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JEAN-MICHEL JARRE Welcome to the Other Side

REMOTE SHOW PRODUCTIONS • FLASHPOINT SEASON 2 • BALDO VERDÚ AT MILKIT STUDIO ARENA GROUP • AVOLITES: DIAMOND 9 • DRPG GROUP • RISE SPOTLIGHT • EDEN PROJECT

FEBRUARY 2021 #258


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EDITOR’S LETTER

D8plus Ultra 250 - 2 000kg Lessons learned and new trends implemented… One of the inevitable by-products of lockdown number three in the UK has been the weekly Zoom chats. During these conversations concerned family and friends have repeatedly asked me, “So, what’s the deal with live events?” Well, where do you begin? In-person events seem so far off, summer festivals are still up in the air, and although there are some interesting tests and socially distanced projects in the pipeline – there’s still the topic of Brexit to contend with. After a five minute rant on the aforementioned points, I approached the subject of live events in the digital realm and what this could mean for the music industry moving forward. Sadly, by then, I could see everyone’s eyes beginning to glaze over, at which point, I brought the impromptu lecture to an end. Alas, the changing nature of live events is something to consider. Take our front cover story, for example. It is the second VR concert to take the prime spot in the past 10 issues of TPi. This show – JeanMichel Jarre: Welcome to the Other Side – was watched by a collective audience of 75 million people [p18]. The days of considering virtual shows as a stopgap until the return to normality are over, as the wider world begins to understand the power of hybrid performances. This was the subject of the latest RISE Spotlight event hosted by Integrated Systems Europe (ISE). TPi was asked to moderate a few panels for the event and it was great to hear about the trends and start-ups that, in the past few months, have been born out of innovation. You can read more about this on page 8. Also in this issue, we take a deep dive into one of last year’s most exciting projects for which Remote Show Productions pulled off the unthinkable; a streamed performance in Bottrop, Germany, where lighting cues were operated from Munich and Frankfurt. Meanwhile, the video director was based in Vienna and audio was mastered live from New York. As well as being a frankly impressive feat, thanks to Riedel Communication’s networking, this project demonstrates how future productions might require less on-site crew, which could aid everything from social distancing to making future touring more environmentally friendly [p22]. While we all hope 2021 will see us moving closer to the live music events of our not so distant past, with so many companies and creatives embracing this situation, virtual trends are being made into viable business measures - and it feels as though we have reached a welcome turning point. Granted, all of these developments are going to take time. So, when the inevitable question is raised during my next Zoom call, I think I might just brush it off with a shrug. Soon enough everyone will be aware of these new trends and they will become part of how we experience live entertainment. In the same way streaming music on Spotify is ubiquitous with our daily life, perhaps tuning into a virtual gig will become the norm, rather than the pursuit of music-starved enthusiasts like us at TPi. Until next time, Stew Hume Editor

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EDITOR Stew Hume Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8385 Mobile: +44 (0)7702 054344 e-mail: s.hume@mondiale.co.uk

ASSISTANT EDITOR Jacob Waite Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8352 Mobile: +44 (0)7592 679612 e-mail: j.waite@mondiale.co.uk

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CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Peter Iantorno Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7763 233637 e-mail: p.iantorno@mondiale.co.uk

ACCOUNTS Lynette Levi / Sarah Miller: ar@mondiale.co.uk

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COVER Jean-Michel Jarre’s Welcome to the Other Side by Vincent Masson

COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR Hannah Eakins Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7760 485230 e-mail: h.eakins@mondiale.co.uk CHIEF EXECUTIVE Justin Gawne Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7768 850767 e-mail: j.gawne@mondiale.co.uk GRAPHIC DESIGN & PRODUCTION Dan Seaton: d.seaton@mondiale.co.uk Mel Capper: m.capper@mondiale.co.uk

MONDIALE GROUP CHAIRMAN Damian Walsh

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PRINTED BY Buxton Press • www.buxpress.co.uk Issue 258 – February 2021 Annual subscriptions (including P&P): £42 (UK), £60 (Europe), £78/$125 (RoW). Subscription enquiries to: Subscriptions, Mondiale Media Limited, Strawberry Studios, Watson Square, Stockport, SK1 3AZ, UK. Tel: +44 (0)161 476 5580 Fax: +44 (0)161 476 0456 e-mail: subscriptions@mondiale.co.uk www.tpimagazine.com • www.tpiawards.com

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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ITINERARY

EVENT FOCUS

10

08

ISE RISE Spotlight Discover how live events pivoted in 2020.

10

Baldo Verdú London-based creative explores the limits of XR performance at milkit studio.

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Christmas at the Eden Project GLX Productions brings much-needed festive cheer to the eco-visitor attraction.

17

Summer Sounds Festival 2021 Novatech deploys L-Acoustics for Adelaide festivalgoers in ‘party pods’.

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Jean-Michel Jarre Electro-pioneer produces a virtual show to welcome the new year in Paris.

PRODUCTION PROFILE 22

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Remote Show Productions Live events experts present the world’s first decentralised live event. Flashpoint Season 2 The esports competition takes up temporary residency in Twickenham.

PRODUCTION FUTURES 38

Cedric Duré Aspiring show designer is among those developing their skillsets in lockdown.

INTERVIEW

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Arena Group CEO, Paul Berger describes how Arena has diversified its target markets.

IN PROFILE 42

DRPG Group The firm prove why upskilling is key to weathering the storm of COVID-19.

GEAR HEADS 44

22

Avolites Diamond 9 Stew visits the company’s London HQ to learn all about a new flagship console.

PSA: THE BIGGER PICTURE 48

PSA’s Andy Lenthall assesses the gradual re-opening of live events with audiences.

FUTURE INSIGHTS 50

The latest product and software releases.

INDUSTRY APPOINTMENTS 53

30

The latest movers and shakers.

BACK CHAT 58

Video Director, Phil Woodhead, takes the hot seat.

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EVENT FOCUS

RISE SPOTLIGHT: LIVE EVENTS EXPERIENCES, REIMAGINED TPi’s Stew Hume hosts a panel discussing live events in the digital realm at Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) RISE Spotlight.

a way of producing innovative, high-quality streamed concerts. Starting with Laura Marling’s Union Chapel performance [see TPi edition #251], since then, the company has gone from to strength to strength, putting on shows for the likes of Nick Cave, Biffy Clyro and Niall Horan – which Salmon used as proof that there is a future for this style of performance. Emma Bull, who held the title of Lighting and Show Designer for Horan’s Royal Albert Hall performance, spoke of how this developing format opened so many more creative opportunities than a traditional filming of a live show. As well as an in-depth chat about the possibilities of streamed performances, Collings discussed how his Lost Horizons event, which took place last summer, created an entire virtual festival experience within the Sensar platform. Devised by the same creative team responsible for Glastonbury’s legendary Shangri-La, Collings explained the importance of replicating the vibe of an in-person festival experience and how this translated to the platform. Following the roundtable, TPi grabbed some time with Production Manager, Wob Roberts. During the interview, the PM provided an insight into how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the global touring community and how he has been spending his time during lockdown – specifically helping form the Touring Production Group (TPG). A collection of industry experts, the TPG has spent a great deal of time creating COVID-19 compliant safety show guidelines and evaluating how the events industry can be better equipped to handle working conditions. With the TPi section of the event coming to a close, the event then split off into two separate panel conversations. The first saw Matthew Thompson of AV Team UK and Sean Wargo of AVIXA discuss how AV companies in live events have responded to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and what long-term changes the industry should expect. Women in Live Music CEO, Malle Kaas discussed the issue of Diversity Backstage. Bringing together fellow members from the organisation, Alanna Pepin-Danissen and Sana Romanos, the collective examined some of the issues they and colleagues experience in a sector that is historically male-centric. The panel also presented a change to present findings from its recent report, Pregnancy and Motherhood in the Live Music Industry, which uncovered how women relate to and experience pregnancy and motherhood combined with a career within the live music industry. ISE Managing Director, Mike Blackman gave his thoughts on the latest RISE event: “We were very pleased to work with TPi for the February episode of RISE Spotlight, tackling the subject of the digitisation of live events. As subject matter experts, TPi were very well placed to provide stimulating discussions for both the Roundtable and On the Sofa segments,” he said. “The panel, moderated by TPi’s Editor Stew Hume, had really well-chosen speakers who have created new online and virtual events during the pandemic and contributed to a fascinating discussion. On the Sofa with Wob Roberts was eye-opening as well as being thoughtprovoking as to the challenges the live events industry is facing.” He concluded: “We look forward to continuing to work with Stew and the rest of the team at Mondiale Media and are proud to once again be sponsoring the forthcoming TPi Awards.” Recordings of the sessions and supporting articles will be live on the RISE Spotlight website with the next RISE event will take place on 9 March and will focus on Smart Buildings. TPi Photo: ISE www.iseurope.org

Produced by The Next Web (TNW), the fourth edition of Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) RISE Spotlight saw a number of industry insiders gather – virtually – to get to grips with Live Events Experiences, Reinvented. With the live events sector in such a fragile and precarious condition due to the uncertain future of mass gatherings amid the COVID-19 pandemic – artists, managers and show creators are finding new ways to provide content to global audiences. As part of ISE’s latest online offering, TPi Editor, Stew Hume assembled a panel of experts to find out more. Following opening remarks from TNW, AVIXA Senior Director Market Intelligence, Sean Wargo, presented high-level data illustrating how the live events industry was hit in 2020 and what the recovery is expected to look like. Afterwards, a segment aptly titled Start Up Nations saw TheLynk Founder, Yvan Boudillet and Tom Wilson of Seedcamp, walk through the latest trends in the changing events market. Boudillet provided an overview of the recent progressions in the music industry, including artists’ greater reliance on streaming platforms – referencing Matt Heafy of Trivium adopting Twitch to engage his fans and several examples of artists transitioning into the video game sphere. Meanwhile, Wilson provided an insight into some of the tech start-ups and digital platforms enabling show creators to keep their events alive during this trying time. Next up, TPi took to the floor to bring together a roundtable of experts who have all played their part in live music’s movement online during 2020. The panel comprised ACT Management Director and Driift CEO, Ric Salmon; Show Designer and Creative Director, Emma Bull; and Co-Director of Lost Horizons, Robin Collings. Salmon described how 2020 had brought about a sizeable challenge as the team from Driift. Once events were forced to close, his team sought 08


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EVENT FOCUS

BALDO VERDÚ: PERFORMANCE FROM MILKIT STUDIO A London-based artist joins forces with milkit studio to explore the creative parameters of extended reality (XR) technology and live performance. TPi’s Stew Hume reports…

This time last year, the idea of an artist preforming on an extended reality (XR) stage would certainly be out of the norm, but with the usual method of live performance currently out of the question, artists are looking at novel ways to create visually stimulating moments for their fans across the globe. While many studios now offer this state-of-the-art technology, most are quick to explain that the solution is still in the early stages of development and a great deal of trial and error is required before it is perfected. This curiosity to play with technology is exactly what has been happening since May 2020 at a studio tucked away in a corner of North London. The brainchild of Pod Bluman of Bluman Associates, milkit studio has been established to act as, in the words of Bluman, “an XR Lab”. While Bluman Associates had already been experimenting with disguise’s xR technology long before the lockdown – most notably with Dave’s critically acclaimed performance at the BRITS last year [featured in

TPi March 2020] – it wasn’t until the then tenants of the Bluman Associates studio handed in their notice to vacate in May that the idea for a dedicated XR studio began to take shape. “We suddenly had an empty studio and we wondered what we were going to do with it,” reflected Bluman. With demand for XR technology increasing rapidly, the team opted to create its own studio space. “We were very methodical while pulling together the pieces of this space,” stated Bluman. “Filming a project using disguise xR is a completely different process to filming in a regular studio in terms of workflow and process.” So, rather than putting the studio on the commercial market, Bluman decided to bring in creatives to collaborate in the space and, over a period of four months, put on three different shoots. “The goal of these collaborations was to really understand not only how the technology works but more importantly to understand the production process in a studio like this,” he explained. Bluman was pleased to report 10


