Project News Headlines
DiGiCo SD12s deliver mixing without limitation to Canada’s Imperial Theatre
Canada – Built over a century ago, the Imperial Theatre in the Canadian city of Saint Johns, New Brunswick, has played host to many a legendary show. In the mid 1980s, a huge restoration project took place, bringing the theatre back to its original glory. With its incredible history and unique design, the Imperial Theatre still enjoys a busy schedule with music, film and theatre shows filling its diary. It has recently taken delivery of two DiGiCo SD12, consoles that are not only right for the venue, but also for the string of visiting engineers needing a versatile mixing desk that allows them to set up shows quickly and easily.
“We looked at a lot of consoles from a lot of different manufacturers. They each had things we liked and didn’t like,” explains the theatre’s head of sound, Sean Boyer. “Time again, the SD12 bubbled to the top of our conversations because of its small footprint, flexibility, world-class preamps, expandability and its light weight, trust me, that was a consideration. Our previous consoles would take four people to back up and move, but the SD12 can be set up by two people without strain. We constantly see DiGiCo at the top of the list for asks on riders, and engineers we had spoken with over the months couldn’t sing their praises highly enough! Once I got my hands on one during a demo, I was sold on it!”
Once funding became available, it was clear that the SD12 was only one option for the theatre. With an already installed Meyer Sound system, the DiGiCo SD12 was the perfect marriage.
Danny Legendre of DiGiCo’s Canadian distributor, Gerr Audio, who supplied the console, provided on-site training although, as Sean recalls, the team already had the system up and running prior to his arrival.
“As we had already had the SD12s up and running flawlessly, Danny’s time was spent providing training to the secondary operators,” he says. “At the start, they found the training a little daunting; the StealthCore2 software is so flexible and powerful and worlds apart from what they had been used to mixing on. But as time went on, you could see their eyes light up every time a new concept sunk in and they’ve been having fun getting to know the consoles ever since.”
Base system templates have been created for the SD12; one each for FOH and monitors, including default channels, patch assignments, and system options. Each engineer that works on the console can have their own default file, and just walk in with a thumb drive and be ready to go. Additionally, show files can be built using the off-line software, provided by DiGiCo at no extra cost, allowing Sean to sit in his office with his riders in front of him and build the show.
“This means I can have everything ready weeks before the performer(s) walk into the building,” he smiles. “They are constantly impressed with how prepared we are for them. That’s just one of the many benefits the consoles have given us.”
Whilst the in-house engineers have been using and loving the consoles, visiting engineers are just as excited about the SD12, many of them have worked with other consoles in the DiGiCo range.
“The beauty is, they can arrive with their show files for another SD Range mixer, and in two minutes we can convert it to run on the SD12,” says Sean. “We have even had a ‘celeb’ engineer, Stan Doty (Wilco), use the board and we were able to add to his stack of SD show files he carries on his thumb drive.
“I couldn’t be any more pleased with our decision. I had a few small bumps along the way, but Danny was always just a phone call or an email away, and immediately provided answers for the issues, which were, I hate to admit, operator error.
“Since the SD12s were installed, we have had nothing but wonderful feedback from acts and audience alike about how fantastic everything sounds. I feel exceptionally comfortable sitting in front of the desk. It gives me all the power I need to achieve my vision, without stressing about running out of headroom, not having enough EQs or compressors or, God forbid, hearing the AD/DA. The consoles are very conducive to executing an artistic vision, rather than working around limitations.”
13th July 2018
Adelaide Convention Centre to deliver spectacular visual experiences with new Christie Spyder X80
Australia – Christie has announced that Adelaide Convention Centre has acquired its latest Christie Spyder X80 multi-screen windowing processor to boost its capabilities in staging various events within its facilities.
Featuring stunning 80 megapixel processing power in true 4K at 60Hz performance across multiple displays, the Spyder X80 unit at the Adelaide Convention Centre will be used across the entire complex for staging multiple events such as gala dinners, conferences and trade shows. With this acquisition, Adelaide Convention Centre becomes the first organisation in Australia to have the Spyder X80 fitted in its premises. It also complements the impressive fleet of Christie projectors that the Adelaide Convention Centre has at its disposal, which includes several 3DLP systems comprising Christie Boxer 4K30, Boxer 2K20, and J Series models.
“The Spyder X80 is the perfect fit for our venue given its powerful processing capabilities and flexibility, as well as full compatibility with the various Christie 3DLP high-brightness projectors that are already deployed within the Centre,” said Matthew Stanton, technology and venue operations manager, Adelaide Convention Centre. “It offers many capabilities for different events and large scale experiences that help make display walls easy to set up and manage, while incorporating the latest standards and connectors. With an array of innovative features and benefits, I’m confident that the Spyder X80 will play an important role in fulfilling our display needs for the foreseeable future.”
Stanton noted that Adelaide Convention Centre is no stranger to Christie’s image processing systems having been a satisfied user of the Spyder X20 since 2010.
“The Christie Spyder X20 has served us well for the last eight years with its 20 megapixel video processing, matrix switching and integrated source monitoring capabilities. It’s a natural progression for us to upgrade to the Spyder X80, which packs more than enough horsepower for us to create spectacular visual experiences.”
Stanton adds: “We made significant investment in our event technologies as part of our recent $397 million redevelopment. The addition of the Spyder X80 to our technology infrastructure further reinforces our market leadership and position as one of the world’s most modern and technologically advanced convention centres.”
Clark Williams, executive vice president, content management and processing, Christie, commented: “The Spyder X80 is high performing, reliable, and the only processor built from the ground up to support 4K at 60Hz on every channel. We’re grateful that Adelaide Convention Centre has placed its trust in the Spyder X80 to deliver the most amazing visuals across multiple displays in its expanded premises. This is a clear testimony that our Spyder X80 is an instrumental piece in realising a ‘pixels everywhere’ vision and stands alone at the forefront as a solution for applications that require managing a massive volume of pixels from source to display with the highest level of performance, flexibility, and functionality available.”
Since its launch in 2017, the Spyder X80 has won numerous accolades from all over the world. Besides being awarded InfoComm 2017’s Best Rental/Staging Product for Live Events, it recently made a big visual impact with a towering on-stage panorama spanning more than 450 feet and comprising expansive projection surfaces flanked by recessed LED walls at the Adobe Summit 2018 in Las Vegas, USA, with AV support provided by WorldStage.
Featuring processing and connectivity capabilities that surpass anything else in the market, the Spyder X80 is the most powerful multi-screen windowing processor and content management solution available. The system can be configured with up to 24 inputs and 16 outputs per unit and supports user-defined color depth of 8 bits, 10 bits or 12 bits per colour, as well as high dynamic range. It is also equipped with Christie’s new Spyder Studio control system and a comprehensive EDID Manager.
12th July 2018
Elation Broadcast Lighting for Cwmni Da Studio, Wales
UK – When independent Welsh production company “Cwmni Da” converted its open plan office into a new studio earlier this year, in the town of Caernarfon on the north-west coast of Wales, the award-winning television producers sought to minimise its carbon footprint by installing a more energy-efficient lighting system. Lighting company Lumio Media obliged by suggesting, specifying and installing an LED lighting package of TV-optimised Elation Professional luminaires.
One of Wales’s foremost production companies, Cwmni Da produces a variety of television content for Welsh-language broadcasters S4C and C4, as well as the BBC. The company’s highly talented workforce excels at storytelling and entertaining with national and international productions that span the gamut of television programming from comedy and entertainment to sport programmes and children’s shows. The company is also environmentally conscious and sought a lighting solution for the new studio that was not only high quality but eco-friendly as well. “Cwmni Da is a green company and they were keen to use all LED lighting in the new studio,” stated John Penny Williams, lighting director at Lumio Media, who supplied and installed the full lighting rig, as well as scaffolding and all the distribution electrics and data for the project. “Once I explained the benefits of LED to them and suggested the Elation LED lighting system, they were on board.”
John first saw Elation’s new KL Fresnel line of warm-white LED Fresnel lights at 2017’s PLASA trade show in London, later demoed the KL Fresnel 8 and liked what he saw. He subsequently ordered six KL Fresnel 8 and four KL Fresnel 6 fixtures for the new Cwmni Da studio. “I was impressed by the power of the KLs,” he said, noting that it’s the first Fresnel key light he has used in which the barndoors actually work. “They give a nice, clean cut which lets you control the light much better.”
Also specified for use in the studio, and another white light luminaire that John says he has been impress with, are eight Elation TVL Panel DW softlights, a dynamic white luminaire with 480 cool white and 480 warm white LEDs and linear colour temperature control. Used in a white-out set for a show called FFIT Cymru, a lifestyle programme filmed over an eight-week period, the TVL Panel DWs were used for peak-white soft fill from behind while the KL Fresnel fixtures provided warmer keylight from the front. “The colour temperature-adjustable TVL Panel DWs are superb and the output is brilliant,” Penny comments. “The change from a warm tungsten look to daylight is absolutely crucial and they do it well. They give a nice and soft light. Also for the price, they’re amazing really!”
When more colourful looks are required the studio has ten TVL CYC RGBW cyclorama wall wash luminaires at its disposal to provide floods of seamlessly blended colour or variable white colour temperature looks. Also available for ample colour possibilities are 14 SixPar 200 LED colour-changing PAR lights and 16 SixBar 1000 Battens, both of which are used to light a zany satirical comedy/game show (Dim Byd) that required lots of colour. Both the SixPar and SixBar house high-power, single lens, six-colour (RGBWA+UV) LED multi-chips for a wider spectrum of chromatic options.
