Grand Palais Ephemera. 54 motors at the fingertips of Alexandre Trapon

GL events has installed a technical grid in the 10,000 square-meter hall of the Grand Palais Ephémère, with 507 m of trussing and 54 radio-controlled chain hoists that are operated via a brand-new, intelligent remote control developed by Sonoss.

At the end of the Champ de Mars, the Grand Palais Éphémère hosts prestigious exhibitions.

Built to replace the Grand Palais during its restoration, the Grand Palais Éphémère hosts art exhibitions, high-profile events and fashion shows in its 10,000-square-meter venue. It is equipped with a technical grid that consists of more than half a kilometer of trussing and 54 chain hoists controlled via a brand-new, intelligent remote control system developed by Sonoss!
Following a call for bids issued in September 2019 by the Réunion des musées nationaux – Grand Palais and Paris 2024, GL events was awarded the contract to design, build, operate and eventually dismantle the Grand Palais Éphémère.

The 10,000 m2 hall has a highly absorbent acoustic treatment to avoid disturbing the surrounding neighborhood.

When GL Events won the contract to develop the Grand Palais Éphémère, the company’s lighting/structure manager, Alexandre Trapon, was responsible for adapting the exhibition hall to the needs of the event industry, planning the motorized technical trusses, the routing of the networks used for production and the architectural and venue lighting. He carried out a precise and meticulous study during the Covid-19 epidemic to make this space as easy and quick as possible to work with.

From left to right: Manuel Lauwerier, Philippe Coudyser and Alexandre Trapon.

We went to pay him a visit in this beautiful building that combines glass and wood under a PVC and ETFE covering, accompanied by Manuel Lauwerier and Philippe Coudyser from Sonoss, who developed the innovative chain hoist control for this impressive performance space.

SLU : The Grand Palais Éphémère is, as its name indicates, a temporary facility. How long will it last?

Alexandre Trapon, responsable technique lumière/structure de GL events : Since the renovation of the Grand Palais is scheduled to be completed in 2024, this building will be dismantled as soon as the 2024 Paralympic Games are over. The specifications were very stringent in terms of the materials to be used, their recyclability and acoustics, because we are in a densely residential area.
And in response to your observation, since the Champ de Mars is one of the most emblematic sites in Paris, we couldn’t set up a conventional temporary structure. So the structure of the building is mostly made of wood.

SLU : When did you start working on this project?

Alexandre Trapon : In September 2019, when GL events was awarded the contract, we sourced companies to construct the building, electricians and specialized contractors. When the specifications came to us, we adapted them to the needs of the event industry.
We’re specialized in building and equipping large temporary structures, generally marquees. GL Events also builds a lot of stadiums that are not temporary but can be upgraded. We come from the events sector, so everything seems simple to us.

SLU : Have exhibitions come back at the same pace as before Covid?

Alexandre Trapon : Given that the trade shows didn’t go on during Covid, the schedule for the Grand Palais Ephemera is very packed for 2022. The shows and events scheduled for the first half of 2021 were postponed to the end of the year, resulting in a particularly busy schedule between September and December 2021. In this context, we have made sure to put in place technologies that optimize the installation time of the audiovisual components.

The structure and the motors

507 square meters of Sixty82 M39S square trussing are installed in the exhibition hall and are moved by 54 Verlinde D8+ chain motors, all with NeoFeu load arrestors!

In the roof, more than 500 m of Sixty82 square trussing.

Alexandre provided a central grid of 23 meters on each side with a crossbeam, equipped with eight SL10 D8+ chain hoists (1 ton) with Neo Feu Big (1 ton) load arrestors, two 70 m trusses powered by 14 Verlinde SL5 D8+ chain hoists (500 kg) with 500 kg load arrestors, and six 42 m trusses lifted by 14 SL5 chain hoists with load arrestors.

One of the 54 Verlinde hoists attached to the structure of the building.

A brand-new Sonoss remote control, with hybrid motor starters and group memories, and which can be used in either wired or wireless mode, brings together all the hoist controls in a very compact format with a host of safety features.

Alexandre Trapon : To control the grid, truss by truss, we needed to procure a reliable, practical and safe system for controlling the chain hoists. I drafted a set of specifications and sent them to Philippe Coudyser, the head of Sonoss, because we already had some of their remote controls.

The system he suggested didn’t exist anywhere else and it wasn’t yet in the Sonoss catalog. I chose this solution, which was not yet functional at the time, but I knew it was coming. For me, it was the only one that ensured safety and a reduction in deployment time.

The plot of the hoists for the remote control.

We have two remote control stations on the third floor, one at each end of the building. The control panel in the first room has 24 hybrid starters, and the one in the second station, located on the opposite side of the building, has 36 of the same technology.


A fixed Sonoss remote control connected to 32 chain hoists on the 36 channels available on one side of the building with its blue hybrid motor starters.

A second fixed remote control on the opposite side of the building, connected to 22 chain hoists out of the 24 available channels.


Each switch is connected to a chain motor, and I can control them either manually or with the remote control which integrates the control of all the motors with two possibilities, wired or wireless. It’s really convenient when you’re downstairs in the exhibition hall to be able to operate the trusses remotely via radio.

The Sonoss RT72-20G-W-WL mobile remote control that controls all the hoists in the hall linked by groups, each corresponding to a truss.
In the product designation, 72 is the maximum number of controllable motors, 20 is the maximum number of groups, W stands for Wired and WL for Wireless (RF).

The system also makes it easy to program groups of hoists, one program per truss, and to operate them with a single switch.

And if one motor isn’t running at the same speed or is loaded a little more than the others, and you see a discrepancy, you can easily select it, adjust it, and put it back in the group.”


Here is a tutorial on the operation of the remote control, produced by Manuel Lauwerier.


SLU : What is the advantage of hybrid starters?

Manuel Lauwerier, directeur technique de Sonoss : The hybrid starter is a three-phase solid-state inverter switch. It is the semiconductors, triacs, which close the contact. They absorb the voltage and, after five milliseconds, the relay connected in parallel is automatically connected. It therefore doesn’t suffer from the electric arc of starting that wears out the contacts, and its life span is therefore easily ten times longer.

Safety

Hybrid starters are not only resistant to wear and tear. They also ensure safety.

Alexandre Trapon : The advantage of the hybrid starter is that it also limits the load. If it recognizes that a motor is unloaded or overloaded, it detects an error and shuts down the entire remote control system to avoid disaster.

Philippe Coudyser, Président de Sonoss : The motors are protected because each switch channel is adjustable from 1.5 A to 9 A according to the motor characteristics specified by the manufacturer. In the event of an under-load or overload, the switch detects an error and cuts off the power. It’s very different in terms of operation and safety from a normal remote control.

Manuel Lauwerier, technical director of Sonoss, designer of the remote control.

Manuel Lauwerier : Whatever the problem, overload, under-load, phase offset, an unconnected phase, power loss, a disconnected motor, the remote detects it and shuts down the system.

The error is displayed by a set of indicator LEDs. Each group of red or orange LEDs has a specific meaning, and if the hybrid starter module is defective, you simply remove it and replace it.

Alexandre Trapon : These are essential safeguards because the grid is 13 meters high against a midnight-blue background and with backlighting in places, the problems are difficult to assess visually. If on a 70 m truss you forget to engage even one of the seven motors spaced 9 m apart, it’s reassuring to know that the load won’t come down.

Philippe Coudyser : The specifications also stipulated that if, for example, Alexandre decided to integrate a load cell into each motor, the controller would be able to receive the load cell information and display the load present on each remote control channel, as well as on the remote.
On a group of hoists like those programmed here, we could have the indication of the total load applied on the truss, in other words the sum of all the hoists on the truss. And in the future, if the motors incorporate an encoder, we will also be able to manage altimetry: the program can evolve.
Regarding the intelligence aspect, this remote control also makes it possible to select the maximum number of hoists that can operate simultaneously, depending on the energy available upstream. You can make a group that will correspond to the available electrical power, without the risk of overloading the mains.


It’s really convenient to be able to control so many motors on site with such a compact, lightweight and secure wireless remote control.

SLU : Is this remote control suited for touring?

Manuel Lauwerier : It works very well in a cabinet on sites with permanently installed motors with defined electrical characteristics. Sonoss regulates the current before the cabinet is delivered because the size of the cables depends on it.

