TOTAL PRODUCTION INTERNATIONAL
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TOTAL PRODUCTION INTERNATIONAL
WWW.TPiMAGAZINE.COM JANUARY 2014
LIVE EVENT DESIGN & TECHNOLOGY • JANUARY 2014 • ISSUE 173
#WILLPOWER TAKES TO THE STAGE AND RAISES THE BAR FOR TOURING VISUALS
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
VOLBEAT • IN PROFILE: BRADLEY ENGINEERING • STEREOPHONICS • CHASE & STATUS • JLS VIVA LAS VEGAS • IN THE SPOTLIGHT: STAGELINE • UK AND IRELAND RENTAL HOUSE DIRECTORY
NOTHING SHOULD STAND BE T WEEN YOU AND THE MUSIC FEBRUARY 2014
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HAPPY NEW YEAR It’s official; I don’t fit into my jeans, have developed a mild addiction to cinnamon (or maybe mulled wine, I can’t remember which) and am rapidly trying to think of something intelligent to say to Huey Morgan. This can only mean one thing; January is upon me and a whole new year of touring schedules are about to begin, challenge and astonish the lot of us. I hope you all had a good break over the holidays, became a regular in your local pub and slept on something that wasn’t in transit! On my first day back in the office, it already seems there is so much going on in ‘our world’, that the live and touring industry is one that takes legal rest breaks, rather than ever really sleeps. Yet it constantly progresses. Not just in terms of technology or creativity, but in terms of relationship-building and opinion probing. What always amazes me the most, is the support crews and vendors show each other in these fast-paced, demanding touring environments. I experienced such a moment on the mean streets of Oslo recently (ok, they weren’t really mean, they were very pretty and full of seasonal street buskers) where I attended a gig to hear a new sound system. Coda Audio “What always amazes me is a relatively new manufacturer in the pro audio is the support crews and sector, and granted, trying to establish a brand vendors show each other is a huge task in itself, but Coda isn’t only doing in fast-paced, demanding that; it is reinventing the way PA systems are produced from the inside out. Have a read for touring environments...” yourself on Pg.10. This edition of TPi also brings you a UK and Ireland rental house directory, with suppliers explaining what services, rental stock and crews are available at their HQs. Whether you need a back-up sound desk, that latest LED fixture or an entire production facilitating, we’re sure you’ll find the right company for the job. Leading the way in terms of visuals this month is cover story, will.i.am’s tour which truly impressed reporter Simon Duff. Did you see the tour? Feel free to leave your thoughts via our digital outputs. After dropping in on the production delights based in Las Vegas - including some very passionate tour suppliers! - (see Pg.48 for details) I then enjoyed a great chat with Stageline for the first time at the city’s LDI show. The successful expo turned out to be the perfect place to catch up with our North American contacts. Speaking of which, the TPi team will be keeping up momentum in the tradeshow world in 2014, firstly attending NAMM in California and ISE in Amsterdam. This issue will be distributed at both, so if you see us walking the show floor at either expo, please come and say hello! Until next time, I’m sure we’ll see you near a booth, band or bar soon! Kelly Murray Editor
CHAINMASTER BÜHNENTECHNIK GMBH
Uferstrasse 23, 04838 Eilenburg, Germany Tel.: +49 (0) 3423 - 69 22 0 Fax: +49 (0) 3423 - 69 22 21 E-Mail: email@example.com www.chainmaster.de 03
a member of
Editor Kelly Murray Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8371 Mobile: +44 (0)7738 154689 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org International Advertising & Sponsorship Hannah Eakins Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7760 485230 e-mail: email@example.com
CONTENTS 01/2014 EVENT FOCUS 06
will.i.am Simon Duff gets to grips with the seven-time Grammy winner’s visually captivating production.
Volbeat Kelly Murray goes to Norway for a Coda Audio touring debut that really packs a punch.
Gary Numan TPi chats to Richard Bagshaw about LED visuals.
Advertising Sales Kieren Gardens Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7733 113284 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
20 Graphic Design & Production Dan Seaton: email@example.com Mel Robinson: firstname.lastname@example.org
www.tpimagazine.com • www.tpiawards.com Cover Photography will.i.am by Simon Duff
PRODUCTION PROFILE 28
Annual subscriptions (including P&P): £42 (UK), £60 (Europe), £78/$125 (RoW). Subscription enquiries to: Subscriptions, Mondiale Publishing Limited, Waterloo Place, Watson Square, Stockport SK1 3AZ, UK; Tel: +44 (0)161 476 5580; Fax: +44 (0)161 476 0456; e-mail: email@example.com Issue 173 / January 2014
Chase & Status Sarah Rushton-Reed gets the laser treatment from the Brit electronic duo.
E SPOTLIGHT 36
Printed by Buxton Press
Jake Bugg From club shows to sell out tours, Utopium lighting allows the critically aclaimed star to shine.
Contributors Sarah Rushton-Read, Simon Duff Intern Luca Furio
Andrea Bocelli Italian sophistication combines as Outline and the classical star unite for audio evolution.
General Manager Justin Gawne Mondiale Group Chairman Damian Walsh
JLS Robe hits the lights on the pop sensation’s Goodbye tour.
Stereophonics Simon Duff attends the Welsh trio’s latest tour in support of their eighth studio album.
44 Nitro Circus Capital Sound takes Sweden by storm for this high-octane live event.
ON THE ROAD 52 Viva Las Vegas From circus to warehouse, the entertainment capital of the world gets a visit from TPi.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT 60 Stageline Kelly Murray hears from Canada’s environmentally friendly mobile staging pioneer.
COMPANY PROFILE 62 Bradley Engineering
TOTAL PRODUCTION INTERNATIONAL is a controlled circulation magazine, published 12 times a year by Mondiale Publishing Limited under licence. ISSN 1461-3786 Copyright © 2013 Mondiale Publishing 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 Publishing 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 Publishing Limited United Kingdom. The 2013 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 Publishing Ltd. Waterloo Place, Watson Square, Stockport, SK1 3AZ, UK.
Simon Duff talks to the robo-cam developer.
The GM tells you where you stand with standards.
UK & IRELAND RENTAL HOUSES 70
TPi delivers an equipment hire directory.
MOVERS & SHAKERS 82
The latest industry appointments and career moves.
VITAL STATS 86
Stuart Thomson of CUK Audio takes the hot seat. 5
EVENT FOCUS: will.i.am
WILL.I.AM’S WILLPOWER IN SUPPORT OF WILL.I.AM’S RE-RELEASED #WILLPOWER, HIS FOURTH STUDIO ALBUM, COMPLETE WITH NEW SONGS AND A HOST OF REMIXES, THE SINGER UNDERTOOK A EUROPEAN ARENA TOUR TAKING IN 11 SHOWS IN 15 DAYS THROUGH FRANCE, ENGLAND, GERMANY AND THE NETHERLANDS. WITH A HEAVY EMPHASIS ON VISUALS IN THE FORM OF 3D PROJECTION MAPPING, THREE GIANT INFLATABLE HEADS AND CLAIR BROTHERS PROVIDING AN AUDIO SYSTEM, PRODUCTION MANAGER NEIL PORTER (ALSO THE OWNER OF FULL FORCE PRODUCTIONS), REALISED ONE OF THE UK’S MOST STUNNING POP PRODUCTIONS OF 2013. SIMON DUFF WENT TO LONDON’S 02 ARENA TO REPORT ON THE SHOW’S THEATRICAL ‘WOW’ FACTOR, WHICH HE CLAIMS RAISES THE BAR FOR TOURING PROJECTION... will.i.am has constantly questioned and challenged the notion of pop, technology, and indeed the very nature of corporate life, in all its varying forms. When it comes to touring his vision is equally as strong and exciting. Tasked with over seeing and realising his ideas for the month long tour was Neil Porter, one of the industry’s most respected Production Managers. His clients include Kylie Minogue, Scissor Sisters, Britney Spears and nine NFL Super Bowls to countless high profile fashion and trade shows. Based in Los Angeles he started his career as a carpenter on the 1994 Lollapalooza touring festival before moving to Los Angeles in 1995 working for All Access Staging and Productions and then in 1998 with Merv Griffin Productions. “This show is all about the visual,” explained Porter, who has been working with will.i.am 06
since early March 2013. “Will was very inspired by James Turrell, the American contemporary artist who works a lot with light and space. We had a meeting with Will a few months ago to discuss his vision. He wanted notions of new space, of bold vibrant colours and silhouette on colour, similar to the early iPod 2002 TV commercials. It all happened very fast.” The set itself was a collaborative design between Jeff Hall, Paul Normandale, Neil Porter, Jenn Sartory and Nicholas Militello. All of the video content was designed by Nicholas Militello, Ian McDaniel and Pasha Shapiro. The set was built by All Access with just two weeks build time from design to completion prior to rehearsals in Los Angeles. Porter continued: “We’re in nine trucks supplied by EST Transam with a load in time of about five hours which will come down as the tour progresses, and we load out in about two
EVENT FOCUS: will.i.am
Opposite: will.i.am’s London O2 Arena show was performed to 20,000 fans. Below: The camera system was an XL Video three-camera PPU with an additional three Sony Robocams; Clair Brothers i.5, i.5b, 14 per side created the main hang, all powered by Lab.gruppen PLM 20000Qs.
hours. Six busses from Beat the Street carry the 33 strong touring crew.” After four days of rehearsals in Los Angeles last October, essentials were shipped to Europe prior to two days of rehearsals in France before the first show in front of a sold out crowd at Paris’ Zenith. The lighting design was constructed by Paul Normandale with Glen Johnson as Lighting Director and Charles Woods, Video Director. Lite Alternative supplied lights and rigging, video came from XL Video and lasers via Strictly FX. TEAM VISUAL Central to the show is the use of 3D projection mapping and video content. In total around 300 video cues are used for the various stage screens and three DJ head points structures, with an inflatable shape that creates the head shape projection surface. These heads at various points take a lip sync feed showing Will singing. “Will expressly wanted to be lit himself, from the video projection content and not from
dedicated lighting points; it works brilliantly,” said LD Johnson. “Everything is about the projection, everyone is twisting to make that work. Even the PA boys were saying ‘OK where do we need to be to help you. It’s team show and everyone is pulling together to break boundaries and create something very original’.” To that end a total of 12 HD projectors are used to create the projection mapping on stage. Included in the line up are four Barco HDQ-2K40K projectors at the FOH position. A double stack of two Barco HDF-W26Ks are used either side of the stage covering the rear stage wall and a further two set of Barco HDF-W26Ks are set up, stacked, either side half way down the auditorium floor. The camera system is an XL Video three camera PPU with an additional three Sony Robocams. Two pairs of Barco R12+ provide images to the imag screens. FOH playback comes in two parts. A pair of Catalyst media servers provide images to the back wall and headers, while a set of three Coolux Pandora’s Box servers are used for the
heads, doing both the video mapping and the playback. Of the 40k Projectors, two cover the front roll drops and portions of the back wall while the other two do the faces of the heads. Of the eight 26k Projectors, a pair covers the left sides of all the heads, another pair the right sides, while the remaining two pairs cover the entire backdrop. Johnson uses an MA Lighting grandMA2 console for the show. “I trust the desk entirely. We are using time code and from that point of view it is rock solid,” he said. “We take our time code from Eric Harris, who is running Pro Tools from the side of the side of the stage. As soon as the console sees timecode it will automatically fire up that movie file for me, load the Catalyst media sever, put the intensity up and at the end point pull a fader down for me and release all the functions in Catalyst as well.” Each song on the set list has its own hour base time code so the first song starts at one hour the second at two hours and so on. Johnson continued: “It means that if they swap a song
EVENT FOCUS: will.i.am
Below: In total around 300 video cues are used for the various stage screens and three DJ head points structures, with an inflatable shape that creates the head shape projection surface; Four Barco HDQ-2K40K projectors were used at FOH; Brian Hubbard FOH Mix Engineer with DiGiCo SD5; Strictly FX provided the tour’s special effects.
around it doesn’t matter. They just fire up that time code. The desk picks it up and fires all the relevant files and does it automatically. Will is a very fluid artist and can make changes in Pro Tools right up to doors and we can deal with those changes very easily and I have back up time code feeds.” The lighting fixtures kept to a minimum they included eight Clay Paky Sharpys, 16 Martin Professional MAC Aura and five Mac Viper Profiles, two FOH follow spots and one follow spot that Will uses from his ‘head’ DJ position. All trusses are straight with white rags covering the lighting fixtures, for a clean look. Lasers comprised three 30W RGBs. SOUND WORLD Mixing at FOH is Brian Hubbard, a hugely talented affable engineer with over 20 years of experience mixing for the likes of Prince, Earth Wind & Fire, 50 Cent, Gladys Night, Missy Elliott and Timberland. He mixes on a DiGiCo 08
SD5, working at 96K with an Apogee Big Ben sync clock. Hubbard picks up around 52 channels from the stage via the three DJ heads and other feeds, including vocal microphones. “I love Midas desks but I am equally happy mixing on DiGiCo,” he said: “Overall for this show I would say that the SD5 is probably easier to operate on a set up like this. Interfacing external effects onto the desk digitally, which I am using here, is very easy to achieve.” For on board effects he uses a choice selection of Waves delay and compressor settings but goes outboard for much of his effects sound. These include a TC Electronic 2290 delay unit, two TC Electronic 4000 reverb units and a TC Electronic 6000 reverb. On Will’s voice and one other vocal microphone he uses a BSS901 compressor prior to a Focusrite Liquid Channel running at 96K, set up with an SSL G 4000 Mic pre and de-stressor compressor combination. On his left right buss
EVENT FOCUS: will.i.am
Below: will.i.am performed a selection of hits, inlcuding Bang Bang; The FOH control world which was a hub of DiGiCo control surfaces.
SD5 output he uses an Avalon 747 compressor to give him a touch of analogue as the signal leaves the desk. PA wise the hang at The 02 comprised Clair Brothers i.5, i.5b, 14 per side in the main hang, with ten side hangs made up of i.3 Fills consisted of eight P2’s. For subwoofers, 12 BT-218’s were ground stacked per side and all powered by the Clair co-designed Lab.gruppen PLM 20000Q amplifiers. Hubbard is entirely happy with the system. He said: “I have all the head room that I need and all the bass that Will wants.” Hubbard mixes manually with some scene recalls used if required. He is keen to stress how much he admires working for Will. “Because he is a producer he know exactly what he wants effects wise and more than that from which box.” Monitor Engineer, Lawrence ‘Filet’ Mignona also mixes on an SD5. All of the system was coordinated by System Engineer, Kevin Carl Gilpatric. The crew was rounded out with Adam Collins and Falko Knuppl as System Technicians and Rooster Ruggles, as monitor technician. Highlights of the set at The 02 included a breathtaking romantic opening set reveal for the Intro Good Morning, before a heavy spiritual blue colour focus and Japanese inspired, techno rework of #That Power featuring Justin Bieber, for the main entrance. This Is Love, with Leah followed before Bang Bang. Boom Boom Pow
sounded fresh and still relevant with a return of the green grids projected across the whole stage. For Heart Breaker Cheryl Cole made a guest appearance. The set ended with a revamped and hyper-charged version of Scream & Shout. Hubbard’s FOH mix is faithful to all intentions, with a majestic bass power and key subtle detail in all areas. Visually the production is a modern, bold, thrilling, theatrical rollercoaster of a ride that Mark Fisher would have been proud of and his team deserve nothing less. Promoted by AEG Live, Bring on the World is an ideal representation of will.i.am as an artist. He remains the quintessential 21st Century pop star: part technologist, songwriter, pop strategist, fashion icon, corporate theorist and company director. Yet above all is a hard-working and brilliant live entertainer, dedicated to constant change on stage. With this production team behind him, who knows what’s next. TPi Show photos by Simon Duff www.allaccessinc.com www.beatthestreet.net www.clairsystems.com www.fullforceproductions.com www.lite-alternative.com www.strictlyfx.com, www.xlvideo.com www.aeglive.co.uk
QUALITY AVAILABILITY RELIABILITY INNOVATION
12. - 15.03.2014 - Frankfurt
HALL 11.0 / STAND B11 facebook.com/GlobalTruss
04. - 06.02.2014 / 9-A138
EVENT FOCUS: Volbeat
VOLBEAT AND THE CODA EFFECT WITH A NEW PA SYSTEM THAT’S MAKING INFLUENTIAL WAVES IN SOME PRO AUDIO CIRCLES, CODA AUDIO IS GOING FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH. A DANISH METAL BAND SET THE SCENE IN NORWAY FOR CODA’S AIRLINE LA-12 SYSTEM SUPPLIED BY DANISH AUDIO RENTAL COMPANY, DPA SOUNDCO. PROVING THAT BEING A NEW KID ON THE BLOCK DOESN’T MEAN YOU CAN’T BESTOW SOME IMPRESSIVE CREDENTIALS, KELLY MURRAY FLEW TO OSLO TO HEAR THE MIGHTY CHEST THUD OF CODA AUDIO’S BIGGEST LINE ARRAY. If you’re not familiar with Coda Audio’s equipment, you’re certainly not alone. Before arriving at Oslo’s Spektrum arena - during the soundcheck of American hair wielding, rib rattling metal band, Iced Earth (nope, I didn’t go home with their CD) - I’d personally only heard a Coda Audio system once before. My only previous experience of Coda was its ViRAY system used on the comedy tour of Mrs. Browns Boys, A comedy tour where the clarity of the spoken word is of the utmost importance is an altogether different environment to the one which was occurring in Norway. The impressive reveal of the 12-inch AIRLINE LA-12 system came courtesy of headline act, Volbeat, a bone-bashing riff laboratory of a band. The part Danish, part American, rockabilly metal (imagine a black magic influenced country star with more than a touch of heavy guitars) are in fact the first band to be touring with enough Coda kit to please an arena where the audience is a 10,000 strong Nordic metal 10
army, who by all accounts, could have invented facial hair. No pressure there, then. Supplying the audio for this European tour is Danish rental company, DPA SoundCo, a fully-fledged supporter of the manufacturer, which although undoubtedly lesser-known than its competitors, is gaining momentum within the industry. But what exactly has engaged a fleet of engineers across the UK and Europe to take a chance on the technology behind a relatively unknown brand? Paul Ward of Anderson Ward Consulting is part of the company responsible for the international brand development of Coda Audio. He explained: “Coda is unique because they design and manufacture all of the components inside their boxes. Pretty much every other brand you see out there at best assembles components, but doesn’t actually manufacturer them. “If we design a speaker, we start from the basics; we don’t just have a box, look around
on the market and say ‘where can we buy this stuff?’, we actually design and manufacturer it to the spec that we want to create. This means we have a distinct advantage over the competition. Our driver technology is patented, innovative and is different to others.” This unique patented technology - including the latest DDP Dual Diaphragm Planar-wavedriver technology included in the ViRAY system - has improved dynamic response, clarity and transparency within the system, and its this continual innovation which is enticing sound engineers to want to be a part of the development of Coda. SEARCHING FOR THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT DPA SoundCo’s System Designer, Ulrik Lucas Rasmussen, added: “This was one of the reasons why we chose the system to begin with. We were looking for something that other systems were lacking. We’re the kind of company that is always searching for audio Nirvana,
EVENT FOCUS: Volbeat
Opposite: Volbeat sold out Oslo’s Spektrum, and played to an eager fan-base; FOH Engineer, Mads Mikkelsen; The tours Coda rig, supplied by DPA Soundco comprised the new Airline LA-12 and the smaller ViRAY boxes; The team in Norway (L-R) PA Rigger, Michael Madsen, Anderson Ward Consulting’s Paul Ward and DPA SoundCo’s Ulrik Lucas Rasmussen, System Designer.
so we constantly keep searching for the right equipment and manufactures that we can work with. We heard about Coda and went to hear it. In the mid and high frequencies, it really has some real advantages, tonnes of headroom and a lot less distortion with the planar wave drivers that it uses. That was why we found it very interesting. Maybe it wasn’t the easiest brand to choose, because it didn’t have the weight behind its name, but we were in the market for a new speaker system, and we thought why not take something that we believe in and
then make other people believe in it, instead of going with the hype of another and convincing ourselves that it’s good enough?” It’s not just Coda Audio’s quality which caught DPA SoundCo’s attention, but the entire PA solution: “The sound of a PA is one thing, but the packaging, how it goes in the air, how it trucks and everything else is really important too,” added Rasmussen. “The rigging system is impressive; it’s really fast, really safe and really easy to use. We’re saving time and money as a consequence.”
Ward added: “We knew we had the sound right, but we wanted to make sure the mechanics of how it goes together was right too. We’ve been working on that for a couple of years now just to fine tune it, and now the words out there.” Volbeat’s tour is using the largest amount of Coda Audio kit that has ever been out on the road, including the tour debut of the SC3-F subwoofer. Rasmussen furthered: “That’s the stuff that sort of hits you in the chest! The other advantage with the Coda package is that you
EVENT FOCUS: Volbeat
Below: The fans certainly seemed pleased with the sound at the busy Olso gig; This year, Coda Audio will begin to expand its brand into America following successful UK and European developments.
can scale it up and down - you can use it for smaller shows and scale it right up for arena shows. It means that this system that does Volbeat in the biggest arena around Europe also do the theatre jobs during the indoor season.” The main PA was generally flown low and aimed to cover floor and lower side / back stands of the venue. Outfill was used to cover the sides and corners plus the upper balcony areas. Delays were used as a supplement to outfill for covering balconies on both the far side and back of the arena. According to Rasmussen, this could be achieved due to the precise 100 degree horizontal coverage of the speaker. In Oslo no delays were used. For this tour capacities ranging from 8,00017,000 people the PA was configured with 76 Coda AIRLINE LA-12; 36 - 40 LA-12 as the main PA, 16 - 24 LA-12 as outfill and 16 boxes for delays, depending on the arena size. A total of 24 Coda SC3-F sensor controlled bass extenders were flown behind main PA to augment the low-mid, and 24 Coda SC8 sensor controlled subwoofers were ground stacked. Additionally, Coda Audio’s ViRAY enhanced the system design; eight ViRAY were flown for the centre cluster, 12 ViRAY created the nearfill spec and sidefill comprised 12 Coda ViRAY speakers. A total of four Coda SCV-F subwoofer / bass extenders and four Coda SCP sensor controlled subwoofers were also utilised. The flown SC3-F subwoofer created a low-mid / bass extender to the main, flown 12 in a row behind main PA. Outfill / delay was carefully aligned to work together with the main configuration in a full range frequency response. This was possible because of the carefully considered position of the outfill. “This system really works for this kind of music. Mads [Mikkelsen] at FOH loves the sound of the 12-inch system and how it responds to the guitars. Other engineers say that they can hear things in the music through the Coda system that they couldn’t hear before, even in the studio,” highlighted Rasmussen. “That’s 12
down to the driver technology. Mads has had nights where he simply says ‘It’s perfect for me I don’t know how I can make this better’. Normally an engineer will want to change things,but he has had a lot of moments where he’s just says ‘wow’.” FOH APPROVAL “I have been FOH engineer for Volbeat for almost eight years now and this is the first arena tour we’ve done with Coda,” said Mikkelsen. “We did a small 1,000 - 2,000 seater tour in February in Denmark just for the super fans, and that’s when I was turned on to the system. “DPA SoundCo had tried to get me into Coda for a long time. I’ve always been a d&b audiotechnik J-Series guy, but then I agreed to take the Coda out and I was really surprised. It responded exactly how I wanted it to respond when I was dialing up. If I change something, I hear the difference really clearly and that’s what I like about it. It also has more high-end, and it’s smoother so I can still make a very clear guitar sound without it getting harsh. And then I love the 12-inch; that’s also the reason I picked the J-Series, because with the guitars I’m mixing, I need a lot of that low-mid that the 12’s produce.” “Some engineers may say they hear things in the music through this system that they haven’t heard before, but you are also able to put things back in your mix that you normally would take out because it sounds too harsh. I will always try to mix as low as I can without losing the energy or the clearance and it’s very easy with this because you can really open it up and make it sound and feel loud - but it doesn’t hurt your ears!” Besides the PA system, Mikkelsen is an avid DiGiCo fan. “It’s definitely my choice of desk, especially the SD8 as its very, very flexible. That’s one of the main things I like about DiGiCo; the sound quality is a given, but the flexibility of a DiGiCo is unmatched by anything else; it never tells me no.
