TOTAL PRODUCTION INTERNATIONAL LIVE EVENT DESIGN & TECHNOLOGY • MAY 2018 • ISSUE 225
PALOMA FAITH The singer welcomes audiences to her theatrical, pop music wonderland.
I’M JUST UPSIDE DOWN...
SAM SMITH: THE THRILL OF IT ALL • EDC MEXICO • COACHELLA 2018: TECH HIGHLIGHTS • PLAN B MAKES THE A GRADE • MICHAEL MCINTYRE: LIVE AND LAUGHING • GEAR HEADS: YAMAHA RIVAGE
MAY 2018 #225
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REMEMBER THIS NUMBER: 0800 030 6789. IT COULD SAVE A LIFE. News of the world’s most popular DJ, Avicii, passing away, hit global headlines last month. At first, speculation about the circumstances surrounding the 28-year-old’s death led many to believe complaints from alcohol-related health problems were to blame. In the days that followed, suicide was ruled as the official cause of death. RIP. Yet another touring artist lost to the perils of such a demanding lifestyle. There’s vital work being done in the industry to prevent - where possible - these occurrences, but the parallels between a lifestyle on the road and mental health issues remain a troubling reality. If you or anyone you know within our community are experiencing troubles - depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, panic attacks, bereavement - please remember: there are experts and volunteers ready to listen and help without judgement. Maybe this isn’t the kind of industry that picks up the phone to helplines, but maybe it should be. Keep the Music Support helpline handy: 0800 030 6789. Whether you’re in your bunk, hotel or at home post-tour, please take care out there, folks. This month’s tech news comes from the festival enigma that is Coachella (Pg. 08), Sam Smith’s creative team talk Stew through their design process for the British singer’s The Thrill of it All tour (Pg. 20), Michael McIntyre makes UK arenas - and myself - roar with laughter with help from Capital Sound (Pg. 50), Plan B makes a comeback after a 5-year touring break (Pg. 60), and last but not least, we have some welcome female presence on our May cover. Paloma Faith drew Ste into her theatrical performance - and don’t tell his metal-head mates, but I think he came away a new fan. Catch the production profile on Pg. 38. We couldn’t bring you a post-Frankfurt magazine without the run down on new products from Prolight+Sound. Although it was busy for us, there was a definite divide in exhibitor opinions this year, especially from the pro audio world. It promises to be a defining year for many historical supporters of the show - let me know your thoughts via email. Elsewhere in this issue, the ALD continue to ask for your help. If you want to get up to speed on the new - quite frankly ridiculous - regulations facing stage lighting regulations, turn to Pg. 98. Until next time... Kel Murray Editor EDITOR Kel Murray Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7738 154689 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Issue 225 - May 2018
TOTAL PRODUCTION INTERNATIONAL is a controlled circulation magazine, published 12 times a year by Mondiale Publishing Limited under licence. ISSN 1461-3786 Copyright © 2018 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 2018 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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FESTIVAL FOCUS 08
Coachella 2018 A selection of tech highlights from the Californian cultural phenomenon.
Sam Smith The soulful singer returns to arenas with an ambitiously creative production.
Transmission Festival Asia Audio Plus combines with Funktion-One to channel the Spirit of the Warrior.
Backstage Academy The pioneering organisation hits the road to inspire students across the UK.
Harman Experience Centre The company expands its network with a new facility in Hemel Hempstead.
EDC Mexico PK Sound brings Trinity and Gravity 30 to the massive outdoor festival.
PRODUCTION PROFILE 38 Paloma Faith The artist returns with a top secret stage and deceptively hefty audio setup. 50 Michael McIntyre The British comedian was back in UK arenas for his fourth sell out tour. 60 Plan B After a 5-year absence, the artist hits the road with a 7-date underplay tour.
All the news from Prolight+Sound 2018.
Philips Entertainment Lighting’s Amber Etra discusses her new touring role.
Martin Audio’s Jason Baird reveals some of his product development higlights.
PRODUCTION FUTURES 90
Meg Mawhinney tells TPi about her first year in the industry.
Yamaha’s Andy Cooper gives an insight into the R&D behind the new RIVAGE PM7.
ROAD DIARIES 95
It’s a classical dance day for FOH Engineer, Françoise Le Moignan.
PSA: THE BIGGER PICTURE 98
Part II of the ALD’s #SaveStageLighting campaign manifesto.
INDUSTRY APPOINTMENTS 100 The latest movers and shakers.
BACK CHAT 106 Senior Project Manager, Martin Connolly, celebrates 25 years at Capital Sound.
COACHELLA VALLEY MUSIC & ART FESTIVAL Launched in 1999, Coachella has grown into a premier music and arts festival, grossing almost $115 million (USD) and drawing over 250,000 attendees annually. Here are TPi’s choice production highlights. www.live.coachella.com
UK-based show design studio NEWSUBSTANCE makes its debut at the 2018 edition of Coachella with Spectra - a stunning, 7-floor pavilion.
Commissioned by Coachella as part of its over-arching art programme, NEWSUBSTANCE is one of 6 distinguished interdisciplinary artists chosen by Coachella to create new, brave and innovative original large-scale installations exclusively for the festival. Over 3 years in its conception and design, Spectra is an ambitious, architecturally informed installation featuring a spiral design, an observation deck at its peak, air conditioning and a dazzling colour scheme that reflects the lively spirit of the festival and its awe-inspiring location. “When creating Spectra we wanted it to be less about the structure itself and more about the journey within it,” said NEWSUBSTANCE’s Creative Director, Patrick O’Mahony. “Once inside you will be encapsulated within a Coachella Sunrise. Colour is often something only observed but with this piece we wanted the audience to be washed with rich reds, sky blues and hot pinks as they journey to new heights and experience a truly unique view of the festival.”
“Spectra is a bold commission by the festival and one we are super excited by,” said Paul Clemente, Art Director at Coachella 2018. “We were immediately drawn to the notion of offering festivalgoers a unique lookout across the festival site bathed in a rich interplay of colour and light. Working closely alongside NEWSUBSTANCE it was immediately clear they understood the Coachella vernacular, bringing a fresh take on our environment and we are delighted to welcome them to this year’s festival.” Spectra took festivalgoers on a transitional experience as they travel through the installation. No one experience was the same as attendees were challenged to see things differently, washing over their outlook in a magnificent spectrum of colours and compelling them to pause and see the festival’s landscape in a totally new and unexpected way. With a tremendous amount of varying views and colours, every viewers experience will vary. “Colour and landscape were huge creative factors within the design of 08
both the Spectra structure and its lighting,” said Lighting Designer James Bawn, who lit the structure throughout the festival. “During the day I used a warm white colour temperature that worked perfectly with the coloured Perspex set within the Spectra structure. In and around sunset, I applied a few gradual colour temperature shifts to manipulate the colours which everyone had experienced during the day. This was a very subtle effect and was the cause of quite a few double glances as the daylight faded!” To control his design, Bawn used a Tiger Touch II and Quartz lighting console from British light and video control system manufacturer, Avolites. For the smaller design tweaks Bawn used Avolites’ Remote App, allowing him to make adjustments from his smartphone. He also utilised Avolites Titan v10.2’s Timecode feature and Pixelmapper to flexibly control his design. To create Spectra’s night-time visuals Bawn used the Avolites Pixelmapper feature, which allowed him to quickly map multi-layer animation effects across all the structure’s LED fixture groups. When creating the piece itself, NEWSUBSTANCE wanted to explore the relationship between the light and landscape of the festival, the
shifting environment that this creates and how it influences those that journey through it. The festival is enriched by beautiful sunrises and sunsets that roll across the landscape, and it is these iconic explosions of colour it wanted to capture in the design. From running through the burning reds of the morning sunrise to a gentle sunset stroll bathed in rich purples and blues as they ascend the pavilion of light, Spectra purposely propels people into a technicolour haven. The positioning of Spectra on the site was key. NEWSUBSTANCE wanted it to act as a beacon of light that draws people in from day to night. At certain times it will perfectly blend with the natural colours of the Coachella sky, and at others, it will be a wonderfully stark contrast. As people venture into the temple of tranquillity, they will find peace and serenity from the buzz of the festival. As they ascend through Spectra’s tower of colour, they will be rewarded with never before seen views - a new way of seeing things and a new way of experiencing the festival. TPi www.newsubstance.co.uk 09
Rat Sound Systems deploys DiGiCo and L-Acoustics across 7 stages to continue 2 decades of sound success
California-based audio rental house, Rat Sound Systems, was once again Rat Subs were also used as rear sub fills, as well as 18 Rat SuperSubs. The the official sound reinforcement provider for 7 Coachella stages. The Outdoor Theatre stage ran 10 K1 deep per side over 4 boxes of K2, 3 blocks highly-respected team - led by Jon Monson and Dave Rat, designed an of 8 SB28 for subs, and 6 6-packs of V-Dosc for delays. 12 KARA and 4 ARCs impressive festival system utilising a total of 847 boxes for this year’s were then used as front fill. festival. The PA was made up of L-Acoustics and Rat Sound’s own subs. Lance Reynolds, FOH Engineer for British jagged guitar kings alt-J - who The designs included stage and delay systems gaining use from some performed on the Outdoor Theatre stage - stated: “The Rat Sound system of the biggest stars in live music. The company also provided gear to the technicians set up and tuned the PA system perfectly, which made my day Outdoor Theatre, Mohave, Gobi and Yuma. The primary mixing console easy. Mixing the K1 system is always a pleasure, and the combination of provided by Rat at Coachella 2018 were from British manufacturer, DiGiCo. Rat Sound and L-Acoustics always makes me look forward to Coachella. Highlighting a couple of the larger stages, Rat Sound explained to TPi Basically, it becomes a plug and play show... and the set sounded awesome that the main stage utilised 4 L-Acoustics K1SB’s over 12 K1’s over 4 K2 on from the very first note.” the inner, and 12 K1 over 2 flown K2 (per side). To generate the mixes for the mammoth The delay system for the main PA consisted of a amount of PA , Rat Sound chose to provide Digico row of 4 towers with 12 L-Acoustics K2 on each, as the primary manufacturer of mixing console a second row of 3 towers with 12 L-Acoustics for all the stages. The brand was in use at both K2 on each, and a third row of 3 towers with 12 the FOH and monitor positions. With the world “Both L-Acoustics and DiGiCo L-Acoustics k2 on each. Due to the size of the watching these performances, perfect sound area, 4 towers for VIP guests with 9 L-Acoustics K2 execution was not up for compromise and provided an exemplary level on each, and an additional delay / VIP tower with therefore DiGiCo had reps on site to ensure any of product support that is a further 12 boxes of L-Acoustics K2 were also engineers new to its desks were taken care of. To put in place. The result? A humbling total of 168 fundamental for an event of this ensure a smooth operation was indeed enjoyed L-Acoustics K2 in the main stage field! by all end users, Rat Sound also designated a size and complexity - I cannot The Sahara Tent was also a monster venue new area for the event’s many visiting sound at 300ft x 300ft this year. It comprised 4 main engineers; a DiGiCo SD10 and an SD12 with stress enough how important hangs of 10 L-Acoustics K1 over 4 K2’s with 8 K1SB SD-Rack and the ‘Ultimate Stadius’ 32-Bit Mic and useful manufacturer behind each. The delay field comprised 6 arrays: Pre Amp Cards were set up in the Rat Sound 6 K2’s and 4 K1SB each, all at 50ft trims. A total Production Office which enabled engineers to product support is...” of 16 boxes of KARA covered the front fills. For build, refine or test their show files proved to be Dave Rat, the sub design in this area, Rat Sound provided an extremely popular and appreciated move too. President of Rat Sound Systems 16 KS28’s and 32 SB28’s - 16 at FOH! - and 16 Dave Rat, President of Rat Sound Systems, 10
stated: “It was really awesome having all of the band engineers in to visit us, not just to check out the consoles, but to come and say hello and hang out with the Rat crew too!” “Each of the 3 massive stages supplied by Rat Sound, with support from Hi-Tech Audio, was equipped with dual SD10’s with Waves at FOH and dual SD12’s on monitors. All systems had their own SD-Racks complete with new ‘Ultimate Stadius’ 32-bit Mic Pre-Amps,” said Matt Larson, Executive Vice President of Professional Audio for Group One, DiGiCo’s US distributor. “All of the other stages that Rat serviced had a single SD10 with Waves and SD12 paired with the same SD-Racks and Ultimate 32-bit pres. And that count doesn’t even include the consoles that a number of touring acts carried in with them! On the first Sunday alone, I counted a dozen DiGiCos on the main Coachella stage, which was almost as many desks as Rat deployed for the entire festival. DiGiCo desks were everywhere!” In total, there were 20 DiGiCo consoles on site: 9 DiGiCo SD10’s, 9 DiGiCo SD12’s and 2 SD11’s. Furthermore, there were 18 SD-Racks, and every stage had touring rigs with DiGiCo - up to 12 consoles on the main stage during
most nights of the festival. Rat talked TPi though the reasoning behind his 2018 gear choices: “L-Acoustics is an established, worldwide known product that is not only highly desired on band riders for a diversity of artists, it also has the reliability and performance that is required for an event of this type. DiGiCo has a similar set of parameters and assets in that it is a highly in-demand manufacturer of choice in the digital console world. The DiGiCo product line’s diversity and reliability, plus worldwide availability, made it an excellent choice for Coachella. “Furthermore, both L-Acoustics and DiGiCo provided an exemplary level of product support that is fundamental for an event of this size and complexity - I cannot stress enough how important and useful manufacturer product support is,” he concluded. TPi www.DiGiCo.biz www.l-acoustics.com www.ratsound.com
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Powersoft Audio hits the world’s biggest EDM festival stage with Rat Sound System’s SuperSub At Coachella 2018, the sheer engineering expertise of Powersoft Audio was manifest amidst an unprecedented display of super-low frequency soundwave propagation for thousands of excited music fans. In the Sahara Tent, perhaps the biggest stage in the world for EDM music once per year, festival organisers pushed the boundaries of what is possible in sound design with an array of Rat Sound System’s SuperSub cabinets - each driven by Powersoft’s M-Force moving magnet linear motor. “We are thrilled that our M-Force technology is once again at the cutting edge of sound design at Coachella, this time playing an integral role in the way that tens of thousands of fans are able to engage and interact in a major festival sound experience,” commented Francesco Fanicchi, Brand and Communication Director of Powersoft. “It is especially validating to our engineering team to know that we are able to bring such a massive sound experience to new heights through our innovation and design.” Dave Rat of Rat Sound Systems, who has played an integral role in Coachella’s sound systems for 19 consecutive years, designed and deployed the Rat Sound Systems SuperSub SDS30 subwoofers, which delivered massive and consistent low-end frequencies for the many thousands of music fans attending the Sahara Tent.
and L-Acoustics KS28 subwoofers. The Sahara Stage alone featured a system totaling 252 speakers. He knew he needed an extra something in the aforementioned tent to give festival attendees a truly unique and memorable experience. “I think for any live sound reinforcement venue or situation, low frequency is the key for connecting the artist with the audience physically,” he said. “For full immersion in music you have got to be able to feel the sound.” Enter the Rat Sound Systems SuperSub SDS30. At 32-inch x 32-inch x 42-inch, the SuperSub is less than 25% percent larger than the popular world class double 18-inch but provides significantly more output down to much lower frequencies. “The SuperSub is as loud as 2 to 3 very high quality double 18-inch but takes up nearly the same truck space as one,” Rat explained. This not only allows Rat to put out tremendous bass from a deceptively small package, but also save a significant amount on trucking. “You multiple that power ratio out, and since they are self-powered including amp racks, we see about a 50% truck space savings. So, we’re using less real estate under the stage and less in the truck, which is a tremendous advantage. Bring less, get louder!” INSPIRED DESIGN “My inspiration for designing the SuperSub came from seeing Powersoft’s M-Force moving motor product,” Rat recalled. Powersoft M-Force, an innovative transducer based on a patented moving magnet linear motor structure that differs from a traditional moving coil, leverages its unique design to deliver remarkable power handling, electromagnetic conversion, reliability and maximum SPL. “I had been working for quite some time with the use of metal tubes and wooden tubes in loudspeaker design and seeing the M-Force product and some of the other enclosure designs that had been built out of that product, I felt that I could do something special with this.” Rat explained how his unique enclosure design also maximised the performance of the Powersoft M-Force: “If you look at a high-pressure gas line or high pressure water line, they are all in tubes because a tube won’t expand or contract. You can take rectangular enclosure constructed with 2-inch thick plywood, mount a powerful enough speaker in it, and the
FESTIVAL IN MOTION As Coachella itself has grown and changed over nearly 2 decades, Rat Sound Systems has seen its sound needs evolve as well. “Coachella has grown quite a bit over the years, and it’s probably one of the more challenging events in the world from a sound perspective,” he said. “The challenge is the massive coverage areas, minimising offsite sound and the need for premium quality and consistency.” These unparalleled demands have made it a proving ground for the boundary-pushing audio technologies. That inspired Rat Sound Systemss to harness the power of Powersoft’s M-Force via his SuperSub subwoofer, setting a new standard in low-end performance in the process. BRING LESS, GET LOUDER Rat Sound Systems put together systems for 7 of Coachella’s stages that utilised premium L-Acoustics loudspeakers including K1 and K2 mains 12
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walls will flex and vibrate. But if you mount that same high-power speaker in a metal tube, the amount of expansion and contraction of the tube will be fractions of a millimetre instead of half an inch or a centimetre. So, by putting the M-Force motor in the tube and the tube in a square box, and making the ports the corners, I can get really long ports in a very rigid high Q enclosure. This rigidity, lack of box resonance, long port length and bandpass enclosure design, all combine to create an attractive subwoofer with amazing low frequency response, very high output and clear and defined output in the upper bandwidth.”
go. We don’t want the production offices overwhelmed, for instance, and we don’t want to blast people miles away and induce complaints. Our concerns are to not only to give the attendees and experience to enjoy and remember, it is also to respect the neighbors and adjoining community by minimising the sound radiated offsite. This is no small or simple task to balance these two very important aspects.”
DEEP POSSIBILITIES Rat knows that he has yet to reach the full potential of what the Powersoft M-Force motor and the SuperSub design can achieve. “To use the SuperSub UNFORGETTABLE AND ULTRA-RELIABLE LOW-END to its full potential, I would need to work with an artist who writes music With 18 SuperSubs positioned front and centre and complementing the that utilises its full frequency response,” he said. “Right now, most music massive L-Acoustics system, Rat was able to deliver a unique and powerful is designed for existing hardware which tends to struggle below 30Hz, so low-end reinforcement. In addition to peak sound performance, the if you have loudspeakers that go lower than anything else, that’s an area M-Force motor provides the SuperSub with another valuable attribute: that has been relatively unexplored.” Rat sees exciting opportunities to reliability. “We’re doing 2 weekends, back to back, each 3 days with 185 reproduce frequencies that we already enjoy in the natural environment. bands per weekend,” Rat explained. “Combined with environmental factors “As it stands nobody even makes a pro touring speaker that will like temperatures - both hot days and cold reproduce the fundamental low C note on a piano days - windy days, dust storms, and the sheer - at around 16 Hz. But with Powersoft M-Force, number of hours, you need a really tough sub.” that’s finally within reach. We’ve got to do this!” The Powersoft SuperSub and its M-Force motor In the meantime, Powersoft’s M-Force will held up to the demanding conditions, performing continue to help Rat deliver memorable sonic without a hitch throughout the duration of the experiences everywhere he takes his SuperSubs. “We’re after optimal coverage, festival. “Coachella is a great festival because each Sheer output is not the only sonic goal of year it really pushes us to come up with quality an enhanced and memorable the Powersoft SuperSub. “We’re after optimal solutions that take things to the next level,” he low frequency experience. The coverage, an enhanced and memorable low stated. frequency experience,” Rat said. “The incredible “They ask us, ‘How can we make it better than incredible magnetic strength of magnetic strength of the M-Force makes it faster last year, how can it be the best?’ And by pushing the M-Force makes it faster and and harder-hitting than any double 18-inch us they enable us to push the whole industry to speaker or 21-inch speaker I’ve ever heard.” bring things to the next level. It’s fun and exciting harder-hitting than any double Their punchy, controlled depth delivers plenty of for us to utilise new technology like the M-Force 18-inch speaker or 21-inch impact for Rat and his team. to create an experience that will be special and “For Coachella in particular, we pay quite a bit memorable for so many people.” speaker I’ve ever heard...” of attention to low frequency control,” Rat said. TPi Dave Rat, “We’re trying to saturate the audience without www.powersoft-audio.com President of Rat Sound Systems having sound going places we don’t want it to www.ratsound.com 14
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Allen & Heath lends tour support Coachella 2018 also had myriad Allen & Heath dLive systems in use on multiple stages in support of a wide array of musical acts, from pop star Hayley Kiyoko (who has racked up over 175 million YouTube views for her music videos) to the alt rock quintet, The Neighbourhood, including additional sets from BØRNS, Nile Rodgers & Chic, Nothing But Thieves, and PVRIS. In addition to supporting major acts in a traditional FOH / monitor scenario, the company utilised Allen & Heath compact Qu consoles deployed to cover production duties. Allen & Heath Qu production desks kept house music playing as FOH consoles were swapped in and out from act to act, served to support VO mics, and carried ‘shout box’ communications for production staff across stage positions and from monitor world to FOH. Praised for its intuitive workflow and tiny footprint, the Allen & Heath dLive C1500 Control Surface was a popular choice across Coachella festival stages. The Allen & Heath C1500 is the first rack-mountable surface for the Allen & Heath dLive system. Packed in a diminutive frame are 12 faders over 6 layers, built-in audio I/O, an audio networking port and a 12-inch capacitive touchscreen. All Allen & Heath dLive Control Surfaces pair with a MixRack to deliver 128 input processing channels, 16 stereo FX returns and a configurable 64
bus architecture, all at 96kHz, while providing class-leading latency of 0.7ms. Michael Bangs, Allen & Heath USA Live Sound Touring Manager commented: “Sometimes coming into a festival environment as a visiting artist is a real pain - getting a large mix surface into the FOH position is frequently just impossible. We saw many acts bypass this limitation with the (Allen & Heath dLive) C1500, carrying in a flyable 19-inch wide desk with the horsepower and capability of desks literally 4-5 times the size.” In addition to traditional FOH / monitor console support with Allen & Heath dLive, compact Allen & Heath Qu Series mixing consoles were deployed to cover a wide range of production duties. A number of Qu production desks were used to play house music while FOH consoles were swapped from act to act, support event announcement playback and carry ‘shout box’ communications for production staff across stage positions and from monitor world to FOH. “While engineers love to drool over high-end desks like dLive, it is easy to forget some of the unsung production gear heroes of these types of shows,” noted Allen & Heath USA Marketing Manager Jeff Hawley. He added: “Many times the flexible and rock solid operation of consoles like Qu are the key to keeping festivals running smoothly.” TPi www.allen-heath.com
VER breaks records VER broke records at Coachella 2018, supplying all of the lighting and screens control for a Coachella headliner along with all lighting for Eminem and French Montana. Commenting on the production, VER Lighting Crew Chief, Joe Gonzales, said: “No one has done what we did at Coachella this year. This was the biggest headliner mainstage production brought to Coachella to date. This production wouldn’t have been possible without everyone working as a cohesive team, starting with the artists and the team behind them, the creative director, lighting director, the Coachella Production Staff and my VER Lighting Crew. In my 26 years in the industry this was definitely a once in a life time experience.” TPi www.ver.com
eps America delivers ground protection
eps america, a subsidiary of the German infrastructure service provider eps, has worked alongside Coachella 2018 promoter Goldenvoice for more than 5 years. The cooperation began with eps GIGS stage barriers and ground protection. In 2018, eps delivered further equipment to the ever-growing festival. The company utilised GIGS stage barriers at the 6-stage festival; featuring 600 GIGS straight elements which is in total about 2150 linear ft. A further 17 eps GIGS barriers featured outside and 8 eps GIGS barriers inside corners allowed to curve barrier lines in high pressure areas. For some customised barrier lines, eps america used 58 eps GIGS Varios and 4 eps T-Corners, while 3 eps GIGS multicore and 4 eps GIGS Multicore Access Gates allowed cables to break through the barrier line. Aren Gelfond, Director of Project Management eps america, said: “In many ways, Coachella is the kick off for the festival season and we were able to kick it off with a bang! The growth of the festival is well illustrated
in the major makeover to The Sahara Tent From larger stage runs and the growing VIP viewing areas, we were ready to work with all involved to ensure success on all sides. It was a please to be part of the growth.” On site eps america also installed 4 eps’ GIGS Truck Gates; wide enough to allow vehicles through but can also be used to limit entry of attendees, protecting an area from being overcrowded. Opening outwards, they can be released quickly should there be the need to evacuate. Additionally, eps america delivered LD rolls, that were in use backstage to help bring trailers in and out. After all, it also minimised the damage to the grass. eps america tipped all trucks on 9 April 2018 and started to build the following day, built throughout the week and with some minor tweaks on 13 April 2018. TPi www.eps.net 18
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SAM SMITH: THE THRILL OF IT ALL The soulful Londoner was back on the road following the release of his second album, The Thrill Of It All, which he consequently toured live thanks to an ambitiously creative production team. TPi’s Stew Hume spoke to the crew behind the theatrical stage show.
