Project News Headlines
Georges-Pompidou Centre for Culture and Sport receives the first Robert Juliat Arthur followspot in France
Folies Bergère goes crazy for L-ISA immersive sound
France – Celebrating all things glamorous, sensual and flamboyant, Folies Bergère is one of Paris’ most revered nightspots. Originally a cabaret music hall and variety entertainment theatre, The Folies made its mark during the Belle Epoque of the late 1800s with its music hall revues featuring stunning female dancers. More recently returning to its musical production roots, the Folies Bergère stage has been graced by famous artists from Charlie Chaplin, Ella Fitzgerald, Marcel Marceau, Frank Sinatra, Charles Aznavour through to Elton John. This year, the theatre’s impressive programme has been matched with equally impressive audio technology when the Folies Bergère became the first performing arts centre in France to permanently install L-Acoustics L-ISA Hyperreal Sound technology.
The venue’s operating contract is handled by specialist live sound company Potar Hurlant, part of the Novelty Group, under the direction of technical director Madje Malki. The company works with many famous French touring artists and the idea of installing L-ISA into Folies Bergère emerged following the company’s highly successful use of the technology on tour with pop singer Renaud. As a historical L-Acoustics partner, Potar and the Novelty Group did not for a moment imagine another solution for the venue. L-ISA was its next progression.
“The idea of installing L-ISA came from my desire to progress from a standard left-right system,” explains Malki. “This is a complex venue architecturally, and even though the original L-Acoustics system worked well, the many columns and shadow areas caused issues. When mixing in stereo format, we tried to give as much depth as possible to the audio, employing methods like parallel compression to work the material without eating up the sound, but there were still artefacts to deal with.”
“Olivier [Hagneré, managing director and in charge of technology at Novelty Group] and Madje approached us to see if L-ISA would be suitable for the venue,” explains Arnaud Delorme, Head of Application, Installation at L-Acoustics. Delorme who worked with L-Acoustics’ Olivier Inizan and Frederic Blanc-Garin, as well as executive director of application projects, Cédric Montrezor to study the venue and model the room in Soundvision, L-Acoustics 3D acoustical simulation programme. “We needed to ensure the system could cover as much of the audience as possible, whilst taking into account the venue’s complex configuration,” he says.
L-Acoustics A15 medium throw line source loudspeakers were chosen for the main system, their 110-degree horizontal dispersion allowing for wide coverage. A15 also features Panflex horizontal steering technology which provides exceptional directivity, a bandwidth that allows accurate panning of sources, even at low frequencies and vertical coverage that requires fewer enclosures than with long throw systems. Electronic optimisation is accomplished with L-Acoustics new AutoFIR algorithm, allocating one cabinet per channel of amplification. A15’s light-weight of just 35kg per cabinet was also needed to account for limited loading capacities in the venue.
Five hangs of four A15 were deployed, comprising two A15 Focus above two A15 Wide for each hang. In this way, the team achieved a total spatialisation zone of 70 per cent, with the hangs perfectly overlapping to cover the main auditorium. Partial zones also achieved much better rendering compared to the previous L/R system. To ensure the architecture of the auditorium was respected, the system was placed considerably higher than originally planned. As a result, the A15 hangs also cover the majority of the balconies, despite the last row of seats placed 40 metres above the second balcony, with 12 L-Acoustics X8 providing under balcony fill.
To boost the lower end of the audio spectrum, two cardioid end fire arrays of four KS21 subwoofers each were positioned behind the centre A15 and were indispensable in the final L-ISA configuration. To account for the shadowy areas, a single Syva was attached to either side of the proscenium arch, below the balcony, to provide infill. Four 5XT open up the front rows and pull the sound image down.
Two L-ISA processors are deployed, one main and one backup, and the entire system is driven by 11 LA4X amplified controllers. The configuration was determined so that the L-ISA processor could take the system as a whole into account and provide the best spatialisation for the audience.
The remaining challenge was to train the venue’s engineers on the new system. “You have to learn how to treat objects in the mix,” Malki adds. “But once you know how to use it, it provides a much more creative way of mixing.”
The team say the tools within L-ISA have made life much easier. Additionally, each hang of A15 has its own amp and its own auto-generated equalisation. “Doing that yourself is almost impossible and would have been really time-consuming,” says Malki.
The installation has delivered exceptional coverage and sound quality, and a remarkable musicality that is fitting for a venue that hosts an eclectic mix of productions. It has also provided the team with a new way of mixing. “Switching to L-ISA and its multi-dimensional object-based mixing not only corrected the interference issues and made the intermodulation distortion almost non-existent, it also completely transformed our workflow,” continues Malki. “With L-ISA, we mix with a different spirit, one that's much more focused on the aesthetics of the sound. We have experience in the field, but L-ISA incorporates parameters we may not have taken into account.
“The result is astonishing! Now Folies Bergère is fully equipped with the sound of tomorrow and will offer professionals and technicians alike the opportunity to work with this amazing sound system,” he concludes.
4th December 2020
New Anolis Lighting Scheme for the Porte de Bourgogne
France – The city of Bordeaux has a new Anolis lighting scheme for its magnificent La Porte de Bourgogne landmark.
The Roman-style stone arch was built in the 1750s at the end of one of the major roads traversing Bordeaux, now called the Cours Victor Hugo, which is a major thoroughfare for both cars and pedestrians crossing the city. It is also clearly visible from across the River Garonne.
With its prominent position and historical significance, the city council are keen for La Porte de Bourgogne to be a highly visible ‘communication portal’ welcoming people to the ancient centre, so they wanted a great looking, energy-efficient lighting scheme to replace the old one which was installed over a decade ago and was starting to look dated.
Above all, they wanted more dynamic lighting that could redefine and celebrate La Porte de Bourgogne’s significance as a symbolic gateway to the city.
The city council’s lighting designer Sylvie Bordes was already talking to urban planning specialist Citeos, a subsidiary of multinational Vinci Energies that partners with local authorities and communities to develop their environments. The scope of their work includes advising on architecture and lighting for long term projects.
Anolis, via Robe France’s architectural lighting specialists Bruno Francois and Eric Tabuteau, was already in the frame thanks to their local partner company Objectif Lumière, who convinced the city council and Citeos to undertake some tests. As it happens, Bruno had been involved with the previous lighting installation on the arch (using another brand) ten years ago, and he had several other more recent reference sites using Anolis in the area.
The council wanted a wide range of colours to be available in the new lighting scheme which narrowed down the field when it came to sourcing products. They also required a high-quality warm white as the signature look, without any pixelation, other aberrations or shadows and ghosting.
To illuminate the lower parts of the arch, powerful washes were needed that could fit into the existing dug-outs that had housed the previous luminaires, so the Anolis ArcSource Outdoor 48MC Integral fixture was a perfect fit as it is designed for the large-scale buildings and landscapes requiring higher Lux figures.
Bruno then suggested Anolis’s Eminere range to deal with the upper and top parts of the arch and to fill in some of the gaps. “The Eminere offers so much choice and so many possibilities, so we knew we would find the right solution in this range,” commented Bruno.
They also needed to reuse the existing wiring and chemically fixed bracketry, so four Eminere 1s and six Eminere 4 RGBCWs with 10 x 60° lenses were selected for the top sections, and another four Eminere 1s plus seven Eminere 4 RGBCWs with 15° lenses to highlight the central parts of the structure.
“In addition to the colour metrics, the choice of available beam angles on both ArcSource and the Eminere ranges was fundamental to being able to achieve the project’s aesthetic goals,” explained Bruno, adding the La Porte de Bourgogne lighting has dramatically improved just by having a greater choice of beam angles than for the previous installation!
The new lights are running via a Nicolaudie controller.
Like most major cities in France, Bordeaux currently has a city-wide lighting plan that will be rolled out over the next 20-30 years. Certain iconic monuments and squares have been selected as the first focus of a far larger, ambitious and far-reaching plan to invigorate the whole city centre.
The city has been affectionately dubbed “la belle endormie” – the sleeping beauty – for years because the centre is so quiet after sunset, so forward-thinking city planners are embarking on a number of schemes, including urban lighting, to help reimagine this quiet and calm “bourgeoise” city as a bustling, vibrant hub to be enjoyed after dark by citizens and visitors alike.
The new Porte de Bourgogne lighting is one of the first steps and has been extremely well received by the public.
For Anolis, it is the second major landmark lighting installation following illumination of “Les Bassins de Lumières”, a former World War 2 submarine base transformed into an arts and culture space that opened earlier this year.
photos: Bruno Francois
4th December 2020
Iconic Sign Shines Again with FloppyFlex
USA – The classic arched front-entry sign of Southgate Shopping Center in Lakeland, Florida, is now shining brightly again, thanks to Firefly FloppyFlex, the high quality, professional LED neon replacement. After being dark for decades, property managers Crossman & Company decided it was time to bring this beloved sign back to life. Retrofitting it with the latest technology, delivering a variety of bright colours and animated looks, promised to re-energise this historic commercial area.
“The main motivation behind the project to revive the Southgate sign was the love the local community has for it,” said Stephanie Carten, marketing manager for Crossman & Company. “We purposely kept the iconic look and stylised script, taking the sign back to its former glory but with a technical edge.”
The famous 26 metre tall and 42 metre wide Arch has been a pop-culture icon since it was built in 1957. It has appeared in several Hollywood movies, perhaps most famously Tim Burton’s 1990 hit Edward Scissorhands, featuring actor Johnny Depp. Disney used the shopping centre to shoot scenes for The One and Only Ivan, an adaptation of the Newberry-medal winning novel by Katherine Applegate, released in August 2020, listing actress Angelina Jolie as a producer.
Looking for the best replacement for the old glass neon, Crossman & Company contacted lighting distributors Lamp Sales, who knew exactly who to call. Shortly thereafter, Kyle Ledford, SESCO’s regional product specialist, and TMB’s Chris Curran travelled to Lakeland to assess the task. After a brief review of the project, they had no doubt that FloppyFlex was the right product for the job.
FloppyFlex bends easily and can be supplied cut precisely to specification, in this case fluently following the bends of the legacy sign’s cursive writing. FloppyFlex is a green-friendly, multi-colour, low voltage, easy to install, long-life, decorative lighting system, and is void of the issues usually associated with neon, such as breakage and fire risk. It is also weatherproof, IP rated and designed for permanent outdoor installation, ideal for Florida’s extreme weather.