“I used to be on an SD7 when I did arenas and used an SD8 when I did clubs, but I soon figured out that I can have everything on my SD8. This means when I do club tours, I have the same files as when when we go to arenas or the US. Everything is always the same and it’s customised for this band. “With the Coda / DiGiCo combo, I get a really positive response, but I can only mix for myself and I’ve been really surprised with this rig. You can be in an awful room that’s just acoustically horrible, but then when I go down and actually listen to the console and the speakers, I’m always really impressed,” said Mikkelsen. The tour’s DiGiCo desks comprise the engineer’s SD8 at FOH with Waves plugins, an SD7 in monitor world and an SD10 for support bands. The two FOH desks are running 48Khz and the monitor desk is running 96kHz. Mikkelsen is also using a Waves Soundgrid. THE 2014 TAKE OVER After a successful run in the UK, Europe, Middle East and Far East, and following Volbeat’s Oslo performance, cumulating in a triumphant European run, 2014 will see Coda take its systems into America. Some British exports which guarantee an audience in the States have already been heard through Coda Audio in Europe, including Elton John and Sting. The long-standing Clair artists, who’s engineers are truly world-class, took the plunge with Coda Audio when the opportunity arose and were happy with the results. So much so that Elton John’s crew have requested it a second time. Rasmussen concluded: “We’re getting a fantastic reaction to the Coda system. Everyone who hears it is an instant convert.” With such an on-going positive response, Coda Audio is undoubtedly a name - and a system you’ll be hearing more of. TPi www.volbeat.dk www.codaaudio.com www.dpasoundco.dk
SD7 / SD7T / SD7B
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EVENT FOCUS: Gary Numan
GARY NUMAN SYNTHESISER-CLAD NEW WAVE ICON, GARY NUMAN, RETURNED TO THE UK FROM HIS NEW HOME IN LOS ANGELES IN ORDER TO TOUR HIS LATEST LIVE CREATION SPLINTER - SONGS FROM A BROKEN MIND. THE VETERAN POST PUNK PIONEER HAS SCORED A NEW TOP 20 ALBUM, AND WITH THE HELP OF DIGITAL INSANITY, HAS A BRAND NEW LIVE SHOW DESIGN IN TOW. TPi SPOKE TO RICHARD BAGSHAW AT THE BRIGHTON DOME ABOUT THE TOUR’S VISUALS. Digital Insanity had been tasked with the video design, content creation, build and operation of Gary Numan’s new tour, Splinter. Video Designer - a role which for this tour included content creation, LED teching, media server programming, operating and social media video editing duties! - Richard Bagshaw, described this tour as an exciting and flexible technical challenge. He also made it understood that age knows no boundaries with art, and therefore this was no nostalgia tour. In fact, Bagshaw refers to Numan as a very current artist, who still likes to push the boundaries of technology now, just as he did in the early ‘80s at the start of his career.
for our needs. We devised a floor package system allowing us to not only rig quickly with minimum labour, but we also made the array flexible enough for us to make the necessary downsizing required at a few of the venues where we couldn’t fit the whole rig onto the stage giving the show the same feel regardless of venue size.” For Bagshaw, the appeal of the BT20 was its transparency. Half of the backline was placed behind the front section of LED screen so that when the band were lit, they were highly visible. He continued: “It felt to a degree as though the screen had disappeared, giving the aesthetic of a post apocalyptic high-tech display, which is very Numan.”
LED WITHIN THE DESIGN The stage set was created using Colour Sound Experiment’s BT20 LED screen, which formed the show’s backdrop and featured specially made graphics throughout. Said Bagshaw: “Not only is this screen amazingly bright (4,500 nits) but only weighs in at 4.5kg per panel due to its carbon fibre frame, making it perfect
PLAYBACK At the heart of the playback and control system was a Green Hippo Hippotizer HD media server, supplied by Digital Insanity. Making good use of the video mapper feature to allow for easy pixel mapping of the ‘exploded’ LED screen array, the media server additionally allowed Bagshaw to easily reconfigure the video outputs when the
show downscales for intimate venues. “We also had our new visualisation software MUDVU2 (developed for us by the NINJAPIMPS) running directly into the Hippotizer DVI capture interface for a couple of the tracks. This new software creates realtime visual representation of the audio waveform,” explained Bagshaw. “To isolate this further, we had separate lines for the mix, microphones, keyboards, drums and so on, from the FOH mixing desk. This ensured we could isolate the exact part of the audio that we wished to visualise. After the success of its use on this tour, we are working closely with the developers to add extra functionality to the software as I hope to be able to create a 100% generative video show purely based on the audio coming from the stage in the future.” Numan’s live show was 70% driven by timecode coming direct from the stage, giving the show a visual baseline that had extra elements added over the top during the live performance. “This was a great set up as it gave us the opportunity to develop the show as the tour progressed,” stated Bagshaw. “We filmed a reference video each night from the back of the
EVENT FOCUS: Gary Numan
Opposite: Digital Insanity created a visual backdrop to the tour, showing content designed by Richard Bagshaw. Below: The LED screens were BT20, supplied by Colour Sound Experiment.
On the road… with the right material ■
venue and went through it with the band members on the bus, making subtle changes to the show and the way in which the band used the light from the LED screens to create dynamic silhouettes. This was paramount for us, as we had no rehearsal time in the UK as they came direct from the US leg of the tour.” CONTENT Digital Insanity has been producing live video content for Numan for the last few years, so Bagshaw and his team already had a good feel for what he likes. “It’s great as we are given a lot of creative freedom after the initial artistic guidelines are put in place. Getting sent the new album was an exciting new project for us to get our teeth into, and after a couple of weeks on repeat the ideas were taking shape. We started by creating 11 new looks and reworking a further eight older looks. “We also shot the show each night to create a viral video, as part of the tour’s online marketing activity. We posted on Gary’s YouTube channel which then allowed him to repost this to his fans on facebook and twitter. It created a real buzz in his online community,” said Bagshaw. Numan’s show is diverse, with the set changing from subtle live camera effects to an strobeheavy atmosphere for the heavier numbers. Although the tour has been great fun for the road crew, and particularly Bagshaw, the look of Splinter has also been met with an approving audience and some triumphant notoriety from the non-trade critics. Bagshaw pointed out one review (from www.electricity-club.co.uk) which declared of the new look tour: “The film projections have gone, replaced by a huge LED lightshow that enhances the more electronic
but heavy aura of Splinter, relying more on the surreal standpoints to stir the imagination, rather than literal illustrations.” TECHNOLOGICAL AND CREATIVE SUCCESS Tour Manager and Lighting Designer, Andrew Keightley, had the role of creating a new show each day from the venue-supplied house rigs and desks. Bagshaw continued: ”It was great working with such an empathic lighting designer when it comes to the tour’s video elements. Andrew trusted that in our preproduction, we would leave space for the lights rather than overpowering it with our video content from start to finish.” After years of creating video content with one of Britain’s most unique and identifiable musicians, Digital Insanity has now become a part of the Numan touring family. The singer’s UK Manager, Ade Fenton concluded: “The contribution that Richard and his team at Digital Insanity made to Gary Numan’s Splinter tour cannot be underestimated. Their imagination, professionalism and dedication to the project resulted in a truly fantastic visual experience for the fans and it is no surprise that many of them described the show as the best they’d seen for over 30-years. We’re looking forward to working with Digital Insanity again in the future.” The crew was completed by Leigh Hunt, FOH Engineer, Jacqueline Nott, Monitor Engineer, Martin Rodwell and Andrew Rogers as Backline Technicians, Gary Layton handling security and Gemma Webb in the wardrobe department. TPi Photos: Kate Perring www.numan.co.uk www.digitalinsanity.co.uk www.coloursound.co.uk
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EVENT FOCUS: JLS
JLS DURING DECEMBER 2013 BRITISH BOYBAND JLS EMBARKED ON THEIR GOODBYE-THE GREATEST HITS TOUR. AFTER FOUR HUGELY SUCCESSFUL YEARS REACHING CRITICAL ACCLAIM, THEY DECIDED TO SPLIT, ENDING WITH A UK ARENA TOUR. FACILITATED BY PRODUCTION NORTH WITH LIGHTING SUPLLIED BY HSL, THE BAND’S LIGHTING DESIGNER, DAVE LEE IS ONE OF THE UK’S MOST SUCCESFUL. THE TOUR WAS LEE’S FIRST CHANCE TO WORK WITH THE MUCH TALKED ABOUT ROBE POINTE FIXTURE. SIMON DUFF CAUGHT UP WITH LEE AT THE NOTTINGHAM CAPITAL FM ARENA TO TALK JLS, THE POINTE AND THE FUTURE OF LIGHTING DESIGNS. Dave Lee began his lighting career in Liverpool in the mid 90s working his way up from humble beginnings at a disco lighting shop near to his parent’s house. Fixing and learning on the job, it was at the height of the rave scene when he worked at The State, a popular Merseyside dance music venue in an old ballroom, complete with lasers and a state of the art lighting rig. In ‘97 he became Echo and The Bunnymen’s lighting designer going on to tour the world with the band. His skill, dedication and hard work is a great example to anyone wanting to get into the industry. Lee is an affable, down to earth, good humoured and above all hugely skilled and knowledgeable lighting designer. His passion for 16
it shows through in his work and his clients rank among the best in the business. In 1999 he switched course and went to work for Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance, where he was board operator, prior to a redesign of the lighting that he undertook himself. Lee followed that with work on the next Flatley production, Celtic Tiger. In 2003 he began his association with Production North that continues to this day. Initially his work was with Westlife, a Peter Barnes lighting design. Lee sites him as his lighting mentor. He said: “I have learnt so much from Peter and owe so much to him. We did three or four Westlife tours together with Pete designing it and I programmed and ran it. We had some great times working together, I learnt so much
from him about filling spaces and trying to make the most out of what you have got and where lights should go on a rig to gain the most out of them. Pete would do a design for a show, then send it to me in a Vectorworks drawing and I would work on that prior to production rehearsals.” Lee’s lighting style also owes a lot to what he learnt in the rave culture of the ‘90s. Both for JLS and One Direction, who Lee has toured with since their X Factor final. Big bold, techno, futuristic, unusual angles are the order of the day for the JLS Goodbye Tour. He explained: “The general look of the JLS show is very much based on a club look. The music has a big dance element to it with a club feel. Perfect for me so I use plenty of beams in the audience for
EVENT FOCUS: JLS
Opposite: HSL provided bold, futuristic angles for the JLS Goodbye Tour. Below: Lighting Designer Dave Lee used a High End Systems Road Hog Full Boar at the Capital FM Nottingham Arena.
my big looks. All the video footage is of a fairly futuristic nature with a kind of digital feel to it. It’s not like a typical boy band look. JLS is all about club and dance, appealing to the young market.” To that end Lee’s brief for lighting, from Beth Honan, the tour’s Creative Director, was to create bold simple colours, so lots of black and white, nothing complicated or multi textured. The truss lay out is relatively straightforward,
with three straight 70ft stage trusses. The front truss is split into two 25ft trusses to allow what is called the lollipop truss, which is a silver circle truss and stick to sit in between. Then there are five 20-inch tower trusses at the back of the stage, which are hanging in between the video screens, just to fill in those spaces. There are four big video screens on stage, 2.5 metre wide by six metres tall. All lighting was supplied by HSL, an
established rental company which has invested in Robe’s Pointe. Prevalent on the main hang, there 28 Pointes on which Lee is very keen to point out his thoughts. He said of the latest addition to his arsenal. “I have got to say that I am hugely impressed by them. It’s very bright and super-fast with a sharp parallel beam that cuts through the air and across video with ease. Crucial on this show with show much video content. It can project a static or rotating
EVENT FOCUS: JLS
Below: Robe Pointe fixtures created sharp, parallel beams which cut though the air; The lighting design owed a lot to 90s rave culture; A total of four video screens provided new-age visuals; The look of the show matched the club element of the music.
glass prism to produce stunning in-air and surface images with an even focal plane. It’s a beam, it is a spot, and it is a wash. There is a frost in there so you can flood the beam into a really wide wash. When it is in it’s beam mode you bang the prism in and it just completely transforms it into a different light it becomes like a big wide flower effect. That is the killer feature for me on this show.
used for the last 10 years. It’s what I know best and I find the software very intuitive, well laid out, fast, and above all creative,” he said. “So much is so easy to access. For example, if I am concentrating on tempo, by holding a choose button on the cue list I can vary the tempo of a sequence I am running just by tap sync, it is very easy to vary the speed of the playback and bring it into sync with the music.
“I have got to say that I am hugely impressed with the Robe Pointe… it’s very bright and super-fast, with a sharp parallel beam that cuts through the air and across video with ease.”
“Drop in the frost filter and use any of the 13 rich colours to create a smooth even wash. The Pointe has an output far greater in size, quality and power than seems possible from its small, lightweight body. I love it.” Other fixtures included on the hang were 21 Martin Professional MAC Viper Profiles, 38 Martin MAC Wash XBs, 42 Martin Atomic 3000 Strobes, 20 LED Truss Toners for the lollipop and 20 GLP Impression 120 RZ Zooms. Lee uses a High End Systems Road Hog Full Boar console to cut his mix. “It’s all I have ever 18
The effects engine is superb as well, simple and powerful. Moving from the Hog 2 to the Hog 3 was a simple change. I have worked with HSL for a long time and always been impressed by their service and support.” Looking to the future he has some interesting views. He said: “Screens are here to stay, everyone wants visuals. When I first started doing lights, video was two cameras in the pit and a couple of side screens and there might have been a painted backdrop on stage that we lit up, but it has all changed the amount of
lights has reduced significantly and the amount of LED and screens has quadrupled. On this tour I have to be quite careful. The screens are bright and if I’m not careful with where I focus then dancers and musicians are just lost ! they just turn into silhouettes around the screens. You have got to light them up. There is no room for error now,” he said. Additionally, here are four Robert Juliat Lancelot 4K followspots on each member of JLS to ensure they are invididually lit. He continued: “The 4Ks cut it well ensuring the boys are lit to a level the same as the screens, LED screens are ever changing these days the resolution is getting better and brighter so its important we stay on top of lighting to keep in contrast with the screens rather than just being left in the background... it’s probably all going to end with a big bang!” Other lighting crew members for the tour included Tour Rigger, Mark Wade and Katie Flanders, Motion Control Operator. Johnny Harper was the tour’s Lighting Crew Chief, Rob Starksfield, operated dimmers and Mark Jones Roberts and Jason Dixon were affectionately known as the ‘technical wizards’.” TPi Photos: David Morrell www.jlsofficial.com www.hslgroup.com www.productionnorth.co.uk
Come and get Me
EVENT FOCUS: Andrea Bocelli
ITALIAN TECHNOLOGY MEETS ITALIAN TALENT ANDREA BOCELLI AND OUTLINE MAKE BEAUTIFUL MUSIC TOGETHER AS THE BIGGEST-SELLING ARTIST IN THE HISTORY OF CLASSICAL MUSIC WITH OVER 80 MILLION ALBUMS SOLD TO DATE, AND ONE OF THE VERY FEW CLASSICAL ARTISTS TO ACHIEVE CROSSOVER ACCEPTANCE INTO THE MAINSTREAM, ANDREA BOCELLI IS COMFORTABLY THE MOST POPULAR CLASSICAL ITALIAN SINGER IN THE WORLD TODAY. HIS SACRED ARIAS ALBUM HAS SOLD OVER FIVE MILLION COPIES ALONE, MAKING IT THE MOST SUCCESSFUL CLASSICAL ALBUM EVER RECORDED BY A SOLO ARTIST, AND HIS ROMANZA ALBUM FROM 1997 IS THE ALL-TIME BEST-SELLING ALBUM BY ANY ITALIAN ARTIST. TPi DISCOVERED THE AUDIO CREATION BEHIND THE SINGER’S LIVE PERFORMANCES. His long-time FOH engineer is fellow Italian, Andrea Taglia, a devotee of Outline’s remarkable GTO system and has been using it with Bocelli throughout his 2013 US tour. He was also one of the engineering team who produced Europe’s largest music event, the vast May Day festival held in Rome where more than 750,000 people packed the city’s Piazza San Giovanni. In November, Bocelli performed at two soldout UK shows, at the First Direct Arena in Leeds and Glasgow’s SSE Hydro. Both shows featured an Outline loudspeaker system, specified by Taglia, facilitated by Britannia Row Productions, with Outline’s UK distributor CUK Audio providing operational support. With Taglia at the helm a total of 45 Outline 20
GTO enclosures were flown as three hangs of 15 in variants of Taglia’s preferred mono L-C-R configuration, and each hang used four Mantas enclosures as downfills (emphasising the value of flying hardware that is compatible throughout a range of loudspeakers). Furthermore, 24 Outline SubTech subwoofers delivered the low end, while 12 Outline LIPF 082 dedicated compact stage lip-fill enclosures filled in the nearfield and small arrays of Outline Butterfly were deployed as sidefills. The entire system was powered by Outline T-Series amplifiers and controlled by multiple Lake LM-26 units. Taglia said: “Using the Outline GTO at the May Day event in Rome was a great pleasure as I could test it in a ‘real-life’ situation and listen
to the system alignment properly. Subsequently working with Outline GTO, GTO-DF, GTO-SUB, Mantas, DVS 12 and LipFill-082 products on the Bocelli US tour has been a great success - it is a light and compact system which is very easy to handle and store on trucks and also speeds up load ins / outs. “From a sound point of view, it is a very linear system. Using FIR filters extensively throughout the processing greatly improves its natural response, which is the best starting point for a classical music concert where we mainly use the best microphones with only hipass filters and a little reverb. “Venues are always arenas in the US but I am used to preparing an accurate sound design for each using Outline’s Open Array software - it
tc Wash: ligh
und o r r su
EVENT FOCUS: Andrea Bocelli
First Page: In November, Bocelli performed at two sold-out UK shows. Below: A total of 45 GTO enclosures were flown as three hangs of 15 in variants of FOH Engineer, Taglia’s preferred mono L-C-R configuration were utiised.
is a very quick, reliable and detailed prediction tool, so every sound design is tailored to every venue. Having a trusted tool such as Open Array allows me to provide detailed set-up information to the entire touring crew which reduces set-up time and which keeps everyone informed about the pre-show process.” So what about the two UK shows? Taglia continued: “I always use mono systems designed around venue geometry so it was a L-C-R / LL / RR system for Glasgow and a L-C-R for Leeds due to the different shapes of the rooms. A mono system built around a ‘star’ concept allows me to align it exactly to the stage centre that I use as zero reference to provide a sound image that keep the attention over performers on stage and not over the loudspeakers.” Using large rock ‘n’ roll sound systems for classical music is still a relatively new concept but Taglia has the approach that using a lot of horsepower for a show such as Bocelli’s, where SPL is far less important than coverage and intelligibility certainly seems to be working. He highlighed: “PA systems should not be made for a specific music style but to provide the best possible diffusion. A large system such 22
as GTO allows for better low frequency control, a major plus when using a large number of condenser microphones on stage as we do for Bocelli, as well as providing the long throw that in indoor venues allows us to use fewer delays, thus reducing set-up time and providing a much better sound image. “I always use a centre subwoofer arc delay as it provides the best match for the centre cluster dispersion. If the venue is wider than 90º, I match the horizontal coverage of the arc delay to that of the center cluster by adding two subwoofer cardioid arrays of four subwoofers each under the left and right hangs - they are then aligned to the subwoofer arc delay and effectively widen its horizontal dispersion to cover the entire venue.” Stuart Thomson, MD of Outline’s UK distributor CUK Audio said: “Having attended Andrea Bocelli’s UK shows and experienced a large GTO system in a real-world situation, the reasons for its growing-rider acceptance are now completely clear to me. The two venues are very different spaces with entirely separate acoustic challenges, yet the linear nature of the system combined with its control, especially in the low frequencies, gave Taglia the tools
to deliver the same exceptional audience experience on both dates. “After the SSE Hydro event, even the Scottish press made note of the sound system and how it had ‘overcome’ the acoustic issues that had previously been experienced there. It’s nice to be noticed and GTO certainly is being noticed,” continued Thomson. After the UK run, Bocelli resumed his US tour for which PRG provided an entire Outline rig of GTO, GTO-SUB, GTO-DF, DVS 12, Mantas and LipFill-082 for shows in Las Vegas, Phoenix, New York, Washington, Tampa and Atlanta. Clearly a man at ease with his system, Taglia concluded: “A linear system such as GTO with great overall coherence, which provides real low frequency control and delivers very even coverage over distance really helps the mixing engineer concentrate on the mix itself, rather than the technology - and that’s what the people come to hear.” TPi www.andreabocelli.com www.outlinearray.com www.cuk-audio.com www.britanniarow.com
Beam: light can be touched
EVENT FOCUS: Jake Bugg
BUGG’S LIGHT YEAR JAKE BUGG’S RISE TO FAME HAS BEEN RAPID. SINCE BEING SIGNED BY MERCURY RECORDS IN 2011 - AFTER APPEARING ON THE BBC INTRODUCING STAGE AT GLASTONBURY - THE YOUNG MUSICIAN HAS ENJOYED CHART-TOPPING SUCCESS AND SEVERAL AWARD NOMINATIONS. TPi CAUGHT UP WITH HIS PRODUCTION TEAM FOR ANOTHER LIGHT SPECTACULAR PERFORMANCE. Only last year Jake Bugg was playing in smaller venues where the majority of the lighting and PA systems were supplied in-house; however, building on a number of successful summer festival appearances, his move into mid-size venues has required touring his own production. The task was to build on the simple but effective show. Utilising the original production aesthetics as the foundation of the design, the team has worked closely with Bugg and his management to seamlessly combine a retro look with modern dynamics, reflecting the musicians approach to song writing. The production’s Lighting Designer, Stu Farrell, explained: “Our objective with this second tour was to create a larger scale production that represented the success Jake has achieved in such a short space of time. As a refreshingly honest three piece band earning its stripes though an extensive touring schedule, Jake wanted a production that combined his traditional approach using modern technology. “Jake’s acoustic modern folk sound and his mature lyrical content is what makes him stand out as an acclaimed artist and what audiences turn up to hear. We didn’t want to overdo the lighting with too much glitz - a good lighting production is not all flash, bang, wallop all of the 24
time. Instead, we wanted to create a dynamic and interesting show that stayed true to Jake’s style. “We are constantly reworking and tweaking the sequence of the lighting design; it’s an organic, fluid process that is always changing. Sometimes we’ll see elements that could work better and change them, and sometimes Jake will rework tempos of his songs and the lighting will need to respond to this,” he added. LIGHTING PRODUCTION Utopium was contracted to supply the lighting rig for Bugg’s performance at Reading and Leeds festival. Having already worked with Farrell and his team on previous projects, he knew Utopium would have the capacity to supply the lighting fixtures required. The rig had to be adaptable for use in an amalgamation of venues, using a range of colours from vibrant greens and steely blues to warm reds, creating visually stunning and atmospheric lighting emphasising his range of material. Hits such as Slumville Sunrise were accompanied by washes and strobes of bright white to match some of Bugg’s more rock folk tracks. Farrell continued: “I wanted to conceal a wall of sunstrips behind the gauze with Jake’s logo on that was directly behind the band. We planned
for the audience to be completely unaware there were any lights until they came on later in the set, giving the show added depth that would create an explosive and dynamic finish. It worked really well as the stage was very clean, with minimal set and clutter. To get the effect I worked with Jon Newman at Utopium to design and construct touring dollies that were fitted with the sunstrips. These were telescopic so it was easy to install and take them down, as well as being compact to transport.” This occurred during the set at the O2 Apollo in Manchester to great effect, transforming the atmosphere of the venue and completely energising and exciting the audience. Utopium provided three trusses worth of lighting including six Martin Professional MAC 2000 Wash moving heads on the back truss and eight on the middle truss; four Clay Paky 800 QWO moving heads on the back truss, four on the middle truss and five on the front truss. Showtec Sunstrip Active DMX Strobes were positioned in a linear arrangement on the back and middle trusses, as well as 16 on the stagefloor. Furthermore, the rig featured six ETC Source Fours on the front truss, seven i-Pix BB4 fixtures on the front truss and eleven on the stage floor. The rig also included four atomics on the back truss and two on the stage floor,
FX: light can take your breath away
EVENT FOCUS: Jake Bugg
First Page: TourTech provided the tour’s audio kit, which has grown considerably over the last few months as the young singer has gained touring momentum. Production Manager, Gerry Wilkes; Lighting Designer, Stu Farrell was at the helm of the lighting design with a High End Systems Hog 4 desk; Jake Bugg was lit with Martin Professional, ETC and i-Pix fixtures from Utopium.
