Project News Headlines
Luminis deliver large Elation KL lighting system for ultra-modern Bulgarian broadcast studio
Never A Gray Day for Robe
Electro-Voice X2 supports everything from solo artists to festival stages at Nottingham’s Island Quarter regeneration project
Award-winning production house Reno Studios launches Taiwan's finest pixel pitch, Brompton-powered VP movie studio
Bangkok’s Isola Gives Diners a Feast for the Ears With System Centred on Allen & Heath’s AHM
Ayrton Huracan LT and Eurus Fixtures Play Major Role in Worship Center Renovation at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas
L-ISA Channels Eye of the Storm at Chasseurs de Tornades, Futuroscope’s Cutting Edge New Attraction
Beautifully Seated for Shakespeare
Audient Console: A Star in Expanding Sky
Ny Theatre Boosts Robe Stock
Live Nations Venue Anita’s Theatre Expands Horizons with Chauvet Professional
Australia – Anita’s Theatre is no stranger to change. On Saturday 18 December, 1965, when the curtain went down on a double billing featuring Stephen Boyd in "Genghis Khan" and Carl Gonzales in "The Little Ones," the classic venue, then known as the King’s Theatre, closed its doors after more than 40 years as the main cinema in this seaside village located 60km south of Sydney.
Less than three years after the theatre stopped showing films, all seats were removed a concrete floor was laid in the stalls area, and the venue was reborn as Skateland. In 2007, long after its days as a roller rink had ended, the venerable building began anew again as a multi-purpose live performance venue.
Today, as Anita’s Theatre, the classic-looking site is continuing its tradition of change, having recently become Live Nation’s first regional live music venue in Australia. With this change has come adaptation. Looking to update its lighting rig and enhance its flexibility, the theatre added 28 Chauvet Professional fixtures imported by Showtools International and installed by Pro Sound and Lighting.
The new rig not only gives the theatre a wider range of lighting options, it also upgrades the level of the shows for the higher-profile acts, such as Richard Marx, Pavement, Peter Murray and Belinda Carlisle that are appearing there in 2023.
Designed by Pro Sound and Lighting's John Campbell in consultation with Andre Vanderwert, the new system features 12 Maverick Force S Profiles, which are flown on truss over the audience and positioned on totems, as well as six Maverick MK2 Washes, which, hung on mid-stage truss. Together, these units deliver downlighting, specials, stage washing and aerial effects.
Also in the rig are two Strike Array 2 Blinders, flown over the front of the stage and used for audience lighting, as well as six Color Strike M fixtures. Positioned on truss totems that run across the width of the stage. These colour-rendering motorised strobes fill a variety of roles at Anita’s Theatre, from creating eye-pleasing specials to revving up the crowed with their intense white strobing.
"We choose these fixtures, as they have never let us down in the past,” said Campbell, who added that the theatre’s updated rig is “keeping our international touring operators and technicians happy!" Judging from the reaction of the crowds who are packing this historic venue every week, the lights are going over very well with fans too!
30th March 2023
Genelec loudspeakers enhance upmarket home theatre project in Southern India
India - Karur is known as the textile capital of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. One of India’s premier industrialists – who made his fortune manufacturing high quality mosquito nets that are now exported all over the world – has recently built a luxury mansion for his family that includes a high-class home cinema fully equipped with Genelec loudspeakers.
The mansion, including the cinema, was designed by the PR Design Group, the renowned architects based in Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore), who are known for their work in the high-end residential market. However, when it came to equipping the cinema space, the client turned to entertainment and smart home automation specialists, Cinespa by Mark Technologies.
Cinespa owner, P.R. Srenivasan, aka ‘Sreni’, recalls that when he met the clients at the showroom – which features an impressive Genelec immersive loudspeaker system – they hadn’t actually budgeted very much to equip the new theatre. However, once they’d experienced the demo, there was no going back!
“The immersive demo with Genelec loudspeakers was definitely a clincher,” says Sreni. “The tonality, performance and the history of Genelec as a premium brand in prestigious global studio and AV installations (including home theatre applications) convinced our client that this was what he wanted for his home theatre.”
Nevertheless, Cinespa was faced with a number of challenges when it came to design and configuration. “The client would have preferred to implement both Auro 3-D and Dolby Atmos formats but actually, due to the A/C duct positioning, we didn’t have sufficient height for loudspeaker placement for Auro 3-D, plus there was no rack space available outside the room, so our only option was for an actively powered system. Genelec was therefore the ideal solution in a Dolby Atmos 9.1.6 format.”
Consequently, Cinespa installed a total of 16 Genelec loudspeakers, including three S360s housed behind the screen which act as the L/C/R system. The S360’s fusion of reference-quality performance, high SPL and compact size makes it perfect for demanding film, post and music production, including Dolby film mixing, and thus ideal for cinematic audio reproduction in a Dolby Atmos setup. Six powerful AIW26 in-wall loudspeakers blend seamlessly into the environment for transparent surround sound at the sides and rear of the room, whilst six 8340 smart active loudspeakers are installed in the ceiling to complete the immersive 9.1.6 configuration. The 7382 subwoofer can be found beneath the screen along with all of the processing and media automation equipment, neatly hidden behind an elegant wooden screen.
“The only place for any equipment was beneath the screen, so we had to do a lot of work to ensure there was sufficient ventilation,” explains Sreni. “It wasn’t easy but I’m very pleased with the final result.”
The rest of the room is equally high spec with state-of the-art acoustic treatment on the walls and ceiling from Vicoustic in Portugal, Sony projection equipment, intuitive media automation and control from Casadigi and lighting control from Lutron. Completing the experience is plush, raked seating from Moovia in Germany featuring electric adjustable footrests and backrests, finished in premium Italian leather.
“I’m very proud of what we achieved in this beautiful home theatre,” concludes Sreni. “The Genelec sound system delivers a matchless immersive audio experience that does full justice to the luxurious, ultra-high-spec environment. During our first detailed meeting and demonstration at our immersive showroom, the whole family opted for the best configuration with absolutely no compromise, they loved the natural sound of Genelec loudspeakers and insisted that nothing else would do. The family was recommended the best solutions in the world – both from us and from the architect – and they approved everything. It was a privilege to work on such a prestigious project which is surely one of the best home theatre rooms in India.”
28th March 2023
Luminis deliver large Elation KL lighting system for ultra-modern Bulgarian broadcast studio
Bulgaria – Leading Bulgarian media company Nova Broadcasting Group recently opened an ultra-modern studio complex of nearly 17,000-square metres in the capital of Sofia. To ensure top-quality, professional illumination in the new facility’s multiple studios, Nova Broadcasting Group worked with Elation distributor Luminis Ltd. on a broadcast-optimised lighting solution.
Nova Broadcasting Group is one of the biggest multi-platform media and technology companies in Bulgaria, part of United Group, Southeast Europe’s leading telecom and media operator. The new facility, designed for high-quality television and radio production of international standards, features five television studios, four radio studios, spacious equipment rooms, editing rooms and newsroom. The capacity of the new studio complex, unique for the Bulgarian media market, allows Nova Broadcasting Group to produce highly impactful content using the latest technologies.
Several years ago, Budapest-based Luminis Ltd. collaborated with a broadcast technology company called Rexfilm Ltd. on a significant project. Later, when Nova Broadcasting Group was looking for someone to manage the lighting for their new studio, Rexfilm Ltd. recommended Luminis for the job. Luminis was then tasked to deliver a comprehensive lighting solution including power distribution and lighting control network.
Luminis worked with a local lighting designer on the specification and design of the system, which is made up of 202 KL Fresnel 8 FC, 20 KL Profile FC, 137 KL Panel and 89 KL Panel XL fixtures, along with 36 Arena Zoom Q7IP. The lights are spread across a large 1000-square metre television studio plus two smaller studios of around 350 square metres each. Luminis installed the luminaires working with lighting personnel from Nova TV and programmed initial lighting scenes for the studio. Elation’s Bulgarian distributor, Pro Audio Ltd, works with Luminis to provide local support when needed.
Péter Rábay of Luminis, who worked closely on the project for 18 months, says that the studio required soft lights, profile luminaires and Fresnel lights that would work with their state-of-the-art HD and 4K set-up. “It was important that the lights be in the same family,” he explains. “In the past, with halogen lights and their more consistent color, it wasn’t that necessary that lights all be from the same family of fixtures. But now with LED, because their color engines can differ so much, it is more necessary.”
Due to the studio's high definition and 4K capabilities, as well as its numerous video walls and modern cameras, it was imperative to utilize luminaires with high output. Rábay states that the KL Fresnel 8 FC, which provides a total fixture lumen output of 18,000, was a wise choice as it offers additional lighting power when required. The fixture houses a 500W RGBMA LED engine with precise colour temperature control, full spectrum colour rendering and even wash coverage. It also includes a motorised zoom of 10 to 50 degrees and meets the strict standards of studios like Nova Broadcasting that are light critical and noise sensitive.
Luminis first encountered the KL Profile FC ellipsoidal during the Prolight + Sound trade show in 2022 and were impressed with the fixture. With a seven to 50-degree zoom, the fixture requires no additional lens tubes, reducing cost, complexity and providing excellent flexibility. They decided to order a demo to test it before presenting it to the client for consideration.
Rábay notes: “In the beginning, they were considering using different brands but after demoing and testing the KL Profile FC over several days, they absolutely agreed that it was very reliable and a good professional light with nice CRI and TLCI. They could see that it complements the KL Fresnel 8 FC very nicely as they both have RGBMA LED engines and they also commented that it looked like a quality-built product.”
When deciding on the KL Panel and KL Panel XL, Rábay says the main requirement was their colour temperature changing flexibility while the LED softlight’s green-shift adjustment was also deemed significant. The fact that they can project the full spectrum of colours was seen as a bonus, he says. Furthermore, the availability of various accessories, such as snapgrids and snapbags that allow for easy manipulation of the light, was also considered important.
Additional to the rig are Arena Zoom Q7IP, full-colour PAR fixtures that work nicely with the KL fixtures and allow the studio to forego renting fixtures in when hosting live performances. A further requirement was a simple yet reliable DMX/RDM splitter, a need fulfilled by Obsidian Control Systems’ NETRON RDM6XL, which Rábay says are easy to work with and work very well. Some 114 RDM6XL splitters are used across the lighting control network.
The first of the new Nova Broadcasting Group television studios opened in late November in time for the FIFA World Cup and Rábay reports that the client has been absolutely thrilled ever since. The other studios, all of which are used for multiple programs such as news, current affairs, and sports shows, opened shortly thereafter.
27th March 2023
Never A Gray Day for Robe
Israel – Contemporary multi-purpose venue Gray in Modiin, Israel, is filled with colour and atmosphere thanks to a versatile Robe LED moving light rig installed to enhance this new and lively 900-capacity entertainment space that opened in 2021. Managed and run by the municipality, it is popular and successful in offering a wide range of live music and performance shows in a supper club format.
