TOTAL PRODUCTION INTERNATIONAL LIVE EVENT DESIGN & TECHNOLOGY • MAY 2016 • ISSUE 201
25: the full production world exclusive
ALL MY LIFE, YOU’RE MY DARKNESS / YOU’RE THE RIGHT KIND OF MADNESS
BABYMETAL • YEARS & YEARS • PROLIGHT+SOUND 2016 REPORT • AT THE DRIVE-IN • ULTRA K-ARRAY ON TOUR • INTERVIEW: SOLOTECH • IN PROFILE: CAPITAL SOUND • TUPAC MARTIR
MAY 2016 #201
© Ralph Larmann
BELIEVE IT FROM ED SHEERAN TO ARIANA GRANDE TO METALLICA – TOP TOURS ARE PROVING THE POWER OF THE LEO FAMILY.
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#201 It’s not every day you get to cover a tour as high profile as Adele’s, but, I was lucky enough to do just that and it’s the first full production report on 25 anywhere in the world. I’d like to say a big thanks to her brilliant Production Manager Richard Young for having me and to the audio crew for not only giving me some in-depth lessons in pro audio (I mean, really!), but for being an absolute blast to hang out with. I spoke last issue of it being my 5th anniversary here at TPi and, funnily enough, Adele was my first ever feature for the magazine! I hope you enjoy the read, which begins on Pg. 34. Elsewhere, we have the mighty 2016 Prolight+Sound report (Pg. 62), an exclusive with At The Drive-In’s TM Ben Hammond - if you visited the tour, you know how epic it was! - and we bring you coverage of Years & Years’ first arena outing (Pg. 52). I would also like to draw your attention to Pg. 110, the PSA column, for what is undoubtedly this issue’s most important piece of writing. It details the tragic reality of a life cut short, and the only way to at least try to prevent it from happening again in similar circumstances is to listen up and sign where needed. Please take a moment out of your day to give the late Micah Maxwell-Milne’s story the attention it deserves. In June you can catch Hannah and I at InfoComm in Las Vegas, for our first visit to the tradeshow. I’m picturerd above at NAMM in January, and am looking forward to experiencing another US expo very soon. America, hold tight, the British are coming! Kelly Murray Editor EDITOR Kelly Murray Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7738 154689 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org ASSISTANT EDITOR Ste Durham Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8385 Mobile: +44 (0)7891 679742 e-mail: email@example.com STAFF WRITER Stewart Hume Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7702 054344 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org GENERAL MANAGER - TPi MAGAZINE & AWARDS Hannah Eakins Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7760 485230 e-mail: email@example.com ADVERTISING SALES Charlotte Goodlass Tel: +44 (0)161 476 9126 Mobile: +44 (0)788 0208 226 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org EVENT MANAGER - TPi AWARDS Mo Naeem Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)775 9272 313 e-mail: email@example.com
GRAPHIC DESIGN & PRODUCTION Dan Seaton: firstname.lastname@example.org Zoe Willcox: email@example.com ACCOUNTS Lynette Levi / Sarah Miller: firstname.lastname@example.org CHIEF EXECUTIVE Justin Gawne MONDIALE GROUP CHAIRMAN Damian Walsh CONTRIBUTING WRITER Brooke Nolan
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COVER PHOTOGRAPHY Adele by Ralph Larmann PRINTED BY Buxton Press • www.buxpress.co.uk Annual subscriptions (including P&P): £42 (UK), £60 (Europe), £78/$125 (RoW). Subscription enquiries to: Subscriptions, Mondiale Publishing Limited, Waterloo Place, Watson Square, Stockport SK1 3AZ, UK. Tel: +44 (0)161 476 5580 Fax: +44 (0)161 476 0456 e-mail: email@example.com www.tpimagazine.com www.tpiawards.com www.tpmeamagazine.com Issue 201 - May 2016
TOTAL PRODUCTION INTERNATIONAL is a controlled circulation magazine, published 12 times a year by Mondiale Publishing Limited under licence. ISSN 1461-3786 Copyright © 2016 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 2014 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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EVENT FOCUS 08
At The Drive-In Engineer Ben Hammond dons his TM and FOH hats for the band’s live reunion.
14 Out Board on PAT and Cable Testing Are you up to date with the latest technology? 18 Knight of Illumination Awards The KOI announces a venue move. 20 K-Array’s Tourable Talent The Firenze PA system meets Leona Lewis. 24 BABYMETAL Victory Tour Production supplies the band’s Wembley debut. 28
An Evening with Suggs & Friends Entec Sound & Light provides production for a very charitable evening.
34 Adele The full live production world exclusive of the British singer’s new tour. 52
Years & Years LD Chris ‘Squib’ Swain takes the electro trio’s set design into arenas.
TPi heads to Frankfurt for Prolight+Sound 2016.
Audio, lighting and video highlights from Ultra Music Festival 2016.
ROAD DIARIES 86
Steve Lagudi talks TPi through a day of duties on the road with Machine Head.
IN PROFILE 88
Audio rental house Capital Sound on becoming a four-brand PA stockist.
Solotech’s Jean-Philippe Tremblay on investing in ArKaos.
Festival PM, Dick Tee, talks 35 years in the industry.
CLOCKING OFF 102 Tupac Martir tackles the London Marathon for Clic Sargent.
GEAR HEADS 104 Jeevan Vivegananthan explains the R&D behind Christie’s new Boxer Series.
INDUSTRY APPOINTMENTS 106 The latest movers and shakers.
PSA: THE BIGGER PICTURE
110 A look at road safety while working abroad.
BACK CHAT 114 Focusrite Chairman, Phil Dudderidge.
PUCKER UP AND KISS THE ASPHALT TPi’s Kelly Murray goes to London’s Roundhouse to speak exclusively with Tour Manager and FOH Engineer, Ben Hammond, about his experience on the road with cult post-hardcore crew, At The Drive-In.
When the word ‘band reunion’ and ‘2016’ are typed into a search engine, you’re more than likely to be bombarded with articles referring to Guns N’ Roses’ long-awaited comeback. However, for those with a penchant for heavier rock music, the return of post-hardcore titans At the Drive-In is the true headline story of the year. It’s been a long 16 years since the band released any new material, with critically acclaimed album Relationship of Command becoming one of the most sought after cuts in the genre’s history. Imagining seeing them perform the record live seemed like pure fantasy to many, until this year, that is…
know what to expect, but the rest is history!” Readers of TPi will typically know of Hammond for his sound engineering skills, but his tour management knowledge is something he fell into out of necessity. “When I first started touring it seemed to be that the two jobs got bundled together. I think for the most part, it’s the two jobs people want covering more than any other, so when there is limited budget or space on buses, the doubling up of roles is required. I’m not sure if it’s the best mix during the gig sometimes, due to me having a few thousand people between me and the band and not being there to get them onstage when I’m mixing at FOH! But, as long as you have a great crew, which we were certainly blessed with on this tour, then you can relax somewhat and know it’s going to be under control.” Concentrating primarily on his FOH work, after a two-year album cycle with long-haired metal gods Saxon, he got a call from Raw Power Management, which offered him a slot with Young Guns as both FOH and TM, and led to a tour with Atreyu. Halfway through planning ATDI’s highly anticipated tour, the band also signed with Raw Power, meaning Hammond
ONE MAN, TWO HATS “I first met Paul Hinojos, the band’s bass player, when he was working as a session musician, and I was mixing The Blackout,” began Hammond. “I remember at the time him telling me that he worked with on the production team for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, which suitably intimidated the rest of the crew! Fast forward over four years and I got a call from that tour’s TM saying to expect a call from Paul about an upcoming project. I didn’t really 08
AT THE DRIVE-IN
Opposite: Riots at the Roundhouse courtesy of ATDI’s stellar performance. Above: FOH with the Allen & Heath dLive system.
got to remain close with the same group of people he had known and worked with for years. He said: “I was very aware from the off set that the band had been touring at a high level, and would have very specific needs which I wanted to fulfill as well as possible. Because they were getting back together after a few years off, I wanted to make them feel as comfortable and as stress-free as possible in order to best aid their new routines and be firing on all cylinders.” He furthered: “Looking after every member of the touring party is of paramount importance. You can’t look after the band and leave the crew to fend for themselves, or vice versa. Everyone from the singer to the driver are all away from home, and all dealing with the same emotions; we all miss loved ones, and are all here making our living with one common goal, which is to make sure that performance is as good as humanly possible.” Hammond also explained that taking on this dual role means that you have a different bond with the rest of the crew. “As TM you never really stop working. You don’t form the relaxed ‘mate’ relationship that the rest of the crew forms. I think that getting your head down and making sure everything
gets done quickly and smoothly gains trust and, for me, that’s the most important thing. Twin that with being a person who is easy to be around on the road, and the rest often takes care of itself.” USING A CONSOLE AS AN INSTRUMENT With a level of trust somewhat already in place due to the recommendation from Raw Power, the reality of being the TM played out seamlessly, with Hammond describing the band - who, let’s face it, would be fearless wrecking any stage - as “incredibly lovely people”. The approach to audio with not only a brand new client, but also for a band with some highly knowledgeable fans, was also a situation in which Hammond’s precise experience could come into play. He told TPi: “I take great pride in making sure that what the fans hear, is exactly what the band wants to get across to them. For me, this starts with getting a setlist of songs and listening to them almost religiously. It seems lately that my entire record collection is the next band I’m working for! Another important stage of the process is speaking to the band before the tour begins, right through to rehearsals, making
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AT THE DRIVE-IN
Hammond took on the roles of FOH Engineer and Tour Manager.
sure that we are all on the same page at the same time. In this case, Cedric Bixler-Zavala [ATDI frontman] was very specific about hitting all the FX cues on the record. On top of this, ATDI have a lot of long improvisation sections in the set, which are very ambient... I was given free reign on these to make them as ambient and involving as possible. This actually turned into Cedric asking for wedges on stage that had my FOH vocal sound and FX in so he could ‘play’ off the FX. This extended into Cedric using his vocal microphone at one point in the set to mic the drums, which then Tony [Hajjar, Drummer] would play with the long tap delay I had on the vocal microphone. So I’m completely involved in the set improvisations which further backs up my sentiment that an engineer is playing a gig just as much as the band, using their console as an instrument. “In the past the band has been known for raw aggression, but this time around it’s a much more mature show. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t for a second lack any of the aggression that their past shows had, but it’s a much more refined set. We have a big, tight drum sound, and the way Tony plays really lends itself to the big Bonham snare sound, especially in the slower songs. The whole band hangs on the snare, which comes way behind the beat to give that real groove feel. The mix itself is also dynamic and as ever changing as Omar [Rodríguez-López]’s incredible guitar playing, which soars its way to the top in a lot of sections. He has such a vast array of amazing sounds that it would simply be arrogant of me to do anything other than recreate this through the PA as honestly as possible. “The overall mix ended up being pretty clean with a lot of audible FX. It was still very powerful and punchy, which meant I could involve the audience much more and immerse them in sound. Using bottom end and softer frequencies (using multi band compression / dynamic EQ to keep the harsh mid range frequencies in check) I could give much more of an illusion of volume. I kept the shows pretty religiously at 102dBA, while injecting as much power and clarity as possible. I like to think of using tight focussed bottom end to ‘give the audience a hug’, meaning I like to involve the listener, rather then just have them watch a band from a distance. That’s the difference between a great show, and a life-changing experience.”
For FOH control Hammond took his new Allen & Heath dLive system on the road. The engineer has been using the desk for the last couple of years and told TPi that he “couldn’t resist” personally investing in one. He used the S5000 surface with and M-Dante card for tracking and a DM64 stage box. Due to the somewhat aggressive style of the band’s shows, he also opted to come out of the console via AES at 96k into a Cransong HEDD D/A converter. This gave more headroom as well providing Hammond with the valve drive and tape compression, providing the whole mix with an extra kick. “It’s a box I’ve sworn by since I first used one years ago,” explained Hammond. “The onboard FX on the dLive are pretty staggering too. I used a lot of my reverb pre sets that I have made over the years from using both iLive and dLive desks.” He went on to express his admiration for the Dyn-EQ on the console for mixing vocals. “I’m a huge fan of adaptive processing on vocals to keep them up front at all times. A weird one on this was using the Leslie Sim on the desk over Cedric’s vocal in certain parts to give me a lo-fi, driven tremolo effect which actually worked out great. The four band compression on the dLive over the master was a first for me however, I’m not usually into compression on the master bus, but this just helped to keep the intensive mid range in check on this mix. Once calmed down here, the Cranesong just gave in that extra sparkle on the way to the PA.” Hammond utilised the Roundhouse’s Britannia Row installed L-Acoustics K2 system. He noted: “This was the first time I have mixed here since the old V-DOSC was taken out. The coverage is much better, and the overall the intelligibility at FOH is a big improvement. I always found the Roundhouse to be pretty vague at FOH once the venue had filled up, but this has well and truly been fixed with the K2 rig.” For the show, all the members of ATDI were on IEMs with the addition of the FX mix sent from FOH to a pair of wedges. Hajjar was also using two 18-inch subs and a Porter and Davies thumper stool. Hammond even took on the role as monitor engineer on this tour too. He explained: “The band requested that they wanted a small monitor board on stage so they could ride faders themselves, so I employed an Allen & Heath GLD-80 for this task 10
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AT THE DRIVE-IN
The console and microphone packages were supplied by Hammond with all other audio requirements being provided by Eighth Day Sound.
and set up a very simple ‘press button, push fader’ show file, then went through the process of changing things with the entire band and stage crew. Despite my reservations on this, it actually worked very well. I would do a short check on stage with the band until they were happy, and then do a full check from FOH. They are a pretty easy band for IEM mixes, again coming from being extremely experienced and knowing exactly what they want to hear, and more importantly, how to communicate this sound to their paying audience.” The microphone package included several models from Audio-Technica including AE2500’s for guitars, ATM29 on bass and AE4100’s on backing vocal duty. For the kick drum Hammond used an Audio-Technica BP40. The rest of the kit included ATM650’s on the snare, ATM450’s on hi-hats, ATM350’s on toms, AE5100 on the ride, and AT4050’s on overheads. For Bixler-Zavala’s vocals the production used a Telefunken M80 dynamic microphone. Consoles at both FOH and monitor position along with microphones were supplied from Hammond’s own gear stock. Other audio rental requirements including the line system, IEMs, Cranesong, microphone stands, stage power and flightcases, all came from Eighth Day Sound. Hammond stated: “I was very well looked after by Stuart Wright at Eighth Day. I always have great experiences touring kit from those guys, and look forward to using them again in the future.”
A BADGE OF HONOUR With the London gig marking a huge return for the band, the fans and the national music press, the tour’s British date also marked a real sense of achievement for Hammond. He concluded: “As with every tour I definitely feel like I have learnt a tone from this experience,” he stated. “Working with people like Paul Hinojos was great - to learn more on the accounting / logistical side of things because of his own production experience with RHCP - and as ever, working with new artists exposes engineers to all kinds of challenges. I think this forces you to think outside the box. Personally, no matter how long you have been touring, you never stop learning and I want to make sure I leave every tour being better at my jobs than I was going in. This was a big badge of honour for me, to be at the helm of such an anticipated tour, and as a big Mars Volta fan [another influential band and ATDI musical project during hiatus], getting to mix that guitar sound and those vocals was pretty special for me.” TPi Photos: Jon Stone www.atthedriveinmusic.com www.8thdaysound.com www.audio-technica.com www.allen-heath.com 12
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Out Board’s PAT-4 Test Processor heads.
OUT BOARD DELIVERS NEW TECH The new QC-Check PAT and cable test systems for production rentals and venues.
For live production rental companies and venues, the need for electrical appliance testing and regulatory certification has become a daily certainty. Furthermore, different countries often mandate a variety of different safety standards and priorities. The answer comes from a joint venture between tech innovators Out Board and longstanding software associates Data Strategy which now offers a real-world future-proofed solution for the evolving daily challenges faced by its global production rental and venue customers. The company’s fully integrated offering combines Data Strategy’s QC-Check database and automation software with Out Board’s PAT-4 and CAB-5 Test Processors to not only test the safety and functionality of electrical appliances and cables, but also generate the necessary report documentation to accompany a job or project, all fully adaptable to current and future international guidelines and regulations. The QC-Check client-server database platform hugely streamlines the process of professional electrical appliance and cable testing in bulk, producing, at the touch of a button, a set of job-specific electrical-safety test records referenced to an individual asset level. Single or multi-seat QC-Check/PAT-4/CAB5 systems can perform both electrical safety tests in single and three phase rental equipment, as well as continuity and insulation tests on power, signal or data cables from five up to 100 cores, making them suitable for all types of rental operation or venue, small or
large. Out Board’s PAT-4 Test Processor heads are available as single phase 16A or 32A units and 3-phase 16A, 32A and 125A configurations. Dual 32-bit RISC ARM processors in the PAT-4 Test Processors allow configuration for a wide range of emerging international test standards, providing precision measurement of resistance, current and voltage in hi-speed sequenced test routines individually tailored to each asset group. A recent addition, the optional RCD-T test module performs fully isolated RCD tests with results recorded in QC-Check. QC-Check manages the entire end-to-end process of automating, controlling and logging all tests, creating detailed audit trails for all aspects of equipment safety inspection, as well as full prep, pick, despatch and return logistics. Data Strategy’s database expertise also enables them to integrate QC-Check to operate in real-time with clients’ existing project and rental software packages such as RentalPoint, RTPro and HireTracks, as well as in-house proprietary systems such as PRG’s Team. PRG were early adopters of the technology via company acquisition. Initial skepticism quickly turned around and three years later thirty-five networked QC-Check/PAT-4 workstations serve multiple departments at PRG’s Longbridge warehouse. PRG’s Operations Director Nigel Taylor said: “It enables us to feel confident in the shows we’re taking on whether that’s large-scale opening ceremonies or concert touring you know that these shows that can be 14
This is your arena Arriving May 2016
Out Board and software associates Data Strategy now offer a real-world future-proofed solution for the evolving daily challenges faced by its global production rental and venue customers.
going into listed buildings or massive stadia are hitting the regulatory safety obligations of Europe.” The standardisation of the testing and data-logging process ensures clear data and straightforward tasks for his staff, whereas previously there was manually obtained data consolidated and formalised into one document for presentation to the customer. Items would be missed, wrong bar codes copied. But with the QC-Check the data is 100% accurate, with no variation. It’s impossible for us not to be accurate.” Smaller companies supplying the TV and media industry also share such confidence. Trans-Sport Limited, Midlands-based global event contractors, took on a single QC-Check/PAT-4 workstation just over a year ago. “We’ve built a reputation on providing quality equipment and service, health and safety always being at the forefront of our business and the QC Check/ PAT-4 system supports us ensuring high standards are met and records produced and maintained. The QC-Check/PAT-4 system takes our reliability to another level,” explained Rigger Manager, Will Cope. Outside of the UK, the eclipse Group in Dubai maintains its equipment in line with British standards, citing the provision of a better and safer service to its customers, as the primary reason for implementing test procedures via the QC-Check/PAT-4 system. eclipse’s QC-Check test and prep routines are fully customisable and simple to update in-house. Testing processes are dictated by step-bystep workflows that ensure every user follows identical procedures. Tim Ransom of the eclipse Group, noted that it can encourage the wholecompany ethos: “We can quickly update procedures using terms applicable to us and include our own pictures to ensure accuracy. We’ve set up many visual inspection tests for our rigging equipment to ensure all components are free from damage and of the highest standard.” Data Strategy’s QC-Check workstations, housed in bespoke modular rack consoles, provide all appliance and cable test connectors employed by a particular rental operation or venue. Also housing the QC-Check computer, barcode scanners and the Out Board PAT-4 and CAB-5 devices, the workstations are designed to be fully integrated into the real-time warehouse job prep procedures, expanding on the necessary electricalsafety tests with multi-step functional tests and inspection being included in the process and fully documented.
PRG’s Taylor describes the peace of mind it imparts: “Everyone is testing to the same ethic. It’s a logical process to check there’s no external or physical damage – everyone is at the same standard - which is otherwise impossible to determine without QC-Check.” This quality-control data captured for each piece of equipment over time is used constructively by some production companies to trace problems. QC-Check can be easily interrogated following feedback from site on a particular item, identified by its barcode or serial number, to find who the operator was or to pull up a complete history of usage as well as test results. Nigel Taylor commented how he used this regularly to “address skills gap shortages and understand how things go through prep, but also to support compliance issues encountered in the field.” He went on to claim: “It gives us the support and stability to know when an item left the building on which day, in what condition giving a lot of security, which is very beneficial. The eclipse Group is not looking back either. QC-Check is fully integrated with its HireTrack NX system. Ransom stated: “Data Strategy and Iain Roche have done such a great job, we are working with them to develop some new features within the application and we’re also purchasing an additional two workstations.” The impact on PRG has also been very positive. Taylor said: “We had a lot of feedback from Data Strategy on how to tailor the systems to our business, Iain was very pro-active. The workstations have made the testing process a lot easier. If you’re a rental house in this business a QC-Check/ PAT-4 system would definitely be beneficial. I would recommend it but I’m happy if they haven’t got it!” The number and diversity of QC-Check/PAT-4 users continue to grow rapidly. Other production rental clients include Stage Electrics, Blitz, Hawthorns, Warner Bros Production Rental, Pinewood MBS, Cinelease, PKE Film Lighting, Eighth Day Sound, Entec Sound & Light, Paragon, Fisher, Pierce Hire, ELP, TSL, One Big Star, Blinding Light, VME, CT and more, along with major venue clients such as the Royal Opera House, Theatre Clwyd and Birmingham NEC. TPi www.datastrategy.com www.outboard.co.uk 16
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KNIGHT OF ILLUMINATION AWARDS The Knight of Illumination Awards 2016 goes ‘Live at the Apollo’ and announces headline sponsor.
The Knight of Illumination Awards (KOI) 2016 has announced that this year’s industry-anticipated ceremony will now take place at major live entertainment venue the Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith on 18 September. “Eventim Apollo is renowned for celebrating world-class talent of all kinds, so we’re thrilled to be hosting the Knight of Illumination Awards 2016, which champions the exceptional work of the world’s leading lighting designers,” said Sarah Myring, Eventim Apollo Front of House and Corporate Sales Manager. “It’s also fitting that so many of the designers have themselves worked on shows at the iconic venue, which has recently undergone an overhaul with colour wash LED lighting to create a truly state-of-the-art lighting system. This is an excellent opportunity to recognise the talented community of lighting designers that have come through our doors over the years, and we’re delighted to be hosting the awards in our unique event space.” The event has also confirmed the Headline Sponsor as Italian lighting manufacturer Clay Paky, the company that originally founded and managed the Awards before KOI developed into the pan-industry event it is today.
“We are delighted that the event Clay Paky started nearly a decade ago is now sponsored and supported by almost all of the major businesses operating in entertainment lighting and video technology,” said Pio Nahum, CEO of Clay Paky. “Knight of Illumination Awards is one of the most prestigious events on the lighting and video and content design calendar and the event brings together the very best in their field. The mission is, and always has been, to celebrate the remarkable creativity and excellence of lighting and video content designers, so we are extremely proud to continue to support the Awards as Headline Sponsor.” This year marks the ninth edition of the Awards, which celebrates the creative talents of international lighting and digital content designers working in the UK in the sectors of TV, Theatre and Concert Touring and Events. A first wave of second tier, or Spotlight sponsors, have also been confirmed as Ambersphere Solutions, Ayrton, ETC, FIX8Group, Hawthorn, Light Initiative, MA Lighting, Philips Vari-Lite, PLASA Media and Events, PRG XL Video, Robert Juliat, VER Aurora TV. Each company will sponsor an award. “We’re very happy to be a sponsor of the Knight of Illumination Awards 2016,” said Lee Spencer, Commercial Director of PRG XL Video, the first 18
KNIGHT OF ILLUMINATION AWARDS
Opposite: The KOI Awards have moved to a brand new venue for 2016.
company to sponsor this year’s awards. “This is the fourth year we have been involved, and during that time we’ve seen the Awards grow in prominence in our industry. The event is always an excellent opportunity to meet with the very best lighting and video designers in our sector, and to celebrate their work!” Submissions are currently open for the Television and Concert Touring and Events categories and shows performed or broadcast between 1 August 2015 and 31 July 2016 in the UK are eligible. As with previous years the Theatre section can only be nominated by the judging panel. Submissions can be made for TV and Concert Touring by visiting the KOI website. The shortlists will be announced in late August. A panel of industry experts from each sector assess each and every entry for each of the awards. In addition, The Enrico Caironi Lifetime Recognition Award will be presented to an individual whose passion for the industry has gone above and beyond the call of duty, in turn benefiting their colleagues, the industry and the wider world. The KOI Awards was conceived and is organised by Durham and Jennie Marenghi and prestigious industry organisations the STLD (Society of Television Lighting and Design), the ALD (Association of Lighting Designers) and content creation, communication and events agency The Fifth Estate Ltd, which produces and manages the event itself and handles KOI’s marketing and PR. TPi www.knight-of-illumination.com
K-ARRAY: SEEN AND HEARD Sole UK distributor for K-array, 2B Heard, hosted a demo day of the latest product in the Firenze Series, the KH8, as the system undertook its UK touring debut with pop starlet, Leona Lewis.
Following on from its successful seminar day back in February, 2B Heard, K-array’s UK distributor, held an exclusive Firenze (KH8) demonstration and training event at The Backstage Centre in Purfleet, Essex, to highlight the system’s benefits. K-array loudspeakers have rapidly become a ‘go to’ solution for a wide range of situations where high quality sound is needed from low aesthetic profile sources. The Firenze digitally steerable touring system marries K-array’s slim array technology with rugged, weather-resistant enclosures to bring the best of the company’s audio technology to theatres, arenas and stadiums. Commenting on the event, Director of 2B Heard, Dave Wooster, stated: “It was important for us to provide technical information about K-array’s revolutionary Firenze Series and how its onboard Armonia DSP system coupled with AFMG’s FIRmaker gives the system the ability to accurately steer the loudspeaker’s sound beam.” There had been an opportunity for engineers to listen to the system on the Leona Lewis UK tour, but 2B Heard decided to put on this event so that engineers could get a chance to really get hands-on with the system.
The day comprised a technical presentation to introduce the Firenze range, an overview of Ease Focus 3, Armonia and the KH8 along with training, plus system rig and de-rig training and critical listening tests. “We used the same set up as we had for Leona’s tour,” explained Wooster. “We flew two frames containing six panels of KH8 per side with three KS8 subs on the ground running in a cardioid formation, using the INFRA mode pre-set. The Backstage Centre is a great space for running a system of this size and we were able to fly the system to a trim height of 4.4 metres to the bottom of the array. KH7’s were placed on top of the subs and aligned to cover the first 10 metres of the room, crossing over into the KH8.” Wooster aimed the top KH8 at the fly floor balcony to roughly demonstrate the coverage up, as well as down. The system was fully controlled and equalised using the Armonia DSP system, using a digital AES feed to the speakers with an analogue redundant backup feed. “We were able to demonstrate the whole process from initial room drawing through to final upload of pre-set into the system, and how this can still be changed in real-time with no loss of audio to the system,” 20
Opposite: Leona Lewis on her I Am tour which saw the UK debut of the K-array new Firenze system. Below: The Firenze digitally steerable touring system marries K-array’s slim array technology with rugged, weather-resistant enclosures to bring the best of the company’s audio technology to theatres, arenas and stadiums.
