Guests at the Annual Lighting Designer’s Christmas Luncheon, held at the Royal National Theatre in December, were able to meet three more future leading lights in the profession, as White Light once again presented its Lighting Design Bursaries during the event. Now in its third year, the competition was opened up this year to allow entries from anyone studying lighting design in the UK, rather than just from students at Rose Bruford College as in previous years. As before, students had to produce a proposal detailing how they would light a scene from a play, a piece of music, an item of architecture or a live event - all within a theoretical budget! - as well as a live ‘pitch’ for that proposal. Despite the newly-expanded field of entries, the overall winner of the competition was once again a student at Rose Bruford: Kristina Hjelm, with a production entitled The Peep Show. Kristina was presented with a certificate, a cheque for £500, and will also receive full sponsorship to attend Showlight in Edinburgh later in the year. Two further prizes of certificates and cheques for £500 were presented: to Kelly Hendry of LAMDA, for her production of Waiting for Godot set in Westminster Underground Station, and to Peter Jackson, also of LAMDA, for his production of Not About Heroes.
Stage Electrics has provided a large percentage of the lighting and special effects for major pantomimes around the UK. The company supplied the lighting, including Martin Professional’s MAC 2000s and a large number of generics, for 15 of the Quodos (formerly known as E&B) shows, as well as for four of Jim Davidson’s Effective Productions. The pantomimes are all over the country from Plymouth to Edinburgh and include Dick Whittington at the Hammersmith Apollo. Stage Electrics’ lighting has also been used on many other productions throughout the festive season including the classic Christmas production, The Snowman in London and Holland; the Classical Spectacular at the Royal Albert Hall, the Olympia International Show Jumping Championships and numerous West End shows.
Christmas week was Cereco International’s busiest week since the launch in September of its web-based lighting and audio equipment auction. Cereco’s John Lethbridge reports that in the period between 27 December and New Year’s Eve, over £7,000 worth of product was snapped up by several individual first-time buyers. There was a last-minute battle between five bidders for 42 ETC Source 4 Pars that started at £50.00 each and closed at £65.00 each. John Lethbridge puts this success down to the fact that people had plenty of time to be on-line over the holiday period. Also, most of the bidders are now subscribing to Cereco's free weekly e-mail newsletter that keeps them informed of the latest deals and action on the website. The site specialises in new and ex-demo equipment supplied by leading manufacturers and distributors, rather than ex-rental equipment, although some of the equipment sold over the Christmas period had come out of Expo 2000 in Hannover. A new auction starts every Thursday evening and initially runs for 10 days, after which time, unsold items are re-submitted. Viewers can also make off-line offers where there are no bids in place.
A new application for the company’s Optiscreen technology was given its official launch on Friday by AV company Gearhouse. The company is using its modular video screen system to create a new style of advertising hoarding which allows for advertising to change throughout the day. Newly-appointed Gearhouse director John Hemming unveiled the new system at the company’s Birmingham premises.
Sony Broadcast & Professional Europe has reported shipment of over 300 units of its new DMX-R100 digital mixing console in the first six months of availability. David Bush, general manager for professional audio, said: "Sony BPE had felt for a long time that there was a huge gap in the market between a number of small, low-cost digital mixers and high-cost larger alternatives." Andrew Hingley, senior product manager for the DMX-R100, added: "The console has found a home in a wide range of applications, from project studio to broadcast to theatre and front-of-house." A major new software upgrade to the DMX-R100 is expected to be announced shortly.
The recent Illuminated Video Workshop, fronted by Screenco and designed to show the versatility of LED screen configurations, paid immediate dividends when the senior producer of BBC Television’s Sports Personality of the Year decided to transport the concept to BBC Television Centre.
On December 10, a TV audience of around 10 million - as well as an invited studio audience of 560 sports personalities - assembled in TC1 studio in Wood Lane to see 60 of Screenco’s 15mm modules, with help from Vertigo and Stage One, perform some gymnastics of their own. Assembled in a block, the matrix formed the entire scenic video backdrop for the production - but the show’s senior producer Paul Davies saw possibilities way beyond that.
He decided that the matrix could also be configured as a walk-on entrance for the personalities. "We wanted to integrate an over-the-top screen into the show, but hadn’t realised it could move around so much until we saw the Screenco/Stage One demonstration at Three Mills Island. "Suddenly, we could see how we could use this with star walk-ons - allowing us to support these by great images of yesteryear - because we could move the screens around." Taking feeds from conventional VT and live camera relay, there were six preset positions.