BALDO VERDÚ

that after three successful projects, the team is now re-configuring the studio space, considering everything they have learned during this time, with the goal of opening up for demos in the next few months. “The best way to explain XR as a concept is to demonstrate it,” he stated. “I try to explain it and people’s eyes start to glaze over, but when they see it in the flesh, the penny drops. My goal with the space is to make this into an XR lab, so show designers can come in here to experiment with ideas before taking it to a client on a large stage.” Among the three successful projects so far was a performance from London-based Venezuelan artist, Baldo Verdú. The key creative on the production was Henrique Ghersi, who took numerous titles for this show including, Director, Designer, Notch Lead Designer and disguise Programmer. “I took on all these roles out of necessity,” he began, walking TPi through the history of the collaboration. “It allows me to deeply understand the creative and technical possibilities, challenges and requirements of the XR process in which every creative decision – from the design and cinematography, to the action of the performer – has to be informed by the capabilities and limitations of the technology. Despite this, virtual productions do open up a whole new world of real-time possibilities and it’s a very fertile area of live productions.” In the first lockdown in March, Ghersi was involved in several virtual event projects while working from home. “One thing that came from those

early experiments was the importance of having audience interaction with the DJs and performers I was collaborating with at the time.” During this time, Ghersi experimented a great deal with Notch in the creation of virtual events. “I began looking at virtual productions and spoke to Pod about his new studio,” said Ghersi. This resulted in several months of collaboration, leading to a livestream performance from Verdú, broadcast on YouTube in September 2020. “What was fantastic about this project was the amount of time we had to work on this show, which you simply wouldn’t have on a bigger production, as well as the amazing support from Pod and the milkit team,” stated Ghersi. This was paramount as one of the main things the creative was hoping to achieve was to look at new ways of incorporating an audience during the livestream and see how they could interact with the performer. Interactivity Integrator, Kira May O’Brien worked with Ghersi to develop this workflow. “During Baldo’s performance, we had an invited audience tune in via Zoom then we took their feeds and ran them through Notch to add effects to match the virtual environment,” Ghersi said. “This was then fed into our disguise media server and inserted in the XR world, allowing the audience to become part of the show.” Baldo was able to see the audience throughout the performance not only on the rear LED but on the monitors, allowing him to visualise the audience and interact with them in real time. “After we were done, he 11


BALDO VERDÚ

Lighting Designer, Douglas Green; Project Director for Bluman Associates Pod Bluman; Director, Designer, Notch Lead Designer and disguise Programmer, Henrique Ghersi.

commented on how powerful the show was, stating that he hadn’t felt that GETTING TECHNICAL type of connection with an audience in months,” remarked Ghersi. As well Aiding Ghersi in the creation of this event was Lighting Designer, Douglas as incorporating a virtual audience, Ghersi created a narrative arc for the Green. No stranger to the world of virtual events, Green was involved in four-song set. “I find the ability to take an audience on a journey from start Javis Cocker’s JARV IS… Live from the Centre of the Earth performance, to finish so compelling. It was something I really broadcast from a cave in the Derbyshire Peaks wanted to bring over to an XR performance.” [see TPi August 2020]. “I paid Pod a visit to see the XR allowed the singer to inhabit and move studio and he explained he was collaborating with dynamically through various virtual landscapes Henrique for this project,” he reminisced. – the first of which was a stage floating on a rising Having worked with Ghersi during the We Will ocean as the sun set, which Ghersi called “the last Rock You UK Tour, Green jumped at the chance to show on earth as we know it” – in which audience collaborate again. “We were keen to explore the members were streamed onto sinking virtual IMAG role of lighting in this project,” stated Green. “My screens. From there, the landscape morphed into main role was to design both the physical lighting a brutalist black and white number, drawing to a rig as well as the one that would exist in the virtual close in an ethereal energy driven world. world and ensure they matched.” “The idea was to begin in a setting that would To achieve this, Green designed the entire seem familiar to the audience but that was running virtual rig, which was exposed to DMX and out of time to then deconstruct the environment controllable from an MA Lighting grandMA2 in different ways as the show progressed, Ghersi PC Wing. The LD explained what it was like to “Filming a project using revealed. “The narrative aimed to conceptually transition from working with a physical rig, to one mirror the changes taking place in the world today that existed within the disguise software. “Their disguise xR is a completely as well as reflect on the new possibilities for the software is just superb, and it gave us so many different process to filming in concert experience with XR. more options than you would have with a regular “As this happened, the aim was to integrate rig,” he recalled. a regular studio in terms of the audiences’ video feed onto the virtual “We were able to control the ambient lighting workflow and process” environment in more and more prominent ways, via the HDR map within the virtual world as well as such as a giant wall of moving cubes, so that the digital lighting fixtures,” he added. “On some Pod Bluman, they felt empowered and became protagonists scenes, I even had the sun connected to DMX so I Bluman Associates alongside Baldo.” could alter its height and brightness.” 12


BALDO VERDÚ

The LED screens used in the performance comprised two products: The rear wall was made up of Unilumen UpadIII 2.6mm, provided by AT Communication; meanwhile, the floor was made using Absen X2v 2.6mm provided by 4Wall UK (formally Smart AV). The backbone powering the system was made up of disguise gx 2 media servers. The camera capturing all the action was a Sony PXW-FS7 in combination with a Mo-Sys Engineering Tracking system. “We used the Mo-Sys system for the Dave performance,” interjected Bluman. “They were incredibly helpful during that show and it only made sense to bring them in for this project.” The physical lighting for the show was provided by GLP. “When Pod approached me last year about this project, I was excited about the advancements of XR technology and how GLP can enhance the image and experience, bringing lighting and video closer together,” GLP UK Sales Manager, David Stewart commented. The GLP team supported Bluman Associates by providing a flexible rig using some of the latest GLP products including the S350 LED profiles as key light, FR1 LED washes for back light, KNV for effects and experimenting in disguise, along with the versatile impression X4 bars to enhance many aspects of the performance. “It has been a great collaboration and a learning curve to support the milkit studio with this exciting technology,” Stewart reflected. “As always, GLP is keen to support creative designers as they discover the possibilities

of using both video and lighting pixels.” Alex McManus assisted Green, supplying the lighting control, while Alex Murphy handled timecode integration and Aaron Veness provided technical support. “I’ve really enjoyed venturing into the world of livestream events,” concluded Green, giving his thoughts on the current movement to online solutions to live music. “As an LD, I’m not sure where these projects will lead, but it’s certainly been exciting to find ways of capturing the live feel into filmed events.” It was a statement that was echoed by Ghersi, who is excited to see where these developments could lead in the future. “You can reach so many people with this style of performance, with geographical boarders disappearing,” he concluded. “I think the virtual gig was always going to happen, but due to the current situation, the timeline has been sped up by a number of years. There are still a lot of questions, but it’s amazing seeing the evolution and all the productions there have been since last year. I’m excited to see what comes next.” TPi Photos: Lucio Martus Instagram: @baldoverdu www.milkit.studio www.henriqueghersi.com www.douglasgreen.design 13


EVENT FOCUS

CHRISTMAS AT THE EDEN PROJECT GLX Productions deploys 300 IP65+ rated lighting fixtures to illuminate the eco-visitor attraction site.

Located in Cornwall, the Eden Project has been home to two large geometric bubble-like Biomes, aptly named ‘Rainforest’ and ‘Mediterranean’, since opening to the public in March 2001. The Rainforest Biome boasts the world’s largest indoor rainforest – spanning 50m high and 16,000 sq m, while the Mediterranean Biome houses more than 1,000 varieties of plant from that region. For the second year running, GLX Productions was tasked with the design and delivery of Biome lighting for the latest rendition of Christmas at the Eden Project. Over the course of five days, the GLX Productions team of Production Manager and Lighting Crew Chief, Glenn Gridley; Lighting Designer, Zak Nicholson; Lighting Technicians, James Coxon, Catherine Walton, Joe Bower and Embry Koehler oversaw the deployment of over 300 lighting fixtures, 3km of cable and 5km of fairy lights across the site. Checking in

with TPi following the completion of the firm’s largest lighting installation at the Eden Project to date, Gridley described how the team had to up their game – and fixture count – to bring some much-needed festive joy to the site, following a difficult 2020. “The Biome landscapes were lit by Lighting Designer, Zak Nicholson in rich colours to create a compelling world of shadows and light. The centrepiece of the Mediterranean Biome was a giant 1m mirror ball casting a blizzard of snowflake-like points of silvery light across the giant structure using GLX’s new range of CHAUVET Professional Rogue Outcast 1 fixtures, marking the first time the units have been deployed on UK soil. “The Biomes catch light really well provided you have the right positioning throughout,” Gridley explained. “Due to the Rainforest Biome’s immense height, it looks incredible when lit, but the unusual landscape 14


CHRISTMAS AT THE EDEN PROJECT

presents its own set of unique challenges.” With the heat and humidity of a real rainforest, IP65+ rated fixtures were integral to lighting the space. “Coupled with the humid environment, constant watering, birds and lizards – the equipment used had to be IP65+ convection cooled and vacuum sealed to be safe for people, animals and insects.” Gridley explained that while the Mediterranean structure picks up light easily from the floor due to the inclusion of smaller plants, in the Rainforest, the vegetation is so thick it is borderline impossible to get light from the floor to the roof. To combat this, the GLX Productions team lit locally on the floor to highlight the exotic array of foilage, with 40 LEDJ Spectra Par 7Q8, 35 LEDJ Spectra Flood 18T3 and 30 LEDJ Spectra Par 15Q8 units across the space. “We felt that the LEDJ gear we deployed last year really hit the mark, and the fact that they all survived rainforest terrain for six weeks with no wear and tear went to show that they are solid and reliable units,” Gridley exclaimed. “This year, we bought double the amount!” To highlight the intricacies of the plants from below, GLX Productions rigged additional CHAUVET Professional COLORado Panel Q40s and STRIKE 1s from the roof of the biomes. “Where the ‘pillows’ of the Biomes are clear, it means light can be seen on the inside and outside of the structure simultaneously,” Gridley remarked. Although the Mediterranean Biome required fewer measures, GLX Productions stuck to the theme of IP65+ fixtures. SGM P5s were chosen to light the three largest Washingtonia palm trees and cast blue light across the space. Inside the structure, a cliff face was lit with P5s, a pair of CHAUVET Professional Ovation fixtures and a snowflake gobo. “The remaining 140-plus LEDJ units across the Biome created the

15


CHRISTMAS AT THE EDEN PROJECT

perfect backdrop with the amber and magenta hues for the giant mirror Productions worked closely with the horticultural teams to ensure the ball suspended from the structure.” This was lit with four CHAUVET gear was carefully placed. “The end result saw an enticing trail of vivid Professional Rogue Outcast 1 Hybrid fixtures, complimentary colours which will remain in which are “pretty quiet and super punchy,” Gridley the memories of those who had the pleasure of added. “They also break away from the mirror ball visiting Eden Project before the latest lockdown at points and shine snowflake gobos on the pillows restrictions were imposed in the UK,” he reported. before coming back again to break it up a little.” “The designer, Zak Nicholson, has really made Following the first UK lockdown, the grounds the space come alive this year. The colour choices provided timed entry tickets in line with social were complimentary to the foliage and the space, distancing and health and safety guidelines. everywhere you looked were these amazing vast “Throughout the second lockdown, botanical spaces of colour. It looked stunning.” gardens had to close; this fell in the middle of our Unlike much of 2020, the project was plain load-in, which made the process much easier. sailing for the GLX team. “It’s been an interesting Usually, we load in overnight across a week, but we year to say the least. We took the plunge to focus could work during the day and evenings this year.” on outdoor lighting a few years ago so we have It was so easy in fact that the team was a day-andexpanded our arsenal of IP65+ rated equipment to “It’s been an interesting year a-half ahead of schedule. fit clients’ needs,” Gridley noted. The team wore relevant PPE on site. Instead of “Fortunately, some outdoor projects have to say the least. We took the operating in teams, it was a much more distanced been able to go ahead despite the various plunge to focus on outdoor affair, with designated areas for crew. “We used an lockdowns, so having a warehouse of IP65-rated app called Basecamp to help manage the project gear has made 2020 somewhat bearable. We have lighting a few years ago so we as a whole. The client could see the progress and lots of exciting plans on the horizon in 2021, mainly have expanded our arsenal of towards the end of the year, but we’re definitely on-site electricians could see where we needed power because they had our power plans easily looking forward to it. The Eden Project is a unique IP65+ rated equipment to fit accessible, which they could assign to their crew space. There’s nowhere else in the world like it.” clients’ needs.” to do too,” he added. “It meant contact could TPi be limited but kept the real time update of the Photos: John Taylor Photography for GLX Glenn Gridley, progress, which was cool and a nice interface. Productions Production Manager going forward, we’d use it again.” With the Eden www.edenproject.com Project home to many thousands of plants, GLX www.glxproductions.com and Lighting Crew Chief 16


EVENT FOCUS

SUMMER SOUNDS FESTIVAL 2021 Novatech rigs L-Acoustics K Series for main arrays and Syva for delays to provide even coverage to Adelaide festivalgoers enjoying live music from the comfort of ‘party pods’.

