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THE POWER OF PEOPLE The changing face of a career in event production p14 BUYERS GUIDE A look at the explosive world of special effects p26 CURTAIN CALL On stage at ‘Zayed and the Dream’ in Dubai p34

WHAT A

BLAST

The World Fireworks Championships light-up Oman’s skyline

VIRTUAL DJ Could touch-screen technology spell the end of decks as we know them? Vol: 5 Issue: 1 January 2011

IN THE FAST LANE Ferrari World on Yas gets its muchawaited Grand Opening ceremony An ITP Business Publication


CONTENTS 10

January 2011 Volume 5, Issue 1 04 News round-up 04 Web log 10 COVER STORY: What a blast The World Fireworks Championships light-up Oman’s skyline.

14 The power of people Why your next job depends on more than what you know.

18 Virtual DJ Could a touch-screen system replace traditional decks?

22 In the fast lane The Ferrari World theme park finally gets its grand opening.

9$5,2 /,)7 9$5,2/,)7

26 Buyers guide The explosive world of special effects.

30 Kitted out Why audio outshines a mega-LED install at a new Dubai club.

34 Curtain call On-stage at ‘Zayed and the Dream’ at The Palladium.

38 The sound of progress How a retro-fit averted an acoustical nightmare in this auditorium.

‡ load capacity 125-6000 kg (BGV-C1) ‡ speed up to 42m/min ‡ wide range of control systems up to SIL 3 ‡ successful operation in shows and tours since 1998

40 The guide

18

This month’s hottest new product releases from Chauvet and more.

44 Picture special A look at the most rock and roll prodcution of the year - Guns N’ Roses in concert on Yas Island.

48 The hitlist 48 Backstage

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JANUARY 2011 SAS

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EDITOR’S COMMENT

Locally-grown In researching this month’s feature on maximising your employability in event production, I was struck by the increased commitment from manufacturers to visit the Middle East as part of product road shows. Even as recently as a few years ago, the region was relegated to the odd visit by product managers, perhaps as part of an annual plan to visit customers in far-flung parts of the world, for a hands-on demo of new or improved stock. But today, this is starting to change. In the past few months alone, manufacturers like Roland and Avid have hosted first-of-theirkind events in the UAE and Cairo respectively. Roland’s product workshop in Dubai was the firm’s first official event in the Middle East, and Avid’s VENUE console seminar in Egypt was also a regional first. Italian firm Proel made an even more substantial investment, hosting a threeday conference in Dubai – yet another first – that focussed heavily on product seminars aimed at upskilling those in attendance. In a clear indication that this sort of local event is in demand, every single one of Proel’s distributors in the region - from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Iran, Iraq, The UAE, and Oman – came along. Even Proel

execs expressed pleasant surprise at the interest in the conference. The organisers of PALME Middle East are currently finalising the expo’s education and training programme for April, which is expected to be more substantial than its 2010 offering, when 12 product and technology training seminars took place in addition to CEDIA and InfoComm Academy certified courses. 2011 will see a number of manufacturers host product seminars, including, in a region-first, Reference Lab, which will conduct a conference focused on cabling for pro audio. In order to remain at the forefront of technology – and maximise employment and commercial prospects – going forward, it is vital that the local industry’s skill set remains on par with Europe and North America. And by the looks of things, this will no longer mean a seven-hour plane trip to London.

Registered at Dubai Media City PO Box 500024, Dubai, UAE Tel: 00 971 4 444 3000, Fax: 00 971 4 444 3030 Web: www.itp.com Offices in Dubai & London ITP Business Publishing CEO Walid Akawi Managing Director Neil Davies Managing Director ITP Business Karam Awad Deputy Managing Director Matthew Southwell Editorial Director David Ingham VP Sales Wayne Lowery Editorial Senior Group Editor Robeel Haq Editor Brooke Sever Tel: +971 4 444 3665 email: brooke.sever@itp.com Advertising Commercial Director Fareed Dubery Tel: +971 4 444 3381 email: fareed.dubery@itp.com Sales Manager Nitesh Patel Tel: +971 4 444 3744 email: nitesh.patel@itp.com Japan Representative Mikio Tsuchiya Tel: + 81 354 568230 email: ua9m-tcy@asahi-net.or.jp Studio Group Art Editor Daniel Prescott Art Editor Nadia Puma Photography Director of Photography: Sevag Davidian Senior Photographers: Efraim Evidor, Jovana Obradovic Staff Photographers: Isidora Bojovic, George Dipin, Murrindie Frew, Lyubov Galushko, Verko Ignjatovic, Shruti Jagdesh, Mosh Lafuente, Ruel Pableo, Rajesh Raghav Production & Distribution Group Production & Distribution Director Kyle Smith Deputy Production Manager Matthew Grant Production Coordinator Nelly Pereira Managing Picture Editor Patrick Littlejohn Image Retoucher Emmalyn Robles Distribution Manager Karima Ashwell Distribution Executive Nada Al Alami Circulation Head of Circulation and Database Gaurav Gulati Marketing Head of Marketing Daniel Fewtrell Marketing Manager Annie Chinoy ITP Digital Director Peter Conmy

Brooke Sever Editor brooke.sever@itp.com

ITP Group Chairman Andrew Neil Managing Director Robert Serafin Finance Director Toby Jay Spencer-Davies Board of Directors K.M. Jamieson, Mike Bayman, Walid Akawi, Neil Davies, Rob Corder, Mary Serafin Circulation Customer Service Tel: +971 4 444 3459 Certain images in this issue are available for purchase. Please contact itpimages@itp.com for further details or visit www.itpimages.com. Printed by Color Lines Press Subscribe online at www.itp.net/subscriptions

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02 SAS JANUARY 2011

The publishers regret that they cannot accept liability for error or omissions contained in this publication, however caused. The opinions and views contained in this publication are not necessarily those of the publishers. Readers are advised to seek specialist advice before acting on information contained in this publication which is provided for general use and may not be appropriate for the reader’s particular circumstances. The ownership of trademarks is acknowledged. No part of this publication or any part of the contents thereof may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form without the permission of the publishers in writing. An exemption is hereby granted for extracts used for the purpose of fair review.

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The challenging thing about standards is there are so many of them. Which is why the Vista URS-1680 is so special - feed it almost any source in any format, and it routes it to any output display. No fuss, no bother, no scalers, no transcoders, no aspect ratio converters. Just the signal you want the way you want it, from composite analog 480i to digital 4K. You choose. With sixteen inputs and eight outputs its appetite for solving even complex conversion problems is exceptional. And it handles keying, layers, HD and all common stills formats all in one, compact, box. And still be hungry for more.

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THE BRIEFING

Chart-toppers announced for Gulf Bike Week concerts CONCERT Done Events, led by former AEG exec Thomas Ovesen, has announced the line up for Gulf Bike Week 2011, which will see Amy Winehouse, N*E*R*D led by Pharrel Williams and Mike Posner descend on Dubai. Gulf Bike Week will take place from February 10 to 12 and Dubai Festival City, and will feature daily bike exhibitions, stunt bike shows, entertainment and a special Rolling Stone Magazine stage with local and regional bands performing. Following the daily activities the 15,000 capacity Gulf Bike Week concert arena will feature the international artists in concert.

“What better way to kick off the new year than to present top international artists, all performing for the first time ever for their Middle East fans” said Ovesen COO of Done Events. “Having Pharrell Williams with his band N*E*R*D, Mike Posner and the amazing Amy Winehouse performing over the same weekend is a real scoop and will not only ensure a full house during the Gulf Bike Week event but will also kick off an amazing season of great entertainment in Dubai.” Done has also announced a monthly event series titled ‘Livin the Music’, to take place in 2011 although further details are yet to come to light.

Amy Winehouse. Simone Joyner/ Getty Images

SENNHEISER ANNOUNCES NEW ORGANISATIONAL STRUCTURE Sennheiser has announced a new organisational structure that the company said is designed to improve marketability and customer focus. As part of the changes, three responsive business divisions designed for the target markets of ‘consumer electronics’, ‘professional systems’ and ‘installed sound’ will be supported by a corporate group with three divisions. “With this structure, we are implementing clear customer orientation as part of our corporate strategy and will be able to act in a more decisive and target-oriented manner in the future,“ explained Prof. Dr. Jörg Sennheiser, chairman of the supervisory board. According to a press release issued by the firm, the three business divisions will operate within their respective business sectors tasked with specific strategies and resources but will work alongside the value-added chain. A company rep said this means that the various sectors’ specific customer needs

04 SAS JANUARY 2011

The new Sennheiser executive management board. can be fulfilled quickly and securely. The consumer electronics division will concentrate on the headphone trade sector as well as audiology and telecommunications products. The professional systems division will manage professional audio, live sound, studio and professional headsets, while the installed sound division will cover fixed sound-programme transmission systems. “These streamlined, independent business units can now focus more closely on

their customers and the demands of the respective markets, thereby helping create the foundation for continued, sustainable growth of the company,“ explained Volker Bartels, spokesperson for the Executive Management Board and president for Production and Logistics. “They will be supported by three corporate divisions which will be focussing on their strategy more than ever before to enable greater efficiency and a longer-term market activity and presence.”


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THE BRIEFING

VENUE console workshop wows Cairo TRAINING Avid, in cooperation with its channel partner Alpha Audio, conducted its first VENUE console workshop in Cairo, Egypt, in December. The event, held at Le Meridien Heliopolis, was attended by the cream of the live sound industry in Cairo. Nadiyam ‘Ravi’ Ravisankar, Manager Live Sound for Avid Emerging Markets, used a Venue SC 48 tied in with a Pro Tools LE for the demonstration. “I am very happy with the response to our workshop event. Though VENUE consoles have been used in Egypt by various touring acts, this was the first time that the local industry professionals got to see a detailed demo about the capabilities of the VENUE consoles and get a better understanding of why VENUE consoles are so widely used worldwide. I am positive about the uptake of this revolutionary console technology in Egypt,” said Ravi.”

Avid’s VENUE console workshop left those who attended highly impressed with the product. And it seems his confidence was wellfounded. Attendees raved about the product and judging by their response, order books should fill up quickly.”The timing was great. VENUE is simply the answer to all the drawbacks of other digital consoles,” said Hesham Enan, president of Alpha Audio. “I learned most of the console in a few minutes. It is so intuitive;

ECLIPSE STOCKS UP ON VIDEO Eclipse Staging Services has added another element to its arsenal of services - video production has been brought in-house thanks to an agreement that will see freelance videographer Issac Kumer oversee the firm’s multi-camera capacity. A purchase of a full Sony HD 1920 x 1080 I & P camera set up from Advanced Media for I –Mag will facilitate the offering, which Kumer and Eclipse’s chairman Mark Brown said will include the production of video content to be used as part of live production, as well as the filming of events themselves for publicity and purposes. “Eclipse has also purchased a HD Redheads light kit that

06 SAS JANUARY 2011

it simply unleashes your creative mind,” added Shahir Nakhla, industry veteran and general manager of Alpha Audio. George Saeed, owner and chief engineer of Automation Systems who was one of the attendees of the workshop had nothing to say, however. Instead, he immediately ordered the first VENUE Profile system in Egypt.

