Volkswagen’s Big Box
Thursday, 8 November 2001

The 2001 Volkswagen Stand claimed the entire ground floor of Hall 3 at the Frankfurt Motor Show and featured an innovative multimedia experience ‘The Big Box’ which was produced by HP:ICM of London. The exhibition environment was designed by German architects Cebra who worked closely with HP:ICM to create the perfect environment for the ‘Big Box’ theatre, a circular room containing a 170 degree video projection screen.

The 50 metre wide, seven metre high screen was used to show a specially commissioned film directed by Robert Butcher and Liam Lyons with a score by Jonathan Goldstein and produced by HP:ICM, in front of this screen was a huge water ‘lake’ which concealed submerged water and pyrotechnic effects which accompanied dynamic moments in the film; the roof supported a comprehensive lighting system and was covered by a 35 metre diameter fibre optic star cloth.

The audience viewed the spectacle either from a half crescent ‘beach’ which overlooked the lake or from a five metre high bridge that spanned the Big Box at first floor level, the rear wall was a huge semi-circular gauze lit to reflect the various colour themes contained within the storyline. The film, which celebrated Volkswagen cars and company identity, lasted for seven minutes with interspersed mist, rain, fountains, water curtain, gas flame and lighting effects and ended with a one-minute light and laser show.

Lighting Designer for the ‘Big Box’ theatre was Durham Marenghi who was employed by HP:ICM to light the experience and to co-ordinate

Martin Introduces Lighting Grant
Thursday, 8 November 2001

Martin Professional Inc presented its first annual Martin Intelligent Lighting Technology Grant to Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama at the recent LDI exhibition in Orlando. The grant will be awarded to an accredited college or university in the USA each year. Martin Professional Inc CEO Troels Volver comments: "Making available our cutting-edge technology to more students and future lighting professionals is our goal, and while we cannot give our products to everyone we would like, we are committed to this annual grant for the future and expect to generate increased exposure and knowledge of our products by its establishment."

The Grant is valued at $50,000 and consists of a variety of Martin fixtures and control products including the Martin ShowDesigner virtual software design system and Martin Lighting Director tracking system. The Grant does not stop with the giving of technology products however. Martin Professional Inc. will also provide technical training and support for the winning college or university, as well as quarterly seminar’s on emerging technologies and application discussions.

For the year 2001 the Grant recipient is Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama. The Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in lighting design.

Dean Martin Prekop, Dean of the College of Fine Arts, comments: "Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama is honored to be the first recipient of Martin’s Intelligent Lighting Technology Grant. Martin’s generosity wil

Digital Processor from QSCDigital Processor from QSC
Thursday, 8 November 2001

QSC Audio Products Inc has introduced the DSP-30 digital processor. Building on the power and success of the DSP-3 signal processing module, the DSP-30 is a cost-effective, highly customizable, single rack unit, 2-channel signal processor featuring a high degree of functionality that can improve the performance of any sound system, say QSC Audio. The DSP-30's powerful processor facilitates a wide range of signal processing functions, including screen channel crossovers, multiple parametric EQ and time delay for surround channels, or subsonic filters for subwoofers. Compound these functions with compression/limiting, precision attenuation, mixing, plus tone or noise generation, and the DSP-30 is as flexible as your system's needs - easily capable of performing the most complex speaker processing tasks.

Featuring an intuitive front panel layout for easy program selection coupled with a computer interface via a front panel RS-232 port, the DSP-30 combines ease-of-use with a high degree of customization. Using the supplied PC-based Signal Manager software featuring 'drag and drop' processing blocks, simple drawing tools, and real-time control, any combination of signal processing functions may be configured until the total capacity is used. DSP resources are graphically displayed at the bottom of the screen and configurations can be easily downloaded directly to the DSP-30's eight user configurable presets for easy recall plus set-and-forget convenience.

