Production News Headlines
A Headphone Wearing Theatre Audience Experiences Truly Immersive Live Audio Thanks to DPA’s New 4560 Binaural Headset Microphone
Robe Celebrates Independent Spirit with Prljavo Kazalište
Croatia – The pressure was on for lighting designer Sven Kučinić of LumiLas d.o.o. when Croatian superstar band Prljavo Kazalište decided to stage a momentous concert in Zagreb marking the 30th anniversary of the largest ever music concert in Croatian history, which took place at Zagreb’s Ban Jelačić Square on October 17th 1989 attended by over 250,000 people.
Banned by the police and authorities in the then still communist-run state of Yugoslavia, the scent of Croatian independence was in the air and the show went ahead anyway in the face of threats to cut the power. It was a peaceful, emotionally-charged gesture in the name of freedom of expression and choice, heralding the start of intense political and social changes across the region. The band were as huge then as they are today!
The concert to celebrate this cultural landmark was in Zagreb Arena for which Sven specified 56 Robe MegaPointes, 44 LED Washes 600+s and 22 Spiider LED wash beams to be at the heart of his lighting rig, all supplied by the IVAS Group.
Selling out in minutes several months ahead of time, a second show was added the following day which also rapidly sold-out, enabling 36,000 lucky fans to enjoy two fantastic shows.
Apart from these gigs being a very special occasion, Prljavo Kazalište had played a stadium show in Zagreb in 2018 at the Kranjceviceva Stadium with a completely new set and lighting design, so Sven’s brief was to change it up once more and produce something awesome, for which he thought out-of-the-box.
Having worked with the band for nine years, touring worldwide and playing around 50 concerts a year, Sven knows the music and what they like and is never short of fresh ideas.
The quest for this one was to create something original and geometrically pleasing that provided a different performance for them to frame all their most popular hits. The resulting design combined the aesthetics of a BRS (BIG rock show) with a set that was both edgy and slick in TV studio style.
It featured a large upstage LED screen split by a diagonal truss to give it an off-beat appearance. Over the stage seven square trusses were flown in diamond orientation and on the stage the set included four raked runways in a diamond shape with the downstage portions of the front two forming thrusts into the audience left and right.
This quirky-looking architecture remained static and was energised with numerous lighting techniques and a diversity of video content.
On the ‘memorable list’ of examples was during a medley of ten popular ballads when the 300 square metres of upstage LED screen was turned off completely and instead used as a canvas for vivid overlaid MegaPointe gobo projections.
The MegaPointes were rigged on the main over-stage trusses and utilized as the primary – and only – effects lights, flipping constantly between spot and beam looks. The scope of the fixtures meant that no two looks were ever repeated throughout this maverick performance.
The LW600+s were also in the overhead trusses providing the upstage wash coverage, while the Spiiders were the only front and keylights on the show.
Sven did have some other moving lights, LED battens and strobes in the show, but the Robes were at the essence of every lighting viewpoint and created a striking college of signature looks.
“MegaPointes are simply the best multi-purpose lights currently available to LDs in terms of output, features and versatility,” he stated emphatically.
He also reckons they are the best non-LED spot moving head and the fact that they are properly multifunctional sets them apart from other ‘hybrids’. He loves the “smart and crisp” gobo selection and projection capabilities which facilitated so many dramatic looks for this epic concert.
LEDWash 600s – a game-changing LED wash when launched in 2010 – are still his favourite LED wash due to reliability and the uniform colour output. The 600+ is an upgraded version of these industry-standard luminaires, of which the just-released LEDWash 600X is the most recent.
The Spiiders were chosen as a replacement for the MMX WashBeams he had originally specified on the show. He was slightly concerned that they wouldn’t match the MMX in terms of white light output as the design dictated they were hung at a trim of almost 30 metres, but happily this was not an issue at all. “Any concern was completely unfounded, as they absolutely excelled in the task!” he confirmed.
The concert lighting was programmed and operated on a grandMA3 full size console. Sven managed to pre-vis around 70% of the show, while the rest was programmed once they were in the arena and had the rig.
Playback video content was created by VJ Olgierd Kamienski and played back using a custom PC running Resolume Arena linked to Sven’s grandMA3 for outputting to the screen. The 12 camera IMAG mix was directed by Davor Levicki.
All technical production elements were supplied by Zagreb-based IVAS Group, which has invested heavily in Robe in recent years, all supplied by Croatian distributor Sali Trade.
Sven emphasised that the service and support from IVAS was “world-class as always” and in particular mentions Lovro Ivas CEO of the IVAS Group, production engineer Damir Sabo and chief lighting technician Milos Pavicic for their fantastic work and attitude in making this ambitious show rock.
Photos : LUMILAS LLC
13th December 2019
Patchwork London is Shure of its IEM Solution from AC-ET
UK – A.C. Entertainment Technologies Ltd. (AC-ET) recently supplied leading tour and production management company, Patchwork London with a Shure PSM 1000 wireless IEM system to provide monitor duties for the 25th Anniversary UK tour of legendary live act, British rock band Skunk Anansie.
Patchwork managing director, Steve White got in touch with Steve Eaton, sales executive in AC-ET’s Audio sales division after he was getting an increasing number of client requests for the Shure in-ear-monitoring system.
He commented: “We've had an increased number of enquiries for the PSM 1000, so when a three-month tour hire with Skunk Anansie came in, it seemed like a good time to expand our Shure stock.
He added: “Prior to this we had tried out wireless mic systems and Shure’s Axient system was the one which best suited our needs, so we decided to go with Shure across the board.”
It is a testament to the performance of the PSM 1000 IEM system that it perfectly met the technical requirements of Skunk Anansie, who some regard as one of the greatest live acts across the globe.
Fittingly, the UK tour coincided with the release of a new live album marking the band’s 25th anniversary, and saw them perform sold-out shows in London, Manchester and Bristol, as well as several festival headline appearances. Extra dates were added in Brighton, Bournemouth, Cambridge, Leeds, Glasgow, Newcastle, Nottingham and Cardiff due to the high demand.
Steve commented: “It’s very important that our clients have access to high quality equipment in our hire stock, and which can be packaged for ease of transporting. Investments like the PSM 1000 means we are at the forefront of technology on stage, and being small enough to be racked in our Peli case system makes it extremely portable for any scale of tour.”
He concluded: “We love Steve and the guys at AC-ET. He’s well informed on the products, and gets us quick quotes with great deals and pricing every time.”
photos: India Flemming
13th December 2019
dLive Flies Around the World with Multi-Platinum DJ
Worldwide – Norwegian DJ and record producer, Alan Walker is currently out on his latest ‘Aviation’ tour across China, India and Norway, along with an Allen & Heath dLive Wings system handling both FOH and monitor duties.
One of Norway’s biggest EDM music exports, Walker performs with various third-party software, as well as a live band and requires a complex set-up. The engineers needed a small and lightweight system to fly around the world, which could also handle a high I/O count via several protocols, such as Waves SoundGrid, Dante and MADI in order to interface with third-party systems.
Supplied by audio production company, Sonic City AS, the FOH setup includes a dLive C1500 fitted with a Waves card for virtual sound check and multi-track recording, paired with a DM0 MixRack, which is equipped with a fibreACE card for the digital split and a Dante card to facilitate external plug-in processing through a DAW. A DX012 expander is also utilised for additional outputs at the FOH position, providing feeds to the light designer, VJ and laser operator.
FOH Engineer (and Sonic City partner), Sondre Rosseland Sandhaug, comments: “We chose the dLive C1500 package as we needed a fly-rig with a really high channel count for this tour and the choice was ultimately, really simple. dLive provides everything we need; flexible routing, the Tie Lines feature, high-quality sound, reliability and an excellent range of I/O options. There was really no other choice for us on the market!”
“The dLive system has worked very well on this tour and we’ve really pushed the system to its full potential, particularly in terms of the I/O count. All stages of the production, from system design to running the shows, has run smoothly thanks to the quality, stability and the intuitive workflow of dLive,” adds Einar Norberg, monitor engineer.
Monitors features a second dLive C1500 fitted with a Dante card, which is paired with a CDM48 MixRack equipped with a fibreACE card and connected to DX164-W expanders for additional on stage I/O. “We went for the DX164-W because of its small footprint. As this tour has mainly been a fly-pack so far, the size and weight has been really important to us,” explains Sandhaug.
Norberg adds: “We started the tour with the C1500 fly-rig and flew to China for several large shows and then when we hit Norway, we expanded to a setup with the dLive S7000 and DM64 MixRack for monitors and S5000 with DM0 at FOH, in order to carry out the larger production in Oslo Spektrum. Even the transition from C to S class was seamless and really helped us to create an amazing and elegant transition in the production. In a complex and dynamic live production where things are constantly changing, it’s reassuring to be able to put 100 per cent trust in your console and dLive is the perfect tool.”
13th December 2019
TurboRay hits the right notes at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest
Poland – The award-winning TurboRay fixture from High End Systems recently made its latest TV appearance on the 17th edition of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest (JESC), broadcast live from Arena Gliwice in Poland.
JESC is a cultural extravaganza designed to draw people together from all over Europe and Australia through light entertainment and healthy competition. It’s an increasingly spectacular and technically complex event, transmitted live to millions of viewers. This year, 19 participants aged between nine and 14-years-old took to the stage to battle it out for the trophy.
