Project News Headlines
Theatre Projects Celebrates the Opening of The Lennox Suite at Edinburgh International Conference Centre
The Lennox Suite, an extension to the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC), celebrated a star-studded grand opening on 2nd May 2013, unveiling incredibly flexible staging solutions designed and specified by Theatre Projects in collaboration with The Right Solution and architects BDP.
Built in the heart of Edinburgh's West End and surrounded by some of Scotland's most prestigious financial institutions, space for this events space was at a premium. Added to this challenge, the design team were required to make the new space fully integrated with the EICC’s existing facilities. This required a much greater level of coordination and communication with the rest of the design team than usual, but this suited Theatre Projects' collaborative style perfectly.
What makes The Lennox Suite so unique is its fully automated moving floor. Theatre Projects designed an innovative engineering solution for the floor system, which easily transforms the room from a flat floor events space to a tiered auditorium. Tom Davis, project leader for Theatre Projects, explains: “The Lennox Suite can be used in a variety of seating and staging configurations, and can also be split into two or three smaller spaces. Primarily intended as a complimentary multi-purpose hall to the EICC's existing conference venues, this space can transform the room from a 1,600m2 flat floor exhibition space, to a 2,000-seat auditorium, a 1,400-seat arena, a banqueting suite for 1,400 guests, or almost anything else that takes your imagination.”
There’s also a tensioned wire grid that spans the entire space, allowing technicians to reconfigure the lighting and sound systems (designed and specified by Theatre Projects) while the floor lifts are in simultaneous use below. This gives the EICC an operational edge by greatly reducing the down-time between events, while also avoiding many of the dangers of working at height.
The Lennox Suite leads the way in flexible events space design, and its tension wire grid and moving floor are among the largest and most ambitious of their types in the world.
Theatre Projects team:
Project leader: Tom Davis
Stage engineering designer: Tom Lamming
Lighting and sound equipment designer: Mark Ryan
Specialist sub-contractors for theatre systems: Delstar (stage engineering), Northern Light (production lighting and sound)
21st May 2013
DiGiCo’s Tatabánya Trio
For the past two years, the Hungarian government has been funding a special project to bring regional theatres up to date and into greater community use. The town of Tatabánya has been one beneficiary, where three DiGiCo SD9 consoles have ensured that further capital investment will not be needed for many years.
Titled Agora, the project aims to modernise the venues and help them to stage a greater range of multicultural events. In Tatabánya it has included a complete technical refit of the town’s theatre, which has featured three new DiGiCo SD9 consoles: two for the venue and a third as part of a mobile audio system which can be used at events in different locations throughout the area.
Supplied by Budapest-based Chromasound, the SD9 was chosen thanks to its perfect mix of channels, outputs and onboard processing for the events that Tatabánya stages, plus the regular software updates issued by DiGiCo, which ensure a large degree of future-proofing.
“This is a one-off project and, as there will be no chance within the next ten years to get further investment, the very best of today’s technology was needed,” says Chromasound’s Imre Makkay. “DiGiCo continuously upgrades its consoles with many new features, which is the kind of future-proofing that was essential to Tatabánya.
“We also know that the sound quality is the same on every DiGiCo product, so whichever console was chosen, we knew we would be supplying the best equipment.”
The theatre mainly hosts plays, with the audio system predominantly used for speech. But musical events are also staged, ranging from jazz trios, through world music to rock, for all of which the consoles needed to be versatile enough to handle equally well.
“Some of the local engineers already knew DiGiCo consoles, but after just one day of training even those who had no previous experience were fine,” Imre continues. “We stood behind the beginners on the first shows, but to be honest we had nothing to do. The guys were instantly happy thanks to how intuitive the SD9 is to mix on and the clear overview of its control surface. The shows went really smoothly from the start.
“The theatre directors and technicians are all really happy with the consoles. Having three of the same type has made things easier, so it doesn’t matter if they are working in the theatre or on the mobile system.
“For a company like Chromasound it is pretty rare that we have the opportunity to supply three high class digital consoles like the DiGiCo SD9, so it is an achievement we are very proud of!”
21st May 2013
ETC Source Four HID for Lisbon’s Museum of Electricity
ETC has proved that Source Four fixtures aren’t just for theatres – by supplying Source Four HID luminaires to the Museu da Eletricidade (Museum of Electricity) in Lisbon.
“We first worked with the museum’s managers about two years ago,” says Vitor Paiva, commercial director at ETC dealer Luzeiro, “when they bought tungsten ETC Source Four luminaires. They were impressed, and asked to look at other models in the Source Four range. Key to their specification was that they need low maintenance and high light output.”
So at the end of last year, the museum supplemented its exhibition lighting with 24 ETC Source Four HID fixtures, which were immediately put to use on a display by Portuguese painter Vitor Pomar. These were deemed such a success that the managers ordered a further 34 to light the World Press Photo exhibition, which runs throughout May.
“The lighting was the subject of great acclaim,” says Paiva, “both on the part of the international organisers, and of the television companies who visited and interviewed photographers under the Source Four lights.”
“The Source Four HID has a long life lamp and produces less heat per lumen output than tungsten luminaires – plus, in taking advantage of the optics which made the Source Four renowned, a 150W HID Source Four fixture provides an output close to that of its 575W tungsten counterpart.
The ETC Source Four HID fixtures which Luzeiro supplied are perfect for delivering a precisely focused beam of light, perfectly showing off the spectacular photography. The exhibition, which travels to 45 countries over the course of a year, is a display of the best photos that have appeared in print in the past year, and follows an awards ceremony in Amsterdam.
In picture: ETC Source Four HID luminaires in use at the Museum of Electricity in Lisbon, photo: Luzeiro.
21st May 2013
Robe LEDWash 600 for the Skövde Stadsteater
Robe ROBIN LEDWash series fixtures continue to prove a popular choice for theatre installations in Sweden.
The 503 seat Skövde Stadsteater is another venue that has invested in LEDWashes, taking delivery of eight ROBIN 600 LEDWashes that were supplied by Swedish distributor Bellalite via locally based rental company, Sound Star.
The decision to purchase the latest fixtures for the theatre – an integral part of the first purpose built Cultural Centre (Kulturhus) in Sweden in 1964 – was made by head of lighting Fredrik Ekström. He sought an LED moving light and looked at the various options.
He specifically wanted one with a bright output, a smooth homogenised light source, silent running and a good zoom range. The LEDWash 600 ticked all the right boxes and he describes them as, the “perfect” fixtures for the venue. He also remarks that the variety of ‘real’ whites that can be produced by the LEDWash 600s was important.
Skövde Stadsteater hosts a wide variety of shows including lots of live music and concerts, together with comedy and drama. During peak times, they are staging at least five shows a week and host 30 plus major productions per year.
Prior to the LEDWash 600s, the venue has had Robe ColorWash 250E ATs installed for the last five years which have run constantly and needed little maintenance, so they knew first-hand that Robe was a reliable option.
While Ekström is away working as head of lighting / stage manager on the current tour of Cirkus Cirkor, his place at Skövde Stadsteater has been taken up by Simon Carnell who has been using Robe products for around ten years, initially in a nightclub in Bournemouth, UK.
Carnell studied lighting design at the University of Glamorgan – a course which has an excellent working relationship with Robe UK – graduating in 2010. Before moving to Sweden, he also freelanced at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff, Wales, another busy venue which has some Robe moving lights. Additionally, he has used Robe moving lights on numerous tours.
