Mushroom's White Christmas for Harvey Nichols
Thursday, 10 January 2002

Northampton-based event and display specialists Mushroom Events provided a white Christmas for shoppers at the famous Harvey Nichols department store in London's Knightsbridge, by creating half-hourly artificial snowfalls in the street outside the store. The display began on November 14 and ended on Christmas Eve, running from 10.40 in the morning through to 7.20 in the evening.

Mushroom, which has created window display lighting for the store's branches in London and Leeds for the past three years, and the new Birmingham branch which opened in October, came up with the idea as a follow-up to last year's seasonal decoration when strings of fairy lights adorned the store's fa├žade. The snowfalls are created by three snow machines, mounted on the store's roof, which produce a totally safe, detergent and water-based, white foam. Forced through a fine mesh and released into the air, it takes on the appearance of snowflakes. Mushroom designed an automatic timer for the machines which monitors the flow of fluid and refills the machines' tanks when necessary. In the run-up to Christmas Eve, 3,000 litres of fluid were consumed.

Mushroom also lit the store's Christmas window display, the theme of which was giant slices of Christmas cake adorned with oversized cake ornaments and holly. The lighting used was a mixture of PAR56 lanterns and Source Four PARs, controlled by NJD Logic 8000s; in three of the windows Mushroom employed a new effect from Gam Film FX based on the Source 4 Profile which creates the effect of giant falling snowballs. The company also installed a large quanti

AXYS Distribution
Thursday, 10 January 2002

The AXYS range of products is now being distributed and supported within the UK by Duran Audio UK. In addition to supplying the successful AXYS Intellivox range, Duran Audio will also be actively promoting the Arena System, Scope System, Stadium System, Source System and Flex range. The company’s new Target System, which has been through extensive Beta testing, will also be available for sale in 2002. Sales of AXYS in the Republic of Ireland will now be handled by Sound Productions of Dublin.

(Lee Baldock)

Bob Salt Dies
Thursday, 10 January 2002

PLASA Media has learned the sad news of the death of Bob Salt, who died yesterday while on holiday in Jamaica. Although early details are vague, it is understood that Bob died of pneumonia, following on from a chest infection.

As founder and managing director of RW Salt Communications, one of the country’s leading distributors of PA, pro audio and communications equipment, Bob was very well known to many in the industry. In a statement issued today on behalf of the company, Richard Lyon, chairman of RW Salt Communications, said: "Bob loved this company and its success was his continuing dream. It is my wish to preserve his dream in the best possible way, as do the loyal people who have worked for Bob over time."

He continued: "Everything is in place for the company to continue in a professional way. There will be no delays to supplier payments and our customers can expect a continuation of the top quality service that will remain Bob’s legacy."

Arrangements for Bob's funeral will be announced as soon as soon as they are known.

(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)

American DJ's Gem Upgrades
Wednesday, 9 January 2002

American DJ has introduced the Dual Gem and Super Jewel, upgraded versions of two of its most popular sound-activated moonflower effects. As its name suggests, the Dual Gem is a double version of the Color Gem. The Super Jewel is similar to the American DJ Jewel, but has sharper optics and a bigger beam spread to provide even more impact.

The Dual Gem includes an FX switch, which allows it to be operated in sound active, static or continuous rotation mode. A special sensitivity knob has also been added to control the degree of intensity with which the beams respond to the music. With the sensitivity adjustment, DJs can set the effect for high-energy movement or for calmer effects.

The Super Jewel features a high-power LL-64514 120V, 300W lamp. In addition to its increased brightness, new colours and wider beam spread, the Super Jewel now includes an FX switch for operation in sound active, continuous rotation or static mode. Other user-friendly features include an easy access lamp replacement door and hanging bracket.

(Lee Baldock)

Philips CSI Moves to New UK HQ at HeathrowPhilips CSI Moves to New UK HQ at Heathrow
Wednesday, 9 January 2002

Philips CSI has moved to an impressive new corporate facility at Heathrow, located on the Bath Road adjacent to Heathrow airport. The facilities at the new site will allow the company to expand its operations especially with enhanced sales, training and demonstration facilities for customers and installers.

