Project News Headlines
Loyola Blakefield Delivers Professional Audio to Unique Spaces on Campus with Renkus-Heinz Solutions
3by3 Space Opens at Volt Lites, Burbank with Claypaky Mini-B LED Moving Lights as Versatile, Workhorse Fixtures
Virtual Production Studios feature Robe
Germany – Thomas Giegerich is someone who likes to keep ahead of the game.
He and his team at bright! studios, based in Frankfurt, were already planning to add a new ‘extended reality’ division to their visual design and services business at some point during 2020, which was in anticipation of it being more widely adopted (by television in particular) productions and video projects.
The team at bright! studios were already working with real-time tracking and real-time rendering software like Unreal Engine and Notch as part of their creative workflow, as well as running a busy show and events equipment rental company from the same premises, so combining these skills into a new product was a logical step.
Furthermore, with the launch of the xR services department in mind, they had already built a small production studio and produced some demonstration reels in January 2020.
So, when the Coronavirus pandemic spread around the globe, all these plans were rapidly accelerated as they fast-forwarded their timeline from 12 months to 12 days!
In that time, the first iteration of a fully functional streaming xR studio started receiving bookings almost immediately as live events were shutting down worldwide.
More space was cleared in the warehouse by moving some of the events kit into exterior storage and the bright! Virtual Production Studio was born.
The initial studio set-up included Robe ESPRITE LED profiles and Spiider LED wash beams for front and overhead lighting, with some LEDBeam 150s for backlight.
The studio area is equipped with a 7 x 4m 2.8mm LED backwall and a 7 x 3m LED floor with 6mm pixel pitch. Another 12 square meters of the 6mm screen panels are flown at the front and sides of the space serving as the basic general lighting sources.
Moving lights are positioned on a ceiling grid above, poking through the gaps in the side LED panels, carefully positioned, and used to create excellent key lighting, effects, and shadowing.
The idea is to make the immersive environment perfect for camera for the material that is still being filmed, and balanced to the simulated elements that will also be happening, so front and back illumination has to be meticulously matched for softness and reflections ensuring that any virtual shadows will match those in the real world, and vice versa.
Moving lights can also help make objects and pop out from the augmented world and background elements.
Thomas has found that the ESPRITES are ideal for creating these specific conditions that look great in both the real and augmented worlds with their LED light engine and natural looking whites.
The output from the fixtures contrasts and complements the shimmering ambience coming from the LED screens.
“We are still doing a lot of research with this project,” explained Thomas, highlighting that the studio, the lighting and the way it will work was, understandably, experimental for the first months as different clients booked it for a variety of events, streaming shows and recordings and everyone learned about the idiosyncrasies that blur the line between real and virtual worlds.
“While we were considering the concept for some time, when it then came together so quickly some fluidity was inevitable, we all had so much to learn! Now we are settling into to some standard routines and practices and still constantly trying out new ideas.”
Thomas also reckons that Robe’s T1 wash fixtures (either the T1 PC or T1 Fresnel) would be great back lighting fixtures for the studio and for AR generally, although currently they are not using these.
The lighting console is a grandMA3 and they use a Black Magic Design URSA camera system equipped with a Stype tracking camera. All the 3D tracking data is handled by a Stage Precision system.
The bright! Virtual Production Studio has been busy since its launch and clients have included some high-end corporate brands plus several others wanting to create product presentations, conferences, seminars, and live streams.
As they are seeing increasing demand for virtual production services, the team at bright! are planning to increase the size of the studio to 240sqm with a much larger LED setup within the next month.
Thomas sees a healthy future for virtual production and is very excited to be embroiled in this field and the prospect of what it will allow in terms of creativity.
“It will certainly dramatically alter the way set and visual designers are able to work and it will also have a cost advantage to TV and video productions wanting to bring higher production values to their broadcasts and footage,” he concludes.
For performers and choreographers, it will also open many new avenues, and bright! studios is a name we are sure to be hearing a lot more in the future!
24th September 2020
Provision AVL and Chauvet Professional Help Al Rashid Al Saleh School Theatre Fill Multi-Mission
UAE – Built in 1971 on land granted to it by Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the award winning Al Rashid Al Saleh School is one of the oldest in the United Arab Emirates. Since that time, the 2,600-student, K-12 school has made invaluable contributions to UAE society, through its dedication to education and the community at large.
Both of these commitments were driving forces behind the development of the school’s new theatre. “Even though this is a school theatre, our clients wanted it to have complete flexibility in terms of hosting external events and activities,” said Kevin Boujikian, general manager of Provision AVL, which designed and supplied the audio, video, lighting and trussing system for the theatre, working with architectural lighting supplier Murano Lighting. “This was a gratifying and challenging project and I’m thankful that ECCE (Engineering Consulting Company) entrust the design and implementation to us.”
Given the diverse roles it’s expected to fill, the Al Rashid Al Saleh School Theatre required a large and flexible lighting system, according to Boujikian. The Provision AVL and Murano Lighting teams provided this with a rig comprised of 62 Chauvet Professional fixtures, including some, such as its eight high output Strike 4 units, that aren’t typically found in school theatres.
“Being a multi-purpose venue, the lighting designer felt it would be a good idea to have that many Strike 4s,” said Boujikian. “There is a tradition of using blinders in various events and shows in this region.”
Broadcast and livestream applications make up a significant part of the theatre’s schedule, as do traditional theatrical plays. To provide impeccable stage and keylighting for these productions, the theatre has seven Ovation E-910FC ellipsoidal and 19 Ovation F-265WW Fresnel fixtures. Hung on downstage and mid-stage electrics, these fixtures increase design options through their 16-bit dimming, which results in smooth fades.
The RGBA-lime Ovation E-910FC fixtures also bring an added element of colour to designs. “One of our favourite fixtures is the E-910FC,” said Boujikian. “It excels as both a key light and a wash. In this venue we outfit them with 26, 36 and 50-degree lens tubes.”
Also contributing to the stage’s color palette are the rig’s 12 COLORado 1-Quad Zoom fixtures. Flown over the entire width of the stage, the RGBW LED wash lights are able to transform looks by immersing the entire deck in richly saturated colours.
A collection of eight Rogue R2X Spot fixtures are used to add movement, colour, and texturing gobo patterns to the stage. Complementing them are eight Rogue R2 Wash fixtures. “The movers greatly expand the theatre’s flexibility, which given its diverse mission is very important,” said Boujikian.
Completed in 2020, the Al Rashid Al Saleh School Theatre presents a stylish and elegantly seamless image. However, achieving this pristine state was not without its challenges. The theatre was mostly complete two-years ago when delays forced the installation of the audio and lighting system to be postponed.
“We had to work around the false ceiling, fire alarm/sprinkler system, conduits and HVAC system that were already in place when we began our work,” said Boujikian. “It was necessary for us to install a two-layered trussing grid: primary with spreaders above the false ceiling, and another underneath the ceiling in order to be able to get the audio, lighting, and screens on the trussing.”
Thanks to this ingenuity, the design challenge was met, and the Al Rashid Al Saleh School wound up with a state-the-art-theatre that does justice to the vision that Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum had when he granted the land for this school all those years ago.
24th September 2020
OBA Give CDD Speakers a Thorough Workout at New Natural Fit Gym
UK – AV integrators, Old Barn Audio (OBA), have been specifying Martin Audio’s CDD series on a regular basis ever since it was first released in 2015. And they have just added a new fitness centre to that roster.
Over the past five years they have introduced countless venues to the manufacturer’s coaxial differential dispersion technology, populating many different market sectors with these advanced solutions, and today rank among the top three partners in the UK when it comes to quantities sold.
When Steven Kelly, who runs the Natural Fit Gym in Tunbridge Wells with partner Shaun Harris, contacted OBA, their first requirement was a state of the art audio system.
“This is the first of what will be a series of upmarket gyms and they wanted the best,” recalls OBA director Phil Clark. “We told them straight away that they needed Martin Audio.” The client was reassured not only by this, but the fact that OBA are also based in the genteel Kent spa town.
Another condition was that the speakers needed to be discreet. And so OBA opted for the ultra-compact CDD5. “Even though the CDD5 is the smallest in the CDD range they give great power, clarity and dispersion,” he said. “It’s a high-end solution, and being black, set against a black ceiling the sound source is virtually invisible.”
The gym, which includes a sunken swimming pool, is divided into four zones as far as sound distribution is concerned: café, main gym, changing rooms and members' area. All four playback devices are individually controlled by the instructors’ iPhones and iPads, with bespoke music for many of the classes, played out at BGM levels.
“Steven Kelly was so impressed with the sound system that he will be running with Martin Audio again at their second venue, which will be in Hove,” continued Clark.
“We install CDD because they are priced well, they sound phenomenal and they are esoteric in their construction. We use CDD for pretty much everything, often linked to Martin Audio’s SX subs,” he concluded. “You can’t really ask for anything more.”
24th September 2020
Lakeshore Drive-In live music venue opens in Chicago with Ayrton Perseo from LEC Event Technology
USA – The long, hot summer of COVID-19 saw live music safely come back to Chicago’s lakefront with the new Lakeshore Drive-In venue. Artist management company AudisBliss spearheaded the project working with LEC Event Technology, Inc. (LEC) to transform a parking lot just west of the Adler Planetarium into an in-person concert venue that keeps the safety of the attendees, artists and employees in mind.
LEC provided Ayrton Perseo-S fixtures for the stage, the first compact, multi-function luminaire with an IP65 enclosure rating developed for intensive outdoor use.
“The Lakeshore Drive-In is one of the most respected drive-in operations in the country and the only sustainable drive-in model in Chicago, which is operating very successfully within COVID guidelines,” says Matt Brotz, owner and director of operations at LEC. “LEC took on the role of hardware provider producing the event under a strict budget and with no room for failure. We’ve been very happy with the Ayrton Perseo fixtures and so has the client.”
“With the Lakeshore Drive-In we’ve given our guests the closest experience to a normal live show,” notes Adam Weiss, co-founder of AudisBliss. “We put on these concert events to bring gigs back to the community and give people the opportunity to enjoy live music safely and see the best views in the city. Chicago needed this.”
The parking lot accommodates about 200 socially-distanced cars; guests can leave their vehicles to set up chairs within the boundaries of their parking spaces. Delivery of food and artist merchandise is available. The venue has hosted a minimum of three shows per week this summer with headliners including Lil Yachty, Mic Jenkins and Ric Wilson, Peekaboo and Autograf.