The first of Robe’s hugely successful LEDWash series fixtures came to market just as he was leaving University, so he’s very pleased to be working with these now in Sweden. “I have always found Robe products to be good, reliable and affordable,” he comments.
He finds the speed of the LEDWash 600s ideal for lighting dance shows, where rapid repositioning is a must. The last one of these he lit at Skövde Stadsteater involved 32 scenes that segued straight into one another with no pauses, so the LEDWash's speed was a great asset and the units received a good workout. He adds that the colour palette is also great for matching with the ColorWash 250E ATs.
Skövde Stadsteater is one of many Swedish theatre venues to invest in Robe in the last year; others include Stora Teatern in Göteborg and Södra Teatern in Stockholm.
21st May 2013
Nairobi Baptist Church Go iLive with Allen & Heath
Nairobi Baptist Church recently upgraded their existing analogue mixer to an Allen & Heath iLive digital mixing system, supplied by Kenyan company, Sound Creations.
Founded in 1958, the Church required a more sophisticated console with improved sound quality. Sound Creations, the distributor for Allen & Heath in Kenya, suggested an iDR-48 MixRack with iLive-T112 surface.
“We were confident the Allen & Heath iLive-T112 would be the ideal mixer for Nairobi Baptist church and would meet their specific needs,” said Nipul Shah, owner of Sound Creations.
Tim Pollard, managing director for A&H regional distributor, PAXT, said: “It is always a pleasure to receive successful stories from our customers and this installation by Sound Creations is the perfect example – great work.”
20th May 2013
EM Acoustics Takes Top Billing at The Atkinson
Recently re-opened after a three-year, £17M redevelopment programme, The Atkinson is Sefton Council’s flagship arts and cultural venue. Housed in a grade II listed building in the heart of Southport, The Atkinson integrates four arts and cultural venues – the Southport Arts Centre, the Atkinson Art Gallery, the Botanic Gardens Museum and the Southport Library – into one single, regional cultural centre.
Renowned London-based theatre specialist, Theatreplan, was called in as the theatre consultant to oversee the redevelopment of the two auditoria housed in The Atkinson. Theatreplan had no hesitation in specifying EM Acoustics loudspeakers throughout both venues, all of which were installed by Oxford Sound and Media, along with the rest of the loose audio equipment.
The main performance venue, the Atkinson Theatre, is a traditional proscenium arch theatre with a capacity of 440, and also houses a state-of-the-art cinema screen. The second venue called the Studio is designed to be a more flexible performance space.
Featuring a large permanent stage, an open floor and balcony seating, the Studio is ideal for music and children’s theatre. It can seat up to 300 or as few as 60 for more intimate events. Theatreplan’s Mathew Smethurst-Evans explained that they were keen to keep the equipment similar across the two venues to keep the users experience as straightforward as possible. “It was clear that the spaces are going to be used by a huge range of performers with widely differing skill levels, so the equipment needs to be easy to use whilst delivering high quality sound throughout the complex.”
For the Atkinson Theatre, Smethurst-Evans opted for a combination of EM Acoustics flagship two-way point source MSE-159 and MSE-156 full range passive loudspeakers for the proscenium arch and L/R sidefill supplemented by five i-2 passive front fill speakers. A pair of flown EMS-118 subs provide low frequency reinforcement and pair of ultra-compact EMS-51s are on fill duty for the Minstrels Gallery. On stage monitoring requirements are handled by six EM Acoustics dedicated M-12 stage monitors.
The Studio relies exclusively on MSE-156s throughout (six in total) with low-end reinforcement coming from two groundstacked EMS-118 subs plus six M-12 stage monitors. All amplification is provided with EM Acoustics amplifiers.
“We chose EM Acoustics products because we have been extremely impressed with them on recent projects,” stated Smethurst-Evans. “Simply put, we believe that there is little to compete with them at this price point. Thanks to their passive crossover design, EM loudspeakers are truly “plug-and-play”. The fact that users don’t have to worry about managing controller or amplifier presets immediately puts them at ease, and the sound quality is excellent. From the installer’s point of view, once the system is commissioned, they almost never have to go back because the products are robust and reliable. There is very little for the end user to do other than switch the system on and off! For this kind of project, EM Acoustics has proved time and again to be an ideal solution for all concerned.”
20th May 2013
Not Just an Iluzjon for Eclipse in Warsaw
The Iluzjon cinema in Warsaw, Poland, has been home to the Polish National Film Archive since the mid-50s, and is also Warsaw’s main art-house cinema. The venue, which had remained in its original state until just two years ago, has recently undergone a massive renovation. At the heart of the audio system, which was designed by audio consultant and system designer, Wojciech Zielinski from pro audio specialists, Dysten, is an Innovason Eclipse GT running a fully networked Fohhn Audio PA system.
One of the peculiarities, and indeed part of the charm of Iluzjon, is that, thanks to its National Film Archive heritage, it often screens silent movies accompanied by live music. The sound system therefore, unlike a typical cinema system, also had to be able to cater for live music as well as playback. It was these slightly unusual requirements that led Zielinski to specify an Innovason Eclipse digital mixing system combined with Fohhn Audio PA equipment in order to give the sound engineer maximum flexibility, freedom and ease of use.
The console workstation has been designed as a mobile unit so that it can be located either in a traditional FoH position in the main auditorium or in a separate control room. Dysten built a custom lightweight, height-adjustable metal stand for the console which greatly facilitates transport and provides a comfortable working position for the engineer. The Eclipse retains full control of the network and audio distribution to both the cinema and the projection room from either location.
The heart of the audio installation is the server room located in the basement which houses the 42U rack containing the Diocore stagebox for the Eclipse, the active splitters for the Sennheiser IEM transmitters and wireless receivers, fibre, network, ES/MADI converters, Fohhn Net LAN interface and Fohhn DSP power amps. All the connections needed for FoH world are located in a wall box in the control room and a floor box in the main auditorium for complete flexibility and mobility of the FoH unit.
According to Zielinski, nothing has been overlooked. “We have thought of and anticipated every detail,” he observed. “In spite of the renovation, we still had numerous constraints to deal with, so every element of the system had to be carefully thought out for maximum efficiency. There was no room for the superfluous in this installation. The result is a great-sounding system that offers maximum flexibility to the user, enabling the venue to adapt the system quickly and easily to the different requirements of each screening. I am very proud of this system!”
20th May 2013
DPA Microphones Helps UEFA Deliver the Roar of the Crowd
As every football fan knows, the roar of the crowd at a major game is just as important as the action on the pitch when it comes to truly experiencing the excitement of the event. With this in mind, outside broadcast specialist United chose DPA Microphones’ 5100 Mobile Surround Microphone to capture the ambience of the Amsterdam Arena when SL Benfica played Chelsea in the 2013 UEFA Europa League Final.
Huub Lelieveld, senior sound supervisor for United Outside Broadcast and Studios, says: “UEFA was adamant that the broadcast quality had to be top class as this was a huge 35 camera production that was going out to broadcasters all over the world. We wanted to make sure the audio quality would be as high as possible and that we captured the ambience of the stadium in phase coherent surround so that it sounded huge in surround, but also still sounded great in stereo and even mono.”
Widely regarded as a surround ambience adder, DPA’s 5100 Mobile Surround Microphone was perfect for the task because its compact size and ease of use comes at no sacrifice to stunning sound quality. Ideal for bringing truly engaging surround ambience to sport events, documentaries and other ambience applications, especially for HDTV production, these microphones require no external signal processing and are versatile enough to be mounted on a camera or microphone stand, suspended, or simply handheld via a hand grip.
