At a cost of £23 million, the 100-year-old Dome complex in Brighton will see the first stage of its two-tier renovation programme completed this September. The 1,200-capacity Corn Exchange and 230-capacity Pavilion Theatre will both open following refurbishment. The second phase of the project will see the refurbishment of the 1,800-seat central auditorium completed some time next year.
PLASA EXCLUSIVE:PLASA Publishing has this afternoon learned that US-based Matthews Studio Equipment Group - one of the largest suppliers of professional equipment to the entertainment industry, has today announced that it has filed a voluntary petition for reorganisation under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. The NASDAQ-listed company supplies conventional and automated lighting, grip, transportation, generators, camera equipment, audio and video equipment and theatrical supplies via its worldwide distribution network.Carlos D. DeMattos, chairman and CEO, said: "We have spent the past several months attempting to come up with a proposal that would address the company's challenges outside of a court proceeding. Ultimately, the time required to complete a restructuring transaction and the uncertain cost of closing unprofitable locations were too great to overcome."He continued: "This procedure will bring order to a disorderly process. It should have little or no impact on our customers, our vendors, or our employees. We intend to continue to compete vigorously in all of our markets and to work diligently to meet the needs of our customers."Certain of Matthews' subsidiaries were included in the filings as a result of last-minute demands by the company's lenders, to which the company was forced to accede.
PLASA EXCLUSIVE:Danish financial newspaper Børsen has reported this afternoon that Peter Johansen, the former head of Danish lighting manufacturer Martin Professional, has received a three-month jail sentence following this week's high profile trial for company fraud. In addition, he has been fined a total of DKK 3.6 million (approx £300,000).The Danish newspaper Børsen, also reports today that Poul Schluter, the former Danish Prime Minister and chairman of the board of Martin Professional, has given notice of his resignation, and will leave the company on April 27th.
Blackout Triple E has launched a new track system - ChainTrack. It utilises a duplex chain - the top portion for driving and guidance and the lower section from which the curtains or scenic objects are hung. Curtains can be attached to the chain using either a sliding carrier (on conventional straight type systems) or rings (fitting into the chain to provide a fixed distance between hanging points). It not only enables a motorised curtain to turn a 180° corner within a radius of just 30mm, it also allows operators to stack acoustic curtains in a cupboard with a series of parallel tracks. The system can also be used to construct a continuous moving background in a depth of only 100mm. In agreement with the inventor, Michel Morice sarl of France, where the system is already installed in both television studios and theatres, Blackout Triple E is producing and marketing ChainTrack worldwide as well as further developing the system and its accessories.
Amersham-based Auditel has secured a US$4.5 million contract from the Government of Iran. The order is for a complete voting and sound and communications system for the Ministry of Housing of the Government of Iran and has been won in conjunction with Sony Corp of Dubai who will supply the TV broadcast equipment. Auditel is responsible for the project management and already has a team in place in Tehran. The installation covers sound reinforcement, voting systems, audio and TV and the entire system will be computer-controlled.
At the Frankfurt Musik Messe next week, Fred Heuves and Karel de Piere of Synco Europe will announce the latest international signing to the Synco Europe Rental Network - with a brand new company which expands the Synco network into fresh territory for this relatively new concept in live sound PA rentals, first unveiled at Frankfurt a year ago. All Synco network members use the Renkus-Heinz Synco Touring System (RH-STS) PA system. Full story shortly.
Lightfactor Sales has completed the sale of High End Studio Spot 250s to Liverpool-based AdLite - the newly formed sister company of Ad Lib Audio. This is the first investment in moving lights by the new lighting rental and installation company, headed by Dave Platt, who also specified the fixtures after seeing them on the Texas world tour at the end of last year, for which Ad Lib Audio supplied the sound and Dutch lighting company Flashlight provided the lighting.The fixtures have now been used at a number of events, including an all-night dance event in the Isle of Man, and the slightly more decorous theatrical environment of the Stand By Your Man UK tour, for which Platt was LD. AdLite already have a busy summer festival season planned, and expect to be adding more Studio Spots to their inventory in the near future.
Color Kinetics has introduced ColorBlast, which they claim to be the world's first digital lighting fixture designed to wash interior and exterior walls with rich, saturated colours and colour-changing effects. The product utilises Color Kinetics' patented Chromacore technology to generate over 16.7 million colours and colour-changing effects via microprocessor-controlled red, green and blue LEDs. The unit has built-in intelligence offering onboard control to run an assortment of pre-programmed lighting shows, including colour washes, cross-fades, random colours, fixed colours and strobes. The fixture also may be easily programmed and controlled externally by an industry standard DMX512 lighting console, a PC or Color Kinetics' own line of controllers.
Turbosound has appointed Apogeu as its exclusive Portuguese distributor. Apogeu also distributes Lab Gruppen, Yamaha, Clay Paky MA Lighting and Prolyte in Portugal, and is highly regarded for its commitment to the brands in its stable. With showrooms in Lisbon and Oporto, the company is well equipped to showcase the complete Turbosound range, and has already made a significant initial commitment to Turbosound, by investing over 120,000 Escudos (approx. £40,000) in Turbosound Floodlight systems, as well as QLight, HiLight, TFM and TCS series speakers.