“LEC was asked to design a stage for the Lakeshore Drive-In that would highlight the talent, adapt to social distancing regulations, and be robust and sustainable for the run of the shows,” Brotz explains. “The stage had to be both impactful and practical standing up to weather along the lakefront.”
Twenty-four Ayrton Perseo IP65-rated fixtures are in the lighting rig with 12 pre-rigged on the truss, six positioned on the ground and another six available to supplement the truss-mounted units. LEC invested in an inventory of Perseo units earlier this year.
“We chose Perseos for the venue for their robust performance outdoors,” Brotz says. “We didn’t want to constantly set and strike rigs.” He notes that, “Perseo is brighter than any light in its class. The LED unit is cost effective, and its gobo set and optics are phenomenal. It’s also lightweight so no special engineering is required.”
According to Brotz: “Many of the lighting designers coming through who are using Perseo for the first time just love it. They always compliment its flat field and the sharpness of its optics through the air, Perseos cover a lot of territory.”
"LEC has been a dedicated ACT Lighting supporter over the years and with their early adoption of the new MA3 platform and recently released Ayrton IP65 Perseo fixtures along with a growing inventory of MDG Atmospheric machines their continued investment in cutting edge entertainment technology exemplifies their commitment to excellence," says ACT Lighting regional sales manager, Aaron Hubbard.
During the coronavirus pandemic setting up a safe live music venue certainly has been a challenge. “The failure of other drive-ins reminded us what not to do,” says Weiss. “Stress is high, but it’s all worth it when you see the positive fan [reactions].” And the same has been true with performers. “No artists have walked off stage without a smile on their faces,” he reports.
photos: brandleighh sml and weissbro sml
22nd September 2020
Vienna Volksoper heralds new season with all-new KV2 system
Austria – The Vienna Volksoper, or People’s Opera, is Europe’s leading operetta house and Vienna’s largest theatre for opera, musicals, classical concerts and ballet. Indeed, Vienna Volksoper offers one of the most diverse musical programmes in the country, ranging from Carmen to Kiss Me Kate, and Coppelia to Cabaret, as well as productions for schools, lots of local German operetta performances and much more besides.
The venue is also the first in Vienna to open its doors to the public after the summer break, but more importantly in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, with a performance of Strauss’s Die Fledermaus on 1st September followed by a revival of Cole Porter’s classic musical, Kiss Me Kate on 2nd September. Both will be benefiting from the pristine audio reproduction of a brand new, carefully designed KV2 audio system, which also happens to be the first ever to use KV2’s new Control & Diagnostics Tool for remote system management and control.
The new sound system for the 1,339-capacity venue was designed by Martin Lukesch, director of sound and media technology at Vienna Volksoper. “Here, it’s all about the music,” explains Lukesch. “As a repertory theatre with a hugely varied performance range; we can be staging a rock musical one night and a classical ballet the next, the demands on the sound system are enormous. Our season starts on 1st September and we have rehearsals every morning and performances every evening, non-stop, until 30th June. This was my starting point when it came to designing a new system. It had to be able to fulfil the needs of all the different types of show we stage and deliver the best possible audio experience for our audiences.”
Lukesch had been a fan of point source technology even before coming across KV2, convinced that it was the solution for Volksoper, but he took a while to find what he was looking for. However, once he’d found KV2 – he particularly recalls the first time that he heard the VHD system demonstrated at an outdoor stage at the Frankfurt Musik Messe – there was no going back. “I need point source loudspeakers for my designs, and KV2 makes excellent point source loudspeakers. Better still, they have a huge variety of sizes and formats. Whatever it is you need, KV2 has the right speaker for the job. So yes, when we decided to renew the sound system at Volksoper, for me it was an easy choice!”
For the main system Lukesch selected three active, full-range ESR215S per side for the stalls, circle and upper circle. “I wanted a real full-range system with the -3dB point below 40Hz,” he says. “The ESR215 is ideal with its wide 110-degree horizontal dispersion and smooth frequency response across the range. We chose the S slimline version to minimise visual impact. The centre cluster comprises two SL412 active, wide dispersion loudspeakers flanked by an ESD10 and an ESD12 per side. Frequency and phase response are matched to the side system.
“There is also a second proscenium system of 12 smaller, wide dispersion boxes (ESD10s), mainly for sound effects. We have another effects system, known as ‘The voice of God’ located in the dome of the auditorium, which is two of the big ESR212s plus a full surround system throughout the theatre: there are at least 60 speakers, mainly ESD5s which are used for ‘room simulation’ to create ambience, or for special sound effects that require high diffusion. Finally, we have six more big point sources – ESR212s again – for the stage; if you need thunder or explosions on or behind the stage, then you need powerful speakers on or behind the stage. The ESR212s are perfect, just as they are for the voice of God! There are also delays, frontfills, outfills and other speakers for effects or monitoring throughout the auditorium.
“The vast majority of our equipment is permanently installed,” he continues. “We effectively have several systems in one, and it’s much easier and faster for us to switch between shows when 90 per cent of what you need is already in place. However, there are times when you still need to supplement with mobile systems, so we also have a large stock of additional point sources that we can use as required; we have ESDs in every size, from the tiny ESD Cube up to the ESD15, plus a number of ESM stage monitors.”
When it comes to subwoofers, Lukesch hasn’t stinted either. “You can never have enough subs!” he declares. “There will always be a show where you need more low end, sometimes you have to feel the bass and the seats need to shake! If your subwoofers are placed correctly, you can achieve that quite easily.” Volksoper Vienna offers the ideal placement for subwoofers that can literally move the earth. Like many old buildings, heating and cooling is achieved via a double floor system; in the case of Volksoper, this means there is an entire room under the auditorium which is the perfect place to house earth-moving subs. Lukesch has opted for four of KV2s most powerful and dynamic subwoofer solution, the VHD4.21 active/passive system, for under the stalls, plus eight single 18-inch woofers under the balconies and two flown VHD2.18J dual 18-inch systems in the dome for the boxes. “With these solutions, we can really make audiences feel completely involved the performance, especially as we have wooden floors that react to the vibrations. If we wanted to make people believe they were experiencing an earthquake, we could. In fact, with the amount of power we’ve got, we could probably even create one!”
When it comes to amplifiers, Volksoper Vienna is the first installation to utilise KV2’s brand new diagnostic, monitoring and control tool, which adds an essential level of comfort and security when managing a large, complex system. “In 2020, large installations like ours – we have 56 amplifiers in use full-time and five spare – have to be accurately controlled and monitored, or we simply can’t operate efficiently,” says Lukesch. “Our previous system used network-controlled amplifiers, which was perfectly reliable, but old technology. KV2’s solution is most definitely next generation and offers us much more flexibility. All amplifiers, drivers and speakers are monitored in real time, so any anomalies are instantly located and reported. It also enables me to configure and switch between systems in no time. For example, for one show I’ll be using small speakers, and for the next I’ll have a completely different system with all of the subs involved. This enables me to load all of the amp settings for a particular show in just one click, it’s virtually plug and play which makes my life much easier!
“I’m delighted with the new KV2 system at every level. Our audiences deserve the best, and as far as I’m concerned, this is it.”
22nd September 2020
AVE chooses Brompton processing for state-of-the-art ON AIR studio
Australia – With over 15 years serving the events industry and providing a complete range of AV production services, Australian company Audio Visual Events (AVE) continued with its precise level of technological achievement and client satisfaction even when live events ground to a halt. By partnering with Create Engage and Sydney Masonic Centre (SMC), the company brought ON AIR to life, offering a plethora of high-end audio visual and virtual event capabilities, enhanced by powerful and intuitive Brompton Tessera processing.
“AVE, Create Engage and SMC have long-standing relationships and have delivered many successful events together over the years, so we knew we could count on them when the pandemic engulfed the events industry,” says AVE’s general manager, Paul Keating. “Together, we focused on ‘why’ we should create the ON AIR studio, with key goals being saving jobs, helping our clients, supporting our industry, and building a product we can all be proud of.”
From there, AVE and its partners created ON AIR; a state-of-the-art, semi-permanent studio in the heart of Sydney’s CBD, which provides AVE’s customers with an innovative platform to live-stream and share their messages in a timely, cost effective and safe way.
The studio is equipped with high-resolution Panasonic robotic cameras, a large, fine pitch LED screen backdrop, stage lighting, microphones, presentation computers and confidence monitors.
“We installed a 7m by 2.5m LED screen in the studio that consists of 70 Unilumin UPADIII P2.6 LED tiles,” shares Keating. “In addition, 36 metres of ROE Strip are set up at angles flanking the LED screen to introduce depth and another creative element for the space. The LED screen and ROE Strip, both running seamlessly together on Brompton Tessera processing, create a cost-effective immersive environment which allows clients to digitally brand the space with stunning visuals.”
The LED screen is controlled by Brompton’s 4K Tessera SX40 processor, along with a Tessera XD distribution unit, fed from Barco’s E2 screen management system. A Brompton Tessera M2 controls the ROE Strip and is also fed from the E2. Additionally, a grandMA2 lighting console sends DMX to the M2 allowing live adjustment of the colours of the video content on the strip.
Brompton’s Tessera processing was chosen by the AVE team for several reasons.
“The interface is simple and easy to use, and we can minimise cable runs by having the processors in centralised positions and still configure it remotely with its network control,” continues Keating. “Setting up angled ROE Strip is very easy in the Tessera software, with the ability to rotate fixtures on a canvas. The SX40 accepts high resolutions and 12G SDI signal from our E2 is all processed with no visible latency. With the XD 10G distribution units, we can simply run a fibre cable up to the screen then distribute the signal from the XD to the panels, saving us both time and cable runs.”
With the future for the events industry still being somewhat uncertain, Keating believes that solutions like ON AIR support its clients and help them stay connected with their audiences.
So far, ON AIR has helped clients from multiple sectors, including government, associations, sport, corporates and charities. “There are some events we can mention, but a lot more that we cannot. Some of my personal favourites have been Salesforce, Palliative Care Week (which featured Dr Norman Swan) and Vinnies CEO Sleepout, an amazing event which changes people lives. Also, Events Uncovered has just announced that its 2020 event will be delivered by ON AIR team at SMC as a hybrid event,” reveals Keating.
Feeling incredibly proud of what the AVE team has achieved together with its partners, Keating shares how they all had made a commitment that they would do everything possible to support each other and be here on the other side of the pandemic.
“David [Campbell, MD at AVE] and I are very proud and thankful that the team have stepped up, been flexible, been resilient and remained positive. That has helped the ON AIR team and our clients achieve so much in such a short time,” Keating adds.
With plenty of exciting projects in the pipeline, Keating and the team are confident that ON AIR is fully equipped to deliver virtual events to suit any taste and technical requirement.
