Project News Headlines
Elation lighting refurb enhances safety, opens possibilities at Royal Oak Middle School Theater, California
Leyard Europe delivers interactive LED displays for Van Marcke’s world-first fully digital showroom in Antwerp
Southbank Centre expands Ayrton investment with Mistral for the Royal Festival Hall’s Clore Ballroom
DiGiCo 4REA4 the brains behind seamless format conversion and connectivity at UFFO Trutnov social centre
Panasonic Projectors Bring Global Phenomenon Game of Thrones to Life at the Only Official Studio Tour
Lord’s Cricket Ground bowled over by new Genelec loudspeaker system for prestigious Long Room
UK – Widely known as the Home of Cricket, Lord’s Cricket Ground is a 31,000-capacity sports destination that’s played host to some of history’s most iconic matches.
Since 2006, RH Consulting and RG Jones have provided Lord’s with bespoke audio solutions both on and off the pitch. This time round, a new Genelec loudspeaker system supplied by UK distributor Audiologic brought unrivalled and sophisticated audio to Lord’s members-only Long Room.
The Long Room, once referred to as “the most evocative four walls in cricket”, is known worldwide for its opulence. It sits as part of the Grade II listed Pavilion and frequently hosts elegant dinners, lunches and wedding receptions.
For 130 years The Long Room has been an important part of Lord’s. On match days, it welcomes Members to their favourite sport, whilst also providing the walkway for players coming down from their dressing rooms and out onto the pitch.
The brief was for an enhanced entertainment system that could accommodate the events held in The Long Room. The space can quickly go from hosting grand lunches and dinners to jazz performances, small conferences and speeches. RH Consulting and RG Jones continued their partnership at Lord’s by designing and installing a system to keep up with these demands.
“Spending a day in The Long Room is a cricket fan’s dream,” began Roland Hemming, project manager at RH Consulting. “Therefore, we needed a first-class solution that wasn’t going to compromise on quality, which led us to Genelec. Prior to the Genelec system, Lord’s was using a combination of in-house and temporary systems, which was very disruptive.”
“The Pavilion at Lord’s is a listed building so aesthetics were very important. We were also restricted on where we physically positioned the loudspeakers,” added Richard Northwood, design consultant at RH Consulting. “It’s a really busy room, so the audio solution we installed had to ensure everyone could be heard.”
Lord’s wanted a system for The Long Room that was able to play high-quality music, but it also had to serve as part of the evacuation system. The system includes redundancy so that should part of the system fail, the rest carries on. Genelec’s Smart IP loudspeakers are driven individually, which offers a high degree of redundancy.
The system uses 12 Genelec 4430A Smart IP models in a custom RAL9001 cream colour. Known for its exceptional sound quality and networked convenience, the 4430A uses PoE to deliver uncompromised SPL and acoustic performance and is fully compatible with both Dante and open streaming standards such as AES67.
“The Genelec Smart IP loudspeakers are sustainably made, flexible and can be customised in a wide range of colours,” commented Hemming. “Another advantage of using this series is that the loudspeakers are run and controlled on a single CAT cable. We were able to cable the system from the basement, which meant that there was little disruption caused.”
The loudspeakers are controlled by Genelec’s Smart IP Manager software. This targets specific audio installation problems, saving installation teams time by ensuring that all the loudspeakers are performing at their very best, even in challenging environments.
RG Jones also installed six 7040A active subwoofers. The Lord’s Estates’ department extended the room’s radiator covers so that these are invisible. The sub’s onboard bass management technology enables it to filter low-frequency information from the main channels and take responsibility for handling it. Additionally, room compensation controls also allow users to optimise the 7040A for any environment. All of this was connected into the existing site-wide DSP network.
The new Genelec system can be controlled via a touchscreen on the wall, but The Long Room is also equipped with a couple of mobile mixing consoles that can be plugged in, giving the room the flexibility required for bigger events.
For 130 years, the room has been graced with some of the sport’s biggest stars and now Genelec becomes part of that legacy, delivering a bespoke audio solution to a sporting venue that’s high on the list of any avid cricket fan. “Genelec is a reliable brand with an excellent track record,” remarks Northwood. “The sound in The Long Room has gone from being an afterthought, to one of the stand-out features of the Pavilion.”
3rd October 2023
Green-GO is the ‘go-to’ for Pucheng Grand Theater
China – Opened in 2022, Pucheng Grand Theater serves as a focus for cultural and performing arts activities for Pucheng County, in south-eastern China’s Fujian Province. As such, it hosts a varied programme of event and performance types.
While its main auditorium can accommodate up to 951 audience members, the building also features a range of other event and performance spaces across its five levels, including a cinema and a conference hall. Unsurprisingly, its busy technical team must rely on solid communications to ensure smooth operations across the site.
Responsible for the new venue’s audio system design, installation and commissioning was one of China’s leading specialist AV solutions providers, EZPro. The company’s technical manager, FAN Gaoqing, says: “To meet the needs of the varied performances and activities, flexibility and stability is absolutely critical. The project needed an intercom system with a good quality of sound, which is easy to use and would be scalable. Therefore, we chose the innovative Green-GO digital intercom solution.”
Aside from its sound quality and reliability, Green-GO’s digital Ethernet-based communications system is renowned for its cost-effectiveness and scalability. A multi-channel intercom system it seamlessly combines both wired and wireless elements and because it does not depend on an expensive and complicated central matrix at its core – the matrix exists within the processor of each individual device – it has no single point of failure.
Within a network up to 3,000 users can be accommodated in up to 250 groups, with full-duplex communication. What’s more, it can be used on existing networks, avoiding the cost or additional wiring installation. This, plus its plug-and-play simplicity and ability to integrate with existing communications networks, makes Green-GO a go-to solution for entertainment, broadcast, production and attraction applications worldwide.
The system chosen for the Pucheng Grand Theater includes four Green-GO MCXD multi-channel desk stations and two MCX multi-channel rack stations, configured with six BPX multi-channel wired beltpacks. Further extending the flexibility and cost-effectiveness of the Green-GO system, two INTERFACE X units are also provided, giving the additional advantage of the option to incorporate 2-wire or 4-wire analogue intercom systems into the Green-GO network. One RDX radio interface is also configured in the system, which allows integration with the intercom system for security guards and other staff using portable radios.
EZPro’s client at Pucheng Grand Theater, Beijing Zhongdinglitian Electronic Technology Development Co, spoke highly of the great flexibility of Green-GO system’s ‘no central matrix’ design and Ethernet-based architecture.
3rd October 2023
Dreamwave Group and Highlite International upgrade The Hangar at Milsoms Kesgrave Hall
UK – The Hangar at Milsoms Kesgrave Hall has recently undergone a major audio visual upgrade with a DMT Alpha Series A3.9i screen and DAP Odin Audio Systems line array. The venue’s long term supplier and production partner, the Dreamwave Group, designed, installed and commissioned the upgrade.
The Hangar is Suffolk’s most versatile venue and is renowned for hosting outstanding weddings, parties and corporate events throughout the year. The brief from the co-owners of Kesgrave Hall was to update The Hangar’s AV facilities after almost ten years to enable the venue to deliver its own immersive event experience. The main requirements were a large LED screen to give guests a better visual experience, an upgrade to the audio system and a redesign of the entertainment lighting. The AV installation was designed and implemented using products from Showtec, Infinity, Odin AudioSystems by DAP, DMT and Showgear. The Dreamwave Group has always had a close working relationship with Highlite as the supplier of these brands, relying on their expertise to deliver on time for critical projects and has experienced great reliability with their diverse product range.
The new LED screen is made up of 60 DMT Alpha Series A3.9i panels. The five by three metre screen takes pride of place at the centre of this installation upgrade. Panel processing is provided by two Novastar VX600s working in tandem backup mode. In addition, a DMT D1 video mixer with scaler provides easy control between the various inputs, including Resolume Arena, a media server and PTZ cameras.
Odin Audio Systems has provided the venue with its new front of house PA, consisting of Odin S-18A Subwoofers and Odin T-8A Satellite speakers. All are managed by the Odin CL-4 Digital DSP. The active loudspeaker system has allowed the space to be used in many different ways and complements the upgrades perfectly. Further audio upgrades were carried out throughout the site, comprising DAP CA amplifiers and processing, EVO 6 and EVO 8 background loudspeakers in the main hangar ceiling space, entrance marquee and outdoor areas.
An upgrade of the existing effects and stage lighting included many items from the Showtec range such as Performer Profile 600 MKIII, LED Light Bar 12 Pixel, Compact PARs, Shark Barrel One and Galactic 1K20 TXT 1000 mW RBG lasers. These fixtures are all controlled via the Infinity Chimp 300.G2 console, which is programmed with Magic Sheet touchscreen presets to give venue staff easy control of the effects.
A new layout of the performance area using the Showgear Mammoth Dex system now allows for better utilisation of the space with easy configuration changes.
2nd October 2023
Spain’s Lekuona Fabrika Cultural Center upgrades with ETC Stage Machinery
Spain – ETC distributor Stonex selected ETC stage machinery and lighting to complete the Lekuona Fabrika Cultural Center in northern Spain. Prodigy P2 hoists, QuickTouch+ controls as well as ETC luminaires were selected for the project.
Based in Errenteria near the north coast of Spain, the Lekuona Fabrika is a multi-functional cultural venue which frequently hosts exhibitions, festivals, productions and more. The venue is a 613 m² open-plan flexible space that can be divided into three rooms offering up to 6 different configurations using movable walls and retractable seating bleachers.
Due to coastal laws the Lekuona Fabrika has a height restriction as it is located next to the river. In addition to this, its technical director and creator of the project Javier Cruz explains: "There is also the issue that we lose even more height because of the movable walls that close and compartmentalise it into three rooms. This means that the motors could not go on the walls, they had to go on the ceiling.” The complex design of the space required a versatile approach in the upgrade to meet the various programming needs of the events that the Lekuona holds.
Stonex worked on the project with the venue and specified ETC technology to meet the requirements and adapt to the different configurations of its main hall: Sorlekua. As well as 13 Vortek NXT hoists, six Prodigy P2 motors with compression tube technology were installed (compression tube allows the system to be installed in places other hoists can’t as they require fewer mounting points and allow the drop pulleys to be mounted anywhere). This system also cancels the lateral forces that are commonly created in traditional rigging systems minimising stress on the building. Stonex’s ETC brand manager Juan Carlos Pascual comments: “Thanks to ETC’s Prodigy P2 technology, it is easy to install in locations that are not designed for stage machinery.”
