Project News Headlines
Rõuge Watchtower Lit with Robe
Estonia - Robe products are known for their ruggedness and reliability, making them ideal for all types of exterior installations and the toughest of operating conditions, which is why LEDForce 18 PARs and Anolis ArcSource Outdoor 4MCs were specified together with other lights to illuminate the Pesapuu (Nest Tree) Watchtower in Rõuge.
The new 30-metre high Watchtower is located near to Rõuge Suurjärv, Estonia’s deepest lake in the Rõuge parish of Vöru Country, a conservation area recognised for its outstanding natural beauty. The structure, which replaces an original wooden watchtower built in 2006, was designed by Tallinn based architect Karmo Tõra.
The industrial looking steel tower juxtaposes yet blends with the landscape, it looks attractive and interesting in winter and summer and resembles a tree with two bird’s nests. It’s also a symbol of great pride for the picturesque town and residents of Rõuge explained Mayor Tiit Toots, who fully endorsed the project and its proposed lighting scheme.
Roadservice, the company that built the structure, already knew the lighting products they wanted to use, which included the 12 Robe LEDForce 18 LED PARs and the six Anolis ArcSource Outdoor 4MCs, and had placed the order with Tallinn based E&T, Robe’s Estonian distributor.
The LEDForce 18s are rigged within the structure around the two birds' nest elements and as dusk falls, they wash the steelwork creating an inviting glow around the nests that permeates and reflects across the rest of the mast of the structure, so the Watchtower becomes a subtle extension of the magnificent landscape.
On top of the tower is an egg shaped pod which is lit by the Anolis 4MCs, bringing a touch of intrigue to the object.
When it came to providing lighting control, Roadservice approached locally based Andres Sarv, head of lighting at Tartu’s Vanemuine Theatre and a lighting consultant of some repute for several projects in the area. He assisted with suggesting a system and provided Tõnis Järs, one of Vanemuine’s regular freelance programmers, to address the devices, sort out the DMX and programmed looks for the opening night and the ongoing day-to-day lighting.
The lights can be changed by Tiit and his colleagues on the town council via an IoT system website or locally on site using an smart phone app.
It’s also possible for local residents to engage with the lighting by making suggestions, for example, for World Prematurity Day, when the tower was lit in purple. Whenever a child is born to the municipality, that evening the 'egg' in the upper bird’s nest is lit pink or blue according to gender, which has very quickly become a most heart-warming and popular tradition.
While steely blue and white signature colours look elegant and refined, the whole tower can also be colour changed for festivals and special events.
“The lighting is absolutely the finishing touch,” declared Tiit, who is extremely pleased with the results which have also been a big hit with the public.
Rõuge City Council also reckons that having the facility to light the tower has already boosted visitor numbers to the area, especially in the autumn and winter with the long hours of darkness, while many people struggle during these seasons, it adds great environmental value and more potential to a lighting installation like this.
photos: Louise Stickland
23rd June 2017
dLive and ME Manage Malaysian TV Music Show
Malaysia – Allen & Heath’s dLive S Class and ME personal monitoring systems were selected for the live broadcast of an annual national music competition in Malaysia.
Established in 1986, the event is organised and broadcast by Malaysia’s TV3 channel. held at the Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur, Anugerah Juara Lagu, meaning ‘Champion of Songs’ comprises performances of the most popular songs released over the year from a variety of artists from different music genres.
MJ Events was the PA company appointed for the show, and selected the flagship dLive S7000 Surface with DM64 MixRack together with three S5000 and DM48 systems to manage the FoH and monitoring mix. A Waves 3 network card was used for multi-track recording of the 128 channels at 96khz. Four GigaAce cards were used to split the 128 channels for easy manipulation, and the split enabled the sound engineer to operate the system as two boards, with one board responsible for the orchestra mix and the other handling vocals.
Additionally, a ME personal monitoring system, comprising two daisy-chained ME-U hubs running 16 ME-1 mixers, provided personal monitoring for the musicians. All the mics, FoH sound system, monitor sound system and in-ears were patched through the dLive system.
“We could split the 128 channels digitally without using analogue splitters, enabling us to maintain the sound quality of the event. dLive also offers redundant power supply and connection, which is great for a complex set up like this. The system is very user friendly, the Surface layout has everything easily accessible in front of us, plus dLive’s built-in FX library is of a very high standard,” said Zairi Arffin, FoH Engineer at TV3.
“I would like to add that the ME-1 is an awesome unit. The whole ME system is very user friendly, plug & play and easy to operate,” said monitor engineer, Hafizul Hafiz bin Hassan Ariff (Pjol).
22nd June 2017
Community Loudspeakers Provide the Soundtrack for the World’s Largest Digital Art Installation
Singapore – The National Museum of Singapore is the nation’s oldest museum, and its exhibits are among the most progressive. Its galleries adopt cutting-edge and multi-perspective ways of representing history and culture, to redefine the conventional museum experience.
The museum’s glass rotunda currently hosts an immersive digital art installation, titled “Story of the Forest”. It is inspired by the National Museum of Singapore’s prized collection, the William Farquhar Collection of Natural History Drawings. This prized collection is brought to life through a spectacular interactive digital presentation in which visitors are transported to the natural ecology of 19th century Malaya, viewed through the eyes of artists of that time and re-imagined today through digital art and technology.
In 2014 the museum closed off the glass rotunda, to explore new and innovative ways of showcasing the country’s social history and cultural history with industry partners. This resulted in the museum’s collaboration with the Japanese digital art collective teamLab, while Singapore-based Broadcast Professional Pte Ltd was chosen for the system integration, content delivery and project management, with an emphasis on ensuring an unforgettable immersive experience for visitors.
The glass rotunda’s 15-metre high drum ceiling and 170-metre passageway have been converted into an immersive large-scale digital art installation, providing a truly unique 360-degree audio and video experience for visitors to be continuously absorbed. Visitors to the glass rotunda walk across a sky bridge to be greeted by the top end of the dome and enter the 170m-spiral passageway that leads them to the lower rotunda. The top of the structure projects the infinitely expanding universe, where animated flowers of the region bloom and change over time as guests walk through it. The dome features 17 projectors in the 15-metre high by 12-metre wide space.
The spiral passageway brings visitors through an interactive forest, inhabited by the animals found in Singapore and the region. As visitors walk down the passageway the scene changes from morning to noon and then to night, also reflecting the different local climates. Upon entering the lower rotunda, the visitors come back into the night scene.
Key to the experience is the interactivity that is subtly interspersed with the images projected. The main interaction starts once visitors enter the spiral passageway from the sky bridge. Sensors that trigger the images to change have been placed strategically within the passageway. However, interactivity is not limited to the sensors. Visitors can also download a custom designed app to their smart devices. An innovative feature that Broadcast Professional and teamLab have created in the app allows visitors to point their smart device cameras at the projected images to track any selected character and get further information about them.
Alongside the projectors, the spiral passageway also features Community loudspeakers, which create the appropriate audio soundscape that complements the images projected. Audio has also been used to create additional interactivity. Broadcast Professional has integrated a feature whereby a high frequency signal can be captured by a visitor’s smartphone microphone, enabling them to pinpoint their location within the various zones of the 170m wide projection.
“A total of 42 projectors have been installed along the spiral passageway with Community DS5 loudspeakers playing a critical role in the experience,” said John Paul Tan, Broadcast Professional’s sales manager. “The Community D SERIES surface mount loudspeakers are low profile, aesthetically modern and discreet, with dynamic sound quality and excellent intelligibility. With space being a premium, these loudspeakers were the ideal solution for this installation as they fit seamlessly into the environment and provide outstanding sound quality.
“This has been a very interesting project for us. It was a truly collaborative effort, working with the Museum and teamLab to create this very large interactive digital canvas. The content and the technology had to work hand-in-hand to provide a memorable visitor experience and we are pleased to have been involved in this one-of-a-kind project,” concluded John Paul Tan.
21st June 2017
Garsington Opera Pavilion gets the Unusual treatment for the summer season
UK – Garsington Opera Pavilion has undergone a number of major additions to its existing structure ahead of its summer 2017 programme of events that started at the beginning of June, thanks to Unusual Rigging. Visitors to the pavilion will this year experience enhanced protection from the unpredictable British weather as well as additional flexible space beneath the seating tier which will increase the champagne bar area as well as acting as a gallery space.