Given the age of the sign there were no CAD files, or even drawings available, so the team carefully measured the entire span of the structure to design the FloppyFlex 'cuts' and the installation control inputs/outputs using TMB’s RGB FloppyDrives. A total of 343 metres of FloppyFlex was used, precisely IP67 factory-moulded for each individual run length. The first 174 metres were used on the SOUTHGATE letters, at two runs per letter. The SHOPPING CENTER letters were based on one run per letter. A further 169 metres of RGB FloppyFlex LED Neon serviced the top and bottom architectural details. A system of 39 TMB ProPlex FloppyDrive DIN Rail 4x2’s drives were installed to control the FloppyFlex, with full, remote, web-based access. The project was successfully completed earlier this year.
Holiday season visitors to Southgate will experience the landmark arch with a new nightly light-show series. Going forward, the centre will have almost unlimited options to (remotely) customise their sign for different seasons, holidays, and special events, making it once again a must-see attraction in Lakeland.
FloppyFlex is super-bright, long lasting, durable, and easy to install with simple training. Perfect for use indoors and outdoors, FloppyFlex is available in three sizes, in side-to-side and front-to-back bend options, with a variety of single colours, RGB, RGBW, plus digital RGB and RGBW with DMX multi-pixel control. Pure white colour temperatures range from 2100 to 5700K and standard single colour versions include red, green, blue, yellow, orange, amber, plus new pink and purple. Accessories include a truly comprehensive range of mounting profiles. New silicone versions introduced this year provide even greater flexibility and long-term outdoor reliability.
3rd December 2020
Making Space for a Neve 8424 Console in the Belly of the Beast
UK – South London studio, Belly of the Beast, has become the first facility in the UK to install a Neve 8424 console.
The studio pre-ordered the desk prior to its release in June, following an in-depth demo that highlighted its full range of features. Designed to offer a centralised platform with unparalleled connectivity between the worlds of analogue and digital, this small format console delivers the large format sound of the iconic Neve 80-series console range and is well suited to studios like Belly of the Beast where esoteric and vintage outboard equipment play a significant role in the facility’s workflow.
“For studios like ours where you have a large and varied collection of preamps, EQs and interesting bits of outboard gear, this desk is ideal because it provides a very logical system to bring all of those elements together,” says producer, mix engineer and studio manager James Rand (pictured). “We now have an architecture where we can route our preamps directly into the console and send the sound wherever we need it. This makes life a lot more exciting because what used to be a faff to set up is now much simpler and easier.”
Based in Forest Hill, Belly of the Beast is owned by producer and manager of Dizzee Rascal, Nick Cage. The studio was set up as a private facility but in recent years – certainly since James Rand and musician/engineer Raf Rundell began working there – it has become an end to end facility where artists have access to a team of writers, session musicians and engineers who can handle all aspects of their projects, from recording through to mixing and mastering.
The decision to replace Cage’s old TL Audio VTC console with the Neve 8424 was part of a longer term plan to attract more commercial projects, Rand explains.
“We already do a lot of mixing and that part of our business became even more important during lockdown, so having a console with reliable recall was an imperative,” he says. “The arrival of the new desk gave us the opportunity to reorganise the studio and all our racks so that we could create an environment that really supports artists and allows them to get some wicked work done.”
In terms of Recall, the Neve 8424 certainly fitted the brief because it has an on-board system that saves, loads and recalls all settings, faders and pot positions on a session by session basis. This allows engineers to take advantage of all analogue features without the worry of losing console settings or wasting valuable studio time.
“When I saw that Neve had launched this desk I was intrigued because it was such an interesting concept,” Rand adds. “In my view, equipment is either useful or it’s not. I need things to be simple and fast so that I can basically just get on with it. As we were already massive Neve fans (Cage owns vintage Neve 1084 and 1066 preamps that are used to record vocals), it pretty much sold itself. It was obviously right for our studio and we’re really happy with it.”
Nick Cage is equally happy with the choice. “The combination of recall and summing is exactly what we wanted and of course it has that fabulous, warm Neve sound,” he says. “For me, it was love at first sight because I could see that it was a great solution, at a fantastic price.”
Belly of the Beast’s Neve 8424 console was installed over a period of two weeks. “It took a while because we have a lot of outboard equipment that we needed to integrate, but if you are only planning to use the two inbuilt preamps, which are absolutely fantastic, then it is incredibly easy to set up,” Rand says. “It also makes sense to build your own presets in advance, which is easy enough to do once you have dived down into the desk and worked it out. I’ve got two: a mix one, where all the inputs are coming from the DAW and a recording one where channels 1 to 16 take information from the preamps and channels 17 – 24 come in from the computer.”
Rand adds that he also loves Neve’s proprietary Stereo Width control, which uses mid/side processing to enhance the stereo imaging. “I don’t know the science of it, only that it sounds incredible,” he says. “It makes everything sound more 3D and is the most amazing feature on the whole console.”
Since installing the Neve 8424, James Rand has used the desk on a number of projects including mixes for artists such as Lapsely, Sega Bodega, Mykki Blanco and Beatrice Dillon.
“My overall feeling about this console is that it is quick and it satisfies more esoteric needs. I don’t think it is a silver bullet console. It can’t do absolutely everything, but it scratches quite a specific set of itches for everyone who works in here. It is ideal for a more comprehensive project studio – that is where it sits really well – and I guess that is where it would be most at home. We’ve already got people we know who want to come to the studio just to look at it!”
1st December 2020
Martin Audio CDD blend in at Kentucky Church
USA – First Christian Church in Elizabethtown, Kentucky recently called in JCA Media for the latest upgrade to its campus. Having already completed several installation projects for the congregation in the past, JCA Media was on hand to deliver a Martin Audio main PA system and ceiling speaker installation for the church’s worship areas, classrooms and children’s play areas.
The decision to go with Martin Audio was a simple one. “The tech directors were already familiar with Martin Audio and we always rely on their systems for these types of installations,” explained Alex Peake, integration specialist at JCA Media.
JCA Media installed three Martin Audio CDD10s as LCR speakers alongside a pair of SX112 subs flown above the stage to deliver smooth, even coverage across the space. “For this project, the CDDs merged together so beautifully within the main worship area and it was great to see the stage arches accommodating those types of cabinets so well,” stated Peake.
Because the Church didn’t want anyone, particularly children, to be near any of the cables, the decision was made to fly the PA above the stage. The black ceiling blended in with the all black PA system meaning it essentially disappeared into it, creating a slick, crowd-pleasing aesthetic.
“The ability to blend into the background is so important for church projects as you don’t want to take the attention away from the congregation’s experience,” Peake commented. “This also meant that while the PA was hidden, the visuals were able to take over. There are four laser projectors, two of them environmental and two of them for the lyrics and content and then some flashy lighting effects for the kids’ area. They wanted all of the audio to disappear so the house lights could create this remarkable atmosphere.”
Away from the main worship space, the integrator used a single CDD12 to cover another worship area and a pair of CDD6s for the children’s play area. In addition to this, the Martin Audio Ceiling Series proved to be a perfect fit for the Kentucky Church. Fitted with a high specification transformer, the series is able to be used in either a 70V or 100V operation via a front mounted rotary switch providing a simplified installation process for the JCA Media team. “The Ceiling Series is by far our favourite for that level of quality in that price range and we use them every chance we get,” Peake explained.
To cope with emergency situations, JCA Media also connected the system to a mic at front of house so the whole wing would duck to that channel when an announcement needed to be made. “If you needed to make an emergency announcement across all the rooms, even if one was playing music or another had a movie playing, it would stop everything and make the announcement the priority,” Peake added. “I think that’s a really valuable element to have.”
Reflecting on the success of the overall project, Peake recalls his reaction to hearing the solution in action for the first time. “When we fired it up, we were all just as giddy as could be, it was phenomenal! We actually hadn’t even tuned the room yet because we were not finished with laying down the carpets and such, but we were all thinking ‘I don’t think anything needs to be changed at all’, and we were able to call it a day right there and then which was excellent.”
1st December 2020
Georges-Pompidou Centre for Culture and Sport receives the first Robert Juliat Arthur followspot in France
France – The Georges-Pompidou Cultural Centre in Vincennes near Paris will be the first venue in France to be equipped with an Arthur followspot, the latest addition to Robert Juliat's range of LED followspots.
With nearly 800 events a year, the town of Vincennes offers a rich cultural life and has three venues with quality facilities, including the Georges-Pompidou Cultural Centre. The 525-seat venue hosts many shows throughout the year during the cultural season, including music, theatre, dance, comedy and shows for younger audiences.
The Cultural Centre wanted to replace its 1200W HMI RJ Korrigan followspots and was looking for an LED model. "It was important for us to play the safety card in regard to quality and, of course, the feedback we had on the Robert Juliat luminaires. In addition, I personally consider LED equipment to be the future of our technical profession," explains stage manager, Stéphane Agasse.
"The energy consumption of this LED followspot is minimal thanks to the efficiency of its source. This is perfectly in line with the environmental approach of the town of Vincennes, which has been running an action programme for several years as part of Agenda 21.
"The electronic dimming of Arthur’s LED source makes it possible to vary the light intensity and, therefore, also modulate the power consumption accordingly, which is not possible with our discharge fixtures whose consumption is constant throughout the show.”
Thanks to its powerful 800W 6000K cool white light source and narrow optics (5.5° - 15°), Arthur offers a massive output of over 2000 lux at a distance of 40m, while at the same time providing a superior-quality light rendering with a high CRI (>90).
The electronic dimming of the LED source allows the light intensity to be varied from 0 to 100% without visible stepping, even at low levels, with exceptional smoothing and a constant colour temperature. With several ventilation modes, Arthur is particularly quiet, ruling over its discharge counterparts.
Supplied to the Georges-Pompidou Cultural Centre by the Auvisys company, the RJ Arthur followspot will soon be at work, as soon as shows and other events resume.
photo: Thibaut Plaire – Thiborama – Studio Plaire
30th November 2020
A.C. Special Projects shed some light on Bodmin Jail’s dark past
UK – A.C. Special Projects (AC-SP) has supplied all the show lighting, as well as the power and data infrastructure for Bodmin Jail’s new immersive visitor attraction, designed and delivered by leading visitor attraction experts Sarner International.