It is important to know that each hoist of each brand has its own electrical characteristics, depending on whether it is double-reeved or not. These are questions that we ask when ordering. These starters are suitable for loads between 250 kg and 2 tons without any problem.

And if the hoists are smaller, adjustable hybrid starters from 600 mA to 2.4 A can be installed. In touring, on the other hand, the use of this cabinet would imply setting the consumption according to the motors before each performance. And if we set all starters to 9 A by default, the lower power motors would not be detected.”

SLU : Alexandre, you have chosen the wired version plus wireless…

Alexandre Trapon : As I was saying, it’s a tremendous advantage to be able to control the grid from the exhibition hall via radio, but here in front of the Eiffel Tower, there’s a risk of interference and, in the event of a radio failure, it’s once again reassuring to be able to use the wired remote control, as the cable is long enough to go down to the floor.
A cable connects one of the two control panels to the wireless receiver located in a corner of the lobby with its antenna – one is enough. And a cable runs along the floor from one control station to the other.”

Manuel Lauwerier : This remote control comes standard with a cable. To switch it to wireless, all you have to do is buy the receiver, as the transmitter is already built into the circuit board.

The Network

The main AV network rack, based on Luminex, is connected to the IT network…

SLU : Are the trusses pre-cabled?

Alexandre Trapon : The trusses are wired with P1732A, multi-pairs, and fiber optics. In each of the technical rooms and on each truss I have a GigaCore 10 switch and Luminex nodes to connect the production equipment. Everything is designed to be easy and fast to use.

I have 12 fibers from the IT network that are routed back to the nodal point of the facility and, if necessary, allow a signal to be routed to the offices and vice versa. We have also planned to run the fiber outside for the OB vans.


… and also connected to the second Luminex rack located in the opposite technical area.

SLU : What type of fiber do you use?

Alexandre Trapon : The fiber is basic single-mode for risk-free runs, while the trusses are done with tactical, military-grade fiber.
You can bend it 180°, even crush it, pull it; nothing fazes it. It costs an arm and a leg, but it is indispensable. We have used it for many years, and without a single failure.

SLU : Did you design the network?

Alexandre Trapon : Yes, with my IT manager for the specific network for production, as well as the gateway to the IT network. However, it was a GL Events’ Venues engineer who developed the office computer network, following the specifications, so that it would be as functional as possible. We drew up the specifications together with all of the relevant personnel.
There are four high-speed fibers for TV, we installed 3G and 4G antennas and we planned to install 5G as well, in addition to the WiFi component. The building is full of RJ45 sockets in order to run as few cables as possible. We assumed that a cable crossing the lobby wouldn’t be very attractive.

SLU : What lighting did you choose?

Alexandre Trapon : 95% of the fixtures are from Cromatic, a manufacturer specialized in the commercial sector. The lobby lights and the exterior lights are all controllable via DALI. The security manager has a tablet with which he can set the levels and choose the zones. The light can easily be dimmed zone by zone.
The statue of Marshal Foch is lit by Robe ParFect 150s in warm white. I plan to order them in full color if an event requires it. I have a small splitter that receives the signal and allows me to take control of these fixtures in DMX. I do my show, and when I cut the signal, the ParFects come back on in warm white.”

With events in their DNA, GL Events’ playing fields include trade shows, sporting events, like the Olympic Games, and many major international events around the world, such as the Conference of the Parties (COP), with renown expertise in power distribution, air-conditioning, audio, lighting, and networks. More recently, they have added architectural lighting and broadcast installations to their activities.
Alexandre Trapon, who has been managing the investments in lighting, structures, and electrical distribution for the group’s production activities since 2013, focuses on the long term with quality products sourced from reliable vendors, to whom he is very attached.

Alexandre Trapon : We need them as much as they need us, it’s a question of partnership. We know that events often require last-minute orders. Our relationships with our suppliers mean that they go out of their way to provide us with equipment.
Without this partnership relationship, the vendor would obviously be less attentive to the urgency of the situation.
Every year, we equip four or five festivals around Lyon, including Jazz à Vienne (except in 2020 because of Covid), and we invite our suppliers to attend because they are as important to us as our customers.


– Project developer: GL events
– Architect: Wilmotte & Associés Architectes
– General contractor: Hall Expo


More information is available on the websites of the GL events website and on the Sonoss website

 

Focusrite buys Linea Research

Focusrite plc has announced the acquisition of Linea Research, the UK based designer and manufacturer of professional amplifiers, controllers and software. Linea Research becomes the ninth brand of the Focusrite Group joining Focusrite, Novation, Ampify, ADAM Audio, Martin Audio, Optimal Audio, Focusrite Pro and Sequential.

Linea Research, headquartered in Letchworth Garden City, UK was formed in 2003 by a team of experienced professional audio specialists, and they design, develop, manufacture and market innovative professional audio equipment globally.
Their products include a range of ground-breaking amplifiers, including the world-renowned M Series, together with Digital Signal Processors, audio networking and software products. Two of the original founders, Davey Smalley, Commercial Director, and Ben Ver, Engineering Director, will continue to lead the business post-acquisition.

Focusrite’s subsidiary Martin Audio is a major customer of Linea Research – their technology is behind the successful iKON amplifier series that powers Wavefront Precision line arrays seen on live tours and at prestigious festivals such as British Summer Time in Hyde Park.

The iKon iK42.

The acquisition strengthens the critical source of supply of amplifier modules for Martin Audio and will enable greater integration of loudspeaker and amplifier technology in Martin Audio products. However it is also the intention to continue to develop the sales of Linea Research products through third-party distribution and to OEM loudspeaker customers.

By extending the Group’s business into new products and markets, which complement its existing offerings, the acquisition is strategically aligned with the Group’s previously communicated aims of growing the core customer base, expanding into new markets, and increasing lifetime value for customers.

Tim Carroll, Focusrite Group Chief Executive Officer

Tim Carroll, Chief Executive Officer, said: “It is an absolute pleasure to welcome Davey, Ben and the entire Linea Research team to the Focusrite Group. We know the team and the business well given that Martin Audio is a major Linea Research customer.
This will lead to many synergies and is expected to improve gross margin for both Martin Audio and the wider Group. Linea Research’s products are globally recognised as best in class and we are all excited about the opportunities and possibilities that lie ahead with the collective expertise of the Linea Research and Focusrite Group R&D and sales teams.”


Davey Smalley, Linea Research Director.

In a joint statement Davey Smalley and Ben Ver, Directors at Linea Research commented: “We are delighted to be able to continue the Linea Research success story from within the Focusrite Group. Having seen the support and growth of the brands within the Group, we believe this provides us with a secure foundation to further our R&D efforts and product portfolio, strengthening the Linea Research brand while continuing partnerships with our long-standing OEM partners. This can only be a good thing for our customers, end users and very much our staff.”

For more information on Linea Research and on Focusrite Group

 

Ayrton Diablo and grandMA3 light investments pay off for AMPD

AMPD Lighting and Audio Visual in Spokane, Washington has purchased 24 versatile, feature-rich Ayrton Diablo-S profile luminaires and a grandMA3 light console to add to the company’s rental inventory and use for professional event production. AMPD Lighting and Audio Visual offers high-end production, rental, sales and installation services to a wide range of markets in the Pacific Northwest.

The company’s investment in the Diablo fixtures and grandMA3 light has been paying dividends since the products arrived. ACT Entertainment exclusively distributes both brands in the US.

“We saw the Diablos at a trade show and had our eyes on them for a while,” says Justin Haas, Owner of AMPD Lighting and Audio Visual. “They checked a lot of boxes for us: a compact and lightweight form factor that can fit in cars; an easy-to-navigate menu; great output; a full feature set, including framing shutters. Plus, they have a low cost of ownership and give us the ability to offer them at an affordable rental price.”

The Diablo fixtures mark the first Ayrton acquisition for AMPD Lighting and Audio Visual. Soon after their arrival, six of the fixtures quickly became part of the house lighting package furnished for the Riverfront Park Summer Concert Series in Spokane.

“We mounted them on the upstage truss to provide backlight and effects lighting for the artists,” Haas explains. “Some concert participants commented that they had seen a lot of Diablos on their tours and were happy to find them in Spokane.” The Diablo units have since been rented for other concerts, including a Billy Idol gig at an area casino. They were also a popular rental choice for churches staging big holiday services.

