Arup Acoustics has announced the appointment of Colin Waters C Eng MRAeS FIOA, as its head of environmental acoustics, to be based in Cambridge, UK. Waters will build on his considerable expertise in expanding the Arup team that carries out specialist disciplines in the practice of noise assessment and control in the planning context, working from offices in Cambridge, London, Manchester and Winchester. Waters’ experience includes over 30 years in the field of acoustics, including more than 20 years as the principal of Colin Waters Associates.
Bedford-based staging company Star Hire was commissioned by the Tussauds group to work on a series of ambitious firework displays at two leading theme parks. Star Hire provided the structures and stage for Alton Towers as it has for at least 10 years - and for Thorpe Park’s first major public display. The Alton Towers event set a world record for the most rockets fired in one display. A 3.5 tonne floating platform was also constructed in the centre of Alton Tower’s main lake to house the pumps for a massive water screen (supplied by Tim Fothergill of Creative Media Technology). The water screen was used for laser projection to animate the Legend of the Chained Tree spectacular, which also incorporated the sound, lights and LED images to accompany the fireworks. Star Hire also designed and constructed two 15m high towers which housed Gearhouse LED screens and a Wigwam PA - each structure contained six tonnes of water ballast.
Currently wowing theatre-goers in South Africa is African Footprint - a song and dance spectacular, which is set to stride its way into the international arena.
Scheduled to tour Europe later this year, the current home of the production is in the replica of the original 19th century Globe Theatre at Gold Reef City. It was Solly and Abe Krok’s idea to copy the original Globe Theatre at Gold Reef City - a theme park recreating early Johannesburg, taking the opportunity to utilise an intended ‘mini-plex’ cinema whose backers had pulled out.
They brought in consultant Richard Loring, and his production manager Debbie Batzofin, who in turn approached lighting designer Denis Hutchinson. The roof of this intended small cinema was raised by two metres, which allowed seven metres clear over the stage and a balcony in which patrons wouldn’t have to kneel. But even so, it wasn’t possible to include a proper dome in the auditorium (much less a fly tower over the stage). The alternative was a barrel vault ceiling, in spite of the acoustic disadvantages it presented. Fortunately, it was accepted that the type of show staged in the venue would always use amplified sound. Hence acoustically absorbent tiles for the ceiling were specified as part of a scheme to make the room nearly, but not quite, acoustically dead.
Another fortunate outcome was that the control area for both lighting and sound could be incorporated as part of the auditorium. Sound equipment for the 306-seat venue includes a generous 40-channel DDA mixing desk with 64 balanced lines betw
Martin Professional equipment played had a large presence at the Hannover Expo this year; it is estimated that around 60% of all moving lights at the Expo were Martin products. Much of the equipment was supplied by Procon as the general contractor, but also by Martin distributors in the various national pavilions. Martin gear made its presence felt from the very outset. All entrances were lined with Pro 918 scanners along with MAC 500 profiles and MAC 600 washlights, which greeted guests with gobo and color wash projection. And Martin lighting could be found on many of the stages throughout the grounds including the EXPO Plaza (approximately 100 MAC 500s and 600s) and the Belvedere Stage (MAC 500s).Some 175 countries were represented across the huge 160-hectare site in Hannover. Among those utilising Martin equipment as part of their Pavilion presentations were Canada, Monaco, Lithuania (pictured), Britain, Australia, Romania and Belgium. In addition, one of the most popular attractions, the ‘Planet of Visions’ exhibit in Hall 9, which was lit by MAC 500s and PAL 1200 scanners, while PALs were also used to project text in the form of inspirational quotes at the entrance. Lighting designer for Planet of Visions was Harry Gladow.
Thousands of clubbers are preparing for the New Year’s Eve party of a life-time at Gatecrasher NYE in Ireland’s new £93 million, state-of the art millennium arena The Odyssey in Belfast. The NYE event, which will be broadcast live on Radio 1, is the first in a series of Gatecrasher events planned for Northern and Southern Ireland in 2001. As with all Gatecrasher events, clubbers attending can expect light and laser shows, video imagery and state of the art sound. Kicking off proceedings is Radio 1's Judge Jules who will be joined by Kiss FM's Tall Paul.
At the end of October, Elizabeth Hurley brought the ‘Millennium Breast Cancer Awareness Month’ to a dramatic close by switching on the lights that turned the British Airways London Eye. Park Avenue, who designed and realised the Millennium launch of the BA London Eye, created and ran this final event. Led by Producer Ajay Parekh, the internationally renowned team included creative director Andy Bass, lighting designer Paul Cook, Vari-Lite Production Services, SMAC Associates and Set and Stage. The lighting consisted of 64 VL5Arc wash luminaires and four Sky-Art Searchlights powered from two silent generators from Ariba Resources which were sited in a barge moored along side the Millennium Pier in front of the London Eye. The entire system was rigged and tested on the Monday night with Ian Reith, the operator, making only a few minor alterations to the WYSIWYG pre-programmed show, before going live at 8pm on Tuesday 31 October.
