Three European entertainment industry veterans have announced the formation of Ground Zero BV, which they claim to be ‘the first system integrator and show control specialist company in Holland’. The founders of Ground Zero are Sierk Janszen, Rutger van Dijk and Reind Brackman, all well known figures in the worldwide entertainment industry. The company’s main working area will be North-Western Europe and Spain.
Sierk Janszen has worked as applications manager at Avenger Systems in Belgium for the last six years after he had worked as a sound-engineer for several theatre-companies in Holland. Rutger van Dijk has been the manager of Vari-Lite Production Services Amsterdam since it establishment, before which he worked as technical production manager on many musical productions, Cirque du Soleil Europe and Focus Showequipment. Finally, Reind Brackman is the owner and founder of Beo (the Dutch Compulite dealer) and Trekwerk, a company specializing in automatic flying systems and their controls.
Moving from an office-based position at Lighting Technology’s headquarters at Park Royal, London, Jerry Merrifield has been appointed to take care of field sales for the South West of England. Field sales manager Rob Williamson said: "Jerry is a tremendous addition to the field sales team. With his knowledge, enthusiasm and drive, he is bound to develop new and existing business in the South West. He is a character well known to suppliers and customers alike." Jerry Merrifield commented: "After 10 years with LTG this is an opportunity and a challenge I needed. The growth during my time with the company has been staggering and the move gives me the opportunity to contribute to the future expansion of Lighting Technology’s business in the South West."
Lighting Technology has announced that Valiant Lamps has moved to the Group's New Malden, Surrey Location as part of an expansion and reorganisation programme. In addition, Valiant is already networked to take advantage of the Group's new Corby National Distribution Centre where a new computerised internal order processing system has been installed to mastermind and speed up deliveries to its customers across the UK and Europe. The new address for Valiant Lamps is: 4 Shannon Commercial Centre, Beverley Way, New Malden, Surrey, KT3 4PT, UK. Tel: +44 (0) 20 8949 3070 Fax: +44 (0) 20 8395 3072
Cambridge-based Brähler ICS has provided a new microphone system for the courtrooms of the Patent Office in London, as part of a sound system overhaul. Two main areas had to be addressed: firstly, a modern microphone management system was required to make proceedings run more smoothly; secondly, it was vital that this system was integrated with an element that made it highly versatile. Both these needs were met by the supply and installation of Brähler’s Automic system and their Congress Data System Virtual Audio Network, CDS-VAN for short. The former provides the overall infrastructure. The latter endows it with great flexibility and eliminates much of the peripheral hardware normally associated with such projects. Installation also included replacing the existing PA system.
A carefully concealed and fixed cabling network was put into each courtroom for the microphones. And Brähler’s technology meant that cabling was minimal. However, a high degree of portability was conferred by the integrated CDS-VAN system which is software based. Therefore, moving from room to room along with the sound processing is no problem. (Simply loading whatever file is appropriate to a particular courtroom means that rapid set-up and take-down are possible. Very handy, not least because room layouts are frequently changed to suit different requirements.)
Italian lighting manufacturer Clay Paky has unveiled plans for a major new headquarter facility, close to its current base in Pedrengo.
The new HQ not only represents a major investment for the company (you don’t want to know how many noughts were on the end of all those liras), but also a new chapter in what has been one of the major success stories of our industry. And the timing is perfectly cued, for it’s 25 years since Pasquali Quadri first founded Clay Paky, in 1976.
Over the years, the company has grown to be one of the major players in the lighting market and whilst much of that is down to its roots in the club sector, recent years have seen Clay Paky diversify into the wider arenas of TV, theatre, touring and architectural lighting. Central to all this has been technical innovation - GoldenScan did much to establish the company; more recently the launch of new products like the Miniscan HPE and Stagescan in 1997, and the Stageline in 1999, have been huge catalysts for growth.
The new headquarter facility is therefore a logical step, and since no company moves to make life harder, it goes without saying that it will not only give Clay Paky significantly more space (the new building will be 8,000sq.m with the option for expansion up to 24,000sq.m) it will also deliver a wide range of advantages. The first will be one of consolidation, as the company currently operates across three sites - totalling 6,000sq.m - its main Pedrengo facility being the largest of these. All three will be sold, and all the various links in the Clay Paky chain, from R&D r
Electrosonic’s tradition of creating giant high-resolution electronic images continues with the completion of a 180sq.m display in Beijing, China. The China Millennium Monument is China’s memorial building to the Year 2000. It is a grand structure, occupying a total floor space of about 30,000sq.m. Its Century Wide-Screen Projection Hall houses an impressive 56-screen (30m x 6m) projection videowall. Measure Scientific of Beijing was responsible for the design and integration of the system which uses Sanyo projectors and locally-manufactured screens controlled by an Electrosonic Vector image system.
