To see in the new millennium, three Megascreens were supplied by Unitek direct to Birmingham City Council to be positioned in two city centre locations. One 18sq.m LED screen was situated adjacent to the main stage, situated at one end of the square, whilst the other screen was positioned in the middle of the square, screening performances by acts such as The Honeys, Roy Wood of Wizard and Sir Cliff Richard to a crowd of 20,000 people. The third screen, measuring 32sq.m, relayed the action to the crowd 'overspill' in Victoria Square. Additional shows including family events and an open air disco sponsored by BRMB utilised the screens until January 2.
Audient plc has released three new variants of its ASP8024 console, along with news of a number of additional options. Frames to accommodate 24-, 48- and 60-input channels have been added to the original 36-channel frame size. An integral patchbay has also become an option and has been fitted with Neutrik bantam jack sockets and a D-Sub based studio systems interface. 144 tie lines are included as standard. A producer's table for applications requiring a dedicated script space can also be specified. The first 48-channel consoles shipped to UK and Dutch studios in December and a pair of 24-channel consoles will be delivered in early February, for use in mobile classical recording.
2000 has begun well for the Oxford Sound Company, with contracts being confirmed with a cumulative value of over £1.5m for design and installation work. Included in the record-breaking month for the company are two voice-captioning suites for BBC Television in London, a fully digital re-build and re-location of all of BBC Aberdeen, sound and communications for all of RADA's three new theatres, as well as the new Soho Theatre in London, and the Derry Theatre in Londonderry, and a sound system for the Regents Park Theatre.
Sony projectors, plasma displays and television monitors are forming part of the AV display at a new sports bar in Prague, capital of the Czech Republic. The ice hockey-themed Jagr's Sport Bar is the first in a new chain of restaurants to make extensive use of Sony AV systems, featuring LCD projection systems, wireless microphones, amplifiers and multi-speaker audio systems. The centrepiece of the bar is a large projection cube consisting of four VPL-S900E LCD projector screens, each delivering a powerful 1100 ANSI lumen output, suspended above the central bar. A further 34 video monitors are positioned around the walls, comprising both KV-14M1k and KV-21T1K units. The audio system includes SRP-S520 and SRP-S320 speaker systems plus an SRP-B900 subwoofer, powered by SRP series amplifiers. Wireless microphones include Freedom series mic systems, as well as an ECM-310BMP headset mic, with signals mixed by an SRP-X6004 mixer.
At the recent AGM of the Society of Television Lighting Designers (STLD), the Society honoured the support it had received over the past 25 years from Strand Lighting. Bernie Davies, secretary of the STLD, presented a special award to Alan Luxford, Strand's long-serving sales manager, who was present at the very first meeting of the STLD which was held at Strand Electric's King Street showroom in Covent Garden, and has supported the society ever since.
Following our recent news that Iain Elliott had departed the Canford Group, the company has announced the appointment of a new chief executive, Lawrence Jackson, previously managing director of Farnell. Group chairman Hugh Morgan Williams told PLASA Publishing: "Canford has come a long way since 1976 and the board of directors sees Lawrence's appointment as one which will lead us into the future, whilst safeguarding the basic principles upon which Canford was founded."
PLASA Publishing has received official confirmation that Cue Pro Audio Services went into liquidation at the close of last year. The company, based in London offered a repair service to the audio industry and was an authorised service centre for a host of manufacturers Carver, Denon, Furman, Omniphonics, Sony, Panasonic, Ramsa, RTS, Telex, Kramer and Yamaha. A creditors meeting took place on the 22nd November, 1999, at which point insolvency practitioners McCann Taylor were appointed as liquidators.
Yamaha's famous PM series mixing consoles have now entered the digital domain, with the introduction of the company's new PM1D digital mixing console, designed specifically for live and installed sound applications. The CS1D control surface operates the DSP1D digital audio processor, which can either be located with the interface, or at a remote position. The PM1D can be configured in 48- or 96-channel versions, with 48 mix busses, 24 matrices and 12 DCAs. Conversion is 28-bit A/D and 27-bit D/A, and internal processing is 32-bit. Dual inputs are available on all channels. Other features of the lightweight, compact system include an ethernet-based comms system. All console-to-stage control signals are transmitted via one 68-pin cable per 32 channels and three ethernet cables.
