Konstantinos Vonofakidis, ETC Regional Sales Manager

Konstantinos Vonofakidis has been announced as new Regional Sales Manager by ETC. He will now handle with sales arrangements for key accounts and collaborate with the company’s distributors and dealers to supervise the sales activities in the regions of Greece, Portugal, Spain, Cyprus and Egypt.

Konstantinos Vonofakidis

Darren Beckley, Sales Manager – ETC Ltd, says: “Konstantinos is a valuable member of the sales team who has built a great rapport with the dealers and customers in his territories. With his strong market knowledge and expertise, I am confident he will continue delivering high levels of service and be successful in his new role.”

Konstantinos previously was Field Project Coordinator for High End Systems in the Southern European, African, Middle Eastern and Indian territories. He started his career as a service engineer operating for High End Systems for 10 years before going on to manage significant lighting projects such as the National Theatre of Greece, Bahrain National Theatre and Onassis Cultural Centre.
Konstantinos explains: “I’m excited to build new customer relationships and work more closely with our dealers and distributors in these markets. I look forward to working in this role and growing the business in my regions.”

D5 Systems, launches its new free LxNetTools monitoring software

D5 Systems, specialized in software development and stage lighting control solution, launches its new free LxNetTools monitoring software, Mac and PC compliant.

A finding

When you use Ethernet technology to route your stage or architectural lighting control packets within a network, it quickly becomes obvious a monitoring solution is essential.

Why? because we simply want to make sure the packets travel correctly and arrive on time at their destination. So, when our dear console operator colleague launches the famous adage “it doesn’t work, it’s because of the network!”, We want to be able to prove to him that what he is sending from this console that he cherishes so much is incorrect, and it is not sending the right information.
Firstly, a good monitoring software will allow us to show him that he’s not sending the right information or that his console is misconfigured, and secondly, this will support our comments when we offer him a less challenging career 😉. Today, it is easy to find a software to monitor Art-Net, sACN, RDM, a plethora of solutions already exist.
However, many of them are limited to one task, or to one or two lighting protocols. Some offer more protocols but restrict you to the use of their proprietary hardware to be able to access the monitoring of all protocols. Finally, some of this software is limited as to the operating system they use. However, the performing arts world includes many Mac and PC users.


Based on this, David McCulloch, founder of D5 systems, decided to create LxNetTools. First, David created this software for his own needs because he couldn’t find an all-in-one solution. Secondly, and in his great goodness, he decided to make the software free, thus allowing the whole stage lighting control community to use this software.

LxNetTools

The name says it all: Lx = Light, Net = Network, Tools. LxNetTools is Mac and PC compatible and is easy to install. Once installed and launched, the software offers you a rather clear workspace.

The software consists of 5 distinct modules:

– At the very top: the network interface and engine selection menu
– Middle left: The node and console display panel
– In the center: The universe display panel and the test generator
– Middle right: The log file
– Bottom: the RDM equipment display panel


The software supports Art-Net and sACN protocols for visualizing and generating lighting channels, and the RDM protocol as well. This is where the second good news comes in: LxNetTools supports Art-RDM (RDM via Art-Net), but RDMNet and LLRP as well, two components of the new RDM over IP standard. This means LxNetTools is ready for the future, now let’s wait for the manufacturers to implement RDMNet in their lighting fixtures or consoles.

Important detail: LxNetTools allows you to select the interface in combination with the protocol of your choice. Basically, the software will allow you to use a network interface for Art-Net, another for sACN, and a third for …. MANet 2!!
Yes! this is one of the other major advantages of this software, LxNetTools enables you to see the online GrandMA 2 consoles, as well as the nodes and NPUs of the same system. This protocol interface selection system makes LxNetTools the ideal companion for converged light network monitoring (several types of lighting protocol on the same network).

Les composants ArtNet, sACN, RDM et MANet2 visibles depuis un seul et même logiciel !

I fell in love with a very intelligent feature: in the test generator, the user will be able to generate a range of universes, and each universe will send the universe number assigned to it as a DMX value set to all the channels of this universe. Long story short, you send universes from 1 to 8, and each universe sends all its channels with the value of the universe, which allows you to easily identify a universe with a DMX tester: Brilliant!
This feature already is available in some lighting controller, but having this in a monitoring software is a great add-on.

With Art-Net and sACN, the user will be able to visualize the channel values in real time for each discovered universe, and with RDM he will be able to use generic commands such as identify, DMX address settings, mode….

Le panneau de contrôle RDM qui offre les fonctions les plus courantes.

If you do not fancy the night theme, a day theme is available as well, ideal for the sunny festivals that will not take place this year …

Le thème « jour »

The software is in its infancy, and David McCulloch has confirmed to me that other features will be added, such as a patch function to quickly address lighting fixtures via RDM.
This kind of initiative is to be congratulated, because in these painful times, the notion of sharing takes on its full meaning, and this software will undoubtedly help many technicians keen on lighting control networks.

LxNetTool can be downloaded here

 

Ayrton Diablo tours Sweden with Riksteatern’s Love Songs

Riksteatern, the Swedish National Touring Theatre, was due to take its production of Love Songs on a three month tour of Sweden from early March, with lighting director and designer, Jörgen ‘Hajen’ Haimanas, choosing 6 Ayrton Diablo LED profile luminaires as a major feature of his lighting design, in what would be Diablo’s first national tour of Sweden.
Due to the current COVID-19 crisis, the tour was only able to complete the first five dates before it was necessarily postponed by lockdown.

Love Songs is described as a ‘sentimental love bomb’, a musical evening depicting love in all its forms, featuring the musical talents of Arja Saijonmaa, Frida Beckman, Lisa Hu Yu, Robert Hannouch and Peter Järn. Haimanas used his considerable lighting talents, to create an incredible array of looks using the six strategically placed Diablo units in a design crafted to cope with the many sizes and types of venue they would visit on the tour.

“As the National Touring Theatre of Sweden, Riksteatern makes a point of bringing top quality dance and theatre productions to a multitude of unconventional venues as well as traditional theatres, to reach as diverse an audience country-wide as possible,” says Haimanas. “This necessarily entails playing several venues which are not conventional theatres and therefore not equipped to the usual standards and specifications of a theatre.

“Under these circumstances, a fixture’s weight, zoom range and power consumption become even more vital where trussing might not be heavy duty, and available height can be restricted. So I needed a profile fixture that was compact, lightweight, super-flexible and full of features that could handle the many smaller and varied venues on the tour.”

Haimanas admits he was first attracted to Diablo by its name: “It called to me! I looked up the technical specifications and it sounded perfect for our work as a touring company: small, light-weight, powerful and small enough to fit four units into a single flightcase all very important considerations on tour. Then Ayrton’s Linnea Ljungmark brought one for us to test out and I was stunned it had a good dimming curve and an excellent zoom range just what I was looking for. I got my wish!”

The six Diablo were supplied by Stage and EventLight of Stockholm and were the only profile fixtures in Haimanas’ rig: four were rigged overhead and another two mounted at stage level, upstage of the bold, red central set piece. “The dominating set feature is a large scarlet ‘frame’ which is finished in a shiny red surface,” explains Haimanas.

“This was quite a challenge to light without bounce, but the Diablo has an extremely flat field with no hotspots which was a great help in lighting the face of the set and also providing beautiful lighting for the faces of the actors. I also used Diablo’s gobo feature to texture the light across the stage, create mid-air effects that broke out into the audience, and add dramatic backlighting on stage from the two ground-level Diablos.”
Haimanas chose to restrict his colour palette, preferring instead to play with the bold colours of the set using a combination of Diablo’s high output, metallic white (7000K) light and haze: “The things you can do with smoke and white light is amazing! It’s a matter of good angles and timing. I wanted to create almost a cartoon-like effect with hard backlight from one Diablo on each performer, and played with the effect of stretching long shadows across the stage.”

Lighting Director and designer Jörgen Hajen Haimanas

“Jorgen was able to create so many different atmospheres and looks for each and every song throughout the show,” says Ljungmark who saw the performance at Riksteatern’s home venue in Stockholm.
“It was fabulous to see how super-creative he could be with just six Diablo units, and illustrates just how versatile Diablo is. Shows don’t have to be big-scale to create a big impression, and Ayrton has fixtures to suit all sizes of venue.”

“One of the reasons we looked at Diablo was, of course, its LED source,” says Haimanas. “The environmental benefits are obvious, like its low power consumption and reduced transportation requirements (4 per case). But LED is the way sources are going, and the fact that Ayrton has created such good LED fixtures certainly helps the transition away from conventional source fixtures.

“I like the features and colours of Diablo and it was very easy to program. Diablo’s versatility is a great touring feature and its ability to zoom out wide to cover the whole stage and simultaneously cope with the lower trim heights of some venues, as well the distances involved in a conventional theatre, was invaluable.
“But it is the size and weight, with no loss of features or output, that is the most fantastic thing about Diablo. It is much easier to plan ahead with the varying tour venues when you know weight is not an issue. I am very, very happy with our new Diablos.
“It is such a shame to see the remainder of the tour unfulfilled but we look forward to resuming in safer times and continuing to bring the work of this much-valued touring company to audiences all over Sweden.”