Here’s a cautionary tale for readers. News has reached us of an Australian-based contractor who appears to be defrauding companies out of security deposits by inventing fictional contracts.
Since the ruse is fairly sophisticated and adopts an approach employed by perfectly genuine companies in the marketplace, it doesn’t immediately signal alarm bells. Essentially, it goes as follows: the contractor e-mails companies, claiming to have been appointed project manager for a major cruise contract. The e-mail dangles a few details about the likely size of the contract and then invites companies to respond if they’re interested in bidding for any part of the audio or lighting specification. Once they’ve indicated an interest, the contractor then offers to forward the bid package for evaluation, in return for a small, refundable security deposit. What happens next is all too obvious - the money is sent, and the contractor disappears. And because the amount is nominal, most companies don’t pursue it, preferring to write it off to experience.
Fortunately, in this most recent instance, the PLASA Member grapevine kicked in, and thee-mails were circulated to others within the cruise sector, each company adding another piece to the complex jigsaw. The final picture that emerged made it clear to all that no further time should be wasted pursuing the alleged contract. That sequence of correspondence then landed on our desks and working with our Australia-based writer, Andy Ciddor, we carried out further checks. All the telephone numbers (except the fax l
PLASA Media has been advised of a new service designed to draw attention to poor standards of work within the industry. If you see a 'dodgy’ structure being built, such as a truss or tower being put up incorrectly or fashioned from battered old bits of ancient origin, you can now report it via e-mail to the Institute of Structural Engineers. This service has been arranged for the Industry by Roger Barrett, MD of Star Hire and PSA Council member.
Yates's Wine Lodges flagship branch has just opened in London's Leicester Square on the site originally occupied by Capital Radio's Capital Café. Leicester Square represents a radical departure from the traditional Yates look and feel which, over time, will gradually be phased out in the other sites across the country in favour of the new design. The same goes for the audio requirements which have also changed dramatically since the original Yates's concept was rolled out. Audio specialists Perfect Acoustics were called in to manage the project.Perfect Acoustics' Anthony Leonard explained that above all the system had to be versatile in order to handle several different types of musical requirements ranging from quiet background music during the day to DJs and live bands at night. "That's why we went for a Crown-driven Nexo system," he said. "We knew it would be able to handle all of Yates's requirements with no compromise in sound quality."
The stage system comprises two Nexo PS-15s and two LS-1200 sub bass units driven by a couple of Crown MA-3600VZs which provides a completely plug-and-play set-up for visiting bands, whether they are working from mini-disc with live vocals or completely live (in which case they would need to bring in a mixing console). The rest of the bar area utilises the ultra-compact PS-8s thirteen in total and two of the dedicated LS-400 subs driven by five Crown CE 1000s. There is also a Crown IQ USM-810 DSP engine. The Nexo and Crown equipment was sourced from UK distributor Fuzion plc.
P&O Stena Line (P&OSL) have installed an integrated sound and entertainment system, incorporating Bose speakers, on board their ships on the route between Dover and Calais. The installation is part of a £10.5 million refurbishment of the P&OSL fleet; the sound system installed in all the Silverstone’s sports bars incorporates a Sound Leisure state-of-the-art video touch-screen juke box which links through to Thomson plasma screens and monitors, and Bose 32SE and 302A loudspeakers strategically positioned around the bars. All seven ships on the P&OSL Dover Calais route will be equipped with the new technology by the end of May. An additional feature on the P&OSL Provence is a back-projection videowall which is also integrated with the entertainment and sound system.