Stonewood Electronics Ltd, the manufacturer of the Metro Audio intercom products, has informed PLASA Publishing that it has purchased the name, good will and trading title of Metro Audio, which was liquidated last November. The company has formed Stonewood Audio Ltd, which will distribute the professional intercom products together with Stonewood's new product range, which includes a full duplex multi-channel wireless intercom system using true duplex beltpacks. Steve Gunn has been appointed sales manager of Stonewood Audio Ltd.
Production Resource Group recently announced the promotion of Jeff Senkovich to executive vice president of the PRG Audio Group. He will be responsible for all operations within the working closely with Lew Mead, president of the PRG Audio Group, on operations. Senkovich joined PRG in June 1997 after 13 years as a project executive and general manager of the special projects division of a construction company, for which he led all theme park, themed retail, teleproduction and production facility construction projects.
Stanton has completed its new range of DJ mixer products, instituted with the takeover of the company by Gerard Cohen's Tracoman. Announced at the 1999 PLASA Show, four models are now in production, and available through UK distributors, Lamba plc. The SK ONE is a slim, two-channel unit, offering two line and two phono inputs, with gain, two-band EQ (+9/-26dB) and pan control on each channel. The SK TWO is another two-channel unit, offering two line and two phono inputs, with gain, three-band EQ (+9/-26dB) and pan control on each channel. The RM THREE is a three-channel professional DJ mixer, offering six line, three phono and two mic inputs, with gain, three-band EQ (+9/-26dB) and pan control on each channel, whilst the SK FIVE is a two-channel DJ mixer aimed at the budget-conscious customer.
Strand Lighting has introduced the ParkNet lighting management and control system. A veteran of theme park lighting tasks with projects recently completed for Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Studios Florida, several Cruise ships and a host of themed attractions, Strand has developed a sophisticated central control system that offers simple point and click access for the control of a wide range of facilities. The new ParkNet system incorporates control for up to 18,000 DMX devices whilst the systems graphic user interface accommodates scheduling of events and includes an astronomical time clock that precisely calculates sunrise and sunset, and can execute events related to those times.
PLASA Publishing has learnt that VLPS (Europe) is to be sold to a European-based consortium. Although the move has not been officially confirmed by parent company Vari-Lite International Inc, VLPS Europe is understood to have all but completed the paperwork for a management buy-out backed by a venture capital company based in Sweden. A letter of intent is in place and confirmation of the deal is expected in the next few weeks. Vari-Lite Europe, together with Theatre Projects/Concert Productions and Brilliant Stages, became part of the Vari-Lite Inc Group in 1994 when the Samuelson Group sold off the companies. It later merged with Theatre Projects to form VLPS London.
Dolby Laboratories has announced that MARS (Multimedia Archive & Retrieval Systems) On-line has begun using Dolby Digital for the delivery of audio to professional broadcasters and the production community via the Internet. MARS On-line provides an Internet library music archive via a comprehensive on-line database search engine. The audio is stored, encoded and distributed using Liquid Audio technology, which employs Dolby Digital audio encoding.
Ausio-visual design and installation specialist Sarner International has been chosen by Purbeck District Council to produce a new interactive tourist attraction for the Swanage Heritage Centre. The new exhibition will provide an overview of the area's history and development, stretching as far back as the Jurassic period, with a display of dinosaur footprints found at a nearby quarry. Sarner is responsible for the entire attraction, including the creation of static displays and information videos. The centre is due to open in April 2000.
The BBC's Tomorrow's World programme last night featured a new development which, according to its designer, is capable of transmitting sound in a straight line Sound Beam is a new device which sends sound in a straight line - working on much the same principles as a spotlight. Designed by Joe Pompei, a researcher at MIT media lab in Boston, it can be used to relay audio to just one person in a crowd. Pompei's design is based upon high frequency ultrasound waves which are beyond our hearing which act like a 'carrier' for audible sound. His design combines music with ultrasound; this then recreates the complex wave patterns of the music at a much higher frequency that can't be heard. A specially designed speaker is then used to send out this high frequency ultrasound beam. Physical properties in the air then distort the beam producing a range of frequencies, including audible sound. The sound quality isn't high enough yet to cover very long distances, but when it is, the potential applications for the product in public places such as airports, stations and cinemas are mind-boggling.