Three ETC QuickTouch+ controllers were also installed to manage the hoists. They were configured to allow for the use of the room as a whole or individually for the different areas. The user-friendly controllers are ideal for control of set-up hoists in small theatres and auditoriums.
The LCD display provides real-time position and load information, and easy-to-read status messages giving users an incredible level of feedback for a controller of its size. Javier Cruz explains why ETC’s QuickTouch+ was chosen, commenting that they wanted: "A simple control that anyone can understand. It's easy to select one, two, three, four or five motors to move up or down, and it lets you record and recall five different positions and also monitor the loads you're carrying on the hoists at all times." This allows the team at Lekuona to have easy control of a complex and ever-changing space, fulfilling the project’s objectives of requiring a versatile system.
photo: Stonex S.L.
29th September 2023
4U Recording Expands Possibilities with Allen & Heath SQ-6
USA – 4U Recording Atlanta, located in West Midtown Atlanta, GA, is a full service recording studio owned by Tony Alexander and renowned songwriter and producer David Porter. The facility holds two large rehearsal/event spaces, four recording studios and a podcast room. The studio recently underwent a large renovation to improve communication and networking between their various studio spaces. "We wanted to make things more up to date, and incorporate Dante," explained studio manager Vohn Keith Jr.
4U's Studio A, a large rehearsal and performance space, was upgraded to an Allen & Heath SQ-6 console, which opened up the room to more possibilities. "We wanted something that would work for live performance, but also had recording and Dante capabilities," recalled facilities manager Reo Harris. "We also liked that it had a small footprint and we can easily expand our I/O using a digital stagebox." The 4U team added a DX168 expander for I/O at the stage, which runs back to the SQ-6 via a CAT6 digital snake.
With the addition of an SQ, Studio A can now capture multi-track recordings of live performances and rehearsals via Dante. "It really opened up our possibilities," noted Harris. "With all the individual tracks we can access and feed to our other studio spaces." Harris also appreciated the price point of SQ. "For all the features available, there was nothing else on the market that really compared."
Harris had never used an SQ before they purchased one for Studio A, but he was able to pick up on the workflow right away. "I love the touch screen capability and being able to patch in local I/O or networked input sources quickly," he explained. "I also really enjoy working with the reverb and delay plugi-ns built-in, it's so easy to route to them, the whole console is very intuitive."
The event spaces at 4U are host to a diversity of performances "Sometimes it's big artists preparing and rehearsing for tours," explained Keith. "But we're open to everyone that has that creative sense and is looking to find their sound. Our goal is to make our clients reassured and confident in all our studio spaces."
29th September 2023
Digital Projection delivers VR versatility for state-of-the-art studio
France – In the heart of the picturesque French Alps, event staging company CarpeDiem Evènement has been setting the stage for a new virtual recording studio, Studio 321, with the help of Digital Projection M-Vision Laser projectors.
Having recently moved into larger offices, CarpeDiem Evènement seized the opportunity to transform an unused 321 sqm space into a virtual studio, offering state-of-the-art AV equipment and the best facilities for brands and companies in the region and beyond.
The studio features a main virtual production studio space for recording and an adjoining 40 sqm production office. In the main virtual production area is a 24m x 4m white cyclorama wall with a 90° rounded floor angle, as well as a white floor covering, allowing for the recording of small and large productions from photo shoots and company presentations to cinematic video productions, using the latest technologies. Studio 321 turned the L-shaped cyclorama into a large canvas video projection screen, offering multiple camera angles for an immersive and impactful visual background.
Studio 321’s goal was to be versatile, which is why the company opted for video projection technology from Digital Projection instead of LED. Andréas Vion-Endresen, CarpeDiem project manager and director of Studio 321, elaborates: “Among other things we host photo shoots, which is why we needed a uniformly white surface everywhere to minimise shadows. This simply isn’t possible with an LED screen in the background.”
Another deciding factor was the cost of the screen: “The studio needed to be operational every day to cater to last-minute requests. Keeping a fixed 96 sqm LED screen in the studio would have been a very costly investment in terms of the power requirements, not to mention the price of a high-quality screen to match filming requirements,” he adds.
The studio calculated that, in order to achieve the right visual impact, a total of four video projectors would be required, CarpeDiem Evènement relied on two 1-Chip DLP Digital Projection M-Vision Laser 21000 projectors, whose 21,000 lumens of brightness and WUXGA resolution would ensure an immersive and captivating experience for both live and recorded events. The addition of ColorBoost+Red laser technology to these projectors also produce a much-expanded colour gamut ensuring the most realistic reproduction of images.
Vion-Endresen explains: “We already had two Digital Projection M-Vision laser projection with soft edge blending for our event requirements. After conducting successful tests with them, we realised that we only needed two more projectors to complete this set-up. The last step was to try and find a way to easily take them down from the ceiling for our event jobs and reinstall them quickly to make this even more cost-effective.”
Rigged on the ceiling, the four M-Vision Lasers projector edge blend content on the impressive 24 metre long screen, using HDBaseT network connexion. To save time during reinstallation, the company opted for VIOSO 6 automatic re-calibration technology, making the studio operational within an hour. In the background is a VIOSO 6 media server in a custom rack-mounted PC couple with a Datapath 2xHDMI 4K 4:4:4 capture card. A TouchDesigner platform manages sources and provides access to a touch-based graphical remote control for studio to use, outputting signals to the M-Vision laser projectors using VIOSO calibration technology. Twelve Martin MAC Aura fixed lighting fixtures, four Yamaha VXC8 ceiling speakers, one Yamaha MTX3 audio matric and eight-channel Yamaha XMV amplifier complete the set-up.
“The time saved through the VIOSO auto-cal tool is the cornerstone of our studio’s economic model,” confirms Vion-Endresen. “We invested over €100,000 in this facility and being able to use our M-Vision laser projectors in the field one day and in the studio the next day allows us to quickly capitalise on our investment.”
Another advantage from the projectors lies in their quietness and solid-state laser technology, as well as the ability to maintain consistent brightness levels over time. During the testing period, Vion-Endresen compared lamp-source with laser technology, ultimately confirming that with the laser projectors, “the light intensity doesn’t decrease, regardless of the projection time, and there is virtually zero maintenance.”
“Having four high-power projectors in our portfolio allows us to fulfil a variety of requests in events. We use them for large screen projection during conventions, as well as doing mapping on buildings, always creating an immersive and captivating experience. The projectors are powerful, lightweight and ideal for any application.”
Jérôme Cadilhac, business development manager of Digital Projection agrees that the M-Vision projectors fit Studio 321’s goals, stating: “I have been working with CarpeDiem Evènement for about ten years and seen the company grow spectacularly over the years. The creation of Studio 321 is a new step forward and I am convinced that our M-Vision 21000 will fulfil their new mission perfectly. Not only are projectors robust and of exceptional quality, their versatility makes them ideal for both indoor and outdoor use. Coupled with VIOSO, to ensure rapid and efficient auto-calibration of the system, the studio will cause a real excitement!”
“The flexibility and power of the Digital Projection projectors coupled with the ingenuity and practicability of the VIOSO calibration software allowed us to expand our services, diversify our offering and increase our revenue,” concludes Vion-Endresen.
photos: @lestudio321 and carpediemevenement
28th September 2023
Brompton Technology selected for latest virtual production BLUE BOX xR Studio in Beijing
China – Big Blue Technology Co. Ltd is a subsidiary of Blue Focus Group, one of China's Top 500 Fortune enterprises and a prominent marketing technology group. Big Blue Technology holds a significant position in the Blue Focus Group Metaverse business segment and specialises in virtual production technologies, innovative Metaverse technology and cutting-edge extended reality solutions. In early September, Big Blue Technology proudly welcomed over 400 guests to the grand re-opening of its second virtual production studio in China, BLUE BOX xR Studio. Based in Beijing, the upgraded studio offers a wide range of applications, from advertising to TV productions to broadcast to xR virtual product launches and more. It features a state-of-the-art LED set-up, including ROE Visual LED screens and industry-standard Brompton Technology LED processing.
Located in Chaoyang District, Beijing's largest and most populous urban area, BLUE BOX xR Studio spans 1,400m2 and is equipped with dressing rooms, a lounge and other essential facilities, including convenient on-site accommodation for production crews. The studio boasts a range of high-end equipment, such as Brompton 4K Tessera SX40 LED processors, ROE Visual LED screens, disguise media servers, ARRI cinematic lighting equipment, Vicon motion capture systems, and Mo-Sys camera tracking systems. "This makes it one of the most cutting-edge studios with top-of-the-line configurations for xR and VP in China," says Vno Hu, chief technology officer at Big Blue Technology.
Having opened its doors for the first time in 2022, BLUE BOX xR Studio quickly attracted significant attention from the market thanks to its highly advanced hardware systems and an experienced technical team. Over the past year, the studio has worked with world-renowned brands like Audi, BMW, Lenovo, Ping An of China, Samsung, Tencent and Volkswagen, among others. The team has also successfully completed 15 TV commercials and broadcast-related creative shoots, as well as hosted hundreds of events such as the Lenovo Innovation and Technology Conference, all of which showcase the studio’s creative capabilities. "The formation of our Beijing facility has, in my opinion, been a driving force in our industry, instilling confidence in the virtual production sector and helping to advance the industry," comments Hu.
“With the support of outstanding talents and top-notch equipment, Big Blue Technology has optimised and integrated international leading hardware and software technologies, establishing a competitive advantage that positions us at the forefront of the industry," Hu adds, going on to highlight that along with their first studio in Shanghai and the latest addition of the BLUE BOX xR Studios in Beijing, there is another facility currently under construction in Hebi City, Henan Province, with further plans to open new studios later this year and in 2024. With such an ambitious expansion strategy, Hu is confident the company “will be able to independently connect and complete all links in the industry chain thanks to its core technological advantages and virtual reality content production platform."