The DSP-30 features 24-bit converters and operates at a 48kHz sampling frequency. The unit features balanced Neutrik Comb

Blitz Double Act
Wednesday, 7 November 2001

Specialist AV company, Blitz communications, has appointed Martin Green and Martin Clowes as branch manager and operations manager respectively, to handle the running of its new Birmingham office.

The 'two Martins', who have already worked together as freelancers and project managers for seven years, have a wealth of industry experience. In his role as branch manager Martin Green will be helping to ensure that Blitz's clientele in the Midlands receive exactly the right solutions, whilst Martin Clowes, who is operations manager, will be supporting him in his efforts by maintaining smooth client relations.

Michael Breen, managing director of Blitz told us: "The Birmingham region is host to a whole gamut of AV opportunities due to the mix of venues and a healthy business environment. I am confident that our appointment of the two Martins with their technological expertise, customer-service skills and overall commitment, will ensure that we achieve considerable success."

Stagetec New Faces
Wednesday, 7 November 2001

Following straight on from an incredibly successful PLASA and a stack of Autumn contracts, Stagetec has taken on several new staff to cope with its very healthy work load. Joining the Slough-based pro lighting and audio sales and installation team are Gillian Brades, Jason Walsh and Jonathan Coles. Brades is a qualified accountant, and joins Stagetec as financial controller, taking over the running of the accounts and the busy administration department.

Walsh joins the sales office where he'll be dealing with technical sales enquiries by telephone and internet. He has extensive experience working as a sound and lighting technician in theatre and conference. More recently, he handled technical sales for electronics giant Maplin. Jonathan 'Speedy' Coles is now working alongside Stagetec's Mick Cocker, promoting the high profile Compulite and LSC product ranges. He's recently returned to the UK after a stint in Israel, where he worked with Compulite distributor Danor Theatre Systems as a lighting designer and programmer. His extensive knowledge of Compulite equipment and the professional lighting industry will be put to good use at Stagetec, and part of his remit includes giving product demonstrations and training.

Reading Revitalized
Wednesday, 7 November 2001

The final phase of the restoration of Reading Town Hall’s concert venue - with the renovated Father Willis organ providing a magisterial backdrop - has been completed this month under the guidance of English Heritage.

Marquee Audio was responsible for supplying and fitting all the audio, working to a specification from audio consultant Peter Mapp, who had been introduced to the project by former technical manager, Paul Kennedy. By completion, the whole project will have cost around £5 million. Given the constraints of the protected architecture the installation had been no easy feat, as the venue’s chief electrician Tim Liddle emphasized. "We got a grant from English Heritage who wanted the hall restored to its original 120-year-old grandeur. The Borough Council have been restoring the building over a 15-year period and when I came here 10 years ago, there were pigeons living in the concert hall."

Sound is based around a d&b system of four C I-6s and a pair of CI-7 tops, reinforced by a left/right C7 ground-stacked system and powered by d&b E-PACs. This fulfils the venue’s multi-purpose requirement for staging conference work, as well as drama, comedy and concerts. Visiting productions can bring a mono or stereo multicore feed and plug straight into the BSS 9088 Soundweb, through which the whole system is digitally controlled. d&b E3s provide the musicians’ stage fills and Martin Audio LE400Cs the floor wedge foldback, with amplification from QSC PLX 1602s.

Up on the balcony, a 32U effects processing rack is resident at the FOH mixin

Suits You Selfridges
Tuesday, 6 November 2001

You don’t get to see too many of these in your average shopping day. These illuminated mannequins are the latest thing in High Street retailery (we made that word up, but it’ll do) currently striking a pose at Selfridges in London. Rare Basic Ltd are the company behind these rather unique mannequins, which are crafted by former Madame Tussaud’s sculptors. Manufactured in a translucent wax effect finish, the material lends itself to a colour changing facility developed for Rare Basics by AVR Colourmaster.