as well as a number of Antari HZ-500 Hazers that were brought in especially for the tour. The desk of choice was the High End Systems Road Hog 4 with a 22-inch multi-touch display screen and state-of-the-art functions allowing for unparalleled live control over the rig. Colin Bodenham, Director of Utopium, commented: “Having started working with Jake and the production team in the summer providing lighting for the festival performances, it is great to see the extent to which his success and hard work is reflected by his increasingly larger scale shows. Using the original rig as our foundation, we have worked with Stu on supplying additional fixtures to enhance what was already there. Instead of starting from scratch, we have been able to see what worked and what didn’t firsthand at his live shows and have built up the rig from there.” A MALLEABLE PROCESS Production Manager, Gerry Wilkes, joined the production team at the beginning of the year in
January 2013. He highlighted: “When I arrived the whole production was already in place and the team were a close knit unit who all worked well together. I didn’t see any need to change how everybody worked and over the months the team have designed and executed bigger and better events as Jake Bugg has risen and matured as an artist. “Jake has a fantastic work ethic and is very happy to let his music do the talking. As his success has increased and his shows have expanded into larger venues, we have been able to produce more visually impressive productions. However, we are also very aware that audiences who go to see Jake are there for the music and less about the theatricals. We try to keep the production as traditional as possible touring with only three trusses of lighting fixtures, a backlit gauze for his logo, wedges, a guitar, amps, bass and a set of mics that have been taken around all year. Jake prefers consistency when he’s touring, so we use the same equipment where possible.” As the production moves into 2014 with
hopefully more chart success on the horizon for Bugg, the team are looking forward to developing the production further in line with the artist’s ongoing success. TourTech provided an audio package that includes a Midas PRO2 audio desk and four pairs of d&b audiotechnik M2 wedges, which have been used throughout the year for all British and European festivals. Starting off in January with only a FOH desk, outboard and monitor system, the production has grown and now has a PA and truck for Bugg’s autumn tour. Preferring consistency on his tour, the young artist has used the same set of mics supplied by TourTech throughout the year. The official catering supplier for the tour was Popcorn Catering, Beat The Street provided tour buses and Fly By Nite was the trucking vendor. Here’s to seeing what Bugg and his road team deliver this year... TPi www.jakebugg.com www.utopium.co.uk
Well, now think it’s the same fixture WASH-MODE: AN ESSENTIAL, SOPHISTICATED TOOL Total master of colors and white light. Impressive 6°-70° zoom. Light evenly diffused on front lens, with no gaps between LEDs. Digital framing shutter.
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Before B-EYE there were only drones
PRODUCTION PROFILE: Chase & Status
CHASE & STATUS MARKING THEIR 10TH ANNIVERSARY AND INTRODUCING THEIR NEW ALBUM BRAND NEW MACHINE, CHASE & STATUS BROUGHT THUMPING BASS AND A HEAP OF SPECIAL GUESTS TO MANCHESTER ARENA. The audience bounced in unison - as did the FOH team - as Chase & Status served up a hybrid of ‘90s EDM inspired highoctane percussion, low-end frequencies interspersed with a string of hit singles. In your face, super loud yet super clear, the tour is a rollercoaster tribute to nostalgia dance music, peppered with hip hop and the occasional nod to UK garage, jungle and house. This tour kicked off with a new designer, in the form of Andy Hurst, 10 brand new pieces of video content from Immersive and top notch audio from Rampton. CURVED TRUSSES AND TREADPLATE Andy Hurst’s audience embracing set and beat sensitive lighting design set the tone. This is the first time Hurst has designed for Chase & Status. It’s also the first time C&S has scaled up their powerful, high impact club style show for arenas. The larger scale has allowed the drum and bass duo to spread out on stage and it has enabled Hurst to bring in some bigger, more multi-tasking scenic elements. 28
The drummer and the C&S duo each have their own circular platforms. Each platform is fronted with a light-up initial and each edge of the circular platform is highlighted with colour changing LED. “The tour promotes the new album Brand New Machine, noted for it’s references to ‘90s EDM, house and garage music,” explained Hurst. “I wanted to reflect that in the design.” His response is a seductive and curvaceous set that pulls in the eye and embraces the audience with outward facing lighting and two seven-metre curved LED wing screens comprising Martin Professional LC40 LED product, which stretch out from a central eight-metre diameter circular screen, which is a Martin Professional EC-20 screen. The design focuses the eye to the centre stage and maintains the all-important, intimate relationship between C&S and their audience. Cohesively full, yet not cluttered, the layered, multi-dimensional set rises above the audience to provide the perfect club style atmosphere. The show design had to be both scalable and work alongside the already existing video content, filmed and produced by Immersive.
For lighting, Hurst employs a carefully chosen collection of fixtures, all supplied by rental house HSL. “We didn’t have much time to get this show together and I relied on the skilled team from HSL. We had five days in WYSIWYG and one day of production rehearsals. The HSL team included Crew Chief Simon ‘Piggy’ Lynch assisted by Jason Dixon, Mark Callaghan, Jake Jeavons and Jack Gambino. They were invaluable in making sure we were road ready in time.” Hurst used several different beam fixtures to realise his hard-hitting show. A total of 64 Robe LED Beam 100 moving heads were hung below the side video screens to provide the main wash and effects, while 34 Clay Paky Sharpys brought their own distinctive punch to the party. “I chose the Clay Paky Sharpys because I needed to box through the video at a high point. The front truss is hung at 13-metres but the Sharpys have excellent throw - I don’t lose them when I put video behind.” Providing key light for the band were Clay Paky Alpha Beam 700’s. In addition the three band members were back-lit with Philips VariLite 3015LT’s and GLP Impression 120 RZ zooms,
PRODUCTION PROFILE: Chase & Status
Opposite: BPM SFX & Production supplied the tour’s lasers and pyrotechnics. Below: Screens comprised Martin Professional EC-20.
which provided more general stage washes and key light. “The Vari-Lite VL3000 has been my spot of choice for 10 years now, so I was delighted when Ryan Hopkins at HSL offered me a few of the new Vari-Lite VL3015LTs. I really like the colour, gobos and the consistently good beam and output that you get from a VariLite. The VL3015LT certainly lived up to those expectations,” said Hurst. Hurst also positioned 12 Martin Professional MAC Air FX with quadray lenses attached, around the central circular screen and used them to deliver some retro style break up effects. A total of 40 Martin Professional Atomic DMX strobes were randomly scattered around the rig - including the circle and also behind the side screen hangs. Hurst relied on the LED fixtures to maintain the high-speed momentum of the show. “I can make the whole rig move at phenomenal pace. The LED fixtures will do it every time as there are no shutters to hold things up.” For control Hurst used a High End Systems Road Hog Full Boar console with a Wing and a fully redundant backup system and has
laid the show out across the desk: “With shows like this I tend to play live. There is just too much going on to do it any other way. It all comes down to timing really - it’s pretty full on.” VISUALS Working direct for C&S was design team Immersive. Immersive, which has developed an unprecedented reputation for delivering concert visuals for many of the UK’s most respected EDM stars. The company’s reliability, approachability, and experience working with audio artists to transfer their vision into animation and film has seen the studio work with over 10 EDM stars across all genres of dance music. “Immersive has been working with C&S for a while now,” explained Managing Director, Mark Calvert. “We provided directors, producers, project managers and technicians to deliver 10 brand new films, edited and timecoded to the 10 new album tracks from Brand New Machine. We met with the band about a month before the tour was due to kick off and brainstormed the themes of the album. We then went away and storyboarded our ideas. We were
Channel 4, SU2C Live. Photo Courtesy of Immersive Ltd
DEFINING THE FUTURE
Ai Infinity Media Server
Avolites Media: T: +44 (0) 208 965 8522 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.avolitesmedia.com
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PRODUCTION PROFILE: Chase & Status
Below: The larger scale of the tour has enabled scenic elements to be incorporated into the show design; HSL supplied High End Systems Road Hog Full Boar; The lighting plot used a combination of Philips Vari-Lite, Martin Professional and Clay Paky fixtures; Lighting Designer, Andy Hurst with his desk of choice.
on a tight deadline, so these sessions with the band were vital. They enable us to understand C&S’s concepts and plan realistic milestones for delivery.” Immersive had three weeks to direct and produce the films. Each demanded a wide range of skill sets and the imagination to engage in a diversity of styles. However the result was well received by band and audience alike. Content is a combination of animation, live footage and film, which grab the audiences’ attention and pulls them into the music. It also goes a long way in establishing the live atmosphere and mood for each track. In addition to the content Immersive supplied the hardware in the form of two Avolites Media Ai Media servers and a rack for timecode, along with Ai Media Server Technician and Programmer, Dave Whiteoak. “We used the Avolites Media Ai Media Server to Pixel Map the content to the five LED screens,” explained Calvert. “The Ai Media servers are linked to Ableton via a MIFF4 timecode interface, which is built into the main video racks. The show is then synced to the audio. Dave gets sent a midi time code and we build our timeline in the server. All the graphics and content are time-coded to the audio and we can adjust the video off-set in the server so the video content runs perfectly with the audio.” The new show’s custom LED screens, 30
designed by Andy Hurst, meant that Whiteoak had to edit and pixel map the original content from previous tours to the new video screen format using the sample texture region feature in the Ai v7 software. This involved taking sections out of the full frame image and rerouting that same content to the LED wing screens upstage. During the live show Whiteoak has full control of the content feeding to the wings. “I can fade the screen opacity and add effects. I can also adjust the sample texture region positions with the pre-programmed scene selections I built during the project build,” he explained. “In fact the Ai Media Server makes it simple to make changes on the road and the possibilities are endless.” Because C&S like to keep things fresh the team sometimes have to cut, edit or re-pixel map whole sections of the video and re route content to new areas of the LED screen. “We can pretty much edit or re-program on the Ai’s interface by either using the visualiser on the server or a laptop. I don’t actually have to be connected to the LED screens to see what I’m doing. This is an amazing feature; the visualiser is also a god send during studio preparation. Primarily because it enables the whole production team to see what the show will look like in the real world before it goes out on the road.” Most of the show is pre-programmed
but if Andy Hurst doesn’t like the look of something while the show is live, Whiteoak has the capability to change it. In addition to the custom LED screens the tour production also ran two large IMAG screens with five live cameras. In fact Dave Whiteoak had a dual role on this tour with his own company, Video Illusions supplying IMAG screens, cameras and crew. Business partner Nick Whiteoak managed the day-to-day elements of the tour. He said: “Video Illusions supplied projectors, screens, PPU racks, cameras, and camera operators and our best video technicians and camera ops were looking after the IMAG installation, rigging and sponsor video playback. The Video Illusions crew included Director, Dave Irving, CCU Operator, Glen Gardiner and Camera Chief, Bruce Selkirk.” Another aspect of the visuals came via the numerous special effects used throughout the tour - supplied by BPM SFX & Production. They included RGB OPS lasers and blue beams, which created a jaw-dropping laser display, and a stage-based CO2 jet system which created pulsing bursts of CO2 along with the mighty 15 metre chameleons and six metre flamaniacs flame systems. The spectacular effects elements were topped off with a huge pyrotechnic display and massive shower of confetti and streamers. LOST IN MUSIC Equally busy is FOH Engineer Rampton - a man so connected to the music that it’s hard to know
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PRODUCTION PROFILE: Chase & Status
Below: (L-R) Ai Media Server Technician, Dave Whiteoak; FOH Engineer, Rampton with his Soundcraft Vi6; System Tech, Nick Pain; The Video Illusions team.
where he ends and his Soundcraft Vi6 console begins. Although Rampton doesn’t have any direct involvement in the creation of original content, in rehearsal and when C&S are on the road, he drills down into the detail with Saul Milton (Chase), and in particular Will Kennard (Status), to get the desired sound for each venue. “When I started with C&S I showed Will how to use my console of choice - the Soundcraft Vi6. It’s easy to learn and by watching Will choose his frequencies, cuts and boosts etc, I better understood what he expected his audience to hear.” Rampton is a firm user of snapshots: “We can overwrite a scene or multiple scenes in each song, either during soundcheck or live. We also often work on new content during soundcheck, but other than that my role is essentiality the traditional FOH role. “I have to confess I didn’t know that much about C&S music before I started. The live show is very different from the recording work they do. Although the core of the show centres on the original song structures and the content is recognisable, dynamically it’s much more extreme live.” The duo gives Rampton the freedom to run the show the way he chooses: “I’m at liberty to exaggerate or push certain dynamics. I see my job as creating a picture with sound. I apply the usual rules but once the tweaks are made and we feel we’re in the right place pre gig, depending on the vibe on the night.” The nature of EDM means that things can 32
radically change, in terms of audio content, from song to song. Something as seemingly simple as the electronic kick and snare drums can be different for every tune as Rampton pointed out: “How they’re set up can lead to big differences in the sound of the song. I couldn’t do this show as just one scene on an analogue desk - for some songs I use up to four different snapshots.” And once the show kicks off Rampton is clearly part of the C&S machine. The speed with which he moves to the music makes you wonder how he can make any tweaks to the mix at all. However, he knows his console intimately and C&S could not have sounded any better than they did in the Manchester Arena. “I’ve never been able to stand still,” Rampton chuckled. “As a live sound engineer I have to inhabit the music 100%, it’s the only way I can make the right connection and represent a band the way they’re meant to be heard.” SYSTEM DESIGN Rampton’s supplier of choice is SSE. “The guys at SSE are always amazing and the support is excellent. At a show at the Capital Arena, Nottingham, my desk took two direct hits from thrown pints. Before we’d finished loading out, System Tech, Nick Pain, had got a new one shipped straight to Nottingham. It arrived as we finished loading out - incredible!” Rampton chose the L-Acoustic K1 system for the main hangs, 12 L-Acoustics SB28 subwoofers at the sides as well as K1 subwoofers for frontfill and VDOSC arcs for sidefill. “L-Acoustic’s really
suits the music, especially the bottom end. The SB 28’s cover it really well, all the way down below your standard human hearing range. The K1 does exactly what I want it to do, across all frequencies, and it’s super clear,” continued Pain. Miles Hillyard, Senior Project Manager for SSE Audio Group added: The L-Acoustics K1 PA was chosen because it’s the only system capable of producing the high SPL and wide dynamics needed for C&S. The style of music and the rich mix from Rampton means more detail and headroom is needed from 80 to 200Hz than normal. The input from stage is extremely high quality, so the PA needs to be just as good.” OUTBOARD Although Rampton has eight Lexicon multieffect engines onboard the Vi6, he’s only using four. The principle sounds and effects are coming from a D2 delay, two Yamaha SPX2000 - both Midi’d up to the desk, so that when he runs each snapshot it recalls each pre-set. “The Vi6 doesn’t have the facility to utilise plug-ins, however, ironically, one of my favourite bits of kit is a Waves plug-in - the MAX BCL. Fortunately, it’s available as rack mountable hardware. It’s inserted over the console’s main left and right outputs. I use the front-end compressor. However, the thing I mostly use it for is as a mastering limiter, because musically it doesn’t squash things or alter the sonic content.” Rampton also uses a couple of DCL 200 valve compressors: “They’re not doing much in the
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PRODUCTION PROFILE: Chase & Status
Below: The sound system was supplied by SSE and inlcuded was an L-Acoustics K1 rig; Lighting fixtures, design and direction came from HSL.
way of compression, just warming things up. We use them for Rage, our principle MC, and for the other ‘shouty’ MC’s, just to give some nice warmth to their voices.” Sitting at the bottom of the rack are a couple of dbx processors: “They compress the two kick channels on the left hand side of the top unit, the two snare channels on the right hand side and stereo comp the toms on the bottom one.” MONITOR MAN Over on monitors is an equally busy Mikey Poole: “I’ve worked on Chase and Status for five years now and in that time the crew and production has grown into something really solid. We’ve also developed close relationships with supportive production providers. The job of monitor engineer has evolved from the early club shows and I’ve really enjoyed bringing the stage sound forward and creating a realm that works for everyone.” However, for Poole it’s his close working relationship with C&S FOH Engineer Rampton that is crucial. “We have worked through many changes in circumstance to get the production to where it is and we continue to work very well together. For any monitor engineer this is an absolute dream! Our close ties with SSE, who have long provided the audio for C&S production, is also a vital element in the success of what we do.”
“The backgrounds of the musicians straddle both the club DJ style and live band arenas. From track to track there are a fair few differences to how I balance the stage. We have an almost endless stream of very different vocalists who perform / have performed with C&S over the years. Each has their own idea of how the stage should sound.” With so many performers there are many different zones onstage. Some musicians are on in-ears while others prefer the wedges and sidefill experience. This means Poole is often working on a very loud stage. Poole’s console of choice is the Yamaha PM5D: “It’s really is more that the Yamaha chose me,” he laughed. “It was one of the first digital consoles I used and despite some annoying (and maybe out-dated) functions it has been consistently reliable. I do get some stick from peers for not changing but really, it’s never let me down. However the obvious increase in the amount of mixes required means I’m dangerously close to running out of outputs.” In terms of set up Mikey said monitors are fairly straightforward. “I don’t carry any outboard. Onstage we have three pairs of wedges across the frontline, which almost act as a bank of front fills but also provide zones for vocalists. They also offer vocalists - not on inears - a hot spot or comfortable place to pitch
to in a loud environment. The stage dynamic ranges from reasonably calm to very loud and intense and I find this works well alongside the blanket coverage from the sidefills. It’s usually more than enough to fill out all areas. Apart from this we have two wedge zones for C&S at their keys positions stage left and right, Saul (Chase) also uses in-ears as he moves position from track to track. Andy the drummer uses a self powered wedge and sub for his fill and has in-ears for click.” The energy packed C&S show provides a fantastic muse for all things production. There are lots of changes in style, tempo and mood and it demands a lot, both visually and aurally. The way the technical design team has seamlessly connected with C&S and their music has successfully delivered one of the sharpest most engrossing shows on the circuit - The Brand New Machine is working well. TPi Photos: Sarah Rushton-Read and www. samneillphoto.com http://chaseandstatus.co.uk www.hslgroup.com http://bpm-sfx.com www.sseaudiogroup.com http://immersivemedia.com www.videoillusions.net http://jumbocruiser.com www.flybynite.co.uk
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PRODUCTION PROFILE: Stereophonics
STEREOPHONICS UK ARENA TOUR WITH A HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL EIGHTH STUDIO ALBUM, GRAFFITI ON THE TRAIN RELEASED ON THE BAND’S OWN RECORD LABEL, STYLUS RECORDS, WELSH SONGSMITHS STEREOPHONICS EMBARKED ON A UK ARENA. CAPITAL SOUND SUPPLIED A MARTIN AUDIO MLA SYSTEM AND CONSOLES, NEG EARTH LIGHTING, SPECIAL EFFECTS FROM BPM-SFX, WITH VIDEO EQUIPMENT BY XL VIDEO AND CATERING BY EAT TO THE BEAT. SIMON DUFF SAW THE LAST NIGHT OF THE TOUR AND MET A CREW AT THE TOP OF THEIR GAME. “The really great thing about working with the Stereophonics is the extent of the loyalty the band has to their core crew. Both sides have earnt that respect through a lot of hard work, in all departments. The band know what they want and we all deliver” said Andy Grey, who has been Production Manager for Stereophonics since 2007. VISUAL STEREOS Lighting and Video Designer for Stereophonics is Brent Clark. Based in Toronto, the affable Canadian has worked for the band since 2005 with his other clients including Avril Lavigne, Tragically Hip and Nelly Furtado. For the current tour he took inspiration from the artwork for the Graffiti on the Train album, taking photographs and video of old train stations and working from those. Clark is as much influenced by film as he is music and the end resulting imagination is a testament to that. On 36
previous Stereophonics tours video elements have been to the forefront but for this one Clark and management wanted lighting elements to lead the visual feel of the show. Clark’s focus was on texture, mood and harmonic contrast. The concept behind the lighting truss was itself inspired by a train station as if the band is standing on a platform looking out. It has six small arches and then one big half circle at the back. Along with a downstage truss and two spine trusses that run up to downstage. The look of the stage was complemented with two drop down gauze cloth screens used to project onto, lowered and raised at the back and front of the stage at key moments in the set. The lighting rig included 47 Martin Professional MAC Viper Profiles moving lights and 138 MAC 101 LED Washes, together with 12 Color Kinetics Color Blast 12 TRX and 24 James Thomas Engineering Thomas 4 Lite molefay, along with four 24-inch mirror balls
and four smoke and haze fans. The Viper is one Clark’s newest preferences. “I love the colours and the gobos. I think it’s my new favourite profile,” he said. Floor fixtures included four Martin Professional MAC Auras, three Omni floods, eight and 12-inch Color Blazes, eight Martin Professional Atomic 3000 Strobes and 23 Chromlec Elidy Panels. Clark cut the show using an MA Lighting grandMA2 console, full size. He commented: “I love the MA1 but ran out of space on it after the last tour so decided I needed to make the jump to the 2. It’s a fantastic console. There are so many great features on it including real-time control for up to 65,536 parameters per session in connection with MA NPU (equivalent to 256 DMX universes), 8,192 HTP-/LTP parameters, six DMX outputs and the internal TFT wide mode touchscreens. Mix wise there are no timecode or Midi triggers on the show. I run all the songs live. There are no real cue stacks per song, I
PRODUCTION PROFILE: Stereophonics
Opposite: The tour enjoyed a Capital Sound audio rig which included Martin Audio’s MLA system and Avid consoles and outboard gear included a Roland SPX990 for vocal effects. Below: Toby Donovan, Dave Roden and Harm Schopman, the audio crew; Frontman Kelly Jones with his Shure Beta 58 microphone; For the monitor mix Jones used a combination of Ultimate Ears IEMs and Martin Audio Martin LE700 wedges, which he particularly likes due to the tone and smoothness; The lighitng rig from Neg Eath featured JTE and Martin Professional fixtures.
prefer to lay the song out, verse chorus type of deal, and this gives me tons of flexibility. I love running the show, with cue stacks I would just get bored.” Neg Earth supplied all the lighting; with crew chief Steve Kellaway working with Ian Lomas,
Jim Mills, Richard Armstrong, Damo Coad and the rigger was Andi Flack. Clark is keen to stress his admiration for Neg Earth. “I have been using them since 2001. Their service is always top notch. Julian Lavender has always been there for me. I can’t say enough.”
