Production News

Production News Headlines

Astera Gets COLOSSAL


Evan Antal Evokes Memories on Twiddle Roots Virtual Tour with Chauvet DJ


SSL Live trio brings Hong Kong charity concert to the masses


Novatech provides GLP solutions for Isagenix Celebration 2020


Always Playing: London Symphony Orchestra and Yamaha Keep Classical Music Live


Elation lighting, Obsidian control on American Ninja Warrior Season 12


Bandit Lights Elvie Shane Virtual Radio Tour


TSE Trainee project Highlights New Talent


City Folk Festival, Ottawa relies on Broadweigh for load and Windspeed monitoring


Soundstar makes Robe Investment


Events Evolution Creates Rock Solid Livestream For Cement Launch with Chauvet Professional


Astera Titan Solution for Hozier Comic Relief Video Shoot


Steve 'N' Seagulls – Travelling Light and Playing Hard with dLive Wings


Frank Turner reunites with The Sleeping Souls for live stream show


ASG Entertainments Raises Spirits at Gin Festival with Chauvet Professional


CT Middle East Invests in the Latest Communication Technology


Christ’s Church of the Valley Invests Heavily in GLP Arizona campuses opt for E350, S350 and X4 Bars


PWL Gets Lucky with Wheel of Fortune


Studio Lab Recreates Historic Palace Theatre Virtually with Chauvet Professional


Robe Supports NeFestival in Ostrava


Houserasten’s Forest Showcase in Germany Showcases DJ Morten Heuer with Claypaky Mini-B LED Moving Lights from Cube Entertainment


MUX22 helps GB4D build versatile streams for Grand Concert de Paris


Southard Audio Brings Harrisonburg’s Divine Unity Church outdoors with Martin Audio WPS


Green Hippo performs for Don Giovanni


Fineline Lighting Creates Light It In Red Message on Pyramid Stage with Chauvet Professional


Astera Gets COLOSSAL

Astera Gets COLOSSAL
Astera Gets COLOSSAL

New Zealand – COLOSSAL is a lively, dynamic, and inventive street theatre and performing arts company based in Wellington, New Zealand, founded by three highly creative individuals, brothers Zane and Degge Jarvie and Imogen Stone, with backgrounds in circus, architecture, and design.

Over the last three years, COLOSSAL has started working light in various different forms into their pieces which have become popular at light festivals, a path that’s highlighted their passion for detail and innovation combined with fun and audience connection that lies at the heart of all their performance concepts.

For the 2019 HighLight Carnival of Lights in Lower Hutt, the company purchased eight Astera Titan Tubes specifically to provide a solution for their invigorating Metronomes installation. Since then, they have found numerous ways to integrate the highly practical and portable Asteras into other ideas and activities.

Developed for a large scale audience, Metronomes was based on the themes of space and time and juggling these in a massive physical work for which they needed lights to be rigged to the end of eight four-metre metal tube metronomes. These were counterbalanced via pivoting axles and mounted in square steel bases – ballasted and secured – that, once manipulated manually, swung back and forth juggling the two dimensions and establishing a sense of rhythm.

When it came to finding an appropriate light source, they wanted something bright with beautiful colours and, obviously, anything with cables was completely out, explained Zane.

The light source had to be light and strong enough to be attached to the end of the metal poles with their weight balanced correctly through the axle allowing the motion to create an inertia as Zane and Degge triggered the swinging manually, juggling them into different patterns.

Degge had first encountered Asteras while researching for a video project, and he approached Astera’s Australian and New Zealand distributor: ULA Group, for more details and a demo after which they made the investment.

“They were a perfect solution,” says Zane, “completely wireless, reliable, with a long and controllable battery life and lightweight enough to be used as the moving parts we wanted.”

The Astera App allowed colours and patterns to change and shift fluidly with the pace and rhythm of the motions for a more exciting and fully choreographed show adjustable live and in real-time to respond to the juggling of the swinging metronomes.

Each single juggling performance lasted eight minutes and these took place back-to-back during a three-hour window each night of the festival, which was a big hit with the public.

Zane’s favourite feature of the Titan Tubes is “just how adaptable and how quick and easy they are to use,” and he was also impressed by the “outstanding” customer service received from ULA Group team.

Since this initial project, they have used them for several other works, most recently during their Covid-19 lockdown for lighting their streaming studio whilst performing a series of interactive live shows.

With the lockdown and social distancing now lifted in New Zealand – applauded as one of the most effective coronavirus responses worldwide – COLOSSAL is now working on new shows and content.

photos: COLOSSAL

14th August 2020

Evan Antal Evokes Memories on Twiddle Roots Virtual Tour with Chauvet DJ

Evan Antal Evokes Memories on Twiddle Roots Virtual Tour with Chauvet DJ
Evan Antal Evokes Memories on Twiddle Roots Virtual Tour with Chauvet DJ

USA – Twiddle has come a long way since the free-flowing jam band formed at Castleton State College 15 years ago. Nurturing the quartet’s growth on its trek to national prominence were frequent stops at Vermont’s legendary live music venues. Often tucked away in small mountain towns and seasonal resorts, these intimate spots, where the line between stage and audience blurs into a happy communion, served as perfect incubators for young musicians looking to develop their improvisational chops.

With live shows on hold because of COVID-19 restrictions, Twiddle decided to honour these venues with an aptly named Roots Tour. Over the course of this summer, the band visited venues that played an important role in their career. Although the only people physically in the venue were the band and crew, Twiddle played their heart out knowing they were still able to bring something special to the table for their fans.

“So this was really a virtual online streaming tour,“ said Evan Antal, who designed and ran the light show when the band stopped at the iconic clubs Nectars and The Pickle Barrel. “It ended up being a huge success. Twiddle was able to give the fans an experience they probably wouldn’t have gotten without the pandemic, and the guys enjoyed getting back to the small venues that have meant so much to them. Doing the Roots tour didn’t just feel like a pandemic compromise. It was a neat chapter in their history.“

Also adding the emotional power of the show were Antal’s colorful, quick-moving light shows, which were anchored by Chauvet DJ Intimidator 250 Spot fixtures. Using ten of the 50 Watt LED units at The Pickle Barrel and four at Nectars, he relied on them to create a series of punchy looks for the band.

“I‘ve always felt the 250s are amazing,” said Antal. “The optics are great. Having a prism helps give the look a boost when you need everything to get bigger. They pan and tilt quickly because of their size, and all the mechanisms inside are quick to respond.”

“For a band like Twiddle, where the goal of the lighting is to interpret the emotion of the moment, colour is a particularly important element,” continued Antal. “In addition to the standard colours, the 250 has orange, light green, and light blue, some of which are missing on spot fixtures at higher price points. It also does split colours, making it really easy to punt a show with them on any console and get deeper colourful looks with ease.”

The Roots tour took on a special meaning for Antal where the Intimidators are concerned.

“The fixtures in the Pickle Barrel used to be mine: my first lighting rig! I bought them because Pigeons Playing Ping Pong’s LD Manny Newman owned some when we worked together lighting festival stages the summer before. I highly recommend them for young LDs just starting out and looking to buy a rig. That rig saw hundreds of gigs with no issues whatsoever. They’re also perfect for adding big stage production value to small club stages on a very reasonable budget.”

Drawing on the power of his rig, creating color and movement, Antal was able to endow the livestream with images of earlier shows that launched Twiddle on their career. Set against the backdrop of familiar rigs that echo evocatively with images of the band’s memorable early years, the virtual tour provided fans with a chance to recapture the special connection they feel with this band. It was a welcome reprieve from the pressures of living in 2020 and a reminder that better days lay ahead.

photos: Dave Decrescente Photography

14th August 2020

SSL Live trio brings Hong Kong charity concert to the masses

SSL Live trio brings Hong Kong charity concert to the masses

Hong Kong – The ‘Live is so much better with Music’ Eason Chan Charity Concert was the first ever event held by the HK LPPIA (Hong Kong Live Performance and Production Industry Association), and was streamed worldwide on YouTube, Facebook Live and Tencent QQ platforms with an estimated ten million live views. Consoles supplied by Miso Tech Co Ltd, Hong Kong.

The event was in fact made up of two separate shows. The first was a sunrise show broadcast from Victoria Dockside against the backdrop of the iconic Hong Kong skyline, which was recorded in one take on the previous day to prevent the gathering of large crowds. The second show at sunset was a rebroadcast of the sunrise show, followed by a fully live performance from inside the Hong Kong Coliseum.

Three SSL Live consoles were used across both shows: an L550 for live broadcast, L500 for band mix, and L350 for the artist’s personal IEM mix. Stability was always the main priority when it came to console choice, as sound engineer Frankie Hung, who has used SSL on almost all of his shows since 2014, revealed:

“SSL desks are of course very stable and sound the best in terms of live consoles. Because I’m a studio and a live guy, the L550 is the perfect fit for me. I use a lot of stem processing which is from studio style mixing, so I do all the routing for stem processing and FX offline. During sound check, I program snapshots for each song and I really like the flexible way in which I can recall safe individual parameters after I get a better understanding of the show.”

Setting up the three-console ecosystem for each show proved to be a simple task. Typically, Hung utilises two complete sets of stage boxes: one for FOH, and another to serve band monitoring and IEM monitoring. The two monitor consoles shared inputs from SSL stageboxes via a Blacklight II concentrator with redundant connections.

Meanwhile, SSL’s powerful Tempest processing platform gave Hung the flexibility to easily allocate resources for each show, while the console’s Super-Q, automation and Quick Control features also proved invaluable during the live mix:

“The touch screen interface is fast and smooth,” said Hung. “I really love the smaller screen, a selection of buttons and encoders clearly turned this area into a dedicated channel-strip section, and having access to an at-a-glance view of the whole console’s signal flow was super helpful.”

Despite neither venue throwing up any major problems for the system, one big challenge for Hung was the need to provide a sound feed for various live broadcast platforms, including the local TV station, local radio station, YouTube, Facebook Live and Tencent.

“I fed them separately through different matrix outputs so that I could compensate for the signal depreciation in each broadcast platform,” Hung explained. “By using the virtual soundcheck function, I ran the mix with a round-trip audition and did different EQ and dynamic processing, just like how I do mastering in the studio.”

The charity concert, which has now been removed from all platforms except the HK LPPIA Youtube channel, is on track to reach its fundraising goals with the donation period currently still open. Donations made for the ‘Live is so much better with Music’ Eason Chan Charity Concert will be contributed to the HKLP Anti-Epidemic Fund administered by Yan Chai Hospital and used to help members who have been affected by the pandemic.

