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A multidimensional spectacular that changes the rules for livestreaming



AUGUST 2021 #264

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A CHANGE IS ON THE WAY… As we say sayonara to another issue of TPi, it feels like the end of an era. First of all, after almost a year-anda-half of Zoom calls and watching streamed events, both Jacob and I have busy weeks ahead as we hit the road to witness some good old-fashioned in-person shows. With everything from festivals and arena shows to more intimate performances, I can’t tell you how excited we are to bring you the on-site coverage we are known for once again. As well as getting out on the road, there some exciting developments happening here in the office, as we are working on giving our beloved TPi a bit of a facelift. I’m not going to reveal too much right now, but keep your eyes peeled in September for some changes to the magazine… Before we jump into this new era for TPi, there’s the matter of discussing what we have brought you this month. Our two lead stories represent opposite ends of the spectrum, from a heritage festival reinventing itself in COVID-times to a modern performer who was raised on the internet. The former is the much-heralded Montreux Jazz Festival. This month I spoke to some of the key figures who managed to adapt the event to ensure it could go ahead this year. With the festival developing an inclusive streaming offering as well as building a unique stage in the middle of Lake Geneva, the end result certainly demonstrated innovation in these trying times [p26]. Meanwhile, taking our cover this month is YouTube sensation turned rapper, KSI, presenting to his fans a showcase in what can be achieved when it comes to a streamed event. Part sketch show, part live performance, Jacob spoke to the team of creatives that made this ambitious project a reality [p34]. Also in this issue, we look at some of the other countries that are starting to ease restrictions. From Unum Festival in Albania where Loud Professional provided the audio infrastructure for the three-stage, dance spectacular [p16], to further afield where we discovered the ins and outs of the Martin Audio system used to power this year’s JAPAN JAM [p22]. I also spoke to several companies that have diversified their business models in the past few months. From Only Helix, which now provides a visa service for artists and crew who already have their sights set on international touring [p44], to Subfrantic, which recently opened the doors of its new rehearsal facility [p12], the innovation and adaptability that we’ve seen over the past year-and-a-half now seems to be bearing fruit. The TPi team will be at PLASA in September, so don’t be a stranger and be sure to drop us a message if you’ll be there, too. Until next time, Stew Hume Editor EDITOR Stew Hume Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7702 054344 e-mail:

ASSISTANT EDITOR Jacob Waite Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7592 679612 e-mail:

CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Peter Iantorno Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7763 233637 e-mail:


DIGITAL CONTENT MANAGER James Robertson Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7725 475819 e-mail: COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR Hannah Eakins Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7760 485230 e-mail: ACCOUNT MANAGER Fran Begaj Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7852 336728 e-mail: CHIEF EXECUTIVE Justin Gawne Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7768 850767 e-mail:

ACCOUNTS Lynette Levi / Sarah Miller: MONDIALE GROUP CHAIRMAN Damian Walsh COVER The KSI Show, photography by Lee Malone PRINTED BY Buxton Press • Issue 264 – August 2021 Annual subscriptions (including P&P): £42 (UK), £60 (Europe), £78/$125 (RoW).

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TOTAL PRODUCTION INTERNATIONAL is a controlled circulation magazine, published 12 times a year by Mondiale Media Limited under licence. ISSN 1461-3786 Copyright © 2021 Mondiale Media Limited. All contents of this publication are subject to worldwide copyright protection and reproduction in whole or part, in any form whatsoever, is expressly forbidden without the prior written consent of the Publishers. Every effort is taken to ensure accuracy in the preparation of this publication but neither Mondiale Media Ltd, nor the Editor, can be held responsible for its contents or any consequential loss or damage resulting from information published. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Publishers or Editor. The Publishers accept no responsibility for the return of unsolicited manuscripts, photographs, illustrations, advertising materials or artwork. Total Production International USPS: (ISSN 1461 3786) is published 12 times a year by Mondiale Media Limited United Kingdom. The 2021 US annual subscription price is 117USD. Airfreight and mailing in the USA by Agent named Air Business, C/O WorldNet Shipping USA Inc., 155-11 146th Avenue, Jamaica, New York, NY11434. Periodicals postage paid at Jamaica NY 11431. US Postmaster: Send address changes to Total Production International, Air Business Ltd, C/O WorldNet Shipping USA Inc., 155-11 146th Avenue, Jamaica, New York, NY11434. Subscription records are maintained at Mondiale Media Ltd. Waterloo Place, Watson Square, Stockport, SK1 3AZ, UK.




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PLASA Show PLASA Head of Events, Sophie Atkinson previews this September’s tradeshow.


Core Pro Audio Core Pro Audio Director, Joe Jackson reflects on a successful ‘refresh’ event.

12 Subfrantic Stephen Davies opens the doors to a brand-new, multifaceted studio space. 16

Unum Festival Loud Professional provides audio for Europe’s first restriction-free festival.


Metropolis Studios A new immersive offering set to transform the live events sector.


The Roadie Cookbook Individuals from the live events industry create a recipe book to raise funds for Music Support and Stagehand.


JAPAN JAM 2021 MSI JAPAN deploys a Martin Audio system to sound the festival’s return.


Montreux Jazz Festival A reimagined four-stage festival site, featuring a performance space in the centre of Switzerland’s Lake Geneva.


The KSI Show A technologically advanced, multidimensional virtual showcase that defies convention.


Only Helix introduces a visa service to help the sector get back on the road.


Sennheiser Evolution Digital Dr. Oliver Schmitz highlights the benefits and cost-effective nature of EW-D.






KLANG:technologies’ Markus Pesch and Phil Kamp look to the future of immersive and spatial audio for in-ear monitors.


CEO, Jason Thomas explains how Tappit is primed to provide an integrated solution for COVID-19 secure live events.


PSA’s Dave Keighley gives his take on the UK government’s easing of restrictions.



The latest movers and shakers.


Epson Europe’s Massimo Pizzocri.



PLANNING THE PLASA SHOW 2021 PLASA Head of Events, Sophie Atkinson provides an update on this year’s show.

How difficult has it been trying to plan a show during this period of uncertainty for the sector? The uncertainty has been the hardest thing to plan around, not just for us as organisers, but for our exhibitors, the venue, the supply chain – the COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone. It has meant that some big decisions have been left much later than usual, which means there is more work to do at the last minute.

important this year – everyone will be back together in the same place at the same time. What has the response been from regular exhibitors? Considering the year that the live events industry has had, the fact that we have so many major brands committing to the show is very humbling. After four years of continual growth – which has enabled us to move to the Grand Hall – this year’s show will be smaller for all the inevitable reasons. However, the support from our exhibitors has been extraordinary and there will still be a significant number of brands to see.

What COVID-19 protocols have been put in place? We are currently taking advice from those in the industry who have worked on successful pilot events, including the venue and local authority and we will confirm our policy imminently. We are committed to ensuring our exhibitors, visitors, contractors and staff feel safe while they are at the show, so they can relax and enjoy themselves. Safety is key, however, we don’t want the experience to be onerous. We are fortunate that this is our first year in the larger Grand Hall at Olympia, so we can spread out and widen the aisles so everyone has plenty of space.

Are you expecting a predominantly UK-based audience this year? International exhibitors and UK visitors are signed up, which is a positive sign. Realistically, it’s going to depend on whether travel restrictions remain in September as to whether international visitors and exhibitors can attend. What can we expect from this year’s PLASA Show? The ABTT Theatre Show Hub can be found on the show floor, celebrating their 60th anniversary; the Main Stage will feature live acts throughout the show; and a social hub will cater for PLASA members and #WeMakeEvents Campaign followers. Not to mention the official show party at the PLASA Show Bar on Monday evening. Visitors can also enjoy the popular seminar programme, live audio demonstrations and practical training. This mix of networking and immersive content is what I believe keeps people coming back to the PLASA Show. TPi Photos: PLASA

How will your new collaboration with ABTT enhance the guest experience this year? While several people in the industry were having the same thought, the catalyst was a conversation with Martin Hawthorn. In a year where budgets are tight and the ability to put on events is severely hampered, combining the two events to the later dateline and larger venue was a no-brainer. It adds a huge amount to the show experience for visitors, too – there is a lot of crossover between the ABTT and PLASA communities, but there are also plenty of people unique to each side, so it will bring new people to the show. It also adds to the sense of community that we feel is really 08


CORE PRO AUDIO: REFRESH EVENT Core Pro Audio Director, Joe Jackson reflects on the success of a ‘refresh’ event with 150 industry insiders in attendance. TPi’s Jacob Waite reports…

Despite being a relatively new face in the fiercely competitive pro audio market, West Midlands-based Core Pro Audio has made a stellar impact during its two years of trading, entering sales partnerships with big brands in the live events sector. Having previously worked with a number of industry leading companies before forming Core Pro Audio, Directors Joe Jackson, Tim Bamber and Kevin Mobberley were keen to celebrate the gear up to a full-strength sector by hosting a ‘refresh’ event on 6 and 7 July, supported by the #WeMakeEvents Campaign. Over 150 industry folk gathered for free-of-charge training and networking opportunities with the likes of L-Acoustics, DiGiCo, Shure, Yamaha, DPA Microphones, Allen & Heath, XTA Electronics, among others in attendance. The idea behind this ‘refresh’ event, Jackson said, was simple. “We wanted to make an event which is pro audio focused and deliver training on new technologies released since the pandemic began. People forget that many engineers haven’t touched equipment at all during this time and we could be less than a month away from being back to having

live events,” he began. “There aren’t many places you can go and get hands on with this kit, let alone talk to manufacturers on a one-to-one basis.” The event was paced to accommodate networking opportunities. “We were conscious that we were likely to be obligated to follow guidelines despite having the date set post the original 19 June easing,” Jackson said. “Despite the delay, I’m satisfied that we delivered a fully COVID-19 mitigated event with the help of ESS, which provided hand sanitisation stations, air purifiers and UVC disinfection devices.” Jackson recalled Core Pro Audio’s relationship with its sales partners. “We are suppliers for some outstanding brands, and we were grateful for their support. There was a mutual consensus that this is the start of the return now and although some have had success with streaming events, we are all hankering for real live shows.” Core Pro Audio enlisted the support of #WeMakeEvents Campaign Political Team Leader, Duncan Bell to provide a brief update at the event. “While his sentiments were wholly positive, we were realistic about the 10


continued fight for sector-specific support going forward,” Jackson pointed out. The event began with an introduction from Core Pro Audio, followed by a few words from Bell, with L-Acoustics, DiGiCo, Shure, Yamaha, DPA Microphones, Allen & Heath 45-minute breakout sessions. “Another highlight of the day was when the Mexican street food came out and we gathered in front of two hangs of L-Acoustics PA,” Jackson said, recalling the K3 system, which had never been on show in the UK before. “We were also provided free of charge JH Audio in-ear impressions to promote our partnership, as well as a host of free swag for attendees.” A DiGiCo Quantum 225, Klang IEM systems, Allen & Heath CTI 1500 and Yamaha Rivage PM3 and PM5, Shure Axient Digital, XTA Electronics MX36

console switching system and a host of DPA Microphones also adorned the Core Pro Audio HQ. Summarising his experience, Jackson concluded: “I think there’s a place for these sorts of events as well as trade shows. There are some great product launches and creative trade show stands that are so impressive at the larger events. However, boutique events like ours can be extremely useful to all involved because we are working with the same people and equipment directly.” TPi Photos: Core Pro Audio



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SUBFRANTIC: NEW REHEARSAL FACILITY The turnkey rental house opens its doors to the industry to officially launch its new rehearsal facility. TPi’s Stew Hume reports...