“There is one ingredient that makes our ON AIR studio future-proof and capable of delivering a fantastic array of visually stunning content – and that’s thanks to Brompton Tessera processing,” he concludes. “The Brompton team have always provided AVE with amazing advice, support, and training opportunities. Their support of the events and technical production industry during COVID is amazing, and I look forward to catching up with them in person down the track.”
22nd September 2020
A-Level Music Technology Course Now Offered as a Result of Music School Upgrade
UK – An Audient ASP8024 Heritage Edition mixing console now sits at the heart of the recently refurbished Music Department at Bath’s prestigious Royal High School for girls (RHS). The upgrade led to the school’s elevation to ‘Steinway Music School’ status and was the brainchild of director of music, Mark Bradbury. His vision was to create a music school that was different from every other school in Bath.
The renovation took three years of design and planning, with the recording studio a crucial part, according to Mark. “Having this facility and resource now means we are able to offer A-Level Music Technology, which has become very popular.” He adds, “Having previously been a session musician for a number of years before I went into teaching, I am fully aware of the need to get more girls into the production side of the industry.”
Located in what was the old Gatehouse – a huge building that was previously in a state of disrepair – the music department now comprises a contemporary recital room, new teaching spaces, eight practice rooms, two recording studios and a control room.
“For many years the music department was housed in what was a boarding area; all the practice rooms used to be dormitories, so the space was never really 'fit for purpose'. Parents’ Evenings and Open Days were always the worst and hardest part of my job: trying to explain to potential parents and students that music at the Royal High School was excellent whilst showing them dreadful resources and facilities,” laments Mark.
That has all changed now, with the Heritage Edition console at the heart of the new music school’s recording studio. “It's a fantastic piece of kit. The girls and I are absolutely loving it,” he says, estimating that at least 200 students will get their hands on it over the course of a year. “It has a fantastic layout which is ideal for teaching. The patchbay is great and I love the ease and accessibility of everything being in one place.”
Despite lockdown (which left Mark alone in the music school, teaching remotely) the Audient console has already had a lot of use. A-Level Music Technology is now running and Music Tech Clubs are being organised so that girls in different year groups are able to access the technology. GCSE and A-Level Music students have also been recording their recitals using the desk. In addition, sixth formers recorded podcasts and there is even a plan for the modern foreign languages department to record the conversational coursework elements of their respective GCSE and A Level courses.
Specified and installed by Bristol-based technical specialists, Enlightened, the music school’s upgrade came at the same time as the arrival of ten Steinway pianos, two of which are integrated into the recording set-up. Mark explains: “We are able to record directly from the recital room where the Model B grand piano is housed, as well as having the AS grand piano in the recording studio.”
Mark describes the honour of becoming a Steinway Music School as “the icing on the cake”. Joining some 200 other musical establishments around the globe with the same classification, the girls’ school is entitled to all manner of additional benefits. “We have access to Steinway Concert Halls in London, New York and Beijing, which means I can arrange for our musicians to perform there. Any artist that is endorsed by Steinway is able to come to the school and give a masterclass or concert for our girls,” he says.
Once things get back to the ‘new normal’ in a post-Covid world, Mark tells us that the studio will open commercially outside of term-time. “Also it will be available for the local community and other schools to use as part of the school’s outreach programme.” Looking to the future, Mark’s vision remains focused. “With this facility and resource, the department is in a strong position to become a Centre of Excellence for Music.”
22nd September 2020
Pytch Perfect: Martin Audio Helps Rebrand Cope with Impact of Covid-19
UK – Responding dynamically to the effects of COVID-19 on their business, Johnny Palmer, managing director of SXS Events, promptly rebranded his Bristol based company to Pytch, and constructed ‘The Virtual Venue’ in one of the empty warehouses on the industrial estate in Brislington which he owns.
“We rationalised that the world was in chaos, and in any case our old name was a mouthful. Our industry is full of three-letter acronym companies, so we came up with Pytch instead.”
Explaining the ethos, he says: “We are here to share messages and create memorable experiences. We decided the broadcast model was better, so I built TV studios.” This includes a 12m x 15m main stage and a Green Room.
Aside from attracting new business, Pytch also has a number of clients on retainer in the corporate, conference and exhibition sectors. “We knew we had to deliver something serious and provide extra value to them.”
Occupying a proud position in this immersive broadcast soundstage and studio space are Martin Audio’s DD12, DD6 and WS218X subs.
Born in Australia, Johnny Palmer’s history with Martin Audio goes way back. “When I was a 14-year-old farm boy in Tasmania and first saw a picture of the old Martin Audio W8C in a magazine, I knew I had to have it,” he says. A year later he heard the system for the first time, and so began his love affair with the brand.
“The first time I experienced the sound I noticed the pure headroom was amazing, it was a magical thing.”
With SXS Events he continued to invest heavily in Martin Audio, and for low frequency extension he turns to the trusty WS218X sub subwoofer.
‘The Virtual Venue’ itself majors on Martin Audio’s DD12 differential dispersion speakers for the main sound stage with DD6 for infills and WS218X in the four corners. Meanwhile Pytch retains Martin Audio W8LM Mini Line Array and further WS218X subwoofers in their events inventory.
And although the events industry (and summer season generally) has been decimated, when the sector resumes Johnny Palmer hopes Pytch will be in prime position to take full advantage.
22nd September 2020
Altman Lighting rejuvenates the visual experience at Westfield High School
USA – Located in Westfield, Indiana, the mission of Westfield High School is to provide rigorous and engaging experiences for all students with a performing arts programme dedicated to creating a lifelong appreciation for the arts. With a busy annual event schedule which keeps their 868-seat auditorium in regular use, the antiquated house lighting design was often struggling to provide the illumination desired. Working with long-time partner Associated Controls + Design, the school decided it was time to renovate the ageing house system for a brighter and more visually engaging environment using Altman Lighting Chalice LED downlights installed by Huston Electric.
“Westfield High School has been a longtime client of ours and we even sold them the first lighting control system when they originally built the auditorium,” began Mike Brubaker, Associated Controls + Design. “We’ve been involved at the building for about 20 years now, but this transformation from halogen downlights to Chalice LED luminaires is probably the change with the biggest visual impact.”
As with many high schools across the nation, the auditorium is not only the main performance venue for the arts program, it is also serves as the primary gathering space for numerous events and meetings. Needing a house system that could keep pace with the schedule at hand, the antiquated system currently in place was falling behind with a heavy power consumption.
“I’ve been at Westfield High School since the fall of 2017 and we put on approximately 15-20 productions each year, but we total about 170 annual events in all,” said Jon Majors, auditorium director, Westfield High School. “In the old house system, we had 93 fixtures and the lamps would need to be replaced every 12-18 months on average. Because of the physical layout of our auditorium, it was very difficult to replace about one-third of the fixtures as it required a specialised boom lift. It became such a challenge that those lights were often neglected which brought the overall room brightness down to a very poor level.”
“They’ve been working towards converting the entire lighting system to LED for a while now, so the house lighting upgrade had been in the plans,” continued Brubaker. “While the biggest push really came from the maintenance issues, an additional benefit would also be the energy-savings as they were also able to cut power consumption from the old 250W fixtures to the brighter Chalice 70W luminaires.”
Ready to put the renovation in motion, the search for the right technology began. Focused on the primary characteristics of an LED solution offering brightness with a long lifespan, Majors was also excited to see the visual impact the upgrade could have on the previously dimmed aesthetics of the room.
“Our auditorium has dark green carpet and cloth seats, so we wanted to install a lighting technology that could really help brighten up the colour of the room, but also something that could be installed with no need for replacements over many years,” added Majors. “Associated Controls + Design let us demo a couple of different fixtures that would meet our needs and with the Altman solution were able to easily do a one-to-one fixture replacement of all of our house lights along with six stage wing work lights as well.”
The Chalice LED Series is the most diverse range of downlights available with mounting options that include pendant, recessed, aircraft cable, wall and yoke mount, plus dimming choices ranging from mains dimming to DMX. Additionally, with a wide variety of LED colour or white light options, and numerous lens or reflector choices, the Chalice LED Series is the most versatile and easy to integrate downlight solution available today.
“We chose to offer the Chalice specifically for this project because they can do line-voltage mains dimming,” explained Brubaker. “In an install such as this, trying to do low-voltage wiring to all the fixtures would have made it very labour intensive. With the line-voltage mains dimmable Chalice, the electrical contractors were able to simply take the old fixture off its stem and then connect the Chalice. They didn’t have to get any higher than the fixture itself and they didn’t have to run any new wiring which provided a significant savings in labour cost.”
Taking into consideration the controls portion of the auditorium renovation, the technology of the Chalice luminaires was easily able to integrate into the new, more state-of-the-art controls interface. Without the need to change the dimming package behind the system, there was an immediate visual impact from the rejuvenated lighting design.
“An additional part of the project was to change-out the old wall controls, so now they can control the house fixtures either through the new wall stations or their theatrical DMX control console,” added Brubaker. “With the advantages of a mains dimming solution, we didn’t have to change any of the existing dimming system, and we were still able to provide them with an updated, modern front-end control system.”
“Upon installation, we realised that the intensity was phenomenal,” admitted Majors. “The Chalice fixtures really brought our auditorium to light and it’s a complete night-to-day difference.”
With the design installation now complete, the new LED house lighting system at Westfield High School will provide a bright and vibrant environment for any production, event or meeting. In a performance venue where dependability will ultimately define the success of the project, Brubaker is confident in the design-quality of the Altman Lighting technology solution.
“The before-and-after is pretty amazing when you see the contrast between the two technologies,” concluded Brubaker. “Performance is a key attribute of the Chalice product line and we know Altman stands behind their products with fantastic support. When we put them in this type of environment, we can be certain that they will work beautifully and that’s what it’s really all about.”
“We always enjoy working with Mike Brubaker and the lighting experts at Associated Controls + Design,” said Nick Champion, Altman Lighting vice president of sales and marketing. “Having the wealth of knowledge that they bring to every project, it is always exciting to see how they will deploy our technologies in the field, and we are proud to offer our full support throughout the lifetime of the completed design.”
photo: Sean Cole, Associated Controls + Design
18th September 2020
Genelec leaves visitors spellbound at HEX! Museum of Witch Hunt
Denmark – HEX! Museum of Witch Hunt, has recently opened in Ribe, Denmark, complete with a Smart IP loudspeaker solution from Genelec designed and installed by the Moesgaard Museum Exhibition Design Studio. As Denmark’s oldest town and home to Maren Spliid, the country’s most famous witch, the setting is ideal for a museum that aims to tell the stories of these witches: who they were, why they were so feared and the myths and superstitions that surrounded them. In order to create the best possible visitor experience, HEX! turned to the museum technology experts at the famed Moesgaard Museum led by Johan Ahrenfeldt. Having recently used Genelec’s Smart IP technology with great success on one of his own exhibitions, Ahrenfeldt had no hesitation in recommending it for HEX!