Lelieveld, in conjunction with his colleague Mischa Kortleve, tested the DPA 5100 microphone during one of the UEFA preliminary rounds in the Amsterdam Arena to ensure they were the right choice for the important Cup Final event on May 15th. The microphone was supplied by DPA’s Dutch distributor Amptec.
“We recorded all our microphones to multitrack and decided, after extensive listening tests, that the 5100 was perfect for the Cup Final,” he says. “The DPA 5100 was rigged in the catwalk of the stadium where it was able to capture the whole arena in surround. We complemented this system with four DPA 4006A Omni Microphones, which were hung from the catwalk in each of the four corners of the stadium, and we also used two DPA 4017B Shotgun Microphones positioned on our two Steadicams as these were smaller and lighter than the microphones we usually use.”
Based in Hilversum, Holland, United is part of the huge Euro Media Group that has production and post-production facilities in Belgium, France, England, Germany, Italy and Switzerland. United operates nine state-of-the-art outside broadcast vehicles and mobile control rooms and provides broadcast facilities to capture major sporting events and live music concerts all over Europe.
“We were really delighted with the performance of all of our DPA microphones, but in particular the 5100 Mobile Surround Microphone, which sounded fantastic,” Lelieveld says. “It was incredibly easy to rig and protect from bad weather and was significantly less expensive than other microphone systems. Thanks to the DPA 5100 Mobile Surround Microphone, we achieved a rich, smooth and fully enveloping sound that was great in its coherence, channel separation and localization accuracy.”
For the UEFA Europa League Final, United provided the live broadcast feed to Infostrada Sports, which distributed it around the world. And for anyone who didn’t see the game, the final score was 2-1 to Chelsea.
17th May 2013
AC-ET Supply SGM LT-100s to Static Light Company for Magnificent 3D LED Chandelier Display
A.C. Entertainment Technologies (AC-ET) Ltd. recently supplied 162 SGM LT-100 3D graphic LED tubes and a Green Hippo HippoCritter media server to lighting solution business, Static Light Company (SLC) for a magnificent interactive chandelier installation at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) event held in Barcelona, Spain.
Servicing clients in the motor trade show, exhibition and event industries, SLC design, manufacture, supply and install innovative lighting solutions for many clients around the world.
Appointed by brand experience agency Jack Morton Worldwide, SLC were asked to create an “almost walk-through interactive installation” for their client, Ooredoo’s stand at the high-profile mobile technology tradeshow event, MWC.
Researching the viability of products in the marketplace, SLC’s Andy Mama began searching for a product that had a convincing 360 degree viewable angle and that would allow for colour changing and pixel mapping effects. For this, Andy found SGM’s modular, lightweight LT-100 LED graphic tubes to be the perfect solution.
Distributed by AC-ET in the UK and Ireland to the rental and architectural lighting sectors, Andy came to the company looking to fulfil several requirements for his project. With four specialist product sales divisions, access to over 200 leading brands and in-house manufacturing services; AC-ET was able to provide SLC with the large order of 162 SGM LT-100 fixtures, 27 SGM TLD-612 drivers, a Green Hippo HippoCritter media server and hundreds of metres of cable quickly, efficiently and within budget.
Working closely with lighting designer, Ross Corbett, the circular decorative chandelier feature was constructed from 162 LT-100 LED tubes, which were suspended at varying heights from a 3m box truss. The box truss was also used to carry and conceal all the power supplies and cables, which allowed for the tubes to be raised and lowered independently of the main truss, however “It turned out that this was hardly necessary, as the SGM LT-100 and cabling performed exceptionally reliably; it went up and stayed up – solid as a rock,” Andy explains.
Comprising of a series of one metre long pixel sticks loaded with RGB LEDs – each of the LT-100's pixels can be addressed individually via DMX to create stunning 3D lighting effects.
Using the Green Hippo HippoCritter media server supplied by AC-ET, low-resolution video content was pixel mapped to the LT-100 tubes, creating dazzling colour changing effects and movements.
Andy comments: “The reactions from spectators was thrilling … this was a really fun project which allowed us to introduce a technology rarely seen in a corporate trade show environment.”
Concluding, Andy explains: “The service and support from AC-ET has been invaluable… the efficiency and speed of the supply was critical to the success of the project.”
17th May 2013
ArcSystem Lifts Light Levels in Historic Hall
GDS ArcSystem was speedily and sensitively installed in the elegant, Victorian, St George’s Hall, Bradford.
Opened by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1853, The St George's Hall in Bradford holds a special place in the theatrical history of West Yorkshire. Charles Dickens gave the first ever reading of Bleak House at the hall in 1854, Harry Houdini performed for “positively one week only” in 1905 and the Halle Orchestra have been regular visitors since 1865. Throughout its century and a half of history, the venue has hosted a remarkable array of events. From hosting stage plays to political rallies – Churchill was once interrupted there by suffragettes during a speech – to being a cinema and a home for rock concerts, comedians and public meetings, this magnificent building continues to stand the test of time. St George's Hall has twice been significantly damaged by fire and was briefly closed in 2003 following the discovery of small cracks in the ceiling. A Grade II listed building of significant historical interest, the facility is administered by Bradford Metropolitan District Council under the scrutiny of English Heritage.
GDS UK dealer Northern Light was commissioned by the Council to install a new house lighting system into the hall, where such lighting levels were deemed unacceptable. The system was required to dramatically improve the lighting levels in a Victorian building, whilst meeting the need for efficiency and sustainability expected in a 21st century facility. The historical integrity of the building would be of paramount importance at every stage and there would be no facility to make any structural or cosmetic alterations. GDS was invited to supply ArcSystem, with its range of LED, fully dimmable auditorium lighting fixtures, controlled by the wireless ArcMesh protocol following a successful demonstration by Northern Light.
The restrictions presented by the historic nature of the building were readily overcome by the employment of ArcSystem. Since the system utilises the existing infrastructure, the solving of obstructive and time-consuming problems is obviated. In this case, for example, the roof void was extremely limited – a potential headache especially in the heritage context – but of little consequence to ArcSystem. In fact the roof-space provided a convenient housing for the system'sTX1 transmitter and remained otherwise untouched. Northern Light installed 112 ArcSystem Pro 1 Cell 3000k 37 degree fittings, each complete with the standard D1 driver for dimming. The fittings were mounted flush into the historic ceiling with an adapter plate utilising the existing holes.
The benefits of ArcSystem were further enhanced by the time scale of the installation, which took Northern Light only three days to complete. The positive economic implications of such a brief shut-down are obvious in terms of the hall's programme of events, which could be said to have been only minimally affected. As well as the practical and economic advantages of the system, its sustainability was underlined in this project not just by its low-energy characteristics but by the fact that the system was commissioned from GDS HQ in Bristol. This was achieved by dialling in and remotely accessing the system, saving time, money and the carbon footprint associated with the traditional, now unnecessary, need to travel to the site. Further emphasising the system's sustainability credentials, the end-users were trained in the operation of the system via a GDS web portal, again, maximising technology to reduce environmental impact.
Northern Light's Keith Mitchell observed that: "Aside from any other consideration, the principal task at hand was to ensure that we significantly improved the light levels in the building and ArcSystem provided us with brightness to spare. The demands placed on installers working in listed heritage sites can be very challenging and this system is ideal in the face of such constraints..."
Chris Barlow, technical electrics manager for Bradford Theatres was very enthusiastic about the outcome of the installation: "It isn't simply that the levels of lighting in the hall have been increased – although they certainly have – but more that the quality of lighting has added a warmth to the building that we have never had before. The tangible enhancement that ArcSystem has provided would prompt me to recommend it without hesitation in any similar situation. Factor in the speed and straightforward nature of the install and one would have to say that the system is a winner in every respect."