Built in 1779 for King George III, Bodmin Jail has played an important role in Cornwall’s history and this bold redevelopment gives visitors the chance to delve into an intriguing hidden history. A massive investment in Cornwall’s tourism and visitor economy, this was the biggest attraction opening in 2020 with its state-of-the-art technology allowing for a more immersive experience.
The new attraction has used cutting-edge technology to create a fully immersive experience, bringing back to life the chilling stories of this medieval prison’s dark past. Each part of the experience tells its own gruelling tales; visitors can walk along the jail's original Naval Wing, delve deeper in to the people who worked and lived at the jail, spend some time reflecting at the execution pit and more. When creating an immersive experience of this size, selecting the right technology supplier was paramount to Sarner International. Having previously worked on a number of other immersive experiences, equipment and solutions provider, AC-SP tendered and won the project with high quality yet cost-effective solutions, providing products from a number of leading brands including PROLIGHTS, CLS, Chroma-Q, Vista by Chroma-Q, Rosco and Artistic Licence.
The project was handled by AC-SP’s project manager, Chris Little, who commended: “It was a pleasure working alongside exhibition designers, Sarner on the exciting Bodmin Jail project. Having formerly worked in exhibitions myself, I was excited when the Bodmin jail project came up. AC-SP have previously supplied lighting installations to other high-profile tourist attractions, such as Legoland and Madame Tussauds. I always knew we could create the solution Bodmin Jail needed.”
A number of Fresnels and profiles from the PROLIGHTS ECL range have been installed as high-level lighting to provide general coverage and colour wash throughout. The ECL profiles were also fitted with gobos to provide aerial effects.
Primarily CLS Martinas, along with a few CLS Jade Colourflow, were the fixtures of choice to be integrated within the sets and used to highlight specific detail.
Chroma-Q Color Force II was used to enhance the dramatic sea effect cyc, providing smooth even coverage with a floor to ceiling wash.
World renowned lighting designer, Durham Marenghi was appointed by Sarner International to oversee the lighting design for the entire project. He commented: “It was a pleasure to work with A.C. Special Projects on my lighting design for Bodmin Jail. AC-SP were very supportive and creative throughout the install and were also very flexible to cope with the inevitable changes and additions in these types of projects.”
All lighting was programmed on a Vista by Chroma-Q MV control desk. Durham Marenghi continues: “The lighting programmer was unable to travel to the UK from Spain due to the pandemic, so in lock down I taught myself to program the PC based Vista by Chroma-Q lighting control software. Having not programmed a desk since the advent of moving lights, this achievement is testament to the ease of use of this very intuitive software.”
In addition to the fixtures, AC-SP also supplied and installed Rosco X Effects for projection and animation throughout, including fire and water effects.
Around the attraction a number of practical fittings such as pendants, bulkhead fittings and miner lamps were used, each fitted with dimmable LED Lamps. These were incorporated in to sets or used as general exhibition lighting. For this, AC-SP supplied Artistic Lighting’s Sundial Quad dimmer, the largest install in the UK of these dimmers.
AC-SP also provided all power and data for the exhibition lighting. A three-circuit power and data track was installed to deliver power and data to all the high level fixtures and at low level custom facility panels. An additional 48mm black aluminium bar from which the fixtures were mounted or suspended from was also supplied, providing flexibility to move and focus the fixtures as required.
26th November 2020
Yamaha Delivers Sound Fit for Royalty at Historic Madrid Basilica
Spain – Real Basilica Nuestra Señora De Atocha (The Royal Basilica of Our Lady of Atocha) is one of the most historic houses of worship in Madrid. Very popular as both a centre of worship and with tourists, a new Yamaha audio system has improved the sound for visitors in a very acoustically-challenging space.
The current building was constructed in the 1890s on the site of the convent of the Order of Preachers of Our Lady of Atocha, an early sanctuary that worshipped the Virgin of Atocha. The Virgin is traditionally considered the patroness of Spanish royalty, so the site has been closely linked to the monarchy throughout history, visited and venerated by many of the kings of Spain, as well as many other historical figures.
Although the current basilica had a sound reinforcement system with specific worship settings, it could not cope with the complex acoustics caused by the building’s large marble floor and central dome. Worshippers complained to the priests who celebrate Mass that they could not hear services clearly, so the basilica staff contacted specialist AV company Auvycom Proyectos S.L.
The basilica has been on Spain’s National Heritage register since 1963 and so the new system had to be visually sympathetic. Auvycom has previously worked with Yamaha on similar installations, where improving the sound could not be at the expense of the building’s architecture, and recommended a system using Yamaha’s slimline VXL1 column line array loudspeakers and an MTX3 matrix processor.
Auvycom CEO José Antonio López Martínez says: “From the very first moment we saw Real Basilica Nuestra Señora De Atocha, we knew that we would need to solve some acoustic challenges. Although it didn’t have a very high level of reverberation, having the microphones housed in the dome meant that we would have to sort out some issues with feedback.”
The chosen solution was 15 white VXL1-24 speakers, mainly mounted as horizontally-coupled pairs throughout the main worship area, powered by two PX3 and one PX5 power amplifiers, with the MTX3 distributing the sound.
A Yamaha CD-NT670D CD player was also installed, which allows the worship leaders to not only play music from CDs, but also has a USB input and can stream music playback, thanks to the inclusion of Yamaha's MusicCast technology. The system is controlled by Yamaha’s wireless DCP smartphone app, which gives basilica staff the choice of several presets for different worship services and other situations, where different kinds of music playback are needed.
“Thanks to the versatility of the MTX3 and the high quality, highly directional coverage of the VXL1 speakers, we knew that we could achieve optimal results, even with the complex acoustics caused by the basilica’s floor and dome,” says José. “A short time ago we installed another system with the new VXL1 column loudspeakers and we were pleasantly surprised by the result, especially when they are horizontally coupled, which provides higher SPL with a much narrower horizontal dispersion.”
photo: Jacinto Lopez
26th November 2020
Prosound Keep Albanian Crowds Entertained with Martin Audio Systems on the Coast and in the Capital
Albania – Prosound, Martin Audio’s Albanian distributor, has recently carried out two quite diverse installations of the manufacturer’s systems: a new urban bar in Tirana, the Albanian capital, and a seasonal holiday beach resort in Dhërmi, in the south-west of the country.
The Grand Bar, this has been constructed on the premises of the recently reconstructed Air Albania Stadium. Prosound had already worked with the same owners on another bar of the same name.
“The owners were looking for a sound system that could function both as a background and foreground system, with even distribution,” said Prosound technical director, Endrit Veleshnja.
Containing an inside room with around 70 capacity as well as an outdoor terrace, the bar trades all day through until 11pm, and the clients were happy to adopt the ADORN series, based on Martin Audio’s reputation and its ability to function at both low and high levels (the latter when a DJ performs on special occasions).
Prosound recommended eight ADORN A55, combined with a pair of SX110 subwoofers for the indoor room, with a further three ADORN A55 installed on the terrace.
This elegant, ultra-compact passive two-way system has a wide 110° x 80° dispersion pattern. It can produce 113dB peak output at one metre, has a smooth frequency response and a strong bass reproduction that extends down to 65Hz.
The temporary BlacklineX set-up at the Dhërmi resort hotel was for the length of the summer season, a status that will repeat next season. The venue itself comprises a restaurant, and an adjacent covered beach bar zone.
Prosound already had a relationship with the clients, and had recently fitted a Martin Audio system into LOST and Tema in Tirana, also under the ownership of Filip Fermanis. In fact they came up with an elegant solution, with the house technician at the latter relocating the system from LOST to the beach resort (since it does not operate during the summer season in Tirana).
They hung the speakers from the temporary wooden ceiling structure using M8 inserts. Four Blackline X15 and four X210 subwoofers were installed in the beach bar and four X8 in the restaurant area.
Summing up, Prosound technical director, Endrit Veleshnja said: “We find that ADORN is one of our best sellers in its class. The enclosures are compact, it delivers quality sound and sufficient SPL to meet customer requirements in a wide range of installations. It was the obvious solution for the Grand Bar.
“As for Dhërmi, once again it made perfect sense to re-rig the BlacklineX system from LOST, while that venue was closed. The relocation provided the owner with a potent system to entertain the many tourists who visit this popular resort.”
26th November 2020
Ben Baptie Makes Space for a Neve Genesys Console in his New London Studio
UK – Producer and mix engineer Ben Baptie has put a Neve Genesys console at the heart of Studio 5, his new project studio in North London which officially opened in September after months of intense designing and planning.
Ben chose the console for two main reasons: his general appreciation of Neve’s warm analogue sound and his familiarity with its mix bus, which is very similar to that of a Neve VR console. Initially installed as a 24 channel G48 desk, Ben future-proofed his investment by having it built in a G64 frame. This allows him to upgrade his console to a 32-channel G64 by adding eight more channels whenever he wishes. The console’s modular design is already proving extremely useful as Ben has recently ordered eight additional channels of digitally controlled VCA dynamics, which will soon be installed in the desk.
“Strongroom Studios in London has been my base for many years and until recently I had a production suite there,” he explains. “Whenever I needed to mix, I’d use the VR console in Studio 1, so I wanted something that replicated that sound and that workflow. As soon as I saw the Neve Genesys I knew it was right for me. It’s mix bus comes from the same family as the VR so it feels very familiar, plus is has a whole host of other features that I love such as true Neve preamp circuitry and really easy DAW integration via the GenesysControl Plugin. I also love its modular design, which means I can expand the console at a later date should I ever decide I need more channels.”
As one of the UK’s most sought-after mix engineers, Ben’s credits include a growing list of critically-acclaimed artists from Moses Sumney and The Strokes and from Adele to Rex Orange County. His diary is always packed with projects covering a wide variety of genres, so when the Covid-19 pandemic hit he had to act fast to safeguard his future and his income.
“When lockdown happened, I couldn’t access Strongroom’s Neve VR console for mixing so I thought I’d get a summing mixer and learn to do more ‘in the box’” he explains. “But I quickly realised that I didn’t want to go that route, which left only one alternative: buying a board and sorting out a place of my own to put it in. I didn’t think it would be easy to find a space but out of the blue I was contacted by Pony Studios in London Fields and offered a room there. Within a couple of days it was all happening and I just jumped in.”