JBL Appoints Chaikin
Monday, 5 November 2001

JBL Professional has appointed industry veteran Peter Chaikin as director of marketing,recording & broadcast. Chaikin will take over marketing responsibility for the company's studio monitors, including the LSR line of powered monitors, as well as developing new products in the line.

Chaikin has held high-level product marketing and marketing managementpositions at Alesis and Yamaha, where he was instrumental in the success ofseveral digital recording and mixing products. He also has 15 years ofindependent recording engineering experience, working with dozens of nameacts including Quincy Jones, Patrice Rushen, George Duke, Michael Sembelloand Harvey Mason. Chaikin received RIAA Gold and Platinum Records and aGRAMMY nomination for "Best Engineered Recording."

Screen Specialist Joins Lighthouse
Monday, 5 November 2001

Angelo Russo has joined giant screen manufacturer, Lighthouse, in its UK office as product marketing manager. Angelo had worked for nearly three years as marketing manager for Clipsal Vision, Australasia's largest supplier of Lighthouse screens, where he was involved in a host of prestigious projects including the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, the Melbourne Cup Carnival, the Australian Formula One Grand Prix, the Jade and Eden Park stadium installations in New Zealand and the Subiaco Stadium in Perth, as well international events such as the Hanover Expo.

Angelo brings with him a vast knowledge of Lighthouse screens and will be working alongside marketing support manager Sian Sparkes. Commented Lighthouse international sales and marketing director Graham Burgess: "Angelo's arrival brings an extra dimension to Lighthouse's UK-based team and we're delighted to have him on board."

Vari-Lite Kicks off LDI with Debut of New Luminaire
Monday, 5 November 2001

Vari-Lite kicked off its participation at LDI 2001 with the debut of a ground-breaking new luminaire - the Vari*Lite VL1000 ellipsoidal reflector spotlight. The special sneak preview event, in Junior Ballroom G at the Rosen Centre Hotel, featured an overview of the innovative VL1000 by Vari-Lite chairman and CEO Rusty Brutsché. "With the VL1000, we believe Vari-Lite has taken the largest single step towards one of the goals the company set for itself when it was founded 20 years ago - developing automated systems for all stage lighting.

In addition to getting the preliminary, close-up look at the VL1000, attendees at the special event had the opportunity to see history in person as Vari-Lite displayed the numerous revolutionary luminaires from its 20 years of innovation, including the first ever automated light from Vari-Lite - the Vari*Lite VL0 prototype. It was the VL0 that helped establish automated lighting as an industry.

Vari-Lite also featured the VL1000 at its LDI display. Visitors to the display were able to see 50 VL1000 luminaires lighting the stand. They were also able to examine the new luminaire inside and out, as well as operate demo units that allowed them to explore every parameter of this innovative light. In addition, Var-Lite’s Sarah Clausen and Jim Waits led technical training sessions on the Virtuoso DX Console as well as on systems and design. The sessions, part of LDInstitute and the ESTA Training Programs, give entertainment design professionals theopportunity to get in-depth technical training. And at the LDI/ESTA Awards ceremony o

ETC’s Emphasis
Monday, 5 November 2001

Electronic Theatre Controls chose LDI as the platform to launch a new lighting control product - Emphasis. The new product integrates two technologies that have never been together before - the hands-on lighting control of the company’s Express and Expression consoles and the new level of WYSIWYG’s Emmy award-winning visualization software. Emphasis can now handle the whole lighting process from start to finish: tasks don’t have to be repeated and a high level of integration means that the data only has to be entered once and the system will automatically update everything related to it. It also features WYSILink giving users a graphic representation of the system. The good news for current users of Expression and Express users is that they can upgrade to the new system.