In the light of ArcSystem's presence in an increasing number of historically significant and listed buildings, it is clearly establishing a reputation as a universal, flexible, cost effective and sustainable choice for architects, consultants and installers alike.
16th May 2013
An Old Lighthouse on Lake Garda is Restored Thanks to Clay Paky
The Spiaggia degli Olivi lighthouse, a historic monument on Lake Garda and the symbol of the town of Riva, was turned off about 40 years ago.
The diving board tower, on top of which the historic lake lighthouse was installed, is found at the end of the pier. Thanks to restoration work in the area, commissioned by Lido di Riva, the lighthouse started sweeping the Trento waters of the lake once again with its beam in October 2012. The surprise is that, instead of the complicated original 24 volt mechanism, there is a brand new Clay Paky Sharpy inside the lantern room, which is not only able to reproduce the brightness of the old lighthouse, but also its perfect movement!
Giacomo Galassi of Iiriti Noleggi explained that: "Owing to the originality of the installation, Clay Paky was extremely helpful and let us try the light out for over a month so that we could test it in actual use. We also programmed it, after it was installed by Albano Miori's AGS. In the end the customer was very satisfied with the new light, owing to its luminous efficiency, low energy consumption and ease of maintenance thanks to the lamp (only 189W)".
The Sharpy was programmed to reproduce the same timing and exact coverage of the original lighthouse, and obviously uses a full white beam. Incredibly, however, it was necessary to dim the light to lower the power since the full beam disturbed people over 25km away! A special resolution was passed by the Provincial Government to limit the light cone so that it only covers the lake between Punta Lido and the former Grotta Azzurra, in order not to dazzle residential buildings and vehicles on their way to Riva on the Lake Garda trunk road.
So, thanks to Clay Paky, Riva del Garda has regained a piece of its past and history, not to mention a tourist attraction, through this flexible and powerful innovation.
16th May 2013
Unusual Rigging for David Bowie is… at the V&A
Unusual Rigging has provided a comprehensive and imaginative rigging solution for the lighting, sound, AV and scenic elements of the spectacular David Bowie is… exhibition at London’s V&A museum.
Over 300 objects have been brought together for the first time by the V&A’s Theatre and Performance curators, Victoria Broackes and Geoffrey Marsh, and arranged across two exhibition galleries. Exhibits include many of Bowie’s original costumes, music videos, excerpts from films and live performances and set designs.
Unusual Rigging’s brief from the exhibition designers, 59 Productions and Real Studios, along with lighting designers DHA Designs, included some very subtle rigging requirements for the many flown scenic elements and projection surfaces, scrims, screens and aerial booths involved.
One major exhibit required Unusual to facilitate approximately 100 books swarming in formation around an Aladdin Sane clad mannequin as if ‘conducting’ them in a cloud of inspiration. A series of suspended projection boxes appear to erupt from the scene around it, onto which are projected further subjects to influence Bowie, including footage of Buñuel and Dali’s Le Chien Andalou and stills of people as diverse as Marc Bolan, Aleister Crowley, Buster Keaton and Katheryn Hepburn.
“Our brief was to suspend the books and projection boxes as unobtrusively as possible,” says Unusual technical director, Robin Elias. “The books are by authors and beat poets such as Ballard, Warhol and Kerouac and represent those that Bowie carried with him for inspiration while on tour.” Each book had to be suspended opened out and with the front and back covers clearly readable by the visitors below. Elias continues: “We designed a series of thin wires and acrylic mounts, creating a generic solution to fine tune the position of every book. Aside from that we were given complete artistic licence so I can truthfully say I am exhibiting at the V&A as the rigging is all my own work!”
Turnaround time for the installation was very brief, with only four days for Unusual to dismantle the rigging from the previous Hollywood Costume exhibition and install the Bowie infrastructure. “Because time was so short, I designed a grid that we could rig early on in the set and which would enable us to rig the books at a later stage,” says Elias.
Phil Wooderson of specialist fit-out contractor, The Hub, said: “It was an absolutely pleasure to work with Unusual Rigging on this project. We have worked with Unusual on many projects including the Hollywood Costume exhibition. We can always rely on them to come up with an ingenious solution to any challenge and the end result is spectacular.”
16th May 2013
Clay Paky’s Compact Luminaires are a Bright Match for Singapore’s Star Gallery
Singapore’s technologically advanced new Star Performing Arts Centre has invested in Clay Paky’s Alpha Spot HPE 700 and Alpha Wash 700 fixtures to provide a bright solution for its 770-seater Star Gallery multi-purpose hall.
The venue’s technical director Daniel Loh specified 16 of each Alpha Spot HPE 700 and Alpha Wash 700s as an optional upgrade to the standard lighting package in the theatre, choosing them due to their compact, lightweight build and quiet operation.
"In addition to the Alpha Wash 700s and Alpha Spot HPE 700s’ relatively small dimensions, we needed fixtures that offered good colour rendition and really packed a punch in terms of light output," says Loh. "The 32 Clay Paky fixtures will serve as floating stock that can be used in various venues in our facility, and the two Alpha ranges facilitate this due to their small scale size but powerful output."
The Clay Paky fixtures were supplied by Selangor, Malaysia-based Acoustic & Lighting System Pte Ltd.
"The revamped Clay Paky Alpha Series (300/700/1500) and of course Sharpy have been an instant hit in our market," says Eugene Yeo, Business Development Manager at Acoustic & Lighting System Pte Ltd. "As now more users has noticed the advantage of investing in better quality lights, we believe that Clay Paky will continue to grow in future.
"The 700 series are favourites due to their relatively silent operation, which is useful for TV and theatre, and its quick pan/tilt movement is also great for rock and roll shows. Due to its size and brightness, many people opt for this fixture over 1200W moving heads especially in Singapore, where most of the places are more towards medium size venue and storage of lights are a major issue - the Alpha 700 series fits perfectly for their usage. Clay Paky has managed to establish itself to be the new industry standard of 700W which is something we are very proud of."
The Alpha Spot HPE 700 is the smallest 700W spotlight available, weighting just 22 kilos. The 700W lamp provides a level of brightness equal, if not greater, than that seen with higher wattages. Similarly, the Alpha Wash 700 is an extraordinarily compact lightweight 700W washlight, with the luminous efficiency, graphic and optical performance of a higher category fixture and is extremely silent and fast.
14th May 2013
ETC brings stunning LED lighting to French TV studios
LED lighting solutions are taking over TV studios. And the increase in popularity of ETC LED products across France can be attributed to the meeting of two men: director of photography Jacques Audrain, and Jean Louis Pernette, commercial director at ETC distributor Avab.
Pernette says: “Jacques was in charge of the lighting of a documentary for the Arte TV channel. He showed a lot of interest in the LED fixtures which we were demonstrating; he could see the fixtures’ potential, and saw that they had a much better output than their regular RGB counterparts.”
As a man who professes himself artistically committed to improving the lighting in TV studios, Audrain is among those who believed in LED from its early days in entertainment technology; his faith in the technology was confirmed with the launch of ETC Selador, and its seven colour mixing system.
“From an artistic point of view,” says Audrain, “the richness of the mix of seven colours frees us from gels, guaranteeing we can work at colour temperatures anywhere between 2700 and 6000°K. Those lighting solutions have allowed us to have some interesting colours for shows such as La Musicale or L’album de la semaine (The Album of the Week) (on the Canal+ channel).