The lighting, LED screen, trussing (including two elegant circles above the audience) and rigging was supplied and installed by Danor Theatre & Studio Systems working in conjunction with consultant Dror Herrenson, who assessed the requirements and compiled a tender based on a robust, practical, and flexible LED lighting system to cover a multiplicity of events.
Several companies bid on the tender, which was won by Danor with their specification of 12 Robe VIVA CMYs and 12 LEDWash 600 moving lights.
The LEDWash is one of Robe’s bestselling wash luminaires of the last decade, while the newer VIVA CMY is powerful, smooth and combines brightness with a clear zero-fringing white beam, together with continuous colour transitions via the CMY mixing system.
The LEDWashes are positioned on the front truss for a rich and full stage wash and the VIVAs are the main over-stage fixture, rigged on three raked trusses, which enhances the depth of the performance space. Both fixture types were also chosen for their small size and because they worked well with the six by three metre upstage LED screen.
Once installed, the lighting rig was slightly redesigned by Ziv Limor to optimise the venue’s character and space, changing up the trussing angles and modifying the shape of the side trusses.
Says Danor’s Erez Hadar: “This is a great-looking installation as well as a really practical and value-added moving light solution that provides excellent rider-friendly production values.”
Gray Modiin’s lighting has been appreciated by many visiting artists and lighting people including Meir Hayon, operating lights for Israel’s own most famous puppet rockers, Red Band, who were playing at the time of the Robe reporting team’s visit to the venue.
Red Band was additionally touring at this time with a floor package comprising four Robe MegaPointes from rental company Kilim.
Meir particularly likes the LEDWash 600s. He reckons they are “the best fixtures in the venue for sure,” also saying that Gray is one of the “Premier” venues in the country for lighting in his opinion, with decent headroom and a good lighting rig making it an ideal modern concert venue. He also appreciates the side lighting positions onstage.
Angles, accurate shuttering and detail is critical for lighting any Red Band performance due to its three puppet stars: Red, Poncho and Lefty!
Their show features some special (puppet) guests, a selection of favourite rock anthems and is renowned for its raunchy and irreverent between song content and banter which is hilarious! The puppet operators remain concealed throughout.
Meir has worked with Red Band for around nine months and is enjoying using the four MegaPointe specials, “They are an amazing fixture, they do everything I want,” he enthused.
photos: Louise Stickland
24th March 2023
Electro-Voice X2 supports everything from solo artists to festival stages at Nottingham’s Island Quarter regeneration project
UK – The regeneration project at Nottingham’s Island Quarter is turning a 36-acre former industrial site into a mixed-use space with multi-functional public spaces as well as areas to live, work and relax. As one of the first examples of what the new district will bring to the city, the Canal Turn performance space has set a high bar for what people can expect with a stage that can handle everything from solo artists to full festivals, thanks to its Electro-Voice X2 line array system driven and controlled by Dynacord amplifiers and electronics.
Canal Turn is set to be the cultural centrepiece of the Island Quarter development, with plans in place for the venue to host everything from world-class music and live theatre to locally created art and open-air public speaking. The job of creating the solution for this space fell to local AV installers Music Gear Installations, part of the MGD Group. A versatile, yet powerful sound system has been one of the keys to enabling this aspiration, with the combined strengths of Electro-Voice and Dynacord an obvious choice.
“We’ve pushed the boundaries of technology a bit and everything is built around being future-proof,” explains Mick Whittemore, from Music Gear Installations. “The idea was the owner could put anyone on; we had to get to a certain level for the tribute acts and mid-level touring bands, but also have the infrastructure to enable major acts to play there. It needs to handle literally anything from a solo acoustic performer who can simply plug and play (with their own mixing desk if required) to a potential full on music festival.”
To achieve this, Music Gear Installations enlisted the help of Bosch consultant Neal Allen, who suggested a solution he knows well from his time as a touring FOH engineer, the X2 line array systems for live sound applications from the X-Line Advance line array family. “I know the product really well,” says Allen. “The owners liked the heritage of where I had been with it and what I had done with it. When they heard it, they really liked the sound of it too.”
The open-air stage at Canal Turn is covered by six X2-212/90 line-array elements per side with two X12-128 subwoofers delivering the low frequencies. “X2 provides the detail this kind of project needs,” states Allen. “It’s a nice sounding box that can do multiple styles of music. They can run it full range, which sometimes they do when they are just doing the screen and it will cope well with whatever they need it to do.” On stage, artists are supported by eight Electro-Voice MFX-15MC multi-functional co-ax monitors.
The system is powered by Dynacord amplifiers, with IPX units handling the MFX stage monitors and TGX models responsible for the main PA. An MXE5 Matrix Mix Engine delivers the routing and mixing capabilities while SONICUE Sound System Software provides precise and user-friendly control and configuration for the solution.
“It was simple to tune the system with SONICUE and the latest upgrade version has also made it very user-friendly for the venue staff and students, especially for general system operation,” says Allen. “They only use the parts of SONICUE that they need, such as presets and level changes, which means that the system can be just as easily run by a sound engineer or by students on a day-to-day basis.”
Reflecting on the overall project and the future-proof solution he has delivered, Whittemore is very pleased with the results. “The whole feel of the place is great and they have some really big plans,” he reflects. “We’ve made a future-proof venue that integrates well into the surrounding environment and the plans for this area. Most importantly, everybody is pleased with the way it sounds.”
“This was a future-proof selection that I was more than happy to recommend,” concluded Ben Hicklin, project manager from Canal Turn. “I’ve been delighted with the results. Everything I have been promised has been delivered, together with the added bonus of working with local specialists.”
23rd March 2023
Award-winning production house Reno Studios launches Taiwan's finest pixel pitch, Brompton-powered VP movie studio
Taiwan – With offices in Taiwan and Australia, award-winning production house for film and television, Reno Studios has created Taiwan’s finest pixel pitch virtual production facility. Opened at the end of last year, it is located at the longest-running Taiwanese movie studio, Central Motion Picture Corporation. Helping bring clients’ stories to the screen is Brompton Technology LED processing, which delivers exceptional image quality and colour accuracy, creating the most ‘close-to-reality’ environment, seamlessly blending live and digital content.
“In collaboration with partners, Reno Studios provides a one stop service for international shooting projects, with access to essential services such as scenery construction, camera rental, lighting post-production and sound processing,” says Peter Huang, general manager of Reno Studios.
Huang knows that image quality is one of the most important elements for virtual production, with LED panels and LED processors fundamentally determining whether image detail can be reproduced vividly on the LED wall. As a result, the team chose LED solutions from LED panel manufacturer, AUO Corporation, which has over 26 years’ experience in R&D and production of display technology, and industry gold standard Brompton Tessera SX40 4K LED processors to power the giant LED volume.
“Brompton is a leader in LED processing,” Huang adds. “Its Tessera software features such as Puretone, ThermaCal, Frame Remapping, ShutterSync, Extended Bit Depth and Stacking, enable film directors to freely create any type of content and not be limited artistically. Additionally, the Tessera processors’ colour accuracy and smooth image display create the most ‘close-to-reality’ environment possible, where actors can interact with the LED wall, the two blending seamlessly together.”
The studio’s curved LED volume comprises AUO Pitch 1.95 LED panels measuring 12 metres wide by five metres high, which support at least 99% DCI-P3 colour space. The main wall is three groups of LED panels (left, middle, right), with each group controlled by one Tessera SX40 4K LED processor and three Tessera XD 10G data distribution units. “As well as the SX40 processors and XD distribution units controlling the main wall, there is a Tessera SX40 and an XD unit for the ceiling,” adds Huang.
Speaking about additional benefits that Brompton offers to Reno Studio’s FX team, Huang notes how Tessera processors free images from colour variations or screen tearing caused by video latency, so the scene model and animation special effects can be presented beautifully and correctly. “This makes the whole shooting process seem much smoother and more hassle-free,” he says. Additionally, all the LED panels were dynamically calibrated with Brompton’s Hydra advanced measurement system, making them Brompton HDR-ready and unlocking the full potential of the LEDs.
“LED virtual production is still a new technology and is advancing continuously. It’s also a new trend in the film and television industry,” says Huang. “Based on Reno Studio’s experience and expertise in video production, we can strike new sparks in the industry and create infinite possibilities in Taiwan and beyond. We are thrilled about all the creative possibilities virtual production technology can offer our clients, and with partners like Brompton Technology on board with us, we are confident we can turn any idea or story into reality!”
“With the rapidly growing demand for cutting-edge virtual production solutions, we are really pleased that Reno Studios has chosen our LED processing technology for the country’s finest pixel pitch Brompton powered VP movie studio,” concludes Elijah Ebo, Director of APAC Operations at Brompton Technology. “The new stage will not only offer unrivalled creative opportunities in film production, but also open the doors to TV, commercials, broadcast, and even AR or MR-focussed productions.”
22nd March 2023
White Light Provides Lighting for Southwark Playhouse’s New Home Elephant
UK – Last month, the renowned London theatre, Southwark Playhouse, opened its brand-new theatre space: Southwark Playhouse Elephant. Situated in Elephant and Castle, the 310-seat building is the sister venue of Southwark Playhouse Borough and aims to provide world-class theatre as well as serve the local community. As with any new theatre, the space had to be transformed from an empty building into a fully functioning performance venue. This involved acquiring the latest theatre lighting technology, something which White Light (WL) was called on to provide.
Prior to the opening of the Elephant space, Southwark Playhouse found itself in temporary venues, which meant always having to adapt to both the budgets and physical restraints of a space. As such, by having a new, permanent home, this meant they could finally implement the technical infrastructure that they always wanted. Lee Elston, technical and production manager at Southwark Playhouse, comments: “My role at Southwark has a wide range of responsibilities; first and foremost being to liaise with incoming production companies from both a production and technical aspect. Knowing what is expected from incoming lighting designers, as well as our own ambitions, helped enormously when we started looking at what we needed within the space. In fact, we actually held a focus group with a few designers who know the venue well, to gauge their thoughts on what they would like to see in a space like this; something that naturally helped when it came to narrowing down potential fixtures.
Lee continues: “We have such a plethora of different shows come through our doors that the lighting rig needed to be extremely flexible; something that would also work in sync with our flexible seating system. Alongside fulfilling the creative aspects, we also wanted to be as environmentally friendly and resourceful as possible. That’s why early on we knew we wanted a completely LED rig.”
With this in mind, whilst overseeing some of the installation for the technical and production departments, Lee began speaking with suppliers about acquiring some new fixtures, with one of these being WL. WL’s business development manager Jonathan Haynes comments: “WL has a long-standing relationship with Southwark Playhouse, having supplied numerous productions over the years. As such, we’re familiar with their ethos and the work they produce. We went down to the new space to see the layout and discuss with the technical team what they required, before putting forward a few options.”
Following a series of demonstrations, the Elephant team decided to invest in the ETC ColorSource family of fixtures, including ColorSource Pars, ColorSource Spots and associated accessories. Chauvet SlimPar Q12 fixtures were purchased for the studio space alongside an ETC ColorSource 20 console to provide user friendly control in order to cater for their wide program of shows and events.