Wooster continued. “This is invaluable if an issue were to arise with the system. From there the audio team, headed by Dave Wooster (who took system during a show. For example, if we were to lose a panel, it’s possible the role of FOH engineer), generated the splay angles and FIR filters that to isolate it via the mains distribution, EASE can be used to recalculate the the system needed and were automatically transferred to the Powersoft array coverage without the box in the system, the new set of filters can Armonia DSP system contained within all the KH units. be uploaded in real-time and the show goes on! The entire process takes Speaking about the tour, Wooster commented: “The process was about three minutes. seamless every day and never needed to be done twice on the whole tour. “We also demonstrated how quick the whole The prediction and realisation were so close that process of flying one side of the system is, both up we didn’t need to change anything.” He went on and down, with the option of cabling the system to discuss that the physical rigging of the system from above or below making no difference to was very quick. “On a good day with easy access the process. We explained all the components of the whole system was in in under 30 minutes,” the flying system, even the unique way the subs he continued. “From having the motor hanging use the same fly bar and transition directly from to the main system being off the floor took less “Overall the system was the KS8 to the KH8, so flying the subs takes the than eight minutes on average, while both sides outstanding, with great same time as flying the frames. That really is total of the ground stacked elements were on the floor reliability and an incredibly integration.” and done in under 12 minutes - both with just one In attendance at the event was Rory Madden technician rigging the system. We also benefited easy setup. What more can from Sonalyst: “I spent the afternoon listening from rigging a physically straight system in some an engineer or show want?” to the latest system from K-array and was very of the trickier rooms - there was no need to try Director of 2B Heard, impressed both by its sound quality and the and squeeze a J-shaped array around obstacles possible speed of installing the system on a or run the risk of injuring crew with boxes coming Dave Wooster touring basis. I think this system is one to be together.” watched, and I would recommend to anyone that The frequency of the main flown system it’s ‘2B heard’.” extended down to around 65Hz, with the subs As stated above, the K-array Firenze system were running in INFRA mode, with one of the had already been seen throughout the UK on three each side in a cardioid arrangement. This Leona Lewis’ latest tour in support of her album, significantly extended the low end while ensuring I Am. 2B Heard supplied a Firenze system comprising six KH8 panels and the front rows weren’t drowning in bass frequencies. Also with the KH7 and three KS8 subs per side for the main system, plus two KH7 per side for in/ KH8 having the same sonic signature, the sound throughout the venues was out fills and four KP102 for front fills. The full system was deployed in each seamless. venue, with EASE Focus 3 used to draw the space and create a virtual “Once all units were tested and aligned via SMART, only one walk test 21
For Lewis’ tour and the demo day, three KS8 subs on the ground were set up in in a cardioid formation, using the INFRA mode pre-set.
was performed during the day as the coverage from the front to the back was absolute, with almost no difference in frequency response and dynamic performance,” said Wooster. “For the first time ever I can honestly say that I had no fears about the mix sounding any different from the front to the back. The horizontal coverage across the room from the 120º KH8 boxes was excellent, even in some of the trickier venues with close walls and balcony seats near to the system. The benefits of Firenze being a true line array were very evident in these situations.” “The EASE Focus prediction took very little time to create each day of the tour,” confirmed Toby Donovan, System Tech for the tour. “The angles were applied to the system, which was then flown and completed very quickly. “Being able to rig and fly the system dead straight proved to be a real time saver. The uploading process of the FIR filters from EASE into Armonia was seamless and very straight forward. With a short alignment and equalisation using SMART we were done. Walk tests proved that the coverage predicted in EASE was what we actually achieved.” Wooster mixed the show on an SSL L500 console, the first time he had toured with one, so the fast setup of the K-array system was also a bonus for the tour’s rehearsals. “I had very little time on the desk before production rehearsals and it was without doubt the fastest I have ever been able to get a mix to a
workable situation that could then be developed very quickly into a show,” he said. “The vocal always sat firmly in the front of the mix, due to the dynamic response of the system. It allowed me to create a full mix around the vocal, with the exceptional high end response and ultra deep low frequencies delivering an excellent finished product.” In conclusion, Wooster gave his final thoughts on the K-array Firenze system. “Using Firenze was a decision I made solely in my role as the engineer working for the artist. I knew it would be good. However, I was made very aware that, should things not be as good as demanded, I would be held very much to account for my choice of system,” he said. “The fact is that it afforded me massive amounts of headroom and never felt close to any limits. The subs provide frequencies that wrap you in LF and the stereo image is excellent, with the smallest of adjustment being fully represented from console to speakers. Indeed, one of the great touches on the SSL L500 console is the width control on all stereo sources, which really helps to allow daily adjustment for wide and narrow venues. “Overall the system was outstanding, with great reliability and an incredibly easy setup. What more can an engineer or show want?” TPi www.leonalewismusic.com www.k-array.com www.2b-heard.com 22
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BABYMETAL BRING THE FOX GOD TO WEMBLEY TPi’s Ste Durham catches up with Theis Romme of Victory Tour Production to find out how the company managed to provide lighting, audio, video and staging elements for one of the most talked-about live acts of the moment.
It may seem naïve to utter such a statement in the year 2016 but, when it comes to live concert touring, chances are you really haven’t seen or heard anything quite like Japan’s BABYMETAL. For the uninitiated, the group is essentially an extreme metal band fronted by three teenage girls, singing anthemic, EDM-tinged J-pop (mostly in Japanese) as part of a theatrical stage show - complete with its own mythology and narrative. Think Slayer and Pendulum teaming up to serve as the backing band for a satanic version of the Powerpuff Girls. Still with me? Good. As you’d expect with a fusion as ambitious as BABYMETAL, the corresponding production is equally as crazed - complete with inch-perfect dance routines, dramatic set pieces, and enough pyrotechnics to raise the eyebrows of even the most gig-weary Rammstein fan. In order to kick off their 2016 world tour in style, BABYMETAL held a oneoff show at Wembley’s SSE Arena that required international collaboration between UK-based production management company, Touring Solutions; Danish supplier Victory Tour Production; and the band’s Japanese crew.
DOUBLE DOUBLE DUTY Victory was brought in to provide audio, lighting, video and some staging elements for the band’s Wembley show, having forged relationships with some of the crew while supplying Denmark’s Volbeat – a band with whom BABYMETAL share both PM and FOH Engineer. Project Manager of audio at Victory and occasional Volbeat System Tech, Theis Romme, picked up the story: “It was a huge production for a one-off gig - to me it felt more like a TV show than a concert during the build up. Everything had to be perfect, which wasn’t easy when you consider that we had no production rehearsals all together in Europe. “The Japanese style of doing things is quite different. When they came in they were measuring everything and moving fixtures if they were so much as a centimetre out of place.” The full production rehearsals took place in Japan with an identical setup to the one that was to be built in The SSE Arena, which allowed the crew to programme everything down to the letter. Romme continued: 24
Previous Page: BABYMETAL throw up a salutory gesture to the benevolent Fox God. Don’t ask.... Below: The band’s stage show was immense at Wembley and choreographed down to the last detail.
“There were a lot of emails back and forth. We went through eight different lighting renders during pre-production, but ended up with something that was really impressive and worked for all of the parties involved. We then had a week at our warehouse in Denmark for our guys to prepare.” After being recommended by the band’s live album producer, FOH Engineer Mads Mikkelsen quickly adapted to BABYMETAL’s distinct style with a run of German club shows in August of 2015, closely followed by Reading and Leeds festival appearances. He commented: “Victory have been great to work with. The fact that they could supply the PA system I wanted was the biggest thing for me. I’ve worked with them before, with Theis having acted as my system tech on Volbeat. With both of those things in mind it was an obvious choice.” The system that Mikkelsen requested comprised of 12 Meyer Sound LEO-M per side for the main hangs, along with four Meyer Sound LYON-W per side hung underneath. Side fills consisted of 10 Meyer Sound LYON-M per side and nine Meyer Sound 1100-LFC subwoofers were flown on each side for bass reinforcement. Mikkelsen said: “When I’m given a choice, I will always go for this system. The throw of the LEO system is incredible and the high-end resolution is unmatched by anything, in my opinion. Quite a long throw was necessary due to the absence of delays in the arena - even FOH was 60 metres away because of the stage thrust.” Mikkelsen decided to fly the majority of the subwoofers to ensure that he could stay on top of the low end, particularly in the higher seated areas, and avoid the sound becoming too “muddy or boomy”. He continued: “There’s a lot going on in the mix, including additional backing tracks, samples and harmonies. It’s quite a balancing act to keep the heavy metal sounding powerful but keep those candy-like vocals as the focal point. I tend to do a lot of cross-compressing and keying the vocals into different parts of the music, always making sure they are on top of all the other instrumentation. “My primary concern is that the main vocalist, Su-Metal, is always
loud, clear and crisp. The two other girls use headsets as they do a lot of singing and dancing, so I really have to cut a lot out of it in order to combat feedback and make sure they’re not picking up too much snare drum or guitars from the stage.” The Meyer Sound system was controlled by a DiGiCo SD10 with Optocore and Waves software from FOH, with the corresponding DiGiCo SD rack, while the Japanese monitor engineer opted for a Yamaha PM5D-RH. “I’m a DiGiCo guy and I prep files on my own SD8 in the office so the SD10 was an obvious choice. It’s the most flexible board there is in my opinion, and the sound quality is exceptional,” he said. A combination of Shure, Audix, and Sennheiser microphones were selected, using a Shure Axient wireless system. Mikkelsen added: “I thought the show was really fun - every time I mix them I’m so impressed with the girls and the band. The Japanese are extremely professional and everything is rehearsed down to the letter. Even though Wembley is a challenging venue, particularly being situated at 60 metres from the system, the band is a joy to mix. Victory provided exactly the rig I wanted, as well as a good solution for the subs.” BRINGING THE EYE CANDY Victory also supplied lighting according to the Japanese crew’s exact specifications, including the procurement of two PRG V676 consoles from the company’s Hamburg office. Romme commented: “The band’s LD had worked for PRG in Japan and was familiar with that particular desk, so he was very happy that we could supply it. At the end of the day, if it works for him, then it works for us.” Victory provided 45 Clay Paky Alpha Beam 700’s, 19 Clay Paky Sharpys, 19 Clay Paky Mythos, 117 GLP impression X4 Bars, 32 Philips Vari-Lite VL3500 Washes, 14 Martin by Harman Atomic 3000 Strobes, eight James Thomas Engineering 4-lite blinders, 35 8-lite blinders and six Robert Juliat Cyrano 2500W HMI followspots. As well as the lighting crew, BABYMETAL brought an entire video 26
VICTORY TOUR PRODUCTION YOUR ONE STOP SHOP FOR THE WORLD Victory Tour Production provides One Stop solutions to high profile touring musicians, artists, events and festivals worldwide. Our mission is to do our best every day, at any hour, to exceed our clients’ expectations through integrity, innovation, attention to detail, and customer service worldwide. VOLBEAT US Onestop Solution VOLBEAT CONCERT DK Onestop Solution Victory provided lifts that allowed the performers to emerge from under the stage and a rail track so that they could get from the catwalk to main stage quickly.
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department with them for the Wembley show, due to the fact that the show was being recorded for an upcoming DVD project. This team also created the visual content in Japan, leaving Victory to supply the screens and electronics. This consisted of 112 GLUX 10.4mm panels (50cm by 100cm), 77 KTL Flyer 18mm panels (115.2cm by 57.6cm), three Folsom Image Pro II Video Scalers, two Barco Multiformat Encore switchers, a Barco Encore LC Control Panel and a Grass Valley T2 recorder. The panels were arranged as one central video wall and two side IMAG screens, showing a combination of content, camera shots and song introduction videos. As well as having cameras present to record the show for the band themselves, three broadcast trucks were at the venue to stream the footage directly to thousands of BABYMETAL fans watching on a big screen in Japan. Romme said: “We had 18 crew on site for rigging and maintenance, and we also hired some local riggers to help. They did drawings and took care of the necessary agreements with the venue, while we provided steel and hoists.” This included a mixture of Prolyte and Litec trussing, with CM Lodestar and Kinesys hoists. The final part of Victory’s contribution to the madness that was BABYMETAL’s Wembley show was a selection of staging elements, including stage lifts and a rail dolly track. “The stage was built in the room, and involved a big catwalk that went out to a round, rotating B stage. We provided lifts that allowed the performers to emerge from under the stage and a rail track so that they could get from the catwalk to main stage quickly,” explained Romme. These pieces added even more variety to a stage that was already bustling set with bespoke set features, video, and pyrotechnics. Although providing so much gear for a one-off gig was a huge undertaking for Victory, the success of the BABYMETAL show meant that the crew could look back on it as another job well done. Romme concluded: “It felt to me like some of the huge TV events I have done in Denmark except that we only had one day to build it! It was hard work but it turned out really well and was great fun to be involved with.” No doubt The One, as their fans are affectionatly known, would agree... TPi Photos: Amuse Inc www.babymetal.com www.victory.dk
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AN EVENING WITH SUGGS & FRIENDS Over the last four years, an intimate event headlined by Madness frontman Suggs and staged by The Gig Company with the aid of Entec Sound & Light has earned close to half a million pounds for Pancreatic Cancer UK (PCUK).
The charity was founded to support people affected by the condition, allowing them to invest in research and campaign for greater recognition of a disease that continues to have the same mortality rate (3%) as it did in 1976. The annual show, An Evening With Suggs & Friends, was launched at London’s Porchester Hall in 2013 by Jenny Johnson and Viva McPherson, the daughter of Suggs; an exceptionally motivated pair of event organisers brought together by the former’s aunt Alanah, who tragically died of the disease. “That’s what really prompted us to join forces and put on our first PCUK fund-raiser with my dad and some of his artist friends,” explained McPherson. “I didn’t have a clue about pancreatic cancer until my aunt was diagnosed and it’s appalling that it receives just 1% of the funding allocated to Cancer Research.” While McPherson’s involvement in events came through her work in entertainment marketing, her partner’s job as a stylist for VIPs including top musicians led her down a similar path. Johnson commented: “Our first event coincided with the publicity surrounding Wilko Johnson’s diagnosis. At the time, Wilko didn’t think he had long to live and he really wanted to help the cause and perform. As it transpired, he made a miraculous recovery, but that is very rare with this condition. “Having got on so well, Viva and I then founded The Gig Company and our partnership has been part of Alanah’s legacy. We love working together and both have connections with some wonderful people who are very
generous with their involvement.” Now hosted by Arsenal Football Club in the plush Emirates Stadium’s Woolwich Suite, the fourth annual edition on 17 March attracted 380 guests for a three-course dinner that raised a total of £97,140 through ticket sales and the proceeds of a lively auction run by the charismatic Russ Williams. Preceded by a speech about PCUK from the charity’s Involvement Manager, Debbie Wells, the auction witnessed feverish bids for prizes including a holiday at Suggs’ Italian villa that fetched a massive £8,500. For the remainder of the evening, the audience rocked to a feast of stellar live performances by Suggs, Jools Holland, Rudimental vocalist Anne-Marie and Chris Difford of Squeeze, backed by a world-class house band featuring singers Margo Buchanan and Tommy Blaize of Strictly Come Dancing fame, guitarists Robbie McIntosh and Paul Gendler, bassist Steve Pearce, Frank Mead and Matt Winch on horns, drummer Neal Wilkinson and keyboard player Dave Arch. Arch was deputising for the band’s MD Paul ‘Wix’ Wickens who has performed at all previous events but was absent this year due to his current US touring schedule with Sir Paul McCartney. His wife Margo Buchanan, however, remained in the line-up and explained that the driving force behind their original involvement was the death in 2007 of their dear friend, Monitor Engineer John Roden, the partner of Entec’s Operations Director Noreen O’Riordan and father of their children. “We lost John in a matter of weeks to pancreatic cancer and it was such 28
AN EVENING WITH SUGGS & FRIENDS
Opposite: Madness frontman Suggs performed during the annual event; Organisers Viva McPherson and Jenny Johnson; Chris Difford.
a shock, not just to us but to the whole industry,” said Buchanan. “Since then we’ve lost Jon Lord and only last week we lost another friend to it, who was diagnosed in January. It’s brutal and it needs urgent research, so I will support Suggs and PCUK in their fundraising efforts as long as they need me.”
down the room, while a chain drape either side of the stage was uplit with James Thomas Engineering Pixel PAR 44s. ETC Source Fours with gobo break-ups were hidden behind each column and provided washes across the floor, and five Robe Robin 600 LEDWashes lined the balcony. For the stage itself, two lines of seven Clay Paky Sharpy Wash 330’s were rigged on the back truss of the ground support with another seven on the front truss, joined by six 1kW Vision Fresnels. “The great thing about the Sharpy on this event was that to have an impact, it doesn’t require haze, which is banned at the venue,” said Wood. “Its output is fantastic in that respect and bright enough for any room, and you can achieve some very deep, saturated colours, and lose hardly any intensity. The zoom is also top class, allowing you to use it as a key light and for a wide wash, which is why I also used it to wash the ceiling on a full zoom.” Wood specified an Avolites Tiger Touch II console for lighting control. “It isn’t something I had used very often but Entec purchased one fairly recently and I really liked using it,” he explained. “It’s a small desk that I find it easy to carry around, and it was definitely the right choice for this event. Anything bigger would have been overkill, given the tiny FOH space in front of the stage. “As usual, I did a lot of the prep work in Entec’s warehouse. The Touch II is very simple navigation makes light work of programming; I was programming ‘blind’ during the day before the rig was up, saving palettes, and then tidied everything up on the desk, assigning lights to faders during soundcheck.”
PRODUCTION COMMITMENT This family connection is one of the reasons why, for the last three PCUK events, Entec Sound & Light devoted itself to managing the entire production, providing sound, lighting and rigging, while hiring additional services such as staging and risers from Centre Stage, a local crew of 14 from Affinity and trucking from R. Jameson Transport. “Unlike a lot of event organisers, Viva and I don’t have a production background,” said Johnson. “Our specialities include harnessing the connections, gathering auction prizes and co-ordinating the aesthetics. That’s why it’s so brilliant to work with Entec; whatever we do, productionwise, it’s in their hands. We just tell them what we want and they send in all the crew and equipment that is available. Entec joined us for our second year at Porchester Hall and they couldn’t have done more for us. Once we became friends with Noreen we really turned a corner. Their commitment has been astounding.” Measuring approximately 60 metres wide by 12 metres deep, the main room in the Emirates Stadium’s Woolwich Suite is ideal for a dinner, however, it can be a tricky venue to negotiate once live music is added to the menu, especially on a stage positioned in the centre of the space. In the absence of any flying points, and with a line of columns extending down the room, it is difficult to hang any lighting fixtures or loudspeakers. Entec’s solution for the last two years at the venue has been to build a six metre box ground support truss from Tomcat elements between two of those columns with around 50cm to spare each side, and then dress the rear of the stage with a 10ft by 24ft Pea Light star cloth, lighting it with a trio of James Thomas Engineering PixelLine 1044 LED battens. According to Lighting Designer Mark Wood, this is precisely the kind of event that benefits from Entec’s seasoned troubleshooting. “There’s no getting away from it, this is a difficult one to light,” he commented. “Much emphasis is placed on maintaining good sight lines for the audience so the idea was to keep everything as discreet as possible. There are very few reflective surfaces in the room so a lot of effort was focussed on getting colour in there. One way was to uplight the blinds on the back wall to achieve some bounce off of the roof. Due to access limitations, most of the atmospheric lighting had to be positioned at the far ends of the suite and on balconies to avoid running cable across busy walkways.” Working alongside Will Wright, Richard Brennan and Crew Chief Nick Burlace, Wood reserved 22 iPix Satellite LED battens to light the columns
NETWORKED SOUND Like many of his colleagues, FOH engineer Liam Halpin has worked on all of the last three PCUK shows, and describes the event as “great fun to do, especially as the standard of the musicianship is always unbeatable.” On show day, the truck tipped at 7am. “Last year, we had a rig day,” said Halpin. “But having become familiar with the venue layout, it was decided to cut costs this time by employing two extra people and have everything set up very calmly by mid-afternoon. It really helped that I’d already done three of these events and kind of knew what to expect while at the same time allowing for any surprises.” In physical terms, the layout of the event defies convention, meaning that it required the main PA hangs to be positioned where side hangs would normally appear. Regardless, Halpin agreed that it was yet another fine showcase for Entec’s d&b audiotechnik inventory, powered here by the brand’s proprietary D6 and D12 amplifiers. Supplemented by two d&b audiotechnik V-Subs at each side were four V8 top cabinets (per side), flown from the ground support in an upstage left/ right configuration, facing down both sides of the room. At the front of the 29
AN EVENING WITH SUGGS & FRIENDS
d&b audiotechnik wedges were used during the show; FOH Engineer Liam Halpin, LD Mark Wood; Monitor Engineer Maurizio Schiavi; The Entec crew.
stage was a pair of d&b Y10Ps covering the dancefloor area and two Y7Ps mounted off the staff tube to cover near fill. “It was certainly a wacky system design but it worked,” observed Halpin. “Height restrictions dictated that we install two groups of three d&b dualpurpose T10’s on cluster brackets stands as delays. It was probably the smallest and easiest deployed line array you’ve ever seen!” Halpin mixed the entire show this year on an Avid Venue Profile. He said: “Being that kind of house band-plus-guests arrangement, we always play it safe and run a fairly generic input list because it’s not a band that can ever send out a technical spec. Invariably, we find out that we have a drummer rather than what he’s actually going to be playing. The input count ran to about 40 channels but that included a lot of room for manoeuvre, to accommodate a much larger kit than we had, for example.” Despite being a relatively small event in terms of audience size, Entec assigned the full technical might of its Dante networking system, an audio standard for the company since it bought into the concept two years ago. “I spent a good nine months developing what amounts to a fairly complex network but we’ve packaged it in such a way that it’s simple to operate dayto-day and is as robust as possible,” commented Halpin. Two of the networking racks were deployed at this year’s PCUK event. A Lake LM44 drive rack consisting of a pair of Lake LM44 system processors for system EQ and matrixing, and a Cisco 26-port Ethernet switch system; and a Focusrite RedNet drive rack with two Focusrite RedNet I/O units, one analogue and one AES, as well as a Cisco switcher. Said Halpin: “The Profile fed into the RedNet rack at FOH and the Lake rack on stage provided the outputs for the system. Having the Dante units allowed us to cut out a lot of conversion and simplify the patch. I went into prep the gig a few days earlier and using those Dante racks enabled me to foresee a few potential issues. “You’re effectively running silence while you reload show files on the Profile so we had a little playback rack fed into the Dante system via the RedNets, down to the stage and matrixed in the LM44’s. This meant that if I needed to do anything of that nature for a visiting engineer I had instant playback readily available for them.”
In addition to the main system, Entec fielded four d&b audiotechnik E12 loudspeakers on tripod stands in the bar areas, predominately for the reception announcements. “We also ran background music to those loudspeakers from a laptop that was on the network,” added Halpin. “It was on a CAT5 cable which was a breath of fresh air compared to mini jack cables, and infinitely more reliable.” MIXING MONITORS “The way the room is laid out is very similar to a corporate event or an awards dinner,” said Monitor Engineer Maurizio Schiavi, describing the vibe in the Woolwich Suite. “So it wasn’t surprising that we placed some of our racks and amplifiers behind the rear drape for aesthetic reasons.” Schiavi admirably rose to the challenge of squeezing 12 wedges into a six by six metre space with a nine-piece house band. “That was quite a feat in itself!” he laughed. “There was a lot that could have gone wrong in terms of the wedges firing upwards into the concave ceiling, causing unpredictable feedback through focussing. Liam and I went through a variety of system tests during the early part of the day to work out how best to deal with this phenomenon, and I used my Smaart Live rig to help me set the wedges’ EQ. “All that mattered was that the performers were happy and that was great to know because these musicians are all very experienced with grown-up expectations of how the limited stage space would impact on the amount of instruments routed to their wedges. We had a chat and made a compromise. “The singers had to work with the backline in close proximity and it was loud up there. But they’ve performed in every kind of venue imaginable so it wasn’t too demanding to have them play on a stage that wasn’t much bigger than that of an average live music pub. Fortunately, it wasn’t very hard to give them what they needed. In fact, during the gig itself, I was only asked to make a minor adjustment on one or two occasions which, for a show of that nature, was remarkable.” Although Entec was fully stocked with five packs of Sennheiser IE 4 inear systems on the day to cope with any request, the singers and musicians 30
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AN EVENING WITH SUGGS & FRIENDS
worked only with stage wedges, namely 10 d&b audiotechnik M4 and two M6 monitors that were placed downstage right for the BVs - a choice made in order to accommodate Jools Holland’s baby grand piano snugly behind the singers. At the last minute, the original choice of a Yamaha PM5D-RH monitor console was replaced with the brand’s newer CL5. “I love that it’s fast to operate and so responsive,” said Schiavi. “When you’re mixing monitors you don’t have time to mess around, looking for something on your board like EQs, dynamics and mix sends. You want it right there so you can aid the performance quickly. That’s my job and that’s what I get with the CL5, as well as great sound.” A range of Shure, Sennheiser, AKG and beyerdynamic microphones were positioned around the drum kit, on the bass and guitar cabinets, and the horns, with Radial J48 active DIs assigned to keyboards, acoustic guitar and bass. Vocals and announcements, meanwhile, were catered for by wireless hand-held Shure UR2’s with Beta58A capsules, and hard-wired SM58’s on stands for the backing vocalists. “We had a wireless Beta58A ready on a stand at the side of the stage that guest singers could just pick up as they walked onstage,” commented Schiavi, who used Shure’s Wireless Workbench software to co-ordinate and monitor radio frequencies. “Seeing it on every Entec gig makes me very happy because as a monitor guy, RF problems can be a serious nightmare with a drop in level or complete fall out affecting not only vocal signals but also in-ears,” he said. “In monitor world, one should avoid all risks and Wireless Workbench is a great asset. You do a frequency scan before soundcheck, a few times before the show and monitor the condition of the RF throughout the performance, and that gives you a lot of confidence as an engineer to know you are doing the best for the artist.” The sound crew also included stage manager James Kerridge, Tom Olorenshaw and Peter Eltringham, who was making his debut with Entec. Music Bank kindly provided band rehearsal facilities. TPi Photos: Mark Cunningham & Sue Moore www.pancreaticcancer.org.uk www.entec-soundandlight.com www.thegigcompany.org
The band’s MD, Paul ‘Wix’ Wickens was unable to attend this year’s event due to touring commitments with Sir Paul McCartney.
ADELE As one of the most celebrated artists in recent times, global phenomenon, singer–songerwriter (and worldclass personality) Adele, is back on the road after a four-year hiatus supporting her third studio album, 25. TPi’s Kelly Murray visited the visually captivating production, complete with technically intricate sound design, to meet the crew at the helm of this highly anticipated tour.
Like the rest of the world, it’s been some time since I’d seen Adele perform live. My first experience with the proud London lady’s voice was in a tiny venue at Manchester’s Matt and Phred’s Jazz Club, when the only production requirements were not much more than a microphone and a wooden stool. The colourful stories detailing her troubled teenage love life enthralled the room. She made jokes about her bum not fitting on said wooden stool, and with a breath a pure affection, the room fell in love; with her and her voice. A couple of years later her UK academy tour was to become my first ever technical piece of writing for TPi. I was nervous, naturally, until I saw her backstage en route to an interview and she smiled with a simple “ello!” The same thing would happen in 2016, only this time she had her little boy in tow and the entire world by her side. And, despite the ungodly pressure that must follow this success, she made it clear in that brief moment that she carries an air of absolute gratefulness and excitement wherever she goes. The accent, of course, hasn’t changed… Her comeback single Hello (January 2016) was the first single in YouTube history to achieve one billion views, and the subsequent tour became the most sought after ticket in concert touring. Effectively this production required the best in the industry. With a production design from Es Devlin, a lighting vision from Patrick Woodroffe and a sound system courtesy of
Dave Bracey & Ulf Oeckel, 25 is nothing short of a creative and technical feat, drawing on the expertise of a touring crew at the very top of their game. Pulling the show together each night is Production Manager Richard Young (Radiohead, P!nk), steering 25’s 60 plus crewmembers into live success. As one would imagine with an artist of this calibre, initial talks were somewhat under the radar, as he explained: “Adele’s management contacted me in June 2015 and were very discreet about what the project was but enquired about my availability and interest. I was working with Ricky Martin at the time but it worked out nicely, as the end of his tour coincided with the beginning of Adele’s rehearsal period.” The band began rehearsals in October 2015 before TV promo started, which in itself was the start of a challenging regime. “Of course during the promo shows, we were also putting the tour together! It was tricky actually, and I never thought I’d say this, but there is a lack of suitable rehearsal spaces in the UK. LH2 was my initial choice, but it was already full, all the film studios I approached were busy with TV projects and unfortunately LS-Live was too far outside of London for what we needed. Wembley was available and it turned out to be the perfect size for us because we have the main A stage and a quite substantial B stage. It also meant that Adele could have a true representation of how her show was going to look. We were very conscious that she has never done an arena tour before, and unless you’re in one, it’s 34
not an environment you can specifically explain, so Wembley worked out great and Adele adapted to the arena setting very quickly.” With the exception of Monitor Engineer Joe Campbell and one of the backline crewmembers, everybody else was a new recruit to the Adele camp. Young continued: “It was refreshing to have to start from scratch because it meant we could select suppliers that were exactly right for the job, rather than have any historical involvement. Adele’s shows have grown from small clubs to arenas and it doesn’t always necessarily mean that the suppliers who were with her then would be able to rise to that level of production she needs now. It was definitely a good opportunity to have a clean slate and select appropriate companies for the task at hand. “We included every department as much as possible right from the beginning to discuss what they wanted and needed in order to deliver this show, we didn’t want anyone to feel left out of the process,” Young added. This ethos also extended to the creative team with whom Young was also to join forces with for the first time. “I hadn’t worked with any of our creatives before but I’d known about their various work for years. It’s interesting because if you work with the same design team for a long time it becomes comfortable, familiar and probably a bit too easy. This show is a real design collaboration; Es Devlin has come up with some amazing looking designs and Patrick Woodroffe will adjust it based on lighting needs. Then I come in to consult and adjust for logistic and budget purposes. However,” he laughed, “my job is much more than just saying ‘no’ all the time! My job is saying ‘well if you want to do this, then we need to change it round’. So you get a different look that also satisfies any technical or design concerns. “What’s quite often born from those discussions is a completely new idea, which ends up being a better option for everyone. It’s very interesting to work with new people and their ideas because it creates different experiences during pre-production. Both Es and Patrick have also got experience from working with other artists and production managers so I’ve learnt a lot from them. The problem with being a production manager is that you never get to work with another production manager, because there’s only ever one on the tour! I’ve picked up a few tips!” he enthused.
