Strand Lighting has appointed Phil O'Donnell to the new position of group sales and marketing director. O'Donnell has spent 25 years in the industry, 20 of them with Strand, and has recently been responsible for Strand's operations in the Americas and Asia. The development is aimed at improving co-ordination across all Strand companies globally, and to provide a closer liaison with R&D in the creation of new product.
Jands Electronics has launched the new Hog 500 lighting console, a lower-budget version of the Echelon 1K, which was first shown at Entech 1998 in Sydney and has since been selling well worldwide. Features such as auto-menus and palettes for beam, colour, position and groups make initial programming of the Hog 500 fast and easy, while user-definable fixture libraries and auto-menus make patching and set-up very simple. Any cue can quickly be called from memory. 512 control channels are available, and a MIDI interface allows allows reception of MIDI show control, notes, timecode and command strings. A standard 3.5" floppy disk is available for show storage.
Netherlands-based companies Focus Showequipment BV and Jansen & Jansen have combined forces, and will now operate under the sole name of Focus Showequipment BV. The move has been made in order to combine the areas of expertise in lighting, sound and studio facilities developed by the two companies over the past 25 years. In addition, the company will alter the way it deals with projects to provide a segmented approach, fully utilising its various fields of expertise.
Cerwin Vega! has introduced the SUB-15, a compact, direct-radiating 15" sub-woofer which, the company claims, matches the performance of products usually twice the size and price. The high-powered enclosure (500W programme, 1000W peak) offers an attractive advantage to installers, say Cerwin. The SUB-15 is available exclusively in the UK through its distributor Lamba plc.
Barry Seiden has joined New York-based Gem Sound as director of sales and marketing. Seiden has spent over 20 years in the pro lighting and sound industry, having worked as a DJ, retailer, manufacturer and sales representative. He has worked for companies such as Denon, Numark, Ness and Gemini Sound Products.
Penn Fabrication Inc was responsible for the 20ft diameter Christmas wreath which was installed on The White House in Washington DC. Designer Robert Isabel used Penn's 10 inch box truss system to construct a strong, rigid structure that would withstand the elements but also be relatively lightweight and easy to work with. Sapsis Rigging of Philadelphia, PA were responsible for the installation using cranes to lift the massive wreath onto the second storey portico of The White House.
Marquee Audio has informed PLASA Publishing of a new deal with Digidesign distributor Mediaspec UK, which will see the company offering a sales and support operation for Digidesign's fifth generation ProTools product in London and the South of England. Mediaspec's Pete Eaglesfield said of the deal: "From this vantage point, both companies benefit from an extended product portfolio and client base but most importantly, by working together, we are able to offer a highly skilled structure of support." Marquee's new training suite forms the focus of Mediaspec's southern operation. The facility features the new ProTools system, state-of-the-art digital consoles from Mackie, Soundcraft and Yamaha, a JBL 5.1 surround system and a host of other high end pro audio equipment. 'Marquee's Spencer Brooks (left) and Mediaspec's Peter Eaglesfield at Marquee's demo facility')
Neutrik USA, Inc and parent company, Neutrik AG, have filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Switchcraft, Inc over the Neutrik Speakon product line. The federal suit, filed in the United States District Court, Southern District of New York, seeks a remedy for Switchcraft's infringement of Neutrik US Patent No. 5205749 directed specifically to an electric plug-in socket that covers the company's Speakon connector line. The litigation seeks to enjoin Switchcraft from selling its HPC (High Power Connector) line, leading to a permanent injunction and possible financial compensation. Neutrik also claims that Switchcraft has made trademark infringements on the promotion of its HPC line.
An Avolites Pearl was put through its paces by enthusiastic students at Ebbw Vale campus of Gwent Tertiary College in Wales for their end of term concert. All lighting design was devised and operated by students using four Martin MAC 600s loaned by local lighting rental company Fineline, organised by Ian Brown of Martin Professional; four Martin RoboScan P518s on loan from Avolites, plus PAR 64s, fresnels and cyc lights. The house dimmers are Zero 88 Betapacks and the sound system was provided courtesy of Wales-based 24:7 Productions. The show proved an ideal opportunity for the students to get hands-on experience of the skills they had been learning throughout the term.
