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Kinesys in Control at the Østre Gasværk Teater
Denmark – Copenhagen's magnificent Østre Gasværk Teater in the city’s Østerbro district is housed in a former gas holder once part of the old Eastern Gasworks complex, built in 1878 and designed by Martin Nyrop, also the architect of Copenhagen City Hall.
The venue has functioned as a performance space since the 1970s, however in the last year an extensive technical refit and major rigging upgrade has involved the installation of a completely new free-standing steel grid internal structure, together with a Kinesys automation system featuring the latest Kinesys Apex chain hoists and DigiHoist control.
The theatre started off presenting alternative dance works and hosting concerts and fashion shows as well as gripping dramas. Over the years the production requirements have become steadily more complex and ambitious.
In 2016, the Østre Gasværk Theatre merged with another major cultural institution, the Republique Theatre, and Emmet Feigenberg was appointed artistic director, moving everything into a new era.
With this, finally came the realisation that the old flying facilities were no longer realistically serviceable to stage modern productions, so with the writing on the wall, outgoing artistic director Pia Jette Hansen, the board of the building’s management company and previous production manager Frank Beck started a campaign to secure funding to make some radical changes, explained Østre Gasværk’s head of lighting Brian Njie and head of stage Jacob Frederiksen.
As a listed and protected building and a much-loved landmark of Copenhagen’s industrial heritage, designing a workable solution for rigging inside Østre Gasværk was also a brainteaser!
None of its elegant 45 metre diameter circular circumference wall area could have anything attached to, or even touching, it!
The genius idea of the new 160 tonne internal steel dome, based on 16 vertical pillars and industrial grade curved roof struts all in perfect harmony with the geometry of the space and fitting with just millimetres to spare, was a collaboration between Frank Beck, architects C&W-arkitekter & VTC / SHM, structural specialists VITA engineers and engineering consultants Balslev.
The whole Østre Gasværk technical crew including Brian, Jacob and everyone utilising the theatre on a daily basis, had input on this solution and how it would work.
The sub-structure was one thing, the goal was then to utilise the fantastic new 60 tonne flying capacity offered by the grid to provide imaginative, flexible and efficient solutions for all productions.
It was Rasmus Schmidt from rigging and production company Drop Rigging who first suggested the power and adaptability of Kinesys. He often works in the space and consults on the more complex rigging missions.
Brian, Jacob and former stage manager Mammad Aliabadian had all heard of the brand but had not used it hands-on. They visited Prolight+Sound Frankfurt in 2017 shortly after the launch of Apex and saw that and the full range of Kinesys products in action.
They also checked these out thoroughly via Kinesys’ Danish distributor, Light Partner, with whom they already enjoyed a great working relationship as a lighting supplier, as well as meeting the Kinesys team from London in Frankfurt.
“We immediately loved the system,” says Brian. “The quality of the product design and its robust build was obvious from the start, and we were impressed with the knowledgeability of everyone involved, how they related to the daily challenges of entertainment rigging industry and its specific demands. Just from this initial contact with Kinesys we could expect a really high level of service.”
He added that they also felt investing in Kinesys would offer a degree of future-proofing.
The theatre’s grid installation started in early 2018. It was fabricated and constructed by HSM Industri A/S and completed a month ago with the 855-capacity venue re-opening a few days later.
The Kinesys kit includes an initial purchase of six half-tonne Apex vari-speed hoists with controllers and three Kinesys fixed-speed DigiHoist controllers which are being used to run 32 EXE-Rise hoists which are a mix of 150kg, 600kg and 800kg in capacity. All of these are moving a selection of trusses in the roof that facilitate multiple lighting, audio, video and scenery positions.
The Apex hoists were selected for their high-end functionality like enhanced quietness (essential in a theatrical environment) zero speed hover, sub-millimetre accuracy and the ability to safely fly people that comes with EN61508-SIL3 and DIN56950 compliance. They are looking forward to using these for automating set pieces as well.
With this set-up, the production kit can easily be rigged or maintained at ground level, then flown out for the show or for storage, and the days of working at heights from access towers and other plant above the auditorium and stage areas are over.
At the essence of the flying requirements was having one intuitive and user-friendly control system to safely run all the Apex and EXE-Rise hoists.
The six Apex hoists have their own drive units and a Kinesys Dimension pendant remote which is how they are currently being run. This and the DigiHoist system are linked via a Kinesys Mentor Series 4 which enables the units to have a common safety architecture. The intention is, in time, to run all the hoists via the Dimension pendant remote.
The first productions are already benefiting from the new flying facilities and everyone is delighted with the additional scope and efficiency of the Kinesys system. “It’s quieter, safer, an order of magnitude more reliable and hugely more dynamic than before,” stated Jacob.
Being able to move the rig and equipment around using the automation and the new sub-structure is also making workflow tighter and tech periods more productive.
Official Kinesys training will be arranged soon to enable all the lighting, AV, audio and stage technicians working regularly in the venue to get the most of out of their new facilities.
photos: Louise Stickland
16th November 2018
Royal Opera House sings praises of Unusual Rigging
UK – After two years of building works, the revamped front of house spaces the Royal Opera House in London's Covent Garden opened to the public this autumn. As part of the renovation, a number of exhibitions and displays now enhance the new spaces and offer visitors the opportunity to learn more about the Royal Opera House and the art forms it supports as well as showcasing the ROH's past and present to inspire every day audiences. Unusual Rigging was brought on board to help devise a way of installing a number of scrims over the escalator leading to the newly refurbished spaces on Level 5.
Sarah Tatham, exhibitions manager at the Royal Opera house explained: "We approached Leon Ingram, Unusual's rigging project manager, in March 2018 to discuss the best way to hang the scrims. A principally artistic endeavour, the scrims required a technically complex hang and design. Unusual Rigging fed into the concept and generally advised us on the size of the scrims, the fixing methods and the installation."
Unusual has worked with the Royal Opera House itself and two of its design studios (Skellon Studio and Studio Eger) in the past. "Unusual is so well known in the industry we were very comfortable working with them from the word go. Our design studios developed a concept and Leon came on site to provide technical advice generally on installation and more specifically on fixing methodology. We supplied detailed drawings and the Unusual team developed the fixing methods and contributed to the paperwork for change of use of the track," explained Sarah.
As with most projects Unusual finds itself involved with, there were numerous challenges, not least because the area was largely a building site whilst still being open to the public for performances, making access difficult. The track had to be approved for use for an artistic installation, rather than solely to provide access to the ceiling lights. The installation had to work going up and down the escalator from outside, and with the lighting already provided. Sarah added: "Artistically, as well as identifying the right ballet and performers; we had to find the best size, location and number of scrims, ensuring the layering effect visually and the right lift artistically, as well as art-working the film stills for colour and background to provide maximum dramatic effect. And then we had to hope that the finished result was worth the investment!"
The result is ten scrims (a semi transparent theatrical voile), suspended from a track in the ceiling over an escalator. They are 2.20 metres wide and of staggered depth. The shortest is 2.7 metres deep. The longest is 7.4 metres deep. They show a vertical lift from The Royal Ballet's resident choreographer Wayne McGregor's 2018 ballet Yugen, performed by Royal Ballet dancers Calvin Richardson and Joseph Sissens.
Sarah said: "We hope to have the scrims up until the end of 2019, maybe even 2020 depending on how they weather. Originally we had thought to only have them as a temporary installation but we have received so much positive feedback that we are now likely to keep them for longer and possibly replace them with a similar installation. Leon and the Unusual team have been amazing from start to finish. He was approachable and very pragmatic and nothing seemed to faze him. The team were equally pleasant and hardworking and I wouldn't hesitate to use them again."
16th November 2018
Flint Baptist Mixes, Monitors and Broadcasts with Allen & Heath
USA – Completed in July of 2018, Flint Baptist Church’s modern, 1,650-seat facility features Allen & Heath consoles at FOH and broadcast with ME-1 personal mixers for its band and praise singers. The rapidly growing church, located in Flint, Texas, blends contemporary and traditional worship styles with a large choir, band and praise team leading its services. Flint Baptist’s new audio and video systems were installed by Broadcast Works of Tyler, Texas.
Wade Summerford, Flint Baptist’s technology/media director says: “We’re seeing many new church members each week and this growth is what threw us into the planning process. Then, I went to a conference last October and got to put my hands on a dLive and test drive it. I saw the dLive’s flexibility and usability. I can throw a volunteer on our S7000 Surface, give them a crash course and, in five minutes, they can run it.”
A DX32 Expander supports the church’s 14 wireless mic receivers and other sources, complementing the S7000 at FOH. A DM64 MixRack, located in an anteroom next to the stage, receives wired microphones, direct boxes and other sources and connects to the S7000 via Allen & Heath gigaACE networking. An Allen & Heath SQ-6 digital mixer, located in the church’s video production room, mixes streaming broadcast, receiving its sources from the DM64 and DX32. Rounding out the system, an Allen & Heath Qu-16 digital mixer serves the choir’s practice room.
Members of Flint Baptist’s technical team use the dLive’s layers, banks and DCA spill feature to manage the church’s many sources and add effects on selected inputs as needed. Ceiling-mounted wedge monitors serve the choir’s monitoring needs. The band and praise team have wireless or wired in-ear monitors individually mixed on nine Allen & Heath ME-1 Personal Mixers and an ME-U ten-port PoE Monitor Hub. Summerford says: “The ME-1s are 40-channel mixers for our worship pastor and everyone on the praise team.”