TIESTO GIG RESCHEDULED DJ Tiesto. Cole Bennetts/Getty Images

© Martin Pfeiffer will be used for interviews and other areas that complement video production,” explained Kumer. The kit specialist has had a busy end to 2010, providing lights, sound, lasers, video screens and power distribution for Flash’s Skybar; Christie microtiles, LED monitors and seamless plasma walls controlled by a Version 4 Watchout system for the DIFF closing ceremony; as well as the Creamfields Abu Dhabi festival.

Following the last-minute cancellation of DJ Tiesto’s gig in Abu Dhabi in October, promoter Flash has announced that the artist will be back in the Capital on February 17, 2011. This time, however, Flash have chosen a new venue, with Tiesto scheduled to play to what is expected to be a larger crowd at the Flash Forum, on the grounds of the Yas Hotel.

The superstar DJ’s gig was called off hours before it was due to commence at ADNEC in October, with sources revealing exclusively to Sound & Stage that inadequate sound checks had failed to detect problems with the venues sound system in advance. Chunks of masonry were said to have fallen from the ceiling as an over-loaded rig vibrated with the poorly tuned system. Flash Forum, a semi-permanent venue on Yas Island spanning 84 metres in the form of a ‘SupaDome’ structure, played host to an intimate performance by the legendary Prince during last month’s 2010 Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix.


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Stageco builds ‘The Drum’ in Qatar PROJECT Stageco, globally recognised as the firm behind mega-stages for acts such as U2 and AC/DC, has completed a temporary structure build in Qatar’s Ras Laffan Industrial City. Coined ‘The Drum’, the structure was created as part of one of the largest events in the country’s oil and gas industry, and was commissioned by event and marketing agency WRG Qatar. WRG was appointed as event managers for the project, including the initial creative concept to production, including branding, catering, entertainment and video content. Inspiration for the bespoke venue design was based on a liquified natural gas tank and event engineering specialists Stageco were chosen by WRG to design and build the bespoke event structure, which measured 57 metres wide and 20 metres high. “We’ve been keen to invest in Stageco’s services since permanently establishing ourselves in Qatar, but haven’t had an appropriate event to do so. The Drum was a perfect opportunity to start the relationship

between WRG and Stageco, a relationship we now hope will continue to thrive. WRG are very pleased with the end result of the structure, especially given the timescales we were set by the end client,” said Tim Elliott, project director WRG.

SHOWTEX GOES GREEN Textile specialist ShowTex has unveiled a range of ecological velvet theater curtains as part of the company’s environmental policy plan. The popular Shakespeare and Molière flame retardant cotton velours developed by ShowTex are the first in the industry to be awarded OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 certification, which for almost 20 years has been acknowledged as most effective certification tool for “greening” the total textile supply chain. The standard is the world’s most comprehensive and verifiable method for ensuring that textile products and the supply chains that create them do not use hazardous chemicals such as pesticides, carcinogenic dye stuffs, heavy metals, or other concerning substances that can hurt people and damage the environ-

ment. The certification can be applied to every phase of production, from fiber to fabric to finished products, confirming that all elements are free from harmful levels of dangerous substances. Shakespeare velvet velour is 100 per cent cotton, weighs 500grams per sq metre and meets flame retardant standards NFP-M1 * BS-2B. A wide range of colours and draping make it a theater standard for main curtains or stage masking. The all-cotton Molière drapes have a plush upright pile, weigh in at 600 grams per sq metre and also meet flame retardant standards.

Stageco designed and manufactured bespoke building parts to ensure the structure was able to support an overall rigging capacity of 35 tonnes. The vast temporary venue included a 1,200 seat auditorium, deep water stage reaching 16 metres in depth in places, with a five metre diameter central stage lift, a 360 degree screen measuring 180 by nine metres, along with rigging for 27 aerial performers. A crew of 18 from Stageco, led by Dirk De Decker, completed the build in just 10 days, overcoming several challenges, from managing logistical operations for such a huge project to building in an industrial zone surrounded by miles of desert. “It was a real pleasure to work with WRG and we are very proud to have been involved in such a pioneering production. While standards were high throughout, we’ve created an innovatively designed temporary event venue, keeping to challenging time schedules. I’m delighted with the outcome,” said Stageco’s international projects director De Decker.

Showtex’s new eco products are certified to international ‘green’ standards.

According to a company rep, ShowTex undertook the certification process in response to recent green theater initiatives around the world and a growing interest in ecological products for the event and entertainment industry. The introduction of the eco-products coincides with the publication of ShowTex’s Environmental Policy Statement.

JANUARY 2011 SAS

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WEB LOG DPme.com

Retro 80s synth makes a comeback XILS LAB, a specialist in virtual synthesis technology, has announced the launch of I PolyKB mk I, the recreation of a very rare and powerful polyphonic synthesiser released in the 80’s. The manufacturer said the new version captures the sound and spirit of the legendary RSF PolyKobol Analogue synthesiser including one of its most popular features - a continuous morphing Oscillator, which can be fully modulated by many sources. While PolyKB II retains the uncompromised state-of-the art analogue characteristics of V1, the folks at XILS Lab have added many great features that were not available on yesteryear’s sought-after classic hardware synths. PolyKB II now combines the best of both worlds — vintage and modern. The PolyKB II is a polyphonic subtractive synthesiser based on two waveform morphing, aliasing free oscillators and a self oscillating, four poles low pass filter. The oscillators take

DECEMBER’S TOP STORIES

Devo: devoted to synth. Karl Walter/Getty Images

MOST READ NEWS STORIES OVERALL

1 GNR Abu Dhabi-bound 2 ADFC announces funding 3 Debut of Spiderman 4 Pakistani industry struggling 5 Qatar 2022 to skyrocket local pay rights a large part of the sound, while the filter recreating a standard analogue chip of the 80s - with the help of very complete modulation sections - allows the PolyKB II to create “warm sounds from gorgeous basses to slowly evolving pads, through aggressive leads and thin crystal keyboards as well as a huge range of incredible special effects that all sound designers will love to use.”

MOST READ SOUND & STAGE NEWS STORIES

1 GNR Abu Dhabi-bound 2 Debut of Spiderman 3 Pakistani industry struggling 4 Gulf Bike Week gigs unveiled 5 Dubai Sports Complex offically opened

EDITOR’S CHOICES

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

NEWS

NEWS

REED DISMISSES SALE TALK

VIDEO: DIGITAL BACKLASH?

Reed Exhibitions chairman Mike Rusbridge said that there is “no substance” to claims of a possible sale of its US$1.5 billion exhibitions division, dismissing the discussions that allegedly took place between Cinven and Emap owner Apax, and describing reports as “rumour” that had quickly faded away.

In an age where billboards are just as likely to be in digital formats as they are static, the sight of a hand-drawn billboard in Dubai is an eye-catching one. Could this be just the start of a digital revolution backlash? Featuring artist Sasan Saidi, it is the brainchild of creative agency Leo Burnett.

SPOT POLL

WHAT DOES THE DUBAI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL MEAN TO YOU?

51.6%

24.2%

12.9%

11.3%

IT’S A VITAL SOURCE OF INSPIRATION AND FUNDING FOR LOCAL FILM MAKERS

IT’S FUN FOR A FEW DAYS, BUT IT’S REALLY JUST A CHANCE TO GET A LOAD OF CELEBRITIES IN TOWN

IF DIFF’S MARKETING BUDGET WAS SPENT FUNDING LOCAL FILMS, WE’D HAVE A MUCH BETTER INDUSTRY

THERE’S A FILM FESTIVAL?

08 SAS JANUARY 2011


COVER STORY

WHAT A

BLAST

Oman hosted the 2010 World Fireworks Championships last month – the largest ever in the contests history. Mark Wooding, CEO of the event, takes us behind the scenes at what was a dazzling end to the Sultanate’s 40th National Day celebrations.

T

he skies of Muscat were lit up for over two weeks last month, as the World Fireworks Championships descended on the Sultanate. The largest of its kind in the world, the contest, which ran during lavish celebrations for Oman’s 40th National Day and has been two years in the making, brought six international competitors together to battle it out for the 2010 title. And while winning team LacroixRuggiere put on what the judging panel deemed the best, competing displays were spectacular in their own right. Set amongst the palm trees and fountains of the Al Qurum Natural Park, each pyromusical display saw fireworks choreographed to music and linking to a chosen theme, explains Mark Wooding, CEO of the World Fireworks Championships. “Each display should be around 25 minutes and each competitor has the same budget, but is at liberty to add whatever firework stock they like,” he explains. “There are restrictions on some of the kinds of pyrotechnic product they can use, largely for safety or shipping issues, and they can only bring eight team mem-

10 SAS JANUARY 2011

bers to prepare the display.” Wooding says that the six competitors at the event were where chosen from a long list of 50 international organisations, which was then whittled down to 10, and then the final six, based on proposals submitted. An international panel of expert pyrotechnic judges boasting over 100 years combined experience in large-scale fireworks presided over the championships, including: Andrew Fielder, a UK-based veteran of ‘the art’ of fireworks; Vicente Caballer Ramirez, who has nearly 60 years of experience at Pirotecnia Caballer, which was founded in 1880; Anthony

Busuttil, founder of Malta Fireworks; and David Weimer, owner of Pyro-Art, the only firm to ever complete a show at the ancient Acropolis in Greece. Fielder, chairman of the judging panel, said choosing an overall winner wasn’t an easy task. “The scores were very close and the judging panel found it to be really difficult to announce the winner,” he said. “The criteria for the championship were 15 but they were taken into consideration broadly in four areas like innovation, technology, safety and subjective impression of the judges and mood of the audience.” Wooding further explains that the judg-

The firing site at Muscat’s Al Qurum National Park.


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10 MINUTES WITH VULCAN

How did Vulcan nab a place in the contest? We were contacted by the organisers I think as a result of a couple of shows we did in Hanover, Germany. We did a competition there two years in a row and took first and second place, and I think that indicated to the sponsors that we were capable of putting on a show of the dimensions they were looking for.

What kind of preparations took place in the lead up to the event? Cindy Cheung [also part of Vulcan’s technical team] and I went over to Oman, once we accepted the application, in June to meet with the organisers, inspect the site and get an idea of what we were dealing with in terms of the layout of the site and also to see who the competition was. We then had a very tight schedule to put the show together.

How was the design of the show developed? We had to put together a musical proposal first that sponsors looked over and submitted to the National Day High Council, and once that was approved, we started the choreography for the show. And what that involved was giving the sponsors an idea of the quantity and they types of products that we

were going to be shooting and how we were going to stage the themes for the show. At that point, that was a very rough outline. And I flew over the Hong Kong to choreograph the show with Cindy in July, so it was a collaborative effort between the two of us. We had to very quickly firm up the music, make sure the timings were all right – we had a time interval of between 20 and 25 minutes for the entire duration of the show. So once we got our final soundtrack cut, we sat down for two weeks and, every day, for eight hours or more a day, we selected products and put the whole show together.

IN NUMBERS…

3699 cues

4396

pieces of aerial display shells ranging from 2.5 to 7 inches in diameter

4,548

pieces of individual fireworks in total

38,639

Photos courtesy of Ewan Cheung.