A four-week outdoor concert series offering the joy of live sound to a 2,100-capacity audience, South Australia’s Summer Sounds Festival saw 18 shows run the whole month of January, with festivalgoers safely and comfortably spaced in ‘party pods’ accommodating four to six people each. The festival celebrated Australian artists such as Bernard Fanning, Spiderbait, and Hayden James. Through the collaboration of Five Four Entertainment, Groove Events, and Secret Sounds, the festival promoters looked to Adelaide-based L-Acoustics rental network partner Novatech to provide the live sound festivalgoers have been craving since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. With fans restricted to their pods, the challenge of providing consistent, clear coverage to the whole audience area was crucial, so the Novatech team approached this festival with a precise and careful sound design. The main PA consisted of 12 K2 line array elements and eight SB28 subs per side, and four Karas for front fill hidden behind scrims. For delay, Novatech turned to its Syva collinear line source, cleverly rigged to the rear of the Party Pod, with Syva Sub tucked below. The slender but powerful Syva provided ample coverage for the pods in the back rows while ensuring clear views of the stage. The sound coverage for festival attendees was matched by the Novatech team, which provided the musicians on stage with 10 L-Acoustics X15 HIQ as fold back wedges,

accompanied by two L-Acoustics SB18 subs to shake the bottom end. Novatech Managing Director, Leko Novakovic was overwhelmed by the success of this new way of experiencing live music. “While some people were apprehensive about being ‘penned in,’ all doubts were removed after the first weekend. About 80% of the feedback we’ve heard is that this is the way all festivals should be staged from now on, COVID or not. Most people want comfort and luxury, and to be able to sit down,” he explained. “Audiences need to experience the K Series system for the first time to appreciate how great it is.” Novakovic believes that this festival was made possible thanks to the support of the South Australia authorities, especially the territory’s Health and Chief Public Health Office Professor, Nicola Spurrier, which in turn got the nod of approval by South Australia’s Premier Steven Marshall. The success of the Summer Sounds Festival demonstrates that close collaboration between promoters, providers, local authorities, and artists allows for innovative and sustainable ways to experience live music during the COVID-19 pandemic. TPi Photos: L-Acoustics www.summersoundsfestival.com www.l-acoustics.com 17


EVENT FOCUS

JEAN-MICHEL JARRE: WELCOME TO THE OTHER SIDE The city of Paris commissions electro-pioneer Jean-Michel Jarre to produce a virtual show to welcome in 2021. Viewed by 75 million people via VR headsets, TV coverage and across various social streaming platforms, TPi’s Stew Hume speaks to the creative team behind this pioneering project…

It’s a few weeks into 2021 and TPi is chatting over Zoom to a key creative involved in one of the largest-ever virtual gigs assembled, from the comfort of his home in the Scottish Highlands. Instead of merely discussing Jean-Michel Jarre’s latest pioneering stunt, Lighting and Show Designer, Jvan Morandi begins by discussing an online video game, Blitz War, which he and his friends had been playing until the early hours of the morning prior. There is a very good reason for this. According to Morandi, there is something which fellow industry peers, promoters and artists can learn from all-night gaming sessions. “When it comes to virtual shows, it’s not the amazing effects or impressive CGI that keeps an audience’s attention – it has to be engaging, otherwise you’ll switch off after 15 minutes,” he commented. “There is a

reason why my friends and I stay up for hours playing a rather rudimental 8-bit video game. It’s because we were participating in something.” Let’s backtrack for a second. Last year, instead of putting on its traditional New Year’s Eve celebration, the city of Paris commissioned Jean-Michel Jarre to create a virtual event to welcome in 2021, with viewers able to watch from the safety of their home. According to Sony Music International, the event has now garnered more than 75 million views across social media platforms including Facebook, VRC, Weibo and TikTok. The concert lasted 55 minutes and took viewers into a virtual experience with a digital replica of Notre Dame Cathedral. The performance could be viewed via a VR headset in which gig-goers were able to move around the virtual Notre Dame and interact with the surroundings. 18


JEAN-MICHEL JARRE: WELCOME TO THE OTHER SIDE

Lighting and Show Designer, Jvan Morandi.

Alternatively, viewers could tune into a live cut of the virtual show, which spliced real-time footage of the artist in his studio with an animated JMJ avatar performing within the 3D model of the Cathedral and Notre Dame. “This entire show came from the mind of Jean-Michel,” explained Morandi. “It began as an experiment, discovering how a virtual show could be more dynamic and engaging.” With COVID-19 dampening any prospect of a traditional New Year’s Eve celebration, the pressure was on for both the artist and a small team of creatives to turn this experiment into ‘the’ national celebration. Morandi was approached by Jarre in the early stages of this experiment, aware

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that the LD had already invested a great deal of time honing his skills with gaming engines. “I have been getting my head around the technology throughout 2020,” he reported. “Jean-Michel knew I was working on this and asked if I could bring the speed and efficiency of the live events industry to help develop this show so it wouldn’t just look like a video game.” Before working out how to create a show within the gaming engine, Morandi and the team went through a number of conceptual ideas, all of which he designed on Capture. Morandi joined forces with the Producer, Louis Cacciuttolo of VRrooms and 3D Animation Artist, Vincent Masson of

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JEAN-MICHEL JARRE: WELCOME TO THE OTHER SIDE

VMD. 3D Modelling and Unity Game Engine specialists, Lapo Germasi and has all hinged on finding ways of clear communication, which is not easy Victor Pukhof from Manifattura Italiana Design, alongside Unity Scripting because of often different workflow styles between show business and and Tech Supporter, Antony Vitillo were key to the creation of the show. game development,” he commented, recalling the many months it took to “The team from VRroom have a huge amount of experience when it bring the show to life. “A great deal of credit has to go to Louis Cacciuttolo comes to VR and were incredibly helpful converting the ideas we had in from VRroom, our French VR Producer; and Antony Vitillo of NTW, the Capture and bringing them to the Unity Engine,” stated Morandi. Italian developers that looked after all the scripting and game engine Despite working in this new format, Morandi functionalities. Jonathan Klahr did an amazing job was able to use some typical tools of the trade on the 2D video content mapped onto the interior in the creation of the show – namely a ChamSys walls. Stephan and Jeroen from LaserImage MQ80. “All the cue lists came from ChamSys and from Amsterdam programmed the initial laser were translated into a set of Unity animation sequences,” he added. triggers on a timeline. When I say ‘translated,’ “[360° VR Camera Director] Georgy Molodtsov, I mean that Victor Pukhov used the visualised [VR Camera Director and Editor] Maud Clavier and lighting cues to create ‘shader animations’ that [Live Broadcast Director] David Montagne did a then got triggered by Unity custom scripts by great job filming the show all in VR.” Antony Vitillo,” he recalled. If having a number of creatives dotted around “Jean-Michel asked if I could He was quick to point out that the basic the UK and Europe wasn’t impressive enough, principles of stage and show design apply to bring the speed and efficiency one of the camera directors, Georgy Molodtsov, creating a show in the virtual realm along with operated from Moscow along with Maud in Paris. of the live events industry to some notable differences – specifically how you Each director oversaw up to eight remote VR have to treat effect lightings. “In a gaming engine, cameras and drones within the virtual world. help develop this show so it stage light beams are not real light but volumetric Responsible for inserting Jarre into the wouldn’t just look like a shaders; 3D objects with a texture.” virtual world was TV Studio Gabriel, Paris, where This means to create any big lighting looks, the artist performance was translated live with video game.” Pukhov from Manifattura Italiana Design had to motion capture technology and then mirrored by Jvan Morandi, mimic any moves which Morandi had programmed an in performance avatar that had been created with the ChamSys desk. “This whole project by Freddy Kone and Mo Marouene of SoWhen. Lighting and Show Designer. 20


JEAN-MICHEL JARRE: WELCOME TO THE OTHER SIDE

Morandi believes that if this type of show was to exist alongside, say, a tour, then the speed at which a VR show would be created would have to match up with that of a live tour. “One of the interesting differences we have in live touring compared to those working within the gaming industry is timescales,” he told TPi. “A regular show might take between three to six months to design, whereas video games by their very nature can take up to seven years to design.” Morandi shared strong opinions on the importance of the entire live events industry embracing the wave of virtual events. “The simple fact is that the companies behind the major gaming engines do not know the world of live events,” he commented. “Right now, we are seeing a mirroring of what happened with the record industry decades ago. You look now and the major streaming companies – Spotify and Apple – have not come from the music industry.” To close, he emphasised that, as a sector, the events industry must ensure a similar situation does not happen and that show creators, lighting designers and video creatives continue to be part of the conversation. TPi Photos: Vincent Masson and SoWhen www.jeanmicheljarre.com www.placingshadows.co.uk

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PRODUCTION PROFILE

REMOTE SHOW PRODUCTIONS: THE FUTURE OF LIVE WORKFLOWS? Remote Recording Network, Riedel Communications, TV Skyline and the Black Project join forces for the world’s first decentralised live event. TPi’s Stew Hume speaks to some of the key players at the epicentre of the production.

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REMOTE SHOW PRODUCTIONS

For the past 12 months, almost every industry has been searching for Recording Network was key to this hair-brained scheme. A familiar name solutions to make working from home as effective as possible. This very to TPi readers having been involved in Wacken World Wide – a virtual magazine, for example, has been put together since March with the team reinvention of famed metal festival, Wacken Open Air – Brandt used many working from various locations across the North of England. Magazine of the same principles from the online festival on this production. publishing is one thing, but the idea of a lighting During Wacken World Wide, Brandt oversaw designer, audio engineer or video director the audio transmission, which was mastered live in working from home for a live performance is New York before being streamed to the thousands another thing entirely. of metal heads across the globe. For this show, Indeed, the world of live events seemed like under the same premise, Brandt thought that one particular vocation that would not be able the lighting and video departments could also to adapt to a WFH arrangement – that was until a follow suit and be controlled by operators in project at the end of last year, when German artist various locations across the globe. “The idea of Purple Schulz took to the One2One Studio stage in the fully remote production with Purple Schulz Bottrop, Germany. actually pre-dates Wacken,” he began. “The “The band approached me For this particular performance, it was not just band approached me early in 2020 to look at the early in 2020 to look at the the audience that was tuning in remotely. With possibility of doing a show with remote crew and the lighting team controlling the entire rig from the idea just snowballed.” possibility of doing a show two German cities, the video and camera set-up The advantages a remote production offers with remote crew and the idea during these COVID-19 times are obvious, with operated from Vienna and Mainz, and the audio feed mastered from Cologne and New York, the limited numbers on site meaning greater physical just snowballed.” production pushed the envelope when it came distancing measures can be implemented. Peter Brandt, to networking and a dramatic reduction in the However, Brandt asserted that this technology number of onsite crew. Peter Brandt of Remote Remote Recording Network is more far reaching than the pandemic and will 24


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prove vital in years to come. “The live music industry has been changing for converged. The ROC team managed, programmed and monitored all some time and the days of having large recording trucks following a show intercom signals, data streams, audio feeds and CCTV. or festival are ending. “Productions are looking for more compact solutions One on the leading players in the Riedel camp was Senior Project that are greener, more efficient and that save Manager, Carsten Vosskuehler. “I have known money,” he remarked. Peter for well over a decade, having worked in the Brandt and the team at the Remote Recording broadcast industry prior to working with Riedel,” Network have spent a long time developing this he commented. “I knew that he’d had the remote technology, although developments have been production idea for some time, but when our kept under the radar as they ironed out the creases paths crossed at Rock Am Ring in 2018, we had the in the technology. chance to talk about it in much more detail and I Following the Purple Schulz showcase, the started thinking about what Riedel could do for newfound developments were revealed to the the idea.” world. “It has absolutely exploded,” Brandt Although Riedel is perhaps better known to commented, discussing the feedback he has TPi readers for its communications offerings for received. “I didn’t expect this level of response, live touring, Vosskuehler outlined the company’s “Moving forward, most with a number of people citing it assomething that expansion into data networking. “Moving productions that we are could be game-changing and ground-breaking.” forward, most productions that we are working with at Riedel will have some element of remote working with at Riedel will I.T. GOES ROCK ’N’ ROLL production,” he stated. have some element of remote At the risk of stating the obvious, strong Keen to emphasise the pioneering talent of the networking was the backbone of the project. At technicians working behind the scenes to make production.” the centre of the production was Riedel ROC, these type of show a possibility, he commented: Carsten Vosskuehler, the communications and signal control centre “Our lead Engineer and Developer, Karsten ‘Kasi’ through which all remote production connections Heyn, who worked on this project, is brilliant. It is Senior Project Manager 26