Since last year, we have seen many rental houses turn their warehouses and buildings into multiuse performance spaces as the demand for streaming studios rose sharply. One company that has taken this idea a step further is Subfrantic, which this month officially opened its brand new rehearsal facility, situated right next to its Bromley warehouse. According to MD Stephen Davies, the idea to move into the rehearsal studio market dates back further than COVID-19. “Even when I was in a band years ago, I had this idea of owning a rehearsal facility,” he stated. “But without a way of making it financially viable, the concept has been on the backburner for decades.” Over the years, the Subfrantic team has toyed with the idea of inviting bands to its Bromley HQ, even setting up a black box in the entrance to the warehouse for bands to rehearse and take promo photos at one point. Of

course, with the facility hindering access to the warehouse, it was hardly a long-term solution. However, when the building next door to Subfrantic suddenly became available, the idea of a high-end rehearsal facility became a much more realistic proposition. With work starting in 2019, progression on this new arm of the business inevitably hit a stumbling block from March 2020. However by July 2021 the team was finally ready to open its doors. The new space comes complete with a recording studio, two mixing control rooms, a large practice room, spacious green room, a streaming hub and a large rehearsal room. “Although COVID-19 slowed down the opening and created a more challenging project with a lot of our income slowing due to the lack of shows, it presented an advantage that our whole team were able to throw themselves into this space,” stated Davies. “We’ve had friends and family 12

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come down and help make this space a reality and, as a result, it feels much more personal.” When asked what the goal is for the new venture, Davies explained that it was all about making a space where people could be comfortable and creative – not just for the artists but their technical crew as well. “My background is as a sound engineer, so I know we’ve all been there when you sometimes dread going into a rehearsal facility. You’re often using ex-rental equipment and they are not always the best places to relax.” The Subfrantic team has taken a very different approach. For starters, Davies explained how before an artist comes to the facility, the simple question of ‘what do you need?’ is asked. “We’re more than happy to utilise our rental equipment to ensure the incoming artist and crew have the best possible experience in the facility,” he elaborated. “We’ve thought about what a touring party might want when they come into our space and have installed certain amenities such as a good quality shower and clothes washing facilities.” Davies also explained how one of Subfrantic’s biggest assets is its location. “I had one client who stopped me after I said we had ample free parking,” he laughed. “He didn’t want to hear any more after that and was sold on the concept. It’s a real problem for many artists and crew who pay extraordinary prices to travel and park in central London. Also, the fact we are further out of the city means it’s a nicer setting for crew to relax.” Rather than simply an additional space in which to offer rehearsals, Subfrantic’s new offering provides bands a turnkey solution for tour preparation. Along with a space for production rehearsals, it also has a large band room and two recording studios. Subfrantic has also invested heavily in streaming technology; with an in-house control room, bands

are able to stream and record performances from the company’s HQ. The investment in equipment also means the rental house has yet another offering for customers out on site. “There has been a lot of talk about hybrid events recently and I believe they have a future on a number of levels,” Davies shared. “There has always been an issue of accessibility with live events with people who are unable to attend due to physical reasons, or perhaps who struggle being in big crowds. Having a streaming offering at events means we have the option of providing greater accessibility to artists and, on the flipside, they can increase their reach to a wider audience.” With the facility up and running, Subfrantic invited the industry to see the space. Attendees included artists, representatives from manufacturers including DiGiCo and Avolites, along with several rental houses. To close, TPi asked Davies what it had been like to host one of the first industry gatherings since March 2020. “We as a team thought long and hard about if we were going to do the event, but fairly quickly it became clear that we had to,” he said bluntly. “We are an industry that relies on people being brave enough to come out in groups so we have to be able to do the same. We were sensible and didn’t invite hundreds of people, but during my welcome speech it was great to see our green room comfortably full of guests, all overjoyed to simply be in the presence of other humans.” Since the opening party, the studio has already been used by several bands prepping for shows and Davies has received plenty of interest from productions looking to book some time in the new space. TPi Photos: Guy Gerrard and Suzanne Davies 14

Let your ears decide

Visit us at Plasa - Stand D7 September 5-7, Olympia London


UNUM FESTIVAL Loud Professional provides the audio backbone for Albania’s Unum Festival, the first unrestricted festival since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. TPi reports…

Back in early June, while the UK was introducing test events including Download Pilot, over in Albania, the first unrestricted festival opened its gates for five days of performances from some of the country’s most popular house and techno DJs. With COVID-19 cases in Albania decreasing since February, organisers of Unum Festival had been confident since early 2021 that they would be able to put on the second rendition of this event. A few weeks prior to the event, the festival received more positive news when the Albanian government resolved to ease restrictions further, meaning some foreign tourists could now enter the country to join the party. Audio supplier, Loud Professional, provided equipment for all three of the stages – the Main Stage, the Pine and the Beach – and primed each performance area with its own brand of speakers, all of which powered by a range of Powersoft amplifier platforms. Talking TPi through the setup was Loud Professional’s General Manger, Valerio Cherubini.

“We got involved with Unum Festival many months prior to the event,” stated Cherubini. “The organisers were keen to bring in Loud Professional due to the great appeal that our system is having in the industry.” The Main Stage system comprised 16 Loud Professional Formula F212s, 24 VH Sub121Hs and front fills made up of six VH Layer112Hs. The company’s speakers were also used on stage monitors for the DJs, with four VH Layer112H+EMDs as well as a pair of VH SM15s backstage. The Pine Stage PA comprised 12 VH Layer212Hs, 12 VH Sub121Hs and four VH Sub218Rs, with a front fill setup of two VH SM12Hs. Meanwhile on the Beach Stage, a speaker arrangement of four VH Layer112Hs and eight VH Sub118Rs was selected. Cherubini was keen to share the praise the company had received from the artists. “Secret47, the most important Albanian DJ, who played in the Main Stage, said after his set: ‘Loud Professional for a festival is like having your money in a Swiss bank,’” beamed Cherubini. 16


“Technically, F212 is a four-way line-array system, completely hornloaded. This is why it’s able to guarantee extraordinary performances for an out of standard SPL. This is what DJs love to have – the greatest impact ever,” he added. “Impact is not all; sound needs to be well controlled and never aggressive, always giving the maximum comfort to everyone. The mission is to deliver the best listening quality, transferring great emotions and good vibes to the audience.” Powering each of the stages were Powersoft’s X8 amplifier platforms, which the General Manager was pleased to report “worked perfect, as always!” He continued: “We prepared all setups virtually and when we arrived on site, we only spent some time for the finest tuning. We had the power and tools to deliver the best listening experience you can expect from a professional sound reinforcement system. ArmoníaPlus is an excellent management software, always giving the right tools to work.” He continued to describe one of the main challenges for the system was the long-term running times, with one of the stages working 24 hours per day without a break. “It’s testament to Powersoft’s products that we had no problems,” he enthused. “Amplifiers were stable for the duration. Some channels were loaded at 2.7 ohms and the temperature was high all day.” The Loud Professional General Manager was keen to highlight the

work of those that managed this year’s Unum Festival that comprised of; Production Manager Elliot James Shaw, Logistic Manager Fosco Cicola, Sound Designers and Sound Engineers Michele Azzimonti and Mauro Casazza, Audio Technician Matteo De Vitis and Backline Tech Massimo Casponi Cherubini. He then took the time to reflect on the hard year just passed. “During this time away, we’ve concentrated exclusively on finalising some new projects started a few years ago,” he explained. “Since the beginning, Loud Professional was focused on clubs and event installations. This is why we decided to enter the systems integration market, designing many different product ranges already launched and fully functional such as the Gamma, MicrHome and Nucleo Series. We also focussed on designing some of our own software,” he stated. “We are waiting for the end of this tragic moment and I think that we are at the end of the tunnel,” he concluded. “Many festivals are scheduled in the next few months and we will be involved in some of them. We are also creating the new Loud International team, with a goal of entering the US market as soon as possible.” TPi 17


METROPOLIS STUDIOS: A NEW IMMERSIVE OFFERING TPi’s Stew Hume pays a visit to Metropolis to get an exclusive tech tour of its new immersive audio studio and find out how innovations from the team at Sonosphere could spearhead change within the live events sector.

With immersive audio in higher demand than ever, from streamed events to in-person performances, there has been an overwhelming need for spaces in which engineers can work on mixes. Well aware of the demand for such a facility, Sonosphere, in conjunction with Metropolis Studios, has done just that – creating a state-of-the-art facility at the Chiswick Power House, London. With Sonosphere’s experience in immersive audio and livestreaming, the team were more than aware of the capabilities such a facility would need. Starting life as a room for podcasting and immersive content creation, the concept snowballed as Sonosphere realised they could create a space that could be utilised for a whole range of applications – from realtime immersive mixing of livestreams, to pre-programming an immersive mix before setting out on a live show. “In terms of the music market, Dolby Atmos is the standard. So, we decided to ‘have our cake and eat it’ and build a room to fully meet the

Atmos specifications,” stated Sonosphere Commercial Director, Jamie Gosney following the launch of the new space. Now open for business, the studio, which is Dolby certified and boasts an immersive monitoring environment capable of 11.1.8 Dolby Atmos, is currently the highest Dolby resolution studio in the country. Greeting TPi in this immersive audio wonderland was Sonosphere’s Senior Mix Engineer, Phil Wright and Metropolis’ Brand Director, Gavin Newman. “We explicitly wanted this room to be as versatile as possible in order to accommodate as many different workflows as possible,” began Wright. This need to be flexible is something that Wright believes is a necessity as the demand for immersive solutions increases. The studio can accommodate all possible formats and incoming mixing consoles and caters for several interface formats including MADI, Dante, AES3 and Ravenna. “Just the other day for a show we had a DiGiCo brought in and we were up and running with it in no time at all,” enthused Wright. 18