At the same time as the announcement that Metro Tyrell is to remain with the WPP Group (see Business News) PLASA Publishing has learnt of several high level appointments at the company. Simon Brett, formerly of Avid Technology and Discreet Logic, has taken on the role of joint managing director, alongside Stephen Payne. Brian Little, formerly regional sales manager for Avid Technology, will head up the company's second office, which will open in Manchester during 2000. Andy Wilde, also formerly of Avid Technology, will work with Little as the North's product specialist and support manager.
Following David Pacy's recent return to Clever Group, and the company's change of name back to Metro Group, further changes have been announced by the company. Pacy commented: "Metro Tyrell's business is extremely specialised. Therefore, I believe that Metro Tyrell will operate more successfully working alongside the Metro brands as a sister company and part of WPP Group plc, as opposed to being part of the Metro Group. All parties are in agreement and with the full support of WPP, we look forward to an extremely successful 2000." The company name will be changed by the end of January.
Alain Bardouil from White Butterflies Productions took delivery in December of the first Compulite SparkTop system. White Butterflies has owned a Spark system for several years primarily for controlling Hardware for Xenon projectors. The system had its first outing to St Brieuc in the North of Brittany for a Millennium night show controlling Hardware double image scroller projectors.
In a move that is certain to be of interest to the live sound marketplace, Sennheiser has informed PLASA Publishing that it is to distribute Innova-Son digital mixing consoles and related products in the US. Innova-Son was the first to the European market with a wide range of digital mixing consoles and is poised to do the same in the US. Sennheiser is therefore in the enviable position of becoming the first in the US to have a digital mixing console ready for delivery. The new Innova-Son Sensory console was used during the summer on the 12-week Audio Denver Gipsy Kings tour and has been widely used elsewhere by the BBC, Radio France, in several national performing arts centres and by Jean Michel Jarre for the Y2K concert at the Egyptian Pyramids. In addition to its own range, Sennheiser currently distributes Neumann microphones, D.A.S. Audio Loudspeakers and Chevin Research Amplifiers. Sennheiser's Jeff Alexander will manage the Innova-Son brand.
Audio Toys Inc, a subsidiary of the ATI Group has released the Mini Paragon, a mixing console with all of the attributes of the now established Paragon II less 24 input channels. Like the Paragon II, the Mini Paragon is an automation-ready console: each input featuresan ATI patented compressor, a gate, and four bands of parametric EQ. Each channel has a variable direct out switchable between stereo or dual mono. Half of the 16 groups are stereo, with the remaining eight switchable between stereo or dual mono. The desk saw its first use on Canadian rocker Brian Adams' 34-date swing through Europe.
Black Box AV has recently installed a new digital video concept at the new Virgin Megastore in Piccadilly. The problem posed to the store designers was how to make people aware that another trading floor existed below and what products were stocked on that floor. Black Box AV proposed and eventually installed an all new Video Signage system. In simple terms, the signage is provided by a six screen LCD 'Video Ribbon' which is suspended above the stairwell. The ribbon is linked to a fast computer with a multi output graphics card that addresses each screen individually. In addition to the video signage system, the company also installed 38 of its Bar Code Listening Posts in the Piccadilly store, a product which has now become a standard in new build and refurbished Virgin Megastores throughout the UK.
In an intensely contested international design competition, beyerdynamic has been selected to receive the prestigious Hannover Design Forum 2000 award for their S600 Handheld Wireless Microphone. The judges were impressed by the ergonomic design, attractive finish and the simple interchange between microphone heads to condenser, dynamic and shotgun lavalier microphones. Introduced in February '99, the S600 completes a range of products and accessories available for the U600 UHF wireless system which includes base stations, bodypack transmitters, bodypack receivers, antenna distribution systems as well as a computer interface and software for programming and monitoring of the radio frequency and audio frequency functions of the system.