REMOTE SHOW PRODUCTIONS

fantastic to see these people who have such a huge amount of technical knowledge working within the rock ’n’ roll space,” he added. “Kasi is also a musician, which proved vital as he knew what the artist would be going through on the other end of the signal chain.” With the idea of operating a show remotely, one of the first potential issues that comes to mind is latency and how any potential lag could affect the various departments tuning in to work on the show. “Latency, of course, was a big aspect just prior to this project,” stated Vosskuehler, who went on to explain that months of research and experimentation went into providing the best possible solution for the remote project and that the Purple Schulz performance really was the “proof of concept”. Brandt was also keen to give his two cents on the topic of latency. “Not only were all the operators just working from their homes using their own internet connections, but the studio end was also using copper rather than hire-in fibre optic, which would have raised the price of production significantly,” he pointed out. “The result is that we proved that you do not need to hire a prohibitively expensive fibre optic solution to recreate this kind of performance setup.” CUE FROM DIFFERENT COUNTRIES Lighting Designer, Roland Greil of The Black Project, a newly formed holistic design studio in Los Angeles, was brought in to provide his design expertise to the show as well as oversee and direct the visual side of the performance from his house in Munich, Germany. “I am the new kid on the block with this one,” he joked. “When I got involved, Peter and the team were already

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REMOTE SHOW PRODUCTIONS

deep into the planning of the Purple Schulz project.” Production Manager, intimate design and atmosphere for the show, which created the perfect Holger Schader of Solotech approached Greil to pitch the idea of the show. background and setting for the band to perform in,” he said. “Michael and I “I thought the whole concept was fantastic and I’m always keen to be put together a versatile but simple rig with an old school tungsten touch.” involved in projects that push the boundaries of production,” Greil recalled. The lighting rig comprised Martin by Harman MAC Viper AirFXs, Viper Michael Kuehbandner came in as Associate Designer and to aid in Profiles and Quantum Washes as well as Portman P3s and P1 Minis. the previsualisation work. He recruited Marc Brunkhardt as Programmer Haze came courtesy of MDG ATMe and Martin by Harman AF2s. “Working and Lighting Director for the show. During the together remotely was another challenge,” performance, the entire show was triggered live admitted Greil. “It was strange to sit in Munich with no timecode. behind some screens, while Marc sat a few Having programmed the show remotely, hundred kilometres away behind the console and Brunkhardt operated an MA Lighting grandMA3 the only communication was via intercom.” console from his home in Frankfurt, Germany, However, the fact that the pair had worked while Greil directed and called the looks and later together on a number of projects over the years on the show from Munich, Germany – with both certainly helped the communication. “We learned “It was strange to sit in Munich how to deal with the scenario and came out with a creatives watching the show from a monitor setup. If controlling a show from across the country bag full of new experiences,” he said. “We’re proud behind some screens, while wasn’t enough of a challenge, the project was that we have done something that has never been Marc sat a few hundred the first time that Greil and Brunkhardt had used done before in that way, as far as we know.” grandMA3 software. “We made the decision to kilometres away behind use the grandMA3 software for the first time as it WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR THE FUTURE? the console and the only promised to be the better platform for the remote After such a ground-breaking performance, setup,” he explained. “The system with a console with clear benefits as we enter the second communication was via in Frankfurt connected to a session with the onsite month of 2021 with COVID-19 restrictions still intercom.” system in Bottrop, performed flawlessly after we very much a way of life, TPi asked the Remote worked out all the Internet gremlins together with Show Productions team what they thought this Roland Greil, a great team from Riedel.” project represented for the future of the events Lighting Designer, Greil described the concept for the lighting industry. design. “My vision was to create a cosy, “I think this show will really spark people’s The Black Project. 28


REMOTE SHOW PRODUCTIONS

imagination,” stated Greil. “It has educated people on what is possible with today’s technology and what can still be achieved during a lockdown. Even when things return to normal, I don’t think the events industry will ever be the same. The lessons learned from this time will be transferred into a new normal and there are certainly elements from this project that will be transferred into a live performance.” Although Greil doesn’t necessarily believe future large-scale tours will be operated completely remotely, there are certainly technical innovations that could improve workflows, not to mention reduce the carbon footprint of a show. “Without concerts and shows, we as an industry can no longer

function,” asserted Brandt. “Obviously, we are still limited in what we can do, but hopefully with this project we might have triggered something where producers, promoters and artists might rethink the entire process of what it takes to put on a show. Only time will tell.” TPi Photos: Thomas Holz Showphotography and Riedel Communications www.remoteshowproductions.com www.riedel.net www.blackproject.design

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PRODUCTION PROFILE

FLASHPOINT SEASON 2 Dubbed the next generation of esports competition, Flashpoint Season 2 takes up temporary residency at Twickenham Stadium and neighbouring Marriott Hotel – housing a talented team of creatives and technicians wrangling with challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. TPi’s Jacob Waite reports…


FLASHPOINT SEASON 2

While much of the world is experiencing some form of mandated lockdown, the number of those turning to video games as a form of light relief or escapism is rising. However, esports – the competitive side of gaming – has experienced a rocky road, with physical events and tournaments falling victim to the pandemic and players unable to travel to compete. While the pandemic has cancelled many and threatens to cancel further esports events, COVID-19 secure tournaments such as Flashpoint Season 2 provides CS:GO (Counter Strike: Global Offensive) players – albeit on camera rather than in person – as well as on-site creatives and technicians an outlet and employment amid the crisis. Having successfully navigated a COVID-19 secure pathway through the ever-changing goalposts, legislation and legal hurdles involved in assembling a production in the COVID-19 era, Production Manager and Designer, Simon Barrington of Sibar Productions reflected on the experience. “Esports is a rapidly growing market and, over the past eight months, it has grown at an astonishing rate,” he began, speaking to TPi on Zoom. “I’ve been involved in esports shows in the UK, across Europe and the US for four years now, ever since I came off the road from touring.” Barrington was due to embark on his busiest year of esports tournaments to date but that came crashing down with the arrival of COVID-19. “Andy [Lane, Director of Broadcast and Production at FACEIT] approached me with a view to creating a studio design for Flashpoint Season 2, with the advanced knowledge that my wife, Sarah, is involved in COVID-19 testing, thus enabling us to create a safe space for the performing artists and crew involved,” he recalled. “I then approached Eddy Grant [Director of Safety at Symphotech], who we’ve worked with for numerous

years, to put together a safety plan for loading in and out the production, crew welfare and mitigating a legislation minefield.” Barrington likened the production process of esports shows to the emergence of high-level production design for DJs. “I remember when I was first involved in a DJ show, people from the touring world scoffed and perceived it as a not very serious pursuit. Similarly, esports is a big market that, like the DJ world, is only going to get bigger as time progresses. Above all, esports event organisers are not shy of putting on a spectacle.” Grant believes that the immersive and experiential nature of esports and gaming provides players with a sense of community during this difficult time. “It’s amazing fun to play a small part of and a pleasure to witness the future of entertainment,” he enthused. “I believe that the modern day online gig experience draws on the expertise of the esports world – that’s how you know it’s here to stay. After all, the exploration into alternative styles of live events are a logical consequence of the pandemic.” Case in point, the core and founding product of Flashpoint Season 2 show producer, FACEIT, is a gaming platform with additional media and production arms, spawned from the platform in recent years. “The majority of employees work on or are involved in the development of a competitive matchmaking software platform for competitive gaming and a social hub, which has grown significantly amid the pandemic,” Lane explained. “Gaming is social and our esports events have become a platform for online friends to meet each other, often for the first time and connect.” With over 25 years of experience in festivals, concert touring, esports and one-off events, Barrington is well versed in providing a 360° service for clients including design, CAD, budgeting, scheduling, advance and on-site 32


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This year marks the 20th anniversary of TPi’s annual get together and, with this in mind, we’ll be paying homage to the very best of the past 20 years of winners while also celebrating some of the key innovations that have taken place over the past year. Stay tuned for more information. Until then…

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management. His choice of vendors for Flashpoint Season 2 comprised Colour Sound Experiment for lighting, video and rigging; DFP Scenic; Brilliant Stages; JT Event for broadcast and networking trucking; DNG for local crew; Symphotech for health and safety; while COVID-19 testing was handled by Blue Skies Occupational Health with the assistance from the Covid Testing Network. FACEIT provided broadcast equipment, augmented by networking and broadcast audio specialist, QuadV. “We kept our suppliers limited to ensure a secure bubble. Without the skill sets of each supplier, we wouldn’t have been able to bring this project to life. They were amiable in providing a lot of equipment for a very small price, given the precarious nature of the industry,” Barrington commented. “As soon as I saw the first truck full of equipment being unloaded, it brought a tear to my eye, because it was the first time that I had seen it since March.” Grant chimed in: “The emotion on the opening of the first truck was visible on everybody’s face. It was great to be back to some semblance of normality, seeing high-grade technical equipment being put to good use.”

ideas, and I drew something up in a few days, which everyone was happy with.” Lane and Barrington put the event together with the assistance of Symphotech. “It was a collaborative effort because we’re operating in such bizarre circumstances, so trying to make anything happen feels like too much of a stretch for one person in our industry,” Lane acknowledged. “As soon as we assessed what would work from a health and safety and operational standpoint, plans were put in place to mitigate the risk, putting us in a position to create a spectacle safely.” The team enlisted the support of Head Rigger, Tom Armstrong to examine the roof and develop an accurate drawing of the space based on information on weight loadings. “By 15 October, we realised that we required ground support on around 50% of the rig as there simply weren’t any points where we needed them,” Barrington recalled. “A few days later, we had a full plan of what we were doing, and the scenic guys could get on with their pre-build.” The ground support solution came in the shape of a 10-leg box system built by lifting the ‘grid’ on gene lifts and installing the legs underneath. “This negated the need to have lots of crew working in very close proximity to each other as you would when raising a conventional ground support leg,” Barrington remarked. Lighting control was achieved by an MA Lighting grandMA3 console, controlled by Lighting Director and Media Server Operator, Dan Williams. For media servers, his weapon of choice was Resolume. To limit the numbers of people on site, Williams operated both the lighting desk and the media servers. “As soon as we were up and running, we couldn’t bring any other people into the ‘bubble’, so we needed a media server which Dan was familiar with and Resolume fit the bill,” Barrington said. Lighting equipment featured a mixture of Chroma-Q Space Force LED fixtures and Colour Sound Experiment’s newly purchased Arri SkyPanel SC-60s for fill lights, with Robe Pointes and Spiiders selected by Barrington due to their effect capabilities. Additional Claypaky Scenius Unico Spots and 2K and 1K Fresnels were chosen for key light to accent elements of the set. A curved ROE Visual CB5 LED screen was “expertly stitched together”

‘EXPLORATION IS A LOGICAL CONSEQUENCE OF COVID-19’ Work on Flashpoint Season 2 began on 3 November 2020, with a final week of broadcast held on 6 December. Twickenham Stadium was chosen to host the tournament to make use of the neighbouring Marriott Hotel and conference centre. Of paramount importance was internet connectivity between the conference centre and hotel. “Initially, we were looking at doing a show with the teams on site, which would have meant having around 120 people in the hotel and studio,” Barrington noted. “It quickly became apparent that this was not feasible as the players were international and some were unable to leave their country of residence or obtain VISAs to travel to the UK. Instead, the players were only on camera.” As a result, production was scaled back and kept to a maximum of 40 people on site in the hosting studio and broadcast gallery. “We had loose information on the rigging capacities of the space and CAD drawings,” Barrington revealed. “Andy and I got together online to thrash out some 34


FLASHPOINT SEASON 2

by Steve Grinceri. “The brief was fairly straightforward, so we provided a lot of extra kit which we wouldn’t normally put in for something like this just in case the director wanted to do something different,” Barrington said, referencing the gaps created by a lack of in-person audience at the venue. “Thankfully, everything was utilised.” The technical requirements for esports tournaments, Barrington explained, are growing constantly. “These are extremely technical shows. Nowadays, esports events are not too dissimilar to gigs, with lights, lasers, and sometimes pyro,” he pointed out. “Not only do we run the production live, but we also experiment with ideas for the next show. It’s a fast-evolving process and the industry is adapting to cater for online audiences.” Equally, esports has an incredibly demanding audience, according to Lane. “If we experience any technical issues, they are the first to let you know about it. We always have a real-time communication with those on the broadcast via Twitch, etc. and their feedback is integral to developing and honing the product,” he added. “We try to explore the parameters of tech and improve the production each time.” Brilliant Stages provided LiteDeck for the stage, which was skinned and covered in black J&C Joel Joelmat Gloss by the team at DFP Scenic. “DFP Scenic built scenic elements which included an extremely long analysts’ desk, which had ROE CB5 LED panels fitted in the front and comfort monitors mounted internally,” Barrington noted. The desk was designed to be both modular and reusable. “It was made up of four sections,” he revealed. “In a typical environment, each of these components would seat two people. However, in line with social distancing requirements, analysts were separated by 2m, harnessing the entire surface of the 8m desk.” The commentators, on the other hand, sat closer

together. “Masks don’t look good on camera, and they also don’t help with audio, so their much smaller desk had an acrylic screen installed to separate them,” Barrington explained. “Having travelled to Asia a lot on tour, I was aware of UV-C as a potential solution for sterilising the various spaces. We spoke with Signify who provided us with a webinar presentation and through Colour Sound Experiment we purchased some tubes, which were used on a nightly basis throughout the hotel and studio areas.” ‘COMMITMENT TO THE CAUSE’ Following the announcement of a second UK lockdown on 31 October, Symphotech Director of Safety, Edward Grant confirmed that, based on the latest legislation, the team could push ahead with the planned four-day build on 3 November 2020. “Most safety officers are on site for the load-in, build, and then hand it over to the operations director. However, this was an entirely different ball game,” he explained. “We had a team working around the clock with the medical information and expertise to make this project a reality. It was this attitude which allowed us to focus on the welfare of the players and the crew.” Working in partnership with Twickenham Stadium and the Marriott Hotel, the team operated in designated COVID-19 secure ‘bubbles’, with social distancing, PPE and other COVID-19 secure measures such as one-way systems, COVID-19 testing stations and colour-coded lanyards employed on site. Local crew were used solely to unload trucks with a team of techs on site tasked with rigging the kit. “Not only did this help with keeping our secure bubbles, but it helped give a broad range of people some much-needed work,” Barrington noted.

