Putting on an Exhibition in London

Exhibition London is a new multipurpose live music and events venue in White City, West London initiated and operated by Broadwick Live and Venue Lab, offering another stunning, uniquely interesting, highly adaptable – 1400 seated to 2800 standing capacity – historic industrial space in their portfolio. It is ideal for conferences, exhibitions, gala dinners, awards presentations, location filming and live music events.

© Gemma Parker

Opened in early 2020, Exhibition London’s complete technical infrastructure was specified and procured by consultant and technical production director Simon Jones of SJ-TPM who also coordinated and oversaw all elements of the technical installation and commissioning. Simon had started work on the project in the second quarter of 2019 after having been involved in other Broadwick Live venues.

He chose both Robe and Anolis products to be core house lighting system elements for the main show-space where the spec features 28 x Esprites – Robe’s latest super-bright TE (Transferable Engibe) LED profile – and 30 x Robe Spiider LED wash beams plus two RoboSpot remote follow spotting systems with two BMFL Follow Spot fixtures to run with them.

Simon’s previous Broadwick Live project was the brand-new Magazine London concept in Greenwich, where he spec’d nearly 100 Robe LED moving lights including T1 Profiles and Spiiders plus Anolis Divine 160 RGBW LED floods. Once again Anolis Divine 160s were selected for LED house lighting at Exhibition London. Having had a great experience with the Robe moving lights at Magazine London, Simon looked again at the brand for its “reliability and cost-effectiveness”.

© Gemma Parker

Delivering high production values is a constant aim of all Broadwick Live venues, and at Exhibition London the objective was to maximise this to offer the best facilities for both corporate and music shows alike, reducing the need for clients to bring in their own full productions.

Simon was keen to utilise Robe’s latest technologies for the venue and wanted the Esprite fixtures for their punch, brightness, elegant colour mixing and multiple other features, all of which make it a sensible choice for both music and commercial and industrial events. Plus … The Esprite’s Transferable Engine is a highly cost-effective option for any investor.

It was Simon’s first time using this fixture which he saw trialled at Magazine London during a Major Lazer show and was suitably impressed. Before making a final decision, he spoke to several lighting designers, lighting directors and operators who all confirmed the positive feedback he was hearing about the Esprite.
Spiiders he describes as “a great truly multipurpose wash fixture” to add the show. With the Spiiders in Magazine London also a great success and Simon previously specifying them for the Westfield shopping centre also in White City, they have proved a good reliable workhorse, so he is definitely a Spiider fan!

Robe’s ‘Made in Europe’ stamp and accompanying reliability was another incentive for a busy venue installation. Simon is also delighted with the 45 x Anolis Divine 160s at Exhibition London, which create an excellent room wash and house lighting system across the main show floor.

© Gemma Parker

Other lights in the house at Exhibition London include strobes, some LED 4-lites and front truss profiles for static key lighting and specials, plus mini PARs and profiles, together with the Robe moving lights, controlled via a grandMA3 light.
A Luminex system distributes data throughout the venue and MDG hazers and an L-Acoustics sound system complete an impressive technical package.

With no real space to position follow spots, RoboSpot was an obvious solution to control the two BMFLs Follow Spots which are rigged in the mothergrid and essential for numerous shows from awards presentations to music. “They are easy to use, cost-effective and take up no floor or event space,” states Simon.
For the lighting design at Magazine London, Simon asked Flare Lighting’s Ben Cash and Dave Amos to create a system that would work for the broad spectrum of clients and setups based on the specified luminaires.

The solidly built venue dates to 1899 and was originally used as a train engine house for Central London Railways. The main hall has an apex roof from which a trussing mothergrid is part flown and part ground supported on four legs, rigged utilizing the building’s original crane beams that traverse the room left to right to spread the weight loading. The mothergrid is trimmed 7 metres off the floor giving a good height.

© Gemma Parker

Two further mothergrids above the audience are also supported off the crane beams. Simon has really enjoyed working on the Exhibition London project for many reasons including the fact it’s a “beautiful space” and that Broadwick Live are committed to delivering a “fantastic show-space for events and prepared to invest in the infrastructure to enable the best client and guest experiences.”

Ashley Lewis, Robe UK’s key account manager for touring, film TV & theatre commented, “I would like to thank everyone at Broadwick Live and the Vibration Group, Flare Lighting and especially Simon at SJTPM. As an inspirational technician and project manager and a good friend for many years, he’s always entrusted me in his lighting decisions, and I have assisted in guiding him through choosing our products at Robe. Good luck, and when our world returns to live shows and events, these venues will be even more amazing!”

© Gemma Parker

Exhibition London opened at the start of 2020 and staged about four shows including a completely sold-out concert by Catfish and The Bottlemen before closing for a period earlier in the year due to the pandemic.

Right now, the venue is currently open for production and filming bookings and looks forward to being available for other private and corporate bookings when possible.

For more information about Robe range of products, check the Robe website

 

Prolight + Sound, postponed until 2022

Back in September 2020, a decision was reached by Messe Frankfurt and the industries involved to forgo any physical events at our home base in the first quarter of 2021.
Now, following close consultation with customers, it has become necessary to postpone the international physical trade fair Prolight + Sound, planned for April as a result of the regulations and travel restrictions that have been imposed.

There is currently no end to the pandemic in sight. Events are effectively banned in Germany, and ongoing international travel restrictions mean that it is impossible to make any trade fair plans for April or May 2021.
“The coronavirus pandemic has taken centre-stage, and our plans have not escaped its impact. In light of the current situation, it would not be possible for us to satisfy our customers’ requirements for international trade fairs in April or May,” said Detlef Braun, Member of the Executive Board of Messe Frankfurt.



That is why Messe Frankfurt has decided, following close consultation with its customers and partners, to postpone the hybrid Prolight + Sound event planned for April. An annual spring event is essential for the trend-based order cycles in the entertainment, which means that postponing these events until the second half of the year would not serve the interests of exhibitors.
As a result of the current situation and ongoing travel restrictions, exhibitors are faced with huge uncertainties regarding who will be allowed to be present and their customer contacts, making it extremely difficult to commit to trade fair participation. It simply is not possible at present to offer any planning certainty for investments in trade fair presentations for April or May.

Focus on digital formats

Due to the fact that physical events are not possible, Messe Frankfurt has created numerous digital offerings for its customers. Additional digital information and content offerings are already being planned for Prolight + Sound.

Braun: “The ongoing shutdown of retailers in our visitor countries has made relevant up-to-date information and solutions essential, and we are satisfying this demand with our digital offerings during this volatile time. As you know, we are also continuing to do everything in our power to make safe and successful trade fairs possible, because nothing can take the place of face-to-face encounters.”

As a result, Prolight + Sound will take place from 26 to 29 April 2022.

 

48 x Robe Esprite for Billie Eilish Livestream Concert

Billie Eilish has wowed the world for being more than a global music phenomenon! A smart teenager with empathy, humanity, and honesty, she will tackle tough topics head-on and her many additional activities include fund-raising for crew and technicians affected by the global halt of live music and performance.
Sweeping off with five Grammy’s earlier in the year, the fertile collaboration with her, also Grammy award-winning, music producing brother Finneas and their contrasty intricate works that connect the dots of life, surreality and expression in a brainy mash of art, reflection and audacity has energized a massive and diverse fanbase.