The grandMA3 light is AMPD Lighting and Audio Visual’s first MA Lighting console. “Both of our lighting guys use grandMA consoles when they do tours, and everyone in the industry knows grandMA so we really needed one in our inventory,” says Haas.
“There’s only one grandMA2 for rent in town, so now we offer another choice and can support grandMA users who have their own systems.” The new grandMA3 light also saw duty at the Riverfront Park Summer Concert Series, and Haas expects to see demand for it grow as tours and concerts return this summer.

“Last year was the biggest year we’ve ever had for rentals and production,” he notes. “This year we’re hoping for the same result. “We expect the Diablos to be our number one moving light rental, and we’re hoping to add more Ayrton products to our inventory. We’re looking at the Perseo next,” Haas reports.
“Since we have four seasons in Spokane, we’d like to have some IP-rated fixtures that deliver a lot of power. We’re also looking forward to working with ACT again. They’ve been great – so helpful getting product to us and supporting brands new to our inventory.”

More information on Ayrton Diablo and the extensive portfolio of innovative Ayrton LED fixtures can be found at www.ayrton.eu

 

Worship in Winter Haven with Adamson

Winter Haven Worship Center in Winter Haven, Florida, has installed a new Adamson PA system in their 1000-seat facility. The new system features a main stereo hang of nine IS10b sub-compact line array cabinets on each side, along with a total of four IS10pb full-range point source cabinets for outside and centre fill.

Eight PC5i ultra-compact coaxial loudspeakers were incorporated for front row nearfield coverage. Finally, for low frequency reinforcement, they installed an under-stage sub arc, consisting of eight IS119b.

MABE, a faith-based AV production and installation company based in Florida, completed the installation with the help of Adamson territory rep Griffith Sales. While there were many challenges with the prior PA, the installation team was able to make use of some existing equipment racks and power distribution to keep the costs down for the client.

Richard Vaughan, ingénieur en chef de MABE.

Richard Vaughan, MABE’s Lead Engineer, explained, “The previous system lacked clarity and dynamics. It did not cover the entire listening area, was aging, and had some bad components. The system was not capable of reproducing the high energy worship style without getting very harsh, which resulted in listener fatigue.”

The pre-installation process for the IS-Series system required 3D CAD drawings and several site visits to verify the precise location of each loudspeaker. Incorporating a large format line array into the space called for plenty of planning to leave the aesthetics and site lines unaffected.

The MABE design team redesigned the stage cavities to make room for the new Adamson IS119 subwoofers and PC5i front fills so they would be heard clearly without being seen. The end-product PA design allowed for variation of only 3dB throughout the room.

Une des deux lignes de neuf IS10b composant le système principal avec deux point source 1S10pb pour le renfort central et une seconde paire des mêmes enceintes pour déboucher les côtés.

Brandon Collins, Worship Pastor at Winter Haven Worship Center, remarked, “After hearing a few other systems, we preferred the warmth and presence we heard in the Adamson boxes.” Collins also noted, “MABE was incredible to work with as they always are. They had everything planned and very organized. The entire installation was completed in time for us to run everything Sunday.”

Steve Griner de MABE.

Steve Griner, Account Manager at MABE, explained, “The Adamson system covered the room so well and gave such a warm sound. I am constantly impressed with how smooth the vocal range is on these boxes.
The Adamson, overall, is a very smooth-sounding box that even at higher SPL doesn’t give you the ear fatigue you get with a lot of other manufacturers.
We did demo and review some other boxes with the client, but it was clear that the Adamson system was the winner in coverage, sound quality, and bottom-line cost.”

With strategic planning and thorough technical preparation, the outcome was a system that blends well into the environment. “The client is extremely happy with the result,” mentioned Vaughan.


Une ligne de IS10 prête à être câblée et levée. Le bas du spectre est renforcé par un ensemble de huit subs IS119b en montage arc-sub depuis le dessous la scène.

More information on the Adamson website

 

Showlight to return in 2023

Showlight is excited to announce that plans are underway to reinstate Showlight 2023 which, after a two-year postponement due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is now scheduled to take place between 20-23 May 2023. The venue for this much-loved lighting quadrennial will be the Théâtre Municipal in Fontainebleau, near Paris, France, the original destination for the postponed 2021 event.

“The Showlight committee is now planning for the next live Showlight in May 2023 and we hope this time nothing will de-rail it!” says Showlight chairman, John Allen. “We are delighted to have the continued support of our main sponsor, Robert Juliat, along with many of the sponsors who were already supporting Showlight 2021.
Fontainebleau’s local administration has, once again, made the Théâtre Municipal available for us – right in the centre of the town – and, as a result, the arrangements we were originally making for 2021 can be dusted off and planning can recommence.

“The Welcome Reception is planned for Saturday 20 May, with the first full day of papers on Sunday 21 May 2023. More programme details will be released in due course and we look forward to welcoming everyone back to Showlight next year.”

With this in mind, and less than 18 months to go, Showlight will soon be putting out a Call for Papers, Exhibitors and Sponsors for this unique networking event. If you want to share your exciting lighting or terrific technology, contact us at [email protected]

If you want to become part of the welcome return of this top networking event as a sponsor or exhibitor, contact John Allen at [email protected]

“I had such a terrific time, I’m still talking about it. I was so inspired and motivated by the speakers that I have a renewed energy for my work and trying new things. I met so many new people and learned so much about different people’s work, it has been invaluable.” James Simpson, lighting designer and visualiser at Copper Candle, Showlight 2017 speaker – and now, Vice Chair of the Papers Committee!

If you’ve never attended a Showlight before, or you’ve simply missed mixing with your peers, Showlight 2023 is your opportunity to mingle, and learn, with lighting practitioners from all disciplines and many countries, across three enjoyable days of networking, social visits, eclectic papers and an exhibition.
“Showlight packs a full programme into three days which gives the opportunity to dive deep into the world of light and to meet lots of new people outside of your normal comfort zone.” Isabel Nielen, lighting designer and artist, and Showlight 2017 speaker.

Put the date in your diary (20-23 May 2023), visit the Showlight website (www.showlight.org) for more details, and sign up to the Mailing List to keep abreast of all new developments.

“Showlight is so interesting because of the access it gives to everybody. Students can talk directly to top lighting designers, lighting designers have lots of time to interact with manufacturers, etc. It’s first and foremost an excellent networking event.” Ellen Lampert-Greaux, Live Design, Showlight 2017 delegate.

 

Robe Helps the Cogétama Ballet Story Unfold

The grace and fluidity of dancer’s movements were enhanced by an equally elegant lightshow designed by Koen De Clerck for “Cogétama” a special choreographed ballet work created and produced by Glen Lambrecht Productions, commissioned by the Municipality of Aalter. It was staged at the City Hall Auditorium of Aalter in Belgium and played 12 completely sold-out performances.

Koen used an all-Robe moving lighting rig to give him the flexibility and dynamics needed to light the detail, depth, and nuance of the piece, which revolved around the famous Cogétama cigar and the factory which produced it and how it affected and influenced the communities living and working around the areas of Aalter and Knesselare for over 100 years. The legacy of the cigar factory has left an indelible imprint on local culture and history.

Glen Lambrecht, a professional ballet dancer who choreographed as well as produced the show, explained that they decided to go for a raw, direct, and minimalist setting without lots of elaborate scenic elements, instead setting the scene and realism of the atmosphere with “amazing lighting to immerse the audience and take them on the journey.”

Effectively, light became another dancer and character in the piece, and once Koen was onboard as LD – the two have worked on previous projects – he knew he needed the most versatile and adaptable lighting fixtures and chose Robe.

Fourteen Robe T1 Profiles were at the heart of the lighting rig, five positioned FOH for front lighting, keying, and specials, with nine in the overhead rig as top and back lighting plus more specials.
Eight out of 14 x Spiider wash beams were utilized for top and back lighting, with the other six deployed three a side for side and cross lighting, and there were eight Tetra2 moving LED battens that were also part of the top rig, positioned upstage towards the back.