The video content, a mixture of abstract colour design then water footage, was mainly used for the stage gauze cloth screens. Six Barco HD20 projectors were used, two positioned at FOH, with the other four used for side screen rear projection onto screens mainly used for
PRODUCTION PROFILE: Stereophonics
Below: Lighting fixtures included Martin Professional MAC 101’s and Auras; BPM-SFX supplied special effects for the tour; Brent Clark, Lighting Designer, used a full size MA Lighting grandMA2 console to control the show; All the band use a combination of IEMs and Martin Audio Martin LE700 wedges; The band has recently released their eighth studio album.
IMAG. At The 02 seven Sony 2500 HD Cameras and a Grass Valley Turbo 2 video switcher were used. XL Video supplied equipment for the whole tour with direction by Paul Eggerton in association with Blink TV. Special effects in the form of lasers, pyrotechnics and confetti were also very much a part of the show. Supplied by BPM SFX & Production, as they have done for Stereophonics since 2010. The company provided some truly special moments including atmospheric low smoke, to mood enhancing RGB laser displays. BPM very much helped set the tone even adding a bit of light hearted balloons and confetti to the mix and during the encore 15-metre long coloured flames, Co2 and streamers helping to bring the audience to a standing ovation. The special effects crew also included Paul Harris and Matt Heap with Danny Lait in charge of lasers. SOUND WORLD Dave Roden has been mixing FOH for the Stereophonics since 1996 a sure sign of a happy, loyal trusted band to crew relationship. Roden’s other clients include work for Dame Shirley Bassey, Lissie, Ocean Colour Scene and Status Quo. Loyalty in the Stereos sound camp is further demonstrated by the fact that Capital Sound has handled the Stereophonics account since 1997. For the current tour they supplied a Martin Audio MLA line array and Avid Profile 38
consoles. The main line array hang for the 02 Arena consisted of 16 Martin Audio MLA per side and two Martin Audio MLA-D downfills per side. The side-flown system comprised of 13 MLA and one MLA-D downfill per side and the ground system comprised of 14 Martin Audio MLX powered sub bass loudspeakers set up in a central castellated broadside array. Front fills consisted of 12 Martin Audio W8LM line array loudspeakers. Toby Donovan from Capital Sound was the System Tech with Harm Schopman as Audio Crew Chief. All three are hugely complimentary about the system. Roden commented: “To be honest, all the main line array systems currently available sound great pretty much straight out of the box. However the MLA’s capabilities of being able to so accurately define SPL in area you want and to avoid, and artificially extend coverage in the vertical plane are extremely useful tools to have at our disposal and were really the deciding factors in my choice of system this time.” Roden’s console for the tour was an Avid Venue D-Show Profile, running a total of 48 inputs. He said: “I like the user interface of the Profile, its functionality and its physical size. I used to carry some external outboard but in the last few years I have been using a combination of Venue Pack Pro and Waves Plug In effects and I am generally very happy with the results.” Commenting on his approach to mixing
the show he said: “I honestly can’t define my approach to mixing because every show is different. I could make lots of vague references and throw in words like ‘essence’ and ‘interpretation’ but really I am just doing my best to deliver a balanced coherent mix at an appropriate SPL, so the audience leave feeling like they’ve been to an old fashioned rock concert but with a modern twist.”He continued: “I do use snapshots for each song to recall just about everything except input and output patch and gains. During the show I tend not to change anything on any of my input channels, as I know that given a good sounding room they’re all doing the right thing. I do a lot of adjustments using a combination of the System EQ on the Meyer Sound Galileo 616 processor we are using, my master EQ, master fader and the VCAs.” Keeping monitor world in order was the calm, quietly spoken Canadian Dave Retson, who has been with the band since 2004. His other clients include KD Lang and work at FOH but his preferred medium is monitors. He also uses an Avid Venue D-Show Profile to create his mixes using about 50 channels. The desk he is very familiar with and is very happy to use it. “You can get it any where in the world. So that’s a good start!” he said. “I like the onboard dynamics and it has an excellent file management system. The reverbs and delays on board I also like”
PRODUCTION PROFILE: Stereophonics
Below: Andy Grey, Production Manager; Brent Clark, Lighting Designer; Dave Roden, FOH Engineer; Dave Retson, Monitor Engineer; Richard Huggins and Ian Tomblin of Eat to the Beat; A BPM-SFX Stadium Shot streamer, one of the three devices used at FOH.
For outboard he uses just one Roland SPX990 that he uses for one vocal effect. A distortion setting that singer Kelly Jones is particularly keen on for one song. The monitor set-up consisted of eight wedge mixes and four stereo IEM mixes including two ‘technical’ ones for the guitar and keyboard techs, one for the drummer and the fourth for the keyboard player as well as a side fill mix. Kelly Jones uses in-ear monitors made by Ultimate Ears, a US manufacture that Retson recommended to him. They have small holes in them allowing Jones to use both In ears and wedges for his fold back. The band use Martin Audio LE700 wedges
of which Jones particularly likes the tone and smoothness, all powered by FFA 6004 amplifier and Crown 1200 amplifiers with XTA 226 crossovers, a standard Capital Sound monitor set up. Retson runs two channels of Midas XL42 pre-amp to add substance to the vocals if needed. CATERING Having worked alongside Stereophonics since 1998, Eat to the Beat (ETTB), part of Global Infusion Group, knew that their 2013 arena tour was not one to be missed. Kim Joyce, Managing Director at ETTB commented: “We have built a
close relationship with the band, managers and crew over the years and everyone has always been a pleasure to work with.” ETTBs experienced crew knows all about the challenges faced whilst catering on tour. There can be very early mornings and very late nights, but its teams work hard to provide great food and service whilst aiming to make sure every expectation is met. On the tour ETTB cooks breakfast, lunch and dinner for a crew of 65 people, and also prepares dressing rooms and stock up the buses with post show refreshments. Joyce explained on how logistics is
PRODUCTION PROFILE: Stereophonics
Below: KB Events, one of six of the company’s fleet of Scania Megacube Artics used for the tour; The Martin Audio rig consisted of 16 Martin Audio MLA per side and two Martin Audio MLA-D downfills per side, the side-flown system comprised of 13 MLA and one MLA-D downfill per side.
approached: “When preparing for a tour, the key at ETTB is forward planning. Luckily, our crews have access to an array of our own flight cased kitchen equipment which they pack as compact as possible in the days leading up to the tour. We endeavor to provide Stereophonics with healthy home cooked food, as with all our jobs. Therefore, before heading off from one city to another, we ensure that our crew know exactly where they’ll be catering and the closest resources for fresh, local ingredients should they need to do a last minute shop.” Richard Huggins and Ian Tomblin led tour four skilled caterers. They have got to know the band and their crew’s tastes well and are more than happy to cater to requests. On this tour they provided nourishing fish and chicken dishes served with brown rice for the band themselves. They also provide hearty Sunday roasts and steak and ale pie dinners for the crew to keep them going. Deserts are a favourite on this tour; in particular, banoffee pies and lemon meringue pies. SAFETY FIRST Showsec provided the crowd management and event security at several venues across the band’s tour. This included Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena, where the Welsh rock heroes made a triumphant homecoming to South Wales with three sold out shows. Showsec’s Area Manager and venue Head of Security Martin Lewis led a team of 60 security professionals. He said: “The band clearly enjoyed being back in Cardiff with the crowd responding rapturously to the performances. Following plans made with the venue, promoter and band’s management we supported their collective security requirements. We knew that local interest would be huge, so to ensure everybody had a good time in a safe environment we implemented proactive searching procedures at entry lanes, which minimised risk of prohibited items brought 42
into the venue. This was a key element in maintaining our duty of care to the audience.” TRANSPORT KB Events provided trucks for the tour comprising of six of the company’s fleet of Scania Megacube Artics. Stuart McPherson Managing Director of KB Events commented: “Our relationship with Stereophonics is long and established. We started working for the band in the late ‘90s with a one truck tour and over the years we have seen the band build up to arena and stadium shows. We not only truck production for the UK and European tours but also use a 24-tonne and sometimes a 45ft Megacube for their festival shows as well.” He continued: “Six drivers are on the tour for KB Events, with one as lead driver. Because of driver hours and working time directive regulations, we have had to be clever in how we ensure drivers get their legal rest breaks and have therefore been drafting in ‘show experienced’ local drivers at points to facilitate load-ins and load-outs to allow the core team to get the breaks they require.” Phoenix supplied three double-deck crew sleeper buses and one single-deck band bus for the tour. “This is certainly the biggest tour we have done with the Stereophonics bus-wise, in a relationship that goes back many years,” said Paul Hattin, Managing Director at Phoenix. The crew buses were driven by John Mulholland, Jamie Gerard and Richard Deane and the band bus by Mike Fields. “On a day-today basis, drivers liaise with the Andy Grey for journey / arrival times, parking at gigs and so on. Before the tour goes out, we schedule in the relevant legal weekly breaks.” Rigging was supplied by (TPi Award 2014 nominee) Blackpool-based Knight Rigging Services, owned by Sven Knight. LONG MAY IT CONTINUE At The 02 Stereophonics delivered an
impeccable set of songs chosen from across their career to date. Old favourites such as Local Boy in the Photograph, Just Looking, Have a Nice Day and Mike d’Abo’s Handbags and Gladrags all got a good airing along with tracks from Graffiti on the Train, which benefit from a cinematic sound with arrangements by David Arnold, faithfully recreated for the tour and at FOH by Roden. The high point came at the end when the band launched into the pulsating, triumphant excitement of Dakota complete with end of song flames at the side of the stage and indoor fireworks covering the whole arena and streamers let off along front of the stage and FOH mix position. Throughout Roden’s mix delivered the power and subtlety required with exceptional vocal clarity to all areas of the arena combined with a driving bass power, mid range detail and all the directivity, and accuracy that has helped make the MLA such a phenomenal success in the last two years. In the lighting department Clark’s mix and visual design enhanced atmospheres, with impeccable cue timing, with a fine heavy colour saturated look with lots of light coming from unusual angles and point sources. The lighting and video worked harmoniously together, in particular when fixture lighting and water images were fused together, with the use of the stage screens adding an extra visual power. Bring on the next tour. TPi Photos: Simon Duff www.stereophonics.com www.bpm-sfx.com www.capital-sound.co.uk www.eattothebeat.com www.kbevent.com www.negearth.co.uk www.phoenix-bussing.co.uk www.showsec.co.uk www.xlvideo.com www.knightrigging.co.uk
PRODUCTION PROFILE: Nitro Circus
ORIGINALLY FILMED IN X GAMES GOLD MEDALIST, TRAVIS PASTRANA’S BACKYARD, NITRO CIRCUS HAS NOW BECOME A WORLDWIDE PHENOMENON. THE ADRENALIN-CHARGED, LIVE ACTION SPORTS SHOW INVOLVES 40 ELITE, EXTREME ATHLETES, PERFORMING AN INSANE RANGE OF DAREDEVIL TRICKS. TPi HIT THE HIGH SPEED TRACKS TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THIS NEW KIND OF CIRCUS... The live shows started in Australia in 2010, and as the Nitro brand grew, so did the desire to take it international. For the European leg of the live tour, Head of Production, Brendan Maher brought in Kevin Hopgood and SW19. “It’s important to have someone know how things work over here,” said Maher. “This was the first time the event was going to do back to backs, with buses rolling for weeks on end, so it’s pretty difficult to plan. We needed to create a set that could be put up in just eight hours, and that’s where Kevin came in. We needed his expertise and guidance on everything from trucking to getting the right crew.” “When I came on board, the template for the show was already really good, but just moving it around was a very different animal in Europe,” said Hopgood. “Time pressures were considerably different and the general approach is very outside the box.” To make things more challenging, venue sizes vary from stadiums to arenas, so the set has to be capable of being upand down-scaled. “The floor footprint is fixed,” Hopgood continued. “The athletes have to get to certain speeds to hit the ramps on whatever vehicle they’re riding, and they also have to have a certain amount of time to brake. Those things 44
can’t be changed. It means we can’t play certain venues, so what looks like a logical sequence of routing just doesn’t fit.” “‘Circus’ is definitely an appropriate name, there are around 150 people on the tour and we have nine buses and 16 trucks” added Production Coordinator, Lauren Sass. “It’s a huge amount of people to move around and accommodate as well as feed on a daily basis.” Hopgood brought in a crack team of suppliers, not least of which is catering company Snakatak. “They do an amazing job feeding a hell of a lot of people!” he smiled. “Last year, we ended up with an issue where all the riders came in earlier than we thought and they served food constantly from8am till 8pm.” As well as the pure logistics of touring such a behemoth of a show, there are other elements that need a slightly different approach. “When you’re doing rock ‘n’ roll, you only need to amplify the band, but here you’ve got to wrestle with the noise of the bikes and the crowd behaves like they would at a sporting event,” said Maher. “But this is a full on show, so we merge the two, which again has it’s own production challenges. It means we need more gear and a different approach to the audio.” “Compared to the other similar events, this is much more theatrical, which I think is what
sets it apart,” reinforced Hopgood. “So we try to create a more theatrical back drop.” AUDIO Supplying audio that punches through the noise of both crowd and machines is Capital Sound. Its team has put together a nifty system that delivers on sound and also keeps the arena floor clear of cabling. “The first venue on the European tour was the Tele2 Arena in Stockholm, Sweden, which was only opened in May 2013,” recalled Capital Sound’s General Manager, Paul Timmins. “It’s a 40,000 capacity, state of the art football stadium with a retractable roof. “We did there what we were going to be doing in the large arenas, but rigged off-centre, with the production placed in a corner of the stadium because of the way seat sales work. We covered 270º there, but in the arenas we cover a full 360º with audio.” This is the second year Capital Sound has worked with the tour in Europe, supplying a Meyer Sound loudspeaker set up specified by Sound Designer and FOH Engineer, George Gorga, who has been working with Nitro for a number of years. “With the show being on the venue’s floor, the cable routings, power distro and any amps
PRODUCTION PROFILE: Nitro Circus
Opposite: Nitro Circus has worked with Capital Sound for the second year running, ensuring the show’s impact can be heard throughout the entire arena. Below: FOH Engineer, George Gorga; The PA of choice was Meyer Sound’s MILO system; The sound team with Capital Sound General Manager, Paul Timmins.
that would normally be sited on the ground would get in the way,” explained Timmins. “We’ve customised the MILO system, effectively breaking up the distro. Each hang has its own dedicated power distribution and also features an Optocore box. We’re driving the hangs with local source power, so we can put any hang in any position in the building, interlinking them with the Optocore system, making it very versatile.” “We have two Optocore XR6’s at FOH which we use for distro,” added Kevin Smith, Audio Tech and Crew Boss. “We can then run fibre to the X6R-FXs placed on top of each speaker stack and run two AES audio feeds into each hang. That means we can pump audio out of any of the zones without having to jump up on top of a box and plug things in.” The general set up features six hangs of nine MILO and three MICA, with 700Hp subwoofers (16 in total) positioned under the lander ramps, all driven from three Galileo 616’s. “The MILOs do most of the work, with three MICA cabinets hanging off the bottom on one of Meyer’s very clever transition frames,” continued Timmins. “They work very well in this configuration and we can configure the hangs depending on the room.” “We have processing for days,” added System Tech, Mike Nichamin. “George likes to use Lake amplifiers. He runs mono into his Yamaha M7CL and splits into two zones, which go to the Optocore for each hang, then into XTA DP226’s, which act as an AES to analogue convertor.
“The system has to be flexible because the ramps move around. Only having two cables running to each hang is a great advantage for somewhere where site lines are paramout.” Additional equipment includes Sennheiser 2000 Series in ears, with Shure UHFRs for handheld and headset microphones, Denon C-630 CD players [“We use them because they never go wrong,” said Timmins], Sennheier HD25 headphones and Mackie HR24s for local monitoring. Another vital part of the audio requirements is comms, which is supplied by Surf Hire and operated by Paul Carter. “The system is based around an RTS 24 port matrix for the key people such as the show caller, sound operator, lighting, video and pyro,” said Carter. “We have 12 duplex radio belt packs for the guys on track and pyrotechnics. There are just over 60 walkie talkies, three channels of which are interfaced into the matrix. “We have guys directing the motor cross bikes, someone at the top of the Giganta Ramp telling the riders when to go and when to hold, so comms is important from a safety aspect. If something goes wrong, everyone needs to know about it. A problem with comms could really hamper things, so you need a pretty solid system to hold all that together,” he added. LIGHTING With an ever-changing show dynamic and venue geography, the lighting design for Nitro Circus needs to follow suit. “It’s not the kind of show you can just program and then send
out on the road,” said Paul Collison, Nitro’s Lighting Designer, Director and Operator who ran away to join the Circus 18 months ago. “We have a set equipment inventory, which is supplied by Neg Earth, but we’re moving trusses and lights all the time. The most important aspect is making sure that the riders can be seen, but also that they have good visibility. There’s the whole theatrical aspect that we need to integrate, while always having a conscious understanding of the safety elements of the show. You can’t plunge somebody into darkness when they’re 15 meters up in the air, upside down and going to spin around three times before they land. “There’s a huge element of trust. When they’re hurtling towards a ramp that’s in darkness they need to be sure the lights are going to come up by the time they get there. It can be nerve racking when you’ve got somebody’s life in your hands, so our kit has to be ultra reliable,” he added. Collison has specified a predominantly Clay Paky system. Ensuring good light level on the tracks are 48 1500W Clay Paky washes, with 40 Alpha Wash 1500’s which provide the theatrical element, and another 12 Alpha profiles 1500’s in the air. A total of eight beams placed on the ground provide a further angle. “I light the roof a lot in this show because people spend a considerable amount of time looking up - it gives a bit of a background to the riders hurtling through the air,” Collison continued. “The fixtures on the floor also help with that. Additionally, we have 30 Martin
PRODUCTION PROFILE: Nitro Circus
Below: Nitro Circus has over 40 extreme athletes in its crew, who were lit by fixtures supplied from Neg Earth; The Snakatak catering team.
Professional Atomic 3000 DMX strobes and some audience blinders, just to add a little bit of sparkle along the top.” Finally, Martin Flex Dot outlines the sides of the Giganta Ramp and chases the riders as they hurtle down. “It’s the only product we came across that could do that, that was easy to install and gave us the ability to animate vertically or horizontally along the ribbon,” Collison concluded. “An MA Lighting grandMA 2 is used for control, with a grandMA VPU running the video into the Martin Flex Dot.” VIDEO Supplied by XL Video, a four-sided centre hang of Lighthouse R7-ER LED screen shows live action and replays. Video direction is from Billy Robinson, who is new to Nitro Circus, but is perfectly qualified with a background in both sports television and music. “We have static cameras positioned around the venue, long lenses and handhelds which are everywhere around the track to capture close-up action,” said Robinson. “I’ve also got a Globocam up on the top of the Giganta, which is operated from down here. We’re using two channels of EVS for the replays, so we can pick and choose the angle we want to replay specific
tricks and we’ve got lots of VT to run.” PYRO Howard and Sons provides pyrotechnic effects, with Pyrotechnic and Special Effect Director Stuart Bensley in charge. “We do all the pyrotechnics and special effect for Nitro worldwide,” noted Bensley. “I’ve been working with the show since it started so since 2008, so we have a format that we follow, but we tweak and refine it every year, introducing a few new effects just to mix things up a bit.” A total of 16 pyrotechnic positions are spread around the track, each shooting up to 14 meters in height. Special effects are also placed on the riders, shooting while in mid-air. “It’s pretty cool, especially when we do sequences of multiple riders,” he said. “It’s a bit tricky, but it looks really good. As with everything else on the show, safety is our primary concern and it’s vital that we are 100% sure nothing can go off accidently.” SAFE AND SECURE Talking of safety, Security and Safety Manager, Pat Fegan, is in charge of all aspects for both athletes and crew. “I ensure there’s enough security in the venue, that all the riders and crew
are protected, that the barriers and safety walls are in place to protect the riders from the crowd and the crowd from the riders,” noted Fegan. “There are two of us on tour plus a medic, which leaves me to keep an eye on the athletes. I’ve worked on the show since 2005, so I’m used to what they make look very random and wild being very tightly controlled.” So what’s it really like being in the circus, TPi wonders? “The days are long” concluded Hopgood. “This is not the sort of show where you can skip a sound check and know everything’s still going to be OK. If we can’t all do what we need to do, there’s potential for serious injury. So we do start very early and our schedule is pretty tough, but it’s great fun and the results are truly, madly, spectacular!” he concluded. Trucks were supplied by Redburn Transfer and buses by Beat the Street. Nitro Circus continues in 2014 throughout the US. TPi Photos: Mark Watson www.nitrocircus.com, www.xlvideo.tv www.capital-sound.co.uk www.sw-19.net, www.negearth.co.uk www.howardfireworks.com.au www.beatthestreet.net www.redburn.co.uk
Touch the light!
What if you could reach out and touch the light? Craft it, colour it, move it â€“ directly and without feeling like thereâ€™s a machine between you and your design...