The stage, designed by Giorgos Stylianou-Matsis, comprised a unique design featuring an eye-catching LED ribbon element symbolising floating kites. The ribbon gave the stage a spacious, light and simple design form. To complement the impressive stage design, a series of 26 TurboRay fixtures were positioned on stage and used in a variety of ways throughout the show.
With its radial diffusers bringing a distinctive appearance, and powerful LED system with multiple types of colour control, TurboRay offers a multitude of tools that make it ideal for events like this. “I needed a lighting fixture that would accentuate the decor on the stage,” says lighting crew head, Adam Tyska from TVP SA. “For this production and the short stature of the artists we have to operate cameras differently, and for wide shots we needed to fill a pretty large space. TurboRay units were a perfect fit for this, because in addition to their technical capabilities they look attractive in themselves.”
“It was great to have TurboRay be a part of the JESC,” says Tania Lesage, High End Systems brand manager. “It’s still relatively early days for the fixture, but it’s already received the Best LED Washlight accolade in the PLSN Awards and we have LDs from all over the globe eager to get their hands on them. It’s already proving to be a hit in the world of TV after featuring on high-profile shows like Strictly Come Dancing in the UK and The Tonight Show in America. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for TurboRay!”
13th December 2019
Stage Sound Services makes multiple DiGiCo Quantum 7 investment
UK – Long-time DiGiCo user, Stage Sound Services was one of the first companies to invest in the British console manufacturer’s latest Quantum 7 engine for its seven SD7s, stating that their unwavering belief in DiGiCo’s ability to continually upgrade its product made its most powerful engine to date a must have for the Cardiff-based rental company.
“As well as the SD7s, we have a large stock of SD10s,” says Stage Sound Services Phil Hurley. “When it was time to add more consoles to our inventory, we wanted to invest in the very latest technology and having seen the capabilities of the Quantum 7 it was an obvious choice. We knew that as soon as our customers saw Quantum 7 was available, they’d want to use its new features and capability to enhance their sound designs.”
Two of the Quantum 7s were put to immediate use on the UK theatre tour of Dr Doolittle and the London production of Fiddler on the Roof at the Playhouse Theatre, additional consoles are being put to use on two versions of the Blue Man Group world tours and Matilda International Tour.
“We’ve been using DiGiCo for at least ten years and we’ve been very happy with how they continually update them, without making the product obsolete,” says Phil. “The recent upgrade for the SD10s helped our decision as it underlines DiGiCo’s ethos of ensuring longevity for its products and a good return on investment.”
“As a rental company, when we’re considering a big purchase, we need to know what a manufacturer is planning. DiGiCo demonstrates a solid commitment to its customers, we know they’re going to be around for a long time and that we are adding industry standard consoles to our inventory. It is a policy that has paid dividends over the past decade, and with our new SD7 Quantum 7s, it’s one we are sure will continue to serve us well.”
12th December 2019
Mavericks Sparkle with Ana Torroja at Chihuahua Desert Museum
Mexico – A crowd of over 7,000 waited eagerly for the legendary Ana Torroja to appear at the esplanade of the Chihuahua Desert Museum of Delicias. They immediately erupted into wild cheering when the former singer from Mecano stepped on the stage dressed in a stunning blue outfit and surrounded by her four bandmates, all in white.
As soon as the first notes were struck, the star and her backups were engulfed in a sea of intense back and side light that moved from white to blue. It was the beginning of a magical combination of music and light at this free concert sponsored by the state government as part of the XV edition of the International Festival Chihuahua.
Contributing to the immersive visuals was a collection of 64 CHAUVET Professional fixtures, which, like the rest of the rig were supplied by Chihuahua-based Pro Audio Soluciones S.A. de C.V.
Making this civic stop as part of her successful “Back” tour, Torroja engaged the crowd with sing-alongs and personal recollections of her storied life and career. She had an extensive music catalogue to draw from during her show. As a member of Mecano, she was part of one of the most successful Spanish groups of all time. (To date, they have sold in excess of 25 million albums.)
Torroja also has achieved success in her own right. Her solo hit, Pasajes de un Sueño, (“Passages of a Dream”), was the best-selling record in Spain. Fittingly, a dream-like mood was cast over the stage by the rich mix of overlapping colours created by the rig’s 16 Maverick MK3 Wash fixtures and 24 Rogue R2 Wash units.
The 40 wash fixtures were flown on mid-stage truss in addition to being floor mounted and hung on side-stage truss. From these positions, they bathed the stage in colour from every direction, creating a sense of depth and texture that endowed the star’s performance with extra passion and energy.
Adding excitement to the light show were 24 Maverick MK1 Hybrids. Positioned on the stage deck, some of these 440W fixtures were used to provide aerial effects. Other units, which were flown on truss, engaged the crowd with audience lighting.
Fans of Torroja came to the Chihuahua Desert Museum to see a legend. They weren’t disappointed, thanks to the singer’s passionate performance and a colourful lighting design that did her magnetic music and personality justice.
12th December 2019
SR Production Services Give WPC Line Array a Foothold In Wales
UK – When Cardiff-based SR Production Services invested in a new Martin Audio Wavefront Precision Compact (WPC) line array they knew not only that they would be the first PA company in Wales to run the innovative and scaleable system, but with so much of their event work taking place on problematic sites, requiring close off site noise control, this system would uniquely be able to solve a lot of their issues.
“Generally the events we do are heavily noise-policed,” confirmed SR director of operations, Alistair Brick. “However, there is one particularly sensitive event – a barn party, promoted by House & Techno specialists, Cellar Door at a farm in the Valleys – where other systems we have used previously have never been adequate, as there has always been noise escape leading to complaints. It was principally for this that we invested in WPC with the result that it not only played much nicer than what the promoters had previously experienced, but there were no noise complaints.”
In fact, one of the DJs, Cellar Door’s Jimpy, had posted online, ahead of the event: “This year’s Cellar Door visit to the farm features a brand new sound system supplied by Martin Audio, the very same audio company which is heard all across Glastonbury including the Pyramid stage. The sound system not only brings an even greater clarity of sound over last year’s event, but provides a high degree of noise mitigation control. This ensures the sound is focused on the event and not on the surrounding area using state of the art technology.”
It was that state of the art technology that had attracted SR co-directors Matthew Dunford and Alistair Brick, in their quest for “a compliant and current system”. They duly placed the order for eight WPC, six SXH218 subwoofers and a pair of utility XD15’s with JP Cavaco at Martin Audio dealers, Enlightened. Cavaco arranged a demo which confirmed that this would be an ideal system, and it immediately went out on a conference for a high-profile restaurant group.
Martin Audio’s product support representative Simon Purse jumped in with an instant masterclass in DISPLAY, Martin Audio’s optimisation software, which Al Brick found “really easy to navigate, and not the slightest bit clunky.”
He says they are presently running the system in 2-box resolution “but when we add four further WPC boxes and amplification later on, we plan to increase this to 1-box resolution.”
Now firmly in the Martin Audio camp, they subsequently added eight Blackline X8 enclosures as a conference system (part supplied by Enlightened, part by Leisuretec) and this featured at the Cardiff International Film Festival.
Al Brick said after several months of running the new WPC he couldn’t be more delighted. “Every time it’s gone out it’s been rebooked, and on every occasion where there had been a noise pollution problem previously there was no longer a problem, either with the levels required on site or off site.”
He said the rigging system was excellent and the system easy and quick to fly and derig, while the ease of setting a cardioid sub array was another plus factor. However, there had been one further reason for purchasing the WPC. “Our engineers really wanted a 10” box, which goes a little bit lower than the 8”. As one put it to me, ‘Get a 10” system for the love of God – I want to be able to hear my snare’!”
11th December 2019
Digital Projection’s M-Vision Laser 18K Maps History onto Bavarian Baroque Masterpiece
Germany – Passau, located in Bavaria in the South of Germany, is steeped in history rich with Baroque influence. The city’s design is dominated by large squares, romantic promenades and majestic bridges, and framed by the Veste Oberhaus castle and the Mariahilf monastery, the historical centre looks like a floating ship. At the heart of its spectacular skyline is St Stephen’s Cathedral, created in the 17th century by Italian Baroque masters and home to the largest cathedral organ in the world. This was the impressive backdrop for ‘Symphony of Light and Sound’, a video mapping showcase displayed on the façade of the imposing building.
Symphony of Light and Sound celebrated 350 years of Passau’s Baroque masterpiece, with the multimedia show telling the story of the cathedral, and the documents and architecture within. The event also incorporated sacred Christian music and takes spectators on a journey back through time, visiting the church in all its iterations over the decades.
Harry Pillmayer is project manager for GF Bühnenfabrik GmbH & Co.KG which was overseeing the delivery of this multimedia spectacle. “We’ve been working with the Cathedral for some time but this is the first time we have been commissioned on an outdoor projection of this magnitude and on a show with such a long run, so it’s a really exciting project for us. We were looking for a compact, high-performance projector with matching optics and turned to Digital Projection’s local event-distribution partner ETHA International GmbH & Co. KG, a specialist professional AV distributor here in Germany who specified an M-Vision Laser 18K for the job.”