Love Songs creative team:

Director: Maja Salomonsson
Set & costume design: Johanna Mårtensson
Light design: Jörgen “Hajen” Haimanas
Make up design: Linda Sandberg
Sound design: Stefan Johansson


New 1.0.7.5 Ghost Manager software

At ISE 2020, Agora audio, designer of the Ghost audiovisual Ethernet switches (Gigabit Host), unveiled the beta version of its Ghost Manager software. The software comes with an intuitive interface, and allows users to configure and monitor Ghost switches in a simple and graphical way.

The beta version of the Ghost Manager software on display at ISE 2020.

Ghost manager offers offline and online modes, which means you can prepare your configuration in advance, without the need to be physically connected to the switches. Once the configuration files have been created via the Ghost manager software (offline), the user will be able to load the files into the switches and to monitor the devices to check the health of the network, or to apply modifications (online).

Ghost switches are meant to create converged audiovisual networks: long story short, they enable the transport of audio, video and lighting data on the same network. However, some of these protocols use a transmission method called Multicast: the end points (console, node, stage box, amplifier …) will request the flow they wish to receive (or subscribe to).

The new IGMP menu in version 1.7.0.5. On the left-hand side, the selected group’s configuration menu, and the button to enable/disable IGMP snooping in this group. On the right-hand side, the IGMP status window for the selected group.

These Multicast streams can be sent to multiple destinations at the same time, allowing the same frame to be used for all destinations, reducing the number of frames sent by the source and the network traffic.
For this mechanism to work properly, the switches must support a feature called IGMP Snooping. When this feature is activated, the switches act as air traffic controller, and direct the Multicast flows to the destinations who subscribed to these flows.
This feature was sorely lacking in Ghost switches, but here comes the good news: the latest version of the software fixes this problem. This new release also brings the support for DECT timing, sometimes used in some time sensitive intercom application.

Fast series

In addition to IGMP snooping, Ghost Manager 1.0.7.5 includes support for the Ethernet switch Fast series. For those unfamiliar with this series, the Fast switches have been designed to create primary/secondary networks in a matter of minutes. Primary/secondary networks are very popular in audio and video over IP application, Dante protocol being one of the most representative solution. Many Dante devices offer two Ethernet ports, a primary port and a secondary port.

This system makes it possible to create redundancy at link level, by sending the same data on the primary and secondary networks, in a completely synchronized manner. The result? in the event of a link loss on the primary network, or if one of the primary switches fails, communication will seamlessly continue though the secondary network. To do this, the user will have to use two switches at control room, and ideally two switches on the stage.


A primary/secondary network example

This is where the Ethernet Fast switch series comes into play: The devices have two separate switch PCB (Printed Circuit Board), thus providing PCB redundancy. If the primary PCB of the Fast switch fails, the secondary PCB takes over automatically. The major advantage of this system is that it requires one physical device only, providing the same level of redundancy as two physical switches, but occupying one rack unit only.

The Fast switch’s internal architecture.


This new release of the Ghost Manager software is now available for download on the support page of Ghost Network website

Vari-Lite VL10, Lux & Rock & Roll

Together with the Freevox team, we brought in one of these new beasts from Dallas, Texas, USA. Freed from its shipping carton, and with its 33 kg hauled up on the test bench with a single heave, the VL10 WashBeam comes across as neat as a glass of bourbon.
If we wanted to imagine the neo-retro concept applied to a lighting fixture, it would pretty much look like this VL10.

Le Vari-Lite VL10

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From afar, it seems to have a simple but brawny line, with large, snug plastic cowlings and the famous Vari-Lite rails for the mounting brackets. For the record, the base of the projector is that of the VLZ and the body is almost identical to that of the VL2600.
A nicely crafted lens is fitted at the output, four large and practical transport handles, especially the ones on top of the yoke, and there are two large triangular vents to provide in-line cooling.

Les poignées du Vari-Lite VL10

The difference is in the small handles set high up, chopper style. The ones at the base are extra-large, for a real road handling. The tilt lock is also impossible to miss, nobody will break it on the first bump.

La lentille de sortie du Vari-Lite-VL10

An unusual nose overhangs the front of the light. Around it, there is an enormous snoot to try to channel this photon cannon.

The design

Les entrées d’air du Vari-Lite VL10.

One of the distinguishing features of this VL10 are its oversized air inlets. Between the base grilles, the air filters and the symmetrical fairing intakes, everything is designed for ventilation.

For decoration, there’s nothing extravagant, just a large Vari-Lite star engraved on the cowls. The fairing, far from the sleek lines of the 3000, plays with curved plastic folds to give character to this VL. The overall impression is one of fusion. With a little imagination, it’s as if the projector is starting to melt!

The unit is quite robust with a bazooka muzzle resting on a very narrow base equipped with a discreet control panel and connectors. The retro aspect is there and the Neo side, too, when you lift it up. With the new plastics and electronics, the fixture has improved in weight and speed. It’s smooth and sporty, like riding a Harley.

Navigating the menus

I throw the big locking levers on the yoke, plug in the PowerCON True1, turn it a quarter turn, and hit the ignition. The screen starts. Though a little bit small for my taste, it’s still legible. It announces its reset procedure. After 90 seconds I access the menu using the four arrows keys, the ESC key and the confirmation key.

Le menu address du Vari-Lite VL10.

A glance at the VL10’s concise display won’t be enough to determine exactly where you are. But a second, closer look reveals that the slightly larger Address menu is the one selected.

Although all the options are clear and intelligible, I find the navigation a bit peculiar. The fault probably lies with the rather sensitive keys without any tactile feedback and the lack of backlighting for menus that look a bit alike. I got a bit lost in the settings. That said, in a few seconds I manage to set the mode and then address it quickly. You set it digit by digit without having to scroll through the 512 possible channels. Quite handy.

Mode 16 bits extended du Vari-Lite-VL10

Everything is working properly. At the moment the lamp is off, the fixture is in 16-bit extended mode, addressed at 1, and we are sure that we are dealing with a VL10 BeamWash.

In addition to RDM-compatible DMX (this is the good side of Neo), I also find ArtNet, separated into IP class 10.X.X.X or 2.X.X., IP setting, mask and universe are alongside the usual test, manual control, configuration and service menus. The experienced technician will be able to read received DMX packets, recalibrate a whole host of mechanical functions or transfer an update between several VLs.

Inspection

The source

The software of this VL10 BeamWash is up to date, V1.2.3A, the unit has barely 414 hours of flight time, 306 hours of lamp use. Stéphane Caria, lighting product manager for Freevox, decides to equip it with a new lamp. We’ll see how it goes.
The power’s disconnected, the head is locked at 90 degrees, with the rear end facing us. For the lamp cover, three turns of a Phillips-head are enough, on the screws marked A-B-C. The four other ones hold a dust filter located just behind the rear grille. We arrive directly in the lamp housing.

Changer la lampe du Vari-Lite VL10

The procedure for changing the lamp is within anyone’s capabilities. Once the backplate is unscrewed, just remove the two red connectors, loosen the screw that holds the metal retaining ring that surrounds the lamp, then remove the lamp by holding it by the ceramic base. Perform this operation in reverse order with a new lamp. The longest part of this operation will be waiting for the components to completely cool down before proceeding.

The source is a discharge lamp manufactured by Philips, based on the 550 W MSD Platinum 25R. Don’t be fooled by the cute little light-blue collar around the ceramic base, this lamp is a powerful concentrated bundle of lumens, the most powerful in its category, capable of delivering 24,500 lumens along a very tight axis.

And it does it with little regard for subtlety or poetry. Covered with thermal paste, it connects with the two power supply connectors and fits into the receptacle using its metal latch to hold it in place. There is no hot-spot setting or adjustment. Once in, it won’t move, and will go about its job throwing photons down-range.

Now that we’ve started the disassembly, we might as well keep going. To remove the fairing from the fixture, we’ll take the easy way out. Two quarter-turn Phillips-head screws and the cowlings are off, the plastic parts are retained by means of a short safety cable.

Vue interne du Vari-Lite VL10

Seen from the inside, the VL10 consists of a lamp housing topped by a large fan, a color mixing module, another gobo module, followed by the immense optical channel where the effects and the zoom are located.

Inside the cowlings, under the triangular intakes, other dust filters are held in place by four screws. Given the number of fans needed to cool the lamp, I imagine that you have to take care of cleaning them regularly to ensure optimum air circulation.
The lamp housing is sandwiched between two large 7-blade fans. I can also see impellers mounted directly on the effect modules.

The optics

In the forward section, there are two sets of lenses on a sliding rail. The movement passes through half of the head, with a frontal section for focusing and a rear section for zooming.
By varying both, we can obtain a range of 2.3° to 44°, almost twenty times the focus, and with sharpness that almost runs from one extreme to the other.
Be careful during disassembly, however, as the system is free and will touch the gobo module at the back. Moreover, to protect the optics, the final lens has two rubber-coated stops that rest on the large exit lens, a 180 mm porthole as smooth as a crystal ball.