Any incoming engineer who sits in the central control position will find themselves surrounded by a range of Neumann speakers with three KH 420 tri-amplified monitors mounted to the front wall with a further KH 420 underneath the reference screen. Twin Neumann KH 870 subwoofers flank the three-way monitors, with low-frequency response down to 18Hz. Wright continued to explain why the team had decided to go for Dolby Atmos as the system of choice and the advantages it could bring to the live event market. “While building this studio space I have two colleges each working on various live immersive audio projects that use manufacturers’ own software,” he explained. “The issue they and many others have come across is that they are unable to get specific hardware in certain territories. It’s left them in a bit of a quandary, and they may have to go back to the drawing board. One of the main advantages of Atmos is that it’s completely loudspeaker agnostic.” Although there are several other systems out there that can also work on other speakers, Wright explained that he sees Atmos as a better choice due to the current “blurring of boundaries” between live and studio work for audio engineers. “So many people these days work between live and studio and you find you can use the same plug-ins, architecture and series to process all the immersive audio.” He continued to complement the workflow of Dolby Atmos, which, unlike some of its competitors, gives engineers object control within an XYZ plane, giving full spatial control of the mix. Another feature that he found incredibly user friendly was the inbuilt sequencer, which resembles an “old-school drum machine”, which enables users to pre-set various movements, taking its tempo from the incoming timecode. “It’s a feature that artists and engineers working within EDM will find practically appealing for elements of a track such as high hats or shakers where you

can do some really impressive sweeps to add to the overall feel of the track,” enthused Wright. Following a demo in which Wright showcased the immersive capabilities of the studio including an exclusive preview of an upcoming Jack Savoretti Amazon Original, both Wright and Newman discussed how they foresaw the studio being utilised by the artist in the coming months. “Just the other day when we had Jack performing in the live room, we could then bring him into the studio and in real time, with no post, show what could be achieved with Dolby Atmos. They were completely blown away,” enthused Newman. “At Metropolis, we’re always keeping an eye on new technologies, which led us to have a conversation with Sonosphere Commercial Director, Jamie Gosney.” The ability for the set up at Metropolis to be turned to the streaming world has already garnered the attention of several supporters – most notably Amazon Music as well as Mastercard, who have also hosted live sessions from the studio in recent months. This level of corporate interest shows how streaming incentives such as this could provide yet another viable revenue stream for the music industry. “In my mind, the offering and a wider use of immersive mixing using Atmos is a paradigm shift in recording sound,” stated Wright. “It’s bigger than the change from mono to stereo. With Atmos, instead of having to employ tricks to make you think you’re experiencing ‘space’ in a mix, you are actually giving the mix ‘space’. This means you can mix much more dynamically with much less compression.” TPi Photos: James Cumpsty and Phil Wright 19


THE ROADIE COOKBOOK: TOURED THERE, ATE THAT Production professionals release a 124-page recipe book with a mission to raise funds for Mental First Aid training for every tour bus in the UK.

Borne out of an idea by Production Manager Nick Gosling (Nile Rodgers & Chic) in April 2020, The Roadie Cookbook: Toured There, Ate That was curated with friends Production Coordinator Julie Cotton (Massive Attack), Production Assistant Athena Caramitsos and Backline Tech Rich House (Elbow). The team set out to help their peers re-engage in the much-missed mealtime connection of crew catering by producing a 124page recipe book to raise funds for Mental First Aid training. When the devastation of COVID-19 hit, live music stopped overnight, and tour buses stood still. While almost every venue in the world closed, home kitchens became the new catering hub for unemployed music workers. As stories of memorable meals and secret ingredients in roadie comfort food took hold, so did the stark reality that isolation and mental ill-health was becoming commonplace within the forgotten touring business. The team met through the Manchester music scene and recognised

first-hand how food can bring people together when touring the world. The idea of an industry cookbook was formed and soon turned into a fundraising initiative tasked with generating enough sales to secure crisis prevention training for those travelling on the road. Carefully crafted by backstage professionals, the book showcases a collection of 50 recipes, anecdotes, and advice for staying healthy on tour. Recipes include The Killer Sandwich, Stage Left Satay Bowls, Tour Bus Nachos, and an anonymous ‘Loose Cocktail’. Contributors have worked with artists and events ranging from Dolly Parton to Bryan Ferry, The Chemical Brothers, Kylie Minogue, Glastonbury, Linkin Park, Robbie Williams, Anastacia, Jay Z, and many more. They work in a variety of skilled roles; lighting designers, bus drivers, sound engineers, tour managers and video directors, to name a few. These are the people whose skills ensure the show goes on and, even when it can’t, still come together to get each other over the line. 20


For each copy sold, 100% of profits will go towards charities Music Support and Stagehand to help continue funding and delivering Mental Health First Aid training and, importantly, normalise taking the Mental Health First Aid course. One in four people in the UK will experience ill mental health in their lifetime, while those figures jump to a shocking three in four when it comes to those working in high-pressure environments such as touring and live entertainment. In many cases, the pandemic has accelerated episodes in those who had never previously experienced problems. With the industry now acutely aware of its fragility, The Roadie Cookbook crew want to focus on helping each other in preparation for when tour buses hit the road again full time. “Although COVID-19 was devastating beyond anything we could have imagined, a positive to have come out of the situation was for the industry to have an unexpected opportunity to reset,” commented Julie Cotton. “During the past 18 months, we’ve all had a chance to reflect and work together to create positive change by working towards a healthier and more sustainable future in touring. With thousands of people being

used to a different routine now, the transition back to working on the road will bring about its own challenges, yet delivering concerts and the experiences they bring to people is a vital part of good mental health.” She added: “By undertaking the Mental Health First Aid course, many of us have been able to learn how to better support those around us, and we want to extend that knowledge free of charge to our touring colleagues, funded through book sales.” The 124-page book’s aesthetic design has been handcrafted with art direction by Manchester-based designer Paul Hemmingfield, known for his promotional artwork with the city’s Warehouse Project and Freight Island venues. In addition, the foreword has been written by Skunk Anansie drummer and Music Support Founder, Mark Richardson, who eloquently shares his own experiences of the dark side of touring. To help future-proof the wellbeing of the UK’s live music industry, you can pre-order a paper copy of The Roadie Cookbook: Toured There, Ate That now. TPi




Every once in a while, something comes along that tears up the rulebook and revolutionises an industry. This is one of those moments: the Satellite Modular Laser System from the Visionaries of the display industry – Digital Projection.


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04/03/2020 11:18


MLA BOLSTERS THE RETURN OF JAPAN JAM MSI JAPAN deploys a Martin Audio system to soundtrack the triumphant return of JAPAN JAM, the country’s first live music festival under strict COVID-19 conditions.

JAPAN JAM 2021 took place at Soga Sports Park in Chiba over the country’s May public holiday weekend. The annual event, which has already taken place three times at this venue, had to be cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic – making its return the first live music festival to take place in two years, under strict transmission control conditions. Last time around, more than 30,000 people participated in the festival daily, however, this year audience numbers were limited to 10,000 per day. Alcohol was prohibited, face masks were mandatory and audience members had to be registered on a contact-tracing app to gain entry. “Japanese audiences are keen to adhere to regulations to ensure the success of live events,” said MSI JAPAN’s Bunshiro Hote, overseeing audio system planning and tuning for all three stages. “Of course, the maximum

capacity is limited now. However, increased vaccination will bring the reopening of the industry to full strength in the coming months.” As in previous years, Martin Audio MLA was adopted as the main speaker, with 10 MLA elements including an MLD downfill and three stacks of subwoofers, nine per side in total, on the main stage, with the middle sub rear-facing for the cardioid pattern. In addition, four WPM were equipped for front fill / outfill duties. “We chose an MLA system because it can control the leakage, and it can change the coverage area,” Hote reported. “I changed the audience area settings according to the conditions.” Many precautions were taken to avoid the transmission of the virus – even on stage. “The microphones that would normally have been reused were replaced. As a result, we used five lines including spares to operate 22


only the announcements,” Hote explained. “We introduced a UV irradiation desiccator for some mics that needed to be used by multiple people, while the console was sanitised every time the sound engineer changed. All vocal mics for the artists and talkback mics for the engineers were regulated.” Having implemented as many systems as possible to prevent transmission of the infection, Hote, who was also in charge of the system design, stated: “Tokyo was in a state of emergency and as a neighbouring prefecture, Chiba also needed to prevent the spread of infection. This made us more nervous and considerate of noise complaints than usual.” FOH mixing was achieved by an Avid S6L console with a Yamaha CL5 console handling monitors, with both desks mixing Shure P10 IEMs and a range of microphones. “When we did the sound check, we played the CD at 100dBA at FOH, and prepared three delay settings of 60m, 70m, and 80m from the stage for the main MLA area and assessed to what degree it could be heard at the monitoring point outside the venue. As a result, we chose the 70m pattern as the standard in the three-stage MLA area, and since the Lotus Stage was the nearest to the street, we started this at 60m.” After missing last year, the fans were suitably excited about the event. “The management was struggling to ensure that customers could enjoy

high-quality sound without influencing the neighbourhood. It was, therefore, necessary to adjust the range of sound depending on the audience population and the wind speed. Of course, we checked the monitoring of the neighbourhood as well and we sometimes changed the settings depending on the situation. MLA was the perfect choice to make this possible.” Looking towards the future, Hote hopes the Japanese events market can recover from the devastating effects of COVID-19 pandemic. “This summer, I have heard that some festivals are reopening and subsequently being cancelled. However, I believe in the power of live music. If the correct procedures are put in place to ensure the safety of the technical production crew and performing artists, I’m positive that the sector can continue to operate,” he concluded. “I am currently preparing for summer festivals and upcoming artist tours this Autumn. I believe the live entertainment industry in Japan will rise again!” TPi Photos: Rockin’on Group official 23

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MONTREUX JAZZ FESTIVAL: ADAPTATION IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY Organisers behind Europe’s largest annual jazz festival rewrite the rulebook, creating an alternative programme with brand-new stage builds, including a performance space in the centre of Switzerland’s Lake Geneva. TPi’s Stew Hume reports.


With many summer festivals having to pull the plug again this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Montreux Jazz Festival opted to adapt its usual offering and treat the event in a “completely different way”, according to the festival’s CEO, Mathieu Jaton. With the festival operating at a reduced capacity, organisers moved away from the normal multistage format, instead creating a programme that despite being smaller, still held true to the DNA and values of the festival, remaining agile, flexible and innovative. To keep the essence of Montreux alive, the team relied on several longterm partners, including: Bullitt Productions, Meyer Sound, DiGiCo, Shure, Skynight and RTS. “All of our partners were on board with what we were trying to achieve,” enthused Jaton, commenting on the collective talent working tirelessly behind the scenes. “Take Marco Güntensperger from Bullitt, who has been heading the production for Montreux for many years,” he continued. “For me, he’s one of the best touring professionals in the industry, working with the likes of The Rolling Stones. He’s always able to bring the agility and flexibility, which is what we really needed this year.”

drawing board. “We didn’t want to just end up using the main performance hall at half capacity. Instead, we created a whole new stage design that would provide a new crowd experience,” the CEO stated. The result: a stage built on Lake Geneva with a grandstand on the lakeshore aptly named the Scène du Lac. “The response we got from some of our headline acts such as Woodkid and Ibrahim Maalouf was that they would much prefer to play on this unusual stage than a traditional concert hall,” enthused Jaton. Creating a stage on water proved a logistical challenge that required extensive negotiation with the Swiss government. “To get something like this off the ground in Switzerland you need authority from the City, the Cantons and the government – this would normally take a year,” stated the CEO. “However, we explained that this event would really help spread the name of Montreux around the world as we were producing a livestream of the show. Due to our relationship with the government, we were able to get all the paperwork sorted in two weeks.” Getting the official green light was only half the battle as the build for this stage required quite the feat of engineering. While the stage may appear to be floating, it actually has deep foundations on the lake’s bed. The underwater terrain was difficult to work with as the lakebed went from a depth of 2m to 17m. “We had three weeks of divers going down to work on the foundations of the stage,” commented Jaton, laughing that staff in their scuba diving kit was hardly comparable to a regular stage build. Having successfully built the stunning structure, there was always one other potential issue. “As we are on the lake, surrounded by mountains,

CHANGING FORMAT The traditional multi venue timetable was scaled back to four stages this year, with two for paying ticket holders and two for the public. Before getting into the specifics of how to safely bring people on site, organisers had to rethink the performance spaces. Prior to Christmas 2020, the hope was that they still might be able to fill their main hall with 4,000 people, but with the rise of the Delta Variant, Jaton and his team went back to the 28


there was always a risk of extreme rain and wind,” he said. This fear was realised on one of the days this year, which meant that the team had to make the snap decision to move that day’s content inside, which then saw the production team build a new performance space in three hours.

those coming onto site. “Having experienced a lot of artists’ extra ‘wishes’ in the past, it was nice to see how relieved and exstatic artists and their crews were to perform again. Some artists were overwhelmed – especially on the new Lake Stage location offering spectacular views of Lake Geneva.” To close, Güntensperger explained some of the practicalities to putting a show on while the pandemic was still a concern for those in the country. “The obvious restrictions were strictly followed and furthermore, there was a two-day testing period for all staff involved. Having said that, the additional work put in place to fulfil this was extensive. Despite these measures, it was a true relief to be back at Montreux for another year.