Sam Smith rocketed to the top of the charts with his first album, and has since become one of Britain’s the most sought-after exports. He also has a multitude of incredible career milestones already under his belt; after all, it’s not every day an artist gets to write a James Bond theme tune after only 1 album... Riding this wave of success, 2017 brought the singer’s sophomore release, The Thrill Of It All. Now an established name within the industry, Smith was keen to make an impact with the supporting tour. The result; a stage show that was equal parts epic and intimate, with a high-class Broadway finish. From the beginning of the campaign, Smith was adamant this production would be ‘theatrical’ in every sense of the word. From big set pieces to a lighting rig that evoked real drama to parry the emotional content and grandeur of his back catalogue. “Before the first single was
released, Sam had a very clear vision,” began Creative Producer, Lee Lodge who spoke to TPi from his LA office. “Sam had spent a long time crafting this release and he had many ideas of how he wanted to perform the new songs.” Lodge’s main responsibilities as Creative Director were to ensure Smith’s ideas came to fruition and to assemble the creative team who would help the singer facilitate that goal. “During our first meetings we discussed everything from the promotion campaign and proceeding arena tour. One of the things that came up continually was this term ‘theatrical’. We wanted to create a show with a scene of space that was living and breathing and which created a narrative throughout.” Following the initial talks between Lodge and the singer, the pair created a vague conceptual wish list of elements, one of which was a 20
structural object designed to push the narrative throughout the show. After setting up a range of meetings with several experienced theatrical designers in New York, in walked Jason Sherwood, who ended up taking on the role of Set Designer.
Brooks also described some of the goals set at the beginning of the project: “The creative team were always insistent the stage had to be clean. From the very beginning they were working on a concept without a crowd barrier, meaning we had to create a stage set where the audience would see no cables. From this moment on it was clear the stage would have to be bespoke to keep it looking as slick as possible. We worked tirelessly to give each and every part of the stage a classy finish with gold leaf trimming. It gave an almost high-end hotel look which perfectly complemented the aesthetic of the show.” But it wasn’t just the exterior that required a great deal of attention from the Brilliant team. “The underworld for all the techs was of utmost importance, and had to fit in with the clean look of the show. We built them a station underneath the main structure as well as a dressing room for Sam’s quick changes.” But one of the most noteworthy elements of the underworld was a feature the crew affectionately nicknamed the Sam Sled. This souped-up mining cart shot the singer from the upstage to the very tip of catwalk in the middle of the arena for the start of the show. “As a little personal touch, each frame of the stage which he shot passed every night had a little London Tube stop sticker - just to give him a little taste of home,” said Brooks. “On paper, it might seem to be a fairly simple set piece but in fact it was quite a feat of engineering,” continued the Director. “The main outer shell of the shard, opened like a flower during the song, Writing’s On The Wall, effectively becoming a 50ft cantilever. Also within the structure we had integrated fabrics that could be used as a projection surface with in-built Sniffers, which would have the material disappear in a matter of seconds.” Supplying fabrics for the tour was J&C Joel. Head of Creative at J&C Joel, Oliver Marns, commented on the event: “This was yet another incredible project to work on with the team at Brilliant. We’ve worked together for many years and have a great relationship. When we got the call we
MAKE IT TO ME “This was very much my first live music tour,” began Sherwood, reminiscing about his first foray into a new realm. “From our first meeting, both Sam and I hit it off and we started throwing around ideas for the look of the stage. Although this was my first music tour, I found many of the principles to be similar to theatre productions. You have a source material and my role is to support and elevate it to the masses. The main difference has been getting used to the logical factors you have to consider while making a touring set.” However, the Set Designer was quick to compliment the work of Production Manager Wob Roberts and Stage Manager Brian Wares, who were able to keep the show looking great night after night. Sherwood explained the origins of the aesthetic: “Through the initial visual discussions, we wanted to have a set that would really reflect his music and developed as the night went on.” This would take shape in a large shard structure overlooked by an upstage circular stage piece. “The shard very much became a narrative device for a relationship,” explained Lodge. Throughout the evening the structure altered its appearance and like a Russian doll, revealing multiple layers, and reaching its climax during the encore when a spiral staircase was unveiled, on which Smith performed his encore. Brilliant was drafted in to create this bespoke stage set. Director of Brilliant, Ben Brooks recalled how the company entered the fray. “This was an exciting show for us as we have so many new assets out on the tour,” he began. “We supplied the tour with 5 of our new electronic drive scissor lifts as well our very own Brilliant Automation Console for all our various elements of automation.” 21
immediately understood what was required from us for the drapery package to compliment the rest of the set. The fabric for the shard was selected following the production of several samples and after intensive projection and lighting tests. The company supplied a centrepiece 10m diameter circular black Voile drape which was set in front of the midnight PVC Projection screen both of which were fixed to the custom circular frame designed, fabricated and assembled by Brilliant. Furthermore, J&C Joel manufactured a custom blackout cone shaped drape from its Mercury fabric, along with triangular drapes which sat within the shards. Also present were drop drapes for the inner shard from which Smith emerged from the sub stage. Additionally the company provided metres of masking drapery made from its 3m wide IFR Molton; numerous sections with notches and cut outs to allow for the attaching of lighting fixtures and speakers to the stage. Marns concluded: “As one would expect with a set as large and complex as this, there were many technical challenges along the way, but these were overcome with the input of Brilliant’s team – they are real problem solvers. The result was one of the most visually stunning shows I have seen in many years. The clean, simple look of the show belies the creative, technological and engineering work involved.”
all the way to the production rehearsals it has been a fantastic process.” Sherwood echoed this statement: “Tim’s lighting design fit so wonderfully with our designs and the overall narrative. His approach was very reserved sometimes opting to just use a few single spot lights for some of Sam’s most intimate moments.” Working alongside the creative team was Neg Earth Lights which provided lighting, rig automation and special effects, with PRG XL Video supplying video. Routledge relayed some highlights from working with the project. “With this show, each set piece and staging element has between 4 to 5 jobs,” enthused the LD. “Take, for example, the upstage ‘sun’. This 12m circular structure creates several different looks throughout the show, from a massive light box, to silhouette the shard structure, to an epic ring of light. Not only did each set piece have several roles, but each could not conflict with one another. The eclipse couldn’t affect the ring or the graduated disc of light. The sun has a depth and movement that could not be created with video, we never just turn it on, it breathes it animates and it graduates and is one of the real beautiful elements of the show. “In the upstage circle rig, we had an extensive array of fixtures including 24 Martin by Harman Atomic 3000 LED strobes and 52 Solaris Flair Q+ at 50 degrees with a further 80 Solaris Flare Q+ 70 Degrees surrounding the circumference. But the goal was to create a cover that could show the fixtures for one song and hide them in the next.” Thus, began a research and development challenge between Routledge and Brilliant. “I had this idea during the development stages to use the same technology you see in office rooms and hotel bathrooms, where at a touch of a button a surface goes from transparent to translucent after passing an electric charge through the material,” explained Brooks. “This technology is usually used in glass - less than ideal for touring - but we ended-up finding a tourable solution. The result was phenomenal. At a touch of a button you can see all the various fixtures on Tim’s rig then the next they are completely hidden from view.”
GOOD THING Working alongside Lodge and Sherwood to provide lighting for the epic stage set was Tim Routledge. “I was brought into the project to collaborate with Jason who was new to the world of live touring bringing this stunning set to life,” began the LD. Routledge spoke candidly about having slight apprehensions when entering a project. “Jason was very new to the touring world so I was brought in to help sculpt his concepts and ideas,” he explained. “But what could have been quite a clash of worlds honestly became one of the happiest productions I have ever worked on. From the first renders, 22
Lighting Designer, Tim Routledge; Creative Producer, Lee Lodge; Set Designer, Jason Sherwood.
Moving away from the upstage elements Routledge outlined some of the other elements of the rig. In the roof the LD’s lighting plot reflected the triangular stage below. The rig consisted of 9 parallel trusses holding the show workhorses – the Robe Spiiders. “They give me 1,000 options in one tiny fixture,” enthused the LD who deployed a total of 75 throughout the rig. Also used to the edge of the truss were 52 GLP impression X4 Bar 20’s. Adding to the drama through the later part of the show was a Kinesys system which allowed alternate configurations of the triangular roof truss and yet more versatility to the stage show. For followspots, Routledge used the Robe BMFL Blade in combination with the company’s RoboSpot BaseStation. “The control it gives you as an LD is really invaluable. It opens up so many opportunities like manning several fixtures with one remote and doing simultaneous colour changes. This kind of control would just be unthinkable using the traditional followspot operators. Also from a design point, having all your spots in the rig makes the whole show just feel more complete.” On the floor of the stage the LD utilised the Robert Juliat Dalis 862’s as a footlight to outline the edge of the stage. “They are simply stunning and unique fixtures and I used them to illuminate both the band and Sam as well as accent the entire show plus they give our stage a volume of light from the ground up which is visually gorgeous. They are able to produce both cold and warm light at low and high intensities. The first time the audience sees Sam is in a cold single spotlight and halfway through the song I crash on a few floor lights at his side, and we gain our first glimpse of his face which is a truly special moment. Crashing between low level warm light to a full level cold is truly epic”
Aiding Routledge in the creation of the show was long time Lighitng Programmer Tom Young. For the tour itself, the show was handed over to Lighting Director Louisa Smurthwaite. “It’s the first time I have worked fully on a project with Lou and choosing her has been a great experience and a really good spirit to have in our team,” commented Routledge. The entire set both stage and shard are edged in gold relief and hidden inside returns are long runs of Light Initiative Intelliflex product that enables the entire set to be outlined without seeing the LED. Routledge explained: “We wanted to grow the shard and not just turn the LED on, with intelliflex we can slowly trace the outline of the set from the ground up revealing the shard and stage in total negative space that is effectively drawing Jason’s set in light in song 1 before it becomes a solid structure.” Contributing lighting and staging was Studio Moross, which produced the video content for the show along with video supplier PRG XL Video. “From the beginning of the project Sam wanted the show to be very architecturally focussed and wanted to avoid video content,” explained Lodge. Routledge continued: “Kate from Studio Moross produced textures which gave some movement to the shard when projected onto the object. It was a very subtle effect and does not overpower the show as is the nature with video a lot nowadays.” PRG XL Video also supplied the projection package of 4 30K Video Projectors as well as the IMAG and video package for the tour. LIFE SUPPORT Ensuring all the pieces of the tour were pulled together each day was Production Manager, Wob Roberts. The PM was brought on board almost a 24
SAM SMITH year prior to the tour. He began: “Having that amount of time was a massive help in budgeting. Our collaboration with Brilliant was fantastic as we got a lot of the set built way before rehearsals began. Elements like those really help the whole process and you end up getting a good deal with all the suppliers.” All the visual suppliers for the tour were long time collaborators of Roberts. “I think I was Brilliant’s first ever customer,” laughed Roberts reminiscing about tours of old. “It’s a similar deal with Neg Earth Lights and PRG XL Video. Admittedly it been a few years since doing a tour with Neg but they were very much on my wish list for this run. They always have the best kit.” The PM outlined some of the logistical challenges with the tour. “Credit has to be given to Brian Wares, our Stage Manager. This tour’s success is thanks in part to his system of getting the show loaded in and out every day. From my standpoint as PM, my main concern is to ensure your crew get enough rest. It’s the only way for people to survive. The goal was always to get to a 3-hour load out and start at 8am in the morning. We managed to get that by the end of the UK run which has helped on the European leg we are on now. That is down to Brian and our crew of truck drivers.” TOO GOOD AT GOODBYES “From the beginning I was keen to ensure this was an open creative space,” said Lodge, delivering his final thoughts on the tour. “There were never any clear divides between design and lighting and the rest of the production team. It was probably the most open production I have ever been involved in. “With that being said, you can have all the technical expertise, but the one element that really made this production a success was Sam. He knew exactly what kind of arena act he wanted to be. This clear vision from the get-go meant we were able to create a show I think we can all be very proud of - and one I’m sure his fans around the world are going to love.” The tour continues in mainland Europe through to the end of May before
heading out for a 3-month stint in North America. TPi Photos: Kris Goodman & James Barber www.samsmithworld.com www.jasonsherwooddesign.com www.timroutledge.co.uk www.brilliantstages.com www.negearth.com www.prg.com/uk/en www.jcjoel.com www.studiomoross.com
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TRANSMISSION FESTIVAL ASIA: SPIRIT OF THE WARRIOR Returning to Bangkok for a second Asian edition, global trance extravaganza Transmission once again turned to trusted audio supplier Audio Plus to deliver the festival’s now-essential Funktion-One sound. Over the past 12 years, United Music Group’s Transmission festivals have become world-renowned for providing the ultimate in indoor EDM experiences. Each event is designed to deliver an evening of high-quality DJ sets, woven together into a single themed show and elevated to the level of mind-blowing spectacle by an expert behind-the-scenes team of suppliers and designers. Serving up a night of progressive house and trance to an audience drawn from over 60 nations, Transmission Festival Asia 2018 was no exception. Taking place on 17 March, the festival returned to the Bangkok International Trade and Exhibition Centre (BITEC) for a second year, bringing with it the Spirit of the Warrior show that had already wowed audiences in Prague at the end of 2017. In typical Transmission style, specially created video content swept across the stage’s giant shield-shaped video screens, linking each of the night’s top-name DJ sets into one continuous narrative. Intense bursts of pyro, laser and light, bolstered by live performers, provided an overload of visual awe throughout, while a combined Funktion-One Vero vertical array and Evo system - supplied and fine-tuned by UK-based Audio Plus delivered the all-important mix. Transmission first launched in 2006 with a trio of shows, before quickly settling into its annual rhythm at Prague’s O2 Arena. In 2014, the festival ventured beyond the Czech border for an additional event at Bratislava’s Ondrej Nepela Arena and since then has become truly global. Shows are now held in Melbourne and Bangkok, delivering the same programme of intense, thematically linked DJ sets to all 3 continents.
Audio Plus’s involvement began in 2009, 2 years after Transmission’s move to its regular Prague home at the O2 Arena. Event organiser and promoter Anco van der Kolk was looking for a PA that could match the impressive visuals on the production, but had been unable to find anything suitable locally. With its gold-standard reputation, Funktion-One became the obvious choice, and so van der Kolk made contact with the speaker manufacturer’s HQ in the UK, beginning a process that would eventually bring United Music and Audio Plus together. In the years since, the shows have evolved and grown, with FunktionOne remaining an essential core ingredient throughout. Thus, when the decision was made to expand into Asia, van der Kolk was adamant that the same high levels of audio clarity and quality should be maintained. No suitable Funktion-One system was available in Thailand, or in the surrounding region, so Audio Plus once again stepped up to the mark, shipping the entire system to South East Asia. As Audio Plus Project Manager Kris Hayes explained, this job isn’t too dissimilar to projects they’ve worked on in the past: “We have been involved in international shows before, especially in and around Europe. With the scale of Transmission Asia, it’s a great opportunity where we were asked to supply a complete arena PA system with crew and transport,” he said. Indeed, it isn’t just the audio that makes the annual trip. To ensure the scenery, lighting and lasers are faithfully reproduced - to match the show experience to the event in Europe - each element is either sourced locally or shipped over. “For Anco it’s about providing the same experience in Bangkok as in Prague,” noted Hayes, explaining that this sometimes 26
Photo: Johannes Krämer
Vero is a large format sound system, which has been engineered for superior levels of audio and operational performance. It was designed and developed by some of the most knowledgeable and experienced audio engineers in the world.
Vero’s unique ﬂying system ensures absolute driver alignment, which guarantees coherency and results in an incredibly immersive stereo sound stage. Angle adjustment can be made under load, allowing for arrays to be transported and ﬂown in a straight line prior to being tensioned to exact angle settings. Load ins and load outs have never been more straightforward. Its meticulously crafted proprietary waveguides and driver technology produce naturally even frequency response and coverage. The result is uncompromised system dynamics, headroom and coherency, which is why Vero is appreciated by sound engineers all around the world.
TRANSMISSION FESTIVAL ASIA
requires some site-specific adjustments. “In terms of audio, we change our system specification depending on the venue. For example, in Prague we fly a set of Vero out-fills to fill the upper bleachers in the arena, but in Thailand out-fills aren’t required because it’s one flat floor,” he added. For this latest Bangkok edition, the audio once again had a FunktionOne Vero vertical array system at its heart. The main arena space is covered with 2 main hangs comprising 5 Vero V60 mid-high enclosures with 60-degree horizontal dispersion, 5 Vero V315’s mid-bass enclosures and 4 V90 mid-high enclosures with 90-degree horizontal dispersion per side. A centre spaced sub array of 24 Vero V221 bass enclosures provides the low frequencies for the whole venue. A total of 6 Resolution 5Ts are deployed as fills along the down stage edge, while 2 Evo 7Ts, 2 Evo 7THs and 2 Evo 7TL-215’s per side are flown as delays. Completing the audio spec are 2 PSM318’s DJ monitors, and amplification comprised of 4 V-Racks (with 3 PLM20K44’s in each rack), 2 PLM20K44’s and 3 Audio Plus ES8 Amplifier Racks (each with 2 MC2 E100’s and an XTA DP448). The bespoke Audio Plus control system includes a DiGiCo SD8 mixer with a custom Lake drive system, incorporating Dante audio networking and distribution. “Vero and the Evo are both fantastic products,” said Hayes. “What Funktion-One have done with the sound of both systems is huge - especially in the low mid range - and the practicality of both Vero and Evo have made a massive improvement to our workflow on site.” According to Hayes, the precise controllability of the Vero system has proved invaluable. “The biggest advantage is being able to control where you’re putting the sound and tailoring it precisely to the venue,” he explained. “Having 3 individual cabinets meant that we could configure the system to our exact specification, using the projection software to ensure we had an even coverage throughout the venue.” This was particularly useful in tackling the challenging acoustics of Bangkok’s BITEC. “The way the rigging system works on the Vero meant we had all arrays flown and trimmed before lunch,” continued Hayes. “It’s such an easy system to fly, even with the language barrier, the Thai locals had the hang of adding cabinets and setting angles on the array as it’s going up!” In fact, Hayes has nothing but good things to say about the Bangkok
crew. “The local Thai production teams are great to work with. They do a few things differently to us in Europe, but they are well experienced in what they do and everything was advanced preshow,” he said. With crew and PA making load-in such a breeze, for Audio Plus the main challenge of being involved in the Bangkok show is the sheer amount of time the equipment is out for. A container-full of kit is loaded up in late January to be ready in time for the one-day show in mid-March. “We won’t see the container back to our warehouse until the end of April, which puts a huge strain on the equipment we have available for that period,” explained Hayes. The whole process, however, is kept as stress-free as possible through the use of Rock-It Cargo, who handle all of Audio Plus’s international transport needs. “Rock-It Cargo have been great in assisting us through the whole process. Their knowledge is invaluable, and we really appreciate the help they’ve given us,” said Hayes. For Audio Plus, the mammoth scale of these events is matched by the sense of satisfaction each successful show delivers. “This is the second year we have supplied Transmission Asia and this year seemed even busier than last, with the crowd really responding to this year’s package,” said Hayes. “The organisers were full of praise for the great atmosphere achieved by the whole team and there was no end of people coming up to us during the show to say how great the sound, lighting, video, pyro and lasers were.” United Music Events’ Anco van der Kolk, also commented: “We always strive to provide the best sound quality at all Transmission events worldwide and with the support of Audio Plus and Funktion-One we have the right partners to do so.” The Transmission ride, however, never stops. Planning is already well underway for the next big show in Prague this October, as well as for the Transmission stage at the Airbeat One festival in Germany - the latter maintaining audio standards with an Audio Plus-supplied Vero system. TPi Photos: Palci www.ransmission.events www.unitedmusic.cz/en www.funktion-one.com www.audioplusuk.com 28
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BACKSTAGE ACADEMY In January 2018, Backstage Academy took to the road to inspire students around the UK to choose a career in the live events industry. Over the course of 3 weeks, MD, Glen Rowe and his team visited 13 colleges and academies in a tour that traversed the country from Truro to Pontefract, via South Wales.
Rowe began: “The creative industries are booming, and I have been fortunate to have enjoyed a 25-year career in touring. Sadly, many never even attempt to join our industry because they don‘t realise how diverse it is. Life on the road is immense fun, hard work and financially rewarding.” Students got the low down from Rowe on the roles available in the live events industry and what skills they would need to become industry-ready technicians and crew. Afterwards, they got to try their hand at loading and unloading a tour trailer in the timed RELOAD challenge. Rowe mentioned: “As well as an understanding of the industry and the courses available at Backstage Academy, we wanted to give them a hands-
on experience of the buzz of working in the touring industry and unloading a tour trailer against the clock did just that.” As an incentive to post the fastest load-in time, Backstage Academy offered a prize of £2,000 in technical equipment. The BRIT School proved to be the speediest at maneuvering flight cases with a time of 6 mins 18 seconds. Alexa Cruikshank, Director of Communications at The BRIT School commented: “Thank you to Backstage Academy and Beat the Street for coming to The BRIT School as part of their tour. It was a fantastic opportunity for our students to learn about the training routes available and the world of production as well as it being lots of fun taking part in the 30
Thank you Beat the Street! Thanks to your amazing team, 510 students, from 13 schools across the UK, were able to experience the excitement of the live events industry and life on the road.
You guys ROCK!
