TOTAL PRODUCTION INTERNATIONAL
A VIRTUAL WORLD LIVE EVENT DESIGN & TECHNOLOGY • JULY 2020 • ISSUE 251
Live productions enter the digital realm
LAURA MARLING • LOCKDOWN TV 2020 • THE FLUFFY CLOUD • THE COLLECTIVE SESSIONS • PSA #LETTHEMUSICPLAY • MARKET FOCUS: OUTDOOR LED • GEAR HEADS: ADAMSON SYSTEMS CS-SERIES
JULY 2020 #251
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D8plus Ultra 250 - 2 000kg Let’s see how deep the rabbit holes goes….. If you’ve followed TPi over the past few months and glanced at these leader pages, you’ll know how I’ve have been talking about adapting and uncovering stories of innovations that are taking place during this trying time in the live events industry. We’ve been making progress, but it feels like this mission has really come to a head now with our July edition. I was looking through my notes the other day and I saw how I’d earmarked a Glastonbury cover for our July edition. That couldn’t happen for obvious reasons, so instead, this month’s TPi is the first ever to feature a digital festival on the cover, which Jacob and I enjoyed from our makeshift home offices – certainly a big change from this time last year, which involved heatstroke and dehydration at Worthy Farm. Taken from last weekend’s Lost Horizons festival, I spoke to some of the Shangri-La team about the project as part of this month’s exploration of virtual events. You can read more on page 38. And the digital revolution doesn’t stop there, with two production profiles of livestreamed events. While I spoke to the team behind Laura Marling’s latest pay-per-view performance from Union Chapel (page 26), Jacob grabbed some time with the Lockdown TV 2020 team, broadcasting live from their London HQ (page 32). Away from the shows, we also take a look at some of the innovative ways that people in the industry are transferring their skills and offering to provide equipment that can aid directly in the fight against COVID-19 (page 49). Also, unless you were living under a rock on Thursday 2 July, you’ll be aware of the massive effort by the live events industry in the #LetTheMusicPlay campaign. The impact of this campaign was truly incredible and TPi was proud to lend its voice to highlight the importance for the government to take more proactive steps to ensure this industry we love weathers this storm. You can read more on page 11, but at the time of writing, it seems that the effort was not in vain, with the British government unveiling a £1.57bn support package to help protect the futures of UK theatres, galleries, museums and other cultural venues. The real-world implications of this pledge for now are still unclear, but hopefully this means that more venues, institutions and companies will be able to make it to the other side. Till then, stay safe out there. Stew Hume Editor
Ultrasafe EDITOR Stew Hume Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8385 Mobile: +44 (0)7702 054344 e-mail: email@example.com
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Issue 251 – July 2020
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EVENT FOCUS 08
Faith No More: Crew Relief The band put together a campaign to support their road crew during COVID-19.
11 #LetTheMusicPlay UK artists, music professionals and venues launch a campaign for change.
The Collective Sessions Touring veterans embark on a series of livestreaming gigs at Millenium Studios.
BNS Drive-in Concerts Universal Sound Productions deploy JBL loudspeakers for the Sri Lankan event.
18 CovidHagen DPA Soundco’s 24-hour livestream event on the roof of Copenhagen Opera House.
The Fluffy Cloud US artist creates the world’s first touring venue in the time of social distancing.
Drive-In Comedy contour Veranstaltungsservice utilises a Meyer Sound system for drive-in shows.
PRODUCTION PROFILE 26
Laura Marling The English folk singer teams up with ATC Management for a livestreaming first.
Lockdown TV 2020 A suitably socially distanced streaming platform at Sensible Music’s Studio 4.
GAMING FOCUS 38
LED offerings for drive-in events.
TRANSFERABLE SKILLS 49
Standard range of sizes ready to be deployed now with or without LED Screen, PA and Power packages. Contact us for details
Show designers and VR/AR experts discuss the gamification of live events.
MARKET FOCUS 44
Outdoor LED Screen Support
Industry solutions for the COVID-19 fight.
IPS has extensive stocks of Staging, Rigging, Lighting, Video, Sound & Power Equipment ready to hire now
PRODUCTION FUTURES 52
Rookie of the Year, Harry Boyde, shares his story from stagehand to touring tech.
Game.ae’s Isaac Kumer looks back on the first-ever virtual TPMEA Awards event.
FUTURE INSIGHTS 56
The latest product releases.
GEAR HEADS 62
Adamson Systems’ Brian Fraser discusses the company’s new CS-Series.
PSA: THE BIGGER PICTURE 66
PSA’s Andy Lenthall retraces the so-called roadmap for the return of live events.
INDUSTRY APPOINTMENTS 68
The latest movers and shakers.
BACK CHAT 74
TPi Awards Tour Manager of the Year, Trevor Williams, takes the hot seat.
IPS is Open! Our warehouse is staffed with a minimal team and others are working remotely. We are ready to work with you to get events going again. Stay Healthy, Stay Alert. Get in touch Now for a Quotation
FAITH NO MORE: CREW RELIEF With their loyal touring family out of work, Californian rock legends Faith No More launch a campaign to ensure their crew are taken care of during the lockdown. TPi’s Stew Hume reports...
With a fiercely loyal fanbase across the globe, Faith No More have been a mainstay of the alternative-rock scene for many years and, since reforming back in 2009, the band has enjoyed a great level of success touring, and headlining numerous festival slots. Since reigniting the flames at the tail-end of the noughties, there has been a constant roster of men and women working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure the band get to each venue and their stage shows meet fans’ lofty expectations night after night. The current Faith No More crew - Tour Manger, Tim Moss; Production Manager, Shaun Kendrick; FOH Engineer, Michael Brennan; Monitor Engineer Nicco Anntonetti; LD, Charles Martin; Tour Assistant, Anika Jacobs and Backline Techs, David Stauble, Max Karon Abel Vallejo - were all set for
a busy year of shows. However, like many people across the globe, 2020 meant one thing – a sudden halt of touring plans. “We were set to roll from May to mid-September this year,” reflected Production Manager, Shaun Kendrick. “I had been working on the project on and off since October 2019 with setup and advancing due to start on 1 April 2020 and the New Zealand shows due to start at the start of May. As it became apparent the gigs were going to be off, we were devasted, personally and financially, having lost all of our work. I knew how much this was going to impact our crew. We are all part of a freelance community across the world and, at that very moment, we were all in exactly the same position.” The worry was not lost on the band and upper management, who began to put their heads together to find a way to raise some funds for the 08
THE WORLD'S FIRST TRANSFERABLE LED ENGINE
FAITH NO MORE
hard-working family. “A few weeks went by and I noticed a few acts – The National, Deftones and Run the Jewels – put some type of crew relief online,” explained Kendrick. “I’d been thinking about it, too, and Tim [Moss, the band’s Manager] clearly had the same thought. Tim then spoke to the band and they were totally behind the idea.” The original concept was to create a T-shirt that would be sold to fans, which in turn would be used to create a fund for the crew. Soon the merch catalogue expanded to include some old signed posters, vinyl and drumheads – they even produced custom face masks. The T-shirt design featured a re-layout of small logo the band were donning as part of their self-released album, Sol Invictus, in 2015. The band had formed Reclamation Records to self-release the record and used two hands in a pray pose as part of that record label artwork design. “I’d always loved the design, and said it needed to be a shirt,” stated Kendrick. “Once the crew relief went live, the whole situation became totally humbling – the love and support I received personally was unexpected,” stated Kendrick. “My family bought the shirts; friends, colleagues, people
I’d not heard from for years and, most importantly, the fans totally got behind it. I bought other bands crew shirts to help them, too, as I believe you can’t take out if you don’t put back into the machine. The bands and crew couldn’t believe the response and positivity.” Long-time FOH Engineer, Michael Brennan commented: “It’s such a simple idea and it’s been fantastic to see the response from everyone – it was really organic,” he stated. “It was one of those tours where each member of the crew would do anything for these guys – it’s a really tight unit and we truly do have each other’s backs – no matter what.” He concluded that this latest campaign reflected the mentality on the road – a statement echoed by Kendrick. “The Faith No More crew is small and tight – we move fast, and everyone rolls their sleeves up. There is no deadweight, which is awesome. We really enjoy spending time together and delivering the shows night after night with good-humoured momentum.” TPi Photos: Faith No More www.fnm.com 10
#LETTHEMUSICPLAY The live music industry calls upon the UK Government to present a clear timeline for venues reopening and a financial support package for the sector. Three days after the campaign, the government responds, stating that cultural and heritage organisations are to be protected with £1.57bn support package…
On Thursday 2 July, the music industry joined forces under the banner of #LetTheMusicPlay for one purpose – to send one united message, calling for the British government to provide immediate assistance during this trying time. Along with some of the world’s biggest artists, UK-based crew members, rental houses and manufacturers also got behind the campaign to show solidarity in support of a worthy cause. When the lockdown first became a reality on 23 March, few would have thought that we would make it to July and still not have a clear idea of the future of live events and when they were due to return. Although regulations are beginning to slacken, with shops now open and pubs not too far behind, the live events sector is still somewhat of a question mark in the UK. Although the government released a five-point roadmap, there has been significant backlash as the advice still doesn’t provide solid dates and, what’s more, doesn’t seem to take into account the reality of keeping a venue open while not being able to operate at standard capacity. Turn to page 66 for more on this. These frustrations culminated on 2 July, with the global events market coming together under the #LetTheMusicPlay banner. Spearheaded by UK Live Music along with the Music Venues Trust, the campaign saw some of the world’s leading touring talents such as the Rolling Stones, Ed Sheeran, Sir Paul McCartney, Iron Maiden and many more making an urgent plea for government aid to the sector, warning that a lack of support and continued uncertainty around reopening is having a “devastating” impact on one of the world’s biggest live music markets. The appeal was centred on a letter to the UK’s culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, signed by 1,500 artists and bands, touring personal and members
of the events industry. The joint letter stated: “UK live music has been one of the UK’s biggest social, cultural, and economic successes of the past decade. But, with no end to social distancing in sight or financial support from government yet agreed, the future for concerts and festivals and the hundreds of thousands of people who work in them looks bleak. “Until these businesses can operate again, which is likely to be 2021 at the earliest, government support will be crucial to prevent mass insolvencies and the end of this world-leading industry.” As part of the campaign, the overall message is for the government to provide a clear, conditional timeline for reopening venues without social distancing, a comprehensive business and employment support package, access to finance and full VAT exemption on ticket sales. The business and employment support package should include, they say, a government-backed insurance scheme to allow shows to go ahead; an extension of the furlough scheme and help for the self-employed to prevent mass redundancies; rent breaks for venues to allow them to reopen; an extension of business-rate relief to the entire live music supply chain; rolling over fees for single-premises event licences for festivals; and financial support for lost box-office income. “July would normally see the UK embarking on a world-famous summer of live music, but this year the lights are switched off and the microphones unplugged,” commented Phil Bowdery, Chairman of the Concert Promoters’ Association. “Live music has sought to play its role in helping tackle coronavirus, with many artists providing entertainment for people from their homes. But our shutdown is likely to go on for much longer than most, with many concerts and festivals unable to operate until 2021 at the 11
earliest. Without rapid government support, the long-term impact will be devastating, with the loss of hundreds of thousands of highly-skilled jobs and billions of pounds from the UK economy.” Key to the #LetTheMusic play campaign was a widespread social media effort with people sharing both the hashtag along with a number of stats that showcase the importance of live events to the nation’s economy. Trending worldwide on Twitter throughout the day and seeing massive engagement from all sectors of the industry, it was without doubt a huge success. Not ones to be silent, manufactures, rental houses and crewmembers alike joined the call to action, many of which you can see on the preceding pages. Since the campaign – and on the day we sent this issue to print – there was news from the government that the arts, culture and heritage industries will receive a world-leading £1.57bn rescue package to help weather the impact of coronavirus. Thousands of organisations across a range of sectors including the performing arts and theatres, heritage, historic palaces, museums, galleries, live music and independent cinema will be able to access emergency grants and loans. The announcement marks the biggest ever one-off investment in UK culture. It will help them stay afloat while their doors are closed. Funding to restart paused projects will also help support employment, including freelancers working in these sectors. This new package will be available across the country and ensure the future of these multi-billion-pound industries are secured. Oliver Dowden Culture Secretary said: “Our arts and culture are the soul of our nation. They make our country great and are the lynchpin of our world-beating and fastgrowing creative industries. “I understand the grave challenges the arts face
and we must protect and preserve all we can for future generations. Today we are announcing a huge support package of immediate funding to tackle the funding crisis they face. I said we would not let the arts down, and this massive investment shows our level of commitment.” The package announced includes funding for national cultural institutions in England and investment in cultural and heritage sites to restart construction work paused as a result of the pandemic. This will be a big step forward to help rebuild our cultural infrastructure. This unprecedented package includes: a £1.15bn support pot for cultural organisations in England delivered through a mix of grants and loans – this will be made up of £270m of repayable finance and £880m grants; £100m of targeted support for the national cultural institutions in England and the English Heritage Trust; and £120m capital investment to restart construction on cultural infrastructure and for heritage construction projects in England which was paused due to the coronavirus pandemic. The new funding will also mean an extra £188m for the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland (£33m), Scotland (£97) and Wales (£59m). Decisions on awards will be made working alongside expert independent figures from the sector including the Arts Council England and other specialist bodies such as Historic England, National Lottery Heritage Fund and the British Film Institute. Repayable finance will be issued on generous terms tailored for cultural institutions to ensure they are affordable. Further details will be set out when the scheme opens for applications in the coming weeks. TPi www.psa.org.uk
Andrew Cunningham; DiGiCo’s Dave Bigg, James Gordon and Maria Fiorellino; George Ezra’s crew; Michael Fitzsimons – Eric Clapton & Friends; Jake Vernum with Trevor Plunkett.
THE COLLECTIVE SESSIONS A collection of touring veterans join forces for a new venture, providing a space for artists to perform and stream live shows from Millennium Studios at an affordable price. With the preparations well underway, TPi gets the inside scoop...
From the time lockdown was announced, artists have been releasing footage of themselves to their fans across the globe – but as we move into July and measures begin to relax, most will agree that there is now somewhat of an expectation of a higher production values. As much as a smartphone on a tripod of books filming the front room might have cut it back in March, fans are increasingly looking for something a bit more professional. First out of the gate during the pandemic were several solutions from major rental houses, re-purposing their warehouse spaces for multiuse streaming solutions, which could be used for everything from corporate, religious ceremonies and, of course, live performances. But now there is a new incentive in place that has been put together by a number of touring veterans for the world of live music: The Collective Sessions. The brainchild of Production Manager and Video Crew Chief Simon Schofield [Noel Gallagher and Marina] and Tour Manager, Suzi Green [The Chemical Bothers and Placebo], the idea was to create a functional performance space in which an artist could take over for a day with its inhouse flexible visual package and produce a live show to either be streamed or recorded for later release. Housed in Millennium Studios, Bedford, The Collective Sessions has been built on two core principles: firstly, a festival-style setup, which will enable any artist to roll-in and produce a good-looking show; and secondly, a reasonable price point, to open the streaming world to a larger range of performers. “As soon as we started to lose work, Simon and I put our heads together to come up with some
ideas of what we could do,” stated Green, who has worked with Schofield a number of times over the years. “It was very much an idea that was built out of the frustration brought on by lockdown. But once we had the space at Millennium and the other suppliers on board, all the pieces fell into place really quickly.” Schofield interjected by discussing the importance of the venue. “The real advantage of using Millennium is that it’s designed for this job,” he stated plainly. “Some of the other solutions that have cropped up in the past few months are very much converted warehouse space – here, on the other hand, we have a roof that can take weight, a 60ft stage, and high spec’d dressing rooms with toilets and showers, making social distancing a very simple process to implement.” As part of the project, Millennium has also handed over the use of the other building space as well as the main studio, giving even more options to place elements such as broadcast and control to take place in an entirely different room. “We jumped at the chance to be part of this,” enthused Nina Malivoire, Studio Sales Manager for Millennium Studio. Malivoire explained how the project’s main base would be ‘A’ stage. “Not only is it a huge space, but there is so much external space near the stage to be utilised for the project.” The plan is that during the project, the team will create “space bubbles” throughout to ensure everyone is able to keep their distance. “The team that Simon and Suzi have put together will make a real success of this project and it’s exciting to be involved as the studio space.” As well as being a state-of-the-art rehearsal facility, the other major benefit for the Millennium campus is that it is also the site of a major 14
THE COLLECTIVE SESSIONS
medical research facility. What this means is that the entire site is held to the highest grade of health and safety regulations when it come the cleaning and maintaining a safe working environment. Helping Green and Schofield make this project a reality were Urban Audio, GLS Lighting and Really Creative Media (RCM). “We’ve worked with each company a number of times over the years,” explained Green. “All the companies really bought into the concept of creating a festival setup that was flexible and would enable an artist to walk in and start using the space.” On the video side, RCM put forward a comprehensive base camera package, allowing remote camera management, so that all bands can capture their rehearsals and performances in HD and safely. Bands can opt for upgrades such as a roving steady cam, with additional camera options available to expand their broadcast options. A vision gallery and livestreaming technology will also be installed on-site. Projection and LED screen options will also be available, with RCM video directors giving bands plenty of creative visual options. RCM’s Nick Dew stated: “If bands and fans can’t come together for a live show, we’re taking the approach that ‘all the world is a stage’ and we are the players to make that stage a creative, professionally exciting virtual platform. It’s very exciting to be working with Millennium Studios and other partners to deliver The Collective Sessions. “The live music industry is in a tough place, so we’re happy to be giving artists the chance to connect with their audiences with high-quality livestreaming, creativity, tech production and recording possibilities at a reasonable cost.” Working alongside RCM to provide to visual canvas for the performances is GLS Lighting. Talking through the lighting design was Ian Turner, who created the rig for the space. “The biggest thing that I had in mind while creating the design for this show was that the rig had to be able to do a number of things, with minimal touch,” reflected Turner. Every step of the way, flexibility was the name of the game,
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THE COLLECTIVE SESSIONS
Tour Manager, Suzi Green; Really Creative Media’s Nick Dew; GLS Lighting’s Jac Nott; Production Manager and Video Crew Chief, Simon Schofield with Head of Puplicity, Milly; Director of Urban Audio, Dan Lewis; GLS Lighting’s Ian Turner.