Lee explains: “Taking on board the feedback from the designers, our environmental aims as well as our budget, the ETC ColorSource family really ticks every box for us. From subtle tints to bold saturated colours, ColorSource is extremely versatile and gives a really close colour match for any incoming designer when compared with traditional sources, whilst also using far less energy than a tungsten fixture.”
Southwark Playhouse Elephant officially opened with its first major production last month, The Walworth Farce, a dark comedy revival of the 2006 play which is, appropriately, set in Elephant and Castle.
Jonathan concludes: “As a company, we pride ourselves in having the knowledge and expertise to consult and advise on a wide range of projects. Whether that be kitting out a brand new space, or upgrading traditional lighting rigs to LED, our clients are reassured to know we have the resources and experience in order to find the right solution. Elephant is a really exciting new chapter in Southwark Playhouse’s history and we’re delighted to have been involved.”
photos: David Jensen
20th March 2023
T11 Profiles join T1s and T2s at the Opera National de Paris
France – As part an inventory renewal of static profile luminaires, the Paris Opera has ordered nearly 300 Robe T11 Profile and T11 PCs, which will join the 200 T1 and T2 Profiles already in place at the primary opera and ballet company of France.
All the fixtures are supplied via Alterlite, and like the T1 and T2 moving heads, the T11s will be distributed between the Opera’s two landmark venues in the French capital, Palais Garnier and Opéra Bastille.
According to Jacques Giovanangeli, head of the lighting department at the Palais Garnier: “The T11 meets all the quality and performance criteria that we had set ourselves.
“The luminous flux and colorimetry meet our requirements and the locking of the framing shutters ensures that they will not go out of adjustment when the booms are moved.”
For Nicolas Beaud, head of the lighting department at Opéra Bastille: “We chose to replace the existing fixtures (halogen profiles and PCs), equipping our side booms with Robe T11s as part of the modernisation plan that involves switching to LEDs for the Opéra Bastille's lighting equipment.
“The versatility of the T11 allows us to use the same projector body and replace the front lens to obtain a profile or a PC. The quality of the colorimetry and the manual shutter system is perfect for our very specific needs.”
photos: Robe France
20th March 2023
CUBE Studio unveils New Virtual Production Studio in Berkshire powered by Vū.
UK – CUBE Studio opens new 6,500 square-foot, state-of-the-art virtual production studio in Berkshire this April.
CUBE Studio, a brand new 6,500 square-foot, state-of-the-art virtual production studio will open its doors this April, providing a full-service solution for advertising agencies, production houses, enterprise businesses and film and TV.
Located just outside of the M25 and easily reachable from London, CUBE Studio combines innovative LED technology with industry-leading game engines, camera-tracking, graphic servers and premium facilities.
The Berkshire-based studio is home to a 10.5x5.5m LED volume, crafted with Unilumin Upad IV LED panels, which feature HDR image quality, a pixel pitch of 2.5 mm and new DDC (dual drive configuration) technology, plus Brompton Technology processing, to deliver visual excellence.
Joining the Vū Network, Vū’s global studio network, CUBE Studio becomes the first UK and Europe-based virtual production studio, powered by Vū Technologies.
An emerging force in shaping the growing virtual production market, Vū blends art and science to redefine virtualisation and unlock new ways to visualise the world.
James Hakesley, co-founder and CEO of CUBE Studio said: “We’re passionate about empowering content creators and visionaries to push creative boundaries, through access to the very latest technical and visual innovations.
“We’re extremely proud to be joining forces with Vū to bring the entire industry a valuable asset, and one which we believe, will be a catalyst for growth for virtual production across the UK and Europe.”
“We created the Vū Network because artistic expression and immersive storytelling are fleeting – moving faster than the speed of thought – and we don’t want anyone excluded from this experience,” said Tim Moore, CEO of Vū.
“The Vū Network is a way for us to scale our expertise and knowledge to ensure that artists everywhere can take advantage of everything that virtual production has to offer today: limitless storytelling, limitless possibilities, limitless creativity.
“CUBE Studio is the embodiment of everything we believe in; they are a team of creatives, storytellers and innovators who are perfectly poised to continue what we started in North America and bring a standard of excellence to virtual production to the UK and Europe.”
Delivering a triple-threat of speed, efficiency, and enhanced creative capability, virtual production represents a paradigm shift in the way movies, commercials and brand campaigns are being created.
Roy Kimani, co-founder and director of innovation for CUBE Studio said: “Virtual production represents a new era in content creation for leading production houses and advertising agencies.
“We're proud to be partnering with Vū to put this exciting, real-time technology into the hands of the next generation of creatives, and are looking forward to enabling production teams to push the boundaries of what’s possible."
Adoption of virtual production techniques has been accelerated in recent years, as productions place increasing importance on sustainability.
Calling for smaller crew sizes, reducing travel and enabling virtual collaboration throughout the production process, CUBE Studio supports content creators to embrace sustainable production techniques while exploring innovative technology solutions.
Designed with comfort and experience at the forefront, CUBE Studio features:
6.5mx5m drive-in vehicle access to the LED stage, with unloading bay
Viewing platform with views of the LED stage
Production office, kitchen and refreshment facilities
Spacious greenroom and breakout lounge for cast and crew
Dressing rooms and hair and make–up suites
Dedicated high-speed internet access
Fresh air ventilation system
Separate kit and build area
Local amenities and transport just a few minutes from the studio
Proud to partner with a network of leading technology partners, the studio features Brompton Technology SX40 and XD Distribution control systems, Mo-Sys StarTracker camera tracking and Puget Systems workstation.
CUBE Studio is welcoming private and group tours of the studio. Contact email@example.com for more information.
17th March 2023
Bangkok’s Isola Gives Diners a Feast for the Ears With System Centred on Allen & Heath’s AHM
Thailand – Newly opened in downtown Bangkok, Italian fine dining restaurant Isola by Signor Sassi now has Allen & Heath at the heart of its audio system.
As the establishment has a main dining area, VIP rooms and two terraces, Simone del Ferro, general manager of the restaurant, wanted smooth operation of the system with zoning functionality. The ability to control source and volume in all zones and presets based on time were all key.
Delivering the functionality needed when considering the various zones and regular live music and DJ performances, Thailand-based integrators Aura Visual System specified and installed an AHM-16 audio matrix processor, which offers cost-effective, uncompromised processing for smaller multi-room environments including bars and restaurants.
The AHM-16 is a 16x16 audio matrix processor featuring 8x8 local analogue I/O that can be expanded via an ecosystem of remote audio expanders via an optional SLink card. The AHM also features scheduled events, enabling time-triggered preset recalls for automated operation throughout the working day with no input required from staff at the venue.
AHM is fully compatible with Allen & Heath’s Custom Control, a customisable, cross-platform control app, providing elegant, bespoke control over installed audio systems, allowing the integrator to freely design multiple user interfaces, tailored to different user levels and/or device types. A pair of touchscreens, CC-7 and CC-10, are available from Allen & Heath for easy operation by non-technical users.
Teamed with a loudspeaker solution from Void Acoustics which complemented the aesthetics of Isola, the venue benefits from low-latency high quality audio.
The restaurant regularly has DJs performing during the later hours of the evenings, so it was important to have an adaptable, high quality sound system in place that could handle the demands of the establishment. With Allen & Heath’s Custom Control app, accessed via a wall-mounted CC-7 touch panel, del Ferro can easily access and manage the music source selection, level control, preset recall and more.
“We have customised the GUI of the touchscreen controllers to make them blend in with the floral and lemon wallpaper décor,” said Phankom, sales manager for Aura Visual System. “Easy operation was an important factor. The restaurant manager doesn’t need to be concerned with automatic noise compensation, processing with crossover filter, limiter and delays on every input and zone. They simply want to change the volume or source in between greeting guests and overseeing dining operations.”
With a unique decor that is more like an Italian or Moroccan bistro, the fine dining establishment now enjoys quality, easy-to control audio through a system that doesn’t disturb the carefully crafted visual experience.
17th March 2023
Ayrton Huracan LT and Eurus Fixtures Play Major Role in Worship Center Renovation at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas
USA – Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas has completed the renovation of its worship centre involving a stage remodel and lighting upgrade that marked the first major technology overhaul for the centre since its opening. Unlimited Visibility Inc. (UVLD) handled the renovation’s production and lighting design, which included the installation of 32 Ayrton Huracan LT LED luminaires designed for long-range applications and 50 Ayrton Eurus multi-function luminaires. ACT Entertainment is the exclusive distributor of Ayrton lighting products in North America.
“Prestonwood was one of our first major Ayrton installations,” says UVLD lighting designer David Seitz, who teamed with UVLD lead designer Matt Webb on the project. “We had been looking at manufacturers with families of fixtures that we could use in venues big and small and which had similar looks across the fixture types. Ayrton filled the bill, and what especially stood out was the high quality of the fixtures’ colour rendering. Prestonwood does a lot of broadcast work: the church streams worship services and the pastor has a weekly TV show. So they needed fixtures that would look great on camera with good colour rendering and colour matching unit to unit.”
Prestonwood’s director of media, Bryan Bailey, started his career in lighting but had never used Ayrton fixtures. “We brought out the usual players for demos, but nothing stood out in CRI readings and how the camera saw the lights. Our space is ginormous, a large room with a 7,000-person seating capacity with really far throws. We needed fixtures to cover the stage and choir loft and looked great on camera. As soon as the Ayrton fixtures were turned on we immediately realised we were dealing with a different level of products, and we were relieved! The Huracans checked every single box for us, which is incredibly rare, and the Eurus did essentially the same thing. They looked great on camera and great in the room. The fact that the fixtures run so quietly is a huge bonus for any venue, as well.”
The renovation called for replacing all of the existing conventional front lighting and adding new effects lighting as well as converting all the moving lights to LEDs. Long-time partner of Prestonwood, Paragon 360 of Springfield, Missouri, handled the systems integration and provided extensive additional system design to the entire project.
Ayrton Huracan LTs were installed as the main key lights for the choir and the 160 foot wide stage. “The space is huge: the shortest throw is about 110 feet,” notes Seitz. “The Huracans gave us the high level lighting required with extremely long throws. They’re incredibly bright with excellent colour rendering, they pack a real punch. The Huracans were very impressive in the demo and have performed equally well since.”
The Eurus fixtures met Prestonwood’s need for versatility. “We needed a multi-purpose fixture with great colour mixing, framing shutters and animation,” says Seitz. “We use the Eurus as beams/spots over the stage, as side lighting and as audience fill systems.”
“This was my first project with Ayrton fixtures,” notes Paragon 360 President, Ryan Cowen. “Prestonwood was one of our first clients, and they hold very high standards. Based on the fixtures’ demos and their subsequent performance, Ayrton fixtures were the right choice for Prestonwood.”
The renovation featured a stunning new stage and scenic design and a complement of much higher resolution LED videowalls and all new media servers, with an 8K raster for all. Now, three curved ReveLux StoryGlass LED videowalls are on the stage floor, two are flown left and right and many individual tiles are intermingled with lights on trusses over the stage.
