TOTAL PRODUCTION INTERNATIONAL LIVE EVENT DESIGN & TECHNOLOGY • MARCH 2018 • ISSUE 223
The Irish trio take over UK arenas with a show-stopping production design
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IN PROFILE: CLAIR GLOBAL • PRODUCTION FUTURES: NEXT ROBE GENERATION • THE NAMM SHOW PARAMORE • SECOND WAREHOUSE • LANA DEL REY LIVE IN AMERICA • AUDIO FOCUS: DON BROCO
MARCH 2018 #223
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CONGRATS TO ALL OF OUR 2018 AWARD WINNERS! Ahh, the irony. Post TPi Awards, there was indeed an aftermath of gin & tonic (if only this photo was a scratch ‘n’ sniff you’d understand) yet there was absolutely zero chance of feeling supersonic. I was, however, really pleased with our 2018 event. We enjoyed our biggest turnout to date and saw friends from all corners of the world raising a glass together. Thank you for making the trip over to see us! Congratulations to all of this year’s winners and huge thanks to our brilliant production team for helping us realise our - very fun! - vision. From Ryan Esson, our Production Manager and the GoTo Live team, to each and every department; we know how hard you worked and how daunting a room full of your expectant peers must be. Congratulations are also in order for Transition Video’s Rhodri Shaw, who looked after our LED screens on the night... he’s just got engaged to girlfriend Hanna. From everyone at TPi, we wish you both a very happy future. Ok, ok, raise another glass! We’ve had a tonne of great feedback, but it’s truly your night, so if you have any suggestions or questions, please get in touch. And in case you missed it, you can find the winners on Pg.10/11. In the biggest issue of the year, Don Broco’s audio crew stop for a chat on their recent UK tour, Lana Del Rey brings her California dream to US arenas, Paramore deliver a retro feel to the stage on Pg.72, and March cover stars, The Script, sound out CODA with the help of TPi Awards’ Favourite Sound Rental Company of the Year, Adlib. In business, Clair Global’s third generation of employees reveal how they’re steering the ship safely over seas and through the competitive waves of North America, TSL discusses its new rigging division and Second Warehouse reveals its new service for the industry (Pg. 116), plus lots more... Kel Murray Editor EDITOR Kel Murray Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7738 154689 e-mail: email@example.com
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Issue 223 - March 2018
TOTAL PRODUCTION INTERNATIONAL is a controlled circulation magazine, published 12 times a year by Mondiale Publishing Limited under licence. ISSN 1461-3786 Copyright © 2017 Mondiale Publishing Limited. All contents of this publication are subject to worldwide copyright protection and reproduction in whole or part, in any form whatsoever, is expressly forbidden without the prior written consent of the Publishers. Every effort is taken to ensure accuracy in the preparation of this publication but neither Mondiale Publishing Ltd, nor the Editor, can be held responsible for its contents or any consequential loss or damage resulting from information published. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Publishers or Editor. The Publishers accept no responsibility for the return of unsolicited manuscripts, photographs, illustrations, advertising materials or artwork. Total Production International USPS: (ISSN 1461 3786) is published 12 times a year by Mondiale Publishing Limited United Kingdom. The 2017 US annual subscription price is 117USD. Airfreight and mailing in the USA by Agent named Air Business, C/O WorldNet Shipping USA Inc., 155-11 146th Avenue, Jamaica, New York, NY11434. Periodicals postage paid at Jamaica NY 11431. US Postmaster: Send address changes to Total Production International, Air Business Ltd, C/O WorldNet Shipping USA Inc., 155-11 146th Avenue, Jamaica, New York, NY11434. Subscription records are maintained at Mondiale Publishing Ltd. Waterloo Place, Watson Square, Stockport, SK1 3AZ, UK.
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TPi Awards And the winners are...
Tour Link Palm Springs’ annual networking event for global touring professionals.
P!nk at the Super Bowl The US singer chooses Sennheiser for her anthemic performance.
Don Broco Ben Hammond and Mike Rowland discuss live audio duties with Bedford’s loudest.
Don’t Let Daddy Know The Ibiza dance phenomenon.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra The Philips VL6000 Beam delivers power to the high-grossing concert tour.
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PRODUCTION PROFILE 34 The Script After 2 years away from the road, the band returns with the Freedom Child Tour.
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52 Lana Del Rey Stew caught up with the crew helping to realise the artist’s California dreams. 66 Paramore Ste witnesses a bold new look, lovingly crafted to suit the reformed pop-punks. 80 Gatecrasher Classical The dance music institution returns to Sheffield City Hall.
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90 Clair Global Kel travels to Lititz to meet the third generation innovation.
100 TSL MD Sam Tamplin outlines the past, present and future of the company.
EXPO 104 CEO of NAMM, Joe Lamond, discusses the show’s new pro audio offering.
PRODUCTION FUTURES 112 Next Robe Generation at the TPi Awards.
INTERVIEW 114 Clear-Com Linking people together since 1968.
116 Second Warehouse Stuart Kerrison spills the beans on the revolutionary online cross-rental service.
GEAR HEADS 120 L-Acoustics’ Jeff Rocha gives an insight into the development of the L-ISA system.
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PSA: THE BIGGER PICTURE 128 Is the industry to blame for our ill health - both physical and mental?
ROAD DIARIES 132 The Appointment Group’s Dani Triebner and the (extremely) bumpy landing.
134 The latest movers and shakers.
BACK CHAT 142 Pyrotek’s President, Scott Dunlop.
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Johan Ericsson Svala (collected by Perttu Korteniemi)
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Monitor Engineer of the Year
One Love Manchester (collected by Lez Dwight, Britannia Row Productions)
FOH Engineer of the Year
Production Manager of the Year
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Simon Thomas (collected by Bryan Grant, Britannia Row Productions)
Omar Abderrahman (collected by Craig Mitchell, LMG)
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Lighting Designer of the Year
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Outstanding Contribution Award
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TOUR LINK CONFERENCE The 2018 Tour Link conference was once again held at the JD Marriott Spa and Resort in Palm Springs, California. The 3-day networking and education event - held on 17-19 January - was attended by people from all corners of the production industry, as Kel Murray found out.
From road crew to rental houses, manufacturers to distributors, to hoteliers and travel agents and freighting and transport specialists, the 2018 event took place under the desert sun. Opening with keynote speeches from Tour Link’s Randy Wade and Production Manager Jim Digby, the event truly began after a welcoming Gold Tournament and reception. Before the conference took place, Digby was quoted as saying: “After a year of far too much tragedy, strengthening our human bond is more important now than ever, caring and looking out for one another is paramount. The resounding resilience of our tribe... Love, that is all.” The panels were comprised of various interests, from youth and education to new truck driver regulations and the latest technology in use in the industry. The Breaking and Entering panel was moderated by Tour / Production Manager John ‘Grinder’ Procaccini. Having worked up through the ranks in touring entertainment - from a start as a 17-year-old rigger on the Boston Tour in 1978, to years as CEO of Stage Craft a leading theatrical production company - Procaccini approaches his 40th year in touring entertainment. Currently as Production Manager for Grammy Award-winning rock icon Peter Frampton, Procaccini has enjoyed working in various capacities including Tour Manager, Tour Director, Production Coordinator and Technical Director for many artists and tours ranging from The Doobie Brothers and Jefferson Starship, to corporate clients including MTV, VH1, Sonoma Music Festival and San Jose Mexican Heritage Festival amongst others.
During the week of programming, 2 panels were held by production hub power house, Rock Lititz. They included Vendor & Client and Rehearsal Efficiency, and a Contingency Safety Program. Presented by a former Secret Service agent, a world renown military elite member, Chris Caracci, and Retired Brigadier General David Grange, the program offered key safety practices such as observation techniques used by law enforcement agencies which can be easily put into play at live events. Andrea Shirk, General Manager at Rock Lititz commented: “We look forward to any chance to connect our team with our industry ‘family’. The Rock Lititz Community appreciated the opportunity to present panels on Collaboration Between Client and Vendor, as well as finding Efficiency at Rehearsals. It is important for events like Tour Link to facilitate discussions of substance, which allow us all to grow, learn and connect with each other.” Rock Lititz also scooped a few Top Dog awards, the celebratory evening attached to the conference saw Rehearsal Facility congratulations go to to Rock Lititz, Set Construction Company received by Tait Towers, and best Sound Company awarded to Clair Global. TPi attended the conference for the first time and spoke to some of the delegates present. James Gordon, Chief Executive Officer, Audiotonix said: “It was my first time to venture to Tour Link, but I think with the pro side of The NAMM Show growing it won’t be our last visit to the desert in January.” Crew members who had a gap in their touring schedules were keen to see what was on offer. UK-based Production Manager Rob Highcroft, 12
TOUR LINK CONFERENCE
who is currently on the road with Queens of the Stone Age, attended the conference. He noted: “This was my first time at Tour Link and I really enjoyed my time there. I have wanted to get out here for a few years, but have always been on tour. It was so good to get the opportunity this year. I enjoyed meeting up with various tour vendors and having a good chat. I often kept the business talk to a minimum, as I saw it at a chance to catch up with some old friends. As far as the panels went, it was interesting but I think there could have been more aimed at touring crew. However, I would definitely go again if it tied in with my touring plans.” French native Celine Royer, Lighting Designer for Linkin Park and Jennifer Lopez, who is now based in LA, Royer also attend for the first time. She told TPi: “Tour link is a great tool for networking, and a good opportunity to meet people from every department in the business. I met some great people with who I’m hoping to work with in the future. I also learned some interesting things during the panel discussions, so I would do it again.” Familiar faces from the travel & transport sectors could also be seen. Ian Massey of Beat The Street’s Ground Transport department (and Top Dog Awards winner) made the trip over from England. “We always enjoy our trips across the pond,” he smiled. “And catching up with friends and clients is so important to us. I’m sure we will be over there again next year to further our strong relationships.” Rock-It Cargo’s Trucking Division was represented by Annabel SimerYablonsky (who also collected a Top Dog Award, in this case for Best Freight
Forwarding company this year), and as a regular attendee, she spoke of her overall thoughts from the 2018 offering: “I felt that the conference was a lot smaller this year, perhaps due to the fact that Just A Bunch of Roadies [a charitable effort] didn’t do an activity, which was gravely missed. Yet I would of course go again; to be able to see people in person who you talk to every day online is excuse enough for me! We form committed relationships built over the phone, so to be able to hug it out in person is a wonderful experience.” Dani Triebner, Touring Specialist for The Appointment Group (TAG) is an ex pat, moving from London to LA 6 years ago. She added: “From a travel agent perspective, I find it very beneficial to connect with competitors and bounce ideas off each other at Tour Link. However, I do wish more travel agents would attend!” With more networking drinks (it’s thirsty work in the desert!) than perhaps a California health guru might advise, it’s clear that Tour Link is a place or reunions and friendships, which is essentially what the business is based on. As the conference drew to a close, Jim Digby, who as well as production managing world wide arena tours also founded and chairs The Event Safety Alliance, stated: “I’m always grateful for any opportunity to be in the company of our collective tribe without the pressures of a show day; we had great opportunities to strengthen our human bonds together.” TPi Photos: Jeremy Nelson, email@example.com www.tourlinkconference.com
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P!NK SINGS FOR SUPER BOWL LII The American singer chooses a Sennheiser wireless microphone system for an emotional performance of the US national anthem seen by millions around the world.
Despite record-setting freezing temperatures, sports fans had a lot to cheer about during Super Bowl LII as incumbent champions the New England Patriots faced off against the Philadelphia Eagles for the coveted national title - which drew over 100 million viewers and 67,612 live audience members. P!nk set the tone for the evening with a dazzling rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner, sung through her Sennheiser Digital 6000 wireless microphone system. On a night brimming with excitement and anticipation for the 2 teams and fans around the world, P!nk exuded both confidence and class, sweeping listeners through an unforgettable performance of the US national anthem - with every emotional nuance of the famously difficult 19 semitone song captured in detail by Sennheiser’s Digital 6000 wireless system. “For an artist whose vocal performance is so well renowned, it is important for us to have the ultimate equipment specification both on tour and during the Super Bowl,” said Jon Lewis, Monitor Engineer for P!nk. “We have a very strong relationship with Sennheiser, and the Digital 6000 enables us to attain the best digital audio quality as well as dependable RF.” The P!nk team has been using the Digital 6000 system over the last several months while touring, and appearing on high-profile television programs and award shows such as Saturday Night Live, the Grammy Awards, the MTV Video Music Awards and others. During her performance of The Star-Spangled Banner, P!nk sang through a Sennheiser SKM 6000 handheld transmitter, coupled with an MD 9235 capsule. “We have always been really happy with her voice on the MD 5235 capsule, so when we moved over to the Digital 6000 series, it was a very natural progression,” Lewis explained.
MORE THAN A MICROPHONE P!nk delivered a flawless performance throughout, making it look almost effortless. FOH Engineer, Dave Bracey has a special affinity for the new Sennheiser Digital 6000 system and its role during an artist performance: “The reason I love that microphone is because it is able to capture the complete character and nuances of a singer’s voice. In fact, it is capable of reproducing the exact character of whatever you are miking up - including the best live singing voices in the world.” For Lewis, the Sennheiser Digital 6000 series succeeds on a number of fronts - most importantly on the stage: “I first used the Digital 6000 on a recommendation from Dave [Bracey], who had used it with Adele. Since then, I’ve just been blown away with the distance range and quality. It has proven to work equally well on both in-ears and through wedges, and the microphone itself can handle being in environments with super-high noise levels like the Super Bowl.” Byron Gaither, Artists Relations Manager, Professional Audio at Sennheiser, said: “We are honored that our microphones and wireless systems are continually used by singers who are at the top of their game. With the Digital 6000 Series wireless system, we have opened yet another chapter of innovation, audio quality and reliability.” As the most-watched annual sporting event in the US, this year’s Super Bowl did not disappoint in delivering a spectacular outcome, with the Philadelphia Eagles snatching up their first ever Super Bowl title. Fans around the world will surely remember the captivating performance by P!nk that set the evening’s wheels in motion. TPi www.sennheiser.com 14
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DON BROCO TPi discusses all things audio with Ben Hammond and Mike Rowland as they prepare to man the Allen & Heath dLive and Avid Profile, respectively, for Bedford’s cheekiest rockers on their recent UK tour.
The one-time post-hardcore outfit, consisting of Rob Damiani on lead vocals, Simon Delaney on guitar, Tom Doyle on bass and Matt Donnelly on drums and vocals, have drawn on an eclectic range of influences during their 10 years on the scene; a talent that has been demonstrated once again on their latest effort, Technology. In order to support this release in typically bombastic fashion, the band set out on a short but intense run of UK shows, stopping in at Manchester Academy on 16 February. Thanks in part to his pre-existing connections with Don Broco’s management, FOH Engineer Ben Hammond came on board in November 2016 for the band’s support slot on Bring Me The Horizon’s TPi cover-worthy arena tour. He began: “The band’s old manager was a good friend of mine for many years, and we had worked on a lot of different projects together through Raw Power Management. He kept threatening to approach me with an offer, and then things just happened to line up.” The crew steered clear of traditional pre-production for this brief run in
order to compensate for the numerous in-stores and press commitments that are par for the course on album release week. That said, both Hammond and his Monitor Engineer, Mike Rowland, had experienced busy enough schedules of their own. Hammond said: “Mike was flying in straight in from another tour, and I had just become a dad! Even so, I’m lucky enough to have my own recording studio up in York, so I set my dLive up with a pair of Electro-Voice EK-X12P speakers and blew my head off in the live room for a couple of days dialling things in. I tend to do this for all tours as it’s a low pressure situation where I can take time to get things right in a very familiar listening environment.” Although preferring to mix 100% on the fly, Hammond does so in a “very rehearsed” fashion. As he explained, this Don Broco tour was no exception: “I came from a studio background and spent my youth mixing records on an SSL 4048 G+ with Ultimation, and all outboard gear. The only plugin we had was Autotune! 16
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“Putting the big counter window up on the screen and giving every band member a pot to turn, or a button to press as a specific point, we played the mix in! Mixing FOH is as much of a gig for me as it is for the guys up on stage playing the music. You have complete control over the audience, so you mix to that. I don’t want snapshots telling me what the show needs. The vibe, temperature, venue acoustics, volume, mood of the band, everything contributes to getting the mix right on the night. “It should be a ‘human’ thing, I’m playing the console like an instrument. Don’t get me wrong, I strive for consistent sound, and hit all my specific cues, but all the time I’m tailoring these to every specific show. No 2 shows should be exactly the same at FOH, the same way they are never exactly the same on stage.” A long-time user of Allen & Heath products, Hammond insists that his choice stems from 2 fundamental principles: “In my opinion, they sound better than anything else, and their flexibility is unmatched. I was involved with dLive from day one, and was lucky enough to do the first ever show on one, and later on ended up buying the very prototype console I used in testing; that is the console I use to this day. It’s a dLive S5000, linked up to a DM64 stage rack. “The dLive was always an amazing console from the start,” he added. “But with the addition of multi band comps and dynamic EQ available on all input channels, multiple pre amp and compressor options on each channel, twinned with the huge amount of super flexible bussing, and the best sounding FX on the planet, means it will do everything I need it to do.” Hammond’s faith in the quality of the dLive also means that he is able to not use third party plugins, relying solely on A&H’s inboard plugin selection. He detailed the impressive arsenal of outboard gear he also carries for Don Broco: “The centre vocal is a Manley Vox Box into a Distressor. I adore the HF section on the Manley, and twinned with the super detailed top end in the preamp section, you can leave all that HF detail in and keep the vocal right up front. This setup gives me much more HF information and level before feedback than any other vocal chain. The whole mix has
a Cranesong HEDD192 Quantum inserted over it via AES. Then the left and right feeds hit a Smart Research C2 on the way out of the LM44.” Hammond also made good use of the dLive’s Virtual Sound Check feature on a daily basis, tracking via Dante onto an Apple MacBook Air and a USB3 SSD with Waves Tracks Live. “It’s a super solid setup,” he commented. “And the new virtual sound check patch bay on the dLive means I can route my outputs and inputs any way I like, then switch my whole console into virtual sound check mode with the push of a button. With the guys learning the new songs, we wanted to leave sound check time for them to run through whatever they needed. Virtual sound checks meant that I could nail whatever I needed and be in the correct place way before the band walk on stage.” All told, the band used only 44 inputs, but there remained a huge amount of sonic variation is this relatively small space. “For the backline we spent a lot of time in the studio sculpting the sound - you won’t hear the same guitar tone twice in the set. We set up a virtual sound check situation in the studio and spent days with the guitarist, Si, playing along and saving specific guitar sounds for every section of every song,” explained Hammond. “Drum reverbs are also a big thing with these guys for certain points in the set and many accents during the night. I have my 2.6-second snare plate reverb and 1.6-second tom room reverb returns always up on the surface next to my centre vocal so I can ride these in and out to match the feel of the track. “On the other hand, the vocals are pretty straight up. I do have the centre vocal double patched to a second channel, which I’m distorting the nuts off with the dLive Tube Pre front end. I can then manually switch between clean and distorted, and even merge them in certain parts of certain songs.” Hammond opted to use Audio-Technica with Don Broco, continuing a trend that has been in place on his gigs for over 7 years. He said: “They aren’t coloured in any way and they give you the most honest replication of 18
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Above: Monitor Engineer, Mike Rowland; FOH Engineer, Ben Hammond.
what’s coming off stage. The AE2500 on the snare is amazing on this show. drivers at 80/100Hz full extension. Finding a line array box that gives the I use the dynamic element for the thump with a tonne of compression and power right down to the bottom, so I can just have my subs doing 60hz and 250Hz wound in, while having the condenser add all the detail, and sitting below, means I can keep a very tight and sculpted bottom end.” underneath the compression threshold to retain the air in the drum. “On this run we have Rob on an Electro-Voice ND76 and we are getting KEEP ON PUSHING great results. I need something with a really wide pickup pattern, but Monitor Engineer, Mike Rowland, first worked with Hammond in 2017 on the something that rejects stage noise well. These things don’t usually go AFI tour. He explained: “Ben was already mixing FOH and we really clicked; hand-in-hand, but a friend introduced me to our similar work ethic and sonic perceptions the Electro-Voice vocal mics, and they are really were noted, and then we ended up becoming working well for us on this gig.” friends off stage. I’m based in Canada and, Although in-house PA was utilised for much with Ben living in the UK, we said we’d find of the tour, Hammond was keen to introduce a something to work together once the AFI something of a curveball given the opportunity. touring cycle ended. Fortunately, this great tour “I was introduced to the new Bose Showmatch came into the picture and we’ve had another system last year and was genuinely blown away,” successful run. “My show file on the dLive for he remembered. “I have been looking for an Reuniting off the back of other tours meant Broco is over 200 shows old and, that there was no dedicated pre-production excuse to use it for a while and there were a few shows on this tour that were the perfect places time, or existing showfile. Rowland continued: “I no word of a lie, every show we to do so. It’s such a great system and I really hope decided to go with my old faithful when it came did with the Bose PA allowed me to my desk; an Avid Profile. Stu Wright at Eighth people give it a chance. In my opinion they have made something amazing. Day Sound, was able to patch for me, so that on to hear something in the tracks “My show file on the dLive for Broco is over the first show day I could dive straight into the I’d never heard before. The detail console rather than looming stage patch. 200 shows old and, no word of a lie, every show we did with the Bose PA allowed me to hear “This gig is relaxed in comparison to my last it gives while providing a tonne something in the tracks I’d never heard before. - which was 14 IEM mixes and 8 wedges - this is of power is staggering. You can The detail it gives while providing a tonne of just 7 mixes. The way I run a console for monitors power is staggering. You can almost reach out means that apart from the PQs, I’m using every almost reach out and touch the and touch the vocal, and its lends itself to how input, output and routing function possible on vocal, and its lends itself to how I my Profile. Don Broco were mixing their own I mix very well. Big, Powerful, but soft while retaining detail. And the subs are stupid good!” monitors before this tour, so it was a transitional mix very well. Big, Powerful, but He continued: “The subs in particular are so and relatively educational run for them as a soft while retaining detail.” important on this gig, and have to be right. I have band. We spent the first few days building the them crossed over low, as I don’t want to hear fundamentals of the mix and learning the show Ben Hammond , FOH Engineer 20
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structure. We then progressed into minor tweaking and talking about the possibilities associated with having an engineer now working with them.” The engineer continued: “By the third show were well into snapshots and addressing tonal and level differences in individual bass and guitars. It was a very busy first few days - I found it took them a few shows to get used to looking at me over on stage left as there had never been anyone there before! They would, however, all smirk and look at me when I would bring the crowd into their ears in between songs, as that’s something they said they were not used to.” For this run Rowland had to deal with a mixture of Jerry Harvey Audio, Ultimate Ears, Audio64, Shure and Cosmic in-ear moulds, though he said he was keen to unify the band in the near future, and 8 Shure PSM1000 receivers. He said: “I think mixing monitors is also about the psychology of an individual and getting to know their movements. If my bass player keeps adjusting his left ear, then I need to know why. Is there an isolation issue or comfort problem or is there a form of driver failure? These are all things I’m watching and taking in while mixing a show. “The broad selection of moulds being used meant I needed them to describe what they needed if I knew it was something past the mix, as an in-ear can under or over compensate in a certain area. Adam, on keys and backing vocals needed a bit of a shelf where his generic Shure IEM’s felt dull. “All the stage crew also used Cuemode, which I always think is a great tool when they need to reference something with the performer. We also used the Presonus HP2 hardwired IEMs for Matt on drums, which initially I wasn’t too thrilled about, but this was the biggest revelation of the tour for me; they sound great, are road ready and also have key features such as the dedicated power, pan dial and 5/8ths thread mount for a mic stand or LP claw. I will definitely be looking to get some of these for my other artists.” As Rowland was new to both artist and tour, keeping the lines of communication open during those early shows was integral. He explained: “Every artist has their challenges - some appear on day one and others further down the line. With this being our first time together, they would
go through the show with minimal requests and then chat afterwards so I could address it in for the next show. I found it very constructive because they wouldn’t try to convey anything while thousands of people were stood watching the show. “I’m a huge fan of communication and have talk back mics and radio traffic through my console, which is all bussed out over certain mixes; so should anything needed to be said during the show there were certain mics on and off stage that would go to certain people. This is always great if the crew need to talk about anything during the show or if the band want to have a chat while keeping their ears in. I can also be soloing an individual channel and have a talkback mic or radio override it.” Hammond gave his conclusion on manning the dLive for this tour: “Our approach to the live sound is to create an all-encompassing experience. It’s the huge involving bottom end from a nightclub, with a rock band stuck on top. It’s not overly loud, but massively powerful, so headroom in the bottom end is a huge thing for me on this gig, hence the 21 d&b B22’s we put into Ally Pally for our sold out show in November. I like to make the audience feel involved. I don’t want them to watch a band ‘over there’ and hear some audio coming out of a speaker stack, I want it to completely immerse them. Using bottom end, and a softer sounding but punchy mix, with clever compression on drums, gives the illusion of volume without the punters leaving with ringing ears. “It’s quite challenging, but I would honestly say it’s the most fun mix I have ever worked on. We have spent so long trying and testing things that the source sounds coming off stage are stunning. I like to hit every cue by hand, and there are a lot! You really do play it in each night, but I love it like that.” TPi Photos: Tom Pullen / www.tompullenphoto.com www.donbroco.com www.8thdaysound.com www.allen-heath.com www.avid.com 22
DON’T LET DADDY KNOW Don’t Let Daddy Know is an international touring dance music event that started in Ibiza just a few years ago and now visits cities across the world to host huge parties that combine headline DJ sets with jaw-dropping production values. The brand recently visited the UK to host a sellout 10,000-capacity event, which featured an epic video and lighting rig comprised solely of ADJ and Elation Professional fixtures.