A number of successful projects and an expanding market have encouraged AV and multi media specialist, D J Willrich Ltd (DJW) to open their new office in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. Located approximately 15 miles out of Dubai, in the Sharjah Airport International Free Zone, DJW’s new base will be run by Southampton couple Josh and Liz Miller. Josh, previously one of DJW’s senior project managers, will now be responsible for all DJW’s projects in the Middle East, whilst Liz will assist with the marketing and administration. Established in 1986, DJW grew from the AV Department of the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu. Since then the company has grown to achieve a multi-million pound turnover and become a major force worldwide in the AV and multi media industry. DJW’s ability and reputation is based on providing creative solutions that deliver the ultimate visitor experience in sound, vision, motion and interaction for museums and attractions worldwide. Recent projects have included the FA Premier League Hall of Fame, London; The Big Idea, Scotland; Bentley Pavilion, VW Autostadt, Germany; Discovery Centre, Sharjah, Shanghai Aquarium; Ballymena Ecos Centre, Ireland and X-treme World, Qatar.
Commenting on the expansion, DJW’s managing director, David Willrich, said: "With our associate company Mad Systems in the United States, and the opening of this new office in Sharjah, we are now able to provide a three-cornered coverage of the world. This marks a significant point in DJW’s growth and makes us perfectly placed to expand in
On March 30-31 over 80 of Scandinavia’s top lighting professionals, including architects, engineers and lighting designers, gathered in Aarhus, Denmark for the annual Nordlys Lighting Seminar. A large part of the seminar consisted of the viewing and evaluation of 11 'lighting experiments', each experiment created by a different lighting manufacturer. For four evenings buildings, monuments, bridges, sculptures and open space were illuminated around the town of Aarhus in an impressive display of the possibilities of architectural lighting. On Friday evening, the 80 participants voted for their favorite ‘experiment’.
The overall winner was Bispehave Tårnet (Bispehave Tower) illuminated by Martin Professional’s local distributor Martin Danmark. Lighting Designer of the winning project was Peer Ostergaard from Martin Danmark who commented about the design, "Being a water tower, the idea was to create the illusion of a glass of sparkling mineral water. We used Exterior 600s to produce a dark blue base with lighter shades of blue nearer the top. Finally we added bubbles created with rotating glass gobos from MAC 2000s for the very top."
Nordlys seminar was sponsored by Denmark’s Lysteknisk Selskab (Technical Lighting Association) in cooperation with other Scandinavian lighting associations from Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland.
Following an assessment by an independent body, Total Fabrications Ltd (TFL) has been awarded the ISO 9001 Certificate. This award for quality is supported by Government, and recognized worldwide. "We’ve experienced an increasing demand for special project work across all our market sectors, both here and abroad," commented TFL’s managing director Chris Cronin. "Couple that requirement with the development of our unique safety product, the T2 trussing system, and the need for an internationally recognized standard became essential." The award recognizes the company’s commitment to high quality service. Readers will be interested to learn that only around 3% of UK businesses hold this certificate, thus TFL are now at the forefront of quality service and customer care. Peter Hind of TFL headed up the team that prepared the company for assessment, co-opting production manager Lou McDonald and operations manager Brendan Cusack onto the team.
Those masters of rock industry logistics, EST, are once more in the thick of the action over the summer season. Touring with a list of bands that reads like a roll-call of the top aristocracy of the rock music industry, the range of locations and number of vehicles involved is staggering. The tours are all major Arena and Stadium scale and are forecast to be the biggest gross-earning acts of the summer season. 16 of the familiar yellow and purple trucks will provide logistic support to Madonna’s European tour running from the 5 June until 12 July. A further eight trucks will provide transport for the Eagles, starting in Moscow on 29 May and finishing in Glasgow on 28 July. Another 16 EST trucks will accompany Bon Jovi’s European Tour which starts in Stockholm on 31 May with 16 more shows in locations as diverse as Huddersfield, Hamburg and Zurich before ending in Munich on 30 June.
On top of that, EST will also provide transport for Jethro Tull’s European Tour, centred mainly in Germany, plus trucking equipment to a major Conference of the World’s Ophthalmologists in Istanbul for Face to Face Productions. Last but not least, EST is providing transport for the Barcelona Motor Show in early May which will entail 35 trucking movements each way.http://www.ess-uk.com
London-based Orbital Sound has now added Yamaha's PM1D mixing console into its extensive hire stock, making it available for tours, conferences and one-night events alike. Complementing their existing portfolio of high-spec equipment, the PM1D is available for hire following its recent ground-breaking debut at Sadlers Wells for the RSC production of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. As a theatre specialist, Orbital has worked closely with the Yamaha R&D teams both in the UK and Japan to initiate certain software developments to enhance the PM1D's performance as front-of-house workhorse, making it even faster to programme and providing greater control from its up-graded version 1.2 software.