“The challenge of this large-scale renovation was making a very large space shift from a traditional-style worship environment to something with a more contemporary style,” points out Paragon 360’s Cowen. “More LED walls, a very well-designed lighting system, new textures and scenic create a very flexible aesthetic that is unique to Prestonwood. The space has a real depth and dimension, an interesting look for worshippers attending in person or watching broadcasts and streaming.”
Since the Ayrton fixtures arrived earlier than anticipated they were used for Prestonwood’s “The Gift of Christmas,” a holiday tradition for which Seitz is the long-time lighting designer. The multimedia production, which played multiple shows, featured a nearly thousand-member cast and choir, orchestra, flying angels and live nativity.
“We used about 80 Eurus as our main key light, renting extra units from Gemini LSV in Dallas, with the Prestonwood Huracans lighting the choir and specials in the sanctuary,” Seitz explains. “The biggest surprise was how well the Eurus did in this situation. They needed to deliver an almost 100 foot throw and they stayed so bright that we actually had to turn them down, quite different from running our old arc sources at 100 percent and still running out of gas. Being able to use Eurus as keys in our largest production speaks to their versatility.”
Eurus’s smaller fixture size also “opened up more sight lines” for the packed audience, he notes. In addition: “They were able to keep up really well with automation tracking – the flying angels, for example – which had been an issue in the past. The Eurus were impressive on that count as well.”
The new Ayrton fixtures made a noticeable difference to the creatives and cast working on the show, he points out, with the Eurus keys giving everyone a real moment in the spotlight thanks to the fixtures’ increased horsepower. “After the show, people asked us what we had done differently with the lighting,” Prestonwood’s Bailey recalls. “The cues were not dramatically different from past years but the new fixtures were. Even for our regular Sunday worship services the brightness, crispness, punch and texture of the Ayrton fixtures are noticeable even to the untrained eye.”
“The Gift of Christmas” also deployed Prestonwood’s grandMA3 full-size lighting console plus two more grandMA3 full-size desks, a grandMA3 light, a grandMA3 compact XT and six NPUs, which were rented for the production.
As part of the renovation, UVLD specified two MDG Atmosphere haze generators. “I’ve used Atmosphere many times, it’s one of my favourite haze generators,” reports Seitz. “Its fine particles and CO2 consumption means the haze won’t build up on fixtures.” ACT Entertainment is also the exclusive distributor of both MA Lighting and MDG products in North America.
“I’m sure Prestonwood will be using the Huracans and Eurus and their large toolsets in many different ways throughout the year,” says Seitz. “Many special events are scheduled all year, including the Freedom Weekend, where the new fixtures showed they could deliver more versatility by adding additional effects and looks for the event.”
“Our Freedom Weekend student event is outside the norm of worship services, and we need to pull out all the stops with real rock show lighting,” Prestonwood’s Bailey explains. “The new fixtures really killed it this time! We rented almost nothing for the weekend, and I see us renting less and less additional equipment as we go forward. We’ll be able to handle everything we typically had to beef up for before.”
“As expected from ACT, they provided really excellent sales and technical support for us during the project, with Jerad Garza and Aaron Hubbard, especially, spearheading demos, working with us week to week and helping us understand delivery timelines,” says Seitz.
“We use a lot of ACT products in our projects, and our design team talks about ACT a lot,” adds Paragon 360’s Cowen. “We’re grateful for the partnership we have established with ACT and the excellent support we always get from them.”
“We’re extremely happy with the support that ACT has given us from demos to load in,” concludes Prestonwood’s Bailey. “It’s been a great project all the way around.”
At Prestonwood, Matthew Hughes is the Plano Campus lighting director and Rodney Bailey the lighting systems technician. At Paragon 360 Shawn Lear was the project manger for the renovation with Mark Diekmann handling lighting.
photos: Lewis Lee
17th March 2023
L-ISA Channels Eye of the Storm at Chasseurs de Tornades, Futuroscope’s Cutting Edge New Attraction
France – Launched last summer to worldwide acclaim, the multi award-winning Chasseurs de Tornades attraction at the Futuroscope theme park in Poitiers, France, is a breathtaking 360-degree immersive experience that follows the adventures of a team of tornado hunters. The landmark project, which cost 21 million Euros to build, features the largest circular LED screen in Europe. Hollywood visual effects specialist, François-Xavier Aubague, directed and produced the media content, which is mixed with live action scenes. The new ride is experienced from a moving platform that rises, falls, tilts and turns with the action, accompanied throughout by L-Acoustics ground-breaking L-ISA Immersive Hyperreal Sound technology.
Originally launched in the 90s to showcase futuristic technologies, Futuroscope has evolved into a technology-focused theme park with state-of-the-art roller coasters, immersive rides and cinematic experiences. The newest attraction in the park and a unique concept, Chasseur de Tornades has garnered multiple industry accolades since its opening, including the prestigious THEA award for best attraction.
The ride comprises a 17-metre diameter spherical auditorium fitted with a 360° floor-to-ceiling screen. Sections of the screen sink into the floor to reveal a ten metre main stage and smaller five metre one that showcase live action for different parts of the storyline. Leading the narrative, a tornado-chasing buggy drives around the auditorium, intermittently disappearing behind the screen which then plays footage of a virtual version of the vehicle, whilst the audience is seated centrally on the rotating platform within the action.
FMD, which manages technical support for the park, specified the AV components of the new ride, including the pivotal choice of audio technology. With experience of L-Acoustics from previous installations, it was the ‘go to’ choice when it came to the new attraction due to L-Acoustics’ innovative product portfolio and exceptional reputation.
“We had L-Acoustics v-DOSC systems installed in the park in 1997, and have worked happily with their systems ever since. We were one of first companies to explore L-ISA technology in 2016, and we were amazed and impressed with what it can do,” explains Yannis Marchet, development and project manager at Futuroscope. “Our research during the early stages of this project highlighted that there were other companies that could deliver similar audio technology, but when the team was conceiving the ride, we immediately thought of L-ISA as the ideal solution. As an atypical and unique attraction, we felt the synchronicity between the technology and the film footage was paramount and adopting L-ISA was the best approach to achieve this. We even visited L-Acoustics HQ with the film’s producer to further the collaboration, and fine tune how the sound objects could move in the same way as the film.”
The audio needed to follow the movement of the buggy. First, an L-ISA mix was established with the stationary buggy, and then, using the L-ISA processor and DAW plug-in, a dynamic and automatic curve was added to represent movement. The producer and sound designer spent several months perfecting the film, and each iteration had its accompanying soundtrack. In the end, 30 different versions of the audio mix were made, with each one tested in the auditorium. The final mix was then recorded, programmed by the mix engineer using L-ISA Studio software suite, and used as playback during the shows.
Since the LED screen is not acoustically transparent, the team devised a configuration of 16 compact short throw X8 cabinets, positioned around the top of the LED screen using L-Acoustics Soundvision software to ensure that this would provide maximum coverage to the audience. Four additional X8 speakers form an inner circle, with another X8 in the centre of the inner circle, facing directly down towards the audience. For lower frequency reinforcement, three KS21 subwoofers face down from the ceiling, whilst three X12 speakers are positioned on the big stage and two on the smaller stage. There are six LA4X amplified controllers to drive the system, which was calibrated using L-Acoustics M1 measurement platform while network management is handled by a P1 Milan AVB processor.
Except for the seating platform, every part of Chasseurs de Tornades was conceived and built in France by Futuroscope. However, the audio hardware took just two weeks to install, with all the loudspeaker components, including the amplifiers, rigged on an eight metre-high truss framework, designed by FMD. The system is connected on a Dante network, using a Modulo Pi media server, with the audio soundtrack running on a Mac loaded with Pro Tools.
During the development of Chasseurs de Tornades, two of the attraction’s team members trained at L-Acoustics, receiving certified status. This allows Futuroscope to be autonomous in maintaining the ride. “Having certified team members on hand is not a luxury,” explains Marchet. “In the first two months of opening, over 350,000 visitors enjoyed the attraction, so making sure everything works perfectly every time is essential!”.
He concludes: “This is by far the biggest project we’ve ever built, and we were working without a blueprint. The results are stunning; we are 100 percent happy with it, and with the L-ISA technology. If we had to do it again, we wouldn’t do anything differently!”
17th March 2023
PMC Monitors Give Marc Bakos the Accuracy to Develop New Audio Tools
UK – Marc Bakos, co-founder of audio software company Cleanfeed, has improved the accuracy of the monitoring in his London studio by installing a PMC6 XBD system.
The new monitors were supplied by pro audio specialist and PMC partner SX Pro as a replacement for Bakos’s older PMC TB2S+ system. They were chosen for their transparency and ability to faithfully reproduce the entire audio spectrum.
“I believe I was one of the very first in the UK to install these monitors,” Bakos says. “I initially demoed a pair of PMC6s from SX Pro and helped with some beta testing. I eventually decided to invest in my own pair, along with their associated PMC8 SUBS, because I was thoroughly impressed by them.”
Bakos adds that, throughout his career, he has always trusted PMC speakers for their exceptional sound quality.
“PMC speakers are a crucial tool in the work I do as they allow me to accurately judge sound quality and ensure the best possible results,” he says. “I often spend long hours in my studio and that’s where the quality of these monitors really shows. I like being able hear every detail in a piece of music and I also appreciate that PMC monitors are non-fatiguing, even at slightly loud levels, which enables me to work for longer.”
Bakos founded Cleanfeed in 2014 with his business partner Mark Hills. This web-based software enables people to connect and record live with anyone in the world, using nothing more complicated than just a browser. Cleanfeed’s effectiveness and simplicity has led to it being widely adopted by audio professionals as the ‘go-to’ tool for sending and recording live broadcast quality audio. Indeed, it’s success was noted by the broadcast industry in 2022 when Marc and Mark were awarded a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Engineering, Science & Technology.
“I’ve always had a passion for audio and technology, and that led me to study at Alchemea College [now the Abbey Road institute],” Marc Bakos says. “After gaining experience in the media industry, working with companies and individuals such as Global Radio, Metropolis Studios and acclaimed composer Patrick Doyle, I became involved with a production music library, which was eventually sold to BMG. I’ve also had a successful career as an IT consultant, working with some of the UK's most highly-recognised architecture, interior design, restaurant and media businesses.”
In recent years Bakos has also been working with various radio stations as a technical consultant. One such project led to him helping one of the largest regional radio stations in the UK to transition to a fully IP based transmission chain.
“I was the first to fully virtualize a multi station radio transmission network. From the high-density audio processing right through to the antenna. I'm incredibly proud of this achievement,” he says.
Bakos’ studio in London is the hub of all his activities, including development work for Cleanfeed and mixing and producing music.
“When you are creating audio tools like Cleanfeed for discerning industry professionals, it is really important that the quality of your monitoring complements the quality of the tools you are developing,” he says. “I now have the ideal system and I couldn’t be happier with its performance.”