Organised by Dutch-based company EA Events, Don’t Let Daddy Know (DLDK) has enjoyed a meteoric rise to prominence over the past 5 years, having hosted parties across the world in countries including the Netherlands, Germany, Turkey, Thailand, Chile, India and Scotland. DLDK has a reputation for creating a feeling of togetherness, even in the most massive venues. Having previously visited the UK in 2015 and 2016, DLDK’s autumn 2017 party raised its game by taking over a huge sports centre in Greater Manchester. This cavernous space allowed 10,000 people to dance all night to music provided by headliners Steve Angello and Don Diablo supported by Blasterjaxx, Laidback Luke, R3hab, Sem Vox and Third Party. To create the brand’s signature mind-blowing production at the event, the DLDK team partnered with local production company UK Events Group. Based in nearby Liverpool, the company has a large inventory of ADJ and
Elation Professional lighting and video equipment, as well as Duratruss trussing, which was used to put together a large-scale rig that met all the requirements of DLDK as well as the featured DJs and their touring lighting and video crews. A well-established production company with experience supporting events of all types and sizes, the DLDK party was on the big side even for UK Events Group. The logistics were also complicated, as one of the 2 Production Managers for the event, Tory Harper, explained: “It was a challenge as the venue was a sports hall to be transformed into a event space for 8 hours and then back in time for tennis to be played 12 hours later!” Fortunately the company’s experienced team had no problems installing the huge 45m wide set ready for doors to open at 10pm, the impressive lighting and video system ran flawlessly right through until 6am, 24
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and then the venue was fully cleared on time - ready for the arrival of the tennis players the next day. “The show was faultless,” enthused Harper. “We had no fixture errors or swap outs across the whole rig which included almost 500 ADJ and Elation Professional fixtures.” The main rig, which filled one end of the venue’s cavernous sports hall, was dominated by 224 ADJ AV6X LED video panels. These were arranged into 40 separate square screens that filled the back wall of the venue as well as an additional long rectangular screen that was positioned in front of the central DJ riser. This provided a huge canvas onto which DLDK, as well as the headline DJs’ touring VJs, could fill with video content and animated logos. “At UK Events Group, we’ve invested heavily in ADJ’s AV Series video panels,” explained the other Production Manager for the event, James McMahon. “This show demonstrated perfectly how that investment is paying off. The flexibility of the AV Series means that we can split up our inventory over multiple smaller shows, but it is also bright enough to deploy all at once, across a large area, to create a truly epic video wall like this. Despite using so many panels, we had no issues at all and the video content was sharp and vibrant viewed right from the back of the hall.” ADJ equipment was also at the heart of the show’s impressive lighting rig, which included Inno Color Beam Z19 and Vizi Beam 5RX moving heads as well as COB Cannon Wash and 12P Hex wash fixtures. However, the powerhouse of the show was definitely ADJ’s flagship Vizi Hybrid 16RX, with a total of 70 of these flexible fixtures deployed across the stage set. Chosen for their hybrid wash, beam and spot functionality, the 16RX units were used to flood the huge venue with wide-spread washes of colour one moment and fill the air above the crowd with tight fast-moving beams the next. The same fixtures could then also be used to project razor-sharp gobo patterns onto the hall’s walls and ceiling and also through the haze-filled atmosphere. “We’d already used the 16RX fixtures on a variety of different events,”
explained McMahon, “so we knew they are reliable, but this show really demonstrated just how much power they have to offer. This was a huge space and the beams punched right through to the very back, really holding their own alongside the video content as well as the pyrotechnic and laser effects. The 16RX has really put ADJ on the map in terms of moving heads for large-scale shows and we’re now looking forward to taking delivery of the new Vizi CMY300 when it’s released, as its full CMY colour mixing is a feature that I know will prove really useful for a lot of our events.” The lighting operator for the DLDK party - working alongside the
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headline DJs’ touring LDs - was Greg Jones, who works regularly with the UK Events Group team. He too was impressed by the Vizi 16RX fixtures, “They are really responsive and have a great zoom range,” he commented, “and the glass gobos are fantastic!” Strobes and blinders were needed to complete the lightshow and the UK Events Group team supplied fixtures from the range of ADJ’s sister company Elation Professional. A total of 80 Proton 3K LED Strobe units were spread across the main set, with 1 positioned at each side of every video wall segment. This allowed for a truly stunning strobe effect when all of the fixtures were fired in unison. In addition, Proton 3K Color LED Strobe fixtures were attached to each side of 2 large triangle truss structures which were hung over the crowd further back in the hall and also featured ADJ Inno Color Beam Z19 fixtures on each corner. These triangular trusses supported large DLDK branded banners, which were illuminated by ADJ COB Cannon Washes, flanked on each side by 4 of Elation Professional’s CUEPIX Battens. This had the effect of bringing the lightshow out into the hall, increasing the sense of total immersion in music, light and effects for the crowd. For blinders, Elation Professional’s CUEPIX Blinder WW4 units were deployed in pairs across the top of the main rig, with additional units
positioned behind the DJ riser. These impressive fixtures each utilise 4 100W warm white COB LEDs to maximise output while reducing power draw, something that Jones particularly valued for this event. “We invested first in the WW2 model and then extended our range to include the WW4,” he explained. “They are very bright fixtures that pack a good punch, but their LED light-source helps to reduce power consumption, which was particularly important on this show that called for a very large rig in a venue that is usually used for sporting events.” When all of these lighting and video elements were drawn together they created a truly mind-blowing show that more than lived up to the high expectations of DLDK and the 10,000-strong crowd who attended the party. DLDK are already planning to return to the UK for another event in 2018, and in the meantime UK Events Group are busy putting their vast inventory of ADJ and Elation Professional equipment to use at events of all shapes and sizes across the country. TPi Photos: Kyle G. McLoughlin www.dldk.com www.adj.com www.elationlighting.com
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PHILIPS LIGHTING CREATES A THEATRE OF LIGHT FOR TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA The Philips VL6000 Beam delivers the power to stand out, and the styling to complement the narrative for this high-grossing concert tour.
Philips Lighting’s stage lighting fixture, the Philips VL6000 Beam, was chosen by Lighting Designer Bryan Hartley to create his powerful ‘rock theatre’ design for the recent winter tour by Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Hartley, who has lit the American rock band’s shows for the past 18 years, found the powerful output, distinctive styling and physical presence of the new VL6000 Beam gave him everything he needed to create an iconic searchlight effect. He said: “The VL6000 Beam has an awesome output, which more than delivered to expectations.” Hartley explained: “I wanted to sync the production with the show’s story, which is about a child who wanders into an old theatre. I designed the set to be an old theatre during narrations, then during the songs the stage morphs into a rock stage! The impressive output and the look of the VL6000 Beam helped to create that old-style movie Skytracker look.” To build this contrast between small-scale theatre and large-scale rock show, Hartley said: “I wanted lots of small lights, but also some big lights, positioned at each side of the theatre, to stand out among the rest. The VL6000 Beam looks the part. I also have 3 huge video screens and the VL6000 Beam is so bright, it’s able to cut right through and be visible against that LED background.” The show’s design pays tribute to the late Paul O’Neill, the band’s founder and lyricist, who passed away in April 2017. O’Neill’s love for the
concept of ‘rock theatre’ survives through Hartley’s design. Hartley said: “Paul was everything Trans-Siberian Orchestra. His passion made it the most amazing show, year after year. He loved the term ‘rock theatre’, so I came up with a theatre of light that coincides with the story. Even though Paul is sadly no longer with us, he is still very much a part of the show and it is a total tribute to him.” He added: “This has been our most successful tour to date. We were number 2 in 2017 in total tickets sold in the US and I’d like to thank everyone involved on the tour - they are truly an amazing team of people to work with every year.” Martin Palmer, Vari-Lite Product Manager EMEA for Philips Entertainment, said: “The VL6000 Beam is a truly unique fixture, offering high-power, impactful beams, a flexible range of performance features and, of course,that searchlight styling that designers simply love. We are committed to providing the entertainment industry with fixtures that deliver the best solutions, uniting versatility and quality.” TPi Photos: Bryan Hartley, jdpworks www.trans-siberian.com www.lighting.philips.com/main/products/entertainment-lighting 30
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THE SCRIPT After 2 years away from the touring circuit, The Script are back with a bang as the Freedom Child Tour takes to the road, treating fans to a night on the town thatâ€™s more up-close-and-personal than ever before, as TPi finds out.
Having worked with the band for nearly a decade, Creative Director Staging & Productions: special brackets that allow a weighted steel wire Jamie Thompson is well versed in what The Script need to deliver a from a DMX winch to pass through, but hold in place, a length of webbing great night. From the moment the main stage video wall flickers into that gives the batons their final resting position. life - displaying a montage of fan-filmed monologues on the nature of The show is given additional punch by a barrage of lasers (3 24W OPSL freedom - it’s clear that this show is all about connecting with the crowd. scanning lasers and 16 Starbursts controlled by Chamsys and Pangolin From a surprise B-stage opener in the centre of the arena, to mid-song Beyond Ultimate), a waterfall of pyro (30 units placed in a custom truss saunters through the audience, to ‘Seat stage’ acoustic sets, the whole behind the Sceptron controlled by Galaxis) and 9 MagicFX Stadium Shot evening is engineered to bring the whole room right into the action. cannons (6 downstage and 3 around the B-stage, blasting the room with Taking as his inspiration the artwork from the band’s latest album - a green and then silver confetti before a show finale of arena streamers), all neon-winged figure wandering a dramatically lit streetscape - Thompson supplied by BPM SFX. “It does get quite messy,” grinned Thompson. “I don’t devised an urban-themed stage scheme. A backdrop of vertical video think anyone’s forgiven me for that yet.” walls (the tallest standing 12m high) are angled The entire show was timecoded by together to mimic solid skyscrapers, with seamless Thompson, alongside colleague Francis Clegg, 90-degree joins thanks to custom frames provided and is controlled by Avolites Sapphire Touches by PRG XL Video. “We have a pretty good long(main desk and backup) running on 2 Titan Net standing relationship with PRG, so they pulled out Processors linked with 2 Titan Net Switches a lot of stops for us to make it happen, which was to handle the show’s 32 DMX universes. These great,” said Thompson. were provided by Thompson’s company, Mirrad, Above the stage, a grid of pre-rigged truss along with four media servers, 2 of which were is loaded with PRG Bad Boy Beam FX, Best Boy tweaked to process content created in real-time Spots, Icon Edges, Vari-lite VL3500 Washes and effects generator Notch. This is then fed into a “The design of the screens GLP JDC-1 strobes. GLP impression X4 Bar 20’s pair of Avolites Ai Infinity R8 servers that handled and Claypaky B-Eye K10 Washes are woven in to the main content before everything is output to and content has demanded the stage wings and ramps. Martin by Harman the videowalls. Server tech Annalisa Terranova custom looks for every track Sceptron bars, standing in for neon strips, are controls all the servers via 2 Avolites Quartz used in horizontal lines along the stage edge. This consoles run in multi-user so the team has a and I have been glad to aesthetic is heightened towards the end of the workspace over 2 screens. have these tools available to night when stacks of Sceptron pairs - 2m batons “It’s a pretty hybrid setup and we’ve locked into 90-degree chevrons - concertina down customised some aspects of 2 of the servers experiment with on stage.” from above, forming phantom towers that add to as Notch servers to accomodate this complex Ben Farrey, the 3-dimensionality of the scene. This is made show. We have amazing power to control,” said possible thanks to a neat solution from All Access Thompson. “The Ai servers give me huge scope to Video Director 36
Above: The carpentry team: Ashley Groom, Tom ‘Jack’ Davies, Paul Stratford and Ray Whelan; SFX Tech, Jack Webber with Laser tech, Cosmin Barbuceanu.
achieve more and more each time I work with The Script.” Content was created by Thompson and Satoko Wall at BlinkinLAB. “Although the cityscape was a big part of the show, we are always keen to have a coherent progression through different themes throughout the show, so we tried to develop an overall journey through these different styles of visuals, in order that everything flows together from song to song,” commented Thompson. “As the show was very IMAG heavy we wanted to integrate the live camera into the visuals as much as possible, so we designed spaces within buildings that were used to display the IMAG feed as if they were giant billboards within the city. We also designed IMAG looks using Notch to create particle effects so that the IMAG could be bedded in to the visuals to create a stronger overall look.” BlinkinLAB also video mapped the Sceptron fixtures, designing the animation that was played back on the main video screen to complement and extend the linear style of the Sceptron, so as to create a sense of depth between them. Filling those video wall IMAG gaps was Video Director, Ben Farrey (previously Ben Miles) who operates a Ross Video Carbonite switcher. Live feeds come from 4 manned Sony HXC-100 cameras, 2 with long lenses at FOH and two in the pit on 6ft tracks. On stage, 4 Q-Ball robo cams - chosen partly for their cool high-tech aesthetic - sit amongst the band’s kit. “I like to use these both for additional shots at interesting angles but also for some of the more clever artistic feedback screen work I do,” explained Farrey. A total of 4 fixed, fisheye Gnat cams are positioned to capture additional
angles on stage. This includes a shot from behind drummer Glen Power. “Every time the lead singer, Danny, walks towards him, you get this really nice play between them, which I feel is caught really well by these nonobtrusive little cameras,” said Farrey. All of this feeds into the servers. “One is doing Notch and all the visual manipulation of the camera effects,” he explained. “We then feed that back into the main server, which is playing back the content. That way all the processing of the Notch effects - which is some heavy real time pixel manipulation - is done before it hits the main server.” The DVI output card on the main Notch machine links to DVI capture on the main machines, eliminating the need for signal conversion and ensuring minimum frame delay. “It leaves us with plenty of scope to use any effects I can dream up in the servers whilst playing back multiple layers of high resolution content,” Farrey continued. “The design of the screens and content has demanded custom looks for every track and I have been glad to have these tools available to experiment with on stage.” STAGING The carpentry team tasked with constructing the multi-level, streetscape staging comprised Paul Stratford, Ray Whelan and Tom ‘Jack’ Davies, and is headed up by Ashley Groom. “Jamie’s not a believer in mediocrity - and neither should he be,” said Groom. “He sets a high bar and comes up with a design that pushes the boundaries a bit for everybody, but he does that because he know we’re all 38
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capable and experienced enough to make it happen. And there’s a great team down at All Access, who’ve put everything together for us.” Matt Bull, Sales and Marketing Manager at All Access Staging & Productions, was approached in November last year, having previously worked with PM Bob O’Brien on Arcade Fire and Ellie Goulding. He got the brief of creating a rolling main stage that featured an onstage walkway and 6 custom streetlamps, plus rolling tech wings and 2 ego wings on stage left and right. The show starts on a separate B-stage, located at FOH, which raises the band 3m in to the air. To achieve this, 3 1,500kg static scissor lifts are forklifted on to chocks with millimetre precision before a custom 16ft x 16ft deck is placed on top. A 4-sided kabuki is dropped into place after the support act has finished. Instead of a classic kabuki-drop, these drapes are whipped up into two of All Access’s Versa snifter systems, which sit poised like rocket-booster at the top of the rig. As well as wowing the audience, the snifters keep them safe by removing the risk of drapes dropping into the crowd. Echoing the Sceptron ‘towers’ that appear later in the show, the B-stage too is edged with an unravelling concertina of batons. “The staging in comprised of 98% stock decks and equipment, which helped the production on budget as there was no need for lots of custom pieces that needed to be made,” noted Bull. “It has been a pleasure working with Bob again on the project and meeting Jamie for the first time - a great designer and visionary. We brought together both the look and functionality we were asked to, delivering in the usual All Access professional way.” SOUND While most of the crew have returned to repeat their roles from the last Script tour, fresh faces can be found at both FOH and monitor engineer positions – and a fresh audio approach to go with them. For Marc Peers, stepping in to the monitor engineer role has been a chance to change things up with a switch to a Midas Pro X. “I’ve done lots of stuff on the Pro2 in years gone by and I liked that, so after a good chat with the service department at Adlib we went for the Pro X,” said Peers. “I’m really enjoying it: it sounds great straight out of the box, so there’s no outboard, it’s all on-board dynamics and effects.” With the band constantly on the move - starting the show 3m up on the B-stage behind FOH and, later, marching up to the Seat stage for an acoustic set in the stands - Peers needed a failsafe set-up that wouldn’t let him down. 40
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The band’s long-standing endorsement deal with Sennheiser means like without causing any issues.” a selection of the usual, reliable suspects are found on stage, including Up at FOH, Ste ‘Pato’ Pattison stands behind his desk of choice, an Sennheiser 2000 series transmitters and MD 9235 vocal mic capsules. The Allen & Heath dLive. Though he’s comfortable operating any professional addition of high-power IEM and mic packs also ensures a sturdy signal console, it’s the dLive that gets his emphatic vote of approval. “It’s probably during the band’s B-stage and Seat stage stints. the most flexible console available at the moment.” he said. “You’ve got half Having seen the benefits of taking on full RF responsibilities on his a dozen models of compressor on there, you’ve got different models of preprevious tour, Peers was keen to apply the same approach to his current amps available, every type of effect you’ll need - it’s all there. I don’t need role. “Increasingly, being a monitor engineer means you’ve got to be a de to plug anything extra in to get it. And if there’s an effect on the record, or a facto radio guy as well, so on this tour I knew from type of reverb, it’ll be on the desk.” the word go I was going to do all the licencing and For Pattison, the ability to avoid external planning myself,” he said. “The benefit of that is, outboard sits well with his audio ethos: “Keep if there’s an issue anywhere, having planned it it in the box. Let’s not have A-to-D and D-to-A and done it all yourself, you instantly know where conversions all over the place. Keep it where it is, you’re at with it all. It is a bit of a dark art, but I’ve get the processing done, get the audio spot on, had a lot of back up from John Fitzsimmons at and get it straight back out again. I don’t want to “The dLive is probably the Adlib, he’s given me a lot of very helpful advice.” be adding latency or possible hardware/software While out on the B-stage, the band are saved most flexible console available incompatibilities getting brand A desk to speak to hearing the latency of the PA thanks to custom brand X plug in. It’s all in there, just turn the knobs at the moment. You’ve got half and push the buttons.” Ultimate Ears UE-11 and UE-18 moulds and a beefy Adlib MP4 sub placed behind the drummer, a dozen models of compressor Beyond the desk’s practical advantages, a repeat of the set up found on the main stage. Pattison had high praise for Allen & Heath’s entire on there, you’ve got different To clean up the usual problem of the sub feeding approach. “They get their products to trusted back into the bass drum microphones, Peers used models of pre-amps available, engineers from many different backgrounds and a Roland SPD-SX to sample the drummer playing really listen and take on board all their feedback,” every type of effect you’ll need he said. “And if there are any issues with any his own bass drum. This is then used in the drum sub. “I’m not sure why I’ve not though of that software that comes through, it’s fixed straight - it’s all there.” much sooner, it’s worked out great,” said Peers. away. It’s not one of those companies where the Ste ‘Pato’ Pattison, “Because it’s all electronic, you break the feedback feedback disappears off to Japan or America and loop and get that sub as loud and punchy as you you never hear from them again.” FOH Engineer 42
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Above: LD and Show Designer, Jamie Thompson; Monitor Engineer, Marc Peers.