14th August 2020

Novatech provides GLP solutions for Isagenix Celebration 2020

Novatech provides GLP solutions for Isagenix Celebration 2020

Australia – Isagenix held its annual flagship ‘experience’, Celebration 2020, earlier this year at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. The motivational presentation featured a series of powerful training sessions over the three days, with concert style technical production providing the backdrop and the wow factor.

Executing agency, CG Creative, tasked LD Paul Whitby and Novatech Creative Event Technology to once again produce and impactful learning environment with a particular focus on amplifying the stage.

The powerful lighting inventory included large quantities of GLP’s award-winning X4 Bar 20 battens and ever popular JDC1 hybrid strobes, part of an inventory of more than 300 GLP fixtures held by Novatech. In fact, the company did much to pioneer the brand in Australia when it acquired the original impression 90, around a decade ago. In so doing, it became the first production house in the country to feature GLP products in its inventory.

Back at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, the focal point of the imaginative design was a series of chevron trusses, packed with fixtures, including 32 of the X4 Bar 20s.

These were primarily used as eye candy for a landscape audience, but they also created high impact when directed backwards at the drape during video rolls, to accentuate the chevron design even further.

In addition, Novatech also supplied eight GLP hybrid strobes for use on the front truss, with a further ten JDC1s located on the room trusses, where 24 GLP Impression X4s also provided overhead beam movement throughout the auditorium.

All GLP products are distributed in Australia by Showtools International, who are serviced out of the manufacturer’s Asian office.

This was Novatech’s second year delivering all technical production (lighting, vision and sound) for Isagenix Celebration Australia and New Zealand through its client, CG Creative. The Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre was the venue on both occasions.

Michael Muenz, Manager of GLP Asia, said: “We are grateful to Novatech for their support, and for increasingly educating and introducing their customers to the creative possibilities of our products.”

photos: CG Creative and Isagenix

Novatech provides GLP solutions for Isagenix Celebration 2020Novatech provides GLP solutions for Isagenix Celebration 2020

13th August 2020


Always Playing: London Symphony Orchestra and Yamaha Keep Classical Music Live

Always Playing: London Symphony Orchestra and Yamaha Keep Classical Music Live
Always Playing: London Symphony Orchestra and Yamaha Keep Classical Music Live

UK – Audience and community engagement, music education and global co-operation have always been at the heart of the London Symphony Orchestra’s activities. Working with long-term partner Yamaha, the orchestra has accelerated its digital outreach programme in recent months, helping its musicians to perform together again and for worldwide audiences to enjoy the unique experience of live classical performance.

Familiar to millions through its music for films, including the Star Wars and Harry Potter series, as well as classical music fans, as lockdown took hold the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) was reaching out to new and existing audiences through online archived performances. Working with Yamaha, a commitment to taking its live performances to a global audience is now bringing musicians and music fans closer together in these challenging times.

A number of the LSO players are official Yamaha artists, with the company’s flagship CFX concert grand piano also installed at LSO St. Luke’s, the orchestra’s rehearsal and performance space in Islington, London. And with 30 years as the world’s leading producer of digital sound mixers, Yamaha is helping to mix and broadcast the live lunchtime recitals of LSO’s Always Playing summer programme online, thanks to a state-of-the-art RIVAGE PM10 digital mixing system installed at LSO St Luke’s.

“At Yamaha we connect technology, art and audiences at the highest level,” says Alex Warren of Yamaha Music Europe. “In partnership with the LSO, we are working towards bringing live music to as wide an audience as possible, at a time when the entire entertainment industry is facing unprecedented challenges.

“We are very pleased to contribute to the orchestra’s exciting outreach initiative, helping musicians, music fans and communities alike to be inspired, uplifted and connected through music.”

During lockdown, the LSO’s online archive performances were enhanced by orchestra members playing and speaking from their homes, but the socially-distanced Always Playing programme from LSO St Luke’s has allowed the musicians to come together and perform once again, bringing the full dynamic experience of a live classical show to online audiences - whether it’s an intimate ensemble, an educational masterclass or the full orchestra.

“Streaming the archive concerts is a great way to engage with audiences, but I am really excited to be making music with other people again,” says Maxine Kwok, the LSO’s first violinist. “Although the audience is online, knowing people are watching through the live feed is so special.”

Together, the LSO and Yamaha will continue pushing the boundaries, improving the live experiences that the orchestra can offer, developing new and exciting technologies for how people can both create and experience music.

“LSO St Luke’s has been open for 17 years and we needed to upgrade. Having this fantastic equipment from Yamaha sets us up for the next phase,” says Kathryn McDowell, the orchestra’s managing director. “There’s immense scope for what we can do and working with Yamaha enables us to take our digital projects forward, in a way we previously couldn't have dreamed of, in a remarkably short space of time.”

The orchestra’s next Always Playing summer shorts performance takes place on Friday 14 August at 1pm, featuring a string and piano trio playing pieces by Rachmaninoff, Judith Lang Zaimont and Hannah Kendall. This is followed by a performance by the LSO Percussion Ensemble and pianist Gwilym Simcock on Friday 21 August, led by the orchestra’s Principal of Percussion and Yamaha Artist Neil Percy. All of the free Always Playing performances can be watched on the LSO’s YouTube channel.

Yamaha and the LSO have produced a video about their partnership, which can be found at the Yamaha Music Europe YouTube channel and on social media.

13th August 2020

Elation lighting, Obsidian control on American Ninja Warrior Season 12

Elation lighting, Obsidian control on American Ninja Warrior Season 12
Elation lighting, Obsidian control on American Ninja Warrior Season 12

USA – On 12 March, Season 12 filming of NBC’s prime-time series American Ninja Warrior was postponed in the middle of production in Los Angeles, and just one day before the reality competition was set to get underway beneath an Elation lighting rig with Obsidian control system. Delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the show eventually headed into production again in July with a crew happy to be back to work and a number of health measures to abide by.

Lighting was under the capable hands of two long-time industry pros and Warrior lighting veterans, Adam Biggs (lighting design) and Ed Motts (lighting direction). “We were all ready to shoot when the producers called us in and announced they were postponing the show as a health measure so we immediately started loading out that night,” recalled Motts, now in his eighth year with the show. “Then we sat at home like everyone else in the industry until we got a call in early June about possibly coming back for one city. By our June 25th tech meeting we knew it was a go and we were excited to be coming back.”

Season 12 of American Ninja Warrior was filmed at The Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis during the middle of July and will air this fall on NBC. This was the first time a season has been shot in just one location as they usually film from three or four different cities across multiple weeks. Season 12 should have started in Los Angeles before moving to St. Louis and Washington, D.C. with the finale in Las Vegas. Instead, four preliminary rounds, two semifinals and a finale were taped at the multi-purpose Dome in St. Louis.

The eight days of broadcasts featured a nearly all Elation lighting rig, which ran on a complete Obsidian Control Systems network. An Obsidian NX4 console served as the main controller with a compact NX2 used as a tracking backup with Netron EN12 and EN4 Ethernet to DMX gateways used for data distribution. In addition, an interview area was under Onyx control using a laptop and a two-port dongle.

Aspect Lighting has supplied an Elation lighting system for American Ninja Warrior for years and the 2020 season was no exception. The southern California-based event lighting company provided SixPar 100 IP and SixPar 300 IP LED Par lights, SixBar 1000 IP LED battens, Cuepix 16 IP LED matrix panels, multi-functional Proteus Hybrid moving heads, Paladin LED effect lights and Platinum Beam 5R Extreme movers, along with a smattering of other lighting. Motts says the course was switched out every night, which precipitated the use of three crews. “We worked around the clock, a morning crew to remount lights back in the course for areas that had been moved, a show crew to run it, and then a night crew to pull out the lights on whatever courses were being swapped out.”

The lighting director has a long history with M Series controllers and his involvement with the platform goes all the way back to development of the Maxxyz lighting console in the early 2000s. He says that American Ninja Warrior has always been run on an M Series or Obsidian controller. “The platform has always been rock solid for us,” he said. “We’ve never had major issues and any issues we have had were quickly fixed by the support team or they provided a work around. Although I don’t think a programmer should be stuck to one kind of console, for price point and the backing you get from the Obsidian team, it’s really the only choice we could make.”

The lighting control system runs on a total of 60 universes covering ten obstacles per course across multiple courses. “We break it up so that if we need to take a course or obstacle to a different look, a different colour for example, in order to do a promo or something then the programmers can easily switch it. That’s how we identify it. We have 60 universes but not every universe is full.” Motts says he ran Cat5 cable out to the Netron devices that distributed the signal from multiple points along the course: start line, mid-way, between certain obstacles, and at the course’s end.

The Cuepix panels, a lighting fixture Motts is familiar with from his work on Netflix’s reality car racing show “Hyperdrive,” played a special role along three segments of the course. Using the NX4’s built-in Dylos pixel composer, he was able to run a number of unique looks across the powerful 4x4 matrix LED panels. “We ran Dylos effects through the course at the start line, the warp wall, and the final climb which also had an LED screen,” he said, noting that he used content from Dylos itself, which offers a carefully curated content package of over 1100 media files. “We sized it, coloured it and made it our own essentially. It worked out perfect and the producers were happy with what was being shown. It did things that no effects engine could generate.”

American Ninja Warrior was one of the first major television shows using the NX4 with Dylos. Integrated into the Onyx platform, Dylos is an intuitive tool set of media composition, effects, animations, and text generators that isn’t overly technical and eliminates the need for a media server with a lot of presets. Motts says that in a normal year with multiple taping going on at the same time, they usually have two different control systems out on the road; one the NX4 / NX2 system and the other two M6 controllers that he says will be upgraded to the new Onyx platform so they can run Dylos.

Motts says the taping was all about making a safe show and that the production company, A. Smith & Co. Productions, kept the crew’s health as a top priority. “There was a team of people who were making sure that we were safe and that everything that was being done was done correctly. We were tested often with temperature checks every morning and daily surveys to ask about our health. Everyone wore masks and social distanced and there was hand sanitizer everywhere,” he says, though he admits he was a little nervous with all the cleaning and spraying of disinfectant on the consoles. “There were quite a few people around so the consoles were getting sprayed every 10-15 minutes all day long, plus at night they did an electrostatic cleaning. At one point, I was a bit worried that the buttons were going to fade but they held up great.”