RELOAD challenge. An inspiring day to remember!” many of whom had not been aware of the career opportunities on offer in Of course, it would be almost impossible to put on outreach live events. By the end of the tour over 60% of the students involved stated programmes such as these without the support of the industry. Sara that they were now interested in a job in the industry. Gleadhall, Business Development Director at Backstage Academy Steve Brown is one of the lead tutors at Truro Academy. He said: “This discussed how manufacturers and service providers were very keen to get provided a wonderful opportunity for our students here at Truro College to involved: “When we approached the industry with our idea we were met see first-hand exactly what is on offer at Backstage Academy. Live events is with real enthusiasm. Everyone recognises the need to develop fresh, new a thriving industry with plentiful job prospects, we were very proud to link professionals to join us.” up with Backstage Academy.” Jörg Philipp, Owner and Founder of Beat the Backstage Academy now intends to go back Street and one of the tour’s key supporters stated: out on tour next year. This time with the aim of “I was really pleased to be able to support this reaching a wider and younger audience. Many of initiative. Having a job that takes you around the whom will learn this is the career of their dreams world on one of our busses is a wonderful thing. and yet currently have no knowledge of the I hope this tour inspired more people to consider industry or the vast array of jobs available in it. joining our wonderful industry.” Rowe said: “With young people having to The Beat the Street tour bus provided a great decide on their career paths at 14, it’s important focal point for the tour. As Gleadhall pointed out, they get to understand all the options available it was a real eye-opener to some of those who to them, and the skills they need to get there. For took a look inside: “The tour bus was a real eyeour next tour we plan to go bigger and better with opener for many of the students. The fact that an experience that will really immerse them in there were beds on board was mind-blowing to the activities involved in putting on a live music some of the schools we visited. They hadn’t really event.” considered how a band and its crew could appear If there are any brands or manufacturers that “Life on the road is in Birmingham on one night and in Paris the next. would like to get involved in the next Backstage It gave students a great insight into the touring Academy tour, please contact Sara Gleadhall: immense fun, hard work and world.” firstname.lastname@example.org financially rewarding...” Over the course of the tour, the Backstage TPi Glen Rowe Academy team spoke to over 500 participants, www.backstage-academy.co.uk 32
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THE HARMAN EXPERIENCE CENTRE OPENS ITS DOORS Harman Professional Solutions has announced the grand opening of the Harman Experience Centre in London, situated in Hemel Hempstead - a stone’s throw away from the UK’s capital, but away from the hectic city life.
The new facility expanded the growing global network of Harman Professional Solutions Experience Centres, which already includes locations in Los Angeles, Singapore and Shanghai, and this will serve as the new headquarters for the EMEA region. Designed to showcase how Harman solutions uniquely address customer needs across a variety of entertainment and enterprise market applications, the 25,800 sq ft multi-functional facility including EMEA headquarter offices, demonstrates the integration of brands including JBL Professional, AKG Acoustics, AMX, BSS Audio, Crown International, dbx Professional, DigiTech, Lexicon Pro, Martin, Soundcraft and Studer. “The opening of the experience centre in London represents a major investment in the EMEA region, enabling us to deepen relationships with our customers and greatly expand our presence across critical markets,” said Chris Smith, Vice President, EMEA, Harman Professional Solutions. “Not only will the facility offer customers the opportunity to experience Harman innovation firsthand, it provides our staff with a state-of-the-art headquarters that will allow us to pursue new opportunities with greater speed and efficiency.” The Harman Experience Centre - London is comprised of several dedicated spaces along with the EMEA office space and meeting rooms. The Product Showroom is filled with Harman solutions including Harman’s Connected Retail Experience, Huddle Space, Connected Hotel Room, Home Recording, Networked AVoIP, and much more. The Foyer, Boardroom
and Auditorium are not only practical-use spaces, but also areas that demonstrate Harman solutions for restaurant, corporate, education, corporate, and theatre environments. In addition, individuals have the opportunity to converse with the finest experts the company has to offer, giving customers a deeper insight into the world of Harman. “By opening this Harman Experience Centre, we expanding our robust global network of experience centres and enabling our customers around the world to experience the One Harman Solution proposition firsthand,” commented Mohit Parasher, Executive Vice President and President, Harman Professional Solutions. “From JBL Professional sound and Martin lighting to AMX controllers and Samsung displays, the entire facility is a brilliant demonstration of what Harman products can do when deployed seamlessly together in enterprise and entertainment environments.” Helen Badger, Marketing Director EMEA, concluded: “We are delighted to open the London Experience Centre in EMEA, this immersive space showcases the innovative and ground-breaking technologies that Harman Professional Solutions offer through the professional lens of audio, video, lighting, and control. This space is open for customers and influencers to view the product in an environment that demonstrates how Harman solutions uniquely address customers’ needs across multiple vertical markets. We are looking forward to see how this space is going to evolve.” TPi https://pro.harman.com 34
THE NEW REFERENCE POINT
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PK SOUND BRINGS TRINITY AND GRAVITY 30 TO EDC MEXICO Marking the beginning of the 2018 festival season, PK Sound touched down for its third year in a row at Insomniac’s 3-day, massive outdoor festival, Electric Daisy Carnival, Mexico.
Headlining DJ’s from around the globe gathered at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City in the thumping, colourful community that is Insomniac’s EDC experience. World-class acts like Above & Beyond, Borgore, Deadmau5, Ghastly, Dillon Francis, Rezz, Slushii, Tiesto, and many more flew down to join in on the fun for 2 nights of music that left fans wanting more. For this exciting event, PK Sound assembled a skillful team who were up to the challenge of providing the audio, setup, and engineering for EDC Mexico’s main stage, which was aptly named kineticFIELD. This massive stage required an equally robust deployment from the team, sourcing
from both its headquarters in Calgary and its warehouse location in San Francisco. In total there were 88 Trinity line arrays, 108 CX800 subwoofers, 12 Gravity 30 subwoofers, 40 VX10 compact arrays, and 8 VX12 VIP fills deployed in order to provide a balanced sound in such a substantial area. Add all that gear in with award-winning acts playing their music on a mainstage that featured a gorgeous 2-story tall Gaia figure flanked by larger than life owls, fire features, water features, fireworks, and lasers, and you’ve got yourself one impressive show! Improving on success from previous EDC Mexico deployments, PK Sound added to the depth of sound coverage by setting up a total of 12 36
audio hangs on stage and throughout the main event area. On stage, 2 main hangs and 2 lateral hangs each supported 14 Trinity line arrays per hang. Approximately 200ft from the stage hangs, mid-field coverage was accomplished with 4 additional hangs, each with 8 Trinity line arrays. Taking it even further, approximately 410ft from the stage was another set of 4 hangs, each with 10 VX10 compact line arrays. Now, it isn’t enough to just throw a tonne of speakers on a field and press play. Careful audio engineering and sculpting of sound is required from PK Sound’s team to create the perfect listening environment for Insomniac’s headliners.“We focussed the top 3 Trinity boxes in all 8 Trinity hangs to a narrow dispersion, which increased the high frequency sensitivity and allowed each hang to cover a great distance,” explained Arlen Cormack, VP of Production at PK Sound. Patrons of EDC Mexico who opted for the VIP Headliner ticket packages were privy to a special intimate audio experience. This meant yet another layer of decision-making for FOH engineers working at EDC Mexico. To accomplish this, engineers used PK Sound’s control software to steer the highs and mids away from the VIP section to eliminate the possibility of sound overlap originating from different distances. “The 2 main Trinity hangs had to have the side closest to the VIP section focused inward to ensure the VIP attendees were only hearing the ground-stacked VX12 boxes in conjunction with closest stage right lateral extension” continued Cormack. For the VIP area itself, 2 ground stacks with 6 CX800’s and 4 VX12’s each were placed in locations within the section. These provided a direct sound field and washed out any other sound sources to carefully curate the experience for VIP guests who wanted that little something extra. Isolating the sound sources in VIP proved to be worth the extra effort as both VIP Headliners and EDC patrons got to enjoy quality sound regardless of where they were situated. Moving from top to bottom, PK Sound is renowned for its deep, distortion-free bass, so of course the production team delivered low-end frequencies on a silver platter. This year’s EDC Mexico was the first time PK Sound brought 12 of its new Gravity 30 subwoofers to Mexico. These new subwoofers were complementary to the main CX800 sub wall, which consisted of 36 stacks of 3 subwoofers each. Gravity 30s were placed underneath the mid-field Trinity hangs. The result of adding Gravity 30 subwoofers to this deployment was phenomenal; they provided significant warmth and energy to the field over 500ft away from the stage, and with efficiency and low distortion, too. Music fans enjoyed deep, clear bass throughout the day and well into the night. As another festival season rolls by, the PK Sound team proved that it had what it takes to deal with the constant pressure and challenges, and in doing so had a blast working at EDC Mexico with the Insomniac crew. Collaborating with so many talented acts and experienced crew at one of the biggest shows of the year in South America is something that PK
Sound is well known for, be sure to catch them for future deployments with Insomniac and its talented team. TPi Photos: PK Sound www.mexico.electricdaisycarnival.com www.pksound.ca
PALOMA FAITH The eclectic artist returned with a stage clad in top secret material and a deceptively hefty audio setup. TPi’s Ste Durham visited Liverpool’s Echo Arena to meet the crew.
Having burst back into the charts - following self-imposed maternity leave - with an album as well crafted as The Architect, the socially conscious pop songstress needed an equally classy production to accompany her to some of the UK’s biggest indoor venues. The result was a refreshingly traditional take on a modern pop show - eschewing LED walls and eyeball searing lighting rigs in favour of an innovative and symbolically rich stage set.
and Lighting Crew Chief George Doherty as being key to the flow of load ins and outs. He said: “We have floor fixtures and spares on the video trucks and they come out first of all. We like to think it makes a lot of sense and helps how everything runs. None of the trucks have anything crazy when you open the doors, and even the motor and steel package is small.” After acting as a point of contact throughout the day, Ladkin then suited up - quite literally - to call the show. “Of course, we’re all wearing crew-specific boiler suits at Paloma’s request,” he smiled, “although the tour before us had to wear tuxedos so I think we got off lightly! It’s actually quite nice, as the show is the only part of the day where everyone comes together. It’s still kind of exciting when we all suit up and get in the zone!” The show itself is fairly organic from a show calling point of view, with the exception of a few key set pieces. Ladkin explained: “At the start of the show I shuffle Paloma round the back of the stage and into the understage lift, where we have a different photo gag taped up waiting for her! It’s becoming hard to top each day, and I’ve been in some precarious positions to say the least… “Then it all kicks off with a kabuki drop and, other than a few other little things like chucking mic stands on stage, we just have the walk-around to worry about.” In this section of the show - during Picking Up the Pieces - Faith heads out into the crowd, wending her way through the aisles, dishing out highfives and generally causing hysteria at every turn. “Me and Mark have to follow behind her and clear in front of her, respectively, while she goes on a wander. It’s certainly amusing to see how people react and it’s even funnier when she decides to stich Mark up and run off in a different direction!” Christie Lites supplied all of the lighting kit for the tour, while VER provided video, Adlib provided audio, and LS-Live provided the allimportant set that was built on house stages. Phoenix Bussing and Fly By Nite took care of crew and gear transportation, respectively. Production also made use of Fly By Nite’s rehearsal facilities in Redditch to prepare for the tour, as Production Director at 24/7, Andrew Thornton,
PRODUCTION Much like the majority of the crew, this was Stage Manager Duncan Ladkin’s first full tour with Faith, having been involved with a handful of one-off projects with her through his relationship with Production Management specialist, 24/7 Productions. Ladkin - last seen in TPi for his work on the Shawn Mendes tour - began: “This tour was produced by 24/7’s Andrew Thornton and Production Managed by 24/7 owner John Pryer. Production Coordinator Mark Pickard and myself run the show between us. I’ve basically been dealing with everything stage-based, like getting the show built every day - by which I mean standing in the middle of a room pointing while other people do the work,” he laughed. Although Ladkin was keen to point out the relative simplicity of this 7-truck tour, the show design itself was centred on an ornate set piece that was as delicate as it was intricate. He continued: “We were a little bit worried about the set originally because there’s so much of it, but we decided to leave the build until last, after lighting, video and sound, which has worked well. We also have the advantage that our guys are incredibly capable and the product is great.” “Our main focus is keeping it pristine, and our carps Rafa [Rodriguez] and Darren [Clark] are fantastic at that, despite me moaning at them all the time! The carts from LS-Live are great, so all the fascia just slot in and we strap them down. The fact that it’s the last thing on stage after backline and first one off means there’s less chance of accidents.” Ladkin also acknowledged a pre-existing relationship between himself 40
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explained: “This was my second visit to FBN Studios and I loved it as much as the first. The space itself is the perfect blank canvas for large-scale production rehearsals and rigging is a breeze; I actually cut back on the rigging call due to the simplicity of hanging points. The hotel rooms onsite are very handy to keep key team members close by as well. Scottie always provides a great welcome!” Ladkin added: “It’s our first time with Fly By Nite for trucking and their drivers are great. It’s also Bite Tour Catering’s first tour ever, though we knew we were in good hands, as industry veterans Dan Jones and Emily Cribley run it. The food is amazing and hopefully this is the start of big things for them.”
omnipresent ‘voice of God’ that introduces the album and plays at the start of the show. It also had visual connotations of the symbol of the ‘Mother’; casting its maternal energy over the entire space. This, of course, was very relevant to Paloma as a working mother herself.” This iconic centrepiece was fashioned and provided, along with the rest of the staging elements required, by LS-Live. Shipton commented: “Working with Vince [Foster, LD] and Bullet from LS-Live was a vital part of the process, especially to discover the way the different mirror products would react under light. The tests that Bullet did on developing the sculpted jagged finish also really helped bring the mirror product to life and define the iconic look for the set.” Bullet paid a brief visit to the Echo Arena to explain the finer points of the show-stealing set: “We originally had some flying elements and blinds, which were eventually cut, but we decided to add the upstage circle on Paloma’s request. She wanted something behind her at the top of the stairs to complete the look, so we just used an off-the-shelf 3m circle and cladded it like the rest of the set.” Although it could be seen all over the set, this top secret cladding’s ability to absorb and manipulate light was demonstrated to great effect on the circle itself, where Foster’s intricately subtle cues made it appear to twinkle and pulse under the lights. Think a smaller, disco version of the Stargate and you might get the picture. Shipton added: “Vince and I worked really closely throughout the rehearsal process to develop the lighting looks to ensure that they really added colour and texture to the set design and connected with the music. Paloma also joined us in that process, taking the time from her busy schedule to join us for a lighting session and give her critique on our first pass.” So key was this set piece to both the lighting design and the overall look of the stage that finding the best possible material was of the utmost importance for Bullet. He explained: “We’ve not used the material on anything before, though we did use a similar thing for a one-off Katy Perry performance on The X Factor. Originally we used a kind of tin foil but it ended up looking a bit like a scrunched up KitKat wrapper and didn’t even absorb the light! Everyone fell in love with the alternative and we went from there. “I knew it was going to be impressive either way because of the shape, it kind of reminds me of the ice cave off Superman! Underneath the solid wood backing, there’s hard polystyrene, then plastic cones with the vinyl bonded to it. Any exposed edges have padded coating on them, for safety,
SHOW DESIGN Show Designer Dan Shipton was initially introduced to Faith on a recommendation from Pryer and Thornton, who knew him separately and anticipated the potential for a fruitful and creative working relationship. “I’m pleased to say, they were absolutely right,” began Shipton. “I’m sure it’s no surprise to hear that Paloma definitely knows what she wants. For the tour, she initially provided lots of references and inspiration that I then developed into a design that could work in reality, with her input throughout the process.” He continued: “In the beginning, Paloma sent over a picture of a black mirror, which had been smashed into fragments. This texture became a central reference point during the development process. She was also really specific that she didn’t want any screens and that she wanted a different arrangement for the band that moved away from tradition. “For me, the image of the smashed mirror reminded me of shards of black onyx and I started to imagine what it would look like if the shards pushed up out of the earth like a mountain. This, of course, then developed into the pyramid structure that made the final cut. “In the first round of designs I also played with the idea of mirror and what happens if it reflects itself. This led me down the path of forced perspective with the shape of the pyramid being ‘mirrored’ as a flown set piece above and then 2 side installations that drove the audience’s view back to the top of the pyramid where, of course, Paloma was revealed on her lift at the start of the show.” The team was forced to cut the forced perspective idea during the development process and replace it with a mirror-like circle at the apex of the pyramid. As Shipton eloquently put it: “The structure drew on primeval notions of the sun and the earth but also indirectly references to the 42
| I N S TA L L AT I O N S | G R O U P | S A L E S | W I G W A M | S I G M A P R O D U C T S |
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Above: System Technician, James Coghlan, and FOH Engineer, Andrew Williamson; Video Director, Wannes Vandendriessche; Monitor Engineer, James Neale; Production Coordinator, Mark Pickard.
while the riser package is made up of our rental stock, and custom fitted the Sceptrons instead of just LED tape. “I’d say 90% of the staging is made up from our rental package, with the custom step units and a standard rental lift upstage. All of the sharktooth gauze, kabuki and flooring are stock as well. This has meant we can do the show to a good budget, as well as making sure that the 20% of our kit that the audience can see, looks really striking.”
He continued: “The Claypaky A. Leda B-EYE K20 is a good, fat wash light that I love, while also allowing you to create gobo effects and animation that we needed. The Martin by Harman MAC Axiom Hybrid was another great addition that could give us a solid spot and a cutting beam in one fixture. The multifunctional nature of these fixtures was key to the look of the show for sure. We also installed some Martin by Harman Sceptrons in the stairs that we could chase Paloma with when she was going up and down them.” To control this multipurpose arsenal, which was pre rigged by Christie Lites to speed up load ins and outs, Foster opted for a High End Systems Hog 4. “I’ve been mates with the guys that invented the desk for a long time, and have always been involved in their development,” he said. “We did all of our R&D in front of rave crowds during the ‘90s and the Hog 4 is a direct descendent of that time. I spent many an hour programming raves on these desks and feeding back to manufacturers, so it feels like second nature for me to operate a show on one.” As well as making sure that the set was lit appropriately, the LD also had to remain conscious of the prominent IMAG aspect of the show. “I’m always aware that it’s being filmed,” he said. “But until rehearsals I had no idea where she was going to go! In these arena gigs it’s important for the cameras to display the nuances of the artist’s performance, and that is particularly the case with Paloma. Fortunately, every costume that she wears lights up like a Christmas tree and the band are all in white or silver, so it’s like having a load of extra fixtures on stage!” Foster concluded: “It’s been a relatively easy show to operate as I had the whole thing pre-programmed. It needs to be the same every night because she’s so good at hitting her marks. The only things I take care of by hand are strobe hits and so on. I could never go the whole way and use timecode as I’m simply not a fan of it - some of my greatest mistakes
LIGHTING Aforementioned Lighting Director, Vince Foster, joined the tour at the beginning of 2018, and was another who cited a long relationship with 24/7’s John Pryer as a reason for his call up. He said: “I wasn’t too familiar with Paloma, other than seeing her on The Voice and some other TV appearances, but I was really pleasantly surprised by just how good her music was. She has a catalogue of great pop tunes and she can certainly belt them out. It was a delight to be able to light her on this run.” While the lighting design was heavily influenced by Shipton’s initial vision, Foster was very much involved with the refinement of the look and the selection of the fixtures themselves. “I pointed out that the original black mirror finish would only cause reflections at one angle; not to mention the fact that it could also look like a black blob when there were no beams on it. Dan and Paloma then came up with the idea we have now, and I chose the fixtures accordingly. “First and foremost, Paloma wanted flat floods of one colour, as well as pixelated looks that brought everything to life; and you can do both very effectively with the GLP JDC1. I also use its strobe function near the beginning for a big, open white look, and a ‘ravey’ song towards the end that’s pretty in your face. They also do a good job of creating the front light we needed for such an imposing set.” 44
are some of my best discoveries! There have been a lot of changes since rehearsals - not to mention the fact that you polish the show every day - but it’s always that last 10% of a show that’s the hardest bit to get perfect.”
“The guys in the pit go for head-to-toe medium shots and general band shots, as it’s really hard to capture close-ups of Paloma in portrait from that angle. We get the main close-ups from the FOH, where the angle is much better.” The images came from Panasonic projectors, which were doubted up on each side of the stage, and were cut using a Panasonic AV-HS450 switcher. Vandendriessche continued: “To make everything work in this format, we have an AJA box between the feed itself and projectors. Usually in portrait you cut off the sides of the projector, but then you lose two thirds of the light. Here we put them on their side and put the AJA converter in between, which means we just take a part of the images. We took a 9:16 image and flipped to 16:9, which made it 1080x920 signal going to the projectors, rather than sending a full landscape and cutting it off. You get the same amount of pixels in the end but you get a lot more light through as a result.” On the relationship with his Video Director, Shipton commented: “Working with Wannes was great because he really took time to understand the creative vision and develop the shots accordingly. As the IMAG screens were the only ones in the venue, he also brought to the table some ideas for how we could relate mirrors, prisms and reflections into his live cut. Paloma also really wanted to reference her now-iconic Brits performance of Only Love Can Hurt Like This, and so Wannes added a rain effect overlay to the IMAG to bring this to life.” He concluded: “Everyone was brilliant and we were really happy with the final product. It was so great to do a creative that was ‘real’, rather than relying on screens to create the look. I think that really suited Paloma and the story she wanted to tell with the show. “The crew really stepped up to the plate with building something that had more art direction to it rather than just truss, decking and screens, and they really took care of it for the run, making sure it looked perfect every night.”
VIDEO Video Director Wannes Vandendriessche was another Shawn Mendes veteran that migrated onto the crew for Faith’s latest tour, this time with the sole duty of capturing and displaying live content for the show. He said: “Video-wise, this is very different - we just have the 2 portrait IMAG screens - but I would say it’s more interesting from a camera point of view. They sent me images of what the set was going to look like, and immediately I requested a tracking camera that could run along the downstage edge. With that amount of set you want to show as much of it on screen as you can. There is so much to work with.” Once he’d set his preliminary camera positions, Vandendriessche came to rehearsals with an abundance of units, figuring that it was better to have too much than too little. “It was a nice starting position for sure. I then talked to Dan about colours and filters, where to do monochrome and so on. We have star filters in the camera for some songs, as well as a physical, prism-like filter that we put in front of the lens, which is a wicked effect. It picks out those colour nuances in the screen, gives flare, and really just plays with how shiny and reflective the set is. We tried it at different angles but we found that it could be used most effectively on the long range camera at FOH.” He continued: “Paloma does what she wants to an extent, which is quite refreshing. The guys on cameras are there to catch her, and she does have some choreographed dance moves, but she always keeps it interesting for us! Our job is to make sure the look of the artist is carried over onto the screens. Before you go messy you should make sure you can do it clean then you can mess it up again. Call it ‘professionally messy’.” Vandendriessche ended up with 6 cameras to choose from, in total. The package from VER included 2 manned cameras that were located in the pit, a Sony HXC 1500 manned at FOH, 2 robo cams placed in with the band on stage, and the aforementioned tracking camera, operated by Tour Rigger David Oldham. Vandendriessche explained: “Dave just has foot pedals to move the camera left and right along the track and a joystick to steer it. He gets some great, smooth shots and can get that parallax effect to capture the set and lights in one.