leading the LD to create a rig where each truss could split in the middle. “What this means is that you can angle each truss any way the artist’s visual team prefers.” The main workhorses on Turner’s proposed rig included a great deal of GLP impression X4 Bar 20s, which act as the main wash fixture for the set alongside a number of JDC1 strobes. “As they are both from the same family, the colour matching is really good and gives us a good consistency throughout.” Also on the rider were the new Elation Professional Picasso spot fixtures. “Since they were released, I’ve been very impressed with these lights,” enthused Turner. “The fact that the performances were all to be filmed was very much a deciding factor with the use of the Picasso,” he added. “We needed something with a good gobo lens and LED source that could produce a sharp spot for the close up looks.” Also on the rig were a number of Robe Robin Pointe for beams, along with CHAUVET Professional Strike 4s for blinders to fill in the set. “The floor package was always going to be of utmost importance as this element would always been in the shot,” started Turner. “This is why we replicated a number of fixtures on the floor to those in the roof to add consistency.” GLS also supplied a few other scenic elements to add some options for the stage, including Astera light tubes. There will also be a number of different control options available, including a ChamSys MQ 500, Avolites Tiger Touch 11 and an MA Lighting grandMA2. The goal is to have artists’ designers submit a suggestion of what they want to create prior to their performance so the in-house crew can prepare the rig and floor page before the artist even sets foot in the space. “This has been a fantastic project to be involved in,” concluded Turner. “The co-operative mindset has been a really good experience and, what’s more, it means we’ve been able to create work for other freelancers and techs during this trying time.” Also commenting on GLS’ involvement with the project was Director, Jac Nott. “What is fantastic about this project is that it’s creating opportunities for both artists and crew during these uncertain times,” she said. “We’re lucky at GLS as we already have the methodology and risk assessment side of things in
place as we had done some small projects during the lockdown which we have transferred to The Collaborations Project to ensure that everyone is safe. The space and the design Ian has created is flexible enough so that no matter the genre, each artist can go into the space and really make the show their own.” Finally, commenting on the audio package available at Millennium Studios was Dan Lewis – Director for Urban Audio. Just like the other departments in the collective, Lewis’ main goal was to replicate a festival-like package that would be very user friendly to any engineer that entered the building. “That’s why we went for a Yamaha CL5 for the monitor desk, as it’s a surface that almost every engineer will be able to make work for their show.” Also provided were a number of L-Acoustics wedges, Sennheiser IEM packages along with Shure Axient Radio mics. A CL5 was also the desk of choice for the broadcast mix. “Having a system that was easy and reliable to network was essential,” stated Lewis, explaining how the broadcast mix was due to be situated in an enterally different room to that of the performance. “For this reason, Yamaha fit the bill perfectly.” At the time of writing, all the pieces are very much in place for the first artists to tread the boards of Millennium Studios and calls are already underway with various management contacts. As well as giving artists a reasonable solution to keep the music alive during these trying times, Schofield was keen to highlight that this also went for the crew they were bringing on. “We are paying people the right rates that they deserve in this project,” he asserted. “Not only that, but we as a collective are sticking with what we know – which is live touring and music production.” And with such a flexible space, it surely won’t be long until we are seeing a number of performances from the famed studio space. TPi Photos: Millennium Studios www.millenniumstudios.co.uk www.glslighting.com www.uaproductions.com www.reallycreativemedia.co.uk 16
BNS DRIVE-IN CONCERTS
BNS DRIVE-IN CONCERTS Universal Sound Productions deploys JBL Professional VerTec Series for Sri Lankan drive-in shows.
Photo by Claire P on Unsplash
Hosted by pop duo Bathiya and Santhush, BNS Drive-in Concerts was the first live music experiences since the COVID-19 outbreak for both Sri Lanka and South Asia, with Universal Sound Productions providing an audio backbone including an array of JBL Professional VerTec Series loudspeakers. The large-scale events, was held at the Colombo International Airport and enforced strict health and security guidelines. “The stage was directly facing massive aircraft hangers and many of them were made of metal structures, so we had to work with JBL Line Array Calculator (LAC) to get rid of all the slap back with accurate measurement,” stated Universal Sound Productions’ Malinda Lowe. “Towers were not an option as they would obstruct the view, so we managed to deliver the required vertical coverage despite the heavy surrounding wind.” The other challenge for the production was to match the PA feed with the broadcast feed. “The JBL Performance Manger software and Soundcraft ViSi Remote app played major roles in accomplishing this task,” commented Lowe. Universal Sound Productions deployed 40 JBL VT4888 3-way highdirectivity loudspeakers. Both the left and right arrays comprised of 12 speakers, while the remaining 16 were equally divded and positioned in four ground stacks. For powerful, accurate low-frequency repsonse, Universal Sound Productions positioned 24 VTX G28 dual 18-inch subwoofers across the front stage and eight VT4882 midsize subwoofers on the sides. The system also featured eight SRX712M 12-inch two-way stage monitors and one PRX618S 18-in self-powered subwoofer. Powering the system were nine Crown VRack 4X3500 HD amplifer racks
as well as 20 Macro-Tech i Series and six XTi 6002 power amplifiers. JBL LAC was “essential” in designing and configuring the system to achieve ideal coverage and SPL, while Performance Manger helped Universal Sound Productions tune the system. The show was mixed through a Soundcraft Vi3000 digital console, while a Soundcraft Realtime Rack and two dbx DriveRack 4800 loudspeaker managerment systems ensured peak sound quality throughout the concerts. TPi Photo: Chamal Goonawardena www.pro.harman.com
A Ghostlight burns in empty theaters as a beacon against the dark and as a promise to soon retake the stage. We will all return to the stage. Until then, GLP will keep its own Ghostlight burning for all of you. More at ghostlight.glp.de
/GLP.German.Light.Products /GermanLightProducts www.glp.de
COVIDHAGEN DPA Soundco provides audio infrastructure for an ambitious 24-hour stream on the roof of the Copenhagen Opera House. Project Manager, Ally Kerslake, reflects on the undertaking…
Over the past few months, we have seen exponential growth in streaming culture in the world of live music as well as the level of production that has gone into a number of fantastic shows. However, last month the city of Copenhagen played host to an event that took the content to a whole new level – the roof, to be exact. Hosted on top of the iconic Copenhagen Opera House, CovidHagen, was created to entertain the Danish public who, at this time of year, would usually be looking forward to several months full of festivals. The goal of CovidHagen was to produce a 24-hour stream, all of which was performed from the roof of the building. Brought in to provide the audio infrastructure for the project was DPA Soundco. Sound Engineer and Project Manager, Ally Kerslake spoke of his experience. “The project as whole had some quite challenging, unique and historic elements,” he began, not least created by the fact the performance was to take place on the roof of such an iconic building. “This posed many challenges as the only way up to the roof to load in was a small elevator.
Then through an even smaller stair entrance onto a roof with no real access save to do inspections from time to time and certainly not to have any kind of concert production.” The second challenge was that the vision from the very beginning was to create a ‘stay at home festival’ that would provide 24 hours of nonstop content to be streamed on Twitch. “Crewing and safety was always a priority for me during the planning stage,” reflected the Project Manager. To manage the workload, the show was run by two, 12-hour shift teams, comprising: an audio project leader, broadcast operator, monitor operator, and operator/system alternate for breaks. Also on the roaster for each shift on the roof was a RF Tech, stage tech, stage alternate and an audio trainee. DPA Soundco provided a full audio package comprising an RF and amp station on the roof with all Shure Axient and PSM1000, CODA Audio CUE TWO Bi-Amped wedges, CODA DJ booth/sidefills and all mics and stands. “The power of both the CUE TWO and APS systems was perfect to fire through the windy conditions on the roof,” said Kerslake. He also 18
expressed that due to the fast changeovers, the light weight of the CUE TWOs “definitely helped”. “It’s the lightest 15in, three-way wedge I’ve come across and the crew onstage were certainly glad of that after 24 hours. We didn’t have a single issue of tonality throughout the whole production and actually had multiple artists asking if we could provide the same solution for future tours.” A fully DiGiCo Optocore Fiber system with back-up analogue took care of all I/O. Kerslake explained: “This was situated on the second floor of the building in a makeshift control room with low-latency LED screens and split-screen program feeds so the operators could get a feel of what was happening many floors up on the roof.” In the control room, there was a DiGiCo SD10, which handled monitor control with wired Shure P9HW. Wedges for the control room were a stereo pair of Biamped CODA Cue 2. The broadcast sound direct to the OB via AES and Madi was taken care of via another SD10 with a Custom DPA Soundco Waves system rack comprised of two Waves SoundGrid Extreme Servers and the new Waves super rack also running Tracks live for recording. Waves WLM Plus Loudness Meter played a major role in keeping the levels at a constant to the OB feed. “Lastly, a DiGiCo SD12 took care of the host mics between change overs,” stated Kerslake. “The SD12 also handled all comms routing matrixing and analogue back up to the OB on a split, so if ever the fibre loop
of main show consoles were to have any issues it would always be possible for the hosts to stay live to OB for ‘padding’.” Obviously, due to the current global situation, the organisers of CovidHagen wanted to ensure that everyone was safe during the performance. This saw the crew take certain measures such as a workstation on the roof with a full disinfection setup. A full-time engineer was required to maintain this, along with being in charge of wireless management through Shure’s Wireless Workbench and Showlink for the show and also for the many TV press that would come with their own RF throughout the production. “We had over 50 acts play over the 24 hours with multiple artists in each,” stated Kerslake. “We had 25 Shure Axient HH transmitters and 20 PSM 1000 IEMs had to be cleaned thoroughly between each use. Each artist had their own wind screen to prevent passing the wireless and each of our techs had their own screen for checks.” DPA Soundco also put its two 3D printers to work prior to the event to make custom motorola changing stations for the 80-plus radios for production staff and security provided by DPA. RF mic holders were also made in house. TPi Photos: DPA Soundco www.dpasoundco.dk 19
THE FLUFFY CLOUD TPi’s Jacob Waite chats to Jorge Perdomo – the US-based artist behind The Fluffy Cloud: a 30ft-tall steel cocoon-like structure dubbed the world’s first touring venue in the time of social distancing…
While the live event experience we are accustomed to is rapidly innovating, US-based inventor and artist, Jorge Perdomo has unveiled his latest project – The Fluffy Cloud, dubbed the world’s first touring venue and a uniquely COVID-19 friendly live experience, which may offer a model for live entertainment to bounce back sooner than expected. Perdomo made his artistic debut at the 2019 Burning Man with The Fluffy Cloud. Part art installation, performance platform and light show, the 30ft-tall and equally wide cocoon-like structure – think Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds’ Martian Fighting Machine meets Arcadia’s Pangea – was designed to provide outdoor concertgoers with an unprecedented 360° visual and aural experience. The installation quickly became the talk of the 2019 Burn, drawing throngs of attendees to nightly performances by a wide variety of worldclass DJs such as Adana Twins, Diplo, Flume and more. The Fluffy Cloud reappeared by invitation at the prestigious Art Basel show in Miami. The
Fluffy Cloud’s 2020 tour saw the structure circumnavigate the globe in seven different cities before COVID-19 hit. The challenging time ahead allowed the creative freedom for Perdomo to re-imagine his business plan in the time of lockdown: looking towards innovation in live production and what the entertainment business may breed once the world re-opens. “The circular format of The Fluffy Cloud enables social distancing, added on top of the fact that it is an outdoor, open-air experience that make The Fluffy Cloud safe,” Perdomo explained. “It represents a setup with seating for up to 600 people within The Fluffy Cloud’s 100ft diameter performance space while still maintaining social distancing.” Granted, this is 600 attendees instead of the 2,000-plus before the onset of the global pandemic, but it is a great example of the innovation that the entertainment world will need to adopt in order to survive and thrive in the future. “The Fluffy Cloud can also be easily modified into a dance venue 20
THE FLUFFY CLOUD
The Fluffy Cloud Lead Artist/Founder, Jorge Perdomo.
with spots that are painted on the ground, instead of bar tables – in which case, it could be an outdoor club or biergarten type of space with dance room for up to 300 people.” The idea behind The Fluffy Cloud came from Perdomo’s frustration and boredom with the repetitive and uncomfortable format of a front-to-back performance space, where audiences are crammed toward the front, all facing the same direction. Perhaps serendipitously, The Fluffy Cloud ended up being a perfect fit for a new world where live experiences must take social distancing into account for any event. “I believe that art reaches its full potential when it is reinterpreted and combined with other pieces of art. From that perspective, I think of The Fluffy Cloud as a very special paintbrush which, if placed in the hands of other dedicated creatives, can create unmatched experiences,” explained Perdomo. “For this reason, I don’t call it a ‘touring club’ because the Fluffy Cloud can and has been used for everything from yoga sessions and sound baths, to dinners and corporate events.” Thanks to his previous
background as the inventor and Co-Founder of goTenna, a tech company he left to pursue his passions in art and music, Perdomo was searching for a way to design an in-the-round venue to make it a more comfortable and connected experience for concertgoers. Having worked on it as a side project, Perdomo made the leap to sell a portion of his shares in goTenna and transform into a full-time Fluffy Clouder in 2018. “Any artist will confirm that art has to be self-sustaining. I saw this as an opportunity to make it work in the industry that I’ve always loved – working with performance artists and the team behind the scenes.” However, it was no walk in the park for Perdomo. While donations from friends also helped push along the innovation, it mostly became a burden that he had to shoulder, having quit a nine-to-five to dedicate himself fully to the cause. “I really overextended at one point and went temporarily bankrupt because I was so in love with the concept, and I wanted to make it a reality,” he conceded. “At one-point I was in too deep; it was scary but at the end of the day we were able to pull it off, by the skin of our teeth.
THE FLUFFY CLOUD
The response ever since from the Burning Man community was universal – excitement and awe.” What started initially as a Burning Man project, harnessing the help of volunteers, now has evolved into a full-time, profitable, passion project. “I always knew that health and safety would be of paramount importance. The Fluffy Cloud had to be designed to the highest standards possible, so it could be permitted in several states as a touring setup,” Perdomo commented. “In fact, it’s now radically over engineered, which allowed me to get permits in states like Florida or California where hurricanes and or earthquakes are commonplace.” As well as stability, Perdomo pointed out the importance of stage craft – making sure the project could be built and taken down quickly and safely – drawing inspiration from SpaceX. “The reason that SpaceX rockets are a maximum of 8.5ft wide is because that’s the maximum width you can carry something on the road without it being a wide load,” he reported. “The moment you become a wide load, your transport costs go through the roof, which is a big chunk of our setup costs – so the requirement was everything we do needs to fit into a standard 50ft transport trailer.” The Fluffy Cloud breaks down into 46 primary pieces that use the same bolts – Perdomo signalled the good work of two volunteers who really helped him along the way: Sound Engineer, Deniz Akyurek of Perpetual Wave Productions in partnership with Hennessey Sound Design and Lighting Designer, Gene Harrison. “We are a scrappy amateur team, so we’re used to finding ways to do things at a lower cost. The rest of the team involved in the build are paid contractors – professional fabricators and engineers that have worked on Burning Man and have a wealth of experience executing projects in a desert. As an IP67-rated facility, The Fluffy Cloud is designed to withstand
rain, dust, and is really hardened. In fact, anywhere we visit now is easy,” he laughed. “In an ideal world, where we use smaller teams, we can build The Fluffy Cloud in two, 12-hour shifts. We’ve got five or six builds under our belts at this point, and each time we’re documenting the process and improving consistently.” The entire structure is steel, which is painted inside and out to prevent corrosion. There’s a main structure and exoskeleton that spans the circumference. The ‘fluffy’ outer shell is made from a blend of material – mostly glue and Polyfill, coated in a variety of substances to make it fireproof. “A lot of experimentation has gone in to giving texture to The Fluffy Cloud’s darker and lighter sections,” Perdomo commented. “We worked closely with an audio team to test and tune the output of the sound system, which must punch through a few inches worth of material – making it acoustically transparent and fireproof was a huge challenge but after a few months of experimenting, we’ve come up with a formula.” Made from steel, fibre, fireproofing materials, glue, Pollyfill, 33,000 LEDs and 6,000 pounds of audio, The Fluffy Cloud is a true feat of engineering. “The whole thing weighs in at around 18,000lbs,” he concluded. “It’s a heavy project, which we were working on nonstop for around 10 months in the run up to Burning Man. Since then, we have spent weeks on the optimisations – simply put, we learn each time we deploy the structure.” With an undoubtedly bright future, The Fluffy Cloud now has plans for upcoming tour stops in Miami, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and San Francisco, as the world’s first ‘touring event space’. TPi Photos: The Fluffy Cloud www.thefluffycloud.org Instagram: @realfluffycloud 22
STRO NG ER TO G ETH ER
A n o d e t o a ll o u r c lie n t s , s h o w c a s in g s o m e g r e a t p r o je c t s , m a d e w it h s o m u c h lo v e a n d p a s s io n . L o o k in g fo r w a rd to m a n y m o re to c o m e ... O u r th o u g h ts a n d h e a r ts g o o u t to a ll th a t a re im p a c te d b y th e c u rre n t c ris is ; o u r c lie n ts, u s e rs, A V te c h n ic ia n s a n d a ll o th e rs in o u r b e a u tifu l in d u s tr y. O u r p a s s io n is s h a rin g y o u rs. # s t r o n g e r t o g e t h e r # y o u r s t a g e o u r p a s s io n
W W W .R O E V I S U A L .C O M
CONTOUR SHOWCASES DRIVE-IN COMEDY Meyer Sound rental partner, contour Veranstaltungsservice, teams up with Grobi.tv Heimkino & mehr to provide a turnkey solution for the City of Kaarst’s first drive-in comedy show in lockdown…
Marking the company’s first foray into the return of drive-in shows across the globe in the wake of a global pandemic, contour Veranstaltungsservice has partnered with the City of Kaarst, Germany and Grobi.tv Heimkino & mehr to develop a drive-in comedy show which allows four-wheeled attendees to enjoy a stand-up set in the comfort of their respective cars, with a Meyer Sound system chosen for soundcheck. Having been the event partner of the city of Kaarst for over 25 years, technically equipping around 80 events a year, business was far from usual for contour Veranstaltungsservice following the widespread lockdown of live events. “We discovered that the band, Brings, were to set to play a concert at a drive-in cinema in Cologne in mid-April. We immediately brainstormed the idea that comedy events could also be organised in a similar manner,” contour Veranstaltungsservice’s Christina Domm explained, revealing that the rental company developed a swift technical and logistical concept for Kaarst’s very-own drive-in comedy experience. “Working closely with the city of Kaarst and grobi.tv, we developed and implemented within just two weeks,” Domm added. The team put together
16 shows – featuring well-known cabaret artists, comedians and bands from all corners of Germany from mid-April to late May – with at least two events taking place every weekend on the Drive-In-Comedy stage. “At the first shows, 290 cars with two people each were allowed on the property,” Domm recalled. “Over time and by popular demand, we expanded this to 320 cars with people from a maximum of two households.” The German rental company brought in Meyer Sound ULTRA-X40 point source loudspeakers for the crew’s internal quality soundcheck. During the show, the audience tunes into the designated local radio frequency in their car to audibly experience the show. “On stage we used four ULTRA-X40 point source speakers and two 900LFC basses from Meyer Sound for our crew’s internal quality soundcheck. During the show, we used two Amie studio monitors to check the sound for the FM approved radio signal.” As an established general service provider, contour Veranstaltungsservice provided a turnkey solution for the event which involved building the stage, video walls, lighting rig, and handling the logistics. To ensure the safety of the performers and the crew, mandatory 24
masks were worn on site and distance regulations were observed during assembly and dismantling of the load in and out. Walking routes were also marked in the backstage area and singular designated toilets were appointed for the artists and crew, which were cleaned regularly. “During the lunch breaks when the crew were eating together, the distance regulations had to be observed (1.5m between every person) and disinfectants were made available to the crew and artists,” Domm explained. Similar measures were taken for the audience; cars had to be 1.5m apart, tickets were scanned through the closed window at the entrance, and could only be purchased online and printed at home – and the audience could not buy snacks or drinks, but were encouraged to bring their own. “The audiences were all very happy with the outcome and we
DIN POWERFUL OUTDOOR
were happy to have contributed something that allows the local community to have fun, contact with artists and participate in live events during this uncertain period,” Domm enthused. “We are now working on more innovative concepts. In Germany, we are gradually starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel for live events.” A Meyer Sound spokesperson stated: “The evening put a smile on everyone’s faces and was a great success. More shows are scheduled. We love seeing the creativity our community is producing to bring us all back together again. Good luck to contour with their upcoming shows!” TPi Photos: Patrick Schappert www.contour.tv www.meyersound.com
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LAURA MARLING: LIVE FROM UNION CHAPEL The English folk singer, in collaboration with ATC Management, embarks on a livestreamed production like no other. Is this the new formula for live events in the coming months? TPi’s Stew Hume finds out.