The first arena-sized world tour, “Where Do We Go”, scheduled to run from March to September 2020 halted abruptly after three shows, so the recent “Where Do We Go” ‘Livestream Concert’ re-united many talents from her acclaimed creative team. Under the Creative Direction of Billie Eilish and Moment Factory, collectively they worked to script and stage this stunning XR pay-per-view stream that delighted fans and lit up the internet as much in awe of the production as the magical Eilish aura!

Le Robe Esprite.

Lighting designer and director Tony Caporale from Tennessee-based Infinitus Vox was working as LD on the tour, and also came onboard in the role for the livestream concert, where he collaborated closely with lighting director Madigan Stehly of 22 Degrees who was working for XR Studios Burbank in Los Angeles which staged the performance, directed by Tarik Mikou from Moment Factory.

The overhead lighting rig at XR Studio comprised 48 x Robe Esprites … Robe’s newest Transferable Engine LED profile fixture. Six of them were running on a Robe RoboSpot system.
These were the only lights used for this highly acclaimed production, renowned for its stunning XR graphics and imagery that transported performers and audience through cities, oceans and incredible worlds during an intricate performance capturing all the live dynamics of Eilish’s music and dramaturgy, from massive anthemic moments to very personal messages.

Tony and the artist are usually in communication about how to bring her live performance visions to life, so the show development followed this format again as he also liaised with Madigan and lighting programmer Joe Watrach. While they finessed the lighting, Tarik and Moment Factory production manager James Richardson focused on integrating all the video elements – cameras, content and XR cohesively together.

Lighting is fundamental to the XR concept and the overall studio space. “The process was challenging in the best possible way,” stated Tony with a big smile as he refined Eilish’s usually intense live lightshow to dovetail with the studio environment generally and augmented specific XR requirements for maximum impact.
Tarik, Tony, and Madigan’s perspectives united to engineer many innovative and fun approaches, all treading stealthily to enhance the XR illusion!

First, Tony and Madigan dissected the full setlist and discussed lighting treatments and effects they felt were both appropriate and achievable. “The core approach kept Billie well-lit within her respective color preferences for each song and then built looks that worked for the assorted XR environments,” explained Tony.

Preventing light bleeding onto the video walls was crucial so they carefully utilized specific lights that were concealed from certain camera angles in “a bit of smoke-and-mirrors,” states Tony.

The studio’s physical setup included a substantial stage / floorspace with three large Roe LED video walls, a video floor, and the overhead lighting rig with the 48 x Esprites plus a couple of additional fixtures on the floor for side lighting. On the other side of the studio was the socially distanced FOH setup with workstations for lighting, audio, video, media servers, cameras, directors, etc.

For XR Studios, which has produced a string of notable AR / XR streams, Esprites have emerged as a favorite moving light for various shoots due to their excellent color temperature range, consistency, high CRI and C-Pulse features, all vital elements for any type of camera-based production. However, this was the first time that Tony had worked with Robe Esprites – which were supplied by Fuse Technical Group together with the two RoboSpot systems and the grandMA control platform.

Six Esprites, five at the front and one at the rear of the studio, were controlled by two RoboSpot BaseStations which were positioned upstage right at ‘dimmer beach’ behind the video wall. The remote follow spot system was overseen on site by Fuse’s Matthew Kniss, and these six fixtures took care of all the key lighting for mainly Billie, but also Finneas if he was mobile during the performance.

The other Esprites were utilized to add detail, texturing and drama to the different XR spaces created for the stream, from “you should see me in a crown”’s spooky minimalistic monochrome set with giant spider stalking Eilish to the cinematic deep ocean blue void of “ilomilo” which concluded with Eilish being eaten by an animated shark!
The Esprite’s shuttering system was extremely useful to Madigan and Tony in lighting this show, where the subjects were pinpointed without spillage onto the video elements, enhancing the spectacular XR drama.

For the ballad “i love you”, Billie and Finneas appeared in a vast space perched – almost suspended – on top of a stark monolithic column, lit overhead by a single Esprite shuttered perfectly to frame them and “complete the illusion” explained Tony.
For “No Time to Die”, Madigan came up with a neat idea recalls Tony, where the video content passes Billie and its movement is matched by light dimming in and out from a few of the Esprites.

For “ilomilo”, Tony also activated the animation wheel to create an underwater ripple effect augmenting the undersea world.
Eilish herself is integrally involved in the visuality of all her performances, a fact that Tony relishes because it makes his life “a lot easier”.

A good communicator, usually after a short brief, Tony can run with a lighting interpretation of what she wants. “She’s very keen on having me accent different detail and subtleties,” he clarifies.

While this was his first encounter with Robe’s Esprites, Tony’s association with the brand goes back to his club lighting days and in fact to the ColorSpot 170 ATs and other maverick fixtures from Robe’s early years.
“Robe is always pushing forward, not just with lighting fixtures but also with related technologies like GDTF / MVR protocols, and their willingness to forge ahead and always show appreciation for their clients means a lot to many, not just to me but many others in the wider industry,” he stated.

Billie Eilish’s “Where Do We Go” Livestream Concert was enthusiastically received and is being hailed as a stand-out event in a sea of streaming shows that have proliferated this year as the pandemic has taken its toll on the live music industry worldwide.

The XR content was coordinated by Moment Factory, Silent Partners Studio, Silas Veta, Chop Studio and Pixels & Noise, Moment Factory XR content lead Aude Guivarc’h, and project managed by Michael Hernandez, (real-time rendering using Notch and Unreal Engine). Stefaan ‘Smasher’ Desmedt was the camera director assisted by Brandon Kraemer.

For more info on Robe lighting range of products, check the Robe website

 

It’s DiGiCo world at Bellevue Baptist Church

Bellevue Baptist Church, the largest house of worship in Memphis and one of the leading churches in the Southern Baptist Convention, recently finished a complete renovation of its audio systems, which also included extensive acoustical work throughout the sanctuary.
The project was led by the church’s longtime systems integration partner, Springfield, Missouri-based Paragon 360, which had previously designed and installed the scenic, lighting and video systems there.

Bellevue Baptist Church’s 6,800-seat main sanctuary.

The new installation, in the church’s 6,800-seat main sanctuary in the suburb of Cordova, features three Quantum7 consoles deployed at FOH, monitors, and broadcast. In addition, an SD12 console is now also deployed in church’s fellowship hall, wrapping up what Mark Coble, Audio/Acoustics Design & Commissioning lead for Paragon 360, calls “a full DiGiCo solution for the church.”

Mark Coble, Audio/Acoustics Design & Commissioning lead for Paragon 360.

“When looking to update its loudspeakers and consoles, the church required a mixing system with a high channel count, and DiGiCo was one of the few that could handle this, being able to mix 256 inputs and offer 128 outputs, all running at 96k,” says Coble. “Reliability and customer support were also very important reasons they chose to go with the DiGiCo platform.”

Coble further cites the redundancy of the Quantum7’s dual processing engines, and the fact that the entire system runs at 96 kHz, including multitracking for virtual soundcheck at FOH and importing to ProTools in the broadcast control room. “The church wanted a system that could last up to 20 years,” he says. “We’re confident that the DiGiCo systems can do that and then some.”