Angus Boyd-Heron, events manager for Garsington, said: "The award winning pavilion which Unusual constructed in 2010 was built as a demountable structure and has gone from strength-to-strength. Each year we bring Unusual Rigging back to make some additions and improvements, which have escalated into some pretty major works as our ideas have become larger. As our ambitions grow and our season now extended enabling more people to attend, so too have our hopes for the venue."
Mark Priestley, head of major projects at Unusual, explained: "We've worked closely with Angus and the Garsington team to come up with ways to improve the building to achieve a new level of audience comfort. Visitors to Garsington come dressed for the opera but unfortunately the elements aren't always considerate of this. Even on the finest of days, the evenings can be chilly and we needed to look at ways to match comfort with audience aspirations."
With just two months to complete the project, Mark and his team reconfigured and added to the outer sliding screens which provide weather protection and added more glazed panels and doors to complete the exterior weather protection envelope. Angus added: "Speed really was the greatest challenge for Unusual, yet they offered so many different ideas and we now have an area that should eliminate any drafts and avoid exposure to the rain. The Unusual team has also done an amazing job of taking an empty void under the seating tier and creating a whole new room which provides more shelter from the weather, not to mention a space which can be used for hospitality, presentations, rehearsals and as a VIP area, a facility we were previously lacking."
Mark added: "Garsington really is our baby, we've seen it grow from something relatively small-scale in a temporary tent structure at its previous location into a really impressive venue that provides first class opera. The challenges it throws at us are interesting and we have had the benefit of a first rate steel fabrication partner – Sheetfabs who have been with us on the whole journey – they fabricate all the steelwork, often against difficult deadlines and are a key ingredient in our success.
Angus concluded: "Once again, Unusual Rigging has pulled out all the stops for the upcoming season. We are extremely proud of our beautiful structure which, thanks to Mark and his team, is constantly evolving as our audience continues to grow."
16th June 2017
Sennheiser Audio Technology to Power Revolution Exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
Canada – Technology from audio specialist Sennheiser will help deliver an immersive audio experience for visitors to the upcoming Revolution exhibit at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA). The exhibition, which originated at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London, looks at the social fabric of the late 1960s, the pivotal period when youth culture initiated a new sense of identity, solidarity and idealism, bringing people together to question established power structures. Like the V&A, the MMFA employs Sennheiser’s AMBEO immersive 3D audio technology and guidePORT audio guide system to deliver a fascinating museum experience and bring the spirit of that era back to life with an unforgettable soundscape.
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, which collaborated closely with the V&A on the exhibition, will open it to the public on 17th June, inviting visitors to explore the finished and unfinished revolutions of the years 1966 to 1970. Around 700 objects, including photographs, posters, album covers, design objects, books, clothes, works of art and consumer products from the period have been carefully selected by V&A curators Geoffrey Marsh and Victoria Broackes and MMFA’s Diane Charbonneau, curator of modern and contemporary decorative arts, and photography, who also added specific Quebec content from the late sixties.
The music playing throughout Revolution is an integral part of the exhibition experience, noted Diane Charbonneau: “The music of the period was both a reflection of and inspiration for the social upheaval of the period, and we are pleased to have worked with Sennheiser to bring that sonic tapestry to life within the museum,” she says. The music selection played at the V&A has been enhanced with a dedicated Quebec section which was researched by Marie-Claude Senécal of Radio-Canada, ICI Musique.
Daniel Sennheiser, co-CEO of Sennheiser, commented: “We are extremely pleased to work with the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts as the official audio partner of this exciting exhibition. Through their collaboration with the V&A, the MMFA has captured the essence of a period that was pivotal in the shaping of today’s open-minded society. The unforgettable music of these turbulent times has significantly defined contemporary culture.” “The careful curation and compelling exhibits combine with a truly captivating immersive sound experience powered by Sennheiser’s AMBEO 3D audio and guidePORT technologies,” added co-CEO Dr. Andreas Sennheiser.
A Sennheiser AMBEO 3D audio installation is employed for a key section of the exhibition, a Woodstock area which recreates the legendary festival with original stage costumes, documents of the time, vibrant concert video material on giant screens and a fascinatingly immersive AMBEO 14.1 audio system.
For this extraordinary sound experience, high-quality digital copies (24 bit, 192kHz stereo .wav files) of the original analogue magnetic tapes of the Woodstock film were converted to 3D by the Sennheiser AMBEO upmix algorithm. The nine-channel output was then post-produced and fine-tuned to play back on 14 Neumann KH 420 midfield loudspeakers for an increased impact that would enthral visitors and give them an emotional as-if-there feeling. The KH 420 were positioned as L, R, SL, SR, C, plus sides, each of these seven positions with a height speaker mounted at about 5.5m), while the LFE is played back through a total of four Neumann KH 870 subwoofers.
Visitors are accompanied through the exhibition by their handy Sennheiser audio guide. The guidePORT system is able to deliver hundreds of personal, automatically triggered stereo feeds simultaneously, enabling the user to enjoy context-specific audio throughout the course of the exhibition. This real-time, lip-sync audio helps to fully immerse visitors in the sights and sounds of the late 1960s. The system at the MMFA comprises 700 audio guides with high-quality headphones, all interfacing with several transmission and trigger units that are hidden from sight.
Revolution runs from June 17 to October 9, 2017 at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
In picture: Harry Willock's illustration for the Beatles’ “Revolution,” from The Beatles Illustrated Lyrics, 1969.
illustration: Harry Willock / Iconic Images
14th June 2017
Ancient and Modern – GDS ArcSystem Lights Tower of London Chapel
UK – St John's is a Romanesque chapel, located in the heart of the Tower of London. It was built between 1077 and 1097 of French stone imported by William the Conqueror and constitutes not only the best preserved interior in the White Tower but also one of the finest examples of Anglo-Norman church architecture in England. A UK scheduled ancient monument, as well as a UNESCO designated World Heritage Site, the Tower of London is perhaps one of England's most iconic structures. Steeped in a rich history, tied closely to the development of the British state and now one of the UK's most popular tourist destinations, The Tower and its environment is rigorously protected by government through the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act of 1979. St John's has been a Royal Chapel for almost a thousand years and the Queen's Chaplain still performs a series of royal services within its walls throughout the year. When any kind of remedial or developmental work is carried out in such an environment, the demands to limit any negative physical or visual impact are inevitably high on the project agenda.
Historic Royal Palaces had wished for some time to improve lighting provision in the chapel to achieve an improved experience for visitors and congregational acts of worship. Architects Carden & Godfrey, retained architects for Historic Royal Palaces at the Tower of London, recommended James Morse for the project. Morse specialises in the interior and exterior lighting of historic buildings and had recently worked with Carden and Godfrey at Rochester Cathedral. There was to be strictly no disturbance of the ancient fabric and with this in mind, Morse settled upon a wireless system and turned to GDS ArcSystem. Contractors EV Bullen, specialists in mechanical and electrical building services and holders of Her Majesty's Royal Warrant, were appointed to install the scheme. E.V. Bullen have provided more than 30 years service to the Royal Household and Historic Royal Palaces and are well accustomed to the highly sensitive nature of such projects.
An entirely wireless GDS ArcSystem was installed, utilising the existing mains wiring to feed the new control system. Being completely wireless, the system did not require the installation of any additional low-voltage cabling, thus meeting an essential demand of the brief that there should be as little physical disturbance as possible to the interior. The system comprised, principally, ArcPro MR16 2700K 33 and 24 Degree fittings controlled by an ArcPro Mesh Control TX1 Transmitter. Lighting scenes were programmed to allow for winter and summer daylight conditions as well as for specific services. During the course of the project, GDS designed a bespoke stand for a number of the MR16 fittings where it was simply not possible to attach them to surfaces. Adaptability is a key aspect of GDS's approach to its technology and bespoke engineering of this sort, that overcomes issues arising during a project, is a feature of GDS's drive to ensure that the designer's vision is in no way compromised. A project such as this emphasises the need for this combination of creativity and skill.
Matthew Lloyd, managing director of GDS was delighted to see ArcSystem find a home in such a historic and important setting: "The historical significance of the Tower of London needs no explanation. As a world heritage site, ancient monument and one of the UK's most popular visitor attractions, The Tower is easily one of the most recognisable buildings in the world. The installation of ArcSystem into St John's Chapel is a special moment indeed for GDS. We worked closely with Historic Royal Palaces to provide a high quality, low impact solution in a sensitive environment. James Morse is a true specialist and his specification of ArcSystem for this and a number of other similarly challenging briefs is very gratifying."