A notable change in live event safety rules has also come into play since Adele’s last road outing, but Young is well-versed with the importance of H&S. “With the new CDM regulations and the tightening of the regulations throughout the EU, health and safety is paramount more than ever these days. Responsibility lies jointly with the touring company and the promoter, and we do our part down to the last detail to ensure we’re thinking about this right from the very beginning of the production concepts. Local authorities are looking for these aspects clearly designed into a touring system,” he noted. The tour’s H&S rep is Andrew Lennie. VERGING ON PERFECTION “Throughout this whole project, the important thing to remember is that we’re dealing with Adele - it’s not a light and sound spectacular. Although, what we’ve achieved is brilliant, you could always argue that all you have to do is give her a microphone and a spotlight and she’ll be just as amazing!” Young explained. “Obviously from a sound point of view everyone has to have the same experience in the arena, but from a visual point of view Adele is extremely classy and extremely polished in her delivery, no matter where she is. She’s very professional, and despite her jokey mannerisms, the way she does her show each night is verging on perfection. From the albums she produces and the way that she sings, to how she conducts herself in her ‘public’ life, we were very keen to present a show that reflected all of that. What we have is something that’s understated yet beautiful. I think it’d be fair to say she never expected the response she’s had upon retiring to the limelight and each night that she performs, she doesn’t take it for granted.” FOH SOUND Holding down the fort out front in the maze that is Adele’s audio is FOH Engineer, Dave Bracey. The tour is supplied by Germany’s Black Box Music, which has delivered a sound package including DiGiCo SD7 consoles - at both FOH and in monitor world, and an L-Acoustics K2 PA rig. Sennhesier directly provided the microphone and in-ear requirements. Talking from FOH, which, is ironically situated at the side of the arena floor, part way between the A and B stages, Bracey began proceedings to explain what can 35
The production office team, led by PM, Richard Young (second from right); FOH Engineer, Dave Bracey; The A stage created both an intimate setting and an arena sized spectacle.
only be described as one of the most interesting audio set ups we’ve ever seen - or heard. “A pivotal thing about the show is the sound design. There are a couple of points in the show where Adele moves from the A to the B stage and the audio follows her from one to the other. We have complete arena coverage from the B stage alone. I don’t know if anyone’s ever done that before. Normally if you were sat here [at FOH] and a singer walked out to the B stage, you’d be looking at her in one place and still hearing her coming from another. But that’s not the case for this show; we follow her around. That has its challenges! In the songs where there’s drums and percussion coming from the band on the A stage, we’ve had to make all of that completely silent, so that all of the audio comes from the B stage. There are two songs where our drummer plays a second kit in a room backstage, just so that we can get the best sound possible coming from the B stage. “There are physical problems to be overcome with trying to fade slowly from one to the other. In a large space, you can’t have sound coming from two different sources firing in completely opposite directions. You have to be very careful how you do it so that it doesn’t sound messy to anyone at either end of the coverage area. It’s a good effect; we do it using TiMax, which you can draw time lines into and control the different fade times of all of the speaker stacks, but it can also fade delay times as well, because, of course, the rear hangs on the B stage are used as delays for the main stage too. When you’re listening to the B stage the zero time delay is part of the point source system at the B stage, but when you fade back to the A stage, you have to introduce delay, so that they line up with the A stage. TiMax does that job for us. Fading time delay is something that’s not readily available in audio processing, but that’s the wonderful thing that it does!” The TiMax SoundHub-S32 audio showcontrol matrix has been employed for this fundamentally simple but vital task. As the show takes place across two main stage locations some distance apart, TiMax is used to seamlessly shift the PA system distribution and settings from one setup to the next. Although simple conceptually, this involves crossfading 12 separate channels of PA between the two modes - made up of main L/R, side L/R, rear L/R, subwoofers and front fill for the main stage, and four channels of mono’d front and rear main hangs and front fills for the B stage. TiMax doubles this up in parallel AES and analogue signal paths to make use of the failsafe auto changeover facility in the system’s Lake processors. The TiMax dynamic delay-matrix capability, which is generally known for
variable vocal localisation in theatre, is used here to morph the delay times on the front pair of B Stage L-Acoustics K2 hangs from zero delay when Adele is on the B stage to 80-100ms delay when she moves back to the main end-on stage. TiMax has special algorithms developed to do this without glitching or zipper noise. Controlling the mix, Bracey spoke of his affection for the SD7 console: “I’ve been using DiGiCo consoles since they began in 2002 and the SD7 since 2008 and for me it’s the only properly engineer friendly console that you can mix on. I just don’t consider the facilities on any of their competitors sufficient to do what I like to do. There’s no contest from that point of view and then it’s the best sounding console as well, so why would you even consider using anything else?” As is Bracey’s usual set-up, there’s very little outboard in use. “There’s a Wave MaxxBCL across the mix that I quite often use and it’s very useful on this show. It holds the mix at a really nice level as the louder songs start to build; it’s a limiter across the mix, it’s very efficient and it’s the only thing I’ve ever mixed into. I don’t generally like having anything across the mix, but this works for me.” Working by Bracey’s side is System Tech Ulf Oeckel; the pair are now on their third tour together as a duo following on from stints with P!nk and Cher. “It’s a successful combination of minds and I really enjoy it,” smiled Bracey. “Adele’s management are as pleased as I am with the results on what is her first arena tour. I don’t really want it to sound like the studio album though; I want it to sound like a live band playing in an arena. If you managed to recreate the album sound, I personally think it would be a lot less exciting. It’s got to sound like a live band, and not a studio performance.” The engineer, who is dealing with around 112 channels, also said of his desk: “The SD7 does everything that you want it to do. If I think of something I need to do, I can always work out a way to do it on that desk. I don’t ever need support for the console because I’m so familiar with it but occasionally, I’ll go into a situation where I need some support, for example, we did the BRITs just before this tour started and we were feeding MADI from our rack into the BRITs’ system, where we faced some challenges. That kind of thing is worth a phone call sometimes to get a couple of brains on it. Dave Bigg at DiGiCo was very good at offering some suggestions that provided a solution, and off we went! Our new digital world doesn’t always 36
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The core audio crew: System Tech Ulf Oeckel, Monitor Engineer Joe Campbell and FOH master, Dave Bracey with his DiGiCo SD7 console; The B stage’s L-Acoustics K2 rig.
behave the way it’s intended to, and you have to work out what you’ve done wrong and how to resolve it. DiGiCo are always willing to help.” Oeckel added: “The SD7 is best thing ever! It’s the most flexible platform - there’s no competition at all. I’ve worked with DiGiCo desks for a very long time; I had a very early D5 when touring with Rammstein and the entire concept of how the desk was arranged is still the most logical to me today, it’s the most analogue. Dave also teaches me all the time - he knows every little bit of the desk!”
PA “We’re using L-Acoustics K2 for the entire system,” continued Bracey. “We have about 148 cabinets in total. All 10 hangs [three per side on the A stage and four in the round on the B stage] are made up of K2’s. It’s a good two hangs more than people would normally have, but that’s because we have to create the full arena coverage from the B stage as well.” As is the case with his clear DiGiCo preference, Bracey is a firm fan of one brand when it comes to PA choice. “I would only use L-Acoustics K1 or K2. There’s no need for me to look anywhere else for a system. It became apparent that K2 was the answer for what we needed to do and it’s worked out really well. The weight of it does help, but weight didn’t come into the equation at all - it’s more to do with the dispersion you get from the box. The K1 is a bigger, longer throw box, but we don’t have the need to throw those distances with the PA in any of the spaces we’re doing, even though this [Manchester Arena] and the O2 in London would be the biggest rooms. For instance, the front hang only throws to almost the back of the floor, whereas in a normal set up you would have a larger hang here that was covering to at least the top of the first bowl. That’s what we’ve done on previous tours with K1. But because we had to integrate the design of this PA with the design of the set, a lot of decisions get made based on not what you would normally do, but the way the two systems have to join together and fade between each other, and both of them have to cover the whole room. Using the rear hangs of the B stage as the delays for the main stage is for aesthetics, economics and just hanging another pair of delays in there would be the wrong thing to do from a production point of view. So we made it work by being thoughtful with the design.” The show has been designed with good sightlines all round. “I think we sell to 270 degrees, hence the three hangs per side. Adele spends most of the time out on the thrust, which is in front of the PA. It would never be a sound engineer’s choice to place a singer there, but we have to deal with the design of the show. It’s our job to follow and create good sound, even when the design might throw obstacles in our way!” added Bracey. The new L-Acoustics X Series of smaller speakers also came into play for this design. “There’s X8’s, X12’s and X15’s, and they’re beautiful sounding boxes. I mixed in rehearsals on a pair of X15’s and they’re the best studio monitors I’ve ever used.” Bracey also used them as his monitor speakers at FOH for production rehearsals. “We don’t have any monitor wedges at all, so we use the X8’s as front fill around the B stage and on the front of the A stage.” Oeckel added: “I work for L-Acoustics as a consultant, trainer and field engineer, but even so, I try to keep an open mind… I think we have got to a stage where we know about acceptable compromises in specific areas and I’m surprised that it is acoustically better than the predictions said it would be. We had a lot of in-house discussions at L-Acoustics to decide if we could or couldn’t do this and we involved a lot of other experienced people to gather opinions. There has been a lot of scepticism about it, but there’s no success without bravery! “A requirement from the show designers was to have nothing visible in the scenery, and to keep everything very clean because there’s a lot of 38
Adele performed using a Sennheiser 9000 Series microphone.
projection.” The system utilises L-Acoustics’ LA8 amplification. Oeckel also commented on the success of the duo’s pro audio union: “Dave totally understands how to mix on a full range PA which leads to the success of providing good audio for large scale environments. The thing is, I depend on the input into my speaker system, and it’s only if this is arranged as a full range mix that I can use full range of sources efficiently. Many mix engineers do this in a different way, with Dave it’s completely clear. I don’t need to turn on any subwoofers and we have a full range mix across the entire arena with a deep low impact coming from one speaker source. I think that’s the main thing; I can tell him that I won’t turn on any subs before we have a finalised mix and he’s totally into it.” Oeckel is also in the company of his native Germans, in the form of audio supplier Black Box Music, a supplier choice he was thirlled with. “I’m very happy about, it’s one of my favourite companies because everything is custom built. For example, the entire speaker wiring is very slim and custom made; I don’t have big bunches of cables anymore, we also have fly frames
for all the amplifiers, so everything is really nicely custom made and with the exact cable lengths.” MONITOR WORLD Engineer Joe Campbell worked with Adele since the 21 album campaign (the aforementioned academy tour), but unlike Bracey, this is his first tour with DiGiCo. He said of the SD7: “I’m using 130 inputs and about 55 outputs, the vast majority of them stereo, so there are quite a lot of ins and outs, which this desk easily handles. Most other consoles that I’ve come across would struggle with such numbers,” he explained. “We started in rehearsals with an SD10 and it’s all been fairly simple to be honest. We moved on to the SD7 because of the number of screens I needed. I enjoy using it very much; I think it sounds great and it’s done everything I’ve ever asked of it! I don’t use any plug ins. I’ve got two TC Electronics reverbs, an M6000 and a 4000 which I use as a spare. I really like the Lexicon 480 reverb too, that’s my only extra bit of outboard.
TPi TiMax quarterstrip April2016 200x65mm
Audio showcontrol Playback server Dynamic delay-matrix TimeLine and PanSpace
3D performer tracking for vocal localisation and effects
The tour comprised a live band and orchestra, keeping Monitor Engineer Joe Campbell busy!
“When we started rehearsing last year I started with all wedges, and whenever I use wedges on stage I use all stereo, so I could begin to use mixes for people without using an in-ear system and that would be similar to what they were going to receive when they were wearing ears. It sounds complicated, but it seemed like quite a sensible way of doing it, without having to rely on an in-ear system, I could use wedges for everyone, then, as people became more confident and more used to the idea of losing the wedges, I could take them away mix by mix. Different members of the band would decide that they were ready to go into in ear world at different times. As we took the wedge mixes away, reducing the loudspeaker count on stage to zero, the quality of the mixes was getting higher and higher with each wedge pair that disappeared. So, for the last month or so of rehearsals, there were no wedges at all and now everyone using their in-ears loves them!” The tour utilises Sennheiser G3 transmitters with Ultimate Ears UE 18 moulds.
wireless handheld transmitter with MMK 965-1 capsule) and the 9000 Series. It was funny because Joe [Campbell, monitors], myself and the entire band thought the 9000 Series was the best but she was unsure at first. It’s a normal thing with singers because their voice is so personal to them, the better the resolution of the mic the better they can hear the parts they don’t like as well. So whereas we’re usually after quality, a singer will often be a little taken aback by that extra level of quality. You often observe that the first time a vocalist uses in-ears when they’ve historically used wedges. “She’s singing incredibly. Her voice sounds so beautiful. I’ve never heard anything like it. I’m doing quite a lot of processing with the signal, partly because she spends most of the show out in front of the PA, so I’m trying to control the relative tone from when she’s singing low right on mic and when she’s hitting top voice with it 10 inches away. It requires work just because of the nature of what all singers do. If Adele was behind the PA there would be fewer challenges. I’m sure you would have to do much less with it. “The chat between the songs has to sound correct as well. You have to process the vocal so that it sounds good when she’s talking and good when she’s singing, in every way. You would think that Adele singing with a quality mic through a quality PA, the desk channel EQ would be flat all the time. It’s actually not.” Campbell added: “The 9000 Series sounds great. It’s the best sounding radio mic we’ve ever used and moreover Adele enjoys it. She’s got a very good ear. We’ve never had any problems with RF. The main problem we have here is the antenna system. We don’t get to place it where we’d ideally like to have it because of the problems with sight lines, etc, so there’s nowhere on the stage that’s high enough to make it ideal. Stage left of the back handrail is where one of our antenna is sitting. They could do with being at least a metre higher, but then they’d be in front of the LED screen. So because we need flawless reception from the A to the B stage, we placed another antenna at FOH, which sits in front of the camera position and points at the B stage. Therefore wherever she is in the room we can switch between the two receiver systems and have full strength reception. “I’m under the stage because the position I would normally have stage left doesn’t exist on this tour. I was going to sit out front with Dave, but other technical things have outweighed the advantages of being able to see the band. I don’t have line of sight, but there are cameras on stage and the monitor on the SD7 console has the broadcast image, plus we have spy cameras on stage, so I have a few different views.” Oliver Twiby, the tour’s Control Tech was a crewmember personally requested by Campbell. He told TPi: “It’s my job to make sure the desks, fibre and optical loops are working, all the session files are working. And I do all the RF for the tour, so I do all the radio frequencies, all the licensing,
MICROPHONES AND RF CHALLENGES For the microphone package, Sennheiser’s new Digital 9000 Series was chosen. The mics are running digitally into an AES input in the SD Rack. So, from the capsule through the transmission stage, to the receiver and all the way into the console, then out to the speakers, there are no convertors in use. Said Bracey: “We arrive at the amps digitally, so from the microphone diaphragm to the amplifier, her voice never leaves the digital domain. We listened to the old microphone she used in rehearsals and were going to try out several options. We compared the previous Sennheiser to the 9000 and it was clearly twice as good. We were moving from something that she had liked on her previous tour and I liked as well - the last analogue version they did with a dynamic - but this was such a leap forward straight away that we thought it was an obvious move. Its whole sonic character is amazing. “The main thing we’re listening to is the fact that there’s no compression or expanding going on in the transmission stage, so all of that messing with the signal that happened with radio systems is just not there now. It was always the case that the cable system sounded better than the radio anyway! Now there’s a radio system that sounds as good as or better than any cable system I’d heard. That was a pretty cool thing to lay your ears across…” It was Bracey’s first time using the 9000 Series, but he’s doing so with longevity in mind: “You have to future proof your tour when you’re going out for a couple of years - you don’t want to have to change what you start out with. “Adele A/B’d two mics, the previous one from the last tour (SKM 2000-XP 40
A stage & B stage: the initial design sketches for the tour, copyright Es Devlin.
through Mission Control with Ali Viles, Frequency Coordinator. It’s a pretty hard set up; there are 32 frequencies to look for and set up every day, so there’s a lot to squeeze in. All the in-ears are in the same range, so we have a quite tight RF plot, but it’s doable!” The RF spec comprised two Sennhesier ew 9046 receiver units (with all eight channels on each used), eight 9000 Series microphones in use at any one time, two antenna systems for the reception of 9000 Series - one at FOH and one onstage, 11 Sennheiser 2050 IEM units using 22 stereo IEM mixes, four AC 3200 antenna combiners with four A 5000-CP antenna domes, nine IEM pack charger units, charging 18 belt pack at a time and eight radio mic battery chargers, charging 16 batteries at a time. The last word in audio land went to Bracey, who declared: “I’m really happy with the way the tour’s started. It’s amazing. It’s so good I can’t believe it! It’s exceeded my expectations, certainly from an audio point of view. You always think you’re going to do your best and you’re certainly always working towards doing your best, but I didn’t dream it was going to turn out this well. There must be a 1,000 engineers out there that could do this job, but you get your results the way you know how and as long as you can prove you can get those results consistently and everyone’s happy, that must mean we’re the right team for the job.” Other comms included 80 walkie talkies from Road Radios with programmable zones, allowing the crew to have a different set of frequencies for each country. PM Richard Young put it simply: “When we rock up in a new country, we press three buttons and we’re fully compliant.”
tour rehearsals we felt like a strong creative collaborative unit with a clear mission.” The collaborations didn’t stop there, the thinking and expertise behind this show reads like a who’s who of the production industry: “Lighting Designer Patrick Woodroffe and I are close friends and collaborators. He brought beauty, elegance and experience to the adventure. “Video Director Matt Askem was crucial to the project as so much relies on calibration of the IMAG - there are no separate IMAG screens so they’re layered over content between gauzes and LED screens. “Other vital collaborators were Michael Ashton - Adele ‘s Make-up Designer - because when the IMAG becomes the backdrop, her eye make-up becomes scenery. Gaelle Paul, Adele’s stylist and Burberry who made her dress were able to transform our rehearsals when Adele put it on. The IMAG backdrop became magnified by bespoke Burberry beading and Jonathan and Rose, Adele’s management team also have great visual instincts. Our Production Manager Richard Young provided creative input alongside his technical expertise.” OTHERWORLDLY LIGHTING Approached by Devlin, Lighting Designer Patrick Woodroffe - who worked alongside Associate Designer Adam Bassett - has collaborated with Devlin in the past for the incredibly entertaining Batman Live, an arena-sized theatre performance. “That was very much a rock / theatrical hybrid and in a way, Adele’s show is the same sort of thing, although without the ‘bombast’, so it felt like a good fit to collaborate with Es again,” said Woodroffe. “We had a three month period ahead of production rehearsals during which Es and I designed and lit three or four TV and awards performances for Adele. It gave us a chance to understand and get to know her and also to understand the aesthetic that she wanted. She was very clear about the style and the appearance of the lighting in particular and it was she who originally came up with the idea of not using any colour in the show at all. It meant that by the time we began to conceive and then rehearse the production in earnest, she, Es and I were all very much on the same page creatively. “The production had to be elegant, dramatic and beautiful but we also wanted it to be timeless and otherworldly. We achieved this by making the projected images, the lighting and the rear LED screen completely seamless in execution. There are times you are never sure where one begins and the other ends,” he explained. “We wanted the lighting layout to be architectural in appearance and so the ceiling of tightly packed profile fixtures overhead created the fourth plane that wrapped around the stage. The success of these shows is to
PRODUCTION DESIGN Production Designer Es Devlin - who was already working with Beyonce’s Formation tour when Adele took to the road, explained how the ethos for the tour’s design began: “With a project like this, the main brief is: don’t fuck it up! It’s Adele. It may be the only time she ever tours on this scale. People want intimacy with her voice and her character and the design needs to deliver this intimacy and contact without distraction. Really, the task was to deliver Adele to an arena audience in the most immediate and intimate way possible,” she added. “I worked very closely with Adele, she has very refined instincts about all things visual as well as musical. She worked closely on every detail of the stage design, video content and lighting design and we built up a shared visual language over the course of a year preceding the tour, collaborating on all of her promo performances while evolving the tour design. By the time rehearsals started we had built up a clear visual lexicon. “Adele is a phenomenal and generous spirited collaborator and constantly gave us all really clear direction. Creative trust had been built up over the course of the promo appearances so by the time we hit the 42
MCGUINNESS - DELIGHTED TO BE WORKING ON THE
AND WISH TO CONGRATULATE HER ON HER PHENOMENAL SUCCESS.
The lighting team with Lighting Director, Roland Greil (second from right); Lighting Designer, Patrick Woodroffe.
make the lighting feel like part of the stage design and not a later addition to it. So as Es and her studio were finessing the way that the stage looked, we were very involved in that part of the design as the lighting design took shape.” The success of the tour, and Adele’s return to the stage couldn’t have been predicted at the time of initial conception, but, was a thrilling turn of events for the LD. “When we began to work on this project at the end of last year, there was a buzz about Adele coming back but none of us had the slightest idea of just what the level of interest would be. It was an added bonus to be part of something so topical and exciting. She was a joy to work with - collaborative, engaging, funny - and for all our team, coming to work every day felt like a privilege and never a chore.”
with a total of five MA Lighting grandMA2 NPUs. As a key fixture within the show, the Robe BMFLs are, according to Griel, “a good workhorse and spotlight fixture. The BMFLs are placed on the floor for aerial effects as well as being used for certain looks with the band.” He stated that, when combined with the Ayrton MagicBlades - which form a symmetrical grid of light above the A stage - the MagicBlades create “a very unique look with multiple light sources.” The Martin by Harman MAC Viper is also among Greil’s “workhorse” fixtures. “I use these to key light the band, and the new Clay Paky Scenius fixture is used for audience lighting, which is actually very important because Adele likes to see her fans. It’s a brand new fixture and we really wanted to try it out. It works perfectly and has great colour mixing abilities. The VL 3500’s light the B stage and gives front light to the A stage, which is again vital.”
SMOOTH OPERATION Operating the Woodroffe-Bassett design on the road is Roland Greil, the tour’s Lighting Programmer and Director. He told TPi: “The theme is very theatrical, its about creating a picture frame around Adele so we only use colour in minimal parts of the show, just some pastel colours for accenting; there’s nothing saturated. A clear part of working with Adele is that there are no gimmicks; it truly is all about her vocal talent.” Supplying the tour’s lighting equipment is TPi Award winner, Neg Earth. “I’ve worked with Neg Earth many times before and was lucky enough to handpick some of my crew. For example, the Lighting Crew Chief, Chris Davis, was a perfect choice. And that’s a good thing, because we are together now for at least a year!” he joked. For control, Greil is using an MA Lighting grandMA2 full size console as his “weapon of choice”, stating that “for how we work and create shows, this desk works perfectly.” Woodroffe added: “I always leave the choice of control desk up to the programmers and lighting directors with whom we work. It seems that the grandMA is the board of choice for many of them.” The grandMA is controlling hundreds of fixtures, of which only 20 are conventional, with the rest being moving intelligent lights. Greil explained that this “makes the show somewhat complicated.” He said: “We have 40 DMX universes, so the MA full size controls the show and I do all of this manually each night. If you can avoid time code there’s always a better outcome for your show. I like to feel the music happening around me when I’m directing. Because of the level of talent we’re working with, Adele runs a very live show. I get the click track from the monitor mix and I use my inears so that I’m on time with the audio form the whole band.” The lighting design enlists 94 Robe BMFLs, 27 Martin by Harman Viper Performances, 16 Philips Vari-Lite VL3500 washes, 16 Clay Paky Sharpy Beams, 70 Clay Paky Scenius spots, 44 2-Lite generic molefays, four ETC Source Four Lusta 2’s, 27 Philips Color Kinetics intelliWhite LEDs, 94 Ayrton MagicBlade Rs, three MDG theONE atmospheric fog generators, two Robert Juliat Victor 1800W follow spots and the control package comprises two MA Lighting grandMA2 full size consoles and an MA Lighting GrandMA2 Light
VIDEO AND PROJECTION Video and projection supplier Creative Technology - CT - has worked with Young on P!nk, Radiohead and Lorde tours, but due to the secrecy surrounding Adele’s comeback, CT Account Manager Graham Miller also began working on this project before he even knew who the artist was. He explained that this was an ideal way to test out each part of the video spec without any preconceptions about what the artist might need. “When we started looking at the design briefs, we went through the process of trying out lots of different products, we did some demos and shootouts and had a lot of different ideas to try out, from LED screens to projectors and media servers. “The bulk of the design was pretty much done before we got involved to supply the right kit when we were handed a version of what the show had to look like. Richard worked out what was possible to achieve from a technical POV but certain bits; particularly the projection, was a bit tricky to begin with. There was quite a lot of head scratching going on at one point! But that makes it all the more satisfying when you’ve pulled it off. The LED was quite straight forward because it’s a flat screen that goes on the back of the stage, but shoehorning the projectors around the PA hangs on the B stage was initially difficult. Because it’s such a sound-specific show, and there was no debate on ever compromising that, we had to put projectors in quite unusual positions to try and get the coverage we required. “Adele can carry so much with simply her voice and her personality, so it was nice being able to see where the design was going and I think it’s a very classy, understated show. Certainly compared to other solo artists where they often need a load of gags, this show isn’t about that - it’s about adding little bits of flavour around her performance,” he added. To create the looks Devlin envisioned, CT provided an upstage LED screen - 22.5 metres by eight metres - of GLUX 10mm screen, and the whole screen, almost 200 sq metres, weighs in at just 1.9 tonnes. Miller elaborated on the chosen tool: “The LED screen is made out of carbon fibre so is very lightweight - it weighs just 11kg per sq metre. It packs really tight too, you 44
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can pack 10 sq metres in one of our flight cases, so for air freighting it’s perfectly compact for truck space.” The main stage projection surface was an Austrian gauze curtain from Gerriets with two double stacks of Barco HDF-W30 projectors. The perimeter of the set is an additional pair of Barco 30Ks. The IMAG set up was two Panasonic 20K projectors with 11ft by 8ft fast fold screens. The B stage projection comprised four Panasonic 20K projectors with 0.8 lenses - all mounted portrait style on top of the truss to allow the video team to fill the roll drop screens with short throws within the B stage rigging structure. Gerriets has worked with Devlin on several occasions in the past, notably using gauze and projection for Ed Sheeran. “We initially provided a variety of sample gauzes to see which worked best and we ended up using an eight-point white sharkstooth,” explained Gerriets’ Greg Shimmin. “The eight-point sharkstooth ISOLDE gauze has all the qualities of a traditional theatrical gauze - when lit from the front it appears solid and when the light level behind is lifted, it becomes transparent. The white works really well here as it enhances the contrast of the black and white projection while giving a good resolution on the coloured images. Once the type of gauze had been selected we worked with TAIT to make it fit. The gauze needed to fit within the picture frame which forms a point downstage centre of the mainstage. As a result, the gauze has a break at the top and bottom of the apex. We then had to make sure that we could retain the tension so that it didn’t sag at this point.” The gauze used is 29 metres by 9.5 metres in one piece with a break in the top and bottom. Continued Shimmin: “The challenge for our Workshop Manager, Viorica Straut was to complete it without tearing it! We made one that we were essentially able to fit during the rehearsals at Wembley. We were able to make adjustments based on seeing this first one in situ and then get it exactly right for the two we made for the tour.” The gauze is one of the first things you see when you enter the auditorium and makes a real statement with the huge black and white closed eyes image on display during the initial projection scene. “It fits the picture frame really well and we were very pleased with the visual result. The softness of the gauze allows it to ruche out as an Austrian drape on TAIT’s very smooth mechanism, creating a great reveal,” added Shimmin. The rest of the video set-up just as complicated! The PPU set up from CT was a 2.5 Grass Valley ME Kayak video switcher with all outputs used over a variety of display surfaces. The PPU desks and media servers were all mounted into custom made touring racks, specifically for this tour. The camera package was five Sony HXC 100s (three with XJ 86 lenses) and a single Tower Camera fitted with a Sony HXC 100 and 40 lens. Continued Miller: “We’re basically switching to different sources; we’ve got a mixer that goes to the LED screen and a mixer that goes to the projector and the
IMAG screens on either side are fed off that mixer as well. Because there’s a variety of destinations we needed a large mixer to be able to cover everything and make sure there’s enough capacity to send out to all the different displays really.” The chosen media servers were VYV Photons, running content and warping the image to fit the screen from the necessary projection angles. “Photon has worked really well for us - we knew Photon would definitely be up for the job in hand here,” Miller added. Media Server Operator Phil Haynes commented: “It’s a machine that can handle very powerful playback and very clever projection calculations. It made our rehearsals very easy at the point when we were changing content at the drop of a hat or half way through a song. The Photon’s timeline is also very efficient with everything we throw at it.” Eric Plante, General Manager at VYV said: “We absolutely love to see Photon used on demanding shows where quality is of the utmost importance. This is why our systems work with uncompressed media, which is the only way to get both subtle gradients and high frequency images to look nice. The live editing, compositing, colour correction and effects built into the system also help to reach the desired quality level without the need for content re-renders, drastically reducing iteration time.” The touring video team was completed by Matt Askem, Director, Piotr Klimczyk, Racks / System Engineer, Ed Moore, Projection and Camera Op, Joe Makein, Projection and Camera Op, Rob Brewer, LED Tech Camera Op and Kev King, LED Tech and Camera Op. Crew Boss and Projectionist Andy Joyes noted: “Kes Thornley is operating the tower camera, which we’re using because of the LED being quite low down. We had to find a way of still getting a shot of Adele for the IMAG when the picture is right behind her. The camera can pop up and get a picture from almost her face level without blocking any sightlines from behind. This was very handy because our main brief was the keep the show looking very clean.” Working closely alongside Miller was CT Project Manager, Jim Liddiard. Miller concluded his thoughts by saying: “Adele’s tour was a much anticipated and very high profile show. I think what makes this tour different from others is that although there are a lot of difficult and complicated things going on behind the scenes, the show pulls of a very clean and simple look, allowing the audience to focus all their attention onto Adele herself. We are very proud to be a part of this.” VISUAL CONTENT The visual content design is a vital aspect of the show’s narrative. Treatment Studio, run by Sam Pattinson, worked in sync with Luke Halls and Warren Chapman as lead creatives. Devlin told TPi: “Sam, Luke and I 46
have been collaborating since 2008 and I try to avoid leaving home without them! They read my mind and generally improve on most things I have to say. For me the narrative of this show is a voice and a person, and the space and journey between them. The face that Adele wears for the concerts is not the face she wears day to day. It is part of her concert character and costume - her face becomes the show’s major scenic statement. The profound experience of the show for the audience is to witness Adele’s raw and very unaffected truthful personality speaking through classic, iconic film star make-up, magnified to an arena scale. “Towards the end of the show, during When We Were Young, Adele asked us to show photos from her childhood. The beaches in these photos are not Caribbean, the interiors are not designed, it’s a very un retouched account of her childhood. I believe Adele’s creative impulse stems from her unusually raw and keen connection to her past. “To me, this song with this production expresses Adele’s genius most keenly; she choses these photos, while wearing this dress and this make up, speaking with this voice, and singing with that voice a very moving song about capturing moments in time,” she concluded. Joyes concurred: “The content is a clever mixture of various art pieces, film slices and old photos from Adele’s childhood which are used throughout the show. Although there’s a lot of it, in a way it’s a very simple effect, like a clear story-telling narrative.”