“We wanted to create a complex soundscape for the various stories being told in each of the nine exhibition rooms,” explains Ahrenfeldt. “However, the building itself posed a few challenges as it’s an old listed building in the centre of Ribe. While this definitely adds to the atmosphere, it’s not ideal for audio-visual installations. Many of the rooms are quite small with low ceilings, so it was important that the technology remained as unobtrusive as possible, whilst nevertheless delivering a high quality experience. Genelec’s Smart IP loudspeakers were therefore an obvious choice.
“Smart IP technology provides power, audio and control all over a single network cable, and is a godsend to those of us who work in architecturally sensitive environments; HEX! is a case in point,” he continues. “Furthermore, we know that Genelec is a guarantee of superlative audio quality, even at low levels, which was a requirement in this instance due to the intimacy of the environment and the proximity of the loudspeakers to the audience. Our aim was to provide linear and detailed sound reproduction that allows visitors to lose themselves in the experience without feeling overwhelmed.”
The sound design was created by the composer Søren Bendixen of Audiotect, who specialises in creating soundscapes for exhibitions. The design was prepared in the studio but mixed on site in an iterative process. The on site use of the Spat Revolution software engine in the mixing process made it possible to map the sound designs and adapt and benefit from the specific speaker placement in the exhibition rooms - independently of standard audio formats. Ahrenfeldt utilised a total of 36 x 4420 Smart IP loudspeakers across the exhibition rooms supplemented by six 4020 and four 4010 installation loudspeakers and a compact 7050 active subwoofer.
“Each of the nine rooms is set up as a separate zone,” explains Ahrenfeldt. “The zones are managed and controlled via the Smart IP Manager software, which has proved both easy and efficient. We’re using QLab software and a Dante-compatible RME Digiface interface to control the 47 discrete channels and feed them to the Dante network. The playback by QLab is triggered by the main show control.
“As the rooms are all adjacent to each other with open doors, the audio separation between the zones is very poor. We needed to turn this obstacle into an opportunity. By considering the overall sound design as a composition of nine separate yet interconnected designs, the result is an auditive experience that both facilitates the mood in each individual room as well as providing a more holistic listening experience throughout the museum as a whole.”
Ahrenfeldt believes that the best audio in this type of visitor attraction is the audio that registers almost subliminally. “The last thing you want is for the soundtrack to start playing and people’s attention being instantly drawn to the source. Ideally, we don’t want people to even notice that there are loudspeakers in the room at all. Genelec’s Smart IP loudspeakers help us achieve that thanks to the minimal cabling infrastructure which reduces cost and makes for quicker, tidier and more flexible installation. Also, Smart IP’s harmonious design enables them to blend into any environment, with the useful ability to dim the on/off LED indicator on the front of the loudspeaker. Sonically, their superb definition and crystalline intelligibility enable us to create audio designs that offer a truly immersive experience and bring the exhibition to life. For HEX!, the Smart IP series was an obvious choice that helped us overcome a number of obstacles and deliver a world-class audio experience.”
17th September 2020
Arco’s Centrale Caffe Brought to Life with Adorn and Blackline
Italy – Situated in the northern Italian town of Arco, the Centrale Caffe recently underwent a complete renovation, which in addition to the general interior and patio also included the sound and video systems.
Local contractor, Iiriti srl, was brought in and, having installed Martin Audio systems many times in the past, again recommended the brand, as did the project architect Thomas Matteotti.
Owners Ciroc Srl had commissioned the substantial upgrade just before the COVID19 lockdown. Special attention was paid to the terrace, which has been completely renewed, with three Blackline X8 mounted horizontally on the external walls of the patio. Meanwhile, ten ADORN A55 loudspeakers populate the main room and lounge.
The system was designed by Iiriti owner, Giacomo Galassi, and supplied by Audiosales srl, Martin Audio’s territorial distributor.
The sound system, which is split into three audio zones, is controlled by the customer’s computer running Xilica X-Touch App, with two quad channel power amplifiers driving the loudspeakers. The video system is controlled from the AVPro Edge video matrix, integrated into X-Touch.
According to Giacomo Galassi: “The new audio system guarantees optimum sound and helps create the perfect atmosphere throughout the entire day, from breakfast to after-dinner.
“A complete renovation of this nature required a step forward in sound quality as well, and once again Martin Audio has been able to provide this.”
With its extensive and tasty menu, the new-look Centrale Caffe is proving to be a landmark for both locals and tourists alike, as Arco and the surrounding area is a destination hotspot, located close to Lake Garda. Customers who gather there and sit in the terrace, which overlooks the main square and the public gardens, can now dine or sip their aperitivo with appetizers, listening to high quality music in a perfect setting.
17th September 2020
Loyola Blakefield Delivers Professional Audio to Unique Spaces on Campus with Renkus-Heinz Solutions
USA – Loyola Blakefield is a Jesuit preparatory school for boys in grades 6-12 that has operated since 1852. Its 60-acre campus in Towson, Maryland boasts several academic buildings and an array of student-centred facilities, such as a spacious dining hall, athletics complex, and common areas. The school’s mission centres upon delivering a superb academic experience coupled with spiritual formation in the Ignatian tradition. It also provides a variety of elective and co-curricular activities to their more than 940 students including athletics, performing arts, cyber science and speech & debate.
With such a wide array of activities and programming on campus, performances and presentations take place in several locations. When it came time for the school to upgrade its Dining Hall with an improved sound system, it was important to meet a vision that saw the space as a flexible and dynamic setting bolstered by an integrated audio system.
Steve Morill, IT director for Loyola Blakefield, envisioned the many possibilities for the space with the deployment of a state-of-the-art system. Morill manages the school's technology infrastructure needs and understands the influence and importance of audio/visual tech in a learning environment, including its unique role in content sharing and comprehension.
“This system allows our facility to be used for everything from morning prayer to emergency announcement,” said Morill. “It is a popular space for special events of many sizes with ever-changing seating arrangements. We want to offer the best possible learning environment for our students, and this space posed many challenges, the Lee Hartman and Renkus-Heinz teams did a great job for us.”
From providing audio support for guest speakers and professional development programming to welcoming incoming students and their parents, Loyola Blakefield needed a sound system that could provide the flexibility, reliability, and intelligibility required for both daily use and special events.
“We explored a couple of manufacturers when we first looked at the space,” said Mike Flaherty, sales engineer at Lee Hartman & Sons, Inc. “We had concerns about the aesthetics, and we didn’t want to invade the space with too many speakers. However, we wanted to ensure that the sound worked well in this acoustically challenging area. It became obvious with those needs that we’d be going with Renkus-Heinz.”
The Dining Hall at Loyola Blakefield is not a traditional school cafeteria. It has a crisp, modern look that incorporates stunning woodwork and stained-glass windows. The need to keep audio away from those reverberant surfaces was key to a successful design.
To achieve this, the project relied on Renkus-Heinz’ ICLive X Series, which makes use of Renkus-Heinz’ cutting-edge digital beam steering technology. With Renkus-Heinz digitally steerable arrays, integrators are empowered to put sound where it’s wanted: on the audience. The result? Superior sound in any environment.
Further, Renkus-Heinz allows for custom colour designs on most products, ensuring that speakers always blend in with the surrounding space.
The Loyola Blakefield Dining Hall now utilises two arrays of ICLive X loudspeakers. Each array is made up of two ICLX units, which provides a perfect fit for the space and allows for meetings of all sizes to be hosted when food service isn’t active.
Renkus-Heinz TA62s are also installed in the front side corners of the space to evenly fill and complement the ICLXs in the Dining Hall. The TA62 systems use another cutting edge Renkus-Heinz technology: the Complex Conic constant directivity waveguide design, which ensures consistent coverage across a space. A pair of TX-61’s are installed on the balcony level ensure coverage across the entire area.
"Once we had the speakers installed, we spent about 20 minutes aiming the beams through the RHAON software," said John Hurley, Engineer at Lee Hartman & Sons, Inc. "The sound went from pretty good when they weren’t aimed at all, to truly amazing.”
Hurley said that level of quality resulted in a very happy customer.
“You always end up impressed by Renkus-Heinz,” Hurley said. “You know when they are part of the integration that the job is going to be done very well, and the customer will be beyond happy and that was the case at Loyola Blakefield.”
16th September 2020
3by3 Space Opens at Volt Lites, Burbank with Claypaky Mini-B LED Moving Lights as Versatile, Workhorse Fixtures
USA – Volt Lites co-founders Matthew Shimamoto and Harrison Lippman, and Lulu creative director Michael Zinman of Zinman Company have launched the 3by3 Space on the premises of entertainment production services company Volt Lites in Burbank. The three partners have created a safe stage for the COVID-19 era that’s equipped with a trio of lighting, video and xR capabilities. Sixty-four active Claypaky Mini-B LED moving lights comprise the workhorse fixtures for the space.
“We wanted to create a safe space that would allow people to get back to work and stimulate them to think out of the box,” says Shimamoto. The 3by3 Space has already been used by rock band Bush to shoot “Quicksand” with Augmented Reality, the Black Eyed Peas shooting “Feel the Beat” for Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular, the iconic Temptations reprising their greatest hits for PBS’s A Capitol Fourth broadcast, and the product launch of LiteGear’s Spectrum OS2 lighting control system.
The 3by3 Space is fitted-out with a large upstage LED video wall and LED floor from LED partner NEP Screenworks. Four lighting towers flank each side of the stage, and a horizontal truss is suspended above the space. Claypaky Mini-Bs are mounted on the towers and four rows of the truss.
Weighing a little over 15 pounds, Mini-B is the smallest LED moving light ever made by Claypaky for the professional market. It features a wide zoom, ranging from 4° to 55° for extremely versatile performance. At the narrow angle, the beam is very solid and concentrated, superb for aerial effects. At full aperture, the Mini-B becomes an excellent wash light replacing much heavier and bulkier equipment. The Mini-B's central LED may be controlled separately from the external ring of LEDs, making it ideal for graphic lighting effects, too.
