Robe Forte, the LED rival of BMFL

Following up on their Esprite – and packing into it all the same technology – Robe has launched Forte, a more powerful spot/profile with an interchangeable 1,000 W white LED source that rivals the BMFL. We put it to the test in the studio at Impact Evénement and we also include, at the end of this article, a field report from our colleague Tristan Szylobryt, who used it on a video shoot.

This fixture is elegant. Slim and sleek, it weighs less than 40 kg (which is not bad for a mover in this category!) with a total height of 84 cm.
It’s a handsome, satin-finish anthracite colored baby. Two large lateral handles allow manipulation of the unit, the head of which can be locked on both the pan and tilt axes.

A large, 180 mm lens unleashes the beam! And what a nice beam it is! Forte delivers a beautiful, uniform white light of 6620 K with a flux that exceeds 34,000 lumens at 20°, and practically the same with a wide beam.
It almost reaches the performance level of the BMFL, thanks to its module of 121 LEDs of 10 W each, powered at 80% of their nominal power to ensure longevity.

The native CRI of the fixture is 69; it can be increased to 80 or 90 by using two filters on the color wheel (just so you know, an “HCR” version of the LED engine provides a native CRI of 94, with a 40% lower luminous flux).


L’amplitude du zoom : 5,5 – 51°.


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Mesures photométriques

Derating

With the unit on at full power, we measure the illuminance at the center every five minutes to plot the derating curve.
The light output stabilizes within five minutes with an attenuation of 7.5%, which testifies to the effective thermal management of the LED engine.


Tightest sharp-focus beam

At the minimum zoom setting that allows for sharp focus, 5.5°, we measure the center illuminance from a distance of 5 meters at 27,810 lux when cold (25,730 lx after derating), which corresponds to a luminous flux of 21,620 lumens (20,000 lm after derating). This is logically less than the BMFL which delivered 136,000 lux at 5 m with the hot spot of its 1700 W lamp, but the beam gains in homogeneity as shown by the ultra-flat luminous intensity curve.

20° beam

At a 20° beam angle, the Forte matches the BMFL with 37,400 lumens when cold (34,600 lm after derating) versus the 36,130 lm of the BMFL.
The beam from the Forte is remarkably uniform, with less than a 30% difference in illuminance between the center and the sharp edge.

Widest sharp-focus beam

Forte emits almost same flux at 52° – the widest angle – as it does at 20°. We measure 36,750 lm cold (34,000 lm after derating), compared to 35,000 lm for the BMFL.
We appreciate the flat intensity curve of an ultra-uniform beam.


The Colors

Forte features a Cyan/Magenta/Yellow color mixing system, supplemented by a linear CTO and two wheels with five colors each. The first wheel has very intense, saturated hues (red, green, blue, orange, congo).


Les couleurs de la trichromie et du CTO à 100 %.

The second color wheel includes a 4-color filter, a warm green, a lavender and the two filters that increase the CRI to 80 and to 90. The filters of the color wheels – large asymmetrical trapezoids – are very effective when combined in split colors, without altering the contours of the beam. Coupled with the gobos, this produces a really nice result, which already impressed me on the Esprite.


Les demi-couleurs sur les roues de couleurs.

The colors of the CMY system are splendid and there is almost no perception of the entrance of the flags into the beam, regardless of the zoom or the position of the focus. As on the Esprite, the color module is integrated into the optical system that concentrates the flux of the sources. Technically, it is “walled” into the source module.

This allows us to obtain very uniform tones, as the filter flags are never even slightly in focus in the beam. The color mixing is exemplary even with rather complicated hues – those that generally reveal the defects. The CTO is a little pinkish; just right.


Quelques mixages de couleurs.

A DMX channel named “minus green” can virtually simulate the introduction of a filter that minimizes greenish colors when capturing video. It is an operation on the CMY system that adjusts the tones by removing a little cyan and yellow and/or by adding a little magenta to obtain the simulation of a minus-green filter.

The gobos

The 12 glass gobos, arranged on two wheels, are all rotatable and indexable. The selection of the set is quite varied and the effects they produce are flexible enough in terms of graphic or aerial projection to satisfy all kinds of users (there is even the renowned embossed glass pattern!). Personally, I am kind of disappointed by the absence of a real solid cone and a bar, but I like the interrupted cone, which is very impressive when used facing the audience and which always has a nice effect, especially with mixtures of colors.


La roue de gobos 1.

La roue de gobos 2.

The animation wheel (with cleverly spaced striations that work beautifully) has the advantage of being able to turn in either direction, which is a big plus. I love it! There is an optional “hot-spot” filter that can replace a gobo to create a sort of hot spot. This filter is designed to equalize a field of light created by several Forte units overlapping each other, by preventing that the overlapped edges become more luminous than the centers of the beams.

Effets du cône strié avec roues de couleurs.

Frosts and prisms

Forte features two frost filters: a light 1° frost and a more aggressive 5° diffusion. These are not combinable. The first one is progressive, the second one can be, too, but it requires setting the DMX channel of the frost to 50% in the memory before its insertion (technically, from 0 to 100%, the DMX channel of the frost goes like this: open / frost 1 progressively / open / frost 2 progressively). Robe can supply other frosts (0.5°, 10°, 20°, 30°…) as an option, which can be easily used to replace those supplied with the unit.

Les deux frosts.

The two prisms – a circular 4-facet and a linear 4-facet – are both rotatable and can be combined to multiply their effect.
An interesting point: there is little compromise regarding focus and zoom when using the prisms and frosts, as they are mounted with their motors on the optical modules. The movement of the lenses has little impact on their possible deployment (except for in the very short range where they meet).


Les prismes.

Focus / zoom / iris

The zoom has a very extensive range from 5.5° to 51°. This is at the upper end of what seems to be the general standard on this type of high-end fixture.
The focus allows you to focus the beam, and all the effects projected at any distance, but it will not go as far as to sharply focus the filters on the color wheels (the 4-color or split-colors) because they are so far from the focal point (this is the drawback in exchange for the super quality of the color mixing). The close spacing between the gobo wheels allows for some absolutely brilliant morphing effects.

There is one thing to be aware of, though. Forte needs to be in sharp focus at all times. If you defocus it a little, there is a slight drop in perceptible flux. This is a phenomenon that seems to be due to Robe’s choice of optics.
On the same subject, again a bit surprising, when you narrow the beam down to the limit, an adjustment of the focus (in addition to the single adjustment of the zoom) reduces the diameter of the beam even further. In other words, to get to the tightest sharply-focused beam angle of 5.5°, you have to use the zoom and then the focus, even if it seems to be perfectly in focus, and you gain 10° in “clamping capacity” of fixture’s zoom.

The dimmer

The dimmer has two response modes: Linear and Square Law. The Square Law mode, the curve of which we have plotted, allows for smooth and progressive fades. The electronics manage the sources perfectly. The strobe functions are just as effective and can reach very high frequencies.

Coube du Dimmer en mode Square Low de 0 à 100 %

Même mode Square Low du dimmer dans les premiers pourcentages de 0 à 10 %

Framing

Forte’s framing module is effective. The sharpness is essentially on two planes, but the other two planes are not far off. The compromise that we usually have on the sharpness of fully closing shutters seems to me to be better in this case than on some other models.
The speed of the deployment of the shutters is excellent, as is the precision of the repositioning. The entire framing module can be rotated 60° in either direction, giving a total of 120° of adjustment, which is enough to cover any desired orientation.


Usage des couteaux

Movements of the head and general operation

Mechanically, the Forte is a very sophisticated unit. The movements of the yoke are perfect. The slow movements are, just like the fast ones, very fine, precise and smooth, while the maximum movement speed is satisfactory for a fixture of this size.
Although the movements are very quiet, the ventilation noise measured in “automatic” mode is perceptible and it will be preferable for users looking for more silence – for example in theaters or opera houses – to configure Forte in “Quiet” mode, at the cost of a small reduction in light output.

Video presentation


Disassembly

The fixture is quite conventional in its overall design. The injected plastic cowlings are very well made, with the usual 100% Robe craftsmanship. We love it. The uniqueness lies in the back of the head, with the LED module very accessible and easily removable. Only one type of screw (Phillips) is used for the whole fixture.

Disassembling the head

L’emplacement vide du bloc de leds avec les deux rangées de ventilateurs et la lentille qui parallélise les faisceaux des leds.

The two cowls of the head can be removed by means of two captive, 1/4-turn screws. They are secured by a small safety cable. The modules are easily removable.

Everything can be removed except the color module, for the reason explained above.
Six fans are responsible for cooling the source module, three that draw air in and three that extract it.


Le module des sources leds, avec les infos recueillies sur smartphone en mode « sans contact ».

