Project News Headlines
Electro-Voice and Dynacord help make a great room sound even better at The State Theatre, State College, PA
Action Church Adds KLANG Immersive IEM Mixing to its Flagship Broadcast Site
USA – Winter Park, Florida is the newest location for fast-growing Action Church, a worship community in the Orlando area that also has churches in the suburbs of Oviedo, Sanford and South Orlando. The church experienced a startling 150% plus growth between 2017 and 2018, less than four years after it was founded, catapulting it to the number-two position in Outreach magazine’s top 100 fastest-growing churches last year.
The Winter Park campus has the distinction of being dubbed the church’s broadcast site, from which pastor Justin Dailey preaches the church’s Sunday message each week. As such, that location is Action Church’s technology showcase, and its renovation from being a former Masonic Lodge in 2018 to becoming Action Church’s flagship reflects that, with state-of-the-art audio, video and lighting technology throughout. That extends to the two KLANG:fabrik immersive IEM mixing systems installed there by Parrish, Florida-based HoW integration specialist Crown Design Group as part of the first phase of the venue’s renovation.
“We designed, installed and commissioned all of the technology at this location, their largest campus, and they wanted it to be the most high-tech of all of them,” says Crown Design Group co-owner Garrett Walker, a fact underscored by his company’s installation there of a touring rider-friendly L-Acoustics Kara loudspeaker system. “They often have a lot of musicians onstage at once, and the line-up can change frequently, so we recommended that they use the KLANG systems, and they agreed. These are the most flexible, easiest-to-use in-ear monitoring solutions on the market today.”
Walker says that the church required an IEM solution that could scale as their on stage needs changed, and also interface seamlessly with other systems and platforms they would use, most notably Dante, which is the network backbone for the church’s audio.
“The KLANG systems’ compatibility with Dante was a key factor in their choice,” he says, as was the systems’ ability to be operated via an iPhone or Android app. “That was very important, because while their front-of-house console can use an iPad app for remote control, not everyone has an iPad or tablet, but almost everyone has an iPhone or Android phone,” he explains.
Action Church experience director John Williams says that although the KLANG system is certainly a hit with their worship team, the savings that it provides in terms of additional gear and operator manpower is another big plus. “KLANG provides us with the flexibility and audio intelligibility that our musicians and vocalists absolutely love,” he says. “But I personally think the biggest benefit is being able to offer quality, personal mixes on the platform without having a monitor console and an additional engineer to run it.”
The ubiquity of smartphones and the availability of the free KLANG:app sealed the deal, Walker adds. “And that really adds to the KLANG systems’ ease of use,” he adds. “Once we programmed the system, musicians and vocalists can have separate groups for the monitors, which makes it much easier to manage all of the channels needed for a large group on stage. And the quality of the immersive sound is exceptional. So in terms of fidelity and operational ease, the KLANG systems win on all counts for the church. And, as integrators, the fact that it interfaces with so many other key systems makes it a great solution for us. That’s why we now recommend it to all of our clients.”
10th July 2020
Avant-Scènes Supports Diverse Mix of Performances at Manège de Reims with Chauvet Professional
France – Driving up from Paris on A4, one of the first things the visitor sees upon entering this ancient city is the Manège de Reims with its distinctive 16-sided polygon circus. Completed in 1867, the beautifully balanced stone building is more than a captivating national landmark, it is also a bustling hub of cultural activity, serving the community by hosting theatrical performances, dance recitals, concerts and other events, including circuses, for which it was originally built.
Supporting the diverse mix of productions at the popular facility is a versatile lighting rig that features a collection of Chauvet Professional projectors supplied and installed by Avant-Scènes. Working with Cédric Barbillat, lighting director of the Manège de Reims, who decided upon the specific fixtures, the Avant-Scènes team outfitted the 1,000-seat facility with 16 COLORado 2 Quad Zoom, six Maverick MK1 Spot, and 10 Maverick MK2 Wash units.
Although these projectors are intended to be moved around to meet the very varied needs of Manège de Reims, they are most often positioned on the circus’ grill to provide maximum coverage and flexibility.
“Now it is possible to create lighting plans with many more possibilities than traditional halogen projectors, with almost no constraints,” said Benjamin Labourot, director of Avant-Scènes. “The interesting part of this project was to find a product that could correspond to almost every possible configuration of a circus installation, and yet be able to host all kinds of shows, such as music, theatre, modern and dance. Finding such an ‘all-purpose’ projector with fairly precise criteria was not easy, but we did!”
“We wanted a projector with a luminous flux powerful enough to illuminate at a height of 14m, while at the same time being able to have a tight enough beam,” said Labourot. “The Mavericks meet these criteria in general. Also, they are compact enough to be moved around the facility regularly and rugged enough to stand up to this use.”
When lockdown restrictions are lifted, Manège de Reims will again be hosting a vast array of performances to suit virtually every taste. Fans who come to the enchanting landmark will marvel at its distinct beauty. They’ll also enjoy shows that are made all the more engrossing by a lighting system that’s as versatile as this building itself.
10th July 2020
Rosco Tough Prime Black – the Perfect Paint for Stage Floors
USA - When was the last time your stage floor had a fresh coat of paint? While most theatres are dark during the COVID-19 quarantine, many technicians have stayed busy working on various maintenance projects. This is an excellent time to give your stage floor a new coat of Rosco Tough Prime Black.
Matthew Timoszyk, the technical supervisor of the Historic Oroville State Theatre in Oroville, CA, recently tagged Rosco in some photos on Facebook that showed how he prepped his stage deck for the coming season with Rosco Tough Prime Black. In the post, he said: “It’s the perfect choice for theatre floors.” Whether it’s because of Tough Prime’s semi-gloss finish, which makes it easy to mop (and to light), or its ability to stick to just about any substrate, technical directors all around the world have been using Tough Prime Black on their stage floors for years. Rosco asked Matthew to share his thoughts on why he chose Tough Prime for his space: “Over the summer I was tasked to paint the stage floor of the Oroville State Theatre. The decision was made to change it from a medium grey to black, both for lighting and other practical/technical reasons, and due to feedback from some of our larger clients. Now it was time to decide what type of paint to use.
“At different points in my career, I’ve not only had the opportunity to use a number of Rosco products, but I’ve also worked with customers to consult and sell Rosco products as well. With that expertise under my belt, I only had one black paint choice in mind for the current season: Rosco Tough Prime Black. I knew that it was formulated perfectly to seal stage floors and that it would (as the name implied) be tough enough for the vigorous activities the deck of our road house would experience. Plus, we’d get the benefit of a very low sheen, which was a major bonus to the in-house lighting designer (me).
“The Oroville State Theatre is a 1928 vaudeville theatre that has a 40’ wide proscenium, a 28’ deep stage with an 18’ apron and 15’ wings. It’s a decent sized stage, which meant that cost and time were a factor on this project. The cost of the Rosco Tough Prime was comparable to the industrial grey paint that the theatre had been using before, so the cost difference was very minimal. The prep and application of the Tough Prime was quite simple as it rolled on very easily and covered the medium grey base coat very well. In a matter of three days, two of us had prepped the space and rolled out two coats to cover the stage, apron and wings, using just under four gallons of the Rosco Tough Prime Black.
The Historic Oroville State Theatre opened their 2016-2017 season at the end of September and I am very pleased to say that the stage floor at the Oroville State Theatre, with its freshly painted Rosco Tough Prime Black floor, is holding up very well.”
9th July 2020
Winnipeg Church Uses Renkus-Heinz to Put Sound Where You Want it: On the Congregation
USA – The Fort Garry Mennonite Brethren Church in Winnipeg, Manitoba is, according to its head pastor Carl Heppner: “A vibrant faith community where people of all ages and backgrounds can find a place to belong.” It is also a contemporary church known in the area for incorporating a full band into its services. And that is why, when it came time to upgrade its audio capabilities, the church went with a system backed by Renkus-Heinz.
“The church wanted a cutting-edge system, from audio to video,” said Myron Dyck of Golden West Sound Design, the integrator who installed the new AV system. “What we installed encompasses everything from IP video distribution and projection, stage lighting and acoustical treatment, and the absolute best sound possible. So, that meant going with Renkus-Heinz.”
Dyck said he turns to Renkus-Heinz when clients are seeking audio that provides excellent clarity and intelligibility. One major benefit of utilising Renkus-Heinz in an installation is the ability to leverage the power of the company’s cutting-edge digital beam steering technology. With Renkus-Heinz digitally steerable arrays, integrators are empowered to put sound where you want it: on the congregation. The result? Superior sound in any environment.
“I knew this would be a Renkus-Heinz install from the start,” Dyck said. “The church was looking for a high level of quality both for the band and in speech intelligibility. Renkus-Heinz is creating some of the most impressive products on the market today, and I always appreciate the recommendations they make as to what will work best. I can take the information they provide in terms of design work and show the client exactly what they can expect in terms of coverage.”
Fort Garry Mennonite Brethren Church is a 300-seat, A-frame facility that, in the past found it challenging to achieve consistent coverage from front to back. When the church fills to capacity, that lack of coverage had been a huge detriment to the message being delivered.