Flint Baptist produces a Christmas programme and two children’s musicals every year and plans to hold concerts with well known Christian artists in its new worship centre. Summerford commented: “I had a recording engineer who worked with Billy Graham help me dial in the EQs and we’ve received many compliments about the sound quality. And, the flexibility of the Allen & Heath system is unmatched. I can do anything I want to with this console. And that is absolutely amazing.”
15th November 2018
Kings Place Opts for Panasonic Cameras for its Flexible Event Space
UK – Kings Place, an independently funded arts and conference centre in London has integrated Panasonic broadcast cameras into its event space.
The venue hosts a variety of music, art and entertainment events, from classical music concerts to comedy. It consists of two concert halls, two art galleries and a handful of event spaces, and is the first new public concert hall to be built in London since the completion of the Barbican.
During research, the team at Kings Place read Panasonic case studies of similar event spaces and, impressed with the ease of integration, decided to see the cameras in action for themselves. They chose six Panasonic AW-HE130 cameras for their flexibility and ease of use.
Chris Philips, director of technical and ICT for Kings Place said: "We looked to similar venues to see what technology they were using. We read Panasonic case studies for installations at The Barbican and The Royal Academy of Music, and arranged to meet the teams at both venues. We did this because, for me, you can't just look at the cameras and know it's going to be the right fit, you have to really look at how they integrate in to the existing control systems back of house.”
With the varied programme of events at Kings Place, the system installation had to be able to accommodate the venues lighting requirements. Arts events in particular are often quite a bit darker, so investing in a quality camera which can shoot in low light was a must. The HE130 is equipped with three 1/2.86-type MOS sensors, allowing for high-grade filming even in low light conditions.
"The nice thing is that when we went to The Barbican and saw how they used the HE130s, it was noticeably different to the Royal Academy of Music. This was really interesting and demonstrated the flexibility of the camera, which was the real deciding factor. Having peers introduce and endorse the technology, was also incredibly powerful," explains Chris Philips.
Dave Wells, recording and broadcast manager for Kings Place, said: "We just kept coming back to the AW-HE130s as they just ticked all of our boxes. They are so discreet and you can put them up anywhere really quickly, making them ready to use within such a short period of time."
15th November 2018
Clair Solutions Updates Sound Reinforcement at Nashville’s Historic Ryman Auditorium
USA – Opened in 1892, Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee is best known as the home of the Grand Ole Opry radio broadcast between 1943 and 1974. Its age and cultural significance led to its inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971. One of the most prestigious music venues in the world and a coveted, bucket list under-play for artists across all genres, her iconic stage has seen the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Mumford and Sons, Harry Styles and Garth Brooks in recent years.
In partnership with Opry Entertainment Group, JBL, and Yamaha, AV integration firm Clair Solutions recently completed a significant overhaul of the Ryman’s sound reinforcement system, which required a lot of up-front due diligence and testing, sensitivity to the venue’s historic interior, and a deft installation to work around the Ryman’s packed calendar.
“We installed the Ryman’s previous sound reinforcement system over a dozen years ago,” said Dan Heins, regional vice president at Clair Solutions. “It was a first-generation JBL VerTec system that served them well, but loudspeaker, amplifier, and DSP technology has come a long way since then. We’ve maintained a close relationship in the interim. The folks at Opry Entertainment Group are really passionate about great sound, and they wanted to be sure that they would be getting the very best system for the space.”
JBL’s new VTX Series A12 System rose to the top, but the Ryman engineers wanted to hear the system in-place before fully committing to the installation. Clair Solutions developed an EASE model and optimised a design in collaboration with JBL engineers Raul Gonzalez and Nicholas Mourn. JBL provided an entire demo system that Clair Solutions put in place on temporary lifts. “It was a real proof-of-concept,” Heins said. “We learned a lot from the demo and decided to go from eight boxes a side to ten. Although the main system didn’t change much from its original design, we learned from the demo that the under-balcony system needed a complete re-think. Given the particulars of the space, we ultimately went with a miniature line array with sub support”
The installed system consists of ten JBL VTX-A12 three-way line array elements and eight JBL VTX-S28 subwoofers in a centre hang. Two JBL CSX-F35s provide side fill, and ten JBL VT4886 line array elements provide front fill. A total of 36 JBL VT4886s paired with eight JBL VT4883 subwoofers make listening to a concert under the balcony every bit as exciting as the main floor.
Crown i-Tech series amplifiers with onboard DSP condition and power the system. For the consoles, two Yamaha RIVAGE PM7 digital audio consoles were the preferred selection of the Ryman team based on their experience using the Yamaha PM10 console at the Opry House. “Based on our experiences with the PM10, we were confident with our decision to add the dual PM7 consoles, without a formal demo, due in part to Yamaha console familiarity and reliability,” states Jeff Hatfield, director of technical services for Opry Entertainment Group.
“Finding a window in which to perform the installation wasn’t easy because the Ryman doesn’t really close,” Heins said. “We only had four days to remove the old system and install the new system, a Monday through Thursday, with a show the very next day. We worked with the Ryman engineers and did everything that could possibly be done ahead of time while the old system was still on line. For example, we put in conduit and upgraded the electrical system. We started on Sunday to give us an extra day to maximise the time we had to perform the installation. Things went smoothly, and we had the new system up and tuned in time for Friday’s Opry at the Ryman show. Importantly, we made it all happen without upsetting any of the Ryman’s historic interior or its sightlines.” The PA was moved into the proscenium in order to bring the image into a more natural alignment with the performance.
He continued: “This was a great collaboration between four iconic companies: The Ryman is known as the Mother Church of Country Music and is one of the most well-known and well-loved venues in the country, JBL is a legendary American brand, Yamaha is world-renowned, and Clair Solutions has built their stellar reputation by pushing the envelope to create the best live sound experiences possible. The Ryman is committed to making sure that every fan gets the best possible experience.”
Les Banks, production manager and audio supervisor for Ryman Auditorium added: “In the world of speaker and amplifier technology there has been great improvements in the last ten years. Earlier this year, Dan Heins and his install team at Clair Solutions, once again, performed a miracle by installing our new JBL A12 system in an extremely short period of time. It’s of great comfort to have the support of the Clair Solutions team only a phone call away. The bottom line, end result is touring engineers give it a thumbs up and say how greatly improved the coverage and clarity is. Truly a team effort between JBL and Clair Solutions.”
14th November 2018
PR Lighting Aqua 480 Beam Chosen for China’s Tallest Building
China – Shanghai Tower, China’s tallest building (and the world’s second tallest), measuring 632 metres high, has been brought to life by powerful beams from PR Lighting’s IP65-rated AQUA 480 Beam, from 128 storeys up.
It was selected following comparative tests with other leading brands by Beijing Fengshangshiji Culture Media Co. They were tasked with finding a solution, having been approached by the builders, Shanghai Construction Group. As a result 129 of the waterproof heads have been installed on the top three of eight interlayers, installed in the body of the tower to store building cleaning devices. There are 43 fixtures mounted at each level.
The contractors have enjoyed a long-term relationship with PR Lighting having collaborated with the Guandong based company most notably in the construction of the Birds Nest Stadium for the 2008 Olympic Games, followed by APEC-2014 in Beijing, G20-2016 in Hangzhou and SCO Qingdao Summit in Qingdao earlier this year.
Owned by Shanghai Tower Construction and Development the skyscraper was originally constructed in the Lujiazui Pudong district between 2008-2014 at a cost of 20 billion yuan (US$3.14 billion). But the lighting installation was consider to lack impact.
The AQUA 480 Beam was seen as the a perfect all weather alternative and highly visible, a fact proven beyond doubt when it threw beams from the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris during the recent French National Day. This is due to the powerful Ushio PR 480W lamp and large aperture beam making it perfect for long-range, razor sharp beam projections, embellished with a full range of gobos and effects.
However, first the fixture had to undergo rigorous tests. A spokesperson for PR Lighting said: “As this is the tallest building in China, the company owners needed to ensure safety issues when a moving head is operating on the building, The contractor conducted tests over a long period, concerning the quality of the fixtures and fittings, as well as a waterproof test, tests for durability and the power and punchiness of the beam.”
One key point in specifying the the AQUA 480 Beam, however, is that it is sufficiently compact to fit in the flexible lift where it can be concealed on the top of interlayer.
According to PR Lighting senior engineer, Mr. Lu: “There is small, narrow room, making it difficult to fit the unit into the interlayer; therefore a Davit arm was used to suspend the unit from the top of the building to each interlayer.
“To ensure the unit operates without interruption in view of the height limitation PR engineers reprogrammed the tilt angle function between 0°-90° .
Both the building owner and contractor are said to be delighted with the high impact produced by the installation. According to engineering director, Mr. Ma, "This is another great project we have achieved with PR Lighting, and we will continue to work closely together in the future, as we believe PR has more excellent products that will service our forthcoming projects.”