The LED source module can be easily removed via six Phillips-head screws. It is a massive assembly consisting mainly of a large heat sink and heat pipe, to which is mounted the LED circuit board.
On the side, a small card records the status information of the module. It is NFC-enabled (like a bank card in contactless mode), to retrieve all the data from the fixture using a smartphone.

The data it provides includes “adaptive” operating hours. This information takes into account the “theoretical” age of the components depending on their use, because an LED that has been used for an hour at full power will not be subjected to the same level of wear and tear as an LED that has been used at full power for three minutes and the rest of the time at 20%, for example… So, very smart!

Le module fixe couleurs / lentilles avec sa lentille de sortie et les roues de couleurs.

Immediately downstream from the source module, there is the lens/color module assembly, which is integrated into the frame of the fixture.
It consists first of a lens composed of 121 micro-lenses for collimating the beams, positioned as closely as possible to the LEDs.
Next comes the progressive color mixing system (CMY+CTO), followed by another condensing lens and, finally, the two color wheels.

Accessing the CMY flags is complicated but, since they are not exposed to air flow and, consequently, not to dust, there is no risk of them getting dirty. This is always a plus. Service on the modules will be limited to eventual repairs, and therefore carried out in the shop.

The first removable module contains the gobos. In the conventional manner, the two gobo wheels proudly display their six cylinders with interchangeable gobos measuring 30.8 mm in diameter, held by the familiar spring clip. The animation wheel is also included here.

Le module gobos et roue d’animation.

Le module couteaux.


The next module houses the framing shutters and the iris. The shutters and their connecting arms are on one side of the rotating frame, while on the other side is the iris. Just before the output lens, the zoom and focus lens carriages roll on sealed ball bearings on their rails, rather than on simple parallel slides.

Their movement is smooth and fluid, with absolute straightness. It is a robust and reliable industrial-grade apparatus. The prisms and frosts are mounted on each carriage. The prisms are mounted on cylinders, with a remote motor allowing for their rotation in either direction, with transmission via a small, smooth belt.

Le système de rail à roulement à billes des chariots de lentilles.

Les prismes.


The frost filters are mounted on small magnetic plates and are therefore easily interchangeable. On this module there is also a small sensor that analyses the light emitted by the fixture internally, for the purpose of standardizing the flux of a rig that combines new and older fixtures.
All of them will be tuned according to the weakest fixture. It’s easy: you just need to connect the fixtures on the same line and control this function through the dedicated DMX channel. This can be very useful if you need absolute consistency on a whole group of fixtures. You can also use this sensor to request an instant light intensity measurement via this DMX channel, at any time.

Les frosts.

Le capteur de luminosité interne

The yoke and the base of FORTE

The covers of the yoke arms can be removed by means of four captive Phillips-head screws. On one side, there is the tilt mechanism with its belt, the tensioner and the pulley, as well as the motor positioned flat in the central section of the yoke. By simply removing a small sheet metal plate, the tilt belt can be replaced very easily, if necessary. The tilt lock is also located on this side.
Interestingly, as on many Robe fixtures (though not everyone knows this), the screws in this lock are specifically designed to “break” in the event of a major impact to the head, in order to limit damage. If this were to happen, you would simply have to replace the screws. Okay, if a grand piano were to fall from the 10th floor onto the unit, it wouldn’t make much of a difference, but in some cases it could save the fixture from a major repair. Nice touch!

On the other side, in the center of the other arm, a circuit board controls the pan and tilt motors, the ventilation, and also provides the link between the base and the electronics located in the head. At the top, the small wiring harness from the base runs to the head through the center of the tilt axis.
At the bottom, the pan motor drives the rotation of the central axis via a belt. Access to this is more complex, requiring the disassembly of the bottom of the head. In the base we find the two power supplies of the fixture, which draws a maximum of 1,250 W. One of them provides 70% of the power needs of the LED engine, while the other one provides the remaining 30%, as well as the power for the electronics of the fixture.

The connection panel features a True1 socket for the power supply, XLR5 input and output – duplicated on XLR3 connectors – for DMX connection, and an RJ45 socket for the network connection. On the other side of the base, there is the color touchscreen display and its control keys (even though the screen is touchscreen, it’s still convenient and reassuring to have keys). A USB port is used to upload software updates to the fixture.

Le panneau de connecteurs.

The menu is quite conventional, it is the famous “Robe Navigation System 2” from ROBE. The interface is bright and easy to read. You’ll find all the classic configuration functions, setup and implementation of DMX patches and network addresses, as well as plenty of options: dimmer curves, fan modes, calibration, LED power supply frequency settings, etc.

Underneath the base, there are the omega brackets to suspend the fixture. The Forte can be rigged in three different orientations. Either straight,at 90° in either direction, or at an angle of about 30 degrees. A central lug provides an attachment for a safety cable. We are disappointed that the omega brackets supplied with Forte do not allow the mounting point to be offset, but Robe offers this accessory as an option. This is already quite good.

Linked gear: The i-FORTE!

Le « sans contact » sur la base de l’appareil pour les infos et configurations avec l’application pour smartphone « ROBE COM »

Forte is a product that is decidedly focused on the use of new technologies and connectivity of all kinds! You can interact with the unit via your iPhone or Android smartphone.
Just bring your phone close to the base, right in the middle of the left handle, to establish a wireless NFC connection with your fixtures using the “ROBE COM” application.

This system allows you to transfer data to the fixtures, prepare and transfer a patch, a configuration, etc. It will be particularly useful for preparing a whole kit of fixtures without taking them out of the flight cases, simply by “scanning” them one after the other in a few moments. Very practical!

The unit can be controlled via DMX using a single 54-channel mode, or via Art-Net, MA-Net, sACN… there is a wide range of options.

Mélange d’effets gobos / couleurs / prismes. On a de quoi s’amuser !

Conclusion

Forte is a real pleasure to use. It is a very attractive unit that has some strong assets to satisfy lighting designers of all kinds. Very powerful, it can reach the level of the BMFL, but with a low power consumption of 1250 W, compared to 2000 W. It has multiple advantages that will allow it to take a prominent place in the inventories of lighting companies.
In a market where technological progress is making every piece of equipment obsolete more and more quickly, Forte is obviously positioned among the units that can be considered as a safe bet in the long term. A very nice product.


What we like:

  • The colors
  • The nice beam
  • The connectivity

What we didn’t like:

  • The supplied omega brackets can’t be offset mounted

More information on the Robe website


The field test

For giving me a little space in this article, I’d like to thank Jocelyn, whose passionate writing is unmistakable. I’ll take the opportunity, in a few lines, to share my feedback on the Forte, which is certainly a future best-seller for Robe Lighting.


As always with Robe, their ergonomic logic allows you to start a project with complete peace of mind, without even testing the fixture! For this one-shot gig, the designer, Julien Ferreiro, and I were able to get a ready-to-use Cast-Software and GDTF library, so that we could prepare everything in advance on Wysiwyg and grandMA3.
As usual, Robe’s website allowed us to analyze all the characteristics of the fixture and to download exhaustive documentation.

In virtual implementation, the fixture seems to inherit elements from both the BMFL and the Esprite; when pre-encoded, all the attributes fall naturally under my fingers.
In real life, for those familiar with the Robe range, the Forte can be configured and installed in a flash. So sure, it weighs what it weighs, but it’s well balanced and with the single flight cases with multiple handles, there are no worries – as long as you’re working with two people.

Since it wields the abundant power of the BMFL – without being too overbearing because the beam is very uniform – and with a smooth dimmer, a wide zoom range and a large output lens, I used my four Forte units as four principal directions of light, structuring the rest of the rig around them. While it does deliver powerful and beautiful light, the uniformity of the beam takes away a little of its bite, and it’s not as incisive as a tight-beam MegaPointe, but that’s obviously not its intended purpose.

After using the Esprite, I found continuity with the two rotating gobo wheels, using the first one to decorate my stage, and the second one (which I used less) for geometrical beams in the haze. I also found all the colorimetry improvements, with a deep CTO, the two CRI filters (rather pink to the eye, and quite draining on the flux), as well as a channel dedicated to minus/plus green.
Definitely a plus for this video shoot. The CMY mixing offers precise colors, rich in nuances, which I mostly used in cool or pinkish tones.


As for the effects – which I didn’t abuse much, for once – I found two prisms, one linear and one radial, which I would have preferred more open, personally. The frosts are very smooth, as well as the focusing, a real work of art. The animation wheel and the strobes are also efficient, although they were not used much this time, because the context of the concert did not require them much.
Between the setup, the rehearsals and the recording, the day was decidedly short for testing everything. I recognize that I had to work very quickly to finalize my scenes, and in retrospect I applaud the immense quality of the Forte: its power, combining balance and precision, which for some may lack imagination, but it proves to be frighteningly efficient and easy to use.

I would like to take this opportunity to give a warm mention to Vincent Bouquet and Franck Veber from Robe Lighting France, for their support and availability on this project. I can’t wait for the festivals to start again, so that this new flagship of the Czech company can shine!