A powerful single chip DLP projector, the M-Vision Laser 18K boasts an impressive 18,000 lumens output and 10,000:1 contrast ratio. Delivering near 3-Chip DLP performance at a 1-Chip DLP price point, the M-Vision Laser 18K is a price-competitive large-screen imaging solution for installations and events where ample light output is required. With a host of features including DisplayPort accepting frame rates up to 60Hz, HDMI 1.4 for side-by-side, frame packing, top bottom 3D formats and motorised shift, zoom and focus across the whole lens range – it offers complete flexibility in an easy to set up package – making it a best-in-class projection solution.
Mark Wadsworth, VP of marketing at Digital Projection, expands on what makes the M-Vision Laser 18K a good fit for projection on this kind of scale: “Thanks to its high brightness output and performance, a single projector allowed to map the entire cathedral to deliver a pristine show which exceeded the expectations from the event organiser.”
In terms of technical set up, the content is delivered to the projector via laptop and Blackmagic Studio Pro HD production switcher. “Over a month in to the show’s run we’ve found the M-Vision 18K to be very reliable so far, standing up to the rigors of almost nightly performances. The value of this reliability can’t be underestimated when delivering such a high profile project, and Digital Projection’s equipment has been faultless in that respect.”
The innovative display has been drawing impressive crowds. Relays Pillmayer: “We’ve been staggered by the number of people who have come to see the show to date; on average up to 1500 on site each week. The peak so far was Art Night in Passau, where we welcomed an incredible 5,000 spectators. According to local press, people have come in droves to the cathedral square every Friday to experience the audiovisual spectacular. Numerous spectators even went to see the show several times.
At every showing, the crowds have been breaking into spontaneous applause when the display ends. The ability to bring history back to life and translate stories from the past in a modern way is so important and deploying advanced technology such as the M-Vision Laser 18K helps us to deliver for clients who are increasingly looking for this kind of innovative solution. We will certainly look to use Digital Projection’s impressive products again.”
11th December 2019
Spain’s Aitana Hits “Play” with Dynamic Rayzor 760 Effects
Spain – Reality music competitions have had massive global success since first appearing in the early 2000s and with good reason. They work and fans love the format. Take Spanish singer Aitana as an example. Aitana first gained recognition in 2017 as runner-up of the Spanish reality TV music talent competition Operación Triunfo and she has enjoyed popularity and a number of hits ever since.
This summer, the 20-year old singer released her debut album, Spoiler, which topped the Spanish charts, then launched her much-anticipated Play Tour with lighting design by SomosLuz, a Barcelona-based design studio who worked with Brutal Events on the creative process. SomosLuz turned to the Elation Rayzor 760 LED moving head to create a special design element for the show, four upstage Play buttons used for dynamic beams, eye candy looks and other special effects.
Describing the show’s visual look, the design studio stated: “The central element of the design is an inverted pyramidal LED screen with a staircase, which is used as a podium for choreography and spectacular entrances of the artist. It is surrounded by four totems with Rayzor 760s mounted in the shape of the digital Play button.”
Used to form the tour’s signature Play button symbol, the Rayzor 760s create a number of interesting backlight scenes. The SomosLuz studio states: “We originally thought of using another LED luminaire but rental company Ilusovi showed us the Rayzor 760, which we liked for its size and versatility. We thought it would work well to illuminate the stage to create effects like pulsating play buttons, chase effects, or splayed beam looks. Its zoom range and the possibility to pixel map were very important and we also use the fixture’s SparkLED effect as a scenographic element.”
The Rayzor 760’s SparkLED system is a unique feature of the luminaire and is patent-pending innovation. SparkLED is a pixel effect of 2W white LEDs placed inside the fixture’s seven oversized front lenses that works as a sparkle effect to create interest and depth on stage. Combining its powerful output with SparkLED while utilizing the 360-degree movement opens up for a multitude of design possibilities from wide stage washes or mid-air beams to more subtle effects for mood generation.
Rental company Ilusovi supplies the lighting, video and audio for the tour, a Seville-based firm that SomosLuz says has been great to work with. Ilusovi introduced SomosLuz to the Rayzor 760 fixtures. “One of the Rayzor 760’s main features is the continuous 360-degree rotation in pan and tilt,” comments Ilusovi’s Inma Rodrigo, head of lighting equipment for the Aitana tour. “In addition, control over each pixel/LED allows you to program the LEDs as rings or at pixel level. The SparkLED effect and the speed control of the SparkLED macros is also a great feature.”
Rodrigo says that setting up the Rayzor 760 has been quite easy with the low power consumption facilitating linking many fixtures together. “It is very versatile when connecting thanks to the 5-pin DMX in and out, the RJ45 Ethercon in and out, and the support of the ArtNet, SACN and RDM lighting protocols,” she says, adding that they use them in extended mode (80 DMX channels). The Rayzor 760 wasn’t the only Elation luminaire in the Aitana Play Tour rig. Elation Chorus Line 16 RGBW pixel bars with zoom and tilt movement were used for added colour.
Aitana puts on a festive and emotional performance, opting not for a single style yet playing a diversity of numbers in a beautifully choreographed show. A 2019 Latin Grammy Award nominee for Best New Artist, the Barcelona-born singer certainly has a bright future ahead of her. The high-profile Play Tour has played 4,000-12,000 capacity venues across Spain, a run that has included festival dates, as well as a sold-out show at Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona where a live DVD was recorded. The tour ran through the autumn with a few select dates scheduled in December.
photos: Lucas Averbuj
11th December 2019
CPL invests in New Robe Moving Lights
These will be a valuable addition to the lighting department’s rental stock and will help service CPL’s busy schedule. In addition to a diverse range of corporate and industrial clients, the company provides design services plus lighting, video, sound, rigging and staging to a selection of music and arts festivals and shows including Arcadia Spectacular. Elrow Town, The Hay Festival, Boomtown, Camper Calling, etc.
Getting the LEDBeam 150s onboard was a decision taken by the whole lighting and visuals team at CPL, all of whom had an input.
“We needed a good, fast, reliable, versatile and small moving light and all roads led to the LEDBeam 150 which fills a gap in our stock of small moving lights,” commented events director Lee Gruszeckyj.
They were particularly taken with the fact that the LEDBeam 150, thanks to its 3.8 – 60-degree zoom, can produce a decent wash as well as nice beams.
Robe UK supplied the fixtures, and their Bill Jones commented with a massive smile: “I have been talking to Max (CPL CEO Matthew Boyce) for at least eight years about an investment in the brand, so I am super happy CPL has made this first move towards Robe. I am positive it won’t be their last.”
Robe UK’s Northampton HQ is less than an hour’s drive from CPL’s West Midland base (not that they are expecting to need much in terms of service or support as the fixtures have a great reputation for being robust) but it’s always convenient when the supplier is nearby.
Lee explained how CPL is poised to expand their lighting department steadily. When the company first started, they were primarily a video and audio supplier, however, the demand for lights, and now all other production elements together, has steadily grown.
In the last five years, the trend generally has shifted away from single to multi-discipline suppliers with clients, production companies and agencies seeking one technical supplier who can deal with the full complement of event and show technical infrastructure.
This has resulted in CPL growing, and its core business now being ‘full technical production’ show design and equipment rental.
The new lights were flight cased as soon as they arrived at CPL, with 20 of them loaded straight onto a truck and used for an event.
In picture: Simon Haydon and Robe UK’s Bill Jones and some of the LEDBeam 150s.
11th December 2019
Allen & Heath Game-Changing for Q The Music
UK - The UK’s leading James Bond tribute band, Q The Music is currently touring theatres across the country, accompanied by an Allen & Heath SQ digital mixing system and 13 'game-changing' ME-1 personal mixers.
The current 13-piece band has been performing the 007 hits across prestigious venues, including the West End’s Adelphi Theatre, since 2014. Warren Ringham, who founded the show in 2004, opted for the SQ system after becoming frustrated with the lack of flexibility and reliability offered by other systems. “Our show and the demands on the production were getting bigger so we needed to upgrade. The SQ-6 arrived just at the right time. It had great reviews and did everything we needed and more.”
The full set-up for the show comprises SQ-6 on FOH, while an SQ-5 acts as a monitor desk for visiting engineers and FOH back-up. SLink and Dante option cards provide recording feeds, connection between the SQs and connection to AR2412 and AB168 expanders on stage. A single cat5 cable between FOH and Monitors carries up to 128 channels each way and another 40 inputs, 20 outputs and 40 channels for the ME personal monitoring system are carried between the monitor console and stage.
Multi-track recording also plays an important role in the production, as a flawless recording of each show is achieved using a Dante card fitted in the SQ-6. Ringham explains: “We record each show in order to produce a lasting memento for Q The Music’s large fan-base. The quality of the recordings we achieve using Dante is incredible and a massive part of what we do, both for our fans and to create revenue.”
The biggest enhancement for the production however, is the ME personal monitoring system that allows each member of the band to craft their own individual monitor mix. A ME-U hub connected to the AR2412 provides signal and power (PoE) to ten ME-1 units, while another three units are daisy chained from the AB168. “We were originally running 7 ME-1s on our show for the rhythm section and then decided to trial another two on our brass section. It was a total game-changer for us. The sound and ease of playing was incredibly improved, so much so we had to roll them out for everyone! We’re now running 13 ME-1s in total on a touring live show so every member of the band has their own monitor mix,” explains Ringham.