With her 48-date world tour cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Laura Marling and ATC Management concocted a plan to produce a livestreamed production. With an audience comprising fans who had paid a ticket fee for exclusive access, this was to be a one-off, for-onenight-only, live performance unlike any other. Since the lockdown came into effect, ‘streaming’ has been the word on everyone’s lips. In our industry, streaming has varied from manufacturers filming training sessions all the way down to the artists confined to their bedrooms and living rooms for low-tech acoustic sessions in an attempt to keep connected to their fans. One of the common themes across the majority of these options is that they have been free. In fact, there are many who simply don’t believe that you can recreate the ticket model for a streaming alternative – especially when you are talking about live music performances. However, Laura Marling’s latest set, shot at the iconic Union Chapel, and viewed by a loyal paying audience gathering online on both sides of the Atlantic, may prove the naysayers of this new form of entertainment wrong. Curious about the rapid development of this style of show, TPi caught up with the team responsible for putting the pieces together, which included: ATC Management, Pulse Films, Jackshoot, DICE and the staff of Union Chapel.
the singer’s streamed performance. “It was a 48-date tour taking her to Australia, the UK, Europe and finally America.” Marling was in Australia when the global community began to collectively shut down, meaning that the main focus was simply to get the English singer-songwriter back to the UK. As soon as she arrived home, ATC brainstormed alternative solutions to resurrect the ongoing album campaign. “Like many others, we were slightly overzealous in our ambitions, thinking that the lockdown would only last a few weeks and therefore set about booking an intimate UK run of shows to make up for those we had to postpone,” reflected Salmon. “Very quickly, however, the penny dropped that this would not be the case. Our attention then turned to the possibility of Laura doing a performance in one of the booked venues, which could be broadcast live.” Salmon pointed out the caveats for this project were two-fold; first, the event would have a full production and the second, the event would be a paid-for performance. “The collective music industry has never really gone for this style of a paid-for, full-production performance to be streamed exclusively,” he stated. “Artists have obviously done livestreams – especially during lockdown – but up until now, these have either been free or as part of a charity campaign.” In fact, a few days prior to Laura Marling’s show, Scottish singer, Lewis Capaldi had performed a show that was behind a paywall – although the format of that performance was still very much from his home. What Salmon asserted was that the Laura Marling performance would be very much on another scale when it comes to production.
FROM A, T, C “The history of this event really goes back to Laura’s tour that was cut short,” regaled ATC Management’s Ric Salmon, speaking to TPi following 27
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION The choice of the location came from the singer herself, who had performed there a number of times over the years. “As soon as Union Chapel was on the cards, we got in touch with their team, who were immediately receptive to the idea,” Salmon recalled. Putting on an event – even without a live audience – is not a simple task at this time, with endless social distancing regulations in place to keep those working safe. “Thankfully, we had a head start on all those elements,” explained Union Chapel CEO, Michael Chandler. As well as a popular music venue, Union Chapel’s other focus is charitable work, including The Margins Project, which offers a range of services to support people facing homelessness, risk of homelessness and crisis in Islington. “Profits from the venue when we are running normally are sent straight into our charitable work,” explained Chandler, outlining the issues faced by the organisation, as the venue wasn’t making a profit while the doors remained closed. “Once lockdown came into effect, one of our main focusses has been the most vulnerable and we’ve been working on a number of things, including helping to house individuals, as well as advice and support packs, for example,” he said. “We have adopted stringent social distancing rules and practices, which are easily transferred to the Chapel,” he commented, adding that during load-in, there was a strict one-way system in place for the production, as well as strict space around the performance area. “The timing of Laura’s show really could not have been better,” reflected Chandler. “We had been considering streaming options for some time – even pre-lockdown – and we have had a few one-off performances in the past. Regrettably, we had to furlough a number of staff during the
pandemic, but ATC’s request to use the Chapel gave us the option to bring a few members of our team back to aid in the production.” As the CEO of such an iconic independent venue, Chandler was enthusiastic about the possibilities that these projects could bring to UK event spaces. “What the rules will be in the coming months for indoor gatherings is still up in the air,” he stated. “But if, for example, a 2m policy was enforced, here at Union Chapel, due to the architecture, that would mean a crowd of 84 people, instead of our usual 900. This is evidently not financially viable.” However, Chandler suggested if the paid-for steaming model proved popular, which could take place alongside a limitedcompacity audience size, “live events suddenly look more viable”. ROLL OF THE DICE With the venue and date set, there was still the major question of getting the infrastructure in place to create an exclusive portal in which fans could pay for access and watch the show on the night. Having worked with ATC Management for a number of years, DICE was brought in to create the digital infrastructure that would enable audiences to get the live event experience from the comfort of their homes. Talking through the company’s involvement with the project was Russ Tannen. “When DICE launched six years ago, one of our main aims was to create a better experience for those purchasing tickets to create a more rounded experience at a show,” started Tannen. This ethos is what brought about features within the DICE app such as sending information about bands and artists in the lead up to the show as well as letting users know, via their contacts, which of their friends would also be attending. “The fact is, we are a tech company, and as soon as the lockdown was announced, we began developing strategies and solutions 28
for artists to keep a connection with their fans,” he said. During the first few weeks, the company was heavily involved in several streamed projects, which were either free or open to donations, but according to Tannen, the proposition by ATC was of a different calibre. “From our first chat, they explained how they were looking at putting on an event that was in a great venue, had higher production values thanks to the work of Pulse Films, and was to be sold to the audience for the price of a regular ticket,” he reflected. Once on board, the company moved through the gears quickly, pulling all the necessary infrastructure together. When the tickets went on sale, customers were sent a link that would be made active 15 minutes prior to the show, along with a unique code that allowed them to watch the show on another device. “The feedback we have got since the show has been incredible,” stated Tannen. “It’s a weird thing to explain, but the event created a feeling of ‘being there’ and witnessing something special, which was akin to a real-life show.” It should also be noted that once the show was over, the stream could not be re-watched so, in essence, creating a live experience. Once the performance was over, it really was over. “Audience members were also able to interact with the show through the DICE app,” added Tannen. “They were able to fire off emojis, which acted like applause. We also found that many people were interacting with the show via two devices, so watching the show on their TV and speaking to their friends via their phones, creating quite sociable event.” This played into DICE’s existing invite features when fans were purchasing tickets. “On average, for each ticket sold, the buyer would invite 2.4 friends to the events as well,” he stated, outlining the potential reach of this style of event. “This trend really will be the lasting legacy of this outbreak from the live events world,” concluded Tannen. “The way I’ve been explaining
it to people is that – can you imagine if the only people that got to see Manchester United play were those sitting in Old Trafford? People across the globe for a long time have either payed for TV subscriptions or visited pubs who pay for an annual licence. There are a number of logistical challenges in going to see a show, from travel to accommodation, and this type of infrastructure where you could simultaneity stream a show could really open up live music to a far bigger audience.” FINGER ON THE PULSE Pulse Films provided a camera package and lighting for the performance. Director, Giorgio Testi, was excited by the myriad options this project presented. “I’ve been filming live music as a director for close to 15 years,” he stated. “I usually find this type of work when you film a band or artist is a blend of cinema and TV. What can limit you in these projects can be an audience – there may be a shot you really want to get but you don’t want to create any sightline issues. Thankfully, this is no-longer an issue.” Testi explained how he had done some similar projects before – such as a rooftop shoot with Blur back in 2012 – but that doing a shoot for over an hour was new challenge for him. “I knew I didn’t want to use a huge number of cameras for the project,” he stated. “The goal was to create an intimate, cinematic feel. For example, for the first part of the set, there were 12 to 15 minutes shot on one camera, which roamed around the space gently.” The three operators manning the camera used ARRI ALEXA Minis with a final locked-off wide shot at the other end of the venue. The camera feeds were then sent to the OV trucks set up outside and streamed out to the audience thanks to the work of Jackshoot Jackshoot’s Joint Managing Director, Abi Hemingway, discussed the company’s involvement in the project. “Onsite we had four of our crew alongside one remote broadcast engineer,” outlined Hemingway. 29
“Obviously the impact of social distancing and enhanced hygiene procedures mean that some tasks simply take longer now – preparing the kit for use by other people, for instance. For this particular show, we were situated outside to help reduce the number of crew in the building, which meant enduring a mighty thunderstorm during soundcheck.” Although working under vastly different conditions, Hemingway was pleased to report how everyone involved had adapted very quickly and incorporating hygiene measures such as the use of face masks and frequent use of hand sanitiser into their workflow. “We are renowned for our focus on quality and reliability, and we have refined our workflows over many years of delivering live events for online broadcast,” continued the Managing Director. “This project was no different, with our onsite team taking Pulse’s beautifully crafted video feed and transmitting it over multiple connections (for redundancy) to our Manchester facility at BT Tower. From there, the feed was encoded for onward distribution via the Dice PPV platform.” To close, Hemingway gave her final thoughts on the project, which she described as “a pleasure from start to finish”. She added: “After months of remote broadcasting, it was great to be in a real venue again. We hope it’s not too long before everyone can experience real music in venues again, but until that day, we’re committed to helping as many artists deliver their performances online so they can still have that connection with fans.” Testi concluded: “You have to have the right performer for this type of project. From start to finish, during both performances, she was fantastic. It was a really interesting project and, as bizarre as it might seem, from the resonance we’ve seen on social media, it seemed like people got a really ‘live experience’ and felt like they were witnessing something special.” Salmon credited Dom Monks, who handled the audio feed being used for the steam. Monks has collaborated for a long time with Marling,
producing a number of her studio albums including her latest release, Song for Our Daughter. “He is a brilliant engineer and tech and he was very excited to be involved,” commented Salmon. “We put him and his broadcast tech in a backroom – isolated from the venue sound so they were mixing for that purpose.” WHAT’S NEXT? Speaking to the collective team who pulled together the pieces of the project, all of them seemed to be excited for the future of this new style of live performance. Indeed, ATC Management has already announced similar projects set to take place, featuring the likes of Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes and Sleaford Mods . “To be clear, I’m not saying that consuming a live performance through a screen is the same as seeing it at a venue,” Salmon delineated. “I believe we have proved that there is another viable option and revenue stream, both now and perhaps for many years to come.” As of now, the ATC team are busy speaking to a number of other acts and one thing they have made clear is that they are encouraging artists to involve as many of their production team within the projects as possible. “We’re hoping for all these projects to be as collaborative as possible and keep people busy during these uncertain times.” TPi Photos: Joel Ryan www.lauramarling.com www.atcmanagement.com www.dice.fm www.unionchapel.org.uk www.pulsefilms.com www.jackshoot.com 30
TAKING LINE ARRAY
TO A WHOLE
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LOCKDOWN TV 2020 Broadcast live from a suitably socially distanced streaming stage at Sensible Music’s Studio 4 in London, Lockdown TV 2020 gives artists the space to express themselves and reach new audiences during uncertain times. TPi’s Jacob Waite reports…
Presenting an authentic live experience to viewers from the comfort of their own homes, following the widespread lockdown of live events, Lockdown TV 2020 – powered by Andy Gangadeen, Video Illusions, Sensible Music, Centre Stage Solutions, Oliver Kane, Backroom Productions and Matt King – kicked off proceedings with a raucous live performance from The Bays on 21 May, with follow-up livestream sets from Rebel Clash x Cuppa Sounds supported by Rinse FM, Killer Hertz, and THE EGG. After witnessing a proliferation of DIY livestreams in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, British drummer, Andy Gangadeen – known for his artistry with The Bays, and also his work as a session drummer for the likes of Spice Girls, Chase & Status and Massive Attack – decided to call to arms a set of trusted live events professionals to set a precedent for what live music in lockdown should look and sound like. “I noticed there was a lack of detail and finesse on every level of the presentation of DIY livestreams; it dawned on me that there was an alternative,” Gangadeen stated. “There must be a way of having highquality sound, lights, visuals and filming achieved successfully within COVID-19 regulations.” Gangadeen enlisted the support of Engineer and Producer, Jon Moon of Sensible Music; Video Illusions; Centre Stage Solutions; Jamie Young of Backroom Productions; Videographer, Oliver Kane; and Photographer, Tom Oldham – as well as well as second in command Bays’ member, Oli Wiseman, all of whom had all their upcoming work for the foreseeable future cancelled. Broadcast live from Sensible Music’s Studio 4, a stone’s throw from London’s King’s Cross station, the rehearsal, recording, production and
multimedia space was also the former stomping ground of Chase & Status, where the Lockdown TV 2020 production crew first crossed paths. With no setlist, albums or commercial product to promote, The Bays relish the art of live experience, making them the ideal opening act for Lockdown TV 2020. “It really was a simple case of joining the dots,” Gangadeen commented. He explained that the team’s quest for perfection sets Lockdown TV apart from other studios and livestreaming projects on the market. “Streaming is about creating a new model,” he underlined. “Unlike a gig, where you have immediate interaction with your audience or TV performances like on Later… with Jools Holland, where there’s still a degree of interaction, streaming for most performers is an alien concept. Our aim is to approach it with a new mindset of trying to make streaming as much of an immersive experience as possible for anyone watching.” Having quickly learned and developed the formula for success, Gangadeen was quick to point out: “Every band has their own anomalies. It’s a new beginning for me and I think streaming will still be in force once the ‘gig’ economy is back up and running,” he summed up his experience of the project. “The point is to create a new type of experience and not to try and replicate.” VIDEO Video Illusions Co-Managing Director, Nick Whiteoak was at Cheltenham Racecourse during the week leading up to lockdown. “We typically supply a 100m by 2m long VIL6mm LED digiboard at the finish line,” he explained. “As we were packing up and loading out, we received the news that Formula E Rome, Formula E Paris, Slam Dunk Festival and Ramblin Man Festival 33
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were all cancelling their events in the wake of the global pandemic. We also had a run with drum and bass act, Hybrid Minds, having designed and fabricated the band’s March tour and summer festival run,” he reminisced. “The list of jobs lost just continued until our entire 2020 yearbook was wiped out.” Faced with the prospect of no work throughout the summer, the team had to go back to the drawing board to seek alternative revenue streams to weather the economic shock of the lockdown and keep the company afloat. “We began to work on new plans to survive as a company; livestream studios and drive-in cinemas are something we hadn’t done before, so it was like walking into unchartered territory,” explained Dave Whiteoak, Nick’s brother and fellow Co-Managing Director of the company. “To be completely honest, I had nearly given up faith completely and I had to focus on something that would keep my brain active, so I was at home at the time working on my Honda CRF450 motorbike in the garage when I got a call from Andy Gangadeen,” he recounted. “After the conversation, everything seemed to fall into place, so I called all the lads who, like us, were not seeing light at the end of the tunnel and told them about this project. Thankfully, they were all more than willing to pitch in.” Having watched many bedroom studios, gardens, lake, rooftop and DJ livestreams during lockdown, the Video Illusions team were finding familiar faults. Dave commented: “I felt that a lot of the streams could have been done so much better. I understand that people are working with what they have. However, we have kit, crew, artists and a studio space at our
disposal and it would be remiss not to capitalise on it.” Following a meeting of production minds on the now-ubiquitous conferencing tool, Zoom, the team outlined the modus operandi. “We want Lockdown TV 2020 to feel more like a live festival atmosphere, as if the viewer is watching from home, and the best way to do that is by delivering a full production package,” Dave furthered. “With the right techniques, camera angles and directing, we’ve managed to deliver exactly what we set out to do. Even though we have a lot of amazing technical kit involved, it’s not always about what you have, but rather, how you use it!” The other key to capturing this “festival atmosphere” was that Lockdown TV 2020 is genuinely live. Nick elaborated: “Some of the other livestreaming shows we’ve seen are pre-recorded and lack a bit of soul and rawness to them, whereas Lockdown TV 2020 truly transports the audience into the live element with a high level of performance and production – which is what we pride ourselves on at Video Illusions.” Nick believed that Lockdown TV 2020 sets itself apart from other livestreams due to its “real-world” nature, in bringing a live gig into the viewer’s living room. “The audio quality coming from Jon Moon’s mixing desk delivers world-class sound, Centre Stage Solutions’ Taylor Egan has provided the perfect lighting solution, while Video Illusions provides Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema cameras and VI-LM 3mm pitch LED screen,” he noted. Content playback was performed by Resolume 7, controlled by Dave and VJ, Bertie Sampson. Video Illusions Head of Technical, Oli Chilton 34
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oversaw the uploading of the streams and overlays, while Nick manned the robo cameras along with Ross Jordan and Oliver Kane. “This is a strong team. Jon is a triple-platinum GRAMMY Award-winning Sound Engineer, who we’ve known for several years from his time working with Chase & Status. We’ve known Andy Gangadeen for a decade or so, and he is a huge part of Lockdown TV 2020’s conception along with Dave,” Nick commented. “Live production is in our blood – it is what we do. Having the initial shock of the 2020 order book cancelling and then the following lockdown meant that we were unable to deliver live shows – until now, with Lockdown TV 2020.”