12th November 2018
The University of Southern Miss Super-Charges 36,000-Seat M.M. Roberts Stadium with All Danley Gear
USA – Known locally as “The Rock,” M.M. Roberts Stadium is home to the University of Southern Mississippi’s Golden Eagles football team. It originally opened in 1932 with 4,000 seats and has since expanded to hold 36,000-plus rambunctious Southern Miss fans. Its most recent expansion happened a decade ago, and although the expanded infrastructure and seating is in great shape, the sound reinforcement system that went in didn’t fare as well. After an overhaul installed by AV integration firm Sound & Communications, of Flowood, Mississippi, M.M. Roberts Stadium now commands a full Danley Sound Labs loudspeaker, subwoofer, and amplifier/DSP system.
“The old system didn’t stand up to the elements, and pieces of the speaker cabinets and components were failing,” explained Jeff Crowe, director of operations with Sound & Communications. “The coverage was going, the high end was going, and intelligibility was going. I talked with some friends who attended home games last year, and they said it sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher – laughably unintelligible!” Larry Lucas of Anthony James Partners worked with USM’s senior associate AD for external operations, Stephen Pugh, to design a system with superlative intelligibility and musical impact. “We were aware of Danley’s reputation in the industry and the commitment they have to quality and customer service,” Pugh said. “We spoke with past Danley clients and did some independent research, all of which convinced us that Danley’s reputation was earned. We felt that we had found the right fit.”
The sound reinforcement system at M.M. Roberts Stadium fires from above the scoreboard on the north end of the field and uses Danley’s powerful Jericho Horns to cover the majority of the stands. One highly-focused Danley J6-42 Jericho Horn fires across the field to the opposite stands, and two broader Danley J3-64 Jericho Horns cover the stands to either side. Additional Danley SH46 and SH96HO full-range loudspeakers provide fill for the stands and coverage for the field itself. A pair of beefy, directional Danley BC415 subwoofers fill out the low end. Finally, five four-channel Danley DNA20k4 Pro amplifiers deliver 100,000 watts to the entire system and handle DSP for loudspeaker conditioning via custom presets for every Danley loudspeaker and subwoofer.
“When we walked to the 50-yard line and fired up the system for the first time, the hair on my neck actually stood up because it sounded so good,” Crowe recalled. “Everyone I’ve talked to since has been blown away. Everything is crystal clear and intelligible, and the low-end response really makes the music come to life. You can literally feel it!” Pugh is equally impressed. “The reaction from our fans and management has been overwhelming,” he said. “It has overhauled our game day experience, and the quality and service we received from Danley was fantastic. The new system is an absolute success.”
Crowe was impressed by the build quality of the Danley loudspeakers and subwoofers: “Compared with the old boxes that came out – you could almost push your thumb through their exteriors – the Danley boxes look ready to withstand the rain and heat through years and years of southern Mississippi summers. USM can look forward to great sound for a long time.”
12th November 2018
Allen & Heath dLive Consoles Drive First Baptist Church of Arnold
USA – Nashville, Tennessee-based Morris Integration has expanded audio capabilities at the First Baptist Church of Arnold, Missouri using Allen & Heath’s dLive consoles. Making its debut in front of the nearly 2,700 people who attend weekly services at this house of worship just south of St. Louis, the systems upgrade is based around an Allen & Heath dLive S7000 control surface at front of house and a dLive S3000 used for monitors.
Services range from traditional to contemporary at the church, using an average of 80 inputs on any given Sunday. With an Allen & Heath dLive DM48 MixRack serving the house and a DM32 MixRack standing-in at monitor world, both MixRack processors utilize gigaACE networking cards to provide 96kHz audio and control transport via Ethernet over standard Cat 5e cabling.
“Not all that long ago, it would have been crazy to think you could transmit that much audio over Cat 5,” says Morris Integration design engineer Collin Adams. “But here we are today, and it’s reality. Being able to draw upon the powers inherent in this kind of technology is what allowed us to give the church the flexibility it desired along with sonic quality and performance transcending that of previous systems.”
Versatility was further enhanced with the addition of Waves Audio networking cards. Offering a full gamut of Waves plug-in processing, audio distribution, and digital mic splitting options, the cards provide a direct 96kHz interface to the Waves SoundGrid networking platform, placing a wide variety of effects right at the fingertips of system operators. An IP8 remote controller equipped with eight motorized faders and an IP6 remote controller with six rotary knobs are also available in the house and onstage, bringing an even greater depth of command with tactile control of bus masters, matrices and other functions sometimes relegated to a console’s bottom layer.
“When you consider all of this,” Adams adds, “plus features like each dLive control surface’s ability to store scenes, have any input or mix assigned to any and every bank and/or layer, and place assignable SoftKeys plus pages of assignable rotaries in front of the operator, these systems can pretty much be configured in any fashion. The church came to us with a need to build something that would take them well into the future. I feel we’ve achieved that goal, and have given them a great return on their investment along the way.”
To round out the upgrade, an array of Allen & Heath’s ME-1 personal mixers were added on stage, bringing each performer an opportunity to tailor their own sound.
12th November 2018
Painting With Light Provides Thrilling Illumination for Bazyliszek with Chauvet Professional
Poland – Bazyliszek, a brand new interactive dark ride situated in the Magical Forest zone of Poland’s largest theme park, Legendia, was recently opened to the public as part of a comprehensive rebranding and overhaul. Having collaborated once before on the Antwerp Comics Station theme park, the ride’s designers, Alterface, brought in Belgian design studio Painting with Light to help create a thrilling visual backdrop for Bazyliszek.
Drawing on their wealth of experience in the field of theatrical lighting, Painting with Light specified 80 Chauvet Professional mini ERS-style Ovation Min-E-10CWZ fixtures and COLORdash Par-Hex 7 units to create a multifaceted and exciting visual accompaniment to the ride, which went on to win the European Star Award for Best New Ride in 2018.
“Bazyliszek” is somewhat of a legendary folklore figure in Poland, a complex and highly venomous reptile that can turn people into stone with a single glance. Painting with Light's creative director, Luc Peumans, thus attempted to translate and transpose these dramatic folklore connotations into a comprehensive and emotive lighting concept in support of the three-minute mixed-media ride, where multi-mover vehicles glide visitors through five different zones with seven distinctive scenes.
To achieve the necessary depth for the individual scenes, Peumans utilised the mini ERS-style Ovation fixtures. The warm white and cold white tones, 19° to 36° zoom and excellent dimming features assist in creating the impression of depth and contrast as visitors slowly move through the ride.
Peumans was also able to make use of the fixture's various gobos to ensure maximum visual effect, revealing flashes of buildings and other ride-related objects, all keeping the suspense and excitement levels high.
What's more, thanks to the ultra-discreet compact size of the fixtures (341 x 130 x 133mm), Peumans could position them in numerous nooks and crannies throughout the ride structure without creating unsightly distractions from the experience itself.
Given the ride's focus on darkness, black lighting and UV effects play a central role in lighting considerations.
In addition to providing standard lighting effects in some of the spaces, the Chauvet COLORdash Par-Hex 7 fixtures were selected for their RGBAW+UV chips, which produce a homogenised UV in addition to all other colours of the spectrum. Once Peumans had perfected the UV levels, he was able to create a perfect synergy between the Ovation and COLORdash fixtures, which together provided complementary illumination to heighten emotions throughout the ride.
“Lighting is an essential part of making this ride a fully immersive visual experience,” explained Peumans. “It was a brilliant creative project for us to be part of bringing the Bazyliszek ride at Legendia to life.”
photos: Painting with Light
9th November 2018
DiGiCo Brings 21st Century Sound to Classic Franklin Theatre
USA – The Franklin Theatre first opened as a cinema in the summer of 1937, when movie-goers could see a double feature and cap the evening with an ice cream sundae on a Norman Rockwellesque Main Street. Seventy years later, the theatre underwent an $8 million renovation and reopened in 2011 as the premier music and event venue in Franklin, a suburb of Nashville that is home to nearly as many musicians as Music City itself is.
Seven years later, the cherry just landed on top of that ice cream sundae in the form of a DiGiCo SD12 digital console at front of house. Paired with a D2-Rack, the desk was supplied and installed in mid-August by Dan Heins of Clair Solutions, completing the Franklin Theatre’s renaissance as the entertainment centre of the city, drawing headline artists from Nashville, nationally and globally.
“Although our previous digital console has served us well since the theatre reopened, it had definitely reached a timely retirement age,” says Richard Korby, the venue’s technical director and head of audio for the last two years, following two-plus decades of touring, most recently with Major League Baseball, Straight No Chaser, Jake Owen, and others. “We looked at a lot of possibilities for a new FOH console but nothing even came close to what the SD12 offered. We’re a non-profit, so bang for the buck means everything, and the SD12 won that debate easily.”
Franklin Theatre executive director Dan Hayes asked Korby to use his instincts to decide on the new FOH desk. “It wasn’t a hard choice to make,” he says. “DiGiCo is what we see on all the riders that come through here. It’s what everyone wants to use.”
Korby cites the SD12’s customisable work surface and highly flexible workflow possibilities as a main attraction. “We’re building work-surface templates for our engineers and visiting users, and we can make it look like a classic analogue console for those who prefer that, or a multi-layer digital desk for mixers who like that model,” he says, citing DiGiCo’s floating-point Super FPGA technology. “It can be anything you want it to be.”