Tristan Szylobryt


Specifications

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CHAUVET Lights PYTCHAir’s Boeing 727

innovative, go-for-it entrepreneur, Johnny Palmer, the founder and manager of Pytch, opened a string of livestream studios during the height of the pandemic. He works hard to keep these creative flames glowing throughout his well-established event company, even when it means buying the fuselage of a Boeing 727 jet liner and parking it on shipping containers in his warehouse lot.

It was on a trip to Cotswold Airport to look at a private jet that he came across the Boeing 727. The plane instantly caught his attention. “I saw this beautiful old bird and thought why not,” he recalled. “So, I got permission from our local planning commission and agreed to a price with the owner. Once that was done, we had to figure out how to get the plane to our facility.”

Transporting the 40-meter long 27-ton plane roughly 40 miles from the airport to Pytch’s headquarters in Brislington was an adventure onto itself. Navigating the small, winding country roads was a challenge. Then there was the bridge overpass that was too low. In the end though, the aircraft made its way just fine, garnering plenty of publicity en route.

Maverick MK1 Hybrid

Having the plane on site inspires wonder and creativity, just as Palmer intended. This was evident soon after the aircraft arrived at Pytch, when the company’s Pytch Labs team used it as a cylindrical canvas for a nighttime lightshow featuring CHAUVET Professional fixtures.

Around the base of the plane, they arranged eight Maverick MK1 Hybrids, eight Rogue R1FX-Bs and 10 STRIKE P38 units. These fixtures elevated the more than half-century-old aircraft to new heights (visually) covering it with multi coloured beams, swirling gobo patterns and giant sweeps of light.

Positioned on the tops of the containers at the front and rear end of the plane, the 440W Maverick MK1 Hybrid was used as both a spot and beam to create stunning areal effects around the craft, in addition to decorating the fuselage with gobo patterns of various striped configurations. Also enlivening the plane and giving it a celestial feeling were brilliant white spots created with the Strike fixtures.

The linear Rogue R1 FX-B fixtures were also placed on the container tops along the length of the plane. In addition to uplighting the aircraft in a range of colors, the RGBW fixtures were used to create dynamic areal effects. Drawing on the pan and tilt movements of the fixture’s five independently controlled moving heads, the Pytch team was able to move light beams around the plan in a variety of different directions.

The Strike

The Rogue R1 FX-B


The Well Fit stand-alone projector.

Adding to the atmosphere were the 30 Well Fit fixtures used to uplight the metal containers holding the plane. The Pytch team was able to set widely different tones around the pane by bathing the supporting containers in a rainbow of colors from amber, to deep blues and greens.

“Our team prides itself in pushing the envelope to develop new ways of creating moods and impressions with light,” said Palmer. “Using a plane as a canvas for light was a great exercise.
There were some novel challenges. Since the fuselage is round, light stretches when it hits the curve. Addressing these issues was a good thing for us as designers.”

Although this lighting display was a one-off to welcome the plane to its new home, Palmer says it will be repeated for special events.
In the meantime, the plane provides a unique background for video shoots, and functions as a site for client meetings and livestreams. It also serves as the site for some of the Pytch team’s most creative brainstorming sessions.

There amidst the thrust levers, instrument panels, and galley bins, the Pytch teams’ minds are free to wander into that wonderfully childish state of imagination where anything seems possible. It’s a place where the best ideas often happen.

Plus d’infos sur le site Chauvet

PRG and MADO XR create Virtual Production Studio-xR, powered by Brompton

The first of its kind in France, Virtual Production Studio-xR, was created as a partnership between PRG and MADO XR. The 360-degree LED facility, which is powered by Brompton Technology Tessera SX40 4K LED processing, brings the infinite power of virtual production to any type of pre-recorded or live production.
The space is constructed as a high-tech LED cave featuring ROE Visual LED panels, with multiple Tessera LED processors running the entire set-up.

All Rights Reserved MADO XR

“Situated on the outskirts of Paris at the historic TSF Studios, we designed a modular studio of approximately 800m2 to provide full control over both the lighting and the filmed scenes in a real-time recording environment. We have put a team together that is fully dedicated to the studio and is composed of PRG and MADO XR staff who will be able to advise and guide you in the realisation of your projects,” says Thierry Kra, Managing Director of PRG France.

CEO and Co-Founder of MADO XR, Louis De Castro, utilised over 10 years of experience working with some of the biggest fashion houses, including Valentino, Yves Saint Laurent and luxury brands such as Cartier and Baccarat, to merge his creative industry knowledge with PRG’s global reach and technical expertise to create a top notch XR studio.

“Our studio is 15m wide by 5m tall and 7m deep, meaning it has an LED backwall, a ceiling, a floor and front panels, which is a unique offering in France,” says Yves Winand, PRG’s Senior Video Project Manager & Technical Advisor. “Together with MADO XR, we pulled together a set of technologies for real time tracked images to be rendered with extremely low latency, allowing the actors to be immersed in photorealistic 3-D environments that up until now were unimaginable for a live set up. The choice for the Brompton Tessera processing was obvious right from the start.”

All Rights Reserved MADO XR

115m2 of ROE BO2 2.8mm LED panels are used for the curved LED back wall; 105m2 of ROE BM4 including the latest generation matt covers for the floor; and 75m2 of ROE CB5 panels for the ceiling and front wall that create effective virtual lighting. This powerful set-up is complemented by equally impressive processing, with Tessera SX40 LED processors running the complete LED cave. The set is constructed to be fully modular, with the LED floor, ceiling and front wall easily moved to suit specific production requirements.

According to the MADO XR team, Tessera’s On Screen Colour Adjustment and ChromaTune were features they found especially useful. “In XR, the relationship between the colour profile offered by the LED processor in relation to what the sensor of the camera is receiving is extremely important,” adds De Castro, “To be able to fine tune the colour profile in the Tessera software made our workflow much more precise and efficient. It gave us incredibly realistic images that are simply the best possible quality.”

PRG and MADO XR are firm believers that XR is set to become a new tool for companies to express their brand identity and bring their stories to life.
“At PRG, virtual production has never played a more significant role, not only for TV and film creators, but in music, corporate events and emerging fields like esports. This is the next level of storytelling! MADO XR and their ambition in the virtual production world is exactly that. The range of technologies and people skill sets available and our ability to bring all these technical solutions and workflow experiences together in our studios allow us to realise the project vision of our customers,” explains Stephan Paridaen, COO & President of the PRG Group.

All Rights Reserved MADO XR

Apart from the cost efficiency and sustainability benefits that come with using digitally created XR environments rather than building a physical set design that is normally discarded after an event.
Castro notes that XR has the power to produce broadcast content with a texture and quality that is unique to artistic films, “and that can truly immerse a viewer in a beautiful, life-like image they can access as a livestream on their device from anywhere in the world. It truly opens doors and brings diversity and inclusion, not just to the world of fashion but to many other areas such as corporate presentations and music events.”

Feedback on the Virtual Production Studio facility has been fantastic, and productions such as the unveiling of the new brand platform and the design of the new Peugeot logo by Havas Events, Dassault Système for Live! and the fashion shoot of the Balmain FW2021, have been the first to take full advantage of the spectrum of creative tools the studio can offer their productions.
“It really depends on where you are coming from,” concludes De Castro. “In the live entertainment sector, for example, creative boundaries can be pushed a long way; you really can go in all possible artistic directions. The motion picture business, on the other hand, is a lot stricter as photo realism, the science of colour, and precise skin tones are all absolutely paramount.
Tools like Brompton’s Tessera LED processing allow us to move seamlessly between these two very different worlds and by offering demos to our clients, our team of experts from PRG and MADO XR is able to demonstrate the best use of virtual production technology for every type of production. Once a client has had a chance to test the technology, they become truly ecstatic about it and love the results. We are very proud to be part of their journey.”

More information about Brompton Technology can be found at www.bromptontech.com

 

Virtual Showlight 2021 confirms Speakers

In a snapshot of the full Showlight event, an exciting series of papers will be presented by international keynote speakers, interspersed by a series of Video Shorts from the likes of Peggy Eisenhower and Bill Klages. There will also be a discussion panel based on the subject of diversity in the lighting industry, chaired by award-winning lighting designer, Paule Constable.

Your speakers for Virtual Showlight 2021 are:

David Bishop
BBC Strictly Come Dancing
BBC Strictly Come Dancing’s award-winning lighting designer, David Bishop, will outline the challenges of re-designing an icon of UK television after 15 years, the latest season of which required the incorporation of live augmented reality into the show.

Ken Billington, Rob Halliday, Aaron Porter
Lighting Around The World Without Leaving Home: The Story of ‘Waitress’ in Japan
When Japan closed its borders just after Christmas, the production team for the musical ‘Waitress’ were no longer able to travel to put the long-scheduled Tokyo production on stage. But the show must go on – so they figured out how to do the show remotely. For lighting, that meant LD Ken Billington and his associate Aaron Porter in New York, programmer Rob Halliday in London, and the crew in Japan….