14th June 2017
Institute of Sound and Vision Installs Chauvet Professional Ovation E-260WW IP Fixtures
Belgium – The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision (‘Nederlands Instituut voor Beeld en Geluid’) has a very important task: to collect, preserve and make audiovisual heritage accessible for future generations. In addition to an archive containing more than one million hours of television, radio, music and film from 1898 until the present day, the institute also has a permanent exhibition displaying a selection of highlights to the public.
In a recent move to optimise the lighting concept within the exhibition space, Lichtpunt Theatertechniek replaced the previous halogen lighting fixtures with nine Chauvet Professional Ovation E-260WW IP fixtures. Interestingly, it was the all weather capabilities of this fixture that made it ideal for the conditions of the install.
“One of the most decisive factors of specifying the Ovation fixtures was their IP-65 rating,” commented Van Warmerdam. “Unlike the old halogen fixtures, which were constantly dust clogged, the Ovation fixture housing is completely dust and weather proof and as a result maintenance free, essential given the fixtures are positioned from the 14 metre high ceiling where accessibility is difficult.”
In addition to maintenance concerns, it was of crucial importance for the Institute that the lighting solution be both energy efficient and reliable in order to save on costs. Thanks to the durable 750W LED light source of the Ovation fixtures, the fixtures provided the ideal solution.
“The Ovation fixtures aren’t just more energy efficient than the halogen fixtures they replaced, they perform better,” commented Leon Van Warmerdam from Lichtpunt Theatertechniek. “The Ovations are in fact so powerful that we have to dim them back in order to keep the same light balance.”
Furthermore, Van Warmerdam’s decision to specify the Ovation fixtures was also influenced by the wide performance range of the Ovation fixtures, which ultimately ensure that the audiovisual specimens on display in the exhibition are illuminated as clearly as possible.
“We were very impressed with the light output, the light colour and colour representation of the Ovation fixtures,” commented Van Warmerdam. “The dimming curve and the flat and even field of projection is absolutely second to none, and ensures that the specimens within the exhibition are illuminated from the most awkward and acute of angles.”
Thanks to the Ovation fixtures, Van Warmerdam and his team have ensured that the Institute’s practical criteria were met. Moreover, Van Warmerdam was keen to point out the greater importance that the install represents: “The Ovation fixtures have an important job to fulfil,” concluded Van Warmerdam. “But as a result of their combination of performance and reliability, the exhibition will continue to educate guests on audiovisual history for a considerable time in the future.”
13th June 2017
New Smithsonian Museum Innovates with Renkus-Heinz
USA – Located near the Washington Monument on the National Mall, the Smithsonian Institution's new National Museum of African American History and Culture is the only national museum devoted exclusively to African American life, history, and culture. Since opening in September 2016, more than one million visitors have experienced its collection of artefacts and cutting-edge interactive exhibits and multimedia presentations.
To design specialised acoustic and audio delivery solutions, exhibit designers Ralph Appelbaum Associates tapped SH Acoustics, with whom RAA had previously collaborated. The team also included engineering firm Electrosonic, museum systems specialists Design and Production, Inc., which handled fabrication, integration and installation, and key content developers.
Delivering audio to tightly defined areas within large, open theatres required precise sound placement, according to SH Acoustics president and principal consultant Steve Haas, so his team relied extensively on Renkus-Heinz ICONYX-series loudspeakers. "The permanent exhibits in the museum cover more than 85,000 square feet," Haas begins, "and they include media programmes of all types, from large scale to hundreds of interactive exhibits, smaller experiences, touchscreens, and soundscapes. The spaces are enormous, and we had to control sound in many overlapping areas, so we had to pull every trick we knew and some we couldn't imagine we'd utilise. Renkus-Heinz ICONYX loudspeakers gave us the beam-steering technology and high-end audio quality we needed."
Sound for the videos is stereo, rather than surround, because the gallery theatres are so open. "We used tricks with delayed stereo to achieve immersive environments without leaking to larger areas," relates Haas. "Renkus-Heinz ICONYX IC8-R-II and IC16-R-II loudspeakers were our choice for front program speakers because we could use their beam-steering technologies to precisely place audio with minimal leakage between exhibits and spaces. And we used them in unique ways."
To navigate the four-storey History Gallery, visitors take an elevator to the bottom, visit the Slavery and Freedom exhibit, then work their way up through exhibits that progress through the segregation era to the present. Each section is connected by loosely defined landing theatres on interstitial levels at one end of the museum. Each landing theatre has the same layout, with benches that seat 60 to 75 and standing room in the rear. The landing theatres are distant from other exhibits, observes Haas: "But they are wide open; you can stand at a vantage point and see them cascading up the building. Imagine three theatres that have to deliver a powerful audio experience and are right next to each other, just separated by a little horizontal and vertical distance-and you can't have them bleeding into each other."
That called for a creative solution. "For the left and right main channels, we turned the IC16-R-IIs on their sides to get very tall vertical and narrow horizontal dispersion," explains Haas. "The IC16-R-IIs created the stereo blend, focusing the narrative dialogue on the audience. In each theatre, the speakers and the screen are off centre relative to the seating area, so we used beam steering to direct the left and right channels to the right so the sound localized with the screen. The stereo image is prominent but we contained the overall spread, helping create acoustic separation between theatres." Vertical dispersion was not an issue, thanks to an absorptive ceiling about 75 to 90 feet above each landing theatre.
Although ICONYX systems provided localisation and overall audio quality, Haas' team wanted to ensure that people in the rear felt connected to the picture. So beneath each bench are three point-source speakers aimed at the row behind, plus one in the rear for standing visitors. "The sound seems like it's coming from the screen but it's actually close to you," Haas offers. "It's a mix of left and right channels so you feel you're in the stereo field." Subwoofers are hidden behind a screen about eight to ten feet above.
Renkus-Heinz systems are also employed in the fourth-floor Culture Galleries, which show African Americans' influence on music, visual arts, theatre, and dance. "There's a wide open theatre with a 360-degree elliptical screen overhead," relates Haas. "You sit on benches or stand in the middle and view a custom production that wraps around you, which is very dynamic. To make stereo audio feel multidimensional, we placed six IC16-R-IIs behind the elliptical screen. Each array provides specific area coverage. We created enough of an overlap that we get even coverage, yet it feels like some sounds are present and some are distant."
Other media experiences surround the cultural theatre. "We wanted to get sound close to the people, especially those sitting on a bench," Haas asserts, "So we used another trick. A continuous perforated screen wraps around the entire room, up high-people walk under it to get into the theatre and we spaced horizontal IC16-R-IIs around the ellipse. They aren't evenly spaced, because of the shape of the ellipse, but ray tracing determined the exact spacing so we got good overlap."
Complicating matters, Haas recalls: "The exhibit designers wanted interactive stations right under the screens, facing the outside of the ellipse. So we had to ensure the ICONYX weren't in line with the interactive exhibits. Otherwise, the speakers' vertical spread would pummel sound down on top of the interactive stations. Once we knew where the interactive stations would be, we figured out how to shift and weave the loudspeakers so they created an immersive overlap."
Haas credits the entire team for a highly successful project. He also praises his tools: "The precision beam steering and sound quality of the ICONYX speakers were crucial to our designs," he concludes. As a result, when you visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture-and you should-you will enjoy a masterpiece of museum sound.
12th June 2017
Adamson S-Series Ensures Clear and Consistent Sound for Grace Orlando
USA – After 14 years of prayer and patience, Grace Orlando church recently opened the doors of its first designated worship space. A critical consideration from the outset was pristine and even audio coverage across all 600 seats, and thanks to a carefully researched sound system built around Adamson Systems Engineering S-Series loudspeakers, that’s exactly what they got – and a lot more.
“Full coverage is something we’ve lacked over the past 14 years at our part-time facility,” comments worship pastor Chad Wyatt, who boasts a background in production technology. “We wanted everyone to hear the word clearly and feel like the music is totally immersing them in the new space.”
The music ministry is a vital part of the church’s dynamic and spirited services, with a worship band that includes everything from full drums to guitars and keys to a horn section; subsequently, musical warmth was another must.