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04/03/2020 11:18


FLASHPOINT SEASON 2

“This was important in my mind not just for everyone’s financial benefit, but also for their mental health.” QuadV networked everything in case anyone tested positive and had to isolate. “The expertise of [QuadV Technical Producer] Oliver Aldridge gave us the ability to broadcast with people isolating. There were only two members of the team who wouldn’t have been able to do their job from their hotel room should the worst have happened,” Barrington noted. “It was a complicated process but the most interesting thing, from our perspective, was the flexibility of the crew to be able to move across or share roles if required.” Symphotech worked through four alternative excerpts of legislation governing live events, which changed frequently to complicate the process even more. The crew and presenters were tested before the tournament kicked off on 6 November. Once tested, they were required to isolate in their hotel rooms until the results were in. FACEIT designed a bespoke app for the crew to order food and beverages, aptly titled FaceEat, which was used throughout the event. “This meant that not only were we able to limit contact with the hotel and stadium staff who were not in our tested ‘bubble’, but there was very little food waste as everything was cooked to order,” Barrington commented. Grant added: “A lot of thought was put into the COVID-19 safety plan which, in the end, had nine different iterations to change and respond to how the world and legislation changed over the five-week period. This was about making the production happen as safely and efficiently as possible.” During the opening week of the event, the team received news of a positive

case, which resulted in four close contacts. “From the start, we had to utilise the facilities we had in place during the load-in. Both the broadcast sound and the cameras were operated from hotel rooms as the crew had to self-isolate for a few weeks. Thankfully, the cameras were remote pan and tilt systems, which required fewer people in the studio, so it wasn’t too much of a challenge.” Testing was performed by Blue Skies Occupational Health with the assistance from the Covid Testing Network on a weekly basis. After positive tests in the first week, the team experienced a run of negative tests until the final day of testing, which returned six positive cases, meaning the vast majority of the crew and presenters had to be isolated in their hotel rooms. “The infrastructure that was installed during load-in came into play,” Barrington said. “The few remaining members of the team quickly assembled the necessary bits of kit to enable a full broadcast to happen, but with everyone working from their hotel rooms.” The requirement for people to isolate brought on a separate challenge. Firstly, the team could not de-rig everything as the crew who had put the gallery elements of the show together were unable to work. Secondly, international presenters were unable to fly home, forced instead to complete their isolation periods in their hotel rooms. “Our tenancy at Twickenham Stadium and the Marriott Hotel was due to end two days after the show came down. Thankfully, FACEIT negotiated with the hotel, which was due to close after we had left, to keep the rooms, along with the team at Twickenham Stadium, who dealt with the catering,” Barrington recalled. Symphotech put in place a support team to look after 36


FLASHPOINT SEASON 2

the safety, mental health and medical needs of everyone while participants fire’ conventions of COVID-19 era live events. “Esports has adapted to the completed their isolation, staying abreast of the ever-changing legal virtual world fairly seamlessly. All that players require is a gaming PC and guidelines and health and safety requirements of COVID-19. a fast internet connection, but it’s a little different for us” Lane reviewed. “FACEIT was extraordinary. The commitment to the cause, the “However, while we’ve had to take a step back with very few physical processes and support put in place for those isolating, bringing in a events, thankfully, we’ve been fortunate enough to run studio operations in welfare team to take care of safety and wellbeing the US and the UK throughout this difficult period.” throughout the entire five-week period,” Grant The Flashpoint Season 2 team comprised recollected. “It was amazing to see the level of Production Manager and Designer, Simon support and welfare afforded to keep the morale Barrington of Sibar Productions; Director of of the team high.” Broadcast and Production at FACEIT, Andrew Lane; Reflecting on the project, Barrington was Director, Sam Deans; Executive Content Producer, pleased with the outcome. “This was my first job Mike Bembenek; Producer, Reece Fowler; since March last year, when we built a studio in LA Technical Producer, Oliver Aldridge of QuadV; for Flashpoint Season 1, which was heavily affected Assistant Event Manager, Amira Malek; Operations by the early stages of the pandemic. Flashpoint Manager, Federica Parise; Lighting and Video Season 2 was, without a doubt, the longest time Crew Chief and Show Tech, James Hind; Lead Set I’d spent away from home. Five-weeks away amid Builder, Lee Barton; Health & Safety Managers, a global pandemic is a challenge, mentally,” he Eddy Grant and Will Hodgson; COVID-19 Testing admitted. “However, the success of the event is and Clinician, Sarah Barrington. tribute to the entire crew – especially those who Despite the ever-changing goalposts, had to be isolated in their hotel rooms. It was such legislation and legal hurdles, the team look “Esports has adapted to the a collaborative effort all round.” forward to knowing where they, and the majority virtual world fairly seamlessly. of the industry stands on the quest to return to The challenge the sector now faces is a date to return to normality. “This was the biggest some semblance of normality. All that players require is a live project Symphotech worked on in 2020,” TPi gaming PC and a fast internet Photos: Sibar Productions and FACEIT commented Grant. “We have since collaborated with the Association of Festival Organisers, using www.flashpoint.live connection, but it’s a little the knowledge we garnered from this experience www.sibar.co.uk different for us.” and other COVID-19 safe events to examine www.faceit.com forward planning.” www.symphotech.co.uk Andy Lane, Despite the pandemic, Flashpoint Season 2 www.brilliantstages.com FACEIT Director of rounded off one of FACEIT’s busiest years yet, with www.coloursound.com the company firmly embodying the ‘baptism of www.dngpec.com Broadcast and Production 37


PRODUCTION FUTURES

Cedric Duré Aspiring show designer, Cedric Duré is among the next-generation of production crew developing their skillsets in lockdown. TPi’s Jacob Waite reports…

With most live shows temporarily grounded, Duré has enhanced his knowledge of industry tools such as MA Lighting grandMA2, grandMA3, disguise, Resolume, Unreal Engine and Blender by attending webinar sessions, watching tutorials and networking. “I enjoy experimenting and trying different things,” he noted. “One of the things I am still learning to this day is how to work more efficiently and deal with the time pressure involved with live shows.” Duré was lucky enough to put his newfound skillset to good use last year, working on livestream VR Stream Marathon events as well as smaller COVID-19 secure projects. “I was able to work on my first show with Unreal Engine, an amazing piece of software that I have been learning during lockdown, using real-time generated content to follow the position and orientation of dancers.” Unfortunately, the show was postponed due to the pandemic. However, in the same week, Duré was approached to program lighting for the Lost Frequencies’ Ocus Gin DJ set livestream. “I couldn’t believe this at first because it was a huge dream of mine to work for a triple A artist,” he enthused. “I have also worked on a couple of virtual 3D studios for corporate and music livestreams.” Recalling his experience of TPi’s first foray into digital events, Production Futures Online, Duré said: “I had the chance to meet and connect with some amazing people there that I am still in touch with. I am now part of Next Robe Generation (NRG). With the lockdown of live events, Production Futures Online is the closest thing to a real networking event. I can’t wait for the next one!” Currently working on a fixed installation which involves programming a custom UI to control lights and video, Duré looked back on what he has learned thus far and how the skills he has developed over the past 12 months will be put to use on site – blurring the line between the physical and virtual world to connect audiences. “I want to keep growing as an artist and doing what I love,” he concluded. “I am so grateful to be in a position to learn. I can’t wait for what the future will bring, notwithstanding COVID-19. I have had this spark for the sector since I was nine years old, and I don’t think that it will fade anytime soon.” TPi Photos: Arthur Vermeylen and Gerben Steyaert www.outdream.show

Breaking into the fiercely competitive and tightly woven live events industry is difficult for young people at the best of times. Add a global pandemic, the subsequent lockdown of live events and the increasing anxiety of a lost generation of skills to the mix and it can seem like an impossible pursuit. However, as has been documented in each print edition of TPi since COVID-19 reared its ugly head, where there is constraint, there is innovation. Take aspiring show designer, Cedric Duré, for example. Born in Antwerp, Belgium, the 17-year old runs a promising show design agency, Outdream Creative. His passion for the live events industry was sparked at the age of nine. “I have always been very passionate about music, art and technology, and the live events industry merges all of these interests,” he began. “I got into the industry by doing my first shows with a local DJ, DIVS, who I met through my volleyball coach. I started to network with people I met at the venues DIVS played and it took off from there.” Currently studying for a high school degree in Economics and Modern Languages, Duré believes that a diverse skillset and being open to alternative career paths away from the sector – especially amid a global pandemic – are worth exploring. “I have been studying for a year via home tuition to be more flexible and focus more on my desired career in the live events sector. You never know what is going to come across your path, so it is very important to have a plan B, and even a plan C.” Having been approached for production design and lighting at a series of music festivals in Belgium, the summer of 2020 was set to be the busiest of Duré’s burgeoning career as a live events professional. “Despite the cancellation of most events in my calendar, COVID-19 has afforded me with a lot of opportunities to develop new projects, improve my skillset, and meet new people – albeit online,” he said, reassuringly.

38


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INTERVIEW

40


ARENA GROUP

Opposite: Paul Berger, EMEA CEO.

PAUL BERGER ARENA GROUP After a turbulent year for the events industry, Arena Group shifts its focus into new markets and alternative areas of investment. TPi’s Stew Hume reports.

Internationally renowned temporary structures provider, Arena Group, like most in the live events sector, has faced an unprecedented challenge since March 2020 with the immediate grounding of the sector in territories across the globe. In order to survive this trying time, the company has implemented a two-pronged strategy: a plea for investment to the company’s loyal stockholders; and a re-evaluation of its target markets, moving into new sectors including education, medical and military applications. Arena Group EMEA CEO, Paul Berger reflected on the lessons learned from 2020 and speculated what lies ahead for the company. “It’s interesting to see how all the various regions of the world have reacted to COVID-19,” mused Berger. “As we speak, there is some positive news from the UK with a vaccine, but it’s been incredibly up and down and very tricky to navigate. In the Middle East – Dubai specifically – we are now starting to see events taking shape and, by Q4, we should be in a decent shape. One thing throughout all the territories has been the uncertainty of events. Nobody is able to predict when we’ll be back to normal and what form these events will take.” With many of Arena’s annual contacts having to be put on hold, a key focus has been some “creative, out-of-the-box thinking” about how the Group’s equipment and services might be used in different ways. “We are incredibly lucky that we are not only an event management company and that we have products that can be used for other industry sectors away from events,” he underlined. Although TPi readers are more likely to see Arena’s equipment in temporary seating, staging or hospitality areas – over the past few months the firm has been busy working on “alternative projects” in other sectors. This has involved a broad range of work, from building temporary buildings for the military to enable more effective social distancing among the ranks, to structures for medical services to create more space within hospitals. “One of the hardest lessons that many have had to learn is that we have become far too dependant on the events industry as our sole source

of income. Moving forward, Arena’s strategy is diversification and not restricting ourselves to one sector.” As a commodity rental company, Arena is in the fortunate position of being able to look at other industry sectors. Berger was inspired by those pivoting their skillsets or seeking alternative avenues of employment during these most trying of times. “The events industry as a whole is made up of some incredibly creative people who are resilient and adaptable as many have effectively begun working in other sectors during the pandemic,” he remarked. Along with Arena’s outward perspective, the Group has also undergone a major restructuring, which was sped up by COVID-19. “Prior to the pandemic, Arena was already going through a corporate restructuring, but then when the events industry began to feel the impact of COVID-19, we decided to look further ahead in order to ensure the future of Arena,” he elaborated. As a publicly quoted company, Arena opted to raise additional funds by asking shareholders to invest to ensure that the company would be able to weather the economic storm of the COVID-19 pandemic. “This also opened up the opportunity for more shares to be purchased,” Berger revealed. During this time, Arena were able to attract a strategic investment from Saudi Arabia, to support the Group and its ambitions to grow further in the Kingdom. On the back of the hugely successful temporary stadium that Arena Seating built for the boxing in Riyadh, Arena is expanding its presence across Saudi Arabia with the support of the company’s new shareholder. “The culmination of these investments and breaking into new sectors has enabled Arena Group to manage the cash burn of a large company in the events space,” stated Berger, giving his final thoughts on the past 10 months. “It’s been a learning curve across the board as we’ve moved into new sectors and, without the support of our investors, the past few months would have been very hard indeed.” TPi Photo: Arena Group www.arenagroup.com 41


IN PROFILE

DRPG GROUP Surpassing a million delegates for its virtual event solutions in 2020, creative communications agency, DRPG proves why upskilling is key to weathering the economic storm of COVID-19. TPi’s Jacob Waite reports...