“The most fantastic thing about the ME-1s is the top-of-the-range sound quality. Everyone we have come into the band (such as Joss Stone’s guitarist) has told us that these are the best IEMs they’ve had. Also, the benefits of losing wedge monitors has been massive: less kit, less weight and much better control of the sound around the stage,” adds Ringham. “Using them has been transformational and increased the productivity of the performance by at least 50%. Our soundcheck time is greatly reduced because we don’t have to tweak the mixes one by one, it’s so much faster. I’m absolutely delighted with our setup.”
While the production typically uses its SQ setup, for larger shows Ringham utilises a multi-surface dLive setup, with an S3000 and C1500 paired to a DM32 MixRack and three DX168 expanders. The ME system is then connected directly through the MixRack, allowing for quick and easy production changes when needed.
11th December 2019
WORK PRO's SL210A Line Array Debuts in China and Hong Kong
China – WORK PRO Audio, the installation and pro audio division of Equipson, has made a significant inroad into the Chinese market by supplying the country with its first SL210A Line Array system.
The Line Array has been delivered to Freelancer Production Company, a theatre and event production company that specialises in audio equipment rental to theatres in Hong Kong and touring artists on the mainland China. Since its delivery in September it has already been used at the 3,000 seater Queen Elizabeth Stadium in Hong Kong for a musical theatre production celebrating the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic of China.
The SL210A Line Array was specified by Sound System Designer Camus Chan, director of Equipson's Hong Kong distributor All Solution Ltd.
He says: "Freelancer Production Company contacted us as a result of a promotion we were running to showcase WORK PRO products to the theatre market. We recommended the SL210A system as we felt it best met their requirements. Freelancer Production Company were really impressed with the system, in particular its sound quality, innovative features and price point. They tested the system in our demo facilities and immediately placed an order as they felt the system complemented their existing and extensive audio equipment hire stock."
Sound designer Wan San Hong, who is the director of Freelancer Production Company, adds: "The SL210A Line Array is the right size and has the right amount of headroom to service the venues that we most often work with. It is a very great system and fits everything the show requires."
The SL210A is a bi-amplified Line Array system that features two class D power amplifiers delivering 1000W of peak power per track. Each enclosure incorporates two 10" speakers: one passively filtered to control the directivity in the Mid-Low range and one compression driver featuring a polymer PM-4 membrane coupled to a 120º Horizontal coverage horn. The system's frequency range runs from 100Hz up to 18kHz (-10dB) and it is capable of delivering an impressive 135dB peak sound pressure level. Different units can be easily connected to each other and each unit has its interface and controls positioned at the rear of the enclosure, thus allowing users to manually navigate through the menu and the different parameters of the system. Thanks to its powerful DSP, the SL210A Line Array can be configured to suit a wide variety of applications, from medium to large venues where power, quality and controlled directivity are required through to theatres and concert halls.
The system specified for Freelancer Production Company includes four SL218A subwoofers and 22 SL210A enclosures, 18 for front of house and four for front fill. These loudspeakers all feature built-in DSP and are remotely controlled by Ethernet using WORKPRO´s dedicated management software.
Following its delivery to Hong Kong, sound engineers from Freelancer Production Company were given hands on training with the system and its software to ensure the best possible results for their clients.
11th December 2019
SFL on tour for Senbla film season
UK – Audiovisual production supplier SFL provided a custom-built 10m wide projection screen and stage monitoring for Senbla’s latest film season, starting in September with Star Wars and finishing in December with Love Actually, which sees iconic films screened in HD in prestigious venues around the UK, with live orchestras performing the films’ scores.
“We supplied a 20m truss screen and our brand new 10m wide custom-built AV Stumpfl screen,” says SFL’s video and projects director, Craig Lawrence, who worked on the project alongside the company’s Sungho Jeong, Sam Wheeler, Paul Medley, Chris Gunner-Lucas, Adam Chisnall and Jack Roberts.
“The screen was built specially for these tours at the aspect ratio of 2.35:1, which is specific to film. Projection was done using our Barco UDX and HDX projectors. We also provided on-stage monitoring for the conductors and players so they could see visual click along with timecode. Audio click track was also fed from our servers to the conductor and a number of the musicians. Playback was run from our new Watchout servers, which are ideal for the job, along with multi-track audio via Focusrite 18i20 preamps.”
Having worked on the tour for the past four years, SFL is adept at mitigating the inherent challenges of touring a full-size screen that is necessary to ensure audiences get the full cinematic experience.
“We need to have enough options to adapt to the different requirements of each venue, whilst keeping the amount of kit we transport to a minimum, which is important both from a cost and environmental impact viewpoint,” Lawrence continues. “Sightlines at each venue are also a big consideration; we work closely with the audio supplier and take in-house points, etc into account to achieve the optimum position for the screen, whilst ensuring audio gets its fair share of real estate. We also need to be able to cope with short turnarounds on both load in and load out; for example, we had a double show day in London with a reduced load in time, which meant absolute efficiency was essential.”
“I have looked after the last two tours of Love Actually for Senbla and it is always a pleasure working with SFL and particularly Sam and Paul,” says Senbla tour manager Steve Porter, who together with production manager Cyril Thomas, was in charge of the season. “I was very happy when it was confirmed that they were on the tour this year.
“From the advancing all the way through, they are professional and thorough, ensuring that once on the road there are no issues, but any that do arise they are professional and quick to problem solve rather than think of anything as too big an issue. The equipment is well maintained and prepped, there have been no failures and it certainly is well maintained on the road which as a production manager is all you want.
11th December 2019
DiGiCo SD10 is Not Giving In on Tom Walker Tour
UK - FOH engineer, Mike Platt, has worked with Tom Walker since 2017, when he was part of a three-piece support act for The Script. The Scottish artist's rise to fame has been quick: since then he has secured a 2019 BRIT Award, and his debut album, What A Time To Be Alive, peaked at the top spot in the UK Album Chart. This meant Platt and monitor engineer, Liam Shannon, opted for a pair of DiGiCo SD10s to produce a bigger and bolder show for Walker’s UK and European tour.
“I have been using DiGiCo for around ten years now. It's always been my desk of choice,” says Platt, who has experience working on several of the SD range consoles. “My FOH set-up comprises an SD10-24 and an outboard rack with some toys in. I chose the smaller SD10-24 for numerous reasons, but mainly for its size and power. I can easily get it to FOH and get it tipped without it being too much of an event. I also like to mix on one layer, so 24 fader channels makes me prioritise the channels that are most important for the show, and they live on the top.”
Platt does the majority of his processing from within the console, and effects-wise everything is being done on the DiGiCo.
“I know the exact effects sounds I want in my head, and I can get those results with the DiGiCo on-board stuff,” he reveals, adding that Walker's vocal chain has to be pretty long to get the desired control, whilst still allowing the artist's voice to sound natural. “From source, Tom has probably the largest dynamic range going: he goes from whispers, to blisteringly loud parts. To control this, I go through Channel EQ > Distressor > Channel Compression > Group Dynamic EQ > Group De-esser. Apart from the Distressor, the chain is all inside the box, and its intuitive control makes it easy.”
Rock solid stability is a big thing for Platt, who admits that he tries not to get sucked into the hype of fancy new gizmos and things that may be unreliable or untested, preferring to keep everything as rock solid and stable as possible.
“My job is to make my artist sound great, and for the audience and management not to even think about the tech side of things; there is no scope for failure,” he declares. “I need to have 100 per cent confidence that the gear will work every day, and the way DiGiCo boards are set out is similar to the way my head works! The workflow is so intuitive, and once you know the little tips and tricks to speed yourself up, you can fly through the setup.”
Platt reveals that the ability to arrange fader banks within the console is quick and makes life that bit easier.
“Also, the Matrix panel on the DiGiCo is really powerful; you can send anything anywhere, which is extremely useful. And the Macros are a very powerful tool, and so customisable. I use hot keys to turn gates on and off on certain channels in certain parts of songs, and save and update scenes. It makes the show operation so easy to repeat without having to change layer or mess about too much.”
Ease of connectivity is another key feature: “I know it sounds simple, but being able to rock up to a festival and give broadcast one line of MADI at 48kHz for their feed is amazing! Festival load-ins are fairly stressful as it is, so that’s something that’s very important that you don’t have to worry about. And also for the MADI record at FOH, you can just come out of the local MADI ports, no worries!”
However, Platt's most important features are the audio I/O and copy audio sections.
“As I'm a geek for connectivity, being able to navigate around these menus quickly is a big plus. Being able to listen to the inputs directly from the rack before channel processing is such a nice tool, and all the control of splits and sharing is great. DiGiCo’s reliability, versatility, and build quality are the main points for me. In the world of digital audio systems, we shouldn’t be limited in any way, so DiGiCo has put it back on the user and the limits of their creativity, rather than the constraints of the hardware/software.”
Liam Shannon has been Walker’s monitor engineer since May 2018, and says that for the most part, the band is fairly low maintenance with a standard band mix with their own instruments peeking out on top.
“I have eight stereo in-ear mixes: Tom’s, five for the band, one guitar tech, and one spare and three mono mixes, Tom’s wedges, Tom’s vibe board, and a drum sub,” he explains.
Shannon has been operating on DiGiCo for four years now, going from an SD9, to an SD10-24, and most recently to a full-size SD10.
“The SD10 has been complemented by an SD-Rack running at 96kHz with full 32-bit I/O card upgrades. DiGiCo just compliments my ideal workflow perfectly. The channel strip UI makes perfect sense for how I want to operate, and having independent rotaries for things like every section of the EQ is absolutely necessary for me,” he enthuses.