According to Reg Nicholls, the newly-appointed UK general manager for Philips CSI: "Our move into this building allows us to continue to strengthen and develop our UK operations. We have opportunities to further promote the Philips brand name by providing all the services required to make us more customer-focused and responsive." he added. The new Philips CSI centre at Heathrow will also offer a much faster response and turnaround on both warranty and non-warranty repairs, plus a new 'swap-out' service on key products that effectively gives customers a free replacement product while their own equipment is being repaired.

Following the success of its installer training programmes around the UK, Philips CSI is also expanding its in-house training at Heathrow. Separate from the training facilities will be a very much larger demonstration facility allowing the company to demo its full range of CCTV, PA, Paging and Congress systems. Customers will be able to see all the main Philips products working together in a single integrated demonstration suite.

The new contact details are Philips CSI, 276 Bath Road, Hayes, Middlesex, UB3 5BX, UK.Tel: +44 (0)20 8730 5300.

(Ruth Rossington)

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)

Stars and Stripes for Blackout Triple EStars and Stripes for Blackout Triple E
Wednesday, 9 January 2002

All eyes were on Frankfurt this December where the 'For The Troops MTV-USO Show' was held, giving German-based American military personnel the opportunity to let their hair down in an evening of music and entertainment. Held in an aircraft hanger, the high profile event included acts such as J-Lo and Kid Rock.

Blackout Triple E was commissioned by Field Services to supply a three-dimensional American flag, two drapes painted with the MTV-USO logo and a white filled cloth Kabuki drop for this event, with project manager Tom Lambert working in conjunction with designer Mark Fisher to create the striking 3D flag. As the centrepiece for the event, the three-dimensional version of the Stars and Stripes was hung from a grid measuring 9.3m x 3.4m. An 8.4m white gauze drape created the background to the flag and was fronted by seven individual red cloth stripes, each of which was rigged on curved tube to form a wave and hung independently of the trussing. To complete the 3D effect, 50 white MDF stars were hung at an angle in front of a blue backdrop.

(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)

Nic Tolkien Leaves AC Lighting
Wednesday, 9 January 2002

AC Lighting has announced that Nic Tolkien is to retire immediately from the position of export sales director. Tolkien had been instrumental in developing the export market for AC Lighting since 1984 and managed the export sales office on a daily basis. AC Lighting's managing director, David Leggett commented: "Nic is our longest serving employee and has been with AC Lighting since the early days. We would like to publicly thank him for all his hard work over the years."

Cally Bacchus, export sales manager, continues to lead the day-to-day export sales operation with the established team of directors retaining overall direction. There are no immediate plans to appoint a replacement.

Phoenix Sound Debuts at WembleyPhoenix Sound Debuts at Wembley
Wednesday, 9 January 2002

The Wembley studio building that used to house CTS Studios is back in business as a recording facility after industry veteran Pete Fielder secured a lease on the premises, which he has re-opened under the name of Phoenix Sound. The substantial studio building is located close to Wembley Stadium and was due to be redeveloped as part of the overall scheme to rebuild the stadium. However, when the plans fell through, Fielder approached Wembley plc with a view to acquiring the lease and securing the site's future as a recording studio.

Fielder, a respected engineer and APRS board member who has extensive knowledge and experience of the studio industry, told us: "This is a large site that is already very popular with musicians and has plenty of potential as a studio complex. Although we are re-equipping from scratch, the actual studios and control rooms are already in place and will simply be re-decorated and acoustically treated. We have now opened Studio One and by the end of 2002 we aim to have the rest of the complex in use as a recording, rehearsal and post production facility."

Funding for the project comes from a combination of Government grants, private investment and investment from the Musicians Union - something that the MU has not done on this scale before. Included in the equipment on Fielder's shopping list is an AMS Neve Capricorn, which will be installed in Studio Two once it has been re-modeled by Recording Architecture. Fielder is hoping to transform Studio Three into a post-production room for ADR and Foley work, while the other 12 rooms could be

Stagecraft Makes Technology Accessible
Tuesday, 8 January 2002

Stagecraft has recently been involved in a major development at the New Theatre Royal in Portsmouth. The company supplied lighting and sound equipment to the venue and is also planning a programme of disabled workshops at the theatre.