The effects

Effects are not lacking in the VL10. Starting with the insert arms of the frosts and prisms directly in the optical path between the two lenses. With its clear lens and super-boosted lamp, the BeamWash naturally provides a sharp beam.
So, to soften these edges, Vari*Lite has installed two frosted lenses on motorized levers. The first one allows you to slightly blur the image of a gobo, for example, while the second one diffuses the beam much more, transforming the Beam into a Wash.

Frosts et prismes du Vari-Lite VL10.

The frost filters are inserted directly into the optical path, without any real progressiveness. On the other hand, they can be combined, like the prisms. In addition, they have a notched disc that allows them to be indexed or rotated.

On the other side, there is more or less the same system, but with two prisms. The first one is an indispensable 8-faceted radial type, while the second one is a rather tight, 4-slice linear type. What is curious is their location.

Like the frost arms, the prisms flank the optical conduit, most of which is reserved for the sliding zoom carriage.
Doubtless, this is the best possible compromise to achieve maximum effect. Of course, when the focal ratio is too high, the lenses will have to be moved back as far as possible. In this case, the frost and prism levers automatically retract from the beam to allow the lenses to pass through.

At the gobo module, just in front of the fan, two pairs of screws on the outer, silver backplate hold two small slats, which themselves secure the entire gobo module. Once they are removed, the whole piece can be taken out upwards without any problem. Finally, don’t forget the two connectors on the bottom.

I remove the snoot around the frontal lens. As with the cowls, it is held in place by four screws and a safety cable. There is not much point in removing this piece, except for some access for maintenance and cleaning, but, in this case, doing so does allow me to see things more clearly. Keeping things moving, let’s get back to the gobo module, which is an electrotechnical mille-feuille.

Usually manufacturers put together several discs filled with colored spots or cut-out patterns called ‘GOes Before Optics’, the GO B O’s. These patterns are typically arranged in a circle and measure a few centimeters.

Roue d’animation du Vari-Lite-VL10

The famous animation wheel disc is sandwiched between the colors and the tiny standard gobos. The two impellers with their stamped nozzles blast air into the module.

In the VL10, the projection space is so narrow that the gobos of the first and second wheel are barely the size of a penny. And what looks like a third gobo wheel is actually a series of five animation wheels.
Only part of the pattern of each one passes through the beam, so when you rotate the discs, it creates a continuous scrolling motion, instead of a simple rotating pattern. Putting five animation wheels on a single disc is an incredible idea, a real innovation!

Continuing our inspection, we examine the numerous micro-stepper motors, springs and cog wheels, which indicate a fairly conventional and reliable construction. More unusual ̶ yet another indicator of the power of the lamp ̶ are the numerous impellers placed as closely as possible to the optical path to continuously cool the mechanical components, which are subjected to an extraordinary amount of heat. It must be really windy inside the fixture!

Drapeaux de trichromie du Vari-Lite VL10.

Vari-Lite VL10 trichromie flags.

The color wheel features brightly colored filters that are glued together without margins in a fairly handcrafted way, using a type of high-temperature silicone.
The CMY module is also held in place by four screws on the rail, and two connectors for power and data. Here, we are talking rudimentary stuff, with these half CMY flags sliding in a herringbone pattern.
The slats are beveled, slightly angled, and I’m guessing that might make for a gain in uniformity.

We finally come to the first element, the dimming and strobe assembly. Elegance gives way to practicality. A heat-resistant glass is hand-glued in front of the lamp.

Lames du dimmer du Vari-Lite-VL10

A very solid assembly with two rough iron arms, ventilation all around and heat-resistant surfaces. You don’t have to crawl around in Vulcan’s forge.

The dimmer is a dual metal blade that closes like a cigar cutter to cover the beam.
The teeth at the edge are covered with a frosted plate to provide a rather coarse gradation, with no finesse or convoluted mechanisms.
But Vari-Lite completely embraces this vintage feeling; the VL10 is definitely ready to deliver the goods, and it does it perfectly.

The yoke arms

I continue with the disassembly of the yoke. On one side, there is the tilt motor with its direct belt transmission between two sprockets, and a pair of tensioning springs. In the center is the conduit from the main power supply to the head. And on the other side there is a circuit board, for general control. The pan motor is visible underneath.

Détail des bras du Vari-Lite VL10

The inside of the two yoke arms is as uncluttered as it can possibly be, apart from moving the main motor to the yoke, probably to save space in the base and to compensate for the weight of the two arms.

The base

Inside the base, it’s the same story. It takes turning just a few screws to open the base. We are a little shocked by the emptiness inside: apart from the rotation axis of the yoke, there is just a small power transformer on one side, and the PCB for the control panel, but the Platinum lamp doesn’t require much power.

Le ballast du Vari-Lite VL10.

The absence of the ballast never fails to surprise us, but the Platinum lamp doesn’t require much power. The two large circular openings on either side were probably designed to accommodate fans, which were ultimately not necessary.

The connectors are surrounded with anti-interference shielding and terminate in a PowerCON True1 power connector, two XLR5 DMX In & Out plus the RJ45 port for the network. A fuse completes the package.

Come on, let’s get it all back together, it’s time to take the measurements.

We’ll start with the response times for power-up, lamp ignition and simple movements. So… time to power up the fixture, including reset: 90 seconds. That’s about average.
Full rotation in pan: 2.02 seconds. And half a rotation in tilt: 1.29 seconds. We test the zoom from idle: 0.82 seconds.
Really not bad for a unit of this size. What’s more, it’s quite responsive, while remaining fluid in its movements. I strike the lamp: 13 seconds of ignition. That’s all right.

The flux starts at the same time as the fan. We go from 31 dB of ambient noise to more than 56 dB with the unit operating, and it’s practically a straight-pipe exhaust. I measure 55 degrees on the rear cowling, at the front it’s not even worth trying. I get the feeling that it’s going to be infernal!
Once the illuminance data is collected, I feed it into the computer, which spits it out to me in the form of graphs. I brought the documentation for the platinum lamp for comparison. There are three important things: the first is the compactness of this very short arc lamp. So we have a very thin beam and very little loss. The disadvantage is necessarily a very significant hot spot and greater difficulty in adjusting the focal length.

Then there is the overall luminous flux and consumption. 24,500 lumens for 550 W is a gigantic leap compared to the competition that uses Sirius HRI or Platinum 21R 470 Watt lamps. For 20 percent more power consumption, Philips engineers have managed to achieve an additional 50 percent more luminous flux. I’ve done the math several times, no doubt about it. Finally, the colorimetry of this lamp: we have a really cold light at 7800 K, and a color rendering index of 81, which is quite decent.

Let’s talk about the flux output of the VL10, i.e. the flux actually emitted from the fixture, once it has passed through all the optics and lenses. We repeat the procedure at four different zoom settings, as this factor affects the flux level. But we will also observe the illuminance in the center. For a Beam, this hot spot is what we’ll be looking for to tear the darkness apart, even if it means losing some balance. The attack, in rock, is essential.

Tightest sharp-focus beam setting

Our first measurement: the beam is tightened to its minimum zoom angle. So as not to saturate our light meter and torch our target, we’re moving the VL back to 10 meters.

The impact of the beam on the target at 10 meters measures 20.5 centimeters in radius, or a tight angle of 2.35°, set at a sharp focus, it’s within two fingers of the 2.2° declared by the manufacturer. The flux values obtained are high.
With 484,000 lux in the center at 10 m ( 1.936 million lux at a distance of 5 meters) and 21,583 lumens of flux, the VL wins on both counts, aided by an exceptional lamp, whose native angle causes it to lose very little of its intensity in the optical paths of the VL10.
Of course, the beam is pretty rough, the light distribution is far from being uniform, but nobody can complain about it.


Widest sharp-focus Spot beam setting

We’re coming back to 5 meters from the target. Our wide-angle measurements, at the maximum zoom aperture, confirm all that raw power. With a beam divergence of 43.4°, we get a reading of 8660 lux in the center at 5 meters, or 22,400 lumens of flux, which is even more impressive. The hot spot is extremely prominent, the beam off-center by a few centimeters, so the choice of Vari-Lite is confirmed. It delivers energy, even if it means having some of it distorted when it gets where it’s going.


20° Beam setting

Still at 5 meters, we go to a 20° zoom, the optimal setting for those who want to compare several models. I bring out from my archives the photometric data of the Beam projectors released in 2017 and 2018, whose 470 W short arc lamps are quite comparable.
The VL10 is far ahead, with almost 23,000 lumens of flux ahead of the 15,000 of its predecessors. This power is achieved by using a minimum of optical elements. The VL10’s beam is crisp, marked by a huge, uncompromising hot spot. It doesn’t know what a “flat beam” is.


Color

It’s the same with respect to colorimetry. It is cooler, around 6300 K, with a CRI below 80 and a noticeable absence of a variable CTO, minus-green filter or others. It’s rock and roll, that’s all. The colors are also deeper, with rather high absorption curves.


In Wash

Even with the Wash frost engaged, the VL10 doesn’t calm its fury. This filter is mainly used to open up to almost 60° in reality, but always with a bulge in the beam and a lot of energy below the curve.


The dimmer

As for the dimmer, linearity is not really its purpose.