Egen walked TPi through the COVID-19 secure measures put in place to guarantee the safety of the artists and production crew. “We have all been provided with face masks and remote hand wash points throughout the building,” he explained. “We also adhere to the 2m social distancing rules. The size of each act is also in line with the social distancing guidelines.” With two performances under their belt, Egan noted the evolution of the project. “I’ve changed the lighting package to cater for each band and artist,” he added. “This also gives viewers a different look, which fits with the performers’ aesthetic each time around.” He noted the challenging climate of presenting a live gig with no audience but praised the Video Illusions team’s expertise. “It has been a challenge to replicate a ‘real-world gig experience’ online, but the camera package provided by Video Illusions and their expertise of camera angles, perspectives, shooting styles and cuts has made the world of difference,” he concluded. “I’m looking forward to all the venues reopening their doors and bands and artists to be touring again as soon as possible.”
LIGHTING Centre Stage Solutions’ (CSS) Taylor Egen was working on a TV series when lockdown came into force. “Since the lockdown has been introduced, all of my planned work was either rescheduled or, sadly, cancelled,” he explained. Egen was initially approached by Video Illusions to support Lockdown TV 2020, having worked closely with the video specialist on several music festivals – a prospect that he was very intrigued by. “Lockdown TV 2020 is a new way to bring a live band experience to music fans across the world online,” Egen noted. CSS provided a lighting package, which comprised four Martin by Harman Rush MH7s, four Showtec S5000s Hellix, six Martin by Harman Rush MH6 Washes and an Avolites Sapphire console for control. Show Operator, James Coxon of CSS joined Egen in the not-so traditional lighting team.
SOUND With over 35 years of experience in the music industry, working with established, new and upcoming artists, Sensible Music’s Jon Moon was on the cusp of recording a large string section in Studio 4 with Mike Chapman for Chris Norman’s (Smokie) new album, which he had been working on over the course of the year, as well as a dozen other projects, when the lockdown came into force. Moon recalled the “long and vibrant” path that 35
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led him from the initial discussion phase to the final destination: Lockdown TV 2020. “The idea of broadcasting a music show from Studio 4 was always our aim,” he stated. “It’s such a magical space for performers that when Andy Gangadeen hired the room with the idea of broadcasting his thencancelled jazz café gig, it was the major turning point for the project.” Gangadeen introduced Moon to what would eventually become the Lockdown TV 2020 production crew. “We came up with a plan to produce a very high production value show and give a stage back to the audience and musicians. Broadcasting live is the exciting part!” Moon enthused. “Lockdown TV certainly feels like a traditional gig when we shoot it. Studio 4 is a fantastic room with its pitched high roof and Old King’s Cross brick walls and magical acoustic properties,” he commented, pointing out the theatrical surroundings. “I was doing a show with Orbital at Printworks on the Saturday night when things were already starting to kick in, but nobody really knew how to deal with it. It was a very odd moment to realise that it might be the final gig in a long time, but it turned out to be great show to finish on,” recalled Lockdown TV 2020 Artist and Production Coordinator, Jamie Young of Backroom Productions. “Lockdown became a reality on the following Monday. Since then, I’ve been pottering about in the garden and around the house before joining the Lockdown TV 2020 team. Coming from a tour and production management background, this felt like the ideal project to keep me busy during lockdown.”
THE FUTURE Taking place every Friday night, Lockdown TV 2020 has already proved popular in the ever-adapting live digital landscape. Video Illusions’ Nick Whiteoak also shared news of increased streams in the works. “We have a steady flow of bookings to use the space, which the audience can tune into on Twitch, YouTube, or Facebook,” he explained. “Our third livestream features Killer Hertz, an exciting Brighton and Belgian-based drum and bass act that had a stellar line-up of festival bookings this year taken away from them, as well as dance music veterans, THE EGG.” Above all, what is evident when speaking to the collective, is that this band of live events specialists have truly brought the ethos and work ethic from both the touring and festival realms, and seamlessly transitioned into the studio format. “Everyone involved in this project before the lockdown was focussed on perfecting the craft of live events, so recreating that experience in the studio world has fallen into place,” concluded Dave Whiteoak. “I suppose you could say it’s all we know.” TPi Photos: Tom Oldham @lockdowntv2020 www.ldtv.uk www.thebays.com www.videoillusions.net www.centrestagesolutions.co.uk www.sensible-music.co.uk 36
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WELCOME TO THE DIGITAL WORLD With more artists then ever exploring the possibilities of virtual gigs, TPi’s Stew Hume and Jacob Waite explore the opportunities for those looking to replace line arrays and lighting rigs with lines of code and avatars – as live music and the gaming industry joins forces for a whole new breed of live event…
During this unpredictable time for the music industry, artists still hoping to perform have been faced with two options: livestreaming or socially distant outdoor events. The former has taken many guises over the past three months, ranging from intimate acoustic shows in artists’ front rooms, to more high-tech solutions filmed from bespoke studio spaces. The latter option has seen several drive-in shows take place which, in a few short months, have already seen an upswing in popularity within Europe and the UK. While both solutions have produced their fair share of success stories, there is now a third option that is gaining ground – one we had certainly not predicted that we’d be covering in our pages any time soon: Virtual events, which have made headlines across the globe, with artists entering the gaming sphere and performing for a virtual crowd. In May, we looked back on one of the most unique tours of the year: Hatsune Miku’s EXPO 2020 EUROPE. The Yamaha Vocaloid 2’s Character
Vocal Series software was considered the first truly crowd-created virtual talent on the circuit. “The live entertainment industry has changed massively, with bans on public gatherings and the surge of virtual gigs online,” SFX Technician, Natalie Frew explained. “Shows are going to change, and everyone is looking for something unique to promote.” And how right she was. Since lockdown, there has been a proliferation of instances where the music and gaming worlds have collided. Perhaps the most notable example is Travis Scott’s performance in Fortnite to an audience of 12 million players. A gargantuan feat, the TPi team was keen to explore the concept further – and we’re not the only ones. It seems that a number of people on our side of the aisle have already shown interest in this new form of live events, and many show designers, LDs and content creators who often feature in the pages of TPi are starting to look at the virtual world as a viable – not to mention profitable – alternative under the current circumstance. What’s 38
more, it seems that this style of live event is not simply a stopgap while the world is still in lockdown, but a genuine option for the future live landscape. In many ways, the conjoining of gaming and live events has been in the pipeline for several years – for example, the development of previsualisation software and CAD solutions similar to video games. “The gaming world is currently the only platform that has cracked the latency issue of streaming an event,” Fireplay CEO, Nick Whitehouse commented. “Players from all over the world can play Call of Duty online and everybody is completely in sync – there’s no delay between interaction with users from across the world.” Whitehouse explained how the TPi Award-winning creative design and production outfit has been depending heavily on the technology gamifying live events. “Using gaming-like sync techniques and next-generation customised visualisation software, we can offer a virtual audience to anything, from sitcoms and awards shows, to sports, gigs, conferences, and product launches.” Indeed, Syncronorm’s Depence² inbuilt 3D engine allows end users to simulate and visualise fountains, stage lighting, lasers, video and special effects in real time, with its environmental rendering capabilities – such as changing the location, time and the positioning of the sun – allowing users to integrate a multimedia show into a natural environment. “I recently presented visuals to a client of a big urban show, and the visualisation included animated rappers on stage through Depence². To a client, that was staggering,” TPi Awards Lighting Designer of the Year, Tim Routledge, told TPi. “As soon as you show clients realistic special effects and pyrotechnics, they’re impressed immediately.” During these unprecedented times, it is difficult to foresee the upcoming changes and challenges that the touring industry may face and, with the lockdown of live events in full effect, more production teams and artists are turning to livestreams as an alternative revenue stream. However, according to Whitehouse, broadcasting live music over video conferencing software successfully in real time from multiple locations is simply not an option for most artists. “There is very little on the market to do so, affordably, because it’s never really been a problem the industry has encountered before.” With that in mind, Fireplay set out to try and find out a way to remedy the issue, which has led the company to work closely with a number of
live events specialists in PRG’s 35LIVE!, Blink TV and Total VU. “We were all interested in trying to make this concept work,” Whitehouse explained. With the collective expertise, financial backing and leads into other sectors that are pioneering technology in this field, Fireplay has managed to bridge the gap – delving deeper into the vortex of virtual concert solutions. “It ultimately led us to uncover how to get the band in harmony, but now we must conquer the challenge of getting artists to perform to a centrally distributed click track or a monitor mix in harmony, which is something we’ve been developing steadily since March.” VR/AR As an enthusiastic proponent of virtual reality, MelodyVR was founded with the vision of providing fans with a new and exciting way of experiencing the live music they love, regardless of their location, age or financial means, and with a view that the company or content would never seek to replace the thrill of attending concerts, festivals or tours in person. Speaking ahead of the launch of Wireless Connect, Wireless’ answer to a summer festival in a COVID-19 world, was Melody VR Production Director, Mike Darling. “The company’s capabilities are pushed by every new project,” he commented. “The teams across the company adapt to the new challenge – the equipment has to meet new demands and new capacity, and the app has to be able to handle and deliver on the new demands we place on it, so that any new viewer’s experience of it will be as positive as possible. We know we might have one chance to impress and win over a new audience.” In VR, Darling explained, the environment is more intimate, and the artist can perform with more subtlety. “The audience are stood in the room, or on the stage with the artist, which is a treat you wouldn’t get even with the best kind of VIP pass,” he stated. “We also give our audience the freedom to look around and move positions like you might at an actual event. Fans appreciate this hugely and it sets our experience apart from a 2D TV-style broadcast where a director decides what you look at.” It is said that creativity thrives under constraint and the lockdown is no different. “There’s been a lot of rethinking generally, and artists and labels have been looking for a creative outlet, whereby they can connect with their audience in a fresh way and with a quality production,” Darling stated. “It also gives them ideas of what they can do without being able to travel 39
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Fireplay CEO, Nick Whitehouse; Satore Studio’s Creative Director, Tupac Martir.
to their audience. They might start to think of what’s possible in VR, and benefits of this for them and their audience. It will create a different playing field where we are thinking in new ways that might prove more sustainable for artists, promoters, suppliers and the environment long term.” As a company that has deep-rooted experience with virtual events and immersive content, MelodyVR is well positioned to benefit the music industry, including promoters, artists, managers and record labels – many of whom are unable to conduct their business operations as usual. “Our studio facility in LA and the production we have created for Wireless Connect in London are custom designed to maintain stringent safety standards while creating the highest possible quality content, leveraging our unique skillset of broadcasting immersive performances digitally via the MelodyVR platform,” Darling furthered. “Many more people are now aware of VR and open to using it, and the barriers to it are low, given anyone can download the app for free onto a phone or tablet and begin using it with ease. This has fast-forwarded artist and audience engagement with the tech, format and platform.” Satore Studio’s Creative Director, Tupac Martir is a stalwart of the virtual production realm. Having spent the past 12 weeks of lockdown in his London studio, often assuming the unofficial IT role, he sat down with TPi – remotely – to reflect on the digital landscape. “This isn’t a fad or a spur-of-the-moment thing; VR/AR is a part of the creativity that exists within the studio, which we have been working with since 2015 – it is part of our DNA,” Martir explained. “A lot of what we’ve been working on is understanding shows as performative art and experiencing them in different realities; by understanding how to do things in different realities, we’re able to explore innovative ways and present new possibilities for how a show could work.” He said despite the growing enthusiasm and buzz around the concept, not much is being spent on it just yet – understandable, given the uncertain
landscape. “Artists would much prefer to get involved in drive-in shows,” Martir acknowledged. “The industry has had to adapt. Suddenly, media servers are more prevalent than ever – commissioning content months in advance, and three days of rehearsals in order to sync everything. It’s more than cutting cameras – there are all sorts of creative avenues to explore.” When COVID-19 rocked the industry, the response from Satore’s virtual production studio was to act creatively, positively and quickly – sharing its signature blend of architecture, light, magic, and storytelling to create a unique and eye-catching live music collaboration with electronic musician and producer, VAAL. Giving his views on the digital event, Martir commented: “The idea to work on this project came from a love of creativity and a joy in sharing new visual experiences made possible by cutting-edge virtual production techniques. The set provides an array of stunning, dynamic visuals enabling fans, producers and creatives to have fresh conversations about what they have experienced whilst also creating a valuable platform for Satore to support Music Venues Trust and Black Lives Matter charities, who are striving for a fairer future.” Given the widespread lockdown of live events, production teams and artists are now presented with a landscape where any mass-gatherings or public events are prohibited, which is extremely damaging to both artists and to the music industry. Is there another way of touring? Martir thinks so. “The concept of going on the road for nine months and not eating or sleeping well isn’t for everyone,” he commented. “We’re looking at ways of finding the correct balance, which is important. We need to support all facets of the industry, from caterers to technicians. I can’t wait to do shows again, but we need to understand the humanity of touring and find ways of bringing very capable human beings into other parts of the industry.” While a virtual audience can never replace the energy and excitement of ‘traditional’ live events, if such a term exists, new interactive experiences 40
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are becoming increasingly available. In May, XR Studios leveraged the latest technology from disguise to bring the future of broadcast to primetime US television, when Katy Perry performed her latest single, Daisies, on the season finale of American Idol. The project relied on the collaboration between the creative and technical teams led by XR Studios, with content by Silent Partners Studio using Notch VFX, direction by Silent House Productions and PRG North America as the production vendor. In June, French musician Jean-Michel Jarre performed live in a specially designed virtual world, broadcast in real time across digital platforms, in 3D and 2D. “Everyone could share the experience via PC, tablets, smartphones, or in total immersion on interactive VR headsets,” Matir said. “Even though they had headsets, it was immersive, and they could experience this organic moment with people across the world.” Whitehouse referred to recent advancements in virtual audiences in the sporting world – thanks to a virtual stand, fans of the Danish Superliga side AGF Aarhus were able to watch their club’s season opener against Randers in May despite COVID-19 restrictions. The screens allowed fans to show their support – and let the players hear them. Visions of the legendary, sheepskin-clad Match of the Day commentator, John Motson harking back to the age-old adage of football fans being 12th player on the pitch, seemingly now more relevant than ever. However, despite the ingenuity of sports clubs, it’s video conferencing software that needs to be revamped to become a worthy challenger in the battle for digital audience solutions. “Everything that currently exists has latency in it,” Whitehouse explained. “You don’t want someone scoring a goal and the crowd reacting 30 seconds later, so what we’ve been working on at Fireplay applies across the spectrum of live events.” Television channels have also begun dubbing behind-closed-doors games with pre-existing video game crowd noise. “I don’t think we’ll ever fully replace the live experience,” Whitehouse commented. “Nowadays, you can tune into a sports match and follow the action much closer than you would in person. However, people still choose to attend these matches in their thousands for the live experience; there’s something about the live experience you simply cannot replicate – the emotion and feeling closely associated with music, which simply doesn’t always translate on the big screen.” Martir signalled the emergence of eSports as a contributing factor to the gamification of live events. “At a certain point, our industry started serving eSports, so it was a matter of time for the gaming engines to infiltrate the live touring and events industry. I don’t even like to call them gaming engines anymore – I just call them engines, because they are multifaceted and have given us the opportunity to create all sorts of things,” he commented. “If you think about the reach of Travis Scott’s Fortnite gig, for example, millions of people tuned in to watch and experience that moment live, in a matter of minutes,” he said. “Imagine how long it would take him to go on tour and be seen by that number of people. It’s a scary time for artists who must shell out more for production, having no income other than streaming services.” Despite making significant strides over the past few years, Whitehouse was aware that emerging technologies still had a long way to go, in-order to bring ‘real-life’ gig experiences to people’s homes. “As virtual events come to the forefront, they will require more incentives and interactivity to keep audiences engaged,” he continued. “The virtual space is new for all of us, but it’s great for the music industry – especially because it’s forcing us to think outside the box. While the XR world doesn’t necessarily require the same audio, lighting and video specialists as live, it does require creatives to develop and produce a unique visual world, which is also our world...”