Isabel Nielen, Floriaan Ganzevoort, Mike Evers
From Shipyard to Street Art Museum
Floriaan Ganzevoort, Isabel Nielen and Mike Evers, are lighting designers and partners at Theatermachine light design and consultancy in The Netherlands. They will talk us through the 2-year light design process which transformed a monumental industrial shipyard building into a museum. With a limited budget, the team mixed daylight, theatre lighting, exhibition lighting and architectural lighting in this rough and tough, ‘one-of-a-kind’ venue.

Mike Bauman
Lighting a Comic Book Movie – Birds of Prey Case Study
Michael Bauman has been an IATSE 728 gaffer for over 25 years with film credits that include Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Ford v Ferrari, Phantom Thread, Munich, Nightcrawler, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. He will dive deep into the visual strategy and technical execution of the lighting for the comic book movie Birds of Prey, beginning with the visual ideas conceived by cinematographer Matthew Libatique ASC, and looking at how LED, automated and video technologies were used in lighting the film.

Hamish Jenkinson
The Disco Lighthouse
Hidden on a Caribbean island sits the world’s most expensive Lighthouse. Located on the paradisiacal Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, The Lighthouse features a custom-designed light show designed to showcase the flora and fauna of this beautiful island paradise, and tell the story of Marine Reserve and MSC’s dedication to conservation, through animation across its 150,000 individual LEDs. Après-show, the lighthouse becomes a ‘disco’ beacon for the guests on the island to party alongside. Created by The Department Ltd with lighting design from Woodroffe Bassett Design.

Panel Discussion
A Panel on Diversity to celebrate, to listen and to learn
A discussion panel formed of lighting professionals Dawn Chiang, Jane Dutton, Prema Mehta, Rajiv Pattani, John Piper and Momena Saleem, and chaired by internationally acclaimed lighting designer Paule Constable, will explore some of the issues around diversity in the industry.


Each paper will be followed by a Q&A session giving delegates the opportunity to put their questions to the speakers, and plenty of opportunities for networking and touching base with our sponsors in their breakout rooms. Further details of the speaker line up will be available shortly on the Showlight website (www.showlight.org).

Tickets
Tickets for Virtual Showlight are now available via the website (https://www.showlight.org/virtual-showlight). Registration is free of charge but Showlight is supporting two backstage charities, Backup and Behind the Scenes, and delegates are encouraged to make donations to these charitable organisations at registration. Don’t miss this opportunity to enjoy a day of networking and raise some money for these worthy causes.

More information on:

– Website: www.showlight.org
– Facebook: @showlightevent
– Twitter: @Showlight2021
– LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/showlightevent

 

Portman MANTIS, powerfull leds in a new design

Passionate about light, the actors of this young Polish company have proven their creative potential by producing retro-futuristic decorative lights that can be found on stages and TV sets around the world. With 28 distributors, Portman Light is present in 42 countries.

Today, May 18, Portman Light presents its new LED lighting fixture with a unique design, protected by an international patent. Mantis departs from the hexagonal shape and retro style associated with the brand, in favor of an original polymorphic outline.

It is the independent control of its different LED sources that determines its footprint: ‘insects, tungsten lamps, spaceship or colored drops isolated or in trio, with a warm, disturbing or poetic touch. The scenographers will love it!

Mantis has dimmable main sources in warm white, bathed in colored lights. The 250 W of total power is distributed over three main heads simulating halogen with smooth gradation.

At low intensity, the color temperature glows at 1600 K and at maximum power it reaches 3200 K. RGBW sources add a nice colored reflection to each head and in the central part, to create a link between the three branches, another RGBW source associated with a frosted diffuser offers the ingenious possibility of installing gobos and diffusing them in color.


With 65 cm wingspan, 20 cm deep and 8 kg, Mantis is a light and easy to carry device. Its yoke allows it to be oriented in all directions and to consider any type of fixing, on a tripod, hanging on truss or pipe.The shape of the lamp allows you to build larger structures and combine them into various shapes.

Ready to travel the world, Mantis can be powered by any current 100-240V 50Hz / 60Hz. To communicate, the projector receives two XLR5 connectors (input / output) and can also be controlled wirelessly in WDMX.
The electronic supports the RDM protocol and six DMX modes from 21 to 43 channels are offered with macros to use the projector in stand-alone mode.

Mantis will arrive in the following days at its distributors for demonstrations and will be available for sale in early July 2021.

More on the Portman website

 

Powersoft Renews Canadian Casino Audio

The Caesars Windsor – part of the Caesars Entertainment empire – had its original audio system installed in 2008, but with the supplier having sent an end-of-life notice in 2018 and Caesars Corporate changing its minimum standards, it had to act decisively.

“As well as the end-of-life notice, we soon realised that we couldn’t upgrade the Windows portion of the old system without upgrading the hardware to match,” said Brian Drouillard, manager audio visual at Caesars Windsor.
Drouillard had already been working with compatriot company Solotech on upgrading the audio systems in hotel ballrooms and meeting rooms, and so spoke with its on-site technicians first to determine if they had any recommendations for alternate systems.

“We did a cost/functionality analysis to determine what would be best for us, then contacted Solotech as soon as we were ready,” said Drouillard.
“Solotech has been a wonderful working partner already, having completed a number of jobs for us in the past, both on time and on budget, with the design and functionality demanded of a world class venue.”

Drouillard was then tasked with providing senior systems designer / Q-SYS software programmer for Solotech, Peter Lima, with all of the functionality requirements, as well as all of the documentation on the old system and any changes made throughout the years.

Five Ottocanali 4K4. « little » output power but huge flexibility.

“My first job was to confirm the interoperability and functionality of the amplifiers in relation to the Q-SYS ecosystem,” said Lima.
“I knew about Powersoft’s Ottocanali amplifier platforms after seeing them at Infocomm and ISE but I’d never had chance to get my hands on one.
Through our distributor, we requested a demo amplifier, so that we could model and test the feature set and AES67 interoperability between Q-SYS and Powersoft.”
Lima needed to set up the Ottocanali amplifiers to receive the AES67 audio streams, and to fully test the Powersoft Q-SYS plug-ins.

“The challenge was to have the network QoS (Quality of Service) settings to provide reliability of the Audio-over-IP,” he said.
“To overcome these challenges, Solotech set up all the amplifiers and network switches in the shop for a full ‘burn in’ period and monitored the audio streams to see if they would be affected by different end point devices.
We also tested the functionality of the amplifiers’ analogue inputs to the Q-SYS cores, as this was a requirement from the site.”

The main DSP was the QSC Q-SYS system, which was configured and connected through the existing network switches throughout the property to feed groups of amplifiers in five remote locations. Background music supplier, Cloud Cover, also supplied 10 of its Android-based boxes to provide custom music around the property.

“From a design aspect, obviously the ability to be network connected is an upgrade in terms of us providing flexibility for growth and design adjustment if required,” commented Drouillard. “From a user standpoint, the physical size of the amplifiers allowed to remove two thirds of the racks that were used in the old system.
And the front displays indicating dB level for each channel is a wonderful tool for trouble shooting and the diagnostic / configuring access.” Solotech monitored the network for AES67 stream stability during a ‘burn in’ period, and the amplifiers performed flawlessly during this time.

“I think this system is now completely futureproof,” said Drouillard. “If they add a restaurant, for example, we can easily install an amplifier, connect it to the network and incorporate it into the system as if it had always been there.
“It was an absolute pleasure to work with Peter and the group from Solotech who helped support and position Caesars Windsor in a place where we have complete freedom to customise our system as we see fit. This would not have been possible if not for the line of Powersoft products from both a functional and budgetary perspective. Powersoft provided all of the features and output power that we required at a budget level that allowed us to proceed with a complete system replacement.”

Solotech undertook a complete facility setup on all of the Powersoft amplifier platforms prior to shipping, which allowed Lima and his team to work out the configurations and AES67 stream issues with the installed network switches. Powersoft was also on-hand throughout this period to provide any necessary support.

“I feel having the in-house staff as part of the turnover process to be the best hands on training for them,” said Lima. “Each member of the technical team has been going through webinar training, with class training being impossible. The Powersoft team is far superior in support and integrating comments into new firmware releases. I cannot say enough of the support that they provided.”

Mark Radu, senior systems designer at Solotech, concluded: “Solotech has always been at the forefront of technological innovation. Powersoft has been on the leading edge of technology since its inception. Constantly reaching out into the marketplace, staying ahead of the curve, developing innovative product and functionality.
Their level of service and support is second to none. From their Business Development and Sales Management teams through to their R&D and Engineering departments, their commitment is first class. An attitude that carries through to our domestic distribution and sales representation.