According to Pattison, getting things right early on in the audio chain processing and amplification to make it a great product.” is especially important on this tour given the impressive capabilities of Harrison highlighted CODA’s use of annular ribbon driver technology the CODA Audio PA they are using. “It’s a super revealing PA,” he said. as being key to reducing harmonic build up and delivering great sound. “In “With some systems, you put them up and the gig layman’s terms, it’s super clear and has almost will always be ‘fine’. But with this one, it can be zero distortion,” he said. “The high frequencies anything from ‘alright’ to ‘amazing’ - you have a and high-mids throw for miles, with clarity you’ve much wider scope of what you can get out of it. So not heard before. That’s all down to their speaker if you pay attention, check all your input sources, technology. Couple that with fly-behind bass get everything set up well, and get a good mix elements and you get a frequency response that’s together, you’ll get a great result.” extremely predictable and homogenous over the One particular advantage of the CODA system entire audience area.” “Their philosophy is: don’t go is the inclusion of sensors on the subs that CODA’s phase linear processing allows a actively make the drivers conform to the incoming for standard speaker cabinets seamless transition between different hangs waveform, overcoming the issues of inertia. This, of speakers or fill speakers, as well as helping and speaker technology; get noted Pattison, helps tighten everything up, with horizontal pattern control and crossovers. alleviating the perennial problem of firing a lot of “If you plot it in their prediction software, you the speaker cabinet perfect, superfluous bottom end into a rattly arena venue, can 90% guarantee that what you see on the then you have to do very and so ensuring a “solid wall of punchy sound”. computer before you even get to the gig is what The PA received further praise from System you’ll get. And they don’t sugarcoat it, like some little with processing and Techs Alan Harrison and George Puttock. “They’re manufacturers do. They’ve got such a good amplification to make it a not currently in everyone’s mind, but they are product that they don’t feel like they need to,” fucking phenomenal,” remarked Harrison. “Their Harrison noted. great product.” philosophy is: don’t go for standard speaker There are 9 hangs of PA used for the arena Alan Harrison, cabinets and speaker technology; get the speaker shows: left and right main hangs (14 AiRAY plus 4 cabinet perfect, then you have to do very little with downfill), left and right side hangs (12 AiRAY plus 4 System Tech 44
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downfill), left and right upstage hangs (8 ViRAY), a centre cluster of 8 ViRAY, quantity or placement of hangs due to weight or sightlines.” plus 8 flown subs per side (15” SC2). On the floor there are 32 SCP 18”subs in a spaced array, with end fire on the extreme edges to direct the subs SUPPLIERS AND SUCCESS out to the side. System control is Lake with digital FOH-to-stage returns PM Bob O’Brien has worked with The Script since 2011, when Tour Manager using Dante and AES digital into the amplifiers - minimising the analogueIan ‘Quinner’ Quinn invited him on board to help achieve the band’s to-digital conversion required and so preserving the quality of the sound. transition to arena-scale shows. Since then a steady list of tried-and-tested, Proprietary 4-channel, 5K per channel amps come with the control Script suppliers have been brought back on successive tours. Hence, in software. “They have a ridiculously low harmonic addition to PRG XL Video, Adlib Audio, and BPM distortion,” commented Harrison. “Less than SFX, this run has seen the return of radios from 0.005%” Radiotek, trucks from Stardes, busses from CS UK In addition to audio quality, the size, weight and freight handlers Horizon Entertainment Cargo. and power of the CODA boxes make them The one exception to this has been first-timer particularly tour-friendly, said Harrison. “It’s All Access Staging & Productions, which came up extremely light, only 32kg a box; it has 6dB more with a creative package capable of achieving the “There’s nothing over the output than some of its competitors, twice as ambitious staging scheme without relying on a powerful over the whole frequency range; and prohibitive amount of custom fabrication. top, custom-wise, the main it’s about half of the size, which means you can fit “There’s nothing over the top, custom-wise,” challenge is actually getting it commented O’Brien. “The main challenge is more of it on the truck - or rather you can save on space. It really helps not stressing over the truck actually getting it into some of the venues that into some of the venues that pack every night.” we’re in. Initially it can be quite high and wide, so we’re in. Initially it can be quite you have to shave elements off to fit in to some of Cabling is all biamp - there are only 2 channels per circuit, resulting in half as many cables in the the rooms.” Fortunately, The Script crew know the high and wide, so you have to air as might ordinarily be required - again reducing score. “We’ve a great team on board here. We’ve shave elements off to fit in to weight and increasing convenience and speed all been around these venues for years so you of load in. “I load in the speakers at 9am and the can look at a plan and know straight away if it’s some of the rooms.” speakers are up at trim by 11am. It just makes my going to go or not, so you kind of cut your cloth Bob O’Brien, life so much easier, but without any loss of quality, to suit the venue,” O’Brien continued. “There’s a and means that I’ve never had to compromise on good bit of laugh back stage as well, which helps. Production Manager 46
Above: FOH Engineer Ste ‘Pato’ Pattison; Mark Dawson (Security), Bob O’Brien (PM), Sena Brady (Stage Manager), Ian ‘Quinner’ Quinn (Tour Manager and Production Co-ordinator); Video Director, Ben Farrey; Sam Jackson, Lighting Tech, Show Designer Jamie Thompson, Jake Black, Sceptron Tech, and Aiden McCabe, Lighting Crew Chief.
Everybody knows what they’re at; nobody needs to be told what to do; everybody knows exactly what’s expected.” From the crew’s perspective, the consensus backstage is that this successful smooth-running stems largely from those at the top. As Head Carpenter Ash Groom noted: “Working with Bob O’Brien and Quinner makes life so much easier because they create such a relaxed atmosphere. And they pick the right staff, so there never is a reason to fall out with
people or it not to be a happy camp. And when you’re smiling, things get done a lot quicker.” The often-unsung heroes of the tour - such as caterer Snakatak and the countless house staff along the way - also get Groom’s admiration. “This tour would not happen if it wasn’t for house staff, and everywhere we’ve gone, we’ve been looked after royally,” he said. “And we’re tremendously well fed - the catering has been second to none.”
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Above: Stage Tech, Laurie Binns, PA Techs, Alan Harrison and George Puttock, and Audio Crew Chief, Jay Petch.
Snakatak’s Lisa Cribley added: “We have worked with The Script from the very early days and feel very privileged to be considered part of their touring family. It’s a truly professional tour where the genuine kindness and fun comes from the very top and feeds through to all departments. It’s a real pleasure to work with everyone and provide both culinary requirements, as well as a comfortable dining room in which everyone can enjoy a bit of well-deserved R&R.” Having completed their UK and Ireland run with 2 nights at the O2, The Script family now heads on to Europe and beyond, leaving in their wake a trail of metallic confetti and hordes of happy fans. Proof positive of a job well done. TPi
Photos: Andrew Benge www.thescriptmusic.com www.mirrad.com www.prg.com www.adlib.co.uk www.bpm-sfx.com www.radiotek.co.uk www.csuk.coach www.stardes.uk www.hecargoworld.com www.allaccessinc.com www.snakatakcatering.com
LANA DEL REY: LA TO THE MOON TOUR Lana Del Rey’s LA to the Moon US tour benefitted from a hat-trick of production must-haves; a stunning show design, powerful sound reinforcement and a hard-working crew. Stew Hume got the inside story...
Starting at the beginning of the year in Minneapolis, the LA to the Moon Tour was Lana Del Rey’s fourth American headline run, undertaken in support of her latest album, Lust for Life. Since her major label debut, Born to Die, Del Rey has become accustomed to critical acclaim thanks to her more melancholic take on the traditional pop stylings of her contemporaries. Throughout her career, this theme has also been reflected in her live shows, which often adopt a dreamlike aesthetic; LA to the Moon was no exception.
Leading the Del Rey crew is Production Manager, Peter Abbott. Recalling the beginnings of his working relationship with Del Rey, Abbott stated it all came down to being in the right place at the right time: “The tour I was working on in the US ended rather abruptly due to a family illness,” began Abbott. “To fill my now-open schedule, I ventured back home to the UK to help out a friend’s band, who ended up supporting Guillemots. This led to me meeting their manager, Ed Millett, who subsequently partnered with Ben Mawson to manage a brand new female artist by the name of Lana 52
Del Rey. I was introduced to Lana in the street outside Webster Hall in New York whilst loading a truck for Marina and the Diamonds,” recalled Abbott. “Ed asked me to look after Lana’s first European shows that autumn. I jumped straight onto a bus with Lana and, metaphorically speaking, have never left!” Since coming on board the Del Rey bus, Abbott’s team has grown to a dedicated family of 70 crew members working together to bring each of the singer’s touring visions to life. “There is a core team: Stage Manager, Patrick Briscoe; Lighting Designer, Phil White; Tour Accountant, Michele Tankel; Guitar Tech, Carl Lewis; Make Up Artist, Pamela Cochrane; Head of Security, Paul Dallanegra; and Drum and Bass Tech, Will Whitney; who, along with the band and management, have been around since the very earliest days,” listed Abbott. “Then there are people we’ve borrowed along the way. Notably Cody Osbourne, Lana’s road manager, who drove for us at Coachella in 2014, and Joey DeStefano and Leslie Grempel, our tireless set carps. Kathy Beer joined us as Lighting Crew Chief on a brief festival run and is now our Lighting Operator. We also have Ant Barrett who joined as Video Director following his work with us on the UK run last year. And of course, there are the incredible new people we try to keep hold of, like Sean Herman and Dave Shatto from Sound Image.” Abbott brought together a team of trusted suppliers to realise the tour including Sound Image for audio, PRG for lighting, Screenworks for LED, nlitedesign for video control, All Access Staging & Productions, SGPS for
rigging and set fabrication. For logistical support he put his faith in Egotrips for trucking, Starliner Charters for bussing, EFM for global freight and Tourjet and Preferred Travel for accommodating and moving humans. It was clear from talking with Abbott, that welfare of his crew was of paramount importance in his position as Production Manager. “I have been involved with UK Music’s Futures Group, at which the subject of mental health in the music industry has been discussed repeatedly,” said Abbott. “One of the recurring themes for freelancers, both in live and recorded music, has been the impact of job insecurity. As a production, we have tried to make it clear to people when they will be working and under what terms. And, of course, when they will be free, without consequence to their future prospects with Lana, to take other work. In such a reactive industry, this can be challenging. But it is a step we can take to improve the welfare of artists’ crews.” Abbott also pointed out that the strains of the road were not helped by the time of year. “Touring US arenas in winter is a dreadful environment for crew morale and mental health. I don’t think it would be reasonable to expect people to be upbeat having been indoors for 2 weeks straight! Erica Leite, our Production Coordinator and Lilly Meisner, our Backstage Assistant, are always on the lookout for ways to keep people’s spirits up, and make them comfortable on the road, whether it be niche bus rider items, or unusual activities on travel days.” 53
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PRODUCTION ORIGINS The initial concepts for the LA to the Moon Tour were drawn up during October last year while completing a run of festival shows in the US. Final approval came in November during Del Rey’s UK run. “This meant that we had only 6 weeks to create this show,” stated Abbott. Thankfully the production had a secret weapon. “Jason Ardizzone-West, our Set Designer, has been wonderful to work with!” commented the PM. “He accepted budget and time constraints, without compromising the integrity of the design.” “After Pete reached out to me in mid-October last year we both dove into a very fast design process,” explained Ardizzone-West. “We explored a number of variations on Lana’s initial creative vision settling on a design a month later.” The Set Designer explained how the look of the show was based on Del Rey’s strong vision of wanting to create a concert space that evoked her experiences of being on the beach, particularly the sunny shores of California. He continued: “In the early stages we used a lot of visual and descriptive references as the basis of a design that would put the performers in a mental space of standing on the edge of the ocean. At the same time, we also played with various architectural elements that helped to pull the audience in and allowed us to imagine they too were in a modernist beach home overlooking the sea.” The architecture of John Lautner’s Sheats-Goldstein house in Los Angeles inspired a giant roof set piece that hung at trim height throughout the show. Ardizzone-West discussed some of the main ideas he hoped to explore throughout the show: “Between the tension of the modernist architectural elements of the roof above and the naturalistic cove below, we were able
to move between literal evocations of these specific locations as well as to larger-scale psychological spaces. Then, through video content, we temporally move away from the beach and find ourselves in a more introspective space.” BARE BONES FOUNDATION Abbott continued to describe how it was important to ensure all the crew and suppliers were on the same page when understanding both time constraints and the need for detail. He elaborated: “While I knew I could rely on our regular suppliers for the fundamentals of the show, it was essential to quickly understand the costs and practical implications of the bespoke elements of this particularly intricate design. Over the course of pre-production and rehearsals our methods were refined and by the third show we were confidently able to give everyone a critical extra hour in bed!” Crucial for creating the framework of the show was SGPS, which provided custom fabrication and rigging along with creating a custom roof piece. “Both rigging and fabrication were highly integrated into the set design and so one supplier dealing with them made sense,” commented Abbott. “Andy Laidler and Eric Pierce from SGPS were extremely helpful in adapting automation elements as the production evolved during rehearsals and in continuing to support modifications in the first weeks of the tour.” Adding to the look was Gist Specialties, who supplied the scenic rocks that helped create the dream-like landscape of the stage. The bare bones of the stage consisted of a standard 60ft x 40ft All Access Staging & Productions Versa Stage with a series of levels. The superstructure was all standard decking, albeit plexi and grilled to allow 54
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LANA DEL REY
light and haze to pass through. Taking care of the tour was All Access’s Robert Achlimbari. “Robert has been my go-to for some time,” commented Abbott. “The ease of installation and flexibility of the staging system proved critical in allowing us to go from a 7am start to a 3pm line check reliably and efficiently. Once again, he provided us with some incredible crew, who I would hire back in a heartbeat.” Achlimbari discussed the creative process behind producing the staging elements of the show. “The design included some new elements and others that were carried over from past tours. The plexiglass riser set up was refined and increased in size, which we were able to accommodate from our rental inventory. One special requirement was for the downstage third to have video tiles built in. Due to the tight turnaround, I suggested that Pete should contact Screenworks, who stock weight-bearing LED tiles and would require very little work to integrate with our main rolling stage.” To ensure seamless stage surface between the video tiles and All Access’ standard stage decks, the company created a split level rolling stage that allowed the video product to sit flush with the rest of the stage, filling in the sides with custom plug decks to take in to account the metric / imperial issues between the video tiles and our staging system. In total, All Access provided 3 carpenters to cover the rolling stage and onstage riser system.
‘n’ roll / pop design looks,” stated White. “I wanted to have minimal fixtures visible on stage, out of sight for the audience and looking at the idea of light and dark in a theatrical sense.” Abbott commented on White’s involvement with the tour: “Phil’s technical understanding and thoughtful demeanor are invaluable when working with such a wide variety of creatives.” When White entered the project, the foundations of the set were already in place, which the LD used to his advantage: “The roof set piece had its job as a large physical lighting gobo casting light and shadow from above. To enhance this look, we decided to surround the lighting trusses above the roof with a black box drape hiding all the fixtures and rigging, so the sources of light were not visible.” The LD explained how he split the rig into 3 parts; the overhead rig, the stage floor and the sub stage. On the sub stage White deployed fixtures underneath the stage which, thanks to the clear perspex, allowed light to pass from below. “This enables us to light the band and the roof set piece without having the fixtures visible to the audience,” explained White. The product of choice for the under-stage lighting was the GLP impression X4 Bar 20. White also used 28 GLP JDC1’s, one of the LD’s new “favorite products”. He continued: “I have used the JDC1’s on the front truss audience lights as well as for the stage wash and strobe effects. The fixture’s LED washes allowed me to add accents and colour, even when the sources were hidden behind set.” Also on the lighting rig were 33 Martin by Harman MAC Viper Profiles, 37 MAC Quantum Washes and 12 MAC Aura XBs. For spotlight, the production deployed 5 PRG GroundControl Follow spot systems, which were all operated backstage with intensity and colour controlled at FOH. “All 5 of the GroundControls operated their own PRG Bad Boy, with 4 placed on the front truss and the one on the back truss,” explained White. “We prefer to avoid low angle FOH spotlight, so the above and behind positions provide the ultimate solution.” To fit in with Del Rey’s theatrical, dreamlike look, haze was of vital importance. In total, 2 Reel EFX DF-50’s and 2 Martin by Harman Jem ZR44’s
SHADES OF COOL With the look of the show in place, Abbott brought in long-standing LD, Phil White, to bring Ardizzone-West’s concept to life. “I have worked with Lana since 2013, starting in the video department with my company nlitedesign still providing the tour’s video infrastructure to this day,” began White. “About 2 years ago I became more involved in the lighting design of the show.” White went on to describe his original goal for this production: “I was shooting for more of a theatrical look to this tour avoiding the typical rock 56
LANA DEL REY
were used. The Jem ZR44’s were placed under the stage allowing smoke to drift up and enhance the ambience, without big clouds obscuring the video. “I really hate having ‘bonfires’ on the side of the stage,” laughed White. “The under the floor hazer gave a nice ‘wispy’ look that fed into the overall feel of the show. Some of the large places we played seemed to have their own atmosphere in the venue which made it tricky: the haze doesn’t travel the way you would expect. But throughout the tour we were always able to make it work.” A total of 3 MA Lighting grandMA2 Light were used for control. Two of the consoles were used at FOH, 1 for lighting and the other for the upstage video, with the third being used backstage for video and timecode. “For the tour, the majority of the show was timecoded with a few live a cappella moments,” explained White. After designing the look of the show, White brought on Kathy Beer who aided the LD in programming the timecode as well as taking on the role of Lighting Director for the live show. “Kathy oversaw the timecode as well as calling the spots for the show.” Meanwhile, alongside Beer, White oversaw all the content for the video wall taking a feed from Video Director Ant Barrett. More on that later… PRG’s LA office took on the role as supplier for the tour. “Julian Edwards at PRG in LA has been a trusted confidant throughout this project,” enthused Abbott. “We were introduced through Scotty at PRG UK and have worked well together over the last 5 years. Julian understands our technical and financial requirements. His crews have been outstanding; some of them moving to become direct hires as we move into festivals.”
with the pair on this tour: “They have access to a huge range of technology, excellent crew and vast experience, which we are privileged to be able to draw on. Randy is always on the lookout for ways to meet our everchanging requests, and Marty is very much hands on; I think I last saw him in pre-production designing custom spacers for the LED floor.” The video set consisted of a curved 60ft x 25ft ROE 7mm wall, flanked by 2 projection screens for IMAG. There was also another 45ft LED floor setup that was used for overhead footage. Storme Whitby-Grubb joined the project to oversee video content, putting Ardizzone-West’s architecture into time and space outside of the arena. “The set theme pays tribute to California’s coastline, specifically the breathtaking stretch along Big Sur, which was always our home base for the content,” explained Whitby-Grubb. “Although each song has its own individual storyline we wanted to create a visual essay that continually brought the audience back to Big Sur. It gives a nice sense of journey throughout the show; the non-coastline content becomes ghostly memories one might have whilst gazing out over Big Sur.” A major element of the show, with which Whitby-Grubb was particularly excited to get involved, was the LED floor. “For most of the show we are running complementary content through the floor such as waves, water and beach textures. However, some tracks, such as Off To the Races, have insane content for high energy movements. It’s a fun element to work with and it’s nice that it actually allows the cheapest seats in the house to get a unique view.” Throughout the show, Whitby-Grubb’s content was mixed together with live feed IMAG. Handling all the live video footage was Video Director, Ant Barrett. “I came aboard for 2 UK shows in Liverpool and Glasgow in August last year,” said Barrett while discussing his entry into the production. “I kept into touch with Pete Abbott and thankfully was asked aboard for the US tour.” The Video Director went on to discuss the working relationship he built up with LD Phil White. “Both Phil and I had various discussions about
VIDEO GAMES Video content was integral throughout Del Rey’s performance. From the first renderings of the stage, Screenworks was brought into the camp. “Screenworks are another company we have worked with since day 1,” explained Abbott. Overseeing the projects were Screenworks’ Randy Mayer and Marty Kell. Abbott discussed the working relationship he had 58
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LANA DEL REY
met with L-Acoustics’ Dave Brooks [Application Engineer, Touring Liaison] and came up with a system design that allowed us to maintain the feel of intimacy in a large arena show. The coverage and the quality of the system make that possible, and the linear reproduction of sound everywhere ensures that, sonically, no one ever really feels far away from the stage. To achieve that, we take a lot of care and spend a good deal of time every day listening and measuring so that the sound is consistent all the way to the highest seats in the arena.” Brooks’ design proved successful not just in the room but on the stage as well. “In addition to the L-Acoustics system delivering the best possible audio product in the audience area, it’s provided a remarkable level of consistency on stage. Some things, such as sub timing and alignment, may change a bit from day to day, but we tend not to deviate from Dave’s and my initial design. It’s really our master blueprint for what we do every day,” said Madigan. The configuration per side consisted of 14 K1, 4 K2 (flown under the K1), 8K1-SBs (flown beside the K1), 10 K2 side hangs and 10 KARA for in fills. Finally for subs on the deck, Madigan had 18 SB28’s ground stacked and equally spaced in groups of 3, deployed in a cardioid configuration. “I know that sounds like a really large number of subs for a show with this kind of intimate, vocal-based music,” Madigan explained. “But while the flown K1-SB allow us to get really even sub coverage through a large arena, the main use is actually about cancellation of sound on the stage itself.” Flying the K1-SB alongside the main K1 hangs actually created a cancellation node on the stage that goes up to about 200 Hz. “So the LF intensity on the stage is much less, which makes things so much more comfortable for the artist. Whether you’re standing in the highest reaches of the arena or on the stage, you’re hearing different aspects of what the K1-SB are doing. Turning them on and off makes a marked difference in overall sound consistency in the room and results in a large drop in sound energy on the stage. It’s really the best of all possible worlds.” The engineer continued to discuss his main goals with his mix. “In short, I want the audience to hear everything really clearly, from the front row to the highest seat. Our main goal is to try and maintain the intimacy, emotion and impact that the songs convey. I want the audience to have an instant recognition for these songs.” Along with his DiGiCo SD5, Madigan also had a full complement of Waves plugins at his disposal. “I certainly have some favorites in my Waves setup that I used throughout the show including CLA2A, CLA76, H-Delay, H-Reverb. I’m also fond of the Avalon VT737sp and a Bricasti M7.” Monitor Engineer Jon Lammi also selected a DiGiCo, this time in the form of an SD10, which he commented has “just the right ins and outs without being overly large”. He added: “I will likely be upgrading to an SD5 for future tours as it has the same footprint and weight as the SD10 but I prefer the fader mechanics and workflow.” In terms of stage sound, Del
how live camera could be integrated into the content during key moments in the set. The wall itself shows a window frame graphic overlay during the show, making the wall appear to be part of the rest of the set.” For the US shows Barrett used a Ross Synergy 3 ME switcher, this allowed independent cutting for the IMAG side-screens, while feeding a separate ME to White’s Green Hippo Karst Servers in order to utilise live camera on the upstage LED wall. All of the video control as well as the media server package was supplied by Phil White’s very own nlitedesign. The video team’s camera package consisted of 2 fixed at FOH with another placed overhead to shoot Del Rey as she lay on the floor LEDs. This image was then streamed onto the upstage LED wall for the song Pretty When You Cry. RIDE (THE FADERS) FOH Engineer, Kevin Madigan took care of Lana Del Rey’s distinct vocals in collaboration with audio vendor, Sound Image. The task of bringing Del Rey’s unique, dreamy intimate pop to arenas was certainly an acoustic challenge for the engineer; but having worked with notable artists such as Crosby, Stills & Nash, Madigan has certainly honed his ear for prominent vocals. “We’re not trying to get huge SPLs. Quality is the key, and that was taken into account with the PA choice and system design,” Madigan noted. The engineer’s PA of choice was an L-Acoustics K1 system, controlled out front with a DiGiCo SD5. “It’s a very vocal-based show and is all about the songs and her voice,” stated Madigan. “Keeping that in mind, I initially
LANA DEL REY
Rey, the band and the dancers were all on IEM. “Everyone is using the Sennheiser 2050’s with Lana and the dancers using Sensaphonics molds with the rest of the band opting for Jerry Harvey JH Audio Roxannes.” Lammi explained a little about the mixes he is working with: “Everything is much as you’d expect, with full and detailed band mixes and more vocal and reverb focus for the singers. There are no audience microphones as vocal mics pick up enough of the audience. We usually doesn’t change much show time and take care of most things at sound check.” For main vocals, a DPA d:facto II wireless capsule was selected. “The d:facto was already in place before I joined the tour,” stated Madigan. “But since day 1 we’ve been getting really great vocals sounds with it.” Other microphones that were used on the set included the Royer Labs Ribbon R-121 and R-10 for guitars. “For drums, we had a fairly AudioTechnica heavy set up bar for the Beyerdynamic M 201 TG for the snare and Audix for the hi-hat,” said Herman. To close, Madigan commented on the support they had received from Sound Image. “The company has had Lana’s US account since 2013 when I recommended them to Lana’s monitor engineer at the time. They have been fantastic; their people and support have been first class.” Abbott echoed this support of the rental company: “Jesse Adamson and Sound Image in San Diego have been with Lana since our first US Tour. Their equipment is excellent and Jesse always goes that extra mile to work with the tour schedules and budgets. He has introduced me to some really wonderful people over the years - Sound Image employ excellent people whose work is of the highest standard.” AGAINST THE CLOCK As you might imagine, touring the US at the start of the year created some logistical barriers for the production. “Starting a tour in
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Minneapolis on 2 January is always going to be challenging,” commented Abbott. “Whilst we didn’t dodge the weather it never stopped us dead. On top of that, the introduction of the ELD (Electronic Logged Devices) driving rules in the US from 18 December 2018 introduced steep a learning curve, which we managed to stay ahead of. It did lead to a few too many travel days in State College, PA; routings and driver scheduling will no doubt evolve in the years to come.” Ensuring the team were at every venue in time was Jim Bodenheimer at Egotrips, suppliers of trucking and bussing. “He is an oracle when it comes to moving equipment and people around the vastness of the US,” enthused the PM. “Thanks to him, we have grown from 1 truck, 2 buses to our current 11-truck, 5-bus tour almost imperceptibly. Our lead drivers, Don Jonhson (trucks) and Jay Tonini (buses), were indispensable, on a professional and personal level.” Also aiding the crew in their travels were EFM, Tourjet and Preferred Travel. “Michael Flood, with EFM in Los Angeles, takes care of our freight requirements having been introduced to the project by Richard Broomfield,” commented Abbott. “Michael is another person who works tirelessly to help keep our tour moving.” Commenting on its involvement with the tour was EFM’s CCO, Lisa Ryan: “EFM have been handling Lana Del Rey’s international freighting for over six years, and we are currently working with her team moving backline and equipment between various shows worldwide, including Hawaii, South America, Australia and Europe. After this US tour, we have air freight moves from Hawaii to South America for back to back shows at Lollapalooza in Buenos Aires and Santiago, then the Estero Picnic Festivals, before heading straight onto Australia, whilst 3 containers of staging and set will be shipped by sea freight simultaneously to Europe, for the kick off of her European tour!” “Dave Davis from Tourjet is a true touring veteran who understand
innately the vagaries of an artist’s needs,” continued Abbott. “Regardless of the challenge, he is there to find a solution.” Last but not least, the PM wanted to mention Joshua Rosenblatt and Dottie Malloy at Preferred Travel, the tour’s “incredibly patient travel agents”. Abbott continued: “It’s astonishing how many times rooming lists and flight requirements can change across a tour. I don’t think either of them has ever failed to answer an email or request regardless of its lateness. They both understand the nuances of tour routings and are an invaluable resource when it comes to hotel and routing choices.” MORE TO COME… With yet another successful tour under her belt, Lana Del Rey’s rise in popularity shows no signs of slowing with an already packed out touring schedule built in for the rest of the year. In closing, Abbott enthused about the success of the tour, but hinted that, “the biggest challenge is still to come,” as the production sets its sights on a South American tour that will see Lana Del Rey bring her Californian dreamscape to the Lollapalooza tour. TPi Photos: Sound Image, L_Acoustics & PRG http://lanadelrey.com www.sound-image.com www.prg.com www.screenworksnep.com https://allaccessinc.com www.sgps.net http://egotrips.net www.starlinerbandservices.co.uk www.nlitedesign.co.uk www.efm.global www.tourjet.net 64
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PARAMORE Following a successful North American tour in support of 2017’s After Laughter, Paramore crossed the Atlantic with a freshly tempered show design for Tour Three, which included shows in Cardiff, London, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow. TPi’s Ste Durham was on site at Manchester Arena to meet the crew.