AUDIO While the look of the show was essential in allowing Faith to fully convey her artistic vision, the tour’s audio also had to be at the highest level to project the singer’s powerful vocals. Adlib Audio deployed a CODA AiRAY system to fit the bill; and for anybody who has seen one flown high in an arena as cavernous as the Echo, you will understand that TPi’s first impression 46
Above: LS-Live’s Bullet; Stage Manager, Duncan Ladkin; Backline Techs, Cam Atkinson and Tori Lucion.
was one of disbelief. “Even after a month there’s a psychological thing that happens when you look up and see it - you immediately think you’ve messed up because it’s tiny,” joked FOH Engineer Andrew Williamson. “There’s a tendency to push it, but you have to get over that.” Each of the boxes weighs in at a respectable 40kg, which meant that the audio crew could get the system in the venue and flown with time to spare. The main left and right hangs on the tour consist, in their largest format, of 4 SC2-Fs flown behind 14 AiRAY with 4 ViRAY downfills, and side hangs of 8 AiRAY and 8 ViRAY. There was also an L-C-R subwoofer configuration made up of 6 SCPs each, with HOPS8’s serving as front and lip fills and some APSs doing infills and outfills. The FOH Engineer continued: “I came to the truck after production rehearsals (which is quite an event in itself), and I had to take a photograph - you’ve got an arena system complete with amps, rigging, cabling, all the speakers and subs on dollies on the back of a 45ft truck; flat packed, with about 6ft spare at the back. That’s when I started panicking!” Adlib Audio’s System Tech, James Coghlan, gave his appraisal of the CODA setup: “I’ve been out with the AiRAY on 3 or 4 tours now, doing everything from an orchestral concert to a full-on rock band and it’s been pretty damn good on all of them. It copes with hi-fi, quiet music just as comfortably as it does loud rock ‘n’ roll, and I’d say Paloma and her band are smack, bang in the middle.” He continued: “The system sounds right there in your face whether you’re right on the barrier line or 100m back. We had 12 speakers per side in the O2, which is ridiculous. With another box the portrait screens would have been a bit of a squeeze, but the AiRAY has made it so much less of an issue. Our largest configuration on main hangs weighs 1,040kg, which is mad. It’s unbelievable.” The system was driven by 54 of CODA’s proprietary, 2-channel LINUS10 amps. “I’ve got a Lake LM44 and LM26 backbone doing all the processing along with the Linus Live software, which controls the amps,” Coghlan commented. “The PA goes in at 10am, I’m fleshing out the system by midday, and I’m normally tuned by about 1pm to hand to over to Andy. We use EASE Focus to design the system; they’ve done some really careful measurement of the boxes so I know that what the software tells me is going to happen in the room is what really happens. It’s so accurate, which is great from my point of view as I don’t have to spend loads of time tweaking stuff.” Williamson added: “The first thing I noticed about the system was the low end; it’s probably the tightest I’ve ever heard. Paloma’s MD, who is a Grammy-winning engineer, said the same thing during production rehearsals. There’s loads of clichés I could use! I’ve taken nothing out of it system above 4/5 kHz and that’s unheard of at this level.
“It takes a bit of getting used to, as it will shine a spotlight on a bad EQ or a shoddy mix. There’s no hiding place for you, regardless of what part of the frequency range you’re in. Luckily, James gives me a great sounding system, and Paloma’s voice is very strong too. She’s a very dynamic singer; she goes from loud all the way to very loud! The only thing is that there’s a lot of mids there that have to be tamed.” The engineer selected a DiGiCo SD7 to mix the show. “I like the SDs, mainly because they’re laid out really well,” he said. “I can design my workflow perfectly so I can be lazy when I’m mixing! The Waves integration is great too.” The SD7 had 75 channels to contend with, with most of the EQing aimed at Faith’s voice. To assist with this, Williamson took the advice of MD David Oldham and deployed a TUBE-TECH compressor. “That’s the only bit of outboard I have really, then there’s just a comedy amount of Waves to try and mask my lack of mixing ability,” he laughed. “There’s a lot of dynamic compression going on, which is partly due to Paloma and David’s main request - to have the live show sounding better than the albums.” Williamson continued: “It’s a really tight sound but there’s a lot of crowd noise, and a lot going on musically as well. I’ve got triggers on the drum kit keying all of my gates so I can keep them clean and get overheads and cymbals into the mix without it being an afterthought. I’ve also got noise suppressors on the BVs to back sure the kit doesn’t come ripping through and on Paloma for when she goes out into the crowd.” On stage there was also live bass, bass synth, 2 guitars, keys, percussion, an abundance of Ableton track running un-reproducible sound effects, 3 backing vocalists and Faith herself. MONITORS Monitor Engineer, James Neale, was something of a rarity on the Paloma Faith crew, having joined the fold in 2014, and was well accustomed to the artist’s exacting standards. He said: “She’s very specific about what she wants - in a bit of a peculiar way, actually - but that’s the lead singer’s prerogative. If you were just dialling it in from scratch you might not instantly think that’s how it should be; it’s only after working with her for a while that I realised what she’s after. “It’s a busy stage and she wants to hear it all, though I am constantly lifting and dropping things to help her with pitch and timing. I have snapshots for every song in her repertoire - 66 in total - but I have to mix on the fly within them, and the big global things can change day to day.” When it came to selecting microphones for this busy stage, the audio crew specified DPA for the live drums and a Sennheiser 6000 series with a DPA capsule for lead vocal, while the backing vocalists used Sennheiser 48
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2000’s with an e 965 capsule, and the belowstage guitar amps were handled by a mixture of Shure KSM32’s and 57’s. Other than the amps, the only other stage noise came from the live drums, as Faith and her band all made use of a Sennheiser 2000 IEM system and Jerry Harvey Audio moulds the latter of which was purchased fresh by the singer for her band each tour. Neale went on to discuss some of the challenges he faced: “Although it looks amazing, the stage is very reflective in terms of RF. The big circle has the antennae attached, pointing down; as that’s the only way we could get it to work. I spoke to Tim Sherratt from Sennheiser and that’s their best advice, for something like this, particularly when the lights in the stairs and down the side are spitting out RF as well. It’s not perfect but we’ve overcome the problem to a good standard and it’s definitely one to remember for the future.” The engineer opted for a DiGiCo SD5 at monitors, which has been his desk of choice since 2010. “I’ve need to get around quickly for 75 inputs, and the 5 is really well laid out for that,” he said. “I have control groups and can adjust them to fight against noisy rooms or adding more click. Even in the first song I still have to alter the mix a bit but it’s almost second nature by now.” BACKLINE Backline Tech, Tori Lucion, talked through the intricate setup used by the band and how it was distributed around the complex stage structure. He said: “I’m one of 3, and my world is keys, piano and playback. The Ableton setup isn’t too involved; we have a couple of MIDI controllers on stage, which is all fired by the MD, and I’ve got a little Roland SPD-SX to trigger tracks when he walks out to the front of stage with Paloma for one song. “He’s got an Akai on the end to do Abelton triggers, while the stage left guitarist, Sam, has a couple of amplifiers under the stage. At stage right we have a couple of Kemper amp modellers and a keys rack.” While the current setup sees patch changes triggered manually on stage, the crew aims to have them written into Ableton as playback in time for a busy summer of shows.
“At the moment the Kempers send MIDI commands to a leadless MIDI switcher,” said Lucion. “This runs 3 guitar lines all of which are wireless. All the MD has to do is hit the right patch on the Kemper remote and it chooses the right guitar line.” Backline Tech Cam Atkinson elaborated: “There’s 5 settings throughout the show; an acoustic channel; a dirty tone for his solo section, an Eb guitar setting and 2 relatively crunchy but clean ‘production’ overdrives. The main difference between this and a more traditional amp setup is the fact that no speakers on stage makes the sound more consistent at FOH and makes for shorter soundchecks. “There’s a bit of hesitance from musicians to have everything MIDI, but during the section where he duets with Paloma downstage, he might forget to change the patch. The only option so far is for me to change it manually, but having it built in will avert the need for that.” To account for the redundancy, the crew selected a Kenton MIDI merge box in the back of the Kemper rack that took MIDI from both units, ensuring that all of the changes happen regardless of which system is being used. Elsewhere, all of the track BVs were on the playback system, while the SPD-SXs were used to trigger percussion and drum samples. Lucion concluded: “We were building up until end of production rehearsals, so it was seat-of-the-pants stuff, but it’s been pretty much flawless. There’s been no problems that haven’t been solved by redundancy, which is ultimately the important bit - that’s why you have redundancy in the first place. Things will go wrong, but it’s our job to pre-empt them. In 10 years I think this is the smoothest tour I’ve worked on. Touch wood!” TPi Photos: Sarah Womack and TPi www.palomafaith.com www.24-7productions.co.uk www.christielites.com www.ver.com www.adlib.co.uk www.ls-live.com www.phoenix-bussing.co.uk www.flybynite.co.uk www.fbnstudios.co.uk 49
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MICHAEL McINTYRE British comedian Michael McIntyre was back in UK arenas for his fourth sell out tour since 2009. The record-breaking comic personality brought his Big World Tour to the stage with a little help from Off The Kerb Productions and some familiar crew faces...
After smashing a world record in 2009 - for his first sell-out comedy tour undertaking the most dates in UK arenas - Michael McIntyre went on to become one of Britain’s most popular TV comedians, and his rise to fame soon went global. Almost a decade on from his initial foray into arena performances, McIntyre’s crew remains largely the same. After all, with stats like that, there seems to be little worth changing. At the helm of the production itself, Production Manager Neil McDonald retains his title. He told TPi: “My first tour with Michael was in 2009, and over the last decade I have been extremely fortunate to have been employed as a Comedy Production Manager(!) on a regular basis. With tours comprising 50-60 arena shows across several months, the rise of comedy on this scale has been a very welcome phenomenon for the live production industry in general - long may the laughter last…” he smiled. “While it’s obvious that nothing within the production itself is there to distract from the jokes, the promoter - Off The Kerb - insists on maintaining high production values and presenting a show that will keep audiences returning year on year. It appears to be working. This is Michael’s fourth arena tour, and will see him perform in front of half a million people, including 10 in his London base: 7 shows at London’s O2 Arena and a further 3 at Wembley.” McIntyre’s popularity is impressive, and so is the elegance of his stage set: a theatrical design fit for audiences in the tens of thousands. McDonald continued: “There are several elements whose importance is a given; every seat must have perfect audio clarity, and the LED screens must be of a size and quality to allow an intimacy to the experience, as far as is possible in these venues. The promoter insists on having large LED screens of the best spec possible.Further to this, the show design is a matter of creative intent. “I have personally worked on arena comedy tours varying from 2-9 trucks... in the same venues. The brief for this tour was initially wide open and several ambitious and bold designs were considered. In the end, it was decided to concentrate on delivering an immaculate but simple look. Perhaps ‘classic’ is an appropriate description but in essence, it’s a very simple-looking show which has fit into 5 trucks.” McDonald’s choice of suppliers are: Capital Sound for audio, CoNi Lighting, Creative Technology (CT), UK Rigging, The Appointment Group
(TAG), KB Event and Eat To The Beat for catering. He continued: “The trickiest thing we had to do for this design was to find a way of concealing the set piece, which is literally his name in lights, during the support act, comic Andrew Bird. This is hidden behind the upstage and revealed using a pair of All Access Staging & Productions stage lifts during Michael’s initial entrance. “To some extent, the design is a collaborative effort also involving the promoter and most importantly, the artist. For example Michael decided on the colour for the backdrop, given several options presented to him,” continued McDonald, who worked closely with Nick Jevons (LD) and Mike Parker (Set Designer) & John Gallimore (Production Designer).” All of the suppliers on the 2018 tour have been mainstays for Off The Kerb’s arena tours over the last 10 years. McDonald noted: “The promoter has an admirable sense of loyalty and has rewarded its regular contractors with consistent and extensive employment.” This is also true of the PM himself, whose company Clockwork has been kept busy with McIntyre and a host of other top tier comics as well as festivals and bands over the last 20 years. “There’s never a dull moment. I’m a lucky man!” he concluded. SHOW DESIGN Steve Nicholson, MD of the hire side of Leeds-based lighting supplier CoNi, has worked with Off The Kerb for many years on its arena & theatre comedy shows, and was again the Account Manager for the tour. The show was designed by Nick Jevons and handed over to Donal ‘D’ Reilly for operation during the live shows. Reilly told TPi: “The lighting team has a long-standing relationship with Nick, John and Neil. As a PM, he’s put a really lovely team together on this and again, the results really work. “This is a very theatrical show, which has been brought into an arena environment. “We’re primarily working with the Robe’s Spiider fixtures, which were recommended by Steve at CoNi. They have been perfect for what we need. Our red velvet, velour drapes are amazing to light too; that material has a very clever way of picking up light. And our set piece, which is Michael’s name, looks so beautiful on camera. It is a very simple show, but the key 52
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details are stunning when you look at them individually. “The show is classic but that becomes a challenge in itself: to make it look like it’s easy to replicate. Michael’s brief was to create something classic and theatrical, and I think we’ve achieved that.” Lighting Crew Chief, Richard Hutton, talked TPi through the 2018 rig: “We’ve got 3 main overhead lighting trusses, 60ft long, plus a rear scenic truss, which has a 60ft centre section for the red drape, plus return curves on the ends with black legs, to mask our upstage production areas seamlessly. In keeping with the theatrical feel of the show, all the trusses are bordered, even though it’s all black truss, because even that small detail matters to the overall look of this show.” Like all of the tech departments, the lighting team worked closely with Harry Box from UK Rigging to ensure that cable management was neat & couldn’t impact the look of the set for the audince or the cameras. The fixtures from CoNi included 24 Robe Spiiders (8 per truss), 12 Robe Pointes (6 on each mid & back truss), 12 4-cell molefays (4 per truss), 40 GLP impression X4 Bar 20’s (20 flown to light the drape & 20 on the floor, uplighting the drape), 4 Super Trouper 2kw Xenon followspots - a main & a backup each side. Hutton continued: “Each of the 4 show treads has 2 runs of RGB LED tape, driven by TLS DMX-controlled LED drivers. The second run on each tread is purely for backup, which we haven’t needed so far. We’ve had no issues, so hopefully the backup will only come on when we test it each day!” The set lettering has individual bulbs which are individual 25W frosted tungsten bulbs. Critically, they have all derived from one production batch, so they all match in colour and brightness. Reilly furthered: “The tiniest imperfection will stand out if the shades don’t match, you couldn’t use LEDs for a job like this sign.” Hutton added: “The set is wired as a single circuit per letter, so we’ve got 24 channels of dimming to deal with that,” he continued. The lighting rig is completed by Avolites ART 2000 power distros and 2 Martin by Harman Ether2DMX8 Artnet nodes - main & backup. “The touring rig takes up 7 DMX universes, so the 8-way nodes mean we still have a spare universe available to pick up house light control, in the venues where that’s an option for us,” Hutton added. Controlling the light show is a ChamSys MagicQ MQ 100 console. Reilly,
who also programmed the show, commented on his desk of choice: “The MagicQ is my favourite console for shows like his. I love working with it; it’s the perfect desk for comedy as I find it to be very intuitive and able to handle everything we need easily.” The lighting crew from CoNi is completed by Jason Braim, Lead Spot Operator & Rachael MacDonald, Lighting Tech & Spot Operator. Set Carpenter, Ben Holdsworth is the man putting Production Designer John Gallimore’s vision into physical form each day, with some help from local crew at each venue. “As you now know, it’s a very simple set, but it takes a bit of work to make it look as clean and smooth as it does; we skim the stage so that the marlin flooring is even. Michael likes everything to be perfectly flat as he walks around so much during his routine. You might not think it, but little details like the smoothness of a stage floor is important to a comedy show. We lay 2-tonnes of chip wood prior to that laying the Marley. “The only other stage task we have is when the letters - which sit on a truss - rise at the start of the show on hydraulic, direct control lifts. The main job after stage safety is staying on top of everything on stage so that it looks pristine throughout the day.” LOUD AND CLEAR Like CoNi, Capital Sound also returned to the Michael McIntyre fold as a trusted tour vendor. Toby Donovan, Martin Audio MLA System Designer, Steve Carr, FOH mixer & PA Tech, supported by PA Tech, Finbar Neenan and David Preston, Delay Tech, made up the sound crew. Sat besides his DiGiCo SD11, Carr, who had never worked with a comedian before McIntyre, told of how he was “really excited” to have become involved with such a high-profile comedy act. “I first met Michael and his tour manager to suss out what he needed from me before we started touring with the full production for some promo shows, which was really helpful for me!” he laughed. “Essentially, it’s one man and his microphone, so I didn’t want to over-think and over-complicate the set-up. “Getting to learn the different sounds Michael does on stage, and understand what he wants to get out of the microphone, was a fun learning curve. Every day is a school day in touring, and this was no exception! Michael does some really interesting sounds with his voice; he’s able to 54
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The lighting crew from CoNi; Set Carpenter, Ben Holdsworth; FOH Engineer, Steve Carr; System Designer, Toby Donovan; ETTB’s Mandy Ledster.
make words pop in such an animated way. Consistency is ultimately the key here. Everywhere we go, those sounds have to been heard the same way in each venue.” The microphone for the job in hand is a DPA d:fine headset. “I inherited the mic choice, but I must admit, it really suits his voice perfectly - I wouldn’t suggest using anything else but this DPA model. The trickiest aspect of dealing with a comedian, I’ve found, is the changes in the voice due to moisture, which requires tuning on the fly,” he added. For the vital mix, the DiGiCo SD11’s tiny footprint may not seem like a typical arena desk, but for Carr, it’s “the perfect tool for a show like this; it has everything I need for a one-man show with no compromising on sound quality that you might expect with a smaller desk.” Carr also runs monitors from FOH and there’s a second SD11 in the monitor position as backup should an audio crewmember be needed. Donovan, who has worked with other top comedians including Alan Carr & Kevin Bridges, joined the conversation: “One thing that we have changed on this tour for Michael is the Martin Audio side fill clusters. Previously, that was accomplished with a flying cluster on each side, but we felt that as there’s some new speakers on the market that would do a good job, we didn’t need them. Plus there was a real desire from the production designers to have a clean & streamlined set, so the less boxes that were in view, the better.” With no in-ears in use, McIntyre uses the Martin Audio DD12 mini speakers for side fill / stage monitors. “That’s enough for him to feel comfortable with the sound during the show,” stated Donovan. The main flown loudspeaker system comprises 28 boxes of Martin Audio MLA, 4 Martin Audio MLD downfill cabinets, 24 Martin MLAC compact cabinets for side hangs, 6 new Martin Audio SX218 subs, 8 Martin Audio DD6 Speakers for infill and a delay system comprising 3 hangs of 6 Martin Audio W8LM, powered by Powersoft X8 amplifiers. The system is running Dante over fibre, it then breaks out into a Focusrite RedNet D16 AES. All rigging, motors and controllers for the audio dept - supplied by
UK Rigging - included CM Lodestar 2-tonne motors, CM Lodestar 1-tonne motors, CM Lodestar 0.5-tonne motors, Global LV12 12-way Motor Controllers, an Outboard Electronics CM6 Motor Controller and 6 8ft Section James Thomas Engineering 30.5cm black box truss. VISION MIXING Also continuing its long relationship with Off The Kerb, Creative Technology - CT - once again supplied an arena video package for McIntyre. It included Infiled ER5 LED screens in tourframes - 8m x 4.5m for the upstage screen and L-R IMAG measuring in at 5m x 5m. Interestingly, the aspect ratio of the main screen is 16:9, and so the IMAG appears to be unusually square. The camera package comprised a Panasonic AVHS 450 vision mixer, 2 Sony HSC300 camera channels with Canon XJ95 lenses at FOH stationed on new Cartoni tripods and a Playback Pro for content playback. CT also provided comms for the crew, utilising Riedel Communications’ Riedel Artist digital matrix. The video crew is led by Giles Conte, Crew Chief and Senior LED Tech, Stuart Rowsell, Vision Engineer, Robin Toye, LED / Camera Operator, Matt Brown, Camera Operator and Ray ‘Moose’ Shaw, Vision Director. Moose took up the story: “Although the simplicity of filming one man on a stage for an entire show like this may seem easy, it comes with its challenges. There’s just 1 head-toe shot for the upstage / centre screen, so the other cameras have to find the mid shot for the side screens, and it has to match up exactly.” There are some instrumental gags that rely on the screens; McIntyre stands in front of the giant tungsten-lit letters to spell out certain words. During the show he even declared: “This joke has never worked until we had these screens!” Moose continued: “We need a wide shot for those scenes, but you also need to see the expression on his face too, sometimes that’s half the joke - watching his performance in detail. In a way, comedy takes more concentration than a rock ‘n’ roll show as there’s no slip-ups allowed with 56
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comedic timing.” Video Crew Chief, Giles Conte, added: “I think this show looks splendid. I’ve been doing these particular kind of shows with Michael for almost 10 years, and as the technology marches on, the video screens we’ve been able to bring on tour with us have gotten better in every way; the picture quality has improved dramatically, the screens are lighter, and they use far less power. The LED screens we have with us now are brilliant. Our rigging has also benefitted with this design, and we’ve been able to make the screen seem as if it’s floating, so the rigging points go through the curtain and the audience can’t see any of the cables. It’s allowed the video to have a great impact on the clarity of the show, while also being seamless within the set itself.” UK Rigging provided a complete rigging service for the duration of McIntyre’s Big World Tour, including pre-event planning, tour riggers, production riggers and the hiring of rigging equipment. Paul Tilbury, Hire and Operations Manager for UK Rigging told TPi: “This extremely popular tour provides us with another excellent opportunity to supply all rigging equipment including some of our latest stock EXE-Rise hoists.”
alongside colleague Cristina Broz. Needham commented: “This is where our expertise enabled us to react immediately, to ensure the travel arrangements for the shows affected were taken care of and rearranged at minimal cost and with ease. Having to make unexpected last minute flight changes and hotel cancellations can be challenging, however having a team of experts onhand meant we were able to respond instantly to relieve the team at Off The Kerb of any worries and the shows were successfully re-arranged. “We have a great relationship with Off the Kerb and I thoroughly enjoy working with them on all of their comedy projects. It’s a long-standing relationship which we hope to further strengthen and continue for many years to come.” CATERING FOR THE NEW ROCK ‘N’ ROLL Mandy Ledster, is yet another returning face to the McIntyre camp, having cooked on his last tour. “I suppose if you get asked back, it’s a good thing!” she smiled, as she talked TPi through the day’s Eat To The Beat menu. It included options such as cheddar scones with pickled celery and parmesan, red pepper soup, various ‘unusual’ salads, tofu & veg pad thai, pork saltimbocca, Bakewell tarts, cheese boards and freshly cut fruit. “I’m a baker by trade,” said Ledster, who had recently returned from cooking up a storm at the PyeongChang 2018. “We create the menus based on the judgment of each road crew; we learn what they like and what sets them up for the day. Michael himself is really easy to look after; his only requests are healthy ones such as avocado, chicken and salmon, plus fresh fruit for his room.” With just 2 ETTB staff on the tour, plus a local runner who is shared with the production office staff, Ledster stated that comedy productions are her favoured kind of touring work. “It’s the new rock ‘n’ roll”, she joked. “It’s a really nice paced tour, and after 20 years on the road, it’s nice to relax a little!” The 24 people being fed by ETTB team certainly seem satisfied with the culinary creations on offer. McIntyre’s Big World Tour continues in the UK, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. TPi Photos: Andrew Benge www.andybenge.com www.michaelmcintyre.co.uk www.offthekerb.co.uk www.clockworkproductionltd.weebly.com www.co-ni.co.uk www.capital-sound.co.uk www.ct-group.com www.ukrigging.net www.globalinfusiongroup.com/gig-eat-to-the-beat www.kbevent.com www.allaccessinc.com
TRAVEL COMPANIONS Favourite Travel Company award winner at the TPi Awards 2018, The Appointment Group (TAG) was the chosen Travel Management Company for the tour’s travel arrangements. Its involvement with the McIntyre camp began last summer when the company was asked to source hotels in July 2017. “During this time we worked closely with Flo Howard and Managing Director Joe Norris from Off The Kerb to ensure all aspects of the touring travel needs were taken care of with ease,” stated Rachel Gosling, Operations Manager at TAG. “The Appointment Group was tasked with arranging all aspects of travel for both the artist and crew parties. The artist party consists of 4 people; including Michael McIntyre himself, and the crew party totals 24 persons with 34 varying hotel stays. “As the tour was starting just 8 months from the time we received the brief, time was of the essence to ensure the very best hotels, at the very best rates were sourced as some of the cities on the tour route were already busy due to other large over the same period. It’s at times like these our strong relationships with our preferred hotel suppliers comes into play, meaning we’re able to source great rates even in the toughest of situations during busy, peak times.” The tour didn’t come without its challenges, however. The snowfall across the UK at the beginning of March caused some last minute, unexpected changes to the schedule (of the theatre section of the tour) resulting in the cancellation of several shows for the safety of the public. Penny Needham from TAG handled all aspects of the travel for this tour 58
Mav•er•ick | ˈmav(ə)rik | n: Someone who refuses to play by the rules. NONCONFORMIST.