17th March 2023
Beautifully Seated for Shakespeare
UK – The Royal Shakespeare Company’s Swan Theatre has unveiled its refurbished auditorium, including a major upgrade of the seating. Audience Systems has replaced the traditional benches with comfortable, elegant individual seats.
Stratford-upon-Avon, the home of Shakespeare, is also home to the three world-famous theatres of the Royal Shakespeare Company: the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, the Swan Theatre and The Other Place.
The Royal Shakespeare Theatre and Swan Theatre are co-located right by the River Avon, the third generation of theatres on the site. The Swan stages plays by Shakespeare’s contemporaries and modern playwrights alike. Its interior is instantly recognisable, with its courtyard style layout evoking the boisterous auditoriums of the Shakespearian era.
The replacement of the seating comes as part of a larger project which also includes structural repairs and new audiovisual infrastructure. Following consultation with the theatre’s front of house team, the refurbishment sees the Swan equipped with comfortable individual seats for the first time. Much as an intimate atmosphere can add to a theatrical experience, The Swan’s benches sometimes brought the audience a little too close, allowing just 450mm for each theatre-goer.
“We also wanted to make the auditorium more accessible,” explains head of technical resources, Ben Ranner. “We now have eight wheelchair spaces on the ground floor and one on the balcony, plus we have some wider seats on the balcony for those with limited mobility. But also, the fact that all the seats are wider and most have armrests makes the auditorium more accessible for everyone. You can feel that you have your own warm, enveloping, comfortable space while still enjoying intimacy with the stage.”
The Swan is a complex space, awash with levels and angles, but it also needs to be adaptable. The stalls area houses the venue’s famous thrust stage, as well as removable tiering, faceted to fit the shape of the auditorium. For this area, Audience Systems provided “Matrix” seats in groups, which simply slot into sockets on the tiers, and can be quickly removed without tools. This is a big advantage when it comes to setting up for a production, explains Ben Ranner.
“The Swan Theatre was designed with the idea of never having big sets or props, but from the very first show, there were big sets and props! So getting the sets in has always been challenging. However, the Matrix seating on removable tiering gives us tremendous flexibility. At every get-in we can take it all out to give good access to the stage. We’ll be making more changes to the theatre in the next few years, and we now have the scope to do that much more simply.”
Up on the balconies, fixed seats were carefully engineered to fit the spaces. There are also sections of removable seating throughout the auditorium to accommodate wheelchairs or camera positions.
The seats themselves are designed to complement the character of the auditorium, with a popping theatrical red fabric contrasting with timber highlights on the backrest and armrests.
“I had personally worked with Audience Systems for many years in previous roles, most recently at The O2 Arena,” explains Ben. “We were very keen to have a UK manufacturer, and we liked the robust and simple product which Audience Systems could provide. I also knew that Audience Systems’ products were good value for money: a good quality product at a good price. The simplicity of the design is very useful for maintenance. We don’t have to carry a vast quantity of spares – we only carry around five percent. And we know that if anything does go wrong, Audience Systems are just up the road.
“We’ve already had a donor event and people were thrilled to come in and see how respectful we have been to the space, with comfort and warmth and colours in keeping with the rest of the building. Plus, the seats offer a degree of comfort even higher than I expected, with a posture that sits you in a slightly reclined but well supported position.
“Working with the team, from Emily and Gary in sales to the drawing office to delivery went very smoothly. The experience has been a real pleasure from start to finish, and we really hope to continue the relationship into the future.
photos: Sara Beaumont, © RSC
16th March 2023
Genelec delivers an unforgettable sound system to Deja Brew
India – Reminded of somewhere you’ve been before? Deja Brew, a premium Indian restaurant and bar situated in the stylish district of M Block Market in Greater Kailash 2, New Delhi, demands attention with its instantly memorable name. Backed up with high quality food, a multitude of brews and five-star service to match, the location has quickly gained popularity. The venue is the brainchild of Naveen Sachdeva, the founder of Cherish Hospitality, along with Parth Chadha and Aashish Goyal. The trio has created a successful concept that is already a favourite spot for many, much like their popular brand, Ministry of Beer. In keeping with the upmarket feel of the new venue, Deja Brew required a compact, yet exceptional sound system to match. Genelec was an obvious choice.
With a full house, Deja Brew comfortably seats 80 people on two storeys, with seating areas distributed in small, intimate pockets. “In opening a hybrid brew lounge, we needed a sound system with good tonal quality and great bass. However, due to space constraints, we were unable to install a subwoofer,” elaborates Sachdeva. “It was at this point that Sandeep Duggal at Value Marketing Systems (VMS) Delhi, who has over two decades of experience designing and installing sound systems, suggested Genelec.”
After visiting VMS’s dedicated demo facility and sampling the Genelec sound for themselves, Deja Brew opted for a selection of 4030 loudspeakers, favoured for their compact size and active design. In total, thirteen 4030 loudspeakers were provided by Genelec’s partner Alphatec AV, the largest distributor of AV equipment on the sub-continent, and installed by VMS.
“It became clear at the launch party, where almost 200 people were dancing to the music, that we had made the right decision,” explains Sachdeva. “We’re extremely pleased with the sound quality and distinctive appearance of the loudspeakers. Sandeep’s sound design and after-sales service have been excellent!”
Duggal, who is owner and technical head at VMS, explains the motivations behind the purchase: “We’ve worked hard to cultivate an energetic vibe at Deja Brew, but where customers can freely converse and relax. It was vital that customers could hear one another over the music. Genelec is well known for having an incredibly clean audio signature, offering unrivalled clarity and intelligibility irrespective of playback level. Taking this into consideration, opting for the 4030s was a no-brainer.”
The 4030s are distributed across both floors to achieve even coverage in every section of the restaurant, with no hot spots or dead zones. One of the key factors in the decision was Genelec’s active design, which eliminates the need for external amplifiers, instead allowing the VMS team to run a reduced amount of cabling back to a single, centralised music processor. This is connected to a media player to provide staff with the ability to play whatever music they wish, with the additional option of pairing their own devices.
Projects of this size are where the 4030 model truly comes into its own, delivering high fidelity sound with balanced and precise bass reproduction, even at low SPLs, yet with sufficient power and headroom to easily accommodate much higher levels for events or functions. However, the default level has been optimised to promote a healthy level of conversation while playing background music.
The 4030’s small form factor combined with the extensive range of mounting accessories enabled VMS to integrate the loudspeakers seamlessly with the interior layout. “Alongside the wide range of RAL colours that Genelec offers, we noticed that the 4030s were also available in the RAW recycled aluminium finish, which is kinder to the environment as the models require no painting and less finishing material,” explains Sachdeva. The team agreed that this sustainable design also suited Deja Brew’s aesthetic, which balances an open industrial theme blended with traditional wooden, rustic tones, courtesy of Orphic Design Studio.
“We work to reduce our carbon footprint however we can, so if we do so whilst matching our interior, that’s a bonus,” remarks Sachdeeva. “It’s as if this model was designed specifically for Deja Brew, and we have Genelec’s comprehensive portfolio to thank for that, as well as Sandeep from VMS, who helped us navigate it professionally.”
15th March 2023
HH Electronics TNA Line Array Presses Case at Cidermill Theatre
UK – The Cidermill Theatre is a new performing arts theatre owned and run by Chipping Camden School in Gloucestershire. Built to serve both the school and the wider Cotswold community, the £4million venue was opened in October 2022 at a launch event which featured actor Ben Miller and chart-topping singer Jennifer Paige, who performed a set including her international hit ‘Crush’. Centred on the Rockspring Auditorium (capacity 292 seated, 450 standing), the complex also includes a dance studio, black box studio, lounge area, rehearsal spaces, classroom, café and bar. The Theatre enjoys a full range of professional facilities and is quickly developing an impressive programme of theatrical performances, live music, dance, cinema screenings and talks. An essential component of any modern, flexible performing arts centre is its audio provision, and the Theatre consulted with specialist Michael Krompass at BASE Culture about a suitable system.
Krompass had no hesitation in recommending HH Electronics’ new TNA line array, having experienced a demonstration of the system when it was launched. Perfect for small to medium sized venues, the TNA offers a compact, active package that is easy to set up and packs a powerful punch that belies its size. The system is based around the TNA-2120SA, a multi-channel active subwoofer with integrated Class D amplifier which features two high power 12” low frequency woofers with exceptionally high output and the TNA1800SA a powerful single 18” active low frequency subwoofer. With three channels of high performance amplification, the TNA-2120SA houses six cutting edge built-in DSP presets and as part of a modular system can power up to six satellite TNA-2051 passive, two-way compact line array loudspeakers, offering an ideal solution that does away with the extra expense of rack amplifiers and processors.
The main Rockspring auditorium was equipped with a full system comprising a TNA2120SA, two TNA1800SA and six TNA2051 units per side. BASE Culture also supplied five HH Electronics TRM-1201 12” active stage monitors and a single TRM-1500 active sub for use as a drum fill. In order to maximise the flexibility of the space, the system is ground-stacked, its easy portability enabling quick setup and take down times.
Cidermill Theatre technician Laurence Iles is impressed by the system: “We definitely made the right choice by going with Michael’s recommendation. The system is perfect for the space, sounds brilliant and has more than enough headroom to cater for everything we stage within the auditorium. It’s most definitely a high quality system that comes in at a very competitive price.”
Michael Krompass of BASE Culture adds: “The HH TNA line array system was a superb fit for The Cidermill Theatre install. Its elegant look and sleek aesthetic compliment the theatre design perfectly. The PA packs a punch, sounds outstanding and is easily comparable to systems many times its price range.
“HH was the perfect choice and the client has been blown away by the results. I love the bottom end, clarity and smooth natural compression that it throws out. HH is now my go-to choice for venues of all shapes and sizes: dependable, high-quality and always exceeds sonic expectations.”
photos: Andrew Marshall & Acanthus Clews Architects
15th March 2023
Flipper’s Roller Boogie Palace immerses skaters in Hippotizer-driven video and light
UK – America’s legendary Flipper’s Roller Boogie Palace has landed in London, offering fun-seeking skaters an AV-rich, club-like experience. Billed as ‘the world’s best rink’, its West London location is decked out with no less than ten LED screens, five projectors and 200 Lucenti Tubes, all driven by Hippotizer Boreal+ MK2 media servers which were bought by the venue owners.
With the original Los Angeles Flipper’s known and ‘Studio 54 on wheels’ due to its disco soundtrack and famous faces, and the more recent New York Rockerfeller Center revival resetting the party tone, the London incarnation has big shoes to fill. The new two-storey, 34,000-square-foot space is able to welcome 2,500 people per day, and is set up as a live music venue and bar-restaurant in addition to the rink.
Rigged around the main skating area are a number of screens, LED walls and projections, enhancing the visual feast. The projection surfaces are roller blinds made from Carbon Black, a new fabric with carbon fibre nanotubes woven into the material. This is a black projection surface and with the blinds over the stunning windows gives the option of allowing natural light to flood the venue or have the blinds down to give a more immersive visual experience. Lucenti LED Tubes are rigged in triangle formations above the rink which run alongside club-like lighting and a slamming sound system. The interiors were designed by independent design studio, 93. Production design was delivered by nVisible, headed by production designer, Tim Dunn, who brought Digital Insanity’s Richard Bagshaw in to programme the media server solution with client-created content, working with Will Harkin, technical project manager at Creative Technology.