Every production is different and Season 12 of American Ninja Warrior was special in many ways. To shoot a shortened season all indoors was different, and shooting under a pandemic posed its own challenges and worries. Motts concludes: “We’ve been together so long we’re kind of a family and everyone wanted to take care of each other. We were happy for the work but knew if there was an outbreak it would be shut down and could affect future productions as well. We also knew that shows that are still shuddered were looking at us to see if we could shoot a show safely so our failure could have had wider consequences. We wanted to prove that we could shoot a show safely and that it was doable. It made me feel that it gave some people hope, that we were giving something back and showing it could be done. Getting your temperature checked or wearing a mask was a small price to pay.”

Elation lighting, Obsidian control on American Ninja Warrior Season 12 Elation lighting, Obsidian control on American Ninja Warrior Season 12

13th August 2020


Bandit Lights Elvie Shane Virtual Radio Tour

USA – Launching a national radio promotional tour in the midst of a pandemic is not an easy task, but rising country newcomer Elvie Shane is no stranger to hard work. With his blue collar upbringing and Gospel-bred roots, the BBR Music Group/Wheelhouse Records recording artist recently released the tender ballad “My Boy,” penned for his step-son, in June of 2020. Bandit Lites is providing a lighting package for Shane’s virtual concerts which are being live streamed on radio stations around the country.

Lighting designer Keith Hoagland crafted a lighting design that would translate on camera and computer screens all the while matching the energy of soulful vocals, rollicking guitar tones and pounding beat.

Hoagland chose iWhite LED fixtures as the key lights due to their dual warm and cool colour temperatures. Color Chorus 48 units, with their lower power consumption and bright output. Six Par 200 fixtures backlight Elvie Shane and the band as well as supply key light for the musicians located within ISO recording booths off the main room. Nitro 510c units were chosen for their small footprint and nice output for the ISO booth back wall splash of colour.

Bandit’s commitment to preparedness allowed the production to load in, test and then clean up cable routing all within one day of set up. This efficiency meant the second day of set up could be dedicated to camera placement changes, giving the tech time to make any changes and add it to the system, completing the set up.

“As usual, Bandit and their crews prep systems so well that when you go into a venue and start to change things, it is a simple flow of work action,” said Hoagland. “From [vice president] Mike Golden to [project manager] Donnie Lockridge, then the two great crew who swiftly unloaded and setup the system, it was a great day of work.”

12th August 2020

TSE Trainee project Highlights New Talent

TSE Trainee project Highlights New Talent
TSE Trainee project Highlights New Talent

Germany – Berlin-based full service live event and technical production specialist TSE AG has been utilising the unexpected downtime of the pandemic in a number of constructive ways, including professional development and launching a new exercise for all their trainee staff and apprentices called “The Next”.

This is designed to encourage their budding new talent in the fields of event management, production and organisation, lighting, visual, production and audio design to shine through.

The trainees themselves initiated the idea of setting up and creating a lighting, sound and visual show environment for use as a series of dynamic live streams and recordings and TSE was, naturally, up for it!

TSE’s available technologies had to be used inventively and the set-up was built in its warehouse in Berlin’s lively Neukölln area, for which the trainees used some of the large stock of Robe moving lights, including 14 Pointes, two MegaPointes and eight Spiiders.

The installation was in place for ten days and utilised by a succession of local artists, bands and DJs who either livestreamed shows or recorded videos for later broadcast or use as promotional collateral.

All the current social distancing requirements and hygiene regulations were strictly implemented ensuring that it was a completely Covid-19 compliant space.

The whole project was imagined, planned, and realised by 13 TSE trainees and apprentices working alongside 20 technicians and coordinated by Marcel Kuch, supervising project manager for TSE AG and Henning Grunwald, trainee project manager for TSE AG together with fellow trainees Johannes Fritz (artist liaison), Tim Berger (LD), Ole Jacobi and Kolja Barc (sound designers) and Erik Betac and Lukas Wenzel (projection and visual content).

Says Henning: "This project gave me the opportunity to grow both creatively and in terms of planning / organisation. It was a hugely enriching experience.”

Event management trainees focussed on organisational aspects like scheduling, booking the talent and activating press and public relations campaigns, while the future event technology specialists took care of all the technical and design elements.

Robe luminaires were the primary brand of moving light, chosen for their reliability and versatility.

The lighting aesthetic was based on slopping and diagonal lines with nothing straight-on in any one camera shot, which increased the sense of depth and added a quirkiness to the look of the space.

For general background lighting, four Robe Spiiders and one Pointe were assigned at the back of the DJ booth / performance area.

Metal cable storage units were used to build a fragmented ‘wall’ at the back. Spiiders inside the cages blasted through the metal grills for a cool industrial mood and a warehouse DIY vibe, together with ‘cage lamps’ on cables hung to the sides from one of the warehouse roof beams.

The four Spiiders and three Pointes in the storage units created moody backlight. Gobos from the Pointes blended with the Spiider’s pixel-controllability and flower effect.

Diagonally flown side trusses were each rigged with three Pointes for quick cross stage beam effects. Structurally these side trusses worked harmoniously with a diamond shaped voile-covered projection screen flown at the back, interacting with this in every camera shot and ensuring the slick slanted look was maintained with a visual blend of lighting and playback video.

At the lighting desk, Tim Berger was supported by four excellent lighting operators Andreas Vollmer, Peter Weist, Klaus Graewert and Simon Matuszczak, and staging this event enabled him to learn many new techniques and tricks.

Several artists played creating a diverse line-up of multiple musical genres, including DJ and music producer Alle Farben, metal duo Bôse Fuchs, the Querfeldein Festival plus many other rising star Berlin bands and collectives, all of whom enthusiastically embraced the spirit and essence of the project and enjoyed their time in this well designed pop up studio.

photos: TSE

TSE Trainee project Highlights New TalentTSE Trainee project Highlights New Talent

11th August 2020

Robe Lighting

City Folk Festival, Ottawa relies on Broadweigh for load and Windspeed monitoring

City Folk Festival, Ottawa relies on Broadweigh for load and Windspeed monitoring
City Folk Festival, Ottawa relies on Broadweigh for load and Windspeed monitoring

Canada – Broadweigh is once again the load monitoring system of choice for City Folk Festival 2020. The event is currently scheduled to take place on The Great Lawn at Landsdowne Park in Ottawa between the 17-20 September but the situation is being evaluated in line with the unfolding COVID-19 crisis.

This multi-day celebration of music, dance and community, features an eclectic mix of musical performances on various stages. Over the years the event has played host to the likes of Robert Plant, Hozier, David Byrne, Jack Johnson, Van Morrison and Lorde and also features an offshoot event called Marvest, free concerts featuring emerging talent, held in local businesses.

Paradigm Rigging has worked on the event since 2018 and Michael Sorowka, MD of Paradigm Rigging explains: “I was brought on board by Scott Pollard, technical director with City Folk Festival. We’ve worked together on various projects since 2012. For City Folk we’ve been contracted to provide load monitoring on all hung points within the festival, between the Stageline main stage as well as a B Stage inside Aberdeen Pavilion (a historical exposition hall adjacent to the main stage). Windspeed monitoring has also been requested on the outdoor main stage to allow continuous read outs inside the production office located directly behind the main stage.”

Michael continued: “Outdoor stages always pose a heightened risk towards high winds. The biggest challenge is that, as with any outdoor festival, there are many moving parts to co-ordinate, including making sure weights hung within our structures are within engineer approvals and also monitoring anticipated upcoming wind forecasts as well as real time wind speeds across the site. These components all work together and impact each other, where daily forecasts might predict winds of a certain amount, more current meteorologist reports might suggest something more specific. We need a system in place on site that actually verifies the real time winds coming in which may be above what we may have been anticipating so that we can act accordingly on that information.”

A modular wind speed system which reports back to a centralised monitoring area is an essential tool for projects like this, to give the clearest picture on what speeds are actually being seen across site. The Broadweigh Wind Speed System plays a key role in all of this. Paired with its industry leading wireless load shackles, together they shed great transparency on two of the largest areas of potential concern with outdoor structures. Michael added: “The kit’s value really shows, both on the ease of set-up as well as flexibility on configuration and overall modular scalability.”

He concluded: “Having used Broadweigh’s kit for the past few years at CityFolk, the team have peace of mind that they can always stay one step ahead of the weather. It’s not always that wind speed is the trigger for a specific safety plan, however it’s the one tool we want in our toolkit when wind speed can be that determining factor and is an absolute must for anyone working the festival circuit.”

10th August 2020

Soundstar makes Robe Investment

Soundstar makes Robe Investment

Sweden – Full production and rental company Soundstar, based in Skövde, invested in some of Robe’s MegaPointes and Spiiders at the end of last year as they needed lighting fixtures with “more punch” than their rental stock at the time.

The company normally delivers audio, lighting, video and rigging, and has an OB-truck, for the full complete technical solution, and is working on a wide selection of corporate and industrial events and conferences. It was founded in 1991 by Per Larsson initially as a DJ service company and has steadily grown into a solidly well-respected production house.

“We wanted fixtures weighing around 25kg for easy handling by one person,” explained Soundstar’s Daniel Wiklund.

They looked at various brands and felt that Robe had a bigger advantage in weight and output, and they are also multi-purpose luminaires.

They completed several projects with the new Robe lights before the Covid-19 lockdown including two big conferences for Volvo Cars, and a 40-year celebration event for Swedish home improvement store JULA which included a couple of thousand employees from around the world. Both these events were at Skovde Arena.

The Robes were also on a 60th birthday event for Benders, Sweden’s biggest roof tile manufacturer, hosted at one of the company’s facilities in Uddevalla, and another project was the Sweden Game Conference, a forum for games developers, experts and start-ups, etc., also staged at Skovde Arena with an international audience.

Since then, naturally everything has changed! And while Sweden took a different approach to its lockdown in going for ‘herd immunity’, like everywhere else in the world, large scale events also came to a standstill.

Since this time, Soundstar has produced some internet shows and other stream-based events utilising their OB-truck and their Robe fixtures.

When not busy with these activities, Per, Daniel and the team have been extending their warehouse and offices into a 500 square metre purpose-designed space which should be ready for the winter if everything goes to plan!

Soundstar first bought Robe products around 2002 when Robe initially launched as a brand, with some 250 Wash XTs and 575 Wash XTs for rental stock, and early on they also installed Robe MS Zoom 250 XT compact moving heads and the then-popular Spot 250 XTs and DJ scan 250 XTs.

More recently it was the proactive work of Robe’s Swedish distributor Bellalite that convinced them the newest technologies being produced by the Czech-based manufacturer were better than the competition!

“So, we gave it a shot and have not regretted it at all,” concludes Daniel. “Robe is very reliable, and we appreciate the awesome after-sales support.”