The Cwmni Da studio conversion from an open office space to a television studio occurred from January to March 2018 with the lighting install completed in late March. John Penny says that the installation started as one studio but has since expanded to two studios with the Elation gear moving back and forth as needed. According to the LD, cost savings as well as the power savings of the LED were key factors when choosing to go with the Elation products, and the fact that no dimmers are needed was also a great benefit. “The dimmers would have cost more than the fixtures,” John exclaimed! “The LED also produces much less heat and because of that they had no need to upgrade the HVAC/air con system.”
11th July 2018
Yamaha Brings Better Sound to Historic Open Air Theatre
Germany – Performances at the outdoor theatre in Ötigheim, near Karlsruhe, attract up to 100,000 visitors each year, thanks in part to their excellent production values. Maintaining a high standard is very important to the ‘not for profit’ owning company Volksschauspiele Ötigheim, which is why a brand new Yamaha mixing and audio management system was installed in time for the 2018 season.
Volksschauspiele Ötigheim has been staging productions for 112 years. Throughout the summer, shows are staged at its open air theatre, a former sand quarry which has 4,000 covered seats and, it claims, the biggest permanent outdoor stage in Germany.
For the past 15 years a pair of Yamaha 02R digital mixing consoles have been the reliable backbone of the theatre’s audio system. This year, they were replaced with a new system comprising two Yamaha CL5s, an MRX7-D matrix processor, Rio3224-D I/O unit and an RSIO64-D audio/Dante interface, fitted with Yamaha Mini-YGDAI cards for additional inputs and outputs. The system was specified, supplied and installed by Karlsruhe-based Rock Shop GmbH.
“Technology has moved on a long way since the 02Rs were installed in 2003,” says Rock Shop’s Mario Schmidt. “Staying with Yamaha was an obvious choice, because the equipment is so reliable and the workflow is familiar to most engineers. We chose the CL5s because they gave us better features and greater functionality, including Dante, along with excellent sound quality and all the benefits of Dan Dugan automixing.”
The productions are complex, so two consoles were installed to separate the mixing of orchestra and other musicians on one and singers/actors on the other. They also provide full redundancy, a wise precaution with the unpredictability of outdoor productions.
Inputs to the system comprise 52 wireless microphone/instrument channels, plus further wired mic and instrument feeds. The front of house mix is routed to line array PA, while a Yamaha Nuage NIO500-A16 acts as output device for delivering up to 16 analogue wedge and in-ear monitor feeds. Signal distribution is managed by the MRX7-D, which also controls the time alignment for the different PA zones. A four input, eight output analogue broadcast feed is also provided.
“Delivering high quality sound outdoors is always a challenge, but here there is the added difficulty that the performance area is open, but the audience seating is roofed,” says Mario. “Having enough headroom before feedback, weather resistance and wind stability of the speaker system are all challenges to providing a neutral, intelligible, evenly-distributed sound. On top of that, the sound design for different productions needs to be clear, with a straightforward workflow and both home and guest sound engineers need to be accommodated.
“The new system has enabled us to deliver all that, taking advantage of all the most recent developments in Yamaha audio technology to make a big improvement to the quality and distribution of the sound. Volksschauspiele Ötigheim is very happy and all the engineers that are using the system appreciate the workflow and ease of use, as well as the great audio quality.”
10th July 2018
HCS Provides Indoor/Outdoor Solutions for Morphettville Racecourse with Community Loudspeakers
Australia – Horder Communication Solutions (HCS) has recently completed an upgrade of the indoor and outdoor audio systems for the South Australian Jockey Club (SAJC) at its Morphettville Racecourse in Adelaide.
The SAJC is South Australia’s largest premier racing club, playing host to 58 days of racing action throughout the year at Morphettville Racecourse. In addition to racing on a weekly basis, Morphettville is a multi-purpose venue featuring 22 function rooms able to host events of all occasions seven days a week.
Early in 2017 the SAJC published an Expression of Interest (EOI) for the upgrade of the audio systems at the Morphettville Racecourse. The existing audio systems were based on a network of Media Matrix Nion controllers and primarily lab.gruppen amplifiers, which were to be retained. The loudspeakers were a diverse collection of box and ceiling loudspeakers, of varying quality and suitability. Overall, most areas did not perform well and complaints from members and guests were frequent.
HCS responded to the EOI, presenting a solution utilising the Community range of products. HCS had recently upgraded the Strathalbyn Race Track with a combination of Community D4 ceiling loudspeakers and R SERIES outdoor loudspeakers and the result had been described by the club as “stunning,” so it was a compelling choice to continue with the Community solution.
Providing audio to multiple zones, the sources varied from ‘all venue’ race day caller, broadcasts from local and interstate meetings, to conference presentation and live sound reinforcement.
The systems needed to provide a diverse range of acoustic solutions in the different areas to be covered. These included large open indoor areas requiring high resolution reproduction in noisy environments from ceiling speakers, two large open conference and exhibition pavilions with high ceilings, multiple intimate conference and presentation areas, the main grandstand and horse mounting area, heritage grandstands requiring sensitive loudspeaker positioning and lawn areas.
After acceptance of the HCS bid, EASE modelling of all areas was carried out by Hills AV technical staff in conjunction with HCS, to provide final validation of the solution and the BOM, which included 338 Community D SERIES ceiling and pendant loudspeakers, 12 D SERIES subwoofers and 44 R SERIES loudspeakers. Community provided input files that made this process simple and accurate, with results that closely aligned with the predictions.
The indoor open areas were fitted with a combination of Community D4, D5 and D6 ceiling loudspeakers, where the wide dispersion pattern was an advantage for the low ceiling heights. The club described the sound in the main members’ area as “fabulous” on the first race day.
The large conference and exhibition pavilions are 45 x 25 and 30 x 15-metre ‘permanent temporary buildings,’ with glass and composite panel walls and high composite panel and canvas ceilings. One area has a suspended Tule inner lining to hide the ceiling structure, the other an open area with hung lighting truss frames.
Both areas were fitted with three rows of Community DP6 pendant loudspeakers, interspersed with D10SUB high output ceiling subwoofers painted white and hung as pendants. The room with the Tule treatment had the loudspeakers hung above the lining, resulting in a completely hidden sound system. High frequency degradation from the Tule lining was minimal. The result was outstanding and a small rock band used the in-house system as their reinforcement shortly after commissioning. The response was “jaw dropping disbelief that such a system could sound so good!”
The lower levels of these pavilions are large open low ceiling areas and the installation of D4 ceiling loudspeakers, closely spaced and tapped to low power levels, resulted in a very clean and consistent sound quality that compensated for the reflective nature of the room. These were arranged into grid blocks to allow muting of selected areas for exhibition breakout. R.15COAX ultra-compact loudspeakers pointing down the long axis were used to provide coverage to the narrow breakout balcony areas.
SAJC had previously experienced coverage problems with the main grandstand and mounting yard and these were easily resolved by the selection of the appropriate combination of Community R SERIES loudspeakers. The loudspeaker mounting point was the front of the grandstand awning, 18 metres above the front of the tiered seating area and backed by floor-to-ceiling glass, and immediately above the horse mounting yard, parade ring and Diva Bar breakout area.
Sound levels needed to be tightly controlled across all areas with the criteria of high SPL on the tiered seating, while avoiding reflections from the rear glass, very high SPL to the Diva Bar, breakout and side lawn areas and low SPL over the mounting yard, while retaining good coverage of the jockeys, owners and trainers areas.
Two rows of R.35COAX loudspeakers were chosen for the seating areas and a combination of R.35-3896 and R.25-94TZ provided a very evenly controlled pattern over the front Diva Bar and mounting yard areas. The combination of R SERIES models met the client’s tight criteria, with a very even SPL across all areas and high intelligibility during a race broadcast.
The choice of R.15COAX and R.25-94TZ provided even coverage for the heritage stands, at the same time allowing the installation crew to effectively hide the loudspeakers in the structure while respecting the heritage ironwork and construction of the stand.
The lawn areas are covered by six high power, full-range large format horn-loaded R1-66Z loudspeakers, spaced across the 120 x 20-metre lawn frontage between the buildings and the track. With strategic positioning of additional R SERIES loudspeakers providing infill, the system achieves a very even and controlled SPL across the whole 265-metre race day presentation area.
Blake Kirby of Hills AV observed: “The system proved itself on race day. With thousands of racegoers in attendance it was possible to walk from any location to another within the complex and be subjected to the same uniform, outstanding sound quality.”
John Horder from HCS commented: “I wanted to achieve ‘a warm bath of clear audio’. The combination of Community and Hills’ technical services was the perfect toolkit to achieve this and exceed the client’s expectations.”
10th July 2018
Outline scores with Italian soccer stadium upgrade
Italy – The 17,368 capacity “Pino Zaccheria” stadium, the home field of Foggia soccer team located in Italy’s south-eastern Apulia region (nicknamed the “Red and Black Devils of the South”), recently underwent an in-depth upgrade in order to meet the latest specifications for the country’s Serie B (the equivalent of the second division). The work included a new sound reinforcement system, supplied by Centro Cultura Musicale.