BUILDING BLOCKS Once this year’s event had closed, TPi managed to grab some time with Bullitt Productions’ Managing Director, Marco Güntensperger to discuss the company’s involvement. Having been a partner with the festival for a number of years, Bullitt was brought in during the initial planning stages to oversee audio and lighting requirements for each of the stages. “We were involved from a very early stage amid the pre-production phase, especially during creation of the new Lake Stage,” reflected Güntensperger. This was an extensive task including key staff planning, logistics, stage construction, backline planning and production budgets. Collectively, the company deployed 30 members of production staff across all four stages. With the stage set, Güntensperger explained some of the biggest challenges of this year’s setup. “Obviously, weather implications were a key factor for this new stage,” he commented. “Health and safety scenarios in case of severe weather had to be established involving stage companies, local engineering companies and our onstage team. Furthermore, truck access to the stage was only possible via a public road along the shore meaning access was very limited and involved traffic security.” Güntensperger continued to express what it meant to welcome back both artists and crew back to Montreux and the positive feedback from

AUDIO ADAPTATION The history of Montreux is very much entwined with that of Meyer Sound, which has been a partner of the festival for 35 years. Despite the different setup this year, the company was enlisted to provide PA for each stage, alongside DiGiCo and Shure. “When people come to Montreux, one of the expectations is that the sound is very good,” explained Jaton, adding that even in the challenging setting, the audio delivery was still world class. Manning the audio for the Lake Stage was Meyer Sound Technical Support Specialist, Jose Gaudin. “Our team started getting the first plans around February, many of which were based on previous years,” he began. “These then evolved and crystallised around the Lake Stage and Palace venue. Gaudin described the audio setup for the Lake Stage, which comprised 29


nine LEOPARDS per side under a three by two box 900-LFC end fire array. “There were six Ultra-X40 as delay loudspeakers and a pair of 1100-LFC as delay subwoofers. There was also a single LEO-M as outfill per side that covered the entrances and the front of the terraces. The Lake Stage sent signals to both terraces on each side of the benches,” he explained. “Each terrace had four Ultra-X40s, four Ultra-X20s as delay speakers and four 750LFCs.” Although a LYON system would have been a more obvious choice than the LEOPARD, Gaudin explained the reason behind the decision. “The LYON system is used in Stravinski [auditorium], and we expected that there might be a chance that we would have a last-minute decision of a big show in the venue as it’s usually the main hall for the festival,” he stated. Before assembling the rig, Gaudin examined the SPL specifications. “First, the specs had pink noise measurements that already accounted for 12.5 dB of crest factor, then Meyer Sound investigated M-Noise that in general yielded bigger yet more realistic numbers. To compare with the market, we decided to go out of the linear range and define an ultimate value.” Aware that Swiss law would limit the maximum exposure of the audience to 100dB Laeq averaged over one hour, the audio team knew the target should be around 103 dB SPL linear range, with higher capacity available for short periods of time. “Looking at the geometry of the coverage, the very wide coverage of LEOPARD with these SPL targets allowed us to define this smaller system that was in sync with the weight requirements of the stage,” Gaudin commented. He explained how the LEOPARD system was pointed slightly down and the last two rows got fewer high frequencies and SPL. “This meant

there was less sound spilling out into the city, and that we could boost the frequency response on the last row with the Ultra X40 delays, which also enhanced intelligibility under the top plastic cover by increasing proximity,” he stated. With the LEOPARDs in “free field” for the first rows, delays under the cover increased the direct sound to reverberated sound ratio so the system was less subject to wind interference, bringing back some of the intimacy that the festival is known for with its indoor venues. “The choice of Ultra X40 was because the dynamic response in the high frequency would match the LEOPARD the best,” he remarked. Housed on top of the LEOPARDs were two 900-LFC and behind these two blocks of two 900-LFC building an end-fire array, that was slightly angled down, electronically. The forward focus of this array was wide enough for low-end coverage but had enough directivity to avoid much of the city, and provide a good reduction on stage, helping acoustic acts. To help in the deeper end of the spectrum, the first choice was to add 1100-LFC on stage. Upon investigation, the team found that they could put them under the seating, with the advantage of going from six 1100-LFC (three per side) to two, since the distance travelled was shorter – the result being lower off-site low-frequency emissions for the same amount of low-end locally. A further two LEO-M outfills covered the terraces on each side, avoiding the use of a big outfill array, providing an almost perfect level ratio to the LEOPARD arrays, while maintaining enough footprint to hit the terraces at an extreme angle. For processing, a Galaxy 816 processor was placed at FOH with two on stage and another one per terrace, connected via a MILAN AVB network. “The advantage of this was that audio signals could be exchanged in all 30


directions and control could be centralised from FOH to manage where and when the signals had to be routed,” stated Gaudin. With the Lake Stage open to the elements, Gaudin cited “weight and weather” as the two biggest challenges when working on the stage. “Weight is obvious since there are 14m of water under the stage that has 7m of clearance, so the stage was standing on the lake floor with the arrays at 21m. Going with LEOPARD and 900-LFC saved a lot of weight, for a total of 855kg per side as well as providing a lower footprint to wind,” he explained. “We knew there would be high winds and rain, and these weather challenges would cause distortion, high frequency attenuation and high background noise. All of these were mitigated by keeping the audience close to the loudspeakers. The stage was also close enough to the seating that the lake had almost no effect on sound.” The travelling engineers were excited to find DiGiCo’s new Quantum 338 desk with its long list of features, readily available at the Scène du

Lac. “I liked the fact there are three identical screens so that we can work simultaneously,” Gaudin stated, highlighting his favourite features of the new desk. “We used the Spice Rack as a mastering tool, but more importantly it was the Mustard Processing that satisfied engineers that usually travel with analogue outboards. The fact that DiGiCo is widespread and the ability to build the console to anyone’s preference was useful for visiting engineers. On a couple of shows we were able to copy the banks and work together on the console. I would mostly work on the output processing, adding the ‘mastering’ touches.” “We also had and 4REA4 with AControl8 is used for shouts, to inject announcements and background music into the system while we work on the Q338 or guest consoles, and is redundantly powered to also allow emergency and evacuation messages to be passed either trough the PA or through the evacuation system,” explained Gaudin. As a partner of the event, the DiGiCo brand could be found on all the


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other performance areas, each with a Quantum225 with Dante on each of the three stages. “It felt great,” Gaudin said, sharing his final thoughts. “Everybody was really happy on both production sides, so we had fewer petty issues to deal with and could focus on doing amazing concerts.”

on board in 2021 as an official partner of the festival. Rather than this being a one-off incentive due to the current situation, Jaton explained that this move to the digital realm was a necessary step that more festivals need to undertake – essentially becoming digital production companies. “This current incentive is all about spreading our focus, so we are not just living for the two weeks of the festival but pushing the brand of Montreux throughout the year,” he elaborated. “Festivals on the whole are a risky business and it only takes bad weather to derail your plans.” It’s for this reason that over the years we’ve seen Montreux expand to have satellite events in China, Brazil and Japan. According to Jaton, this attention to streaming in partnership with the likes of Qello is part of a wider strategy, while retaining the DNA of the festival. Like many, TPi hopes to visit the famed cultural event next year. Although from the sounds of it, those unable to attend will be able to curate their own Montreux experience from the comfort of their home. TPi Photos: Lionel Flusin, Marc Ducrest and Emilien Ilim.

STREAMING One of the initial goals of the 2021 rendition of Montreux was that with lower numbers of in-person attendees, the team would do whatever they could do to share the festival experience with fans around the world. Overseen by Montreux Media Ventures, a company formed in 2019, each day the festival streamed content to Qello. This idea of sharing content is something that has been at the heart of the festival since the beginning. Since the event’s inception, Founder, Claude Nobs was always keen to record and film everything that happened at the festival. Over the years, this has created an archive, which has been recognised by UNESCO as the biggest archive of live music in the world. “I guess you could say we have always been hybrid,” joked Jaton, while discussing the upward interest in this idea of events living both in the physical and digital realm. This wish to offer fans around the world the Montreux experience is what sparked the formation of Montreux Media Ventures in 2019 – an independent company to the main festival, responsible for dealing with the distribution of the footage from the annual event. With the event being cancelled in 2020, Media Ventures released 50 legendary concerts on Qello. Due to the success of this project, Qello came 32

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BEHIND THE SCREENS: THE KSI SHOW To celebrate the release of his number one sophomore album – All Over The Place – KSI enlists the support of creatives, guest collaborators and production crew to curate a multidimensional spectacular show that eschews convention. TPi’s Jacob Waite reports...


The KSI Show – filmed over the course of two days during a five-day residency at London’s Garden Studios and later broadcast on Moment House in partnership with Proper Loud, MBA Live and Ignite – was an exclusive multidimensional spectacular show featuring a revolving door of guest stars, surprise performers, dancers and artists affiliated with KSI’s (Olajide ‘JJ’ Olatunji) past, present and future as a YouTuber, boxer and number one-selling recording artist. The brainchild of KSI, Mark Bennett and Mams Taylor, The KSI Show was produced by Proper Loud, MBA Live, Fast Lane Entertainment and Gold Dust Films. The one-of-a-kind spectacular followed KSI from his bedroom, where it all started, moving in and out of a dream-like state around custom stages that incorporated elements of music performances, TV sets and comedy skits devised by American Dad writers, Joe Chandler and Nick Wegener, as well as comedy writer James Farmer, along with KSI. “We were keen to put together a show that pays homage to KSI’s past, present and future,” Executive Producer and Manager, Mams Taylor of Proper Loud said, explaining the roots of the project. “We’re at an age where audiences require more stimulation than solely video or audio. The speed of transmission of a catchy hook and visual, along with the pacing of a show is important and I think that embodying that in a live show is the next progressive step for future success – livestreams need to be more than just a musical performance.” From discussing the possibilities of a livestream over WhatsApp to then bringing the vision to life was an “incredibly rewarding experience” for Executive Producer and Agent, Mark Bennett of MBA Live, who dubbed the experience equal parts ‘exhausting’ and ‘overwhelming’. “There were times I thought it wasn’t possible with COVID-19 and financing a show of this level,” he conceded. “Thankfully, we put together a team which was able to overcome all odds to make this show a success.”