Sound Zero Acoustics helped Ben design the room and Funky Junk sourced and supplied much of the equipment. As well as the Neve Genesys G32 console, Ben has installed ATC monitoring with a Genelec Sub, Antelope Audio Orion converters, and an extensive collection of vintage drum machines, synthesisers and outboard equipment, all of which is located within easy reach of the console and permanently patched-in.
“It took four months to design and build the room but the end result is amazing,” Ben says. “I am especially happy with my Genesys console because it really suits the way I like to work. The automation has modernised my workflow and made life much easier, but it still has all the Neve characteristics that I am used to, it just sounds better and works more fluidly that the Neve VR because the technology has come such a long way since that console was first introduced.”
Since completing Studio 5, Ben has mixed a live event featuring Rex Orange County and renowned bass player Pino Palladino and finished a few stand-alone singles with Moses Sumney. He has other projects on the go, too, but isn’t at liberty to discuss them.
“I use commercial studios such as Abbey Road and RAK for larger recording projects, then bring the mix back here,” he says. “The audio has translated really well between these various rooms and I’m delighted with how transparent my studio sounds. I do have good monitoring but I also use the headphone output on the front of the Genesys, which is a really useful feature. The VR used to be a pain from that point of view – getting a solid headphone split – but this desk makes it so easy and I really appreciate that.”
26th November 2020
Outline to power Russia's first and Europe's largest roofed theme park
Russia – This year, the "Dream Island", a unique cultural and entertainment complex in the Nagatinskaya floodplain on the banks of the Moskva River, opened its doors for the first guests.
The park is part of a huge renovation project of the former ZIL industrial area covering some 600 hectares. It is divided into four areas: sports grounds, a residential complex, a stadium and the "Dream Island" entertainment complex.
It includes Europe's largest indoor theme park, a city promenade and a 44-hectare landscape park. The complex has dozens of attraction rides, restaurants, cafes, a multiplex centre with 17 cinemas, a concert hall, playgrounds for outdoor activities and sports, various shops and retail outlets.
The 300,000 sq m indoor all-season amusement park with breathtaking rides has nine theme zones. Four of them are owned by foreign copyright holders: Hotel Transylvania – Sony Pictures Consumer Products, The Smurfs’ Village – IMPS SA, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Viacom International Media Networks and Hello Kitty – Sanrio GmbH. The other five have a concept of their own: "Dream Race", "Snow Queen's Castle", "Mowgli in the Land of Dinosaurs", "Fairy Village" and "Abandoned House".
The well-known American architectural bureau Cunningham Architects, which has such successful parks as Disney California Adventure Park and Havoc in Heaven in Guangzhou in their portfolio, was invited to develop the project. The bureau designed not only the architectural concept, but also the main engineering sections, including lighting and sound.
Design, supply and installation of the sound, lighting and video equipment was committed to Sofit Light – a renowned Russian integrator and Outline’s distributor in Russia. The company’s specialists took part in the development of the project, delivery and installation of the theme park’s background sound system, technical support for the main attractions, multi-functional holographic show, theatre and concert venues.
One of the most unique venues of the park is the "Dream Theatre". The Sofit Light company has carried out the design, supply, manufacture, installation and commissioning of equipment for the theatre.
The hall, designed for 600 spectators, is home to a unique holographic theatrical performance "Mowgli in the land of dinosaurs" which is successfully held daily several times a day, where an actor is also involved. The main character goes in search of the magical flower Majelba in a mysterious land and goes through exciting trials and overcomes difficulties.
The work on the project was carried out in close co-operation with the director-producer and developers of the holographic show by the "CEO & CREATIVE" company. The Sofit Light company had the task of developing the project, supplying and installing all mechanical, lighting, sound and media-visual equipment.
The hall's sound reinforcement complex has been designed using the products of one of the flagships of the acoustic industry: the Italian manufacturer Outline. The capabilities of the system make it possible to use it not only for holographic shows, but also for any type of events, concerts and even film screenings.
The sound reinforcement system of the Dream Theatre consists of a L-C-R Mantas 28 line arrays with four 18" subwoofers SUB 118 per side (L-R). The reason for such placement of subwoofers is given by the specifics of the scene, designed for a holographic show, but the capabilities of the system allow you to use it for any event.
Along the perimeter of the hall there are 24 additional full-range acoustic systems, six of which are Outline Vegas 24 mounted in the stage barrier and are intended for front fill application, while 18 Outline MVFX101 speakers are installed on the walls of the audience hall as part of the surround sound channels or to work together with the main system through the delay lines.
All acoustic systems are powered by the multi-channel amplifiers Outline X8D and Powersoft Ottocanali 8K4 DSP+D with built-in DSP and Dante protocol support. The processors save the preset settings for various types of events, and Dante interfaces allow you to quickly exchange the audio signal in digital format between the audio output channels of the video display system and the corresponding components of the sound reinforcement system.
The whole system is driven by Outline Newton 16+8 FPGA-based multi-source processor, which makes it possible to switch operatively between different operating modes of the system. Newton is also used as a redundant synchronisation centre for audio and video streams of the entire hall. If the main sync source is blocked for some reason, the system automatically switches to sync from other devices listed sequentially in the priority list.
Alexander Klinushkin, Outline’s Representative in Russia, comments: "We were given the task of creating a multi-purpose hall that would be used not only for the holographic shows several times a day, but also for live music concerts, cinema and other types of events. This is why we have decided to combine line-arrays and surround sound systems, and to use Vegas 24 as front-fills. The Newton processor makes the whole system run smoothly in any configuration you may need."
25th November 2020
Durhamld Limited Lights New Path at 1Rebel with Chauvet Professional
UK – “We don’t follow trends. We go off road.” So declares the chain of 1Rebel boutique fitness and riding centres on its website. An idle marketing boast? Hardly. Stepping inside this two-storey gym, visitors are swept up in an immersive panorama of colours, lasers and effects more reminiscent of a nightclub or the inside of a computer game than a place where one goes to get toned abs.
1Rebel hasn’t gone 'off the road' in creating this mega gym; instead, it’s blazed an entirely new path, one that is likely to reset standards in the fitness category, not just with its engaging lighting design, but also in terms of its COVID-19 safety protocols. (The lighting itself engenders a stronger sense of community in the gym despite the screens that sometimes separated its members.)
Playing a key role in 1Rebel’s lighting system, which was designed by Durham Marenghi of Durhamld Limited, are 54 Chauvet Professional COLORado 1 Solo and 11 COLORado 2 Solo LED fixtures supplied by Middlesex Sound and Lighting.
“I was approached by Giles Dean and his team at 1Rebel to create some impactful night club style lighting for their gyms around London,” said Marenghi. “Working alongside Ryan Hopkins at Lights Control Rigging, we created a virtual animation to present the concept to our client. They were very supportive of the ideas we laid out.”
The RGBW COLORado fixtures were ideally suited for Marenghi’s plan to balance the fitness centre’s video walls and moving fixtures with intense fields of coloured light. “Our client was especially happy with the COLORados smooth, homogeneous colour source,” he said. “In the past, they had used LED pars where all you could see were the RGB pixels rather than the actual colour that the fixture was producing. That would obviously not be acceptable for the kind of environment we want to create. We needed colourisation that would stand up to the rest of the lighting design.”
Also of critical importance were the zooming optics of the COLORado fixtures, which allow instructors to change up looks during exercise and cycling sessions. “Middlesex Sound and Lighting did a great job guiding us to the right fixtures,” said Marenghi. “Project manager Toby Jones and his team as well as programmer Dean Osborne were fundamental to the project’s success.”
Marenghi and the team and Middlesex Sound and Lighting have created similar, albeit less ambitious systems for 1Rebel’s other fitness centres in London. As for the flagship Victoria location, it opened to much fanfare on 4 July when the UK government eased lockdown restrictions. Sadly, it had to shutter its doors in October when the virus spiked.
1Rebel’s loyal following of members were disappointed, but they know that when restrictions are lifted again, they will return to a fitness centre that is like no other. That’s what going off road is all about.
24th November 2020
Robe Specified for Tallinn Salme Cultural Centre
Estonia – The Tallinn Salme Cultural Centre is one of the Estonian capital’s largest cultural institutions, and usually a busy hub of activity for concerts and live entertainment shows as well as hosting conferences and events.
Recently, the venue has invested in 20 Robe T1 Profile moving lights and 18 Tetra2 moving LED battens which were specified by head of lighting, Margus Ruhno, and delivered by Robe’s Estonian distributor, E&T.
The additional equipment is needed to support the venue’s increasingly busy programme, although there are currently no performances due to closure amidst the pandemic.
The main hall audience seats 624, and on the third floor, the old Dance Studio has been replaced by two new Black Box theatre spaces, both around 170 square metres and each with a capacity of 150. There is a huge demand for this style and spec of theatre space in Estonia and they are used to stage a diverse selection of works.
The Tallinn Salme Cultural Centre’s spacious lobby can also accommodate almost 500 people and café rooms in the basement area can be configured to seat a further 80-100 and include a kitchen and multiple utility rooms. For events, several adjacent and auxiliary rooms can also be utilised allowing for theatre performances, conferences and large-scale festivals or other events based in the city centre to be hosted there.
With these new black box spaces coming on stream, additional lighting kit was needed to use there and throughout the building.
The construction work has continued apace during the closure and has also included replacement of the main hall’s electrical systems.
When they started the search for additional fixtures, Margus, who has worked at Tallinn Salme Cultural Centre since 2006 and also lights productions for other theatres and organisations as a freelance LD, consulted with an assortment of lighting companies and theatres.
“All confirmed that the T1 / Tetra2 combination is reliable new technology in addition to being a versatile choice for a full range of shows and events,” he stated.
Apart from the general reliability of Robe, he was impressed that the T1 was such an accurate and precise luminaire that can be “framed and shaped exactly as needed. It is highly effective for any performance.” The T1 is specifically designed and engineered with the demands of theatre in mind.
He likes the functionality and flexibility of the T1 with its many different features and options, and likewise with the Tetra2 where its zoom capabilities make it hugely more adaptable than a standard LED batten.
