company and will continue to be involved as an advisor. He has a long involvement in stage engineering and audio-visual which incorporated the purchase of Telestage in 1988. In 1997 the company was purchased by Waagner Biro and Hardy was retained as the sole executive director. A successor is expected to be appointed in 2001. In the meantime Mike Bacon has been appointed operations manager and forms part of the senior management team at Telestage.
ARX, the Australia-based manufacturer of signal processing, powered and non-powered loudspeakers and power amplifiers has appointed a new distributor for Cyprus. The copany’s product range is now available from Nicosia-based A.G.C. Ehitiki, headed up by Loris Demetriades. The company can be contacted at:
Tannoy speakers have been specified and installed at a brand new award-winning conference and event facility at the Royal York Hotel in York. Chosen for their high-quality sound performance, the combination of Tannoy speakers, installed by Orsett-based Creative Audio, has been chosen to provide speech and audio reinforcement for a wide range of differing applications, including conferences, presentations and live music productions. Creative Audio has designed and installed a powerful, high-quality audio system based around Tannoy Point source loudspeakers, with elements suited to the different applications. For the central paging system, Tannoy CMS 55 ICT ceiling mounted monitor systems provide discrete, high-quality sound reinforcement for speech and music. The 90° dispersion characteristics of the CMS 55 ICT allow the whole room to be covered with just four units.Four Tannoy i12 Dual Concentric loudspeakers are wall mounted at the middle and rear of the room, providing effective speech and music reinforcement. Extended bass response is provided by four Tannoy B225 15" bass speakers, which together with four Tannoy i15 speakers provide the extra impact required at front of house for larger events and live music productions. Two Tannoy TX2 controllers provide crossover and control functions and stage foldback monitoring is via four Tannoy T12 Dual Concentric speakers. All speaker systems are driven by Lab Gruppen amplifiers. The fully-equipped control room features an Allen & Heath 32-channel mixing desk, with monitoring from two Tannoy System 600 monitors.
Martin Professional UK is at the centre of a fraud investigation following the discovery of financial irregularities at the company. A statement posted on parent company Martin Gruppen’s website headed ‘Irregularities in Martin Gruppen’s UK subsidiary’ runs as follows: “At a meeting today, the Board of Directors was informed that fraudulent actions against Martin Gruppen and accounting irregularities have been discovered in the company’s UK subsidiary. These irregularities date back at least to 1999 and were discovered after a former longstanding chief financial officer and his close subordinate retired. Close examinations by KPMG, Martin’s auditor, of these irregularities call for provisions and write-offs in the amount of DKK 9-10 million (between £732,000 and £814,000) in the current financial period. Once the company’s auditor has fully examined the matter, the case will be handed over to the British police for further investigation and possible prosecution. More details on this in the January 2001 issue of Lighting&Sound International.
www.wembleytv.com is a new on-line development that has been specifically created to be amongst the first to explore a whole host of new opportunities that have arisen from the Broadband Internet revolution.
The site, launched in late November, is devoted entirely to live music, drawing from the strengths of company partners Wembley plc, The McKenzie Group (owners of three live music venues - Brixton Academy, Shepherd’s Bush Empire and the new Birmingham Academy), UK concert promoters SJM Concerts, Metropolis Music and one of Ireland’s leading promoters, MCD; plus technical partners Virtue TV, Europe’s leading Internet broadcasters.
WTV is distinctive in content and style, featuring "as it happens" tour news and a new Pay Per View Broadband Broadcasting Service. This enables the subscriber to watch a performance as many times as he/she likes during a 24hr licence period. Users get not only unlimited access, but also a digital quality transmission, with full viewer interaction in some cases. By 2004, research estimates that over 40 million households in USA and Europe will be subscribing to Broadband services - in other words in excess of 100 million new viewers.
WTV will also offer other services including on-line ticket selling, concert reviews, artist interviews, competitions, auctions - in fact anything and everything dedicated to all aspects of live music. The four venues owned by the partners are being hardwired in preparation for the filming of live music events and other interested venues nationwide are being approached.
Expo 2000, the first World Expo in Germany, closed its gates on 31st October after running for 153 days. During its brief lifespan, 18.1million visitors attended what was almost certainly the biggest event of 2000 and the country’s first really major showpiece since the 1972 Munich Olympics.