The Franklin Theatre boasts an elite team of independent audio engineers, including Kyle Miller (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Keith Urban, Blake Shelton), who has been mixing regularly at the venue since its opening in 2011. Thrilled with the choice of the SD12, Miller noted “the obvious improvement to an already great sounding room.” His formidable skills and critical ear easily demonstrated the new desk’s ability to articulate even the most delicate of performance nuances in addition to the more robust/high energy mixes.
The DiGiCo D2-Rack, positioned at the FOH location, uses MADI through BNC connectors to interface with the SD12, which also features additional MADI ports that allow it to record with any recording platform artists’ choose. The Franklin Theatre also features a multi-track AV/record room upstairs that can capture up to 48 channels at 96k via Logic or Reaper.
Korby was also appreciative of the effort that DiGiCo extended in the form of training as part of the installation, with Group One’s (DiGiCo’s US distributor) Ryan Shelton doing hands-on instruction both at Clair and on site after the installation was completed. “Like with any new system there’s a bit of a learning curve, but Ryan got us through that,” he says.
Future plans include adding an overview display to the console to be able to view all of the mix work surfaces in a single location, as well as a router that will enable the use of an iPad for remote access to the SD12.
Finally, the SD12 simply sounds superb. “Even the standard onboard mic pre’s are generations removed from what we had before, and the multi-band dynamic EQs are game changers for us,” he says. “There are tons of plug-ins out there you can use, but you can mix a world-class show on the SD12 right out of the box. There aren't many consoles that you can say that about.”
8th November 2018
Communitec Choose CDD for New London Gym Concept
UK – Martin Audio’s signature Coaxial Differential Dispersion technology, which can be found in a wide range of venues across the globe, has migrated further – to an innovative gym concept in London’s Camden Town.
Integration company Communitec, which specified a Martin Audio CDD solution, was introduced to the MOVIN london project via interior designers Luks Design and Development, with whom they have worked on projects in the past. Explaining the concept, Communitec director of operations and AV, Ryan Saban, said: “MOVIN london is completely unique as this is no regular gym; everything is based around classes and an immersive experience to take you away from the repetitive cycle of a gym.”
Communitec was tasked with providing a full IT, AV, security and telecoms infrastructure. “This had to be an ecosystem that was completely interactive, enabling the users to simply control the whole space from an iOS or Android device,” he explained. Along the way they turned their attention to sound reinforcement, and Martin Audio.
“We needed a system that stood out in every way possible,” Saban continued. “This was a gym not a nightclub, but why could it not be both? I wanted to create a space where you could have classes that were calm and only required a gentle level of music on the one hand, but on the other could power through an intense class playing tunes from all genres and have the ability for a DJ to connect in and literally transform the gym into a live show.
“Martin Audio just ticked all the boxes,” he said. “I was already familiar with the brand, and have used them in other spaces, but this was the first time in a unique space like this.”
Sound quality was one thing, but the speakers also had to look fit for purpose. “I wanted to create a space where this could very well be a club or a venue for live performances even though it is a gym.
“We discussed many options with Luks Design. The system was to be visible and on show because we wanted that industrial / club look so that clients forget they are at the gym but are working out to great music with great lighting.”
Communitec achieved this by specifying eight Martin Audio CDD6 and a pair of CSX112 subs. The subs are located on the main gym floor with the speakers wall mounted around the space to provide that all immersive experience, Saban continued. The amplifiers are located back of house along with other equipment, such as Lutron lighting control and InventDesign lighting racks, Savant automation system and the rest of the infrastructure. In other words, the whole space is centrally controlled from the studio floor to the changing rooms.
Summing up, the Communitec director said: “When we powered the system on for the first time we were all blown away by the CDDs. We could not believe that we were able to turn this space into effectively a music venue.”
Whether playing high-octane DJ music or taking streams from the media players or sources from Airplay, Aux phono input or studio mic the sound system brings the venue to life.
“The Martin Audio kit is fantastic and for their size, the CDD6s sound incredible,” Ryan Saban concluded. “I would highly recommend this Martin Audio range to anyone.”
8th November 2018
Game time! Large Elation Lighting System for Polsat Esports Studio
Poland – Polish design and installation company ARAM has fitted-out a new esports studio in Poland with a flexible, state-of-the-art Elation lighting system. The studio, at Polsat television in Warsaw, is equipped with the latest in studio-optimised LED luminaires designed to provide players and viewers with the best esports experience, whether watching the event on TV, online or in person.
The custom Elation lighting solution includes everything from dynamic white-light LED array panels and high-quality white light ellipsoidal spots to full-colour batten, par and LED moving head luminaires that deliver a wider spectrum of chromatic and effect options. Incorporated in the rig are some of Elation's newest luminaires, including Artiste series LED moving heads.
As one of the few technical production companies specialized in esports, ARAM has stood behind the design and technical production of some of the largest esports shows in the world, experience that has given them unique insight into how an esports project should be tailored and delivered. “Esports is an industry with a particular set of needs and requires different show formatting,” states ARAM co-owner Rafał Mrzygłocki. “Although the type of lighting required is generally the same as any other television studio – generally high quality white light – player lighting was also a factor to consider, meaning we had to be careful not to obstruct the players’ vision or interfere with their communication. As for the audience, they must be able to enjoy the action inside the game.”
The Polsat studio was completed in July as the first broadcast-owned esports studio in the country. The flexible space allows for different configurations, for example news desks can move in and out so the studio can be used according to needs. The alternating designs play to the Elation lighting system’s strength as the intelligent lights adjust accordingly. “Mostly the space is lit as a traditional studio but sometimes there are special looks like an opening cue for instance, when a match completes and at other times,” comments Mrzygłocki, who notes that another important requirement was for all the lighting to be LED based so as not to overheat the players.
“Elation has launched more interesting products over the past few years and we’ve also noticed they have been on more and more top productions,” continues Mrzygłocki, who adds that he has used Elation on ESL One series esports shows in the past and other projects. “The quality is excellent and the products are well designed. Overall, it is excellent value for money.”
With the development of dedicated esports studios key for the development of the sport, the Polsat facility has been a welcome addition to the genre. “We see a big demand for permanent installations of esports studios. Polsat esports studio is a second permanent studio we have provided and I believe not the last,” Mrzygłocki concludes.
7th November 2018
Degrees of Audio – Renkus Heinz Iconyx Graduates with Honours at NTU
UK – From Wesleyan Chapel to Synagogue and now University Hall, Grade II listed 48 Shakespeare Street in Nottingham has enjoyed a rich history since its construction in 1854 to designs by Thomas Stimpson. The building was acquired by Nottingham Trent University (NTU) in 2016 and has since been the subject of sensitive refurbishment works aimed at creating a facility suitable for ceremonial occasions including graduation days. The hall will also offer a multi-functional space suitable for a variety of internal and external lectures, talks and small-scale music performances. A new foyer has been created and the former chapel has been opened up by the use of glass to replace solid screens. A newly created glass vestibule at the back of the hall will act as a lobby, whilst the large rear extension added in 1976 has been developed to provide a music centre and dance studios.
NTU required a system to provide sound reinforcement, signal processing and lecture capture for the main ceremonial hall, as well as further audio provision for the ancillary spaces. The listed status of the main hall demanded that all works be undertaken with great sensitivity towards the Victorian interior. NTU’s AV team leader Stuart Loughran asked POLAR to design a system to meet its requirements and Roche Audio Visual was appointed to install the systems. The main ceremonial hall is divided between a ground floor and a surrounding first floor mezzanine. The nature of the architecture conspires to produce a highly reverberant space, complicated by low-ceilinged areas beneath the mezzanine. Flexible wireless microphone systems were required to cater for a wide range of uses in both the hall and the music centre.
Having worked with POLAR on previous schemes, Stuart Loughran and his team were familiar with the Renkus Heinz ICONYX range of beam steerable loudspeakers and Mark Bromfield of POLAR was in agreement that these sophisticated, compact, powerful and discreet units would be an ideal fit. Each Iconyx module controls its own built-in digital processor and amplifier, that enables tailored performance for venue and audience in a way that could not be achieved using conventional technology. The Iconyx speaker places sound only where it is required, avoiding reflective surfaces that create problems. Not only does the ICONYX range deliver exceptional performance in challenging spaces where intelligibility is problematical but its profile also blends seamlessly into the background, giving it another huge advantage in heritage spaces that are being used for contemporary applications.
In the main hall Roche AV installed two Renkus Heinz ICONYX IC16-RD (white) in the upstairs mezzanine area and two IC8-RD downstairs. Each self-powered IC16 allows up to eight steerable beams to be individually shaped and aimed, whilst the IC8 allows up to four. Two Renkus Heinz CF 15S-5 self-powered subwoofers were located downstairs. Supplementing the system were four pairs of Cornered Audio C5TRM speakers positioned as delays (two in the upper area and two in the lower) for additional voice lift when required. Driven by four high performance MC2 T1000 amplifiers, the triangular Cornered Audio speakers mount discreetly between wall and ceiling and deliver wide dispersion, low power compression and excellent sound quality.