Hu acknowledges there is still a gap between the level of recognition and acceptance of virtual production in the domestic market when compared to the international market. "Popularising virtual production will take some time, but we believe that day will arrive soon and we see tremendous potential in this technology. For 2022-2023, the primary focus of both facilities has been on xR production, with virtual production also being a key aspect of our business," he explains.
Alongside the highest-level hardware and software technologies, the Big Blue Technology team boasts extensive end-to-end shooting experience, which includes virtual content creation and directorial expertise, all of which enable them to provide the high-end creative production services demanded by the studios' customers. “Depending on the production requirements, we can seamlessly configure the LED panels to create a screen covering approximately 400m2 for virtual production,” Hu continues. “We utilise ROE Black Pearl BP2V2 for the main screen and ROE BM4 for the floor, all powered by five 4K Tessera SX40 LED processors and 18 Tessera XD 10G data distribution units in each studio, with further backup SX40 units available for larger projects.”
Brompton LED processing plays a vital role in the studios’ set-up, enabling fast and efficient operation of the LED screens. “Our team relies on a full suite of Tessera features, with our favourites including PureTone, which eliminates unsightly colour casts in the greyscale for balanced, neutral output,” says Hu. “We’re also big fans of Dynamic Calibration, the enabling technology for Brompton HDR, that allows us to achieve beautiful, uniform video content even at extremes of brightness and colour gamut.”
Having led the team in over 60 xR virtual production projects in recent years, Hu notes they remain committed to optimising workflows and focusing on technological innovation. “For instance, we have incorporated various camera tracking methods, real-time-driven virtual characters, real-time stage tracking, optimised the ACES colour management process and are also preparing a comprehensive Ndisplay development solution,” he states. “Many of these technological innovations need the combined support of hardware systems and software development and we are fortunate to have companies like Brompton Technology on board to support us with that.”
With the extensive upgrade, including the installation of all-new hardware equipment in just over two weeks, BLUE BOX xR Studio will re-open this autumn. Hu underscores their meticulous attention to detail to deliver the highest standards for their customers. This unwavering dedication has already garnered recognition, with several TV advertisements, commercial events, and a potential film shoot already confirmed at the studio.
"We appreciate the steadfast support from Brompton throughout the process," says Hu. "We are completely satisfied with the performance and reliability of Brompton Tessera processors, and the service and collaboration we've received from the Brompton China team has really bolstered our confidence. As we embark on future virtual studio construction projects, we remain committed to maintaining our partnership with Brompton. Their dedication to research and development, as well as their commitment to creating new products and features, is unparalleled. With their well-respected position in the industry, utilising Brompton's LED video processing solutions has given us a significant advantage.”
"We had the opportunity to participate with the Big Blue Technology team during the grand re-opening of BLUE BOX xR Studio, marking a new phase in its creative potential," concludes Elijah Ebo, Brompton's director of APAC operations. "We are delighted to see the team using our LED processing technology and look forward to the innovative productions that will originate from this facility, and to continuing our partnership with the company for upcoming projects."
28th September 2023
A.C. Entertainment Technologies Supports Newcastle Theatre Royal with Broadweigh Blue Shackles
UK – Newcastle Theatre Royal is recognised as one of the finest regional theatres in the UK. Located in the heart of the city, the iconic venue has been enthralling audiences for over 185 years, bringing the very best in touring theatre to the north-east region.
The Grade 1 listed building has a rich heritage, commitment to delivering exceptional theatrical experiences and holds a special place in the hearts of the north-east community as a historic and cultural landmark. Recently the theatre chose to further upgrade its rigging system with some Broadweigh Blue shackles supplied by A.C. Entertainment Technologies (AC-ET).
Following its initial purchase last September, Theatre Royal was extremely pleased with the product's performance and has subsequently decided to acquire additional units. The units have been really useful in the day-to-day running of the theatre as they allow the experienced in-house technical crew to continually monitor the rigging points and ensure that the appropriate weight levels are being adhered to at all times.
By selecting Broadweigh Blue shackles from AC-ET, the stage management and technical team can work in close collaboration with all visiting production companies to maintain the integrity and safety of the venue's rigging infrastructure, mitigate the risks associated with overloading and preserve the longevity and structural stability of the iconic building.
The Broadweigh Blue is a 3.25t shackle with integrated Bluetooth Low Energy 4.0 that provides high precision, static weighing direct to the Broadweigh app. The app is available for iOS or Android and contains all the tools required to configure and display data from the shackles in range and requires no other accessories. Using the bow from a standard shackle, Broadweigh Bluetooth can transmit up to 90m with calibrated units included in the transmitted values.
With a busy schedule of touring performances and productions passing through the venue, the new shackles have proved to be of significant benefit to the team, resulting in Newcastle Theatre Royal choosing to expand its inventory. Asked if the stage team were impressed with the new additions, deputy stage manager, Lee Bowman replied: “We work in an extremely fast-paced industry with show load-ins and get-outs happening on a weekly basis. As we work alongside many different visiting stage crew companies, it is fundamental that we have robust systems in place that confidently ensure the safety of the cast, the crew and the audience whilst also safeguarding the architectural integrity of the building. The Broadweigh Blue shackles have earned high praise from the teams due to their ease of use, reliability and accuracy of reporting.”
photos: Lee Bowman
27th September 2023
TV 2 Kosmopol upgrades newsroom and video production with nxtedition
Sweden – Production automation specialist nxtedition has been selected as a preferred vendor by TV 2 Kosmopol, the leading regional broadcaster serving the Greater Copenhagen area. As part of the broadcaster’s wider commitment to delivering high-quality programming and services to its viewers, the nxtedition platform will be used to improve newsroom automation and make production workflows faster and more efficient.
Founded in 1989, TV 2 Kosmopol provides a mix of local news, current affairs, cultural programming and is focused on delivering reliable, timely and relevant content to its audience. It continues to adapt to the changing habits of its users, recognising the need to produce relevant content for them across the platforms they are on.
TV 2 Kosmopol wanted to have a modern, story centric solution, where media and the different aspects of the journalistic workflow coexist seamlessly. They chose to partner with nxtedition and its software platform for broadcasting, newsroom automation and video production. nxtedition's system allows broadcasters to create, manage and distribute content across multiple platforms, including television, social media and online streaming services. Its tools for graphics, video editing and gallery automation enable TV 2 Kosmopol to focus more on the storytelling and enabling better collaboration for the employees.
“We selected nxtedition to provide us with modern production tools, so our teams can focus more on the stories and less on the technology,” said Rune Frewald, CTO at TV 2 Kosmopol. “We are looking forward to developing new, more streamlined ways of working and ultimately to providing the best possible service to our audience.”
"We are proud to have been selected as TV 2 Kosmopol's production system of choice," said Robert Nagy, CEO of nxtedition. "Our platform is designed to help broadcasters like TV 2 Kosmopol streamline their production processes and deliver content more efficiently to their viewers. We look forward to working with TV 2 Kosmopol to help them achieve their goals."
27th September 2023
Eos Apex takes control at the La Monnaie / De Munt Theatre in Belgium
Belgium – The prestigious Royal Theatre of La Monnaie / De Munt in Brussels has selected ETC’s Eos Apex consoles to upgrade the control of the lighting in its iconic 1,150 seat space.
ETC dealer, Controllux specified the lighting for the Muntschouwburg venue which showcases a variety of performances from opera and classical music concerts to dance shows and more. Following positive reviews and feedback from international lighting designers, the lighting team at the theatre wanted to see which console would best meet their needs and invited (among others) Controllux’s Kris Noerens to demo ETC’s Eos Apex.
Lighting operator Julien Bier who brings decades of experience in the industry, describes why Apex was the preferred choice (so much so that they selected two Apex 10 consoles): “Eos software is extremely flexible, making it particularly well-suited to the type of venue that we are in. We were able to quickly create groups, presets and palettes to build a familiar programming interface which ensured minimal changes or disruption to our workflow.”
“The philosophy behind Eos is that you can start programming quickly and intuitively, without the need for a complex setup and configuration. The structure and workflow can also be tailored to suit specific production requirements, offering a granularity and ease of access to detailed control parameters, particularly when it comes to colour control. Eos Apex is very flexible and can be customised to your needs but still operates in a very structured way. Therefore, a show programmed on Eos remains visible for other operators of the team at all times, so if there is an unexpected change in the team, it's fairly easy to adapt the console layout from another operator."
Head of lighting Koen Raes adds that: “The overall capacity of the console is very extensive; all of the lighting systems at the Muntschouwburg, including the house lights, are controlled on Eos Apex.”
Julien also appreciates the wealth of product information, tutorials and training material, which is available online from ETC: "It gave me the opportunity to familiarise myself with the console in advance and in great detail. Finding the information and examining the show file is very straightforward. I really like that the console’s display provides a level of clarity to both programmer and designer. It streamlines the programming process and facilitates more efficient communication between the operator and the lighting designer.”
ETC field project co-ordinator Robbi Nassi comments: “It was an absolute pleasure to see the venue, meet the team and give them the overview of the powerful hardware features and award-winning Eos software that Apex offers. Seeing the potential that this console would bring to the programming of their future shows was greatly received by the team who were very excited and enthusiastic to get going. I thank Koen Raes, Hadrien Lefaure, Julien Bier, Nicolas Rivière and the whole team for their time, learning efforts and for being all round amazing throughout this project."
The lighting team at La Monnaie / De Munt continue to explore the powerful tools of Eos Apex and are currently enjoying discovering the power of ETC’s Augment3d software. The 3D programming environment allows users to program moving fixtures with unprecedented speed and ease and now with ETC’s new Augment3d Scanner app users can also import ready-to-use room models from a phone or tablet directly into Eos family consoles.
Kris Noerens says: “The Munt Theatre chose a solution that is considered the standard worldwide in major operas: Eos Apex.”
27th September 2023
Duke Kunshan University chooses Green-GO comms
China – Thanks to EZPro – one of China’s leading providers of entertainment technology solutions – the staff and undergraduates of Duke Kunshan University now have the use of a brand-new ethernet-based communications system from Dutch manufacturer, Green-GO. The provision of the renowned communications platform brings the advantages of flexibility and cost-effective reliability to team communications on the University’s new campus.