To remedy this, Dyck turned to Renkus-Heinz’ ICLive X Series, which brings a new level of flexibility to integrators and contractors seeking to improve sound in any space, no matter the size or shape. ICLive X is a complete system consisting of two freely combinable, steerable-array modules, the ICLX and ICLXL, and a matching subwoofer, the ICLX-118S.
For the Winnipeg installation, Dyck installed two ICLive XL loudspeakers and two ICLive X loudspeakers in matching arrays at the front of the hall.
“Everything about it is excellent,” Dyck said. “It was relatively easy to hang and install up against the ceiling using custom made mounts, and we had perfect coverage immediately. Everyone is extremely happy with the end result.”
7th July 2020
Neve Genesys Helps Radar Sounds Stays True to its Analogue Roots
UK – Radar Sounds, one of the few remaining studios in the UK to offer true analogue tape recording facilities, has installed a Neve Genesys G32 console.
The new desk replaces an Amek Angela console that was on its last legs, says studio owner 'Fuzz' Barthram-Keet.
“The Angela’s reliability had become a problem because it was so old, and we also needed something that offered proper automation and recall for mixdown,” he explains. “I already own a pair of Neve 1073DPA mic pre-amps and I know just how much I love the sound of them, so a Neve console was top of my shopping list. The desk’s fabulous analogue design and Neve preamp circuitry allows us to keep the mix analogue from start to finish without sacrificing modern features such as hands-on DAW control and connectivity.”
Radar Sounds was established eight years ago when Fuzz took over the recording studio, which was formerly used by record label 4AD. Located on Platts Eyot, a small island in the River Thames (close to Hampton Court), Radar Sound Services places a strong emphasis on live recording and using analogue facilities to capture the best sound.
As well as tracking, Fuzz also offers mixing and mastering services and describes the business as a ‘one stop shop’ for musicians, media companies and voice over artists. Clients have come from many different countries and genres and include Slobheads, Young Romance, Archie Bronson Outfit, Ariel Pink, Atlas Sound/Deerhunter, Hard Fi producer Wolsey White, Serafina Steer and Younghusband.
“I started out as a guitarist in a band but moved into the engineering/production side of the business because I was fascinated by the technology and the challenge of capturing great sound,” he says. “I eventually acquired enough equipment to start my own studio and was told about the facility on Platts Eyot by my former sound Engineering teacher. Although we offer a full range of services, we tend to attract artists who prefer an analogue sound and want to record all their instruments live. I’ve always been interested in capturing the true essence and vibe of a band and I do feel live recording to 24 track analogue tape enables you to do that better. But obviously, as a commercial business, we cater for all types of projects and are equally at home with digital, which we record using our *IZ ADA system.”
Fuzz adds that the studio’s new Neve Genesys has made it faster and easier to switch between sessions, which has improved the facility’s productivity.
“The desk does give us a commercial advantage and I’m really thrilled with it,” he says. “It perfectly complements the way we like to work and by using its preamps, EQ and dynamics, we can now offer our customers that classic Neve sound.”
Like so many commercial facilities, Radar Sounds had to close its doors during the Covid-19 lockdown but was able to stay busy with online mixing/mastering projects.
“The pandemic has made the situation difficult for people who want to record live, but we are confident about the future because we are adaptable and have the experience to provide a professional package at a great price,” Fuzz says. “We have mastering and mix projects scheduled for the summer and we hope it won’t be too long before we can get bands back into the live room to record.”
6th July 2020
50LUX Brings Stories of the Sea to Life at Zuiderzeemuseum with Chauvet Professional
The Netherlands – Imagine the awe and amazement of a ship’s crew that plied the waters of the Zuiderzee a century or more ago, if somehow, they miraculously found themselves in the same spot on earth today? The expansive salt water bay teaming with fish that led to the North Sea would be gone, the result of the Afsluitdijk, a colossal barrier dam built over a five-year period in the 1920s and 30s. In its place would be a much smaller fresh water lake and 1,500km² of land that was reclaimed from the sea and is now inhabited by some 400,000 people.
The sailors of the Zuiderzee cannot (as far as we know), travel forward in time, but visitors from the 21st Century can take an immersive journey into this region’s nautical past at the Zuiderzeemuseum, an extensive indoor and outdoor facility that makes this vanished world come to life.
Among the evocative attractions of the museum complex is the Sea of Stories, an audio/visual exhibition in its Ship’s Hall that vibrantly captures the essence of the Zuiderzee region long ago. Helping to wash away the years and draw visitors into life on the great bay is a captivating Frank Hulsebosch lighting design that features COLORado and COLORdash fixtures from Chauvet Professional supplied by Lichtpunt Theatertechniek.
Hulsebosch and his company, 50LUX, were introduced to Sea of Stories by Perspekt Studios, which was responsible for the design and construction of the exhibit. He explained why the decision was made to go beyond standard museum lighting and hang 50 COLORado 2 Solo IP65 fixtures as well as 15 COLORdash Par HP12 IP units from truss structures that line both sides of the 40 metre long hall.
“All the fixtures are used for the same purpose: lighting a collection of antique ships,” said Hulsebosch. “The exhibition Sea of Stories starts in the Ships’ Hall, which has 14 antique boats, the largest museum collection of boats in The Netherlands. We wanted to make an audio-visual presentation through which you can imagine yourself on the Zuiderzee a century ago, when it was a turbulent open sea full of fish, salt water and raging waves. In order to make dynamic presentation we needed other fixtures then we would normally use in a museum. We were looking for DMX controlled fixtures whit vibrant colours, some also with UV (to create dark and nightly atmospheres) and a zooming.”
Prior to the installation of the new colour-mixing LED fixtures, the Ship’s Hall was lit only by ambient sunlight. Aside from providing a sharper more consistent light, the new fixtures are also used to enhance the storytelling aspect of the exhibit.
“The different light scenes are part of a show with sound, light, video and special effects,” said Hulsebosch. “Since the hall represents life at sea, we used our COLORados and COLORdashes to create a lot of rich shades of blue and green for ambience. Then, we’d go to white light for times when the ships were on display in between the theatrical scenes.
“We also used different angles and uplighting the dramatic and atmosphere scenes to create shadows,” continued Hulsebosch. “In the more static scenes, where the ships are on display in a more traditional exhibition-like way, we focused on visibility and avoid dark spots as much as possible.”
Setting up the rig had to be done with care. The fixtures had to be placed eight meters above the floor manually, since no automated equipment could be used due to the tight space and fear of damaging the historic ships.
“This was a rewarding project for us in many ways,” said Hulsebosch. “Since we work mostly on static exhibits, programming the theatrical scenes was a challenge. Dirk Donks from The Lighting Factory was a great help to us.”
As happens to many visitors to the Zuiderzeemuseum, Hulsebosch formed a strong emotional attachment to the ships from the Zuiderzee era. Like a sea that is no longer, the ships beckon with their timeless beauty and haunting stories, both of which have been brought more vividly to life with light.
photos: Erik Hesmerg
3rd July 2020
Church of the Highlands turns to GLP X4 Bars in major technical upgrade
USA – Describing GLP’s award-winning X4 Bar 20 as “one of the greatest fixtures ever designed”, E2i Design’s Josh Holowicki had no hesitation in specifying it as an essential component in a major technological upgrade at Church of the Highlands’ Grants Mill broadcast campus in Alabama. His decision was backed by broadcast lighting director, Griffin McCravy.
E2i has been a partner with the Church since 2012, providing solutions for their broadcast and extension campuses with lighting and LED video technology. But this latest project was a year in the making due to their determination to select the very best fixtures and build flexibility within the already constructed worship facility. In their determination to create a ‘tour grade’ technical infrastructure, the visual upgrade to the stage space is an exciting and ongoing process.
“Ultimately the technical and visual directors of the Ministry wanted the ability to re-configure their stage design any way they wanted without limitations,” Josh Holowicki explains. “This would allow for virtually unlimited possibilities, and the style of the system we designed, which essentially is a portable rig in a permanent space, allows for just that.”
Church of the Highlands is described as “a high impact worship environment that embraces the active use of technology to help create and support an exciting experience,” and therefore utilising the latest lighting and visual technologies was essential.
Within this context, the X4 Bar 20s are more than just ‘eye candy’. “They provide incredible visual punch for the stage,” Holowicki enthused. “At this point we have 18 units on stage with the hope of adding additional units in the future. They are used in a variety of ways to add the necessary visual pop to the stage designs, often incorporated into the LED video wall designs and used as an enhancement, as well as stand-alone lighting requirements.”
E2i has been a partner of GLP for many years. “We love the products offered and use GLP solutions whenever possible. We have deployed [impression] X4, X4S, X4 Bars, X4 atom, as well as Scenex and Cosmic truss solutions.
“As for the X4 Bars, these are a step above anything else offered on the market. The quality of the construction, light output and control capabilities are unmatched. The entire concept of a moving bar fixture is unique and offers very innovative solutions for design. There is nothing quite like seeing a row of X4 Bars creating a ‘wall of light’ in a stage design.”
The technology will be used within the facility on most days, with the focus on weekend services and Ministry special events. Meanwhile, the technical team are still coming to terms with its potential. “Certainly once the system was put into place the organisation was able to begin realising unforeseen benefits, enabling them to open up their design concepts to further maximise the potential it offers,” concludes Josh Holowicki.