Koen’s challenge was – with lighting being so central to the narrative – to ensure that it didn’t become gimmicky, crass, or start distracting from the dancers or the story. “It always had to be there yet appearing in this supporting role – almost understated – whilst actually underpinning all the action,” he explained.

Using moving lights was essentially the only way to get lighting everywhere on the stage and into all the corners and edges and other places it was needed. During the show, the cast used eight tables as props – which they manually shifted around – and without using moving lights it would have been impossible to capture these scenes effectively and transfer the energy and emotion across to the audiences.

The shuttering capabilities of the T1s were used extensively for making shapes on the stage and defining different areas and spaces. The Tetra2s were used for several effects including dramatic back light and hi-impact curtain effects when combined with haze.

The show was also recorded for future broadcast, streaming and other digital actions, so using lights that were all camera friendly and flicker-free was another bonus.
Koen also appreciated the graduated fade outs and being able to go to a proper blackout! In fact, it was so pitch dark between some scenes that they had to add markers for the dancers!


The colour palettes he used were simple and powerful with multiple whites coupled with some harsher blues and reds to reinforce specific moments, but generally he explored the complex beauty and purity of monochromaticity, working with multiple layers of different colour temperature whites.


He underlines how great it also is to be able to work with the totally different Robe lighting ranges where the colours are always so consistent – a feature on which Robe has fully focussed. Koen loves the silence of the T1’s. For a piece like “Cogétama” this was essential.
Side lighting for dance shows is often a similar height to the performers, but part of the “Cogétama” set was two large 3-metre-wide panels with doors, used frequently throughout and shifted around the stage, so the side lights had to be rigged 3 meters off the floor allowing the panels to be manoeuvred on and offstage underneath.

This was another reason that Spiiders were a good choice with their extra power and focusability. The show ran for an hour and 35 minutes plus an intermission and comprised 21 scenes, so it was a very dynamic, fast-paced environment that covered a lot of ground, all set to a special music track compiled by Glen.

Koen and Glen worked very closely and collaboratively in evolving the show, bouncing ideas off one another. Glen also has some very specific ideas about lighting and knows through experience how it can work optimally and physically with the 27 dancers as well as the wider concept of movement.
Koen commented on how working so closely with a director / choreographer like Glen really upped the ante in terms of his own lighting skills: “It was an intense but an extremely enjoyable process which enabled us to push technical, creative and aspirational boundaries all the time in terms of the show – and the cast and audience experience – we were producing!”

Lighting programmer Glenn De Clerck used his own grandMA2 console, with all the other lighting equipment supplied by L&L Stage Services. “Glenn’s exceptional programming skills made it possible to get the show completely programmed within an extremely limited timeslot. He was an incredibly positive force to work with during the show’s development,” confirmed Koen.

Koen has been using Robe products for some time, and for this production both he and Glen knew this would be their perfect choice! Koen knew how Glen wanted the choreography to work as he was also involved in the cast rehearsals, and he knew what luminaires were needed to achieve the right atmosphere for each scene, and that could be fitted to their budget! Based on all these considerations, T1 Profiles and Spiiders were top of the list.

They also worked on the premise of a little light going a long way. It wasn’t a massive rig, but used judiciously and intelligently, they maximized all the fixtures for every millisecond of the performance working them hard and very appropriately to produce the stunning results that WOWed the public and the local media, all helping make this completely unique production such a success.

For more info about Robe Lighting, you can visit www.robe.cz

 

NEXO GEO M10 and P+ Series at Rhyl Pavilion Theatre

Located on the waterfront in the North Wales seaside resort of Rhyl, the 1031-seat Pavilion Theatre hosts touring theatre productions, comedy acts and music tours, alongside playing a key role at the heart of the community, staging local cultural events and school productions.

A whole lot of power and control with four NXAMP4x2 mk2 and one NXAMP4x1 mk2.

When the theatre’s Technical Manager Andy Hughes was tasked with replacing the existing PA with a modern, versatile system capable of handling everything from a comedy gig to a rock & roll show, one brand came immediately to mind.
“I had heard a lot of systems in the theatre over the years from touring shows, including many big-named brands and NEXO always really stood out sound wise”.

A.C. Entertainment Senior Audio Sales Executive Steve Eaton.

Andy approached the highly experienced entertainment technology specialists A.C. Entertainment Technologies (AC-ET), where Senior Audio Sales Executive Steve Eaton turned to the Engineering Support Team at the NEXO Campus in France to design the system.

With an extensive history in theatre sound, NEXO Engineering Support Manager Bertrand Billon was the perfect person for the job. “Designing a ground stacked system for a multi-level theatre is always a challenge” says Bertrand. “It’s important to strike the right balance between long throw and not overpowering the audience at the front.

Bertrand Billon, NEXO Engineering Support Manager.

At the Pavilion Theatre, we took advantage of stacking GEO M10 on top of the MSUB18s, giving us the extra height required to avoid creating a hot spot in the front rows.
The removable directivity flanges helped us to achieve this soft spot at the front, changing the horizontal directivity from 90° to 120° without requiring a completely different version of the cabinet.

Two MSUB18 and on top six M10. On the stage the C+ Series speakers.

“NEXO NS-1 prediction software allowed us to create an accurate model of the venue” continues Bertrand. “This enabled us to discuss options and constraints with the team at the theatre prior to installation.
It also made our onsite fine-tuning session quick and easy, providing additional time to train the crew in using NEXO’s Nemo remote-control software, and also NS-1 so they can successfully deploy the system in remote locations for special events.”
“NEXO were very helpful and accommodating, leaving us with a system for a week to test within the theatre to ensure we were happy” says Andy Hughes, taking up the story again. “All this, along with the support from AC-ET, even through the pandemic, helped make the decision.”

AC-ET supplied over 65 products from the NEXO range, including; GEO M10 line array modules, MSUB18 subs, ID24 speakers for front fills and beaming sound under balconies to ensure even coverage throughout the venue, NXAMPMK2 powered controllers and P+ series point source loudspeakers.

The main PA and the P+ wedges and drum monitor. Hanging on top of the shot, the ID24’s help the audience getting a hint of additional clarity.

Only the ID24s are permanently installed, providing the flexibility to use the system at events at other locations, as and when they occur.

A couple of P12 and in the background, the Pavilion theater.

The system was installed by the theatre’s house staff. “Using the NS-1 software, our team was able to install and configure the NEXO system and it sounded great” reports Andy. “We then had the NEXO experts come and help us fine tune. The finished result is absolutely outstanding!”

AC-ET’s, Steve Eaton commented: “I’ve been working with Andy and Leon at the Pavilion on this project for a couple of years now, so it’s great to see it all come together.

The system had to be extremely versatile to use in the theatre itself, the outdoor arena next door, plus all the other venues and sport centres under their jurisdiction.
The combination of NEXO’s GEO M10 line array and their stunning new P+ Series speakers helped us deliver the versatility required.”

More information on the NEXO website

 

Monumental 2021 Finale for Robe

The Monumental Tour – an innovative visual and musical performance which was the brainchild of French DJ and music producer Michael Canitrot and visual activists AV-Extended – played a truly spectacular final location at the end of November … at the magnificent Chateau de Pierrefonds in the picturesque Oise region of France, northeast of Paris.

Delivered in conjunction with French cooperative bank Credit Mutuel and other sponsors … over 100 Robe moving lights supported the mapped projection show specially devised for the unique set produced by Michael for this closing show.

It took references from the history of the imposing Castle, originally constructed in the 12th century, and extensively rebuilt in the mid-19th century at the behest of Emperor Napoleon III, and wove these into an all-encompassing, immersive, and beautifully rhythmic electronic musical experience.

The Monumental Tour has been an incredible journey that has combined streamed music performances and collaborations with epic, iconic and outstanding monumental sites all around France. It started back in the summer at the Phare des Baleines (Lighthouse of the Whales) on the Ile de Ré.

Since he was a small child, Michael Canitrot has loved visiting castles and museums and describes The Monumental Tour as “The meeting of my two passions – electronic music and heritage / history,” adding that being able to play his music in exceptional and unexpected places has “nourished my inspiration”.

Mikael Trochu

For the final show in 2021, Paris-based freelance lighting designer Mikael Trochu (Mika) was asked onboard by the project’s technical managers Martin Javouret and Adrien Demengel and tasked with lighting the Castle’s stunning front façade. The event was recorded for later broadcast and enjoyed live by a specially invited audience.