Two Biamp TesiraFORTE DAN CI digital audio servers with 12 analogue inputs, eight analogue outputs and Dante digital audio networking, were installed to control all audio processing, including signal routing, mixing, filtering, EQ and delay. POLAR’s design specified a beyerdynamic TG1000 digital wireless system. This extremely flexible 24-bit system covers an impressive 319MHz of the UHF bandwidth and combines a wealth of user-friendly features designed to enhance performance. In the ceremonial hall, six beyerdynamic TG1000 DR dual receivers with Dante interface were seamlessly integrated into the network. A combination of seven beltpack transmitters for use with TG H57C earhook microphones, four handheld transmitters with TG V50w capsules and two beyerdynamic Classis GM 315 gooseneck microphones cover the broad requirements of the venue. In a setting such as this, where performers or presenters are out of necessity in front of the the PA speakers, when compared to a lavalier, the H57C earhook microphones enable more gain, due to the proximity of the capsule to the mouth.
In the music centre extension, a different Renkus Heinz system was specified, this time based on two CFX121, two CFX81 (delays) driven by an MC2 T1500 and an MC2 T1000 amplifier and two self-powered CF12S 5R. The Renkus Heinz CF/CFX Series is a compact, high performance main PA, ideal for music and speech reinforcement in a multi-use space such as this. A further two Biamp TesiraFORTE DAN C1 servers were put in place along with a Dante compatible Mackie DL32R mixing console, controlled wirelessly using the Master Fader iPad app. Another TG1000 beyerdynamic wireless system was installed in the space, comprising in this instance six TG1000 DR dual receivers, six TG1000 beltpack transmitters and sixx H57C earhook microphones.
The final part of the installation saw the Dance Studio equipped with a pair of Renkus Heinz CFX 121 speakers driven by an MC2 T1500 amplifier. A beyerdynamic TG 534 Headworn microphone set was the perfect choice of wireless microphone for the needs of this single-use space.
Stuart Loughran, AV and media services team leader at NTU was very pleased with the outcome: “Our principal aim was to enhance the graduation ceremony experience by providing an AV solution that could be streamed to other venues in the university, as well as to our dedicated YouTube channel. The beyerdynamic gooseneck microphones assist the vice chancellor, registrar and other dignitaries addressing the guests and graduands, whilst the beltpack and handheld mics act as back up or for use in other events. The Renkus Heinz Iconyx speakers were an easy choice to make, we’ve had a lot of experience with them and they provide excellent coverage to a large area of the hall. The Cornered Audio C5TRMs provide the necessary infill for further into the room, managed by a couple of Biamp Tesira Forte DSPs in the control room.
“The audio within the hall across both floors is crystal clear and provides the right amount of voice reinforcement required to make ceremonies enjoyable from a practical and technical point of view. The system inputs in a very straightforward way to our broadcast system and we’ve already received an excellent response from people all over the world who have been unable to attend ceremonies and have instead enjoyed our YouTube transmissions. The support we received from POLAR has once again been exemplary, from the pre-sales meetings with Stuart, Will and Mark through to the configuration of the equipment with the POLAR engineers.”
The installation at 48 Shakespeare Street was expertly handled by Roche Audio Visual throughout and Darren Stratford and Jason Spooner of POLAR Integrated Solutions commissioned the systems.
Mark Bromfield, business development manager at POLAR commented: “NTU and Roche have successfully rolled out a number of schemes using Renkus Heinz loudspeakers, so there was a pre-existing appreciation of just how effectively the Iconyx can handle potentially difficult spaces. The main challenge at 48 Shakespeare Street was the fact that it was on two levels. Very careful consideration had to be given to the speaker placements, not only in terms of achieving the highest standard of intelligibility but also to meet the aesthetic needs of the heritage architecture. The project team has succeeded in both respects, creating a visually discreet system that delivers exceptional audio.”
7th November 2018
ABAS Chooses Community Loudspeakers for the New Athens Marriott AV Systems
Greece – The new Athens Marriott on Syggrou Avenue has been created by an impressive renovation of the former Metropolitan Athens Hotel. The hotel is located opposite the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, a cultural complex that houses the National Library of Greece and the National Opera, and the hotel’s roof top bar overlooks the Acropolis, the Aegean Sea and the Opera. 5-star rated and with 385 guest and executive rooms, the Marriott is now one of the largest and most luxurious hotels in Athens.
In addition to its guest rooms and dining, spa and fitness facilities, the Athens Marriott has eight multi-function event rooms. With a combined space of more than 1,000m2 and a capacity of around 1,000 persons, these rooms provide for both business and social events.
As part of the renovation, the specialist integrator ABAS was commissioned to design and install complete audiovisual and automation solutions in all of the event rooms, providing an exceptional audio and video experience at the touch of a button.
To achieve high intelligibility audio in every room, ABAS designed distributed systems using Community’s D SERIES ceiling loudspeakers. The systems in the eight event rooms include a total of eighty-two 4.5-inch high output two-way D4 and low profile D4LP loudspeakers.
Kostas Drosos of ABAS explained the challenge: “The event rooms required uniform intelligible sound, with the quality and power to cover even the most demanding event. The height of most of the rooms was very low so we needed loudspeakers that could deliver clarity and power, but with a minimum installation depth. To meet these parameters we chose Community D4 and D4LP loudspeakers. With just a 4.5-inch bass driver, they have an impressive low frequency response.”
“In addition to achieving complete and even coverage of the rooms, the slim profile of the D4 loudspeakers is also very discreet and aesthetically pleasing,” continued Drosos.
“We chose Monacor amplifiers from Germany as they deliver a lot of power with low THD and reliable continuous operation,” commented Drosos. “With Crestron audio processing and control, all of the audiovisual functions are precisely configured through DSP. The systems in each room can be operated from on-wall touchscreens or wirelessly from an iPad.” As part of the project, ABAS also installed five high quality 7000 lumen Epson WUXGA projector systems.
“The new audio system provides superb intelligibility and coverage,” concludes Drosos. “The sound is very natural and listeners do not hear any change in volume throughout the room, allowing them to completely relax and focus on the event they are attending.”
7th November 2018
Audient Goes for Gold in Equestrian Dressage
Germany – Audient’s eight-channel mic preamp ASP800 has recently been added to Michael Erdmann’s private studio, Exclusive Sound Suite, a leading production studio for equestrian dressage freestyle music. Today, many of the world’s best dressage riders rely on productions and compositions by Michael Erdmann. Back in 1995, he and sound engineer Manni Struck revolutionised freestyle music, which can be anything from pop to classical music.
“We arrange the music in a similar way to scoring a film,” explains Michael. “I receive a video of the ride or choreography. Then we create the pre-arrangement and if necessary, the orchestral arrangement. The recordings can be up to 140 tracks and are mixed in the Exclusive Sound Suite by Manni and myself.”
With their first foray into equine music helping Isabell Werth and her horse Gigolo win a gold medal at the Atlanta Olympic Games back in 1996, Michael has every intention that Exclusive Sound Suite music will strike gold again at the forthcoming Olympics in Tokyo 2020, this time with Audient’s help.
After a test run last month, Michael immediately decided to keep the ASP800. As a percussionist he naturally gravitates towards the drums: ““We achieved excellent results in just a few steps with the standard set-up: kick in (Audix D6), snare top (Shure SM57), rack (EV PL35), floor (EV PL35), overhead (two ribbons), kick out (RODE NTK) room mono (Aston Spirit).” He adds: “I am a fan of devices that are easy to handle and sound right. This is absolutely the case with the ASP800.”
As well as producing other music, including dance productions and film music for German crime series Tatort, Michael intends to carry on with the dressage freestyle music. “We hope to continue to set the trends there.” he says. “That, and the further technical expansion of the studio, of course which is a project in itself.”
6th November 2018
Ambitious Illumination on world’s largest prison museum
Denmark – In an ambitious lighting project by the Danish architectural company Kollision, the former correctional institution and now cultural institution FÆNGSLET gets a beautiful transformation using SGM fixtures made specifically for permanent outdoor installations.
“We needed POI products that could endure changing environments and provide high quality illumination,” said architect and programmer Andreas Lykke-Olesen about the choice of fixtures from SGM’s POI (Permanent Outdoor Installation) range that are engineered to endure the most extreme weather conditions.
Henning Nørbæk, chairman of FÆNGSLET’s fond states in an interview that he is excited to finally have a fitting illumination installed at the important landmark that serves as a crime and prison museum, conference and business facility, as well as a concert venue and receives hundreds of thousands visitors annually.
“It’s a remarkable thing to finally have light on this important landmark,” said Peter Sørensen, city Mayor.
On a daily basis, SGM’s P-5 POIs and G-1 Beam POIs will be illuminating the largest prison museum in the world in a shade of white to enhance the historical building, while various colours will take over for special events.
“Everything is synchronized to the calendar and sun angles using our MAP-player to match special events. In the future, the employees at FÆNGSLET will be able to control the installation using our pre-programmed designs,” explained Andreas.
While serving as a prison, the light served two purposes; offering the prison guards an overview and preventing prison escape. This is part of the inspiration behind the installation.
“The former prison still has many ties to its original function, so we wanted to create the idea of search lights. The G-1 Beam POI is perfect for this purpose because of its size, functionality, and weather resistant protection,” said Andreas about the creative illumination that focuses on the prison façade, the prison yard, and the sky.