The Konigswinter Conference held its 50th annual meeting of German and British leaders in politics, business, banking, finance, and media at the Randolph Hotel and Keble College in Oxford on the 23rd-25th March this year. Ascott Conference Communications provided the complex and comprehensive sound facilities required for the event, in conjunction with conference organiser, Maxine Vlieland of Specialist Conferences . This is the seventeenth successive year that the two experienced British companies have worked together on the project. Ascott provided the full staging, lighting, sound and simultaneous interpretation services for presenters and the media from both countries.
Martin Professional will provide over 300 automated luminaires for the Eurovision Song Contest 2000 to be aired on May 13th from Stockholm, Sweden. Martin distributor, Oscar lighting, will provide over 200 moving heads, including MAC 600s, 500s, 300s and 250s, as well as other Martin luminaires. Belgian company Groupe Son Privé (through Martin distributor EVDV) will also be providing 60 MAC 600s for the Eurovision Song Contest. This is the second year running that Martin lights will be used for the popular talent show. Eurovision 1999 from Israel also boasted a huge Martin lighting rig. This year's event will take place at Stockholm's Globe Arena and will be aired by Swedish station SVT. An estimated audience of over 100 million viewers will tune in to the show. Lighting Designer for this year's event is Kristoffer Röhr and the massive lighting rig will be the largest intelligent light show ever produced in Sweden.
The return of the SIB exhibition in Rimini (26-29 March), following its switch to a biennial basis in 1998, was a well-attended and successful event, with the majority of exhibitors reporting excellent international coverage among their visitors. Particularly strongly represented among the visitor profile were Eastern European and South American visitors, as well as those from the Middle and Far East - highlighting the show's continued status as a major international attraction. A group of 12 companies took part in the PLASA UK Group, exhibiting under the British Trade International SESA funding programme. Many members of the group received a personal visit on the Monday morning from the British Consul General, Charles de Chassiron, who had travelled from the British Consulate in Milan to visit the UK companies at the show.A full round-up of the news and highlights from the show will appear in the May issue of Lighting & Sound International magazine.
Tannoy Ltd has appointed Henny Groenendijk as managing director, replacing Alex Munro, who has left the company to pursue other interests. Groenendijk, who was previously managing director of another TGI Group subsidiary, Tannoy Nederland, takes up his position at Tannoy’s headquarters in Scotland immediately. His long-term relationship with Tannoy dates back to 1985 when he started working for Tannoy’s Dutch distributor, having previously worked in retail since1976. A year after joining the Dutch distributor, he bought them out and formed a new company, Tannoy Nederland. Subsequently, in 1992, Tannoy Nederland joined the TGI group.Tannoy Nederland has been an outstandingly successful component part of the TGIgroup, and is currently Tannoy’s fourth largest distributor.
Pioneer Europe has launched a website resource aimed at DJs of all levels of experience - at www.djsounds.com. The site's 'Interactive' section allows visitors to sample the Pioneer range of mixers for themselves, selecting tunes from a variety of genres including Techno, Drum 'n' Bass and House. The 'Music' section offers 20 tracks of the latest releases from progressive record labels. Other features of the site include video interviews with the world's biggest DJs and details of the hottest upcoming events around Europe, as well as a text and chat forum covering a wide range of topics pertaining to dance music and DJ technology.
Christie Systems Inc has appointed Dr. Glenn Sherman as president and chief executive officer. Christie Systems is the newly-created parent company of Christie Digital Systems Inc and Christie Inc. Sherman will oversee the development of both companies in all market segments including control room displays, fixed installations, rental staging, immersive and the digital cinema environment. Based at the company’s Cypress, California office, Sherman will be responsible for creating and implementing business strategies that drive profitable growth and market dominance for both Christie Digital Systems Inc and Christie Inc. He will also be responsible for preparing the company for an initial public offering in the near future. Sherman holds a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois and brings more than 20 years of experience developing and leading high technology companies on the international stage. A veteran of the laser and optics industry, Dr. Sherman led the development of the world’s first small solid-state blue laser and first portable, high-resolution and full-colour video display based on solid-state red, green and blue lasers.
Sennheiser UK has appointed Paul Nunnington as DAS product manager. He joins the company from Sound Technology, where he was southern area sales manager and will be responsible for the continuing expansion of the sales of DAS products into both MI and professional audio markets. Nunnington has considerable experience in the PA and musical instrument markets, with companies like Project Music, Shuttlesound and Sound Technology. The company has also appointed Dave Hawker as special projects manager. Hawker has almost 25 years’ experience in the broadcast industry, including operational experience at Carlton Television. His new role will include the design, management and installation of large systems in the music, broadcast and leisure markets.
Optoma have produced a new compact and versatile LCD video projector for home theatre and commercial applications. The EzPro 540 features triple video input and projects in excess of 500 ANSI lumens, and can network between DVD, VCR and laserdisc appliances simultaneously. The unit weighs only 4.7kg and measures an unbelievably small 259mm x 162mm x 317mm. Other features include height-adjustment facility; onscreen display menu; remote control; projection size up to 160in; and exclusive Keystone correction to prevent distorted image. It also has an audio input/output function, and while it contains two internal 3W speakers, the EzPro 540 may also be connected to external speakers.