“We are also able to reduce our energy requirements when filming on location – making everything quicker, easier and cheaper. On the nature documentary show Thalassa, we light a night time outside broadcast site with a small team and only two 5 kW generators; conventional sources would have required some 30kW of power.”
Jacques Audrain’s lighting design for Le monde d’après (The World of After), a monthly economics show, combines video mapping for visual illustrations and a subtle combination of colour temperatures for atmosphere. The set is entirely lit by ETC LED sources, including Source Four LED Lustr+ fixtures.
“I turned to the Source Four LED to avoid the harshness of tungsten,” confides Audrain. “At the risk of losing friends in the industry, I think a tungsten profile of 2kW with an HD camera squashes everything, whereas the sensors of the HD cameras love the Source Four LED. The lighting also benefits from easier installation and setup, thanks to the use of the RDM protocol and DMX HF controls.”
The 26 Source Four LED Lustr+ and 24 ETC Selador Desire Lustr+ fixtures installed on Le monde d’après were supplied by Lumex and installed by Avab.
A version of this article originally appeared in the French magazine Sonovision Broadcast.
In picture: ETC Source Four LED Lustr+ lights the set of Le monde d’après
14th May 2013
Oval Space invests in Allen & Heath GLD Console
Oval Space, a multi-use arts and events venue in Bethnal Green, has recently invested in an Allen & Heath GLD-80 digital console, supplied by LMC Audio London.
Dominic Gross, head engineer at Oval Space discusses the requirements of a console in an environment and venue such as Oval Space: "As a truly multi-use space, we knew that we needed a flexible and user-friendly console that still sounded great, for both seasoned engineers and those users with more limited experience. The GLD seemed to tick all of the boxes." Gross’s own experience with the console has been good, commenting, "The GLD just seems to work in all the right ways. Menus are where I would expect them to be, the touch screen is excellent, and most importantly, it sounds like an analogue desk! The stage box is a major plus for us too. I never want to see a 48-way multi-core ever again."
Feedback from other users has also been positive, Gross adding: "The response to the desk has been excellent all round. It’s good to see a visiting engineer get into a mix within 30 seconds of laying hands on the GLD."
Oval Space recently hosted the highly anticipated launch of Atoms For Peace’s album Amok, led by Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke, for which the GLD was deployed.
Mick Brown, tour manager for Atoms For Peace, comments: "When advancing the Atoms For Peace DJ show at Oval Space, the first thing I mentioned to our sound engineer, Mikko Gordon, was that he might prefer a more modern mixing desk for our show. When contacting the technical team at Oval Space they informed me they were aware and were going to trial an A&H GLD-80. I told Mikko and he was happy with their choice of desk, as was I. Wearing my other hat as Gaz Coombes’ FOH engineer, I had used one on Gaz's UK tour in October 2012 and I was very impressed with the flexibility and, more importantly, the sound the GLD has. The small foot print was also important as the Atoms For Peace show was going to be a well-attended show so any space we could save at FOH was going to be very important. The show went very well and the GLD-80 proved its flexibility for the Atoms for Peace show."
The GLD will become the in-house FOH desk for the majority of events at Oval Space and on the occasion that a larger FOH console is brought in, Gross explains that the GLD will take up monitor duties: "The flexibility of the CAT5 stage box system means that we can deploy it anywhere within the space as needed. This is important, as every event requires something different. We’re very much looking forward to adding MADI to the GLD shortly, to allow us to run all digital throughout our signal flow."
He continues: "Oval Space is a great challenge, we host everything from small corporate events to full gigs and all-night parties, so it never gets boring. Having a management team so very passionate about every aspect - especially the sound - really helps make it an exciting place to work."
Sam Simon-Norris, technical sales at LMC Audio London, who attended the Atoms For Peace show, providing technical support for Gross and the team at Space, comments: "The GLD has become a bit of a favourite for me in the small format market; it’s bursting with features, really simple to use and still retains an impressive price point. Like any venue moving from analogue to digital, I’m sure the GLD’s fast-paced interface and copy and paste functions are a welcome timesaving tool. It was a treat to get down and see Dom, the desk and the whole team in action, in what looks to become a very successful venue."
Commenting on the service he has received from LMC, Gross says, "LMC have been great in all aspects. From arranging multiple demos, to even attending and instructing at an event, the service has been flawless."
Stuart McKay, Allen & Heath digital console and installation specialist for Audio-Technica, said: "Oval Space is a great new venue for GLD and I am really pleased that the console will be an integral part of the high quality audio system that they already have installed. Dom and the rest of the team will do a great job using it and I know that they will be well supported by the team at LMC Audio."
In picture: Dominic Gross, head engineer at Oval Space and Sam Simon-Norris, technical sales at LMC Audio London, with the Allen & Heath GLD at Oval Space, East London.
In picture: Dominic Gross, head engineer at Oval Space and Sam Simon-Norris, technical sales at LMC Audio London, with the Allen & Heath GLD at Oval Space, East London.
9th May 2013
Rotmain Center in Bayreuth with Vertical Array System from Dynacord
The Rotmain Center in Bayreuth (Germany) is the commercial centre of the city in Franconia famous for its annual Wagner festival: around 80 businesses, shops and cafes make up the sprawling modern shopping mall. In addition to being a great place to shop, the Rotmain Center is also used for a variety of other events, including concerts, fashion shows and performances of all kinds. Since recent events had demonstrated that the existing sound reinforcement system was no longer adequate to the increasing demands being placed on it, those responsible decided to invest in a new audio system. For the design, planning and implementation of the new system, they brought in the Bayreuth firm of Schwankl Sound & Service.
In view of the diversity of uses to which it would be put, it was clear from the start that what was needed was a flexible sound reinforcement system: a system capable not only of generating plenty of SPL when reproducing music but also of achieving a high level of intelligibility. Nor was that all. "As well as delivering first class acoustic performance, the system had to satisfy a number of aesthetic criteria," recalls Bernd Schwankl, the managing director of Schwankl Sound & Service, "and since the budget was limited, the price-performance ratio also had to be excellent." In the light of all these considerations, the best solution, it became clear, was the Vertical Array System from Dynacord.
The acoustic performance of the line array loudspeaker system from Dynacord proved to be its trump card. "In addition to the clarity of the sound," recalls Schwankl, "its dispersion pattern was of crucial importance. In the vertical plain, at 40°, this is relatively tight, but the horizontal radiation angle of 90° is wide." This coverage angle was ideal to suit the unusual architecture of the Rotmain Center. The building is highly reverberant – rather like the vault of a church. "The two-tiered mall is crowned by a dome," explains Schwankl, "and this, combined with the bare concrete and glass walls and the ceiling height of three-and-a-half metres, posed a considerable challenge."
To ensure even coverage, the team from Schwankl Sound & Service installed four Dynacord TS 400 loudspeakers on the parapet of the first floor. These were arranged in a fan formation, with each speaker covering an area of up to ten meters to the left and right of the stage. To ensure plenty more pressure was available if needed in the bass, a subwoofer from Electro-Voice was also included in the design. "Most of the audience is generally in front of the stage," says Schwankl, "so we opted to fly the subwoofer from the lower edge of the balustrade." The result is described as a "beautiful, full sonic image." Sound reinforcement to the periphery is provided by two Dynacord D 8 full-range boxes, with two Electro-Voice power amplifiers driving these and the subwoofer, and a further pair dedicated to the TS 400 loudspeakers. A Dynacord DSP 260 Sound System Manager adds the advantages of uncomplicated and efficient digital signal processing.