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EVENTS ALREADY IN THE PIPELINE In a few months, there have already been some interesting collaborations taking place from Zoom calls across the globe. One such project is Lost Horizon. Brought to life by the team behind Shangri-La, in partnership with VRJAM and Sansar, Lost Horizon was a two-day event, in which gig-goers were able to create a virtual avatar – either via a VR interface or simply from their computer – and interact with the largest ever virtual music and arts festival. With four virtual stages, including a replica of the iconic ShangriLa Gas Tower, gig-goers were promised a truly immersive experience where they could not only enjoy sets from the likes of Fatboy Slim, Carl Cox and Pete Tong to name but a few, but also interact in real time with fellow attendees – all from the comfort of their own homes. Prior to the
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weekend’s festival, TPi got a chance to speak to Robin Collings – Producer of Shangri-La, as well as Head of Production at Boomtown – about the experience of swapping his usual summer of muddy boots and festival fields for the novel world of virtual gigs. “Like the entire industry, the reality began to dawn on us earlier in the year that most of our work would be postponed and – as is our nature in the Shangri-La camp – we began to look at other options to keep some essence of this year’s event alive.” While coming up with ideas, the team was approached by VRJAM – specifically its CEO, Sam Speaight. “When Sam came to us and explained the idea of a completely virtual show, I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we were more than a bit sceptical,” admitted Collings. However, when they were taken on a virtual tour of the Sansar platform and began to see what could be achieved, the metaphorical cogs began to turn. Sansar, for the uninitiated, has been under development for over five years, built on the trend that live culture and the gaming worlds were starting to get closer together and looking to develop a virtual space where people could enjoy live events. “What really attracted us to the platform was its ability to really show off the work of our visual artist,” explained Collings – commenting on the level of detail that the platform offered all the artists and collaborators that help to make Shangri-La the visual feast it is known as. “Kate Dunnings, our Creative Director, has spent hours upon hours in the past few weeks with her VR headset doing what she usually does on any festival site – walking around and ensuring all the commissioned structures and art pieces are in the correct space – but instead of nuts and bolts, it’s lines of code.” In a press release prior to the event, Dunnings commented: “We need unity more than ever right now, in an industry that is falling away in front of us. By creating a digital platform to experience art and music in a new way, we are at the forefront of defining the next generation of live entertainment and creative communities as we know them.” When it came to the performances, there was a mixture of live footage and pre-recorded sets – with artists from across the globe being filmed in specialist green-screen studios that had cropped up in cities around the world. “We already had performances submitted from Manchester, London, New York, LA and Seoul,” stated Collings But despite working under all these new parameters, Collings asserted that one thing that was of the utmost importance was keeping the core Shangri-La family in place to pull the pieces of this event together. “Having the same team for this project has been really beneficial,” he stated. “We all know how each member of the team works and understand each other’s
aesthetic and visual language. Also, the reason for this was to create opportunities and work where it’s fallen away so it felt like the right thing to do to use the same team.” Some of the team were put on a few training courses so they could work out how to optimise their designs for the Sansar Platform – “so as well as creating work, the team will come out of lockdown with a new set of skills,” enthused Collings. Despite being built on ground-breaking technology, incredibly, Lost Horizons was a free event with no paywall. Collings explained: “It’s all free but there is a donate button and we are raising money for Amnesty International and The Big Issue; there is a lot of heavy stuff going on in the world right now and both organisations need all the help they can get – we are hoping that this event will help to raise a lot of money for both organisations.” Looking to the future, Collings explained how he expected such technology would be used in the years to come. “We are already looking at another event later in the year. What we are looking at is a future where both a virtual event and a true live event would be able to take place simultaneously. So, in the virtual space, there would be an IMAG screen showing footage of the actual event in the real world and vice versa. We don’t think this will replace live events, but what we do see is an opportunity to expand the reach of the events.” If you want to hear more about Lost Horizon and Wireless Connect, stay tuned for the next issue of TPi, where we will have coverage of the event. YOU’VE BEEN LIVING IN A DREAM WORLD The more we hear about the ability of these new platforms, the more compelling the idea of a virtual gig seems to be. One thing that all individuals we spoke to for this article seemed to hammer home was that this was not a replacement for live events – but an alternative. As we have seen in the past few months, the ability of streaming has already proved lucrative – see Laura Marling coverage on p26 – but the virtual platforms cropping up seem to be going a set beyond. Who knows, this might not be the last issue of TPi to have a virtual stage grace the cover. Either way, whether you are designing a stage show for a concert or for a simulated experience, it’s the same creatively – just a different paint brush. TPi Photos: Shangri-La, Fireplay, Luke Dyson and Satore Studios. www.fireplay.com www.melodyvr.com www.satorestudio.com www.losthorizonfestival.com 42
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OUTDOOR LED SCREENS In line with the proliferation of COVID-19 safe events, TPi examines the latest range of LED screens and solutions on the market for organisers of drive-in shows and outdoor screenings.
ABSEN PL3.9 Pro and PL4.8 Pro – part of the award-winning Polari LED series – are high resolution hybrid indoor / outdoor LED displays perfectly suited for live and corporate events. Boasting 5,000 nits ultra-high brightness and extreme contrast levels, the Polaris hybrid displays deliver maximum rental revenues and the fastest ROI. It features Common Cathode Technology, ultra-wide viewing angles, superior colour and high dynamic range for event stagers looking for superior visual display performance. Mechanical advances including auto-lock, auto-eject and fast-switch curve locking systems simplify and speed up the installation and operating process. Polaris has quickly become the product of choice for many of the world’s most prominent rental staging companies who are looking at generating revenue all year round. Thanks to its hybrid design, there are no compromises on outdoor brightness or indoor contrast. A summer blockbuster, that will continue making money across all seasons. In stock and available for immediate collection. www.absen.com
ADI.TV iCONIC 100 mobile LED screen is one of the largest in its class and is proving incredibly popular for the drive-in event formats springing up across the UK and Europe. Known for its iCONIC fleet – the world’s largest and widest range of mobile LED screens – ADI has consistently invested in its innovative products and currently operates in excess of 50 mobile units, including more than 10 of the iCONIC 100s. Ideally suited to larger or more distant crowds, the iCONIC 100 features a 100 sq m HD display in 10mm SMD that provides incredible clarity and image quality and delivers full pixel mapping. The display can also be rotated through 360° for precision positioning and it’s a self-contained solution with onboard generator and play-out. A huge advantage of the iCONIC 100 is the fact it can be operated by a single driver technician, with set-up and de-rig exceptionally quick; achieved in under an hour. Drive-in event organisers have a huge selection of products to choose from within the iCONIC fleet, ranging in size from a gigantic 120 sq m to the compact 12 sq m, with multiple matching units available. Alongside mobiles screens, ADI also offer a wide selection of outdoor modular LED products for the live event market. www.adi.tv
ADJ AV4IP is a portable modular LED video panel solution designed for concerts, festivals and other temporary outdoor events. It features a weatherproof case design that is IP65-rated on the front and IP54-rated on the rear. With an impressive brightness of 4,000 nits and a high pixel pitch of 4.81mm, it can be used to deliver sharp video playback outside for events taking place both in the evening and during daylight hours. Weighing just 20lbs / 9kg, and fitted with a retractable carrying handle, the AV4IP is easy and convenient to lift, carry and rig. The panel features a quick-lock design that allows a large screen constructed from multiple panels to be setup quickly and easily. An internal 14-bit Novastar data receiving card means that multiple panels can be linked together using standard ethernet cables connected to one of ADJ’s range of video processors. www.adj.com
CHAUVET PROFESSIONAL CHAUVET Professional has expanded its popular F Series LED panels to offer solutions for a wider range of applications with the introduction of the new F5 IP, an outdoor rated 5.9mm pixel pitch panel. Working with the VIP Drive 43 Nova using the Novastar control protocol, its high quality black-bodied LEDs accurately reproduce video at 14-bit grayscale, operating on the Novastar A5 receiving card. With a 1,920Hz refresh rate, maximum 6,000 nits illuminance, and 12,000:1 contrast, it’s ideal for displaying bright, powerful images at outdoor festivals. Engineered for dependability, the panel has a light source life expectancy of 50,000 hours and features optimised heat distribution across the entire panel for enhanced colour quality. Anyone familiar with other F Series panels will have no trouble installing these newcomers. That’s a good thing too, considering that these panels should now be appearing in a wider variety of applications than ever. www.chauvetprofessional.com
PRG With a large fleet of flexible LED Truck and LED trailers with high-resolution LED screens at its disposal, PRG’s systems are self-sufficient and can be installed quickly and easily. Standard image formats can also be used, and these systems are well suited for digital signage applications such as traffic guidance, information, and advertising. Due to the extremely short set-up and dismantling times, PRG’s LED trucks and trailers are also suitable for all types of open-air tours, sports events, festivals, drive-in concerts, cinemas, or anything else. Alternatively, modular high-end LED solutions can be used and arranged as required. PRG is on hand to advise on the right choice of LED solution for you and will ensure your event is a success. www.prg.com
PROLIGHTS PROLIGHTS’ OmegaPix family includes IP65-rated LED screens that are specially designed to offer advanced mechanical features, creative configurations and enhanced video image quality – providing a state-ofthe-art, top-quality visual experience for both daytime and evening events. PROLIGHTS’ range of high-performance IP65-rated LED screens include: 18bit+ greyscale, which effectively improves greyscale performance under low brightness, showing more exquisite and expressive images; ClearView to adjust the texture, size and contrast of images in different areas, further enhancing image details, and rotation enabled 360˚; as well curve configurations both concave and convex through curving mounting plates (0 to 10° concave, 0 to 5° convex), seamless 90° corners through special 45° cutter cabinets and assisted mounting magnets for one-person strong, quick setup. PROLIGHTS’ AlphaPix range of high-resolution LED screens are a cost-effective option, and ideal for those looking for great results but on a smaller budget. www.prolights.it
VIDEO ILLUSIONS With the company’s outdoor screen options in high demand, Video Illusion’s clients are among the growing trend of production outfits devising innovative ways to produce shows utilising outdoor LED, and the company are assisting these in every way it can – safely and professionally. Video Illusions’ Layher scaffold structures and ground stacked VIL6mm and VI-ER4mm LED screens have been deployed across a range of locations in Europe, particularly at drive-in concerts and outdoor cinema screenings. In response to the unforseen arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, Video Illusions has pivoted and diversified its revenue streams to become a one stop shop for Layher, LED, generators, lighting, fencing and toilets for these events popping up UK wide. Video Illusions has always prided itself on its ability to adapt and work through obstacles and a global pandemic is no different. www.videoillusions.com
ROE VISUAL The Black Quartz LED panels by ROE Visual are equipped with an integrated wind-bracing system. The bracing system for the Black Quartz consists partly of carbon fibre, to reduce the total weight of the panel. It’s an easy, fold-out system, that connects fast with simple locks, no tools are needed. Once mounted, the LED panels are wind-load resistant and can be used in windspeeds of up to 20m/sec. They can be built up to 5m high in a stacked configuration or 20m high in a flown system. Using Black LED with 5,000 nit brightness, the Black Quartz LED panel sports a high contrast ratio and wide colour gamut. To facilitate on-site repair and quick maintenance, the modular design of the Black Quartz system offers easy front and rear module replacement, as well as a quick PSU swap. The added ladder steps in the bracing system, give climbing access for maintenance. The rigid frame of the Black Quartz LED panels enables flawless connection of even the smallest 3.91mm pixel pitch. The integrated edge protection makes building fast and easy, while the use of dollies guarantees optimal handling and transportation. The Black Quartz builds fast, creating a seamless LED screen with a great visual performance. www.roevisual.com
ALL ACCESS All Access, is safely bringing back live events through its innovative VersaPlex Drive-In Events capabilities. Due to the impact COVID-19 has had on the entertainment industry, All Access pioneered the VersaPlex system which provides an outlet for in-person event interaction while adhering to social distancing regulations and safety practices. In working with leaders both inside and outside the entertainment industry, All Access created a mobile and adaptable drive-in screen system. VersaPlex was created to keep people safe, keep people connected, and to help communities navigate the new ‘pandemic normal’. VersaPlex’s turnkey services and innovative screen system work together to make that happen. www:allaccessinc.com
TRANSFERABLE SKILLS: THE FIGHT AGAINST COVID-19 Meet the companies assisting in the fight against COVID-19 – swapping their regular work in the events sector to focus on the creating and manufacturing frontline solutions for the general public...
Restriction breeds innovation; during the past few months, we at TPi have heard a number of people utter these words or phrases to a similar effect. Venues close and people turn to livestreaming, festivals get cancelled and people move to drive-in shows. Not only that, more and more crewmembers and live events specialists, due to the lack of work, have turned their hands to other vocations – including many that have been vital during the most stringent lockdown measures. In the past week or so, TPi has located a number of companies providing frontline solutions in the fight against COVID-19.
device that inactivates 99.99% of viruses and bacteria and could be used on everything from a laptop to a pair of shoes. “Signify has been at the forefront of UV technology for many years and has a proven track record of developing innovative UV-C technologies and solutions ,” began Dunphy. “Prior to a few months ago the main purpose of the ONCE BioShift chamber was for the agricultural market to cut the risk of infecting livestock.” However, in the early days of the pandemic, Dunphy recalled watching a news segment where Trinity College in Ireland had been involved in creating a robot that would be able to disinfect a hospital by roaming around freely with a UVC element to kill the bacteria. “Although not approved for medical settings, I gave my colleague in the States a ring to talk about our involvement with UVC products in other segments and if this was something we could explore further.” Following a collection of meetings with teams in the Signify organisation, Dunphy had a business plan to get the UVC technology to other UK sectors. “We have been manufacturing and selling our BioShift
SIGNIFY Although probably known more to TPi readers for its work within the professional lighting world, Signify has found that its work within another area – agriculture, to be exact – has offered an elegant solution for disinfecting equipment. Key Account Manager for ONCE, a Signify brand, Derek Dunphy outlined the finer points of the BioShift chamber – a UVC 49
CEO of AED Group, Glenn Roggeman; Riedel Communication’s DisTag.
chambers to customers since the lockdown was in effect,” stated Dunphy. “One of the major concerns we had heard from customers was the fear of workers coming into office spaces with laptops and other equipment, which could not be disinfected by a wipe or a spray. All people have to do is put any equipment into the chamber with direct exposure to the UVC and, after five minutes, you can confidently say that more than 99.99% of common viruses and bacteria has been inactivated.” Inside the chambers, while going through the five-minute disinfecting cycle, the temperature does elevate slightly (7.8°C on average) during a five-minute cycle, it is well below the damage threshold, meaning that expensive electronics should not experience any temperature damage during a disinfection cycle. Dunphy outlined the various areas in which this chamber could be implemented, from warehouses to supermarkets. “My personal background was in live touring,” he continued. “I’ve been speaking to my friends and family who are still working in the sector and I believe that the BioShift chambers also have their place in touring and live music.” To give an example, Dunphy pointed to IEM and microphones as one of the potential issues that crewmembers and artists would have to deal with when events begin to return. “The people having to handle that gear are surely going to be responsible for sanitising it,” he stated. “With expensive equipment, you are not going to be able to use disinfectant wipes, as the moisture may damage it. The BioShift chamber could offer a solution so after the show, equipment is placed in the box, then packed up with gloves, so you know that the items are clean for the next show, or performer.”
using UVC light technology in the fight against COVID-19 and other viruses and bacteria. CEO of AED Group, Glenn Roggeman, launched the first UVC luminaires under the AED private label Luxibel in April. The system was further developed for larger spaces with an audience where air circulation needs to be taken into account. “The main advantage of this system is ensuring that the air breathed out by guests is sucked upwards by the aerodynamically patented system,” he stated. “Micro-organisms such as bacteria and viruses are neutralised and germ-free air is blown back into the room. Looking at the infection levels for COVID-19, I can only join those virologists who confirm that the virus can also be spread through the air. When we are able to meet up again in enclosed spaces with groups of people, air disinfection will contribute to reducing infection rates. I personally would also feel more comfortable and secure visiting locations that have this kind of system installed.” Roggeman emphasised that UVC disinfection can be an important part of the multifaceted approach to combat COVID-19 and also hopes for a new perspective on the severely affected events and entertainment sector. “In addition to the measures relating to social distancing, hand hygiene and the use of personal protection equipment, I am convinced that technological innovations can also contribute to better protection. “In addition to the Mid-Air Disinfection System, we’ve also developed scanners, which we at AED Studios will use to check the body temperature of every visitor at the start of an event. In this way, we want to provide our studios with technology to protect our visitors as much as possible.”
AED GROUP Earlier this month, AED installed Studio 6 with its Luxibel’s Mid-Air Disinfection System at the company’s Lint facility. The installation ensures the disinfection of indoor air by means of UVC ventilation cylinders that take air circulation into account. This makes AED Studios the first event location in the world that disinfects the air in a room on a permanent basis
HALO SOLUTIONS The software development company provides event management solutions as well as supporting tech hardware to work alongside the software. The company was founded by a former police officer of the counter terrorism unit, Lloyd Major. “The idea of the company came off the back of various events I was involved in as an officer and certain issues I saw occurring. 50
PURITY • DEPTH TEXTURE • DRAMA
A lot of venues require staff to hand in mobile devices while on shift; although this means they are not distracted on the job, it limits their communication to just a walkie talkie.” The Halo software looks to provide crewmembers with the ability to disseminate clear information by the use of image capture functionality and text-based communication alongside traditional radio communication – in essence, giving a more well-rounded picture of the event in progress. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, Halo had already gained a great deal of interest, having been adopted by events including the 2019 Cricket World Cup and The Notting Hill Carnival. Looking at the state of the events market right now, Major explained that the Halo platform could also provide the infrastructure to create a safer environment in terms of the pandemic. “From what I’ve seen, the ‘socially distant’ shows are somewhat impractical, both in terms of potential profits that can be made, and that it doesn’t account for human activity while still in the venue,” Major cited Live Nation’s Melvin Benn’s open letter – which proposed more testing of patrons, making it possible to have confidence that the crowd is not infectious – as an alternative solution and one which the Halo platform could give. “Halo is the only incident management platform that has the ability to scan health passports,” he asserted. “The theory is that as we’re connected to the passport company, and contain a native ticket scanner, we can be sure that everyone in the venue is virus free.” Not only does Halo have the ability to scan health passports, but it will be able to deal with the great demand of venue cleaning schedules. As updates on the platform are able to transmit images as well as radio content – workers will be able to send on photos of the areas that have been inspected and give venue staff the knowledge that the space is following more stringent cleaning compliance.