In 1972 a fire destroyed a large part of the backstage of the Victorian theatre and the refurbishment provided an opportunity to re-design the theatre to provide greater accessibility for all theatregoers. One of the key areas to be developed was the lighting and sound systems and thus Stagecraft supplied a range of technical equipment, including Martin intelligent lighting, Selecon Pacific luminaires, Compulite Luna moving yolks, Zero88 lighting control and dimming, and a range of audio equipment, including Tannoy speakers, Shure microphones, QSC amplification and Allen & Heath control.

Grant Bales-Smith of Stagecraft worked closely with the New Theatre Royal to develop the accessibility of the Theatre. "We have a strong relationship with the team at the theatre and have worked with them through installation and initial training. We are on hand to offer technical support and advice and look forward to holding the disabled workshops where we’ll be able to see the real flexibility and accessibility of the equipment."

The workshops are aimed specifically at those with learning difficulties and those who are mentally or physically disabled. The team at Stagecraft will be teaching those who take part in the workshops about the benefits of using the equipment, demonstrating its capabilities and offering them a unique educatio

ARX Expands European Distribution
Tuesday, 8 January 2002

ARX Systems, the Australian based manufacturer of professional audio products has appointed Tonart-Audiotechnik as its new exclusive distributor for Switzerland. ARX MD Colin Park told us: "ARX is delighted to have Rudolf Schenker and his team at Tonart-Audiotechnik on board as our new exclusive distributor. Tonart are well placed to introduce the new products ARX is bringing to market in 2002, as well as continuing the high level of support our Swiss client base has come to expect over the years.

(Ruth Rossington)

Sony DMX-R100 Scoops the TrebleSony DMX-R100 Scoops the Treble
Tuesday, 8 January 2002

A coveted TEC (Technical Excellence & Creativity) Award, presented during the AES New York Convention in December, rounded off a record year for the Sony DMX-R100 digital console. With over 1200 worldwide sales and a hat-trick of major pro-audio awards, the console has carved out an enviable reputation for itself.

Notable for being voted for by a large number of magazine subscribers, the Mix Foundation TEC award for best product in the Small Console Format Technology category is regarded internationally as one of the key accolades for technical professionals. The 48 channel DMX-R100 also scooped both the Studio Sound Award in the UK and MIPA (MusikmesseInternational Press ‘High End Digital Mixing Desk’ Award) in Germany earlier in the year.Sony has recently launched a Version 2.0 software upgrade for the desk, and there are plans for a forthcoming MADI implementation and optional GPI expansion for broadcast use.

(Ruth Rossington)

Federal Warning Systems Wins Major US Air Force Contract
Tuesday, 8 January 2002

Federal Warning Systems has won a seven figure contract to design, supply, and install new emergency warning personnel alert systems for the US Air Force in Europe (USAFE). The company has been contracted to equip several US Air Force bases in the UK and Germany with its hard-wired version of its electronic outdoor warning system, which includes high powered speakers and amplifiers running on an ISDN communication backbone.

Security being a key concern for the new warning system, FWS will install a highly secure land line system, utilizing ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) technology and communications system protocol. Alert messages will be activated from multiple locations throughout the bases, such as barracks and personnel blocks. With a 95% efficiency rate and increased run time, the Modulator’s omnidirectional electronic speaker array system will allow for precise voice reproduction using the new UltraVoice electronic controller.

The contract has been awarded following the United States Air Force’s aim to standardize the type of warning systems being installed at bases worldwide. Contract installation work starts this month and is scheduled for completion during 2002.

(Ruth Rossington)

FX Music Buys Wavefront Rig
Tuesday, 8 January 2002

London PA company FX Music has recently expanded its hire stock, taking delivery of 56 Martin W8C Wavefront cabinets. The rig was immediately pressed into service by Capital Sound for the Ministry of Sound's giant New Year event at the Millennium Dome. FX Music, who also run EAW systems, claim that increased diversity in tour specs and one-off show requirements mean a wide ranging inventory has become a necessity for hire operations.