Not long after the installation, the system had its baptism of fire with two events following in quick succession. The manager of the Rotmain Center, Isabel Belka, draws a positive balance: "We are very satisfied with the new loudspeakers. The sonic image is exactly as we had imagined it."
In picture: plenty going on: Bayreuth’s Rotmain Center is a mall and events venue rolled into one – and rendered all the more attractive by the VA system from Dynacord.
In picture: plenty going on: Bayreuth’s Rotmain Center is a mall and events venue rolled into one – and rendered all the more attractive by the VA system from Dynacord.
8th May 2013
Northern Light Sparkles at EICC Launch with Jon Culshaw and Laura Mvula
Opened with a glittering black-tie reception on Thursday May 2, the new extension to the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) showcases a range of the services that Northern Light supplies to venues across the UK.
The opening event featured an impressive entertainment line-up, including top impressionist Jon Culshaw and singer Laura Mvula, both of whom utilised technical equipment provided by Northern Light.
The Northern Light team has been on-site at the venue since July 2012, providing the specialist electrical installation of technical systems for the £80 million Lennox Suite project. Northern Light was responsible for designing a building-wide, integrated lighting control system, in addition to the installation of cabling infrastructure and stage lighting, sound and communications systems for the new 2,000 square metres of additional conference and event space.
Northern Light Direct – the company’s equipment sales division – collaborated with venue operators when the construction phase was nearing completion to provide a variety of technical equipment aimed at enhancing the permanent installation within the new Lennox Suite. Kit included custom-made lighting bars, rigging and fixtures, ETC, Selecon, James Thomas and Clay Paky lanterns and moving heads, Prolyte trussing, Barco projection systems and bespoke screen surrounds and surfaces.
Finally, Northern Light’s events arm, NL Productions, were on hand to provide technical event services to the EICC’s in-house team for the grand opening of the new space.
Kenneth Boak, head of technical production at the EICC, said: "Northern Light were responsible for the initial technical installation when the building opened in 1995 and that installation has been put to the test during many events, standing the test of time. It was, therefore, with some degree of relief that Northern Light won the tender for the technical installation in the new extension. Their expertise was put to good use during the design phase and I was very pleased with the way they approached the issues and came up with solutions."
Colin Cuthbert, managing director of Northern Light, concluded: "When I consider the sheer volume of installation projects that we carry out in other areas of the UK, as well as abroad, it really does give me great pleasure to have worked on such an iconic venue on the doorstep of our head office. The launch event was a great success and it is with no small amount of satisfaction that I can confirm that Northern Light really did provide a full service to bring this project to fruition."
7th May 2013
South African State Theatre Invests in more Robe LED Fixtures
The South African State Theatre in Pretoria has added more Robe LED fixtures to its lighting inventory - specified by head of lighting Simon King. The latest purchase includes 12 MMX Spots, four DLX Spots and four ROBIN 300 LEDWashes and follows quickly on the heels of 40 Robe LEDForce 18 PARs and eight new ColorSpot 250E ATs.
The Theatre also now has a total of 36 LEDWash 600s, the first batch of which were purchased in 2011 from Robe’s SA distributor DWR, after being specified by King who was keen to embrace the many advantages of LED stage lighting.
The State Theatre – housed in its distinctive and imposing building in the heart of the city – has five main performance spaces, the largest two being the 1300 capacity Opera Stage and the 650 capacity Drama Stage – and a fantastic reputation for excellence in multiple genres. It also likes to keep moving with the times.
Dr. Quinton W Simpson was appointed as the organisation’s new CEO in 2012 and was very conducive to Simon King’s proposals to move more and more towards LED lighting as the fixtures became brighter, more efficient and ever more cost effective.
The theatre is 75% a receiving house and 25% producing, staging around 30 major productions per year, several with long runs, plus a variety of other shows and performances ranging from gospel choirs, rock concerts, raves, dramas, dance works, opera – and virtually every other type of performance including the spoken word.
Flexibility is therefore a key to any new lighting investments. "LED makes sense in terms of reducing power consumption and on-going maintenance costs," states King, adding that it’s a bit of a ‘no brainer’ really considering the pace and direction of LED development. It also helps with the justification of future capital expenditure allowances if they can demonstrate a discernible overall cost saving – so it’s ‘win-win’ all round. Apart from all these positives, especially with drama shows, having low noise equipment is essential – and once again, LEDs win out.
Another "major reason" they chose Robe states King … is the superlative service from DWR. "Any product is worthless without good service and support," he says with conviction. Not that they have needed much to be fixed with the Robes of course, as the fixtures have proven very reliable.
The new Robes are distributed around the Theatre’s different spaces – the majority on the two main stages. The four DLXs and two of the ROBIN 300 LEDWashes are in the Arena Theatre together with six LEDForce 18s, while the eight ColorSpot 250E ATs are in the Rendezvous Theatre, and two more LEDWash 300s are in the Cabaret venue.
The MMX Spot is currently King’s favourite moving light. "The punch and the zoom are lovely," he effuses. "Together with the colour mixing, the gobos and of course the dual graphics wheel," concluding that it’s an ‘ultimately flexible" unit ideally suited to their needs.
The State Theatre’s LX crew love all of the new Robes because they are light in weight and easy to handle.
King lights around 50% of the shows staged in the State Theatre’s venues as well as having his own international lighting design clients. Recently he lit a production of ‘The Merry Widow’ in Montevideo, Uruguay, at the Archivo Nacional De La Imagen-Sodre and was delighted to be using Robe LEDWash 600s in his rig, which were specially hired in for the occasion.
In picture: lighting technicians Jacob Langa and Michael Behrens, senior lighting technician Simon King and stage services manager Leon Barnard.
In picture: lighting technicians Jacob Langa and Michael Behrens, senior lighting technician Simon King and stage services manager Leon Barnard.
7th May 2013
Martin Audio’s Gorilla Tactics
Sound system specialist Masons has fitted out many bars and club venues in its native Manchester over the years, using Martin Audio solutions.
One local leisure group that has regularly relied on the company’s services to equip its multi-purpose venues has been Trof, which has developed its estate towards city centre operations – such as Gorilla.
This has been the most recent hybrid bar/restaurant/live venue to be installed by Masons. Their system designer Jack Jennings created an all-purpose environment that would satisfy live music aficionados and serious clubbers in the 600-capacity main space, and at the same time those who just want to enjoy the background ambience in the intimacy of the bar or function room areas.
Situated on a ground floor area between two railway arches, respectively assigned to function room and live venue, with a small mezzanine area providing an additional space, Jennings set about zoning the venue into three separate areas. His first task was to source a sound system for the main PA that would define midrange speech intelligibility. He settled on four of Martin Audio’s WT3 arrayable three-way compact theatre enclosures, flown two a side over the stage, with four WS218X subs floor mounted in pairs either side of the stage, and concealed under the apron.
He rationalised: “We had installed the WT3 at another Trof venue, the Deaf Institute, a few years back and it sounded really nice. I knew the 6.5” midrange driver was perfect for vocal reproduction and in an arched area it provides very good, tight pattern control.”
To this he has added a Blackline F12+ centre fill, a pair of delayed F15+ and a pair of delayed F10+ to cover another mezzanine bar to the rear of this space. “We will also be adding three further Blackline F12+ imminently to provide additional side and centre fills,” he confirms. “This will ensure even coverage throughout.”
To optimise the sound dedicated Martin Audio DX1.5 controllers have been specified while the main PA has been assigned to Martin Audio amplifiers – an MA18K driving the subs and MA5.2K and MA2.0 to the top boxes, which are run biamped.