Designed using Outline Open Array 3D software by the company’s senior system engineer Francesco Ferretti, the system is used to play recorded music before matches, announcements, publicity, team line-ups, announcements for the substitution of players, safety announcements, etc.
The upper tier of the roofed west stand is covered by six Outline Vegas 12 CX two-way, full-range coax speaker enclosures installed under the roof. The same format is used with four more Vegas 12 CX for the lower tier, installed under the upper tier of the stand.
The lower tier of each of the north and south curves is covered by four Vegas 12 CX installed under the upper tier, and the lower tier of the open air east stand seating features six Vegas 12 CX mounted below the upper tier.
The upper tier of the seating on the each of the curves’ and the open air stand are covered by four Stadia 100-30 long-throw DPRWG loudspeaker systems. Each curve has a Stadia mounted on one of the ground’s lighting pylons and the stand has two mounted over the centre of the main stand’s roof.
The Outline powerhouse for the entire set-up comprises four T Five-DSP two-channel PWM power amplifiers and four M5000-4 4-channel PWM amps and the complete system is controlled by four of Outline’s iP24 multi-function DSP processors.
Outline loudspeakers were also installed outside the pitch, in the turnstile zone, in the form of six Eidos 15 two-way full-range enclosures, powered by an Outline M5000-4 four-channel PWM power amplifier.
The system was designed and tested by senior system engineer and technical support specialist Francesco Ferretti and Outline R&D engineer and technical support staff Giulio Gandini.
As well as the new PA system, the ground’s upgrade also included a new lighting system for night matches, electricity generators and contemporary seating. Beyond meeting the new safety regulations, new booths and facilities were added for broadcast coverage, as well as upgrades being made to the offices, dressing rooms and turnstiles.
Augusto Rinaldi of Centro Cultura Musicale stated: “The sound reinforcement system is particularly effective thanks to its clear sound as well as ensuring that there is no sound spill into the surrounding zones. The set-up’s user-friendliness is definitely the icing on the cake and the public has appreciated and acknowledged the results, which exceeded all of our expectations.”
9th July 2018
Renkus Heinz Gives Ajinimoto a Taste of High-End Audio
USA – As one would expect from a leading frozen gourmet food and seasonings manufacturer and distributor, Ajinimoto Foods North America, Inc., is always testing new products. Founded in Japan in 1909, the global firm is famous for its discovery and use of Umami, the "fifth taste," along with sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. Naturally, Ajinimoto's R&D presentation room at its North American headquarters is a special space, hosting the company's tastings and presentations. Designing a sound system for the room was no easy task, but ClearTech Media, with the assistance of Pacific AV, successfully overcame the space's challenges with Renkus-Heinz CFX-series loudspeakers.
"The challenge in this space was to provide an immersive dining experience," begins Pacific AV vice president of sales Jeff Miranda. "This space had its challenges due to the boxiness of the room and lots of glass, marble, and other highly reflective surfaces. We needed a solution that would provide high directivity with a minimum of reflections off all of these surfaces."
To create the immersive experience Ajinimoto sought, the ClearTech/Pacific AV team designed a surround audio system based on Renkus-Heinz CFX61 loudspeakers. "We selected the CFX Series because it provided the directivity and control we needed," Miranda explains. "Best of all it fit within the customer's budget."
Designed for both portable and installed systems, the compact Renkus-Heinz CFX61 employs a 6.5-inch woofer that can easily handle 120W of programming power, along with a smooth-sounding, low-distortion, 1-inch extended-range, titanium high-frequency driver. As with all CFX Series loudspeakers, it features Renkus-Heinz' Complex Conic Horn design, which offers 150° by 60° dispersion with constant beamwidth/directivity. This combination provides outstanding full-range performance from 80Hz to 20kHz (± 3dB).
Pacific AV selected the non-powered CFX61 for Ajinimoto's room, matching the loudspeaker with a Linea Research XiB4 four-channel, Class D power amplifier. The XiB4 can deliver up to 5,000W RMS total, includes onboard DSP, and supports USB and BvNet network operation. Ajinimoto's staff can easily control the system using a Crestron touch panel.
ClearTech specified a white enclosure to blend in with the space's white walls, maintaining the room's aesthetics. "The Renkus-Heinz CFX61 was a great choice for the space," asserts Miranda. "The customer and the guests have been thrilled with the immersive experience the system delivers."
9th July 2018
Avolites Ai and Autoblend Awaken the Senses on SOMNAI
UK - London's hit new immersive experience, SOMNAI, is tripping out visitors with its dreamlike visuals perfectly mapped onto a perspective-bending dome at the heart of the production using Avolites Ai's Autoblend feature.
SOMNAI is the latest project from dotdotdot, in collaboration with a host of video content and AV specialists including long-time Ai expert, GaiaNova. The British 360° dome mapping specialist acted as the production's dome system integrator.
"We knew that Avolites' Ai Infinity R6 media server was the right choice for this project, loaded with v10 software and its essential Autoblend feature," says Ben Stern from GaiaNova. "Autoblend is a complete game-changer in how you map domes. It simplifies the entire process and the results are amazing. It's so good that trying to do it any other way is unthinkable - I wouldn't map a dome using anything else."
SOMNAI takes visitors to a place 'where hyper-reality and virtual reality meet - a live, multi-sensory experience with immersive technologies'. The audience is guided into a room where they are told a bedtime story before falling into a hypnotic, dream-like state and asked to put on VR headsets. When they remove the VR gear, the roof of the space has retracted to reveal the huge dome, displaying trippy video sequences. A journey into the subconscious begins.
Stern was challenged with creating the rounded structure, which is squeezed into SOMNAI's effortlessly cool East London location, as well as providing the technical wizardry.
"Projecting rectangles onto a curved surface might not sound easy, but with Autoblend it just works," Stern continues. "With a bit of programming and visualisation the Ai server does most of the work for you and you have a seamless visual, a single image spread across multiple projectors."
The mind-altering video content was designed by the creative masterminds at Immersive, while the audio aspects were created by experiential audio FX company Mixed Immersion.
For this production, GaiaNova built and supplied the video playback rack, including the switching matrix composed of two Ai R6 media servers, a fish-eye camera for Autoblend, as well as the dome structure and screen. The team worked with the in-house production on the Ai setup and programming. Timecode links the show's audio playback system, supplied by Mixed Immersion, to the Ai media servers.
"We're running six outputs - one GUI and five Sony VPL-FHZ60BL projectors with wide-angle lenses," Stern explains. "Ai is great at interfacing with other show control kit and we're big fans, which is one of the many reasons we use Ai for most of our projects!"
SOMNAI runs until late July at 2 Pear Street, London.
6th July 2018
L‑Acoustics delivers rider-friendly, versatile system to South African State Theatre
South Africa - The South African State Theatre’s Opera House has recently opened its doors to new musical genres, in particular jazz, and needed a new audio system that could meet the varied demands now placed on it. At the end of last year, anL‑Acoustics Kara system was installed, bringing the Opera House’s audio bang up to date with a solution that can handle the diversity of productions the theatre hosts in a rider-friendly format.
Originally opened in 1981, the South African State Theatre was the major force behind establishing the performing arts in South Africa and is a national flagship. It has six theatres sited on the huge State Theatre complex in Pretoria. The Opera House is the largest of these and has always been the country’s premier opera venue, as well as hosting a wide variety of theatre productions.
The design and installation of the Opera House’s new system were performed by Richard Smith with technical support from L‑Acoustics Application Engineer Julien Laval and was commissioned by him in November 2017.
“The original brief came via a tender which had a general specification from the theatre,” says Smith. “All the major manufacturers pitched for it and we were lucky enough to be awarded the contract.”
An L‑Acoustics Kara system was specified, knowing from experience that it was the right product for space and because brand acceptability was extremely important to the theatre.
“A reputable brand was specified in the tender document and there just isn’t a brand that is more reputable and rider-friendly than L-Acoustics,” says Smith. “We’ve used Kara in a lot in theatres and churches of similar sizes, so we knew it would work and give a great result.”
The system comprises 24 Kara with eight SB18i as left / right hangs, five ARCS II as the centre cluster, two X12 as infill, six 5XT as frontfill and four ground-stacked SB28 subs. The system runs on LA8 and LA4X amplified controllers.
“We added a centre cluster for when the theatre is being used for musical theatre and we chose ARCS II for this, based partly on the spec, but also on the size and power of the cabinets, which are optimised to deliver very high SPL levels, great low-frequency performance, and are consistent in tonal balance across the entire theatre. But the Kara can be used on their own for concerts if the guest engineer prefers,” Smith continues. “I worked with Julien Laval on the design of the system and we decided to go with an end-fire sub configuration on the ground. By doing this and having the flown subs behind the system in cardioid configuration, we were able to keep the bass off the stage. The X-Series is to bring the image down so the people in the front don’t have sound coming from way above their heads.”
The venue also wanted to have more control over the system and are happy with the fact that files can be logged in the event of an issue in order to pinpoint exactly what happened, for example, if there was a power surge. This offers more accountability and protectability, and ultimately peace of mind.
The first show to use the new system was Capital Singers, the biggest community choir project on the African continent. The show has an orchestra consisting of a 12-piece string section, four-piece brass section, concert grand piano, full rhythm section, and complete orchestra percussion section, but the main attraction is the 650-member choir supported by professional solo vocalists.