During the lockdown, Daniel states that their biggest challenge has been to survive “mentally” in terms of thinking about and imagining how the industry might be after the pandemic, together with real practical concerns about how long it will last and how exactly the event industry might recover and get back on its feet. All unknown questions causing plenty of anxiety and consternation right now.

What Daniel misses most is “Standing behind a lighting console on a big live event or live concert, hearing the production-manager in my intercom saying ‘three-two-one-go’ and then the roaring crowd!”

Hopefully, we are starting to see small signs of hope that some of this live event activity will be safely possible to resume in the medium-term future.

7th August 2020

Robe Lighting

Events Evolution Creates Rock Solid Livestream For Cement Launch with Chauvet Professional

Events Evolution Creates Rock Solid Livestream For Cement Launch with Chauvet Professional
Events Evolution Creates Rock Solid Livestream For Cement Launch with Chauvet Professional

Zimbabwe – Cement is solid, reliable and essential to building the infrastructure that most people take for granted. But as far as glitz and glamour go, even the biggest fans of this dependable substance have to admit that it isn’t a very exciting product.

PPC Zimbabwe, the African nation’s largest cement maker, changed all that recently when the company introduced its new SURERANGE series. Heralded with the kind of fanfare typically associated with the release of a film or rock album, the product launch featured a lavish livestream presentation with exuberant dancing, music by performers dressed in construction worker outfits, and a colourful fast-moving light and video show from Events Evolution that featured Chauvet Professional fixtures.

Lighting and set designer Blessing Bero worked his magic in the livestream, which was videoed at the SK Borrowdale theatre, with help from nine Maverick MK2 Spot and four Rogue R2 Wash fixtures. The Maverick units were flown in groups of three on upstage truss, while the Rogues were hung in pairs from the same structure.

Orienting these fixtures downward, Bero used them to add depth to the stage with gobo patters, to separate areas with colour changes, and to create captivating patterns that would fit the small screens that are common in the livestream format. The Maverick and Rogue units were also used to downlight performers, and highlight individuals during solo performances.

“Our Maverick and Rogue fixtures both have extreme zoom, so they worked well together to give us co-ordinated looks,” said Bero. “We relied on them to create immersive colours across the stage.”

The colour and movement from the Maverick and Rogue fixtures flowed seamlessly with the video images that danced across the stage. Video designer Tatenda Gaylord Rushwaya arranged his LED panels in three strips, located to both the left and right of centre stage, where his positioned a 4.5m by 3m solid wall.

Rushwaya used the panels to display breakout patterns that supported the musical performances and to show messages from PPC Zimbabwe. Throughout the entire series the SURERANGE banner was displayed on the backdrop.

Lighting Tech Kingdom Kudzerema and video technician Isaac Kaseke worked with Bero and Rushwaya to ensure that cues were hit to perfection, something the design team felt was particularly important in a livestream production for a multi-national corporate client.

Working within the confines of the livestream format, the design team described its show as a “basic old school” presentation of colour and movement. Old school? Perhaps, but like cement itself, the show provided a solid and strong structure that allowed the performers on stage reach great heights.

Events Evolution Creates Rock Solid Livestream For Cement Launch with Chauvet ProfessionalEvents Evolution Creates Rock Solid Livestream For Cement Launch with Chauvet Professional

7th August 2020

Astera Titan Solution for Hozier Comic Relief Video Shoot

Astera Titan Solution for Hozier Comic Relief Video Shoot
Astera Titan Solution for Hozier Comic Relief Video Shoot

Ireland – Peter Canning from Dublin-based lighting and visual design specialist High Res specified 24 Astera Titan Tube wireless LED fixtures to provide highly atmospheric lighting for an eye-catching video featuring singer Hozier recorded at Croke Park stadium, one of many high points during a special RTÉ (Raidió Teilifís Éireann) Comic Relief telethon.

The event united the cream of Irish comedy and entertainment to raise a laugh and much-needed funds for the Irish charity sector on Friday 26th June.

In a tribute to all HSE (Ireland’s health service) staff and other key frontline workers, Hozier performed the Simon & Garfunkel classic, “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, a highly symbolic song that made significant impact in concluding the fundraiser, for which he was backed by a 16-piece orchestra.

Peter designs and lights numerous television and entertainment shows bringing his own distinctive style, and proposed lighting the video piece during the ‘blue hour’, that magical window at dusk where the sun is falling while the moon is rising and there is still light in the sky for maximum dramatic impact.

He suggested starkly illuminating the whole 85,000 capacity stadium to emphasise its vastness and emptiness juxtaposed against Hozier, dominating and dwarfing him and the musicians as they stood isolated and small in the middle of the pitch.

The houselights were turned on to highlight the seating stands and bleachers but to complete the contrast effect with the dipping natural light, Peter needed a soft ephemeral glow behind the band that would also bring an architectural aspect to the picture. Enter the Titan Tubes!

With many restrictions on what can go on the pitch or not, to preserve the grass and the ground, cables were out of the question. In addition to “wireless being the only way to go, it was essential to have a lightweight and easily manoeuvrable light source,” explained Peter, who created original mood boards and a camera look based on that elusive residual indirect blue shaded sunlight that is prevalent at twilight.

To achieve the precise lighting effect, the quality of the low-level light fill from the daylight white Titan Tubes was paramount as well as the brightness. “Astera ticked absolutely all the creative and logistical boxes,” states Peter who was delighted with the finished results.

As well as looking spectacular combined with the fading daylight in the sky evoking the haunting look that Peter wanted, the idea was to light with enough latitude for the footage – shot in S-Log3 – to be graded by Dublin post-house Piranha Bar.

Another challenge on site was the tight window of opportunity between 9 and 11pm when the natural light was of the right intensity and texture to highlight the stadium elements and combine perfectly with the artificial light elements: both the houselights and the additional Asteras and followspots were utilised for the video shoot.

They only had one opportunity to nail it, and luckily the notoriously erratic Irish weather was on everyone’s side, treating all to a fabulous Dublin summer sunset.

The 24 Asteras were supplied in four eight-way packs, complete with all the stands and rigging accessories, and the only other extra lighting on the shoot were three followspots, all supplied by the Dublin branch of PSI Productions and project managed by Ciaran Tallon.

This very compact lighting package fitted neatly into a small van for convenient delivery to Croke Park.

Ciaran comments that the Astera Titan Tubes are one of the most popular and useful items in PSI’s rental stock and are out all the time on film, TV, video and photography shoots.

The shoot involved three cameras and a drone was directed by Alan Byrne and the segment was produced by Páircéir for RTE. Peter’s team included gaffer Terry Mulcahy and chief LX Kate Bermingham.

photos: Páircéir & RTE

7th August 2020

Steve 'N' Seagulls – Travelling Light and Playing Hard with dLive Wings

Steve \'N\' Seagulls – Travelling Light and Playing Hard with dLive Wings

Finland – With Finland allowing live events within government restrictions, the nation’s favourite country artists, Steve ‘N’ Seagulls continue to do what they do best, touring the country with the bluegrass reworkings of rock and metal anthems that won them YouTube stardom, all mixed from a super-compact dLive Wings system.

As on previous tours, engineer Antti Laitila has created a FOH and monitor mixing rig for the five-piece band of multi-instrumentalists based on a dLive CDM32 MixRack and a 19” C1500 Surface. Careful planning allows Antti to keep the size and weight of the system to a minimum, so the band benefits from a consistent, self-contained set-up wherever they play.

A new addition for this run of shows is a portable DX168 I/O expander, giving Antti a dedicated drum snake and future-proofing the set-up in anticipation of a full 2021 European tour to mark the release of the band’s fourth studio album in late November. The DX168 has already proved invaluable for accommodating guest performers and for splitting I/O to different locations when recording live videos. Snug in a Peli Air case, the DX168 can fly in the cabin with Antti on future fly-dates, allowing him to up the channel count without increasing the number of checked bags.

Working with a compact Surface and musicians that can play up to five instruments apiece, Antti has refined his show file for maximum efficiency, as he explains, “I use a lot of DCAs and audio groups. I love the DCA Spill function and I’m particularly happy with the addition of MCA (Mix Control Association). I’m moving away from DCA groups based on instruments and changing to a musician-based approach. It makes more sense, because each artist only plays one instrument at a time, and it saves me a couple of faders for something else.” Antti has also made full use of the C1500’s 19 assignable SoftKeys, “When doing monitors from FOH, I assign each musician's mix to a SoftKey, so I can access Sends-on-Fader mode quickly. I have all kinds of other things assigned to them: mute groups, tap tempos and MIDI messages to mention a few. Softkeys can make your workflow so much more efficient.”

Another ace up Antti’s sleeve is an IP8 remote controller, giving him an extra eight faders in six layers. Antti keeps his FX sends and returns on the top layers and uses the rest for aux masters and utility channels. The IP8 is also an insurance policy in case the C1500 has an accident on tour, allowing to keep the show running from the remote controller and a laptop running dLive Director.

The current Steve ‘N’ Seagulls tour runs until the end of September, with the European tour kicking off in late January 2021.

Public events for up to 500 people are currently permitted in Finland, with larger audiences possible at outdoor events where there are several sections or demarcated areas intended for audiences. Indoor events with more than 500 persons may also be permitted in the country from the 1st of August onwards with special arrangements.

Steve \'N\' Seagulls – Travelling Light and Playing Hard with dLive WingsSteve \'N\' Seagulls – Travelling Light and Playing Hard with dLive Wings

7th August 2020

Frank Turner reunites with The Sleeping Souls for live stream show

Frank Turner reunites with The Sleeping Souls for live stream show

UK – Having streamed a host of solo shows during lockdown, award-winning British folk singer-songwriter, Frank Turner is finally back with his band, The Sleeping Souls, and is set to perform an hour-long, live streamed gig via on 9th August 2020.

“I'm very excited for the show on Sunday, 9th August, for a bunch of reasons,” he says. “Firstly, it's the first time I'll be seeing and playing with my band since lockdown started; having the full range of musicians and instruments will be a nice change from playing solo to my phone. Secondly, my crew have put together an amazing production for the show, with help from our friends at Sennheiser: top quality audio, video and lighting. And finally, it'll be my 2,500th show, one for the history books, I can't wait.”

Turner is a long-time Sennheiser user and, on the recommendation of his production manager Dougie Murphy and Sennheiser’s Andy Egerton, switched to its Digital 6000 system for his successful UK tour in support of his album No Man’s Land earlier this year. Since then, like the majority of the entertainment industry Turner and his crew have been hit hard by the pandemic crisis, with all their shows cancelled and no work on the horizon for the foreseeable future.