LDI 2001
Monday, 5 November 2001

The 2001 LDI exhibition in Orlando ended yesterday after a successful three days which included a full and well-attended conference programme. At the LDI/ESTA Awards ceremony held at the Orange County Convention Center auditorium on Saturday evening, Jim Bornhorst of Vari-Lite was this year’s Wally Russell Award recipient. Amongst the product awards were the Omni Connector from Total Structures, Protec’s Smart Motion control system, Rosco’s ImagePro, Wybron’s Eclipse 2. Prizes for ‘Widgets’ went to Rosco, Lex Products and Lee Filters. High End Systems’ Catalyst picked up the Entertainment Lighting Product Award to add to the Award for Product Excellence it won at the recent PLASA Show. Best Audio Product was the Legend tri-purpose mixing desk from Midas.

Full details of the rest of the award winners will follow and a full report from LDI, including the rest of the news from the show floor, will appear in the December issue of Lighting&Sound International.

3D Visualization from MA Lighting
Monday, 5 November 2001

One of the more eye-catching products launched at LDI was MA Lighting’s grandMA 3D visualization software - created for the design of three-dimensional stage layouts. The software allows a wizard guided design and set up of any custom stage or scenery layout with 2D drawing facilities and a library of basic graphical elements. Multiple windows can be opened and updated at the same time, and all the stage elements can be positioned in X, Y, Z directions and may also be rotated around the various axes. The set-up of lanterns, luminaires or moving lights can be simply retrieved from the grandMA console’s show file by electronic transfer. There is no need to set DMX lines, DMX addresses or operation modes as these are already pre-adjusted in the grandMA console. The software will be compatible with the whole family of MA Lighting consoles, and will be available for free download from the MA Lighting website from January 2002.

Manchester’s Legendary Boardwalk Club to be Sold
Saturday, 3 November 2001

The Boardwalk nightclub, where Oasis began their career, has been put up for sale. Built in 1876 as St Peter’s School, it opened as The Boardwalk club in 1986 and ran successfully for 13 years until August 1999.

The Boardwalk has witnessed the UK debuts of Primal Scream, Sonic Youth and Courtney Love’s band Hole. Big names such as Oasis, M People, Pulp, The Verve, Suede, Blur and the Stranglers have also appeared, along with DJs such as Paul Oakenfold, Todd Terry and Pete Tong and comics Steve Coogan and Peter Kay.

The basement rehearsal studios were as famous as the club. Acts who rehearsed at The Boardwalk included Terry Hall & Colourfield, Nico from the Velvet Underground, Simply Red, The Fall, James, The Railway Children, Manic Street Preachers, ACR and Happy Mondays. The Happy Mondays’ residence is immortalized in the new film about Factory and The Hacienda - 24 Hour Party People. Shortly to be released, scenes for the film were shot inside the then-empty Boardwalk building.

According to the joint agents Chesterton, Manchester and DTZ Residential, the site is likely to attract residential redevelopment as well as new leisure developments, to complement Deansgate Locks. And if you’re interested, then you need in the region of £850,000 to stake a claim. Manchester has not seen the significant sale of a famous Manchester nightclub since that of the Hacienda in 1999.

New Face of Stardraw Sales
Friday, 2 November 2001 has appointed David Morrison as international sales manager. Morrison joins the well-known software provider with 20 years experience of senior sales roles with majormanufacturing companies in the PC and networking industry, including Compaq and Research Machines. Stardraw managing director David Snipp told us: "David's appointment is just part of our plan for continued growth. We wanted to find someone who could add real value for our existing channel partners, and who would also be able to manage significant OEM relationships in our existing entertainment markets and beyond. His experience in the broader spectrum of the telecomms and networking industries will be invaluable to our strategic plans for expansion." Snipp hinted that Stardraw's position within the audio, AV and lighting industries will be used as a springboard into larger markets. Morrison operates out of Stardraw's London-based offices and is currently responsible for EMEA and Pacific Rim channel management and corporate OEM sales.