Mika was delighted to be working with Robe moving lights on his first Monumental show – including MegaPointes, FORTES, ESPRITES, miniPointes, Spiiders and Tetra2s, all provided by Paris-based rental and production company MDL Event, the event’s technical partner.
Mika has been using Robe products regularly in his work for some time and thinks they offer great versatility, quality, brightness, and reliability as well as being designed to be compact and practical.

The key role of the lighting was to complement and work alongside the detailed and enigmatic projections co-ordinated by AV-Extended’s Jérémie Bellot, which covered a 60-metre-wide span across the Castle’s front facade stretching 50 meters high up to the tops of the walls and turrets.
The challenge was in ensuring that the lighting was finessed and elegant, harmonious with the music and assisted the narrative of the piece, with both lumens and projections sculpted seamlessly into the contours of the Castle, respecting its stoically majestic architecture.
Each Monumental show is composed of what Michael describes as the tour’s “artistic DNA” and is sculpted specifically for the location and includes abstract references and interpretations – both visual and musical – related to the history and relevance of the building.

The 42 MegaPointes were chosen by Michael himself who is extremely involved in all aspects of the Monumental project as creative director as well as music maker. Technically savvy, he loves utilizing technology to help share his art.
“The whole Robe range is absolutely amazing,” stated Michael. “There are so many possibilities which feed our ideas and enthusiasm for discovering these monuments and depicting them from a new and very contemporary perspective.”

The MegaPointes were also the most noticeable out of all the fixtures, positioned individually around the various castle battlement crenellations at different heights, and poking through the windows of the three main towers on the front façade. Having lights on multiple levels brought a real sense of depth and dimension to the bigger visual picture.
The power and visibility of the MegaPointes was vital for those ‘beams-in-the-sky’ moments in the set, and even on a dark night with no smoke, they blasted boldly through the darkness.
They were also picked for their small size! Rigging was a longwinded and laborious manual haul up to the various parts of the Castle by the MDL Event crew who placed each unit individually into position around the massive building. This was accomplished with a lot of collaboration with the team who maintain and run the Castle which is a dedicated monument historique.

All this hard work paid off with breath-taking results!

Sixteen Robe Spiider wash beams were deployed in various places around the Castle up-lighting and highlighting elements of stone and walled areas.

Eight FORTES were rigged on a circular truss on the floor inside the large castle bailey (courtyard) representing a new metaphorical tower of light beams. They provided feature lighting and camera candy effects for video director Anthony Ghnassia to blend into the mix which included fantastic drone footage from the Skydrone France team. These fixtures projected gobos, texturing and colours around the impressive courtyard which was illuminated with LED floods.

The eight miniPointes and four more Spiiders were used to highlight the architecture and pick out artefacts and detail in the Castle chapel, where they worked brilliantly with the white stone and statues.
Michael Canitrot’s DJ booth was set up in front of the main gateway into the Castle, with the designated public area just the other side of this. Immediately behind the artist were four ESPRITES for back lighting and fabulous silhouetting and gobo animations, all looking super-cool on camera.

Immediately in front of his setup were two lines of Tetra2s forming a pathway up to the DJ booth – another excellent depth effect – which also produced some spectacular camera looks especially for the drones and the wide shots.
A bonus with utilising all these Robe fixtures was the low power consumption. Power was available from various points around the Castle, but it was generally limited, so this was a carefully calculated balance.

The get in took place over two full days, plus the show day, with one – very cold – night of programming on-site with the full rig in situ, preceded by three days warmer pre-viz in the MDL Event studio using L8 3D visualisation software.
Lighting was programmed onto a grandMA2 light console positioned in the back of a truck parked in the public viewing area, and all of it – lighting and projection – was run to timecode from the music track for the 45-minute show.

For Mika, working on this show was something very special. “This is such a unique monument and to be able to light it in this imaginative way and work alongside such a talented team of creative and technical people … is a great honour,” he stated.

For Sébastien Dendele and Sebastien Barry, president and CEO respectively of MDL Event, it was a pleasure to support Michael Canitrot and be involved in the Monumental Tour. “All of us in this industry are driven by passion, so it is great to work with other like-minded people,” said Sébastien Dendele.
Adding that “highlighting French monuments is a fabulous opportunity to present a modern approach showcasing the talent, flair and imagination of our professionals and creatives, as well as illustrating exactly what our job is about to those who might not know about the power and impact of technical production!”

Michael Canitrot himself concluded with, “Pierrefonds is a unique place, full of history and with a distinctive soul. As a place significant to so many people over the centuries, giving it a new dimension that helps make it discoverable, enjoyable and appreciated in a different way is my humble contribution to its incredible history!”
The full Monumental 2021 Finale show was broadcast on December 19th.

For more info on Robe lighting, you can visit www.robe.cz

 

ETC launches Apex, the new generation of Eos desks

Powerful and elegant, the new Eos ETC console, available in 3 sizes Apex 5, 10 and 20, offers unparalleled hardware comfort with large 4K touch screens and amazing and sumptuous technological innovations that make programming easier. The future is on the move!

Les trois tailles de pupitres Apex.

Eos Apex consoles prioritize the user experience with creature comforts to ease those long hours behind the desk. The massive multitouch displays offer generous screen real estate for Magic Sheets, Direct Selects, and Augment3d models, and feature eye-strain-reducing 4K resolution.

L’écran articulé sur deux axes bascule en tilt même à l’arrière.

The displays articulate on a dual-axis and feature a 160-degree viewing angle, so you can see all your tools and data from anywhere along the programming surface.

With an ergonomically redesigned wrist-rest, book lights built into the sides of the desk, hand-holds for easy carrying, and drawers and USB-A and C charging ports for your accessories, Eos Apex is the ultimate workspace for high-level programmers.

Les touches écrans de sélection directe.

The luxurious innovations extend to the programming surface as well. New-to-the-industry technologies provide programmers access to their most-used tools – right on the face panel.

The familiar Eos Family programming keypad has been enhanced with a touchscreen that thumps with haptic feedback when you press your soft keys or mapped content. Eos Apex also introduces customizable Target Keys for your Direct Selects, which boast individual OLED displays that can be customized with images, icons and text.

Les mini encodeurs rétro éclairés.

The encoder area from the Eos Ti console has been expanded to include eight mini-encoders and a navigation dial to easily switch between parameters.

The five, ten and twenty motorized Playbacks on each Apex console (respectively) now boast an additional, separately-mappable scroll wheel for on-the-fly programming. With more buttons, encoders and Playbacks than ever before, Eos Apex makes fast, hands-on programming a breeze – all while maintaining the familiar, sophisticated look and feel that users of the family love.

Les ports SFP+

A powerful lighting desk demands a powerful system, and the Eos Apex line delivers with brand-new components to build out your lighting network.
The Eos Apex Processor provides the power of an Eos Apex console in a portable, rack-mountable box that makes an ideal primary or backup controller or remote programming station.
When you need a portal into your lighting system but not the processing power, the new Eos Remote Interface lets you view and edit your system from anywhere in your venue.

Apex consoles themselves are built with flexible system-building in mind, allowing you to mix and match your DMX and show control ports on a per-show basis using customizable widgets. In addition to standard etherCON Gigabit connections, all Apex-class controllers also feature SFP+ ports that are compatible with the latest high-speed copper and fiber networks.
Eos Apex consoles and Processors provide 24K output, allowing them to control complex rigs with ease. And because shows keep getting bigger and bigger, expansion processing options are already in the works as the next phase of Eos development.

L’Apex Processor.

The Eos Apex line ushers in a new era of control and comfort for professional programmers. Though the new consoles directly replace the Eos Ti and Gio in ETC’s currently-shipping lineup, those desks will continue to receive new software updates, as well as the full benefit of ETC’s industry-leading customer service and support for the duration of their long lives in the field.

This detailed video, made by ETC tells you more about all the evolutions of the Apex consoles.


To learn more about Eos Apex and the latest software advances in the Eos Family, visit ETC Website

 

Robe Adds Magic to Cinderella Panto Production

The UK panto season is back with a BIG bang after waiting in the wings during 2020 as the country squared up to Covid-19, reigniting all things panto like slapstick comedy, toilet-brow innuendo, gawdy sets, psychedelic vibrance and total craziness for which it’s known and appreciated, with lighting designers around the country delighted to be back working on this peculiarly English and highly expressive genre of performance.