2nd July 2020
Iconic Aqua Site Given a Fresh System for Aqua Kyoto at Oxford Circus
UK – Boasting one of London’s most iconic settings – on the top floor of the former Dickins & Jones department store at Oxford Circus – Aqua is a combination of the Japanese Aqua Kyoto sushi restaurant and Aqua Nueva contemporary Spanish restaurant. Set on a vast 17,000 sq. ft space, it also includes a large central bar and balcony/terrace bar.
Opened more than a decade ago by Hong Kong-based Aqua Restaurant Group, it recently underwent a design metamorphosis, which included an upgraded Martin Audio sound system, while still retaining its distinct nightclub flavour.
Having carried out maintenance work there previously, Evolve Install, in the shape of partners Elliot Patterson and Robert Stemson, were alerted to the imminent refurbishment. They began talks with the management last April / May, budgets were discussed, and the decision was taken to keep the sound system under the Martin Audio umbrella.
Patterson recalls that the venue previously broadcast its sound through Martin Audio’s Wavefront Theatre WTUB Under-Balcony speakers and former AQ architectural range, which had served a long duty cycle.
“While the Under Balcony speakers were fine, and still worked well, the client wanted a fresher look and more modern speaker,” he said. “The venue also had two AQ210 [subwoofers] originally, but one disappeared because of positioning problems, and the remaining one was never sufficient for the size of the room.”
With the redistribution of the space and removal of the sushi workstation, Elliot’s team had the chance to be creative.
They also focused heavily on the terrace area with the aim of uprating the sound system outside for a deep and warm sound. This was delivered by specifying four CDD6-WR (weatherised) speakers outside, bolted onto a beam, with an SX210 (2 x 10”) sub placed in the corner.
In the Kyoto bar area Evolve specified four of the more powerful CDD10, fixed to the ceiling, along with a pair of CSX212 (2 x 12”) subs.
In Kyoto’s general restaurant area the nine pre-existing Martin Audio C8.1T ceiling speakers have been reconditioned and freshly painted to décor match.
While most of the back-end control and zoners remain the same the amplifiers have been upgraded, while 8-Track Music continues to curate and supply the music playlists, based on customer profiling.
Explaining the rationale, Patterson said: “While both spaces have their own independent players, we have linked the two rooms together so you can switch between sources. Music throughout is generally background but we have also provided DJ input points both inside and out.
“It’s a complete new look for Aqua and during the evening in particular, the sound really comes alive.”
30th June 2020
L-Acoustics Helps St. Matthew Share the Gospel
USA – If the term “megachurch” is solely reserved to describe the world’s largest Protestant houses of worship, then St. Matthew Catholic Church of Charlotte is by all rights a “megaparish.” With more than 40,000 parishioners from over 11,000 households currently registered as members, St. Matthew offers 100-plus active ministries and is distinguished as the Catholic church with the largest congregation in the United States.
In 1996, to accommodate its large and growing membership, the church dedicated a 2,200-seat, fan-shaped worship space that presently hosts at least eight services each week. Although St. Matthew updated its sanctuary sound system in 2012 with a newer loudspeaker setup based on an exploded cluster design, in recent years, that system suffered from clarity and reliability issues, and ultimately succumbed to a lightning strike late last year.
Thankfully, the church’s production team had already been in talks with SES Integration of nearby Concord to design a retrofit PA system that would provide improved intelligibility, coverage and dependability. As the integration division of Winston-Salem-based touring sound provider Special Event Services, which reinforces road treks for top artists like Luke Combs with its flagship L-Acoustics K1/K2 arrays, SES Integration quickly zeroed in on the manufacturer’s compact Kiva II enclosure as the right choice for the Ballantyne neighbourhood Roman Catholic church.
“Size, weight and performance were the big ‘wins’ for Kiva II,” says SES integration director Trey Blair, who notes that houses of worship make up 85 percent of the long-time L-Acoustics certified provider’s business. “Since we would be hanging arrays from the church’s wooden roof structure, we required a lightweight solution that gave us excellent vertical pattern control, and the Kiva II was the clear solution for this. Plus, we had previously done multiple projects with the system and were extremely familiar with its performance, so we knew from our experience that it would work well in this space.”
Using Soundvision, Blair and his team created a new system design that ultimately featured a mono configuration of three Kiva II arrays: a central hang of seven enclosures flanked by twin arrays of six Kiva II. Solid low-end reinforcement for the sanctuary’s wide seating area is achieved by two ground-based KS28 subs, concealed behind white scrims to the left and right of the stage. Frontfill is provided by two compact 5XT coaxials mounted into the faces of pulpits on either side of the stage, while a total of four more Kiva II with white finishes are flown over the acoustically shadowed rear left and right seating areas for delay. A single LA12X and three LA4X amplified controllers collectively power and process the entire system, which is now mixed on a new Allen & Heath dLive S5000 mixing console.
Another one of the benefits of the Kiva II system was that it was able to be swiftly integrated. “With no downtime possible on the weekends, we had to wrap the entire project up in five days,” recalls SES integration regional manager Anthony Frampton. “Our goal was to have everything done before their Christmas Mass, so we integrated everything during the first week of December, and they had their first service with it that Sunday. And what a difference it made! There is now consistent coverage throughout the entire sanctuary and highly intelligible speech delivered to each seat.”
St. Mathew communications specialist and content director Jim Alvarez, who has been on staff for six years and a parishioner there for nearly two decades, is in full agreement. “I have known Anthony and the SES Integration crew for several years, and I trust them 100 per cent,” he says. “When I asked them to help us find the best solution for our sanctuary, I wanted every person to experience the absolutely clearest and crispest sound possible, and our new system does everything that they told me it would.”
“We have a large worship space, and the L-Acoustics loudspeakers perfectly fill the room. Every person in every seat at every Mass gets a vibrant, clear and beautiful sound experience. In fact, I’ve had several parishioners tell me, ‘Wow! I had no idea how inadequate our old sound system was until it was replaced, this sounds incredible!’ I love it, too, and I’m thankful that we’re now able to once again fill this room with beautiful voices, music and sound.”
photos: John Detweiler
26th June 2020
Diners Enjoy 800° Degrees Atmosphere With Cool Yamaha Audio System
Japan – Founded in Los Angeles in 2012, 800º Degrees Woodfired Kitchen is a globally popular pizzeria, inspired by chef and founder Anthony Carron’s innovative take on the art of cooking with a wood fire. With eight outlets across the US, two in the Middle East and three in Japan, the latest – at the Tokyo International Forum – features a high quality Yamaha background music system.
The first 800º Degrees restaurant in Japan opened at Tokyo’s Shinjuku City, followed by one in nearby Minami Aoyama. The latest is in the heart of the city’s Marunouchi business district, with seats for 100 diners and a VIP room for ten people.
“While maintaining the core Californian brand and taste, we have a dedicated concept for each restaurant, with a specially-designed interior and menu in each location,” says Mr Kazuma Suzuki, general manager of the market development department of LUMINE Co., LTD. the Japanese retail developer which has brought the 800º Degrees brand to Japan.
“The new restaurant is relatively large for this busy office district and we wanted to offer a stylish, cosmopolitan lounge space for businessmen and women in Marunouchi. We also offer a deli box and bakery takeaway service.”
Mr Suzuki recognised how the sound within a space is essential to creating an enjoyable atmosphere and customer experience, so a high quality audio system was an essential factor in the concept for 800º Degrees. LUMINE contracted Mr Kohji Fujita, space planner at Hiranya Access Co., Ltd. to design the audio system. He a chose a Yamaha solution, thanks to its combination of flexibility, audio quality and coverage.
“The pizza kiln is at the centre of the restaurant, so I designed the system to create the impression of all the restaurant’s energy coming from the kiln,” he says.
Mr Fujita installed Yamaha VXS5 surface mount speakers and VXS10S subwoofers at the entrance, delivering high quality music to customers as soon as they step into the restaurant: “It is designed to highlight the feeling of a wave of heat coming from the kiln while they choose toppings and wait until their pizza is ready,” says Mr Fujita.
He continues: “We had used the VXS5 in previous projects because of its versatility and high quality sound. With its compact format, wide coverage, high SPL and cost efficiency, it was an important factor in helping us to design the audio space.
“We used VXC5F low profile ceiling speakers for the counter and the VIP room, with VXS1ML compact surface mount speakers installed in the takeaway area. We like the VXS1ML’s compact format, it really complements the restaurant’s design.”
The VIP room also features a projector and screen and can be booked for private or business events. A range of audio and video inputs are provided, with the entire audio system controlled from here, using DCP4V4S and DCP1V4S wall-mounted controllers.
The system is managed by an MTX5-D matrix processor, using its speaker processing and delay to achieve phase coherence, and is powered by XMV8140 and XMV4280 multi-channel amplifiers.
“The system is programmed with presets for events like parties, in-store performances and presentations, with the music selection and levels tailored for different times of the day. It is very simple to use, allowing any restaurant staff to operate it,” says Mr Suzuki.
The audio content was devised by Ms Mio Ueki, senior music designer at Mood Media Japan Inc. “Premium, Fast and Casual is the theme of 800º Degrees and the music has to make customers feel uplifted. The soundtrack was carefully chosen to deliver the ‘wave of heat’ effect and give the restaurant its unique atmosphere,” she says.