Paramore - made up of frontwoman Hayley Williams, guitarist Taylor York and drummer Zac Farro - has weathered a number of interpersonal storms in recent years to emerge as an altogether more solid and creatively liberated outfit. Their latest effort is a testament to this artistic freedom. Although the record has retained the same sincere, emotionally charged lyrical content as its predecessors, the corresponding musical and visual aesthetic is more unapologetically bold and eclectic than ever.
While the punchy guitars and infectious energy of Riot! are still there, so too are shimmering synthesisers and funk-inspired grooves. This stylistic evolution has led the creative department to follow suit, with UK audiences being treated to a spectacularly retro production master class, complete with an imposing upstage projection surface. Production Manager, Travis Bing, joined Paramoreâ€™s road crew 8 years before we met at Manchester Arena, and was keen to introduce TPi to his touring family. He began: â€œEveryone out here is hand-picked for a reason,
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Above: FOH Engineer, Will Markwell.
so they tend to stick around. It’s the same with the band’s friends at home. They want to be closer together for this album and create that community among themselves. Their friend Mike Kluge of MKAV has created the video content to match the look of the new album and he nailed them first time. The same goes for their photographers and artwork. They will always choose to work with people they know and trust, or new friends that they have a deep connection with.” When it came to technical suppliers, Bing relaxed this rule somewhat to allow a few fresh faces into the fold. He said: “I’ve always been a fan of Eighth Day Sound’s products so, following a bidding process, we were really happy to welcome them on board at the beginning of the album cycle. Neg Earth is another new one for us and they’ve totally knocked it out of the park. They recreated our US rig perfectly; it’s smooth, it goes up fast, and we’ve been really impressed with their crew.” He continued: “All of the crew over here in the UK have been amazing; they communicate well and have great attitudes. They’re all about chipping in and getting the job done, as well as having great gear - what more can you ask for? We chose Video Design for the first time as well, who have great techs and great gear.” He laughed: “Hopefully its not just because it’s January and we’ve got the cream of the crop!” When it came to bussing and trucking, Bing reverted to his longstanding relationships with industry ever-presents Beat The Street and
Transam Trucking, respectively. “We supplied 5 megacubes for the Paramore tour,” Transam’s Natasha Highcroft explained. “Richard Batchelder was back driving for them again after doing the tour in the summer with them as well. It’s always a pleasure to work with Andrew [Weiss, Tour Manager] and Travis, who both make my job very easy!” Bing continued: “They’ve both been good to us for years and those relationships won’t change any time soon. We had to add a truck quite last minute but it’s reassuring to know Natasha is always there. We’ve also had Bittersweet Catering doing a self-drive in the UK, which has worked out really well for our production. They’re always on time, have great food and manage to keep us all happy despite there being mix of vegan, vegetarian and meat eaters.” VISUALS Production Designer Butch Allen devised the show’s original video and lighting setup, which was altered and refreshed by Cour Designs prior to the European leg to include a large upstage cyc behind the established series of 3 concentric truss rings and screen, which loomed over the audience at a 45-degree angle. Media Server Technician from LMG Touring - and touring Video Director - Grant Draper, managed the tour’s substantial projectionmapping system with an Avolites EX8 Ai Infinity Server and Ai v10.1 software.
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“In terms of video mapping for Paramore, we have multiple planes of convergence and multiple focal points, as everything is on a slant and stepped back on stage,” explained Draper. “There is about a 1.5ft between each circle of the central screen, meaning that even on the most basic level we are not working with a flat plane.” Using 6 layers of content, Draper configured the stage’s projection screens using Ai v10.1’s Autoblend feature. Laying out the mapping as 1 screen surface in the Ai environment, Draper was able to calculate the required warping and blending of the video projection outputs onto the concentric circular screens on stage. “We use 3 Panasonic 32K projectors on the show,” said Draper. “These effectively act as cameras within the Autoblend 3D environment. I just pointed the projectors at the 3D object - the screens - made it fill the full image of the projectors and basically just used it as a line feed of that. I also used geometry correction within the Autoblend environment. Once I go into the warping features within Ai, then on every single output I have discrete geometry control of each object.” He continued: “What used to take me more than 2 hours to set up now takes around 15-30 minutes. This makes a big difference on show day and means less dark time for the whole production.” Orlando’s LMG Touring provided the Ai system, while Video Design supplied the 3 Panasonic PT-RZ31K Laser Projectors, plus a back up, 4 Barco 30k projectors for IMAG, 2 greenMachine Callisto processors, 2 AV Stumpfl 20ft x 11.3ft screen kits, a Ross Video Carbonite Black Plus 2ME System, 3 Sony HXC100 HD cameras, 2 HJ86 Box Lens c/w HD Tripod, a Super Wide Angle Lens, and 3 Marshall CV343-CS Minicams. Draper continued: “One of the things the band really likes is the projector we have rigged on the downstage truss that we fire onto them for
texturing. The content we use on the band more or less mirrors what you see on the screen. You can’t always tell as sometimes it’s just visible on their faces but we have a couple of really cool textures during the blackouts. Our LD Chad Peters controls it all from the grandMA2, essentially taking a white image, colouring it and focusing it on all the individual positions. “From the pit you can get some great camera shots when Hayley is lined up with the circle behind her, due to the angle.” The intimacy of this setup was enhanced by the pair of 16 x 9 IMAG screens being brought in lower and tighter to the stage than usual, giving the effect of a ‘tucked in’ stage, despite its size. Draper continued: “The effects treatment and content have been produced by Mike Kluge from MKAV, and we’ve worked together to create various effects. I use Max MSP, which is a node-based AV synthesiser, to generate some of the graphics system and I have a Ross Carbonite Black for switching shots. I can add and adjust different effects on the fly using a Korg nanoKONTROL as a control surface.” He added: “It’s an evolving creature, which is fun and it gives us something to work on. We have a lot of ‘80s synth-style effects, and when I roll them in with the clean camera and switch on the second ME with the dirty switch you can see the delay. It works out perfectly and gives that additional effect on top, which looks great with the rest of the design.” Lighting Director Chad Peters has worked for the band for 10 years, and has thus witnessed their change in aesthetic first hand. He said: “I think this is probably one of the most developed designs we’ve had. We originally had a giant square of fixtures around the around circle but a show with limited weight and points in Toronto led us to add the cyc and the band liked it more. The Cour re-design is a lot busier than it was before but they wanted more energy out of the rig. It’s been a squeeze to get the gear into the same 72
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Above: Video Director, Grant Draper, PM and Monitor Engineer, Travis Bing; Lighting Director, Chad Peters; FOH Engineer, Will Markwell .
amount of trucks but the fixtures have performed well and all of the Neg much all pre-programmed for me. I just trigger the introductions and then Earth guys are super awesome.” manually fire all of the bumps and blips within the cue structure. The lighting rig at Manchester Arena included 72 Ayrton MagicDot Rs “The projection is a bit challenging to work around - even when you on the circular trusses, 44 MagicBlade Rs on side have songs programmed you have to run them a trusses and towers, 28 Martin by Harman MAC few times and change intensities. It all depending Aura XBs, 6 MAC Viper Profiles, 4 MAC Quantum on how far back the projector is in each arena. Washes, 13 MAC Axiom Hybrids, 10 Chroma-Q Other than that I’d say it’s a simple enough rig to “One of the things the band Color Force 12’s and 24 TMB Solaris Flares. The operate but I think the overall look benefits from light show was controlled by an MA Lighting that.” really likes is the projector we grandMA2 Full Size, while atmospheric effects have rigged on the downstage came from 2 MDG ATMe Haze Generators and 2 FOH SOUND Martin by Harman Jem AF1 fans. One of the newest additions to the fold, FOH truss that we fire onto them Peters gave his take on the intricacies of this Engineer Will Markwell, became acquainted with for texturing. The content we “busy” yet intimate setup: “Originally we tried Paramore thanks to a job history littered with to texture the band with just projection. In the some of the band’s favourite acts, such as Death use on the band more or less redesign Cour decided to add lighting fixtures to Cab for Cutie, AFI, St. Vincent, and Haim. Although mirrors what you see on the the downstage truss. We brought in the Ayrton the engineer had his own opinions on how to mix fixtures for this tour and they have been great. a live band, he was also keen to accommodate screen. You can’t always tell The pan and tilt we can get from the MagicBlades Paramore’s considered approach when it came to as sometimes it’s just visible means we can do more with less of them, and we replicating the evolving sounds of their records in make great use of the Solaris Flares.” some of the UK’s biggest venues. on their faces but we have a He continued: “We can’t align the projectors With the news that he had a heavy-duty couple of really cool textures on the circle and the back cyc as it’s so far back, Adamson rig to play through on the tour, the first so there’s one dedicated to projecting on the port of call for Markwell was to settle on a desk. during the blackouts.” cyc. I control the Ai but we send timecode from He began: “I’ve gone back and forth between a Grant Draper, Ableton to the Ai servers so it lines up with the few different desks recently for different reasons Media Server Tech & Video Director track. Lighting only gets a click but it’s pretty but I’ve ended up going with the S6L, as I believe 74
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it’s such a big leap forward for Avid. The feel of it is great, with nice, smooth great to have that power on tap - it’s controlled but very smooth on the top faders, and I can set things up for my workflow.” end. I had to change my output processing up a little but it really didn’t take Markwell eschewed racks of outboard gear in favour of a judicial long to get used to it. selection of plugins, and avoided snapshots altogether. “I am old enough, “There’s a tonne of it up there, but it’s 3 boxes to a circuit so it’s or should I say lucky enough, to have come up in the analogue world,” he economical - plus those little subs put out an insane amount of volume explained. “Even with a big, multi-input band, I still prefer to just set up per box. The front fills and ground sub array keep everything clean on the with a few compressors and keep things minimal. It allows everything to front of stage, and create even sub coverage around the bowl. We’ve been breathe. using the Adamson software to design everything and it’s really pretty “I keep the mix really simple - there a little de-esser, an 1176 clone on straightforward; plus you don’t have to do much to it, tuning-wise.” Haley’s vocal and a little dynamic EQ. If you listen The next task for the FOH Engineer was to to the reverb on the records, it’s usually just to present the band with what he viewed as the right add width, so I just have a bunch that I switch tool for frontwoman Hayley Williams’ powerful between depending on the song.” lead vocals - the Telefunken M80. He began: “They He continued: “I tend to pan the guitars quite noticed difference in their IEMs right away. I had wide so there’s plenty of room down the middle already gotten Death Cab onto M80’s so I was for the vocals. The keyboards are super wide as already sure of how impressive they were. The well so they aren’t eating up that centre as much. proximity effect is amazing on them. She runs I just get to sit back and have fun with it - shoving around like crazy but it stays tonally consistent “We’re not really a circus like up solos and so on - and just take my time to feel and you don’t hear it out front as much as you do songs out. They are all so different from each with other mics. She’s a loud singer too, which some bigger productions, other that I just get to mix rather than spending helps!” which suits us all just fine. The time doing damage control.” The band had an Abelton setup on stage The main hangs deployed at Manchester kids come here to be wowed by running all of the necessary MIDI changes Arena consisted of 15 Adamson E15’s, 3 E12’s, automatically, as well as processing elements the music and the relationship and 8 E119 subwoofers per side, as well as side such as a mic used for vocoder effects and hangs of 12 E15’s and 3 E12’s per side. The crew of the band, rather than people triggering some stems of backing track from also utilised 8 more E119’s per side as ground record. There was also an Akai MIDI controller that flying round and an arsenal of subs, with 4 S10 cabinets per side as front fill. The could trigger samples. system was driven by 30 Lab.gruppen PLM 20K44 Monitor duties for the tour were taken on by gags and effects.” amplifiers. Production Manager Travis Bing, who looked Travis Bing, Markwell commented: “This system is really forward to his “break time” each day spent at what I’ve been missing. For a band like this it’s the side of stage. “I’ve been with the band for PM & Monitor Engineer 76
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years and the mix hasn’t changed all that much,” he explained. “We have so much rehearsal time to get used to what’s right and what needs work. I can change things on the fly if I think that something’s wrong, but Hayley has full trust in me, and the same goes for the rest of the guys. “Sometimes you just have to listen and put yourself in their headspace often that means standing in their position on stage to trying and hear what they will during the show, and adjusting the mix accordingly.” Bing has favoured a DiGiCo SD10 for the last 4 years, using a Waves server for plugins, while the band opted for Sennheiser 2050 IEM system. He continued: “We used to have a loud stage but they’re more into tones and watching their volume now. They have always been an IEM band and all of them request a pristine, almost CD quality mix. I use a lot of EQ, compression, gates, effects, and so on to achieve this.” Interestingly, Bing opted to set and leave his mixes for the duration of the show, rather than recalling scenes or snapshots for each specific song. “I just watch the guys and make moves accordingly during the show,” he said. “I don’t want to overdo it, and I think just maintaining that composure is a good way of dealing with a band like Paramore. I do set up macros for a quick on/off situation but if it’s under 5 moves for a song I’ll do it by hand.” As well as Williams being keen to adopt Telefunken on stage, guitarist Taylor York has increasingly made use of the company’s products in the studio. “From there we got a drum package and then we wanted to see where else we could use them,” Bing said. “Telefunken has done a great job of upping their presence and the M80 is becoming a popular vocal mic. Hayley says it’s so transparent that it allows her to hear everything - it’s scary how much you can hear every imperfection - so she has fallen in love
with it.” While the overall production was certainly a fitting and impressive one, Bing was eager to highlight how key the Paramore’s sound, musicianship and stage performance were to the show itself. “It all filters down from the band,” he said. “They are all about the music and we want the show to demonstrate that to the audience every night. “We’re not really a circus like some bigger productions, which suits us all just fine. The kids come here to be wowed by the music and the relationship of the band, rather than people flying round and an arsenal of gags and effects. We’ve done confetti and streamers in the past, and we can always evolve or go back to gags in the future, but only when it fits. Right now they’re focussed on surrounding themselves with content creators and designers that are friends and keeping a lot of people close, so that they can put on the best show possible for their fans.” TPi Photos: Andrew Benge & TPi www.paramore.net www.courdesign.com www.mkavarts.com www.8thdaysound.com www.negearth.com www.video-design.co.uk https://lmg.net/touring/ www.beatthestreet.net www.transamtrucking.com www.bittersweetcatering.co.uk 78
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GATECRASHER CLASSICAL Adding some sophistication to a nostalgic playlist of dance anthems, Gatecrasher once again brought the tracks of yesteryear back to life with the help of the Kaleidoscope Orchestra at Sheffield City Hall. TPiâ€™s Stew Hume spoke to the crew who pulled together the pieces for the event.
Following the undeniable success of last October’s 2-date, sold-out Gatecrasher Classical events, Managing Director Simon Raine, Brand Designer Gary Howard and the rest of the Gatecrasher crew joined forces to organise a night of classic club anthems, all masterfully reimagined with full orchestral accompaniment. Despite the theatrical surrounds of Sheffield City Hall, the night still retained the distinct Gatecrasher vibe… “There have been many DJs before us that have explored this concept of dance music with an orchestra, including the likes of Pete Tong,” began Raine. “With last year’s shows and the January event we have put a Gatecrasher spin on the concept, which has worked really well.” For the January show, the production was much bigger, with a larger orchestra made up of 50 musicians and a more dominating visual package. Once again brought on to work the show were Wigwam Acoustics, ER Productions and Stage Production Co. “All 3 of the companies were all a dream to work with,” stated Raine. “It made the show much easier to produce because these guys are so good! All 3 of the companies were the same as the previous year’s peformace and are moving forwards for the next wave of Gatecrasher Classical events.” PRODUCTION WITH ATTITUDE Providing lighting, video and rigging was Birmingham-based Stage Production Co, which ensured Sheffield’s City Hall had the feel of a traditional Gatecrasher club night. Leading the operation for Stage Production Co was Managing Director Jordan Lake, who has a longstanding history with the Gatecrasher tribe. “We at Stage Production Co have collaborated several times with Gatecrasher and I’ve got to know Simon very well over the years,” he began. “They have a very specific look they want to replicate with all their shows.” The show design was a collaborative effort between Lake and his colleague Ben Butler. Lake elaborated: “Essentially, I designed the production of the show but when it came to the lighting design, Ben took over, creating looks for each song on the set list as well as operating live on the night.” Lake and Butler had both been involved with the 2017 event and jumped at the chance to work on another design. “The crowd’s reaction on the first night really took us all back,” stated Lake. “Because the City Hall is a theatre-style venue, as soon as doors opened everyone was very orderly and took to their seats… yet as the first song began, everyone was on their feet in full nightclub mode!” he laughed. “With most shows, you expect to 82
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have to build an atmosphere, but from the get-go it was on! In retrospect, it makes sense, as Gatecrasher have a very faithful following and those attending are from the hardcore dance world - they expect massive production values and it was up to us to deliver!” With the successful shows in October last year, Stage Production Co was keen to step things up for the January incarnation. “We definitely wanted it to be bigger and better this time,” commented Lake. “The orchestra was much larger for this performance so we added multi-level stage risers to give some depth to the stage, as well as the addition of an upstage LED screen. For the lighting rig we also updated from last year, mainly with strobes - at the end of the day you can’t have a trance gig without a healthy dose of strobes!” Stage Production Co’s strobe fixture of choice was the Elation Professional Protron 3K LED Strobe with 22 arranged around the rig. “Personally the Protron is my favourite Elation product they’ve produced. They just keep working! We’ve invested quite heavily over the last few years.” For the orchestra wash, the company deployed 8 Robe ColorWash 2500E ATs. “Although it’s a relatively old fixture, I really enjoy its look especially compared to some of its more modern LED counterparts,” commented Lake. “An even wash for the orchestra was of vital importance, as each musician needed to see both their music stand and the conductor. Fortunately, we have done quite a few shows with the Kaleidoscope Orchestra and we were already aware of what they prefer which makes the design process much simpler. As long as they have good coverage and major flashes or colour scrolls over them, they’re content.” The Protrons were not the only Elation Professional fixture on the rig with 8 CUPIX WW2 Blinders, 6 ACL 360 MATRIX, 16 Rayzor Q12’s and 18 Platinum Beam 5R EXTREMEs. Also present on the rig were 8 Showtec Sunstrip Active DMX and 6 Martin by Harman MAC III Profiles. An Avolites Sapphire Touch and Tiger Touch II console with a Fader Wing was selected for control, both of which were powered by an Avolites’ Titan 10.1 operating system. “My favourite features on this desk are the power and ease of use of effects generators,” said Butler. “Even doing simple movements are really quick and I love the new direction tab that
was recently added to the Shape Generator. You can get some really cool, distinctive looks at a touch of a button.” Butler was also keen to comment on the importance of the console’s Key Frame Shapes feature. “I don’t know how I would programme without this anymore,” enthused the LD. “The possibilities are endless and you’re only limited by your imagination. Things that you can now create in just a few touches would have in the past taken forever. It’s such a user-friendly, intuitive tool and I just love it!” One of the other notable additions from last year’s event was the introduction of timecode to the show’s design. “With the exception of all the strobes and blinders - the ‘eye candy’ - the rest of the show design was completely timecoded,” explained Lake. “In total I think Ben had between 500-600 cues set up. He spent 2 weeks listening to the audio tracks with a click that had been supplied by Wigwam. It’s certainty made the show design much tighter.” Butler gave his final thoughts on his Avoiltes desk. “I’ve always used Avolites consoles, they sit naturally with me and you can get the desk to work with you and how you like to work, rather than it dictating to you how it should be.” The LD continued: “Stage Production Co stock lots of Avolites desks and the Sapphire Touch is my go-to console for almost every show.” Stage Production Co also provided an upstage LED screen that was used throughout the evening to display some of the lyrics to the songs as well as showing the Gatecrasher logo along with other hashtags the audience could use to share the experience with the wider world. “With most dance shows, you have a DJ in the centre of it all who can interact with the crowd,” stated Lake. “Because for this show we have an orchestra and a conductor with his back to the audience, that similar interaction could not happen. But having an LED screen displaying the words of the songs certainly added more of a human touch to the show. At points we also had some other words to encourage more of an audience reaction ‘make some fucking noise’ was particularly popular,” laughed Lake. The product of choice was a DMT Pixelmesh P12, which was ground stacked behind the orchestra. “We were keen to not obscure the view of Sheffield Hall’s architecture,” explained Lake. “This meant we couldn’t 84
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hang it on a truss as chains would obscure the view so we had to keep the whole screen only 3m in height. It was a great effect when it all came together.” To close, Lake discussed some of the logistical challenges: “This venue is great to work in and has an amazing in-house team. Our real issue was timing; last year we had 2 days to load-in for the performance where as this time we had just one. In effect, we treated the gig as a touring perforce, despite the fact this was a one-off show. We pre-rigged trusses and looms to speed up load-in.”