Wyatt and Gil Parente of AVNew, the church’s long-time audio equipment provider, were keen to test an Adamson package based on the brand’s “stellar and growing reputation” throughout Florida’s worship community. That led them to contact Mainline Marketing, Adamson’s Florida-based rep firm.
“What really sold us on the system is when Mainline led us on a trip to the factory in Canada and we saw how everything was manufactured in house,” shares Parente. “The quality control, the state-of-the-art equipment; that was the kind of company we were looking for, a reputable company with a focus on design and really strong support. Then we heard the system and we were blown away. It was everything we were hoping for in that partnership.”
Grace Orlando opted for a left-right array system to cover its 100ft. wide by 60ft. deep sanctuary. Its comprises six Adamson S10 two-way, full range line array cabinets per side, with four S119 subwoofers lining the ground in front of the stage.
From the church’s leadership to its technical volunteers to its congregants, Wyatt reports total satisfaction with the new system. “It’s just great comment after great comment on how amazing it sounds,” he says.
After 14 years, Grace Orlando has a space to call its own. Now, it can continue to grow its faith and congregation, and with an advanced new Adamson S-Series loudspeaker system, can ensure the message registers loud and clear.
9th June 2017
First Heritage in Russia Goes to SmartAudio
Russia – “ASP8024 Heritage is the perfect combination of price and quality,” says Artem Suntcov (pictured), co-owner and sound engineer at brand new studio SmartAudio, confident he’s made the smart decision choosing Audient’s latest, large format console – the first to be installed in Russia.
He originally discovered Audient whilst on a trip to Nashville for an internship. “One of the sound engineers uses the original version of ASP8024 with 48 channels, patchbay and producer’s desk. I worked with the console over a month and really enjoyed it,” he says, having got to know the desk quite well. “The coolest features are the flexibility of the routing - especially with the short faders, and the many parallel buses. I’m really impressed by the fact that it’s an in-line console.”
“The only thing I didn’t like was its colour and the fact that there wasn’t an option to ‘colour’ the sound.” Soon after he returned from his US trip, however Artem was excited to hear that Audient had released the new, improved ASP8024 Heritage Edition. “They added everything that I wanted – and even more!
“In particular, I’m happy with the transformers added to the master section and Bass Expand in the compressor. There wasn’t any room for doubt after that.” says Artem. The UK-made transformers help produce a punchy, weighty sound, adding character to a mix, whilst Bass Expand is a high pass filter in the compressor side chain, designed to tighten up mixes, adding punch without destroying the low end. These are just two in a long list of improvements made to the Audient ASP8024 which attracted Artem to the desk.
Right now, Artem is putting the finishing touches to his studio in the Russian city of Kirov, which due to construction delays has taken a bit longer than expected to get finished. “Soon we hope to start the long period of wiring and connecting cables, patch panels, external devices and commissioning,” says Artem, very keen to get things up and running.
The studio’s official opening is scheduled for 1st January 2018, but there are plenty of things coming up before then, including a mysterious project, something that: “Has never happened in the history of recording before,” according to Artem. “A very famous, serious classical musician is involved. I can’t reveal the secret details yet, but after the recording is made, I promise to open the curtain!” he adds, cryptically.
5th June 2017
Yamaha QL1s Complement Versatile Bodenseeforum
Germany – Overlooking the River Rhine, where it links the lower and upper regions of Lake Konstanz, Bodenseeforum is a new conference venue conveniently located at the centre of Europe’s ‘four country region’ of Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Liechtenstein. A very versatile audio mixing solution was needed for this ‘modular’ venue, solved by the installation of three Yamaha QL1 digital consoles.
The 2000m2 Bodenseeforum is designed to allow all of its spaces to be configured to the exact size and seating requirements of any event. With many possible combinations of plenum, breakout room and foyer available, a flexible and easily moved mixing solution was needed to ensure that all events enjoy high quality sound, regardless of how the space is configured.
Stefan Praxl, founder of Praxl Licht- & Tontechnik GmbH, was asked to provide the Bodenseeforum audio systems. He chose the flexible solution of three Yamaha QL1s, plus a Rio1608-D i/o unit.
“Because the venue has a ‘modular’ approach, the mixing consoles needed to be flexible and able to handle a wide range of events,” says Stefan. “It needed to be able to work with Bodenseeforum’s Dante network and be familiar to visiting sound engineers from across the world.”
Stefan specified the QL1s because they satisfied all of these requirements, as well as being compact and easy to move to any position, as required.
“The QL1s seamlessly integrate with the Dante-based IT infrastructure and loudspeaker systems,” he says. “With instant recall of presets and the addition of the Rio1608-D for larger events, the system can be reconfigured very quickly. It is the ideal mixing solution for such a versatile venue.”
5th June 2017
Doughty supplies Farnham Maltings with Easydeck
UK – Farnham Maltings has operated an arts and community centre for Farnham, Surrey, since the early 1970s. It offers a core of successful activities: a thriving music and theatre programme, a flourishing selection of workshops, monthly markets and regular film events. There is also a host of community users of the building, The University of the 3rd Age, Sugarcraft, Beerex and a range of voluntary groups.
In September 2015 the venue began an association with the University of Creative Arts (UCA), which now bases its acting and drama degree course on site. With investment from the University, Farnham Maltings has begun an upgrade of its technical facilities over a three year period, with Doughty Engineering being brought on board to supply its Easydeck flooring during year one of the project.
Easydeck is a modular performance system, perfectly suited for smaller venues like Farnham Maltings, thanks to consultations with drama teachers, amateur groups and rental companies during its development, enabling Doughty to create an efficient, cost effective solution to temporary staging.
Julie Birkin, general manager at Farnham Maltings, explained: "Initially we contacted Doughty with the intent that they would just supply the kit; Laurence Dyer of Doughty offered to carry out a site visit in order for us to trial the Easydeck in situ. Whilst on site, we tested it for noise, deflection, different surface finishes and ease of build, handling and storage."
She continued: "Laurence was able to add insightful tips on configurations, and weight loadings, so when we started conversations with UCA about the creation of multi-level platforms to distinguish between scenes without the need for a full production set, Doughty were able to direct us. It proved difficult to ascertain how much staging would be required. We found the price to be in our favour and so doubled up on the quantities to split this over our two main performance spaces."
To date, the main use of the new kit at Farnham Maltings has been to create audience seating in-the-round in the venue's Great Hall. Julie concluded: "We are so pleased with the flexibility that Easydeck offers us. Doughty Engineering’s attention to detail on this project was excellent."
1st June 2017
Autograph Provides Configurable Acoustic Solution
UK – The New Adelphi Building at The University of Salford opened in late 2016 and provides a stunning new home for the University’s Arts And Media programmes.
Designed by Stride Treglown, the £55m development is extraordinarily well-equipped even by the standards of contemporary higher education. In addition to the 350 capacity main theatre, the new building also features a large studio theatre, two TV acting studios, 36 dedicated rehearsal rooms, six recording studios, twelve music ensemble rooms, two dance studios, three floors of dedicated wood, metal, textiles, print and plastics workshops, seven photographic studios, 14 instrumental tuition rooms, a double height 100sqm band / live room and a suite of flexible performance and studio spaces.
Autograph Sales & Installations won a competitive tender to design, supply and install the audio system for the main theatre. To maximise its usefulness for all kinds of performance, it was designed from the outset to be readily re-configurable in terms of seating and stage placement; in fact it operates in five main modes (respectively referred to as end firing, long traverse, short traverse, thrust and in-the-Round) plus another set-up dedicated to cinematic use.
Once the tender had been awarded, Autograph’s Euan Mackenzie worked closely with the local team to develop and refine the design as installation progressed. In collaboration with the University’s Laurence Boot, he specified a distributed audio system utilising a total of 60 EM Acoustics loudspeakers, powered and controlled by the same company’s Advanced System Amplifiers throughout.
Euan takes up the technical story: “The bid required the design, provision and installation of a sound reinforcement system which would be adaptable and able to accommodate the requirements of this multi-purpose, flexible venue whilst complementing the pre-installed infrastructure of the space. It was made clear by the technical team at the University that they needed a system which would cover all performance orientations without the need to de-rig /re-rig any speakers since they would usually have little time to reconfigure the space for different applications. With some careful planning we managed to achieve this without the need for any physical re-patching anywhere in the design, in fact all six configurations are now recalled from a simple touch screen.”