Joint second place winner Vulcan, based in Hong Kong, is predominantly a pyrotechnics manufacturer, but pulled out all stops to put on an impressive display inspired by the Omani culture and landscapes. We caught up with John Werner, technical director at the firm, who has over 30 years of experience in the business of fireworks, to find out more about the team’s entry in the championships.

The team from Vulcan.

What tools do you use as part of the design process? We do it much like TV or movie production where we actually do a story board. My background is in fine arts so I would do the story board and we had several shoots with the site layout and how we wanted to stage where the effects were coming from and then for every scene and major portion of the music, we’d draw a little picture of what we had in our minds and what effects we were going to use. It really helps us keep track of the products we’re using. There are thousands of items in there so the value of having a story board can’t be underestimated. And it’s nice to flip through it and remind yourself what you were thinking and make some colour and effect notations.

total shots

7 tonnes of material

Are products manufactured specifically for a project like this? Since we’re a manufacturer, not just a display company per se, we have to

JANUARY 2011 SAS

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COVER STORY

HOT COMPETITION Howard & Sons Hailing from Australia, Howard & Sons was formed in 1922 and has provided spectacular pyrotechnic displays all over the world ever since, including the historical displays for the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1932 and the Sydney Opera House in 1973. More recently, the firm has been lighting up the skies for numerous festivals and major sporting events, including this year’s Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

Merlin.

Zambelli. Howard & Sons.

Merlin Fireworks Founded in 1998 in the UK, Merlin Fireworks have quickly risen to become one of the best firework production companies in Europe, having provided displays for London’s Millennium Celebrations, as well as the spectacular opening and closing ceremony for Cork’s European Capital of Culture Award.Influenced by the local Omani culture, the Merlin show was as powerful as it was spectacular, apparently including a ‘lift’ of 44 by 6 inch shells as part of their finale.

Panzera.

of Europe’s leading pyrotechnic specialists, with over 250 years of experience in the field, dating back to displays that dazzled WINNER! Lacroix-Ruggieri the likes of King Louis XIV of France in the 1700’s, Lacroix-Ruggieri now provide the Winning team Lacroix-Ruggieri is a powfirework displays for such rock royalty as U2, erhouse of international fireworks, being Pink Floyd and The Rolling Stones and have born out of two of Europe’s oldest firea research laboratory that strive to progress works companies; Ruggieri from Italy and Ettiene Lacroix from France. The combina- the art of pyrotechnics even further. The final firm to display their entry in tion of these two forces has created one the competition, LacroixRuggieri incorporated a Part of Lacroix-Ruggieri’s winning display. number of set pieces, set in place using cranes, as well as heart-shaped shells. Panzera Originating from Italy and founded in the 1930’s, Panzera are famous for elegant displays, which are perfectly synchronised to music. The firm produced the spec-

12 SAS JANUARY 2011

ttacular l closing l i ceremony of the Turin Winter Olympics and supply Disneyland, Florida, with their fireworks each year. A wellknown force on the international fireworks circuit, Panzera have collected wins at numerous other fireworks contests. Designer Pierpaolo Serafino choreographed Panzera’s entry to strains of ‘Funiculi, funicula’, and the fireworks-favourite ‘Time to say goodbye’. Massive setpieces, including a huge ‘Oman 40th National Day’ logo, and a series of ‘suns’ and waterfalls, were used as part of the design. Zambelli Proudly known as the ‘First Family of Fireworks’, Zambelli is one of the oldest and largest fireworks companies in the US. Their fireworks displays can be seen all over the globe, and have been featured extensively on the Discovery Channel and the British Broadcasting Corporation. Founded back in 1893 by Antonio Zambelli in Naples, Italy, the firm are Guinness World Record Holders for shooting fireworks from the highest altitudes.


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5 MINUTES WITH‌ (CONTINUED) have all our products manufactured – we don’t have a warehouse stocked with shelves of materials ready to go. So once the choreography was complete, we made up a list of what we envisaged for the show and send that to our two major factories in China. It’s obviously then a big job to keep track of it all, labelling it correctly so we know what part of the show it goes into and where it gets hooked to on the computer firing system. It took about six weeks to produce all the products for the show and then it needed to be shipped. It was a pretty hectic timetable – typically you’d want a bit more time but we managed to get it all there and ready in time.

How much stock was used for Vulcan’s entry? It was roughly half a 40 foot container worth of fireworks and the number of cues - incidences where the computer tells something to fire - was over 3000, which is a pretty big cue count. And that doesn’t mean there’s over 3000 things that are fired, it’s actually much more because some things get fired simultaneously.

What was the theme of your entry?

ing criterion goes beyond the aesthetics of the final products. “They look at safety and site management - is safe practice well observed, does the team manage the set-up area effectively?� Also under scrutiny in artistic interpretation and technical merit: “Is the soundtrack a good choice? Does the show interpret the theme and music? Are the fireworks particularly unusual or beautiful? Do the fireworks synchronise well with the soundtrack?� The final criterion is overall effectiveness, with the judges considering audience reaction in their score.

The overall theme was harmony and the show was split into eight sections each with their own theme as well. The opening theme itself, most people will know as the theme from 2001 – it’s somewhat corny but it’s very powerful and we wanted something that would get people to turn in the right direction and look where they should be so they were aware that something spectacular was going to happen. We had a lot of shots and a lot of noise in the opening, just to get people roused. We wanted to show what we felt were the different aspects of the Omani culture and their way of life. They are a very proud people and are very conscious of their strengths. And we wanted to emphasis the landscapes – the water, the palm trees, the desert.

What would you rate as the key element in competing at this level? The key is getting a whole heap of effects to mesh together perfectly to get the desired effect. I think in terms of uniqueness and quality of product, we were strong competitors. Winning was not our main purpose, we wanted to really show what we are capable of.

According to Wooding, a competition of this nature is not just about the entertainment factor and the final trophy. “It’s to encourage excellence in the pyrotechnic production arts, but also to help the audience appreciate the difference between an excellent and an average display.� Excellent or average, the event garnered considerable support, with locals and tourists turning out to see the spectacular results over the duration of the contest. “We think we had well in excess of 100,000 from various points around Muscat,� says Wooding.

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JANUARY 2011 SAS

13


SPECIAL

THE POWER OF PEOPLE

The event production job market is changing, intensifying the study versus experience debate and forcing those seeking new opportunities to get creative.

G

etting a job in event production – whether you’re a lighting designer, sound engineer or event manager – has traditionally been about who you know as much as what you know; and recent economic conditions have only highlighted this fact. In a market that’s as competitive as ever, up-skilling to ensure you stay at the forefront of your area of expertise is vital to ensure your career prospects remain bright. This is especially the case given the speed of the development of new technologies. While 20 years ago, the in-

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timate knowledge of one or two key lighting consoles, for instance, may have sufficed, today’s event production space often demands more flexibility and broader skills. Many manufacturers are now making the trip to the Middle East to host productspecific training seminars and those in positions with hiring responsibilities encourage attendance at as many as possible. In addition, the rise of private training institutes has introduced a plethora of part-time and full-time technical courses to the market. According to Anne Militello, president of Vortex Lighting in Los

Angeles and head of the graduate lighting department at the California Institute of the Arts, school-environments should “allow for the time to explore one’s ideas and grow their creative muscle,” but don’t always offer the practical experience that’s eventually needed. She encourages those looking to select a course to thoroughly research the equipment the programme utilises, as without the right tools to learn on, theoretical knowledge is often wasted. Militello is a big advocate of hands-on experience, but warns that the stresses of getting a job done can mean a lack of time to hone skills. “The road exposes you right away to the realities of the practical process without giving you an hour to be introspective about your art - unless you drink loads of coffee and stay up all night with your rig experimenting and experimenting!” So what advice does she give those wanting to forge a career in the technical production industry? “Go to art museums, galleries, theatre, and opera—and know your art. Aspire to understand the power that light has in life, in design, and know your medium. Then get to know your tools. Anyone can mess around with lights and get lucky a few times, but to master it takes continuing respect and openness to learning. Make sure you have tolerance and a hard shell if you pursue the commercial end of the business.”


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TO FREELANCE OR NOT TO FREELANCE? The desire to keep overheads low is driving more and more business towards a freelance model, where full-time staffing is foregone in favour of temporary contractors. But as Jim Moody and Paul Dexter, authors of the third edition of ‘Concert Lighting: Techniques, Art and Business’, advise, the key to successfully freelancing is ensuring commercial viability – which can mean keeping your creative cards close to your chest. In the following excerpt from their book, they give some tips on the business side of the touring business. “It is relatively easy to get a group to say, “Okay, do our lights!” It is not so easy to keep from getting ripped off. One problem is that most designers go into a meeting eager to show the group how much they know, so they spill their creative guts. Do not be so naive as to think the manager is not mentally taking down every concept you throw out, even if verbally he reacts differently. All too often your ideas show up on stage, but you do not! This is an old story because it really does happen, the United Scenic Artists (USA) and similarly the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IA) unions have specific rules that no member puts pen to paper or presents an idea to a prospective client until a contract is signed. Excellent rule, but you need two sides to play the game. Rock and roll has only one side, the manager or producer of the artist. The other side that supports the designer or crew does not exist. Sure, the USA and IA would love to have designers work under their banners, but frankly, they did not realize the economic poten-

tial to their members early on. They were not alone; most of the adult world felt that rock and roll was just a fad. An economic plan geared to the rock and roll designers’ needs and the setting of the industry standards is a long way from being a reality. What are the economics of rock and roll touring? Who makes the money and how much? Should you work for a company, an artist directly, or be independent (freelance) with your own consulting companywhich is best? These are questions that you should consider before your first meeting. There is no governing body setting fee standards in rock and roll, there is a range of fees, which have been static throughout the years because of an increase in the supply of people wanting to enter the business. The coming years don’t hold much promise for dramatic changes. The economics are such that it is all relative to how much you are in demand as a designer. The few mega-tours and their designers will continue to make the big money relative to the other 99 per cent of designers working in the field. However, that is no different than in any other consultant/design field. The idea is to create the demand so you can get paid whatever you want.”

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CONNECTING THE DOTS Traditionally, the size of the Middle East production has meant that hiring a freelancer is no more difficult than putting a call into a mate, but as the market grows, a more formal method of contact may be required. Enter, the Show Crew Network. This US web-based organisation aims to connect a wide range of freelancers to organisations looking for crew through free online profiles, as well as facilitating payment. The company says its custom web app “provides a fully automated system for finding, scheduling and paying crew for events, shoots and tours, in real time,” and aims

to “save time and money as well as reducing the headaches of scheduling and managing.” Developed by production industry veterans looking for a way to simplify the process of booking crews for gigs, the founders consulted touring, production and rental staging companies, freelancers, event firms, AV houses and many others along the way to design a system that makes booking jobs for both employers and crew members a snap. The service may still be US-specific at present, but its concept is one that is sure to extend across international borders in the near-future.