Working with set designer Christopher George and LD Mike Lefevre, Screenco’s main concern was providing a skin to diffuse the LEDs and reduce the luminance. "It’s the kind of problem you expect when you merge the technologies," said Screenco’s Mike Walker
Their publicity talks about ‘a multi-disciplinary approach to create a visceral experience’ to teaching fire safety. But it’s the big red fire truck inside the window that gets people in to the new Fire Zone exhibit at the Rockefeller Center in New York!
It’s a good start to getting across a message which is important, but too easy to make it over-preachy or just plain dull. That was the problem the New York Fire Department had. The new approach came about after Tishman Speyer Properties, who manage the property of the Rockefeller Center, offered the Fire Department space in the building for a token rent. The Fire Department accepted, and turned to BKS/K Architects to create the Fire Zone.
Once the fire-truck has lured people in, it acts as the first stage of the themed show: an alarm, a fire-fighter and a video-projection showing a fire truck’s journey to the fire. The large garage door that acts as the projection screen then swings open allowing visitors into an area that re-creates the smouldering remains of burnt-out New York apartments. Video montages projected around the room from multiple projectors then allow the survivors of fires to tell their stories: with each, lighting and sound transform the room to show what happened to cause that fire.
To bring the exhibition to life, the Fire Department and architects turned to New York-based designers Dawn Chiang for lighting, Tom Morse for sound and Mediaworks to create the storylines and video. Chiang’s lighting had to deal with the room as a whole for the narrative sections, wi
The Institute of Acoustics (IoA) held its 16th conference on Reproduced Sound in November - and much of the varied content was relevant to the theatre and live music industries.
Multi-channel sound reinforcement was a topic that generated a large amount of interest, with presentations from David Malham (University of York), Fred Ample (Technology Visions), Robin Whittaker (Out Board Electronics) and Steve Ellison (Level Control Systems). It was clear that the demand for higher-quality audio environments is growing rapidly.
Robin Whittaker explained the theory of source-oriented reinforcement and illustrated its applications from the wealth of theatre, industrial and music productions that Out Board has undertaken. Whittaker concluded by stating that the concept of source-oriented reinforcement has several key benefits; namely, the minimisation of room effects, even distribution of SPL and tonality and improving the direct-to-reverberant energy ratios to improve intelligibility.
Steve Ellison explained LCS’ drive towards improved multi-channel control of live audio. The Matrix3 system, with its CueConsole and Ethertracks add-ons, represents Ellison’s vision of the future of multi-channel systems; completely integrated playback, routing, processing, mixing and distribution. A further presentation from Ellison and Markl Poletti of Industrial Research in New Zealand, on the LCS Virtual Room Acoustic System, showed how such an integrated system could be expanded still further.
Two further developments were worthy of note: Duran Audio in the Netherlands has ta
Further to our news piece last month on the West End musical Napoleon, we can tell you a little bit more about the soundtrack and effects elements of the production. Sound designers Martin Levan and Henrick Marsen, masterminded these aspects, and for full control and realistic localisation of all sound effects, specified Out Board’s TiMax level and delay matrix, supplied by Autograph. All the sound effects within the production are distributed via the TiMax system, which is triggered by MIDI cues and the Cadac show control system. As well as the sound effects themselves, Levan and Marsen utilised TiMax to add artificial reverb enhancement to the auditorium as the natural sound environment was very dead. Two of the TiMax inputs were fed from an ambient mic cluster through to all the loudspeaker panels, just to create a more lively atmosphere!
AV specialist company Black Box AV has been busy helping Virgin Entertainment Group transform the Our Price stores into the new V.Shop music retail outlets – with 100 stores completed before the third week in November. A major part of the new-look stores is the inclusion of interactive AV technology, and Paradigm AV has supplied Black Box with rear projection screens manufactured by dnp Denmark, which will appear as front-window points of sale in all the re-profiled stores. The complete package for every store includes a BGM system capable of barring music tracks containing bad language, and listening posts where customers can access any CD in the shop via touch-screen technology. Finally, a video-server solution delivers two channels of MPEG video via in-store plasma panels and the front-line dnp rear projection screens.