A plot of the dimming curve from 0 to 10 %

A plot of the dimming curve from 0 to 100 %

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Field condition test

It’s time to get down to business. We’re gonna blow some smoke, plug this beast into a console and have some fun with it. Let’s go!
I activate the dimmer and start to push the fader up. Indeed, the intensity tends to take off like a rocket, but the impact is incredible, the impression is like piloting a missile. I push it to its maximum, the focus comes all by itself to make it sharp.

Video presentation


The beam is metallic, cold, with a very prominent spike, which is like an arrow in the middle of the beam. The movements of the yoke, just like the zoom, are fast ̶ really snappy for a fixture of this size ̶ and the VL always remains stable. The wide 180 mm lens gives a lot of substance to the beam, without that sort of hourglass typical of Beam lamps, and I love that.
The zoom is incredible, always with a lot of output and a double luminous body. In pure projection, a lot of little flaws appear, like this off-center focus. With such a wide focal range, it will be necessary to make a lot of sharpness presets. I try to find the extremities of use of the zoom/focus combination and I quickly get into ruts, like a careless motorcyclist. On several occasions, I end up creating double ghost images, which I recognize as residual reflections of the internal lenses.

Minimum spot / maximum spot / Edge frost / Wash frost

Okay, let’s try it with the frost. The first one, the Edge frost, provides slightly softened edges. I move on to the next one, the Wash frost. Neither of them is linear, but both are very efficient for going in a flash from a beam to a wash, and they are excellent for backlighting.
While the Wash allows me to gain some coverage, I struggle with the intensity. There is a kind of veil that closes like a curtain, with a hot spot that appears at about 60% of the dimmer range.
The VL10 is hard to use for key lighting or projection, but that’s clearly not its intended purpose. And the continuous noise of the ventilation system may deter those who would like to take it into a theater or auditorium.
There’s a complete collection of gobos that can be divided into three categories:

Gobo wheel 1, Beam-types, with eight super-simple shapes engraved directly into the metal disc, plus four beam reducers to replace an iris. Very basic, but still effective when mixed with a prism or a little frost.

Vari-Lite-VL10-Gobos-metal-roue1

The eight, static metal gobos of wheel 1.

Vari-Lite-VL10-reducteurs-faisceau

The four beam reducers of wheel 1.

Gobo wheel 2, for aerial effects. All eight work very well, with lots of presence in backlighting and lots of choices. No trendy effects with super fine engravings that look great on paper but don’t really work in real life, here it gets straight to the point: one revolution and the effect works. And for those who want to go further, they’re all interchangeable.

Vari-Lite-VL10-Gobos-metal-rotatifs

The eight rotating metal gobos of wheel 2.

Gobo wheel 3 for textures and effects. With this new set of animation gobos, which Vari*Lite calls VL-FX, I am bouncing off the walls. I feel like I’m twenty years old again, in front of my first VLs. The five discs pass radially through the beam, transforming all the other gobos. Here, we find Vari*Lite’s famous multicolor, the glass, a multi-hole and two others with shapes designed for animation.

Vari-Lite-VL10-Gobos-verre

The 4 radial glass gobos of wheel 3.

Parameters abound on the VL10. There’s a very interesting gobo and prism stepping mode, the MegaStep, as well as the default ‘shortest path’ option for finding the shortest path from one gobo to another.
The two prisms leave a little bit to be desired. This is already due to their slightly off-center position, as with the gobos, but also because both ̶ the 8-facet radial and the 4-facet linear ̶ suffer a little from their location.
As we saw during our disassembly, on some zoom extreme values, or with the frosts, they can’t engage mechanically. Not always easy to anticipate. It really depends on the situation. And the linear one is compressed in so little space that it seems to get nibbled at the sides. However, here again, it is in the mixes that they demonstrate their full potential.

Let’s move on to the last ̶ but by no means least ̶ part: the colors

I still keep as a reference in my mind the Vari-Lite tones, which are very expressive; now let’s see if it keeps up the American flavor. Everybody swears by CMY mixing, assuming that, apart from the automated macros, anybody knows how to program colors anymore. So, in this case, let’s start with the color wheel.

Ten hues, plus white, with no transitions between them. We find almost only pure colors, with the advantage of completely covering the beam, without any disruption. I sequence a quite bloody red, a rather refined blue, a slightly greenish yellow, a saturated peacock, an almost crimson magenta, a very warm and very low CTO, a violet, an electric green, a Martian orange and a UV straight out of a haunted house. Hyper-contrasting colors, that we can imagine finding in American amusement parks, where the line is as forced as in a Heavy Metal concert.

The CMY flags combine well, with a slightly conspicuous insertion into the beam. The three primary components of subtractive synthesis ̶ cyan, magenta and yellow ̶ are also very rich, with dense mixtures. The pastel shades lag a little more behind, especially considering the ever present hot spot. We find again the spirit of saturated moods, it feels like a city under neon lights: cold, incisive and a bit flashy. Somewhere between the excesses of Las Vegas and the restlessness of New York.

Vari-Lite-VL10-Roue-couleurs

The ten colors of the color wheel.

Conclusion

I was mistaken about rock ‘n’ roll, and about the disappearance of stage icons ̶ I was wrong about rock ‘n’ roll. There’s still the hunger to play, and the energy to shine. The VL10 isn’t just a machine out of the past, it’s the proof that it is possible to live with panache, in spite of its flaws or its character.
Of course, it will never be comfortable hanging in an opera house or in a TV studio. It’s made to burn up the stage and fly over concerts with its lightning-fast, cutting beam, saturated colors and collection of effects tailored for live performance.
With this kind of power available, we got a real kick out of mixing animation and gobos. Lost in the middle of a forest of LEDs, our VL10s really take the upper hand, and make the statement. Once the band is on stage, the amps in the red and the drum intro coming on like a lumberjack, we forget its few flaws, the BeamWash comes out like a Stratocaster.
Long Live Vari-Lite !

The tables

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HK Audio Linear7, getting started

As a bi-amplified Point Source system, easy and efficient to work with, the HK Audio Linear7 offers performance and innovative features that are summarized in this getting started topic. We listened and measured the 112 FA top and two 118 SUB A subs.

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Nothing like a wooden pallet and a beautiful day ahead!

This new range includes three different top enclosures. These are the 110, 112 and 115, with the two last figures indicating the woofer size in inches.
The two first models also have a XA version with the ability of being used as a complementary wedge monitor while positioned on their side on the ground.
The 115 only exists in standard version, with full internal volume available to obtain a full low frequency response.

The 112 FA we received for our tests from Algam, the French distributor, is therefore designed mainly for reinforcement, and we’ll check this point later with its far-from-standard bass specs.

How to assemble two 112? By their sides!

All these models comprise an amplifier module by Pascal, important competitor for Powersoft, the other world Class-D amplifiers specialist.
The PWM (and certainly PFC-fitted) PSUs that equip this new range can cope with any mains supply voltage between équipant 90 and 260 V.

The small cutouts on the sides of the speaker enclosure have finally a useful and practical function: facilitating the always delicate coupling of two Point Source speakers in a cluster with little or no interference.

Linear7 112 FA

A back side as we like them. At the top right a selector and 4 LEDs indicate which preset is loaded in the DSP. Flat, Boost, Cut or remote! On the left the two RJ45 ports. The balanced input and output and the DSP out, the best way to continue using speakers that need a touch up here and there and that will be remote controlled with your fingertips.

23 kg of wood, transducers and amplifier, the least we can say is that this model inspires sheer confidence when unboxing it. With its 12” woofer (with 2.5” coil) and 1” driver with 1.7” dome, while boarding an active 2 kW peak power bi-amplification thru a FIR filter at 1,6 kHz, the 112 FA really makes you want to listen to it.

The peculiarity of this speaker as of all the Linear7 range is, in addition to the usual rear controls, also the presence not of one but of two DSP engines, the first managing the speaker itself and the second offering separate settings and leading to a rear analog chassis plug labelled “DSP out”. Convenient indeed to have control over any other models linked to this output.

Remote is the word here, as a pair of Ethercon RJ45 chassis plugs allows the control of each model via the HK DSP Control software, in PC and MacOs, all downloadable from the HK website.

The 112 FA. There is a family resemblance to the Linear3 and Linear5 from HK.

But that’s not all. These speakers will also very soon be able to receive an AVB feed using the Milan protocol, which is becoming more and more the standard for signal transport between control room and broadcasting.
HK has therefore made the choice of the future. It is not certain that many users of this range of products will exploit it, but it is a real guarantee of seriousness of the German manufacturer. Of course, accessories are included for the operation of the Linear7 including for the installers.

The two 112 models, XA on the left and FA on the right, both hung from their yoke. The difference in load volume is quite obvious.

Linear7 118 SUB A

The sub 118 SUB A subwoofer coming with the 112 is very compact 18” transducer (4” coil) and the peak 2 kW amplifier that powers it. It weights 41 kg and calls for a second techie or being a strong guy yourself to move it or stack it, thanks to two lateral handles.

The two subs in vertical front-front mounting, called Power Setup at HK. Of course it is possible to raise the head at the top of a bar.

4 rubber pads protect the back and allow it to rest there. Its fairly massive wood enclosure and its vents at the four corners of the front surround the bass transducer and even at high levels no extraneous noise is audible. The bass-reflex charge guarantees both good performance and an extended and sufficiently nervous frequency response.