“The versatility, size and output of the Mini-B fits well within the scale of the 3by3 Space,” says Shimamoto. “We have a limited trim height so proportions are everything. The Mini-B’s wider zoom range and shorter throw is very helpful, and the fixtures are very fast. Everything about them made them the right fit for this space. The Mini-Bs form the perfect backbone for the lighting design of the 3by3 Space.”
Volt Lites originally acquired its Mini-B fixtures after working with them at LDI 2019 when the company served as one of the lighting integrators for Claypaky’s booth at the show. “When we got home Harrison and I talked about what a nice, punchy little lights the Mini-Bs were. So we add the fixtures we’d used at LDI to our lighting inventory. The Mini-Bs ticked all the boxes in terms of versatility for our clients: it was not a one-hit wonder.”
Volt Lites immediately began using the new fixtures on broadcast TV shows, including NBC’s “Little Big Shots,” as well as commercials. “The Mini-B’s size, ease of use and range of flicker adjustment make it an attractive fixture for cameras,” Shimamoto notes.
The launch of the new 3by3 Space has further capitalized on the Mini-B’s versatility. The first clients on the stage have utilised the fixtures in quite different ways.
Bush’s live stream of “Quicksand,” with AR content, took advantage of the “punch, beams and movement of the Mini-Bs,” Shimamoto reports. Rob Bedford was the lighting designer for the performance with Manuel Conde the lighting director.
For the Black Eyed Peas’ “Feel the Beat,” the Mini-Bs “played heavily off the graphical content on set,” notes Shimamoto. Lighting designer Matt Firestone added “a little more edgy look with a bank of Claypaky Sharpys on the floor to bring out more of the third dimension for the camera.” Peter Radice was the lighting director for the performance.
Radice was back with lighting designer Bob Barnhart to tap the Mini-Bs for the Temptations PBS shoot creating a “bright, full look with a nice twinkle towards the camera,” Shimamoto says.
The new 3by3 Space also includes 16 Claypaky Mythos 2 fixtures in the rig to provide additional beam effects for artists.
George Masek, strategic marketing manager at Claypaky, concluded: “One of the rare positives from this pandemic is seeing how our customers pivot creatively to address the vast changes we are all facing. I was so excited to hear how Volt created a useful space and vital service with the creation of 3by3. Of course, we’re very proud that the Claypaky fixtures are a useful element of their newest endeavour
16th September 2020
Ayrton Ghibli and Diablo take up residence at London’s Southbank Centre
UK – London’s iconic Southbank Centre has stood proudly on the south bank of the river Thames for nearly 70 years. A celebration of progress and modernity, Europe’s largest arts venue was built in 1951 for the Festival of Britain and, under normal circumstances, stages over 2,000 performances of music, dance and literature a year, and more than 2,000 free events.
Like all arts venues, the Southbank Centre is not immune to the economic and cultural upheaval caused by COVID-19 but, prior to lockdown, the Southbank Centre had, over the past two years, made a long-term commitment to LED performance lighting, with complete moving head installations in the fixed rigs of three of its performance spaces: the 2,700-seat Royal Festival Hall, 916-seat Queen Elizabeth Hall and the 295-seat Purcell Room.
As part of this drive towards LED, the team at the Southbank Centre invested in Ayrton Ghibli and Diablo profile fixtures, supplied to the Southbank Centre by White Light, which bring a new uniformity and quality to its moving head inventory.
“We made an initial purchase of 16 Ghibli profiles: six for the Royal Festival Hall and ten for the Queen Elizabeth Hall at the beginning of 2018 when the Southbank Centre reopened after its major two-year refurbishment,” says Roger Hennigan, technical manager of the Southbank Centre. “We were so happy with them that we invested in an additional ten Ghibli at the end of 2019 for the Royal Festival Hall. All of our moving lights are now LED as a result.
“We chose Ghibli after a shoot-out between three or four major manufacturers to find a new workhorse LED unit that would replace our 12-year old tungsten and discharge moving heads. We thought we’d already decided on an alternative product, but when we saw Ghibli we were so impressed we changed our minds. Ghibli’s brightness, number of features, quietness and price were outstanding!
“Our programme at the Southbank Centre is incredibly varied and demanding: we run many contemporary gigs each week as well as regular annual events like the Jazz Festival and Meltdown Festival when the fixtures are heavily used every day for ten days at a time. Ghibli’s range of features give us the flexibility we need and are unique in offering a second gobo wheel which gives us so much more variety of breakups and patterns, ideal for our rock and roll, fast-turnaround shows.
Senior technician, Cressy Klaces, agrees with Hennigan: “The Ghiblis are easy to use, have good colours and great colour mixing, and the dimmer curve is just brilliant. They are extremely diverse tools; you can do so many interesting things with them in a way that was not possible with the other contenders in the shoot-out. The shutters are superb, there are very few times when I can’t position them precisely where I want and the rotating gobos interact amazingly with the animation wheel. The animation wheel brings great subtlety and adds texture and depth – I’ve been able to create beautiful water effects with them with an almost imperceptible, slightly shifting ripple that works beautifully on the dark floor of the Queen Elizabeth Hall.
“The Ghiblis are ideal for us as they can go from a rock concert to a kids' concert to a dance show to theatre with ease. They have a very good quality of light and a zoom which covers all our needs. It’s a good concert light that can also do theatre, and I really love them. I’d be very happy if someone gave me a load of those to tour with because I’d have all the tools in one package.”
In addition to the Ghibli investment, six Ayrton Diablo were purchased for Southbank Centre’s Purcell Room. “Diablo is like a smaller version of the Ghibli with all the features,” says Klaces. “Other than the lack of the second gobo wheel, they are just as versatile as Ghibli, and so bright we are considering moving them to the Queen Elizabeth Hall. It is such a compact unit, it is perfect for any studio like the Purcell Room, they are so strong a fixture they could handle either space easily.”
“I’ve been utterly and thoroughly impressed with the reliability of the new Ayrton lights,” concludes Hennigan. Like many venues, the Southbank Centre is currently closed but continues to prepare for a future with the latest, most versatile equipment, and plans to reopen in the Spring of 2021.
Ayrton Ghibli is a 23,000 lumen, 600W LED profile with a beam range of 7°-56°. The first Ayrton spot luminaire with a 100% framing system, Ghibli is packed full of features for unlimited creative possibilities without any compromise on quality or output.
Ayrton Diablo is a 19,000 lumen, 300W little brother to Ghibli. With a 7°-53° beam range and a full set of features, it can almost rival its bigger sibling toe to toe!
photos: Joel Stanners, Courtesy of the Southbank Centre
14th September 2020
Amsterdam’s West Side Studio Enjoys Dutch Directness with Alcons
The Netherlands – West Side Studio is a creative partnership between four Dutch production professionals, specialising in post-production sound and offline editing for motion picture and television. Its most recent addition is a cinema screening room, where an Alcons Audio pro-ribbon 7.1 surround system has impressed the studio’s owners and clients alike.
Located in the busy port area just north-west of central Amsterdam, West Side Studio is the brainchild of Evelien van der Molen, Mieneke Kramer, Lennert Hunfeld and Vincent Sinceretti. Featuring several edit suites and an ADR studio, for the new cinema room they wanted 7.1 reference monitoring, but with the quality and flexibility for future expansion to full Dolby Atmos specification.
Cinema exhibition services specialists CinemaNext was contracted to supply and install the equipment in the new room and, after looking at all the available systems, an Alcons Audio CRMSCompact pro-ribbon system was chosen.
“We wanted to have a really simple, straightforward system with the least amount of conversions in the signal chain. The Alcons pro-ribbon solution allowed us to route digital audio from our Pro Tools system directly to the loudspeaker system, without having to put anything in between,” says Vincent Sinceretti.
The West Side team visited Amsterdam’s STMPD recording studio, owned by superstar DJ Martin Garrix and featuring an Alcons equipped Dolby Atmos Premier Studio. “The listening tests proved to us that Alcons was not only the best system, but it also offered the best value for money. It was confirmation that we were making the right choice,” Evelien continues.
CinemaNext installed main screen L-C-R CRMS Compact cinema reference monitor systems, six CRMSC-SRHV/90 compact reference surrounds and a CB362 high output full-size subwoofer system. It is all powered and controlled by two Sentinel3 amplified loudspeaker controllers.
“The Alcons pro-ribbon solution delivers clear, transparent sound that keeps its exceptional quality, even at high SPLs,” says Lennert Hunfeld. “It’s very easy and flexible to use with the Sentinel3s and we were also impressed by the shallow form factor.”
Offline editor Mieneke Kramer adds: “From an editor’s point of ear, the quality of the offline edit stereo bounce really stands its ground. There was more clarity and detail than I could judge in my edit suite, without being confronted by a poorly sound edited cut coming from the offline edit.”
“We are very happy with the system and have had a great response from other sound designers and mixers. Clients feel warm and comfortable in our mix studio and are impressed by its sonic capabilities,” concludes Evelien van der Molen.
11th September 2020
Avantis Upgrade for Rabenhof Theatre
Austria – As Vienna’s Rabenhof Theatre prepares to reopen its doors, audiences will soon be enjoying an audio upgrade, including a new 64 channel Allen & Heath Avantis mixer.
Built as a workers’ assembly hall in the 1920s, the Rabenhof was converted into a theatre in 1990 and underwent a complete refurbishment in 2008, during which much of its art-deco character was restored. The theatre has earned a reputation for serving up an eclectic mix of experiences, ranging from contemporary theatre and musicals to puppetry and baroque opera. Almost every day brings another new performance to the Rabenhof Theatre, so head of sound, Josch Russo is accustomed to working with tight setup times and a high throughput of guest engineers. When the venue decided it was time to retire its ageing digital mixer, speed and ease of use were high on the wishlist.
Following demos and consultation with Allen & Heath’s Austrian distributor, ATEC, Josch took delivery of the latest Avantis console this summer. “Avantis is the perfect fit for our theatre in terms of size and channels,” Josch comments. “It is easy to use and self-explanatory.” The Avantis has the full dPack upgrade, including Dyn8 dynamic EQs and Allen & Heath’s DEEP processing emulations. ATEC Pro’s managing director, Manfred Prochazka adds: “Avantis’ scene management tools give the Rabenhof Theatre team the flexibility they need and the twin touchscreens and slick UI make it an enjoyable console to work with. The sound quality is amazing, and it offers so many possibilities for medium-sized venues in terms of routing and show control.”