REVEAL THE MAGIC S T R A N D L I G H T I N G .C O M
RIEDEL COMMUNICATIONS Although nobody has a crystal ball, it is more than likely that the practice of social distancing will exist in certain areas for some time. Due to this reality, Riedel Communications, has launched the DisTag: an all-new distance-monitoring device. Worn around the neck or carried in a pocket, DisTag is a reliable and precise instrument that immediately alerts its wearer via haptic, visual, and acoustic signals whenever the mandatory minimum distance to other people is about to be breached. “After weeks of quarantines and other limitations due to the pandemic, our society is gradually returning to normal – but it’s a new type of normal. Slowing the spread of the virus is still a top priority as key industries, organisations, and institutions start to reopen and people begin returning to work,” said Thomas Riedel, Founder and CEO, Riedel Communications. “In recent months, we’ve learned as a community to adapt to new behaviour patterns and situations, and a fundamental aspect is for employees, visitors, and customers to maintain a safe distance between each other. That’s where the new DisTag device comes into play.” Featuring a compact and minimalist design, DisTag is ideal for media and event production, industrial operations, retailers, medical facilities, public and cultural institutions, and schools and universities. The device offers three signal levels: a two-stage vibration alarm (haptic), a two-stage LED signal (visual), and a two-stage sound signal (acoustic). The proximity limits of the warning signals can be individually defined and adjusted in accordance with local regulations for social distance. Jacky Voss, Corporate Business Development Manager at Riedel, added: “With its small size [93mm by 41mm] and low weight [61g], the device is compact, comfortable, and hardly even noticeable to users. DisTag can be used virtually anywhere, whether indoors or out, and its integrated battery provides enough power for up to 12 hours. And, as it requires no additional infrastructure, it is easy to expand the system at any time.” TPi Photos: Signify, AED, Riedel Communications and Halo Solutions www.signify.com www.aedgroup.com www.riedel.net www.halosolutions.com
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Harry Boyde Winner of TPi Breakthrough Talent Awards Production Rookie accolade, Harry Boyde recounts his journey earning his stripes as stagehand with Stage Miracles to an accomplished touring technician for ER Productions.
industry in the ’80s and ’90s – his father was a rigger and his mother, a caterer. “Of course, it’s a lot different nowadays; seeing photos of my dad 50ft in the air with no harness dangling from scaffolding makes my stomach turn, and, although they probably haven’t told me all of their stories from that era, hearing the ones they did tell me and seeing how much they enjoyed that part of their lives made me want to do the same,” he said. “My parents stopped the touring life to raise me and my brother, who also works in the music industry, so I hope they feel like that part of their lives is living on through us.” Recalling a fascination with laser shows from an early age, Boyde said: “The first time I can remember being completely blown away by a laser show was a few years back when Kasabian did a five-night residency at Brixton Academy. I was there as a stagehand but made it out front for one of the shows. From that point I knew I had to somehow get into lasers. ER Productions were the ones who did that gig, so to be working with them now putting on laser shows myself is brilliant.” He went on to share the most valuable lesson he has learned so far: “Always be at least 15 minutes early! That goes for pretty much everything, especially bus and lobby calls. If you don’t know something never be afraid to ask. It’s always going to be better than guessing and getting it wrong. I find people respect you more if you are honest and don’t pretend you know things that you don’t.” During his first year with ER Productions, Boyde was sent to Ibiza for the whole season. He recalled: “I was programming and operating huge club nights in Ibiza within six months, gaining valuable experience. Other technicians who have done the ER Ibiza season have gone on to do great things, so I was adamant on finishing the season and joining the club of Ibiza seasoned technicians.” Since starting with ER Productions, Boyde has also worked on several Fatboy Slim shows, including tours of Australia and New Zealand, as well as the DJ’s in-the-round UK tour last year. “The Fatboy camp are a great bunch who have some brilliantly creative ideas that they deserve credit for. I have also been working with Groove Armada since they came back with their full band and was reprogramming their show for the Royal Albert Hall for Teenage Cancer Trust before lockdown.” Charli XCX was another artist Boyde worked with last year, programming shows in New York, LA and London. “I also managed to squeeze in a tour of America with K-pop sensation Blackpink and a tour of Italy with one of their biggest artists, Vasco Rossi – which included six sold-out nights at San Siro in front of 80,000 people. I have also had the opportunity to step up to cover other technicians on The Chemical Brothers and Tame Impala, both of which were incredible to be part of.” Boyde believed a lot of people have their jobs in the music industry because they have proved to others that they are hard-working and committed. Not only that, but he was full of praise of the people that had
From a young age, Harry Boyde was fascinated with music and live events. As soon as he turned 18, he moved from Northampton to London, to pursue a career in the touring industry. Shortly after the move, he began working as a Stagehand for Stage Miracles before landing a coveted role of Laser Technician at ER Productions – where he is now responsible for the set-up, maintenance, programming, and operation of laser shows, as well as special effects for some of music’s biggest names. “Working as a stagehand taught me so much about working in live events and gave me the experience to understand what I really wanted to do in my career,” began Boyde. From pushing boxes to operating a laser show in front of 80,000 people, everything he has learned was a direct result of hands-on experience and the knowledge passed down from industry peers. “I believe education is important whichever way you decide to learn, be that in a classroom environment or on-site. I guess you could say that my time as a stagehand was my ‘university’.” Boyde pinpointed a range of experiences that he has learned on the job. “From the simple things like how to go down a truck ramp properly and mastering the Tetris-style truck pack; to the more complicated like networking a laser show with over 100 lasers; making the lasers safe, zoning and masking; and tight festival schedules meaning zoning lasers in sunlight, there are a lot of essential skills involved in the industry that are best learned by practice.” As a second-generation roadie, both of his parents worked in the music
helped him along the way. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without all of the crew bosses and stage managers at Stage Miracles, especially Mike Grove and Rafa Rodriguez.” He also thanked the entire team at ER Productions, including founders, Marc Webber and Ryan Hagan as well as Operations Manager Gary Cornman. “All of the senior technicians at ER have taught me so much, not just about lasers, and are always there to help,” he stated. “They are all amazing at what they do, and it has inspired me to learn as much as I can to become as good as a technician as them.” Earlier this year, Boyde scooped the Production Rookie Award at Production Futures. “It was a real honour to get the Production Rookie Award at Productions Futures 2019, and it feels great to be recognised for the work that I have done,” he added. “My future at ER Productions is looking exciting and I aim to build my career with them as the company expands and grows. The award has only furthered my ambition to achieve in this industry I enjoy working in so much.” A week before the official lockdown of live events in the UK, Boyde was in Melbourne, Australia for a Robbie Williams show at the Australian Grand Prix. “We were on-site getting ready to load in when the show along with the F1 was cancelled. It was a very long way to go for a show that didn’t happen,” he recalled. “I had a feeling that this was the start of things to come so I got on the next available flight home.” During his downtime, Boyde been lucky enough to be able to take home an MA Lighting grandMA3, thanks to a recent investment by ER Productions
to go alongside the range of High End Systems HOG4 consoles available. “These consoles alongside Pangolin Beyond is a deadly combination in which I am practicing my programming skills. For visualisation, ER Productions has started to use Depence2, which is an incredible tool for pre-programming as the lasers look so realistic. I have been using the time to also reprogram some of the tours I have previously been on including Fatboy Slim and Groove Armada so that when these gigs finally happen, they’ll be better than ever.” Five years from now, Boyde hopes to be designing and operating some of the world’s largest laser shows. “It’s becoming increasingly popular to have more lasers at our shows. We are working on some exciting new lasers and our designs are getting more and more interesting and complex,” he explained. “Lasers are becoming more diverse and can be incorporated into any kind of music or show. I believe that more LDs and show designers will choose to have lasers in their shows in the future.” He signalled ER Productions’ recent expansion of its special effects and pyro department. “This means we can give clients a full special effects package, from an incredible laser show to covering the crowd in confetti or smoke-filled bubbles.” TPi Photos: Production Futures & ER Productions www.productionfutures.co.uk www.er-productions.com
GAME.AE’S ISAAC KUMER Notwithstanding a global pandemic, the Mondiale Media team enlist Game.ae to devise the first ever virtual TPMEA Awards ceremony – broadcast to over 600 event professionals and viewers – live from lockdown. TPi’s Jacob Waite speaks to Creative Director, Isaac Kumer to find out more…
Since its inception in 2018, the TPMEA Awards, typically held in Dubai, has celebrated the amazing projects and the individuals responsible for the flourishing Middle East events market. Following two successful renditions of the awards, this year’s plans came to an abrupt halt due to the unforeseen arrival of COVID-19. The solution was equal parts daunting and exciting: the birth of the first-ever virtual TPMEA Awards ceremony, produced by GAME Commercial Photography Production LLC (Game.ae) – the Dubai based multimedia, full-service production house that successfully supported the events industry and some of the most prestigious projects and creative content throughout the region over the past 10 years. On the evening of the TPMEA Awards, over 600 event professionals and viewers tuned in to watch the virtual ceremony on 21 April 2020, which was broadcast live on the TPMEA Awards website and Facebook page. A familiar face to TPMEA Awards faithful, Stuee Kennedy reassumed the role of compère extraordinaire, hosting the one-of-a-kind celebrations with a special preshow segment from Event Industry Night Out’s (EINO) Stefan Wieland. Harnessing their technical capabilities to make a livestreamed awards ceremony a possibility was Game’s Isaac Kumer. TPi sat down
with the Creative Director to reflect on the feat. “The Middle East’s live events sector has developed exponentially over the years.” He began. “Dubai is often characterised as the go-to events capital of the world. With highly talented and skilled professionals within the region as well as the imagination, creativity and strong budgets to support these initiatives, it’s no wonder why. Consequently, the UAE has attracted some of the world’s biggest names in the live events industry over the past decade.” Following the adverse effects of COVID-19, resulting in the widespread lockdown of live events spaces across the Middle East, Kumer was happy to allocate his company’s resources to create the first-ever virtual TPMEA Awards. “It’s a tragedy to see how the live event industry has suffered during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis,” he reported. “We have all endured an unbelievably difficult time, so I was happy to get the call to produce the first ever virtual TPMEA Awards ceremony.” Kennedy contacted Kumer several weeks before the date to arrange a meeting of minds with the visionary behind the operation, Mondiale Media CEO, Justin Gawne. Kumer then called upon the expertise of James Glanville to design a set based on two parts. “The core design for the virtual event came from Glanville, who then passed the project on to our 54
GAME.AE’S ISAAC KUMER
Opposite: Game.ae’s Isaac Kumer.
animation team at Game, where we polished the backdrops, turned on the at the World Government Summit in Dubai. “That project turned out really lights and laid the carpet.” well,” he reminisced. “Consequently, when we start to think about events in Having shared glimpses with the TPMEA team, Kumer was given a virtual space and combined with other technologies, it opens the doors creative control. He reflected: “We invited Kennedy to our studios; with to innovative and unique results.” ‘hair’, makeup and wardrobe complete – we loaded the script into the He said the team at Game were now actively looking to implement teleprompter and got to work. Time was not on our side, so we had to move live “virtual” events into its growing portfolio of expertise and services swiftly while managing many moving parts to deliver as promised and on available to prospective clients. “In a short period of time, we have stepped time.” The bottom line: “The deadline is the ultimate inspiration.” up our ‘Game’ to begin producing these,” he stated. “The good news is that According to Kumer, the entire process was “fairly straight forward” despite the global pandemic, we still require event specialists to produce and followed the basic narrative of putting together an event despite these shows. Simply put, Directors, Set Designers, Lighting Designers, factoring extra considerations once the virtual set was designed. “The most Audio Engineers, Videographers, Presenters, to name but a few, are all important aspect is pairing the lighting used in the virtual set to match the essential to create successful and compelling virtual events.” lighting on the subject in Game’s green-screen studios,” he said, adding Looking toward the future of innovation, Kumer believed that virtual that “there are a few tricks when it comes to merging virtual with reality”. spaces have become a great solution for event curators to continue Next up was manually working out camera positions in the virtual set to bringing people together safely. He said: “It was a proud moment for Game match the angles from the shoot. “There are some existing and emerging to see so many people logging in to watch the award ceremony and have technologies that allow you to map your camera the ability to comment during the proceedings. movements and positions when filming so that After all, these kinds of events are about data can be fed into the media server and then networking and seeing your industry colleagues render those same angles and movements in the and celebrating the collective achievements of virtual set.” The rest, he said was compositing, the region.” audio sweetening and colour grading. Kumer and the Game team are embracing In comparison to recent projects, Kumer new ways to develop the company’s growing “It’s a tragedy to see how dubbed the undertaking as “interesting”, with portfolio of services, particularly when it comes to imagination and time as the key factors at play. interactive content. “At Game, we are streamlining the live events industry has “We regularly provide live-feed, hi-lite film, the virtual event production process, making suffered during the ongoing photography coverage and content creation for it more visually appealing and discovering new various events – so in that respect we were still ways to engage the audience.” He concluded, COVID-19 crisis. We have all behind the camera. However, with this medium, “The industry is moving very fast and we are endured an unbelievably we had a completely new palette to work from incorporating existing and new technologies where the only limitation is your imagination and, that will ultimately allow delegates to attend difficult time, so I was happy of course, time.” events and exhibitions as avatars in a 360 VR to get the call to produce Kumer and his team recently worked alongside environment. SNAP.ae and AHRT MEDIA to produce a 45-minute TPi the first ever virtual TPMEA holographic presentation of Dubai’s Crown Prince, Photos: Game.ae Awards ceremony.” Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al www.game.ae Isaac Kumer, Creative Director Maktoum, where he virtually presented his notes www.tpmeaawards.com 55
FUTURE INSIGHTS The latest product releases and announcements.