The recently-opened Royal Opera House isn't experiencing much luck since its £214 million redevelopment. Following technical problems and cancellations on a run of recent productions, the Opera House was beset by further problems during a recent performance of Sir Harrison Birtwistle's Gawain. The production was brought to a halt part-way through a performance when one of the lift mechanisms intended to transport a performer into position failed to operate effectively. The production was temporarily halted and later resumed - by the time the curtain came down it had fallen 40 minutes behind schedule.
ESTA has announced that the draft American National Standard BSR E1.14, Entertainment Technology - Recommendations for Inclusions in Fog Machine Manuals, is available for public review until March 14, 2000. The draft standard applies to the instruction manuals for fog machines manufactured for use in the entertainment industry, and describes what information should be included in fog machine manuals to help ensure that users operate these machines safely and effectively. A copy of the above standard may be obtained from the ESTA website at www.esta.org/tsp/ or by writing to: Technical Standards Manager, ESTA, 875 Sixth Avenue, Suite 2302, New York, NY 10001, USA.
Total Audio Solutions has just completed a full radio production studio installation for South Birmingham College. The College runs several courses from its Sparkbrook Media Centre, including HNC in Radio Broadcasting and NVQ and ONC in Radio Production. The studio, which was fitted out as a turnkey installation by the company, incorporates presenter and guest facilities, allowing students to polish their interview technique. Playback sources range from traditional turntables through to MiniDisc and DAT, while the college's Sadie production system is also integrated into the production suite.
The spectacular Millennium celebrations in Newcastle-upon-Tyne centred round the backdrop of the Tyne Bridge - the prototype of the larger Sydney Harbour Bridge, itself the backdrop to spectacular Millennium celebrations. The bridge was lit using City Color architectural luminaires, with design by Illuminatum. Newcastle-based power distribution specialists Innovation supplied six tonnes of cabling to provide one megawatt of power on and around the bridge. The stroke of midnight saw a fireworks display by Walk The Plank, including a stunning 150ft waterfall effect from bridge to river. The majority of the installation was carried out during normal daily activities, until the site became a vehicle exclusion zone on the morning of the 31st. Unfortunately, this also meant that all the production vehicles were ticketed by an over-excited traffic warden!
DPA Microphones is highlighting its new omnidirectional microphone at the Paris AES. The Type 3541 is a complete microphone kit for all kinds of high-quality solo recordings such as vocal performances, strings and wind instruments. The new 3541 is based on the same large-diaphragm capsule technology as the established gold model Type 4040 Hybrid Microphone. Supplied as a complete kit with suspension mount, windscreen and pop-filter, as well as the state-of-the-art Microphone Amplifier Type HMA4000 and a special microphone cable, the 3541 also introduces a completely new versatile modular capsule and preamplifier system. The capsule can be separated from the microphone preamp and the preamp exchanged, giving the engineer a choice between musical colouration of the Type MMP4000-T tube preamp, or the transparency of the solid state preamplifier Type MMP4000-S. Both are included in the microphone kit Type 3541.
Iain Elliott has left the Canford Group plc, the company he founded 23 years ago. Under Elliott's direction as chief executive, the Tyne & Wear-based company grew to become one of the UK's leading pro-audio distributors and manufacturers with a range of over 14,000 items. Elliott has not announced what he plans to do next, but has informed PLASA Publishing that he is not departing the pro-audio industry just yet!
The first Sennheiser manufacturing facility in the Western Hemisphere is currently under construction in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This 45,000sq.ft facility will manufacture printed circuit boards for the world market, as well as wireless headphones and wireless microphones for the American market. This is the first Sennheiser manufacturing facility outside Europe, and is modelled after the Wedemark, Germany, facility. Heading the project in New Mexico is Bill Jenner, recently named vice-president and general manager of the Sennheiser New Mexico facility. Initially, the plant is scheduled to operate with forty employees with approximately 10,000 sq.ft earmarked for future expansion.
Dresdner Bank in Frankfurt has a sophisticated new conference system from Brahler ICS. The bank's auditorium, round hall and mirror hall were the three areas which were equipped with microphones and language transmission systems via Brahler's latest digital wired - and wireless infra red - technology. In the auditorium, 168 delegate units were installed, all fitted with new hand-held microphones with luminant ring indicator. These mics switch off automatically and the cable recoils itself, when they are replaced in the holder. Software control is 32-bit. Three CCTV cameras in the auditorium are computer-linked to the microphones, so that delegates can be viewed by the interpreters inside the booths, whilst they are speaking.