Raine had a clear vision and a respect for the technical production process. I remember operating lasers at Gatecrasher One Club, taking directions from Simon when I was 19 and he really cared about the visual elements; the technology may have come a long way since then but this has never changed.” BRINGING THE NOISE Also on board was Wigwam Acoustics, which provided audio reinforcement for the extravaganza. The sound specialist provided a complete d&b audiotechnik V-Series, complete with V-SUBs and J-SUBs, along with a Q-Labs playback rig for all the timecode elements of the show. Wigwam Project Manager, Tom Bush, walked TPi through the company’s involvement with the Gatecrasher organisation: “The concept of Gatecrasher Classical was first explained to us back in April 2017, with ideas being bounced around as how to produce the right kind of sound for Simon Raine, Gary Howard and Scott Bond. Meetings and site visits ensued in Sheffield between May and June to discuss venues and stage setups. This is where the all-important Tim Crooks, conductor for the show, joined us at Sheffield site visits. It was clear after brief conversations with Scott and Gary that the trust was there for me to go away and build a system and audio crew capable of delivering everything Gatecrasher sonically deserved for this production.” Bush went on to discuss the performance of the PA during the night. “The d&b V-Series PA did so well for the first 2 performances last year that very little was changed for the re-visit in January.” An element that did see some alteration was the ground stack, which the Wigwam team “tweaked for wider dispersion,” according to Bush, adding: “Our main goal for the PA was to produce a clear orchestra mix throughout the venue but then to switch to a club vibe when the tracks called for it. My belief is that no matter where you are positioned in the venue, the audio quality shouldn’t be diminished.” “When I first got the brief for the Gatecrasher Classical gig, I straight
LASER LIGHT Working alongside Stage Production Co, the evening’s laser show was provided by ER Productions and its arsenal of 49 fixtures. Having worked with Gatecrasher for over 20 years, Marc Webber, Co-Founder of ER Productions, was thrilled to collaborate with the legendary club brand again. Webber worked closely with the brand’s designer, Gary Howard, to create a laser scheme that put the audience at the centre of the show. “Our main objective was to create an immersive visual experience for the audience using lasers, whilst making the venue feel more like an underground dance venue or rave. We rigged the lasers to terminate onto balconies, across the roof and onto the stage so that the revellers were at the heart of the action,” he commented. To create the look, ER Productions supplied a huge laser package comprised of 19 Laserblade fixtures, 6 Tripan systems, 12 Kinekts and 12 BB3 lasers. A powerful combination of 4 LOOK Solutions Viper deLuxe smoke machines and Unique Hazers provided the laser show’s all important atmospheric effects. The entire show was controlled using Pangolin BEYOND and High End Systems Road Hog 4 for the DMX fixtures. Webber continued: “This is the third Gatecrasher Classical we’ve been involved with, which has let us progress with our design and programming work. I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved. Even in the ‘90s, Simon 86
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away went for d&b,” commented Wigwam’s System Tech, Craig Burns. “ I feel it has the tonality and the control that other PA systems just don’t.” “Our FOH Engineer decided that a split system was the way forward in Sheffield City Hall,” commented Burns. “It was a tricky combination of achieving club level SPL without feedback and maintaining tonality. I was also limited with ground stack and sub positions, so chose to fly some V-SUBs to complement the upstairs with the required low end. The cardioid subs offered massive rejection to the rear and the control of the J-Series ground stack was a massive help. The system was ran AES from FOH direct into a Calisto then into the Optocore offering transport down fibre directly to the amps. I feel the results speak for themselves with a FOH LEQ of 110db over 15 achieved with a live orchestra on stage!” For control, Wigwam deployed a DiGiCo SD7 for FOH with an SD10 for monitors. “Long term favourite Wigwam engineers Francoise Le Moignan at FOH and Ralph Smart at Monitors worked the show,” stated Bush. “They were both chosen for their amazing capabilities cross-genre orchestral shows. For playback we had Oliver Twiby and James Smallwood while our Stage Tech was Will Cooper.” Le Moignan talked to TPi about the advantage of her setup. “We were running all DiGiCo consoles on an Optocore loop,” stated the FOH Engineer. “This gives us great flexibility with sending TTS and also any stems I created at FOH. The SD7 is a great console for laying out my channels. We were at 120 inputs at FOH and the flexibility of placing channels where I want them, making the show feel very comfortable to mix on this console, plus the SD series has great sounding head amps too.” She continued by outlining the challenges: “Due to the high SPL levels needed from the orchestra in this kind of show I double mic the strings using DPA 4099’s and Schertlers. I find the DPA mics give a really natural sound of the strings but for level I can always use the Schertler. I always have my guys on stage go and check all positions of DPA’s. The pickup works well due to the tight cardioid pattern but I really can’t have
any microphones placed badly. It may mean a little bit longer when the orchestra first set up but every db counts when there are that many open mics on stage.” All woodwind musicians used the DPA 4099 model. For dynamics, the classic Shure SM57 was used for horns and brass with Shure KSM137 condensers for percussion. “The audience on this type of show tends to be very loud,” commented Le Moignan. “I find myself having my mix levels dictated by the crowd noise.” As well as the orchestra Wigwam also catered for a keyboard player, guitarist and 4 different vocalists. All vocals were on Shure wireless Beta 58a. Due to the high levels of musicians the goals was to have “as little stage sound as possible”, according to Bush, opting to have all musicians on Sennheiser 2000 IEMs, all provided by Wigwam. Bush gave his final thoughts on the event. “With all new productions there are always bound to be teething problems - it’s all par for the course - but with the experienced crew we had on hand, we were able to deal with any issues that arose. All in all it was an amazing production and a pleasure to be involved in. With yet another dance-classical cross over night under its belts, Gatecrasher has once again proved that these polar opposite genres can create a highly entertaining evening. For now, Gatecrasher is hard at work planning its next extravaganza - Gatecrasher Laser Unity - which will take place on Easter Sunday. But Raine left TPi with one final hint that the Gatecrasher Classical event will also soon spread its wings to other cities. Manchester and London, you’d better get ready... TPi Photos: Gatecrasher and Stage Production Co www.gatecrasher.com www.stageproductionco.com www.er-productions.com www.sseaudiogroup.com/wigwam 88
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IN PROFILE: CLAIR GLOBAL From garage hobby to world-class service provider, the name Clair has been a mainstay in the pro audio industry for over 50 years. Far from being a traditional company though, here, the third generation of employees are carving a path for new beginnings, new territories and new traditions that deliver no matter what the challenge…
Brothers Roy and Gene Clair began what was - unknowingly - to become one of the world’s largest audio rental houses from their mother’s garage in the 1960s. In an age of opportunity, curiosity would soon turn into a fully-fledged business, namely when a Frankie Vallie & The Four Seasons concert hit Pennsylvania in 1966 and required local sound reinforcement. And, although you could say the rest is history, the history is still very much being made. Clair has since designed, engineered and manufactured both consoles and loudspeakers, the latter of which is what its known for today. Japan, Europe, and Australia have benefitted from the Clair legacy over the last few decades too, and more recently, Clair Global, as the worldwide touring and festival markets know it today cemented its presence into the UK marketplace with its acquisition of the legendary Britannia Row Productions, one of Britain’s most respected and successful rental companies. Today, Clair’s HQ stands where it all began: Lititz, in rural Pennsylvania.
Upon first glance, it would appear there’s little here: a local chocolate enterprise named Wilbur, some twee breakfast cafes, a bar that wouldn’t be out of place in a 1980s Bruce Springsteen music video and some cargo enabling train tracks. Yet the company’s headquarters, now known as the Rock Lititz Campus, which was created in partnership with stage titan TAIT Towers, is an industry-specific business area comprised of innovation not found anywhere else in North America. The futuristic thinkers, technical innovators and, most importantly, staff loyalty found here allows Clair to remain at the top of its game and progress at a dizzying speed. This farmland setting [think Amish country meets world-class, multi-disciplined touring specialists – oh you can’t? Then do go and visit…] is brimming with various generations of talent. There is excitement present, but - refreshingly - no ego. As soon as I arrive, there are British, Irish, and an abundance North American accents to be heard around the mighty lot. And of course, there are mix engineers and system techs of impressive calibre dropping by for one thing or another. 90
Opposite: The Rock Lititz Campus; Rock Lititz Rehearsal Studio; The Phish sound design; Roy & Gene Clair in the ealry years. Below: Clair is a deisgn, engineer & manufacturing powerhouse as well as a global rental company; Design engineer, Jim Bowesox, Steve Callebert, Operations Manager, and Director of Engineering, Manufacturing and Marketing, Kelsey Gingrich; A look at a historial Clair system utilised for an Elvis concert.
A GENERATION THING It seems that a lot has changed in very little time regarding Clair’s approach to telling the world exactly what it does, aside from just the obvious. When I first began writing about the company, I’ll be the first to admit that it seemed like a mysterious - and otherworldly located - rental house. I suppose in a way, it is. Except when I visit now, I get to hug my favourite receptionist and catch up with lots of familiar faces. If I could pinpoint when exactly the barrier between press and manufacturer / rental house came down, bar a few emails to various staff members, I would say Shaun, a third-generation Clair and VP of Sales, attended the TPi Awards (thanks DiGiCo!) and began to realise, that as an industry publication, we like to know the people behind the companies we feature. After all, without the people, we’re simply left with black boxes that make things louder (and far drier words on a page). Fast-forward 2 years. Shaun Clair has without question absorbed the family work ethic, alongside his brother Matt, sons of Troy, whose father was co-founder Gene. What I find fascinating is that there’s - as far as I can see - no hierarchy that comes with the namesake among their peers. Camaraderie, however, is present in spades. Instead, Clair today has an international team of key players. At the Lititz HQ, they’re humble and welcoming and full of knowledge far superior than their years would have you believe. In truth, there’s so much happening here at any moment, it’s hard to keep up between visits! An on-site hotel is being built outside the Rock Lititz Rehearsal Studio, the first purpose-built space if its kind on these shores. They’ve thought of everything possible to make it a place people would want to not just work, but enjoy living. En route back from a successful Tour Link conference in Palm Springs, I make the trip to Philadelphia from LA with Shaun, and consequently the drive back to lovely little Lititz. A curveball is thrown. It wasn’t the phrase: “So driving is kind of like a team sport with me”, because, unless you’re a codriver in a racing rally tournament, let’s just agree that: It’s actually bloody not young man. (Although, seeing as I couldn’t work the radio, I’ve come to
the conclusion that country music isn’t that terrifying to English ears). No, no, the curveball came in the form of this sentence: “Tomorrow when you’re looking around the campus, I want you to meet our doctor, Julie.” To which my response was somewhere along the lines of: “What does that mean?! Why do I need to see the doctor? I didn’t network - ahem drink - that much at Tour Link.” Turns out, this was not in fact a gin intervention, but an invitation to see that the Rock Lititz Campus now has a resident doctor who provides concierge health care for its employees, and Clair was the first company on the plot to offer the medical package out. Clair, as you’ll soon find out, makes a priority of looking after its staff... The following morning at the Rock Lititz HQ, Kelsey Gingrich, Director of Engineering, Manufacturing & Marketing took up the story on what allows this company to be in the successful position it’s in today: “At Clair, we really know who our clients are. For us, it’s all about building relationships. The brand of the company is something I’m personally very passionate about; whether it’s the internal side - how we communicate with our own employees - or the external brand in general. I think it’s the cohesive unit I care about. I like looking beyond the product into other areas of the company and finding out what can improve.” At just 31, Gingrich not only holds an impressive position within the company, but also has an existing and improving knowledge of its various components, which, as you can tell, he is constantly trying to better. “I’m also pursuing my Master’s Degree in Business right now, so I was able to shift my focus into marketing through that programme,” he added. [He’s also personally renovating his apartment, so make sure he’s getting enough sleep, yeah Julie?!] Gingrich continued: “Clair believes it’s vital to create a path for their employees to progress. They’ve been really good about asking me what my own goals and passions are, and then putting me in a place where I can realise them. I think that’s a big part of why people stick around for a career here. My generation is known for lasting smaller amounts of time at one company, but Clair has a tendency - perhaps because of the value they put on people’s development - to keep people around. You begin to feel like a 91
Jason Heitmann, Business Systems Manager; Shaun Clair, VP of Sales with brother Matt Clair of the Data Services Dept, and Ben Harris, Network Architect.
part of the family and part of the vision.” There’s a team of 12 engineers Gingrich directs, stating that his goal is to “put them on projects where they’re in a position to be the most successful, so really it’s a lot of facilitation, removing roadblocks, and prioritising projects”. He continued: “My goal in engineering, manufacturing and marketing is to make sure we’re focussed, but that we’re also giving time in the schedule to allow for a process of creativity to happen - that’s how you’re able to shift perspectives and eventually move forward. I try to take it through periods of intense focus and productivity and then periods where it’s a little laxer so people have space to explore their thoughts.” Does being a similar age as Matt and Shaun and not literally being a part of the family ever cause issues? “Not at all. The Clairs have been able to figure it out in a very healthy way. I’d rather have 2 people that are Matt and Shaun’s age - at the third-generation level of the company - that are very passionate and engaged and have a lot of direction for where they want to see things go - than something old school I couldn’t relate to. There’s probably a cliché that typically speaking, the third generation has an innate sense of entitlement, where you don’t have to work as hard, and you just coast. But here, we’re really lucky to have the work ethic of Shaun and Matt. It’s honestly something that transmits to everyone who works here.” Now, I’ve never really known anyone in this industry who doesn’t work hard, who doesn’t disregard office hours or time zones if something needs to happen fast, but it’s certainly true in this case that this work ethic has been instilled. From an encyclopaedic knowledge of sound engineers to a fundamental understanding of the importance of each level of touring, the faces of Clair in 2018 are clearly enjoying new chapters. Continued Gingrich: “We pride ourselves on being able to do the stuff that’s big and complex, and on a global scale but we’re also working on the cultivation of new clients and finding smaller acts that we can grow with. “Our goal is to gain exposure to our products but also establish a history of support and service, for example, even if we aren’t the audio provider for
a tour, we’re still friendly with people, so we help them out if it’s needed. We care about the industry, and we want to put that foot forward. If you’re with Clair, it’s in your DNA to put service first.” Long-standing relationships clearly exist too. Last year U2’s Joshua Tree tour was at the top of Clair’s highest-grossing tours. “That’s one client we’ve had a really special relationship with. They’re always trying to push the boundaries of what’s possible and that’s something that really excites us.” Further still, exposure to new clients doesn’t mean the client is new to the industry, as one of the biggest names in pop has joined the Clair team; Justin Timberlake is an exciting new project here. Of course, it’s not just new clients that Clair is investing in; it’s new people too, with Dave Lester, Director of Education & Safety at the helm of taking in the new staff. Continued Gingrich: “From a road training perspective, we usually do 1 or 2 classes per year, with around 6 people in each. With the growth we’re seeing, we’re starting to increase that number to keep up. Dave puts the students through our RIT (Roadie In Training) programme which can last up to 20 weeks; half the day they’re in a different department in the shop, and the other they’re with him learning either the technical or political necessities of being on tour. He has an entire curriculum set up, and a strong emphasis on leadership mindset. We’re also starting to put a big focus on emotional intelligence during that training.” Emotional intelligence as part of roadie school? Hooray! At a time when the industry is in a rather vocal state on the mental health pressures of being on the road, Clair is bringing it into its curriculum, as Gingrich explained: “We put a lot of emphasis on mindfulness in terms of selfawareness, and how we interact as people towards each other; if you have the self-awareness to understand why you’re frustrated, you can improve that, and if our internal engine is running smoothly, it’s bound to give a better client experience. That’s important for everyone. It’s also something that some of us here are also passionate about - how do we create a culture that makes people want to be here and remain happy in and able to do their jobs with purpose?” 92
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THE BRITISH ARE COMING! (BUT, NOTHING WILL REALLY CHANGE…) This new era of thinking for its road crew and office-based employees is not just localised to the US. This teamwork is also trans-Atlantic. Enter Britannia Row. Gingrich said: “It’s been interesting to see the different skills and thought processes that they have in the UK. Working with Josh Lloyd, who is a similar age to myself, and trying to sit back and follow his lead, learn from him and use that as an opportunity for growth here, has been a lot of fun. From a training perspective, it’s now about getting our guys trained so we can offer seamless support on each continent. We’re following their lead and focusing on being their support arm in the US. It really strengthens our road crew to have knowledge of both the Clair Cohesion and L-Acoustics systems that Brit Row use. It’s been nothing but a positive union.” There are currently boxes of K1 sat in the Clair warehouse which have been shipped over for P!nk’s US tour, this happens on a case-by-case basis. This might seem like something a marketing person would or should say, but let’s be clear, when unforseen tragedy struck Ariana Grande’s concert in Manchester last May - and a consequential benefit concert was decided upon shortly after, Clair - Ariana’s sound vendor, and Brit Row, their new UK-based counterpart - joined forces with gargantuan results. “My involvement was getting the right people on the team talking to Brit Row early on to find out exactly what we needed to make it happen,” said Gingrich. In 5 days, the concert was a globally-watched success. “We flew Jim Bowersox, our Design Engineer over so that he could collaborate inperson. The teams worked so well together, it was almost easy, despite all of the challenges. I think that came down to the fact that the values of Clair and Brit Row are so aligned; we’re both trying to maintain the experience that the people who created this industry still bring to the table, alongside new ideas and fresh talent.” Operations Manager Steve Callebert joined the conversation: “We’re 2 completely different companies when you look at it from the outside looking in, yet we all have the same goals. If you’d have asked me 2 years ago what I thought of how Brit Row operates, of course I would have said that what we do is better! Yet in truth, what they do is very smart and well thought out. I hope their success can do the same for us. Joining forces has
taken down that competitive wall, and it’s working out incredibly well. We can learn from each other’s practices, but we aren’t under pressure to be exactly the same, we’re actually able to maintain our individual identities and that’s a big asset for us. “It also seems to be what the clients want. It’s 2 different worlds all under the same umbrella, so going towards the same goal but with different ways of achieving that goal.” UNEXPECTED RESULTS Part of what has propelled Clair into the top tier of touring in recent times, is its newest PA offering, the Cohesion. Jim Bowersox, Design Engineer and one of the masterminds behind Cohesion chimed in: “Before Cohesion, we took a step back and asked ourselves, ‘What are other people doing? And what’s missing?’ We were learning what sound mixers liked from other systems, what they didn’t, and what they needed. We were able to implement some of those ideas and create a very well-received product. “We started Cohesion from scratch and we knew it had to be efficient. It’s all about compromise; everyone is bound by the same laws of physics and the same technology that’s readily available, so it’s all about what comprises you make for your overall design. We wanted it to be a compact size. Some people simply see ‘bigger is better’, but that’s not necessarily true - bigger is arguably less efficient. Gingrich added: “We went down 2 parallel paths during the design and the one that Bowersox was the champion of initially had a lot of criticism and questioning into whether it would work. It was the only time since I’ve been here that the entire team listened blind, and every single person picked the same path. It just so happened to be the path that nobody thought was going to work. That was really the evolution of this product.” Bowersox, added: “The process was a very organic evolution. We had the first array of Cohesion next to the i-5’s and we realised that although the i-5 was fine on its own, next to it, the Cohesion sounded much better. We turned it all the way up - so loud that I personally couldn’t even stay in the room - and it didn’t falter! From there on, we knew we really had something special. It was clear we were going to have to make a whole bunch of them. The team worked especially hard on the manufacturing efficiency of it all.
“I think it’s important within this global, corporation-run world that we have a familyrun and independent business doing well. It makes it feel all the more worthwhile. I wouldn’t want to work for a corporation and have some conglomerate of investors telling us what we can and can’t do...” Steve Callebert, Operations Manager
We said we wanted to make 2 systems, which we figured would be around 112 boxes - 56 boxes for 2 full-scale arena size PAs - in the first year. It ended up on U2’s 2015 Innocence + Experience tour and so we actually made over 800 boxes in the first year, just to meet demand. It all happened a lot faster than we expected & it was a radical departure for us too; we went from being one of the heaviest PAs to one of the lightest systems in the market.” There’s now over 1,800 boxes of Cohesion CO-12’s. Callebert furthered: “It was exciting for us to see a new technology come out then for Troy Clair to find a way to make more or less our entire inventory change over to that system within 2 years. That’s a cool example of the generations within the company working together.” Clair does still stock the i-5, but the majority of what goes out the door now is Cohesion, a product switch never seen before in the company’s entire history. The constant evolution hasn’t gone unnoticed by its staff. “The company moves at a pace that makes our head spin, but it’s pretty exciting to be able to flip your entire inventory over in that time frame when 94
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your company is this big globally…” he added. Naturally, that doesn’t just require a change of speakers themselves; but the cables, software, rigging requirements etc. Bowersox added: “At the start of 2015 we thought we were going to have 2 systems, and that quickly went up to 20 in a couple of months, so planning how to accomplish that was pretty insane… For me it’s been pretty amazing what Steve and the Ops team have been able to do, to step in with all this change going on in the inventory, and be able to keep up with it, it’s pretty staggering,” Bowersox noted. “Other than the interview process with the mixers, in terms of the actual hardware, we kept it all very secret, so it almost came as a surprise to people who worked here - I don’t even think Shaun knew all the details until it was almost finished! Throughout the process, we were bringing people in to listen and instead of focusing technically on what was going on, we asked them: ‘what are you hearing? What are you experiencing?’ “We’ve done so many demos in the last couple years - at least 100 - and it’s been huge for getting the word out on Cohesion. People look at us in a new light. After this experience, we feel the best way to address any question is to sit down one on one, and communicate. Listening is a far superior tool to any other kind of marketing we’ve come up with…”
moving to Switzerland to spend more time with Audio Rent and Britannia Row. Heitmann optimises the company’s processes for sales, management, warehouse logistics, and meets with international companies that have come on board in order to integrate their systems into Clair’s - and conducts the consequential training. And Matt Clair who started in the family business 8 years ago in operations - which he managed for 5 years - before moving into this area. He said: “I’m now focusing on the third generation and what we can achieve. I work with Shaun day in, day out, learning about his ideas on the sales side, as he comes from a very technical background as well.” The question here is, within such a legacy of pro audio, what drove the younger generation of Clairs to venture into data services for festivals? Matt stated: “There were actually a lot of forces pushing us this direction. When we first ventured into broadcast (RF & Comms) 5 years ago, the video / TV side followed and had an increased need for networking. Around the same time, we updated a media streaming technology that we’d been pursuing since the early ‘90s so that the delivery mechanism was now via Wi-Fi in high-density environments. As our team designed and built these rapidly deployable systems, we focused on the touring market and how to conquer low latency media streaming in that kind of demanding environment. Gingrich added: “Touring is definitely our largest market but the greatest need for data services currently exists in the festival world. No matter the market, our goal with this product line is to provide anything from robust fan-facing WiFi to seamless production IT services. Heitmann joined in: “We’re working on one app that does the media streaming to peoples’ ear buds to supplement audio from the main PA, and another that turns peoples’ phones into a lighting element of the show. Meaning the LD can take control of phones from the crowd and flash colours, turn on the camera flash to strobe, display images and play sounds through the phone… we’re trying to tackle that next level of fan engagement that gets people involved, but also provides the production itself with a way to communicate to the crowds. This could also be a way to send out safety messages at events if they perceive there to be any kind of weather event or security threat. Having the networking and data services at our company, we’re always looking for new ways to integrate those services and systems into the event and the unity that comes from a production.”