“The December 2017 show was the 10th project for Capital Singers,” says Stephen Kruger, Capital Singers’ FOH engineer. “There were three sold out shows and it was an absolute pleasure using the newly installed L‑Acoustics system. Having a good system in the venue with 52 open microphones—including 16 hanging mics for the choir—made my life so easy. I mix shows in the State Theatre three to five times a year. For the first time in the history of this production, and my 18 years as FOH engineer, I could focus on mixing and getting the show to sound great instead of fighting bad frequencies and dead spots in the venue.”
What impressed Kruger most about the system was the smooth coverage throughout the venue. “The centre cluster and front fills smooth out the usual problem areas,” he says. “The time alignment of the system is spot on and I didn’t have to waste any time during load-in to get the system tuned; it was ‘plug and play’ for me. Even under the balcony, without under-balcony fills, you can hear every little detail from the two main hangs. For the first time in years, I had a proper and accurate reference at the FOH mix position in this venue.
And the headroom on the system is absolutely amazing. The combination of flown and end-fire ground stack subs made the low-frequency distribution in the venue better than ever before. The overall system is an absolute pleasure to work with and I am looking forward to my next show on this system, coming up in May.”
6th July 2018
The Sextant Group Sets Its Sights On Alcons
US - Operating out of 11 offices across the US, The Sextant Group is a leading firm of technology consultants, providing innovative solutions to a wide range of client needs. Over the past few years, they have embraced the advantages of Alcons Audio loudspeakers for an increasing number of high profile projects.
The Sextant Group operates in a range of industries, including culture, education, government, healthcare, recreation/sport and workplace environments. A key service is specifying high-quality AV and sound/lighting solutions for live entertainment. Based in Pittsburgh, Joe Hammett is one of its Senior Systems Designers.
“I first learned of Alcons in late 2014,” he says. “The following year a co-worker recommended that I take a look at them because we had a project where we needed to recess multiple subwoofers in a small space. I visited the company’s booth at InfoComm 2015, listened to the loudspeakers there and was immediately impressed. Then the real research began.”
As an independent consultant, The Sextant Group is committed to delivering solutions for a wide variety of differing needs. Joe can choose products from throughout the professional sound industry, helping clients to select solutions that fit both their needs and budgets.
“We evaluate the needs of the space from both the use-case and architectural perspective, then select a product that is the best for both. It is a duty we take very seriously,” he says.
In many cases, customers are looking for an audio solution which delivers exceptional sound, but which is visually discreet. This is a need that Alcons pro-ribbon technology is perfectly placed to fulfil.
“On many of my projects there is a fine balance between room aesthetics and the size of the loudspeakers required to produce the desired output,” says Joe. “An advantage of Alcons pro-ribbon technology is that the power handling allows for a higher output with lower distortion when compared to other loudspeakers of a similar size. With an Alcons solution, I am able to hide loudspeakers in recesses and other out-of-the-way places without sacrificing floor space.”
He continues, “I strive for the ideal solution where the loudspeakers are heard but not seen, which I have been able to do multiple times with Alcons products. Another feature of the pro-ribbon driver is its extremely high gain before feedback. This feature has allowed me more freedom in speaker placement for systems that require speech reinforcement, live musical performances and program audio reproduction.”
Two very different projects Joe has specified Alcons products for are a public-facing experience centre for a major electronics manufacturer in New York and an immersive theatre in a leading US children’s research hospital.
For the electronics manufacturer, the brief was for an ultra-high quality audio system to complement a giant, 96-panel flat screen display, which forms the centrepiece of a unique ‘cultural destination, digital playground and marketing centre of excellence’. Effectively a cinema system in all but name, Joe specified arrays of three Alcons LR7 micro line array modules for the left, right and top centre, an SR9 MkII ultra-compact fill-in monitor for the lower centre channel, six CSS3 small-format reference surrounds and four CB181slFV front-venting shallow subwoofers.
The LR7s, SR9s and CB181slFV were embedded in a wall surrounding the screen, hidden by acoustically transparent fabric, with power and control coming from three Sentinel3 amplified loudspeaker controllers.
The children’s hospital theatre features three Alcons VR8 compact versatile monitors, four CSS3 small-format reference surrounds and two Sentinel3 amplified loudspeaker controllers.
One of the first projects that Joe looked at Alcons for is also now coming to fruition, a multi-use auditorium in a university student centre, which is also based on an LR7 system.
“Alcons products allow me to design owner- and architect-pleasing systems that fit the budget and give the users high impact experiences with incredible clarity and reliability,” he says. “Working with Alcons as a manufacturer has also been easy. I know that I get excellent technical support and quick budget estimates.”
“I work with an acoustic model of a space with speaker options and alternate mounting locations. This is crucial to the design process, ensuring that the infrastructure is included in the construction package to properly locate and mount the speakers… the installation of which can sometimes be years later.”
Once a system is installed, it is essential that it is set up correctly to deliver the best experience to the customer. Here Alcons offers further support by including on-site commissioning in its master quote.
“Many of my projects go to bid and not all AV contractors are familiar with the Alcons product. By specifying this service, I can be confident that the loudspeaker system will be commissioned properly,” adds Joe. “Alcons helps to ensure that our customers will always be happy.”
5th July 2018
The Bridgewater Hall Increases Flexibility and Creative Options with ChamSys MagicQ MQ80
UK – It’s easy to understand why The Bridgewater Hall hosts some 250 concerts and events a year. Built on 280 rows of stainless steel springs to reduce vibrations, it offers superb acoustics, and its aesthetically-pleasing multi-tiered interior affords clear views of its stage. Officially opened on December 4, 1996, by Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh, the 2400-seat hall is a source of pride for all of Manchester. Yet, it does present a challenge for the facility’s technicians who are often called upon to run the lighting for its many events.
Jonathan Rowland, Technical Manager of the hall, recently made it easier for his staff to perform this task by installing a ChamSys MagicQ MQ80 console. “Given the volume and diversity of what is booked here -- everything from orchestral to rock concerts, as well as corporate events and graduations -- our techs are often running the lights,” he explained. “We needed a lighting desk that all of our technicians could operate, even the sound guys!
“We looked at the available options that aligned with what our venue needed,” continued Rowland. “A trusted supplier, Chris Bogg of DBS Solutions, recommended ChamSys. The more we studied it, the more it seemed that the MQ80 with a PC Wing fitted the bill perfectly. The layout is simple and user-friendly, and the touchscreen-only adds to that simplicity. We like that the screen is a good size, easy to read, and allows you to change the user view when necessary.”
For a typical show or event, The Bridgewater Hall’s ChamSys console will use the preset faders or will work on the Execute function on the PC Wing. “This is really a treat for us,” said Rowland. “It’s really simple to put any previous settings/states onto the faders in seconds.”
Although the ChamSys MagicQ MQ80 is simple for the house technicians to run, the console, which supports 24 universes and has 10 Playback Faders with 200 pages, offers a robust array of performance features for running complex shows, something that Manchester Hall’s staff has been doing more of lately.
“Our desk is still used almost on a daily basis simply to control house lights, or for orchestral rehearsals, or to control the overhead whitewash and conductor specials,” said Rowland. “Larger rock show tours inevitably bring in their own gear. However, we are beginning more and more to operate lights for shows using our ChamSys -- and it excels in these applications.”
Indeed, since installing its ChamSys MagicQ MQ80, The Bridgewater Hall has begun to bring in moving fixtures for some of its house-run shows, something it didn’t do with its earlier console. “The ChamSys has helped us expand our horizons,” said Rowland. “In addition to wanting to give our techs a user-friendly desk, we installed the ChamSys so we could go with moving lights, blinders and hazers. This is where the market is headed, even for basic recitals and events. It’s gotten to the point where bringing in moving lights is a regular occurrence here. So, adding ChamSys really made us future proof!”
4th July 2018
Grozny Dolphinarium backs PR Lighting IP65 fixtures
Russia - A new Dolphinarium has opened in the Chechnyan capital of Grozny—the centrepiece of a major new complex that also includes several parks, attractions, race circuit, restaurant, theatre and an equestrian park. The total area of the facility is more than 300,000 sq.m.
The Grozny Dolphinarium itself measures around 10,000 sq.m. and includes eight swimming pools for training and a recreation area for animals where they can engage in water performance. In the centre is a 12m diagonal screen where up to 665 people can watch the water show.
The LTM Group was tasked with developing project documentation for the sections of stage lighting, electro-acoustics and suspension system, as well as the installation of acoustic and lighting equipment. A high technical specification was set for the audio visual, with particular attention given to the central pool, and for this, fully-featured IP65-rated fixtures from PR Lighting were specified.
Having installed suspension frames for the stage lighting and sound systems over the water area, LTM, who are PR Lighting’s Russian distributors, specified 24 IP65-rated PR Lighting AQUA 480 BWS as well as numerous Junior PAR ZOOM Series JNR-8154B Series fixtures, mounted on aluminium MDM frames.
Designed for use outdoors and in wet conditions, AQUA 480 provides three features in one (Beam, Wash and Spot), combining advanced 480W lamp with superb optical system, ideal for outdoor entertainment, concert, stadium and any other activities or events. The fully-featured JNR PAR ZOOM contains 19 x 15W (4-in-1 RGBW) LED lamps and also has an IP 65 rating.
Said LTM Import Manager, Roman Yakubovskiy, “We recommended PR Lighting Junior to meet the client price requirement and the specification, and the AQUA 480 BWS because this product has IP65 protection level. This suits projects with high humidity and where the product needs to function on direct contact with water, as is the case with Dolphinariums.