None more than Andy Webb, who chose an all-Robe LED moving light rig for UK Productions’ spectacular Cinderella staged at the Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.
For Andy’s first time working in this theatre – following five successive panto seasons up to 2019 at Blackpool’s Theatre Royal – the lighting rig was specified so he could present a new televisual style of panto lighting, with lots of fabulous neutral skin tones juxtaposed against the vibrant colours demanded by panto narrative and style.
He also took full advantage of having a larger stage and house to play in!

“Flexibility is always the key to lighting a panto as the real-time onstage programming and tech’ing schedule is traditionally tight, and that’s why I wanted the Robe fixtures in there because I knew I could achieve the depth, detail and levels of expectation of this production,” he explained. The show is directed by Chris Nelson, who is also playing one of the Ugly Sisters characters!

Andy’s rig includes Robe Esprites and Spiiders as the Spot-Wash ‘base’ luminaires, with 10 x Esprites and 17 Spiider wash-beams distributed across the overhead LX bars.

It is also the first panto Andy has lit with a full moving light rig over the stage, which made a massive difference to the layering and nuances that could be applied across all the stage looks in a short timeframe.

Andy and the crew had three programming days on site in the venue in which time they would only generally see each scene once, maybe only for 20 minutes, lighting the scenes as the cast was rehearsing them. “Basically, it’s like lighting the show live,” he explained, and for this to happen successfully he needed to have full confidence in both his initial instincts for what looks good and in what the rig is capable of achieving.

Another challenge is the sheer amount of set and cloth drops in any panto, required to keep up with the frenetic scene changes and pace of the action … so once all of that is installed, there is never a massive amount of room for lights! However, working with moving lights, these can be rotated and moved into another position to allow cloths / set flats to drop into the gaps, and then be moved back into their lighting positions!

So, thinking laterally, using moving lights overhead can also hugely increase the options for set designers as opposed to using a generic rig.
“I like the idea of being more creative – almost unintentionally – just by moving lights out of the way so scenery can drop in!” commented Andy, adding that this also makes things infinitely easier for the house crew who are tasked with running the show. In this case, it has been planned as 52 shows in four weeks.

On top of the basic spot-wash configuration, Andy added 16 x LEDBeam 150s on the overhead rig, used primarily for the musical numbers, freeing up the Spiiders to produce the main beautifully rich colour washes over the stage with the Esprites doing the keys, specials and floor texturing plus other effects applied via Andy’s unique programming style!

He was initially intending to use Robe T1 Profiles in this context, but when Esprites became available, jumped at the chance to use these with their power, punch, and CT ranges capable of producing “absolutely outstanding” skin tones.
Rigged on LX4 were six CycFX8s and six ParFect 150s for covering the larger set pieces. These were coupled with the house Robe ColorSpot 700Es – still working after a decade in service – for rear gobo work.
All the house luminaires, moving and static, were available to Andy, who naturally opted to utilise all of these plus the additional newer Robe fixtures which were supplied by rental company CEG.

Andy integrated the house FOH Robe DL4S Profiles into his light show for texturing and colouring the front cloths, together with two more ColorSpot 700E ATs and 20 x ParFect 100s which were all rigged on the side booms each side at the front truss position, plus two on the drop-down ladders either side of stage.
Four ParFect 100s with 10% diffusion were located on the circle front bar and used for colouring of the front cloths with primaries, with a pair of LEDWash 300s up-lighting the proscenium arch.

“Having a rig with this versatility – being able to flip colours, positions, effects, etc., instantly at the touch of a button takes panto lighting into a different league and opens so many more possibilities,” enthused Andy, whose acclaimed festive production lighting designs have become increasingly automated over the years, with Robe always as his first choice of brand.

“Not only can I be fully adaptable in lighting the show, but it’s also the only way to block light a scene in 20 minutes,” although this process is – of course – followed by considerable finessing during long programming sessions stretching into the nights!

Andy did this himself using an Avolites Titan Touch II, with around 220 cues in the final show file, which was then handed over to house operator Josh Gallagher for the production run. “It’s a stressful three days, but the end results using this Robe moving light rig are very rewarding,” commented Andy as the glitter magic, drama and fun of the show unfolded and started being appreciated by live audiences again.

Being back in person in a theatre with a real cast, crew and creatives was in itself part of this year’s experience. “It’s a little surreal,” stated Andy, “On one hand it’s like nothing has changed, there’s just been a longer gap between the shows, but on the other, we all appreciate more than ever the opportunities to create a wonderful experience to be enjoyed by a diverse audience.”

Andy also bigs up the “awesome” house technical team at Waterside theatre who helped him make all of this possible, in particular production LX Joe Bryant, together with Lou Stevens, Alex Ratcliffe and Andrew Medhurst who “totally made me feel welcome and one of them – I have so enjoyed working here!”

For more information about Robe lighting, you can visit www.robe.cz

 

L-Acoustics Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force Seize and Destroy Fake Loudspeakers

Imitation is not always the greatest form of flattery. And in the case of counterfeit loudspeakers, it can be dangerous and illegal.
In an active fight against counterfeit products and working in conjunction with the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China (GACC), a key border agency of the Chinese nation which boasts 100,000 staff throughout the country, L-Acoustics recently had illegal counterfeit ARCS II loudspeakers seized and destroyed.

After an investigation conducted by the GACC, and information provided by L-Acoustics to determine the authenticity of the suspicious ARCS II, the counterfeit loudspeakers were seized and taken to a recycling facility, where they were dismantled. GACC officials attended the products’ destruction to attest that they effectively destroyed the fake loudspeakers and recycled the materials.
The counterfeiters were prosecuted as part of the L-Acoustics Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force’s mission to eradicate fake products.

L-Acoustics Legal Counsel Laurent Ostojski.

“We thank the Youyiguan Customs team and our local counsel, Wanhuida, for their cooperation,” says L-Acoustics Legal Counsel Laurent Ostojski. “This is but one small step in our anti-counterfeiting initiative, and we’re poised to take legal action against any perpetrators in the future.”

L-Acoustics dedicates significant financial and human resources to remove counterfeits from the market. “These products can be deceptively similar to ours on the outside but feature poor quality components and are marketed without any warranty, service, or electrical or mechanical certification,” explains Stephane Ecalle, Director of Market Intelligence at L-Acoustics.

Stephane Ecalle, Director of Market Intelligence at L-Acoustics.

“The role of our task force is not only to defend our intellectual property by constantly monitoring the market, but also to alert the public on safety risks for users, and the legal risks associated with ownership or resale of counterfeits.”

All L-Acoustics products are manufactured in Europe. More information about the L-Acoustics Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force can be seen on L-Acoustics.com, where users can also report any suspected counterfeit L-Acoustics products.

More information on the L-Acoustics website

 

The Massy International Circus Festival with Ultra Son

After the interruption due to Covid-19, the 28th edition of the Massy International Circus Festival was held under a 48-meter diameter big top.
With 500 fewer seats than its maximum capacity of 2,500 spectators, this international event was a sell-out despite the absence of the troupes from China and Russia due to the pandemic, and the now restricted use of animals in the acts.

What has also changed is the use of innovative technologies typical of touring systems. Maxime Polak, heading up his rental company Ultra Son (Ultra Sound – and they do a lot more than just sound, as you’ll see), tells us about his work and his tools. The very least we can say is that it’s pretty athletic, as the circus demands!

Maxime Polak

The first nice surprise is that the orchestra uses an immersive Klang mix and the musicians manage their monitor mixes autonomously.

SLU : Why adopt an immersive matrix as powerful as Konductor for a circus?

Maxime Polak : Convenience. There was neither the space nor the budget to have a monitor mixer, so we let the musicians manage their own sound.
That’s why we brought in the Kontroller remote controllers, it’s more cost-effective than using an American brand of personal monitor management, with the added possibility of extending the spatialization, or even feeding a pair of wedges, thanks to the two XLRs present on each remote.


The Konductor matrix from Klang – four rack units, but with a lot of power to spare thanks to the switch from DSPs to FPGAs.

SLU : Some musicians couldn’t do without a floor monitor?