walled curtain of rain around the singer whilst she remains safe and dry within. Mike Badley, engineer at Quantum, built and designed the system. He said: “The use of water effects on tour is currently very restrictive and expensive, often involving pumping water large distances, with complex and time-consuming installations. Then there are the functional issues such as leaking and dripping to think about. Our brief for Adele was to create a transportable system that would counter these challenges.” The Q: Rain Graphix achieves just that. Built with affordability in mind, the system is self-contained and remotely activated. Suspended above the B stage, the unit holds all the water needed for the duration of the performance in just eight compact tanks. With no large visible hoses feeding from the ground, the system is discreet and takes just two hours to rig and fly (including filling the tanks). The water being collected under the stage in custom tanks and recycled after every performance eliminates wastage. In-built sound insulation ensures it remains studio quiet. The system is comprised of almost 800 separate valves, individually controlled by Quantum’s Q: Control System. The pattern of the rainfall is fully customisable from neat lines to staggered intervals - or in Adele’s case - a steady wall of water. HAND WRITTEN CONFETTI The average confetti hit lasts around 20-40 seconds, but the crew required a product that would last a whole minute - and reach the highest tiers of each arena. In response, Shaun Barnett designed the concept for the new units and project manager Phil Mundy engineered the Q: Storm Blasters, a bespoke system of 12 transportable confetti blowers able to deliver arena-wide coverage with a hit duration twice as long as standard. The new product achieves this without compromising on the compact and transportable nature of the unit. Remotely activated using a Galaxis wireless system, each unit is suspended around the arena where they are able to shower crowds with 128 kg of personalised confetti per show. The confetti is printed with 10 different handwritten notes from the singer herself, including ‘Thanks for
SPECIAL EFFECTS Quantum Special Effects designed two new products for the tour - a bespoke tourable rain system and storm blasters that can deliver up to a minute of non-stop confetti across an entire arena. Working closely with Devlin and Young, Quantum is supplying over 100 shows across 44 arenas. Quantum’s team of in-house designers and engineers had just eight weeks to design, develop and build the new Q: Rain Graphix and just a fortnight for the Q: Storm Blasters. Providing a genuine indoor downpour for Adele’s performance of Set Fire to the Rain is Quantum’s the Q: Rain Graphix. The system creates a four-
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The automation and staging crews representing TAIT on tour; Special Effects Crew Chief, Steve Belfield; The tour has sold out venues across the globe; During hit song Hometown Glory, the A stage screens showed content of whichever town the tour was visiting.
coming,’ ‘All my love, Adele,’ and a selection of song lyrics. Released during the finale song Rolling in the Deep, the effect is the perfect personal touch to close the performance, with many fans taking home their own collection of confetti mementos. The team had just eight weeks to develop the rain system and two for the blasters. But, for Quantum’s MD Shaun Barnett and his team of in-house designers and engineers, it’s nothing they aren’t used to and they leapt to the challenge. Shaun explained: “Nothing on the market could meet Adele’s brief to cover every seat in the O2 Arena with confetti for a whole minute, or for a rain system which wasn’t overly complex to install and transport. We took a step back and started from scratch and are excited to reveal these two new products to the market. Big thanks to our team, suppliers and Adele’s team for making it happen.” Touring for Quantum is Steve Belfield, SFX Crew Chief, and Rob Watson, who were chosen for their lighting and rigging backgrounds, as well as pyrotechnic expertise. Belfield said: “We work very closely with the lighting crew, the riggers and automation departments because this tour in particular needs to work that way, the special effects team had to integrate easily into this show, and we have done - there’s a very warm family atmosphere on this tour.” STAGING FOR A STAR James ‘Winky’ Fairorth (CEO of TAIT) also worked closely with Young on achieving the high-level technical, intricacies required for Adele’s stage production including sightlines, movement of dancers, movement of stages, deployment of curtains, use of water catchment and more. Aaron Siebert, Senior Project Manager at TAIT, was the Lead Project Manager who worked closely with Adele’s team on the micro level of design and fabrication. Said Siebert: “Richard and I spoke daily throughout the design and build process ensuring a constant touch point on every aspect of the set. He is very detail-oriented and contributed valuable feedback into the technical solutions for the set. His depth of technical expertise and our continued communication, ultimately led to his receipt of the project as envisioned and a smooth transition from shop to rehearsals to touring.”
Winky agreed: “It was a very collaborative effort along with Es Devlin and Patrick Woodroffe. With their vision, Adele’s vision, and Richard’s vision, TAIT had to determine geometrically and technically what would work on stage to meet the musical requirements. Geometry of a set is always crucial. It is imperative to understand and know how to accommodate sightlines, exits and entrances, lighting etc. in order to facilitate the look of the show and also the fluidity.” “Initially, the design for the main stage proscenium was a simple flat fascia. However, it ended up being a large light box that expands the length of the stage with LED lighting fixtures inside. In creating the light box, the ultimate goal was to ensure sightlines - and it had to look seamless and polished. As we began building the lightbox, we used plastic, but aesthetically, it didn’t meet the desired effect, and we quickly pivoted and used fabric instead. The fabric created clean, smooth lines throughout by minimisng the seams,” added Siebert. The automation included the Austrian curtain, the hydraulic lift on the main stage, the two elevator lifts on the B stage and the four roll drops on the B stage. The entire show was run on TAIT’s proprietary automation software platform, Navigator. The platform controls the lifts, the roll drops on B stage and the Austrian curtain on main stage. On tour, Rick Berger is the Head of Automation. He commented: “TAIT are great, they support us whenever we have any needs and put out a very good product for the automation industry, Navigator is the best tool out there.” Winky continued: “For the B Stage, again, with sightlines being a crucial element, we built two lifts. There was one inner lift and one outer lift. The inner lift is 10ft by 10ft and the outer lift is 20ft by 20ft. When the show begins, the lifts are pre-set which allows for Adele to sneak onto the stage without prematurely revealing to the audience which stage she will be on.” Once the show begins, the lifts move in either direction to meet at stage height and reveal Adele herself. When she moves from B stage to the main stage, we needed to ensure that the B stage lifts would not interfere with the audience’s view of her on the main stage. “Likewise, when Adele is initially revealed on the B Stage, we had to ensure that the inner lift and the outer lift would work in conjunction, meaning the inner lift would descend, while the outer lift would ascend,“ clarified Siebert. “During the middle of 48
Quantum supplied effects such as hand written confetti.
the show, Adele returns to the B Stage, and it is here that she sings Set Fire to the Rain in the now famous rain gag! TAIT provided the rain catchment, made of special splash matting with aluminum grating that catches the rain at the bottom of the stage and drains the water to tanks below. Therefore nobody gets rained on during the performance!” The stages were built using TAIT’s patented MagDecks and the main stage used its new rock wood and grey vinyl surfacing. The main stage incorporates a rolling subdeck to allow backline and technicians to set before the stage rolls and to be hidden during the show. The objective of providing the rolling subdeck is to maintain a clean, polished look. The proscenium is a stacked assembly of equipment. TAIT’s Austrian truss supports the proscenium lightbox on the downstage and a set of tracks for blackout curtains on the upstage. We were able to minimise structure and maintain everything in close proximity due to this approach. The Austrian curtain (which is two separate systems synced by TAIT Navigator) uses a trough system to collect the material as it opens up - again to maintain a clean look instead of seeing the fabric pile up and swag between lines. The B stage lift s have equipment tucked below them; three scissor lift s, four water tanks, lift controllers, stairs, and also open space for Adele to move through and aboard the lift pre-show. We located the hydraulic pump backstage for noise, and run 300ft of hose daily, to run the lift s without taking away from the show. TAIT designed and manufactured the stage and set in five weeks. Winky added: “The end product put Adele in the perfect environment. It gives the audience a lot to see and feel. It enables a clever interactive experience that is professional and polished. The audience, no matter where they are sitting, is a part of the show. It’s always good to be involved in success; and this entire show, from inception, has been the epitome of success. “To Richard’s credit, the show is incredibly efficient. It has been packaged very well, it travels very well, it gets deployed quickly, and he has an excellent crew. Assembling a team that is effective, well organised and capable makes the entire process that much more streamlined. Richard is also very technical in every department - he knows every plug and every model number, which goes a long way in a show like this; it helps with efficiency and hitting milestones both technically and aesthetically.”
Photo: Ralph@Larmann.com | Lighting Design: Thomas Gerdon
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RIGGING ACCURACY Load Cell Rental provided accurate weighing data for 25, ensuring the huge tour’s final rig could be accurately known for each and every venue visited. Load Cell’s Colin Luke commented: “During Adele’s rehearsals at the Wembley we trailed the new V3 Broadweigh load cell provided by Mat Millward at AC Technologies. One of the advantages over the V2 cell is that the range has been boosted from 200 metres up to 800 metres. We placed the cell above the mother grid and above the lighting rig, the laptop and USB extended range base station were in the production office and we achieved a stable reading off the cell, that is with mother grid, lighting rig, and three block walls in between the cell and base station. Another advantage of the V3 cell is the ability to remotely pair with the cell without the need to cycle the power, it makes the system much more user friendly and more adaptable should requirements change after installation. The trick to making a success of the Broadweigh system is knowing how to correctly configure it, that is why we send every dry hire system out fully configured and set up, we have yet to have a customer report an issue with this system. The successful trial of the new Broadweigh technology has led to us boosting our wireless cell stock to meet an ever-increasing demand for wireless. Customers who have witnessed the stability of the V3 Broadweigh system and the convenience of a wireless cell don’t seem to want to revert back to a wired system.” Load Cell Rental worked alongside the production crew to install a cell on every point of the show. Luke continued: “In the case of the wired system we will typically follow the show cables, with the wireless it’s just a case of clipping the cell onto the motor hook. The system is then left live for production to monitor changes during rehearsals. Once truss loadings are finalised we will return and complete the weight report detailing truss types, makes and version of lights. At load out we return again to remove the system. Liaison with the rigging staff and production staff is continual throughout the process, feedback is given around point weights that need balancing or are closer to limits than expected, this can result in upgraded motors or taking a load cell system out on the road to ensure even distribution of the loads. “For this tour, our entire wireless system was already out on hire so we used 115 cells from our stock of wired motion labs cells. Wired systems still have their place in long duration hires, we have hire cell periods extending to years so cabled is the way to go for that and also to monitor show critical weights a wired system would still be most people’s preference. Other customers like the Motion Labs system because there is no computer involved, it is a simple robust reliable wired system with an analogue display with no software to trip you up,” he added. Once the entire rig had been weighed with every point celled throughout rehearsals, the production crew was able to monitor the effects any design changes were having on the point weights. “With the rain feature the water weight was variable depending on the water level in the tanks which were slowly being increased to provide rainfall for sufficient duration of the song. The weights could again be monitored throughout this process. Using a cell has provided an actual weight for every point as opposed to calculations, but it is also the detail involved in a full report that assists the tour to operate safely. The weights along with an independent verification of the loadings were included in a certificate for each truss, which were compiled into an insurance backed report. The difference we can see between calculations and cell readings still surprises me, it is not always the case that calculations are lighter, I have known of one tour to reduce their motor count by 10 motors for the entire tour as a result of using the weights report service and set pieces which have weighed twice their calculated weights. “The sheer scale of this show with well over 100 rigging points presents a challenge, our mission is to ensure that we don’t delay any of the production teams in achieving their own objectives at load in, it takes prior planning and provision of efficient staff to ensure a job of this scale goes to plan. Also the detail required in the report is a challenge with every piece of equipment needing to be identified and catalogued accurately, but it is this attention to detail that will prove the services’ worth in the event of an incident,” he concluded.
by Paul Maliszewski, Robert Stepien, Lucas Wach and Dominic CarlyleParker began working closely with the production team in order to deliver all of the required containers. Continued Matt Young: “All of our cases are built to the same high standard to withstand the rigors of touring. We prepare our own laminated ply for the case construction so we can ensure the quality from start to finish.” In total, the Matt Snowball team built 44 new cases and refurbished a further 11 in just three weeks. Once the bigger pieces of the tour were packaged, such as TAIT’s stage - which was initially to be moved from TAIT’s Lititz, Pennsylvania, workshop to the tour’s rehearsals in Wembley - the production used the freighting services of Sound Moves to securely deliver the items to the UK. McGuinness Forwarding is the production’s trucking choice, servicing the tour throughout the UK, Ireland and Europe. Siofra McGuinness commented on being part of the show’s popularity: “Adele’s success this year has been astounding. 25 broke record after record and her ticket sales followed suit. The precision of this tour has been impressive, as you would imagine with an artist of Adele’s calibre. With Richard Young in place as Production Manager, you can always expect quality. This has been a well-run and detailed production with high standards required, and professionalism is evident across the board. “On the trucking side, there is a lot to do at each venue with 20 trucks to load, tip and manoeuvre - and that’s before factors like double drivers or ferry crossings come into play. However, having one of the best lead drivers in the business, Bobby Worgan, makes all the difference to a smooth running journey. Bobby has 40 years experience and a team of skilled McGuinness drivers behind him. The drivers and everyone at McGuinness takes pride in playing their part on this tour.” Crew and artist bussing was supplied by Beat The Street. The company’s Joerg Philipp said: “It’s a pleasure supplying buses for Adele. Richard Young and [TM] Jerome Crooks make for a well-managed, happy experience - as ever. Adele’s success has been phenomenal and we’re really proud to be involved with this tour!” Catering was courtesy of Eat Your Hearts Out. TPi Photos: Ralph Larmann www.larmann.de Caroline Corbett, Alexandra Waespi & Kelly Murray http://adele.com/ http://woodroffebassett.com http://esdevlin.com www.black-box-music.de/en www.ct-group.com www.negearth.com www.mcguinness.eu www.beatthestreet.net www.soundmoves.com www.taittowers.com http://loadcellrental.com www.gerriets.com/uk www.q-sfx.com www.mattsnowball.com http://roadradios.com http://treatmentstudio.com
BESPOKE TRANSPORTING With all of this technology in tow, the logistics and transportation elements of the tour also had to be thoroughly planned, right down to the flight cases. “We had worked on a previous Adele production, building a custom piano shell to house two keyboards so when Richard Young approached us towards the end of 2015 to ask if we were up for the challenge of supplying the current tour’s flight casing requirements, we of course said yes!” explained Matt Snowball Music’s Matt Young of the MSM Cases division. With the the challenge underway, the bespoke flight case team, completed 50
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Opposite: ER Productions Laster Tech, Alex Oita; Production Designer Squib of Cassius Creative led design ideas for the show.
ALL CHANGE WITH YEARS & YEARS
In just shy of 18 months, dance trio Years & Years have gone from playing London’s 600 capacity Oslo venue to selling out the SSE Wembley Arena. Brooke Nolan caught up with the crew at the tour’s biggest and final date, to discover how they’ve developed the production in line with the band’s phenomenal growth.
Lead singer Olly Alexander and bandmates Mikey Goldsworthy (bass) and Emre Türkmen (keyboards) have conquered the charts with their brand of electronic dance, with singles King and Shine heading straight to number one and two, respectively, in the UK singles chart. Like much of the team, Production Manager Steve Down has worked with the trio since October 2015 for their first UK and European tour. He was remarkably calm and collected as I chatted to him backstage at Wembley Arena ahead of the final show before the band heads to the US. He explained: “The growth of Years & Years has been incredible. In less than a year, these guys have played two shows at Heaven, one in Brixton and now Wembley Arena, plus a string of European venues. “This new tour has taken on a mind of its own, it just kept growing and before we knew it we had nine dates and every sized venue from the 1,000 capacity Inverness Ironworks to a 12,000 capacity Wembley Arena, with every other size in between.” The vast range of venue sizes and styles has meant the need for a modular and adaptable show design, which can easily be scaled. That’s where Production Designer Chris ‘Squib’ Swain – of newly formed Cassius Creative – comes into play. The multi-coloured, abstract cover for number-one album Communion is the basis for the show’s design, brought to life in the form of a huge scenic LED wall. Down explained: “They had it custom made by Light Initiative for the
first tour and have grown it since then, extending the height to five metres and adding side panels so that it can be scaled up and down for different venues.” Light Initiative Technical Manager, Simon Cox, added: “When I was first approached by Squib for this build for Years & Years, we were presented with some complex problems. The 4.5 metre structure had to be ground supported and, because it is touring kit, we had many weight and transportation constraints. We gave great consideration to the materials used in the construction, and created an entirely new way of mounting LED. “The fixtures we created can be air freighted, travel in a bus container and work in a variety of venues from Shepherds Bush Empire to Wembley Arena without losing their impact. For the first part of the tour we provided the main wall, later adding wings to the sides. More recently we have refined the design of the keyboard stands to give a clearer view of the band, working with Squib to further improve the visual impact. Even with these additions, the fixtures can go up in around two hours, with only one tech overseeing the rig.” The fixtures are made up of in excess of 15,000 pixels, mapped in-house at Light Initiative by Ben Vaughan using an Avolites Ai media server. It was mapped using a brand new method ensuring picture perfect output, and is triggered entirely by time code. The wall itself comprises of LED strips branching and intersecting at 53
YEARS & YEARS
ER Productions provided laser effects and crew to the tour; BPM SFX supplied confetti cannons.
different angles from a central ‘Y’ shape. Four standard scanning lasers are hidden within the scenic LED structure Constructed in sections with cut out panels, it allows the backlighting and used on all shows, controlled via Pangolin Beyond. ER’s Laserblades to shine through. For this tour – and to make it more practical for use on are then used to create a laser curtain in front of the band for the opening the festivals this summer – it has been mounted on wheels. song, Foundaton. George Baker, scenic LED tech, said: “Previously it was on base plates For the arena dates, 22 Laserblades create a laser curtain and laser that were 100kg each, which isn’t really practical for touring. The Ai is so cage at the end of the catwalk, through which Olly appears from under the easy and intuitive to use. As a lampie, it really speaks the right language.” stage in a scissor lift. Young’s content makes the most out of the structure, using chasing pulses Alex Oita, laser technician for ER Productions, said: “The Laserblades across individual branches. work really well for the sharp formation of the cage and curtain, which is Production Designer Squib continued: “The brief has always been lots important when the trim is sometimes up to 12 metres high. They’re a fairly of colour and the more extravagant the better. It’s a big fun, bright, pop new product and give Squib the whole colour spectrum he needs for the show. The scenic LED works perfectly.” design.” And colour there is. Lights, lasers, and LED All Access Staging supplied the 36ft long by eight are programmed to run through the whole RGB ft wide catwalk, which has an in-built scissor lift, colour spectrum throughout the show before which can rise to over 10ft. culminating in a full rainbow effect for the final For Squib, it’s an unexpected addition. He song, King. explained: “The catwalk and scissor lift came “That’s when it all comes together and about as a bit of joke when I flippantly said to “The brief has always been everyone realises they’ve been watching a Steve ‘can we have Olly coming out the stage to massive version of the album cover,” said Squib. start the show?’ lots of colour and the more “I thought nothing more of it until a week later extravagant the better. It’s a INTO THE ARENA when he came back to me and was like ‘I’ve got Added specifically for the arena dates a quote, it’s really reasonable’. So, here we are. It big fun, bright, pop show. The (Birmingham and Wembley) are a stage thrust works really well.” scenic LED works perfectly.” with scissor lift, additional lasers, IMAG screens The lift is used twice in the show, once for the and confetti blowers. Costume changes and opening song and then again for Eyes Shut in the Production Designer, dancers are also new. middle of the show, when Olly appears playing a Chris ‘Squib’ Swain Lasers were provided by ER Productions. baby grand piano. 54
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YEARS & YEARS
Lighting and Production Designer, Chris ‘Squib’ Swain, Production Manager, Steve Down and Monitor Engineer Simon Lutkin; FOH Engineer, Pablo Campanaro; Lisa Baker, Camera Operator; The show was never intended to reach the dizzy heights of Wembley arena when it was first created, but the show has fitted into arenas without challenge.
Matthew Bull, Sales Manager at All Access Staging, said: “For the Squib explained: “The scenic LED is the focus on all of the shows, but IMAG opening, we rise to the full 10ft so that Olly can really milk the crowd. screens become a necessity in the larger venues. I’m not usually a fan, Combined with the laser cage you don’t really notice the lift until the lasers but when I do need to use them I want to make them work with the show turn off, then he’s right there, suspended mid-air.” design.” The catwalk is built using All Access Versa deck and takes just 20 The IMAG was designed as a ‘header’ above the stage, hung directly minutes to set up as it can simply be clipped together. “It’s clip, clip, clip,” underneath the main lighting truss. PRG XL Video supplied the kit, led by said Bull. “It’s such a fast system, is really clean and looks great.” Account Manager Jay Mobbs-Beal. Also new on the arena show are the confetti cannons, supplied by BPM He said: “Squib and Steve wanted a seamless angled screen, which we and managed by their senior SFX Technician achieved with custom 20° touring frames. They Duncan Holmes. The company’s Stadium Shot also wanted a really clean look with no header Extreme is a new, larger version of its product and truss.” been on the market for around eight months. Hung using six motors, the LED IMAG header Two of the cannons were situated either side screen is made of three screens of Pixled F-12 “The scenic LED is the focus of the thrust, used to fire silver metallic confetti LED, each 2.4 metres by 4.8 metres wide. It is during Shine and then reloaded to fire rainbow electronically split into three, showing up to on all of the shows, but IMAG streamers for the final song, King. three separate live feeds at once. In certain screens become a necessity Holmes said: “The Stadium Shot Extreme is a songs, these are treated with Video Dust, a reallot bigger than our previous product and basically time video efx software from Phil Woodhead at in the larger venues. I’m not lets you make an even bigger mess! Squib and Thundering Jacks. usually a fan, but when I do Steve wanted to stay away from traditional Woodhead also acts as video director for the confetti blowers, which give you a prolonged tour, working with Project Manager Nilkanth need to use them I want to effect and have a more instant impact, which is Patel, Crew Chief Gareth Manicom, PPU Engineer make them work with the show Mark Cranham and Fabrizio di Lelio, Lisa Baker what these give you.” and Ricardo Alfano on cameras. design.” VIDEO Woodhead said: “Video Dust ingests camera Production Designer, Video screens were added for the shows at feed which you can then manipulate in lots of Birmingham, Bournemouth, and Wembley. different ways. You’re able to make live graphics Chris ‘Squib’ Swain 56
31/03/2016 3:37:49 PM
YEARS & YEARS
PRG XL Video supplied all video requirements to the tour.
out of your IMAG instead of having prepared graphics, which costs thousands of pounds. You have your live cameras there already, and this lets you turn them into light and audio reactive content.” Due to time constraints, the team was unable to rehearse the whole show. Instead, Woodhead took a small test system to production rehearsals and was able to quickly work out some presets. Talking of Video Dust, PRG XL Video’s Mobbs-Beal said: “With the simplicity of what Video Dust can do and treatments that can be added into or with the IMAG cut, plus some clever sound reactive animation it was a quick and effective solution with minimal programming.”
The camera system consisted of three Sony HXC-100 CD cameras, three Bradley Engineering robocams, and two of PRG XL Video’s custom built HDiye minicams, all run via a custom Ross Carbonate switcher, chosen by Phil as he needed a ‘powerful desk’ to curate multiple PiPS. AUDIO Due to the variety of venues, audio needed a system with great flexibility and settled on an L-Acoustics K1 / K2 PA package. In its largest iteration - used for Wembley and Birmingham - this comprised of 12 L-Acoustics K1’s per side with four KARA downfills for the main hangs and 12 K2’s per side for the side hangs.
YEARS & YEARS
Squib used a Hog 4 console for control.
18 SB28 subs were ground stacked and configured as three stacks per side. For the smaller gigs, the K2 array became the main hang with the subs reduced to two three-way stacks per side. FOH Engineer Pablo Campanaro has been with the band since their very first show in February 2014 in London’s Oslo. He began as technical assistant, figuring out how to best implement a live show with a band that is mainly synths, with midi and a mix of acoustic and electronic drums. He said: “It goes from soft piano and vocals to dance numbers with plenty of energy. I use a DiGiCo SD10 that allows me to easily control these dynamics and gain consistency from song to song, without loosing the essence of each particular moment in the set.” Sennheiser EM3732 radio receivers with MD5235 capsules served as vocal microphones, while the drums were mic’d with a mixture of gear. The crew used a Shure 91a and Audix D6 for the kick drum; a beyerdynamic M201 and Sennheiser e 604 for snare top and bottom, respectively; an Audio-Technica 4041 for the hi-hat; Sennheiser MD 421-II’s for toms; and Audio-Technica AT4050’s for overheads. These all ran into Radial J48 DI boxes and Radial SW8 Auto-Switchers. Adlib supplied the majority of the audio gear, with the monitor set-up and FOH desk supplied by London-based Hark Audio, the band’s regular supplier for some years. Harry Bishop, Monitor Engineer, has been with the band since their performance on The Graham Norton Show in early 2015. He said: “There are live drums, triggered drums, backing tracks, SPD pads, keyboards, electric bass, guitars. From an audio perspective, you have to be really familiar with the recorded material in order to know what it is that you’re meant to do with all of these instruments.” This UK tour saw the addition of a much-needed new console, the Soundcraft Vi5000 Digital. 59
YEARS & YEARS
Light Initiative created a bespoke piece of LED set for the band to complement the detailed visual aspects.
Bishop continued: “Up until this tour we were using the same Midas PRO1 that we’d used for Graham Norton back in early 2015, with 30-odd channels which I maxed out very quickly. Time limitations meant that there was never time to make the change to a new desk until now, which made last year’s festival season interesting!” Also new is the RF Venue CP Beam Folding Helical Antenna, which Bishop praised for its lightweight and portable design. The addition of the Porter and Davies BC2, allows the band’s drummer to feel, experience and hear the bass drum instantly. “He’s fallen in love with it,” said Bishop. “The subs I was using previously weren’t tight enough. This sends a direct mechanical vibration to the drummer. As he says, it puts him in the pocket.”