“From the moment I was approached to help with the creation of Flippers Roller Boogie Palace London I knew Hippotizer was the right product to give this club what it needed to set it apart from other venues,” says Harkin. “The vision was to create a system that could serve media to 16 unique screen destinations around the venue day in and day out, but also allow an operator to manually manipulate content in time with the music to give a dance party feel to the club nights held at Flippers every Friday and Saturday night.”
Flipper’s is now offering regular DJ nights, celebrating spinners who speak to diverse skater communities. Evening tickets are sold as a club night, with the only difference being that dancing is on wheels.
“It’s quite incredible how much the Boreal+ MK2 is actually doing,” says Bagshaw. “It’s driving a lot of pixels, to a lot of screens, as well sending pixel-mapped video to the LED strips and DMX triggers to the lighting console to keep the looks changing with the video timelines. It’s performing really well, most often from lunchtime to 10pm most days and until the early hours on weekends. It’s impressive.
“What’s also been really helpful is a new feature in Hippotizer v4.8 – Preset Timelines – allowing us to create looks and save them as either layer or mix presets and then create timelines in Timeline Plus using these pre-saved looks. This also makes updating looks really quick and easy as you just have to update the preset and this cascades through the programming.”
“The Hippotizer’s ability to map the LED lighting strips using PixelMapper to create the unique chevron design ceiling lighting system the runs the length of the venue was another defining factor in choosing it,” adds Harkin. “I am really impressed with the hardware specifications and performance of a Boreal+ MK2, but most of all the dedication and support we received from Green Hippo with the delivery of this project.”
The team designed the Hippotizer system to be able to drive live content to the screens – for instance streaming coverage of sporting events – and there are also cameras rigged around the rink which can feed live action skating into the Boreal+ MK2 and onto the screens.
“Another key aspect is that all of the visual content timelines can be triggered from a Streamdeck controller,” says Bagshaw. “When there isn't a professional media server operator, the team can simply choose whether it's the timeline they want to run, or a live feed, and they’re ready to go. They just press play and it runs the selected content on the desired screens, in any location or either floor. In turn, that content also triggers the lighting cues, based on the points of the timeline. The Boreal+ MK2 is a monster; it needed to be that to provide the power that we needed to be able to run it all.”
Flipper’s Roller Boogie Palace was originally founded in the late 70s by Ian ‘Flipper’ Ross, and the London version is headed up by his daughter, Liberty Ross, entrepreneur Kevin Wall and the singer, Usher. 93 Founder and creative partner Tim Hubbard said of Flipper’s in an interview with Design Week: “You can't help but be overwhelmed. When you've got brilliant digital content, brilliant brand, great sound, great music, great lighting, great interiors, good drinks, great service, an amazing experience of a fantastic rink. And then you see all those people, that community coming together in that space. It's a real energy.”
photos: © Will Harkin
15th March 2023
Audient Console: A Star in Expanding Sky
USA – A 36-channel Audient ASP8024 Heritage Edition console sits at the heart of Expanding Sky Studio, a creative space offering high quality audio recording in mid-coast Maine. “I’ve had a number of project studios in post industrial buildings as well as home studios, but my dream was to one day be able to afford to build a professional world class recording studio. That dream has been realised,” says the studio’s CEO, Michael O’Connell.
Driven by a mission ‘to bring meaningful, inspiring music to the world, regardless of genre and commercial intent,’ according to the website, Michael and the Expanding Sky team of producers and mix engineers work closely to provide the artistic community a seamless service. Their choice of mixing desk is a big part of that. “My staff and I feel the Audient will be our secret weapon in music production. We are thrilled to have it as our centrepiece and hope to have many a year of running great sounding music through it.”
He explains the setup at Expanding Sky. “The console feeds our soffit-mounted Quested Mains along with ATC 25s mid fields and Focal Solo B6s for near fields for monitoring. We also employ Avatone Mix Cube speakers for reality checks of our mixes.”
Although not averse to working in the box, he is essentially an ‘analogue guy’. “We are a hybrid studio using Logic Pro as our DAW of choice but output to the Audient for analogue goodness as well as using a number of high end outboard gear all in the analogue domain. Integrating our outboard gear with the board is straightforward, and the added Stereo Returns on the console is a really nice touch, saving us channels on mix down.
Describing what appeals to him about the large format console, he says: “The Audient is a dream as far as connectivity, routing options and clarity of functions. The mic pres are clean, transparent and sound great. The John Hardy 990C+ summing amps along with the mix bus compressor really add some weight and glue at mix down.
“I love having 24 buses and 12 Aux sends - great flexibility there. I especially enjoy the splittable EQ which you can use together if one wishes,” he adds.
Michael himself is a composer, engineer, songwriter and musician and has a vision for the studio to work within the local arts community, offering both instruction in audio production and afford local talent an opportunity to have professional recordings of their music in a world-class studio. “We have a community high school outreach programme and are dedicated to discovering and aiding local aspiring artists,” he says.
A new construction designed by Greg Morris of TEC Award-winning studio design company, FM Designs, Expanding Sky Studio was ten months in the making and has been open since April 2022. Comprising a live room, iso room, control room and a relaxing lounge for artists and guests, the entire 1700 square foot of space is housed in the much larger historic Fort Andross Mill Complex in the town of Brunswick.
14th March 2023
Stifel Theatre Creates Modern System in Historic Structure with Chauvet Professional
USA – Adrian Silverstein and Joe Beck both relish talking about history, and it’s easy to understand why. As the assistant general manager and master entertainment electrician respectively of the venerable Stifel Theatre, they work in a building where the past seems to echo off every inch of beautiful Art Deco walls.
Once the largest stage houses west of the Mississippi, the downtown theatre has hosted some of the most illustrious names from the worlds of opera, Broadway and comedy, as well as contemporary music acts. Fascinating anecdotes springing up every step of the way, like the time The Rolling Stones performed their first concert in St. Louis here on 12 July, 1966, when it was called the Kiel Opera House, and police had to control the large crowds that had gathered for tickets.
Like all historic gems, Stifel Theatre requires extra love and attention to ensure that it’s able to meet the needs of modern productions while still preserving its timeless character. “The historic nature of the theatre presents some challenges,” said Silverstein. “We have to continue keeping up with things to ensure the quality and calibre of the acts that grace this stage.”
In 2010, after being closed for 20 years, the theatre underwent an extensive, 18-month renovation, including an upgrade to its lighting system. However, those improvements only took the theatre’s lighting system so far.
“While the lighting system that was installed during the renovation drastically improved what had previously been in place, there were opportunities to enhance its performance features,” said Beck. “It had no intelligent lighting fixtures and the conventional fixtures we did have were not in large enough quantities to do much more than a two-colour wash and some front light. Also, to quote a phrase my grandmother used, that system lacked the 'umph' that was needed to do justice to our stage.” (The theatre’s stage has a 14ft apron, while the stage itself, including the apron and is 128ft wide and 60ft deep.)
Recently, the Stifel Theatre was able to create such a system by working with iConic Solutions Group to install a new rig featuring 170 Chauvet Professional fixtures supplied by Cine Services/Bad Dog Productions of St. Louis. Included in this collection are 50 Ovation Rêve E-3 multi-colour ellipsoidals, 40 Ovation F-195 FC Fresnels, 20 Maverick Force 1 Spots, 20 RogueR3X Wash units, 30 WELL Fit uplighters, ten Well Panels and one AmHaze Stadium fogger.
Led by general manger Todd Mitchell, the team at the Stifel Theatre selected this package after some extensive research, which included talking to visiting LDs and production crews about their experience with different fixtures. They also received some advice from Rob Denton of rdentex Design, who oversaw the installation of over 700 Chauvet Professional fixtures at St. Louis’ iconic outdoor venue, The Muny.
“Rob provided mountains of input and information about Chauvet both as company and as a provider of lighting equipment,” said Beck. “He and Kyle Curtis, who represents Chauvet through iConic Solutions, were instrumental in our decision.”
Adding 20 Maverick Force 1 Spot and 20 Rogue R3x Wash moving fixtures greatly expanded the flexibility of the theatre’s rig, noted Beck, who added that the movers also cut down on the amount of time and expense involved in rehanging and refocusing for nearly every event, something that had been a necessity in the past.
“In addition to being more efficient, the full colour-mixing capabilities of our new fixtures open much greater design possibilities,” said Beck. “Also, the variable pulse width modulation is invaluable for our broadcast shows and very important to our crew, none of the new fixtures weighs more than 48 pounds.”
The quality of light and color mixing of the new system, along with its sheer number of fixtures, makes holding events much easier at Stifel Theatre, which hosts a diverse range of programming, from family productions like “Paw Patrol Live,” to classical concerts comedy shows, to concert performances by the likes of Toto, John Mellencamp and Harry Connick Jr.
Playing a big role in providing the rich palette of colours at the theatre are its Rêve E-3 fixtures. “We have 5degree lenses on 16 of these units and use them for high front light from a position we call ‘The Cove,’ which is an opening cut into the ceiling some 15 feet about the projection booth,” said Beck. “The throw is considerable at approximately 135 feet at plaster line to nearly 150 feet at mid stage. I can tell you that side-by-side with a 750 Watt quartz-halogen ERS – and I don’t care who made it – the Reve E-3 is a hands-down winner.”
There are 12 more Reve E-3 ellipsoidals located in the box boom positions stage left and right. The longest throw is about 110ft and the shortest is about 30ft. Lensing includes 10º, 14º, 19º and 26º applications. A handful of additional Reve E-3 units is reserved for specials. Another eight Reve units are kept out the main rig for use as add-ons, spares, or for the occasional non-theatrical application in the lobby or other areas of the facility.
Joining the ellipsoidals in colourising the sage is the Ovation F-915 FC Fresnel. These fixtures are position on five fly-system battens on approximately eight-foot centres, upstage-to-downstage with each batten carries fixtures.
The rig’s Well Fit fixtures are primarily relied on for support lighting for other areas of the facility but can be and are occasionally employed as additional lighting for the art-deco architecture in the theatre for some events.
“Visiting LDs have been very pleased by our new system, especially those who visited before our upgrade,” said Beck. “Our system has the capacity to deploy multiple DMX universes in nearly any location on stage or out in the auditorium which, when combined with the 160-fixture inventory, affords touring acts and LDs a great deal of flexibility. For those acts that don’t tour with a floor package, we keep a handful of heads in reserve in the event there is a desire to have floor fixtures.”
Visiting crews are also always pleased by the updated lighting positions at the theatre, which afford a good deal of flexibility for power and Ethernet connectivity despite the age of the facility. Still, some reminders of the theatre’s age are still present, but they have no effect on the performance of the lighting system.