Maxime Polak : Two out of ten, but it doesn’t make any difference, they still have control over the groups – drums, bass, keyboards, brass, and some sources of their choice – but they obviously don’t have the possibility of immersive sound. There are four possible choices with the matrix: mono, stereo and two immersive modes.

Positioned just above the performers’ entrance, each of the ten musicians of the Jean Ribul Orchestra – shown here are the guitar and bass positions – has a remote controller unit known as the Kontroller, on either side of which are two microphones that can be used to pick up their surroundings and add ambience to their mix.

SLU : How is the mix organized on the Kontroller?

Maxime Polak : Up to 24 signals can be assigned to the musicians, each of whom has control over the levels and spatial positioning.
These 24 signals can be routed into eight groups, each with a color-coding and quick access.

SLU : And how did the immersive aspect get into this?

Maxime Polak : Since we got to spend some time with them for this Circus festival, once we were comfortable with their sound and their personal mixes, we opened up the immersive mix and they thought it was great because it really is very different from the usual stereo.

There are few buttons but, as with any console worthy of the name, the buttons display the source, the group and the colors that were assigned to each of them during the setup phase.

Already just having a “mixer” that allows them to adjust their monitors to their taste gives them a lot of freedom. You should also know that the distinction between sources thanks to their placement in three dimensions allows you to avoid pushing the volume too much in order to hear everything better.
Finally, the Klang algorithm finely manages the balance between the groups, with a simultaneous and inaudible lowering of the others when a group of instruments is selected, it’s a sort of “unmasking” instead of simply increasing the volume of what we want to hear better.

SLU : Is this a circus band?

Maxime Polak : No, they’re just a very good professional dance band, with a great brass section, and who often work for circuses during the winter, when the big open-air dances are not held. It’s the Jean Ribul Orchestra.

Part of the band. As befits a circus, there are six brass players and a drummer who knows how to roll and cadence the numbers on the snare drum without missing a beat…

SLU : Do you keep the new matrix at front-of-house?

Maxime Polak : Yes, especially since it reduces the length of the connections and since I like to have everything at hand. A big advantage of this model is that the rear panel has three DMI slots for Dante, MADI or Optocore cards. Another advantage is that this 4-unit matrix is very powerful and doesn’t necessarily require a DiGiCo console, like the DMI Klang card does. I have some CL5s in my inventory at Ultra Son and I plan to use them!

The back of Konductor, shown here with the three slots occupied by three different cards – Dante, MADI and Optocore – a convenient way to convert and mix signals, in addition to the possibility of creating immersive mixes. Dual power supply, input for an external clock… joining the DiGiCo family is a good thing!

SLU : How many people can you keep happy with the matrix?

Maxime Polak : I can encode 16 different immersive stereo mixes with a latency of a quarter of a millisecond – in other words, virtually nothing. As each Kontroller is networked on the Konductor matrix and the latter is connected to my SD12, each modification made by a musician to one of the 64 signals – over which he has control of 24 – is visible in real time on the console. I can see my monitor levels change!
To be precise, the matrix supports 128 signals, but I chose to use a MADI card to connect it to 64, and that’s enough for me. Each of these 16 different immersive (or not) mixes is created with these 64 signals. Each Kontroller is given control over 24 of them and over eight groups. This programming is done beforehand. The musicians can therefore vary these eight stems (groups) and eventually get down into the 24 signals that are grouped in the eight stems.

A very nice view of the circular big top tent, 48 meters in diameter, with the band, as it should be, right in front of the performers’ entrance. Max’s console is directly across from it, about 40 meters away. Intercoms are obligatory, but the view is perfect.

SLU : If one of the ten musicians gets confused, can you take over?

Maxime Polak : Yes, from the DiGiCo. With a console of another brand I would do it on the computer directly in the matrix. The integration of Klang with DiGiCo is, of course, complete. What is also convenient is that the snapshots of the SD12 enhance the controls of the Konductor, since they can also change levels for each number – and therefore for each circus act – and I record them. We agreed on this with the musicians after two days of rehearsals.

Max’s control booth, with the SD12 and the display of the input and output levels of the Klang matrix.

SLU : And if a musician gradually pushes the levels ?

Maxime Polak : I’ll play back this increase from snapshot to snapshot. It’s up to him to lower this or that instrument on the fly, or to lower the overall volume if it doesn’t suit him.

SLU : What PA are you using here?

Maxime Polak : Adamson S7 – two arrays of eight boxes each arranged to fire away from the band, and a six-box array that faces the FoH console, completing the almost 360° effect.
The three arrays are hung on a truss ring with the same diameter as the arena and that is rigged to the four main square truss columns that support the canvas. A large part of the lighting is also hung on this.
On the floor, Point 8s are used to illuminate the bottom of the stands, while the shadowy areas around the performers’ entrance are lit by MDC P12s. For the subs we are using S119s.


The PA system, viewed from FoH. Twenty-two S7 Adamson in two hangs of eight modules each and one of six.

SLU : So, you mix the front, handle the monitors…

Maxime Polak : I also play the media from QLab, since many artists come in with specific music that they have worked on and that is integral to their act. I trigger them in OSC from the grandMA2.

SLU : ?!?

Maxime Polak : Yes, it’s easier if I do it myself, it is more precise. I programmed everything: lights as well as front-of-house and monitor sound, and I connected the DiGiCo to the grandMA2 in OSC. The SD12 communicates with the Klang matrix.

SLU : Everything is connected in a sort of show control…

Maxime Polak : In a way; except that I have a hand on anything that needs to be touched up and I know the show perfectly well, having programmed each number step-by-step in terms of mix, lighting and followspots. Everything is in the grandMA. When I say go, it goes!


There is no shortage of screens in Max’s control booth – from the FoH mix on the SD12, to the monitors in the Klang matrix, to the lights, the followspots and the audio media run by the grandMA2…

SLU : Let me guess: the followspots are automated, too (laughs)…

Maxime Polak : Yes of course, we got the Zactrack system from Axente and it works great (laughs), so…I’m all by myself! Of course, you have to set your anchors and specify them to the system, choose the moving heads that will be used as followspots, and then give each performer a tag, but after a few rehearsals, it works really well and it’s unbeatable in terms of reactivity.
I’ll give you an example. A clown who is supposed to make his entrance on the floor from stage-right, will appear at the top of the stands from stage-left. He’s a clown and it’s practically normal for him to give you this type of shot, and that’s no problem with this tracking technology! For this festival we chose Ayrton’s Ghibli and it also works very well.
We have the possibility to follow 24 tags with the same number of movers hanging around 360°, and we can choose the beam that will disturb the acrobats the least, typically from the side. With manned followspots it is far less flexible, at least in a circus, and those take away from the available seating.

Maxime at the festival, with his hands on the grandMA3 master console.

SLU : You were saying that the band is specialized in circuses, but your company Ultra Son seems to have quite a bit of know-how in this field too.

Maxime Polak : Yes, and that’s why we’ve learned to choose brands, technologies and models that allow us to work very efficiently and in small teams. The circus is not rolling in money. Of course, I am not alone on site, but in the control booth, yes.

Getting back to your question, our business is in touring, festivals and entertainment, the circus didn’t appeal to me at all, but then with a producer I did a little project that became bigger and bigger. As we were both seduced – I by the atmosphere of the circus and he by the technical renewal that we introduced – and since one job leads to another, we became quite well known in this market, even outside of France. For example, we are providing the technical support for the Girona Circus Festival in Spain.


SLU : Are you solid with your setup, if you lose the grandMA…

Maxime Polak : As much as I can be. There are UPS everywhere and I recently switched to fiber, I have a loop running with Ghost and I manage everything by testing each configuration at the warehouse first. In terms of the network, everything is redundant: on the console I have macros to disable the OSC, and MIDI to run on the fly and, if I lose the Klang, I have a pair of side-fills and a mix for the musicians.

SLU : How much time do you have to program, design and set up?

Maxime Polak : It’s a job that I start back at the shop. I can design quite freely, since the performers don’t have any specific ideas for the lights and even less for the sound. So even before setting up the tent, a large part of the lighting work is programmed, and the same goes for the sound. It’s a habit I’ve developed on tours to do all my lighting plans are setup and tested at the warehouse.