Describing the upgrade to 32-bit I/O as a 'no brainer', Shannon says the lower noise floor cleans everything up so much when running around 56 channels.
“I could hear the difference immediately in the songs where instrumentation gets incredibly busy and louder; there was more space in the mix, the same mix I’d been using built from the standard I/O cards,” he recalls. “There’s one song called Not Giving In that has a big drum and bass-style ending that always ended up taking up all the dynamics in the mix. The vocal couldn't sit above the music without sounding really compressed. I've not had that problem since upgrading the cards.”
During a tour, Shannon sets up at least one Snapshot for each song.
“The scope functionality for Snapshots on the DiGiCo is so conclusive that I can confidently save channels that I'll always be changing processing on during a gig, such as the drum kit, whilst recalling different guitar EQs to suit different songs, or dynamics on an acoustic which is fingerpicked in one song, then heavily strummed in another,” he elaborates. “A problem that arose from this, and from us not having a monitor tech on tour, is that I needed to manually trigger each Snapshot, which became tricky if there was a technical issue on stage that I needed to fix, but a song was about to end.”
This led the team into using another 'awesome' feature that DiGiCo offers, which is MIDI recalls Snapshots.
“If for any reason I needed to leave the desk, I'd enable MIDI recalls Snapshots and not have to worry about returning to the desk to trigger the next song's parameters,” Shannon explains. “The band all play to click, and our playback rig shoots out a MIDI note into the DiGiCo, those MIDI notes are then assigned a Snapshot/Scene, so whatever track our playback is playing it pulls up the correct Snapshot for that song.”
Much like Platt, Shannon says he could not live without Macros.
“When your show files start to get as complicated as mine ends up being, you simply can't operate without having Macros set up as a get out of jail free card. As it’s an emergency feature, my MIDI needs to be on or off within a split second, and Macros make that possible.”
“Having KLANG 3D fully integrated into the console is a game-changer, and something I would love to try out. The only thing stopping me is consistency,” he says. “Right now we can fly into any country with a hired DiGiCo, and all I need is the show file on a USB in my pocket. But KLANG is definitely on my list!”
For Shannon, the thing DiGiCo is doing better than any other manufacturer is implementing features on its consoles that have clearly come from real world experiences.
“The new SD7 Quantum features, like nodal processing, are so exciting for me. It’s exactly the type of processing I've been looking for to help me cater to band member’s different tastes, whilst at the same time avoiding 20+ channels of duplicated inputs and complicating my show-file even more than it already is,” he concludes. “Also, it gives the operator the ability to completely customise the surface, which means focus can be solely on the mixing.”
10th December 2019
TSL Lighting Kit Headlines RÜFÜS DU SOL at Ally Pally
UK – Australian three-piece alt dance group RÜFÜS DU SOL headed to London’s Alexandra Palace for the headline performance of their Solace tour and their biggest UK show to date.
In a statement, the band said: “We wanted to find somewhere big enough to host a night of electronic music with all the bells and whistles.”
TSL Lighting was brought in to make this happen, specifying their latest investments to provide the pizazz befitting of Matthew Smith’s ambitious lighting design and production manager Jonathan Nelson’s requirements.
Senior TSL project manager James Davies oversaw the equipment package creation and delivery, which included 25 of GLP’s award winning JDC1 hybrid strobe and control via the company’s new grandMA3 Light consoles, NPUs, a Luminex networking solution and a full rigging package utilising EXE Hoists.
“TSL has heavily invested in the latest kit this year and this was a great opportunity to ship out some of the most powerful and feature-rich fixtures and consoles to meet the requirements of a headline show,” says Davies. “Matthew Smith’s industrial, striking and clever design perfectly suited both the band’s set and the brutalist architecture of the venue, and our JDC1s were the right tools for the job.”
The JDC1s were rigged behind the large, transparent LED screen which formed the backdrop to the stage set to add depth. Each of the three band members stood on Perspex risers with Martin MAC Quantum Wash fixtures underneath them to create pillars of light that enveloped the performer.
“On the surface, we had a fairly simple design however it required some attention to detail with fixture placement behind the transparent LED wall and under the Perspex risers to get the full effect,” says Smith. “TSL's care and attention to detail made this work exceptionally well with no issues. It was perfect! Everything we specified was supplied along with a fantastic, rock solid network backbone of Luminex equipment.
“Nothing is ever an issue with TSL.’’
photos: Shane Benson
10th December 2019
Robe Gets Spaced Out for Transmission Prague
Czech Republic – Dance music fans returned to the O2 Arena in Prague, the European temple, original home and spiritual heart of ‘Transmission’, one of the world’s most popular Trance parties, to enjoy an exciting line-up of Ferry Corsten presents System F, Blastoyz, Darren Porter, Thomas Coastline, Giuseppe Ottaviani, Key4050, MaRLo, Cosmic Gate and many more getting everyone into the groove for ten hours of non-stop trance heaven.
Adding to the celestial magic was lighting designer Bas Kemper, who likes a dynamic and flexible palette of lights. For this show his specification featured over 100 Robe moving lights, with 72 MegaPointes, 19 BMFL Blades and 48 LEDBeam 150s incorporated into the rig, producing an eye-catching collage of colour and action.
Bas works closely with a diverse team including Ondrej Bylok and visual artists Vision Impossible who develop the show narrative and create all the screen content to bring the production alive, uniting all the technical disciplines of lighting, lasers, video and staging. This year’s concept featured a semi-circular stage design which Bas had conceived earlier in the year, and a storyboard based around the universe, space travel and exploration, a theme that emanated from the physical stage design, and a theme that moulds comfortably with the ever-evolving world of Trance music.
Lighting, LED screens and lasers for the show were delivered by Slovakian rental company Ministry Rental Service, owned and managed by Rudo Tucek. The event was production managed by United Music’s Anco van der Kolk (also Transmission’s founder) and production manager Cyril Horanek.
Large LED screens and elaborate décor have always been prominent at Transmission events since the event started in Prague 12 years ago, and this year there were five prominent portrait-orientated LED screens following the convex arc of the stage that gave Bas the starting points for his lighting layout.
The main goal, in addition to creating the best and most trance-like atmosphere, was to ensure that everyone around the 270 degree viewing angle created by the stage had a great view and could see and experience the effects from all around the O2, not just because they happened to be in the centre or in the VIP balcony!
The other major objective, as with all large venues and a dance atmosphere, was to make the vast space of the O2 Arena intimate, club-like and community orientated to fit the underlining ethos of community associated with Transmission’s parties.
Seventy-two of the MegaPointes were rigged in between the screens in 12 vertical rows of six.
Bas specifically wanted lots of lumens blasting out some serious firepower from these positions that was totally in-the-face to build a potent and intoxicating atmosphere.
With the almost infinite combinations of potential MegaPointe effects, the lights were ideally placed to do this, changing the character and feel of the room with their extensive range of options.
The 48 LEDBeam 150s were all rigged in four long trusses that traversed the sides of the stage. They were arranged in square-shaped arrays of four and were used for lots whizzy effects; for the tiny size of the fixtures, the beams stood out dramatically as they grazed over the audience and to the back of the first tier of bleacher seating.
A general lighting task for every Transmission party is to keep the energy and impact pumping for many hours, so fixture placement for each design takes time and consideration.
“I love the power, colours and flexibility of all these Robe fixtures,” commented Bas, who has been adding more and more Robe to his lighting plots in recent years.
As well as lighting the stage and the audience, for this event he specifically had lights rigged on top of the four long house trusses which could be pointed to the roof and work in the ceiling void, an often-overlooked area. The O2 is perfectly suited for this because of its height.
For a show like this where their stage also had to accommodate an ABGT350 (Above & Beyond Group Therapy) show the previous evening, Bas explained that he generally plays 80% ‘safe’ in the lighting design doing things he knows will work visually.
The other 20% is reserved for doing something different in the name of art, and to keep pushing the boundaries forward! This year it was developing the concept of the ceiling lighting.
“This really paid off, it helped with creating an inclusive and all-encompassing atmosphere with a good but not massive array of lights.” Having received a great reaction and lots of positive feedback on this approach, they plan to take a similar path again for the Australian event in February 2020.
In addition to all the Robes, he utilised around 400 other lighting fixtures: some more moving lights, strobes, blinders, LED floods and some good old active Sunstrips together with lots of MDG haze.
All of this was used to provide the vibrant college of pacey looks and scenes that kept pumping throughout the night, operated by Bas’s regular FOH lighting team of Zis Ankone and Martijn Deenen.
The core Transmission production crew have now been working together with Anco since the first event so it is a very harmonious process when they start formulating a show, with lots of imagination, ideas flowing and “a good creative language,” says Bas, adding that they all continually push one another to reach new creative and technical heights.
Having said that, the diversity and international make up of this team which also involves many different characters and approaches makes for some lively collective discussions and ideas.
Also vital to that equation is Xavier from AVM who co-ordinates all the SFX, plus Rado and Adam from Ministry who look after some truly spectacular laser effects which is one of Transmissions’ visual MOs.
Being a trance phenomenon, audio is also massively important, and Transmission’s live show sound is designed by acclaimed Czech DJ Driftmoon (Juraj Klička) who also composed this year’s Transmission anthem, together with Giuseppe Otiviani. At the O2 they used a fantastic sounding Funktion One system supplied by Audio Plus.