ANALOG WAY The Midra 4K series presentation switchers feature 10 inputs, including eight 4K60 inputs (four HDMI 2.0, two 12G-SDI and two DisplayPort 1.2) and two 1080p inputs with user-selectable HDMI and SDI connectors. As well as 4K60 10-bit 4:4:4 image processing, genlock synchronisation, uncompromising video quality, seamless switching, HDR support and HDCP 2.2 compatibility. They come standard with the ability to easily deembed or embed digital audio on all the inputs and outputs. An option is also available to add support for Dante audio networking. The Midra 4K presentation switchers are designed to be entirely operated from the easy-to-use front panel keyboard and graphic display. Ease of setup and flawless control of the presentations are ensured by the unmatched, on-board intuitive Web RCS, an HTML5-based user interface with live source thumbnails. www.analogway.com
ADJ Entour Chill is a compact yet powerful low-fogger. The newly developed 800W heater system allows for continuous output for up to an hour, while sophisticated new electronic temperature control lets the machine heat up in just three minutes. It features a 16-character LCD display screen that presents a menu-driven interface for configuration of the unitâ€™s control and other operating parameters. The menu can be used to trigger continuous operation as well as to setup timed output or address the unit for DMX control. Three-pin DMX input and output sockets are located on the rear of the unit, which can be used to connect it to an existing DMX system to allow the effect to be triggered by a lighting board or software control system. Alternatively, the unit is also supplied with an ADJ FFFTR MKII wired remote control. With measurements of 420mm x 297mm x 273mm, it is conveniently compact, while a weight of 7.8kg makes it easy to carry using the integrated handle. Power is connected to the unit via a locking socket on the rear panel, which is protected by an integrated NFB breaker and fed through an on/off power switch. www.adj.com 56
AYRTON Karif-LT is equipped with a 168mm frontal lens offering a zoom ratio of 17:1 and an incredible 2.8° to 47° zoom range, the narrowness of which is unprecedented and unmatched in an LED fixture. A new high-efficiency, low-etendue, compact LED module delivers an ultra-intense beam which, calibrated at 8500K, can generate powerful metallic white light and deep, vivid colours. Karif-LT has an overall output of 13,000 lumens at a colour temperature of 7500K, and a centre-beam luminous intensity of 3,500,000 candelas. Karif-LT feature set includes a CMY colour mixing system, a patent pending multi-position CTO wheel with seven different colour correction filters, a wheel of 13 complementary colours for infinite pastel hues and saturated colours, nine interchangeable rotating HD glass gobos and a new innovation in the form of a wheel with 39 fixed gobos (patent pending). Karif-LT also has a glass monochrome multi-position, bidirectional effects wheel, and a prism effect system comprising four combinable rotating prisms which, coupled with an ultra-intense beam, can achieve amazingly complex effects. Standard features also include light and heavy frost filters, a dynamic animation effect with speed and fade adjustment and an electronic dimmer for perfect fades. www.ayrton.eu
BISHOP SOUND BishopSound’s brand new compact 18mm Birch Plywood 1,000W RMS active Delta Dual BD212AS twin 12in subwoofer features active onboard digital amplification delivering 1000W RMS down to 30Hz and with a maximum SPL of 131dB. The Delta Dual twin 12-inch features a Neutrik Powercon IN/OUT power feed. Two potentiometers on the rear panel control the volume and low pass filter while Channel A and Channel B can be fed by XLR or 1/4-inch jack combi socket and a link out allow users to feed the original signal to multiple active subwoofers or mid/top range active cabinets. Other features include a 1.2mm thick powder coated grille, rubber insulation feet, a 20mm screw-in inverted telescopic pole mount, a countersunk extra thick “ding proof” grille to prevent grille damage when on tour and the use of acoustic foam behind the grille to prevent moisture and dust ingression. Completing the Delta dual 12’s professional specifications, the 18mm birch ply housing is treated to four coats of textured, tough acrylic PU polymer paint and comes with chunky, tactile steel handles. www.bishopsound.co.uk
CHAINMASTER The new D8plus Ultra 500kg features a safety factor of 8:1 and a 5.4x15 mm sectional steel chain, which is driven by a specially manufactured chain wheel. The motor has a low power requirement of only 0.4kW. In addition, the level of standard protection has been increased to IP55, with an optional IP66 version available for brand-new units. The models covering the range of 250-1,000kg load can be operated using ChainMaster standard controllers from the CM-801, CM-802 and CM-820 series. In addition, special equipment such as contactor control, limit switches, distance measurement and load detection are available so the chain hoists can be configured for specific projects. The Ultra Series is therefore suitable for plug and play integration into existing complex control systems such as D8plus StageOperator CM-850 and Protouch StageOperator CM-880. www.chaimaster.de 57
CHAUVET PROFESSIONAL The new Maverick Silens 2 Profile is a 560W profile unit, which features CMY+CTO colour mixing with CRI, R9, CQS, and TLCI all between 91 and 97. Other features that speak volumes about this silent powerhouse of a fixture include a four-blade framing shutter system with rotation, a colour wheel, animation wheel, a 10:1 zoom, prism, two frosts, static and rotating gobo wheels, and 16-bit dimming with selectable red shift. The Maverick Silens 2 Profile features a doughnut-shaped ring of white LEDs with an RGB LED in the centre for toning (+/- green for on-camera use) and red-shift in dimming. Offering an impressive level of colour rendering versatility, the fixture can create rich saturates, while also producing subtle pastels. Combining high CRI LEDs with precision optics, the Maverick Silens 2 Profile has an output of over 11,000 lumens. With an optimal throw distance between 30 to 50ft, the fixture is right at home in a variety of studio and stage applications. www.chauvetprofessional.com
CLEAR-COM Eclipse HX digital matrix intercom’s latest software update strengthens its position as a flexible and dynamic all-IP intercom solution. It is a highly scalable, extensible and programmable platform for enabling nonblocking, bi-directional communication for small to large collaborative work teams. Clear-Com Eclipse HX version 12 supports SMPTE 2110-30 and AES67 third-party interoperability and now works together with the ClearCom FreeSpeak Edge, the latest addition to the FreeSpeak product family. www.clearcom.com
CHRISTIE The Griffyn 4K32-RGB is Christie’s first projector to offer new digital convergence giving users the ability to select Red, Green, or Blue individually and adjust each colour by remote control, for easy picture-perfect image alignment that saves time and money. Griffyn 4K32-RGB produces an exceptionally wide colour gamut, achieving greater than 96% of the Rec. 2020 colour space – more than twice the colour of Rec. 709 and 50% more than DCI-P3-capable projectors – for a richer, more memorable audience experience. It also features optional high frame rate (HFR) capability to achieve 120Hz at 4K resolution or up to 480Hz with HD resolution for lifelike images. www.christiedigital.com
DYNACORD The MXE5 is the first member of the MXE matrix mix engine series. The 24 by 24 crosspoint performance audio matrix offers both routing and mixing functionalities, with 12 analog mic/line inputs, eight line outputs and 24 Dante audio channels. At the same time, the MXE5 serves as a communications hub for all IP-based peripherals and provides comprehensive supervision of all system-wide commands. Onboard are 24 channels of professional input and output processing features, such as zone mixing, dynamic EQ, delay, compression, limiting, ducking, de-essing and more. Future additions will include free DSP configuration, auto mixing, a task engine, Acoustic Echo Cancellation (AEC), Automatic Gain Control (AGC) and Ambient Noise Control (ANC). The optional TPC-1 touch panel controller has a low-profile form factor and features a 5.7-inch HD display. With the universal mounting socket (EU, UK, US) and Power over Ethernet (PoE), it can be easily mounted and installed. The TPC-1 is controlled and freely configurable via SONICUE. www.dynacord.com 58
ETC At only 5.5 kg, ColorSource Spot jr is nearly half the weight of a full-sized ColorSource Spot fixture. Spot jr is available in two array options: Original for subtle pastels and beautiful white light to enhance skin tones; and Deep Blue for more saturated, dramatic colours. Spot jr has built-in 25 to 50° zoom. ETC offers an impressive five-year warranty on the entire fixture, and a 10-year warranty on the LED array. With over 5,700 lumens of brightness, ColorSource Spot jr gives you more of what you love at a fraction of the cost and a fraction of the size. www.etcconnect.com
FIX8GROUP Built on Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform, OctoCue allows remote presenters to use any web-enabled device to control their slides and view real-time slide notes simultaneously. Show operators can monitor presenters, preview their clicks, and switch slide control between them, as required. OctoCue interfaces directly with presentation tools such as PowerPoint, providing redundancy by controlling multiple machines running the same presentation. It encrypts all data, ensuring protection of potentially sensitive information. OctoCue is compatible with existing handheld show controllers. Native Apple and Android Apps, plus a host of other features, are in development to further ease setup and use. It is available on a free trial basis or via paid subscription. www.octocue.com
JBL PROFESSIONAL Harman has unveiled the JBL Professional BRX300 Series of modular line array systems for small to mid-size applications for customers in the APAC, China and India markets. The BRX308-LA Line Array Element features dual 8-inch LF drivers and a 3in titanium compression driver, providing full-spectrum coverage, 136dB output and 110° horizontal dispersion, with variable interbox angles for fine-tuning vertical coverage. The BRX325SP dual 15-inch Powered Subwoofer extends low-frequency energy to 32Hz, with built-in 1,000W, six channel amplification providing 136dB output and powering up to four BRX308-LA Line Array Elements; internal DSP handles EQ, filters, driver-protection circuitry and crossover management. Built-in casters simplify transport. The BRX308-ACC Transport Kit provides a self-contained transport system for four BRX308-LA Line Array Elements and includes padded covers for the cart, BRX3255 Powered Subwoofer and required speaker cables. The BRX308-AF Array Frame supports one BRX325SP Powered Subwoofer or up to eight BRX308-LA Line Array Elements in flown configuration, and is tested for a safety factor of 4:1, while the BRX308PM Pole Mount and Adapter Kit mounts up to two BRX308-LA Line Array Elements, expanding system configuration options. The BRX300 Series’ rugged, tour-tested cabinet designs feature all-wood construction with a Duraflex coating that protects against wear and tear. www.jblpro.com www.harman.com 59
NEUTRIK The speakON XX is the first Neutrik speakON chassis line to come to market compliant with the new IEC 62368-1 materials safety regulation, requiring any materials used in potential ignition sources to have a V-O vertical burn classification. The NL4FC speakON cable connectors are fully compatible with the new XX-receptacle series, including improved electrical performance due to special copper alloy contacts and tarnish resistant plating, an all-black colour scheme and enhanced hi-visibility logo’ing and product ID marking. The entire family of two, four and eight-pole cable connectors has been designed to operate in high current, inductive load environment of loudspeakers. www.neutrik.com
ROBERT JULIAT Robert Juliat has developed a new LED compartment which will enable customers to upgrade current traditional profile installations to LED by simply swapping the tungsten lamp base on its existing RJ 600SX Series for the new T650SX LED module. Sully RJ 650SX profile series delivers a firstclass white light and an output comparable to a 1,000W tungsten luminaire. A cool white LED version is also available that is perfect for times when ‘daylight’ rendering is required. Sully 650SX offers three zoom options (28° to 54°, 16° to 35° and 11° to 26°) and is equally happy on stage, overhead, on side booms or prosceniums, in opera houses, theatres and studios. Sully 305LF and Sully 305LPB luminaires combine the high-quality 115W white LED source with either a single 150 mm / 6in Fresnel or a Pebble Convex lens, both of which can be easily interchanged. With uniform light, a very wide beam and premium colour rendering, Sully 305LF Fresnel and Sully 305LPB Pebble will easily substitute 1,000W tungsten models. Sully 1156 is the perfect introduction to Robert Juliat LED followspots for discerning schools, amateur dramatics and smaller venues. Its optical excellence, ultra-compact dimensions and low power consumption make it a reliable and easy-to-use luminaire. www.robertjuliat.com
ROLAND VC-100UHD allows users to input 4K and 1080p video sources and distribute them to multiple destinations at one time, including 4K LED walls, HD displays, and USB 3.0 livestreams. It combines multiple single-task technologies in a compact and flexible half-rack design. The VC-100UHD’s Ultra Scaler provides conversion for synchronised big-screen IMAG and precise dot-by-dot scaling for LED wall displays. Thanks to Ultra Scaler technology, system designers can simultaneously deliver 1080p video at rates up to 240Hz for a gaming monitor, 59.94/50 Hz for an HD video system and LED displays, and 59.94/50 Hz for an HD livestream broadcast. VC-100UHD also includes built-in visual effects, allowing users to rotate, flip, trim, and mirror images on each output. And with Frame Synchronizer and Genlock features, video images can be re-clocked and stabilised as needed. Along with video, VC-100UHD can process embedded digital audio from its 12G-SDI and HDMI 2.0 inputs. Analog I/O is provided as well, with balanced audio on a 25-pin D-sub connector for installations and line-level stereo audio on RCA jacks for prosumer video gear. The advanced audio patching system lets users’ route and embed/de-embed up to 16 input channels and output up to eight channels. An adjustable delay is also provided on each output to correct lip sync issues. www.proav.roland.com 60
SAGITTER The special LED sources of the Blok are equipped with tuneable white, cutting-edge technology currently among the most requested in the entertainment sector. This new command, called red-shift, not only offers the most realistic simulation of the colour temperature change of the luminous flux from 1,700K to 3,000K, but also a digital control up to 16 BIT of the ramp up and down, a feature that allows Blok2 TW to compete with the market. A robust body made entirely of black aluminium guarantees the Blok protection from atmospheric agents up to IP65 classification; in addition, a special dedicated hardware allows you to assemble multiple projectors in a real “array” and allows the user to compose numerous scenographic variations. www.sagitter.com
WAVES Waves FIT has been co-engineered by Waves Audio and MIDIPLUS to offer live sound engineers quick and efficient operation and intuitive tactile control of software mixer software. FIT is designed to function as a fully integrated 16-fader bank with the LV1 mixer. This is made possible with 16 + 1 motorised 100mm faders, each featuring Mute, Solo and Select buttons, a multi-function rotary control and a bright display for each channel. Fader banks are controlled using eight dedicated layer switches for toggling between the eight factory or custom layers in the Waves eMotion LV1 Live Mixer. The channel rotary controls can be set to adjust preamp gain or pan per channel with the corresponding function label shown in the display. In addition, the 16 Select channel toggles can be set to “USER” mode to provide easy access to Mute Groups and user-assignable keys. www.waves.com
SPHERELABS Standing 2m tall, the PZ Sphere’s frame is seamlessly covered with a tessellated arrangement of bespoke LED panels at a high-resolution 3mm pixel pitch. It has been designed by SphereLabs, which is a new-to-market collaboration between Light Initiative’s Bryn Williams, and Dave Stevens and Steffan Jones of production and design company, Production Zync. The company believes the product has the potential to add a new ‘wow factor’ to a wide range of entertainment environments, and will appeal to a wide range of customers, including production companies, agencies, record labels, producers, production houses, directors and designers. In addition, it has the potential to increase visibility and engagement with displays in settings such as airports and attractions, while with added interactivity, it can also as a unique touchpoint 360˚ information resource for information or navigation in venues such as shopping centres. www.sphere-labs.com
XILINX The new Alveo U30 card addresses the need for high-density video processing in a low-profile form factor accelerator card. The Alveo U30 card is powered by the Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC, a power-optimised all-programmable system-on-chip (SoC) with integrated video codec and graphics engines for ultra-high-definition video. The U30 card supports both the H.264 and HEVC (H.265) codecs and can stream up to sixteen 1080p30 channels per card. The Ultra-Low Bitrate Optimised Video Appliance is purpose-built for high-quality live video while reducing bandwidth costs. It contains up to eight Alveo U50 accelerator cards. Built on Xilinx UltraScale+ architecture and packaged in an efficient 75W, low-profile form factor, the Alveo U50 card includes 8GB HBM2, 100GbE networking and a PCI Express 4.0 interconnect. It can stream up to seven full-HD 1080p60 channels along with eight full ABR ladders all at x265 medium preset. www.xilinx.com 61
ADAMSON SYSTEMS CS-SERIES
Ahead of the launch of the CS-Series, TPi’s Stew Hume catches up with Adamson Systems Head of Product and Technology, Brian Fraser, to discuss the company's latest generation of speakers.
Over a decade in the making, Adamson Systems’ latest CS-Series was set to be finally unveiled at this year’s InfoComm in Las Vegas. Alas, with the global pandemic having put paid to that idea, TPi found ourselves on a Zoom call with Adamson’s Brian Fraser to talk about the development of the new system and what it means for both returning and new customers before being launched at the trade show’s virtual edition this year. “The history of this platform really goes back at least a decade,” began Fraser. Put simply, the CS-Series is the natural successor to the company’s existing S-Series of loudspeakers. The CS-Series brings the heralded performance of Adamson’s sub-compact S-Series loudspeakers into the ‘networked future’, with onboard amplification and DSP, plus Milan-ready AVB connectivity. Rounding out the series are a suite of CS rack-mounted systems and a dedicated CS software solution. The new line will be available as a standalone product or as an upgrade to existing
S-Series. “We’re expecting that this option will be very popular with existing customers,” enthused Fraser. “There are thousands of S-Series boxes out across the market, which can now be converted. The process of converting an S to a CS-Series is very simple. It’s literally removing four screws, removing the existing jack plate, snipping the lead wire and inserting the new plate.” In terms of specific elements, the CS-Series is made up of: the ultracompact CS7 two-way, full-range array enclosure; CS7p point-source enclosure; and companion CS118 subwoofer, along with the sub-compact CS10 two-way, full-range array enclosure; CS10n narrow-dispersion array enclosure; CS10p point-source cabinet; and companion CS119 subwoofer. Also included are four rack-mounted products designed to provide the necessary tools to get the highest level of performance from the boxes. The CS Gateway is a 16 by 16 matrix with 16 channels of DSP, containing dual62
ADAMSON SYSTEMS CS-SERIES
Adamson Systems Head of Product and Technology, Brian Fraser.
