Business News Headlines
Solid State Logic Network I/O for System T broadcast platform successfully participates in ST 2110 JT-NM testing
Lightpower Collection presents exclusive selection of unseen Neal Preston pictures and announces co-operation with EMP
Artistic Licence appoints Controllux as distributor in The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg
Benelux – Having enjoyed a friendly business relationship for years, Artistic Licence and Controllux have announced a formal distribution agreement for The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.
Founded in 1968, Controllux is a leading name in the distribution of professional lighting equipment. With many experienced staff, the company provides comprehensive supply and support for respected brands in the theatrical, broadcast and film, entertainment and architectural markets.
Artistic Licence CEO Wayne Howell comments: "Our broad range of lighting control and infrastructure products will nicely reinforce the Controllux emphasis on solutions. Both companies have been trading for many decades and bring customers the reassurance of experience, quality and reliability. Artistic Licence designs and manufactures all its own products in the UK – something that we are very proud of – and I think many people will be surprised at just how competitive our pricing is across our latest DMX512/RDM, Art-Net/sACN and DALI ranges."
Lex Oudshoorn of Controllux adds: "Our broad network encompasses many different fields of specialism, and we are always looking for brands that will add extra value for our customers. We are delighted to be the official distributor of the Artistic Licence range in The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.
Artistic Licence is a well-known A-league UK manufacturer and will amplify our product portfolio with a complete range of DALI, sACN and, of course, DMX512 hardware devices.
“More and more, we are seeing a shift from box-moving to turnkey projects. The Artistic Licence range will ensure we have a wide variety of control options available for our customers."
29th May 2020
punQtum Joins Ravenna Partnership
The Netherlands – punQtum B.V., specialist providers of digital communication tools for the live event and professional audio industry, has today become the latest company to form part of the RAVENNA community. The move underlines punQtum’s commitment to supporting open technology standards and embracing the ongoing transition to digital IP solutions in pro audio applications.
Established in 2019, punQtum recently launched its first product: the Q110 Beltpack is the first element of a larger networked intercom system that offers up to 32 partylines via standard IP networks and infrastructures. Providing ultimate scalability, the Q110 suits systems of any size, ranging from small events requiring just two beltpacks to as many are required for large, complex systems.
Using AES67 as a solid technology cornerstone, the punQtum Intercom system integrates seamlessly with AES67-compliant networks such as RAVENNA and Dante. “Using network technology for digital communication makes total sense,” says punQtum CEO, Arie van den Broek. “Ethernet is available in many places already, so the ability to plug into a network instantly broadens and facilitates your scope of operation. Technologies such as RAVENNA – which offers high performance and interoperability – are an integral part of the IP landscape and are instrumental in driving progress, so it also makes complete sense that we should be part of that community.”
RAVENNA evangelist, Andreas Hildebrand of ALC NetworX is pleased to welcome punQtum on board. “We’ve already seen the importance of digital IP-based intercom in the broadcast sector where it is already pretty well established with RAVENNA/AES67 as the principal transport technology. The extension of RAVENNA-based AoIP transport into the operational side of live events is the next logical step. punQtum has debuted a range of products that offer easy-to-use, scalable and fully AES67-compatible solutions in this market, so we’re delighted to welcome them to the RAVENNA community.”
27th May 2020
Solid State Logic Network I/O for System T broadcast platform successfully participates in ST 2110 JT-NM testing
UK – Solid State Logic (SSL) successfully participated in the Spring 2020 JT-NM Tested programme, with the HC Bridge SRC and other devices from the SSL Network I/O range included in the JT-NM Self-Tested catalogue for ST 2110. With the unforeseen cancellation of the face-to-face event, the JT-NM move forward with the self-tested element placing greater emphasis on the extremely valuable testing tools. JT-NM’s efforts, backed by AMWA, EBU, SMPTE and VSF, are significant for the industry. Media stream and security testing tools are vital for broadcasters to move forward with IP based media production infrastructure.
SSL Network I/O devices are compliant with ST 2110-30 and ST 2022-7 to conformance levels A, B and C, all of which can be used simultaneously to receive and transmit streams on a single device. System T and Network I/O provides AoIP for all eventualities, with ST 2110, AES67 and Dante on the same hardware, all possibilities are covered. Unique full routing control from within the console’s software provides true AoIP resource sharing. Mic inputs are routed across the network when needed, audio outputs can quickly be patched from different consoles as required. Connection management and audio shuffling is performed directly on the network, without the need for additional routing hardware; a truly virtualised audio router.
22nd May 2020
ROE Visual Europe Opens New Showroom
The Netherlands – A wide range of LED panels can now be viewed and tested in ROE Visual’s new and impressive showroom. ROE Visual Europe has recently finalised a complete refurbishment of its showroom in Leek, the Netherlands, showcasing its LED products in an intimate setting.
Creating an immersive environment, the initial idea was to show a broad range of the latest LED panels in a setting that could facilitate a focus on the display of stunning visuals on the one hand and create a relaxed atmosphere to conduct business conversations on the other.
The absolute centre of attention in the resulting, inspirational setting is the Ruby RB 2.3 LED display. This full HD wall, measuring 5.5 x 3m and with a resolution of 2376x1296 steals the show. The showreel displayed is based on the jaw-dropping 4K content as earlier shown at the ISE exhibition and makes a lasting impression.
Flanking the Ruby screens are panels of Black Quartz, Carbon, Diamond and Vanish. Additional to these displays, the showroom will also feature the Black Marble, showcased both as wall mounted screen and interactive LED floor. The selection of in- and outdoor screens will give the visitor a good impression of the different choices that are to be made when selecting a LED screen.
The masterminds behind the refurbishment are Victor Kortekaas and Tim Hamberg, both seasoned professionals, who know what it takes to make a well-founded decision when investing in an appropriate LED display.
“That’s the whole idea behind having the different panels on display here,” explains Victor Kortekaas, technical director for ROE Visual Europe, “being able to see the differences and playing with content on different screens, different processing set-ups etc., contributes to making a well-founded decision. After all we want the customer to be satisfied with his purchase, now and in the future.”
“Another advantage of having the panels at hand is that, once a client has decided, our support is at hand to make sure nobody leaves without understanding how it all fits together. Guaranteeing that the client is confident about the system will make them start their first project with full confidence later on” add Tim Hamberg, Technical Support Engineer for ROE Visual Europe.
In addition to the several LED screens on display, there is an intimidating processing tower, fitted with all the processing types that ROE Visual favours, like Brompton’s Tessera SX40, the HELIOS platform and the EV4 processor. “All the screens and content can be started using a pre-programmed tablet, with all the selections pre-defined in a menu. This means that all ROE Staff are able to go into the showroom and start the system up, by just selecting a menu key. Simple as that,” states Hamberg.
“The sales team is very eager to invite customers to experience the quality of our LED screens. It’s not only the visual quality, but the engineering and precision manufacturing, the way it all comes together, that makes the difference, you really need to see, feel and experience it,” comments Kortekaas. With its flexible set-up, the showroom is created with the intention of allowing clients and designers to use it for demos, try-outs or testing and to accommodate several set-ups and events.