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SPECIAL

BACK TO SCHOOL TWOFOUR54 Predominantly focussed on the world of broadcasting, twofour54’s training academy, Tadreeb, also has some courses on offer for those in technical production. The firm’s headquarters in Abu Dhabi offers a range of short courses designed to introduce beginners to software programmes as well as offering those already familiar with specific packages additional expertise so that they can get the most out of them. Tadreeb is an authorised Adobe training centre and offers courses in both English and Arabic. Courses include: COMPREHENSIVE STUDY OF FINAL CUT PRO 7 (FCP 200) What you need to know about the course: This five-day, hands-on course teaches students to perform basic editing functions while becoming familiar with the Final Cut Pro user interface. The course is based on the FCP 101: An Introduction to Final Cut Pro course, but because the lessons are covered in five days, instead of three, there is a more comprehensive coverage of the key areas. Start with basic video editing techniques and work all the way through Final Cut Pro’s powerful advanced features. Learn to mark and edit clips, mix sound, add titles, create transitions, apply filters, and more. Topics include basic setup, customising preferences and settings, capturing video and audio, various editing and trimming techniques, Ripple, Roll, Slip, and Slide tools, audio editing and audio creation, finishing and final output. Who it’s for: This class is designed for anyone looking to edit professional-quality video with Final Cut Pro and who prefers hands-on and interactive instruction to best explore its functionality.

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ADVANCED ADOBE AFTER EFFECTS FOR THE WEB What you need to know about this course: The course explores a wide range of features available in After Effects and teaches the techniques required to produce superior end results. Specially selected projects are designed to provide step by step tuition of each of the major tool sets and how to combine them more effectively into the finished animated product. A series of workshops will enable students to improve their technical skills in animation; image capture; timing; multilayering; composing sequences and animated special effects. Who it’s for: Web designers, animators and graphics or media designers wishing to learn After Effects motion graphics techniques.

PALME MIDDLE EAST This year’s expo will be more than just that – the 2011 education and training programme includes extended learning opportunities for systems integration as well as AV and Audio professionals through extensive training and hands-on knowledge gained from sessions where attendees can experience the latest technologies from all over the world and listen to the gurus in their respective industries. Also on offer will be a range of manufacturer-specific seminars designed to bring participants up to speed on specific products and technologies, such as new consoles and lighting fixtures.

SAE INSTITUTES The largest worldwide private college for audio production, film production, interactive animation and applied multimedia, SAE has Middle East campuses in Jordan and the UAE, and offers a range of training courses and academic degree programmes. Its ‘Neve’ studio, for example, boasts a 48 -channel console, a control and live room as well as a recording booth, a Protools HD 3 setup and a variety of high-end outboard gear. The education body was is currently being acquired by Australian global education services provider Navitas as part of a deal worth US$288 million, a move which many are confident will see it add to its course offering. Courses include: BACHELOR OF AUDIO PRODUCTION What you need to know about this course: The BA Audio Production degree comprises the Audio Production diploma plus a second year of degree level studies and can be taken over a period of two years as an intensive programme. The BA degree is a direct path to higher post graduate degrees such as the SAE Tonmeister. Who it’s for: SAE says the BA Audio Production will consolidate students’ knowledge gained during an Audio Production diploma programme and further their academic skills. The degree broadens the learning experience beyond the purely vocational type training, by including a wider knowledge base and research-based educational experience. The Recording Arts Degree programme


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agement was founded in 2002 after consultation with industry stalwarts in event management that led to the development of curricula were structured to meet industry defined needs, including lectures that are largely delivered by industry practitioners themselves. The study methods are quite hands-on, with on-site event training and internships playing a significant role in the Institute’s programmes.

can only l b be ttaken k att th the various i approved SAE degree centres.

EMDI INSTITUTE OF MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS Indian education provider EMDI also has a campus in Dubai – and soon, in Sharjah and Abu Dhabi - and offers a range of Diplomas in event management. According to the company, its Institute of Event Man-

DIPLOMA IN EVENT MANAGEMENT What you need to know about this course: This one-year course focus on event practices and all associated areas of relevance and includes classroom lectures and live event training, as well as a strong emphasis on workshops and “live event” exercises to make the learning experience as close to reality as possible. Subjects covered include event sponsorship, marketing, venue construction, production, logistics, set designing and celebrity and artist management. Who it’s for: This course is particularly suited to undergraduates looking for a career predominantly in events, and offers post-graduate study opportunities in the form of a Post Graduate Diploma in Event Management.

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EMULATOR EXCLUSIVE

TOUCH-IT W

Could a multi-touch screen DJ console spell the end of decks as we know them?

hen Sound & Stage’s sister site, DPME. com, posted a video a few months ago showing a then relatively new product called the Emulator, the resulting hits told us it was more than just a passing fad. And it seems we were right on the money. The transparent, multi-touch screen DJ console interface that is being touted as the “future of DJing”, sparked the interest of LiveLive Project, which partnered with NMK Electronics to bring the system to Dubai last month to showcase at an industry night at the newly-relaunched Music Room. LiveLive, which has been responsible for a wave of recent ‘underground’ marketing events that have attracted a cult following thanks to post-event video’s posted on the groups YouTube

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channel, offered hands-on demo’s of the product. The Emulator is a multi-touch MIDI controller designed d by DJ Pablo Martin, and uses digital DJ software, Traktor Pro, to mix tracks on a rear projection set-up. Its software is designed to work with tablet PCs, stand The Emulator is comp alone multiatible with Traktor Pro. touch LCDs and rear projection screens, with ith the first public stable reable (beta) version re


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EMULATOR EXCLUSIVE

As time goes by Sound & Stage takes a look back at key milestones in the history of DJing.

1965 - Audio engineer Alex Rosner designs the first sound system for the Canada-A-Go-Go and Carnival-A-Go-Go stands at the 1964-5 World’s Fair. The world’s first stereophonic disco system is a hit – previous to this, sound was mono and mixers and cueing devices were non-existent.

1971 – Rosner puts another brick in the foundation of modern DJing, unveiling the first DJ mixer for the ‘Haven’ nightclub. Nicknamed ‘Rosie’, for its colour and inventor, it was used by in-house DJ and legend Francis Grasso. “It was really primitive and not very good. But it did the job. And nobody could complain, because there was nothing else around,” Rosner has been quoted as saying.

1975 1978 – The Technics SL-1200 Mark2, or SL-

– Scratching is invented by Grand Wizzard Theodore. 1200MK2, turntable makes its debut. It was essentially a beefed-up, commercial version of the original SL-1200 home hi-fi model released six years earlier.

1981 – Advances in computer technology see processor-controlled sequencers and drum machines create perfect 4/4 timing for beat mixing.

1990 - Rane develops and receives the patent (1991) on Accelerated Slope EQ. (Versions later used in Rane’s TTM 54, TTM 56, TTM 57SL, XP 2016, MP 44 and Empath DJ Mixers.)

1998 – The Pioneer EFX-500 Effector is released, making it the first DJ effects box that added echo, flanging and filtering to the performing DJ’s repertoire.

2001 – Another nail in vinyl’s coffin – Pioneer launch its CDJ-1000 Digital Vinyl Turntable, the first CD ‘turntable’ using a touch sensitive platter that accurately emulated a vinyl turntable.

2002 – The rise of Serrato Scratch sees a plug-in for Digidesign‘s Pro Tools to Scratch being developed, allowing any digital sample or sound file using regular turntables or a mouse as the controller.

2004 - Rane partners with Serato Audio Research, a New Zealand company, to produce Scratch Live. It’s the first digital music file mixing system to work exactly like real vinyl, with none of the limitations of previous attempts.

2008 – The Serato Video-SL software plug-in for Scratch Live adds the ability to playback and mix video files using a laptop and a TTM 57SL mixer, bringing live video mixing to the turntablist, allowing manipulation of video files from vinyl or CD players.

2010 – Panasonic announces the demise of Technics decks, but on a more positive note, the Emulator is born.

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leased in July. The multi-touch MIDI controller software works with Windows 7 and, in addition to its existing compatibility with Traktor Pro, will soon support numerous other DJing software. According to event nt organisers, the product was a hit with Dubai-based DJ’s, with dozens cueing up to try out the system for themselves. Emulator’s latest soft-

ware version (1.2), includes improved graphic rendering, onlive activation and registration capabilities, up/down pitch buttons, a scrossfader slider, a master volume control, a cruise mode button and a quantize option.

DEATH OF TECHNICS? Forget tears over the recent announcement that Sony will no longer produce the iconic Walkman – another staple in the world of music is under threat. Panasonic’s famed Technics decks, popular with DJ’s the world over for decades, have been the cause of much speculation over recent months, with many claiming the manufacturer was planning to halt production of the range permanently. An open letter from the “entire DJ scene” was even penned, directed at Panasonic with the plea for the manufacturer to come clean with its plans. It seems in fact that while there is some truth to the whispers, the rumour-mill got a little ahead of itself. Panasonic has said it is ceasing production of various Technics models, but not

the whole line. Of particular note is the demise of the infamous SL-1200 recordplayer after 38 years of service. The SL1200 is fading away due to a lack of demand, and the difficulty of sourcing some analogue components needed to make it, according to Panasonic. The company has seen a 95 per cent decline in sales of analogue record players in the past decade, but while vinyl sales amount to only a tiny percentage of music sales, sales figures for the vintage medium have been rising in recent years, a fact that will hopefully support the manufacture of the remaining products in the Technics range for a few more years to come.


One of the oldest production houses operating from Dubai & the Middle East since 1997, we provide class-leading event solutions for the Government, Royal weddings, Concerts & Corporate Special events, with state of the art technical equipment ranging from large format line array audio system to intelligent lighting to panoramic projection systems and special effects.

P.O.Box 176, Dubai, UAE T +971 4 2a690008 F +971 4 2686164 www.eventsae.com

SOUND | LIGHTS | VIDEO | SPECIAL FX | DESIGN


CASE STUDY

IN THE

Ferrari World was officially opened in a style befitting the attraction and the nation in which it was built last month. Extravagant as it was, beyond the Grand Opening lie technical installations that are just as spectacular.

FAST LANE A

s far as Grand Openings go, we’re a bit spoilt in this part of the world - a worldrecord breaking fireworks display in the pre-recession UAE in particular, was practically a weekly event. Given this, a launch that can still evoke awe and impress an audience must be a spectacular one and Ferrari World’s VIP-laden affair, which was simultaneously broadcast on local television, can without doubt take a place in this category.

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The passing of RAK ruler His Highness Sheikh Saqr Al Qasimi, saw the original soft-opening of the park relegated to a media-only affair, with the doors instead opening to the public in a low-key fashion a week later and the Grand Opening taking place a month after that. The official opening show, entitled ‘Power meets Elegance’ took its inspiration from the history of Abu Dhabi and Ferrari and ended with a fireworks display, which lit up the sky over the 200,000 sq metre roof of the park.

HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, pressed a unique button in the shape of the iconic Ferrari World roof structure, officially inaugurating the attraction and sparking the start of the opening festivities. Seen through the eyes of a young boy, the vision-like story weaves the car manufacturer’s Italian and the UAE’s local cultures together, in a mix of live action, acrobatics, advanced film projection techniques and original music.