“Another very important aspect was the rapid delivery time.”
The lighting control system is based on MA onPC command wing and MA onPC fader wing.
The achievement of the LTM Group in designing and installing not only the sound and lighting but also the broadcast system was all the more remarkable as it had to be implemented in an extremely short time frame.
2nd July 2018
MBC Fills its New Studios with Rosco LED Technology
Middle East – The Middle East broadcaster MBC Group has opened new studios in Dubai, UAE and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Both studios utilised cutting edge technology, including Silk LED Soft Lights, Braq Cube WNC LED Fixtures and almost 4km of RoscoLED Tape VariColor, to integrate seamlessly ancient traditions of Islamic architecture and contemporary design into their state-of-the-art broadcast facility.
MBC group recently converted a soundstage in Dubai Studio City into a TV studio complex that complements its headquarters in Dubai Media Center. The multi-level, 20,000 square foot facility consists of three broadcast venues dedicated to news, sports, children’s and daytime programming.
Through its Dubai based distributor, Oasis Enterprises, Rosco provided nearly 3km of RoscoLED Tape VariColor as well a number of Silk 210 LED Soft Lights and Braq Cube WNC LED fixtures for the new MBC studio in Dubai. Oasis Enterprises was responsible for the supply, installation, testing and commissioning of all the Rosco products in the facility and shared photos and testimonials about the project.
Reels of RoscoLED Tape VariColor were installed to illuminate the set in vibrant, changing colours, creating a bright and modern look, while at the same time highlighting its classic Islamic design. The team at Oasis Enterprises chose RoscoLED Control Boxes to supply the power and control data because the unique 'plug & play' connectivity between the RoscoLED Tape and the control box reduced their installation time by eliminating a lot of the in-the-field soldering.
The project was featured in an article from Newscast Studio who reported that the MBC set design was based on two traditional Islamic concepts: tessellation and subtractive form. Tessellation is an arrangement of shapes closely fitted together in a repeated pattern without gaps or overlapping. This can be seen, for example, in the repeated X-pattern seen throughout the set, as well as the diagonal lines found in the backlit walls.
Subtractive form removes portions of a plane to alter its original shape and create segmentation. Throughout the MBC Dubai set there are openings, such as video walls, that break up the brightly lit plane of the textured walls.
The project was also written up in BroadcastPro Magazine, who reported that: “Lighting plays a significant role in these studios. The Braq Cube provides a smooth effect for low-ceiling applications, while the flicker-free RGBW strip from Rosco illuminates the decorative set.”
MBC also recently opened a new sports broadcast studio in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia for the MBC Pro Sportschannel. This studio features similar design elements to the Dubai Studio City project. Using nearly 1 km of RoscoLED Tape VariColor, supplied and installed by Oasis Enterprises, MBC Group created bright, colour-changing backlit surfaces to provide a modern aesthetic for this state-of-the-art broadcast facility.
Karim Abdel Massih, lighting systems manager from Oasis Enterprises explains why he chose RoscoLED Tape for the MBC studios: “I like the RoscoLED strips and the idea of RGB+W. I never hesitate to use Rosco products because of the support I get, especially from Andreas Dessloch [Rosco’s director of international business development], to make the job successful and my customer happy.”
photos: Oasis Enterprises
29th June 2018
Penn State University’s Eisenhower Auditorium Welcomes New Era with Meyer Sound Leo Family
USA – Penn State University notched up the technical capabilities for its performing arts programmes with the recent installation of a Meyer Sound Leo Family reinforcement system in Eisenhower Auditorium, the flagship facility of the Center for the Performing Arts on the main campus in State College, Pennsylvania. At a school renowned for its Nittany Lions athletic teams, the new state-of-the-art reinforcement system is appropriately anchored by 24 Lyon line array loudspeakers.
"It’s really a game changer with this system hanging in here," remarks Tom Hesketh, the venue’s events manager and de facto technical director. "Now we can offer touring acts a better system and at a lower expense when you factor in labour costs on rental rigs. For example, I just had an e-mail conversation with the FOH engineer for Gordon Lightfoot. When I told him what we had, his reply was, 'Oh yeah'!”
Rental systems were a constant necessity as the former house system, a decades-old "Voice of the Theatre" cluster, was rejected by touring riders and was barely adequate for many university events. Hesketh had been pushing for an upgrade for years, and finally a breakthrough came when Dave Brotman of Coatesville, Pennsylvania-based DBS Audio Systems brought in a Leo Family system for an annual university event attended by top administrators, finance personnel and faculty leaders of the College of Arts and Architecture. Following the formal event, a demo session featuring both live and recorded music proved convincing across the board.
"The system exceeded all our expectations," continues Hesketh. "To me, one of the more gratifying outcomes is that we’ve had three touring Broadway shows since we’ve put the system in and the A-1s basically said, 'Can I use this? If yes, I want to leave my rig on the truck'.”
In addition to the main Lyon arrays, the system comprises a centre array of eight Leopard line array loudspeakers, six per side cardioid arrays of 1100-LFC low frequency control elements, eight UPJunior-XP loudspeakers for front fill, and five UPQ-1P loudspeakers as balcony delays. The system is optimised and managed by four Galaxy 816 processors (networked via AVB/TSN) while an RMServer enables comprehensive remote status monitoring.
The system made its concert debut with the big-band jazz of The Birdland All-Stars. ("A good one to break it in," says Hesketh. "Their engineer was top flight, and it sounded amazing.") Broadway’s Jersey Boys and Dirty Dancing also benefited from the upgrade, as did numerous university events, including a moving Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial celebration featuring multiple choral ensembles. "I was up in the balcony and the effect was so emotional I had tears in my eyes,” Hesketh recalls.
Dean of the College of Arts and Architecture Dr. Barbara Korner, who worked with senior administrators to facilitate the upgrade, considers it a significant enhancement to the cultural life of the university and community. "We are now able to host shows and events that we couldn’t before," she observes. "People notice the difference immediately, as the new system allows our audiences to experience music and theatrical events at a higher level. It’s a joy to sit in the audience and hear comments about how much clearer the sound is."
From his standpoint, Tom Hesketh maintains that Dave Brotman of DBS Audio Systems deserves recognition for his initiative and follow-through support. "He stuck his neck out for us. Nothing was ever guaranteed, but Dave knew I had a vision and he wanted his company to be a part of it. And I can’t rave enough about their customer support. It’s been very gratifying."
Katie Rountree, facility co-ordinator for the College of Arts and Architecture, also expressed her appreciation. "I was impressed by the way DBS got the work done in the time frame promised, in a professional manner, and they went over and above by providing the temporary electrical service."
"It was a fitting anniversary celebration for our company since DBS turned 25 last year," notes Brotman. "It was a pleasure to work with Barbara, Katie, Tom and the entire staff at the Center for the Performing Arts. We’ve been thrilled by the response from the university since the system was commissioned."
Eisenhower Auditorium seats 2,585 and features the largest permanent stage between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Opened in 1974 and named in honour of former university president Milton Eisenhower (brother of the U.S. President), the venue hosts about 200 events annually. In addition to staging a wide variety of student and community events, Eisenhower Auditorium hosts conferences, graduations and concerts by renowned classical, jazz, pop, rock and blues artists.
29th June 2018
MDR Sound and Lighting Transforms Te Auaha Student Theatre with Chauvet Professional Ovation
New Zealand – Right in the heart of this nation’s capital stands Te Auaha, a new state-of-the-art university campus that provides a home to students of creative disciplines such as photography, film production, performing arts, visual arts and music. Supporting the wide variety of productions at the school’s 200-seat theatre auditorium is a carefully planned LED lighting rig that features a large collection of Chauvet Professional fixtures installed by MDR Sound and Lighting, including 12 Ovation F-915FC Fresnel, 12 Ovation F-165WW, ten Ovation E-910FC LED and ten Maverick MK2 Spot fixtures.
"The Ovation F-915FC is a remarkable LED Fresnel," commented James Kearney, technical manager of Te Auaha. "One of the most impressive features is its ability to reproduce true theatre colours with near perfect CRI – astonishing, considering the fact that the LED source has none of the drawbacks of traditional tungsten Fresnels."
The Ovation LED fixtures, are able to match the output of traditional tungsten fixtures to perfection.
"The Ovation fixtures really stand out in the new theatre," continued Kearney. "The warm white tones of the F-165WW Fresnel and Ovation E-910FC Full Colour LED profiles provide us with an exceptionally versatile rig that is a fit for any purpose."
In addition to the solid visual framework created by the Ovation fixtures, MDR specified ten Maverick MK2 Spot fixtures to provide the theatre with the tools to create the necessary punch and eye candy during performances.
"We are also loving our Maverick MK2 moving profiles and would be hard pressed to find another fixture we would rather have," continued Kearney.
Drawing on the powerful 440W source and precision engineered optics, CMY + CTO colour mixing, two six-position rotating slot and lock gobo wheels and 13 to 37 degree zoom range, MDR Sound and Lighting uses the Mavericks to provide a platform upon which varied and challenging atmospheres can be crafted.
"The LED light source has heaps of intensity, even through the CMY wheel or the CTO wheel, which does a better job of warming the beam up than any discharge fixture I've worked with," commented Kearney. "The gobo wheels with framing shutters are really great features and make the Maverick the ideal fixture for our venues."