Norwegian sales and hire company AVAB-CAC has taken delivery of the very first Klark Teknik DN1248 Active Microphone Splitters, which were launched at PLASA in September. The units were purchased for NRK Broadcasting, Norway's biggest national radio and television broadcasting company. So far the company has ordered two DN1248s for their music recording department with the intention of increasing the stock significantly after an initial trial period.
A new system to enable lighting and electrical crew to gain access to overhead rigs in theatres is being manufactured by Tomcat UK. The system, called CES Trolley Truss, was designed by Colin Smith, the head of lighting for Opera North, based at the Grand Theatre in Leeds. Smith developed the system as an alternative to other methods of access, such as Tallescopes, which are the subject of further safety restrictions as well as to be a cheaper option to existing forms of flown bridge. Opera North itself changed its entire rig to the system over a year ago, and Smith says the time-saving has been remarkable. Another recent convert to the system has been Scottish Opera, who have been very pleased with the results.
Two major Amsterdam live music venues - the Paradiso Club and Melkweg (Milky Way) - have extended their existing Martin Audio sound systems with further orders from pro audio specialist Ampco. The Paradiso has redeployed its existing Martin F2 system for use in its new basement facility which will open in the New Year, while upgrading the main venue to Martin's Wavefront 8C system. The Melkweg, meanwhile, has extended its own W8C system to three stacks per side, following a recent extension.
MTFX has expanded its range of smoke and aroma machines. It now stocks three Jem Heavy Fog 6500 smoke machines and has recently invested in The Effects Company's new Aroma-Tech machines, capable of producing a variety of aromas. MTFX used them to good effect recently when they produced an orange aroma for the Tango Conference at the ICC in Birmingham.
Manchester-based Power Gems has grown over the last eight years to become the world's largest independent designer and manufacturer of electronic power supplies for the motion picture lighting industry. PLASA Publishing has learnt that the company has entered into a strategic alliance with US-based Warner Power LLC, and as a result, is now expanding its technology into industrial and medical markets. Power Gems investment has secured a 49.9% shareholding in Warner Power, a management buy-out of WPI Electronics Inc and WPI Power Conversions Inc, with a combined $20million turnover.
Strand's SL theatre luminaire range, which recently raced to 15,000 units sold inside six months of production, has expanded with the announcement of a new series dedicated to the architectural market. The new spotlights house metal halide 150W CDM lamps available in two colour temperatures - 3000 degrees for a warm, tungsten look and 4000 degrees for a cool, daylight appearance. There are six fixed angle fixtures in the range., as well as two zooms.
Le Mark has appointed NDC as its dealer in Switzerland. The company, run by Nicholas de Courten, will handle the full range of Le Mark products. It already has strong ties with the major TV studios, theatre and production companies across Switzerland and is looking to expand into the conference and exhibition markets. NDC's appointment follows a series of new appointments by Le Mark including that of Strong In Spain.
Pixelite, the video screen sales division of Avesco plc, scooped the most challenging outdoor video screen contract of the year as its very first installation order - with a unique curved design on the front of the recently opened Home nightclub in London's Leicester Square. Owners the Big Beat Group - operators of highly successful venues in Sydney and Scotland - planned Home as the capital's most exclusive leisure venue. The first Pixelite PXT-1204 LED screen - using modules designed by sister company System Technologies in Belgium - displays digital art on the building's facade overlooking the famous square. Uniquely, the 11.52m x 5.76m (portrait format) screen curves through a 93 degrees convex plane, with a 12mm pixel pitch and a total of 960 vertical lines of resolution x 480 horizontal. In all there will be almost two million LEDs in the screen. Because of its sheer size and resolution, the GMI screen at Home can show up to 12 images any one time, recreating the idea of a videowall.