In the main worship center, two fully-loaded, 32-bit Mic Preamp-equipped SD-Racks with custom distribution are located onstage. Two additional SD-Racks are found offstage to take input from all of the existing floor pocket inputs, while a fifth rack, an SD-MiNi, is parked at FOH.
“Two more SD-Racks are in the broadcast suite for capturing local sources and distribution of signals via analog and AES,” Coble explains. “An SD-Rack with custom distribution is also located on the fellowship hall stage and one SD-MiNi Rack is in the offstage room for system drive.”

A BroaMan Optocore AutoRouter is managing all the SD-Racks via fiberoptic connectivity and allows the entire campus to be interconnected. All of the consoles can ‘see’ all the racks, providing the ultimate in flexibility. A pair of DiGiGrid MGR units are being used to support 128 channels of recording and playback for virtual soundcheck at both FOH and monitors. And a DiGiCo Orange Box is an on/off ramp for Dante within the system to support the church’s Axient wireless microphones and any other Dante devices that are on the network.

The new DiGiCo Quantum7 console at Bellevue’s FOH mix position.

Among other goals, the church sought to better accommodate its wide variety of worship music styles. “At Bellevue, we have a couple of different styles of music,” explains Technical Director Caleb New. “One style includes a typical rhythm section with a small group of vocalists consistent with what most people think of when they hear Contemporary worship music. The other style includes a full 50-piece orchestra with a 300-member choir and a 12- to 16-member praise team. These two service types will typically do similar songs but with very different instrumentation.”

“That’s where DiGiCo really makes a difference,” he continues. “We knew that we had to find a console that would allow us to cover all of the inputs that we needed. We had maxed out our previous digital consoles and would constantly unpatch and reuse channels in order to handle all of our usual inputs and whatever special channels were needed for that week.

Caleb New, Bellevue Technical Director.

We needed a console that would let us focus on mixing rather than deciding which inputs would actually be patched on the console for that week. The Quantum7s allow us to have every instrument mic’d and every channel of playback on the console surface so that we no longer have to spend as much time prepping our show files we were able to get straight to mixing. Mixing on these consoles is a dream.”

“Another reason why we went with DiGiCo was for the SD/Quantum software that is standard across most of their consoles. This will allow us to use DiGiCos in multiple rooms and set them up in a similar fashion in order to simplify moving between rooms. This also speeds up the process of training new volunteers as they can learn on a console in a smaller room before moving to the larger venues.”

There were some very specific workflow and technical challenges that the church sought to meet. One was addressing how the broadcast console would be able to have full access to the inputs from the worship center and fellowship hall. The process of switching venues was previously done through a large analog patch bay, which was time consuming and prone to errors in patching and difficulty in troubleshooting.
Paragon 360’s solution was to design the console system with an Optocore auto-router so that the fellowship hall could live on the same fiber loop as the worship-center consoles, giving the broadcast console full access to all available inputs at any time.

Paragon 360’s Mark Coble at the DiGiCo Quantum7 in Bellevue Baptist’s broadcast control room.

“The DiGiCo consoles have given us a lot more control over managing the high channel counts that we use here at Bellevue,” says New. “At the monitor console, we’re able to easily handle 20 stereo IEM mixes on top of a few wedge mixes and a 40-channel personal monitoring system that uses a combination of direct output and aux mixes.
We never would have been able to manage that many mixes on our former desks. At front of house and broadcast, the ability to use snapshots and presets has really streamlined our workflow as we switch out between different services and musicians.”

The project was also notable for the time constraints it had to be completed under. “We had to completely decommission the old system with its traditional three-way splitters and install the new DiGiCo system in the main sanctuary within four days so the church could continue to operate on its normal schedule,” Coble recalls. “Not easy, but we did it. Now, the church benefits from a high input count, excellent reliability, and the same software platform across all SD/Quantum consoles.”

When asked about the church’s reaction to this remake of its audio infrastructure, New replies proudly, “It’s able to handle anything we’ve thrown at it and it sounds great. Both our musicians and members of our congregation were able to tell a positive difference from week one on the new consoles.
Once the DiGiCos were in, our musicians on stage noticed an immediate improvement in their monitor mixes. Several of them said that this is the first time they’ve ever been able to really hear everything that was actually happening on stage.”

Coble agrees, “They love these consoles! They’ve made their audio workflow so much more efficient, effective, and comfortable. Now it’s all DiGiCo, all the time.”

For more details visit:

– Bellevue Baptist Church
– Paragon 360
– Quantum7 consoles

 

Hilversum’s Studiohuyz Delivers With Yamaha TF-RACK

Studiohuyz is a striking property, designed by architect E.G. Middag and built in 1934. Its modernist architecture is an appropriate home for owner Erik Huizinga’s studio, which needs to keep pace with the latest advances in online broadcast technology.

Studiohuyz property built in 1934. Luckily the technical infrastructures that it hides between its walls are much more recent!

Having worked in the broadcast industry since 1986 as an independent producer, director and format designer, Huizinga became one of the first Dutch online producers in 2004. His business, RTV & Film Produkties, produces online seminars for many different customers, mainly related to in-service training in the medical, aviation and economics industries.

Nice studio, nice light, perfect place to take a picture of Erik Huizinga on the left and Roger Creemers on the right.

Since 2006 Erik has purchased all his technical equipment through Roger Creemers at CUE-Support B.V. They work as a team, Roger designing the technical workflow and also supplying technicians, if necessary, to deliver the highest quality content.

The studio can be operated by three people, one for all the cameras, one for the internet connections and a third operating everything else, included the audio. This multi-tasking approach meant the studio needed a high quality digital mixer that was easy to operate, but had a comprehensive feature set.
“The fact that TF-RACK is small, lightweight and has important things like Dan Dugan auto mixing, snapshots and can be remote controlled using Yamaha’s TF Editor software made it a great solution for the studio,” says Roger.

Inputs to the TF-RACK are from three to six wired lavalier microphones, with the outputs routed to a computer that runs Zoom, Skype, MS Teams or Google Meet. An audio signal is routed from the computer back through TF-RACK to the monitor speakers in the studio, while there is also routing for combined audio and video recording of each session.

Roger Creemers at the control of a TF-RACK in the very Studiohuyz control room.

Another very nice thing about TF-RACK is the four user defined control knobs, which we use for quick volume control of several mixes, etc. We have also made several snapshots with, for example, different EQs that are instantly recallable,” adds Roger.

Erik also owns three mobile studios that all include a TF-RACK as their audio mixer. One is located in Atlanta (US) for medical congresses, while two in Europe are used for symposia, congresses, lectures, meetings and streaming events. The compact size of TF-RACK allows each complete mobile studio to be housed in a single flight case, making them a technically advanced, but highly portable broadcast solution.

“While I focus on content and my customers, Roger and his team form the infrastructure and technical backbone of my company, thanks to his technical knowledge, skills, insights and innovative thinking,” says Erik. “We always aim for the highest broadcast quality and I completely trust them to choose the best equipment, which is why TF-RACK is a central part of my systems.”

Mre on the CUE Support website and on the Yamaha website

 

Claypaky produces “Shine a Light”, a song celebrating the show industry

The year 2020 will be remembered as one of the most difficult years for everyone working in the entertainment and events sector. In the effort to focus on keeping up the spirit of the people affected by the current crisis and to close this terrible year with a positive hope, Claypaky created “Shine a Light”, a rock ballad dedicated to everyone in the entertainment industry.