ON THE ROAD: Viva Las Vegas
VIVA LAS VEGAS TPi’S KELLY MURRAY HEADS WEST IN SEARCH OF SOME OF NORTH AMERICA’S MOST SOUGHT-AFTER LIVE PRODUCTION PROS... FROM FIRE TO WATER, TO RENTAL ACQUISITIONS AND AWARD-WINNING SOUND SERVICES, IT WOULD APPEAR THAT JUST OFF NEVADA’S NOTORIOUS GLITTERING STRIP IS WHERE YOU’LL FIND THE REAL TALENT. It’s known as the entertainment capital of the world, so by rights, Las Vegas should be an all-night party city with an emphasis on fun. Which it is, of course. But it’s also a city perfectly built for our industry, one in which bigger often does mean better, and where the list of clientel for live productions is a never ending conveyer belt of tour dates, the latest residencies and expectedly extravagant after parties. From the moment you step foot inside McCarran International Airport, you’ll be greeted by slot machines, disorientated passengers, (at this point Elvis’ smooth tones will begin sound-tracking your jet lag) and you’ll bypass the concept of realtime. Does a clock displaying the local hour even exist in Vegas? Just a little shy of behaving like Lewis Carroll’s white rabbit, myself and Hannah set off on a local tour of Nevada’s live event veterans, innovators and visionaries. 48
Situated at the base of the Spring mountain range, Las Vegas is one of the hottest locations in North America, yet as uncharacteristically as it may seem, when TPi ventured to the desert, we also brought the northern English weather with us. Luckily, we were also met with warm appreciation from our US hosts and chatted with the some of the enthusiastic, passionate and creative people behind the technicalities of some truly stunning tours; from Solotech and Cirque du Soleil’s ongoing collaboration to Pyrotek Special Effects’ latest work on a muchanticipated yet top secret gig, and SGPS and Le Maitre’s new expansions, we genuinely learnt a lot. Not forgetting the 2013 LDI show highlights report in which you’ll find that Robe won the award for ‘Best Large Booth’. Just goes to show, that with the right tools, lighting designs can even gain admiration during an expo! Viva Las Vegas indeed...
ON THE ROAD: Viva Las Vegas
Photo: Rachel Wright
Founded in Montreal, Canada, with a facility in Nevada is our first port of call, rental house Solotech. To date, the company has worked with some of the most prestigious and influential tours in recent times. Francois Leroux, Executive Vice-President International Business Development at Solotech runs its US and international operations, looking after new business opportunities, joint ventures and acquisitions from its Las Vegas office. Approachable and unassuming, Leroux is as hospitable as he is knowledgeable when we arrive at his office. Having garnered a career that has allowed him to travel the world and learn the business from the ground up, Leroux is incredibly humble. “I got involved in entertainment through my dad; a television actor in Quebec. I inherited my passion for entertainment from him, but whereas he was happy in front of the projectors, I’m happy behind them!” he said. “I started my career at Solotech in the mid ‘80s while studying law at university. After graduation I joined Cirque du Soleil and spent seven years with them moving between the US, Asia and Europe. It was a great place to learn intensive touring routines and to make a lot of contacts and relationships. After my time at Cirque, I stayed in Europe to co-produce and
create ice entertainment shows, live shows and large-scale operas,” Leroux explained. After honing his skills with the circus crew, Leroux jokes that he “got a phone call from Mickey Mouse” leading him towards his next career move. Of course, joining Disney as a Creative Executive in Paris, would be hard for anyone to resist. Eight years later, Leroux joined Solotech once more as an International Business Developer. In October last year, Solotech announced three new strategic financial partners: Claridge, Capital Régional et Coopératif Desjardins and Investissement Québec. The changes came as part of the company’s ownership restructure which also saw the departure of some major shareholders. Today, it is primarily a technology provider, as Leroux detailed: “We work behind the scenes supplying sound, lighting and video equipment to large scale events. We often have to customise all manner of technology in order to adhere to the visions and needs of designers and producers. We are one of the few companies that can provide it all; from LED to rigging and creative content requirements.” The latter is supplied via Solotech’s affiliated video company, 4U2C. During our visit to Las Vegas, Leroux was
kind enough to invite TPi to the Parnelli Awards. It being our first time, Hannah and I weren’t sure what to expect, but I suppose you could be in worse company than sipping red wine with the likes of Bruce Springsteen’s touring crew… As we sat down, we heard that Solotech had been nominated for ‘Best Sound Company’, which Leroux was adamant could not be won again so soon after a 2011 victory. If I learnt anything during my stint sharing a table with some of the most sought-after rock ‘n’ roll technicians while trying to butter olive bread (turns out it was raisin), it’s that sometimes, even a man of Leroux’s status can be wrong; Solotech once again claimed the title. Said Leroux: “Winning this award twice in three years is a really nice form of recognition from our peers and from the industry, but it’s even nicer for our staff and crew; they are the ones working hard, long hours to satisfy our clients and allow Solotech to be the company that it is today. “We strive to deliver perfection. We never cut corners and we always try to set the industry standard. Preparation is key, but a dedicated team and state-of-the-art equipment will do the rest,” he concluded. Solotech supply Justin Timberlake and Bruce Springsteen tours later this year. 49
ON THE ROAD: Viva Las Vegas
Another company headquartered in Montreal, a city in the Canadian province of Quebec, is world-class performance art company, Cirque du Soleil. It was founded in Baie-Saint-Paul 29 years ago by street artists Guy Laliberté and Gilles Ste-Croix. As one of North America’s leading entertainment cities, Nevada’s bright lights soon led the company to open up a Las Vegas operation. Although much smaller than its Canadian counterpart, the Las Vegas office was created to maintain a presence in the city which has enjoyed an extensive rosta of resident shows, featuring original production concepts as various other productions maintain continual touring duties throughout the world. In Las Vegas, the Mandalay Bay hotel is our meeting destination due to its new in-house show, entitled ONE, being the talk of the town. From our taxi drivers
to the concierge, it seems that the locals are championing this show, alongside its international audience draw and entertainment critics. I spoke to the show’s Operations Production Manager, David Dovell, about working for one of the most technically and cutting-edge live production companies in existence. Dovell trained in technical theatre but declares his true technical training as being learnt ‘on the job’. “I began my journey with Cirque du Soleil in 1999 as Head of Props for Alegría. We were bringing the show from the Royal Albert Hall, London, to Biloxi, Mississippi, at the newly opened Beau Rivage. Since then, I have travelled the world and had the pleasure of opening LOVE at The Mirage, ZED at Tokyo Disney, Viva ELVIS at ARIA, Zarkana at Radio City Music Hall and most recently, Michael Jackson ONE.” With roles as varied as Production
Photo: OSA Images
Photo: Tomas Muscionico
Technical Director to Operations Production Manager, Dovell cites Cirque du Soleil as enabling its employees with constant challenges. Dovell’s own include moving one of the world’s largest tours - Zarkana - into the Kremlin Palace in Moscow… during the height of a Russian winter. Back to Dovell’s most recent project, ONE, and this production brought around an altogether different challenge. As a brand new show featuring the works of Michael Jackson, ONE bestowed challenges unique to the project and unique to the hotel theatre it was built in. Continued Dovell: “There is no doubt that Cirque du Soleil has pushed boundaries here and ONE was a challenge from the start; how would the creative and production teams create something that would have made Michael Jackson smile, and more importantly made him proud? “The other challenge was to take Michael 50
Jackson’s legacy into a more intimate, immersive level than any production had done before. Stage lifts and high-speed pods were added to the stage decks, but the biggest technical challenge was keeping pace with the energy of the artists and the pace of the show to make the moves and transitions happen on time. Every Cirque show is challenging in that way, as it takes constant up-keep to ensure it operates as planned, safely, night after night.” With the music and sound system being specifically designed for the room, (a Meyer Sound loudspeaker and Constellation system, supplied by Solotech) along with the acrobatic design elements, the audience leaves ONE with an experience that is debateably unmatched as far as innovative live productions go. “This is not like any other Michael Jackson show out there, even our own!” enthused Dovell. The experienced PM elaborated that after
15 years with the company, Dovell described his key ingredients for a successful live event: “After being through several large-scale productions in the last five years, I must say the key ingredient is in the team. When you have a director that is surrounded by professionals who share a vision and are being guided by strong creative directors and production managers, anything is possible. “When you are in a room full of people discussing various options and ideas with enthusiasm and respect, hours go by quickly and the result can be brilliant. Respect and understanding of all personnel involved has a huge impact on the vibe and success of a show, I believe. We know that some of the most beautiful, touching moments in our shows are not driven by technology, but by how we harness each of the disciplines in theatre and subtly use them together to make event magic.”
ON THE ROAD: Viva Las Vegas
During November last year, Le Maitre USA relocated to Las Vegas, just 30 minutes off the Strip, and this exciting move for the company couldn’t have come at a better time. With a new President at the helm in the US; further investment in R&D and production at Le Maitre’s pyrotechnics manufacturing location in the UK; and a steady stream of new products being added to its already extensive portfolio, Le Maitre is exceptionally well placed to forge ahead in North America as well as around the rest of the world. The move from Le Maitre’s previous US headquarters in Austin, Texas was something that Le Maitre USA joint owner Karen Haddon had been keen to make happen for a while. A lot of research went in to finding the ideal location - one which allowed them to be up and running quickly in existing premises, but with plenty of land for future plans. Said Haddon, “Finding the right location for us in Vegas has involved a great deal of time and effort, but it’s absolutely been worth it all. The move to Vegas offers a number of great benefits for us. First and perhaps most obviously, it’s the capital of the entertainment industry in North America and a large number of our key customers are located there too. Secondly our new offices are located on four acres of land offering great scope for growing the business. Starting within the next 12 months we will begin to develop the site extensively, enabling us to produce our own smoke and haze fluids on site, conduct sub-product 52
assembly as well as R&D, and demonstrate as well as manufacture pyro there in the future. Thirdly, the dry climate in Vegas is of course perfect for our pyro products, compared to the humidity of Austin.” Randy Segeren, Le Maitre USA’s recently appointed President, also added: “I’m so pleased we’ve been able to make this move. It is really going to help us build even stronger relationships with key accounts, and it will be so much easier to demonstrate product and have face to face meetings. Furthermore, there’s the additional benefit of being able to provide an even better service to our customers in terms of response times for product as a result of onsite production. This is really great news as we’ve some ambitious sales growth planned!” In fact Le Maitre’s sales are continuing to increase and not just in the US, but worldwide. The company has recently invested in increasing productivity at its pyrotechnics factory in Peterborough, UK, in order to cope with demand. Added Haddon: “The pyrotechnic manufacturing process can be a very labour intensive process, and Le Maitre had reached almost full production capacity by last November, traditionally the highest production month of the year.” To increase capacity and look at introducing longer term cost efficiencies, Le Maitre researched alternative production methods exploring different industries before subsequently identifying a 20 station tablet press, usually found in the pharmaceutical
industry. Colin Lindsay, Factory Manager at Peterborough, has been steering the new production methods, which have had to involve careful adjustment of product composition. Said Lindsay, “The new tablet press toolsets are being used on a whole host of products from Micro Mines through to 60’ Mines. Compositions have had to be re-developed, as the process is very different to our previous one, so there’s been a lot of work by staff to get this perfected.” According to Lindsay and Haddon the new process will be able to operate at a phenomenal rate, producing between 24,000-26,000 units per hour, regardless of diameter. Le Maitre estimates this new production process will result in an increase in capacity of over 50%. In conclusion Haddon noted: “With sales continuing to grow so well, it is key to the business that we continually plan ahead. In addition to the new production methods in place at Peterborough along with the new Las Vegas location for Le Maitre USA and the plans there for local production, we are also currently implementing a complete new software program which will incorporate all finance, sales and stock information across all three of our locations - Mitcham, Peterborough and Las Vegas, providing more integrated realtime operation and communication. All these investments will ensure that we continue to provide the excellent service and consistently high quality product that we are so well known for around the world.”
ON THE ROAD: Viva Las Vegas
Pyrotek Special Effects was founded in 1980 by present Chairman of the Board, Doug Adams. Early business included local live theatre, corporate and concert events, and with constant dedication, quickly grew into national and worldwide tours, and television and movies. By the early ‘90s the company was recognised for its innovation, gaining the biggest pyrotechnic clients you could hope for, including recent cover star, Bruno Mars for which it worked closely with Le Maitre. The company has since grown into two offices, one in Las Vegas and another in Markham, Ontario, employing a total of 30 fulltime employees, and 50 expert subcontractors. Pyrotek, along with its sister companies - Laser Design Productions and Aqua Visual Effects continues to produce world-class designs and custom effects for the entertainment industry’s most influential artists, alongside todays up and coming artists. From show design and operation, to coordination and integration of effects into 54
stage, set pieces and props, Pyrotek delivers key technical expertise to event production. It also deals daily with tour logistics and safety management on the road. At its Las Vegas location, we were shown around the facility by Operations Manager, Bob Pratl (thanks for the fun demo!). Although under wraps as TPi goes to print, Britney Spears’ recent announcement of a Las Vegas residency is clearly advertised all over the strip. Although unable to officially comment, Pyrotek will be supplying bespoke elements to the show, including various customised effects which incorporate water, flames and pyrotechnic gags in all shapes and sizes. Yet it’s not just tours which Pyrotek supply, it also has a booming club market in Las Vegas. On New Year’s Eve it supplied its 48ft fire screen to super club, Hakkasan. The five-floor building enjoyed the modular, programmable pixel-based unit, which presents the ability to control various propane flame effects from high to moderate speeds. The
fire screen systems allow users the capability of shooting a lazy flame bar or fire jets which, when in an all-on cue, can create a wall of fire up to eight ft tall. Pyrotek has recently created the 5 Master Unit, a liquid flame system new to North America featuring eight angled flame nozzles which fire a stream of fire 18ft in each direction. This system is a new substitute for venues that do not allow propane flame systems. As an international vendor, the company is well-versed when it comes to worldwide H&S practice. “We always conduct our business in a way that is creative and crowd pleasing, but also safe to artists, dancers and the wider public audience. Our mantra is when in doubt, leave it out,” stated Lorenzo Cornacchia, Pyrotek President. If you can’t wait till Britney takes over the Nevada nightlife, look out for Pyrotek on a tour near you, from Maroon 5 to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, this special effects company will undoubtedly keep you entertained…
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ON THE ROAD: Viva Las Vegas
Photo: Cory FitzGerald
In 1970s England, SGPS started out as a theatre lighting company in London, originally called Key Lites, and was founded by (now) industry veteran, Eric Pearce, who showed us round the warehouse with Tour Coordinator, Amber Winner. Not only does Pearce potentially have the most impressive hair in the industry, but he also knows how to create a successful global business from a pipe dream. Before delving into the emerging touring market and re-naming itself ShowLites, today SGPS (Show Group Production Services) was formed to cover the operations of ShowRig, ShowStaging and Showfabrications, which make up the SGPS family. Offering expert rigging to all manner of the production industry, SGPS applies its in-house engineering, design and fabrication skills to any project. Automation projects can be designed either using components from its inventory or via unique fabrication, specifically created to meet individual needs. Las Vegas slowly but surely became the HQ of SGPS as over time, the company’s touring operations were relocated from its first American home, Los Angeles, in order 56
to join its industrial market services. Whereas Los Angeles continues to be its main film, TV and commercials base, there has been further expansion with its latest film operation opening in New Orleans. This year, SGPS plans to extend further within the film and industrial markets with the addition of two more locations in Chicago, Illinois and Atlanta, Georgia. Said Pearce: “We have also just expanded into larger premises in Nashville, Tennessee, to better service our growing roster of country artists.” All of this expansion doesn’t come without some vital ingredients, and its SGPS’s attention to detail and commitment to designing new and bespoke products which keeps it popping up in different states. Pearce explained that SGPS prides itself on not only producing products that perform the desired technological tasks, but it does so in a way that takes into account the “total operational environment in which they need to function.” This reputation has not gone unnoticed, as Pearce was recently honoured at the Parnelli Awards as a ‘Visionary’. He said: “It was very satisfying to receive the award, and to be
recognised for our efforts over so many years of service to the industry.” Although joking during the event that anyone who has been in the industry for 30 years deserves an award anyway, SGPS shows absolutely no sign of slowing down. Quite the opposite, in fact. With these continual ventures providing a dedicated location and facility to each specific discipline, the company has been able to expand at a rate of 20% per year for many years now, doubling in size over the last five years despite the economical downturn in America. “With the addition of the new locations and our commitment to expanding our ShowStaging operations, we are looking forward to doubling the size of the company again, this time within the next three years!” determined Pearce. Not many people can say they owe their fortune to rock ‘n’ roll, but in the case of this English gent, it clearly rings true. After all, if it’s good enough for Miley Cyrus, Kanye West and Motely Crue, you can bet you’re in safe hands with SGPS. By March this year, the company will have 10 tours simultaneously out on the road... a live production vision if there ever was one.
G N I R U O T E N GO ! ! D L R O W E H T
7465 Dean Martin Drive, Suite 108 Las Vegas NV 89139 1-702-614-8882 WWW.SOLOTECH.US
5200 Hochelaga Montreal QC H1V 1G3 1-514-370-5233 WWW.SOLOTECH.COM
KINGS OF LEON
BEYONCE ROBBIE WILLIAMS
MUSE LORD OF THE DANCE
ELTON JOHN ED SHEERAN
All filmed with Bradley Engineering equipment
+44 (0)1590 622 440 www.bradeng.com Picture courtesy of Blackcamsystems
ON THE ROAD: Viva Las Vegas
Dedicated to the entertainment lighting sector, LDI 2013 certianly attracted its target audience; the late November show was bustling with visitors from the moment its doors opened. While official visitor numbers were yet to be released as TPi went to print, the show definitely appeared to have increased in both visitor numbers and the number of brands on show. Although some key companies were missing, the floor still maintained a continual buzz. As far as new product launches went, having just attended PLASA in London a matter of weeks before LDI, there wasn’t a great deal on show that the TPi team hadn’t already seen, this is not to say however, that there weren’t US debuts and demonstrations to draw the crowds in . ADJ Products revealed three new professional moving head fixtures; the Inno Color Beam Z7, Inno Spot Pro and the patent pending 3 Sixty 2R. Avolites and Avolites Media launched an array of new servers, fader wings and consoles 58
for the US through distributor Group One. Chauvet DJ won ‘The Best Small Booth’ award, and Chauvet Professional recently took on Fucini Productions for its marketing and communications strategies. Clay Paky’s A.Leda B-Eye received an ‘Honourable Mention’ in the ‘Debuting Products of the Year’ awards. D.T.S had its ‘dream team’ campaign out in full force with the MAX, a single moving head which offers beam, spot, wash and theatre capabilities. (Oh, and thanks for providing the show’s most entertaining barman during your post-show drinks!) Show sponsor Elation Professional enjoyed its busiest LDI to date and launched a number of key products, as well as the surprise announcement of a distribution agreement with High End Systems. ETC employees were busy throughout the show giving demonstrations of the ETC Source Four LED CYC adapter, Eos Titanium lighting control system and Source Four Mini spotlight.
This compact, nine-inch version of the Source Four spotlight had previously won a PLASA Members Choice Award in the Gadget category. LaserNet and Pangolin Laser Systems joined forces this year to produce a booth that took the show by storm. The team at LaserNet sponsored ‘live’ laser show performances, from top name DJ Moibus8, which were controlled using Pangolin’s all-new Beyond laser show control software. LED Engin announced a combination of LZ4Plus emitters and Gaggione 8-45º zoom optics that produce class-leading candela / lumen performance, beam quality and control. Le Maitre took its biggest LDI exhibition stand to date, displaying its complete product line, which included a preview of the soon to be launched Salamander Quad Pro flame effect. The Madrix range of products were on show, including Madrix 3 lighting controller for unique 2D and real 3D LED applications and Madrix Luna, a reliable Art-Net node with builtin data synchronisation.
ON THE ROAD: Viva Las Vegas
Martin Professional launched the new MAC Quantum Wash which features tight beams, a marketleading colour palette and uniform mixing. It combines 750W of RGBW LED power and a 1:6 zoom. Over on the Philips Entertainment stand there was a constant flow of visitors thanks to demonstrations running throughout the three days. Its stand was also awarded ‘The Most Creative Use of Light in a Booth’ award. Products showcased included the Showline SL Bar 620, SL Nitro 510, Vari-Lite VL3015LT Spot, and the Strand Lighting 250ML control console. PixelFLEX unveiled a new line of high-resolution video curtain panels at LDI, offering customers a variety of options for displaying crisp and clear video images. On show was Prolyte’s TwinPin format enables truss grids to be built on the floor as one set of the holes sits horizontal to the ground negating the need to lift the truss to insert the pins. The other set of holes enables this unique TwinPin truss to still mate with existing Prolyte H Series truss. The excellent load bearing capacity of the truss is not affected by the extra hole. Robe enjoyed one of its busiest and best LDI exhibitions to date which saw its white booth - with a light show designed by Nathan Wan - win ‘Best Big Booth Design’ category of the 2013 LDI Awards. This was the first big US exhibition to showcase the Pointe -
Robe’s award-winning multi-purpose moving light and fastest ever selling product. Other new innovations on show included the Robin MiniMe, CycFX 8, Cyclone, MMX Blade and ParFect 100. Canadian mobile stage manufacturer, Stageline, showed videos of its largest stage to date, the SAM 750. The company’s rental business is set for 2014 following a very productive show. Dutch manufacturer Visual Productions joined its Canadian distributor, Theatrixx Technologies, to display its latest control products including the CueluxPro software and the B-Station. In conclusion, this year’s LDI show was definitely a positive experience for both the TPi team, our sister publication, mondo*dr and the exhibitors and attendees that we spoke to. There was a great atmosphere around the show floor and while Las Vegas may have treated its guests to some out of character temperatures - who says Mancunian’s bring the weather with them? - the 24/7 ‘entertainment capital of the world’ made up for it in providing a multitude of options for hosting post-show drinks, awards ceremonies, club openings and importantly for those morning meetings, an easy to navigate well-resourced exhibition centre. It would however, be great to see a dedicated pressroom for the visiting overseas media. 59
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Stageline
STAGELINE WELL INTO ITS THIRD DECADE, CANADIAN MOBILE STAGING GIANT, STAGELINE, HAS SUCCESSFULLY PENETRATED THE LIVE EVENT MARKET ACROSS THE WORLD AND HAS RECENTLY CREATED ITS LARGEST MOBILE STAGE TO DATE, THE SAM 750. TPi’S KELLY MURRAY SPOKE TO PRESIDENT, YVAN MIRON, AND DIRECTOR OF SALES, PIERRE-LUC ROMPRÉ ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF H&S IN OUTDOOR STRUCTURES, BEING GREEN AND PRODUCT INNOVATION. It is evident that part of Stageline’s phenomenal success is down to its ability to foresee a gap in the market place for genuine improvement within the mobile staging sector. From its origins in a very small office in Montreal with an ambition to develop staging technology, Stageline is now a globally respected, multi-functional facility with a deep-routed environmental philosophy and an impressive array of technological firsts to its name. Yvan Miron, President and Founder of Stageline has led the company towards the success it bestows today. Miron has pioneered the concept of resource-saving, load bearing mobile stages, which came into fruition in the early ‘80s. He told TPi: “I realised that the product as such did not really exist, but that the staging industry needed it, so I made the decision to become the leader in mobile staging technology. Today, our products can be found in over 42 countries, and that figure is constantly growing. “Within that, it was always a conscious 60
decision, to be ‘green’. I realised in the late ‘80s that setting up a conventional stage was very labour-intensive, that you needed a lot of machinery and equipment to do it and you literally turned open spaces like parks, into construction sites. I knew there had to be an easier way to do that, so the concept of mobile staging right from the beginning also meant needing to create a positive impact in a sustainable development,” continued Miron. “I wanted a solution that required less manpower, less equipment, less labour and no restoration costs. At the time, all stages had to be ‘man wired’ which meant using cables and anchoring them into the ground, so it was constructed from the ground up. The concept of a mobile stage did away with all of that because it has all of the equipment ready to go; it’s a trailer encasing hydraulic equipment that unfolds, so what looks like a regular trailer is actually packaging the structural equipment and scenic elements needed for rigging. Therefore, you don’t need any tools to install a mobile stage as it’s all preassembled. I instantly loved
the idea that ‘less is more’.” To give an example, an equivalent of Stageline’s SAM 555 model could easily use up to four to six trailers on the road, yet the SAM 555 stage is transportable in one trailer. “When we did the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, we had to do 84 shows in 84 days, and hired local crews,” said Miron. “It was labour intensive but with Stageline, even the sound equipment was stored within the stage itself, so no advance work had to be done.” Furthermore, throughout its history, 80% of the materials used on Stageline products have been recycled, and its own HQ is an impressive manufacturing facility that boasts a 70% energy consumption reduction, allowing the production process of a huge stage to become a further asset to the company’s carbon footprint. INTRODUCING THE SAM 750 Around 50 stages of different sizes are built each year at Stageline, but it’s the new SAM 750, the biggest mobile stage to date, that is set to propel the company even further into
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Stageline
Opposite: Stageline, based in Montreal, Canada, manufacture and sell stages to all manner of live events including Heavy MTL, produced by Evenko. From heavy metal to food fairs, the company prides itself on rigging innovation and world-class safety. Below: Osheaga fetsival has requested a second SAM 750 to be created for the event’s large-scale, three-day operation; The Stageline team at LDI in Las Vegas (L-R):President, Yvan Miron; International Sales Manager, Raymond Belanger; Director of Sales, Pierre-Luc Rompré and Sales Representitive, Tony Beresford.