“The integration of Powersoft amplifiers and their decentralised DSP in the Caesars Windsor project brought forth by Brian is a great example of the marriage of leading-edge technology and application. Caesars Windsor is a world class casino property and demand world class solutions… And that is exactly what was delivered by Solotech in the Powersoft amplifiers.”

More information on the Powersoft website and on the Solotech website

 

Meyer Spacemap Go, unlimited creativity

The studio at Dushow divided into two areas: in the background is a soundstage and, in front, the conference and listening area. It’s a remarkable workspace. You can see the frontal system if you look between the attendees.


The demo was really impressive, conducted by Gaetan Salmon with the help of Matthieu Chenuil and Sébastien Nicolas from Best Audio & Lighting.
The idea? Demonstrate the creative capabilities, sound and objective of Spacemap Go, Meyer Sound’s iPad application that puts the power to bring audio to life at your fingertips with a simple update to Galaxy, the brand’s flagship matrix.


Matthieu Chenuil, product manager for Best Audio and Lighting, who had just removed his mask, with Gaetan Salmon, accounts manager for Dushow.

Decidedly creative, Meyer’s solution for spatialized sound is very complete, in terms of the range of possibilities available frontal, surround, immersive (360° with elevation) with all kinds of movement possible but also demanding in terms of the creation of the mapping that brings the magic to life, as well as in terms of defining the roles of the artist, the sound engineer, and the system/immersive engineer in charge of creating the soundscape. Keep reading, we’ll be expanding on all of this!

Unlike other object-based mixing systems, which are mostly used to exploit a wide frontal diffusion with precise source localization and the benefits of left/right non-interference, Spacemap Go works differently. You don’t create a sonic image within a larger system, you freely construct all the shapes and paths of the audio and find yourself within that image.

Gaetan explains Virtual Nodes.


Spacemap at 35

Steve Ellison, Mister Spatial Sound at Meyer.

Is spatialization new at Meyer? If 35 years old counts as new for you, then yes, because it was Steve Ellison – to this day in charge of Spatial Sound at Meyer – who conducted the first tests in 1986 under a canvas dome in Sydney. Sixteen diffusion points, two subs, a few screens for images, and synthesizers as sources.

Under the dome in Sydney. The black dots are the speakers.

As early as 1993, a paper presented at AES mentions a Spacemap and, two years later, the first Cirque du Soleil show with Spacemap spatialization was performed. A few years later, Matrix 3 was born, a kind of big show controller that was not very practical but was able to run the Spacemaps and drive the speakers.

D-Mitri arrived in 2009 and with this extremely powerful multimedia platform which is still the brain behind Meyer’s active acoustics system, Constellation Spacemap is used as a working language for huge shows, especially in Las Vegas. Any movement can be modeled, programmed and then easily reproduced. But all this still requires a lab coat to be put into practice.

1986. As Steve quips, he has more power today in his smartwatch than his vintage Macintosh. On the right are the Yamaha TX816 synthesizers which were the audio sources…

Spacemap becomes Go

The transition occurred the day Spacemap became accessible to everyone without the need for a Show Control, simply by harnessing the enormous DSP resources of the two Galaxy platforms, the 816 and the 408, that are quite remarkable for a distribution matrix, as each of them can support and process 32 incoming streams in AVB/Milan…

You know the rest: the app migrated to iPad and, since 2019 when it was introduced, updates have made it ever more powerful and user-friendly. Today the app, renamed Spacemap Go, is fully operational and can be installed free of charge. The same goes for the Spacemap update for the Galaxy.

A modern Spacemap with up to 32 objects, as displayed on an iPad, here using a front+side and rear surround mode.

Spacemap is now 32 channels matrixed in real time through a VBAP algorithm with constant energy to the Galaxy outputs. Depending on your requirements, you can link as many AVB/Milan processors as you need to support your diffusion points, and to control them with as many iPads as you want.
Because the link is bidirectional, what is done on one iPad is seen on all the others… and also heard through your system! Spacemap Go has been designed by a group of young, somewhat nerdy developers. Once you understand the logic of its interface, you can start to have fun.

The maps

But who created these maps? Well, Steve Ellison of course, and that’s why we have to go back to Sydney in 1986 – with the fabulous Flintstone’s computer configuration and Yamaha TX816 modular synths as sources (and without playing “Le Grand Bleu”!) – to find the first map with its 16 points of diffusion, the future speaker nodes plus two subs, and if you look at it carefully, everything works with triangulation. The principle of the Triset was born.

The first Spacemap in Sydney: no virtual points, only Speaker Nodes, but already using triangulation.

Let’s take three diffusion points: 1, 2 and 3. If the sound is played at the same level by the three points, it will be materialized at the center of the three, but if I want to bring it nearer to point 2, I just have to lower the levels of 1 and 3 and raise the level of point 2, and so on. Of course these adjustments are completely transparent.

For the user, it is enough to move the Spacemap Panner to hear the effect of movement in the Triset. If I go outside of the Triset… no more sound. This is where you have to start building your map with the other tools provided and not just multiply the diffusion points ad infinitum, by creating virtual points, called Virtual Nodes, in order to complete the mesh of sound all around you by making the available speakers work by triangulation.
To simplify your life, maps already exist and are even provided with Spacemap Go – which can be a time saver – but it’s better to create your own, your own movements, your own automations and, to say the least, your own fantasies!

The QL5 handled the sources, including the notorious buzzing fly, which was used to demonstrate the fluidity of its passes over our heads. Notice the involvement of the participants, each one playing with his iPad on the same musical program. Poor things!

To do this, it’s best to have an iPad with a large screen and high resolution, like an iPad Pro. The regular model is great for viewing during a performance, and the Mini for tweaking on the fly, because it’s fast and you can put it down anywhere.
Of course, you can have all of them not only in front of you, but active, each controlling or displaying a particular function. Just for fun, the developers have achieved a possible maximum of 999 connected iPads, the limit being due to WiFi technology…

Two active Spacemaps, the one on the right representing the diffusion points named “ceiling”, because they are placed over the audience and not in front of or around it. These form a system that envelopes the audience in 3D.

The strong point of Spacemap is its capability to emulate movement, and this is done via menus in the software or through external commands. It is thus possible to create various movement presets that you can design with your fingertips, and switch from one to another manually.
Or you can do it automatically, by linking maps so that these movements can be reproduced identically, or in reverse in mirror mode on any other map.

The freedom is absolute and the creative possibilities are endless, especially since we are now talking about defined movements that are clocked, but it is possible to link our 32 sources to just as many external interfaces that can be used to generate 2D movements, such as a guitarist walking across the room on a thrust stage, or in 3D with the same guitarist, but this time attached to a zip line or any other prop that makes him fly above the audience. During this flight, the reverberation of the guitar can circle to the tempo of the song… The Americans have a nice way of saying that anything is possible: “you name it!”

The least we can say is that Spacemap is open to third-party connectivity.

Spacemap Go communicates through OSC with QLab but also with Ableton Live, Pro Tools, Performer, Logic and Reaper, not to mention RTTrPM, which opens the door to tracking.

It is thus possible to facilitate the movement of a singer with a microphone in hand through the audience, by programming a Map that lowers the levels of the bottom speaker boxes by a few dB as he enters or exits the coverage if each one. The same thing goes for the front fills. Why not also have fun like Steve Allison does, playing with the speakers in an array and making a sound go up and down from one module to the next.

Some of the 900-LFC subs in a cardioid configuration and, of course, realigned with the 1100-LFC subs, which are even further back from the frontal system; this configuration was necessary to accommodate two events at the same time in the Dushow studio.

This capacity of Galaxy to serve as a creative matrix does not in any way detract from its primary purpose, which is to be able to time-align the system and add various powerful corrections, both at the input and at the output.
However, we cannot ignore the number of input channels, a maximum of 32 via AVB, which is fewer than those of the competition, even though Galaxy works natively at 96 kHz/24 bits, but this is likely to improve, and it is already possible to link two separate Galaxy systems to increase the number of matrixed streams to 64.

Officially, there are 64 outputs but, by connecting multiple Galaxies together in AV, we gain outputs. As there are 4,000 Galaxy units in the world, there are plenty available!
We should also soon see Spacemap Go making its way into the systems of mixing consoles that seem so limited with their native left/right capabilities.
Finally, Meyer’s active acoustic system, Constellation, comes to mind. Wouldn’t it make sense to create interfaces with Spacemap Go?

What about the sound of all this?

The prediction map of the system installed in Dushow’s studio, implemented by Gaetan Salmon. You can see the two sub rows (thanks to the delays) and the swarm of heads deployed in the frontal, surround and ceiling positions.

So, what about the sound of all this? First of all, hats off to Gaetan for setting up this system in the studio at Dushow, which was divided in half.
Secondly, I would like to thank Meyer for the seamlessness of the movements and the total absence of any noise, glitch, bug or similar. When it happens, it’s fast, precise and natural and it really makes you want to play with it.