It is written by Claypaky Product specialist and musician, Manuel Hahn, together with US based Claypaky Product Specialist George Masek. “Shine a Light” is not a promotional song or a “product centered” marketing activity. It is a project created by people from Claypaky and made for all our colleagues in the entertainment industry, without borders and limits.

Manuel Hahn, who wrote and sang the song notes: “The idea of a song dedicated to this very particular moment for the entertainment industry came very naturally while talking together with some colleagues. From then, it has been very smooth to start the process.
The words and music came very easy, almost spontaneously. It has been a privilege to work on this project and I have to say that Claypaky management enthusiastically approved this idea and supported the production of the song and the video.”

Marcus Graser, CEO of Claypaky says: “The whole entertainment industry is now living a never before seen crisis and we are fully aware that everybody working in this industry is now affected by the COVID situation: from manufacturers, to designers, to rental companies to freelancers.
When the team presented this project to the Management Board, we immediately decided to support the idea and to enhance it. We hope that with this initiative we will be able to support at least some of our industry colleagues in need.”

Together with the song, Claypaky decided to produce a limited “Shine a Light” merchandise collection which will be available on www.claypakymerch.com. All the revenues from the sales of this limited-edition merchandise, including the production costs covered by Claypaky, will be donated to support the entertainment and live events industry members impacted by the pandemic..
Claypaky will donate 100% of the revenues equally shared to the following funds: Behind the Scenes (USA), #handforahand (Germany) and Scena Unita (Italy)
The “Shine a Light” song and video are online at the link below. They are also published from December 16 on Social Media and on the Claypaky website.

 

COVID-19 GoldenSea UV solution at Caldas da Rainha’s Centro Cultural

The Cultural and Congress Centre (CCC), the number one performance and conference venue in Caldas da Rainha, is one of the first venues in Portugal to acquire specific technical equipment to sanitize its performance and public spaces, by installing new, fully-certified UV products from GoldenSea UV in an effort to ensure maximum safety for its spectators, artists and employees.

Four UVL 150 in action. @Luis Vidigal

The CCC has invested in two types of GSUV sterilization and disinfection products, after careful consultation with Portuguese distributor, NAN of Lisbon. The venue procured 4 units of UVL150, a high-powered mobile UV lighting fixture for the sterilization of large interior spaces.
These are rigged on stands and therefore easily transported to any desired location within the CCC’s auditoria and performances spaces. The resident team also chose a compact UV4C-H ultraviolet disinfection cabinet for the cleansing of microphones, headphones, cabling, and other materials and small objects in frequent daily use.

the UVL 150 easily transported to any desired location.

“UVC radiation is a well-known disinfectant for air, water and surfaces with a high rate of ‘proven efficiency’,” points out Carlos Mota from the CCC.
“It is a technology widely used for disinfecting spaces and equipment in hospital environments, since all bacteria or viruses tested to date including the various coronaviruses are neutralized by UV-C disinfection.
A study by the Institute for Medical Virology of the Frankfurt University Hospital proves the elimination of the virus that causes COVID-19, and UV-C has also been validated for the inactivation of over 200 bacteria and viruses.”

With these credentials, the CCC were happy to adopt the UV technology offered by GoldenSea UV products, all of which use Philips/Osram 253.7 nm UVC lamps, the only ones certified as effective against COVID-19, to make their venue COVID-secure.

The UV4C-H cabinet.

“GoldenSea UV’s products have produced great results in a minimal amount of time and we are convinced they are the best products for this purpose,” the CCC indicates.
“UVC technology has an efficacy rate of over 90% compared to 40% of traditional chemical cleaning, the experts say, and the technology has been laboratory-proven to reduce the activity of Sars-Cov-2 by 99.99%.”

All GSUV products have been designed with built-in security measures that guarantee compliance with the UNE 0068 specification and safe handling, such as delayed start to allow the evacuation of the area to be disinfected; remote control; motion sensor cut out; drop sensor (in mobile units); red or green indicator lights, as well as an audio warning signal.

The Cultural and Congress Centre of Caldas da Rainha has been awarded the Seal ‘Estabelecimento Clean & Safe’ (Clean & Safe Establishment) for venues for artistic performances, by Turismo de Portugal and the General Inspection of Cultural Activities. This award guarantees that the CCC ‘meets the appropriate health conditions at different levels, while offering the elements of comfort and safety to spectators.’

“We are happy to help our customers to make their spaces safer,” states NAN director, Luis Vidigal. “This new measure will help our industry by enabling a greater level of activity during this difficult time.”

@Luis Vidigal

GOLDENSEA UV is manufactured by industry leading, hi-tech lighting design and manufacturer Golden Sea Professional. Its large team of experts ensures quality, safety and performance are of the highest level. All GOLDENSEA UV’s products are CE, ETL and FCC compliant and listed.

More on the GoldenSea website

 

Robe Dances with the Stars in the USA

The 29th series of the popular TV dance competition “Dancing With The Stars” (DWTS) returned to ABC this month with new host Tyra Banks and 178 x Robe MegaPointes on the lighting plot as part of lighting designer Tom Sutherland’s precision-crafted epic look for the first series performed without a live audience! It is being broadcast until the end of November from CBS Television City, West Hollywood, California.

@Tom Sutherland

Tom’s company DX7 Design was initially asked to develop lighting for the 2019 season by executive producer Andrew Llinares. He, Tom, and director Phil Heyes – who has been on DWTS USA for 5 years – have also all previously worked together including a while back on X-Factor in the UK.
Tom, who also lights a variety of top music artists, is known for his skillful blending of two very different lighting aesthetics; the drama and thrill of pop and rock with the detail and discipline needed for slick TV lighting. For this, he and DWTS creative director Justin Mabardi discussed several tasks and challenges for lighting including harmoniously working with the numerous digital set elements, and, most importantly, helping recreate the impression of a live audience!

@Tom Sutherland

The set including the extensive video elements like a giant LED panel chandelier filled with lights was designed by Florian Wieder. Tom enjoys working with Florian because of the latter’s great eye for how lighting can be integrated into set architecture, as was the case for this production with a series of scenic girders running the length of the performance space which were specifically designed to incorporate lights.
This is where a quote of the 168 MegaPointes were rigged.

Robe BMFL WashBeam

Felix Lighting also supplied 16 Robe BMFL WashBeams to the show plus four BMFL Blades which are running with four separate RoboSpot base station systems for remote operation. Additional Robe products are brought in weekly as extras for specific routines, joining around 900 lighting fixtures being utilized by Tom in total, all supplied by Felix Lighting.
The absence of a live audience threw up the massive challenge of filling the studio space and evoking the vibrancy and atmosphere of having real people there, a goal that is being achieved with additional lighting and screen elements.

As well as recreating this essential ‘buzz’ in the air, the production is also delivering all the color, razzmatazz, and WOW factors to accompany the chemistry and choreography of the dancefloor action.
A large upstage video wall tracks open / closed for host entrances and exits, while a large LED PAR can wall behind it is a nod to classic dance hall style. Downstage of this are some art deco scenic towers which also track on and offstage.