Glastonbury Festival organiser Michael Eavis has cancelled this year's event because of fears about crowd safety. The festival, which was first staged in 1970, had been under fire from his local authority after thousands of fans sneaked into last year’s Festival. The 2000 event has left Eavis facing prosecution over alleged breaches of the festival licence, and he says he hopes his decision will send out a message that organisers are taking the issue seriously. In a statement he said: "After much deliberation and consultation I have now decided not to run the festival this year." He added, however, that he has every intention running the Festival in 2002. Eavis’s decision follows the deaths of nine crowd members at the Roskilde Festival in Denmark last year. Eavis has commented that the Roskilde tragedy has made organisers and authorities more concerned about crowd numbers.
Commissioned by ARTTS International (Advanced Residential Theatre & Television Skillcentre located at Bubwith, south of York), Lighting Technology has recently completed the installation of lighting and track equipment into a new studio build at the organisation's television training centre. A grid composed of five 10m plain scaffold tubes and six 10m internally-wired bars is fixed at a height of four metres and wired to a patch rack unit. An 18-way Pulsar dimmer rack with control outlets has been installed, along with an 18-way Pulsar twin-preset lighting desk. Lighting equipment supplied included five Strand Studio 1kW lanterns and two pantographs. The perimeter track is a Foyal 300 system," explained Lighting Technology’s Terry Reeves. "A subsequent order followed and this involved the installation of a new Harkness Hall T60 track system in the main theatre. We were then approached to install a further perimeter tracking system and lighting bars in the dance studio adjacent to the main studio." Geoff Bicker, technical director of ARTTS International, commented: "Lighting Technology provided us with a very professional and well-organised service, from the initial consultation on the building site through to completion of the project. I can recommend their team to anyone."
Turbosound reports that Spanish production company Fluge, headed by Luis Berlanga, has increased its hire inventory of Turbosound Flashlight by 24 TFL-780 low-frequency cabinets and 24 Flashlight TFS-780 mid/highs. The company now boasts 72 complete stacks of the Flashlight fully-integrated long-throw sound reinforcement system and 48 stacks of Floodlight, comprised of the TFL-760H mid/high enclosures and the TSW-721 sub-bass unit. The new hire stock will be used for various tours and events around Spain, but made its debut at the 30,000-capacity Benicasim Festival, providing PA for artists such as Richard Ashcroft, Primal Scream and Oasis.
ARX Systems (Hall 4.1, Stand A70) will be launching a wide range of new products at the 2001 Frankfurt MusikMesse (7-11 March). These include several additions to the company’s powered loudspeaker range including the SPL20 powered sub-woofer, the Level 8 line interface, 8 Pre eight-channel microphone preamp and the ZA5.1 six-channel surround amplifier. The newly-revised and updated ARX V4.1 product CD-ROM detailing all matters ARX will also be available at the Booth, as well as the usual Australian hospitality.
PLASA Publishing has learned of the death from cancer of Playlight founder, Mike McMullan, who died peacefully at home on Tuesday 3rd January, surrounded by his family. A statement from the directors and staff of the Playlight Group said: "Mike was one of life's great characters, and will be greatly missed by all who knew him."
The funeral will take place next Wednesday 10 January at 1.00pm at the Altrincham Crematorium, Whitehouse Lane, Dunham Massey, Altrincham, Cheshire. The family has requested that instead of flowers being sent, donations be made to the following charities: St Ann's Hospice, St Ann's Road North, Heald Green, Cheshire; the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, 11 London Road, Bromley, Kent; or the Lymphoma Association, PO Box 386 Aylesbury.
Nexo has won the sound installation contract for Finland’s ‘coolest’ new venue, Hullu Poro, (The Crazy Reindeer). Possibly the most northerly entertainment venue in Europe, Hullu Poro is a large multipurpose centre being built in the busy skiing resort of Levi. When it opens next spring, the two-level, 1800-cpacity venue will host concerts by all the top Finnish artists and many international names. Nexo’s distributor in Finland, Oy Hedcom, is overseeing the installation of a Nexo Alpha E system, featuring six Alpha E-M, four B1-18s and two S2 sub-bass for the main PA, with six Nexo PS8 compact cabinets for fills around the venue.