Situated in Jiangsu province, close to the bustling megacity of Shanghai, Kunshan is renowned for its ancient traditions and cultural significance to this area of eastern China. Opened in 2013, Duke Kunshan University is a joint venture between Duke University of Durham, North Carolina, USA and China’s Wuhan University and is now an independently accredited establishment. The recent completion of the university’s Phase II campus development expands the facilities available to students, adding a grand theatre, multi-functional spaces, cafés, basketball courts, an outdoor stadium and a natatorium (an indoor swimming pool complex).
Enabling easy-to-use, efficient and powerful intercom systems for the theatre and multi-functional spaces, the system provided by EZPro is based around a Green-GO MCXD multi-channel desk station, which provides direct, flexible access to 32 separate users or groups via individual multicoloured pushbuttons. With its built-in loudspeaker and three colour TFT touchscreens, the MCXD provides both immediate access and clear, at-a-glance indication of the channels’ status.
Two wired beltpacks (BPX) and eight wireless beltpacks (WBPX) are available to users, with four of Green-GO’s WAA wireless antennas (each able to link with up to four wireless beltpacks) link the system’s communication capabilities. Further extending the flexibility and cost-effectiveness of the Green-GO system, an INTERFACE X unit is also provided, with the ability to incorporate two-wire or four-wire analogue intercom systems into the Green-GO digital Ethernet network.
“This is another very fine example of how Green-GO technology can answer varied communications needs in a straightforward, easy-to-use, cost-effective and reliable manner,” says Green-GO’s Silvio Cibien. “We are delighted to have EZPro as a partner in China. Their expertise is exceptional!”
27th September 2023
LSC delivers UNITY to Hanoi’s Ho Guom Opera House
Vietnam – Hanoi’s prestigious Ho Guom Opera House has a brand-new UNITY dimming and power switching system from LSC Control Systems at the heart of its technical installation. The extensive new LSC system is part of a recent major investment in the theatre’s technical infrastructure, a state-of-the-art specification which makes the new venue the most technologically advanced in the country.
The flexible UNITY system from LSC offers a choice of free-standing, prewired cabinets (96, 72, or 48-circuit models) providing high-performance dimming and power switching with advanced control and monitoring, suitable for any application using the latest video, audio and lighting equipment. It was because of this flexibility and peace of mind that the UNITY system was chosen.
The modular possibilities of its spec to suit specific needs, with the availability of either a PTFD dimming module with TruPower technology, or a relay rack module with zero-cross switching and a dedicated LED dimming module made UNITY an attractive solution. Thanks to its ability to deal with any lighting load, to ensure protection for equipment from start-up onwards, and its comprehensive monitoring and safe hot-swap design, assurances remain high and maintenance costs remain low.
Situated in downtown Hanoi, the Ho Guom Opera House hosts a variety of performances, from theatre, ballet, musicals, Western symphonies and Vietnamese traditional and modern music, as well as other art forms. Intended as a cultural centrepiece for Vietnam's capital city, it embodies elements of ancient tradition and modernity in its architecture, and boasts two auditoriums, both equipped with modern facilities and equipment. Work on its construction began in 2021.
The venue aims to meet the highest standards of stage production. The larger of its two auditoriums can accommodate an audience of 900, while the smaller space has a capacity of 500. The main stage is rotatable and big enough to seat up to 90 musicians, and the design of the auditorium maximises sightlines for the audiences.
The Ho Guom Opera House uses six 96-way UNITY cabinets, and its technical team has been very happy with the results. UNITY was specified by London-based theatre consultancy Charcoalblue, operating from its Melbourne office and installed by a team from one of Vietnam’s leading entertainment technology specialists, Pro-AVL.
27th September 2023
EVO 8 Offers ‘True Access’ to Blind Audio Producer
Jenny Brennan has worked her way through a few audio interfaces over the years. Using EVO 8 however has stopped her in her tracks. “Losing sight later in life, I've encountered so many situations that make me critical of the state of accessibility in software: on the web and in society as a whole. It’s true that I have gone through a number of interfaces since starting working with audio. Yes, they were great pieces of gear and they served me well, technically. But in the end I have felt excluded at every turn,” says the prog metal vocalist, producer, mix engineer and educational live streamer.
“Now Audient (and EVO) is doing this so well, it’s made me really excited about the potential for true access to what I want to do with audio.” Blind from progressive retinitis pigmentosa, Jenny has spent the last 20 years transitioning from the visual arts to all audio and now relies on screen reader software, which speaks what's happening as she whizzes around controlling Windows and Mac entirely with keystrokes. Just recently EVO 8 has become an important part of her set-up.
“As far as audio quality goes, I'm not really someone that compares this preamp to some other preamp and analyses technical specs to death. For my ears it's a mighty fine sound I'm getting out of it and the options are absolutely sufficient for my needs,” she explains.
“My set-up at the moment is as simple as I can get it: my studio PC, Nektar midi controller and EVO 8 do the heavy lifting in my studio,” she continues. “My elderly iMac is on constant standby since I transitioned to PC about a year ago.” Add to that her current favourite mics – a C1 condenser and the Shure SM7B – and a couple of guitars and she’s all set.
“The really simple and really small format of the interface gives me enough free space on my desk to not feel cluttered. The instrument input is fabulous. Since getting the EVO I find that my Ibanez is also constantly plugged in.
“Smartgain is another win, too. I don’t want to think about all the times I’ve tried to get a reasonable level out of that electric. Play, record a bit, check: ‘Oh no, that’s no good!’ adjust, record, check…” The EVO Smartgain feature allows Jenny to set her levels automatically at a couple of button presses, making it really easy to get the perfect setting before starting to record.
Aside from playing her guitar, Jen’s current focus is on the ‘REAPER Made Easy’ project. Reaper is one of the most accessible digital audio workstations and as part of a plucky team spread across three countries, she is building a collection of free training content tailor-made for blind/visually impaired people who want to learn the ropes. “We run what we hope are engaging deep dives into topics like EQ, compression, sound design, musician spotlights and the like. There is a monthly open Q&A where anyone can ask questions regarding Reaper. We want to inspire as well as educate, making disability nothing but an aspect of life working in audio and not a non-starter, be it practical or psychological.”
So why did she choose a four-channel audio interface in particular? “I needed enough inputs to set up my stream environment. I have outputs from my iMac constantly plugged into channels 3 and 4 as I do some software testing as well as demoing Reaper stuff on the Mac.” EVO 8 comprises four award-winning EVO mic preamps alongside advanced converter technology to ensure studio quality results from the get-go.
Jenny continues: “Having reliable streaming audio and flexible routing such as Loop-back is super-important for what we do. For me, accessibility and reliability go hand in hand. If I am able to control a piece of gear, it’s up to me to make sure my stream is working properly. I can easily switch streaming sources and just do what the stream needs. This is truly what I love about EVO. I can’t stress this enough: it has taken so much unnecessary worry and extra work out of the equation.”
Passionate about accessibility, Jen continues to find all sorts of ways to engage with and be of help to the blind and vision impaired community surrounding Reaper. This is what led her to EVO – and Audient – who have recently upgraded drivers for both iD and EVO mixer apps. Since then, Audient has an ongoing commitment to ensuring all audio interface products and software are as accessible as they can be.
25th September 2023
Elation lighting refurb enhances safety, opens possibilities at Royal Oak Middle School Theater, California
USA – Entertainment market contractors BCT Builders, part of leading AV production company BCT Entertainment, recently upgraded an outdated lighting system at Royal Oak Middle School Theater in Covina, California, with a state-of-the-art rig of Elation Professional LED luminaires. The theatre lighting renovation has created a safer working environment for students and enhanced the overall educational and artistic experience for students and the community.
BCT upgraded the theatre’s outdated incandescent system with an Elation lighting package made up of 42 WW Profile HP warm-white ellipsoidal spots, 22 Colour 5 Profile full-spectrum ellipsoidal spots, 28 KL Fresnel Series LED Fresnel lights, seven units of Seven Batten 72 bar lights and DTW Bar 1000 white light battens. A pair of Magma Prime water-based hazers are used to provide atmospherics and the mid-air projection canopy.
The school’s 250-seat theatre serves students of Royal Oak Middle School, as well as the greater community surrounding the San Gabriel Valley just east of Los Angeles. BCT was approached by the school about a possible lighting upgrade in 2021, citing their significant challenges with the existing incandescent fixtures.
“They have kids that are inexperienced with lighting and basically needed a system that was easier to deal with,” explains account rep and master electrician at BCT Brian Longhofer, who handled the sale of the new lighting to the school and arranged for a series of product demos. “They decided that having kids climb up on ladders, changing gel and lamps, was just too risky. The lower maintenance and obviously the power savings was a big plus, but mostly it was about the safety of kids. An LED retrofit eliminated lamp changes and was a way to give them some good colour changing options and design possibilities without having to get up on ladders.”
Together, BCT Entertainment and BCT Builders were responsible for designing, selling, and installing the new lighting system with BCT Builders serving as the system integrator and installer. They also developed a representative lighting plan and programmed various scenes to ensure ease of use. “The goal was to create a system that could be operated by teachers who might not have a background in theatre technology so we made it highly accessible and user-friendly for them,” Longhofer stated.
Two front of house pipes hold the majority of the warm-white WW Profiles, ensuring a consistent and uniform wash. Above the stage, three electrics host the colour fixtures, serving for downlighting, sidelighting and adding coloured effects. The cyc is illuminated from the top by Seven Battens, while the DTW bars are positioned along the apron at the stage's front.
BCT’s inhouse designer Chad Brook handled design and layout of the fixtures. He comments: “Feature-wise the most important was the colour change capability. They really loved the fact that they can change colour with just a couple of keystrokes versus having somebody up on a ladder swapping gel. The new system brings them into the 21st century in terms of colour changing options but also gives them a greater range of lighting effects.”
The project, close to two years in the making, involved multiple fixture demos and was completed by the end of June. Longhofer acknowledges the strong support received from Elation sales rep R.L. Wilson & Associates, who retired in late 2022. Thereafter, support was provided by Robert Pullman at Relation Lighting Agency (RLA).
Longhofer says that the new system has already been in use and that school personnel are ecstatic with it. It’s enabled students to gain practical experience while exploring various design options. Not least, the system has helped to create an overall more professional look for school productions. “It’s all-around great equipment that we’ve used on quite a few installs now and from a dealer perspective the customer service is great. They stand behind the gear really well and that is something that is really invaluable in our business,” Longhofer concludes.