Just a quick update to our news item last week (Weds Nov 8) concerning a large quantity of truss stolen from Essex-based lighting and production company Knight International. The 7.5 tonne Iveco Truck, which contained an entire ground support system and two covered PA wings, has now been found, minus all the truss! Phil Knight believes that the truss may have been stolen to order or may be sold back into the industry.Anybody with any information should contact Knight International on +44 1245 362133.
No sooner had Sussex-based Multiform Technology Group announced success at the PLASA Show and set out the showroom to include the newest lighting effects from Meteor and Sagitter, than it began to rain!
Multiform’s factory, in close proximity to the swollen River Uck - one of the worst flooded in the South East - was also built two feet below the eventual high water mark of Uckfield town, and therefore suffered a great deal of water damage on and after October 12th 2000.
Help came from all quarters. Once the water had receded enough for the factory doors to be opened, the Multiform team with the help of visitor John Lethbridge, rolled up their sleeves and took up hose pipes, brooms and buckets to clear the invading mud and water. Managing director, Iain Price-Smith told us: "Multiform would like to assure customers that business will return to normal as soon as possible. A large amount of stock has been destroyed, and production will be disrupted for several weeks, but thanks to the dedication of the staff, our office is now fully operational again and open to business."
Business Diagnostics, the market research company, had now completed its initial fact-finding first stage of PLASA’s industry research programme. As a result, research questionnaires are being mailed out to all PLASA’s full, corporate and international members in mid November. The intention is to have some baseline results by the end of the year.
PLASA has announced its programme of supported trade show missions for the 2001/02 financial year, under the SESA (Support for Seminars and Exhibitions Abroad) funding programme.
PLASA is able to sponsor four events in 2001. These will be PLASA Presents Light & Sound Shanghai, 4-6 April 2001 (support available for both exhibition and seminars); Showtech Berlin, 10-13 May 2001; AES 111th New York, 12-15 September and SIB International, Rimini, March 2002. In addition to these, PALA Singapore (July 2001) Expomusic Brazil (August 2001) and LDI Orlando (November 2001) are on the reserve list, pending funding reappraisals by British Trade International (BTI).
This programme breaks new ground for PLASA, as it marks the first ever SESA sponsorship of Showtech, as well as PLASA’s first direct sponsorship of an AES exhibition (AES 110th in Amsterdam, 2001, will be sponsored via APRS). In addition, 2001 marks the transition of PLASA Shanghai from its three-years under the Sector Challenge programme to fully-fledged SESA funding, underlining the maturity of the event.
SESA is the British Government’s system for assisting UK exporters to participate in overseas trade events. It is a Trade Partners UK service run by the British Trade International team of the DTI. BTI brings together into one unit the import/export teams from UK Business Links, the Foreign and Commonwealth offices in British Embassies, Consulates and High Commissions throughout the world, and the country information desks based at the DTI in London.
The SESA funding programme provides a grant of 60%
Navigator Systems’ US Division has appointed Ray as Technical Director. Covenant has many years’ experience in the entertainment industry, particularly in the field of information systems. Covenant will oversee technical support for the hundreds of companies in North America currently using HireTrack Eclipse. He will also be involved in the implementation of a new application service where companies will have the option to rent software instead of purchasing new software. The users will connect to Navigator Systems server farms via the internet and run HireTrack Eclipse. Greg Smith, president of Navigator Systems US, commented, "I am so excited that Ray has joined our team. He brings many years experience working with entertainment companies and their software systems."
London-based sound and lighting production company, Wise Productions, has just invested in eight Nexo PS-8 loudspeakers, complete with PS-8 controller, supplied by ShowCom of Birmingham, with a view to purchasing a further eight cabinets plus controller in December. The first job for the system is this weekend at the recently-opened Wellcome wing of the Science Museum, for the Sterling Prize 2000 presentation of the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) Building of the Year. Some 800 people will be attending the event, which is to be filmed by Channel 4. Paul Gaskell, technical manager for Wise Productions said: “We invariably end up working in places where the acoustics are difficult . . . and we have the burden of a huge weight of health and safety restrictions to adhere to, so top quality, reliable and easy to set-up equipment is of paramount importance."As well as several events coming up in the capital’s three main museums, the system also has a seven-week run booked in December and January for Cirque du Soleil’s production in a giant temporary structure at Battersea Power Station.