He continues: “The audio infrastructure is essentially two systems in one, a fairly conventional proscenium 'end firing' arrangement plus a dedicated vocal system. The former comprises six EM Acoustics EMS-126s (two each) at the left, centre, and right positions, with two EMS-61s as side fills for the upper balcony, plus two EMS-118 subwoofers.
“The combination of the end firing system plus the vocal PA (under-balcony delays and front fills) brings a further 48 EMS-51 speakers around the room into use, only 16 of which are part of the main end-fire system. Two more EMS-61’s mounted behind the main left and right speakers provide side fill for audiences seated on stage when the venue is configured for ‘in the round’ and ‘short traverse’ use, or as stage fill monitors for the other orientations.”
All the core digital signal processing (in terms of per-configuration routing/muting and delays) is done centrally by a QSC Q-Sys 250i unit which is connected to the various elements of the system via a fully redundant Dante network. Euan continues: “The systems inputs are fed from either the DiGiCo SD9 (via a DiGiCo Orange Box, both also supplied by Autograph), or can be sent directly over Dante from the QLab system to make use of the surround speakers for spot effects. The Dante network also includes the seven EM Acoustics DQ10D advanced system amplifiers, which handle most of the individual speaker processing. We also programmed the DiGiCO SD9 to output left, centre, right and sub via the matrix outputs, although we’ve left provision for more if required later.”
To extend the usefulness of the room even further, Autograph was also asked to commission the (already installed) speaker system for cinematic playback. This included supplying additional I/O cards for the Q-Sys DSP, along with a new Denon DN-500AV surround processor.
The principal point of system configuration recall is a 7-inch QSC Q-Sys touchscreen located in the control room, allowing any of the five main modes to be recalled instantly with a single button press, it also allows implementation of the dedicated cinema mode to configure the ‘end firing’ system and surrounds to suit film playback and muting of the balcony and / or upper balcony speaker arrays if required.
Autograph also supplied a suite of Sennheiser wireless microphones and ancillary items including ew 500-965 G3 handheld systems, SK 500 G3 body pack transmitters, ME4-N and MKE-2 lavalier mics plus directional antenna and antenna splitters.
Beyond the new theatre space, Autograph additionally supplied a mobile PA system to the University’s music department, again exclusively EM Acoustics: two MSE-159 full-range enclosures, two EMS-118 subwoofers, two each M-C12 / M-C15 stage monitors, DQ10D and AQ10 amplifiers plus sundry cabling and flight cases. A compatible sound system was also required for the smaller Studio Theatre and Autograph duly supplied four EM Acoustics EMS-81Xs, two EMS-115s and a single DQ10D DSP-equipped amplifier.
Euan sums up the project: “Putting this many speakers into a theatre has its complications as the infrastructure typically limits how the system can be implemented. Thankfully we had enough speaker tie-lines to achieve everything we needed to.
“During commissioning, it was apparent that two different subwoofer positions were required to cover all seating layouts. To achieve this we programmed a high pass/low pass switch in the relevant Q-Sys snapshots to allow for the same facility panel to be used for front fills or subs depending on the stage orientation.
“The theatre team came to us near the end of commissioning and explained that the depth of the thrust could vary depending on application, a factor that would necessitate changes to the position and timing of the front fill speakers depending on the dimensions of the thrust. So instead of programming several additional presets to cover all the possible combinations, we added control of the front inner and outer delay timing to the Q-Sys touchscreen controller.”
Euan concludes: “We simply could not have delivered this level of quality within budget without EM Acoustics speakers and amplifiers, their product portfolio allowed us to create a truly multi-purpose, integrated audio system using several different models, each appropriate to the application but sharing a common voicing.
“The open architecture nature of Q-Sys (which we have used on many similar projects) enabled us to design a system without limitation, which is capable of further expansion and refinement if necessary and which meant we could reduce a relatively complicated system design into a single, easy-to-use touchscreen interface. The in-house technical team can wirelessly reconfigure any part of the Q-Sys DSP from the theatre and if required, Autograph can even log-in remotely to assist when needed.”
Laurence Boot, the technical manager at the School of Arts & Media, was Autograph’s principal point of contact throughout the entire project: “Working with Euan and the team at Autograph has been so easy from start to finish. From the detail in the initial tender bid and the proactive response in subsequent design meetings in fine tuning the spec to our needs, it was clear that Autograph were an excellent choice to complete the project. Euan has always put the emphasis on what we, the client, want to achieve and from our perspective, the project has run very smoothly.
“Being quite a complex brief, there were several ways to go about it and there were choices to be made along the way. Euan worked very closely with our technical team, was receptive to suggestions and offered different options to help us find the best possible solution within our budget. The Q-Sys is a great example of this – although it was a system we weren’t too familiar with, I now don’t know what we would do without it!”
Laurence sums up the story: “What we have ended up with is a powerful, flexible audio system that sits discreetly within the space and can be reconfigured at the push of a button. The EM Acoustics speakers and amps sound fantastic, the Digico’s possibilities are endless, the Q-Sys makes everything so easy, and the patch that Euan created is logical and complements the existing infrastructure. The great thing about Autograph is that we know, should we ever need any support, they are only a phone call away.”
photos: Dave Wiggins
31st May 2017
DiGiCo SD9 gives added versatility to University of Salford’s Adelphi Building
UK – At the end of 2016, Autograph Sales & Installations completed an extensive installation at the New Adelphi Building at The University of Salford, providing an audio system that accommodates the needs of a multi-purpose, flexible venue. A DiGiCo SD9 digital mixing console adds extra versatility to the 350-seat main theatre.
The theatre has been designed to be re-configurable to allow it to host a wide variety of performances. This includes seating and stage placements that can operate in five main modes: end firing, long traverse, short traverse, thrust and-in-the round, as well as a dedicated cinema set up.
The SD9 and a DiGiCo Orange Box are key to the system which includes an extensive EM Acoustics loudspeaker system, QSC digital signal processing and Sennheiser microphones, with system inputs being fed through it as required. It is programmed as an LCR and Sub system via the matrix outputs, with the provision for more inputs if needed.
“The SD9 was specifically chosen for its versatility and the potential to upgrade to the theatre-specific software at a later date,” explains Autograph’s Euan Mackenzie. “Since it was originally specified, DiGiCo released its Stealth Core 2 software (which was supplied pre-installed) making the console even more flexible.”
Although the University’s technical staff had a basic understanding of the console, Autograph’s Peppe Mallozzi covered training with them from the ground up.
“Peppe spent a day with the tech team, covering all that the console can do, and worked with them to settle on a session template to work from,” Euan adds. “Peppe will provide more training in the future, once the team has gained a little more show experience with the console.”
“What we have ended up with is a powerful, flexible audio system that sits discreetly within the space and can be reconfigured at the push of a button,” concludes Laurence Boot, technical manager at the School of Arts & Media. “The EM Acoustics speakers and amps sound fantastic, the DiGiCo’s possibilities are endless, the Q-Sys makes everything so easy, and the patch that Euan created is logical and complements the existing infrastructure. The great thing about Autograph is that we know, should we ever need any support, they are only a phone call away.”
31st May 2017
New Paragon Studio Complex Opens with Additional Audient Consoles
UK – “Our current count is nine Audient desks,” says Richard Liggins, technical production manager at the University of West London (UWL). “Seven ASP8024s and two ASP4816s, plus a number of ASP510 5.1 monitor controllers and an ASP800,” which puts it in the running for the facility with the most Audient desks in the world. Most recently, London College of Music (LCM) – part of the UWL – opened Paragon Annex Studio complex, an investment of more than £1 million in the development of seven new recording studios, which includes two each of these Audient consoles.
Liggins explains: “Audient desks reflect a very clear design ethic in terms of the signal flow through the desk. We teach audio studio recording from first principles, and that means an understanding of signal flow through a traditional multi-track studio as a base for all other techniques in audio recording. The in-line architecture of the Audient range supports that teaching very well.”
With this latest enhancement of its existing provision, LCM’s studio complex just down the road from the UWL Ealing campus, is now one of the biggest of its kind in the world. Superlative in size perhaps, but how about quality? “Audio wise the desks hold their own in a professional studio environment,” confirms Liggins. “The mic pre’s are clean and accurate, the EQ is flexible and supports the teaching of parametric EQ well, and the usual complement of Auxes, etc. are well ordered and clearly marked.
“We decided to standardise our main rooms onto a single platform some time ago, to allow better transfer of technique from the teaching studios, and to allow the students more time to concentrate on their recordings without needing to learn multiple platforms and workflows.