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LIGHT IT UP Thanks to the significant hype that has surrounded the construction of Yas Island’s Ferrari World, most people know that it contains the ‘world’s fastest roller coaster’ and is the largest indoor theme park on the planet. But what is immediately obvious to any visitor is the high-impact lighting utilised on the project. Lighting was a key element not only in ensuring safety, but in highlighting project interiors and unique assets – this being particularly important in the case of a theme park where a focus on aesthetics, architecture and end-user experience is crucial, according to lighting contractor GLS. “Lighting is one of the most important elements in any project,” says operations manager Sandeep Thapar. “A client can spend millions on buying the best marble, and the best furniture, but if the lighting is not good, it will literally show it in a bad light.” Interestingly, GLS also contributed to the sustainability of the project, recommending efficient lighting techniques and use of LED (light-emitting diode) lights where possible. But servicing a large scale project such as Ferrari world is not without its challenges, even for a supplier. “There were many challenges,” says Thapar.“One of the biggest was getting the lighting fixtures delivered to site in time for the contractors to install them. Not only did we

have to coordinate deliveries from all over the world, but we also had the European summer break season to contend with. The project could not be delivered without the lights, as the contractors could not complete the finishing works.” Kemps Lighting provided additional architectural lighting, installing over 500 metres of their 20 millimetre, red and yellow Coveline Cold Cathode lighting in the entrance area creating a striking impact for their client CD&M Lighting Design. Although the timescales were tight, Kemps was able to deliver the material to site within the agreed deadline, allowing the installation to happen in time for the second Grand Prix and the official opening of this futuristic new attraction. “It’s really amazing. You can see uniform wash light with the right intensity between the GRC panel slots. We wanted this “wash” effect and that’s the reason we decided against LED, in favour of cold cathode. Using cold cathode provided a more even brightness and gave a smoother all round effect,” says Baiju Chaliyil from CD&M Lighting Design.

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CASE STUDY

The show started with an aerial dance showing traditional UAE pearl divers surrounded by a 3D marine world projection before a ‘flying’ performance by dancers and Ferrari engine pistons to the strains of Puccini’s “un bel di”, sung by an opera singer. The effect was achieved thanks to technical fabrics manufactured and supplied by Showtex, which has carved out a name for itself as a preferred supplier of textiles in the region’s live production sector. Managing director Sven Peeters says the firm supplied products to five clients, including Bond Communications, for the Ferrari World project, which were used for both permanent installations and the Grand Opening. “We provided everything from more than 7000 meters of digitally printed canvases, to projection screens, hand painted scrims, and masking drapes,” he explains. Central to the appointment of Showtex as a supplier was its ability to reproduce the iconic Ferrari red colour onto printed fabric, something Peeters attributes to his team’s experience and expertise. “We put a lot of effort into the colour calibration of the machine and the operators that we have for the [printing] machines are very experienced,” he says, estimating that over 300 sq metres of samples were produced to ensure the red was “just right.” For fixed installations, digitally printed works on canvas were wallpapered onto the walls of several rides and painted

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sharks tooth gauzes were the backdrop for many of the special effects. But it was the Grand Opening, which Peeters describes as the “cherry on the pie” of the project, which showcased his firm’s versatility.‘Stretchtulle’, a stretch mesh fabric that was developed by Showtex, is enlaced in the enlaced in the space frame on the central plaza, serving as theatrical scenes for projections. “The nice thing about that product is that we can join the fabric together invisibly. So we can make a scene with gauze and there are no limitations on height or width,” says Peeters. Each piece in this install measured approximately 500 sq metres and were stretched into three-dimensional shapes, behind which actors in the show performed. “Our gauzes are the perfect balance between see-through and visibility for projection, “ explains Peeters, who says this proved vital in achieving the creative team’s vision of a 3D-type effect. “All the actors were behind the gauze and the projections were on the front of the gauze. The idea behind this was that everything gave a 3D effect, that the actors looked like they were actually in the projections, in the image,” he says, adding that the result was “very, very beautiful.” Another stunning feature, according to Peeters, was a giant reveal curtain kabuki drop, made out of a “super-light” silk. He says the key to the quality of Showtex’s technical products in designing and manufacturing them in-house. “The main

advantage of this is that we can develop technical fabrics which are specific for our sector and that don’t otherwise exist in the market. And that makes us unique. We put a lot of time and effort into that, we’ve got two textile engineers who work non-stop on the weaving and making different types of fabrics,” he says. “You can always find an alternative but then there is always something wrong – it’s not enough this, it’s not enough that. So that’s why we develop our own fabrics, to make them 100 per cent right for the requirement.”


BUYERS GUIDE SPECIAL EFFECTS

EXPLOSIVE Fireworks guru Francois Montel, from pyrotechnic firm Groupe F, talks about the firm’s latest project, the Ferrari World Grand Opening, and why his craft provides the ultimate ‘wow’ factor.

W

hen you meet Francois Montel, you quickly become aware that this is a man with a passion for fireworks. It would be easy to attribute this interest to the obvious adrenaline rush associated with working with volatile materials, but for Montel, it all comes down to the reaction of the audience. “When I began to create shows, I looked at tools to create something magical. I tried lights, laser; and they are cool, but with fireworks, the impact is very big and the audience reaction is immediate,” he explains. And while he has a healthy respect for his counterparts in the lighting and audio sectors, he is confident that a pyrotechnic display provides the ultimate ‘wow’ factor. “With sound, you can do perfect sound and no one will say anything. It’s only if something goes wrong that people say, ‘oh it was bad sound’. It’s very difficult. Lighting too, you need lots and lots of lighting to impress an audience,” he says. “If you put a candle in front of us, we

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will look at the candle - there is something about fire, it’s almost magical. There is something from our roots, something primitive that attracts us to it.” Montel has been working in the industry for over 20 years, and is one of the founding partners of Groupe F, regarded as one of the premier companies of its kind in the world, a reputation cemented by their infamous display at the Eiffel Tower as part of the millennium New Years Eve celebrations. And this region is not new to them – Montel and his team were behind the Burj Khalifa inauguration fireworks as well as New Years Eve celebratory shows over the Burj al Arab. His most recent project in the Emirates was the Ferrari World Grand Opening, which as Montel explains, pushed the boundaries of design and execution. “We displayed 9,500 shots in one minute. It’s a lot, usually, during a fireworks show we use around 80 to 100 shots every minute,” he says. Working with client Filmmaster Events, which engineered the Grand Opening

festivities, Montel and his team spent months designing and planning the show – which took a very different direction than was originally planned. “At first, I designed a fireworks show only in the central core, for the people inside to see,” he explains. “But the cost of this is very expensive, because we have to use only indoor fireworks and its very challenging to install all the material in the central core using only very qualified riggers. So I proposed to them that for the same quantity of job, and time and money, we could do a very big fireworks show on the roof.” And while guests inside the theme park could only catch a glimpse of the resulting show, the footage provided for the live television broadcast was extraordinary. The planning for the project involved CAD designs of the display and the sourcing of specific, ‘clean’ fireworks from Italy and Spain, which, due to their stability, were able to be flown to the UAE rather than being shipped by sea as is


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mandatory for traditional, more volatile fireworks. “We could not use ordinary fireworks, because the paint on the Ferrari World roof is aluminium paint and it’s very difficult to repaint, so we can’t damage anything,” says Montel. A crew of 30 fireworkers and 25 workers from Gulf Crewing Company took nine days to install the shots on the roof – and two days to take down afterwards. But the logistics of this is something that Montel is the first to confess is too much work for him to take on in addition to his role as designer, programmer and technical consultant. Groupe F works with Simon Ransome, of Dubai-based The Ransoms, to assist in the implementation of the plans. “It’s one thing to imagine it and to design it but it’s a whole other thing to turn it into a reality,” says Montel. “We need fireworks materials, we need cable, we need to go onto the roof and figure out if it’s possible, if it’s dangerous. There is also the issue of insurance - for Ferrari, I said to Simon, I need 25 workers on the roof. And he said: Francois, you cannot just put workers on the roof; they need a harness, they need induction, they need steel cap boots.” And the dangers of working at height during fireworks installations is a mere portion of the risk-profile associated with pyrotechnics. Montel holds one of few ‘Fireworks Licenses’ in the UAE, and in almost-

James Bond fashion, oversees the company’s fireworks storage facility, one of the largest in the region, which lies in a secret location somewhere in the UAE. Not surprisingly, the facility and the firm’s activities are closely monitored by the Police. “Each time that we have a project, we import fireworks material, often from China, and we need a lot of paperwork to get approved so that the police know what’s happening, who the driver is, where it’s being transported to. And we have a police escort from the storage facility to the site,” explains Montel. Tighter regulation has been just one of the changes to the industry over the past decade. According to Montel, colour selection has broadened dramatically, “We now have about 12 different colours but 10, 20 years ago, there was blue, green, red, yellow and that is all,” he says. And like almost all other aspects of life, computer technology has made a substantial impact on the design and execution of pyrotechnic displays, not only for remote detonation but also for programming. “We did the first fireworks show with computer programming on the Eiffel Tower for the millennium New Years Eve,” says Montel. “We use software to programme the show and its very useful, because today, we do fireworks shows not only for the public but also for TV; and on TV, say you have a 40 centime-

tre screen, and you have something like Ferrari World which is 700 metres wide, and if you had to physically push a trigger for every blast, the effect would be very, very slow - too slow and not interesting enough for TV. So the only way to do it is with computer programming.” Groupe F, like other firms in the business, has developed in-house software for use, which Montel says has allowed him to be infinitely more creative on the design side. What hasn’t changed though, is his first consideration when beginning a new project. “The first question I ask when I design a show is, who is the audience? Is it for TV or for the public. It’s not the same show, we cannot use the same colours, on TV we can’t have all the colours, we have to use only some – red and white are very good. We also don’t do the same show for 3000 people as for someone sitting in a helicopter filming it for TV,” he explains. He is quick to point out that it is this attention to detail that sets Groupe F, which does just 10 to 15 shows per year, apart from its competitors. “It’s like giving me a Ferrari F1 car to race. I am not Michael Schumacher. Give me a normal car and I can drive, no problems. It is the same with fireworks, there are a lot of people who are able to design and install a normal fireworks show but what we do, it’s in a different field altogether. You cannot compare the two,” he says.

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BUYERS GUIDE SPECIAL EFFECTS

FIRE AND ICE FIREWORKS AREN’T THE ONLY HIGH-IMPACT SPECIAL EFFECTS... MDG FOG – THEONE Rarely does a product come onto the market that wins over almost all who try it out, but when MDG FOG released theONE, that was by and large the reaction they got. The firm took home the ‘Best Debuting Product Award’ at LDI this year for the product, and according to users, with good reason. It’s reported to give less residue than its competitors, can spit out a huge 10 hours of continuous fog and in haze mode, a phenomenal 308 hours, all while consuming just 1415 watts of power. The system uses CO2 as a propellant, which creates the smallest possible particles (between 0.5 and 0.7 microns in diameter), reducing the amount of fluid consumed and creating haze with the longest hanging time available. Super-quiet operation means that no one in the audience will even know that it is operating. Reliability comes in the form of MDG’s Automatic Purging System (APS) ensures reliability by purging fluid from the system both before and after every active cycle, cleaning the atomiser mechanism to keep it free from fluid that might otherwise clog the system while the unit is idle or in storage.