Ms Ueki continues: “Mr Suzuki also briefed me on the concept of it being somewhere for mature business people to eat. To balance the formal and the casual, I created a playlist of modern music which incorporates the feel of 1980s funk and soul, dynamic tracks that reinforce the playful atmosphere.”
The response from the Tokyo public and office workers has been very positive. “Customers have said that they enjoy the contrast between casual style of the service and the richness of the food and music,” says Ms Ueki.
“That is exactly what we aimed for, creating an audio experience that seamlessly complements the interior design and lighting. The audible environment enhances the entire space and has played a vital role in successfully delivering the 800º Degrees concept.”
25th June 2020
Electro-Voice and Dynacord help make a great room sound even better at The State Theatre, State College, PA
USA – Originally built as a state-of-the-art cinema in the 1930s, The State Theatre in State College, PA eventually fell into disrepair, closing in 2001. To save it, concerned local residents formed a non-profit group to acquire and refurbish the historic building, which reopened as a community arts centre in 2006. The venue now hosts concerts, theatre, dance and movies, as well as education and worship events.
Recently, the theatre upgraded its sound system with Electro-Voice X1 line arrays powered by Dynacord IPX amplifiers. Production manager Augie Petaja managed the transition, which he described as long overdue. “Our existing PA system just didn’t provide the coverage or headroom that this venue deserves, and some elements were no longer serviceable. So once we had the funding, I created a criteria list for the upgrade.”
The goal was to find a great-sounding system that would work with the theatre's budget and existing infrastructure, and last at least 15 years. Petaja engaged a rigging consultant to determine how much weight the beams could handle, then invited proposals. After auditioning several systems, they selected the Electro-Voice X1, from the X-Line Advance line-array series. The X1 is a compact and lightweight 12” two-way system featuring EV-engineered drivers, patented waveguide technology and integrated rigging hardware, combining to offer an optimal combination of sound quality, controlled coverage and straightforward installation.
“We listened to a lot of brands, usually in other venues due to our busy production schedule,” notes Petaja. “I drove to Pittsburgh to check out the X1 at an outdoor festival so I could see it being flown and then hear it during the sound check. I also brought my own music to listen to as a reference. I came away really impressed with the capability and sound quality of the system. When it came time to make a decision, the X1 was our clear choice.”
For system design and installation, The State Theatre engaged Chris Kepler Audio Services, an area Electro-Voice dealer who is familiar with the venue and worked directly with EV on the design. “We submitted all the room measurements to EV to make sure we had the right dispersions, fly points and angles,” notes Kepler. “Once we had it installed, EV sent out their applications engineer to help tune the system. They’re just a great company to work with.”
The State Theatre system consists of twin X1 arrays, each with six 90° boxes over three 120° versions. Bass support is delivered via two X12-128 dual-18” subwoofers hidden beneath the stage, plus two of the new X12i-128 install version flown above the centre-front. The entire system is powered by four Dynacord IPX20:4 amplifiers and controlled via SONICUE software.
“Ideally, we would have put all four subs beneath the stage, but there just wasn’t room,” explains Augie Petaja. “Fortunately, the flying version (X12i-128) became available just as we were doing the installation. In fact, ours might be the first ones out there.”
Petaja and The State Theatre team are thrilled with the results. “This is a great room acoustically, and the X1 system accentuates that,” he says. “We’ve had nothing but positive reactions. It’s rider-friendly, the patrons love it, and we’ve had great reactions from touring techs. We couldn’t be happier.”
25th June 2020
Artistic Immersion Made Possible at Four Domes Pavilion with Renkus-Heinz Solutions
Poland – The Four Domes Pavilion in Wrocław, Poland is a historic building offering visitors a view into the art of today. Built in 1921, the pavilion serves as home to the Museum of Contemporary Art branch of Poland’s National Museum. The collection is one of Poland’s most cherished, housing more than 20,000 paintings, drawings, sculptures, glasswork, ceramics, photography, and conceptual works.
Also part of the collection is an immersive multimedia component leveraging cutting edge A/V technologies and supported at its core by Renkus-Heinz’ powerful audio solutions.
The “See it, hear it, touch it” multimedia screenings at the museum offer an integrated approach to experiencing art. Components considered traditional to art museums – framed paintings and statues – are augmented using projections, light and sound. The museum’s stated goal of the space is to utilise brilliant lighting, stunning imagery and powerful sound systems and, in turn, offer visitors an awakening of all their senses. Key to that awakening is the immersive audio.
“We have set up a Renkus-Heinz system in a room with sensors that trigger set experiences depending on where the listener is in the exhibition,” said Paweł Francuz, product manager at M.Ostrowski integration firm, which provided the system at the museum. “This provides an experience that connects with the same impact as the visual side of things.”
The installation includes 48 Renkus-Heinz CA81-RD point source loudspeakers and two Renkus-Heinz CA118S-RD subwoofers. All of the components are painted white to blend in with the aesthetic of the space.
Utilising Renkus-Heinz in the installation allows the museum to leverage the power of the company’s cutting-edge technologies, in this case, the Complex Conic constant directivity waveguide design, which ensures consistent coverage across the exhibit space. When coupled with full Dante networking capabilities, RHAON II control and monitoring, the system offers unrivalled performance and flexibility advantages.
In the Four Domes Pavilion, the loudspeakers are positioned on the side walls and the ceiling to create an impressively dense grid of sound sources. The number of sources and the distance in between them was carefully designed to provide the expected immersive experience.
“It’s a pure joy to be in the room where the Renkus-Heinz system is deployed,” said Francuz. “High-quality sound and the best immersive experience was our goal. We achieved it thanks to the Renkus-Heinz offerings.”
With 50 loudspeakers in one room, environmental aspects had to be considered as well. The Renkus-Heinz loudspeakers have passive cooling and smart energy control that allows them to run silently while consuming very little to no energy on stand-by. One CA81-RD loudspeaker consumes as little as 3.5W on idle.
The SA amplifiers at the heart of Renkus-Heinz’ self-powered products utilise True Digital Class D Technology, eliminating the need for negative feedback in the amplifier output and removing time-domain distortions associated with typical Class D designs. The DSP amplifier converts the PCM input data directly to PWM data that drives the output stage. All of those benefits combine to offer the highest level of consistency, reliability, and audio quality to the end-user.
The self-powered Renkus-Heinz loudspeakers also use Audinate’s Dante for AV-over-IP connectivity and are driven by a Barco Iosono 3D sound processor, which outputs 50 independent channels. Once installed, programming was completed seamlessly through Dante and Renkus-Heinz’ RHAON II software.
“It’s a rewarding moment when configuring the system takes a few clicks rather than hours of rewiring signals to the speakers, bearing in mind there are 50 independently working loudspeakers,” said Francuz. “That saves a ton of time when commissioning the system. It allowed us to focus on the end-results from the moment the speakers were deployed.”
The result: a museum that can offer an immersive artistic experience to visitors.
“Everybody is very pleased with the end results,” said Francuz. “This is a perfect example of bringing the creatives of the world together with AV professionals and creating something truly extraordinary.”
25th June 2020
National Theatre of Iceland chooses digital wireless audio from Sennheiser
Iceland – ÞJÓÐLEIKHÚSIÐ, the National Theatre of Iceland, has made the leap to digital with Sennheiser. Reykjavik’s premier arts venue regularly attracts large audiences who expect the very highest quality every time the curtain raises. When it was time to update the venue’s audio equipment, Sennheiser’s Digital 6000 wireless microphone system – including the ultra-compact SK 6212 mini-bodypack transmitter – was the ideal choice for Kristinn Gauti Einarsson, head of sound at the National Theatre of Iceland.
With three different shows every day and more than ten premieres each year across its five stages, the National Theatre of Iceland delivers the fantastic sound design one would expect of a top-class venue, but the theatre is operated with a leaner team and budget than most national theatres.
How is this achieved? Einarsson shares the secret behind their success: he has worked with the same musical composer, set designer and director for six years. “It’s so amazing to start new, great shows with the same team. Our collaboration and coordination get better all the time,” says Einarsson. “We are successful because 90 percent of the job is communication, and good communication makes good shows.” This trust and relationship extend to the equipment as well: “Our theatre has used Sennheiser in the past and their products have been rock-solid.”
With a crew that works effortlessly together, it’s vital for equipment to be just as intuitive and just as dependable. When making the switch to digital, the National Theatre chose to invest in a future with Sennheiser, acquiring a 32-channel Digital 6000 wireless microphone system with Sennheiser SK 6212 mini-bodypack transmitters.
Einarsson praises the combination of performance and simplicity that the Sennheiser system delivers: “We sometimes have three different shows per day, so ease of use has been crucial for us. Precision is also important because it is not a one-time show at a festival.”
The Digital 6000 has rapidly demonstrated its value. Its intermodulation-free RF technology ensures a higher channel count with reliable transmission even in very narrow frequency spaces. The system delivers audibly better sound quality and a wider dynamic range, thanks to the Sennheiser Digital Audio Codec (SeDAC).
Just as dependable are the SK 6212 transmitters. Created by Sennheiser to be the new reference for dynamic stage performances and production situations that require discrete transmission technology, they have impressed the National Theatre of Iceland for their tough, all-metal build, compact dimensions and long operating time.