PLAN B As a singer, actor, director and rapper, Ben Drew never fails to surprise, switching style and medium to suit whatever stories he needs to tell. After a 5-year absence, the artist recently returned to the road with a 7-date underplay tour designed to showcase a fresh message and a new, expanded sound. TPi reports...
Plan B is clearly an artist who follows his heart. Having achieved massive critical and commercial success with his 2010 album The Defamation of Strickland Banks, the singer fearlessly took a darker, more hip-hop heavy turn with 2012’s Ill Manors - a soundtrack to his feature film directorial debut of the same name. Along the way he has attracted the avid appreciation of new fans while totally wrong-footing others, but with each new step Plan B (real name Ben Drew) has been sure to make the music he wants to make. Unsurprisingly then, his latest album again delivers something a bit different: a mix of musical flavours, from soul to hip-hop to reggae to dance, all sitting side by side - the culmination of Drew’s 5 years away from the spotlight. Aside from a pair of one-off appearances in 2017 - at Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Hull and at London’s Globe theatre - this 2018 tour was Plan B’s first proper outing in some time. When TPi met up with the crew in Manchester it was on the first night of a 7-date underplay run that would introduce this new set of sounds to an expectant audience; a tour lasting just 9 days, straddling the new album’s official launch - set to coincide with an appearance at the O2 Academy Brixton. On this tour, the music took centre stage. Technically and logistically things were kept simple: absent were the video and pyro that have formed a key element of previous tours. Instead the focus was on delivering the perfect sound, and achieving rich visuals using a pared down lighting package.
For this underplay run, however, he took on full design duties, absorbing conceptual elements from those pre-tour dates and using them as the starting point for a completely fresh show, developing and evolving them to create visuals that properly reflected the multi-style set list. Thematically both album and tour are inflected with a ‘neo-verse’ identity - a post-apocalyptic undercurrent that would of course have been more easily conjured if video content had been available. Instead, Crowther relied solely on lighting fixtures, a challenge he embraced with relish. “I initially aimed to keep things relatively simplistic, taking the ‘less is more’ approach, which enabled me to create subtle yet powerful looks throughout the show,” he said. “We’re certainly pushing to get the most out of the kit, using individual fixtures for a multitude of effects, ensuring we’re able to keep up with the dynamic of the show.” A full lighting package of flown rig and floor package was supplied by Liteup, the company’s first time working with Plan B. A pair of parallel trusses loaded with 14 Claypaky Mythos 2’s and 12 Solaris Flares were used where venue size allowed. Rigging comprised Litec EXE Rise hoists (6 1,000kg and 3,500kg hoists), a Kinesys Digihoist 16-way Controller Kit, 7 3m Litec pre-rig truss units and 3 3m Prolyte H30V truss units. On the floor, 11 more Mythos 2’s sat around the back and side of the stage, interspersed with Flares and SGM Q-7’s. The stage was flanked by 48 Martin by Harman VDO Sceptron 10 strips, arranged into 12 4m towers. As Liteup’s Dan Bunn explained, these were specially constructed for the tour. “Dan was keen that we kept the slim profile of the Sceptron, so rather than using tank traps and pipe to create the towers, we manufactured some custom metalwork to encase the Sceptron strips,” he said. As well as having casing that was no bigger than the profile of the Sceptron itself, Liteup also fabricated custom bases to ensure that the towers were entirely self
TRAVELLING LIGHT Achieving more with less was Lighting Designer & Director Dan Crowther. Crowther initially joined the Plan B team for the singer’s 2 comeback shows in 2017, working as a programmer alongside Lighting Designer Matt Pitman.
supporting, plus a custom Sceptron dolly that allowed the towers to travel The Solaris Flares were another fixture Crowther was particularly in 2m sections, significantly speeding up the load in. insistent on having. “I’d been offered a lot of alternatives, but for me The Sceptron towers effectively frame the stage. Indeed they are a the Flares really are a must-have,” he commented. “I see each Flare as translation of a concept used on the Big Weekend event. On that occasion, essentially 2 units in 1; I can run a cellular effect and then, over the top horizontal lintels of Sceptron were used to create a series of portals on of that, control the strobe element.” True enough, the Flares can be seen stage. While this new, simplified version did away with those horizontal multitasking throughout the show, beating out intense strobe effects and sections, the final effect was similar, with the Sceptron’s well-documented sparkling along to the tinkle of chimes with equal success. multi-functionality providing a rich palette of options for Crowther to play Liteup brought in the Flares especially for the tour, just one example with. “The Sceptron product is great,” said the LD. of how the supplier went the extra mile, noted “Even though we only have vertical strips framing the LD: “It’s the first time I’ve used Liteup and the stage, there’s a lot that can be done with them. they’ve been amazing.” When Crowther needed a The LED products work harmoniously together facility to hang the flown rig and set up the entire to create a stark and artificial feel, contributing floor package for 3 days of programming, Liteup towards the theme.” happily offered up space at their new 15,000 sq ft As well as lending the stage an architectural production facility in Segensworth, UK. “They were solidity, the Sceptrons were able to deliver a series very accommodating, it’s been great working with of neat effects: used with the Flares to engulf the them,” Crowther said. stage in pulses of red during Heartbeats, or to It’s a view reciprocated by the Liteup “I think I sped up the strobing produce flickering, laser-green shards during the team. “Working with the guys has been great,” a little too much and dance-infused Mercy. Perhaps the most arresting commented Bunn. “They’ve been really easy to application was during Lost My Way: as all the work with, always open to ideas and suggestions, suddenly this weird fuzzy look fixtures hit a frenzy of sync strobing, the Sceptrons and very happy to work with us, especially when it happened. It’s purely a trick appear to fuzz and blur, like the distortion of oncame to developing the custom fabrication for the screen camera-shake made real. “It’s something show.” of the mind, but as soon as I I discovered completely by accident,” said For Bunn, Liteup’s ability to deliver is down to saw it I thought, ‘Woah. Okay. Crowther. “I think I sped up the strobing a little everyone working behind the scenes. “Producing too much and suddenly this weird fuzzy look a show like this, from a rental house perspective, That’s staying!’” happened. It’s purely a trick of the mind, but as is very much a team effort,” he said. “As much as Lighting Designer and Director, soon as I saw it I thought, ‘Woah. Okay. That’s I may ‘win the gig’ as the account handler, there’s Dan Crowther staying!’” then a whole team of people that make it happen 62
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Lighting Designer & Director, Dan Crowther; Tour Manager Chris Markland and Promoter Rep, Simon Gallacher; Production Manager, Dave Shepherd; System Tech, Nick Boulton.
past that point. From our Warehouse Manager, Amanda, making sure the kit is impeccably prepped, to our operations coordinator James, who makes sure the trucks are where they need to be when they need to be there, and looks after incoming LD’s and productions whilst they’re with us, we couldn’t produce these shows without them.” This knowledge proved invaluable from a transport point of view. With the flown rig only used on a few of the shows, it was trucked independently. Consequently, the Liteup team worked hard to ensure the floor package was packed as tightly as possible, and so would take up minimal space on the main production truck.
Audio team. BCS now owns 4 units, with a strong likelihood it’ll also buy into the forthcoming line-up of different surface types as they become available. “We’re not a purely Avid house by any means; we’re all about servicing the client, so we buy the desks that people want,” Boulton explained. “But I’ve been particularly happy with these because they don’t go very wrong very often, they sound good, they’re easy to get around and, if there is a problem, they’re so modular that you can just rip them to pieces while the show’s going on and replace bits.” Operating the S6L at FOH was BCS Audio owner, Dave ‘Shep’ Shepherd. “It’s a really good console - I really like the sound of it,” he commented, adding that its flexibility, and the fact the workflow echoes that of a VI6, also add to the console’s appeal. With a bit of help from a ProTools rig and a TC Electronics Finalizer 96K over the drum bus, Shepherd was able to wrangle the busy stage, minimising the effects of spill from the drums being picked up by the BV and lead vocal mics. For Monitor Engineer Tim McAdam, it was the S6L’s compatibility with the old Profile that made it such a welcome addition to this tour. “Scenes are crucial on this show, which is why I used to like the Profile - because it’s so easy to set the scenes up and have recall safes for certain things and not for others,” commented McAdam. “So the fact that it’s the same on the S6L, but in a much bigger frame with a bigger channel and bus count - that’s been great.” With EQs for the singer’s vocals and reverbs constantly shifting throughout the set, the ability to load up old Profile settings from his showfile on to the S6L was a huge time saver. “That was the biggest, draw, to be honest,” said McAdam. “I must admit, the thought of moving on to a
SOUND THINKING In keeping with the simplicity-is-key approach, the tour used an L-Acoustics PA supplied by BCS Audio: 12 K2 and 6 KS28 per side, with KARA and ARCS used as fills. The new LA12’s provided amplification, while the whole set-up is run down a Dante-based drive system. As System Tech Nick Boulton explained, it’s the adaptability of the L-Acoustics system that has made it such a popular choice for tours of all sizes. “It’s really scalable, so we can put the same stuff - but more of it - into arenas and other big shows, but also bring it down into smaller theatres by cutting boxes out,” he said. “It’s a great system. We find it’s very rider-friendly: it flies nicely, it’s safe, it’s quick, it’s easy and it sounds good.” A pair of Avid Venue S6L consoles were run for both FOH and monitors. BCS Audio were among the first suppliers in the UK to buy the new Avid console – an investment that has been fully justified by the S6L’s ever increasing popularity, said Boulton, who joined the tour as part of the BCS 64
different type of console was a bit daunting on the scene side - I’ve got some songs where there are 3 scenes in a single song - it’s very scene dependent.” The increased bus count was another big plus. “I used to have to run half the mixes in mono, whereas now I can run everything in stereo and it all sounds so much better,” said McAdam. “It’s got all the benefits of the Profile, but without all the old drawbacks.” Completing the onstage sound were the artist’s preferred Shure Beta87 wireless mics, with Sennheiser used for in-ear monitoring. d&b audiotechnik M4 wedges were also present, albeit in more of a supporting role. THE ROAD TO CLIFFS PAVILION As the crew ran through final checks for the tour’s opening night, backstage at the Manchester Apollo, Tour Manager Chris Markland considered the 8 days to come - and the 5-year gap since Plan B last took to the road. “It’s a totally different sound, so it’s going to be interesting to see what people actually think of it,” said Markland. “Apart from a couple of singles, nobody’s really heard this before, so tonight is really a baptism of fire for a lot of songs.” Hence the dialled back setting of a shorter, tighter underplay run, providing the perfect forum for audiences and performer to reconnect on new terms. “He loves playing these venues where the audience are close, so I think it’s going to be good,” Markland noted. But it wasn’t just the tech and tour dates that had been kept tight; the crew itself was a streamlined machine with everyone chipping in where required and some even adopting multiple roles. Crew Chief Dean Bennetts, for example, as the only lighting tech on the tour, also took expert care of the lighting package. There were no assistants in sight, no stage manager and, not content with the dual hats of supplier and FOH engineer, Shepherd also took on production manager duties - reviving
the role he played on Plan B’s last outing. On that occasion his job was more PM-focussed, filling in at FOH whenever absences required it. This time round, the smaller scale of the production (particularly the lack of video package) meant his main focus was the audio. “Dave’s been with us from when we did the very first 200-capacity clubs,” noted Markland. “It’s always been BCS. They supplied us with stuff when we had no money at all and they’ve never let us down, so we’d be mad to change.” Certainly, compared to the sell-out O2 Arena shows that Shepherd has overseen for Plan B in the past, this 7-day theatre tour proved relatively pain-free proposition. In fact, as business continues to soar for BCS Audio, the owner’s ability to stay hands-on is actually very useful. “I think it’s import to be able to work on shows so you don’t get left behind,” noted Shepherd. “You really get a feel for what the clients want from a PA company. Plus you can see how your gear’s going together, if it’s going together quickly, how your guys are working... we’re always trying to improve what we do, and take it to the next level.” Shepherd was not the only Plan B veteran on the tour; Tim McAdam has been on board from the very beginning, as indeed has Markland himself. “Ben likes to keep the same faces around him,” the TM explained. “He likes continuity, likes to be able to relax.” A chopped down kit and crew naturally meant fewer wheels on the road. Whereas the last tour required three trucks, this time round the Fly By Nite truck count was down to one (not counting the as-required addition of the flown rig transport). Similarly, the previous tour’s three busses had been reduced to two 16-berth double deck Setra buses from Phoenix Bussing. According to Phoenix’s Sean Gerrard (who took over from the now-
retired Paul Hattin), it’s not just the Phoenix drivers that have made this tour a smooth ride. “Chris Markland is a top bloke and very easy to deal with. He has a realistic view of the world and the restrictions placed on drivers regarding legal working hours,” he commented. “I have to say, it’s been a very easy transition and I look forward to looking after them long into the future.” Though swift, the tour took the team through a gamut of theatre venues, from the smallest at Coulston Hall in Bristol, to the largest at the O2 Academy Brixton - stopping in along the way at Southend Cliffs Pavilion. “That’s going to be interesting,” grinned Markand. “But the crowd will be great there, it’ll be mental - just like the Manchester audience is always good for us as well.” A mere 5 hours later, the Manchester verdict was in. “I feel like the night’s gone well,” ventured Drew from the stage, before launching full blast in to his final song of the night. With a sustained roar of approval, the crowd’s opinion on the matter couldn’t have been clearer: they most definitely agreed. TPi Photos: Shirlaine Forrest www.shirlaine.co.uk www.time4planb.co.uk www.livenation.co.uk www.bcsaudio.com www.liteup.co.uk www.flybynite.co.uk www.phoenix-bussing.co.uk 66
Perfecting the Art of Live Sound Official Yamaha Pro Audio Instagram Account
Opposite: The well-attended Absen press call; Adam Hall’s Nikke Blout and Anna-Rosa Zejnullahu; Adamson’s Scott Shields and Marc Weber; Best buds: Jamie Dixon from mondo*dr and ADJ’s Brian Dowdle; The Allen & Heath booth; PRG’s Festhalle lighting show; The Aura Audio Team; The ArKaos team in action; The Astro Spatial Audio Booth; Analog Way’s booth.
PROLIGHT+SOUND 2018 Over 1,800 companies from 56 countries launched their latest products during the 5 days of Musikmesse and Prolight+Sound. The Mondiale teams from TPi and sister publication, mondo*dr, were on the PL+S tradeshow floor checking out the newest innovations from all corners of the live events industry.
At this year’s ProLight+Sound (PL+S) Absen, showcased its NXTGEN technology featuring the recently unveiled Polaris and Altair range for the rental market. Also on show was the company’s new COBALT platform featuring Absen Chip-on-Board (COB) encapsulation technology and NanoShield technology alongside its HBB (High Brightness Black) with Common Cathode LED driver technology solutions. The NXTGEN COBALT technology has been specifically developed to meet the demands of NPP LED in live event rental applications. Absen has developed the Polaris
Series with COBALT, providing exceptional product stability as LEDs are surface bonded and solid-state. Low surface point temperatures and advanced heat dissipation technology delivers 50% lower pixel failure than traditional SMD LED. Adam Hall Group presented its comprehensive range of products from the pro audio, lighting, stands and stage equipment sectors. This included the LD Systems CURV 500 TS – Compact Touring Array System with AllRound Capabilities. Equipped with 4 array satellites (2 duplex satellites with
Professional Used gear used gear 69
Avid’s Vanessa El Mir and Derk Hagedorn; The team from Av Stumpfl; Koy Neminathan at the Avolites press call; Chain Master’s Alexander Hartung; The Duratruss stando; The team from console manufacturer, Cadac.
twin-speaker configuration and 2 single satellites), the CURV 500 TS has a narrower vertical dispersion for projecting a suitably punchy and dynamic sound, even to the rear of the audience. Other products also on show were the Cameo ZENIT W600 IP65 outdoor LED washlight and the LD Systems MAUI P900 Design by Porsche Design Studio along with the LD Systems MAUI 5 GO, portable battery-powered column PA system. Adamson Systems Engineering reinforced its focus on its global education strategy with the formal introduction of its Advanced Certification training programme at PL+S. The new training initiative builds on Adamson’s Applied Certification programme, which over the past 8 months has been deployed in over 30 countries and attended by more than 1,000 technicians. The Advanced Certification course delves deeper into aspects of design and control as well as discussing electro-acoustic concepts and applications. ADJ once again made a serious impact at this year’s PL+ S with 6 new products. These included the Vizi CMY 16RX, the Entour Faze, PAR Z120. Also seeing its worldwide debut of a new range of weatherproof ADJ LED Par fixtures; the 7P HEX IP, 12P HEX IP and 18P HEX IP. All feature a distinctive metallic casing design with an IP65 rating, making them suitable for use both indoors and outdoors regardless of the weather conditions. Also on display were ADJ’s brand new Design Series video panels which comprise of 4 modular panels of different shapes that can be combined together to create video screens of almost any conceivable shape. Allen & Heath and Shure announced a new collaboration to enable native monitoring and control of Shure’s ULX-D and QLX-D wireless systems from Allen & Heath’s flagship dLive digital mixing systems. With the upcoming release of dLive V1.7 firmware, engineers can monitor supported Shure wireless systems without leaving the mix position. All essential wireless information, including mutes, signal level and battery bars, is visible from bank screens, allowing simultaneous monitoring of multiple channels. Alcons Audio once again ventured to PL+S, deploying a LR28 larger format line array system for PRG’s demonstrations in Messe Frankfurt’s Festhalle. The system comprised 20 Alcons LR28/80, 4 LR28/110 wide dispersion modules and 18 BC543 very high output cardioid subwoofers. The company
also demonstrated the LR28 in Hall 3.1 as well as launching the VR5 ultracompact versatile monitor also attracted a very positive response. Analog Way showcased it’s range of premium media servers and highend video processing solutions at PL+S. Throughout the show the company organised demos showing how Analog Way portfolio of video processors and media servers helps create mission critical high-performance presentations and large-scale digital signage projects. The stand highlights included several models from the Picturall Serises, the high performance heavy-duty media servers and LiveCore series, its 4K multi-output seamless switchers and video wall processor. ArKaos revealed its innovative new An-Ki scheduling system. An-Ki is a new tool for scheduling and monitoring the ArKaos MediaMaster platform, enabling mapped video or LED installations to be maintained from anywhere in the world via the potential of the ArKaos cloud. Working over the internet, An-Ki enables digital content appearing as projections, or creative media on any LED mappable surfaces or devices to be updated, synched and tweaked in just a couple of clicks. Astro Spatial Audio (ASA) brought its brand agnostic approach to true object-based immersive audio at this years show. Throughout the show the company highlighted the deep integration between ASA’s SARA II Premium Rendering Engine and third-party systems including TTA’s Stagetracker II next-generation performer tracking, Alcons Audio loudspeakers, and QLab playback automation software. In addition, ASA debuted the new v4.0 software, incorporating substantial improvements in loudspeaker management, matrixing and show control. Audinate introduced Dante AVIO, a family of cost-effective endpoint adapters that enable audio professionals to easily connect legacy analogue and digital audio equipment to Dante networks. The Dante AVIO series features 6 new adapters including line-in and line-out analogue adapters, a bi-directional AES3/EBU adapter and a bi-directional stereo USB adapter. Each Dante AVIO adapter acts as a completely independent Dante network device, allowing legacy gear to enjoy the benefits of networked audio. Audio-Technica added the ATH-M60x On-Ear Professional monitor headphones to critically acclaimed M-Series Line at this year’s PL+S. Designed for studio, broadcast and mobile applications, the ATH-M60x is 70
a low-profile, on-ear professional headphone model that utilises the same proprietary 45mm large-aperture drivers found in the ATH-M50x delivering exceptional clarity throughout an extended frequency range with accurate bass response. Aura Audio was delighted to introduce A28C, a continuum to the revolutionary A28 Subwoofer at PL+S 2018. Featuring 2 18-inch drivers and patented Passive End Fire Technology in half the enclosure size this subwoofer sets a benchmark for compact cardioid subwoofers in the high power category. Avid was at this years PL+S to show off its latest live sound and studio solutions, including the VENUE S6L, the company’s modular and scalable live sound system that offers unprecedented processing capabilities—with over 300 processing channels. Also on show was Pro Tools S6 systems, as well as the Pro Tools MTRX interface. AV Stumpfl will present its new projection screen system leg, the T-32 Shift, alongside a broad line-up of innovative projection. The T-32 projection screen makes it possible for just one person to easily adjust a mobile projection screen’s height, without having to disassemble it first, taking less than 5 minutes to assemble and adjust an AV Stumpfl mobile projection screen system. The company also showcased several of its high-performance media servers such as the new Wings Vioso RX 2.2 as well as the Wings Engine STAGE media server and the Wings Engine RAW 8K. This year Avolites were pleased to announce its new compact media server, the Q3 along with its light and video integration feature set, Synergy. “The response from the international team was excellent,” said Sales Director, Koy Neminathan. Key features of the Synergy platform include the ability for users to connect and configure its Ai media server from the Titan interface. The Lightmap feature allows users to stream Ai video colour data through any fixture group to instantly integrate them into a larger video canvas. “The Avolites Academy was also an area of key importance as we are now rolling out
Chauvet Professional’s Michael Brooksbank and Albert Chauvet.