@Tom Sutherland

An angled LED pros arch is flanked left and right by slanting video screens covering some of the audience seating, and their shape is mirrored lengthways along the dancefloor by the pairs of angled scenic beams all with MegaPointes rigged to the undersides.

“MegaPointes are the workhorse fixture of the show,” stated Tom who chose them because he needed a dynamic multi-purpose fixture able to deliver a wide and almost endless range of effects needed throughout the series, in which the creative team can imagine over 150 different signature looks for different dance routines, each of which has to be beautiful, appropriate and distinctive.

Robe MegaPointe

More MegaPointes are sitting in rows at audience head level along two tiers of balcony rails (for upper and lower levels), with the reminder of the fixtures lined up around the edge of the dancefloor.
This layered positioning and the scenic / lighting elements can also assist in forming more intimate looking spaces on camera, so viewers catching the show on TV barely notice that a live audience is absent!

The MegaPointes create those big elegant, structural looks that they are so good at throughout the show, and while nothing can quite replicate the aura of fans enrapt in the performances, this multi-level, carefully thought-through and applied optical ‘magic’ works very well.
“The audience is such a fundamental part of the show,” says Tom, admitting that he was nervous to start with, and “delighted” that all the extra lighting “has had the desired impact.”

The BMFL WashBeams are rigged on two vertical towers left and right of the pros arch, ideally placed for assisting in closing the set down for more intimate and dramatic moments. Tom needed a light source that was “Bright, powerful and versatile” to fill these back-of-camera shots.
The four RoboSpot controlled BMFL Blades are positioned in the four corners of the dancefloor. They are proving great for adding background effects and gobos on the dancers, especially during 360-degree Steadicam shots.

“It’s much easier using this system to highlight performers with color, a texture or an effect as needed,” Tom comments, adding that while RoboSpots are on the spec for most of his shows, on this one he’s really been able to get imaginative with them! At the control platform, he also has a feed of all the RoboSpot cameras and can keep an eye on exactly where the operators are pointing to ensure they are on target every time.

@Tom Sutherland

Tom is working alongside a talented DX7 Design team comprising lighting programmers Joe Holdman and Nate Files, and they are using a grandMA control system, and Hunter Selby is his assistant LD. The lighting gaffer is AJ Taylor, best boy is Danny Vincent, the Felix lighting techs are James Coldicott & Dominic Adame and the account manager at Felix is Nicole Barnes. Working in a Covid-safe environment has been a galvanizing experience for everyone.

The crew are all tested weekly and the studio has been zoned so artists, crew, celebrities and other staff ‘bubbles’ all utilize separate green rooms, eating areas, bathrooms, entrances and exits, etc., and can avoid mixing. Masks are worn at all times and they also rigorously social distance.
Show schedules are planned so that large set changes where normally 40 odd stagehands would ‘whoosh’ onto the dancefloor simultaneously to complete a major set / props changeover in a couple of minutes are not necessary to limit physical proximity and the need to get close to one another!

As with every production that is active and working right now, all involved in “Dancing With The Stars” production, crew, creatives, and artists are extremely happy to have the opportunity of being back doing what they love, even if it’s under very altered circumstances.
Says Tom, “It’s great to be back in the studio working with the crew again. Thanks to all the production team for their tireless efforts over the past few months on ensuring we are back safely creating a show we love!”

Nicole Barnes from Felix Lighting comments, “We at Felix are blessed to be asked to work with Tom and his team again on DWTS. It has been an honor to support and execute such relevant, fresh designs, especially for such a crucial season. Everything on Tom’s lighting plots translates so well through the directed magic of the camera lens. With the mandatory elimination of a studio audience, there probably was some risk to the effectiveness of the show.
Tom’s lighting design, along with very thoughtful scenic and video elements, have captured and preserved that fantastic DWTS excitement and not missed a dance step. Witnessing these shows air, we all remain ‘cautiously optimistic’ about the future of broadcast, production, and live events. All the amazing people who work behind the scenes just want a chance to return to work quickly and safely. We see DWTS as a beacon of hope, bringing us back one cha-cha, foxtrot, and tango at a time!”

For more info on Robe lighting website

ICVFX chose Brompton Technology processing

With a history in film, TV, VFX and production, Sydney-based Spectre Studios strengthened its virtual production (VP) toolset whilst working on the Hollywood Blockbuster X-Men: Dark Phoenix. The company used real-time engines and virtual production to help visualise complicated stunt and VFX shots for the film, a technique that has been mastered by the team at Proxi and successfully replicated on Triple Frontier.

In the true spirit of creative company collaboration, Spectre Studios joined forces with NEP Studios and Big Picture to create ICVFX: Australia’s first full-service LED virtual production solution for local and international content creators, bringing the future of in-camera VFX under one roof.
Brompton Technology’s Tessera SX40 4K LED processor was chosen as the driving power for the studio’s LED virtual production workflow. The facility demonstrates a fully functioning LED wall volume and dynamic 3D environments for VP, as well as motion & facial capture all in one facility, and all with remote access.

“It made sense for us to approach NEP and Big Picture to see where we could help leverage their extensive experience and technical capability to help bring our concepts and research into a reality. NEP had been developing an offering of its own and it seemed like the perfect storm to join forces to see what could come out of this partnership,” says Spectre Studios’ Technical Director, Rick Pearce.

The team decided to fully demonstrate the capabilities of their LED screen by developing a wide range of content from SimTrav [simulated travel], interior and exterior locations, as well as a range of sci-fi environments that they staged in order to demonstrate what shooting a production on LED would be like.

“We were lucky enough to have our friends at Arri and VA Hire provide some great camera and production gear to create a dream combination of concept, tech, production, and talent,” continues Pearce. In their testing of different products, Pearce and the team at Spectre quickly found that the solution that Josh Moffat, Business Development at Big Picture, developed for ICVFX was perfectly aligned with what the team was trying to achieve in terms of production workflow.

The team chose four of Brompton’s cutting-edge 4K Tessera SX40 LED processing system along with eight Tessera XD 10G data distribution units to drive 13.5 by 4.5 metres of ROE Black Onyx 2.8mm HD-LED displays for the wall, as well as 46 square metres of ROE CB5 LED panels for the ceiling, and additional 20 square metres of ROE CB3 panels for ambient lighting and as reflection screens.

Brompton SX40

“Choosing Brompton was a no-brainer for us,” says Moffat. “The company has been our loyal partner and a perfect LED processing solution for years, with its Tessera processors offering exceptional colour control and comprehensive image manipulation, coupled with quick easy tools like the OSCA seam correction feature. The advanced remote control options have also been a particular benefit to us in this workflow, given the current situation.”
The feedback about the virtual production facility has been really positive. “The opportunities for use keep growing each week,” shares Pearce. “ACS (Australian Cinematographers Society) chose to visit us to hold an information session and facilitate a hands-on creative session with some of the country’s best DOP’s to provide them a playground as they explored the edges of what was possible.”

As the team continues to educate Australian production companies and studios looking for solutions in VP, and in a broader COVID production world, Spectre Studios team are having a lot of conversations as to how they can put the technology to use at scale.