ROE Visual looks forward to inspiring visitors from 1st June onwards. Request for an appointment here: https://bit.ly/showroom-appointment
22nd May 2020
Unusual talks mental health in a COVID-adapted world
UK - In Mental Health Awareness Week, Unusual Rigging is urging its industry counterparts to consider what mental health in the workplace will look like in a COVID- adapted world. As the entertainment industry has been knocked sideways by the global crisis, Tom Harper, managing director at Unusual Rigging believes the time is right to tackle the growing problem of work-related mental health problems head on and to nip it in the bud rather than simply putting a sticky plaster on it.
Tom said: "If ever there was a time for it to be OK to not be OK, it’s now. With the world as we know it turned on its head, those who can put their hands up and say they’re ‘absolutely fine’ are, without doubt superhuman. With lives and livelihoods lost or at least put on hold, this year’s Mental Health Awareness week is really shining the light on the problem, but also on the solution. What can we do to look after our own mental health, but also ensuring the well-being of our friends, family and colleagues?"
He continued: "Our business revolves around theatre, museums, live events, sporting events, all of which have been closed until further notice, postponed or cancelled. A number of our staff have been put on furlough while we navigate this tricky period. But they’re still our colleagues and friends and so we embrace the amazing technology that wouldn’t have been accessible a decade or two ago. WhatsApp and Microsoft Team meetings are vital to help employees that are on furlough stay in touch with others. We’re also making sure that we’re reaching out and talking one to one with our people – whether that’s to let them simply talk about how they’re dealing with another day at home or are worried about sick family members – some have even suffered bereavements."
The live entertainment industry is a high pressure environment at the best of times, with anti social hours and long periods of time away from home being part of the job. Last year, Unusual's operations manager, Lizzie Richmond embarked on a two day mental health first aid course with the St John’s Ambulance. Here delegates were taught practical skills to spot the signs of mental illness and ways to step up and support a person who might need assistance. Learning how to have a non-judgemental conversation and how to always stay alert in order to spot the signs and symptoms of common workplace mental health issues was invaluable.
She said: "Now of course, with our teams at home, it’s not easy to spot. We hope that having always encouraged a culture of talk in the office, our staff know there is absolutely no stigma associated with mental health and know that we are willing and able to provide any support that they need, whether that’s organising counselling or just being an informal shoulder to cry on. We understand that right now people could be experiencing an entire spectrum of feelings – and that's to be expected – we're all human."
While the pandemic has thrown the entire nation’s mental health into focus like never before, it has also opened the dialogue with more people feeling confident to admit to their feelings. Tom added: "It's time to get under the skin of mental health and to ask ourselves what does good mental health look like and what should it look like in a COVID-adapted world. It will take time to adjust but if we take the issue seriously, we should be looking to do more than bounce back, we should be bouncing forward. This time has given so many of us the opportunity to consider which bits of normal we wish to return to. So while we can’t chat casually over the water cooler in the office, there's nothing stopping any of us from picking up the phone, calling a workmate and just asking, “Are you OK?”
photo: Daniel Shearing/Stora Enso/Ramboll
22nd May 2020
Six ‘Theatres at Risk’ get a helping hand from Theatres Trust
UK – Theatres Trust, the national advisory body for theatre, has announced the six theatres that will receive support through the second year of its Theatres at Risk Capacity Building Programme:
Groundlings Theatre, Portsmouth
Streatham Hill Theatre
The programme is designed to support theatres on the Trust’s Theatres at risk register to commission expert advice and acquire the skills and knowledge to push forward capital projects to help save their theatres. Alongside the grant, each theatre will receive support from the Theatres Trust’s advice team.
This round of funding will support projects ranging from governance support to viability studies. The theatres are all on the Theatres at Risk Register 2020 as announced in January 2020 but are at various stages in their journey to restoration and revival.
Theatres Trust architecture advisor Claire Appleby says: “We know how difficult it can be for theatres to raise funding for the early stage concept and viability works and for organisational support. These first stages of a project provide the vital foundations for both project and organisation, and we hope that with this support, these theatres will be able to make real progress.”
Theatres at Risk Capacity Building Programme is supported by Historic England, The Pilgrim Trust and Swire Charitable Trust.
Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England says: “It’s great news that three of the historic theatres on the Heritage at Risk Register – Brighton Hippodrome, Groundlings Theatre and Walthamstow Granada, all Grade II* listed – are being given a vital helping hand by being awarded a grant from this important new scheme. We are delighted to support this programme and to provide our advice and expertise. Historic theatres have such an important role as buildings of great significance to the community, as we all look forward to recovery from this period of isolation."
Sue Bowers of the Pilgrim Trust says: “The Pilgrim Trust recognises the importance of supporting theatres at risk to save their buildings and give them a viable and sustainable future. This is not just because so many of the buildings are of outstanding significance, but also because a restored, vibrant and well visited theatre building can assist with the regeneration of the centres of our towns and cities. We are delighted to be funding this programme.”
Martha Allfrey trustee of the Swire Charitable Trust says: “The Swire Charitable Trust is delighted to be supporting the Theatres Trust’s Theatres at Risk Capacity Building Programme. We applaud its goal of removing vulnerable theatres from the Theatres at Risk Register, thus securing the future of these vital cultural, community and heritage assets. Theatres Trust’s unique and intense work with these theatres can lend support in so many ways, offering exciting opportunities to the community and campaign groups involved – we will follow the progress of each project with great interest.”
Funding for a second year of the scheme was secured following the success of the pilot year, which supported Burnley Empire, Morecambe Winter Gardens, Peterborough New Theatre, Salford Victoria, Spilsby Theatre and Swindon Mechanics’ Institute to make significant progress.
In picture: Walthamstow Granada, Mike Fox; Groundlings Theatre, Paul S Jenkins and Streatham Hill Theatre, Tim Hatcher.
21st May 2020
Lightpower Collection presents exclusive selection of unseen Neal Preston pictures and announces co-operation with EMP
As the COVID-19 crisis continues to hit the live music and event industry particularly hard with no end in sight, it is in times like these that it’s imperative we all stick together and each do our part.
The Lightpower Collection is determined to continue to donate to organisations dedicated to preserving jobs within the live event industry; organisations that include Crew Nation, Behind the Scenes and Backup.
The Lightpower Collection has therefore teamed up with legendary photographer Neal Preston to release a set of more than 25 previously unseen music photographs. Each of these very special images is being made available in an extremely limited edition run of just 20 per image.
The Lightpower Collection exclusively offers these signed and numbered fine art prints for purchase at the special price of only 950 Euros. These prints will have enormously high collector's value due to their extremely small edition sizes. Editions of 20 would normally be priced at a minimum of 2,000 Euros and that price would increase as the editions sell through. The new collection can be viewed at https://www.lightpower-collection.com/en/neal-preston-special-edition/
To co-incide with their release, we are also pleased to announce a new cooperation with our new partner EMP, Europe's top e-commerce company in rock and entertainment merchandising, which offers its Backstage Club members further advantages when purchasing.