(Lee Baldock)

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)

New, Noisy, and Just in from Australia
Monday, 7 January 2002

If you missed it don't worry, it will return. The World Wrestling Association presented by AAA is the latest wave to catch onto the growing craze for choreographed violence for the under 10s. The recent tour of rippling muscles with cartoon personas has swept through the UK, visiting major venues like Sheffield Arena and Wembley. "When you're presenting shows in venues of this size, and to audiences of 10,000 plus, the same rules apply as for the biggest rock shows," explained production manager Nick Levitt. "That's why we have three artics parked outside - there's a lot more to this than two men grappling in a ring."

One truck was almost totally filled with the ring itself and associated props, such as chipboard ringside tables for the commentators, which shatter harmlessly as these Cinderella Titans hurl each other from the ring in mock fury. In the air, 160ft of truss runs from entranceway to ringside, loaded with Icons, MAC 500s and 600s all from LSD's inventory to provide the requisite grandeur for a triumphal march to stage.

"People will be surprised to discover I brought in Dave Hill to light the show," continued Levitt. "But someone of his abilities proved indispensable. The show came in direct from Australia, without rehearsal, loaded into the Odyssey in Belfast, and by the time fit-up was complete Dave had three quarters of an hour to programme in a show."

Sound proved equally demanding: "We had the smallest PA I’ve ever seen in an arena, it only took two and a half rows in the truck, but it did a fantastic

Blackline Arrives at London's Embassy
Monday, 7 January 2002

One of London's most famous dance venues has been fitted out with a Martin Audio system, courtesy of Bedford-based Creative Technologies. The former Legends - in Mayfair’s Old Burlington Street - has been acquired by Mark Fuller’s Embassy Restaurants Ltd, following the sale of his previous venues, Sugar Reef and Red Cube to Chorion plc. Fuller - with partner Garry Hollihead and operations director, Gina Campbell-Clough - has renamed the venue The Embassy - in deference to the famous venue that flourished in nearby Old Bond Street in the early 1980s, where he also worked.

Creative Technologies' relationship with Fuller extends back to his days when he ran Little Havana. The company also installed Sugar Reef, but according to managing director, Rob Ferguson, this is their most sophisticated fit-out yet, as the combination of Martin Audio components and Soundweb networking will provide a level of local control in each sound zone.

Powered by QSC amplification, the system has been designed to allow for expansion should the venue wish to bring in live acts, but for the most part music will be played back from Rolec hard disk machines, as well as by the DJs - working Technics SL-1210 decks, mixed via the now obligatory Allen & Heath Xone 6:2 - and a five-play Denon CD player.

This is fed for the most part to Martin Audio loudspeakers - eight EM15s, 10 EM26s and four Blackline F15s, as well as some pre-existing other-branded subs, in which Creative Technologies have replaced the drivers. These feature in the dance area basement where a Blackline F15 is flown in ea

Laurence Sound Matching History with ARX
Monday, 7 January 2002

Brian Laurence from renowned Melbourne-based audio soundscape producers Brian Laurence Sound P/L has recently completed a major Soundscape project at Beechworth, in the heart of Australia's 'Bushranger Country' using a variety of ARX products. In the new Beechworth Historic Precinct, Laurence Sound created several 12-channel surround soundscapes, one for the Bourke Museum's 'Street Of Shops', and the Old Beechworth Courthouse, each of them 'bringing to life' the static displays by re-creating the sounds of the wild 1870s Gold Rush period.

Sound replay is from Fostex 16-channel D-160 hard disk players which only have unbalanced -10dB outputs. To level-match to the required +4dB to drive the power amplifiers, Laurence Sound used two of the new ARX Level 8s line balancers per Fostex D-160 machine.

The large-screen video show features 8-channel surround sound based on a Fostex D-160 time-coded to a Pioneer DVD player. Laurence Sound again used a Level 8 to interface the unbalanced outputs to the inputs of the ARX Ambidrive 3-channel power amplifier used for the main left and right, plus sub, and the ARX ZA-600 6-channel power amplifier for the surround channels.