As for the top cabinets, the 118 SUB receives the signal in analog and in AVB and, to simplify the life of the users, has two inputs in order to possibly serve as a “receiving hub” for the signal and then route it towards two satellites in a stereo configuration and so after this link.

Same DSP out and a pair of Powercons to bring down the count of cables when setting up classic Sub + Tops kits. Since we are talking about DSP, the choice was made by HK to work at 96 kHz, once again a guarantee of quality and the simplest way to lower the latency, not exceeding 2.6 ms and of course identical to that of the top cabinets.

Measurements

Our measurements and listening tests took place in a studio of 130 m², quite damped and high under ceiling, with treatment and thick hanging curtains. They were carried out by Alizée Tricart using a multi-measurement station based on the Scarlett 18i20 Focusrite + SMAART 8 couple.

Alizée at work. It’s far from pure chance that she’s in charge of big systems in France and abroad.

The implementation of the network is relatively simple and in a few minutes we can remotely take control of the DSP, this is the real added value of this range indeed. Everything is not perfect in the app but we tested a version that included some display bugs, we can bet that the current 3.8 has fixed them. Be careful however, the Mac version does not currently accept the newest Catalina OS.

Left HK Audio DSP Control and right SMAART 8

Hopefully, the HK development teams will also simplify things a little bit, i.e. like when creating speaker groups and adding a general EQ bypass. It would even be great that they could write down a page containing everything we need to have before our eyes and on hand in full operation and that, when a fixture goes off-line, this could be clearly indicated.

Nevertheless, having the possibility of having full control over 10 parametric EQ, having two different settings, being able to save presets, insert a delay, a limiter, reverse the phase, adjust the volume, all this makes using the Linear7 a piece of cake operation.

The Linear7 112 FA without equalization.

The first curve confirms our good impressions on the 112 FA top box. Placed on the ground and fed by an analog signal, it displays a frequency response without notable accidents, ranging from a credible bass and sufficient for a number of uses to a high frequency response conform up to 12 kHz and a little lower beyond that point, even if it has little impact on listening and is partly explained by our ground measurement method. Take note also of the magnitude and the phase …

The DSP Control EQ page. 4 points with a maximum of 2 dB attenuation to clearly improve the result.

We have nevertheless chosen to slightly correct this result, taking advantage of the on-board DSP, the 10 very, very complete EQ bands at our disposal, and especially Alizée’s ears.

We start to dream of having FIR tools … The result is not only better to listen to but also more beautiful to see, which can also be enjoyable.


After equalization, we get a nice rendering with a pleasant listening.

Once the last harshness in the medium and high mid-range corrected, including a small bump in the 780 Hz, allow to reveal the bass which suddenly gains in precision and the overall balance appears even better.
The dispersion of the 112 FA is advertised 70°x 50°, but the waveguide with constant directivity can, if necessary, be rotated by 90°.

This type of speaker being aimed very easily towards the public in small halls via its two-angle base at 3° and 7°, we chose to measure only the horizontal polar diagram. The result is once again satisfactory, even when listening, where the descaling is acceptable even if at 35° the attenuation is greater and increases around the crossover point.

The polar response very smooth (on purpose) at 0°, 5°, 15°, 35°, 40° and 45°.

The sub 118 SUB A provides precisely what is lacking in the top speaker with steep filters on both sides of its two octaves of crossover influence. Its frequency response is, apart from a few details, what the manufacturer claims. Superimposing two 118s adds 6 dB, as it should, and leads with a single 112 to an awkward tone balance, as the 12” transducer in the top box can’t then fill the excess of low bass with enough energy. No doubt the 115 FA is better suited in such a case.

The frequency response is well contained between 50 and 80 Hz, maybe a little bit too much. In blue, the two stacked 118s.

Head and a sub with the resultant in pink.

Anyway, once the presets are selected on each of the two speakers, the connection between top and sub gives a perfect match and we get an interesting frequency response curve with a contour of around 12 dB and an extra amount of energy between 50 and 80 Hz with a small bump on the upper harmonic.

Our last curve figures the native cardioid mode present in the 118 SUB A. Without managing to find the rear attenuation announced by the manufacturer (or then only around the 63 Hz frequency alone), the cancellation effect works, cleans and modifies also somewhat the top of the bass which will have a welcomed effect on listening. The only downside is the rear attenuation is especially effective at 180°, but and less laterally at the edges.

In blue, the subwoofer at 0°, in violet the same at 180. The rear soundwave « digs » slightly into the front sub response around 80 Hz, without too much energy loss, and a nice surprise on rendering.

Listening

We’ve undergone a listening session of the Linear7 with different tracks, including an album by Michael Ruff from the Sheffield Lab Recordings series, recorded live in analog two half inch by George Massenburg himself. A lesson in sound recording and mixing, dynamics and respect for timbre, not even quoting the top-notch musicians present in the studio of late Doug Sax, who left to give lessons to the angels a few years ago. As Al Schmitt said: “Mastering in Paradise has improved a lot since”.

The main page of DSP Control.

With the top enclosure on its own, the sound is dry, incisive, fairly precise at low and medium level with a detailed bass but lacking a little energy. Note that we listened to only one 112 FA in a volume that could accommodate up to 300 people.

The midrange and treble have no harshness and, if we except a less regular and wide polar response than we would have liked, this is faultless. The overall impression is good, including at high level, even if you feel a little loss of details before the protections go into service. The complement of the sub with the standard preset connecting to 100 Hz restores the balance and builds a system definitely more interesting, serious and capable of better serving the audience.

The two subs in vertical front-back mounting, a specific preset dedicated to it and a second existing also for a front-back-front.

The foundation in the first two octaves goes very well with the top box now freed of the bottom end, and therefore breathing much better. The levels achieved and the impact are clearly professional.

The addition of a second sub slightly unbalances the tonal balance and you have to play between -2 and -3 dB on the group of two 118 SUB A to find your way around, the contribution of blurring rendering leads then to seriously go into the way of the top box. The best configuration is cardioid set up.

Without going back on the quality of the rear rejection, the nature of the bass generated and maybe the cancellation of many reflections in our room, all this give an excellent low end, firm and more defined which goes perfectly with the top and complements it at best, especially at in the upper zone of the bass, giving colors to the attack and fattening the instruments that have balls. A nice surprise indeed.

We finally listened to the cardioid configuration “in the limiters” a more interesting test than a pink noise, from which we will get away from the measured values which will never be the same as those calculated by the manufacturer, 131 dB SPL at 10% THD for 112 FA and 118 SUB A.
The impact felt, the respect of the timbres and the capacity to accept sources with reduced dynamics are more than welcomed. The amps and their power supply are well sized. With sources with greater dynamics it lacks a few dB before it starts to flash with an acceptable rendering of the limiters, the ideal strategy would be to stay away from that limit.

It’s over, we pack it up. It was about time, some say we did a lot of noise with Alizée. Did we?? Naaaaaah…

Conclusion

The HK guys sure know how to build loudspeakers, there is no doubt about it. With the Linear7, they are aiming for the markets for orchestras, DJs, rental companies and other small venues with a very relevant product, delivering a modern and pleasant sound at a price.
Well built, with efficient transducers and a serious amplifier module, fairly powerful, faithful and capable of handling Live sessions, this new series has the undeniable advantage with the possibility of being controlled remotely. which will continue to evolve with soon the iPad software upgrade.
The choice of Milan (not yet implemented as at Q1, 2020) may seem strange where the Dante is still leading, but let’s bet that quickly affordable converters make its use natural as it takes its way into Pro Audio. Good for service!

Price list:

  • L7-110XA : 1157 € HT
  • L7-112FA : 1203 € HT
  • L7-112XA : 1203 € HT
  • L7-115FA : 1296 € HT
  • L7-118SA : 1713€ HT

More informations on the HK Audio website

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Prolight + Sound 2020 will welcome Star LD Mikki Kunttu for a keynote

From 31 March to 3 April 2020, PL + S will welcome its 25th anniversary edition of Prolight + Sound in Frankfurt am Main. For all professionals from the lighting-technology sector it’s a highlight right on its opening day. Mikki Kunttu, Award-winning lighting set and content designer, will give a keynote speech at the show.
In this lecture, the ‘Swan Lake’ ballet at the Royal Danish Ballet designer will offer insights into his work and milestones of his career whereby particular emphasis will be given to his internationally acclaimed work.

Le concepteur lumière et scénographe Mikki Kunttu

Mikki Kunttu ©Tevy-AG

An extensive presentation at Prolight + Sound will be given for the initiator of the lecture and organisation partner Lightpower GmbH. The keynote lecture will take place at the ‘Theatre + Light Stage’ in Hall 12.0 at 16.30 hrs on 31 March 2020. Afterwards, Mikki Kunttu will take questions from the audience.

“We are proud to welcome one of today’s most influential personalities for the creative use of professional event technology as our keynote speaker”, says Prolight + Sound Director Mira Wölfel. “With his innovative ideas and readiness to branch out in extraordinary directions, Mikki Kunttu has generated valuable impulses for the sector over recent years.”