More specifically, the west façade is illuminated by the P-5 POI wash lights to enhance the beautiful brick wall, while the G-1 Beam POIs create various patterns and lighting effects on the wall and in the sky.
“While the G-1 Beam POI was perfect for our needs, the powerful output in the P-5 POI enabled us to reduce the number of fixtures. This way, we were able to create the illumination we wanted, without compromising on the aesthetics of the historical building,” said Andreas.
5th November 2018
Arlette Gruss Circus in the RoboSpot Light
France – The Arlette Gruss Circus is well known for its love of technology and reinvention, constantly keeping its shows fresh and new, so, this year, when the company changed its old Big Top for an even more spangly new one, it also embraced a newRobe RoboSpot system, which has impressed everyone!
Talented and highly original lighting designerArthur Oudin had created a brand-new lighting scheme for the Circus in January after receiving a brief from director Gilbert Gruss and technical director Julien Lhomme. With the new Big Top, he adapted the lighting design to the new truss points and integrated the RoboSpots.
Renewing a big top is a key milestone for any circus, and one that usually happens once every ten years or so. Arlette Gruss Circus – never doing things by halves – opted for a radically different tent: Le Privilége, designed by Gilbert and Julien and manufactured by Italian canvas specialist F. Greco SRL and with no inner pole.
This allows a completely enhanced visual experience for the audience with an unhindered 360-degree view and nobody having to look through any structural elements. Apart from that, the general aesthetics of the space are 'wowing' everyone who works in, sees, and is entertained in the venue.
The Big Top is effectively anchored in place by its own external pyramid shaped steel superstructure built by Anceschi Carlo & Cie, also based in Italy, and the canvas walls are suspended rather than being supported.
It offers an impressive 16 metres of clearance under the dome, has a 42-metre diameter and a capacity of 1686 seats which can be expanded to 2000.
While pole-free construction is a fantastic plus for the audience, it presents several challenges for the lighting crew who now don’t have any followspot positions above the ring.
Arthur quickly proposed a cool solution of which he was totally confident as he’d successfully used Robe RoboSpots for a show by French comedienne and actress, Anne Roumanoff, at the Olympia in Paris.
He suggested a two-way RoboSpot system comprising two BaseStations controlling two BMFL Spots, each with its own MotionCamera clamped near the luminaire.
"Looking at products in brand catalogues and showcases is one thing, and very different from experiencing them for real," explained Arthur. "I had properly used and road-tested the RoboSpot and knew it was right for the Circus.
“Gilbert is a new technology enthusiast and encourages everyone working with him to be curious and experimental, so I am permanently watching out for lateral and interesting solutions. RoboSpot is definitely one of these."
Julien Lhomme and his crew, who had used Robe moving lights (Pointes and BMFLs in collaboration with rental specialist Dushow) for the last seasons, were also keen to use the RoboSpot system and discover its many advantages.
Vincent Bouquet from Robe France’s technical services team visited Strasbourg where the Circus is based and conducted a RoboSpot test day, and by the end of this, all the operators were familiar with and happy about using the new system.
"They picked it up very quickly and used the system’s features like positional presets in combination with their own human experience for the best results,” commented Vincent, explaining that they were recalling the position presets on the system to ensure accurate focusing as soon the moment the beam opens, then the operators took over control manually to follow the performer live.
“Right from the very first show but they managed RoboSpot very well by themselves and I received loads of positive feedback," he confirmed.
Using the RoboSpot BaseStations, the operators were located below the audience stands in a new and comfortable workspace.
Through the searingly hot summer which gripped Europe this year, they were able to keep a lot cooler than if they had been confined to the old followspot platforms ten metres above the ring, and there was also the additional safety of operating from a ground-based position.
Arthur is already thinking ahead as the latest RoboSpot software upgrades allow multi-device control management which can make things even more dynamic. “We can easily imagine that some of those BMFLs and Pointes in the main rig might be controlled by the spot operators as well and used simultaneously from several positions on the various trusses making up the lighting rig."
photos: Arthur Oudin
5th November 2018
Martin Audio WPM for Australian University’s Great Hall
Australia – Constructed in the early 1970s, the University of Newcastle’s Great Hall, in the Australian state of New South Wales, is a significant landmark building on the University’s Callaghan campus, located in the western suburbs of Newcastle.
The building is multi-functional and used by the University and Newcastle community for a wide variety of functions ranging from formal University graduations, public performances, sit down dinners, open days, community events as well as teaching and learning activities.
The new audio-visual Infrastructure upgrade was focused around providing a significant improvement in audio and video quality and reliability within the Great Hall. The end result, based around a Martin Audio WPM PA, achieved that and more. It is flexible, scaleable and supports the University’s teaching, learning and community outreach activities.
The consultant / project manager was InDesign Technologies, led by Peter Coman and Livia Renhe, and when it came to the audio component they were assisted by the Technical Audio Group (TAG), Martin Audio’s Australian distributor, as they set out to convert the existing analogue system to a fully digital solution built on audio visual over IP technology. Another key specialist was David Gilfillan (Gilfillan Soundwork), a leading electro acoustic consultancy, who was engaged to verify and assist in the design and commissioning of the system.
The room itself features total seating of 1,231 (including 448 tiered seats and 783 removable auditorium seats).
The biggest challenge the team faced was a tight timeline, exacerbated by a lack of existing architectural drawings. “The previous audio was inadequate for the room and unreliable,” recalls Coman. “It was absolutely paramount that the audio issues be overcome.”
The space itself was awkward; it’s around 50m from front to back with a stepped ceiling. Some areas have 20-metre high ceilings and there is a combination of concrete, brick and timber surfaces. “The 3D drawings allowed us to produce detailed audio mapping and models in order to determine speaker placement,” said Coman. “As we had hundreds of kilogrammes of equipment to hang from the ceiling, a structural engineer was engaged to examine the facility and tell us what we could and couldn’t attach to.”
There were a number of factors that led to InDesign specifying Martin Audio as the primary PA source. “In the first instance, the client had a previous Martin Audio installation that they were happy with, and secondly, we trust the brand. It provides a value for money solution and they were able to offer a system that was fit for purpose, and which met our budget.
“On top of that, the entire system is digital, so being able to incorporate the Martin Audio Dante foldback speakers integrated perfectly into the rest of the system.”
Finally, there was Martin Audio’s ability to meet a tight deadline and the support provided by TAG.
The main PA system consisted of six hangs. At FOH (left/right) are 14 Martin Audio WPM per side with left/right hangs of four MSX per side and left/right delays of ten Martin Audio WPM per side. Front fill consists of six Martin Audio CDD6 below the front lip of the stage and a pair of Martin Audio CDD6 as out fills to cover the outside front corners. Four CDD-LIVE 12 were also deployed.
Amplifiers/FIR processing consisted of seven iKON iK81 advanced eight-channel amplifiers and two iK42 4-channel amps. Due to the challenging acoustic space, every WPM and MSX enclosure was individually powered and processed. States TAG’s Ewan McDonald: “Martin Audio do something very cool in that you can not only steer sound to the audience area but you can set ‘hard avoid’ areas where it will actively cancel energy to these surfaces. This was really important given the huge reflector of a back wall and the lectern position which could be directly under the arrays or even in front of the lower cabinets.
“The Martin Audio Display software fine tuned the frequency response at every listening position and we were then able to download those FIR parameters for each cabinet into the iKON amps using Martin Audio’s VU-Net software.”
The biggest challenge had been the architectural space. “The room had lots of reflective, non-symmetrical surfaces and so we deployed a large delay system. We used the main FOH arrays to cover the floor seating, and the delays were flown out wide, angled down and inwards to minimise the reflections from that rear-angled wall. Being able to optimise the arrays in the vertical plane using Display meant we could keep any interactions between these two systems to a minimum.”
Peter Coman summed up the success of the project thus: “With a can-do attitude, ten months of meticulous planning and an install period of 18 days, the University of Newcastle made a generational upgrade to the AV facilities in its Great Hall. The ageing and unreliable analogue solution was transformed into a world-class, modern, digital solution befitting of the cultural significance of the Great Hall to the University and local community.”
1st November 2018
Historic Theatre Expands Horizons with Chauvet Professional
USA – Earlier this year, Billboard magazine featured the Miller Theatre on its list of “20 Venues to Watch in 2018.” Few would have imagined just a few years earlier that this 1,300-seat Art Moderne theatre at Broad and Seventh Streets in Augusta would be feted in a national publication alongside Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Little Caesars Arena in Detroit and other prominent venues.
Once counted among the South’s leading cinemas, the theatre had sat boarded up and empty for over thirty years, until being reborn as a community performing arts centre in January with a sold-out gala featuring Tony Award-winner Sutton Foster performing with the Augusta Symphony.
As the editors at Billboard recognised, the Miller Theatre not only reopened, it came back with a vengeance as a state-of-the-art venue after a $23 million makeover. To serve the community that saved it, the theatre features a diverse mix of shows that offers ballet one week, and kick boxing the next, with shows by stars like Chris Isaak and George Thorogood thrown in for good measure. Helping the theatre support this eclectic mix of talent is a robust new lighting rig anchored by Chauvet Professional Rogue and Ovation fixtures.