“We hope the LED Volume with Brompton processing will have a permanent location here, as we see versions of Virtual Production becoming a mainstay in many film production workflows,” Pearce adds. “With all the many benefits it provides creatively, and the added bonus of being post-pandemic friendly, we’re confident ICVFX will be home of many exciting new projects.”
With many projects already in the pipeline, the team knows it would not be possible without the technical capabilities of Brompton’s system and support from the Brompton team.
“The high quality of Brompton processing is an integral part of our entire VP [virtual production] workflow,” concludes Pearce. “We are one of Australia’s most prominent studios utilising tools like Unreal Engine 4 for everything from animation, VR development, and now LED Volume virtual production.

The Brompton Tessera SX40 processor is really helping us bring the content to life by offering ultra realistic visual backgrounds that produce astounding results. The fact that the Australian Cinematographers Society wanted to use our facility for its creative session speaks volumes, and that’s in no small part thanks to the amazing visual performance and true-to-life colour accuracy delivered by Brompton processing.”

More on the Brompton Technology website

Elation lighting fixtures on new season of Dancing with the Stars

Where live audience normally sits, LD Tom Sutherland fills space with creative camera eye candy. Tom Sutherland was back on the set of Dancing with the Stars recently, lighting his second season of the American reality dance competition for the ABC network.

Lead designer at DX7 Design, Sutherland, who used Elation lighting on last season’s show, again turned to Elation fixtures to light the myriad of dances while finding a unique visual solution to fill empty audience space.

© Hunter Selby

“There were some challenges this year as there was no audience, which usually plays a big role in the show. Nobody, especially in television, likes black holes,” said Sutherland, stating, “When you have an expensive set that looks like a million dollars, you don’t want to sacrifice that by a few dodgy shots. With HD cameras and 360-degree looks we have to make sure we have all our bases covered.”

Dead space on the set was something Sutherland was especially wary of when lighting this year’s shows. How could he fill the blank space and still achieve the kind of drama you would have with an audience present? “We did that by adding more lighting and extra video screens,” he said, “and a good chunk of that extra lighting was from Elation.”

A lot in the barrel

© Hunter Selby

Filmed at CBS Television City in Los Angeles, the drama and glitz of Dancing with the Stars has kept fans coming back year after year since its debut in 2005.
This year’s Season 29 premiered on September 14th with Elation fixtures again a key component, including DARTZ 360 LED moving heads, and new to this year’s set, ZCL 360i and SixBar 1000 luminaires. Lighting vendor for Dancing with the Stars is Felix Lighting.


Sutherland says they started this year’s design work by looking to see how many black hole positions there were to fill in the studio and how they could best do that. “That meant we needed to find fixtures that were going to fill those blank spaces while giving me lots of flexibility through an 11-week season.
I needed fixtures I could vary up and produce different looks with, fixtures that could be subtle and pretty if we needed them to be, but also give us the drama and tension in the moments where we needed that.” In other words, the designer needed fixtures that have a lot in them. “We did 150 performances on this stage last year and another 150 performances this year so I’m a great fan of having lights that have a lot in the barrel so to speak.”

Runway of lights

Sutherland looked at filling all of the floor seating space with Elation’s tiny ZCL 360i™, a single beam RGBW moving effect with zoom and continuous 360° rotation. He lined three rows of fixtures along the dancefloor, 90 fixtures total, to create a runway of lights left and right of the stage for nice camera looks.

© Hunter Selby

“Joe Holdman, who programs the show, has done some incredible effects with the 360-degree spin,” he explains. “As we go into a tense judging moment, for example, they all tumble and spin while manipulating the zoom; it looks like a massive cascade running up towards the stage and is really beautiful.
Because of the zoom, they can just be a subtle twinkle or we can beam them up with a bit more haze if we want to create a bit more drama. We also found that because it’s a black shiny floor they look great just bouncing off and reflecting off that so it looks like we’ve got double the amount of fixtures. They’ve been a fantastic addition to the rig and everyone loves them.”

DARTZ on target

© Hunter Selby

On 2019’s Season 28 of Dancing with the Stars, the LD used Elation’s DARTZ 360™ beam/spot LED moving head as a principal luminaire in an immersive 360-degree lighting environment. This year, he upped their number, using 104 in his design for soft looks that blend with the set before coming to life for dance performances.

“Lots of the camera work on the show is done on a Steadicam and is 360 degrees around the dancers,” Sutherland explains. “Of course we’ve got nothing at one end of the room so we use the DARTZ to just completely fill that space.
It’s just a wall of light and the director and producers love it. You can’t even see that the cameras are there. The director’s been opening a lot of the shots in a reverse look, pointing to the back of the room so you see the DARTZ as a backdrop because it’s so stunning.”

Sutherland plays with the DARTZ’s two independent rotating prisms and 14 gobos to create some dazzling effects. “Originally we had 80 fixtures because we thought that the added video screens on the bottom of the set would extend up to the top of the lower balcony but there was a gap there and we decided to fit Dartz fixtures there.
I talked to account manager Nicole Barnes at Felix Lighting and she was able to get us another 60. We completely filled out the lower balcony with those and I’m so glad we did because it’s made all the difference. It’s so striking, especially on those Steadicam reverse shots and the 360 shots.” The rig also includes other LED and discharge-based moving heads.

Blend of light and screen

Dancing with the Stars is a shiny, sparkly show with an art deco set and lighting that is essential in complementing the look. Another Elation fixture new to this year’s show is the SixBar 1000™ with 110 of the meter-long six-color LED battens used for expanded color and sparkle. The SixBars fill the void where the audience normally sits, frame the judges’ close up shot, and occupy the gaps between the added LED screens, including on the middle balcony where contestants wait.

© Hunter Selby

“It’s a beautiful blend of light and screens that merges really nicely. The SixBars have been fantastic to add a nice subtle twinkle to the set which we’ve blended in with our main host looks and main dances as well,” Sutherland says, adding that they have been a cost effective solution and are great at filling up space.
“We extend the content on the screens into the SixBars and blend everything out into the room nicely so they’ve been fantastic for us. Joe programs lovely effects into them and they really come to life on moments when we need them to.”

Dancing with the Stars has been a mainstay of American reality television for 15 years. With changes implemented last year designed to freshen up the format and a new host in Tyra Banks this year, not to mention a host of stunning lighting designs for each performance, ABC’s staple Monday night show has enjoyed renewed energy with its best ratings in years.

Lighting Programmers: Joe Holdman and Nate Files
Assistant Lighting Designer: Hunter Selby
Gaffer: AJ Taylor
Best Boy: Danny Vincent


For more information, check the Elation lighting website

Tanger Center is USA’s Largest Constellation System

The Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts in Greensboro, North Carolina is now the home to the largest Meyer Sound Constellation® acoustic system in the United States.
The center’s events will be supported by world-class audience amenities and advanced technologies, including variable acoustical environments tailored for each performance.

The project was both boldly ambitious and fiscally conservative. It was ambitious in that the $90 million facility would incorporate the latest technologies for acoustical and staging flexibility, allowing the venue to serve as a concert hall for symphony performances and opera as well as an auditorium for spoken word events and a road house for touring shows from rock concerts to Broadway musicals. It was conservative, however, in that the cost was substantially less than what would be needed to build two separate venues.