To buy one of these special edition images and help support this industry, please direct all enquiries to The Lightpower Collection or EMP via the following websites:
photos: Neal Preston/The Lightpower Collection
20th May 2020
POLAR Appointed UK Distributors for T1V
UK – POLAR, established supplier of key industry brands to the installation, MI and professional audio markets has announced the addition of T1V to its portfolio. Based in the USA, T1V is a visual collaboration company specialising in multi-touch, multi-user software for the enterprise and education markets. With a stated mission to remove barriers to collaboration, T1V has developed its business over the past decade to become a leading innovator in large-scale interactive software technology, with seven issued patents for collaboration and active learning software.
T1V’s suite of collaboration software products, including ThinkHub, HubVC and the AirConnect mobile app, work cohesively to support a seamless, intuitive user experience for in-room and remote participants, replacing much of the hardware equated with today’s meeting room technology. ThinkHub Connect active learning technology is designed to support a wide variety of teaching and learning styles from the traditional lecture, through team problem-solving and group-based work. This solution also supports students at off-site locations and allows easy content sharing between remote locations. All of T1V’s solutions are built for BYOD (bring your own device) to support the variety of devices, programs and platforms of today’s meeting and learning environments.
Stuart Leader, director of POLAR’s integrated services division comments: “If ever there was a time that highlighted the need for technology to support new ways of working, it’s now. Collaborative working as a concept has been around for a long time, but in so many cases, it’s been no more than a byword for sharing screens over a video call. The COVID-19 pandemic has compelled large numbers of us to work or study remotely, and as a consequence, has really emphasised the need to be able to collaborate in far greater depth.
“The T1V product range addresses collaboration into the truest sense of the word, allowing the sharing of a huge digital canvas, multiple windows and application-sharing with annotation tools and interaction from all participants, over a single software codec call. T1V’s range is comprehensive and very impressive, allowing levels of interaction that redefine collaborative working in both the commercial and education sectors. Products like ThinkHub Connect, which allow screen and content sharing across multiple workstations, offer incredibly exciting possibilities for higher education settings. T1V is another highly significant addition to the POLAR portfolio.”
T1V vice president of international sales, Marco Ventura adds: “T1V is excited to partner with POLAR to expand our presence in the UK. With so many organisations rethinking ‘business as usual’ as a result of the global pandemic, our solutions serve an immediate need for companies seeking ways to keep their employees connected and engaged. Our platform is unique in that we can support in-room and remote collaboration, while providing an intuitive, user-first experience.
For those organisations looking to connect their global offices, they need look no further.
19th May 2020
Shure UK Pro Audio: Responding to the Global Pandemic to Support the Industry
UK – Shure UK’s Pro Audio team has been striving to maintain business continuity and increase industry support amid the coronavirus crisis whilst protecting the health and safety of all their associates. The company has been responding and adapting to help support its industry, freelancers and fans.
The Shure Audio Institute has built up quite a reputation for their education platform, providing workshops for Shure customers including system integrators, consultants, music industry retailers, engineers, and musicians. In order to continue delivering education to the audio community, Shure has adapted its usual face-to-face workshops to online virtual masterclasses which are broken down in to one-hour sessions hosted by David Phillips, senior sales manager, Shure UK.
The virtual sessions, which started earlier last month, are designed to deliver the essential elements of the usual full day workshops over the course of a couple of hours and once the online course is complete, attendees are invited to complete an online certification test. The online training is industry recognised and completely free-of-charge and therefore, a great way to stay up to date with practises whilst people are spending more time at home.
David Phillips comments: “We’re used to running these sessions face-to-face, so it’s been quite a change presenting virtual training. To make an entire day of training manageable, we’ve broken the training down into easily consumed one-hour sessions. I’ve been really encouraged by the response we’ve received from the attendees, many of whom are good friends and clients of ours from the industry. During this difficult time, it’s been great to help support the industry in any small way we can. The response was so positive, we’ll likely continue running more virtual sessions once government lockdown measures are eased.”
New sessions are released regularly and can be found at the following links:
The industry we all know and love, has been forced to shut down and the adaptations we are making to our daily lives can have an effect on our mental health. Shure teamed up with sound engineer, Zoe Milton, to give her own personal experience on how she, as a freelancer, has been adapting to working from home under the recent lockdown measures to help advise and comfort others who find themselves in a similar situation. The full article can be found here:
The current situation has found many of us turning our hands to be more creative, to find ways around the constraints that we are facing in our work and in our everyday life. Whilst everyone is spending much more time at home, many of us are consuming content as a means to stay connected and entertained and to spend our time doing those things that we always had to put to one side. The world has seen a rise in people creating podcasts and recording music at home and Shure have been supporting projects such as “The Remote Read” – an innovative series of live streamed virtual play readings. Shure is assisting the team with equipment and advise on overcoming sound technology challenges of virtual productions.
More information on “The Remote Read” is available here: www.theremoteread.com
Stuart Moots, director, Pro Audio, explains: “During a time of such change for our industry, it was crucial we kept ‘business as usual’ as much as possible. In doing so, we wanted to support the industry that has given us so much over the years. We’ve seen a huge uplift in demand for training over this time as furloughed or self-employed creative industry professionals seeks to use this downtime productively. Parallel to all this, supporting our friends in their own lockdown endeavours is another area where we’ve been able to help out. This includes our support of ‘The Remote Read’ by providing USB-microphones to help deliver the best possible production values under the circumstances. When you see how positively our industry has reacted to very sudden, dramatic changes in our day-to-day lives, it gives you cause for optimism for the future.” Stuart adds: “I’d also like to draw your attention to the Music Venue’s Trust Campaign ‘To Save Our Venues’, it goes without saying that without those venues providing a platform for emerging artists and bands across the country then the landscape would be very different. These venues are of vital importance not only to the industry, but to the local communities across the UK. Anything we can do to help now will benefit us all in the future. https://saveourvenues.co.uk/#/”
19th May 2020
An open letter asking for support for the Supply Chain to the Live Events industry
“The live events industry which includes music, theatre, corporate events, festivals and live broadcasts was amongst the first to be closed down by the COVID-19 pandemic and will be the last to return to normality. This is global issue and I would ask you to take the time to watch this video from the Live Events Coalition in the US which graphically represents the issue for the whole world.
“Both the producers of live events but also the suppliers to live events need help. It is critical to consider the entire ecology of the live events supply chain when designing business support mechanisms.
“In collaboration with a number of industry colleagues I have outlined a ten-point plan for help we need from the UK Government.
1. Live events are pretty much impossible until the 2m Social Distancing rule is either unnecessary or relaxed – 2m distance needs to be advisory in conjunction with face covering and hygiene (in combination with testing) NOT compulsory. Until the 2m distancing requirement is reduced or, eventually, removed, many live events will not be financially viable.