“For all of us in the entertainment industry Prolight + Sound is the top event of the year and it’s a great honour to be invited for a keynote. I’m very happy to deliver a speech about a project so dear to me, where the elements of lighting design, set design and screen content came together in a very special way.”, explain Mikki Kunttu.

Mikki Kunttu: Incredible designs around the world and in Europe

le concepteur lumière et scénographe suédois Mikki Kunttu ©Kaapo Kamu

Mikki Kunttu ©Tevy-AG

Finnish designer Mikki Kunttu is an important actor in the field of theatre, live-entertainment, television and visual arts since the end of the 1990s.
During his career, he imagined designs for over 100 modern dance productions. Moreover, Kunttu is also known for his work in the tour and concert sector with designs for artists such as Nightwish, Michael Monroe, Hanoi Rocks and Apocalyptica.

For television, he was part of the decision makers in the design teams for the Eurovision Song Contest in 2007, 2013 and 2016. Kunttu has also operated on visual-art projects, as well as lighting and projection installations, such as ‘Reflections’, ‘Oratoribus’ and ‘Grace’ for Helsinki’s ‘Season of Light’ Festivals from 2009 to 2011. He is the joint founder and initiator of the festival together with the City of Helsinki.

Mikki Kunttu is a multi awarded lighting designer. Among which the New York Dance and Performance Awards (‘Bessie Awards’) in 2006 and the Koura Award of the Finnish Broadcasting Company in 2007. At present, he sets up in Canada, where he has created designs for Cirque du Soleil’s ‘ALEGRIA – In a New Light’, ‘Scalada: Stelar’ and ‘Vitori’.

Mikki Kunttu is the production designer (sets, lighting and video) for Finnish National Opera’s new production of Wagner’s ‘Ring’. The first of the four operas, ‘Das Rheingold’, opened in August 2019. The next ones are set to follow during 2020 and 2021.

All Prolight + Sound visitors and journalists are invited to the keynote lecture.

The Prolight + Sound will take place from 31 March to 3 April, 10 to 18 hrs.

Full details about Prolight + Sound and ticket booking can be found at Prolight+Sound Website. And further information about the life and work of Mikki Kunttu

Swedish House Mafia Flies High with Kinesys

Everyone is talking about the recent Swedish House Mafia show staged by Live Nation Middle East at the Diriyah Festival in Riyadh.
This saw a specially designed 2019 touring stage / set created by SHM show designer Samuel (Sam) Tozer working under the Vision Factory brand, recreated in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) by Gabriel (Gabe) Fraboni, founder and creative director of LA-based design studio PHNTM LABS … for this landmark performance.

Full technical production – audio, video, lighting, rigging, trussing, etc – for the Diriyah Season Stage, the Festival’s headline stage and international music venue, was supplied by Dubai-headquartered mediaPro International.
This included a Kinesys automation system, used to move three 5-metre diameter signature circular trussing rings made from Alutek 40x40cm heavy duty product, each symbolizing the three artists – Steve Angello, Axwell, and Sebastian Ingrosso – making up the Swedish House Mafia.
The SHM gig concluded a whole month of high profile Diriyah Festival events including the opening round of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship plus a host of weekend music events culminating in the Swedes showing the world once again how to take the concept of DJ performance into new dimensions of awesomeness.

mediaPro International’s Hugh Turner handled the pre-production and co-ordination of the technical and automation elements of the show with Gabe Fraboni and the team at PHNTM LABS, and liaised with SHM’s own Kinesys operator Giulio Ligorio and production Rigger Liam Beech and Matthew “Mattie” Evens, director of Nocturnal Touring and Rooted Productions and production / tour manager for SHM.

Kinesys was on their original spec for the rings, and MediaPro has a growing inventory of Kinesys kit. Hugh comments that even if the automation had been an open spec, they would have specified a Kinesys system anyway based on their growing investment in the brand and its inherent safety and reliability factors. However, they were also delighted to be able to supply the SHM’s exact production requirements.
The three rings were absolutely integral to the show design and performance and were suspended above a special DJ booth which was part of the integrated set / stage, cantilevered outwards 5 metres from the edge of the stage. Upstage at the back was a massive 56-metre-wide by 15-metre-high LED screen.

The rings were flown from a special 10.5-ton mothergrid of approximately 20 metres wide by 6 metres deep, suspended from a combination of three large 120 and 130-ton Grove cranes at a height of 24 metres above the cantilevered stage.
The reach of the cranes – 60 metres – needed to extend over from behind the screen structure and suspend the mother-grid at 24m in its show position. Added to this challenge was building the entire mother-grid with Kinesys sub hangs on the ground in front of the cantilever stage, before it was lifted to its final operational height, involving a further extension in the distance away from the crane.
With safety paramount, the cranes were spec’d to never exceed 70% of their capacity in any given parameter during the lift and lock-off procedure. A special crane / lifting operation expert was commandeered from the UK to oversee this part of the operation.

Clad with black socking material, once dark the three truss circles appeared to be floating in thin air and the lighting effects coming from them seemed to come from some magical intergalactic source. Rigged from the inner and outer bottom cords of each circle were 52 x GLP Impression X4 Bar 10 LED battens – 156 in total.

On the top cords, edging the perimeter of the circles were 34 x EK Color Ranger Q27E LED wash lights – 102 in total. Also mounted from the inner top cords of the circles were 12 x ER BB4 lasers per ring – 36 in total. All this plus associated cabling added up to around 1.8 tons in weight per circle, with the dynamic loading factor increasing this to 2.2 tons per circle.

Each circle was suspended from four 1-ton Lodestar / Liftket motors each driven by a Kinesys Elevation variable speed drive unit, with three half-tonne Lodestar motors also powered by Kinesys Elevations utilised as tracking cable picks for the three circles.
All 15 motors – the 12 on the three circles and their respective cable picks – were fitted with Kinesys LibraCELLs for constant and dynamic load monitoring using LibraVIEW. A Kinesys Vector system with fully redundant backup was used for control.

All the Elevations were powered from an Array PD-ES with data distribution via an Array 485, with the LibraCELLs powered from the LibraPro power/data hub with integrated data distribution. An Array IP8 Ethernet switch linked the entire system … ensuring that all the Kinesys elements communicated with each other, reported back and could be viewed via the Vector control interface alongside the integrated LibraVIEW live load monitoring system.

A Kinesys Mentor 4 was also used across the whole system for additional safety and SIL3 compliance, which enabled safety devices – in addition to the emergency stops – to be on foot pedals as well as hand operated switches, necessary as the rings were moving directly above the artists.

The Kinesys system was run by Giulio from stage left for the show working in conjunction with a spotter on stage right, as the rings moved and tipped and pitched in numerous directions multiple times throughout the show creating plenty of visual WOW factors in their own right.

Also closely involved in all the automation planning, load calculations, etc. with Hugh was mediaPro International’s head of rigging Colin Silvers and SHM’s head touring rigger, Liam Beech, with mediaPro International’s overall site production manager Stephan Voster.
The Cantilever Stage was built by StageCo Germany with the black steel structure in KSA constructed by Al Laith. Lasers were by ER Production and BPM SFX from the UK took care of the spectacular array of SFX.
The Show Producer was Jim Digby of Showmakers for Live Nation Middle East.

More on Kinesys website or on Kinesys USA website

A Record-Breaking Tribute Concert in Stockholm honoured Avicii

Paul Normandale lights the stage with GLP for DJs, orchestra, choir and guests. Nearly 60,000 fans went at the Friends Arena to pay their respects—an all-time Stockholm record for a single show. The music producer, Tim Bergling (better known as Avicii) who died so tragically back in April 2018, was honoured recently with a tribute concert in Stockholm.

Photo Ralph Larmann

The show was organised by request of Tim’s family following his passing. He wanted a celebration of the artist’s music presented as the fulfilment of an idea Tim had to have his music performed by a live band and orchestra.
Among the all-star line up of guest artists who also paid their own tributes were Aloe Blacc, David Guetta, Kygo, Nicky Romero, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Adam Lambert, Rita Ora—plus long-time Avicii collaborators Carl Falk, and Vargas & Lagola.

Photo Ralph Larmann

From a technical perspective the production values were befitting of the occasion and the main show was streamed live on Tim ’s Facebook and You Tube channels.

GLP Nordic’s Daniel Hellsten was hired as a production designer and production manager by event producers Panos Ayassotellis and Michael Jobson, on behalf of the Tim Bergling Foundation.


“Getting the production up in time became a challenge, given the fact that we only had 36 hours from first truck loading in at the venue to artist standing on stage for rehearsal with full camera production. But we gave it our all and the entire crew did an amazing job working side by side with each other to make it in time,” Daniel explained.

Photo Ralph Larmann

The highly experienced Paul Normandale was appointed by Tim’s former tour manager Michael Jobson specifically to handle the lighting. “He asked me to get involved having seen the work I had done with other clients,” told the former, “although I never had the pleasure of working with Tim.” And since the show was live streamed the LD also had the task of lighting the entire show in real time.

Meanwhile, Daniel Hellsten wasted no time in putting an outline production design together featuring many new GLP LED products. “My original design involved a lot of GLP fixtures,” he confirmed. “When Paul got involved, he tweaked some numbers and positions, but overall he was happy with the choice of GLP fixtures.”
The inventory was largely provided by rental company, Bright Group Sweden with assistance from MoreTec / MoreRent and GLP themselves. This included large quantities of GLP impression FR10 Bar, JDC1, X4 Bar 20 and Bar 10, KNV Cube and Dot, and HIGHLANDER Wash.