Production for the live stream, which aims to raise money for Turner’s touring family, will be taken care of by Murphy and four crew members, performed in front of a socially distanced audience and delivered in full broadcast quality, with Sennheiser showing its support for the event by providing additional equipment needed.

“Frank is not only helping his own touring family, he’s working incredibly hard to raise awareness of the dire situation the live entertainment industry is in,” comments Egerton. “Amongst other things, he gave his time for free to participate in a government-backed pilot a few weeks ago to determine the viability of playing to a socially distanced audience, and also participated in Sennheiser’s video in support of PLASA’s #WeMakeEvents campaign. We are delighted and proud to be able to lend him our support for this event.”

The general hope for the pilot, which was held at the Clapham Grand in London, was that could provide a blueprint for the entertainment industry, meaning that live music events could restart. All necessary safety measures were put in place, with seating and tables brought into the venue to adhere to the strict social distancing rules, as well as gig-goers arriving at staggered intervals to have their temperature checked, and sanitary precautions put in place to ensure a safe environment for everybody.

According to Turner, the event was his “first proper gig in over four months”. He described it as a “strange, emotional evening”. However, it became clear that playing to 200 socially distanced attendees (the venue’s normal capacity is 1,250) was not financially viable and would not prove to be a model the industry could move forward with.

On a positive note, Turner, his band and crew will be pulling out all the stops for the live stream and giving an extra 24 hours viewing time online for the one-hour gig.

Tickets for the show, which starts at 9pm this Sunday, are still available and can be purchased via Dice here and will be streamed from Vans For Bands maintenance workshop in Oxford in association with Xtrasonic Media and Xtra Mile Recordings.

In picture: Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls.

photo: Lukas Rauch Photography

7th August 2020

ASG Entertainments Raises Spirits at Gin Festival with Chauvet Professional

ASG Entertainments Raises Spirits at Gin Festival with Chauvet Professional

UK – Scotch may still hold sway in Scotland, but in England, gin has recently overtaken its rivals to become the distilled spirit of choice. A big reason behind the juniper berry infused beverage’s rise in popularity is the boom in craft gin distilleries.

There are currently about 250 craft gins on the market in England. Some of them, along with a representation of their commercial counterparts, took centre stage on Saturday, 25 July at the Manic Gin & Fizz Festival. Featuring a robust menu of entertainment, along with single serving disposable servings of food and (of course) gin, the two-day event took place at the iconic Whittington Castle.

The historic castle (it dates back to the 12th century) provided an idyllic 12-acre (49,000m2) site for the festival, which followed strict social distancing guidelines. Accentuating the timeless beauty of the setting, while also supporting safety protocols, was a delicately balanced, but colourful, lighting design from ASG Entertainments that featured Chauvet Professional WELL Fit fixtures.

“Manic Events, which put on the festival, went above and beyond to ensure safety,” said Scott Cooper of ASG. “We handled audio and lighting for the event and we thoroughly sanitized all stage gear between every act. There were also one-way pathways and plenty of wash stations.

“Groups that attended were assigned ‘bubbles’,” continued Cooper. “Throughout the festival guests were kept a good way apart. They were not able to leave their bubble areas during the shows. We even had the entertainers perform in a dedicated tent on a mound distant from the crowd.”

The WELL Fit fixtures were also called upon to create a safer environment. Cooper designated extra units of the high output LED units to light the festival’s walkways, particularly at critical areas, so people could maintain social distancing as they moved about.

Being compact battery-powered fixtures, the WELL Fits supported safety standards by allowing the ASG crew to load in and load out in less time. “Following COVID-19 protocol, we worked with smaller crews to minimise contact,” said Cooper. “The WELL Fits are compact, yet very powerful, and there’s no wiring, since they’re battery-powered, so we’re able to get things done faster with fewer people.”

Of course, no one in the crowd was thinking much about the efficiency of the set-up process when they listened to the melodious sounds of the festival’s performers, while gazing up at the ruins of the 900-year old motte and bailey castle as light from the WELL Fits played off its craggy walls.

Drawing on the colour rendering capabilities of the 20 RGBA LED fixtures in his rig, Cooper endowed the castle and the grounds with an added evocative quality, often covering surfaces with subtle variations of the same hue. At other times he mixed palettes creating vivid contrasts between different colours to shape the lines of a turret’s battlement against the night sky.

The net result was to transform the haunting beauty of this special spot in north England into something even more magical. In so doing, he provided a safe and relaxing place rooted in the 12th century where visitors could, if only for a night, escape the pressures of life in 2020.

ASG Entertainments Raises Spirits at Gin Festival with Chauvet Professional ASG Entertainments Raises Spirits at Gin Festival with Chauvet Professional

6th August 2020

CT Middle East Invests in the Latest Communication Technology

CT Middle East Invests in the Latest Communication Technology

CT Middle East Invests in the Latest Communication Technology

CTME now has a fully established Integrated Networks team which is on hand to deliver specialist event communications across a wide range of projects. The department, which is headed up by Rob Turner, has some of the Middle East's well known and respected Integrated Network professionals. Turner has been working alongside Middle East managing director Andy Reardon to develop this new division strategically, ensuring CT can deliver the right service for its clients.

Reardon explains: "It was important we had the right people to set up and run this new division, and I am pleased to announce we now have a team of highly experienced and established Integrated Network professionals. The team consists of several key players who have a long history of working together after originally working at Delta Sound before the company was taken over last year."

The team has years of experience in event communications across various sectors such as corporate, entertainment, sporting events, virtual events and much more. Their experience across multiple events in the region has given them an excellent understanding of a number of venues in and around the GCC. Turner adds: "This knowledge is really valuable, especially when helping clients during site visits and in the planning prepping stages with the other departments."

Integrated Networks has never been considered the most exciting part of an event and can often be overlooked in the quoting stages. Still, with ever-advancing technology, it offers clients so many added benefits and can facilitate a more seamless event approach than ever before. Turner states: "With our Riedel (MediorNet) approach, all different departments can prep and interface their various disciplines with the whole event in mind, not just their area of expertise. This, in turn, makes the whole setup and on-site testing a more fluid affair. Communications has become a lot more complex over the years, and now incorporates the distribution of timecode to video, audio and technical element control systems, along with timecode displays for clients and technicians. Having all these elements prepped prior to site makes a vast improvement technically on-site, as well as to the client. The comms system is the gel that holds an event together and is often the only element of technology that the client physically handles or utilises on an event."

Over the past five months, CT has been investing in the latest communications technology from two-way radios, event networks, signal distribution and much more. CT now houses a variety of leading communication brands such as Riedel, ClearCom, Luminex, GlenSound to name a few.

Turner explains: "We wanted to ensure we invested in the best communication technology available in the market while also ensuring the equipment would work within the infrastructure of venues, broadcast and event spaces around the MENA region."

CT globally purchase as a group. Reardon added: "Purchasing as a group ensures our clients get the same products and services across all our regions. We pride ourselves on consistency."

From a few Riedel Bolero belt packs in stand-alone mode to a fully incorporated matrix system, CT's communication system is tailored to the client's needs and easily scaleable.

Turner explains: "This allows us to send out a system that we can easily add equipment to without having to rewire/program the set-up again. Most of the larger events in the Middle East require a fair amount of radios and wireless communication, due to the size of the sites. With the radio channels often being interfaced into the communications, we can then easily scale up the footprint that the communications can cover, and in turn, increase the area that the show call/stage management teams can communicate in. The radios also give us the ability to increase the personnel count on a communications group/channel."
Turner rounds up: "I am very much looking forward to seeing this new division of CT flourish. I think we can bring something new and exciting to the comms/network market."

in picture: Jentry Sierra, Robert Turner and Sherin Dsouza.

6th August 2020

Creative Technology

Christ’s Church of the Valley Invests Heavily in GLP Arizona campuses opt for E350, S350 and X4 Bars

Christ’s Church of the Valley Invests Heavily in GLP Arizona campuses opt for E350, S350 and X4 Bars
Christ’s Church of the Valley Invests Heavily in GLP Arizona campuses opt for E350, S350 and X4 Bars

USA – Christ's Church of the Valley (CCV) is a non-denominational Christian church located in Phoenix, Arizona, with multiple other locations throughout the state.

In 1996 it purchased the property now known as the Peoria campus, moving to the site in 2000 and opening a 3,500-plus seat auditorium four years later.

As the church’s broadcast campus, it recently added a number of GLP fixtures to its stage, purchasing eight S350 moving head profiles for keylight purposes, and 32 X4 Bar 20 battens as part of a long-term rental package from 4Wall of Las Vegas.

At the same time, CCV has added ten of GLP’s E350 moving heads (the S350’s brighter sibling, with an extremely narrow iris) for its newly opened Verrado Campus. According to CCV’s production designer Trevor Rigsby, all new campus auditoriums will henceforth have a package of E350s as their go-to moving spot solution, with the quantities in each case defined by the size of the stages and auditoriums.

Rigsby, who is supported by house LD, MeKenna Beauregard, is no stranger to GLP’s technology. “The first GLP fixture I ever used on a stage was the Volkslicht. I loved that light and used it frequently. In fact I owe my love of GLP products to JRLX president Jason Reberski, who introduced me.” And he’s never looked back.

Of the recent acquisitions, the S350s were earmarked to replace the old traditional discharge light package and were purchased from Phoenix-based Clearwing Productions, the church’s regular local supplier.

“There were several factors I was looking for that led me to the S350,” stated the CCV designer. “We wanted LED, as we are no longer purchasing discharge moving lights for any of our rooms, in order to cut down on maintenance costs.

“Secondly, the fixtures needed to be small and compact. I wanted to have them hang as low as possible under the catwalks without obstructing the side screens. In fact we were able to rig truss under the catwalks, about 5ft lower than the current hanging positions, in order to hang these fixtures from.”

Low power consumption was a further important factor. “I wanted to avoid having to run a lot of power down to the trusses for the new fixtures. We have the power for sure but we really did not want to have to relocate a tonne of circuits that would always be tied up in this system.” Once again GLP delivered on all fronts.

But possibly the biggest boost was the variable colour temperature, without having to mix CMY values. “I needed to be able to get to at least 5500K to meet the request of video. I also wanted to have a fixture that had variable CTB so that we could quickly change the colour temperature for cameras based on the needs of different stages. Video loves how these fixtures look on camera, so it was a big win, and that feature helped sell this project to leadership.”