22nd September 2023
Leyard Europe delivers interactive LED displays for Van Marcke’s world-first fully digital showroom in Antwerp
Belgium – For nearly a century, Van Marcke, the Belgian family business and international wholesaler of industry-leading brands for sanitary, heating and renewable energy solutions, has been providing products and services that offer sustainable comfort to its customers. Earlier this year, it unveiled a groundbreaking achievement: an entirely digital showroom at its Van Marcke Lab in Antwerp. Despite its compact size of just 80m², this unique concept and experience store uses Leyard Europe VEM-series screen walls to empower visitors to create their personalised bathroom. The cutting-edge LED displays, provided and installed by Ocular, a technology company specialising in immersive and interactive installations, enables visitors to digitally assemble their dream bathroom, visualise it in life-size scale and bring it to life in 3D within their own bathroom space with the guidance of an interior consultant.
Charlotte Packet, merchandising manager at Van Marcke, notes that today’s customers are accustomed to incorporating digital elements into their shopping experiences, even for significant purchases like kitchens, properties and cars. “The growing demand for personalisation among our customers prompted Van Marcke to embark on a unique and innovative project aimed at making the online purchase of technically complex products, such as bathrooms, more comfortable and tailored to individual needs,” she says.
To bring the concept to life, Van Marcke collaborated with Ocular, leveraging their positive prior experience of working together on a technically demanding project for the Batibouw 2020 exhibition.
"This time, Van Marcke approached us with a request to develop an innovative showroom concept that minimises the need for physical products," says Nicolas Vanden Avenne, Ocular’s founder and CEO. "We were involved right from the start and suggested leveraging Leyard Europe's LED technology and deep screen capabilities, which gives the illusion of 3D depth on a flat surface. Additionally, we assisted in selecting a partner for rendering the content."
Upon entering the Van Marcke Lab concept store, customers are introduced to its product range through interactive touchscreens. The chosen product combinations are then brought to life on the large Leyard Europe LED screens via deep screen technology. Van Marcke's interior consultants assist in placing the product combinations in the customer’s bathroom using an interactive drawing table. The result is visualised in 3D and a price quote is provided. According to Charlotte Packet, this type of experience aims to meet customer’s expectation for a comprehensive, 360-degree solution.
The Ocular team installed four VEM1.5 LED walls, each measuring 2.4m by 2.4m and one larger high brightness Leyard LPO2.9 LED wall standing at 4m high and 2.5m wide. Nicholas Vanden Avenne notes that the content is rendered in such a way that it makes the customer feel like they are stepping inside their dream bathroom.
“We chose Leyard’s LED solution because of their European production site, short lead time, reliable technical support and outstanding product quality,” says Nicholas Vanden Avenne. “Having high-quality visualisation technology was crucial in creating the impression that visitors are truly immersed in a life-like bathroom environment with the products on display and Leyard’s LED screens perfectly fulfilled these requirements.”
Commending the high level of support received from the Leyard Europe team, Nicholas Vanden Avenne highlights their technical assistance during the pre-sales, sales, and execution process. “The support provided by Leyard went beyond addressing straightforward mechanical questions, as we also received valuable assistance on more intricate enquiries regarding controls and electronics. This support was instrumental in ensuring the overall success of the project,” he adds.
“The presence of Leyard's showroom in Antwerp was undoubtedly advantageous, as it allowed us to invite the Van Marcke team to experience various LED solutions that could meet their specific requirements,” explains Cris Tanghe, vice president product Europe at Leyard Europe. “With different form factors and pixel pitches available, we were able to create a precisely tailored video wall that perfectly fits the store's space and reproduces the stunning photo-realistic 3D visuals created by a partner of Ocular and utilised the deep screen technology to create the impression of being ‘inside the bathroom’.”
Having completed the project at the beginning of April and with the store opened in May, Van Marcke has received positive feedback from its customers, serving as living proof that it is possible to create an ultra-personal and interactive experience, even within a limited space.
"Thanks to Ocular's involvement, their expertise, and their ability to connect us with the right partners like Leyard Europe, we were able to create a highly intuitive experience for the end user," says Charlotte Packet. "We felt that all components seamlessly came together, with all teams working as a cohesive unit to deliver a stunning result."
“At Ocular, we always strive for comprehensive solutions where everything aligns and the right partners are involved,” concludes Nicholas Vanden Avenne. “We firmly believe in technology serving its purpose, rather than just being a gimmick. For this project, we once again found our perfect match with Leyard Europe, both in selecting the ideal product that precisely met the client’s requirements, and in their exceptional work ethic and support throughout the entire project.”
21st September 2023
Theater Erfurt converts to LED technology with ETC
Germany – Theater Erfurt is synonymous with sophisticated musical theatre, enriching the cultural scene of Germany's Thuringian state capital through operas, musicals and concerts performed by the Erfurt Philharmonic Orchestra. Built in 2003, Theater Erfurt is recognised as one of the most modern venues of its kind in Europe, offering immersive sound and excellent sightlines. It has recently enhanced its 800-seat main venue with the addition of a state-of-the-art ETC ArcSystem Pro LED lighting system.
Previously, the theatre's ceiling was adorned with ETC Source Four PAR fixtures that utilised traditional incandescent lamps to provide a warm and uniform light. However, in a bid to promote sustainability and energy efficiency, Theater Erfurt’s technical director opted to replace these older luminaires with modern LED technology. This change promises to bring a new level of efficiency to the theatre's lighting system.
“Our team actively participated in the task at hand and presented various innovative technical solutions," says Mathias Meyer, head of TAL Chemnitz GmbH, who assisted with the project and supplied the lighting package. After careful consideration, the decision was made to opt for the ArcSystem Pro Four-Cell Round LED lighting system from ETC, controlled via a wired DMX connection. ArcSystem Pro Four-Cell Round are high-output, smooth-dimming luminaires for medium to long throw illumination. The circular luminaires have several suspension options and include the option of Fade to Warm technology that mimics an incandescent look.
According to Meyer, the fixtures stood out for several reasons. "Firstly, the exceptional quality of light is absolutely on a par with the previously installed lamps,” he says. “The brightness and colour rendering perfectly align with the needs of the technical team and the musicians." The lightweight design and craftsmanship of the ArcSystem Pro Four-Cell Round also offered advantages. “Installing the LED systems was a breeze thanks to the clever use of the existing ceiling recesses, saving time and eliminating the need for any additional construction work.”
Resource-saving efficiency was evident in other areas too. "With the new LED lighting, energy consumption is reduced by around 80 per cent," adds Meyer. "Plus, the thermal load on the room and, quite significantly, the maintenance costs are also reduced." Moreover, ETC consistently upholds its commitment to providing outstanding customer service. "With a ten-year warranty on the LED module, nothing stands in the way of long-term use."
21st September 2023
CJD Productions Tours with Custom dLive Build
When sound engineer Chris DiCorpo made the switch to Allen & Heath's dLive platform, he already understood the concept of mixing without a full-fledged dLive control surface. "I had a CDM32 MixRack and an IP-8 controller for a while," he explained. "I was mixing with just the IP-8 for faders, and a laptop running dLive Director to make deeper configuration changes."
Compact dLive 'Wings' rigs like DiCorpo's allow for lightweight systems that can easily be transported without sacrificing processing power since all 128 channels and 64 busses of 96kHz FPGA processing are handled in the MixRack. "I actually did take that system out to the UK for a few shows, which was a cool experience," he recalled. "I knew this compact set-up was the way to go, but I wanted something more robust."
With some inspiration from custom rigs he had seen on dLive forums, DiCorpo started to brainstorm a new setup that would incorporate a second IP-8 controller for more faders, as well as a Waves DSPRO 1000 he owned to handle audio monitoring. "The plan was to use the Waves card in my CDM32 MixRack to send audio to front of house," he explained. "I also use a Waves server for some PA processing, but the DEEP plugins in the dLive mean that I generally don't need to insert Waves on any of my channel strips."
DiCorpo chose a Mac Mini for his new front of house rig, which runs dLive Director, manages the Waves SoundGrid network and allows multi-track recording and virtual soundcheck with his DAW. "I just started building from there," he recalled. "I found a company in Canada that allows you to easily design and order one-off custom aluminium enclosures, so I added the connectors I needed, vents and cooling fans, and two spaces at the top where my IP-8 controllers would sit."
The two IP-8 controllers are powered using a PoE switch, which also acts as a network interface with the dLive MixRack, computer and Waves server. A wireless router is also connected to the MixRack, which sits at the stage for performers to control their monitor mixes using mobile devices.
For screens, DiCorpo mounted two 12" touchscreen monitors on arms that can be removed when the rig is transported. "When I want to disassemble, I just remove the threaded thumb screws and I can lay the monitors on top of the IP-8s," he explained. "When everything is folded up inside the Pelican case, it weighs about 56 pounds."
Since IP-8 controllers don't have as many buttons as a full dLive surface, DiCorpo uses scene changes to alter the functions of the buttons. "The channel buttons default to PAFL and Mute," he explained. "I reconfigured the buttons in two scenes. In one, they are Select and Mute, in the other they are PAFL and Mix Select. Those two scenes are filtered so they don't impact any of the other settings on the console, and I can easily flip back and forth with a single button."
A common question DiCorpo hears when it comes to the IP-8 is how to achieve "sends on faders" for monitor mixes. "Many people assume it's not possible, but it is," he confirmed. "You can create a scene for each monitor mix, and assign the faders as Aux sends, rather than Main bus faders. In my layer containing the Aux masters, the eight buttons across the top select my monitor mix scenes."
DiCorpo affectionately refers to his custom rig as the "CJD Al2000," combining his initials, the chemical symbol for Aluminium and "2000", to maintain consistency with the official Allen & Heath dLive product naming scheme. "I figured it's kind of halfway between a dLive C1500 and a C2500," he clarified. He even added a custom decal for the side of the enclosure.
The completed CJD Al2000 is now getting some mileage, as DiCorpo tours with Boston-based pop-funk band Couch. "Engineers who are familiar with dLive see the IP-8 controllers and can figure out what I'm mixing on," said DiCorpo, "but still a lot of people ask questions about it and give compliments. It's a great conversation piece."