“I’ve been a big fan of Chauvet fixtures ever since I learned about the line from my friend John Berrett, who I respect a great deal as a lighting designer,” said Jason Aycock, house LD at the Miller Theatre. “They have great output and even the movers are quiet for our purposes. What’s really important for us at this venue is their versatility. We have a lot of shows and events here that represent all kinds of genres, from plays, to concerts, to spoken word, to anything else you can imagine. Things like the wide zoom range and zones of pixel control in the Rogues really help us vary looks night after night.”
The Miller Theatre has 12 Rogue R2 Washes designated for its stage deck. Aycock varies the arrangement of these fixtures depending on the show being lit. “The Rogues are compact, easy to move and rugged,” he said. “This makes it easy for us to reposition them. Plus, since they’re movers, we can always get different lighting angles from the same fixture position.”
An additional five Rogue R2 Wash fixtures are flown on downstage truss and are used for specials, lighting the stage apron, down washing and audience lighting. “I love these fixtures for the even, brilliant coverage and response I get from them when moving between cue stacks and scenes,” said Aycock.
The Miller Theatre house rig also includes 26 Ovation E-260WW warm white ellipsoidal fixtures and three Strike 4 units. Hung on downstage truss, the Ovation fixtures are used for key lighting and stage washing. The Strike 4 fixtures are hung on the first electric and are used as crowd blinders.
“We’re very nimble with the rig we have,” said Aycock. “Rob Boggs, our production manager, deserves a lot of credit for putting together a lighting and sound rig as well as a team that is flexible enough to handle all kinds of shows.”
Given the diversity of the Miller Theatre’s schedule, that flexibility comes in very handy.
photos: Peter David Wood
1st November 2018
DiGiCo S31 gives Norway’s folk scene everything it needs
Norway – In the autumn of 2010 Riksscenen, Norway’s national venue for folk and traditional music and dance opened a new, purpose-built venue in Oslo’s trendy Grünerløkka and invested in two DiGiCo SD8s. This summer, it invested in an additional DiGiCo console, this time opting for an S31, which has been installed in the venue’s Klubbscenen (the club) for smaller gigs.
“The SD8s were chosen by my predecessor in the first instance because of their audio quality and I/O capacity, particularly when compared to other products in their price range,” recalls Magnus Opsahl Smaadahl, head of technical development at Riksscenen who, starting as one of the in-house engineers, had instantly fallen in love with the console’s sound quality and ability to be customised. “Initially, the two mixers were on two different stages, one in the main hall and one on the Club stage; the idea being to perform rehearsals and pre-productions for shows on the Club stage and copy the show files to the mixer in the main hall.
“After a while, it was apparent that we needed different set-ups from time-to-time, as well as a monitor mix, so we decided to have both mixers in the main hall. Because the SD8s are physically quite heavy, we wanted to move them as little as possible, so an analogue console was used as the main mixer for the Club stage.”
With the analogue console feeling its age and restricting what could be done at monitors in terms of capacity and effects, earlier this year the Riksscenen team decided the time was right to invest in another DiGiCo console. This time an S31 one was chosen supplied, as were the SD8s, by DiGiCo’s Norwegian distributor Scandec Systemer. The console was installed without any change to the venue’s original system, with Magnus integrating the S31 himself and Scandec assisting him with the installation of a DMI card, a simple plug and play with the existing coaxial and XLR patch.
“We wanted a console that’s portable, as we sometimes use it for our smaller stage or ad-hoc settings around the venue,” says Magnus. “We also wanted built-in I/O, with the DMI option we can also hook up our existing DiGi-Rack for extra I/O and MADI options, all an economic price point. The S31 seemed perfect, being lower in cost than the SD Range consoles, but still giving us the I/O and processing we need.”
Riksscenen has found that the S31 has brought many advantages with it, including fast set-up and reliable multi-track via a MADI equipped sound card, making it easy for them to say ‘yes’ when artists ask for their set to be recorded.
“In folk music, you work with a lot of special instruments, so the multi-band compressor is a great tools for this genre,” says Magnus. “And the shared Rack for the monitor mix is great for our small venue; it makes it easy for me to prepare the system before our in-house technicians starts rehearsal with the band.”
The S31 experience has been nothing but good for Riksscenen.
“Håvard Hanserud from Scandec gave me a run through and the training videos that DiGiCo has produced have been a great help for our in-house engineers,” Magnus concludes. “I am very happy with the performance of the S31, as are our in-house engineers. It has really given our club stage the tools we need to keep up with the increasing demand for I/O and audio control.”
30th October 2018
Ugala Theatre Viljandi
Estonia – The Baltic state of Estonia is a country with a population of just over 1.3 million and has one of the strongest theatre-going traditions amongt all ages and demographics. As a result, there is a lively and eclectic mix of affordable performance options to cater for many tastes.
The Ugala Theatre in Viljandi is one of a number of state funded theatres and a major premium quality producing house.
The most recent round of refurbishment at Ugala in 2017 resulted in a brand new stage machinery system for the 300 capacity main house, which also means they can now configure the space in any format (end-on, traverse, in-the-round, etc.), which has opened up a whole new world of staging possibilities.
With this new versatility, they decided the time was also right for some new moving lights in the rig, and after a lot of consultation, decided on ten Robe DL7S Profiles and ten BMFL Blades.
The town also has the only technical theatre training facility in Estonia which is a department of the Tartu University, and happens to have a Robe moving light rig.
Mari-Riin Villemsoo is one of the venue’s four person lighting technical team, who are all also lighting designers in their own right, and she told us what a difference that having these new moving lights in the inventory is making to their day-to-day operation. Mari-Riin has been working full time at the theatre for a year and before that, worked as a freelance designer after graduating with the Lighting Design and Technical Theatre qualification from Tartu University.
The DL7S Profiles are used for front lighting, a task for which the shutters are “perfect” says Marie-Riin. The output is also ideal for their needs. “Using moving lights here for front light saves huge amounts of time.”
Above the stage, the use of conventionals is limited, so once again moving lights bring greater flexibility and efficiency.
She likes the colours in both the BMFLs and DL7S Profiles, “they are extremely well matched and work complementarily,” and due to the vast colour range they can also be matched very well to the gelled conventional lights that are still in the system.
Mari-Riin likes using a mix of moving and conventional lights in her designs. She appreciates the warmth and texture of the conventional sources and that ‘classic theatrical’ feel they bring to the visual equation.
The lights are controlled from an ETC Gio console, with a smaller Gio @5 for the 150-seater black box space.
The eight to ten new productions each year at Ugala play in rep, so schedules are always busy, and as well as these, they also accommodate concerts, parties and events.
Mari-Riin first encountered Robe products at University where she used their trusty MMX Spots and LEDWash 600s regularly whilst developing her lighting skills.
“As the moving light brand I have used the most for shows and live events, I automatically think of Robe first,” she says. “The products are all designed to be very practical to use from a tech’s angle as well as being excellent creative tools for the designer,” she stated, adding that the service from Estonian distributor E&T is also very good. “We can call any time if we have an issue and they always come back with a solution.”
The lighting team at Viljandi all operate and design shows and work across all their venues using the various different lights for most productions, so they know first-hand the fixtures’ potential, and are always pushing to see what new effects can be created.
As a designer Marie-Riin relishes creating an atmosphere and letting the lighting guide viewers through unfolding narratives via visual dramaturgy. She is also interested in light art and thinks that potentially any lighting design is effectively a piece of art.
The first time she used the DL7S Profiles for a show it was a big rig and they had only one day of prep, but she picked up the basics of programming the luminaires in about an hour, and once that was done, started exploring all the cool possibilities they brought to the production.
The best part, she says, was being able to mix moving lights and conventionals without it looking strange or out of place, or there being any radical contrasts between the different light sources. “They really could be blended so nicely together using the DL7S Profiles” she concluded.
This is an ideal choice for theatre venues looking at purchasing new moving lights which can also assist in maximising their existing lights, as well as those starting with a complete new moving light rig.
photos: Gabriela Liivamägi
29th October 2018
Danley Gear Supports the University of Iowa’s “Kinnick Wave” Bringing Smiles to the Faces of Children at Adjacent Hospital
USA – Routinely cited as the best new tradition in college football, the “Kinnick Wave” is an event that happens at every University of Iowa Hawkeye home game. The newly-completed Stead Family Children’s Hospital is adjacent to the Hawkeye’s 69,000-seat Kinnick Stadium, and someone suggested on social media that after the first quarter, everyone in the entire stadium should turn and wave to the children in the hospital. Many of them would be with their families on the hospital’s top floor lounge, which gives a great view of all the action on the field. The suggestion went viral, and it’s now a well-established tradition. To kick off the 2018 season, AV integration and live sound production company Sound Concepts, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, brought in a portable Danley Sound Labs system for the halftime show. The show featured the Pat Green Band performing “Wave On Wave” with the University of Iowa and Northern Iowa University marching bands while fans did the Kinnick Wave.