The next chance to catch a Transmission spectacular is in Sydney Australia in February 2020.
photos: Louise Stickland
10th December 2019
Ayrton Khamsin helps St. Andrew’s, Newport Beach boost church’s live streaming capabilities
USA – St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church of Newport Beach, California has added Ayrton Khamsin-TC profile luminaires to its equipment inventory for worship services and special events.
St. Andrew’s has been in the Newport Beach community for about 70 years and is known as a neighbourhood church with global impact. It holds three weekend worship services, both modern and classic, and maintains a staff to handle AV production needs.
“It’s been our long-term goal to offer live streaming on the internet, and our recent camera and lighting purchases are designed to aid us in live streaming services and events,” says Erik Alkire, lighting designer at St. Andrew’s.
The church has six Panasonic cameras, four of them remotely controlled by the technical director and two manned on tripods. Its extensive lighting complement includes 90 conventional fixtures plus some ageing moving heads.
“The entire roof of the church is glass,” notes Alkire, “so beautiful sunlight streams in during Sunday morning services in the sanctuary. But the sun creates a lot of shadows on faces when we’re shooting video. We were looking for some really bright lights to reduce those shadows and provide a quality of light that mimics tungsten sources and can be used as a key light if necessary.”
Alkire launched “quite a research project” to find the right fixtures. “None of the lamp options were going to work because we don’t have a budget to constantly relamp a set of moving lights, so we knew we needed LEDs. That narrowed the field.”
Alkire discovered that Ayrton’s Khamsin “ticked all the boxes with no compromise”. He was especially impressed by Khamsin’s 6000 Kelvin light engine that required less colour correction to achieve a high light output. St. Andrew’s purchased a complement of Khamsin-TC models with custom white bodies that match the enclosures of the church’s other fixtures.
While St. Andrews has been live streaming its services since January 2019 the new fixtures, which were installed in October, have significantly upgraded the quality of live streaming for worshippers following services on the web.
“The Khamsins are mounted as front lights,” Alkire explains. “They give the pastor a massive boost of intensity during sermons; he can walk through the sunlight and shadows, and we still see his face.” In addition, the Khamsin fixtures “take the place of follow spots for the singers with the praise band in our modern services, and they bring up the intensity of speakers or the liturgy during the classic service.”
The Khamsin fixtures are expected “to play a big part” in St. Andrew’s upcoming Christmas concerts. “In the past we’ve tried to make the sanctuary more magical for Christmas,” notes Alkire. “The concerts are generally at night so we’re not fighting sunlight. We bring in haze and additional lighting equipment to get an extra layer of prettiness. But we also need to light faces for special moments in the concert, and the Khamsins will give us that ability.”
10th December 2019
Robert Juliat Cyrano performs in Jack and the Beanstalk at Joburg Theatre
South Africa – Few holiday traditions are more treasured in Joburg, South Africa than the annual pantomime, held at The Mandela Stage at Joburg Theatre in Braamfontein.
This year, acclaimed writer, director and South Africa’s queen of pantomime, Janice Honeyman has brought to stage the story of a poor local country boy, Jack the Joller, and his adventures with a family cow, some magic beans, an enormous beanstalk, an unfriendly giant and an enchanted hen that lays golden eggs.
Not seen on The Mandela Stage at Joburg Theatre since 2012, this ever-popular pantomime story is jam-packed with Honeyman’s singular wit, double-entendres, charm and magic. Jack the Joller is being played by musical theatre sensation, Zolani Shangase with Casper de Vries making his pantomime debut as the villain, who is pitted against the ever-charming Lelo Ramasimong in the role of the Good Fairy.
Joburg Theatre’s technical crew is renowned for pulling out all the stops when it comes to staging the pantomime. Long-standing technical manager at the Joburg Theatre and industry veteran, Enos Ramoroko, points out that the panto is one of the biggest draws for the Joburg theatre over the December holidays, and is a highlight in the year for cast and crew alike. “The characters on stage are always larger than life, and everyone has a leading role. In some productions, you can switch the followspot from one lead to another – but this simply does not work for the panto,” he points out. “You need at least six followspots on the stage to keep up with the action.”
According to Enos, the Joburg Theatre has been relying on some fairly out-dated fixtures to serve as followspots for a number of years. “The followspots that we have been working with at Joburg Theatre are well past their prime. We were running six units, two of which were thirty years old, another two twenty years old, and the newest are already a decade old. As a result, we had different outputs on all six of them and it was a huge challenge to try to balance them out.
“When we finally decided that there was space in the budget to upgrade the theatre’s followspots, I turned to a number of colleagues in the industry for product reviews and the overwhelming response was that Robert Juliat was the brand to invest in,” he says. Enos had the opportunity to see the Robert Juliat Cyrano in action at Mediatech 2019, held at the Ticketpro Dome in July. “When I saw the units in action, and got to experience them for myself, I knew that we had found the right solution,” he says.
In August of this year, the Joburg Theatre purchased four Robert Juliat Cyrano followspots from local distributor DWR Distribution and, according to Enos, they have not looked back.
“Our followspotters tell me that they are really enjoying working with the Cyrano followspots, especially because they are able to achieve much smoother fading and they don’t have to deal with problems like stuck irises any more. We are using all four units, in addition to two of our older ones, on the panto and have achieved uniformity across all of them without having to stress about balancing individual fixtures, which solves all of my problems. Most importantly, when you buy a world-renowned brand like Robert Juliat, you know that your fixtures will serve you for years to come, ensuring that the theatre will get a solid return on their investment,” he concludes.
Jack and the Beanstalk, a giant pantomime, is written and directed by Janice Honeyman, with choreography by Nicol Sheraton, musical direction by Dale-Ray Scheepers, lighting design by Graham McLusky and sound design by Akhona Bozo and will be staged from 2 November to 22 December at the Joburg Theatre.
photos: Joburg Theatre
10th December 2019
LD Systems Puts the ‘Texas’ in Aaron Watson’s Tour
USA – When Texas country artist Aaron Watson was planning the fall leg of his current Red Bandana Tour, the decision was to go native with Houston-based production company LD Systems.
It was a “natural” decision and an “easy choice,” says lighting designer Anthony McCoy, who recently worked with the company with Watson’s shows at the Houston and San Antonio Rodeos, plus a few festivals.
In business since 1975, LD Systems specialises in turning a sketch or key concept into a workable, real-world solution, be it for festivals, corporate events or concert tours. So when operations manager Bill Bowers saw a sketch of Aaron Watson’s design concept, he says, “We knew we had our work cut out for us.”
Production manager Jared Miller created the design framework using the band’s Red Bandana album artwork for inspiration. “Jared’s idea was to have the truss justify the red diamond-shape of the red bandana on the album cover by rocking the truss at 45 degrees,” McCoy says. “Having this diamond as a template was a great way for us to explore a new shape-driven design.”
Multiple aspects had to be taken into consideration, Bowers explains. “The original design was built out of 20.5-inch truss, which wasn’t going to fit. It also needed to be light enough to ride on load bars in the trailer. It had to be able to house all the fixtures while in transport. Plus, it it needed to be modular and adaptable to different stage sizes and trim heights. And it had to be assembled with three people or less.”
Bowers continues: “As it was a ground-supported structure, we didn’t need anything as robust as medium duty truss, so we decided to build something from nothing. Using quarter-inch steel and aluminium, we fabricated the first of the four pieces that make up the entire structure. Then we added design aspects to it. We built channels on the front of the piece to hold the (Chauvet) Epix strips and fabricated custom brackets to hold them. And rather than drilling out the holes on the back section, we drilled out holes along the length of the entire piece so it resembled a rifle muzzle.”
Raising the structure into its set position of two inverted Vs was another challenge, he notes. “We solved that by adding a 120v A/C wench system that allowed the rig to raise itself, with safety cable to hold it at its intended 45 degree angle. The standard configuration for the rig is a double inverted ‘V’; however, it can also be built as a single inverted ‘V’ with a trim height of 18 feet.”
As the lighting designer, director, programmer and operator on the tour, McCoy wanted a wide array of fixtures for flexibility in the rig. He ended up switching from his original specs to lighter-weight LEDs to fit into the truss and the one trailer.
McCoy and Bowers spent time with a dozen or so fixtures, evaluating which could stand up to the strain of being on tour three to four nights a week for the next eighteen months. “We chose the Robe Spikie, Robe Pointe, GLP Impression X4, Chauvet EPIX Strips and Chauvet Strike-1 LED blinders. All of these have proven themselves road-worthy,” Bowers says.
“I couldn’t be happier with the performance and reliability of our rig,” the LD says. “It’s a blast to operate, and delivers quite a punch for fitting in a single trailer with all of our backline.”
Describing the fixture selection, McCoy says: “The Robe Pointe is a solid spot that holds its own in arenas with its bright output and quick pan and tilt motors. The Robe Spikie provides that unique flower effect for delicate ballads while also serving as a clean beam to quickly zip across the stage.”
He chose the GLP Impression X4 for its “wide zoom, color saturation, and output. It’s an excellent backlight and provides that ‘wall of colour’ when it catches the haze.”