Producer, Rob Lane of Fast Lane Entertainment, believes many livestream shows lack production value, so achieving a bespoke, technologically advanced spectacle was key. “We’ve produced a lot of livestream shows over the past 18 months on various social media platforms but Moment House’s model of compensating the artist while promoting the album is very exciting. There was a desire to make this event special. KSI typically gives away his content for free, so we wanted to elevate production values.” Producer, Kate Sinden – one half of Gold Dust Films along with Director, Liz Clare – co-produced the show with Fast Lane Entertainment. “The KSI Show was about engaging the audience and increasing the production value of conventional livestream music shows, by putting as much of the budget on screen as possible,” Sinden commented. “I’m proud of The KSI Show as a demonstration of KSI’s capabilities as a multitalented artist and the ingenuity of the live events sector.” As well as producing the action, Sinden and Line Producer, Abi Heilbron acted as COVID-19 Supervisors, with additional support from H&S Advisor and COVID-19 Supervisor, Tom Solly from the Event Safety Shop, as well as COVID-19 testing and medics from Oak Valley Events. On site, crew wore masks, socially distanced where possible, with regular testing employed throughout. “We were lucky to have them as part of our team to make the production COVID-19 compliant,” Lane reported, praising his colleagues. “Stringent testing protocols were followed, in line with the latest government guidelines.” The supplier roster boasted the collective expertise of Blackout, Christie Lites, Creative Technology, CTV OB, CW Plant Hire, Eat To The Beat, ER Productions, First Option, Flying By Foy, Inner Sanctum, Inside Broadcast, John Henrys, Leviathan, Media Access Solutions, Oak Valley Events, Pixelmappers, Procam Take 2 Projects, Red TX, Stage Miracles, Sweeney Todd Carpenting, Templine, and The Event Safety Shop. “It was such a joy 36


and pleasure to set up a stage with a big LED backdrop, talk about rigging plots, lighting, and show calls,” Sinden said. “Every supplier that worked on this went the extra mile. It was important to spread out the work and, above all, see each other after over a year in exile.” Providing a backdrop to the 70-minute showcase featuring comedy skits and stage renditions of some of KSI’s back catalogue – namely the first time he performed tracks from All Over The Place live – was huge production value, highly stylised artistic direction, set design, screen content and choreography curated by Black Skull Creative’s Dan Shipton, Ross Nicholson, Jay Revell and Paul Gardner. “There were a number of practical constraints which helped drive the design,” the design collective said, explaining how the show was split into four sections. “We wanted to bring the All Over The Place album cover to life.” The creative house did exactly that by starting the show with an animation, which then transported viewers into the real world as the automated LED stylised like an oversized computer opened in the middle to reveal KSI and S–X making their entrance to a chorus of “w’s” in the Moment House chat text box. “We wanted to establish in this first scene that this script had dropped us in this dreamlike narrative, which helped us define the main stage V-shaped screens. We knew what we could have practically in Garden Studios, which helped us define the areas for the other sections of the show – referencing KSI’s boxing career, reimagining a boxing ring with an LED floor, and including the boxing narrative from Anne-Marie x KSI x Digital Farm Animals’ Don’t Play music video.” Among the key looks was the reflective pyramid stage structure, which helped transport KSI underground. “The beauty of livestreams with no physical audience present is encapsulating an artist in a 360° environment without leaving spaces. While we miss audiences and can’t wait to get

back to live music with mass gatherings, knowing that this show was being viewed only through a lens allowed us to change the spaces dramatically and think differently about how it would fit together,” the designers stated, reviewing the result. ‘A BEAUTIFUL CHOREOGRAPHY OF CREW’ “We had significant time and budgetary constraints with what we wanted to achieve in the shoot; there was a heavy degree of measure about what was realistic within the parameters of the ‘new normal’. Achieving something of this size in such a tight time frame was challenging but rewarding,” Lighting Designer Matt Pitman of PixelMappers said, speaking to TPi over Zoom with Lighting Crew Chief, Adam Morris and Christie Lites Account Representative, Andy Strachan. “Andy and I worked hard on communication of what kit and crew was available.” With confirmation coming just two weeks prior to the shoot, Pitman said the lighting team would typically have set up everything required to shoot over two days as individual elements. However, logistical and budgetary confinements meant the team built something, shot it, then moved the equipment around the studio to shoot the next scene. “Andy and Adam spent a lot of time chasing me around to fulfil my overbearing requests, regardless of how difficult they were,” Pitman recalled, modestly. “A key factor to the success of previous livestream experiences has been to be one step ahead – preparation is key,” Morris said, joining the conversation. “Andy and I ensured that the infrastructure in any part of the building was able to be added or taken away, allowing us to change something quickly when required.” Truck pack, Strachan said, was vital from the outset. “Matt had numerous areas to light, which meant both versatility and quantity from his fixture selection. With Christie’s uniform custom cases, we could maximise 38


available truck space, giving Matt the opportunity to increase quantities as he saw fit to get the most out of his fantastic design.” The Christie Lites package included 62 Martin by Harman VDO Sceptron 1000mm and 320mm fixtures, 51 MAC Aura XBs, 25 Viper Profiles; 60 Chroma-Q ColorForce II 72s; 36 GLP impression X4 Bar 20s; 12 Claypaky Xtylos’; six Robe BMFL followspots and eight ARRI Sky Panels S60cs. Lighting was programmed, controlled and operated by a pair of MA Lighting grandMA2 full size lighting consoles, with MDG Fog generators and Unique Hazers providing atmospherics. Strachan pointed out the LD’s keen eye for detail. “Matt had the great idea to put ARRI Sky Panels on wheeled Manfrotto stands, which meant these were moved as required, cutting the number of fixtures required.” The production build schedule, Strachan noted, was another key component of the design’s success. “A beautiful choreography of crew was required, as multiple themed areas needed to be up and running in a specific order to maximise time,” he recalled. “Adam made sure we kept in sync with production requirements, as well as making sure Matt and PixelMappers had exactly what they needed.” The team implemented a shooting schedule to manipulate the equipment and crew around eight different shooting spaces. “Adam and I worked simultaneously on an online sheet which mimicked the shooting schedule and told Adam what we required next, what could be struck and reused in advance of arriving,” Pitman pointed out. ER Productions provided special effects and laser solutions. SFX Technicians, Joey Jackson and Ross Deeker oversaw the deployment of 26 Beam-ER fixtures and two Cryo-Fog HP/XL low smoke machines, which were utilised inside the reflective pyramid structure during KSI’s



performance of the track, Madness. Around 12m of DMX rotators were rigged high around the boxing ring for a falling snow look for Is it Really Love, while CO² jets, handheld flares and flash pots were used during the heist scene. On-site techs were armed with battery-powered P-Tiny smoke machines, deploying smoke before the cameras rolled. Blackout collaborated with Production Manager, Maggie Mouzakitis; Lighting Designer, Matt Pitman; Rigger Supervisor, John Vincent; and Rigger, Lee Hearne on the production rigging requirements, drapes and automation across all the stages in two studios. Blackout provided a selection of equipment from standard hoists and truss to black drape and specialist items such as Kinesys hoists and a beam trolley to raise and lower lighting and open and close the large LED screen, provided by Creative Technology and overseen by LED Crew Chief, Steve Grinceri and LED Technician Tomasz Gnilka. The company also deployed pipe and drape systems to create two scenic elements with bespoke drapes along with standard black drapes to create COVID-19 compliant dressing room spaces. “I believe we were the first show to use the venue, so as usual we pushed it to the max,” Blackout Director, Kevin Monks said, recalling a last-minute challenge when the team overloaded the new grid and had to install two vertical truss props in the centre of the spans in order to get the capacity required. “The venue and its contractors were really helpful so we could achieve this at such short notice. The schedule was tight, but the crews worked together above and beyond to deliver what was an incredibly ambitious show – it was a pleasure to work on thanks to the team involved.” Pitman praised Blackout’s on-site ingenuity. “Blackout was great at providing drapes for negative fill and draping off things we hadn’t factored






until arriving at the studios, finding 500m of gauze strips and cutting for me to attach to the front of the lights so they did not reflect when they weren’t on,” the LD noted. “Adam and the team spent three hours fitting the gauzes to the lights so it looked just so – those types of things almost nobody will notice apart from us, but they were super important to me.” The wider Christie Lites crew comprised Dimmer Technician, Simon Howarth and Lighting Technicians, Chris Taylor, Nathan White, Tom Comrie, Sam Jackson, Paul Emery, Dave Moorcroft and Ben McHugh. “It was a privilege to have the opportunity to work with such a talented production and creative team and such a great crew, after the horrific year we’ve all been through,” Strachan said, earnestly. “It really does bolster the reason why we all love this business!” Pitman praised Lighting Programmers, Dan Crowther and Joe Lott. “Both of them walked into the room on the first day and didn’t stop pressing buttons and making things happen,” he remarked, summing up his experience of the project. “It was no mean feat, and we were super grateful to be involved in an ambitious project with lovely people at a time that’s been really difficult for the sector.”