A NEW ERA Another arm of the Clair machine is its newest limb of innovation, Clair Data Services. Ben Harris, Network Architect oversees internal networking, as well as networking, design and engineering for deployments on the road and at festivals. What has this got to do with pro audio, you ask? In a very clever way, everything, as Harris explained: “As audio grows and expands, and we’re introduced to new technologies and inter-connected equipment, networking is at the forefront of a lot of that. So, we’re paying more attention to how we deploy these systems, how we can do that more consistently, while evaluating new technologies to be brought in for reliability and standard of quality. “Building on over 50 years of touring experience, this is a new product line for us. It’s exciting to take what we know and apply that to networking and grow that side of the company.” The Data Services team also includes Jason Heitmann who recently accepted the role of VP of Operations for European Markets and will be 96
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Harris continued: “Part of the platforms that we’re building enable all these types of augmented / virtual realities be delivered to the fans reliably. The infrastructures we’re working on and refining are to ultimately enhance the fan experience.” “Something I find really interesting is that this is the first generation where you can go to a festival without cash or even your credit card, because your ticket or wristband is your access to food, beverage and merchandise,” Matt concluded. “Point of sale, access control, and other festival ops increasingly rely on professional and robust networks. We’re not providing the cars; we’re providing the highway. As Clair grows, we will continue to strengthen our networking core, and focus on supporting the next generation of live touring.” REAL RETENTION There’s a world of innovation behind these doors that simply keeps finding new ways to make the live productions an exciting and a comfortable place to be a part of no matter which side of the experience you’re on. Gingrich gave his closing thoughts: “The most fulfilling thing about working here, I think, is the ability to feel like you’re a part of something. When you see a product go from a napkin sketch, to the computer, to a prototype, to then being in front of 100,000 people, it’s extremely fulfilling. We’re in awe of being a part of the events we work on.” Callebert noted: “I think it’s important within that, that in this global, corporation-run world we have a family-run and independent business doing well. It makes it feel all the more worthwhile. I wouldn’t want to work for a corporation and have some conglomerate of investors telling us what we can and can’t do - here, we just advise each other until we can do it in the best way.” The final word goes to Bowersox: “We have amazing employee retention; from a client perspective, for them to come in and see the same people, especially if you’re on tour or need to call the shop. It’s not a faceless company. We all really like what we do here and good retention is encouraging for business but I think it’s quite rare in this third generation… and that’s what makes us different.” As my time in Lititz came to an end, and I said my goodbyes, we stopped for a group photo of the team by a map of the world in reception. On it, there’s a photo of Shaun. It’s swiftly moved from the West Coast back to the rural East. “Shaun travels so much that we keep his face on the map to keep track of him,” said Gingrich. The photo is from his college days, and depicts some kind of comical injury. Just the kind of behaviour you’d expect from working in an environment with your siblings / teammates / best pals. And a familiar sentiment echoes; down with hierarchy, this is 2018. I travelled out of the picturesque town towards Philadelphia airport by train. I got talking to a young student who was about to start a semester at a university in London. I told him I’d been to Lititz for a bit of work, and was on my way back to Manchester. “Lititz? Really? Lititz? Do you work in chocolate?” I told him not quite (although I’m open to endorsements, Wilbur), but he should know, that far from the loud cries of London town, there are things happening in Lititz he couldn’t begin to dream of. Thank goodness dreaming didn’t stop the first generation of Clair brothers in the 1960s... TPi www.clairglobal.com 98
IN PROFILE: TSL TPi talks to Sam Tamplin, Managing Director of TSL, about the company’s beginnings, successful expansion and new rigging division.
TSL began life as Tamplin Stage Lighting in 2006, a start-up enterprise stoked by founder Sam Tamplin’s passion for the life of a ‘lampy’. From honest beginnings with some second-hand lights, a van, and a seemingly endless supply of enthusiasm, the company’s mission statement has remained the same; to provide quality equipment and great customer service at a fair price. The last 12 years have seen the business expand organically, after rebranding as TSL early on, it soon outgrew its original Brighton base, diversified into rigging and, in recent years, made some timely acquisitions - of Point Source in 2016 and Blinding Light at the beginning of this year.
Despite that upward trajectory, the culture of positivity, honesty and integrity flourished under Tamplin’s philanthropic guidance. Even the relocation to 20,000sq ft of the Gatwick Gate Industrial Estate and the addition of a further 20,000sq ft at Blinding Light in Basingstoke has failed to dwarf the human scale of TSL, as its employees tackle the trade rental, corporate, live music and events markets - as well as dry hire, sales and installation - with equal enthusiasm. So TSL Rigging now exists too, as Tamplin explained: “Our customerfocussed lighting service was working really well,” he said. “I saw a gap for a similarly supportive rigging operation. It has a different skill base;
Opposite and Below: TSL’s founder Sam Tamplin speaks to TPi about the company’s new rigging department and plans for the future.
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we have an in-house draughtsman, who acts as a first port-of-call for back-end support, while we have well-known, specialist riggers available to work as crew chiefs on site. So the technical side of it is a different discipline, but the account management and project management is rolled into one. That’s our USP, I believe: to have these handlers who can see the big picture, while being experts in their own particular fields.” TSL’s customers are as variable as an infinite dimmer. “We tend to deal with the trade a lot,” he revealed. “As well as agencies and production companies, either freelance production managers or lighting designers, who are specifying for a particular event, or even freelance riggers whom we support with drawings, crew and equipment. We will also recommend partners in other disciplines for those customers who might want a complete package with audio and so on, but those partners will often come back to us for lighting and rigging support for that job. We’ve built up a lot of trust and loyalty in that way.” The influx of recent newcomers to the company have largely been hand-picked to
suit the myriad market sectors addressed by TSL, their experience and reputation applied according to vertical principles. “We service a very broad range of market sectors, because we’ve got the people who know them inside out,” Tamplin continued. “That’s typical of how we’re expanding in a way that enables us to dedicate expertise exactly where it’s needed.” Other new recruits include Dominic Sheerman and Loz Wilcox, both former Blinding Light employees who joined TSL in January 2018 prior to TSL’s acquisition of the company at the start of 2018. Originally, this move was designed to allow TSL to look after the seemingly unquenchable corporate market, but with the acquisition of Blinding Light, TSL is provided with a ready-made leadership team who know the new company inside-out. In contrast to such specialist personnel, equipment is selected on a more universal basis. “We tend to buy kit that serves across the various markets, with generic solutions such as dimmers and Fresnels and expected standards such as ETC Source Fours, while Martin by Harman MAC Vipers and Auras are in huge 101
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demand for concert touring, corporate events, theatre and trade rental. was an offer that Tamplin didn’t want to refuse, he explained. “It was an Products like these are going out every day on all sorts of different jobs.” opportunity that came knocking at our door, and it worked because the He also notices where the latest developments in technology are taking equipment and the people they had really complemented our own. It filled TSL. “Lighting control networks have been around for a while, but they’re a number of vacancies! And they were passionate, ambitious people just becoming ever more complex and the backup needed to support them like we are, wanting to do things bigger and better at every stage. The Point is becoming more and more specific,” he said. “I Source staff quickly became integral to TSL and think this is a result of how people are beginning remain so to this day.” to understand this technology better: they’re Tamplin’s focus on saftey, in every corner looking at single points of failure and getting of the business, reveals the innate sense of much more granular about how to protect the responsibility he has always felt, and is further system. As a consequence of that, we’re investing expressed in his investment in staff training: every in more networking products than ever before. staff member has recently completed H&S training “With our Fibre Arena systems, for example, “We service a very broad range and either a 3-day BS 7909 electrical standards you get 2 fully redundant systems and, even within course or a 2-day intermediary electrical training of market sectors, because those, there is more redundancy built in - plus course. Well, they are family, after all… A-B failover switching, which can be automatic or “With over 50 staff now, there’s more we’ve got the people who manual, according to your requirements. It’s same happening that I don’t necessarily witness firstknow them inside out. That’s with the consoles: the MA Lighting grandMA2 hand, so I want to make sure that every action one of our primary consoles - is evolving some typical of how we’re expanding anyone takes is the right one, the safest one and highly complex networking. Even a regular gig at one that contributes to their understanding. in a way that enables us to Brixton Academy will have a fully backed-up fibre Whether they’ve been here for 3 months or 3 solution, and that’s becoming another one of our years, everyone matters.” dedicate expertise exactly USPs: anything that leaves here will have a really TPi where it’s needed.” solid backbone, with redundancy as standard.” Photos: The Fifth Estate The acquisition of Point Source in 2016 www.tsllighting.com Sam Tamplin 102
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NAMM 2018 NAMM once again opened its doors to musical instrument enthusiasts from around the world to see the latest and greatest developments in instruments and technology. This year also had a notable addition to its regular format – a whole new hall dedicated to pro audio. TPi’s Stew Hume spoke to NAMM’s President and CEO, Joe Lamond about the latest developments to the show.
Many in this industry would agree that, compared to some of its counterparts, NAMM has a different feel to others in the annual tradeshow circuit. Perhaps it’s the sheer number of famous musicians that grace the show with their presence or even the contagious enthusiasm of the attendees - there really is no other show like NAMM. For several years now, as well as attracting music product enthusiasts, NAMM has also welcomed a collection of companies and experts from the pro audio end of the live events spectrum. With the growing interest each year from this side of the industry, NAMM opted to expand its offering by introducing a whole new hall – the ACC North. With 2 floors of PA, control consoles and microphones in the north hall of the Anaheim Convention Center, and event technology in Hall A, the new addition certainly seemed a hit for exhibitors and attendees alike. “NAMM’s vision of bringing the global music and sound ecosystem together in one place for the benefit of all has been something we’ve been thinking carefully about for some time now,” began NAMM’s CEO and President, Joe Lamond. “There have been so many changes in NAMM’s 117-year history, but one of the common themes found throughout has been a deep desire to serve our members and to give back by promoting music and
music education for all; something we think unites all the musical tribes. Deep down, we all love music and feel it is a course for good in the world. Our ‘Crossroads’ plan is part of our long-term vision and was reflected in everything we did this year.” “Discussing the response to the new addition, Lamond described the reaction to have been, “very positive.” He continued: “There were many changes with the expanded campus this year and our members were very patient with us as we navigated them. We got some of it right and we’ll get more of it right next time!” The CEO expressed how the latest addition to the show format truly recreated the musical journey of its members. “We’ve now got it covered from the first instrument a child might pick up all the way to the most complex gear used in large concerts and festivals, and everything in between. Creating these new ‘neighborhoods’ that gathered our many segments was really exciting when laying it all out on the computer, but we weren’t sure if it would actually work when we got onsite. The other area that we took a bit of risk with was in creating the large NAMM U Education Campus with the first 5 floors of the Hilton Hotel (which is just a short walk from the main show floor). We learned a lot and have already made several changes for next year.” But the CEO was incredibly candid 104
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Below: NAMM’s President and CEO, Joe Lamond; A view of the new hall – the ACC North Show, dedicated to pro audio; American Music & Sound press call; Jackson Browne performing at this year’s TEC Awards which is held annually at the show.
about being willing to learn for new developments. “I often tell my team when trying something new, ‘You don’t get to skip your first time doing anything; it might not be perfect but try your best!’” Also adding to the NAMM experience was the AES@NAMM Pro Sound Symposium. The inaugural education and training programme was targeted at working professionals in the live sound, recording and performance audio communities. The 4-day international symposium, which was held concurrently with the 2018 NAMM Show was comprised of a series of training academies and related sessions on line-array technologies, live-sound mixing consoles, wireless systems and studio environments, in addition to tutorials on system measurement and optimisation, plus a selection of peer-reviewed technical papers. “I’ve been involved with AES and doing educational events with their chapters for over 30 years,” said Lamond while discussing AES@NAMM’s debut year. “We are kindred spirits through and through. Having AES@ NAMM was a long-time dream come true, and an opportunity for our respective members to learn and increase their knowledge and gain competitive advantage in their careers. We believe that working together serves our members and the industry, and will drive innovation and new product creation. We’re excited to see our collaborations grow!” Away from the show floor, several members from the pro audio industry were also recognised at both the TEC Awards and the Parnelli Awards. At the TEC Awards notable winners were JBL for Amplification Hardware/ Studio & Sound Reinforcement Award for the Intonato, Solid State Logic’s
AWS Delta V2 winning the Large Format Console Technology Award and Shure’s Axient Digital Wireless walking away with Wireless Technology Award. The evening was capped by a performance by the Les Paul Innovation Award winner, Jackson Browne with his long time backing band, The Section, who were also inducted into the TEC Hall of Fame. To close, Lamond talked about where he saw this latest NAMM development going. “We’re listening carefully to our members and our many partners, as they have been unbelievably helpful in guiding our future decisions. We expect to see measured growth and strengthened educational offerings. Bringing the many industry segments together creates a multiplying impact, good ideas and innovation are flowing, and our common vision of a more musical world is creating opportunity for all. “For me personally, I’m perhaps most proud of our members and the unbelievable team I get to work with at NAMM. Our exhibitors really put their ‘A game’ into bringing excitement to the show floor, and our retail and distributor members were eager to buy. The key influencers, educators, specifiers, installers, touring professionals and artists who attended brought all our musical tribes together. The NAMM Show meant business for sure but never forgot the heart and soul of why we all chose to spend our lives in this industry in the first place. I can’t wait to see the fun we’ll have next January!” TPi Photo: Jesse Grant / Getty Images for NAMM www.namm.org 106
A WORD FROM THE EXHIBITORS… While on the trade show floor, TPi spoke to some of this year’s exhibitors for their opinions on NAMM’s new tradeshow format...
“It was great having a hall that is dedicated to pro audio. From our point of view, that’s much better than being mixed in with the lighting companies. Every time we turned on the BR132, even at a very low level, people gravitated towards it from all over the hall. It was great!” Tony Andrews, Funktion-One
“The new buildings allowed for a much more focussed environment for pro audio manufacturers to conduct business. It also allowed for an easier and more pro active relationship building space with products and services that compliment each other.” Evan MacKenzie, Marketing + Communications, DPA
“We had a great show this year. In addition to steady foot traffic at the booth and great visibility for the new SQ console, we had packed training sessions throughout the week for our AES@NAMM Live Sound Academy training sessions. From burgeoning church volunteer operators who wanted to get a better handle on our product mix, to established engineers looking to dive deeper into a particular topic at one of our masterclasses, the new design of the NAMM Show offered up just about something for everyone. While other trade events offer a mixture of product exhibits and training, the new AES@NAMM addition takes NAMM to the top of list as far as the scale and scope that an exhibiting company can achieve.”
As well as exhibiting at this year’s show, Adamson also put on a trading day as part of AES@NAMM, where TPi met up with Product and Brand Manager Marc Weber (pictured above.) Following the show, Managing Director Americas, Marc Bertrand gave his thoughts: “I’ve attended many NAMM shows over the years, and with the new focus on the professional audio community, we found it to be a great success. We were very pleased with with the amount of influential people in attendance and the high quality of the supporting programs like the AES@NAMM education program that we were an inaugural partner of. Our highly focussed Americas team really rocked our booth and our educational AES@NAMM event. We will be returning next year.”
Jeff Hawley, Allen & Heath USA’s Marketing Manager 108
TPi caught up with Focusrite’s Global Media Manager, Simon Poulton (pictured above) on the show floor. Giving his thoughts on NAMM 2018 was Marketing Director Giles Orford. “We were impressed with NAMM’s efforts to drive cross-pollination of attendees, considering the introduction of the 2 new halls. Not only did we have strong attendance, but the variety of attendees was a welcome and positive change. In a world that continues to challenge the validity of tradeshows, NAMM has done a great job on behalf of our industry to promote genuine human interaction. I look forward to 2019.”
“Overall a successful show, foot traffic was greater than our expectations. It has always been difficult to quantify the number of pro attendees at NAMM without a specific destination. It was great to see so many familiar faces dropping by the booth.” Philip Van Peborgh, TW AUDiO pictured with Simeon Ludwell.
“NAMM is always an important show for Audio-Technica and this year was no exception. In the new hall we took the opportunity to launch some new and exciting wireless products which were well-received by the attendees. The new hall was a good location and certainly provided regular traffic to our stand. The show has long been one of the world’s best MI trade events of course – and with a perceptible increase in pro-audio focus, the show will continue to be an important showcase and networking opportunity for Audio-Technica and we look forward to returning in 2019.”
Solid State Logic’s Ross Gilbert (pictured above) walked TPi through some of the company’s latest innovations at booth 18707. Giving his opinion on the show’s new format was Head of Marketing, Dan Duffell. He told TPi: “The new hall and show format was a great start; the new hall obviously improved the overall capacity for the show, and the new pro audio area did seem to draw in the right community of users for SSL. We look forward to seeing the show develop in the years to come.”
Tim Page, Marketing Manager for Audio-Technica
Avid Marketing Manager, Derk Hagedorn (pictured on the right) showcased the new Waves SoundGrid High Density Option Card and Avid VENUE software update. Speaking of the company’s experience at the show was Alan Hoff, Vice President, Market Solutions at Avid. He stated: “New innovations in music creation and technology, along with shifting industry trends in studio design and scale, means companies and engineers’ pro audio offering is more important than ever before. Thanks to its broad appeal and massive draw, NAMM is the go-to event in helping Avid engage with customers and open their minds - as well as our own - to new possibilities afforded by digitisation of the craft. As the pro audio industry thrives on and celebrates innovation and creativity, it’s more critical than ever for vendors to align their offerings with the market to support users’ evolving needs.” 110
Power to perform XY-3b Make an impression with the XY-3B, designed to deliver a coherent & natural sound for large venues and outdoor events.
We are exhibiting at Prolight + Sound 10-13th April, 2018. Find us in Hall 3.1, Stand A81 & A91.
This month, TPi speaks to Lighting Designer, Nathan Wan about the crack team of NRG students he personally selected to crew the annual TPi Awards.
For yet another year, nearly 1,500 of the live industry’s finest gathered in their glad rags for the annual TPi Awards. With such a large collection of big names in the room, the pressure was on for the design team. Taking up the mantel of LD for the second year was Robe’s own Nathan Wan who, just as he did in 2017, personally invited a team of NRG (Next Robe Generation) students along for the ride. For those unaware, the NRG incentive was launched back in 2016 with the goal of offering future lighting professionals the chance to meet other like-minded individuals and access a whole range of interactive social networking and educational opportunities. Currently just over 30 schools, colleges, universities and academies around the UK are now part of the NRG initiative including Rose Bruford, LAMDA, LIPA and University of South Wales. “I have been involved with the NRG programme from the very beginning,” said Wan, the day after this year’s awards. “I have attended several of the social events and enjoyed meeting with the students socially.” Wan, as Robe’s Media and Lighting Designer, took on the role as TPi’s LD in 2017. But as the event drew nearer, Robe UK’s Mick Hannaford made the suggestion to offer the Assistant LD role to one of the NRG students. “Honestly, I was slightly hesitant when the idea was first pitched to me in 2017,” Wan admitted. “However, I was so impressed with how hard the guys worked last year that I was excited to see the calibre of the student applications this year.” At the beginning of this year Wan, alongside Manager of the NRG initiative, Nicky Rowland, gathered a shortlist of university and college students from across the country. Wan explained the selection process: “First Nicky got in touch with several universities and colleges that ran lightingfocussed courses and spoke to the various tutors. They then put forward 2 to 3 students, which gave us a longlist of around 20 potentials.” From there both Rowland and Wan whittled the longlist to 6 nominees, who were all interviewed for the role. “I’ll admit, one of my main goals was to scare the nominees slightly in the interview,” laughed Wan. “A lot of people say they can do a job but are unprepared for the scale. The TPi Awards is certainly one such role. It’s a big responsibility and you need to be able to perform under a lot of pressure. But all 6 guys that I met were more than capable of filling the role.” Wan was so impressed, in fact, that all 6 shortlisted applicants ended up taking on a role in the awards. Wan’s Assistant LD for the 2018 event was Rose Bruford student, Jordan Tinniswood. “Jordan really proved himself as the right guy for the Assistant LD job,” stated Wan. “Prior to making my final decision I sent him and 2 others a WYSIWYG file of a design and tasked them with creating 10 individual looks. Jordan’s entry really stood out. Having appointed him, I then involved him in the process of building the show, pre-programming and pre-vis, the time coding and setting the cues in our WYSIWYG suite at our Northampton office before we actually got on site. He smashed it!” To close Wan gave his thoughts on NRG: “I really think the NRG project adds adds a lot to the industry. Especially the networking socials throughout the year. The fact that the students can meet key industry players in a social environment is such as a great opportunity for those looking to break into the industry. We had Tim Routledge and Alex Murphy come along to recent events! The fact that students can meet people at the top of their game like Tim and Alex is really something special. What’s also fantastic is that it’s not just LDs coming along to these events, but stage and production managers with a large proportion of the industry being represented at these events throughout the year.” Rowland summed up her thoughts on the NRG’s involvement with the awards: “Ashley Lewis’ (Robe UK’s Key Account Manager) vision for NRG has really expanded over the past 2 years and the team could not be prouder of the students who were involved in the 2018 TPi Awards production. The Awards is the largest gathering of professionals from the touring and production industry and so it’s the highest profile platform for these students to showcase their emerging lighting and technical skills. Robe, through the NRG initiative will continue to support these students as they progress their careers in this incredible industry of ours!” TPi www.productionfutures.co.uk www.robe.cz 112
JORDAN TINNISWOOD ASSISTANT LIGHTING DESIGNER, ROSE BRUFORD Having the chance to be the Assistant Lighting Designer of an awards ceremony populated by so many people I admire in the industry was the highlight of my career to date. Working with Nathan and Andy was a great experience and never once felt out of the loop as they fully embraced the NRG students. What Robe are doing with the NRG initiative has given me the platform to springboard my career and my confidence in a way I never thought possible. The trust that Nathan and everyone else involved placed in me was truly overwhelming and I owe them all huge thanks!