Reflecting the theatre’s dynamic approach to staging, a GX4816 remote expander provides I/O on the main stage, with a pair of portable DX168 stageboxes enabling Josch to easily place additional sockets wherever they’re needed. Another addition to accommodate the needs of such a busy venue is an eight-fader IP8 remote controller, which provides simple control in scenarios where non-technical users need to use the system, such as when a director needs to manage selected mics and playback during rehearsals. A Dante card is fitted in the Avantis, facilitating both multitrack recording and integration with the other new addition to the theatre’s audio system: a set of Shure Axient wireless mics.
11th September 2020
Robe Installed at Terminal 5 New York
USA – Three key live music venues in New York City managed by The Bowery Presents – Brooklyn Steel, Webster Hall and most recently the Mondo Award-nominated, 2800 capacity Terminal 5 in Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan – all feature Robe moving lights in their house rigs.
The lights have been specified by Luciano Savedra, head of lighting for The Bowery Presents which is the East Coast regional partner of AEG Live and owns and operates a diverse mix of venues across NYC and in other major metropolitan centres.
At Terminal 5, where Luciano also oversees and runs the lighting day-to-day, the 12 MegaPointes and 12 Spiider LED wash beams have greatly added to the flexibility of the existing lighting rig. The lights were supplied via BML-Blackbird.
Brooklyn Steel, on the site of a former steelworks and named one of the ten best live music venues in America by Rolling Stone Magazine, has 16 Spiiders. Webster Hall has ten MegaPointes and is among New York City's most historically significant theatre halls, having hosted social and performance events since the club's construction in 1886.
Luciano has worked for Bowery Presents in different capacities since 2003, and in 2007 was hired to design new and contemporary lighting for Terminal 5, which had just joined the Bowery franchise, and also for another venue, Music Hall of Williamsburg, after which he stayed on as the house LD.
All the house rigs are designed to provide top-level touring artists with the facilities to produce a comprehensive show, although that’s not exclusively the case, and productions can ‘mix and match’ systems by bringing in their own specials, or in some cases, their complete rigs.
Top of the agenda is to provide a straightforward lighting system with plenty of creative scope to embrace the wide collage of styles and genres of music staged there.
Luciano’s starting point for any house system design is ensuring all the basics and bottom line needs are covered first, including front, back and sidelight. From there, a combination of physical and financial aspects influences how enthusiastic he can get with additional layers of lighting and effects.
In all these three mentioned NYC venues, the Robe products are providing direct backlight plus an assortment of eye candy and high-impact effects.
They were chosen by Luciano for three main reasons.
The first was reliability. “With a little love and keeping them clean these fixtures will work and work and work,” he commented, recognising the tough lifestyle that house lighting rigs tend to lead.
Secondly, if there is ever an issue that Luciano cannot solve himself: “Either BML Blackbird or the Robe North America team are always available to help, the backup is excellent.”
Thirdly, he observes that numerous touring acts are now carrying and specifying Robe products, so it’s a judicious choice to keep the house rig in the air for more shows, saving the hassle and cost of removing it for own productions to come in and, it’s easy to clone and adapt.
Remote controllability of the lights via RDM means that fixture changes can be made even quicker and more straightforward to suit the needs of travelling lighting designers.
He thinks that Robe as a brand has “always been positive and rider-friendly,” and has watched their market presence grow with interest.
The Terminal 5 lighting is run from a grandMA3 console.
The first Robe products that Luciano ever worked with were the original flagship ColorSpot and ColorWash 1200 series, and that was in 2007. “I loved those fixtures. They were bright, robust, and serious workhorses,” he affirms.
He also has another connection to Robe now, although, neither person realised that is how it would be at the time.
Around 2003, lighting designer Marty Postma, who joined Robe as regional sales manager of the north-east US in 2018, was working as the house LD at Webster Hall, and Bowery Presents staged numerous shows at the venue.
Marty, known for his ‘inventive and imaginative’ approach, hired Luciano as a cover LD when he needed days off.
Before then, and since moving to the city in 1997, Luciano worked as a freelance lighting technician / designer. He credits Marty during that period with sharpening his programming skills and introducing him to the intricacies of working with automated lighting fixtures.
When Marty left Webster Hall, he handed over to Luciano who looked after lighting all the Bowery shows plus their banging club nights for the next couple of years and then in 2007, Bowery Presents hired him to design the upgraded lighting system for Terminal 5.
The kit back then was also supplied by BML-Blackbird, which has proved an enduring and successful working relationship and Luciano subsequently stayed on as the house LD.
He has also designed lighting for the Music Hall of Williamsburg as well as for non-Bowery Presents venues including The Bowery Ballroom, Mercury Lounge, Teragram Ballroom, Moroccan Lounge, and TV Eye.
photos: Ryan Muir
8th September 2020
PMC Unzips The Rolling Stones In Dolby Atmos
The Netherlands – British loudspeaker manufacturer PMC has been chosen to provide the speakers for the presentation of an immersive audio experience at the first international exhibition devoted to the life of world-famous rock band, The Rolling Stones.
Entitled ‘The Rolling Stones – Unzipped’, this touring exhibition opens on 14 November at the Groninger Museum in The Netherlands. PMC’s speaker systems are also being used during the mixing of the audio soundtracks for the showcase event in Dolby Atmos at Capitol Studios, LA and PMC’s own Dolby Atmos mix studio at Highland Park, LA, California.
The Groninger Museum was host to a legendary concert by the band in 1999 and will house the exhibition until 28 February 2021, before it begins a tour around the world. Fans of the band will journey through the band's legacy, ending with a very special finale experience that takes the visitors into an iconic Stones moment, delivered in multi-dimensional Dolby Atmos Sound.
With PMC’s integral part in the development of Dolby Atmos for Music, the use of PMC by the Rolling Stones was an obvious choice for the exhibition’s finale presentation of their 2016 Latin America tour documentary, “Olé, Olé, Olé” and concert footage from the band’s ground-breaking concert in Havana, Cuba. Five large screens will immerse fans in this multi-dimensional experience, with an array of PMC’s new Ci140 speakers and as yet unreleased flagship active subwoofers the BST, providing 23 channels of Dolby Atmos soundtrack powered by in excess of 20,000 watts. The audio-visual system will take fans deep into the Rolling Stones world with a more immersive experience than was possible even at the concert itself.
This event marks the first public use of PMC’s Ci series, with the Ci140-XBD, custom designed for the Stones, providing the L, C, R channels. 12 channels of surround and rear effects come from the Ci140 and eight overhead channels feature the Ci65 model. Additional bass support is provided by the new BST active subwoofers.
Prior to the installation of the speaker system at The Groninger Museum, PMC is working with the Rolling Stones’ label, Universal Music (UMG), on the remixing of the audio soundtrack into Atmos. This work is being undertaken by Nick Reeves, staff engineer at UMG’s Capitol Studios, Los Angeles, in the PMC equipped Studio C using Dolby’s technology. Additional mixing is taking place at PMC own Dolby Atmos equipped Highland Park Studio in LA, California.
Before the unveiling of the new audio experience at ‘The Rolling Stones – Unzipped’, PMC plans to present the mixes to the band and its management at its UK-based facility for approval and sign-off.
Maurice Patist comments: “To be involved in a project like this, with the biggest band in the world, is a major honour for PMC. Our close relationship with UMG and Dolby led to the creation of a state-of-the-art Atmos production studio at Capitol Studios, which is hailed as the reference for this kind of audio mixing.” He continues, “UMG will be mixing the soundtrack at Capitol and also at our own Atmos facility in Highland Park, LA, before it is replayed to the fans at this spectacular exhibition using the same speakers used for the mix. No other speaker system can get the fans nearer to the essence of the band and it is going to be a real treat for visitors.”
PMC has been manufacturing professional grade studio speakers and domestic hi-fi products since 1991 and is the undisputed reference in professional audio for the rapidly emerging Dolby Atmos Movie and Music format. Its studio monitor speakers are used around the globe for mixing and re-mixing movie soundtracks and music for this multi-channel immersive audio experience.
8th September 2020
MLA’s ‘Hard Avoid’ Helps Seoul’s Arts Centre Achieve its Objectives
Korea – The Seoul Foundation for Arts & Culture (SFAC) recently commissioned the installation of a Martin Audio MLA Mini /MSX loudspeaker array in its new Youth Arts Centre. Funded by donations, the facility has been designed for young people in the Korean capital to fulfil their artistic potential, and put them in touch with other creative hubs around the world via the internet.
Founded in 2003, the Foundation had been seeking to create Seoul as a platform where diverse values of culture and art could be expressed, and The Youth Arts Centre was created as part of this activity. The facility itself had originally been donated by a private school foundation named Wonsuk.
Situated in the Chungjeong-ro district of the city, the 1,500sq.m space itself consists of a cafe, office, multi-purpose hall, conference rooms and practice room, along with a complex function space.
To conform to modern standards, a high-performance, versatile sound system was required. As Sama Sound sales manager, Dae Won Cho, already had a good relationship with Wonsuk, the Martin Audio distributors were awarded the contract.
It is in the 150-seat multi-purpose hall that the MLA Mini was specified for its ability to reinforce all types of live performance (K-Pop), as well as conferences, seminars and exhibitions. The system was designed by Sama Sound’s Seung Hwan Kim.
Already aware of Martin Audio’s heritage in live touring, Sama Sound was able to promote the manufacturer’s ability to dramatically improve line array directional control due to the development of the sophisticated software control platform, first incorporated into the self-powered MLA series and later the passive Wavefront Precision series.
Joining the award-winning MLA family, the tiny MLA Mini is one of the smallest systems capable of implementing this proprietary technology and its output compares favourably with products that are in a class larger. At the core of the design concept is the assignment of individual amplifier channels and DSPs to each driver in a cellular fashion, creating unique directional control capabilities.
The MSX subwoofer is responsible for driving and controlling the MLA Mini and control of the entire system is governed by the dedicated DX4.0 network system controller.
It is Martin Audio’s proprietary Display 2.3 simulation software, however, that allows implementation of the ‘Hard Avoid’ function and guarantees a uniform sound image across the audience area. This became a vital factor, due to the structure and acoustic of the Youth Arts Centre, according to Sama Sound’s project manager Hong Geun Kim, who was in charge of system set-up and final tuning.
“There is a large back wall in the audience area and the sound reflection from that wall was our biggest concern,” he said. The speaker hangs had to be trimmed sufficiently high to enable the energy to be transmitted directly to the inside of the seating, and prevent it from bouncing off the wall surface.
“We managed to solve this, and the general acoustic issue, thanks to the Hard Avoid function,” he exclaimed.
Sama Sound were also restricted by the fact that the interior had already been 90% completed by the time they arrived on site, presenting them with limited options when rigging the array.