A recent string of performances by New Zealand visual dance company Muscle Mouth provided testament to the convincing ability of the Mavericks. "After Muscle Mouth developed their latest show in our theatre with the MK2 Spot last month, they decided to take two on the road with them around New Zealand," said Kearney.
As a result of the Chauvet Professional installation in Te Auaha, the venue is equipped to deal with any kind of performance, show or live situation, and thus succeeds in putting the student's creativity at the forefront of its agenda.
"The technical team at Te Auaha and the students couldn't be happier with the installation," concluded Kearney. "We'd also like to extend our thanks to the fantastic team at MDR for specifying the Ovation and Maverick fixtures."
29th June 2018
Stage Electrics Equips the Stamford Shakespeare Company Ahead of its 50th Year
UK – Stage Electrics have supplied the Stamford Shakespeare Company with a new Altair wireless communication system ahead of their summer season of plays. The Stamford Shakespeare Company is an amateur theatre group, who perform at the distinctive Rutland Open Air Theatre, within the grounds of Tolethorpe Hall, Stamford.
Requiring a new wireless comms system ahead of the 2018 season, the Stamford Shakespeare Company enlisted Stage Electrics for guidance. “The client approached us with an idea of what they wanted. We discussed several different comms systems but settled on Altair’s WBS-202HD dual channel wireless intercom system,” commented Jonty Gray of Stage Electrics.
The WBS-202HD offers a secure communication between the base station operator and a maximum of eight wireless beltpacks. “The client specified that they needed the ability to allow the backstage crew and lighting technicians to communicate via different channels. This communication system allows for two operating modes. Either they can have all beltpacks on one radio wave or four on one and four on the other. Simply, allowing the two different teams to communicate individually,” Jonty reported. “Regarding the actual beltpack itself Altair’s WBP-210HD and WBP-212HD were the clear solution as they have both been specifically designed to offer outstanding performance in outdoor applications” he added.
The Stamford Shakespeare Company, home to some of the best amateur Shakespeare performances in the county, have recently opened the doors for their 2018 string of summer performances. “We are pleased with our investment, this wireless comms system is easy to use and offers great cross-platform compatibility,” reflected Grant Witton of the Stamford Shakespeare Company. “We regularly buy from Stage Electrics; Jonty and his team are very informative. We’re looking forward to this summer season of performances with the aid of our new equipment.”
29th June 2018
d&b ArrayProcessing drives audio renaissance for French theatre
France – Not far from the major port city of Caen in the Normandy region of north-west France, lies the small town of Mondeville. Despite its close proximity to Caen, Mondeville enjoys its own mayor, town hall and local services, including the municipally owned La Renaissance theatre, now the proud owner of a new d&b audiotechnik sound system solution.
While d&b systems can be found among the world’s most prestigious venues, it is the teams behind lesser known local applications that are making quality listening truly accessible to all. To that end regional projects like La Renaissance receive every bit as much attention, time and effort as the globally renowned stadiums and concert halls.
Laurent Coulombier is the theatre’s technical manager. “We needed to replace our old sound system that was completely obsolete, and it ultimately came down to three brands. We decided on d&b because, from a technical point of view, they were able to offer certain solutions, such as the flown sub array and ArrayProcessing, that the competition couldn’t. Given the constraints of the space we needed to cover, this gave us much more flexibility to develop the right system and save money in operational costs.”
One such restriction was due to the theatre’s expandable stage. Extending from the front made it impossible to incorporate ground stacked elements, such as subwoofers, “unless you’re prepared to go through the hassle and expense of moving and re-cabling six subs every time you have a configuration change,” says Coulombier.
To solve the problem, the team chose to fly the subs in a horizontal array from a dedicated proscenium truss. Six 27S compact, high performance, cardioid subwoofers were specified, enable up to 20dB of rear cancellation, thereby avoiding any unpleasant resonance on stage. The sub array format combined with the use of delays on the various sound sources resulted in accurate horizontal directivity control for smooth, homogeneous coverage throughout. For the performers and audience this also has the benefit of maintaining a clean, uncluttered stage.
With the adaptable stage in mind, it was also crucial that the PA system could provide full, consistent coverage in all three configurations without having to change the angles of each cluster. L/R hangs comprising six d&b T10 compact line array elements were specified per side utilising the optional ArrayProcessing function to realise the flexibility needed at the touch of a button.
“I also appreciate the amps,” continues Coulombier, referring to the installation targeted 30D and 10D used on the project. “With integrated processing that work with any d&b loudspeaker they allow us to optimise our loudspeaker combinations, stay within budget and still deliver superb results. The system is fully networked for straightforward system management, and I also felt that the ArrayCalc simulation software and associated R1 remote control software offered more personalisation than was possible from other manufacturers. In short, we have a high quality system from a top name brand that performs impeccably.”
Throughout the project d&b worked closely with the contractors, Triptyk, who handled the installation and local client relations. Triptyk is a multi-faceted event production company and systems integrator already very familiar with both the venue and with Laurent Coulombier.
“It was a fascinating learning curve for us as this was actually our first installation with d&b,” explains Olivier Mette, Triptyk’s head of audio. “We worked intensively with d&b for nearly six months in order to deliver the project. It was the first time we got to work with their innovative ArrayProcessing technology, a highly efficient processing technique that has been particularly compelling for Laurent at La Renaissance who works with three different room/stage configurations.
“The training provided by d&b enabled us to reinforce our knowledge of ArrayCalc and the R1 remote software and we also got to know the d&b team very well throughout the project. I have to say, all of them have been a pleasure to work with: friendly, professional, efficient and always available. We’re already looking forward to our next opportunity to work together.
“Although we are just a small theatre with a capacity of 400, nothing has been too much trouble for d&b,” confirms Coulombier. “They have addressed every single detail related to the specifics of the space and what we wanted to achieve.”
29th June 2018
High-Tech Calvary Chapel Las Vegas Mixes with Allen & Heath
USA – Calvary Chapel Las Vegas is a missions and outreach focused church with a highly capable technical crew that supports five worship services each week using an Allen & Heath dLive digital mixing system in their main worship space and an Allen & Heath GLD-80 digital mixer in a smaller chapel. Vocalists and musicians in both spaces use Allen & Heath ME-1 personal monitor mixers.
The church’s several buildings, including a K-12 school, are connected with a fibre network and its audio systems communicate via Dante so that the chapel can be used for overflow from the main worship space and services or events in either space can be broadcast over a streaming service and recorded for the church’s website.
Technical director Michael Millington explained the decision to adopt Allen & Heath, “I wanted the dLive because, at 96k, it was an amazing option and it met our budget. Second, it doesn’t scare volunteers away like some of the other digital mixers I’ve used. Also, we have a GLD-80 in our chapel and, if I train someone on the GLD, they have a good idea how to run the dLive.”
Purchased from Apex Audio of Huntington Beach, California, Calvary Chapel’s dLive system includes an S7000 Surface and CDM64 MixRack and its GLD-80 includes an AR2412 AudioRack and an AR84 Expander. Ten Allen & Heath ME-1 personal monitor mixers provide monitor services in the main worship space with six ME-1s in the chapel.
Christmas and Easter services may include a full string section, a choir and additional sources on tracks. Millington manages these using dLive layers and scenes. He has a Waves card in the S7000 Surface and says, “The Waves system sounds phenomenal. I’m running a plug-in chain on almost everything on stage. We absolutely love it.”
Millington designed the monitoring system to feed in-ear monitors for the band and for the vocalists in both of the church’s worship spaces. “I’ve had great success making the ME-1s work the way I needed. And the user interface is extremely easy,” he said.
Calvary Chapel is planning a new building and sanctuary and Millington commented: “Not only has the Allen & Heath equipment lived up to our expectations, it has met many of the unforeseen needs that come with larger services. I’m planning to convert my entire campus to some form of Allen & Heath products because they work that well for us.”
29th June 2018
Barco video walls prove best for Korea’s top nationwide broadcaster
Korea – In an exciting collaboration, Chosun Broadcasting Company has chosen Barco video walls as backdrop for its TV Chosun News studio. These installations bring a lot of opportunities with it; TV Chosun News is at the highest level of broadcasting authority in Korea and airs nationwide. VIP visitors from many industries are regulars in the studios and now witness Barco solutions performing perfectly for the number-one broadcaster. The eye-catching image quality delights and the seamless technology speaks for itself when seen in use, opening up marketing opportunities in every direction.
TV Chosun opted for Barco’s OVL-715 LED video wall panels 15x2 to build their news backdrop in the Main Studio. The high brightness of the OVL-715 is adjustable, with high levels of contrast, a broad white-point setting and the Sense6 automatic calibration system to ensure consistency. Add to this the redundant video input and LED illumination, as well as the E2 and EC-50 controllers that help to run the show, and it becomes clear that Barco solutions are instrumental in bringing TV Chosun viewers the clearest images possible.
“With this upgrade, TV Chosun is cementing its public image as the most professional and reliable broadcaster in the business,” says Dongmin Shin, the deputy director at TV Chosun. “The OLV-715 LED video wall delivers a crystal-clear news backdrop that gives our viewers the first-class images they deserve.”