20th September 2023
Southbank Centre expands Ayrton investment with Mistral for the Royal Festival Hall’s Clore Ballroom
UK – London’s Southbank Centre has expanded its inventory of Ayrton LED moving head fixtures with the addition of 12 Ayrton Mistral S spots to its permanent rig over the Royal Festival Hall’s Clore Ballroom.
The Clore Ballroom is an adaptable open space in the main foyer of the iconic 1950s’ building which turns its hand to many uses including musical performances, art installations, graduation ceremonies and other community events. This summer, as part of Christine and the Queens’ Meltdown, it played host to the immersive dance work of BitterSuite, while other events have ranged from club nights to a rehearsal space for youth music group, Kinetika Bloco, one of the Southbank Centre’s creative engagement partners.
Mistral is Ayrton’s highly compact, lightweight, powerful 300W LED spot fixture designed for scenic applications. Mistral S delivers powerful metallic white light with a record-breaking output of 18,000 lumens and a colour temperature of 7000K. It has a 6.7 ° - 53° zoom range and a uniform flat beam that can render images perfectly in all conditions and at any beam angle. Mistral is also available as a TC version, devised for applications requiring perfect colour reproduction, which has a native CRI greater than 90, extremely high TM30 readings and a colour temperature of 6000K.
“We chose Mistral S as part of our ongoing transformation to LED lighting because we were so impressed with our Ayrton Diablo and Ghibli fixtures which have behaved perfectly since we installed them,” says the Southbank Centre’s technical manager of 13 years, Roger Hennigan. The Southbank Centre was an early adopter of Ayrton Ghibli with ten purchased for the Queen Elizabeth Hall in 2018, followed by 16 more in 2019 for the Royal Festival Hall and further Ayrton investment with Diablo fixtures for the Purcell Room in 2020.
“When we looked to replace the discharge fixtures in the Clore Ballroom, we knew we didn’t need all the features of Diablo so chose Mistral, which is very similar to Diablo but without framing shutters,” says Hennigan. “There’s very little out there that can match the attributes of Mistral.”
Last year, a further six Diablo were purchased for the Southbank Centre’s floating stock to augment the standard rigs across all venues and foyer events, and as the newest addition to its rock and roll floor packages for on stage gigs.
“It’s been an easy choice because the Ayrton fixtures’ performance has been so impressive and they’ve given us so few problems,” confirms Hennigan. “The Mistrals have continued this trend; they are reliable, they do everything we expect them to do and we have had no issues with them whatsoever since they were installed in January. Plus, there’s an element of continuity in having lights from the same manufacturer, both in maintenance and performance terms. They are our workhorse moving lights.
“Ayrton also aligns with our sustainability and environmental aims. We had the Mistrals delivered without SIPs, in cardboard packaging and without the wireless technology which was superfluous to our needs on this occasion. Flightcase inserts are very useful if you are touring, but ours went straight into the rig so we didn’t need them. Having those kinds of options is an excellent way of cutting down on packaging and disposal.”
The Ayrton Mistral S fixtures were supplied by Paul Fielder of Stage Electrics and are maintained annually by White Light.
Ayrton is distributed exclusively in the UK by Ambersphere Solutions.
photo: to © Joel Stanners
20th September 2023
DiGiCo 4REA4 the brains behind seamless format conversion and connectivity at UFFO Trutnov social centre
Czech Republic – Named after Uffo Horn, an important native of Trutnov who greatly influenced the culture and politics in the region in 19th century, the Social and Cultural Centre of the Trutnov region has been serving the community since the end of 2010. This multi-functional facility provides a unique cultural space for a variety of events including theatre performances, concerts, exhibitions, conventions and balls. One of the centre's standout offerings is the vibrant and diverse programme of international festival, Cirk-UFF, which takes place at the turn of May and June each year. Given the diverse range of performances hosted at the venue, it was essential to maintain a flexible layout and adhere to touring standards to ensure seamless transitions between events. DiGiCo's Czech distributor, Pro Music, supplied and installed the specialist audio set-up, which includes SD12 and SD9 consoles, as well as the ‘invisible heart’ of the system, the 4REA4 engine.
“With such a wide range of performances, from dramatic theatre shows, with elevated seating to flat-floor rock concerts, the SD12's compact size, impressive power, and flexibility make it the ideal console for the venue," says Petr Šťásek, audio and IT specialist at Pro Music. The console's DMI slots allow for connectivity with a wide range of formats, making it a versatile choice for live post or FOH positions. The SD12 is connected via Dante to both the stage boxes and 4REA4 engine. “To ensure seamless connectivity of all audio and control signals from the various systems, including Desk Link with the L-Acoustics L-ISA Controller for the L-Acoustics L-ISA PA system, a fixed Ethernet network with connection points throughout the venue is utilised,” he adds.
The 4REA4 engine is at the heart of the audio set-up and serves as the central matrix that manages the connectivity between Dante and MADI-connected consoles, as well as AES/EBU connected amplifiers and MADI-connected L-ISA Processors. The 4REA4 tie-lines enable the SD9 console, normally used on monitors, and an S31 in a control room, to utilise four A168D stage boxes as well as a couple of D-Racks spread around the venue, including gain control on monitors.
"We have had the privilege of welcoming many guest engineers to the theatre, and their feedback on the DiGiCo SD12 console has been nothing short of outstanding," adds Radek Ježek, technical director of the venue. "The Desk Link feature is especially noteworthy, as it enables external control of the L-ISA Controller directly from the console, resulting in a seamless, natural, and intuitive use of the L-ISA system. The 4REA4 engine, on the other hand, acts as the central matrix and enables full integration and format conversion between MADI, Dante, and AES/EBU protocols. Overall, everyone is thrilled with the setup, and now the audience can fully immerse themselves in the live shows with the multichannel sound experience provided by UFFO’s cutting-edge audio system."
19th September 2023
Genelec soundtracks India’s influence on global fashion
India – In late March, the Nita Mukesh Ambani Cultural Centre (NMACC) opened its doors in Mumbai, India, ushering in a new era of creativity in a city renowned for its Bollywood influence. This multi-disciplinary arts centre boasts a 2,000-seat theatre, two intimate performance spaces and a four-storey Art House. To mark its grand opening, a three-day celebration blended musicals and international art exhibitions, including "India in Fashion: The Impact of Indian Dress and Textiles on the Fashionable Imagination." This exhibition celebrated the global influence of Indian design on fashion, with the help of 128 Genelec 4430 Smart IP loudspeakers.
Overseeing the project was Mumbai-based technology and acoustic consultancy firm, Munro. Their mission was to craft a soothing auditory landscape without compromising audio quality, while ensuring the seamless integration of the loudspeakers into the background and their continuous operation for 12 to 14 hours daily.
“We work extensively on projects where new ideas are explored for culture and entertainment,” explains Kapil Thirwani, audio and acoustic consultant at Munro. “We were called in mid-January 2023 to explore possibilities of adding an immersive sonic experience to a fashion exhibition for the NMACC launch. The concept was the influence of India and its fabrics and handiworks on the world of fashion against a backdrop of world music with subtle Indian influences, with 15 zones playing different tracks to build the soundscape.”
“India in Fashion” wove together India’s colourful relationship and influence on fashion across the globe from the 18th century to modern day, featuring the delicate and detailed garments in glass domes under spotlight. Curated by fashion journalist and Vogue editor Hamish Bowles, the exhibition explored everything from the Mughal emperors to the imperial rule that brought the country’s craftsmanship over to Europe. Throughout its two-month run, India in Fashion attracted a prestigious line-up of celebrities and influential figures from the fashion industry, including Gigi Hadid and Zendaya. Munro and Genelec was tasked with providing an ambient soundtrack to enhance this stylish journey.
“Munro is well known for its sonically excellent designs,” explains Thirwani. “If we are hired to design, we also have to keep up to the same design sense for sonic aesthetics. This led us to the Smart IP loudspeakers by Genelec. They run seamlessly off a PoE+ switch via a single CAT cable and ticked all the boxes. We verified this by comparing electro-acoustic modelling simulations of similar IP speakers and analogue speakers, followed by the creation of a mini rig for a singular immersive zone which we measured to verify performance against the theoretical model. Genelec was a clear winner.”
Genelec’s Smart IP series supports PoE, AoIP and sophisticated loudspeaker management, combining exceptional audio with single cable networked convenience. Launched in 2019, their minimalist aesthetic design allows Smart IP speakers to seamlessly integrate into any project. Featuring Genelec’s trademark Minimum Diffraction Enclosure (MDE) and Directivity Control Waveguide (DCW), Smart IP loudspeakers provide clarity, intelligibility and uniform coverage, combined with 24/7 reliability.
“The Smart IP series offers outstanding sonic quality, minimum distortion and an excellent signal-to-noise ratio, all of which was important to us,” continues Thirwani. “Everything is run over a single CAT cable, which simplifies the installation massively, a crucial advantage when you’re working on a big project like this. We have a reputation for providing and designing some of the best audio solutions in India, and using Genelec allows us to maintain that reputation.”
Designed to integrate with any Smart IP loudspeaker system, Genelec’s Smart IP Manager software allows installers to configure an almost unlimited number of rooms, loudspeakers and audio channels, and includes device discovery, room-equalisation tools, system organisation and status monitoring. This enables installers to deploy Smart IP loudspeakers even on complex, acoustically challenging projects.
For India in Fashion, the exhibition played with multiple immersive and stereo zones stored on two 64 channel TiMAX servers via the Dante network. These outputs were then assigned via Smart IP Manager and Dante Controller. “Time delays and source intercorrelation data were adjusted and stored both on the Genelec and TiMAX software,” elaborates Thirwani. “The TiMAX stored the preset for the show reel and tracks and the global level variations between zones, while the Genelec sources stored the individual local information of that source in a particular zone.”
The completed project received positive feedback from both the client and industry stalwarts. India in Fashion was a hugely successful celebration of techniques, practices and centuries of India’s influential impact on global design. It featured over 30 of the world’s most celebrated designers and threaded this together with intelligent yet discrete audio from Genelec to create a truly immersive experience.