The new Robes will be used across all the performance genres staged in the space, and Margus thinks it will be a favourite for precise keying and for specials as well as for colour, effects and creating atmosphere.
He has used Robe products in his work before, but not the T1 as they are not widely found in Estonia. He observes that larger productions visiting the Tallinn Salme Cultural Centre will often bring in their own lighting rigs, which will frequently contain Robe.
“From my own experiences, Robe has always been a great choice for reliability, good build quality and the offering of many creative possibilities,” he concludes.
The building work is still being finished off at the venue, and right now, no-one is certain when venues in Estonia might be re-opening for business post-Covid! “We are all hoping that the upgrades here will be well received, and that we can start produce shows and welcome more people through the doors again soon so all the future productions can benefit from the changes and new fixtures.”
In picture: Margus Ruhno
24th November 2020
Ultra-wide stage no match for L-Acoustics L-ISA at Tampere Workers' Theatre
Finland – Nestled between two lakes, Näsijärvi and Pyhäjärvi, Tampere is listed on MoveHub’s world’s most popular hipster spots and, with the most saunas in one city, is considered the ‘Sauna Capital of the World’. The city is also home to the Tampereen Työväen Teatteri (Tampere Workers’ Theatre), fondly referred to by locals as the TTT-Theatre. This is one of the county’s main theatres and its recently updated sound system features L-ISA Immersive Hyperreal Sound technology, chosen both with audio excellence and the future in mind, as well as to address historic localisation issues caused by the venue’s extremely wide stage.
Originally, a standard L-C-R system had been specified for the theatre’s major audio overhaul, until Pauli Molnár, sales manager at L-Acoustics certified provider distributor, Audico Systems Oy, introduced them to the concept of L-ISA and its ability to create a completely different listening experience for the theatre’s audiences.
“We did a demo for the team and they were blown away,” says Molnár. “They understood that not only would L-ISA technology deliver more than they wanted in terms of sound quality, but also that it would address some key issues with which they had been struggling.”
The curved stage lip at TTT-Theatre measures a full 20 metres wide, likely one of the widest in Finland. This means that no matter where loudspeakers are placed in a standard configuration, the sound is not properly localized for the audience. In addition to this, the audio team struggled with gain before feedback.
To address the key issue of localisation, L-Acoustics application engineer Oskar Meijer designed configuration using L-ISA design methodology that allows the frontal hangs to precisely follow the curve of the stage lip, while ensuring L-ISA quality mapping specs were met. “This made it possible for the loudspeakers to be in front of the actors, who would inevitably come to the front of the stage during their performance,” says Molnár.
To fulfil this requirement, local metal fabrication company, Ypäjän Metalli Oy built a bespoke arced bar from which the loudspeaker arrays were hung. “In a very short time, they designed and built a fantastic solution where the entire frontal system, all nine hangs of speakers, could be moved up or down with just a single motor,” says Molnár.
The final configuration for the frontal system comprises seven ‘Scene’ arrays of three L-Acoustics A10 in vertical mode with two additional hangs in horizontal mode to provide outfill duties. The horizontal deployment option enables sharp horizontal pattern control that minimizes spill into the spatialized L-ISA zone. The system configuration follows the stage lip, with six KS21 subs flown behind the centre hang. Ten 5XT are evenly spaced across the stage lip for frontfill.
For the surround system, 12 X8 coaxial speakers are distributed evenly around the side and rear walls of the auditorium. A further 11 X8, split into three rows of three, four, and four speakers per row, are suspended from the ceiling. Finally, two additional X8 provide balcony fill on the left and right sides.
As for the audio distribution Molnár explains “This is a redundant system employing AVB as the primary signal with AES for backup. We have a neat solution using the brand new LS10 Milan-certified switch from L-Acoustics to distribute AVB to the LA4X amplified controllers. Amps are located in three different positions, plus there is a separate room with a further ten amplifiers.”
The entire installation was completed in just two weeks, with L-Acoustics performing the final calibration of the system and running training for the theatre’s team. “It felt like all the stars were aligned for this project,” says Molnár. “Everything went smoothly, and the attention to detail was incredible. Everyone realised that we were doing something special, so the entire team, both from Audico and TTT-Theatre, shared a common enthusiasm.”
Hamlet – The Rock Musical, performed with an original Finnish score debuted at the theatre in the beginning of September and was the first show since lockdown as well as the first with L-ISA technology. World-renowned musical Kinky Boots followed at the end of September.
“When we all heard L-ISA in the venue for the very first time, it was one of those ‘goosebump’ moments,” Molnár exclaims. “Everybody at TTT-Theatre suddenly realised exactly what they have bought. It was deeply moving to see people’s faces, all silenced and astonished by the sound quality.”
Otso Kautto, TTT’s CEO and theatre director, was doubly excited about the new system, as he is also acting as an artistic director for Hamlet – The Rock Musical. “I was really keen for the audience to experience our new multidimensional sound,” Kautto concludes. “L-ISA brings a new way of experiencing audio to the theatre and adds a refreshingly different dimension to the overall audience experience. We are delighted with the results.”
24th November 2020
Nuage and RIVAGE PM Bring the Best Sound to Oestrich-Winkel’s Studio 22
Germany – Located on the river Rhine, the German town of Oestrich-Winkel is perhaps best known for being at the heart of the Rheingau wine-growing region and its annual Rheingau Musik Festival. But in a quiet residential street, Studio 22 owner and audio engineer Stephan Weber is at the cutting edge of live and recorded sound with Yamaha RIVAGE PM5 and Nuage systems.
Stephan started as a professional IT networking specialist but, like so many who graduate to the audio industry, as a musician in his spare time. A small home studio and mixing local bands led to more audio work, including mixing musical theatre and events at the Kurhaus resort, casino and conference complex in Baden-Baden.
A request by cruise company Hapag-Lloyd for his IT skills led to Stephan being asked to assist with his entertainment technology knowledge, leading to the creation of Studio 22. Since then, his core business has been planning, service and installation of entertainment technology systems on luxury cruise liners. He has also developed the Digital Remote Entertainment And Media Solution (d.r.e.a.m.s) streaming server system for background music, with customers throughout the world.
Being married to singer and vocal coach Dunja Koppenhöfer, Stephan established a multi-function recording room at their Oestrich-Winkel home. Adding two more dedicated audio rooms in 2019, he has continued to expand both the live and studio mixing aspects of his business.
“We needed space for Dunia to teach acting and rehearsing, so recording in-house made sense. We also train my customers here,” he says. “Importantly, I need to be hands on with audio for the good of my soul!”
Stephan started using Yamaha digital mixers at the beginning, with the ProMix 01 back in 1995. “I purchased two, one for live work and the other for automating MIDI sound modules and other outboard gear in the studio,” he says.
Since then he has used a range of Yamaha digital mixers, noting: “From the launch of the CL series, I have really liked the availability of different sizes of Yamaha console surface, depending on what you need to do.
“Another thing I like is how the workflow has basically stayed the same. Technology should not take your concentration away from the performance and, for me, it’s very useful that it doesn’t matter which Yamaha mixer you are in front of, you can work without thinking. Along with the stability, reliability and excellent support, this is why Yamaha offers the perfect tools for me.”
Stephan’s live and studio work ranges from mixing and recording orchestras, bands, speeches and conferences to music production, surround sound mixes, film synchronisation and corporate training videos. To stay up to date, he needs to keep investing in both live and studio technology.
In the summer he purchased one of the first RIVAGE PM5 digital mixing systems in Germany.
“I have three CL series consoles, but sometimes reached the limit of the CL5’s channels, auxes and matrix busses, especially with musicals and crossover projects, which always have a lot of different requirements and backstage gear,” he says.
“Investing in the RIVAGE ecosystem with the new CS5 surface was the perfect upgrade to increase capacity and benefit from the new RIVAGE plug-ins. RIVAGE PM5 allows me to be more flexible for all kinds of live events and, with the CL series consoles, I have the choice of using the best system to fit the customers' needs.
Meanwhile, in the studio, he has been using Steinberg’s Nuendo DAW since it was first launched in 2000. But he found that third-party controllers always involved a lot of configuration to get something usable and too much compromise in his workflow.
“After trying other brands, I didn’t believe that I would ever use a controller with Nuendo. That was until I had my hands on a Yamaha Nuage console. It was immediately clear this was the first Nuendo controller worth thinking about,” he says.
“Having everything in a ‘one brand box’, including a straightforward interface which perfectly matches the software, motorised faders, monitor switches and more for control during recording, automation during mixdown, and all the necessary things like speaker management and control, talkback, surround panner and everything is awesome.
“I like the touch strip for scrolling, the easy access of filters, EQs, aux channels and the channel automation curves for effects. It’s so simple that I can ignore the technical part of my job and work truly ‘musically’. Nuage saves a lot of time, allowing me to respond to customers more quickly.”
He concludes “Both the RIVAGE and Nuage systems are very impressive. And I truly believe that anybody giving their blood, sweat and tears on stage or in the studio deserves their production or recording to use the best tools.”
photo: Karl Christmas
24th November 2020
LIT Live Keeps the Concert Flame Shining Bright with Avolites
USA – When the global pandemic completely shut down the entertainment industry back in mid-March, Chris Brodman and Cody Lisle, the principals of Phoenix-based LIT Lighting, were faced with two choices: do nothing and simply wait, or hit the drawing board with their crew and make plans to adapt and retool. Quickly choosing the latter option, the Phoenix-based lighting company established LIT Live, a series of live streamed concerts that has allowed its staff and clients to continue doing what they love in an environment that is in compliance with current safety protocols.
The team moved fast, converting part of LIT Lighting’s warehouse into a studio with a 40 x 30 foot fully equipped audiovisual stage, and by 27 March the crew was able to host its first show by the local band Hollywood Slasher, which was streamed out live to a concert-hungry audience sheltering in place via TwitchTV, Facebook, and YouTube. In the eight months since then, LIT Live has live streamed performances from dozens of acts of numerous genres from rock, pop and country to rap and EDM, some of which have been publicly streamed for free while others have been private shows paid via ticketing.
Although most of the acts have been local, Brodman points out that they’re not skimping on any of the production elements, deploying more than 130 fixtures (spots, washes, blinders, bars and other formats) much of it flown from 30 foot spans of truss at FOH, midstage and upstage, plus ladder and boom towers flanking the stage on three sides. And controlling the entire setup has been an Avolites Tiger Touch II lighting console, running Titan v13 software, occasionally paired with a Titan Mobile Wing for additional handles and control.