Sennheiser RF systems have been used on the recent Channel 5 prison breakout gameshow ‘Jailbreak’. SK50 radio beltpacks and clip mics were used to provide audio for the programme, but also as a means of tracking the 10 contestants as they tried to evade state-of-the-art scanners and infra-red beams in escaping from the purpose-built high-security facility. Technical sound supervisor Steve Williams, whose Sound Moves digital production trailer provided digital recording facilities, specified the RF systems from Cine Video Audio Hire. He explained that the environment was a difficult one for RF operation: The prison was constructed out of galvanised corrugated steel, with the compound’s buildings surrounded by a six-metre-high steel fence. We used Cine Video’s own Triax remote antennae system, which enables the RF aerials to cover a vast area, and between that and the usual Sennheiser reliability, the quality of the RF was excellent.
At LDI in Las Vegas last month, for the second year running, Artistic Licence received a Cease and Desist order from Color Kinetics Inc (CKI), relating to Artistic’s LED lighting systems.
CKI holds a patent in the USA for the control of colour-changing LED lighting systems, and claims that Artistic’s LED-based Digital Lighting Product range infringes their intellectual property rights. CKI’s Kathy Pattison told L&SI: "We very much respect what Artistic has done in the DMX community, but where LED systems are concerned, we will defend our intellectual property rights."
Artistic’s Wayne Howell told L&SI: "They turned up with their solicitor at the busiest time of the show, when the booth was full of customers. It really amounts to little more than a childish attempt at harassment." Howell continued: "We have made a number of approaches to this company to try to find out what it is they are upset about. To date we have not received any coherent repsonse. With regard to their claims, there is simply no substance . . . I find it rather insulting to be accused of copying another company’s design. We’re proud of our reputation for innovation."
Pattison, however, told us that CKI has held "multiple discussions, both internally and through counsel" with Artistic Licence.
Community Professional Loudspeakers, based in Chester, Pennsylvania, has announced the appointment of two new dealers. SK MacDonald, headed by Perry D’Angelo, handles the Middle Atlantic states, with offices in Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia. V-Com, headed by Vinnie Macri will cover the New York metro area and northern New Jersey. Doug Wilkens, Community’s sales and marketing director, said of the appointment: Both firms have a track-record of integrity and targeted sales efforts, backed by a high level of expertise, all of which definitley benefit both our customers and Community.
A major sound, lighting and video installation has just been completed at the new Toxic8 club in Cambridge. With interior design by Steve Howie of Howie Designs, the club’s visual inspiration drew on the imagery of Fritz Lang’s 1927 masterpiece movie Metropolis. But Toxic8 is anything but silent!
CP Sound won the technical design and installation contract amidst stiff competition: audio throughout was designed by CP’s Colin Pattenden with lighting by CP’s Russ Evans.
A ground-floor bar acts as a feeder area for the 500-capacity club, and features music and visuals controlled from behind the bar via a six-way switch and volume control installed by CP Sound, together with three Sony K5 televisions and six JBL Control 28 speakers. Additionally, a mobile DJ set-up is available for special events. This consists of a Denon 2000 Mk 3 twin CD player and a Citronic 10/4 mixer and mic. The first and second floors have been fused into one area: the audio spec here includes another Citronic 10/4 mixer and Denon CD player, two Technics 1210 decks in the DJ box and a customised CP 10/1050 DJ monitor. Dancefloor speakers are two twin 15" 1200W JBL i-746 cabinets, and for the mid-range, JBL 300W MS112 tops, hung in the corners of the void area.
Dancefloor lighting includes three Solar 250 projectors with red infused oil wheels and eight MADScan 411 APs in the void, pointing up and down. Control is from a Pulsar Masterpiece 216. On the second floor, fixtures include two 1500W Anytronics Megastrobes, four additional MADScans, two ITM 250 MADScans and four
Stray Theatre, a small theatre company which tours the length and breadth of Britain, has recently enhanced its performance possibilities with the addition of a Metrodeck staging system from Maltbury. As an independent organisation relying partly on its grant for support, Stray Theatre was delighted to find that it would be cheaper to buy their own Metrodeck system than to hire one. The highly-flexible staging system can be packed down in around 10 minutes, and has proved an ideal tool for the company’s varying production requirements. Stray Theatre’s David Lightbody said: “The feedback has been incredibly positive in terms of the quality added to the production.”