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Claypaky showing the Axcor Profile 900; The Clear-Com Stand ; The CLF Lighting crew; Cosmic Truss’ famous ‘Skully’; d&b audiotechnik’s soundscape demo; Data Strategy’s Iain Roche.
certified Avolites training via our global distribution network,” concluded Neminathan. Ayrton premiered the Mistral TC and MiniBurst at PL+S. The 300W white LED Mistral TC spot fixture is the latest, much-anticipated new development in Ayrton’s Automated Luminaires range, with the MiniBurst graphic strobe is the next luminaire to undergo the miniaturisation treatment of Ayrton’s highly successful Creative Solutions range. This year BroadWeigh debuted several new pieces of kit including TwistLink, updated Wind Speed Sensor and a new advanced handheld. The TwistLink, which will be available to customers in Quarter 2, is a smart piece of kit that allows a 4.75 tonne BroadWeigh shackle to be connected to a 3.25 tonne or 4.75 tonne shackle without having to mess around with the pin, nut and clip. Meanwhile the new Advanced Handheld (BW-HA) will bring additional functionality to the BroadWeigh system by expanding its standalone monitoring capabilities. Cadac celebrated its 50th anniversary with the launch of the latest model in its CDC digital console series. CDC offers a compact mix solution of unparalleled quality and power for small-to-medium sized production companies, freelance mix engineers and fixed installations. Also being shown was the CDC seven-s, the company’s new flagship CDC console. Also shown during the week was Cadac’s new medium format I/O stage box and the NetCOMMS programmable PC control software for the CDC MC Router. CAST BlackTrax announced Version 2.3 of its unique BlackTrax real-time tracking system that can help bring new levels of creativity to designers of impactful, complex and memorable events. “The new features bring even greater accuracy, flexibility, and reliability to a system that has been at the heart of over 8,000 shows around the world, and they allow designers to achieve even more spectacular outcomes,” said Marty Cochrane, BlackTrax Product Manager. Celestion has added 2 new additions to its CF range of cast-aluminium, ferrite-magnet drivers for tour sound and fixed install applications. The 500Wrms, 12-inch CF1230F has a nominal sensitivity of 98dB (1W, 1m). With a 3-inch, copper-clad aluminium voice coil it is particularly suited to bass applications in 2 and 3–way systems. During this year’s show ChamSys announced the new QuickQ console. The new consoles is designed to put more powerful lighting control in the
hands of students, theatre/house of worship volunteers, and programmers, regardless of experience level or budget. Available in 3 models, QuickQ consoles feature an intuitive smart-phone-like interface, and a conveniently large 9.7inch touchscreen. Helpful prompts and videos accelerate the learning process, making it easy even for inexperienced users to set up, programme and operate the console. Among the console’s user-friendly features are easy-to-understand buttons and faders, simple colour selection menu, readily accessible intensity control tools, and fingertip controlled zooming and scrolling. This year Chauvet Professional, gave visitors to its booth a first hand look at the new Maverick Storm 1 Wash, an IP65-rated LED moving fixture, the STRIKE P38, an IP65-rated compact warm white LED blinder/strobe and the COLORado Solo Batten, an IP65 RGBAW LED fixture that produces a seamless and unique edge-to-edge homogenised appearance without visible round ‘eyes’ or pixels. “The new fixtures allow us to offer more versatility in 3 very important series of products that designers have come to depend on,” said Albert Chauvet, CEO of Chauvet. Chain Master showcased the Jumbo lift, which is capable of lifting 12,000lbs. Also showcased were load monitoring, variable speed hoists, controllers and wireless control devices for operating hoists. The new Chroma-Q Studio Force II, a high intensity tuneable white wash light, made its European tradeshow debut at PL+S. The Chroma-Q stand also displayed award-winning products such as the Color Force II RGBA LED cyclorama, wash and effects light; the Inspire RGBW colour-mixing house lighting range; and the Space Force tuneable white LED soft light. The Claypaky booth concept was based on 3 theme showrooms. Demos were performed in each one by alternating lighting techniques with highly evocative visual effects. On show was the Zac-Eye, AXCOR 300 and the HEPIKOS. “We saw enormous interest,” said CEO Pio Nahum and Marketing Manager Davide Barbetta. “The theme itinerary through the 3 showrooms worked in a continuous cycle, yet there were visitors waiting to enter at every time of day, and its numbers even increased on the last days. We think word got round of a highly detailed demo, put together by our technical team consisting of Claypaky’s lighting designers, Marco Zucchinali and Giulia Sabeva, and visual design experts.” One of Clear-Com’s more current innovations being shown at PL+S 72
is the LQ Series of IP Interfaces. By connecting the LQ interfaces to the HelixNet digital network partyline intercom system, these simple yet powerful connectivity devices can increase HelixNet’s existing 24 channels of input and output ports count by 6-fold, creating a much higher density system for linking audio and intercom systems. Additionally, any user on the HelixNet system is now able to communicate with users on Clear-Com’s Agent-IC mobile apps running on smart iOS or Android devices over Wi-Fi, as well as users on VoIP phones via SIP connection. CLF Lighting introduced 4 new products this year including the P1 DL, P2 Vw, LEDbar PRO and the Hera. P1 DL was especially designed for car shows and is equipped with 36 high performance LEDs. The P2 Vw, an LED par, features high output and a very precise white control between 2700K and 6500K. A CRI level of 90 and accurate dimming control make the Spectrum P2 VW very suitable for any high demanding application. Meanwhile the CLF LEDbar PRO is a multifunctional linear outdoor LED batten with the Hera, the LED PAR features high output and outstanding smooth RGBWAUV colour mixing. CODA Audio was delighted to announce the launch of 3 new multi-purpose subwoofers. These are U12 and U12i (a slimline wallmounted version) and the U15 universal subwoofer. The new models have been developed to further enhance CODA’s range of subwoofers and offer compact, efficient and cost-effective solutions for almost any application. Each model is designed with new, long excursion, ultra-low distortion 4 W woofers, incorporating state-of-the-art carbon fibre cones. This achieves maximum power and cost efficiency, used in combination with systems using LINUS5C DSP amplifiers. d&b audiotechnik revealed the next major step in audio technology evolution. The show was the official launchpad for the GSL System from the SL-Series, a new loudspeaker system sitting right at the top of the company’s product portfolio. Demos and interactive mixing session using the recently released d&b Soundscape also drew a great deal of
The Dataton stand; disguise’s Nikita Bazalo and Katy Huke; Team DiGiCo launched the Quantum 7.
The DTS team; Elation Professional’s Eric Loader and Larry Beck; Equipson’s Juan Jose Vila; EXE showcased its latest products; The Follow-Me team; Funktion-One’s Tony and Ann Andrews with Audio Feed’s Oz Jefferies, winner of a 2018 mondo*dr award; Green Hippo’s Matt Swoboda, Anastasia Nikolaou and James Roth.
attention throughout the show. Exceptional audio performance combines with maximum efficiency into a package elegantly aligned with the system design, deployment and control capabilities of the tried and tested d&b Workflow. The GSL System is a complete solution created specifically for the largest sound reinforcement applications in significantly sized arenas, stadiums and festivals, to accurately deliver any performance style or musical genre. Data Strategy’s Iain Roche and White Light’s Technical Director Dave Isherwood shook hands at PL+S on a deal for the first of a planned total of 4 to 6 QC-Check workstations, incorporating PAT4 and CAB5 PAT and Cable Test Processors from joint partners, Out Board. QC-Check’s test database and logging software will be fully integrated into WL’s InspHire asset management system, which will provide real-time tracked test results for the company’s entire hire inventory. WL’s Health & Safety and Workforce Development Director, Chris Nicholls, explained: “The integration side of QC-Check won us over. We know other companies using QC-Check who are very happy with the product: it’s built well, made to last and delivers the goods. The fact that it integrates with our existing asset management system is what we really wanted. Along with showcasing it’s WATCHOUT multi-display system on the big screen, Dataton put the NDI (video-over-IP) feature in WATCHOUT through its paces demonstrating its smooth projection-mapping workflow. During the show visitors could preview the real-time motion tracking integration in WATCHOUT. The demo featured a 6-camera CAST BlackTrax system, a complex object in motion and mapped content. At this year’s show DiGiCo unveiled its eagerly anticipated Quantum 7 processing. The company also revealed other exciting new developments to give visitors another chance to experience the new 4REA4 digital audio networking system. Quantum 7 has been developed with seventh generation FPGA devices that further expand audio processing power, and ultimately allows DiGiCo to provide its users with an unrivalled amount of flexibility. It expands an SD7 to over 600 channels of processing in 96kHz operation that can be connected in the outside world to approaching 3000 potential I/Os. “The DiGiCo team are constantly working to create new products where there is a need in the market and add value to our existing products, keeping our customers’ investment safe,” said DiGiCo Managing
Director James Gordon. Digital Projection demonstrated the world’s first 8K laser projector, the INSIGHT Laser 8K. Set to be the world’s first commercially available DLP laser 8K projector, the INSIGHT Dual Laser 8K sits in a class of its own when it comes to performance and provides an ultra-high 8K resolution (7680 X 4320) of 33-million pixels through 25,000 ANSI lumens of solid-state laserphosphor illumination. This year disguise showcased the upcoming r15 software release, award winning gx range, the new HDMI 2.0 VFC card and latest server, the solo. The solo server features options for HDMI and SDI capture, Pro Audio and 10GB ethernet ports, 2x 4K outputs, fixed storage, 2TB SSD and full redundant backup capabilities. disguise Sales Director EMEA, Sarah Cox, explained; “The solo can be used effectively as a powerful standalone server, or in conjunction with an understudy for smaller shows. The solo enables our customers to join our community at entry level, without having to sacrifice on power and performance.” Doughty’s Lightweight Lighting made its debut at this year PL+S. The product takes the principles of a Tank Trap but packages them into a neater, more aesthetically pleasing model. The Three Position Tank Trap also featured on this year’s stand. This piece of kit enables rigging to be built close to a wall, in the corner of a room or near to an obstruction. It has a detachable receiver suitable for 48mm barrel, which may be fitted to any of the 3 mounting points, which are located in the centre as per a standard tank trap, at the edge and in the corner. In addition the Tank Trap Trolley has received its Frankfurt debut. DTS introduced the SYNERGY 5 PROFILE; its new high-power, LED moving head.The fixture offers a range of features, including the Dynamove FX Engine / Virtual Animation Wheel, DMX-selectable CRI: >90 OR >75, a rotating 4-blade framing system, advanced colour mixing, and total control and networking. Elation Professional’s stand - devised by lighting and stage designer Christian ‘Rocket Chris’ Glatthor - included the first European showing of its recently acquired M-Series range of entertainment lighting controllers, as well as the Artiste Picasso, Smarty Hybrid, Dartz 360, Proteus Beam and 3-in-1 Proteus Hybrid. PL+Sound 2018 was a huge success for ENTTEC. Rob Browne, ENTTEC’s 74
SYSTEM CONTROLLER SAFETY FIRST - MADE IN GERMANY
UNBEATABLE: drives.............240 joysticks.............2 cue buttons..........5 touchscreen.....24â€œ conformity ......SIL 3 Look at BTT Dresden 2018: 13. - 14.06...... Booth 73
E X P E RT-T I I I SIL 3 SYSTEM CONTROLLER
DYNAMIC STAGE TECHNOLOGY
GLP won a mondo*dr award; J&C Joel’s Cassie Irving; K-Array’s Stefano Zaccaria and Andrea Torelli; KV2 Audio’s Ron Pilon and Jan Jares; Le Maitre’s Rick Wilson and Elaine Frost; JTE exhibited on the Area Four Industries stand.
Business Development Manager explained: “We presented guests our full ‘end-to-end’ LED pixel solutions. Starting at one end with our award-winning ELM software, it moved from left to right to the smart Hyperion Gigabyte switch. Next our range of pixel controllers and pixel satellites including the new Pixelator Mini DIN, the Pixel Port (with built-in effects generator) and the new IP66 Plink Injector for outdoor use, and it culminated with our CV and Pixel strips.” Equipson’s WORK PRO AUDIO announced 2 product additions to its innovative LightShark range of lighting consoles: the LS-Wing console expander unit, which is designed to complement and extend the original LS-1 console, and the 4-strong range of LS-Nodes, affordable hardware expanders for the LightShark system that add extra DMX and Ethernet connectivity without the user interface and physical controls of the LS-1 and LS-Wing units. Eurotruss experienced one of its busiest tradeshows in recent years at PL+S, launching the upgraded Eurotruss Decks, which remain 100% compatible with the existing series. Besides the Stage Decks, Eurotruss presented an upgraded Lifters series and a brand new Eurotruss Merchandise line. Among the main attractions at the ETC stand were several brand new products – the Element 2 lighting control console from the award-winning Eos family, ColorSource Pearl variable white-light LED fixtures, and the Irideon WLZ architectural wash light – all making their European debut. The Element 2 control desk is designed for venues with modest rigs and maximum hands-on fader control needs. ColorSource Pearl, a variable white-light, LED array produces an impressive range of colour temperatures at an affordable price point. Finally the Irideon WLZ, or Wash Light Zoom architectural fixture, features exceptional light output and a sleek, unassuming industrial design that blends in with any space. PL+S saw the worldwide debut of EXE Technology’s new dynamic stack tracks rail and trolley system - the EXE-DST66 - which builds on the success of its popular DST52 system. The company said: “The response to this system at the EXE Technology stand during the exhibition was absolute proof that [we] hit the bullseye!” Fohhn Audio AG demonstrated the latest developments in its new comprehensive concert sound system at the show, the Focus Venue, which can be supplemented in the low frequency range by the new Perform-
Series subwoofers: the PS-800 and PS-850. As well as seeing and hearing the new system components on Fohhn’s stand, show visitors could also experience a live demonstration of the system in the open air demo area. Follow-Me used the show to announce a distribution agreement between the company and A.C. Entertainment Technologies (AC-ET), which demonstrated the remote follow spot control system on its stand. The range includes both Follow-Me, which is designed for touring and larger venues, as well as a more compact system - Follow-Me Lite - for smaller venues or corporate events. Funktion-One showcased a flown Vero array, F132 and BR132A 32-inch bass enclosures, a ground-stacked arrangement of the new F124 bass enclosures with Evo 6E speakers, a PSM318 DJ monitor, and an SB210A/ F81 self-powered compact system. The company also reoccupied its home in the Live Sound Arena / Open Air Agora, where demos featuring an Evo configuration with a central position of 6 F124 bass enclosures took place. Gerriets chose PL+S to display its INVISCREEN - a new, highly transparent and self-adhering projection screen in its Visual Effect series, as well as its CARGO heavy duty track system. Global Truss released its new 5 Chord truss designed for LED screen applications at this years PL+S. Utilising the existing F44P 400 x 400mm truss design, the F45 features an additional chord along the central bottom face of the truss with ladder bracing allowing for LED screens to be easily mounted. This extra chord prevents having to balance the load by slings or braces across the two bottom chords that would be necessary on standard 4 chord truss. GLP gave the impression FR1 its European premiere at the show, as well as heralding a break from its traditional moving lights with the inclusion of its new Force 120 fan effect fixture. Designed to create stunning scenic effects or great air mover (or a combination of both), the Force 120 received its first outing on the recent Old Dominion tour, where 15 units created an impressive backdrop for the country rock band. The Green Hippo stand was equipped with the latest Hippotizer+ Media Servers, enabling guests to experience the world leading solutions for real-time media playback and 3D mapping. Another key feature was the opportunity for visitors to gain hands-on experience of Hippotizer’s seamless integration with Notch. High End Systems offered hands-on demos of the Hog 4 family of 76
www.dasaudio.com DAS Audio Group, S.L. C/ Islas Baleares, 24 46988 Fuente del Jarro Valencia - Spain Tel. +34 961 340 860
DAS Audio of America, Inc. 6900 NW 52nd Street Miami, FL 33166 - U.S.A. Toll Free: 1 888 DAS 4 USA
DAS Audio Asia PTE. LTD. 3 Temasek Avenue, Centennial Tower #34-36 Singapore 039190 Tel. +65 6549 7760
Photo courtesy Viña Rock American Airlines Arena, Miami, USA
DAS do Brasil LTDA. Rua Dos Andradas, 382 SL Santa Efigênia, São Paulo, BRASIL CEP: 01208-000 Tel. +55 11 3333-0764
AED’s Glenn Roggeman and Luxibel’s Nils De Laeter; MA Lighting Bjoern Gaentzsch, The Madrix team; MDG’s Martin Michaud and Nicolas Duhamel; Minuit Une’s Eric Labbé; MILOS latest innovation; Movecat on the show floor once again; the Neutrik squad.
lighting control consoles, including Hog 4, Full Boar 4 and Road Hog 4, as well as a chance to see the new Hog 4 v.3.8.0 software, featuring a new desktop colour scheme called ‘stealth,’ Sola Series products, and added external monitor / touchscreen capability for HedgeHog 4 console models. The second day of the show also saw the latest instalment of Hog Factor, recognised as the world’s premier academic lighting programming competition. HK Audio undertook the largest product launch in its 35+ year history at the show, which included the COSMO integrative line array system family, and the company’s new point source flagship - CONTOUR X. J&C Joel launched several exciting new products on its stand, including 4 new velvets, the widest IFR Canvas on the market, a new addition to the wool serge range, a new 3D digital print fabric and an exciting new acoustic system. Andrew Walsh, J&C Joel’s sourcing and product development Manager, said: “Empress is one of the nicest velvets I’ve seen in my 38 years in the industry and I am delighted that Joel’s are able to bring it exclusively to the worldwide market.” James Thomas Engineering presented its recently launched Conical series truss for the EMEA region at PL+S. Also on display was the new Sleeve Block with a unique safety system, as well as their General Purpose truss and Super Truss. As well as its sleek line of gold-plated and standard black products, K-array’s stand featured the newly-launched, all-white Event line, and its slim line array microphone, Capture, featuring Pure Array Technology. UK based automation specialist and manufacturer Kinesys had an actionpacked stand that included the latest Apex chain hoist system and an eyecatching motion controlled ‘art-tech’ centrepiece. Other popular Kinesys products like Elevation 1+, LibraCELL, DigiHoist and the Dimension Pendant controller were also highlighted. KLANG:technologies, together with Audio-Technica, Eich Amplification, Fischer Amps, Hearsafe, Hughes&Kettner, InEar, Kemper Amps & Vision Ears once again created the Silent Stage at this year’s Musikmesse. The demo gave an insight into how to achieve the perfect Silent Stage. KS AUDIO presented the new D MOD2 - a 4-channel loudspeaker controller slot with digital signal processing for the amplifiers of the KS
series CA4D and TA4D; the T Line B and T SUB B systems; and an extension for the TA 2D amplifier. The company also organised a free bus transfer (round trip) from the exhibition centre directly to the production and development site in Hettenleidelheim. KV2 Audio boasted a sizable stand in Hall 3.1, where the company displayed an assortment of its flagship products. As always, the company also presented one of its PA systems at the Live Sound Arena. L-Acoustics demonstrated its revolutionary L ISA Immersive Sound Art technology, which recently embarked on the Lorde Melodrama tour across North America, as well as its new hardware and software tools - including the P1 networked digital audio processor, which begins shipping in June that will make it easy for L Acoustics partners to quickly realise optimised performance for its L-Acoustics systems. Lavoce Italiana presented a selection of its new low frequency drivers (including the MAN062.00, the WAF123.02, and the SAF214.50), as well as 2 new, small format compression drivers - the DN07.10LM and the DF10.101LM. The company also announced the appointment of Steinigke Showtechnic as its exclusive distributor for Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and Dinakord Elektronik as its exclusive distributor for Turkey. LEDBLADE enjoyed a successful show - having to resupply business cards by day 2 and receiving a lot of interest regarding the new CRE:ON Hybrid Drive, which includes Kling-Net protocol next to SPI and ArtNet. The company’s mini-demo set at the show had just been returned in prime condition after a 6-month, 24/7 trial period successfully completed in desert conditions in and around Doha, Qatar. Le Maitre showed one of its latest flame machines, the Wireless Salamander Quad Pro. The company also has a lot of interest for its MVS Smart hazer, the G300 SMART smoke machine and the Freezefog Pro low smoke system. LITEC showcased its new MyT Virtue truss line, part of the MyT family of truss. Offering a compact and strong line of truss designed to provide support for events that require increased load capacity, decreased deflection and longer spans. Also on display were the MaxiTower 52HD, MaxiTower 63 and large selection of its crowd barriers. Also on show was the company’s Hoist Box Truss. 78
Luxibel revealed 2 new lighting fixtures, the B P9 and B P9Z. These new RGBW LED wash fixtures were designed to bring a tidal wave of colour and output to any stage or building wall. They are completely IP65 rated, allowing them to be used both indoors and outdoors. The fixtures come with a rigging bracket, an super-easy design allowing the BP9’s to be placed in an array. The B P9Z zooms 7° to 58°, while the B P9’s zoom is fixed at 25°. Each line of 9x 15W LEDs can be controlled individually to create special effects. At this year’s show, MA Lighting gave its first live presentation of the new grandMA3 series. Founded on the legacy of the previous grandMA consoles, the grandMA3 represents a radical re-think of what’s possible from a lighting control platform. The elegant new system-architecture incorporates new fixture, feature and effects-handling at its very heart. The system features ground-breaking concepts from top industry visionaries, presented within a refined user interface, and is designed to make practical tasks more intuitive. The physical design detail of the grandMA3 range is extraordinary and focused on delivering the best possible user experience, now and into the future. MADRIX used the show to introduce ORION; the next MADRIX hardware interface made in Germany. Another highlight was the next big update of the company’s software. MADRIX 5 will not only provide massive performance increases, but many new features and a new license system as well. It has been made available from May 2018. MDG exhibited with its exclusive - and longest serving - German distributor, cast C. Adolph & RST Distribution. The company also brought an exciting development to its Me Series of fog generators with the launch of Me1g, a glycol-based version of its highly successful Me1 fog generator. Sharing its size and form factor with its oil-based sibling, Me1g has a single nozzle and 0-100% DMX/RDM control for perfect, powerful output, but with the benefit of using any of MDG’s glycol-based fluids. Minuit Une welcomed over 4,000 visitors for its demo shows during PL+S, with its booth staying crowded from the first to the last hour. The
company commented: “From all over the world, AV professionals have experienced how IVL Lighting is a game-changer! A large thank you to those of you who have visited us - we hope you enjoyed the demo show and got all the answers to your questions.” MILOS displayed its new steel truss line, which takes the concept of heavy-duty truss to an entirely new dimension. Also on display was the high capacity and medium duty aluminium truss, as well as additional new products such as its flexible hinge, modular hinge, hanging plate and top ring. Mobiltechlifts showed it’s new MS2-4012 compact lift, which achieves higher safety factors inspired by the recently established German standard for windup lifts (DIN 56950-3). It does not need safety pins, is very light, is discrete due to its matte black finish, is very user-friendly, and is extremely easy to operate under load. Movecat brought a wealth of new products to this year’s PL+S, including the Movecat PROstage+ D8 Plus chain hoist, the EXPERT-T III I-Motion system controller, the DMX SMART WINCH, and the BSZ-DC Operating Hours Counter. Neutrik showed off its True Outdoor Protection range. The new series includes the well-known powerCON TRUE1, etherCON and XLR products, which have been certified in accordance with IEC 61076-2-103, IEC 60320, UL 1977 and UL 498 and which also meet the requirements for outdoor use as laid out in UL50E. NEXO shared its booth-space with parent company, Yamaha, for the first time at Frankfurt, appropriate, as one of the featured NEXO products was a joint development – the new NXAMP4x2 MK2 and NXAMP4x1 MK2 amplifier models. NEXT-proaudio launched its new LAs418Active at PL+S, NEXT-proaudio added to its Subwoofer range, the LAs418A, a new 2x18” active reflex subwoofer. Outline showcased its new Superfly compact line-source enclosure, which the company hope will set new standards in performance for a
Nexo’s Gareth Collyer and Florian Eustache; Outline’s Michele Noselli; The Philips Entertainment Lighting held a stand party after introducing new members of its team; Portman’s Dominik Zimakowski and Jakub Domzal; Powersoft’s Sandro Soleri and and Massimo Minardi; Robe’s Pavel Němec; The ROE team.