“The Tiger Touch II was our first choice of console for this project because of its ease of use and compact size as well as its processing power and Keyframe effects engine,” notes LIT Lighting LD James Simpson, who has been manning the console for a number of the shows. “The Tiger’s ease of use allows us to have lighting designers of all skill levels come in and educate themselves in a time where virtually no other opportunities to do so are available. The lighting rig we are using is highly dependent on multi-cell fixtures; therefore, the Tiger was the obvious choice because of its superior ability to handle and program high-quality effects for those fixture types. Plus, we appreciate the console’s ability to easily drive upwards of 20 universes of DMX over streaming sACN to our racks of nodes.”
According to LIT Lighting LD Cullen Noon, some of the visiting LDs that have come in have busked their LIT Live shows on the Avolites console, while others have set up cues. “Our LDs are utilising the built-in visualiser to previz their shows from home, but the choice to busk or cue list is highly dependent on the amount of time available to program before the set,” he says. “Some of our clients have been booked far in advance and others are very last-minute. We always want to produce the best shows possible, so when we have the time, we prefer to cue list. The Titan software allows us the versatility to do both but is superior in that the time it takes to put together a busk show is much less than other manufacturer’s consoles. The ability of the Titan software to create organized and intricate cue lists as well as its tracking system allows us to create the cleanest possible show for our viewers.”
Although the LIT Live shows haven’t as of yet generated significant revenue for LIT Lighting and most of those proceeds have been directed to the employees and industry organisations that desperately need them, Cody Lisle still describes the programme as a success. “This whole experience has been very positive on all fronts: the artists love being able to play again, the crews continue to hone their skills, and the audiences get to enjoy watching and sometimes interacting with the bands,” he shares. “We’ve gained a large following, in part due to the standards we set forth for ourselves and in the quality of our streams, and Avolites is a key ingredient of that formula.”
Brodman agrees: “I and several of my long-time crew members grew up on Avolites while working for Creative Backstage, where we used Azures, Pearls and Sapphires. The first Avolites console I purchased for LIT was the original Tiger Touch in 2011. We now own four Tigers, one Quartz, five Titan Mobiles, and four T2 systems and have sent them on tours and shows around the world. Avolites has always been our ‘go-to’ for reliable hardware, software, and impeccable customer service, and they’ve really helped grow LIT Lighting into who we are today and where we’re heading for tomorrow.”
24th November 2020
Brisbane’s Luxurious Le Bain Equipped with Martin Audio CDD
Australia – Brisbane-based property developers, Cavcorp, recently completed the luxurious 15-storey Le Bain apartment complex, in the Brisbane suburb of Newstead.
Described as an immersive experience that delivers a sub-tropical poolside lifestyle, it is redolent of the beaches of Southern France. Crowned by eight Penthouses and a private rooftop pool, it also includes a heated pool, music streaming, temperature-controlled spa baths, private dining room, sun deck with sunbeds, sauna, Technogym, barbeque and an alfresco dining area.
To service this, the developers engaged AV integrators, Ampd to create a customised, reliable and robust audio visual system. And they turned to Martin Audio’s popular and aesthetically designed CDD series for the audio component.
Commenting on the selection, Ampd’s Matt Hayes, said: “The stylish and discreet design, coupled with the incredibly consistent audio coverage, made the CDD range the perfect option for Le Bain. The feedback from the owners has been great and they are ecstatic with the sound quality and SPL levels that can be achieved.”
This is now the second rooftop installation completed by Ampd for Cavcorp. “We have a deep understanding of the high level of innovation and excellence they expect on their projects,” continued Hayes. The result was a streamlined deployment of Martin Audio speakers under QSC Qsys control, with custom speaker brackets helping to deliver the best possible sound coverage while also ensuring a clean finish to blend with the stunning rooftop environment.
A series of CDD6 and CDD5 speakers, including weatherised versions, helps to create a seamless and holistic experience for residents no matter which part of the rooftop they were enjoying. While seven of the CDD6-WR and CDD5-WR weatherised speakers can be found in the pool and sunbed area, a pair each of the CDD6 and CDD5 are located in the gym and private dining room respectively. A custom touch screen UCI was also installed in the private dining room and rack to offer residents and building managers full control of the system. In fact custom control is provided for each individual zone. Also available is wireless music streaming, automatic level adjustments at set times along with quick and simple adjustments that building management can select depending on day to day variables.
Finally, the entire system was tuned to suit the different rooms/listening environments to guarantee the highest quality experience for Le Bain residents.
Summing up, Matt Hayes said: “Through our considered and meticulous approach, coupled with our expert knowledge and passion for finding the right solution for our clients, we were able to deliver a high-quality, integrated and seamless audio-visual system that complements the luxurious French-inspired rooftop oasis in Newstead.
“Our deployment of Martin Audio’s versatile CDD series unifies both the indoor and outdoor spaces to create a unique experience that transports Le Bain residents to the South of France.”
24th November 2020
Finland’s E-Studio Invests in a Neve Genesys Black Console
Finland – E-Studio, one of Finland’s leading recording facilities, has embraced the world renowned sound of Neve by replacing the old desk in its main control room with a large Genesys Black G80 console.
Located in the beautiful rural surroundings of Sipoo, just 30 minutes drive from the centre of Helsinki, E-Studio often attracts large recording sessions and therefore needed a console with plenty of inputs and a high channel count. According to Jyri Riikonen, senior sound engineer and studio manager at E-Studio, the Genesys Black G80 is the ideal choice because it offers a huge 80 inputs at mixdown and 40 input channels, each with 1073 preamps for recording very large sessions.
“Working on a large format analogue console is a must for big recording sessions, and when you combine that with the really amazing sounding of 40 channels of 1073 preamps and 1084 EQs, you have a great place to start any session,” Riikonen says. “We also like having the ability to save individual analogue channel strips and recall them in an instant. That makes a big difference to how fast we can set up a session.”
Since installing the Genesys Black, E-Studio has hosted a number of recording sessions and Riikonen says clients have been delighted by the console’s distinctive Neve sound.
Hands-on DAW control and connectivity is another benefit, he says. “Being able to save and automate the analogue channel strip into the DAW via the GenesysControl plugin is just amazing. The DAW fader section and transport helps a lot, too and the plug-in integration is really good!”
Founded in 2004, E-Studio was rebuilt in 2018 when it moved from Helsinki to Sipoo. It has four control rooms and a large 120m2 live room (with three isolation booths), which is easily big enough to accommodate an orchestra. Residential accommodation is available and clients also have access to a separate sauna house that can be used for additional accommodation and as a workspace.
Designed by acoustician Kimpi Huisma, E-Studio describes its live room as another instrument because reverberation can be adjusted to suit the demands of the project. The interior, designed by architect Oona Masso, has a modern, quiet ambience with plenty of natural light.
“We handle a wide range of projects, from recording, mixing and mastering through to creating audio for computer games, commercials and film,” Riikonen says. “Our facilities suit large and small projects and our client’s range for individual artists to big record labels and from indie movies and games to triple A game studios.”
The studio is currently being used to record an album for the Von Hertzen Brothers, with Riikonen manning the Genesys Black controls. Other recent clients have included Michael Monroe, J.Karjalainen, UMO, Rovio Entertainment LTD, Amorphis, KXP, Verneri Pohjola and Lenny Pickett.
18th November 2020
Hippotizer makes a show for WVU’s Puskar Center
USA – A Hippotizer Tierra+ media server from Green Hippo, the specialist creator of tools for the real-time manipulation of video for the AV industries, is driving the video wall content at the spectacular WVU Football facility at West Virginia University’s new Puskar Center, in Morgantown, WV.
Providing state-of-the-art spaces for players, coaches, staff and visitors, the WVU Puskar Center development is, with the help of Hippotizer, transforming the home of WVU Football, putting its facilities very visibly ahead of the competition.
The video playback solution was designed by BrightTree Studios and installed by its parent company, Synergy Media Group, preferred technology suppliers to WVU. It encompasses five large screens in the spacious, luxuriously modern Locker Room, including a main video wall and four ‘end-cap’ screens located at the ends of the locker rows. The Tierra+ media server will also handle content feeds and mapping duties for screens in other areas in future phases of this major construction project.
“This was our first project using Hippotizer, and we’ve had a great experience with it,” says David Vargo, principal of BrightTree Studios. “It allowed us to create the space using the Visualiser software so that we could plan and vision the spaces with the client before the actual construction. This allowed us to develop customized content with WVU’s video producer, Austin Gaines, months before installation, which helped to keep the project on schedule.”
Lead AV Designer at Synergy Media Group, Cory Sarzotti, explains: “This ‘show’ realm, or ‘theatre space’ is not really an area that corporate AV has had a lot to do with in the past, but we’re starting to see more and more requirement for it from our clients. And for this type of work, Hippotizer is a new tool in our tool belt.”
Sarzotti worked closely with Green Hippo’s Nick Spencer on the integration of the Hippotizer, programming a custom Crestron control system and mapping the content to the multiple screens, all of non-standard resolution. He found the Hippotizer features, along with the “incredibly supportive” backup, to be extremely helpful in achieving such great results.
“The VideoMapper was really useful in addressing content, especially to the end-cap screens in the Locker Room,” he says. “It was also incredibly helpful that the Hippotizer is well known, and that other engineers we were working with on the project had used it before.”
Sarzotti also praised the Hippotizer’s Third Party Control API, commenting: “This allowed me to program an incredible level of detailed control for the customer, recalling complicated show presets with a single touch panel button.”
Also of huge benefit was the accessibility of the Hippotizer interface. “We have some formal client training scheduled,” says Sarzotti, “but because Nick has been training me, and I’ve been showing the client all through the project, they’re already very familiar with it, and are able to manage content, make changes, create presets and add new content.”
He concludes, “Really, the Hippotizer interface is accessible enough to anyone who is familiar with the creative software world, and that’s been really helpful.”