(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)

Smash Hits for PCM and Outback
Monday, 7 January 2002

PCM supplied leading rigging rental company Outback Rigging Ltd with special FX Star high-speed Lodestar motors to lift the central rear LED screen at the recent Smash Hits Poll Winners extravaganza at the London Arena. The screen - over 5 tonnes of Screenco 15 mm pixel pitch modules measuring 11.4 metres wide by 7.2 metres high - was a vital part of the stunning set designed by Bill Lazlett.

It showed video playback and live camera action, but also allowed for quick between-band changes by raising and lowering very rapidly. The hire to Outback is the first of PCM's new Motion Control division, which has been set up to serve all the rigging rental companies, and carries a stock of non-standard equipment, available for specialist requirements.

PCM's John Jones explains that the decision to launch the division was to "Explore other areas of the market, and also to help our clients to do things they can't normally do, equipment-wise, at the moment." He says that there's not currently the demand for any one company to keep a full range of non-standard gear. Now they can come to PCM and have easy access to the technology as and when they need it for special projects.

For Smash Hits, Outback hired eight Columbus McKinnon FX Star motors which are variable speed with ramped start and stop, and a top velocity of 12 meters a minute. The FX Stars also offer all the strict German VBG Standard safety features, including a double safety braking system, special overload protection and load sensing. PCM has devised and built a computer control system for the FX Star motors,

Germany embraces LegendGermany embraces Legend
Monday, 7 January 2002

Midas and Klark Teknik recently welcomed over 40 customers from Germany to their factory in Kidderminster to introduce them to the Midas Legend tri-purpose mixing console which has already won two awards for technological innovation. Customers were also treated to a Klark Teknik presentation on the DN9848 digital loudspeaker processor and a full factory tour as well as plenty of entertainment and sightseeing over the two days of their visit.

According to KTG marketing director, David Webster, the trip was a success for a very simple reason. "It's all about what we do best, which is to offer high quality professional equipment which offer solutions to customers' problems, and to do it in style! And we do our best to try and make it simple. Each distributor has their own DVD presentation on Legend in the language of their territory, as well as any other type of marketing back-up they require. The icing on the cake is to be able to present it in the factory (in this case in German), have customers meet us and also meet the designers so they can get a real feel for who we are and what we do. Then we go out and have some serious fun!"

Uwe Wittman, Midas sales manager for Germany, said: "Most of the customers we invited were from mid-sized rental and installation companies which is where I think we will sell a lot of Legends . . . It was also very useful to give our customers greater insight into the Klark Teknik range. On a professional level they were certainly impressed with what they saw, and they definitely had fun! I have ordered 20 consoles as a result,

Diversitronics Mark 3000 StrobeDiversitronics Mark 3000 Strobe
Friday, 4 January 2002

Following its first public showing at the PLASA exhibition in September 2001, the new Diversitronics Mark 3000 Super High Intensity DMX Strobe is now being shipped by AC Lighting Ltd. The strobe features a long life high power quartz xenon lamp and delivers 24,000W peak flash intensity. Built into a streamlined housing with extensive aluminium heat sinking and automatic fan cooling, the unit is rated for continuous duty.

A major feature of the Mark 3000 is the ability of the strobe to accept both DMX and analogue remote control, as well as operating in stand-alone mode with integral speed control. To facilitate ease of connection, the strobe is fitted as standard with DMX input and through 5-pin XLR connectors and analogue (0 -10V) input and through 4-pin XLR connectors.

The Mark 3000 operates over a speed range from 15 flashes per minute to 15 flashes per second and features a Hyper Flash mode of 60 flashes per second. The microprocessor control provides nine in-built ultra bright Hyper Strobe special effects including Solidlight, Auto-Lightning, Fixed Lightning, Crossfade, Fade-Down, Arcweld, Emergency Vehicle, Rapid Fire and Hyperflash (single emission). Standard features provided by the Mark 3000 include a yoke-mount bracket, self re-setting safety thermal switch, plus LEDs for power-on, DMX present and status.

(Lee Baldock)


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