Between 7.30pm on Monday 6th November and 8.00am on Tuesday 7th November, Essex-based lighting and production company Knight International had one of their 7.5 tonne Iveco Trucks stolen, containing an entire ground support system and two covered PA wings. Amongst other things, the truck contained eight pieces of Penn Fabrications 2.4m pre rig loaded with Par 64, three pieces unloaded, 10 pieces of heavy duty ladder box truss at 3m, four at 2m, ninety degree bends, four rolling cages, four winches, six pieces of triangle truss at 3 and 4m and four three-way triangular bends. The 7.5 tonne truck was an S plate with Knight International written on the front, the doors and with the company logo on the driver’s side.If anyone has any information on this crime, or is offered large amounts of truss for very little money, please contact Knight International on 01245 362133.
Acoustic Arrangements has launched a new online shopping site – e-av – offering a wide range of professional AV products, sound equipment and home cinema gear. According to MD Glyn Chapman, the site will be updated on an almost daily basis and will feature a range of special offers and end of line discounts.
Visitors from the lighting and creative media worlds were given a unique preview of the kinetic future when Screenco fronted a two-day Illuminated Video Workshop at Three Mills Island Studios recently.
In association with a prime team of concert service providers, including Vari-Lite Production Services, Avolites, Stage One Creative Services, Creative Technology, Aerial Camera Systems, SSE Hire, ShowSec and Vertigo Rigging, the experimental two-day interactive workshop graphically highlighted how the boundaries between the rapidly-converging disciplines of automated lighting and video displays are being pushed back. The workshop was the brainchild of Screenco’s Mike Walker, whose vision for the event was born out of a desire to bring the creative skills of video and lighting together. Production manager for the event was Adam Wildi at Hothouse, assisted by Mary Jefferson from Tiger Productions.
Two leading show lighting designers - Vince Foster and Nick Jevons - were asked by Screenco to blend their visual techniques, with each pursuing a completely different path in two large studios, back to back. For Foster, and VL Virtuoso board operator Theo Cox, it was a conventional live concert stage with a widescreen video display, and for Jevons it was a fast-changing club/dance environment, working in conjunction with DJ Callum Wordsworth to deliver spectacular colour-changing set elements, interacting with live video graphics.
In Studio 8 Vince Foster had produced the 3D visualisation for the band show and presented Theo Cox with the CAD drawings to carry out his o
Peavey Electronics UK has agreed to renew and extend its support of the University of Westminster’s Commercial music and audio production degree programmes. Peavey has replaced all the backline amplification across the Westminster music department with top line guitar and bass rigs from its Transfex Pro 212, Firebass 700 and TNT115BW ranges, continuing and extending its role as live music sponsor for the BA (Hons) Commercial Music Degree.
The famous Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith has taken a further step towards a digital future, thanks to a Lottery grant.
In addition to new sound equipment in both performance spaces, The Lyric has also purchased a GeniusPro Strand 520i desk - for use in the Main House, and also replaced the dimmers in the Studio Theatre with digital LD90s. The former was supplied by Stage Electrics and the latter ordered through White Light.
Although Strand’s 500 Series desks had been in the Lyric’s focus for around the past three years, the purchase was still made slightly earlier than expected. "We mounted a production outside, literally, in Lyric Square, with Mac moving lights running alongside conventionals," explained chief LX Clare Tattersall (inset). "It was impractical to move our existing Galaxy outside - and plotting moving lights on a Galaxy is a tedious process - so rather than hire in a board we brought forward the delivery date."
The 520i was supplied with two monitors - one displaying the cue sheets and the other the channel levels. "It’s a 350-channel desk but we expect to expand on that in the future. As we have not been able to afford to replace the Main House dimmers we have had to convert our STM dimmers for digital, but hopefully at some stage in the future we will be able to make the full changeover."
The 120-capacity Studio Theatre has complemented its new seating and sound reinforcement system with five racks of Strand LD90s (one of which contains a block of non-dims), providing 104 channels of theatrical dimming
The new Wizard from Martin Professional is a DMX-controllable effect light which uses a high-output 250W discharge source (2000 hour life). The Wizard houses two independent color/gobo wheels offering seven colors plus two white and six gobo patterns, as well as a separate shutter for fast strobing. Taking the effect of the popular Acrobat a stage further, the Wizard produces a unique flower-effect which is projected onto a pan and tilt adjustable mirror drum, delivering more than 80 light beams with continuously changing colors and gobo patterns.
Ipswich-based loudspeaker manufacturer Celestion has announced the agreement of a new distribution channel in Spain, with the appointment of Lexon as its distributor for the country. Based in Barcelona, Lexon has an impressive portfolio of pro audio products, including Soundcraft, Crest, BSS Audio, Turbosound and Amek. Celestion commented that the appointment had been based on Celestion’s increasing focus on high-performance products for the Spanish install market, and the appointment of Lexon allowed them to address both their traditional MI market and provide exposure to permanent install opportunities.