the outdoor event market. At an impressive 40 metres by 16 metres in size (inclusive of wings) and a 75-tonne load-bearing capacity, the SAM 750 is certainly a structure to behold. According to Miron, the SAM 750 complements its family of products effortlessly. He explained how the product was realised: “Around three years ago it seemed that various incidents were occurring in the industry from situations that could have been avoided. The company that runs Osheaga festival [Evenko] called me and asked if I could consider building a much larger stage that would have the same safety requirements as our other stages. Of course, I said yes! “My intention is that safety is the number one issue because a stage is like a plane; you’re hanging tonnes of equipment overhead, you’re working in an environment that’s always unpredictable with technicians who work long hours and who travel from place to place. Everything is time-sensitive, so it’s probably the best environment for accidents to occur. “With all those elements put together, very often equipment is replaced at the last moment, sometimes without taking into consideration that it will consequently exceed the rigging capacity. Our design criteria is very simple: it’s two times the working load. The industry says if your structure can withstand 65mph winds and you can lower the soft elements in five minutes, then we accept 40mph as a guide. Gust winds at 40mph are now so common that we’ve designed our stages for 90mph winds, so it exceeds the industry norm by a long way. “I much prefer developing a product and technology that is based on proven codes rather than on possibilities. The attitude that ‘the stage is only set up for a certain amount of hours, so the risk is considerably reduced’, well I don’t believe we should think that way. Microbursts are far more common than they used to be and safety to us is vital. That’s why the SAM 750 is a game changer, because it’s totally self-sustained and it will withstand the weather elements easily, despite its size,” he added. Additionally, Stageline’s load cell technology
is embedded into its products, allowing the stage to be equipped with multiple sensors meaning that the technicians know the weight / ground distribution, the weight installed in the roof, the wind pressure and speed at all times. Miron continued: “The reason the industry is calling for a second SAM 750 - Osheaga have requested that another be built - is because of the efficiency of all our product lines. The second thing is peace of mind; once our stage is up the client knows the structure is solid. The promoter knows it’s safe with our skilled, expert crews so it’s less pressure for them; if the promoter already has to take care of 40-50,000 people per day, plus their vendors, they don’t want to be worried about stage unit safety or anybody being in danger. Using us means the production infrastructure is one less problem to deal with.” Working closely with Miron is Stageline’s Director of Sales, Pierre-Luc Rompré. “Part of our success is that I have a lot of very capable people working for me - Pierre is one of them,” explained Miron. “He runs all the commercial activity but he’s also an industrial engineer, so he’s adding more resources to enable us to expand, one step at a time.” Having joined the company a few years ago, Rompré has integrated seamlessly and is well-versed in what Stageline’s clients expect from the company, which is a complete package including training and technical support regardless of the stage size or cost. “When someone purchases a stage from us, the option is always given for us to go to their facility for training purposes. The option is also given for them to come to us and train at our facility. If they purchase a small stage but also want to be trained on the next model up, it’s easier for them to come and see us. “We have over 400 certified Stageline technicians, some full time and some freelance, working for us, so we call upon them whenever we need. If the stage reaches a certain size, we always have one of our permanent employees with the product to babysit the stage when the show goes on. If it’s a three-day festival,
our technician will be there on-site to monitor the weather and the rigging in the stage roof, and of course to answer any questions that the event’s production could have.” FROM PRODUCTION INNOVATION TO RENTAL SUCCESS Stageline has products that are in constant production. Its business model is a specialist one, as it needs extremely qualified craftsmen in operation to build the stages, which can be a lengthy, multi-skilled process. Depending on the size, stages can take up to 20 weeks to build, but the SAM 750 needs 26 - 30 weeks in production. Not only is Stageline a manufacturer and direct seller; it naturally enjoys a vibrant rental activity, from its stage owners. Rompré elaborated: “The repeat business for Stageline is roughly around three or four years, at which point we’ll have a customer coming back to acquire another stage to add to its rental fleet.” The rental business for 2014 is already thriving, with 1,500 events in North America alone set to be using Stageline products for all manner of live events, from small street parties to 50,000 people per day festivals, the brand is certainly generating a steady work flow, and with simple reasoning, as Miron explained: “The maintenance of our technology is very simple, so that’s why people keep on buying our equipment. It’s also part of our philosophy, the stage has to work all of the time, and if there’s a problem on the site it’s got to be fixed rapidly because the show must go on. Rompré furthered: “I would also add that innovation has always been key to us, it is at the core of everything we do. We’re going to keep pushing innovation in the R&D solutions that we’re providing.” As TPi prepared to conclude the interview, with Stageline’s welcoming, fun and very knowledgeable team, Miron smiled in agreement: “It’s true; innovation is in our DNA.” TPi www.stageline.com Festival photos courtesy of Evenko 61
IN PROFILE: Bradley Engineering
BRADLEY ENGINEERING AS THE IMPORTANCE OF VIDEO IN LIVE EVENTS CONTINUES A PACE, DIRECTORS AND PRODUCERS RELY ON SOPHISTICATED, RUGGED CAMERA SOLUTIONS TO HELP DELIVER CONTENT. SIMON DUFF INTERVIWED DAVID BRADLEY, FOUNDER AND MANAGING DIRECTOR OF BRADLEY ENGINEERING, MANUFACTURER OF THE REVOLUTIONARY CAM-BALL THREE-CAMERA HEAD AND A REMOTE CONTROLLED ROBO CAM THAT HAS PROVED ITSELF IN THE MOST DEMANDING OF LIVE ENVIRONMENTS. David Bradley began his career as a cameraman for the BBC in the late ‘70s working on shows such as Top of the Pops and Match of the Day. Going freelance in 1985 he went on to work for a number of BAFTA award winning children’s programmes such as Rat a Tat Tat, Living Proof and Britain in the Second World War. It was whilst working on children’s shows that the need for small remote controlled cameras arose and Bradley spotted a crucial gap in the market that was not being met. He came up with the idea to make his own small remote cameras that could be used in TV and film. It was a smart move and the BBC quickly liked what he made and used his camera heads, designed and made by Bradley himself in his garden shed. Bradley Engineering as a company was 62
officially formed in 1999 and the first remote head that Bradley made was a small camera used by Top Gear. Then came a head used as an underwater tracking camera used by BBC Sport for international swimming events and then by the natural history unit to film sharks. The company quickly succeeded, with Bradley taking on machinists and design support. From its New Forest, UK, headquarters, where design and manufacture takes place, it currently employ eight full-time staff and five freelance designers and programmers. Bradley Engineering now makes the widest range of broadcast remote camera heads and controllers. David Bradley’s story is a remarkable achievement of hard work and determination. An affable, approachable, thoughtful and highly intelligent individual, Bradley carefully summarises the company’s ethic. “A large part
of our external philosophy is a strong emphasis on customer interaction and support to ensure that our customers profit from doing business with us. Equally, we work with our suppliers to ensure that they too make profits from supplying us. Our aim is to be each supplier’s best customer in terms of ease of business and profit margins. Customer interaction is by far the major key to our business.” Bradley Engineering’s products are now used across all continents in TV production, with China an expanding market for them. The product has also had a wide take up in the event and live music markets. At the heart of that demand in the touring sector is the company’s Cam-Ball remote head. The Cam-Ball Mk 3 is a fully HD miniature remote camera head with 30:1 zoom featuring full pan and tilt facilities. Completely enclosed in an integrated
IN PROFILE: Bradley Engineering
Opposite: Belgian singer-songwriter Milow used the Bradley Engineering Cam-Ball on a recent tour. Below: The Cam-Ball Mk 3 launched in 2013, fully HD, it features 30:1 zoom with full pan and tilt facilities; Glyn Gates, Head Machinist; Paul Mead, Production Manager; TPi saw the building process of a Cam-Ball 3; Manufacturing takes place at the Bradley Engineering HQ in Brockenhurst, Hampshire; Mike McRae, Production Engineer.
unit, its very easy to plug in with just one cable for the power and data and one other for the pictures. It is waterproof, and perhaps more critically important for demanding music and theatre environments is the fact that it’s also a haze proof product. Bradley explained: “Most shows these days use haze and dry ice and that can cause problems for a lot of cameras once it gets in the lens. The Cam-Ball is sealed so it does not suffer from haze at all. The reason it is so widely used is its shear ruggedness.” Up to 99 can be chained together on a single remote control system and 99 presets can be stored on each camera. All controlled from a single control unit. The Cam-Ball 3 was launched at the 2013 IBC tradeshow in Amsterdam. Identical to the CamBall 2 in the form of the mechanics and carbon fibre housing and seals but the internal camera was up graded for a better sensor, better in low light and with a longer lens in range. The other notable feature is the very low latency of less than one frame. It weighs just 2.8 kg. Bradley continued, noting his a top priority: “We are constantly striving to bring the quality of these small remote cameras closer and closer to the quality of the bigger cameras. The Cam-Ball 3 was a huge step forward in terms
of absolute resolution and picture quality, but it also the ability to match electronically a picture look and feel to the bigger cameras by simply having enough control of it from an engineering point of view. We have made a huge step forward on that on offering pretty much all the controls you have on a big camera in a small camera so people are very satisfied. That has really only happened in the last six months.”
of work - concert touring - whilst maintaining great pictures. We love the ability to split the camera shading controls away, leaving the camera operator to ‘point and squirt’ and occasionally focus too!” Other key UK rental houses that extensively use Bradley Engineering heads and controllers include White Light and Creative Technology with recent tour use for the likes of Elton John,
“We are constantly striving to bring the quality of these small remote cameras closer and closer to the quality of the bigger cameras...”
XL Video in the UK own a number of CamBall cameras. Richard Burford, Technical Director is highly complimentary about them. He said: “Bradley Engineering Cam-Balls provide us with a robust and compact hot head solution. Having struggled for a few years with alternate ‘CCTV’ products, Bradley Engineering systems have proven reliable out in the most demanding field
Muse, Coldplay, Fleetwood Mac and Peter Gabriel to name just a few. With budgets tight in all sectors of the industry, Bradley is keen to point out there are a large number of shows and tours that want video but cannot afford to take out lots of cameramen. He said: “The directors want more and more cameras but they can’t afford more and more cameramen. So they have 63
IN PROFILE: Bradley Engineering
Below: Founder and Managing Director, David Bradley; The Cam-Ball 3 in production; The Bradley Engineering SkyTrac HD Cam was used at Cheltenham Racecourse.
found in using our system they can have one cameraman operating four cameras with one remote control unit and mee expectations. So for us it is very exciting time across all sectors.” Another key product made by the company is the Sky Trac HD Gyro 350 system. An advanced gyro stabilised camera system that has five fully active axes of gyro-controlled stabilisation. The system is supplied complete and flight cased with the controller, cables and tools. The camera ball contains all the electronics and gyros and only requires power.
The gyro can be rigged in a matter of minutes to many platforms with just a single cable or radio data link. Used for events such as at the Cheltenham Racecourse Bradley is confident that it will see a significant update in the touring sector. Looking forward, Bradley has some very interesting thoughts on where he sees video heading: “I think it will not necessarily be where you place cameras to get the images exactly, but how you deliver those images to the audience. Whether you that’s direct to the latest
Apple iPhone, to multiple screens, projected differently or used in order to re-create a band half way down the auditorium, four times life size with multiple screens! I think that is going to be the next way forward...” Interesting times indeed and one that will almost certainly see Bradley Engineering as a key component, ensuring a satisfied end users the world over. TPi www.bradeng.com
“THE SAM750 IS A GAME CHANGER” ERIK HOFFMAN
VICE-PRESIDENT - TALENT | LIVE NATION CANADA
TRAILERS HYDRAULICALLY ASSEMBLED INTO A 40m X 16m STAGE (130’ x 50’)
SPEARHEADING STAGING EVOLUTION www.stageline.com
THE BIGGER PICTURE
THE PSA BUSINESS SUPPORT HELPLINE IS KINDLY SPONSORED BY
THE BIGGER PICTURE YOU KNOW WHERE YOU STAND WITH A STANDARD The GM has been to a conference about standards. It got him thinking, about standards.
© Melinda Nagy - Fotolia.com
Tower Bridge in London is, without doubt, an iconic building. Interestingly, it stands on its own as a steel structure, the ornate stone towers are for decoration rather than support. Another interesting fact about Tower Bridge is that its construction led to the first ever British Standard. Its designer Sir John Wolfe-Barry, was bemused by the variety of sizes of steel section, so asked the Council of the Institution of Civil Engineers to form a committee to consider standardising iron and steel sections on 22 January 1901. This led to the formation of the Engineering Standards Committee and the reduction of the various sizes of section from 175 to 113, saving time and money for future engineering projects. The idea caught on, leading to the British Standard mark, later known as the Kitemark. In the early 20th Century, tram manufacturers would have leapt for joy as the number of tramline gauges was reduced from 75 to five. Of course, standards predate the formation of Wolfe-Barry’s committee; there was heated debate in the 19th Century about the gauge of railways tracks. This led to the Great Western Railway replacing the entire track from Cornwall to London in a weekend. Without doubt 66
though, the standardisation of steel sections led to the formation of the organisation that put together like-minded experts in many fields, to agree on specifications for all manner of products processes and systems. Changes in status and name, and the small matter of a Royal charter led to the formation of the British Standards Institute (BSI). The adoption of standards in different territories led inevitably to the formation of the International Organisation for Standardization (ISO), a huge step for international trade. In a step that, today, seems comical, The Women’s Advisory Committee was formed in 1951 to advise on standards affecting the domestic consumer. Yes, women were allowed out of the home and given a place round the committee table to advise on standards for whisks and pans. Things have moved along a little since then; consumer and business committees know no gender barriers. Today, you won’t find much in the home or office that isn’t built to some standard or other. They create a level playing field for manufacturers, they give consumers confidence. There are around 30,000 British Standards in existence today, many of them relate to
products, but there are those that relate to processes or systems too, ways of doing things, or managing things, as well as ways of making or measuring things. The development of new standards continues as technology and thinking develops, Wolfe-Barry knew his steel sections, but ISO27000 cyber security? A standard for the assessment of greenhouse gas emissions from a city? Some standards directly affect the work we do in event production. The PSA is represented on a few committees, an example of which is the snappily titled CPW/4, which deals with BS7909, for temporary electrical supplies, a distillation of working practices developed during the evolution of our sector, agreed, checked, consulted upon then published. A standard way of managing kit that has been made to a standard and designed to another standard. One that we’re not involved with is international standards for Halal food - a market worth $6.6 trillion (what’s the standard abbreviation for trillion?) needs an international standard to enable efficient international trade, makes sense really. Putting products to one side for a moment and focussing on standards for management and processes. I see a potential issue. BSI does explain the difference between standards and regulations and that working to standards can assist in complying with regulations. Indeed, Government looks to standards when developing regulations. Our current administration has a well-publicised deregulation agenda though, it is keen to cut the regulatory burden on business by removing some businesses from certain frameworks, whether by size, activity or both. This can help small businesses, but when it comes to tendering for business, especially in the public sector, demand for certification to a certain standard can be a barrier to small
www.psa.org.uk business. Business management, environmental management, safety, they may all be engrained in the culture of a small business but without going through the time and cost intensive certification process, a box on a tender document may remain unchecked. Is the proliferation of management and process standards enabling a tick-box procurement process that enables incompetent people to make procurement decisions? Is there a danger that standards can be a barrier to entry to that level playing field? Of course, there is also the crucial point that, once all the boxes have been ticked, the factor that sways the decision is the only non-standard element, the price. Standards are not developed by Government, so they have no power to remove the burden that inappropriate application might present. Standards, especially those for processes and management, need to be generic. This can be both an advantage and a disadvantage. Yes, I can build stuff, I’ve got a certificate, but can I build that stage in that field? We, the live events sector, do a lot of non-standard stuff in non-standard places. Somewhere there’s a standard for showing that you have the products to do the job and the people that you use have the information, instruction, training and supervision to carry out the task in the context of that individual set of circumstances.
Or maybe we need to write it. When we polled our members about a new British Standard that was being developed, the general feeling was that it looked interesting, and they would be happy to adopt it if a job depended on it. Not quite the attitude or a simple reality of investing for a return? The development and updating of standards also requires investment. I often wonder why, after a sector gives up time and energy to develop standards, it is expected to pay good money for a copy. Well, the BSI is a not for profit organisation, and the resources required to develop documents are many. The revenue they generate is spent on promoting standards, and working with developers in other countries to agree global standards that work for global industries. Some people within the events sector will know the difficulties faced when touring with hoists. What’s okay in one country isn’t in another...but watch this space. Will we ever see a standard interface for sound desks or lighting boards? Which standard for lighting control will be agreed next? What new technology will lead to an influx of products that are controlled in different ways? Sony were big enough to flood the marked with Blu-ray in the PS3, thus winning the battle for high definition DVD format. In a market as small as live production this is not an option. Being first to market can help, and introducing your
control surface in educational establishments could give an edge, but a non-standard approach creates a competitive market. Just be grateful that they have standard connectors and work on standard electrical supplies. Also, be grateful for the standard layout of pedals in cars; and seatbelts. Yes, on balance, there are more good standards than bad. In fact, used correctly and developed with the right intent, the advantages are plenty. Product standards that outpace technology, or process standards that are incorrectly applied can, however, be damaging. To you, the user, or the manufacturer, it is important to get involved in the process of standards development, if you don’t have the time to be directly involved at committee level, there is always a public consultation process before standards are published. It is vitally important that standards are developed with user representation, they should not be developed around products by manufacturers. And, of course, as there is a magazine about magazines, an exhibition for the exhibition industry and a TV programme where you can watch people as they watch a TV programme, there is a British Standard for developing British Standards. BS 0, it’s a fine place to start. TPi
RENTAL RESOURCE: UK & IRELAND RENTAL RESOURCE IS AN EQUIPMENT HIRE GUIDE FOR LIVE AND TOURING PROFESSIONALS ALL OVER THE WORLD. HERE, TPi LOOKS AT THE OFFERINGS FROM UK AND IRELAND PRODUCTION HOUSES.
ASTRA SOUND SERVICES
Established in 1984, Adlib is one of the most well known and well respected names in the industry, providing everything customers need for all aspects of live entertainment production. Adlib’s rental division offers PA, lighting and AV equipment plus industry recognised engineers and crew to a host of artists, bands, comedians, events, festivals and venues throughout Europe. Its diverse portfolio includes clients such as Radiohead, The Script, Tom Petty, David Guetta, Swedish House Mafia, Jerry Seinfeld and Russell Howard to name but a few. Adlib has a dedicated sales and installation department undertaking many major installations, often utilising its internal manufacturing plant. Adlib is proud of its quality and environmental status, gaining ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certification.
Astra Sound Services was established in 1985 and has become one of the major sound rental companies serving the South East of the UK. Operating in a diverse range of markets, Astra Sound Services provides first class sound equipment and respected, experienced engineers and crew for an increasing number of tours, festivals, musical theatre, one-off shows and corporate work. The bulk of its speaker inventory is Meyer Sound but the EAW and Martin Audio brands are also carried. Mixing desks are mostly Yamaha including PM1D and PM5D digital models and the PM5000 and PM3500 analogue models. Radio microphones are all Sennheiser, with over 40 channels stocked. It recently relocated to larger premises located in Kent.
In 1987 Glenn Roggeman started AED Rent with a clear and straightforward vision: dry hire of professional AV equipment, targeting other professional AV companies. 25 years later - and by many only known as AED Rent - the AED group holds seven companies with different business concepts, expanding throughout Europe. Today, AED has divisions in Belgium, Holland, France, Germany and the UK (High Wycombe, London). “Dry-Hire and FlexLease (AED Rent / AED Display), Lease (AED Lease) or Sales (AED Distribution / AED Store) are a number of tools, that will - if properly used - lead to a significant improvement of your business,” said Glenn Roggeman, CEO of the AED Group. “Dry hire is only one of our pillars and provided that you find the right balance within the four solutions that we convey (Dry Hire, FlexLease, Lease and Sales), that will lead to professionalisation and a better profitability of our industry.”
Audile is a Manchester-based sound, lighting and video supplier. Over the past decade the company has specialised in festivals, gigs and dance events, and also earned a position as preferred supplier to many of the UK’s leading experiential marketing agencies. Music event clients include Bestival, Camp Bestival, Creamfields, Parklife, Festival No.6, Snowbombing, The Warehouse Project and Southport Soul Weekender. Brands activated include Strongbow, Southern Comfort, Carling, Smirnoff, Bacardi, Sky, Nike, Adidas and Reebok. Sound equipment stocked includes d&b audiotechnik J-series / V-series and Funktion-One Resolution speakers; Avid Profile, Yamaha PM5D and Midas Heritage consoles. Lighting stock includes Clay Paky Sharpy / Alpha fixtures, Robe LEDWash and Martin Professional MAC 700 moving lights; alongside Avolites and Chamsys desks. A growing video inventory includes Green Hippo media servers.
Arc Sound delivers production services and equipment hire for theatre, live entertainment and events. Predominantly servicing London and the South East, but with an increasing national and international portfolio, Arc Sound has a strong track record of diligently and safely meeting the needs of its diverse customers. With resources which now cover pro-audio, lighting, video, backline, riser decks, rigging and power distribution, Arc Sound primarily focuses its attentions on producing bespoke, very high quality full service production solutions.