Playlight has now expanded its lighting hire operation for customers based in the south west and London areas. Barry Hampson, Playlight's commercial director told PLASA Publishing: "Due to our recent large scale commitments to major film productions, we realised that our service to the television and drama production markets was under-resourced. To address this we have introduced additional lighting stock at our London base." The company now has an increased range of studio heads and moving lights, generators, ARRI HMI and MSR heads, Kino Flo heads and Joker light and socket Pars, plus a host of power distribution and cable.
TOA voice alarm equipment features prominently in a rolling development programme at London's Natural History Museum which is currently being carried out by Static Systems Group plc. Presently the installation utilises three TOA equipment racks, plugged with V series amplification and processing. Each fire alarm fully communicates with the voice alarm, which sends out a common PA message. Destinations can be selected and the system will link the fireman's mic and broadcast to any PA zone via a touch-screen and Static Systems' proprietary TDM (Time Division Multiplex). The AMX front-end touch screens were supplied by TOA, to provide a visual switching and a map of the museum for paging and message broadcast purpose (messages are pre-recorded and stored using TOA's EV digital message machines). While much of the system is connected to standard loudspeakers, TOA F-777s are found in the main entrance hall, F-505s on the stairs and F-10Bs in the alcoves and balcony, each controlled via TOA's DP-0204 digital signal processors. Eventually, TOA expects eight racks to be commissioned, connecting areas such as the Earth Galleries, Whale Hall and Darwin Centre through the control rack in the Central Hall of the Waterhouse Building.
Oklahoma-based RSI has supplied a Turbosound system for the newly-built South Hill Christian Center in Washington. Representatives of the new church were insistent that the sound reinforcement system should be of high calibre and work with the acoustics of the new building. Dennis Cummins, co-pastor at South Hill, was reportedly shocked that a system of such intelligibility and warmth would be affordable to the coffers of his church. The installation consists of six Turbosound TCS-56 full-range two-way enclosures, three TCS-30 cabinets, two Turbosound TCS-115 and two TCS-118 subwoofers and four TCS-20s. The TCS-56s, designed primarily for speech and music, formed the main thrust of the system, configured three wide and two deep at the front of the church. Positioned below, one of the TCS-30 cabinets, distributing wide horizontal coverage, provides the front fill, a further two provide front side fills. The loudspeakers providing the low end for the system were integrated beneath the preaching platform in sealed boxes, whilst the TCS-20s underneath the balconies dealt with the delay.
Bill Summers, the former managing director of Playlight Film & Television has left the Playlight Group to pursue other interests. Chris Wroe, the company’s operations director, will now take over the responsibilities previously held by Summers.
Gearhouse plc have set up one of the most powerful lighting production companies in the events industry with the merging of two of their subsidiaries, Lighting Unlimited (UK) and Kent-based Gearhouse XTC. The operation, headed by Nick Whitehead, will be known as Lighting Unlimited UK and will be based at the company's existing facility in north-west London. Lighting Unlimited already enjoys a major share of the corporate conference and product launch market, while XTC predominantly specialises in the exhibition markets. In anticipation of the increased workload, and as we reported earlier, Lighting Unlimited has already responded by recruiting three senior personnel from the Spot Co, including former sales and operation director Mick 'Jaggie' Scullion who becomes sales director. He is joined by project managers Tony Fagan and Theo Cox.
White Light has been appointed by producer Cameron Mackintosh to supply the conventional lighting rig to his new musical The Witches of Eastwick, which will open at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in July. The Moving Light Company will supply much of the automated lighting rig to the production. Howard Harrison is in the lighting designer's chair and working alongside him will be assistant lighting designer Oliver Fenwick, production electrician Alistair Grant and lighting programmer Rob Halliday. Harrison's conventional rig will include over 200 units including ETC Source Four profile spotlights, Strand SL Zooms, Par 64s and various battens, as well over 100 Rainbow scrollers and Cadenza EP effects projectors with custom disks in White Light's VSFX motor units. Control will be from a Strand 500-series console. The Moving Light Company will be supplying the production with 12 Strand Alto Pirouettes, 15 DHA Digital Light Curtains, four DHA Digital Beamlight 2s, six City Theatrical AutoYokes and nine compact moving mirror units which will be hidden around the auditorium to light the show's innovative flying effects.
Lighthouse Technologies, the Hong Kong-based giant screen specialists, has acquired Pixelite from Avesco plc. This will create the world's most broadly-based giant screen sales and installation operation with core offices in Hong Kong, Europe and North America, and associated offices in Australia, Africa and Asia. For both Lighthouse Technologies and Pixelite, the move is a natural fit and opens a host of possibilities for the enlarged organisation. Lighthouse is already a major player in the giant video screen market whilst Pixelite, headed by Graham Burgess, Dave Gunn and Simon Taylor has a strong track record in the giant screen business in the UK and Europe. The entire Pixelite team will be joined at their Isleworth offices in west London by the current European Lighthouse staff.