Chauvet’s Strike 1 Blinder is his favourite blinder. “The amber shift when the fixture dims along with their tailored dim curve is so close to an incandescent, I’ve been fooled when running them alongside a rig filled with 8-cell moles,” the LD explains. “They pack a punch, act as a great strobe, and I’ve enjoyed using them creatively as set pieces during softer ballads. The amber shift warms up the fixtures nicely to make the stage feel intimate – a real treat in larger venues and arenas.”
Finally, he outlines the perimeter of the truss structure with Chauvet’s EPIX Strips to tailor the onstage atmosphere. “They act as a great secondary accent color or really increase the energy onstage when I run video content through them. Simple content, like a vertical wipe or bouncing circle, read well and add another level of excitement and movement on the stage.”
But equipment without support is just equipment. Watson’s team is enjoying the working relationship with LD Systems.
“It’s been great to work with Rob McKinley, owner and general manager of LD Systems, during the design process,” McCoy notes. “Rob and his team have been so hands-on and thorough in this design, and it’s made for a smooth tour. They thought through every little detail, from transport to setup. Bill Bowers takes care of our needs while out on the road; he has been very attentive and involved when anything pops up.”
Miller agrees. "Having played many shows with LD providing production, I knew they would easily be able to handle our lighting needs when it came time to redesign our touring set. We had a basic idea, a sketch, and they turned that into an incredible custom designed and built structure that reduced our set up time, yet still fit into our existing truck pack, where space and weight is a premium. Every detail was thought through perfectly and outside-the-box solutions make it a breeze to set up nightly. We feel so comfortable working with everyone at LD Systems. They really get what we’re trying to accomplish at every stage."
Bowers says: “It has been a great experience and all of us are very happy with the end result.”
Aaron Watson’s Red Bandana Tour continues across the US with dates set to May 2020.
photos: Brooke Fatigante
10th December 2019
Fast Track Autumn for Triple E
UK – There are no signs of slowing down for Triple E as an extremely busy year draws to a close. If anything the Kent-based stage-engineering manufacturer has a busier team and factory than ever in the run up to the festive season.
“The momentum we have seen in all areas of the business this year is continuing,” reflects Lucy Edelstein. “The autumn has been incredibly busy and it’s been non-stop since the PLASA Show in September.”
At PLASA, Triple E took the opportunity to present two product prototypes to the industry – the ‘Point System’ and the ‘Bocking Block’. The Triple E team has been delighted with the initial response from the customers and prospective clients they demonstrated these clever solutions to. Lucy explains: “the Points System is a simple and elegant addition to our 2Way track system, allowing multiple drapes to be used on one track or to create different spaces in one room. With both wired and wireless control all venues will be able to change the feel of their space quickly and easily.” Some customers have been so impressed that Triple E have already sold units pre-production.
Meanwhile the Bocking Block has been engineered specifically for the film and TV industries. The Bocking Block is the answer to an industry wide problem on location: how to hang masking in a property when it can’t be fixed to the walls, and is the first product in Triple E’s new Grip Equipment range providing the wider entertainment industry with a selection of useful widgets, tools and equipment. There are a few solutions in the art designer or grip’s toolbox already, but they’re all taken from other industries and don’t work as effectively as a product specifically designed for this purpose, they’re either too light-weight or too heavy-duty. Not only will the Bocking Block allow you to quickly secure a batten or length of Unistrut in the air, it can also be used as a foot to level something or create an angle required for a clever shot. “I was surprised to hear that such a thing didn’t already exist when Nat Bocking pitched his idea to me. It’s clever, simple and does exactly what it needs to,” smiles Lucy, “Our mechanical design engineer Simon Bell, has created a fantastic product from Nat’s idea. There really is nothing on the market which matches the versatility or capability of the Bocking Block and we’ve already had fantastic feedback from those in the industry.” This product will be launched to the market early next year.
The PLASA Show wasn’t the only industry event supported by Triple E over the Autumn. In October, Triple E was a major sponsor of the Theatres Trust annual conference. ‘Conference 19: Centre Stage’ took place at Battersea Arts Centre, a venue which has seen a large installation of Triple E’s VariRoller acoustic banners as part of the refurbishment of the Grand Hall following the devastating fire in 2015.
“Supporting the Theatres Trust annual conference is very important to Triple E,” states Lucy. “Triple E’s roots are firmly embedded in the theatre industry, even though our products now serve a diverse number of sectors, and the Theatres Trust Conference is always a great networking event and a chance to reinforce our commitment to theatre.”
Back at Triple E’s HQ they have recently taken delivery of a brand new, high speed CNC lathe. Now fully commissioned, Triple E has the capability to manufacture items up to 400mm diameter faster than ever before. With the increased capacity this machine provides Triple E are open for more business from customers, new and old. Specialising in short runs and one-offs as well as production runs, to contact Triple E’s precision engineering department email Dave Thorley on email@example.com.
The end of the year is clearly proving far from peaceful for Triple E with exciting projects in the pipeline and additional product developments underway it looks like 2020 is shaping up to be an exciting year.
10th December 2019
SLX Becomes Biggest Stockist of SGM Lights in South West
UK – Specialist hire and events company, SLX, has just become the biggest stockist of SGM Light in the South West after significant investment into the G-7 range of new units.
SLX was sold last month, separating it from former sister company, Stage Electrics. As a result of this separation the chief executive and now new owner, Alastair Currie, promised investment. It appears the hire and events company have wasted no time, with numerous new stock announcements made, including a £250,000.00 spend on SGM fixtures.
The investment places SLX as the biggest stockist in the South West of the SGM IP rated LED fixtures used for professional stage lighting, broadcast lighting and architectural installations.
Chief executive and owner of SLX, Alastair Currie, says: “The new roster of SGM fixtures now on the shelves of our warehouse or already out on hire include the P-6 Flood, Q-7 Strobe, G-7 Spot and even the brand new much anticipated G7 BeaSt. That’s a spotlight we’re sure will very rarely be sat on our warehouse shelves, as lighting designers and production managers around the country seem very keen to utilise it!
“We’re delighted to become the biggest stockist in the region of SGM fixtures. The SGM fixtures we already had, including the P-6 Flood, always performed well for us commercially so we’re confident the new ones will too. They’re a highly respected brand, innovative and leading the way in LED light technology. We want our clients to have access to the absolute best and we’re confident with our range of lights, including a strong selection from other manufacturers, we can compete with major players in the hire and events sector.”
SGM UK managing director, Ian Kirby, says: “SLX is a business that is really going places, so we’re delighted to see them choosing SGM as a partner. They have invested in both G-7 and G-7 BeaSt products. The G-7 is our most robust go anywhere, work anywhere spot and the G-7 BeaSt is a dual-source fixture we’re particularly excited about. It’s a beam, with motorised collimation that seamlessly turns the throw into a powerful cone and it also has an integrated strobe blinder. I can’t wait to see it out on events and productions.”
SLX is based in Avonmouth, Bristol but operations nationally and internationally.
10th December 2019
Martin Audio WPC / WPM Dominate Linzer Krone-Fest
Austria – Now in its 19th year, the three-day Krone-Fest has been running in the Austrian city of Linz since 2001. This year, once again the free event saw more than 70 acts appearing on 13 stages in different squares spread throughout in the city centre.
Promoted by KOOP Live-Marketing and Upper Austrian Kronen Zeitung, a total of around 400,000 people gathered across the duration to hear artists such as Darius & Finlay, Status Quo and Milow headline on the respective days.
Last year a Martin Audio Wavefront Precision Compact (WPC) loudspeaker array featured on the second Herberstein stage but this year the ground-breaking scalable resolution and control technology was also promoted to the Sparkassen main stage in the Linzer Hauptplatz (main square), where a WPC system was provided by rental company Z-VT.
“The threshold was set at 100dB in the audience areas with Z-VT’s system tech Christian Jell programming ‘Hard Avoid’ [into Martin Audio’s DISPLAY software] for the area behind the stage,” said Johannes Stummer, managing director of K24 Technik & Vertrieb, Martin Audio’s Austrian distributor.
On the Sparkassen stage Z-VT ran two hangs of 16 WPC in the optimum 1-Box Resolution (one enclosure per amplifier channel providing optimal coverage and consistency) with 24 x SXH218 subwoofers providing potent LF extension. A further four CDD-LIVE12 provided front-fill while a pair of 16-element Wavefront Precision Mini (WPM) hangs provided delay sound, again in 1-Box Resolution.
The Herberstein stage, meanwhile, was equipped with two hangs of 12 WPM, with eight SXC118 subwoofers and four X10 as frontfill.
According to Johannes Stummer, all sound engineers were extremely surprised and happy with the performance of the system.
And production manager Klaus Lehner added his own endorsement. “Such a result would not have been possible with a standard line array. Processed systems are definitely the future of the pro audio business.”
10th December 2019
A Headphone Wearing Theatre Audience Experiences Truly Immersive Live Audio Thanks to DPA’s New 4560 Binaural Headset Microphone
Nanna-Karina Schleimann (pictured) has become one of the first sound designers to make use of DPA’s new Binaural Headset Microphone, which gives sound technicians, vloggers, film makes and YouTubers an accurate and reliable tool to capture authentic immersive audio in real time.
Delivering the superior sound quality for which DPA products are internationally renowned, this new headset allows film, theatre and online content creators to capture exactly what each ear is hearing so that those consuming the content on headphones can experience full immersive sound. The headset features a pair of 4060 CORE miniature omnidirectional microphones that are mounted on ear hooks and sit just outside the user’s ear canal so that the mics capture the sound being heard by the person making the recording. The ear hooks are attached to a flexible headset that is simple to fit, comfortable to wear and can be easily adjusted to suit the dimensions of each individual head.