Photo Ralph Larmann

Prior to the tribute show, five of the world’s leading DJs each played a 30-minute set under the same lighting rig, with some of the fixture programming, which was masterminded by board operators, Daniel Löfgren and Hunter Frith on a couple of grandMA2 consoles, retained for the main show.

Photo Ralph Larmann

Paul Normandale stated that in addition to the DJ sets, the lighting also had to cater for TV broadcast, the principles and band. He said that Bright had done “a remarkable job”.

Show direction was in the hands of Harry Bird, MD of multimedia company Comix, Helena Dillén and Tom Harrison (Comix) in collaboration with the promoter, producers and Daniel Hellsten.

Of the two hour-long show, Hellsten concluded, “The event was a huge success in every way. It was truly beautiful how we all came together to make this work. A perfect way of celebrating Tim and his musical legacy in front of this huge crowd, along with millions watching the live streams. As a friend of Tim and the people around him I’m proud to have done my part to help make this show celebrate him and his music, as well as raising awareness of a very important issue.”

Photo Ralph Larmann

Adding his own testimonial, Paul Normandale described the event as “amazing”. He said, “I was happy to provide whatever skills I could to bring the obvious depth of feeling in the room to fruition. “I have worked [with GLP fixtures] on many occasions, and it was nice to see the new products in a real stadium setting. They performed extremely well indeed.”

All proceeds from the concert went to the Tim Bergling Foundation, created after Bergling’s death to advocate for the recognition of suicide as a global health emergency.

Photo Ralph Larmann

More information on GLP website

 

L-Acoustics rolls out throughout the globe L-ISA Auditoria

L-Acoustics is rolling out L-ISA Auditoria designed to stringent specifications in strategic locations around the globe where demonstrations, training or mixing sessions of L-ISA Immersive Hyperreal Sound technology can be accessed.

The Big Blue movie being pre-mixed with L-ISA in a rehearsal studio near Paris.

“To support the development of L-ISA technology in the professional audio market, we have developed pre-determined systems for either mobile or permanent L-ISA Auditoria which can be deployed to support existing partners, artists and potential clients,” explains Cédric Montrézor, executive director of applications at L-Acoustics.

Cédric Montrézor

“The network of L-ISA Auditoria around the globe is designed to exacting standards to guarantee the natural, intimate spatialized experience of L-ISA Immersive Hyperreal Sound technology.”

Two versions of the packages are available: a frontal system that delivers the resolution required for optimized source localization, immersive effect and the width required for an effective demonstration of reverb and the same configuration plus complementary overheads which enhance the immersive experience and demonstrate the 3D capabilities for direct sound and room engine.

Etienne Corteel

“Over the past 12 months, we have trained 160 high-profile sound designers and mixing engineers in over 25 seminars, which is over 75 days of training in total,” adds Etienne Corteel, L-Acoustics Director of Scientific Outreach & Education.
“Rolling out additional facilities allows our partners to organise training seminars at their own locations with an L-Acoustics certified trainer and represents an important next step in making L-ISA training available to a wider audience of professionals.”

To date, in addition to the facilities already in place in L-Acoustics head office in Marcoussis, France, its L-ISA headquarters in London’s Highgate, Delta Live in Surrey, UK, and L-Acoustics’ US office in Westlake, California, 15 L-ISA Auditoria have been completed.

These are situated at Certified Providers Sonoruss in Moscow, Matrix in Denmark, Finland’s Audico, Seoul’s Klausys, Pro Music in Prague, Germany’s Babbel & Haeger, Groh-PA and Wilhelm & Willhalm, LMG in Orlando and New York’s See Factor, and with China’s Rightway in Taipei, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing.

The Paris Folies Bergère now L-ISA ready and featuring the new A15 and KS21.

The auditoria serve as demonstration venues, training sites and are also available as a place to prepare mixes for future projects. DeltaLive!, which has delivered a fully immersive experience for three years in Thailand’s Wonderfruit festival, has served as pre-production headquarters for electronic artists to prepare their immersive mix for the festival.

For details on this project, please watch the video:


For more information about L-ISA training, please visit L-Acoustics website

 

Meet Sting, d&b Soundscape & A-Series for The Last Ship LA opening

Sting is taking centre stage at Los Angeles’ Ahmanson Theatre to bring his powerful musical, The Last Ship, to the West Coast deploying a d&b Soundscape immersive sound system and a comprehensive A-Series loudspeaker system.

Le Théâtre Ahmanson à Los Angeles. On devine 6 clusters de quatre A-Series accompagnés par autant de V-SUBs.

The show tells the story of two childhood sweethearts set to the backdrop of the collapse of the shipbuilding industry and features an original Tony®- nominated score with music and lyrics by Sting, who will also perform for the month-long duration of the show’s LA residency.

Sebastian Frost

Providing an unmatched sound experience to create the various scenes and acoustic moods for the performance is a system designed by Sebastian Frost and supplied by Stage Sound Services. It continues to utilize d&b En-Scene object-based mixing and En-Space room emulation software running on the DS100 system processor and a comprehensive d&b A-Series loudspeaker system. Frost has been associated with the production’s latest iteration since 2017.

His work deploying Soundscape with En Scene and En Space and harnessing it with his vision of how the musical should be experienced has delivered an emotional experience that resonates with audiences on a deeply personal level. Previous productions of The Last Ship, in Canada and on tour in the UK, have used a large number of distributed point source loudspeakers across the theatre.

For the Ahmanson Theatre main system, six hangs of A-Series augmented array loudspeakers were deployed. “The biggest transformation for this set of shows is the use of the new A-Series. It provides us with lots of power and it took far less time to configure the room and gave us an even greater level of coverage,” explained Frost.

He summed up what he believes what makes Soundscape so compelling. “The audience doesn’t necessarily know what happened, but everyone comes out saying the voices are fantastic. It has changed the possibilities of sound design throughout the genre.”

Stage Sound Services has also been with the production since its latest inception and will continue to handle the system for the LA show which includes the use of d&b’s new A-Series augmented arrays. Combining variable splay angles, two approaches to acoustic optimization, and advanced waveguide design, the A-Series addresses the applications where coverage flexibility in both the horizontal and the vertical is paramount.

To learn more about The Last Ship musical and its use of d&b’s Soundscape technology:


To take a sneak peek at Sting singing and explaining the story behind The Last Ship:


More information on the db Soundscape website

Brian Divine as Division President of HARMAN Professional Solutions

With a 15-year background in the Professional Solutions division, Divine brings deep experience in operations, engineering and product development, along with the key verticals served by HARMAN Pro.
HARMAN Professional Solutions, the global leader in audio, video, lighting and control systems, today announced the appointment of Brian Divine to President of the Professional Solutions division, effective immediately.

Brian Divine

As president, Divine will be responsible for overseeing the division’s worldwide operations, strategy, product roadmap and performance across all eleven brands.
Divine’s elevation to the role is culmination of a nearly 20-year-career working in the professional audio, lighting and video control industry.

In his 15 combined years at HARMAN Professional, Divine worked closely with distributors and customers in nearly all of the entertainment and enterprise vertical markets the division serves in roles overseeing customer service, sales, engineering, marketing and product management. Divine was most recently Senior Vice President for Products & Customer Solutions in the Professional Solutions division and Vice President of Product & Program Management, respectively.

“I am honored to accept this role, and do so with great humility and awareness of the awesome responsibility of carrying forward HARMAN’s iconic brands that were built over the course of, in some cases, nine decades,” said Brian Divine, President, HARMAN Professional Solutions.
“The pro industry is in my DNA as my career was built though dedication to HARMAN Professional Solutions and its employees, channel partners and customers. These influences will directly impact the direction of the division as we look towards a robust roadmap committed to, and aligned with, customer needs for leading-edge pro products in audio, lighting and video control.”

More on the Harman groupe website

 

Distribution company SIXTY82 Doughty Asia replace Prolyte Asia Pacific

Prolyte Asia Pacific, also known as PAP, is pleased to announce its transition into SIXTY82 Doughty Asia (SDA). The distribution company will maintain its focus on supplying the urgent demand for trussing and staging products or solutions.

Cor van der Sluis, Fokko Smeding, Menze van der Sluis, Jesper van der Sluis, Xavier Drouet, Jerome Brehard, Rainier Smeding

“For the past 15 years we have operated under the name PAP, however, due to recent events in the industry, PAP has decided to take a step forward and start a fresh chapter with new partners,” states Menze van der Sluis, managing director of PAP, and one of the first people employed by Prolyte in its early days.
Van der Sluis played an important part in the development of the company and, with nearly 25 years of experience, has become renowned within the entertainment industry.

Widely known for its products, reliability, and education, along with a focus on safe working practice, customer satisfaction, and service, PAP has been a player in the Asian market for more than 15 years. “These values are essential to our organization and will remain firmly in place now that we have transitioned into SDA.”