As Mike Case, head of Yamaha Commercial Audio, explained: "We are delighted that Orbital are utilising the latest version of PM1D software for the system used in the production of FACE. Following the experience gained in the recent RSC's The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe many of the suggestions made by both sound designer, Scott Myers, and Orbital have been incorporated in this latest up-grade of software which includes parameter recall safe mode (allowing isolation of channel functions from scene automation). It is a credit to everybody involved, especially to the software engineers, that we have delivered exactly what our customer required, in a matter of months."
Lighting Technology Group has provided equipment for the newly-launched Well Being television channel and website from Boots and Granada that offers information and advice on all aspects of personal well-being. The three-year run of programmes is produced at Yorkshire Television in Leeds with Peter Hardman as lighting director. Equipment supplied by Lighting Technology includes 20 Brightline 1.4d four-lamp phase control dimmable units, complete with accessories such as broad field screens and colour frames plus Osram Studioline 3200k lamps. Further equipment includes 30 Strand Quartzcolor Studio 1k pole-operated fixtures, 15 ETC Source 4 Pars with barndoors and six Dennard pantographs. Peter Hardman detailed the project: "The brief was to light YTV’s Studio 3 in such a way that any action could be shot from most angles and in any part of the set. No lighting expertise would be available, nor adjustment time after the ‘on air’ day. For a 12-hour, five-day, three-year shoot, fluorescent softlights, with their low power consumption and low heat output were the obvious answer. The studio was to be operational within less than three weeks, and after Lighting Technology’s Andy Dodd had demonstrated the Brightline I had no doubt that they would fit the bill. They were delivered from the US in just two weeks and have performed well, producing the level of base light required, about 300 lux, in the manner required." The programme is available on Sky digital, Ondigital and at http://www.wellbeing.com.
Milos Structural Systems has announced that GES Exposition Services of Las Vegas debuted its new QuickTruss M290V inventory at the April 2001 National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show in Las Vegas. At NAB 2001, QuickTruss was used to build several structures including the pictured Banner structure that had 45ft tall towers and was 188ft in length. Another structure was used to carry a 3,400lb Barco LED wall. QuickTruss M290V is an 11 7/16" aluminum truss using 2" x 1/8" main tubing and 5/8" braces. It was selected by GES because of its quick connection system of solid spigots, pins and clips along with its versatility for indoor and outdoor use as well as being decorative or structural.
Television Film Services (TFS), the location audio equipment supply company, recently founded by film sound recordist Keith Silver, has chosen Sennheiser wireless microphone and in-ear monitoring systems to equip its inventory. Having already purchased a large number of SK 50 transmitter and EM 1046 modular receiver-based, 5000 Series systems, the company recently supplemented this with a further 16 channels of rackmount 3000 series systems, bringing the total number of channels to 45. The company further purchased six channels of Sennheiser evolution 300 Series wireless IEM. Founded just 10 months ago, TFS has already supplied equipment to BBC and Channel 4 productions, as well as to a growing number of corporate and feature film clients. Recent productions include The Human Body, Last of the Summer Wine'and The Gentleman Thief, along with a host of documentary titles.
Brähler ICS AG of Germany, with UK offices in Cambridge and Edinburgh, has announced two new digital audio products. Both have been designed and developed by Brähler and both are designed as components for the company’s Congress Data System - Virtual Audio Network or CDS-VAN for short. The first is the B8, a new feature-rich AD/DA interface unit. The second is the smaller OE16 interface converter. With the B8, it is possible to connect up to eight analogue audio sources to the digital CDS-VAN system via rear-panel electronically-balanced inputs and outputs (XLR-plug, XLR-socket or jack-plug). The unit also has three optical ADAT connections (in, out, and thru), two MIDI connectors (in and out), a wordclock BNC and 2 RJ45 ADAT sockets to power digital language selectors.
Brähler claims that the new B8, designed also as a standalone device, brings much more flexibility and versatility to established systems. Furthermore, it can be combined with other products - or techniques such as hard-disk recording and digital signal distribution, etc. In addition, Brähler points out that when linked with a DSP card from the Brähler CDS-VAN range, the B8 can eliminate the need for all peripheral devices such as graphic or parametric equalisers, delays, gates, compressors, routers and limiters.