“The small SK 6212 transmitters are a very convenient option for theatres,” comments Einarsson. “You can hide them easily and the actors sometimes forget that they are wearing them. We no longer have to worry about batteries because the SK 6212s last the whole day.” The transmitter batteries are recharged in the rack-mount L 6000 charger, which Einarsson finds “amazing”. In addition, the rechargeable battery technology helps the team to improve their environmental footprint.
With Digital 6000, the National Theatre of Iceland is seeking to build another long-lasting professional relationship. Kristinn Gauti Einarsson. “Our Sennheiser EM 1046 from the nineties still works perfectly even though it is nearly as old as me. Our experience of the Digital 6000 has confirmed that Sennheiser is just as reliable today!”
24th June 2020
Edinburgh-based Black Light Virtual Studio Powered by Lucid Technologies
UK – Specialist video integration effects company, Lucid Technologies and Scotland’s leading sales, installation, hire and production company, Black Light, have announced the launch of Edinburgh-based Black Light Virtual Studio powered by Lucid Technologies. The studio is a realisation of the two companies’ expertise and experience.
Always close to its clients’ ever-evolving needs, lockdown prompted Black Light to immediately turn up the heat on discussions already ongoing with Lucid Technologies. The two companies have worked together to create a permanently installed, Edinburgh-based XR studio which enables customers to continue with production in a safe and socially-distanced environment, as though they were anywhere in the world.
The Black Light Virtual Studio powered by Lucid Technologies is a five-metre-cubed studio and one of the largest in the UK. It easily allows for more than one socially-distanced person to perform within the space. As an environment to produce live or pre-recorded events it enables production teams and the wider entertainment technology industry to get back to work while all live venues remain closed.
The virtual studio combines action in both the physical reality, in which the performance takes place, and augmented reality which enables production actions in physical reality, such as lighting movements from a real lighting console, to take place or be recreated in the virtual space.
Black Light’s spacious warehouse environment is well placed to socially distance all performers and members of the production team. The space available allows a staggered set up at least two metres between production desks to ensure a safe working environment.
Lucid Technologies MD, Klean Dalton, said: “We were really focused on making this studio experience as close to a ‘real-life’ live event as possible from the production perspective. Otherwise, for clients coming in to use the space it’s too far from reality. We’ve made it so the production teams for video, lighting and sound, can come in with their clients and do their job.”
Black Light’s Calder Sibbald, added: "Whilst we were already in discussion with Lucid regarding a joint venture, the current Covid-19 pandemic meant we needed to react much quicker than we may have. I am delighted that we have managed to bring this facility not just to Edinburgh but to Scotland as a whole. It will allow us to generate work for both our in-house team as well as our freelance pool during these difficult times. We have already had great interest from a variety of sectors and look forward to seeing the creative development of the space."
24th June 2020
Coca-Cola Arena – 100% LED, 100% teamwork
UAE – The new Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai, recent winner of a Mondo*DR’s 2020 EMEA & APAC Awards, unites three dynamic, industry-leading lighting brands from Cooper Lighting Solutions: Zero 88 for entertainment-style control, iLight for architectural-style control and Ephesus LED sports lights.
The interior lighting and control systems together with all associated infrastructure were delivered as a turnkey solution during last year by Eaton Lighting Systems, now known as Cooper Lighting Solutions (CLS).
These aspects of this flagship project were managed by Peter Coles (business manager), supported by Martin Piper (iLight international training and support manager), Jon Hole (Zero 88 product manager) and Cooper Lighting Solution’s two EMEA project teams: one based in the UK, the other in Dubai, who together oversaw the process from design to final delivery in close collaboration with UAE-based lighting installation contractor, BMTC.
The venue itself is a 17,000 capacity (bowl format) multi-purpose indoor arena located in the City Walk neighbourhood of Dubai, United Arab Emirates and operated by ASM Global.
The tender requirement stipulated the specific sports lighting criteria required to maintain the correct lighting levels to be TV / broadcast friendly. The whole arena had to be properly lit in white as well as having the capability of being turned into an array of vibrant colours and textures, so in all, some 369 high output LED fixtures were specified.
Three different types of LED fixtures are used in combination: 74 Ephesus Arena Pro Variable White, 191 Ephesus Prism RGBA fixtures and 104 LED profiles. These are carefully positioned around the venue to light the floor, seating stands and surrounding areas for both sporting and non-sporting events like concerts.
The Ephesus Prism RGBA fixtures are ideal for lighting the seating areas and for providing high level practical states for cleaning and working. Being RGBA, they also offer a fantastic range of colour effects.
The Arena itself is divided into four key areas, each of which can then be subdivided into different sections allowing for multiple types of music shows and sporting events to be staged, but also allowing for weddings, corporate events, dinners and awards shows, etc.
Each light is individually controllable and can be used in several different set-ups. In any situation, venue managers can change colour in the upper, middle and lower tiers of seating and across the arena floor, so the space can be illuminated and adjusted according to the specific event lighting requirements.
The primary control system offers architectural-style lighting control for day-to-day running. It’s based around an iLight touch screen controlling the powerful Zero 88 ZerOS server which drives all the lighting scenes, cues and DMX set-ups and merges with the FLX lighting desk in the control room. Other touch screens are located in the security room and the VOC room. The whole system can also be controlled from the BMS system or via an app.
For aisle and step lighting this custom-configured CLS control system is designed to be as flexible and straightforward as possible, combining the architectural and show lighting systems so that they can work independently or seamlessly together. This approach highlights the synergies of the CLS brands and the flexibility of the solution, where Zero 88 FLX, ZerOS Server and iLight Touch Screens can all work together.
All the different settings: cleaner, load-in, working, special events, sports lighting, etc. can be called up and tweaked, activated, etc via the touch screens.
The main roof catwalk features an IP-based Art-Net 4 system running on a dedicated IP fibre network that is controlling of all the sports and arena lighting either via the architectural control system, or via the in house FLX lighting console.
Zero 88’s FLX console was selected for its power, simplicity and intuitive hands-on control of lighting and LED fixtures. It includes a touch monitor for quick access to palettes and show overviews and is ultimately portable with a small footprint.
Free apps are available from Zero 88 to enable wireless monitoring of the lighting rig and there’s support for a range of networking accessories.
Built-in tools include the award-winning RigSync and Auto Palettes to assist with prep work. Colours can be quickly and accurately selected and applied via the multi-touch colour and image picker or the encoder wheels or by selecting colours contained within 'Mood Boards' by LEE Filters.
In a concert scenario, visiting productions can bring in their own touring consoles and hook into the house system (in addition to their own production rigs) and take control of the Arena lighting for the duration of their show, using their touring desk accessing the in-house lights via Art-Net.
The two systems (iLight touch screens with ZerOS server and the Zero 88 FLX console) work on an HTP hierarchy with the architectural controller as the primary controller for the whole arena, so in the event of a fire or other emergency, it has precedence.
Another advantage of Zero 88 and iLight being sister brands is that many of the team resources – sales, production, R&D, customer service etc. – are shared, so on projects like this, there is constant dialogue, coordination and interactive creative thinking to bring the project to delivery.
The Cooper Lighting Solutions team was very proud to be involved in this large and high-profile project. “The project encapsulates an array of firsts,” commented Peter Coles.
“It’s the first fully air-conditioned indoor multi-purpose arena in the Middle East, the first arena to be operating year-round in the region, the first EMEA project for Ephesus LED fixtures, and the first project worldwide to unite Zero 88, iLight and Ephesus all together under Cooper Lighting Solutions.” A great example of a 100% LED lit venue with 100% teamwork.
photos: Peter Coles and Coca-Cola Arena Dubai
23rd June 2020
Stark Raving Solutions Helps Church Shine After Hurricane and Quarantine with Chauvet Professional
USA – Modern life may be full of surprises, but there is one thing that surely will never be seen again: an Atlantic hurricane named “Harvey.” The 2017 storm bearing that moniker caused so much damage when it slammed in to south Texas and Louisiana that its name was permanently retired by the World Meteorological Association.
Among the buildings devastated by the horrific Category 4 hurricane was First Baptist Humble, which had 18-inches of water in its sanctuary. Determined to rebuild its campus, the 111-year-old house of worship gave itself a new name, United City Church, and remade its sanctuary interior, adding an advanced AVL system installed by Stark Raving Solutions that featured Chauvet Professional LED fixtures.
The new 1,200 seat church was scheduled to host services for the first time on Easter Sunday, 2020, but fate intervened once again in the form of the coronavirus. With the lockdown in effect, the church couldn’t reopen on schedule and had to limit itself to online streamed services. Almost two months later, however, with restrictions on public gatherings eased, the church was able to welcome limited groups of worshippers to its new sanctuary, following social distance guidelines.
Although many of its members continued to worship online, those in attendance got to experience first hand the immersive environment that United City’s technical director Chad Kirchoff and his team envisioned when they began working with Stark Raving Solutions on the new lighting system.
“The church wanted a completely fresh start in terms of the environment created in the sanctuary,” said Marcus Hammond, of Stark Raving Solutions. “They wanted a really modern lighting package: lots of colour, movers and flexibility, so that’s what our team, led by Bret Hoskins, lead system designer for the UCC project, and Jason Lericos, SRS project manager, were able to provide them.”