JAMES MATTHEWS ROBE VIP ROOM ASSISTANT AND MAIN ROOM BMFL OPERATOR, LIPA The experience as a whole was phenomenal. For someone wanting to break into the industry, the opportunity that I was afforded was amazing given the kit, people and prestige of the event. I met many people and made good contacts as well as learnt a whole new way of working fast and effectively.
ALEXANDER MERRETT MAIN BAR LIGHTING DESIGNER / OPERATOR, UNIVERSITY SOUTH WALES
JAMES MARSHALL LIGHTING CREW, LAMDA
The awards were a great experience from start to finish. I learnt some valuable skills that I will be able to take forward in pursuing a career. I also met industry professionals who complimented my work and designs. Two of the main things I will take away from this experience are the importance of making clear and understandable design plans, and the programming of Avolites Titan consoles. The Robe NRG scheme is a great way to network with other students and industry professionals and offer great hands-on work opportunities for people to apply for.
This year at the TPi Awards, I was working with Robe and alongside Hawthorn to get the rig up and working. It was an amazing opportunity and a highlight of my career so far. Working alongside this team to get a major sized rig completed, in the air and working in such a limited time frame was a great experience. Throughout this entire process I’ve learnt what it’s like to work alongside professionals on such a big industry event, and working with new equipment - all of which is pretty invaluable at this stage in my career.
ADAM DAVIES ROBE VIP ROOM LIGHTING DESIGNER/ OPERATOR, UNIVERSITY SOUTH WALES
OWEN YELLAND SYSTEM TECH, ROSE BRUFORD
This was my second time working the TPi Awards with NRG. This year I got to oversee Robe’s VIP area. In keeping with the main room, we used Kling-Net to map across the faces of the fixtures and create a vibrant yet chilled out atmosphere for guests to enjoy. Attending the TPi Awards is a great opportunity to network and build contacts, which is crucial at this early stage in my career. I’m a huge supporter of NRG. I think what Robe are doing with the scheme is amazing. It’s unrivalled anywhere else for students in the UK and can only go from strength to strength.
The experience of working on the TPi Awards was an amazing one. Admittedly, is was quite daunting as you knew in the back of your head that what you where doing was going to be seen by around 1,500 event professionals, all in the same industry. Even though there was this pressure, I really enjoyed my time on site working with Nathan, Andy and the other guys from NRG, as well the Hawthorn team. It was also a chance for me to learn a couple of new things, such as how Kling-Net can be incorporated into a system to give you video mapping capabilities over the lighting. 113
CLEAR-COM - 50 YEARS OF GLORY Born out of the vibrant San Francisco music scene in the late ’60s, the founders of what would become Clear-Com created a solution for the increased live sound environments for the likes of Jefferson Airplane and Janis Joplin so that their crew were able to communicate clearly and effectively. 50 years since its inception, and Clear-Com has become synonymous with live events, being used by techs across the world. With such an important milestone, TPi’s Stew Hume sat down with President Bob Boster to talk shop and what lies ahead for the company…
There are few culture movements in modern history that can eclipse that of the Summer of Love in the late ‘60s; an age of revolution and music that has withstood the test of time. However, among the musical innovation and generational angst, there was a serious issue facing the crews of the day; namely the increased decibels of live shows rendering communication between departments almost impossible. At the time, technicians were still utilising carbon-type headsets that were used by phone operators of the time - less than ideal for sending cues at a live rock ‘n’ roll show. There was this clear gap in the market that Clear-Com’s original founders, Bob Cohen and Charlie Butten who worked to create the first distributed & amplified comms system. Fast forward 50 years and the company certainly has expanded from its humble rock ‘n’ roll beginnings, being used in all categories of live events and even further afield in broadcast, military applications and even aerospace. “Well the company certainly has grown from its beginnings in the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco,” began Clear-Com President Bob Boster. “Along with our main HQ in Alameda Island across San Francisco Bay, we have locations all over the world including Cambridge in the UK, Montreal, Beijing, Dubai and Singapore. One of my main responsibilities is to check in with each of our bases to make sure everyone is rowing in the same direction.” At time of writing, Boster had worked with Clear-Com for 12 years although he explained his history with the brand dates back much further. “I first came across the company when I was very young, around
8 or 9 after getting involved with community theatre. I remember sitting up in the lighting desk back then and being amazed I could still have a conversation with the stage manager!” After graduating college, Boster cut his teeth in the radio sector. He explained: “My career took me all over the world but I found myself back in San Francisco. While looking for my next move, I remembered that Clear-Com were based in the city!” Boster worked his way through the ranks of the business, eventually rising to his current position. The President continued by explaining what he believed were some of Clear-Com’s recent landmark innovations. “I usually cite 2 main innovations. The first is our work in wireless technology, more specifically our FreeSpeak II Wireless Intercom System. Currently there are a lot of constraints using wireless with the shrinking usable RF spectrum. Although these created a challenge for customers, we saw it as an opportunity. It’s not enough to just build a tool that meets the requirements of the marketplace. We have delivered products that are highly usable and can be handed to an end user without any explanation. That familiarity of workflow and the fact it works reliably for them in the new RF Frequencies is the stand we always look for.” The second innovation that Boster was particularly keen to highlight was Clear-Com’s development of IP. “Our work on this side of our products has really changed the nature of Clear-Com’s business. One example has been our HelixNet Partyline. Incredibly familiar to any previous user of our 114
Opposite: A blast from the past, original packaging of one of the first generation Clear-Com products; Clear-Com President Bob Boster. Below: “Rock Talk”, advertisement showing Clear-Coms roots; Clear-Com’s Jay Wallace and Bob Boster collecting the Milestone Award from NAMM’s President and CEO, Joe Lamond; Just 2 of the many crew making use of Clear-Com products from various factions of the events industry.
Partyline products, these latest innovations have the ability to operate over traditional IP or digital. The other would be the LQ Series - a platform that allows customers to link intercom systems together. This has been a very popular product as it can connect traditional party line systems via the internet. For example, a theatre has a traditional Partyline system to the internet to communicate with another system on the other side of the world.” Boster went on to explain that one of the main mantras behind ClearCom was to always work with clients rather than forcing them to replace their current gear. “At the end of the day, no one wants to be told they have to replace their entire comms system. With our latest tech we are able to make some of our oldest systems completely compatible with those just off the production line.” In fact, this seamless integration of old and new technology has already been displayed in 2018 at many of Clear-Com’s trade show booths around the world (as part of its 50th anniversary celebration). “The tag line of this year has been, ‘Linking People Together Since 1968’” said Boster. “We wanted to show this firsthand with our minimuseums showing how the technology has evolved from the ’60s to the current day and yet is still very compatible.” During the latest Winter NAMM trade show, the company was honoured with a Milestone Award for its half century. “NAMM is honored to recognise Clear-Com for their 50 years in business and in service to both the music products industry and to their community,” noted NAMM President and CEO, Joe Lamond. “Clear-Com has demonstrated the perseverance and
passion to stand the test of time, inspire countless others and create a more musical world for the benefit of all.” Boster spoke of his admiration for the NAMM award: “It was a great honour to be recognised alongside other great companies I have looked up to for years,” stated Boster. “But I have to say one of the things that impressed me most was that it was not just manufacturers that were honoured at the event but also independent music stores and smaller industry players who had been members of NAMM for half a century.” Rounding up our conversation, the Clear-Com President discussed where he saw the future of the company heading: “We are always looking for new opportunities and ways to support people together. We live in a world where less people talk to each other, opting instead to email or text. However, those that do still need to talk are generally people with very intensive and intrinsic tasks. This is how we began working with some truly amazing clients including SpaceX, NASA, Cirque du Soleil and the largest rock ‘n’ roll tours.” The company will be celebrating in different ways at tradeshows and local events, with partners and customers alike. The company are also inviting customers from across the globe to get involved on social media and on its dedicated 50 Year Anniversary website to share their own ClearCom stories. TPi Photos courtesy of Clear-Com. www.clearcom.com 115
SECOND WAREHOUSE In late 2017, TPi welcomed industry veteran Stuart Kerrison to an uncharacteristically sunny Stockport to discuss his burgeoning - and quite revolutionary - new system for equipment cross rental. Since the arrival of live event technology, whether people were dragging PA systems into muddy fields to make some noise with their friends or touring the world’s most prestigious venues, they have faced the same problem - where to find that extra bit of kit, ideally without paying over the odds. Second Warehouse’s founder, Stuart Kerrison, experienced these frustrations first hand during stints with a number of the top rental companies, which - along with valuable input from professionals in the rental business - motivated him to embark on the journey to simplify pro AV sub-hire. The result, Second Warehouse, is a web-based service that will allow rental companies of all sizes to trade with one another in a safe, fast, monitored and extremely cost-effective environment. Kerrison began: “I know how important cross-rental is and also what
a time-wasting drag it can be, because I’ve been the guy spending hours on the phone, calling friends in the hope of finding that one bit of gear I needed for a show. Second Warehouse solves those headaches and lost hours, while making sure that your equipment is always out being used and earning you money.” Coded by the same team as the popular Webix platform, Second Warehouse includes a wealth of features designed for the AV industry, by the AV industry. Users can quickly and simply expand their cross-hire network, get quotes, negotiate prices and organise transport, prioritise existing relationships via the ‘preferred users’ feature; trade commissionfree with high volume use; and use the direct messaging system to ensure transparent communication throughout. As an option, Second Warehouse can also directly communicate with 116
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other rental management software applications, meaning users can choose to simply sit-back while Second Warehouse tracks their available inventory and keeps it booked out and busy. The system is completely web-based and works on all devices from mobile to tablet to desktop. “Speed is really important for this kind of platform, and I told the programmers this on day one. They are so good at pre-empting potential problems and will consult me even if a change is going to add 6 milliseconds to the process, just to make sure I’m still happy! A lot of that comes from my own impatience; why would you click twice when you can click once? Rental companies only make money when they’re running around like headless chickens and, if we can help them to be more productive in doing so, then that’s a major win for us.” And so the grilling began. Like any self-respecting journalist, I preceded to fire potential criticisms of the service at Kerrison. Criticisms that he both graciously, and ruthlessly, batted away at each time of asking. “Users retain as much anonymity as they like. After all, we don’t just want gear voyeurs rifling through people’s inventories! There’s also a time limit that can be used on urgent jobs, as well as reminder emails. We monitor everything that goes on because we want this to be a service for professionals who respect other professionals’ time. “We also understand that cancellations happen - but if it starts to become a habit then we can get in touch to find out what’s going on. This links to the star rating system, which helps to lift everyone’s game a bit - and the industry has asked for that. There is no downside to joining as far as we can see, and if someone identifies something then we can fix it straight away.” While manufacturer networks used to find specific pieces of gear are not uncommon, Kerrison assured TPi that a platform as comprehensive as Second Warehouse is genuinely without precedent. He said: “Even with the other networks you still have to call for availability, and I still can only search a box at a time, so what if I need some lights as well? Independence of brand allows us to be a source for anybody, regardless of your discipline or gear preference, whether you are after pyro, lasers, crowd barriers, truss, cables, motors or a full PA system.”
Within Second Warehouse, both companies can negotiate the equipment sub-hire and arrange transport without ever having to leave the network, with direct messaging to ensure no detail is ever missed. All transactions are safe thanks to Second Warehouse’s careful vetting procedures (including a full identity and credit check upon sign-up) and in addition to the user-rating system. By the time both parties click on the handshake button to generate a contract and seal the deal, no more than a few minutes need to have passed. For the supplier, the only cost is a small percentage commission, while for the hirer, the process is free. Companies are also able to select up to two ‘Preferred Users’, with whom they can trade on Second Warehouse as much as they like without any commission to pay. There are no sign-up or subscription fees. In reference to the company’s potential, Kerrison commented: “Second Warehouse will grow as the industry wants it to. I’m not the youngest guy any more and I’d hate to die having never even investigated if this was possible! Conversations in the past must have yielded obstacles and I think that’s why it never happened, but I became determined to overcome it. That was 2 years ago, I was lucky enough to get some great people on board to help with the things I wasn’t as strong on. “Sometimes I stop and think ‘how did I have the balls to do that?’ but the worst has never happened - everyone was so receptive and constructive in their criticism that it’s gained its own momentum. “Second Warehouse has the potential to fundamentally change how the rental sector functions, ensuring that companies of all size are able to trade with one another in absolute confidence, so everyone does better business,” said Kerrison. “No one got into this business to spend tedious hours on the phone or writing emails. Second Warehouse gets rid of all that so you can get back to doing what you really love – putting on great shows and making money while you do it!” Second Warehouse launched in Europe during Q1 2018, with expansion planned for the US and Asia by Q3 2018. TPi www.secondwarehouse.com
Send fewer emails, make more money. With Second Warehouse, rental companies can sub-hire AV equipment in less than two minutes, keep inventory working without lifting a finger and pay nothing unless they make money. Register today for free.
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L-ACOUSTICS L-ISA TPi’s Ste Durham speaks with Jeff Rocha, Director of Product Management at L-Acoustics, to uncover the details around the development and application of the company’s exciting new venture into ‘immersive hyperrealism’.
Can you discuss the genesis and subsequent R&D process that led to the creation of the L-ISA system? The L-ISA project is very much a creation of L-Acoustics’ founder, Christian Heil. As with the inception of L-Acoustics, his motivation was his personal frustration with the current state of live sound reinforcement. In the specific case of L-ISA, he realised that, despite all of the advancements in the technology of loudspeakers, system configurations are mostly delivering a dual mono experience that reintroduces cancellations and inconsistency within the audience. And even when a more spatialised stereo image is created, it is only realised for a small number of fans down the middle of the venue. He knew that we could do better. His focus turned to developing a configuration methodology and new technology platform that offered truly immersive and natural sound to the vast majority of the audience. The R&D
process began several years ago, in 2011 and very early on, the R&D team grew to include industry luminaries like Systems and FOH Engineer, Sherif El Barbari and Guillaume Le Nost, a brilliant physicist. Did you have a lot of consultation with end users during this process? The inception of the L-ISA technology was a mission to put sound back at the heart of the live production, a way to offer greater dimension and a more personal and memorable experience to the audience, re-connecting the artist with their fans. The addition of Sherif El Barbari to the team ensured that we were getting the end user perspective as he brings an intimate and extensive understanding of the sound engineer experience to the development process. During the long development phases, several engineers tested the system and helped us to improve the ease of use and 120
A STORAGE FACILIT Y TO SUIT EVERY ARTISTâ€™S NEEDS: 35,000 square feet of storage over five buildings Two hours from London Close to Transam Trucking and the port of Felixstowe in Suffolk 24 hour access 24 hour manned security patrol Full Redcare alarm systems Flat load-in/out Close to the A12 and A14 Ample parking space and hardstanding Variety of forklifts, ramps, container lifter and equipment available In-House crew available Indoor/outdoor space available for cross loads 32A single phase power available in all buildings Cages or assigned areas Shower and toilets available On-site diner Weighing and measuring service available for carnets Suitable for storing backline, stage sets, theatre sets etc. Located on an ex U.S. Air Force base
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Above: The L-ISA system has already been deployed for legendary composer Ennio Morricone.
application accuracy. Jim Warren, Alain Courieux, David Bracey, Madge Malki and Scott Willsallen were among the first experts to use the tools and give us their feedback.
insertion of the L-ISA Processor into the mixing chain. It does not elevate the production risk or require significant investment in equipment. For the sound engineer, mixing with L-ISA tools sets them free from the traditional constraints of stereo or LCR. Each console channel becomes a sound object that can be freely positioned in the soundscape, while the engineer can accurately localise sources and track performers on stage. The properties of each sound object are defined independently from the loudspeaker layout, so the entire mix can be retained across a wide variety of venues and system configurations. The advantages for the engineer and the audience are clear: the vocals become more intelligible, the precision, clarity and detail for every instrument is significantly enhanced, less equalisation and compression is needed to achieve sound object separation in the mix and spectacular soundscapes can be created using width, depth and elevation.
What are the key features of the L-ISA system and how do they interact to create ‘hyperreality’? What differentiates it from a typical L-Acoustics system? A traditional live sound reinforcement system will use two main L / R hangs, optionally with a system of side fills and / or delays. An L-ISA live configuration consists of a linear topology of loudspeaker arrays that are distributed above the full width of the stage, which provides overlapping coverage so that as much of the audience hears all of the frontal arrays as possible. This frontal system matches the width of the performing zone and allows for the accurate localisation and separation of sound sources, as well as for the tracking of performers. An optional extension system “The advantages for the expands the soundscape as far as the side walls of the venue, thereby stretching the soundscape engineer and the audience of the performing zone and providing greater are clear: the vocals envelopment. A central subwoofer configuration maximises low & sub-low frequency consistency become more intelligible, over the entire audience. How is the system deployed in a live setting? Does this vary greatly depending on the show itself? Using L-ISA simply requires early consideration in the production planning process and the seamless
the precision, clarity and detail for every instrument is significantly enhanced.” Jeff Rocha 122
Is the L-ISA more suited to orchestral type events or could it be used in a more conventional rock ’n’ roll setting? Where can we expect to see it deployed in the future? We’ve developed 2 main deployment configurations of L-ISA live. L-ISA Wide is where the scene sources are all identical arrays that are evenly spaced across the stage. This design is adapted to a majority of music styles, including jazz, classical, speech and adult contemporary, for example. For rock and electronic music we’ve developed L-ISA Focus, which is patent pending, where the
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Above: Fabio Venturi at the controls for Ennoi Morricone, electronic duo ODESZA, and Panorama festival in New York City
scene system dimensioning is optimised to reproduce high LF contour program material. We’ve already deployed L-ISA on an extensive Renaud tour in French-speaking territories, Ennio Morricone in Italy and classical shows with Orchestre National de Lille as well as for ODESZA in the US. The Lorde Melodrama tour just kicked off in the US with L-ISA Live technology and will be out for 2 months, and alt-J is planning a special L-ISA show this June in Queens, New York. They’re creating a special immersive mix for the show, which will be general admissions and they invite the audience to wander the arena to experience the content from all different angles. L-ISA Creative - which is the same immersive system used for experiential venues and events such as theme parks, museums, houses of worship, clubs and marketing activations - is
“The L-ISA tool set is constantly evolving. We’ve got some great evolutions in the works. We’re also working with a group of partners to extend the L-ISA ecosystem and we’ll be making those partnerships - similar to the one that we recently announced with DiGiCo - public soon.” Jeff Rocha 124
permanently installed in the Puy du Fou theme park for an attraction which received the prestigious THEA awards, and has been used for immersive dome experiences at the Coachella and Panorama festivals. There are other high profile projects in the works that we’ll be able to announce soon. Do you see any more developments on the horizon for the L-ISA system? The L-ISA tool set is constantly evolving. We’ve got some great evolutions in the works. We’re also working with a group of partners to extend the L-ISA ecosystem and we’ll be making those partnerships - similar to the one that we recently announced with DiGiCo - public soon. TPi www.l-acoustics.com www.l-isa-immersive.com
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FOH ENGINEER, FABIO VENTURI, TALKS TO TPI ABOUT THE L-ISA
Fabio Venturi, FOH Engineer for legendary composer Ennio Morricone, gives his personal experience of the L-ISA system, following its deployment at a pair of Italian shows in December 2017. Venturi began: “L-Acoustics is my favourite PA system. I have always used it for Ennio’s concerts when I can, as well as with Nicola Piovani’s Filarmonica della Scala (Milano Opera Theatre Orchestra) and many other symphonic concerts for big audiences. “I was asked if I wanted to use L-ISA by Scott Willsallen, who system designed last summer’s opening and closing ceremonies in Ashgabat (Turkmenistan) for AIMAG (Asian Olympic Games), where I was involved as FOH Engineer in Agorà’s (audio and lighting supplier) team. I was invited to L-Acoustics’ studio in London to see the L-ISA system with Sherif el Barbari, Head of Application at L-ISA, and was immediately impressed: I continued my training in Italy, making a setup in Agorà’s HQ. “Thanks to the virtual sound check, I was able to prepare a new session on a DiGiCo SD7 console and the L-ISA software, working with Antonio Paoluzzi and Domenico Cerqua, PA Engineer and System Engineer, respectively. My only requirement in using L-ISA for the first time was to have both systems - L-ISA and a stereo K2 system - in place for the first concert. My main concern was not having enough headroom to reach the right level for the concert, since the concerts took place in big arenas (Bologna Palamalagutti and Milano Forum di Assago). In that way I had also the rare chance to make an A-B comparison of the 2 systems. It confirmed my initial excitement and I realised there were no problems with headroom whatsoever! “Morricone’s music is recorded mostly as film soundtracks and, like all soundtracks, it is ‘designed’ to be heard in a theatre with a multichannel PA system during film projection. Re-creating the same feeling into
live performances it was always my goal. We normally use a central cluster - we even did some experiments in multichannel PA before - so using an L-ISA system was a dream come true. “We set up the L-ISA system with 2 processors, one as the backup. We feed each one with the two different engines of the DiGiCo SD7 and send the signal to LA8 and LA12 amps via the Dante system, and also using analogue wire as backup. The PA is controlled with LA Network Manager software, using internal DSPs for EQ, delays and so on. I used 117 mics for a total of 112 input lines; a mix of Schoeps, AKG, DPA and Neumann, plus some direct signals from the band. Luckily, I didn’t have to alter my preferred mic package to accomodate to the L-ISA system. We also had a set of 45 monitors and headphones managed by Andrea Tesini, our monitor engineer. “The PA was made up of 7 clusters of 12 KARA, plus front fills, sides and delays when needed, while the subs consisted of 8 pieces of KS28 in an end fire cardioid fly configuration. “Some of the key strengths of the L-ISA system are the high flexibility and quality of multichannel management it offers. In particular, the panorama features, which include depth and height, which allowed me to reach an amazing level of immersive sound, something that I have always searched for both in the recording studio and in live concerts. “Morricone is always searching for new sounds in his compositions, special timbres with an unusual mix of classical and electronic instruments. The L-ISA system allows me to open the sound more than I usually can with standard systems; in so doing, all instruments coexist in a much bigger space than in a traditional PA system.” TPi www.l-acoustics.com www.l-isa-immersive.com
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PSA: THE BIGGER PICTURE
IS IT TIME TO LEARN SOME NEW TRICKS? I’m putting a band together; we’re going to be called Prevention because we’ll be better than The Cure. Last month’s page was more about action; what we, as an organisation, are doing and what we are asking our members and the wider industry to do to improve our approach to people dealing with mental ill health and ultimately, how we help people towards a cure. This month’s is driven more by opinion, with a smattering of research thrown in, looking once again at whether we are the cause of ill health - physical as well as mental.