Expos are massive political, logistical, financial and creative undertakings: the host country needs nerves of steel, deep pockets (the Hanover Expo cost $1.65 billion), wealthy friends and a pretty extensive run at it (six years in this case). Still, the Germans were fortunate enough to have a head start, this being the first Expo ever to take advantage of existing trade fair facilities which contributed nearly 100 out of the 160 hectares of exhibition space.
The Hanover Expo took on the theme of ‘Humankind, Nature, Technology’, with over 170 participating countries and organisations (a record number in the history of the event) presenting their ideas for the future. Just under 50 of those countries built their own pavilions, and it is these that dominate the eyeline - architecturally and technically they are some of the most challenging structures you will ever see. Appropriately enough, the German pavilion is perhaps one of the most striking, with its facade composed of 2,900 glass elements. Also striking was Deutsche Telekom’s dramatically-mounted cube-shaped pavilion - T-Digit - walled entirely in glass, featuring the largest Sony JumboTron LED giant video screen (a massive 207sq.m) and supported by just one pillar inclining at an eight degree angle.
ESS (Edwin Shirley Staging), the staging and structure specialist, has created a new joint venture with Pure Group, called ‘ESS Superstructure’ to invest in and service the growing market for small and medium-sized events. This venture is the latest in a series of strategic partnerships that enhances the range of services ESS can offer corporate clients. By combining ESS’ experience in producing highly-specified structures, with the Pure Group’s reputation for managing corporate events, the new venture will be able to provide a highly competitive offer for clients in the corporate hospitality and corporate event market. The new company will be responsible for developing and marketing arch-shaped structures up to 30m in width. Products will include the unique Superstructure mobile venue, as well as Orbit buildings. The Superstructure is ideal for a variety of uses from conferences, concerts, film premieres, balls, trade shows, fashion shows, outdoor events, corporate hospitality and product launches.
Tim Norman, managing director of ESS Holdings, said: “This is our third venture in the past three months and is a significant step in the expansion of the ESS offer to corporate clients. The new venture will be able to provide a highly competitive offer to clients in the corporate events or hospitality market, but with the same commitment to excellent service.”
Stage Light Design supplied creative lighting design and equipment for the Cal IT conference, held in the Fleming Room of the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in Westminster. The company was called in by production company Dynamic Range to light the event, a major symposium for Californian IT companies visiting the UK to promote their products and seek new investment.The event’s fast-moving format allowed for 10-minute presentations to be given by the different companies. They did this on stage, backed by a large central screen, flanked each side by two auxiliary video monitors. Stage Light Design’s Alastair Crooks designed the stage lighting and operated the show using a LightProcessor QCommander console. A front truss was fitted with assorted fixtures including Golden Scans, Stage Color 300s and conventionals. Onstage lighting fixtures included more Stage Colors, Codas and other conventionals. Stage Light also supplied a selection of mains distro gear and Celco dimming.
Building on the success of the CD-A500 and CD-A700, Tascam has extended the range of products available to professional sound contractors, installers and engineers, with the introduction of the CD-A630 rack-mounting combination three-disc CD changer and auto-reverse cassette deck. Designed for installation in music clubs, bars, restaurants, theatres, dance studios, and for small to medium PA applications, the CD-A630 provides a space-saving versatile sound solution, say Tascam. Available in the UK from TEAC.
Scar Audio - part of Audio Industries Research - has introduced a range of baffle-only speakers available direct from the factory. These ‘ready to play’ baffles range from 2-way 12" systems, to 2 x 18" sub-bass bins, surround speakers and studio monitors, are fully wired and tested with drivers, horns, crossovers and tuning ports. All that is needed is a simple box (or flightcase).
The newest destination for UK clubbers is CODE, located at the aorta of Digbeth in central Birmingham. CODE is the first superclub and permanent venue owned and operated by legendary club promoters God’s Kitchen.
The stylish, contemporary interior design is by Matt Rawlinson of Raw Design, and the stunning effects lighting design is by Carl Dodds of Making Light Work (pictured with Avolites’ Azure console). All lighting fixtures for Dodds’ rig were supplied by Coe-tech to installers, Dublin-based Audio-Tek, with the Avolites Azure 2000 control console supplied directly by Avo to Audio-Tek.