This is also true for the installation of Barco solutions continuing on from the Main Studio. In the B Studio, TV Chosun installed a Barco UniSee 2x2 LCD video wall, capitalising on the excellent image quality, superior uniformity and high brightness, as well as the extremely narrow inter-screen gap between the bezel-less screens. However, it’s the flicker-free images and redundancy options that increase reliability and guarantee TV Chosun show runners complete peace of mind when it’s time to go on air.
This peace of mind has been further enhanced with the use of Barco’s state-of-the-art controllers; the control room, for example, is benefiting from ease and efficiency delivered by recently installed E2, EC-50and ECU-200 controllers. The unique auto-calibration technology, high-quality 4K input and output capabilities, exceptional durability and flexible usage ensure TV Chosun News looks sharp and performs at the top of the game.
“We now have the best news broadcasting and the best technology working together in perfect harmony,” explains Dongmin Shin. “Our viewers are enthralled by the results!”
28th June 2018
Ashly nX Series Amp Takes on the 70-Volt System at The Harker School’s New Auditorium
USA – The Harker School is a non-profit private school in San Jose, California. It serves grades Pre-K through 12 across four campuses that all accelerate education via state-of-the-art facilities and instructional methods. Recently, The Harker School completed construction of the Rothchild Performing Arts Center on its Saratoga campus for high school students. The centre includes a 450-seat theatre, a scene shop, dressing rooms, and numerous classroom spaces of varying sizes, including many smaller rooms for individual instrument lessons. A paging system installed by local A/V integration firm PCD. and built on the dependable 24/7/365 performance of an Ashly nX8002 multi-mode amplifier ties the different spaces in the Rothchild PAC together.
Devcon Construction served as the general contractor on the project, and the Shalleck Collaborative served as the A/V design consultant. “We’ve had a number of successful projects with Devcon in the past, and we were invited to bid on the Rothchild Performing Arts Center,” explained Christian Velasquez, contracts manager at PCD. “Although the design of the paging system is straightforward, it was important that it should work well on day one, and reliably into the future.”
A two-channel Ashly nX8002 amplifier delivers 800W per channel to an expansive 70-Volt system consisting of 24 Electro-Voice Evid c4.2 and 17 Evid c8.2 in-ceiling loudspeakers. The loudspeakers cover the classrooms and the common areas throughout the new space. A BiAmp Tesira processor links an Audio-Technica paging microphone with the rest of the system. “Ashly was a good fit for The Harker School,” Velasquez said. “Ashly boxes are always easy to connect and program with any kind of processor, so our Ashly installations tend to go as planned. And once they’re in, Ashly amplifiers just keep working and working.” Velasquez noted that the school’s very involved IT department requested two separate channels with aspirations for building out future zoning.
28th June 2018
Kling-Force Walks the Walk
Belgium – ArKaos continues to expand its work and partnerships in the architainment and commercial creative media installation sectors on a recent project in the international terminal at Brussels’ Zaventem Airport.
This is a collaboration with lighting and visual designer Koert Vermeulen of creative agency ACTLD.
The power and flexibility of ArKaos’s Kling-Net control protocol and Kling-Force LED interfaces have been harnessed to bring dynamic control to a 30,000 pixel video and kinetic sculpture which runs above the main travellator leading from the jetway to the baggage reclaim hall.
ACTLD was commissioned by Toerisme Vlaanderen (Flanders Tourism) to design, specify and supervise the production. For the installation, integrators Create won a public tender to deliver the project based on ACTLD’s specifications.
ArKaos and ACTLD have partnered on several previous projects, and ArKaos managing director Agnes Wojewoda commented: “We work with a number of production companies and designers and were very happy to co-operate with Koert again on such an imaginative installation. His pioneering work in the creative media field really pushes our technologies and these are the challenges we love!”
The animated installation is 100 metres long and a combination of low and medium resolution LED strips and panoramic video panels in the ceiling, fitted above a special kinetic fabric.
A loop of content runs on the display 24 hours a day in this tough and demanding environment, giving all passengers arriving into the main international terminal ideas and a glimpse of what they can expect and do in the region as they walk through to get their bags. Literal content appearing on the main video panel displays is processed into more abstract animations running through the length of the installation, retaining the same colour, tonality and continuity as people pass along the travellator.
Control was the most galvanising and brain-teasing aspect of the project…
Around 7000 pixels long by 700 wide, utilising traditional DMX was not a viable option; something altogether more “neat, agile and cost-efficient” was needed explained Koert.
He immediately thought of ArKaos, he’s known the team and their inventive range of products for a long time, and knew Kling-Net had the adaptability and scope required for the desired control.
The solution utilises Kling-Net running via the Kling-Force LED interfaces which have been specifically designed as a straightforward plug-and-play solution for running data to all types of LED strips, and will work with most major and popular LED strip products currently on the market.
This is the first time that ACTLD has utilised Kling-Net in a permanent installation. “It was an extremely versatile, good quality, stable and affordable way to run content to this vast amount of pixels,” stated Koert.
Having worked with ArKaos products in other sectors, he: “Knew that there would be huge advantages with the ease-of use and manageability of a Kling-Net / Kling-Force LED interface combination, and that ArKaos’s engineering would deliver exactly what we needed with great support and huge enthusiasm.”
The project was managed for ArKaos by the Brussels-based company’s operations manager, Benjamin Bauwens. Apart from the technical challenges, once on site Create had to deal with several practical and physical ones associated with working airside in a busy and fully functioning international airport.
The LED strips and panels were manufactured to order for by Lucenti, another Belgian company, with the Kling-Net chips supplied by ArKaos and embedded in the strips.
The kinetic fabric, in a similar way to prismatic lenses, can refract a light source placed inside its fibres in a number of different ways according to the weave.
The video server was supplied by Create and is running ArKaos’ MediaMaster5 software.
Eight Kling-Force LED devices drive this particular installation which communicate with MediaMaster 5 via Kling-Net, so the whole surface is one large mapped canvas running the content on a loop.
There is a specific pattern to the way the strips and panels are arranged, and the whole installation can be viewed from up to 200 metres away, so it’s already attracting people and subliminally encouraging them to walk in the right direction as soon as they turn in to the corridor having exited their planes.
Highly visible, it adds a welcoming sense of entertainment and anticipation to an already energised and fast-moving space.
The timing of the video loop is optimised for the average ‘business pace’ walk down the travellator.
Around 24 million people travelled through Zaventem airport in 2017 and it is one of the most important global hubs and gateways in the west of Europe for air travel worldwide.
28th June 2018
Rio Grande Theatre Moves Forward With Hubbard’s Music and Chauvet Professional
USA – Technological innovation is nothing new at the Rio Grande Theatre. Opened on 29th July, 1926, as a silent movie hall, the two-storey building was retrofitted three years later with sound equipment, making it among the earliest theatres in its state to show 'talkies'. It was also the first business in Las Cruces to be air conditioned.
History repeated itself earlier this year, when the iconic venue, which now hosts a diverse mix of theatrical productions, concerts and special film showings, took a technological step forward by replacing its old stage lighting with a new LED system that features a collection of Chauvet Professional fixtures supplied by Hubbard’s Music.
“This project involved replacing the existing conventional fixtures that Rio Grande was using,” said Will Sadler, project manager for Hubbard’s Music. “The theatre wanted a more flexible lighting system to handle the wide variety of shows it hosts. It also wanted to reduce the heat load in the space and bring down costs. This was not a straight one-to-one fixture trade. The venue’s mission has changed since it last installed a lighting system, so the new system had to represent a new approach to reflect the variety of new uses.”
A look at the theatre’s recent schedule shows the extent of its varied functions. There alongside Purple Rain, a Prince tribute, is a theatrical production of Peter Pan, followed by a classical musical recital, then more shows and concerts of various descriptions. “The space is regularly used to host a variety of small concerts and recitals, in addition to the more traditional theatrical performances and rock concerts, so we wanted to design a flexible rig that would allow the venue to go from the controlled, dramatic effects called for in theatrical performances, to the splashy color chases for rock shows,” explained Leigh Harvey, project lighting designer.
With this in mind, the Hubbard’s Music team installed five Ovation E-160WW warm white ellipsoidals and an equal number of Ovation E-910FC RGBA-lime colour mixing ellipsoidals for front lighting from the catwalk position. This gave the theatre an optimal balance between full colour and warm white stage lighting without the use of gels.
“This was the first time I’ve used the E-910FC,” said Sadler. “I am very pleased with the range of intense colours this fixture produces. It still amazes me that we don’t need to deal with gelling and focusing a bunch of extra fixtures just to get a four-colour wash any more. Anyone who has had to climb a catwalk ladder more than once will appreciate how much of a difference this makes. Our lighting designer decided on the OEZOOM 1530 lens tubes for the ellipsoidals to give them the most flexibility to go from theatrical productions to concerts.”
For down lighting, 20 COLORdash Par-Hex 12 wash lights were installed between the first and second electric. “This was a bit of a challenge, since space between the line sets was limited,” said Harvey. “The compact size and high output of the COLORdash made it work well here. We put ten of them on each electric, which provided more than enough downlight and evenly covered the stage. One of the big bonuses with the COLORdash is the UV feature; the venue has wanted to use UV in the past and the COLORdash Par H12IP really delivers a great punch of UV.”
On the third electric, six Ovation C-805FC static wash lights were positioned. “The colour range of these fixtures adds a great deal of versatility to the rig,” said Harvey. “I know that Chris Linninger, the House LD at Rio Grande, is very happy with this, because he never has to change a burnt cyc gel again!”