We’re not talking about accidents here, the one-off negligent act that leads to an unplanned incident causing death or injury; we’re talking the cumulative effects, the little things that become big things over time. We’ve all met them, you might even be one, the hard of hearing, 30 years in the business of noise veteran that carries hearing loss as a badge of honour or at least accepts it as an occupational hazard. We’ve been through that, we may need to revisit but we hope we played our part in explaining the Noise at Work Regulations and helping our industry realise that noise exposure is a hazard but can be managed to the extent that we’re actually reducing hearing loss. Will today’s 20-year-old techs be able to hold down a conversation at their 50th birthday party? We hope so. Of course, there’s no easy cure for hearing loss, accepting that there may be a problem and encouraging prevention is the only way. Joints are a different matter. You can always get a hip or knee replaced, so why bother looking after them? Well, try earning while you’re recovering from surgery and have you seen the waiting list? What we put our bodies through in the course of a day’s work takes its toll, it’s why there are regulations covering manual handling, for example. It’s also why there are dozens of tools, gadgets, lifts and trolleys to remove the need for humans to lift, push, twist and turn. Then there’s the point at which you realise that it’s taking you longer to recover, followed by the realisation that a part of
you isn’t really recovering properly, coupled with the fact that, statistically, you’re a bloke and you’re rubbish at going to the doctor’s. Soldier on. These are just two examples of cumulative physical damage that can be related to by many in the business of building shows and events, with effects that are easily noticed by those around you. They manifest themselves in fairly obvious and consistent ways. Beneath the surface however, there may be other working practices that are having a cumulative effect on our mental wellbeing. Fatigue, for instance. We stumbled upon a useful piece of work produced by Business in the Community (BITC), it’s called Sleep and Recovery: A Toolkit for Employers, it’s 52 pages of facts, figures, help and advice. I can hear you sneering , but you’re in a business where a leading Production Manager can suggest that people who have lots of breaks are more susceptible to depression than those that work 16 hour shifts (there’s a video, trust me). Meanwhile, research in the real world suggests that 200,000 working days are lost due to insufficient sleep, the equivalent to a £30bn cost to businesses. Of course, long hours are deemed to be the norm by many, it’s the only way to make things work, fewer people doing more for longer. There are, however, indicators that show fatigue plays a role in workplace accidents as well as long term ill health, both physical and mental. Is the ‘long-hours culture’ sustainable? 128
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PSA: THE BIGGER PICTURE
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The Working Time Directive is mentioned and instantly dismissed. It’s assumed that it doesn’t apply because everyone is self employed. The directive isn’t actually a law; it’s an EU directive that informs EU member states about what their laws should look like as a minimum. In the UK, the Working Time Regulations (1998) apply. This is the point at which we attract further derision by suggesting a maximum working day length. So we won’t, we’ll just ignore them because, aside from satisfying their requirements, employers (those that assemble the team and direct their work, perhaps not those that pay your fee) are legally obliged to proactively consider fatigue as a risk in the workplace, just like any other risk. Fatigue certainly does play its part in accidents; does it appear as a factor in risk assessments? Working night shifts has a 25-30% higher risk of injury that working day shifts. That risk would increase if the lack of light wasn’t addressed; maybe our risk of short and long-term damage would be decreased if lack of sleep was considered more. The BITC toolkit, given its size, is rather comprehensive with statistics, case studies, links to further reading, and advice on worker education and engagement. Of course, we can’t lay the blame at employers’ doors, as there’s a lot of difference between time off and sleep. The former doesn’t guarantee the latter. Even so, the high energy, high adrenalin nature of our business can mean that winding down at the end of the day can be difficult. A glass of red may help drop the pulse rate but may hinder proper restful sleep. Research suggests that 16-hour days can have a similar effect as being over the drink drive limit. Would you want that in your work place? It’s not just the risky physical jobs, it’s decision making or even the working atmosphere that are affected, creating an unpleasant and perhaps dangerous environment. Decreased communication, performance deterioration, poor cognitive assimilation and memory, poor mood and inappropriate behaviour; just a few signs of lack of sleep that you really wouldn’t want to see in someone controlling your workplace.
Then you go home, switching from one environment to another, whether that’s home alone or reintegrating into family life, some people find the adjustment challenging. Simply realising this can help people develop tricks and strategies to cope, but they are personal rather than collective. It’s all down to budget at the end of the day, so the end of tour wind down isn’t a managed affair. At the recent Daytime TPi session that discussed mental health and crew welfare, it was suggested that the corporations that generate the big dollars simply don’t see or care about the issue, but look down the food chain and you’ll see overly ambitious expectations everywhere; red lining seems to be the norm and there’s no one factor, no single adjustment. At what point in a tour does a person start wondering where the next job is coming from? The pressure on bands to make money from touring, the uncertainty of work, the lack of guarantees once work is offered, static rates of pay and increased costs are just a few of the pressures that drive people to accept whatever’s going. There’s always someone that will take the job. Of course, you may be one of the lucky ones, hopping from lovely job to lovely job, well paid, well rested and enough holidays. You may love life at the red line and you may read the toolkit for a good laugh before you get your head down for 8 hours. That’s fine, after all, this is just a collection of thoughts based on anecdotes and research that suggests our business has a bigger than average issue with mental ill health and related problems. Thing is, every time we talk about it, the anecdotes flow. We can do our best to fix individuals, but perhaps we need to fix, or simply adjust the system to avoid breaking them in the first place. Only kidding by the way, The Cure’s catalogue is full of fine songs. TPi www.psa.org.uk https://wellbeing.bitc.org.uk/all-resources/toolkits/ sleep-and-recovery-toolkit 130
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evening to prepare for their 2am arrival. As I sat down in my window seat - a configuration of 3 and 3 on a rather old plane - I glanced over to notice a small blessing... there was an empty middle seat, between me and the Polish lady with her Yorkshire Terrier (in a bag) quivering at her feet. They were heading home to NYC where she now lives, via Copenhagen, and being a dog lover myself, I was pleased for the little furry companion... but more so for the empty seat between us allowing for that little extra comfort. For some bizarre reason I paid special attention to the safety talk given to the exit row (one row in front of us), which I would usually have ignored. The doors were closed, cabin crew in their jump seats for take-off and I was drifting in to sleep -finally! - for the first time in 48 hours. We hadn’t even reached our climbing altitude when a burning aroma stirred me from my unconsciousness; must have been a bird in the engine? I read that once, that the smell of roast chicken as you are taking off could be some poor sparrow sucked through the jet’s engines. But as I glanced around the cabin I noticed a few faces were starting to turn around and look panicked. The smell was getting worse but I was sure that my first theory was correct and everyone was just being neurotic. With that thought, the plane suddenly dropped, first to the front in a nose dive, then to the left followed by the right as it struggled to get straight again. Ok, now I start to wonder about that little sparrow. I see the air hostess appearing at the front of the plane walking the aisle wearing what looked like a First World War gas mask... She was ripping the material flaps off all our seats and motioning for us to hold them over our mouths to stop us from breathing in the smoke that was creeping through the cabin. The plane is still labouring, attempting to get straight, then banking heavily round to the right at a 45-degree angle. At this point, all the passengers are losing it, people are crying, breathing into paper bags, I for some reason felt strangely calm and rational, we hadn’t been up in the air for that long… but then both air hostesses started screaming: “BRACE, BRACE!” I no longer felt calm. They continued: “BRACE, BRACE, GET DOWN, GET DOWN!” I removed my face from the back of the seat in front of me to take a quick peek out of my window. All I could see was green fields below; that was the only split second where I actually questioned if I was going to die on this plane. As the maths equations of how far and how quickly we were going to land were going through my brain, we came down with an almighty bang. And before I knew it the people in the row in front had the emergency exit doors opened and the slides inflated. At this point we grabbed what we could (I know you shouldn’t, but hey - I needed my laptop) and slid down the slides onto the tarmac… the plane had made it back to the very start of the runway, and as soon as we had all disembarked, the fire brigade was straight in with their hoses. Everybody was very shaken up, understandably, but in the back of my head I’m thinking we have to get to Hannover! I don’t have time for this! But of course we’re herded into a lounge area and one lady with a mobile phone tried to rebook everyone as quickly as possible; only after we were all checked over by the medic and seen by a counsellor. We got rebooked onto the next flight - which was in 5 hours, meaning we now literally had about 6 hours in front of the band. I have to say thanks for the Germans at our hotel in Hannover, and their efficiency, as for the first time ever - via FaceTime! - from an airport lounge, we set up all the rooms perfectly. Phew! And, of course thank goodness for the amazing crew on that SAS flight; never again will I assume a sparrow has met its end! So there you go, just another 24 hours in the life of an advance travel agent: sleep = zero! Dani Triebner
I’ve been on the road for the last 5 years of my 11 in the industry, and as the Advance Travel Agent on the tour, it is my job to ensure that everything is all set up and ready to go. Then, when a tired group arrive, they are immediately handed envelopes containing their key and any info they might need for their stay. If all goes well, I will give it about 40 minutes waiting in the lobby to see if anyone is coming down with an issue and, after that, I’m free to get back to advancing for the next city- and the hundreds of emails that will have accrued while I’ve been running through corridors all day! If it doesn’t go well I could be running around for the rest of the day / night fixing things, or (worst case scenario) moving to another hotel. One memory always stays in my head. The band I was on tour with were staying in Gdansk, Poland and the advance security personnel and I went on ahead leaving all the home comforts of London where we had been for longer than the usual 24 hours, only to find that when we landed off the second leg of our flight, my case had only made it as far as Munich... No big deal, so long as my airline could get it to me in the 12 hours that we had on the ground in Gdansk it would be fine. The tricky part with this city was that we’d be meeting the band at 3am (subject to an on-time departure from London) and leaving for our next indirect flight to Hannover at 4am (for a 6am flight). Team No Sleep was back in full force, but that’s just the way it goes on the road! As we were boarding the SAS flight from Gdansk to make our first stop in Copenhagen before connecting on to Hannover, we couldn’t help but think about everything we had to do in a short period of time, as once again the band were going to be right behind us on their private jet. However, with this super early start we still had the whole afternoon and
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AV Stumpfl has announced its plans to expand to China with the opening of AV Stumpfl China. Headquartered in Shanghai, the new office will operate with the aim to develop and expand AV Stumpfl’s presence in the Chinese mainland’s AV market. Francis Lee, CEO of AV Stumpfl China, stated: “We are seeing a lot of growth potential when it comes to AV Stumpfl’s importance in mainland China. The company is completely independent and family owned, has a very good reputation, award winning products and an incredibly enthusiastic team. “Our own AV Stumpfl China team will be able to supplement this great foundation further by providing direct technical training, product support and maintenance services. As a first step, we will be focusing on a number of key markets, including theme park attractions, museum installations and liveevents.” Avolites has appointed A.C. Entertainment Technologies (AC-ET) as its exclusive distributor in Ireland. Aaron Cripps, AC-ET’s Regional Sales Representative for Ireland, commented: “Taking on the exclusive distribution of Avolites’ lighting control and dimming solutions in this territory gives us the opportunity to focus further on providing first-class sales, service and support to what is a fantastic range of products. We’ve recently supplied Avolites consoles to venues such as INEC Killarney and the Cork Opera house, where their versatility and ease of operation means they’ve been readily used by both in-house and visiting lighting designers and engineers. Their dimming, distro and networking products are also first class.” Avolites’ Koy Neminathan concluded: “Ireland is an important market for us and having Aaron available to provide sales 134
support will be a real benefit to existing Avolites customers and users as well as developing and supporting new users. We look forward to working with him.” In other news, Avolites have appointed X-Laser to becomes an official dealer in the US. The announcement comes after the company used Avolites lighting consoles to demonstrate and unveil the X Laser Mercury laser control system at LDI 2017. X-Laser now provides Avolites hardware packages including the Sapphire Touch, Arena, Tiger Touch II and Quartz consoles, as well as the Titan One USB interface. ClearOne products will now be distributed in the UK and Ireland by CUK Audio. Sales Director and head of CUK’s AV/conferencing channel, Simon Druce, commented: “ClearOne is right at the cutting edge of conferencing and collaboration technology with advanced network streaming solutions for audio and video. Our strength as a sales partner for ClearOne lies in our deep understanding of the market and its technologies, our strong relationships with our customers and our exceptional levels of support throughout the whole of the UK and Eire. The addition of ClearOne products to our portfolio is very exciting news for us and our customers as it will take us to the next level in terms of our conferencing offer.” Colour Sound Experiment has appointed Jo Beirne to its account management team at their operation in Park Royal, London. She will be working on developing relationships with emerging music talent, designers and creatives. Colour Sound’s Haydn ‘H’ Cruickshank commented: “Her enthusiasm, drive and personality is a perfect fit with our core values of ensuring outstanding customer service, great personal attention to detail and
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Below: L-Acoustics’ Sergey Becker, Paul McMullan, Alex Linn and Jeff Woodford; Colour Sound Experiment’s Jo Beirne.
encouraging innovative designers to explore their ideas and imaginations. Her vast knowledge and experience of live entertainment production and extensive contacts will be a huge asset, and we are all looking forward to a positive and exciting long-term working relationship.” Digital Projection has announced a new distribution agreement with COMM-TEC. The agreement covers all Digital Projection sales across Switzerland and Austria, where all vertical markets will be handled by COMM-TEC. In Germany, COMM-TEC will manage the pro-AV and the education market for the manufacturer. Andreas Voss, Digital Projection’s Sales Manager for the DACH countries, stated: “Over the last 3 to 4 years, the Digital Projection brand and presence has grown in the DACH market. During that time, we have been in contact with COMM-TEC and now the time is right for our cooperation - to reach out to the AV dealers and consultants connected with COMM-TEC. I am very excited to begin this alliance which will take our business to the next level. COMM-TEC is the ideal choice as they have an extensive network alongside a solid reputation in the markets we wish to focus on.” Eurotruss has announced the acquisition of Total Structures, Inc. in Ventura, CA. The agreement results in Eurotruss becoming the sole owner of Total Structures. Martin Kuyper, owner and founder of Eurotruss, commented: “This acquisition strengthens our product portfolio and supply chain, being the first truss brand providing nationwide coverage from our two factories in Ventura, CA and Knoxville, TN.” Total Structures new management team will be led by Scott Johnson, former CEO of Tomcat USA, and Bill Berrier, former CFO of Tomcat USA. Both are planning to grow the company based on quality, dependability, and customer service. FBT Audio (UK) has announced Mike Roissetter as its Business Development Manager for South Wales, the Midlands and the South West of England. “Mike actually sold me my first PA, when I was 14!” explained FBT Audio (UK) Managing Director, Mark Parkhouse. “Since then we’ve had the pleasure of working closely together and I’ve also had the opportunity of watching Mike from afar as he has continued to excel in often challenging circumstances. He’s a true professional who will raise our already excellent
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level of customer service to new heights. I’m very pleased to welcome him to the FBT Audio (UK) family.” Green Hippo has announced a new partnership with Msonic, which will distribute Green Hippo products throughout Finland. Commenting on the new partnership, James Roth, Head of Sales and Marketing at Green Hippo, said: “I have been aware of the growth of Msonic’s business activities over a number of years and for us, the recent move to their new offices and some changes in the structure of the Finnish market that has meant Johan West can join the team was just too good an opportunity to let go. Bringing together such a fine commercial operation with Msonic, one of the word’s real experts on Hippotizer Media Servers in Johan and our global market-leading brand means that we now have an unbeatable position in the Finnish market.” J&C Joel has announced the appointment of Yeo Creative Solutions as its new dealer in Australia. Yeo Creative Solutions will hold stock of J&C Joel’s primary range of event and production flame retardant fabrics and flooring as well as offering the drapes and shapes that J&C Joel are renowned for. Yeo Creative Solutions’ Managing Director, Jonathan Yeoman, commented: “J&C Joel has been my first choice as a fabric and flooring supplier for many years and I’m delighted that we’ve been able to formalise the excellent relationship that has developed between our 2 organisations. This enables us to offer the full range of J&C Joel products and services to the Australian market from a local supplier for the first time.” L-Acoustics has announced the creation of a purpose-built sales and application team for the UK. It comprises Sales Manager Paul McMullan, who has been with L Acoustics since 2016 and continues to expand the brand’s association with the UK market. He is now joined by new team members Sergey Becker, Application Engineer, Touring and Jeff Woodford, Application Engineer, Install. Continuing to support the UK market are Nathalie Prade in sales support and Alex Linn in customer service. “The UK is a seismic centre for both the touring and installation markets and is recognised for its cutting edge performing arts centres. It is also home to many of the globe’s most important consultancies,” explained
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Jochen Frohn, L-Acoustics Director of Business Development. “As such, it is a key territory for us, which is why we made the decision to strengthen the UK team with the addition of Sergey and Jeff, both experienced application engineers whose extensive knowledge will help to expand the brand in the robust UK touring and install markets.” Meyer Sound has appointed Sun Infonet as its exclusive distributor for the professional and commercial sound market verticals in India, including the sound hire, commercial installation and live entertainment business sectors. “Sun Infonet has a fantastic team,” said Sandeep Braganza, Meyer Sound Sales Manager for India. “They are known for their integrity and for their dedication to the brands that they represent. Also, with multiple offices spread across India, they will provide Meyer Sound customers with timely post-sale service and support.” Powersoft has announced the appointment of Mennegat Trading BV to its distribution network. Mennegat will promote Powersoft’s fixed install and rental staging series of amplifier platforms across the Netherlands. Powersoft’s ESA regional Account Manager, Stefano Previtali, commented: “Mennegat has a very personal approach and the relationship has been rewarding from the start. Yet, the decision to work with Mennegat stems from 3 main factors. First, the company is focussed on specific brands that complement our rack amplifiers. The positive consequence is a high quality of communication. Mennegat delivers in a fast and professional manner and ensures everything is on hand to support its partners and its brands.” Schnick-Schnack-Systems, specialist in LED effect lighting, has welcomed 3 new members to its growing team. Gero Gaede joins Project Management with a wealth of experience in media technology, production and quality assurance; Friederike Osterkamp, who spent 2 years in a media agency and 6 years in an advertising agency, joins the accounting team; and Nicole Groebel joins as Advertising Executive and will take over the daily communication with suppliers and service providers. Shure has announced plans to open new offices in Chicago and Switzerland. The former will see Shure move its sales, marketing, customer service and market development associates to The National Building.
“There are 2 primary reasons for us to make this move and open a downtown Chicago office, both of which are very positive,” said Abby Kaplan, Senior Director, US Retail Group, at Shure. “First, we’ve outgrown the space in our current corporate headquarters, and second, this location brings us closer to our loyal customers – especially in our ‘home market’ of Chicago.” The latter will take effect 1 June 2018 and will see the company takeover direct distribution of its products throughout Switzerland. Long-standing Swiss distributor, Dr. W.A. Günther AG, will continue to offer customers its expertise and will remain the exclusive distributor of Shure products in Switzerland until summer 2018. “We would like to thank our long-standing distribution partner, Dr. W.A. Günther AG, for all its hard work over the past 25 years,” Marco Weissert, Managing Director at Shure Distribution, commented. “Dr. W.A. Günther AG is renowned in Switzerland for excellence in audio and video, and we’re delighted that the company will continue to assist our customers as a commercial partner.” Solotech Las Vegas has announced the appointment of Tony Grant as Business Developer Sales Representative. He will play a key role in developing Solotech’s integrations department, by bringing his 28 years of sales experience to Solotech’s growing US team. In recent years, his experience in the audiovisual industry has focused on developing client relationships in the hospitality, corporate, house of worship and healthcare markets. He is excited to grow those relationships, while expanding Solotech’s network by continuing to build affiliations in additional market sectors. The Appointment Group (TAG) Global Touring has appointed Trevor Johnson as Managing Director for the UK, with Caroline McCann now confirmed in the same role in the United States. Johnson will oversee TAG’s London and Manchester touring and entertainment travel operations; account managing the client base, driving the division’s growth plans and facilitating technology enhancements. TPi www.tpimagazine.com/category/industry-jobs/
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Renkus Heinz 123 RG Jones 26 Riedel Communications 95 Rigging Services 26 Robe IBC Rock-It Cargo 27 77 Rope & Rigging Schnick Schnack Systems 134 Second Warehouse 118 Sennheiser 75 Snakatak 50 SSE Audio Group 15 Stage Miracles 23 Stage Production Co 87 TRUCKINGBY Brian Yeardley 135 85 Transition Video TW AUDiO 119 Universal Pixels 137 VER 138 Video Design 77 Video Illusions 87 Visionlite 65 XTA Electronics 85 Yamaha Commercial Audio IFC
SCOTT DUNLOP President & CEO, Pyrotek Special Effects
the needs of our clients, growing our presence from 2 facilities in Toronto and Las Vegas to 5 facilities, including New York, Nashville, Lititz, a larger Las Vegas facility and our Toronto head office. In conjunction with the growth of our facilities footprint, we have made large additions to our team in almost every area of the business. It’s been immensely satisfying to see this expansion and people yield tangible benefits to our clients in terms of the special effects solutions we are able to provide and the technical, project management and logistical support we are able to bring to help make each show a spectacular event.
In your opinion what have been some of the biggest changes within the world of SFX over the years? The demands on the production side have become more elaborate and more sophisticated. Artists are generating large amounts of their income from live shows and production teams work continuously to position these shows on the leading edge of magnificent. This trend has really played to our strengths because we feel we can really add value in these situations. At the same time, the competitive environment in our category (special effects) has become a bit fragmented, with various companies of differing scale and capability chasing some of these large productions. I have seen cases of special effects providers getting in over their head on a big production, and this is a trend we should all keep our eyes on. It’s difficult work that we do, with complicated creative, technical, safety, risk management and insurance parameters where the consequences of a failure can be very high. A company has to have very specific experience, scale and professional competency to be the right partner on some of these shows and it is my hope that the production community remains attuned to this dynamic.
What first sparked your interest in live events? Since I was a teenager, music has been one of the defining passions of my life. This naturally fed an interest in going to live concerts and, over the intervening years, I have attended hundreds of shows. Whether it is a full-on stadium extravaganza or a more intimate club gathering, I never pass up the opportunity to see one of my favourite acts play live. How did you find yourself in the special effects side of the business? My professional background is in general management, sales & marketing, law and business transactions. About 8 years ago, my business partners and I were making strategic investments in niche private companies with strong growth prospects. We ended up with an opportunity to acquire Pyrotek from its founder and were attracted to live event production, the reputation and market position that Pyrotek had built for itself, and the opportunity to further develop and grow the business.
What have Pyrotek got on the schedule for the rest of 2018? Our ongoing tours right now include Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, Metallica, The Killers and Kendrick Lamar. We are also busy lining up a few more big productions for the spring / summer season, which we won’t be able to talk about until these shows hit the road...
What have been some of your personal highlights from your time with Pyrotek? My highlights would typically centre around some of the big developments we have made in Pyrotek’s business over the last few years. We’ve made very large investments in expanding our facilities to keep pace with
Finally, what can TPi readers find you doing when you’re not behind your desk at Pyrotek HQ? In addition to being an amateur guitar player, I enjoy a whole bunch of outdoor activities including mountain biking, snowboarding, climbing and mountaineering. I also study and practice karate. 142
THE NEW REFERENCE POINT
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The VL2500 just got a hundred times better introducing the VL2600 Series
The VL2000 Series has always been regarded as the industry benchmark when it comes to moving lights. The new VL2600 Spot, Proﬁle and Wash LED ﬁxtures will reset that benchmark! We believe the VL2600 is a hundred times better than its predecessor. Here are just ﬁve of the things that make this new generation superior: • • • • •
Higher output Higher CRI Wide zoom range Side yoke handles Fan speed control channel
The VL2600 Series will be launching at Prolight + Sound 2018 come and check them out and tell us what you think makes them great.
See the new VL2600 Series in action on Stand F25 Hall 3.0
The Script, Lana Del Rey, Paramore, Gatecrasher Classical, Don Broco.