Thirwani concludes: "This was a team effort, and solutions like these require meticulous planning and execution, drawing expertise from various fronts. From conceptualisation to planning and execution, the project faced challenges on site that had to be resolved before completion. I’d like to thank the team involved in the design and execution of this project: Utkarsh Naidu, Cyril Thomas, Johan Pais, and Aman Prajapati. Everyone worked incredibly hard, and the exhibition was an undeniable success."
19th September 2023
Baltimore's newest live event venue, M&T Bank Exchange, shines with Elation
USA – M&T Bank Exchange in Baltimore has opened as the city’s newest live event venue with a state-of-the-art Elation Professional lighting package that can cater to any occasion from concert to reception and everything in between. The new 14,193 square-foot performance space has been created within the shell of a historic 19th-century bank building and represents the long-awaited final phase of the France-Merrick Performing Arts Center.
When the refurbished Hippodrome Theatre opened in 2004 as the centrepiece of the France-Merrick Performing Arts Center, original plans called for a smaller performance space to open next to it. The Hippodrome Foundation had preserved the historic Eutaw Savings Bank as part of the larger arts complex, with the thought that it could become a flexible venue for shows and events that didn’t need the Hippodrome’s 2,300-person seating capacity. Now, nearly two decades after the Hippodrome reopened, that second performance space is finally complete.
As part of the renovation of the historic bank building, the foundation and its designers sought to ensure state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems. Jeff Kenney, head of HTG Events LLC, one of Orlando's premier event production groups, was involved from the early stages. “Following conceptual discussions about how the room might be used, we looked at some of the other live entertainment rooms in the area,” he said. “The decision was made to enter the premium live event area but with a versatile space that had the capability to handle a variety of events.”
HTG Events has produced cutting-edge electronic dance music events in the Orlando area for over 25 years, including some of the most technologically sophisticated tours and festivals. HTG collaborated with architectural firm OTJ Architects on the technology design and specification at M&T Bank Exchange, and ultimately provided the lighting, sound and video for the room.
HTG, located in Orlando, maintains a strong relationship with Freed Sales, Elation's Florida-based manufacturers rep firm. According to Kenney, Freed Sales plays a significant role by offering crucial technical assistance whenever needed. He describes them as their dependable support system and they frequently visit Freed Sales' facility with clients to evaluate fixtures together.
The M&T Bank Exchange space was designed with a lighting infrastructure that can accommodate a wide range of events and includes two above stage electrics, an FOH electric and three specials out in the room. The entire rig is hung on hoists which can lower or be pre-programmed for different show heights. Kenney handled all lighting placement in the room and leaned heavily on Elation’s high performance Fuze line to provide clients with a versatile system that offers a number of options. “It gives them the ability to frame from anywhere in the room so clients can come in and use the system any way they want,” he said. “The system was meant to be flexible, to handle everything from a concert to a wedding without reconfiguring.”
Fuze Profile moving heads with RGBMA colour mixing and dual gobo wheels populate balcony battens and give the LD an option to frame from 20 positions as a primary lighting source. Additional Fuze Profiles provide framing capability above the stage on the upstage and downstage positions. Fuze Wash 500 moving heads hot off the Elation production line, also with RGBMA LED engines, give Fresnel zoom capability above stage, at FOH, and for house lighting, while Fuze Spot moving heads with RGBMA colour mixing and two gobo wheels provide dynamic FX and specials.
The lighting FX package also includes Colour Chorus battens, Paladin hybrid wash/blinder/strobe lights, Cuepix Blinders, and a room full of controlled architectural lighting. Every light in the room is LED including a 24-foot, high-definition video screen that provides a dynamic graphics backdrop. A megabatten encircles the space for multiple lighting points each with a NETRON EP2 node for signal distribution with headroom enough to add more gear when needed. The lighting console has full control of the room with the capability to handle floor packages as they come in. The room can be configured three different ways and can support crowds up to 1,351. Kenney emphasises that the lighting design was rendered using Capture visualisation software, including a 'sizzle reel' that plays a crucial role in impressing potential clients. He also commends Capture for its valuable and supportive network.
Turning the bank into a second events venue was a high priority for Ron Legler, president of the France-Merrick Performing Arts Center. Another feature that sets the Exchange apart from other venues, Legler said, is the degree to which equipment is already in the building and comes with the rental of the space. Because the Exchange has so much equipment already in place, he said, renters won’t have to bring in as much of their own, and that saves time and money.
The adaptability of the space allows M&T Bank Exchange to cater to a variety of clients including theatre and music groups, stand-up entertainers, companies, schools and private groups. It also provides additional space for rehearsals and other activities associated with the Broadway Across America traveling productions that come to the Hippodrome, starting with the new production of “The Wiz” that opens the Hippodrome’s 2023-2024 season. The new space will also allow the Hippodrome Foundation to increase the number of students they can teach about lighting and sound. Andrew Springer, executive director of the M&T Bank Exchange, comments: “The Hippodrome Foundation will now have the ability to extend new youth programs that offer lighting workshops on this outstanding system; the impact of these opportunities is life changing for the communities’ young people.”
M&T Bank Exchange is already hosting events with a ribbon cutting ceremony to be held on 11 October.
19th September 2023
Bellevue Theatre Chooses Robe TX1 PosiProfiles
Denmark – Bellevue Teatret (Bellevue Theatre) is located in Klampenborg, a desirable suburb north of Copenhagen. Its scenic location is about 100 metres back from the beach, and stunning views from the front of the building overlook the Øresund strait.
Founded in 1936 and designed by architect Arne Jacobsen, the building is one of his seminal works – and one of several in the area – as well as an important example of Danish functionalism.
In the last year, the theatre has invested in more Robe moving lights, with the purchase of 12 TX1 PosiProfiles (the first to be installed in Denmark) joining their 24 LEDBeam 350s acquired in 2021.
The fixtures were chosen by production manager Bjarne Olsen and technical manager Martin Vive Rasmussen for their 746 capacity main house.
The Theatre is hugely popular with both the local community and a wider audience of theatre fans and stages four productions a year and is acclaimed for its family friendly content.
It hosts a variety of performances including plays, musicals, dance shows and concerts, and in addition to the Main House, the smaller stage, the Bar, is used for experimental and contemporary works.
Robe’s new TX1 PosiProfile operates either as a full moving head profile or as a static but repositionable profile which is ideal for being operated within very confined spaces or where crew access is limited or when movement options are severely limited or not required.
Typically, Bellevue Teatret shows will run five or six days of the week and over the year, two out of four productions will be new and two will be re-runs of popular pieces, one of which has been revived for the last 42 years.
Martin, who has worked there for nearly 30 years, reckons he has operated lights over 1,000 times for this show, which is called Folk og Røver i Kardemommeby. He knows the cue list backwards!
The theatre, which features a spectacular opening roof which is great for the summer when guests can enjoy the stars above during the performances, received a complete refurbishment in 2001.
The theatre building which is privately owned has seen various lighting investments since then, the TX1 PosiProfile being the most recent. Before this, they would often rent in moving lights or specials as required by the show, but when the latest funding became available, the time was right to purchase.
“We strive to be as green as possible, so we wanted an LED solution,” stated Bjarne, “and the time was right to buy.”
Robe’s Danish distributors Light Partner arranged demonstrations and both Bjarne and Martin were super impressed by the white of the TX1.
Martin noted that it was the first LED light he’s used that can behave like a tungsten lamp, thanks to the superlative tungsten emulation. “The CRI is also great; it’s a brilliant light for theatre,” he declared.
He has just used the TX1s on the latest production of the long running “Skammerens Datter” for which he designed and programmed lights, and “thoroughly” enjoyed using the new fixtures. They were arranged in two rows, one above the front of the stage and the other upstage.
The LEDBeam 350s were delivered during the pandemic and replaced their previous LED wash products that had become old and worn out with the constant work.
Some LEDBeam 350s were first rented in from the nearby rental house The Live Company to make sure they were right for the job. “They are handy, you can fit them in anywhere and the output is perfect for this stage,” observed Martin.
And before the LEDBeam 350s, there were some original DLS fixtures from Robe’s first generation of LED theatre luminaires, so the brand does have a bit of a history there. In addition to that they appreciate the “outstanding” service from Light Partner.
Most recently, Light Partner has received a further order for Robe T11s, T2 Profiles and T2 followspots, indicating that Bjarne, Martin and the team are satisfied with the brand and with Robe’s commitment to providing the choice of a whole range of lights for theatre and performance.
A grandMA2 is used for lighting control, and the five full-time technical department multiplex and cover all departments, together with regular freelancers.
Bjarne visited the Robe factory in 2022 which he enjoyed. “It was great to see the precision and organisation that goes into the operation and also to hear about new ideas and future directions,” he commented.
photo: Louise Stickland
18th September 2023
Maximising Return: Norwich Theatre Upgrades With Yamaha RIVAGE PM
UK – When a large regional venue outgrows its audio mixing system, major capital spending is needed for a replacement. In the case of Norwich Theatre, investing in a Yamaha RIVAGE PM5 digital mixing system has maximised its long-term return.
Norwich Theatre comprises three venues: the 1,300-seat Norwich Theatre Royal, the 300-capacity Norwich Theatre Playhouse and Norwich Theatre Stage Two, a creative hub with a 120-seat studio theatre, rehearsal studios and training spaces.
The Theatre Royal stages everything from major, multi-performance musicals through to one-night stand up comedy shows. In recent years its role has evolved, from being primarily a receiving house to doing more of its own productions and sound design. It has featured a Yamaha CL5 digital mixer for ten years, which the most recent productions were starting to outgrow.
“The CL5 has been great for the bigger productions, while we have a Yamaha QL1 which is ideal for the stand-up shows,” says head of sound Darren Fuller (pictured). “But with doing more of our own productions, we wanted to do more sound design, to go bigger, deliver surround sound and more. Things like our annual pantomime had started to run out of channels, we were using every I/O on the CL5. We also wanted redundancy, so we decided to upgrade to a full Dante network, with a lot of DVS.”
At the same time, the team at the Playhouse was also looking to expand its sound options. With the CL5 having many years of reliable life left, the decision was taken to move the CL5 to the Playhouse and invest in a Yamaha RIVAGE PM5 system for the bigger venue. Together with TF3 and TF1 consoles in Stage Two, Norwich Theatre is now an all-Yamaha house.