With the onset of COVID-19, the demand for broadcast-quality virtual events has risen tenfold. Early adopters of the new age of virtual events, recently surpassing a million delegates for its virtual event solutions in 2020, is creative communications agency, DRPG. The company’s bases in the Midlands, Windsor, the North and central London include 4.2 acres of production facilities, eight fully equipped edit suites, two state-ofthe-art studios, digital innovation labs, a dedicated print facility, 3D projection cinema, construction centre and contemporary design suite – consolidating the firm’s growing reputation as a virtual events virtuoso. Before COVID-19 tossed the proverbial live events prep sheet out of the window, DRPG was among the few firms seeking ways to improve internal processes in the company, exploring what communication platforms such as Microsoft Teams, SharePoint and other Microsoft Power Apps could offer the creative communications agency and its growing list of clients. While overseeing the firm’s transition to Microsoft Teams in a bid to streamline internal communication, DRPG Production Manager, Andy Melsom discovered that his remit was beginning to snowball, as such, he was named the Head of Systems for company-wide departments during the

COVID-19 crisis. “Essentially, supporting the business while IT was dealing with the transition to remote WFH setups and other systems,” he clarified. “We had reached a point where most of our ‘live’ team were using Microsoft Teams. So when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we were at an advantage.” Given the company’s developing knowledge of Microsoft Teams, Melsom assisted with the roll-out of new and revamped systems, introducing HubSpot’s free CRM platform along with Microsoft SharePoint to create an integrated platform for the business. “As a PM, I’m familiar with problem solving, which helps with the IT systems required for this role. While the COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the live events industry, we have devoted this time to innovation,” he remarked. “Surprisingly, without the pandemic, we wouldn’t have had the opportunity or time to move their systems online.” Shifting from an on-premise server which requires VPN to access files, DRPG now operates in the ‘cloud’, which means everyone can work from home with no connection issues, helping with the delivery of virtual events amid the lockdown of in-person audiences. The company’s bespoke platform, built by an in-house design team, caters for the rising demand for 42


DRPG GROUP

Opposite: DRPG Production Manager, Andy Melsom; DRPG CEO, Dale Parmenter.

virtual and hybrid events going forward. “The infrastructure of our virtual events, such as bringing in delegates and presenters, is built from the Microsoft Teams platform,” Melsom explained. DRPG typically produces around six virtual events a year, however, over the course of six months last year, the firm oversaw over 450 live programmes broadcast from its studios, with audiences varying from 70,000 to just 100 delegates. Daily programmes included conferences, debates, leadership development, award ceremonies, exhibitions, product launches, experiential, team building, music and food festivals and game shows, among others. “Our heritage is based firmly in film and video production, combining this with our global events experience, digital solutions and creative content development, we were able to expand our virtual offering overnight,” commented DRPG CEO, Dale Parmenter. “It has meant considerable investment in the creation of more physical and virtual studios, plus we have continued to recruit new team members and retrain existing ones.” With a dedicated creative services department which handles digital, live and communications, the company strives to improve and develop new ideas. “With us having the studios, creatives and kit in house, we are able to innovate without the overheads of outsourcing from a third party,” Melsom reported. “However, one thing we are finding difficult is keeping the engagement of virtual audiences.” That’s where DRPG’s in-house team comes to the fore, generating ideas to keep people engaged. “It’s difficult to maintain the attention span of virtual audiences, however, what we can offer is the ability to provide immersive Q&As and gift packages to keep audiences engaged at home, so it feels like they’re part of a wider network.” In addition to catering for corporations, DRPG prides itself on delivering virtual solutions to several local businesses and charities during the ban on mass gatherings. Of equal importance to DRPG, Melsom underlined, is supporting the next generation of live events and AV professionals through its academy of learning. “Our academy hub is a driving force to upskill people and use this time where some people, certainly those involved in live events, don’t necessarily have as much to do. We want them to learn as much as they can during this downtime and make sure there are highly skilled people able to do a range of jobs when it is safe to do so.” Melsom believes that despite the difficult situation the sector finds itself in, there will be a huge variation of job opportunities available to industry newcomers when the industry returns to its full capacity. “We are essentially considered an ‘invisible’ industry to the masses. People realise the hard work which goes into building an event, from a conference to a music festival, and we need those skills to deliver live events, which is a driving force in the UK economy.” So, what is his advice to those looking to break into the sector at this tough time? “Keep communicating and networking with companies, friends and colleagues. There are lots of free resources out there – you can deliver these events without having to invest too much,” he added. “Use this time

to develop your skill set because, when the industry returns, it’s going to require skilled individuals to cater for the demand for live experiences.” THE REVOLUTION WILL BE LIVESTREAMED DRPG staff and key decision makers have embarked on secondments amid the crisis, operating in other areas of the business – providing a workforce that is not only multiskilled but an agency which is multifaceted. The venue sourcing team has been collaborating with the research and insights team, project managers involved in live events have transitioned to virtual events and upskilled. While live events with audiences will eventually return stronger than ever, audiences and clients in the meantime are weighing up their current options. “Hybrid events will be even more important and increased engagement with audiences will be crucial going forward. Businesses have had to turn their usual delivery of events on their head with at-home audiences, so there is more of a focus to be reactive and put processes and procedures in place to acclimatise to the market,” Melsom theorised. Key to DRPG’s success is presenting an authentic experience for clients, whether that is virtual or live. “We have embedded a holistic approach to all of our projects going forward to create a bespoke experience for those at home. With our team moving around and filling in any gaps, we can bolt-on livestreams and virtual options to the physical event when it is safe to do so, providing us with an opportunity to push the boundaries and eschew the pre-existing conventions of a live event.” While COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on the live events sector, it has also highlighted the importance of technology to communicate and deliver alternative events. “We can use technology to get better results,” Melsom stated plainly. “We’re seeing conferences and live events rely on the likes of Fortnite and other online video game platforms to immerse audiences in their content. It’s also about public confidence, for those who do not feel comfortable congregating when it is safe to do so, therein more empathy for technology and the various options available.” The COVID-19 pandemic, for all the devastation it has caused, appears to have shown businesses what can be done; as opposed to an upsell, there are benefits to adopting the likes of VR, XR and virtual events. DRPG webinars are now seen as miniature TV shows, high-quality broadcast events. “Although creating virtual events can be a big initial investment, we have already seen it pay off. There’s a growing confidence of clients exploring the parameters of what a live event can be,” Melsom said. Parmenter concluded: “It has been a tough year and there are more challenges to come, but we have proven in 2020 that by working together flexibly and remotely, we are still able to achieve great results and remain a safe, secure and trusted partner, delivering great results for our clients even in times of crisis. We face yet more uncertain times in 2021, but it is a credit to the team that we face it from a standpoint of stability, and ready to take on the challenges.” TPi Photos: DRPG www.drpgroup.com 43


GEAR HEADS

AVOLITES DIAMOND 9

In line with a logo redesign, Avolites reveals its hotly-anticipated flagship console, the Diamond 9. TPi’s Stew Hume makes the trip to Avolites London HQ pre-lockdown to discover how the release will benefit the productions of tomorrow...

The ‘integration of video and lighting’ has been a developing point of interest in the live events industry for some time. With show designers, creative directors, lighting designers and content creators assessing the creative parameters of a stage, the days of video and lighting departments existing as separate entities are seemingly over. In line with the merging of worlds, Avolites has announced its latest flagship console, the Diamond 9. Released in two versions – D9-330 and D9-215 – with the tagline ‘designed by visual designers, for visual designers’ the new consoles promise to combine lighting, media and other visual aspects into one central point of control. It’s not a pure lighting desk nor is

it a visual operator – it’s everything rolled into one. “The Diamond 9, along with our new brand logo, marks the first step in our future-facing strategy as a company,” explained Avolites Managing Director, Paul Wong. “This is the result of four years worth of work, following a great deal of research and R&D investment, building on our current software platform.” The desk offers numerous contact points for users, with 11 touchscreens including three main workspace screens and three media previews, as well as specific screens for attribute control and soft key shortcuts. There are also numerous indications across the surface that this desk is also designed for the use of video operations – notably the T-bar. 44


AVOLITES DIAMOND 9

Technical Director, JB Toby; Titan Lead Developer, Oliver Waits; Avolites Managing Director, Paul Wong.

As well as a range of hardware options that are sure to excite those The creation of the Diamond 9 has led Avolites to alter its R&D looking for more control of video elements for their desk, the Diamond 9 department, with both the hardware and the software teams all working provides much more when it comes to intuitive under one roof – this was all before COVID-19, media control. Avolites has already made serious of course. “The two departments were based in ground on this topic with its release of Synergy in different buildings before and I had wanted to 2019, which allowed seamless integration between make this change for a long time,” reported JB. media server and lighting control. The Diamond “Now, we have the AI team, Titan software team 9 builds on this, bringing this control to users’ and hardware development all in the same space, fingertips with intuitive design and layouts ideal for which means we have direct media playback and control. contact all the time.” “The Diamond 9, along with “The functionality that we have put into the On the topic of software, while at the HQ, TPi Diamond 9 is what our customers have been caught up with Titan Lead Developer, Oliver Waits. our new brand logo, marks requesting for years,” expressed Wong, as he stood He detailed some of the development challenges the first step in our futurenext to the larger of the two models, the of the desk. “The real challenge has been pulling all D9-330. “The worlds of video and lighting have facing strategy as a company. the technologies together, as sometimes the video been moving closer for some time and therefore and lighting worlds don’t quite gel,” he This is the result of four years it was inevitable that the market would need a explained. “At the same time, we did not want desk to control the entire visual canvas.” to compromise the power the Diamond 9 would worth of work, following a One of the key people within the Avolites camp have as a lighting console that can operate on the great deal of research and responsible for bringing the Diamond to market largest shows.” has been Technical Director, JB Toby. “Diamond 9 The announcement of Diamond 9 coincided R&D investment, building dates back to 2017 when we set out to create a new with the beta open release of latest version of on our current software control surface that was totally at ease with dealing Avolites Titan v15, set to be released at the end of with both media and lighting,” he commented. February. “One of the most exciting developments platform.” “It’s been quite a journey to maintain this vision for with v15 is the new Timeline feature,” commented Paul Wong, such a long time, but we are really happy with the Waits. “We have always been really proud of having result.” a visual experience with our software, but the new Avolites Managing Director 45


AVOLITES DIAMOND 9

Timeline feature really drills home this kind of visual way of programming in linear timecoded shows.” The Diamond 9 has been through rigorous testing to ensure it is show ready for the start of 2021. “From the hardware testing side of things – we were fortunate enough to be able to take two prototypes to the US on our SPLNTR event in Las Vegas in November 2019, which acted as a great test of the desks’ durability,” JB explained. “While in lockdown, we have done a number of tests including mock load-ins, where we have taken the desk in and out of flight cases.” Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lighting Designer, Tom Campbell was able to take the D9-215 console out for one show in London to put it through its paces. “The experience was fantastic. Programming on it felt familiar but greatly enhanced by the step up in hardware allowing for a smoother, quicker and more enjoyable programming experience,” he commented. “As a long-term user of Avolites, I am extremely excited to see where the D9 takes the company and I am very proud to have had a small part in its development.” With a new year and a new console, TPi asked the team at Avolites what they believe this new release meant for the company’s future progression. “I think from the feedback we've had over the past 12 months, you'll see more designers choosing an Avolites platform to deliver their productions,” JB said. “Tighter integration of media is where these larger shows are going and it’s going to mean the Diamond 9 is a vital piece of the puzzle.”