To maximise the flexibility of the new system the rigging above the stage was designed to allow the church’s team to orient fixtures in multiple directions using them for aerial effects and audience lighting. Nearly all fixtures in the rig offer full colour mixing, since the ability to immerse by changing hues was extremely important the church.
“United City’s team was determined to get an extremely contemporary rig with lots of flexibility,” said Hammond. “They wanted the ability to say ‘yes, we can do that,’ when any idea came up in a creative meeting. The entire system is based around DMX network protocol (sACN) with distribution all over the room.”
Colour rendering effects and set pieces played a critical role in the church’s vision. The United City team didn’t merely want to accent the stage with evocative colours, their goal was to transform the stage and the entire sanctuary in rich palettes of bold saturates and soft pastels.
A collection of 24 Rogue R2x Wash fixtures spread out over an entire overhead grid and strategically positioned on the stage deck, are key to helping the church achieve the desired effect. “With so many Rogue fixtures it is easy for the church to get the range of looks it wants,” said Hammond. “We also used ten Maverick MK2 Spots to create depth and texture on the stage.
For added colour, the rig has two COLORado Solo Batten fixtures as well as eight COLORdash Batten Q12 and 18 COLORdash Par Hex12 IP units. Most of these fixtures are run on network distribution.
“We were limited on how many cables could physically go from the booth to the main lighting rack backstage, so the lighting system is mostly done with gateways/nodes all over,” said Hammond. “Hurricane Harvey flooded multiple conduits and broke things underground, making almost all I/O for AVL in the booth need to run via two 2” conduits. This was a unique challenge. Lighting was impacted mainly by forcing the design to utilise IP DMX protocol (sACN) everywhere, some via fiber and numerous managed network switches.”
Hurricane Harvey may have damaged conduits, but its name has been relegated to history and the church it once devastated has now come all the way back, bigger, brighter and more colourful than ever.
23rd June 2020
Puy du Fou Theme Park Upgrades with Optocore Fibre Network
France – Ranked the second most popular theme park in France (behind Disneyland Paris) Puy du Fou is spread over 500 hectares at Les Epesses in the heart of Pays de La Loire region.
When it came to specifying a site-wide digital comms upgrade recently, the facility’s long-term head of technology (and resident sound engineer), Samuel Briand, was clear that an expansive Optocore fibre ring solution would best serve the park’s requirements. He explained that previously they had worked mostly in analogue but this has now been replaced with parallel Optocore, Dante and AVB networks.
“The first consideration was the vast distance,” he said, explaining the background to the specification. “The park is very large, requiring several hundred kilometres of cable length, and it was essential that we could pass the signals without loss of quality and without length constraints.”
The new system itself was conceived at the park’s in-house design studio, overseen by Briand, with the company DV2 supplying the equipment and technical support.
Each of the featured shows has its own control room and runs autonomously, although the existing fibre optic network allows shows to be connected to each other if necessary. “When we create a show, we connect the audio mixing studio to the show concerned and mix in the attraction by moving the screen, keyboard and mouse from the studio computer. The sound travels in the Optocore environment between the studio and the show, thus saving us from having to carry a big flight case with a ProTools HDX,” Briand explains.
In view of the extensive distance and channel requirements, the redundant Optocore transport is used in all the Park’s main shows, such as La Cinéscénie (a huge outdoor stage for the evening shows), Le Dernier Panache (which follows the destiny of a French naval officer during the American War of Independence), Café de la Madelon (Parisian style cabaret) and El Sueño de Toledo (another historical nocturnal show). To give an idea of scale, La Cinéscénie alone requires 10km of fibre optics.
“We work only with single mode fibre,” the head of tech continues, “and each Optocore converter has redundancy at the power supply (one on mains and one on inverter).” A separate central control point manages the BGM only (which is distributed over a point-to-point network).
Samuel Briand has deployed a pair of Optocore DD4MR-FX MADI devices for use with the DiGiCo SD10 consoles, 10 X6R-FX with AES-SRC and line outputs for the amplifiers, as well as AES-SRC with Mix Inputs for microphones (and finally, a V3R-FX). All devices have been upgraded with 2Gb single mode transceivers.
The advantages of the new set-up can be clearly seen in Le Dernier Panache, mixed on DiGiCo. “The Optocore network allows us to compensate all audio channels (around 96) from the A/D converters to the amplifiers and the processor. So via Optocore converters we have a real matrix, boosted by the processing and mixing power of the DiGiCo consoles.”
As for the sound system generally, each show has its own broadcast soundtrack (e.g. symphonic music with voices and sound effects). Puy du Fou has been working with L-Acoustics for over 20 years and each show has a particular spatialisation (L-ISA for Le Dernier Panache, 12 channels for La Cinéscénie, 7.1 for Le Secret de la Lance show etc). For the BGM and general park distribution (shops, restaurants and hotels) mainly Fohhn speakers are used. In addition to DiGiCo SD10 and SD9T, the Park also deploys a range of Yamaha mixing consoles.
Samuel Briand is more than satisfied with the upgraded signal transport across the Puy du Fou site. “Fibre optics and an Optocore platform were essential to meet the specifications,” he confirmed.
photos: Leslie Artamonow & Philippe Moreau
22nd June 2020
Stage Electrics helps The Shaftesbury Theatre, Dawlish prepare for the future
UK – Stage Electrics has announced that it has been awarded the key contract to supply and install three new Zero 88 Chilli bypass dimmers, ETC Element 2 desk and new DMX infrastructure around the stage and FOH for the Shaftesbury Theatre, Dawlish.
This is the first step for the theatre in moving from a traditional tungsten rig towards a more energy efficient LED solution. Replacing the old dimmers with the new Zero 88 Chilli bypass dimmers offers the ability to swap between dimming or hot power, whilst the ten new DMX points around the stage and front of house allows for increased flexibility for future productions.
19th June 2020
L-Acoustics Syva resolves audio challenges for Åbo Svenska Teater
Finland – Åbo Svenska Teater, a Swedish speaking theatre in the heart of Turku, is the oldest still functioning theatre in Finland. Exuding 19th century glamour, the venue is known for hosting high-end plays and musicals such as Les Misérables, Hair, and The Rocky Horror Show. This April, the theatre’s audio system was brought bang up-to-date with the installation of L-Acoustics Syva, which has solved the theatre's complex acoustical challenges.
The system was delivered in March and originally scheduled for installation in May. However, when the theatre was shuttered and all performances cancelled due to the pandemic, it was decided to use the hiatus productively and install the system ahead of time, made possible by the theatre’s team performing the installation themselves.
Pauli Molnár of L-Acoustics certified provider distributor, Audico, has a long history with the theatre. In 1991, he had worked there as a followspot operator and assistant to the lighting designer. “I got to know the team there very well and I had known the sound guys even before that,” he says. “The same two guys, Olli-Pekka Lepovouri and Jouni Haavisto, have worked there ever since.”
In Autumn, Lepovouri and Haavisto approached Molnár with the challenge of upgrading their existing PA system. They knew they had a challenge of combining aesthetic of the the Mozart-era architecture with modern technology, and the visual aspect of the system was as important to the team as the electronic and acoustical properties of the sound system. They had already heard about L-Acoustics Syva, and were interested by its exceptional sound and remarkably fluid form.
“They follow the current trends and knew that Syva ticked a lot of boxes,” Molnár continues. “When we demoed the system, they liked every aspect of Syva so much they decided to base their new system around it.”
The 500-seat auditorium comprises stalls and two balconies. Syva, with its DOSC waveguides, J-shaped progressive curvature and +5 and -21 degree dispersion, which is optimised for ultra-wide horizontal coverage with extended throw capability, provided the ideal solution. Three separate stereo pairs of Syva were installed, each pair addressing a separate layer of the audience, along with a single central sub, the configuration providing consistent coverage for the entire area.
X4i provide front fill – attached invisibly to the front of the stage lip – and additional fill for the sides. Two further X4i sit under the second balcony to provide fill for the first balcony. Two Syva low are hung centrally from the proscenium. The entire system is driven by three LA4X amplifier controllers.
The theatre’s metal workshop built custom brackets, which were attached to a bar on the proscenium that allows adjustment for height and azimuth angle. The bottom Syva is positioned to avoid the balcony overhang, as there are hard reflecting walls which create extremely difficult acoustics.
“The theatre’s auditorium has a very challenging geometry,” says Molnár. “It’s like a parabolic reflector. This has always made things really difficult because, no matter at what angle you approach the audience, the audio will always hit the walls and come back to the audience in the middle of the stalls. In the end, we identified one unique position for the bottom two Syva, which allows for even coverage without exciting the façade of the balcony.”
By avoiding the balcony overhang and positioning this particular Syva under the box, a much better result was achieved.
“There are still reflections present, but they are much more controlled than before,” says Molnár. “The high frequencies don’t interact at all between the stalls and the balconies. During the calibration process it became clear that the balconies are all listening to their own system, which is exactly what we wanted. The central woofer takes care of the low end all round.”
The theatre is scheduled to resume rehearsals in July in anticipation of a new show in August.
"The team at Åbo Svenska Teater is extremely pleased with their new sound system," concludes Molnár. "They are currently prepping to re-open the venue to the public in September and cannot wait to share the improved experience with performers and audiences."