“We wanted to present a consistent approach for the students in the main studios, so the choice of an analogue console was made partly for financial reasons, but also because the traditional recording approach is the backbone of everything we do in audio teaching,” he continues. “Personally, I prefer large chunks of good analogue kit in my signal paths, the quality of the audio and the ability to drive circuits into soft clip at a number of stages is invaluable. Digital desks are much less forgiving for developing technique.” Which is important to consider when teaching.
“Getting a new student to engage with such a large console can be something of a challenge, particularly for those used to working ‘in the box’, and we have found that the clear and logical layout of the ASP8024’s channel and monitor sections allows clear delivery of signal flow classes.”
As the facilities grow, so the courses evolve too. “We have just launched a multi-pathway variation of our venerable Music Tech Specialist BA (hons) degree, the students study a common first year, then specialise into a number of technique based pathways, including electronic music production, recording and mixing, live sound and audio post-production,” reports Liggins, pleased that enrolment is also increasing. “Interest has jumped by 300% at application and is holding up very well. We’ve been running studio degrees for 25 years, this is the next phase for us.”
Well over 500 students will find themselves in one or more of the University’s studios over the course of a year, with all specialist music tech students required to take a level 4 module in Studio Techniques, regardless of the course that they specialise in later in their studies, so the recording gear is certainly put through its paces. “The desks are very keenly priced for such large scale systems and are very robust indeed; we have a 12 year-old ASP8024 that is only just coming up to retirement.”
The Audient consoles were supplied by educational technology experts, Academia.
30th May 2017
Lighting Protected Paradise at the Venice Biennale
Italy – ‘Protected Paradise’ is a striking, 12-metre high mixed media installation created by Belgian artist Koen Vanmechelen, located in the garden of the Palazzio Francetti for the 2017 Biennale di Venezia (Venice Biennale) contemporary visual art exhibition.
Luc Peumans of Painting with Light was contacted to light the work, a thought-provoking piece encouraging viewers to engage and question the impact of humanity on a rapidly transforming planet.
It consists of two bronze trees, a four-metre bronze chicken claw (symbolic of the human being), two eggs made out of marble and fibre respectively (the eggs of hope) and an impressive cage constructed from recycled material, made by ECO-OH!
The bottom egg is constructed from Carrara marble and weighs 12 tonnes.
The overall construction of the piece was managed by Koen Verhaert of ECO-OH!, based at Laakdal in Belgium and they asked Luc on-board for the intricate task of lighting the piece, working to a brief from Koen Vanmechelen himself.
Luc is used to challenging lighting and visual projects, but this was on an altogether other level, he explained: “It needed an exceptionally precise and delicate approach. The responsibility of lighting someone’s creative and emotional expression is intense. It’s nerve-wracking but also extremely rewarding!”
Luc had just two weeks to craft a lighting scheme for ‘Protected Paradise’ and, in line with the context of the work, it needed to be as carbon-neutral as possible.
He contacted Antwerp-based architectural LED lighting manufacturer and specialist Lux Lumen, specifically about their StarEye fixture. This small 1cm diameter, 2cm long, highly efficient 1W LED solution for outdoor detail lighting is available in Micro and Maxi versions and a range of colour temperatures as well as different lenses.
These fixtures were chosen because they could easily be integrated into the structure as it was vital to keep the lighting as discreet and concealed as possible.
Cool 4000K white units were chosen to highlight the eggs, maintaining and gently accenting a pure white appearance. For the bronze trees and the chicken claw, Luc decided on 2700K StarEyes, a selection of spot and wash fixtures. A total of 28 Micro StarEyes are used to illuminate the work internally.
On the outside, the Maxi size of StarEye is used, which is a 10W fixture similar in size to am MR16 birdie.
Four StarEye Maxi’s are located outside the cage structure, with another two inside which are completely covered with broken industrial glass, a treatment required to produce the specific reflective effects stipulated by the artist.
There is also one Maxi positioned on top of the Palazzio Francetti to illuminate the top of the egg.
This highly appropriate and carefully refined lighting scheme consumes just 90W of power, so is very energy conscious as well, as a subtle and understated compliment to this interesting work.
Koen Vanmechelen comments: “Light is the constructor of the detail and it was essential to my installation – it could make or break the piece”.
Koen and Luc are both based in Genk and have been aware of one another’s work for some time. “It was a great honour to finally meet Koen in person and very exciting for us to work together on this project. I look forward to future collaborations in the world of art,” states Luc.
Protected Paradise can be enjoyed at La Biennale di Venezia until November 26th 2017.
photos: Domi Diaz and Kris Vervaeke
26th May 2017
FloppyFlex Featured in Submariner Tribute
Australia – A newly completed memorial to World War II submariners is the centrepiece of the 300-metre Submariners' Walk Heritage Trail on the Brisbane River boardwalk in Tenerrife, Queensland. The walk features a series of plaques and submarine-shaped seats commemorating the sailors and their service. The memorial itself comprises a landmark sign illuminated by Firefly’s Digital FloppyFlex RGBW LED neon.
The hollow steel sign, by Street + Garden, is painted navy grey with letters perforated in the steel, spelling out “Submariners’ Heritage Trail” in classic naval stencil font. Pixel-controlled Digital FloppyFlex inside the sign illuminates the letters, giving a stunning, colour-changing glow effect that seems to move inside the monument.
The installation was up and running in time for the Teneriffe / New Farm Anzac Day dawn service, the memorial’s unofficial opening day. In the pre-dawn darkness, all the nearby street lights were turned off, with the memorial’s lettering and the sub-seats along the trail glowing a deep red, simulating the interior of a submerged sub. Once the service started, the sign glowed and gently scrolled through the Australian flag colours of blue, red, and white.
“My father was a submariner and involved with the Submarine Association before he passed, and had actually worked on the project at its outset with OAM medal recipient Don Currell,” commented Heath Williamson, Firefly’s managing director, a descendant of the Greatest Generation. “I hope the Captain’s looking down and likes it! This one is for you Dad.”
Every night the sign and the submarine seats along the Heritage Trail will light up red or blue. They will also be adapted to mark special occasions: for example, on Australia Day the sign will light up in green and gold and it will scroll through red, white, and blue on fourth of July or red and green at Christmas, and so on.
Firefly FloppyFlex LED Neon is the perfect and professional replacement for glass neon: super-bright, easy to use, long lasting, durable, and at 24VDC, safe. Perfect for use indoors and outdoors, FloppyFlex is available in large dome (270° view angle), small dome (160° view angle), and flat versions, including the new ultra-slim SkinnyFlex. FloppyFlex comes in various colour options including RGB, Digital RGBWW (pixel controlled), standard single-colours including red, green, blue, yellow, orange and a wide selection of single-colour whites ranging from 2100 to 5700 Kelvin. The Firefly range of decorative, outdoor-rated lighting systems also includes Festoon with shatterproof, outdoor-rated LED lamps, fairy lights long-life, heavy-duty LED Strings and Icicles and new Bud Lights thimble LED strings
26th May 2017
Toronto’s Revival Bar revitalises its sound with Electro-Voice X-Line Advance
Canada – Located within an old church building in Little Italy, Revival Bar has become a live performance hangout for the Toronto music community and fans since opening in 2000. While its designation as a Toronto historic building requires preservation of the building’s frontage, there is nothing to prevent modernisation inside. That is why general manager Mathew Saturnino recently decided to upgrade the 400-capacity venue’s sound system with the Electro-Voice X1 system from the X-Line Advance line-array loudspeaker family.
"There’s a lot of competition in live entertainment, and quality of the sound system is one thing that sets one venue apart from another," notes Mathew. "We wanted a system that would sound great, with really good, tight sound output within the room. We did a lot of research, and the X1 from Electro-Voice seemed like the perfect fit, newer technology that would give us a very good competitive edge."
The installation was performed by Mississauga-based integration firm Pure AV, with the system being designed by Clint Alves of SoundSoft Productions, Toronto. Using Electro-Voice LAPS software, the design is based around two five-box arrays of Electro-Voice X1-212/90 loudspeakers, augmented by four X12-128 dual 18-inch subwoofers. The entire system is powered by six Electro-Voice TG7 amplifiers, all fitted-out with RCM-28 network and DSP modules to enable easy monitoring and control via IRIS-Net software. The team at PureAV ran the wiring in advance so that, once the shipment of loudspeakers arrived, the entire installation could be done in one day.