The Technical Director was also keen to state that this was “just the beginning of the story”; with an extensive software roadmap in the next few years, future releases will give end users even greater potential than today. Although this might not have been the initial concept for the use of the console, JB believes that the Diamond 9 is a solution in line with the emergence of virtual and XR-style performances. “Both VR and XR will continually develop into this side of the industry,” mused JB, who explained that many VR and XR tools use DMX and ACN to control internal objects within their platform while also using NDI, meaning the Diamond 9 would certainly be a solution for this developing market. “The control of those virtual extras all comes back to the linking of lighting and video, which is what this product is open for. We have the tools and features to be able to bring that to fruition,” he stated. Wong pinpointed the Diamond 9 as the “start of a new chapter” at the firm. “Diamond 9 really represented the start of our vision of where we see Avolites going,” he concluded. “It’s the culmination of integration of multiple technologies that enable users to provide the complete immersive experience – whether it’s integration of lighting, video or our recent oneway integration with Pioneer Pro DJ Link – users will have complete control of the entire visual canvas.” TPi Photos: Avolites www.avolites.com 46


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Thinking. Inside the box. 06/01/2021 16:34


PSA: THE BIGGER PICTURE

THE STARS COLLIDE, THEN THEY DECIDE As we accelerate towards the end of the COVID-19 pandemic and towards the more manageable endemic, PSA’s Andy Lenthall believes the focus must shift to building consumer confidence.

Just when we’ll be able to gather together in densities that allow for a functioning, financially sustainable events industry is anybody’s guess right now. Even those best placed to make a prediction are unwilling to do so; calls for a ‘not before’ date fall on deaf ears and it’s certain that schools, universities, and retail outlets are first in line when it comes to the post-lockdown gradual reopening. The fairly consistent message in working groups, industry briefings and ministerial round tables is that a gradual return is more likely than a rush to normality once the most at-risk people are vaccinated. That message is delivered not from ministers but from senior scientific advisers to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport; they’re keeping industry leaders up to speed on their research into just how we can make an appropriate risk judgement. We’re all fairly used to risk assessment; whether they relate to workplace risks or crowd dynamics, incidents generally result in outcomes affecting those involved; risk of transmission of a highly contagious virus is a different proposition. With leaked papers

suggesting the scientific advisers see the rule of six and social distancing for the rest of the year, yet politicians still ‘hope for a happy and free great British summer’ on a friend’s island? We’ve seen evidence from test events that have taken place overseas and we can take heart from positive results. An event in Spain was shown to not spread infections, although it was a limited audience that was carefully tested, proving that people without COVID-19 can gather and not transmit COVID-19. The real test for testing is at full capacity for a large audience, nobody has yet decided how tests would be paid for either, with one provider recently suggesting that £100 isn’t much compared to the price of a festival ticket. Perhaps hope for testing lies in the coming together of accuracy and price; reports of a low-cost, accurate, ‘spit in a tube’ test with the ability to spot infection in asymptomatic carriers is promising. The next best thing to a guaranteed COVID-19-free audience is one that won’t get ill if infected. At the time of writing, the vaccination roll-out 48


PSA: THE BIGGER PICTURE

amongst those over 70 and those that are clinically vulnerable would pose a challenge to anyone designing a line up. The vaccine news that we all wait on is its ability to prevent onward infection, asymptomatic carriers pose a great threat to those without protection; proof of onward infection prevention or a combination of vaccination and testing would perhaps be required to speed us towards sustainable activity. We hope for the former. While we wait for immunity and science to provide certainty, the measures we currently take are key to control. After three lockdowns, we’re all aware of their effectiveness in bringing the spread under control. On the flipside, we can see that hospitals can soon be under immense pressure when infections are allowed to build, showing that we have a long way to go to build immunity – each spike has been caused despite people being immune through antibodies from prior infections. Current measures still have a role to play then, and live events will still need to have measures in place such as regular cleaning, sanitiser stations, face coverings and attendee tracing. It’s the Swiss cheese model of safety; full of holes yet nothing gets through. In a recent test event overseas, ventilation was cited as a key method of control; we’re aware that aerosol transmission can present an infection risk, but moving old air out and clean air in at fast enough rates vastly reduces this risk. Add active air cleaning within ventilation and air conditioning systems and risks are reduced further. February will see a series of test events in Luxembourg, organisations and venues in the UK are lining up post-lockdown tests too, taking all current measures initially, throwing everything bar the kitchen sink at it then gradually increasing capacities is one approach; full testing of full capacity to prove the modelling is another. These tests will be across all events sectors, part government sanctioned, part sector funded. Perhaps people would like to own their own data and evidence. Of course, some would say that it’s too late, given that Glastonbury Festival announced a further postponement until 2022, but it’s perhaps the biggest that go first and smaller events that require less work in

advance can delay decisions or model around required measures as they are introduced. We certainly did see plans for reduced capacity indoor shows before the current lockdown, many smaller venues were using UK Culture Recovery Fund grants to fill the fiscal gaps when organising reduced capacity shows. Any money earmarked for shows that have been prevented due to current restrictions can and probably will be used to fund shows up until June. The advantages of that funding will spread beyond those supply companies that received grants; it has and will create work – no matter what kind of show, full capacity, a socially distanced audience or livestream, everyone will need at least one button pushing. This isn’t a matter of sitting and waiting for someone to tell us when we can go back to work, it’s a combination of supported events, developing science and the collected minds of leading industry practitioners and scientific advisers. That is happening regularly, well in advance of any easing of restrictions, a list of the things we can do is being mapped against the list of things we need to do, with the former getting longer as science brings testing prices down and capacities up and the latter perhaps getting shorter as vaccinations increase immunity. One element that is discussed less often in live events circles is treatment. As vaccines need testing and approval, current drug treatments that are used for other conditions but reduce the risk of death from COVID-19 can be introduced more rapidly. This is another crucial element in the reduction in risk; reducing the severity of the outcome. This coming together of science, research and practice through international efforts across many industry sectors is where answers lie. As we accelerate towards the end of the COVID-19 pandemic and towards the more manageable endemic, effort may soon need to move towards building consumer confidence, which may well be as simple as opening the doors and saying ‘welcome back’. There’s a note in the diary to read this in a year’s time. TPi www.psa.org.uk

“Donations not Carnations” to celebrate the life of industry legend Tony Laurenson As the founder and CEO of Global Infusion Group, Tony Laurenson set the standard for tour catering when he launched Eat to the Beat in 1984. He understood the importance of great food, served with a sense of humour and a friendly face, not just for the artists but also the crew backstage. An outpouring of love and kindness from across the industry has followed the announcement of Tony’s passing. Bonnie, his family and colleagues have been overwhelmed by the hundreds of messages of support they’ve received. A founding member of the PSA and its Welfare and Benevolent Fund, Stagehand, Tony was a lifelong champion of crew. At a time when things have never been tougher for the industry, it seems fitting that those who would like to celebrate Tony’s life can also help the crew who rely on it for a living and are finding things so difficult right now. Tony’s final load-out will take place at 10:45am, Saturday 20th February 2021. Given the current restrictions on numbers, the service will be live streamed for those who would like to pay their respects. More details will be announced on the Global Infusion Group and Eat to the Beat social media channels in due course. Here’s the link if you would like to donate to Stagehand and raise some money in Tony’s name. www.justgiving.com/fundraising/donationsnotcarnations

49


FUTURE INSIGHTS

FUTURE INSIGHTS The latest product and software releases and announcements.

ADJ LINK combines the processing power, wireless connectivity and multitouchscreen of an iPad with lighting-specific tactile controls and a four-universe DMX interface to deliver a unique control solution. The LINK system can be used to control up to 2,048 DMX channels and four full DMX universes. Each universe is output by a five-pin DMX socket on the rear of the hardware unit. The rear panel is home to the USB Type ‘B’ socket for optional wired iPad connection, a Kensington Security Device Slot as well as a 9V DC power input for connection of the included low voltage power supply. An additional USB 2.0 Type ‘A’ Port is located on the front of the control surface, which can be used to power the USB gooseneck LED work light that is supplied with the hardware. www.adj.com

50


FUTURE INSIGHTS

CHAUVET PROFESSIONAL Maverick Force 2 Profile is powered by a 580W LED engine that produces 21,000-lumen output. Maverick Force 1 Spot features a 470W LED engine capable of 20,000 lumens of brightness. Both fixtures produce an array of hues with CMY+CTO colour mixing and a colour wheel with CTB and CRI filters. Maverick Force 2 Profile features a four-blade framing shutter system with 120° rotation, a 7° to 55° zoom and 16-bit dimming. Additional features include a five-facet prism with frost, motorised iris, two rotating gobo wheels and an animation wheel. Maverick Force 1 Spot’s effect wheelhouse has one rotating and static gobo wheel instead. Both fixtures feature Pulse Width Modulation and several TV fan modes. A variety of advanced control options are offered with DMX, WDMX, sACN, ArtNet, Preset synch and RDM capability for remote access. www.chauvetprofessional.com

CHRISTIE Pandoras Box V8 software licence supports NDI network streams, offers implementation of Notch and accessibility to Dante audio without requiring configuration. It can be paired with an existing custom setup or any Christie hardware such as the Pandoras Box Server R5, a new hardware solution with powerful components available in different specifications. Pandoras Box V8 includes 3D stereoscopic video playback and processing, multi-user control, 64-bit processing, 10-bit colour depth playback and more. Christie Pandoras Box One supports features including NDI, SDVoE, Dante audio, and Notch with one licence. www.christiedigital.com

ETC Hog 4 OS v3.15 software includes enhancements to MIDI mapping of third-party control panels, adding tap tempo for effects and internal effect engine optimisations. This version also contains new keyboard shortcuts and a number of bug fixes, listed in the release notes. Users are advised to update their systems as their production schedules allow, and that users with existing MIDI mapping applications become familiar with the new mapping scheme prior to show day. www.highend.com

51


FUTURE INSIGHTS

MEYER SOUND LEOPARD-M80 provides an 80° horizontal pattern instead of the 110° coverage of the original model. LEOPARD-M80 may be configured in mixed arrays of both loudspeaker variants. LEOPARD-M80 loudspeakers positioned in the upper array section provide concentrated long-throw coverage, while LEOPARD loudspeakers situated below spread horizontal coverage for closer seating sections. Arrays configured with only LEOPARD-M80 loudspeakers can offer a long throw with reduced spill to the sides of the array. LEOPARD enables tighter horizontal control across a broad spectrum of outfill, centre fill and delay applications when used in large-scale systems with LEO and LYON main line array systems. www.meyersound.com

NEXO P15 can be reconfigured from passive to active mode using a switch on the back of the cabinet, taking SPL output from 139dB to 141dB. Horn flanges can be interchanged from the 60° by 60° provided as standard to a 90° by 40° or an asymmetrical 50°- 100° by 40°. P15 includes handles on each side which hold a 35mm pole-mount fitting with Speakon connector and threaded inserts for connection of mounting accessories. Just like its P15 main speaker companion, the L18 matches the output power of the NXAMP4x2mk2 controller amplifier. New processing algorithms optimise the match between the L18 maximum excursion with the NXAMP4x2mk2 output voltage capacity, producing highly dynamic sound without triggering the thermal limit of the driver. P15 and L18 are available in black and white structural paint finishes, other RAL colours can be achieved upon request in installation and touring versions. www.nexo-sa.com

YAMAHA MSP3A’s built-in 22W power amplifier is optimised for the speaker unit, which comprises a 10cm woofer and a 2.2cm tweeter. The compact 23.6cm by 16.7cm by 14.4cm cabinet weighs 3.6kg. MSP3A features multiple RCA, XLR and 6.3mm input connectors, level and low/high tone controls. MSP3A is compatible with a variety of optional brackets. A reinforced metal grille ensures protection. MSP3A boasts Twisted Flare Port technology, Yamaha’s signature form of aerodynamic sound control. www.yamahaproaudio.com

52


INDUSTRY APPOINTMENTS

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INDUSTRY APPOINTMENTS

Adam Hall Group’s Glenn Lin (left); Sky Corporation’s Filip Milenkovic, Milan Cvetinovic and Nenad Radic; ChamSys’ Fran Ahlofs; Scandec CEO, Roar Birkeland; CODA Audio Deutschland Managing Director, Ton Groen.