The club’s main dance floor is overlooked by a balcony, with the VIP area in the ‘Gods’ at the top of the building, an atmospheric former warehouse, built in the 1930s. Dodds chose a variety of instruments for his high-impact rig, which was to be put in the hands of a specialist team of lighting operators.
The rig consists of Futurelight MH660s, MH640s and eight of the new MH 860s - the first in the UK. These formed the core of the rig and were joined by eight Futurelight SC980 scanners, 16 CC200 colour-changers, four TAS Versicolore spots and eight TAS 1500W Saetta strobes. Additionally, there are four TAS CF6 luminaires, a Coemar NAT TM 4000 and two JEM hazers.
Dodds chose an Avolites Azure 2000 controller plus a Stage Visualiser system for the installation as he needed a console with the power and speed to deal with an action-packed lighting rig and the plethora of fixtures. The Stage Visualiser is used in ‘live’ mode to enable t
Canadian circus company Cirque du Soleil is planning to turn London's disused Battersea Power Station into a £500m entertainment complex, with a permanent home for its shows. Cirque du Soleil plans to convert the dilapidated building into a 2,000-seat auditorium, along with two hotels and a cinema, as one of a number of planned worldwide developments over the coming 10-15 years. Work on the site will begin within the next six months by the owners and developers of the power station, Park View.
Cirque du Soleil was formed by a troupe of street performers in 1984 and has grown to include permanent shows in Las Vegas, Florida and Berlin; it employs over 2,000 staff across the world, and has performed to more than 23 million people to date. The company has staged productions of Saltimbanco and Alegría at the Royal Albert Hall in previous years, and is this week opening a show in London, called Quidam, staged in a giant tent next to the former power station. "The complexes will be a unique fusion of drama and design, of architecture and the arts," said Cirque’s founder, Guy Laliberte. "They will be a place where technology, tourism, arts and leisure converge, and will provide a year-round base for Cirque du Soleil in the form of a permanent theatre in the host city."
The BBC programme Tomorrow’s World recently featured an innovative new microphone that will help to ease communication in very noisy environments – such as between security officers at pop and rock concerts. Where the noise levels generated by screaming fans can exceed 110dB, using radio walkie-talkies to relay potentially vital messages can be a real problem. However, the new microphone, called Invisio, gets round the problem by picking up the wearer’s voice from inside the head. Sitting inside a specially-made earpiece, the miniature microphone picks up the voice of the speaker via the vibrations passing up through the jawbone.
Celestion has launched two new multi-purpose bass systems that make up a range of innovative products called Substation. The new Substation 10, Substation 15 and the Substation18 are flexible units designed for easy integration into fixed and portable systems. All three cabinets feature a unique Celestion connector panel that allows them to be configured in any one of three modes; Passive Stereo, Passive Mono and Direct Mono. The dual voice coil design enables mono ‘summed’ bass reproduction of a stereo signal, while an internal passive crossover allows the user to select mono or stereo high pass passive filtering for separate mid/high loudspeakers.
The smallest loudspeaker is the Substation 10, which has been designed for use in space-critical fixed installations. This provides additional LF reinforcement for music systems and is ideal for use in retail stores and restaurants. The Substation15 combines high power and performance in an easily transportable cabinet, adding extended bass performance to portable systems or fixed installations. This compact unit provides solid bass performance and high power handling make it suitable for high level bass reinforcement in a variety of venues. The Substation18 is the largest product in the range, providing a powerful low-end performance for bars, clubs and live music venues.
Renkus-Heinz has officially launched the Reflex Series of loudspeakers, which was previewed at the PLASA Show in September. Reflex is manufactured in Europe, and brings two key Renkus-Heinz technologies to a host of applications at a more affordable price. The Reflex Series employs advanced Renkus-Heinz technology, top grade cabinet materials and high quality European audio components. The units are designed for both installed and touring applications, with rugged construction and user-friendly features such as handles and tripod mounting sockets.
The Reflex Series incorporate two unique Renkus-Heinz technologies: Complex Conic horn topology (which eliminates the polar pattern distortions created by traditional horn designs) and True Array Principle or ‘TRAP’ (which ensures that the acoustic centres of adjacent cabinets are physically coincident). Typical applications include theatres, nightclubs, small-to-medium size arena/stadium distributed systems, compact live sound PA systems, and portable or installed conference A/V applications.