Procam Take 2 Projects Unit Managers, Adriano Martelli and Dan Studley were brought in to manage capture from a cine workflow, rather than using broadcast cameras. “It was shot with 35mm ARRI cameras, so it was my job to effectively integrate the cameras providing beautiful pictures into CTV OB’s truck,” Studley said. Director of Photography, Nathaniel Hill of HD Films Ltd specified four ARRI Amiras and three Alexa Minis – matched with a Angineux zoom and an Ultra Prime lens. “The ARRI cameras give us options that aren’t necessarily there with broadcast cameras both in post and live capture; working with a super 35mm chip provides a filmic look that the viewer expects to see on high quality productions with a shallower depth of field, advanced technology and a greater dynamic range which I knew would be stretched to the limit within the concert lighting. From the main stage with its large LED screen to the low light look in the van which we lit purely with practical light. Using the larger sensor is a great way to capture live music, something we wanted to push with Gold Dust Films and something the viewer expects,” Hill commented. “We shot mainly in 2:1 ratio but utilised a 1:1 ratio to help with the framing of some of the music performances, as well as filming with iOS cameras in both landscape and portrait mode – a look that online viewers and fans are accustomed to seeing, especially as a lot of recordings are now viewed on phones. There is a fantastic opportunity nowadays to stream and capture in real time, making artists concerts and music more accessible around the world than prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.” In the grip department, Procam Take 2 Projects supplied three peds and a wide lens camera on the back of a Bazooka to achieve the heist scene. Specialist suppliers supplied Jimmy Jib, a Newton Head housed on a Kinesys motor to achieve the bird’s-eye shot of the boxing ring on a wire cam, descending from the roof, as well as a wireless Steadicam. Eschewing typical livestream camera setups paid dividends, according to Studley, who said the final product looked “fantastic”. The wider camera crew comprised Camera Manager, Claire Hughes; Camera Operators, Alan Wells, Alex Dodd, Carl Veckranges and Charlie Bryan; Steadicam Operator, Curtis Dunne; Jib Operator, Marcus Leon Soon;

‘AN INCREDIBLY AMBITIOUS FEAT’ To capture the action, Procam Take 2 Projects provided a range of cameras, ancillary lenses, and equipment, while CTV OB handled connectivity, recordings, communications and direction – providing a multiview for Director, Liz Clare, affording her the ability to switch between cameras for pre-editing and communicate with the crew. “It was a good combined and hybrid effort for production technique and end product,” CTV OB Unit Manager, Martin Brown said. With his own company, Inside Broadcast, Brown provided cameras mimicking security cameras as on-stage props, which were fitted with iPhones to make them interactive. “It was a complex and adventurous shoot, cramming in a lot of work in two days, between two studios and eight different setups in two days in addition to side shoots,” he commented. “Despite the challenge, I found the experience both refreshing and fun to be a part of – I had a ball!” 40

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Jib Technician, Sam Bishop; Remote Camera Technician, James Woods; Focus Pullers, Warren Buckingham, Jeff Vine and Chris Robertson; Autocue Operator, Jeff Williams and Camera Trainee, James Trewartha. Hill praised the versatility of the crew’s expertise – from the Patience shot, in which the team harnessed a Blackout-supplied Kinesys 1 system to drop in and out, allowing the camera to get as low as below eye line and climb as high as possible to embrace its surroundings to the simpler camera techniques and static shot during the heist scene, in which everything else, other than the camera position, does all the work. “It is always an easy process when you work with people who are experts in their field and understand a collective vision,” Hill concluded. “Despite being extremely ambitious to film over two days, it was great fun and an incredibly funny show to be a part of.”

within quite a tight timeframe. There were a few late nights, but it was a wholly enjoyable experience,” Nesham said. “When it first landed on my desk with a running order of 14 tracks and six skits with effects needed in two weeks, I was a bit sceptical,” Editor, Reg Wrench began. “However, upon reflection, it was the perfect job. I was afforded creative freedom by the team to play around with various Adobe Premiere Pro and Motion Array effects and have some fun with the edit.” Wrench said the ‘hidden easter eggs’ buried within The KSI Show – only noticeable to loyal KSI fans – were half of the fun of the editing process for him. “Learning about KSI as an artist and his fanbase as I went along was a joyous experience. I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of this project – it was really good fun to work on,” he reminisced. “During the middle of the edit, I was pinged with a COVID-19 alert while at THE BASE HQ. Thankfully, with a tight turnaround, my transition to editing from home while self-isolating was seamless and didn’t affect anyone else.” For those working closest with the genre-spanning performer, the journey has been inspiring to witness his rocket ship success. “In the two short years that I’ve worked with KSI, he’s become a household name while still retaining his internet presence,” Taylor said. “His work ethic is relentless and manifests his vision with hard work and dedication.” Bennett, who’s been with KSI every step of the way as his Live Agent, added: “When he steps onto the main stage of Reading and Leeds in front of 100,000 people to perform at his first ever festival, he will finally be reaping the rewards of all the hard work and dedication that he has put in over the past 18 months. There are not many artists that go from playing a 600-cap show to 100,000.” TPi Photos: Lee Malone –

‘HIDDEN EASTER EGGS’ Red TX Sound Supervisor, Ollie Nesham was tasked with organising the record, miking the performing artists, as well as booking and ordering PA from Plus 4 Audio and freelance crew for the sound department. “The term ‘livestream’ summarises the events scene in lockdown,” Nesham remarked, speaking to TPi from a shipping container, mid-build on another project. “The fact it was a YouTube artist was apt. The KSI Show signifies a new era for hybrid events. It felt like a variety show as opposed to a generic digital music concert.” Artists shared regularly disinfected Sennheiser SKM600 handheld mics, aside from Anne-Marie and Craig David, who brought their own mics, with 22 individual mic capsules for each performer, in keeping with COVID-19 guidelines. Additional DPA 4060 microphones were hidden under the clothing of performers during skits, with most artists comfortable with IEMs on stage. Nesham collaborated with Musical Director, Kojo Samuels, who oversaw playback and rehearsals; RF Engineer, Dan Wallis; Floor Sound Assistants, Eduardo Puhl and Will Langdale; Audio Engineer, Silas Roase; Monitor Engineer, Pete McGlynn mixing on a DiGiCo SD12 console and PA Floor Assistant, Jacob Skinner. “The challenge, shooting across two studios, was having the RF coverage for IEMs and mics during the various performances and skits,” Nesham recalled, explaining how the team harnessed the capabilities of a Wisycom antenna combiner as well as a Sennheiser RF system to overcome this, sometimes relying on a trusty boom pole with a radio mic to capture atmospherics. Music was then sent to Cameron Gower Poole to mix, while Nesham mixed the skits, received Poole’s tracks and mastered it to sound like one continuous show. “Quite a lot of sound design was done by [Director] Liz Clare and [Editor] Reg Wrench during the audio dub. However, I changed some pieces from mixing mics to sound design across the skits 42





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ONLY HELIX Following the announcement of the company’s new touring visa services, OH Visas, Only Helix tells TPi’s Stew Hume about its new artist management division and visa arm, launched with specific expertise for the live music and entertainment industries.

It’s become a recurring trend in our industry for companies to use this forced hiatus in live events as a chance to look into new markets and how they might be able to better serve the music industry when it is back to full health. Take Only Helix for example. Founded in 2018 by Steven Down and Tom Nicol, the duo’s joint business began after they saw a space in the market to aid artist managers by securing the right people with the right skills for their acts’ live productions, as well as taking care of advancing and touring budgets. Since then, the pair have developed a reputation for creating seamless live shows and tours as OH Production for the likes of Years and Years, Fontaines D.C. and Bombay Bicycle Club to a name a few, and recently expanded to offer their own brand of artist career guidance, OH Management, as well as new specialist visa services in OH Visas. Aimed at taking the headache out of time-consuming travel admin by offering comprehensive and efficient solutions for certified travel, and with data security at the forefront of its offering, OH Visas handles the entire visa process from start to finish, covering applications, appointments and

embassy visits. Learning from previous challenges faced as a result of the intricacies found within the touring industry , OH Visas hopes to streamline the end-to-end process down to one universal form. As part of this service, passport and ATA carnet advice and support will also be included. Headed up by seasoned travel pro Ben Young, who has extensive visa agency experience and brings a wealth of experience to the role, OH Visas is led by proven industry expertise. “Both Tom and Steven had been clients of my previous company and we already had a great working relationship,” began Young. “This forced hiatus for the music industry has really given us the time to dig into the processes involved in facilitating travel for artists. Up until now, a lot of the admin involved in obtaining information needed for visas has been done by ‘any means necessary’, with personal information being exchanged via WhatsApp chats or long email chains.” Young compared this rather haphazard method to other industries, where dealing with personal data is much more streamlined and organised, not to mention more secure. “The premise of this branch of Only Helix 44


Only Helix’s Ben Young, Tom Nicol and Steven Down.

is to provide the music industry with a safe and secure platform for tour music industry, this new branch presents an opportunity to move into and production managers to take the pressure of that admin off their other markets, such as entertainment and sports, which also put on largeshoulders.” scale events and where knowledge can be transferred.” With the company’s unique USP, it began to develop where traditional Nicol also outlined the third arrow in the business that has also seen visa companies remained unable to help. With its own dedicated website, major development in lockdown, OH Management. “When our industry OH Visas is already accepting an influx of requests entered this hiatus in March 2020, we realised from interested parties, as Young explained how a that our eggs were very much in one basket,” he number of existing Only Helix clients had been very explained. “We’d always aspired to branch out, but responsive to the new offering. COVID-19 fast-forwarded everything. In the early With the ever-increasing complexity of Brexit to months, we worked on a lot of livestreaming events navigate for touring personnel, there’s no doubt the for our clients, but we also started to develop a team will be receiving further enquiries as admin is management arm to the business.” likely to see a sharp increase moving forward. From its geographical spread across London, Young commented: “There’s a lack of New York and LA, the fast-growing management transparency when it comes to artists touring division has quickly established a network of the EU post Brexit. The correct information is individuals and is able to provide artists, producers somewhat difficult to find. It’s best to check with us and songwriters. The varied and exciting new roster before you travel, as we can provide full guidance includes Yinyang, Sir Was and Skinny Pelembe as on the entry requirements for each EU territory. well as new talent Second Thoughts and Freak Slug. “There has been a huge amount of negative “In total, with have four people on the “We’d always aspired to press on the impact of Brexit on the UK touring management team and we are in the process of music industry. We want to reassure artists and growing this side of the business in the near future,” branch out, but COVID-19 their management that touring the EU is still viable. stated Nicol. fast-forwarded everything. In With its three-pronged business model, the Further, we want to work with emerging artists and help them gain that international status by touring the early months, we worked Only Helix team is optimistic about the future the EU, so they are able to produce evidence to and is set to provide the industry with even more on a lot of livestreaming satisfy a US petition in the future, by using our costopportunity for up-and-coming artists and crew. effective visa services long term, which is a direct “Like most of the industry, we’re in somewhat of a events for our clients, but benefit of the system we have put in place.” holding pattern, but as soon as things start moving, we also started to develop With OH Visas now fully operational, Down gave we’ll be ready,” closed Nicol. a broader overview of how the company is moving TPi a management arm to the forward. “The visa side of the business, overseen Photos: Only Helix business.” by Ben, is now its own limited company,” he began. “As much as our focus has always been within the Steven Down, Founder 45


SENNHEISER EVOLUTION WIRELESS DIGITAL (EW-D) Sennheiser Head of Music Industry Portfolio, Dr. Oliver Schmitz highlights the benefits and cost-effective nature of the Evolution Wireless Digital (EW-D)

What was the goal in the development of Evolution Wireless Digital? The initial goal was to develop a product that would be capable of carrying over the strong product line of EW-D into a new decade. We are currently in a time when criteria such as user experience design and smart connectivity matter just as much as the classical performance criteria like RF reliability and pristine audio.

device connectivity. There is demand for ‘an engineer in the pocket’ – someone taking care of the technical stuff in the background while the user can concentrate on their performance or other important tasks. The automated multichannel setup and the support hub sections in the app were born from this demand. What does offering the highest input dynamic range of any other system mean for end users? For the artist, EW-D makes sure that his or her performance is captured in the best way possible. For the engineer, it takes away the pain of potentially running into the need for entering the stage during a performance in order to adjust the sensitivity in real-time. There is no other product on the market at this price point that offers the input dynamic range of EW-D.