“I knew from the outset that the economics would be driven by selling out touring shows, which is why we set 3,000 as our minimum capacity and designed our staging to accommodate tours well into the future,” states Matt Brown, who as managing director of the Greensboro Coliseum Complex now also carries responsibility for the Tanger Center.
“Yet following the demolition of the old War Memorial Auditorium, the Greensboro Symphony was in need of a new home. Our goal was to provide an optimum environment for both types of performances without compromising either.”

The challenge was handed to the acoustical consultants for the project, Arup of New York, with acoustical design at various stages guided by Matthew Mahon, Christopher Darland and Ed Arenius. Arup’s recommendation was to design the hall with relatively dry physical acoustics to accommodate spoken word and amplified music with electroacoustic enhancement added as required for most other musical events.

“The symphony would have preferred a 1,600-seat symphonic concert hall, but Guilford College’s Bryan Series and Broadway series were selling double that number,” recalls Brown, “so we needed to acoustically accommodate both.
That led to a thorough education on electroacoustic technology culminating in the selection of a Constellation system.”

Also involved early in the process was Cliff Miller, president of SE Systems, eventually selected as the AV systems integrator. Although brought on board primarily to consult on road house requirements, Miller also helped connect key people in Greensboro to the Meyer Sound team in Berkeley. “To a great extent, the choice of Constellation was driven by a push from Dmitry Sitkovetsky, the music director of the symphony,” recalls Miller.
“He visited Meyer Sound in Berkeley to hear Constellation early on when other systems were still under consideration. He also consulted with other conductors familiar with the technology before tilting strongly toward Constellation.”

Not only did Sitkovetsky hear Constellation in the audience at Meyer Sound’s Pearson Theatre, he also sat in with a string quartet, playing his Stradivarius violin. In addition, he had previously noted the acoustical improvements at Moscow’s Svetlanov Hall following installation of Constellation there. Also traveling to Berkeley to audition Constellation was Tom Philion, president and CEO of ArtsGreensboro.

The Constellation system as installed by SE Systems comprises a total of 205 small full-range loudspeakers mounted laterally and overhead. Eight different models were deployed, both full-range and subwoofers, all incorporating Meyer Sound’s exclusive IntelligentDC for self-powered systems with simplified cabling requirements.

For ambient acoustical sensing, 57 miniature condenser microphones are arrayed throughout the hall, feeding signals to the 18-module D Mitri® digital audio platform. Five of the modules are D-VRAS processors hosting the patented Virtual Room Acoustic System algorithm. Installation project manager for SE Systems was Sam Trexler.

The Tanger Center schedule for 2021 and beyond features the Greensboro Symphony subscription series highlighting concerts with Kenny G and Sting. Also on tap is the inaugural Broadway season with Wicked, The Lion King, Dear Evan Hansen, Mean Girls and Beautiful – The Carole King Musical. Speakers for the Bryan Series include actress Sally Field and former U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May.

“The acoustical toolset we have in Constellation as applied in a 3,000-seat setting affords economic advantages that I believe will be a model for all future performing arts venues of this type, not just here in the United States, but around the world,” summarizes Matt Brown.

It was a disappointment to the arts community in Greensboro, North Carolina when COVID-19 forced cancellation of grand opening festivities for the new Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts only days before the scheduled event. The multi-day celebrations in March 2020 were to include performances by, among others, Josh Groban, Tony Bennett and Jay Leno. A new opening date has not yet been set.

More Information on the Meyer Sound website

KNV series used on Battiti Live TV show in Italie

GLP’s new KNV series has been used for the first time in Italy, on two broadcast TV shows. The first of these was Radionorba Vodafone Battiti Live, where DoP Massimo Pascucci, featured a large selection of KNV Cube, KNV Dot and KNV Line in the scenography, working alongside set designer Luigi Maresca and show director, Luigi Antonini.

Photo Francesco Liuzzi

This popular musical show is produced by Radionorba and broadcast by TeleNorba and Mediaset on the Italia 1 channel. Hosted by Alan Palmieri and Elisabetta Gregoraci, it features leading artists and their hits of the summer.
Generally, the traditional five episodes are recorded during the months of June and July in five different locations that represent the main cities of Puglia. However, this year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the show would have been cancelled were it not for a supreme production effort and the rapid drop off of infections. Thus a single location was chosen the square immediately in front of the Aragonese Castle of Otranto in order to avoid moving equipment and manpower.

Photo Francesco Liuzzi

All GLP fixtures are imported into Italy by distributor, Alto Lighting, and for this show were supplied by rental company, MOD Srl.

GLP KNV Dot

Massimo Pascucci had no hesitation in using GLP’s solutions after seeing videos of the KNVs in use. Because in this show I had focussed a lot on using the lights graphically, the product seemed perfect to me,” he said.

Thus 12 of the KNV Cubes were accompanied by 25 KNV Dot and 10 KNV Live. Each KNV format can be used independently, or seamlessly combined to form a massive, modular graphic display.

GLP KNV Line

“In truth, the iconography of the show is about the heart, hence the Battiti (beats),” he continued. “So the Cubes were used in the centre of a structure that represented the heart Itself, housed in the central part of the roof. The other GLP devices (Line and Dot) were used around the stage perimeter, giving shape and linearity to the structure.”

Photo Francesco Liuzzi

Bespoke lighting scenes and states were programmed for each of the acts, as Pascucci explained. “For each song a different graphic is produced which is then displayed on huge LED walls, that make up the main scenography. The luminaires have been calibrated to this in order to harmonise with the dedicated mood of each performer, using the pixel mapping facility on the Hog 4 lighting desk.”

He remains in no doubt as to the many ways in which the KNV series marked the scenography and can see endless possibilities for the future. “The extreme brightness and possibility of integration with the existing lighting plot, really enhances the concept and opens up a new way of conceiving television lighting.
By this I mean gradually dispensing with the conventional powerful beam movement delivered by automated spots. Instead it is possible to focus more on the stylisation of the scenes by integrating the lighting system with graphics, as far as possible.”

Photo Francesco Liuzzi

More information on the GLP website

Meyer Sound Announces Marketing & Executive Promotions

Tim Boot

Tim Boot has been appointed Director of Global Marketing, a new position that entails overall responsibility for product management, marketing, communications and education on a worldwide basis.
Boot joined Meyer Sound in 2015 and has served in high-level sales, marketing and technology development roles, most recently as Global Brand Manager.

John Mac Mahon

John McMahon has been promoted to Senior Vice President. In his expanded role, McMahon assumes a full range of company-wide executive responsibilities while working closely with Meyer Sound’s executive team and company founders, President and CEO John Meyer and Executive Vice President Helen Meyer.

Marc Chutczer

Marc Chutczer has moved up to the post of Vice President of R&D, assuming coordinated leadership of all Meyer Sound R&D teams working on all technology platforms, including loudspeakers as well as digital systems. His prior position was Vice President of Digital Program Management.

Mike Ulrich

Mike Ulrich has been appointed Meyer Sound’s new Vice President of Operations, taking charge of all aspects of manufacturing, purchasing, quality control and test engineering. With Meyer Sound since 2014, Ulrich has broad experience in both engineering and new product development.

“At Meyer Sound we anticipate that pent-up demand will lead to an industry rebound in the not-too-distant future, and we are developing strategies to leverage the expected growth,” comments Helen Meyer.
“These latest promotions and role realignments will position us to meet resurging demand with new technologies and ramped-up production, and always with the high level of support our customers have come to expect.”