"I personally lent a hand on the labour and it was a 19-hour day, but well worth it!" says Saturnino. "From tearing down the old system to having everything plugged in and powered up, there were zero hiccoughs. Everything worked perfectly and sounded great right from the start."
The twin arrays hang above the stage lip, using their tight 90-degree dispersion to create even coverage across the whole area. The four X12-128 subwoofers are hidden beneath the stage in a phase-aligned cluster. The entire sound system is digital, with AES50 (open-standard protocol for audio transport over Ethernet) running from front of house to the stage and amplifiers.
Mathew Saturnino reports that the system is everything he had hoped for. "This is a fantastic product. The artists and engineers love it, and it brings us up a level competitively," he says, "It’s also very rider-friendly, which means we can book bigger and better acts. I frequent many different venues in the city and have heard everything, including some very expensive systems, and I would put our EV up against any of them."
26th May 2017
Malmö Opera House Purchases Chroma-Q Color Force II for New Production of the “Disobedience of Death”
Sweden – The lighting crew of the prestigious Malmö Opera venue was so impressed by the improved range of colours, brightness, and the even light of the new Chroma-Q Color Force IIM, that they purchased fixtures for a new production on their Verkstan Stage, home of the Opera house’s experimental division, Operaverkstan.
The lights were used extensively during the recently completed, month long run of “The Disobedience of Death”, which was originally written in a Second World War concentration camp, by Austrian composer Viktor Ullman, and Czech poet Peter Klein. The writers died after being transferred to Auschwitz in 1944, so the work’s premiere was not presented until 1975, by the Dutch National Opera, at the Theatre Bellevue in Amsterdam.
The Malmö Opera building is the home of the Malmö Opera company and houses one of the largest auditoriums of its type in Scandinavia, as well as the smaller studio stage.
“We needed a relatively small but nonetheless bright fitting, for lighting a BP-screen, in order to create the effects we were looking for. The Color Force II’s brightness, quality and range of light made it an excellent choice,” said Daniel Bexell, the Opera Company’s head of lighting.
The fixtures were supplied by Chroma-Q master distributor, A.C. Entertainment Technologies Ltd. (AC-ET), after they had run a custom demonstration in Malmö. AC-ET have also supplied DMX cables through their in house Tourflex Cabling division. Johan Bertilsson, AC-ET’s Swedish sales representative said, “We’re delighted to work with the Malmö Opera Company. This is one of the first Swedish applications of the new Color Force II and the feedback reinforces the developments and improvements made for operatic and theatrical productions.”
26th May 2017
HHB supplies equipment for new studios at Abbey Road
UK – Building on an extraordinary legacy of film score recording, legendary London studio complex Abbey Road Studios has built a complete, Dolby Atmos Premier Studio-certified sound post-production facility with equipment supplied by HHB Communications. Part of the biggest transformation since the studios opened in 1931, the new Mix Stage features a hybrid Neve DFC 3D and Avid S6 console, eight Pro Tools systems, 4K projection and 44 speakers, enabling clients to mix all elements including music, dubbing and special effects in a variety of formats including Atmos and IMAX.
“Ahead of the build, a lot of film post production people generously gave their time and expertise to describe their ideal post facility to us” explains Abbey Road Studios’ head of technical services Simon Campbell. “Some favoured the DFC, others the Avid S6, so the idea of a hybrid console took hold. HHB seemed the obvious people to talk to as we’ve known them for many years and always have the utmost faith in the advice they give us. They brought their team from Scrub on board who, along with Frozen Fish who built the new console frame, helped us pull the plan into focus. HHB’s experience in this area proved invaluable and they were able to help us fill in the gaps. For instance, their experience with the NTP audio interfaces and IHSE KVM matrices, which enable operators to share or take control of any Pro Tools screen, was an essential part of making the Stage truly flexible.”
Now open for business, the new Mix Stage makes Abbey Road the only studio complex in the capital to cover everything from the recording of the score through to the delivery of the final film mix, all in spacious, comfortable and client-focused surroundings that enable the composer, director and sound team to collaborate in the same space.
Also part of the huge building project at Abbey Road is the creation of two new studios: The Gatehouse, a tracking studio and live room, and The Front Room, comprising a live and control room and focused on smaller recording projects. Meanwhile, the Neve DFC console originally installed in The Penthouse and now serving as part of the hybrid console on the Mix Stage has been replaced by another Avid S6, also supplied by HHB along with DAD AX32 and Avid MADI interfaces for the incumbent Pro Tools rigs.
Commenting on behalf of HHB, pro audio sales manager Matthew Fletcher says: “What Abbey Road has achieved with the new Mix Stage is truly impressive, and we’re proud to have helped Simon and the team realise their original vision for this exceptional film sound mixing facility.”
A list of the equipment supplied by HHB for the Mix Stage includes a 40 fader Avid S6 in Frozen Fish buckets, eight Pro Tools HDX rigs with Apple Mac Pro computers in Sonnet chassis, 11 AVID HD MADIs, a comprehensive library of plug-ins, six NTP Penta interfaces with MADI, AES and Dante cards, IHSE Draco KVM extender with matrix, four Bricasti M7 reverb processors and a TC Film 6000 processor.
In picture: Kobi Quist sound mix technician and Jack Cheetham junior mix technician at the hybrid Neve DFC / Avid S6 console on the Mix Stage at Abbey Road Studios.
26th May 2017
Martin Audio’s Sacred Sound
India – Mumbai-based system integrators Zoodio, have carried out a new sound system upgrade at a Roman Catholic church in the Mumbai township of Vashi.
Built in 1993, Sacred Heart Church has taken delivery of the first Martin Audio BlacklineX system in the country.
Zoodio, who have been specifying Martin Audio solutions for around a decade, had been recommended to the project by the priest of nearby St John The Baptist Church, following the installation of a Martin Audio O-Line as part of a major renovation project.
However, this time Zoodio turned to the new BlacklineX range for the first time. BlacklineX is described as “a classic suite of passive loudspeakers for the modern era” which builds on the heritage of the original, and extremely popular Blackline installation and portable series.
Zoodio project manager and co-ordinator, Dylan Hilton, describes the rationale behind the change of Martin Audio system. “Sacred Heart Church is much wider than St John’s, with its wings extended on one side. The ceiling heights are also different and the reverberation time much higher than St John’s.” He therefore reasoned that the church required the loudspeakers to be much lower and closer to the congregation and in addition to its suitability, BlacklineX also worked within the budget they were given.
“There had been a lot of complaints about the old system as the vocals were not very audible and was quite old and outdated,” said Pereira.
The installation team assessed the challenges of providing coverage for a congregation that can amount to 2,500 people. “The task was to not only cover the centre of the church but also every corner with evenly distributed sound, and we felt that BlacklineX offered best solution for meeting this kind of installation requirement.”
Consequently, the company has installed a pair of X15s for the PA, a pair of X12s for the wings and two pairs of X8 as delay for the PA and the wings.
Fed from a series of choir vocal mics, acoustical instruments, lectern mic and further altar mics, the new system also needed to set a benchmark for the future.
In summary, Cleo Pereira said: “The response we have received from the community has been excellent, and the priest also confirmed that clergy now really enjoy saying mass, as they can clearly hear themselves speak while doing so.”
26th May 2017
Gatwick installs 2000 indoor navigation beacons enabling augmented reality wayfinding – a world first for an airport
UK – Around 2,000 beacons have been installed across Gatwick Airport’s two terminals providing an indoor navigation system that is much more reliable than GPS and that enables augmented reality wayfinding for passengers – a world first for an airport.
The lack of satellite signals makes road-based navigation systems such as Google or Apple maps unreliable indoors, so Gatwick has deployed a beacon based positioning system to enable reliable ‘blue dot’ on indoor maps, which in time can be used within a range of mobile airport, airline or third party apps.
The beacon system also enables an augmented reality wayfinding tool, so passengers can be shown directions in the camera view of their mobile device, making it easier for passengers to locate check in areas, departure gates, baggage belts etc.
The new navigation technology is currently being integrated into some of the Gatwick apps and the airport is also in discussion with airlines to enable the indoor positioning and wayfinding tools to also feature on their app services.
No personal data will be collected by Gatwick although generic information on ‘people densities’ in different beacon zones may help to improve airport operations including queue measurement, streamlining passenger flows and reducing congestion.