Marc Hendriks (CTO, SIXTY82) – Menze van der Sluis (Managing Director, SDA) – Fokko Smeding (CEO, SIXTY82)

To ensure the continuation of this philosophy and to secure the ability to innovate, PAP and Doughty have decided to regroup with SIXTY82, forming SIXTY82 Doughty Asia. “SIXTY82 was the best and only choice for catering to the high standards of the extensive PAP customer base,” confirms van der Sluis.

Spearheaded by the original founders of Prolyte, Fokko Smeding (CEO) and Marc Hendriks (CTO), SIXTY82 is armed with an approach toward product development and is even more focussed on the specific needs of the Asian market.
“To continue to support our customers in the way that we have been doing for so many years now, this was the only possible way forward,” says van der Sluis. Together, these pioneers and visionaries have had leading roles in the development of innovations for trussing and staging that have shaped the entertainment industry as it is known today.

SDA Customers can expect to find the same team of experienced and motivated experts, with an exciting new name and even better trussing, staging and rigging products and solutions. Also worthy of note is the fact that Sixty82 trusses are compatible with products previously supplied by PAP. In line with their existing policies, SDA guarantees full distribution coverage to all APAC countries, delivering products and support unrivalled in quality.
“Our goal is to improve every aspect of our customers’ experience continuously. Expanding our sales network, supporting personnel, and being close to where our customers are is a key initiative towards achieving that,” says SIXTY82’s CEO, Fokko Smeding. “Having the SDA team support us is incredible and ensures that our customers in the APAC region will get the best possible treatment.”

Sixty82 Network is crewing up.

SDA can be contacted at the following address:
Lot 59-1, Jalan 51/205 – The Highway Centre, 46050, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia.
Tel. +603 7781 3357/3552 – E-mail: info@sixty82-doughty.com – Web: www.sixty82-doughty.com

And for more information, visit Sixty82 website

 

Nexo P8 & P10. The art of declination

When you’re a hit creator, the next logical step is to produce another one. P12 forged the path of the versatile coaxial reinforcement/wedge solution from Nexo. P8 and P10 open new horizons, offering a more compact, lightweight and practical design, to within a few dB and Hertz.

All the punch of the P12, yet in a compact, lightweight and affordable form factor.

Remember: P12, it’s 20 kg of laminated poplar and birch, a new generation 12 inches long excursion coaxial transducer, a neodymium magnet and a 3” driver, offering a range from 60 Hz to 20 Khz, 138 dB SPL max in passive mode, and 140 dB SPL max in active mode.
Furthermore, P12 offers optional magnetic horn dispersion adapters, bringing the standard 60° x 60° high frequency dispersion to 90° x 40° or 40°~100° x 40°. Let’s sum it up: P12 is 12”, 20 kg and 138 dB.

P10, a passive only loudspeaker, succeeds in the feat of losing 2 dB only of SPL Max at 136 dB, while keeping enough frequency response from 63 Hz to 20 kHz (-6 dB) to perfectly interact with another product of the range, the L15 sub. At the same time, the device can be used as a stand-alone wedge or for close monitoring application.

The optional magnetic horn dispersion adapter can be rotated at 90°

The long excursion 10” cone and the 1.7” driver are sparkling. However, the size scales down to 50 x 38 x 27 cm and the unit now weights 15 kg.
Another good news: Once the front panel has been removed, the standard 100° x 100° directivity can be modified by inserting an optional magnetic horn dispersion adapter, offering a 110° x 60° angle.

A preset automatically adapts the coherence and the coverage, whatever your choice. The P10 and the L15 sub converge at 63 or 85Hz.
As expected, phase is compliant with the entire low frequency reinforcement range from Nexo, except when the device is used as a wedge, where latency matters. Let’s sum it up : P10 is 10”, 15 kg and 136 dB.

Eventually, P8 is the proof that if you can do more you can do less, and small is not beautiful only, it’s useful as well! Passive only and ridiculously small, P8 offers a more than reasonable response in the low frequency range from 66 Hz to 20 kHz (-6dB), while still delivering a 129 dB SPL Max.
Sizing 43 x 27 x 25 cm and weighting 12 kg, this loudspeaker can be hidden or placed everywhere, especially since its long excursion 10” embeds a 1.5” driver offering a standard 100° x 100° dispersion but can be equipped with the same magnetic and rotative horn dispersion adapter P10 offers as well.

P8 is the proof small is clearly useful.

A preset automatically adapts the coherence and the coverage. The P8 and the L15 sub converge at 66 or 85 Hz and again, phase is compliant with the entire low frequency reinforcement range from Nexo, except when the device is used as a wedge, where latency is minimized. Let’s sum it up : P8 is 8”, 12 kg and 129 dB.

P10 and P8 are 8 ohms models, and can be powered through any amplifier brand with the DTD Controller, or via the Nexo NXAMP controller, which can drive one P10 per channel with the 4×1, two with the 4×2 and three P10 per channel of the 4×4 amp. P8 is powered per two through a single channel of the NXAMP 4×1, per three with the 4×2 model and up to four with each channel of the 4×4 amp.

All the family from P8 to L15.


We asked Joseph Carcopino, Nexo’s R&D manager, a few questions about this new and smart coaxial series. He responded to our questions with his legendary frankness.

Joseph Carcopino

SLU : Versatility is the key word of this range. Was this a market demand?

Joseph Carcopino : Yes of course, especially since Nexo wants to keep a strong reputation in compact, powerful and versatile speakers.

SLU : Do P12, 10 and 8 have a close color at the top of the spectrum?

Joseph Carcopino : Yes and no, for sure we took care when creating the presets to have a nice consistency within the range, but we’re not going to try to have a 1.5” drive to sound like a 3”.

SLU : Is L15 about to be the reference subwoofer for the P range? Will it offer presets per cabinet?

Joseph Carcopino : Yes, it allows the production companies to harmonize the stocks and to avoid to have multiple references. I think there is nothing better than the size/weight/SPL ratio of the L15. There are no presets per cabinet because they all have the same signature in terms of acoustic phase, everything is perfectly phased on the whole spectrum. On the other hand, there are different cut-off frequencies to adapt to all cases.

SLU : Do the P signs the end of the PS?

Joseph Carcopino : Not at all, the “mythical” PS remain in the catalog and are still produced, nevertheless they should slowly fade over the years after more than 25 years of good service!

SLU : How did you tune the P8 and P10 ? Such like a wedge without asking too much low frequencies, or more like a large band reinforcement?

Joseph Carcopino : We have two types of presets available for each speaker: A FOH preset when doing the PA, either in wide band or in crossover mode, and an ideal monitor preset in wedge mode, with a very flat response, rolled-off in the low end, which provides excellent gain before feedback and a minimal latency, always in wide band or with a high-pass. And I forgot, all this is duplicated as we have 2 types of horn we can install in the cabinet: 100 ° x 100 ° or 110 ° x 60 °.

SLU : When will P8 and P10 be available?

Joseph Carcopino : Expected January 2020.

SLU : Can we imagine a last declination to the bottom and to the top of the P range?

Joseph Carcopino : Why a last one?!

Product presentation video by Joseph Carcopino


More info on the Nexo’s web site

The High End SolaHyBeam 3000 wins with ETC

Launched just one year ago, the ETC France company distributes not only the ETC consoles and projectors, but also all the High End range.
It is with great pride that we welcome in our small improvised studio at the JTSE exhibition in Paris, Nicolas Da Canal, sales manager at ETC France, to ask him to tell us about several essential releases, the SolaPix range and mainly here the SolaHyBeam 3000.

High End SolaHyBeam 3000

As an European exclusive, High End unleashes some serious beast with the SolaHyBeam 3000, a long-range hybrid LED moving head. Exceptional projector by its size and its weight, the SolaHyBeam is equipped with an incredible 750 watt LED source, capable of emitting 37,000 lumens in constant flux through its huge 210 mm lens.

On the High End booth at the JTSE, the SolaHyBeam had a special place.

Particularly comfortable in arenas or on very large stages or sets, this projector combines a huge angle from 3° to 56° with a wide range of features.
In addition to the rich CMY color mixing system, with progressive CTO corrector and 5 saturated color filters plus a TM-30 filter, the SolaHyBeam 3000 has a wheel of 7 graphic rotary gobos, a framing system module with 4 blades with full insertion, a 16-blade iris and three prisms combinable on two different levels. A special system called “Tri fusion” allows to merge 3 frosts in a linear fashion.

The menu and the full DMX, RDM, ArtNet and sACN connections are still there present, as well as the carefully designed ventilation system and its 4 modes: Standard, Studio, Continuous and Studio Continuous. The SolaHyBeam will soon be available in two versions, Ultra-Bright for maximum power, High-Fidelity for total and faithful color compliance.

High End SolaPix

The SolaPix 19 as displayed on the ETC France stand

ETC France was showing for the first time in France the SolaPix 7 and SolaPix19, Wash moving heads with unprecedented potential for graphic creations.
Lovingly nicknamed “Pancakes” by their users, the SolaPix models allow spectacular effects thanks to their arrays of 7 and 19 RGBW 40-Watt LEDs, but also by the combined use of the HaloGraphic system and the Flex Effect generator.

All the details can be read following our former news thread

More information on the High End Website