2. Need to recognise the supply chain to industries/sectors that are still closed and therefore offer support especially in those sectors that use theatres and live music venues which will be closed until the requirement for social distancing has ended (at the moment supply chain companies often don’t qualify for any of the business rates support due to being too large and not being listed as an entertainment venue) The closure impacts not only on the venue but also on the diverse supply-chain, that includes UK manufacturers, distributors, rental and production companies, as well as a large network of freelancers. This whole eco-system is required for the Live Events sector to function and be commercially viable.
3. Offer support for COVID-19 related costs such as additional H & S precautions, PPE, increased costs of working.
4. Withdrawal of the JRS/Furlough scheme needs to be phased per sector – you can’t treat the live events industry the same as say, construction or manufacturing industries in terms of timescale. Full support is required until the work recommences.
5. Support for the freelance community – over 70 per cent of the creative sector are self-employed and there are too many “gaps” in the current support for self-employed workers. Again, support by sector needs to be considered when reducing or removing support measures.
6. Support is needed for our customers (theatre producers, music promoters, event organisers, broadcasters, venues, etc.) to produce more ‘content’ (that we can then supply) – they need tax relief on their set up costs, (e.g. increase Theatre Tax Relief to 50%) they need assistance with insurance (e.g. offer cancellation insurance if productions have to cancel as a result of a second wave of COVID-19). We need to ensure that any help to producers, etc. encourages them to produce more shows. Another suggestion is to remove VAT from ticket revenue.
7. Extend “time to pay” for VAT, PAYE, etc. until twelve months after the activity for that particular business returns, not March 31st 2021.
8. Pressure on commercial landlords to offer rental holidays for affected businesses (not just waivers) as well as getting banks to offer sensible commercial mortgage holidays.
9. Increase Corporation Tax so that those companies who ARE able to make a profit can contribute to the support of the other industries/sectors that are hit the hardest by the Covid-19 crisis.
10. In the absence of a tenth point there is the obvious request: Come up with a vaccine so that the world can return normal.
“With the exception of the furlough scheme (for which we are incredibly grateful for) all the support we at White Light (and other supply companies) have been offered is in the form of deferments or loans i.e. delayed payments or additional debt – we have received no waivers or grants. If the UK live events industry is to survive and return to be global leaders then it will need its suppliers.
“Please share, copy, adapt and enhance on these requests and pass on to anyone who you think might be able to support the supply chain to one of the most important industries in the UK.”
White Light Ltd
18th May 2020
Same Storm – Different Boats
USA – As we all go through the COVID 19 situation, a great many sayings have emerged. Most were, at first, clever, uplifting, and catchy. Now, as we enter weeks nine and beyond, some of them do not ring so true to many people. Perhaps the most problematic catch phrase is now “We Are All In This Together.” As many people have now been without any form of income for eight weeks, a clear distinction has come to the forefront. Yes, we are all in this together, but it is deeper than that.
The truth is, “Same Storm – Different Boats.”
For those people fortunate enough to have a job that continues to pay them fully through this time, or those with large personal wealth, this is a “tough time” or “an inconvenience”, but it is not life or death. For those people and companies that have little to no income, and wonder how much longer they can survive, this COVID 19 situation is indeed life or death. We are all in the same storm, but some of us are in 300-foot yachts, and some of us are in leaking row boats, wondering exactly when the boat will sink.
Greater than 60% of the companies in America are “at risk” and an even greater number of people are either now unemployed or “at risk.”
The end result for many people is either unemployment, or a career change. The Enhanced Unemployment Income stops on 31 July. After that, those on unemployment will drop to an amount of funding that may not sustain their lifestyle. Those people that have sought other employment have, or may, in many cases, work for a wage far below what they were once earning. Nevertheless, there is a small level of income for most people.
Many companies, on the other hand, cannot continue to exist on 25% to 60% income levels. The reduced income will simply not cover their fixed operating costs. Once the companies cease to exist, there is no place for the former employees to return to work. For the last two months, and most likely for the next two or more months, all live entertainment production companies are at zero income. Zero. No one really knows when large crowds will be permitted again. No one.
The reopening will be a slow train, by all accounts. Live entertainment is the caboose of the reopening train, with live entertainment production people and firms sitting in the rear of the caboose. Entertainers can, will, and have come up with new ways to sell their products. Online streaming, live events with no crowds, small socially distanced public events and other events of this nature have and will occur more frequently. This provides some level of income for all of those at the top of the live entertainment food chain, but it does nothing for the millions of sound, light, video, staging, pyro, rigging, bussing, trucking, backline and production people and firms in the industry. The entire live entertainment production community will sit at zero income until large crowds are allowed to assemble. That is a fact.
The live entertainment production community has looked at every possible way to “pivot” and “reinvent” themselves. Both of these are also clever terms used in the last eight weeks. Again, the truth is that the billions of dollars of equipment owned by the Live Entertainment Production firms has one function: To deliver large live events. There is no “pivot” that works. None. We all know that.
Thus, we are all in the same storm, but in very different boats. As we move forward, live entertainment production may be the only industry in this position. Hair salons, restaurants, bars, clubs, theatres, tattoo parlours, cruise lines, hotels and the wide variety of other leisure industries can and will slowly open with reduced numbers of people and social distancing. They will certainly struggle, but, eventually, they have a chance and a path to a full recovery. Live entertainment production companies and people are in an all or nothing situation. Until large crowds of 10,000 to 100,000 can gather, live entertainment production companies are sitting idle. These firms simply cannot create a version of themselves that supports the firm and the people to do shows for small crowds. Live Entertainment Production is a high dollar, high volume business. The firms have billions of dollars invested in equipment and training people. Imagine if Ford, Chevrolet, or any car company produced 5% of their output. They could not sustain the factory and the business. The auto businesses and the auto industry would collapse.
The live entertainment industry in the US is estimated to be a 35 billion dollar a year business. There are over ten million people that work in this industry. Most all of the live entertainment production people and companies are all out of work until large crowds are allowed to gather.
To quote someone I heard speak a few weeks ago: “They do not know we exist.”
It is imperative that we all do everything that we can to make our elected officials aware that live entertainment production exists as an industry, and that we will sit at zero income until such time as large crowds can and do gather. We are not advocating a plan or a guideline. We are simply making all of our elected leaders aware that we exist as an industry. No amount of saying “We are all in the together” or any other catchy phrase will solve our issue or our needs.
A final piece of our message concerns legal liability. In my opinion, until legislation is passed that removes all liability from any type of COVID 19 related lawsuits, there will be no live entertainment. No one could afford the risk of class action lawsuits.
I urge everyone to use the attached link, https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials, and contact your local, State and Federal elected officials. Send them this article, or, create a letter of your own. Whatever you do, let them know we exist and are in in a situation unlike any other industry. The full weight of millions of people contacting all of our elected officials is our best chance toward affecting awareness and change in a fashion to assure our industry is recognised and supported.
The message to communicate is simple: live entertainment production is an industry with ten million people, and it will sit at zero income until large crowds can assemble. The industry will not reopen until there is legislation removing any liability from COVID 19 lawsuits. The people and the companies cannot exist for an extended period with zero income.