To preserve the field of view of the huge LED screen, they had to dispense with a centre fill. However, thanks to the excellent horizontal orientation of the MLA Mini, this was never missed. “It was possible to be immersed in direct sound even when walking towards the stage, and become exposed to a well generated centre image,” stated Kim Hong Geun.
The Youth Arts Centre had already undergone several art performances even before the official opening, and the Collective Chungjeong-ro Youth Arts Centre channel had already posted various art performances on YouTube.
Both the MLA Mini system flexibility and wizardry of Hard Avoid are features which have greatly impressed the clients, who now hope this will mark the beginning of a great cultural and artistic exchange.
8th September 2020
Ayrton MiniPanel-FX deliver major wow factor at Vela, one of China’s newest nightclubs
China – Suzhou in China is one of the fastest growing major cities in the world, situated just 100km west of Shanghai on the lower Yangtze River. It boasts many interesting historic and modern attractions, not least its latest nightclub, the 800-capacity Vela, which opened its doors in December 2019.
Lighting designer, Andy Taylor of Gasoline Design, was called in to provide the dynamic lighting for the club and chose to use a whopping 174 Ayrton MiniPanel-FX for his design. He explains his choice: “I have used Ayrton products on nightclub install designs before, most notably DreamPanel Twin in Jewel, Las Vegas, and MagicPanel-R and MagicBlade-R in Omnia at Caesar’s Palace, also in Las Vegas. The fittings worked with spectacular effect in both of those designs, so when I was looking for something different to use as the workhorse of the effect lighting for Vela, the MiniPanel-FX was a natural choice. The client was also keen for the design to look like nothing he had seen anywhere else and to create that elusive ‘wow’ factor. Having a large array of MiniPanels ticked both those boxes to great effect.
“I don’t recall seeing any fixtures with the same square lens configuration as MiniPanel-FX, which was a big selling point. The most important thing for me is quality of function and reliability; I don’t want to put 174 fixtures in a design and get 174 different shades of white and with Ayrton you can guarantee uniformity, even after many hours of use.”
Taylor was able to use the MiniPanel-FX to achieve the dynamic effect he wanted for the club. “The MiniPanels are primarily rigged in clusters at the centre of six rectangular moving pods. The intention was to create a ‘ceiling’ of moving light capable of being pixel-mapped as a low resolution screen that can mirror and complement the club’s LED screen content, as well as create massive in-air moving beam looks. There are also 40 MiniPanel-FX mounted on the back wall behind the DJ, sited in between, above, below and in two rows either side of strips of LED screen. These create beam and pixel-mapped effects that shoot out into, and over the guests.”
So which moments of the design stood out most for Taylor? “For me it’s important to instil in the operators and programmers that, just because something can spin around continuously, it doesn’t mean it has to all the time!” he says. “With a club it is particularly important to build the night, punctuated with ‘wow’ moments. So, for the first part of the night the MiniPanels are relatively leisurely in colour and movement. Their big reveal is the first time the ‘pods’ start moving. This is their first ‘go as bonkers as you like’ moment and it really heightens the disorientation and excitement caused by, in effect, the whole ceiling moving and twisting over the heads of the guests.
“Once the resident techs learnt how to program these unique fixtures, they were very excited about the potential of the looks they could achieve with MiniPanel-FX, which is always refreshing to see. It's important that the guys who have to look after, program and operate the system night after night are as excited about its potential as I am.”
“We are so happy with the performance and results from the MiniPanel-FX,” says Vela’s general manager, Julie Zhou. “It’s very important to us to emphasise Vela’s unique structure in the best light, and the MiniPanels deliver this with amazing colour and a great quality, soft light. The house technicians enjoy having individual colour control over MiniPanel-FX’s four lenses, which they haven’t experienced with other comparatively-sized moving heads. The result is we now have a club that is very dramatic and full of colour, which we all like very much!”
7th September 2020
Elation meets broadcast standards on redesigned France Television set
France – “Elation luminaires meet more and more the lighting criteria demanded by top directors of photography,” was the assessment of Alain Lheriteau of Elation’s French distributor Best Audio & Lighting after working with director of photography Jean-Louis Rousseaux on a reworked set at France Television Stage 2. In spring 2019, the national broadcaster entrusted Rousseaux with the lighting design of Set 330, a virtual environment that spans 360° and covers almost the entire surface of the set.
The first live broadcast from Stage 2’s redesigned set took place last autumn and marked the first programme produced in a virtual setting on France Television. “It was necessary that we review all of the lighting for several reasons,” said Rousseaux, who reports that France Television wanted to equip the set entirely with LED lights. “The versatility of moving between real and virtual sets required a much more complete and flexible installation than the one that existed.”
The new set, treated entirely in inlaid green paint, floor and walls required a permanent lighting installation to illuminate the entire cyclorama and floor. Black and white curtains fill gaps at the bottom of the set and around décor elements. “It was inconceivable to make this fully automated set when France Television first contacted me,” Rousseaux says. “It was necessary to redo the entire grid, which is equipped with pantographs, and implied both an investment and very difficult deadlines.”
The challenge was great but not impossible. After consultation with Best Audio & Lighting, Rousseaux decided on a lighting package of 22 Seven Batten 72/42/14 LED bars working with 20 Fuze Profile LED moving heads and 20 compact Rayzor 360Z LED beam luminaires. To realise the installation, flying truss for the Seven Battens was added with the result being a complete and flexible system covering 360°.
Because Set 330 lacks height, a homogeneous fixture on top of the cyclorama was needed for wide shots. “Equipped with a filter, the Seven Batten bars allowed us to light the entire height of
the cyc,” Rousseaux states. “Despite the spacing of the LED cells, the projected light remains diffused and merged, resulting in a very clean cyc top. When the curtains are in place, the Seven Battens allow them to be illuminated in colour or white light. The colour palette and the entertainment possibilities they provide are endless.”
To fulfil the objective of having an entirely automated set, Fuze Profile and Rayzor 360Z LED moving heads were added. “The Fuze Profile is a very powerful machine, has a magnificent CRI and has a price that is very reasonable, which is a justification that convinced everyone,” the designer comments. “The precision of its movements and the positioning of the framing blades make it possible to project texture in the background.”
Attentive to the comfort of presenters and columnists who sometimes remain on the set for a long time, Rousseaux prefers a diffused light that is less harsh for those who spend a lot of time in front of the camera. “I find that despite using the frost, long stretches beneath the lights can disturb the eyes. That is why I asked my supplier to provide support for gels in order to diffuse the light even more. Elation responded positively to this request and I am waiting for the opportunity to perform real-life tests.”
Because the overhead grid was already somewhat crowded, the LD sought a compact light for colour looks and turned to Elation’s small, 7.7-kilo Rayzor 360Z with 8° to 77° motorised zoom. “Its dimensions appealed to me,” Rousseaux said. “This little machine is the answer to being able to make décor elements shine and is also the answer to avoid shadowing. There are always points that need to be re-lit; its ability to be very tight or on the contrary very wide allows for great flexibility.”
Upon contemplating his choice of lighting fixtures, Rousseaux references France Television master electrician and board operator Christian Kalfa, who joined the LD in commending the new lighting gear. “Christian, who has the opportunity to work with other directors of photography and other equipment, was also convinced by the technical specification of the luminaires,” he says, “as well as their cost, which he finds quite reasonable in view of their excellent performance.”
The new lighting system, supplied to French Television through dealer STE Euro Light System, is being used on a number of programmes: Stadium 2, The Buddhists, Islam and Le Monde in Front to name a few. Rousseaux concludes: “In the long term, France Television wants to make sets fully automated and this project is a good first step. It has made it possible to test several types of luminaires to be able to texture and illuminate sets.”
3rd September 2020
Brothers in EMs…
UK – Sam Jones has his own show on Insanity Radio, an award-winning FM and online station based at Royal Holloway University in Surrey. Insanity has been broadcasting to the community since 1998 and to the world since 2000. Sam’s first taste of broadcasting came as an an undergraduate student, studying media at the university, but he retained his connection with the station throughout the course of further studies in Cardiff, where he is now resident. Since March, he has hosted Insanity’s Friday night Lockdown show with flatmate Alex Williams.
Presenting a show remotely has its challenges, but Sam has done as much as possible to ‘studiofy’ his spare room, excluding as much noise as possible. When the Coronavirus lockdown struck, Sam had already taken the decision to invest in a new microphone, having suffered in the past from a few reliability issues.
Looking for great value, great audio and a robust piece of equipment, he decided to go with the Mackie EM-91C large-diaphragm condenser microphone and loved what he got: “Just taking the mic out of the box gives you that feeling of solidity. I figured that if the audio is as good as the build quality, it’s going to be seeing me through plenty of broadcasting! And lo and behold, it’s excellent. I’ve used a number of different microphones in different settings, including in nicely-appointed studios, some of which cost considerably more than the EM91-C, but in terms of quality and value, it’d be hard to beat. It’s a great piece of kit at a price point that screams out to home-studio users: ‘buy me’!”
One-hundred-and-forty miles away in deepest Buckinghamshire, Sam’s younger brother Tal is working in another studio conversion – his bedroom – on a body of material that is finding favour with a growing number of fans. If the streaming figures for his first two singles are anything to go by, this singer/songwriter/producer could be one to watch. His musicianship and songwriting skills are matched by a strong grasp of technology, and as an emerging artist, aside from its devastating effects on live performance, the lockdown has seen a prolific Tal Jones assemble an ever-growing portfolio of self-produced indie-pop.
As a music student and artist, working within tight budget constraints dictates that every investment in his set-up needs to reflect great value for money. At the same time, in a tech-savvy world where anything less than excellent audio is not an option, quality counts. Having done his research, Tal followed his brother’s path and opted for the EM-91C. Tal plays and programmes everything on his material, so he needed a microphone that was suitable for vocals, as well as a range of instruments.
Mackie state that the mic is “voiced for the stage, built for the road and priced for your wallet,” something the young musician, would agree with: “The mic itself does everything I need it to do. The audio quality is great and it’s very solid. The fact that it comes with a shock mount and an XLR cable is great as well. The cable locks in very snugly to the mic and the shock mount is uncomplicated and effective. I doubt it could be beaten on all-round value for money.”
Nowhere has escaped the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, but as musicians, presenters and podcasters find themselves seeking home solutions in order to continue creating, Mackie, distributed in the UK by POLAR, offers a range of practical and competitive options. In the EM-91C, the Jones brothers trust.
3rd September 2020
Blue Moon’s Rig Fills Multi Roles at Zoo Antwerpen with Help From Chauvet Professional
Belgium – Lighting is often asked to perform a variety of functions, such as when it is called upon to illuminate a speaker, but also furnish a colourful background for the camera. Or, when it is relied on to accent the architectural features of a room, as well as highlight the event going on inside.