To add extra colour to selected shows, the Rio Grande rig also includes six Ovation F-915FC Fresnel units, which are moved to different positions depending on production requirements. The motorised zoom and 30° – 85° field angle of this fixture greatly adds to the versatility of the new lighting system, according to Harvey.
A feature in all of the Chauvet Professional fixtures that has made the retrofit go smoothly is their power linking. “Being able to power link fixtures together really cuts down on how much needs to be done to retrofit electrics,” said Harvey.
Also contributing to the success of this retrofit were the efforts of the entire team involved in the project, including Chris Faivre venue manager of the Rio Grande Theater/Visit Las Cruces, Chris Linninger house LD and technical director of the Rio Grande Theater, Dru Hubbard owner Hubbard’s Music and Bobby Jones primary technician.
“Everyone involved in this project really enjoyed it,” said Sadler. “We’ve heard from people around the community who tell us they can see a big difference in the production quality of the shows since the lighting upgrade.”
Describing the Rio Grande Theatre as a crucial part of the Las Cruces community, Sadler believes that the lighting upgrade is viewed by the local population as an investment in the future of entertainment in the area. Of course, that’s a commitment that the Rio Grande has been reaffirming since it showed its first talkie over 85 years ago.
27th June 2018
Danley's Genesis Horns Provide Stadium Sound at Springfield High School
USA – The Yellow Jackets football team is the pride of Tennessee's Springfield High School, but, until this season, the team hadn't played a proper home game in 35 years! All of its 'home' games actually took place at Springfield Middle School because the high school had no football stadium. But that's all changed now with the completion of a new 2,100-seat stadium right on the high school's campus. What's more, Springfield went from no stadium to a state-of-the-art stadium with "college stadium sound" supplied by just two Danley Sound Labs GH-60 Genesis Horns and a Danley TH-115 subwoofer.
System Integrations, Inc. is a Tennessee-based integration firm with broad expertise in IT and related technologies, and it has a history of successful projects with Robertson County Schools, the district to which Springfield High School belongs. "Springfield High School really wanted to showcase its new football stadium. It had been such a long time coming and with the help of James Marshall, Robertson County Schools’ supervisor of technology, the stadium finally was completed.” explained Jeff Ledford, president of System Integrations, Inc. "Danley has been our go-to loudspeaker manufacturer for a while now. Danley boxes have excellent pattern control, fidelity, and reliability. They're very flat, and straight out of the box we get good, crisp, clear sound that doesn't require very much in the way of DSP. Moreover, Danley boxes are pretty forgiving, which is great because none of the school staff who will be using the system are audio experts. Danley gives them a pro sound without requiring a pro on the staff."
The system that Ledford designed and that his company installed is wondrously simple. For full-frequency coverage, two Danley GH-60 Genesis Horns fire from either side of the large scoreboard in the end zone, one covering the home side and the other covering the visitors side. "We've tried a lot of different loudspeaker manufacturers and models over the years, and the Danley GH-60 Genesis Horn gives us the most consistent, even coverage," Ledford said. The GH-60 Genesis Horn combines several of acoustician Tom Danley's patented technologies to deliver phase-coherent audio in such a way that fans not only get high-fidelity coverage, they also get even SPL coverage, thus delivering, via Danley's point-source technology, on the promise of line arrays without the nasty comb filtering and other side-effects that are inherent to line array technology.
In addition, a single Danley TH-115 subwoofer fills out the low end with honest, undistorted bass. Crown XTi-Series amplifiers power the system, and an Allen & Heath digital console provides the front-end interface along with modest output signal conditioning. "The system sounds great and everyone at Springfield High School is pleased with the results," Ledford said. "This is not a typical high school sounding football field system. It sounds like something you would hear in a college stadium.”
26th June 2018
National Theatre upgrades with new Martin MAC Encores
UK – The National Theatre has joined the growing number of high profile organisations investing in Martin by Harman’s next generation MAC Encore LED moving head fixtures.
The theatre on London’s South Bank, which houses the Olivier, Dorfman and Lyttelton theatres, has embarked on a progressive upgrade, predominantly of its Martin TW1 halogen tungsten wash inventory. This month the theatre took delivery of a total of 42 MAC Encores from Martin dealer Stage Electrics. All 42 units have been immediately installed in the permanent rig at the Olivier.
According to Paul Hornsby, the NT’s lighting resources manager, the acquisition forms part of a ten-year plan. “We review which equipment has reached end of life and decide what needs to be retired first, but the decision is driven by LDs as well. We only go dark for five days a year and we managed to replace these on the rig without losing a show.”
The purchase was authorised jointly by Hornsby, Matt Drury, head of lighting, and Jack Williams, lighting supervisor for the Olivier Theatre, and followed an intensive three-day evaluation against a number of competitive brands.
Organised by Stage Electrics sales manager, Paul Roughton, and attended by around 60 lighting designers and technicians from the NT and other London theatres, this took place on the Olivier and Lyttelton stages. “The Martin MAC Encore proved a real winner, primarily due to its colour mixing and repeated accuracy with the framing shutters,” he said.
The final installed inventory comprises 29 MAC Encore Performance (24 WRM 3000K versions and five CLD 6000K versions) and 13 MAC Encore Wash WRM fixtures. The Performance fixtures were specified with optional enhanced frost flags and the wash fixtures with optional PC lenses.
Paul Hornsby confirms that achieving the tungsten look from an LED fixture had been the initial aim. “Our start point was to recreate what the tungsten wash did and then look at additional feature set.” Key amongst the features, he said, was the quietness of operation, flexibility, energy-efficiency as well as the power output.
The new MAC Encore offers unparalleled 3000K warm tungsten emulation and 6000K cold, with an advanced colour mixing system, offering fully variable colour correction.
Jack Williams describes the transition from the TW1s to Encores as seamless. “We switched the fixtures between runs of Macbeth and relit with the LED; it looked identical. There has been ready acceptance of the Encore amongst leading LDs.”
On the importance of flexibility Jack commented: “We are in rep and we have no idea from show to show what the sets and style will be. The flexibility of the Encore is superb and we’ve actually been able to reduce the number of other fixtures on the bridges.”
The MAC Encore offers record-breaking whisper quiet operation. “This is genuinely impressive and a vital feature,” Jack continued. “Directors are looking for near silence in the auditorium during intense passages on stage. Brian Friel’s Translations is a current case in point where we turned all the arc sources off. You immediately noticed the difference.”
Matt Drury also emphasised the low size/weight ratio of the Encores and added that the ease of first line maintenance had been another key driver. He also highlighted the general low cost of ownership, with low consumption and without the need for lamp replacement. “Energy saving is vitally important and we were all of the mind-set that we would continue heading towards energy efficiency.”
In conclusion, Paul Roughton of Stage Electrics said: “We have supplied and supported Martin products for many years, and the Encore range continues their reputation for top class theatre products.”
26th June 2018
Claremont Church Pastors Reach Every Pew with Renkus-Heinz
USA – Organised in 1891 as the Claremont Congregational Church, the Claremont United Church of Christ moved into its current sanctuary in 1956. Services at the Los Angeles Metro Area church feature spoken word, choir, and a beautiful Glatter-Goetz/Rosales pipe organ built 20 years ago. The choir and organ sound fabulous in the large sanctuary, with its 60-foot ceiling and many reflective surfaces, but spoken word intelligibility was an issue.
"We have worked hard to make sure that the acoustics are just right for music but the speakers we were using did not get the spoken word to all parts of the sanctuary," relates senior co-pastor Rev. Jacob Buchholz, who ministers to the congregation in tandem with his wife, senior co-pastor Rev. Jennifer Strickland. "There were dead spots in the sanctuary where, when we were preaching or anyone spoke from the pulpit or lectern, you couldn't hear them very well. We wanted to address the challenge of how to evenly distribute the sound throughout the whole sanctuary."
Church leaders consulted with the team at Pacific AV, which designed and installed a new system, covering the entire sanctuary with a pair of Renkus-Heinz ICONYX Gen5 IC24-RN digitally steerable arrays. "Using Renkus-Heinz' beam steering technology, we were able to aim the sound down at the congregation, while keeping the sound off the walls, ceiling, and other reflective surfaces," explains Pacific AV vice president of sales Jeff Miranda. "Being able to direct the sound and aim it toward the audience is paramount in any reverberant space, and ICONYX does that better than anything. With the ability to steer multiple beams from each column, along with adjustable beam centres, one pair of IC24-RNs was all we needed."
Renkus-Heinz' IC24-RN employs 24 4-inch coaxial transducers, each with three high-frequency tweeters, along with 24 amplifier and DSP channels. Each column can deliver up to 12 steerable beams, which can be individually shaped and aimed using powerful, software-controlled DSP. Beam control is effective down to 250 Hz. This combination of flexible, programmable control and precision beam steering enabled the Pacific AV team to eliminate the dead spots, minimise reflections, and provide clear, intelligible sound throughout the sanctuary.
"The Renkus-Heinz speakers work impeccably," testifies pastor Jacob. "Everyone in the congregation has noticed the massively improved sound. I've had the opportunity to sit in the sanctuary and listen to the spoken word, and I was amazed at the improved quality of sound. And there are no more dead spots. Before we got the new system, we never knew whether everyone in the congregation would receive our message accurately. Now we have full confidence in what people are hearing. As pastors, that makes our job easier."