Rs, 24 Clay Paky Mythos’, 10 Clay Paky A.leda B-EYE K20’s, four Philips Color Kinetics Color Blast 12 TRXs and 18 Martin by Harman MAC Aura XBs among others, which were scaled up and down in order to fit the different venues. Squib controlled the show with a High End Systems Hog 4 console. The vibe of the whole day was been calm, collected and laid back and as the crew headed down to the packed arena to start the show. Stage Manager Simon Lutkin commented: “When you’ve got good suppliers, sending good crew it makes everything easier. I can’t fault anyone on this tour; everyone’s just got on and done a great job. That’s what’s made it a really easy transition between venues, despite the variety in scale.” With the band currently touring the US before heading back to the UK for a packed festival season, Years & Years’ success doesn’t look like it’s going to slow down any time soon. As for the future of the production, Squib concluded: “When I originally designed the show for Shepherds Bush, I had Brixton in mind but I didn’t have Wembley in mind! It works really well, but it’s a theatre show that’s been built bigger. Next time, we’re going all out. Watch this space!” TPi Photos: Scott Davies www.yearsandyearsofficial.com www.cassiuscreative.co.uk www.lightinitiative.com http://bpm-sfx.com www.adlib.co.uk www.hark.uk.com www.er-productions.com www.allaccessinc.com www.prg.com www.negearth.com
LIGHTING All lighting equipment was supplied by Neg Earth Lights - winner at the 2016 TPi Awards in the Favourite Lighting Rental Company category- to Squib’s specification. The team at Neg Earth Lights have a longstanding working relationship with Down, Squib and his Cassius Creative business partner, Dan Hill. Amanda Liu and Julian Lavender of Neg Earth worked on the account. Liu said: “We’ve worked with Squib on other projects including Two Door Cinema Club, Wolf Alice, and Everything Everything. As avid music fans, we’d heard all about Years & Years and their BBC Music Sound of 2015 win and collaborative projects with Tourist & The Magician. Lavender added: “To be a part of their journey, seeing the band and their creative show lighting design grow from a small club venue, Heaven in Charing Cross to Wembley Arena has been a pleasure.” For Wembley Arena, the lighting rig fixtures included 12 James Thomas Engineering 2-Lite molefays, 41 Ayrton MagicBlade Rs, 29 Ayrton MagicDot 60
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Opposite: MDG Fog’s Martin Michaud and Thierry Pouliot; RCF’s Elisa Cornia and Gioia Molinari; Area Four Industries’ Aleš Rouček & Petra Mrazkova; The Chroma-Q stand; Adamson’s James Oliver with Tim Colvard and Ricki Cook; Absen’s new Smart LED; APG’s Gregory Dapsanse; Allen & Heath’s Victoria Clark; Audio-Technica’s Edward Forth; Athletic Group’s Katarzyna Kupijaja and Wojciech Kaminski; Avolites’ Steve Warren, Koy Neminathan and Stephen Baird Smith; The beyerdynamic team; Cadac’s Richard Ferriday; Pioneer Pro Audio; Coda Audio’s Paul Ward with Japanese rental firm, Hibino Sound Division.
PROLIGHT+SOUND FRANKFURT 2016 An estimated 45,000 visitors from 121 countries made their way to Frankfurt am Main during early April for the revamped Prolight+Sound trade fair, setting new exhibitor and visitor records. TPi was there in force to report on the latest entertainment technology launches.
For the first time, Prolight+Sound was held on the eastern section of Frankfurt Fair and Exhibition Centre, offering optimum presentation facilities for the 940 exhibitors and the room needed to expand the spectrum of products and themes on show. The sequence of days was also new and, in response to great demand from the industry, the fair was held on four working days. The change divided opinion, and although the majority of the feedback TPi heard was very positive, as expected, there certainly seems to be room for improvement. Hopefully any show layout issues will be perfected for 2017. From A-Z, here are the newest innovations the industry has to offer... Absen introduced a number of new products including its new riggerfriendly Smart LED. Aside from its 2.9mm pixel pitch and light weight (7.3kg), the panels piqued the interest of visiting rental companies thanks to their ergonomic connection system. A.C. Entertainment Technologies showcased a selection of the very latest solutions available from its portfolio of over 200 premium brands, including the premium performance entertainment and broadcast LED solutions from Chroma-Q. Highlights included the new Space Force LED space light; the Color One 100 and award-winning Inspire full colour-mixing, homogenous output LED PAR and LED house light solutions and Color Force multi-purpose LED washlights. Adam Hall Group put on attractive demonstrations of products such as the ultra-portable column PA system LD Systems MAUI 5 and the first truly portable array with WaveAhead technology, CURV 500, along with the presentation of the new FliteCAD software. Visitors could even try out various Cameo products for themselves, controlling them via tablets, and get additional insights into the various possibilities they offer. Adamson introduced its new E119 subwoofer at the show, as well as hosting a live panel discussion with key Adamson users Tim Colvard (FOH
Engineer for Macklemore and Ryan Lewis) and Ricki Cook (Head of Audio at Hillsong Church). ADJ gave visitors a first glimpse of its selection of much-anticipated new moving heads and effects, the true potential of which was shown via a series of stunning programmed lightshows. Utilising professional features, powerful light sources and plenty of ADJ’s trademark versatility, the new fixtures – the Vizi Beam RXONE, Focus Spot Three Z, WiFLY Chameleon and Chameleon QBar Pro – demonstrated the company’s commitment to creating affordable but forward-thinking products that deliver pure lighting excitement like no other. The show saw the official debut of the Alcons Audio’s LR18 pro-ribbon line-array; the three-way, ‘compact-mid-size’ format line-source sound system, combining the highest sound quality possible with very high SPL capabilities and throw. Alcons also performed off-site demonstrations during the show to showcase the quality of the impressive LR18. Allen & Heath showed off its new Qu-SB ultra-compact intelligent mixer / interface, which comes from the Qu compact digital range, for the first time at Prolight+Sound. The Qu-SB is designed as a Stage Box solution, with all the features offered in the Qu series, but purely designed for tablet control. Qu-SB provides a smart, portable solution for bands, music venues, schools and corporate events. Amadeus announced the availability of its new PMX D Series selfpowered active speakers at the show. The new speaker design features built-in 24/96 DSP, and analogue, AES3 and Dante inputs. With three different models, containing eight, 12 or 15-inch coaxial drivers, the PMX D Series is best-suited for sound reinforcement applications in concert halls, auditoriums, conference rooms and theatres. Designed to be included within fixed or long-lasting installations, each PMX speaker system can also be used in touring applications as a stage monitor. 63
Christie’s Gavin Chatfield; Clay Paky’s Davide Barbetta; Columbus McKinnon’s Tom Hobman; DiGiCo MD & CEO of Audiotonix Group, James Gordon; Chainmaster’s Alexander Hartung; DPA’s Anne Berggrein; EAW’s Jeff Rocha.
Analog Way showcased the Ascender 48 - 4K, a powerful multi-screen seamless switcher with 48 scalers, and the VIO 4K, a powerful multi-format converter with applications dedicated to LED walls at its stand. Apart Audio introduced the REVAMP2150 at Prolight+Sound. The new all-purpose REVAMP2150 is a professional two-channel power amplifier with two 165W dynamic output power at four ohms, that can easily be
bridged into a powerful 330W at eight ohms single amplifier. APG announced the signing of a strategic alliance with Active Audio at the show. While both brands will remain independent in their respective activities - and through distribution channels - APG will still cater for live events and large venue installations. The decision to join forces will foster critical synergies between both companies in R&D, production, financing
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Elation Professional’s Larry Beck and Marc Librecht; Clear-Com’s Stephen Sandford; The Electro-Voice press conference; The ETC team with new recruit, Katherine Walmsley; Funktion-One’s Ann and Tony Andrews.
and. ultimately, a global reach. APIA showcased the Mio Series at the show, a small format line array - featuring two 6.5-inch cone drivers and 1.4-inch exit compression driver that is suitable for mid-sized applications. Area Four Industries and its four brands - Milos, Tomcat, Litec and James Thomas Engineering - showcased a range of products at its stand at Prolight+Sound. These included new rectangular truss and ceiling brackets from Milos, Litec’s new DADO system for strengthening corners / crosses of standard and heavy duty end-plated trusses, and EVO Truss from Tomcat. ArKaos PRO had one of its busiest shows to date with a constant stream of visitors coming to discover the latest developments in its software. The stand demonstrated the video mapping capabilities of the ArKaos PRO MediaMaster 4.2 software with an intricate array of three-dimensional shapes outlined to perfection as projection surfaces. Visitors were able to try MediaMaster out for themselves to understand just how easy it is to achieve complex results with ArKaos’ software. A daily competition to find Europe’s fastest video mapper was carried out to illustrate how simple ArKaos PRO MediaMaster is to operate. Audio-Technica unveiled its new ATM350a Microphone Systems at the show. Offering crisp, clear, well-balanced response even in very high SPL applications, the ATM350a Cardioid Condenser Instrument Microphone comes in six specially designed systems that provide mounting solutions for a host of instruments, including woodwinds, strings, brass, percussion, drums and piano. AV Stumpfl brought its live event, production and rental and staging innovations to Frankfurt, including an 8K by 4K version of Wings Engine Raw that was demonstrated at the centre of the AV Stumpfl stand, alongside the media server line up. The ultra-high-performance super media server
delivers an unrivalled four streams of full 4K uncompressed content at 60hz - equivalent to 16K by 2K picture resolution - plus a rich array of media overlays, text generation and show control. Also, the new Wings Vioso 3D mapping module, with a reinvented workflow for video projection mapping and design, was launched. An interactive video table was at the stand, allowing visitors to test out the software for themselves. Avid used Prolight+Sound to announce that the new Avid Venue 5.1 software update is now available for all Avid Venue | S6L systems. The new software update offers significantly enhanced capabilities; enabling customers to take on the biggest live sound productions and mix more efficiently. Venue | S6L is a fully modular, scalable live sound mixing system that delivers best-in-class functionality for a range of live sound mixing applications, including front-of-house, monitor, theatre and more. Avolites exhibited its ‘supercharged’ Ai R Series of media servers and officially launched the new feature-rich Titan V10 and Ai V9 software. The much-anticipated Titan V10 OS is packed full of a wealth of brand new features, while the Ai V9 features an all-new Audio Engine, a Dynamic Content Page, a new User Interface, and 58 new and updated effects. Ayrton presented a number of new products, exhibiting with its German distributor, Vision Stage, on a ‘double-decker’ stand where this year’s new creations were shown to spectacular effect in a dazzling light show. Some of the new fixtures included the DreamSpot-18K, the IntelliPix-XT and the MagicDot-XT. Brand new for Prolight+Sound from B&C Speakers was the 21DS115 – a 3400W, 99dB efficient subwoofer that utilises a unique four-layer, aluminum voice coil that offers a significant improvement in motor strength over previous 115mm. Barco showcased its venue projectors, switchers, media servers and immersive sound technology at the show. Among the eye-catchers were 66
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Fenix Staging’s Export Manager, Alex Bryan; GLP’s Head of UK & Ireland Operations, Noel Roly Smith; The team from GUIL; High End Systems’ Tania Lesage and Colin Wood; PixMob’s Ysabel Vangrudenberg; The IAG Group team.
two 4K projectors; the 13,000 lumens F90-4K - the world’s smallest and lightest 4K laser phosphor projector - and the HDX-4K20 FLEX. Elsewhere, Barco let visitors hear how its IOSONO immersive sound system, featuring the IOSONO CORE processor at its heart, creates an unparalleled listening experience. Beyma introduced several new products, including compression drivers, low and mid frequency speakers for very diverse kinds of applications and a new high quality pleated diaphragm tweeter. Adapting some of the company’s product range to current needs of the market, Beyma launched new transducers with own and optimised pressed steel frame designs. Two families were introduced - the WRS family with 10WRS300, 12WRS400 and 15WRS400, which is intended for using in a wide range of Pro Audio applications. The other family was MCS, with 10MCS500, 12MCS500 and 15MCS500, which features the Maltcross patented technology, allowing an efficient cooling of the voice coil and reducing the power compression losses. New for beyerdynamic was the professional TG D71c drum microphone, which completes the existing Tour Gear microphone series with another drum microphone. The boundary microphone is ideal for micing percussion instruments. The microphone delivers an equally convincing performance on cajones and pianos. BlackTrax’s real-time motion tracking solution was integrated with the Green Hippo SHAPE projection mapping toolset, with multiple inputs for on-the-fly projection mapping of moving objects during the show. As well as projection mapping, the next big thing is moving and interactive projection mapping, which now can be accomplished in any setting and scale with the help of BlackTrax. Bose introduced the expansion to its portable PA offerings with the F1 Model 812 Flexible Array Loudspeaker and F1 Subwoofer. Designed to serve an even broader set of applications than L1 systems, F1 Model 812 is the first powered portable loudspeaker that lets users optimise sound by creating up to four different vertical coverage patterns. Offering exceptional power and clarity, the F1 system provides versatility for a wide range of applications and
venues. At its Tuesday morning press briefing at Prolight+Sound, Cadac unveiled a number of new hardware and software developments for its CDC consoles and MegaCOMMS audio network. These were the CDC MC Optical Bridge, CDC MC AES3 Stagebox and CDC MC Router software application, and CDC Console V3.01 Software. These were all trailed ahead of the press briefing. Previously unannounced was the new CDC six and eight offline editor. Chauvet Professional unleashed Maverick, a series of tour ready moving fixtures, at Prolight+Sound. Featuring the MK2 Wash, MK1 Hybrid and MK2 Spot (with more fixtures to come), the new series serves up an arsenal of performance features. Visitors to the Christie booth experienced several new solutions for entertainment, integrated systems and content creation from a leader in visual display technology, including the 1DLP Christie HS Series, the new Pandoras Box 5.9 and the Christie Velvet LED Series, as well as a first demo of the Boxer Series with reduced operating sound. Clair Brothers announced the official launch of two new ‘ONE Series’ stage monitors, following in the footsteps of the legendary 12AM stage monitor. The single 12-inch monitor, known simply as 1AM, is designed to be much more than just a successor to the 12AM. The 1AM is a multipurpose speaker as it embodies all of the necessary characteristics of a stage monitor as well as those necessary for a compact point source application. Further additions to the product lineup also included two compact coaxial speakers that are well suited to many applications; the 8CX and the 5CX, with eight-inch and fiveinch transducers respectively. Clay Paky celebrated its 40-year milestone at Prolight+Sound and welcomed visitors to the ‘Clay Paky Universe’, inviting them to get up close and personal with the broad portfolio of creative tools. The company launched the Scenius Profile, Hepikos, and SharBar fixtures, as well as presenting its new logo for the first time. CEO Pio Nahum explained the reason for the change: “This year Clay Paky is celebrating its 40th anniversary. This milestone is the perfect chance to update our corporate identity. The Clay 68
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The team from In Ear; JoeCo’s products were on display with experts on hand; The team from J&C Joel; Steve Hamann and Lars Heinrich of Kling & Freitag.
Paky logo is a strong reference point for all lighting professionals, but a company that creates innovation sometimes needs to evolve its image. By adopting a more ‘modern’ design, the goal is to pave the way towards the future, always ready for new challenges.” Clear-Com presented the all-new DX410 two-channel 2.4 GHz digital wireless intercom system at Prolight+Sound. Featuring 7 kHz wideband audio for exceptional audio clarity, it is the first DX Series wireless intercom system to offer this level of audio frequency range. Highly durable and lightweight, the DX410 beltpack and All-in-One wireless headset are designed to withstand long periods of usage and tough production environments. This year Columbus McKinnon showed its new IP66 hoists. The company said that the introduction of the IP66’s places CM ahead of the competition and has generated “lots of interest” from its clients. Coda Audio’s AiRAY system continued to make waves at Prolight+Sound, with the innovative and flexible speaker system catching the attention of the eyes and ears of the audio world. So much so that Japanese giant, Hibino Sound Division, placed a substantial order increasing its holding of Coda boxes to over 300 - at this year’s show. Cymatic Audio displayed products including the uTrack24 24-track player/recorder/interface, capable of link other units for 96 tracks of reliable computer-free recording. The innovative uTrack-X32 add-on card
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Klotz Cable’s Rene Greil; Kinesys CEO, Dave Weatherhead; K-array’s Margaux Asteghene and Andrea Torelli; KLANG:technologies’ Phil Kamp; The KV2 stand; L-Acoustics’ Application Engineer, Marc Bénard; The Le Maitre stand.
for the popular X32 and M32 consoles adds multi-track recording capability at the touch of a simple button. In the summer of 2016, Cymatic Audio plans to release the uNode M42, its first AudioLan 4-channel microphone preamp. d&b audiotechnik introduced NoizCalc, a new software tool to predict the far field noise emission of open air events. Noise from outdoor entertainment events has become a serious topic, particularly as the number of events in populated urban environments increases. NoizCalc predicts sound propagation of multiple coherently emitting sources such as line arrays and subwoofer arrays. Using 3D terrain data the software accurately predicts the far field noise immission across the terrain according to ISO 9613-2 and Nord 2000 standards, allowing system designers to predict any potential noise issues during the event planning stage. d3 Technologies showcased its products alongside Panasonic Business and PRG at the show in the Festhalle - the exclusive presentation and showroom area for PRG and partners - where visitors could take a backstage tour to see the flagship d3 4x4pro’s in action. They also demonstrated the advancements in technology with Panasonic’s new 4k+ laser projectors, the 4×4pro and the 4 x Quad-SDI VFC cards. Plus, there was an exclusive sneak peek at the latest software release, r12.2, which is due for release in Q2, 2016. D.A.S Audio showcased a whole range of its newly launched products at this year’s Prolight+Sound. Its UX Series saw the addition of the UX-218A subwoofer, the UX-30A subwoofer and the 18UXN4, an 18-inch neodymium, high-performance subwoofer loudspeaker. Also, its Sound Force series of systems was given an expansion, with the new SF-158, a three-way, fullrange system, and SF-Monitor - a powered DJ monitor system designed for discerning DJs worldwide. Dataton, with experts from Sweden, Germany and Poland, offered projection mapping and demos of its new version of WATCHOUT multidisplay production and playback software, along with WATCHNET control. Dataton WATCHOUT enables users to create spectacular presentations,
from backdrops for live events and theatre productions, to flawless projection mapping and engaging signage – all of which is controlled using WATCHNET, the web-based control software. Italian manufacturer dB Technologies used Prolight+Sound to showcase its VIO System, a line array solution able to face smoothly professional production requirements. With freshly designed wood cabinets, premium components, last generation amplifying technology, as well as an advanced DSP programming, the VIO system delivers an imposing sound, combined with an outstanding control of dispersion and a detailed, clear cut audio performance. The series is comprised of VIO L210 two by 10-inch line array module and three by 18-inch SUB VIO S318, which were both showcased at the dBTechnologies stand. Following on from the proven success of Stealth Digital Processing and the use of FPGA’s for large scale audio processing applications, DiGiCo used Prolight+Sound to reveal the concept design of its next development of Quantum 7 processing. Although not scheduled for release until Spring 2017, DiGiCo presented an SD7 that was installed with Quantum 7, allowing visitors to see the unique ways in which the processing and flexibility have been implemented. Quantum 7 is developed with seventh generation FPGA devices that further expand audio processing power, allowing DiGiCo to provide users with an unrivalled amount of further flexibility. At Prolight+Sound, DPA Microphones added to its popular d:facto handheld microphone range with the launch of the d:facto vocal microphone. The new d:facto linear vocal microphone is for sound engineers who want the ability to design the complete sound pattern to create their own unique sound. Featuring a new capsule with an isolationoptimised supercardioid polar pattern that is specifically designed to augment the human vocal range, the d:facto linear vocal microphone combines the very best of cardioid and supercardioid directional characteristics. DPA also unveiled the GM1600 Gooseneck - a new mount for the d:screet omnidirectional miniature microphones. Plus, visitors were 70
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Mountain Productions’ Ricky Rose; Magic FX’s Jean-Pierre Noten; Bob McCarthy, Meyer Sound’s Director of System Optimisation with the new MDM-5000 high-power distribution module; Martin Audio’s Dom Harter and Jason Baird; The Osram team; Martin by Harman’s Pernille Rosenkilde and Stephanie O’Neill; The Nexo booth.
Elation Professional offered what it described as “one of our most impressive line-up of products ever” at Prolight+Sound. Elation included three new product series’, with the ZCL Series, DTW Series and the Fuze Series, along with some surprise launches, all on display. The Platinum SEVEN, a new seven-colour LED wash luminaire, and the TVL CYC, a cyclorama wash luminaire, were debuted at the stand, too. Electro-Voice presented a number of products at the show, including the new ND Series of wired vocal and instrument microphones. The successor to the renowned N/Dym Series, the ND Series offers four vocal and four instrument models for live performance and studio applications. Each ND Series model is equipped with features that are unique to both its price point and application - all designed to offer superior sound quality, acoustic control and robustness. Also showcased on the stand was the new X-Line Advance family of line array loudspeakers. ENTTEC showed a number of products including E.L.M (ENTTEC LED Mapper) software , the Phero 33 LED bar, and the Pixelator Mini - a compact controller capable of driving up to 16 universes (2,720 pixels), or 80 Phero 33 LED bars. ETC marked its 40th anniversary with a new stand concept spread across four different stands at Prolight+Sound. In Hall 3.0, ETC presented its current products, including the Source Four LED system, the Eos and Cobalt console families, the ColorSource range, and ETC’s latest line of stage machinery, ETC Rigging, while another stand was reserved entirely for presentations and workshops. The first day of the event also saw ETC prepare its own Student Session - an information session specially designed for trainees, pupils and students - for the inaugural Future Talents Day, a new Messe Frankfurt initiative. The Eurotruss stand at Prolight+Sound featured the full range of products, as well as the new XTS TrussSeries. Also on display were a broad spectrum of other truss types, lifters, stage decks, barriers and rigging materials. Visitors were welcomed by the global Eurotruss team and invited to discuss their requirements, with the team ready to assist.
also able to bring their own instruments to DPA’s workshops, allowing them to learn how to best mike them with DPA microphones. DTS displayed some of its latest products at Prolight+Sound, allowing visitors to experience the lighting solutions available. Being showcased at the stand were Katana - the cutting-edge LED bar that offers ultra-bright, extra-sharp ‘blade’ projection for the first time ever, along with single pixel control, motorised zoom and motorised tilt. There was also the Core, which is a real hybrid discharge moving head - spot and beam all in one. Finally, also on display was the Nick NRG 1401 - a creative LED wash light that delivers top-of-the-line visual effects or uniform wash lighting. Dynacord showcased its new PROMATRIX 6000, a combined public address and voice evacuation system that offers outstanding audio quality, at the show. Quickly and easily specified and configured with optimised system costs, and extremely efficient in its power consumption, PROMATRIX 6000 sets a new standard in the field of combined public address and voice evacuation systems. Developed by Dynacord’s engineers, PROMATRIX 6000’s highly-flexible, modular system architecture makes it an attractive complete system solution for small-to-medium-sized installations, including sports facilities, hotels and educational venues. At this year’s Prolight+Sound, EAW sponsored the 2016 PRG Live Entertainment Awards, which was held at the Messe Festhalle on Monday 4 April. An EAW ADAPTive System – comprised of Anna and Otto systems – was deployed for the show and remained in place for the whole exhibition. Visitors were able to experience Anna and Otto first hand, with 10-minute demonstrations held four times a day throughout the exhibition. As well as that, EAW also showcased its Redlinesystem, which was on display at its booth. Eilon Engineering announced the launch of the new Ron StageMaster PRR (Portable Radio Receiver), a compact and highly portable Bluetoothcompatible load monitoring system capable of monitoring up to 40 individual load cells from the convenience of an iPad or iPhone using the Ron StageMaster App. 72
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NEXT Pro Audio’s dynamic duo; Optocore’s Marc Brunke; The Outline booth; d&b audiotechnik Product Manager, Wolfgang Schulz; TW Audio in the demo area; Peavey’s James Kennedy and Shayne Thomas.
Fantek used the show to reveal the latest in its range of lifting towers and structures. This included the T200PA - a compact front-load towerlift, which is a great solution for lifting line arrays, that can be easily transported vertically in most vans. Also showcased was the powerful T600PA, a unique towerlift that is capable of raising up to 600kg at its full extended height diagonal reinforcing bars, reinforced cables, oversized pulleys and enlarged legs give this unit the strength and stability for a secure line array lifting procedure. Elsewhere on the stand, Fantek displayed the incorporation of Dyneema, a new, synthetic fibre with the same resistance as regular steel wires, but up ten time longer service life. FBT displayed its full range of products at Prolight+Sound, with new products for 2016 presented for the first time. The next step in the PROMAXX range of portable PA enclosures was launched - with a specially developed polypropylene cabinet and full grille aesthetic. There was also the launch of the VERTUS CS1000 compact line array, which combines maximum performance with a modular, scalable approach. Also debuted was the VENTIS range, which comprises of four versatile loudspeakers enclosures for either portable or fixed installation use. German loudspeaker systems manufacturer Fohhn presented new connectivity options for digital audio networking and exclusive loudspeaker surface designs. Fohhn released the AIREA Breakout Extension ABX-3, a new D/A convertor for the company’s fully digital, networkable and remotely controllable AIREA system. The compact ABX-3 breakout box has the same basic functionality as Fohhn’s existing AIREA ABX-1 D/A convertor, but is additionally equipped with a high performance Fohhn DSP. This enables the inclusion of active loudspeakers without integrated Fohhn DSPs in the AIREA system. Following six years of development, British loudspeaker manufacturer, Funktion-One, decided to use Prolight+Sound for the exclusive launch of Vero - the new, large-format touring sound system that is set to redefine audio and operational performance expectations. Vero is a complete
system, with each element specified or designed for the highest possible performance. The system includes speakers, amplifiers, cabling, rigging, transport dollies, weather-proof covers and software. Elsewhere, FunktionOne also debuted the Evo 7T Touring loudspeaker and F132 bass enclosure. Genelec presented five additions to its Smart Active Monitoring (SAM) system series, with the new 8340 and 8350 monitors, 7360 and 7370 subwoofers and 9301 AES/EBU Multichannel interface all available for attendees to inspect. GLP’s stand featured no fewer than 313 fixtures, showcasing 92 impression X4’s, 58 impression X4 Bar 10’s, 45 impression X1’s, 17 impression X4 Ls, 32 impression X4 Ss, 60 X4 atoms, and nine of the new GT-1 discharge light, being seen on a major stage for the first time. New products from the Green Hippo Hippotizer v4.1 range entered the game with the launch of the demo software, Hippotizer PLAY, giving users the opportunity to dive straight into the software as well as the new laptopbased solution, the Hippotizer V4 Portamus, bringing users power and portability, two attributes rarely found in a media server. GUIL exhibited a completely new range of platforms for stages and events at the show, with five new models. The TM440, TM440XL, TM442XL, TM441 and TM440S have a load capacity ranging from 500 Kg/m² up to 1500 Kg/m². The company also presented new accessories for stages, such as ramps, stairs and safety handrails, and special panel finishes including transparent (methacrylate), carpeted, parquet, rubber, non-slip aluminium top layer, painted and grating. A vast array of Harman brands and products were also on display. AKG by Harman debuted a number of new products at the show, including the AKG C7 reference condenser vocal microphone, closed-back K872 reference headphones and the MicroLite series of miniature wearable reference microphones. JBL Professional by Harman showcased the EON208P portable PA 74
system and the EON ONE all-in-one linear-array PA system, while Harman Professional Solutions’ Tour Audio Division displayed the JBL VTX M Series - a new line of premium stage monitoring products. Martin by Harman revealed the outdoor-rated Exterior Projection 500, as well as the M-Play playback and control surface, MAC Axiom Hybrid beam / spot fixture, and the P3-150 and P3-050 System Controllers. The brand also extended the reach of its RUSH lighting series with the launch of three cost-effective additions: the MH 6 Wash CT, MH 7 Hybrid and MH 8 Mini Profile. Soundcraft by Harman unveiled the latest addition to the Vi range of digital live consoles, the Vi2000. The console combines the Vistonics-based control surface of the Vi3000, Vi5000 and Vi7000 consoles with Soundcraft SpiderCore, a powerful integrated DSP and I/O engine based on Studer by Harman technology. Automated lighting manufacturer High End Systems gave the lighting community its first look at the latest Hog control software. Displayed on European Master Distributor AED’s stand, Hog v3.4 software offers numerous enhancements to the Hog operating system, including many inspired through designer feedback. High End Systems also showed the latest alpha version of Hog OS. HK Audio bolstered its flagship PREMIUM PR:O range of modular speakers with five new active full range cabinets featuring advanced DSP technology. Known as PREMIUM PR:O D, the new cabinets benefit from all-new, DSP-powered preamps and the latest generation of ultra-efficient class-D power amps. The official launch of the EVO55 and EXO66 loudspeakers took place on the IDEA Pro Audio stand, these were presented alongside the LUA3i compact loudspeaker and the BASSO10i wall-mounted subwoofer. J&C Joel’s stand was brought together by the talents of Visual Production students at the Wakefield live events education centre, Backstage Academy. The students provided 3D projection mapping, which helped to showcase the capabilities of a number of new and existing J&C Joel products, including brand new three metre wide Projection Cloths and the Joelmat, a versatile dance and event flooring that boasts edge-to-edge digital printing capabilities. J&C Joel also partnered Robe on one of the exhibition’s most ambitious stands, bringing a taste of Italy to Frankfurt as they transported visitors to a life-sized Italian piazza. J&C Joel provided digital print, flooring and drapery solutions, including the use of the Joelmat to create a cobbled floor aesthetic. K-Array used the show to display its digitally steerable Firenze touring system. The array marries K-array’s Slim Array Technology with rugged, weather-resistant enclosures to bring the best of the company’s audio technology to theatres, arenas and stadiums. Elsewhere, K.M.E. introduced the GALO G 10 passive high power line source element. The company explained that particular attention was paid to the practical handling aspects during development, to ensure ideal transport characteristics as well as quick and safe rigging. Kinesys’ newly designed stand was located in Hall 3.0 and featured live movement demonstrating the flexibility and creative scope of products including Kinesys’ winches, as well as the integration between automation and media servers. A DST trolley system, built by trussing manufacturer Litec and controlled by Kinesys, was highlighted on both the Kinesys and Litec stands. Four key standard Kinesys products were also be highlighted - Libra, Elevation, DigiHoist and Velocity2. KLANG:technologies previewed upcoming products such as motion sensor KLANG:vector, and showcased new firmware for KLANG:fabrik and KLANG:vier, KOS V2.1. Besides an increase of 50% more input channel processing capabilities, the new software supports snapshots and showfile exchange through KLANG:app, and a new workflow for channel configuration making the system more flexible and even faster to work with. KV2 Audio was also present in Frankfurt to explain the benefits of the VHD5.0 Constant Power Point Source Array. Engineers from KV2 Audio put the company’s large format concert system through extensive testing in preparation for its first major public performance. The system will be used for two sell out concerts in Bratislava, Slovakia for one of the country’s leading performers, Lucie Bílá. Le Maitre reported a great response to its products during the show, including the new G300-SMART smoke machine. Building on the foundation of the G300 smoke machine, the G300-SMART has onboard WiFi, allowing the user to set and change the configuration of the machine via their mobile device, such as a phone or tablet. The company also saw a great deal of interest in its Freezefog Pro low smoke machine, its Salamander flame machine and the Neutron and MVS Hazers. L-Acoustics launched the KS28, a new reference subwoofer, at the show, which was exclusively driven by the new LA12X amplified controller. The LA12X launch was accompanied by that of the LA-RAK II, an updated touring rack offering worldwide compatibility in one sole model. PRG once again created its ‘Highlight Show’ in the Festhalle, featuring laser displays made using Laserworld Group-manufactured systems. More than 400W of laser power was implemented, including the world’s-first presentation of a completely new show design lighting fixture - the RTI NEO SIX RGB white light beam arrays with analogue modulation and beam deflection. PRG also held its Alliance Summit at the Festhalle, which included a presentation of the PRG Alliance’s future plans from Alliance Director, Tom Van Hemelryck, and Account Manager, Luciana Rosa. Expansion into new regions, opportunities for training, and the aim to include a wider variety of service companies were discussed. 75
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The Prolyte press call in full swing; Marc Kocks, Francesco Fanicchi and Luca Giorgi from Powersoft; The team from RAM Audio; Robert Juliat’s Séverine Zucchiatti; Renkus-Heinz manning the stand; Some of the interactive hardware available on the Riedel Communications stand; The Clair Brothers booth.