Adlib Audio has completed a successful UK Theatre Tour with Joan Armatrading, covering venues ranging from 330-capacity up to the 1800-seat Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, which provided the biggest test for Adlib’s Martin Audio Wavefront System and the rigging capabilities of their crew. With Alan ‘Nobby’ Hopkinson mixing FOH on a Soundcraft Series 4 and the Astoria’s Erik Sanderson-Evans on monitors (doubling as production manager), Armatrading played acoustic guitar exclusively across a wide range of styles. Adlib’s Andy Dockerty said: "Nobby put this tour out to tender, but knew that our equipment was quite new, and given the type of show that it was, that the Wavefronts would be smooth enough to handle the wide range of styles." There were 16 W8Cs at Adlib’s disposal, "but we only ever put three subs each side of the stage," says Dockerty. "We had the option to do a single or a two-bar drop, but tended to use six top boxes downstairs, stacked each side of stage, reinforced with three subs."
Adam Hall has announced the release of the AC series BNC 75 Ohm receptacle connectors, from Amphenol Australia. The design features an Amphenol BNC adapter mounted in the AC series receptacle ensuring a rugged flush-mounted product. Designed for broadcast, video and other applications that require impedance matched performance, the connector is completely isolated from ground. The industry standard D series XLR panel housing provides the installer with the convenience of having standard metalwork cut-outs for both XLR and BNC installations. Available in standard Nickel finish or optional black.
Wybron Inc has introduced the next generation of its popular Autopilot. Autopilot II is a 3-D tracking system that turns moving lights into automated followspots that track performers in real time. Autopilot II is now ‘plug and play’ simple and anyone can set-up and run. Set-up is virtually automated and viewable in three dimensions on a laptop. Web-based enhancements give users the power to use, adjust, monitor and even diagnose system performance from the laptop. Autopilot II has expanded memory capacity that allows users to control up to 75 moving lights.
Strand Lighting's SLD series dimmers have won the Eddy award for Lighting Product of the Year, as presented by Entertainment Design Magazine. Phil O¹Donnell accepted the award on behalf of Strand Lighting at a ceremony held in New York City in December."We are delighted and pleased to accept this Industry recognition for our new SLD dimmer range," said Peter Rogers, global sales and marketing director for Strand Lighting.
Sennheiser Electronic Corporation and Future Sonics Inc have entered into agreement under which Future Sonics has designed and will manufacture a professional, universal personal ear-phone to be packaged with the popular Sennheiser evolution wireless 300 IEM system. The formal announcement will take place at NAMM 2001 and product will start shipping next month. Both companies will eventually sell the units as stand alone products.
High End Systems has announced that Bob Schacherl, one of the founding partners of High End, has resigned from his role as president of the company in order to spend time with his family and pursue personal interests. Schacherl, who was instrumental in establishing the initial worldwide sales distribution network during the early years of the company, commented: "It’s been a privilege working with so many great people here at High End and throughout the lighting community." Schacherl will continue as a shareholder in High End Systems. Sean Hoey, sales manager for North America will assume responsibility for Latin America, supported by Tony Magana. John Wiseman, vice-president of special projects will continue management of European Sales and will assume responsibility for the Asian, Middle Eastern and African territories supported by JR Chai and LeighAnne Aiken.
The UK Events industry has received an important accolade on a world-wide scale, with four companies from the ISES (International Special Event Society) UK Chapter nominated for awards at the ‘Special Event’ to be held this January. Nominees include The Moving Venue (Best Off-Premise Catered Event), The Special Event Company (Best Multi-Day Event), Vok Dams Gruppe (Best Achievement in Technical Support), and The Full Effect has received nominations in an impressive three categories (Best Corporate Picnic, Best Entertainment Concept over $50k, and Best Theatrical Production). The final judging takes place in New Orleans during the Special Event Show, with the Awards and Gala Dinner being held on 13th January. "It’s a tremendous achievement for the Brits to get so many nominations from the 375 entries submitted," said ISES UK Chapter president, Sally Webb. "The UK Special Events Industry is up with the leaders in terms of new, innovative and creative ideas, and this has been reflected with many British award winners over the past few years."
Production of the Midas XL3 console has finally ceased with serial number 1000, the very last XL3 to be manufactured, rolling off the production line last month. The XL3 has had a long and varied history over its 10 years of production. The first ever XL3 users were rental company Electrotec who took a prototype out on tour with heavy metal rock band Motorhead - before the console was even launched. However, the very first XL3 off the production line went not to Electrotec, but to the famous London venue, The Forum in Kentish Town, where it still serves as the FOH console - and coincidentally will later this month be used for Motorhead. The last console, serial number 1000, along with numbers 999 and 998, has already been shipped, via Midas’ Belgian distributors Ampco Belgium, to a large Belgian full service production company, Philing Live, who also have subsidiaries in France.