18th November 2020
Teatro Galia Becomes Chile’s First All-LED Theatre with Chauvet Professional
Chile – A national historic monument, the Teatro Galia was intended to reflect the pride and character of the Los Ríos region when it was built over a two-year period in the 1940s. Designers Felipe Barthou Lapouple and Juan Poletter Saint-Simon adopted a balloon frame system for the 500-seat theatre to reflect their country’s rich art deco tradition. Inside, they used only native Chilean woods for flooring and panelling, including warm, orange-tinged Lenga, famous the world over for its depth and texture.
In 2020, when the Chemtrol Chile team began a socially distant lighting upgrade project as the historic structure, they were careful to preserve the unique character of the building. They accomplished this with the help of 34 Chauvet Professional LED fixtures. This made Teatro Galia the first theatre in Chile with an all-LED rig.
“For the execution of the rehabilitation of the Teatro Galia, in which Chemtrol had a very active participation in relation to the installation of the scenography systems, we used all the luminaires developed and manufactured by Chauvet Professional,” said Italo Bascuñan, head of the Commercial Department of Chemtrol Chile. “Due to the quality, price and performance ratio, Chauvet luminaires were the only possible option. In addition, the brand has one of the most complete lines of LED theatre lights.”
Casting warm smooth even fields of light, the new fixtures will provide impeccable stage lighting for shows at the theatre, while also bringing out the full aesthetic features of room itself. This is accomplished with 12 Ovation F-910FC Fresnel units, ten Ovation E-910FC ellipsoidals, four Ovation CYC 1 FC cyc lights and eight COLORado 1-Quad Zoom par style fixtures.
“Teatro Galia has ten motorised poles manufactured by CHEMTROL, that make it easy for them to reposition lights depending on the performance,” said Bascuñan. “This allows different lighting designers who visit the theatre to arrange the fixtures to fit their style.”
Regardless of where the fixtures are positioned, visiting designs can count on them delivering excellent stage lighting, all while allowing the beauty of this room to shine.
17th November 2020
Martin Audio WPM for Falls Area Performing Arts Center
USA – Located at the Oconto Falls High School in Wisconsin, an ageing sound system in the Falls Area Performing Arts Center (PAC) has been replaced with Martin Audio’s new scaleable resolution Wavefront Precision Mini (WPM) line array. Part of a complete AV upgrade to the technical infrastructure, the work was carried out by Camera Corner Connecting Point in Green Bay, Wisconsin, following a competitive bidding process.
According to their project designer, Steve Littlepage, the contract was broken into two phases: a complete video upgrade, followed by the installation of the PA and system processing, as well as supply (and relocation) of a new digital mixing console.
The function of the PA was to provide an even coverage for a seated audience of up to 700, and be sufficiently versatile to serve not only a range of school events, but incoming productions hosted through a community foundation, for which the school has a long history.
The existing sound system was inadequate for both high school musical productions and outside productions, relying on a point source centre cluster hung from the ceiling above the orchestra pit, and a pair of smaller point source speakers mounted on either side of the proscenium. “The audio coverage across the audience was less than ideal, and feedback issues from microphones on stage were souring performances,” noted Littlepage. The primary goal for the new PA system, therefore, was to improve the experience for the audience.
Camera Corner was given carte blanche by the client to design a system “that would solve their issues and help the venue be a technology leader in the area.” After careful consideration, their PA of choice was the WPM, their first Martin Audio line array deployment.
“We considered a variety of manufacturers, focusing on line array solutions for the venue, but the WPM had exactly the right coverage to price ratio for the project,” Littlepage continued. “Using an array allowed reduction of the level variance from the front to back of the audience unlike the point source solutions we considered, and the wide horizontal pattern allowed consistent coverage left to right across the venue.”
The designer was also aware that the locations for where they could place new loudspeakers were limited, and this additionally created weight restrictions. Camera Corner’s solution was to hang the arrays from the building truss between the proscenium opening and the first ceiling cloud. “The compact size of the WPM allowed us to do this while still minimising the impact this location had on the lighting system.”
Through a combination of the Martin Audio Display optimisation software and EASE modelling of the arrays, Camera Corner was able to illustrate the coverage of the system during the design phase and explain the advantages of this system to the school officials.
“Attention was given to reduce the amount of stage wash coming from the arrays as well as slapback off the rear wall. It was important to improve the gain before feedback of the system as the school theatre performances are regularly run by student operators.”
The design comprised five Martin Audio WPM elements per side, with one SXF115 subwoofer flown above each array. Two SX218 subwoofers sit at the proscenium opening to round out the bottom end for more audio intensive events, while four Blackline X8 speakers serve as lip fills across the front of the stage. The arrays are permanently hung, and the ground subwoofers and lip fills can be moved when necessary for a particular event or when not in use.
To optimise this further, the main PA system is powered by Martin Audio iKON amplifiers, one iK81 assigned to each array in single-box resolution. An iK42 has been deployed for the SX218 subwoofers, with two channels per cabinet. Spare channels of the iK81 amplifiers, not being used for the arrays, are used to drive the Blackline X8 lip fills.
At the same time Camera Corner replaced the entire video system, and added Crestron control for the audio and video system. They incorporated two operating modes for the system, a ‘Performance’ mode for theatre, and ‘Presentation’ mode, for simple lecture style presentations.
In summary, Steve Littlepage said: “I am thoroughly impressed with the WPM. I had some reservations as to whether the compact loudspeaker would live up to its marketing material, but was blown away with the power and clarity of the rig.
“I knew that any line array solution would provide the necessary SPL but being able to circuit the array with single-enclosure resolution allowed the Display software to optimise each loudspeaker to provide a seamless audio experience from back to front.
“The coverage in the auditorium matched what we predicted in both Display and EASE. Based on this experience, I will turn to Martin Audio again for future projects. In fact we are planning an event for our own engineering team to dive into the details of the system and use it as a location for acoustical analysis training.”
The School’s network manager, Brandon Olsen, also praised the system which had become an expedient, as opportunities were starting to be lost to other venues.
“We have noticed a huge change in the quality of audio we are able to project within our PAC,” he said. “With the flexibility of flown arrays, floor subwoofers, and stage centre fills, we now have the ultimate confidence in the quality of what each member of the audience is hearing.
“With everything from meetings with ten plus microphones to full performance modes with audio, this system has expanded the PAC to levels we never thought were imaginable in the space. Wherever you’re seated, the audience experience never changes.
“With the flexibility and functionality of our Martin Audio system, the PAC usage has more than doubled and new opportunities are back on the table in this amazing newly updated space.”
Following the installation Camera Corner provided full operator training for the key personnel and assisted with the first event for the new system, which Steve Littlepage says “went fantastically”. Managing the project was Tony Stahl, and account manager was Chris Lecher.
17th November 2020
VOUS Church Keeps Up With Exponential Growth on DiGiCo Quantum338
USA – Although Miami’s annual VOUS Conference has been taking place for more than a decade, VOUS Church first officially launched five years ago out of a weekly young adult gathering known as The Rendezvous, started by Trinity Church in Miami Gardens. Since then, VOUS Church has grown rapidly, expanding into two worship spaces: a 1,500-seat auditorium at iTech, Miami’s mega technology magnet high school and a 500-seat hall at Jose De Diego middle school, just two miles to the south. But the real audience explosion has taken place virtually, especially during the pandemic, with the church now having an average of 40,000 viewers streaming services online each week.
VOUS Church production co-ordinator Jon Wygant oversees all church sound, both live and studio, as well as personnel and inventory for the production department. He served on the church’s launch team in 2015 and, since then, has been tasked with keeping VOUS’ audio tech up to par. It was this directive that prompted him to reach out the local shop of 3G Productions to supply them with a new DiGiCo Quantum338 mixing console primarily for iTech Auditorium.
“We’ve had a DiGiCo SD9 at each of our locations from the start, and I absolutely love them,” he says. “The SD9 is still a powerhouse for such a small desk, but as we made plans late last year to take our services into an online experience, we decided to upgrade to a console that would better suit our broadcast site’s future needs. As the primary engineer here, I definitely spend the most time behind the mixing console, and I knew I wanted another DiGiCo. For ease of use, high-quality sound, and cross-console capability, there’s nothing better. I was initially hoping for something between an SD12 and SD5, so when DiGiCo announced the Q338 in January, it was destiny.”
Wygant says that, for him, the biggest appeals of the Quantum338 were its expansive I/O including six onboard MADI ports and two DMI slots, as well as its updated layout and usability. “We have a pretty extensive setup and also want room to grow and the Q338 was sitting right in that sweet spot. Mixing on this desk is a dream and just so intuitive to operate.”
With VOUS Church’s services now primarily being online, aside from several live in-person events, the Quantum338 currently serves more as the church’s streaming console than FOH desk and is isolated in a separate room “to keep the mix focused and clean,” Wygant notes. The pre-existing SD9 has now taken over monitor duties, residing in the main worship space for easy interaction with the praise team, and is used to control all IEMs, wedges, and the house/reference mix. With approximately 60 inputs coming into the house console, the church generally runs 16 different IEMs on the monitor mixer for drums, bass, two guitarists, two keyboardists, up to eight singers and two engineers, plus two sets of wedges, which are primarily used for those who are speaking.
iTech’s Quantum338 is paired with two Waves Extreme Servers, the first one being a standard setup to run plug-ins for the live mix. The second is to run a Waves eMotion LV1, to which the audio crew sends matrices and some input channels via Dante from the Q338 to create a stream-specific mix. This is based on the house mix with some adjustments to optimize it for the church’s four YouTube and Facebook broadcasts on Sunday, two of which are “Zoom Room” services where the pastors and musicians can see and interact with their online community via eight large TVs facing the stage.
“Mixing for streaming is always a challenge since it can translate differently with each end user, but the Q338 is definitely making our lives a lot easier,” Wygant declares. “I enjoy bringing some of the same plugins that I love in the studio into the live setting, and the desk’s integration with Waves is helping us get our mix to be truly stream-friendly and sound the best for everyone.”
“With that being said, I do also really love the console’s onboard processing,” he adds. “The dynamic EQs are some of my favourite features as they really allow me to aggressively clean up signals while still sounding transparent. On the Quantum line, I am in love with the Chilli 6 and will always have one on my master bus as well as a few groups. The Mustard processing is also a game-changer, especially with the analogue modelled preamps and compressors.”