Powersoft announced its new product, M-force 301P01, the unique and innovative transducer which has been updated with a series of additional features to simplify the workload of OEM partners. M-force is now available as the M-force 01 long throw linear motor for infra sub applications and the M-force 02 short throw linear motor for high acceleration applications. PR Lighting displayed all its models in its new AQUA portfolio, many of them in the specially constructed water display boxes, where they continued to function perfectly. This included AQUA LED 600 Spot; AQUA 480 BWS (Beam, Wash, Spot); AQUA 480 Beam; AQUA 350 BWS; AQUA 350 Beam. Showing its capacity in the design and build of complex truss structures, Prolyte Group showcased its range of heavy duty truss systems and also a range of trusses specially designed for LED walls – as well as a number of new products across its range. The team at Riedel were proud to showcase its latest product, building upon the technology that powers Riedel’s SmartPanel App-driven user interfaces; the new 1200 series RSP-1232HL multifunctional interface represented a quantum leap forward in workflow flexibility, power, and connectivity. Robe’s incredible new MegaPointe ‘all-in-one’ fixture took centre stage, bringing the whole concept of multipurpose moving lights to new levels. Other highlights from Robe included the Tarantula, a hugely powerful LED beam, wash and effects luminaire; the latest developments in the RoboSpot range of remote follow spotting solutions; two new IP65 rated ParFect products. Robert Juliat made its latest Compact range followspots available at PL+S with its new, exclusive 600W LED models, Alice and Oz, first in line to ship. Most excitingly, Robert Juliat revealed a new, very powerful, frontof-house LED profile for the first time at the show- a new 600W source and optical efficiency product. ROE, introduced its Vanish 18, a transparent LED display panel for inand outdoor use. With its smaller pitch and transparent looks, it’s ready to fulfil market demands. Together with the Vanish 25, the new Vanish 18 LED panel is part of the Vanish series. A smaller pixel pitch solution, semitransparent panels and lightweight design make it the perfect solution for projects or installations with a need for large-scale screens.
loudspeaker of these dimensions. Superfly integrates perfectly within the existing Outline portfolio and can be readily paired with any of its subwoofer designs. Out Board introduced its new TiMax 500S software for TiMax Sound Hub, with enhanced programming and show control workflows for rendering and control of live, presentation and experiential spatial reinforcement and immersive audio, including new-look variable day/night skins optimised for outdoor, rehearsal and show conditions. Panasonic showcased its live events solutions portfolio at PL+S with an engaging holographic dance show and a striking dome projection that used 4K laser projection technology alongside a new wide-angle fisheye lens. In addition to a wide selection of laser projectors and 4K displays, Panasonic’s Broadcast and ProAV solutions were also on the stand, including a range of remote cameras and compact live switchers, perfect for live entertainment operations. Philips Entertainment Lighting showed off its new VL800, an LED effects luminaire offering unique, dynamic looks which appealed to lighting designers working in show environments of all kinds. It’s the first LED effect unit from the Philips Vari-Lite brand, it produced a distinctive, collimated, flat sheet of light in a 3.5° beam with advanced movement, colour control and pixel-mapping capabilities. Pioneer DJ launched its flagship club sound system, drawing on Pioneer’s rich heritage in sound reproduction, deep understanding of the club industry, and close collaboration with Gary Stewart Audio (GSA) and Powersoft, this exciting arrival promised to make waves in Ibiza this season. Pioneer Pro Audio was also on hand to welcome visitors to the stand throughout the week, as well as hosting aftershow demos on the Wednesday and Thursday, which allowed guests to hear the company’s systems in action. Ella Bee demonstrated the XPRS and Lennert Wolfs demoed the XY-3B series. This year also saw the addition of new hanging brackets for the XY series speakers and the first appearance for the XY-2, meaning the stand was decked out from head to toe. Portman Lighting proudly presented its 3 new products, all hexagon shaped tungsten look fixtures, the look embodies the European ‘trend’ currently, a warm, attractive halogen look. These are the P1 Retro Lamp, 37 P3 PIX3L and the 10 P2 Hexaline. 80
Schnick Schnack Systems was back this year to reveal exciting new products – including a completely new LED series. The LED effect lighting manufacturer not only presented a new Profile System and a new generation of white LED products, it also presented its new RGBW Series for the first time. The ceiling of the ShowTex stand featured its brand new and extremely light FeatherSilk fabric, gracefully floating through the air. Visitors at the ShowTex stand at PL+S got an exclusive preview of the amazing HiSpeed Reveal, this ultra-fast roll-up system is all about spectacular revelations to surprise an audience and leave a lasting impression. Sixty82, made its debut appearance at PL+S this year, pooling over 100 years of experience and expertise from 3 countries to engineer and manufacture next generation trussing and staging systems. Solid State Logic was pleased to announce the European premiere of the 32-fader version of the System T – S300 compact broadcast console, alongside all of the acclaimed SSL Live console range and a selection of SSL’s hybrid studio production technology that includes the AWS 948, Nucleus2 and the Sigma-Delta remote controlled analogue summing system. Along with its wide product range, SRS Group introduced its new Flexi PDU with modular system, Digital ADR cable remote as well as ANGS Art-Net node and Gigabit switch. The company’s stand remained busy over the 4 days, with Robert Sloboda Jr commenting: “PL+S 2018 indeed turned out to be an excellent show for SRS Group.” TMB and Latvia’s Company NA once again partnered for PL+S, while TMB proudly introduced the ProPlex IQ Tester, the first Ethernet tester for entertainment production. Several new products could be seen, including the Flare Q+ Rayzr, the ProPlex DIN Rail FloppyDrives, and the latest addition to the Solaris Mozart range of ‘perfect pixels’. TOMCAT enacted its claws this year with its display of the innovative Nemesis pre-rig truss, a side-loading design that featured a leg stand
option, which allowed one person to load fixtures into the truss during prep. TW AUDiO introduced 3 new i-series products. The first one was the B14i, its ‘under-sofa subwoofer,’ which tops out at only 9.5 inches tall, yet delivers up to 6dB higher SPLs than a traditional 2 x 8inch sub. Ideal to use under stages or furniture, in ceilings and behind curtains, or to supplement arrays. Void’s display of products included the Node series – Node 2, 2i, 4 and 4i - a range of passive and self-powered, multi-purpose loudspeakers; and the single and double 18-inch subwoofers, Arcline 118 and 218, to complete its popular Arcline 8 medium format array speaker system, which was released last year. Visual Productions showcased its full product line set up in different applications for its audience to see, including the new IoCore2, TimeCore, CueCore2 and Kiosc App. The CueCore2 and QuadCore hosted the latest firmware release that included the new TimeSpan feature. Twelve months on from the launch of its innovative and powerful Delta Series of digital processing amplifiers, both XTA and MC2 were delighted to be showing the 120 Amps at this year’s PL+S. The 120 Amps are available as Delta 120 and DNA120 models from MC2 and XTA respectively, and have 96kHz Dante inputs as an option. Yamaha’s launch of RIVAGE PM7 was one of its audio highlights at the ISE show in Amsterdam and the new system was again the focus at PL+S. Yamaha’s entire range of digital mixing consoles were on display, alongside other new products, including the updated R series Dante I/O racks, Version 2 firmware for RIVAGE PM1 and the updated DXSmkII subwoofers. Zero 88 displayed its new FLX S24 and FLX S48 consoles, the original FLX and ZerOS Wing was demonstrated on the stand, all running the latest version of console software - ZerOS 7.9.4. TPi Photos: TPi and mondo*dr pls.messefrankfurt.com
THE MONDO*DR AWARDS
The mondo*dr Awards 2018 went off with a bang thanks to a well-attended event and celebrations all round. Although it was only the second edition of the awards - that are solely focussed on celebrating the best fixed installation projects from around the world - attendees, over 400 in total, came from far and wide to share the celebrations. Networking flowed, as did the drinks and nibbles, before guests were welcomed by the opening lighting and visual introduction that topped the evening bill. The technical production for the evening was managed by Go To Live the same crew behind the TPi Awards. The ceremony was delivered using TW AUDiO’s VERA20’s, S32 subs and T20’s and d:facto 4018V microphones from DPA on the audio front. The lighting was provided by GLP’s impression
X1, GT-1, impression X4 Bar 20 and Wash-One lighting fixtures, which were controlled via an Avolites Tiger Touch II. There was a Dicolor X-Plus LED display, too, which used an RGBlink X3 and T-ONE for video processing and content management. mondo*dr’s Rachael Rogerson-Thorley and Jamie Dixon hosted the evening, with special guests from the category sponsors taking to the stage to present their corresponding awards. mondo*dr would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the sponsors for their involvement and support. The team would also like to thank everyone who attended and helped make the event a success. And, finally, a massive congratulations to all the 2018 winners.
And the winners are… Bar & Restaurant St. Giles House
House of Worship Faith Promise
Nightclub Corner Club
Concert Hall Pierre Boulez Salle
Sporting Venues Little Caesars Arena
Theatre La Perle
Integrated Resorts Terrell Place
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EVENT STRUCTURES – ARE THEY SAFE? Roger Barrett, Star Events’ Special Projects Director, looked at causes, solutions and the response from UK authorities at a seminar at Prolight + Sound.
There were 45 significant rigging and staging accidents around the world in 2017, nearly one a week. As member of the Advisory Group On Temporary Structures (AGOTS), which Barrett Chaired for 8 years, and a pertinent part of the HSE Joint Advisory Council for Entertainment, he focused on the physics first. He simplified, and illustrated, the principles of tension and compression, which serve rigging and structure builds respectively, in a typically forthright session. Detailing Star Events’ assessment system, which, based on traffic light colour coding, rates structures against four core safety requirements, the ‘Green’ standard requires: 1) Proper design 2) Built in ‘redundancy’ 3) Correct construction 4) Use within the designed capacity With 47 years literally in the field with the event industry, Barrett rates the majority of temporary structures around the world as Amber, which envelopes from 1 to 3 missing core values, making failure/ collapse progressively more likely. Red represents a structure that’s failed, Barrett explained, highlighting the Indiana Fair collapse in 2011, which left 7 people dead and 58 injured and inspired the formation of the Event Safety Alliance. The investigation found the stage had been poorly designed with no redundancy, built incorrectly and over-loaded. WHERE ARE WE NOW “The market is very price driven and people cut corners, using lighting truss to support structures for example,” Barrett told his audience. “Reputable manufacturers sell complete stage systems, often to people who don’t know how to operate them. Many rely on guy wires external to the structure, which are implicated in so many failures that reputable stage companies don’t use them. “Local and national authorities have no control over anyone becoming an event organiser. Someone with money, front and pzaz but no knowledge can step up as an event organiser, hiring staging, sound and light, and there are no controls over who can offer those services either. “If you want to be a gas engineer you have to be on the Gas Safe Register but there’s nothing like that for event structures, despite the fact that hundreds of thousands of people of all ages go to a vast array of events in this country. “There haven’t been any serious incidents in the UK recently, most of the main contractors here have a level of experience and knowledge. They design and build their own structures and don’t rely on buying kit off the shelf. This shows up in the accident statistics, where territories with lots of off-the-shelf structures clearly have the highest failure rates. “It’s not as safe as it should be in the UK though, with plenty of structures maybe unwittingly well into the Amber rating band, but it will take a serious accident for the authorities to wake up to the risks and maybe do something about it.” TPi www.stareventsltd.com
PHILIPS ENTERTAINMENT LIGHTING’S AMBER ETRA TPi talks to Amber Etra of Philips Entertainment Lighting about her new role as the company’s Product Application Specialist for Touring.
Etra is a dynamo, carrying the same positivity and passion for entertainment lighting through every role in her career to date. As followspot operator on The Lion King, theatre lighting crew, touring crew, console trainer for Europe and head of UK and Ireland sales, Etra has thrived in the industry and with its people. Her new role at Philips Entertainment Lighting is as Product Application Specialist for Touring. This latest step in her career will bring her into daily contact with those at the creative leading edge of the business she loves. A graduate of Mountview Academy’s Technical Theatre degree course, Etra had worked in various theatre lighting roles before deciding a different tack. At a London trade show, she visited the Strand Lighting stand, where she encountered an unsuspecting Alan Luxford and Bill Richards. “I was interested to see where their consoles were going at the time,” she recalled. “They’d just released the Palette series - we had one - I was programming on it - so I went and shook hands with Bill and Alan and said ‘I’d like a job, please’.”
So Etra’s learning curve continued, first as a product assistant to Richards (“I learned a lot from Bill,” she said), then as console specialist and Strand Lighting’s European trainer. “I’d go out to Dublin and train 27 people at a time on the Palette… I did all the technical training throughout Europe.” A challenging role for a 22-year-old, perhaps, but Etra was too busy making friends to be daunted. “The industry’s so friendly, I think that’s what hooks you in, and that’s what it’s always been about for me, the people and the relationships.” As part of the Genlyte Group at the time, Strand was already a stable-mate of Vari-Lite, but operated separately. After Philips acquired first Genlyte in 2008 and then Selecon the following year, the process of integration began with the combination of the Selecon and Strand teams. “I began to learn additional portfolios, and I gained great new colleagues, people like Ritchie Reid, Michael Goldberg and Jeremy Collins,” said Etra. Then Vari-Lite came into the fold, the 3 brands forming the core of the Philips Entertainment Lighting portfolio. Of that process, Etra recalled, 84
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“We saw people come and go, but there were always those who remained passionate about the brands, who were strong influences on where we needed to go as a business and how we needed to serve the customer base... Everybody on the team has persevered to get us where we are now.” On a personal level, Etra has been able to grow within the company as her own circumstances changed, especially when she and husband Tom started their own family. “When I had a baby and I needed something different, they adapted to suit me. When I wanted a new challenge, or more training, or to learn a different department, they have always helped, and that’s the team ethos. I love the team I work with, they’re what makes coming into work every day fun.” For her employer, Etra has been well worth adapting for. A natural accumulator of knowledge and contacts, she has developed an impressive expertise and carved out an important role in her team as a connector and a facilitator, as well as building relationships with key creatives and decision makers throughout the industry. Her role for the past year in marketing has further added to that big picture understanding. “If I could send everybody in our company on a marketing course I would,” she said. “It underpins every part of what we do as a business.” This combination of skills makes her new role something of a perfect fit. The aim, Etra explains, is to work more directly with designers and to make sure they can get the products, the help and the support that they need. As a conduit between manufacturer and creative, Etra has much to offer. “I always enjoyed getting my hands dirty, being part of a lighting team. It gives you an understanding of why you might do something a certain way, but it’s also important to understand other people’s perspectives. It’s not necessarily about how you achieve something, it’s about that end goal. We’re all there to do a job, which is to make something look fantastic.”
It’s clear from the way Etra talks about the people in this business that they are her first priority. “I’m honest,” she said. “I’m not going to jeopardise my personal and professional relationships by telling them something that isn’t true. If a product’s not right for them, I’ll tell them. Giving the wrong product for the job is not good for anybody involved.” In her new role, Etra has been given a clear strategy for the company’s commitment to concert touring and live events. She now spends time working with the creative teams, helping to spec tours, special events and TV shows, ensuring that designers get what they need and also that their feedback and insights are fed back into the product development team. “We want them to know we’re there for those conversations and to help with their user experience - from design, to touring and all the backup, but it’s also about making sure the products we’re bringing to market are relevant, that there are real reasons for making something.” Of course, when it comes to product development, an organisation of Philips Entertainment Lighting’s stature offers many advantages, not least R&D access to the renowned design campus in Eindhoven. “The team there are working on things which are completely mind-boggling in terms of technological advancements,” said Etra. “There are things in the pipeline which will give a whole new perspective to Philips Entertainment’s importance to our sector.” In the meantime, Etra will be making time for her ever-growing number of colleagues and friends in the business, and ensuring they get the best out of their dealings with the company and its product ranges. “If somebody rings up and said ‘Etra, I want to see you for a cup of tea’, then I’m there with the biscuits!” TPi www.lighting.philips.com/main/products/entertainment-lighting
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MARTIN AUDIO’S JASON BAIRD As he celebrates 2 decades with Martin Audio, Baird talks to TPi about some product development highlights.
audio reproduction, following in the footsteps, if not the physical size, of the legendary nightclub systems of the 70’s and 80’s. “The first Martin Audio product I was intimately involved in was the original Blackline range, which brought high quality transducers and cabinet construction to a more accessible price point. This proved to be extremely successful for us and surprisingly never more so than in the burgeoning Chinese entertainment market.” As the new millennium dawned he and Bill Webb (then R&D Director) came to the conclusion that they had to produce a line array if they wanted to remain competitive in the touring market. Thus the W8L was born. “This started us on a steep learning curve as to how the interaction of splay angles, EQ and absorption of HF over distance all came together to critically influence system performance.” The next turning point was the arrival of Ambrose Thompson, as Baird confirmed: “He and I immediately set about developing a software tool (ViewPoint) that allowed the user to derive splay angles automatically, via geometric analysis of the audience surfaces. It surprises me that this is still a pretty new feature to some of the market leaders of today.” Baird remembers that, in the early days of the W8L, it was evident that driving a line array with the same signal for every cabinet produced a result that was often too loud at the front and was lacking in comparison at the back. To overcome this, he came up with the idea of ‘band zoning’, where the array was split into short, medium and long throw sections, each with their own EQ. This was an idea they would return to some years later. 2007 saw the launch of O-Line, which was an articulated micro line array for the installation market. “This was our first foray into configuring a line array using an accurate acoustic model of array output. This allowed us to replace our geometric splay calculations with a fundamentally more accurate simulation of array behaviour.” Around the same time Martin Audio was asked to propose a system design for the main stage of an iconic British festival, which was notorious for its off-site noise issues. “Using the W8L Longbow, we doubled the amount of processing channels typically used to drive it, in order to have more control of the sound leakage from beyond the back of the field. The results were proper gig SPL’s for the crowd, while maintaining control of offsite levels.” But the R&D Director was keen to apply O-Line’s analytical way of configuring a line array system to a more ambitious product, and in 2010, MLA entered the touring market. “Taking what we’d learned from the W8L series band-zoning technique, MLA was equipped with individual DSP processing and amplification for each acoustic device in the array. Crucially, we applied our optimisation algorithms not only to the splay angles but to the DSP filtering as well. This was achieved using our in-house software, Display.” The results, he said, were compelling. “The system could produce highly consistent audience coverage, right out of the box, with the ability to reduce signal level outside of this region simultaneously achievable. This
“When I joined Martin Audio in 1998, the industry was in a very different place to now,” he began. “Bands were touring just to promote albums, production company owners were enthusiasts and the audio community was still in the process of waking up to the modern line array. Likewise, the general installation market was starting to attach increasing value to
feature has been used to great effect at numerous high-profile outdoor events, where noise pollution levels had previously compromised audience experience to an unacceptable extent. Our patented MLA technology is still unsurpassed in this respect, 8 years on.” Not content with bringing high levels of coverage consistency to largescale line array applications, Baird wanted to do the same for shorter throw point source systems. “And so in 2015 we launched the CDD range, which featured our now patented Coaxial Differential Dispersion transducer technology. With the assistance of Phil Anthony, a means of mounting the HF waveguides directly onto the low frequency driver’s cone was perfected.” The ability to shape the HF waveguides as they wanted to, meant that the HF beaming typical of the generic coaxial driver could be overcome. “Furthermore we could create a differential dispersion pattern, which was wider close to the speaker and progressively narrower in the horizontal plane as distance increased. For a wall-mounted speaker, this actually gives a rectangular coverage pattern on the listening plane, which we consider to be optimum for the majority of applications.” But Baird’s list of triumphs don’t end there. The most recent addition to the Martin Audio portfolio, Wavefront Precision, was in recognition that MLA and its smaller brothers are flagship systems. “As such we wanted to bring many aspects of their performance to a wider market, via our ‘scalable
resolution’ concept,” he explained. “Rather than drive each acoustic device in the array individually, like MLA, scalable resolution operates at a single box or multiple box level. Display optimises splay angles and DSP filters just as it did for MLA but now the user can choose the box resolution that the array is divided into, with the amplification and filtering provided by our iKON electronics.” For example, in the case of the smaller Wavefront Precision product (WPM), the user can choose from 1- to 4-box resolution and in the case of the medium format WPC, 1- to 3-box. “As resolution increases, so does coverage consistency,” Baird explained. “Although, even at the coarsest resolution, the results are significantly better than a classic same-signal-toeach-box line array system, driven by an off the shelf factory preset.” Baird concluded: “In developing the Wavefront Precision range, our goal was to deliver expected performance requirements of maximising output vs size as well as speed of deployment, while adding more than a little bit of the magic of our MLA series, at a compelling price point. The overnight success of the series is testament to this thinking.” The story, and evolutionary process, is far from complete. Expect to see Martin Audio continue to innovate further in the near future. TPi www.martin-audio.com
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This month TPi speaks to the Guildford School of Acting alumna about her first year in the industry, and life as a touring theatrical lighting specialist.
Barely a year out of her studies and Meg Mawhinney has already built-up quite the résumé within theatrical lighting. TPi managed to catch-up with the lighting tech on a day off during the current Evita tour to discuss how she found her way into the industry. “For me it started when I took up performing arts at GCSE,” began Mawhinney. “This is where I discovered my love for the more technical side of the industry.” Admittedly, during her formative years, Mawhinney was unsure of how best to find a way into the industry. On the advice of a tutor she looked into what courses were on offer, leading the budding stagehand to enrol on a Professional Production Skills Course at the Guildford School of Acting (GSA). “During the first year of the course I got to explore all of the various elements of the live events industry from audio, to visuals and stage management. Then, for second and third year, I got to specialise; which for me always was lighting. GSA is incredibly practical when it comes to the second and third years, which certainly armed me with a lot of usable skills.” Having been through the obligatory 3 years of the university, Mawhinney did admit that, with hindsight, she would have explored other apprenticeships at theatres prior to joining the course. “I went into it fairly blind, not knowing the difference between a Source Four and a PAR can. For those wanting to do a similar course, I would suggest getting as much as experience as possible. That said, my particular university course was great as I was unsure of what direction of live events to go in, and it gave me a taste of all the elements.” Before graduating, Mawhinney had already cut her teeth with various touring productions. This included collaborating with Lighting Designer Aaron J. Dootson and working on productions including YANK! and Sarah and Duck, not to mention working with the hire company Storm during the summer. “Following those stints I then got offered a spot on the Blood Brothers tour from the end of August till December,” stated Mawhinney. “Following the Blood Brothers tour I then jumped ship to work on Evita, which I’m still on today.” Moving on, Mawhinney talked about some of the challenges she had face during her first year in the industry. “The biggest difficulty when joining the ‘real world’ is being at the bottom of the ladder again,” she began. “During university you get the chance to take the lead on several projects and personally I quite like doing the paper work and heading up the organisation. But when you join the industry you start from square one. Even though I had expected this, it was still a challenging transition and what I have learned in such a short space of time has been invaluable.” To close, Mawhinney gave some advice for those who might want to follow in her footsteps. “Expect to cram in more than you think!” she laughed. “I went in thinking I wanted to do stage management and came out of university specialising in lighting. If you’re unsure what you want to do, make sure you sign onto a course that does everything so you get to find what works for you. Expect to open you eyes to more opportunities - you never know where you might end up!” TPi www.productionfutures.co.uk
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YAMAHA RIVAGE PM7
TPi’s Ste Durham meets Andy Cooper, Manager, PA Application Engineering at Yamaha, to discuss the R&D process behind the company’s latest digital mixing console.
Can you give some details about the genesis of the RIVAGE PM7? The RIVAGE PM7 has inherited a great deal from its big brother, the PM10. The PM10 digital mixing system has a development story that goes back around 10 years. As the first generation of digital mixers for live sound, the PM1D and PM5D were increasing in age, there was a strong desire to replace them with something more scalable and networked. However, there were some difficult years for the market following the 2007/8 global financial crisis, and the existing networking technologies were not mature enough yet. So during that time, Yamaha’s own engineers in Japan invented TWINLANe. This is the backbone of the RIVAGE PM10 mixing system, and is optional with PM7. It carries 400 audio channels (plus a lot of control data) at 96kHz, 32-bit with a latency of only 12 samples, in a redundant ring. Also during this time, Dante emerged as an ideal IP-based audio network for smaller channel counts, yet larger numbers of devices. Yamaha learnt a lot by implementing Dante first in its mid-range mixers such as CL5 and QL1. Then, when Audinate invented a high-channel Dante module, we knew the technology was ready for a larger mixing system. Any user of PM7 and PM10 will recognise similarities in the workflow to the older PM1D and PM5D consoles, with the large selected channel area, and the LED rings around the encoders, allowing the operator to mix without staring at a screen. At the same time, there are many similarities to the CL5, with the way the channel strips run from the faders up through the touch-screen, and the menu layouts of the touch-screen itself. We wanted users of the older Yamaha digital mixers to feel instantly at home. Yet they will be instantly blown away by the increased amount and quality of features!
mixing engines, but decided that was too much of a compromise for the end user to accept. So we had the idea to simplify the system by including the DSP engine inside the larger control surface (but sacrificing a few channels), yet keeping almost all the features of the more powerful PM10. Allowing the use of Dante for the main network helps to reduce cost further, when compared to the higher capacity TWINLANe options. So much consultation had been made with sound engineers and system designers during the development of PM10, we knew the control surface was just about perfect. So we are very pleased that it didn’t need to be changed to meet the price point for PM7. Please can you talk through some of the key features? Are there any new attributes or is it mainly improvements on previous models? The key features of RIVAGE PM7 are shared with PM10. We cannot underestimate the importance of Yamaha’s collaboration with Rupert Neve Designs during the last 8 years. To have SILK available on the mic pre-amps brings a unique character and depth to the sound, while having 7 different models of RND plug-in dynamics and EQ processors available provides the sound engineer with the highest quality of audio tools imaginable. For the first time, you can practically tour the world with over 100 channels of Rupert Neve Designs EQs and compressors! Yamaha’s partnership with Eventide has also borne good fruit, with the H3000 Live Ultra-Harmonizer also appearing in the plug-in rack. PM7 has the capacity to run up to 384 plug-ins within the console, with as many as 8 per channel across 2 separate insert points. No other system has this kind of power, flexibility and quality in its price range. The “FOLLOW” feature for Mix and Matrix sends is also unique, where every input channel-to-send cross-point can have a different behaviour. For example, a vocal mic sending to the singer’s mix can be pre-dynamics and not affected by DCA fader levels, while the same mic sending to a keyboard player can be post-dynamics, affected by DCA fader levels, but not by channel fader levels. Or, you can be sending pre-EQ yet still post-fader at the same time!