We also listened to a few recordings of rock, classical and electronic music concerts, with frontal sound and frontal sound plus effects. Although we didn’t have enough time or perspective to be able to form a more precise opinion, we found all the benefits of a frontal system, but with a more sophisticated management of the front fills, and therefore of the very important front rows, than with other systems. We will listen to it again as soon as possible, but in other rooms and with other mixes.

The lower frontal system, a sort of 5-point front fill, composed of a left/right of 2 x UX20s mounted on their USW-112P subs, plus 3 x UPJuniors. You can see at the top a small part of the upper frontal system, consisting of 5 x UX40s.

We should point out that, although Spacemap allows the speaker enclosures to be positioned at any distance from each other, this distance must be greater than the distance to the first pair of ears. The management of the bass is no different, either. The bass resources must be concentrated as much as possible within a half-wavelength. Finally, each enclosure must be able to cover the entire audience.

A synoptic diagram of the whole IT and DSP setup of the listening system.

With an iPad, a Galaxy, or a Compass, anything is possible: frontal sound, immersive sound, spatialization effects, and even matrixing support.
It’s even possible mind you, this could be controversial to spatialize with this simple Meyer configuration and to drive any other brand of audio system that accepts AVB/Milan streams through its amplified controllers or active speakers.
And a Galaxy 408, small in physical size but huge in terms of DSP resources, is enough to have some fun with 32 ins and 16 outs via AVB. By the end of April 2021, a new version of Spacemap Go will be available on the AppStore.

As with all new products, you will have to be sensible and start, for example, with a left-right and a pair of rear surrounds to learn how to create spaces and then, little by little, build more complex systems and deliver truly creative sounds. Freedom allows everything, including mistakes, but when you do things right, you can go much further.

An Ultra X20 coupled with a USW-112P sub, a combo that is a pleasure to listen to even if, when the 900 and 1100 come into play, the bass has more room to breathe.

Gaetan points out: “we are always here to provide assistance and training to users, and Meyer is thinking of offering ready-to-use basic configurations plug-and-play templates.”
How do you get productions up and running with Spacemap? “By taking it slow and inviting the artist here for half a day with a tablet. He may or may not love it, but it’s up to him to signal the desire to push things further, or even develop a different show, but it’s wise not to abandon the left/right, because in many venues or festivals, you’ll have to return to it.”

In conclusion let’s applaud the resurgence of Meyer Sound, who – after having extensively played the indestructibility card and thus demonstrated the durability of their speakers – is finally starting to bring out new products that are necessarily smaller, lighter and more practical, but also more powerful, less power-hungry and sound even better.

This is exemplified by the very recent Ultra X20 (the little brother of the X40 that sent the UPA 1 to the museum after 40 years of service, sorry) and the USW-112P subwoofer, even if the volume of Dushow’s studio and the power of the Ultra X20 made its limiter hot. The performance of this combo sounds like nothing short of a live PA and the output is precise, clean and very dry ready to use. The only thing missing is an AVB/Milan input on each enclosure. That would make one less AD>DA conversion in the chain and provide even more detail and sound. It’s all ready – Especially our ears.

Dulcis in fundo. If these few lines have made you want to try Spacemap Go, there will be new introductory/training sessions at Dushow on April 19, 20, 21, 26, 27 and 28, 2021. Contact Gaetan for more information at gaetan.s(at)dushow.com


Demo system

Upper front: 5 x UX40
Lower front: 2 x UX20 + USW-112P and 3 x UPJunior
Surround: 11 x UPAP
Ceiling: 9 x UPAP
Subwoofers: 3 x 1100-LFC center rear and 2 x 3 x 900-LFC left / right
Spacemap system: 3 x Galaxy
Subwoofer driver: 1 x Galaxy

Glossary

A Spacemap is the plot of where the speakers are installed within the Spacemap Go iPad application.
The Spacemap System is the set of Galaxy units (from 1 to 12) running in SPACEMAP mode.
The Spacemap Panner is the cursor.
The Triset: the triangle on which we move the Spacemap Panner to move our “object” between three sources.
Speaker Node: an output from the Spacemap system (a physical output from a Galaxy)
Silent Node: a node on the Spacemap that allows for progressive level control, fades and muting
Virtual Node: a node that links to 1, 2 or more Node Speakers
Derived Node: 1, 2 or x Node Speakers that link to a Derived Node, which is a physical output


For further information, visit :

– The Best Audio website
– The Dushow website
– The meyer Sound website

 

Version 2 chooses MDG ATMe haze for television

Version 2, which specialises in lighting hire specifically for the television industry, has expanded its stock of MDG products with the addition of two ATMe haze generators. “Our clients trust us to specify the right products and we know that MDG produces the best haze for the television market,” says Nick Edwards, managing director of Version 2.

Edwards has 25 years of dedicated television lighting experience, having held technical, commercial and management positions at PRG, Panalux and Aurora, after his training at the flagship training facility in BBC Wood Norton, prior to founding Version 2 in 2016.
This experience puts him in a strong position when it comes to choosing the best products for his clients, many of whom have worked with him for years and trust his technical know-how.

MDG ATMe’s beautiful televisual haze on the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing © Strictly Come Dancing, BBC Studios. Lighting director, David Bishop.

“All our equipment investments have been rigorously researched and tested, plus we have had years of experience with many manufacturers’ products, so we have a good idea of what works and what doesn’t,” he says. “This allows us to make better decisions on our capital expenditure and only invest in the best products for our market. In effect we are testing and processing on behalf of the client so they can be confident in our recommendations.”

Good haze is one of the most critical ingredients to a show, particularly for television. “Primetime television programmes are broadcast to millions of viewers and demand a highly polished result.
A fine balance is needed between deploying enough haze to achieve the desired beam read on camera, yet not so much as to cause ‘noise’ or graininess in the image. To get this wrong can really spoil a good show and ultimately lead to complaints from the broadcaster!

“This can be difficult to achieve in live broadcast, and you cannot rely on guesswork. But MDG ATMe hazers give an extremely high level of control over the haze output allowing levels to be adjusted easily and accurately from the lighting desk. This amount of control gives lighting directors a lot of confidence in MDG and we find they are the only manufacturer whose hazers are specified by name!”

Precise control is not the only quality for which MDG was selected however: “There are many features which make the ATMe ideal for film and television studios,” continues Edwards. “They are whisper-quiet so we can leave them on during filming and broadcast and no-one – least of all the sound guys – will know. The haze has a decent hang time but a quick dissipation too.
They are renowned for their lack of residue which keeps the venues, the rental companies, and the lighting directors happy. We are happy because it means less maintenance for the inside of the moving lights and other technology, and the lighting directors are happy because there is no residue on the lens to affect the output of the lighting rig, which is an especially important consideration on long-running shows.”

Strictly Lighting Team: Tom Young, Darren Lovell, David Bishop, Matt Lee. Photo by John O Brien

Studio technicians also like the new ATMe as they are easy to use and, like all MDG machines, reliable. “The last thing a technician wants is the stress of a haze machine breaking down just before or during a show! We’ve also found the use of CO2 can cause a little mystique and anxiety for some, but not now.
The ATMe dispels any perceived complexity by handling all the CO2 processing inside the machine in a failsafe process. Any technician just has to connect power and DMX for a dependable, plug-and-play system, made even more convenient by the bespoke rolling flightcase which is ideal in the fast turnaround studios for productions like The Jonathan Ross Show.”

Version 2 has also employed its ATMe generators on shows across the BBC, Sky and ITV networks, including blockbusters like Family Fortunes, Sky Arts Late Show, Don’t Hate the Playaz and BBC’s top-rating show, Strictly Come Dancing, (lighting director David Bishop), where ATMe generators are sited in a permanent ‘set standing’ install on the George Lucas Stage at Elstree Studios.
“MDG has always produced the leading machines and sets a really high benchmark,” concludes Edwards. “The ATMe is right at the high end of performance and undoubtedly provides the finest haze on the market, with all the added advantages of control and reliability. This is why we have invested in it and why technicians and designers love them.”

For more information on MDG ATMe haze generators and all MDG fog, low fog and haze products, visit the MDG website

More information on Version 2 can be found at www.v2lights.co.uk/

 

Adamson introduces IS-Series Weatherized loudspeakers

Adamson Systems Engineering officially announces a range of new products available immediately for the installation market, including an extension to its renowned IS-Series of installation loudspeakers and a suite of improved and updated design tools for architects, integrators, and sound designers.

With the introduction of the IS-Series Weatherized line, Adamson offers AV professionals a loudspeaker family purpose-built to withstand the most extreme climates in the world.
Weatherized enclosures are ideal for marine and coastal venues, outdoor stadiums, open-air performance spaces, and other permanent outdoor installations.