Earlier this year, while the 4560 Binaural Headset Microphone was still in development, Schleimann was given the opportunity to beta test it during her graduation performance from the Danish National School of Performing Arts in Copenhagen.
“I had heard about binaural technology and techniques from other students who had used this method of recording sound in previous theatre performances,” she explains. “I had only seen it used live on stage once before, in a smaller and more experimental performance at the school. Therefore I wanted to go even further and try the technology in my graduation performance, which is the biggest and last production before graduating.”
Entitled Good For Nothing, Schleimann’s graduation performance had no script and was based entirely around improvisation, with themes that revolved around transhumanism, transformation, sensory deprivation, nature and human revolution against technology. The director was fellow student Jennifer Vedsted Christiansen, while other students made up the cast and the design and production teams.
“I wanted to use binaural sound to research questions such as how to create a theatre experience where hearing is used as a sense rather than a function and how to use sound to create a sensual experience,” Schleimann says. “I was also interested in the relation between an individual enclosed experience and a collective and spatial experience.”
DPA’s new 4560 Binaural Headset Microphone seemed ideal for Schleimann’s production and her University lecturer Eddy Bøgh Brixen, who is closely involved with the Danish manufacturer, arranged for her to use the prototype.
Three Binaural Headset Microphones were used to amplify the voices, actions and movements of the actors on stage. And each member of the audience was given a pair of headphones so they could hear the sound from each actor via a wireless system.
“The binaural microphones allowed the audience to hear exactly what the actors were hearing, as if they were standing on the stage and being whispered to,” Schleimann adds. “Throughout the performance, the audience were also hearing binaural compositions that I had created and at the end of the play they removed their headphones and listened to the actors singing as a choir so they could experience the whole acoustic space surrounding them.”
Nanna-Karina Schleimann says it was an honour to try out a new DPA product and she was delighted with the results she achieved using this exciting new product.
“I wanted to create an intimate and very sensual experience for the audience and DPA’s new Binaural Headset Microphone allowed my ideas and wishes to come true,” she says. “The user friendly design of the microphones made them very easy to work with and comfortable for the actors, plus I had the benefit of very high quality DPA sound.”
photo: Jakob Carlsen
10th December 2019
Brown Note Productions supplies weatherproof Elation rigs for fall festivals
USA – Immediately after Brown Note Productions, Inc. acquired a fleet of IP-rated lighting from Elation Professional in September, the full service production company sent the gear out on a three-week festival run in Louisville, Kentucky, providing non-stop lighting on three Danny Wimmer Presents festivals, Hometown Rising and Bourbon & Beyond, as well as Louder than Life, the biggest rock festival in the US in 2019.
Brown Note has been supplying production for Danny Wimmer Presents festivals since 2014. At this year’s Hometown Rising, 14-15 September, lighting designer/director AJ DiCarlo used the new outdoor-rated lights for a performance by country pop singer Brett Young and was happy to have the all-weather rig. “As a touring LD who came into this rig, I loved having all IP65 fixtures,” the LD said. “There was no downtime having to fly in the trusses and bag/unbag the fixtures because of rain. Also, because these fixtures are IP65, the techs from Brown Note were not having to fix them because of dust or rain getting into the lights. I hope and am expecting to see more and more festivals and outdoor venues getting these Elation fixtures because of their IP rating and quality of the fixtures!”
A new multi-level set design by the Golden Boys not only allowed Brett Young and the band to interact with each other during the entire show, it allowed for lights to be placed all over the set. Along with lights built into the set, DiCarlo employed a house air package of 38 Proteus Maximus LED profiles, 24 Proteus Rayzor 760 LED moving heads, 20 Protron Eclypse hybrid LED lights and 16 DTW Blinder 700 IP LED blinders.
DiCarlo has worked with Brown Note on several occasions and says he always enjoys working with them and their crew. “They are a very professional group of lighting designers, engineers and techs who made the day super easy.” He thanks the entire team at Brown Note, especially: “The FOH team who got every LD into the house system with no problems!” He also acknowledges Will Flavin, who programmed Brett Young and made a show file that is easy to clone into any size venue or music festival the touring LD works.
The outdoor-rated Elation rig then moved on to Bourbon and Beyond, 20-22 September, where LD Bobby Mathias reinforced performances by Leon Bridges and Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats.
“I relied entirely on the beautifully executed Brown Note festival rig,” states Mathias, explaining that as has been the theme for both acts this summer festival season, they took the stage at around sunset as direct support for the headlining act. “With it being light out still, I have a special version of each show file that steers away from my usual settle, theatrical looks and relies more on bigger, eye-candy crowd focuses that are more impactful in these scenarios. The DTW Blinders and the Protron Eclypse really played well with this execution in hopes of keeping a hot, weathered festival crowd engaged and energised.”
Although the skies were clear at this year’s Bourbon and Blues, which is not always the case, Mathias found reassurance in having an all-weather rig. “The peace of mind alone in an outdoor festival scenario with the new vast improvements in IP65 products gives us all an added level of confidence and line of defence in what is always a trying scenario,” he says. “With more and more festivals coming online each season and weather getting more and more unpredictable, I think the IP rating is going to become the industry standard. I have been doing this for a little over a decade now, and I have more than a few war stories of the stress, cost and shows that have been cut short by inclement weather where the new IP technology could have painted an entirely different picture.”
Mathias is grateful for the role Colorado-based Brown Note has played and the personnel he has come to rely on. “I can’t state enough how much Brown Note has been there for me this summer. Residing in Denver myself when not on the road, it has been a joy to reconnect with Ryan and Sara and meet their current roster of absolute all stars. Coming on with Nathaniel Rateliff earlier this year brought me back in the Brown Note orbit as they have been using BNP since the start for audio and lighting. I was lucky enough to come in and work with Sean Ginsburg who is one of the most dedicated, knowledgeable and beautiful human beings I’ve ever met in this industry. He heroically covers the LD position for Nathaniel Rateliff when I have to bounce back to Leon Bridges, which takes composure and grace.
“For Bourbon & Beyond, the BNP crew were organised with all the advance plot, patch and fixture profiles for all of the new Elation fixtures ahead of the game. I can't begin to explain how big of an asset this attention to detail and extra love makes a difference to us touring LDs who during festival season have an extreme amount of data/show management on our plates day in and day out. The team not only had the rig at 100% working order but had gone above and beyond to welcome incoming LDs with the calm, cool and collected atmosphere I’ve noticed seems to be the Brown Note calling card. It means so much going into festival situations when you know a company and people of this calibre have your back.”
photos: Steve Thrasher
9th December 2019
Creative BackStage Creates Flow of Looks at West Coast Music Festival with Chauvet Professional
USA – Building on the momentum of last year’s inaugural event, the West Coast Music Festival treated fans to a star-studded line up of hip-hop, DJ and rap artists this fall. Headlining the festival at Tucson’s Mercado district was the legendary Ice Cube. Supporting the iconic artist’s performance, while also creating dynamic looks for other artists at the festival, was a punchy and flexible light show created by John Garberson and his team at Creative BackStage that featured Chauvet Professional fixtures.
“We built our design around a large (26’ x 16’) video wall,” said Garberson. “Inter Technologies, supplied the screen and hired us to do the lighting. The wall displayed some iconic images for Ice Cube. We needed lights that would stand up to the bright wall and provide colour and movement to energise the looks for Ice Cube’s show. We also needed the fixtures to be flexible enough to create distinctive looks that reflected the music of the other artists.”
Garberson and his lighting programmer Ellie Knight, relied on ten Maverick MK2 Spot fixtures to complement the video wall, flying four of the 440W moving fixtures on mid stage truss, and six on upstage truss. Drawing on the fixtures three-facet prisms and 13° to 37° zoom range created a flow of new looks by changing coverage areas.
“The performance features of the Mavericks were important in terms of creating variety, but what really made the design work was their output,” said Garberson. “We had a lot of brightness from the video walls, so we needed fixtures that could stand out.”
Also standing out were the eight Strike 4 blinders in the Creative BackStage rig. Garberson and his team hung four of the units on downstage truss, as well as two each on mid and upstage truss. From these positions, the high output fixtures provided multiple levels of crowd lighting, strengthening the connection between the performers and the audience.
“All of the performers, including Ice Cube, fed off the crowd,” said Garberson. “The Strike 4s on the downstage truss gave us good crowd lighting. The units on the mid and upstage truss also lit the crowd, while creating a nice glow on the stage at the same time.”
Garberson also added depth to the stage by creating multiple levels of wash light. He flew ten Rogue R2 Wash fixtures on downstage truss for front washing, while hanging eight of the RGBW units on mid-stage truss and six on upstage truss.
“The way we configured the Rogue R2 Wash fixtures gave us a lot of options for colourising the stage,” said Garberson. “Not only could we cover the stage with a wide range of colours, we could do so from many different angles. This made it easier to create distinctive looks for every act.”
While Ice Cube was clearly, the headliner, notes Garberson, the Creative BackStage team’s goal was to give each act a look that reflected its unique persona. Drawing on the carefully planned multi-layer arrangement of fixtures in the festival rig, they were able to accomplish this feat in flying colours.