17th June 2020
Gabriele Ferrini Realises his Dreams by Expanding his Neve Genesys Black
Italy – After a wait of more than 20 years, Italian musician and producer Gabriele Ferrini has finally achieved his dream of having a 64 channel Neve console as the centrepiece of his own studio.
Ferrini, who owns LG Studio in Modena, Italy, upgraded his Neve Genesys Black G32 console to a G64 by adding a 16 channel extension, supplied by AMS Neve’s exclusive local dealer, Funky Junk Italy. The studio’s transformation took place just before the Covid-19 lockdown and since then Ferrini has also added a GenesysControl plugin, which is providing total integration between his Neve analogue hardware and his DAWs.
“As a pianist, I studied harmony and orchestral direction and have worked with many Italian producers such as Vince Tempera,” Ferrini says. “The sound and production of records has always been my passion so I was delighted when, in 1998, I had the opportunity to co-produce some projects at Abbey Road Studios in London. While I was there, I worked with the fabulous engineer Guy Massy on a 64 channel Neve V3 console and I completely fell in love with the sound of it. I knew then that one day I would have my own studio, and when I did a Neve console at the heart of it.”
Ferrini’s long wait for his own residential facility came to an end in 2015 when he opened LG Studio, which has a 20 square metre control room equipped with ATC monitoring and an 80 square metre recording space. A couple of years after opening, Ferrini replaced his original console with a Neve Genesys Black that was chosen for two main reasons: its legendary Neve sound and its ability to integrate seamlessly with modern workflows.
“Genesys Black consoles ae incredibly versatile and the sound quality they deliver is very respectful of what you are actually recording from the musicians,” he explains. “After working on the G32 for a couple of years I realised that I needed to expand it because the projects I was working on had bigger track counts. To handle those properly I obviously needed more tracks. Adding the 16 channel expansion unit and turning my desk into a G64 has allowed me to split the signal flow more effectively and take full advantage of Neve’s incredible analogue sound. It also happens to be the only Neve Genesys Black G64 in Italy, which naturally gives the studio a commercial advantage.”
Ferrini says the larger format console, combined with a GenesysControl plug-in, has helped speed up his projects, especially when he is mixing, as he can now mix traditionally using the console, work in-the-box using Pro Tools, or combine both approaches in a highly effective hybrid workflow.
“Music is life and it must be taken very seriously,” he says. “AMS Neve technology and know-how allows you to realise projects that respect the full information you get from your sound. With a Genesys console you can deliver something that is ‘different’ from serial sounding records. If you want to create a hit you need to be different and Genesys helps you achieve that. Of course it also helps if you have good ears!”
With Italy slowly returning to normal, Gabriele Ferrini is back in the studio working on a number of projects, most of them top secret. “We attract clients from Italy and also from the USA, and we are currently doing some film scoring, some songwriting and some pop recordings,” he says. “Right now I am mixing a very sweet love song that is going to be really nice when it is finished.”
16th June 2020
PWL Launches Virtual Event Studio
Belgium – Leading lighting, visuals, show and production design practice Painting with Light (PWL) has opened a new Virtual Event Studio, in partnership with NEP Belgium, at its C-MINE HQ in Genk, offering a slick streaming production and broadcast facility including full virtual audience interactivity to deliver the highest quality digital events.
Based on a model created by Univate in The Netherlands, the new PWL Studio space offers an innovative and creative approach for staging virtual events of all types, from keynote speeches, corporate meetings and presentations to brand activations, product launches and conferences to seminars to album launches, parties and live music streams.
The project is a response to the massive increase in demand for streamed, ‘delivered-live’ and recorded events and content to expand reach and visibility in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and new social distancing rules and guidelines.
The 10 x 19 metre recording area is fully equipped with the professional audio and broadcast technologies empowered by NEP Belgium and the latest LED lighting technologies from Luxibel, together with moving lights from Chauvet and Robe.
While fully customisable to client needs, for versatility, speed and efficient operation, several pre-designed event stages and spaces are also available embracing different styles and occasions, each of which can be individually branded to make every event eye-catching and distinctive.
Additionally, 3D assets and the design of any physical event, studio, trade show booth, etc., can be imported from a CAD file and replicated, integrating the client’s own environment and product design files into the space for ultimate flexibility.
The Virtual Event Studio dynamics are enhanced with a real high resolution 3 x 3 metre LED wall made up from 3.9mm Unilumin Utile product. The big benefit of this is it removes the need to chroma-key the presenter and put them in front of a virtual background, resulting in a higher quality end result and better visual coherence.
While the other screens in the event are all virtual, several smaller physical screens in the studio allow presenters to see and review the content on both real and virtual surfaces.
A complete video floor below the presenter stage adds further visual dynamics and looks cool in overhead shots.
The standard five-channel camera system comprises a GV LDX 86 4K unit fitted with a 14mm zoom lens and four Panasonic HE130 PTZs fitted with standard lenses, all mixed via a Grass Valley Korona switcher.
Through the Virtual Event Studio’s unique live interaction functionality, the online audience can be streamed individually on to the virtual backscreen so the presenter can answer questions and engage in conversations ‘face-to-face’.
Audiences can be invited and join in via an assortment of different video conferencing platforms and be there 'virtually'!
They are gathered in front of the stage as live video thumbnails on the live steam and shown on a large projection screen in the studio so the presenter can feel their presence, and attendees can see the complete audience, just like a physical event!
The audio set up includes a Yamaha QL1 audio mixer, DPA and Shure mics (sanitised after each use and supplied to each person in individually sealed plastic wraps) with four L-Acoustics 108P speakers in the studio.
Custom soundscapes, music tracks and effects can also be produced for events as part of the package, or the clients can use their own.
As PWL is both an architectural and an entertainment lighting specialist, serious detail has gone into specifying a lighting rig offering each production extensive tools.
An adaptable lighting rig includes Luxibel B Panel 240CW cold white panels with barndoors, picked for features like the high CRI of 96 for perfect flesh tones, and because it’s among the best fixtures for green screening and chroma-key work. It can be dimmed manually or via DMX, and this plus all the other lights in the studio are controlled through a grandMA3 console.
The control room, a separate area where all crew can work at least 1.5 metres apart and meet all the social distancing guidelines, features a Barco E2 image processor and two disguise d3 media server for creating sophisticated motion graphics and sending video content and live camera feeds to the remote and virtual screens.
A selection of laptops is available for PowerPoints and KeyNotes.
The control room has its own supplies for sanitising hands and surfaces, and the entire space has been developed with the foresight of providing a safe working environment and Covid-19 regulation compliance in mind.
The virtual studio live recording output is an industry-standard 16:9 HD video feed which can be streamed to popular video platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Twitch and Twitter, each of which has their own native interaction capabilities.
On request, clients can order a custom landing page with all advanced networking features assembled in a virtual lobby room.
For events with smaller or private audiences, feeds can be streamed to video conferencing tools like Zoom or Skype.
The interest and take-up has been swift so far, with events for IMEC Belgium, C-Mine Crib and the Agoria Entertainment & Sports Technology Club being among the first to benefit, bringing another new dimension to Painting with Light for both present and future.
Marc Convents, sales director from NEP Belgium, stated: “We’re delighted to join forces with PWL for these new ‘mixed reality’ events which are likely to be part of our future ‘normal’. Both NEP Belgium and Painting with Light work in complementary segments of the events industry and we look forward to a rewarding and successful working relationship.”
photos: Painting with Light
12th June 2020
STEINERLIVE invests in Elation KL Fresnel LED as efficient tungsten replacement
Austria – The advantages of LED as a tungsten replacement are many: greater efficiency with less power draw, less maintenance, reduced heat and more flexibility. Leading Austrian event production company STEINERLIVE is realising all those benefits with a recent purchase of Elation KL Fresnel LED wash luminaires, a bright, high-quality white light with output as beautiful as traditional tungsten halogen.
With over 35 years of industry experience, STEINERLIVE, based in Vienna, are experts inthe application of professional event technology for congresses, conferences, corporate meetings, virtual events, and exhibitions. Seeking an LED alternative to an aging inventory of tungsten Fresnel fixtures, Elation sales representative for Austria, Karl Lager, helped STEINERLIVE personnel scrutinise the KL Fresnel line. “He did a great job, answered all of our questions, and provided us with demo equipment,” states STEINERLIVE’s Bernhard Höfert. “Finally, and significantly, he gave us a quotation we were able to work with.”
The KL Fresnel series is a line of warm-white or cold-white LED Fresnel lights available in 50W, 150W and 350W models. STEINERLIVE acquired the 150W KL Fresnel 6 CW, a cold-white LED Fresnel with a 5,600K Cool White LED engine and high CRI of 97.
“The KL Fresnel 6 CW will replace our stock of tungsten Fresnel fixtures in order to reduce the electrical load, simplify the setup by not needing dimmer racks and thus complicated cabling, and streamline installation by using hybrid DMX+load cables that simply daisy chain the fixtures. They are reasonably priced and have the features and accessories we need,” Höfert commented, adding that the 150W version can easily replace up to a 1kW tungsten light.