What features will professional audio engineers find appealing? Professional audio engineers will love the fact that they are getting rocksolid digital wireless in the UHF spectrum for the first time at an affordable price point. The product comes with the ability to set up multiple wireless channels in a few minutes via the automatic frequency setup of the Smart Assist App, an audio input dynamic range of 134dB, five times more than the usual 120dB, low latency of 1.9 milliseconds and a transmitter battery life of up to 12 hours with a rechargeable battery pack, just to name a few features. While the channel count is always dependent on the environment you’re in, EW-D can theoretically allow up to 90 channels based on how efficiently the system can operate it's equidistant channel spacing.

How important is it for you to bridge the gap between professional engineers and prosumers? More than two decades ago, Evolution Wireless made sure we gained a foothold outside of the very professional live performance and broadcast market. We learned how important it is to attract our end users already very early in their journey, to grow with them, and to be their companion and their trusted partner as they advance. That goes back to the idea of ‘evolving with you’ and EW-D.

How does the Smart Assist App benefit end users? We decided to get rid of infrared as a configuration interface and replace it with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), providing us with the required smart 46


Below: Dr. Oliver Schmitz.

How does EW-D compare to existing wireless offerings? EW-D marks our mid-tier range of wireless microphones with XS Wireless sitting below and our Digital 6000 series as the high-end range. Analogue ew G4 is still a part of our active portfolio, so both series, ew G4 and EW-D, co-exist. This is simply because with ew G4, we have delivered state-of-the-art analogue wireless solutions, and there are hundreds of thousands of satisfied evolution wireless users globally. Consequently, to give those users the chance to further extend their existing setups, the products will continue to co-exist for the foreseeable future. However, we anticipate our customers will likely make the change to digital for the benefits offered by digital workflows and digital technologies. What has the response been like? The feedback we’ve received so far has been overwhelming. This product has spent countless hours being field-tested with engineers, performers and artists long before it hit the market in June. All of them were impressed with the build quality, the performance EW-D delivers as well as the simplicity it offers in terms of setup and running. For me as a product manager, this kind of feedback warms my heart and makes me truly excited about EW-D entering the market and making our customers' lives easier. TPi Photos: Sennheiser



KLANG:TECHNOLOGIES’ MARKUS PESCH AND PHIL KAMP TPi’s Stew Hume speaks to the KLANG duo about the future of immersive and spatial audio for personal in-ear mixing and how the company is helping to aid the live environment as live gigs return.

Over the past decade, the on-stage environment has seen a radical change as more and more musicians have traded wedges and side fills for in-ear monitoring systems – and according to the team at KLANG:technologies, the story doesn’t end there. For the past six years, the company has been pushing the agenda that stereo in-ear mixes are limiting for the artist, and there is a much more elegant solution that creates a more realistic audio environment for musicians on stage. “When we first came into the market, we spent several years explaining to people the benefits of immersive mixes for in-ear monitors,” began Phil

Kamp, Head of Sales. “Thankfully in the past four years or so, most of the industry have begun to understand the advantage of immersive mixes – especially with the immersive processors from some of the big speaker manufacturers, and how the use of these technologies can drastically improve the audience experience.” As Kamp rightly points out, we are programed to hear in ‘immersive’. When we hear a noise, we can tell where it has come from, and our brain intuitively evaluates the priority within all sensory inputs. KLANG’s mission has always been to recreate this for an artist’s in-ear mix so there is a seamless transition from an acoustic 48


Opposite: KLANG:technologies’ Markus Pesch and Phil Kamp.

environment to that of a full IEM stage set up. Like the entire industry, with live events being put on hold, the company had to regroup and decide on a plan to see out these trying times. KLANG’s decision was to investigate various training and webinar projects to keep in contact with its client base throughout the pandemic. “We always try to make the best out of any situation,” commented Markus Pesch, Account and Online Marketing Manager. “This is why we put a lot of energy into our educational webinars and ensured we follow up with all those who tuned in – something we don’t normally have time to do in normal times.” Kamp added: “It certainty allowed us to reach more potential clients than we ever

would in a given year.” Behind the scenes, the R&D department was still working full steam ahead to continue to work on the company’s next generation of products, all of which aim to put greater control in the hands of the musician. The result, the KLANG:kontroller. Officially launched at this year’s NAMM online event, the Kontroller delivers fast tactile user control of channels, groups, and immersive mixing via an intuitive interface. “The Kontroller gives musicians and artists the same experience and control as an engineer has with our system, however it is specially designed for their specific needs and workflows,” outlined Kamp. The Kontroller



effectively allows each musician to be in control of their own mix, enabling themselves to be more than roadworthy,” stated Kamp. them to alter the levels of each of the active channels while the KLANG One final development that KLANG has made during this precarious system under the bonnet ensures the integrity of time in the industry is seeing how its technology the entire mix and avoids having musicians extend and knowledge could also find a home in new over the maximum SPL that may be harmful. sectors. “We’ve had a number of clients use KLANG “We’ve had a number Another interesting feature of the control units are processors for livestreams to give the at-home of clients use KLANG two ambient microphones. These binaural mics audience an immersive audio experience,” stated are able to pick up ambient noise, meaning that Kamp. “Although they are watching from afar, the processors for livestreams musicians can talk to one another onstage without effect these mixes have on the audience is that they to give the at-home having to take out their IEMs as well as enjoy a feel more part of the performance. Visuals are always natural stage sound. important, but the most direct way to engage with an audience an immersive Both Kamp and Pesch were keen to point audience is through audio and therefore KLANG has audio experience. Although a lot of advantages for this world.” out the benefit of now being part of the wider Audiotonix family when it came to developing a they are watching from afar, With this in his mind, Kamp believes that this new product such as this and being able to rely on spike in streaming is not going away. “I don’t see why the effect these mixes have years of R&D for the components that work well and it won’t be sticking around. If you’re able to sell more are durable enough to stand up to the live events on the audience is that they tickets, why wouldn’t you look at this option?” environment. “For example, the mute button on TPi feel more part of the show.” Photo: KLANG:technologies the control is exactly the same as the mute button on most DiGiCo SD consoles, which have proven Phil Kamp, KLANG: technologies 50

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Opposite: Tappit CEO, Jason Thomas

TAPPIT: SUPPORTING A SAFE RETURN TO LIVE EVENTS Tappit CEO, Jason Thomas explains how the firm is set up to provide an integrated solution which ensures concertgoers and staff can provide a COVID-19 secure status using emerging technologies.

From showing proof of a negative COVID-19 test to vaccination passports, live events organisers are considering what COVID-19 secure measures should be taken when allowing revellers back after a lengthy exile. According to Tappit CEO, Jason Thomas, as the sector returns to full strength, organisers must ensure that the health and safety of fans and staff are at the forefront of their minds by utilising emerging technologies. As providers of cashless solutions, including RFID wristbands for payment and entry to venues, white label mobile pay and standalone web wallets, Tappit suddenly saw demand and interest in its products accelerate amid the COVID-19 pandemic – especially in the US, where some events continued despite large parts of the world entering into lockdown. “We are seeing a huge move to cashless solutions,” Thomas began. “People want to find ways to speed up transactions and are understanding that they need to make their events more profitable than ever, and keep their fans engaged and loyal throughout.” Thomas believes the lack of live events with in-person audiences in Europe has had an impact on business, however, as a global company, Tappit has experienced significant growth in territories with an alternative approach to handling the pandemic, such as the Middle East, Australia, New Zealand and North America. “We just can’t wait for the events industry to come back properly,” he remarked. Tappit recently collaborated with NFL, NBA and MLB teams, which have been harnessing its white-label mobile wallet this season. “Organisations realised during the pandemic that without fans in the venue, they had a lack of true data to effectively communicate with their consumers,” Thomas reported. “We’re seeing incredible results for our clients around increased

spend per head and, most importantly, we’re delighted that the level of data that our clients are able to access is helping them increase fan engagement, drive revenues and enhance the opportunities for sponsors.” With much of the sector clamouring to get back to live events with unrestricted numbers on in-person audiences, many fear that the pent-up demand may be outweighed by the tension around the level of reassurance required for revellers to feel comfortable, safe and immersed in the experience. Thomas, however, is confident of the sector’s bounce back to full strength in the not-too-distant future. “I’m optimistic that if the right approach is taken, live events will be back faster than we think.” Tappit’s cashless payment solutions are built around easy-to-use yet incredibly secure QR codes. These same principles, Thomas said, can be applied to COVID-19 passports if live events organisers wish to do so. “Everyone has a different approach to testing, checking and protecting their citizens, staff and fans. As our technology integrates seamlessly with pre-existing systems, we are confident that we can work with any partner or provide a complementary solution to ensure fans and staff have a seamless and secure experience around proving COVID-19 status, regardless of our client or a country’s approach.” Looking to the future, Thomas concluded: “We’ve got an incredibly exciting few months and are due to make some major announcements with festivals and sporting events and teams worldwide. Like the rest of the events industry – and as fans ourselves – we can’t wait to get back to live.” TPi Photos: Tappit 53


LOOKING TO THE FUTURE Dave Keighley, Production Services Association Interim General Manager and Chairman, gives his thoughts on the easing of restrictions and what it could mean for the live events sector.

Here we are in the middle of a British summer, and we can go to festivals and shows again! That means work for many of us who haven’t done a gig in over 16 months. Hopefully this means that the live events world and concert touring will start to get back to normal and people can get back to the work they love. There are still going to be issues moving forward – especially with touring in the EU, with visa, work permit, and then there’s the wonderful world of ‘cabotage’. The good news is that PSA members are getting back to work after such a long and torturous wait. Despite the uncertain times, it is my sincere hope we can get back to some sense of normality. I know how much joy attending concerts and festivals brings to people and the quicker we get back to concerts, festivals and social gatherings with our friends and colleagues, the better. Technology has changed during the pandemic as artists chose the only option they had, which was to go online and stream. This was never going to replace being in front of a live audience, but it was certainly better than nothing. It will be interesting to see what happens next with this medium in the coming months. It was also interesting to hear that The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No.3) Regulations 2020 have been updated and will be law until 27 September. This means that local authorities still have the power to cancel non COVID-19 secure events in England. The live event industry has called the last-minute changes unfair – especially as we have been asking for guidance for months, along with requesting a governmentbacked insurance policy to be in place. I would urge organisers to engage early with their local authorities and to understand what guidance they are working to. Let’s hope there are no last-minute cancellations and the shows can go on. On the subject of engaging with the government, I thought it would be a good time to highlight one of the biggest incentives that the PSA has been involved in for the past few months; the fact that we are one of the founding members of LIVE. As I’m sure most readers of TPi will be aware, LIVE is an umbrella association including artist managers, agents, promoters, venues, and festival organisers. Collectively, we represent productions, production companies, freelance technicians, and crew. The PSA, along with the other members, meet regularly and have various sub-groups working on specific issues. Seeing our industry working together with the aim of helping everyone involved is one of the great things to have come out of COVID-19. We have regular meetings with government departments, ministers and their civil

servants, along with Arts Council England. So, onward into the depths of summer and I hope you all have a chance to see and hear live music after such a long silence. TPi 54


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Absen unveils a brand new experiential showroom at its European HQ; ACT Entertainment Senior Vice President of Sales, David Johnson; Yannick Danguy, Vincent Palese, Frédéric Fochesato, Alain-René Lantelme, Dennis Bruynseels and Jérôme Bréhard; Fourier Audio Founders, Peter Bridgman, Gareth Owen and Henry Harrod.