Lawo presented its new core audio IP technology at Prolight+Sound. In combination with the German innovator’s mc²36 audio mixing consoles and mc² Compact I/O stageboxes, the Nova37 Hybrid RAVENNA/MADI Plug&Play Audio Router offers a package for applications in live performance, installed sound and houses of worship. According to the company, its standardised configuration means that it provides easy networking of mc² compact I/Os and mc²36 mixing consoles. MA Lighting dedicated a whole booth to its dot2 lighting control solution, featuring new software release, version 1.2. Multiple hands-on dot2 console stations were available for users to familiarise themselves with the new software. Magic FX introduced a number of new products including the Confettipistol, Qlubshot, and Stadiumblaster confetti streamers, Psyco2Jet, Stageburner flame effect, Bubblebastered, the Smokejet, and Magic FX Cannons. New features include a multifunctional OLED display and an FX warning LED for extra safety. Martin Audio unveiled its much anticipated CDD-LIVE! Series. Comprising three full-range models and two subwoofers, CDD-LIVE! covers practically all professional stand-alone and distributed applications - from sound reinforcement and monitoring for live bands, DJs and corporate events, to installations in dance clubs, ballrooms, theatres and performing arts centres. MDG Fog unleashed its most powerful fog generator ever, the Me8. The biggest of the Me Series, the Me8 is an eight-nozzled monster that pumps out 800 metres cubed of fog per minute to deliver exceptional results on a vast scale. Despite its power, the Me8 is extremely economical on fluid, using only eight litres of MDG fluid an hour at maximum output. Meyer Sound debuted three of the latest additions to its line of sound reinforcement solutions: the MJF-208 compact stage monitor, the MDM-5000 high-power distribution module, and the LYON-WXT extended vertical option. Also in focus was the LEOPARD linear sound reinforcement system’s Native Mode, a timesaving advancement that delivers great sound right out of the box, regardless of the array size. Moose Sound presented new and significant enhancements to its product range together with the latest release, the new SIRIUS D8K, a six-channel digital power amplifier featuring a touch screen DSP. Other solutions on show
at the stand included the new active line array system, LOOP, and the new compact active PA system, QUATRO. Mountain Productions announced the newest addition its MTN BOX product line: The MTN BOX Spektrum Series SM Road Case. The company said that the product offers the same level of durability and strength as its original MTN BOX design, but in a compact, reduced size that is ideal for various truck packs. Nexo premiered two new four-channel amplifiers, the DTDAMP4x0.7 and DTDAMP4x1.3, and a new DTD Controller. The 1U rack-mounting amplifiers in 700W and 1,300W models were a hit with visitors. Unmissable for its slot car scale racetrack, Optocore and BroaMan’s booth featured milestones from the company’s 20-year history right up to the present - including this year’s new blockbuster releases. First up was BroaMan’s upgraded Route66 video router, now offering Auto Routing and an intelligent fibre patch bay. The new functionality is powered by Optocore, and is ideal for installation, live events or broadcast. Optocore Founder Marc Brunke spoke of the latest interface developed specially for Fohhn’s Linea Focus line source speakers, frequently found in transportation hubs and a wide range of public buildings. In a Frankfurt debut, Out Board’s PAT joint-venture associates Data Strategy demonstrated the PAT4 Test Processors, CAB5 Cable Testers and RCD Test modules with its QC-Check PAT automation and logging software. Also seeing its European debut, Out Board’s new digital RCX Smart Remote for LV and DV Motor Controllers was demonstrated in 16, 32 and 64 versions on the booth of AC Entertainment Technologies. Italian loudspeaker and electronics manufacturer Outline introduced the new VEGAS Series of loudspeakers, featuring an application specific, supercompact, wide dispersion under balcony loudspeaker and three compatible, custom coaxial loaded loudspeakers. The VEGAS 24, 8 CX, 12 CX and 15 CX models feature high quality Italian made components and are designed, sourced and manufactured to the same stringent quality standards applied to all Outline high-end touring audio products. Philips Entertainment Lighting unveiled a broad portfolio of brand new creative tools for lighting designers. The Philips Showline SL HYDRUS 350 was launched live at the show, and was joined by some of the latest Philips 76
Showline products, including the SL PUNCHLITE 220, the SL STRIP 10IP, SL BAR 510 and the SL BEAM 300 FX. Also on stand was a brand new addition to the refreshed Philips Selecon PL profile series, the PL profile4 MK II. The Philips Entertainment team also showcased the latest additions to the Philips Vari-Lite product line - the VL4000 Spot and VL4000 BeamWash. On show from Philips Strand Lighting was the complete NEO Lighting Control system, with its new wings and 19inch rack mounted playback unit. Exhibiting in Europe for the first time, Canada-based PixMob demonstrated its range of wearable LED technology for visitors to inspect. Sales Director for Europe and MEA, Ysabel Vangrudenberg, said the show was “a great opportunity to reinforce the company’s presence on the European market”. Powersoft ran two condensed Armonía training sessions at its booth, led by Luigi Chelli and Remo Orsoni. Powersoft’s proprietary Armonía Pro Audio Suite software provides remote control and monitoring of the full range of Powersoft products. It offers On-line or Off-line system setup and tuning, real-time management and monitoring of all vital functions from a remote PC via a single intuitive graphical user interface. Pioneer Pro Audio premiered its XPRS Series of active speakers, comprising the XPRS15 and XPRS12 two-way full range speakers, and the XPRS215S dual 15-inch subwoofer, which all feature Powersoft Class D amplifiers. The series officially went on sale in May 2016. PR Lighting’s efforts at the fair were focussed on its BWS series. These fixtures integrate spot, wash and beam features in a single unit. Regular displays of the new XR 330 BWS, XR 350 BWS and XR 440 BWS were in evidence throughout the show, as we fixtures from the company’s evolving LED Studio range, now including Xpar 150, Pro Stage 150 LED and RGBW. Proel launched its new compact line array system, AX800A, featuring two eight-inch low frequency drivers and a 1.4-inch high frequency compression driver in a lightweight moulded polypropylene enclosure. It is designed for many different sound reinforcement situations - such as medium sized indoor and outdoor events, small festivals, corporate events, and even as delays or outfills on larger shows.
The Robe team in full force; SGM’s Peter Johansen and Litte Dalsgaard; The SES team enjoyed a successful show.
Matthias Schwav and Michael Dill from Steinigke; The Starway team on their stand; Lilli Lundqvist from Lumen Radio; One of the many Ayrton fixtures on display; David Edelstein from Triple E; Wayne Powell and Terry Murphy from Yamaha.
Prolyte premiered its Verto truss system, which is based on a new principle of truss connection, where the sections are joined by a rotating coupler system. “When we started to design the Verto system, our idea was to offer added value over existing solutions. Looking at daily working practice for technicians, the goal was to make assembling truss not only easier, but also safer. Furthermore, playing into the trend of ever shortening production times, reducing the assembly and disassembly time was important – that’s where you can make the difference,” said Johann Stuut, R&D engineer at Prolyte and mastermind behind the new system. RAM Audio used the show to demonstrate its MDi series amplifiers and its power packs for self-power acoustic cabinets. RCF displayed a number of new products including the HDL6-A active two-way line array, the HDL12-AS subwoofer, the large format HDL50-A three-way active line array module, the CR16-ND Control Rack and PR-63 Power Rack. The company demonstrated its flyable bass extension, the HDL 53-AS, and previewed a new firmware upgrade for the M-series for the first time, including several improvements and additional processing effects. New CK range of compression drivers, and E Series professional analogue mixers, also had their debuts at the show. Renkus-Heinz displayed the entire line of its Iconyx series, including new Dante-enabled versions of Iconyx and IC Live, as well as IC2 and the new VARIAi modular point source array system. The new RHAON II (Renkus-Heinz Audio Operations Network) was also on demo, with support for all current Renkus-Heinz loudspeakers, including Iconyx, VARIAi, and CFX Series. Robe’s booth tripled in size from 2015 and served as the backdrop for the new Robin DL7F Wash, BMFL WashBeam, BMFL Wash / Wash FX, Spikie (a new small, super-fast LED WashBeam), Linee (a powerful zoom-able blade of light), Strobe / StrobeLite, ColorStrobe / ColorStrobeLite, picklePATT, PARFect SB1, and the Robin CycBar 12. Fixture choices offered by Robe to suit a breadth of projects and budgets in all sectors needing creative and original lighting solutions. The booth, D80 in Hall 3, accommodated hundreds of guests in a classical theatrical environment.
Robert Juliat’s RJ Zep LED profile and Fresnel fixtures drew considerable attention from theatre, event and display technicians, as did the Merlin 2500W HMI touring spot and the 300W LED Roxie followspot. Perhaps the biggest scene-stealer was the Dalis LED cyclorama light, which brought with it some new developments to the technology that took the show by storm in 2015. In addition to the Dalis 860 Cyclight, Robert Juliat also unveiled a new Dalis footlight batten and a Dalis wash light. On Sennheiser’s joint stand with Neumann.Berlin, a Sound Experience Room allowed visitors to enjoy its flagship headphones - the Sennheiser HE 1 - and the AMBEO 3D Audio immersive sound experience through a reference set-up with Neumann loudspeakers. The stand also provides the opportunity to try out the Venue Modeling software, which takes 3D audio into the DJ world, and catch a glimpse of Sennheiser’s upcoming virtual reality microphone. SES, power specialists and a leading manufacturer of power distribution products for the entertainment industry, was another company to have a successful show, converting several enquiries into orders. As a result of meetings from Prolight+Sound, it is also looking to appoint two new distributors. SGM’s stand was billed as “probably the first stand in history to blast out more than 20 million lumens”, and featured a number of new products. With the recent launch of the i-2 series and the G-Wash, and now the G-1 Wash and the i-5 series, SGM’s range of maintenance-free LED fixtures has been completed. ShowTex displayed a wide selection of stage and theatre drapes, as well as extra-large printed, laser-cut and decorative fabrics that all came together in a brand new stand design. This included a multi-layered chandelier featuring black LaserVoile, printed Voile CS and green Organza sheers, and a GiantMirror that created holographic effects and made objects appear or disappear. Visitors could also catch a look behind the scenes of ShowTex’s new AV Drop system, allowing the creation of sleek backdrops and temporary walls up to six metres in hight with no rigging 78
The Amptown Cases stand; The Doughty booth; Cast’s Gil Densham and Joseph Zampino; The Laserworld team; Looks Solutions’ Kirsten Eicher; The ShowTex stand; The Cargo Cart crew; Z-Audio’s Curdin Bisaz and Remo Zollinger with MC2’s Jason Kelly.
points or woodwork. Head of Corporate Communications for Steinigke, Michael Dill, said: “Like most of the exhibitors, we were curious about the new concept and about how the visitors would accept it. In the end, the show was good, but we have to admit, that we have seen times with more attendants before in Frankfurt. Access and signs to guide the way to our hall 5.0 should be improved for next year. “Despite that, we are really pleased, that everybody liked our new booth with the elliptic outline and that there has been an extraordinary interest, especially in our new Eurolite X series and the LED theatre spots.” Syncrolite used the show to highlight its new SyncroMITE Beam fixture. The SyncroMITE is now in full production and made its live show debut at WrestleMaina 33 and at the Grand Finale episode of American Idol. Frankfurt also saw the introduction of Syncrolite’s first new Strong product, the Blue Box Ballast (B3). Designed to be compatible with all past followspots, the B3 is a road-ready upgrade for thousands for Strong followspots around the world. Tasker used the show to present its new Komby Cables; Analog and Digital Audio and Video cables; HDMI 2.0 High Speed with Ethernet Cable and Connector; Miniature Cables in spools of 50 metres and 100 metres; and Multi-Fiber Cables and Patchords. Triple E launched its ‘universal building system’, ModTruss, Europewide at the show, following its original launch in the UK in June 2015. Best described as ‘full size Meccano’, the ModTruss system features a lightweight aluminium construction and a repeating hole pattern, meaning applications are practically unlimited. TW Audio introduced a new stand layout to compliment some brand new products. The company displayed a prototype of VERA20, a two-way system that closes the gap between VERA10 and VERA36 systems, and accessories such as the universal frame UF10 for the VERA10 family. The European reveal of VUE Audiotechnik’s al-12 line array system extended the VUE al-Class to address large-scale applications while
showcasing VUE’s CST technology across the series. Also being introduced was the most powerful h-Class subwoofer to date, the self-powered hs-221 with patented ACM technology. As well as hosting its famous party, Wireless Solution launched G5 in Frankfurt - the evolution of Wireless DMX with support of RDM, as well Ethernet. The company premiered the new Micro Series G5 and the new WhiteBox Series G5. Entertainment motion control systems expert XLNT Advanced Technologies exhibited its CyberHoist II system, which enables show designers to create precise, complex 2D and 3D movements at variable speed (to over 30 metres/min), with multiple actuators in single, group or subgroup formations. XTA and MC2 Audio took part in the Live Sound Arena demos in conjunction with Funktion-One, which demonstrated its latest Evo 7 speaker system, driven exclusively by APA. AmpControl, APA’s remote software application, has matured past its alpha release, and was running on PC and Macs. The 5 Series was also on the stand, including the DP544. MC2 Audio shared the stand with XTA, celebrating the shipping of its 50,000th amplifier and demonstrating its Ti series and iCore running live (and connected to the Dante network for the new APA amplifiers from XTA). Yamaha used the show to launch the PX series, a brand new range of power amplifiers that uses the company’s latest DSP technology in an advanced and cost-effective package, making it ideal for both live and installed audio. Also being launched was the RPio222 I/O rack, a compact variation of the current RPio622 I/O rack for the flagship RIVAGE PM10 digital mixing system, which was already on tour in the US. In addition, the latest software upgrades for the CL, QL and TF ranges of mixing consoles were on demonstration, the latter shown with the new Tio1608-D rackmount i/o units and NY64-D Dante i/o expansion card. TPi http://pls.messefrankfurt.com 79
ULTRA MUSIC FESTIVAL 2016 Highlights from one of the largest dance festivals in North America.
Miami once again played host to its annual EDM spectacular, Ultra Music Festival. With over 150,000 die-hard dance music fans descending Miami’s Bayfront Park and eight stages, the challenge was on for the production team to keep up with some of the biggest electronic acts in the world which this year included Avicii, Afrojack and David Guetta.
scattered across these pods, each of which was filled with LED panels in the centre, a combination of eight mm and 37mm pitch products. The six most central pods were flown on an automation system that moved them into different positions throughout the night, tilting, pitching and completely changing the spatiality of the venue. The structure, video, lighting and rigging were supplied by AG Production Services from Las Vegas, headed by Andrew Gumper, with the Robes supplied by locally-based Zenith Lighting. Zenith also supplied Elation Profesional Color Chorus 72 LED battens, which were used as wash lights and to outline the video pods. Joining Lieberman at FOH on operating duties was Michael Seeverens from The Art of Light, who looked after ASOT. Robe’s BMFLs and Pointes once again proved they are ideal fixtures to extend the energy of EDM lighting. Lieberman commented: “Optically, the Robe fixtures exceeded my expectations - when it came time to put the fixtures directly into the face of the audience, I was able to balance the looks with a very refined edge focus so it was visually pleasant to everyone. With regards to the Elation Professional Color Chorous, they are an aggressive in-your-face detail of the truss design that worked well. There’re durable and high intensity and fitted our needs when detailing and highlighting a truss design, not just colouring it.” Facing out onto Biscayne Boulevard was Ultra’s Worldwide Stage. Given the shoulder-to-shoulder density of the crowd, not every fan was lucky enough to get a direct centre stage sightline. Still everyone in the crowd got a clear and direct view of the action on stage (and on the lighting rig), thanks to an innovative design by Lieberman, which drew on sharp, clearly
LIGHTING For the Carl Cox & Friends Arena, the Main Stage and the Worldwide Stage, production design duties fell to Steve Lieberman of SJ Lighting. Contracted directly by Ultra, Lieberman also took on the role of lighting designer for the Main Stage, where he collaborated closely with Creative Director Richard Milstein and Production Manager Ray Steinman to develop a unique Ultra concept that also took into account the requirement and specs of the headliners. At the Main Stage, lighting at FOH was looked after by Patrick Dierson and Josh Spodick, working for SJ Lighting. Guest LDs included Andre Beekmans from Art of Light (Hardwell) and Andy Hurst (Pendulum) who closed the show on Sunday. Over in the Carl Cox & Friends Arena, Lieberman’s design featured 24 Robe BMFL Spots and 96 Robe Pointes. These fixtures were used extensively over the three days and chosen for their multi-functionality. A series of trussing lighting pods were positioned in the roof so they curved around the structure, accentuating the architecture. The moving lights were 80
ULTRA MUSIC FESTIVAL
Opposite and Below: Chauvet Professional, Elation Professional and Robe lighting fixtures combined to turn Ultra into a visual feast.
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defined ‘fingers of light’. “The large crowd at the World Wide Stage has to be accommodated with a viewing area that is kind of uniquely configured,” stated Lieberman. “Biscayne Boulevard is closed off for the festival and we have people going up a 17ft hill all the way to the street to see the stage. So we have to bend the rig to give everyone a good perspective.” Rather than position the stage in back of his arch, as would typically be the case in festival design, Lieberman puts it against the side of the arch. “Essentially, we curve the design, so even if you’re outside the chute, you still get a good view of what’s going on,” he said. “However to do this, we need to use lighting in a way that directs attention to the centre of the stage from any viewing angle. We also needed lighting that blocks out the area outside the stage. The 36 Chauvet Professional Next NXT-1 panels we had were excelled at doing this for us.” Lieberman positioned the Next NXT-1 panels on eight truss beams fanning out from the centre of the stage. Using a Madrix LED lighting controller, he created a seemingly endless array of stunning effects that captured attention from any viewing angle. “I called the shafts of light coming down from the NXT panels ‘the fingers of God’. You had to look at them,” he said. “Of course, these beams didn’t literally block out the area outside the stage, but they most definitely pulled your attention away from it and drew it into the performance area so you felt like to you had a great sightline wherever you happened to be at any given moment.” Also present on the Worldwide Stage were an abundance of Elation Professional Opti Tri 30’s RGB PAR lights (343 in total). Speaking about the fixture, Lieberman commented: “It has a small profile and great output for its size. Instead of mounting it on the side of the truss it fits perfectly into 12ft truss and makes for a clean detail aesthetically. And because it fits inside the truss if the focus is slightly off they still look good and you also get a nice reflection off of the truss aluminum.” The stage also had 55 Elation Professional ELED TW Strips and 33 Platinum Spot 35 Pro moving heads. “We needed something powerful to keep up with the rest of the rig and the Platinum Spot 35 fit our needs,” Lieberman explained. “I like the stock patterns in them that are able to create real classic designs.” Lieberman credits the entire Ultra team with making the Worldwide Stage a success. “This is a team effort beginning with Russell and Charlie Fabisch and Adam Russakoff, our creative director Richard Milstein and production manager Ray Steinman.” The stage design for the Live Stage was built around the permanent Bayfront Amphitheatre and extended with side PA and video wings that also created additional lighting positions. The design included 70 Robe Pointes from locally-based rental company Paradigm Lighting. Running FOH here were Mike Smirka and Miguel Cortero, overseen by Jorge Valdez. For Nero’s performance on the Live Stage, Zenith Lighting provided ACL 360 Bars for backlight and eye candy. Mounted on truss towers, the ACL 360 Bars output and continuous 360 degree movement were key features for Zenith, who has been doing lighting and video for Ultra the past five years. Zenith also provided a lighting floor package for Knife Party/Pendulum on the Main Stage with lighting design by Andy Hurst, as well as video for Knife Party. Zenith General Manager Adam Vidaurri commented: “Every year seems to be getting bigger and better when it comes to Ultra and we were thrown a lot of obstacles but we conquered all of them! All of our crew worked long hours to get this show going and I can’t thank them enough.” For the UMF Radio Stage, Beachsound & Lighting provided Elation Professional Colour Chorus 48 LED battens, Platinum 5R Beam moving heads, Cuepix Panel LED matrices and ACL 360 Matrix moving head matrices while Elation Level Q7 IP RGBW PAR lights were used to uplight palm trees in front of the stage. Beachsound president and founder Andre Serafini commented: “Elation has always preformed magnificently for us, both in build and in service. We are happy to be part of the growing family.”
Color version C/100 M/50 Y/50 K/50 C/98 M/88 Y/22 K/18 C/0 M/0 Y/0 K/0
Grayscale version C/50 M/50 Y/50 K/100 C/0 M/0 Y/0 K/0
ELATION PROFESSIONAL EUROPE www.elationlighting.eu firstname.lastname@example.org +31 45 546 85 66
Black version C/50 M/50 Y/50 K/100
ULTRA MUSIC FESTIVAL
The TPi Award-winning Arcadia spider scuttled its way across the pond to appear at Ultra.
VIDEO Also in attendance at the festival were Video Illusions’ Nick Whiteoak, Dave Whiteoak and Ross Jordan. The company provided its services for Arcadia Spectacular as well as working on Knife Party’s set and Pendulum Returns, who headlined and closed the festival on the Main Stage. This was the first time the spider has been out to the US after a successful After Burner festival appearance last year. Both Nick Whiteoak and Jordan comment how the Arcadia Spectacular has been honed making it easier to transport as the giant spider is in demand for more events around the world. The LED section to Arcadia may have been squeezed into two flight cases but there’s a lot going on up there with 61,440 pixels, 17 Receiver cards, 250 metres of power and data cable, 22 custom made ally frames, 30
custom made steel brackets and bar clamps, two 100 metres data drums to FOH and an LED Processing rack later and the talking / thinking fire breathing spider takes shape. Video Illusions’ Dave Whiteoak worked on the Knife Party and the Pendulum Returns show on the Main Stage at Ultra. Brought in to work alongside Whiteoak was Mattie Evans from Nocturnal Touring and Andy Hurst. Video Illusions was brought in to run the visuals and server tech for the show with Jonathan Bernbaum from V Square Labs. The Media Server software was Avolites Ai Infinity R8, run on laptops. Said Whiteoak: “The custom Pendulum video content that was created by our good friends Immersive and was dug out of the closet from 2011, dusted off and made ready for Ultra.” Video Illusions expressed the excitement of being part of such a huge return for Pendulum and to close one of the largest EDM festivals in the world with a drum ‘n’ bass set that will go down in history. 82
Photo: Adam Kaplan
Vero is a large format sound system, which has been engineered for new levels of audio and operational performance. It has been designed, developed and perfected over the last six years by some of the most knowledgeable and experienced audio engineers in the world.
Photo: Johannes KrĂ¤mer
Its meticulously crafted proprietary waveguides and driver technology produce naturally even frequency response and coverage.
The result is uncompromised system dynamics, headroom and coherency combining to present an incredibly spacious stereo image, which is why Vero is already gaining the plaudits of sound engineers from around the world.
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ULTRA MUSIC FESTIVAL
Carl Cox was extremely happy with the Funktion-One system’s performance.
AUDIO Carl Cox’s relationship with Funktion-One has grown around an appreciation of great sound. The loudspeaker manufacturer’s pivotal involvement in Space Ibiza has laid the ground for a strong bond to form over the years. Cox understands the power of good audio. With US distributor, Sound Investment, Funktion-One has been providing the sound for the Carl Cox Arena at Ultra Miami for a number of years. Each year, in typical Tony Andrews’ style, Funktion-One looked at ways of building on the previous year. This year the Carl Cox and Friends Arena bore witness to some exclusive, new technology – namely the Funktion-One F132 bass enclosure, featuring Powersoft’s impressive M-Force transducer. With Ultra Miami falling just before Prolight + Sound Frankfurt, it provided the perfect testing ground for the F132. After all, you will be hard pushed to find a better arena to put a bass speaker through its paces than three days at the world’s premier electronic music festival. By the end, Cox and the organisers were over the moon, and Andrews had the information he needed to make some final adjustments before the F132’s launch a couple of weeks later in Frankfurt. While Powersoft’s M-Force motor provided the technological inspiration for the 32-inch bass enclosure, it is the appetite for bigger, better and deeper bass that created the demand for the F132 in the first place. Andrews was attracted to the M-Force motor’s capabilities from the start. “The sheer horsepower got my attention,” he recalled. This intrigue led him to think about ways of applying Funktion-One’s unique bass horn technology to the heavyweight power output of the transducer. Andrews continued: “The motor allowed us to make a big enough cone so that we could scale up our horn-loaded bass technique. The near half a tonne of push it gives us means we could scale up to a 32-inch driver and still keep it dynamic. Scaling the size up meant we could load down to 24Hz. DJs don’t always have material that does those frequencies, but when they do, the result is unequivocal - everybody experiences it. It makes the bass really big and really fat. It’s the first time that we’ve been able to have those frequencies from a fully horn-loaded source. Typically, it’s a ported box that has its own character. Nobody’s done a fully horn-loaded one before. There’s no rear wave coming out of holes, it’s a speaker and horn. Therefore, it’s much more joined up and gives a dynamic that’s completely unique.” The ultimate aim was to produce a large bass enclosure and to experience low-end frequencies from a horn-loaded unit. Typically, low frequencies at this scale have only been achievable (by other manufacturers) using a ported box. “A lot of low frequency stuff is not very musical; it’s just a rumble. I wanted it to be dynamic and musical.” Powersoft’s Research and Development Director, Claudio Lastrucci, was ever-present during the F132’s two-year development. “Claudio was very interested in what we were doing from the start,” explained Andrews. “He came over to hear some of the prototypes and definitely got the message. I recall him saying that he’d never heard anything like it. When we got to the
final stage, he came over again to help set-up the M-Force.” The final stage of development for the F132 was being tested in a live event environment. Tony Andrews said: “When I returned from Ultra Miami, having run the F132’s in some pretty testing conditions, I understood what we needed to do to make it as effective as possible,” explained Andrews. “So we carried out a final re-tune, which has given us a boost in terms of upper frequency response. Combining F132’s and F221’s gives us the best of both worlds – punchy and dynamic mid and upper bass frequencies, with very deep, well-rounded lower and sub-bass frequencies.” Another Powersoft specialist closely involved in the process, and who was able to assess the beta testing in person at Ultra Music, was M-Force Project Manager and Sales Manager, Massimo Minardi. He completely agreed: “With the F132 working continuously to the limit - 12 hours a day over three days - it responded brilliantly to the pressure of both artists and a demanding audience; this was far removed from the simulations and tests under controlled parameters in the laboratory.” The impressions of Todd Konecny, PA manager and co-owner of Sound Investment, and experienced sound engineer, Ron Lorman, could not have been more overwhelming, he confirmed. Fully conversant with the sound system fielded at the same event last year, they described their astonishment at the first switch-on of the eight-sub stack, and noted: “The incredible pressure level without any compression or distortion, even at the lowest end, and the completely different visceral feeling with the sound.” Crucially, Carl Cox was very happy too. Andrews concluded: “Carl is a big supporter of what we do and he was so made up this time. There aren’t many artists that come for sound check but he did and he brought the whole of the Ultra organisation with him – they were blown away with the sound.” Cox furthered: “As I walked into the Mega Structure, I had the new Funktion-One speakers put before me. The smile on my face was from knowing that this was the very best sonic sound experience I had ever heard in that area. It was so warm, pleasing and powerful that it shook all my senses to the core of my soul and this is because Tony has managed to get the true sound of analogue in the digital age. This is what has been missing in a lot of sound systems over the years. I wish more people would take a leaf out of his book, but there can only be one Tony…” With tickets registration already open for next year’s event, the creative team for Ultra 2017 will surely be putting together ideas to make sure the festival keeps its reputation of one of the most renowned EDM events on the planet. TPi Photos by Adam Kaplan, ASK Media Productions and Sarah Ginn www.ultramusicfestival.com www.sjlighting.net http://dev.ag.tc/blog/ www.zenithlighting.com www.paradigmlighting.com www.beachsound.com www.soundinvestmentav.com www.videoillusions.net 84
Experience Alcon @ InfoComm s demo room N104
This is what perfect sound looks like
The LR18 pro-ribbon line-array combines a superb directivity control and throw with a fully intuitive linear response with industry’s lowest distortion. The LR18 enables a 1:1 reproduction of the original sound source, due to Alcons’ multiple-patented pro-ribbon transducer technology. But don’t take our word for it: The LR18 was recently tested in Germany. Read it on our website.