A few years ago, Sound Concepts oversaw the installation of a massive Danley J5-4015 Caleb Horn that covers all of the seating in Kinnick Stadium, and its tight pattern control was selected in part to keep sound off of the children’s hospital. The company’s owner, Marvin Smejkal led both the installation and live sound reinforcement for the special Pat Green Kinnick Wave halftime show. “The Pat Green Band set up on a temporary stage in the south end zone, which was in place before the game,” Smejkal explained. “They were flanked by about ninety representative members of both universities’ marching bands, which we also miked. The majority of the marching band members performed farther up field without reinforcement. Our job was to wheel in (in 1:30 seconds from call of halftime by the officials) a portable Danley system just in front of the band near the south goal post that would project the performance to the entire stadium.”
The portable rig consisted of one Danley J6-42 Jericho Horn, two Danley J3-94 Jericho Horns, two Danley SH96 loudspeakers, and one Danley BC218 subwoofer. A single rack of six 4-channel Danley DNA 20k4 Pro amplifiers super-charged the system with 120,000 watts of clean power. “The Danley system fit on a 16-foot tow-behind trailer and took just two minutes to get in place and fire up,” Smejkal said. “It wouldn’t have been possible on a college football budget without the incredible efficiency of Danley’s proprietary designs. The Danley boxes are remarkably small given their output, and we were able to power the system with a single rack of amps.”
He continued: “We got great reviews from fans sitting as far away as 700 feet from the system! The Hawkeye coach’s wife is a huge Pat Green fan, and she was sitting near the fifty-yard line. Afterwards, she spoke with Jay Ratcliff of Sound Concepts and commented on how enjoyable and clear everything sounded. Of course, most fans were focusing all of their attention on the wave itself and its deserving recipients just east of the stadium in the hospital.”
29th October 2018
Alusfera creates an “Opera House effect” in Serbia
Serbia – In September, LITEC delivered its Alusfera 2.0 roof structure to the Novi Sad 2021 Foundation for use in a classical concert organised on the Novi Sad town square in Serbia. The Alusfera structure was specifically selected not only for its unique shape and impressive loading characteristics, but also to assist in the creation of an outdoor “opera house effect”, where it most definitely succeeded.
The company that delivered the Alusfera structure to the Novi Sad Foundation for this event was AVL Projekt, a leading authorised distributor in Serbia for trussing, stages, professional lighting and audio equipment, video production, LED systems, and hi-fi consumer audio equipment. AVL Projekt design, engineer and install tailor-made solutions for its clients and ensure their efficient operation with on-site training. The also provide acoustic calculations and light and audio designs.
“The service we received from LITEC for this event was greatly appreciated. LITEC’s sales representative, Jan Cernota worked with us during the selling process and assisted in the successful conclusion of the contract. LITEC design engineer Andrea Santello also provided full technical support, which was key for the end user and domestic engineers that finally certified the Alusfera structure for the event. All stages of the project that concerned the roof structure were comfortable and efficient.” said Aleksandar Kruscic, project manager for AVL Projekt.
The Alusfera roof is a truly unique structure that’s constructed with LITEC’s innovative Libera FL76 series truss, which allows for the creation of a spherical roof with high loading characteristics, extended covered areas, and small transport volumes. Thanks to the user-friendliness and easy to construct design of Libera truss, set-up only requires six hours with five workers!
For this year’s event in Novi Sad, the impressive Alusfera 2.0 roof measured 21.5 metres wide, 10.3 metres high and 11.5 metres deep. It featured front and rear arches, and a new ridge that allows for the secure connection of the main arches to the ground. Although it is rated for a uniformly distributed load of 6,5000kg, only 6,000kg of support was required for this event. The roof was covered with a white PVC canopy for protection against rain and wind, with the inside of the canopy painted in various colours to assist in creating exceptional lighting effects.
“The tender included a firm deadline for completion of this project, so timely delivery of the Alusfera roof was extremely important to us. LITEC promised to meet the deadline we had specified and kept their promise.”, commented Kruscic. He then added: “And the short amount of time needed to construct the Alusfera roof on location was amazing. It saved the client money for labour and helped us meet tight deadlines that always seem to accompany the production of live events.”
In the end, the concert was a big success for the Novi Sad 20121 Foundation, with attendees appreciating the classical music, as well as the structure where it was held. AVL Projekt was also able to log another impressive live event as part of their growing list of references.
In conclusion, Kruscic said: “The shape and dimensions of the Alusfera structure were extremely interesting for the audience and added a definite 'wow' effect to the concert that helped make it something extra special.”
29th October 2018
University of Toronto Principal Hall Chooses EM Acoustics
Canada – University of Toronto’s newly constructed Principal Hall is designed to serve as a multi-dimensional public platform for the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design (DFALD). To ensure the highest quality of audio, the University tapped Mulvey & Banani Audio Visual Inc. (MBAV) to assist in the design of a sound reinforcement system consisting of EM Acoustics loudspeakers.
With seating for 400 people, the design of the hall allows for multiple configurations and uses, ensuring maximum utility for students and faculty, and greater flexibility for a wide range of events.
“The compact size and audio quality of EM Acoustics loudspeakers was a driving factor in deciding to use them at Principal Hall,” explains Gregory Rushton, vice president, MBAV. “The loudspeakers were required to fit into five-inch spaces between wood slats covering a 30-foot high ceiling. The challenge was to find something small enough that would still have the power to cover the room. Contact Distribution suggested the EMS-51, and it was perfect.”
Ontario-based, Contact Distribution was quick to demonstrate that the EMS-51 was an exceptional speaker that had studio monitor level quality and high-power handling in a very small enclosure. The loudspeaker is loaded with a 5-inch LF drive unit, linked via the internal passive crossover network to a 1.1-inch diaphragm, HF soft dome drive unit, which produces a 75-degree conical dispersion pattern. The infinite baffle design provides a smooth LF roll off and a much more robust LF performance than would be expected from similarly sized loudspeakers.
“Our priority was overall sound performance,” explains Maxim Batourine, director, technology services, University of Toronto. “We found that the combination of EM Acoustics and Linea Research amplifiers was a perfect balance of power and sound clarity. The narrow, conical dispersion allowed the loudspeakers’ density to be high while letting us balance sound levels at the floor level efficiently.”
Rushton specified 36 EMS-51 loudspeakers to cover Principal Hall. The space, which can be divided into three separate rooms, was equipped with a total of 18 zones that can be used together or individually. The first and second rooms are similar in size with flat seating areas, each room is equipped with eight EMS-51 loudspeakers. The third room, which is larger in size and features raked seating, utilises 16 EMS-51 loudspeakers. The loudspeakers in each space were distributed throughout the zones so that the audio orientation of the rooms can be changed as needed while still maintaining a stereo image.
“Coupling the EMS-51 with the factory recommended Linea Research 88C10 10K Watt, eight channel amps gave us the pristine power we needed as well as the internal DSP to do the eq, delay matrix and various configuration presets for the multitude of room configurations,” adds Batourine. “We are pleased that everybody that’s heard the system is quick to comment on its very high fidelity.”
“Everything was optimized for voice and general programming,” concludes Rushton. “The result is clean, even, coverage and pristine audio intelligibility, something important in a learning/lecture environment, and exactly what the university required.”
29th October 2018
Adamson IS-Series Covers Large Congregation at GBI Aruna in Indonesia
Indonesia – GBI Aruna Church is known for its dynamic and inspiring worship services, welcoming over 16,000 weekly congregants across its 15 campuses in the Indonesian city of Bandung. In order to serve and engage the congregation better at its flagship 1,600-capacity location, GBI Aruna, the church’s pastoral team recently invested in a new audio system built around the install-focused IS-Series from Adamson Systems Engineering.
GBI Aruna was constructed in 2007, and due to consistent and significant growth over the years coupled with an enhanced music ministry, the pastoral team made the decision to upgrade its house audio system for the second time in mid-2018.
The church invited representatives from three loudspeaker manufacturers to demo their systems in the main sanctuary. After extensive evaluations, the IS-Series system comprised of IS7 two-way, full-range cabinets and IS118 and E218 subwoofers showcased by Big Knob Audio, Adamson’s Indonesian distributor, was chosen for the project.
“The Adamson IS7 is so lightweight and compact, it’s amazing to experience such powerful sound coming from the system,” says Marshall Pins, GBI Aruna’s senior sound engineer. “Not only that, it provides very consistent tonality from front to back. We worked with Big Knob on the design using Adamson’s Blueprint AV software, which was very helpful in fine-tuning the system to achieve the even coverage throughout the seating area that we were looking for. It is such a joy to mix on this system.”
The left-right solution employs arrays of eight IS7 cabinets below one IS118 subwoofer per side. An additional complement of four E218 subwoofers are groundstacked in front of the stage for extra low-end reinforcement, and a pair of IS7 cabinets are deployed at the lip of the stage as front fills.
Stevannus Yordan, the head of the Music Ministry at GBI Aruna, explains that the IS-Series checks every box in terms of what he and his colleagues sought from the new solution. “There were three criteria that needed to be met: a light weight, even coverage, and of course, a high degree of musicality. The IS-Series met them all and sounds very luxurious. It reinforces the worship environment like never before.”
Timo Wibianto, senior partner at Big Knob Audio, says that he knew the IS-Series was the optimal solution for this application for a number of reasons. “The IS-Series is purpose-built for install applications like this, offering a remarkably easy installation process, incredible sound, and a sleek, unobtrusive package that keeps the congregation’s focus on the words and music being shared. We look forward to many other successful projects with the IS-Series going forward.”