Audio Plus provides rental systems to suit almost any application. Whether for a single microphone or an arena audio system, every piece of equipment hired out by Audio Plus is thoroughly maintained and fully prepared by trained technicians before leaving the warehouse. Audio Plus tour and event crew members are fully trained to the relevant standards and beyond in every aspect, including the vital considerations of health and safety. Audio Plus is the largest FunktionOne rental partner in the UK and Europe. With over 17-years of experience working with a whole host of clients, it supplies the perfect Funktion-One system.
Audiolease is one of the oldest audio rental companies in the UK, with roots going back to 1978. It became a major force during the 1980s, providing systems for acts such as Motörhead, Depeche Mode and U2. The company pioneered the use of Meyer Sound systems in European touring rental equipment and was hugely influential in perfecting compact audio touring packages. In the ‘90s, the company was absorbed into Electrotec, creating an intercontinental operation, handling clients such as Aerosmith, Lenny Kravitz, Rod Stewart, Nickelback and Bob Dylan. In 2001, Audiolease became independent once again, maintaining its presence as a major European audio systems company from its base near Cambridge.
BCS Audio continues to grow in the concert touring and special events market. BCS holds one of the largest stocks of L-Acoustics loudspeakers in the UK. Maintaining a high standard over the last 15-years and producing a high quality of audio for customers, BCS continues to seek out clients for whom audio quality is crucial, regardless of scale. 2013 saw BCS lead a UK arena tour with Plan B and a theatre tour with top folk act, Bellowhead.
RENTAL RESOURCE: UK & IRELAND
CLOUD ONE GROUP
Blackout stocks drapes, rigging, truss and track in its hire inventory. Whether it’s a one-off event or long-term rental, Blackout’s knowledgeable team will ensure you make the right choices. From black wool serge and pipe to drape, starcloth and specialist fabrics, Blackout can supply drapes for any occasion. Blackout’s rigging department stocks CM and Liftket hoists, Kinesys automation products, electro kabuki, track drives, carbon fibre roller screens, and a range of truss brands such as Prolyte and James Thomas Engineering with a wide selection of truss circles plus rigging masts and truss structures.
The Cloud One Group has been successfully providing production services for more than 25years. It has an enviable reputation for excellence by continually improving its level of delivery, service and inventory. Throughout its history it has utilised its experience of AV, sound, lighting, projection, staging and rigging at all levels to provide its customers with the highest standards of equipment and service. Cloud One specialises in all aspects of live and corporate events at all levels and has also earned an enviable reputation for the design, sale and installation of bespoke sound, lighting and AV systems.
COLOUR SOUND EXPERIMENT www.coloursound.co.uk
For nearly 40 years Britannia Row has been providing audio for some of the biggest live acts and events. Based in London but renowned on a global scale, its philosophy is simple: buy the best equipment; package it well; employ talented people to operate it and give the customer (both artist and audience) a great audio experience. Tenacious D’s engineer, Craig Overbay, summed it up succinctly: “Brit Row is like a boutique PA company, its service has an edge that sets it apart and I’ve always been fortunate with its crews; they always put in that extra effort.” Brands offered include the full L-Acoustics range, Outline, Electro-Voice, Turbosound, d&b audiotechnik, DiGiCo, Midas, Yamaha, Sennheiser and Shure.
Colour Sound Experiment carry lighting and LED screen its their London warehouse. Its stock includes over 800 moving lights from Robe, Clay Paky, GLP & Martin, 500 sq metres of LED screen, truss and rigging. As well as a host of more unusual effects such as 2500m of digital festoon, lasers, waterproof fixtures. CSE also provides lighting to festivals, tours, corporate events, conference, venue contract hire and dry hire.
CONCERT SOUND CLAIR
At over 30-years-old, Capital Sound is one of the most established sound rental companies in the UK and has a roster of clients that goes from unsigned bands at grass roots level, to acts that are global household names such as The Killers, Stereophonics, Kylie Minogue, Take That and Il Divo. Management team Keith Davis, Martin Connolly and Paul Timmins attribute its longevity and success to a combination of technical ability, unrivalled dedication, personal service, attention to detail and an inventory of cutting edge equipment, all of which goes together to produce great sound.
Chaos Visual Productions Ltd provides a completely comprehensive video production package for its clients. An almost limitless equipment inventory that is constantly updated means customers are guaranteed the highest quality products from manufacturers to realise technical and creative designs. The team at Chaos Visual Productions have delivered customised solutions and support for the likes of Muse, Kings of Leon, Fleetwood Mac and the Rolling Stones in 2013. Managing director, Alex Leinster said: “This has been a hugely successful year but as we know, this is a constantly and rapidly evolving sector of the industry and we will be making sure that 2014 is no less spectacular.”
Headquartered in Pennsylvania, USA, with offices in the UK, Switzerland, Japan and Australia, Clair provides bespoke systems and a unique live sound service for touring clients and events, guaranteeing consistency and the highest standards, worldwide. Founded in 1966 by Roy and the late Gene Clair, the company went on to pioneer touring audio with artists ranging from Elvis Presley to Jefferson Airplane and Blood, Sweat & Tears. Simultaneously, Dallas-based Showco was also breaking ground with Led Zeppelin, James Taylor and Genesis. When the two companies joined forces in 2000, the partnership resulted in the world’s biggest sound reinforcement firm. Expanding with the addition of Chicago’s dB Sound, Nashville’s MD Systems and Concert Sound in the UK has meant that Clair’s loyal portfolio of clients reap the benefits of the widest pool of live sound experience available.
CoNi Lighting provides lighting equipment hire and production services to the theatre, TV, corporate and touring industries. CoNi carries a comprehensive range of generic and moving lights, control gear, effects, follow spots, power distro, trussing, hoists, staging, curtain tracks and music stands. Brands include Avolites, Chamsys, Martin Professional, Philips Vari-Lite, James Thomas Engineering, Light Deck, Triple-E, Le Maitre, Jem, Super Troupers, Pani and Jands. CoNi provides lighting services to many of the country top comedy tours, TV and DVD shoots including Lee Evans, Michael McIntyre, Alan Carr, Dara O’Briain, Kevin Bridges and Live at the Apollo. CoNi is known for its reputation for the quality of its equipment and service. CoNi also has a sales company which sells many top brands of lighting, sound and entertainment equipment.
RENTAL RESOURCE: UK & IRELAND
West Midlands-based Central Presentations (CPL) is a busy design, technical solutions and equipment rental provider working extensively in all sectors of live events and corporate presentations. Video screens, camera systems and PPUs are at the core of CPL’s business, and the company also has the latest moving lights, LED fixtures and audio systems, offering a comprehensive single source service, which can also include production and project management. CPL is renowned for high standards, crews and excellent attitude and support, together with continual investment in new and innovative technologies to ensure its clients have the best, most appropriate and flexible choices. Recent new purchases include new HD projection equipment, mini PPUs, Coolux Pandora’s Box media servers and d&b audiotechnik systems.
DBSL Limited is a small professional hire and full production company. It prides itself on the quality of work and equipment produced. Specialising in theatre and live events, DBSL is able to tailor any quotation and design to the clients needs and more importantly, budget. Director, Dan Bunn, is keen that as the company develops, the client is still offered that personal touch from start to finish, dealing with the same account handler all the way through; ensuring that someone is always at the end of the phone. DBSL offers lighting, rigging, staging and sound for all kinds of live events and production requirements.
Creative Technology (CT) is arguably one of the world’s largest AV specialist with operations across Europe, the US, Asia and the Middle East. With a vast inventory of LED, projection and display products, combined with media servers and production systems suited from the smallest theatre production to the largest Opening Ceremony, CT can provide everything needed to turn creative ideas into technical reality. From music and entertainment clients including Peter Gabriel, Radiohead and Elton John in addition to most of the big UK festivals, through to providing every venue at the London 2012 Olympics with large screens and production systems, CT’s portfolio also includes Ceremonies in Athens, Beijing, Delhi and London alongside spectaculars such as the Eurovision Song Contest and Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
Delta Sound was formed in 1988 and has remained at the forefront of design, rental and engineering of professional audio and communications systems ever since. The company’s strength lies in providing clients with the best products, unrivalled expertise, committed service and unparalleled customer support. Delta Sound has considerable experience in regard to design and supply for ceremonial and large-scale public events. In 2012 Delta Sound delivered the largest sporting event ever staged. With operations based in London, Dubai and Qatar, the additional services and the capability to provide broadcast facilities to the media industry, a full recording studio operation (pre and post production) and a communications division working internationally, Delta Sound is your first choice for technical audio delivery.
dbn Lighting Ltd
Central Manchester based dbn is a dynamic and well-established lighting and visuals design / rental company with large resources of the latest technologies including lighting, rigging, trussing and LED screen. dbn works internationally in the worlds of live and corporate events of all types, installations, music and the arts. It engages in some particularly innovative and off-beat projects in the areas of live art and performance, working in many interesting found venues in addition to more conventional spaces. dbn’s strong, experienced project management team is known for its collaborative style and team vision as well as an inventive approach to rigging projects. Senior management are all actively engaged in either creating shows or assisting others in the task, so challenges and lateral thinking solutions are high on the agenda of providing an accessible and exceptionally high quality service.
EES Showhire is a specialist provider and installer of sound and lighting equipment to the entertainment industry. From festivals and concerts to corporate events and product launches, it supplies a full range of sound, lighting and media equipment and professional services, including event management and production, providing anything from a single speaker to a full theatre stage rig. Working closely with local authorities, The National Trust, Heritage Trusts, NHS Trusts, the BBC and many others, it provides equipment for many varied events. As an authorised Bose Pro Partner, it is able to provide one of the best quality sound systems available for installation into a venue.
ELSTREE LIGHT & POWER
dBS Solutions is a rental company based in Warrington, Cheshire. Established in 2006, it offers custom lighting, rigging, and sound design solutions to the live events industry. Its rental service can provide clients with quality equipment, prepared to the highest standards. It carries a good stock of moving and generic lighting, dimmers, distribution, loudspeakers, radio mics, IEMs, consoles and communication equipment. The company offers a professional, personal approach to all its work, for events large or small. Its small team of experienced engineers and designers are uniquely placed to offer advice, design events or supply equipment. It works on a wide range of events, from theatre and festivals, to large one-off events.
ELP work with lighting designers and production managers to deliver live projects on time and within budget. Their ‘one stop shop’ service includes lighting, rigging, power and staging. And it also offers technical crews, transport and logistic solutions. With over 35-years in the production business, ELP have considerable expertise in televised live events, concerts, festivals, state occasions and awards. National coverage is achieved through it production bases in Elstree.
RENTAL RESOURCE: UK & IRELAND
HAND HELD AUDIO
Entec is a long-established UK sound and lighting rental company with a fantastic history and a reputation for excellence as well as being friendly, approachable and offering its clients all the latest technologies in cost-efficient packages from a single source. Entec’s work includes many long term, loyal relationships with lighting designers, production managers and artists as well as getting behind some of tomorrow’s cutting edge new stars. The company supplies equipment, expertise and production services to tours, concerts, music festivals, fashion shows and corporate and live events worldwide.
Hand Held Audio is an established radio microphone specialist with an extensive, modern hire stock and a reputation for getting things right. As well as all types of radio mic it also carries in-ear monitor systems for musicians and presenters. In addition, it has high power audio link systems for delay towers and outdoor events. It provides a full frequency planning and licensing service with all its rental equipment. Its premises in Enfield, house a full service facility along with its sales and custom ear-moulding departments. On the sales side, it stocks AKG, Sennheiser, Shure, Ultimate Ears, Future Sonics and Westone.
Ethix Management has been providing rental services for over 10 years and supplying professional production solutions across multiple platforms for large scale outdoor events. Ethix is listed with the UKTI as a supplier for major sporting events in the springboard to success directory. It has supplied many G8 and G20 summits in Europe on behalf of the Associated Press and has delivered pressrooms as a supplier for CHOGM in Malta, Nigeria, Uganda and the forthcoming Sri Lankan meeting in 2013. The company has seen a substantial growth in 2012, with work ranging from the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations on Piccadilly for Bliss Events to the full technical supply and production of the Olympic torch relay, working in partnership with Star Events Group.
Established in 1987, Hawthorn is one of the UK’s largest suppliers of technical production services. Its unrivalled product portfolio, which has seen a £3.5m investment over the last two-years, includes state-of-the-art lighting, sound, AV, rigging, staging and drapes and produces over 1,000 events every year. With offices in Leicestershire, Cambridge and London and over 100 full-time staff, it still is owned and managed by its founder, Martin Hawthorn. There are three main sections of Hawthorn - Production Solutions (including concert touring), hire and sales and installations. These specialist teams have a wealth of industry experience, so can be sure to provide consistency and continuity, as well as a high level of service to all clients.
EVENT SOUND & LIGHT
Event Sound & Light is an Essex-based live events production company established in 2003 following the merger of two associated companies. The company provides the hire, sales and installation of sound, lighting, AV, effects, staging, and ancillary equipment and services together with a full event management service. From the dry hire of a single microphone through to a complete festival package it can provide the necessary equipment and expertise. Festivals, tours, theatre shows, country shows, exhibitions, conferences and concerts are catered for throughout the UK and beyond.
HSL is one of the UK’s fastest growing lighting and visuals rental companies. It works across multiple sectors with a large presence in live music and all types of shows and events, servicing a host of high-profile international artists. HSL’s continual investment in the latest technologies and its absolute commitment to excellence, coupled with a ‘people friendly’ approach have set it apart. The crew and staff are hand-picked for their knowledge, experience, excellent communication skills and ability to perform under pressure, ensuring that the show always goes on. Music clients include Snow Patrol, Swedish House Mafia, 1D, JLS, Olly Murs, Skrillex, Katherine Jenkins, Il Divo, Chase & Status, The Levellers, Avicci, The Prodigy, Enter Shikari and Global Gathering festival. Theatre productions include Starlight Express, Blood Brothers, Joseph, Save The Last Dance, Soul Sister and Cabaret.
GLS Lighting supplies to the UK and European touring circuits. Aspiring from humble beginnings in 1995, it has become a renowned and valued provider of stage lighting to all walks of the entertainment industry, building itself a reputation for quality and dependability when customers need it most. A diverse rental stock includes Robe, Chamsys, Avolites, I-Pix, CM, TomCat and many more. Services range from simple dry hire and floor packages to full lighting production for arena, club and theatre touring, festivals, long-term rentals and the corporate market. The company prides itself on a flexible ‘can do’ approach, while still preserving a sense of fun and enjoyment among its staff, crew and most importantly its customers.
IMAX Lighting is a dynamic lighting services business based in the South West of England. It is an experienced and skilled team that shares a passion for producing professional lighting. As a result of its experience, IMAX is becoming one of the first choices for lighting hire, production services, promoters and production managers. IMAX stocks a broad range of equipment that is capable of servicing the needs of a wide range of events and always provides equipment that is packaged and presented specifically for each of its markets throughout the country. With its attention to detail, it provides a single point of contact for its customers to ensure that it meets and exceeds expectations, both efficiently and cost effectively.
RENTAL RESOURCE: UK & IRELAND
Impact Production Services is a Milton Keynes-based staging, rigging, lighting, sound and power company offering both dry hire and full production services. IPS has been operating for over 10-years, and has a broad range of equipment and experience. As a Prolyte rental partner, IPS is proud to have the largest stock of LiteDeck staging modules in the UK, with over 1,500 in stock, along with a huge range of accessories. Thousands of metres of trussing is also available, along with a wide range of rigging and Layher scaffolding to get everything up and running. The technical equipment and infrastructure also includes over 200 moving head fixtures from Martin Professional and Clay Paky, and miles of cables to support all the equipment stocked. With a dedicated team of experienced crew and its own fleet of delivery vehicles, it has the enthusiasm and resources to get events working.
KNIGHT RIGGING SERVICES
Knight Rigging Services is one the UK’s foremost production support companies providing stage rigging and design services for live events around the world. Working with the entertainment industry’s leading artists and production companies to stage events at the very highest level, Knight works closely with artists and their associates in designing and coordinating all aspects of event rigging systems to ensure that they meet the client’s creative vision and specific needs. It works pro-actively to ensure that all work complies with H&S legislation.
London Light is an entertainment lighting specialist, supplying theatre, events, conferences, exhibitions and concerts, with an ever-growing range of services. Its staff has experience of working with projects of all scale and complexity. As well as full production services, London Light has a wide range of technical equipment for hire. All equipment is fully tested, regularly serviced and can be supplied prepared to clients’ specific requirements. Equipment can be collected from its premises in West London, or delivery can be arranged anywhere in the UK. The company was founded in 2003 with a determination to focus on service and meeting the immovable deadlines that this industry will always have. A decade later, although the company has grown considerably, its focus remains firmly unchanged.
LONDON SPEAKER HIRE
London Speaker Hire provides live sound and PA systems from solo to line arrays, lighting and effects machines, dry ice facilities, DJ equipment, staging and trussing. Located conveniently close to Kings Cross, Camden and The West End and open seven days a week, the company also supplies artist showcases, cat walks and conferences.
Lightsource provides a range of innovative products for the lighting and design industry. It constantly improves its technology with up-to-the-minute products. Lightsource specialises in the use of LED technology, with a wide and varied range of products including LED tape, LED battens, LED pars and moving LED fixtures. It also stocks a wide range of outdoor IP rated high power LED fixtures as well as a varied range of conventional generic and automated light fixtures. It also carries a range of innovative LED visual effects from 12mm to 40mm, media servers and ARTnet interfaceable control consoles. Lightsource also provides a wide range of drape, Starcloth and scenic products.
MCL is one of the industry’s leading technical production companies, specialising in the provision of audio visual equipment and event solutions to the live events industry. Whatever the scale, it seeks to create solutions which exceed expectations. Whether the task is staging a product launch designed to echo imagery in an advertising campaign, adding visual excitement to a sales conference, or simply supplying a plasma screen for an exhibition, MCL will deliver. Clients work with the company because MCL has a reputation to get it right. It will work in partnership with clients to make sure any needs are met.
Lite Alternative provides cutting edge contemporary stage and spatial lighting design, incorporating all aspects of lighting, video and stage production techniques, in concerts and conferences. Comprehensive equipment os stocked from all leading brands including MA Lighting’s grandMA2, High End Systems Hog 4, Avolites, Martin Professional and Philips Vari-lite. Clients included Coldplay, Depeche Mode, Sharikira, Elbow, Björk and the Kings of Leon.
ML Executives is a full service production supplier for a wide variety of projects including touring, festivals and one-off events. The broad equipment stock incorporates loudspeaker systems from L-Acoustics, d&b audiotechnik and EAW and a comprehensive range of audio consoles including Avid Profiles, DiGiCo SD7’s and Soundcraft Vi6’s. ML Executives also has an extensive backline department with many vintage items and Prolyte Lite Deck risers. Located in Crayford, Kent, the company is well positioned for easy access to London, the UK motorway network and Europe.
RENTAL RESOURCE: UK & IRELAND
Neg Earth is an award-winning and leading independent, London-based, entertainment lighting and rigging hire company with over 30-years of experience trading in the live events industry. Neg Earth has constantly proven its abilities to continuously provide exceptionally high quality services for an enormous variety of well-known clients across all media sectors. It has a reputation for excellent client services and often exceeds expectations; as a consequence it gains a high percentage of repeat business and its strong relationships with suppliers ensure it has regular insight into its research and development programmes, which in turn enables it to lead the industry in lighting expertise.
Pearce Hire is proud of its 25-year experience in the rental and dry hire market. The company boasts an impressive rental customer base including the BBC, DHL, Harrogate International Centre, Cambridge Corn Exchange, Ideal World TV channel, and Brit Row. Pearce Hire offer an extensive rental inventory of professional equipment including Avolites and Chamsys lighting desks; ETC, Martin, Robe and Studio Due fixtures; rigging and motors from Prolyte and CM Lodestar, and audio equipment including Lab Gruppen amps, L-Acoustics speakers, Sennheiser radio mics and IEMs and Yamaha digital consoles.
Nitelites is a rapidly evolving provider of lighting and audio production services to the entertainment industry. The company is an active operator in the provision of tour support to developing and established artists Worldwide. Though music is the company’s primary focus, with its 30-year history Nitelites also covers a broad landscape that includes theatre, sporting events, local authority activity, large-scale one-off events and event support for live broadcast. Inextricably linked to this is its thriving dry hire and sales departments.
PHL specialises in providing lighting and PA systems for festivals, tours, concerts, corporate events and film premieres. Production Hire is one of the UK’s premiere suppliers of PA and lighting. From its humble beginnings 15-years ago, Production Hire has grown into an industry leader, providing sound and lighting along with technical crew, engineers and logistics to a plethora of live productions. PHL supplies a total and complete service for touring artists, festivals, corporate conferences, concerts, film, TV and more. This service includes providing workable budgets, logistics and providing all sound and lighting solutions for indoor and outdoor events.
Orbital is a major supplier of sound and communication systems and design solutions for the theatre, live event, conference, exhibition, visitor attraction, film and television industries and is an ISO9001 certified company. Based in the UK, the company supplies professional audio solutions for sale or rental to clients in any part of the globe, coupled with outstanding levels of support - all aided by overseas business partners. Orbital’s sound systems are synonymous with theatre - be it supplying London’s latest international musicals or supplying amateur companies. The rental desk is always competitive, informative and approachable and its easiHire online bookings facility can advise and guide 24 / 7.
PRG is one of the leading suppliers of entertainment technology and event engineering. Working across a range of markets, including concert touring, corporate events, theatre, special events, and film and television, the company is uniquely placed to draw on an extensive global network of locations, equipment and resources. PRG’s Account Managers have years of experience in their specialised fields, and are backed by a project management team whose technical knowledge is unparalleled. It is committed to ensuring an event is as memorable and trouble-free as possible.
RENTAL RESOURCE: UK & IRELAND
Part of PSCo, PSCo Rental is a trade only provider of the most innovative display technologies, offering the largest portfolio of professional large format, video wall and sub 4mm LED displays in the UK. PSCo’s team is able to offer support throughout a project from concept to set-up, to de-rig, including a demonstration service at its Reading Assessment Centre. The centre includes the latest technologies available for users to view, compare and test bespoke content before their event, with technical advice on-hand from PSCo specialists.
PSP provides state-of-the-art audio visual equipment and specialist project management solutions for live events. Whether an event is for 50 or 50,000 people, the company has the expertise to deliver. Specialising in large screen projection and display, cameras and vision control, sound and lighting, set and stage design and graphics, PSP’s Birmingham and London offices enable it to service clients both nationally and internationally. PSP works with some of the country’s leading agencies and event management companies.
Rigging Services is a specialist rigging equipment and related services provider. Supplying all sectors including entertainment, corporate / sporting events and venues, festivals and touring concerts, television, film and theatre, retail and fashion. Offering national coverage from branches in east and west London, Birmingham and Manchester, its hire and sales range includes one of the country’s largest fleets of Lodestar hoists, Prolyte truss, ground support, roof systems and staging, plus a full range of safety and rigging accessories. Additionally, third party testing and LOLER inspection services are offered with unique Onsite-Online web based certification. It also provides online shopping, with a next day service for rigging equipment and accessories.