“Adamson loudspeakers have always been known for their durability and sonic performance, both on the road and in permanent installations,” says Adamson’s Head of Product and Technology Brian Fraser. “With the Weatherized line, we’ve added corrosion resistance and environmental sealing features that are going to ensure long-term durability in harsh environments without impeding performance.”

Brian Fraser, Head of Product and Technology d’Adamson.

IS-Series Weatherized models achieve an IP55 rating without sacrificing performance or aesthetics. All structural steel elements of the IS-Series Weatherized cabinets are made of a high yield strength stainless alloy that offers 100% corrosion resistance.

The new models also feature an interior and exterior coating with a distinctive smooth finish that provides a water-resistant seal and allows for easy cleaning and removal of dirt, grime, salt water or sand.

Explains Fraser: “Whether you’re dealing with sea water, intense heat or cold, or endless rain, these cabinets are built to deliver uncompromising audio and a venue-friendly form factor. Even after extreme environmental testing, they look and sound incredible.”
Weatherized versions are available now for the entire family of IS-Series loudspeakers.

To supplement the product release, Adamson is also releasing an update to its suite of design tools for integrators, including new Autodesk Revit and SketchUp libraries for the IS-Series, and updated EASE and CAD files for the complete Adamson loudspeaker line.

The design tools are available now for download on the Adamson website at www.adamsonsystems.com


Jochen Sommer, Adamson’s Director of Operations, EMEA.

“Working closely with our customers means we have a chance to hear exactly what they need to make it easier to design solutions that win them business,” explains Jochen Sommer, Adamson’s Director of Operations, EMEA.

“When we looked at expanding our toolkit for architects, integrators and sound designers, we spoke directly to our partners in the field to make sure that we built a best-in-class offering.”

Marc Bertrand, le PDG de Adamson.

To Adamson’s CEO Marc Bertrand, the new product release demonstrates the company’s continuing commitment to innovation. “Adamson has always been relentless in our pursuit of performance,” offers Bertrand.
“With Brock Adamson leading the charge, our product and engineering teams have been pushing hard to develop new products and technologies to lead the professional audio market. We’re excited about what our partners will be able accomplish with these new products and tools,” he adds. “And there’s plenty more to come.”

https://adamsonsystems.com/product/is-series

 

Avolites controls the timelines with Titan v15

Avolites has announced the release of the latest version of its lighting software Titan, v15 which includes the Timeline feature set. Timeline essentially allows timecoded shows to be programmed and edited using visually-led tools, increasing the speed with which users can set up the full range of Avolites lighting and video effects for a project.

Timelines allow you to create a precisely timed sequence which you can either run from the console’s internal timer or synchronise to an external timecode source. This is useful in a complex song in a show where the song is pre-recorded or run to a click track or timecode, a multimedia event run to a playback track or in an opening sequence for a corporate event.
Using Titan v15, individual actions, called ‘triggers’, can be either captured manually via the Titan UI, or live record can be used to capture an entire performance. The software then plays back all the trigger actions including Set Level, Go to cue, Flash, Timed Flash, Timed Flash and Go, Swop, Preload, Wait for go in sync with the performance.

It also features powerful editing features to finesse a performance. Users can merge multiple live records to build up complex effects over a whole song; triggers can be converted into linear fades, a ‘smooth’ feature allows for selected triggers to be grouped together into a continuous fade, while Timecode Offset allows for either the entire program to be shifted to a new base time without changing the trigger times or smaller offsets of a few frames to be deployed to line up video, audio, and fixtures.



An overview bar is designed to give users a view of the whole timeline from start to finish, allowing for speedy navigation as well as the ability to quickly zoom in and out of different sequences, making Titan v15 an ideal fit from the simplest to the largest and most complex live shows.
Other useful features like Markers can also be created or imported from external editors to mark points in the song, or busking ability by using the fader raised and lowered actions, means you can create complicated one-shot effects, are also included in this release.

Titan v15 is available now for download from Avolites website

Visit Avolites Titan Official Manual for the Avolites Titan software for more information

 

480 xtylos on the eurovision stage

OSRAM, parent company of Claypaky, will be the official lighting partner of the ESC 2021, held this year at the Ahoy Arena in Rotterdam on 18-20 and 22 May 2021 and organized by the EBU the world’s leading alliance of public service media Osram will contribute to the event by illuminating a key building in the city of Rotterdam.

©Nathan-Reinds NPO-NOS-AVROTROS

Claypaky will be represented by an outstanding complement of 481 Xtylos, innovative luminaires equipped with a tailor-made laser source and boasting super-concentrated beams of colored light. They will be essential to the exceptional light shows at the Ahoy Arena and are being provided by the shows’ rental and production companies, including Ampco Flashlight, that is the ESC’s Official Technical Supplier for lighting. ESC 2021 is produced by the host broadcaster NPO, NOS and AVROTROS with Erwin Rintjema as ESC’s Head of Production.

“Xtylos was launched by Claypaky about 18 months ago and has already been used in a number of major world events and specified for others, which unfortunately were cancelled or postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Claypaky Sales Director Alberico D’Amato. “All the Xtylos that will be used at the ESC 2021 are already available on the market and used by major rental companies across the globe”.

Although the stage has been redesigned, the ESC 2021 organizers have decided to maintain last year’s technical set up, as the event was cancelled due to the pandemic.
The Claypaky Xtylos were also part of that project and have been confirmed among the key lights of the event.

Henk Jan van Beek of Light-H-Art, this years’ ESC lighting designer, in fact called Claypaky’s Xtylos “irreplaceable” fixtures, with their particular light beams a key part of the project.

More on the Claypaky website

 

Denton Bible Church Network with Optocore AutoRouter

The Denton Bible Church (DBC) in Dallas, TX recently underwent a large redesign of its audio capabilities and added a new DiGiCo Quantum338 console for both front-of-house and monitor mixing as well as a new DiGiCo SD12 console as its new broadcast audio console. The 3,500-seat sanctuary is tied together on an Optocore Digital Fiber network, at the heart of which is one of Optocore’s new AutoRouters.

The audio network was installed and set up by Digital Resources, who are based close by in Southlake.
Lance Eddleman, Audio Sales Manager, implemented the Optocore AutoRouter solution for the church when he was presented with its ease of use and flexibility.

Lance worked closely with Optocore North America’s Brandon Coons and Group1 Ltd to ensure the AutoRouter would be a good fit for the church.

The AutoRouter works as a central patch bay and replaces the typical redundant ring topology of an Optocore network and turns it into a redundant star network. AutoRouter’s advanced transceiver ports detect when devices are connected at remote patch points and reconfigures the active connections to maintain redundant fiber tunnels to each location.

L’AutoRouter

AutoRouter automatically adds devices to the network loop as it is powered up. When a mobile device is disconnected or powered down, AutoRouter closes the loop to the remaining devices to keep a redundant architecture without any user action.

“The church relies on volunteers to run their system, and having Auto as the virtual tech to maintain the network is fantastic for them,” says Eddlemen. “No one has to go to the equipment room, struggle with jumper cables or patch panels or remember which connections are in use or which ports go to what remote locations.

La DiGiCo Quantum338

“Installation of the Router was easy. We just connected the fiber runs to the corresponding sockets and it discovered the network,” Eddleman continues. “In the future as the Church grows its audio system we can expand the ports to allow for additional remote points and equipment.”

The transceivers in the unit allow for a signal refresh to achieve longer cabling runs; in addition, the unit can act as a media converter and can be mixed with Multimode and Singlemode TRX to support different fiber runs within the facility or between multiple buildings.

Brandon Coons d’Optocore North America

AutoRouter is completely interoperable with new and existing Optocore and DiGiCo fiber networks. Also, because the routers’ capabilities are format independent, it can also be used for Yamaha TwinLANe and AVID AVB networks.”

“Since its release, many of the industry’s top integrators and cutting-edge facilities have put in place AutoRouters,” says Brandon Coons, Optocore North America.
“We are seeing them put into performing arts centres, sports arenas and especially churches because of the power and flexibility they give the system.”

For further information visit the Optocore website

 

Meyer Sound Continues Excellence at Calgary Theatre

The Jack Singer Concert Hall, the largest venue in Calgary, Alberta’s Arts Commons complex, has installed a new and highly flexible “hybrid” Meyer Sound reinforcement system. It replaces a venerable Meyer Sound system based on the same concept that had contributed to the success of the 2,000-capacity venue for more than 16 years.
Both the new replacement system and the prior system were designed by GerrAudio, Meyer Sound’s Canadian distributor, in consultation with the venue technical staff.

Brian Beaulieu, directeur associé opérations sur site à Arts Commons.

“Meyer Sound and Gerr had worked together back in 2004 on what proved to be a wonderful solution for this venue,” says Brian Beaulieu, Associate Director, Venue Operations at Arts Commons. “Everyone was very consultative and worked closely with our team to again come up with the best solution.”