So much for the permanently installed fixtures. But Trevor Rigsby is equally effusive about the X4 Bar 20s, which make up the core of his new rental package for the church. Why had he opted for these?

“Well for starters, we just love them,” he exclaimed. “I wanted to have some clean straight lines of light so I looked at bringing in Bars for the current stage so that I would have the flexibility of zoom and tilt as well.”

Finally, he was impressed by the colour rendering. “Obviously this is important, and the GLP colour gamut is really strong. So these fixtures, of course, also look amazing on video.”

And with the opening of the new Verrado campus, Trevor Rigsby dipped into the GLP portfolio again, this time to purchase a batch of E350s, his moving spot of the future.

“For campus launch packages I aim to keep the lighting as simple as possible. Last year I was looking to swap out our old profiles for a new spot fixture that was more of a hybrid. I wanted something that was feature packed but also compact.” His criteria included an impressive zoom range, colour and powerful mid-air FX.

The designer was already well aware of the powerful E350 thanks to a demo he received from GLP’s Dave Barten. “I love working with Dave and he keeps me updated on what is new and hot from GLP. Before I even sat down to draft the stages for Verrado I knew that I wanted to swap out the previously used moving spots in the auditorium for the E350 and it checked a lot of the boxes of what I was looking for in a moving spot fixture for new campus auditoriums.”

In summary, Trevor Rigsby gives a massive thumbs-up to GLP: “I am always blown away by the features and quality that they fit into their products. And while the equipment speaks for itself what I will always value over that is the people and GLP has some really amazing people at the helm. I am so careful in choosing the brands and vendors I work with, and every interaction with GLP makes me feel really cared for, not just as a customer but as a fellow designer.”

Christ’s Church of the Valley Invests Heavily in GLP Arizona campuses opt for E350, S350 and X4 BarsChrist’s Church of the Valley Invests Heavily in GLP Arizona campuses opt for E350, S350 and X4 Bars

6th August 2020


PWL Gets Lucky with Wheel of Fortune

PWL Gets Lucky with Wheel of Fortune
PWL Gets Lucky with Wheel of Fortune

Belgium – Entertainment design specialist Painting with Light (PWL) created and supplied a spectacular lighting and video design, plus lighting control including programming and operating, together with bespoke integration of lighting / control for the wheel itself for the 2020 Belgian edition of ‘Het Rad’ (Wheel of Fortune). PWL worked in conjunction with its Genk C-Mine neighbour Deusjevoo, who designed and delivered the set.

The series was recorded in Studio 1 at Videohouse in Vilvoorde and aired on SBS’s VIER channel.

PWL’s creative director Luc Peumans produced the lighting and video design and worked closely with Dries Hermans of Deusjevoo on the set design, the latter involving substantial quantities of inbuilt practical lighting. These custom LED set elements were all painstakingly installed by the PWL team working in close conjunction with Deusjevoo, a complex and diligent job that paid off with vibrant, eye-catching results!

Céline Cuypers designed and engineered a special wheel lighting and audio trigger control.

Luc and Dries took a brief from the show’s creative director Lieven van Overbeke in terms of the aesthetic required, some of which related to the classic Wheel of Fortune style book which has been adapted and made more contemporary over the years since first launching in the US back in 1975.

Contestants compete to solve word puzzles and win cash and prizes and at the centre of the action is a massive (in this case three-metre diameter) carnival wheel that contestants spin throughout the game to determine their cash and / or prizes.

Wheel of Fortune has been running in Belgium for some time in the past but this was the first season produced by SBS who wanted a fresh and distinctive look with an “elegant and classy” slant as well as an intimate ‘homey’ feel, so the design strategy had to be multifunctional and based on this.

Luc took “a theatrical approach” to this project creating a series of pleasing visual ‘big pictures’ that stood out on their own whilst encompassing the overall cosiness that was desired.

The set included a long gantry level walkway along one side of the studio. The signature LED puzzle board at the heart of the action was flanked by a set of stairs and of course, the wheel was another vital visual focal point.

The contestants sat on banquette seating around the wheel, with a socially distanced audience behind. Off to one side below the gantry were three circular shop areas, which contained plinths displaying the potential prizes.

These shops were each defined with three swirling curtains, a silk and two transparent voiles chosen to absorb and reflect light. As with the other areas, Luc took a ‘layered’ approach so several different lighting treatments could be applied additively or separately.

To accentuate a sense of refinement, the set was edged in pixel controllable LED lighting in key places including the stairs, the banquette seating behind the contestants, and the wheel.

This was DiGiStrip product from InventDesign in the Netherlands, a regular PWL collaborator for one-off and special projects, chosen as a robust and effective solution, running wirelessly via a proprietary C4 controller, and triggered by the main grandMA2 lighting console.

The wheel was also built by Deusjevoo and packed with several RGB and white LED light sources! Céline devised a laser proximity sensor system that connected the wheel’s 72 handles (used by the contestants as they manually spun it) to MIDI notes that triggered cues on the lighting and audio consoles firing up multiple and different visual and / or audio effects completely harmoniously each time it moved.

The wheel lighting effects varied according to speed and position and worked brilliantly to ramp up the excitement in the studio at crucial moments. The data gathered from this operation allowed an analysis of how much the wheel was spun per episode.

One-hundred-and-sixty-five Chauvet EPIX Strips were specified, 75 deployed on an impressive matrix grid effect behind the LED wall / puzzle-board with the other 90 utilised inside the three shop areas behind the prize podiums.

Luc utilised ADB ALC4 LED cyc lights on the floor shooting up the cyc at the back of shot, with a quantity of COLORDash LED battens that grazed up the translucent gauze drape in front of the cyc, adding texture and depth.

A quantity of the house PAR 64s were also used, some for working light and some for the cyc, with more COLORado LED PARs and panels to pick out the various set elements and make them pop put when needed.

Overhead the general stage and studio lighting included Chauvet Maverick MK2 and MK3 profiles, Rogue R2 washes, plus Ovation E-910C ellipsoidals fitted with 15/30 and 25/50 lenses which took care of the primary key lighting. The Mavericks were also used for gobo projections onto the floor, the cyc and onto the drapes surrounding the shops, adding a subtle fluidity.

Around 150 Briteq pin spots lit the triple-layered curving cloths which were also height graduated masking off the shops / prize areas in cylindrical columns. The pin spots were focussed on the cloths and the prize podiums themselves, selected for their small size, brightness and handy ten-degree beam angles.

The soft goods were delivered by ShowTex and specified by PWL and Deusjevoo.

Dotted across the studio for quirky contemporary back-of-shot eye-candy were 78 Lucenti Pearl LED caged bulbs on long wires, fully DMX controlled, which produced a fabulous warm glowing 'tungsten' grading to the whole environment. The units have an RGB LED ring which enables the glowing filaments to be changed up with a bit of colour and funkiness.

Luc picked 62 Robe LEDBeam 150s dotted around as eye and camera embellishment on the floor of the stairs and for back light behind the puzzle-board, also deployed on the floor to up-light the shop fabric columns.

Other special effects lights included 16 Robe Halo LED rings, used as a special on the underside of the gantry, a striking scenic element linked to the spinning of the wheel.

Lighting was programmed and operated by Werner Dries. In total, they were running 66 universes of DMX over Art-Net into the grandMA for set and studio lighting, which was a lot for a quiz games show.

Luc and the production were extremely pleased with the results and the colourful and lively look of the show which was imagined and realised in only six weeks.

One of the major challenges was amassing all the equipment and particularly the scenic and custom assets during this difficult coronavirus period with stages of the lockdown still ongoing and so many companies having furloughed employees and running part-time with a skeleton staff.

All the stage lighting equipment was supplied by Splendit. The puzzle-board video screen was sourced by Vidisquare.

photos: Painting with Light

PWL Gets Lucky with Wheel of FortunePWL Gets Lucky with Wheel of Fortune

5th August 2020

Studio Lab Recreates Historic Palace Theatre Virtually with Chauvet Professional

Studio Lab Recreates Historic Palace Theatre Virtually with Chauvet Professional
Studio Lab Recreates Historic Palace Theatre Virtually with Chauvet Professional

USA – Stepping inside the Palace Theatre with its sweeping curves and imposing balcony has long been a special treat for New Englanders. On 15 July, thousands of them got to enjoy this experience again on a virtual level during a livestreamed Citizen of the Year ceremony honouring the theatre’s president, Peter Ramsey.

The 40-minute event didn’t take place at the downtown Manchester theatre itself, but 11 miles away, at Studio Lab, where owner Tim Messina and his team at Events United used 128 Chauvet Professional F2 LED panels to build a massive curved video wall that displayed a dynamic and immersive 3D replica of the iconic building’s interior.

Measuring 52 feet wide by 13 feet high, the wall provided Messina and his team with a 5,376 by 1,344-pixel canvas on which to create their multi-dimensional panorama. During scenes when the honouree was interviewed in front of this realistic setting, viewers got the sensation that they were watching things unfold from an upstage position inside the theatre, with its seats in the background.

“It was important that we included imagery of the theater in the program,” said Messina. “Our client for this event, The Greater Manchester Chamber, provided us with a photo from the stage of the theatre. This image was used during an interview with Peter Ramsey and worked very well to create the sense that the interview was taking place at the theatre, rather than in our studio. In the image there are theatrical lights pointing towards the camera, we mimicked those lights with R1 washes to make it appear as though we were actually in the theatre. Even in person, the image was extremely convincing.”

For other segments of the ceremony, the curved wall provided a deeply textured setting that gave a live in-person quality to the proceedings. This is precisely what Messina had in mind when he invested in the equipment needed to create the backdrop.

“We just acquired the added F2 panels with curve kits for the purpose of building curved video walls,” he said. “Having the ability to curve the video wall around our stage area has been transformational to our productions. The backdrop now wraps around the talent, while also allowing us to create multiple environments at the same time.”

Building and working with the curved wall for the livestream camera has been a learning experience for the Events United team, but everyone has been happy with the results.

The addition of the wall required changes in how the design team approached lighting.

“When filming against a video wall, one of the biggest challenges that we have is balancing out the lighting,” said Jon Martell, production design manager at Events United. “This is even more of a concern with the curved wall, since it produces light behind and to the side of the talent.

“Overall, having the curved wall has only increased our creativity with lighting,” continued Martell. “We view this as a way to develop more interactive lighting/video content for our livestreams.”

Because of the constant arc of the video wall, the Events United team realised that simple straight lighting trusses would not work, as they could not be lowered once the wall was completed. They designed a unique lighting grid that fits inside the curvature of the wall. This structure holds 24 Maverick Mk2 Spot and 27 Rogue R1 Wash fixtures, which are used to set the on stage talent off from the wall by providing downlight and hair light. The fixtures also create effect lighting to cover the floor with colour and texture.