This is but one step toward solving the situation that live entertainment production people and companies are facing. There are many endeavours and organisations working on this and other issues. We applaud everyone that is working on this. If everyone that reads this does two things, we will affect change. First, use the link and contact all of your local, state, and federal elected officials and share this article or a letter of your own. Second, forward this article to everyone you possibly can.
Yes, we are all in the same COVID 19 storm, but we are all in very different boats!
Michael T. Strickland
Bandit Lites, Inc.
14th May 2020
Brompton Technology launches Chinese language website
Continuing its commitment to supporting its customers in China, Brompton Technology has announced the launch of a customised Chinese version of its website. Including all downloadable documentation, as well as product and feature pages, it makes Brompton’s technical information readily available to the Chinese market.
A major part of Brompton Technology’s strategy in recent years has been to find ways of strengthening its support for its panel manufacturer partners, most of whom are based in Shenzhen, China. The new website is the latest in a string of initiatives, the first of which was the creation of an office in Shenzhen at the beginning of 2019. Led by Elijah Ebo, Brompton’s general manager (Asia), the office is staffed by Chinese-speaking account managers and field application engineers (FAEs) who are dedicated to helping Brompton’s customers, whether it be with system integration or technical support. In addition to employing native Mandarin-speakers, the company offers free Mandarin language lessons to all Brompton Technology staff.
At the beginning of 2020, Brompton released its Configuration Application (Config. App) tool in Chinese, one of a suite of tools that simplifies the integration of its Tessera processing system for panel manufacturers.
“The Chinese language website is a natural continuation of this programme and allows us to better support our customers in Asia,” explains Ebo. “It provides all-important technical specifications, downloadable documentation, and information on our features and products, all with the goal of making Brompton processing more accessible for our Chinese speaking customers.”
The Brompton team knows it is important that its Chinese partners receive technical and marketing communication directly from the company in their native language, so that nothing is lost in translation.
“We are absolutely delighted to be able to further facilitate the needs of our customers in China by offering the website in their language,” concludes Brompton’s managing director, Richard Mead. “It is key to our global strategy to build successful partnerships with panel manufacturers, and we make sure Brompton Technology processing gives their panels a performance advantage.”
13th May 2020
Highlite announces DAP new style
Highlite International BV announces the arrival of the new DAP logo which symbolises its ongoing development. A new dedicated DAP catalogue accompanies the new look and feel of DAP.
The audio-branch of Highlite, DAP, has grown and it is still growing. Over the years DAP has become a household name for various artists, small stages, venues and events. Even for offices, shopping malls and fitness areas DAP offers the fitting audio solutions. With this growth a new image was necessary. Clean, crisp, clear and embodying the quality DAP is known for. The introduction of the new logo is accompanied by an equally new DAP catalogue which gives a good overview of what DAP has to offer. The DAP range can be found at daplandingpage.com or the new catalogue can be download fromhiervindjedecatalgogus.com.
11th May 2020
Bandit Lites World HQ Revamped as Sales and Installation Facility
USA – Due to enormous growth of Bandit Lites sales and installation projects, the lighting leader’s world headquarters in Knoxville was recently revamped as a sales facility with a renovated conference room, updated warehouse and dedicated testing and demo areas.
Following a collaborative process of zeroing in how to make the intake, testing, and output most efficient, Bandit’s team devised a system that streamlined the process with the entire front of the warehouse scoured, painted and sealed with painted lines to designate spaces for check in, prep and testing and ultimately shipping.
“These changes have allowed us to work more efficiently, keep track of project status, and streamline the whole process,” said Knoxville facilities manager, Brad Hylton.
“Every item that arrives is checked in and then sorted into an incoming area, all branded and labelled based on what site, venue or job they’re slated for,” explained Director of Operations Roth Edwards. “Then everything is prepped, tested and labelled to the Bandit Standard before they’re moved to the outgoing area, shrink wrapped and palletised.”
“We run a test show through every fixture before it ever leaves the warehouse to make sure the end user has no issues,” said Alex Becker, Bandit’s sales and production assistant. “Once the fixtures have passed our testing phase it goes into the “out” side of the warehouse in its respective bay. This is all done to make it more efficient as everything for a specific project is in one location, making it easier to track what we have received and what is needed for each project. This all saves time while the install technician is on site.”
Additional updates to the world headquarters include placing the whole building on one control system with several different staging areas showcasing the different areas of architectural lighting the team offers.
Bandit’s conference room was also renovated offering a revamped meeting space for the sales team and visiting vendors.
“In addition to all this, we increased our local network internally to a 10GB backbone, giving us a more powerful infrastructure to support the sales team,” Edwards added. “We also hired David Sloan as our IT manager as part of the sales initiative to increase our ability to work remotely and offer greater internal support.”
With the sales side of Bandit experiencing this incredible growth, a dedicated support team was assembled consisting of new hires Genny Wynn and Nick Brown as well as positioning Alex Becker for gear testing and prep and Brad Hylton for logistics.
“During this live show shut down the sales team has not missed a step,” states Bandit chair Michael T. Strickland. “Goods have continued to flow in and out, as the large number of installations are still ongoing. VP of Sales and Integration Chris Barbee has guided the entire team during this time frame to assure the valuable Bandit clients are supplied with the highest quality services, as always.”
7th May 2020
Ampetronic and Williams AV extend their strategic partnership to North America
USA – Ampetronic and Williams AV have announced that from 1st July Williams AV will represent Ampetronic in the USA and Canada for all loop systems and support services.
Ampetronic is the global leader in hearing loop solutions, and Williams AV is the leader in receiver-based assistive listening with IR, FM, WiFi and hybrid platforms, along with having a range of related and innovative communication solutions.
Ampetronic and Williams AV who, in April 2020, announced their strategic partnership in the UK and Europe, are extending that partnership into the USA and Canada in order to offer the broadest range of market leading products and services for hearing accessibility in public environments. Users, specifiers, integrators and installers in North America can now access a single provider for all requirements.
Ampetronic MD, Julian Pieters said of the extension to the existing agreement: “Ampetronic and Williams AV are long established as global champions for assistive listening, sharing a dedication to meeting the needs of hard of hearing people.
“This announcement comes at a time when we are seeing rapid growth of the North American and global hearing loop markets along with strong growth in the adoption of all installed hearing assistance.
“We are delighted that Williams AV have chosen Ampetronic’s hearing loop solutions to complement their product range North America, bringing together the leading brands in the assistive listening sector.
“As well as bringing together strong and complementary product lines, the partnership is built on well-matched philosophies for technical excellence, education and training, and high investment in customer support, ensuring our solutions genuinely benefit service providers and end users.”
Williams AV CEO, Rob Sheeley said: “Ampetronic is the pioneer in hearing loop technology and the world leader in design and manufacturing of these systems.”
7th May 2020
Triple E Launches New Website
UK – Although the current pandemic has seen the entertainment industry diminished and the necessary furlough of many of staff, grass has not been allowed to grow under Triple E's feet.