John and Helen Meyer

More on the Meyer Sound website

Robe Supports NeFestival in Ostrava

Colours of Ostrava is usually the largest multi-genre live music and performance festival in the Czech Republic and one of the most popular events on the European festival calendar, offering 22 stages of diverse and vibrant entertainment across four days in mid-July.
It is staged in the stunning raw industrial environment of the former Dolní Vitkovice (DOV) steelworks now tastefully reimagined as an important cultural and heritage centre near Ostrava in the north-east of the country.

© Filip Kustka

This year, like all European festivals, it was cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic and rescheduled for 2021. However, with the government allowing gatherings of up to 1000 people after June 22nd, it seemed that compact events could become feasible, and so ‘NeFestival’ (NoFestival) was planned as a much smaller event at the same site to bring the spirit and essence of Colours music, theatre, lighting art vibes, discussion, etc… to a small but enthusiastic audience.

©Filip Kustka

SMART Productions led by Josef ‘Pepa’ Ženíšek coordinated all the technical production as they have done for Colours since 2010, and Robe Lighting was again proud to be a technical partner and collaborator in another landmark event in spite of the unusual circumstances.
One stage was constructed on the DOV national heritage area, which is part of the Colours regular site, right under the Bolt Tower that once presided over DOV blast furnace number 1.

The Robe fixtures – 30 x iPointes, 20 x MegaPointes and four BMFL WashBeams were used in a highly symbolic role as ‘light towers’ to denote the areas that would have been occupied by the second stage and the Full Moon stage in the standard festival layout.
Pepa needed fixtures that were massively bright and intense for this, and these three types were perfect.

In addition to these, 16 x Robe Divine 160 LED wash fixtures were part of the package, with six used during the special ‘opener’ show created by Cirk La Putyka on the Wednesday, and the other 10 highlighting the Bolt Tower and other imposing industrial elements behind the stage, accentuating a powerful aesthetic for the live streaming.

© Filip Kustka

Robe’s CEO Joseph Valchar commented, “As always we were delighted to work with Pepa and his team on this highly creative production which was much enjoyed and a rare opportunity to catch some outstanding live outdoor performance this summer.
This year we feel our support is more important than at any time before, and we are already all looking forward to the 2021 edition of Colours of Ostrava … when the entire heritage site will again be buzzing with people and a great atmosphere.”

© Filip Kustka

The line up over the four days of NeFestival was planned to be Cirk La Putyka followed by Bosnian avant-garde dub rockers Dubioza Kollektiv the next evening, however they were unable to travel at the last moment, so a selection of excellent Czech bands took the stage.

Friday should have been more Czech bands including 123Min, N.O.H.A and headliner thrash rapper Kapitán Demo, with Saturday’s ‘Melting Pot’ forum for theatres, discussions and debates bringing things to a close… But Friday morning things changed dramatically when, without prior warning, the regional health authorities reduced the capacity of gatherings from 1000 to 100, so the event site had to be closed, a decision that has caused some surprise!

© Filip Kustka

This was not before Cirk La Putyka and all Thursday night’s bands had delivered outstanding performances to the delight of everyone present.
“It was great like a sort of holiday and carnival atmosphere after a long time without any events all of us and the crews were just so happy to be working and doing what we love in producing world-class shows,” concluded Pepa.

Highlite Touring project managed by Michal Siska supplied lighting equipment for the main stage, and their crew together with Pepa’s SMART Production team rigged the Robes for the light towers. Václav Olšar was the stage lighting designer and LD Jiri “Zewl” Malenak took care of La Putyka’s show.
Six days later, the decision to reduce audience capacities to 100 in the area was revised back up to 1000 people, bringing with it the hope of some more potential ‘mini-festival’ events bring staged over the summer … if all goes well!

For more info, check the Robe website

PUY DU FOU THEME PARK UPGRADES WITH OPTOCORE FIBER NETWORK

Ranked the second most popular theme park in France (behind Disneyland Paris) Puy du Fou is spread over 500 hectares at Les Epesses in the heart of Pays de La Loire region.

When it came to specifying a site-wide digital comms upgrade recently, the facility’s long-term head of technology (and resident sound engineer), Samuel Briand, was clear that an expansive Optocore fibre ring solution would best serve the park’s requirements.

He explained that previously they had worked mostly in analog but this has now been replaced with parallel Optocore, Dante and AVB networks. “The first consideration was the vast distance,” he said, explaining the background to the specification. “The park is very large, requiring several hundred kilometers of cable length, and it was essential that we could pass the signals without loss of quality and without length constraints.”

Technical bay with Digico stage rack and DD4MR-FX MADI from Optocore (Philippe Moreau).

The new system itself was conceived at the Park’s in-house design studio, overseen by Briand, with the company DV2 supplying the equipment and technical support.
Each of the featured shows has its own control room and runs autonomously, although the existing fiber optic network allows shows to be connected to each other if necessary.

“When we create a show, we connect the audio mixing studio to the show concerned and mix in the attraction by moving the screen, keyboard and mouse from the studio computer.
The sound travels in the Optocore environment between the studio and the show, thus saving us from having to carry a big flight case with a ProTools HDX,” Briand explains.

In view of the extensive distance and channel requirements, the redundant Optocore transport is used in all the Park’s main shows, such as La Cinéscénie (a huge outdoor stage for the evening shows), Le Dernier Panache (which follows the destiny of a French naval officer during the American War of Independence), Café de la Madelon (Parisian style cabaret) and El Sueño de Toledo (another historical nocturnal show). To give an idea of scale, La Cinéscénie alone requires 10km of fiber optics.

“We work only with single mode fiber,” the head of tech continues, “and each Optocore converter has redundancy at the power supply (one on mains and one on inverter).” A separate central control point manages the BGM only (which is distributed over a point-to-point network).
Samuel Briand has deployed a pair of Optocore DD4MR-FX MADI devices for use with the DiGiCo SD10 consoles, 10 X6R-FX with AES-SRC and Line Outputs for the amplifiers, as well as AES-SRC with Mix Inputs for microphones (and finally, a V3R-FX). All devices have been upgraded with 2Gb singlemode transceivers.

The advantages of the new set-up can be clearly seen in Le Dernier Panache, mixed on DiGiCo. “The Optocore network allows us to compensate all audio channels (around 96) from the A/D converters to the amplifiers and the processor. So via Optocore converters we have a real matrix, boosted by the processing and mixing power of the DiGiCo consoles.”

As for the sound system generally, each show has its own broadcast soundtrack (eg symphonic music with voices and sound effects). Puy du Fou has been working with L-Acoustics for over 20 years and each show has a particular spatialization (L-ISA for Le Dernier Panache, 12 channels for La Cinéscénie, 7.1 for Le Secret de la Lance show etc).
For the BGM and general park distribution (shops, restaurants and hotels) mainly Fohhn speakers are used. In addition to DiGiCo SD10 and SD9T, the Park also deploys a range of Yamaha mixing consoles.

The mixing studio (Philippe Moreau)

Samuel Briand is more than satisfied with the upgraded signal transport across the Puy du Fou site. “Fiber optics and an Optocore platform were essential to meet the specifications,” he confirmed.

And more information on the Optocore website