“Most of the original access routes and intricate catwalk and ladder systems remain in place and in use,” said Beck, calling it “part of the charm you get with a historic structure.” And this historic structure does indeed possess and abundance of charm, but now it also has a thoroughly up-to-date lighting system that gives LDs all the tools they need to create memorable shows.
photos: Scott Rovak
13th March 2023
Hamer Hall at Arts Centre Melbourne installs new grandMA3 system
Australia – A new grandMA3 full-size console, a grandMA3 compact XT and a grandMA3 onPC command wing have been delivered and are in action at the 2,466-capacity Hamer Hall, the largest indoor venue at the Arts Centre Melbourne complex, which has a busy schedule of orchestral and contemporary music performances and other events.
All three consoles were delivered in July 2022 by MA Lighting’s Australian distributor Show Technology, replacing Hamer Hall’s previous lighting control system.
Arts Centre Melbourne’s head of lighting Peter Darby said MA devices were the most requested lighting control options by incoming productions.
“We thought it was the right tool for the job and the best choice for the venue,’’ he said.
Once they had decided on grandMA3 hardware, the next conversation was about the running mode.
With the proven power and flexibility of Phasers as the system backbone, they agreed that a full grandMA3 package (hardware and software) was the way to go to control their approximately 150 fixtures, a mix of moving lights, conventional and LEDs.
“The Phasers are such a straightforward way to create very complex effects that have not been possible with previous versions of grandMA.”
Hamer Hall’s new lighting supervisor, Jake Kirby, said the dual encoders and other features reduce button presses and ultimately save time.
Jake lights around 80 per cent of the shows in Hamer Hall, the other 20 will have their own LD.
“Often we will have an afternoon sound check which will be the only ‘rehearsal’, and from then we go straight into a show that evening never having seen the full performance before, so we have to be prepared for anything.”
Hamer Hall is the home to the flagship Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, who have their own grandMA3 show file. Jake and all the other operators have their own user profiles for maximum adaptability, and the console’s multi-user functionality has also been helpful for some shows.
Hamer Hall has a lively mix of shows and events most days of the week from school graduations and jazz, orchestral concerts, and a range of other music genres.
Peter Darby said every day is different with new challenges and ways to be creative.
“Each show must look different, and the grandMA3 system with all the components really assists in achieving this,” says Peter who also like the console’s ‘letterbox’ screen, the light path beneath each encoder, and the soft touch keys which are “a big departure” from the grandMA2.
Jake Kirby said he liked the tacticity and responsiveness of the faders and being able to import Vectorworks 3D files via MVR directly for basic pre-visualisation.
“It was designed with both the technicalities of programming and the essence of being creative in mind.’’
Another Arts Centre Melbourne venue, the outdoor Sidney Myer Music Bowl, also has grandMA3 for lighting control.
10th March 2023
L-Acoustics Strikes Twice at Thunder Valley Casino Resort
USA – The Venue at Thunder Valley Casino Resort is a new 4,500-seat entertainment space officially opened on Valentine’s Day this year. Under the aegis of the United Auburn Indian Community Tribal Council, the $100 million, 150,000-square-foot entertainment complex in Lincoln, California, approximately 30 miles north of Sacramento, is already proving the value of its state-of-the-art approach to venue technology with the first run of shows. That started with the Eagles’ “Hotel California 2023” tour, followed by Bruno Mars and then Santana with Bryan Adams, plus The Black Crowes, Frankie Valli, Ringo Starr, and many more in the wings, all using The Venue’s newly installed L-Acoustics K2 sound system.
Touring artists like these are attracted to the venue for its controlled acoustics and leading-edge technologies, with the L-Acoustics K2 system as its audio flagship. “With a system like K2 in place, touring shows can leave all or most of their touring PA on the truck,” observes Chris Miller, engineer and owner of Sacramento-based CTM Sound, the project’s audio systems integrator and exclusive audio production vendor for Thunder Valley. “We were very comfortable taking on a room this size with K2.”
In consultation with the L-Acoustics applications team and Akustiks, the consultancy that ultimately specified the venue’s audio design, CTM installed a system that perfectly addressed The Venue at Thunder Valley. For instance, the two main hangs of 14 K2 per side, buttressed with two flown hangs of seven K1-SB subs per side, are powerful enough to cover virtually the entire seating area, including reaching nearly 200 feet to the rear of the venue and its middle-level balcony with full-range, fully coherent sound. More low-end power comes from a dozen KS28 subs, end-firing as a flown centre cluster.
The front rows are covered by eight Kiva II loudspeakers across the stage lip, while upstairs, the upper of the venue’s two balconies is covered by four hangs of three A15i speakers each: two Focus, one Wide to provide complete coverage of that seating area. And performers onstage enjoy 20 L-Acoustics X15 monitor wedges.
The system is powered by 23 LA12X and one LA4X amplified controllers and managed by a pair of P1 system processors matrixed at FOH, allowing for guest consoles or EQ. Audio transport is over a Milan AVB network, managed by a dozen LS10 network switches located throughout the venue, including at FOH, video control, and the amp room.
“The combination of K2 and A15i hangs for the upper balcony meant we didn’t have to splay the main hangs as much to reach the upper seats,” explains Miller. “We found every tool we needed in the L-Acoustics toolbox to fit this project perfectly. As a result, it not only sounds fantastic but there’s very little difference in SPL from the front to the back of the house. The coverage is even and consistent throughout.”
This isn’t Thunder Valley Casino Resort’s first L-Acoustics sound system. The property’s 900-seat Pano Hall venue had an L-Acoustics Kudo system installed, consisting of two hangs of 12 loudspeakers each, in 2011. Some of those have been repurposed as side-fills for the new venue, along with several existing SB28 subs. “That’s a classic L-Acoustics speaker model, and they still sound great,” says Miller.
As he was overseeing the load-in for the facility’s Eagles performance, Scott Prentice, production manager for The Venue at Thunder Valley, said, “When you have a band like this coming in that’s used to top-of-the-line sound technology, having a system like K2 makes all the difference. K1 and K2 are at the top of every rider I see, so it says something about the venue when they see L-Acoustics there.” He adds that aside from symbolising the venue’s own dedication to sonic quality, K2 being installed can also save touring artists time and labour costs.
Finally, he notes, The Venue at Thunder Valley’s K2 system is specifically tuned for the room. “L-Acoustics technicians came here to tune it for our space,” he says. “Other venues in the region tend to be multi-purpose rooms, spaces that do a number of things, some of which happen to be concerts. But The Venue at Thunder Valley is a theatre designed specifically for music, and it has a PA system that makes it the best in our market.”
Gene Whitehouse, chairman of the United Auburn Indian Community, is quoted on the Thunder Valley Casino Resort website as proclaiming: “The United Auburn Indian Community is proud to have the ability to continue to position Thunder Valley as Northern California’s premier entertainment destination,” he says. “The Venue is the future of entertainment at Thunder Valley, and we look forward to attracting big-name performers year-round.”
9th March 2023
Dubai’s New LP:ME Recording Complex Fills Every Studio with PMC Monitoring
UAE – LP:ME, a brand new recording complex in Dubai, has equipped all of its studios with PMC monitoring so that it can deliver the ultimate in sound quality to its discerning customer base.
As the musical home for numerous regional and international artists from the Middle East and North Africa, LP:ME has been operating as a studio for 25 years, starting with tape and a single room. Over the last two years the company has acquired and transformed a 30th floor in Dubai’s Jumeirah Lake Towers, making it one of the highest studio facilities in the world. It now offers three main recording studios including one flagship space purely for stereo production and two full Dolby certified Atmos studios. There are also six DAW-based producer rooms with scaled-back equipment set ups, and an in-house video production studio that provides bidirectional AV communication between all rooms so that production sessions can be live streamed.
PMC monitoring was chosen for every room by LP:ME CEO Daniel Romanovskyi, in conjunction with Eddy Jazra, head of the facility’s audio department, and Kevin Boujikian, project director and PMC partner for UAE, who was heavily involved in the design and equipping of the entire complex.
“The goal was to meet world class standards by integrating the very best equipment,” Boujikian says. “Daniel wanted to create one of the most exclusive and best studios in the MENA region, and I was very excited to be part of it.”
LP:ME’s stereo room is equipped with a 48-channel Duality Fuse console, paired with a quartet of PMC’s flagship QB1-XBDA monitors and two PMC BST subwoofers. This set-up is only found in a handful of other facilities around the globe, including Netflix and Interscope studios.
“It’s more than just a stereo room, it’s an experience,” says Eddy Jazra. “The sonic image is so clear that you could spend hours in that room without fatigue. We have also added a pair of PMC 6 active studio monitors for contrast and for nearfield work.”
LP:ME’s two Atmos suites are designed to appeal to the burgeoning immersive audio market. The largest room has an 11.1.6 speaker set-up consisting of three PMC BB6 XBD-A monitors for LCR, eight ci40s for rear and sides, six ci65s for the ceiling hung overheads and a pair of PMC BST subwoofers for low end production. The second room has a 9.1.4 configuration with three PMC MB3 XBD-As, 10 ci65s and four PMC8-2 subwoofers.
The facility’s six producer rooms also have PMC monitoring: PMC6 in most rooms and IB1S-AIII in the largest room.
Maurice Patist, PMC’s head of sales, pro global studio products, played a key part in commissioning the PMC monitoring systems, particularly in the two Atmos rooms. He also conducted a complete review of the facility’s audio design.
“The attention to detail and absolute desire to do it properly allowed us to create the right combination of proper room design, acoustics and PMC monitoring systems to maximise the performance of the control rooms,” he says. “The result is two incredible performing Dolby Atmos mix studios and an equally exceptional stereo control room, all of which deliver all the performance and gear an engineer could wish for.”
Daniel Romanovskyi adds: “I am proud that we have managed to defy all the odds and build what is arguably one of the best sounding studios in the world.”
LP:ME is already generating interest among local and international artists who are keen to try out its impressive facilities.
9th March 2023
Ny Theatre Boosts Robe Stock
Denmark – Copenhagen’s Det Ny Teater (The New Theatre) has recently invested substantially in new Robe moving lights with the purchase of 16 Robe T1 Profiles that have joined the house rig together with an additional 20 Spiiders (bringing the total to 30). Also new are two RoboSpot systems with two T1 Profile FollowSpots, plus 11 Tetra2 moving LED battens and 18 LEDBeam 350s.
This was possible thanks to financing via the AP Møller Foundation which was started in 1953 by ship owner AP Møller and his wife Chastine McKinney Møller to support areas of importance to them, including buildings of historical and cultural value and a number of other cultural criteria.
The fixtures were delivered by Robe’s Danish distributor Light Partner. All these fixtures are in daily use to facilitate Ny Theatre’s busy repertory schedule.
Located centrally in the vibrant Danish capital, the cosy 1,000-capacity venue actually dates to 1908 explained Kasper Blicher Beknes, deputy CEO and as the venue’s former technical manager who is still integrally involved in every aspect of its operation. Since starting there in 1996 Kasper has taken on many technical and administrative roles and is passionate about all aspects of Det Ny Teater and its impressive heritage.
Like many theatres, the shift to LED has been measured.