FOGSCREEN Finnish company FogScreen debuted its product of the same name over eight years ago now, and since then, a number of developments have ensured it has remained a popular tool

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on which to project images. The major principles of the FogScreen technology are patented, but the basic component of the screen is a laminar, non-turbulent airflow that remains thin, crisp and protected from turbulence. The fog is made with ultrasonic waves and ordinary tap water - no chemicals are needed, meaning its feels dry and cool to touch. After the screen, which can be either translucent or opaque, is formed by the fog, images can be projected onto it. It works very much like any ordinary screen in terms of projection - the the darker the room the better the results. A projector with at least 5000 ANSI Lumen is recommended, as is a distance between the projector and screen of at least two metres. The FogScreen projection screen is a standalone product that can be integrated into any environment, including casinos and clubs, malls and showrooms, fairs and convention centres, theme parks, science centres, museums, theatre, TV, fashion shows, and corporate venues.

ULTRATEC – ICE-JET AND RADIANCE HAZER Quite new to the market are two effects units from Ultratec. The Ice-Jet is an atmospheric effect that creates bursts of white dense plumes that resemble fog. The stainless steel and brass constructed unit works in conjunction with liquid

CO2, chilling the moisture in the air and creating great fog effects with immediate dissipation. It’s is a low pressure unit and must be used with the CO2 hose connected to the valve marked “liquid” on the Dewar tank. The Ice-Jet is available in 110 volts and comes with a oneyear warranty. The Radiance Haze machine is the next major advancement in waterbased haze technology, according to Ultratec, and will set the standard on which all other hazers are measured. Featuring a built-in DMX that controls both the haze output and the internal fan that means accurate haze control and even dispersion, the unit can also be operated by an optional remote or by utilising the onboard variable settings. Additional features include an IDC removable power cable and multi-use bracket. The Radiance uses Luminous 7 haze fluid, which reportedly offers the best in low consumption and great hang time. For both units, Ultratec recommends its 4-Port Rapid Clean Vaporizer for the inevitable maintenance required – according to the firm, the cleaner does its job in under 15 minutes, meaning its out of service for a minimal amount of time.


We’re the company that changed projection technology forever – no more fixed screens. Instead, our breakthrough product, the FogScreen® projection screen, produces a thin curtain of “dry” fog that serves as a translucent projection screen, displaying images that literally float in the air. The result: stunning, attention-demanding displays with unlimited application possibilities!

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KITTED OUT

LIGHT

FANTASTIC A slew of LED and moving lights on the ceiling, walls and even the floor of the new Club Se7en in Dubai might be visually impressive, but it’s the sound that will keep the punters coming back for more, according to Mark Legaspi, MD, Liberty Acoustics and Services.

T

he immediate reaction when walking into Club Se7en in the Park Regis hotel in Dubai, is that it is a bit like being inside a giant illuminated Rubik’s cube. An LED panelled dance floor is complimented by a range of LED lighting fixtures that cover the back wall and DJ and technical booth, all lit in shades of blue, yellow, orange, pink and green. The club’s owner invested big bucks in the interior, explains Sethu, the club manager, who estimates the cost of the LED lighting to be close to AED500,000. But for Mark Legaspi, MD of technical installation firm Liberty Acoustics and Services, the sound system and show lighting are the factors that will ensure Club Se7en is able to regularly host large crowds as well as a series of live rock nights the venue is scheduled to be home to. “I tell my clients, in clubs especially, invest heavily in the sound system. Because that’s what brings people in, that’s what people are listening to. Lights are just for aesthetics, you may attract people with lights initially, but if you have bad sound, no-one will stick around,” he says. Liberty was engaged by the venue’s management early on in its development to design and install the sound system and

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LED panels cover the dancefloor.


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sound system. hronised with the nc sy is ing ht lig D LE show lights, as well as providing a sixmonth service contract. “Usually these days, when people are trying to economise on building a club, they call us to come when the venue is already finished. And often it turns out that the speaker locations are not in the right place and it doesn’t sound good,� says Legaspi. “But here, we were involved from the start, at the design stage of the whole sound system.� He says software programme Ulysses was used for acoustic measurements in the space - with excellent results. “As you move around the room, you get exactly the same level of sound in every area.� Ulysses was developed with the intention to be a very fast, precise and really

easy to use acoustic calculation, simulation and sound system design tool and features true 3D CAD-based calculation, simulation and design routines for room acoustics and sound system design. Legaspi says relative free-reign from his client meant he was spoilt for choice when it came to implementing his technical vision. “When the management told us to create a club from scratch, it struck us to use as much technology as we could, and we’ve put everything into one place – lasers, LED, lights,� he says. But the real star of the install is the Dynacord P65 wireless processor, according to Legaspi. “It’s our third installation with this wireless system and for this system, we’re the first in the Middle East to install it in clubs,� he says proudly, going on to explain why he remains loyal to the audio manufacturer. “We never use anything else because there are zero failures. We started five years ago and since then, out of all our contracts, we’ve only had to replace three drivers. And none on the main PA, only the monitors.� The Dynacord system is a state-of-theart, multi-in, multi-out, complete speaker management matrix, with network and cobranet capabilities. “In the old days, to have an EQ, compressor, processor and all the processing power for the system, you’d need a really tall rack, but here, it’s all in just one small package,� says Legaspi. Its partner software allows users to compress, EQ, limit, level and process each and every speaker output as well as accurate brick

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Mark Legaspi, MD, Liberty Acoustics and Services.

JANUARY 2011 SAS

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KITTED OUT wall limiting and a delay for each system. And for Legaspi, this means complete control of every single box, allowing even sound across the venue. “That’s what a lot of clubs don’t have, which is why they end up having issues with the venue, because they tend to economise on the processors. You need control on each and every speaker because on every point source, you need optimal sound. Most clubs tend to look at the main stage, and they forget about the quality and compromise on the side-fills and everywhere else,” he explains. The development of wireless systems are also changing the quality of audio for the better, according to Legaspi, who, during our interview, tweeks the system on his laptop via Irisnet, while working near the dance floor rather than in the control booth. “Before, for you to listen to the speakers, you had to go out, come back to the DJ booth, try to adjust it and in the time it takes to go out and come back, it’s easy to forget the exact sound in order to try to EQ the system. So with wireless, you can be out in front of the speakers with your laptop, EQing the system,” he says, joking that, “at 3am if the DJ doesn’t want to stop playing, the club manager can grab the laptop from his office and with a few clicks, can shut the whole system down. It could save the club a lot of money in penalties!” And Legaspi is confident that audio control software is changing the role of an audio engineer as well, in streamlining the elements required to get clear, even and crisp sound. “It’s great for the new age of audio engineers. Back in the day, you had to learn each and every unit, and you have to know what you’re doing as well. Now,

suitable for DJ’s as well as bands. “We anthey can just learn the software, and foticipated any type of event the club might cus on what they’re doing sound-wise,” need,” he says, adding that for this instalhe says. lation, Somax lights from China were used. The venue uses three different software “Chinese lights used to get a bad rap but programmes to control its technical elethey are really good ments – one each for the sound these days.” system, show lights net allows Wireless control via Irisnagement. Regardless, the and LEDs. The LED Re optimal speaker ma venues management panels are linked to ven can have peace of software programme mind DJ Light Studio, so min thanks to Liberty Acoustics and input from a band or Services service conDJ varies the speed Se tract. and colour of lighting tra “In all of our installations, we changes. in give Club Se7en’s show gi six months free lights are a deliberfr maintenance contracts, which ately flexible rig, which h c no Legaspi explains are n one else is doing,” Legaspi exi plains. “We do p a monthly system check and if there are any problems, we fix them. When we sell the lights light in particular, we give them a one year warranty so if one of those lights gets busted, we’ll take it down and replace it with a new one while we’re fixing it.” The firm are also training an in-house engineer over a period of six months who will remain on site at Club Se7en. “The lasers and the lights are pre-programmed. But it’s a continuous programme, so over that six months, we’ll be building a database of programmes based on what the club management want and what the inhouse engineer wants.”

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1x Dynacord P64 + Ai(1) +Ao(2) - complete speaker management matrix, with network and cobranet capabilities controlled wirelessly via Irisnet. 1x Lexicon Mx 300 Vocal Efx processor 1x DBX quad Comp 1x Soundcraft Lx7ii 24ch mixer

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CASE STUDY

CURTAIN CALL F

irst played in Abu Dhabi on National Day 2008, ‘Zayed and the Dream’ has enjoyed an international run, being staged in Beirut, at the Palais des Congres in Paris last May and at the London Coliseum for a two-night run in August. Recently, the production was back in the UAE, playing at The Palladium in Dubai in what was one of the final ever events at the venue before works commenced on a construction project that will see it turned into ‘Billionaire’s Square’, as envisioned by its new owners, the Pragma Group. Featuring a cast of 158 dancers, seven horses and 10 falcons, the show depicts the life of UAE founder Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and is brought to life by the Lebanon-based Caracella Dance Theatre. But according to ‘Zayed and the Dream’s director Ivan Caracella, the show has broader appeal than those hailing from the Emirates. “We have quite

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In one of the last ever productions at the Palladium, the Dubai run of the Caracella Dance Theatre’s ‘Zayed and the Dream’, showcased a custom-built stage and counterweight system, as well as some innovative visual imagery.

Ten projectors from Christie and Sanyo are used to create visual impact and effects.

a good audience in Europe – particularly in London and Paris,” he says. “We have a good western audience because we’re a dance company – it’s more about the body than the words.” For its sold-out, three-night run in Dubai, significant changes were required to the existing Palladium stage to ensure it was suitable for the production. “We’ve worked very closely with the Palladium to set it up as a theatre space, rather than a concert space,” explains Nader Wansa, production manager with the dance company, who adds that the search for a venue in the city wasn’t easy.

“We checked about 15 different spaces, including the Dubai World Trade Centre, all of which were not compatible with a theatre show. The angles, the correct sound distribution – in an expo-type centre, it’s just a flat cube so you get a lot of echo. With a theatre, it’s designed in a theatre style and we’ve had to recreate that here.” Caracella agrees, describing the changes that were made to what was essentially a “blank canvas” by the shows production team ahead of the first curtain call that would welcome a nightly audience of about a thousand. “We had to extend the stage here [at the Palladium] by about 15 metres. We built it as if it was part of the existing stage and even built a counterweight system for the curtains as well.”