POWERSOFT M-SYSTEM THE MOST POWERFUL AND EFFICIENT TECHNOLOGY FOR LOW-END APPLICATIONS IN THE WORLD Based on M-Force® moving magnet linear motor transducer and M-Drive® switching mode amplifier module with Differential Pressure Control - DPC® -Technology
STEVE LAGUDI FOH Engineer, Machine Head
wireless mics and on the back, is a custom three-way transformer isolated analogue splitter snake with sub snake inputs. Next to that is a 16 space rack that has all of the in-ear transmitters. On top of that rack is where our Behringer X32 console sits. With just two power cables, one mass connector and a few XLR connections, monitors is set up and ready to go in less than five minutes. While I’m doing that, I put the local crew to work by having them run out fiber optic cables that will connect the Neutron on stage to the PRO X surface out at FOH. Heading out to FOH, once again, it’s a very small set up, just my Midas PRO X control surface and a 16-space rack. Once I am powered up, which takes just a few minutes, I transfer the previously recorded show to my back up hard drive which takes about 45-50 minutes. If everything is going smoothly with the rest of the production set up, I can get about 10-15 minutes to start listening to the PA, getting it all tuned and ready for line check, adding drum, guitar and vocal mics. At this point in the day, I usually get a little time to break away and grab some lunch before the band make their way on stage. With these An Evening with Machine Head shows, we play for between two and a half to three hours a night. We change the set list every day and the band use sound check to rehearse the new songs that are being added to the set. I tend not to go too crazy with my sound checks; if we plan on adding some songs I’ll create a new snapshot for my automation, which is where I just set up the layout of the desk and tweak effects for that song. Upon completion of the show, I cue up the outro and walk out music. I use the local crew for removing all the mic stands and downstage cables, as well as unplugging all the drum looms and wrapping up the five sub lines. At this point I have broken down everything at FOH with the exception of putting the lid on the console. I head up to the stage and pack down all my mics, save the scene on the X32, both on the desk and the back up USB stick. Placing all the lids on the racks, the entire monitor set up is packed down, staged in order and ready for load out in less than 10 minutes. The local crew is winding up the fiber optic lines and by the time they are done with that, they assist me with putting the lid on the PRO X at FOH. And just like that, another show is in the books. Time to grab a shower, have an after-show meal and go to bed… only to do it all over again the next day.
“An Evening With Machine Head” My typical day begins around 9am, climbing out from the bunk on the tour bus. I sit with a cup of tea for a while, because I am so NOT a coffee person! I read through my emails, messages and try to catch up on all the social media outlets to somehow feel connected to, dare I say, the ‘normal world’ outside of touring. For Machine Head, I am the only audio person on the crew, which means not only do I have to set up everything myself, but it’s the same with breaking it all down too. Many people might think that this is a hassle, but it’s an audio system I designed, so for me it’s fairly easy and painless. I start with monitors, which take up a very small footprint. Since I don’t have a monitor engineer, I can tuck my stuff nicely out of the way, giving more space on stage. First thing positioned is my FOH I/O Rack, which contains the Midas Neutron Engine for the Midas PRO X console, three Midas DL151 Input boxes, a Midas DL152 Output box, four Audio-Technica
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4/21/16 10:13 AM
Opposite: The Capital team (back row) Paul Timmins, Barney Cushman, Pete Gale, Martin Connolly, Robin Conway, (front row) Keith Davis, Jayne Timmins, Michele Conroy, Chris Mills, Leila Farhangi-Farrell, Lisa Santos Hannan and Josh Bruty .
IN PROFILE: CAPITAL SOUND Earlier this year, audio equipment supplier Capital Sound announced it had become a four brand PA rental house, giving its customers a wider choice of pro audio technology for live event hire. TPi’s Stew Hume visited the London HQ to talk about what put Capital Sound on the map and how its multi-service business is truly moving forward in 2016...
As we all know, two live events are never the same. From production preferences to the layout of the venue, the sector requires a level of flexibility and expertise. Yet according to the team at Capital Sound, one of the biggest things to remember is that “one size doesn’t fit all.” With this in mind, the company recently made an investment in not one but two more loudspeaker brands. With d&b audiotechnik and Outline now sitting alongside Capital’s previous rental stock of Meyer Sound and Martin Audio systems, the four-brand company now aims to provide an extra dimension to its concert touring packages and build on a solid reputation for its work within the festival and outdoor events market. During a tour of Capital’s London warehouse, General Manager, Paul Timmins, explained to TPi the justification for this latest investment. “With all the things that are going on in the marketplace at the moment - from mergers to acquisitions - we knew that we wanted to remain independent and keep our identity. We discussed the best way to do that and, in our opinion, having a greater deal of choice to offer productions is a good way to do this. Historically, we have had a strong presence in the concert touring market and we always want to make sure we have a complete range of upto-date products to cater for the latest demands.” The decision to invest in an Outline GTO system and a d&b audiotechnik J-Series specifically, was explained by Assistant General Manager and Head of Marketing, Lisa Santos Hannan. She said: “A lot of the investments we made came off the back of client preferences. For example, one reason for going with the d&b system came from a request from Jess Glynne’s production manager.” However, as well as demand for products, Timmins explained that the staff also must believe in the inventory for it to move forward. He continued: “It could be quite dangerous if you are buying for the wrong reasons. Ultimately what will happen is that you will have a part of the team that doesn’t want to work with a certain brand. You have to make sure everyone is happy and understands that each brand has something to offer our clients.” The decision to invest in an Outline GTO system came
after a demo day at London’s O2 Arena. “Our Managing Director Keith Davis, Senior Project Manager Martin Connolly, Project Manager Robin Conway and I all sat in the back row of the upper bowl to listen. The clarity and sonic performance of the system blew us away. The d&b system is both versatile and incredibly rider-friendly, which ensures we continue to keep pace with the requirements of larger-scale tours. The new B22 subs are one of three d&b sub options we purchased and, as d&b has released its ArrayProcessing function with the D80 [a technique that can only be done with this new amplification], it means we can now design systems with that processing in mind.” Another noteworthy investment that Capital Sound has made is with 24 of Powersoft’s new X8 amplifiers to power its new Outline GTO line array system. Capital Sound’s Project Manager, Robin Conway commented: “We have friends in the industry who have long promoted Powersoft and when we set up a demo at O2, and CUK Audio showed us the X Series, it became a no-brainer. These new amplifiers are just so powerful, compact and clever, with a ridiculous amount of features.” WINDING BACK THE CLOCKS The company has come a long way since its creation in 1989, both in terms of hire stock and the number of staff it employs. However, according to Davis, the company has always stuck to its ethics. “Things will always change so you have to adapt with the times, but I always consider Capital Sound to be a family busines - despite the fact that none of my relatives work here! We are an incredibly tight unit. There are no shareholders other than myself, which means any profit can be put back into the company.” Finding his route into the music industry in the Yorkshire nightclub scene of the late ‘60s, the young Davis made the jump into audio rental when one of the venues he worked at closed. He stated: “I started approaching various businesses in the Yorkshire area about the idea of investing in an audio hire company. At this time, bands were just beginning to tour with their own sound systems so the timing was perfect. Eventually 89
Capital Sound specialises in both touring and festival audio solutions, such as the a-ha tour and Sziget Festival pictured above.
I got a backer and started a company called PASE - Public Address Sound Equipment.” After the successful expansion of that company, Davis moved to London and started the new venture, Artist Concert Services, with the then manager of Shakin’ Stevens, Freya Miller. Finally in 1985, alongside John Tinline, Davis set up Capital Entertainment which, after the twobusiness partners parted ways, Davis rebranded as Capital Sound and became the company we know today. One of the long-standing employees is audio veteran Martin Connolly. Working with bands such as Status Quo and AC/DC, Connolly was a valuable member to bring on board. “Until I was bought on, Keith had been running the whole operation on his own but because the business had grown so much he really needed someone permanently in the office,” said Connolly who became fully office-based in 1994. It was Connolly, who eventually brought in Paul Timmins. Connolly continued: “Around the time we started working with Paul we were bringing in younger staff with a good sense of equipment knowledge who had come from the manufacturing side of the industry. Once we bought the Martin Audio F2 system we had not one but three systems to deal with. After bringing in new acts we knew we needed to bring in some more enthusiastic techs to get stuck in.” Officially taking his place at the Capital Sound table at the turn of the millennium, Timmins talked through some of the highlights of that decade, which he sited as a new era for the company. As well as the continued investment in Martin Audio, the decade also ushered in another big change for the company as it added Meyer Sound to its audio arsenal. He explained: “This was the first time we brought in a second option. During the early 2000’s the industry, especially production managers, were really excited by line arrays because they were lighter and tidier. The reason we settled on Meyer was not only because we thought it was a very good option but having an American brand meant it opened up a new potential client base.” Connolly continued: “Meyer was incredibly supportive of moving American clients to companies elsewhere who had invested in their products. At the time, the market was not flooded and there were very few companies who stocked Meyer.” The addition of Martin Audio’s MLA loudspeaker array meant that Capital Sound was in high demand during festival season. Connolly explained: “We got involved in the festival market at the right point. With Martin Audio’s MLA and the reputation it has of reducing noise disturbance in the surrounding areas, it meant that we were able to provide a good solution for festivals and outdoor events.” Connolly explained the reputation the company developed during this time continually led to more work: “That is how we secured the BBC Proms because the Royal Parks said to the BBC that they needed to bring us on board after we did such a good job with British Summer Time (BST) in Hyde Park.” This year as well as supplying audio packages for BST, Capital will also work on Secret Garden Party and Wild Life Festival. The company also saw success in the touring market, supplying audio solutions for artists such as The Killers, Josh Groban and Stereophonics. It should also be noted that during this time Capital Sound opened up another branch of the company, Capital Productions. Having served his time as a production manager for several years, Timmins took the
reins of that particular venture. One of the biggest clients this branch of the company had was CSE (Combined Services Entertainment), which saw Capital Productions providing services for acts who would entertain the troops in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Despite some success, it was decided that Capital Sound should re-focus its efforts as a dedicated sound company. As Hannan put it: “Although the production side of the company certainly gave us to a platform and brought in new clients, we decided we wanted to concentrate on what we know, which is sound.” AND NOW… In 2016 Capital Sound offers an incredibly diverse range of audio equipment. As well as supplying a whole range of digital and analogue consoles (including DiGiCo, Midas, Avid and Yamaha), wireless solutions, microphones, and now with the four different PA options, Timmins stated that the company is in a really good position. “At the moment there is a real ‘feel-good’ factor in the warehouse as we have so much to offer. All the freelancers that work for us are more than happy to be put on any project that comes in.” Project Manager and Technical Head Robin Conway discussed his experience of the product expansion: “There are no missing pieces now. The investment from Keith has allowed us to align a lot of our infrastructure. Before there were a lot of differing standards but now we have been able to bring them altogether so that the key components in any system are the same across the board. Our mains distribution packages, drive rack packages and return packages are all standardised, making it easier to manage stock. We do however want to offer people a customised control package. We don’t offer off-the-shelf solutions for this element because it is not what people are after. We rely heavily on freelancers to build these systems and build them well. Our modular inventory allows us to be custom but not customised. This industry thrives off that.” Along with continuing its development in the rental sector, Capital Sound has also developed its sales department of older rental products. This part of the company was added in 2015 and in the past 18 months has ramped up the department to see success in moving older equipment into other territories such as Eastern Europe and South America. STUDIO Another side of the company’s expansion has been the development of its rehearsal studio, SW19. Located next door the main Capital Sound building, the studio has two rehearsal spaces complete with production offices and kitchen facilities. Acts that have made use of the studio in recent times include Tom Jones, The Script, Ed Sheeran and Leona Lewis. Davis explained the decision to increase the services that Capital Sound provided: “The studio came about because we were in need of more space. At the time we were subletting spaces from other people, which wasn’t ideal. For years I had the idea that if we had enough room we could open a studio. All of a sudden the building next to us became available, I mean how often does that happen?” The studio opened in 2013 after it had been refurbished, and now as well as the two rehearsal spaces, several bands use the building as a secure storage location for backline equipment. The 90
One of the two studios in SW19, being used here by Bryan Ferry.
facility is overseen by Leila Farhangi-Farrell, Studio Manger. Despite SW19 being very much part of the Capital Sound family it has retained its own branding and identity. “The reason we didn’t call it Capital Studios came down to a few reasons,” explained Davis. “There were a couple of facilities out there with the same name, but we also didn’t want to link too much with Capital Sound so that people wouldn’t think we were looking to steal clients for tours! They are separate entities in that sense.” As well as being hired out for tour rehearsals the studio has also been used as a demo space and for training days. Timmins commented: “It’s something that is vital. You have to give something back which in this case is a bit of training on the latest products. It’s great to have a facility that we can use during quieter periods.” Conway added: “As with everything these days, our industry is very
much IT-driven. Our crews can’t just rock up and mix a show, they need to have an extensive knowledge of various products and updates in order to keep themselves employable and keep our systems up to date.” FINAL THOUGHTS With the latest investments it seems that 2016 really does mark the next chapter for this London-based audio rental company. “I think we will just get stronger,” concluded Davis. “We have no plans to be a global company, instead we hope to consolidate where we are and continue to bring in new jobs because the new investment in equipment means that we can continue to work with new tours and events.” TPi www.capital-sound.co.uk
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Opposite: Lighting Designer, Dale Doucet, used ArKaos MediaMaster to control the video wall as female rock band Heart performed across North America with special guests Joan Jett and the Blackhearts; Solotech Technical Adviser, Jean-Philippe Tremblay; The Arkaos MediaMaster dispaly surface.
SOLOTECH TALKS ARKAOS An interview with Solotech Technical Advisor, Jean-Philippe Tremblay, on the importance of LED and video control investment.
Canadian-based Solotech specialises in the provision of sound, lighting, video and rigging solutions for a wide-ranging portfolio of projects across the touring, concert, sporting and corporate event markets. The company revolves around a core of highly talented people supported by an impressive array of cutting edge sound, lighting, video and multimedia equipment in a powerful combination that has gained Solotech its international reputation for excellence. In addition to its constant presence on Quebec’s very active music scene, recent projects include the televisation of The Voice, Canada and the Canadian Music Awards, huge EDM music festivals such as Electric Daisy Carnival in New York and Ultra Music Festival Miami, and Joan Jett’s appearance with female rock band, Heart, among many others. Common to all of these projects is the need for quality video and LED control. “It’s important that we choose a product that gives us flexibility and allows us to create new and exciting material for the audience,” Jean-Philippe Tremblay, Technical Advisor at Solotech, told TPi. Tremblay spoke with experience, having worked as a touring video technician, engineer and integrator in a career that spans over 15 years. His impressive touring credits include André Rieu’s Cavalleria, Cirque du Soleil’s Delirium and Wintuck, Justin Timberlake’s FutureSex/LoveShow, Alicia Keys As I Am tour, and Michael Bublé’s To Be Loved production, as well as a-ha’s North American farewell tour, Ending on a High, and Nine Inch Nails’ Lights in the Sky. His ability to adapt to any given touring genre with ease is a credit to his skills, and he has most recently worked on the video integration of Toruk, Cirque du Soleil’s latest show, inspired by James Cameron’s blockbuster hit, Avatar. As well as being a powerhouse for rental services, Solotech is also one of Canada’s most respected distributors, and has gained its reputation,
in part, by focussing its representation on a few top quality lines, thereby preserving a greater concentration of knowledge on each product. Regarding his business decisions, Tremblay commented: “We look for products that are simple to understand, easy to use and extremely reliable under touring conditions, with the versatility to adapt to any of our projects across the board. These are all qualities that are vital to a busy rental house.” Tremblay emphasised the high importance of a product’s flexibility was often a main driving force behind Solotech’s decision process when choosing ArKaos for its video and LED control. He explained: “When ArKaos introduced the optional licence dongle for MediaMaster in 2014, it was a game-changer. The dongle allows you to switch licences between computers, which makes the software extremely portable and gave us a huge amount of flexibility as to where and when we could use our licences. We decided to invest massively in a large stock of licences and switched everything to USB. “We have over 40 of the USB licences in rental - with almost 80 of our technicians using them on a regular basis - and the number increases year on year due to the extremely high demand for them. They are always out on the road and are so robust that they never break! They make it easy for us to maintain our servers - even remotely - and keep them in the best working condition in the fastest possible time. With the extreme demands of the touring market, it was an easy business decision to make. “Working as closely as we do with our customers, we are in a privileged position to gain constant feedback from lighting and video designers,” continued Tremblay. “One of the most essential qualities of a control product is a high degree of inter-connectivity with industry standard lighting protocols like Art-Net and MA Net. We love software that is 95
‘80s legends Heart toured North America using Arkaos for LED control.
compatible with major lighting consoles and allows lighting and video designers to work with it quickly and easily using an interface they are familiar with. Tremblay commented that there is an increased demand for video as well. “Video is becoming such a strong element of many shows now that lighting and video designers are investing more of their time into alternative ways to enhance their visual presentations. The trend for controlling video across LED fixtures is gaining momentum. We’ve already seen demand for video on LED fixtures from our customers increasing. We can answer this with MediaMaster which already has a video mapper and LED mapper on board. “When we need to work quickly to install and operate a projection setup, we use the video mapper because it is easy to use and efficient especially considering time constraints,” Tremblay continued. “We use LED mapper to handle the mapping of irregular shaped LED surfaces and these have completely changed the way we work. What used to be very tedious and time consuming jobs, especially for someone without specialised training, turned into a much easier task saving a lot time, and I think everyone can appreciate that. Now that designers know how easy it is to map irregular shaped surfaces, they want to do it more. “If a product has an intuitive interface, there will be a gentle learning curve so more people are able to learn it in a very short length of time,” Tremblay explained. “It gives designers a very smooth introduction into how to control video. That’s why we select software that is easy to understand and quicker to teach people to use - simplicity is the key for us. “We want to make it easy for designers to express what they want to do in an artistic way without getting bogged down by technicalities. The last thing they want to deal with is software that, say, doesn’t play a specific video format. In many cases they have no time to convert video clips or images to specific codec, so any product that removes technical complexity and increases their chances of success is highly rated for us at Solotech. If the end user requires less technical support, the whole process becomes easier and more satisfying for them. Not only does it save us time,
but a lot of headaches and frustration too! “That’s why the benefits of using a product like this speak for themselves. I’m happy to work with products like these that help us make good business decisions. When a product has the ease of use and flexibility such as this, it benefits both our technicians and our clients. Plus, from Solotech’s point of view as a rental house, the cost of ownership is very low, there is little to no maintenance, and the licences are easily transferred from one machine or gig to another, which means we can have several computers ready to become an ArKaos machine in no time. “I am looking forward to seeing how the new generation will use mapping and LED tools in the future. We can see a big evolution happening within the younger members of staff that we hire, who will gradually become the major part of the workforce. The ‘tablet generation’ don’t have the same instincts as the older generation about how to use software and platforms with physical knobs and buttons. They have a different approach with new ideas, and software developers need to be aware of this. We need to help this younger generation of new designers, film directors, operators and creative people to express themselves without hinderance from technology by developing products that can be used instinctively by this new generation of creative people and also easier to understand for us more experienced technicians. “This is where Arkaos has always had its finger on the pulse,” Tremblay stated. “For 10 years I have watched the company, and they have always been open to the market. They have an eye on the next generation of operators and their technology is already answering the demands of this newer generation. It has a customer base that is always changing, and their product development constantly adapts to reflect this. It’s one of the things that keeps them at the forefront of the market.” TPi Photos Anna Friel Knowelden www.solotech.com www.arkaos.net www.heart-music.com 96
DICK TEE: 35 YEARS IN BUSINESS Festival Insights Editor, Michael Baker, talks to the celebrated festival veteran, H&S expert and award-winning production manager.
Over the course of the last 35 years, EnTEEtainment has provided site coordination, event management and production services to everything from Glastonbury Festival to the Scottish Bagpipe Championships. Its founder Dick Tee recently celebrated his 3.5 decade anniversary in the live events industry. Here, Tee speaks about the trajectory of his career, his opinions on CDM regulations, and projections for the future of the festival production industry. At the tail end of the Ziggy Stardust tour on 24 June 1973, a teenage Dick Tee saw David Bowie perform at Fairfield Halls in Croydon. 27 years and one day later, Bowie was in the passenger seat of a battle-scarred Land Rover on a tour of the Glastonbury site. The festival’s production manager for the Pyramid and Other stages, Tee, was in the driver’s seat. A few hours later, he was stood stage right for Bowie’s triumphant headline slot on the Pyramid Stage. A pivitol moment to say the least... The original plan was to go into farming. Six months into agricultural college, however, a duality of interests emerged when Tee was elected onto the entertainment committee and appointed Social Secretary, a position that he kept for four years and used to undo the monopoly that
“folk and barn dances” had on the local music scene. As he lacked the farming background of his peers, the only agricultural work on offer postgraduation involved driving round the countryside as a roving fertiliser merchant – and so his event work began as a means to be able to purchase his own farm. His entry point into the industry came courtesy of Mecca Leisure, for whom he ran Streatham’s Silver Blades Ice Rink and Bali-Hi High nightclub. As far as eventful first days on the job go on a scale of one to ‘some guy showed up with an axe’, it was the latter end of the spectrum that summed up Tee’s term at Bali-Hi, when some guy showed up with an axe. “I lasted about six months there,” he said. The impetus for Tee’s departure – heavily armed oddballs notwithstanding – was through securing the role of Entertainment Officer with the National Union of Students’, which Tee would maintain for nearly four years at its head office in London. During this time he kept busy: running training courses to teach social secretaries how to put on events, setting up the campus-touring show Rock Goes to College with the BBC, as well as putting together a small directory of production companies that 98
Opposite: Dick Tee wins Production Manager of the Year at the TPi Awards 2006, pictured alongside EnTEEtainment’s Production Co-Ordinator Amy Harmsworth. Below: Working hard at BBC Radio 1’s Hackney Weekend in 2012.
acted as a precursor to The White Book. Having set a solid foundation with the NUS, his first foray into concert promotion took the form of a Q-Tips show at the Lyceum Theatre in London. Funding the venture would take some relatively substantial capital, so Tee offered the keys of his Triumph TR-7 to his bank’s manager as collateral, in exchange for an overdraft of £2,000. Ostensibly impressed by his audacity and affable charm, she accepted. As for the show, not only did no one turn up with an axe, but it made a profit of £86, giving him the push to create the initial iteration of his eponymous company, then dubbed That’s EnTEEtainment. Concurrently, and in a similarly entrepreneurial spirit, he made an offer to the NUS to purchase the rights of the then-nameless production directory he’d been developing, to which they said ‘no’. Included in the bid was the promise to provide every social secretary in the country with a free copy every year, a perk the NUS lost out on when Tee “changed the typeface, moved the data around, re-jigged the format, and called it The White Book”. The following years were split evenly between the running of the publishing company and working on events. The two endeavours turned out to be symbiotic, with the publisher’s new office at Shepperton Film Studios introducing Tee to Harold and Barbara Pendleton - the pair in charge of the Marquee Group that encompassed not just the club of the same name, but Reading Festival. Looking after artist liaison and the dressing rooms, Tee undertook his first festival work there and met Melvin Benn, whom he also worked with in a similar capacity on both The Phoenix Festival and The Fleadh festivals. In the mid-late ‘90s That’s EnTEEtainment expanded its palette with a range of corporate work on the likes of Marks & Spencer’s lingerie modelling shows and the Ministry of Defence-funded Festival of the Sea. Perhaps conscious of who might be reading, Tee rather wisely refrained from waxing poetic too much about the former contract, but happily
recounted the creative license and resources that the Festival of the Sea provided him with. The cinematic style of the festival’s setup allowed him to indulge a penchant for the theatre inherited from both his father and grandfather. Theatricality aside, the Festival of the Sea led Tee to make the acquaintance of Mike Richmond, and the two would soon set up The Event Safety Shop (TESS) together. Despite chalking up the venture’s success to “being at the right place at the right time”, TESS neatly filled a gap in the market providing advice on health & safety legislation tailored purely to events. The bespoke safety advice and consultancy business grew over a period of years before Tee sold his shares. Similarly, he parted ways with The White Book in 1996, and shortly after migrated from Reading to looking after the Pyramid and Other Stages at Glastonbury, at Michael Eavis’ request. Over the course of the following 18 years, EnTEEtainment helped overhaul the entire managerial and logistical sides of the festival, effectively professionalising what was originally a “team of well intentioned, passionate, but mostly amateur” individuals. Although Glastonbury now boasts world-class infrastructure - comprising masses of internal roadways, million-litre water reserves and so forth - the festival Tee was introduced to bore little resemblance in that regard. Probably for the best, he wasn’t fully cognisant of how much the “eyes of the world” were on him in those days. In the years since, the production values of the festival have continued to evolve; beginning with the central hub that Tee was responsible for and gradually percolating outwards to the festival’s plethora of peripheral elements. Tee also returned to Reading Festival during his Glastonbury tenure, and further diversified EnTEEtainment’s client list with events that took him from Rochester Castle to Moscow’s Red Square. There in heart of the Motherland, Tee saw Roger Waters perform Dark Side of the Moon. Waters, coupled with Bowie and ELO, completed the triumvirate of musicians that Tee held dear as an adolescent and would later see from the side of the stage. EnTEEtainment, of course, is not a one-man operation; a network of 99
The first event Frankie Tee worked on with her father - Glastonbury Festival 2006; Amy & Dick, at the longest running of EnTEEtainment’s events, Rochester Castle; King Kong Playstation game product launch, one of the most unusual of Dick’s projects circa 2005; The first outing of that famous high vis...
trusted freelancers accompanies the small and dedicated core team of full-time staff, which includes Production Co-Ordinator Amy Harmsworth, who has worked with Tee since 2004. Maintaining good relationships with prospective contractors, clients, and suppliers, is paramount to success, according to Tee: “Loyalty, decency, and honesty are critical qualities to have in the industry. We’re always very up front about costs and the time it’ll take us to get the job done, which might be why we’re not as rich as some of our competitors. I think I hear the world’s smallest violin coming out there!” he laughed. Dick’s daughter Frankie has become increasingly integral to the operation over the last eight years, becoming a “very competent” Production Coordinator and occasional Production Manager, gradually taking on more executive decision-making in the process. Frankie’s standard role on a festival involves preparing the artists’ technical packs, dealing with agents, managers “and whoever else”; coordinating rolling riser; through to audio requirements such as desk and PA preferences; and “pulling all of that technical side together”. Much in the way that Dick brought Glastonbury into the 21st century, Frankie overhauled EnTEEtainment’s IT and admin side, setting up its internal ‘TeeTotal’ database and persuading her father to “finally” update the company logo. Aside from the patently obvious technical advancements that festivals have made in the last couple of decades, another significant change Tee alluded to is the lateral movement that programming has taken, epitomised rather fittingly by the Festival Republic-run Latitude. The event’s eclecticism and refusal to recycle headliners has made it a vanguard of the boutique festival movement, and Tee cites it as an example of how much more family-friendly and diverse festivals have become. “The original festival-going generation is around my age, and now that they have a good deal of disposable income a lot of them would like to return to the scene. With events like Latitude, The Big Feastival, Carfest, Henley Festival
and so on, they can. There’s something for everyone now, especially considering how much better the camping and food options have become.” The advent of ‘hybrid’ festivals – ones that give equal billing to music and another critical component – is something he attributes to the industry’s continued growth, however he concedes that the market is saturated. “I foresee that in the next five to 10 years we’ll see a gulf emerge between the giants of the festival world who can afford the biggest acts, and the more innovative niche events that do things differently enough to attract a loyal following. It’s the ones in the middle that will suffer, I think, because they might not be unique or influential enough to pull in an audience from further afield.” The initial response to my question of how health & safety has changed since the beginning of his career was one of incredulous laughter, followed by the word ‘completely’. The HSE’s implementation of the Construction Design and Management (CDM) Regulations in April 2015 represents perhaps the most sudden and seismic shift in the industry’s adherence towards health & safety, and Tee welcomes the standardisation that codified practices inevitably bring. However, when the enforcers of those guidelines have nothing more than a superficial understanding of why the rules exist, it can lead to conflict with those responsible for making things happen. “That’s something that frustrates me, when I hear ‘you can’t do that because of health & safety’, without elaboration. Health & safety shouldn’t be weaponised to stop things happening like that, especially in such a vague and arbitrary way.” The government’s more recently introduced Legal Series Guidance, a supplementary paper aiming to clarify the CDM guidelines, includes more diagrammatic explanations and graphical representations of its parent document’s stipulations. “It’s helpful,” said Tee. “But like any other legislation it’s mostly common sense and best practice.” 100
Furthermore, he has yet to be convinced that actual working practices in the industry have changed significantly as a result, a testament to how consummate its professionals were even without their responsibilities being made explicit. According to Tee, health & safety and rock ‘n’ roll aren’t as diametrically opposed as one might assume: “I think our record in events is actually very good. Farms, for example, are much more hazardous environments than festivals, but whenever a live event goes wrong it just so happens to be heavily publicised.” One such infamous [near] disaster was Fatboy Slim’s Big Beach Boutique II on Brighton Beach in July 2002, whose organisers anticipated between 10,000 – 20,000 attendees for what was to be a free event exclusively advertised in local circles. Unfortunately, it wasn’t considered that the words ‘Fatboy’, ‘Slim’, ‘free’, and ‘beach’ would be sufficiently compelling to attract a crowd, and so the show was advertised via the radio and printed press. One of the event safety officers at the resulting lucid nightmare of an event was, predictably, Tee. “I drew the short straw,” he said. As a result of its gratuitous advertising campaign and highly agreeable weather conditions, an estimated 250,000 smiling faces showed up. Average density levels were supposedly five people per square metre, but owing to an anomalous level of cooperation from the crowd, no one lost their life as a result of the concert. “Fortunately, a rising tide cleared out a good deal of the audience as well,” Tee said. After a brief pause he clarified that they left of their own volition, and weren’t dragged into the cold embrace of Poseidon. At the conclusion of Big Beach Boutique II, Tee’s repeated Zen-like assurance of ‘go with the flow’ to the departing revellers can be heard sampled at the end of its accompanying compilation album. “I’m still awaiting royalties on that,” he smiled. TPi Photos: Courtesy of EnTEEtainment www.dicktee.com
The 2015 TPi Awards... he only went and won another trophy! (while partaking in the Philips Vari-Lite glowstick challenge.)