Production Services Ireland is a lighting and rigging production and hire firm with branches in Belfast and Dublin. PSI provides lighting to all aspects of the industry, with past projects including Oxegen, BBC Proms and Arthur’s Day. PSI is an NRC Endorsing Company, committed to improving standards and regulations within the industry, and as well as supplying NRC recognised staff, it runs regular Rigging Awareness Training courses. Sean Pagel, a Director at the company, and the first person to qualify at level 3 NRC in Ireland, explained: “We feel it is vital that everyone working at events should have an awareness of what is happening overhead. Only then can people appreciate how important it is to employ competent staff.”
London: 020 8955 6900
Cambridge: 01223 897690
Midlands: 01664 821111
RENTAL RESOURCE: UK & IRELAND
RICHARD MARTIN LIGHTING
Richard Martin Lighting is one of the UK’s most established independent rental specialists, offering an extensive range of moving lights and control equipment to the TV / entertainment industry. In over 25 years of trading, it continues to provide an expert rental service with 24 hour back up, experienced technicians and a competent stock of moving lights, colour web and LC screens. Not only does it ensure all of its equipment is rented out in prestige condition, it also adheres to the high safety standards set out by the industry. The installation of a demonstration room provides an effective, useable space to demonstrate new lighting products, their effects and design.
Whether it’s big or small, make sure it’s Scalable. Scalable Sound is a full service pro-audio rental company, specialising in Midas PRO Series consoles and Funktion-One loudspeakers. “We are fanatical about delivering the best service to our customers,” said Founder, James Morle, “and we are equally fanatical about the products we use. We strongly believe in the quality and networking technology of Midas PRO Series consoles and the phase coherent purity of the Funktion-One loudspeaker range.” Based in the Cotswolds, Scalable Sound is a proud member of the FunktionOne Rental Network and is currently running preferential rental rates for tour rehearsals.
RM Lighting is a South London based lighting rental and production company. It supplies a full lighting service, from design to realisation, AutoCAD plan to fully functioning system. Its services are used in prestigious locations, such as world heritage sites and exclusive venues. It supplies crew, transport and logistics to production companies and end users. Its work includes festivals, tours, conferences and high-end parties. Its lighting designers have years of experience in various sectors including corporate and live music and bring their varied skills to any kind of event. It prides itself on the quality of equipment leaving its warehouse and it stocks the latest moving lights and control equipment, including manufacturers such as: Robe, Clay Paky, Martin Professional and MA Lighting.
SFL group is more than just an audio visual hire company; It is a provider of quality sound, lighting and video solutions for all types of events. It prides itself on excellence in production. Its wide range of experience in many different scenarios sends a powerful message of confidence and capability to its clients. From the initial ideas and brief, right through until complete production. It is proud to be the official partner at the Royal Albert Hall. It is also a dealer and supplier of many manufacturers including Yamaha, Roland, Midas, Sennheiser, Shure and L-Acoustics.
RENTAL RESOURCE: UK & IRELAND
SOUND BY DESIGN
Siyan is a Lighting Design and Rental company based in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. Established in 2001, the company has extensive experience supplying high quality services to the concert, touring, live events and festival markets. Projects have included tours for Texas and Two Door Cinema Club, plus events such as BBC Proms in Hyde Park. The company holds a large stock of lighting and rigging equipment, from brands including Avolites, Chamsys, Clay Paky, Green Hippo, Robe and James Thomas Engineering.
Sound By Design is a specialist sound designer and professional live audio equipment supplier that has built up a significant reputation with many of the most prestigious venues and clients in the UK and across mainland Europe. Its expert knowledge has seen Sound By Design work in many acoustically challenging environments where the team’s continued success has led to work on numerous high-profile events. From conferences to corporate entertainment, charity evenings to fashion shows, private parties and beyond, the team of experienced Project Managers can provide a full production service or individual technical elements from impressive in-house resources.
Skan PA is an audio rental company, based to the west of London, which specialises in touring rental solutions. Past tours include Muse, Snow Patrol, Sigur Ros and Jack White. Skan works extensively throughout Europe, from theatre to stadium shows. However, a growing proportion of its work is undertaken further afield, including several full-service tours in the USA and Australia. Skan stocks d&b audiotechnik speakers, including substantial quantities of J and the V Series. It stocks digital consoles from Midas, Avid, Yamaha, Soundcraft and DiGiCo in addition to a large stock of analogue consoles including Midas XL4’s. As well as traditional sound reinforcement products, Skan also stocks Pro Tools and other multi-track recording and large quantities of wireless systems and IEMs.
SRD Group is a one-stop production supplier based in Kent. It provides sound, lighting, video screens and staging for events from conferences to concerts with audiences from 200 to 20,000. SRD is able to handle the technical requirements for most events including indoor and outdoor concerts, conferences, award ceremonies, product and building launches, religious, sports and other large scale public events. Through its production expertise and knowledge, it helps customers create and achieve a successful event and gives them the same high level of service and commitment regardless of project size or budget. Large and comprehensive equipment stocks are backed by facilities for event pre-production and an in-house team of designers, project managers and engineers.
SNP Productions is the leading UK dealer for Catalyst media servers providing hire and sales of video control solutions around the world. SNP specialise in providing high quality custom video control solutions across the industry from television to touring and theatre. SNP is renowned for its attention to detail ensuring that the correct equipment is specified and tested before it leaves the warehouse. Catalyst software is continually evolving and new hardware offers a greater flexibility for its extensive client base around the world.
SSE Hire is an audio supplier for concerts, tours, festivals and events with a massive speaker rental stock from L-Acoustics, Nexo and Meyer, including the new L-Acoustics K2 system. The company’s control and monitor packages include the largest inventory of digital consoles in the UK. SSE has warehouses in London, Redditch, Bradford, Paris and Nantes. With some of the best stage and system techs in the business.
SOUND AND LIGHT GUYS
STERLING EVENT GROUP www.sterlingeventgroup.co.uk
Sound and Light Guys offers sound hire and lighting hire for any event, big or small. It specialises in providing sound and lighting equipment for concerts, tours, festivals, one-off shows, corporate events and award shows. Its portfolio includes music clients such as Editors, The Killers, Devin Townsend, Girls Aloud and Scouting For Girls. Corporate clients include BAA, Saatchi and Saatchi and Deutsche Bank, to name a few. For lists of equipment the Sound and Light Guys supplies, please visit the website.
Manchester-based full service production and rental company, Sterling Event Group carry extensive stocks of the latest sound, lighting, vision, staging, rigging as well as up-to-date starcloth, drape and dance floor products. All products are available on a dry hire basis, or alternatively as part of a fully project-managed production and event solution.
RENTAL RESOURCE: UK & IRELAND
STS TOURING PRODUCTIONS
Formed in 1997, Manchester-based STS Touring is the largest backline supplier outside London. In 2013 alone, STS supplied kit exclusively to over 40 festivals and 40 tours. STS is the exclusive backline supplier for the Download Festival and supplied large amounts to Radio One, MOBO Awards and many more. Running alongside its backline inventory, STS stocks a large Turbosound Flexarray PA system, along with DiGiCo and Yamaha desks. The STS staging and lighting departments have also had busy year. Managing Director Pete Dutton said: “2013 was again a busy year; capital expenditure was high as we accumulate more and more equipment, but it’s been important to stay ahead of the game.”
STAR EVENTS GROUP
TSProfessional Sound + Light offers a range of sound, lighting and audio visual equipment for both wet and dry hire. Sennheiser radio microphone packages are available on channel 38. A recent addition is an Electro-Voice XLE line array system. Extensive 100 volt line PA kit is available for wet or dry hire. Prices of the majority of items for hire are available on the website.
Unusual Rigging’s 4.75 acre facility carries one of the largest hire stocks of truss, single and variable speed hoists, winches, control and other rigging equipment in the UK, all of which has been selected for reliability and fitness for purpose. Clients include concert and theatre producers, exhibition organisers, corporate event, TV and film production companies, museums and galleries. Choose either dry hire or opt for the services of the best riggers in the country: nearly all have Level 3 Rigging Certificates and all are fully trained in equipment handling. Their knowledge, experience and advice is invaluable in helping customers to deliver a successful project. It also offers a wide range of other skill sets, including mechanical, structural and design engineering. It is a UK distributor for: Prolyte, Liftket, Doughty and Kinesys.
Utopium has over 20 years of experience delivering bespoke lighting solutions to creatively enhance events within the music, sport, corporate, conference, education and broadcast sectors. From a simple lighting rig hire to a fully managed production, Utopium has the specialist skills and equipment to supply for the most technically challenging projects. The team have the knowledge and experience to understand and translate creative briefs, supporting event and lighting designers to create visually stunning productions.
Star Events Group is one of the leading suppliers of staging, rigging and seating services in the UK including VIP hospitality stands. Specialising in the design and installation of temporary structures and offering the UK’s largest range of stages together with creative rigging solutions for a wide range of applications. A pioneering company with state of the art equipment, expertise and personnel Star Events Group is able to deliver effective solutions, whilst continually working to improve standards within the industry.
VER is one of the world’s largest equipment rental companies, supplying a wide range of production markets for over 26 years with state of the art technology in HD, 3D, audio, video, lighting, and creative LED for live and broadcast events. VER, opened its UK rental facility five years ago in order to better service the expanding UK market. It provides a vast range of creative solutions with indoor / outdoor LED products, professional media server packages, camera systems, projectors, control systems, distro and cables. VER is committed to the rapidly growing market demands for providing the latest technology and all equipment is backed by 24 /7 technical support with experienced and specialist engineers able to assist every step of the way.
Using the latest technology and specialist equipment for video, lighting, rigging and stage design, Kent, UK, based Video Illusions take pride in innovative ways to deliver events. Its custom graphics team will also provide animation bespoke to any event in order to add the extra style needed to stand out. Video Illusions can walk you through all stages of your project, from planning to performance. Its skilled technicians cover all aspects of live event production and in-house video editing.
For over 15 years VME has continued to supply a wide range of sound, lighting and AV solutions to the entertainment and broadcast sectors. VME supplies professional rental packages throughout the UK and Europe, and continually invests in equipment of the highest standards. Most recently this has included Martin Audio’s MLA, Kling & Freitag Sequenza 10, Yamaha CL5, Sennheiser 2000 and 3000 Series and Robe LED100 Beam and 600 Wash lighting fixtures. The meticulous standards of equipment preparation and 24 / 7 technical support team make VME an ideal dry-hire partner - and being located just off the M6 in Knutsford, Cheshire, it is ideally located to support events quickly throughout the UK.
RENTAL RESOURCE: UK & IRELAND
Wigwam has been established for over 30 years as an audio rental company and now, as part of SSE Audio Group, it continues to offer everything it has built its reputation upon with the added resources of SSE. The rental department supplys systems from L-Acoustics, d&b and Adamson for tours and dry hire. Based in Heywood, Greater Manchester, Wigwam provides systems and engineers at the leading edge of the audio industry for their portfolio of internationally acclaimed artists.
XL Video enjoyed a busy 2013 working with events and tours including One Direction, Depeche Mode and Robbie Williams. XL Video supplies tours across multiple continents, which cements its position as a global touring vendor. XL Video continues to expand the type and size of events it supplies - from intimate one-off shows to large-scale stadium tours and festivals; from niche arts events to huge TV broadcasts and corporate launches. XL Video provides a range of state-of-theart video solutions including the newest, brightest projectors, LED and plasma screens for all types of indoor and outdoor events, a range of media servers and versatile camera systems / PPUs, all backed up with highly experienced crew.
NEXT TIME... WHITE LIGHT
With one of the largest and most diverse stocks of lighting in the UK, White Light provides lighting solutions and support to fit any size production or tour. The company’s portfolio includes concert tours with The Jacksons, Journey and Whitesnake, Paramore, and theatre tours of War Horse, Rocky Horror, Sleeping Beauty, and The Lion King. White Light’s convenient location, customer focus, and commitment to quality have led to presence across the theatre, touring, live events, and corporate presentation markets.
The February issue of TPi will feature a market focus report on media servers. If you’re a media server manufacturer, please send 120 words and a high-res logo (300dpi) to Editor, Kelly Murray by 17 January 2014. email@example.com We look forward to hearing from you!
MOVERS & SHAKERS Sponsored by www.interfacio.com • +44 208 986 5002
MOVERS & SHAKERS
Robe has announced the appointment of Bob Schacherl as CEO of its US based operation. Schacherl’s high-profile career has seen him work with two leading brands in the field spanning the last 28 years. Robe’s Sales Director, Harry von Den Stemmen, said: “Bob shares our same core values, dynamic approach and progressive thinking.” He is one of the most universally liked individuals in the industry, having gained many friends and earned much respect. Schacherl has been impressed with Robe since its launch in 2002. “I have always admired Robe for the way they conduct their business and the innovative products they bring to the market,” he said. Schacherl led the team into the 2013 LDI exhibition in Las Vegas. Robe also recently launched a new Middle East facility in Dubai and appointed Søren Storm as International Business Development Manager. Saville Audio Visual has announced the appointment of Rob Morrison as Head of Sales (South) for the Conference and Live Events Division. Morrison has been involved in live events and communications for over 12 years and in 2006 led the hospitality sales for the FIFA World Cup. Based primarily with the team in Guildford, UK, he will build on the foundations he has established from working alongside Saville, explore new market opportunities and deliver growth across multiple sectors. Head of Events for the South, Adam Pike, said: “Rob is a vital stepping stone in extending our commitment to total client satisfaction within the market.” Commenting on his new position, Morrison added: ”I am very excited about becoming a part of this innovative, creative business and working with the team to build an exciting future.” Solid State Logic is pleased to announce that its long-standing partner, Amber Technology, has been appointed as its Live Console 82
Distributor in Australia and New Zealand. “We have been waiting for the SSL Live with great anticipation,” said Leon Hart, Business Unit Manager, Amber Technology. “The SSL Live is a technology platform with a fresh approach to how a live console should sound and operate. “We have forged a powerful partnership with Amber Technology, which has years of success delivering SSL consoles to music and broadcast clients in the region,” said Paul Lindsay, Area Sales Manager, Solid State Logic. “Now we will be able to build on Amber’s wide product range and market experience to address both the live and install sectors.” Harman’s Martin Porfessional has announced the appointment of Jonas Stenvinkel as Head of Asia Pacific, with permanent base in Singapore. Stenvinkel, who previously served as Sales Director of EMEA North, will lead Martin’s sales and service staff in the Singapore and Asia region. The appointment of Stenvinkel underscores Martin Professional’s commitment to the Singapore and Asia regions. Thomas Marcher, Director of Sales at Harman’s Malaysia sales offices, said: “Jonas has demonstrated a strong commitment to comprehensive customer service and support over his 10-year career with Martin. He is a strong addition to the Asia team.” Elsewhere at Harman, Crown Audio has announced that Phillip Scobee has been appointed as Business Segment Manager, Tour Sound. In this role Scobee will oversee Crown’s tour sound business strategy and direction including product development, marketing and sales. He will report to Marc Kellom, Senior Director of Engineering and Marketing, Crown. Kellom said: “Phillip brings a diverse professional background and unique perspective, having benefitted from his work as an audio engineer.” After meeting at PlASA London, Leader Light has announced Dimatec as its new
French distributor. Dimatec will be a strategic distributor of the full range of Leader Light´s professional and architectural lighting. “The deal is the forward step for the company,” said Julius Szaraz, Managing Director, Leader Light. “Leader Light´s products have big qualitys and we believe that they will be a great supplement to our product portfolio,” said Olivier Bordini of Dimatec. Meyer Sound has appointed Pablo Espinosa to Chief Loudspeaker Designer, adding to his current role as Vice President of Research and Development. In this new role Espinosa will oversee the company’s loudspeaker development strategy, from hardware and user experience design to engineering, as well as long-term conceptual planning for the full loudspeaker line-up. “Pablo has contributed tremendously to our company’s growth in recent years,” said Helen Meyer, Executive Vice President at Meyer Sound. “He has been central to so many of our successful products. As Meyer Sound continues to grow and our product portfolio expands, we are confident Pablo will help maintain the company’s focus.” Promoted to Vice President of R&D in 2008, Espinosa has driven strategic technological direction while working closely with John Meyer, Meyer CEO and Co-founder. Espinosa’s work has directly contributed to the launch of the M’elodie and MINA line array loudspeakers, the 700-HP subwoofer, the 1100-LFC lowfrequency control element and the LEO linear large-scale sound reinforcement system. Outline has announced the appointment of Display Sound and Light Systems as its new official distributor for Turkey and Northern Cyprus. Located in Istanbul, the company’s portfolio of work includes sales and installations throughout the country, in every conceivable type of application and project.
www.interfacio.com • +44 208 986 5002
MOVERS & SHAKERS
Opposite: Bob Schacherl was appointed CEO of Robe’s US based operation; Saville Audio Visual appointed Rob Morrison as Head of Sales (South); Crown Audio has announced Philip Scobee as Business Segment Manager, Tour Sound. Below: Meyer Sound has appointed Pablo Espinosa as Chief Loudspeaker Designer; Peter Kirkup of LumenRadio and Cuono Biviano, ULA Group; Outline has announced the appointment of Display Sound and Light Systems as its new official distributor for Turkey and Northern Cyprus.
ULA Group has announced a new partnership with LumenRadio and has been appointmented Australian distributor of its wireless CRMX technology systems. “It is with great pleasure and excitement we announce our partnership with LumenRadio”, commented Cuono Biviano, Managing Director of ULA Group. “The CRMX product line is without any doubt the most reliable and advanced wireless DMX/RDM technology in its class, making
it a perfect fit into the ULA Group stable of products. “Their wireless products range from touring to architectural projects and beyond making most demands a reality. I look forward to working with the highly skilled team at LumenRadio and providing these solutions to our loyal clients and beyond.” Peter Kirkup, VP of Entertainment from LumenRadio added: “ULAs commitment to
their product portfolio and to their customers is outstanding! ULA is a highly respected distributor and are currently working with some of the largest manufacturers within the industry, such as Robe, Avolites and Chamsys. We are very excited to have them onboard and look forward to this new partnership with great expectations.” TPi www.tpimagazine.com/jobs
The TPi Production Guide
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All Access Staging 17 Allen & Heath 65 Avolites Media 29 B+K Braun 9 Bob Kelly & Co 85 BPM SFX 41 Bradley Engineering 57 Buy-in-Out 85 Central Presentations 85 ChainMaster 3 Chauvet Professional 88 Clay Paky 21, 23, 25 & 27 Coda Audio 11 Creative Technology 85 Digico 13 Elation 5 Entec Sound and Light 85 ER productions 85 ETC Europe 47 Ethix Management 85 Full Fat Audio 40 GLS Lighting 75 Hand Held Audio 80 Hawthornes 76 ILMC 77 Interfacio 83 Knight Rigging Services 43 & 85 Le Maitre 8 & 85 Leisuretec 4 LMP 51 MA Lighting 39 Meyer Sound 02 Mike Moulds MM Band Services 26 Miltec 81 MTFX 7 Outline 71 Pearce Hire 34 & 85 Philips 35 PRG 87 Rigging Services 85 ROBE 19 Rubber Box Co 83 Rud 85 Sensorcom 85 Showsec 37 Silverstage 53 & 85 Snakatak 46 SNP Productions 78 Solid State Logic 33 Solotech 57 Sommer Cable 15 Source Distribution 55 Stage Line 64 SW19 45 Tannoy 31 The Event Production Show 73 Total Solutions 67 Travel 4 Tours 85 Universal Effects 85 W. E. Audio 85
VITAL STATS 154 Stuart Thomson Profession: MD, CUK Audio Date & place of birth: February 25, 1977 Loughborough, England
What inspired you to become involved in pro audio? By chance I applied for a job at Tannoy’s HiFi division. After three interviews I was told that they had got it down to two candidates and while I hadn’t been successful, they introduced me to the Sales and Marketing Director for the pro division. I started as Internal Sales Support to the Export Sales Manager and consequently looked after Scandinavia. I then became the European, then EMEA Sales Manager, until I myself became the Export Sales Manager, all within five years! After a year, I was hooked! It’s just one of those industries you never leave... What formal training did you receive, if any? The technical aspects of things I’ve been lucky enough to learn from technical directors and consultants and end users in the UK and internationally. That said, everyday remains a school day and I never stop learning. What would you consider your big break into the industry? I just do what I do, to the best of my ability so I think that the only thing I could consider a ‘big break’ was both Derek West (now Sales Director at Audica Professional) and Sean Martin (Turbosound MD) seeing potential in me during my Tannoy days, and starting me on the pro audio journey; something I’ll always be grateful for. You started CUK Audio in 2005, how has the company grown during that time? CUK Audio was started under the premise that the UK and Ireland had a lack of independent distribution companies and that there were a considerable number of brands either without representation or without good representation. Since then, the portfolio of brands has grown from a single brand to 17. For CUK Audio, the market sector focus is derived and influenced by the brand portfolio and it’s been this that has driven the direction of the company over the last eight years. We have been careful to create a portfolio without conflict and to ensure that when entering or developing sectors we have been able to do it with a product offering from more than one brand. At the same time, we only add brands we truly believe we can add value to and that we truly believe fit and benefit our ever-growing customer base. In your opinion, what are the key elements of a long-lasting distribution partnership? Starting in the industry in international sales I have set-up and managed international sales networks across the world and therefore I’m truly able to look at the manufacturer / distributor relationship with a total understanding of both sides - that helps! Every geographical market is slightly different, but there are common threads that run through successful distributors. Do I deploy everything I have learnt every day? Absolutely not, I’m only human. Any long lasting distribution partnership can only ever be based on mutual understanding and goals, trust and realism. 86
“We knew the products and the people behind them were special when we took Outline on...” To my surprise over the years it’s amazing how many manufacturers focus on the here and now - short term gain. CUK Audio always looks to work with manufacturers and their own long term goals and objectives, which are in turn aligned with our own. What’s your fondest concert / tour memory as far as CUK Audio goes, and why? Easy - the recent Bocelli concert in the Glasgow Hydro and the subsequent show in Leeds. [see Pg.20 for details]. As the Outline distributor for the UK and Ireland, it was the first time I had been able to listen to a large scale Outline GTO system being deployed in two wildly different venues back to back. Not only were the results stunning for an audio geek like me, but when the local non audio press and the audiences comment on the sound in their reviews, you know it’s special. We knew the products and the people behind them were special when we took Outline on, so it’s great to go to a concert and have the decision and commitment you’ve made to the brand truly reinforced. Glasgow was particularly special as I got to share it with my parents, who have supported me in everything I have done. So it was nice to share the experience with them and for them to see the level CUK Audio now operates at. What direction do you see the pro audio market going in this year? There is the obvious continued and developing heavy reliance on network technology that is impacting not just pro audio; all aspects of the industry are transitioning away from traditional infrastructure and as a result, engineers and technicians need to be vastly IT competent. Off the back of this, we need a greater emphasis on training; at the end of the day, the products we supply are tools for a job. While our clients are experts, we still need to ensure they get the most from these tools. I think 2014 and beyond will see the rise of a number of brands as there are a lot of under exposed brands with great products out there.
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Published on Jan 16, 2014
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