In addition to the moving fixtures, 14 Colorado Solo Batten units were positioned in front of the ground support kits to provide additional colour on the floor and added punch for musical acts. Plans also call for having fixtures on up upright pipes in front of the wall to create added lighting for some productions.

Looking at the implications of the curved video wall on his company’s future productions, Messina noted: “With the end of the pandemic moving further and further out into the future, virtual events are not going away anytime soon. It is exciting to be on the forefront of this new media format, and we are looking forward to where it will go. We’re in the process of developing the capability to produce virtual film sets using this wall, so stay tuned!”

photos: Lauren Thomason

Studio Lab Recreates Historic Palace Theatre Virtually with Chauvet Professional Studio Lab Recreates Historic Palace Theatre Virtually with Chauvet Professional

5th August 2020

Robe Supports NeFestival in Ostrava

Robe Supports NeFestival in Ostrava
Robe Supports NeFestival in Ostrava

Czech Republic – Colours of Ostrava is usually the largest multi-genre live music and performance festival in the Czech Republic and one of the most popular events on the European festival calendar, offering 22 stages of diverse and vibrant entertainment across four days in mid-July. It is staged in the stunning raw industrial environment of the former Dolní Vitkovice (DOV) steelworks – now tastefully reimagined as an important cultural and heritage centre – near Ostrava in the north-east of the country.

This year, like all European festivals, it was cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic and rescheduled for 2021.

However, with the government allowing gatherings of up to 1,000 people after 22nd June, it seemed that compact events could become feasible, and so ‘NeFestival’ (NoFestival) was planned as a much smaller event at the same site to bring the spirit and essence of Colours – music, theatre, lighting art vibes, discussion, etc. – to a small but enthusiastic audience.

SMART Production led by Josef ‘Pepa’ Ženíšek coordinated all the technical production as they have done for Colours since 2010, and Robe Lighting was again proud to be a technical partner and collaborator in another landmark event in spite of the unusual circumstances.

One stage was constructed on the DOV national heritage area, which is part of the Colours regular site, right under the Bolt Tower that once presided over DOV blast furnace number 1.

The Robe fixtures: 30 iPointes, 20 MegaPointes and four BMFL WashBeams were used in a highly symbolic role as ‘light towers’ to denote the areas that would have been occupied by the second stage and the Full Moon stage in the standard festival layout.

Pepa needed fixtures that were massively bright and intense for this, and these three types were perfect.

In addition to these, 16 Robe Divine 160 LED wash fixtures were part of the package, with six used during the special ‘opener’ show created by Cirk La Putyka on the Wednesday, and the other ten highlighting the Bolt Tower and other imposing industrial elements behind the stage, accentuating a powerful aesthetic for the live streaming.

Robe’s JJ Valchar commented: “As always we were delighted to work with Pepa and his team on this highly creative production which was much enjoyed and a rare opportunity to catch some outstanding live outdoor performance this summer. This year we feel our support is more important than at any time before, and we are already all looking forward to the 2021 edition of Colours of Ostrava when the entire heritage site will again be buzzing with people and a great atmosphere.”

The line up over the four days of NeFestival was planned to be Cirk La Putyka followed by Bosnian avant-garde dub rockers Dubioza Kollektiv the next evening, however they were unable to travel at the last moment, so a selection of excellent Czech bands took the stage.

Friday should have been more Czech bands including 123Min, N.O.H.A and headliner thrash rapper Kapitán Demo, with Saturday’s ‘Melting Pot’ forum for theatres, discussions and debates bringing things to a close, but Friday morning things changed dramatically when, without prior warning, the regional health authorities reduced the capacity of gatherings from 1,000 to 100, so the event site had to be closed, a decision that has caused some surprise!

This was not before Cirk La Putyka and all Thursday night’s bands had delivered outstanding performances to the delight of everyone present.

“It was great, like a sort of holiday and carnival atmosphere after a long time without any events, all of us and the crews were just so happy to be working and doing what we love in producing world-class shows,” concluded Pepa.

Highlite Touring project managed by Michal Siska supplied lighting equipment for the main stage, and their crew together with Pepa’s SMART Production team rigged the Robes for the light towers. Václav Olšar was the stage lighting designer and LD Jiri Malenak took care of La Putyka’s show.

Six days later, the decision to reduce audience capacities to 100 in the area was revised back up to 1,000 people, bringing with it the hope of some more potential ‘mini-festival’ events bring staged over the summer – if all goes well!

photos: Filip Kustka

Robe Supports NeFestival in OstravaRobe Supports NeFestival in Ostrava

4th August 2020

Robe Lighting

Houserasten’s Forest Showcase in Germany Showcases DJ Morten Heuer with Claypaky Mini-B LED Moving Lights from Cube Entertainment

Houserasten’s Forest Showcase in Germany Showcases DJ Morten Heuer with Claypaky Mini-B LED Moving Lights from Cube Entertainment
Houserasten’s Forest Showcase in Germany Showcases DJ Morten Heuer with Claypaky Mini-B LED Moving Lights from Cube Entertainment

Germany – Cube Entertainment in Rostock, Germany selected Claypaky Mini-B fixtures for the Forest Showcase with psytrance DJ Morten Heuer at the Housersten electronic dance music club tour in north-east Germany. Due to COVID-19, this year’s Houserasten events consisted of videos and livestreams targeted to fans instead of in-person shows at clubs in various German cities.

Cube Entertainment supplied the lighting and sound gear for the night time Forest Showcase, designed the set and handled the video production and post-production. “The design was simple, but a bit futuristic,” says Fabian Schikorr, Cube’s owner and an event technology specialist. “We had the idea of building a little truss cage on the ground and illuminating that. In the middle of the cage there was the DJ stand with his platform, monitoring system and DJ set-up.”

Cube chose eight Claypaky Mini-B fixtures for the Forest Showcase mounting two on each side of the truss cage. Mini-B is the smallest LED moving light ever made by Claypaky for the professional market. Although it weighs just 7kg and measures only 34cm, the versatile Mini-B features the most advanced, modern optical and electronic technology. Its light source is based on 40 Watt Osram RGBW LEDs, the same ones fitted in the new Claypaky HY B-EYE.

Mini-B has a wide zoom, ranging from 4° to 55°. At the narrow angle, the beam produced is very solid and concentrated, superb for aerial effects. At full aperture, the Mini-B becomes an excellent wash light and can replace much heavier and bulkier equipment.

“The Mini-B is one of the most flexible fixtures we use,” notes Schikorr. “It is small, bright and fast with a wide zoom range, tight beams and brilliant colours, so it was perfect for the Forest Showcase. We needed a small fixture with a big output to produce both strong beams and a wide wash to illuminate the forest around the set.”

He adds that Claypaky support for the project was “great” with quick tips sent via email for solving any issues that came up.

VisionTwo is the Claypaky distributor in Germany and supported Cube Entertainment for the Forrest Showcase project.

Houserasten’s Forest Showcase in Germany Showcases DJ Morten Heuer with Claypaky Mini-B LED Moving Lights from Cube EntertainmentHouserasten’s Forest Showcase in Germany Showcases DJ Morten Heuer with Claypaky Mini-B LED Moving Lights from Cube Entertainment

4th August 2020


MUX22 helps GB4D build versatile streams for Grand Concert de Paris

MUX22 helps GB4D build versatile streams for Grand Concert de Paris
MUX22 helps GB4D build versatile streams for Grand Concert de Paris

France – Once again BroaMan and Optocore network devices were deployed to maximum effect at this year’s Grand Concert de Paris spectacular.

The event coincides with France’s National Day (on 14 July). And having scaled new heights last year with the unique solutions and I/O capacity provided by the two German partner brands – creating an immersive environment for Radio France, with 152 Optocore preamps and MUX22 IVT / MADI connectivity – this year technology contractors GB4D went even further. Working once again for Radio France, they set up an elaborate optical broadcast network topography on the Champ de Mars in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, but with the location eerily empty other than for technicians.

“Playing without an audience due to COVID 19 was certainly weird,” stated GB4D owner, Gilles Bouvard. “We felt really alone without the 500,000 spectators!”

Bouvard was clear in what the challenge represented, and it was essentially to produce an advance multi-format broadcast signal flow to the Radio France and France TV OB trucks from the FOH and monitor positions, as well as from the pyrotechnics position.

“We had to provide Radio France’s sound engineers with all the necessary tools,” he confirmed. And this year that again included 144 Optocore microphone preamps (both X6RFX and TP) as well as MADI stream connectivity between the LAWO, Yamaha and Studer consoles, via BroaMan MUX22 MADI and Optocore M12 and DD2FR-FX devices. In all, GB4D created a distribution universe of more than 600 audio streams between the FOH and monitor consoles, and broadcast facilities for Radio France and France TV.

Additionally, GB4D provided MADI audio streams for virtual soundchecks to radio technicians in charge of HF control for the soloists. “This made it possible from the Wavetool software to conduct MADI monitoring of the 155 pickup microphone preamps,” explained Bouvard. Finally GB4D constructed a BroaMan link for the spectacular firework finale which was once again produced by Groupe F.

Explaining this final deployment, Gilles Bouvard said: “The request was to retrieve the audio streams from the firework soundtrack, to give the pyrotechnician a video stream from the France TV finale, and to link everyone together with an intercom network for orders."

This connection was achieved via a pair of BroaMan MUX22 IVT/IC444, a device that combines different formats of Video, Audio, IP, Intercom and other data on fibre distribution system. The sound of the fireworks was wired to the four line inputs that populate the MUX22, wired with other Optocore audio interfaces in a redundant optical loop. All audio streams were shared throughout the Optocore network.

The cable distance between the two MUX22s, stationed at the Eiffel Tower and the France TV OB van, was approximately 450 metres, with SDI signals passed between the fireworks base and France TV control room for the grand finale, with the four IC444 audio line inputs, and LAN for the IP intercom.

From the fireworks control room under the Eiffel Tower, the audio signals for the soundtrack had to be connected. For this, two Apple computers were equipped with sound cards, which were connected to the four line-level audio ports of the MUX22.

An SDI output, connected to a 32 "screen, broadcast the final image of the France TV production. The pyro technician wanted to have the image direct from the OB van in order to avoid the six-to-eight seconds delay from the satellite.

Thanks to the MUX22 LAN, we were also able to create an order network between the fireworks technician and the France TV script manager,” continued Bouvard. “This GreenGo IP order network consisted of a portable station on the pyro side and a four-wire box for the interface with the France TV communication grid.”