Darren has long-term working relationships with Ben Noble at systems integrator Push The Button and Mike Walker at audio specialists Loh-Humm Audio, who supplied a RIVAGE PM5 system and HY144-D-SRC 144 channel Dante network card, to interface with 48khz sample rate personal monitors.
“We operate as a charitable trust, so every capital investment has to be justified. We plough a lot back into the venues and the community, we’re always renovating and giving productions and audiences the best we can,” says Darren. “This was a once in ten years investment. It made complete sense to future-proof the Theatre Royal with the RIVAGE PM5, where we can always upgrade the engine in the future if we need to, while giving the CL5 a second life in the Playhouse was an obvious choice, because of its features and exceptional reliability.
“We are trying to make everything very user friendly, we want mixing consoles in all our spaces that everyone can use, which are both intuitive and ultra-reliable,” he continues, adding with smile, “We do a lot of weekend concerts, so having Yamaha mixers gives us the reassurance that our technical team won’t be getting phone calls on a Sunday!”
Darren and his team are running the RIVAGE PM5 in theatre mode, which is particularly useful for the major productions in the Theatre Royal. “The dynamics recalls are incredibly useful, they make our lives a lot easier for the difference between speaking and shrieking, as it were, and the artist library saves a lot of time,” he says.
“More generally, the way the screens work is amazing, its user-friendliness, it’s very comfortable to use, the spacing of the control surface is great and users love the faders. Everyone seems to like it and we still keep finding new things that it does!”
When it comes to logistics in a venue with two mix positions, the size and weight of the control surface is also proving its worth. “That’s definitely an issue, because we’re moving it around quite a lot,” says Darren. “Not only that, but the case isn’t too big. We have to put it somewhere, when the system’s in use, so that’s another benefit.”
Norwich Theatre is already looking to make further investment, this time for Stage Two, highlighting how Yamaha product development is keeping pace with the market as it evolves.
“Stage Two was originally set up as a training space, but now we’re doing a lot more with it. There’s a lot of creative development, people are developing their own shows with all the elements to push out for small regional tours,” says Darren. “We do a lot of podcasting and streaming and are looking to invest in a Yamaha DM3 for that.”
photo: James Cumpsty
14th September 2023
Panasonic Projectors Bring Global Phenomenon Game of Thrones to Life at the Only Official Studio Tour
UK – The worldwide legion of Game of Thrones fans can now recreate their favourite scenes from the multiple award-winning HBO series at the official Game of Thrones Studio Tour, with Panasonic 1-Chip DLP 4K laser projectors and 4K displays providing a highly immersive experience of The Seven Kingdoms and beyond.
Situated in Banbridge, Northern Ireland, in the heart of its spiritual home and at its principal film studios, the Game of Thrones Studio Tour faithfully recreates sets from the series and invites visitors to immerse themselves in an expansive collection of costumes, props and weapons from the hit HBO series.
During an eight-season run with 73 episodes, Game of Thrones won no less than 272 worldwide awards, becoming a cultural phenomenon and a blueprint for future on-screen epic recreations of the fantasy genre. To preserve the experience of such an acclaimed production, Panasonic installed 15 Panasonic 1-Chip DLP 4K projectors throughout the tour. Nearly 50 4K Panasonic professional and interactive displays have also been installed, with a range of 55–98-inch displays used.
Panasonic’s best-in-class projection colour reproduction enables visitors to the Game of Thrones Studio Tour to feel as if they are on set, with its 4K projectors showing the finest level of detail, realism and colour when projected onto any surface, even the typically jagged environments that have become synonymous with the series.
The projectors and displays are carefully positioned throughout the tour, ensuring the sets and environments remain as realistic as possible and do not detract from the overall visitor experience. This is enabled by the range of flexible installation solutions that Panasonic provides, such as ultra short throw lenses, allowing visitors to get up-close to the content without casting a shadow.
As ever, the ability for visitors to capture photos of the immersive projection for social media use is a key consideration in maximising the popularity of the Game of Thrones Studio Tour, with the quality provided by Panasonic’s projectors proven in existing installations worldwide.
Panasonic’s 1-Chip DLP 4K projectors were also chosen for their reputation and reliability, with a maintenance-free life of 20,000 hours and more, in fixed installations. This enables museums and attractions, such as The Game of Thrones Studio Tour, to maximise visitor uptime.
The sustainability of Panasonic projectors has been critical to the overall installation. Their standby operation mode and ability to be closely controlled and monitored allow them to be used only when required, saving valuable energy. In addition, Panasonic’s 1-Chip DLP 4K laser projectors do not require the regular replacement of incandescent bulbs.
David Browne, executive director at Linen Mill Studio, comments: “This is the only Game of Thrones Studio Tour in the world. After our grand opening, we have had several of the wider Warner family and executive leadership team through the tour and they have been incredibly impressed with what they have seen, given the importance of the brand. We are delighted that it is being properly represented and what we have here for visitors to experience is truly world class. Thanks to Panasonic, it is now possible to see the best that Game of Thrones can be in Northern Ireland.”
14th September 2023
Sarner and Mercury to bring the history and beauty of Malta to life in a unique new attraction that combines a dark walk exhibition and a flying theatre ride
Malta – Sarner International, an award-winning design-and-build practice behind some of the world's best-loved heritage, cultural and themed attractions, has been working on a new major visitor attraction that will take visitors on an immersive and informative journey through the past and present of the beautiful islands of Malta, bringing to life their history and heritage like never before.
The cutting-edge attraction fuses entertainment with education and features an immersive dark walk experience, an interactive exhibition and a flying theatre ride: the first of its kind in Malta. It is situated inside Mercury Towers, an iconic new development designed by Zaha Hadid Architects (and one of the last designs that featured the hand of Zaha herself). At ground level, this new destination retains an impeccable reimagining of historic, Grade 2 listed Mercury House that dates from 1903 which has been painstakingly restored and repurposed to be enjoyed by future generations. It is juxtaposed against a central structure – Mercury Tower – which soars to 33 floors, making it Malta’s tallest building to date and features a breathtaking twist midway gifting Malta with an icon of contemporary architecture.
Once fully operational, Mercury Towers aspires to become a new cultural hub in St Julians, Malta, embodying the essence of contemporary urban living through a vibrant quarter of retail outlets, public spaces, diverse dining options, bars, cafes, the latest ME Hotel by Melia and the very best in entertainment facilities, all of which is underpinned by a rich and diverse program of cultural initiatives.
The attraction itself is the result of a multi-million-euro investment by Mercury and begins with a multi-show dark walk that reveals the traces of history which lie behind all that is on offer in Malta today: from the oldest man-made structures in the world to the critical battles that echoed around Europe. Visitors will also learn the story of Mercury House, the site of the attraction and previously an underground Control Centre and a vital communication hub during WWII, before experiencing a multi-projector show that celebrates Malta in the present day.
The visit culminates with a ride on board a custom-built flying theatre designed and delivered by leading entertainment attractions supplier Simtec Systems. Featuring stunning footage and spectacular special on board effects, the flying theatre simulator ride guarantees a thrilling experience which uses a six-degrees-of-freedom motion platform to take visitors on a magical flight around the islands, a truly memorable experience suitable for the entire family.
The new attraction at Mercury Towers will be a fully immersive multisensory experience, education and celebration of Malta in 60 minutes, featuring advanced effects that include projection mapping, 3D multi-channel sound, smoke and water effects.
Throughout the creation process Sarner has collaborated closely with Heritage Malta to ensure the highest level of authenticity. This historical accuracy is reflected in the storytelling, the incredible physical scenic recreations, and in the film content which harnesses Mercury’s commitment to innovation and technology, by blending live action and Hollywood-level CG visual effects. Filming took place throughout the Maltese islands and includes new stunning aerial footage and filmed reenactment, all delivered in ultra-high definition 8k.
The result is truly a new breed of flying theatre. Much more than just a "fly over" experience, this industry-first project seamlessly harmonises immersive storytelling and informative scene-setting shows with a historical story-led flying theatre ride and immersive special effects to create an attraction that is both educational and thrilling, setting a new benchmark for the heritage attractions sector.
This groundbreaking project continues to enhance Sarner’s reputation as an industry trailblazer, exemplifying their unique expertise in combining the substance and authenticity of cultural attractions with the experiential power of themed entertainment and motion rides to create new generation immersive ‘edutainment’ experiences that meet the increasingly sophisticated, demanding expectations of modern audiences. It is also a key component in solidifying Mercury’s position as the undisputed destination for leisure and entertainment in Malta.
The attraction will appeal to both local and international audiences, opening with eight language options. Further details to be revealed ahead of the official launch, expected later in the year.
Ross Magri, managing director, Sarner International: “We are thrilled to be able to bring the rich history, sights and beautiful nature of Malta to life in this unique attraction, a first for the Maltese islands. This will be a special experience for every visitor. Sarner's expertise shines through this innovative blend of heritage authenticity, theme park entertainment and engineering brilliance. The attraction serves as the ultimate destination for those seeking an unparalleled multi-sensory experience that marries historic storytelling with cutting-edge motion and effects. This project underscores Sarner's position as the go-to partner for clients looking to create a truly distinctive and industry-defying attraction.”
Andreas Stickel, director business development, Simtec Systems: “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work together with Sarner on this wonderful project. It was a challenge for both Sarner and Simtec, to include such an immersive attraction within the constraints of the available space in the building. With our HEXaFLITE mini, developed for small spaces, we have managed to meet this challenge. This is our first mini flying theater in Europe and we are very proud to have it installed in Malta!”
Marcel Bonnici, CEO, Mercury Towers: "We are honoured to partner with global leaders Sarner International and Simtec Systems to bring Malta's history to life through this truly unique concept. This groundbreaking attraction embodies our commitment to creating unforgettable moments which cannot be experienced elsewhere; in this case, through a fully immersive cultural attraction, which provides thrilling entertainment while serving as an enriching educational experience. Using immersive storytelling and cutting-edge innovation and technology, this unique concept for Europe is set to stimulate the senses and provide a one-of-a-kind journey through time. The attraction is just one initiative in which Mercury aims to celebrate Malta’s heritage and take it into the future.”