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The counter-weight system helps facilitate the 12 scene changes over the show’s two 45-minute acts, supported by a team of 25 that is specifically in charge of sets. “When we’re travelling we have neither a moving set or people to move it, we just have flying scenery because its quicker and you usually have just two days to set up and be ready for the show,” Caracella adds. He concedes that for the Dubai run, having more than just a few days to set up is a luxury his company often doesn’t have. “Sometimes you get to places where you don’t have much time. The comfort here in the UAE is that if you find a place and you want it for a month, you can get it for a month. But when you’re programmed in theatres like the London Coliseum, if you get two or three days, you’re lucky. So we have a touring set which is completely different from this set, but it’s exactly the same crew,” he says. For Wansa though, the timeframe was still a tight one given the infrastructure changes that were required. “Usually, to do something like this, we’d ask for a lead up time of at least six months. We built that entire stage in 14 days from an empty room,” he explains. Despite the show-business adage that warns against working with children or animals, Caracella’s ‘Zayed and the Dream’ does just that. The stage was designed to accommodate the live horses that perform on and specially installed ramps were constructed at the Palladium’s back entrance to move the horses from the temporary stables constructed outside, into the theatre. On stage alongside the horses are children and dancers from all over the world. “Caracella [Dance Company]is the main dance company but we have guest companies from China, from the Ukraine, the Emirates, Spain; we have artists from 12 nations,” says Caracella. The production crew of 45 are also international, hailing predominantly from Italy. In addition to the nine containers of

uction manager, Nader Wansa, prodeatre. Caracella Dance Th

equipment shipped in by the dance company, additional technical stock was rented by kit supplier Rhythm Dubai. “We rented everything from Dubai because the market for performing arts is quite good in Dubai, especially events,” explains Caracella. Some of the integral elements to the production, however, are Caracella’s own, including the 10 Christie and Sanyo projectors. “Some equipment you can rent and some equipment you want to have as yours so you can make sure it’s calibrated correctly, because it’s not just about renting the equipment. Five different companies could rent out the same light – but they’ll all have a different use for it,” he says. According to Caracella, produc-

tion for theatre differs from other live events due to its precise requirements. “All the timings, with light cues, with fade-ins, fade-outs, need to be exact. Even the noise – we have to choose equipment that doesn’t make too much noise,” he says. A visually dynamic show, ‘Zayed and the Dream’ incorporates a range of special effects, including aerial acts and some innovative projections, overseen by a special effects firm from China and an Italian visual director, according to Caracella. “We have a section in the show where we have a person swimming in the deep blue sea – to represent pearl fishing.

JANUARY 2011 SAS

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CASE STUDY The lighting is The Palladium’s stage was positioned so that extended by 15 metres for you can’t see his the show’s Dubai run. wires; it looks like he’s really swimming through the deep blue.“ He adds: “We’ve come up with a new way of projecting. Projectors came into the theatre maybe 15 years ago and there came a time where it was very dominant, and we saw what they could do, and so now, we are really trying to use projectors in a new, more creative way, not just as a backdrop with a beautiful painting. You don’t find many artists sts these days that can paint a backdrop or a canvas in the old-school way, so many ny people are using projectors instead.” Content for the projections was develveloped after Caracella and his visual director ector spent three months living in the Arabian an , Ivan Caracella, director . tre ea Th e nc Da a ell rac Ca

36 SAS JANUARY 2011

An Italian techni team control light cal production the projection of ing, audio and video content.

Desert. “We shot a lot of the filming there – for the falcons, for the horsemen, which we use throughout the whole show. A big part of the show is the dazzling visual effects, but the magic of this show is the homogeneity between the artists and the technical sides.” Complimenting the special effects and vvisual imagery is a substantial lighting rig. “We have quite a big collection of VariLights (3500 cue), some Clay Paky wash units aand some DTS Italian lights. It The majority of T our lights need ou to have shutters so we can have corridors of light co it’s very precise – it lighting,” says ligh Caracella, who is Car clearly a big Clay clea Paky fan. “We’ve worked with them work for a while because they are a company that kkeep trying to come up with new products. They don’t produ just do something and with it. They settle w improving and keep im really care about they rea products.” their pro


IN DEPTH

Poor acoustics left a huge hole in sound quality at the Higher College of Technology’s auditorium in Dubai, but thanks to a retrofit, warmth and clarity of sound is making a comeback. Selina Denman reports.

THE SOUND OF

PROGRESS I

t was four years ago that Jamie Stewart, dean of business, education and learning resources at the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) in Dubai, stepped into the college’s new 1,000person auditorium – and realised that he had a big problem on his hands. The auditorium was a key component of a million dirham extension of HCT’s Dubai Women’s College campus, but as Stewart stood on the stage and clapped his hands in

38 SAS JANUARY 2011

an impromptu sound test, he discovered that its acoustic properties were far from ideal. As the auditorium began to host events, the extent of the problem became increasingly apparent. “When you were standing on the stage and you were speaking to the audience, it sounded like you were in a big barn or warehouse,” Stewart explained. “Speakers couldn’t really understand what was happening. They knew something was wrong and could hear their voice

coming back to them and echoing all over the place, and it was very distracting. We could adjust our sound system to compensate for that, but we could only go so far.” The acoustics became particularly troublesome when someone in the audience tried to communicate with the person on stage. Any kind of Q&A session would leave the speaker looking largely nonplussed, as they were unable to hear and fully comprehend the questions being


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asked. “If you were in the audience, you understood completely, but the person at the front couldn’t hear properly,” said Stewart. Things came to a head last year, when the college hosted the Festival of Thinkers, a high-profile conference that gathers Nobel Laureates and other reputable speakers. “We had a few Nobel Laureates on the stage, alongside other distinguished speakers, as part of a six-member panel. Finally, one of the members of the panel was asked a question and he ended up saying: ‘I’m not going to answer any more questions because I can’t understand what people are asking and I can’t even understand what the people on the panel beside me are saying’,” Stewart recalled. “We knew something needed to be done.” By this time, Stewart had already spoken to a series of specialists, in the hope that they could offer some kind of solution to his acoustical woes. One suggestion was that protrusions be added to the ceiling above the stage, and that the stage’s hardwood floor be covered with carpeting. “So, we put the carpet down, and we shut the facility down for another three or four months as they redid the ceiling. They opened it up again, and we went and stood on the stage and clapped, and the problem hadn’t really been solved. After that we continued to have groups come and talk to us about whether it was the ceiling or the cladding or the sound system, but we were still talking to people who were guessing at how to solve the problem,” he said. “I didn’t have any confidence that we wouldn’t just spend another pile of money and end up with the same problem. Another issue was that some of the solutions being suggested were very expensive and involved going back and redesigning the whole facility.” Eventually, Stewart came into contact with Acoulite, a Dubai-based supplier of acoustic and lighting solutions, and for the first time, felt a sense of confidence. “We felt like we had finally found someone who could solve the problem.”

in there, rather than what’s happening within the actual space, and that’s sometimes where the confusion arises,” he detailed. One problem with the design of the HCT auditorium is that sound waves were bouncing off the walls and weren’t being absorbed. Acoulite’s answer was to cover the auditorium’s 580 sq metre back wall with its Reverb absorption solution. “The idea is that with acoustics, you have different ratings. What we’ve put in here is a .95 solution, which basically means that 95 per cent of a sound wave that hits that back wall is absorbed, while 5 per cent gets left in the auditorium. The idea is to absorb sound as quickly as possible which, in an auditorium, is what you want to do. And because you are absorbing the sound quicker, the clarity becomes Sound absorbtion was key in better,” Grove explained. solving the venue’s acoustics problems. Reverb consists of a base of absorption foam that is placed directly onto the selected surface and is topped with a According to Martin Grove, account fabric that can be imprinted with any demanager at Acoulite, 90 per cent of sign. It is this in-built flexibility that makes projects undertaken by the company’s it such an effective solution, said Grove, acoustic division are retro-fits, where a but it also presented a whole new set of space has to be revisited because proper questions for the HCT. “You can have any attention wasn’t paid to acoustics in the graphic that you want, from a portrait of a first place. “Obviously, with acoustics, it is person to a landscape, to a solid colour,” harder to build it into a retro-fit and for a said Grove. client to find the budget. So we are trying “We got our graphic designer involved, to work with designers and fit-out compaand we took a few different scenarios to nies to show them how you can build this our director,” Stewart added. “But, ultikind of thing into the design.” mately, we didn’t really want to disturb the One explanation behind the HCT audiaesthetics of the building. So we asked if we torium’s poor acoustics could be that the initial acoustic study, completed before the could just match the panelling that already existed. As we know now, that is no trivial facility was built, may have been conducttask – you have cloth versus wood and you ed from a purely construction, rather than have to try and make them look the same.” architectural, point of view. “The study The project was completed in September may have looked at the actual foundations and in mid-October, the auditorium hostand concrete structure of that building, before they put the furnishings in. From an ed an important graduation event. “For acoustic point of view, they would perhaps the first time, you could sit on the stage and intelligibly figure out where the sound have looked at the sound coming out of was coming from,” said Stewart. “Before, the building, rather than what was hapit was just loud and confusing. Now, you pening within it,” said Grove. “A lot of architects and consultants work actually feel like there is some warmth and clarity to the sound. There is almost a huon the acoustics of the actual structure manity to it.” and whether that is going to keep sound JANUARY 2011 SAS

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THE

THE GUIDE

GUIDE

This month’s hottest product releases from Pixled, Artistic Licence, Universal Audio and more. RTW – TOUCHMONITOR RTW has announced new additions to the manufacturer’s audio metering and control device lines – the TouchMonitor range includes the TM7 and TM9, featuring seven and nine-inch touch screens. According to the firm, both units combine “unprecedented flexibility and modularity with an intuitive user interface” and offer not only a built-in online help function, but also allow monitoring of separate signal groups using multiple instruments at the same time. For example, a TouchMonitor featuring eight digital and eight analog inputs can display a digital 5.1 surround signal on the Surround Sound Analyser, the Loudness Radar Meter by TC Electronic, AES status data, a PPM/loudness combo bargraph and a numerical loudness meter. At the same

QSC - GX SERIES AMPLIFIER

time, the unit could monitor four analog stereo signals on PPM/SPL bar graphs simultanously. This way, up to 16 analog and/or digital signals can all be displayed. In addition, the TM9 with the 3G-SDI option installed (available during the second quarter of 2011) will be able to display all 32 signals of a 3G-SDI stream in parallel. The TM9 can be retrofitted with the 3GSDI option anytime.

ARTISTIC LICENCE – MULTICHROME FLEX Colour-wall and low-res video wall’s are set to benefit from Artistic Licence’s latest offering. The Multichrome Flex is a string of miniature self-contained LED colour pixels moulded onto a cable, each measuring just 38 millimetres in diameter with a 17 millimetre lens and can be controlled individually or as a group. Every pixel is encapsulated in a plastic housing making it durable, weather resistant for outside events, concerts and exterior architectural applications. The product contains a custom silicon chip that receives high-speed data from

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the controller and allows each pixel to be individually controlled at the high speed needed for video display and can also be programmed and controlled using Artistic Licence Colour-Tramp to display real-time video alongside stunning visual effects. Its small size, low weight and low heat allow Multichrome Flex pixels to be pushfitted into almost any structure including sets, walls and other architectural features. Multichrome Flex can be deployed outdoors or indoors: its IP67 rating makes it the only RGB LED system of its kind at this specification.

A new addition to QSC’s popular GX Series of power amplifiers, the GX7 maintains all of the key form and functional elements of the existing GX Series while delivering more power in a lighter weight package. Designed to deliver portable real-world power, the GX7 features 725 watts per channel at 8 ohms and 1000 watts at 4 ohms, while weighing a mere 15.5 pounds for the 120 volt version. At the core of the GX7 is QSC’s road-proven PowerLight power supply, resulting in what the company says is one of the highest power-to-weight ratios in the industry. Cooling is aided with a low-noise, variable speed fan with rear-to-front airflow. Like the GX3 and GX5, the GX7 features XLR, ¼ inch TRS and phono input connectors, Speakon and binding post outputs, built-in subwoofer/satellite crossover control, detented gain knobs, front-panel LED indicators and GuardRail amplifier and speaker protection.


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THE GUIDE

REVOLAB – HD VENUE Revolabs new wireless microphone system, the HD Venue, is designed for application that require up to four wireless mics and is a rack-mounted, two-channel system. It uses any combination of Revolab’s HD wireless microphones; wearable, omni tabletop, directional tabletop, or adapters for an XLR handheld microphone and a countryman microphone, and is best suited to corporate audio supplications such as conference rooms and auditoriums.