CT London support Microsoft TV at IBC
Friday, 2 November 2001

Creative Technology London recently supplied a wide array of AV equipment to the Microsoft TV Corporation at the IBC exhibition in Amsterdam. Commissioned by Evolution Event Management Ltd - Microsoft's preferred supplier throughout Europe - CT provided 18 x 37" Plasma screens, a 7 x 5 Barco iLite 6mm LED Screen, extensive graphics equipment and a complete audio replay system. Hitachi 37" Plasma screens were used in Demo Kiosks and a 50" Plasma on the reception area, whilst the ultra-high resolution Barco 6mm LED screen was used for relaying pictures and graphics from the Microsoft TV station. The whole integrated installation was Dataton Trax controlled enabling the presenter to run their shows from a touch screen display, set in a lectern. Robert Bell of Evolution commented: "We used CT because they already have existing relations with Microsoft TV Corp, but mainly because they provide good service, prices, back up, quick answers and professional staff."

OpTex Appointed UK Distributor for Angenieux Lenses
Friday, 2 November 2001

Contrary to incorrect reports that have been circulated, Thales Angenieux has, in fact, appointed OpTex as its Authorised Distributor and Official Service Centre for its Broadcast and Film Lenses in the UK. Angenieux is now one of the fastest growing brands in the Broadcast Lens sector and this is set to strengthen with the introduction of the new Extreme Tele Zoom Digital 40x11AIF.HR complimenting its all-purpose 15x8.3AIF.HR and Wide Super Zoom 12x5.3 AIF.HR ENG/EFP lenses.

MPG Elects New Chairman
Friday, 2 November 2001

The Music Producers Guild (MPG) has elected Andy East as its new chairman, replacing Phil Harding who has now completed his one-year tenure as chairman but will remain on the MPG board. The appointment was announced at the MPG’s recent AGM. Steve Parr also joins the board as vice-chairman and, as part of the MPG’s rotational chair and directorships, a number of other board members were announced. These include Jim Barrett, Meg Nicholl and Roger Askew.

Paradigm's Executive Selection
Friday, 2 November 2001

Paradigm recently supplied two 40" dnp Holo Screens and a rear projection rig to top executive search consultants Korn/Ferry in London. Supplied and commissioned by specialists Wave - who design and install bespoke presentation and technology systems and have a long-standing business relationship with Paradigm - the screens were part of an entire refurbishment, which included the installation of various technologies within the reception area, the board room and the training room.

Installed within the reception area - along with two Proxima projectors above the ceiling - the two Holo Screens present rolling information sourced from Korn/Ferry's website, and are controlled solely via PCs. Adrian Hicks of Wave commented: "We worked with the company’s project manager for the entire fit out and sat down at an early stage. We discussed their vision of the end result as a whole, and proposed the Holo Screens as an obvious, but alternative solution to the standard plasma screen."

Flying Squad with Fiat & Ford
Thursday, 1 November 2001

Central London-based Flying Squad Aerial Rigging were recently contracted by London-based Acrobat Productions to project manage the stunning centrepiece aerial show at the Indian launch of Fiat's new Palio, staged in Goa on 20-21 September. The Fiat Palio is heralded as India's 'hot' new hatchback and the product on which Fiat India will base a complete revamp of its manufacturing performance, dealer network and brand image. With this in mind, its launch party was a stunning showcase, set in a purpose-built geodesic structure on a Helipad above a palm-fringed beach.

Flying Squad's director Jon Gee worked closely with Acrobat Productions, the Delhi-based production team and each of the artists to ensure that, after only one day of final rehearsals, it would be completely safe for them to perform. Rigorous checks were made to the design of the rig itself as well as to the specialist equipment used to fly the performers. With many years of experience spent as a Trapeze artist (with Zippo's Circus amongst others), he easily overcame implicit challenges including extremely humid working conditions with temperatures soaring above 40 degrees. He was also invited to abseil into the finale and, taking centre stage, made a dramatic impression!