As before, the theatre’s system is anchored by a flown center cluster, this time configured using Meyer Sound’s latest generation of point source and low-frequency loudspeakers, including UPQ-D2™, ULTRA-X40™ and ULTRA-X42™ loudspeakers and 900-LFC™ low-frequency control elements.

The primary system also includes additional 900-LFC elements on the floor as well as UPQ-D1™ loudspeakers for side fills. More compact ULTRA-X40 loudspeakers are installed throughout the auditorium and will be principally used for surround sound.

Le nouveau point de diffusion point source central.

New ULTRA-X20™ loudspeakers are deployed as fill systems, and 11 new MM 4XP™ miniature self-powered loudspeakers supplement 11 MM-4 loudspeakers remaining from the prior system as front fill. Meyer Sound’s new MAPP 3D™ prediction software was used throughout the design process to ensure uniform, pinpoint coverage.

Jack Jamieson, technicien du son en chef du Jack Singer Concert Hall.

“After I started talking to Gerr about a new system for the concert hall in the spring of 2019, we carried out an extensive demo process through the end of that summer,” says Jack Jamieson, head sound technician for the Jack Singer Concert Hall.
“We compared products from other manufacturers as well as the newest Meyer Sound products. In the end, we found the Meyer Sound solution to be what was needed for the variability required for this room.”

Because the theatre hosts a wide variety of programming, from symphony concerts to rock shows, the solution is required to accommodate a range of levels and audience seating configurations.
“We needed a system that had no sightline impact as well as ample volume,” continues Jamieson, “and there was no way we could come up with one design that would allow both simultaneously.

La classique ligne de 16 Leopard avec une courbure très étudiée et bénéficiant de la technologie Low-Mid Beam Control pour en parfaire l’uniformité de rendu.

We could not permanently hang a line array without sightline impacts in a room that wraps all the way around the stage. So, we ended up doing a double system employing a Meyer Sound point source center cluster, with the option to fly the LEOPARD® line arrays to get the level needed for rock shows.”

La Jack Singer Concert Hall avec les deux différents systèmes éclairés en bleu. Le cluster central se confond avec l’orgue de la salle.

Each line array comprises 16 LEOPARD loudspeakers which can be quickly brought on stage and flown as needed. Meyer Sound’s new Low-Mid Beam Control technology was implemented during commissioning to ensure uniform response throughout the room with minimal excitation of reflective surfaces.

The complete system, installed by Sapphire Sound under the supervision of Head of Alberta Operations Ben Burrell, also includes five GALAXY™ 816 and one GALAXY 816-AES3 Network Platforms, three RMServer™ and two MPS-488HP™ signal distribution and power supply units.

“The system is exactly what we had hoped for,” summarizes Jamieson. “We’re pleased that we will be growing with this system into the future, and we know that both Meyer Sound and GerrAudio will continue the high level of support we’ve experienced in the past.”

David Vincent

Leading the GerrAudio team throughout the process including design, specification, installation and final tuning were Shawn Hines, sales manager for Western Canada, and Ian Robertson, who serves as design, education and technical support specialist.

Assisting in final system calibration on behalf of Meyer Sound was David Vincent, Montréal-based senior technical support specialist.

De gauche à droite Shawn Hines et Ian Robertson.

Considered one of the most beautiful and acoustically acclaimed venues in North America, the Jack Singer Concert Hall is home to the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, recurring jazz and world music concert series, and touring concerts by international pop and rock artists.

Spoken word events include TED Talks and National Geographic Live presentations. The Arts Commons, located in downtown Calgary, is a six-story, 400,000 square foot complex that also encompasses four smaller theatres, offices and rehearsal spaces.

More on the Meyer Sound website

 

Ayrton at Eurovision Song Contest 2021

Ayrton is delighted! Huracán-X, Karif, and MiniPanel-FX will form a major part of the Henk-Jan van Beek’s lighting design this year which takes place at the Ahoy Arena, Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

You can bank on Ayrton Minipanel-FX to create beautiful effects at Eurovision Song Contest. © Nathan Reinds

Lighting designer Henk-Jan van Beek of Light-H-Art design has chosen significant numbers of each fixture for the main ambient and effects lighting for this annual music extravaganza. The full requirement of Ayrton fixtures – 386 in total – will be supplied by Eurovision 2021’s lighting, audio and rigging supplier, Ampco Flashlight.

The stage design for Eurovision 2021 by Florian Wieder is being kept under wraps for now, but those in the know at Ampco Flashlight have hinted at a wall of MiniPanel-FX which they describe on their Eurovision blog (www.ampco-flashlight.com/nl/esc) as ‘a cute little fixture that is fierce and powerful” – and that’s just for starters.

“The reputation of Eurovision is unquestionable as one of the best global productions there is,” says Ayrton’s Michael Althaus. “To have Ayrton fixtures showcased on it is testament to the regard in which lighting designers hold our products.
We are very excited to be involved once again and I can’t wait to see Henk-Jan’s design and the fantastic plans he has for our Huracán-X, Karif and MiniPanel-FX. This is a ‘first’ at Eurovision for Huracán-X and Karif, and as for MiniPanel-FX, I say ‘watch your backs!’”

The load-in at the Ahoy started on 10 April under the supervision of Erwin Rintjema, Eurovision Song Contest’s Head of Production for Netherlands’ host broadcaster NPO, NOS and AVROTROS, on behalf of the European Broadcasting Union EBU.

Thirty-nine countries will battle it out for the top honour of winning Eurovision in front of a live audience of 3,500 people (recently admitted as part of the FieldLab trials) and an anticipated television audience of 180 million viewers. The semi-finals will take place on 18 & 20 May, and the unmissable Grand Final on 22 May.

More information on Ayrton website and on the Ampco Flashlight website

 

L-ISA Studio, Create Spatial Audio Anytime, Anywhere

L-Acoustics breaks new boundaries with a revamped, innovative approach to the workflow of spatial audio content creation with the new L-ISA Studio software suite and upgraded L-ISA engine. Built with sound designers and mixing engineers in mind, L-ISA Studio is designed for countless creative, immersive audio experiences.

Immediately available for download, it takes the power and versatility of the concert-proven L ISA technology and puts it into the hands of sound creators, allowing them to formulate multidimensional audio wherever and whenever they are ready to create.

Guillaume Le Nost, Directeur de la branche Creative Technologies de L-Acoustics

“L-ISA Studio grants all sound creators the ability to conceive, create, iterate and experience their work in 3D audio,” explains Guillaume Le Nost, Executive Director, Creative Technologies at L-Acoustics.
“It is the perfect tool to work on the pre-production of an L-ISA live show or the sound design of a newly imagined immersive experience – or even mix an album in 7.1.4.”

L-ISA Studio contains the same spatial audio and room engine algorithms as its hardware counterpart, the L-ISA Processor, yet is redesigned and improved with key features for room enhancement, a fully augmented scale simulation mode, and binaural output capabilities.
The upgraded engine, now deployed in both software and hardware configurations, provides sound designers, content creators, and mixing engineers with the ability to hear content in any virtual space of any given size and shape.

Control strategies, sonic trajectories, and sound system behaviors can all be defined and then demonstrated in real time, streamlining the creative process in its early stages and minimizing the need for last-minute changes.

Through L-ISA Studio’s binaural engine, users can now create and monitor their spatialized audio content anywhere with headphones and optional head tracking. Mixing engineers and creators can deploy the software suite in any multi channel mixing or recording studio with up to 12 loudspeakers for multi channel monitoring.

For a fully portable L-Acoustics powered 3D sound creation tool and listening experience, L-ISA Studio can be paired with Contour XO, the recently launched professional in-ear monitor by L Acoustics and JH Audio.

Developed to improve the workflow and unleash the creative potential of all sound creators, L-ISA Studio seamlessly interfaces with leading digital audio workstations, show control software, and game engines. It also offers compatibility with various 3D audio format outputs, including Dolby Atmos and multi-channel configurations.

Scott Willsallen, Directeur de Auditoria.

Auditoria Director Scott Willsallen and his team are using L-ISA Studio to design the immersive sound experience for the Al Wasl Dome, an immersive space at the center of Expo 2020, beginning in October 2021 in Dubai. “We all know how precious time is on a show and how little of that time is allocated to sound,” he explains.

“L-ISA Studio provides an exceptionally convenient platform for our content creators to audition their content and precisely author object trajectories, giving them confidence in their work.
The creative scope of L-ISA is vast and L-ISA Studio provides a tool that allows us to explore the full potential of the immersive sound technology, without spending additional time on the show systems.”

Monthly and yearly subscriptions for both individual and enterprise use are now offered at estore.l-acoustics.com. Discounts are available to students enrolled in qualified audio engineer programs.

For more information on L-ISA Studio or watch the launch event on YouTube