Glenn Lin has assumed the role of Business Development Manager in the Asia Pacific region for Adam Hall Group. He will be responsible for the strategic business development of the company, including the individual brands, as well as sales and services divisions. “I am very much looking forward to my new role at Adam Hall Group and I have been following the impressive development of the company for some time now,” he said. Adam Hall Group COO, Markus Jahnel added: “With the appointment of Glenn Lin, we reaffirm our goal of driving growth in the Asia-Pacific, as well as expanding our regional partner network in the individual countries and markets. Glenn’s international experience establishes him as a key figure in helping us to develop this important market over the long term.” Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) has appointed Rebecca Baker as Head of Marketing and Communications at Stockton Globe. The appointment comes as ATG confirms the opening of a new key role for its new 3,000-plus capacity North East venue; Technical and Buildings Manager, with a number of additional positions still to be announced. “As Head of Marketing and Communications at the Stockton Globe, I will shape the strategic direction of the venue’s marketing, with the overall aim of driving ticket sales and revenue,” Baker commented. “I will use my

previous experience raising the profile of businesses by firmly establishing the venue within the wider community and supporting the theatre’s long term growth plan.” Ayrton has appointed Sky Corporation as an exclusive distributor for Serbia. “We believe that high-quality products and top performance are paramount in numerous applications and projects, and that’s where Ayrton steps in,” said Sky Corporation Director, Milan Cvetinovic. “Ayrton will help us to build more value into the company and to our clients.” Ayrton Director of Strategic Development, Jonas Stenvinkel added: “We are delighted to have Sky Corporation on board as distributor for Serbia. The team there has an excellent reputation, are always demonstrably forward-thinking and great to work with.” CHAUVET Germany, a wholly owned subsidiary of ChamSys’ parent company, is now exclusively responsible for selling and servicing the complete line of ChamSys products in the German market. In conjunction with this move, Frank Alofs has been appointed to the role of German Business Development, Training and Support Manager. ChamSys Managing Director, Chris Kennedy commented on the move: “Going direct gives us greater resources to meet the demands created by 53


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INDUSTRY APPOINTMENTS

Wilhelm & Willhalm Head of Sales, Christoph zur Loye; Collaborative Creations Associate Director, David March; Digital Projection Business Development Manager for the South of France, Jerome Cadilhac; Vice President and Group Commercial Director, EMEA, Fiona Robson.

our rapid growth in Germany. This, combined with the deep understanding of the market that Frank brings, puts us in an ideal position to build on the success we’ve already achieved, so we can grow even more in 2021.” Sandec has been named the exclusive Norwegian distributor of CHAUVET Professional and CHAUVET DJ products. “Lighting has been missing from our portfolio,” commented Sandec CEO, Roar Birkeland. “Before adding any lighting brand, we wanted to be completely certain that it offered the quality that our customers associate with the Scandec name.” This enthusiasm is shared by the CHAUVET team. “We couldn’t be happier to have Scandec as our exclusive distributor in Norway,” said CHAUVET International Sales Director, Stéphane Gressier. “The dedication and energy that the Scandec team brings to the table will help us build on the momentum we have established in Norway.” CODA Audio has appointed Wilhelm & Willhalm Event Technology Group as a dealer partner in Southern Germany. CODA Audio Deutschland Managing Director, Ton Groen was upbeat about the new sales alliance: “We expect this new cooperation to result in an even greater market share for our high-quality systems, significantly widening distribution of our solutions. We have gained an excellent sales partner in Southern Germany, whose company philosophy matches our own, and we look forward with confidence to a mutually successful new year.” Wilhelm & Willhalm Head of Sales, Christoph zur Loye added: “With the systems from CODA Audio, we are expanding our portfolio with another attractive brand. Several criteria were decisive for the alliance with CODA Audio, including the impressive vertical range of manufacture, the attractive price-performance ratio and – last but not least – the high quality

of the loudspeaker systems. Unique selling points such as the DDP and DDC driver are increasingly requested by users.” Collaborative Creations has welcomed experienced industry sales and business leader, David March as Associate Director. “I’ve been very impressed with the energy, enthusiasm and expertise of the Collaborative Creations team,” March said. “The ethos of the business – bringing together a highly experienced team to work collaboratively on behalf of a client – is one that I think will pay dividends as it continues to grow, particularly during these changing times for our industry.” Collaborative Creations Director, Tom Wilkes commented: “Last year had a devastating impact on our industry, but we’re looking ahead to 2021 with a lot of positivity as we help our clients to grow their customer bases, establish strong new distribution networks and streamline their internal processes. Strong business development support for our clients is more vital than ever as the industry begins the process of rebuilding, and David will be a hugely valuable part of that.” Digital Projection has hired Jérôme Cadilhac as its Business Development Manager for the South of France. “Digital Projection is a company that is as innovative as it is adaptable. The company has been very smart in the way it’s been growing over the years, and their new RGB laser range – the Satellite MLS is a particularly good illustration of this,” Cadilhac said. “Despite its reach, the team remains close on an interpersonal level, and the managers are dynamic and attentive to the teams in the field, an environment I look forward to returning to.” Digital Projection’s Dirk Siedle added: “We’re really happy to bring Jérôme on board. His breadth of experience in the French professional 54


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INDUSTRY APPOINTMENTS

Soundware Sweden becomes an L-Acoustics Certified Provider Distributor; Mejor Sonido becomes Martin Audio’s first distributor in Ecuador; NicLen International Business Development for Europe, Scandinavia and UAE, Rob Merrilees; Observatory Director of Marketing, Kelly Faller.

projection market will be invaluable to us moving forward and his already established relationships are sure to help us increase our footprint in this strategically important market.” Encore has announced that Fiona Robson as its Vice President and Group Commercial Director, EMEA. “In a world changed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the future of events is going to be more tech-driven than ever before with hybrid events critical to the recovery of the industry,” Robson said. “I’m excited to build on today’s success within an organisation leading the field. Encore puts their customers at the centre of all they do, enabling them to continue to meet and seamlessly connect in-person and virtual audiences, regardless of where they are in the world.” The new appointment comes as the company, which was formerly known as PSAV and the family of companies, began to operate under the new Encore name. The move aligned its portfolio of companies, which included Hawthorn, KFP and AVC Live, under the new master brand. Encore EMEA Managing Director, Nicholas Rudge commented: “I’m delighted to welcome Fiona to the Encore EMEA team. She has deep, cross-functional expertise in sales, meetings and events and distribution, as well as a passion for innovation. With working experiences in many of the markets in the EMEA region, as well as speaking a number of languages, she was the perfect candidate for this critical role.” Soundware Sweden has added the L-Acoustics brand to its range of loudspeaker solutions. “L-Acoustics is the missing piece of our puzzle,” said Soundware Sweden Managing Director, Marcus Lundahl. “Soundware has been working with every piece of audio equipment from the microphone to the mixing console for many years, so adding loudspeakers was a natural

step for us. L-Acoustics is a logical addition for us, particularly as there is native integration with the L-ISA Controller in DiGiCo consoles.” L-Acoustics Regional Sales Manager, Scott Wakelin added: “We are delighted to welcome Soundware to the L-Acoustics network. The company’s reputation in the Swedish market is second to none and it is the ideal partner to help us further support our customers in the region.” Martin Audio has appointed Quito-based Mejor Sonido as its new distributor for Ecuador — the first time the British brand has had direct representation in this South American country. The move was confirmed by Martin Audio Director of Pro Active Latin America and LATAM Sales, Berenice Gutierrez, who handles the company’s sales activity on the continent. “This is the first official distribution partner in the country and I’m proud to get them on board, and into the LATAM Distributor Partnership,” Gutierrez commented. Mejor Sonido Owner and Managing Director, Ernesto Vallejo, added: “We are facing difficult times but will continue with our best efforts to work with top brands who believe in us, such as Martin Audio. I’m confident that once we are over [the COVID-19 pandemic], we will be able to offer great solutions for our clients with brands such as them.” Niclen has named Rob Merrilees – an industry veteran with over 35 years’ experience in the live events sector – as International Business Development for Europe, Scandinavia and UAE. Merrilees will lead rigging and truss hire for the UK market. Niclen CEO, Jörg Stöppler said: “We are pleased to welcome Rob and the wealth of experience he will bring.” Observatory has expanded its senior team with the addition of Kelly Faller as Director of Marketing. “Kelly brings a unique skill set that will 55


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INDUSTRY APPOINTMENTS

PK SOUND Chief Strategy Officer, James Oliver; Rock-it Cargo and Sound Moves join forces under the brand name, Rock-it Global; Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) appoints Rebecca Baker as Head of Marketing and Communications at Stockton Globe; VUE Audiotechnik owner, Michael von Keitz.

strengthen and drive expansion for the business,” said Observatory founder and Creative Director, Ben Sheppee. “We are thrilled to have Kelly add to and grow Observatory, building on our award-winning conceptual visual offering.” PK SOUND has announced the appointment of James Oliver as Chief Strategy Officer. “The culture of the organisation and technological advancements of the PK SOUND product line are completely in tune with the live events industry of tomorrow,” Oliver said. “The potential I inherit from the PK SOUND brand is incredible, and whatever comes next for the organization is a testament to the foundation that’s been laid before me.” PK SOUND CEO, Jeremy Bridge commented: “As we remerge postpandemic, PK will be a leader in reimagining a more collaborative and mutually beneficial pro audio industry. James adds a key element to our already-deep talent pool and will execute our strategy to reshape the future of sound. We’re excited to welcome him to the PK SOUND family. Rock-it Cargo and Sound Moves, both subsidiaries of Rock-it Cargo USA have joined forces under one brand name, Rock-it Global. “It’s time to get excited about the future, come together and be the best we can be, jump on all the pent-up energy and optimism of a new year, successful vaccines and the shared will of our clients to get back to business. Let’s get this show on the road,” said Sound Moves President and CEO, Duane Wood. “We’ve reorganised Rock-it in a way that we believe will provide for the

best customer experience and expertise available in global entertainment logistics,” said Non-Executive Chairman of the Board of Rock-it Cargo Holdings, David Bernstein. “The time our people have been off the road has allowed us to internally assess our strengths and ask how we could be stronger and more prepared when our clients signalled that it would be time to get back out. This move positions us for what lies ahead.” Rock-it Cargo CEO and President Paul Martins added: “This coming together is something long in the making. We devoted significant time and effort to bring this to fruition. I’m extremely pleased that Duane Wood, founder and CEO of Sound Moves is joining the Executive Team as Chief Strategy Officer. His experience leading Sound Moves will be a remarkable asset to the new combined company as well as the entire group of companies under our umbrella.” Michael von Keitz has acquired ownership of VUE Audiotechnik, a company which he co-founded in 2012. The brands now combined under one roof include VUE Audiotechnik, SE Audiotechnik and the high-fidelity product line mivoc. “The huge potential of an absolute high-end brand such as VUE was always clear to me,” said von Keitz. “The synergy of bringing together all our resources under one organisation will allow us to better meet customer needs without any compromise.” TPi www.tpimagazine.com/category/industry-jobs 56


TPi PRODUCTION GUIDE

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57


BACK CHAT

PHIL WOODHEAD Video Director, Phil Woodhead takes the hot seat to discuss the importance of adaptability, the evolution of video technology and his latest lockdown venture.

What sparked your interest in live events? I was already in the live industry as a cameraman for extreme sports shows which, for the most part, requires a similar skillset, when I was approached to join The Rolling Stones Bridges to Babylon Tour in ’97–98 because someone dropped out. The rest, as they say, is history…

How have you been keeping occupied in lockdown? I’ve started a new business, www.philfybrews.co.uk, which is a home delivery service for craft beer and cider in a five-mile radius of my hometown of Shoreham-by-Sea. My stock is from small, independent breweries, including cider from a fellow roadie, Jolyon Oliver of Napton Cider. What advice would you offer to industry newcomers? Make sure you have a transferable skillset, which allows you to operate during times you aren’t able to tour. For example, if you’re an LED tech, learn how to use your skills as an electrician. It’s also important to become an expert in the field you’re interested in by learning as much as you can. Hone your craft and become good at multitasking so that you can acclimatise to the fast-paced nature of touring. Importantly, if you are freelance, make sure that your accounting is spot on, so you don’t come into any trouble later down the road.

How has your workflow evolved in recent times? The advance in technology, particularly the emergence of media servers and advanced LED screen setups, has meant that I’ve had to acquire and absorb more technical information.

What are some of your career highlights so far? Touring the UK and Europe as a Video Director with Kings of Leon for eight years non-stop. The Stone Roses Reunion Tour in 2012–13 was also a big highlight. Above all, I’ve had the privilege and been very fortunate to work with some amazing designers such as Paul Normandale, Cate Carter, Cassius Creative and fantastic production crew members during my time on the road.

What is the best advice that you have received? Be adaptable. Turn your hand to what is required on site, within reason, and make sure you’re up to speed with the hamster wheel of touring because it doesn’t slow down. 58


SUPPORTING THE INDUSTRY FROM 1987 SUPPORTING THE INDUSTRY THROUGH 2020 SUPPORTING THE INDUSTRY IN 2021 AND BEYOND

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C S-S E R I E S. On-board DSP and optimization give you unparalleled power, with revolutionary control over every performance environment. This is Adamson’s legendary sound, evolved for the networked future of professional audio. E X PLO R E C S-S E R I E S AT P OW E R. A DA M S O N SYS T E M S.C O M/C O N T RO L

Profile for Mondiale Media

TPi February 2021 - #258  

Jean-Michel Jarre - Virtual Show, Remote Show Productions, Flashpoint Season 2, Baldo Verdú - Live from Milkit Studio, Arena Group Interview...

TPi February 2021 - #258  

Jean-Michel Jarre - Virtual Show, Remote Show Productions, Flashpoint Season 2, Baldo Verdú - Live from Milkit Studio, Arena Group Interview...

Profile for mondiale