Along with handling long term project work and dispatching orders around the world, the team has been busy with the final touches to its brand new website! The old domain will be phased out so update bookmarks to www.triplee.ltd.Featuring an improved Quote Tool, updated information and, of course, the valued cording and rigging diagrams, all are now easier to find and understand. The website now covers the full product range and services for the first time since the company expanded its machine shop.
Triple E has gone live with some new case studies, showcasing the fantastic things that can be done with Triple E products. Their creativity and experience can help solve design problems in exciting ways.
Lucy Edelstein, deputy director says: "The new website has been over a year in the making. I've listened to feedback from our clients to ascertain what they need from our site, making sure it allows everyone to better understand the fine details of our product range and how Triple E products can expand the scope and scale of our client's projects.
"With its well-presented range of information and the powerful Quote Tool that allows a user to get a quote in a few seconds, this new website is going to be of great benefit to all our customers and clients."
6th May 2020
‘Feed Our Crew’ Initiative in South Africa
South Africa – Feed Our Crew is an NGO initiative (non-government organisation) in South Africa co-founded by Johannesburg-based Tamsyn Strydom (project manager from production and rental company MGG), Kagiso Moima Wa Masimini (KG) who owns Blackmotion Production and Marcia Alves from We Are Boundless.
The goal is to focus on urgent fundraising for the temporary support of freelance live event technicians.
Working in collaboration with another NGO, People4Purpose that provides individuals and families with basic necessities like food and clothing, donations are converted into 1000 ZAR vouchers (around £50), which are distributed to qualified recipients via their cell phones. This is calculated to provide enough money to support a family’s fundamental needs for a month.
While the SA government has pledged to provide relief packages for virtually every sector in the country, the enormity of the task has made the process slow to get to those in the most desperate need.
With a lockdown, an already fragile economy in SA and no prospects of a bounce-back in the live events sector for some time, some people are literally starving.
Feed Our Crew’s Daria Higgins, who runs a normally busy events company True North, commented: “There has been an immediate and devastating impact on the show and event industry across South Africa, and freelancers – the often invisible backbone of that usually vibrant industry – are particularly badly hit.”
The vouchers are redeemable at the major retailers ShopRite / Checkers and can be used to buy groceries, medication plus other essential utilities like electricity, cell phone data and airtime, all fundamental to sustaining themselves until government assistance comes on stream.
In two weeks, the scheme has received hundreds of applications as well as generous support from companies and individuals in a position to help.
Robe’s South African distributor DWR is one of these key sponsors, together with equipment rental production companies including MGG and Blackmotion as well as many individuals.
The story began when public events in SA started getting cancelled across the country in early March, soon followed by a nationwide lockdown which still continues.
KG started drafting a letter to the President’s office to highlight how dramatically the entertainment industry has been affected by the pandemic and the consequential shutdown, while Johannesburg-based artist management and booking agency, About Entertainment, campaigned for videos and messages of support from local and artist celebrities that could be used to encourage donations.
As these videos started flowing, more people joined the conversation, including technical manager Marcia Alves. As the need to for more action on the ground became glaringly obvious, Tamsyn, KG and Marcia founded Feed Our Crew together with the assistance of several others.
Anyone meeting the criteria can apply for assistance, but the aim is to reach the most vulnerable of those who have been working across all the technical disciplines: lighting, audio, rigging, stage and set building, SFX, etc.
As word spread about Feed Our Crew, a Facebook page and website were established, starting on the 16th April. By the Friday of that week, the first donation had landed, they had partnered with People4Purpose led by Landy Yeatman who is also from the event industry and the plan was being activated.
Applicants can apply through the website or Facebook page and need to have an email and a cell phone number. They complete a form, submit their ID together with two references for verification that they have been actively engaged in the shows and events world.
Feed Our Crew volunteers work every day to collate and process all the applications and manage the database, while the voucher distribution is coordinated by the People4Purpose team.
The first 160 vouchers have just been dispatched.
As Feed Our Crew has gained traction, the organisers have been reaching out to all their artist contacts, launching various social media campaigns to raise awareness and encourage those who can to get behind it and donate.
“We want everyone to realise that whatever the event, from an intimate wedding to a large international conference, it’s all the technicians who are working unseen and backstage on the production who ensure the magic happens to make it a special and memorable occasion,” stated Daria, who also feels “truly inspired with how our amazing industry is uniting, collaborating and pooling resources and ideas to help each other out on a practical and human level.”
In the absence of any official help right now, for many this is an essential lifeline for survival.
photos: Tamsyn Strydom, MGG Productions.
5th May 2020
Ayrton Appoints Bespoke Entertainment Solutions as exclusive distributor for South Africa
South Africa – Ayrton has announced Bespoke Entertainment Solutions as its new exclusive distributor for South Africa with immediate effect. Currently based in Randburg, Johannesburg, Bespoke, has plans to expand into other major cities with strategic partnerships.
Bespoke Entertainment Solutions’ technical director, Suren Lutchman explained how this exciting new arrangement came about: “Having recently taken on several installations and new technical personnel on a full-time basis, the door was opened to us for other opportunities, including becoming the distributor for Ayrton in South Africa.
“With my experience mainly in sales, support and design of intelligent lighting solutions for the entertainment industry, I have always wanted to offer this service as well. Because the market within South Africa is very competitive and most of the major brands are represented, we didn’t focus too heavily on this area at first. However, after a meeting with Ayrton’s Jonas Stenvinkel, the opportunity arose for us to consider the Ayrton range of products.”
Lutchman was excited about the potential he found in the Ayrton range: “We believe Ayrton is ‘ahead of the game’ with its range of LED light-source fixtures, compared to its competitors in the market. With the world in need of finding better, more efficient energy saving products – and not only in the entertainment industry – I believe Ayrton offers the best return on investment in our industry.
“Ayrton products are very well designed, compact within their specific classes and offer a great return on investment. The LED engines are extremely well engineered, and especially suited to the South African market where reliability and energy consumption are key. I believe Ayrton has a range of products that can substitute any discharge lighting fixture out there.”
Bespoke Entertainment Solutions will distribute the full range of Ayrton products across the installation and rental markets, with a core focus on key products that best suit the South African market.
Lutchman was highly impressed not only with the product range, but also the company itself. “During a recent visit to Ayrton HQ in France, we immediately felt its warmth and genuine spirit as we entered the premises and heard how the company began and how its central focus has remained constant since the beginning. This was a big contributor to us taking on the brand and we think this is the perfect time to get this up and running. In the current climate, it’s going to be tough, but we have never shied away from a challenge, and we really can’t wait to get started.”
“South Africa has always been a very important market, and we are delighted to have Suren and his team join the Ayrton family,” says Stenvinkel. “Suren has shown dedication and commitment, and we have spent much time together in South Africa and at the Ayrton HQ in Paris. Launching a new distribution in these times might seem odd but I think this is the exact time to do it. Ayrton stands by the market and Bespoke through these times and we will all come out strong.”