In the function room, under the adjacent arch, Masons have installed a further pair of Blackline F12+, wall mounted at one end. Four AQ6’s and two Blackline F10+ reproduce music in the bar/dining area at the front of the venue while up on the mezzanine level music is pumped out through a pair of AQ8s and an AQ112 sub.
Summarising the installation, Jennings said: “We needed a high specification main PA system as the DJs are using industry standard playback and the venue is also on the UK live touring circuit. The system we designed at the Deaf Institute provided the blueprint for this; the operators are extremely happy as the venue is proving really popular, and the regular club nights, in particular, are full to capacity.”
1st May 2013
Chicago’s United Center Purchases Robert Juliat Cyrano Followspots from Chicago Spotlight
Chicago Spotlight, Inc. is shedding some light on United Center, the largest arena in the US, with help from Robert Juliat Cyrano followspots. Home of the NBA’s Chicago Bulls and the NFL’s Chicago Blackhawks and a venue for top musical artists, the United Center has hosted over 40 million guests since it opened in 1994.
“The United Center is in the process of replacing their current followspots,” says Chicago Spotlight president Marty Lazarus. “Their existing fixtures have been there since the arena opened. Their goal is to replace two each year until all 12 are replaced with Cyranos.”
Cyrano is a compact and efficient 2500 Watt HMI followspot with a high-performance quartz condenser optical system. It features a 100% closing iris; 100% closing dimmer; B-size gobo holder, variable frost, dichroic blue filter and six-way boomerang colour changer with removable filter frames.
Lazarus explains that Chicago Spotlight demonstrated the Cyranos for the arena and staged a shootout comparing them to the current fixtures. “The customer was impressed with the Cyranos’ features, the even field and the sturdy construction of the unit,” he reports. “The Cyrano’s light output was comparable to the spotlights it was replacing – we’re talking about 2,500W HMI vs 3,000W Xenon with a more even field. They felt that by purchasing two Cyranos they were getting a lot of value for their dollar.”
United Center organised a training session with 14 local stagehands to familiarise them with the new fixtures, the first of an expected dozen units. At United Center Rob Staverman is senior director of event operations and Bob Grmusich the house electrician.
30th April 2013
Apex Intelli-X2 Is In Control At Sonora
Located in the town of Erandio, near the Basque capital Bilbao, the Sonora nightclub is renowned for its quality of music, drawing people from a wide catchment area. This reputation is aided by a high specification audio system that features an Apex Intelli-X2 48 controller at its heart.
With a total capacity of 1500, Sonora is split into three rooms - 808 and 909 which host DJ sets and the Bar for live music. The audio system was designed by Hector Cabot of Barcelona-based Media Sys, who also supplied the equipment, and installed by Sonort, based in Bilbao.
It comprises Kling & Freitag loudspeakers throughout, powered by Lab Gruppen amplifiers in rooms 808 and 909, while the Bar loudspeakers use Proel amplifiers. An Apex Intelli-X2 48 system controller was specified because of its exceptional audio quality and flexibility.
“The Intelli-X2 48 controller is the most musical DSP processor available worldwide,” says JM Foguet, CEO at Media-Sys. “The systems in rooms 808 and 909 had to be able to work either independently or together, the Apex unit allowed us to achieve that very easily and with total control of every parameter. We always recommend Intelli-X processors in installations where we supply the project design, because of their sound quality, flexibility and reliability.”
He continues: “The owners of Sonora are very happy with the installation and the comments from DJs and bands have been amazing. People go to the club to enjoy a high quality audio experience and it has been noticeable that the media has highlighted it in every review.”
30th April 2013
Yamaha Equipment Delivers “The Best Dolby Atmos Installation So Far”
Dolby Atmos surround sound technology is taking the cinema audio experience to a new level, making current 5.1 and 7.1 systems seem simplistic in comparison. One of the first European installations of an Atmos system is at Kristiansand in Norway, where 54 Yamaha loudspeakers and 33 power amplifiers have been specified to deliver its exacting audio requirements.
Atmos supports up to 128 simultaneous, lossless audio elements in a mix. Using up to 64 loudspeakers, it heightens the realism and impact of cinema by making the soundtrack fully immersive. An array of overhead speakers complements screen and wall-mounted units to allow sound to be precisely positioned anywhere in the auditorium, producing a natural, lifelike audio experience that perfectly matches the storyline.
Owned by the Municipality of Kristiansand, the Kino has the highest footfall of any Norwegian cinema, with 370,000 filmgoers visiting each year. The Atmos system was installed in its 655-seat Screen 1 by Unique Cinema System (UCS), who specified the exclusively Yamaha speaker and amplifiers package.
The surround system features 24 Yamaha Installation Series IF2112/64 and 14 IF2112/AS full-range speakers, plus two IS1218 subs, powered by 13 XP5000, six XP7000 and one TX4n amplifiers. The screen system comprises five IF3115/64 full range units, six IS1218 and five IS1215 subs, powered by ten TX4n and three TX6n amplifiers. Three ACD1 Amplifier Control Device interfaces are installed to monitor the XP series amplifiers.
“The most important thing with an Atmos installation is that the loudspeakers need to deliver very high quality sound. This ensures that the spatial soundscape is very accurate, that the cinema audience hears sounds coming from precisely where they are supposed to be coming from. Any loss of audio quality will compromise that and make the system less effective,” says Dan Fulhendorf of UCS.
“We have a long relationship with Yamaha and knew that this combination of loudspeakers and amplifiers would produce sound of the required quality. Dolby had never used Yamaha equipment before, but they had no problem approving it and have said it is the best Atmos installation so far.”
“There are currently a limited number of films being delivered with the Atmos format, but the Yamaha system has radically improved the sound quality of every film shown in Screen 1. The best sound engineers in Norway gathered for a private screening of the James Bond film Skyfall in 5.1 and stated that they had never before heard surround sound with that much dynamic bandwidth,” adds UCS’s Tor Brede Michelsen.
“By investing in something that is more than twice the size of a traditional surround system, the cinema management had to be sure that it would be a success. They are very pleased that audiences absolutely love it,” Dan concludes.
30th April 2013
ETC LED Lighting for Spain’s Fundación Juan March
The main auditorium of the Fundación Juan March in Madrid has received a new ETC LED lighting system, thanks to ETC’s Spanish dealer Stonex and installer Salas Audio Video. Because the space is used for lectures, interviews, cinema projection, piano concertos and concerts – with many of the events being broadcast – the lighting needed to be truly versatile.
The Fundación Juan March dedicates its resources and activities to the fields of science and the humanities, with concerts, lecture series and seminars in its main auditorium in Madrid. A series of free concerts, for example, introduces audiences to Monteverdi and the “Invention” of Melody, while lectures discuss everything from philosophy and poetry to the transition to talking in movies.
Lighting designer José García explains: “The technical managers for the auditorium needed to balance a number of different interests, and compiled a list of what was essential for the new lighting. This included eco-friendly, silent operation; and being powerful enough for TV cameras. We also needed something that was small enough to comfortably fit in the space, with good colour rendition and, because it was to be on view, it needed to look good.
“We specified 42 ETC Selador Desire Studio HD fixtures for the impressive white they produce and their ability to produce variable colour temperatures to balance the greens and magentas on camera.
“We also specified Selador Desire D40 Lustr+ fixtures, which, with their x7 Color System, go a long way beyond RGB colour mixing; I’ve been consistently impressed with the quality and number of colours that can be achieved, from well nuanced pastels to vibrant, saturated shades. They also work well with skin tones.”