Max’s work, taking advantage of the canvas, the musicians as well as the performers. A time-consuming design and programming job.

The same goes for the audio: as soon as I get the musicians’ patched, I get as far ahead as possible, especially since I discovered the Klang system, wired it up, programmed it and tested it before putting it back in the flight case. When we arrive at the circus, we have a semi truck and a half of gear, but everything is up in the air in one big day, with three people. This is because everything is ready. After that, we spend three days with the performers and since this year there are two shows, there were 40 of them. We don’t sleep much during this phase…

The multi-level mini-stage of the band.

SLU : How do you divide up this phase on site?

Maxime Polak : We always start with the sound, with the band, FoH and monitors. Once we have saved it, we tackle the lighting on its own. We show our ideas to each artist, we approve it together and then they go on the floor so that we can adjust it. It is essential that the beams never bother them. We program each act in its entirety, lighting and sound.

I always watch their acts on YouTube to help me get an idea of what they do, how I can light them and with what colors. It takes about an hour to an hour and a half for each number. Then, as soon as everyone is gone, I scroll through it all again for myself.
Finally, we use social networks. As soon as we have the programming in place, we set up WhatsApp groups and we talk to each other beforehand, we get to know each other and we get organized. The artists send me their links, their music and I show them 3D renderings of the lighting that I envision for them. Once again we save a little bit of precious time.

SLU : What is your production and rehearsal timeframe for this festival ?

Maxime Polak : They arrive on Sunday with their caravans and sometimes a small van for their props.
We rehearse up until Wednesday night, then on Thursday morning, we do a run-through of show A and, on Thursday afternoon, there is a dress rehearsal of show A with schoolchildren in the audience, where it is a good idea not to make any technical mistakes, so that on Thursday evening, we can give the first show A.
The next day, there is a double run-through of the B show and the premiere of the B show that same evening, and so on in alternation. So it’s a very, very intense week for us and for them.

SLU : Where did you learn these concepts, this organization and versatility? How old are you?

Maxime Polak : I’m 31. I learned on the job, since I was a kid, and then I trained myself. I took over my father’s business, which means that I’m constantly working on it and never stop. As soon as there is a new product, I go to the distributors to see and test it and, if I can use it, I buy it. We mix a lot of materials and brands and we also have a store in Gauchy.

SLU : TAre you really more into lighting and video or sound?

Maxime Polak : You have to be versatile and, in terms of the equipment, I’m pretty good at it (laughs), but what I like most is the sound. I’m always working on it because it’s a passion. But it’s the same with circus performers. They have the same passion and they also work non-stop. It’s a good school!

Further information is available on the Ultrason website and on the Massy Circus Festival website

 

Vijay Thaygarajoo joins Ayrton as sales manager for Asia Pacific

Ayrton is very happy to announce the further expansion of its international team with the appointment of Vijay Thaygarajoo as regional sales manager for Asia Pacific. The appointment takes effect from 1 February 2022.
Vijay brings over 10 years of industry experience in the region, working with Ayrton’s local distributor and as regional sales manager for a number of industry manufacturers.

Vijay Thaygarajoo

“I am very excited to be joining the amazing team at Ayrton,” says Vijay. “As the RSM of Ayrton, I will be responsible for maintaining and building relationships with current distributors as well as appointing new distributors around the APAC region, with the aim of progressing and further strengthening the Ayrton brand and image in this part of the world.

“I’ve seen the quality of Ayrton lighting over the years and am very impressed with the full range of lighting fixtures they have. When the opportunity came along, I didn’t think twice about joining them as I believe in the brand and couldn’t wait to join the team. Ayrton is the future!”

“Vijay’s experience makes him extremely well placed in his new role as our APAC regional sales manager and a valuable addition to the team,” says Ayrton’s global sales director, Michael Althaus.
“To have our own regional representative working in tandem with our excellent local distributors is a great combination which will strengthen Ayrton’s presence across the region and reinforce the level of service we are able to give our customers. We are very happy to have Vijay on the team!”

More information on Ayrton’s full range of LED lighting can be found at www.ayrton.eu

 

RH Consulting releases his 10th report on networks

RH Consulting releases 10th edition of annual report on adoption of networked audio, covering all the major protocols. This year, for the first time, the report has broadened its scope to include networked video and control products.

Audio consultancy and networking experts RH Consulting have been counting networked audio products and licensees since 2013 in an effort to chart the adoption of audio networking in the pro audio, AV and broadcast markets.
Universally recognised as the benchmark for tracking trends in networked audio, the report covers all the major protocols including Dante, RAVENNA, AES67, AVB, Milan and others. This year, for the first time, the report has broadened its scope to include networked video and control products using AES70, SDVoE and ST 2110 amongst other.

Products per protocol.

The last twelve months have seen a complete overhaul in the way RHC conducts its research and even closer collaboration with relevant industry trade associations and manufacturers. Consequently, the 10th edition of the report is the most comprehensive and accurate to date.

The statistics show that quite clearly that the number of networked AV products continues to grow, despite the difficulties we’ve all encountered over the last two years in the face of the global pandemic. A total of 4,142 networked products are currently shipping from 444 manufacturers, which represents even more new products on the market than last year.

Protocols by category

In AoIP terms, it’s no surprise to see that Dante remains ahead of the game by an order of magnitude that seems unlikely that anyone will bridge, but RAVENNA continues to progress modestly in second place, and remains the number one protocol of choice in the broadcast market.

Video and control are a different story as both are still very much in their infancy when it comes to IP networking. The report contains a detailed breakdown of what was looked at and how products were counted, but in broad terms, Roland Hemming of RHC notes that the market feels very much like audio networking did in the early days: “The largest proportion of networked video products are simply interfaces to get other types of video signal on and off the network,” he observes.

Roland Hemming

“It was much the same story for AoIP ten years ago when there was a huge number of analogue-to-network input/output devices. However, this has since diminished quite considerably as more and more manufacturers integrate networking capability directly into their products.

“Interestingly, when we first started counting networked audio products in 2013, we reported a total of 428 devices. Ten years later we have counted almost exactly the same number – 420 to be precise – of networked video products.
This is a fascinating comparison and will offer us an excellent opportunity to compare the growth curves of networked video against networked audio over the next few years.”

For a full breakdown of all the statistics and a comprehensive listing of all the protocols considered and how the data is compiled, please visit the RH Consulting website

 

Proteus Hybrid leaves lasting impression at Illuminate Adelaide

AV production company Novatech Creative Event Technology was involved in a large winter event in Adelaide, Australia called Illuminate Adelaide and supplied Elation’s industry-leading IP65 Proteus Hybrid moving head for a special lighting installation that left a memorable impact.

Billed as a celebration of innovation, music, art, light and technology, Illuminate Adelaide lit up the city with a program of events. As presenting partners, Novatech was the technical supplier of the event’s signature project – Light Cycles. Illuminate Adelaide engaged Montreal-based multimedia studio Moment Factory for the creative, design and immersive content while Novatech provided all the gear and crew.

Light Cycles

As a featured artist at the new annual event, Moment Factory took over Adelaide Botanic Gardens with Light Cycles, an outdoor digital art experience that used light and music to amplify and transform the beauty of nature. Light Cycles led visitors on a magical nighttime journey through nearly two kilometers of the garden’s lush gateways and luminous canopies. The immersive experience included dynamic soundscapes and video and light projections, including striking lighting effects from Proteus Hybrids at The Hearth.

The Hearth

Inspired by the timeless power of the bonfire, The Hearth was a gathering place set against the botanic gardens’ iconic Palm House greenhouse.

Colorful, ever-changing beams of light from 12 Proteus Hybrid luminaires intertwined with an instrumental soundscape to evoke the beating heart of nature, while a chorus resonated across the lawn.

The sequence, which ran on a 5-minute loop, was the last of seven zones that visitors walked through and was designed to leave a lasting impression.

“The Proteus Hybrids were a good choice for this installation as their IP status allowed them to be out in the Adelaide winter for the entire 6 weeks, which faced an unusually wet and windy winter,” stated Ashley Gabriel, Director of Sales and Marketing at Novatech Creative Event Technology.
“They also provided the necessary punch for a beam fixture that due to the moisture in the air really did throw an incredible beam to create the desired effect.”

For more information about Elation you can visit www.elationlighting.com