5th May 2020
Alcons US Network Grows Again with New York’s On The Road Marketing
USA – Alcons Audio has appointed On The Road Marketing as its representative in the New York / New England region, a company with over 30 years in professional audio sales.
Based in Rivervale, a short distance north of New York City, On The Road Marketing was originally established as a musical instrument distributor, quickly expanding its portfolio into the live sound, pro audio and A/V contracting markets. In 2015, current principal Mark Meding brought 20 years’ experience of professional audio, A/V and manufacturer representation to the company. It was his friendships with leading Broadway sound designer Nevin Steinberg and David Strang at PRG which introduced him to Alcons pro-ribbon solutions.
“Alcons is a perfect fit for our customers, because the pro-ribbon drivers are the best on the market today. They are some of the most efficient drivers I have ever heard, able to get to extremely high output levels without degradation of the highs and mids,” he says.
“We did not have a high end speaker solution and we believe in the technology, so as a product we are proud to offer it to the community of sound designers and systems integrators that we work with.”
Mark is supported by account manager David Powers, office manager Bob Conklin and is continuing to build the long-standing reputation of On The Road Marketing as a business based on service and commitment to its customers and the manufacturers that it represents.
The company is ideally located to serve the Broadway market, which has already witnessed the advantages offered by Alcons systems in productions like Hamilton and Hadestown, and there are many more productions and venues that Mark knows would similarly benefit.
“As well as sound designers, there are also quite a lot of performance space designers that I need to educate about Alcons pro-ribbon technology. There is a lot of work to do, but Alcons has proved that it has a pro-ribbon solution for every project from intimate home theatres to large amphitheatres, so we are all really looking forward to introducing more users to them,” he smiles.
1st May 2020
Sennheiser and Extron partner for seamless conferencing solutions
UK – Sennheiser has partnered with Extron Electronics to create easy-to-deploy audio solutions for modern workspaces. With certified control drivers for Sennheiser’s TeamConnect Ceiling 2 microphone array added to the Extron DMP Plus series of audio DSPs, customers can create high-quality sound systems that are easy to control and work reliably.
Partners Extron and Sennheiser provide a seamless conferencing experience for both on-site and remote participants
Extron is a leading global manufacturer of professional AV products with over 35 years of experience in the corporate, higher education, government, healthcare, and house of worship markets. The partnership with Sennheiser simplifies integration of TeamConnect Ceiling 2, Sennheiser’s automatic, adaptive beamforming microphone array, with Extron’s DMP Plus series audio DSP processors.
“It is exciting for Extron to combine our industry leading control and audio DSP solutions with Sennheiser’s 75 years of microphone experience,” says Casey Hall, vice president of worldwide sales and marketing at Extron. “By simplifying integration between products, our shared customers will benefit from improved workflows.”
“At Sennheiser, we always strive to give our customers a unique and, above all, easy-to-use product experience,” says Wienand Mensendiek, head of global business development and commercialisation at Sennheiser. “Working with an innovative company like Extron and combining TeamConnect Ceiling 2, a ceiling microphone that is unique in the market, with Extron’s DSPs makes exactly that possible.”
TeamConnect Ceiling 2 is an innovative ceiling-mounted conferencing microphone. It features adaptive beamforming technology that automatically focuses on a speaker’s voice, allowing speakers to move freely during their presentation. The solution blends in harmoniously with any conference room and offers a high-performance, discrete alternative for installation in medium to large conference spaces where table-mounted systems are not suitable or possible.
The new control system drivers from Extron that enable this seamless user experience have been developed and tested in partnership with Sennheiser. As part of the DMP Plus series audio DSPs, they support remote control of the microphone output level and mute state as well as LED sync with TeamConnect Ceiling 2, and distribute Sennheiser microphone audio to the entire conferencing system. The control drivers can be accessed via the Global Alliance section of the Sennheiser Business Communications website or directly from Extron.
1st May 2020
Yamaha Unified Communications Europe Launches New Work From Home Initiative and Website
In recent weeks many companies have had to adapt to home working, with changes happening very quickly. To help, Yamaha Unified Communications (UC) is sharing many years of experience and offering a wide range of advice on a special Work From Home website.
Home working was not an option for the majority of people just a few weeks ago. Huge demands have been placed on businesses to adapt in the shortest possible time including, of course, that they have a functioning technical infrastructure. Whether it’s the selection of a suitable collaboration platform, the nationwide purchase of new hardware or the change in daily routines, all of these questions have needed quick answers so that operations could continue.
Employees have also been faced with new challenges, because few have previously had experience of mobile working, especially over longer periods. Simple things, such as an orderly morning routine or finding the right place for work, can become stumbling blocks for a functioning home office.
But many people are in the same situation and they are not the first to face these challenges. For a long time, Yamaha UC products have been used as the foundation for working from a home office, on the go and for video conferencing. The company has set up the new Work From Home website to help businesses and employees adapt as quickly and painlessly as possible.
It shares tips on the right choice of products, platforms and, of course, on their use. There are field reports and articles where businesses will find interesting information about building the right infrastructure, selecting suitable soft/hardware and advice about how to keep your team motivated.
In addition, it offers practical advice and experience to employees on how to make the home office a success, how to stay focused and even how conversations with customers via the Internet can be made to sound like you are in the same room. Many people know that working from a home office is often made more difficult due to poor sound quality.
With its range of resources, the Work From Home website can help to make things run more smoothly in these unprecedented times. It can be found at: www.europe.yamaha.com/workfromhome
1st May 2020
Industry associations call for more Government support for #EventsForTheFuture Initiative
The #EventsForTheFuture initiative is a collaboration between the Association for British Theatre Technicians (ABTT), the Professional Lighting and Sound Association (PLASA), Production Services Association (PSA), the Society of London Theatres (SOLT) and UK Theatre which together represent over 3,000 businesses and individuals. The aim is to petition the Government to provide more support to give the events sector a chance of survival through Covid-19 into 2021.
Bryan Raven, managing director of WhiteLight Ltd. who co-ordinated the meetings, comments: “Through collective action we believe we can get the voice of the industry heard; it has been great to see these Associations working together on a common cause.”
Initially, the associations are asking anyone working in the industry to write to their local MP to campaign for further support from the Government using sample letters available on the ABTT, PLASA, PSA and SOLT websites. The letters should be customised before sending out to highlight an individual’s particular situation.
The main objectives for Government support are to:
Immediately make it clear to local authorities that, as part of the supply chain, the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure grant is open to this industry.
Remove the £51,000 limit depending on regional variances. Many companies are located in London or major cities and this blanket ceiling across the UK is unfair.
Reduce the financial burden of running a business by offering other forms of recovery grants on cost of commercial rent, lease payments, insurance and business rates, tax breaks and request the banks give longer mortgage holidays to businesses in our sector. The Government needs to understand offering loans is not enough as there is no certainty.
Allow extension of the furlough scheme, which has been an essential lifeline for us and all employers in our sector to retain highly skilled staff, and which should remain for companies in sectors where the recovery is in the longer term, such as the events, performing arts, entertainment technology, TV and film sectors.