LAN, Milan-ready AVB, AES/EBU, and analogue connections. The NDS is a network and analogue patch bay that allows users to send redundant audio and control to CS loudspeakers on a single network cable. The PDS ensures that all CS-Series systems receive ample power, regardless of region, and also allows the user to monitor consumption data, both per power output as well as overall draw. The CS Bridge is designed to replace existing network infrastructure in Adamson's E-Rack, allowing users to integrate the CS-Series seamlessly into their existing inventories by converting dual-LAN, Milan-ready AVB signal to AES/EBU, while also offering six channels of DSP per unit. Fraser continued to outline Adamson’s decision to concentrate so heavily on the AVB networking. “It really began about a decade ago alongside the initial development of the CS-Series,” he explained. “Credit has to go to Brock Adamson, who pushed for our move over to AVB. As a team and looking over all of the audio-over-ethernet protocols, AVB was the clear winner. It’s been great for us and we’re seeing customers are more and more receptive to the idea as well.” It might seem like a practically challenging time in which to launch a whole new range of speakers. However, according to Fraser, due to the timing of the global lockdown, Adamson had already managed to do a lot of the beta testing in the field test as well as get the new systems in front of customers before the global lockdown. “The first piece of the range – the CS7P
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ADAMSON SYSTEMS CS-SERIES
– actually came to market almost two years ago at this point. As for the doors for Adamson. “Certain markets we feel the CS-Series would find a rest of the range, a number of people have already got to hear it and the home would be the musical theatre touring market as well has helping us feedback has been very positive,” he said to widen our corporate impact,” he said. One such industry expert who got to hear the system prior to lockdown “The Adamson S-Series is a proven staple of the international was veteran system designer and FOH Engineer, installation and mobile markets,” contributed Patrick Demoustier – Simple Minds, Night of the Adamson CEO Marc Bertrand in closing. Proms, Rock Werchter – who commented: “The CS “CS-Series loudspeakers, software, and Series is already the future of networked audio. The rack-mount products build on a legacy and “CS-Series loudspeakers, CS7p offers an incredible power- and headroombring Adamson’s consistency, innovation, and to-size ratio and the proven sound quality of performance to a powered, intelligent loudspeaker software, and rack-mount Adamson’s line array systems. We’ve used it platform that is built for – and will help to usher in – products build on a legacy with great success on many corporate events, the future of professional audio.” fashion shows and car shows and as front fills and Having been officially presented to the market and bring Adamson’s delays with larger systems; meanwhile, the CS7 is – virtually, at InfoComm 202 Connected – the consistency, innovation, and probably the most powerful ultra-compact array Adamson team is preparing for the next phase of enclosure out there. When I first used it, I was sure the launch. “Although it is a trying time, launching performance to a powered, that the limiter settings weren’t correct – so much a product now means that you have a captive intelligent loudspeaker power and body from such a compact speaker audience, which we are hoping will work in our without even being close to the limiter threshold. favour,” concluded Frasier with a smile, explaining platform that is built for – But I was wrong…” how the entire Adamson team will be continuing to and will help to usher in – the send out more relevant information to those who Although, as Fraser commented, the CSSeries is very much the evolution of the S-Series future of professional audio.” are interested. and therefore could find a place in the market TPi Marc Bertrand anywhere in which you find S-Series speaker, he Photos: Adamson Systems believes the new range could open some new www.adamsonsystems.com Adamson Chief Executive Officer 64
Coming Soonâ€¦ www.productionfutures.co.uk
PSA: THE BIGGER PICTURE
A ROADMAP TO NOWHERE Following the success of the #LetTheMusicPlay campaign, PSA’s Andy Lenthall implores the UK Government to respond to the urgent situation the live events industry finds itself in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
I’m having a party, here’s a map, see you there. That’s what people seemed to see when Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden’s cultural return roadmap solution dropped at midnight recently with no fixed date. He must have been quite pleased because we were already at stage two out of five; I get the same feeling when I start my to do list with ‘write to do list’; task one complete, time for a well-deserved brew. Cue the Music Venues Trust’s stunningly simple, cuttingly on-point suggestion which was something along the lines of supporting the sector until we’re allowed to get back in full then get out of the way, let us do what we’re good at and reap the cultural and economic advantages. OK, let’s move to current actions. Sure, the road map might have been a shoddy attempt at appeasement, not so good after his dream dinner party list of people he’s met once became a Cultural Renewal Task Force, but work has continued apace to develop guidance on how to actually return to live events. By the time we get to read this, the ‘Performing Arts’ guidance may have been given the green light so we can see just what will be required to actually get a performance on a stage. How that segues neatly
into outdoor event or standing/seated venue guidance will be fun to watch. BRING THE NOISE What isn’t fun to watch is the responses rolling in to impact assessments; when you see a supply chain that has, in the majority, four months of liquidity left and a workforce that is reliant on grant aid that will perhaps end long before a return to work. It’s the same across the whole events sector. One thing we all know by now is that live events will be the last sector that is fully allowed back to work. We say fully because, within our sector, the different strands will be back to fighting weight at different times. Every weekend is another outdoor show that won’t happen until next year, every travel restriction is an overseas artist that won’t be hopping on an aeroplane and every company that doesn’t want to be seen to be threatening another wave of infections is a cancelled corporate event. We’re in the business of gathering people together. At the time of writing, live music is about to launch a coordinated, collaborative campaign that 66
PSA: THE BIGGER PICTURE
will once again supply evidence from member research that will inform direct briefings with MPs along with a planned program of intensive lobbying and press activity. By now, an open letter will have been delivered to the Culture Secretary, signed by artists, crew and suppliers – over 3,500 of you in the end. It’s the start of the #LetTheMusicPlay campaign, not just a hashtag and profile picture frame, it’s and industry led, artist supported, public and Parliament facing, coordinated campaign built around three key requests:
think rock festival versus family oriented classical event. The entertainment sector of live events will need to balance the need for a return with the need for a market that will sustain that return. Business events may well have an extra consideration, namely the appetite for businesses to be associated with gathering delegates together. There is, perhaps, a difference between buying a ticket for entertainment and feeling obliged to attend a conference for work reasons. In all eventualities, the final assessment on whether any event goes ahead will be down to the market. Outdoors, indoors, young, old, vulnerable, business, leisure, local, national, international; knowing when ‘events’ will perhaps be allowed, having that dated road map will only be part of the picture. A date that triggers permission will not trigger an instant return to all manner of events, the powers that be are being versed in the planning involved, that you can’t simply throw open the doors of an arena and have Taylor Swift on stage. Simply put, people are being careful what they ask for. Not everyone is desperate to get back to work either, they realise that the risks posed by gathering people together mean that the risk of being blamed for a rise in infection rates is greater. People are poised to blame protests or packed beaches for the spike they’re expecting, others are poised to question why we can’t put on outdoor shows when the spike doesn’t materialise. Slowly, carefully, step by step; recognised, funded and supported for a financially sustainable return to activity. Sustainable, perhaps not just financial, there have been a good few conversations about the nature of return, about the opportunities that we have to reset and consider our impacts on the environment and the health of those involved in live production. Industry sustainability group, Julie’s Bicycle has already written to the Culture Secretary, asking for a green and just cultural recovery to be prioritised; in a call with members of the Association of Festival Organisers, their members were encouraged to take this extra time to create sustainability plans for their events, perhaps this will be one of the positives that we can develop from a time of crisis. TPi www.psa.org.uk
1. A clear conditional timeline for reopening venues without social distancing. 2. An immediate comprehensive business and employment support package* and access to finance. 3. Full VAT exemption on ticket sales. To expand, the business and employment support package should include a Government-backed insurance scheme to allow shows to go ahead; an extension of the furlough scheme and help for the self-employed and sole traders to prevent mass redundancies; rent breaks for venues to allow them to reopen; an extension of business rate relief to the entire live music supply chain to protect our ecosystem, large single event premises license fees for festivals to be rolled over to 2021 and financial support for lost box office income to support reopening and recovery, which would also support performers, songwriters, composers and their representatives. With £1.7bn of retail, leisure and hospitality grant funds still sitting in local authority coffers and 50% of supply chain companies being turned down for grant aid and rates relief, perhaps there’s a source that can get the ball rolling now the original target market is reopening. But it really is a balancing act; the need to get back to work is tempered by market confidence. When will audiences be confident enough to return? Research suggests that outdoors is where people feel more confident, but their mode of transport to any site would be less likely to be public transport. Out of town rather than city centre then? Different audience types pose different levels of risk requiring adjustments in management; 67
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QTECH LIVE’s Jesper Sirenius and Arnold Lindberg; Altman Lighting’s Matthew Klasmeier; Audio-Technica U.S’ Product Manager Gary Dixon and Executive Director of Product Management Kurt Van Scoy; Ayrton appoints Wholestage as its exclusive distributor for Colombia, Panama and the Caribbean Islands.
Created to meet the surge in demand for livestreaming services resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, Swedish production company, QTECH, has launched a new streaming division, QTECH LIVE, with help from an Allen & Heath dLive mixing system. “The dLive has been the perfect tool for our livestream setup,” said QTECH’s Head of Sound, Jesper Sirenius. “With new bands and shows every day, the switching between different setups is as easy as it gets. The drag and drop feature of the channels on the surface is one of the things that has made it super easy and quick to get the setup of the day up and running within a minute.” QTECH LIVE is expanding fast, streaming talk shows and sports events as well as live shows by artists including Troublemakers, Attentat and Jävlaranamma, plus launch parties and interviews with bands such as Gathering of Kings and Amaranthe. In a move to bolster the strength of its Product Development and Support team, Altman Lighting has appointed Matthew Klasmeier as Product Development Support Engineer. Working within the new Altman headquarters in Denver, Colorado, Klasmeier will be responsible for overseeing current and future product development, as well as in-house
warranty service, support and repair. “We are very excited to have Matthew joining our team as he will serve as an integral part of the launch and support of many new Altman technologies,” said Pete Borchetta, Vice President Altman Lighting Product Innovation. “His expertise within the lighting industry is undeniable and he will be a valuable asset in the development and customer service behind our entertainment and architectural lighting solutions.” The Arena Group has merged its UK & Europe and Middle East and Asia Divisions to form Arena EMEA. Under this new structure, the MEA Division’s reputation for innovation and delivery of design led solutions, offering temporary architecture with a permanent feel, will be introduced into the UK. This will allow the business to focus on the core of its competitive advantage and deliver a consistent offering globally with a ‘joined-up’ approach to innovation, expertise, and knowledge. Sadly, as a result of this merger, the company has lost the services of Chris Morris, CEO of the UK and Europe and Andrew Lawson, the Head of the UK Structures and Ice business. Both Morris and Lawson will work with the new head of the EMEA, Paul Berger and Tom Evans, the new Head 68
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Cast Swiss Light Consulting and Verlinde join forces in Switzerland; ETC’s Regional Sales Manager, Konstantinos Vonofakidis.
of Structures and Ice, EMEA, to ensure a smooth transition from a customer and employee perspective. Paul Berger, the current CEO of Arena Middle East and Asia, has been appointed the Chief Executive Officer of Arena EMEA, and he will be responsible for overseeing the merger of the two businesses as well as implementing his vision for Arena’s future. He commented: “This merger brings together the most talented people in the event services industry, creating a platform to cement and grow our business with existing clients, as well as taking advantage of the new opportunities that will present themselves during these difficult times.” As part of the company’s efforts to position itself to work more effectively and efficiently in global product development activities Audio-Technica U.S. has made two appointments to its Product Management team. Kurt Van Scoy has been appointed to the position of Executive Director of Product Management for ATUS. In this position, Van Scoy will be responsible for directing the product development/ management efforts at ATUS. In addition, he will oversee the ATUS quality control department. In addition, Gary Dixon has been promoted to the position of Product Manager for ATUS. With Dixon’s broad knowledge of the professional audio market and years of experience in the installation segment, he brings a new level of depth and understanding to the product management team. In his previous position as Sales Engineer, Installed Sound, Dixon served as a technical resource for the AudioTechnica sales channel in the broad contractor market, where he helped ensure the implementation of A-T products and technology in the marketplace while determining the application needs of customers. Ayrton has welcomed the appointment of Wholestage as its new, exclusive distributor for Colombia, Panama and the Caribbean Islands. Wholestage was first attracted to Ayrton by the cohesive range of highquality products on offer: “The Ayrton product portfolio is balanced and well thought out, which allows you to cover and meet all the needs of the market,” said Luis Duque, Wholestage’s CEO. “It combines excellence in quality, sophisticated design and LED technology with a unique, advanced development in the engineering, at a reasonable price for the market. This translates into a unique, accessible, quality product which is a great investment for our clients.” In Greece, Ayrton has named Athens-based Megaevent as its new, exclusive distributor. “We always look forward to new technologies and
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Peavey Electronics celebrates its 55th anniversary; Creative Productions Founder, Dave Jackson; MPH Australia Founder, Matt Hansen.
ETC has announced the promotion of Konstantinos Vonofakidis to Regional Sales Manager. In his new role, Konstantinos will oversee the sales activities in Greece, Portugal, Spain, Cyprus and Egypt. He will manage sales arrangements for key accounts in these regions and work in cooperation with the company’s distributors and dealers. Darren Beckley, Sales Manager – ETC commented: “Konstantinos is a valuable member of the sales team who has built a great rapport with the dealers and customers in his territories. With his strong market knowledge and expertise, I am confident he will continue delivering high levels of service and be successful in his new role.” Vonofakidis added: “I’m excited to build new customer relationships and work more closely with our dealers and distributors in these markets. I look forward to working in this role and growing the business in my regions.” Follow-Me has named Collaborative Creations as its UK partner for business development. Tom Wilkes, Director of Collaborative Creations, will be the UK point of contact for lighting designers or production companies interested in demoing Follow-Me’s innovative technology. “We’re very excited to be partnering with Follow-Me as the company looks to grow its presence in the UK entertainment technology market.” Follow-Me co-founder Erik Berends added: “We’re happy to announce our partnership with Collaborative Creations in the UK. Their network and knowledge of the industry will be a springboard for our continued growth in the British events market” Peavey Electronics is celebrating the 55th anniversary of its founding on 1 June 1965. To grow the Peavey organisation into what it is today, Hartley Peavey looked past divisions and saw what united people – their shared passion for music and their enthusiasm to work in an exciting,
our target is to provide these together with the best after-sales support to all our customers,” said Megaevent CEO, Sotiris Kolios. “It’s clear that Ayrton has been working hard all these years to provide a full catalogue of products that fits every type of need in any lighting or visual show.” Cast Swiss Light Consulting and Verlinde has announced a partnership in Switzerland. Michael Ghesquière, Sales Engineer at Verlinde, explained: “The Verlinde brand is widely known in Switzerland, especially for its range of industrial handling products. Our Stagemaker range used essentially for scenographic equipment is in the early stages of distribution and for us the Swiss market is a great opportunity. Cast’s experience and know-how in the field will be of great help for our expansion in the country.” Cast Swiss Light Consulting Founder, Silvio Cibien pointed out. “Our partnership with Verlinde highlights our ongoing concern over the past 34 years of seeking the best products for our customers. Our awareness of the reputation of Verlinde’s equipment does not date from today and we are delighted to have this opportunity of working together.” Celestion has confirmed the appointment of Professional Audio as distributor for Ireland and Northern Ireland. “We are excited to have Professional Audio as our partners in Ireland and Northern Ireland,” said Celestion Distribution Sales Manager, Neil McDougall. “Gerry and his team at PAL have many long-standing relationships across the region and we look forward to having them represent Celestion.” Gerry Forde, founder and owner of Professional Audio, commented: “PAL are very excited to be partnering with Celestion in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Celestion is known the world over for its excellent reputation and quality products, which makes it a brand that our dealers are looking forward to being able to offer and end users are excited about.” 70
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Commercial Director, Jamie Gosney and Creative Director, Henrik Oppermann join the Sonosphere Board of Directors; Alphatec’s Dwayne Das, Kanguan Dutta, Out Board’s Dave Haydon with Alphatec’s Devasis Barkataki and Mayank Gaurav; TSL Products’ Tom Dickinson.
growing company. Success as an organisation is achieved only by recognising the humanity of others and embracing their diversity. As Hartley likes to say, “Peavey is a company that doesn’t just build things – we build people.” During this celebration, the family-owned-and-operated company continues to launch new products and solutions Powered by Peavey. Ushering in an exciting new chapter of growth is the Peavey Commercial Audio division, offering pro-audio solutions for venues worldwide, Peavey’s robust DJ platform continuing to make a positive impact in communities through battle sponsorship and youth programmes, and its musical instrument division where new products aim to bridge the past and future. Creative Productions Australia has opened its doors as a new fullservice technical production facility providing design, equipment – lighting, video and audio – plus crew for all shows, tours and live events, created by the merger of two Australian rental houses: Gold Coast-based Creative Productions and Melbourne-based MPH Australia. The new enterprise also unites the energy, passion, imagination, and drive of two well-known and popular industry characters: Dave Jackson, founder of Creative Productions; and Matt Hansen founder of MPH Australia. Commercial Director Jamie Gosney and Creative Director Henrik Oppermann have been appointed to the Sonosphere Board of Directors. “This is a very apposite time to be part of such incredibly creative team,” Oppermann commented. “So many changes have happened in a very short space of time, and the way we are listening to music is changing as a consequence.” Gosney added: “Now that people are listening to concerts in their home via livestreaming, there’s a real need to present them with a better audio solution and the industry is starting to find ways to do that. With our team’s
expertise in the studio, live and installation markets Sonosphere is in the perfect position to help.” Out Board has appointed Alphatec as its new exclusive distributor in India for TiMax SoundHub spatial audio processing and TiMax TrackerD4 precision stagetracking systems. Alphatec Managing Director, Devasis Barkataki commented: “We are very happy to welcome the TiMax products into our distribution range for the Indian market. TiMax fits well with our other high-quality brands and suits perfectly our core activities in premium system solutions and integration.” Out Board Director Dave Haydon added: “We’ve been fortunate previously for TiMax to be involved in some great projects with premier local event producers and venue integrators, and now is the right time to partner with a nationally established full-service distribution, design and turnkey operation such as Alphatec.” TSL Products has welcomed Tom Dickinson as president of the company’s U.S.-based operations, TSL Products Inc. With 39 years of experience holding leadership positions in sales, operations and engineering at Bexel, one of TSL’s main partners, Dickinson has extensive knowledge in the field of broadcast systems integration. “I have always been a champion for TSL Products,” said Dickinson. “Over the years, I have worked directly with TSL’s Director of Sales Greg Siers and Regional Sales Manager Fred Scott, and they have always been great to work with. The Northridge facility now supports TSL Product’s growing portfolio, and I am excited to be a part of its expansion. I look forward to further opening doors for all of TSL’s product offerings to customers based in North America and Canada.” TPi www.productionfutures.co.uk/job-opportunities 72
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TREVOR WILLIAMS TPi Awards Tour Manager of the Year, Trevor Williams, take the hot seat.
How did you come to form Tour Music Live? I’m from a church background and managed a gospel choir that put on live concerts. I had my first taste of the mainstream music industry when a friend called me to production assist three artists at MTV’s Brand New in 2011. After that, I began working as a Tour Manager for Wretch 32. In May 2015, I had built up a roster of artists that include, Stormzy, Dave, Wretch 32 and Grace Jones, to name a few, so I established Tour Music Live, which specialises in tour and production management, as well as artist development for live shows.
stages and slots an artist plays at festivals, larger fees and we will deliver those shows on all levels.
As a proudly Black Owned Company, how receptive has the music industry been to diversity regarding artist management and those behind the scenes? Winning TPi Awards Tour Manager of the Year twice in three years has been a career highlight and a very proud moment as I was surrounded by my peers, clients and team. However, I was one of few black men in the room, beyond the catering and security. This is echoed in every aspect of the live music industry and has fuelled my passion to break down the barriers. I recognise that I can influence and shape a sector that was previously fuelled by nepotism. I have a highly skilled and talented team that includes exemplary black professionals that would otherwise be ignored by the industry. I have experienced institutional racism and seek to protect others from this, by providing them with fairer access to opportunities. In 2018, venue staff ignored me when I parked backstage with my classical artist and crew. The event manager soon arrived, bypassed me and introduced himself to a white crew member, saying excitedly: “Hi Trevor, good to finally meet you.” There is still a huge need to address microaggressions and industry blockers.
What are your touring highlights so far? Wretch 32’s 2016 headline show at Kentish Town Forum was special, because Bronski and I were trusted on a creative level. It was a turning point for the UK rap and grime scene, as one of the first shows with a good level of creativity and production. Stormzy’s GSAP Tour 2017 was also a highlight; the tour was sold out with three Brixton Academy shows – a first for any grime artist – and to play a part in the process was amazing. It goes without saying, Stormzy’s headline set at Glastonbury was iconic, and I’m not entirely sure there’s a bigger highlight than that.
How does it feel to play an integral part in the explosion of the UK grime and rap scene? The artists play their part first by writing great tracks alongside great producers, which then gives us and TAWBOX the opportunity to bring that to life on stage. There’s nothing better than gaining that understanding and trust from the artist and management that they can have a full-production show, just as many pop artists do. It’s about investing in your show and we will deliver that for you on all levels. We’re now getting more recognised for our work globally. It’s about investing in your show as that’s what plays a part in the growth of an artist, the
Have you seen any changes since the movement? I am now having regular and transparent dialogue with those who want to diversify their workforce and provide resources for young people to enter with no barriers. I acknowledge the support that I have around me and understand the impact I have as a role model to my peers and young people. It’s now time for action. I’m not talking about putting black people in roles to fill a quota, but putting us there because we are good and want to progress. I am one of very few black tour and production managers here in the UK, but I would love to see more. 74
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