UNIVERSAL AUDIO - SSL E SERIES The SSL E Series Channel Strip plug-in for UAD-2, authenticated by Solid State Logic, is apparently the result of Universal Audio’s circuit emulation of the SSL 4000 console, complete with both the Type E “black knob” and “brown knob” 4-band EQ. The SSL G Series Bus Compressor is said to emulate the centre section console dynamics from the SSL 4000, and feature the same control set and compression characteristics of the hardware version, including its ability to “glue” together a mix. Other features include high- and low-cut filters, and independent Expander/Gate and Compressor/Limiter.

PIXLED - F-6 LED VMB - TE-086 A new lift in the firm’s pro series range, the TE-086 is the largest in VMB’s series of telescopic lifts, capable of lifting 300 kilogram’s to a height of 6.5 metres. The new TE-086 now means that the Spanish manufacturer offers 15 different lifting solutions from the Classic, Pro and TL Series of lifters. Like all pro series lifts, the TE-086 includes ALS safety features, is BGV-C1 certified and is available in black or silver finish.

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Pixled has announced a partnership with Mitsubishi electric, which will see the lighting manufacturer’s F-6 LED display sold with either with a standard proprietary processor or with the latest generation of a range of Mitsubishi processors. The Pixled F-6 LED enjoyed positive responses at recent expo launches, including PLASA in the UK and LDI in the US, thanks to what the firm describes as a “revolutionary” design with seamless curvability and its status as the brightest 6 millimetre on the market at 4,000 Nits. The Mitsubishi processor options will include multi input HD and

DVI with super resolution technology, MPEG noise reduction and enhanced grey scale processing, which both firms describe as “ideal” for the professional highend rental market. Pixled is quick to point out the F-6’s stand-out features beyond a comparative product - “it utilises the best quality black package SMD’s, robust and solid mechanics, is highly reliable and outputs superb picture quality.” “To unite all these vital elements and achieve the standards of excellence we required, we needed to combine with the best processing, which is now a reality” said Pixled GM Bart Van der Beken.


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PRISM - DSCOPE SERIES III SHOWLED – ANIMATION AND VIDEO CURTAIN The new Showled Animation and Video Curtain can be used to render low to medium resolution still images, video loops and flash animations, and is designed with randomly-positioned LEDs to display organic shapes more realistically. According to the manufacturer, it also saves money by requiring fewer LEDs to render an image than a grid pattern - and if one LED is burned out, it’s less noticeable with the random arrangement of LEDs. Also designed for ease of setup and use, a standard 10-by-36-foot Animation and Video Curtain weighs less than 100 pounds. Crews can fold it, wrap it, drape it, use it as a ceiling curtain, or install the video backdrop on a track system. The product comes with its own controller and software, and it’s compatible with most existing media servers and playback devices.

This month see’s the introduction of the world’s first complete audio test system for Bluetooth devices. Prism Sound’s s dScope Series III audio analyser will supports audio streaming directly between test system and Bluetooth device, enabling real-time, closed-loop testing of Bluetooth audio systems. The updated to the dScope series cuts out the traditional methods of Bluetooth device testing by eliminating several analog, digital, electronic and electroacoustic audio test equipment and additional software The dScope Series III test system integrates analog, digital (S/ PDIF and I2S), electronic, electroacoustic and Bluetooth measurement capabilities in a single instrument, eliminating the need for time-consuming signal generation and analysis in external software. With dScope Series III, Bluetooth audio development, compliance testing and manufacturing is now faster and easier than ever before.

WORXAUDIO TECHNOLOGIES - TRUELINE V5 ULTRA-COMPACT LINE ARRAY

CHAUVET – COLORADO 1 IP According to Chauvet, the COLORado was born out of the firm’s experience in outdoor events and installations and the evolution of technology. Designed for the harshest environments, it features a total of 42 bright and powerful RGBW LEDs and is ideal for installations as broad as festivals, to outdoor signage to nightclubs.

It features a 3, 4, 5, 6, or 11-channel RGBW LED wash light, offers RGBW colour mixing with or without DMX control, includes colour temperature presets (3,200 ~ 10,000 K) and built-in automated programs via master/slave and DMX, as well as allowing users to operate five distinct dimming curves.

WorxAudio Technologies has introduced the TrueLine V5 Ultra-Compact Line Array, a high-performance loudspeaker system that, thanks to its compact size, is ideal for use in fixed installations, as a portable loudspeaker system for corporate AV, and front fill applications. Like all loudspeakers systems in the WorxAudio TrueLine Series, the transducer complement in the V5 is top notch, according to the firm. It incorporates a medium format 1-inch exit compression driver coupled to a stabilised, proprietary FlatWave Former (wave shaping device) that delivers clear,

penetrating high frequencies over a predictable and controlled coverage area and dual 5-inch cone transducers coupled to the Acoustic Intergrading Module (A.I.M.) minimize cone filtering throughout the entire operating range. Early user reports suggest that collectively, the system delivers a rich, fully balanced sound that must be heard to be appreciated.

SAS JANUARY 2011

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PICTURE SPECIAL

GUNS N’ ROSES LIVE ON YAS Axl Rose and his updated Guns N’ Roses line-up attracted a 21,000-strong crowd to the Yas Arena last month, the last gig in a series of massive productions led by Flash Entertainment. The band’s touring set up was slightly altered to fit the Yas Arena stage, according to JC Saliba, Flash’s production manager, who said the circular trusses used as part of the design cleared out existing stock in the UAE. The huge lighting rig also pushed suppliers to the limit, with primary contractor Protec having to sub-contract additional stock from other kit-rental firms, including Eclipse Staging Services. Saliba says the band and their crew were one of the most professional and organised he’s seen, finishing preparations ahead of schedule and to a high-standard. “It was a brilliant end to the series, everyone had such a great time and the band was really impressed with the site,” he says. The Yas Arena stage infrastructure will stay in place in anticipation for additional concerts this year.

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THIS MONTH’S...

Hitlist

The

MUST-ATTEND EVENT

App of the month

Music Tech 2011

AmpKit 1.1

January 26 to 27, 2011 Glyndwr University, Wrexham, UK

Peavey’s AmpKit 1.1 is a massive update to the powerful and highly acclaimed AmpKit guitar amps and effects app. The update features a beautiful iPad interface, audio copy and paste, setup sharing, iPod music library access, exciting new gear, and much more. AmpKit and its companion AmpKit LiNK, a high fidelity electric guitar adapter, provide guitar and bass players with the highest quality amps and effects simulations across the full range of iOS devices. Already offering twice the gear of its closest competitor, AmpKit introduces three new pieces of amazing gear in Version 1.1: American Acoustic: Specifically designed for the electroacoustic guitarist, this new amp has 16 built-in acoustic-friendly effects and an ultra-crisp PA simulation cabinet. Tremo-LOL: A great new Tremolo pedal with American and British tremolo modes in a single unit – incredible value. Wahba Doo: Three wahs in one: envelope filter, auto-wah, and manual wah with accelerometer tilt support.

Building on the success of recent events with industry partners such as Meyer Sound and Midas/Klark Technic a first multi-partnership event, Music Tech 2011, is set to take place at Glyndwr University, Wales in January. Music Technology is recognised as a major growth area in the entertainment sector and the aim of the event is to bring together music technology end users, manufacturers, suppliers, educators and of course future practitioners. Organisers are promising a vibrant event with chances to network, undertake education and training and to make all-important sales. Worth braving the cold Welsh weather for.

YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE MONTH... In honour of legendary mic manufacturer Neumann launching its own YouTube channel, this month’s clip of the month comes from its video library. Sometimes funny and at other times very, very weird, this selection shows entrants from the U 87 Contest the firm held back in 2007. You tube be search term: Neumann U 87 contest

46 SAS JANUARY 2011


Nomination Deadline Monday 3rd January 2011

In association with

Platinum Sponsor Category Sponsors


BACK STAGE

Royal treatment After lobbying unsuccessfully for a cameo on Coronation Street, Snoop Dogg now has his sights set on a different British institution: the royal wedding. The rapper is promoting his new single by proposing it for Prince William’s stag do. ‘Wet’, Snoop says, “is the perfect anthem for Prince William or any playa to get the club smokin’”. William announced plans to wed his long-term girlfriend Kate Middleton in November and Prince Harry, a hip-hop fan, has reportedly been put in charge of the engagement party. With British rag the Mirror reporting a possible performance by Snoop or Tinie Tempah, the former is taking every advantage of the regal speculation, giving a shout out to the House of Windsor on Twitter. “Made tha anthem 4 Prince William’s bachelor party n all bachelor parties round tha wrld,” Snoop declared, directing his message to @clarencehouse, the official

residence of princes Charles, William and Harry. Later, Snoop boasted that “this song is tha one for Prince William’s stag do”, and suggested US president Barack Obama get in on the action. “U Snoop Dogg. Christopher Polk/ know they Getty Images need tha Top Doggs in USA to roll to [the] bachelor party,” he wrote. “@ BarackObama, u in?” The rapper said he “had to give them a little something ... when I heard the royal family wanted to have me

perform in celebration of Prince William’s marriage”. Despite this, a source iin Snoop’s ccamp told E! News that N tthe rapper hasn’t been h formally fo approached, ap but said bu he’s “really he interested”. in Wet has no royal name-drops – just lewd insinuation, dirty rhymes and references to lubrication, and will appear on Snoop Dogg’s forthcoming album, Doggumentary Music.

A Rose without a thorn An unusually well behaved Axl Rose performed on Yas Island last month, and while his Guns N’ Roses impressed the crowd, it got us longing for a simpler time when we knew we could rely on the front-man to come out with some entertaining content for this page. With that in mind, here’s a look back at some of the pure-gold to come out of Axl Rose’s mouth over the years...

“Sometimes your friends are your lovers, or have been at one time.” “That was a big difference between myself and Slash and Duff, is that I didn’t hate everything new that came out.” And time hasn’t healed the rift between Axle and his former bandmates – he is currently embroiled in a bitter lawsuit with the makers of Guitar Hero over the game’s depiction of Slash in its ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ inclusion. Rose is seeking a whopping $20 million in damages.

“I have a different physical constitution and different mindset about drugs than anybody I’ve known in Hollywood, because I don’t abstain from doing

48 SAS JANUARY 2011

drugs, but I won’t allow myself to have a f**kin’ habit. I won’t allow it.” We’re not sure if this is honourable or just a very irresponsible community message.

“I read something somewhere. Someone was writing an article about my other © Martin Pfeiffer friends. And they wrote this thing about how “in the old days they used to have a lot of problems, technical errors in the band, Izzy couldn’t hear himself”. The

reason that Izzy couldn’t hear himself is our roadies would stand behind Izzy’s amps. Because Izzy would be so whacked out of his mind that he would basically be playing a different song in a different key. And the only way we could do the songs was every time he would go to his amps he would turn his amps up and he would turn around to the crowd. When he h would turn around to the c crowd, the roadies would r reach around and turn his amps back down so that we could play the song. That worked especially well in Tel Aviv.” Axl reads???



Sound & Stage - January 2011