Seldom, though, does lighting fill roles that are as diverse as those that Blue Moon assigned to it at Zoo Antwerpen. The well-known production and system integrator company was asked to provide a system that could create ambient light for the zoo’s alligator enclosure, add dramatic effects to its thunder and lightning show and, most importantly, provide nourishing lumens to the animals and live plants inside.
Visitors to the zoo can’t say how well the lighting system is doing in filling the latter role (the excellent health of the enclosure’s inhabitants attests to that), but one thing that’s obvious to all is that the Chauvet Professional and Iluminarc fixtures in Blue Moon’s design are creating captivating visuals.
With its cavernous paths, tangles of wild plants, and water that cascades off stony embankments into quiet pools, the enclosure conveys the sense of being in a tropical environment. The thin even fields of white light that shine throughout the exhibit and play off its shadowy spaces enhance the realism of scene.
Gradual colour temperature changes and illumination levels give rise to a feeling of time passing as the day progresses. During the tropical storm show, sudden burst of light from the fixtures create a sensation of lightning striking.
The Blue Moon team used four Chauvet Professional Ovation E260WW ellipsoidal units to reflect light off the water and a wooden structure in the exhibit. A pair of Iluminarc Colorist Panel 8QA fixtures provide dramatic uplighting on the trees, while eight Colorist Panel 36QA units light the front and sides of the exhibit and six Colorist Line 12QA fixtures positioned behind some of the plants to lend added depth to the scene.
“This was a project where our design had to serve many functions in a challenging environment,” said Robin Van Bael of Blue Moon, who served as project manager. “We needed enough power to not only light up the scene but also give enough lumens for the plants and animals. So, the colour spectrum needed to be very wide, as the plants in the enclosure are real. Our design gives the plants 12 hours of the full spectrum light in the day, and two hours of extra blue light in the evening. This stimulates the growth of stems and leaves.
“While doing this we leave shadows throughout the exhibit,” continued Van Bael. “This was done for two reasons: to create the feel of forest/jungle where light does not reach every spot and to give the animals a few spots to hide from the lights when they want to. On top of all this, our lights had to be very dependable, since the environment in the enclosure is very harsh due to the rain, fog, heat and moisture.”
The five-minute thunder and lightning show at the exhibit builds up for the first four minutes, before winding down. The show is set to begin at midnight in the rainforest. Then a tree falls and lightning happens in the form of strobing lights.
“Thanks to the fine colour adjustments we can make with these fixtures, we can pick out the right shades, to give the illusion it is night time, without actually turning the light off, which is good because people would not see anything if we did,” said Van Bael. “Because of the fast response times of the LEDs, we can also turn of the light at the moment that the lighting strikes, so the strobe effect is emphasised.”
Although the simulated storm is a hit among young visitors, Van Bael has a different favourite. “I like to see the light from the Ovations reflected in the water,” he said. “It is something beautiful to look at.”
Of course, as Van Bael agrees, that is just the scene that appeals most to him. Different people will take away different memories from the exhibit, which is fitting, since a lighting system that can do just about everything, has something special to offer everyone.
2nd September 2020
Altman brings a colourful wash to the Ko Shan Theatre with Pacific Lighting (HK) Limited
Hong Kong – Located in Hong Kong, the 1,031-seat Ko Shan Theatre is ideally suited for traditional opera, dance, music, school functions or community gatherings. Already equipped with an advanced sound and staging system, the theatre also wanted to incorporate the latest in lighting technology as well. Looking to bring in a new LED theatrical luminaire to provide elegant colour-changing with a smooth, even wash, they worked with Pacific Lighting Ltd who installed a rig of AP-150 PAR LED luminaires from Altman Lighting.
“The Ko Shan Theatre has been a long-time client of ours and we have worked on many supply projects for them,” began Hugh Chinnick, Pacific Lighting director. “When we were approached about this particular upgrade, they were looking for an LED colour-changing Fresnel or PAR to replace their existing two-colour tungsten Fresnel downlights. After Nick Champion conducted a demo of the AP-150 while in Hong Kong, they were really impressed with the fixtures and we were able to move forward with the upgrade to their standard rig.”
The AP-150 PAR from Altman Lighting is a compact and lightweight, 135 Watt RGBW LED wash which produces deep, saturated colours and soft, delicate pastels, while maintaining a smooth, uniform beam throughout the entire motorised zoom range. Weighing only 11 pounds, the AP-150 replicates the soft output of a traditional PAR wash light with control states from 8 bit, 16, bit, RGB and HSIC. Its factory and custom colour presets allow for the quick selection of the most widely used entertainment colour choices, and it also adds the ability to record colour presets directly to the luminaire for custom colour playback.
“When looking at the main performance attributes needed from the new luminaires, the Altman fixtures really won out due to their combination of intensity, colour-mixing, a motorised zoom function, and the cost,” added Chinnick. “With a stage area of approximately 13m x 12m, we now have 34 AP-150 luminaires hanging as part of the permanent, standard lighting rig.”
Backed by Pacific Lighting’s after-sales and support service, the newly installed fixtures for the Ko Shan Theatre are up and ready to begin creating imaginative and colourful lighting experiences. In a live entertainment environment where the versatility and dependability of the production technology will be put to the test, Chinnick is confident they have installed the ideal solution.
“The AP-150 fixtures really sell themselves,” concluded Chinnick. “The motorised, wide zoom function provides instant flexibility and the cost truly sets them apart as a unique theatrical lighting solution, and we have complete trust in the performance durability that comes with using Altman Lighting technology.”
“Pacific Lighting embodies all that we could ask of a partner in the Hong Kong market,” added Nick Champion, Altman Lighting vice president of sales and marketing. “Hugh’s love of theatre guides his designs and product choices, and it’s always a perfect blend of artistic variety and practical function. We couldn’t be more pleased that the AP-150 PAR could meet all of these needs at the Ko Shan Theatre.”
2nd September 2020
Rock Bridge Community Church Says Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes and Yes to L-Acoustics!
USA – If you’re in Northwest Georgia, it’s not hard to find a Rock Bridge Community Church campus. Its six locations, one of which is in a suburb of Chattanooga near the Tennessee state line, make it easy to be part of this contemporary worship style church. It’s also easy on the ears, as five of Rock Bridge’s venues: Calhoun, Chatsworth, Ringgold, and Dalton’s Stage 123 and historic 1,165-seat Wink Theatre, now have L-Acoustics A Series constant curvature line source sound systems, each of which sound nearly identical thanks to the use of the manufacturer’s new M1 measurement tool suite.
“The A Series is a very cohesive system,” says Steele Beaty of Skylark Audio Video, the Oklahoma City-based integrator that designed and installed the PA for all five worship spaces. “The Wide boxes have a 30-degree vertical pattern, and the Focus has a ten-degree vertical pattern. Between them, we have the tools we need to fill a challenging venue like the Wink Theatre, where the balcony is 105 feet long, and the main floor is 95 feet long, but the entire venue is only 56 feet wide. It’s the very definition of a ‘shotgun’ room, and that’s why we chose to fly left and right arrays of five A15 Focus enclosures over one A15 Wide. Plus, the A15 enclosures have the Panflex adjustable waveguides that let us narrow the pattern width to 70 degrees, which also gives us a +2dB boost in the high frequencies. So not only do we avoid getting any energy on the walls, but we accomplish it without using any DSP. A traditional line source array simply can’t do what we were able to accomplish at the Wink with the L-Acoustics A Series medium-throw line source array.”
Rock Bridge Community Church director of strategic initiatives, John David Boreing, adds that the Wink Theatre location – a landmarked building that first opened in 1941 as a movie theatre and was purchased by the church in 2004, two years after they began using it – presented particular challenges that the A15 system was able to overcome. “The large balcony was the really difficult part,” explains Boreing, whose portfolio at the church includes facilities and production. “With the previous sound system, the balcony was looking at the top of the line array and didn’t get any low end from the floor-mounted subs. It was a tough room to get proper coverage for. The new A15-KS21 combo fixed that immediately.”
In fact, the A Series speakers were a perfect fit in other ways besides offering the best sonic performance and most flexible pattern control. Beaty points out that the nearly 80-year-old Wink Theatre is constructed like many venues of its time, with a narrow footprint and many tightly turning staircases. “It was impossible to get a modern lift in there, and the ceiling isn’t structured, so the reduced weight and compact form factor of the A Series literally allowed us to get it in and get it hung in an older venue like this,” he says.
The Wink Theatre installation, whose design was done using Soundvision modelling software, also made use of the new M1 suite, a comprehensive set of measurement tools from L-Acoustics. “We were able to measure the performance of all of the A15 speaker systems in one venue and create a consistent contour that we applied to all of the church’s locations,” says Beaty. “We were able to make them sound as identical to each other as humanly possible.”
Boreing agrees, saying it’s great to have such sonic consistency across so many of the church’s venues. “The A Series sounds amazing in every place we have it,” he says. “Each church location strives to deliver a consistent message and having L-Acoustics in most of our venues helps communicate that.”
One of the major benefits of the M1 platform is that it is a force multiplier. With even a single microphone, users can measure all relevant systems at multiple locations in the room, then make timing and EQ choices that are best for the room average, all while being able to see the effect of any move on any location individually, or as an average. The ability to analyse data like this is pivotal in creating consistency not only in the measured room but also from venue to venue for unparalleled system consistency and homogeneity.
With the combination of A15 Wide and Focus and the flown subs, Boreing says coverage is complete, and the sound quality is excellent. “Now that the pandemic restrictions have finally been relaxed a bit on worship services, everyone is really enjoying the new sound at the Wink Theatre, which is better than ever,” he says. “Intelligibility is fantastic, and the music has a real impact, like a concert; it’s a wonderful experience.”
The Chatsworth campus was Rock Bridge’s first location to adopt an L-Acoustics PA – an ARCS WiFo system, and precursor to the current A Series – installed in 2016. This summer, the church’s Wink Theatre site integrated a new left-right sound system comprising six A15 per side: five Focus over one Wide. The A15 are flanked by two adjacent hangs of three KS21 subs per side, and two A10 speakers per hang are placed left and right as delay arrays for the balcony. Only a block away, Stage 123, Wink Theatre’s sibling venue, also recently had a left-right system of three A10 per side and two centre-hung KS21 subs installed, while the Ringgold and Calhoun campuses similarly now have A15-based systems. The PA at each of these five locations is powered by L-Acoustics LA4X amplified controllers.