What was the R&D process like? Does the finished product bear much resemblance to the original specification? The R&D process for PM7 was reasonably quick, following on from the long development path of PM10. We wanted a solution with high specification, but lower cost. We considered the idea of smaller control surfaces, smaller 92
YAMAHA RIVAGE PM7
Below: Yamaha held demo days for the PM7 at Abbey Road in London and Albert Hall in Manchester; The Rio 3224-D.
How closely did you collaborate with engineers / end users to develop the product? Could you give details of this? Actually almost no customer saw PM7 before it was launched! But that is because it was so similar in concept and design to PM10. PM10 had several rounds of consultation with a small group of key customers and sound engineers during its development process. At the same time, several members of Yamaha’s R&D team had previous experience as professional sound engineers operating in world class theatres, music festivals and tours. Yamaha’s own staff around the world are a key asset, able to quickly provide opinions and feedback from many different markets. For PM10 it began with the sound. We held evaluations with invited sound engineers to check the mic pre-amps, the EQs, the dynamics processors. We consulted with system designers about the network and connection possibilities, and we invited a small range of monitor, FOH and theatre engineers to test the layout and ergonomics of the console.
theatre and house of worship installations, and for live broadcast events. The console has many customisable features, making it suitable for either FOH or monitor duties, or indeed both at the same time! It can easily cope with 2 operators handling different sections of the console concurrently. The networking capabilities of PM7 and PM10 are unprecedented. Multipleconsole systems can cope with thousands of inputs from both TWINLANe and Dante, operating at 96kHz 32-bit. Finally, now it’s on the market, where and when can we expect to see the PM10 in the coming months? RIVAGE PM10 has most recently been on tour around the world with Foo Fighters, Nickelback, Jamiroquai, and Tears for Fears. At the same time, it has been installed in various halls, theatres, churches and TV studios in places including Singapore, Korea, Japan, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and the US. PM7 has been an instant hit since its launch in February 2018, and many have already been delivered to rental company customers throughout Europe, the US and Japan. Expect to see them at increasing numbers of tours and festivals throughout the summer of 2018 and beyond. It’s an exciting time for Yamaha: the factory in Japan can hardly keep up with demand at the moment! TPi www.yamahaproaudio.com
Where does this console fit, both in Yamaha’s arsenal and the wider industry? RIVAGE PM7 and PM10 fit at the high end of Yamaha’s professional audio range of products, with PM10 as the ‘flagship’. They showcase the highest quality of build, manufacture, sound and design. The RIVAGE PM systems are designed for use in sound reinforcement for tours and festivals, large
YAMAHA RIVAGE PM7
TUBE IS FIRST IN THE UK WITH YAMAHA PM7
Manchester-based audio specialist tube uk was the first sound rental and live-production company in the UK to take delivery of Yamaha’s brand new RIVAGE PM7 digital mixing system, which received a high profile launch at 2018 ISE expo in Amsterdam in February. tube’s Melvyn Coote commented: “We’re always excited to be among the first to utilise new technologies and are delighted to be the very first company in the UK with a PM7!” He added that, although it’s a bold move, the console has “many excellent features, a great quality, a good price point and is underlined by Yamaha’s rock solid reputation for reliability.” The powerful and flexible RIVAGE PM7 fills a gap in the product range left by the iconic Yamaha PM5D, which was launched in 2004 and swiftly became a touring industry standard for digital live mixing and the go-to interface for a raft of top engineers worldwide. “We always said that when a PM5D replacement hit the market we would buy into it because the history of that product is legendary and we continue to have great results from other Yamaha products” explained Coote. “We really believe that the PM7 will prove itself as an equally awesome product!” Yamaha initially arranged a hands-on demo day in March for around 60 high end engineers at Abbey Road Studios in London, where they could use RIVAGE systems in situ and get a good idea on the functionality and quality on offer. In April, tube and Yamaha presented a similar hands-on workshop session at the impressive concert venue in Manchester, Albert Hall, where tube is the resident audio systems provider. “All the feedback we were hearing from both of these sessions was extremely positive, so these considerations taken on aggregate added up to it being the right product, right time and right place!” enthused Coote. The tube PM7 has been packaged with an RPio622 I/O stage rack - designed specifically for the RIVAGE family of digital mixing systems - which is currently loaded with four
16-way input modules, one 16-way output module and a 16-way input / output AES module. The impressive-sounding Neve Silk input modules provide a choice of 2 Neve and a Yamaha pre-amp type on every channel, giving the engineers a great choice of tonal textures right from the input stage. “That’s a great range of quality preamp choices,” stated Coote. The inclusion of the Neves, which recreate the characteristics of Rupert Neve Designs transformer circuitry and acclaimed SILK processing through Yamaha’s VCM digital modelling technology, show that there has been no compromises in quality. Cote said: “The 32-bit / 96kHz processing throughout also makes this a great sounding console”. He also praised the 120 channel count, which will service most medium to large productions, together with the 60 mix buses, 24 matrices, dual stereo mixes, dual cue buses and processing for up to 192 plug-ins. “With this extensive I/O count, it’s been designed to be properly multi-purpose and fit a wide range of audio scenarios.” The RIVAGE PM7 and PM10 systems use Yamaha’s new high speed TWINLANe data multicore system to transfer the high data rates between RPio units and the control surface, and can also run a new 144-channel Dante card, which will integrate with tube’s current CL / QL / Rio infrastructure. tube has purchased numerous Yamaha products over the years, and Melvyn stressed that the “incredible reliability” of the brand is a key factor, and essential for any busy rental and live-sound operation, such as tube. “The PM5D in particular has been absolutely bullet proof, so we’re expecting the same of the PM7,” Coote concluded. For interested engineers, tube uk is offering hands-on demo time at its warehouses in Manchester or Slough. To arrange a session please contact one of the projects team on: PM7@tubeuk.com or +44 345 890 9990 TPi www.tubeuk.com 94
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FRANÇOISE LE MOIGNAN FOH Engineer, Gatecrasher Classical
start to the day for audio. We were in and had our PA ready to go up on the grid there nice and early. Both myself and my System Tech, Craig Burns, always liaise about system design - it’s crucial with so many instruments on stage. We had decided on a split system design, flying d&b audiotechnik V boxes including flown subs for the balcony and having a ground stack of V for the floor, complemented by J-SUBs and J-INFRAs. This may have been an orchestral show, but the sub is so important. At FOH, I had my DiGiCo SD7, Maggie. I named my deskafter The Simpsons’ character. I was also multi-tracking the show with my MADIface interface and mac mini, this was our production day (thankfully). It was a tight squeeze at FOH. Along with my SD7, we had our drive rack, lighting console and lasers too - I was very busy! It was a seated show, well it was meant to be, but no one was going to be sat down at this dance show! The show day was never going to be straightforward. With a sound curfew in place until 3pm and the orchestra only booked from 3.30-6.30pm, we had our work cut out. However, we made it clear to the conductor and the production team that nothing could be done until we had the system aligned and tuned. The rest of the crew and I got on with the process of setting up the many microphones on stage, double miking the strings - DPAs and Schertlers which was necessary for the level I needed for the show. We did our silent line check and tested all the logic lines from the session. I also had my Genelec nearfields so could at least have a little listen to the playback content. Anything to get ahead! 3 o’clock came and within 30 minutes, we were ready to start our sound check with the orchestra. Both myself and monitors asked the sections to play first and then run a piece so that the musicians can check their IEM mixes and click levels. We had no wedges on stage, as we needed to keep it as clean-looking & neat as possible. By 4.40pm we were running tracks and bringing vocalists in to do their pieces with all of the musicians on stage. We hadn’t stopped at any point, but the results were great. I love the SD7 for laying out a mix for this kind of show. It never feels busy and I can easily get to my orchestral stems. We all run the consoles on a loop so our Monitor Engineer, who was using an SD10, could get stems off me, as could our Logic Tech, who utilised an SD11i. It was 6.30pm and we had managed to get a full run through, which I had also multi-tracked. The orchestra was already packing up, but I could carry on with my checks. We had a show the next day but were in a great place to start. By 9pm we were ready to go eat some food and wind down before our start the next day. Mixing orchestral dance music is a challenging prep day, but also so fulfilling as an engineer. I’m really happy working on days like this, especially with the crew we had. Françoise Le Moignan
Having been in the Industry for nearly 20 years, one of the most enjoyable things about my job is the diversity of genres you get to work on. Over the last year, I have done quite a few of the classical / dance shows that seem to be cropping up. Having spent the last year mixing FOH for Haçienda Classical, Gatecrasher Classical was a new project. Although it was a new production, I was working for Wigwam, and therefore working with some familiar faces and some of my favourite people with some of my regular crew who look after monitors, Logic, and patch - plus a great system engineer. On the prep day, I started by unloading our truck with the rest of the crew at Sheffield City Hall - the city is the historical home of Gatecrasher. It was 7am and it was going to be a long day for us - but an enjoyable one. The house crew were happy to see some familiar faces and it was a smooth
PSA: THE BIGGER PICTURE
Photo by Andre Benz on Unsplash
SAVE STAGE LIGHTING II – IT’S WORSE THAN WE THOUGHT Last month we were asked if we could let people know about the ALD’s #SaveStageLighting campaign, we said yes because we’re good like that. Words were rushed out, checked, changed and submitted, TPi went to press. Then we had a good look at the potential impact of the Eco Design working plan and it was worse than anyone imagined. A quick straw poll of lighting rental companies induced palpitations; rack upon rack of fixtures with sources that simply don’t and probably never will comply with the 85 lumens out for each Watt in requirement of the directive. That’s LED included. We just had to look a little deeper.
The fact remains that stage lighting needs to be excluded from the resulting directive. It already excludes projectors, as well as nodding to professional stage lighting by excluding fixtures with an output of more than 82,000 lumens. The authors seem to think that this covers stage lighting, we know full well that it doesn’t. One glance of the consultation response questionnaire reveals how our plight is, perhaps, just an unintended consequence of well meaning regulation. The consultation covers household fridges, household washing machines, household washer dryers, household dishwashers, computers and lighting products. Note the lack of ‘household’ suffix there in lighting products but dig deeper into the directive regarding computers and it clearly states what is not included: blade system and components, server appliances, multi-node servers, computer servers with more than four processor sockets, game consoles and docking stations. When it comes to lighting products, there is no clear differentiation between household and entertainment, we are seemingly bundled in with the tertiary sector,
bundling a moving head fixture with lamps in use 24 hours a day in a factory. One of the main reasons given for the changes are ‘market failure’. Simply making low energy sources available hasn’t achieved the desired move towards them; the only option they see is to legislate less efficient products out of existence. 2020 has been picked as a target because the perceived life of a lamp is 2-3 years. Of course, the lamp life doesn’t necessarily equate to the life of the fixture itself; a tiny efficiency improvement in the lamp is nothing compared to the environmental impact of binning a fixture and manufacturing a new one. A warehouse full of LED luminaires uses no electricity whatsoever, the lights in the warehouse do and they’re relatively easy to upgrade; studies have shown that stage lighting accounts for just 5% of a theatre’s energy use, papers relating to the Ecodesign directive suggest a realistic reduction in use across the tertiary sector as 3-5%, the impact on potential reductions that will come from excluding stage lighting is tiny. Lamp efficiency is not the only requirement of the proposed directive, 98
there’s also the question of standby power, with a maximum set at 0.5 watts. That might be OK for a television but, next time you step into a hotel room, grab the remote control and turn the TV on from standby. Then imagine a moving light taking that long to react to an instruction. The ‘always ready’ status of a light that is standing by for the next instruction falls a long way short of the requirements. That said, they’re only in that state just before and during show time; perhaps spending a lot less of its life in standby than your average hotel telly. It’s worth pointing out that, wrapped up in the increased efficiencies demanded by the directive are new labelling requirements. We’re all familiar with the A – G ratings for domestic appliances; they enable us to make informed decisions about the products we buy, with standardised classifications making claims transparent. In the case of domestic products, efficiency has developed so much that we now see A++ ratings for some products. For this reason, the goal posts are being moved and we’ll see products move backwards towards B or C; this is simply to leave headroom for further developments. Nobody can see an issue with a transparent, standardised rating system; we’ll get there when we can. This is a big issue requiring a big response. Last month’s call was from the Association of Lighting Designers (ALD), forces were already joining together to open channels of communication, with PLASA rallying manufacturers to join them for focussed meetings at both Plugfest and PLASA Focus Leeds; we have briefed and will be discussing the issue with the UK Live Music Group, aiming to engage with relevant Government departments and we’ve been in touch with MEPs locally and those engaged with the relevant EU Commissioners. Recently, PLASA has confirmed that it will be representing manufacturers at a meeting in Brussels. The May 7 deadline for responses to the latest consultation will have passed by the time you read this, the joint industry effort will have resulted in a strong showing, in this we’re confident and, here in the UK, we’ll all be making an effort to have an influence on EU directed regulation designed with the best of intention that needs the closest attention to iron out any unintended negative consequences. It may be the last time we get an opportunity to do that.
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CODA Audio USA appoints Jeff Taylor as Sales Director, KLANG:technologies announces the appointments of Sorinamoo; PSI joins the Adamson Network; Claude Ostyn joins the ROE Visual R&D team.
Audio-visual solutions provider Audiologic announces the appointment of Simon Jones to the post of Business Manager. Jones, who joins the company after a number of years at Sennheiser, has been immersed in every aspect of audio, from manufacture and servicing to development and sales. A perfect fit to support Audiologic’s continuing expansion; Jones will take particular interest in supporting the company’s recent distribution deal with QSC. “We’re genuinely thrilled to have secured the services of such a wellrespected and popular industry figure. Simon not only brings a wealth of knowledge, expertise and experience of all things audio to the company but a track record of proven success and an enviable reputation as a principled and customer-focused operator. Those are precisely the qualities that Audiologic seeks to promote and I’m confident that he will thrive in our close-knit environment,” said Andy Lewis, Audiologic Sales and Marketing Director. CODA Audio USA has appointed Jeff Taylor as its new Sales Director. Based in Vancouver, Washington, Taylor brings with him a wealth of industry knowledge, having enjoyed more than 20 years experience working with notable professional audio brands. To firmly establish CODA Audio’s next-generation solutions in the top rank of the US market is central to his new role, something for which Managing Director, Luke Jenks feels he is very well suited: “Jeff combines a highly developed business sense with the technical understanding of a professional audio engineer, a role he continues to play in venues across his
home city and which demonstrates a level of enthusiasm for pro-audio that is shared throughout the global CODA Audio family. CODA Audio is all about exceeding expectations with our innovative, customer-focussed solutions and Jeff has the know-how and strategic experience to meet growing demand by building a sales organisation that will deliver the highest possible standard of support and satisfaction.” KLANG:technologies is pleased to announce the appointment of Sorinamoo as its distributor for South Korea. Established in 2000, Sorinamoo is a leading distributor of premium pro audio and video brands. The company represents Yamaha, Meyer, Inter-M and Harman brands, including JBL, Crown, DBX and Soundcraft. Phil Kamp, KLANG:technologies’ Head of Sales, commented: “We are pleased to welcome Sorinamoo to our expanding network of international distributors. With a great line of compatible brands, they are technically experienced and will bring our systems to the market with great presentation and support. I am confident they will do an excellent job in representing KLANG:technologies in South Korea.” Irish technical production company PSI is the latest company to join the Adamson network as a certified re-seller and rental partner appointed by Adamson’s UK Distributor The Warehouse. With offices in Belfast and Dublin, PSI specialises in all aspects of event lighting, rigging and training, and has recently added an audio department headed up by Adam Lee Collins, along with Audio Projects Manager, John Hesketh. Collins commented: “We looked at all of the leading brands of loudspeakers but felt that Adamson 100
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Below: Triple E has recruited Richard Black as Technical Sales and Marketing role; Marina Prak is ROE Visual’s new Marketing Manager; Visual Productions’ Vice President Zoe Castle with Robert Izzett of DWR Distribution.
was the perfect fit for our new department. We see the brand growing steadily in the international market and want to be ahead of the curve, we’re initially adding a substantial inventory of Adamson S10 systems to support this. Relationships with like-minded people and companies are key to PSI values, and together with support from The Warehouse and Adamson I see a great future ahead!” For more than 18 years, PSI has provided production solutions for live events, specialising to date in lighting and rigging services and supply. The decision to open a dedicated audio department comes from the desire to offer a consistent service in this area, to meet the high standard already provided by PSI in the other areas. The provision of leading-edge equipment, and the appointment of the best industry professionals, highlights PSI’s dedication to providing exemplary service to all clients. With the appointment of no less than 4 industry veterans, in both product management as well as marketing, LED display solutions provider ROE Visual has strengthened its team to execute their ambitious growth plans for 2018 and beyond. Tony van Moorleghem has over 25 years of experience in global operations, customer service and product marketing and comes to ROE Visual as Director of Product Management. Joining Tony is Dries Vermeulen who has almost 20 years experience in LED display technology and will be assisting ROE Visual to further develop the products that high-profile users demand. Claude Ostyn has been in the R&D trenches for more than 20 years and has spent most of his career designing, developing and managing products for the entertainment industry in general and for LED display technology in particular. He will join the product management team to support the development of new products. Marina Prak who has over 35 years of experience in the entertainment industry, of which nearly 20 years in marketing, joins ROE Visuals as Marketing Manager and will be responsible for supporting and growing the ROE Visual brand in Europe and the Middle East. A fully-fledged marketing professional Prak is experienced in developing and implementing marketing and sales strategies, customer support, PR, organising events, product launches and off and online marketing. Jason Lu, General Manager of ROE Visual, welcomes van Moorleghem, Vermeulen, Ostyn with confidence: “Tony, Dries and Claude bring knowledge and exuberance to their new roles, which demonstrates both our leadership in the industry and commitment to serving the evolving market.” Roelof Bouwman, Managing Director of ROE Visual Europe adds: “We’re really excited to be able to add Prak to our team. With her wealth of marketing experience Prak will be able to execute and develop ambitious plans to drive our brand.” Richard Black has joined stage track and engineering specialist Triple E in a newly created Technical Sales and Marketing role. Previously the Projects Manager at Flint Hire and Supply, Black’s new job will utilise his 10 years’ experience in scenic construction and rigging with a focus on client relationships, training and marketing Triple E’s expanding portfolio. David Edelstein, Managing Director, said: “We’re delighted to have Richard on
board. He’s familiar with our products and ambitions and fully equipped to communicate the company’s product solutions.” Further news comes from Visual Productions and DWR Distribution as the companies announce a partnership. After meeting with DWR Sales Director, Robert Izzett at the recent Prolight+Sound show, Zoë Castle spotted the opportunity: “DWR is excellently structured to facilitate growing the knowledge and sales of our solid-state controllers across the region. DWR work within markets including Architectural, TV, Retail and Venues where our products are a perfect fit!” Castle concluded that “we all at Visual Productions are excited to be working with such an established
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Larry Italia joins d&b audiotechnik as Americas Territory Manager; Simon Jones, Audiologic.
and renowned company, safe in the knowledge that DWR’s commitment, technical expertise and enthusiasm for the lighting controllers that we make, will bring their market presence to a much deserved level.” Larry Italia has joined d&b audiotechnik as the company’s Territory Manager Americas and President and CEO of d&b audiotechnik USA. In his latest post, Italia will be responsible for all d&b audiotechnik business in North, Central and Soutwh America. Stephan Greiner, d&b audiotechnik Chief Sales Officer, commented: “I am very excited that we managed to win Larry for the d&b team. With the perfect mix of industry experience and a great personality, Larry is the addition we needed to lead our d&b network in the Americas to new heights. We have been very successful in the Americas over the last twenty years, but this hasn’t lowered our ambitions. We will continue to work with our partners to strengthen our leading position in the Rental Markets, and seize our great momentum in the Installation segments. Larry’s expertise
and experience will drive the business and inspire the team as we continue to position d&b as the partner of choice for audio technology and solutions.” Trussing and staging systems manufacturer Sixty82has appointed A.C. Entertainment Technologies and Axente have been named as the new, exclusive distributors for the UK and France respectively, whilst Pan-Pro of Germany and Set2Stage of Portugal have been appointed as distribution partners in their own countries. “We chose A.C. Entertainment Technologies and Axente as the first in our international network as they represent the strongest importing distributors in their territories, with an historical strength in the trussing and staging marketplace,” said Sixty82 CEO Fokko Smeding. “Similarly, Pan-Pro and Set2Stage are both well-established companies with well-respected teams and ideally placed for distribution partnership.” TPi www.tpimagazine.com/category/industry-jobs/
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MARTIN CONNOLLY The Senior Project Manager at Capital Sound is celebrating 25 years with the company.
Could you describe your early days with Capital Sound? I worked as a freelancer for the company prior to officially joining in 1993. In those days there were only 4 people working full time. Even then we ran recognisable brands including Martin Audio, Yamaha, Crown amplifiers and Midas desks. So productions and tour managers used to approach us because they recognised the equipment.
What are some of favourite memories from your time at Capital Sound? Take That’s Circus shows were remarkable and certainly stick in the mind, as do some of the runs we did with Stereophonics and Status Quo; who we still service today. Those big stadium tours that we picked up over the years really stood us in good stead for other jobs such as British Summer Time, BBC Proms and Radio 2 Live in Hyde Park.
How did you first get into professional audio? It all started with my brother, who was always the musical one in the family. I went to see some of my brothers friends in Kent who were in a band when I was 18 for a weekend that somehow turned into 6 months! During that time the band bought themselves a PA to use for gigs. When they weren’t using it, we used to advertise it in Melody Maker for people to hire out for £50 a night - this was my introduction into the hire industry.
What shows are you looking forward to this year? Stereophonics’ upcoming Cardiff City Stadium show is going to be great. Seeing them in their home country really is a unique experience. Other highlights will be Roger Waters with the surround sound system we are deploying. Finally Sam Smith, who has already finished his fantastic UK run, is set to play Madison Square Garden. It’s not just the big shows though. We have some great smaller scale performances such as Rochester Castle Concerts, which we have been doing for 25 years.
What were some of your highlights for the early days of your career? While hiring our PA I was introduced to a company called ESE (Eric Snowball Electronics). At the time they had the Country and Motown market sewn up. I remember working shows in the Royal Albert Hall with Marvin Gaye and Barry White. This was long before the days of wireless microphones but, even so, Barry used to walk out into the crowd. There is footage of a BBC tech feeding the mic cable out to him while still smoking his pipe - oh how times have changed! Other highlights from back in the day include some of the early quadraphonic shows with John Martyn and not forgetting tours with AC/DC and 1985’s Live Aid. Truly great memories.
What can TPi readers find you doing when you’re away from your desk? Well it’s not often enough, I can tell you that! But if any readers need a workout and some fresh air, my wife and I would welcome some help on our allotment in Kent where I’m always out with the dogs. 106
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