The theatre managers worked out that the fixtures use about 110W each, or roughly 4500W in total. “It is clear,” says García, “that in addition to the versatility of the fixtures, the energy savings over conventional lighting is overwhelming – and of course we no longer need the expense of dimmers.”
For control of the lighting, the theatre’s managers specified an ETC Ion control desk. García continues: “We chose the Ion because of its ability to work seamlessly with the LED fixtures. With its small size and ease of programming, it’s been extremely quick to learn. We’ve been impressed with the colour picker, which allows us to instantly select almost any colour, without having to worry about gels.
“We’ve also had excellent service from ETC and Stonex, with the online videos, courses and Tea Break tutorials, along with a great deal of technical documentation. ETC has taken a great leap which fully meets the demands of the professional world."
Ezequiel Nobili, project manager for Stonex, says: “Fundación Juan March was keen to take advantage of the range of optics and accessories available, and also specified Source Four Lustr + LED profile spots as specials, which, with their seven-colour system and high light output, never fail to impress. The last update to the auditorium was in the 1970s, and we’re delighted that the managers are investing in the future – both in terms of lower maintenance and lower power usage – with ETC.”
For more information on ETC and its products, please visit www.etcconnect.com
In picture: ETC Selador lights the main auditorium of the Fundación Juan March in Madrid, photo: Stonex SA
30th April 2013
DPA Microphones Rise To The Challenges Of The Jungle
Researcher and eco-acoustic composer David Monacchi has been using DPA Microphones’ 4060 miniature microphones to capture the sounds of the rainforest as part of his long-term environmental sound-art project entitled Fragments of Extinction.
David Monacchi, who is Professor of Electroacoustic Music at the Conservatorio G.Rossini in Pesaro, Italy, is collaborating with various institutions on this project, which involves travelling to some of the world's most remote areas of intact rainforest to record complex soundscape portraits.
“I use several microphone techniques in the field, most of which involve quite heavy and complex systems,” Monacchi explains. “DPA miniature microphones are extremely lightweight and this makes them highly suitable to field work where I may have to hike long distances in extreme terrain.”
David Monacchi’s two Hi-Sens DPA 4060s omnidirectional miniature microphones with accessories were supplied by DPA’s Italian distributor M. Casale Bauer.
“The DPA 4060 microphones are so small that, if appropriately arranged in a handmade stand, they can be used for self-worn binaural recordings,” he explains. “When used in this way they give optimum results because their dimensions are perfectly suited to being placed at the entrance of the ear canal.”
Originally designed for use with wireless systems in theatre, television and close-miked instrument applications, DPA’s 4060 miniature microphones exhibit a highly accurate omnidirectional pattern and therefore do not need to be aimed directly at the sound source to achieve quality pickup.
“This feature is especially useful for binaural recordings,” says Monacchi, “where, in order to collect the three-dimensional information, it is important that all the sound reflections from the pinna are picked up in a linear way.
David Monacchi adds that the sound quality delivered by his DPA 4060 miniature microphones is excellent. “They have very good tonal quality, linear behaviour and immunity to infrasound vibration-driven noises – all of which are very positive characteristics in the field,” he says. “Considering their dimensions, the signal to noise ratio of these capsules is extremely high, making them suitable for low intensity biophonies and distant sound sources. In addition, their extended high frequency response to around 40khz make them suitable for recording non-audible biophonies like some species of insects and bats.”
David Monacchi’s most recent trip was to Borneo, but he has also visited rainforests in remote areas of the Amazon and Africa. He usually travels alone or with one assistant and relies on local research Institutions or NGOs for field support and rainforest explorations.
“The project embraces collaborations with Greenpeace and several academic institutions and organisations around the world,” he says. “Its aim is to collect sound data and complex soundscape portraits of some of the oldest ecosystems on Earth, many of which are being damaged and are disappearing at an exceptionally fast rate.”
Working in rain forests brings its own particular set of issues, not least very high humidity that can oscillate between 70% and 99%.
“My DPA 4060 miniature microphones perform very well in high humidity condition and are very stable in their performance, even when quick humidity and temperature changes occur,” Monacchi says. “Also, compared to bigger and heavier condenser microphones, they are extremely resistant to unwanted impacts so they are very reliable in the uncertain conditions of remote field trips.”
David Monacchi adds that although a larger diaphragm microphone would provide a better signal to noise ratio, he always carries his DPA 4060 miniature microphones because they are so portable and reliable.
“Considered their dimensions, I think DPA’s 4060 microphones are a true miracle of electroacoustic engineering,” he says. “Without doubt, they are the most adaptable microphones in the world for recording binaural in extreme conditions.”
30th April 2013
Opéra Royal de Wallonie chooses L-Acoustics
On the occasion of the restoration of the Opéra Royal de Wallonie, a fully-fledged L-Acoustics system was put in place.
After more than two years of restoration work, the 1875 built Théatre Royal de Liège, home of the Opéra Royal de Wallonie (ORW), re-opened its doors to the public at the end of last year in Liège. The whole renovation project, unique in its kind, represented an investment of 31 million euros.
In 2008 Riva Audio were appointed by the main contractor Putman, to carry out preliminary research, design and install the new audio system, using their expertise in stage mechanics and technical installations of theatres and studios. "The big challenge was to persuade the city officials and opera management to place new audio gear in a classified nineteenth century building – they wanted the venue to be ‘sound reinforcementless’ ," says Frédéric Vard, managing director of Riva Audio. "For example, it took us quite some negotiations with the governments’ Monuments and Landscape Department to obtain permission to place the speaker cabinets." XLR sprl, a Distributor within the L-Acoustics Certified Provider Network for Belgium, collaborated with Riva Audio on this installation.
The need for a modern, flexible and efficient audio system was underpinned by the theatre’s management plan to make multifunctional use of the building. Alongside the ORW’s performances, the theatre would host conferences, gatherings and concerts. The venue’s iron safety curtain, compulsory in this category of theatres, was equipped with a projection screen on the audience’s side to facilitate the projection of movies.
"When we received the go-ahead to for the sound system, we had to take into account the new furnishing of the theatre," continues Vard. " In the end, we agreed to install an L-Acoustics line-array system on either side of the subtitling projection beam above the stage, before the stage curtains. The amplifiers are located close to the speakers and are remote controlled through a network, like all other equipment in the ORW. The line arrays, consisting of 20 KIVA cabinets 2 x 6 KIVA in front of the curtain and 2 x 4 KIVA to serve the lower seats plus 8 SB18 and 14 8XTi as in fill, ensure complete coverage of the whole theatre – every seat offers the same listening comfort." Instead of painting the KIVA speakers in the same red as the curtains, the Monuments and Landscape Department decided to paint them in black, turning the technical equipment into a decorative element of the stage.
The installation of the line-arrays and cables followed thorough research and design, with Riva Audio presenting a complete construction document indicating the placement of loudspeaker cabinets within the constraints of the ancient building. "We, together with XLR’s Project Manager, Sébastien Desaever, presented three speaker configurations to the theatre management – L-Acoustic’s contracting and fixed installation department was instrumental in providing the necessary technical plans," continues Vard.
Vard made use of the stage level boxes in the theatre to install 2 x 4 KIVA serving the lower seating of the 1440 capacity theatre. The whole venue was cabled with CAT 6 fibre optics, replacing the ‘traditional’ microphone cables. "Installing Soundcraft stageboxes for the signal transfer from the stage to the Soundcraft Vi 4 console was a crucial measure – in an opera environment, noiseless connections are essential throughout the system," says Vard.