Roger Robinson, director of Acrobat Productions, explained: "We asked Jon to fly out and join our performers as we have a long working relationship with him and the Flying Squad team. Their professional approach, coupled with Jon's own experience as an Artist, puts them in a unique position. Jon understands that to perform there must b

RSC Outlines Plans for New Theatre
Thursday, 1 November 2001

The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) is set to create a new waterfront theatre village, redeveloping its historic home in Stratford-upon-Avon. The £100 million proposals include plans to rebuild a landmark modern Shakespeare playhouse on the riverside site of the current Royal Shakespeare Theatre. The Arts Council has already earmarked a total of £50 million for the project - a matching £50 million is being raised by the RSC.

The rebuilt flagship Royal Shakespeare Theatre will be the most significant new theatre building of the new century. Dutch architect Erick van Egeraat and theatre consultant Iain Mackintosh will play a key role in moving these proposals through to the design stage. It is anticipated that initial design ideas will be completed by the early summer of 2002. The key elements of the new theatre village include the construction of a completely new 1,050-seat Royal Shakespeare Theatre, featuring an adaptable auditorium allowing large-scale thrust and proscenium stage performance. This will be supported by improved audience facilities and by modern backstage, rehearsal and administration accommodation. Also key to the proposals is the construction of a new and highly adaptable auditorium as an extension to the existing The Other Place theatre on its current site. This space will provide the RSC's permanent new third auditorium, capable of accommodating variable forms of theatre staging and experimental work, as well as film and video recording.

Since it was built in 1932, the existing Royal Shakespeare Theatre has been regarded as fundamentally flawed;

Corruption Investigation at Frankfurt Messe
Thursday, 1 November 2001

German media is reporting a large-scale investigation into corruption at the Frankfurt Messehalle, home of the Frankfurt MusikMesse and ProLight & Sound exhibitions. According to Die Welt, 25 people have already been arrested on charges of corruption. In one example quoted, an employee of the Messe allegedly received almost £60,000 in one cash payment. Die Welt reports that seven employees of the Messe and as many as 90 entrepreneurs from 20 companies based in the Frankfurt-am-Main region are being investigated as part of the ongoing case. It is thought that the scale of the corruption could equate to many millions of Deutschmarks.

PLASA Elections
Thursday, 1 November 2001

The nominations for this year’s PLASA Executive Committee Elections are currently being collected, and voting forms will be distributed to PLASA members in mid-November.

PLASA Members were informed of the start of the nomination process in mid-October. Following the cut-off date for nominations on 15 November, members will have two weeks to submit their votes to PLASA. This year there are three vacancies for three-year seats, due to Diane Grant (DHA Lighting), Paul Hinkly (LMC Audio) and David Hopkins OBE (Audio Design Services) all reaching the end of their elected terms. There is also an additional one-year vacancy due to Paul Adams’ decision to stand down at the end of 2001. The final results will be announced on 3 December.

Planning for the Future
Thursday, 1 November 2001

PLASA Members can gain a competitive edge if they take advantage of PLASA’s pioneering industry research. The findings into the entertainment technology industry were launched by the Association at the recent PLASA Show, providing Members with the first available opportunity to gain in-depth market knowledge. At a time when the industry is facing an uncertain future, the research could prove vital to any company’s strategic planning.The first report, entitled ‘Establishing a Baseline’ is only available to PLASA Members and provides long-awaited reference material. The 147-page research report includes an overview of the global and UK markets and market-specific sections for the AV, lighting, pro audio and stage engineering markets. Each market is broken down into identifiable sectors with a definition of products and services within that area.

PLASA Members who contributed to the research have already received a 22-page overview. In addition, each sector within the report can be purchased separately to ensure that only relevant information is obtained. Globally, the report values the industry’s international market at £11 billion with the UK representing a strong share of just under 13%, at £1.4 billion. The UK’s exports also look healthy with over a third of revenue derived from overseas.Among the issues raised by the report is a widespread concern over skills shortages in key areas, specifically technical and business skills. As part of its ongoing effort to reverse this skills shortage, PLASA has recently sponsored various initiati


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