Absen has begun welcoming visitors to its European HQ and showroom, located in Mörfelden-Walldorf near Frankfurt Rhine-Main, Germany. Key products featured in the showroom include Acclaim, Absenicon 3.0, and N Plus Series. For those who are not able to travel just yet, Absen has also created a professional 360° virtual visit of its new showroom. ACT Entertainment has appointed David Johnson as Senior Vice President of Sales. “I’m beyond thrilled to be joining the team at ACT Entertainment,” he commented. “During my years at LDI, I straddled a lot of worlds: lighting, audio, projection and staging. I developed close and lasting relationships with top designers and critical thinkers. I managed a very diverse group of talented individuals across multiple departments. That experience will serve me well in this new role.” Follow-Me has welcomed Axente as its sole distributor for France. Follow-Me Co-Founders, Gary Yates and Erik Berends said: “We see Axente as the perfect partner for supporting Follow-Me products towards our growing client base in France. It is a great step to expand our network with this partnership, becoming our 12th partner worldwide.” Multi-Olivier award-winning sound designer, Gareth Owen, acoustical engineering postgraduate student at the University of Southampton, Henry Harrod, and lighting designer and software engineer, Peter Bridgman have established Fourier Audio with the help of the Future Worlds Founders Cohort. “Fourier Audio is reinventing the tools used by sound designers on live productions, enabling them to create amazing new sonic worlds

and revolutionise the audience’s listening experience,” Harrod said. “Our technology will bring studio-grade, immersive audio to live audiences for the first time.” Fulcrum Acoustic has appointed Ligra DS as its distributor for Italy. “Like Fulcrum Acoustic, Ligra is a rapidly growing company,” said Ligra DS CEO, Gianluigi Cravedi. “Fulcrum’s unique blend of technology and performance provides the type of solutions that we were seeking.” Fulcrum Acoustic President, Stephen Siegel added: “Over the past year, we have made progress expanding our distribution in Europe. Ligra is the perfect partner for us in Italy. We know their energetic and capable team will represent us well and deliver top-quality solutions to their customers.” Thomas Häger has joined Live, Entertainment and Technology Convention (LEaT con) as a Global Sales Representative. “We are happy to welcome Thomas into the LEaT con team. He brings broad experience of trade fair business and an international network to the table,” commented Ebner Media Group Managing Director of Unit Professional Technology and Live Communication, Marcel Court. LEaT con will take place from 26 to 28 October 2021 at Hamburg fair halls. “The fact that we could excite Thomas with LEaT as our new project proves that we planned the right concept, to give the entire entertainment technology industry a future-oriented home in the event calendar. It also shows we believe in LEaT 100%,” added Courth. Main Light has welcomed the appointment of Dave Pretz as Asset 55 • +44 208 986 5002


Ligra DS CEO, Gianluigi Cravedi; LEaT con Global Sales Representative, Thomas Häger; Main Light Asset Manager, Dave Pretz; Singapore’s ALVO Technology; Vietnam’s Duc Proaudio Technology; China’s Guangzhou Guidance; Thailand’s ProPlugin.

Manager. “Dave brings in-depth knowledge on how production shops source the gear they need through sub-rentals and how to assess what technology should be acquired. This will allow Main Light, as a dry hire rental operation, to continue to build upon our successful business model,” Main Light General Manager, Randy Mullican said. Optimal Audio, part of Focusrite Group, has established a partnership with four new distributors in China, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam. Guangzhou Guidance will distribute the brand in China; Bangkok-based ProPlugin will distribute in Thailand; ALVO Technology has been appointed as distributor for Singapore; and Duc Proaudio Technology of Ho Chi Minh City will handle distribution for Vietnam. Optimal Audio APAC Sales & Support, David McKinney commented: “We’re confident that our fresh and innovative approach to the sector, combined with the experience and excellent networks of our new partners, will quickly establish Optimal Audio as a leading brand in the APAC region.” Optocore has appointed Márton ‘Marci’ Sós as its new Technical Support Engineer. The new recruit will take up the same role with sister company BroaMan. “I met Optocore’s former support team a short time ago and was impressed with their immense level of knowledge, so I know I have big shoes to fill,” Sós said. “The Optocore philosophy and mindset is similar to mine in that the company builds future-proof systems designed to last

for many years with minimum maintenance.” PK SOUND has entered into a professional partnership with FM Systems. PK SOUND Chief Operating Officer, Arlen Cormack said: “FM Systems has decades of expertise among its staff, along with an enviable network of engineers, technicians, and other industry professionals. Together, we can leverage our strengths and lay our groundwork for the industry’s resurgence. Bradford-based Pro Audio Systems has recruited Peter Butler and Callum Hall to the posts of Business Development Director and Audio Sales. Butler joins as Business Development Director in a role dedicated to improving efficiency and profitability, identifying new opportunities in the marketplace, and addressing additions to the company’s portfolio. Hall’s role as a first point of contact for customers will see him deal with the full remit of Pro Audio’s sales operation, from quoting to purchasing and shipping. Pro Audio Systems Managing Director, Brian Lumb commented: “We’re very pleased to have added Peter and Callum to the team. Both of them share our love of audio and dedication to the highest standards of customer service.” Holdan, part of the Midwich Group, is set to distribute Roland products in the UK and Ireland. “We’re extremely proud to represent such a prestigious brand. Roland’s portfolio is perfectly positioned to meet users’ 56 • +44 208 986 5002


FM Systems CEO, Marlin Jones and PK SOUND CEO, Jeremy Bridge with PK Sound COO, Arlen Cormack; Pro Audio Systems Business Development Director, Peter Butler; Pro Audio Systems Audio Sales, Callum Hall; Holdan Managing Director, Allan Leonhardsen; SSE Audio Live Productions establishes a dedicated technical team.

TEAM. Spendlove Group Founder and CEO, Ian Spendlove said: “THE Production TEAM can source the skill sets you need, onboard contractors and facilitate all the paperwork and red tape that surrounds their appointment, leaving our clients to get on with running their businesses.” THE Production TEAM has placed several candidates at Expo 2020 across various disciplines. It is also currently recruiting for numerous positions within show production, operations, logistics, project management, technical production and creative. Vectorworks has opened the doors to a new corporate office in Australia. Former OzCAD Manager, Annabel Carr, will serve as Director of Australian Technical Operations. “Advancing our existing presence in Australia by opening a new office will allow us to better serve our growing customer base in the Asia-Pacific and beyond,” said Vectorworks CEO, Biplab Sarkar. TPi

needs, especially now that adapting to new challenges has become an everyday task,” Holdan Managing Director, Allan Leonhardsen said. “Roland understands users’ needs in real-world conditions, and we know that users of traditional video products, who have adapted their presentations to new platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams will find their product offering very compelling.” SSE Audio and UK partner brands Wigwam, Capital Sound and BCS Audio have set up a dedicated technical team to ensure industry leading delivery across Live Production projects. Heading up the four-strong team is Nick Lythgoe who has over 35 years’ experience in live productions. He is joined by Keth Sujeeun in Redditch, Jon Brookes who will be based in Heywood, and Robin Conway in London (Park Royal). UK Group Director for Live Productions, Spencer Beard, said: “We’re looking to develop best practice from across the group, standardising where appropriate while maintaining the unique approach that attracts customers to our brands.” The Spendlove Group has announced the launch of THE Production


UK BASED TOURING TECHNICIAN ER Productions is an innovative laser and SFX specialist providing cutting edge laser and special effects products to some of the most iconic shows on Planet Earth. We are looking for Touring Technician to join the UK team based in Dartford. We are a fast paced, energetic and exciting place to work. The candidate will need to be friendly, adaptable and fit into the culture of ER.


EXPERIENCE REQUIRED 3 years experience in live / touring events Laser and SFX experience preferred p Must have an understanding of DMX and lighting control systems Must have an understanding of site power and distribution Computer Network set up and IP configurations Must have a basic understanding of lighting desks KEY RESPONSIBILITIES Prepare equipment for rental Laser and SFX Programming and Design P Lasser and SFX operating You will be expected to tour and must be available to travel at short notice Repair equipment and fault finding down to board level Cable repair and maintenance Must be able to solder Climbing and focusing laser and SFX equipment We offer a competitive salary which is negotiable based on experience, overtime, generous holidays, pension scheme, Bupa health care, and a mobile



MASSIMO PIZZOCRI Epson Europe Vice President of Video Projector Sales & Marketing Division, Massimo Pizzocri discusses his new role, the impact of COVID-19 and looks forward to the future…

How is Epson tackling climate change? Back in 2008, our global president set a target of reducing CO² emissions by 90% across the lifecycle of all products and services by 2050. Over a decade later, Epson has increased its commitment, with a goal to become carbon negative and underground resource-free by 2050 and plans to spend 100 billion YEN on decarbonisation over the next 10 years. In October 2020, we were awarded a ‘Platinum’ rating for CSR by independent assessors EcoVadis, placing us in the top 1% of technology companies for sustainability, demonstrating Epson’s global commitment to align with positive change. In Europe, Epson has formed a dedicated CSR and sustainability team to focus on ensuring compliance of our sustainability practices, and our European Sustainability Report (Green Choice Report) highlights our regional progress towards addressing this.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted you, personally and professionally? I live in Lodi, Italy, which is where the first COVID-19 case in Europe was discovered. I was already a volunteer for the Red Cross in my spare time, working as an evening ambulance driver for the past 20 years. While the pandemic made me question whether I should stay home, I made the choice to continue to drive the ambulance and still do today. Professionally speaking, everyone has become so used to doing things a certain way, but the pandemic has taught us that we must be open to change. I’ve learnt that I can effectively communicate and work remotely, but nothing beats in-person!

How did you start out in AV? In my 21 years at Epson, I’ve covered many roles – each with at least some element of projection. In my position as Vice President for the Video Projector Sales and Marketing Division, I’ll be able to continue my passion for AV, taking care of our customers and staff while bringing my own values and experiences to the role. AV has always helped people to connect and communicate, but Epson’s video projector technology has the potential to improve how we enjoy life – whether that’s via immersive experiences, in a lecture theatre, or at live events.

What’s next for Epson? In the short term, we’ve just signed up to ISE in Barcelona in February 2022, where we will showcase our latest video projector range. This globally recognised AV event has always been a great platform for Epson to engage with the industry and we’re keen to catch up with customers and other key players. We cannot afford to sit back and relax and that’s why we strive for continuous improvement – ensuring that when our products come onto the market, they are the products our customers want. 58

Profile for Mondiale Media

TPi August 2021 - #264  

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