The church is using DiGiCo D-Racks and Little Blue Boxes to interface with both consoles. The SD9 has control of the preamps and outputs, and the team uses Gain Tracking on the Q338, which is equipped with a DMI-Dante card, to output to the LV1. VOUS also has a DMI-ADC card in an Orange Box located by the monitor console, enabling them to send 16 additional outputs to the stage from the Q338, while two DiGiGrid MGB units provide fully redundant multi-track recording.
Wygant shares that the Quantum338 learning curve for their team was “really short. Having personally mixed on many SD-Range consoles, going from one DiGiCo to another is so easy since the worksurface layout essentially remains the same. Plus, 3G, who has been our main pro audio vendor from the start, always provides exceptional system design and installation assistance as well as training and support, bringing us up to speed super-fast. They’ve been fantastic to work with.”
And as for DiGiCo’s newest console, Wygant couldn’t be happier: “Our entire team is in agreement that this desk is as smooth as butter. We have a blast collaborating on improving our layout and making new macros, and we’re really loving the flexibility and sound quality it provides. Running services and streams on the Q338 feels almost effortless and mixing on it each week is such a thrill. We are truly blessed.”
13th November 2020
Paragon 360 Transforms Space in Older Church with Chauvet Professional
USA – Whitesburg Baptist was at a crossroads last year. Leaders at the 7,000-member church knew that they had to modernise their worship space to create a more engaging environment, one that would support their three different Sunday services while also being more camera friendly for livestreams and broadcasts.
The question they faced was how? Ideas ranged from constructing an entirely new building, to undertaking smaller piecemeal changes. None felt quite right until they met with the team from Paragon 360 who showed them how they could completely transform their existing space without making the investment of time and money in a new facility.
This summer, Whitesburg Baptist unveiled the result of its collaboration with Paragon 360: a contemporary and beautifully balanced worship centre that makes all feel welcomed, whether they’re watching online or participating in a social distant live service.
Paragon 360 followed a carefully planned multi-step approach to achieve this transformation. The company’s team redesigned the stage area for functionality and aesthetics using its custom staging, scenic and architectural elements.
To improve the listening experience, acoustics throughout the room were enhanced and new audio gear was integrated into the church’s existing system. Video walls were added, and lighting was made more immersive, as well as more camera friendly, through the addition of 43 Ovation E-260WW LED ellipsoidal fixtures.
Fitted out with 14, 19, 26 and 36-degree lens tubes, the Ovation units are used for front lighting. The 260 Watt warm white LED fixtures are positioned on the FOH-1 truss, FOH-2 truss, house left truss, house right truss and STG-1 truss.
“The Ovation fixtures have a great colour temperature that not only looks good on video but also in person,” said Richard Heaton of Paragon 360. “The natural-looking colour allows the observer to feel welcome in the room, as much as welcome in the moment, which is very important in making the transition between ‘observing the moment’, and ‘being in the moment'.”
“This church’s services are broadcast, and streaming is an important part of its ministry goals,” continued Heaton. “We believe the Ovation products look great on camera, but we choose them mostly because of the reliability more than anything else.
In addition to these ellipsoidals, the church’s lighting rig features 24 Rogue R2X Washes. Positioned on STG-1 Truss and STG-2 Truss, 18 of the RGBW moving LED fixtures are relied up to provide colourful backlighting for the entire stage, including the pulpit, orchestra section and choir area.
The remaining six R2X Wash units are on the downstage edge of the stage. “These fixtures are used in a variety of ways,” said Heaton. “They can be tightened and thrown over the audience as beams during contemporary moments, but most often they’re used here as 'simple' eye candy, not ‘winky blinky.’ They’re also used for light texturing on the orchestra, praise band, and praise singers. They create more dramatic and interesting angles.”
Engaging looks from the new lighting system, along with all the other changes Paragon 360 made as part of the sweeping remodelling project, have given Whitesburg Baptist’s leaders the transformational change they were looking for, while allowing them to remain in the church they’ve called home for decades.
12th November 2020
The Answers Center at the Ark Encounter Gets Inspired with Chroma-Q
USA – In 2016, Answers in Genesis launched a multi-year project to bring the biblical account of Noah’s Ark to reality in the rolling hills of Williamstown, Kentucky, south of Cincinnati. The Ark Encounter features a 510-foot-long replica of Noah’s Ark with three decks of museum exhibits, videos and interactive displays which teach visitors the lessons of Noah and the Ark. Within the theme park grounds is the Answers Center, a multi-purpose venue that serves as a welcoming centre, gathering place, and auditorium. The 2,500 seat space hosts daily lectures, concerts, video presentations, and large national conferences.
In early 2017, Kurt Schnabel, systems design engineer at Clearwing Systems Integration, began working with AiG to develop control systems and specify products to make the Answers Center a technical marvel with state-of-the-art equipment in lighting, audio, and video. He worked with Doug Nelson, the A/V manager for both the Ark Encounter and its sister attraction, the Creation Museum. Nelson declared: “With the desire to make the 2,500-seat Answers Center an exciting and flexible venue for hosting many types of live events, the choice to go with bright, full-colour changing, individually addressed house lights was very important to us.”
Schnabel added: “With the vast number of different types of events that can be held in the Center, there needed to be flexibility in products as well as feature ranges that give the venue a wide variety of options.”
Nelson noted: “Outside production teams that utilise our facility consistently rave about the auditorium, especially when they see what can be done with the ‘atmosphere’ of the room by the added house lighting effects.”
When it came to house lights, Schnabel could only think of one product that would tick every box in the requirements list for the Answers Center: The Inspire XT series of house lights from Chroma-Q. Some of the key features that the Answers Center was requiring were colour mixing house lights with a higher color rendering. The Inspire XT™ series filled each item and more. “The RGBW colour mixing offers the Center a massive colour range, from soft pastels to bold and super-saturated colours,” explained Schnabel.
One of the aims of any large venue is to bring the experience on the stage out to the entire audience. The Answers Center’s A/V team wanted to use the house lighting to extend the mood and feeling on the 100’ wide stage and 22’ high video wall to every person seated in the centre. To accomplish this, they used 183 Inspire XT™ fixtures hung roughly 30’ in the air to provide ample illumination at floor level. “The house lights are tied into the stage lighting in order to bring the experience on the stage out to the entire audience. The large quantity of fixtures not only can immerse the audience in colour but can even provide a low-resolution video experience over the attendees,” noted Schnabel.
“In the event of a power failure, the Inspire line of House Lights has a built-in feature which allows selected fixtures to go to an emergency look when backup power is present. With the UL 924 listing and the amazing output of the Inspire XT, only 20 units in the entire space were needed to be connected to the emergency transfer system,” added Schnabel.
“We at Clearwing have been working with A.C. Lighting Inc. for years and on a number of projects,” stated Schnabel. “On the Answers Center, we were able to hand off the drawings and illumination requirements to Keith Lewandowski at A.C. Lighting Inc. He and his team recommended placement, type, and the number of fixtures needed to fulfil the Center’s requirements.” He further noted: “Keith and A.C. Lighting have always been upfront and on time with deliveries. On large installations like the Answers Center, it is refreshing to know that we have a partner that understands both our installation requirements and the customer’s aesthetic and functional needs.”
Nelson added: “Since the completion of the Answers Center, we have also installed the Inspire Mini fixtures in our new planetarium inside the Creation Museum and are planning to install them in the lobby of our Virtual Reality Experience located at the Ark Encounter.”
11th November 2020
L-ISA Immersive Hyperreal Sound in the round at Salzburg’s OVAL
Austria – In 2005, the OVAL, designed by lauded Roman architect Massimiliano Fuksas, opened its doors at the EUROPARK shopping mall in Salzburg, Austria. The 227-seat cultural showcase stages unique shows ranging from music, drama, cabaret, cinema and more, and has earned a firm place in Salzburg's already rich calendar of events. Under the direction of EUROPARK Managing Director Christoph Andexlinger, the OVAL has added another attraction to its offering since July 2020: L-ISA Immersive Hyperreal Sound technology from L-Acoustics.
Right from the start, the room’s extraordinary architecture, which features a steep atrium grandstand and a 13 metre wide stage that is only 15 metres from the control room, posed significant challenges to conventional L-C-R sound reinforcement systems. "Thanks to L-ISA, not only was the conventional technology replaced, but a completely new, immersive listening experience was created at every seat," explains Rupert Pichler, managing director of Pansound and project manager for the L-ISA conversion in the OVAL.
The sound design by Martin Rode, head of application install D-A-CH, comprises a Scene system with five arrays of three A10 Wide, evenly hung above the stage and across its entire width, along with two sets of three KS21 subwoofers each, flown horizontally behind the Scene system and configured in an end-fire cardioid array. Five 5XT placed in front of the stage serve as frontfill. Three coaxial X8 per side are placed along the walls, with a further two X8 on the rear wall, and five ceiling-mounted 5XT create surround and overhead sound. The entire system is driven by LA4X amplified controllers.
Signal Sound & Light Distribution, L-Acoustics certified provided distributor for Austria, provided the OVAL system.
Even before the final choice of L-ISA was made, the project team played with the idea of immersive sound reinforcement. "The central requirement was, and is, the optimisation of the listening experience," says Rupert Pichler.
Pichler and Andexlinger first heard the L-ISA immersive sound technology at a demonstration in the L-Acoustics Creations headquarters in Highgate, London. Their decision to opt for L-ISA was based on the flexibility of the technology as well as the audio quality of L-Acoustics systems. “When Rupert Pichler told me about this completely new kind of sound, I didn’t think that it was possible,” explains Andexlinger. “So we went to London to get to the bottom of this auditive 'mystery' and experience it live. It was breathtaking. Never before had I heard music from loudspeakers in such a clear way.”
"The EUROPARK shopping centre is considered the most successful mall in Austria. With the OVAL, we wanted to expand the offer for our visitors to encompass both art and culture. Initially, we were met with scepticism from artists and artist agencies," says Andexlinger. "However, we didn't want an artistic fig leaf in a shopping centre, but a stage with its own personality for jazz and world music on the one hand, and a programme of cinema and cabaret on the other, and all this in a combination that makes it possible for both art lovers and newcomers to feel comfortable and be inspired.”
“L-ISA is outstanding,” concludes Pichler. “You hear what you see, and you hear it at every seat in the room. L-ISA technology has brought a completely new listening quality to the OVAL."