Airlines could go further, and with the consent of their passengers may send reminders on their airline app to late running passengers for example, or find out where they are and make an informed decision on whether to wait or offload their luggage so the aircraft can take off on time.
Retailers and other third parties may also use the beacon system to detect proximity and send relevant offers or promotional messages, if the passenger has chosen to receive them.
Battery powered beacons kept logistical complexity and costs low, with deployment taking just three weeks, followed by two months of testing and calibration.
The new technology is part of Gatwick’s £2.5 billion investment programme to transform the airport.
Abhi Chacko, head of IT commercial and innovation, Gatwick Airport, said: “By providing the infrastructure we’re opening the door for a wide range of tech savvy airport providers, including our airlines and retailers, to launch new real-time services that can help passengers find their way around the airport, avoid missing flights or receive timely offers that might save them money.
“We are proud to be the first airport to deploy augmented reality technology and we hope that our adoption of this facility influences other airports and transport providers so that it eventually becomes the norm.”
The end-to-end "indoor blue dot" service is managed by PointrLabs. Axel Katalan, CMO at PointrLabs said: “As an ACI member advising on beacon installations around the world and as a company who have been involved in various airport projects from Asia to US, we are pleased to announce that Gatwick Airport will be the first airport with an end-to-end working system with incredible accuracy both in terms of blue-dot location and orientation.
“Our SDK enables battery-optimised, multi-platform and high performance positioning and other features such as 3D wayfinding through AR and on-screen translation, all of which are now available to be used by Gatwick and their partners as simple as drag and drop.”
26th May 2017
Christie LED Welcomes Visitors at London’s Iconic Barbican Centre
UK – Christie Direct View LED has been installed above the Barbican’s Silk Street entrance, welcoming thousands of visitors to the centre each day and providing a clear and bright identity to the Barbican’s main entrance that can be seen from afar. The ‘Day One’ content is a welcome message set against a skyline of London. The skyline is – appropriately – as seen from the top of Cromwell Tower in the Barbican Estate and the Barbican in-house marketing team will be creating future bespoke content themselves.
Sir Nicholas Kenyon, managing director of the Barbican said: “We’re thrilled with the new addition to our Silk Street entrance. Christie’s screens create a bright, dynamic welcome for our audiences and we look forward to creating imaginative, vibrant content to greet and inform our visitors.”
“The Barbican is an absolutely iconic venue and also a listed building,” said James Belso, senior sales manager, Christie. “However the team wanted to give the Silk Street entrance much more identity to guide visitors and grab people’s attention. Direct LED technology was pretty much the only practical solution to cope with the high ambient daylight and long run times. The install provided some challenges, for example, as a listed building, no major changes could be made to the building without the necessary planning permission, which the Barbican were granted by the City of London.”
The seamless strip of 28 tiles (in a 14x2 letterbox strip) needed to be seen from the outside, yet be fixed inside behind several glass panels above the glass doors to the long entrance. Measuring nearly seven metres across the signage can be seen from a distance as one turns into Silk Street. This unusually shaped signage will have tailored images and messages created in-house by the Barbican’s marketing department. ”The team will create native resolution content which is pixel perfect for the specific configuration,” noted Belso. “It will be completely tailored and designed to look and fit into the fabric of this listed building.” Ryan Nelson, senior marketing manager (digital) of The Barbican commented: "This is a fantastic opportunity for the Barbican to welcome audiences to the Centre with beautiful and bold visuals that are dynamic, eye-catching and reflect our brand. We are excited about the possibilities this unlocks for us, and we're keen to use this site to showcase what goes on inside the Barbican from the moment visitors arrive."
“The Christie Direct LED, as with all our other display and projection at the Barbican, is played out and managed by our Christie Pandoras Box media players. It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to display a range of solutions right in the heart of the City, and in such a public and iconic space,” added Belso.
The LED signage follows the installation of several Christie projectors inside the building including laser phosphor projectors to support the Barbican’s new programme to display art in its public spaces.
25th May 2017
Penn & Teller Theater Upgrades with Solaspot Pro 1500S
USA – Penn & Teller’s outrageous blend of magic and comedy has remained one of the hottest tickets in Las Vegas for over 20 years, and when the production team decided to upgrade the show’s set and scenery, it was also time to invest in new stage lighting technology. Lighting designer Jeff Croiter specified eight High End Systems SolaSpot Pro 1500s, purchased through 4Wall, for the Penn & Teller Theater in the Rio Hotel.
Croiter explains: “I was in Las Vegas during LDI, at meetings in preparation to do the Penn & Teller show renovation. I had a day off and went to the convention, and I ran into Al Ridella from 4Wall. He said ‘you have to come over and see this light – I’m thinking about buying some’, and that light was the SolaSpot Pro 1500. Al introduced me to Bobby Hale and the High End team, and they ran the light through its paces. I was very impressed, and started thinking about how I could use this fixture.
“When it came time to put the new Penn & Teller show together, I thought the SolaSpot would be the perfect light to specify for that application. Since we were planning to purchase fixtures, we did a number of shoot-outs, and the SolaSpot came out on top. I knew I wanted an LED source in order to reduce fan noise and for ease of maintenance. And the shuttering feature was also a necessity. In the Penn & Teller show, as in most shows that I do, it’s as much about what you aren’t lighting as what you are, so I really needed the control to be able to frame the light.”
Croiter says the 1500s are the first LED profiles in the design, adding that: “The Penn & Teller rig is an eclectic mix of all kinds of lights, and we purchased the SolaSpots to replace old profile fixtures. This show has been running for many years, and when we updated the set design, the lighting rig was upgraded as well. We wanted to purchase some modern technology, and it didn’t make sense to go with conventional or metal halide sources. The SolaSpot Pro 1500s are super bright, and really cut through a conventional rig when you want them to, as well as blend in superbly. I like that you can create a tungsten balance. With the CTO we could get them to match the tungsten lights in the rig, and also show off the vibrant colour options in the SolaSpot. I found it to be an incredibly bright fixture that satisfied our needs for colour specificity and colour dynamics.”
Matt Staniec is Penn & Teller’s lighting supervisor, and runs the legendary show six nights a week. Lighting programming was handled by Marc Polimeni.
25th May 2017
SSL System T Takes On Core News Responsibilities At DR
Denmark – Denmark’s publicly funded broadcaster DR (Danish Broadcasting Corporation) operates four FM and eight DAB radio stations, and six television channels, as well and online and streaming media services. The broadcaster has installed SSL System T networked audio production systems into its main news studios, together with an SSL Network I/O-based redundant Dante infrastructure, demonstrating the Broadcaster’s commitment to a networked AoIP future.
The System T installation includes two identical systems in Studios 13 and 14, each with its own Tempest Audio Engines, 48-fader main Control room control surfaces, plus T-SOLSA (PC-based control) and remote fader panels in the production control rooms. Studio analogue I/O is supplied by SSL Alpha-Link Live R (analogue, AES, MADI) and SSL Network I/O SB 8.8 (Mic, Line, GPIO), while Machine Room facilities include Network I/O SDI-MADI and MADI Bridge units.
Another two studios – 12 and 15 – are also connected to the Dante network via SSL Alpha-Link LIVE-R, SB 8.8 and MADI-Bridge hardware.
The installation includes PSU redundancy throughout, full Dante network redundancy, and OCP (Optimal Core Processing) network redundancy with two Dante HC cards in each Tempest Engine (1040 x 1040 bi-directional channels per Engine).
Both System Ts are running 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days per year. They're a core part of DR's breaking news transmissions as well as regular broadcasts on the DR1 and DR2 TV channels, which include four main programmes a day on DR1, and three programmes a day on DR2, plus additional political coverage and so on. Those control rooms are also used for larger broadcast events, such as mixing the Olympics coverage in 5.1.
The systems are responsible for mixing all master broadcast outputs, as well as all in-ear feeds, studio PA, and mix minus for live feeds. In a basic stereo news configuration at DR, each System T is using about 300 processed DSP paths, including 82 mono channels, 56 stereo channels, stems, auxes, mix-minus' and masters. though each Tempest Engine is capable of running over 800 paths each, so there is plenty of scope for even the most demanding productions. There is also extensive integration with the Studio's Riedel intercom system.
Sound for short programmes are run entirely with Viz Mosart production automation control, and with System T’s Dialogue AutoMix functionality, while the longer programmes have engineers at the consoles.