“The choice of MUX22 for this application was simple,” stated Bouvard. “Everything I needed, in terms of format transmission, was contained in one box!”

The Grand Concert de Paris, for which Radio France is co-producer, is the largest classical music concert broadcast live on television and radio in more than 31 countries, and representing approximately 41 million viewers.

The artistic performance was produced by the National Orchestra of France, the Grand Choeur de Radio France, as well as the Maitrise de Radio France. Founded after the Second World War, and intended for children aged nine and over, this high level musical training is one of the first experiments in the so called ‘half-time educational system’, combining general education and musical training.

“We are delighted to have been able to collaborate on this landmark event once again this summer, with a more prestigious solution than ever,” said the GB4D owner in conclusion.

He was supported by GB4D team members, Diane Hivert (distribution manager, France) and Titou Victor (GB4D Optocore technician).

MUX22 helps GB4D build versatile streams for Grand Concert de ParisMUX22 helps GB4D build versatile streams for Grand Concert de Paris

4th August 2020

Southard Audio Brings Harrisonburg’s Divine Unity Church outdoors with Martin Audio WPS

Southard Audio Brings Harrisonburg’s Divine Unity Church outdoors with Martin Audio WPS
Southard Audio Brings Harrisonburg’s Divine Unity Church outdoors with Martin Audio WPS

USA – Virginia’s Southard Audio recently overcame the challenges of lockdown when it deployed its brand new Martin Audio WPS system for the first time, helping the congregants of Harrisonburg’s Divine Unity Church to move outdoors for a special, socially-distanced service.

The event marked the first time that the company was able to use its WPS system, which recently joined the large format WPL system that Southard Audio has been using for a year.

Founded by Mike Southard in 1980, Southard Audio is known as a leading events specialist in Virginia and beyond. “We do large events throughout the Eastern US and a little bit into the Midwest,” explains managing partner Jason Misterka. The company has also long benefited from a working relationship with Soundworks of Richmond VA – the two became the first WPL owners in the world when they each purchased 24 WPL cabinets, 12 SXH218 hybrid subs and 12 iKON iK42 amps.

Taking WPL out on the road for year was enough to convince Misterka that it was time to add more Martin Audio to the Southard inventory. “After using WPL for a year we wanted to phase out some of our older boxes and standardise everything around one system that all of our techs know how to use. So when the WPS came out we jumped.”

But as soon as the WPS system arrived, COVID-19 brought events to a halt. The first opportunity to deploy the new system came months later, when Divine Unity Church decided to make the most of its outdoor space.

“This was literally a church service in a parking lot and we were happy to have the gig!” Misterka recalls. “It was organised very quickly and there was no infrastructure in the parking lot, there was no stage and to make things harder it was on a hill.”

Adding further complications were the unique challenges of providing live sound in the time of a pandemic. “Due to COVID-19, we didn’t feel comfortable having a front of house position in the audience,” explains Misterka. The audience was actually made up of three areas: first there were seats that were socially distanced, then behind them were cars where people could get out but remain in their spot, then finally there was a large screen for people who remained in their cars and listened to a broadcast.

“Even with the social distancing, we didn’t want to set up out front. We felt very confident in making that decision because we knew the Martin Audio Display software and we trusted both it and the hardware.”

Instead of a traditional FOH, the team set up an OB-style mix position in one of the company’s trucks. “We drove the mix from that location using a reference mic, studio monitors, IEMs and headphones. We also monitored the mix from a car over the FM broadcast and regularly checked the audience area to make sure that we were on target.

“Of course, we spent a significant amount of time listening and ensuring that we had the correct coverage prior to the audience’s arrival, but the point is that with WPS we were able to achieve very consistent coverage in a way that would not have been possible with a lot of other speakers in extremely difficult circumstances. It was our first time out with WPS but we believed in it and it worked perfectly.”

The main system for the event comprised eight WPS per side with a single SXH218 subwoofer per side for low end. In addition, two CDD-LIVE12 were used as front fills and two CDD-LIVE15 for out fills. A rack of three iK42 amplifiers powered the system.

Misterka concludes: “I have a feeling that WPS is going to be our workhorse for at least 70% of the gigs we do. It was also extremely easy to rig and I love it for that! Especially considering that this event was on a hill, with any of our other systems it would have been fifty times harder.”

4th August 2020

Green Hippo performs for Don Giovanni

Green Hippo performs for Don Giovanni
Green Hippo performs for Don Giovanni

Sweden – Hippotizer media servers from Green Hippo, the specialist creator of tools for the real-time manipulation of video for the AV industries, were used recently to drive the visual content for a unique production of Mozart’s opera, Don Giovanni, staged amid the COVID-19 pandemic to an empty Berwaldhallen concert hall in Stockholm.

Directed by British operatic tenor Andrew Staples, the production was conceived and produced under COVID-19 restrictions, with the necessary social distancing for all crew and performers. Instead of playing to a live audience, the performance was broadcast on the Berwaldhallen Play channel, in partnership with Medici TV.

To look after the creation, management and delivery of the production’s video content, set designer Bengt Gomér contacted Stockholm-based PXLFLD, a specialist in visual design and a long-standing Hippotizer user. Their team, led by Anders Granström, quickly created a visual breakdown of the script and an in-depth projection study before developing actual content.

“As the entire performance was broadcast in black and white, we relied heavily on stark contrasts throughout,” says Granström. PXLFLD artists Per Rydnert and Andreas Skärberg, working closely with Staples, created custom visuals, combining American photographer Franscesca Woodman’s deeply evocative black and white photography with a live camera feed and various pre-recorded sequences filmed during rehearsals.

Because the opera environment is so sensitive to unwanted noise, Granström chose the small-but-powerful, single rack-unit Hippotizer Amba+ as the media server for the job, confident in its power to deliver the features and performance he would need. Operating the show’s lighting and visuals from an MA Lighting grandMA3 console was Ishai Mika, who Granström says is: “A friend and colleague, a rock solid operator and an amazing lighting designer in his own right.”

Granström continues, “We projection-mapped the up-stage wall of the venue and used two Barco UDX-4K40 (40,000 ANSI-lumen) projectors, placed on the balcony in sound isolation boxes. All projectors and technical equipment was provided and installed by Vello Hermann of Hermanns Lilla Firma.”

“Many factors come into play when choosing a media server system, such as technical features, functionality, workflow and on-site operations,” says Granström. “We always make our design decisions with this in mind and Hippotizer worked out perfectly for this production.”

He concludes, “Hippotizer is a very flexible toolbox that enables the operator to quickly make creative decisions on site. As the final touches to the composition were made on site, Hippotizer’s features, including Livemask, colour correction, blending of assets and in-the-box-effects, are great tools to have.”

photos: PXLFLD

Green Hippo performs for Don Giovanni Green Hippo performs for Don Giovanni

3rd August 2020

Fineline Lighting Creates Light It In Red Message on Pyramid Stage with Chauvet Professional

Fineline Lighting Creates Light It In Red Message on Pyramid Stage with Chauvet Professional
Fineline Lighting Creates Light It In Red Message on Pyramid Stage with Chauvet Professional

UK – Like a ghost ship at bay, the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury stood eerily silent when Rob Sangwell and his team from Fineline Lighting visited in early July. Outlined against a grey sky, its stark metal frame shorn of all the coverings, lighting fixtures and PA gear that are so familiar to festival-goers, the iconic structure seemed lost and forlorn.

In its isolation, the stage served as a metaphor for the state of the live entertainment industry, believed the Fineline team. This led them to select it as the site of their Light It In Red display.

“We wanted to do something big and we considered many local landmarks, but the pyramid stage was the best choice, because it is such a recognisable structure,” said Sangwell. “Plus, in its current form, with no stage deck or sheeting, it’s very representative of the state of our industry today. The Pyramid Stage is a steel skeleton waiting for the talented crews and companies who usually descend on the site in June to transform it into the spectacular production space we all know and love. We knew that if we could get permission, it had to be the site we lit!”

Included in the kit that Fineline used to light this redolent site were 28 Maverick Storm 1 Wash, eight Maverick Storm 1 Spot and four Maverick MK3 Profile fixtures from Chauvet Professional. Controlling the kit with a ChamSys MQ100 console, they positioned the wash fixtures all the way around the interior of the Pyramid. Orienting these units downstage, the design team used them to highlight the main steelwork supports and accent the structure’s shape.

The spot units were positioned in a line across stage roughly where the upstage video screen is typically located. These fixtures were used to boost the brightness toward the top of the structure and remove shadow where required. They also were relied on to create beam effects for photographs.

Sangwell and his team arranged the Maverick MK3 Profiles outside the Pyramid, two in front and one on either side of the structure. From these side positions the high output fixtures illuminated the front and top of the pyramid.

While they worked on the Light It In Red design, the Fineline crew attracted the attention of some unique visitors. “When the festival is not taking place, this site is a working farm,” said Sangwell. “On the day we were there, the Pyramid Field was home to a good number of the famous Glastonbury cows. Inquisitive animals: no sooner had we started to unload and layout the kit, then they were there sniffing and licking the lights, which luckily were IP rated. They seemed to like the Storm Wash fixtures the most. Thankfully, they lost interest before we had to fire the lights up.”

The bovine visitors were not the only unusual sight during set-up. Working with only a small number of people with no one in the audience (save the cows) in an area where a quarter of a million people gather during the festival was a surreal experience. It did, however make set up go smoothly.

“Set-up was a simple process, which is not surprising given the circumstances,” said Sangwell. “A lot of people pulled together to make this happen, including Michael Eavis, Emily Eavis, Haggis Mcleod, Jason Bryant, Chris Salmon and Rob Kearle from Glastonbury; Jim Creed from Powerline, who loaned us his generator; and our crew: James Harrington, Reuben Pinkney, Chris Randall an Fox Valentine. Creating an expression of solidarity with our industry meant a great deal.”

The full impact and meaning of Light It In Red was driven home to Sangwell when the day’s work was done. “As the sun set behind the stage, the metalwork structure started to glow red with the drop in daylight allowing the fixtures to cut through and reflect off the galvanized steel,” he recalled. “This beautiful sight and just being in a familiar field with a bunch of great people making something creative happen was great. It’s in our blood, we need to do this.”

Fineline Lighting Creates Light It In Red Message on Pyramid Stage with Chauvet ProfessionalFineline Lighting Creates Light It In Red Message on Pyramid Stage with Chauvet Professional

3rd August 2020