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TUPAC MARTIR RUNS THE LONDON MARATHON We all have a bucket list. Like yours, I envisioned experiencing many different things, but as one of my goals was to run a marathon before the age of 40, this was my last chance...
Last May I decided to enter my name in the ballot for the London my timing was great. I then thought to myself, the next six miles are in the Marathon. I have been working with children suffering with cancer for a Twilight Zone. I have no visual reference of Canary Wharf, Limehouse, Isle long time in my native Mexico via Teletón but I figured it was time I gave of Dogs, or any of those parts, which could give me a certainty of where some of my time and effort to the UK children’s charity, Clic Sargent. I would be. If I could get through this, then the goal was within my reach. I started running that month, just in case I got in, but then during a show Every now and then I would take a break from my Radiohead playlist to someone forgot to put the breaks on the stage stairs and I landed on my indulge in the environment and the cheering from the crowd, but then it knee, bruising my ligaments. It took three months to recover. Then I got the was back to my music and my focus. news; I had been chosen to run the marathon. My first thought was one of KM28 was in front of me; I was officially going to run more than I had panic. Could I run it? Do I have enough time to get into shape? ever done in my life. I took another gel and realised I had one third to go, all I Fast forward a few months and I found myself outside Blackheath needed to do was to make it back to Wapping and then the idea of finishing station on the 24 April 2016 looking like a scared kid. But I couldn’t back would get me through. However, I wasn’t expecting the short climb, which down. As we started moving, my iPod started playing Let’s Go Crazy by felt like it was Mount Everest. Immediately I slowed down my pace and gave Prince, I unplugged my headphones to share the music with those around myself a mile to recover. I then got my Canary Wharf moment. Another one me. Everyone started singing “Ohh Ohh Let’s Go!” and I knew it was all going of those epic images I have seen on TV. I remember smiling and thinking, it’s to be OK. just a Sunday jog from now on. The pain diminished or I was probably too I didn’t cross the start line until 8:08, I looked at my watch and started numb to feel it and then I just kept going. my run. I was feeling confident and thought to myself, enjoy the run, the Once we arrived to Wapping, the crowd took over again, seeing Tower crowd, the people around you, this is going to be awesome, a once in a Bridge was a relief and then I knew for sure that I was going to finish the lifetime experience. And then I realised I needed to pee! After a quick pit race, I wasn’t sure how fast I would do it, although I was still on pace, but I stop I re-joined the race, but then I had no idea where my 4:30 pace man just knew I was going to finish. I was expecting the wall to hit me at some was. I was lost, I was hoping to follow him all the way through. What to do? point, but it hadn’t happened and I kept waiting for it, I even had The Mars Thankfully I had one amazing purchase, my handy watch, which would Volta in my ears for my last 10 miles, in case I needed an extra gutsy punch. track my pace and distance. This trustworthy piece of engineering had Suddenly I could see Big Ben and even if ‘the wall’ had appeared I would gotten me through my training and became my most important tool for the just climb over it. I cross embankment, get to Big Ben with its big crowds, rest of the race. big cheers, big smiles and everything is forgotten - and forgiven! I went back to my original plan of 10 minute miles or better, trying to I crossed the finish line at 4:22:52 with a massive smile on my face. I stay on pace and manage my energy. The first three miles flew by, between walked across the various gates and picked up my medal. I just stared at the excitement and me trying to get into a rhythm. At six miles we were the fence. I felt completely numb and tired beyond belief. I just had one coming back to Greenwich. The crowd was amazing and being able to run thought: how am I going to put my pants on? I can’t lift my legs! around Cutty Sark with everyone cheering gave me a bit of a kick! I kept After a massive struggle I got myself warm and started walking towards checking my watch and I was very much on time, maintaining the pace the meet and greet area, which is all the way to Horse Guards Parade. about one minute ahead of schedule. Any other day this would be no problem but after the As we turned from Greenwich and headed towards marathon I felt like I was trying to reach Mordor. My Surrey Quays I got a strange feeling of nostalgia. I live phone started ringing and all the messages from my there and I have seen six marathons pass by my house friends, family and TPi arrived... I was so happy but and always thought that one day it would be me. To massively dehydrated. I headed to the pub, dined out see the people at the pub, my butcher, my barber, my and then finally I was home to rest. But then came my neighbours and those close to me, cheering me on, felt final challenge... I needed to make it up the stairs! amazing. I managed to raise £2,500 for Clic Sargent with your The next few miles are a blur, mainly because I support. It might not be a massive amount of money, had done them so many times in training that I wasn’t but if what I have raised allows for one child to have a www.clicsargent.org.uk sure if it was a race or just another training session, better, happier life for a few days, then I know it was all everything seemed so normal... worth it. All of a sudden I found myself at the halfway mark, TPi
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CHRISTIE’S BOXER SERIES Jeevan Vivegananthan, Senior Director of Product Management at Christie, talks TPi through the R&D process and ethos behind the company’s newest addition.
What were your priorities when it came to designing the Boxer Series? The motivation behind Christie Boxer is quite interesting. Christie has a long history with rental staging and high-end fixed installations with products like the M Series, J Series and Roadster and we had the 4K high frame rate projector [D4K3560], so we had a sound platform to work from. We wondered, what could we possibly do next? Although 20K lumens was the mainstay of rental staging, we knew we had the technological ability to build a 30K lumens projector in the smallest package at less than 68kg making it a two-man lift; it’s easier to ship around the world and easier to handle and light up bigger spaces. Christie allowed us to re-question everything. We plotted all the relative competitors’ products on a graph of brightness by weight, with all of them following a very predictable pattern, and when Boxer went way above the other products, the executive was immediately on board. It was one of the highlights of my career.
mind. We observed when rental stagers struggled to get our bigger units moved over long distances and to hoist up. We noted when projectors moved in and out of rental warehouses, about where the (lack of) time was being spent on equipment verification and setup. We noted when they struggled to get an image setup when available time before a show was fast disappearing. In short, we watched real users, in real action, in real environments and the very real problems that they faced. We did this over the years in Europe, North America and Asia. Through all of this work, we realised that there was still so much to be improved in terms of workflows; ways that we could make projecting beautiful, high brightness light easier, faster and simpler, saving installers and owners time, money and hassle. Events and spectaculars, whether temporary in nature or permanent installations, were growing in size, scale and scope. Having a high brightness, high resolution projection was a key industry problem that we really wanted to solve. To offer an indispensable tool, a ‘paintbrush’ if you will, that was accessible to help the community bring beautiful shared experiences to light with the minimum hassle. Offering a high brightness projector that wasn’t the size of a small bus (as one group put it!) became our obsession, combined with ease of use and speed of setup. Research was already taking place in the engineering labs.
How much did you communicate with the industry and end users in reference to development of this series? We sent our engineering team, our user experience design team and our product management teams into the field. Many times, we went simply to attend event setups, armed with a notepad, a stopwatch and an open 104
After that, during the detailed development phase, we constantly checked back in with our user community. The ideas poured out of engineering and we tested them against user needs and user wants. What are some of the key features included as a result? Boxer has our TruLife electronics platform. Along with the high resolution, we needed a higher frame rate for the images and increased dynamic range. We achieved this by designing a new floating-point processing engine within our TruLife platform, which affords an equivalent of 25 bits of fixed point processing as compared to the 8-10 bits of processing found in today’s standard projectors. We linked our floating point processing modules with the very latest in ultra-high speed serial communication links, called SerDes, and fast access memory blocks to deliver unprecedented performance. The increased dynamic range offered by the floating point engine of TruLife allows the highest fidelity images to be rendered with very smooth, deep and rich colour transitions. Christie’s TruLife electronics platform is the basis for our latest generation projectors capable of delivering ultra-high resolution, highframe-rate video with unprecedented image fidelity which is ideal for highimpact visual events. Furthermore, TruLife supports a video-processing pipeline of up to 1.2 Gigapixels per second (GPix/s), enabling the first and only 4K DLP image processing at 120Hz performance. Another feature we were asked for was an unmatched input suite - 3G-SDI, DisplayPort, HDBaseT, DVI, HDMI, HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.2, 2 x 12G-SDI and fibre - Boxer provides true installation flexibility. The integrated Near Field Communications technology transforms Boxer into a ‘smart’ projector, and allows users to track lamp status and other projector information using a mobile device. We created an innovative design utilising up to six independently driven mercury lamps, so that Boxer delivers longer life, less consumables and lamp illumination confidence. Its dual lamp cartridge systems make for quick lamp changes, with only one screw to access each cartridge. Boxer has been a great hit. It is a 4K resolution, high frame rate (up to 120Hz) projector, with high bit depth processing, 30K lumens of brightness, providing rich colour in an unbelievably tiny package. Though the Boxer 4K30 could handle anything thrown at it from HD signals for 4K high frame rate, we introduced more Boxer variants owing to its success. With our new 2K Boxer line-up, the Boxer 2K20, Boxer 2K25 and Boxer 2K30, users can enter into the Boxer family at today’s typically HD resolution needs, since 4K content isn’t always widely available. And with a range of brightness levels, they can access the right amount of light for their needs.
Jeevan Vivegananthan, Senior Director of Product Management at Christie.
and more the industry norm, rental stagers in particular will appreciate being able to upgrade their existing Boxer 2K fleet making it a very worthwhile investment; affordable upfront but with full power and full 4K resolution capability down the road with a simple upgrade, rather than investing in all-new projection hardware. Christie typically offers brightness upgrades in our other product lines but this is the first time that we’re offering a resolution upgrade as well. The reception to this concept has been very positive to date. What kind of relationship does Christie have with its customers? I can say, hand-on-heart, that we invest in a personal and rich relationship with our partners and users. It’s as much part of our DNA as being fundamentally an engineering company. We still build projectors such as Boxer in our Kitchener factory, taking pride down to the last bolt. And service to customers is the same with regional offices and engineers to help from design to installation and then service. Through that relationship, we find that we’re the most open to the feedback and ideas that our customers have because we feel we are invested in them, just as they are invested in Christie. TPi www.christieEMEA.com
Can you explain the upgrade path for the product? Is this an option shared by some of your other products? This upgrade path really is a unique and I would say almost unprecedented industry capability. The great thing is that the Boxer 2K platform is completely upgradeable so it makes for a viable investment for end users. You can buy into the Boxer family at whatever level you are comfortable with today and easily upgrade in brightness and move from HD/2K resolution up to 4K resolution at any time later on. As 4K becomes more
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French loudspeaker manufacturers Active Audio and APG have entered into a strategic alliance. While both brands will remain independent in their respective activities - and through distribution channels - Active Audio will continue to focus on the public address market while APG will still cater for live events and large venue installations. As a result, Régis Cazin has stepped up as CEO of both Active Audio and APG with immediate effect. Active Audio will now hold 60% of APG shares while APG’s historical shareholders, Jean-Luc Moncel, Philippe Frarier and Grégory Dapsanse, will hold the majority of the remaining shares. Dapsanse, who becomes Marketing and Business Development Director for APG, will continue to define the product strategy for the brand. Drawing a parallel between both companies, he commented: “The similarities between us are quite amazing. Not only do we have a similar size and structure, but our philosophy and approach of the acoustic world is a perfect match.” Both companies will keep all existing staff. In light of this alliance, Active Audio and APG have already started recruiting key personnel to support this new business strategy. Last month, APG hired two engineers (support and product) and are in the process of recruiting a sales manager dedicated to the French market as well as a sales assistant, while Active Audio has recruited two people to support its distribution channel and communications.
Arkaos PRO has contracted Controllux BV as its new, exclusive distributor for the Benelux countries. The agreement, reached in February 2016, gives Controllux exclusive distribution of the full ArKaos PRO portfolio of professional media servers and software across the Netherlands and Belgium. Controllux is a leading distributor of professional lighting equipment and handles a large range of well-regarded industry brands from its offices in the Netherlands and Belgium. The company will be responsible for promoting the ArKaos brand across its wide remit of theatre, broadcast, film, entertainment and architectural markets. The ArKaos PRO products will be supported by Controllux’s service department, which offers 24-hour phone support, eight permanent outdoor employees giving on-site support, showrooms for demonstrations and training, and a stock of products in the Netherlands and Belgium offices enabling fast delivery. Gerry Remers, President and COO of Christie Digital Systems Canada is to step down from his current role effective 8 July 2016. Following his departure, Remers will continue to assist Christie as special advisor to Jack Kline, Chairman, President and CEO of all of Christie’s operating companies, worldwide, for an indeterminate period. Most recently Remers was responsible for leading Christie’s global engineering, quality efforts and manufacturing operations; responsibilities 106
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Opposite: DiGiCo has appointed DWR Distribution as its exclusive distributor for South Africa; OSS has recruited Aidan Parker; Darragh Doherty of OSS; The new Maestra recruits; The team from ArKaos PRO. Below: Gareth Jeanne returns to the UK from PRG’s US operation; Active Audio and APG have entered into a strategic alliance.
encompassing his 16 years with Christie and evolving from five years as president of Electrohome Projection Systems, a forerunner of today’s Christie group of companies. Ihor Stech, Executive Vice President of Operations for Christie Canada, will replace Remers as COO. In this most recent position, Stech was responsible for global operations, including manufacturing, purchasing, supply chain management and after-sale services. As well, this 16-year Christie veteran worked with professional services and global sales to
streamline Christie’s various global service offerings. DiGiCo has appointed DWR Distribution as its exclusive distributor for South Africa from April 2016. Founded in 2006, DWR has built an enviable reputation in the South African market for supplying predominantly lighting products. DWR provides a complete service from concept through to installation and commissioning. With this in mind, DWR has welcomed Kyle Robson as the new audio technical representative. As well as being factory trained at DiGiCo, Robson worked as a sound technician and then in
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Above: Gerry Remers, President and COO of Christie Digital Systems Canada; Darren Marshall will continue his service under the OSS banner.
the capacity of technical support and audio training. DWR is due to host a DiGiCo open day as well as roadshows in the near future. London and Dubai-based Maestra Group has made five key staff appointments at the London office, which was launched in January and is headed by Justin Hammond. Emma Perrin has been hired as General Manager, while Adam Jones has been brought in as Technical Manager and Jenny Woollard as Production Designer. The company also brought in Jack Jury and Aisha Tarayan to serve as Project Managers. Waldlaubersheim, Germany-based Mega Audio has partnered with VUE Audiotechnik for distribution of their loudspeaker products. The partnership will provide VUE with Mega Audio’s well-established sales network and support structure, and, in turn Mega Audio will have access to VUE Audiotechnik’s loudspeaker products and VUE Europa’s close proximity will provide unmatched factory support, service and training. PRG XL Video has created a new specialist video team in its theatre department. With the aim of growing the team’s technical expertise in video, Gareth Jeanne returns to the UK from PRG’s US operation, where he led XL Video’s concert touring team and was more recently part of PRG’s global Music Group. Jeanne will take up the role of Account Director alongside experienced lighting specialist Peter Marshall. The new role is a return to the theatre world for Jeanne, as prior to joining XL Video, he was Video Project Manager at Stage Sound Services. Also joining the team is Oliver ‘Ollie’ Luff, who joined PRG XL Video in June 2015 as a Technical Project Manager. Luff takes up the role of Senior Account Manager, and brings a wealth of experience from his time as a freelance video technician working on a variety of theatre productions. Jeanne and Luff will be supported by Technical Project Manager, Ed Goddard, who joined the theatre team in 2015, and Lauraine Young, one of PRG XL’s team of highly experienced Account Co-ordinators. Italian pro audio manufacturer Outline has appointed Primaton as its exclusive distributor for the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Headquartered in Prague, Czech Republic, Primaton is already very well connected to
the professional touring, production and installation market due to its involvement with MA Lighting, Robe, ARRI, Doughty and other lighting products through their sister company LightNeq. LightNeq currently offers services in lighting design and technical proposals for large events, such as the Ice Hockey World Championships, Olympic House of the Czech Republic in London and many other important projects in the field of concert tours in the Czech and Slovak Republics. Darragh Doherty, owner of OSS, has recruited Aidan Parker and his crew teams in Edinburgh and Glasgow, as well as Darren Marshall of Werccrew in Nottingham to continue their service under the OSS banner, with additional teams being developed in London. This cooperation aims to marry two aspects of a staffing company that are usually at odds: quality assurance and geographical reach. LMG has become d3 Technologies’ latest rental partner in the US. LMG is headquartered in Orlando and has offices in Las Vegas, Dallas, Nashville and Detroit. For more than 30 years it has provided video, audio, lighting and LED support for some of the world’s largest corporate meetings, trade shows, specialty events, tours and concerts. “We’re very excited to take inventory of the d3 4x4pro media servers. With 16 outputs and a robust visualiser, the 4x4pro is a valuable creative tool for us and our clients,” said Craig Mitchell, Director of Touring at LMG. “I am very impressed with the support and service from the d3 team as well.” Television and entertainment lighting rental specialist Aurora has appointed Gemma Oldfield as Office Manager at the company’s West London operation. Oldfield began her career at Neg Earth before moving to the role of Marketing Co-ordinator at Richard Martin Lighting. She said: “I was extremely flattered to be asked to join the Aurora team. With their fantastic reputation and recent acquisition by industry giants VER, now seems like the perfect time to join the company - I am very excited to be a part of it all!” www.tpimagazine.com/category/industry-jobs/ 108
PSA: THE BIGGER PICTURE
HELP MICAH SAVE LIVES Another day, another country, another hotel, another bus, another gig, another flight; the glamorous jet set lifestyle (sic) that opens up the world to those that work in live productions can bring opportunities to experience diverse cultures, even see them change as the world shrinks and countries tap into the flow of global wealth.
We regularly see calls for hints and tips on parking, backline hire or handy launderettes in far flung places, but who’s on the look out for hidden dangers? This is a story that has to be told, it’s a campaign that deserves results. Early in 2015, 95 specialist crew travelled to Baku, Azerbaijan to work on the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the European Games. None of those travelling really knew much about Azerbaijan and certainly never considered it to be in Europe. But a job’s a job and the chance to work abroad for over four months was a great opportunity for all involved. Amongst the crew was a young man, a British-Australian citizen called Micah Maxwell-Milne. Micah had worked in live event production since he was 18 and was involved in a number of high profile ceremonies such as the 2012 London Olympics and Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games. Micah was also an up and coming Production Coordinator with Harvey Goldsmith’s and had worked on shows such as Hans Zimmer, Andrea Bocelli and OnBlackheath Festival; it’s clear he was quickly becoming one of the new generation of leading event professionals. Micah loved Baku. Even though the work was long and hard and the temperature was well in to the 40s he still made time to get to know the city and the friendly local people. He also met and fell in love with a young medical student; they were making plans for their future together. On the morning of 23rd June the night shift had clocked off, amongst them Micah. Micah’s father, Stuart, working with the same crew, arriving for
the day shift, received a phone call from one of the crew saying that there had been a car crash involving a taxi carrying some of the crew, including Micah. They said it wasn’t far from the stadium so he raced to see. After a frantic search for information, it was confirmed that there were injuries; Stuart was informed that his son was in a different hospital to the other injured people. The drive across town was as unbearable as you could imagine. The building didn’t look like a hospital, it wasn’t, it was a mortuary. The Maxwell-Milnes’ lives were changed for ever. The following days saw the family gather in Baku, in shock, distraught. A great deal of help was given by the UK Embassy as well as a senior Scotland Yard policeman who was in Baku as a Security Advisor to the European Games. There was a noticeable lack of direct contact with the Azerbaijan authorities and the European Olympic Committee. In the face of such tragic circumstances, with the loss of a colleague and three other seriously injured, the Production Company, Micah and Stuart’s employers and fellow crew members rallied around, also supporting efforts to get the three injured colleagues airlifted to Turkey for treatment. Naturally, thoughts also turned to the cause of the accident. The road traffic in Azerbaijan is atrocious and the statistics are staggering. The drivers are reckless and enforcement is minimal. Very few drivers have ever passed a test, Stuart had seen licenses being sold in the subway. The crew were aware it was dangers when they went out there and 110
PSA: THE BIGGER PICTURE
everyone was warned and advised to take the Metro and supplied with travel cards. The Metro is Soviet era and runs on diesel, it was pretty unpleasant at the best of times but even more so when the temperatures rose in to the 40s and it started to get busy and unbearable during games time. This is why many people, Stuart included, started to use taxis. The accident that caused Micah’s death also caused the death of the taxi driver. It was caused by a van driver, who cut across the middle of a dual carriageway into oncoming traffic and hit the taxi. There was no median strip between the lanes and the speed limit was 90km/h. The driver was local and was working for another contractor linked to the games. Apparently he fell asleep at the wheel one hour in to his shift. Since the accident it has been extremely stressful trying to get information from the authorities in Azerbaijan but with the help of the UK Embassy, some has been forthcoming. After endless false deadlines and a trip to Baku, legal proceedings were started. The driver was recently prosecuted and received a nine-year jail sentence; a civil case has also started against the alleged employer of the driver. Not an hour goes by that the Maxwell-Milnes don’t think about their wonderful, talented, funny and handsome boy and as a very close family, they decided they didn’t want Micah’s life to go unnoticed so decided to try and make some kind of change in his name. In the first few weeks after the accident Micah’s mum, Jennifer, wrote a letter to the First Lady, Mehriban Aliyeva appealing to her to do something about the roads in Azerbaijan. The Foreign Ministry informed the family that this had been passed on to her but they never had a response. They resent it and also asked the EOC President to pass it on. He informed them that he is sure she has received it but still, no reply. In fact the Maxwell-Milnes have never had any correspondence from any of the Azerbaijan authorities, The EOC or The IOC. Not even a letter of condolence. Would this have been the same situation if their son had been one of the athletes? Micah was in Baku for one reason; to work on The European Games.
This year they will be holding the ‘European’ Grand Prix in Baku, a year after Micah’s death. It has been billed as the fastest street racetrack in the world, a seemingly absurd and highly irresponsible label in a country with a culture for speeding and reckless driving. They don’t need to encourage their drivers with their own racetrack. The family has been trying to contact Formula 1 organisations to try and find out what they are doing to protect people coming to work on the Grand Prix, the spectators and the local people. So far no answers. Micah’s family feel that there are many stakeholders that have a responsibility. The travel companies, airlines, hotels, organisers and authorities all have a duty of care to anyone affected by this type of event. They’ve been left wondering what criteria they are looking for when some of these countries are awarded these large events. There are many being awarded around the globe including football, F1 and other sporting events. What do they look for in a host city? Surely it’s not all about money? This affects everyone that travels to these events. Not just those that put on the events like us but the broadcasters, journalists, sponsors and even the competitors. In Baku, just a week before the accident a bus in the Olympic Village mowed down three Austrian athletes. Change is needed. For now, Micah’s family’s campaign will concentrate on Baku; understandably they will not give up. They need to do something to change the situation. After that they intend to tackle some of the other countries. Over 1.25 million people die in road accidents every year and a large proportion of those are in developing countries. This is far, far more than by terrorism but the resources and coverage in the media is far less. The campaigning has already begun with coverage online and an article in The Guardian. Micah’s family need your support; simply by being aware of the situation in the countries you travel to or sharing experiences. Their campaign for recognition continues, adding your signature will help. TPi www.psa.org.uk www.change.org/p/help-micah-save-lives
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PHIL DUDDERIDGE Executive Chairman, Focusrite
Was it a difficult jump from touring to manufacturer co-founder? After Zeppelin I had largely finished with touring though with Hiwatt we did some festivals and other events. Before Soundcraft started in September 1973 my co-founder Graham Blyth (the designer) and I were in partnership with Paul Dobson in a business called RSD, assembling PA systems based on bin and horn designs by Paul. Soundcraft took over the mixer side of that business, which was Graham’s responsibility and we built it into a global brand of live and recording consoles. We sold it to Harman in 1988. How has Focusrite, as a brand, kept up with the ever changing technology within pro audio? In terms of the live market, which we had not previously directly addressed, it has been with RedNet – our range of Dante-based networked audio products. We were one of the first developers of this technology, working closely with Audinate to achieve the highest levels of performance in a recording environment, allowing for ultra-low latency in and out of a computer to enable artists to monitor their performance without compromise. After the release of the initial range of five products, which included an eight-channel remotely controlled microphone preamplifier, we consulted the live industry, notably Clair Global, and developed a second range to address the specific requirements of live performance applications. RedNet is growing rapidly in sales as audio over IP is becoming recognised as the new paradigm for system infrastructure and Dante the new standard. RedNet is fully compatible with other Dante products and is used with various brands of consoles, notably Yamaha and DiGiCo, where the RedNet 6 provides a bridge between Dante and MADI. RedNet 5 Pro Tools HD / HDX bridge enables simultaneous recording with live performances.
How did you get your start within the industry? In 1967, when I was 18, I bought a van and became a roadie for Fairport Convention and other bands associated with Joe Boyd, the legendary manager and producer. While I was still working for a band called Soft Machine in early ‘70s, I happened to be visiting the WEM factory in South London and asked proprietor, Charlie Watkins, if he knew of any bands looking for crew. He mentioned Led Zeppelin and made a call to their manager Peter Grant. Before I knew it I was on my way to Montreux in Switzerland to join the band mid-tour. My responsibility (as the WEM Expert as I had become known) was to run the PA. This experience fired my enthusiasm for what became known as ‘Pro Audio’. How did you get involved with Focusrite? Having sold Soundcraft, I left the company at the end of 1988 with no specific plans. Some time off beckoned! However in January 1989 I learned that Rupert Neve, founder of Focusrite Ltd, was having financial difficulties and it went into liquidation. Having visited the company in the dying days I was contacted by the liquidator and I was persuaded to bid for the assets, which amounted to the brand and the designs. A new company was formed to build on those assets and Focusrite Audio Engineering Ltd was in business by April of that year, continuing the outboard mic pre and EQ modules and dynamic processor channels and designing a new recording console based on those essential building blocks.
What’s been your favourite live event experience? Too many to mention other than the last one; David Gilmour at the Albert Hall. He has an outstanding band and delivers the music of Pink Floyd and his own solo music with outstanding musicianship from the entire band. 114
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