Extend the term of support for self-employed subcontractors. This sector’s workforce is made up of 72% self-employed freelancers and without the right support, we are in danger of losing our workforce to other sectors, widening an already apparent skills gap.
The overall aim is to ensure events and entertainment are protected in the long-term. Providing consistent messaging to Government and everyone getting involved highlights how large our sectors are collectively, along with the value to the UK economy. One organisation can’t tackle this alone, which is why the initiative is asking the industry to come together to work on this.
The associations are also encouraging people to complete two Government surveys, the Department of Culture Media and Sport’s (DCMS) call for evidence, and the DCMS impact assessment.
29th April 2020
Charcoalblue Wins Queen’s Award for Enterprise
UK – Leading theatre, acoustic and digital design consultancy Charcoalblue has been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in recognition for its excellence in International Trade, 2020.
The Queen’s Award for Enterprise is now in its 54th year and is the most prestigious business award in the UK. The awards celebrate the success of exciting and innovative businesses who lead the way with pioneering products or services, deliver impressive social mobility programmes or show their commitment to excellent sustainable development practices.
The Queen’s Award recognises Charcoalblue’s outstanding success in translating its British-born innovative approach to specialised theatre design and transferring it to a diverse and wide range of international cultural buildings and venues. Charcoalblue was established in the heart of the UK theatre industry in 2004 and today operates a collaborative team across six international studios in the UK, USA and Australia, delivering projects to every corner of the globe.
Group chair, Andy Hayles, says that the award has been received with deep gratitude and represents extraordinary inspiration at an unprecedented time.
“Starting from a borrowed desk in a mate’s office 15 years ago, to six international studios today, our design work has led us on adventures in some of the greatest world cities. This award is a tribute to our clients’ pioneering, relentless devotion to their audiences and communities wherever they are in the world, and a salute to our talented teams of designers in the UK, USA and Australia,” says Hayles.
“Therefore, we dedicate this award to our clients and collaborators, and, in this difficult time, also to those currently working on the medical frontlines, which includes a number of Charcoalblue’s extended family. Thank you for all you are doing in our international communities wherever you are. When we all come out of this, we and our clients will be ready to open our doors, raise curtains, create new and revitalised spaces that are safe for us all to come together once again.”
28th April 2020
Production AV 3D Prints PPE for Key Workers
UK – Production AV is harnessing the power of 3D printing technology to produce Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for key workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Cheltenham-based company recently invested in 3D printing kit for its core AV business, creating parts to “solve niggles” and finesse its delivery of AV solutions. When the Coronavirus crisis took hold Production AV’s founder, Pete McCrea, decided to put it to good use.
McCrea and his team are now helping to make various designs of protective face masks, which are being distributed to NHS frontline staff and those in other sectors such as food and medicine delivery.
“Like so many in our industry, we’d seen the work tap literally turned off and our AV project diary erased for the foreseeable future,” he says. “With a large warehouse, and a skilled team ready to help, we decided to adapt to assist with the fight against this devastating virus.
“It's important to us to help support our local community and its key workers while they're in such a pressured period.”
McCrea says the inspiration to 3D print PPE came from Duncan Coombe of London-based lighting hire and event production company DCLX, who is leading a group of companies in the production efforts.
“We were really impressed by Duncan’s dedication and the team they've built,” McCrea continues. “They’re churning out high quantities of kit both on their 3D printers and laser cutters and we are happy to feed in with our kit and expertise.”
In addition to the production line, Production AV is also assisting with logistics for a local group making hospital scrubs for various organisations.
The company is also running the processing power of its media servers and show laptops 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to contribute to the ‘Folding@Home’ initiative, which shares computing power around the world to research the make-up of COVID-19 and work towards a vaccine.
“We are confident that we will weather this storm and come out stronger – we're using the time to streamline our processes and learn new skills and invest in our people as best we can,” says McCrea.
photos: Production AV
24th April 2020
Broadweigh Celebrates Full LEEA Membership
Leading load cell company Broadweigh has passed its final audit to be granted full membership of the Lifting Equipment Engineers Association. LEEA is a representative body for all those involved in the lifting industry worldwide. It has taken three years to achieve full LEEA membership which is only available to companies that are ‘engaged for profit in the verification of lifting equipment’, and which, in the opinion of the LEEA directors, is competent and can give adequate service.
Tom Lilly, application engineer at Broadweigh commented: “Three years ago Broadweigh joined LEEA as an Associate member because we strive to be the best – not only in the quality of product we offer but also in the role that we take within the entertainment industry. We then decided last year that we should be including a thorough examination in our recalibration and refurbishment service. We control the manufacture of almost every part of the Broadweigh load shackle which means that we are best placed to perform these checks.”
“This last year has been busy, with production engineer Alex Maruschat and I going through a series of training and development courses. We now both hold our LEEA Team cards showing that we have passed our exams following the training. This then placed us well to have our full membership audit which is now fully signed off.”
Kelly Voysey, marketing manager explained: “These aren’t just ‘turn up and pass’ types of courses. A lot of work goes into getting the qualifications and we are extremely proud of the efforts of Tom and Alex to gain these qualifications. This is hugely rewarding to us as a brand but also gives added peace of mind to our customers.”
The new certification could arguably not have come at a better time for Broadweigh’s customers. The company remains open for business despite the current COVID-19 crisis and is offering support to anyone who owns its kit and who wish to use the quieter time enforced on the live events industry to perform regular inspections on their kit. As well as their standard scheme of thorough examination, customers are advised to give their kit a thorough visual inspection looking for any defects; bent/cracked parts of the hardware, battery leakage, missing parts – carry out an inventory making sure that bow serial numbers correspond to that of the pin/ electronics – keep a record of the shackle firmware and test the equipment to a known weight as this will identify if there is any drift from the calibration (+/-1 % or +/25 kg typical whichever the greater). Keeping records of the readings will allow for future comparison.
“It’s also worth remembering that we are always on hand to provide free basic Broadweigh Toolkit and Log100 training and we can also upgrade your shackles too, from a recalibration to a full firmware and electronics upgrade,” said Kelly. “We have always advised our customers to get their shackles recalibrated regularly, but since 2019 this is a service that we have been able to offer in-house. It doesn’t matter how old your shackles are or how many hours of use they’ve had, and now might be an opportune moment to send them to us at our factory in Exeter for a calibration check.”
As well as ramping up their servicing and inspection offering, the company’s R&D team remains busy as ever. Kelly commented: “Our engineering teams are focused right now on delivering new solutions which will be brought to market soon. 2020 started out as a year of big change for us and that commitment has not changed despite this extremely challenging landscape. Our ultimate goal is to keep all our teams safe and well and to keep being useful and relevant for our customers. We want to provide a level of service and expertise that our customers have come to expect from us.”
Tom Lilly concluded: “Being a member of LEEA gives us access to a wealth of lifting know-how, backed by technical ability from members with different skills across the world. We supply kit to clients globally and the LEEA membership is recognised as carrying the highest standards across the world, sharing best lifting practice and improving safety for all.”