Brähler’s second new hardware unit is an interface converter, the OE16, which is equipped with two ADAT optical input/outputs. The externally-powered OE16 converts the audio on both the ADAT 8 channels into ADAT RJ45 interfaces. (The conversion works bi-directionally and drive
Switchcraft Inc, the US manufacturer of audio connectors, patch bays and cable assemblies, has strengthened its international distributor base by appointing Electronics & Cables and Technosound to distribute its products in Italy and Lebanon respectively. Stephen Waldron, Switchcraft's director of international sales, told us: "Both companies are well established in their respective markets and will provide our customers with high quality service and support."
Vari-Lite has announced that West London-based Richard Martin Lighting (RML) has become the UK’s first Vari-Lite Rental Associate with stocks available for hire of the new VL2000 series. The company, which specialises in automated lighting for the television industry, and regularly supplies to all the main studios around the UK, has taken delivery of a batch of the new VL2414 wash luminaires. RML’s operations manager Steve Wells expands on the decision. "There has always been a high demand for the VL5 wash luminaire and we were extremely interested to see what the new Vari-Lite retail range had to offer. We arranged demo sessions for our clients to see the capabilities of the luminaires and after reports back on excellent colour mixing and high output, we decided to go ahead and become a Vari-Lite Rental Associate."
Malcolm Davis, Zero 88’s UK sales manager, has decided to leave the company for pastures new! In the two and a half years Davis has been with the company, he has become a familiar face to its UK dealers. Before joining Zero 88, he worked for a number of years developing overseas markets and has decided to put that knowledge to use in European markets, although he is staying within the lighting industry. Lorna Parsons will take over his responsibilities in the UK, with Graham Eales and Tim Burt providing back up.
There’s an orange-haired clown from the USA who 30 years ago perfected a presentational strategy that’s seen his products grow to become a global monster. The recipe for success is to satisfy the appetite with something that’s unlikely to offend even the most delicate palette.
While the three girls and brother Jim can hardly be likened to a hamburger and fries, they do present an inoffensive brand of pop that while delightful, is unlikely to become a healthy diet if taken in excess. It was March ‘98 when I last saw the Corrs, in a sub-2,000-seat theatre on that occasion. Their early singles had begun what’s become the band’s long flirtation with the charts. Have three years been a long enough break? In short, yes. The band’s live performance is much improved in that there is now an edge to them, and, dare I say it, I prefer the songs performed live to their more anodyne recordings.
Lighting & Video
In the words of production manager Ian Caulder, "Willie Williams was brought in to liven things up." That’s no reflection on Liam McCarthy, the group’s original LD from the outset. He and Icon programmer Frank Shields have melded an excellent, well-punctuated light show. But it’s what must lurk in William’s imagination that delights and excites.
Modules of a Screenco LED screen are hung, checkerboard-fashion, behind a white scrim. All images presented upon it are abstracts, computer graphics, flames, the glittering surface of a swimming pool, etc. Why this is a stroke of genius on Williams
A glittering array of stars and a sell-out audience of 5,000 joined Prince Charles at the Daily Mail Farm Aid concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall earlier this month, which raised more than £350,000 for farmers affected by the Foot and Mouth crisis. The concert was the brainchild of classical music patron Jackie Rosenfeld OBE, who - with the help of experienced fund-raiser Maggie Heath and publicist Aurelia Stephenson - organised the evening in just four weeks. Dobson Sound was brought in by production team Unusual Services to design and operate the sound system for the gala event, which was based around the 96-piece London Philharmonic Orchestra accompanying virtuoso performances from the Royal Ballet, opera singer Kim Cresswell, humorous singer Dillie Keane, and comedy duo Kit and the Widow. The evening was hosted by Angela Rippon and Robert Powell and featured contributions from Selina Scott and Frederick Forsyth among others. Paul Dobson from Dobson Sound commented: "I was very pleased to be working with the Unusual team again. The combination of Alan Jacobi producing, Dougie Squires directing, and John del Nero looking after sound with us is a tried and tested formula, especially in the Royal Albert Hall. Even though we only had three weeks to put everything together, it went pretty smoothly."
The system put together by Dobsons and freelance designer and engineer Ali Viles comprised a central cluster of d&b C4 cabinets with C7 underhangs. More C7s were flown for choir stall infills while a number of E3s across the front of the stage acted as stagefi