The company went with the cold white version because it best matches their cameras and streaming equipment, but also because clients usually prefer the cooler color temperature, according to Höfert. “The light output and uniformity of the KL Fresnel was opted best in a direct shoot-out with competitor fixtures,” he said. “Likewise, the body and frame left the best impression in terms of reliability and durability. Also, the colour rendering index was slightly better than other fixtures.” The KL Fresnel also includes manual zoom and manual and DMX-controlled dimming, along with barn doors and gel frame holder. With adjustable refresh frequency, silent operation mode and flicker-free operation, it makes for an ideal on-camera wash light.
Höfert says STEINERLIVE’s new KL fixtures will be used for applications like session and breakout rooms during large congresses, meeting rooms and virtual / hybrid event stages, fast-in/fast-out press conferences, and lighting for exhibitions. As of late, the company has been using the fixtures in their in-house studio for recordings, streamings, and virtual productions, all increasingly relevant under the current crises.
“Every one of our lighting technicians is more than happy with the fixtures and their output,” he concludes. “Although we have not used them quite as often as we had hoped due to the crises, we look forward to working with them once things pick up.”
12th June 2020
TFG delivers brighter AV solution for Royal Society of Chemistry
UK – Torpedo Factory Group has upgraded the audio-visual system at the London headquarters of the Royal Society of Chemistry, one of the UK’s oldest professional scientific associations, established in the mid-19th century with the goal of advancing the chemical sciences.
Burlington House, Mayfair, has been the RSC’s residence since 1857, and is famed for its historic library that not only houses a world-class collection of scientific journals but is also a leading event venue with a unique location in central London.
Key to the Library’s attraction as a venue – prized by users for seminars, conferences, lectures, award ceremonies and private functions – is its integrated audio-visual facilities and, taking an opportunity to benefit from the latest technological advancements, the RSC decided this year to upgrade its systems in order to provide better coverage and improved intelligibility to meet the growing requirements of its many clients.
In consultation with Torpedo Factory Group (TFG), the RSC technical team, headed by Grant Verrel, discussed options for global connectivity since, amongst the many in-person activities hosted in the Library such as Q&A sessions and product launches, live streaming has become a popular component that clients are requesting.
The new AV system replaces one previously installed by TFG, which had served them well. “We’ve had a long and excellent relationship with TFG,” said Verrell. “Since they were intimately familiar with our existing equipment they were the natural choice for this upgrade, and we trusted from experience that a new project would be completed quickly and efficiently. Previously we were having issues with dead spots and feedback due to the placement of the speakers, and decided that we needed a radically different solution.
“Essentially we were looking for better sound quality because audio technology pushes strongly forwards year to year, and to go with that we wanted to offer an enhanced visual experience for our guests,” he explained. “Ease of use was also a key factor, and to aid that we were looking to control all the user functions from a mobile device such as a tablet.”
"We're very satisfied with what TFG has achieved, and we're especially pleased with the convenience of being able to operate the whole AV system remotely with an iPad," stated Grant Verrell, Head of RSC Facilities team.
Project manager Mark Solomons led the TFG installation team, renewing a variety of key components, adding new connectivity and programming the new systems to precisely meet client requirements along with four new HD screens. The building's Grade II listed status precluded wall mounting the K-array speakers, and so custom floor stands were fabricated to house two Rumble-KU26 subwoofers and the one-metre high Viper-KV52 line arrays. A new cutting edge ceiling mounted projector provides a large bright image with high resolution clarity, the cutting edge laser light projector specified by TFG producing 12,000 lumens which gives excellent contrast even in daylight conditions.
“TFG gave us exceptional service throughout the project,” Verrell concluded. “Mark and the TFG team kept us informed at every stage, and nothing was too much trouble for them. We’re very satisfied with what they’ve achieved. Sound quality is second to none from such tiny speakers that you can barely see, and we’re especially pleased with the convenience of being able to operate the whole AV remotely system with an iPad – before we would be back and forth to the control room to check and rectify any issues and adjustments. It’s a real step forward.”
12th June 2020
TSL Lighting Supplies Solution for Skillsoft Stream
UK – TSL Lighting helped independent live events production company LRI create a COVID-Secure lighting package for a live stream training session by e-learning company, Skillsoft, in May.
TSL was approached by lighting designer Tim Ball to supply a fitting solution for the project, with a specification that would provide the presentation with the perfect balance of lighting for the cameras filming the session.
As one of the leading global providers of education technology and training, Skillsoft had originally programmed its ‘Perspectives 2020’ session as an in-person event, but the COVID-19 lockdown meant that LRI and Skillsoft worked quickly to transform the production into a fully online, global digital experience.
Ball’s design included Chroma-Q Colorforce II 48 LED battens for scenic treatment, Arri 650 Plus Fresnels for keylighting, ETC Source Four Profiles for graphics highlights and an array of battery-powered Astera AX3 LightDrop LED spotlights for backlight.
The event was prepped, delivered and installed on site by Ball and Graham Loughman, with full consideration to the UK government's COVID-Secure guidelines, with social distancing in place for all logistics, build and de-rig.
“The brief from Elliot Levi at LRI was for a warm ‘daytime TV’ feel to the lighting,” says Ball. “The venue, an unoccupied space in the office building where the client is based, did offer some challenges, particularly the nine-foot high ceiling with no hanging possibilities. I decided to go with a single ground support truss for key light from four Arri 650W Fresnels mounted on short barrels on top of the truss for maximum height. "Two more Arris and three LitePanels Astra 6X LED panels flown from the bottom chord bounced off the ceiling to create a soft fill, while Source Four Profiles brought out the graphics on the set.”
“I’ve always loved ColorForce II for set lighting and the AX3 LightDrop units worked great for backlight with a good output for their size, no cable, and controlled from my iPhone. They offer an impressive battery life, too. I loved being able to put them in sleep mode overnight directly from the app.
“As always, the kit was well prepped by the crew at TSL and it was a pleasure to work with [TSL’s senior project manager] Dave Charters again on the pre-production. Well done to LRI and Skillsoft for their ingenuity in making this event happen despite the current circumstances. Perhaps this model will be the new normal for a while.”
Dave Charters comments: “It’s always a pleasure to work with Tim and LRI on these projects. We aim to be flexible wherever we can, so supporting our clients as events change and evolve is something that we are always happy to get involved with.”
photo: TSL Lighting
10th June 2020
Absen’s LED Helps Boost Production Value of Webinars and Virtual Events with Sterling’s Virtual Studio
UK – Technical event production company Sterling Event Group has created Sterling Studio, a Manchester-based studio space designed to boost the production value of webinars and other virtual events, over video conferencing and online meeting platforms such as Zoom, Go To Meeting, Skype and Webex. The studio, supported by UK distributor PSCo, boasts an impressive digital backdrop from LED display manufacturer Absen.
The idea to create a studio dedicated to virtual events was curated before the Covid-19 lockdown, just as the need for an events space with the capacity for high production quality was rising; a need that has only increased since.
“The studio space allows us to use our rental equipment and create a space for users to virtually present to their audience using state of the art technologies, without the obvious limitations that come with presenting from home,” said Dan Charmer, director of Sterling Event Group. This facility is also a fantastic tool for companies who don’t want to invest in, or have the required space or equipment to record and broadcast such presentations.
The 230sqm black box space offers a variety of features designed to not only provide presenters with creative freedom, but also to maintain current UK social distancing requirements. The space boasts an 11m wide stage, along with a 3.6 metre circular podium where presenters can easily maintain the appropriate social distance, fully kitted with a professional lighting and audio system, including digital mixing consoles and stage monitor speakers.
Snaking around the back of the stage is a 16 x 3 metre curved LED screen providing a dynamic backdrop to set the scene for any event. The screen is made up of Absen’s Polaris 2.5mm Pro – part of the multi-award-winning Polaris rental series – which has been specifically created for indoor use, offering 1200 nits high brightness, superior contrast and high precision pixel alignment. The screen is well suited for a multitude of uses, such as Sterling Studio, which uses the LED screen to simultaneously display presentations, social media feeds, branding and custom backgrounds in sharp 18bit+ image processing.
“The screen is paramount to the studio: the sharpness and contrast of the image are key elements to the impact we were looking to create,” commented Charmer. “The Polaris series offers what we need for this project mechanically and, more importantly, visually over our existing [Absen] A3 Pro. The compatibility of the hardware across the range was also a big advantage when adding it to the rental fleet.”
The Polaris 2.5mm Pro panels feature an integrated curved locking system, allowing for convex (-7.5˚) or concave (+10˚) shapes to be modelled as needed to further improve the striking visual effect, as well as round, square or triangle panel shapes. The 9.6kg model also boasts simple and quick assembly, something which Charmer and his team used to their advantage.
“A small team of technicians installed the screen without any help or guidance, and found it to be a simple, stress free installation,” Charmer said.
The screen is driven by Avolites Ai Media servers, which provides large format backdrops for use during virtual events. All signals are routed through a Barco E2 switching system, which is also routing content down to four 65-inch stage monitors within the studio space, made available to the presenters and their team. These are thoroughly cleaned after every use, along with the other equipment available.
“We wanted to create a safe, hygienic space that encompassed the high production value and set design, whilst ensuring the opportunity for engagement with audiences for our clients in a more visually impactful way,” Charmer said. “We do not know what the future holds, but for now we know we have provided the standard our clients have come to expect from us with the assistance of PSCo and Absen.”