“Until now, we always had an issue with the last 50 percent of the LED dimming curve,” Kasper admits, in the same breath saying T1 is the first fixture they’ve seen where “you genuinely can’t tell the difference,” adding that the brightness and volume of LED light sources has “advanced massively” even just in the last five years.
Apart from the desire and increased requirement to be as sustainable as possible, the power saving of LEDs was a big advantage in the quest of getting the fixtures into Det Ny Teater.
The old conventional HMI followspots on the second balcony were well overdue for replacement. The noise they made was a constant issue with audiences as well as the associated intercom and operator chatter.
Kasper and his team, including current head of lighting John PG Jónsson, also saw the value of being able to use different Robe lights on the same RoboSpot system, and RoboSpot has been a great hit with all the incoming lighting designers so far who have been keen to use it.
One of these was UK-based LD Nick Richings, lighting a revival of a 2006 production of “The Producers” which utilised all the new kit.
In this case, Nick used a single T1 Profile FollowSpot on each RoboSpot system, but others have used multiple fixtures for remote following, and sometimes upstage and backlighting luminaires have been operated this way.
“The Producers” featured the same essential lighting design as the original production, reworked and modernised.
“The kit has definitely moved on since 2006,” commented Kasper who worked as the chief LX on that 2006 show.
Nick Richings agreed, and although he has used the Robe ESPRITES many times before, this was his first with T1 profiles, which he thought were “controlled yet bright and perfect for the house”, adding that, naturally, the T1 FollowSpots matched the colour and quality of the rest of the rig perfectly!
Nick utilised 11 Robe Tetra2s as the main back light, rigged overhead in the venue’s Bay 4 which proved “fantastic for getting back light into some critical places and also saving space.”
One challenge was that the LX bars were trimmed at nine metres, and The Producers, a relentlessly busy show for lighting cues, needed to be lit in a very compressed timeframe, so having the Tetra2s and XX LEDBeam 350s at his disposal – and deployable in tighter spaces – was a great help in achieving key aesthetic goals.
The LEDBeam 350s were compact and fast primary side lighting working in conjunction with the Tetra2s. The size of both types of fixtures enabled them to be squeezed in between the set portals which was a good position.
The quietness of the T1 Profile was also much appreciated, an essential element for ‘old-school’ musical theatre.
The Producers’ set practicals included 5,300 pixels and 1,000 light bulbs. Another major difference between this and the 2006 version was that the scenery was now digitally printed, giving a much wider colour gamut than the old hand-painted set, so all the colour saturation points were different, and the required colour spectrum was much tighter.
Nick relished being back at Det Ny Teater. “The team here are amazing and everyone goes above and beyond in helping to deliver fantastic results,” he concluded.
The show was programmed on a grandMA3 by Copenhagen based Joshua Kroon.
photos: Miklos Szabo
8th March 2023
Genelec supports Sámi culture and heritage at Siida Museum
Northern Lapland – The Sámi Museum and Nature Centre, Siida, is one of Northern Lapland’s most popular destinations. Dedicated to the culture of Lapland’s indigenous Sámi people, Siida has recently undergone significant renovation and expansion to accommodate increased visitor numbers and to bring the establishment into line with modern standards. As part of the process, Oulu-based technical systems specialists Caverion Suomi Oy, supplied and installed a comprehensive Genelec Smart IP loudspeaker solution on a Dante AoIP backbone. Sound designer Aki Päivärinne from Oioi Collective – experts in interactive experience design – was responsible for the sound design for the new exhibits.
The Sámi people live in harmony with the lands they inhabit. Their traditional livelihoods include coastal fishing, fur trapping, sheep herding and, of course, semi-nomadic reindeer herding. The newly renovated museum building houses an all-new exhibition where culture fuses with nature, using the latest in museum technology to showcase and celebrate Sámi heritage. Interestingly, the principal architect of the new exhibition is none other than Harri Koskinen, the renowned industrial designer who has collaborated closely with Genelec for many years.
“My brief was to recreate a soundscape reflecting the multifaceted sounds of nature in Lapland, and design a technical solution for it,” explains Päivärinne. “I knew that the open museum hall environment would be an interesting acoustic and thematic challenge since all of the seasons are presented in the very same room.” Indeed, Sámi culture celebrates not four but eight distinct seasons which dictate the rhythm of life for Sámi people.
“I wanted to create a soundscape that would render a natural and authentic backdrop for the exhibition which puts the Sámi culture into context,” he continues. “Considering that the Sámi still live in close connection with nature, an interplay between nature and culture seemed like an appropriate starting point.”
When it came to implementing the sound design, Päivärinne was categoric: “I knew I would use Genelec loudspeakers because in terms of sound quality, detail and transparency, there’s nothing to rival them. It’s also a Finnish brand and in a museum that is celebrating indigenous culture in an exhibition designed by Harri Koskinen, it would be sacrilegious to use anything else! It was also a foregone conclusion that we would be using Smart IP technology because the newly renovated technical infrastructure of Siida is based entirely on Ethernet cabling making it very easy for us to plug into the same network.”
Lauri Riihiaho led the team from Caverion responsible for the Dante network and loudspeaker installation throughout the building. He was impressed by the ease and speed of installation of the Smart IP loudspeakers. “This was our first experience with Genelec, and Smart IP in particular, and frankly, it was a piece of cake,” he observed. “Our brief was to install the loudspeakers and configure the network switches for Dante. We installed a total of thirty 4430s plus a pair of 8010s for one of the Sámi cultural displays and a 7040 subwoofer that plays out Sámi shamanic drum sounds. Genelec’s Smart IP Manager software was used to configure the loudspeakers, which was very straightforward and saved us a lot of time. We configured the switches, and everything worked perfectly. A Picturall Mark II media server equipped with a 32 x 32 Dante card acts as the main hub to run all of the museum’s media content. We connected the loudspeakers to the Dante outputs of the media server and that was it – our job was done.
“Smart IP is impressive technology,” continues Riihiaho. “You only need one CAT cable to connect the speaker to the network. You don’t even need to worry about power outlets as that same cable delivers power via PoE along with the audio and control signals. Consequently, a Genelec Smart IP solution is actually a cost-effective option compared to a traditional analogue audio system, as you save money on cabling as well as installation time.”
Staff at Siida are thrilled with the new exhibition in the renovated and expanded space. “We have increased the area of the building by 50 percent which enables us to do justice to the richness and diversity of Sámi culture and its intimate connection with the natural environment,” explains sales and marketing manager, Minna Muurahainen. “It was important to us that, where possible, we used brands whose values mirror our own, especially on issues like sustainability. Genelec clearly meets those requirements. We’re delighted with the new exhibition which uses the very latest technology to educate and immerse our visitors into the Sámi environment, which is today under threat and deserves a voice. We see ourselves as an essential part of the mission to preserve Sámi heritage and the deployment of modern – and sustainable – AV technology to help tell the story is a key part of that mission.”
7th March 2023
Audient Consoles Take London College of Communication into the Future at Elephant & Castle
UK – Three Audient consoles are helping to shape the future of a new intake of students at London College of Communication, part of University of the Arts London. Integral to the teaching of music production undergraduates, the new ASP8024-HE consoles are located in three studios at the always-evolving Elephant & Castle site.
Lead technician, Christopher Bourke explains the setup at London College of Communication. “These three studios are centred around the Audient consoles working in a hybrid analogue and digital method. One is located in our larger performance lab/teaching space. This is used more for teaching larger groups of students on the operation of the console and other recording hardware and software. The other two consoles are in our new purpose built ‘acoustic pod’ based studios.
“The studios are designed for great flexibility in input possibilities, to help the students learn the various options available in modern studios and tonal variations between types of hardware before (and after) the signal moves into the digital realm,” says Christopher.
“Currently the studios are designed to record into Avid ProTools Ultimate with two MTRX interfaces, SyncX word clock and we also have an Avid S3 control surface in each studio for automation input and manipulation. Typical signal flow would be recording the musicians’ performance using a selection of our high-end microphones from one of our live rooms into the control room via a traditional analogue patching method. From here the students can either go directly into channels in the Audient console or via one of our outboard hardware preamps or channel strips, or a combination of both.”
The recently launched three-year BA course sits alongside the established Sound Arts course (students of which also use the desks) within London College of Communication, based at Elephant & Castle. There are currently 24 undergraduates on their journey towards becoming highly skilled music and audio producers, and an MA Music Production course now on offer.
BA Music Production course leader, Diego Benalcazar is pleased with how the Audient desks give his undergraduates “a hands-on, real-world experience.” He says, “The consoles give students a sense of what it's like to work in a professional recording studio and allow them to develop practical skills in recording, mixing, routing and signal flow.”
Yet when faced with a full size 36-channel analogue mixing desk, he admits that some of his students were initially intimidated. “Once they have had the chance to work on it and understand it however, they find it pretty straightforward.” He puts students’ quick acclimatisation down to the console’s flexibility. “The Audient ASP8024-HE is really versatile,” he says. “Being an in-line console, and the way we have it set up here at the College helps students understand the underlying principles of different hybrid workflows.”
Christopher is also very pleased with how things are shaping up for them. “The Audient consoles have been great value for money, containing most of the features of a traditional large format analogue studio recording console with quality signal path, enough routing options to keep the flexibility needed in a hybrid digital/analogue workflow, as well as some nice perks such as the mix bus compressor and retro iron functions.”
The College has also installed Audient iD4 compact two in/two out audio interfaces at its individual audio workstations. Every iD interface features the Audient Console mic preamp (the same discrete circuit design found in the ASP8024-HE) ensuring the same high quality of sound throughout the college.
Upgrading its already outstanding facilities ensures London College of Communication keeps investing in its future with plans including a brand new building for the College across the road from its current site. Although the new building is still in relatively early stages of development, these latest studios have been designed to be future-proof, and mobile! Christopher explains the pioneering concept: “The ‘room within a room’ pod studios are of a semi-prefabricated construction, which allows for them to be dismantled, transported to the new location and re-assembled when the new building is completed in a few years’ time.”
The acoustically insulated studios were initially specified by audio consultant, Richard Liggins who has designed a number of universities’ studios and audio technology courses over the years. He says, “Audient consoles are still first choice for education in my book. Their inline architecture ensures students get a clear understanding of signal flow. They are robust in construction so built to last and yet still represent excellent value for money.” For London College of Communication, Richard led the design with Will Benger at EQ Acoustics, and the legendary Eddie Veale consulted on the acoustic design.
The entire project was initiated by John Carbery, who proposed the repurposing of an existing copying and printing facility to serve as the expansion area for the growing Sound discipline at the College. The prefabricated 'Pod' solution allowed the option to factor in relocation of these to the new college premises in three years’ time, as well as being able to assemble safely within an occupied building.
A mammoth project like this takes a big team effort and thanks also go to Pete Newman, Langdale Technical and of course gear supplier, Academia. Indeed, the result is testament to the involvement of all these industry heavyweights. Diego is excited about the new building too. “We will have more music and sound spaces that will help the programme to grow.”